26: The Great Recession’s legacy; Daphna Thier on Israel’s working class

September 18, 2018

This week, we speak to Daphna Thier on the theme of “What’s the matter with the Israeli working class?”

That’s the provocative title of Daphna’s new article in the International Socialist Review, and she talks to us about how Israel’s Zionist history and present have prevented the development of any current among its non-Palestinian workers that challenges the country’s racist undemocratic order.

Daphna is a Brooklyn-based socialist who grew up in Jerusalem, and she talks about the work of Moshe Machover and Akiva Orr, Israeli anti-Zionist socialists who in 1969 argued, as Daphna puts it in her article, “that the Israeli working class has a vested material interest in precisely the same policies that weaken workers in other countries.”

She then explains her attempt to update the pathbreaking analysis of Machover and Orr to cover the changes in Israeli society during the past four decades, when the country embraced anti-worker neoliberal reforms, but also became an even more central lynchpin of U.S. imperial domination of the Middle East.

In our opener, we look back at the global financial crash that began 10 years ago this week with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. We take stock of the enormous ways the Great Recession has changed the world, from the massive increase in economic and racial inequality to the political polarization that is driving the declining influence of centrist parties while both socialists and the far right have seen their forces grow.

Links for this episode:

Daphna’s article “What’s the matter with the Israeli working class?” (http://bit.ly/Israelworkers)

Zachary Lockman’s vital history Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948 (http://bit.ly/ComradesEnemies)

“The Class Character of Israel” by Moshe Machover and Akiva Orr (http://bit.ly/IsraelClassCharacter)

Socialist Worker’s 2013 editorial about the financial collapse, “The market meltdown we’re still paying for” (http://bit.ly/TheMarketMeltdown)

Music and audio for this episode:

The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)
Kid Cudi, “Pursuit Of Happiness” ft. MGMT
Edwin Starr, “War”
Leyla McCalla, “Little Sparrow”
Racquet Club, “New Granada”