Blanket “Thinkers”

by Robin Yassin-Kassab on July 17, 2012

Originally published by Qunfuz. Hat tip to Clay Claiborne for the videos.

One of my infantile leftist ex-friends recently referred to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as a “sectarian gang.” The phrase may well come from Asa’ad Abu Khalil, who seems to have a depressingly large audience, but it could come from any of a large number of blanket thinkers in the ranks of the Western left.

I admit that I sometimes indulged in such blanket thinking in the past. For instance, I used to refer to Qatar and Saudi Arabia as “U.S client states,” as if this was all to be said about them. I did so in angry response to the mainstream Western media which referred to pro-Western Arab tyrannies as “moderate”; but of course, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have their own competing agendas, and do not always behave as the Americans want them to. This is more true now, in a multi-polar world and in the midst of a crippling economic crisis in the West than it was 10 years ago. Chinese workers undertaking oil and engineering projects in the Gulf are one visible sign of this shifting order.

(My talk of “infantile leftists” does not include the entire left of course. Simon Assaf of the Socialist Workers, for instance, understands what’s happening. So does Max Blumenthal. And many others.)

The problem with blanket thinkers is that they are unable to adapt to a rapidly shifting reality. Instead of evidence, principles and analytical tools, they are armed only with ideological blinkers. Many of the current crop became politicised by Palestine and the invasion of Iraq, two cases in which the imperialist baddy is very obviously American. As a result, they read every other situation through the U.S.-imperialist lens.

Ghadafi had opened up Libyan oilfields to Western exploitation, he bought Western weapons, and he tortured rendered suspects for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyans rose against the tyranny with incredible courage. When Britain and France, for their own reasons, helped to hasten the end by degrading Ghadafi’s mercenary forces (important but not decisive help – Ghadafi’s fall was effected by a rising in Tripoli and an influx of fighters from the Jebel Nafusa), blanket thinkers very insultingly painted the popular revolution as a foreign plot. Some even retrospectively raised Ghadafi to the rank of anti-imperialist hero. And since the fall of the old regime they’ve done everything they can to paint Libya as a failed state, a site of genocide, a new Iraq.

It’s pretty insulting to Iraq as well as to Libya.

The fact that politics and civil society were effectively banned for decades, and the fact that Ghadafi imposed a civil war on his people, traumatizing them and causing thousands of young men to take up arms, means that the new Libya faces immense problems.

This is not news.

Whenever a dictatorship ends violently, all the problems which have been repressed will burst forth. It’s like taking the lid off a steam cooker: all the good and evil in the society, all the intelligence and stupidity that was previously hidden, will spill out. This is not an argument for keeping the dictatorship. Several hundred have been killed in Libya since the fall of Ghadafi, mainly in battles between rival militias. Sometimes this has had a tribal or revenge aspect, but there has been no Iraq-style ethnic cleansing. There is a small separatist movement in the east. Fringe Islamist extremist groups have made a lot of noise. Many of the armed young men are reluctant to give up their arms. But there has been a very successful election. If the new government is able to absorb the militias into a national army and to resolve tribal, regional and other disputes within an accepted political process, Libya can look forward to a much better future. Opinion polls and conversations with Libyans show that an overwhelmingly large majority are happy that Ghadafi has gone and are optimistic about the future.

But what does Libyan opinion matter to blanket thinkers?

After 17 months of slaughter in Syria, there is no no-fly zone. The extent of Western and ‘client’ intervention is this: Saudi Arabia and Qatar may be providing a small amount of light weaponry. The Turks may be helping to coordinate the weapons deliveries. The CIA appears to have a few men on the ground watching where the weapons are going and hoping (vainly) to ensure that they’ll never end up in the hands of anti-Zionist militants.

On the other side stands a nakedly sectarian regime which considers its people slaves and murders them and destroys their cities with Russian weapons. Imperialist Russia, which has oppressed Muslims in the Caucuses and central Asia, and which bears half the blame for all the Cold War hot wars in Africa, is resupplying the regime with attack helicopters, tank parts, and ammunition as the death toll surpasses 17,000. Russia also protects the regime from condemnation at the U.N. Security Council. It plays the same role with regards to Syria that the United States plays with Israel.

But how do the blanket thinkers see the situation? For them it’s yet another clear cut case of American imperialist aggression against a noble resistance regime, and once again the people are passive tools.

