Friday, July 29, 2005

Anti-Zionism is NOT Anti-Semitism

I shall continue to be an impossible person as long as those who are now possible remain possible. Michael Bakunin 1814-1876

In response to Warren Kinsella who maintains the myth that criticism of the State of Israel is Anti-Semitism. And to other critics of my articles:

Warren Kinsella moves Right
Lies of Our Times

Bakunin’s denunciation of Nationalism and the State led him to denouncing Polish Nationalism in favour of Pan-Slavism. At the same time Bakunin denounced the Zionism of Herzl, who wanted Jews in Russia to leave for a new utopia, rather than to fight against the Tsarist Pogroms and for a social revolution. Anarchism opposes nationalism and the Nationalist State in all its forms.

Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl


“In Basle I founded the Jewish state . . . Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it.”

The Jewish State
Theodor Herzl


"Anti-Semitic behavior is generated in situations where blinded men robbed of their subjectivity are set loose as subjects. For those involved, their actions are murderous and therefore senseless reflexes, as behaviorists note -- without providing an interpretation. Anti-Semitism is a deeply imprinted schema, a ritual of civilization; the pogroms are the true ritual murders. They demonstrate the impotence of sense, significance, and ultimately of truth -- which might hold them within bounds . . . Action becomes an autonomous end in itself and disguises its own purposelessness." Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment trans. John Cumming (New York, 1972), pgs. 171-2.


Edward C. Corrigan

Mr. Corrigan has a law degree from the University of Windsor and a Master's in political science from the University of Western Ontario. He advises the reader: "This article is not intended to be a comprehensive study of Jewish criticism of Zionism but only an introductory survey. The author owes a debt to many people in the Jewish community for assistance and would like to thank David Finkel and especially Harriet Karchmer for her help with the material on Orthodox Jews. The writer, of course, bears all responsibility for the material and any errors or omissions."

The Palestinian uprising or intifada and the Israeli campaign to suppress it have caused considerable anguish for many Jews around the world. A large number of Jews have even begun to reassess their support for Israel and critically analyze the ideology of Zionism which legitimates the Jewish state. One example of this phenomenon is a statement that appeared in The Nation on February 3, 1988. It was endorsed by 18 prominent American Jews.

The advertisement called upon American Jews to "dissociate from Israel." It expressed the concern that "the close identification in the public mind between Israel and Jews -- an equation vigorously fostered by both the Zionist movement and the American Jewish lobby, which has come under its control -- threatens to stigmatize Jews everywhere." The ad called for a two-state solution and for negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The statement also discussed past discrimination against the Jews and the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust adding:

How tragic that in our own time the very state established by Jews in the aftermath of this evil has become a place where racialism, religious discrimination, militarism and injustice prevail; and that Israel itself has become a pariah state within the world community. Events taking place today are all too reminiscent of the pogroms from which our own forefathers fled two and three generations ago -- but this time those in authority are Jews and the victims are Moslems and Christian Palestinians.

Those endorsing The Nation statement included Professor Yigal Arens, the son of Moshe Arens; Mark Bruzonsky, former Washington Associate, World Jewish Congress, who now serves as chairperson for the organization; Professor Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor MIT; Rabbi Susan Einbinder, Colgate University; Jane Hunter, publisher of Israeli Foreign Affairs; Jeremy Levin, former CNN Beirut Bureau Chief and former hostage in Lebanon; Professor Don Peretz, Department of Political Science, SUNY; and Henry Schwarzschild, of the American Civil Liberties Union. The subsequent organization they formed, the Jewish Committee on the Middle East (JCOME), has, in the short time that it has existed, attracted well over a thousand signatures endorsing their statement. These include academics at 125 U.S. universities.

JCOME has challenged pro-Israeli American Jewish leaders to conduct a joint poll to see what American Jews really think about Israel and the Palestinians. To back up their challenge JCOME cited evidence which suggests that there is a divergence of opinion between American Jews and the pronouncements of their "official" leadership. As one example of a difference in opinion JCOME pointed to a poll which showed that 29 percent of American Jews favor negotiations with the PLO. However, while this new organization is important, Jewish criticism of Israel's policies and Zionism is not new. They both have deep roots within the Jewish community.

It is clear that the ideology of Zionism has had a profound impact on Jews. Today most Western Jews support its objective of establishing and securing a Jewish state in the territory formerly known as Palestine, even though the majority do not follow its precepts and immigrate to Israel. Historically Zionism was the subject of intense debate. Zionism has always meant different things to different people. It could be interpreted in a religious, political, national or racial light depending upon the circumstances. For some, Zionism was a solution for the age-old problem of anti-Semitism, while for others merely an excuse for getting rid of the Jews. As Hannah Arendt explained, "The Zionist Organization had developed a genius for not answering, or answering ambiguously, all questions of political consequence. Everyone was free to interpret Zionism as he pleased . . . ."

Zionist leaders have put off indefinitely the attempt to resolve the resulting conflicts and even contradictions generated by different interpretations of Zionism. This explains why the "Jewish state" has no constitution and why many fundamental questions about the nature of Israel remain undefined. The avoidance of a battle over conflicting definitions of what is a Jewish state is one of the reasons why Israel has a vested interest in maintaining the state of war in the Middle East. This interest has been openly acknowledged by a former president of the World Jewish Congress, Nahum Goldmann:

On the day when peace comes, the leftist movement will undoubtedly be very strong in Israel, and it will be anti-Orthodox. A great cultural battle will then break out which, like Ben Gurion, I want to avoid at this moment: as long as war prevails, that kind of internal struggle would be terribly dangerous. But after the hostilities the first thing to do will be to separate religion and state. Today we confine ourselves to telling the leftists: "Don't make a fuss on this question, you will be obstructing our defence policy, which requires national unity" -- and the leftists, being good patriots, give way. But after the peace they will resume the debate.

Prior to World War II the majority of Jews were non-Zionist, and a large number were openly hostile to Zionism. As Nahum Goldmann wrote, "When Zionism first appeared on the world scene most Jews opposed it and scoffed at it. Herzl was only supported by a small minority." It was not until the full horror of the Holocaust was realized that the great bulk of the Jewish community came to support Zionism.

Jewish history is rich in its diversity of ideas and ethical dissent. Many of the Hebrew prophets were "solitary voices" who criticized their people for betraying the great principles of their faith. The prophet Amos, for example, advanced a new interpretation of the "Chosen People" thesis. He wrote: "From all the families of the earth I have chosen you alone; for that very reason I will punish you for all your iniquities." Amos' concept of "chosen" did "not imply the assurance of victory or prosperity" but rather that of "the burden of more severe punishment for 'normal' unrighteousness."

Amos was even more revolutionary in reinterpreting the meaning of the "Promised Land." To quote Hans Kohn:

Through his mouth the Lord proclaimed that the children of Israel were unto Him no better than the children of the Ethiopians. True, God had brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt; but equally He brought the Philistines (then Israel's hereditary enemies) from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir, guiding each one into its land.

In Amos' view all peoples were entitled to the land they occupied in a spirit of equality and sharing. No one people had special God-given rights.

One of the most critical moments in ancient Jewish history was when Jochanan ben Zakkai, the leading representative of Judaism in his day and the disciple of Hillel, "abandoned the cause of the Jewish state." At the time, the city of Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans and heroically defended by the zealots. Zakkai escaped from the city by a ruse, and with the agreement of the Roman commander, established a Jewish academy at Jabne. Judaism survived while the Jewish state was destroyed.

