If the Left is ever going to come together to save the world from Donald Trump and his legions of fascistic Putin-Nazis, we’re going to need to confront our primary enemy … the international working classes. Yes, my comrades, I’m afraid it’s time to face the facts, depressing as they are. The working classes are not our friends. Just look at how they’ve been betraying us … and after all we’ve done for them all these years! This cannot be allowed to continue, not if we are going to rescue democracy from Trump, Putin, Assad, the Iranians, and Palestinian kids with terrorist kites, and eventually stem the blood-dimmed tide of neo-fascist anti-Globalism!
Now, OK, I know you’re probably asking, “how can the international working classes possibly be the enemy of the Left?” and “wouldn’t that render the whole concept of the Left completely absurd and essentially meaningless?” and other pertinent questions like that. And that’s totally fine, you’re allowed to ask that. Questioning aspects of the official narrative the ruling classes are forcing everyone to conform to like members of a worldwide cult doesn’t make you a Nazi or anything. It’s perfectly OK to ask such questions, as long as you don’t continue to ask them, over and over, and over again, after the facts have been explained to you. Here are those facts, one more time.
The international working classes are racists. They are misogynists. Xenophobic transphobes. They do not think the way we want them to. Some of them actually still believe in God. They are white supremacists. Anti-Semites. Gun-toting, Confederate-flag-flying rednecks. Most of them have never even heard of terms like “intersectionality,” “TERF,” and so on. They do not respect the corporate media. They think that news sources like the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and so on, are basically propaganda outlets for the global corporations and oligarchs who own them, and thus are essentially no different from FOX, whose pundits they believe every word of.
Their minds are so twisted by racism and xenophobia that they can’t understand how global capitalism, the graduated phase-out of national sovereignty, the privatization of virtually everything, the debt-enslavement of nearly everyone, and the replacement of their so-called “cultures” with an ubiquitous, smiley-faced, gender-neutral, non-oppressive, corporate-friendly, Disney simulation of culture are actually wonderfully progressive steps forward on the road to a more peaceful, less offensive world.
Now this has been proved in numerous studies with all kinds of charts and graphs and so on. And not only by the corporate statisticians, and the corporate media, and liberal think tanks. Why, just this week, Mehdi Hasan, in an exasperated jeremiad in the pages of The Intercept, that bastion of fearless, adversarial journalism owned by billionaire Pierre Omidyar, proved, once again, that Donald Trump was elected because PEOPLE ARE GODDAMN RACISTS!
Apparently, Hasan has just about had it with these Putin-loving Trump-apologists proposing that general dissatisfaction with global capitalism, neoliberalism, and identity politics could have had anything to do with Americans electing a bombastic ass clown with absolutely no political experience to the highest office in the land. Hasan cites a number of expert studies, among them one by the Democracy Fund, which just happens to be another Omidyar outfit. But let’s not get all paranoid or anything. There are literally hundreds of such studies at this point, each and every one of which has been cited by the mainstream media, the alternative media, the far-alternative media, and virtually every Trump-obsessed loon with a blog or a Facebook or Twitter account.
Look, I realize the truth is painful, but the science of statistics leaves no room for doubt. As much as some of us may want to deny it, the fact is, the country that elected Barack Obama (who is Black) president, twice, has been transformed by Putin’s brainwashing agents into a cesspool of xenophobia and racism, and it is up to us lefties to set things right!
Now, to do this, we need to unite the Left, and get everyone marching in lockstep, and so on. Which means that we need to identify and weed out all the fake leftists among us. Then, and only then (i.e., after we’ve tracked down, sanctimoniously denounced, and exiled any and all neo-Stasserist “alt-Right” infiltrators, Sputnik leftists, and Assad-apologists), can we turn our attention to meeting face-to-face with the international working classes and sanctimoniously denouncing them as a bunch of filthy racists.
OK, that sounds a little harsh, and possibly totally idiotic, but what other choice do we really have? If we’re going to defeat these Putin-Nazis, a few eggs are going to have to get broken. This is not the time to abandon our commitment to imposing our identity-based ideology on every last person on the planet Earth, or to indulge in that ugly kind of old-fashioned leftism that is based on what the working classes want. Who gives a damn what the working classes want? What’s important is what we want them to want. This isn’t the 1990s, after all. All that nonsense about globalization, and supranational entities like the WTO, and the World Bank, not to mention “American jobs” … only fascists talk like that these days!
But, seriously … if you’ve made it this far in my essay, and you consider yourself a leftist of some sort, you’re probably extremely frustrated with what passes for the Left these days, and with how the working classes are flocking to the Right, both in the United States and all over the world. If I’ve got that right, you might want to read this essay by Diana Johnstone (which we lefties are technically not allowed to read, because it’s posted in The Unz Review, where a lot of “alt-Right” pieces are also posted … and you don’t want to get any of that stuff on you!)
What she is writing about is the ongoing “populist” insurgency against globalized capitalism, which is what I’ve also been writing about for the better part of the last two years. This is the historical moment we are experiencing, a clumsy, sloppy, partly fascistic, partly non-fascistic democratic uprising against the continuing spread of global capitalism, the erosion of what is left of national sovereignty, and … yes, people’s cultures and values.
The international working classes understand this. The neo-nationalist Right understands this. The majority of the Left does not understand this, and is refusing to admit that it’s happening, and so is standing around on the sidelines calling everybody “racists” and “fascists” while the global capitalist ruling classes and the neo-nationalists sort things out.
Which is exactly what the ruling classes want, and what the official Putin-Nazi narrative was designed to achieve from the very beginning. The “Overton Window” (i.e., the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse) works best when divided into two clean halves. During the so-called “War on Terror,” it was Democracy versus the Islamic Terrorists. Now, it’s Democracy versus the Putin-Nazis. Both of which narratives are fairy tales, of course, the reality, as ever, being rather more messy.
If what is left of the Left expects to play any meaningful part in our historical moment (other than sanctimoniously cheerleading for the global capitalist ruling classes), it is going need to get its hand a littler dirtier, mingle a bit more with all those working class “populists,” talk to them, and, I don’t know, maybe even listen to them.
Or maybe I’m completely out of my mind … I mean, actually listening to the working classes? Some of them are sure to say racist things, and anti-Semitic and transphobic things, which we cannot ignore for even one second, or rationally discuss and disagree with, because that would mean giving their racism a platform. Yeah, screw it, I don’t know what I was thinking … forget all that stuff I just made you read. Down with the fascist working classes!
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Please, CJ. How can you claim that the entire working class is fascist? Such generalizations are the enemy of rational thinking. And your anti-spiritual bias (“Some of them actually still believe in God”) is a display of massive ignorance and prejudice. If you have any humility and interest in learning the truth about our spiritual essence, check out the wisdom shared by near death experiencers. Seeing the sacred in others and realizing our profound connections to all beings is essential to effective activism, and those who are aware beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a divine presence that offers guidance and unconditional love have consistently displayed, throughout history, the courage and compassion that we’re all endowed with.
I think you’ll find the article is a rant against identity politics and how it has been used by the right to split the left into arguing factions about stuff like trans issues that have no meaning for working class would be voters.
John Root (and others) – do the words “political satire” mean anything to you??? Personally I find Mr. Hopkin’s work quite refreshing in a world in which much of what MSM presents as “reality” should really be considered a form of slap-stick comedy. Sadly it appears that some of us are now so confused by reading MSM that we can no longer identify political satire when we see it.
Student prank….more than “political satire.” Class politics rules, but this guy is beating about the bush.
