Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Imperialism

Trotksyism and Political Confusionism: The Case of Sam Marcy and the “Marcyites”.

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Macryites: the Anti-Imperialism of Fools.

Louis Proyect recently had a post about  some the more unpleasant figures on the US left.

“Trotskyists” put down red carpet for obscure Stalinist blogger

On Friday, July 14th at the Solidarity Center in NYC, Stephen Gowans will be speaking on “Washington’s Long War in Syria“, his new pro-Assad book. Solidarity Center is the HQ of the International Action Center, the antiwar front of the Workers World Party, a group that emerged out of the Trotskyist movement after the founder decided to back the Soviet tanks rather than the Hungarian workers in 1956. They are essentially Stalinists–much more so than the Communist Party.

Among the sponsors of the meeting is something called UNAC, the United Antiwar Coalition, that has a steering committee that is a mixture of WWP’er Sarah Flounders and independent Stalinists like Phil Wilayto.

But the largest party representation is from Socialist Action, a tiny sect led by Jeff Mackler. After splitting from the SWP, Mackler and other party veterans formed SA in the early 80s to rebuild a purified Trotskyist group. It has failed abjectly but like the group it split from, it soldiers on in the foolish notion that it is to the USA that Lenin’s party was to Russia. Mackler is on the steering committee as is Marilyn Levin and Christine Gavreau, who like Mackler are in their seventies. I can’t say for sure if they are still in SA but I strongly suspect that they are. This is definitely not a formation that is going to compete with the DSA for fresh young blood.

As part of our wider project of charting “Confusionism” Lois has made a contribution.

“the ideological cocoon of the Marcyite wing of the American left that now includes Socialist Action. Indeed, nothing that took place within Syria held even the slightest interest for them. These are people who get their ideas from ZeroHedge, Moon of Alabama, Global Research, Information Clearing House and other bottom-feeding click-bait outlets of the lunatic left.”

Now Marcyites….

Recently we had a hard job on Facebook trying to explain Campism to French comrades, or rather I and one French comrade had a difficult job in explaining this to people in France and Belgium.

What is Campism? As used by the AWL and others it describes those who, despite the Fall of Official Communism, the end of the time when the planet saw the ‘Socialist Bloc’  pitted against the Imperialists still divide the world  into two camps, Imperialism, and Anti-imperialism, to French comrades.

Oddly (….) they had not heard of Max Shachtman

Macryites are the ultimate ‘campists’, the defenders of the original anti-imperialism of fools (a term which French left-wingers did not find hard to get). In the original version they believed in a “global class war”, one waged between states.

The term comes from Sam Marcy (pseudonym) and his faction.

“Basically he took the concept of “deformed worker’s state” in the opposite direction that most traditional Trotskyists do. In essence he believe that socialist states were necessarily deformed because socialism can not co-exist with capitalism. To that extent he opposed the idea of socialism in one country. At the same time through his theory of global class war he saw the socialist nation state as a key factor in the final downfall of world imperialism. WWP was one of the few parties to call for PRC-USSR unity. Of course WWP was in the awkward position of being a Trotskyist group condemning Khrushchev for being revisionist in denouncing Stalin.

In general as far as Trotskyism goes, the Sam Marcyist brand is the closest to genuine Marxism-Leninism. Of course in practice it amounts to simply supporting any anti-US force as anti-imperialist or even socialist. Its a sort of reverse Trotskyism.”

Marcy wrote, (The Global Class War and the Destiny of American Labor by Sam Marcy May 20, 1953)

the camp of the proletariat today, unlike the previous epoch, has the bulk of the oppressed peoples in the colonies and dependent countries within its camp as allies. The class of peasants, semi- and non-proletarian elements of the backward countries, which in previous epochs were the reserve of imperialist reaction, can now be regarded not merely in a social but the political sense as well, as having been attracted to and daily becoming more and more part and parcel of the camp of the proletariat. The revolutionary ferment all over the colonial world is testimony to this fact. Our class camp is numerically much larger, much more politically conscious than in all previous epochs. The second characteristic of our class camp is that it has state allies, states where the working class, if not in a political sense, then certainly in a social and historic sense, holds the ruling power.

