Noise, Flags, and Fists

Noise, Flags, and Fists

Reflections on a Weekend in Downtown Montréal

Since May 6 of this year, apparently first with respect to the Sheikh Jarrah property dispute, there has been an intercommunal conflict between neighbours in ethnically mixed urban parts of occupied Palestine, from Jerusalem to Jaffa and beyond. Consequently, there has been an uneven exchange of bombs and rockets between the Israeli state and Hamas, the latter being the state authority in the small territory of Gaza. Where things will go in Palestine, I cannot say. I don't pretend to have more than a Wikipedia-level understanding of the situation. I do not speak the relevant languages and am not trying to follow the news too closely anyway.

My reflections concern the situation in Montréal, home to sizeable populations of both Muslims and Jews, many of whom, respectively - and I understand that this is quite reductive - bolster the ranks of local social movements in support of both the Palestinian side and the Zionist/Israeli side of the conflict. This past weekend, a part of both movements took the streets of downtown Montréal in response to the most recent events overseas.

On Saturday, May 15, tens of thousands (at a minimum) of people came out in support of the Palestinian side; they demonstrated both at Westmount Square, an office tower complex that is home to the Israeli consulate, and in Dorchester Square, more or less in the central part of downtown. The entire zone in between those two locations was, for hours, convulsed with people waving the Palestinian flag, shouting slogans, and honking horns. It must have certainly been one of the largest demonstrations that has taken place in Montréal in the last year. There was little violence or vandalism, although a window was broken at Westmount Square and some people climbed scaffolding on a building adjoining Dorchester Square. All of this was preceded by a motorcade that started on the other side of town. Some anarchists and "radical leftists" without close family ties to any sort of Muslim community were present, but seemingly not many, in comparison to the rest of the crowd.

On Sunday, May 16, the pro-Israeli side had its own rally - that is, a static event - in Dorchester Square, which was opposed by a roughly equivalent number of people in a pro-Palestinian crowd that gathered initially in Place du Canada, directly to the south of Dorchester Square. From my own observations, I think it is fair to say that some people on the pro-Palestine side were deliberately provocative with respect to the pro-Israeli crowd, doing their best to get close to them and wave flags and stuff of that nature. The police attempted to keep both sides from coming into conflict with one another, but the logistics of their operation degraded over time, and there were several moments when members of both crowds were able to get close enough to each other to throw fists, try to steal each other's flags, etc. Although the absolute number of people was much smaller than the day before, the area of downtown around Dorchester Square at least (and particularly on the nearby section of rue Sainte-Catherine, a major commercial artery that always has a lot of foot traffic) was gummed up with the movements of pro-Palestinian demonstrators trying to get to Dorchester Square or Place du Canada, then with members of the pro-Israeli crowd trying to leave the area, and certainly with police. Tear gas was deployed quite indiscriminately, affecting numerous bystanders and passers-by that had nothing to do with the unfolding skirmishes and attempts to fight each other. Pro-Palestinian groups remained in the vicinity for many hours after the pro-Israeli side had dispersed completely, defying the police, getting chased, and getting shot at with "less-than-lethal" munitions.

This weekend was preceded by numerous, significantly smaller pro-Palestine protests in the broad area of Montréal's western downtown, which were less openly defiant of the police, but still loud and visible. It is my tentative prediction that more demonstrations will happen locally in the coming days. The crisis in Palestine is likely to go on a while longer. [Update: Between when I started writing this text, and when I submitted for publication on anarchist websites, another rally at the Israeli consulate came and went.]

Images resonate. Words inspire. People in the stadium love it when the audience roars in their favour. I think it might work the same way, at least a little bit, with struggle. But I don't know for sure.

I do know that the violence that happened in Montréal on Saturday and Sunday - whether interpersonal or simply defenestrative, whether against the police or between partisans of competing nationalisms - did not materially help out anyone, from either national camp, in Palestine. It is perfectly unclear, to me, how many people in Palestine heard about what happened in Montréal at all. There have been demonstrations in cities all around the world, but I presume they are, in any case, paying more attention to local news.

Anarchists in Montréal have occasionally demonstrated at the consulate of a foreign government in Montréal. We have done other things too. The Russian consulate, specifically, was attacked at least twice in the last decade.