In the more recent period, Ahad Ha-am (Hebrew for "One of the People" and the pen name for Asher Ginzberg), one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of this century, was also highly critical of Zionism.10 He drew attention to the fundamental and neglected ethical dilemma of Zionism, namely the presence of the Arabs. In his 1891 report, The Truth from Palestine, he pointed out that "there was little untilled soil in Palestine, except for stony hills and sand dunes." Ahad Ha-am also warned the Jewish settlers against arousing the wrath of the large native Arab population:

Yet what do our brethren do in Palestine? Just the very opposite! Serfs they were in the lands of the diaspora and suddenly they find themselves in freedom, and this change has awakened in them an inclination to despotism. They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds; and nobody among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination.

Ahad Ha-am wrote this statement when Zionist settlers formed only a tiny portion of the population of Palestine. He also gave the following warning: "We think. . . that the Arabs are all savages who live like animals and do not understand what is happening around. This is, however, a great error."

Ahad Ha-am worked tirelessly for an intellectual and spiritual revival of the Jewish people. His belief in Zion was of a spiritual and prophetic nature. In 1913 he attacked the Zionist labor movement's racial boycott of Arab labor:

Apart from the political danger, I can't put up with the idea that our brethren are morally capable of behaving in such a way to men of another people; and unwittingly the thought comes to my mind: if it is so now, what will be our relation to the others if in truth we shall achieve "at the end of time" power in Eretz Israel? If this be the "Messiah," I do not wish to see his coming.

Israel Zangwill, one of Herzl's earliest and strongest supporters, eventually turned against the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. Ironically it was Zangwill who coined the phrase "a land without a people for a people without a land." It was this phrase that became the potent rallying call for Zionist settlement in Palestine.

It was not until 1904 that Zangwill realized that there was a fundamental problem with the Zionist program. In a speech given in New York in that year he explained:

There is. . . a difficulty from which the Zionist dares not avert his eyes, though he rarely likes to face it. Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having 52 souls to every square mile, and not 25 percent of them Jews; so we must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the tribes in possession as our forefathers did, or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan.. . . This is an infinitely graver difficulty than the stock anti-Zionist taunt that nobody would go to Palestine if we got it. . . .

Zangwill and many other leading Zionists split from the movement in 1905 when the Zionist Organization turned down the British offer to settle Jews in Uganda. Incidently, this proposal was supported by Herzl. The dissidents set up the Jewish Territorial Organization to pursue alternative settlement proposals. Zangwill was elected leader of the new body. The organization was, however, dissolved in 1925.

Sir Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish member of Lloyd George's cabinet when Great Britain first threw its weight behind Zionism in 1917, was also adamantly opposed to the creation of a Jewish state. He attacked the Balfour Declaration and Zionism because he believed they were anti-Semitic. Montagu based his argument on the fact that both Zionism and anti-Semitism were based on the premise that Jews and non-Jews could not co-exist. He was also afraid that a Jewish state would undermine the security of Jews in other countries. Montagu's opposition to Zionism was supported by the leading representative bodies of Anglo-Jewry, the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association, and in particular, by Claude Montefibre, David Alexander and Lucien Wolf.


Not only Orthodox and Reform Jews were opposed to Zionism. In March 1919 United States Congressman Julius Kahn presented an anti-Zionist petition to President Woodrow Wilson as he was leaving for the Paris Peace Conference. The petition was signed by 31 prominent American Jews. These included Henry Morgenthau, Sr., ex-ambassador to Turkey; Simon W. Rosendale, ex-attorney general of New York; Mayor L. H. Kampner of Galveston, Texas; E. M. Baker, from Cleveland and president of the Stock Exchange; R. H. Macy's Jesse I. Straus; New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs; and Judge M. C. Sloss of San Francisco.

The petition read in part:

. . . we protest against the political segregation of the Jews and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctively Jewish State as utterly opposed to the principles of democracy which it is the avowed purpose of the World's Peace Conference to establish.

Whether the Jews be regarded as a "race" or as a "religion," it is contrary to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a nation on either or both of these bases.

Albert Einstein was also anti-Zionist. He made a presentation to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, which was examining the Palestine issue in January 1946 and argued against the creation of a Jewish state. Einstein also later turned down the presidency of the state of Israel. In 1950 Einstein published the following statement on the question of Zionism.

I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from the practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain -- especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight without a Jewish state.

Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook, Hannah Arendt and twenty-five other prominent Jews, in a letter to The New York Times (December 4, 1948), condemned Menachem Begin's and Yitzhak Shamir's Likud party as "fascist" and espousing "an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority." The same theme is echoed in William Zukerman's 1934 article in The Nation, "The Menace of Jewish Fascism. "58 This is also the premise of Michael Selzer's book, The Aryanization of the Jewish State.

For most Western Jews and many other people, the connection of Zionism to fascism and racism is odious and inappropriate. However, this theme is a recurrent motif in the debate on Zionism within the Jewish community. Even David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding father and first prime minister, wrote an article in 1933 entitled, "Jabotinsky in the Footsteps of Hitler."60 Vladimir Jabotinsky was the founder of Revisionist Zionism and the mentor of Menachem Begin.

Professor Richard Arens, the late brother of Moshe Arens, the Israeli defense minister and leading figure in the Likud party, has also equated Israeli policies towards the Palestinians with the Nazi persecution of the Jews.61 Hannah Arendt, when writing about the trial of Adolph Eichmann, pointed out the irony of attacking the Nazis' Nuremberg Laws of 1935 when certain laws in Israel regarding the personal status of Jews were identical to the infamous Nazi code. Morris Raphael Cohen, the distinguished philosopher, went so far as to argue that "Zionists fundamentally accept the racial ideology of anti-Semites, but draw different conclusions. Instead of the Teuton, it is the Jew that is the pure or superior race."

Other leading Jewish intellectuals who opposed Zionism include Louis D. Brandeis (see Menuhin, Jewish Critics of Zionism), Martin Buber (coauthor, with J.L. Magnes and E. Simon, of Towards Union in Palestine: Essay on Zionism and Jewish-Arab Cooperation, 1947), Isaac Deutscher ("The Non-Jewish Jew," in The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays, 1968), Simon Dubnow (Nationalism and History: Essays on Old and New Judaism, edited by Koppel S. Pinson, 1961), Morris Jastrow (Zionism and the Future of Palestine, the Fallacies and Dangers of Political Zionism, 1919), Emile Marmorstein ("A Bout of Agony," The Guardian, April 1974), Moshe Menuhin (father of Sir Yehudi Menuhin and author of The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time), Claude Montefiore ("Nation or Religious Community?" reprinted in Selzer, Zionism Reconsidered), Jakob I. Petuchowski (Zion Reconsidered, 1966), and Franz Rosenzweig. Hans Kohn, who was one of the world's leading authorities on nationalism, posed the following questions on the issue.

Might not perhaps the "abnormal" existence of the Jews represent a higher form of historical development than territorial nationalism? Has not the diaspora been an essential part of Jewish existence? Did it not secure Jewish survival better than the state could do?

Erich Fromm, the eminent scholar, also was critical of Zionism. He stated that the Arabs in Israel had a much more legitimate claim to citizenship than the Jews. Fromm also wrote:

The claim of the Jews to the Land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse.

