After almost half a year of blogging, the editor (i.e. me) is not satisfied with the contents of this blog. As stated in the first post, “Free Haifa” was launched as one of millions of flowers of free speech that blossomed with the Arab spring, to utilize the new media to promote discussion of the new movement’s contents and means of struggle. The aim is to form a wide net of activists and organizations that will share their thinking and build together, in all different locations, the foundations for a free pro-people order.
The victory of the Prisoners Hunger strike, though two prisoners are still on strike, give us some breathing space to look around, try to see the big picture, and check whether we are on the right path.
Since the ten days that shook the world in October 1917, the concept of the revolution as a short clash between the forces of evil and the salvation army, and the belief that “they lived happily ever after”, proved to be simplistic illusions. Revolution is not only the toppling of tyrannies; it is also about the building of a new participatory system, as well as a new economy and a new society.
It is not enough to be for the people, to oppose oppression and to promote the cause of the revolution. There is a lot more that should be discussed. So, in this short editorial note, I will, at least, try to list some of the burning issues, hoping that the writer will find some time and do the effort to handle them in-depth over the next period.
- The Agenda of the Revolution: The agenda of the tyranny is very simple – take care of the personal interests of the ruling clique. As long as they can keep the people under control and have all the resources of the nation at their disposal, even a lousy tyranny can be pretty successful. The revolution, as it belongs to all the people, should do miracles to find the common ground and work with limited resources to compensate for past deprivation and build a better future. Since we watched “The Battle of Algiers” we know the hardest part of the revolution comes after victory.
- Political Participation of the Masses: If the revolution should really serve the masses, they shouldn’t be only the canon-powder of some new political elite that wants to replace the old order. In this sense the maintenance of the revolutionary spirit, and of the revolutionary forms of organization, are not only romantic nostalgia to the heroic days. If the masses will not find the way to continue the revolution – the revolution, and them, will be inevitably betrayed.
- The Relationship between the Political Forces: It could be seen much before the revolution started, but now it is clear also to all those that didn’t like to see: Political Islam is emerging from the Arab Spring as the main political force in the region. Still political Islam covers a whole range of positions and tendencies, and the direction of the revolution will be decided by the interplay between all these forces and all the other political forces that took part, wholly or partly, in the revolution: The revolutionary youth, the left, nationalist, liberals, civil society… There is a lot of mistrust and little experience in effective cooperation – but the fate of the revolution is very much dependant on the ability of all parties to form effective coalitions around concrete solution to the problems that are on the agenda of the revolution.
- The Economy: At the heart of all political struggles stands the struggle for the division of the goods that are created by Human labor. At the heart of the division between political systems stands the way that the economy is owned and managed. In the long term, a political system that fails to develop the economy is doomed. In the Arab world these basic political equation were distorted for decades by the prominence of the oil production. Oil is a very political economic resource as it is easy to monopolize. As a result the main source of political wealth was not the Human Labor but political sovereignty – and the working masses were marginalized. The main issue on the agenda of the Arab revolution is to convert the economy of the region from depending on the oil “rent” to development of productive forces that depend on and develop the population. The new economic revolution should start in the Arab world while Capitalism is discredited in its imperialist bastions and while Socialist China emerges as the new major economic power. Still the competition between different economic systems today appears not mainly as competition between rival international camps but as an internal struggle within each country.
- The Palestinian Cause: The Arab Revolution turned the highlights away from the Palestinian cause that seemed at the heart of Middle East politics for decades. Still Israel, as the relics of the old colonial system, threatens to burn the whole region in a new war. It was an illusion to look at the Palestinian struggle as a local political struggle separated from the struggle against imperialist Hegemony over the Arab World. Now, as this hegemony is collapsing, the Arab Spring creates the conditions for restoration of the Palestinian national rights. It is high time that the solution for “The Question of Palestine” will be part of the agenda of the Arab Spring.