Tendance Coatesy

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Syrian Intervention: The British Left in Confusion as The Stop the War Coalition Blames Israel.

with 27 comments

Kriegsspiel: How British Left Sees Middle East.

The British left has had a hard time adjusting to the post-Soviet international scene.

Dropping Marxism, which is based on the working class and democratic movements, some have adopted  mixture of ‘anti-globalisation’ and an anti-imperialism.

Some have considered  just about any country that opposes US foreign policy, from Iran even to Russia,  to be progressive. Others have become obsessed with Israel, considered the epitome of evil. A few clung to the idea that Islamist movements, like the Moslem Brotherhood, were a repeat of the genuine struggles for liberation that marked 1960s anti-colonialism.

Their politics  resemble a Kriegsspiel played by the cast of the Big Bang Theory.

The position of these ‘anti-imperialists on Syria’s unfolding civil war has shown the confusion, political and moral bankruptcy of one of these political currents.

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC), to which most of the British left is affiliated (apart from, notably a miniscule openly  pro-Assad band),   must be going through a hard time.

It is opposed, rightly, to Western Intervention in Syria.

But…

At one point it was allied with the Muslim Association of Britain. That is, the British arm of the Moslem Brotherhood, which now makes up a very substantial  part of the Syrian Opposition. Indeed the Syrian National Council (Arabic: المجلس الوطني السوري‎, al-Majlis al-Waṭanī as-Sūri) according to Wikiepdia, includes many members of the exiled Syrian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now the StWC carries prominently on its site an article by Abdel Bari Atwan, which is headlined.

“Reasons why western military intervention in Syria is coming soon: to protect Israel.”

Atwan is a strident Arab nationalist and former sympathiser with Saddam Hussein. He has expressed this view, Atwan opined (Here): “The events of 11 September will be remembered as the end of the US empire. This is because all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power.”

On the  StWC site Atwan discusses the recent furore about Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons.

He makes this peculiar argument,

What concerns the United States first and foremost is Israel. What the United States really fears is the possibility of these weapons being used against Israelis whether by the regime in a state of despair, which cannot be ruled out, or by the currently militarily stronger jihadist groups in the Syrian territories. When jihadist groups fight against a common enemy like the Syrian regime, this fight would be commendable, but after toppling the Syrian regime, as happened in Libya and earlier in Afghanistan, the Americans’ new enemy would be these very groups.

Overthrowing the regime in Syria has absolutely nothing to do with democracy and human rights, but with the Iranian nuclear programme. This does not mean that the Syrian people’s demands for democratic change are not legitimate. These legitimate demands have been and are being exploited and used by the United States, Europe, and Arabs to shatter Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

We assume, though it is difficult to unpick the reasoning from the rants in this piece, that he thinks that Iran’s nuclear weapons are a threat to Israel. That this is why – Syria interposed – the US wants an end to Assad’s regime.

Most would assume that the USA wants to establish allies in a post-Assad regime. The same motive, dressed up with ‘humanitarian’ concerns  go for the French government, and other European states, which are funding the Free Syrian Army.

The former StWC allies, the Moslem Brotherhood, no doubt prefer this, and their Gulf and Turkish  backing, to the mighty British left.

But there you go.

The article  finishes with this even more curious defence of Syrian chemical weapons,

The Syrian chemical weapons were obtained to serve as deterrence against nuclear Israel, not to be used against the Syrian people or any other people. If the Syrian regime really uses such weapons against its people, something we doubt and strongly oppose, it would deserve any potential consequences. These are Syrian Arab weapons and must remain in Syrian hands. Neither the United States nor any other country has a right to seize or destroy them, as happened to Iraqi weapons, unless all weapons of mass destruction –biological and nuclear — in the Israeli military arsenal are destroyed.

The political degeneration of the StWC is clear.

They are unable to clearly ‘defend’ the vicious regime ruling Syria, they are unable to ‘defend’ the, predominantly Islamist (and anti-democratic) Syrian opposition.

They are fearful that the Free Syrian Army will become the US’s cats-paw.

They are in a complete mess.

Those who support Syrian democrats, oppose the Islamists, and are against Western military intervention, are unlikely to look to them to support their cause.

