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How the Pro-War “Left” Fell for the Kurds in Syria

Max Parry

The October decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria did not only precipitate the Turkish offensive, codenamed ‘Operation Peace Spring’, into Kurdish-held territory which followed.

It also sparked an outcry of hysteria from much of the so-called “left” that has been deeply divided during the 8-year long conflict over its Kurdish question. Despite the fact that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were objectively a U.S. proxy army before they were “abandoned” by Washington to face an assault by its NATO ally, the ostensibly “progressive” politics of the mostly-Kurdish militants duped many self-identified people on the left into supporting them as the best option between terrorists and a “regime.”

Apparently, everyone on earth except for the Kurds and their ‘humanitarian interventionist’ supporters saw this “betrayal” coming, which speaks to the essential naiveté of such amateurish politics.

However, there is a historical basis to this political tendency that should be interrogated if a lesson is to be learned by those misguided by it.

Turkey initially went all-in with the West, Israel, and Gulf states in a joint effort to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by stoking the flames of the country’s Arab Spring in 2011 into a full-blown uprising. With Istanbul serving as the base for the opposition, Kurdish nationalists hoping to participate were not at all pleased that the alliance had based its government-in-exile in Turkey and naturally considered Ankara’s role to be detrimental to their own interests in establishing an autonomous ethnonationalist state.

Likewise, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not bargain on the conflict facilitating such a scenario, with the forty year war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey still ongoing.

When the PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) militias took control of northern Syrian towns and established a self-governing territory after boycotting the opposition, it was done only after negotiations between Damascus and Kurdish leaders. The Syrian government willingly and peacefully ceded the territory to them, just as we were told that the Baathists were among their oppressors.

The Rojava front opened up when the Kurds came under attack from the most radical jihadist militants in the opposition, some of which would later merge with the Islamist insurgency in western Iraq to form ISIS.

Yet we now know for a fact that the rise of Islamic State was something actually desired by the U.S.-led coalition in the hopes of bringing down Assad, as revealed in a declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report. Shortly after clarifying that the opposition is “backed by the West, Gulf countries and Turkey”, the memo states:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Meanwhile, it was the Kurds themselves who divulged Ankara’s support for Daesh, frequently retrieving Turkish-issued passports from captured ISIS fighters. Even Emmanuel Macron said as much at the recent NATO summit in London, prompting a row between France and Turkey that took a backseat to the more ‘newsworthy’ Trump tantrum over a hot mic exchange between the French President and his Canadian and British counterparts.

Then there was the disclosure that the late Senator John McCain had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria in mid-2013 to meet with leaders of the short-lived Free Syrian Army (FSA), dubbed as “moderate rebels”, which just a short time later would decline after its members joined better armed, more radical groups and the ISIS caliphate was proclaimed.

One of the rebel leaders pictured with McCain in his visit is widely suspected to be the eventual chosen leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was allegedly killed in a U.S. raid in Idlib this October. Ironically, many of the Turkish-backed FSA militias are now assisting Ankara in its assault on the Kurds while those who supported arming them feign outrage over the US troop removal.

Henry Kissinger reportedly once remarked, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Given that the U.S. was at the very least still using Daesh as a strategic asset, it seems inexplicable that the Kurdish leadership could trust Washington.

The SDF had only a few skirmishes with the Syrian army during the entire war — if they wanted to defeat ISIS, why not partner with Damascus and Moscow? To say nothing of the U.S.’s long history of backing their oppression, from its support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s to the arming of Turkey’s brutal crackdown against the PKK which ended with the capture of its cultish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999.

Did they really think after enlisting them for its cosmetic ‘fight’ against ISIS that the U.S. would continue to side with them against Ankara?

Even so, Kurdish gains against Daesh would pale in comparison to those by the Syrian army with Russian air support. More perplexing is why anyone on the left would choose to back a group being used as a cat’s paw for imperialism, regardless of whatever ideals they claim to hold.

Perhaps the U.S. would not have reneged on its implicit pledge to help with the foundation of a Kurdish state had their “Assad must go” policy been successful, but the U.S. pullout appears to be the final nail in the coffin for both Washington’s regime change plans in Syria and an independent Kurdistan.

The YPG’s makeover as the SDF was done at the behest of the U.S. but this did nothing to diminish the objections of Ankara (or many ‘leftists’ from supporting them), who insisted the YPG was already an extension and rebranding of the PKK, a group Washington itself designates as a terrorist organization. Any effort to create a buffer state in the enclave was never going to be tolerated by Turkey but it nonetheless enabled the U.S. to illegally occupy northern Syria and facilitate the ongoing looting of its oil.

Unfortunately for Washington, the consequence was that it eventually pushed Ankara closer toward the Kremlin, as Turkey went from shooting down Russian jets one year to purchasing the S-400 weapon system from Moscow the next. After backing a botched coup d’etat attempt against Erdoğan in 2016, any hope of Washington bringing Turkey back into its fold would be to discard the Kurds as soon as their usefulness ran out, if it wasn’t too late to repair the damage already.

Why would the U.S. risk losing its geo-strategic alliance with Turkey?

To put it simply, it’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel took greater precedent. Any way you slice it, Washington’s foray into the region has been as much about Zionism as imperialism and its backing of the Kurds is no exception.

Despite the blowback, the invasion of Iraq and destruction of Libya took two enormous sources of support for the Palestinian resistance off the chessboard. It may have strengthened Iran in the process, but that is all the more reason for the U.S. to sell a regime change attempt in Tehran in the future.

Regrettably for Washington, when it tried to do the same in Syria, Russia intervened and emerged as the new peace broker in the Middle East. It comes as no surprise that following the Turkish invasion of northern Syria amid the U.S. withdrawal, the Kurds have finally struck a deal with Damascus and Moscow, a welcome and inevitable development that should have occurred years ago.

