[Marxism] A malaise on the Left

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 9 12:56:31 MDT 2014


The following piece by Louis Proyect is the sixth article I’ve posted in 
response to Seymour Hersh’s “The Red Line and the Rat Line” which 
appeared in the London Review of Books on Sunday.

How can one article merit this amount of attention and criticism?

In terms of its substance, it does not. Had such a thinly-sourced report 
been written by anyone else, the LRB wouldn’t have touched it — it would 
more likely have appeared somewhere like Mint Press or Alex Jones’ Infowars.

But whenever the byline “Seymour Hersh” appears in the media, 
shock-waves ripple across the planet. His latest blockbuster always 
commands that governments respond. Within hours official statements get 
circulated to the press.

It’s an unfortunate effect because this reaction to Hersh lends his 
reporting more gravity than its most recent examples deserve. Moreover, 
the fact that he can prompt such swift responses reenforces the 
perception that this is a man who through telling the truth, has the 
power to shake the establishment. Thus, there seems all the more reason 
to treat his “revelations” as authoritative.

However, for me (and a few others) the reason Hersh’s work demands 
attention at this time, is because it reveals a malaise on the Left.

A fear of “Islamic terrorists” or “jihadists” which a decade ago served 
as the fuel powering the neoconservative enterprise, has since then 
percolated across the political spectrum and turned into a widely 
accepted means to delegitimize the Syrian revolution.

It is now not uncommon to hear people suggest that after Bashar al-Assad 
has killed tens of thousands of his own people and turned cities to 
rubble, for him to remain in power would be the lesser of two evils.

It’s either Assad or the wild men who eat human hearts for breakfast, 
many on the Right and the Left now believe.

Islamophobia which used to reside on the Right has now acquired a veneer 
of cosmopolitan “realism.”

This is why the attention I’m giving to Hersh is not all about the 
veteran investigative reporter. He merely highlights a much wider 
corruption of thought.


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