At best they are passive tools. They are also depicted as wild Muslims, bearded and hijabbed, who do not deserve democracy or rights because they are too backward to use them properly. Give them democracy and they’ll vote for the Muslim Brotherhood, and slaughter the Alawis, and drive the Christians to Beirut. The blanket thinkers search for evidence of crimes committed by the popular resistance, and when they find them (usually on very flimsy evidence) they use them to smear the entire movement. They demand the resistance negotiate with a regime which has proved again and again that its only strategy is slaughter. They demand that the people remain peaceful as their children are tortured, their women raped, their neighbourhoods levelled.

Leftist blanket thinkers do not apply the same criteria to the popular resistance of the Palestinians. It’s Zionists who do that.

To call the FSA a sectarian gang is tantamount to calling the Syrian people a sectarian gang. It betrays a willed ignorance of reality. The FSA was formed in response to the sickening violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime, which at this stage is certainly a sectarian gang. It’s Alawi military units work with armed Alawi civilians to slaughter Sunnis. This is a disaster for the Alawis and everyone else; it sows the seeds of a potential war which would destroy the country for generations, and it’s one of the first reasons why the regime must go as soon as possible.

But the FSA is in reality hundreds of local militias which sometimes cooperate. It consists of defected soldiers (these people are heroes – they fled the army at huge personal risk because they were unable to stomach murdering their people; most soldiers who try to defect are killed before they leave base) and local men who have taken up arms to defend their neighborhoods. Because the FSA is made of ordinary men, it covers an enormous range of political opinion. Some fighters are disillusioned Baathists, some are secularists, some leftists, some support the Muslim Brotherhood, and some are attracted by extremist Wahhabi rhetoric. Some, I’m sure, are criminals, because some of the Syrian people are criminal. Some will be in it in the hopes of financial or sexual profit, because that’s the way people are.

Most are apolitical people, except for the fact that they want to bring down the tyranny. They fight because they have no choice. Of course, there is a huge danger that apolitical people will be easily manipulated by sectarian rhetoric, especially given that their enemy instrumentalizes sectarianism. This is certainly a difficult period for revolutions in the Muslim world and internationally. The collapse of leftist thinking and reach, and the shrinking of public debate by dictatorships and consumerism, has left the way open to retrograde forms of religious or nationalist politics. Some of the battle videos labelled “Free Syrian Army” look and sound depressingly similar to jihadist videos from Iraq. But for now it’s mainly a problem of style and ignorance, and it can easily be misinterpreted by an orientalist eye. Most Syrian people are religious, whether we like it or not. But most Syrian people are also aware that a sectarian war would produce no winners. The “Allahu Akbar” (God Is Great) chant expresses a faith which is necessary to overcome the fear of being shot. It doesn’t automomatically mean “Kill the Kuffar” (Kill the Unbeliever). (But who am I talking to? The Palestinians use religious rhetoric and talk about “the Jews” rather than “the Zionists,” and it doesn’t bother the blanket thinkers for a moment).

The longer the necessary fight goes on the more brutalized the people will become, and the more likely that vengeful sectarian voices will dominate. It is the duty of any right-thinking person, leftist or otherwise, to support the oppressed people in their struggle. Anyone who does so, and who respects the Syrians enough to base their comments on knowledge rather than assumption, will have earned the right to offer political advice to the Syrians.

The FSA is inevitably disorganized and outgunned. But it’s a lot more organized than it was a few months ago, and it is liberating territory. It fights with commitment and incredible resilience. Today the battle is in inner Damascus.

And a few days ago it was in the Yarmouk and Palestine refugee camps, which brings me finally to the strange fact that blanket thinkers persist in thinking of the Syrian regime as in some way a threat to Israel. It’s true that Syria helped Hezbollah stand firm, and this is not a small thing. It’s also true that the Syrian regime has massacred Palestinians in Tel Zaatar and other Lebanese camps, that since 1973 the border with the occupied Golan has been quieter than borders with states enjoying peace agreements with Israel, and that Syria has never even tried to shoot at the Israeli planes which have bombed its territory since Bashaar inherited power. But things have become clearer since the uprising began. Rami Makhlouf told the New York Times that Israeli security depended on the Syrian regime’s security.

Paul Woodward at War in Context quotes Reuters on the regime’s recent transportation of chemical weapons:

An Israeli official said however the movements reflected an attempt by President Bashar al-Assad to make “arrangements to ensure the weapons do not fall into irresponsible hands”.