One of the main reasons for the Kurds joining the SDF so willingly has the same explanation as to why Washington was prepared to put its relationship with Ankara in jeopardy by supporting them: Israel.

The cozy relationship between the Zionist state and the various Kurdish groups centered at the intersection of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria goes back as far as the 1960s, as Jerusalem has consistently used them to undermine its enemies.

It is not by chance that their respective interests overlap to a near tee, between the founding of a Kurdish protectorate and the Zionist plan for a ‘Greater Israel’ in the Middle East which includes a balkanization of Syria.

Mossad has openly provided the Kurds with training and they have learned much in the ways of the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the Jewish state in order to carve out a Syrian Kurdistan. One can certainly have sympathy for the Kurds as the largest ethnic group in the world at 40 million people without a state, but the Israel connection runs much deeper than geopolitical interests to the very ideological basis of their militancy which calls all of their stated ideals into question.

The ties between the YPG and the PKK are undeniable, as both groups follow jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan’s teachings which merge Kurdish nationalism with the theories of ‘democratic confederalism’ from the influential Jewish-American anarchist philosopher, Murray Bookchin.

While the PKK may have been initially founded as a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ organization in the early 70s, a widespread misconception is that it still follows that aim when its ideology long-ago shifted to that of a self-professed and contradictory ‘libertarian socialism’ theorized by Bookchin who was actually a zealous anti-communist.

Not coincidentally, the Western anarchist icon was also an avowed Zionist who often defended Israel’s war crimes and genocide of Palestinians while demonizing its Arab state opponents as the aggressors, including Syria. Scratch an anarchist and a neo-conservative will bleed, every time.

Many on the pseudo-left who have pledged solidarity with the Kurds have attempted to base their reasoning on a historically inaccurate analogy comparing the Syrian conflict with the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

You would think ISIS would be the obvious first choice for the fascists in the Syrian war, but journalist Robert Mackey of popular “progressive” news site The Intercept even tried to cast the Syrian government as Francisco Franco’s Nationalists in an article comparing the 1937 bombing of Guernica by the Condor Legion to the 2018 chemical attack in Douma which remains in dispute regarding its perpetrator.

One wonders if Mackey will retract his absurd comparison now that dozens of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have dissented in emails published by WikiLeaks showing that the OPCW engaged in a cover-up with the Trump administration to pin blame for the attacks on the Syrian government instead of the opposition, but don’t hold your breath.

In this retelling of the Spanish Civil War, the Kurds are generally seen in the role of the Trotskyite Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and the anarchist trade union National Confederation of Labour (CNT).

In the midst of the conflict between the Nazi-supported Nationalists and Soviet-backed Republicans that was a prelude to World War II, the mobilization effort of all anti-fascist forces into a unified Popular Front was obstructed by the ultra-left and intransigent POUM and CNT who were then expelled from the coalition for their sectarianism.

While the government was still fighting the Francoists, the POUM and CNT then attacked the Republicans but were put down in a failed insurrection. Although this revolt did not directly cause the loyalist defeat, it nevertheless sapped the strength from the Popular Front and smoothed the path for the generalissimo’s victory.

In the years since, Trotskyists have attempted to rewrite history by alleging that a primary historical text documenting the POUM’s sabotage of the Republicans — a 1938 pamphlet by journalist Georges Soria, the Spanish correspondent for the French Communist Party newspaper L’Humanite — is a forgery.

On the Marxists Internet Archive website, an ‘editor’s note’ is provided as a preface to the text citing a single quote from Soria with the claim he admitted the work in its entirety was “no more than a fabrication”, but his words are selectively cropped to give that impression. While the author did admit accusations that the POUM‘s leadership were literal agents of Franco were a sensationalized exaggeration, the source of the full quote states the following:

On the one hand, the charge that the leaders of POUM, among them Andrés Nin, ‘were agents of the Gestapo and Franco’, was no more than a fabrication because it was impossible to adduce the slightest evidence. On the other hand, although the leaders of POUM were neither agents of Franco or agents of the Gestapo, it is true that their relentless struggle against the Popular Front played the game nolens volens (like it or not/willingly or unwillingly) of the Caudillo (General Franco).”

In other words, Soria did not say the whole work was counterfeit like the editor’s note misleadingly suggests and reiterated that the POUM’s subversion helped Franco. (The Marxists Internet Archive does not hide its pro-Trotsky bias in its FAQ section.)

Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm summarized the inherent contradictions of the Spanish Civil War and the role ultra-leftism played in the demise of the Republic in one of his later essays:

Of course, the posthumous polemics about the Spanish war are legitimate, and indeed essential — but only if we separate out debate on real issues from the parti pris of political sectarianism, cold-war propaganda and pure ignorance of a forgotten past.

The major question at issue in the Spanish civil war was, and remains, how social revolution and war were related on the republican side. The Spanish civil war was, or began as, both.

It was a war born of the resistance of a legitimate government, with the help of a popular mobilisation, against a partially successful military coup; and, in important parts of Spain, the spontaneous transformation of the mobilisation into a social revolution.

A serious war conducted by a government requires structure, discipline and a degree of centralisation. What characterises social revolutions like that of 1936 is local initiative, spontaneity, independence of, or even resistance to, higher authority — this was especially so given the unique strength of anarchism in Spain.”

Murray Bookchin also wrote at length about the Spanish Civil War but celebrated the decentralized anarchist tactics which incapacitated the Popular Front. The anarcho-syndicalist theorist championed the ‘civil war within the civil war’ as a successful example of his antithetical vision of ‘libertarian socialism’, while his emphasis on the individualist aspects of the former half of his oxymoronic and anti-statist theory often bears a striking resemblance to neoliberal talking points about self-regulating free markets.