Most of the time, though, demonstrations of solidarity with people involved in some sort of overseas political issue has been by communities of people who have family in those places. They happen all the time, although few Montréalers will ever hear about them. They don't tend to be very large, most of the time, and it is unlikely that they will be reported upon in the news. You have to be in the right place at the right time to see a banner, a sombre speech (perhaps in a language other than English or French), and usually about 60 people tops. Even when they are bigger, they rarely become riotous (and it is worth noting that, despite isolated moments of rowdy energy, the Saturday demonstration was overwhelmingly nonviolent).

The problem with campaigns of international solidarity is that, pretty frequently, they distract attention from projects that are more locally pertinent. I feel like I can get myself into trouble here, so let me be clear: I don't think they are without value. But I do think, quite categorically, that it is generally disadvantageous when people know more about the latest events happening in a place far away than they do about the events that are happening in their own city. When they have a narratively simple understanding of events and the lead-up to those events in societies on the other side of the world, but they don't understand, or at least fail to recognize, the tensions and dynamics that are manifest in their own social context.

International solidarity may sometimes be for the people far away, but it also needs to be for the people who are doing it. For anarchists, it is imperative that these campaigns of struggle feed into strategies that are about making anarchy - or other projects that align with what anarchists want - happen locally, whatever that might concretely mean.

The above header is a verb. Montréal riots, and does so with some regularity. In the present context, after more than a year of the pandemic and several months of curfew imposed by a government sitting in Québec City and elected by the suburbs, that current is bubbling up again. If it wasn't this issue, it would be something else.

There are a lot of sweeping claims to make about demographics, which I'll just get out of the way now. First of all, it is usually young men who riot, and while this need not be inevitable, it is what seems to happen, insofar as I have been able to infer the gender identities of people I've seen smashing windows, looting stores, throwing things at police, or trying to get closer to pro-Israelis rallies in the last year. Second of all, it seems that racialized people are as likely if not more likely than white people to riot.

Really, I am bringing up demography to dismiss it as a concern. If people riot, as they did on the evening of April 11 in the context of the curfew's intensification, then certain progressive journalists and commentators will label the participants "white" as a matter of course - which is exactly what happened. And, for the people who have deemed anarchist scenes themselves to be hopelessly problematic, including those who remain adjacent to those scenes, they are going to see some big problems with any engagement I might offer - as well as any failure to engage on my part - with respect to the fact that, broadly speaking, the participants in a given riot might be markedly browner, poorer, or more marginalized than the people who populate anarchist scenes.

To the extent that this becomes a distraction from, or an argument against, contributing to a youth-led social rupture, I think it's a serious problem.

In Montréal, everyone riots. Not everyone everyone, but a lot of people, across many demographics. And people here have been rioting for a very long time. This city has an esteemed history of fucking shit up that goes back deep into the early decades of the 19th century. This continues through all sorts of political cycles and social crises, at times when white people of various kinds comprised the near totality of Montréal's urban population, and certainly a much greater proportion of the population than is the case today. This is something that every Montréaler who hates the police and loves the culture of the streets can and should take pride in. This is not to say that every riot has been pure or perfect, but that there is more to celebrate in all of these histories than there is to condemn. Riots, after all, work. To the extent that we enjoy living in welfare capitalism versus, like, whatever they have in Texas, it is in part thanks to riots, and I think a little more sustained rioting now could get us a lot more stuff further down the line.

Being who we are, we don't necessarily need to form a "contingent" within someone else's demo. With respect to the most confrontational and defiant elements in the pro-Palestine street movement right now, we are talking about crews that most of us don't have connections with, that we may not know how to talk to, where a relationship of trust doesn't yet exist between us, and which are in any case entirely capable of doing things on their own. Our goal, instead, should be to expand the scope of the disruption to downtown commerce and police logistics, at the same time but not in precisely the same place as other events. We should want to be our own pole, which can attract different participants than those who would already come out to pro-Palestine stuff, and which can also preoccupy the strategic imperative of the police, which is to be everywhere at once. The job of the police is always impossible, but by being present, we can make that impossibility show itself faster.

There were glimpses of a total breakdown of police logistics and police strategy on Sunday, in the context of operations to stop just two relatively small cohorts of people from fighting one another. Every little bit of extra chaos counts.

Apart from Jews and Muslims, Montréal is also home to a sizeable population of French people - that is, not francophones, but people born and/or raised in France, or who at least have close family ties to people living in France. Many anarchists I have known who lived in Montréal were themselves French. Additionally, lots of other Montréal anarchists, who are not exactly "French" themselves, have spent a lot of time in France, have close friends there, opinions about political issues that are local to France, etc. Although France is far away, it is emotionally close to many of us (but certainly not all of us).

