VII. Forces of the Revolution on the Arab Level
What are the forces of revolution on the Arab level?
How shall we mobilise them? What is the form of relations between the Palestinian national liberation movement and the Arab forces?
The mobilisation and concentration of the revolutionary forces on the Palestinian level, even through a political organization adhering to and guide by scientific socialism, mobilising the downtrodden classes on the greatest scale and forming with the petit bourgeoisie a united front, will not suffice to create a revolutionary camp capable of gaining superiority over the enemy camp consisting of a strong and wide front which includes Israel, the Zionist movement. Imperialism and Arab reaction.
The strategy of the Palestine liberation struggle requires the mobilisation and concentration of all the forces of revolution in the Arab countries in general and the Arab regions surrounding Israel in particular. This is the reason why the Popular Front lays so much stress on the interconnection between the Palestinian question and the Arab question and on the necessity of coalescence between the Palestine liberation movement and the Arab liberation movement. It is also the reason for the necessity of laying strategic emphasis on the “Arab Hanoi” motto as a revolutionary principle creating coalescence between the Palestinian revolution and the Arab revolution and forming a firm foundation for the Palestinian and Arab national liberation movement which would enable it to stand in the face of the enemy camp and gain superiority over it.
Although we do not say that the mobilisation of the of revolution in the Arab field is one of the immediate tasks of the Palestinian revolution, we may say that the fate of the Palestinian revolution and the armed struggle – commando action – now being carried out by Palestinian people depends on the extent of their coalesence with a revolutionary strategy which aims at mobilising the forces of revolution in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and the rest of the Arab countries. The crisis which Palestinian resistance is undergoing does not only from its failure to fulfil all the ideological, strategic and organizational conditions which must be fulfilled by any victorious national liberation movement in our age.
This crisis, which will continue to constitute the Achilles’ heel of Palestinian resistance, is due to the fact that this resistance exists under conditions in Arab lands which hamper it ans threaten to liquidate the question through the implementation of the Security Council’s resolution [of 22 November 1967] instead of constituting a revolutionary support to reinforce it, widen its field of authority, and give it additional power.
In this light, the Palestine liberation strategy as a battle against Israel. Zionism. imperialism and Arab reaction requires a revolutionary Palestinian strategy in coalescence with a revolutionary Arab strategy.
The armed struggle against Israel and all imperialist interests in our homeland, the expansion of the armed struggle front which stands in the face of Arab reaction and all imperialist interests and bases in the Arab homeland, and the encirclement of Israel with the strategy of the people’s liberation war from every side – from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and inside the territory occupied before and after 5 June 1967 – is the only path that leads to victory. It is not important that the Palestinian people should register a heroic stand through commando action: the important thing is liberation and victory. In the light of our definition of the enemy camp, the way to liberation is a revolutionary Palestinian and Arab front which will bring maturity, protection and support to commando action and pave the way to its expansion so that it will encircle Israel on every side and involve all the enemy forces which furnish Israel with support and protection.
The strategy of revolutionary Arab action coincides with its broad lines with that of Palestinian revolutionary action. The basis of this coincidence is that the nature of the stage now being traversed by the Arab countries is identical for all of them. In the light of Israels occupation of Sinai and the Golan Heights, its very existence and its persistence as a base from which imperialism prepares to attack any move toward Arab liberation – in the light of this concrete picture – the stage which the Arab peoples are now traversing is that of national liberation, of democratic national revolution, notwithstanding the class and economic changes which have taken place in Egypt, Syria, Algeria and Iraq in the direction of socialist transformation.
The strategy of the democratic national revolution in this age has become clear through the Vietnamese experience and before it the Cuban and Chinese experience.
The main lines of this strategy are: the mobilisation and concentration of the forces of the poor workers and peasants on the greatest scale, the leadership of the revolution by these classes through a political organization which adheres to and is guided by the ideology of scientific socialism in alliance with the forces of the petit bourgeoisie whose interests do not conflict with the nature of the democratic national revolution; and reliance on armed struggle to overcome the enemy’s technological superiority through a protracted war commencing with guerilla warfare and developing into a popular liberation war which the people are determined to win.
The national liberation movement in the Arab countries has not yet crystallized along these lines.
In the nature of the clash between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, all this will create the objective circumstances which will pave the way for and assist the birth and growth of a national liberation movement that will adopt this strategy under the leadership of the workers and peasants. This alliance, and later the coalescence of the Palestinian national liberation movement with the Arab national liberation movement will give rise to, the Palestinian-Arab force and the Palestinian-Arab strategy which is capable of triumphing in a long and hard battle imposed by the nature of the enemy we are facing.
