Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 8, 2014

FSA is coming back into power very soon to liberate Syria from Assad & ISIS

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 11:55 pm

22 Comments »

  1. You couldn´t be more wrong: the FSA is almost entirely dead, and the only force that sustains it is the financial, military and political support of the US and Western Europe. It never was anything more than a puppet army meant to promote Western interests (that is, of imperialism and its tiny European allies) in Siria and the Middle East. Just a small pawn in a grand scheme for complete submission of all Arab peoples and nations. It would be great if there was a really leftist, secular, democratic and progressive significant force fighting the tyrant Assad and ISIS (that new US frankensteinian creation) but there isn´t.

    Comment by Miguel Baraona. — September 9, 2014 @ 12:49 am

  2. Yes, the FSA relies on Ready to Eat meals furnished by the USA. When aimed correctly, they can bring down a MIG.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 9, 2014 @ 1:01 am

  3. Miguel, you need to stop relying on news from Russia and the US. The obly thing stoppibg the FSA anda allies from winning is the backhanded support of the US for the assad regime.

    Comment by Les Evenchick — September 9, 2014 @ 1:53 am

  4. Sorry Miguel but that’s plain nonsense.

    Never in history has there been such an abysmal gulf in the understanding of “What is to be Done?”

    It’s as if the Fox News version of Truth has infected the entire body politic of the Planet so that even stubborn facts are disputed?

    Never before has the evil genius of mankind been so successful at sewing confusion amongst the toilers.

    This Wiki history of the FSA linked below is remarkably accurate (albeit not updated since March) :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Syrian_Army

    Just read it. 60,000 of Assad’s soldiers defected over a couple years clearly for a reason.. At great personal risk to life & family no doubt. The regime is bankrupt both politically & morally from any angle that’s not bent.

    That leftists who’d ever read a word of Chomsky on Syria from 1989 on up could be so mistaken on the Assad regime is truly a modern mystery.

    For some context. during the outset of the 1st Gulf War Chomsky gave an important speech in 1992 entitled “The 500 Year Reich” at a NW Ohio University (which I attended) mostly about how devastating the collapse of the Soviets was certain to be for the 3rd World who hoped to emulate their economic model. Re: the Gulf War and Saddam, he said. and I paraphrase here: Iraq’s neighbor Syria is propped up by the Pentagon and run by one of the World’s most ruthless dictators, Hafas al Assad, whose far more brutal than Saddam Hussein but hasn’t got attacked yet because he hasn’t defied the Pentagon’s orders like Noriega & Saddam.

    If you could have only seen the contempt in the expression of Chomsky’s face when he uttered the words “Hafas Al Assad” for it was striking to me as a youth as I had no idea back then who Assad was but I’ll never forget the change in Chomsky’s face when he uttered his name. From that night forward I’ve always had a terrible apprehension about the fate of the Syrian people in general and their working class in particular.

    The main gist of Chomsky’s stunning story was a very (Emanuel) Wallersteinian conclusion of a primarily 1492 to 1992 — 500 year — North vs.South saga reign of terror perpetrated by the North, with an interruption here and there by places like Haiti but always the North chopped off the head of any southern rebellion until the biggest thwart coming in 1917 from the Bolshevik Revolution, a huge land mass that was historically part of the South, Slavs being originally Slaves, with an army so huge it threatened all of Europe, which became almost a Guardian of the South, so big that it took over 70 years to chop its head off.

    He went on to note that the only brown people in the North to escape getting their heads chopped off were the Japanese, who he said were so rich they were considered “honorary white guys” — and not coincidentally were an island that was never successfully invaded & colonized.

    Another statement he said, which shook both me and my Black Nationalist friend Nate by my side. was that, and I quote verbatim, the North’s predatory “ruthlessness was so devastating to the African Continent that it may never recover.”

    Ironically, thanks to Chomsky’s unpredictability as a speaker, the DSA inspired faculty of the University who literally dragged me to attend this speech (hoping to instill me with some anti-communist diatribes) where over 500 attended — afterwards said it was the “worst talk” he’d ever given. I said: “What?” “He just concluded that the demise of the USSR will be a bad thing going forward for the majority of the World’s inhabitants?’ They just didn’t like that and regretted turning me on to Chomsky, who frankly, was as unfamiliar to me back then as was the Assad family in Syria.

