Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 18, 2013

A tale of two conferences

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 8:41 pm

This is a tale of two conferences, one billed as a teach-in on Syria that occurred yesterday at New York University; the other to be held in London on November 30th on Syria as well. They could not be more unalike even though Trotskyists (loosely defined) were in the driver’s seat of both events. As is the case in my write-ups of many movies that I walk out of in disgust after 15 minutes, I will rake the London event over the coals though I will not be attending it, even if someone paid for the airfare.

The London event is organized by the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) that played a key role in opposing George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. To put it as succinctly as possible, they see Syria as a new Iraq war in the making and their mission revolves around the need to oppose Obama’s war plans—something that amounts to busting down an open door. It does not matter to them that Obama never had any intention of invading Syria and imposing “regime change”; nor does it matter that there has been a revolutionary struggle in Syria. Their analysis is based on the struggle between nations and not between classes. In the case of Syria, people like John Rees and Seamus Milne back the neoliberal family dynasty that is bombing working-class tenements simply because the USA opposes it even if that opposition is only verbal. As long as there is a single op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof taking the Baathists to task or a single speech by Obama filled with crocodile tears about the “Syrian tragedy”, they will remain on Bashar al-Assad’s team.

With almost no interest in what is taking place inside Syria, the STWC conference naturally included only a single Syrian citizen, one Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a diehard supporter of the Baathist dictatorship. When a hue and cry arose over her participation, Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill told the organizers that they were dropping out. To the great pleasure of those who were protesting her presence, she withdrew. But they are still raising hell over the initial invitation. What would compel “peace” activists like John Rees and Lindsay German to extend an invitation to someone whose reputation as a liar and a warmonger is so well known? I invite you to look at Not George Sabra’s post on Mother Agnes that I am sure helped Scahill make up his mind.

Although the conference has not yet been held, I imagine that it might have a session in which this satire might not be far from the truth:

Jonathan Steele: Many thanks to all of you for coming to what I hope will be our most enlightening panel, on what is perhaps the most important and dangerous conflict facing the world today. Of course, we all know the mainstream media has been totally one-sided on the so-called Syrian “uprising,” and what’s needed more than ever is to put this war in its proper context, free from nefarious state-sponsored propaganda.

Mother Agnes-Mariam: You have to understand, all Free Syrian Army fighters are terrorists.

Steele: That’s a great place to start, thank you Mother Agnes. It’s a great irony that, while one of the most perfidious lies of the War on Terror propagated by Orientalist imperialism is that all Muslims carrying guns are “terrorists,” this has in fact turned out to be entirely accurate in Syria.

Tariq Ali: Some things are true even if George Bush believes them.

Steele: Indeed.

Seumas Milne: If I could just jump in here, on that point, what’s been especially depressing for me to watch is the decline of al-Qaeda in Iraq from a resistance force, as I described them in 2011, to a reactionary, counter-revolutionary one in Syria.

Ali: Hamas, too. Don’t forget they’ve become terrorists now as well.

Milne: Right, yes. The very Palestinian cause itself is threatened as never before by imperialism.

Steele: Is anti-Zionism the new Zionism?

Milne: We should have called one of our sessions that. Next year.

Steele: We could invite Galloway.

Milne: Definitely. But back to the point, obviously propaganda-wise what we’ve seen in Syria fits a familiar pattern. Just as the number of Stalin’s victims has long been inflated by capitalist agitprop, so the alleged crimes of President Assad have been hugely exaggerated, if not outright fabricated. And this is something I know Mother Agnes has often spoken very courageously about.

Agnes: Yes. Whether it’s the Houla massacre, or the chemical weapons attack in East Ghouta, there’s never been any evidence of Syrian government responsibility.

Owen Jones: I’ve said that too.

Milne: Me too.

Steele: We’ve all said that. It’s disgraceful how so-called journalists rely on YouTube videos for their reporting nowadays.

But I think more broadly the problem is a fundamental refusal to understand that Assad is not the problem in Syria. As I’ve often written, it’s the rebels themselves who are responsible for the continued violence.

Agnes: Assad is a merciful man. Let me give you a personal example. When I negotiated the handover of hungry civilians from Moadamiyah to government forces last month, not all of them were arrested.

Milne: Remarkable. Even though they were Sunnis.

Agnes: Yes.

Milne: And people have the gall to say Assad’s government is sectarian.

Steele: They use the same smear on Hezbollah, even though Sayyid Nasrallah has made it very clear that his fighters are in Syria to save Sunnis as much as Shiites.

Milne: And what do they get in return? Human hearts eaten out of corpses. I mean we’ve all seen that YouTube video.

Agnes: Can I just say, it’s so nice to be here in Britain. I deeply regret that, during his recent visit to Syria, I wasn’t able to meet with the head of your National Party, Nick Griffin.

Steele: [Coughs] Coffee break! Anyone fancy a coffee break?

A new group called the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Solidarity Network-US that includes the ISO and a number of smaller left groups organized the NYU event. Billed as a teach-in, it was a great success with a hundred people in attendance on a Sunday afternoon. One hopes that other such events can be held at campuses around the country on weekdays, just as was the case during the Vietnam era teach-ins. As Gilbert Achcar stated in his presentation, the objective conditions that gave rise to the Arab Spring have not gone away. One can expect that Egypt, Syria, Libya et al will remain convulsed by class struggle and that imperialism will continue to maintain a presence in the region for the foreseeable future. While the organizers of this event share the British coalition’s opposition to American intervention, they go one step further and seek to support revolutionary forces in MENA even if goes against the prevailing “wisdom” that the Syrian rebels are no different than the Nicaraguan contras or UNITA in Angola. Indeed, it was the main goal of this teach-in to take these lies and wash them down the toilet where they belong.

Since the sessions will eventually make it to Youtube, I will only cover the high points. To start with, it is important to note that 6 out of the 9 featured speakers were Syrian and that of the three who weren’t, one was Lebanese (Achcar), one was Palestinian (Bodour Hassan), and the other was a graduate student whose dissertation is focused on Syrian politics and who reads and writes in Arabic. What a contrast to the London event where a number of people will essentially be giving the same speech (is there any real difference between Milne, Ali, and Steele? I couldn’t tell the difference between their columns.)