Today’s Marcyites believe that while there are no longer many states where the working class ‘holds power’ on a formal socialist basis that there are some kind of ‘objective’ allies of the left in the ‘colonial world’. According to some positions this would go right down to ‘anti-imperialist’ states like, as Proyet complains, Syria.

Workers World in the US keeps the flame lit.

Perhaps the nearest we have to this line is the groupuscle Socialist Action around Gerry Downing though some in the Stop the War Coalition often sound like them..

Background,

Sam Ballan (1911 – February 1, 1998), known by his pen name Sam Marcy, was an American Marxist of the post-World War II era. He co-founded the Workers World Party in 1959 and served as its chairperson until his death.

Marcy was born in Russia to Jewish parents. During the Russian Civil War, his family was a target of anti-Jewish pogroms by the White movement and received protection from the Communist forces. They resettled in Brooklyn, where Marcy became an activist for the Communist Party USA. He studied law at St. Johns University and provided legal advice to labor unions in New York.[1]

Marcy grew discontented as a member of the Communist Party, viewing the Third International as increasingly detached from working class interests and instead a mouthpiece for Joseph Stalin, whose oppressive bureaucracy he despised. He joined the Trotskyist movement in the 1940s, building a branch of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Buffalo.[1] Yet he again became dissatisfied, finding the SWP uncommitted to revolutionary politics and instead oriented toward parliamentary reform.[2] Marcy, Vince Copeland, and other SWP members developed a theory of “global class war“, according to which Marxists had a duty to defend the existence of the USSR and its satellites in spite of their bureaucracy[3]. Over several years Marcy clashed with the SWP leadership on several questions, including their approach to Communist China and North Korea, whether the SWP should endorse Henry A. Wallace,[4] and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. On the last question, Marcy’s faction supported the Soviet military intervention, arguing that the initial worker uprising had attracted class elements that sought to restore capitalism.[5][6]

In 1959 the “global class war” faction set up a new organization, the Workers World Party, characterized by outspoken defense of all Communist governments in the world. After the first issue of the Workers Worldnewspaper was published, Marcy started applying his view of Marxism–Leninism to contemporary issues. Marcy’s writings included extensive works on socialism, the Cold War era and the rise of the powerful military-industrial complex. He also wrote about the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War, the economic forces behind capitalist downsizing and the impact of the scientific-technological revolution. [1] Selections of his works have been translated into many languages, including Persian, Spanish, Turkish, Korean, French and German.[citation needed]

His writings show a strong support for Mao Zedong and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, though he continued to defend China against imperialism following the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. Marcy defended China and also the Soviet Union against the charge of imperialism even while disagreeing with some policies and practices of the Communist Party leadership of both countries.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 10, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Solidarité avec le peuple syrien ! Solidarity with the Syrian People!

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Ensemble is a bloc of a number of radical left wing groups in France.

They, by majority vote, backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the recent Presidential election and some of their supporters were candidates for his list, La France insoumise .

Two of them are at present MPs in the National Assembly: Clémentine Autain, 11e circonscription de Seine-Saint-Denis, and Caroline Fiat, 6e circonscription de Meurthe-et-Moselle.

This declaration, signed by Roland Merieux, Ollivier Mollaz  and Francis Sitel appears on the Ensemble site.

Without translating the whole statement – which concerns the place of foreign policy in the overall strategy of newly elected President Macron in Syria – the key points are:

  • Macron considers that there is one, “absolute enemy” in Syria,  Terrorist Groups.
  • That against these enemies it is necessary for there to be co-operation between all those fighting them.
  • That a political solution to the conflict in Syria does not have to include as a condition the departure of Assad.

(Il n’existe qu’un « ennemi absolu » : les « groupes terroristes » (un lexique extensif qui est celui de Poutine et de Bachar al-Assad). 2) Contre cet ennemi, il faut la coopération entre tous ceux qui le combattent, en premier lieu la Russie. 3) La solution politique à rechercher pour la Syrie ne saurait inclure le départ de Bachar al-Assad.)

