Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Unity Comes Down Squarely Behind Syria’s Assad.

with 12 comments


John Wight, of Socialist Unity and Russia Today.

Stop the War, Peter Tatchell, and the malign legacy of Western liberalism

You have to feel for the Stop the War Coalition. Back in June I attended one of their conferences in London, where during one of the plenary meetings a few people voiced criticism from the floor over the organisation’s refusal to come down squarely on the side of Assad in the Syrian conflict.

He adds, “I have long expressed sympathy with this position.”

I have had my share of differences with the Stop the War Coalition over the years, but I have no hesitation in crediting them with maintaining a principled opposition to wars and conflicts unleashed in the name of a status quo of injustice and might is right. Its organisers and activists have given over a decade’s service to exposing the hypocrisy and subterfuge employed to defend the indefensible, and consequently I feel duty bound to defend them now.

But on the other hand (there’s always another hand).

Peter Tatchell on the other hand is a classic example of the Western liberal whose conception of the world is akin to that of a child let loose with crayons on a blank sheet of paper, allowing said crayons to go wherever they please with no thought of the mess being made or lack of coherence being wrought.

He adds,

Worse, he and his co-thinkers continue their slavish attachment to the wondrous virtues of ‘humanitarian intervention’, despite the history of the catastrophic consequences of this very concept in practice.

Now slaves we – all – may be, and wonderfully wondrous as “humanitarian intervention” may be to some, hard-to-find, people, but comrade Tatchell is on record as having opposed the US-Led invasion of Iraq (No Invasion of Iraq! Arm the Kurds to Topple Saddam.

On Afghanistan he stated in 2011,  “The Afghan war strategy is not working. After 10 bloody years, there are too many civilian casualties and no prospect of defeating the Taliban. We are propping up a Kabul government mired in corruption, which gained power through fraudulent elections. Our intervention has focused on war-fighting to the relative neglect of economic reconstruction and the empowerment of civil society. The cost to the British people of this half-baked venture is a staggering £5bn a year, when public services are being slashed. For all these reasons, I’m supporting the mass anti-war assembly in Trafalgar Square this Saturday. But I do so critically.” (Guardian).

On Libya Tatchell like the leader of the French left-party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, supported a limited ‘No-Fly Zone’.

Tatchell is not a “humanitarian interventionist” in the sense of giving blanket support for Western invasions of countries like Iraq.

He makes  simple, and humanitarian, points about the need to support Syrian  democrats.

If that is “cultural imperialism” then, so be it.

Wight makes no mention of the role of Russia – something which Stop the War Chair Andrew Murray regards with equanimity – an affair between sovereign countries.

That is, obviously, not imperialism.

Wight is concerned with this,

..that Assad should be overthrown are not motivated by the belief that he is a benevolent leader, but rather that his government is all that currently stands between Syria’s survival as a secular state in which the rights of its minorities are protected, and it being turned into a mass grave by the modern incarnation of the Khmer Rouge…..

This is a legitimate fear.

Indeed if Socialist Unity were not so concerned to talk about violent Islamism as some kind of ‘blow back’ to Western imperialism, or continually talk of Muslim reactionaries as ‘victims’,  they might not be so surprised that Daesh has found its own dynamic in the Syrian conflict.

Along with other, equally unsavoury Islamists, from the alNusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, onwards.

Apart from the Baathists’ role as a dictatorship it remains a very uncertain question whether Assad can crush these genociders without agreement with democratic forces.

We are concerned about Wight.

Is this a cry for help?

Just as a crayon in the hands of an unsupervised child spells havoc in the home, moralism in the breast of a liberal spells havoc in the world.



From Shiraz: In response to Stop the War statement regarding Parliamentary meeting event on the 4th November 2015.

Lie No.1: Regarding “Andrew Murray’s support for the Syrian regime”

During the meeting Andrew Murray called for the support of the Syrian Army and the Iraqi Army in the fight against ISIS. This will be on record of the footage that Stop the War Coalition have yet to release of the meeting (unless they choose to edit it).


Written by Andrew Coates

November 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm

12 Responses

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  1. You’ve gotta hand it to John Wight, – he just loves strongmen and their interventions:

    “The Syrian conflict and why Putin is playing chess while the West is playing checkers”:

    “Russia’s rational and coherent alternative stands in marked contrast (to the West’s). President Putin has been calling for an international coalition to combat terrorism and extremism for some years now and been continually rebuffed. He has also been calling for a diplomatic and political solution to the conflict in Syria, but again those efforts have been continually thwarted by Western leaders whose obduracy is literally killing people, in addition to creating the worst refugee crisis the world has seen since the Second World War.

    “Russia’s refusal to relinquish its support for Syria, despite coming under huge pressure to do so, and instead to increase that support demonstrates commendable principle and courage given the risks involved. It will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the ground, raising the morale of the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian people, whose courage and tenacity has been extraordinary. Not only have they resisted an invasion of the country by thousands of foreign extremists and jihadists, they have done so in the teeth of massive external pressure from the West throughout.

