THE IRISH NATIONAL STRUGGLE AGAINST BRITAIN WAS ALWAYS PROGRESSIVE. SO WHY NOT THE JEWISH NATIONAL STRUGGLE FOR A HOMELAND IN ZION?
The 1916 Easter Rebellion, led by trade union organizer and socialist James Connolly and nationalist poet and educationalist Patrick Pearse, is one of the most historic events in Ireland’s history.
It is also of international significance.
The Easter Rising coincided with the effort of Roger Casement to bring his assistance to the Irish Rebels. Casement was dropped off in the South of Ireland by German submarine (April 21, 1916, Kerry) but was soon arrested by the British, and was quickly tried for treason, and hanged by the British.
At roughly the same time the Irish Rebels, having fought bravely, were suppressed and in a series of shocking events, their leaders were executed in Dublin. James Connolly was very seriously wounded and in order to carry out the execution the British military strapped Connolly to a chair to face the bullets of the firing squad.
The whole episode of the Irish Rising and its bloody suppression by the British was a major event internationally and historically.
LENIN AND TROTSKY ATTACKED PLEKHANOV BECAUSE HE OPPOSED THE IRISH NATIONALISTS OF 1916
Plekhanov had been the Father of Russian socialism and when he came out in opposition to the Nationalist Rising this made leaders like Lenin and Trotsky very angry with Plekhanov.
This was a socialist leader attacking a national movement. Moreover, not just any national movement, but one which was clearly in the category of a national liberation movement
Trotsky referred to Plekhanov opposition to the 1916 Rising as a case of softening of the joints on the part of the older man
There were obviously very great theoretical and political issues involved in both the Plekhanov position and the Trotsky and Lenin answers to Plekhanov.
These serious answers to Plekhanov go back to Marx and Engels and the type of relations they had with the Irish rebel movement, the Fenians.
These 2 great leaders of the early working class were always on friendly terms with the Irish Rebels. Yet in my opinion they never actually came to terms in a satisfactory way with the Irish rebels and with the national issue in general.
Today it is very important to understand the position of the Irish rebels in 1916, the position of course of the British Imperialists in Ireland, then the unconditional support of Lenin and Trotsky for the Irish rebels and their critique of Plekhanov.
IF LENIN AND TROTSKY SUPPORTED THE IRISH NATIONALISTS OF 1916 WHY NOT THEN SUPPORT THE JEWISH NATIONALISTS WHO ARE KNOWN AS ZIONISTS?
The critique of Plekhanov represented a major step forward in the thinking of international revolutionary socialist theory, or Marxism
This writer thinks that the 1916 event and the thoughts of Lenin and Trotsky, their separation from Plekhanov, represent a vital stage in the overall way that socialists would approach nationalism.
One of these nationalisms which emerged was Zionism. This then today is of huge topical interest and importance.
Look at it this way. Trotsky at the 6th Zionist Congress in Bayle in 1902 had been hugely critical of Zionism and Herzl. This represented not the isolated position of Trotsky but the whole movement on the left.
Leon Trotsky and Lenin were never dogmatists. They had theory yes, but that theory was never like a religion.
I believe that the 1916 Rising was one of many stages which led to a claim which I make about Leon Trotsky, a claim which is heavily disputed.
4INTERNATIONAL CLAIMS THAT BY THE 1930S LEON TROTSKY HAD BECOME A ZIONIST
THE IRISH 1916 RISING WAS A STAGE ON THAT ROAD
The claim is that by the 1930s Trotsky had become himself very much a Zionist, a believer and supporter of Zionism and—This was a Zionist of a type that the world over 3000 years of Zionism had never seen
4international, our little website which represents this view, is being scorned and attacked by all on the Left.
4international is totally on the side of Zionism. We are in fact Zionists.
ZIONISTS OF A NEW KIND
We on 4international are Zionists of a new kind! Our type of Zionism the world has never before seen.
We are Zionists from the standpoint of revolutionary socialism. We are revolutionary socialists; we are Trotskyists, Leninist and Marxist. There is no contradiction
THE TRUE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONTEMPORARY TROTSKYISM AND THE LEFT FASCIST ANTISEMITES OF TODAY
In fact read again around the issue of the 1916 Easter Rising. You will find that we are in the same camp as Trotsky and Lenin, while the haters of Zionism today are in the camp of Plekhanov.
To show this, take a few facts about Irish nationalism. In this regard the 1916 Rebellion is a good illustration.
The Irish were fighting for their Homeland against the British, who were off base, out of their Homeland, oppressing the Irish and were acting as “Imperialists”.
There was a long history to the Irish national struggle. You can take it back to the Neolithic farmers who created the quite advanced astronomical device which is the Newgrange Neolithic Monument outside of Droheda.