The declaration underlines, by contrast, that Assad is guilty of crimes against humanity, that he has waged war against his own people, and that he, as a result is “our enemy” and an enemy of France.

It concludes that only the Syrian People can legitimately decide who is in Power.

Comment:

In the light of these policy changes, which are not confined to France, it would be perhaps better if the left in Britain began to look into its position on Syria, where real genocides have taken place and where the Assad regime murders and tortures,  rather than other parts of the Middle East.

What is our stand on solidarity with the Syrian people against Assad?

The issue has come to the heart of French politics at present, as this public letter in Libération today demonstrates:

TRIBUNE : Monsieur le Président, maintenir Assad, c’est soutenir le terrorisme.

Dans une interview donnée à la presse européenne le 21 juin, Emmanuel Macron ne fait plus du départ de Bachar al-Assad un «préalable à tout». Une centaine d’intellectuels et de spécialistes de la région réagissent.

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Emmanuel Macron doit conforter la légitimité de son pouvoir. 

Sur les questions sociales, pour précipiter et gagner l’affrontement sur le Code du travail et l’augmentation de la CSG, la procédure des ordonnances offre un moyen certes peu démocratique, mais efficace pour précipiter la concrétisation de la volonté présidentielle.

Pour ce qui est des questions internationales, il ne lui est pas même besoin d’user de ce type d’opération faisant peu de cas du rôle du Parlement. La Vème République les inscrit dans un « domaine réservé » où le Président décide souverainement. Emmanuel Macron a donc toute liberté pour déployer son activisme.

Outre les rencontres avec les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, Angela Merkel en premier lieu, une visite remarquée auprès du roi du Maroc, des entretiens avec Trump et Poutine, le voici qui se saisit de la décisive question syrienne.

De longue date monte au sein des cercles dirigeants la volonté d’imposer un tournant à la diplomatie française : en finir avec un « moralisme », louable mais hors de propos, pour rallier la realpolitik. Admettre enfin que Bachar al-Assad est toujours au pouvoir, et que l’appui massif de la Russie et de l’Iran lui permettra d’y rester. Donc qu’il faut cesser de vouloir l’écarter, et s’appuyer sur l’argument que l’ennemi prioritaire c’est Daech et les « groupes terroristes » pour prôner un accord avec Poutine et Bachar !

François Hollande, au lendemain des attentats de novembre 2015, avait évoqué un tel changement de la politique française à l’égard de la Syrie. On en a entendu des échos dans les propos tenus par Jean-Yves Le Drian lorsqu’il était ministre de la Défense. Mais le cap avait avait été maintenu : pas de solution politique possible incluant de manière durable le maintien au pouvoir de Bachar al-Assad.

Dans un grand entretien accordé à huit journaux européens, dont le Figaro, Emmanuel Macron opère un tel tournant. « le vrai aggiornamento que j’ai fait à ce sujet, c’est que je n’ai pas énoncé que la destitution de Bachar al-Assad était un préalable à tout ». C’est maintenir une ambiguïté puisque les rapports de force avait déjà conduit à une inflexion de la position française, conduisant à envisager une solution de transition préservant l’existence du régime, mais préparant la mise à l’écart de Bachar al-Assad : non un « préalable », mais une conséquence de ladite transition. Emmanuel Macron affiche également une grande fermeté apparente à propos de l’usage des armes chimiques, qu’il s’engage à sanctionner, seul s’il le faut. Depuis 2013 et la reculade d’Obama on sait ce que vaut ce type de « ligne rouge » !

« Dans le même temps », deux idées décisives sont avancées :
1) Il n’existe pas de « successeur légitime » à Bachar al-Assad.
2) Cette autre concentrée en une formule terrible : « Bachar n’est pas l’ennemi de la France, mais l’ennemi du peuple syrien ».

Donc pour résumer le propos du Président :
1) Il n’existe qu’un « ennemi absolu » : les « groupes terroristes » (un lexique extensif qui est celui de Poutine et de Bachar al-Assad).
2) Contre cet ennemi, il faut la coopération entre tous ceux qui le combattent, en premier lieu la Russie.
3) La solution politique à rechercher pour la Syrie ne saurait inclure le départ de Bachar al-Assad.

