[Marxism] Nikolas Kozloff - The authoritarian left goes awry: from the Arab Spring to Latin America

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Wed Feb 29 12:35:28 MST 2012

At 10:20 29/02/12 -0500, Dennis Brasky wrote:

This essay so well hits the nail on the head that I will mainly urge
everyone to read it for themselves; any disagreements you may find you
could just as well direct against me as I would endorse every single
sentence in the piece. But the majority of those on this list will probably
identify with his disgust with what he identifies as "the authoritarian
left" (and he tentatively offers the more specific term "Stalinist," but
that's not essential).

The problem isn't that most of those on this list or among the left in
general actively support the crimes of Assad and Gaddafi, but that the
"authoritarian left" has succeeded in shutting down the debate and what
would normally -- why I couldn't have imagined otherwise! -- have called
for widespread solidarity with the Arab revolutions. For years and years I
have heard so many versions of "When the revolution comes......" and
"Things are slow right now but when the world revolution comes to the fore,
then....."  -- well then what? Nothing, because partly due to the goading
by these Stalinists, leftists are scarred shitless that the side they
support will also be supported (or APPEAR to be supported) by one or
another Western imperialist country. Thus stop thinking for ourselves and
let the imperialists decide which side we're on.

As far as I can see, anyone who is resolved never to support a revolution
that also receives, or will receive, support from an imperialist country
(whether lip-service or substantial) might as well give up right now,
because I predict EVERY current and future revolution that is going to
succeed WILL have that dubious honor. The imperialists have smart people
working for them, and it is their job to find themselves on the winners
side, so when they see that a revolution is going to win they would much
rather try to co-opt it than prevent the inevitable. In the case of Libya
they jumped too soon, not realizing that Gaddafi may well have been able to
defeat the uprising in Benghazi, so with Syria they are being much more
circumspect. But as Assad becomes more and more desperate and the tide
turns, the just and overdue Syrian revolution will also be "embraced" by
imperialism (as we are, perhaps, beginning to see). The fact that these
imperialists will be "supporting" popular revolutions, what I would have
called OUR revolutions, became crystal clear to me when they came out (at
the last minute) against the rule of Mubarek after decades of massive
support and investing umpteen billions of dollars in his regime; one
couldn't imagine a greater betrayal in order to avoid being on the losing
side of a conflict.

The sad part is that when revolutionaries in those countries look around
the world they will find support mainly from various liberals, whereas the
far left, those of us who have spent years theorizing and endlessly yakking
about proletarian revolution, are at best sitting on the sidelines. If
Marxism is good for anything then it should be about making revolution
(including democratic revolutions), even when the revolution doesn't follow
our exact preconception and isn't lead by our preferred party. Otherwise
we're just engaged in fantasy.  

- Jeff

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