"One Man, One Vote, One State"

Israel Shamir, a leading Russian Israeli writer, is a champion of the "One Man, One Vote, One State" solution seeking to unite Palestine & Israel in one democratic state. Shamir's work and that of his contributors speaks to the aspirations of both the Israelis and the Palestinians seeking an end to the bloodshed, true democracy and lasting peace.
In the midst of the endless talk of a "Two State solution", Shamir, along with Edward Said, has become a leading champion of the "One Man, One Vote, One State" solution in all of Palestine/Israel. His most recent essays have been circulating widely on the Internet and are now posted on many prominent media sites. With every new article, Shamir is establishing himself as a journalist whose work speaks to the aspirations of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Zionism as Jewish National Socialism
Lasse Wilhelmson - 31.08.2004 11:55

The Jewish colonization of Palestine under the Zionist slogan "the land without people to the people without a land" started almost a hundred years ago and reached its first climax with the proclamation of The Jewish State of Israel in 1948. A second climax is now in the offing through the ongoing colonization of the West Bank and Gaza.

Moses Hess converted Karl Marx to Communism, yet advocated National Socialism for Jews; Shlomo Avineri on the Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State- Selections by Peter Myers. Date November 14, 2000; update August 17, 2004.

Kibbutz Reshafim

After growing up in the antisemitic 1930's in Eastern Europe and escaping the Holocaust by hair's breadth, it is no wonder that many Jews, the founders of Kibbutz Reshafim among them, became fervent Zionists. The fact that of the famous saying "A country without people for a people without country" only the second part was correct, didn't escape members of the Hashomer Hatzair Movement, who favoured the creation of a bi-national state in Palestine. It didn't work out that way, and during the War of Independence in 1948 many Palestinian communities were displaced. (A list of abandoned Arab villages in the Beit Shean Valley). A number of kibbutzim and moshavim (another form of cooperative agricultural settlement) were founded and populated by refugees and olim2 from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Socialism in all its forms was immensely popular in the 30's (as were the variants of Fascism). Its aim in those days was not just the economic betterment of the working class, but the creation of a new, more humane society and a new man to go with it. The kibbutzim were to serve as a model for this revolution. They were the proletarian vanguard, and much admired for it.
Even if quite a few of the founding members considered Stalin to be the epitome of human endeavour and mourned his (long overdue) passing on, they never adopted his policies of proletarian dictatureship. Decisions were made by a democratic show of hands, and there was quite a bit of pressure on those black sheep who wouldn't accept majority rule.

Eyal's Radical Corner

Class War in Palestine

The Zionist Scourge

We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai."

—David Ben-Gurion, prime-minister of the provisional government of Israel, speaking before the IMF general staff during the 1948 war

The Birth of Zionism

With the onset of industrial Capitalism in Europe in the 19th century, the ruling classes took advantage of ethnic divisions in the European population to vent the masses' anger at them, incurred by deteriorating living standards and intensified exploitation. One of the immediate and easiest targets were the Jews, who, due to various factors (not the least of which being religion-inspired separatism, often even xenophobia) had failed, in many areas in Europe, to harmonize themselves with the rest of the population, and many of then had found refuge, for the previous several centuries, under the protection of the nobility and the monarchy, as petit-bourgeois tradesmen, artisans, scribes, lawyers, etc. Now their former benefactors were inciting the more violent non-Jews even to harm Jewish people physically in the infamous 'pogroms' (which were, by the way, not only inspired but often actually organized by the national governments).

So, basically, the Jews had two options: the first, to seek unity with the peasants and the workers, forsaking the landed nobility and the the bourgeoisie; the second, to look to the masters for solutions.

Many Jews opted for something which was a mix of these two - immigration to the more advanced Capitalistic countries: the western European countries and the USA.

Of those who did not immigrate, the more progressive Jews (probably the poorer ones, the workers, the peasents, and some of the landless petit-bourgeois) came to adopt a Socialist perspective, understanding that racism and nationalism to be by-products of the Capitalistic class society, and must therefore be resisted by joining forces with the radical forces in combating the exploiters. Many of the influential agitators and organizers struggling for social change in Europe were Jews. And, of course, the 'Algemeiner Yidisher Arbayterbund' cannot go unmentioned here...

The Jews more closely tied to the ruling classes, those who were service-renderers to the rich and powerful and dependent upon their wealth for a living, saw things differently, of course. Theodore Herzl, the 'founding father' of political Zionism, an Austrian playwright, journalist and outspoken admirer of the policies of the Imperialist European governments, decided that what the Jews needed was a nationalistic movement of their own. The idea was not to remove the causes of ethnic strife, but rather find a place where Jews could be the ones holding the economic, military and political power, and therefore the on the attacking side of ethnic confrontations (which, claimed the Zionists, were completely unavoidable, since Jews and non-Jews are 'incompatible').

Zionism was a part of a wider current in European political thought, and it seems to have been inspired by Sorelianism (e.g. purification by violence and nationalist revision of Socialism), de-Man's Planism and other pre-Fascist thinkers. With it, world Imperialism acquired its foremost champion in its unfolding war against the toiling masses of this region.

A Deal

The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the independent nation Palestine than in that of the independent nation of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country, though the American [King-Crane] Commission has been going through the form of asking what they are. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.

—British Lord Arthur Balfur, two years after issuing the 'Balfur Declaration' (supportive a 'National Home' for Jews in Palestine)

So imagine you're a prominent Jewish businessman or intellectual in the 1880's. Given the facts that:

  1. You're all buddy-buddies with the political leadership and the economic elite of Europe, which is at the height of its colonialist period
  2. You want 'save the Jewish people' (the same ones you'd do everything to distance yourself from, and didley-squat for their protection from the almost-officially-mandated violence)

What's more natural than to offer up the Jews as harbingers of European rule to the countries of the 'uncivilized barbarians'?

So the Zionists came to the German Kaiser, and the Russian Tsar, the British and other governments (all of them anti-Semitic to some degree or another, obviously) and proposed the following deal: "we'll get all the Jews out of your sight and render you further economic and military services abroad, providing you find us a country in which to settle them all and to rule."

It took a few years of convincing, but the Imperialists couldn't resist an offer of erecting "a bastion of Europe against Asia" (to quote Herzl), not to mention a chance to drive out Millions of members of an ethnic group highly prone to Socialism and other 'destructive' and 'harmful' notions.

"Ok," says Britain (who ended up being the main supported or political Zionism) "How's about you take Uganda?"

"Hmmm... let us think..." say the Zionists. "Naah, we want Palestine. We need the sound basis of crackpot religious myths to bring together diverse religious groups to form a single national entity. We'll call it 'a land without a people for a people without a land'. It'll work out great! ... The only problem is pushing the Turks around some and we're set!"


Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because the geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kfar Yehoshua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single site built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.

—Moshe Dayan, addressing the Technion, Haifa (reported in Haaretz, April 4th, 1969)

"But what about the Palestinian Arabs?" you would ask. And so did Max Nordau, another famous Zionist leader. This question brought about (not immediately, but soon enough) the great split in political Zionism - the split between the so-called-left (supposedly-Socialist, to some extent) Zionism - and the more overtly Fascist Zionism.