France has banned demonstrations in support of the Palestinian cause, citing the disturbances that happened in 2014, during the last big crisis.

What is happening in France is worrying. Already in 2016, in response to the jihadists' massacres the year before (Charlie Hebdo, Hypercasher, the Bataclan, the Stade de France), the French state embarked on a path that included the banning of demonstrations, emergency laws, and the expansion of police powers. In the last month, it was made illegal to film the police. Of course, in our territory, French models of governance are much-admired; policies devised there will get imported here. We can see this, too, in the orientation of the government in Québec City's efforts to suppress all things labelled radical and all things labelled Islamic - two categories which, very often, get conflated.

Between trying to beat up nationalist clowns wearing Israeli flag capes, and kicking in the window at Westmount Square, I personally thought the latter was the more respectable action; I know that many of the clowns were spoiling for a fight, too, but I don't love angry interpersonal violence. The French consulate is in a building facing avenue McGill College, a few short blocks away from Dorchester Square. Maybe it would make sense for anarchists, and all other opponents of colonialism and capitalism writ large, to call our own demonstration at that location if it ever looks like pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian crowds are about to throw down again downtown. Or hell, somewhere else? But everyone loves a theme!

Really, though: whatever excuse it takes to get us downtown so that we contribute to the disruption and create a larger space of destruction, possibility, and encounter of the kind that is only possible when there is a complete breakdown of the logistical machine that is the police.

Teenagers have analyses, but they might not be very good. Most of them don't know what anarchism is, what nationalism is. They might know the words, but that doesn't count for much. Most of them don't have a clear or cogent idea about Jews or Palestinians or Zionists or terrorists or whatever. And it's not like teenagers are necessarily doing the things they are doing entirely because of their political ideas, either.

All of this is true of most adults, too, but teenagers usually have better excuses for why they don't know about any of these things than adults do, and it's usually worth trying to explain these things to them, because they probably aren't lost causes yet. But not by seeking them out to tell them these things. That's never gonna work.

You cannot have conversations with people about ideas until it is clear that you even want to talk to each other. That is true for both parties. But it is impossible to know whether you want to talk to each other - really talk, with all the risk of misunderstanding and insult that exists in any conversation with stakes - until there is a good reason for you to talk.

If people see each other in the streets, consistently, they will probably start to talk at some point. Particularly if people in both groups seem to sort of be doing the same weird thing as one another, in a way that is complementary. Maybe cool things come out of that, or maybe they don't. I feel like it would be a good thing, though, if some kid whose family talks a lot of shit about Jews was able to find out that there are Jews who are anarchists, who hate the police, who incidentally don't much like Israel, who have style and/or know how to throw down.

The point is not to go into the streets to "make anarchists" but, instead, to make anarchy. Most anarchists, after all, eventually become social-democrats. Most of the people in any crowd of angry, activated youth are unlikely to find that anarchism, in whatever subcultural form it may take, is able to speak to them or their particular concerns. So be it. It's after anarchy triumphs in some way, perhaps in part because the partisans of anarchy were in the streets as well, that some people will start to pay attention. Some people will like what they see, and may try to find us. It's not worth thinking about much, though. All of that is outside of what we can plan for.

What we can do is recognize where new energy is, how and where why it is bubbling up, and we can also think about where we want to place ourselves in relation to it. What are we trying to do? How are we trying to help? What does it mean for us when police logistics are tied up downtown?

If events must take the form of running battles with the police in the downtown core, then anarchists have something to contribute to that situation. But we can do other things, too. The point is not to fetishize the riot or the people who are doing the most to actualize the riot in the present moment. The point is that the path to where we are trying to go, where the police are gone, passes through rioting. C'est pas les pacifistes qui vont changer l'histoire.

The point is that we do things, that we don't sit out insurrectional moments, and that we keep our principal focus on what is happening in our own region. The terrain is shifting, and it's hard to keep track, but we need to do our best.


There are 25 Comments

Okay text overall, but...

"Between trying to beat up nationalist clowns wearing Israeli flag capes, and kicking in the window at Westmount Square, I personally thought the latter was the more respectable action"

The Palestinian flag (formerly known as the -ahem!- Holy War Army flag) is also a nationalist symbol. So why aren't you calling those waving it in these demos as "nationalist clowns" the same way?

Also I'd like to hear or read what were the provocations shouted by the Pro-Palestine crowd at the Pro-Israel crowd.