There most definitely is, something wrong with ‘the left’. It has to be the definition itself. Because, in my opinion, no one who wants to stay in the EU can possibly be left wing. While they argue passionately that “you can run a mixed economy in the EU” and others say you can’t. I say the Masstricht treaty enshrines neoliberalism in law, and the Fourth Railway Package will enable a few (well run and financed) German, French and Spanish rail companies run the whole of Europe’s rail network. As for the four freedoms, if anyone self declaring as ‘left’ can’t see the problem with them, I understand how they could misinterpret defining themselves as left, when they mean Liberal.
An asshole writes about “working class” and delivers utmost shit.
Do you understand the word “irony”? Look it up.
Exactly. And this time its not just the zionists in the room.
You hosestly think Guardian readers understand irony even AFTER looking it up….:-)
..but “where”, Jonnae, where!!!
This article is obviously satire. Sheesh.
This piece and the comments that follow illustrate that there is chronic entropy and little else at work in the affairs of man. The AI machines will have solutions. Engels, Marx or Charlie Brown won’t seem pertinent then.
And we [the people] need the support of all those new investigative journalists, not the old lefties like Pilger et.al.
At the Guardian-lite soon to be renamed the Viner Express we see the new breed of opinion shaping investigative journos like Elliot [the ear fetish] Higgins, the sunshine state Solon and of course Luke [the Russian punk] Harding.
These people with a direct line to the new information highway [formerly known as the intelligence services] are actively weeding out fake news.. the last refuge of the old Commie-fascist ideologues.
Thass roight, Turtelscream, lettit rippe!; give’it der gunne….etc……
The working class have been dumbed down and distracted.
It’s a worldwide plot, executed by the ONE PER CENT.
If they were ranked, the US would be first, followed by its fawning sycophants, then Europe, Russia and China.
Work, buy, defecate and die is the religion of the dumbed down, while the smug middle class (some of them Lefties) sit back as their lattes are served, their hair cut and their toilets cleaned by the ignorant slaves.
Skip the first 9 paragraphs. If only this writer was 1/ as funny as they think they are, 2/ had an editor. Counterpunch-style dross for the most part.
Mehdi Hasan’s claim that racism not economic discontent was the key to Trump’s victory overlooks a somewhat glaring reality: that Trump received fewer votes in 2016 than Mitt Romney got in 2012, when his Democratic opponent was an actual black man.
The key to Trump’s win was not millions more racists turning out to vote for him but rather that millions of former Democrats stayed at home in the key states rather than elect the wife of the author of NAFTA and bank deregulation.
Of course the racism explanation is highly palatable to corporate Democrats. No need to come up with a different offer or to return the checks to Wall Street. “We can go again, just as we are . . .”
Whether Trump or Clinton, the Zionazi billionaire political contributors, hence Netanyahoo, win.
I’d say it was far more to do with US voting machines producing a predetermined result regardless of ballots cast.
I tend to think these days that anyone that wants to manage the lives of others is not to be trusted. Simllarly i do not like the cataloging of life, putting numbers on trees, clips on the ankles of birds or numbers on people. Managers just cannot be trusted. As they used to say: “Give em a uniform and they think they’re Hitler”.
Clearly a few people on the left are cynical, as Mr. Hopkins article exemplifies. Fortunately those that have read and more importantly understood the ideas of Karl Marx are not so frustrated. Mr. Hopkins appears not to understand where phenomena such as racism, sexism and LGBT phobia originate; that is a class society. The ruling class benefits from dividing modern society along reactionary irrelevant differences. Along with Mr. Hopkins article, ‘identity’ politics helps to continue these divisions. We cannot improve a society if we do not understand that society! The problem of some of the left, (to be blunt), is not understanding that the primary social conflict is between Capital and Wage labour.
Almost all social conflicts can be traced with variation back to that fundamental contradiction. Wars are for profit and resources, as was 9/11, austerity, lies and deceit, divide and rule, ad infinitum. Power comes with ownership and control of the economy, meaning the only alternative will be; the workforce in the broadest possible sense of that word, has to democratically control not just the economy , but the state; ergo the judiciary, police and all military. Every reform which improves the material life of the working class must be supported whole heartedly on-route to the strategic goal of overthrowing Capitalism: for the experience in of itself will help to enable us to reach a classless society. I’m not suggesting for one moment that will be easy. (We are all on a steep learning curve).
The prejudices of the working class are secondary to the tactics and strategy required to remove such bigotry. Yes, there is a finite chance our species will destroy itself, but moaning about reality doesn’t change it! Hopefully Mr. Hopkins article has been presented to motivate comments of clarity and purpose. Please try the International Marxist Tendency for consistent and responsible analysis.
Hopkins was making much the same points that you do, but ironically, which not every reader may have realized.
Most working class leaders are fascists in the present use of the word. i.e. dictatorial bullies in their own territorial boundaries. Trump is not one. He might threaten trade wars with other countries but does not bully the US people; only those neo-con tyrants who ruled them before. The Cheneys and Bushes and Clintons and the CIA stooge Obama. The tactics used by Trump on other countries are so far yielding success. A new Mexico and Canada trade deal; peace moves between North & South Korea and the US. Containing Iran and Syria and withdrawing the US from terrorism. Not to mention a booming stock market and record low unemployment.
Sorry but I have to ask, are you joking. , If so your comment that . “Containing Iran and Syria and withdrawing the US from terrorism ” was the highlight. The USA is up to its neck in spreading terror as it has done with its proxy armies in Libya Iran and Syria and this has been done for oil and to contain Russia and China economically and geopolitically.
CJ has a point, I think. The “left” are confused about a lot of things. That, too, is very much my impression.
The most basic thing about which they are confused, in my opinion, is what ‘capitalism’ looks like, you know, that ‘structural thing’ that makes for the exploitation and oppression of people everywhere.
You would think, at the very least, that people who declare themselves to be ‘leftists’ would have a bit of a jaundiced eye for capitalism, without fear or favor, and yet it is that many so-called leftists judge you not by your principled and resolute anti-capitalist stance, but by which capitalist bloc you resolutely stand with: you are either with the Western bloc or with the Eastern bloc, and there can be nothing in between or apart.
If you are in any way critical of the East, you know, of the Russian or Iranian or Chinese power elites, you ipso facto endorse as legitimate the barbaric geopolitical ascendancy of the West, you know, the political, economic, and military dominance of the so-called Western power elites, and this despite drawing an equivalence, an essential identity of interests, between all of them, excepting none.
Do you think that the Russian and Iranian and Chinese establishments are in their actions demonstrably capitalistic? Then that makes you akin to a fascist or neo-Nazi of the most obvious and worst kind.
If, for example, you point to a body of scholarship that attests to the longstanding neoliberal credentials of the longstanding neopatrimonialism of the regime currently ruling over Syria, you again betray something that is profoundly racist, Islamophobic, pro-West and rabidly pro-capitalist.
But in my opinion, you can tell self-avowed leftists are confused in their values and analyses when they fail to perceive the self-same and fundamental capitalist imperatives operating at both the national and international levels both in and between the United States, Western Europe, Japan, Russia, Iran, and China — to name but a few of the more notable and influential examples in the world.
To make my point, consider this piece: The Realities of China Today — Martin Hart-Landsberg (November-December 2008) | Solidarity
Who will read it? Leftist’s who already ‘know’ that China must be beyond reproach because to take a critical assessment of its social, economic and political dynamics is by that very assessment to side with the U.S. against China? Or leftist’s who are rather grounded in a method of analysis that begins its examination of our global capitalist context from the perspective of those oppressed and repressed by capital, namely, from the standpoint of the working class, which currently exists in every corner of the globe where people in their economic destitution are forced to be wage earners to make ends meet? And what about you? Will you read it, on the off chance that as a leftist, you may have something to learn from Hart-landsberg about China, but also about how better to discriminate between what perhaps a “leftist” should really stand for and against? Or do you already ‘know’ that China, being “socialist,” cannot but falsely and maliciously be labelled ‘capitalist?’
