The Basic Principles of Matzpen where adopted in 1973, and were last amended in 1978
The Socialist Organization in Israel (“Matzpen”) is a voluntary association of revolutionary socialists who act on the basis of the Marxist world-view – against any exploitation and oppression of one person by another and for a global socialist revolution that will abolish all existing socio-political regimes (which are based on exploitation and oppression) and will establish a classless affluent society of free persons, managing collectively and consciously the process of their social life, and creating and appropriating social wealth in common.
The socialist revolution is not an endeavour of outstanding individuals or a select sect; rather, it is the endeavour of the exploited and oppressed masses of all lands, and an outcome of their struggle. Historically and on a worldwide scale, socialism is essentially connected to the rise and struggle of the modern working class. The working class is the commonalty of the masses of people who are compelled to sell their labour power in order to survive. It is the only class whose liberation is impossible without the abolition of class society on a global scale. It is the class whose very functioning in the processes of modern society – based as they are on a collective process of production – predisposes it to reach an understanding of its own situation and the cause of its oppression, to combine with other exploited groups and classes for a common revolutionary struggle, and together with them to organize the life of post-revolutionary socialist society.
In the developed industrial countries of the West the capitalist regime holds sway. In the course of its evolution, capitalism has brought about an unprecedented rise of social productivity; based on the achievements of science and technology, capitalism has developed methods of production that require close cooperation of masses of human beings and make possible the creation of limitless plenty; in spreading over the entire planet, capitalism has created a global system that binds together all human beings across the planet in close mutual ties. But this development is based on the exploitation of huge masses of human beings who are denied any control over the process of their labour, the means of their labour and the fruits of their labour, and are therefore denied control over the entire social process. In the capitalist system the products of human labour assume the form of commodities: everything is sold and bought – means of subsistence, means of labour, and even the brawn and brain power of human beings. The forces of human society and the products of its labour are not dominated by its members but, on the contrary, confront human beings as alien, hostile forces and dominatethem. In becoming globalized, capitalism has created an imperialist system that enslaves and exploits the masses in the “third world” and aggravates its material backwardness compared to the developed countries. Capitalism is the foremost enemy of the socialist revolution: the revolution strives to overthrow capitalism, and the latter attempts to prevent and suppress the revolution.
In Russia, a workers’ revolution erupted in 1917, but the councils of workers, peasants and soldiers did not maintain power; instead, power was usurped by a bureaucratic stratum that concentrated in its own hands real control over social production and over society as a whole. In the system established by the bureaucracy there is no comprehensive production of commodities and no private ownership of the principal means of production, but the masses of working people are exploited and oppressed, as they are denied any control over their labour, its means and its fruits and over the social process as a whole. Similar bureaucratic regimes were established after the Second World War in a series of other countries. The foreign policy of these regimes is not aimed at supporting the struggle for a worldwide socialist revolution but at enhancing their own position in the international arena. The oppressive bureaucratic regime is also an enemy of the socialist revolution; the revolutionary struggle of the working people in those countries is part of the process of the worldwide socialist revolution.
The countries of the “third world” are dominated by imperialism – in most cases in its neo-colonial form, exercised through the mediation of local ruling classes, which are junior partners of imperialist exploitation. The peoples of these countries can achieve full national liberation and extricate themselves from imperialist exploitation only through a continuous revolution that combines inseparably the tasks of national-democratic liberation with those of social liberation of the masses of working people. In the majority of these countries there is a large class of poor peasants, which is a natural ally of the working class in the revolutionary struggle.
As the modern world is a single interlinked system, and as the ruling and privileged classes in all countries have interconnected interests opposed to the socialist revolution, it is a supreme duty of revolutionary socialists to act in mutual international solidarity, and to lend fraternal support to the struggle of every exploited and oppressed group of human beings against exploitation and oppression based on class, sex, nationality, race or religion.
An integral part of the struggle for socialism is the struggle against the oppression of women in society and within the family and against repression based on gender and age within the existing authoritarian family, which is a cell and a scaled-down replica of repressive class society.
