[Marxism] Labour can be Jo Cox?s party or Chris Williamson?s ? it cannot be both

Tim Nelson nelsontim86 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 22 12:50:26 MDT 2018


"Because the Syrian Revolution, as an extension of the Arab Spring, is
the signal event of the 21st Century. It has ripped through what we used to
call the left, made certain Stalinists ally with certain Trotskyists, made
that claque ally with straightforward rightists, and generally upended the
comfort zone of a lot of people."

This is a very important point. I'm reminded of some vaguely remembered
quote that I heard from a socialist in 1914. The gist of it is, after the
SPD voted for war credits, all the certainties of the proceeding decades
became obsolete. It was like waking up to a new world. It may seem
hyperbolic to make the comparison, but I think it's valid. Syria has blown
the Western left apart.

"How has this escaped the attention of the leader of the Labour Party? The
man  John Reimann thinks should be the next Prime Minister of the United
Kingdom? Is it because Corbyn is, as Reimann avers, "confused" about Syria?
This is not even vaguely possible, unless by "confused" you mean prepared
to sell out an actual, real, ongoing revolution because you are a Stalinist
hack who assumes any evil committed by your leaders is 1) OK, or 2)
regrettable but just the price of doing the people's business."
As I stated earlier, I don't think Corbyns position is confused. It's a
standard position for the labour left, with an ideology and tradition
behind it. However, I'd be shocked if a left social democratic leader in
Britain actually took a consistent  internationalist position on a
rebellion in the third world. It's not their tradition. Their tradition is
to support dictatorships in the third world that oppose "imperialism " (I.
E. US imperialism ). They've done this since 1939 and will continue to do
so.

That being said, I still want Corbyn to be PM, as that at least provides an
opportunity for a socialist foreign policy to be argued for. That
opportunity won't arise under Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But from now
on, scathing criticism of his abominable policy on Syria should be central
to any real left wing critique of Corbyn.

We can't be caught saying "well he may be overlooking genocide in the
Middle East, but at least he's promised to nationalise the trains". It's
inane, and makes the British left look pathetic.

Tim  N




On Wed, 22 Aug 2018, 17:04 David McDonald via Marxism, <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> I agree fully with Tim Nelson's comments on John Reimann's contribution to
> this thread.
>
> Let's forget about the jejune discussion of whether Corbyn has slipped from
> Anti-Zionism to antisemitism. This has been posed as the real issue because
> it's something that Stalinists, and apparently John Reimann, are
> comfortable arguing about. The real discussion should be Corbyn's, the
> Labor Party's, and the Stop the War Coalition's views AND actions on Syria.
> (Corbyn was Chairman of the Stop the War Coalition until elected as Labour
> leader.)
>
> Why? Because the Syrian Revolution, as an extension of the Arab Spring, is
> the signal event of the 21st Century. It has ripped through what we used to
> call the left, made certain Stalinists ally with certain Trotskyists, made
> that claque ally with straightforward rightists, and generally upended the
> comfort zone of a lot of people.
>
> The Revolution's enemies have caused the greatest human migration since
> World War II, and this in turn has helped to fuel the nationalist plague
> sweeping right-wing parties into or close to power throughout Europe.
>
> I am close to concluding that Syria has become a totalitarian state in the
> sense that Arendt uses that term: a state based on absolute subjugation of
> the population through terror of the secret police with the goal, not of
> world conquest (as with Hitler and Stalin) but of conquest of his own
> country even at the cost of the total destruction of that same country. As
> the secret police themselves say it in their graffiti, "Assad or we burn
> the country."
>
> This horror has been ignored by most of the world for 7 years. That's way
> longer than the entire arc of Hitler's Final Solution. Not just
> governments, but many so-called leftists have refused to aid or even
> verbally defend the Syrian Revolution. Yassin al-Haj Saleh, as close to
> being the spiritual father of the Syrian Revolution as anyone living, drips
> with contempt when he discusses Western leftists' sellout of Syria's
> revolution.
>
> Foremost among the UK's apologists for Assad and his genocidal regime has
> been the Stop the War Coalition, of which Corbyn, as noted, was Chairman.
> This piece of shit former antiwar organization once refused to allow a
> pro-revolution Syrian speaker AT A DEMONSTRATION ABOUT SYRIA. It has been
> utterly silent about the crimes of the Assadists as their civilian victims
> number half a million dead, 6 million displaced within Syria, and 5 million
> who have fled Syria.
>
> Arendt pointed out that the full flower of totalitarian violence against
> the people is reserved for the time when all opposition has been
> vanquished, all other potential leaderships exterminated, all popular
> institutions no matter how benign smashed. Has this not been announced in
> advance by Assad with his admission that ten of thousands of political
> prisoners are dead, listed by name? With the announcement that there is a
> list of two million more to be dealt with still in the files of the secret
> police? With the announcement that over 100,000 supposedly loyal-to-Assad
> families are suspect?
>
> How has this escaped the attention of the leader of the Labour Party? The
> man  John Reimann thinks should be the next Prime Minister of the United
> Kingdom? Is it because Corbyn is, as Reimann avers, "confused" about Syria?
> This is not even vaguely possible, unless by "confused" you mean prepared
> to sell out an actual, real, ongoing revolution because you are a Stalinist
> hack who assumes any evil committed by your leaders is 1) OK, or 2)
> regrettable but just the price of doing the people's business.
>
> It appears to me that John Reimann has stumbled here bcause he thinks class
> trumps everything and has therefore decided that Corbyn's victory is so
> vital that what anyone can see is a historical betrayal, even himself in
> better days,  becomes mere "confusion" when it appears in someone Reimann
> thinks bears the mantle of labour.
>
> As a seasoned revolutionary, Reimann ought to be familiar with the idea of
> critical support. I know I am, and I think it ought to be applied to Corbyn
> by explaining up and down the length of the Labour Party that he is not
> confused, but consciously selling out the Syrian revolution because he is
> enslaved to Stalinist ideology, and that the consequences of that are and
> will be deadly to the Labour Party. I say this provisionally because I am
> sick and tired of reading ignorant rants from Brits about American
> politics, especially and because I agree the newly won ranks of the Labour
> party deserve the same level of attention that DSAers in the US require,
> which is to find a way to go through the experience with them so they will
> listen to you. I admit to having no idea of how to do that in the UK.
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