[Marxism] For or against the Assad regime ? (Socialist Defeatism)
d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Thu Aug 23 14:45:02 MDT 2012
Manuel Barrera wrote :
"So, no pox on houses, no struggle except for socialism, religion sucks?"
What is great with Materialist Dialectics is that one must be
exceedingly careful and intelligent in one's approach to social
relatiionships within any given nation and indeed the entire human race.
One can use different lenses in order to fully grasp a conflict, from
the micro-level to the macro-level. The most important realisation is
that all the different elements are interconnected and it IS possible to
gain an understanding of what is going on that fits all the pieces of
the jigsaw together. An analysis that remains "stuck" on only one level
of interpretation cannot "move" to complete the dialectical puzzle.
Which is why I welcome your probing into my comments, trying to bring
out a deeper analysis of the situation in Syria.
"Pox on Houses", meaning I suppose that neither the Montagues or the
Capulets are in the right, or alternatively that both are wrong, is
always true whatever the situation : every polity is always self-serving
and always uses violence and propaganda to keep one social class in
complete control over the process of production. The Ancient Egyptians
believed that the Pharaoh was an embodiment of the Sun God, was
necessary for the harmonious flooding of the Nile and that pyramids
reflected this fact (well actually, there were periods in which various
social classes rebelled against the "Natural Order" thus precipitating
regular "chaotic periods" in this "Hydraulic Theocratic"/ middle Bronze
So on a broad level of analysis, yes, every class-based society in which
a State is used by one class to subjugate another is by definition an
obstacle to the emancipation of humankind.
However, history is a constant struggle between various social classes
for supremacy, and therefore one should be able to determine which of
these aspirations and social forces will bring about more freedom,
justice and equality for society as a whole. Marx never shied away from
expressing preferences (the North was better than the South in the
American Civil War for example, or "Ireland should become a free state"
) although his analysis oscillated between "what would bring the
productive forces of Capitalism to a head faster" and "what would
benefit society the most".
I don't think MArx himself fully reached a final descision on which
"leans" to use in all cases. His complicated changes of heart when
discussing Poland, Ireland, France, Prussia, etc. were brought about by
a fundamental indecisiveness over whether Capitalism was a progressive
force in dissolving previous "backward and superstitious" modes of
production or whether different modes of production (Slavic,
Asiatic,...) contained elements that Capitalism could not digest.
Marx's changing views on the Irish and Polish question between the 1840s
and 1880s is interesting. National Bourgeoisie better than Imperialism ?
Worse ? What about the working class ???
But of course nowadays, the question is not whether a certain polity
"will accelerate the world-wide process of Capitlaist Accumulation" or
not. Debates now center on whether a regime delivers more human rights
In this respect, I think the Syrian working class will be less
subjugated to the nepotism of Assad's regime, but will not be empowered
by a conservative Sunnite regime. On the whole, I guess a change is
always welcome and can give the working class more "breathing space" to
have more say in management, although I don't currently see this
happening in any country (neither US, or EU, or Sunnnite Arab country,
or Iran, or China). But this is just a result of my being removed from
the actual scene of social change in the middle East, and therefore,
unlike Marx, I would be much more careful and humble before delivering
b) "no struggle except for socialism" : yep, that's a great notion. But
of course, history doesn't work that way. And conflicts between various
groups contain progressive and reactionary elements. On a grand scale,
however, humanity struggling ONLY for self-managment and democratic
socialism is more appealing in the abstract than the dirty, cruel
reality in which human beings have to take sides in each individual
country. IT just doesn't work that way, but let's keep our utopian
convictions alive (they always come in handy at various junctures).
c. "religion sucks" : Always and everywhere. Sucking the life blood out
of real human beings. And MArx would agree wholeheartedly with this
statement. Religion is the product of social development, in which an
authority figure comes to symbolize the very existence of the real
producers of wealth (see : Alienation). Religion is to be resolutely
denounced everywhere, and the fact that vested interests are using
religion to weaken the working class (especially since the 1970s) should
make us even more suspicious of the whole concept of a "Daddy in the Sky
who created us and wants us to stick to a certain way of life or else we
will be punished severly".
As you can see I haven't answered your question by a YES or NO answer.
This is because dear Manuel I would like to have your thoughts on the
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