The 'left' surmised that "for now, we'll just concentrate on getting as many Jews as possible to settle in Palestine and we won't talk about what's to happen eventually - we'll tell everyone we're just trying to evade persecution, or to bring progress to an under-developed region, or to carry out a social experiment, or to create a Jewish worker's society or some other fibs" ; the right-wing, who were less ashamed of their racism and felt no need to identify themselves with the masses struggling for freedom and equality, said openly: "Fuck the Arabs. Not with words but with blood and iron shall a nation be molded - their blood, our Iron. We'll take control of the entire land and they'll either accept us as absolute masters, be driven out or die at our hands."

But such distinctions were hardly relevant when it came to practical action. Once the first world war was over and the British assumed control of the country, wave after wave of Jewish immigrants began flooding Palestine. There was hardly a peasant among them and not too many manual laborers... but they did bring on a steady stream of investment capital, and the technical expertise to use it. The pseudo-feudal, agricultural, semi-theocratic Palestinian society did not stand a chance. It gradually began to fray and eventually disintegrate in an alarming rate, as more and more agricultural land was bought by Jews and an increasing number of Palestinians sought employ with the Jews. Even the local elites, the more powerful 'hamula' structures, where overwhelmed and didn't put up much of a fight.

A great backlash against this process took place between 1936 and 1939 in the form of a mass strike followed by an armed rebellion, but it was doomed to fail, both because the Palestinian working class was weak in number and the peasantry disorganized (or rather mis-organized), with its leadership fearing the rebellion and aiding its diffusion, and because the British were bringing in massive troop reinforcements (rumor equates the number of British soldiers in Palestine during the rebellion to their numbers in India, but I haven't confirmed that) and did not hesitate to resort to house demolitions, mass arrests, numerous executions and assassinations.

The Zionist leadership, tightly controlling the Jewish workers, teamed up with the colonial ruler to violently suppress the rebelling natives by force.

Anarchy in Yiddish: Famous Jewish Anarchists from Emma Goldman to Noam Chomsky

Anti-semitism, argued anarchists such as Voline, had evolved as a sort of safety valve that the wealthy and powerful could use to control working class anger – people who were conscious of being cheated and misused could be persuaded to attack the Jews rather than their rulers or their employers. As everyone from the Czars to Hitler discovered, Jews make excellent scapegoats. To really permanently destroy anti-semitism, anarchists argued, we have to attack the root of the problem: the conditions of exploitation and injustice that Jew-hating serves as a distraction from. Thus, Voline wrote that only

the complete destruction of present-day society and its reorganization on a completely different social basis which will lead to the definitive disappearance of the nationalist plague, and with it, of antisemitism. It will disappear when the vast human masses, at the end of their sufferings and misfortunes, and at the price of atrocious experiences, comprehend, finally, that humanity must, on pain of death, organize its life on the sane and natural basis of cooperation, material and moral, fraternal and just, that is to say, on a truly human basis. (“Antisemitisme,” Encyc. Anarchiste)

Jewish anarchists took this a step further by beginning the battle against anti-semitism in the present. Samuel Schwartzbard didn’t stop at his personal revenge for the pogroms; he founded an organization called the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism. In exile from the U.S., Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman investigated and reported back on the condition of the Russian Jews in the early years of the Soviet Union. Leah Feldman rode with Nestor Makhno’s army against the pogromchiks. One way or another, Jewish anarchists fought back – as Jews, as anarchists, as human beings rising against their oppressors.

At the same time, they didn’t always have an easy time getting along with other Jews. Religion was a particular sticking point. Proudhon and Bakunin had defined anarchism as the revolt against all forms of human enslavement, physical and mental – and religion they counted as a form of mental slavery, noting that the Church had always bolstered the State, and that poor people were always told to wait for their reward in heaven rather than seeking justice on earth. Jewish anarchists frequently took up this wholesale attack on religion; in her famous manifesto, Emma Goldman wrote of “religion” as “the dominion of the human mind” (AOE 53):

The primitive man, unable to understand his being . . . felt himself absolutely dependent on blind, hidden forces ever ready to mock and taunt him. Out of that attitude grew the religious concepts of man as a mere speck of dust dependent on superior powers on high, who can only be appeased by complete surrender. All the . . . biblical tales dealing with the relation of man to God, to the State, to society . . . [express] the same motif, man is nothing, the powers are everything. Thus Jehovah would only endure man on condition of complete surrender. Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become conscious of himself . . .

Religion! How it dominates man’s mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began. Anarchism rouses man to rebellion against this black monster. Break your mental fetters, says Anarchism to man, for not until you think and judge for yourself will you get rid of the dominion of darkness, the greatest obstacle to all progress. (51, 53)

Now, in light of this kind of pronounced atheism emanating from the anarchist quarters, it’s no wonder rabbis in New York and London saw the Jewish anarchists as a threat to their traditions, their communities – and their own rabbinical authority. In 1888, the “clerical and lay leaders” of London’s Jewish community “set out to destroy” the Yiddish-language anarchist newspaper, the Arbeter Fraint. According to Fishman, “The back page of every issue carried the appeal in heavy type: ‘Workers, do your duty. Spread the Arbeter Fraint!’” The typesetter was bribed, and issue number 26 appeared with the wording of the ad slightly changed: “Workers, do your duty. Destroy the Arbeter Fraint!” The typesetter promptly disappeared, fleeing the wrath of the editors; then, after that, they bribed the printer (155). By 1904, they were hiring “gangs of thugs (schlogers) . . . to break up Anarchist and Social Democrat meetings” (259).

Anarchists didn’t take all this lying down, needless to say – nor did they fail to provoke it. When the Arbeter Fraint started up again, it featured a full-bore attack on orthodox Judaism, including parodies of the Passover seder and the Lamentations (155). In the late 1880s, a group of Jewish anarchists on the Lower East Side organized as a club called “The Pioneers of Freedom,” which “distributed Yiddish parodies of penitential prayers, mocking the traditions of Yom Kippur,” and organized “Yom Kippur Balls held on Kol Nidre night” (Kolel) In 1889, they leafleted to “[invite] Jewish workers to spend Kol Nidre evening at the Clarendon Hall on Thirtieth Street” – causing a “near-riot” when the proprietor, “under political pressure,” tried to call it off. In 1890, in Brooklyn, they threw a “Grand Yom Kippur Ball with theater” on the Day of Atonement (“A Life Apart: The Treyfe Medina”), advertising their celebration as “Arranged with the consent of all new rabbis of Liberty . . . Kol Nidre, music, dancing, buffet; Marseillaise and other hymns.” This spectacle, which more than once provoked actual street fracases between believers and non-believers, was duplicated in London and in Philadelphia (Kolel) – although on at least one occasion, in 1890, the Russian-Jewish anarchists of Philadelphia actually called off their Yom Kippur Ball – which was to feature “pork-eating” – out of respect for the role played by the city’s orthodox rabbi, Sabato Morais, in mediating a crucial strike of cloakmakers that year (“Morais”). In London in the 1890s, Rudolf Rocker was asked to comment on the habit of some Jewish anarchists of demonstrating “provocative behaviour” in front of the Brick Lane synagogue on Shabbat. He answered that “the place for believers was the house of worship, and the place for non-believers was the radical meeting” (Ward). Which, if you think about it, is a peculiarly rabbinical sort of exchange – it’s just the sort of question young men used to ask rabbis to answer: Rabbi, are the comrades right to demonstrate in front of the synagogue on the Sabbath? No wonder Sam Dreen said “Rocker was our rabbi!” (qtd. in Fishman 254).