“That would support the thinking that this matter has been managed responsibly so far.”

Woodward then comments:

So, while the word from Damascus is that “terrorists” armed with “Israeli-made machine guns” conducted the massacre in Tremseh yesterday, the word from Tel Aviv is that Syria’s chemical weapons are nothing to worry about so long as they remain in the responsible hands of the government.

There might be a certain amount of truth in that statement. Still, it’s not exactly the rhetoric one might expect from a representative of an alliance that is supposedly gunning for Assad’s downfall. On the contrary, it reflects the fact that Israel would be much happier to see Assad remain in power.

Here’s a simpler proposition for the blanket thinkers: Hezbollah won victories because it respects its people, because it is of its people. A regime which murders its people and destroys the national infrastructure, which plays with the dynamite of sectarian conflict and puts the whole people’s future in question, would be incapable of winning a victory even if it wanted to.

On Friday tens of thousands protested against regime barbarism in the Palestinian camps of Damascus. Regime forces opened fire, murdering 11. Many more were dragged from their homes to be tortured in detention. Professional liar and regime spokesman Jihad Maqdisi then described Palestinians as “impolite guests,” outraging Syrians and Palestinians, who are the same people, now more than ever.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Woodward July 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

You might want to make a correct in the formatting. After the line “Woodward then comments,” the following TWO paragraphs are my comment. So this paragraph also needs to go in blockquotes:

There might be a certain amount of truth in that statement. Still, it’s not exactly the rhetoric one might expect from a representative of an alliance that is supposedly gunning for Assad’s downfall. On the contrary, it reflects the fact that Israel would be much happier to see Assad remain in power.

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admin July 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

Thanks for spotting that!

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Tony July 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Admin, I find the cartoonish characterization you put up of Putin as only being motivated to ‘saving Assad’ to be churlish, incorrect, and dishonest, though certainly it is in line with the gist of Robin’s own churlish, incorrect, and dishonest remarks. For anybody on the Left to see Russian and Chinese objections to the Pentagon planned regime change in Syria though as being only about Assad himself is absolutely so off base, that it really almost defies any reply to it at all.

For one big thing, it is also about keeping the US government and its military from implementing regime change in Iran, too. Putin is aware of that, even if Robin and Admin of North Star seemingly are not, or just don’t care perhaps???

And as Putin has pointed out, too, stopping Pentagon implemented regime change in Syria should have actually been done by Russia and China before in Libya. There is nothing about any Putin love affair with Assad in Putin’s positions, contrary to the cartoonish picture you put up on this commentary published, Admin.

Robin Yassin-Kassab may want to paint Russia as being imperialist under Putin, but that is as much bullshit as her saying that the former Soviet Union was imperialist, too, and that it was supposedly responsible for half the bloodshed through the years. These assertions by her point out the utterly reactionary nature of her entire commentary, and you, Admin, certainly added to it with your insertion of the Movie Poster pic, asserting that the pretend ‘movie’ we are watching is only about ‘Putin Saving Assad’. Hillary Clinton herself could have formulated that idea for you, Admin.

(I assume that it was you, Admin, who chose the pics for this commentary, same as it was when you put my own commentary online. Perhaps I am wrong about that though, and Robin herself chose those pics this time?)

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Paul Woodward July 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

Good modification of the headline – putting “thinkers” in quotes. The paralysis of thought is indeed at the core of the problem here.

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Tony July 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Well, here is the REAL problem of ‘paralysis of thought’ in US political circles, as I see it, Paul.

The two most important Left websites, Alternet and Common Dreams, have apparently censored out any online commentaries about the US government’s war drive for regime change in Syria

As Syria and the Pentagon imposed fighting in that country rages, the Left’s two most important websites have eliminated all discussion of the matter! YES, if you go to these 2 Lefty sites, you will see basically NOTHING about Syria and Assad and Russia and China’s opposition to Barack Obama’s drive for war in Syria and then onto Iran! They can’t seem to decide whether to back up Commander in Chief, Democratic Party General Barack Obama, and his not so lovely Colonel Hillary Clinton with their humanitarian imperialist Lefty support or not? So instead, they just censor the commentaries they allow to be published.