It remains for the Palestinian national liberation movement to define its Arab relations in the light of the circumstances now prevailing in the Arab field.
Arab capitalism and feudalism are still the ruling class in some Arab countries. The rule of these classes, is at present represented by the reactionary regimes in Jordan, Lebanon and certain other Arab countries. The regimes are linked in interest with world imperialism led by the United States, and in spite of the partial, and sometimes purely outward. conflict between these regimes and Israel, this partial conflict exists in the shadow of an objective concurrence with world capitalism. Thus the relation of the armed struggle -now Palestinian and later Arab – is on the strategic level, one of conflict with these regimes notwithstanding any tactical positions imposed on both sides by temporary considerations.
This is as regards the national liberation movement’s relation with the capitalist and reactionary regimes. However, the delicate situation facing the Palestinian armed struggle and the Palestine national liberation movement is the definition of relations with the national regimes in the Arab field, particularly the national regimes surrounding Israel or in the vicinity of the field of battle, namely Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
Any fearless revolutionary evaluation of these regimes must be essentially based on the June defeat and on its consequences and meanings, as well as on the strategy, programmes and positions subsequent to that defeat. Any attempt at diluting or confusing the clear view of the defeat and of its meanings and lessons cannot but be the result of a subjective and biased interest or an idealistic and sentimental view which is remote from science, objectivity and fearless frankness in viewing things.
The June defeat led to the occupation of the whole of Palestine as well as of the Golan Heights and Sinai, the dispersion of hundreds of thousands of citizens and the humiliation of an entire nation. Consequently the revolutionary position is one which cannot temporise or bargain or dilute the clear view which alone enables us to analyse and understand the June defeat and eventually to see the political and military strategy which will assure us of perseverance and victory in our battle.
The Palestinian and Arab masses, as well as the Arab national parties and organizations, viewed these regimes as revolutionary, progressive regimes capable of leading to the liberation of Palestine and the realization of the aims and objectives of the masses.
At the time when indications of the June war began to appear, neither the masses nor the forces concerned expected a defeat of the type which occurred in June. The June defeat confirmed the gross error in our perspective of things. There was error in the knowledge and clear definition of the enemy, the evaluation of its plans and the of its contingents and the determination of its contingents and the potentialities of each of these contingents. There was error in the definition of the stage and greater error in the evaluation of the entire revolutionary existence which these national regimes, organizations and Arab national institutions had curbed.
What is the sound scientific evaluation of these regimes?
Following the First World War, the occupation by France and Britain of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and the entrenchment of these colonial powers in Egypt and other parts of the Arab homeland, the national liberation movement waged by the masses against colonialism was led by feudalists, aristocrats and members of the bourgeoisie. Such leaders were Haj Amin Al-Husseini and the Arab Party in Palestine, and Shukri Al-Kuwatli and the Nationalist Party in Syria, and there was a similar type of leadership in the other Arab countries. Even the armed revolts which the masses of our people directed against the forces of occupation were under the political leadership of the bourgeoisie. The masses saw from the course of events that this class, in its struggle with colonialism, aimed at nothing more than obtaining an outward form of independence which would place it at the top of the power pyramid. This made it a partner to the colonialists in their exploitation of the masses’ toil and gave it a share in profits from capitalist investments in our homeland, without any regard for the liberation and unification slogans for which the masses had paid their blood. When the masses saw all this, the conflict began between these feudal, aristocratic and bourgeois leaders and their political parties on the one hand and the movement of the masses on the other. At this new stage in the struggle the masses were led by groups of educated young men, professionals and free army officers who mainly belonged to and acted through the petit bourgeoisie. The petit bourgeoisie was a growing class and it was this class that led the masses in their struggle with the bourgeoisie and the feudalists who were directly or indirectly in alliance with colonialist capitalism. In the late thirties and early forties these attempts took the form of political and military parties and organizations, both Pan-Arab and local. In 1948 Israel was set up and the disaster took place. This revealed to the masses the truth about the puppet independent regimes established by the bourgeoisie, their impotence in the face of Israel and their radical opposition to the masses’ objectives. Thus the 1948 disaster paved the way for the fall of some of these regimes and the assumption of power by political and military national organizations led by national elements belonging to the petit bourgeoisie. Such organizations generally consisted of members of this class and worked among the workers and peasants who rallied around these new organizations and conditions because they stood in the face of the reactionary alliance among colonialism, feudalism and capitalism.
Undoubtedly the international situation resulting from the Second World War represented by Soviet victory and the rise of a number of European socialist powers was a basic factor in the rise and survival of these new Arab regimes.
