Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 24, 2018

Syria Endgame: Crushing Daraa, the Russia-Israel deal & the Geopolitics of Counterrevolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 12:34 pm

via Syria Endgame: Crushing Daraa, the Russia-Israel deal & the Geopolitics of Counterrevolution


  1. It boggles the mind…

    Comment by seaspan — August 26, 2018 @ 4:38 pm

  2. well right about one thing: Syria is Paris Commune of the 21st century… except that this is only true in the areas that are under Democratic Self-Administration. It is disgustingly Orientalist to support a movement that has sharia courts as if this is the most progressive thing possible in a Muslim-majority country, while dismissing and slandering the most feminist, democratic and religiously inclusive revolution in history happening in the same country. The majority of participants in this ongoing progressive revolution are Muslim, but Christians, Atheists and everyone else are part of it. The same can’t be said of the “revolution” you support, which is essentially a lie. Because the progressive, democratic content of the original 2011 uprising was murdered long ago: by the right-wing armed opposition as well as by the government.
    And it is racist to keep on referring to the multi-ethnic revolution as “the Kurds”. There are no Arab communities occupied by the Kurds, there are Arab communities under the revolutionary, democratic control of their own population that are part of the same revolution, and whose achievement of self-rule was achieved with the help of multi-ethnic forces with a strong Kurdish element.
    You people are the exact mirror image of the pro-Assad Western leftists you expend so much hot air on denouncing. Pure hypocrisy. They support one reactionary, violent, anti-democratic force, you support another. And you use the same justifications ignoring how these forces relate to the Syrian people but focussing on geopolitics: they put a minus where imperialism puts a plus; you put a minus where Putin and Assad put a plus. I remember when you lot used to like using the analogy of the Viet Minh’s alliance with Western imperialism in the 1940s as a reason to support Western military aid to reactionary jihadis. Funny how the SDF’s tactical military alliance with the imperialists against ISIS has, for both you and the Western left’s Assadists, becomes a sort of original sin that allows the Democratic Autonomous revolution to be ignored.
    So tell me again how the Apoists aren’t true Marxists because they eclectically incorporate ideas from the likes of Murray Bookchin – while you continue to support “revolutionaries” whose ideology comes from Muslim Brotherhood teachings.
    The worst of it is, as one after another the right-wing armed opposition groups succumb to Turkish pressure to give up the fight against Assad, it’s quite possible that that the final 2 players in this multi-sided conflict will be the regime in alliance with Turkey versus the Democratic Self-Administration. I know where you lot will be then: sneering from the sidelines, pontificating that “the Kurds” are getting their just deserts for their (in reality totally non-existent) collaboration with the regime. Or maybe, like Michael Pröbsting’s “Fifth International” (or whatever he calls his cult) you can give support to the brutally fascistic HTS, although that would require the HTS to not capitulate to Erdoğan’s diktat’s, which given their past performance is unlikely (although Pröbsting is probably correct in assuming that they are the most likely of the right-wing armed opposition groups to remain active).
    And I am not interested in any response that relies on misquotes from any leaders of the Syrian Democratic Council, TevDem or the PYD. The revolution has a multi-lingual web presence and it is not hard to find in English the actual statements of these organisations and their (revolving) leadership. A Turkish pro-government news source saying that Saleh Muslim told Sputnik something on an unspecified date, or an Arab bourgeois media outlet saying Elham Ahmad said whatever to Reuters, also on an unspecified date, are not accurate sources.
    PS. Any reason why you lot have lost interest in the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, which you were once so fond of quoting? I could hazard a guess.

    Comment by Tony — August 27, 2018 @ 5:02 pm

  3. Tony, don’t you realize how stupid you sound with the Kurdish advocacy? You are as bad as Walter Lippmann with his Cuba apologetics or Yoshie until Ahmadinejad was replaced. Your man Salih Muslim stated that if Assad was overthrown, it would be a “disaster”. He can choke on those words and so can you.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 27, 2018 @ 5:25 pm

  4. Great response: “you sound stupid”, some long-bow guilt by association and a misquote.

    Comment by Tony — August 27, 2018 @ 5:49 pm

  5. Oh, almost overlooked because it’s so par-for-the-course, the racist description of the ethnically inclusive revolution as “the Kurds”

    Comment by Tony — August 27, 2018 @ 5:51 pm

  6. Tony, I regret calling you stupid. You are quite smart if unprincipled. Just like Yoshie and Walter Lippmann. But I learned long ago not to waste time with such apologists. I thank my lucky stars that I never had to put up with your crap on Marxmail.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 27, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

  7. well I’m happy to leave Marxmail to the likes of Michael Pröbsting and his principled support for the HTS

    Comment by Tony — August 27, 2018 @ 6:17 pm

  8. I know it’s probably a waste of time to engage in a conversation with a rabid propagandist like you but can you substantiate that I continue to support “revolutionaries” whose ideology comes from Muslim Brotherhood teachings? Who is that supposed to be? The FSA? Furthermore, most of what I write is not in the same nature as your YPG propaganda. I have never written a single article putting the FSA on a pedestal in the same fashion that you do with Salih Muslim’s outfit. I am too busy answering shits like Max Blumenthal and Robert Fisk, if you hadn’t noticed.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 27, 2018 @ 7:29 pm

  9. As this post is a repost Mike Karadjis’s article, you can take the you in my original post as “you (plural)” meaning not just the two of you but Clay Clairbourne (who the article quote) and the rest of the “support the Syrian revolution (but not the left-wing one)” crowd. The Southern Front that the article lionises is full of political Islamist components, whether of the MB or Saudi-Wahabi variety, I’m not sure. But their statement of liberal democratic and secular values that article quotes was made at the time they were seeking Western support and the reality is not quite as secular. Although like all larger FSA formations, they consist of numerous groups who aren’t all the same. Some are possibly led by Baathist army defectors.