This would explain why he actually regarded right-wing libertarians to be his natural allies over the the socialist left, whom he considered ‘totalitarian’ as he told the libertarian publication Reason magazine in an interview in 1979.

His reactionary demonization of the Soviet Union and dismissal of the accomplishments of all other socialist revolutions was recalled by Michael Parenti in Blackshirts and Reds:

Left anticommunists remained studiously unimpressed by the dramatic gains won by masses of previously impoverished people under communism. Some were even scornful of such accomplishments. I recall how in Burlington Vermont, in 1971, the noted anticommunist anarchist, Murray Bookchin, derisively referred to my concern for “the poor little children who got fed under communism” (his words).”

Like the International Brigades consisting of foreign volunteers to assist the Spanish Republic in the 1930s, there is an ‘International Freedom Battalion’ currently fighting with the Kurds in Syria. Unfortunately, its live-action role playing ‘leftist’ mercenaries missed the part about the original International Brigades having been backed by the Comintern, not the U.S. military.

Meanwhile, Western media usually hostile to any semblance of radical politics have heavily promoted the Rojava federation as a feminist ‘direct democracy’ utopia, particularly giving excessive attention to the all-female Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) militia while ignoring the female regiments fighting for the secular Syrian government.

As a result of the media’s exoticized portrayal of the Kurds and their endorsement by prominent misleaders on the left, from Slavoj Žižek to Noam Chomsky, many have been fooled into supporting them.

If the Spanish Civil War was a dress rehearsal for WWII, it remains to be seen if Syria proves to be a run-through for another global conflict.

Then again, what has emerged from its climax is an increasingly multipolar world with the resurgence of Moscow as a deterrent to the mutually assured destruction between the U.S. and China. Leftists today wishing to continue the legacy of those who fought for the Spanish Republic should have thrown their support behind the Syrian patriots bravely defending their country from terrorism and imperialism, not left opportunism.

Thankfully, this time the good guys have prevailed while the Kurds have paid the price for betraying their fellow countrymen. Liberals shedding crocodile tears about Rojava should take comfort in the fact that they can always play the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game featuring the YPG fighting alongside the U.S. military if they need to fulfill their imperial fantasies.

Yes, that’s right, the latest installment of the popular first-person shooter franchise features a storyline inspired by the SDF. It’s too bad for them that in real life all of Syria will be returned to where it rightfully belongs under the Syrian Arab Republic.

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andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour
Dec 28, 2019 1:59 PM

The grooming of the left by the MIC/Neocons. It was the aforesaid MIC/Neocons who facilitated the rise of Daesh/ISIL. The Kurds and radical Islamists are natural enemies, so the West can use that to foment death and destruction in an area where they are trying to remove Assad. Turkey an unlikely recruit into the NATO ranks has always hated the Kurds and anyone else close to their borders – Armenians, Greeks, Syrians.
Iraq, followed by Libya and Syria is the ultimate “Pandora’s box” of chaos.
If only we had an independent organisation which could step in and put a stop to the conflict, such as – THE UNITED NATIONS – now based in New York, whose duties include being an enabler for US foreign policy (OPCW) and a protector for Israel.

Stomper of fuctards
Stomper of fuctards
Dec 26, 2019 8:25 PM

Weird how even articles denouncing the Kurds show photos of women Kurds, almost like the critic is unconsciously trying to showcase his own sexual chauvinism.

Max Parry
Max Parry
Dec 27, 2019 12:47 AM

Their Western anarcho supporters are the ones with an orientalist fetish. It’s a PR move influenced by the Israeli ‘sabra girl’ soldier

Stomper of fuctards
Stomper of fuctards
Dec 27, 2019 4:10 AM
Reply to  Max Parry

Try to comprehend what i wrote so that you don’t immediately become confused and lost with stupid hissings and bleatings about everything being influenced by Israel. I said that even the CRITICS of the Kurds show images of one of the many POSITIVE aspect of the Kurds in their hateful diatribes against them.

norman widom
norman widom
Dec 29, 2019 3:21 PM
Reply to  Max Parry

the girls of the idf are here ho init
such goode sniper of the semite childs of palestina

Phelim
Phelim
Dec 24, 2019 5:29 PM

The phrase “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” has nothing to do with Kissinger. It was coined by Palmerston, about Britain, not America.

Red Covair
Red Covair
Jan 3, 2020 6:48 PM
Reply to  Phelim

If you “believe in” Wikiquote, here’s their version :
“America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”
Henry Kissinger: The White House Years, quoted from Dinesh D’Souza: What’s so great about America. This echoes Lord Palmerston’s words: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual”.”

John Thatcher
John Thatcher
Dec 24, 2019 10:50 AM

A sensible article.

Tallis Marsh
Tallis Marsh
Dec 24, 2019 10:06 AM

People need to question why the establishment perseveres with using the Left/Right paradigm when it clearly does not accurately reflect the reality (on almost all subjects and issues)? Illusion and distraction? Helps with divide-and-conquer? Subjects should be explored through different lenses, surely? This Left-Right paradigm analysis is not fit for purpose now (if it ever was).

Tallis Marsh
Tallis Marsh
Dec 24, 2019 10:11 AM
Reply to  Tallis Marsh

P.S.

The truer (although crude) ‘axis’ surely is the powerless masses vs the tiny in number but powerful establishment?

