[Marxism] Fwd: Dr. Tim “Asad” Anderson: the abuse of academia to spread out propaganda | mabisir ما بيصير

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Sun Jun 22 08:30:02 MDT 2014

This is a wonderful article by Andrea Glioti, and should be distributed 
widely. At the same time, I say this a little sadly, as I want to give 
some information about Dr Tim Anderson who Glioti criticises here. The 
word “reluctant” in my title refers to my own reluctance, clearly not to 

In 1978, Tim was arrested by the Australian police along with 2 
colleagues from the Ananda Marga Indian leftist-oriented religious sect, 
and framed up for allegedly planning to bomb the house of a National 
Front (fascist) leader. The police agent who was allegedly with them in 
the car when he alleged they were planning this action also claimed the 
three boasted about bombing the Hilton Hotel during the meeting of 
Commonwealth heads of Government in Sydney earlier in 1978. The three 
spent 7 years in prison on the first charge before being pardoned in 
1985, and then Tim was arrested again for the Hilton bombing following 
the testimony of a prison informer, before being acquitted in 1991. This 
followed years of campaigning by the Campaign Exposing the Frame-up of 
Tim Anderson (CEFTA). Here is some information on the issue and 

Tim thus represented this important struggle against police frame-ups 
and the power of the deep state, and is quite a symbol in that way. 
Since his release, he has been a tireless campaigner around many issues, 
and is prominent in Cuba Solidarity.

Tim coordinates a course at Sydney University in the Political economy 
department called “Human Rights in Development” which I had the 
privilege to teach for two semesters. I can speak glowingly of this 
course, which he ahs designed, as perhaps the best course of know of in 
Sydney tertiary institutions. It is a thorough expose of imperialism in 
the field of international “development”. I also helped some Cambodian 
activists get in contact with Tim with the aim of one of them coming to 
Australia to study in his course.

There is nothing in his course which would tell one either way that 
someone teaching it would end up on the side of the Syrian issue that I 
have, or that Tim has. In a sense, this can come back to the differing 
meanings of “anti-imperialism” that is currently a topic of debate on 
the GreenLeft discussion list, and of course throughout the left more 
generally. Thinking back I can perhaps remember Tim giving slightly more 
emphasis to the role of a somewhat strong state in a developing 
capitalist country to allow it some measure of independent development 
relative to imperialism, compared to the emphasis I would put; I would 
tend to emphasise the power of the working class and people’s movements 
much more. While certain aspects of state functioning are indeed 
preferable to lack of any, when the power of the capitalist state comes 
into conflict with that of the people’s movement, I have no doubt which 
I support, and no doubt which side of the equation is more important in 
terms of real independence from imperialism.

However, when the question is put abstractly, there is simply nothing in 
such statements (about relative importance of the state) to tell what 
view one might adopt in concrete circumstances, such as in Syria now, 
and in some senses one may even be able to agree somewhat abstractly. 
For example, is the Cambodian capitalist state weak or strong? It is 
weak when it gives everything to the IMF and WTO that they demand, and 
when it couldn’t bust corruption if corruption were a balloon at a kids’ 
party; it is strong when it shoots striking garment workers dead. For 
example, Tim was long very involved in the struggle of the East Timorese 
people against Suharto’s Indonesian military dictatorship, and remains 
strongly attached to East Timor now. It would never occur to me that Tim 
would abstractly prefer Suharto’s “strong” state to the “weaker” states 
that have succeeded his rule. So it would be difficult for me to suggest 
that Tim’s current view on Syria necessarily flows from anything we were 
teaching in his course.

While many on the left have ended up with something of a “plague on both 
your houses” view on Syria, or at least something approaching it, it is 
somewhat unfortunate personally that two colleagues who have worked on 
the same wonderfully anti-imperialist course that is Tim’s proud 
creation have ended up on diametrically opposed sides of the spectrum on 
this issue. If either of us was in the wishy-washy camp it may be 
easier. But at the end of the day, we advocate what we believe. However 
aghast I may be over the support given by Tim and so many other leftists 
to a fascist regime which has turned the whole of Syria into a moonscape 
just to keep a narrow clique of mega-capitalists in power, I find it 
difficult to not maintain my respect for Tim as a person, given the 

Yet going beyond advocating a point of view, and actually going to visit 
Assad and be photographed for the world’s media shaking hands with him 
while he was furiously barrel-bombing Aleppo last December, does make 
things more difficult. And the fact that Tim entered the spotlight under 
a frame-up by the Australian police, yet now supports a regime whose 
police and military repression make the Shah of Iran a mere 
authoritarian and make Mubarak a raving democrat, seems a case of 
cognitive dissonance if ever there was one.

That is why, with all due respect which I maintain for Tim, I am 
publishing this article by Andrea on my blog and will distribute widely, 
in the interests of frank and comradely discussion.

Michael Karadjis

-----Original Message----- 
From: Louis Proyect via Marxism
Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 11:59 PM
To: Michael Karadjis
Subject: [Marxism] Fwd: Dr. Tim “Asad” Anderson: the abuse of academia 
to spread out propaganda | mabisir ما بيصير

Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.

My name is Andrea Glioti, I’m the journalist who intervened at Dr. Tim
Anderson’s talk at Sydney UNI “Why I went to Syria” on March 6 (2014),
an event promoting a blatant apology of the Syrian regime under the
pretext of “counter-information”. A professor of political economy, Tim
Anderson (https://www.facebook.com/timand2037?fref=ts) has been part of
a delegation led by the Wikileaks Party and the Asadist activist group
“Hands Off Syria”, which paid its homage to the Syrian regime during a
visit of solidarity in December 2013. This is a response to some of the
absurdities I heard about the Syrian conflict and, apart from the single
case of Anderson, it addresses several points continuously raised by the
so-called “anti-imperialist left”. It would be actually fair to rename
this ideological stubbornness on Syria as a Stalinist-Soviet approach,
if we were between the 1950s the 1960s, Anderson and his likes would be
probably denying the Hungarian and Czech revolts ever took place. If we
were in the Spanish Civil War, they would probably defend the Soviet
decision to crush the anarchists. As long as a government sits in the
anti-American camp (no matter the hypocrisy of Syrian foreign policies
in this regard), it doesn’t really matter if it tortures leftists in its
own prisons.

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