“If, for example, you point to a body of scholarship that attests to the longstanding neoliberal credentials of the longstanding neopatrimonialism of the regime currently ruling over Syria, you again betray something that is profoundly racist, Islamophobic, pro-West and rabidly pro-capitalist…”
You do enjoy these strenuous bouts that have with these straw men don’t you?
I am wholly opposed to the current Imperialist adventures in Syria. On the other hand I am well aware of the Syrian government’s neo-liberal policies.
Are you suggesting that to recognise that the ba’ath party has adopted Blairite social policies means that we ought to support the invasion of Syria-including the serial massacre of religious and other minorities- on the grounds that only socialist governed nations are worthy of protection from imperialist aggression?
That would seem to be the meaning of your screed. Which, of course, applies equally to the peoples of Russia and China, condemned to be the victims of imperialist aggression because their governments have not segregated themselves from the international system dominated by capitalism.
,The situation in Syria is very simple, the Empire is employing proxy militias to overthrow the government in order to remove another regime opposed to Israel. In refusing to condemn that aggression you are, on the most spurious and cowardly grounds, using the working class as an excuse to cosy up to the imperialists. And their zionist clients.
Actually, Mr. Bevin, you are the guy who is all about the man made of straw, aren’t you? And not the first time, either, eh?
Where in anything that I have here written — or anywhere else, for that matter — is there the slightest suggestion “that to recognise that the ba’ath party has adopted Blairite social policies means that we ought to support the invasion of Syria-including the serial massacre of religious and other minorities- on the grounds that only socialist governed nations are worthy of protection from imperialist aggression?”
Your reaction is kinda the very ‘thing’ to which my comment speaks, isn’t it?
Really, then, I ought to thank you for illustrating my point.
Actually, Mr. Bevin, you are the guy who is all about the straw man, aren’t you? And not the first time, either, eh?
Where in anything that I have here written – or in anything that I have posted elsewhere – is there the slightest suggestion “that to recognise that the ba’ath party has adopted Blairite social policies means that we ought to support the invasion of Syria-including the serial massacre of religious and other minorities- on the grounds that only socialist governed nations are worthy of protection from imperialist aggression?”
Indeed, your reaction is kinda the very ‘thing’ that my comment speaks to, isn’t it?
Really, then, I should thank you for illustrating my point for me. But don’t hold your breath.
Bevin, thanks for pinning down — ever so politely and objectively — that Norman Pilon is a Trot. ,
But what if a Trot had written what Mr. Bevin wrote? Would it still be fair, polite and objective commentary?
This is probably just as or even more heretical as your own comment, but I have often wondered if China and Russia are finally beginning to take Marx rather than Lenin and Mao seriously in that Marx never imagined that socialism — let alone communism — can develop except via liberal capitalism as a necessary, prior stage of socio-political development.
That said, and not being a dialectical materialist myself, I don’t fully buy into his theory of history or his followers’ belief that Marxism is a scientific theory in the first place.
If only because you bring it up, what is the difference between a theory that is scientific and one that is not scientific?
I say this as one who holds Marx in high esteem: but if ‘scientific socialism’ were correct …we be living in a worker’s paradise by now!
There are other factors in play, factors we would do well to analyse and understand if we ever want to end capitalist super-exploitation and ultra-violence. And if we do not come to understand these factors, it surely must be impinging on most people’s horizons, that capitalism will soon enough end us?
Or, apropos of the Stalin quote: how many divisions do the “Marxists” command? Marx was a Jewish prophet who saw the economic model one way, and the only mistake his fanatical followers made was to insist that human beings should er, adhere to their theology, forsaking all others 🙂
Or the old joke: a Marxist is someone who reads Kapital …a capitalist is someone who reads Kapital …and actually understands it! 😀
I don’t get ‘it.’ No, but seriously. Would that be because I’m a fanatical Marxist?
I had to search high and low to find this quote, but finally, through the magic of the internet, ta-da!
Merely, then, as a rejoinder to the often ascribed eschatological or deterministic character of Marx’s purported theory of history, which appears to be the basis of your comment:
Neither Marx nor Engels held to a view of history wherein predetermined ‘epochs’ or ‘stages’ of civilization of necessity birthed subsequent ‘epochs’ or ‘stages’ of specific ‘types.’ No single ‘type’ of society is conceived to follow upon any other in a predetermined fashion and order. But what is thought to be given is that whatever ensues from an earlier era will certainly be comprised of elements or structures or practices that were either prominent or germinal in, and specific to, that previous era.
To the degree, therefore, that people might rationally intervene in the processes of social transition or change, which by definition is the ‘historical process,’ the Marxist supposition is that they might intentionally, to some degree, be able to collectively strive to preserve what in the old living arrangements are worth preserving while liquidating institutions and practices worthy of being liquidated.
In their striving, however, given the complexities of social dynamics, it is not presumed that people will necessarily manage to successfully negotiate the changes hoped for and aimed at.
As Deng-Yuan Hsu and Pao-Yu Ching put it in a piece they title, Rethinking Socialism: What is Socialist Transition?
And the direction is known because the essential mechanisms and dynamics of capitalist exploitation are fairly well understood, and these are the elements in modern society that we need to extirpate.
You hit the nail on the head: the problem with Marx (and Engels) is not Marx – it’s Marxists. What do you get when 15 Marxists walk into a bar? At least 25 differing views of Marxism!
What you are touching on in your broader context is socialist cybernetics: how do we get from capitalism to an egalitarian post-capitalism (call it communism if we want, but that designator may have outlived it evolutionary usefulness …as per my POV on actually existent socialism (another dirty word …I might as well dispense with all of them: you definitely do not want to evoke any reference to anarchism …best keep that secret among us!))
You don’t: but I better qualify that, along the lines that I replied to Bevin the other week. It is action, that is volitional action (of the Will) that reproduces the conditions and values of the past …and cognitively imposes them (via assertive reification) on the present. The present becomes a conditional past-present: which allows a minimal of gradualist mudulation [sic!] That was a typo, but it works better than ‘modulation’! Essentially, we are repeating patterns of conditioned behaviour that reproduce our deep evolutionary temporalisation (the re-activism of our collective past).
[The big words are epigenetic, phylogenetic and ontogenetic behavioural reproduction: mediated not by genetics …but by the extra-biological inheritance mediated by the Sign (linguistic semiology) …but I’ll dumb it down for Sean!]
So we can’t ‘know’, or ‘act’, or ‘design’, or ‘guide’ – at least not in the way we currently understand those words …because we keep going round in circles (in an Eternal Recurrence and infinite regression within the domain of the Sign …for everyone else but Sean.)
The future is here: it has always been here …but for our discursive ramblings about the future. Were we to perceive deeply (ekagata), instead of reflectively thinking about its perception, or action, or design …the future is self-revelatory, normative, and generative of its own values and systems of equality.
We can’t design the system or the transition to a new egalitarian system …WE ARE THE TRANSITION, and we are the present-future system. All we have to do is embody and enact the future we want for the new system to become supervenient.
[And if they kill me for trying, I’m better off dead anyway.]
”, but I have often wondered if China and Russia are finally beginning to take Marx rather than Lenin and Mao seriously in that Marx never imagined that socialism — let alone communism — can develop except via liberal capitalism as a necessary, prior stage of socio-political development.”
Except that this was not his position at all. In a letter of November 1877 he warned against ”an all-purpose formula of general-historico theory whose supreme virtue consists in being supra-historical!” and
not ”to metamorphose my historical sketch of the development of capitalism in Western Europe into a historico-phiolsophical theory of general development imposed by fate on all peoples, whatever the historical circumstances they are placed.”