The Jewish Question from the Left

Persistent Memories of the German Revolution the Jewish Activists of 1919

Stephen Eric Bronner

[New Politics, vol. 5, no. 2 (new series), whole no. 18, Winter 1995]

Netanyahu and the Palestinians

Adam Keller

[New Politics, vol. 6, no. 2 (new series), whole no. 22, Winter 1997]

The Life and Death of Socialist Zionism

Jason Schulman

[New Politics, vol. 9, no. 3 (new series), whole no. 35, Summer 2003]

Intellectuals and Anti-Fascism: For a Critical Historization

Enzo Traverso

[New Politics, vol. 9, no. 4 (new series), whole no. 36, Winter 2004]

The Silence of the Vatican and the Plight of the Jews

H. Brand

[New Politics, vol. 8, no. 2 (new series), whole no. 30, Winter 2001]

Demonizing the Germans:
A New Mythology of Collective Guilt

Horst Brand

[New Politics, vol. 6, no. 3 (new series), whole no. 23, Summer 1997]

The First Neoconservative

Herman Wouk, the Americanization of the Holocaust, and the Rise of Neoconservatism

Joel Brodkin

New Politics, Vol. X, No. 3

No Symmetry:
Notes From Israel & "Palestine"

Mark Dow

[New Politics, vol. 9, no. 1 (new series), whole no. 33, Summer 2002]

The Struggle for Palestine

Barry Finger

[New Politics, vol. 8, no. 2 (new series), whole no. 30, Winter 2001]

Standing Fast Julius Jacobson (1922-2003)

Barry Finger

[New Politics, vol. 9, no. 3 (new series), whole no. 35, Summer 2003]

The Al Aqsa Intifada: Taking Off the Masks

Tikva Honig-Parnass

[New Politics, vol. 8, no. 2 (new series), whole no. 30, Winter 2001]

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Warren Kinsella Moves Right

The right wing in Canada has a new cheerleader, it's none other than the last Chretienite left standing; Warren Kinsella.

In his latest blog attack on the current Liberal Party Regime, he loves to hate; the Martinistas, he gives former Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish a backhaded compliment. While commenting on the sudden change on her home page where comments bashing the Martinistas were removed he takes umberage at her comments on Israel.

Reflections on the Middle East-Carolyn Parrish Independent MP

Warren Kinsella in his blog comments on July 26 says he disagrees with Carolyn. She's ok in his book's for attacking Paul Martin, but and it's a big but,
" but I don't agree that an MP who accuses Israel of "crimes against humanity" should be invited back into the Liberal caucus." says Warren.

And who does Warren link to in his denouncing Parrish, why David Frum, ex- Canadian speech writer for George Bush II, in his column in the far right National Review.

Warren are you saying the 'Anschluss' of Palestine by the Zionists and their campaign of 'Lebensraum' into the West Bank and Gaza Strip is Ok, is defensible? Even though it has been denouced by Amnesty International, the International Court of Justice in the Hauge, the UN and every civilized country around the world. With the exception of the Americans who supply Israel with its weapons, and funds, and have David Frum spin their Axis of Evil rhetoric. Are you saying that you prefer right wing nut Frum over liberal Parrish? Apparently.

What Parrish said in her report linked above is:

"the occupation, with its brutality, destruction, humiliation and human rights violations, must end. The policy of defending Israel through military siege of Palestinian towns must also end. The collective and random punishment of Palestinian civilians must end and access to basic human rights and the necessities of life must be re-established wherever Palestinians reside. “The Wall” must continually be attacked. The world cheered when the Berlin wall was toppled. Why does it sit silently by while this monstrosity consumes land and destroys people’s lives?"

Apparently in Frum and Kinsellas world defending Palestine means being anti-Israel. Tell that to the Israeli left who have been saying the same things for years. Or the Arab Israelis who say it too.

As for Warren who has written a book on the far right in Canada to defend the far right in Israel who currently run the country, well that's a bit much.

And to play Liberal party do gooder, about welcoming Parrish back into the fold, when at least 34 members of the Party are aligned to the right wing in Canada, with their positions on gay marriage, it is amazing to hear this from Liberal Warren. But then he is a minority and an outsider in the party as well being the last Chretienite on deck.

Coincidentaly his denounciation of Carolyn appeared and the next day the right wing NCC also denounced her.

"NCC Urging Liberals to Keep Parrish Out

"(Toronto July 27, 2005) The National Citizens Coalition says it may run a media campaign urging Prime Minister Paul Martin to keep Carolyn Parrish out of the Liberal caucus.

"'Prime Minister Martin kicked Parrish out of his caucus because her behaviour was intolerably crude and crass,' says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls. 'Her recent attack on General Rick Hillier indicates that she has not changed. Allowing her back into the governing party would be bad for Canada.'

So was Warren giving aid to the enemy by helping kick off the Anti-Parrish campaign?

Well he has been sucking up to Paul Wells at Macleans, maybe he is hoping to get a column.

Wells is a long time pal of Ken Whyte who was National Post Editor and now Editor of Macleans. Whyte began his journalism career at the right wing Alberta Report.

David Frum is also a former associate of Wells both worked at the National Pest. A paper that does not distinquish between hard news and political propaganda.

But what happens when attitude — traditionally the purview of columnists — starts seeping into straight news copy.The National Post has begun moving columnists to the front page to analyze the hard news stories running alongside their columns, as they did for their October 13, 1999 coverage of the Speech from the Throne. Paul Wells’s view of the proceedings snuggled against Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife’s blow-by-blow account of the details. The danger is bedding opinion with hard news reporting is that it can taint the assumption of objectivity.
Thunderbird Magazine, UBC Journalism Review.

Warren did get published in the National Pest recently and he has been saying nice things about Stephen Harper lately. He gets praise from the right wing bloggers. A Conservative Life blogs:

A respectable Liberal

I've never "mixed it up" with Warran Kinsella. I'm probably too insignificant for him to even notice if I tried. His latest publication in the National Post reveals that he, like the subject of his article, is a man of character. Liberals have done their best to convince Canadians that Stephen Harper is "scary" or even "evil". It is good to know that some Liberals aren't willing to slander someone for the sake of political gain. Some excerpts from Mr. Kinsella's article...Advice for a nice guy

"I am a Liberal, and liberal, but I like Stephen Harper.

The main reason for liking him is personal. When my Dad died, a year ago last week, Mr. Harper called me and my Mom to express condolences. He talked about meeting my Dad once, and he talked at length about his own father, who had passed away not long before."

Warren's blog is full of how nice these guys all are now that is on the outs with the PMO. Mainstream media commentators who of course are all anti-Paul Martin. But once you bed down the enemy of your enemy that leaves you with fleas.

July 20
"The corporate MSM ones tend to be a bit colourless - with the notable exceptions of Wells, Zerb and Gunter, naturally."

Lets see Wells a centre right liberal; pal with a former Alberta Report gunsel. Gunter is a former Alberta Report gunsel, Whyte and Gunter are both journalists schooled in the Byfield school of right wing blather. Zerb is a liberal. Two rights and a liberal.

Maybe all that punk music Warren listens to has finally adled his senses. I would suspect that his days in the Liberals under his arch nemesis Paul Martin are numbered and he is sucking up to the right for a job.