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 24, 2019 2:26 PM
Reply to  Tallis Marsh

Yes.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 24, 2019 2:24 PM
Reply to  Tallis Marsh

Here, here.

davemass
davemass
Dec 24, 2019 3:45 AM

Thank you for putting Leftist in inverted commas!
I’m sick of seeing this reference to the US Democrat war-mongers;
I’m a Corbynite lefty, nationaliser, anti-(illegal) war person.
That’s being ‘Left’.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 23, 2019 10:35 PM

“Scratch an anarchist and a neo-conservative will bleed, every time,” is definitely a provocative statement. I think it’s interesting to consider, but I’m not sure it rings true. For example I can’t see how this applies to the likes of say, a David Graeber or a Noam Chomsky.
Also the concept of anarchism as a “libertarian socialism” might be called “antithetical” or “oxymoronic” by a reactionary thinker. The revolutionary way to look at it would be as a sublation. Or in fact that’s just the regular way to look at it. Honestly it takes a staggering lack of imagination, a dishonest lack I reckon, to smear the concept as a contradiction.

J-J
J-J
Dec 23, 2019 10:40 PM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

Ultra leftist detected! Behind every anarkid and Trotskyist is a neocon

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 24, 2019 2:07 PM
Reply to  J-J

This tankie slogan needs explained rather than mindlessly repeated–

Jack_Garbo
Jack_Garbo
Dec 24, 2019 1:59 AM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

Yep. Lots of sweeping generalizations with too few examples. Seductive but not satisfying. The writer’s flinging around contradictory concepts like hand grenades but the damage is more self-inflicted. He talks a good fight but has he ever been in a real one? That experience tends to sober one.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 24, 2019 2:18 PM
Reply to  Jack_Garbo

I wouldn’t know. But I imagine there would be a viscerality about it that tended to make petty ideological differences seem irrelevant.
And I do see the rhetorical damage of throwing anarchists under the bus as a self-inflicted wound. In my estimation if we are to have a successful emancipatory politics at this point in history, we need to unite from the ground up rather than divide along ideological lines.

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 24, 2019 7:19 AM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

It should be ‘scratch a Trot’ and you get a neo-conservative in utero.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 24, 2019 2:23 PM

I suppose that makes sense. As an example say, a Christopher Hitchens?

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 25, 2019 12:33 PM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

Most of the US neo-cons were earlier Trots, and many were acolytes of the sinister Leo Strauss who was great mates with Carl Schmitt, the Nazi jurist, whose theories of the ‘exceptional’ leader are so apple-pie that George Bush II just had to adopt them.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 26, 2019 6:09 PM

I see.
Thank you for this information–

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Dec 24, 2019 4:51 PM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

There is plenty of material out there A. Scott, which show Chomsky has morphed into his own embrace of clearly “neoconservative” foreign policy positions, such as discussed in the linked article, but surely you can do your own research if you are interested.

https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/1593-noam-chomsky-regime-change-syria.html

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 24, 2019 7:11 PM
Reply to  Gary Weglarz

I support the critique of so called “independent” media sources when they betray obvious alignment with imperialist power.
And I couldn’t agree more with the assertion that we should: “Avoid the allure of unquestioningly accepting the words of authority! Regardless of personage, open-minded skepticism is the key to developing our own ability to cut through disinformation and thwart the insidious acts propaganda is intended to disguise.”

That being said, in despite of my own personal affinity for Chomsky, the facts also bear out that Chomsky has always been a critic of imperialism, and he remains one to this day. He’s never undergone a fundamental neoconservative shift as did say, the late, great Christopher Hitchens.
I will grant that Chomsky’s moral critique of the Assad government and Russia becomes invalid, once he fails to critique the immorality of illegal and violent western intervention in Syria within the same breath. Chomsky is usually on point with his moral critiques yet here it would appear he dropped the ball. However I don’t see how it follows then that he is now revealed to be some sort of neoconservative in disguise.

And even if Chomsky did undergo a neoconservative shift, firstly that wouldn’t undermine the legitimacy of his formerly anarchist positions; and secondly it certainly wouldn’t mean that his formerly anarchist positions were somehow really just neoconservative positions all along.

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Dec 24, 2019 11:20 PM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

A. Scott Buch – I don’t disagree with your observations. I owe Chomsky a great debt for his writings on the U.S. counter-insurgency wars in Latin America, which led me to become actively involved for over a decade in the Solidarity movement. His work Manufacturing Consent with Ed Herman spurred decades of my own interest and research into propaganda and it’s effects. I’ve always differed from Noam on his support for the Warren Commission, and I am saddened that he feels a need to attack those who question the office 9/11 commission rather than simply saying he believes the office story – end of story. Why publicly demean those who find the official story quite ludicrous, as in the over 3,000 strong Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth who have published peer reviewed scientific journal articles debunking the physics of the official story?

So my feelings about Chomsky are quite mixed obviously. That he can now repeat CIA regime-change talking points in his old age seems like something I can’t really imagine him doing back in the 1980’s when he published “Turning The Tide” about U.S. support for torture and death squads and counter-insurgency mass murder in Latin America. We all change over time. I just never imagined Noam would change regarding a topic like this.

So though I’ll always feel a debt to Noam, I will also likely always disagree with him on a number of important subjects. I can live with that.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 26, 2019 6:06 PM
Reply to  Gary Weglarz

Gary Weglarz, thank you for your very clear and informed response.
I’m in agreement with you.
I’ve also found myself wondering over the years why Chomsky has been unable to take a critical look at 9/11. As you mentioned, the academic work is there. So his outright dismissal of the false flag theory as ludicrous has done those who work tirelessly to bring this into the light absolutely no favors whatsoever.
Chomsky should be looked at as critically as anyone else. But the idea that he is a closet neoconservative, or that anarchists are really only neoconservatives in disguise, truly is ludicrous.