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Tony July 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

One of my infantile leftist ex-friends, indulged in such blanket thinking, …And since the fall of the old regime they’ve done everything they can to paint Libya as a failed state, a site of genocide, a new Iraq. It’s pretty insulting to Iraq as well as to Libya….. Imperialist Russia, which has oppressed Muslims in the Caucuses and central Asia, and which bears half the blame for all the Cold War hot wars in Africa’, …..’But how do the blanket thinkers see the situation? For them it’s yet another clear cut case of American imperialist aggression against a noble resistance regime, and once again the people are passive tools.’

This NATo-Pentagon ignoring liberal pibble starts out with insults against Leftists, who are labeled ‘infantile’ and ‘blanket thinkers’, unlike our heroine Hillary Clinton, for example one would assume, who is definitely not ‘infantile’ or a ‘blanket thinker’ like us anti humanitarian imperialism people supposedly are. But then look how illogical this reactionary ramble then becomes?! We are accused of ‘insulting US military brought about ‘Iraq’, no less! Can you imagine that? …lol… It’s really so sad that it’s not even funny….

Then the rant against ‘infantile Leftiits’ rambles on to claiming that the former Soviet Union was supposedly responsible for ONE HALF of all those former ‘Cold War hot wars’ in Africa!
Thank you, Robin, you are the grand historian here! Forget about Portuguese colonialism, forget about Apartheid White Africa and Rhodesia, and forget about the US and Western imperialists’ governments who supported these regimes for many long and sad decades. It was ONE HALF the fault of the former Soviet UNion (RUSSIA) for all that bloodshed in Africa. We are told by Robin the Historian, that Russia is actually ‘Imperialist Russia’ that’s why! Gosh, that big bad imperialist bear HALF tore up Africa, and we got to stop that from happening in Asia, where we would be ‘insulting Iraq’ if we would be ‘infantile Leftists!

Such reactionary crap put on a Left blog is truly embarrassing. Apparently the humanitarian imperialist liberal and Lefty crowd cannot see how embarrassing such drivel really is for some US socialists to be claiming as if it was classical Marxist theorizing even? It is only a matter of weeks possibly before we will begin to see these very same Pentagon apologists talking about how it is all an indigenous revolt when US allied supplied Iranian terrorists begin to create similar mayhem in Iran. Will North Star website then see that as debate against ‘infantile Leftists’?

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Manuel Barrera July 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Today, on Marxmail an interchange by several comrades included the charge that those who took issue with Pham Binh’s article were not actually considering what he actually wrote and one of those individuals re-posted his article (several times) and observed that when he did so, “the result: dead silence. Not one response which quoted from the supposedly “counterrevolutionary” text. How telling.”
Our moderator, Louis Proyect, also commented that some of the discussion ought to be taking place where the conversation started. Although I don’t like to double post (knowing that many readers may be on multiple lists), I am taking the suggestion to do so here. I believe this issue is a serious one and Binh’s position (as well as this “blanket thinker” one) is of serious concern both for its politics as well as the rather strident attitude being adopted surrounding it. I am a proponent of Binh’s initiative to engage in real Left unity, but I believe the position, but most important, the rather uncomradely approach of “blanket” accusations that one is “counterrevolutionary” for not agreeing with it is a dangerous one that undercuts any real attempts at unity. It is so easy to heave epithets with little to no scientific basis; much harder to address these issues politically with an eye toward improving our prospects for unity in action. I offer this commentary in that spirit.
One really shouldn’t interpret silence as fear or proof of correctness; especially on a list of revolutionary activists. Speaking for myself, I read Binh’s article–always look forward to reading his work–and didn’t respond until I had. I stand by my criticism (it is definitely a criticism and not simply a critique) and my concern for Binh’s position as a “knee-jerk” reaction seemingly equating revolutionary motives to not so clearly revolutionary forces. For example, I am not sure to whom he is referring when he calls for “us” to support “Syrian revolutionaries”; interesting silence on that question on his–and your–part.

I consider Binh’s article an error “of the heart”–something that I am always willing to forgive–but I believe it a dangerous one to hold; many have made similar errors trying to gain an advantage for a revolution “by any means necessary” (a rather perverted interpretation of Malcolm X to boot) and not survived–at least in revolutionary terms.

