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Second Dialogue Between Archos and Philanarchos: Anarchist Solution to Arab-Israeli Conflict? by Jonathan V.

March 2, 2011

Archos: Good day, Philanarchos!

Philanarchos: Hello, Archos, it sure is a perfect day- the air is cool and the sun is warm—the perfect pre-conditions for clear thinking, and hot coffee. Now, what brings you outside today?

Arch: I have been thinking about the Arab-Israeli conflict for quite some time. I have had discussions with other students, professors, read various texts on the subject, listened to debates, panel discussions, read all sorts of newspapers; in short, I have been wading in this subject for the past few months.

Phil: And what have your studies led you to conclude?

Arch: I am thoroughly convinced that there is no solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. One can make persuasive arguments for and against both sides. You end up with what Kant called an “antinomy of reason.”

Phil: What if I were to tell you that a solution did exist for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict that does not prejudice either party but rather prepares the way for human liberation? You would think that this was wishful thinking, wouldn’t you?

Arch: Yes, quite wishful.

Phil: Are you prepared to undergo an examination into this view? without heckling or purposefully derailing my train of thought or making other unproductive comments?

Arch: Right.

II.

 

Phil: Let’s start at the beginning. What is the origin of the conflict between the Arabs living in Palestine and the Jewish People living in Israel?

Arch: Based on my studies, In the 1st century before the common era, the Jewish people had established a right to parts of Palestine, partly due to birth and partly religious.

Phil: I have to stop you there, Archos. What do you mean by a right to parts of Palestine established by birth and religion?

Arch: You cannot be serious, Philanarchos, don’t you know that any people who have been born in a part of a land can have a right to that land.

Phil: Do we have control over where we are born?

Archos: Well since where we are born is determined by our parents’ birth place, and in turn by their parents, I would have to say no. 1

Phil: Alright, so would you agree that our birthplace is coincidental?

Arch: Quite so.

Phil: And not our decision?

Arch: Right.

Phil: So would you therefore agree that there is a possible world such that you were born of other parents of another area of land, or not born to any parents at all?

Arch: Conceivably.

Phil: So the right that you have over a certain area, lets call it X, is arbitrary and not necessary.

 

Arch: It certainly looks like it. But that is not all Philanarchos, to have a right is to have received a promise from a divine being.

Phil: Do you say that to have a right to a land, you need to have been born in the land and have received a promise from a divine being that the land belong to you.

Arch: That is my view.

Phil: Is it possible for there to be a world such that your parents did not exist, and consequently you were never born?

Arch: You memory is poor, Philanarchos, I’ve already agreed to that.

Phil: Then in the possible world where you don’t exist, is it possible for a divine being to promise you a segment of land.

Arch: Well, if I didn’t exist, I would say no.

Phil: So a promise made by a divine being to you would be arbitrary?

Arch: Apparently.

Phil: So to have a right to a land is arbitrary, regardless of whether one was born on the land or received a divine promise?

Arch: I’m afraid so. But there is another thing, Philanarchos that gives one a right to some area of land: You must have suffered discrimination and suffering on a scale that humanity had never heretofore seen, and must have historical ties to that land.

Phil: You are referring to the Holocaust, are you not?

Arch: I am.

Phil: We are now headed into dangerous waters; I am going to try to analyze your reasoning.

Arch: Let’s tread carefully.

Phil: Would you agree that people who have not undergone a similar experience such as the Jewish people do not have a right to their land?

Arch: It seems so.

Phil: So only the Jewish people have a right to their land?

Arch: Yes.

Phil: Then the citizens of the United States, Germany, Russia and Japan lack rights to their land?

Arch: Right.

Phil: But since these countries also claim to have a right to their land, there must be some other reason why a certain group of people has a right.

Arch: Then a right must be something that a group of people has that is socially accepted.

Phil: Would you agree that if you and I were the only people in the world, then—in that extreme case—what we agree upon determines who has a right to a land.

Arch: Given the limits of your question, I would have to say yes.

Phil: And would you agree that if we disagreed about which land should belong to any of us, neither of us would have a right to land.

Arch: Yes, because a right to land is defined as a socially agreed upon determination as to who gets what land.

Phil: So in this case, no one would have a right to land

Arch: yes.

Phil: Now let’s generalize from this case, and look at the world with millions of people. If two groups of people cannot reach a consensus upon to whom a certain area of land should belong, we would have agree that neither group has a right to the land, would we not?

Arch: We would have to,.

Phil: So social consensus does not seem to be an adequate basis for establishing a right, does it?

Arch: It does not. And I now have convinced myself that to have been born on a land, have received a divine promise to that land, to have suffered discrimination and to have reached a consensus among others groups competing for that land do not establish a right to an area of land.

III.

 

Phil: This brings us to our next step in our analysis. What has happened since the Jewish people claimed a right to Palestine?

