[Marxism] Fwd: Syria, “Revolution,” and the Left « LobeLog

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 17 10:37:51 MST 2014

(From last December but still relevant.)

The last couple months have seen the spread of a particular argument 
about the war in Syria among members of the self-described 
“anti-imperialist” left. This line of thought argues that the war (along 
with the Arab Spring more broadly) cannot be considered a true 
“revolution” and thus the left should be wary of supporting anti-Assad 
forces — not merely with military or material support, but even sympathy 
or solidarity. What constitutes a “revolution” is not always spelled 
out, but Tariq Ali (who was among the first to make this argument) 
defines it in the loosely Marxist sense of “a transfer of power from one 
social class (or even a layer) to another that leads to fundamental 
change,” and he takes the lack of such an explicit class struggle in the 
Syrian war to be proof that the left should resist siding either with 
Assad or his opponents.

Recently the argument was revived by Asa Winstanley of the Electronic 
Intifada. After protests caused Middle East Monitor to take Winstanley’s 
piece down, it was republished by the leftist magazine Jacobin, whose 
editors describe themselves as holding “a plurality of positions on 
Syria” but consider the piece to be a “useful contribution to the 
discussion” and publish it in order “to further this dialogue”. (This is 
all well and good, and I disagreed with Middle East Monitor‘s initial 
decision to remove the piece, but I’m not entirely clear which 
“dialogue” the Jacobin editors are hoping to further. As far as I can 
tell, all their coverage of Syria has taken a similar line — namely, 
that there’s little moral difference between the two sides and that the 
left should avoid getting behind either one.)

full: http://www.lobelog.com/syria-revolution-and-the-left/

More information about the Marxism mailing list