[Marxism] Syria and neo-McCarthyism | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 20 11:04:10 MDT 2018

A group of academics in England dedicated to the Herculean task of 
clearing Bashar al-Assad’s name has been stung by a couple of articles 
in Rupert Murdoch’s London Times. Since the articles are both behind a 
paywall and germane to the analysis I will be putting forward in this 
article, I have used my retiree benefits from Columbia University to 
penetrate the paywall and make them available to the general public.

University of Edinburgh professor Tim Hayward launched the Working Group 
on Syria, Propaganda and Media to “to facilitate research and debate 
with respect to the 2011-present war in Syria and the role of both media 
and propaganda.” Like many who write about Syria, the focus of the group 
is exclusively geopolitical. The unit of analysis is not social class 
but the state. For them, the narrative is all about how the CIA, 
reactionary Middle Eastern states, Israel et al decided to destabilize 
Syria using proxy forces in 2011 as part of a general strategy against 
the “axis of resistance”. Interest in questions such as the role of 
neoliberalism, elite kleptocracy symbolized by Assad’s cousin Rami 
Makhlouf sheltering billions in Panama banks, the misery of farmers 
during a period of drought and declining state investment in the 
countryside are really beside the point. All you need to know is what 
side Nicholas Kristof or George Soros took. Where they put a plus, it 
was necessary to put a minus and vice versa. While it is certainly 
important not to neglect the geopolitical side of the conflict, if it 
becomes the exclusive focus, there is always the tendency to descend 
into conspiracy theory where history is determined not by class struggle 
but by back-room cabals. When referring to 9/11 Trutherism, a belief 
held by one of Hayward’s board members Mark Crispin Miller, Alexander 
Cockburn identified its origins in a retreat from class analysis:

	These days a dwindling number of leftists learn their political economy 
from Marx via the small, mostly Trotskyist groupuscules. Into the 
theoretical and strategic void has crept a diffuse, peripatetic 
conspiracist view of the world that tends to locate ruling class devilry 
not in the crises of capital accumulation, or the falling rate of 
profit, or inter-imperial competition, but in locale (the Bohemian 
Grove, Bilderberg, Ditchley, Davos) or supposedly “rogue” agencies, with 
the CIA still at the head of the list.

In my view, a lot more thought has to be devoted to capital accumulation 
rather than “false flags” to understand both 9/11 and the war in Syria.

full: https://louisproyect.org/2018/04/20/syria-and-neo-mccarthyism/

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