Hamas' recent "clampdown" on Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade in Gaza, rather then its ongoing brutal repression against leftist dissent, including that of feminist voices, dominated Western coverage of life in the occupied territories.The hostilities between Hamas and Fatah is a US and Israeli dream come true. It has also been manufactured to a large extent, as it is more cost effective to divide and rule a society than to conduct unpopular massacres such as we witnessed during the Second Intifada. Fatah on the other hand, lacking the rank and file structure of Hamas had already lost the chance to unite with the secular dissent in Palestine and are too busy squandering what was left of the Western aid before Hamas came into power.

The shifting the of authority from the corrupt US-Israel backed PLO to fundamentalist rulers of the working class and peasants does not change the fact that Hamas is authoritarian, nationalist and racist. It is trying to impose a de-facto Sharia regime in Palestine. It has, to a vast extent, exploited the desperation and powerlessness of a majority of the working class and peasants who had no hope but to turn to the first hand which handed the urgent basic needs for their survival; food, health care, social services and a short lived law and order in Gaza.

Receiving aid from same US friendly Saudi financiers who backed US in the invasion of Afghanistan, Hamas is not trying to make its Sharia policies a secret either. The only respect for women Hamas has is for mothers, daughters and wives of suicide bombers.

Very little is heard from the radical left and feminists since they came to power last year; they are able to deploy enough violence to Hamas’ to silence any opposition. .Hamas’ financial supporters, from regions of the Muslim world where fundamentalism is rising, are still giving them millions.

It will continue to oppose any form of demand for participatory democracy as it has since its early days of establishment. Hamas' support stems from its resistance to the brutal and completely illegitimate Israeli occupation as well as widespread disgust at the corruption and compliance of Fatah. But no amount of anti-imperialist rhetoric can disguise its fundamentalist religious nature and the consequences that flow from it. Ultimately, while being anti-imperialist is necessary, it is not enough. Replacing the Israeli jackboot with their own would be an empty kind of liberation for Palestinian women and workers.

An unwillingness to criticize nationalist resistance movements has resulted in the left forgetting that it must not only support the liberation of peoples of Palestine from occupation but also from religious repression, racism and sexism. Our anarchist policies of solidarity with the people of Palestine are based on coherent principles of equality and justice for all who live in that land, Muslim and Christian, Jewish and atheist, men and women, and straight and gay.

Issue 105 of Workers Solidarity Sept/Oct 2008

[PDF of southern edition of WS 105] [PDF of northern edition of WS 105]