[Marxism] Time to recall that the enemy is at home

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 15 08:02:37 MDT 2015

Undoubtedly, those of us in the US who call ourselves Marxists and
revolutionaries see the US ruling class as the main enemy – but our
internationalism should preclude us from seeing them as the only enemy.
Many who disagree with this found themselves on the side of Stalinism when
the people of East Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia rebelled in
the 1950s and ‘60s. The notion of only criticizing the US rulers seems to
be a perverse variation on “socialism in one country” – “anti-imperialism
in one country.”

For those who defend Syria's Assad, the revolt of masses of Syrian people
against privatization/enrichment of Assad's family members and cronies as
well as neoliberal austerity, elimination of state subsidies of dietary
staples, and his ever-present secret police is not a factor of any
importance. All that matters is what outside geopolitical players' goals

This point of view delegitimizes revolution itself. One can extend it
backwards to "prove" that the American rebels of 1776 - many of whom were
anything but progressives, such as slave owners - were just serving the
interests of Britain's main imperial rival - the French. Similarly, the
Russian Revolution of October 1917 was not a mass uprising against an
imperialist slaughter, poverty, and oppression, but a plot by German
imperialism and their agents - the Bolsheviks - to pull Russia out of the
war and thus enable Germany to escape fighting a two-front war. The
right-wingers insisted decades ago that the Vietnamese were not really
interested in national reunification and land reform, but were the
proxies/stooges of the "international communist conspiracy." This is a
police mentality view of revolution.

Mark Richey writes - “Given the massive US and proxy interventions,
anything from the original 'spontaneous' uprising in March 2011 has been
drowned, literally, in TOW missiles and foreign mercenaries with unlimited
cash..what Syrians are involved are members of Assad's government that
thought he'd quickly go the way of Khadafy, and quickly signed up with what
they thought would soon be the winning side.” Notice the word spontaneous
in quotes, implying that what is seen as a popular revolt that Marxists
would welcome was nothing more than Syrian dupes following US orders, and
slandering Syrian military people who refused to shoot down their own
people as nothing more than slimy opportunists going along with the
prevailing political winds.

As soon as the (at first peaceful) protests against Assad started, he
violently attacked them, and a section of his military - refusing to shoot
their own people - deserted. He amnestied over 1000 extremist jihadists and
his military concentrated on fighting the rebels who were either secular or
allied with them. These are the same people that Russia is bombing today,
hoping to eliminate them as a factor and then present the world with
"either Assad or ISIS". The situation is more complex than this false
black/white picture.

The US position for the past several years has been Assadism without Assad.
That is why they have consistently refused weaponry to the rebels to shoot
down Assad's jets as they drop cluster bombs. That is why the rebels can't
take out helicopters dropping barrel bombs. US inaction on this score,
their refusal to back up words with deeds, is what counts, not neocon
rhetoric. Assad supported the illegal 2003 US destruction of Iraq and he
willingly served as a torturer for victims of CIA kidnappings. But as long
as the superficial formula of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” prevails
among the left, none of that seems to matter. As an internationalist, I
oppose those whose slogan has been, “Assad or we burn the country!”

