[Marxism] regarding Russian air strikes

Ron Jacobs ronj1955 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 1 13:23:15 MDT 2015

i am not arguing about the intentions of the rebels Gopal wrote about in
his book. (his book on Afghanistan is good--i reviewed it also).  We should
be talking about the current situation, which is partially the result of
the US decision to not support the progressive rebels of Gopal's article,
but the socially reactionary ones.

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 Calero.
> 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
> the takeaway:
> 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 was unclear.
> 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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