- Who are the enemies of the liberation movement?
- Who are the allies of the liberation movement?
- What is the only language that the enemy understands?
- What is the main purpose of the armed struggle?
- PFLP Introduction to this Edition
- Founding Document of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Our fighting people…
- People of the Arab nation…
- Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine (1969)
- Importance of Political Thought
- Who Are Our Enemies?
- (1) Israel
- (2) World Zionist Movement
- (3) World Imperialism
- (4) Arab Reaction represented by Feudalism and Capitalism.
- Forces of the Revolution
- The Palestinian Petit Bourgeoisie
PFLP Introduction to this Edition
The Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine is both a historical document and a living political program for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Issued in 1969 at the time of the Front’s second Congress, this document lays out the fundamental understandings and analysis of the PFLP in relation to the colonization of Palestine, the forces of the revolution and the forces arrayed against the Palestinian people.
In addition, the second section of the “Strategy” puts forward the organizational vision and program of the Front. In Arabic, in fact, this document is known as the “Political and Organizational Strategy” of the Front; however, its English title, the Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine, lays out clearly what this document presents—a vision, analysis and understanding to guide the tasks of the Palestinian national liberation movement in working for freedom, return and liberation.
Since the original publication of this document, nearly fifty years have passed. In that time, a great deal of historical developments and changes have taken place since its publication. The document contains references to a global socialist camp and the Soviet Union, which no longer reflect our current reality. Many other changes have taken place as well, including some which firmly underline the analysis presented in this publication. The process of negotiations and political settlement that began with Madrid and Oslo and led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority to represent certain sectors of the Palestinian capitalist class while undermining the Palestinian national liberation movement—including engaging in security coordination with the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian resistance, a dagger in the back of the Palestinian revolution. The development of the Palestinian Authority and its role well reflects the analysis originally presented here in “The Palestinian Bourgeoisie.” The entire path of Oslo and the role of the Palestinian Authority have served to create an institutional framework for Palestinian capital as a subcontractor for Israeli occupation while diverting the Palestinian cause from a path of resistance and revolution to a futile road of negotiations. Today, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine continues to uphold the position represented in this document and by leaders such as Abu Ali Mustafa, slain in 2001 by an Israeli-fired, US-made missile in the window of his office in Ramallah: “Liberation, not Negotiations!”
This document also reflects the Front’s close relationship at the time of its founding with anti-colonial and revolutionary movements around the world. The document takes inspiration from the writings of Mao Zedong, the experience of the Chinese Revolution and, contemporaneously, the struggle of the Vietnamese people for liberation, unity and socialism. The close relationship reflected here with other revolutionary and national liberation movements has continued to be a strong reality in principle and in practice throughout the history of the PFLP—from the period of the 1970s and 1980s, when fighters in African, Asian, Arab and Latin American liberation movements both joined the ranks of the Front but also trained for their own struggles in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon—to today’s ongoing joint struggles against our mutual enemies, in confrontation of imperialism, Zionism and capitalism.
In addition, the analysis of Arab reactionary regimes has remained exceptionally valid to the present day. While the roles of specific regimes has shifted—note, for example, the role of the Camp David agreement in shifting Egypt toward normalization and reaction—the analysis presented in this document continues to guide the Front’s relationship with powers like Saudi Arabia, deeply enmeshed with U.S. imperialism and playing a destructive role in Palestine and throughout the region.
2017 is a particularly significant year for the republication of this document, as it marks a series of anniversaries that only reiterate the importance of the analysis presented herein. It marks 100 years of the Balfour declaration and British colonization of Palestine, highlighting the centrality of the imperialist role in the colonization of Palestine until the present day, in which global imperialist powers, especially the United States, are the key strategic ally of the Zionist regime. This year also marks 70 years of al-Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe in which over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands by advancing Zionist militias to declare the racist, colonial-settler state of Israel on the land of Palestine. These militias, funded and supported by the world Zionist movement, reflect a role for the world Zionist movement that did not end in 1948 or 1969, upon this book’s publication, but continue to play a key role around the world in maintaining alliances with imperialist and colonialist powers and working to suppress international and Palestinian organizing for justice and liberation.
2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and all of Jerusalem, as well as the Arab lands of the Syrian Golan Heights (which remains occupied today) and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. It also marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the period immediately following the 1967 war as a revolutionary response to setback and defeat. This political timing is tangible throughout the document; it is an urgent response to a critical development for the Palestinian and Arab peoples. The republication of this document in English today makes it clear that despite the significant events that followed its publication, including “Black September” and the attack of the Jordanian regime that drove the Palestinian revolution from Jordan, the Lebanese Civil War and the Zionist invasion and occupation of Lebanon that pushed the central location of the Palestinian revolution from the refugee camps of Lebanon, to the Intifadas and the devastation of Oslo, the fundamental analysis presented here remains the guiding political framework of a leftist, revolutionary approach to the liberation of Palestine—an approach that we view as fundamentally necessary to achieving victory and liberation in Palestine.
Since the release of the “Strategy,” the Front’s position has been further developed and elaborated in response to the movement of history and the develop ing Palestinian, Arab and international situation. The Front’s Congresses and Conventions have produced political documents that highlight the position of the Front, both as a political organization and as an active revolutionary movement deeply engaged in Palestinian resistance of struggle inside occupied Palestine, in the refugee camps of the Arab world and everywhere in the world where Palestinians and their comrades struggle for justice and liberation. One of the most important arenas of struggle for the Front have been Israeli jails, where thousands of comrades developed a revolutionary school of resistance and steadfastness in the face of torture and interrogation, a trend that is represented today by Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the PFLP, and hundreds of imprisoned comrades held with him and with fellow Palestinian revolutionaries behind the bars of the occupier’s jails. Ghassan Kanafani, one of the founders and lead ers of the Front, a shaper of its political vision, a rev olutionary strategist and a creative thinker, artist and writer, participated in the creation of this document alongside his comrades in the leadership of the Front. For his role in the culture and practice of resistance, he was assassinated—along with his niece Lamis—by a Mossad car bomb in 1972. However, his words of the time remain just as compelling today, and the occa sion of the English republication of this document once again recalls their correctness and urgency:
“The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever they are, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.”
- The Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine is a historical document and a living political program for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
- It was issued in 1969 and presents a vision, analysis, and understanding to guide the Palestinian national liberation movement.
- The document reflects the Front's close relationship with anti-colonial and revolutionary movements worldwide.
- It highlights the importance of the analysis presented, despite significant events that followed its publication.
- The Front's position has been further developed and elaborated in response to the Palestinian, Arab, and international situation.
- The Front is deeply engaged in Palestinian resistance and struggle inside occupied Palestine, refugee camps, and worldwide.
- The document emphasizes the role of Israeli jails as an important arena of struggle for the Front.
- Ghassan Kanafani, one of the founders of the Front, played a significant role in its creation but was assassinated in 1972.