Ash
Ash
Dec 27, 2019 12:24 AM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

To see the Professor of Linguistics himself drop blatant logical fallacies responding to questions about 9/11 was eye-opening, wasn’t it? There’s simply no way he was unaware of what he was doing there.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 27, 2019 5:29 PM
Reply to  Ash

I find the situation harder to read. I struggle to find a satisfactory reason as to why this is the case.
I feel like I’ve seen interviews where he goes to great pains to express that conspiracies are real and happen all the time throughout history. But then he dismisses the false flag theory of 9/11 with a rhetoric more typical to establishment apologists. Why?

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 27, 2019 7:33 AM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

Always agreeing with anyone seems daft to me. I hardly find it acceptable to agree with myself at times. As for Chomsky, he’s been correct or at least revealing of elite lies for decades. Regarding 9/11, that plain MOSSAD, sayanim and useful US stooges operation, I rather suspect that Chomsky knows that any disclosure of the Israeli attack on their favourite protector and milch-cow would be a psychic shock to Merkins, that could lead to anything, but all possibilities are B.A.D. Best just go with the ‘al-Qaeda did it’ laugh. The JFK denialism is much more baffling.

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 27, 2019 5:48 PM

It’s a fair theory but one with an unsatisfactory conclusion. It seems as if the psychic shock which you speak of, that could result from mass disclosure of a deeper, more troubling horror at the root of 9/11, would be precisely the jolt that led to broader awareness among the general population. How power really functions and the extent to which the average mind is mislead by propaganda. I see the possibility for a revolutionary moment tied up in that disclosure.
And I really don’t subscribe to the idea that the general public are easily triggered morons who wouldn’t know how to function in the face of a disturbing truth.
Yet I agree (and agreement amongst freethinking peoples is a good thing, I reckon) with you about how his JFK denialism is even more baffling. It seems the most likely explanation is that he is not bold enough to venture outside of the epistemologically sound data that he insists on building his theories upon?

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 27, 2019 9:58 PM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

What ‘epistemologically sound data’ is there that points to Oswald as the lone gunner being the assassin of JFK? The ‘magic bullet’?

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 28, 2019 12:24 AM

Ha ha. I’m with you.
I think it’s one of the absurdities that can arise out of a mania for only ‘epistemologically sound data.’ It then becomes “rational” to insist on the illogical.

George Mc
George Mc
Dec 25, 2019 1:29 PM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

I don’t think there is a contradiction between anarchism and libertarianism – both seem to me to be examples of a juvenile pose of complete autonomous freedom which, in real life, would always lead to reaction and regression. Therefore there is a definite contradiction between these terms and socialism. As Hal Draper wrote (and the “Theleme” refers to the principle of liberty of the Abbey of Theleme [in Rabelais]: “Do what you want!”) :

“Anarchism is not concerned with the creation of democratic control from below, but only with the destruction of “authority” over the individual, including the authority of the most extremely democratic regulation of society that it is possible to imagine. This has been made clear by authoritative anarchist expositors time and again; for example, by George Woodcock: “even were democracy possible, the anarchist would still not support it … Anarchists do not advocate political freedom. What they advocate is freedom from politics…” Anarchism is on principle fiercely anti-democratic, since an ideally democratic authority is still authority. But since, rejecting democracy, it has no other way of resolving the inevitable disagreements and differences among the inhabitants of Theleme, its unlimited freedom for each uncontrolled individual is indistinguishable from unlimited despotism by such an individual, both in theory and practice.”

from

https://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1966/twosouls/4-anarch.htm

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 26, 2019 6:51 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I hate to say it, but it’s your understanding of anarchism here that is sophomoric. I agree that the anarcho-capitalist position is juvenile and nothing more than an asinine outgrowth of American libertarianism. But those positions are absolutely incompatible with anarchism as such. They are bizarre perversions that have nothing to do with the anarchist tradition, which fits into the Marxist tradition and basically right along with any vision of Communism, as well as the core ideal of socialism, i.e. worker’s control over the means of production.

I will admit however that the defense of your position is solid.
I’m not very familiar with this line of anarchist thinking, but I’m in fierce opposition to it. Firstly if we are going to have the most egalitarian definition of liberty that we can, then the idea of freedom as defined by the demolition of all constraints is untenable. We need a definition of liberty that is positive and socially reaffirming, for example the one put forward by Sir Herbert Read: “. . . freedom is best conceived not as a negative rejection of external restrictions but as a positive self-regulating form of responsible activity.”
The egoist strain of anarchism may advocate freedom from politics but again this is a position that is untenable as you have pointed out, and not one that I feel is fair to suggest encompasses the broad range of anarchist theory, which has developed over the past two centuries or so. Anarchism is not anti-democratic. The only kind of anarchism that would be I guess, would be a form of fascistic anarchism. And there is certainly a danger of any kind of unleashed anarcho-capitalism almost certainly leading in this direction. But such a position does indeed only appeal to those with a staggeringly limited political vision, in which a complete autonomous freedom that would lead to collective lawlessness is something to be desired.

Again this despotism shouldn’t be called anarchism but rather fascistic chaos, although I certainly can’t tell you how to define your terms. I can only stress that if you believe the anarcho-capitalist strain of “anarchism” is the definitive form of anarchism, you are very much off base. It would be like saying that Stalinism is the definitive form of socialism.

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 27, 2019 7:36 AM
Reply to  A. Scott Buch

I think that there must be some reason for all the depictions of fasces, those symbols of Roman State power, and so beloved of Mussolini, in the US Capitol building.

