[Marxism] East Ghouta: Should socialists call for US intervention?

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 10:35:44 MDT 2018

"The widespread confusion about the respective motives and affiliations of
the key players in the Syrian conflict, from the Americans to the Russians
to the Turks and the Kurds, is not surprising. Part of the explanation is
an entirely misplaced reflex reaction by sections of the left of defence of
the Russian gangster regime against US imperialism, an indefensible
nostalgic overhang from the Cold War days; but it is also due to the
confused and constantly shifting situation itself.

Just as US imperialism at one time supported Saddam Hussein, using him as a
surrogate in his war with Iran, and later turned against him and waged
full-scale war to destroy his regime; just as it bombed Gaddafi in the
1980s, targeting him personally and branding him the fount of all
subversion, then made him its accomplice in the practice of extraordinary
rendition, and finally intervened militarily to overthrow him; so too US
imperialism has switched eclectically from one zig-zag to another in
relation to the Assad regime. Along with Israel, it opposed Assad as an
ally of Iran and the godfather of Hezbollah; then it gratefully used his
services (along with Gaddafi’s) as a favourite torture rendition agent;
then, as in Libya, it exploited the revolt against him; now it is giving
him tacit support in the current civil war, largely through its support of
the Kurds. And yet in 2012 it was openly preparing to intervene militarily
against Assad, and was prevailed upon to draw back only when the British
parliament voted against collaborating with it. Now, however, while fearing
the enhanced influence of Russia and Iran under Assad’s regime, there is no
doubt that the USA is once again tactically supporting him as the best
defence against revolution, as well as against the Islamic State.

“Regime Change”?
It is a lazy reflex default position on the left to assume that US
imperialism’s prime objective is the removal of Assad, and that all reports
of atrocities in the Syrian civil war can be discounted as black
propaganda, like Saddam’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction”. Perhaps
also some on the left have a vague memory of the sharp turn of Assad senior
in the 1970s to state ownership of the entire economy, and are unaware of
the current regime’s switch to wholesale privatisation. Finally, the
horrific antics of the fascist Islamic State – so much more luridly
publicised than the monstrous, virtually genocidal acts of Assad’s bombing
campaigns – only helped blur scrutiny of the true nature of the Syrian

The question is now raised of whether or not to call for military aid to
the Syrian resistance from capitalist governments. This is especially being
pressed due to the slaughter being carried out by the forces of Assad and
Putin in E. Ghouta.

In one form or another, this is a question that arises repeatedly in all
but those rare and brief periods when the proletariat is conscious enough
and organised enough to intervene directly on the historical stage.

Of course, it is all too easy to issue pious “Marxist” platitudes from afar
while workers are facing extermination. Nevertheless, it does no harm to
start by restating first principles. Imperialism, after all, is the
problem, not the solution. There have been countless cases of military
interventions from outside which may initially have appeared to offer
immediate relief to mass suffering, but which actually solved nothing. It
has been shown again and again that calls for intervention in local or
regional conflicts by world imperialism (whether under the flag of the
United Nations or otherwise) have been misplaced. There are several
parallels within living memory of military interventions from outside which
initially appeared to provide immediate relief to mass suffering, but which
solved nothing and often led to more intractable forms of oppression.

Northern Ireland
When an uprising began on the part of the oppressed Catholic minority in
Northern Ireland in 1969, the Catholic population initially welcomed the
arrival of British troops, expecting them to rescue them and protect them
from Loyalist persecution. It didn’t take long before they were bitterly
resisting what soon turned out to be a hostile occupying army...."

Read full article

*“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone
willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine
sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us
thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” *Sophie Scholl,
executed by the Nazis 2/22/1943. She was 21 years old.
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook

More information about the Marxism mailing list