Strategy For The Liberation Of Palestine
- "[T]his 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."
- PFLP Introduction To This Edition
- Founding Document Of The Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine (11 December 1967)
- Strategy For The Liberation Of Palestine (1969)
- Importance Of Political Thought
- Who Are Our Enemies?
- Who Are Our Enemies? (Part II)
- Forces Of The Revolution
- The Palestinian Petit Bourgeoisie
- The Palestinian Bourgeoisie
- Organization And Mobilization Of Palestinian Revolutionary Forces
- Forces Of The Revolution On The Arab Level
- Forces Of The Revolution On The World Level
- Facing Imperialist Technological Superiority
- The Aims And Significance Of The Palestinian War Of Liberation
- General Remarks
- Organizational Strategy
- No Revolutionary Party Without Revolutionary Theory
- Class Structure Of The Revolutionary Party
- The Party And The Masses
- Building The Combatant Party
- Democratic Centralism — Basis Of Relations Within The Revolutionary Party
- Criticism And Self-Criticism
- The Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM) And The PFLP
The Strategy for the Liberation of Palestine is both a historical document and a living political program for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.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 ref-erences 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 developing 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 leaders of the Front, a shaper of its political vision, a revolutionary 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 occasion 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."
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, confronting 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 displacement 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 confronting 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 participants 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.
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, dealing 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 determination 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 steadfast 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...
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 battle 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 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 endeavoring 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.
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 without 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 complicated 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 complicates 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.
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 revolutionary 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 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 superiority, 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 throughout 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 that 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 of 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 that 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 that 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 that we try to impose.
Here millions upon millions of West German marks and American dollars are converted into a concrete force that 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 that attempts to "neutralize" 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 that we are facing in the Palestine liberation battle?
Is this "all the enemy" facing us?
There is a fourth force that 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 cannot 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.
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 without 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 underdeveloped 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 possibility 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 communities. 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 scientifically before the special nature of the class situation 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, others in Jebel-Na-zif, 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 Forces of the Revolution Zionist peril threatens the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian and Arab masses, then it is true and certain, 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 conceal 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 overwhelming 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, peasants 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 mainstay 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.
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 proportion 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 performing. 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:
- That this class is an ally to the revolution.
- 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:
- That this struggle may be at the expense of our main struggle.
- 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 revolution 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 commando 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 organizations. 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 command 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 understanding 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 genuine 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, non idealistic 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 conditions, it possesses knowledge and power. Consequently, in a situation where the conditions of the working class from the viewpoint of political awareness and organization 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 allowing it to dilute revolutionary thought, strategy and programs through its vacillating and inconclusive thought and strategy.
The Palestinian bourgeoisie is essentially a business and banking bourgeoisie whose interests are interconnected among its members and are linked with the business and banking interests of imperialism. The wealth of this class is derived from brokerage transactions in foreign goods, insurance operations and banking business. Therefore, in the strategic field, this class is against the revolution that aims at putting an end to the existence of imperialism and its interests in our homeland, which means the destruction of its sources of wealth. Since our battle against Israel is at the same time a battle against imperialism, this class will stand by its own interests, that is, with imperialism against the revolution.
Naturally, this strategic analysis is not perfectly clear to all. It is also natural that it should be pervaded by tactical and temporary positions as well as by some exceptions, but this should not prevent us at any time from having a long-range strategic view of things and of the general picture.
On what scientific basis can it be said that all classes of the Palestinian people are among the forces of the revolution? Our revolution today is an armed one. Are all classes of the Palestinian people among the forces of this armed revolution?
After 5 June 1967 the young men of the camps and villages took up arms, hid in the mountains and fortified themselves in the cities. They directed their bullets against Israel and faced Israeli bullets with their bodies. At exactly the same time, the traditional bourgeois leaderships were receiving Sassoon, Dayan and other Israeli leaders to discuss with them the Palestinian set-up that Israel had planned for the purpose of liquidating the Palestine question thus achieving political triumph after having attained military victory. These attempts would have been successful had they not been foiled by the escalation of commando action. During that period the young men of the camps were giving death to, and receiving death from Israel, while the merchants on the West Bank were seeking to link their interests anew with the enemy state.
In view of all this, is it permissible for us to hear such slogans as "We are all commandos," or "The Palestinian people with all its classes are taking part in the armed struggle," or "No rich and no poor so long as we remain homeless," without evaluating and criticizing them and preventing their spread?
The revolution is science and scientific thought looks for tangible facts. We will not be misled by deceptive mottoes and slogans which are at variance with the facts and which are launched by certain class forces in defense of their interests.
The Palestinian bourgeoisie that now lives in Palestine under Zionist occupation is not among the forces of the revolution although it has not manifestly associated itself with Israel and will in reality remain the class force through which the enemies will always try to defeat the revolution and stop it in the middle of the road.
The Palestinian bourgeoisie now living outside Palestine has at present no conflict of interests with commando action so long as this action at the present stage lives generally within certain specific theoretical, political and fighting horizons. It, therefore, sometimes supports commando action by giving a small portion of its surplus wealth, but we must expect that the revolutionary growth of the Palestinian national movement to the level where it manifestly clashes with imperialism will lead this bourgeoisie to take the stand that conforms to its class interests.
Of course, we admit that certain sectors of this bourgeoisie may be an exception to this rule and that, by virtue of the special character of the Palestine question, they may remain on the side of the revolution and abstain from working against it, but such exceptions should not make us lose sight of the general law that will govern the position of this class vis-à-vis the revolution in general.
The principle that advocates the necessity of taking advantage of any force that may assist the revolution temporarily is a sound one, and so is the principle that the qualified leadership is that which mobilizes the widest possible front to stand in the face of the main conflict and we should act accordingly provided that we do not do so at the expense of the clarity of our political thought. Clear political thought is the only road leading to the recruitment and mobilization of the true forces of the revolution. The recruitment and mobilization of the true forces of the revolution in light of clear scientific, political thought is the fundamental condition for success of the revolution, it is more important than all financial assistance if the price of this assistance is to be the dilution of our clear view of things.
In light of this we may now visualize the forces of revolution on the Palestinian level as a whole.
The forces of the revolution are the workers and peasants — the inhabitants of the camps, villages and poor districts — in alliance with the Palestinian petit bourgeoisie which also constitutes a revolutionary force, in spite of the fact that such alliance carries with it an intellectual and strategic conflict which must be settled in favor of the worker's leadership, thought and strategy, taking advantage, at least temporarily, of any sector of the Palestinian bourgeoisie without allowing such alliance any advantage to lead to any ambiguity in our view of the revolutionary forces and the clarity of their strategy and programs.
The bourgeoisie numerically constitutes only a very small section of the community. It is a well-known fact that the bourgeoisie is one-half percent or one percent of the community. Moreover, this is not the class that takes up arms or is ready to fight and die in defense of the freedom of the country and the people. Consequently, any attempt to picture this class analysis of the forces of the revolution as leading to the dissipation of the nation's forces and driving these forces into an internal conflict would be scientifically untrue. In light of this analysis the revolution does not lose any effective fighting force: on the contrary, it gains clarity of view and a sound definition the positions of the forces, and places the poor classes face to face with their responsibilities in the leadership of the revolution, thus giving rise to a national battle in which the overwhelming majority of the masses of our people will stand in the face of Israel, imperialism and reaction under the leadership of the poor whom Israel, imperialism and reaction have reduced to a state of misery and poverty that they experience daily and that deprives them of their human character and life value.
What is the form of organization for the mobilization of the forces of the revolution on the basis of this analysis? What is the form of the relations among these forces in light of the existing Palestinian situation? What is our concept of Palestinian national unity in light of all this?
Political organization armed with the theory of scientific socialism is the highest form for the organization and mobilization of the working class forces on the greatest scale. This is a fact that has been made perfectly clear by all revolutionary experiences in this century. The experiences of China, Vietnam and Cuba, as well as the experience of October Revolution, all point to and confirm this fact. By clarifying and scientifically explaining the state of misery suffered by the working class, by revealing the process of exploitation of this class by imperialism and capitalism, by indicating the nature of the major conflict in which the communities of the present age are living on international and local levels, by explaining the motion of history and its trend, by defining the role of the working class and the importance of this role and by indicating the weapons possessed by this class, scientific socialist theory renders the working class conscious of its existence, conditions and future, thus permitting the mobilization of the forces of this class on the greatest scale.
Scientific socialist ideology and world revolutionary experiences have indicated clearly how revolutionary political organization armed with a revolutionary theory — the theory of the working class — is the way to self-organization by the working class, the concentration of its forces, the consolidation of its potentialities and the definition of its strategy in its battle. If the experiences of the Palestinian and Arab national movement have not hitherto achieved success in confronting and triumphing over imperialism, Zionism, Israel and the forces of reaction, it is because they have not adopted this organization theory. The failure of political organizations in the Palestinian and Arab field does not constitute a condemnation of the political organization of parties in general, but rather a condemnation of a line of political organizations which have not been set up from the ideological class and organizational viewpoints on the basis of this theory and these experiences. The revolutionary promotion of the Palestinian national movement cannot rest on the condemnation of the idea of revolutionary political organization as a principle, and the only way before it, is to adopt the political organization the nature of which has been defined in light of scientific socialist theory and past experiences.
This organizational form is the organizational framework for the concentration of the basic revolutionary force: the working class. Moreover, it is this form that is capable during the stages of national liberation, as the major revolutionary experiences have proved, of mobilizing the peasant forces and of concentrating them on the greatest scale.
Consequently, by adopting this form, we would have created the framework for the organization and mobilization of the basic revolutionary classes represented by the workers and peasants.
But what about the petit bourgeoisie? According to our analysis, the petit bourgeoisie is also one of the forces of revolution. Can we mobilize it within this framework? If not, what is the organizational framework that would enable us to mobilize and concentrate all the revolutionary forces?
The Palestinian petit bourgeoisie will not, in its majority, enter into the organizational framework that rests on the basis of a political party organization armed with scientific socialist theory. The socialist thought of the revolution is not the thought of this class, and the strong, binding and disciplined party organization is not the organizational form in which it finds satisfaction. The petit bourgeoisie prefers to be bound by a general loose thought that does not go beyond general liberation slogans and by a political organization that does not impose on it demands beyond its capacity. Therefore, it will not align itself within this frame but will address itself to other Palestinian organizations that do not clearly adopt scientific socialist theory and the revolutionary political party organization adhering to this theory.
In light of this, the complete organizational form that is capable of containing all the revolutionary forces, is the political party organization form adopting scientific socialism that is capable of mobilizing the workers and peasants on the greatest scale, and that at the same time calls for the rise of a national front to achieve an alliance between the workers and peasants — the basic classes and mainstay of the revolution — and the petit bourgeoisie as one of the forces of revolution.
This completes our picture of the revolutionary forces on the Palestinian level and the organizational form capable of mobilizing them.
In our opinion, this is the form that is fully consistent with the scientific analysis of things and objectively concurs with the interest of the revolution. This form provides a clear view of the battle on the one hand and permits the greatest scale of mobilization of the basic revolutionary forces on the other, at the same time ensuring the widest possible front to stand in the face of the enemy camp.
The wide national front proposed in light of this picture is, in our opinion, the revolutionary realization of Palestinian national unity. If Palestinian national unity is intended to mean the concentration of all revolutionary forces at the stage of democratic national liberation to stand in the face of the basic conflict with Israel, imperialism and reaction, then this is the form that serves this end. These three classes which meet within the frame of the front represent, even numerically, the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people. The national unity that is advocated by some and that is intended to enable the traditional leaderships, the bourgeoisie and the forces of reaction to infiltrate into the ranks of the revolution, and is intended also to undermine the ideas of revolutionary political party organization and to obscure any clarity in the political thought of the revolution, is clearly against the interest of the revolution.
The foregoing clearly indicates the basic lines of our position regarding the subject of relations among the Palestinian forces. These lines enable us to define our position with regard to all subjects and problems arising on this level and serve to clarify our position with regard to the existing picture of the Palestinian field and the direction in which we must exercise our efforts to establish objective relations among the forces and organizations of the Palestinian revolution.
- We regard Palestinian national unity as a basic factor for the mobilization of all forces of the revolution to confront the enemy camp, and on this basis we must take an effective position to achieve it.
- The form of national unity is the rise of a front in which all classes of the revolution — workers, peasants and petit bourgeoisie — will be represented.
- We must take action to mobilize the workers and peasants in one single revolutionary political organization armed with scientific socialist theory. On this basis we must effectively endeavor to unite all Palestinian leftist organizations that, through contact and experience, can be persuaded to adopt this analysis.
- The petit bourgeoisie will not join this form of organization, which adheres to scientific socialism and strong political organization, but will join those Palestinian organizations that content themselves with general liberation slogans, avoiding clarity in thinking and class view and leading an organizational life that does not demand of it anything beyond its capacity. In other words, this class will fill "Fatah" and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the first place.