Max Parry
Max Parry
Dec 27, 2019 2:47 PM
Reply to  George Mc

The contradiction is with socialism, as I thought I made clear

A. Scott Buch
A. Scott Buch
Dec 27, 2019 6:09 PM
Reply to  Max Parry

But if socialism is at its core about worker control over the means of production, then there is no contradiction with anarchism here. Also the anti-statist aspect of anarchism is not in contradiction with any basic conception of Communism by a traditional Marxist.
The main tension between anarchism and socialism lies in the question of the State.
Undoubtedly there is an irreconcilable tension between anarcho-capitalism and socialism, but no self-respecting anarchist considers anarcho-capitalism to be a legitimate form of anarchism. Anarchism is a fundamentally anti-capitalist political theory. However I do recognize that these are the ways I have chosen to define such terms.

George Mc
George Mc
Dec 28, 2019 4:28 PM
Reply to  Max Parry

And as I acknowledged here:

“…..Therefore there is a definite contradiction between these terms and socialism.”

RobG
RobG
Dec 23, 2019 9:25 PM

Yet another iconic image from France today (23rd December).

The CRS (French riot police) beating the crap out of Father Christmas…

Well, the footage of French police beating the crap out of Father Christmas this morning now seems to have been removed from all social media (save everything as soon as you see it, is perhaps the lesson).

In the meantime, here’s the French police beating the crap out of other peaceful protestors this morning…

https://twitter.com/Gerrrty/status/1209188022362787840

RobG
RobG
Dec 23, 2019 9:42 PM
Reply to  RobG

I have found some footage of the aftermath of the French police beating the crap out of another Father Christmas this weekend, in Marseille…

https://twitter.com/1_jaunes/status/1208413708990517249

RobG
RobG
Dec 23, 2019 10:22 PM
Reply to  RobG

By the way, most of these ‘riot control’ police in France are now brought in from other EU countries (German and slavic languages being most predominant).

It should be remembered that this current wave of protests in France goes back to January 2016, nearly four years ago now (the last major general strike was in March 2016).

Not so many months back the police in France actually started demonstrating, and took to the streets of Paris in large numbers (it’s an NYT piece, and has to be taken as such).

Point is, that however much the CRS are a tool of the state, most of the police in France are not, and they won’t go against their own people.

This is why, with this massive level of protest, the French state has had to draft in thugs from other European states.

This is obviously not going down well with many people in France, whatever their income bracket.

The general strike, now into its third week, still has large popular support.

Methinks President Macron is going to have his Ceaușescu moment.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Dec 24, 2019 1:00 PM
Reply to  RobG

Yup. There’s your ‘European Army’ for you! A a pan-continental force to crush popular revolts.

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 27, 2019 7:38 AM
Reply to  RobG

Micron, that creation of the Rothschild hydra and the CRIF, has never hidden his contempt for the proles, and now he has unleashed Nemesis.

Gall
Gall
Dec 23, 2019 9:20 PM

No doubt Israel is one of the key culprits here but this sort of thing has been going on since the fraudulent “Doctrine of Discovery” was issued in the 15th Century:

https://doctrineofdiscovery.org/what-is-the-doctrine-of-discovery/

Exemplified in Kipling’s paean to US’ imperialism in the Philippines entitled “White Man’s Burden”.

The irony of the Soros’ controlled “left” who are the one’s responsible for installing a Nazi regime the Iron Guard in Ukraine. Now clamoring for the US to remain in Syria is just too much.

Also comparing it to the Spanish civil war proves that what Marx says about history is true. First as tragedy than as farce.

Both the neoliberals and neocons come from the same evil seed of Trotsky who in reality made Stalin look like a virgin choir boy in his urge for world revolution echoed by globalism AKA the third way. The Israelis are into this project because they are the original white supremacists according to their Talmud and that no matter what race, color or creed. To them you are nothing but worthless goyim.

RobG
RobG
Dec 23, 2019 11:31 PM
Reply to  Gall

Gall, we now live in a total fog of propaganda (with what now seems like almost unlimited false flag operations). So what do we do about all this?

I have to say (as a pacifist) that I have no answer.

Gall
Gall
Dec 24, 2019 12:48 AM
Reply to  RobG

I think the first step is just becoming more aware that that is what is really happening. In other words expanding one’s mind but in this case without the help of the CIA’s little helper LSD. Never becoming fixed on one narrative. Having awareness of the sources of propaganda from either side of the false dialectic known as the “left” and the “right”.

From there withdrawing one’s support from either side and thus refusing to be their canon fodder.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Dec 24, 2019 1:03 PM
Reply to  RobG

If you don’t know what to do, then my advice would be just to keep a cool head and continue to observe and learn. That way, when the time finally comes for action, you’ll what’s really going on and what you should do.

Maxine Chiu
Maxine Chiu
Dec 23, 2019 9:13 PM

I am so sick of hearing the term “LEFT” applied to Right Wing Democrats and their MSM, even with quotation marks….There must be a more appropriate word to describe these imbeciles!

norman wisdom
norman wisdom
Dec 23, 2019 9:41 PM
Reply to  Maxine Chiu

right and left
whores whoring
how about actors acting
gang counter gang and pseudo gang
captured blackmailed freaks
or hired hacks
all zio banker pantomime
already

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Dec 24, 2019 1:07 PM
Reply to  Maxine Chiu

Some say that these days, there really is no more right or left in Western politics; just top and bottom. I think that view has merit. So what I do is keep an open mind, not letting myself get conned by labels–whether self-imposed or otherwise. Remember: the truth is neither left-wing nor right-wing. It is objective and stands apart from partisan politics. To the extent that a given ideology (or methodology) is helpful for uncovering/explaining it, then feel free to use it. But never regard it as an end in itself.

Ash
Ash
Dec 27, 2019 12:35 AM
Reply to  Seamus Padraig

I think The Political Compass gets it right — left/right is an economic continuum with specific meanings, but there is also another axis (they label it authoritarian/libertarian) that is not generally acknowledged as such in public discourse. Their plots explain much more clearly how positions and policies differ.