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27 Responses

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  1. Seems to me that the pumping up of the rhetoric about how Israel is evil incarnate and the Americans catspaw in the region is to cover up the fact that it is the Muslim Brotherhood who are accommodating and doing all sorts of deals with the Americans. This may be purely tactical as the Arab bourgoisie are as keen as the next man to exploit their serfs, but it cannot be denied that they do rely heavily on the Americans. After feeding their people decades of bollocks about Yankee Imperialism, they need to save their face somehow. America would ditch Israel if it could, I am convinced, the stakes of a relationship with the Arabs are too high.

    Sue r

    December 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

  2. Let’s not forget that it was the Iraqis themselves (the Iraqi National Alliance) that insisted that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical weapons. THis famously turned out to be untrue. They jsut want the West to do the heavy lifting for them. I’m sure Assad does have chemical weapons, and I am sure he would use them if he felt he had to, but at the end of the day, ‘it’s their fucking country’.

    Sue r

    December 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm

  3. Exactly, the alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood, or the accommodation, is the issue the StWC fails to deal with.

    Andrew Coates

    December 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

  4. The problem facing the Stop the War Campaign is that the British — and international — left is completely split over the question of Syria, from those who support Assad as an ‘anti-imperialist’ to those who uncritically support the anti-Assad forces as a ‘revolution’, and in between those who support the fight against Assad but are wary of imperialist and other outside interference and of the religious/sectarian forces at play, whom they feel could well win and turn Syria into Iraq Mark II. I count myself within the last of these categories.

    The only way the StWC can hold itself together is by banging on about foreign intervention, which, whilst a valid question, is only part of the problem, and is open to the crudest of interpretations. To me, it seems that the big powers, especially the USA, are not clear amongst themselves as to what can be done in their interests, as they recognise that Assad’s regime is unlikely to survive and in any case they’d like to have Iran’s friends unseated, but they do not want a solution that would be progressively anti-imperialist (the best solution for us), or religiously obscurantist and sectarian, as they do not want the disaster of Iraq repeated, and, as they have learnt from neo-con idiocies, a pro-US liberal democracy is not on the cards. Hence the contradictory, confused responses of the big powers. Although I’ve not done any reading on this, I suspect that Israeli politicians and policy-makers are equally at sea.

    But if the StWC went further and started to take a position on Syria itself, then it would break apart. Hence its reluctance to go beyond what are extremely crude and therefore misleading statements.

    Dr Paul

    December 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

  5. Not altogether fair to compare the cast of Big Bang Theory to these deluded imbeciles – games-obsessed nerds (of which I’ll admit to being one) still generally know that they are playing a game and can distinguish fantasy from real life,

    Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy)

    December 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm

  6. I am watching YOU.

    My analysis of Syria: ” Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”

    Sheldon

    December 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

  7. Far from seeing the Left a failure for not having a single all inclusive policy for every hot spot around the world, I see it as a step forward from the day when the Soviet Union, or its State cap opponents, set the bench mark for who we supported and who we opposed internationally.

    I believe we need only one bench mark when it comes to the British government being involved in foreign military intervention. The main enemy is at home; and thus we should oppose it spreading its armed might overseas.

    Why should we understand the fine detail of every hot spot in the world, its silly to even suggest it. We should act cautiously and judge events nation by nation and when we fail to understand what is taking place on the ground, there is no shame in saying so and pulling back until the situation becomes clearer to us. What we should not do is hitch our wagons to the outfit which gets the most coverage in the mainstream media, or whose UK francise shouts the loudest

    Syria is a typical example of the fog of war; and security services generated media hype,(chemical weapons about to be used my arse) but what’s crystal clear is the British government is up to its necks in fermenting civil war there, thus we should do what we can to oppose all and any UK involvement in that poor blighted nation, not least because little good will come from it. If history teaches one thing its that unarguable fact.

    Organized Rage

    December 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

  8. Unfortunately, StWC has been unable to resist the temptation to go beyond its original brief. As an organisation campaigning against British, Anglo-American or NATO military interventions in the Middle East it is both useful and necessary. The fact that all sorts of dubious Islamists and Baathists have been involved also wasn’t a great problem – so long as it stuck to a narrow, anti-intervention brief. But it has diversified into all sorts of other Middle Eastern campaigns – duplicating the PSC’s work on Palestine and all that – which means that an issue like Syria inevitably exposes the fissures in the anti-intervention coalition. All rather sad, really.

