Dit is een blog op Moon of Alabama, en in oorsprong was het eencomment van een van de betere reageerders op die blog, Malooga. Geschreven op 6 mei 2013.
Syria: The Feckless Left
lifted from a comment
One must not forget the disgraceful petition put out by what calls itself the "Left" in the name of "dignity and freedom" last week, the so-called "Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution". The geo-political analysis of the screed would not pass the muster of a child, and the empty verbiage comes straight out of a George W. Bush or Barak Obama speech -- without exaggeration. In any event, don't mislead yourself into thinking the timing was accidental in the face of the collapse of the mercenary Takfiri front. Because it wasn't. When the empire finds its back against wall, it will not hesitate in pulling out all stops -- even if it means trotting out a brigade of tired old leftists in its dirty service.
And if ever there was evidence that the entire moribund left intellectual class is bought and sold, this is surely it. One should carefully examine the list of names and publicly excoriate them for their now public complicity in international war crimes and the use of chemical weaponry. Tariq Ali, Norman Finkelstein!, Richard Seymour (author of "The Liberal Defence of Murder," "tracing the descent of liberal supporters of war..."), Anthony Arnove (Howard Zinn's boy), Fredric Jameson, Vijay Prasad, Ilan Pappe, Stephen R. Shalom, Alice Walker and so on down the line, over 220 Benedict Arnolds in all. Laudable behavior in the past is no excuse for lying while supporting Takfiri murderers in the present. May every single one of them know what it is like to be exposed to DU -- in the name of freedom and democracy, of course!
According to these house puppets, "The revolution in Syria (sic) is ... also an extension of the Zapatista revolt in Mexico, the landless movement in Brazil, the European and North American revolts against neoliberal exploitation", and every other emotional struggle for justice that these betrayers can throw against the wall and hope it sticks, while, like a virus, they live off the suffering of others, with their pompous pontificating and venal obfuscating, as their salaries and position are paid for by the big boys.
I am sorry that due to personal problems I am not at present able to take the time to deconstruct the empty verbiage of that embarrassing petition line by line as I have done with others in the past (The Euston Manifesto). This document's vacuous invocation of democracy, freedom and the Geneva Convention, its selective one-sided claims bereft of any factual evidence whatsoever, its twisting of truth on its head and its transparent Orwellism against "Asad’s regime" should be a deep and enduring embarrassment for any signatory of the document.
In ostensibly "hop(ing) for a free, unified, and independent Syria," (Didn't that exist, albeit with blemishes, as all power structures exhibit, until a few years ago? The same hope was evinced for Iraq after the nation was first destroyed, but why should a few well trained house lackeys quibble over cause and effect?) while "confront(ing) a world upside down" consisting of "Russia, China, and Iran," (the bad guys) and in throwing in their lot and supporting "the US and their Gulf allies" (the good guys -- Saudi Arabia and Qatar for hummus sake!) these ahistorical ignoramuses not only have the blood of innocent Syrians on their heads, but that of the multi-million Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of Libyans, Afghanis, Yemeni, Sudanese and many other nations killed, injured, displaced and dispossessed by the time honored imperial strategy of divide et impera, divide and conquer. Apparently, those who refuse to study the bloody history of the West's destabilization campaigns are consigned (perhaps enlisted?) to support them.
As the election of Barak Obama, supported by similar empty-headed intellectual idealists, has proved, "Hope," in the absence of an honest and rigorous economic and power analysis, a realistic and workable political strategy of opposition, and the building of a viable alternative power structure, is even more destructive than surly apathy. These intellectuals' piteous petition evinces none of the above minimal requirements for successful activism -- except, of course, for Hope, the Orwellian trope of our decade. Their elitist Hope, is misplaced from the get go, of course -- for there is no attempt in the petition to address or assay the hopes and desires of the majority of the Syrian people. Instead, it is all about their precious hope. When your car careens off the road, you momentarily "hope" you won't be killed, although you know it is too late for hope; Intellectual study, attainment and popular acclaim is supposed to provide more effective tools than hope. In this case, like petition signing, apparently.
