Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 12, 2015

Replace facile criticism with criticism of the facile: Guest Post from John Game on Syriza

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 3:21 pm

Originally posted on AnotherCountry:

The difficulty with many (not all) of the left critiques of Syriza is not their program but the lack of evidence that their argument has a social base. This doesn’t mean that I have confidence in the Syriza leadership in all they do but it does mean that I think the difficulty is not so much that they’re holding back an insurgent consciousness so much as they reflect it (and those who like to denounce reformism ought to know that this is always an aspect of how it works). And I think that poses all sorts of difficulties.
Too many of the denunciations are formalist in the sense that they imagine just being ‘logical’ and having the right ‘program’ is all. If you cannot connect your program to an actual historical movement its not really worth the paper its written on.

The whole dilemma as well as miracle of Syriza…

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June 5, 2015

Who are the real Godfathers of ISIS?

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 12:22 pm

Originally posted on Magpie68:

A feeding frenzy has broken out among conspiracy theorists and pro-Assad circles in the wake of the release of a document from the US Defense Intelligence Agency dated August 2012. This was obtained by conservative lobby group, Judicial Watch, seeking ammunition for their campaign against Hilary Clinton in connection with the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. They have made little use of it but others have pounced on it with great enthusiasm.
The Washington Blog ran with the headline “Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS” while regular Stop the War (UK) contributor Matt Carr flourished the banner “How the US-helped ISIS Carve its caliphate in Blood across Iraq and Syria” and Guardian journalist Seumas Milne joined in with “Now the Truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” Most recently the normally level-headed US left journal Jacobin

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March 14, 2015

The Mother of All Middle East Conspiracy Theories

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 12:27 am

The Mother of All Middle East Conspiracy Theories.

January 29, 2015

UKRAINE: THE OLIGARCHIC REBELLION IN THE DONBAS

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 2:04 pm

Originally posted on Ukraine solidarity campaign солідарність України кампанія:

Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski

Zbigniew Kowalewski a prominent Polish socialist and former leader of Solidarnosc in Lodz in 1980-81, he has written widely on Ukrainian history and society.  Many of his writings on Ukraine can found online at: Zbigniew Kowalewski. This article was first published in Polish in Le Monde Diplomatique – Edycja polska, No. 12 (106), December 2014, and in English in International Viewpoint, January 27, 2015.

Donetsk People's Republic The flag of the ‘Donetsk Peoples Republic’ emblazoned with Tsarist eagle of former Russian Empire.

Seventy-five people were killed on the Maidan in Kiev on February 20, 2014. The following day, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski insists: “If you do not sign the agreement, you will have a state of war and the army in the streets. You will all be dead.” The foreign ministers of France and Germany echo his words. The trio ofUkrainian opposition leaders eventually fold under the pressure…

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December 29, 2014

2014 in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 8:17 pm

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 490,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 21 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 13, 2014

As Assad and US play two-step bombing Raqqa, Assad demands US bomb more efficiently

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 12:27 pm

Originally posted on Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis:

In a recent interview in Paris-Match, Bashar al-Assad was asked whether coalition airstrikes were helping him, to which he replied that …

“there haven’t been any tangible results in the two months of strikes led by the coalition. It isn’t true that the strikes are helpful. They would of course have helped had they been serious and efficient.”

(http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/12/03/assad_airstrikes_aren_t_helping_me_hollande_you_re_as_popular_as_isis)

Assad’s call on the US to bomb his country more seriously and efficiently comes from someone who knows how that’s done. The following account of the US-Assadist bomb-Raqqa two-step dance over the last week or so shows who really knows how to kill all those Sunni wretched of the Earth “efficiently”:

– On Sunday 23 November, US warplanes carried out two strikes against an ISIS-occupied building in the city of Raqqa in north-eastern Syria. No civilian casualties were reported.