Ainsi, alors que Bachar al-Assad est coupable de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’Humanité, que pour se maintenir au pouvoir il mène depuis six ans une guerre barbare contre son peuple, qui est cause de centaines de milliers de morts, de millions de déplacés, de la destruction du pays, lequel est livré à des occupations étrangères… Cela ne suffit pas selon Emmanuel Macron pour qu’il soit considéré comme un « ennemi de la France » !

L’auteur de Révolution a oublié la « guerre aux tyrans !»…
Faut-il rappeler au Président de la France qu’on ne combat pas le terrorisme en s’alliant à ceux qui en sont les fourriers. Et qu’un peuple n’a pas à confier aux dirigeants de ce monde le soin de désigner qui a la légitimité pour le gouverner.
Parce que Bachar al-Assad est l’ennemi du peuple syrien, il est notre ennemi. Il devrait être celui de la France, même présidée par Emmanuel Macron.

Et c’est au seul peuple syrien de décider qui ne doit pas être au pouvoir, et qui peut légitimement y accéder.

Roland Merieux – Ollivier Mollaz – Francis Sitel.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm

George Galloway Goes Whatabout to Defend Trump.

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Mad leading Ipswich Tory Kev comments, “Well Said George Galloway!

Our old friend Galloway, fresh from his triumph as top man of the Brexit ‘left’ and leading light in the Stop the War Coalition, has taken to re-tweeting Brendan O’Neill (Spiked-on-Line), and Piers Morgan in defence of his new man-crush – Donald Trump.

These are some more of the Great Man’s latest personal Tweets:

Written by Andrew Coates

January 31, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Morning Star Hails Alepo ‘Liberation’.

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Galloway has added his own unique claim that ISIS was in Aleppo…..

This is  the latest, a careful and sober report of what’s happening.

Asma Ajroudi. Al Jazeera.

As the Syrian government forces, backed by allies, inch closer to a decisive victory in the ravaged rebel stronghold of east Aleppo, t he impending fall of the city to regime forces would be the biggest setback for rebels since the conflict broke out in 2011.

It could also mark the start of a wider military shift that sets the course of the war in the Syrian regime’s favour.

In less than a month, Syrian troops, with unfettered Russian air support, were able to recapture 90 percent of the eastern part of Aleppo. On Monday, the Syrian army claimed that 98 percent of east Aleppo was in the hands of regime forces.

Reports also indicate a massive exodus of people to either remaining rebel-held districts or government-controlled areas in the western part of Aleppo. The Russian Defence Ministry claimed that 13,346 civilians had left rebel-held areas in the past 24 hours, and 728 rebels laid down their arms and surrendered.

The United Nations human rights office had warned on Friday that hundreds of men have “gone missing” after crossing into regime-controlled areas of Aleppo as Russian and Syrian air strikes continue to pound the city.

The Independent reports,

UN chief warns of ‘atrocities against large number of civilians’ in Aleppo.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has raised alarm over “reports of atrocities against a large number of civilians, including women and children” in Aleppo, his spokesman said.

Syria’s army, loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, are reportedly close to capturing all of east Aleppo which has been a rebel stronghold in the country’s civil war.

Residents in the besieged areas of the city have described the situation as “doomsday”, with many unable to flee the fighting.

Le Monde carries this as its lead-story:

Syrie : l’ONU alerte sur des exécutions sommaires commises dans Alep par des forces pro-Assad

Le commissariat de l’ONU aux droits de l’homme s’appuie sur plusieurs témoignages en provenance de la partie est d’Alep, qui subit une terrible offensive depuis quatre semaines.

 

It is extremely unwise to talk of ‘liberation’ in these conditions – to say the least.

The French left group Ensemble says, Solidarité avec le peuple syrien, avec son combat pour la paix, la justice et la liberté !

