Attendees of a solidarity march holding a banner saying "stop genocide, free palestine"

Zionism, Settler-colonialism and the Myth of Democracy

Zionism is settler-colonialism and settler-colonialism is an act of genocide.  This current wave of massacres of Palestinians in Gaza is part of a long process of ethnic cleansing that began with murderous attacks on Palestinian villages prior to and in 1948, then proceeded to the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians in the Nakba. The ethnic cleansing is all these acts of settler-colonial dispossession and deprivation including military assaults, destruction of homes, crops and cultural sites, arrests, rape and torture, blockades and denial of water and food as well as killing of women and children.

In the age of capitalist imperialism, settler-colonialism went from national to international projects. The early settler projects in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia were national projects and even in competition: the French settlements fighting with the Spanish and English, the Catholics settlements fighting with the Protestants, etc. Indigenous and Pan-African resistance took advantage of these inter-settler wars to advance their struggles for freedom. Enslaved Africans in Haiti were able to defeat both the French and Spanish settlers.  However the genocidal process in Palestine, like that in Southern Africa, are collective “Western” sanctioned genocides.

Zionism is a capitalist Western imperialist settler-colonial project and ideology.  This genocide is being directly carried out by the United States, Western Europe and the Zionist settler government in Palestine, with the passive consent of the United Nation Security Council. The United States provides close to $4 billion in military aid to Zionist Israel annually. As the genocide in Gaza escalates the United States and Britain send more ammunition. All those who support the Zionist State’s right to exist support this genocide. No genocidal government or ideology has the right to exist. People have the right to exist. Genocide negates this right. No genocidal process is democratic, whether approved at the level of the Zionist Israeli State, the UN Security Council or any other international body. The use of Apartheid and Jim Crow practices in Zionist Israel’s occupation of Palestine only further illustrates its anti-democratic nature. The Palestinian people have every right to resist their genocide by any means necessary.

Africa’s national liberation struggles were keenly aware of the role of Zionism and settler-colonialism in general in committing genocide and aiding imperialism’s economic exploitation of Africa. Algeria, Azania (South Africa), Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya each defended their national identities with force of arms against the settler populations. The Organization of Africa States was one of the first continental bodies to pass a resolution against Zionist Israel and its settler-colonial partners in Southern Africa in 1975 (see Smash Zionism a zine from the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party for more).  Today we can measure the level of neo-colonial leadership and economic dependency of an African country by its relationships to Zionist Israel officially and unofficially. The supporters in the African Union of Israel having “Observer Status” and reinstatement of Morocco are a further betrayal of the original Organization of African Unity charter, which claims to be against all forms of imperialism and violations of human rights.  

All forms of imperial expansion, including capitalist imperialism, require terrorism.  But, settler-colonialism requires the ultimate level of terror: genocide, the willingness to exterminate either part or the whole of a people. Settler-colonialism is not just the subjugation of an indigenous people, but the elimination, negation, and disappearance of their physical and cultural existence.  Settlers under settler-colonialism come to steal the whole of the land. A settler-colonial state cannot be a democracy. To call Zionist Israel or any other settler-colony a democracy is a crime against humanity. The genocidal crimes in settler-colonies in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, etc.) bring the suppression of the most basic democratic rights, self-determination and in most cases, the right to live. The killing of Palestinians is an extension of the ongoing genocide of the indigenous and African people in the United States. The misnamed Israeli Defense Force like the U.S. Police grew out of settler terrorist gangs. In the United States it was the slave catchers and Indian killers. In Israel it was Stern and Irgun gangs that terrorized, slayed and expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Now these settler security forces, the IDF and US police, train and cooperate together in terrorizing their indigenous and African populations. They collaborated in training and supporting death squads in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador etc. 

Western Europe is part and parcel of this genocide on indigenous people in Ireland, Azania (South Africa), Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Australia, etc. Britain is central to the development and maintenance of Zionism from the Balfour Declaration to the United Nations’ brazen partitioning of Palestine. Today some of the most antisemitic countries on earth, Britain, Germany, France, and the United States, condone and wantonly aid in Palestinian genocide. The Zionist settlers also supplied weapons and nuclear technology to prop up Apartheid South Africa. One genocidal regime supported another.  AFRICOM, NATO, and their political institutions, the European Union and the United States Government, support the right of settler-colonial states to exist and to commit genocide in their defense. This is not about Netanyahu or Biden, but about the settler regimes in Washington, Tel Aviv and around the world committing genocidal acts. No matter who is elected in a settler-regime or any imperialist government; they must accept imperialist ideology, the right to genocide indigenous people, to maintain and exploit labor in the interest of an elite class, of settlers, colonizers, neocolonialists, capitalists, patriarchs and their imperialist wars of occupation.  Settler-colonialism and imperialism have no right to exist. People have a right to exist in non-exploitive societies and only ideologies and economic and political systems that affirm this have a right to exist.

Settler-colonialism and imperialism are responsible for millions of deaths in the Americas. More than 12 million and counting in the United States alone. Whole islands of indigenous peoples were killed off by settlers in the Caribbean and the Pacific. The European slave trade supplied African labor to the colonies killing millions more. It continued by lynching Africans, and now genocidal police murders of thousands of African youths in Brazil, Columbia, and the United States. This bloodshed is the basis of the wealth of the West and the underdevelopment of the Global South. Settler ideology and practice continues. Although national liberation struggle pushed back settler-regimes in Africa, Asia and the Americas, many racist settler-regimes still exist. In Sahrawi, for example, Morocco took over from the Spanish. Meanwhile the propaganda about resistance to settler-colonialism is thick. It is only in imperialist logic that the colonizer has the right to commit genocide and colonized have no right to resist.

When so-called socialist and communist ideologies cave to liberal notions of the right to self-defense of exploiters they have abandoned their core principles; they encourage peace without justice. This is akin to the patriarchal logic that condones rape if the rapist marries or is married to the victim. The settler-regime, the imperialist, the rapist has no right to exist. The power to impose your reality on others does not manufacture consent. It only breeds resistance. Slaves rise-up against slave masters, serfs against feudal lords, wage slaves against capitalist, exploited genders against patriarchy and certainly indigenous peoples against settler-regimes.      

The struggle against imperialism in general, and settler-colonialism in particular is a struggle for the survival of humanity. The theft and exploitation of indigenous peoples’ resources is not only destroying the planet but bringing untold suffering on its people. Palestine in general, and the open-air prison, “Gaza” is one of the most horrifying examples of the attempted extermination of a people in history. Yet, their continued resistance is a testament to human dignity. Palestinian resistance is our resistance. Our solidarity with Palestine and resistance to all forms of genocide is the measurement of our humanity.

The just solution to the problem of Palestine is the dismantling of the Zionist State and the implantation of a “One State Solution” which includes the right of return of Palestinians.  Palestine was a secular state prior to its occupation, a place where all ethnic groups could live with the same democratic and human rights

The role of African, revolutionary and humanist solidarity with Palestine has to be rooted in Palestine’s right to self-determination, the right of return of Palestinians from exile and their right to conduct the national liberation struggle by any means necessary.