Then he can join the NCC and the likes of Ezra Levant and David Frum in denouncing Parrish. And like Frum he can finally call her an anti-semite, which is the real subtext of his accusation that she is Anti-Israel.

Of course she is nothing of the kind, but Warren equates reactionary Zionist leadership in Israel with the people of Israel, and any criticism of Israel is verboten by the pro-Israel lobby in Canada. Boy he actually is begining to sound like Stockwell Day...scary....Warren...scary. To think some people actually think Warren is a progressive. That's even scarier.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's A Family Thing

I recently wrote here about Link Byfield's outrageous historical revisionism

Well not to be out done by hubby, his wife Joanne Byfield is no stranger to the over the top rhetoric of the right wing. Joanne is active in the anti-choice movement and Real Women. No mere foot soldier, she is in fact a leader in the anti-choice, anti-feminist, anti gay movement on the Right in Canada.

See my article Right To Life = Right To Work

Like the whole clan, Father and Mother in Law, Ted and Virgina Byfield, and brother in law Michael Byfield, whose personal publishing empire was the Alberta Report, they are prone to hysterical rhetoric and over generalizations. Their comments border on what some would call hate speech at worst , and racist, mysoginist and homophobic at best.

In Alberta such speech is 'protected' by the right wing who loudly denounce anyone who challenges them as being opponents of 'Free Speech'. It is promoted in the Sun and Hollinger newspapers, usually disguised as comment columns. Lorne Gunter who used to work at Albewrta Report has a regular column in the Edmonton Journal. Ted and Link have columns in the Edmonton and Calgary Sun. These right wing whiners, still have a forum for their hateful speech.

Here is one of Joannes stupid hateful comments from the now defunct Alberta Report Magazine.

"Public opinion is far less influential in shaping public policy than special interest groups, especially groups favoured and funded by the federal government. These are many and diverse: feminists, homosexuals, criminals, environmentalists, multiculturalists and minority-language groups."
Joanne Byfield, March 2003

Deconstructing Joanne:
By criminals she means that the Elizabeth Fry and John Howard Societies get federal funding, but criminals sounds so much better doesn't it. Multiculturalists does not mean Germans or Ukrainians (Ukraiaians were the major group who pused the Trudeau Liberals to fund multiculturalism back in the early seventies). It means coloured folks of East Indian, East Asian origin.
Minority Language groups means of course those folks who speak French, one of the two founding nations in Canada.

Lump them altogether with each other throw in the term criminal and this sounds well horrorfying, eh. Except once you do lump all these groups together the only 'public' Joanne can be refering to is WASPS, and the occasional Catholic, who are not a majority in Canada anymore, which is what really gets her and the rest of the Byfield clan's goat.

And by the by the Alberta Report was taken to the Alberta Human Rights Commisision over anti-semitic statements made in an article by Michael Link her brother in law. They ruled that the Alberta Report and the article were in violation of the Provincial and Federal Human Rights act. Surpirze, Surprize.

This raises the old debate of nature or nurture. Is right wing idiocy the Byfield clan collectively suffers from genetic or environmental. Hmm? Or perhaps it's just a case of birds of a feather flock together.

The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission
Commission Panel Decisions 2002

The Panel finds that beyond the words of the Article, the message contains a very powerful image or caricature that amounts to a negative stereotype of Jewish people, more specifically of Jewish businessmen. Simply put, the Article is a report of a failed business deal. However, the message contained in it goes far beyond the purpose.

This Panel finds that the Article published or caused to be published by the respondents, The Alberta Report, Michael Byfield and Link Byfield is in contravention of Section 2(1)(a) of the Act. The caricature contained in the Article indicates discrimination against Jewish people.

The Panel has carefully balanced the interests of freedom from discrimination and that of the freedom of expression in its consideration of Section 2. The Panel concludes that the Act, and in particular Section 2(1), is directed towards achieving such pressing and sufficiently important objectives that it warrants limiting freedom of expression in this case.

In this case, the limitation on expression required involves not including the last quotation in this report on the failed business deal. The Panel is satisfied that this is such a minimal interference with the freedom of expression that it is justified in these circumstances. The only thing the anonymous quote adds to the Article is the discriminatory message. The removal of the quote in no way detracts from the business purpose.

R.S.A. 1980, C. H-11.7 (AS AMENDED)

AND IN THE MATTER of a Complaint before
The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission
Complaint No. S9805008




Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This is Class War

The Only Labour Relations between Workers and Bosses is Class War!

"The employing class and the working class have nothing in common."
Preamble to the IWW Constitution

It is time for the Labour Movement in Canada to grow a backbone and JUST SAY NO! to working with or obeying Labour Relations Boards and their rulings.

In Alberta we have recently had rulings against unions, including a ruling on Finning which found that when it outsources its work to the rat union CLAC plant that this did not violate Labour Relations law. The fact that Jim Dinning who hopes to replace Ralph as Premier of Alberta is on the Finning Board probably influenced this decision against the IAMAW whose members are having their jobs contracted out.

A disputes inquiry is being held into the Lakeside Packers strike, effectively ending the strike for 60 days, but with no guarantee of binding arbitration. After the union requested binding arbitration and the Minister of Labour never responded.

For a dozen years, Ralph says his government won't pick winners and losers in the marketplace. Then, late Tuesday, the Klein Tories pick a winner and a loser.

They use the heavy hammer of Big Government and call off a legal strike at Lakeside Packers in Brooks, a walkout slated to commence early yesterday morning.

Winner. Lakeside Packers, a slaughterhouse owned by the world's biggest meat merchant, Tyson Foods of the U.S. of A.

Losers. The employees at Lakeside Packers.

Tyson is happy. Their plant is operating. Reports surface of supervisors telling employees the union is powerless.

Doug is left to calm down his members, more than half are new Canadians and most are from Sudan, fleeing from a full-scale human slaughter by a dictatorship bent on genocide.

They don't understand what is happening. Why is the government in this democratic land not protecting them? They are also angry with the union for not fighting, not realizing the union has no choice with the province playing favourites.

Doug advises them to obey the law and go to work. The union asks Cardinal to address the rank and file. He passes.

Then O'Halloran speaks words no one with any sense of fair play wants to hear.

"I think they screwed us," he says, of the province.

Ralph Screws Workers Calgary Sun Cries Foul

"Where is the government all this time?" Ringe Lual, a trimmer of the plant, said of the lengthy negotiations that led to Wednesday's strike deadline. "Why they step in at [the] last minute? Where are they all this time?"

What a Friend Tysons has in Ralph

Mason urges arbitration to resolve Lakeside dispute
Says appointment of a Disputes Inquiry Board favours Tyson over workers
NDP Opposition Leader Brian Mason today sent a letter to Human Resources and Employment Minister Mike Cardinal condemning the government’s deliberate use of labour legislation to favour Tyson Foods over unionized workers at its Lakeside plant near Brooks.

Government 'dirty tricks' in Lakeside dispute? Would 'impartial umpire' choose sides? Asks AFL

While unions have representatives on the LRB so do the bosses and the government picks who it wants as chair.

In this case the chair is a management lawyer representing the anti-union Construction Industry Merit Shops who have sweetheart contracts with CLAC. He was appointed by the Klein Government after they fired the pro-labour Chair when they didn't like one of his rulings in favour of the union.