- On this basis, and on the basis of our view of the main conflict and the nature of the stage, as well as the necessity of achieving that national unity that will group together all the forces of the revolution to stand in the face of Israel, we must work for the establishment of a national front with "Fatah" and the Palestine Liberation Organization which will provide the battle with the necessary class alliance on the one hand, and preserve that right of each to view and plan for the battle according to its class horizon on the other.
This is our view of the forces of the Palestinian revolution and the form of their mobilization and concentration.
The form that we propose here for the relations among the basic Palestinian forces draws the general strategic line that will govern our course. It is obvious that in following the course indicated by this line we will meet many obstacles and complications that will require us tactically to define in each period, with as much detail as possible, a picture consistent with the nature of that period, and the nature of the conditions of the various Palestinian forces existing and active at any one time. However, it is this line that will govern such a definition in general.
Now, does our strategic thought about the Palestine liberation struggle stop at the frontiers of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian field?
If we remember the enemy camp and recall its size and nature, we will immediately realize that any strategic thinking about the Palestinian liberation struggle must cover the mobilization of all forces of the revolution on the Arab and world levels, because it is only through such mobilization and concentration that we can create the power capable of confronting Israel, Zionism, world imperialism and Arab reaction. The Palestinian revolution, which is fused together with the Arab revolution and in alliance with world revolution, is alone capable of achieving victory. To confine the Palestinian revolution within the limits of the Palestinian people would mean failure, if we remember the nature of the enemy alliance that we are facing.
What are the forces of revolution on the Arab level?
How shall we mobilize them? What is the form of relations between the Palestinian national liberation movement and the Arab forces?
The mobilization and concentration of the revolutionary forces on the Palestinian level, even though a political organization adhering to and guide by scientific socialism, mobilizing the downtrodden classes on the greatest scale and forming with the petit bourgeoisie a united front, will not suffice to create a revolutionary camp capable of gaining superiority over the enemy camp consisting of a strong and wide front that includes Israel, the Zionist movement, Imperialism and Arab reaction.
The strategy of the Palestine liberation struggle requires the mobilization and concentration of all the forces of revolution in the Arab countries in general and the Arab regions surrounding Israel in particular. This is the reason why the Popular Front lays so much stress on the interconnection between the Palestinian question and the Arab question and on the necessity of coalescence between the Palestine liberation movement and the Arab liberation movement. It is also the reason for the necessity of laying strategic emphasis on the "Arab Hanoi" motto as a revolutionary principle creating coalescence between the Palestinian revolution and the Arab revolution and forming a firm foundation for the Palestinian and Arab national liberation movement which would enable it to stand in the face of the enemy camp and gain superiority over it.
Although we do not say that the mobilization of the of revolution in the Arab field is one of the immediate tasks of the Palestinian revolution, we may say that the fate of the Palestinian revolution and the armed struggle — commando action — now being carried out by Palestinian people depends on the extent of their coalescence with a revolutionary strategy that aims at mobilizing the forces of revolution in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and the rest of the Arab countries. The crisis that Palestinian resistance is undergoing does not only from its failure to fulfil all the ideological, strategic and organizational conditions that must be fulfilled by any victorious national liberation movement in our age.
This crisis, which will continue to constitute the Achilles' heel of Palestinian resistance, is due to the fact that this resistance exists under conditions in Arab lands which hamper it and threaten to liquidate the question through the implementation of the Security Council's resolution [of 22 November 1967] instead of constituting a revolutionary support to reinforce it, widen its field of authority, and give it additional power.
In this light, the Palestine liberation strategy as a battle against Israel, Zionism, imperialism and Arab reaction requires a revolutionary Palestinian strategy in coalescence with a revolutionary Arab strategy.
The armed struggle against Israel and all imperialist interests in our homeland, the expansion of the armed struggle front, which stands in the face of Arab reaction and all imperialist interests and bases in the Arab homeland, and the encirclement of Israel with the strategy of the people's liberation war from every side — from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and inside the territory occupied before and after 5 June 1967 — is the only path that leads to victory. It is not important that the Palestinian people should register a heroic stand through commando action: the important thing is liberation and victory. In light of our definition of the enemy camp, the way to liberation is a revolutionary Palestinian and Arab front which will bring maturity, protection and support to commando action and pave the way to its expansion so that it will encircle Israel on every side and involve all the enemy forces that furnish Israel with support and protection.
The strategy of revolutionary Arab action coincides with its broad lines with that of Palestinian revolutionary action. The basis of this coincidence is that the nature of the stage now being traversed by the Arab countries is identical for all of them. In light of Israel's occupation of Sinai and the Golan Heights, its very existence and its persistence as a base from which imperialism prepares to attack any move toward Arab liberation — in light of this concrete picture — the stage that the Arab peoples are now traversing is that of national liberation, of democratic national revolution, notwithstanding the class and economic changes that have taken place in Egypt, Syria, Algeria and Iraq in the direction of socialist transformation.
The strategy of the democratic national revolution in this age has become clear through the Vietnamese experience and before it the Cuban and Chinese experience.
The main lines of this strategy are: the mobilization and concentration of the forces of the poor workers and peasants on the greatest scale, the leadership of the revolution by these classes through a political organization that adheres to and is guided by the ideology of scientific socialism in alliance with the forces of the petit bourgeoisie whose interests do not conflict with the nature of the democratic national revolution; and reliance on armed struggle to overcome the enemy's technological superiority through a protracted war commencing with guerilla warfare and developing into a popular liberation war that the people are determined to win.
The national liberation movement in the Arab countries has not yet crystallized along these lines.
In the nature of the clash between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, all this will create the objective circumstances that will pave the way for and assist the birth and growth of a national liberation movement that will adopt this strategy under the leadership of the workers and peasants. This alliance, and later the coalescence of the Palestinian national liberation movement with the Arab national liberation movement will give rise to, the Palestinian-Arab force and the Palestinian-Arab strategy which is capable of triumphing in a long and hard battle imposed by the nature of the enemy we are facing.
It remains for the Palestinian national liberation movement to define its Arab relations in light of the circumstances now prevailing in the Arab field.
Arab capitalism and feudalism are still the ruling class in some Arab countries. The rule of these classes, is at present represented by the reactionary regimes in Jordan, Lebanon and certain other Arab countries. The regimes are linked in interest with world imperialism led by the United States, and in spite of the partial, and sometimes purely outward, conflict between these regimes and Israel, this partial conflict exists in the shadow of an objective concurrence with world capitalism. Thus the relation of the armed struggle — now Palestinian and later Arab — is on the strategic level, one of conflict with these regimes notwithstanding any tactical positions imposed on both sides by temporary considerations.
This is as regards the national liberation movement's relation with the capitalist and reactionary regimes. However, the delicate situation facing the Palestinian armed struggle and the Palestine national liberation movement is the definition of relations with the national regimes in the Arab field, particularly the national regimes surrounding Israel or in the vicinity of the field of battle, namely Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
Any fearless revolutionary evaluation of these regimes must be essentially based on the June defeat and on its consequences and meanings, as well as on the strategy, programs and positions subsequent to that defeat. Any attempt at diluting or confusing the clear view of the defeat and of its meanings and lessons cannot but be the result of a subjective and biased interest or an idealistic and sentimental view that is remote from science, objectivity and fearless frankness in viewing things.
The June defeat led to the occupation of the whole of Palestine as well as of the Golan Heights and Sinai, the dispersion of hundreds of thousands of citizens and the humiliation of an entire nation. Consequently, the revolutionary position is one that cannot temporize or bargain or dilute the clear view, which alone enables us to analyze and understand the June defeat and eventually to see the political and military strategy that will assure us of perseverance and victory in our battle.
The Palestinian and Arab masses, as well as the Arab national parties and organizations, viewed these regimes as revolutionary, progressive regimes capable of leading to the liberation of Palestine and the realization of the aims and objectives of the masses.
At the time when indications of the June war began to appear, neither the masses nor the forces concerned expected a defeat of the type that occurred in June. The June defeat confirmed the gross error in our perspective of things. There was error in the knowledge and clear definition of the enemy, the evaluation of its plans and of its contingents and the determination of its contingents and the potentialities of each of these contingents. There was error in the definition of the stage and greater error in the evaluation of the entire revolutionary existence that these national regimes, organizations and Arab national institutions had curbed.
What is the sound scientific evaluation of these regimes?
Following the First World War, the occupation by France and Britain of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and the entrenchment of these colonial powers in Egypt and other parts of the Arab homeland, the national liberation movement waged by the masses against colonialism was led by feudalists, aristocrats and members of the bourgeoisie. Such leaders were Haj Amin Al-Husseini and the Arab Party in Palestine, and Shukri Al-Kuwatli and the Nationalist Party in Syria, and there was a similar type of leadership in the other Arab countries. Even the armed revolts that the masses of our people directed against the forces of occupation were under the political leadership of the bourgeoisie. The masses saw from the course of events that this class, in its struggle with colonialism, aimed at nothing more than obtaining an outward form of independence that would place it at the top of the power pyramid. This made it a partner to the colonialists in their exploitation of the masses' toil and gave it a share in profits from capitalist investments in our homeland, without any regard for the liberation and unification slogans for which the masses had paid their blood.
When the masses saw all this, the conflict began between these feudal, aristocratic and bourgeois leaders and their political parties on the one hand and the movement of the masses on the other. At this new stage in the struggle the masses were led by groups of educated young men, professionals and free army officers who mainly belonged to and acted through the petit bourgeoisie. The petit bourgeoisie was a growing class and it was this class that led the masses in their struggle with the bourgeoisie and the feudalists who were directly or indirectly in alliance with colonialist capitalism. In the late thirties and early forties these attempts took the form of political and military parties and organizations, both Pan-Arab and local.
In 1948 Israel was set up and the disaster took place. This revealed to the masses the truth about the puppet independent regimes established by the bourgeoisie, their impotence in the face of Israel and their radical opposition to the masses' objectives. Thus the 1948 disaster paved the way for the fall of some of these regimes and the assumption of power by political and military national organizations led by national elements belonging to the petit bourgeoisie. Such organizations generally consisted of members of this class and worked among the workers and peasants who rallied around these new organizations and conditions because they stood in the face of the reactionary alliance among colonialism, feudalism and capitalism.
Undoubtedly the international situation resulting from the Second World War represented by Soviet victory and the rise of a number of European socialist powers was a basic factor in the rise and survival of these new Arab regimes.
Thus the basic conflict in the area crystallized in the following manner:
The alliance of the workers, peasants and petit bourgeoisie under the leadership of the petit bourgeoisie against colonialism, Arab reaction and Israel.
The first national regime to appear in the Arab world on the basis of this picture was the Nasser regime in Egypt, and then the picture extended to include Syria, Iraq, Algeria and the South Yemen.
The Nasser regime was and still is the clearest and most crystallized example of this picture.
In any historical evaluation of these regimes and what they represented in the Arab field in the fifties and until June 1967, we must not lose sight of the major revolutionary achievements realized by these regimes, particularly the Nasser regime. This regime was able to get rid of the British occupation forces stationed in the Suez Canal Zone, wage war against all the colonialist military pacts through which colonialism tried to get back into the area under the pretext of defense pacts against the Soviet peril, and do away with the colonialist-reactionary alliance that controlled the destiny of Egypt and its masses.
Moreover, it broke the blockade imposed by colonialism on the area and established military, political and economic relations with the socialist camp. Furthermore, it placed Egyptian national action within its Arab national horizon and framework and accomplished the first achievement of union in modern Arab history. It, also, established, a link between political liberation and the social issue, laid down an agrarian reform that involved land ownership and relations between farmers and land-owners, nationalized the major industries and commercial enterprises and raised development projects based on public ownership. It set Egypt on the road of socialist transformation and accompanied these transformations with similar ones in the field of revolutionary thought. By this it lifted revolutionary thought from the level of general liberation, unionist and socialist slogans to the beginnings of a class view of the revolutionary forces and the beginnings of the adoption of the general socialist course in viewing and analyzing the movement of progress.
These are the headings of the major achievements accomplished by the Nasser regime on the basis of which the other national regimes in Syria and Iraq have tried to proceed.
These achievements created a state of alarm in the opposing camp led by the U.S. for the purpose of thwarting this march through various means including the overthrow of these regimes by force. Such a state of alarm called for a similar state of alarm with which these regimes could rise to a new revolutionary level by politically, economically mobilizing the forces of the masses to a degree that ensures steadfastness, perseverance and victory.
But these regimes continued to move within programs and plans imposed on them by their class nature. At this point the problem of structure of these regimes and the problems of their plans began to emerge. In the middle sixties the Nasser regime began to live through this problem without being able to overcome it until the June defeat, which came to reveal clearly the problem relating to the structure of this regime and its inability within this class nature to triumph over the imperialist-reactionary — Zionist — Israeli camp.
