[Marxism] Sam Charles Hamad - Intervention in Syria wouldn't start World War III

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Mon Oct 24 15:30:15 MDT 2016

At 12:58 24-10-16 -0400, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
>> https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2016/10/24/intervention-in-syria-wouldnt-start-world-war-iii
>Sam Charles Hamad is cut from the same cloth as Clay Claiborne

Well on the face of it I would have more or less considered that a 
complement, given that Clay was a valuable contributor to this list for 5 
years (and still would be except for the rash action by one individual who 
possesses undue power in that regard). And during that time the views he 
expressed were not only within the political range implied by membership in 
this list, but mainly reflected the predominant political slant of the 
list's most vocal contributors. That is UNTIL a difference emerged regarding 
election tactics.......

> The idea 
>that you would urge a vote for Hillary Clinton because she is for a NFZ 

Is absolutely NOT what Clay had argued nor can I find any such wording in 
Hamad's piece. There are a plethora of dangers entailed by the electoral 
victory of a (near?) fascist such as Trump in the US, Le Pen in France, 
Wilders in the Netherlands, AfD in Germany, or (but too late) Duterte in the 
Philippines, and many of us see those dangers (victory to Assad being but 
one) as overriding the general wisdom against appearing to go soft on a 
bourgeois candidate for office. That may well be Hamad's view, but wasn't 
even what he said anywhere in this piece.

His piece was about Jill Stein's position on Syria and Russia which I'm 
afraid happens to coincide with the fascist right, which is why the infamous 
Alex Jones was happy to feature her interview on Infowars.com (which I just 
went ahead and watched, lest I speak in error). By focusing on Jill Stein, 
Hamad was clearly trying to reach the (unfortunately large) portion of the 
left who have bought into right-wing arguments in favor of Assad and the 
Russian military intervention in Syria. And I'm not even talking about the 
(erroneous) "left"-wing justifications such as the supposed "axis of 
resistance" against Israel or the "imperialist plan for regime-change to 
obtain oil/pipeline/whatever." Infowars played her 4 minute interview, 
apparently uncut, with the interviewer gleefully concluding that "Even Jill 
Stein trusts Trump more than Clinton."


Now in his piece Hamad takes on the red herring about the danger of 
inadvertantly starting World War III which any sane person would see as a 
worse outcome than, say, the continued slaughter in Aleppo. And indeed 
during the cold war, the danger of nuclear annihilation was one horrific 
outcome of increasing militarism and became identified with antiwar 
discourse. But now? And between major capitalist powers just over Syria?? 
No, it has now become a form of fear-mongering that I'm afraid neither 
Donald Trump nor Jill Stein avoids stooping to. And it pisses me off in 
particular, because I get regular emails from the (essentially right-wing) 
"Information Clearing House," in which at least every month there is an 
alarming headline about an imminent war between Russia and the West. Month 
after month, year after year I keep reading that shit, and now to hear it 
coming from a leftist (and knowing that, as usual, it's purpose is to trash 
any defense of the Syrian revolution) I find intolerable. And Hamad was 
right to take it on, and try to lead leftists away from such thinking.

His article wasn't about the elections or which candidate to vote for. It 
was about a position which happens to be shared by Trump and Stein, the 
latter being the connection to his target audience, leftists. I hadn't 
considered the exact positions of Jill Stein very important, since she has 
no chance of winning the election, and I didn't think she'd ever get enough 
votes to even make a difference in the outcome (though I'm not sure now). 
Not following her campaign, I was rather consoled when Louis once replied to 
Clay that:

At 18:21 28-09-16 -0400, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
>On 9/28/16 5:40 PM, Clay Claiborne wrote:
>> Do they oppose Putin on anything?
>I'm sticking with Jill Stein who is only guilty of 1 bad position out of 

And put that way, I could see supporting such a campaign were there not an 
imperative to defeat the fascist. After all, 99% of the time she's promoting 
socialism and traditional left positions. Or that's what I would have 
gathered from Louis. But then the last few weeks they had her on Democracy 
Now speaking extensively to answer issues raised in the presidential 
debates; there I found a very different proportion of left vs. right wing 
positions. I'd guess that a good 25% of her talking consisted of so-called 
"anti-imperialist" positions coinciding with the right-wing or pro-Russian 
positions especially (but not only) regarding Syria. Not 1%, but enough that 
any leftist without a previous position would, after listening to her, be 
led to decry the "terrorist Jihadists" trying to destroy the legitimate 
government of Syria etc. 

And that the no-fly zone that the Syrians have been calling for (but as 
Louis points out, have essentially given up on) is just an imperialist plot 
for regime-change. Hillary Clinton's positions are beside the point in this 
regard, and so is the election. Jill Stein is simply miseducational to the 
leftists she's trying to reach, and this in regards to an important world 
issue facing leftists (but of rather little importance in the US election 
race). It's hard for me to see how I could excuse that even if the other 75% 
of the time she was talking up socialist revolution (which is hardly the case).

So I'd conclude that Hamad was quite properly calling on the wider left to 
reject one of these right wing arguments, even when it appears to come from 
the left. I'm glad it was posted, and sorry that the main point of his piece 
was overshadowed by quibbling over election tactics.

- Jeff

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