Anyway, liberal capitalism? I should call it oligarchic despotism.
Pertaining to the scientific character, or lack thereof, of Marx’s theorizing, something that you may or may not find enlightening: < a href=”https://libcom.org/library/marxs-dialectic-paul-mattick-jr”>Marx’s dialectic – Paul Mattick Jr.
Let me fix that: < a href=”https://libcom.org/library/marxs-dialectic-paul-mattick-jr”>Marx’s dialectic – Paul Mattick Jr.
Well, WordPress is being funny again. So one last time, a link to Paul Mattick Jr.’s Marx’s dialectic:
Science v Intuition; Materialism v Idealism; Subjective v Objective; Reason v Emotion …in a pro-buddhism; pro-Derridean analysis -they mean the same thing. They produce an auto-axiological correlation, not of differance – but of the violent blandishments of sameness. Each defines the other dialectically, as a negative imprint …as the spoor of its present-absence …each defines the Other away (into an Eternal recurrence of the Sign).
[Sartre made a similar point about the pour-soi sublation of the en-soi, if I remember correctly]
Without getting too woo, or into ever so post-postmodern alterity: politically this produces a practico-inert politics. In the UK, we have two conservative imperial capitalist war parties having a machine-age dance off (the Dancing Queen Maybot v Cyborg Corbyn) to occupy the totalitarian commanding heights of an ultra-violent centre. When the leading neoliberal globalist ideologue of the generation, Jim O’Neil, and Jeremy Corbyn mutually admire each other …and pseudo-socialist capitalist tinkerer Joe Stiglitz is going to design the economy for ‘actually existing socialism’ …it can say only one thing. We have a univalence of the core capitalist ethics of accumulation, exponential compound growth, extractivism, organised around the real relations of production – rule.
The irony is not lost on me that Corbyn’s new bestie, Baron O’Neil, was the man who invented BRIC, and invested $800bn for Golden $uchs, which kickstarted the whole emerging economies shadow game. What you won’t find in comment, or analysis anywhere else, was that money was our future. Money that could have been invested in our socialisation and present-future. But it was given away and our future foreclosed. And still progressive liberals cheer?
And now the same man is ideologically backing Corbyn. What does that say to you Norm? Because it tells me everything I need to know about actually existing socialism. Everything that its supporters are binary blinded to.
Representing that point is not so easy, not when the binary tyranny of imperialism produces the negative imprint of ‘anti-imperialism’; or the sublation of neoliberalism produces a faux-deglobalism; or the biggie, the root binary of mirror-capitalism produces ‘actually existent Corbynism’. But where is the radical and real differance?
So Corbynism, Russia/China statist socialism, the BRICS anti-imperial deglobalist bloc; are an actually existant entity …a clear and present danger to the Western imperium hegemony; its rival and alternative? Or are they just a marketing ploy, an aversive mirror conceptual structure, a cognitive deception of mind, and trick of the language? Because I see the latter, and the former as a linguistic fiction. Sure, there are minor peripheral differences that can linguistically and cognitively separate the two: but as for core values – what separates them?
When I joked about capitalists understanding socialism (if not actual Marxism) better than the progressive left liberal: here’s what I meant. Jim O’Neil gets it: and judging by the internalisation of his ideals as an ‘alternative’ among liberals …he knows what he is talking about. It sure ain’t scientific, nor intuitive: but left is becoming right; just as right becomes left …the protected central core remains the same; its super-exploitation and ultra-violence remains hidden except to the small print of a radical re-reading of the language.
And still the left liberals cheer. Cheer for their choice of a Trinity of Ecocides.
[A Trinity of choice of mortal rupture and metabolic rift of the ecologies of mind; economy; and environment]
But where is the real alternative? Where is the real choice?
BTW: I got the joke the first time I read it — not to worry — and it isn’t in my opinion very far off from the truth.
A more accurate formulation if not as punchy would be: “a Marxist is someone who doesn’t read Kapital and thinks he understands it…a capitalist is someone who also doesn’t read Kapital but ironically understands it a whole lot more if also very ineptly.”
As for what may be the alternative?
This would be my advice, if only as a place from which to begin: Why read Karl Marx?
Yew obviously no targetin’ the 3-minute-attention span type, eh Joque?
Vaska. I don’t think it’s a “theory.” I think it’s existential. I am a “dialectical materialist.”
GIGO: is the computer acronym that applies to politics equally well. If your analysis is garbage, your political praxis is garbage too.
The Hart-Landsberg analysis is wrong, but only because it is a decade old. Every aspect that it speaks to has become worse, from a Chinese workers perspective, and will continue to get worse – because the Emergent Markets Economy model is broken. The details can be found in concise form in “Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy” by Dr Jack Rasmus. There are also deeper biophysical reasons why the global economy is stalling, but I will not be going in to them here.
The thing is, if we do not look into the deeply integrated and self organised networked neoliberal global economy, as the Hart-Landsberg report does – we cannot understand it. It is ONE system: an ‘international world capitalist’ system which has become deterritorialised and largely centreless. Nation state analysis obfuscates this fact. There are no nation states to impinge the transnational global capital flows: the bulk of which takes place offshore and through secrecy jurisdictions. Figure in the offshore capital markets: the Eurodollar and Eurobond markets, and a very different picture to the veneer of nation state analysis appears. There is no East or West for capitalist super-exploitation.
[To that end, the “Spider’s Web” has just been made available for free on GooTube, for those who have yet to see it.]
There are those on the ‘left’ who seem incredibly resistant to the fact that China is a sub-imperial neoliberal power, enhancing the effects of the global super-exploitation of capital. Imperialism is a peculiarly ‘Western’ phenomenon …’Eastern’ capital is non-exploitative? Ditto, the effects of the various BRICS funding initiatives that are extending, not an alternative to, the effects of IMF/WTO/World Bank death and debt exploitation. ‘Eastern’ capital’s shit don’t stink?
As has become apparent, since Hart-Landsberg wrote his report: a large amount of that ‘Eastern’ capital was ‘free’ ‘Western’ QE capital, seeking the highest return as FDI. Jeremy Corbyn’s new bestie, Baron Jim O’Neil, formerly of Golden $uchs, had over £800bn to play with alone. He used it to leverage his “global perspective on world markets” – i.e. the BRICS he invented.
Only that capital has returned to London and Washington. Not all of it, but enough to leave the PBOC firefighting to maintain a falling Yuan, and it’s internal ‘Triple Bubble’ economy.
A broader analysis would have to include global asset price deflation; debt financing; the super-exploitation of the Chinese working and former agricultural classes (no one wants to talk about the biggest enforced internal migration in history); the environmental effects of rapid, unregulated industrialisation (no one wants to talk about 23mn enforced dispossessed by the Three Gorges mega dam project: or the other mega infrastructure projects planned …home and abroad); EROI; planetary biophysical boundaries; China Price; China dumping; etc.
But if I point out such facts, it could not possibly be that it could be I have solidarity with the ordinary Chinese, who are facing a very perilous future …as do the Communist Party if they do not uphold the Mandate of Heaven. It could not mean that I propose we broaden our definition of imerialism to take stock of ALL of its oppressions (not just the Western ones) No, it must be because I am an imperialist!
Can anyone explain the perversity of such reverse logic?
“Can anyone explain the perversity of such reverse logic?”
Bevin? Mublebrain? Care to explain it to BigB?
Your apologia for supporting the takfiri butchers assailing Syria, and your Sinophobe drivel do not impress.
Thank you for playing along and demonstrating the pertinence of C.J.’s article.