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 27, 2019 7:40 AM
Reply to  Maxine Chiu

‘Leftovers’?

maxine chiu
maxine chiu
Dec 27, 2019 4:20 PM

Best description yet!

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Dec 23, 2019 9:10 PM

(“Liberals . . . . can always play the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game featuring the YPG fighting alongside the U.S. military if they need to fulfill their imperial fantasies.”)

And one can further indulge one’s “imperial fantasies” by watching the “Jack Ryan” series on Amazon Prime – where you can see the CIA do battle with the of course evil Venezuelan government who the CIA must help to overthrow in order to “help the people” of Venezuela.

And so the product of entertainment media corporations and the product of CIA propaganda operations simply merge into one big CIA approved steaming pile – courtesy of our now almost completely seamless Western propaganda apparatus – tirelessly at work 24/7 – 365 days a year.

https://www.spyculture.com/

J-J
J-J
Dec 23, 2019 8:16 PM

I gave up on the Kurds they can’t even explain clearly where their imagined homeland is for fucks sake!

Stomper of fuctards
Stomper of fuctards
Dec 28, 2019 2:51 PM
Reply to  J-J

Then why not pay attention when they do so that you can avoid stupidity and chauvinism?

norman wisdom
norman wisdom
Dec 23, 2019 6:51 PM

the kurdy always was zio project
oded yinon tools
the kurdy histories bandits
always for hire
met the ashkanazim pirates
what a twisted mix
bandits and red beards
ethnic cleansing.

thieves vagabonds
run by the city of london new york and washington las vegas

babylonian satanick bagmen.

the woman kurd as manly fighter
fighting for country and freedumb just like the girls of the idf

Stomper of fuctards
Stomper of fuctards
Dec 27, 2019 4:14 AM
Reply to  norman wisdom

Spoken like a true genocidairre.

Max Parry
Max Parry
Dec 27, 2019 7:34 PM

The bourgeois hysteria sure is strong in the “Rise Up for Rojava” crowd

paul
paul
Dec 23, 2019 6:20 PM

The Kurds are just a Zionist catspaw. They have no agency and deserve nothing. Or else they deserve everything they get.
They are the whores of the Middle East. They have always whored themselves out to foreign interests and got nothing in return, except being dumped as soon as those powers find it convenient.
The Kurds supported the Shah of Iran against Iraq. He used them as a bargaining chip in negotiating with Saddam Hussein, and promptly dumped them.
The Americans did the same, decades ago. They used the Kurds against Saddam Hussein, then supplied the napalm he used to bomb them.
The whore leaders of the Kurds were repeatedly offered autonomy within Syria by Assad. They turned this down on the instructions of their Zionist and Ziocon masters.
They were happy to play the Judas and occupied Syrian oilfields far outside Kurdish areas to deny them to the Syrian people. They also burnt crops of grain in areas of rich farm land to deny food to the Syrian people. They carried out Zionist style ethnic cleansing to force Arab communities out of areas they occupied.
They have made their bed, now they have to lie in it.

They deserve all they get for allowing themselves to be used as tools in yet another war of aggression for Israel.
So much human suffering inflicted yet again through the endless chicanery of the same Levantine minority.

Stomper of fuctards
Stomper of fuctards
Dec 27, 2019 4:22 AM
Reply to  paul

Disgusting narrative and precursor to genocide. You’ve literally just declared an entire “Levantine minority” – men, women and children – to be expendable, and the racist, hate-filled thugs and filth on this website’s comment section just applauded you for it. Ugh, MISERABLE. You’re a truly disgusting human being, Paul. I hope that innthe same spirit, you get all deserve for being a cheerleader of genocide, you vile and despicable coward and piece of trash. O-G, could you do something about this hate-frenzy literally calling for the Nazi-style mass extermination of children?

paul
paul
Dec 27, 2019 11:26 AM

Calm down, old chap. Calm down.
Keep taking the tablets.

Just a statement of fact.
There is a downside to allowing yourself to be used as terrorist mercenaries in Zionist intrigues. Simple as that.
The Kurds have whored themselves out countless times before and it always ends the same way.
This time will be no different.
They could have had autonomy in their own areas now but they turned it down.
Their choice and their loss.
They are the authors of their own misfortune. Nobody else.

lundiel
lundiel
Dec 23, 2019 5:38 PM

I can’t help equating the YPG with identity politics, and consequently the liberal fake left. It’s such a pity that British citizens gave their lives for a hopeless cause. Why oh why didn’t they join the SAA?
Very good article by the way.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Dec 24, 2019 1:10 PM
Reply to  lundiel

I doubt the SAA would’ve trusted a bunch Royal Army reservists from one of the countries trying to overthrow the Syrian government!

ttshasta
ttshasta
Dec 23, 2019 4:20 PM

In October Max Blumenthal at Grayzone published an article with a chart showing 21 of 28 Turkish militias that attacked Kurds received funding, training, and arms from the US. The chart shows who received arm’s, missiles etc.
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/10/16/us-backed-crazy-militias-turkeys-invasion-syria/
I used to have an NYT clipping, buried on page 27, that US and French companies supplied Hussein with chemicals that he made weapons with and gassed was it 40,000 Kurds. After which Reagan declared Hussein ” a great force for stability in the middle east”.
Some friend we are; hypocrisy is the greatest luxury.

Amanda Adlem
Amanda Adlem
Dec 23, 2019 2:13 PM

We must apparently all respect 20th century borders as if etched by Slartibartfast himself.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Dec 23, 2019 1:52 PM

Left here deserves bolded and full upper case italics with a snorting emoji, if that is possible.