    Francis

    December 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

  9. Try this for size. In the middle east the US and the EU with Israel are the dominant powers. Britain and France could bomb Libya and there was nothing Russia could do except moan. China, in this, are politically and militarily irrelevant.

    The whole concept of Arabism as espoused by Nasser and the follow up of Islamism when the socialism of Al Fatah and its Marxist offshoots collapsed is now also in disarray. The states that are now in turmoil have very few natural resources. Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria have no oil or gas and rely on an inefficient agricultural and remittance economy to keep going.

    Israel is a strong democratic country and her opponents are in disarray as is the whole of the extreme left in this country and around the world on this issue. Marxism has failed and they don’t know it. Confusion to our enemies, the good people are winning.

    themadmullahofbricklane

    December 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

  10. Organized Rage says in relation to any foreign intervention, “The main enemy is at home.” This is the policy that Trotskyists have used since, well, since Liebknecht used it in 1915. It is for that exact reason why the Trots did not support Britain going to war to fight Nazi Germany. In fact, it does not matter how evil someone is, how despotic, how murderous, how genocidal, those that think like Organized Rage would campaign against Britain or America using their armed forces to stop such a genocidal maniac carrying out its dastardly plan. The main enemy is at home! What a sick slogan that is.

    Michael Ezra

    December 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

  11. The Middle East is indeed, as Mick says, in the “the fog of war”.

    Mad Mullah you may be, but I fail to see how ‘Marxism’ has failed. Some Marxist movements have failed – above all those that stamped from the Stalinist mould.

    Others have never been a position to fail.

    But Marxism and Marxist groups are part, one part, of the labour movement and the left, something rooted in the Enlightenment, standing against traditions like European and American conservatism as well as the Islamist form of reaction.

    Democratic Marxism has played an important part in opposing Stalinism, present day free-market ideas and other right-wing movements, such as Islamism – in all their varieties.

    That’s one of the reasons why it’s important for democratic Marxists to criticise those claiming to be Marxists who are not democrats and who show this by their stand on Syria.

    Michael Ezra is right to question the idea that the ‘main enemy is at home’.

    First of all, in the world today there is no clear-cut separate space called ‘home’. We are aware of what’s happening in Syria not just, through the Net – every minute – but by the presence of people from Syria in Europe – including where I’m, writing from.

    The present British Coalition is the ‘main’ opponent of the left here. But its role in the Middle East is only one factor, and I would have thought that the main task in this case – to put it in the ‘cadres’ way of thinking – was to build soldiarity with those fighting for freedom in Syria.

    The point argued here is best put by Francis, the Stop the War Coalition is no longer a clear-cut movement against Western military intervention.

    It has strayed in many directions.

    It is neither a movement in soldarity with democrats (that is, clearly demarcated from the Assad regime and a large part of the Syrian National resistance) nor – with its dubious associations (with Iran for example) – a straight-forward anti-intervention campaign.

    Because of this, for Syria it is not fit for purpose.

    And please, please. let’s not have Galloway as a speaker at a demo ever again!

    Andrew Coates

    December 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm

  12. Where has Marxism ever succeeded? Its history is a repetition of mass murder and starvation. I can’t think of a single people that have chosen it democratically and everywhere it has been imposed whenever there has been a chance to reject it that has been taken by those under its rule who understood only too well what it meant.

    Marxists of course, and you seem to be one, claim that it has never been tried and tested properly and that some “democratic” or “humane” form of the doctrine would be successful and welcomed by the masses. Marxism means coercion, it has never come to power in any other way and the people who have run the systems that the subjugated have rejected have in the main been psychopaths. Perhaps you would like to explain how you would have democratic Marxism.

    themadmullahofbricklane

    December 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm

  13. Of course the main enemy for people like me is at home, just as it is for a Syrian who is fighting to overthrow the Assad regime. But, Assad and his ilk is not making peoples lives a misery here in the UK, but the coalition and those who back them are. Michael, this has nothing to do with Trots or theories about Marx, Lenin, or God. Its one of self preservation and human dignity, that is why I say for me the main enemy is at home.

    However if for example, as occurred in WW2, my very existence was threatened by an outside satrap, etc, which the labour movement on its own was not powerful enough to resist. I would consider entering a broad coalition to see off the immediate threat. But any unity would only last as long as the threat of invasion did, and any judgement would be made on the bases of who benefits, Capital or working class people.