Your comments are always very appreciated, but mostly for being so eloquently terse.
Do sinophobes practice Tai Chi, Qigong, and Cha’an meditation? 😉
No, but the CIA/State Department funded Falun Gong cult do? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/11/AR2010051105154.html?noredirect=on
No but many of the aging hippies do in my part of the world.
What a lot of winded Bs! If you have anything worth saying, say it in simple clear unamigious language. Your sort of obscurant language betokens someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Ah . . . obscurant language. Winded Bs! I mean, for the love of ‘unamigious’ language!
But why then do you read it? Why torment yourself so?
And then after reading it, why even bother to take the time to complain about it’s turgid impenetrability . . . ooops, I mean . . . to complain about the fact that it’s simply unreadable?
I dunno, but it seems like an enormous waste of your time to me. Doesn’t it seem that way to you?
I should think that most of us Off-G commenters are not at all confused and realise that in all countries, governments do not and often cannot pursue policies that satisfy their populations’ economic, social and political needs, if only because all countries are linked together in networks and institutions that were created by a small group of countries in the past and which privilege them and allows them to dictate the terms under which political, economic, social and all other transactions may pass between nations. Those terms include certain kinds of policies and programmes, and the principles, values and ideologies underpinning those policies and programmes, all countries are permitted to pursue. That such packages encourage the evolution of new elites across countries that compete with older established elites would be expected. Whether these new elites and the policies and strategies they pursue represent new forms of imperialism, are variations of current imperialism or are even something else entirely different may well be moot as we don’t necessarily know what the agendas of these new elites are, much less recognise and/or understand what underpins them. We do not know if these arriviste elites have the same motivations, such as self-interest and greed for wealth through stealing other nations’ resources, as those we are familiar with, even if and as they use the same or similar strategies.
Furthermore, most people recognise that their own governments are no better than themselves at determining the ideal set of policies and programmes that would benefit them and their communities, at a particular time and in a particular context that takes into account their history, their culture, their beliefs and their values. Ideological adherence may not count for much in ascertaining the best set or combination of such solutions. If, for example, a project that brings water to a village is viable only if the money for it comes from one family, that family wants certain privileges as a result (by demanding that the village always support its preferred political candidates), and the village needs this project because there are no other alternatives – the village could be located in a desert and its people unable to leave – what should be the outcome then?
For all that, when people realise that their countries are under threat of invasion or coup attempts against their governments, they realise that, to resist such attempts, they must support the systems and institutions they have, imperfect and flawed though they are, if only because these are all they have and constructing new systems or reconstructing previous systems will be difficult if invasion or regime change goes ahead, and war, chaos and violence become the new normal.
In the case of Syria, if the Syrian people support their current government under Bashar al Assad, that’s because they recognise aspects of that government and Assad’s leadership and personality, which we outside Syria may not be privy to know because of biased Western reporting and censorship in our own countries about Syria, that they believe best express their resistance to the threats. Of all people, Syrians themselves know of the Assad government’s past neoliberal economic policies (which among other things involved privatising utilities like water, which was destructive to the country’s agriculture and alienated people in the very areas still under jihadi control in eastern and south-eastern Syria) and co-operation with the US government in renditioning prisoners. In spite of that past history, Syrians – even their legitimate political opposition – appear to have thrown their support behind Assad to the extent of re-electing him as President in 2014 and his party as part of a coalition of mostly socialist-leaning parties in parliamentary elections in 2016.
For this reason, I trust the Syrians themselves in choosing who they want to lead them against foreign invasion – fully bearing in mind, of course, that Assad and his government may have a past blemished record in guaranteeing human rights and freedoms, and in following an economic strategy that delivered disaster as much as it might have delivered success, if any. This is not to excuse any crimes Assad’s government has already committed. At present, Assad and his government, and their institutions, are all that the Syrian people have as their defence in the current war they are fighting. If and when peace comes, if the Syrian people decide that Bashar al Assad is not the right leader and the coalition led by the Ba’ath Party is not the right government for them, then I would support their choice of another government.
There is also and always the possibility that, unlike our own governments, the Assad government has learned from its past and is not the same government it was before 2011.
Jen: I fully concur with you Syria analysis …let’s get the Jihadis out (even if coming to a council house near me in SE England!) …then later we can be critical if the reconstruction becomes over-exploitative. But that still would be better than a pro-NATO Takfiri imperialist compradore regime.
The thing with a broader analysis is that these internal dialectical dynamics of imperialism, sub-imperialism, peripheralisation, and oppression are self-determined BECAUSE of the system. Diagnosis of externalised symptoms results in an allopathic symptomatic remedial …but the dynamics that produce the intra-capitalist imperialism remain to express elsewhere. Given time, any country that follows the capitalist Code will develop into an apex Imperium or sub-Imperium …it’s written into the Code. And the Code is self-determinative to the point of even producing the demagogues and despots that reinforce the Code.
The hemispherisation of the Code belies the vital insight that the Code is MIND IN ACTION. Not not an externalised and hemispherised social system. If we can recognise the Code from within …WE CAN CHANGE THE CODE.
What I am aiming at is to cut off the Code, which expresses inter-subjectively as imperialism, to cut it off at its source in mind …so there are no more potential Syrias or Gazas ever again.
BTW: the ariviste elite will be no improvement on the old guard elite …their so-called socialism is more of a head-fuck than overt self-maximising greed… which at least dispensed with the moral and universalist pretence. The elite agenda is to own everything, or die trying. That can only ever be modulated by system change.
Very good, BigB. The capitalist code or legal order that’s enforced is not so much “mind in action” but GIVEN mind in action. We inherit the legal code and it informs the social environment we inhabit. You can know it better if you separate plain language from the language the legal authorities use in legal proceedings…that’s enforced. A lot of people live on a lawless planet. All words are in order, except freedom. So now you can invoke your freedom and reconstitute the social relations of production and cooperation. We’re not slaves. Revolution on again!
Jen, agreed in full; especially the paragraphs which spell out what the WSWS / Trotskyist / Fake Left do not (simpbly will not?) understand about local national resistance to the global AZC:
“For all that, when people realise that their countries are under threat of invasion or coup attempts against their governments, they realise that, to resist such attempts, they must support the systems and institutions they have, imperfect and flawed though they are,_ if only because these are all they have and constructing new systems or reconstructing previous systems will be difficult if invasion or regime change goes ahead, and war, chaos and violence become the new normal_.
In the case of Syria, if the Syrian people support their current government under Bashar al Assad, that’s because they recognise aspects of that government and Assad’s leadership and personality, which we outside Syria may not be privy to know because of biased Western reporting and censorship …”
Entirely agree with everything that you write, with perhaps only a quibble here, and a quibble there, none of which is really worth a mention.
And yes, let us hope that the Syrian government has learned that it can not carry on as it did before.
As Amin put it, “[t]he answer to the [Syrian] question is really changing the system to the benefit of, through negotiations with, the real popular democratic movement. This is the challenge. And this is the question which is raised. We don’t know, I don’t know, I think nobody knows how things will move on: whether the regime, or people within the regime, will understand that and move towards real reform by opening, more than negotiations, a re-distribution of the power system with the popular democratic movement, or will stick to the way of meeting explosions just brutally as they have done until today. If they continue in that direction, finally they will be defeated, but they will be defeated to the benefit of imperialist powers.”
One can be hopeful. And given the terrible suffering that Syrians have had to endure, including at the hands of the regime and its allies, an end to the bloodshed is long past due, not to mention that it most likely could have been averted at the very outset of the uprisings.
