[Marxism] Fwd: Minimalism At Home, Maximalism abroad: The Curious Case of Islamophobic Anti-Islamophobia – P U L S E

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 14 12:04:13 MST 2017

Consider the dilemma: how is it that the Left is more or less opposed to 
the bigotry led by the Right against Syrian and Muslim refugees, but 
some sections of the Left are in agreement with the Right that all, or 
most, of the opposition to supposedly anti-Western regimes like Bashar 
Al-Assad’s or Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime is led by proxy groups and/or 
fanatical jihadists? Why is it that it’s ubiquitous to see Leftists warn 
of instability if Assad is deposed, but no warnings are ever pronounced 
of a withdrawal of Israel occupation from the West Bank?

Examples abound. Stephen Kinzer thanks Russia for its bombing campaign, 
Robert Fisk, Vijay Prashad and Ajamu Baraka argue that there are “no 
good guys” in the opposition—despite Assad bearing the overwhelming 
majority of civilian casualties. Tariq Ali has called for a joint 
Russian-US campaign to destroy the opposition and ISIS. Jill Stein has 
even went as far to say that the goal of the US government is to help 
“restore all of Syria to control by the government.” United National 
Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) staged a demonstration where they carried the 
regime’s flag. Veterans For Peace has sent a delegation to meet Assad in 
his palace in Damascus. Stop The War Coalition in the U.K. has went as 
far as to refuse a platform for anti-Assad Syrian and even call on the 
police to arrest them. Examples abound.

A close inspection of the mainstream armed Syrian opposition would 
demonstrate that they are more or less just as fundamentalist as Hamas 
and Hezbollah. Leaving the fact that there are democratic and 
anti-sectarian elements opposed to Assad, it appears that the Syrian 
opposition’s curse is that they aren’t fighting Western imperialism, but 
Russian imperialism. Which at any rate hardly qualifies as imperialism 
at all in certain Left quarters. Of course, it’s hard to find an example 
of a Leftist voicing concern about the populations that are living under 
the boot fundamentalist groups like Hamas or Hezbollah. Let alone those 
groups’ exploitation of workers. But once the fairytale of a fanatical 
Syrian opposition controlled by the West has been established, the 
victims of those groups are recognized because they are “our victims.” 
Their goal is not to challenge those who are committing and justifying 
the largest perpetrators of crimes—of which there are plenty of on both 
Left and Right—but to challenge the “Western” narrative.


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