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

A.R. G amithrgupta at gmail.com
Mon Dec 29 03:24:01 MST 2014

There has been at least one anti-war demonstration since the US began
bombing Syria. Unfortunately, as I found when I attended it, it was
incredibly small and half of the people there supported Assad and saw it as
an attack on the Syrian regime's sovereignty.

I think the alleged hypocrisy you describe, though, is less to do with
allegiance to the Syrian regime per se and more to do with the public's
apathy short of the US government taking part in active regime change,
which appears to suggest the opening of some kind of greater can of worms.
Unfortunately it seems as though "targeted strikes" don't rouse the
public's anger, especially when they are framed as targeted attacks against
"the bad guys".

- Amith

On Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 1:22 AM, Michael Karadjis <mkaradjis at gmail.com>

> There is so much to reply to in this muck job article that began this
> thread (https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/25/selling-peace-
> groups-on-us-led-wars/); I'd only ask ARG to look over it, look at the
> amalgam methods used, look at the assumptions (eg, peaceful protest =
> violent rebellion = imperialist bombing; "violent" rebellion is something
> done by the rebels, not by the regime slaughtering peaceful protestors for
> 8 months first; trying to organise peaceful protest against an extremely
> violent dictatorship = "destablisation of Syria" etc etc etc etc etc);
> really try to find if there is anything in that article that is even
> related to the general points you are making here, some of which, since
> they are so general we could largely agree on.
> For example you say "There is no reason a US-based "peace" group should be
> hosting any speakers that call for the NATO bombardment of Syria." Yet the
> only "evidence" provided in the article is "In Minneapolis, FNVW and its
> spin-off CISPOS hosted several events with Syrian expats who were on record
> as supporting the U.S. bombing of their country." Read it again - that's
> it! No names, no details, not even another sentence to elaborate. We take
> the authors' seedy words that other speakers were allegedly "on record" for
> calling for bombing Syria. Is it even true? And if, so, what meetings? Were
> the meetings about bombing Syria? Was it a discussion, where some speakers
> advocated bombing Syria, while people like Mohja Kahf, who is well-known to
> oppose bombing, speaking against this view? Was it a meeting where those
> who the authors allege "are on record" supporting bombing perhaps didn't
> discuss that issue at all? Who knows? Who can judge? No-one, because the
> authors are just slimy slander-mongers, so they think detail is irrelevant.
> As for Mohja who the article slanders, here is her facebook page:
> https://www.facebook.com/Ekeibeh?fref=pb&hc_location=
> friends_tab&pnref=friends.all (Louis already posted CISPOS’ page). As one
> can immediately tell, not only is it anti-imperialist and anti-bombing, but
> also it is filled with information about the non-violent resistance
> movement, which she has a strong belief in, and is a good resource about
> the continual civil struggles that go on behind the armed struggle.
> Actually, I believe Mohja is on record (Andy can correct me if I’m wrong)
> as even opposing the shift from peaceful struggle to armed struggle, for
> well-thought out pro-revolution reasons. I respectfully disagree with her
> on this, since I believe the protestors eventually had no choice after 8
> months of being shot in the chest but to take up arms in self-defence (even
> though it was of course precisely Assad’s plan); but regardless of my view,
> the fact of her opinions makes even more absurd the propaganda that she was
> involved in “destabilisation of Syria”, unless some now believe that any
> peaceful protests against a violent fascistic regime is “imperialist
> destabilisation.”
> And in that case, we should also have opposed the Egyptian revolution
> against Mubarak, since likewise various US bodies, the NED etc were in
> touch with various Egyptian civil oppositionists. In both the cases of
> Syria and Egypt the US aims, like a sensible imperialist, to try to coopt
> if it can; what people don;t get is that the Arab Spring, the mass entry of
> the people into political struggle, is precisely what prevented the US from
> successful cooption.
> But most of what the article says is absurd, and with respect (I don't
> want to conflate your well-thought out views with the article authors), so
> is much of yours. I say this because, as I already noted in my initial
> response, how is it possible to be discussing a "possible" bombing or