To be clear, here are Binh’s words:
“The progressive instinct to oppose anything the U.S. government does abroad became anything but progressive once the Arab Spring sprang up in Libya and Syria, countries ruled by dictatorships on Uncle Sam’s hit list. When American imperialism’s hostility to the Arab Spring took a back seat to its hostility to the Ghadafi and Assad regimes (their collaboration with Bush Jr.’s international torture ring notwithstanding), the Western left’s support for the Arab Spring took a back seat to its hostility to American imperialism.

The moment the Syrian and Libyan revolutions demanded imperialist airstrikes and arms to neutralize the military advantage enjoyed by governments over revolutionary peoples, anti-interventionism became counter-revolutionary because it meant opposing aid to the revolution. Equivocal positions such as “revolution yes, intervention no” (the one I defended) were rendered utopian, abstract, and useless as a guide to action by this turn of events.”

Now, I am not sure to whom Binh is referring when he says such positions as “revolution yes, intervention no” are “equivocal. . . utopian, abstract, and useless”. I can only believe he means me and anyone who disagrees with U.S. imperialism having Anything to do with “aiding” the “Syrian revolution”. Indeed, Binh refers to no one in particular when he says that it is the “progressive instinct” to oppose imperialist intervention that is ” anything but progressive” if we apply it to the present Syrian and Libyan revolutions. In fact, anyone with such a “progressive instinct” has become counterrevolutionary because it meant “opposing >aid to the revolution< [his emphasis]".

Hence, if revolutionary Marxists have such a "progressive instinct" and then don't overcome that instinct so that they can accept Binh's–apparently in the name of the Syrian revolution (or, perhaps some Syrian revolutionaries? Which ones? Where have they coalesced to issue such a call with a clear revolutionary–doesn't even have to be a Marxist–analysis?)–"instinct" to support a tactical decision by as yet unnamed Syrian "revolutionaries" who are facing the point of a gun. I submit that it is Binh's instinct that is flawed and not "the instinct" to oppose imperialism and its machinations, nor, more to the point, the instinct of desperate or opportunistic currents in the Syrian uprising to believe that there may be a tactical advantage in seeking the help of the "devil" to kill his own demon.

It is not utopian, abstract, or useless to oppose U.S. intervention in the present situation in Syria precisely because of the unclear advantage of the opposition forces. Let me be clear here, the Syrian opposition–just like the Libyan before it–is fraught with bourgeois nationalists, pro-imperialists, and military opportunists alongside veritable revolutionary-inclined mass movements. All of those forces together still do not exhibit a clear majority over the Assad regime and there is a civil war; de facto if not de jure. Asking imperialism to "aid" this revolution by whatever forces who may be asking at this moment is unlikely to produce any "useful" results. Because the Syrian mass movement has yet to establish a clear advantage does not mean that Imperialism is going to stand up for them. Imperialism is there for a completely different reason and they will be of no help to the veritable (there's that word again) Syrian revolution.

Having said all this, I must also say that I am not sure what I would do if I were a Syrian activist on the ground in Damascus, Homs, or anywhere. I would like to believe that I would do as is emblazoned on the Northstar site to be "for whatever gets results". But I am, in truth, a socialist revolutionary in the land of Imperialism with the knowledge of the "devil's" designs, and I know how clear is My Duty. I oppose imperialist intervention Because I Believe In the Arab Spring and the Arab Spring is decidedly NOT about relying on the makers of tyranny in the Arab East; the underwriters of Arab despots, or the Pretenders to Arab Revolution intent on oppressing the Arab peoples.

I stand with the Syrian people in their Veritable revolutionary Process and There Are NO Shortcuts. I believe the Syrian people can overthrow Assad and turn that revolutionary process into socialist revolution. Such a socialist revolution will become stillborn "the moment" Syrian (and Libyan) bourgeois reactionary nationalists intent on establishing themselves as the "Syrian and Libyan revolutions" [apparently with Binh's inadvertent help] and demand "imperialist airstrikes and arms to neutralize the military advantage enjoyed by governments over revolutionary peoples". I understand Binh's intent. I simply do not agree and I do not appreciate being bullied into supporting a position on the pain of being dismissed as a counterrevolutionary.

Frankly, if Binh is true to his intent in helping the Syrian masses make good tactical decisions in the revolutionary process, he should go to Damascus and . . . help out. In that way, making charges about the revolutionary intent of serious anti-war, anti-militarist, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist activists might at least lead us to feel some degree of admonition for not agreeing with him. Or, of course, being there on the ground might actually result in his learning more about what kind of revolutionary demands might be best once he has had the chance to provide aid to the revolution.