    By the way Mike, the main enemy at home theory came about long before Leon was even a twinkle in his dads eye. Its as old as them there hills. Boudicca put it into practice on these very shores, or so I’m told.

    Andrew
    I understand your point and in many ways agree with it but of course there is a place called home, historically people have given their life’s blood defending it and to rid it of oppressors, we internationalist over look this fact at our own peril. Why else have Irish people fought the English state so heroically for centuries, why else do Syrians fight so gallantly, and why did our fathers and mothers resist the nazis with such vigour?

    comradely regards to all

    mick

    Organized Rage

    December 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

  14. Organized rage implies that if his existence was threatened as he believes occurred in WWII that he would not apply the idea of the main enemy is at home, but would enter a tactical coalition to see of an immediate threat and then go back to fighting the enemy at home.

    However, this is not how the Trotskyists behaved during WWII. As an example, here is leading British Trotskyist, Ted Grant, writing in 1939:

    These preparations for war, and the mass butchery which will follow, can only bring hunger, misery and want to the workers of Britain and the world. A struggle must be waged in the Labour movement against all war preparations. We must fight against the real cause of war, and against the people that benefit from it. Our enemy is not the German, Italian or French workers. It is capitalism everywhere. Our strongest blows must be directed against our main enemy, British capitalism at home. The fight for Socialism is the fight for peace.[emphasis added]

    There are plenty more similar examples. The point of this is that if the Trots campaigned against Britain and America fighting Hitler, then it is not surprising they oppose intervention against Assad in Syria. The main enemy, David Cameron, the Tories and their Liberal Democrat coalition partners are far more important for them to fight than Assad or any other murderous dictator. This is the morality of many on the left and it is a tragedy. However, the bizarre positions that they hold are largely the reason why the Trotskyists party are tiny and will remain tiny. To bastardize a chant from the football terraces: “party of the working class? You’re ‘aving a laugh.”

    Michael Ezra

    December 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm

  15. Michael,
    The reason I replied to your post was because you claimed I was a Trotskyist, which is something even my Trotskyists friends would not accuse me of, yet instead of acknowledging your mistake you go off on a rant about this and that.

    By the way, not only was Liebknecht correct in 1915 to use the words the/my main enemy is at home, history has proved him right, just as Connolly correct when he used the same words in 1916 under different circumstances.

    With respect you sound very much like,..well,… the worst type of Trotskyist or Stalinist.

    http://www.organizedrage.com/

    December 14, 2012 at 1:21 am

  16. What organised rage is doing is what the left have done everywhere. The enemy was at home for Ted Grant as it was for the CPGB until of course Germany attacked the Soviet Union when the enemy moved to Berlin.

    The three situations he gives are of course completely different Liebknecht in 1915 was more or less correct but was up against the fact that the majority of the German working class supported the war and The Social Democrats had voted for war credits. Connolly saw a window of opportunity and took it but even had he survived would have been a minor player in what became a conservative Catholic capitalist Ireland.

    Britain in 1939 also rejected the the pleas of the far left be they Trotskyist or Stalinist. What was also interesting was how the British state treated the Ted Grants. They were largely ignored for the irrelevancies they were but in Germany and across occupied Europe their contemporaries were going to the camps, the gallows or the firing squads.

    The main problem with the left is they follow leaders and ideologies rather in the way that many of my contemporaries in the sixties found a sect or a guru. Most of them came out of it damaged or disillusioned in some way or other and got on with their lives.

    The problem the left have is that capitalism works. And unlike other systems it can be regulated and tinkered with and that is a continuous process going on even as I write this. The only other serious contender to capitalism, communism, collapsed and as I have pointed out, brought nothing but misery wherever it was installed by force because there was not a single instance of anyone voting for it.

    Who exactly is the enemy at home? How do we recognise them? Where do they live and from where do they run their businesses? Can we have some more information on these points?

    And finally, or not as the case may be, a little ditty that I love which exposes the complete opportunism of the left. It relates to the outbreak of the Second World War but change the circumstances and it still sums up the section of the left that still hasn’t got over the failure of the Bolshevik Coup de Etat of 1917.

    To the tune of Clementine.

    In old Moscow,
    In the Kremlin,
    In the fall of 39,
    Sat a Russian and a Prussian,
    Writing out the party line.

    Chorus.

    Oh, my darling,oh my darling,
    Oh, my darling party line,
    Oh, I never will desert you,
    For I love this life of mine.