The first panel on Roots and Grassroots of the Syrian Uprising brought together four women: Leila Shrooms, Ella Wind (the American grad student), Mohja Kahf, and Razan Ghazzawi.

Leila Shrooms blogs at Tahrir International Collective http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/, that describes itself fighting for “a free and self-governed society based on tolerance, equality and openness, the society in which the social side is placed above the mercantile.” Shrooms focused on the myth of Baathist “socialism”, putting forward hard facts such as the unemployment rate rising from 11 percent under the early period of Baathist rule to the 34 percent that existed in the Spring of 2011 (the rural unemployment rate was 62 percent.) My impression is that the Tahrir International Collective is anarchist. Seeing what I see put forward by someone like John Rees in the name of Marxism, I am almost ready to hoist the Bakunin banner (well, maybe not Bakunin, but Kropotkin for sure.)

Ella Wind talked about the supposed rural/city divide that allows some commentators to describe the revolution as happening outside of Damascus, where she was conducting her research. She explains that it was too dangerous to protest there and that many opposed to the Baathists went back home to the countryside where it was safer to hold demonstrations. Damascus, like many cities in the region including Istanbul, include many people only one generation removed from their rural roots.

Mohja Kahf spoke about the women’s movements against Bashar al-Assad, including the Stop the Killing protests sparked by Rima Dali and the Brides of Freedom marches. She used Youtube clips of these activities to drive home the point that the nonviolent protests were more frightening to the dictator than any jihadist, thus the necessity for al-Assad to provoke an armed resistance as soon as possible. Kahf teaches at Rutgers and blogs at the Fellowship of Reconciliation. I urge you to look at her latest post titled Syria: It’s Still a Revolution, My Friends that is addressed to the kind of people who are organizing the London event:

Try to remember to have some compassion for a Syrian who might be in the vicinity, before you mouth off in the abstract on the issue; we face news every day of our friends and our relatives being killed and imprisoned. Take time to get to know about a few of them, the Syrian rev youth activists who started it all, in hundreds of towns across Syria, before you speak about Syria based on what happened in Iraq or Lebanon or Country X.

Razan Ghazzawi Skyped in from rural Syria, where she lives in a liberated and very traditional village where she is accepted on her own terms as an unveiled and single woman. In 2011 she began blogging in support of the mass movement against the Baathists, for which she was arrested. The charge? Spreading false information and weakening national sentiment. It continues to amaze me how people like John Rees and Tariq Ali can get worked up over what happens to Edward Snowden or a Julian Assange but remain utterly indifferent if not hostile to someone like Ghazzawi. She blogs at http://razanghazzawi.org/. Bookmark it!

The second session was titled Myths and Realities of the Syrian Uprising that featured Sara Ajlyakin, Nader Atassi, and Budour Hassan.

Sara Ajlyakin is a member of the International Workers League in Brazil, a Morenoite group that has a good position on Syria. Unfortunately she spent far too much time in her talk offering a “Bolshevik” attack on the late Hugo Chavez who deserves blame for backing Bashar al-Assad. But her remarks were mostly about “betrayal” of the workers in Venezuela, a topic that really was off-topic. She is also quite strident, an understandable tendency given her training. From what I can gather, the Morenoites have a branch office in NYC that is working with the MENA Solidarity network. I hope that they are behaving themselves.

Nader Atassi is a Facebook friend who I met through Pham Binh. He is now working on the arts page for Jadaliyya and blogs at Darth Nader (http://darthnader.net/). He gave a brilliant presentation on the problems of demonization and oversimplification that pervade the Baathist left. Instead of trying to recapitulate his analysis, I urge you to read his interview with Truthout titled Syrian Anarchist Challenges the Rebel/Regime Binary View of Resistance that once again makes anarchism look much more attractive when compared to the “Marxism” dispensed by John Rees.

Bodour Hassan spoke about the affinities between the Palestinian and Syrian struggle and challenged the opportunism of the Palestinian leaders who are aligned with the Baathists. She blogs in both Arabic and English at http://budourhassan.wordpress.com/ and I urge you to look at her article Portrait of a Revolution: The Journey of Faiek al-Meer that opens with the question:

“Where are the secular rebels?” wonders one apprehensive Western “leftist”, whose main task has become to emulate his Islamophobic counterpart on the right by counting the number of beards he sees in a YouTube video and the “Allahu Akbars” the fighters and demonstrators shout out.

The Faiek al-Meer in her title is a revolutionary whose career should give you some idea of the sort of people who are now risking their lives to oppose Bashar al-Assad, the bloodsoaked dictator beloved by Vogue Magazine and invited to meet Queen Elizabeth. What a contrast:

Al-Meer’s first arrest came in April 1979 when he was detained for a month by the military intelligence for distributing pamphlets. That brief stint in jail would prove to be only but a first step in a journey crammed with persecution and arrests. In March of 1983, al-Meer was fired from his job at the Euphrates Dam at the request of the political security branch due to his political activism. In 1987, he was indicted for participating in a banned party. The indictment forced him into hiding when his daughter Farah was only two months old. Al-Meer was eventually arrested in 1989 and was sentenced to ten years in jail for the crime of being a communist striving for democracy. He could not see his daughter until 1992 in Saidnaya prison; those rocky five years changed his complexion so much that Farah failed to recognise that he was her father.

How tragic that a John Rees or a Tariq Ali should be part of a conference designed implicitly to make the repression of people like al-Meer more effective.

The final session was titled Syria in the Context of the Arab Uprisings that featured Yasser Munif and Gilbert Achcar.