> invasion of Syria when the US has been bombing Syria for months now? I'm
> still trying to get my head around this cognitive dissonance, around this
> refusal to stare reality in the face, around the fact that people are
> discussing some imaginary scenario, that exists in their heads alone,
> despite the fact that it is contradicted by the reality in their faces.
> What is the point of discussing how US officials meeting with Syrian
> dissidents long before 2011 might be a prelude to a massive Iraq-style
> regime change invasion when as they write this, and, sorry, but as you also
> write this, the US is bombing all over the north and east of Syria, but has
> not touched the Assad regime forces, but rather is bombing ISIS, bombing
> Nusra, sometimes bombing different Islamic Front brigades, and even
> “accidentally" the FSA on two occasions? What is the point of this
> discussion when the US is bombing towns and cities and killing civilians in
> the IS-controlled and even Nusra-controlled or even Nusra--influenced
> regions? When 6 US coalition jets just bombed and destroyed the historic
> brickworks in Raqqa, destroying local jobs and cultural heritage; the city
> itself being continually attacked and bombed by Assad and the US in tandem
> (see for example: http://leftfootforward.org/
> 2014/12/raqqa-to-appease-iran-obama-gives-assads-air-force-
> a-free-pass-for-slaughter/), even around the time Assad recently
> slaughtered 209 people one day in Raqqa, deliberately targeting ONLY
> civilian targets, the US continued to bomb Raqqa on either side of this
> atrocity. And now, just after the Syrian regime's airstrikes killed 60
> civilians in 2 days in ISIS-held al-Bab in east Aleppo, now the US-led
> coalition is also bombarding it: https://twitter.com/TahrirSy/
> status/549268405384384512. And who saved Assad's arse when ISIS, which
> already controls Deir-Ezzor, was just recently about to take Deir-Ezzor
> airport, which is in regime hands (and which the regime uses to bomb and
> kill Syrian children from the air; ISIS has no warplanes)? You guessed it,
> the US. And I could go on and on.
> Please inform me. Has there been one single "anti-war" demonstration in
> the US since the US began bombing Syria? (None in Australia, as far as I
> know). I ask because when much of the left imagined that Obama was about to
> bomb Assad in 2013, we saw all these "anti-war" demonstrations against the
> possibility. I took part in one (though one that was studiously separate
> from the pro-Assad rallies). Even though it was anti-Assad, I have to now
> ask myself - why did an "anti-war" movement mobilise against a purely
> imaginary bombing of Syria and has yet to mobilise against an actual one?
> Yes, I hate ISIS, and my opposition to the current US bombing in no way
> relates to some ortho-Trot conception of "military defense of ISIS against
> imperialism despite what it is"; glad we've mostly dispensed with such
> discourse. And of course, exactly the same applies had the US attacked
> Assad: I would have opposed bombing without offering a moment of absurd
> “military defense of the Assad regime etc”. So, why the difference?
> So do the authors of that slimy, slanderous article attacking long-term
> principled anti-tyranny activists on the basis that they are allegedly
> pro-war, pro-US-bombing etc - have these authors been involved in any
> anti-war activity against the ACTUAL US bombing of Syria since September?
> Or are they still providing slimy apologetics to the very regime that the
> US has been bombing to prop up?
> Really, what more can be said? The article asserts “Additionally, CISPOS’s
> latest handout (December 2014) lists Ghadbian’s organization,
> www.etilaf.us (The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary Forces) as
> a resource “For More Information on Syria and How to Help.” Yeh, and? So,
> the National Coalition, which, despite all its political problems, is the
> external based umbrella group of much of the official political opposition,
> and which includes conservatives, liberals, communists, Arabs, Kurds,
> Sunnis, Alawites, Christians, Turkomen, secular folk, moderate Islamists,
> ex-Baathists, defected officers etc etc – is “Ghadbian’s group”?? And it is
> a crime to list it as a resource?
> -----Original Message----- From: A.R. G via Marxism
> Sent: Monday, December 29, 2014 1:27 PM
> To: Michael Karadjis
> Subject: Re: [Marxism]Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars
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> 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
> patronizing.
> - 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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