    The biggest irony of all was that after that speech Chomsky invited folks to meet for a book signing at the local “Grounds For Thought” bookstore off campus for coffee where I got to pick his brain over a cup and he declared that the best course at that stage was to opt for “Sanctions against Iraq instead of War”, the same political line Leslie Cagan used to split the large anti-war movement/coalition against both war & sanctions (which is war by other means) ostensibly lead by the dreaded WWP, the split being a horrific political line ultimately adopted by Cagan, The CPUSA, the DSA, the left wing of the Democratic Party, and also, shamefully, the fledgling Camejo/Nader campaign which Camejo worked with Cagan in during the CofC (Committees of Correspondence).

    The “Sanctions Against Iraq” in the 1990’s turned out arguably to be the biggest blunder of the American Left in the 20th Century since those leftists advocating it not only split the largest anti-war coalition since NPAC in Vietnam but most cruelly got exactly what they wished for under Clinton with over a million Iraqis dead as Dillinger, mostly children & old folks according to the World Health Organization.

    Even worse for mainstream leftists than all the brown people dying was that it willy nilly vindicated the correctness of Sam Marcy’s political line, hated as he was for his alleged sectarianism, albeit the closest line to Lenin & Trotsky on imperialist turpitude you could find at the twilight of the 20th Century, the only Left Party, albeit a tiny sect, that managed through seriously dedicated cadre & Marcy’s sheer will to get over a million Americans riled up in the streets over one thing or another for the last 3 decades. That’s right. From the days of post Sane/Freeze through Haiti, Nicaragua,, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Cuba, LBGT and a dozen other causes through to the 1st Gulf War March of nearly half a million that was ultimately split by Cagan, Camejo, CofC et al. this tiny sect was the largest mover & shaker on the left. Proyect said as much and warned against it.

    Just to move on to today let it be noted not a single “pro Iraq sanctions leftist” from back in the days of the 1st Gulf War has ever admitted what a blunder that line was nor has any credit been given to old man Marcy for knowing in advance that Sanctions are War by another means.

    It’s not like the so-called “sanctions” against Russia today where the rich don’t have a hair on their head disturbed.

    The leftist backers of Putin defy common sense. Like he’s some bulwark against Imperialism. Right now the fact is imperialism as we know it would be unsustainable without Putin’s oil.

    Before he died old men like Marcy condemned the attacks on Chechnya as brutal atrocities greater than mankind had ever known. He broke definitively with Russia as soon as the Czarist flag was raised back over the Kremlin.

    So back to Syria.

    The most Uncle Sam has done re: the FSA is to sit in on a meeting where new Commanders were elected.

    The most US weaponry ever documented is a handful of M16’s and some TOW anti-tank missiles.

    There’s not an iota of documentation of any significant funding of the FSA by the West.

    The video, obviously recent, clearly shows not a single US made vehicle and not a single US made weapon. (1 truck could have been a late model white Ford F150 made in America but it wasn’t likely donated by John McCain!)

    8 out of 10 vehicles in that convoy were Toyotas. None were made in the US plants because the badging is different as are the hood scoops. I know because I work on these trucks. The other 2 out of 10 were definitely not American.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 9, 2014 @ 4:27 am

  5. PS: For as much as I admired Chomsky as a bulwark of the anti-Stalinist Left, he never, ever, back in the day, failed to mirror the CPUSA with casting a vote for the Democrats, willy nilly, in the end, like Philip Agee, Bob Woodward, and Leslie Cagan, as if the Dems were the lesser of two evils.

    On the other hand I can’t fathom modern parties like the WWP & journalists at CounterPunch sucking up to Putin as bulwarks of the last vestiges of the USSR?

    What a fucking joke!

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 9, 2014 @ 5:46 am

  6. “The biggest irony of all was that after that speech Chomsky invited folks to meet for a book signing at the local “Grounds For Thought” bookstore off campus for coffee where I got to pick his brain over a cup and he declared that the best course at that stage was to opt for “Sanctions against Iraq instead of War”, the same political line Leslie Cagan used to split the large anti-war movement/coalition against both war & sanctions (which is war by other means) ostensibly lead by the dreaded WWP, the split being a horrific political line ultimately adopted by Cagan, The CPUSA, the DSA, the left wing of the Democratic Party, and also, shamefully, the fledgling Camejo/Nader campaign which Camejo worked with Cagan in during the CofC (Committees of Correspondence).”