It simply beggars belief that the Left -- which claims to pride itself on solid structural analysis as opposed to groupcentric conspiracy theory -- betrays its utter ignorance of its purported forte (the former) while buying whole hog into the later, namely into the magical conspiracy theory that the removal of an individual, Assad, rather than the democratic restructuring of a power structure and national political economy, will in any way help solve the Syrians' problems. The undemocratic abdication of the duly elected "Bashar al-Asad," as called for by the petitioners, would clearly leave a prolonged bloody power vacuum, with every interested external and internal party vying in the darkest of ways for support, thereby inaugurating in a reign of terror even worse than at present and destroying the state. The recent bloody examples of Iraq and Libya should be obvious even to the purblind pusillanimous petitioners. One might think… An honest leftist, Stephen Gowans once described this type of thinking among the left as the "Rogue's Gallery" syndrome: the demonization of individual "monsters" like Saddam Hussein, Qaddaffi, Chavez, Castro. As the noted political thinker Noam Chomsky notoriously and repeatedly opined a decade ago, (paraphrased), "Iraqis, and the world, would be much better off without Saddam Hussein." So much for the vaunted structural analysis of the left. But who, especially the tenured left, has time for historical memory in an age of evanescent tweets?
To even imagine that one could throw one's hat in with the US, Zionist Israel, bought off and dying NATO, Saudi Arabian, and Qatari interests and end up with some type of leftist anti-globalist democracy movement complying with the will of the Syrian people is absolutely and utterly laughable. The destruction of Sirte and the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha, as well as the confessional partition of Iraq, come to mind as case examples of more likely consequences, especially for a multi-confessional state such as Syria. Do these people really have academic degrees; do they study history; are they in any way capable of critical thinking? They betray the rankest of historical ignorance, and to my mind, these moronic intellectuals demonstrate the far-sighted perspective of an ostrich with its head in the sand. It is truly a left gone mad.
Of more serious import, is these morons' ignorance of, and complicity in, the process of shock doctrine globalization: How are nations dragooned into debt servitude, the Washington Consensus, by the bankers, the IMF, the WTO, while a few dozens walk away with billions? The destabilization of Iceland, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, a veritable rampage of county after country demonstrates that military means need not be necessary. Politicians are bought, laws are changed without fanfare or understanding by the masses, globalist media lies, populations are mislead, non-democratic agreements are passed, and fewer and fewer corporations run by an interlocking directorate of hundreds gets stronger and stronger. The commons is privatized, safety nets are cut, and unemployment, a form of soft genocide, is abetted. Everything is privatized and centralized into non-accountable, non-democratic global corporatist hands. The entire world has become just one big "externality" for the globalized military to handle. For holdouts, stronger means are necessary: Markets, commodity prices, interest rates, etc. are manipulated by the market makers. Ethnic and confessional destabilization campaigns are funded and fomented. Anger is channeled through unaccountable foreign NGOs, globalist funded faux-democracy movements, neo-liberal and powerless placeholders for the big boys all, but with catchy brands and great graphics, led by cult-like charismatic leaders whose radiant clothes cover their programmatic nakedness: This charade is what the aforementioned signatories, without a trace of awareness or irony refer to in their petition as "civic society," a faux society of profession technicians who manage the now crumbling societies "unrealistic expectations" and resistance. George Soros would be proud!
Peaceful protests against the hapless leader who initially attempted to placate the Globalist neo-liberal order by privatizing the commanding heights of the economy, by providing rent-a-torture services to the empire, are organized by the same globalist powers who forced or bribed the nation's venal leaders into neo-liberal contortions in the first place. It is never enough for the ghouls. Once the International order has their eyes on your country, you're damned if you attempt to comply and damned if you attempt to resist. False flag attacks destabilize, and then the hired hands come in -- in Syria's case, the Takfiris. Apparently, these esteemed intellectuals, so concerned with democracy and dignity, have never read John Perkins, Naomi Klein, or the blog LandDestroyer, among others. The entire process is, as Hannah Arendt might say, banally ordinary. And the feckless left happily signs on to the banality.
