the Disillusioned kid: Stating the Obvious
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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Stating the Obvious

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran courted controversy last week when he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Surprisingly, given how far Ahmadinejad is from my positions on most matters, we actually agree here. I too would like to see Israel wiped from the map. My ambitions, however, are not limited to Israel. I'd also like to see Iran wiped from the map and for that matter, Iraq, the US, the UK and every other nation state on the planet.

The nation state is arguably the hegemonic institution of modernity. Cutting across religious, idelogical, cultural and linguistic barriers the state has forced its way into almost every corner of the globe, controlling the lives of literally billions of people, errecting articifical boundaries between peoples and leading to hugely destructive wars.

The experiences of Russia in 1917 demonstrate the folly of trying to utilise the state (in whatever form) as part of a revolutionary project. It is not an impartial arbiter between competing interests as the Liberals would have it, nor the mere product of economic relations as in Marxist theory. Rather, the state represents a tool of control (by means of both hard and soft power, with the balance between the two determined by the particular historical and social conditions of specific states) in the hands of a ruling elite and can be nothing else.

Some contend that Israel's existence is predicated on the supression, expulsion or outright murder of the indigenous population and hence that existence is uniquely illegitimate. While this asessment of Israeli history is essentially accurate (there is a tendency amongst some supporters of the Palestinian cause to pretend that the issue is entirely one-sided, it isn't, but this takes nothing from the fact that a historic and ongoing injustice has been done to the Palestinians), I question the suggestuion that the situation is in any way unique. Compare, for instance, the experience of North America which witnessed the reduction of its indigenous population from 12 million in 1,500 in 1500 to perhaps 237,000 in 1900. No doubt there are similar skeletons in the cupboard of most, if not all, settler states. Why single Israel out for particular ire? The two-state solution is not the answer, but in lieu of a global anarchist revolution, it's about the best option available at the moment.

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