Yasser Munif teaches at Emerson College and was the butt of an Angry Arab spitball titled “leftists for Qatar and Saudi Arabia”. When Angry learned the identify of the “leftist” he slandered, he issued an apology. Maybe Angry would not get himself in trouble if he stopped writing bullshit about Syria. His talk was focused on the real revolution taking place in Syria that is invisible to much of the left and that this teach-in was designed to correct. Instead of recapitulating his remarks, I will direct you to the interview he did recently. One of the important points he makes is that the revolutionaries are fighting against two different counter-revolutions, one from the state and the other from the jihadists. When enemies of the Syrian revolution conflate the FSA with al-Qaeda, they do so in complete defiance of this reality:

The revolutionaries are actually fighting on two fronts. On the one hand there is the regime, on the other hand there is the Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda-created groups, the jihadists. And the jihadists are actually arresting, torturing, killing many activists — people who have been resisting since day one. Most of the Al-Qaeda-created groups are not really fighting the regime. They are staying in those northern parts. They are letting the Free Syrian Army and other factions to fight the regime and they come behind them and take over whatever liberated cities or villages there are. So they’re very vicious. As I said, they’re arresting activists. Anyone who criticizes them is arrested, tortured, sometimes killed. Right now they have more than 1,500 activists in their prisons.

I also strongly urge you to read Munif’s report on Manjib, a liberated city that he visited recently that encapsulates the challenges and the hopes of the new Syria.

Manbij is a poor and rural town of some 200,000 people in north eastern Syria. The city is half an hour’s drive from the border with Turkey and the vital Tishrin Dam. It sits in the agricultural hinterland of Aleppo with one of the largest mills in the region, grinding some 500 tonnes of flour a day. Control over Manbij is a strategic prize for the Syrian revolution.

The town was one of the first to free itself from the control of Bashar Assad’s regime. Its poverty, and economic marginalisation, became an advantage when the peaceful revolution turned into an armed uprising. Unlike other cities, the regime did not surround Manbij with military bases.

The story of the Syrian Revolution is written into the town’s tumultuous events that began before the outbreak of the Arab Spring. It is a story about the struggle to drive out Assad’s forces, to put in place effective popular control, and what has become a new struggle between the revolutionary forces and Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist organisations.

Finally, there is Gilbert Achcar who I had the very great pleasure to meet for the first time and to chat with. He made the case that the Syrian revolution was for real and that activists have to be prepared for a long struggle just like people on the ground in the Middle East and North Africa. That is why the formation of the MENA network is so auspicious.

Gilbert is speaking again tonight at 31 Washington Place, room 405 from 7 to 9pm. I plan to be there and suggest you come by as well.

52 Comments »

  1. Well said Louis.

    By the way Gilbert will be speaking at Marxism 2014 in Melbourne, organised by Socialist Alternative in Australia.

    Comment by John Passant — November 18, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

  2. “What would compel “peace” activists like John Rees and Lindsay German to extend an invitation to someone whose reputation as a liar and a warmonger is so well known?”

    This is quite a defamatory comment, can you provide details please? And we should look at this in context, the rebels you support are busy beheading the opposition and anyone who falls outside the true faith, maybe Mother Agnes knows more about that than you, Owen Jones and Achcar? Will the New York conference be an uncritical love in for the Isamists?

    By the way, for the same reason that I fully support Hamas I offer critical support to the rebels (non Western aligned ones anyway) overthrowing Assad. But I am not deluding myself as to the nature of the non Western aligned rebels. They are beastly and disgusting. But they promise light at the end of a very dark tunnel, whereas Assad is extending the tunnel.

    The Western aligned rebels think they are born to rule, i would rather eat my own shit than give them support.

    Comment by The Man with No Name — November 18, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

  3. the rebels you support are busy beheading the opposition and anyone who falls outside the true faith

    How do these Baathist tools learn to evade the facts when they are staring them in the face, including this article that cites one of the speakers?

    The revolutionaries are actually fighting on two fronts. On the one hand there is the regime, on the other hand there is the Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda-created groups, the jihadists. And the jihadists are actually arresting, torturing, killing many activists — people who have been resisting since day one. Most of the Al-Qaeda-created groups are not really fighting the regime. They are staying in those northern parts. They are letting the Free Syrian Army and other factions to fight the regime and they come behind them and take over whatever liberated cities or villages there are. So they’re very vicious. As I said, they’re arresting activists. Anyone who criticizes them is arrested, tortured, sometimes killed. Right now they have more than 1,500 activists in their prisons.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 18, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  4. No, you have actually jumped ship in light of an unpalatable truth about the rebels and you are now inventing the narrative that your good rebels are now fighting both unpalatable elements.

    Basically, you don’t support the Syrian rebels but the ready made, born to rule, Western puppets. This way you can sleep at night, in your comfortable Western bed, decent Western values intact.

    In the final analysis I SUPPORT the rebels against Assad, despite their unpalatable nature.

    You are the tool, the tool of Western imperialism.

    Comment by The Man with No Name — November 18, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

  5. Man with no name, you should try to avoid drinking muscatel and smoking weed before posting here. I can’ t understand a thing you are saying.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 18, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

  6. I will make it simple for you:

    I support the rebels and you don’t.

    Comment by The Man with No Name — November 18, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

  7. If by rebels you mean the jihadists, then so does Bashar al-Assad:

    Free Radical
    Bashar al-Assad appears to have let one of the world’s most prominent jihadist ideologues out of jail. He’s playing with fire.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/03/free_radical

    Comment by louisproyect — November 18, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

  8. Louis… Mother Agnes is coming back to the states again (see the calendar) we have to get back to cracking on the protesting of it,

    Comment by editor — November 18, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

  9. Louis, thanks for this. I hope to find the time to follow up the links here. Cedric

    Comment by Cedric Beidatsch — November 19, 2013 @ 5:40 am

  10. Milne doesn’t support Assad, and hasn’t written a single word to the effect that he does, as far as I know. Proyect is either mistaken or smearing him using a kind of Bushian ‘with us, or with the terrorists’ logic. He should produce the evidence demonstrating Milne’s support for the Assad regime, or retract and apologise.

    Comment by Bart — November 19, 2013 @ 11:37 am

  11. This revolution has gone astray very early on.Could never have been peaceful in certain parts of Syria when 40% of the dead were Syrian security personnel by May 2011.Hijacked by outside countries like KSA and Qatar for own geopolitical aims.George Bush supported internal destabilisation as early as 2005.Now the revolution is dead in the water as it was not properly looked after by the activists.Supporting militarisation of the conflict was the biggest mistake these activists committed.Opened the door for all sorts of counter-revolutionaries to prevent a Syria that would have had all if not most of the features of democracy.Unfortuntately this also entails giving people that you disagree with a platform to speak including supporters of Bashar Al Asad.