- The English republication of this document reiterates its correctness and urgency.
- The Palestinian cause is not only for Palestinians but also for every revolutionary supporting the exploited and oppressed masses.
Founding Document of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(11 December 1967)
Founding Document of the PFLP
People of the Arab nation….
People of Palestine…
Fifty years ago, the masses of our people faced a continuing series of assaults by Zionism and colonialism upon the people of this nation, and our right to liberty and life. Fifty years later and the global forces of Zionism and imperialism continue concocting plots, attacks and wars in order to establish the idea of an entity— the State of Israel. On each day of this historic era, the masses of people are struggling against each of these schemes. We have seen throughout the years in the life of our Palestinian people, a continuation of this struggle through upheavals and uprisings, crystallizing in the last period in commando work practiced by the vanguards of the people on the ground with full refusal of submission, surrender and compromise, and other serious forms and methods of political action. This advance has also represented the determination of the masses of the Palestinian people to take the initiative to pave a road to full emancipation, which is simultaneously the responsibility of the entire Arab masses.
Our struggling people..
The military defeat suffered by the Arab armies served as the beginning of a new phase of work in which the revolutionary masses must take their responsible leadership role in confronting the forces and weapons of imperialism and Zionism, which history has proved is the most effective weapon to crush all forms of colonial aggression and to give the initiative to the popular masses to formulate the future according to their will and interests. The only weapon left to the masses in order to restore history and progress and truly defeat enemies and potential enemies in the long run is revolutionary violence in confronting Zionist violence and reaction. There is no other option in front of the masses of the Arab nation—they face a fierce enemy who wants them to surrender unconditionally. The hopes and anticipation of the Arab masses have reached a qualitatively new level from before the fifth of June; they are aware of the nature of the stage and the objective conditions have matured to the extent that allows us to raise the slogan of the popular armed struggle and put it into practice until victory in a long and protracted battle, a victory that must be achieved through the will and aspirations of the masses.
The entire masses of our Palestinian people live today for the first time since the catastrophe of 1948 on a completely occupied Palestinian territory, con fronting a rapacious enemy face to face, and we now must take up this challenge to its conclusion or we must accept or surrender to the ambitions of the enemy and the daily humiliation of our people and absorbed fortunes of our lives. The displacement and dispersion of the last twenty years have created a circumstance in which we must confront the Zionist invaders; the fate of our people and our cause and every human being in Palestine relies upon our Palestinian determination to fight the invaders in order to preserve our dignity, and our lands and our rights.
Palestinian people displaced in the camps of dis placement and isolation…
Tillers of our inflamed land…
Oh poor, steadfast in our cities and villages, in the camps of misery…
Through your valor and resistance in confront ing the enemy, one slogan is paramount and repeated daily—only armed resistance, and there is no life for us on our occupied land except the life of popular armed struggle in the service of our objectives and the daily battle. The armed resistance is the only effective method that must be used by the popular masses in dealing with the Zionist enemy and all of its interests and its presence, the masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilize them as active partici pants and leaders, something that can only be achieved through systematic organization addressing the armed struggle of the forces of the masses, creating a heightened awareness of the full dimensions of the battle and the stages, and continuous recruitment of manpower for the armed organization, building the revolutionary leadership in order to become more able to exercise resistance and continue despite all the difficulties and obstacles. Therefore, in order to unite the forces and energies of the Palestinian masses in the occupied land, we have held a full meeting between the following Palestinian organizations: The Heroes of the Return, the Palestinian Liberation Front squads (Organization of martyr Abdul Latif Shrour—Organization of the martyr Qassam—Organization of the martyr Abdul-Qader Al-Husseini), the National Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Youth Organization for Vengeance), and several other Palestinian groups on the homeland. These organizations have agreed among themselves to unite under the banner of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, achieving a fateful unity among these forces, realizing that the nature and dimensions of the battle and the hostile forces requires us to cluster all efforts and revolutionary ranks for our long and bitter struggle against our enemies.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, initiated and directed by a core group of revolutionaries, is at the same time open to all forces and Palestinian groups, to meet in a broad national revolutionary front in order to achieve a national unity established between all factions engaged in armed struggle. The unity of all the freedom fighters is a real demand for our people, as the battle is long and cruel and rupture is intolerable in the ranks of the national movement, and therefore the Popular Front is dedicated entirely to this requirement, because it has formed on this basis. Today our masses are marching through the doors of armed struggle and we believe that the masses’ leadership in the armed struggle, bearing its standard as the only guarantee for the steadfastness of this struggle and its escalation up to the level of the Palestinian revolution, with all of its dimensions and content.
- Founding document of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
- Addresses ongoing assaults by Zionism and colonialism on the Palestinian people's right to liberty and life
- Emphasizes the importance of revolutionary violence in confronting Zionist violence and reaction
- Highlights the need for armed resistance as the only effective method to preserve dignity, lands, and rights
- Calls for unity of Palestinian forces under the banner of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Aims to achieve national unity and establish a broad national revolutionary front
- Stresses the leadership of the masses in the armed struggle and the guarantee of steadfastness and escalation of the Palestinian revolution
Our fighting people…
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence. The armed struggle is the main curriculum for our protracted conflict that we are waging against occupation and against attempts to liquidate our struggle through attempts at settlement, which have begun again in some areas of the Arab homeland and impose a totally unacceptable occupation upon some parts of our Arab land. We are fighting against the enemy in every land where the feet of his soldiers’ march. This is our historical approach—where we are going until we reach the stage where we open a wider front against the enemy and turn our land into a burning hell for the invaders. The crossfire of armed struggle is not known to have limits and the armed resistance should not be confined to the militants, but also embrace all parts and sectors of the Palestinian resistance against the enemy at every level, deal ing with the enemy militarily, but also a total boycott of all economic, civil and political institutions of the enemy and a rejection of all ties.
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses. Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons. In order to liberate this land, and for our steadfast people, our fighters today fall with their heads lifted. The masses—Oh sons of our heroic people—are the life breath of the fighters, and it is the involvement of the masses in the battle that ensures victory in the long run. The popular support for the militants at all levels in every land form the basis for genuine, firm, and escalating struggle and steadfastness, rising until we crush the enemy.
In this war for our occupied land, and the fate of collaborators and traitors and enemies of the people will be the fate of the occupying enemy, crushed in full. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is determined to reject delay and hesitation in engaging in the struggle in our occupied land and declares its deter mination to reject humility and humiliation and settlements. We stand today before our masses, our people, promising to provide them with the truth, the whole truth in every respect, regarding our struggles, achievements and obstacles facing our armed action. The truth must be the property of the masses because there is no other force more committed to their own interests. The masses must be fully aware of the achievements and problems of the armed struggle without exaggeration or hype because they are the custodians of the objectives of this struggle and their aspirations, which will \be given to this struggle, include every possession, up to their blood. The active members, the fighters on the Palestinian land today pursue a new path of political action and deal with the masses with full openness and truth.