  • L’arrêt immédiat de tous les bombardements et la levée des sièges des villes. ( An immediate stop to bombing, and raising the siege of cities and towns).
  • Une mobilisation internationale pour apporter une aide humanitaire massive aux populations. (World-wide efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the Syrian people).
  •  Le départ de Syrie de toutes les armées et milices étrangères.(All foreign armies and militias should leave Syria.)

Written by Andrew Coates

December 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Will the left hear the cries from Aleppo?

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London, Saturday.

Will the left hear the cries from Aleppo?

Syrian solidarity activists should therefore go and make the case in defense of the original uprising against the Syrian regime and Russia at, for example, forums put on by the U.S. Peace Council, which is currently touring apologists for Assad. We can organize debates about Syria and Palestine at political conferences, and challenge the views put forward by Blumenthal and Khalek in left publications and websites.

This attitude of fighting to win the debate is important. We have to win the left to a genuine anti-imperialism that opposes not just the U.S. empire, but its rivals (and sometime collaborators) as well. As revolutionary socialist Eamonn McCann put it so well in a speech in the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland, we must protest American imperialism’s crimes in Iraq, Yemen and beyond, while also challenging Russian imperialism in Syria.

Finally, and most importantly, we must stand in solidarity with genuine liberation struggles from below, regardless of which imperial camp they are challenging. Our slogan is neither Washington, nor Moscow, nor Beijing, nor Damascus, nor Tehran, nor Riyadh, but self-determination for oppressed nations and international socialism.

From Socialist Worker.

No, not the UK Socialist Worker of the SWP, but the US Socialist Worker of the International Socialist Organization.

This is only one contribution to a very serious debate taking place on the entire  US Left about these issues.

One could begin with one important and  latest contribution:  The numbers game in East Aleppo by Louis Proyect.

In the UK Socialist Resistance have published this: Syria – calling for an end to intervention is not nearly enough

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty republishes this: What’s wrong with “Stop the War”?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 23, 2016 at 11:53 am

After Fifteen Years Why Has the Stop the War Coaliton Foundered?

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After 15 Years what do they have to show for it all?

Lindsey German of the revolutionary socialist group Counterfire and the Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) writes today.

Our conference next month marks the 15th anniversary of our movement. A time to say no to all the wars arising from the war on terror. And to continue our commitment to opposing the system our government is at the heart of, imperialism.

If the StWC is opposed to all wars “arising from the war on terror”, and it bases its opposition on being against ‘imperialism’ is the StWC simply an ‘anti-imperialist’ group.

The confusion that has lain for years over the StWC comes from this source.

It can be ‘against’ Western, and specifically UK, involvement in ‘bombing Syria’  but it has absolutely no answer to the multiple wars in that region, except being against the one force they identity as ‘imperialist’ – the US and its direct allies.

Who are opposed to Assad, who is backed by the Russian Federation, and Iran.

Who are not – officially – supported by the StWC because the StWC is against all ‘foreign’ involvement in Syria – even (they officially) claim those fighting ‘imperialism’, like Assad.

Who the US and its NATO allies oppose.

But even here, since some US allies, such as the Saudis and the Gulf states, back non-ISIS jihadist forces to the US against Assad and against…the Kurds.

Who, a progressive left force, are supported (in the shape of the YPG) by the Americans…

Who have been driven to oppose to Turkey, its ally, when they fight the Kurds..

Who are also…

Well, we could go on.

And on.

Stopping the War is clearly not on the cards in Syria, nor has the slogan any meaning in dealing with the fighting in Iraq.

StWC claims not to “take sides” in Syria, but somehow be to be against “war” without being pacifists – that it absolutely against any violence.

But the violence continues, and there is no such thing as a non ‘intervening’ side when not doing something is to let things, continue…

The incoherence of the position of the STWC is to imagine, or at least claim, that they are both  au-dessus de la Mêlée  and anti-imperialist.

But we all incoherent faced with the mass killings taking place.

But failing to stand up for human decency in the face of the genocides taking place and saying, in effect, “none of our business”, leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

Most people have simply walked away from this crew.

Let the Festivities Commence!