My point all along, pertaining to Syria, has simply been this: a stratagem that all governments use to legitimize the repression of their own people is to blame foreign elements for any unrest or uprisings that are in reality endogenous. If one buys into this deception, a deception that may go so far as aiding and abetting actual infiltrations of mercenaries to make good on the threat of ‘foreign’ meddling, the result is that solidarity between oneself and the people righteously rising up becomes impossible, and one ends up supporting brutalities that one ought really to condemn.
Merely as an example: let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the repression of Uyghurs in China, about which we have heard rumors, is real.
But not being privy to any solid information, we don’t know that it is or isn’t real. Furthermore, let us suppose that the Uyghurs begin to rebel in earnest and en masse.
Clearly, if the repression is real, the Uyghurs are entirely within their rights to defend themselves against the aggression of the Chinese government.
But how will the Chinese government present the situation to both its national and international publics?
Will it admit to its unwarranted repression and persecution of the Uyghurs? Or will it rather attempt to present itself as the victim, say, of a foreign conspiracy, of a destabilization campaign being conducted, say, by the U.S. and its regional allies?
Of course, since there is real tension between the U.S. and China, it might well be that the U.S. will have positioned itself to have a hand in encouraging the militancy of the Uyghurs and making it effective.
On the other hand, it might also be that both the U.S. and the Chinese establishment — who are solid business partners getting rich on the backs of ordinary Chinese — are equally alarmed by the possibility of unrest spreading throughout China, of unrest possibly being set off by an isolated rebellion in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
In that case, what would prevent the U.S. and the Chinese from joining together to quell that rebellion?
The U.S. could publicly feign being in sympathy with the Uyghurs’ cause, thereby giving credence to the claim that the rebellion was being instigated from abroad, and this, of course, would encourage a break in solidarity between the Uyghurs as such and the rest of the Chinese working class; furthermore, by infiltrating the militant organizations of the Uyghurs — for the American sympathy would not merely be verbal, but material — the U.S. could provide the Chinese establishment with critical intelligence, you know, of the kind that the Catholic Church provided to the Argentinian Junta.
But regardless of how the U.S. and the Chinese would opt to handle the unrest in the Xinjiang Region, you can see how a deserved solidarity with the Uyghurs might be preempted: as a leftist of good conscience, taking at face value the public maneuverings of the U.S. and the Chinese establishment, you could not possibly acknowledge the legitimacy of the Uyghurs’ rebellion, because being the product of an apparent Imperial conspiracy, the rebellion would appear to be a false rebellion, with the Uyghurs being nothing but American stooges and thus to be condemned in their unwarranted and criminal acts of ‘violence.’
And yet the truth of the matter would be otherwise . . .
Dear Norman. You write…”As Amin put it, “[t]he answer to the [Syrian] question is really changing the system to the benefit of, through negotiations with, the real popular democratic movement. This is the challenge. And this is the question which is raised…..”
Who are these popular democratic people across the country’s working class in Syria and how many do they have as members and what percentage of the working class do the Syrian working class believe they represent?
You should try to keep up, Susan. I’ve been posting links to tomes of information on the subject. If you won’t take the time to familiarize yourself with the literature, I can’t read it for you.
Hi Norman, I’ve read it and the question I asked still stands. How many of the Syrian working class believe those claiming to be representing the working class are actually doing so? I can find a few anti Assadists who will spout all sorts of claims but have very little in the way of a following and there are quite a few Syrians who are working class and describe those purporting to represent them as “troublemakers” and extremists, cynical manipulators, fanatical idealogues with violent tendancies. Some of the supposed “lefties” spend a long time in jail – 16 years for instance, for instigating violence against citizens, kicking the crap out of them while they were on the ground, hospitalising them, leaving them paralyzed and severely injuring the police called in to help.
I don’t want ideology taken to extremes to the point where the adherence to the cause obscures how it is achieved which is what is happening now in the left and so-called socialist movements, nor do I want to hear from academics who have a vested interest in feathering their own nest at the expense of fairness. That there are problems in Syria, including corruption and a lack of true democracy, is not in dispute, a visit to the US, the UK, France or any number of so-called “civilised democracies” is evidence enough that those same problems exist across the globe and THAT is also not in dispute, except that the latter mentioned are the ones passing judgement on the former, a case of Pot, Kettle, Black if ever there was one.
If all regimes are corrupt, as you admit, then on whose side should you be?
On the side of the murdering mafias ruling over us all, or on the side of their victims, the overwhelming majority of people everywhere?
Ordinary people do rise up now and again, when life becomes too unbearable for them. And when they do, the states against which they battle drown them in blood.
And among the popular masses, there will always be criminal and murderous riff-raff that you can blame for the “trouble,” and much of that riff-raff will opportunistically be in the service of this or that ruling national or international mafia for the purpose of either derailing popular struggles or co-opting them.
In 2011, Syrians did rise up. You don’t accept that. But I do, and on the basis things that I ‘know’ as well as on things written and reported by others, a basis of informed opinion that is no different from your own, namely, information gathered from hither and yon, and interpreted or misinterpreted by my own attempts to come to terms with it.
You know your own mind, Susan. And I know my own.
The killers and profiteers in high places deserve nothing but my undying contempt and will get nothing less, whether in the East or the West, the North or the South.
Hi Norman, my
Hi Norman, my question was ……”How many of the Syrian working class believe those claiming to be representing the working class are actually doing so.”
Quite what I’m supposd to take from your response, I don’t know. It was a genuine question and one many socialists and Trotskyists, Marxists etc. seem reluctant to answer which leaves me suspicious with very good reason. Until someone answers the question with facts and figures I’ll keep asking the question. Corbyn claims to be a socialist – he does not represent me, Arthur Scargill claimed to be a socialist he didn’t represent me back in ’79, he represented 38% of 400,000 workers of the 40 million workers in Britain. Not only is that indicative of the veracity of the false claims so many so-called socialists make as being representative of the many it is in essence propaganda. Corbyn now backs NATO, Trident, Israel’s new dictionary version of anti-Semitism and the Magnitsky Rule which was introduced as a means of attacking Russia, for someone claiming to be a Socialist he’s got a lot of explaining to do. Swapping one kind of dictatorship for another is less than ideal and I have yet to find a means of bringing Marx into the noughties without either corrupting or compromising his ideology in order to put it in place. That’s currently what is happening as was the case with the Chavistas and the Trade Unions in many countries.Now it’s hard to know who the real socialists are and which ones are climbing into bed with the Washington war hawks and getting their funding from the IMC or NGO’s.
We’ll just have to agree to disagree until such time as the many are all singing from the same song sheet.
No one “represents’ the working class of Syria. The working class of Syria is a reality that stands on its own.
In the current state of affairs, that class is in a state of fragmentation, just as it is everywhere else.
But having said that, in the early days of the ‘uprisings,’ when working class people throughout Syria began to engage in public manifestations of mass dissent, and not under the banner or the leadership of anything or anyone other than themselves, there was an incipient movement of working class integration, as was expressed in the phenomenon of ‘local councils.’
See this, for example: The Experience of Local Councils in the Syrian Revolution; and this: The Promise of Local Councils: A Future for Syrians, by Syrians
Do note that there are references that you can follow up. You are as adept as I am in researching the internet. You can do your own homework.
If and when I have the time — if I decide to invest the time — I will compile a list of references that I will post at my blog, to substantiate the ‘fact’ that Syrians in 2011 did rise up against the Syrian state and that the State reacted brutally to preempt and crush that spontaneous and self-organizing resistance.
If I don’t get around to doing this, there is yet plenty of material that I’ve already posted with a host of references that can be followed up and turned to account. Just search ‘Syria,’ and see what articles come up, and don’t neglect the comments, as I’ve linked to material there as well.
