[Marxism] To John Bellamy Foster

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 11 17:40:54 MDT 2013


John Bellamy Foster,

I was always under the impression that the only two deranged 
crypto-Stalinists on MR’s board were John Mage and Yoshie Furuhashi. 
Although you have never written anything as crude and stupid as the kind 
of stuff that Yoshie aggregates in your name, I was rather shocked to 
see her tweet that you endorsed a Veterans for Peace article by Jack 
Dresser that appeared in your local newspaper as a “good statement” on 
Syria. I find this both singularly depressing and at the same time an 
explanation why you have allowed MRZine to become the laughing-stock of 
the left. Let me walk you through Dresser’s article and explain why you 
embarrass yourself by endorsing it. (The entire piece can be read here: 
http://www.registerguard.com/rg/opinion/30407781-68/syria-chemical-syrian-weapons-assad.html.csp)

Dresser writes: “The Free Syrian Army is comprised less of defectors 
from government forces, as represented in the Western media, than of 
foreign mercenaries and Sunni fundamentalists of both the Wahhabi and 
Salafi variety.”

Do you really agree with this, Foster? If so, I recommend that you get 
up to speed on more authoritative reporting. Foreign mercenaries are 
generally involved with the jihadist groups, not the FSA. Furthermore, 
there have been widespread reports about the clash between Sunni 
fundamentalists and the movement that supports the FSA. I recommend in 
particular the New Yorker Magazine article about the tensions that exist 
in Raqqa: 
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/04/the-black-flag-of-raqqa.html. 
Even more importantly, aren’t you aware that the jihadists have already 
begun to kill FSA commanders? You really need to familiarize yourself 
with the facts. Start here: 
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/12/free-syrian-army-officer-killed

Going downhill rapidly, Dresser writes: “The outside FSA military units 
have little allegiance to the people or the state of Syria and do not 
represent the legitimate Syrian opposition, which has already negotiated 
a new constitution with the government of President Bashar al-Assad 
resolving most of their grievances, with elections scheduled next year. 
Last year, a survey by a foundation in Qatar found 55 percent citizen 
approval of Assad, and the new constitution was endorsed by 89 percent 
of Syrian voters.”

I wonder what planet Dresser is living on. What “legitimate Syrian 
opposition” could he possibly be referring to? And which elections? 
Every serious analyst describes the country as being in an advanced 
state of decomposition and you nod your head approvingly in support of 
this idiocy? How did you ever get so far in your profession that is 
supposedly based on social science? The poll that Dresser refers to was 
taken 18 months ago, long before al-Assad had ratcheted up his 
war-machine to Chechen type dimensions. Meanwhile the new constitution 
Dresser refers to that got 89 percent approval was voted on while the 
country was being torn apart by artillery and aerial bombardment. For 
Christ’s sake, that’s almost as absurd as the percentage by which 
al-Assad won the last “election”: 97 percent.

Needless to say, Dresser is just as laughable when it comes to the 
question of the recent chemical attack, calling it a “false flag” 
operation and asserting that since “Assad is winning with conventional 
weapons”, there was no reason to use such weapons. Aren’t you aware that 
the suburban neighborhoods that got attacked were strongholds of support 
for the rebels that proved resistant to conventional weapons attack? 
Don’t you care?

There was a time, maybe as near as a decade ago, that I had deep respect 
for you. Now I am more sad than angry that you have turned out to be 
subject to such shallow thinking and so little concern for political 
principle.

In sorrow,

Louis Proyect




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