[Marxism] Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 07:00:28 MDT 2016


Actually, while there is still a lot of nonsense in Draitser's article 
(eg, he includes "Israeli" weapons on the rebel side, when the only 
Israeli weapons are drones Israel sold to its best friend Putin, who 
uses them in Syria to bomb rebels; he claims there is "mountains of 
evidence" that there is no revolution in Syria, providing a link to his 
own article from a year ago that shows nothing even on that subject; and 
I could go on, and on); nevertheless what this article represents is the 
deep split that has taken place in the Assadist camp over the last year, 
and the extent to which that split has now pushed one wing to a somewhat 
critical position.

The split has Draitser in alliance with a guy called Sukant Chandan who 
some might be aware of. Chandan for a long time now has been lashing out 
at his previous Assadits allies, accusing the “anti-imperialist” (ie, 
pro-Assad) movement of allying with fascists and capitulating to racism, 
in particular against refugees (eg 
https://www.facebook.com/sukant.chandan/posts/10153841189078547), and 
Draitser chimes in as a Sukant ally. I also saw Chandan attacking 
Anderson and allies on Anderson’s FB and calling them racists and 
fascists, till Anderson blocked him; also here’s another where he is 
attacking close Anderson ally Jay Tharappel: 
https://www.facebook.com/sukant.chandan/posts/10153852327948547.

Notably, in his article, Draitser goes so far as to include "Syrian 
Partisan Girl" (Mimi al-Laham), correctly, among his list of those 
espousing "white supremacist, fascist ideology" among the Assad support 
base, putting her name alongside David Duke, David Icke, Alexander 
Dugin, Alex Jones etc. "Syrian Girl" is associated with the Syrian 
fascist organisation known as the "Syrian Social Nationalist Party" 
(SSNP), which uses its version of a swastika, influenced by its German 
almost-namesake when founded in the 1930s. She has taken up a rabid 
anti-Arab stance, declaring that the Syrians "were forced to become 
Arabs" by the invading Muslim barbarians in the 7th century, a battle 
she is still fighting by supporting Assad and Putin in the genocide 
against all those low-class barbarian Arab hordes that make up the 
rebellion:
"East Africa and Syria share something in common, we were both invaded 
by the arabs from the gulf and forced to speak arabic" 
https://twitter.com/Partisangirl/status/752239263077445632

Initially, the Chandan-Draitser critique seemed only to be a critique of 
the influence of fascists, racists and white supremacists within the 
pro-Assad movement, rather than a critique of the Assad regime, but 
given the fact of the fascistic, racist and white supremacist politics 
of Assad, the SSNP and Putin, it seems it became hard not to start being 
a bit consistent. Initially their target was Putin: Chandan is a 
dedicated "third worldist", which, despite all its contradictions, meant 
he could not honestly hack being allied to a leader like Putin who 
openly declares his mission to be saving "the White race" from genocide 
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcD__8qynoQ, 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC8BzIEVyA8), let alone the open 
anti-Arab racism of the SSNP. Instead, he was a partisan of the Iranian 
theocratic mass killers, seeing these "revolutionaries" as more 
politically palatable to his third worldism than Putin. Given the huge 
role of tens of thousands of fighters from the global Shiite-sectarian 
jihad mobilised by Iran to back Assad, this did not appear a position 
critical of the regime's "excesses", just one with a different kind of 
Great Leader.

Draitser's piece, however, shows he has no doubt that Putin and Assad 
are committing mass murder (notably he barely even mentions Tehran). "If 
you’re supportive of Assad then it’s a certainty that you’ve chosen to 
ignore or downplay the horrific violence of the bombings, the brutality 
of the torture chambers, and other unspeakable atrocities (I admit that 
I have often strayed too far into the latter)". Wow! That's mea culpa 
for you! Draitser now is "dismayed by the disgusting cooptation of that 
word (anti-imperialism) by fascists, chauvinists, white supremacists, 
and neocolonial degenerates". Wow!

Yet in the end, this is simply the mea culpa of someone who has realised 
he has strayed too far into the territory of fascism and mass-murder 
apologetics, but still has no idea of fundamental ideas of what class 
politics mean, in other words, he has no idea why he strayed that far. 
Anyone who can write an article that compares the Syrian revolutionary 
uprising to the Nicaraguan Contras of the 1980s, is someone totally 
clueless about class, someone for who the basis of adopting a political 
position is pure sound-bite politics. "The rebels have got US arms." 
"The contras got US arms".  No need for any analysis of anything else, 
of the actual social struggles taking place, the class forces involved, 
even on a  ore simple level, of the question of "what kind of arms?" and 
"how many" and "against what kind of arms" (eg, if you send some 
slingshots and water pistols to residents of a house under attack by a 
bunch of guns with machine guns, is that "support"?). Such questions 
cannot be answered in soundbite politics.

It is not even good enough to be called "consistent anti-imperialist 
politics but developing a conscience". Yes, Draitser does appear to be 
developing a conscience. That is progress. But "where do you stand on 
direct US intervention"? or "The direct US war in Syria is coming." 
Where has Draitser been for the last two years as the US has been 
*directly intervening* in Syria, carrying out an air war in Syria? If it 
really were "anti-imperialism" , if it really were the idea that *any 
and every* direct intervention by imperialism is bad, and you have to 
give "critical support" to the side resisting, to the side being bombed, 
no matter how unpalatable, then to be "consistent", Draitser (and all 
the other alleged anti-imperialists) should not only have been 
mobilising against this direct US war in Syria, but should have been 
offering "critical support" to ISIS, while denouncing the Kurdish YPG as 
"US proxies", and denouncing the Assad regime for its welcoming of the 
US intervention, its sharing intelligence with the US, its joint 
bombings with the US of Raqqa etc. But no - it only becomes 
"intervention" if the very same intervening US forces simply turn their 
guns against the Assad regime - far and away the greatest purveyor of 
massive violence in Syria, by a very, very long shot - rather than 
against various groups of Assad's enemies (the US has hit all parts of 
the rebellion as well as hitting mainly ISIS).

So there is zero class politics, and even zero consistent 
"anti-imperialism". Nevertheless, even for someone like Draitser, I 
think it is worth noting that this represents progress.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Louis Proyect via Marxism
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 9:53 PM
To: Michael Karadjis
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence

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On 10/20/16 6:30 AM, Andrew Stewart via Marxism wrote:
>
> http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/20/syria-and-the-left-time-to-break-the-silence/
>

Draitser, of course, is full of crap but it is important to note that
this at least is a recognition that the Baathist amen corner is finally
having to cope with the fact that there are people on the left who
oppose all the lies and half-truths they have been writing in
CounterPunch et al. I am or may not answer his article but at least
wanted to get this out.
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