III. The Forces of the Revolution
Who are our friends – the forces of revolution ? What are the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level ?
It is essential to define the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level from a class angle. To say that the Palestinian people with all their classes are in the same revolutionary position with regard to Israel and that all classes of the Palestinian people have the same revolutionary capacity because they find themselves without a territory and live outside their country would be unrealistic and unscientific. Such a statement would be correct had the entire Palestinian people been experiencing the same material living conditions. As it is, the Palestinian people do not all live under these same conditions but rather under different living conditions, a fact which we cannot scientifically ignore. Therefore it is necessary to stop at these different conditions and the different positions to which they give rise.
It is true that large numbers of the Palestinian people were driven outside their country in 1948 and found themselves in almost identical conditions of homelessness. It is also true that the remainder of the Palestinian people who stayed on were at all times threatened with the same fate. However, during the last twenty years, the Palestinian people have settled down into certain well-marked class conditions so that it would be wrong to say that the entire Palestinian people are without a territory, or that they are entirely revolutionary. In the course of the last twenty years, certain well-defined class interests have arisen and have become the basis for defining positions. The bourgeoisie has come to have its own interests and is consequently concerned with stability and the continuation of its preferential class conditions.
Therefore, in our definition of the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level, we must begin from a class angle.
Rightist thought in the Palestinian and Arab field tries to eliminate or dilute the class view of things, and it is therefore necessary to defeat all these attempts.
There is for instance the allegation that the class picture in the Palestinian field as well as in the underdeveloped countries is not as crystallised as it is in the advanced capitalist communities. and that consequently it is wrong to treat the class question in such communities in the same manner as in other countries.
Another opinion states that, since we are in the stage of national liberation, we cannot envisage a class struggle which is only justified in the stage of socialist revolution; consequently in the stage of national liberation a class struggle would mean that the conflict among the classes of the people takes precedence over the conflict between the entire people and the foreign colonialists. Rightist thinking adds here that Israel represents a specific type of colonialism threatening the existence of all classes of the Palestinian people. Thus the question here is not one of class but of struggle between Zionist presence and Arab Palestinian presence, which means that all classes of the Palestinian and Arab people find themselves in the midst of a major conflict.
To allow this trend of political thought to follow its course without facing it scientifically and refuting it, would lead to total loss, to the obscurity of the view of the real revolutionary class forces which constitute the pivot of the revolution. There would also be the possibility of the revolution falling under a class leadership which cannot bring it to the end of its destined course and is incapable of planning the radical revolutionary programmes which alone can help to win the battle.
The class structure in an underdeveloped community naturally differs from that of industrial communities. In an industrial community there is a strong capitalist class opposite a numerous working class, and the basic struggle in such communities is a sharp clash between these classes.
Such a picture does not apply to underdeveloped communities. This is true, but underdeveloped communities are also class communities in which there are exploiting upper classes represented by colonialism, feudalism and the bourgeoisie. On the other hand the exploited classes are represented by the workers and peasants. Each class has its own position with regard to the course of history and vis-a-vis the revolution. The upper classes are conservative, rejecting change and opposing the course of history, while the lower classes are revolutionary, seeking change and pushing history along its upward dialectical course. Consequently, discussion of the special nature of the underdeveloped communities is scientific to the extent that it stops scientifically before the special nature of the class situation in these communities and its differentiation from the class situation in the advanced communities. On the other hand, it becomes prejudiced and unscientific if it dismisses the class question in these communities or minimizes the importance in the difference in these classes’ position with regard to the revolution.
Here, for instance we live in an underdeveloped non industrial community, but all the same, the masses of our people do not have the !tame living conditions. Thus, in Amman, to state only one example, there are people living in Jebel-Luwaibdeh*, others in Jebel-Nazif**, and still others in camps. All these people cannot have the same attitude toward the revolution.
As for the contention that we are now passing through a stage of national liberation and not of socialist revolution, this relates to the subject of which classes are engaged in the struggle, which of them are with and which are against the revolution at each of its stages, but it does not eliminate the class question or the question of class struggle.