Taking sides as anarchists in this conflict is self-defeating, as you end up being the footsoldiers and paying lip service to a bunch of authoritarian shit heads who only for their group interest at heart, and not yours. Israel vs Palestine is the perfect incarnation of a war between nationalisms, that has only brought resentment and more resentment, and all the related devastation and violence. Quit playing as a pawn on the enemy's chessboard.

is in fact a nation state, even if it doesn't have the same level of policing authority as israel does.

i personally prefer to leave activism behind, i've gone to so many protests: level 2 activism i guess is street fights, lol. Neither one seems to have anything to do with anti-statelessness.


Not the same level only due to underdevelopment. The Palestinian Authority has a police that is super retrograde in a way that should normally be infuriating queer people in the West, if it wouldn't be Holy Palestine...

Perhaps it's due to old '60s macho commie morals... or just traditionalist Sunni Muslim morals... who can tell the difference, really?

yes, the state is fucked. police are fucked. fundamentalist religions are fucked. but i think most people are responding to the fact that a colonialist superpower is waging a genocidal program of extermination against an entire population of long oppressed human beings and the ecocidal destruction of the land. and while no one really knows how to stop it, we should not ignore it.

It's no a fact, it's a narrative... a reading of a situation.

I look at Israel Vs Palestine and what I see here is a battle between nationalist fronts, each aided by a foreign power in the background. As the case with the US, it is still he biggest military superpower on the planet, yet China/Russia/Iran are an antagonist axis of respectable strength, who might end up defeating US/NATO in a WW3 if it would happen. Especially up against a supposedly most powerful military on the planet that got beaten in Vietnam, and needed international coalitions to go after a Third-world dictatorship like Iraq... Also needed the SDF to beat ISIS.

so you're going to just... gloss over the whole, permanent siege/apartheid portion? that's weird ...

It'll never happen, ever heard of "deterrent factor"?

What's not going to happen?

WW3? Most likely it won't indeed, but the balance of power is still there under this apparent Cold War 2. Iran provided missiles to Hamas so that they attack Israeli civilians targets. Don't ever try to tell me there's anything legit with their doings.

Yeah WW3 isn't happening, too many people are connected and more compassionate than they were in the Cold War era. Those older people who maintained the binary paranoia are dýing off. They are trying to incite war and strife, but it will never get to the point of 2 massive allied forces face off. Not gonna happen. Its all virus defence, the war against microbes which has diverted most collective angst away from ideological war.

"that a colonialist superpower is waging a genocidal program of extermination against an entire population of long-oppressed human beings and the ecocidal destruction of the land. "

the same thing that Is happening to the Natives of the American continent since the colonizers first came

yes, of course, which is why you see solidarity statements and actions from naive peoples with palestinians (and vice versa). they understand that we are all interconnected and that our liberation is intimately tied to each other and the living earth.

Yes and no, the Palestinians becoming *liberated* or *decolonized* has nothing to do with Natives living on the American continent becoming *liberated* or *decolonized

colonization is specific to the place/land that was colonized, just like Black Americans, or Asian Americans or any other people were not colonized people on the American continent, Native people here were not colonized in palestne, so why we might show this fake idea of *solidarity* the idea that our struggles are connected are not actually true

decolonization will not only be different but must be centered around the people that were originally colonized

is bad. This is what my main man Fredy Perlman was talking about near the end of "The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism".

"The idea that an understanding of the genocide, that a memory of the holocausts, can only lead people to want to dismantle the system, is erroneous. The continuing appeal of nationalism suggests that the opposite is truer, namely that an understanding of genocide has led people to mobilize genocidal armies, that the memory of holocausts has led people to perpetrate holocausts. The sensitive poets who remembered the loss, the researchers who documented it, have been like the pure scientists who discovered the structure of the atom. Applied scientists used the discovery to split the atom’s nucleus, to produce weapons which can split every atom’s nucleus; Nationalists used the poetry to split and fuse human populations, to mobilize genocidal armies, to perpetrate new holocausts.

"The pure scientist, poets and researchers consider themselves innocent of the devastated countrysides and charred bodies. Are they innocent?"

And like, seriously. Perlman was addressing people who talked about the Holocaust, and he was addressing Maoists like J. Sakai and company. People who rooted their analysis in crimes very much in the recent past.

You're blaming Palestinians (modern-day ones) for things that (check notes) ancient Italians did to Judeans (not even" Jewish people", cuz a lot of what it meant to be a Jew hadn't been defined yet) close to 2000 yeara ago. Because they still use an Arabic word that is more or less the same as the Roman name "Palestine". It's a fucking bonkers way to look at history, but I suspect your need to justify your anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab racism clouds your ability to see how flawed your logic is.