    Comment by Hanief Haider — November 19, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  12. Excelllent robust post as always Louis. Thanks for the report of the New York conference. Looking forward to the You Tube videos – will you post a link?

    One of the side effects of the StW/Agnes Mariam affair is that there is a massive “cyber-squat” on StW’s Facebook page. It has been taken over by a ferocious debate between pro- and anti-Asad advocates (and a few confused “free speech” pleaders), which shows no sign of abating. Its like the lancing of a great boil that has been festering on the British left for oo long (excuse my metaphor). Its not always the highest level of debate but worth sampling just to get the feel of it. If only we could tap this energy for some practical solidarity work. https://www.facebook.com/events/227171110774591/242821582542877/
    I’ll try to post a link to this report – but it will probably get lost in the turmoil.

    Comment by Brian S. — November 19, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  13. Louis.

    Assad supports rebels does he. See how you distort things to support your pro puppetry.

    The reason I come to the conclusion that you are a supporter of puppets and not rebels can be seen by events in Libya. Let us try and make this as simple as possible.

    A rebellion, from the outer regions, develops against Gadaffi.
    The US and allies see a chance to topple an historic nuisance.
    The US provide air support, mass bombings of Triploi (30,000+ dead).
    Gadaffi is toppled and puppets are in place.
    Proyect supports this process, from rebellion to puppets.
    Rebellion from outer region of Libya develops against puppets, as puppets are no different from Gadaffi. And are even worse.
    Puppets brutally put down rebellion.
    Proyect is silent or throws in odd article telling us how great puppets are.
    Proyect supports puppets and is against rebels. Was always against the rebellion.
    The above applies to Syria.

    Comment by The Man with No Name — November 19, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

  14. #15: Assad supports rebels does he. See how you distort things to support your pro puppetry.

    —-

    Maybe you have a better explanation why Assad released one of the highest-ranking al-Qaeda operatives in the world. Perhaps the guy caught Assad in an uncompromising position with a hamster?

    Comment by louisproyect — November 19, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

  15. “Maybe you have a better explanation why Assad released one of the highest-ranking al-Qaeda operatives in the world.”

    Maybe it was a negotiation gesture? The British released IRA prisoners, Israel release Palestinian prisoners from time to time. It doesn’t mean what you think it does. Your claim is ridiculous. It shows the desperate levels your pro puppetry descends to.

    Comment by The Man with No Name — November 19, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  16. Ironically, Assad is no stranger to cooperation with radical Islamists, and many jihadists who were held at Sednaya were actually encouraged by the Syrian regime to undertake campaigns for Islam in the past. In 2003, Syrian intelligence agents lured young men into neighboring Iraq to make like difficult for the Americans there. That is, until Washington threatened to bomb Damascus and topple the regime.

    Several sources, among them a Syrian human rights advocate who gave details to US officials — the details of which were published by WikiLeaks — have suggested that Damascus released Sednaya prisoners so that they could undergo training in camps before being sent to Iraq for what the diplomatic cable called a “proxy war.” But upon returning to Syria, these men landed backed in prison, where they felt they had been betrayed by Assad.

    Around the beginning of the Syrian uprising, in March 2011, Assad once again released jihadists from the country’s prisons. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of Syrian students, liberal activists and human rights advocates began being arrested. Their fates were recently documented by Human Rights Watch, which alleges that many have been detained arbitrarily, tortured and subjected to unfair trials.

    Already at the beginning of the uprising, Assad vilified his opponents as members of al-Qaida, which wasn’t true at the time. Some critics of the regime now claim that by releasing the jihadists from prison, Assad’s intention was to quickly radicalize the opposition, discrediting it in the process. If that was his aim, it has certainly been a success.

    full: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/former-prisoners-fight-in-syrian-insurgency-a-927158.html

    Comment by louisproyect — November 19, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

  17. I have to compliment you on this report Louis. You know iam not a fan of yours but on Syria you are 100% right.

    Comment by Les — November 20, 2013 @ 2:23 am

  18. The Syrian rebellion is being wiped out as we speak, according to all reliable sources I can find. At most it will remain on in some corner of the country smoldering like the Tamil Tigers. Any hope to overthrow the ruling regime seems to be lost. I’m not a supporter of Assad. I follow class trends rather than national conflicts (not that Assad was in conflict with international capitalism anyway, despite what the Stalinoids like to say). The problem with the rebellion in Syria is the lack of working class content.

    Few revolutions are implicitly proletarian. Even the Paris Commune was not. But they can be objectively proletarian in their make up and positions. As hard as I’ve looked I can’t even find a minor trend like that in the Syrian rebels. In the Iranian revolution you had major working class trends. The issue there was that they buried their positions to make broad alliance with the Islamists. First the Shah then them, right? Wrong. Their reward for this was to be wiped out, slaughtered and exiled. The councils were destroyed and the morality police became dominant.

    In Syria there aren’t even any councils to destroy. As much as I’d love to see a working class contingent, it seems most workers in Syria are either hunkered down waiting the war out or suffering in surrounding countries as refugees.

    There are fights that offer nothing but destruction and bloodshed. I fear this is one of those fights. We don’t have a dog in every race. In fact we are the dogs. All races are thus bad for us, and the only thing we have to support are those instances when our fellow dogs bite the hand that exploits them.

    Comment by Marcus Banahasky — November 20, 2013 @ 6:13 am

  19. No Marcus, you are generally wrong. . You are basing your comments on Assad regime propaganda as fed to western capitalist media. as one example. I was loudly trumpeted that the Assad regime capured a previously rebel held munitions depot. What isn’t reported is that the rebels took and distributed all the captured weapons and then withdrew. And local councils (soviets) have been organized in over 100 towns and villages.Further, the mass base is working class. Assad’s austerity policies fueled the resistance/rebellion/revolution from the beginning. Unemployment reached 30-65% before the first peaceful protest. You really ought to at least consider what the revolutionaries themselves have to say. And I am not talking about the SNC and similarexile dominated groups.

    Comment by Les — November 20, 2013 @ 6:51 am

  20. The mass base of almost anything is the working class. That goes for the Democrats and Republicans in the US and Golden Dawn in Greece too. You know why? The majority of the population belongs to the working class. That’s why I said they must also have proletarian POSITIONS to set them apart as a class movement of their own.