Iraq, Libya, Indonesia, Panama, the Philippines, and a dozen other countries. The feckless left should have a grip on the storyline, or what they like to call "the narrative" by now. But no, like the Keystone Cops, they fall for it every time.
And yet, despite the violence and destabilization that is taking down the world, one nation at a time, in a mad, mad race to the bottom -- might one think that this is cause to organize and petition for the feckless structural left. Nay, they say! All problems will be solved once Assad goes, declares the feckless structural, magical thinking left! Get on the bus, sign the magical petition, and go Further!
In 1940, the astrophysicist George Gamow published "The Birth And Death Of The Sun." In it, he described the evolutionary tracks of stars. Stars differ by mass, and composition, and thereby final fate, but their evolutionary sequences, their life paths, could now be reliably predicted, he stated. Without an intelligent, informed, organized global resistance, we are now in the same place with nations within the global world order or more accurately, world system. If they resist, they can be a Haiti, a Honduras, a Yugoslavia, an Iraq, a Libya, a Syria, perhaps even a Soviet Union. Depending on their "mass," the composition of their industries, their constituent ethnicities and religions, and the strength of their resistance to Globalism, their fate can be reliably predicted.
Its nice to talk about dignity and democracy and freedom as the wealthy petition signers do. But the reality is that there is none of that without jobs and economic security for all. And the neo-liberalism of centrally controlled Globalism that is rapidly being rolled out around the world is all about destroying that for everyone (including the petition signatories), in the name of "workplace flexibility." Corporations have freedom and dignity and democracy within globalized trade organizations, not people, these days. That is to say, they now have the legal standing and rights which people once had, no matter how much the petition's signatories may wish or bleat otherwise. To blame Assad for this globalized transfer -- theft, really -- of rights is naive and misplaced, and to expect a seriously destabilized society to provide what their own relatively more stable societies cannot is both illogical and deeply patronizing of the Syrian people.
At the present juncture, the only force strong enough to resist this shock doctrine globalism-at-gunpoint crisis methodology is economic nationalism. Sure, nationalism is a drag, outmoded, and overly narrow in perspective. Many historical complaints can be legitimately set against it. In the long run, it is not the way to go for the planet or its inhabitants. But right now it is the only force strong enough to stand up to neo-liberal globalism. At the moment, as that wicked witch Maggie famously said, "There is no alternative." A movement of a few naive students have not been able to stand up to globalism, and neither have 1 million people occupying a nation's central square. Effective resistance to this global process -- an intentional run-down to the lowest common denominator of wealth, health, security, etc., and a run-up to the highest common denominator of pollution and ecological destruction, all in favor of corporate rights owned by a few people and enforced at the end of a gun -- without an effective global strategy and sustained global support, is merely wishful thinking, i.e., hope. Yet, we are are nowhere near that point of resistance yet, and with the aid of these moribund intellectuals, fecklessly yet sanctimoniously targeting one "monster" at a time, we may never get there. In my humble opinion, economic nationalism must be seen as a stepping stone away from centralized unaccountable globalism towards a more decentralized, economically just world. If I should be mistaken, I welcome any viable alternative strategies. Perhaps the feckless left will invite me to sign their petition!
These great vaunted intellectuals have not come up with an education program of resistance to globalism for their own countries, or one for Syria. Neither have they come up with a game-plan, a strategy for resistance. They lead no great movements of resistance in their own countries. they speak not to the masses, but to other intellectuals, a privileged 10%, if that. Like ostriches all, they deny and ignore the problem. Worse, they misdiagnose it: The problem is Assad (Hussein, Qaddaffi, Aristede, Chavez wasn't good enough) -- whatever -- it is an individual problem, not a systemic and global one. He, (whomever) is a bad leader; he made concessions to the globalists; he made deals with his national elite, whatever. In the end, for these utopians, Castro was not good enough for them, and neither was Chavez. They are all "problematic." In a world with virtually no left, the existing left, such as it is, warts and all, is not worth supporting when one can idealistically envision a Platonic left. Go figure. This is a solipsistic, deeply nihilistic politics of self-absorption. And because they see the problem to be an individual one, rather than a systemic one, they call for individual solutions to the wrong problem -- which clearly will never work. But perhaps that's what these moral geniuses are paid to do: Provide unworkable solutions to fictitious problems. To monkeywrench the resistance. And to do so in a non-holistic manner. Ad hoc -- sort of like Bush v. Gore. Remove the monsters one by one and stand up in feckless disbelief when they are each replaced in turn with worse monsters and worse bloodshed. "Don't blame me, I stood up to the monster," they bleat in astonished sheep-like unison. The feckless left. The non-structural, magical left. What can one expect of a group who supported Obama, because he was marketed as "Hope?"