I'll repeat it tirelessly: Palestine, too, was and still is the project of a "colonialist superpower is waging a genocidal program of extermination against an entire population of long-oppressed human beings and the ecocidal destruction of the land"

Emperor Hadrian of the you-know-which-empire has bluntly carried a genocide against the Jews in Judea as response for their anti-imperialist revolts. This is fucking what happened. Most of the population of Judea was slaughtered, the survivors flew to Europe, the Caucasus and Africa. Then the land was formatted and renamed as "Syria Palestina" as a Roman province.

'course that was 1900 years before that other "Palestine", named by another racist and genocidal empire that still thought of themselves as the heir of the Roman Empire. Regardless, this name bears an entirely imperialist and brutally antisemitic meaning. It was recuperated by the Pan-Arab movement in the '60s during the heydays of national liberation movements.

Free Palestine? Fuck off, lol.

Free your Self, brah. As your brain has been mindfucked by ideological narratives for years.

One of the most interesting goal for anarchists is partly to unlearn the bullshit fed to our brains by authoritarian tendencies, often by the "positive corruption" of peers or by faceless external mediation.

The delusion is to expect being pure-minded and perfect from the start, where actually it is part of a process of expanding consciousness. Breaking the convictions is part of breaking out as social convict.

All movements for Black Power are a product of the Roman deep state. You want proof? "African" is a word that comes from Latin!!!

“The Russian consulate, specifically, was attacked at least twice in the last decade.”

Please tell me you’re not referring here to that time some gay dudes frenchkissed in front of the Russian consulate as someone else lobbed a xmas ornament filled with glitterpaint, lol. That’s a pretty broad definition of “attack” imo, or am I just missing something?

1. Regarding the Russian consulate, I was not talking about any kiss-in that happened (I believe some time ago, when Russia passed its "gay propaganda" law), but to claimed attacks (i.e. probably people throwing things at, or over, the walls) by "anarchists". There were communiqués posted on and/or MTL counterinfo a long time ago. The Russian consulate, notably, is not an office in a skyscraper that houses multiple other firms, but an actual house with a wall and a gate around it, located in the "Golden Square Mile" neighbourhood.

2. Regarding the term "nationalist clowns", I think the people wearing Israeli flag capes on Sunday, May 16, looked more colourful and "clownish" to me - but we can disagree about this. I think the youth who were waving Palestinian flags are nationalists, but their ideas are, in a certain way, rooted in a legitimate outrage, i.e. Palestinians (as a whole) are currently suffering tremendous violence from the state. The pro-Israeli side, on the other hand, was a jingoistic demonstration of support for that violence, either explicitly or implicitly. The proportion of people in their 40s and 50s on the pro-Israeli side was much larger than was the case on the pro-Palestinian side, even if there were teenagers in both groups... I really feel that people who have such bad politics when they are DEEP in adulthood deserve to be dismissed as idiots, clowns, buffoons, etc.

3. I am disappointed by a constant impetus to return to the lenses of geopolitics, of world-spanning "narratives". These are interesting topics, but they're bottomless, and they usually don't help articulate any kind of usefully anarchist way to live here and now, or to intervene in some kind of locally relevant dynamic, etc.

4. People often bring up the differential in the life experiences of Israeli and Palestinian queer people, without saying anything useful, insightful, or relevant. This happened once again in this comment section.

2- Palestinian nationalism is equally full of "bad poltiics". Antisemitism, Nazi sympathies, jihadism, authoritarian political sectatrianism... it's all there. That doesn't mean Israel has better politics tho.

3- Israel being an imperialist project that conducts Apartheid is a "world-spanning" narrative. Such like the Nabka is a narrative.

4- There is nothing insightful in here, you're just bluntly dismissing any comment that doesn't fit with your worldview/cause/narratives, and it's even lamer, lamer.

I believe Israel was a mistake, but not much a bigger mistake than any other Western democracy.

I'd also like more people to be opposing brutal colonial settlements still happening as you read this in North America. Even if there's no Palestinians in their line of fire, there's natural ecosystems and non-human or native or poor lives being forcefully evicted or murdered by these projects. But for some reason, to the BDS crowd, there only one colonial project that matters. Here's for more "insightful" content.