The nature of these national regimes was formed as a result of the organizations that they had set up, their view of things and of the extent to which they had gone in their socialist transformations and the new class conditions that they had produced. These regimes struck at the interests of feudalism and capitalism and their exploitation of the masses, but they preserved the petit bourgeoisie and its interests in the industrial, agricultural and commercial sectors, at the same time producing a new class of military men, politicians and administrative personnel whose interests became interlocked with those of the petit bourgeoisie, thus forming with it, the upper class in these communities. The interests of this upper class required the maintenance of the experiment within limits that do not conflict with its interests or with its thinking and view of the battle. This class is antagonistic to colonialism and reaction but at the same time wants to keep the privileges that it enjoys. It is this state of affairs that has defined the nature of the political, economic, military and ideological programs of these regimes.
It is on this basis that this class has formulated its view of confrontation with colonialism and Israel through the military institution. For it realizes that the popular liberation war means that its right to the position of leadership is contingent upon its willingness to sacrifice all its privileges and follow the same living pattern as the commandos of today. On this basis also a loose form for the political mobilization of the masses has been put forth because the truly revolutionary mobilization of the masses through a political party organization in connection with the armed struggle, means the rise of new leadership from among the workers and peasants, as it means the ability of the masses to supervise this class and call it to account. Accordingly, this class has laid down its economic programs, which make the socialist transformation stop the existing limits. Eventually, this class had produced political thought that dilutes the view of the true nature of the struggle, the true nature of the stage and the true nature of the programs that are capable of persisting and enduring, as well as diluting the view of the process still existing in these regimes, of exploiting the labour of the workers and peasants.
Thus the June defeat does not for us constitute a mere military defeat. It is in reality a defeat for these regimes and their programs and their inability to effect military, economic and ideological mobilization that is capable of resisting and triumphing over imperialism and its alliances and plans in our homeland.
Even after the June defeat these regimes have continued to move within these same military programs. Through their alliance with the Soviet Union they aim to wage a tactical military battle ending with the removal of all traces of the aggression if it should prove impossible to implement the Security Council's resolution through means other than war, it being understood that purports at the same time to obtain recognition of Israel's right to exist within new safe frontiers.
These regimes support commando action but only as a revolutionary tactic to exert pressure on imperialism and Israel to push them towards the implementation of the Security Council's resolution on the basis of a settlement that might be acceptable to these regimes.
The national regimes are still moving within this strategy against the radical revolutionary strategy that seeks a long-term popular liberation war waged by the masses under the leadership of the working class and the peasants on the basis of radical political, military and economic programs represented before us today by the Vietnamese liberation movement which has proved that it is only with such a formula that we are able to face imperialism and its technological, economic and military superiority.
When we present the Vietnamese liberation movement, which is waging a triumphant struggle against the U.S. and Vietnamese reaction, as an example of successful liberation movements in this age, we do not at all ignore the special nature of our battle both in respect of the nature of imperialist presence, represented by Israel, in our homeland, and in respect of the special nature of the land.
We always mean in fact the main strategic lines of the Vietnam war — represented by the strong political organization that adheres to scientific socialism and mobilizes the forces of the masses on the greatest scale under the leadership of the working class and the national front slogan, using the course of guerrilla warfare, the popular liberation war, the political, economic and military mobilization resulting from all this, the protracted war, the determination to win — that determination that is embodied by the poor classes of the community, the classes that cannot continue to live under the burden of the ugly and dirty exploitation exercised by imperialism and Vietnamese reactionary. We also mean the world revolutionary alliance established by the Vietnamese liberation movement to enable it to face imperialism with all its weight, forces and plans.
In light of all this we are able to make a scientific evaluation of the regimes and their role in the Palestinian and Arab national liberation movement, and eventually, the form of relations between them and the revolutionary Palestinian national liberation movement:
- These regimes are antagonistic to imperialism, Zionism, Israel and Arab reaction represented by feudalism and capitalism.
- These regimes have accomplished a number of revolutionary achievements on the way to democratic national revolution that has interlocked — as is the case in Egypt — with the commencement of the shift in the structure of the economic community in a socialist direction.
- These regimes, by reason of the class structure resulting from their experience are no longer capable of continuing their progress on the revolutionary road and of raising it to the level that would enable them to face the state of alarm that has arisen in the camp of imperialism, Israel and Arab reaction.
- The programs of these regimes in facing the battle are those of the petit bourgeoisie that occupies the top of the power pyramid and the position of leadership in those regimes, although the June war and subsequent developments have revealed the inability of this class to affect the ideological, political, military and economic mobilization capable of holding out and harassing the enemy and of achieving victory.
These regimes still adopt traditional war strategy and reform programs in an attempt to fill the wide gaps in their experiments without causing a complete radical change in their general structure.
- In light of the fact that these regimes are antagonistic to imperialism and Israel on the one hand, and the fact that they adopt compromising non-radical programs in the face of the enemy on the other, relations with these regimes must be both of alliance and conflict at the same time: alliance because they are antagonistic to Israel, and conflict over their strategy in the struggle.
- There will be two strategies in the face of Israeli occupation and the prosecution of the Palestinian and Arab national liberation war: the strategy of the petit bourgeoisie which adopts in theory or moves in practice towards a traditional war strategy through the reconstruction of the military institution if a peaceful solution proves to be impossible; and the strategy of the working class, which adopts in theory and moves in practice towards guerrilla warfare and popular liberation war, waged by the masses under the leadership of the working class on the widest national front, opposed to imperialism and with revolutionary programs of mobilization which will raise the ideological, political, economic and military mobilization of the masses to the highest level.
- These two strategies and the forces that they represent will move together for some time under relations of alliance and conflict until in the end the working class strategy prevails on the Palestinian and Arab levels. It will face the enemy with a wide class alliance comprising the workers, peasants and the petit bourgeoisie and working class leadership with a working class ideology at programs and a popular liberation war that is determined and able to win.
This defines the form of relations between the Palestinian national revolution and all Arab forces.
The Palestinian revolution on the strategic level will clash with the Arab reactionary forces and the regimes representing them, and will be governed by relations of alliance and conflict with the national regimes where the petit bourgeoisie occupies the top of the power pyramid. It will establish relations of alliance in the direction of coalescence with the Arab revolutionary forces represented by the workers and peasants and their political institutions.
These forces will be generated in the Arab field in general and the Arab countries surrounding Israel in particular by reason of the nature of the struggle and the nature of the revolutionary strategy that it will produce.
Through this picture — the picture of the Palestinian and Arab revolution led by the working class and comprising all anti-imperialist forces that adopt the course of guerilla warfare, ideologically, politically, militarily and economically to the highest level — we have a complete strategic view of the Palestine liberation battle, first on the Palestinian level and then on the Arab level.
World imperialism at this time has circumstances and conditions that distinguish it from what it was in previous times and is exercising the process of exploitation of peoples by new methods that differ from its old ones. On the other hand, the camp of the anti-imperialist forces has in respect of size and power, a new position and level that differ from those before the Second World War. The liberation movements of the world should realize the basic international facts that govern this period of history. The Palestine and Arab liberation movement does not move in a vacuum. It lives and fights in the midst of specific world circumstances that affect and react with it, and all this will determine our fate. The international ground on which national liberation movements move has always been, and will remain, a basic factor in determining peoples' destinies.
The First World War was a war among the imperialist capitalist powers themselves, and its object was to redistribute world markets among these powers. That war was an armed explosion of the conflicts among world capitalist blocs in their race for the exploitation and plunder of peoples' wealth and for monopolizing their markets. That war was not a revolutionary war waged by the working class in the progressive countries and by the enslaved peoples against the exploiting capitalists. The same applies to some degree to the Second World War. Consequently, conflicts among the colonialist capitalist powers were the principal manifestation on the world stage. The forces of revolution represented by the working class in the advanced countries and by the enslaved peoples, were not in a position to transform these wars into revolutionary wars that could place the basic conflict on the world level in its natural position between the exploiters and the exploited. However, the consequences of the Second World War and the events that followed in its wake, crystallized the world situation in a new form. The forces of colonialism concentrated and crystallized into one camp: the imperialist camp led by the United States in opposition to the camp of the socialist forces and persecuted peoples as the opposite pole in this struggle.
The Soviet Union came out victorious in this war, and the socialist camp expanded to include a number of East European countries. The enslaved peoples rose up in vindication of their right to freedom and progress, and the great Chinese Revolution led by Mao Tse-Tung and the Chinese Communist Party triumphed. This series of events and developments was the concrete factor that led to the coalescence of all capitalist and imperialist forces during the few years following the Second World War. The traditional colonialist powers represented by Britain, France, Holland and Belgium labored heavily under the War burdens, while Germany, Italy and Japan labored heavily under the burdens of defeat, a situation that enabled U.S. capital to extend and penetrate into all these countries through the reconstruction process witnessed by Europe immediately after the Second World War.
All this had the effect of crystallizing the imperialist picture and its basic features:
- All colonialist capitalist forces gathered together in one camp, that of world imperialism, under the leadership of the United States.
- The immense size of U.S. capital, its wide field of activity and its interconnection with European capital is the concrete basis for the unity of this camp and the unity of its interests, as it is also the concrete basis for the United States' leadership of this camp.
- Conflicts among the partners in this camp that have from time to time taken the form of a conflict between colonialism represented by Britain and France and neo-colonialism represented by the United States, have remained only partial in the face of the main conflict that all these colonialist forces have begun to confront in their struggle against the socialist camp and national liberation movements. Although this partial conflict between the United States on the one hand and Britain and France on the other has taken a prominent form — as was the case during the Tripartite Aggression (1956), or during the Algerian revolution, or in certain areas of Africa — yet it has generally continued to be governed by the more important and more serious conflict between imperialism and the forces of revolution.
- The attempts of de Gaulle's France to break out of this U.S. imperialist ring have not until now made any radical change in this picture.
- The technical development and immense growth in the means of production and in the war industry have led to the strengthening of this camp's positions as regards both its control of the world market and its ability to defend its own existence and interests.
We are naturally aware of the major conflicts and problems faced by the United States today in its internal conditions that are fraught with real crises from time to time, or in its inability to face a people's movement as in the case of Vietnam, or in the aggravation from time to time of the conflicts existing between it and its allies. However, this side of the picture is complementary to the side of technical advance and production growth, and the picture is not complete unless the situation is viewed from both sides.
- The U.S. today is endeavoring to maintain and defend its interests and to face the revolutionary camp with new techniques that differ from those used by colonialism in defending its interests by force and armies of occupation. This new technique is the basic feature of neo-colonialism.
The U.S. has established a series of pacts and defense treaties to face the socialist camp and to encircle it and limit its expansion, and also to neutralize national liberation movements. However, in addition to this policy of pacts, it follows an economic policy calculated to have local social forces participate in the profits derived from the exploitation of the people's efforts so that these social forces, by benefiting from the existence of neo-colonialism, may become a bulwark behind which the U.S. can take refuge in defending its influence and interests.
Moreover. By its neo-colonialist technique, the U.S. endeavors to contain national liberation movements through co-existence with these movements and the conditions created by them, and also through concessions that satisfy their national pride and assure them of some benefits, provided that its basic interests remain assured and protected. In addition to all this, it is attempting, through the threat of nuclear war, to force the Soviet Union to cease its support and backing of these peoples in their wars against colonialism so that it may defeat these peoples through local wars.
Neo-colonialism is making full use of its intelligence and colonialist experience in its long and continuous effort to maintain its existence, influence and interests.
- Experience in Vietnam, Cuba and the Dominican Republic has shown that, in the event of failure of modern techniques in the colonization of peoples, the U.S. will revert to armed force, invasion and the landing of armies to preserve its influence, markets and interests.
In its liberation march to recover its land and freedom, the Palestinian people today faces this unified imperialist camp with its technological superiority, its skill in fighting and neutralizing revolutions, its ability to take over behind other forces, its readiness for direct confrontation whenever it feels that the forces behind which it takes cover are no longer capable of striking at peoples' movements, and its endeavors to isolate national movements from the world revolutionary camp and neutralize the Soviet Union's efforts through the threat of nuclear war.
The June war and what came before and after it are in reality nothing but a concrete manifestation of all this.
The U.S. tried to contain the Arab liberation movement, to bargain with it and to keep it from organic fusion with the world revolutionary camp. It then tried to undermine and destroy this movement through Israel and its military power and later tried again to contain it while it was in a state of weakness. Today it is still trying through Israel, by providing it with all requisites of power, to keep this movement at its mercy in order to contain or destroy it.
To face this situation, the Palestinian and Arab liberation movement must: (1) have clarity of perspective; (2) mobilize all its forces; (3) produce political, economic and military programs to ensure such mobilization; (4) adopt the course of popular liberation war to overcome the enemy's technological superiority; and (5) enter into full alliance with all revolutionary forces on the world level.
It is this effective alliance that ensures the creation of the camp whereby we and all enslaved and anti-imperialist forces will be able to find the force that is capable of defeating imperialism in spite of its points of strength at this stage.
Our first friends are the enslaved peoples who are suffering from imperialism and imperialist exploitation of their efforts and wealth, or who are living in the same danger represented by the U.S. today in attempting to impose its influence on rising peoples. The peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America are daily suffering the life of wretchedness, poverty, ignorance and backwardness, which is a result of colonialism and imperialism in their lives. The major conflict experienced by the world of today is the conflict between exploiting world imperialism on the one hand and these peoples and the socialist camp on the other. The alliance of the Palestinian and Arab national liberation movement with the liberation movement in Vietnam, the revolutionary situation in Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America is the only way to create the camp that is capable of facing and triumphing over the imperialist camp.