    I have never understood the elevation of Chomsky over all others by some on the left. As you note here, his approach has always been marked by a political expediency that leaves existing power structures in place. “Sanctions Against Iraq instead of War”, bring back the draft as a way of making it more difficult for the US to wage war (surely, one of the most ludicrous political propositions of my lifetime), BDS is bad because it will deter Israel from entering into a two state solution (and, is there anything more embarrassing than listening to Amy Goodman give Chomsky a pass on his opposition to BDS, refusing to question him about it, while she allows him to pontificate about the horrors of the Israeli attack upon Gaza?) . . . Chomsky is pretty much a liberal when it comes to what he believes should be done after he completes his often incisive academic analysis of a given situation.

    As for Syria: I do believe that the Assad regime will collapse, but I am not confident of when that will happen. Assad does have the benefit of being perceived as a secular political power while religious extremists funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar run wild throughout the region. It will probably take some time for people see through that, and organize themselves against Assad and the Gulf States. There is a tendency in the US to characterize Assad as lacking any pillars of support within Syria, hence giving rise to hyperbolic pronouncements of his imminent defeat since the protests began. Defeating him will require a domestic political strategy in addition to armed resistance. I’d be interested in learning more about it because, ultimately, as we learned in China and Cuba in the 20th Century, revolutions succeed politically as much as they do militarily, perhaps more so.

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 9, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

  7. The FSA originally were made up of regime opportunists who reacted to the genuine revolt (mainly by Islamists) by panicking/appealing to imperialism. These opportunists tried to co-opt the rebels to their cause. This is not unprecedented of course, we see it in Latin America and it can have progressive results. But the progressive Latin American examples have genuine popular support and are usually antagonistic to imperialism.

    The FSA did lose popular will (if they ever had it) because they were seen to be in the thrall of foreign powers. That was the view among the people in Syria, those whose neighbourhoods were being shelled. I personally take the view that supporting the FSA is simply swapping Assad for Assad, but in different clothes. It might make the odd misty eyed leftist jump up and down in joy but that will be about it, other than the regime being more in the pocket of imperialism. There will be policy differences no doubt but in reality you will simply have changed one brutal tyrant for another. This is what Proyect supports in the final analysis, Assad to be replaced by Assad.

    To be fair to the WSWS they did some first class analysis (ignoring the conclusions) of the different factions in Syria back in 2012 – which is more than FSA and Assad by the way, e.g the Islamic front, which is bigger than the FSA.

    They also predicted the emergence of the ISIS and it’s desire to create an islamic state in Syria and Iraq.

    Of course Assad is very popular among certain sections in Syria, even if they got rid of him the problems would be immense. Even the most misty eyed leftist would have to think that will be a day of very mixed emotions.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — September 9, 2014 @ 5:25 pm

  8. To be fair to the WSWS they did some first class analysis (ignoring the conclusions) of the different factions in Syria back in 2012 – which is more than FSA and Assad by the way, e.g the Islamic front, which is bigger than the FSA.

    Fucking idiot. Have you ever spoken to a Syrian? What websites written by Syrians do you check on a regular basis? Don’t bother answering that because the answer is obvious: ZERO. Anybody who takes WSWS.org seriously should be horsewhipped. This is a sect that originated in Gerry Healy’s IC, an outfit in exchange for getting pay-offs from Gaddafi wrote glowing articles about the madman’s Green Revolution.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 9, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

  9. “swaping Assad for Assad” You are fucking ignorant. Talk to some real Syrians before you make comments like this. And the rest of your analysis sucks. Pardon the language but you really have no clue as to whats be going on in Syria.

    Comment by Les Evenchick — September 9, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

  10. “It would be great if there was a really leftist, secular, democratic and progressive significant force fighting the tyrant Assad and ISIS (that new US frankensteinian creation) but there isn´t.”
    There is in Rojava

    Comment by Tony Iltis — September 10, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  11. Rojava is the bit of Kurdistan in Syria, btw

    Comment by Tony Iltis — September 10, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

  12. And no women in the video. All male, chanting about God… not what you’d expect in a revolutionary force! And not what you’d see in
    Rojava!

    Comment by Tony Iltis — September 10, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

  13. Does this mean ifthe opposition to Assad and ISIS does not meet your exact requirements you will not support them? In fact , the large majority of fighting oppositionists are pro democracy but probably not leftists by your definition.

    Comment by Les Evenchick — September 10, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

  14. So you think all revolutionaries must be atheists? And there are many women who are armed fighters against the Assad regime.