    But you (singular) have definitely attacked the Democratic Autonomous revolution on the basis of it’s anarchist, Bookchinite heresies. Which leads to the question: if you support the Syrian Revolution, what do you actually mean by that term? Chances are a fantasy: the ideals of the 2011 revolution, the ideas of a murdered anarchist, the practice, and more to the point, the intentions of no-longer existent local committees, all grafted on to the actual armed opposition of today, who in reality are mostly Islamists and increasingly becoming (with differing degrees of willingness and reluctance) appendages of the Turkish armed forces. This view ignores the present and history. I’d suggest it’s time to start listening to progressive Syrian voices from inside Syria: because who you actually put on a pedestal are London-based authors who either haven’t lived in Syria since the 1990s or were born in London — but visited in 2012. No insult to them, but they are not the voice of anyone inside Syria.

    Comment by Tony — August 27, 2018 @ 8:47 pm

  10. Just as I thought, you weren’t referring to me but to Michael Karadjis. In the future, you might want to be more focused when you are commenting on *my* blog. I have never written a single word about the Southern Front. Just because you write propaganda for the YPG that justifies everything they have ever done, don’t project your methodology onto me. As I pointed out, well over 90 percent of what I write is against Assadist propaganda. If you want to debate Karadjis, there are other platforms for that, including FB.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 27, 2018 @ 8:57 pm

  11. Usually when someone reposts something on their blog without comment that signifies agreement, but whatever.
    You have written in support of the FSA. In fact you have used your Marxmail to personally attack me for not supporting the FSA (quite harshly on one occasion for pointing out that some of the FSA groups degenerated into bandits – ironically something even the authors of “Burning Country” have acknowledged). So what do you mean by the FSA? If not the Southern Front, who? Surely not even you could mean the Turkish Army’s auxiliaries?
    And yes, yes, like any good free thinking individual you don’t put the FSA on pedestal, as I do with the SDF (apparently), but on what basis do you support the FSA over the Democratic Self-Administration? (And presumably by FSA you don’t mean the FSA groups inside the SDF). I think know what you’re going to say: the lie about “PYD-regime” collaboration, but the basis of that demonstrably false claim was that the PYD and TevDem were opposed to prematurely militarising conflict. So were most of the LCCs. And more than ½ million deaths later and Assad still in power, it does seem they had a point. Anyway, in the last few months we’ve seen most of the FSA groups do deals with the regime, and lots them become part of the Turkish Army, so can that alleged collaboration be a reason to support the FSA over the SDF?
    As I mentioned before, statements by the MSD, TevDem, SDF, etc, and their leaders can be found on the web. And from these you can see that quotes from these groups or their leaders saying that they are about to merge their forces with the Baathists, join the attack on Idlib, bow down to Assad or whatever are fake.
    So why support the FSA over the Democratic Self-Administration? The reason seems more likely geopolitical than political, based on regional and international relationships, rather than the relationships between the Syrian people and the respective groups.
    Also: as the moderator of Marxmail, you are obviously not responsible for everything anyone posts. However, it is rather striking that every time anyone posts something favourable towards the Democratic Self-Administration, you reply by attacking the PYD, the YPG or “the Kurds”, pointing out flaws real and imagined. But oddly, I’ve never seen the same response from you to Pröbsting’s support for the HTS.
    Is that because he follows Trotskyist ritual and calls for “critical support” and includes “while rejecting the ideology of their petty bourgeois leadership”? But what does that mean in the light of the actual practice of HTS, which is horrible. Even if every charge ever levelled against the Democratic Self-Administration were 100% true it would still leave them 47 trillion times better than the HTS when it comes to human rights. Do things like women’s rights, religious freedom, equal rights for minorities really mean so little? Is democracy totally irrelevant to socialists? For Pröbsting’s Fifth International it is as simple as it is for the Assadists: geopolitics above politics – the PYD are tainted by their alliance with imperialism, therefore the HTS are purer.
    But what about you?
    You say “90 percent of what I write is against Assadist propaganda”, well most of the remaining 10% seems directed against the Democratic Self-Administration. So who do you support in Syria?
    Stare into the void long enough and Max Blumenthal stares back at you.

    Comment by Tony — August 27, 2018 @ 10:46 pm

  12. You really have a reading comprehension problem, don’t you? I said I don’t write articles about the FSA. I have said that they are the only fighting force in Syria that incorporates the original goals of the revolution but I am not doing the sort of thing you people do, which is to write article after article after article telling your readers how they walk on water. To repeat myself, my articles are basically about refuting the scumbags on the left who lie constantly in support of Assad, plus an occasional article on the political economy of Syria, like one on water/environmental issues that the idiots at Muftah rejected because it was too long. I hope that helps.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 28, 2018 @ 12:46 am

  13. “You really have a reading comprehension problem, don’t you?” No. And neither do you, so stop pretending
    “I said I don’t write articles about the FSA.” I never mentioned articles, I specifically referred to some of your Marxmail posts.
    ” I have said that they are the only fighting force in Syria that incorporates the original goals of the revolution” I know you said that and I disagree. But I’ll repeat my earlier question: which FSA are you referring to?
    “but I am not doing the sort of thing you people do, which is to write article after article after article telling your readers how they walk on water” Never claimed anyone walks on water, but some of us in the international left do understand that the Democratic Self-Administration is not just left wing, but represents a profound social revolution.

    Comment by Tony — August 28, 2018 @ 4:23 am

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