‘Conference for Palestine’: capitalism and liberation are incompatible

08 June 2024 449 hits

Detroit MI, May 24—The People’s Conference for Palestine presented a tremendous opportunity for members and friends of Progressive Labor Party to engage in sharp political action and discussion centered around U.S. imperialism, the bosses’ use of nationalism to divide and weaken the working class, the misleadership of the conference organizers, the tremendous potential for a new society embodied by solidarity encampments, and the need for communist revolution to sweep away the old society. 

People’s Conference: ruling class ideas on display

The message of the conference was clear: “Freedom” for Palestinians means a Palestinian ruling class replacing Zionist occupiers. There was constant glorification of South Africa, Algeria and other post-colonial countries, with zero recognition that inequality and racism still stalk the working class of these countries. In discussions our group was clear that simply replacing one set of bosses for another isn’t the answer. As a comrade put it, “capitalism and liberation are incompatible.” 

The bankrupt politics and hypocrisy at work in the conference were made crystal clear when we were attacked for distributing CHALLENGE and our conference leaflet. The organizers went so far as to threaten to call the cops if we continued distributing. This development made it clear that organizers demanded adherence to the conference’s politics of pro-Hamas nationalism. The emptiness of their slogans of working-class solidarity were put on full display.

Finally, the last day of the conference coincided with the barbaric incineration of 45 Gazan refugees by the fascist Israeli army. The rhetoric was full of outrage, but there was no action. Our small group attempted to get attendees to visit the nearby encampment at Wayne State University, not more than 10 minutes away by car, for a rally, but the conference organizers did nothing. 

Gotta be in it to win it

The trip was only possible because we’ve immersed ourselves in the class struggle on our campuses. On our local campuses, we’ve formed and given political leadership to our Common Ground anti-racist clubs which has exposed dozens and dozens of students to our political ideas. These clubs have been the vehicle for sharpening the class struggle on campus, where we’ve taken on racist administrators and exposed their anti-student policies. 

We also met students by throwing ourselves (if unevenly) into the encampments in New York. Unlike the fake left leadership of the conference, these encampments gave us a real glimpse at the power of the multi-racial working class. Without a politician or boss in sight, students organized their mini-societies: food, housing, education, security, healthcare, sanitation - it was all organized collectively.  We were there, contributing to these efforts, all the while struggling against identity politics and nationalism and for a disciplined and internationalist outlook. The encampments, mostly led by women workers and students, allowed us to meet some of the fiercest fighters against U.S. imperialism, Zionism and capitalism.

They were willing to risk arrest, suspension and expulsion to fight for Gaza and the international working class.
Importantly, the encampments also forced the liberal bosses to strip away their masks and show their fascist essence as they welcomed the kkkops to attack and brutalize students and workers. 

The efforts we made to be a part of the class struggle are entirely responsible for us being able to bring a group to the conference in Detroit. The lesson could not be clearer: only by committing ourselves to participating in the class struggle and to being involved wherever workers or students are in motion is the ONLY way we can build a party that is capable of launching a revolution for communism.