Thus the basic conflict in the area crystallised in the following manner:
The alliance of the workers, peasants and petit bourgeoisie under the leadership of the petit bourgeoisie against colonialism, Arab reaction and Israel.
The first national regime to appear in the Arab world on the basis of this picture was the Nasser regime in Egypt, and then the picture extended to include Syria, Iraq, Algeria and the South Yemen.
The Nasser regime was and still is the clearest and most crystallized example of this picture.
In any historical evaluation of these regimes and what they represented in the Arab field in the fifties and until June 1967, we must not lose sight of the major revolutionary achievements realised by these regimes, particularly the Nasser regime. This regime was able to get rid oi the British occupation forces stationed in the Suez Canal Zone, wage war against all the colonialist military pacts through which colonialism tried to get back into the area under the pretext of defence pacts against the Soviet peril, and do away with the colonialist-reactionary alliance which controlled the destiny of Egypt and its masses
Moreover it broke the blockade imposed by colonialism on the area and established military, political and economic relations with the socialist camp. Furthermore it placed Egyptian national action within its Arab national horizon and framework and accomplished the first achievement of union in modern Arab history. It, also, established, a link between political liberation and the social issue, laid down an agrarian reform which involved land ownership and relations between farmers and land-owners, nationalised the major industries and commercial enterprises and raised development projects based on public ownership. It set Egypt on the road of socialist transformation, and accompanied these transformations with similar ones in the field of revolutionary thought. By this it lifted revolutionary thought from the level of general liberation, union ist and socialist slogans to the beginnings of a class view of the revolutionary forces and the beginnings of the adoption of the general socialist course in viewing and analysing the movement of progress.
These are the headings of the major achievements accomplished by the Nasser regime on the basis of which the other national regimes in Syria and Iraq have tried to proceed.
These achievements created a state of alarm in the opposing camp led by the U.S. for the purpose of thwarting this march through various means including the overthrow of these regimes by force. Such a state of alarm called for a similar state of alarm with which these regimes could rise to a new revolutionary level by politically, economically mobilising the forces of the masses to a degree that ensures steadfastness, perseverance and victory.
But these regimes continued to move within programmes and plans imposed on them by their class nature. At this point the problem of structure of these regimes and the problems of their plans began to emerge. In the middle sixties the Nasser regime began to live through this problem without being able to overcome it until the June defeat which came to reveal clearly the problem relating to the structure of this regime and its inability within this class nature to triumph over the imperialist-reactionary – Zionist – Israeli camp.
The nature of these these national regimes was formed as a result of the organizations which they had set up, their view of things and of the extent to which they had gone in their socialist transformations and the new class conditions which they had produced. These regimes struck at the interests of feudalism and capitalism and their exploitation of the masses, but they preserved the petit bourgeoisie and its interests in the industrial, agricultural and commercial sectors, at the same time producing a new class of military men, politicians and administrative personnel whose interests became interlocked with those of the petit bourgeoisie, thus forming with it, the upper class in these communities. The interests of this upper class required the maintenance of the experiment within limits which do not conflict with its interests or with its thinking and view of the battle. This class is antagonistic to colonialism and reaction but at the same time wants to keep the privileges which it enjoys. It is this state of affairs that has defined the nature of the political, economic, military and ideological programmes of these regimes.
It is on this basis that this class has formulated its view of confrontation with colonialism and Israel through the military institution. For it realises that the popular liberation war means that its right to the position of leadership is contingent upon its willingness to sacrifice all its privileges and follow the same living pattern as the commandos of today. On this basis also a loose form for the political mobilisation of the masses has been put forth because the truly revolutionary mobilisation of the masses through a political party organization in connection with the armed struggle, means the rise of new leadership from among the workers and peasants, as it means the ability of the masses to supervise this class and call it to account. Accordingly. this class has laid down its economic programmes which make the socialist transformation stop the existing limits. Eventually, this class had produced political thought which dilutes the view of the true nature of the struggle, the true nature of the stage and the true nature of the programmes which are capable of persisting and enduring, as well as diluting the view of the process still existing in these regimes, of exploiting the Iabour of the workers and peasants.
Thus the June defeat does not for us constitute a mere military defeat. It is in reality a defeat for these regimes and their programmes and their inability to effect military, economic and ideological mobilisation which is capable of resisting and triumphing over imperialism and its alliances and plans in our homeland.
Even after the June defeat these regimes have continued to move within these same military programmes. Through their alliance with the Soviet Union they aim to wage a tactical military battle ending with the removal of all traces of the aggression if it should prove impossible to implement the Security Council’s resolution through means other than war, it being understood that purports at the same time to obtain recognition of Israels right to exist within new safe frontiers.