The Palestinian and Arab liberation movement in alliance with national liberation movements in all undeveloped and poor countries will, in facing world imperialism led by the U.S., find a strong ally to back its forces and augment its power of resistance. This ally is the People's Republic of China, which in reality is still facing the same U.S. peril that is attempting to encircle and isolate it and impede its growth.
The great People's Republic of China, which is still experiencing the effects of underdevelopment caused by colonialism and imperialism, and which is still facing the same peril and the same contradictions, adopts this analysis of the basic international contradiction that governs the march of history at this stage, and consequently adopts the same revolutionary strategy of liberation followed by these peoples in facing colonialism. This strategic congruence creates the concrete ground for a revolutionary alliance that will place us in a better position to face and triumph over the enemy. The People's Republic of China adopts the Palestinian Arab view in its analysis of Israel as an imperialist base that must be destroyed.
In spite of all the United States' efforts to prevent the Soviet Union and the East European powers from coalescing with our liberation march, and although those powers adopt a position that is confined to preventing Israel from expanding its territory and extending its aggression but does not involve the roots and foundation of Israel's aggressive existence, yet there is a contradiction between this position of the socialist camp and the Zionist and imperialist presence in our homeland. This contradiction creates a ground for alliance between us and these socialist powers and it is our duty to extend this ground through the extension of the Palestinian and Arab liberation movement and through its decisive clash with its enemies so that these powers will stand with our liberation movement until its conclusive end.
Imperialism and reactionary forces are today attempting to create a breach in the relations between the Palestinian and Arab national liberation movement and the Soviet Union and the powers of the socialist camp, and it is our duty through our vigilance to prevent imperialism from achieving this aim. Throughout the past period the Soviet Union has been a major supporter of the Arab masses in their fight against imperialism and all its projects and plans for our homeland.
Through all of these alliances we create the camp that will stand with us in our battle and will enable us to face the enemy camp.
Along with this series of basic revolutionary alliances we must also, through our fighting and political effort and through the clear nature of our struggle as one of national liberation, draw to our side all liberation forces in Europe, America and every part of the world.
With such strategy on the international level we can encircle Israel, Zionism and imperialism and mobilize revolutionary forces on the world level to stand with us the struggle.
This picture may seem imaginary in light of the Palestinian and Arab liberation movement's actual circumstances at the present stage, but persistent revolutionary action and the promotion of the liberation movement to the level of a true, steadfast and long-range revolution will ensure its crystallization and actual materialization. The translation of all these alliances will constitute not only sympathy but also the true, effective support from which we create the ability to stand firm and triumph.
This completes the chart of enemies and friends on the Palestinian, Arab and world levels. A clear view of this chart will eliminate from our minds any superficial views of the battle and will determine the dimensions, forces and general frame of the battle and its position in respect of the historical dialectical movement that governs this period of human history.
How can weak peoples face imperialist technological superiority?
Our confrontation with the enemy camp represented by Israel, Zionism, imperialism and Arab reaction will be through a strategy aiming at the concentration of the forces of the Palestinian revolution on the Palestinian, Arab and world levels so as to face this enemy with a revolutionary camp that is superior to it in size and numbers, but this alone is not sufficient for victory. One of the enemy's basic points of strength is its scientific and technological superiority, and this superiority is reflected strongly in its military capabilities which we will face in our revolutionary war. How can we face and overcome this superiority?
The enemy's scientific, technological and organizational superiority is not a light matter nor is it of a secondary nature. On the military level, this superiority means quick mobilization for the enemy, the volume of this mobilization, the standard of training, the high quality of military leadership, surprises in arms and plans during the fighting, overall superiority in arms and modern warfare and the ability to control and use them with shock-speed.
Any thorough scientific study of the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars would clearly bring out the role played by the enemy's technological and organizational superiority and the reflection of this role in the military field in the enemy's triumph and our loss of these battles. It would be foolish to give our military defeats in three major confrontations an arbitrary, superficial explanation that would mislead us into the belief that we could have won these battles had it not been for certain coincidences or certain errors. Our failure in facing Zionism and Israel during the past fifty years cannot be explained except on the basis of our weak and meagre political, economic, social and military structure in the face of a movement and a society that are scientifically, technologically and organizationally superior to us, and our erroneous view of the battle and the confrontation strategy adopted by us until now.
Our confrontation with Israel and imperialism cannot lead positively to victory if it consists of a classical military confrontation taking the form of a conventional war between the enemy's army and forces and our regular troops. Such a war would be won by Israel and imperialism because their superiority in arms and quality, their ability to use the modem war machine and move it with shock speed and flexibility, and their economic capabilities that sustain such a war, would enable them to triumph over us in such battles. Three experiences are a sufficient lesson for us.
Conventional warfare, which today takes an extremely speedy form, is the manner in which the enemy exercises its overwhelming technological superiority and is also the manner whereby all the points of weakness in an underdeveloped society are revealed. Our reliance on the Soviet Union does not suffice to close this gap at the scientific, technological and organizational level. It is not a matter of "modem arms and the procurement thereof." The basic requirement is the human element capable of thoroughly understanding the power of controlling them and using them in the most efficient manner and of utilizing the modem war machine. This in turn depends on the technological and scientific standard of the humans carrying such arms.
This is a factor that at present is not in our favor, with the result that we are not positioned to face Israel (and behind it the United States which would throw its own forces into the battle if the tide would turn in our favor) through a conventional military confrontation. The weapons of weak peoples in facing imperialist forces and their superiority have become well known as a result of the experiences of peoples who have waged liberation wars in this age and achieved victory over imperialism. The technological and military superiority of imperialism is faced by weak peoples with guerrilla warfare and popular liberation wars.
Through guerrilla warfare we avoid direct confrontation with the enemy and consequently prevent it from exercising its full technological superiority against our forces and from crushing them with lightning speed. Guerrilla warfare aiming at attacking the enemy's weak points, quick withdrawal and avoidance of direct clashes can cause the enemy small losses that accumulate daily without allowing it to face our entire forces and crush them quickly with its extremely mobile and deadly war machine. In this way the enemy is made to feel that it has begun to lose its basic advantage, and the balance of power begins to shift — slowly at first but accelerating with time — in favor of the armed revolutionary forces. While the guerrilla war against the enemy is going on, our forces increase, gaining experience, strength and skill in the art of war, and attaining such numbers and quality as to render them capable of waging battles against units of the enemy forces.
The cycle begins with a combination of guerrilla war and the beginnings of the popular liberation war. With the escalation of the revolution, the growing harassment of enemy forces and the enemy's need to distribute its forces in every town and village and along the borders of all fronts, the image begins to shift towards large-scale and effective war.
We cannot completely eliminate the forces of the enemy or achieve full liberation through guerrilla war, but guerrilla war is the first stage in a protracted war. The revolutionary army will be able to triumph over the enemy's superiority through the following conditions: be politically aware and coalesce with the organized masses that support it and supply it with its human and material requirements; ally itself with world revolutionary forces who will furnish it with support and reinforcements; gain experience and efficiency through its struggle and coalesce with the revolutionary party that provides it with a clear view and an organic connection with all revolutionary forces at all levels. And with heroic determination engendered in it by years of oppression, humiliation, wretchedness and exploitation exercised by Israel and imperialism on our land; the revolutionary army will be able to triumph over the enemy's superiority.
We do not propose here to draw up a military plan for a long, extremely complicated war, but only refer in a general manner to the general form that this war will assume in light of the fact that we are an underdeveloped people facing Israel, Zionism and world imperialism with all their capabilities and their scientific and technological superiority.
We propose the popular liberation war formula against the conventional war formula with which we faced the enemy in 1948, 1956 and 1967 and which led to our defeat in each of these rounds.
In his book "People's War, People's Army" General Giap says:
The balance of forces decidedly showed up our weaknesses against the enemy's power. The Vietnamese people's war of liberation had, therefore, to be a hard and long-lasting war in order to succeed in creating conditions for victory. All the conceptions born of impatience and aimed at obtaining speedy victory could only be gross errors. It was necessary to firmly grasp the strategy of a long-term resistance, and to exalt the will to be self-supporting in order to maintain and gradually augment our forces, while nibbling at and progressively destroying those of the enemy; it was necessary to accumulate thousands of small victories to turn them into great success, thus gradually altering the balance of forces, in transforming our weakness into power and carrying off final victory.
In other passages of the same book, General Giap says:
From the point of view of directing operations, our strategy and tactics had to be those of a People's War and of a long-term resistance.
The Vietnamese People's War of Liberation proved that an insufficiently equipped people's army, but an army fighting for a just cause, can, with appropriate strategy and tactics, combine the conditions needed to conquer a modem army of aggressive imperialism.
The War of Liberation of the Vietnamese people proves that, in the face of an enemy as powerful as he is cruel, victory is possible only by uniting the whole people within the bosom of a firm and wide national united front based on the worker-peasant alliance.
In an article entitled "People's Democratic Dictatorship," Mao Tse-Tung says:
A well-disciplined Party armed with the theory of Marxism — Leninism, using the method of self-criticism and linked with the masses of the people; an army under the leadership of such a Party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party.
We have cited these passages because they indicate the basic features of the political thought that today directs all the democratic national liberation revolutions that have stood or can stand firmly in the face of world imperialism.
"Revolutionary theory," "strongly-organized party," "leadership of the revolution by the workers and peasants," "wide, determined, united national front," "people's liberation war and long-term resistance" — these are the political strategic headlines of national liberation movements and democratic national revolution in the present age of imperialism.
That Israel constitutes an aggressive presence against our people from the outset is an indisputable fact. For our people, the rise of Israel has meant the expulsion of this people from its home and lands, the usurpation of all that our people had built through its labor and effort, the dispersal of our people throughout the Arab world and the world at large, and the concentration of the greater portion of it in the camps of misery and poverty scattered in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon without hope and without a future.
That Israel constitutes a colonialist expansionist presence at the expense of Arab land and its owners is not a matter for discussion. For us it is the tangible experience before which all spurious claims and allegations fade away. The "National Home" for the Jews in Palestine became the "State of Israel" within the boundaries of the Partition resolutions adopted by the United Nations in 1947. It then expanded to include Israel with its pre-June boundaries, which are far more extensive than those established by the United Nations' resolutions of 1947, and finally expanded once again to include the whole of Palestine as well as Sinai and the Golan Heights.
That Israel is an imperialist and colonialist base on our land and is being used to stem the tide of revolution, to ensure our continued subjection and to maintain the process of pillage and exploitation of our wealth and efforts, is a self-evident fact that does not need discussion. For us this is not merely a theoretical conclusion but represents our actual experience during the Tripartite Aggression of 1956, during the June 1967 war and throughout the existence of Israel on our soil.
However, the truth about our war of liberation has been distorted as a result of several factors. First of all, there was the connection between the rise of the Zionist movement and the persecution of the Jews in Europe. Then there was the association made between the rise of Israel and the Nazis' treatment of the Jews in the Second World War. In addition to these there was the dominating Imperialist and Zionist influence over large sections of world opinion, the existence in Israel of forces that claim to be progressive and socialist and the Soviet Union's and some socialist countries' support for the establishment of Israel. All these together with the error of certain Palestinian and Arab leaderships in the manner of their presentation of the struggle against Israel have distorted the truth about our liberation war and still threaten to distort the proper view of the true nature of this war in the eyes of many people.
The Palestinian liberation movement is not a racial movement with aggressive intentions against the Jews. It is not directed against the Jews. Its object is to destroy the state of Israel as a military, political and economic establishment that rests on aggression, expansion and organic connection with imperialist interests in our homeland. It is against Zionism as an aggressive racial movement connected with imperialism, which has exploited the sufferings of the Jews as a stepping stone for the promotion of its interests and the interests of imperialism in this part of the world that possesses rich resources and provides a bridgehead into the countries of Africa and Asia. The aim of the Palestinian liberation movement is to establish a democratic national state in which both Arabs and Jews will live as citizens with equal rights and obligations and that will constitute an integral part of the progressive democratic Arab national presence living peacefully with all forces of progress in the world.
Israel has insisted on portraying our war against it as a racial war aiming at eliminating every Jewish citizen and throwing him into the sea. The purpose behind this is to mobilize all Jews for a life-or-death struggle. Consequently, a basic strategic line in our war with Israel must aim at unveiling this misrepresentation, addressing the exploited and misled Jewish masses and revealing the conflict between these masses' interest in living peacefully and the interests of the Zionist movement and the forces controlling the state of Israel. It is this strategic line that will ensure for us the isolation of the fascist clique in Israel from all the forces of progress in the world. It will also ensure for us, with the growth of the armed struggle for liberation and clarification of its identity, the widening of the conflict existing objectively between Israel and the Zionist movement on the one hand and the millions of misled and exploited Jews on the other.