It would be churlish not to leave the StWC with some crumbs of comfort.

In a note of self-celebration and a much needed pat on the pat, German also states today,

We did a great thing collectively with Stop the War. We have maintained it as an organisation and in the past year have seen a considerable increase in support, despite (or perhaps because of) the attacks on Corbyn. We are, I think, the major anti-war movement in any Nato country. The attacks from the right over the Syria bombing vote in 2013 showed the legacy of the movement and what damage we did. Ditto the Syria vote last year, used as a vicious attack on Jeremy Corbyn (and joined in by the pro-intervention left). There are many issues to debate about our history, and still a job to combat interventions in the Middle East and through Nato expansion.

But no, let us continue churlishly.

In reality all that remains of this “great thing” is that the StWC struggled to get a couple of thousand  people at its last demonstration (November 2015) and barely more than a couple of hundred at the CND anti-Trident protest outside Parliament this July.

One notes who they chose as a speaker at the November event.

And this sprightly new face, before his more recent Brexit campaigning:

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Irrelevance.

The major reason for their decline is that the StWC is  as we have just seen, an irrelevance in the face of the events unfolding in the Middle East.

Another is that  the group, no doubt caught up in what Counterfire calls the ‘actuality of the revolution’  feels free to expound on a variety of issues  with a less than direct link to war.

It published this tissue of lies a few days ago:

Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité…Unless You’re a Muslim Woman

These are some of the most shameful episodes in the treatment of Muslim women in France that I can recall. They are state sponsored bullying and racism pure and simple. Islamophobia is only one form of racism, although it is the major one in Europe today. But it is the only one which targets the behaviour and dress of women in particular, and tried to alter this behaviour in the most draconian way.

German shamefully tries to link the ban on the Burkini to French international interventions.

She can barely resist saying of the atrocities, “they had it coming to them…”

France has also been increasingly strongly involved in interventions in Muslim countries, most notably Syria and Libya, which have led to increases in the level of terrorism.

Without going into great detail about  the issue we simply note.

  • It was not the French ‘state’ which tried to ban the burkini, but right-wing local authorities on the country’s coastline.
  • The French ‘state’ in the shape of the Conseil d’Etat (Council of State, the clue being the second part of the name…) overturned the ban. It said it was incompatible with human rights.
  • It was kind of German to express concern for the mass murders carried out by Daesh supporters in France. But perhaps something a little more forthcoming than a reference to “increases in the level of terrorism” linked to “interventions in Muslim countries” might have been more appropriate for those close to the victims in  Nice, Paris and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, to cite but the most recent atrocities.

Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution, *US* Socialist Worker Debates the Issues.

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The US Socialist Worker (long divorced from its British parent, and the paper of the International Socialist Organization, ISO) has carried an important debate on Syria in the last week.

Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution. Ashley Smith

THE SYRIAN Revolution has tested the left internationally by posing a blunt question: Which side are you on? Do you support the popular struggle against dictatorship and for democracy? Or are you with Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime, his imperial backer Russia, his regional ally Iran and Iran’s proxies like Hezbollah from Lebanon?

Tragically, too many have failed this test.

From the very beginning of Syria’s revolution–even before the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front some years later–a whole section of the left opposed the popular uprising against the Assad dictatorship that began in early 2011, part of the Arab Spring wave of popular rebellions against dictatorship and repression.

Since then, they have turned a blind eye to Assad’s massacre of some 400,000 Syrians, and his regime’s use of barrel bombs, chemical weapons and barbaric sieges of cities like Aleppo. Today, 11 million people–half the country’s population–have been displaced, with the Assad regime responsible for the lion’s share of the death and destruction.

The author criticises the “campist” belief that, ” there is only one imperialist power in the world–the U.S.–and that it is an all-powerful manipulator of international events.”

The U.S. does remain the world’s dominant imperialist power, but as a result of its failed war in Iraq and other factors, it has suffered a relative decline in strength. Washington is now challenged internationally by imperialist rivals like China and Russia, as well as regional powers. In this new imperial order, the U.S. is less capable of controlling world events–it fears popular revolt all the more.

