Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 26, 2013

Miasma on Syria at The North Star

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 4:39 pm

Joseph de Maistre: the namesake of The North Star’s Baathist ideologue


Apparently the knuckleheads at TNS got really upset by this post. I just took a gander to see if there were any comments on Red Maistre’s article and saw this, a first for me on the Internet. I have been banned from commenting on many blogs but have never been from blocked from looking at one!

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I am not sure how many of my readers ever paid much attention to The North Star, a website formerly run by Pham Binh. Since his retirement from political activity two out of the three pieces appearing there have represented a 180-degree turn on Syria–one from supporting the rebels to now supporting the dictatorship. Well, maybe not 180 degrees, but certainly at least 140.

Since Alexa ranks TNS at 1,410,867, I am not sure that it is worth mentioning what appears there one way or the other but I can’t resist commenting on the second part of an interminable pro-Baathist essay (14,192 words!) by one “Red Maistre” (let’s call him RM for short) who describes himself as a “traditionalist Catholic” with Marxist-Leninist leanings. Gosh, that’s something you don’t see every day. Joseph de Maistre, by the way, was an arch-reactionary foe of the French Revolution who believed in the authority of the pope over civil matters. I can easily understand why someone who styles himself as a “red” version of de Maistre would be enamored of the Baathist dictatorship.

At any rate, RM’s article is your run-of-the-mill “colored revolution” analysis that has appeared in one form or another on countless blogs and websites, with Stephen Gowans’s “What’s Left” being a prime example. The interest is never in the social and economic contradictions that led to a mass movement but rather in any connections between imperialism and the mass movement. Once you discover that the State Department or George Soros had a training session for some organizers, that’s the kiss of death. To give credit where credit is due, Global Research stands head and shoulders over the competition. In a breathtaking analysis of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, Michel Chossudovsky found both to be mere puppets of dark forces in Washington:

In Egypt’s “Arab Spring”, the main civil society organizations including  Kifaya (Enough) and The April 6 Youth Movement were not only supported by US based foundations, they also had the endorsement of the US State Department. (For details see Michel Chossudovsky, The Protest Movement in Egypt: “Dictators” do not Dictate, They Obey Orders, Global Research, January 29, 2011)

Several key organizations currently involved in The Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) movement played a significant role in “The Arab Spring”. Of significance, “Anonymous”, the social media “hacktivist” group, was involved in waging cyber-attacks on Egyptian government websites at the height of “The Arab Spring”.

You can see the same looking for spooks under the bed mentality in part 1 of RM’s essay:

Finally, the most damning fact against the LCCs (besides their endorsement of the SNC) is found by following the money trail: the LCCs receive funding from The Office for Syrian Opposition Support (OSOS), a creature of the State Department and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as well as the U.S. founded “Friends of Syria” group. In fact the OSOS seeks to provide training to “activists” in how to be the next “governing class” in post-Assad Syria.

Actually the most revealing facts about the Local Coordinating Councils can be read in Anand Gopal’s Harper’s Magazine article from August 2012.

In the neighboring town of Binnish, I visited the farmers’ council, a body of about a thousand members that set grain prices and adjudicated land disputes. Its leader, an old man I’ll call Abdul Hakim, explained to me that before the revolution, farmers were forced to sell grain to the government at a price that barely covered the cost of production. Following the uprising, the farmers tried to sell directly to the town at almost double the former rates. But locals balked and complained to the citywide council, which then mandated a return to the old prices—which has the farmers disgruntled, but Hakim acknowledged that in this revolution, “we have to give to each as he needs.”

It was a phrase I heard many times, even from landowners and merchants who might otherwise bristle at the revolution’s egalitarian rhetoric—they cannot ignore that many on the front lines come from society’s bottom rungs. At one point in March, the citywide council enforced price controls on rice and heating oil, undoing, locally, the most unpopular economic reforms of the previous decade.

This is the real story of the Syrian revolution, something that can only be gleaned from following a mine-laden trail from Turkey into Syria in the dead of night, not by “following the money trail”.