The Palestinian liberation movement is a progressive national movement against the forces of aggression and imperialism. The fact that imperialist interests are linked with the existence of Israel will make of our struggle against Israel a struggle against imperialism, and the linking of the Palestinian liberation movement with the Arab liberation movement will make our struggle against Israel the struggle of one hundred million Arabs in their united national effort for liberation. The struggle for Palestine today, and all the objective circumstances attendant upon it, will make of this struggle an introduction for the realization of all the aims of the Arab revolution which are linked together. It is a wide and vast historical-movement launched by one hundred million Arabs in a large area of the world against the forces of evil, aggression and exploitation represented by neo-colonialism and imperialism in this epoch of human history.
Finally, the struggle for Palestine will, as regards the Palestinian and Arab masses, be a gateway towards the culture of the age and a transition from a state of under development to the requirements of modern life. Through the struggle we shall acquire political awareness of the facts of the age, throw away illusions and learn the value of facts. The habits of underdevelopment represented by submission, dependence, individualism, tribalism, laziness, anarchy and impulsiveness will change through the struggle into recognition of the value of time, order, accuracy, objective thought, collective action, planning, comprehensive mobilization, the pursuit of learning and the acquisition of all its weapons, the value of man, the emancipation of woman — which constitute half of our society — from the servitude of outworn customs and traditions, the fundamental importance of the national bond in facing danger and the supremacy of this bond over clan, tribal and regional bonds.
Our national, long-term liberation struggle will mean our fusion in a new way of life, which will be our gateway towards progress and civilization.
This in general is our strategic view of the liberation of Palestine. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine adopts this strategy as a general guide of action. We must stress, however, that the correctness of any theoretical analysis is contingent upon its success on the field of practical application. It is only by revolutionary experience that the scientific answer to, the correctness or incorrectness of any political theoretical analysis is given, and no theoretical analytical attempt can provide fully from the outset a comprehensive view of things. The relation between thought and revolutionary action is a dialectical one. Thought directs revolutionary action, which in turn produces results, situations and reactions that influence the theoretical view of things.
On this basis, to the extent we stress these strategic lines as a guide to our action, we at the same time assert that we will not understand them in fixed, static forms.The experience itself will deepen and crystallize this view, enrich it and complete it in some of its aspects. It will also develop this view and may modify some of its aspects. Such a view of this strategy is the scientific dialectical view which rejects immobility and rigidity, undertakes criticism and self-criticism from time to time, benefits from experience and establishes between thought and revolutionary action an organic and reactive link which enlarges and deepens thought so that it will come to guide action in a more proper and more correct manner. Any other view is, in point of fact, idealistic and rigid, leading to failure.
Looking at it from another angle, this strategy represents a general view of the battle and its main trends and consequently does not stop at many of the details, inter-links and sinusitis which will fill every phase of the battle and accompany each of its lines. For instance, in our definition of the main line of conflict, we have not stopped at the lines of conflict which will exist and react among the enemy forces themselves, or within the ranks of the revolutionary forces. Thus our definition of Israel as one of the enemy forces is not intended to convey a static picture of this force. Israel does not represent a homogeneous unity within which there is no room for conflict. There will be within Israel more than one politico-social force and there will be conflict among these forces. The intensity of these conflicts may at times rise or fall according the progress and phase of the battle. Although the conflict now existing within Israel between the so-called "hawks" and "doves" does not leave any appreciable effect on the image of the battle, yet the more radical conflicts within Israel that are now dormant may come out and gain in intensity during coming periods.
Similarly, when we say that there is an organic connection between Israel and imperialism, we do not mean that there are no latent partial conflicts between them. Moreover, we witness at this time a conflict between Israel and the reactionary regime in Jordan which sometimes considers its conflict with the resistance to be less significant with regard to it than its conflict with Israel. Also, we witness at this time the willingness of the Palestinian bourgeoisie outside the occupied areas to financially support the resistance movement.
On the other side of the picture, there will also be a group of conflicts. The picture of the conflicts existing among the Palestinian armed organizations is clear at this time. Besides, the alliance between the Palestinian liberation movement and regional and Arab revolutionary action will not be entirely smooth and devoid of any conflict. Furthermore, in our presentation of the popular liberation war formula as the revolutionary formula for confrontation with the enemy, we must not fail to remember the fact that the conventional Arab armies of the national regimes will, in defending themselves as well as in their tactical attacks, play for a long time a military role, which may at times appear as the leading role on the stage of events although in the long-run, strategically, it is the revolutionary force that will remain behind Israel and world imperialism until radical national liberation is completed.
The main line of conflict defined by this strategy is not a straight geometric line with two conflicting forces standing on either side. It is in reality a crooked dialectical line on each side of which stands a group of allied forces co-existing under the shadow of this alliance. At times this alliance grows stronger and at other times the conflicts among them grow more pronounced so that the picture becomes sometimes a mixed and interwoven image moving along the two sides of the main line of conflict. Inasmuch as it is important and fundamental to see at every stage of the struggle, the accurate and detailed picture that will enable us to determine our tactical step in a scientific manner, it is equally important and fundamental that our detailed tactical view at each stage be guided by our long-term strategic view. It is this strategic view that will enable us to lead and direct the struggle and to avoid falling into the error of experimentation, impulsiveness, drifting behind events or reacting to events instead of acting to direct them.
In light of this understanding, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine adopts this politico-strategic analysis as a guide for its action in the liberation war which the Front is facing and for which it is preparing.
The people's liberation war against imperialism with its technological superiority, its production and economic capabilities, its long experience in colonizing and exploiting peoples, suppressing their movement and neutralizing their revolution with new techniques that are developed and adapted according to the circumstances of the age cannot be brought into existence nor can it continue and finally triumph in an automatic or spontaneous manner. The revolutionary party, which works for the generation of such wars and leads them to victory, is a condition sine qua non for any true radical revolution in our time. It is the party that provides a proper view of the battle and determines its strategy and tactics in light of its objective study of the forces involved in the battle and the points of weakness or strength in these forces. It is the party that provides the battle with its leadership and furnishes the frame within which all the potentialities of the masses will be mobilized and directed to the winning of the war and the attainment of the objective.
In light of this, party matters (our understanding of the party, the bases of its construction, its class structure, its working technique, its institutions, the relations governing its bases and leadership and relations between the party and the masses) no longer remain of secondary importance. Organizational strategy here become an integral part of the strategy of the battle and its view thereof. The theoretical discussion that has for some time been taking place between the revolutionary forces of Latin America (the Castroist parties) and the pro Soviet or pro-Chinese communist parties revolves primarily around matters pertaining to the structure of the revolutionary party that will lead the revolution.
The failure of leftist national parties and communist parties in the Arab world is the failure of these parties themselves and of their structure, formation and adopted strategies, and not of the principle of the party's existence as a condition for the revolutionary presence. The proof is that no revolution in this century has succeeded and continued in triumph, nor has any such revolution achieved radical change in the structure of society and given new life to the masses without a party to lead it and provide it with the ideological and social class basis on which it rests and supports itself, so that it is able to continue to exist by virtue of its objective connection with it.
The basis in the structure of the revolutionary party is the revolutionary theory to which it adheres. Without this theory the party becomes a mere group moving spontaneously or empirically and cannot be that force that is capable of controlling events. Revolutionary theory means clear vision and scientific approach in the understanding and analysis of events and manifestations, and consequently the ability to lead.
The revolutionary theory that presents all questions relating to humanity and the age in a scientific and revolutionary manner is Marxism. In the history of human endeavor to acquire knowledge, Marxism represents a unique attempt in understanding nature, life, society and history. Marxism has presented a theory (dialectical materialism) that analyses and explains nature and its motion and the laws governing this motion through a tangible scientific material approach that is devoid of illusion, superstition, subjective meditation, and imagination and mere verbal or logical inferences. It has then applied this same tangible scientific material approach to the study of society, the movement of society and the march of history (historical materialism), stopping particularly before the formation, structure, conflicts and movement of modern capitalist society (theory of surplus value and scientific socialism).
Through all this, Marxism has presented a dialectical scientific approach that has elevated the study of history, society and political manifestations to the level of science. As the natural sciences are man's means for controlling the phenomena of nature and using them for his benefit, so is Marxism the science that enables man to understand the progress of societies and history and to direct and influence them. Lenin completed Marx's scientific efforts by applying the same Marxist method to the study of capitalism in its evolution towards the stage of centralization, monopoly and colonization, thus explaining all political manifestations and events that attended the beginning of the 20th century. On the basis of Marxism and the socialist scientific approach he was able to lead with success the first socialist revolution in history, to draw up its strategy, to face its problems and to define the features of the top of the revolutionary organization which led it on the way to victory. In this way Lenin gave Marxist theory its revolutionary modern applications so that Marxism-Leninism has become the standard of revolution in this period of human history.
Like all other scientific theories, this theory has passed its validity test on the experimental ground of actuality and practice and has consequently acquired during this century all its requisites as a science. The final test of any theory or law is the compatibility of the test with that theory or law, and this is exactly what happened in the case of Marxism. The October Revolution, the revolutions in China, Cuba, and Vietnam and all revolutionary experiences throughout the world have arisen originally on the strength of this theory. This picture contrasts with the stumbling confusion and collapse of all revolutionary attempts that have not been based on this vision, this theory and this guide. It is not a mere coincidence that the October Revolution and the revolutions in China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and the socialist countries of Europe have succeeded and stood firm in the face of imperialism and in overcoming or beginning to overcome their state of underdevelopment, against the quasi-paralysis or infirmity characterizing the countries of the Third World which are not committed scientifically to scientific socialist theory as their guideline for planning all their policies and defining their programs.
The tangible materialist scientific pursuit of the events and revolutions of this century is the concrete proof of the validity of Marxist theory.
Marxism as a revolutionary theoretical weapon depends on the manner in which it is understood on the one hand and its correct application to a particular circumstance or particular stage on the other. The essence of Marxism is the method that it represents in viewing and analyzing things and in determining the direction of their motion. Consequently, the revolutionary understanding of Marxism is the understanding of it as a working guide and not as a fixed, rigid, doctrine. Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung, and before them Marx and Engels, have recorded on more than one occasion the need for the Marxist view as a working guide and not as a rigid doctrine.
The essence of the Marxist view of human society is that it is in continuous motion and continuous change, and consequently any analysis presented by Marxism in respect of any stage or any actuality arises constantly from the old actuality. The invariable factor in Marxism is its dialectical scientific approach in viewing things in their state of continuous motion and change. This method is Marxism in its essence. It is the revolutionary theoretical weapon that enables us to view things scientifically in their state of continuous motion, development and change. Contemporary capitalism is not the same capitalism of Marx's time without alteration or change, and the class structure of a backward society is not the same class structure as that of an industrial society. The nationalist manifestation which the European bourgeoisie tried to exploit to serve its interests is not the same nationalist manifestation appearing in backward countries where nationalism acquires a revolutionary concept as the framework for the mobilization of enslaved peoples against imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism.
Understanding Marxism in a manner which enables us to take in all these differences and to benefit from the revolutionary theory provided by the revolutions of this century and from all the theoretical efforts which have emanated from and enriched Marxism instead of stopping and becoming fossilized at its frontiers is in fact the scientific Marxist understanding of this theory. The contrary is true of any attitude towards Marxism as a fixed doctrine.
Theory in the Marxist concept is constantly in a continuous dialectical relation with actuality and practice. The fact that it is in dialectical relation with practice means, that it is in a state of growth, progress and modification and not in a fixed state.
The most dangerous thing that confronts us in our adherence to Marxist theory is understanding it in a mechanical, idealistic manner which deprives it of its ability to explain the living actuality. The benefit which we obtain from reading and understanding the writings of Marx and Lenin is confined to the limits of the knowledge presented by these writings, whereas the true benefit is that which we get when, through our deep assimilation of these writings, we acquire the method presented by Marxism-Leninism in understanding, explaining and confronting the problems of society, history and revolutionary action.
Marxism as a tool for analysis and as a working guide is the weapon that we seek by acquiring this theory. On this basis, adherence to Marxism-Leninism will not produce any effect unless such adherence results in using this theory and applying it in understanding actual conditions and formulating the working strategy that determines the nature of the stage, the nature of the battle, the definition of the conflicting forces and our view of the movement of this conflict, as well as the thorough comprehension of the concrete circumstances through which we move. By this alone — that is, the application of Marxism-Leninism to our actual living circumstances and the battle that we are fighting: our adherence to the Marxist-Leninist theory becomes meaningful and capable of being translated into results.
It would be a gross error to imagine that our mere declaration of adherence to Marxism-Leninism is a fairy wand that will open before us the road to victory. If there are examples of what Marxism-Leninism has represented in respect to certain revolutions, such as those of China and Vietnam, there are corresponding examples where adherence to Marxism-Leninism has not led to anything. The Arab communist parties that are formally and verbally committed to Marxism-Leninism have not been able to lead the revolution in our homeland because their commitment has been verbal, or because they have understood the theory in a rigid and fossilized manner, or because they have not been able to apply this theoretical weapon to our actual living circumstances in such a way as to deduce from it a clear view of the battle and a sound strategy for its leadership.