This is perhaps a more specifically US stand,

The campist misreadings, however, have led them to the conclusion that the U.S. government is pulling the strings in the rebellion in Syria. Some have gone so far as to argue–absurdly–that the U.S. backs ISIS against Assad. Ironically, this puts the campists in agreement with Donald Trump, who, in his latest ravings, claims that Obama and Clinton were “founders” of ISIS.

One of the most striking paragraphs is the following,

A genuine internationalist left must stand with Syria’s popular resistance to Assad, which began as a nonviolent uprising against the dictatorship–and against intervention by American and Russian imperialism, as well as by the region’s main powers.

This stands in clear contrast to the entire strategy of groups in the UK, notably the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) , which  claims not to “take sides”.

The STWC’s John Rees’ states,

The STWC has never supported the Assad regime. Just as we never supported the Taliban, Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi. Only in the minds of ‘them or us’ pretend patriots does the opposition to our own government’s wars mean support for dictators or terrorists. Our case has always been that war will worsen the problem and not solve it. We were right in that analysis in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

There is no group, in other words, that they do stand with.

This is Smith’s conclusion,

No one committed to solidarity with the Syrian struggle can align themselves with either wing of the U.S. imperial establishment. Instead, the left must reject imperialism in any form, including Russia’s.

Rather than look to imperialist powers or dictatorial regimes in either camp, the left should stand for workers’ struggle across borders and in defense of oppressed nations and their fight for self-determination.

In Syria, the revolution has suffered a defeat for the time being. While civil society activists continue to seize every opportunity to assert their goals, their forces have been ravaged by counterrevolution–in the form of the Syria regime and its international allies on the one hand, and the Nusra Front and ISIS, which was particularly eager from the start to target the rebels than regime forces, on the other.

But as Gilbert Achcar argues in his book Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising, this setback, however devastating, comes amid a long period of revolutionary crisis in Syria and the whole region.

The task of the international left today is to oppose intervention by any of the imperialist and regional powers, reject the tyranny of the Assad regime itself, demand the opening of the borders to those fleeing the violence and chaos, collaborate with Syrian revolutionaries–and win people away from campism to the politics of international solidarity from below.

There is nothing specific about the Kurdish YPD and their alliances, nothing specific about the very special threat to progressives and democrats posed by Islamic State, – with all the international echoes that Jihadism poses.

Some will welcome (despite scepticism about how it will work out) US backing for the democratic Kurdish forces and be concerned about Turkish intervention.

Others will point to the specific threat created by the  Jihaist genociders of Daesh and the international volunteers for their death squads not least from Europe.

The debate that the article has caused has unfortunately focused on the role of the US rather than such issues. One reader commented, ” “Assad must go!” is the mantra not of the left, but of the Western imperialists.” Another states, “no to U.S. militarism being used to put in place a government that becomes a U.S. pawn.”

Perhaps the UK SWP reflects this debate by publishing the following today,

Turkish and Syrian socialists issue joint statement against intervention

The US, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and all the others must keep their hands off Syria.

All support given to the Baas [Assad] regime must be stopped in order for the war to come to an end.

The Syrian people must decide their own future.

Turkey must immediately cease military operations in Syria, stop its enmity against the Kurds, and open its borders to Syrian refugees.

We call all the revolutionary Syrian forces to unify their struggle against: the dictatorship, the foreigners regional and imperialist interventions, and against the reactionary forces.

We believe that the victory of Syrian people on all these counter revolutionary forces, demand the unity of all the revolutionary forces of all the Syrians.

Long live peace, long live the revolution!

Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (Turkey)

Revolutionary Left Current (Syria)

Now the this Blog has serious disagreements with the ISO, not least on issues which cross over to this searing problem, such as  its refusal to back secularists, like the French ligue de droits de l’homme, in France, against both Islamist and Nationalist-racist bigotry.

Bbut this debate is highly welcome.

Details on quite how anybody is going to stop foreign intervention in Syria and help the Syrian democratic cause win is perhaps too much to ask.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 31, 2016 at 12:50 pm