There is no fair or level playing field for workers in Alberta labour relations. The game is rigged in favour of the bosses.

The Faces of Labour Relations in AlbertaAUPE President Dan MacLennan and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein chat during the premier’s Klondike Day’s breakfast July 26 on the Legislature grounds in Edmonton. The annual event was attended by thousands of AUPE members. ( they are golf pals too. ep)

And now we have Telus getting support from the Canadian Industrial Labour Relations Board and the Supreme Court of B.C. If this isn't enough to ring the clarion bell of class war I don't know what will.

Telus wins injunction against striking workers
Phone company Telus has won an injunction barring striking union members from blocking access to company premises in British Columbia.
The B.C. Supreme Court granted the injunction Friday, a day after the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) went on strike."This is a very broad and positive ruling that gives Telus the ability we need to ensure our team members can safely come to work and serve our customers," Audrey Ho, the company's vice-president of legal services, said in a statement Saturday. The decision also bars the TWU from picketing at or near customers' premises, the company said.

New contract implemented by Telus
Labour board doesn't stop unilateral move

A major work stoppage at Telus Corp. entered its second day yesterday as the company went ahead and unilaterally implemented a contract offer that its main union has spurned.
Vancouver-based Telus essentially got the green light to proceed on Thursday evening. That's when the Canada Industrial Relations Board issued a key decision that didn't order the removal of lockout measures introduced in April. This has allowed Telus to continue with plans announced last week to implement the contract yesterday. “It's an endorsement of what we've been going through,” Telus vice-president of corporate affairs Drew McArthur said yesterday. “The CIRB has found that we're well within our rights to take the approach that we have.”

Unions in Canada believe the contract is sacred, they actually believe in contract law. And they abide by it. While the employers know contracts are made to be broken, and will find away around the contract anyway they can.

A hostile legal and regulatory climate explains much of the disjuncture between provincial macroeconomic success, and the ho-hum economic condition of Alberta' workforce. Rules regarding union organising, certification, strikes, and picketing are the toughest in Canada. This is at least as important as the much-vaunted "free enterprise" culture of the province in explaining the low level of unionisation. Alberta's low provincial minimum wage also helps keep wages from getting out of hand.

In this context, economic progress for working people will not descend upon their hands like manna from the free-market heavens. Workers will get what they demand and what they fight for. All of which brings us to the Herald strike.

It's no accident that this bitter strike is occurring in Alberta. The issues being confronted by the strikers will rear their heads across the country, as the Southam chain is restructured and reoriented. Indeed, if the strikers lose, the employees of newspapers elsewhere in Canada can expect to face demands for the elimination of seniority protection and other concessions. Calgary is a great place for Southam's management to test-drive its new policies.

In this sense, then, Alberta's anti-union institutions clearly promote the sorts of bitter conflicts that they are purportedly designed to prevent. A tilted playing field does not stop workers from fighting for their rights; it only makes those struggles more difficult and violent than they need to be. The determination of the Herald strikers is simply more evidence of that historical finding.

The Alberta Disadvantage By Jim Stanford, Parkland Post Winter 2000

But playing on the reformist ideals of the trade union movement, that it is a partner in capitalism, the state and the bosses created Labour Relations Boards and the Labour Relations Industry. A whole new profession for left leaning progressive lawyers and members of the NDP.

It is the Management’s Rights clause, the recognition that Capital dominates the workplace and is the owner of the means of production that solidified the AFL/CIO industrial unions, as the handmaidens of capitalist production in the post war era. Workers Power was now not a revolutionary power to overthrow the capitalist system, but a form of fixed capital to be bargained with for the crumbs of an expanding capitalist system.

The strength of the IWW was its refusal to give up the right to wobble the job, no contract was signed that ever gave up the right to walk off the job over grievances. This development of the Management’s rights clause is key to the development of a whole legal, labour industry of paid reps, service or insurance model unions, labour and employer lawyers, mediators, arbitrators, all the functionaries of the state. The growth of the labour law industry and labour relations boards, etc necessitates the unions and management being part of the capitalist state. On the shop floor the post WWIi unions bargained away their members rights for a guaranty of increasing wages and benefits, while at the same time the unions recognized the State as arbitrator of the social contract, one which created a tripartite relationship between the state, capital and labour. This social contract was the realization of the dreams of the second international, social peace replaced class war.

Unions, the State and Capital
Unpublished Paper by Eugene Plawiuk, 2003

By giving up the right to take direct action on the job, that is to 'wobble' the job over grievances, leads unions into the morass of labour relations games.

The idea of eliminating the management rights clause in collective agreements was raised not by radical syndicalists, but by the outgoing chair of the Industrial Relations Society in the UK in the 1990's.

A learned judge he saw management's rights as the clause which not only limits union’s abilities to represent their members but restricts union members from getting immediate satisfaction over their grievances. There is no level playing field for workers with collective agreements that allow for management rights and for a grievance arbitration procedure.

There is no justice in the courts or the labour relations tribunals. They are there to enforce LAW AND ORDER. To make sure production is not disrupted by strikes. Even short two hour strikes that would resolve an immediate grievance on the shop floor.

They exist to limit, restrict and make illegal direct action by workers. And to have our unions sit on these boards, and play tripartite footsie with the bosses is what drives workers mad, as in angry. Cause we always lose.

Alberta Workers Angry at Government and Union

The process of grievance arbitration is long and drawn out, and can take years to resolve. And if it is a case of being unjustly fired from a job, the cash you get will be far less than the non-union worker who can take the issue to court under common law as constructive dismissal and get a settlement for more money faster.

Business Unions act on behalf of the company, not on behalf of their members. They promise to make their workers tow the line; they act as agents of Law and Order on the shop floor. What’s good for GM is good for CAW.

It is only when workers strike and run their own strike committees, can workers take power over their lives and away from the union hacks.

Canfor workers back on the job in Prince George after wildcat strike

A case in point is the Lakeside Packers strike, the workers were ready to strike, but were stopped not by a government order but by the capitulation of their well paid UFCW union boss Doug O'Hallaron. Cause he didn't want to go to jail.

Doug is a deal maker, he wants a contract, he wants a deal, he's looking after his and UFCW's best interests. Yep but both he and UFCW don't care about their members interests. Because whatever happens they have a pool of dues paying members who fatten their bank accounts.

To what end? Well to buy a million dollar house as a retirement gift to their outgoing International President as they did in the 1990's.

You'd think with all their money and lawyers, UFCW and O'Halloran would have the guts to challenge an unfair anti-worker ruling on behalf of the folks who pay his lucrative salary. Nope, not a chance.

You would think that the labour movement, that so called house of labour would organize their members to join mass pickets during strikes. Instead they make a toke show on the picket line.

'Good turnout' includes support from B.C. and local unions

To really shut down Telus, right now would take thousands of workers marching the picket line in solidarity with TWU workers.

And is this likely to happen? Nope. Most unions are lucky to mobilize two or three well paid reps to attend the picket line. And they always have excuses. After all its summer time and the union reps are off on paid vacation leave.


The other excuse is that the strike is strictly the union’s affair. This is the biggest crock of BS ever. The strike is the weapon of the class; it is the fundamental tool of class war. Even the bosses know this. For a strike can be the match that lights the prairie fire of the General Strike. When a union wins a strike it is a victory for all working people when they lose it is a defeat for all working people. As Jim Stanford points out in the quote above, the Herald strike which was lost, was not just a loss for workers at the Calgary Herald, but for newspaper workers across the country.