Absent that sort of commitment, I would expect Binh to realize that differences of opinion among revolutionaries require thoughtful, if not respectful, tolerance and education for creating better common ground. I believe Binh when he issues a call for a united left opposition in the U.S. such as we are seeing in the U.K., Ireland , Greece, and, of course, as part of the Arab Spring. For example, I may have many serious concerns for revolutionary governments like Cuba and its Communist Party to defend the Syrian regime "against imperialism", but I would never doubt their revolutionary intent nor their autonomous decisions to engage–tactically, strategically, or in principle–on the world stage with respect to defense of the Cuban revolution or its solidarity with oppressed peoples throughout the world. I would hope that they would be willing to tolerate my "concerns" and, if they didn't, it would be their loss, and, none of that would cause me to believe that the Cuban leadership or the masses that support them are "counterrevolutionary". Words are never as important as actions, but the words Marxist revolutionaries use have a scientific basis–and intent. We do not–at least we try not to–throw about scientific designators such as "counterrevolutionary" as epithets born of frustration; either of our revolutionary comrades or of the often frustrating circumstances in mass movements that do not go as we would wish.

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Brian S. July 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

This is an odd combination of reasoned argument, derogatory and pointless sarcasm (“apparently with Binh’s inadvertent help” ), and plain silliness (anyone who want to be “true to his intent in helping the Syrian masses make good tactical decisions in the revolutionary process, should go to Damascus” – come on!) . Anyway, Pham’s concern is not with the tactical decisions of the Syrian masses but how the US left responds to the decisions they do (or may) take.
You offer us a good example of how not to do it;”Such a socialist revolution will become stillborn “the moment” Syrian (and Libyan) bourgeois reactionary nationalists intent on establishing themselves as the “Syrian and Libyan revolutions” demand “imperialist airstrikes and arms to neutralize the military advantage enjoyed by governments over revolutionary peoples” .Impossible to work out what you are saying here. You muddy the waters by conflating things that need to be understood through a recognition of their distinct elements and and complex combinations. At what point is a revolution “stillborn” – when its led by “reactionary bourgeois nationalists” or when it calls for foreign assistance (arguably wrong on both counts ). Why “bourgeois reactionary nationalists” are there no progressive popular nationalists? Why “airstrikes and arms” – aren’t they two rather different tactical (indeed strategic) options?
I salute your honesty in stating “I am not sure what I would do if I were a Syrian activist on the ground in Damascus, Homs, or anywhere. I would like to believe that I would do as is emblazoned on the Northstar site to be “for whatever gets results”. Good. But then you loose your nerve (and your logic if that is what you would do in their shoes, why do you then stand opposed to it when they do it?

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Tony July 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Here is an interesting comment from Louis Proyect over on HIS OWN, extensively censored ‘marxism list’…

‘That is why I posted the piece by Robin Yassin-Kassab (on marxism list?). It was an argument against cookie-cutter approaches to such matters.’

My question is, did Proyect actually also post Robin’s comments here on North Star as well? Admin, please let us know….

Whatever the answer is to that question, it is interesting to see that this self described ‘unrepentant marxist’, who thinks that he is a master marxist theoretician, liked these reactionary words by Robin that we can read here as well as on HIS OWN ‘marxism list’….

‘ Imperialist Russia, which has oppressed Muslims in the Caucuses and central Asia, and which bears half the blame for all the Cold War hot wars in Africa, is resupplying the regime with attack helicopters, tank parts, and ammunition as the death toll surpasses 17,000. Russia also protects the regime from condemnation at the U.N. Security Council. It plays the same role with regards to Syria that the United States plays with Israel.’

So Russia is imperialist because it helps protect an Arab regime from attacks by Israel, Louis? And you also think that the former Soviet Union (Russian imperialism???? as Robin thinks it was) caused 1/2 of the misery from the multiple wars on the African continent? I thought it was White European and US neo-colonialism, the Rhodesian and South African Apartheid regimes, and Portuguese fascist held African colonies that had caused the overwhelming part of this human suffering. But Robin and the ‘unrepentant marxist’ seem to think otherwise???? They seem to believe that ONE HALF the blame for the multi decades long fighting rests on the ‘imperialist’ former Soviet Union instead, according the these brilliant historians armed with so much smarxism in their heads!

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