[Marxism] When the Entire Planet is Against the Revolution

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 25 09:04:55 MST 2012


When the Entire Planet is Against the Revolution
Feb 24 2012 by Khalil Issa

"I have seen the tree, but the roots are elsewhere." - Indian proverb.

Whether from the helms of the Syrian regime or through the "opposed" 
western media such as Al Jazeera and its helms in the Arab world, the 
hegemonic representation of the Syrian revolution is that of a world 
divided into two camps and no other. On one side, there are "the 
revolutionaries" and their free army, "neo-Ottoman" Turkey and the Gulf 
Cooperation Council (GCC) states—at the heart of which is Qatar and its 
prince—and with the United States, Europe, and Israel in the background. 
On the opposing side, there is the Asad regime in Syria, Iran and the 
Lebanese Hizbullah—the “anti-imperialists”—with Russia and China in the 

At first glance, the Russian and Chinese vetoes in the Security Council 
seem to confirm nothing but such a narrative. The assumption in the 
Syrian case is that this is an "anti-imperialist/obstructionist" stance 
against western "imperialist" military intervention. More importantly, 
this assumption and the corresponding narrative are produced by both of 
the two camps. However, there is a more comprehensive reality than this 
dominant narrative. This reality is apparent to all who desire a deeper 
understanding of the issues: one that goes beyond the mere surface of 
things. Consequently, it is possible to look beyond today's game of 
mirrors, which—one must admit—works so well for parts the Arab left to 
the degree of blatant right-wing crudeness that can be summarized as 
"giving a face lift" to the "obstructionism" by means of leftist lingo. 
[1] This game of mirrors also taints the western "anti-imperialist" 
leftist currents, most of which excel only in identity politics. They 
are oblivious to the fact that fighting fascist oppression was and 
continues to be an inseparable part of what it means to be a leftist, 
and that demanding justice for the Syrian people must itself be at the 
heart of being a leftist. However, it appears that each and every one of 
these currents prefers the continuity of Iranian and Syrian 
authoritarianism for the sake of endlessly reproducing both themselves 
and their discourses. For the existence of these two, the (pseudo) 
"anti-imperialists" and the authoritarian regimes, is justification for 
the existence of a type of left that speaks only of Palestine so as not 
to speak of anything else. [2]

There are substantive indicators of the fictional nature of this 
narrative. For starters, both Hizbullah as well as the Zionist entity 
pray night and day these days that Asad will get out of his dilemma 
"alive." [3] What are the implications of the overlap between Israel and 
Hizbullah in supporting the Syrian regime getting out of "trouble," each 
of them for their own reasons? In addition, is it not suspicious that 
supposed archenemies such as Iran and Israel agree on the survival of 
the Syrian regime when it was previously assumed that the antagonism 
between the two was absolute and permanent "until the day of judgment?" 
Furthermore, how do we make sense of a glaring understanding in 
Iraq—which remains occupied—between US imperialism and Iranian hegemony, 
which turned Iraq into both a total US colony as well as a theocratic 
Iranian semi-colony? Or how do we understand the excellent relations 
between the leaders of Libya—the new colony—and Iran, which did not 
appear to have a problem with the NATO bombing that resulted in over 
sixty thousand deaths in an Arab—and Muslim—country for the sake of 
enthusiastic relations with the "new" leadership there? [4] Finally, how 
do we understand this sudden affection of US imperialism for the Syrian 
people, when the former is primarily responsible for the larger part of 
the predicament that the Arab peoples—including the Syrian people—suffer 
from today: the persistence of the authoritarianism of regimes (spanning 
from the ocean to the gulf) for over half a century and which is 
integrally connected to Israel's existence? How do we believe that the 
United States, which supports the renewed military fascism in Egypt in 
cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood, is itself calling for freedom 
and democracy for the Syrian people?


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