On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 9:48 AM, Andrew Pollack via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Once again, if comrades are not reading syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com
> they have no business venturing opinions on the state of the non-Assad,
> non-Daesh, non-JAN grassroots in Syria.
> Peaceful demonstrations against all reactionaries - including most recently
> against Russian aggression - are STILL happening, and never stopped, no
> matter how small in scale.
> And these are the people who will be massacred should the anticipated
> Russia/Iran/Hezbollah/regime attack on Aleppo occur.
> THEY NEED OUR SOLIDARITY, the first step in which is acknowledging their
> existence and telling the world about them.
> As a first step, everyone on this list who is on Facebook or twitter should
> post links to Kafranbel banners from this month.
> On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 1:02 AM, Lüko Willms <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
> wrote:
> > ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
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> > *****************************************************************
> >
> > Since it has become a sport on this mailing list to pinpoint people and
> > powers which "join the axis of resistance", i.e. do not submit themselves
> > to the imperialist politics of the world dictatorship exercised from
> > Washington, it has to be recalled that the revolutionary workers movement
> > has always held hight the simple truth, that our enemy is at home, is
> "our"
> > own government and its policies.
> >
> > Look up Karl Liebknecht on this topic,
> > >
> >
> https://www.marxists.org/archive/liebknecht-k/works/1915/05/main-enemy-home.htm
> >
> > >  The main enemy of every people is in their own country!
> > >
> > > The main enemy of the German people is in Germany: German
> > > imperialism, the German war party, German secret diplomacy. This
> > > enemy at home must be fought by the German people in a political
> > > struggle, cooperating with the proletariat of other countries whose
> > > struggle is against their own imperialists.
> > >
> > > We think as one with the German people – we have nothing in common
> > > with the German Tirpitzes and Falkenhayns, with the German
> > > government of political oppression and social enslavement. Nothing
> > > for them, everything for the German people. Everything for the
> > > international proletariat, for the sake of the German proletariat and
> > downtrodden humanity.
> > >
> > > The enemies of the working class are counting on the forgetfulness
> > > of the masses – provide that that be a grave miscalculation. They
> > > are betting on the forbearance of the masses – but we raise the
> vehement
> > cry:
> > >
> > > How long should the gamblers of imperialism abuse the patience of
> > > the people? Enough and more than enough slaughter! Down with the war
> > instigators here and abroad!
> >
> >
> > and consider also Lenin's 1916 short article on "German and non-German
> > chauvinism",
> > > https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/may/31.htm
> > of which I allow myself to quote some paragraphs
> >
> > >  One of the characteristics of German chauvinism is that
> > > “socialists” -- socialists in quotation marks -- talk about the
> > > independence of nations, except those which are oppressed by their
> > > own nation. It does not make much difference whether so directly, or
> > > whether they defend, justify and shield those who say it.
> > >
> > > The German chauvinists (who include Parvus, the publisher of a
> > > little magazine, called Die Glocke, among whose contributors are
> > > Lensch, Haenisch, Grunwald all the rest of the crew of “socialist”
> > > lackeys of German imperialist bourgeoisie) speak at great length and
> > > very eagerly, for example, about the independence for the peoples
> > > oppressed by Britain. It is not only the social-chauvinists of
> > > Germany, i.e., socialists in words, chauvinists in deeds, but the
> > > whole bourgeoisie press of Germany that is trumpeting with all its
> > > might about the shameful, brutal and reactionary, etc., fashion in
> > > which Britain rules her colonies. The German papers write about the
> > > liberation movement in India with great gusto, malicious glee, delight
> > and rapture.
> > >
> > > It is easy to see why the German Bourgeoisie is full of malicious
> > > joy: it hope to improve its military position by fanning the
> > > discontent in the anti-British movement India. These hopes are
> > > silly, of course, because it is simply impossible seriously to
> > > entertaining the influencing the life of a multi-million people, and
> > > a very peculiar people at that, from outside, from afar in a foreign
> > > language, particular when the influence is not systematic, but
> > > casual, only for the duration of the war. Rather than the desire to
> > > influence India the efforts of the German imperialist bourgeoisie
> > > are more of an attempt at self-consolation, more of a desire to fool
> > > the German people and to divert their attention from home to foreign
> > parts.
> > >
> > > But this general, theoretical question automatically arises: What
> > > is at the root of the falsehood of such arguments; how can the
> > > hypocrisy of the German imperialists be exposed without unerring
> > > certainty? The correct theoretical answer pointing to the root of
> > > falsehood always serves as a means of exposing the hypocrites who,
> > > for reasons all too obvious, are inclined to cover up their
> > > falsehood, to obscure it, to clothe it in flowery phrases, all sorts
> > > of phrases, phrases about everything in the world, even about
> > > internationalism. Even the Lensches, Südekums and Scheidmanns, all
> > > these agents of the German bourgeoisie, who, unfortunately, belong
> > > to the so-called “Social-Democratic” Party of Germany, insist that
> > > they are internationalists. Men must not be judged by their words,
> > > however, but by their deeds. This is a home truth. Will anyone in
> > > Russia judge Potresov, Levitsky, Bulkin and Co. by their words? Of
> > course, not.
> > >
> > > The falsehood of the German chauvinists has its roots in their
> > > shouting their sympathy for the independence of the peoples
> > > oppressed by Britain, their enemy in the war, and modestly,
> > > sometimes much too modestly, keeping silent about the independence
> > > of the peoples oppressed by their own nation.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Lüko Willms
> > Frankfurt/Main, Germany
> > http://www.mlwerke.de
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