People of the Arab nation…
This battle is long and harsh, and the armed resistance today is the vanguard of fighting along the stead fast Arab front. Every Arab demands today to provide full support for the march of the armed combat corps at all levels. The Palestinian fighting masses on the occupied land are actors of the Arab revolutionary march against imperialism and its proxy forces. In our response to the Zionist alliance and colonialism, we must make the organic link between the struggle of the Palestinian people and the struggle of the masses of the Arab people, facing the same risks and the same schemes, and therefore the work of the Palestinian armed struggle determines the position of the Arabs who stand by the struggle, against those who stand against it. The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding governing coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world. Our struggling masses everywhere on Palestinian land…
Fellow workers and peasants ..
Oh poor people and refugees ..
Fellow students ..
Clerks and traders…
This is the beginning of a movement of the people flying the flags of sacrifice, steadfastness and challenge. We are on the ground and we promise that armed struggle is not a rosy dream, but more fighting, led by the political mobilization of the masses to defend the defenseless against reprisal and persecution. We are marching each fighting step today, preparing to fight a long, harsh and bitter battle with your leadership and commitment as the true owners of the cause. That bat tle is not easy nor quick, but it is the battle of destiny and its presence requires our deep commitment, ability to continue, and steadfastness.
Glory to the steadfast of our Arab nation
Glory to the struggle of our people
Long live the unity of our fighters on the land of Palestine
We will surely win.
- The enemy only understands the language of revolutionary violence.
- The armed struggle is the main curriculum in the ongoing conflict against occupation and settlement attempts.
- The armed resistance should not be limited to militants but should involve all sectors of Palestinian resistance.
- The masses must embrace the slogan of resistance until victory and commit to defending every inch of Palestinian land.
- Popular support for militants forms the basis for genuine and escalating struggle.
- The fate of collaborators, traitors, and enemies will be the same as the occupying enemy.
- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine rejects delay, hesitation, humility, humiliation, and settlements.
- The masses must be fully aware of the achievements and problems of the armed struggle.
- The armed resistance in Palestine is part of the larger Arab revolutionary march against imperialism.
- The struggle of the Palestinian people is connected to the struggle of the Arab masses.
- The Palestinian armed struggle determines the position of Arabs who support or oppose the struggle.
- The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked to the forces of revolution and progress worldwide.
- The movement of the people is characterized by sacrifice, steadfastness, and challenge.
- The armed struggle requires political mobilization and the defense of the defenseless.
- The battle for liberation is long, harsh, and bitter, requiring deep commitment and steadfastness.
- Glory to the steadfastness of the Arab nation and the struggle of the Palestinian people.
- Long live the unity of fighters on the land of Palestine.
- Victory is certain.
Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine (1969)
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in spite of the short time that has elapsed since its foundation—its political age is barely one and a half years— has come to constitute, from the objective viewpoint, a politico-military manifestation that attracts the interest of wide circles of the Palestinian people, while, at the same time, daily attracting increased interest on both Arab and world levels.
This manifestation, inasmuch as it bears the factors of revolutionary growth through which it is endeavor ing to attain the level of historical revolution, is also facing a combination of real dangers, both subjective and objective, which threaten its existence and attempt to impede its growth and progress.
In light of this general evaluation of the Front’s existence which demands alertness, a deep sense of historical responsibility and conscious understanding of the importance of scientific precision in viewing the struggle and in facing the problems of operation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held its Congress in February 1969. It studied the strategy of Palestinian revolutionary action and defined the general political, organizational and military steps which should be taken to ensure the Front’s consistent growth so as to enable it to rise to the level of the liberation challenge which it has undertaken.
Importance of Political Thought
One of the basic conditions of success is a clear perspective of things: a clear perspective of the enemy and a clear perspective of the revolutionary forces. It is in this light that the strategy of the struggle is determined, and without this perspective, national action becomes an impetuous gamble that soon ends in failure. Thus, after decades of fighting and sacrifice, it has become imperative for the Palestinian people to assure themselves that their armed struggle this time has the required conditions for success. Our people have waged a long fight against Zionist and colonialist plans. Since 1917 (the Balfour Declaration), the masses of our people have been fighting to keep their soil, to obtain freedom, to free their country from colonialists, to assert their right to self-determination and to exploit their country’s resources for their own benefit. Their struggle against Zionism and colonialism has taken every form and method. In 1936 our people took up arms in defense of their lands, homes, freedom and the right to build their future, offering thousands of martyrs and bearing all sorts of sacrifices. During that period of history, the armed struggle of our people created a state of mass consciousness not less than that in which our masses are rallying around commando action today. Nevertheless, in spite of all the sacrifices, of the long line of martyrs whose number exceeded that of today’s martyrs in commando action, of the taking up of arms and of the masses’ enthusiasm, our people even until this day, have not triumphed. Most of them are still living in the wretched conditions of the camps and under the yoke of occupation. Consequently, to assure ourselves of the success of the struggle, it is not sufficient for us to take up arms. Some armed revolutions in history have ended in victory, but others have ended in failure. It is incumbent upon us to face the facts with a frank, courageous and revolutionary scientific mentality. A clear perspective of things and of the real forces taking part in the struggle leads to success, while impetuosity and spontaneity lead to failure.
This shows clearly the importance of scientific political thought, which guides the revolution and plans its strategy. Revolutionary political thought is not an abstract idea hanging in a vacuum, or a mental luxury, or an intellectual hobby for the educated, which we can, if we wish, lay aside as an unnecessary luxury. Scientific revolutionary thought is clear thought whereby the masses are able to understand their enemy, his points of weakness or strength and the forces that support and ally themselves to the enemy. Likewise, the masses should understand their own forces, the forces of revolution, how to mobilize, how to overcome the enemy’s points of strength and take advantage of the weakness of the enemy, and through what organization, mobilization and political and military programs, they can escalate their forces until they can crush the enemy and achieve victory.
It is this revolutionary political thought that explains to the masses of our people the reasons for their failure hitherto in their confrontation with the enemy: why their armed revolt of 1936 and their attempts before 1936 failed, what led to the 1967 defeat, the truth about the hostile alliance against which they are waging war, and with what counter-alliance they can face it, and by what method. All of this should be put in clear language that the masses can understand. Through this understanding they get a clear perspective of the battle and its dimensions, forces and weapons, so that their thinking emerges as a force around which they are united with one perspective of the battle and one strategy.
To us, political thought means a clear vision of the battle before us, and this is why we stress the importance and seriousness of this matter. What does it mean to fight without political thought? It means to fight in a manner that lacks planning, to fall into errors with out realizing how serious they are or how to deal with them, to improvise political positions not based on a clear view. When political positions are improvised there is usually a multiplicity of positions which means dispersed forces, with the result that the revolutionary forces of our people are dispersed along many paths instead of all converging on one path as one solid force.