    As to who should do some reading, maybe it’s you. The soviets that socialists point to were Councils of Worker’s and Soldiers’ Deputies. Other soviets existed before and after that were devoid of working class content, like the Czar’s Soviet of Ministers (Госуда́рственный сове́т). Geographic councils don’t mean much, they exist in capitalist countries everywhere from the UK to France to South Africa. Every system needs some method of governing.

    Show me some workers councils anywhere in Syria and I’ll reconsider what I said.

    Comment by Marcus Banahasky — November 20, 2013 @ 8:05 am

  21. `A rebellion, from the outer regions, develops against Gadaffi.
    The US and allies see a chance to topple an historic nuisance.
    The US provide air support, mass bombings of Triploi (30,000+ dead).’

    Conspiracy theory bollox. The West had just made Gadaffi one of the richest men in the world by gaining his agreement to the deregulation of Libya’s oil fields. The only reason they intervened in Libya was to effect a ceasefire not a regime change because they didn’t want to see all that lovely oil tied up behind the inevitable sanctions if Gadaffi carried out his plans to flatten Benghazi. They were as shocked as anyone when the revolution rightly took advantage and bought him down. Of course in Syria their is insufficient oil, or at least insufficient to make it worth while upsetting the Russians and Chinese, to justify an intervention. There is only Arabs and Arabs without oil according to the West’s Handbook of Racial Hierarchies are just above Native Americans and just below vermin.

    The Western European labour movement’s hostilty to the Arab Spring and the Syrian National Democratic Revolution shows just how corrupted by the the bneo-Stalinist counter-revolutionary cancer that your comments neatly encapsulate.

    Comment by David Ellis — November 20, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  22. Evidence of that hostility David?? I distinctly remember militant workers in Spain and even Madison Wisconsin showing solidarity with the struggle in Egypt, and vice versa.

    Comment by Steve Oh — November 20, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

  23. “the only reason they intervened in Libya was to effect a ceasefire not a regime change”

    Do you and Proyect expect that we will all fall for this fantasy? The absurd levels that you have to reach in order to justify your position speaks volumes. Like Proyect, Ellis supports the crushing of the rebellion in Syria by Western puppets, just as happened in Libya.

    You can see quite clearly the narrative Proyect is using, it mirrors exactly the situation in Libya, we have bad rebels and good rebels. The good rebels (Western puppets) will crush the bad rebels when they take power and Proyect will be able to cheerlead the brutal and authoritarian Assad like puppets just as he does in Libya. You guys take the biscuit.

    You don’t support the rebellion, you just want a different face to put it down.

    Comment by The Man With No Name — November 20, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

  24. Some distributed comments
    #20 “The Syrian rebellion is being wiped out as we speak” I’m in a pessmistic mood too, but don’t rush to judgement. There is resilience in both the armed opposition and the civil opposition. A change of tactics is due and maybe the Syrian opposition can make it and maybe they can’t. But instead of forecasting doom we should be building some serious solidarity. “In Syria there aren’t even any councils to destroy.” Pull your head out of the sand: there’s lots of what we used to call “self activity” in Syria http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/saraqeb-sound-radio-start-up/#.Uoz4UG36SM0 and even a few councils. The problem is they’re being bombed to shit by Asad and assaulted by the takfirists. What are you doing about it?

    #23 No “Mass bombing of Tripoli” (can provide details if you insist – but keeping me from more important work); Left used to shout that 30 000 died in Libya; now they complain that the official figures are only 3000 (nto enough deaths to justify intervention. I, however, am constant: always said accurate figure c.10 000. You want to disagree – tell me the figures for each battle field.

    Comment by Brian S. — November 20, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

  25. Do workers and their families fighting for their homes and lives neeed to have class conscious views before socialists/communists will defend and help them? You seem to say so . and that is a counterrevolutionary view.

    Comment by Les — November 20, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

  26. Louis, youi ain’t no Marxist. You are a shill for the Empire.. Sister Mariam proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the tapes of children allegedly killed in a gas attack were kidnapped in a completely different part of the country and could be seen in different positions on the tapes. Go watch her video.

    Comment by dick100 — November 20, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

  27. What a stupicommentary and slander. df Proyect, t al. isis who the FSA is fighting against as well as the assad regime is a creation ofthe assad regime. The FSA represents a significant part of the real rebellion/revolution against the assad regime.

    Comment by Les — November 20, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

  28. Dick100, Mother Agnes proved nothing. She has been an agent of the assad regime since the first protests against the assad regime took place 2 1/3 years ago. You just believe what you want to believe.

    Comment by Les — November 20, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

  29. @ dick 100 #28 OK : always prepared to consider a counter-intuitive hypothesis. How does this one work. I don’t see any clear figures on how many allegedly kidnapped Latakia children were taken to Ghouta. But there are 150 kidnapped “women and children” so I guess we’re talking 100-120 kids. So you put these kids into – what exactly – 3 buses; a convoy of 6 minibuses; a column of 30 cars? And you drive them some 200 miles or so, across several battle lines and through numerous checkpoints. and then you get them to somewhere in Ghouta. What happens then? Agnes-Mariam’s report is vague on this and I can’t find any answers on the sites repeating her charges. But you are convinced so you must have an answer. Let me know and we can continue to trace the trajectory of this argument. But at the moment I’m afraid I’m stuck.

    Comment by Brian S. — November 20, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

  30. “What are you doing about it?”

    Absolutely nothing, like the rest of the left around the world, whether they are pro or anti-Assad. Unlike them, however, I don’t pretend that arguing on a blog, having a meeting or public discussion, or holding a placard with a political message written on it in a park thousands of kilometers away will have any effect. All this stuff about support, critical support, refusal to support, etc., doesn’t mean anything when it comes right down to it, because the people doing it aren’t in a position to have any effect.

    If there were discussions amongst longshoremen, rail workers, truckers, or air freight loaders on whether to hot cargo supplies headed to Syria, or talk of organizing international brigades to head to Syria, or something along those likes, that would be something real. There isn’t. As it stands it’s all conjuncture. The left, and especially the left that came out of Trotskyism, is stuck in a 1917 frame of mind. They still think they have a mass following of workers around the world and they need to argue for them to take up the correct position. The truth is that very few workers are listening to these discussions or even know they are occurring.

