C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Some reflections on ideology, Zionism, and fascism

In response to an excellent and timely piece by Richard Seymour, debunking the myth that fascism was a leftist political movement, I provided some brief thoughts of my own, when the subject turned to Zionism. I've done a little reading in this area of late, and this are my current thoughts, ever provisional:

I think there's a tendency to simplify Zionism. Zionism came in many different forms - left and right, religious and secular. The ruling ideology of Israel is probably best understood as simply violent national chauvinism, perhaps with a few Zionist features thrown in, but not strictly identifiable with Zionism.

I think also that the tendency for the lunar right to support Israel is tactical, in many cases. Paxton makes the point that if fascism were to come to the US, it would steer clear of the repugnant symbols of the fascism of old (i.e. jackboots, swastikas, etc). It makes sense that budding fascist groups would view Muslims as the enemy, and would therefore support the IDF's efforts against 'terrorism'.


Maybe the ruling powers in Israel have some fascist tendencies. However, when we look at the most belligerant of Israeli hawks, look at their rhetoric and, more importantly, their actions, there's little that's specifically 'Zionist' about it. They might as well be chauvinist thugs from Russia or anywhere else.
Obviously, we cannot ever accept Zionism as a legitimate solution if we are universalist and internationalist. That goes without saying. But I wonder if Zionism is to the ruling Israeli elite what German Romanticism was to the Nazis - a necessary, but hardly sufficient condition.