National liberation battles are also class battles. They are battles between colonialism and the feudal and capitalist class whose interests are linked with those of the colonialist on the one hand, and the other classes of the people representing the greater part of the nation on the other. If the saying that national liberation battles are national battles is intended to mean that they are battles waged by the overwhelming majority of the nation’s masses, then this saying is true, but if it is intended to mean that these battles are different from the class struggle between the exploiters and the exploited, then the saying is untrue.
It is also from this angle that we must consider the statement that the Zionist Israeli peril threatens the entire Palestinian and Arab existence, and that this struggle is one between the Zionist axis and the Arab axis If this statement is intended to mean that the Zionist peril threatens the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian and Arab masses, then it is true and certain, but if it is intended deny the meeting of interests between Israel and Arab reactionaries (in spite of their numerical inferiority to the masses of the people) or to deny the difference in the revolutionary roles of the other classes, considering the revolutionary role of the petit bourgeoisie living in urban areas to be on the same level as that of the rural or camp population, then this is untrue.
To sum up, our class view of the forces of the Palestinian revolution must take into account the special nature of the class situation in underdeveloped communities and the fact that our battle is one of national liberation, as well as the special nature of the Zionist peril. This, however, means that we must adopt a scientific definition of the revolutionary classes and their roles in the light of these special features, and should not at all lead to the dismissal of the class view in the definition of the forces of revolution.
Rightist thought is trying to dismiss the class view in the definition of the forces of revolution to enable the bourgeoisie to infiltrate into positions of leadership and obstruct the revolution at the limits imposed by its interests.
We must face forcefully all ideas attempting to conceal the objective facts of the class question under a veil of vagueness and ambiguity. Are all classes represented on the actual field of battle today, or does the overwhelming majority of combatants belong to the class of workers and peasants ? If the overwhelming majority of combatants are the children of workers and peasants, then why should the political thinking of the Palestinian revolution not concur with the obvious objective facts ?
Workers and peasants are the mainstay of the revolution, its basic class material and its leadership.
In the light of scientific socialist thinking, the experiences of world revolutions and the facts in evidence on the Palestinian field, we must clearly define and identify the revolutionary classes that are capable of shouldering the entire burden.
The revolutionary classes on the Palestinian field are the workers and peasants because it is these classes which are daily suffering the oppressive exploitation process exercised by world imperialism and its allies in our homeland.
It is the workers and peasants who today fill the miserable camps in which most Palestinians live. When we refer to the camps, we. in reality, refer to a class situation representing the workers, peasants and the destitute sections of the petit bourgeoisie of the Palestinian people. On the other hand the Palestinian bourgeoisie class does not live in camps, nor does the greater portion of the petit bourgeoisie. The camps are the workers, peasants and downtrodden portion of the petit bourgeoisie whose living conditions do not differ much from those of the workers and peasants.
It is essential to have a clear view of things, and to have a clear political thinking which concurs with this view. It is also essential to define the forces and classes of the revolution and to determine which classes shall lead the revolution while we are at the start of this new stage of Palestinian national action. This being done, we must act in accordance with this definition, for otherwise we would in fact be repeating the impulsive fight undertaken by the masses of our people during the past fifty years without conclusive results.
The material of the Palestinian revolution, its mainstay and its basic forces are the workers and peasants. These classes form the majority of the Palestinian people and physically fill all camps, villages and poor urban districts.
Here lie the forces of revolution… the forces of change. Here we find real preparation for long years of fighting. Here are the particular daily living conditions which drive people on to fight and die because the difference between death and life under such conditions is not much.
It is by starting from this objectivity that we are able to define the distinguishing mark between our people’s unsuccessful struggle during the past fifty years and this new stage of our struggle, to draw a line of demarcation between clarity and vagueness, and to determine the great difference between a revolutionary march ending in victory and a hesitant, unsteady march ending in failure.
When we have addressed ourselves to the workers and peasants – the inhabitants of camps, villages and poor urban districts-and armed them with political awareness, organisation and fighting means, we shall have created the firm material foundation for a historical liberation revolution. It is the rise of such a solid revolutionary backbone that will enable us to conclude class alliances to benefit the revolution without exposing it to vacillation, deviation or defeat.