    Leon Trotsky was a Nazi,
    Now we know that for a fact,
    Pravda said, we all read it,
    Before the Hitler-Stalin pact.

    Now the Nazis and the Fuehrer,
    Stand within the party line,
    All the Russians love the Prussians,
    Volga boatmen sail the Rhine.

    Got to lets the cats out and have a cup of tea.

    themadmullahofbricklane

    December 14, 2012 at 5:56 am

  17. I wish to correct Organized Rage. He claims that I claimed he was a Trotskyist. I did no such thing. What I have done in both of my earlier contributions to this thread was used what Oganized Rage had said: “The main enemy is at home” and commented on my opinion of it and noted that Trotskyists have long used it. The reason I did not claim Organized Rage to be a Trotskyists is quite simple: I had no idea whether or not he is a Trotskyist. He has now clarified that he isn’t. That does not stop my complaint, or rant if one likes to call it that, against the Trotskyist use of the slogan having validity.

    Back to the point. One of the key reasons that the far left is not taken seriously, particularly when it comes to matters of foreign affairs, is precisely due to nonsense positions that arise from the throwing around of slogans such as “The main enemy is at home.” One does not need to carry out an opinion poll to know what the answer of the vast majority of the British population, including the working class, would be to find out whether they thought the main enemy in 1940 was Winston Churchill or Adolph Hitler.

    President Assad is butchering his population in Syria. David Cameron might be cutting back services and one might expect those on the left to be opposed to such cut backs, but anyone who thinks that Cameron is more evil than Assad is, quite frankly, in cloud cuckoo land.

    The anti-imperialism of fools is sadly the way many on the left look at the problems in the Middle East. If someone takes the view that imperialism is the main enemy and are quite blinkered to anything else, including reality, then it is not surprising that they have a warped perspective. This warped political stance sees Israel as a tool of American imperialism and the grand problem to which every problem in the Middle East can be blamed. Any time anyone attacks Israel, it is supported or critically supported or some such and any action of Israel is opposed. What with all the focus on Israel, I have yet to see the Stop the War Coalition organize a demonstration against the genocidal nature of Hamas. They won’t for the same reason they would not criticize the so-called Iraqi resistance for their suicide bombings.In fact, the Stop the War Coalition supported the suicide bombings, for as they said in October 2004: “The StWC… recognises once more the legitimacy of the struggle of Iraqis, by whatever means they find necessary <e[Emphasis added]."

    I can provide further examples of the anti-imperialism of fools. I am no fan of the the brutal ways of the Shah of Iran, specifically via the use of SAVAK, in the later years of his reign, but nothing he did came close in terms of brutality and murder to what Khomeini’s mob did when they got into power. But yet again, many on the left, so opposed to the Shah, supported him or critically supported him. I am no fan of the leftist Spartacist League, but for various reasons due to their ideology and geopolitical stance, given their different position they were in a position to ridicule others on the left for the position they took. Consider this poem published by the Spartacist League in Workers Hammer, February, 1986:

    The Workers Power Song

    The Shah was a man
    Who ruled in Iran
    And we really thought
    He really ought to go.
    Well, the Ayatollah K,
    Had a lot of things to say,
    He used to live there,
    So he ought to know.
    He won’t go very far
    But he’s better than the Shah,
    So even though he’s quaint,
    We really have to say:
    He could be a lot better,
    He’s not a Trot to the letter,
    But he’s out there,
    And he’s showing us the way.
    He’s leading a mass movement,
    Which could do with some improvement,
    But it really isn’t up to us to say.
    Cos he’s on the front line,
    And we’re running out of time,
    So we’ll support him anyway.

    The point the Sparts were making with this poem was valid.

    Parts of the left are very predictable with their positions. I can guess them before I read them in their newspapers and that is because they have this blinkered starting position of anti-imperialism and the main enemy being at home. I do not expect them to change this position and likewise I do expect these parts of the left to grow. The Trotskyist left is smaller now than it was in the 1980s and substantially smaller than it was in the late 1960s. The Fourth International truly has degenerated, and, in my opinion, rightly so.

    Michael Ezra

    December 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

  18. (I clearly made with html code by not properly closing the italics after the words “by whatever means they find necessary.” I should be grateful if Andrew Coates, as the moderator, could make the required corrective change and delete this post. Thanks in advance!)