We want to warn against the danger of taking this matter lightly. There is among our combatants and in our bases, a trend that confuses revolutionary political thought with political debauchery as represented by certain “political forces” and “political leaders.” This trend confuses revolutionary political thought with the outworn political methods used by the Palestinian national movement before the armed struggle strategy. Also, this trend confuses political thought and the com plicated sophistry of certain intellectuals in discussing matters pertaining to the revolution. Thus the trend in question tries to disdain or make light of political thought, and it is therefore necessary for us here to perform a radical corrective operation. It is revolutionary political thought that exposes “political debauchery,” strengthens our conviction in the armed struggle and unveils before the public the stupid sophistry that com plicates the problems of the revolution instead of serving its cause.
To perform this revolutionary role, political thought must (1) be scientific, (2) be so clear as to be within the reach of the masses, and (3) go beyond generalities and penetrate as deeply as possible into the strategy and tactics of the battle to guide the combatants in facing their problems. When revolutionary thought fulfils these requirements it becomes the most effective weapon in the hands of the masses, enabling them to consolidate their forces and have a perfectly clear view of the battle with all the forces in action and of the position of each of these forces from the beginning of the revolution to its conclusive end.
- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a politico-military manifestation that attracts wide interest among Palestinians, Arabs, and the world.
- The PFLP faces subjective and objective dangers that threaten its existence and growth.
- The PFLP held a Congress in February 1969 to study the strategy of Palestinian revolutionary action and define political, organizational, and military steps for consistent growth.
- A clear perspective of the enemy and revolutionary forces is essential for success in national action.
- Scientific political thought guides the revolution and plans its strategy.
- Revolutionary political thought helps the masses understand their enemy, their own forces, and how to mobilize and overcome the enemy.
- Political thought explains the reasons for past failures and provides a clear perspective of the battle and its dimensions.
- Political thought must be scientific, clear, and penetrate deeply into the strategy and tactics of the battle.
- Political thought is the most effective weapon in the hands of the masses to consolidate their forces and have a clear view of the battle.
- There is a danger of confusing revolutionary political thought with political debauchery or intellectual sophistry.
- Revolutionary political thought exposes political debauchery, strengthens belief in the armed struggle, and unveils deceptive arguments.
Who Are Our Enemies?
In his article, “Analysis of the Classes of Chinese Society” (March 1926) Mao Tse-Tung writes: Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?
This is a question of the first importance for the revolution. The basic reason why all previous rev olutionary struggles in China achieved so little is their failure to unite with real friends in order to attack real enemies. A revolutionary party is the guide of the masses, and no revolution ever succeeds when the revolutionary party leads them astray. To ensure that we will definitely achieve success in our revolution and will not lead the masses astray, we must pay attention to uniting with our real friends in order to attack our real enemies. We must make a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes in Chinese society and of their respective attitudes towards the revolution.
Who then are our real enemies? Political thinking behind any revolution commences by posing this question and replying to it. Admittedly, the masses of our Palestinian people have not yet answered this in a clear, specific and conclusive manner. Without a clear definition of the enemy, a clear view of the battle becomes impossible.
The evaluation of the adversary by our masses has been an emotional process until now. When we achieve a few partial victories there prevails among the masses a general atmosphere that belittles the enemy’s power, imagining the battle to be a quick and easy one in which it is possible for us to triumph within a short period. On the other hand, when the enemy deals us severe blows we sometimes go to the other extreme and imagine our enemy as an invincible force.
It is evident that with such emotional vacillation, it is impossible for us to have a scientific view of the battle or to plan intelligently and with perseverance for winning it.
The time has come for our masses to understand the true nature of the enemy because, through such understanding, the picture of the battle becomes clear to them.
In our battle for liberation we first face Israel as a political, military and economic entity that is trying to effect the maximum military mobilization of its two and a half million nationals to defend its aggressive expansionist racial structure and prevent us from regaining our land, our freedom and our rights. This enemy enjoys a marked technological superi ority, which is clearly reflected by the standard of its armament and training and by the dynamism of its movement. It also enjoys a great ability to mobilize resulting from its feeling that it is waging a life-or-death battle and that consequently it has no alternative but to defend itself until its last breath.
This ability to mobilize and this technological superiority must be kept in our minds at all times through out our confrontation with the enemy. It is not by chance that we hitherto lost all our battles with this enemy, and it would be a big mistake to give partial or haphazard explanation to our defeats. Understanding the true nature of the enemy is the first step to strategic planning for victory. But is Israel the only enemy that we are facing in the battle? It would be a gross error to confine our view of the enemy to Israel alone, for then we should be like one who imagines that he is in conflict with one man, only to find himself face to face with ten men for whom he is not prepared.
(2) World Zionist Movement
Israel is in reality an integral part of the world Zionist movement—indeed, it is an offshoot of this movement. Thus, in our battle with Israel, we are facing, not the State of Israel alone, but an Israel whose structure is founded on the strength of the Zionist movement. Zionism as a racial-religious movement is trying to organize and recruit 14 million Jews in all parts of the world to support Israel, protect its aggressive existence and consolidate and expand this existence. This support is not confined to moral backing: it is really and basically a material support that provides Israel with more people, more money, more arms, more technical know how and more alliances concluded by the movement by virtue of its influence, in addition to its support through publicity and propaganda in every part of the world. Thus, when we say that our enemy is Israel plus the Zionist movement we do not add to our enemy a mere string of words but a material force of a certain size that we must take into account in making our calculations for the battle.
In the present report we confine ourselves to this general view of Israel and the world Zionist movement, but we must refer to the necessity of making a precise and detailed study of Israel and the world Zionist movement. Far from obstructing the general view, such a study would confirm this view and make it more palpable, thus enabling us to get rid of any superficial imagination about our enemy.
Some interest has been displayed in recent years in the study of Israel and the world Zionist movement. Such studies place before us the facts about this enemy and the political, military, economic and social aspects of its life. Our political and military cadres are expected to read these studies regardless of the political trend governing the writers’ line of thinking because, from particular data and facts, and through detailed information, we will have a true, concrete picture of the enemy whom we are fighting.
It must be pointed out that the enemy facing us and represented by Israel and Zionism is naturally governed by a number of conflicts both inside Israel, as in any other society, and between Israel and the world Zionist movement.
These conflicts must be for us a subject of constant study and research. The growth of the resistance movement will undoubtedly increase the acuity of these conflicts so that we may be able to channel them to serve the interest of the liberation battle. As far as the coming battle is concerned these contradictions have not reached a degree that hampers the full concentration and consolidation taking place inside Israel and the world Zionist movement. For us the picture of the enemy must remain that of a camp that is being strongly and efficiently concentrated and consolidated with technical skill and precise organization with the object of fully mobilizing the inhabitants of Israel and world Jewry to face us in this battle.
Now, does our perspective of the enemy stop at this limit?
Is this the picture of “all the enemy” we are facing? We repeat that we would be committing a big mistake if we fail to make scientific calculations for the battle if we allow and our perspective to stop at this limit. In the battle for the liberation of Palestine, we are facing a third force, that of world imperialism led by the United States of America.