    Comment by Les Evenchick — September 10, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

  15. It’s not a question of meeting my requirements, I was just pointing out that the only force that is *effectively* fighting both Assad & ISIS (YPG/YPJ, HPG & allies) does have a high number of women, and is not atheist but is secular — uniting Muslims, Yezidis, Christians, etc, rather than being “moderate Sunni” or whatever. They are also non-ethnic exclusive (in contrast to KRG peshmerga) non-Kurdish groups (Turkmen, Assyrian, Arab) are organised by these forces. These features of these fighting forces reflect the revolutionary transformation in the areas they control.
    Should add that whether or not I, or you, support them doesn’t really matter. Western leftists should give up the conceit that our polemics influence who wins a war on other side of the world. But we can learn from what happens in distant places and my point was that the revolutionary forces in Rojava provide us with far better positive lessons than the dudes in this video. Plus they are scoring way, way more wins against both ISIS & Assad (& various other nasties, icluding theocratic Iranian regime).
    There is a couple of ways where we in the Western left can positively influence events. Firstly, I’m sure we can all agree that they’d be no ISIS were it not for the 2003 Western invasion of Iraq, and with the imperialists using ISIS to justify new intervention we should be spreading the truth that it was KCK-aligned Kurdish revolutionary groups not imperialist troops & imperialist allies who rescued Yazidis of Sinjar (plus Assyrians, etc).
    Secondly, KCK-aligned parties such as PKK and PJAK are targetted by Western “anti-terror” laws, despite being the ones actually fighting the real terrorists, so Western leftists should be fighting these hypocritical laws

    Comment by Tony Iltis — September 10, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

  16. You guys can get blue in the face trying to make your absurd case for the FSA (appropriately known as the Fee Syrian Army), but you cannot hide the simple fact that it’s fully supported by reactionary Western powers, and that its aims as well as the origin of its means and resources, are as dubious as its supposed base of “popular support” within Syria. That I obtain my news form Russian or US sources, that is simply laughable and ludicrous. You guys can continue to delude yourselves and think that because the FSA is not openly a Salafi or Wahhaby group and opposes the monster Assad, that makes it an OK group. That is something the CIA and its ilk would want us to believe, so that we rally behind a minuscule and really irrelevant movement in terms of the internal correlation of forces in Syria, but supposedly made out of “reasonable”, “moderate”, “liberal”, “independent” and “slightly progressive” guys who would eventually be perfect for forming a puppet regime like in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, subservient to US imperial interests, Western colonialism and to foreign big multinationals.

    Comment by Miguel Baraona. — September 11, 2014 @ 12:55 am

  17. Baraona, don’t you realize how stupid you appear by making comments that are entirely free of evidence or documentation or facts or data? Are you some kind of academic? How did you manage to bribe your dissertation committee without getting caught?

    Comment by louisproyect — September 11, 2014 @ 1:01 am

  18. Hey louisproyect, I´m not an arrogant gringo like you, and couldn´t care less about your silly, mediocre and snobbish US academic world. I live and act where things truly boil and are real, and where you can get easily killed for being a marxist… a real one, I mean.

    Comment by Miguel Baraona. — September 11, 2014 @ 1:18 am

  19. Wherever the fuck you are, I hope they have more respect for evidence, data, facts, documentation, etc. than you.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 11, 2014 @ 1:27 am

  20. Mr. Barona, your ignorance is astounding, and your statements false

    Comment by Les Evenchick — September 11, 2014 @ 2:13 am

  21. Les Evenchick,

    “Pardon the language but you really have no clue as to whats be going on in Syria”

    So speaks our resident Syrian expert!

    We had self proclaimed experts and those who had the ear of the ‘people’ in the run up to the Iraq war, we were told getting rid of the evil tyrant Saddam would unleash a new dawn for peace and prosperity in a golden age of democracy and freedom for the Iraqi people. Then reality reared its head and soon enough the government were killing it’s own people. This is what Proyect offers, even if he thinks this isn’t. One of Proyect’s mistakes is to take the rhetoric for granted and to ignore some basic economic facts.

    But Les, do tell about your travels among the Syrian people?

    We do have the 2014 election to go, where an estimated 11 million voted. While reservations about the election remain you would have to be either a misty eyed leftist or a war mongering lunatic to ignore the results.

    Which are you? Misty eyed leftist or war mongering lunatic?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — September 11, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

  22. I’m all about democracy and don’t find myself in any side of this based on ideology. But here is the big question: are any members of the UN trying to get the FSA recognized as a state? Are there any members of either NATO or the other bastions of power in the region that are going to help these folks get recognized as a legitimate government? Are we going to see an FSA delegation at the UN given any sort of status, even observer status like the Vatican has?

    Comment by Andrew Stewart — December 29, 2015 @ 12:04 am


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