In examining the behavior of the feckless left, it might help to focus in on one specific example -- in this case, Michael Alpert, not a signatory to this document, but an intellectual of much the same ilk -- and examine how his behavior during the Libyan intervention mirrors that of the feckless left now. Dr. Alpert, a former member of SDS, a co-founder of the well known leftist publisher, South End Press, with a doctorate in economics, is proprietor of the ZNET community, a well known group who generally consider themselves far-left political radicals in the Chomskian mold. There is a high representation of young intellectuals. ZNET has extensive source material, topical articles, blogs and discussion groups, like many other sites. In addition to this bread and butter work, Dr. Alpert fancies himself as a political theorist, particularly as the developer of an idealistic economic vision called participatory economics or parecon. I have spent a fair amount of time studying parecon, and related participatory structures, and, in my opinion, they have a lot to say for themselves in an ideal world.
With that type of background, top-notch intellectual credentials and a life spent in radical politics, along with a doctorate in economics, one might expect Dr. Alpert to understand the processes of globalization. And in theory, he might. But when the rubber hits the road, as it did in with Libya, where I tracked his site closely, he transforms into a card-carrying member of the feckless left.
In other words, he abandoned all pretense of structural analysis. Further, he abandoned any accurate historical discourse: The roots of Qaddafi's politics in nationalism, pan-africanism and socialism, his accomplishments in 42 years of guiding his nation, the war the west has fought against Libya without respite for over 30 years, how his family was bombed and killed, how Libya was falsely blamed for both the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing and the explosion of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, how Qaddaffi was finally worn down resisting and began a program of neo-liberal privatization in a country of vast wealth and resources.
At this point, as I described above, a leader is in a lose-lose position. If he neo-liberalizes he loses the support of his people, yet it will never be enough for the globalists. And if he doesn't, his nation is worn down by endless destabilization campaigns. Destabilization is almost assured at this point. This is the ubiquitous pattern which should be the basis for any thinking persons analysis of the political situation.
But not for Dr. Alpert, who came down with a bad case of "Rogue's Gallery" syndrome. Qaddafi, he declared, based upon unsubstantiated reports in western corporate media, was killing his own people. It was a close call, he stated, but like the blind umpire, he was assured of getting it wrong. We must support intervention. And what was most striking was that his language was almost exactly, to the word, the language the current petitioners employ: The empire is bad and it acts in "cynical self interest." But in this one case, that cynical self interest magically coincides with the needs of the innocent people to not be slaughtered. So, in this one case, we should support the empire in stopping the monster, but no more. We should not support the empire in intervening militarily.
All of which serves to derail any structural analysis of the left in favor of ad hoc limited complicity based upon a western created crisis designed to appeal to the emotions, and to disarm, or at least divide any leftist resistance, which, as usual, opens the door to western intervention, which magically, never foreseen by the feckless left, always causes more killing and destruction and destabilization, which to any sentient being was the point in the first place. Wash, rinse, repeat.
These are the processes of the feckless left: historically created problem not analyzed, emotional reaction, pre-engineered ad-hoc solution, short-circuiting rational analysis, which are repeated every time. But, to their credit, they always stand firm against the monster du jour.
Here is the Orwellian position of the current petition: "one where states that were allegedly friends of the Arabs such as Russia, China, and Iran have stood in support of the slaughter of people, while states that never supported democracy or independence, especially the US and their Gulf allies, have intervened in support of the revolutionaries. They have done so with clear cynical self interest. In fact, their intervention tried to crush and subvert the uprising, while selling illusions and deceptive lies.