    Michael Ezra

    December 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

  19. Michael,

    Out of interest do you consider Tony Blair more or less wicked than Assad?

    And why are you so obsessed with the Trotskyist sects?

    Am I missing something?

    Mr Bricklane etc.

    Yes capitalism works, as did stalinist communism, its just neither work very well, if we consider in a world of plenty, two thirds of the worlds population live in poverty. To simple nail on text book communism was always doomed to failure, if you add in brute force then the road to disaster beckoned. However what stalinism and the European post war experiments with social democracy did teach us, is the state does some things better than the markets, education, healthcare, social security, pensions, regulation, some forms of transportation, etc.

    There is no such thing as a ‘free’ market and only those who would benefit most from it most would claim it, what you get is an uncontrollable market which shits on us all by the 10%. The fact is capitalism only works well when it is heavily regulated, taxed and is accompanied with wide democratic freedoms and accountability.

    Most, but not all leftists recognise this these days, it is the capitalists and their political gofers who do not. Hence our sorry economic predicament. We wish to widen the democratic envelope not further restrict.

    Organized Rage

    December 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

  20. As we are not at a cosmic Court of Justice what’s the point of comparing Blair and Assad on some scale?

    Blair was wrong on many issues, and the Iraq war was one them. That said he was more than just wrong, he was a smug self-righteous liar as well.

    As for Marxism,Mad Mullah, you mean demands for sexual equality, the right to a decent job, welfare, secular freedoms, workers’ rights, anti-colonialism, universal suffrage and the rest of the Marxist 1st and 2nd International’s programmes are all ghastly tyrannical ideas?

    Andrew Coates

    December 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm

  21. All of what you have mentioned exist in the West and didn’t in any communist country then or now. If successful capitalist countries are so bad why is the rest of the world trying to get into them?

    themadmullahofbricklane

    December 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

  22. Oragnized Rage,

    It is sections of the left posing questions such as “do you consider Tony Blair more or less wicked than Assad?” that will keep the far left tiny and irrelevant.

    The Trotskyist left, and their history,is just something that interests me. That is why I read Trotskyist newspapers, and, on occasion, take photocopies, as I did of this page from Socialist Worker in May 1975 where the party denied the Cambodian genocide.

    Michael Ezra

    December 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

  23. ‘ as I did of this page from Socialist Worker in May 1975 where the party denied the Cambodian genocide.’

    Ouch, I rest my case, it is just that sort of thing which makes me say the left is far better today now we do not have to go down the road of that type of group think.

    Organized Rage

    December 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  24. Actually no. Sections of the left are making the same mistakes now as they did back then. One can consider those on the left that backed Colonel Gaddafi when he was murdering Libyans. Then there are other parts of the left that apologise for Assad. Same old far left, same old errors. Then there are leftists such as this chap yesterday who thought it really funny to produce a cartoon showing two men beating up a female left wing journalist.

    Michael Ezra

    December 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

  25. However, the SWP did fairly quickly drop this rubbish and recognise reality – something they suprisingly often do.

    A far far worse case on Cambodia was the now famous Alain Badiou, whose Maosit group at the time backed the Khmer Rouge and continued to do so, right up to and after the Vietnamese invasion.

    ““Soutien à contre-courant des Khmers Rouges contre l’invasion vietnamienne.” Support, against the trend, for the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese invasion. 10 ans de Maoïsme. UCFML . 1981.”

    Backing, against the stream for the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese invasion”. L’Union des communistes de France marxiste-léniniste. 1981.

    http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/les-maoistes-christophe-bourseiller-review-and-reflections/

    The sick bastard had managed to be feted (and published by Verso) without ever renouncing or criticising this stand.

    Andrew Coates

    December 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

  26. Thanks Andrew, the SWP did drop that rubbish, that is true, but they never retracted it and they basically ignored Cambodia with hardly anything published in their newspaper about the country for the full period of the time the Khmer Rouge was in power.

    Re European Maoists backing the Khmer Rouge, you are right to point that out. There was quite a lot of it. I have the documents of the “Kampuchea Conference” which was held in Stockholm on November 17-18, 1979, substantially after the Vietnamese invasion, where numerous participants all backed the Khmer Rouge.

    I note in your own article you footnote the New Left Review. That was a classic magazine that published apologies for Mao.

    Michael Ezra

    December 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm


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