Since the mass of workers, though predisposed by their condition to achieve revolutionary consciousness, do not achieve it automatically or at the same pace, it is incumbent on socialists in every country to combine in revolutionary organizations in order to disseminate revolutionary consciousness among the masses; to aid the mass struggle and to learn from it; to crystallize an overall revolutionary strategy and apply it in initiating struggles and working for unification and coordination of spontaneous struggle that break out on partial fronts; and to awaken in the toilers a consciousness of international solidarity. The revolutionary organization must facilitate manifestations of self-initiative, self-organization and self-activity of the masses in the revolutionary struggle, and propagateconsciousness of people’s ability to control their own fate and to manage the social process autonomously. The revolutionary organization must aid processes of individual and social self-liberation, ferment each cell of social life and undermine the authority relations and system of values that prevail in present-day society. The role of the revolutionary organization is not to seize and hold on to power, but to work to the best of its ability for the seizure and retention of power by councils elected by the masses. Seizure of power by such councils is the hallmark and decisive step of a socialist revolution.
The councils are a form of self-organization of the masses: in the productive cells their function is to manage the process of production in each plant, subject to central planning, which will itself be determined by the masses through their councils. During the initial period it will also be their task to organize mass defence against counter-revolutionary attempts on the part of remnants of the privileged classes. Council power, by its very nature, cannot be a rule of a minority against the majority, but constitutes the form of broad democratic participation of the masses in managing the social process as a whole. The councils at the various levels (an individual plant, a district, etc. – up to the council of the country at large) are democratically elected; the representatives constituting the councils do not enjoy any privileges and their mandate can be revoked at any time by their electors.
Matzpen’s principal sphere of activity is the struggle against the present regime inIsrael. This struggle reflects the historical interest of the working class and all others who labour and are exploited in Israel. An integral part of the struggle for socialism is the struggle for defending and improving the workers’ standard of living and work conditions. As a vital means of this struggle, Matzpen works for creating independent and militant trade unions of the wage workers. These unions – unlike the Histadrut, which subordinates the interest of the workers to that of the Zionist state – will not be led by professional bureaucrats but by direct representatives of the workers, elected at the workplace. The struggle against the regime goes together and merges with the struggle of members of the Mizrahicommunities – who for the most part belong to the exploited social strata – against economic, social and cultural discrimination; and with that of members of the Palestinian people in Israel – who for the most part constitute the most exploited stratum – against racist discrimination and national oppression by the present regime.
Our socialist principles place us in irreconcilable opposition to Zionism. We regard Zionism as a colonizing project, carried out at the expense of the Arab masses (primarily the Palestinian Arab people), under the aegis of imperialism and in partnership with it. Zionism is also opposed to the interest of the mass of exploited workers in Israel, placing them in historical conflict with the masses of the entire Arab East. The State of Israel in its present, Zionist, form is not only an outcome of the Zionist project but also an instrument of its further extension and expansion. Matzpen extends support of solidarity with the struggle of members of the Palestinian Arab people against their oppression and the denial of their human and national rights by Zionism.
The solution of the national and social problems of this region (including the Palestinian problem and the Israeli–Arab conflict) can come about only through a socialist revolution in this region, which will overthrow all its existing regimes and will replace them by a political union of the region, ruled by the toilers. In this united and liberated Arab East, recognition will be granted to the right of self-determination (including the right to a separate state) of each of the non-Arab nationalities living in the region, including the Israeli-Jewish nation. As part of the struggle for this revolution, Matzpen struggles for the overthrow of the Zionist regime and the abolition of all the institutions, laws, regulations and practices on which it rests. Matzpen strives for a living-together of Arabs and Jews, based on full equality; and for the integration of this country’s two peoples – the Israeli-Jewish and the Palestinian-Arab peoples – in the regional socialist union, on the basis of free choice. Matzpen works towards the development of internationalist consciousness among both peoples, which would make such integration possible.
In view of these aims, Matzpen supports the elaboration of a common strategy and unity of action of all revolutionary socialist forces in this region.
These Principles constitute Matzpen’s tenets. New members are admitted through a democratic procedure by the cells of the organization, according to the degree of the candidates’ acceptance of these Principles and on the basis of the candidates’ readiness to struggle for them. The members of Matzpen work for the furtherance of the revolution: individually within every sphere of social life in which each member participates, and jointly within the organization.