Given that regional and world powers have left the Syrian people alone, we ask you to lend your support to those Syrians still fighting for justice, dignity, and freedom, and who have withstood the deafening sounds of the battle, as well as rejected the illusions sold by the enemies of freedom."
Russia, China and Iran (the bad guys) support the slaughter of people. The US and their gulf allies (the good guys, whose very names are carefully omitted as they have no credibility whatsoever) support the revolutionaries (hurray!), but only after trying to crush -- not support -- them. Got it? But the good guys don't really support the revolutionaries enough because "regional and world powers have left the Syrian people alone" an Orwellian lie on par with one of Hitler's big lies. And the bad guys are responsible for "the illusions sold by the enemies of freedom," a line which apparently fell out of a Reagan speech from 1981.
We are never told exactly how supporting leftist revolutionaries falls within the cynical self interests of the empire, but by then no one is capable of critical thinking anyway.
It is simply impossible to follow this hollywood gobly gook and maintain a rational, historical, and structural analysis of events.
In a sane world, the left would first provide us with honest analysis: Foreign countries are arming, training, infiltrating and paying for an armed mercenary force to destabilize Syria. Honest leftists would call for the cutting off of all support for this foreign destabilization before all else. Until all foreigners are removed from the destabilization scene, stopped from blowing up civilians, mosques and churches, businesses, the industrial infrastructure of the country, how can anyone, in their right mind, talk of dignity, freedom and democracy? What world do these signatories live in?
In a sane world, the left would stand against Israel and the US, attacking other nations unprovoked, dropping depleted uranium on defenseless people to cause injuries and defects for all of future history, perhaps. In this world, the feckless, magical thinking left, petition against Assad.
Finally, the word "revolution" has been bandied about as a propaganda word, preventing meaningful discourse and analysis of the political economic structure of the nation being analyzed. It has all the meaning of "swish!", "goal!", or "home run!" these days; it is fashionable. It has become a media term and stripped of a meaningful descriptive role. And the feckless left promotes this meaningless glamorization: The wanton destruction of a nation through age-old divide and conquer tactics has magically morphed into "the revolution in Syria." What is happening in Syria is as much a revolution as the self-serving, sanctimonious, feckless left is a force for good in the world, that is to say zilch.
As far as the Angry Arab goes, the anger over events from his childhood might be real, but he has generally comes across as a petulant, overstuffed humus eater. He is not known for presenting any viable analysis of the process of globalization, and how it effects the Arab world, nor current day real geo-political possibilities of resistance in a very bleak era, although to his credit, he is excellent at the much easier task of pointing out ever-present political hypocrisy, commentary on long past events and actors, translations of beautiful poetry, and indulging in Utopian dreams. With his position and contacts, it is inconceivable that his stance could have been anything but willful ignorance over the mercenary, mendacious, and intentionally violent and destructive of life forces nature of the Takfiri "revolution." His public mea culpa, while laudable in theory, must be viewed as a rear guard action to preserve any street cred he has left with his audience so that he may mislead them again in the future. If he is not a member of the feckless left, he is still a member of the unprogrammatic, magical left.
If you want to be looked at as a leader and teacher of human beings, a credible human rights advocate or a credible intellectual analyst, you must make the crucial calls correctly when it counts, not two years later. The Angry Arab, by his conscious actions, has condemned tens of thousands of Syrians of all confessions to the fate of his own people in Lebanon a generation ago - the crucible which supposedly formed his moral spine - and that is unforgivable. It is incumbent upon one to learn the lessons of one's own life. His, albeit small, responsibility will be on his head forever, and he will never escape the judgment of it by humane people the world over for the rest of his life. He will never be thought of seriously by any thinking person as a political force for good, a member of a programmatic resistance, and his blog will be considered a mere curiosity, querulous and quixotic, not deeply insightful or moral, more along the lines of titillating political entertainment, like Jon Stewart. There is a difference being "mistaken" and refusing to read the accounts and understand the processes (processes, as I make clear above, which have changed little in intent since time immemorial and which are repeated quite regularly the world over) which every reader of this humble blog has been aware of for well over a year. A very big difference.