(3) World Imperialism
World imperialism has its interests which it fights fiercely to defend and keep. These interests consist in robbing the riches of the underdeveloped countries by purchasing them at the lowest prices and then processing these riches and re-selling them at the highest prices in the markets of these same countries.
By this operation they accumulate immense profits enabling them to increase their capital at the expense of the people’s poverty, deprivation and wretchedness. The Arab world possesses many resources, mainly petroleum, and constitutes a big consuming market for manufactured goods. Imperialism wants to maintain this situation to allow the process accumulation of imperialist wealth to continue on the one hand and our poverty to increase on the other. To this end, it is genuinely determined to crush any revolutionary movement which aims at freeing our country and people from this exploitation.
The revolutionary movement of the masses in the Arab World naturally aims at destroying Israel because Israel is a force which has usurped a portion of this world and is a great danger threatening other portions of it. Consequently, Israel cannot but fight to the end, any Palestinian or Arab revolutionary movement. Here imperialism finds itself in the best position in this part of the world, because through Israel it is able to fight the Arab revolutionary movement which aims at eliminating it from our homeland with Israel becoming the force and the base used by imperialism to protect its presence and defend its interests in our land. Such a situation creates an organic unity between Israel and the Zionist movement on the one hand and word imperialism on the other, because they are both interested in fighting the Palestinian and Arab national liberation movement. Thus the protection, reinforcement and support of Israel and the maintenance of its existence, are fundamental matters for the interests of world imperialism. This gives us a coherent picture of the enemy which clearly embraces Israel, the world Zionist movement and world imperialism.
Here also we want to stress that the addition of imperialism to our image of the enemy camp should not be regarded as an addition of mere words to our definition of the enemy, for it enters into the concrete picture we have of the enemy against whom we are waging this battle. Imperialism here means more arms, more support and more money for Israel. It means Phantom jets, atomic bomb secrets, and the building of an economy capable of facing the permanent blockade and state of war which we try to impose. Here millions upon millions of West German marks and American dollars are converted into a concrete force which increases Israeli strength and should therefore be taken into account in our calculations for the battle.
Our enemy then is not Israel alone. It is Israel, Zionism, imperialism, and unless we have a clear scientific knowledge of our enemy we cannot hope to triumph over it. The opinion which attempts to “neutralise” the Palestinian question on the international level by contending; “Why not try to win America to our side in the battle instead of allowing it to remain on Israel’s side?” is an erroneous and dangerous opinion because it is unscientific, unrealistic and far from being accurate. It is dangerous because it camouflages the truth about the enemy facing us and leads to erroneous calculations during the battle.
Does our definition of the enemy stop at this limit? Are these all the forces which we are facing in the Palestine liberation battle?
Is this “all the enemy” facing us? There is a fourth force which substantially stands on the side of the enemy camp and which we must view and define clearly.
(4) Arab Reaction represented by Feudalism and Capitalism.
Arab capitalism, whose interests are represented and defended by reactionary regimes in the Arab world, does not constitute an independent capitalist unit and is consequently unable to assume independent political positions. In point of fact, this capitalism represents weak branches of world capitalism that are interconnected with, and form an integral part of, the latter. The millionaires of the Arab world, including merchants, bankers, feudal lords, owners of large estates, kings, emirs and sheikhs, have in fact acquired their millions by virtue of their cooperation with world capitalism. They have amassed this wealth because they are commercial agents for goods produced by foreign capital, or secondary shareholders in foreign banking establishments or insurance companies, or they are sheikhs, emirs and kings at the head of regimes that defend and protect colonial interests and strike at any mass movement aiming at freeing our economy from this exploiting influence. Consequently, they cannot keep their millions unless our land remains a market for foreign goods and foreign investments, and unless the colonialists continue to plunder our oil and other resources, because this is the only way that enables them to acquire and keep their millions.
This means that, in a real liberation battle waged by the masses to destroy imperialist influence in our homeland, Arab reaction cannot but be on the side of its own interests, the continuation of which depends on the persistence of imperialism, and consequently can not side with the masses.
These Arab reactionary forces—particularly the intelligent ones—may outwardly support superficial national movements with the object of using them to settle, to their own advantage, some of their side conflicts with Israel or with world imperialism, but in the end they are inevitably against any national liberation movement that aims at uprooting colonialism from our soil and building an independent economy that will serve the interests of the masses instead of going into the pockets of the few representing these reactionary forces.
The growth of the revolutionary mass movement means, in relation to these forces, the growth of the people’s authority that acts to destroy the authority of these forces. Therefore, whatever degree their conflicts with Israel and imperialism attain, they are at all times conscious of the fact that their main conflict is with the movement of the masses which seeks the complete destruction of their interests and authority.
The classification of Arab reaction as one of the forces of the enemy is of the utmost importance, because failure to recognize this fact means failure to have a clear view before us. In actual practice it means failure to take account of real bases and forces for the enemy camp that are living among us and are capable of playing a diversionary role that disguises the facts of the battle before the masses and which, when the opportunity arises, will take the revolution unawares and deal it a blow leading to defeat.
This then is the enemy camp that we are really facing in our battle for the liberation of Palestine. We cannot win this battle without a clear sight of all parties in this camp. In light of the definition of these parties and our perception of the connections that bind them together, it becomes clear that our strongest enemy, the real and main enemy, is world imperialism, that Arab reaction is but one of its offshoots, and that Israel’s power lies in its being one of the bases of world imperialism that is providing it with all sources of power and converting it into a big military force possessing the technological superiority and the economy that enable it to survive in spite of the conditions under which it lives.
Thus the struggle for the liberation of Palestine, like any other liberation struggle in the world, becomes a struggle against world imperialism which is intent on plundering the wealth of the underdeveloped world and on keeping it a market for its goods. Naturally Israel—and the Zionist movement as well—have their own characteristics, but these characteristics must be viewed in light of Israel’s organic link with imperialism.
Following the end of the First World War, the Palestinian feudal forces and bourgeoisie tried to picture the struggle as if the enemy was only the Zionist movement and the Jews in Palestine, and on the basis that British colonialism would act as a neutral force in this conflict. It was only later that the masses, through the national contingents that formed their vanguard, became aware that their real enemy was British colonialism which wanted to strengthen and support the Zionist movement in our country as a means of striking at the ambitions of the progressive masses.
Our people today are no longer in need of new experiments and improvised actions. In our struggle for the liberation of Palestine, we face primarily world imperialism, our battle is directed basically against it, against Israel which acts as its base and against the reactionary forces which are allied to it. We will not win the battle unless we have a clear knowledge of our enemy to ensure that our calculations for the battle are correct.
Any deficiency or lack of clarity in our view of the enemy camp with all its parties, contingents and alliances means a deficiency or lack of clarity in our imagination of the level of revolutionary mobilization that we must undertake to be able to confront such a camp and attain superiority over it in our battle.
