Gaza: state terrorism is part and parcel of capitalist domination

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
December 18, 2023

Last Friday, the Israeli army announced the death in Gaza of three Israeli hostages killed by their own soldiers. All three hostages were seen in a sector of intense fighting, waving a white flag and speaking Hebrew. Identified nevertheless as a threat, they were shot down.

Netanyahu spoke of “a mistake”, “a tragic accident”. But the Israeli army didn’t kill men waving a white flag by mistake! It killed them because for two months now it has been applying a policy of terror by indiscriminately killing children, women, old people and Hamas militia.

The Israeli army has already killed at least 20,000 people in the Gaza Strip. More than sixteen times the number of deaths on October 7. And if you add all those, including hostages, who have disappeared under the rubble, it’s very likely even more! The arbitrary bombings that surprise and kill civilians going about their daily life or in their sleep are a political choice. It’s state terrorism.

It’s not Hamas that the Israeli army is trying to terrorize. Hamas is a miniature state apparatus and a mini army and they’re both prepared. From the start, Netanyahu has known that Hamas will survive the bombings, its main leaders took shelter long ago. And he knows that Hamas will always be one of its interlocutors just as it already is in the current negotiations.

The Israeli government is seeking to terrorize the Palestinian population. It needs to crush it for many years to come so that it will be resigned to the solutions that Israel and the major powers choose for it.

All the major powers recognize this need, the U.S. first and foremost. How often have the latter used such methods? How many Gazas have there been in Vietnam, in Latin America, in Iraq and in Afghanistan? And how could we possibly forget how the U.S. plunged Japan into terror when it dropped two atomic bombs in 1945, one on Hiroshima and the other on Nagasaki?

The American bourgeoisie gained an advance on the rest of the world thanks to its accumulated capital but also through the use of state violence every time it needed to take land, eliminate a competitor or subdue a recalcitrant population. Its merciless policy made it master of the world.

So yes, what is presented to us as the greatest democracy in the world, American democracy, is responsible for the carnage in Gaza. Biden could make Israel’s armed forces hold back. The bombing would cease in a matter of days if the U.S. were to stop delivering munitions to Israel. But far from doing so, it blocked the UN resolution on a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza because it fundamentally agrees with the policy of terror.

The massacre of Palestinians shows, yet again, that international rules and the respect of human rights are meaningless. The decision makers are those who have the most power, the most wealth and the best weapons.

Most of the time, they impose their exploitation and their dictatorship with their billions via markets and competition. This is dramatic for peoples and the future of the planet where everything is exploited to the point of exhaustion. But until there is a revolt, the domination of the big bourgeoisie is hidden behind so-called liberty and democracy, as is the case in most rich imperialist countries.

As soon as its domination is challenged, the democratic façade gives way to direct and violent oppression by the state apparatus reduced to its most basic expression: a gang of armed men.

Currently, the masters of the world use both methods of domination. In the U.S. and France, where the bourgeoisie doesn’t feel threatened by widespread revolt, the democratic circus rules, led by Biden and Macron. Where the Palestinians are concerned, they defend a policy of Israeli bombs and prisons.

These policies are two sides of the same coin: the dominance of the capitalist system, of the big bourgeoisie and its states. But no matter how ferocious this domination is, it is no more eternal than that of emperors and kings.

For as long as exploitation and oppression continue to exist, there will be revolts and the possibility of changing society. Workers have the means to fight and work towards a collectively-run society, guided by the interests of humanity. The future belongs to those who are convinced of this.

Nathalie Arthaud