People's Democratic Union (Acre)

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People's Democratic Union
الاتحاد الديمقراطي الشعبي
LeaderAli Kadhimi
Founded25 January 2020
Ideology • Democratic socialism
 • Arab socialism
 • Arab interests
 • Three-state solution
Internal Factions
 • Islamic socialism
 • Pan-Arabism
 • Non-confessionalism
Official colours     Green
Akkan Parliament
8 / 37
CountryAkkoflag.png Acre

The People's Democratic Union is a left-wing pan-Arab political party in the Islamic Emirate of Acre. It was founded on the 25th of January 2020, the same day Acre was established, by most of the founders. Ali Kadhimi was chosen as the party's first leader.

History

Ali Kadhimi (January 2020-present)

The PDU has existed since Acre's formation, as a political party specifically representing the Arab confession. Though Arab Muslims constituted a majority of Acre's founding population, it quickly came to include a majority Israeli Jewish population, and so the PDU sought to protect institutions and symbols which they believed would protect Arabs in Acre.

During and after the February 2020 general election, the PDU supported many of the Liberal Union's policies directed at creating consensus among the Akkan population. They endorsed Joseph Cohen's idea of a two-flag, two-religion compromise, and accepted the creation of Rabbinical courts so long as Sharia courts were also retained.

The party did not enter into coalition government with the Liberal Union after the February election, over disagreements on a national lockdown in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, but did support the party through confidence and supply. Through this arrangement, the party was able to implement many of these proposals, which were largely successful in creating agreement on the basic institutions of the Akkan government. The PDU was also able to push the Liberal Union in certain directions, succeeding in convincing them to accept the retention of the controversial Shura Council. The party at this time was also the greatest supporter of the Emir of Acre, with the Emirate being seen as a key defensive measure for Arabs.

Shortly into Joseph's tenure as Prime Minister, the PDU threatened to revoke their confidence and supply if he did not schedule a vote on supporting a national lockdown; previously, Cohen had been a steadfast opponent of any national lockdown in response to the Coronavirus. For his actions in government, he was censured by Parliament after the October 2020 general election, which also saw the PDU lose a seat to the smaller Peace & Equality Party.

Policies

Democratic Socialism

The PDU describes itself as a "democratic socialist party committed to the application of socialist principles to the Arab experience". It particularly claims ideological descendance from the Fabian Society, supporting the creation of socialism through democratic means. The party supports nationalisation of certain key industries - including utilities like water and electricity - mandatory unionisation of workers, and the establishment of cooperatives.

Arab Socialism

The PDU integrates a form of Arab nationalism into its socialist ideology, drawing primarily on the ideas of Michel Aflaq. Common socialist principles are matched by a pre-eminent focus on combatting imperialism and establishing a pan-Arab confederation. The party's constitution makes little mention of Marxism or its various offshoots, instead stressing the unique character of socialism when applied to the Arab experience. The party also echoes Gamal Nasser's support for the Non-Aligned Movement, supporting close cooperation with other socialist movements in the Global South.

Social Policy

The PDU is by the far the greatest proponent of the Akkan Emirate; their confidence and supply arrangement with the Liberal Union after the February 2020 election was conditional on the government supporting the Emirate, the Shura Council and the Sharia courts. They were also early adopters of the two-flag, two-religion approach first suggested by Joseph Cohen.

Of the various left-leaning parties in Acre, the PDU is perhaps the most socially conservative, generally advocating for a close relationship between mosque and state, and expressing opposition to proposals such as legalisation of cannabis. Both the Islamic Socialist Caucus and the Pan-Arabist Caucus fit this description, however the Non-confessional Caucus is far more socially liberal, influenced by thought common in the contemporary Western left.

Arab (Muslim) Interests

The PDU particularly appeals to Arab Akkans, most of whom are Muslim. The Arab Christian population also often votes for the PDU, though fluctuates to and from the Peace & Equality Party. Relying on the Arab minority population means the base of the PDU's support is more hemmed in and restricted than most Israeli parties, mostly winning seats in Acre City and the poorer parts of Haifa surrounding the port.