In light of all this the main features of the enemy facing us become clear:
- Our enemy in the battle is Israel, Zionism, world imperialism and Arab reaction.
- This enemy possesses technological superiority and definite superiority in production which naturally develops into military superiority and great fighting power.
- In addition to all this, the enemy has long experience in facing the masses’ movement towards economic and political liberation and has the power to defeat such a movement unless the masses possess that high degree of political consciousness that enables them to counteract all methods used by the neo-colonialists in trying to defeat revolutionary movements.
- The nature of the battle in relation to this enemy’s principal military base represented by Israel is a life-or-death struggle that the political and military leadership inside Israel will endeavor to put up until the last breath.
This clear view of the enemy camp puts matters in the right perspective and eliminates any superficial view of the battle. It is this clear perspective that determines the time and place of the battle and the nature of the fight. In other words, it is this perspective that determines:
- The importance of the revolutionary theory and revolutionary political thinking that is capable of mobilizing all revolutionary forces to confront the enemy, to stand firm in this confrontation and to counteract all enemy measures to thwart and undermine revolutionary action.
- The powerful political organization that is the vanguard of the forces of revolution in the struggle, armed with a stronger determination to win than the enemy’s determination to defend its existence and interests to the last breath.
- The nature and size of the revolutionary alliances that must be recruited to confront the entire enemy camp.
- The course of armed struggle, taking the form of guerrilla warfare at first, and developing in the direction of the protracted people’s liberation war which will ensure ultimate triumph over the enemy’s technological and military superiority. It is the nature of the enemy that determines the nature of the confrontation and here lies the danger of any superficial or unscientific look at the enemy camp and its main characteristics.
- The enemy camp in the battle for the liberation of Palestine consists of Israel, Zionism, world imperialism, and Arab reaction.
- Israel is a political, military, and economic entity that aims to defend its expansionist structure and prevent the Palestinians from regaining their land, freedom, and rights.
- The Zionist movement supports and protects Israel, mobilizing Jews worldwide to contribute to its existence and expansion.
- World imperialism, led by the United States, seeks to maintain control over underdeveloped countries' resources and markets, including the Arab world.
- Arab reaction, represented by feudalism and capitalism, is aligned with imperialism and opposes any movement that aims to free the region from colonial exploitation.
- Understanding the true nature of the enemy is crucial for strategic planning and victory in the liberation battle.
- The battle involves technological and military superiority, and the enemy's ability to mobilize resources and support.
- The struggle is not limited to Israel alone; it encompasses the world Zionist movement and world imperialism.
- A clear view of the enemy camp helps determine the revolutionary theory, political organization, alliances, and the course of armed struggle.
- The ultimate goal is to counteract the enemy's superiority and achieve liberation through a protracted people's liberation war.
Forces of the Revolution
Who are our friends—the forces of revolution? What are the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level?
It is essential to define the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level from a class angle. To say that the Palestinian people with all their classes are in the same revolutionary position with regard to Israel and that all classes of the Palestinian people have the same revolutionary capacity because they find themselves with out a territory and live outside their country would be unrealistic and unscientific. Such a statement would be correct had the entire Palestinian people been experiencing the same material living conditions. As it is, the Palestinian people do not all live under these same conditions but rather under different living conditions, a fact that we cannot scientifically ignore. Therefore, it is necessary to stop at these different conditions and the different positions to which they give rise.
It is true that large numbers of the Palestinian people were driven outside their country in 1948 and found themselves in almost identical conditions of homelessness. It is also true that the remainder of the Palestinian people who stayed on were at all times threatened with the same fate. However, during the last twenty years, the Palestinian people have settled down into certain well-marked class conditions so that it would be wrong to say that the entire Palestinian people are without a territory, or that they are entirely revolutionary. In the course of the last twenty years, certain well-defined class interests have arisen and have become the basis for defining positions. The bourgeoisie has come to have its own interests and is consequently concerned with stability and the continuation of its preferential class conditions.
Therefore, in our definition of the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level, we must begin from a class angle.
Rightist thought in the Palestinian and Arab field tries to eliminate or dilute the class view of things, and it is therefore necessary to defeat all these attempts.
There is for instance the allegation that the class picture in the Palestinian field as well as in the under developed countries is not as crystallized as it is in the advanced capitalist communities, and that consequently it is wrong to treat the class question in such communities in the same manner as in other countries.
Another opinion states that, since we are in the stage of national liberation, we cannot envisage a class struggle that is only justified in the stage of socialist revolution; consequently, in the stage of national liberation a class struggle would mean that the conflict among the classes of the people takes precedence over the conflict between the entire people and the foreign colonialists. Rightist thinking adds here that Israel represents a specific type of colonialism threatening the existence of all classes of the Palestinian people. Thus the question here is not one of class but of struggle between Zionist presence and Arab Palestinian presence, which means that all classes of the Palestinian and Arab people find themselves in the midst of a major conflict.
To allow this trend of political thought to follow its course without facing it scientifically and refuting it, would lead to total loss, to the obscurity of the view of the real revolutionary class forces that constitute the pivot of the revolution. There would also be the possi bility of the revolution falling under a class leadership that cannot bring it to the end of its destined course and is incapable of planning the radical revolutionary
programs that alone can help to win the battle. The class structure in an underdeveloped community naturally differs from that of industrial commu nities. In an industrial community there is a strong capitalist class opposite a numerous working class, and the basic struggle in such communities is a sharp clash between these classes.
Such a picture does not apply to underdeveloped communities. This is true, but underdeveloped communities are also class communities in which there are exploiting upper classes represented by colonialism, feudalism and the bourgeoisie. On the other hand, the exploited classes are represented by the workers and peasants. Each class has its own position with regard to the course of history and vis-à-vis the revolution. The upper classes are conservative, rejecting change and opposing the course of history, while the lower classes are revolutionary, seeking change and pushing history along its upward dialectical course. Consequently, discussion of the special nature of the underdeveloped communities is scientific to the extent that it stops sci entifically before the special nature of the class situa tion in these communities and its differentiation from the class situation in the advanced communities. On the other hand, it becomes prejudiced and unscientific if it dismisses the class question in these communities or minimizes the importance in the difference in these classes’ position with regard to the revolution. Here, for instance we live in an underdeveloped non-industrial community, but all the same, the masses of our people do not have the same living conditions. Thus, in Amman, to state only one example, there are people living in Jebel-Luwaibdeh 2, others in Jebel-Nazif 3, and still others in camps. All these people cannot have the same attitude toward the revolution. As for the contention that we are now passing through a stage of national liberation and not of socialist revolution, this relates to the subject of which classes are engaged in the struggle, which of them are with and which are against the revolution at each of its stages, but it does not eliminate the class question or the question of class struggle.