The Jews in Judea also go back many thousands of years and there is indeed a similarity with the Irish
But there the similarity ends because there is a contrast between the early “Irish” and the Jews.
The early “Irish” of Newgrange fame were not conscious of themselves as Irish. But the Jews of Judea were very much so, and no less than HG Wells pointed out that on their return from Babylon captivity the Jews were “the finished article”.
Which brings to the central point: If the Irish have a serious and authentic national struggle then the Jews as a national entity are even more authentic and serious than the Irish. A better way to put it…they both are.
So what happened? Why is the nationalism of the Jews today so reviled by those who call themselves “left”?
Why are the Irish nationalists in their eyes “good boys” but the Jewish nationalists in the form of Zionists “bad boys”?
The exact same could be written about the antisemites of the left which we see around us today. Not all are Stalinists. Some call themselves, tragically, Trotskyists
KEEPING IT SIMPLE! GOING BACK TO BASIC PRINCIPLES!
It needs to be kept fairly simple to answer these because it is painful to see the knots they tie themselves in
Zionism is Jewish nationalism
It is really not anything more or less than Jewish nationalism.
What then about Irish nationalism. Is Irish nationalism, the struggle conducted by the 1916 Revolutionaries in the Rising, was and is it something reactionary?
TROTSKY AND LENIN HAD ANSWERED IN THE AFFFIRMATIVE…IRISH NATIONALISM WAS TOTALLY PROGRESSIVE!
That was precisely the point that Trotsky disagreed with Plekhanov on. Perhaps its methods were inadequate but was it a reactionary Rising. No of course not. It was brave and progressive. The reactionaries were the British political leaders, the army generals and the British Tommy
The exact same applies to Zionism. It applies to all the schemes and all the campaigns of Herzl
These schemes may not lead in the end to success. But they were not only not reactionary. They were progressive. Even Herzl trying to deal with antisemites in order to release Jews was progressive because the content was progressive.
Those who attack Zionism in the same mindless way as Plekhanov attacked the 1916 Rising are the same as Plekhanov then.
On that basis Trotsky attacked Plekhanov.
TO ATTACK ZIONISM IS THE SAME AS TO ATTACK THE 1916 RISING (IRISH REBELS)
Why did Plekhanov attack the 1916 Rebels and took the part of British Imperialism, an incredible thing for a Marxist to do?
Why did Trotsky and Lenin sympathize with the Irish Rebels and separate themselves from Plekhanov?
FROM THE TIME OF MARX AND ENGELS THERE HAS BEEN A MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE APPROACH TO THE JEWS AS A NATION
The position of Marx, Engels right through the Bolsheviks which included Lenin and Trotsky was totally contradictory and wrong towards Zionism
Zionism was the wish of the Jewish people to have a Homeland in Zion
This did have an open religious aspect. Perhaps it was a crude form of anti religiousness that made the Bolsheviks oppose the plans of Herzl.
VERY SIMPLY LENIN AND TROTSKY IN 1917 DID NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND THE JEWISH MOVEMENT
I think that was involved lthough certainly not anything so crude on the part of Lenin and above all on the part of Trotsky. But I believe it was much more a wrong position towards national movements, towards nationalism, which although can be misused is a progressive factor
RATHER IT WAS HUGELY A MATTER OF CORRECT ORIENTATION TO NATIONALISM
Did Marx support the Irish rebels of his day without reservation. I do not think so. There was always a theme that the English workers had to help the Irish and without that help (from the English workers) the Irish could and even worse should do nothing). That was a most reactionary tendency inside the workers movement.
Right to argue that the aid of the English workers was necessary. Bu that is a different matter. The first position to take was to support the Irish rebels without conditions. That was the difference of Lenin and Trotsky with Plekhanov.
UNFORTUNATELY THEY DID NOT SEE THE JEWISH PEOPLE, SCATTERED AS THEY WERE, AS A NATION
Lenin and Trotsky simply did not see the Jewish people as a nation.
They saw them as Jews who had to be defended against anti-Semitism. But not as a nation.
Lenin approached nations in so far as supporting them would aid the socialist revolution. I believe this is wrong.
These nations existed long before the working class came into play.
In the case of the Jews they go back 3 to 4000 of years. That is a very long time in anybody’s book
Lenin and Trotsky, especially Lenin, were very cerebral kind of people. I believe that theoretically Trotsky was assessing Fascism as a new political phenomenon from say 1923 when Mussolini began to emerge, then following the German Fascism most closely, watching also Spain most closely. He had reached his conclusions about the Jews as nation in the course of this intense theoretical work. Man is also an emotional animal and this also was involved. Trotsky WAS a Jew. The emotional aspect, for my money, was clear to see in the interview with Edelson which is one o fthe most important qualitative point in the study of this whole issue
We cannot emphasise this strong enough or enough times.