I’ll try to be as forthcoming as I can, but I ain’t promising anything. At this moment, I’ve other things weighing rather more insistently on my mind. I’ll also remind you that I’m not renewing my subscription to WordPress, so things will vanish some time between now and the end of December. So . . .
P.S. just google the string “local councils in the Syrian uprising” to see what might come up.
Hi Norman, I was hoping you were going to continue your subscription and wish you could get a free one like mine. Will keep reblogging your Marxist archives and other articles, but you don’t need a WordPress account to put forward your own views on sites like this. Will visit your blog when you next post.
NORMAN PILON The classes form the basis of cooperation and production and are the defining characteristic of capitalist societies. There’s no way the working class, wage workers, “stands on it’s own.” What kind of “socialist” are you?
“What kind of “socialist” are you?”
The kind of socialist who can read in “context.”
Let’s say, for example, that everyone who was a wage slave subscribed to a capitalist ideology. Would that make them all capitalists, or would they yet, despite their notions of what they themselves were about, be working class?
You know, I’m leaning on the distinction between a “class in-itself” and a “class for-itself.”
But clearly, you are way more of a ‘real’ socialist than I am. More’s the pity, then.
One problem I found Googling “local councils Syrian” and following the links offered was that I invariably ended up looking at photographs of the local Syrian councils’ financial partners based in the UK, the US or the Netherlands (once I arrived at the website and hit the “About” tab) or trying to link to their partners in the FSA and getting the “404” message instead.
Maybe Google is leading me astray with its censorship regime?
Hi Jen. The point I was trying and failing to get across is that their is plenty of left wing literature playing a supporting role in justifying “democratization” of Syria but the left does not pour heart and soul into lots of literature on countries that the Imperialists are NOT gunning for. I don’t know how many ways I can say it but if you want to know who the US/UK alliance is intent on destroying you only have to read what certain leftist organisations are concentrating their efforts on. I’m afraid that my point is being entirely lost on some people who seem hell bent on demonizing Syria’s government but either unaware or worse fully cognizant with the fact that this is deliberate targetting in order to prop up the MIC/war hawks illegal interference and violation of International Law. I’m not interested in how many articles a person can find on how awful Syria is, it pales to insignificance against the many monstrous regimes the Imperialists are NOT after but which the left(or certain elements of it)somehow forget exist on this planet. I suggest that it is deliberate and I have nothing but contempt for those supposedly socialist organisations failing their due diligence on reporting with the same gusto as they have done on Iraq, Libya, Sria, Iran, China and Russia, just to name but a few they are showing great diligence in damning to hell and back.
I am a friend of Norman Pilon and he is a good person, but he seems to be totally pre-occupied in attacking Syria or any of the US victim countries but doesn’t ask the same question I do. Quite simply….why is their so much interest in Syria’s problems but not the same interest elsewhere?
I’d like to read about the ME monarchies, or the African and South American countries(except of course Venezuela who the US want to destroy – again there is plenty written denouncing that country by these same leftist organisations). I have an Ethiopian friend who sends me messages and wants to know why the socialists are not saying anything about what’s going on there, I’ve told him it’s simple, the US, UK and UN are running that corrupt show and the lefties don’t care, which is the truth.
Do you understand what it is I’m trying to get across, plenty others do but not my friend.
I would be surprised if Google were censoring a piece that was derogatory about the Syrian government, but not in the least surprised if you tried to find out about it’s covenance.
I got this much which makes for interesting reading:
The Institute for War & Peace Reporting is governed by senior journalists, peace-building experts, regional specialists and business professionals. All Members serve on the IWPR International Board, to provide strategic, guidance, issues and regional expertise, development and outreach assistance, and direct support.
BOARD MEMBERS – Bios
Sir David Bell
International Chairman of the Board; Former Chair of Pearson Plc and The Financial Times
Ralph H. Isham
United States Board Chair; Founder and Managing Director, GH Venture Partners
Netherlands Board Chair; President and Chairman of the Board, RBC
Managing Director, Cententia Group; Former Chief of Staff to Walter Cronkite
IWPR Executive Director
Director of Global Policy Development, Soros Fund Management
Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford
Founder, Redstone Global; Former Asst. Sec. of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor
Cor Jan Dasselaar
Self-employed governance risk and compliance consultant
Janine di Giovanni
Senior Fellow at Yale University, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
CEO, Drax Group Plc
Consultant, Value Retail Plc
Partner at White & Case
Ralph H. Isham
United States Board Chair; Founder and Managing Director, GH Venture Partners
Dean of the Media School, Bournemouth University
Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Times
International Security Fellow at New America, Media Fellow at Carnegie Corporation
Author & Staff Writer, The New Yorker
Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London
Annelies van der Pauw
Corporate lawyer, partner of Allen & Overy
Netherlands Board Chair; President and Chairman of the Board, RBC
US Managing Editor of the Financial Times
Media Outreach & Communications Consultant
Council advisor at the Council of State
Vice President, Goldman Sachs
I suspect the interest that “The Left” has in Syria’s local councils is that they present opportunities for individuals, interest groups, NGOs and political parties funded from outside Syria to penetrate the country’s grassroots political and cultural institutions and influence and direct Syrian citizens against the government. “Leftist” interest in Syrian problems at the local government level may be no more than getting a foot in the door that can lead to influencing local politics and developing a new political opposition to Damascus that will hamstring both sides and stop or impede co-ordination on reconstruction projects.
I’m sure you already know Syria was on the hit list of the Project for the New American Century along with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and North Korea twenty years ago. Syria is also the last bastion of the Ba’ath Party and its goal of a secular, pan-Arab union. On top of that, individual countries in the Middle East neighbouring Syria have their own reasons for wanting to overthrow the current Syrian government: to get rid an ally of Hezbollah (Israel), to annex parts of northern Syria as part of a neo-Ottoman project (Turkey), to install a puppet government (Saudi Arabia) or to punish Syria for agreeing to a gas pipeline running from Iran’s part of the Persian Gulf through Iraq, Syrian territory to a port in Lebanon so ships could transport gas to southern Europe (Qatar).
Something worth reading (perhaps?): Perceptions of Governance — The Experience of Local Administrative Councils in Opposition-held Syria
Hey, Mohan….funny scene, that Syrian rebel one. One thing wott comes tae mind is the following – after 6 year of bluddshed, and farsens of der rebels havin’ been lickerdaerted inn’e meantime – how come there’s so many of them left; so tellmeare: where alla dem misfits come from – re-incarnayshon or wha’?
@Helmut Taylor. Not sure if you are seriously asking that question but most of the terrorists are not Syrians, except for the disaffected and Islamic State supporters, the majority are AQ and various other terrorist groups from far flung places in the ME and Europe.
Whoever you are, perhaps you could talk less and say more in a language the majority of us can actually understand.
I see that the comments thread started by my original comment has gone in the direction of the Uyghurs. Wishing to gently nudge it back to Syria but maintaining the connection to the Uyghurs, I present here a link to a documentary “Undercover in Idlib”, narrated by Jenan Moussa (a reporter for Al Aan TV in Dubai and who is critical of the Syrian government – I don’t call it a regime) in 2017.
Among other things the documentary shows that one town in Idlib province, Jisr al Shugur, appears to be completely depopulated of its pre-2011 inhabitants and its current residents are now Uyghurs and other people of Central Asian appearance. Moussa’s sources who travelled in the province, using cellphones to document what they see, agree that there are 10,000 – 20,000 Uyghurs now living in Idlib province.
One might ask: how did the Uyghurs and their families come to be in Idlib province and what is their business there?
Forgive me for having hijacked and deflected your original thread. I thought I was responding to a comment you had directed at me. But go figure.
