[Marxism] Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars

A.R. G amithrgupta at gmail.com
Sun Dec 28 19:27:11 MST 2014

Re: Andy's comments,

With all due respect, I'm not sure if I completely agree. If the question
is what "Syrians" think then you can find as many opinions as there are
Syrians. Moreover, there is a long history of using expat members of
countries whose governments the USA has mixed relationships in order to
legitimate wars. A number of Iraqi-Americans, for example, had fled the
Saddam Hussein regime (which, like the Assad regime, also had a long
history of collaboration with the United States that both the Stalinists
and the American imperialists liked to paper over); and those
Iraqi-Americans had been agitating for the US to support an overthrow as
far back as the first Gulf War, and from their comfort in the United
States, had no problems advocating for the 2003 invasion and destruction of
Iraq. Why shouldn't we be suspicious of such individuals? Does it mean
lending support to Saddam Hussein to call out Iraqi-Americans who
essentially functioned as puppets for American neocons? Does it mean we are
disrespecting the rights of Iraqis?

And if not, why is it any different for Syrians? There is no reason a
US-based "peace" group should be hosting any speakers that call for the
NATO bombardment of Syria. There is a difference between taking a
principled stand against the Assad regime (or the Saddam Hussein regime)
and welcoming seedy elements that use their national backgrounds to
legitimate American aggression.

I'm not saying that means that left groups need to take a pro-Assad
position either, and I too am disturbed to see Assad signs and flags and
the like at rallies against American aggression in the Middle East (whether
they are being waved by American Stalinists or Syrian-Americans or
whoever). I don't like that some groups that oppose US intervention in
Syria have papered over the ways in which the US and Assad often
collaborate when it is convenient, and that the regime is not as
"resistant" to American imperialism as many on the left try to suggest.

But as with Saddam Hussein's government, there have always been people in
the United States that hold hawkish views and are willing to campaign for
the invasion and overthrow of governments in the Middle East, including
ones that the US sometimes collaborates with. This is what we saw in Libya
as well. So it should not be acceptable to bring in Syrian voices to give
some sort of authenticity to demands for the bombing of Syria. That does
not sound like respect for Syrian views, it sounds like tokenism.

I've seen this a lot in the Palestine circles as well. Rather than
representing what a plurality of Palestinians think about XYZ, leftists
pick out the Palestinians whose views they find most acceptable and then
attach some sort of authenticity to their commentary. It strikes me as

- Amith

On Sun, Dec 28, 2014 at 8:06 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> On 12/27/14 9:46 PM, Andrew Pollack via Marxism wrote:
>> one reply to the filth that started this thread (from facebook) is below.
>> I know the Minneapolis people involved, including Mohja Kahf, and highly
>> resent the Stalinist slanders against them.
> More from Andy Berman on Critical Syria Google Group:
> This trash talk article denouncing Minnesota peace organizations “Friends
> for a Non-Violent World” and “CISPOS” was written by ex-FBI agent Coleen
> Rowley.  Rowley left the FBI as a respectable whistleblower but her career
> as a sincere peace activist was brief.
> Thirteen Syrian-Americans in the Twin Cities area recently wrote an open
> appeal to the peace community exposing Rowley’s consistent support for
> Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Rowley and her co-author Margarat Sarfehjooy
> are board members of a Twin Cities organization that has sponsored several
> speakers defending the Assad regime.  Her passion is to denounce all those,
> particularly Syrian-Americans with relatives inside Syria, who dare speak
> out against the repression of the Syrian government.   VFP members should
> not be fooled by her slander.  Andy Berman, VFP Chapter 27
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