    I don’t think the discussions should stop. If I did, I wouldn’t be participating in them. But it would be better if we could admit our miniscule numbers and lack of influence, and especially stop pretending that whether an individual person in New York or London supports this or that faction of a civil war in the Near East has any effect on anything whatsoever. Politics isn’t a personal consumer choice. It’s a mass phenomena.

    I’m still waiting for someone to show me a single instance of a worker council in Syria, as existed in Russia, Germany, England, the US, France, Iraq, Iran, etc. Heck, I’d even accept any elements of a proletarian program — anything with working class content at all. Petty-bourgeois populism won’t cut it.

    Comment by Marcus Banahasky — November 21, 2013 @ 5:37 am

  31. Les #21 “…..local councils (soviets) have been organized in over 100 towns and villages.”

    So are you suggesting that “all power to the Soviets” is a realistic slogan?

    There’s a slight problem with that analogy;
    the “local committees” in Syria have been unable to form a national organisation with an agreed political programme for the past 3 years.
    If they were capable of doing this, they might also have also set up an exile political leadership to speak for them, in opposition to the SNC.
    That’s what has happened in almost every other popular revolution in recent times.

    Why not in Syria?
    I’d suggest that it’s because these councils don’t represent a clear political alternative to the foreign jihadists, the Saudi-Qatari Western backed militias or the Western-backed exiles.
    In reality, they are compromised by de-facto military alliances that they’ve made with these groups out of expediency.

    But even if your analogy with “Soviets” was valid, there would still be serious problems with using as a political guide.
    During the Russian Revolution there were Soviets that were dominated by Mensheviks and SR’s that supported the War.
    There were Soviets that were prepared to align with Interventionist troops against the Bolsheviks e.g. in Georgia.

    Your analysis of Syria suggests that such alliances are of no importance
    – all that matters is that Assad is ovethrown and the councils gain power.
    Leave the details of the politics until later.
    I’d suggest that such an approach opens the back door to Intervention.

    BTW “Mother Agnes” was interviewed on BBC Radio this morning and, although her English is very poor, it was pretty clear that she isn’t simply a tool of the regime.
    She said things that were quite critical of Assad.
    Owen Jones may have been a bit hasty in his reactions.

    Comment by prianikoff — November 21, 2013 @ 11:41 am

  32. The Twat with No Name: `You can see quite clearly the narrative Proyect is using, it mirrors exactly the situation in Libya, we have bad rebels and good rebels. The good rebels (Western puppets) will crush the bad rebels when they take power and Proyect will be able to cheerlead the brutal and authoritarian Assad like puppets just as he does in Libya. You guys take the biscuit.’

    Whereas you are a biscuit. You do realise that nothing you say makes any sort of coherent sense don’t you?

    Comment by David Ellis — November 21, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  33. Prianikoff: `BTW “Mother Agnes” was interviewed on BBC Radio this morning and, although her English is very poor, it was pretty clear that she isn’t simply a tool of the regime. She said things that were quite critical of Assad.’

    Owen Jones may have been a bit hasty in his reactions.’

    Behind all the formally correct Trotsky-speak there is a little Stalinist yearning to get out isn’t there. I heard the interview and there was bugger all wrong with her English. In addition her criticisms of Assad were in the `you have to break a few eggs to make an omlette’ vein.

    Comment by David Ellis — November 21, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

  34. #35 Ellis seems to have forgotten Mother Agnes’ mention of the word “cancer”.
    The BBC recording of Radio 4’s Today Programme 21/11/13 should clear up what she meant.
    “Stalinist” it’s just a dirty word Ellis throws around when he can’t deal with substantive political arguments.
    I’m sure he would have called Trotsky a Stalinist too if he’d been around in the 1930’s.
    Lots of ultra-lefts like him actually did.

    Comment by prianikoff — November 21, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

  35. ABOUT 100 people attended a November 17 teach-in in New York City to learn about, discuss and debate the Syrian revolution. The event, organized by the Middle East North Africa Solidarity Network-U.S. under the title “Syria in the Context of the Arab Uprisings,” featured an impressive line-up of Syrian revolutionaries, solidarity activists and antiwar campaigners.

    full: http://socialistworker.org/2013/11/21/revolution-from-the-inside-out

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

  36. Prianikoff: I’d suggest that it’s because these councils don’t represent a clear political alternative to the foreign jihadists, the Saudi-Qatari Western backed militias or the Western-backed exiles.

    Are you out of your fucking mind? Here are the differences between the two camps, ones that people like you, John Rees, Tariq Ali, Andy Newman, and all the other crypto-Stalinist trash are trying to paper over:

    The young man stood several metres away from the front door he had just knocked on, his back turned to avoid seeing the lady of the house, should she open it.

    The man, who was in his twenties, was a part of Jabhat al-Nusra, an ultraconservative armed Syrian Islamist group the United States considers a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda. Like many of its members in this city, he wore a black scarf wrapped around his head to conceal his identity; only his brown eyes were visible. He also wore a gray shalwar kameez—common in the subcontinent but not in Syria, though many young militia members have adopted it. The house was where I’d been staying in the city of Raqqa, in north-central Syria; he didn’t know the family—he was there to see me.

    In early March, Raqqa city, although relatively late to join the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, became the first of Syria’s fourteen provincial capitals to fall from his grip. Islamist rebels, spearheaded by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Salafi Ahrar al-Sham brigades, and the Jabhat al-Wahda al-Tahrir al-Islamiya (a grouping of some two dozen battalions), had won the battle for the city. These groups all operate outside the broad umbrella of the more secular, often more disorganized, and sometimes undisciplined rebel Free Syrian Army.

    Two men in their twenties, called Abu Noor and Abu Abdullah, answered, then called me to the door to greet the man from Jabhat. They were both civilians, but supported the uprising. We stood in the stairwell of the apartment building chatting for a few minutes, and then Abu Abdullah went inside and came back with a flyer bearing Jabhat’s name. It called for replacing the tri-starred flag used by Assad’s opponents since the uprising’s earliest days with a black one bearing the words of the Muslim shahada (“There is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger”).