Various left-wing groups comprise a Non-confessional Caucus within the PDU, including democratic socialists, libertarian socialists and dissident communists such as Trotskyites; the Caucus emphasises the party's socialist positions over its Arab identity.

Three-state Solution

The PDU endorses a three-state solution, with Palestine and Acre both existing as fully independent states - Palestine would use the 1967 borders, and Israeli settlements would be abandoned. Many within the Pan-Arab caucus envisage some form of confederation or alliance between the two states to counterbalance the strength of Israel; others still support a two-state solution, with Palestine and Acre forming a single Arab state. Most however dismiss this as infeasible, given Acre's large Israeli population who would oppose any unification with Palestine.

Electoral Performance

Areas of support for the PDU are far more static and hemmed in than for most of the Israeli parties, as only a few areas have large numbers of Arabs. The PDU sources much of its support from the Arab-dominated working class parts of Haifa, most of which are located at the very base of Mount Carmel around the city's docklands. The second major support base is in Acre City, which is also a largely Arab part of the country. Outside of here, the constituency of Regba is often competitive due to the Arab town of Mazra'a, and small numbers of non-Arab radicals vote for the PDU in working-class areas like Nesher.

Election year Leader % +/- seats won +/- Government
February 2020 Ali Kadhimi 19% N/A
7 / 37
N/A confidence and supply
October 2020 Ali Kadhimi 16% 3%
6 / 37
1 in opposition
December 2020 Ali Kadhimi 18% 2%
7 / 37
1 in opposition
April 2021 Ali Kadhimi 21% 3%
8 / 37
1 in coalition government

Factions

Islamic Socialist Caucus

The Islamic wing of the party emphasises the importance of the Islamic social ethic, and considers how it can best be applied in Akkan politics through the PDU. The Islamic Socialists are strongly supportive of the Emir, favour the Islamic imagery utilised by the state, and are fiercely defensive of the Sharia courts and the Shura Council.

Much of the caucuses' policies focus on how certain welfarist concerns within the Qur'an can best be translated into effective policy. They generally support a strong welfare state, a progressive income tax to aid income redistribution, targeted forms of welfare to help the poor and homeless, and protection of religious rights. Many within the caucus also support the introduction of the Jizya tax, which could in turn be used to fund welfare projects within non-Muslim communities. They are also vocally hostile to usury, and support the creation of mutual credit banks with no-interest loans.

Members of the Islamic caucus generally support allowing non-Muslims to be members of the party, so long as they also support the protection of Islamic institutions in Acre.

Pan-Arabist Caucus

The pan-Arabist caucus is largely made up of Arab secularists, nationalists and Christians. Most within the party look to figures like Gamal Abdel Nasser for inspiration, and favour a developmental state approach focused on the creation of domestic capital reserves and a large export-based economy. As such, they are the more economically moderate wing of the party, and are less married to socialist terminology; they support a sizeable private sector with significant amounts of state oversight.

The pan-Arabist caucus is overwhelmingly dismissive of Ba'athism, and recognises the important role Islam plays within Acre, though they generally aim to counterbalance this with protections for other religious groups. Contrary to official party policy, sections of the pan-Arab caucus support a 'two-state solution', wherein Acre would join an independent and internationally recognised Palestine.

Members include:
 • Ali Kadhimi

Non-confessional Caucus

The PDU also attracts a number of ideological socialists from non-Arab, non-Islamic communities. Views within this non-confessional caucus are varied; many are democratic socialists, favouring the creation of cooperatives within a heavily regulated free market. Others embrace a form of libertarian socialism, and take inspiration from the democratic confederalism supported by the PKK. Others still embrace a form of communism, such as Trotskyism, but feel unable to join the explicitly Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. Several non-Zionist Israeli trade unions within Acre are part of this non-confessional caucus within the PDU, and are influenced by syndicalist thought.