What can we do? It is incumbent upon us that the list of petitioner's names and the empty verbiage and puerile analysis should be deconstructed and spread far and wide to discredit these puppets. Their empty program should be exposed for the nihilism that it is and replaced with a viable program of education and resistance.
As has been well documented, for instance at Landdestroyer, geo-political plans are devised years, if not decades, into the future. What has been transpiring in Syria is no surprise to any serious student of geo-politics, and was planned and publicized long ago. The feckless left has no excuse for ignorance if they expect to be a geo-political force for good.
What, one may reasonably ask, is to be the role of intellectuals? (No less a luminary than Noam Chomsky gained renown addressing this question.) Intellectuals are presumably given a voice and widespread exposure and the following and trust of people as leaders so that they can tell the truth to us while confronting those in power. They should take the time and effort to unravel the tortuous and purposely opaque mechanisms of power and explain the process to us mere mortals in simple terms which we can understand. One might expect them to elucidate how the west and its ZATO and Arab puppets has, over several decades, created a world of artificial austerity without meaningful work for millions, a network of fundamentalist schools spitting out nihilistic fanatics devoid of humanism or critical thinking, a pipeline of illegal arms, armies of brainwashed mercenaries provided jobs and cult-like group identity, all focused on destroying nation states one by one -- Syria being the current focus of destabilization. One might expect them to line out this process to those of us who are burdened by simply getting by day-to-day and putting food on our table, a roof over our heads, taking care of our cratering health, so that we can understand and follow them. One might, at the very least, expect them to tell us what Zbigniew Brzezinski (The Grand Chessboard) and Wesley Clark (The US will destabilize seven countries...), partisan political players both, have let on. That is the very least one might expect of a public intellectual, even if they are a member of the feckless left.
However, in these extremely bleak days it seems the so-called "opposition" is given voice, funding, positions of authority and following so that the global mafia can call in their chits when it really counts. They can lie to us and spin meaningless confections of freedom, dignity, and a democratic future for Syria. (What hopes for freedom, dignity, and a democratic future do the unemployed, the underemployed, the great mass of flexible labor have in their own countries these days?) They can lie to us and turn cause and effect on its head: "the regime has pushed for the militarization of the Syrian nonviolent movement", and by implication somehow now has responsibility for the completely unmentioned mercenary Takfiri opposition, as if a non-violent movement could be forced into violence -- sell that analysis to real leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, neither a showboat intellectual.
Real leaders, from Martin Luther King to Hugo Chavez to Gary Webb risked their life to reveal the truth instead of gallivanting with the Rolling Stones, or being feted by some astroturf group, or funded by some globalist foundation or tenured by some pseudo-intellectual organization (university) held afloat by government and corporate contracts in killingry and global domination. These chickenshit, pathetic signatories, as well as other well known "leftists" such as Amy Goodman, Juan Cole, Josh Landis, Michael Alpert, Stephen Zunes, and others, are case examples of weak, pathetic traitors to humanity worldwide. They have willfully traded honest systematic analysis for emotional string pulling -- only real lives (not theirs) are involved. Nobody forced these people to become public intellectuals; they could be greeters at Walmart nation, like the rest of us shmoos.
Those who consciously through their words and actions seek positions of power and privilege within the left are all well aware, as are all activists, union organizers, journalists, etc. of the danger this entails and the courage involved in being a real leader in a land of the deepest imperial and neoliberal reaction, while living in countries which make no pretense whatsoever these days of providing for even the most basic welfare of their own people when it stands in opposition to the needs of multi-national capital. Therefore, these house intellectuals, these whitewashers of extremism, murder and mayhem -- are as guilty as traitors, for when the chit from on high gets called in by those who supported their rise to prominence, they cravenly put their own safety and privilege over the quest for intellectual rigor, truth and justice and the trust put in them by people who only want justice and peace in the world.
Truth is hard-won in times of universal propaganda and deceit, and one must think for oneself, and not blindly follow leftist, or any other, gurus. Rather, one must ruthlessly tear down, expose and destroy the propagandists, the cloaked aiders and abettors of empire. Its the least we can do.