    “What is this?” Abu Abdullah asked the young Jabhat member. “We were just talking about it, we don’t like it.”

    The Jabhat member, who was unarmed, smiled through his face covering. “And what don’t you like about it?” he said. “We are all Muslims, so what is the problem with a flag that bears the shahada?”

    “We are not all Muslims,” Abu Noor said. “You and I are but there are Christians here, too. You have insulted them. And besides, what gives you the right to change the symbol of the revolution?”

    “We protected the churches,” the Jabhat member said, referring to the city’s two churches, which were left unscathed in the Islamist rebel takeover of the capital. “Let’s not talk out here,” he added. “The neighbors will hear us. Do you have coffee?”

    The men walked into the formal living room of the modest five-room apartment. Two older gray-haired men, Abu Moayad and Abu Mohammad, rose from sky-blue couches to greet their guest.

    For the next few hours, the men engaged in a combative and highly charged discussion. It was about the black banner, but more than that about the direction the Syrian uprising has taken. The men of the house feared that it had been hijacked by Islamists, led by Jabhat al-Nusra, who saw the fall of the regime as the first step in transforming Syria’s once-cosmopolitan society into a conservative Islamic state. All four men said they wanted an Islamic state, but a moderate one.

    A few days earlier, a massive black flag bearing the shahada had been hoisted atop a flagpole in Raqqa city’s main square, in front of the elegant, multi-arched governorate building. “We will become a target for American drone attacks because of the flag—it’s huge,” said Abu Noor, a wiry young man who worked in a pharmacy by day and at night volunteered to guard the post office near his home against looters. “They’ll think we’re extremist Muslims!” (There haven’t been such strikes in Syria yet, though the possibility is much discussed here.)

    “There is no moderate Islam or extremist Islam,” the Jabhat member said calmly. “There is only Islam, and Islam is under attack in the West regardless of whether or not we hoist the banner. Do you think they’re waiting for that banner to hit us?” he said.

    Abu Mohammad, an older man in a tan leather jacket and a white galabia (a loose, floor-length robe), interjected: “What we’re saying is, put the flag above your outposts, not in the main square of the city. We all pray, we all say, ‘There is no god but God,’ but I will not raise this flag.”

    “This is an insult to people who died for the revolutionary flag,” said Abu Abdullah, a former English major at the university.

    full: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/04/the-black-flag-of-raqqa.html

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  37. The thing is, I’m prepared to accept that there are atrocities committed by both sides, whereas you aren’t.
    You simply plug up your ears and blinker one eye to any evidence that contradicts your position.
    Then you start abusing people as “crypto-Stalinists”, when it’s obvious that your view of Syria puts you in the same camp as right-wing publications like the UK Spectator and against numerous people who have built mass anti-War movements in the US and Britain.

    The existence of atrocities can’t be used as the sole criteria to define one’s position on a War, particularly one in which both sides are far from being innocent. You have to prove that there is a credible *national* opposition to Assad that actually represents a progressive alternative to the Baathist Government. So far none of the academic exiles, bloggers or sectlets who make that claim have done so.
    Even your own sources, quoted above, suggest the common denominator of the opposition is support for an Islamic state (albeit a moderate one)

    Given the fragmentation of these groups and their lack of political programme, the most likely outcome of their victory would be something like Libya, but without its oil reserves. i.e. a turf war between regional militias and sects, patronised by Saudi and Qatari funds.
    Not a step in the direction of socialism, but a step backwards.

    In this case, the issue that I raised was whether Agnes Mariam was a stooge of Assad and whether she is a liar.
    Here’s a description (not a transcript of this morning’s BBC RADIO 4 “Today” programme 21/11/2013
    1:52:30 -1:57.30

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03hwn07
    (may not be available outside UK)

    Mother Agnes Mariam was interviewed by Sarah Montague, after an interview conducted with British-based “jihadist” now fighting in Syria.

    She thanked the British Parliament and people for voting against Military strikes, “opening the door to a peaceful settlement”.
    Asked whether she thought the vote had strengthened Assad’s position, she said it wasn’t about Assad, but the “fate of the population and the whole country”.
    “if you have a tumour, you don’t kill the patient”.
    She also stated later that the vote had “bypassed the tumour of Assad”.

    The interviewer then asked her what the likelihood of peace and meaningful negotiations was.
    She said that the problem was that people were talking about toppling a government without having an alternative.

    Does Assad have to stay?
    No, but the Syrian population has to choose without violence.
    There is “no alternative to Assad today”.
    She called for free elections.

    She was “sure 100%” that the Ghouta massacre was fabricated by rebels.
    She denied having betrayed any prisoners at Muadamiyet and said no one had been imprisoned after they surrendered in a deal she helped broker there.

    Comment by prianikoff — November 21, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  38. Prianikoff, you tell us that this fucking mouthpiece of the Baathists is to be taken seriously while you quote her stating “She was “sure 100%” that the Ghouta massacre was fabricated by rebels”. Don’t you realize how much of an idiot you are when you make such an argument?

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

  39. Mother Agnes is a flat out liar and creator of false information. When in Syria, she meets regularly with agents of assad’s security forces..

    Comment by Les — November 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  40. http://www.lccsyria.org/about For those who think there are no local organizations against Assad,

    Comment by Les — November 21, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

