[Marxism] 'Hands Off Syria' and Other Slogans of Assad's Counter-Revolution

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Aug 14 07:30:02 MDT 2012

Pham Binh at < http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=1827 >:

'The millions of grievances silently accumulated by millions of people
over decades under the watchful eyes of murderous police states
exploded in 2011 in an outpouring of festivity, celebration, and
unrelenting bravery that did not line up nicely and neatly with the
pro/anti-U.S. dichotomy that divides Middle Eastern and North African
governments from one another. The Arab Spring’s failure to conform to
this divide divided the international left into three camps: those who
support smashing revolutions against "anti-imperialist" regimes, those
who support revolutions smashing all the regimes pro and
"anti-imperialist" alike by any means necessary, and those who seek a
"middle ground" between these two camps and attach terms, conditions,
fine print, asterisks, and caveats to their support for the Arab
Spring's revolutionaries over issues like non-violence, Western
intervention, and sectarianism.

'It is the comrades in the middle like Tariq Ali, John Reeds, and
Phyllis Bennis who are doing themselves and the Syrian revolution a
tremendous disservice by lining up politically with the Assad regime's
supporters by demanding "hands off Syria!" and "no to Western

So anyone who is concerned about the consequences of Western
intervention in Syria, which has of course bestowed such wonderful
benefits upon Iraq, or about interference from such paragons of
democratic freedoms as Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the way that the
latter have been sponsoring vile sectarianism in Syria, or anyone who
is concerned that a democratic upsurge against Assad's despotic regime
is being submerged beneath forces which do not in any way have a
democratic, progressive agenda and which will, if (or more likely
when) successful leave the Syrian masses under a theocratic
dictatorship, such people are 'lining up politically with the Assad
regime's supporters'.

This is all too reminiscent of the 'if you're not for us, you're
against us' mentality that was popular with pro-Stalin apologists
during the time of the Moscow Trials or the Cold War, when any idea
that things weren't quite what they seemed in the East meant that
quizzical folk, however anti-capitalist they may be, were lining up
with the worst of the Western imperialist ideologues.

This kind of 'black and white' thinking, with absolutely no shading
allowed -- which in this case means cheer-leading and giving a
carte-blanche to any force that is against Assad's regime -- is of no
help to those who are seeking a democratic, progressive solution to
the civil war in Syria. Assad's regime is not likely to remain in
power for long, and I consider that it is essential for Marxists to
point to the dangers posed by the commandeering of a democratic
upsurge by reactionary, sectarian elements; because looking at the way
things are going it is most likely that it will be they and not the
Syrian masses who will be the victors when Assad's regime collapses.

Paul F

More information about the Marxism mailing list