Our commitment to scientific socialist theory would be mere verbiage, mere illusion and escapism, unless this commitment means a mature comprehension of this theory by our leading members in the first place and our party bases in general. Such comprehension cannot be achieved without a great study effort that must be exerted over a long period. On the other hand, the value of this commitment depends on the nature of our understanding of this theory as a tool of analysis, as a method in handling questions of revolutionary action and as a working guide, and not as a rigid theory. The acquisition of Marxist-Leninist approach should be the purpose of this effort and study.
Furthermore, the value of our commitment to Marxism-Leninism lies eventually in the application of this approach to the conditions of our struggle for the purpose of formulating revolutionary strategy and tactics. Unless we raise our commitment to Marxism-Leninism to this level, it will remain a commitment of intellectuals to a theory that serves them in discussion and not the commitment of a revolutionary party to a theory that opens before it a clear view of the battle. Finally, the definitive usefulness of this all depends on the great efforts that must be displayed for the sound application of this strategy, for otherwise it would remain a mere plan that will not see the light of day.
Such commitment to these meanings and results will prepare for the spread of leftist revolutionary thought among the masses of our people and will enable this thought to overcome the obstacles laid in its way. The masses of our people will not define their position with regard to scientific socialist thought in light of a purely theoretical judgement of this thought. Their position will be defined in light of the tangible results produced by this thought with regard to their fight against their enemies and exploiters. When this thought succeeds in converting the Palestinian and Arab field into a rising popular liberation war arena that will shake the Israeli-Zionist imperialist-reactionary presence in our homeland, as is taking place in Vietnam, these masses will realize that this theory was their most powerful weapon in their fight against their enemies. In this way all obstacles both real and imaginary, which stand in the face of this theory today will disappear.
The thought that now prevails among our masses is the rightist thought because of the preponderance of reaction and colonialism. Moreover, the failure of the communist parties and their attitude towards the issues of the masses, such as those of unity, nationalism and Israel, has produced in the minds of the masses a confusion between Marxist thought and these attitudes. To all this must be added the constant attempts by the reactionary and colonialist elements to distort this thought and present it as inimical to their national feeling and heritage. Finally, there is the distorted picture of this thought presented to the masses by the immature, infantile leftism that speaks of this thought in a manner that is not understood by the masses, a manner that appears strange to them and to the handling of their urgent problems. However, the positive results produced by the sound understanding and application of Marxism-Leninism will assure this thought of finding its way in our homeland so that we may be able on its basis to build our new life, our scientific understanding of life and our new modem values.
Within this context the Popular Front adopts Marxist-Leninist theory as a basic strategic line for the building of the revolutionary party on a solid theoretical basis that will unify its thinking and view of the battle and will enable it to mobilize the masses to exert their efforts in one direction which will make of them a solid force capable of achieving victory.
It is not sufficient to ensure the revolutionary theoretical structure of the party; this structure must conform to the class structure. The revolutionary party in the Palestinian field is the party of the classes of the revolution, the workers and peasants in the first place. When the party structure is actually based on these classes, then we are assured of the steadfastness, endurance and revolutionary capabilities of the party and the soundness of its positions. However, if the structure of the party and its basic leadership is of the petit bourgeois class, then this party, regardless of its commitment to scientific socialism will reflect the properties of this class as represented by its vacillation and hesitancy, its indecisive positions and the possibility of its slackening and failure to stand firm in the face of challenges.
True assurance as to revolutionary organization is based on the deep understanding of and commitment to scientific socialism in the first place, and on the essentially labor and peasant structure of the party in the second place.
Such a class structure of the party cannot come about spontaneously, it requires a clear view and an effort directed in accordance with this view. Spontaneity in organization leads in practice to the preponderance of the petit bourgeoisie by virtue of the effectiveness of this class and its active interest in political action at this stage, against the weakness and ineffectiveness of the workers and peasants and the non-crystallization of their political and class consciousness.
The Popular Front as a political organization does not at present conform totally with the toiling and proletarian class structure which constitutes the material and concrete guarantee for the revolutionary character of the organization, its steadfastness and its ability to go on with the revolution.
The political organization of the Front constitutes in general a spontaneous extension of the organization of the Arab Nationalist Movement, so that the petit bourgeois structure prevails in it. The continuation of spontaneous growth without planned effort will result in confining our organization mainly to Amman and the towns, with some subsidiary extensions to the rural areas and camps.
Our organizational programs must aim at placing our most efficient leading elements in the camps and villages, and it is therefore necessary to carry out a comprehensive survey of the rural areas and camps and then to concentrate heavily on these areas. Also, it is necessary to pick up the rising young elements in these places and to build them solidly in theory and organization so that most of our leading members will have a revolutionary class allegiance.
The presence of hundreds of members and leaders in the towns while we have no connection with many villages or with some camps and labor concentrations, however few these concentrations may be, indicates that our organizational growth continues to be spontaneous, that our revolutionary view of things is not clear and that there are no effectively directed revolutionary plans emanating from this view. These hundreds of members and leaders must be deployed effectively in accordance with an organized plan to penetrate into the truly revolutionary concentrations so that after a time we will find ourselves before a solid political organization based on the poor, the toilers and the downtrodden who are determined to revolt, too main in their revolution and to stand firm in the face of every challenge. In this way we are assured of the revolutionary character of our organization, our political organization becoming a real support for the fighting cadres, providing them with the required revolutionary combatants, furnishing real protection and effecting complete fusion with them.
Political organization based on the petit bourgeoisie and the intellectuals whose roots do not extend to the villages and the poor urban districts cannot provide the fighting cadres with the required combatants or constitute a protective support for the fighters. Furthermore, it may in fact become a burden on the fighting cadres, aiming through its connection with the armed struggle at obtaining moral privileges, formalities and superior positions of leadership, besides forcing upon the armed struggle the manifestation of personal and tactical conflicts and disputes that are sometimes concealed behind verbal conflicts having no connection with actual fighting problems.
Naturally, it is not our intention to have a political organization that is closed in the face of the petit bourgeoisie, but to have an organization whose basic material comes from the workers, the peasants and the poor to ensure the organization's strength, steadfastness, discipline and conscious practical direction towards the battle and fighting problems. In this case, such an organization is capable of mobilizing and recruiting within its ranks the revolutionary sectors of the petit bourgeoisie without falling victim to its hesitancy, vacillation, indecisiveness and lack of application.
The revolutionary intellectuals are a basic and necessary material for the building of the party and the revolution. In defining revolutionary forces in the underdeveloped countries, modern socialist thought cites the workers, peasants, soldiers and revolutionary intellectuals. The intellectuals provide the revolution with a clear view, and they are naturally the material through which political consciousness passes to the working classes as well as the capacity for administration, the organization of things and planning for all aspects of action. Consequently, the presence of revolutionary intellectuals and their fusion into the structure of the party is a basic matter.
However, the intellectual's role in the building of the party and in the service of the revolution is contingent upon their true coalescence with the masses, combatants and revolutionary action and their acquisition, through practice, of the ability to stand firm and of the education connected with the problems of action. The intellectuals' presence in the party outside the range of practice and apart from the masses and the fighting may expose the party to the manifestation of verbiage that is in conflict with the real problems of action.
The intellectuals' living among the downtrodden masses and combatants, their willingness to learn from them as much as they teach them, their ability to share with them the same living circumstances, their intellectual modesty, their establishment of comradely relations with the combatants and the poor and their avoidance of superior relations and of material and moral privileges constitute the way whereby the intellectuals can perform their part in the revolution, and the non-observance or non-exercise of these matters will deprive the intellectuals of all capacity for revolutionary action. The revolutionary combatant refuses to establish superior relations with anybody. The aims of the revolution include equality, human dignity, cooperation and human comradely relations, and the organization that prepares itself for the leadership of the revolution is expected to embody this picture.
Our second strategic line in the building of the revolutionary party is to have the party material from the class of workers, peasants, toilers and revolutionary intellectuals. Naturally, the adoption of this line is not sufficient to ensure this picture. A long period of hard effort lies before us in this direction. When our organization actually becomes an organization of workers, poor peasants and toilers; when it actually becomes an organization of camps, villages and poor urban districts, then we may rest assured that we have created the solid organization that supplies the revolution with its requirements and provides it with protection and ability to continue and take a firm stand.
The party is the leadership of the masses. Consequently, the members and leaders of the party must come from conscious elements that are imbued with enthusiasm for action and are willing to accept sacrifice, observe discipline and act in accordance with regulations and organization policy. The party must see to it that its members in general constitute an example and a vanguard in consciousness, activity, sacrifice and discipline. If the party and its members lose these qualities, it naturally loses its role as a revolutionary political organization. However, inasmuch as the revolutionary party must maintain itself as an organization of conscious, active, loyal and disciplined elements, it must at the same time be an organization for the masses, emanating from them, living in their midst, fighting for their causes, relying on them and realizing its aims through and with them and in their interest.
Mao Tse-Tung says:
However active the leading group may be; its activity will amount to fruitless effort by a handful of people unless combined with the activity of the masses. On the other hand, if the masses alone are active without a strong leading group to organize their activity properly, such activity cannot be sustained for long, or carried forward in the right direction, or raised to a high level.
It would be very useful for us always to remember this in our action. By understanding the dialectical relation between the party and the masses we can understand in a sound manner the party's role on the one hand and the masses' role on the other.
The mass line is our third strategic line in the building of the Popular Front.
To succeed in the building of the Popular Front for the organization of the masses, the purpose of each revolutionary political action must be deeply rooted in the heads of the organization members. The final purpose behind our action is the masses: the freedom of the masses, the dignity of the masses, the life of the masses, the fulfilment of their needs, the guarantee of their future.
Keeping this purpose in our mind, making the members increasingly conscious of it and constantly reminding them of its importance will help us always to follow the right direction in our work, will determine the measure of evaluation of our work, organizations, leaderships and branches of action, will protect us from the dangers of seclusion, isolation, bureaucracy, superiority, opportunism and preoccupation with petty internal matters, and will determine the nature of our activities and the direction of our operation. Sometimes our organization or some of its branches confine themselves to purely internal activities: meetings, education, discussions, criticism, etc. In the absence of a mass cause towards which the organization is directed, and in light of the organization's isolation from the masses and their problems and causes, the organization's life becomes closed and isolated and will soon be swamped by the organization's problems and side issues, so that the organization will lose all capacity for revolutionary action.
To look always to the masses, to handle the masses' problems, to work for the masses, to help the masses to understand and analyses their problems and to adopt a position in respect thereof, to assist them in organizing themselves and to lead them in action to face their problems — this is our main task, the purpose of our existence, and it is our only way to muster the revolutionary strength that will enable us to achieve our aims.
The mass line and our success in following it constitute a basic measure of the revolutionary character of the members, the organization's branches and the political organization as a whole.
Without this climate, this consciousness, this direction, we fall in the circle of seclusion and isolation. This would mean, first, the preponderance of side issues pertaining to the organization itself and, second, the ability of the opposing forces to encircle and strike us.
The member who establishes the best relations with the masses around him, looks for any service that he can perform for them and is for those around him a factor of awakening and assistance is the revolutionary member. There are no grounds for claiming any revolutionary quality in respect of the member who does harm to the masses or isolates himself from them. The organization branch that sets up political forums, reacts with the masses in the problems and issues facing them and looks for any service that it can perform for them, such as opening a school to combat illiteracy, or helping people in collecting the harvest, or advising them in the establishment of a co-operative, or leading them in demanding an electricity or water supply project or the opening of a road, is a successful branch in giving the mass line a concrete form. Conversely, no organization branch can claim success or revolutionary action if it is enclosed within itself, confining all its time and effort to its internal organizational life, not feeling with the masses so that they do not feel its existence.
The party which mobilizes for the revolution every man, woman and worker, every peasant, every student and every youth, orients constantly towards the battle and the revolution and leads them in their various political and mass activities, and the party whose basic organization is surrounded by student, labor and peasant unions and organizations for women, youth and cubs (pioneers) is the revolutionary political organization for the masses. There is no ground for claiming any revolutionary quality in respect of an organization that lives in seclusion away frothy masses.
Naturally such a picture does not occur in a short time. The mobilization of the masses must take place at a speed that enables the organization to make of this mobilization a conscious and disciplined operation, neither spontaneous nor disorderly. However, the important thing is that we move in this direction, following it with firm continuous and sure steps, deeply realizing that the basic and final purpose of our existence is the masses, that we are all right as long as the masses are with us and as long as many positive bridges link us with the masses, and that any isolation or any movement of the masses away from us must constitute a warning or alarm signal requiring a critical review of our positions and procedures.
The party's leadership of the masses is not an easy process. It is not sufficient to have the intention, nor is it sufficient for the party to stress the importance of the mass line to ensure its leadership of the masses. The party's ability to analyse the situation, the mottos that it presents, the nature of the mass problems that it intercepts, the manner in which it presents all these questions, the pattern of the relations that it establishes with people and the mobilization and organization formulas that it adopts — these are the factors that determine the party's success or failure in the leadership of the masses.