    “The barbarians are at the gates and Russia alone is heeding the call to intervene in order to save not just the Syrian government or Syria, but civilisation itself.”

    -Socialist Unity 28 Sept 2015

    Jim Denham

    November 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

  2. That is certainly clearer than the above – but then like most people I don’t read the site that often (apart from when people slag me off that is, isn’t there a saying to be made there….)

    He is living proof that our French mates are onto something when they talk about “Confusionnisme ” – the toxic waste from these mixes of nationalism, nostalgia for the Soviet Union, and the far-right, that has crept into some parts of the left.


    Andrew Coates

    November 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm

  3. I support Assad. Why? because he is the leader of the UN recognised Legitimate authority in Syria. If Syrians want to get rid of him, then they shouldn’t ask the West to support them.

    There is no valid Syrian opposition, and if you are against ISIS, i don’t see why you shouldn’t support Assad.
    There is no other choice apart from backing the valid government, whether or not we happen to like it. there is no socialist opposition or left choice.

    Or is it that backing the west in defence of Israel and for mainly Israeli interests is somehow leftist?

    Long live Assad!


    November 9, 2015 at 6:31 pm

  4. See previous site, on confusion.

    Assad was never a friend of the left.

    “Syria has been run by a ruthless, corrupt regime. Syrian left activists have been on the receiving end of severe repression since Hafiz Assad’s coup in 1970. It was after that coup that Henry Kissinger described Syria as “a factor for stability,” despite Soviet military backing for the regime. Hafiz Assad’s regime, funded by the Saudi medieval dictators, played a leading role in the 1970’s and early 80’s in weakening the Palestinian resistance. During the 1975-6 civil war in Lebanon Syrian troops sided with pro-Israeli Phalange and other extreme right wing forces. The regime, in return for US promises over the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Saudi petro-dollars, also backed the 1991 US-led war over Kuwait.”

    The Baathists unique good point is their secularism, but for the rest they are ultra-nationalists and Baathism itself is a form of “socialism” which is ‘Arab nationalist’ first and foremost – very far from Marxism.


    Andrew Coates

    November 9, 2015 at 6:43 pm

  5. slavish attachment to the wondrous virtues of ‘humanitarian intervention’, despite the history of the catastrophic consequences of this very concept in practice.

    All together now .. ‘Mali! Mali! Mali! Mali! Mali! Mali!’


  6. Of course, Syria is just like Mali. Not at all like Iraq, or Libya. Oh no.


    November 10, 2015 at 12:51 am

  7. Next up for John “I once met that Tony Soprano you know” Wright an impassioned defence of Russian athletics against the NATO inspired warmongering by the IAAF

    Boleyn Ali

    November 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

  8. Read something along those lines last night. Apparently the athletes in the Melbourne Cup are all at it for a start! Naughty horsies.


    redkorat☭ (@red_korat)

    November 10, 2015 at 8:47 pm

  9. “You’ve gotta hand it to John Wight, – he just loves strongmen and their interventions:”

    This coming from the people who have supported every murderous intervention by the strongest military machine on the planet (USA). This coming from the people who have actively campaigned for the carnage we now see regularly in the Middle East, which is inevitably coming back to mainland Europe. Albeit in a way that is minuscule compared to the carnage and destruction you scum have been cheer-leading for years now.

    I don’t support Russia’s actions, the sight of military powers queuing up to bomb a poor nation is sickening. Of course for scum like you only the supremacist USA and its allies are allowed that privilege.

    You normalise supremacy and have casually been fanning the flames of conflict, from safely behind the front line. There is nothing normal about our divine right to decide the fate of other nations and there is nothing normal in that they have no say on how we live our lives.

    Fight imperialism!

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    November 13, 2015 at 11:36 pm

  10. “Jeremy Corbyn¹ isn’t consciously a supporter of Bashar al-Assad², the Syrian president committing genocide. In the interview his quote comes from, he doesn’t mention Assad once, even when he talks about what Syrian refugees are fleeing from, he says it is, “from the civil war, from ISIL, from other groups.” He wants to ignore Assad’s crimes in favour of blaming the Turks, the Saudis, and Western intervention, praises President Obama and hopes that a deal can be arranged with Assad’s Russian partners in crime (as one activist puts it, “After Russian intervention, Syrians move from counting daily victims to counting daily massacres.”³). But the almost identical language points to a closer association, the pro-Assad milieu that his press secretary Seumas Milne moves in explains why the phrasing is so similar, and bodes badly for how any Corbyn administration would deal with Assad should he last that long, and how much more disrespect a Corbyn-led Labour Party will show to those suffering the twin evils of Assad and ISIS.”

    Dick Gregory

    November 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm

  11. Boleyn Ali

    November 18, 2015 at 3:17 pm

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