These regimes support commando action but only as a revolutionary tactic to exert pressure on imperialism and Israel to push them towards the implementation of the Security Council’s resolution on the basis of a settlement which might be acceptable to these regimes.
The national regimes are still moving within this strategy against the radical revolutionary strategy which seeks a long-term popular liberation war waged by the masses under the leadership of the working class and the peasants on the basis of of radical political, military and economic programmes represented before us today by the Vietnamese liberation movement which has proved that it is only with such a formula that we are able to face imperialism and its technological, economic and military superiority.
When we present the Vietnamese liberation movement, which is waging a triumphant struggle against the U.S. and Vietnamese reaction, as an example of successful liberation movements in this age, we do not at all ignore the special nature of our battle both in respect of the nature of imperialist presence, represented by israel, in our homeland, and in respect of the special nature of the land.
We always mean in fact the main strategic lines of the Vietnam war -represented by the strong political organization which adheres to scientific socialism and mobilises the forces of the masses on the greatest scale under the leadership of the working class and the national front slogan, using the course of guerrilla warfare, the popular liberation war, the political, economic and military mobilisation resulting from all this, the protracted war, the determination to win – that determination which is embodied by the poor classes of the community, the classes that cannot continue to live under the burden of the ugly and dirty exploitation exercised by imperialism and Vietnamese reactionary. We also mean the world revolutionary alliance established by the Vietnamese liberation movement to enable it to face imperialism with all its weight, forces and plans.
In the light of all this we are able to make a scien tific evaluation of the regimes and their role in the Pales tinian and Arab national liberation movement, and eventually, the form of relations between them and the revolutionary Palestinian national liberation movement :
1. These regimes are antagonistic to imperialism. Zionism, Israel and Arab reaction represented by feudalism and capitalism.
2. These regimes have accomplished a number of revolutionary achievements on the way to democratic national revolution which has interlocked – as is the case in Egypt -with the commencement of the shift in the structure of the economic community in a socialist direction.
3. These regimes, by reason of the class structure resulting from their experience are no longer capable of continuing their progress on the revolutionary road and of raising it to the level which would enable them to face the state of alarm that has arisen in the camp of imperialism, Israel and Arab reaction.
4. The programmes of these regimes in facing the battle are those of the petit bourgeoisie which occupies the top of the power pyramid and the position of leadership in those regimes, although the June war and subsequent developments have revealed the inability of this class to effect the ideological, political, military and economic mobilization capable of holding out and harassing the enemy and of achieving victory.
These regimes still adopt traditional war strategy and reform programs in an attempt to fill the wide gaps in their experiments without causing a complete radical change in their general structure.
5. In light of the fact that these regimes are antagonistic to imperialism and Israel on the one hand, and the fact that they adopt compromising non-radical programmes in the face of the enemy on the other, relations with these regimes must be both of alliance and conflict at the same time: alliance because they are antagonistic to Israel, and conflict over their strategy in the struggle.
6. There will be two strategies in the face of Israeli occupation and the prosecution of the Palestinian and Arab national liberation war: the strategy of the petit bourgeoisie which adopts in theory or moves in practice towards a traditional war strategy through the reconstruction of the military institution if a peaceful solution proves to be impossible; and the strategy of the working class, which adopts in theory and moves in practice towards guerrilla warfare and popular liberation war, waged by the masses under the leadership of the working class on the widest national front, opposed to imperialism and with revolutionary programmes of mobilisation which will raise the ideological, political, economic and military mobilisation of the masses to the highest level.
7. These two strategies and the forces which they represent will move together for some time under relations of alliance and conflict until in the end the working class strategy prevails on the Palestinian and Arab levels. The it will face the enemy with a wide class alliance comprising the workers, peasants and the petit bourgeoisie und working class leadership with a working class ideology at programmes and a popular liberation war which is determined and able to win.
This defines the form of relations between the Palestinian national revolution and all Arab forces.
The Palestinian revolution on the strategic level will clash with the Arab reactionary forces and the regimes representing them. and will be governed by relations of alliance and conflict with the national regimes where the petit bourgeoisie occupies the top of the power pyramid. It will establish relations of alliance in the direction of coalescence with the Arab revolutionary forces represented by the workers and peasants and their political institutions.
These forces will be generated in the Arab field in general and the Arab countries surrounding Israel in particular by reason of the nature of the struggle and the nature of the revolutionary strategy which it will produce.
Through this picture – the picture of the Palestinian and Arab revolution led by the working class and comprising all anti-imperialist forces which adopt the course of guerilla warfare, ideologically, politically, militarily and economically to the highest level – we have a complete strategic view of the Palestine liberation battle, first on the Palestinian level and then on the Arab level.