The party will not be able to lead the masses if it presents issues that do not spring from their midst, or if it presents them in a manner that is not understood by the masses, or if it fails or hesitates to present some of the issues.
Mao Tse-tung says:
To link oneself with the masses, one must act in accordance with the needs and wishes of the masses. All work done for the masses must start from their needs and not from the desire of any individual, however well-intentioned. It often happens that objectively the masses need a certain change, but subjectively they are not yet conscious of the need, not yet willing or determined to make the change. In such cases, we should wait patiently. We should not make the change until, through our work, most of the masses have become conscious of the need and are willing and determined to carry it out. Otherwise we shall isolate ourselves from the masses. Unless they are conscious and willing, any kind of work that requires their participation will fail. There are two principles here: one is the actual needs of the masses rather than what we fancy they need, and the other is the wishes of the masses, who must make up their own minds instead of our making up their minds for them.
Inasmuch as we must avoid the disease of rashness or leftist opportunism in the leadership of the masses, we must likewise avoid the disease of inaction or rightist opportunism.
Here Mao Tse-tung goes on to say:
If we tried to go on the offensive when the masses are not yet awakened, that would be adventurism. If we insisted on leading the masses to do anything against their will, we would certainly fail. If we did not advance when the masses demand advance, that would be right opportunism.
Our emphasis on the mass line and the basic character of the masses should not be understood in an erroneous idealistic manner creating among the masses a sentimental mystic view that would conceal from them the objective view of things and result in spontaneously trailing behind the masses instead of coalescing with them with the object of leading them.
Our masses, like the masses in underdeveloped countries, are the victim of many outworn concepts, tribal, clan and communal connections and bad, anarchical customs and traditions that are remote from the spirit of the age. Under this situation our masses cannot be that force that is capable of achieving victory over the enemy that we have defined. The rallying of these masses around the party without such rallying being accompanied by efforts towards revolutionary political consciousness and organizational disciplinary consciousness would result in transferring to the organization all the diseases of the prevailing conditions, and this would be a gross error. The revolutionary party is the school in which the masses learn and change many of their habits, traditions and concepts, substituting everything modem, new and revolutionary for all that is old and outworn.
On the other hand, our toiling masses, by reason of their material living conditions and of the fact that they suffer in practice the exploitation and subjection exercised by the anti-revolutionary forces, undoubtedly constitute in the strategic field real protection for the revolution from any vacillation, weakness or slackening, but this would not mean that the masses are always right in assessing tactical political positions and determining their programs.
In their positions the masses sometimes represent sentimental and impulsive reactions that are unscientific in their calculations and un-objective in the evaluation of all circumstances. Consequently, it is wrong for the party to go along always with the state of the masses without action or effect. The party must always remember the danger of compulsiveness in political action, and that its role is to lead the masses and not to straggle behind them, for otherwise it would lose the justifications for its existence as a revolutionary political organization.
The relation between the party and the masses is a dialectical one. It teaches them and is taught by them. It affects them and is affected by them. They provide it with the facts and in light of its comprehension and analysis of these facts, it provides them with a sound assessment of the situation and eventually with the working programs.
The strategy of armed struggle must naturally affect the strategy of the party structure so that this structure is based on the interests and requirements of the struggle in a manner which affects the structure of the party and the relations within the organization, the nature of its leading formations, its educational material and its internal regulation.
The basic aim of the Palestinian national movement is the liberation of Palestine. This aim cannot be achieved except through armed struggle and a protracted popular liberation war. If we lose sight of this fact, a great deviation will occur in our party and political action. There is no way of building a Palestinian national movement for the masses except through fighting and the masses' awareness that the demand for organization, mobilization and political activity aims at escalation of the fighting — their only road to victory. Conversely, there will be no continued escalation of the fighting except through the mobilization of the masses with the object of furnishing the requirements of the struggle, protecting it and supplying it with successive ranks of citizens to ensure its persistence, continuity and the escalation of its effectiveness. This dialectical relation of coalescence between the fighting and political action constitutes the right criterion for our work.
Putting into effect this concept of the Palestinian national movement in its two interrelated and fused aspects — fighting and political action — means on the organizational level confirmation of the following points:
- The military organization that does the fighting must have a mature political structure. Confining our interest to the building of the military structure in a mechanical manner bears many risks. The combatant who takes up arms must know why, against whom and for whom he has taken to arms. A sound political view of the relations with the masses protects the combatants from any errors that might lead to their isolation from the forces of revolution, imbues them with the capacity to stand firm, enables them to avoid short-term policies, provides them with protection from any acts of political sabotage that may be launched by the enemy, defines their line of relations with any force carrying arms and mobilizes them at stated intervals for political mass action that will be useful to them in the fight and will strengthen their position. The politicized combatant alone is capable of standing firm in a long, hard battle like the one that is being fought by our people today.
The acquisition by the fighting cadres of the revolutionary political view of things makes these cadres the vanguard of the Palestinian national movement and ensures the firmness, continuity and non-deviation of the fight.
- The political organization must have a military structure. However, we must keep in mind that this organization is auxiliary to the fighting cadres. It constantly provides us with successive numbers joining the military cadres and going into the battle. The greatest deviation that could occur is the building of the political organization in a haphazard manner without such an objective being completely clear, with the result that we would find ourselves with an organization which wanted to take moral or political advantage of its formal connection with the struggle without this organization being an integral part of the fighting cadres.
- Such a deviation would create a great conflict between the fighting cadres and the political organization which would adversely affect the march of the revolution and make the political organization a burden on the struggle instead of a support to it. The political organization whose aim is to link itself with the combat in order to obtain the identity of affiliation to commando action, the battledress and all other insignia without being truly prepared to join the fighting would constitute an obstacle in the way of revolutionary growth and would force the party to live under circumstances of constant conflict between the fighting cadres and the political organization.
The political organization must be built for continuous efflux to the battle and its task must be to provide military protection for the struggle (i.e. popular resistance). It must live the same conditions as the fighting cadres, and its constant daily task must be to exert continuous and exhausting efforts in the service of the struggle and the fighting cadres. In this way we can build the unified fighting party and avoid any serious conflict between fighting and political action.
- The party's leaderships must eventually be politico-military leadership possessing political consciousness on the one hand and the capacity to lead the fight on the other. From time to time the leading positions must be re shuffled to enable the political organization to become appreciably familiar with all the questions and conditions of the fighters and the struggle so that its judgements will be sound and to understand all working problems in the military sector. Conversely, the military organization must be made familiar with all working problems in the political field.
- The internal education of the party must aim at building the political and military structure at the same time. Military education in relation to the political organization must be as basic as political education. Similarly, political education in relation to the fighting cadres must have the same importance as military education. Leadership cadre training must at the same time be military and political training.
- The basic effort of the leadership must be directed towards the issues of the combat, the solution of its problems and the fulfilment of the requirements for its escalation, steadfastness and continued growth. All organizational, political, information and financial efforts must be linked with the interests of the combat and for the combat, and not at the expense of the combat, and all this is expected to be reflected in the distribution of the leadership and in all party programs, budgets and patterns of action.
- The party's internal regulation must be laid down on the basis of the fusion and unity of the fighting and political organization and on the basis of the existence of the fighters and the issues of the combat in the very life of the party and its basic leading group.
The organizational picture towards which we are looking is that of the single fighting party, some of whose members take part in the actual fighting, others prepare for the combat while a third group forms the popular resistance that protects and supports the fighting. A fourth group works among the masses, explaining to them the fighting issues and moving the masses towards serving the combat, and a fifth group performs the financial, administrative and information tasks that serve the fighting. All these groups — and branches are one and the same organization led by the same ranks of leadership that are at the same time responsible for fighting, organization and political action in a unified interlocked system.
The motto that says that "every combatant is a party member and every party member is a combatant" traces before us a basic strategic line for the building of the fighting party in conformity with our view of the Palestinian national movement and of the liberation struggle.
The revolutionaries who meet around a revolutionary theory and a working strategy and combine together in a political organization to fight for these principles need to define the manner in which they must organize their work.
For example: How shall the leadership of the organization be determined? How shall it be changed in the event of such change being necessary? How shall relations be established among the various ranks of the leadership? What are the relations between the leadership and the members of the organization? How shall the organization face its problems and contradictions? How shall it settle its political positions where there is more than one point of view concerning the position at issue? How shall the organization keep discipline and preserve the unity of the party? How can it make of the party relations the basic relations among the members of the organization to which all personal, family, regional or other relations shall be subservient? How can the organization discover qualifications among its ranks and open before the qualified elements opportunities to shoulder responsibilities that are commensurate with their qualifications? How can the organization maintain that strong discipline that is indispensable for the success of the party in the execution of its policy and programs without this discipline being at the expense of the member's dignity or rights or the development of his personality?
The determination of the organizational method with which the party must face all these questions is a basic condition for the building of the revolutionary party, the regulation of its affairs, the preservation of its unity and mobility and the increase of its effectiveness and cohesion. Unless this method is clarified, defined, understood and adhered to by all the members of the organization, the party will, in facing its problems and issues, experience a series of complications, contradictions and haphazard or individual actions which paralyses it and prevent it from facing in a revolutionary manner the revolutionary cause of the masses for which it was originally established.
Democratic centralism is the basic principle on which all revolutionary parties that have led the revolutions of this age have been established. Consequently, the validity of this principle of organization does not rest on its soundness from the theoretical point of view alone, but basically on its validity as established by practice and the experiences of revolutionary action.
Democracy inside the party means the right of every member to know the party's strategy, political positions and main plans, and the right to discuss and express opinions on all these matters and to present his opinion in full freedom on all matters, even though his opinion may be wrong. The right of every member to know everything within the limits of the party's security, his right to discuss party strategy and positions without any restriction and his right to criticize and stand in the face of error must be a protected legitimate right, and this is the foremost meaning of democracy.
It is the duty of the leaders to listen to the combatants and members, to think well of what they say, to acknowledge the validity of any sound scientific criticism of the work, to benefit humbly from every sound opinion and to endeavor to correct any faulty opinion among the members through dialogue, discussion and persuasion.
The revolution needs the enthusiasm and exuberant vitality of all and needs to benefit from their qualifications. This cannot be achieved unless the members feel that the revolution is theirs and that they are its protectors from any deviation. The way to this is the member's freedom of discussion, dialogue and criticism.
The collective leadership is another aspect of democracy within the organization. Collective leadership ensures the prevention of any individual authoritarianism or deviation, guarantees a certain measure of self-control over the members of the leadership and a certain measure of dialogue, discussion and viewing things from more than one angle so that the party's positions may be as sound as possible. Whatever the gaps in the collective leadership may be, the treatment of these gaps takes place through the distribution of responsibilities and obligation on clear lines and not by doing away with the principle of collective leadership. The party's reliance on a leadership backbone consisting of graded groups of policy-making and executive collective leadership ranks will provide the party structure that is capable of standing firm, facing hardships and preventing deviation to the greatest possible extent from every angle, and of reaching the soundest possible positions and plans.
The third aspect of democracy within the revolutionary organization is the members' right to express their opinion of their leadership and its responsibilities and to grant or withhold their confidence in this leadership, and eventually the members' power to change the party's leaderships in the event of their proved failure, incapacity, deviation and erroneous concept of responsibility where this erroneous concept is reflected in the pattern of their relations with the membership. The leadership that does not enjoy the members' confidence cannot be capable of mobilizing them and at the same time maintaining strong discipline and creating an atmosphere of activity and enthusiasm. The members' right to change their leaderships is the objective control over the leaders' actions, their sense of responsibility in every position taken or action performed by them and their assiduity in developing their qualifications so that they may rise to the level of the leading functions shouldered by them.
The attempt to define democracy in terms of these three aspects in spite of their importance, does not, as a matter of fact, suffice to provide full and thorough clarification of the essence of democracy and all its values, meanings and translations, nor does it suffice to produce full clarification of the effect and positive influences of democracy on the structure of the organization and the increase of its effectiveness.
Continuous revolutionary democratic education is the only way that ensures the realization of the essence of democracy, all its translations and even all its positive influences. It must be emphasized that the understanding by the responsible leaders themselves of the meaning and importance of democracy and their endeavor to give it a concrete form is even more important than its understanding and practice by the members. Here democracy becomes a collection of values, criteria and working traditions that are reflected in the pattern of relations within the organization. Here democracy becomes a genuine desire to know the members' opinions, to live among them and to avoid isolation from them and their problems, by holding open forums and collective meetings, establishing comradely relations among all, and avoiding superior relations. It will shy from bureaucratic relations, prevent responsibility from being converted into any material or moral privilege, and avoid exercising responsibility in a manner that is not compatible with the members' dignity.