THE KEY TO THE ISSUE: A JEWISH STATE, NOT A WORKERS OR A SOCIALIST STATE
Trotsky did not say to the Jews: leave Europe and set up a socialist commonwealth in Palestine
Trotsky did say to the Jews, leave Europe, get to Palestine and there set up a jewish state, where you must live alone and defend yourself against anti-Semitism
In other words a Jewish state without any ifs and buts.
AND THE CIRCLE WAS COMPLETED
That is like completing the circle. Lenin and Trotsky came close to precisely that in their attack on Plekhanov who would not support Irish nationalism in 1916. Lenin died prematurely. Trotsky went on to create the great truth in his synthesis of all of these Marxist experiences. In the late 1930s Trotsky had become a Zionist, but an entirely new type, a Zionist who believed in the world socialist revolution, the only way in which Jewish people could have a space where they could be themselves, in the way they and only they decided best for them.
Some points to remember
The Bund were anti Zionist in that they opposed the creation of a nation state of the Jews, in Zion. They stood for the mirage of organizing “independently” in each individual state…an incomprehensible position
Lenin and the Bolsheviks, including Trotsky, passed a law which made anti-Semitism punishable by death, they wanted Jews to take part in the Russian Revolution which was surely right, but they opposed the Jews as a nation in Zion
Trotsky was the foremost fighter against Nazism, and therefore anti-Semitism. But crucially he broke with the Marxist past and asserted that the Jews were a nation, and that their place was in Zion. Marx has hinted at that in his visit to Jerusalem of 1852. Trotsky could not have made this more explicit. He remained a socialist revolutionary. Trotsky had become a Zionist the likes of which had never before been seen. It was his greatest achievement.
Stalin, what can be said of him?
We know he was a butcher and the very devil incarnate! Accept that.
On another level, Stalin was a political opportunist, an operator, a ruthless operator which alone brought him success, but politically and theoretically bankrupt, a passing phenomenon really
Stalin used the Jews. He was anti-Semitic in order to fight Trotsky and the Left Opposition in 1925 to 1927. Then in 198 he thought the Jews could be used to fight Britain. With the Jews though rejecting Stalin and Stalinism, swinging behind post war and boom time America Stalin turned again and became very anti Jew. His anti-Semitism again surfaced. That laid the basis for the extreme anti-Semitism of the Breznev era and jew persecution out of which came Sharansky. Unlike Trotsky who moved steadily from one principle to another, a progressive development, Stalin was not grounded in a scientific method, and his life and political work were a disaster. For himself personally and for everything that he touched. Stalin played one positive role which was as leader in the War, when according to Deutcher he subordinated himself to the expertise of the military generals of the red Army. In that he was repeating, however inadequately, the method of Trotsky, an ironic twist of history.
The Contemporary Scene
Yes they certainly can write, these modern antisemites, but their writing revolves around the old Plekhanov theme, the Irish are not allowed to fight for their nation, the Jews are not allowed to fight for their nation
One such is the following:
The Israeli working class is under attack and sooner or later, in spite of the existing right wing leadership of the Histadruth, will begin to fight back. Such a struggle will open the possibilities for many Jews to separate themselves from the American and the Israeli ruling class and allow them to identify themselves with working class internationalism. This is the only way to fight anti-Semitism.
From a series of articles, and there are thousands of similar on the web,
- The Origins of the Jews – Part Four: The Russian Revolution: Bolshevism, the Bund and Stalinism By Yossi Schwartz (December, 2004)
The above is the very opposite of what Leon Trotsky was fighting for in the 1930s, especially in the latter half of that decade.
It is the very same “mistake” made by Plekhanov towards 1916.
Trotsky fought for a JEWISH state in the then Palestine. That is the God’s honest truth!
Why should Jews separate from the Israeli ruling class, that is other Jews, and accept the word of what he calls “internationalism”
What is this “internationalism” that he talks about?
Where is this internationalism calling for the defence of Israel as a Jewish state.
We are back in a real sense to Plekhanov and this guy writing above is a Plekhanov because as Israel is being attacked by Arab Imperialism, by Islamist Imperialism, by US Imperialism (and the list goes on and on) this bloke above, Yossi blab la bla, is taking the same position as Plekhanov.
Just as Plekhanov attacked the Irish he is attacking the Jews of Israel. Both were wrong in his eyes. Both fought for their nation.
Yossi has nothing to do with Lenin or Trotsky…that is absolutely for sure