Since RM is obviously new to radical politics (and innocent as a virgin of Marxism altogether), it is no surprise to see the two epigraphs affixed to part two of his essay for their abstract “anti-imperialist” rhetoric yet with no inkling as to alternative readings. The first is from Mao Zedong: “When imperialism launches a war of aggression against such a country, all its various classes, except for some traitors, can temporarily unite in a national war against imperialism.” This obviously means that it was correct for the Communist Party  in Syria to take its stand with Bashar al-Assad and for people like RM to fall into lock step. The second is from Samir Amin: “States want independence, Nations want liberation, and Peoples want revolution.” Well, gee whiz, who can argue with that?

Let’s take a look at Mao first. If you are one of my regular readers, you are probably aware that I drew attention to Ho Chi Minh’s ties to the OSS during WWII. What we also must recognize is that the same kind of relationship obtained with Mao. This is from “OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency” by Richard Harris Smith:

Soon after Hurley’s arrival in China, the Communists had invited him to visit Yenan. He flew to their stronghold for the first time on November 7 and was given a warm greeting. Hurley’s meetings with Mao led to the Communist acceptance of five principles of “coalition government.” Returning to Chungking in the company of Chou En-lai, the ambassador presented the proposal to the Generalissimo. He rejected it and suggested a counter-offer which was refused by the Communists. The Yenan leaders also declined participation in any further negotiations. While this political jockeying was in progress, the military situation had deteriorated so badly that Army strategists were secretly discussing contingency plans for the evacuation of Chungking. Wedenmyer’s headquarters also framed new proposals for military cooperation with the Communist armies. These were dutifully discussed with central government officials who just as dutifully rejected them out of hand. At the end of November, Colonel Heppner’s headquarters received word that General Donovan would soon visit China. Wedemeyer planned to take the occasion to present the OSS chief with some comprehensive ideas for assistance to Communist guerrilla forces. Two separate proposals emerged. The Army recommended that Five thousand American paratroopers be sent to north China to work with the Communist partisans. OSS set forth its own plan to dispatch Special Operations officers to the north on sabotage missions against the Japanese. In return for the complete cooperation and support of the Communist forces, OSS was prepared to train and outfit 25,000 Yenan guerrillas and to furnish Mao’s Army with an additional 100,000 pistols This proposal was strongly endorsed by Captain Colling at Tenan. He had already requested the immediate dispatch of two plane-loads of medical and demolitions equipment for the Communist troops.

About Samir Amin’s “States want independence, Nations want liberation, and Peoples want revolution”, all we can say is that he would be ill-disposed to hoisting the Baathists on his shoulder as is the case with RM, Michel Chossudovsky, ST McNeil/Musa al-Gharbi and countless other scoundrels in light of this comment made by Amin in an MRZine interview:

The Ba’ath regime, which enjoyed legitimacy for a long time, is no longer what it was at all: it has become more and more autocratic, increasingly a police state, and, at the same time, in substance, it has made a gigantic concession to economic liberalism. I don’t believe that this regime can transform itself into a democratic regime.


  1. “I just took a gander to see if there were any comments on Red Maistre’s article and saw this, a first for me on the Internet. I have been banned from commenting on many blogs but have never been from blocked from looking at one!”

    This is sad, petty and ignorant, as if you can’t just access the site from another IP. Promoting non-sectarian dialogue on the left by banning people. I guess certain behaviours are hard to overcome.

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 26, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

  2. They are pretty thin-skinned. I wonder what pissed them off. Displaying their Alexa rating? What’s the big deal? Oh well, now it goes down by one.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 26, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

  3. Well at least they didn’t drop poisoned gas on you.

    Comment by johng — September 30, 2013 @ 8:14 am

  4. “The interest is never in the social and economic contradictions that led to a mass movement but rather in any connections between imperialism and the mass movement. Once you discover that the State Department or George Soros had a training session for some organizers, that’s the kiss of death.”

    I notice another interest too, sometimes mixed with this, in some quarters: islamophobia. Any connection with political Islam is the kiss of death.

    Comment by D_D — September 30, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

  5. I am more concerned about the turn towards “boring academism” personified in C. Derick Varn.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — October 1, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

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