Also, we must extricate ourselves from all customs and traditions inherited from the class society in which we were brought up and establish relations of mutual respect, objective appreciation of qualifications instead of formal courtesies, adulation and servility. There must be open-mindedness among the responsible leaders so that, instead of being impatient with criticism, they will encourage it and endeavor to enhance the members' moral courage and develop their manliness and revolutionary attitude.
Thus democracy becomes a revolutionary human life pattern within the organization before it assumes the form of a collection of regulations and internal rules.
Democracy is only one of the aspects of the basic principle that is at the root of relations within the organization: the principle of democratic centralism. To understand this principle from only one angle leads to the greatest dangers, and it must be clearly understood that democracy without centralization will result in complete anarchy, digression and lack of discipline, and consequently in paralyzing the party and rendering it incapable of uniform motion towards the execution of its plans.
The party needs to adopt political positions in light of developments. It needs to lay down plans that it must follow and to draw up rules and regulations to control its conduct. In the course of discussion of these matters it is natural that there should be more than one point of view, position or opinion. The party cannot continue forever to argue around these matters until everybody is satisfied as to the soundness of a particular position. After a reasonable period of discussion about its problems, positions and programs within the frame of its collective leadership the party needs to take a position, to adopt programs, to confirm a decision. This normally takes place according to the majority view, and the position or decision taken may not obtain the agreement of all without exception.
What, then, is the solution? Must the organization remain paralyzed without taking any position while discussion goes on? Must each member go out to speak his own opinion according to his own understanding of things? This would mean anarchy or paralysis. Democratic centralism provides the solution. The solution is the minority's submission to the opinion of the majority, and in this way the organization maintains its unity and ability to move. Every point of view inside the party is entitled to be presented in full freedom within organizational channels. However, after this point of view is discussed and the party (the majority) takes a definite position concerning it, then it is the duty of every element in the party to sponsor this position and to defend and be fully committed to it until another organizational occasion arises for discussing anew the matters of work in the party congresses and planning bodies.
This is the first aspect of the centralization concept. The second aspect is the subsidiary leadership ranks' submission to the higher leadership ranks and the consideration of the central leadership of the organization to be the decisive authority in all basic matters and to be entitled to criticize all positions or decisions taken by any leading group below it. The party's action in any field, area or department may affect the conduct of the party as a whole, and any mistake committed by a particular leadership rank may affect the party's fate or future. Consequently, the way to control party matters, preserve the unity and harmony of all party plans and activities and prevent any gross error or deviation by the party's branches or departments is the central leadership's right to criticize any decision taken by any subsidiary leadership rank. Naturally, this does not mean the central leadership's intervention in every act undertaken by the party. It only means that it has the right to intervene when, in its judgement, such intervention is necessary to protect the workers' interest.
The third aspect of the centralization concept is the leadership's absolute power during execution and the shouldering of full responsibility for the execution of what the party has democratically decided. When execution begins democracy ends, and so do discussion and debate, to give way to obedience, discipline, commitment and full submission to instructions. Without this we cannot build the highly disciplined revolutionary party that is capable of prosecuting the hard and long liberation war.
The principle of democratic centralization lays the sound foundation for all relations within the organization. It is the principle that combines between the member's rights and duties, between freedom and order.
The understanding of this principle by all members, their comprehension of all its meanings, their constant endeavor, to view it from both its opposite, yet united sides at the same time, and an honest and responsible effort by the leaderships and members to apply this principle provide the biggest guarantee for the building of the revolutionary party that is capable of leading an armed revolution and a hard, protracted liberation war.
This principle provides the basis for the collection of other organizational principles that govern the organization's life: collective leadership, leadership among the ranks of the members, interaction between leadership and rank and file, submission by the minority to the majority, no ideological contradictions and factions within the revolutionary party, individuals' submission to the Organization, submission by all party branches to the central committee. This basic principle and the principles emanating from it serve to determine the internal regulation and the collection of basic rules that define relations, powers, responsibilities, penalties and rewards. All this completes the general picture of the party's internal life as a disciplined democratic revolutionary organization.
The practice of self-criticism and education of the party's leaderships, cadres and members in this practice in a sound manner provides the party with a big guarantee for the discovery and correction of errors, and consequently for the continued growth of the party instead of allowing it to end in failure or incapacity resulting from these errors. Since no party or individual can avoid mistakes in work, the practice of self-criticism converts error into benefit and negative attitudes into positive ones.
Stopping to evaluate our work from time to time, placing the party and its policies and activities on the dissection table once in a while and following up scientifically all the positive and negative attitudes reflected in the revolutionary cause by the party's policies, programs and positions are matters that furnish the scientific revolutionary mentality with which the party can overcome errors and develop work programs in light of practical experience and eventually lead the work on to success.
Accordingly, the party's leaderships and members must accustom themselves to listening to, thinking of and benefiting from criticism, and, instead of trying to cover-up the error upon its discovery, admitting it and deciding to correct it.
However, sensitivity or emotion in confronting criticism levelled at the party by the members and the masses will lead to isolationism, persistence of error and failure to benefit from the remarks made by members and sympathizers and will raise a wall between the party and masses. The leadership, which is confident in itself and its honesty is that which welcomes criticism and listens to, thinks of and benefits from it, admits error when it occurs, tries to correct it and is always ready for development and renovation in light of practical experience. The practice of criticism as regards the revolutionary party is the method whereby the party breathes in new air, breathes out unhealthy air and eventually renews its vitality and capacities in a continuous manner.
Mao Tse-tung says:
Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly. Our comrades' minds and our party's work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb "Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten" means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop a democratic style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism: and to apply such good popular Chinese maxims as "Say all you know and say it without reserve," "Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words" and "Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not."
Our emphasis on the practice of criticism must be accompanied by our emphasis on the group of criteria that make criticism a weapon to strengthen and not to weaken the party. There are three basic criteria that must be taken into account: (1) the objectivity of criticism, (2) the orientation of criticism towards correction and not towards demolition and destruction, and (3) its dealing with basic matters so that the party's life may not be drowned in petty subjective issues.
In fact, we deem it very important to point out — that these criteria are found clearly in the organizational revolutionary thought, which has directed the greatest revolutions. Consequently, they are not criteria laid down by the leadership of the Popular Front to put criticism into effect or to brandish it in the face of its critics.
Concerning the criterion of objectivity in the practice of criticism Mao Tse-Tung says:
In inner-party criticism, guard against subjectivism, arbitrariness and the vulgarization of criticism — statements should be based on facts and criticism should center on politics.
Regarding the orientation of criticism towards correction and not towards destruction, Mao Tse-Tung also says:
...But our aim in exposing errors and criticizing shortcomings, like that of a doctor curing a sickness, is solely to save the patient and not to doctor him to death. A person with appendicitis is saved when the surgeon removes his appendix.
So long as a person who has made mistakes does not hide his sickness for fear of treatment or persist in his mistakes until he is beyond cure. So long as he honestly and sincerely wishes to be cured and to mend his ways, we should welcome him and cure his sickness so that he can become a good comrade. We can never succeed if we just let ourselves go, and lash out at him. In treating an ideological or a political malady, one must never be rough and rash but must adopt the approach of 'curing the sickness to save the patient,' which is the only correct and effective method.
Concerning the necessity for criticism to deal with basic issues he adds:
Another point that should be mentioned in connection with inner-Party criticism is that some comrades ignore the major issues and confine their attention to minor points when they make their criticism. They do not understand that the main task of criticism is to point out political and organizational mistakes. As to personal shortcomings, unless they are related to political and organizational mistakes, there is no need to be over-critical and to embarrass the comrades concerned. Moreover, once such criticism develops, there is the great danger that the Party members will concentrate entirely on minor faults, and everyone will become timid and overcautious and forget the Party's political tasks.
The practice of criticism within these criteria must constantly be a manifestation accompanying the life of the disciplined, democratic party.
This is the Front's organizational strategy. Through these lines, our thorough comprehension of them and our adoption of them as a guide in the building of the organization, we are able to make the Front a revolutionary party, the proletarian party that acts in close contact with the masses and directs their movement, the party that is capable of practicing armed struggle, the ever-revitalized, disciplined, democratic party.
Undoubtedly many of our organizational difficulties at this time are due to the fact that the Front was not originally built in light and under the guidance of this strategy. We should be grossly mistaken if, in our analysis of our existing organizational diseases, we remain bound to partial and personal interpretations. Complete clarity of our organizational strategy and the long and painful efforts which we display within the organization to drive our organizational problems which in reality are general and common in varying degrees to all the political organizations which now rally around commando action.
This does not mean that there may come a time when the revolutionary party will live without problems: Such thinking is unrealistic and unscientific. Our ambition is to outgrow the problems of this stage of the organization's life to face the problems of a more advanced and more revolutionary stage.
At its inception, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was formed of the Arab Nationalist Movement's branch in the Palestinian field, the "Heroes of the Return," the "Palestine Liberation Front" and independent elements which soon took the form of a fourth group within the Front. On this basis and in light of this formation it was not designed that the Front at the first stage of its life should present a complete leftist political view of the liberation battle proceeding from and based on scientific socialist theory; what was implicitly understood actually was that the Front should present a general liberation thought bearing progressive features that would crystallize more and more with the crystallization of the experiment. This is as regards the Front's political thought.
As regards organization, it likewise was not designed that the Front should at that stage of its formation be a unified party organization based on the same revolutionary organizational strategic lines that we have discussed. What was also understood was that the Front would for some time continue to consist of a group of organizations, each of which would maintain its independent existence. However, there would be a beginning made to planning for coordination among these organizations and an attempt to unify the educational material given to them in preparation for the realization of a climate that would pave the way for the unification of these organizations in the strategic planning in light of practice and experience.
In light of this picture, it is evident that there is a definite objective distinction between the organization of the Palestinian branch of the Movement (ANM) on the one hand and the Front on the other. The Movement, in light of what was designed by its Central Committee during the July 1967 session, possesses a socialist revolutionary concept through which it views the strategy of the Palestine liberation struggle, while the Front presents a liberation thought with progressive features. Moreover, the Movement represents a unified party organization preparing to rebuild itself according to a revolutionary organizational strategy, while the Front represents a group of organizations that differ in their organizational structure. Consequently; the nature of the picture and the nature of relations at the time of formation of the Front was that of an organization possessing a scientific revolutionary view and entering into a front relation with other organizations within a front which presented a progressive liberation thought and was formed of a group of independent organizations tending towards unification. It was natural, such being the case, that the Movement should have its distinctive existence and its distinctive role within this front.
This is the gist of the picture at the time of formation of the Popular Front. However, the developments and schisms that have occurred within the Popular Front place us now before a totally different picture and consequently present a new picture for the subject of the Movement and the Popular Front and the relation between them.
The "Palestine Liberation Front" has separated from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and with it a group of independents. The Front continued to exist between the Palestinian branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement and the "Heroes of the Return." On the other hand, the new situation has enabled the ANM to present through the Front its revolutionary analysis of the Palestinian situation and its full political view of the struggle for liberation, that is, its complete political thought, so that the new picture is one of almost complete identity between the ANM and the Popular Front. The Popular Front's political thought is that of the ANM in full and its structure is to a great extent the same as that of the Movement.
The ANM's organization constitutes in size a high proportion of the Popular Front's organization. If we take into account also the nature of the origin of the "Heroes of the Return," the rules that govern the organization of their first leading cadre, their general intellectual atmosphere and the nature of comradely relations between the ANM and the "Heroes of the Return" — if we take all these points into account, then we may say that to a large extent the formation of the Popular Front is largely identical with that of the Movement. If there is identity in thinking and in formation, any specific strategic distinction between the ANM and the Popular Front no longer applies.
Any insistence on maintaining the Palestine branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement independent and distinct so that one may actually feel that the ANM is one thing and the Popular Front another, should be based on a well-defined, objective and tangible distinction. What is this thing on which the Movement's distinctive existence rests? Is it the political view? The Popular Front's political view of the battle is now that of the Movement. Is it an organizational distinction? It is true that the presence of the "Heroes of the Return" within the Popular Front constitutes a special organizational issue and it is also true that the speed with which the Popular Front was organized has made this organization, as regards certain organizational characteristics, less solid and less disciplined than that of the Movement, but is this sufficient to direct our strategy towards maintaining the Movement's special and distinctive organization within that of the Front?
In light of this analysis the February Congress drew the organizational strategic line to direct and guide future relations between the ANM and the Popular Front. This line consists in working for the fusion of the Palestinian branch of the ANM within the organization of the Front and at the same time working for the fusion of the "Heroes of the Return" within the Front as well, and in planning and working for raising the Front's organizational life to the level of the conscious, disciplined, revolutionary, committed party life.
On this basis, the conception of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ceases to be that which prevailed at the time of its foundation — that is a front in the usual political sense with regard to thought and organizational relations — and our understanding of the Popular Front and the direction that we take in building it have become something different.
According to our present understanding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the direction that we take in its building up, it is the revolutionary party based on the political strategy and organizational strategy set forth in this report.
During the process of complete fusion of the Movement and the Popular Front, the sound motto that guides us is:
"The Movement in the service of the Front, and not the Front in the service of the Movement."