National liberation battles are also class battles. They are battles between colonialism and the feudal and capitalist class whose interests are linked with those of the colonialist on the one hand, and the other classes of the people representing the greater part of the nation on the other. If the saying that national liberation battles are national battles is intended to mean that they are battles waged by the overwhelming majority of the nation’s masses, then this saying is true, but if it is intended to mean that these battles are different from the class struggle between the exploiters and the exploited, then the saying is untrue.
It is also from this angle that we must consider the statement that the Zionist Israeli peril threatens the entire Palestinian and Arab existence, and that this struggle is one between the Zionist axis and the Arab axis. If this statement is intended to mean that the Zionist peril threatens the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian and Arab masses, then it is true and cer tain, but if it is intended deny the meeting of interests between Israel and Arab reactionaries (in spite of their numerical inferiority to the masses of the people) or to deny the difference in the revolutionary roles of the other classes, considering the revolutionary role of the petit bourgeoisie living in urban areas to be on the same level as that of the rural or camp population, then this is untrue.
To sum up, our class view of the forces of the Palestinian revolution must take into account the special nature of the class situation in underdeveloped communities and the fact that our battle is one of national liberation, as well as the special nature of the Zionist peril. This, however, means that we must adopt a scientific definition of the revolutionary classes and their roles in light of these special features, and should not at all lead to the dismissal of the class view in the definition of the forces of revolution.
Rightist thought is trying to dismiss the class view in the definition of the forces of revolution to enable the bourgeoisie to infiltrate into positions of leadership and obstruct the revolution at the limits imposed by its interests.
We must face forcefully all ideas attempting to con ceal the objective facts of the class question under a veil of vagueness and ambiguity. Are all classes represented on the actual field of battle today, or does the over whelming majority of combatants belong to the class of workers and peasants? If the overwhelming majority of combatants are the children of workers and peasants, then why should the political thinking of the Palestinian revolution not concur with the obvious objective facts?
Workers and peasants are the mainstay of the revolution, its basic class material and its leadership. In light of scientific socialist thinking, the experiences of world revolutions and the facts in evidence on the Palestinian field, we must clearly define and identify the revolutionary classes that are capable of shouldering the entire burden.
The revolutionary classes on the Palestinian field are the workers and peasants because it is these classes that are daily suffering the oppressive exploitation process exercised by world imperialism and its allies in our homeland.
It is the workers and peasants who today fill the miserable camps in which most Palestinians live. When we refer to the camps, we in reality, refer to a class situation representing the workers, peasants and the destitute sections of the petit bourgeoisie of the Palestinian people. On the other hand, the Palestinian bourgeoisie class does not live in camps, nor does the greater portion of the petit bourgeoisie. The camps are the workers, peas ants and downtrodden portion of the petit bourgeoisie whose living conditions do not differ much from those of the workers and peasants.
It is essential to have a clear view of things, and to have a clear political thinking that concurs with this view. It is also essential to define the forces and classes of the revolution and to determine which classes shall lead the revolution while we are at the start of this new stage of Palestinian national action. This being done, we must act in accordance with this definition, for otherwise we would in fact be repeating the impulsive fight undertaken by the masses of our people during the past fifty years without conclusive results.
The material of the Palestinian revolution, its main stay and its basic forces are the workers and peasants. These classes form the majority of the Palestinian people and physically fill all camps, villages and poor urban districts.
Here lie the forces of revolution… the forces of change. Here we find real preparation for long years of fighting. Here are the particular daily living conditions that drive people on to fight and die because the difference between death and life under such conditions is not much.
It is by starting from this objectivity that we are able to define the distinguishing mark between our people’s unsuccessful struggle during the past fifty years and this new stage of our struggle, to draw a line of demarcation between clarity and vagueness, and to determine the great difference between a revolutionary march ending in victory and a hesitant, unsteady march ending in failure.
When we have addressed ourselves to the workers and peasants—the inhabitants of camps, villages and poor urban districts—and armed them with political awareness, organization and fighting means, we shall have created the firm material foundation for a historical liberation revolution. It is the rise of such a solid revolutionary backbone that will enable us to conclude class alliances to benefit the revolution without exposing it to vacillation, deviation or defeat.
- Definition of the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level must consider the class angle and different living conditions.
- The entire Palestinian people do not have the same revolutionary capacity due to varying class interests.
- The bourgeoisie in Palestine has its own interests and prioritizes stability.
- Rightist thought attempts to eliminate the class view and must be defeated.
- Underdeveloped communities also have class structures, with upper classes being conservative and lower classes being revolutionary.
- National liberation battles are class battles between colonialism and the exploited classes.
- The Zionist Israeli peril threatens the majority of Palestinian and Arab masses.
- The class structure in underdeveloped communities differs from industrial communities.
- Workers and peasants are the mainstay of the revolution and fill the camps, villages, and poor urban districts.
- The material and forces of the Palestinian revolution are the workers and peasants.
- Defining the revolutionary classes and their roles is crucial for successful national action.
- Armed with political awareness and organization, the workers and peasants create a solid foundation for a historical liberation revolution.
The Palestinian Petit Bourgeoisie
What is this class? What is its size? What is its position regarding the revolution? What are the relations existing between it and the workers and peasants, the basic material for the revolution?
The petit bourgeoisie comprises the craftsmen, the educated groups such as students, teachers, junior employees, small shopkeepers, lawyers, engineers and medical men.
In the underdeveloped countries the petit bourgeoisie is very numerous and may constitute a large pro portion of the inhabitants. Consequently, in discussing this class, we must realize that we are discussing a large number of our people and that it is necessary to give the position of this numerous class a sound, clear, scientific definition because it would be a gross error affecting the progress of the revolution if we assigned to this class a role greater than that which it is really capable of per forming. On the other hand, it would be a gross error if any mistaken view of this class should lead the revolution to lose one of its forces.
When discussing the petit bourgeoisie, we must take into account the fact that it is not possible to view it and to define our position with regard to it as a clearly-delineated class. A portion of this class enjoys comfortable living conditions, assuring it of the basic necessities with some surplus, which makes it always look up to rising to the level of the upper bourgeoisie, while another portion of this class is barely capable of ensuring its basic living requirements, and is consequently closer to the revolution and more desirous of change. This shows the need to make a thorough study of the conditions prevailing among this class and the position of each of its groups in light of each stage of the revolution.
Unlike the working class, the petit bourgeoisie does not live within specific class conditions, and here lies the reason for its vacillation and its habit of shifting from one position to another according to the progress of the revolution and the particular stage it has reached.
However, it is possible for us to say in general that, during the stage of democratic national liberation, this class may be an ally to the force of the revolution and to its basic material represented by the workers and peasants, but alliance with this class must be so alert as to prevent it from infiltrating into the position of command because that would expose the revolution to vacillation and deviation or slackness.