A case in point is when UFCW struck Safeway’s in the early part of the 1990's they accepted a roll back in wages in particular for first time employees . UFCW is no small union, they are one of the largest private sector unions in Alberta and their acceptance of a roll back contract impacted the whole labour movement in the province.

Loblaws, a Canadian grocery and retail chain, opened Real Canadian Super Stores (RCSS) in Canada several years ago. RCSS combines food and discount retail under one roof, paying wages that are typical of the discount retail industry, as do Supercenters in the United States. RCSS entered the market in Alberta in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Safeway has been the primary unionized supermarket in Alberta for years, and Safeway wages in Alberta were considerably higher than RCSS. By the early 1990s, competition with the lower labor-cost RCSS began to have a dramatically negative impact on Safeway profits.

Safeway executives estimated that the wage gap between their employees and RCSS workers was between $8.00 and $12.00 per hour in Canadian dollars.10 In 1993, Safeway concluded it could no longer compete without drastically cutting pay and benefits. Management presented employees with two choices – either Safeway would cut its losses and leave the Alberta market, or cut pay and benefits by the equivalent of $5.00 per hour (Canadian). Eventually, the unionized employees agreed to the pay and benefit cuts. Safeway implemented the pay cuts both by reducing pay and benefits and by buying out the contracts of 4,000 experienced employees and replacing those workers with persons earning approximately $6.00 per hour with no benefits.11 In 1997, Safeway employees went on strike in an effort to restore wage and benefit concessions that were part of the 1993 agreement. The strike ended without the union regaining the wage and benefit concessions that were part of the 1993 agreement.

The Impact of Big Box Grocers on Southern California: Jobs, Wages, and Municipal Finances
Examples Of The Labor Market Impact Of Wage Differentials – Cases From Canada

This allowed the Klein government to use this as an excuse to bring in wage roll backs for public sector workers. Klein cleverly pitted private sector workers against public sector workers, saying that what was happening at Safeways should apply across the province. He also had the NDP government in Ontario to use as an example of another provincial government trying to get public sector unions to accept roll backs.

Another case is when UFCW led their worker’s out on strike at Gainers, instead of occupying the plant, and demanding the plant be put under workers and farmer control. Since it was originally owned by the Alberta government. But it had been sold off to Burns, owned by Tory bagman Arthur E. Childes, at a fire sale price. Burns then sold it to Maple Leaf foods. Even the leadership of the Alberta Federation of Labour at the time called for the workers to occupy the plant. But that was never the plan anyways, because UFCW and Maple Leaf had other plans. UFCW came to a sweetheart arrangement with Maple Leaf to sacrifice Gainers in Edmonton and another Plant in Burlington if Maple Leaf Foods would open a new plant and hire its members in Brandon Manitoba.

All this was done under the leadership of Doug O'Halloran who speaks not in the interests of the workers but in the interests of UFCW Inc. And he cries crocodile tears when the government halts the Lakeside Packers strike. A strike he really didn't want anyways. You see for O'Halloran and UFCW the strike is the threat they use to get a collective agreement. It's all about the collective agreement and the Rand formula, it's never about what’s best for workers that is only incidental. Once UFCW gets a contract it gets dues. No matter how bad or good the contract is for the workers involved it is always good for UFCW Inc.


If the local labour councils and the Federations of Labour as well as the CLC is the so called house of labour, then it is a dilapidated slum. The leadership is terrified of losing their jobs. They suffer bureaucratic senility. They will always prefer the backroom deal with the bosses or the government to the idea that this is class war and that the purpose of unions is to overthrow capitalism. They oppose plant occupations because well they are illegal; they oppose the wildcat strike because it's illegal too. But isn't that why we have high priced labour lawyers, to get the leadership out of jail. Nope that can't be the real reason either. The reason is that these actions are taken by the rank and file 'out of the control' of the paid reps and leadership. And if such ideas spread, it might lead to, horror of horrors, a General Strike.

Even the most militant leader or leadership in the labour movement accepts their role in upholding Law, Order and Good Government. And once they do, it will always be the workers who get screwed.

The reason is simple workers who do take strike action realize they have given up all to win the fight. Including the fight over the day to day grievances that have usually piled up until the strike. Not so their leadership who see it as just another moment in collective bargaining. This is why workers on the line are always more militant than their union leadership.

Professional union reps and paid hacks are not capable of challenging the bosses or their government cause well they are paid not to. They can't organize the workers who pay their salaries; because they are out of touch with the rank and file. Or worse yet they are opposed to rank and file control because it threatens their job security.

They promote local union executives to political positions in their unions, offering them careers and lucrative jobs as reps, as long as they tow the line. They often take the best and brightest, activists who really care about workers interests and put them into the union machinery to become another cog in the wheel.

If workers organize themselves, the first to attempt to squash them aren't the politicians, or cops, or lawyers, it’s their own union leadership, fearful for their 'jobs'.


The only way this can change is if members of a union mobilize to take back their unions for themselves. To eliminate paid full time representatives who earn $100,000 salaries off the backs of part time workers who get $8.50 an hour.

Replace these reps and union business agents with elected rank and file reps who serve two year terms and are up for staggered election, with their pay and benefits being no more than the highest paid worker on the job.

Rank and File strike committees shall be directly elected by the members. These delegate committees during strikes are the only ones allowed to negotiate with the bosses, not the paid reps or union executive and leadership.

Union locals will have democratically elected executives and committees of members, and any regional, national, or international reps will answer to the local membership.

All union locals must be politically and economically autonomous from their national union.

Locals will not give up the right to strike in collective agreements, and in fact will further enforce this basic right with a further clause that states that members of the local will not cross other workers picket lines.

Unions will not participate in Labour Relations Boards, arbitration or Industrial Relations. Any action taken by the state whether it is an injunction, or attempts at arrest will be met with mass action not only by the union affected but by all unions in the region.

Fines against the union will NOT be paid to the state. If such fines occur it will abrogate the Rand Formula and the union will implement a direct dues collection off the shop floor.

Union locals will be autonomous and form not for profit societies to hold their funds in escrow in order to protect their autonomy.

Union locals will affiliate with whom they please in the labour movement. If their International or National organization fails to adapt to direct member democracy the local has the right to federate with whom it pleases according to a democratic vote of the members.

Union locals will form flying picket squads of all members, to make sure that all strikes or lock outs are kept short and effective. Based on the principle of An Injury to One is and Injury to All, and The Longer the Picket Line, the Shorter the Strike.

All grievances will be solved as quickly as possible on the shop floor, or in the institution where they occur by a meeting of the union steward and management. Should management not resolve the issue, workers have the right to walk off the job until there is a resolution to their satisfaction.

The union has the right to use any and all tactics to solve their grievances, these include the sit down strike, rotating strike, wildcat strike, and plant occupation the use of the standard strike tactic will be reserved as a weapon of last resort. If it is applied the union will mobilize for sympathy strikes, hot cargoing and building a call for a general strike.

These are just a few suggestions on how we can take back our unions from the labour hacks and well heeled, well paid bureaucrats. Who see the labour movement not as a class struggle but as their career opportunity, economically and politically.

A career they make off our backs.