Your comments dismiss things that don't fit with your worldview/narrative, which seems to be... opposed entirely to the pro-Palestine movement, seemingly out of some kind of localist and anti-activist approach, which incoherently seeks to validate activism on behalf of indigenous people or local ecosystems.

There has been no denial, on my part, of problems with the pro-Palestine movement. All social movements are bad. Some are bad in more obvious ways than others. I personally think the right has done a very good job of documenting every swastika that has shown up in a pro-Palestine protest in the Western world over the last 25 years, and I agree, it sucks, but there's no need for me to bring it up for anarchists because, again, we all know it sucks

There have recently been waves of large demonstrations against colonialism and ecocide, too, and there were (different) problems with the people who came to those movements. I have to presume they weren't good enough for you to engage with them, either

and allowing them to be there, is a different level of "suck" than other "social movements". Palestine ain't a social but political movement, as it is aiming at the formation and wide recognition of a Nation-State and its population (i.e. ethnic Palestinians). Regardless of the nature of this movement, when you got people allowed to wear swastikas or shout antisemite slur in your marches, this is a whole different kind of problematic than, say, Climate Change marches or

So no, not all "suck" is the same "suck", just like not all States are the Nazi regime just coz they are authoritarian... Liberal democracies got different traits and attributes than theocracies or gang-run governments (so in the case of the current Palestinian Authority). Comparing butter with margarine...

There are 2 issues.

1. You can continue to bring up matters of degree, when I am talking about matters of kind. The swastika thing is an indication of stupidity, which was also present among the larger, mostly "ethnically Québécois" crowd that populated the 2012 student movement in Montréal and elsewhere in Québec). I don't care about this stupidity, and I don't believe it indicates some kind of "inherent antisemitism" in one movement or the other. I suppose you can disagree about this, but basically, my point is that antisemitism (and other bad things! other kinds of racism, xenophobia, and irrationalism, or things like sexism or homophobia) literally has infected almost all of human society, never mind social movements that are full of people who may be variously 1) young, 2) dumb, 3) "underprivileged" in the sense that they have not had the educations you, I, or anyone else may have had, 4) full of people with "personal problems" we could say (like Uncle Ahmed or whoever who tells them lies about Jews), and 5) full of people who may be, somewhat legitimately, angry at the world and their place in it, just generally speaking. This is all interesting, and dangerous, and worth discussing, but yeah, I dunno, I just think it's weird for anarchists to write off social movements, despite these problems, and I think it's especially weird when anarchists reserve especially targeted criticism for pro-Palestine movements (in this case, largely led by teenagers) and imply that they are... Nazis.

Just as I think it is uncool to imply that Zionists are Nazis - and I might someday like to be in a place where I can respectfully and usefully impart this opinion to some of these pro-Palestine teenagers (or anyone else for that matter, like... how do I tell a 40-year-old woman with a stroller and a headscarf that she is currently holding the most racist sign that I can see in a whole sea of occasionally questionable signs) - I also think it is uncool to imply that all brown 14-year-olds with Palestinian flags are Nazis.

But hey, if you really think they're Nazis (and maybe you think the same thing about, that's your opinion. Though I'd ask, which non-Nazi movements are you supporting, assuming you support... any?

2. You conflate ethnicities with states. In effect, you are stuck in the idealist fantasies of the republican nationalists in Europe in the early part of the 19th century. In doing this, you show yourself that, even if you probably think of yourself as "anti-nationalist", you have actually wholly accepted a "national" understandings of the world, and helped to reaffirm and reinforce the model of the nation-state, i.e. the state that accurately expresses the will of its people.

At which point, you determine that... Palestinians are probably more queer/transphobic (for example) than Israelis. Why? Because Islam, because the Palestinian Authority and/or police, because of course they are, how could they otherwise be? And this might also include, not just the people over there, but the brown people living in "the West" who may have sympathy for the awful conditions that people in Gaza are living through?

It is important to say that Palestinians, there or here or wherever, MAY be more queer/transphobic (or sexist, or more broadly "conservative" than ), for any of those reasons. This is all theory, though, not fact. It can hardly be accepted as definitive truth at this time. But even if it is true, like, that fact needs to be contextualized. There are bad ideological currents that exist in any social movement, and they are always more influential than we'd like them to be, but they do not encompass the whole movement.

Again, if "movements" ain't your thing, that's a different issue and/or your loss. But I think it's weak for anarchists to abandon movements to their worst elements. Smart engagement is a tricky thing to figure out, but it pays to try, rather than just jump ship at the first sign of trouble.

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