Therefore, the revolutionary position regarding this class is defined on the basis of two main points: 1. That this class is an ally to the revolution. 2. That this ally is not the basic material for the revolution and consequently it is not permissible for the leadership to be placed under its command or the command of its programs and strategy. In view of this, the law that governs our relations with this class is one that impels us to take this class as an ally to stand with us in our main conflict with the enemy camp and at the same time to fight any attempts by this class to assume leadership of the revolution through its programs and strategy.
The application of this law to our relations with this is a matter of extreme delicacy, and at times, of extreme difficulty, because in addition to its large numerical size, this class possesses consciousness and knowledge by use of its class conditions and has therefore the intelligence to take advantage of this alliance to infiltrate into the position of leadership of the revolution unless the basic classes of the revolution represented by the workers and peasants have the necessary consciousness, organization and efficiency.
To be able to triumph over this class in our struggle with it around the leadership, that is, around the strategy of the revolution, its programs and organization frames without allowing this struggle to affect our main battle against the enemy, we must know when and how to accept as an ally and when and how to fight against it. Unless we know these things, it is feared that this struggle may lead to two fatal dangers:
1. That this struggle may be at the expense of our main struggle.
2. That the petit bourgeoisie may win this struggle and assume leadership of the revolution by virtue of the concrete power that it enjoys.
The criterion for the soundness of our position in this connection is to strike an alliance when such a course is demanded to serve the interest of the revolu tion and the masses and to fight when the masses are capable of feeling and understanding the reasons for this fight. The important thing is that we should be with the masses and the masses with us in both cases. During the periods when commando action faces dangers threatening its existence or periods when the enemy forces try to liquidate the issue we must raise the standard of alliance, work for it and stand before the masses as the forces calling for such alliance. In the event of struggle, the fight should be based on a specific position or specific issue felt by the masses. Our analysis of this class is that by virtue of its class structure it sometimes adopts vague, compromising or vacillating positions. This analysis means that specific occasions will arise when the organizations of this class will adopt such positions. On such occasions it would be possible for the masses to justify the fight and even to demand it, and to side with us in the course of prosecuting it. We have before us as an example the events of 4 November 1968 in Jordan when the reactionary authority in that country attempted by an intelligent scheme to undermine com mando action under the guise of striking at one of the commando organizations. The Popular Front here took a firm stand, led the fight and unveiled the vacillating positions adopted by the middle-of-the-road organiza tions. The masses rallied around the Front which, in spite of certain gaps in the position, achieved victory in foiling the reactionary plan. In the long revolutionary march that lies before us in the Palestinian field we are bound to face such situations from time to time, and there are occasions for taking over the reins of com mand from this class and its political expressions.
The settlement of the class leadership issue in the Palestinian field will not be an easy matter and will not occur within a short period, nor can it be permitted to take the form of a permanent struggle for leadership with or without occasion. It would be wrong to view this matter in an unrealistic manner. The settlement of the class leadership issue in the Palestinian field for the benefit of the worker’s, peasants and poor classes will take a long time and should occur without affecting our position regarding the main conflict and at a time when the masses are capable of justifying and understanding the bases and reasons for this struggle.
As for the purely theoretical struggle occurring with or without occasion in a form that the masses cannot justify and in a manner that makes it prevalent over the main conflict or makes us forget that this class is our ally the revolution, such a struggle could very well deviate the course of the battle and make us lose our position of leadership.
The basic consideration in our view of the revolutionary forces on the Palestinian level is the understand ing that the workers and peasants are the basic tool for the revolution, and that the strategy, positions, theory and nature of organization of the revolution should be those of the working class. When we attain a deep and clear realization of this fact and act on this basis, then an efficient political leadership can, during the national liberation stage, win over the petit bourgeoisie as a gen uine ally according to the Programme laid down by the working class and not by the petit bourgeoisie.
Alliance at the appropriate time on the basis of a Programme, and conflict at the appropriate time around a palpable position or issue is the way to settle the question of leadership in the Palestinian field for the benefit of the camp dwellers, with the necessity for a realistic, dialectical, nonidealistic view of the time and method required for this settlement.
The existence of the petit bourgeoisie at the head of the Palestinian national movement today should be understood objectively, for without such understanding it would be difficult for the working class to rise successfully to the top of the leadership. The reason for the existence of the petit bourgeoisie at the head of the Palestinian national movement is that, during the stages of national liberation, this class is one of the classes of the revolution, in addition to the fact that its numerical size is relatively great and that, by virtue of its class condi tions, it possesses knowledge and power. Consequently, in a situation where the conditions of the working class from the viewpoint of political awareness and organi zation are not developed enough, it is natural that the petit bourgeoisie should be at the head of the alliance of the classes opposing Israel, imperialism and Arab reaction. To all this we must add the special character of the Palestinian petit bourgeoisie and the difference in position between it and the Arab petit bourgeoisie which stands at the head of Arab national regimes. The Palestinian petit bourgeoisie has raised the banner of armed struggle and is leading it today, and the fact that it is not in power makes it more revolutionary than the Arab petit bourgeoisie that is determined to preserve its interests and remain in power by avoiding the long and conclusive struggle with the opposing camp.
If we take all these points into consideration, we find that the rise of the working class with its strategy and programs to the head of the alliance and its leadership is contingent upon the growth achieved by this class in the development of its political awareness and organization and also upon the escalation of the armed struggle and the growth of the state of revolution so that the Palestinian petit bourgeoisie is no longer capable of maintaining its leading role except at the expense of its own interests and conflict with its class conditions and consequently with its thought, programs and strategy.
What then in summary is the picture hitherto as regards the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level? The basic revolutionary forces are the workers and peasants who alone, by virtue of their living conditions, are capable of leading the revolution to its end. The workers’ radical and conclusive thought and strategy alone are capable of confronting the enemy camp, and it is efficient leadership of the workers that is able, through its scientific tactics, to lead along with it in this struggle the petit bourgeois class without this class being in the position of leadership and without allow ing it to dilute revolutionary thought, strategy and pro grams through its vacillating and inconclusive thought and strategy.
- The petit bourgeoisie includes craftsmen, students, teachers, small shopkeepers, lawyers, engineers, and medical professionals.
- In underdeveloped countries, the petit bourgeoisie can make up a significant portion of the population.
- The position of the petit bourgeoisie varies, with some aspiring to rise to the level of the upper bourgeoisie and others barely meeting their basic living requirements.
- During the stage of democratic national liberation, the petit bourgeoisie can be an ally to the revolution, but caution must be exercised to prevent it from assuming leadership and causing deviation.
- The settlement of the class leadership issue in the Palestinian field will take time and should occur without affecting the main conflict.
- The workers and peasants are the fundamental forces of the revolution, and the strategy and programs should be based on their interests.
- The rise of the working class to leadership depends on its political awareness, organization, and the growth of the armed struggle.
- The Palestinian petit bourgeoisie, though not in power, is leading the armed struggle and is more revolutionary than the Arab petit bourgeoisie.
- The workers' leadership should be able to confront the enemy camp and include the petit bourgeoisie without diluting revolutionary thought and strategy.