The January 2007 edition of the IRR journal Race & Class leads with Ilan Pappe’s wide-ranging historical analysis of US foreign policy in Palestine, examining the roots of the pro-Israel lobby, its relationship to the fundamentalist Christian Right and the interests of the ‘Arabists’ in the State Department. Also featured is a series of articles on colonialism and neo-colonialism in the Pacific Islands.
Clusters of history: US involvement in the Palestine question
US involvement in Palestine, which has been long and complex, has generated a massive historical record, which needs to be understood in order to locate not only some of the origins of today’s tragic situation but also to chart possible paths to change. The power of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, on US Middle East policy is well known; the background to it, and its relationship to the US fundamentalist Christian Right, less so. Starting from the nineteenth century, Ilan Pappe – author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine – traces key elements and interests involved in the making of US policy, including AIPAC, the oil industry, and the ‘Arabists’ of the State Department.
Self-determination in Oceania
Terence Wesley-Smith, associate professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, examines the interplay between national self-determination, the colonial legacy, the concept of sovereignty and the nature of state formation in the political development of the Pacific Islands. It is argued that many of the fundamental economic and political problems of these societies have never been properly addressed – a situation exacerbated by the growing recourse to interventionism against ‘failed’ states by the most powerful. Any starting point for true self-determination in Oceania has to be found in indigenous practices of self-government.
Fiji, Iraq and Pacific island security
The reverberations from the war in Iraq have been felt worldwide – and in regions far distant from the Middle East. Nic Maclellan, a journalist, researcher and development worker in the Pacific Islands, describes how a whole industry has grown up, in which private military and security corporations plug the gaps that the armed forces of the US and Britain cannot fill, providing back-up services, security and logistics. The Pacific nation of Fiji, with its highly regarded military tradition, has proved a fertile recruiting ground for such companies. High unemployment and lack of opportunity in Fiji has meant that Fijians are serving – and suffering casualties – in Iraq in increasing numbers.
Colonial culture in the Pacific, in Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London
Lawrence Phillips, a senior lecturer and Field Chair in English at the University of Northampton, explores the transition from one phase of colonialism to another through the work of two prominent authors who lived and worked in the South Pacific during the tumultuous period after the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Defending workers’ rights in China: an interview with China Labour Bulletin
China’s tremendous economic growth over the last two decades has begun a historic shift away from the economic dominance of the West that is the subject of much commentary and debate. Far less known is the impact on Chinese workers themselves, who are frequently denied the rights laid down in labour laws and also lack the protection of public health services or unemployment benefits. Protests against these conditions are steadily growing. Jerry Harris, Robin Munro and Michael Zhang interview China Labour Bulletin, one NGO that acts to defend workers’ rights and publicise the present situation.
Race & Class is published quarterly, in January, April, July and October, by Sage Publications for the Institute of Race Relations; individual subscriptions are £27/$47, for four issues, with an introductory rate of £20/$35 for new subscribers.