– On Tuesday 25 November, Assad’s air force carried out ten…

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December 5, 2014

Melodramas for Middlebrows

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 5:51 pm
“The Theory of Everything”, “The Imitation Game”, and “Get on Up”

Melodramas for Middlebrows

by LOUIS PROYECT

If we lived in a socialist country and I had the good fortune to be named Minister of Culture with North Korean type powers to dictate what gets made, the first thing I would do is consign the biopic genre to the ashbin of history. That is my reaction to “The Theory of Everything”, “The Imitation Game”, and “Get on Up”, three DVD’s that were part of the 99 films I received from publicists in advance of the 2014 New York Film Critics Online awards meeting on Sunday. The first two are worshipful treatments of Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing and the third is just the opposite, a look down one’s nose at James Brown.

Such films are made to order for the middlebrow tastes of most critics who regard them as “serious” works, as if they could ever match up to the written biography they are often based on. For the most part, they are the equivalent of the comic book versions of the classics I used to read in sixth grade until I was able to finally work my way through “Ivanhoe” or “Last of the Mohicans”.

It is not too hard to figure out the basic flaw of the biopic. Unless you have never heard of James Brown, you have a pretty good idea of how the movie starts, begins and ends. Of course, Alan Turing is a much more obscure figure but you can bet that the audience for “The Imitation Game” will not be made up of 15-year-olds who chose it over the latest Hobbit movie after finally making up their minds: “Hmmm. What’s more fun? Colossal battles between elves and fire-breathing dragons or eccentric homosexuals trying to crack Nazi cryptography?”

read full article

November 27, 2014

Russian Imperialism Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 2:28 pm

Originally posted on Ukraine solidarity campaign солідарність України кампанія:

by Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski

Sergey Nikolsky, a Russian philosopher of culture, says that perhaps the most important idea for Russians “from the fall of Byzantium until today is the idea of empire and the fact that they are an imperial nation. We have always known that we live in a country whose history is an unbroken chain of territorial expansion, conquest, annexation, of their defence, of temporary losses and new conquests. The idea of empire was one of the most precious in our ideological baggage and it is this that we proclaim to other nations. It is through it that we surprise, delight or drive mad the rest of the world.”

The first and most important characteristic of the Russian empire, says Nikolski, has always been “the maximization of territorial expansion for the realization of economic and political interests, as one of the most important principles of state policy” [1

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November 1, 2014

Critique of Patrick Cockburn’s ‘Whose Side is Turkey on?’

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 1:09 am

Originally posted on Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis:

Critique of Patrick Cockburn’s ‘Whose Side is Turkey on?’

By Michael Karadjis

Introduction

The November 6 London Review of Books has published Patrick Cockburn’s latest article (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on), ‘Whose Side is Turkey On?’. Now, as I support the struggle of the Syrian Kurds, led by the PYD and its armed militia, the YPG, against ISIS’ genocidal siege, I have no interest in defending Turkey’s shabby role in this, even if I think both the US and Turkey, in their current difference on this issue are both being totally cynical in their different ways. So this critique will not deal with these issues.

Unfortunately, the angle from which Cockburn criticises Turkey is full of the same contradictions that significant parts of the left espouse, basked in an overall hostility to the Syrian revolution. Valid criticism of Turkey’s sabotage of the defence of Kobani – connected to Turkey’s own oppression of…

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September 30, 2014

“Goodbye, Dear Mum”: Iran Executes Rayhaneh Jabbari

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 3:16 pm

Originally posted on JONATHAN TURLEY:

eg2vZynW_400x400Over international protests, Iran has reportedly executed Rayhaneh Jabbari, 26. Jabbari claimed that a former Iranian Intelligence Ministry employee tried to rape her and that she stabbed in him the shoulder to escape. Despite the fact that a drink given to her was found to contain a date rape drug, the Iranian officials still wanted her hanged and they have now carried out their intent. As she was being led away to be hanged, a guard showed mercy and gave her his phone to type a final message to her mother. Her reported message below is poignant and tragic as a final goodbye to her mother.

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