Arch: The Jewish people were conquered by the Assyrians, forcing them to be displaced. Another Arab people came to inhabit the place, established a birth right to parts of Palestine, and religious rights.

Phil: Now no people can have a right to the land, the conquest of this land is impossible, since it implies previous ownership?

Arch: Correct;

Phil: Then the Assyrians could neither contest the Jewish people right to parts of Palestine, nor could they establish a right.

Arch: That is also correct.

Phil: Now—who were next to enter the land of Palestine?

Arch: the Arabs ruled under a caliph between the 7th century and 11th century and claimed a right to Palestine.

Phil: But, we know that is nonsense, since claiming a right to land is illegitimate.

Arch: right.

Phil: So Neither the Jewish people, the Assyrians or Arabs have a right tot Palestine.

Arch: I’m committed to agreeing with that statement.

Phil: Now, lets time-warp to the Twentieth century—the most eventful, wouldn’t you agree?

Arch: Indeed. The Jewish people faced universal annihilation, and with the aid of Colonial powers, erect a Jewish state in Palestine. The Arabs of Palestine resisted, claiming that they have a right to the land, while the Jewish people counter-claim that they have a pre-existing right that is now strengthened by their threat of extinction.

Phil: What was the response of the international community.?

Arch: The Allies established the State of Israel, minimized the claims of the Arabs of Palestine, and now the Jewish people claim Israel as having the right to exist. The Arabs of Palestine resent this and have resisted Israel’s right to exist since its Establishment in 1948.

Phil: But since we agree that both parties never had a right to Palestine, the International community sided with Israel not on the basis that Israel has a right to exist. If Israel has a right to exist not because it has a right to exist, then what is its basis for existence?

Arch: It doesn’t look like there is any basis…—But I must stop you there, Philanarchos. Your conclusion is radical, since it seems to imply that no nation has a right to exist.

Phil: Precisely!

Arch: But hold on a moment, Philanarchos, you seem to suggest that The United States has no right to exist and that the Jewish people of Israel ought to perish to the fate of the Palestinians, that the Jewish people lose control of their fate and eventual destruction by their enemies.

Phil: That, Archos, does not follow from what has been said. If one agrees that a nation has no right to exist, this means that a state has no right to exist.

Arch: But aren’t the people the same as the state?

Phil: Far from it.

Archos: SO the dissolution of the state does not bring about the destruction of a people?

Phil: Neither does the destruction of the people bring about the end of the state; they are independent of each other like liquid in a glass jar. Without the jar, the liquid will remain; without the liquid, the jar will not cease to exist.

Archos: But hasn’t history already proven that the Jews cannot exist as liquid outside of the jar?

Phil: It has, but history has yet to show that the Jews could not exist if there were no jars—no states.

Arch: But without states, the stronger people will conquer the weaker peoples; the Jews in the minority would be destroyed by the numbers of their enemies.

Phil: Not so. If everyone is convinced that states are illegitimate, people will recognize their common claim or lack therefore to the Earth, since each individual abides by the basic premise that ownership of land by states is illegitimate. War among nations would not exist.

Arch: But wouldn’t there still be unavoidable private conflicts between individuals.

Phil: If so, individuals could freely move to other parts of the World. The Earth will be common property, therefore owned by no one. Those who claim rights will be met with, first ridicule, and then social pressures which would have the effect of phasing out such barbaric behavior.

Arch: Philanarchos, your ideal vision is utopian. All Utopian visions will never really exist. You should do something else with your time that is more practical—study for your midterms on Tuesday for the Legislative Process, try to find a job in order to pay for incurred debt.

Phil: As an anarchist, I think Utopias can be realized, because I think there is a potential for humans beings to realize these utopian visions if there is a sufficient change in consciousness. And as a Marxist, I tend to think that a change in consciousness will not come about until there is a sufficient change in the material conditions which act as obstacles to this change.

Arch: So we need an end to private ownership of the means of production, since this will most likely remove the obstacles to a change in consciousness. And once a change in consciousness can happen, such as my own that is the result of this dialogue with you, this view of the world can become the dominant view. And as the dominant view, human liberation could take place?

Phil: Very good. I am quite impressed of you capacity to convince yourself of the anarchist solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Now, excuse me while I finish my cup of coffee, which is getting cold.

 

 

Footnote

1. To Comrade Flores, who suggested that this line of reasoning is invalid, because of the “very deeply held religious arguments held by both Jewish and Palestinian people.” The answer to this objection is that where Reason ends, Faith begins. In other words, a dialogue is less concerned with dogma than with rooting out truth by the destructive plows of rational inquiry. The fact that Archos does not make the traditional religoius arguments should not in any way discount the completeness of his views. Moreover, Archos does not claim to be partisan to either the Jewish and Palestianians peoples’ causes, and so has no special duty to be their mouthpiece.

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