[Marxism] Sam Charles Hamad on the STWC/Corbyn controversy

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 19:26:37 MST 2015


Meanwhile Jacobin - which rejects anti-Assad columns - printed this pack of
lies and apologies for Assad/Putin/Nasrallah/Rouhani by Stop Some Wars:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/stop-the-war-britain-jeremy-corbyn-iraq-syria/
Wonder if Jacobin editors read about the dozens of children murdered by
Assadist forces at school yesterday? Not that they'd care...


On Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 9:00 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Is there a smear campaign occurring against the Stop the War Coalition
> (StWC)? They seem to think so, but then 'smear campaigns' are part of the
> essential mythology of particular elements of the sect left - not only does
> the idea of being the subject of a smear campaign reinforce the idea that
> they're of some importance, but it also keeps the cadre committed and on
> message. It allows the various demagogues who occupy its platforms to
> pretend as if they're really shaking the Tory 'warmongers', as if they're
> on the front lines of the struggle against 'imperialism'. Any criticism of
> them or any aspect of their behaviour and politics must be suppressed lest
> it provide ammunition for 'the right'. This is the fairy tale.
>
> Another dimension of this fairy tale is the idea that 'smear campaign'
> against the StWC is actually a means for Jeremy Corbyn's opponents to
> further attack the allegedly besieged Labour Party leader. Those who look
> at criticism of the StWC in relation to its position on Syria in this
> manner are doing nothing more than providing justification for politics
> that are incompatible with the most basic leftist principles. There is no
> smear campaign against this entity as a smear campaign implies the use of
> deliberate falsehoods against a particular opponent, yet every single
> criticism of the Stop the War Coalition when it comes to Syria is true.
>
> And Jeremy Corbyn, the messiah himself, is complicit in every aspect of
> the StWC's politics, as he has explicitly and implicitly agreed with this
> entity's counter-revolutionary posture towards the Syrian revolution and
> its physical blocking of Syrians from ever having a say within its ranks.
> If the right-wing use this to attack Corbyn for their own sordid gains,
> it's his own fault. When he was 'national chair' of this organisation, he
> could've spoken out against its policy towards the Syrian revolution, such
> as its continued reproduction of the most vicious pro-Assad propaganda,
> without, if you think it deserves 'balance', ever publishing one article in
> favour of the revolution. He could've spoken out against its continued
> hosting of overtly pro-Assad and pro-war speakers, such as George Galloway,
> who is a firm supporter of Russia and Iran's intervention on behalf of
> Assad, or Tariq Ali, or Andrew Murray, or his director of communications
> Seumas Milne, or Dianne Abbott (the list goes on).
>
> He could've spoken out when they invited Mother Agnes, the pro-Assad
> fascist nun, who was employed by the regime to spread a pro-regime message
> and perpetuate absurd conspiracy theories relating to the Assad regime's
> Ghouta massacre, to an anti-war conference. He could've spoken out when
> this entity veritably no platformed anti-war but pro-revolution Syrians and
> Arabs. But he didn't. Instead he attends their fundraisers and speaks out
> in their favour.
>
> Why? Because his politics converge with their politics, which is why his
> entire case against the British government's planned air strikes against
> Daesh in Syria was framed by incoherent conservatism, as opposed to
> progressive internationalism. Who did Corbyn get in as an expert to brief
> him on Syria the morning before the air strikes? Patrick Cockburn, a man
> whose articles are always republished by the StWC, and who, far from being
> anti-war, believes the British government ought to team up with Russia,
> Iran and Assad to crush the Syrian rebels (who he smears as 'al-Qaeda' all
> the better to justify their extermination) and fight Daesh.
>
> The only smear campaign that the StWC has been involved in is the one
> they've perpetuated against the Syrian revolution and those who support it,
> right up to and including the scumbag Rees attempting to pass off pro-war
> Kurdish protesters as pro-Syrian revolutionary protesters, or his will to
> label the Syrian solidarity activists, rather bafflingly, as 'Peter
> Tatchell's supporters'. These brave coffeeshop anti-imperialists have been
> smearing those actually fighting against imperialism and attempting to
> block the progressive left and Syrians themselves from forging solidarity
> for four years.
>
> There is an undeniable racist element to this - one refrain by pro-StWC
> types has been 'why don't *they* have their own group' or 'why do *they*
> have to try to be part of *our* group'. Not only does this reveal the
> extent of the hostility towards these types to the Syrian revolution, but
> it's simply objectively racist. To deny Syrians a platform in this manner
> is simply an extension of the wider politics of these forces when it comes
> to the Syrian revolution - the actual struggle of Syrians is of no
> importance and deserves no coverage. It is dismissed by the StWC as a
> conspiracy by the west and the Gulf to take out Assad, while Syrian
> revolutionaries are dismissed as 'jihadists'. To give pro-rev anti-war
> Syrians a platform would complicate the dumbed-down political raison d'etre
> that the StWC engender when it comes to Syria, one that is necessarily
> counter-revolutionary. This exclusion, again as an extension of the
> dehumanising effort against the Syrian revolutionaries, is justified by
> smearing these Syrians as 'pro-war', while StWC hacks will no doubt point
> to the inclusion of an Anglican vicar from Syria at yesterday's demo - he's
> a 'good Syrian', the kind of Syrian who won't mention the ideologically
> inconvenient things that are antithetical to the StWC's hostile stance
> towards the Syrian revolution.
>
> More generally, this also a perfect example of the social nature of these
> politics - these are politics based on a predominantly white middle class
> left, often led by careerist leftists and those whose political raison
> d'etre involves defending some sinecure they've landed, whose entire
> conception of leftism is rooted in the narrow anti-internationalist
> politics that were birthed by Stalinism, as well as the self-interest and
> authoritarian top-downism of the cultish sect left. 'Foreign' struggles are
> only important in their function as identity-justifying phenomenon (i.e.
> the Palestinian or Kurdish fetish) or as parts of crude strategies drawn up
> by these poundshop Machiavellians to 'damage' their 'ruling class' - so you
> can protest against the British ally Israel killing Palestinians because it
> allegedly foments struggle against the ruling class, one which these
> vanguards will capitalise on and gain some kind of power (i.e. yet more
> sinecures, media appearances etc., though the gormless cadre are convinced
> they're working towards 'socialism') from. It's worthy and unworthy victims.
>
> Only in the demented bubble world of the traditional left subculture could
> this objectively pro-fascist entity be seen as important enough in its
> current form to warrant some kind of declaration of fealty to or
> suppression of criticism of. The zealots are too far gone, but the
> spineless fence-sitters have an opportunity to pick a side. Sometimes there
> are two identifiable sides. This is one of those occasions - it's about
> progressive internationalist leftism vs. conservative isolationism in
> leftist garb. Which side are you on?
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