[Marxism] regarding Russian air strikes
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 1 12:49:42 MDT 2015
On 10/1/15 2:34 PM, Ron Jacobs via Marxism wrote:
> this is just absurd, Clay. For one thing, they were Marxist. For another
> thing, they weren't being supported by the OSS as soon as their use to
> Washington was done and, for another thing, they were fighting the US
> military and its puppet regime in Saigon, not trying to set one up.
Look, let's cut the baloney.
The world is divided into two blocs of capitalist nations--one
headquartered in Washington and the other in Moscow. If you are in a
country that is part of the Moscow bloc, where the hell are you supposed
to get weapons? From Venezuela? Cuba? What are the chances that someone
in Homs could talk a Chavista colonel into shipping them some MANPAD's?
It is only natural that you would turn to the USA or one of the states
that are allied with it such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar (even
though they are also acting on their own Sunni sectarian motives). Did
Ron expect them to rely totally on weapons they confiscated from
Baathist munitions storehouses they overran?
In 1914 M.N. Roy, the founder of the Mexican Communist Party and later
the Communist Party of India, approached the German imperialists for
arms. Later on, an Indian nationalist named Subhas Chandra Bose lined up
support from Adolph Hitler against the British. Unlike Roy, Bose was not
a socialist but his cause was just.
Finally, there is every evidence that the Syrian rebels had the
intention of building grass roots democracy every bit as legitimate as
the Kurds in Rojave. It was absolutely disgusting that at the time it
was moving in this direction, "anti-imperialists" had talked themselves
into believing that they were no different than Jonah Savimbi or Adolfo
The best article describing this process was written by Anand Gopal for
Harpers in August 2013. I reviewed his excellent book on Afghanistan for
CP a while back.
I am pretty sure that his article is not behind a paywall
(http://harpers.org/archive/2012/08/welcome-to-free-syria/) but here is
Matar brought me to a mosque that sits next to one of the mass graves.
Inside, there were heaps of clothes, boxes of Turkish biscuits, and
crates of bottled water. An old bald man with a walrus mustache studied
a ledger with intensity while a group of old men around him argued about
how much charity they could demand from Taftanaz’s rich to rebuild the
town. This was the public-affairs committee, one of the village’s
revolutionary councils. The mustached man slammed his hands on the floor
and shouted, “This is a revolution of the poor! The rich will have to
accept that.” He turned to me and explained, “We’ve gone to every house
in town and determined what they need”—he pointed at the ledger—“and
compared it with what donations come in. Everything gets recorded and
can be seen by the public.”
All around Taftanaz, amid the destruction, rebel councils like this were
meeting—twenty-seven in all, and each of them had elected a delegate to
sit on the citywide council. They were a sign of a deeper transformation
that the revolution had wrought in Syria: Bashar al-Assad once subdued
small towns like these with an impressive apparatus of secret police,
party hacks, and yes-men; now such control was impossible without an
occupation. The Syrian army, however, lacked the numbers to control the
hinterlands—it entered, fought, and moved on to the next target. There
could be no return to the status quo, it seemed, even if the way forward
In the neighboring town of Binnish, I visited the farmers’ council, a
body of about a thousand members that set grain prices and adjudicated
land disputes. Its leader, an old man I’ll call Abdul Hakim, explained
to me that before the revolution, farmers were forced to sell grain to
the government at a price that barely covered the cost of production.
Following the uprising, the farmers tried to sell directly to the town
at almost double the former rates. But locals balked and complained to
the citywide council, which then mandated a return to the old
prices—which has the farmers disgruntled, but Hakim acknowledged that in
this revolution, “we have to give to each as he needs.”
It was a phrase I heard many times, even from landowners and merchants
who might otherwise bristle at the revolution’s egalitarian
rhetoric—they cannot ignore that many on the front lines come from
society’s bottom rungs. At one point in March, the citywide council
enforced price controls on rice and heating oil, undoing, locally, the
most unpopular economic reforms of the previous decade.
“We have to take from the rich in our village and give to the poor,”
Matar told me. He had joined the Taftanaz student committee, the council
that plans protests and distributes propaganda, and before April 3 he
had helped produce the town’s newspaper, Revolutionary Words. Each week,
council members laid out the text and photos on old laptops, sneaked the
files into Turkey for printing, and smuggled the finished bundles back
into Syria. The newspaper featured everything from frontline reporting
to disquisitions on revolutionary morality to histories of the French
Revolution. (“This is not an intellectual’s revolution,” Matar said.
“This is a popular revolution. We need to give people ideas, theory.”)
Most opposition towns elect a delegate to one of the fifty or so
district-wide councils across the country. At the next level up is the
Syrian Revolution General Command, the closest thing to a nationwide
revolutionary institution. It claims to represent 70 percent of the
district-wide councils. The SRGC coordinates protests and occasionally
gives the movement political direction: activists in Taftanaz told me
that they sometimes followed its suggestions concerning their publications.
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