As for the Uyghurs, I’m fairly certain I enlisted that issue to construct a hypothetical by means of which to clarify a point about how a person’s solidarity can end up being misplaced, as it most probably was for a great many people in the parallel case of Syria.
That’s what I was speaking to, I think, though I now know I was posting a comment in your thread, and that I really had no cause bringing the Uyghurs into it in the way that I did.
“One might ask: how did the Uyghurs and their families come to be in Idlib province and what is their business there?”
Yup. One might very well ask that. I’ll keep an eye out for solid information on the issue, and if I ever do come across any, I’ll be sure to let you know about it.
In the meantime, I guess its safe to presume that the takeaway in your comment is that there is something very sinister about the Uyghurs, certainly about those in Syria if not about all of the rest of them in Xinjiang. Though maybe about the latter, too?
Fascinating, too, don’t you think? I mean, as an odd sort of coincidence: Uyghurs in Syria, that we had never really heard about until only recently, as members of the Takfiri axis, the lot of whom may be presumed to be U.S. proxies, and about whom we are also only beginning to hear noises as pertains to China.
Strange how all of that could easily be incorporated into the scenario I concocted, something that would certainly enhance its plausibility even if an entirely imaginary scenario.
I find nothing sinister about the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The only thing I find sinister is your attempt to bring them into the conversation to suggest I (and others commenting here) may be prejudiced towards Uyghurs on the basis of their ethnicity and religion. This is what you are itching to say, am I not correct?
Keep going with your twaddle. The more you reply to me and to others here, the more you demonstrate that you are an example of the type of “leftist” CJ Hopkins writes about in his article.
I’m not imputing anything to you. The question you raise is warranted and an important one. Who knows what one will discover in trying to answer it.
But, yes, I’m suggesting that there is a danger, here, of a propagandistic nature: that the actions of ‘some’ Uyghurs in Syria may become grounds for smearing an entire people in China, who being in a condition of oppression, may begin to struggle in earnest, and righteously so, but because of this (deliberate?) preemptive association between ‘terrorists’ in Syria and the Uyghurs in China, the latter’s struggle will in this way in the minds of far too many be made utterly illegitimate.
Call it twaddle if you will, and maybe it is a whole lot of twaddle. But that’s how I see what appears to me to be the substance of an emerging propaganda operation.
It behooves us, I think, to be circumspect in our parsing of any surfacing information in any way connected to the issue of the Uyghurs.
Before I go to bed, if only as a beginning, a link to a December 2017 article that may shed some light on the question you raise: Is China’s Uyghur Challenge Changing Its Calculus on Syria?
Better (if dated 2014 and focused more on the situation in Xinjiang) : What We Talk About When We Talk About “The Uyghurs”
And good night.
China exists in the context of class struggle. Out and out socialism can’t exist under those conditions. Capitalism relies on military might and armed force. The ruling class can fall back into barbarism and go to war. Being a socialist is not synonymous with being stupid. I can be a socialist and attend socialist meetings and read socialist literature….and know that is not a mass movement and know what the power of the capitalist opposition looks like. That’s politics…say the politics of resistance or not selling out to capitalism and revolutionary politics aimed at the creation of socialism, pro-actively. It’s class struggle and it will be over when it’s over. Capitalism doesn’t have a monopoly on existence.
I used to belong to a small group of alt-leftists dating from the 1970s who put forward the reasonable idea of the futility of remaining a small discussion group which had no real impact on the class struggle as such. It was all very well reading the Grundrisse, Lukacs, Gramsci and such like, but we really needed to get our hands dirty and involving ourselves in the mass organizations of the then working classes – the Labour Party and the trade unions. All of which seemed eminently reasonable and correct at the time. Ah, but the dog it was that died, we didn’t inflitrate them, they infiltrated us. The magazine which I used to write for now features hyper-globalists, Blairites, Russophobes, trade union bureaucrats, remainers, identitarians and apolitical youth in favour of the EU because they can have cheap holidays in Greece or Portugal, George Soros fans and other such ideological riff-raff.
Such are the dangers of co-option. To their eternal shame the ex-left’s championing of the liberal-globalist agenda has let the radical right in where the left should have been. History is not going to judge kindly these turncoats
I guess you used to get yer copy of the International Times (out of Endell Street) reggler (and maybe Gandalf’s Jardin?), and possibly even the “Thurrock News”….and the Speakeasy?
Poverty and lack of education is the great problem.Who are the ‘Working Classes? Just lets get socialist governments in place and don’t believe in all the rubbish about Putin,US is the danger.
Many thanks for this shrewd article which I enjoyed very much. All the more reason to head straight to OffG when I open my laptop.
Agreed! This was an excellent article and I also read the link to Diane Johnstone’s take on it all, which was spot on, as she always is…
Yes, now that you’ve explained, it all becomes clear. The working class cannot lead the revolution by the working class. By the way, I read CJ Hopkins piece posted September 30 on the Greanville Post. I stopped my subscription to Counter Punch about two years ago, because as I told them, it had lost its punch. Jeff St. Clair replied with a ‘good riddance.’ I stopped watching Amy Goodman 3 or 4 years ago. I guess the answer is, it’s liberals all the way down.
Geof….who to believe then; Henry Miller or Dave in Folkestone – or wha’?
Sorry Helmut, but I don’t know your references. Do you mean Henry Miller the novelist? Who is Dave? Did you read Hopkins’ piece on being smeared by Counter Punch?
geoffreyskoll – great comments and observations. Not only has Counterpunch dismissed strong anti-imperialist / anti-neoliberal voices like Diana Johnstone and Andre Vltchek in the last 12 months (too “leftist”), they just recently cut CJ Hopkins loose too. Counterpunch apparently doesn’t appreciate those who fail to repeat the regime change nonsense they publish by the likes of Louis Proyect and Melvin Goodman, and they continue to peddle the Russiagate nonsense.
Their past attacks on Caitlin Johnstone were both pathetic, and quite telling regarding the character (or rather “lack of”) of their editors. One could be forgiven for thinking that they have long since ceased being a “left-progressive” outlet and have seemlessly morphed into yet another arm of the State propaganda apparatus ala Democracy Now. A limited hangout as it were. Controlled opposition.
With Democracy Now going the same direction and supporting the shameless CIA regime change narratives I’ve come to the conclusion Counterpunch and Democracy Now should just openly combine forces. They could call the new venture something like, oh – “Counter-Democracy,” or better yet – “Democracy-Punch!”
I love CJ Hopkins work and very much appreciate his show of integrity in continuing to critically and thoughtfully challenge the “resistance-left” that essentially sees the masses in the terms that madame Clinton famously referred to them, as – “the deplorables.”
I wouldn’t say “Democracy Now” is going in the same direction as Counterpunch as posit that DN was there much earlier, showing that the way to robust fundraising from NGO types was facilitated by taking a Democratic Party line on most foreign policy (“Assad is a dictator who kills his own people!” “Russia is bad!”). Counterpunch is getting there much later.
Way back when, in the days when Alexander Cockburn ran Counterpunch with a great deal more courage and integrity than exists there today, I talked to him after he’d given a speech at a “green living” type of event. His event had been sparsely attended while Amy Goodman was being mobbed by a crowd of adoring fans. I told him I wished as many people would listen to him as Amy, and he said, “Ah, the cult of Amy.” That cult unfortunately remains as committed while DN (although never great) is basically NPR with more “progressives”.
I’m a Stalinist. You just won a pair of concrete slippers …comrade. Any last requests before I sling you off a bridge?
I never read der Bible either….let alone thar tome!
I don’t know who you are or what you want (other than attention). In the words to Talking Heads, ‘you talk a lot but you don’t say anything.’