How about LEFT for dead?

Francis Lee
Francis Lee
Dec 23, 2019 12:29 PM

“America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Kissenger? I think its was originally Lord Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston. (Lord) 1784-1865) … ”Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

Willem
Willem
Dec 23, 2019 12:53 PM
Reply to  Francis Lee

Apologies for being Off topic,

I just watched the latest Noam Chomsky on YouTube where he, bearded like Santa, gave his thoughts in the usual (boring) way to the audience.

Interestingly, the hall was half empty, and people just walked away from his talk, not interested in hearing the professor’s half-truths about the complete genetic make-up of language (as if interaction with other people does not matter when you think through in how to say things or even that you can think through things without a vocabulary), how bad the republicans are (but not a word about the evilness of the democrats), and that anarchism is defined as the belief that large institutions can do whatever they want, as long as they can be held accountable for what they are doing (enter Edward Bernays and an endless list of ‘legal’ institutions who make right wrong and vice versa).

He also had a very half-truth concept of Fake news, which he was asked about and of whom somebody took the time to make a transcript of. To me it shows that Chomsky is a fake limited hang-out from the beginning to the end, and just behaves as if he doesn’t know the meaning of Fake News/propaganda to trick the people in the audience by believing that the media do tell you the news in a way that somehow should be believed. I mean, as if you should believe that the world can be understood through commercials only, and that you never ever should think about the world through watching it through your own eyes, only through ‘the flappers’ that are given to you by the media. From the man who wrote (together with Herman) Manufacturing Consent.

Anyway, read, watch or listen for yourself.

Apologies again for being off-topic

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xebTB_Lh8I8

Transcript of Chomsky on “fake news” at 43:46:

“Under the Trump administration, the idea of “fake news” became a global phenomenon. And it’s very dangerous. If you look at people’s attitudes towards the media, the level of distrust is phenomenal: a very small part of the population trusts the media. Well, there are always reasons for skepticism — like you don’t just accept everything you read as gospel truth. But the fact of the matter is, if you want to get a fair picture of what’s happening in the world, the only way to do it is to read the major media. You have to read them critically, you have to understand what they’re NOT saying, you have to think about the Newspeak they’re using — but it’s not quantum physics, you can figure it out. But that’s the only source. 

Now, if everything is dismissed as “fake news,” then we’re living in a totalitarian state. Then what the leader says we believe and everything else isn’t happening. So if Trump says that “the crowd at my inauguration was bigger than Obama’s”, that’s true. If the photographs show the opposite, that’s fake news. This is happening right now on the impeachment issue. Lots of evidence comes out, Trump says it’s “fake news, forget it,  it’s just the deep state trying to undermine us”. If that’s believed, we’re very close to totalitarianism — that’s Orwell’s picture. It’s a very dangerous phenomenon. This is not to say you shouldn’t be critical of the media, like in Manufacturing Consent, but that shouldn’t be misinterpreted as saying that you can’t believe anything they say. In fact a lot of the book is a defense of the media

Tim Drayton
Tim Drayton
Dec 23, 2019 5:06 PM
Reply to  Willem

Sorry if it sounds cheap, but when it comes to the suggestion “think about the world through watching it through your own eyes”, I wonder if you yourself manage to do this? I have watched the whole video and see a full hall and nobody walking away.

Willem
Willem
Dec 24, 2019 8:08 AM
Reply to  Tim Drayton

The answer to that is: you count seats, and define half empty. If half of the seats are empty, the logical conclusion is that the hall is half empty. Same applies to ‘people walking away’.

That I gave no definitions of what I meant with ‘people walking away’ and a hall ‘half empty’ doesn’t mean that definitions do not exist and that therefore, as you suggest, anything is possible.

C/ truth does not depend on my words, your words, or anyone’s words, it depends on being there even if nobody would be there to report it (and that includes the regular media that Chomsky advocates for use when defining the world-view).

norman wisdom
norman wisdom
Dec 23, 2019 7:05 PM
Reply to  Willem

noam chumpski is amazin init
he so clever
i really likes patrick cocburnt and his mi family
and robert fisked is an honest broker as well
fisked met bin lardin tim osman in afghanistan when all the navy seals and sas could not find him amazin
i really like saymore hershey bar psy hersch as well they are all amazin honest brokerages
init
you really can take what they say too the bank of international settlements
already

J-J
J-J
Dec 23, 2019 8:31 PM
Reply to  norman wisdom

Mr. Wisdom Fisk and Chomsky and finkelstein etc are controlled opposition who do good things once in a while

Gall
Gall
Dec 23, 2019 9:35 PM
Reply to  Willem

It’s obvious that Chomsky has sold out with his twisted rhetoric about “fake news”. It’s almost as bad as the Hildabeast comparing the alt media to the Ministry of Truth which went beyond pretzel “logic” and was more like that spinning spiral at the beginning of The Twilight Zone.

I doubt if Clinton believes it since she is probably as cynically pragmatic as uncle ‘Dolf but I’m sure her brainwashed, rinsed and dry-cleaned followers do.

richard le sarc
richard le sarc
Dec 27, 2019 7:44 AM
Reply to  Willem

Chomsky, I imagine, sees the Democrats as the lesser Evil. If voters stay away, then the clerico-fascist and xenophobic loons of the Trump Party will win, and that is marginally worse than a Clinton, and rather worse than a Sanders. That’s how I see it. He is being consistent and realistic inside the US political landscape.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Dec 23, 2019 1:55 PM
Reply to  Francis Lee

Like Kissinger taking the credit for “ the reason academic disputes are so vicious is that the stakes are so small” . The Uber weasel was preceded by Woodrow Wilson, inter alia.