  41. @prianikoff & whoever is interested – re Agnes Mariam. Agnes-Mariam is a very carefully packaged product, and an important vehicle in the Syrian regime’s PR strategy. For some time now Syrian “pseudo oppositionists” have been emerging in the west and claiming air time – individuals who claim to be critics of the Asad regime, but then proceed to support its narrative in all essential points (Louis even had one drop in on this site).Agnes-Mariam is entirely in that mould. She now claims to have been critical of Asad from the start of the rebellion – but an examination of her record shows this to be totally false. Even she can only point to one document in support – a letter she wrote to Asad in October 2011 asking for an inquiry, after Amnesty published revelations that hospitals were not treating opposition demonstrators. At about the same time she was giving a press conference on behalf of the regime, bracketed by figures from the French far-right and Webster Tarpley from the US, presenting a pro-regime fantasy of events in Homs. I have an earlier article of hers, c.April 2011 in which she alleges that all the videos of abuses by the regime security services are faked. Specifically, she alleges that young oppositionists are dressing up, driving around in big cars,claiming to be security personnel and beating people up for the camera. (Start as you intend to carry on!) This is a performance which she has repeated at every embarassing juncture for the regime – the Houla massacre, the Ghouta chemical attacks, and most recently the mediaeval siege of Muaddamiya.
    The midwives at her birth as a political figure were from the French far right, and she is feted by US right groups. like the Larouche Foundation.
    She claims to lead an organisation for reconciliation “Mussalaha” for which she make grandiose claims. Father Paolo dall’Oglio (currently held in an ISIS prison – we hope – for his courageous attempt to secure the release of kidnapped Christians) has stated thatt his organisation has no real existence. I’ve spent some time looking in to this, and so far can find nothing which would contradict this assertion. It looks like simply an attempt to burnish her new persona for the consumption of naive western opinion.

    Is this really the sort of person who should be adorning the platform of an “Anti-War” organisation?

    Comment by Brian S. — November 21, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  42. Agnes may, or may not be “a regime pseudo-oppositionist”.
    I didn’t make any judgement of her.
    I simply presented the evidence of what she’d said on the BBC this morning.
    Employing a “pseudo-oppositionist” who refers to Assad as a “tumour” is a pretty cunning plan!
    I’d imagine it could backfire on him.

    An alternative explanation might be that groups who are not engaged in armed struggle against the Baath Party, like the Syrian CP, are allowed a degree of freedom of criticism.
    Perhaps Agnes is actually a crypto Stalinist?
    Perhaps she’s Terry Jones?

    As many of the Syrian oppositionists who write on these blogs are Academics at US institutions, who are dependent on US Visas, perhaps they’re all CIA Assets?
    Perhaps Gilbert Achcar got his job in London because he’s a useful asset to M16 in the Middle East?
    As Louis Proyect has such close personal connections to Turkey, perhaps he’s a stooge of the Erdogan’s Secret Police.
    Perhaps…..

    Now deal with the questions I raised about the politics of the Opposition.
    (not some village council)

    Comment by prianikoff — November 21, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  43. Latest sighting:-

    Comment by prianikoff — November 21, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  44. Prianikoff, you really are a clown. Every Baathist support group on the left includes some statement somewhere about al-Assad being neoliberal or being dictatorial. Otherwise you can’t be taken seriously, not that I would speaking for myself. That is how to interpret Mother Agnes’s business about a tumour. But those outside of the Baathist consensus like me or Brian S. understand that her purpose is to shore up the dictatorship. Her report on Ghouta is about as criminal a pack of lies as anything Vishinsky ever argued in a Moscow courtroom. It is pathetic that someone like you can’t figure this out.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

  45. The massacres by the Assad regime against the brave Islamist rebels , I see them a social conservative but economically progressive, would carry on under Proyect and Ellis’s puppets. Only Proyect and Ellis would then be cheerleaders for the mass killing of the rebels. It is the exact same situation as in Libya.

    So to make things easy, for Proyect and Ellis’s benefit:

    They claim to support the rebels
    But they really support an alternative oppressor with a more Western outlook, i.e. opening up of Syrian markets to direct investment etc etc.

    This is typical of the Western liberal mentality and how social issues have predominated economic ones. The Islamic rebels will progress society more than the Western puppets, as they will improve the economic position of the masses, relative to the vultures and foreign opportunists.

    The Islamists are native to the region, the Puppets like big houses.

    Comment by The Man With No name — November 21, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

  46. @priannikof: thanks for the BBC link, which I would have missed otherwise. I concede that the “tumour” metaphor apppears to be a stretching of the bounds for the pseudo-opposition, but there are some language issues here (“bypassing a tumour”?), It seems to me that A-M is rather struggling to reconcile the narrative of her new “reconciliation” role and the need to appeal to a democratic public with the requirements of her commitment to the regime. So: she objects when the interviewer suggests that she believes that Asad going would lead to the end of Christianity, to say no it would mean the end of civilisation in Syria (on the basis that the alternative is fundamentalism – a binary structure typical of her discourse); she talks about “who is effectively representing the Syrian people on the ground” (I assume this is a reference to the regime); then inisists that she is not saying that Asad must stay, that the Syrian people should determine their future; but then concludes by saying that there is no alternative to Asad.This is a classical pseudo-opposition structure: vague criticism of the regime / assertion that all regime opponents are extremists / conclusion:the regime must stay.
    “groups who are not engaged in armed struggle against the Baath Party, like the Syrian CP, are allowed a degree of freedom of criticism.” Not quite: as you must be aware, Asad has recently dismissed his deputy prime minister, not for engaging in armed struggle, but for foolishly thinking he was allowed an opinion of his own; two of Syria’s CPs are not only not engaged in armed struggle, but are members of the Baath controlled National Salvation Front. The leader of the third,also not advocating armed struggle but continuing the opposition tradition of Riad al- Turk (http://syrianobserver.com/Opposition/Opp_Who/Who39s+who+Riad+alTurk+The+Cousin ) was arrested last month.
    I note that you choose to “bypass” all my substantive points on A-M’s colourful career.

    Comment by Brian S. — November 21, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

  47. Brian has it right? In addition she has been observed to meet regularly with Assad securiyu officials. Her well publized efforts for a few evacuations have led to many being idetained, imprisoned, interrogated, and tortured. Sheis a wolf in sheeps clothing. Oh, but I am insulting wolves.

    Comment by Les — November 21, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

  48. […] Arab Uprisings” organized by the Middle East North Africa Solidarity Network-U.S. Here are two reports about the day’s […]

    Pingback by Video: Syria in the Context of the Arab Uprisings | Democratic Revolution, Syrian Style — November 21, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

  49. […] Louis Proyect’s article contrasting our teach-in to the Stop the War UK conference: https://louisproyect.org/2013/11/18/a-tale-of-two-conferences/ […]

    Pingback by Syria in the Context of the Arab Uprisings - A conference in NYC on Nov.17th - revolution-news.com — November 26, 2013 @ 8:21 pm


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