Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 26, 2016

Separated at birth

Filed under: separated at birth? — louisproyect @ 2:00 am



  1. Who is that guy?

    On Sun, Dec 25, 2016 at 9:00 PM, Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist wrote:

    > louisproyect posted: ” ” >

    Comment by jeffreymarlin — December 26, 2016 @ 2:17 am

  2. Assad.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 26, 2016 @ 2:27 am

  3. One thing you can say about Hitler. Leftists didn’t back him.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2016 @ 3:28 am

  4. This is really a cheap shot. It might make some sense to compare Assad with Stalin. But you make the Nazis look reasonable when you compare them with Assad. What foreign country have the Syrians invaded? What kinds of sadistic medical experiments have Syrians doctors been accused of carrying out on non combatants? Who is Syria was oppressed simply because they were a member of a religious or ethnic minority group? Have any members of the Assad family ever been accused of kidnapping beautiful women off the streets and raping and torturing and murdering them like one of Hussein`s sons?
    What I am not saying is that those who took up arms against Assad were not justified in doing so. I am also not going to condemn Assad’s forces for fighting back. Nor will I condemn the Russians and Iranians for helping Assad. Nor am I going to condemn Assad’s pilots for dropping barrel bombs on hospitals, if that is were their enemies are hiding.
    Yet it is perfectly reasonable not only to condemn but even to to murder American or Israeli, or Saudi pilots who attack appartment buildings or hospitals with “precision guided weapons” because what Americans and Israelis and Saudis are fighting for is so incredibly clearly unjust that the sins of Assad pale in comparison. The leadership of the USA, and Israel, and Saudi Arabia are waging an unnecessary war together against the entire planet. Those American and Israeli and Saudi pilots who fight back should be condemned by all civilized people. Sadly condemning these pilots is really a pointless exercise as they are to heedless to repent, just like their confederate ancestors, the shit does not fall far from the ass.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — December 26, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

  5. I have not forgotten the fact the European countries enable American aggression I just did not mention them by name because I do not know what kinds of pressures that the US puts on them to fall in line. It is plausible to me European leaders are unwilling participants in supporting American aggression. That clearly can not be said in the case of Israel or Saudi Arabia.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — December 26, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

  6. Curt: While it’s true that neither Stain nor Hitler dropped bombs on their own working class neighborhoods (nor did they invite a foreign power to help with such slaughter) – it’s also true that nobody on left disputes the criminal perfidy of Saudi, Israeli and American aggression. Nor does anybody dispute that only Hitler & Stalin had armies big enough to threaten The Continent. I think Lou’s point was simply the irony of erstwhile Leftists backing such a fascistic regime like Assad’s (never mind the strange love they have, along with the Alt Right, for a psychopathic Russian despot who flies the Czarist flag over the Kremlin, aka, the Butcher of Grozny).

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2016 @ 5:28 pm

  7. Karl: If you live in this country (the U.S.A.), I would think that your responsibility would pertain more to the psychopathic individual who currently (at least for a few weeks) leads our own country, President Drone.

    Comment by David Green — December 26, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

  8. Actually, David, as a proletarian Internationalist my responsibility is solidarity with working people wherever and whenever their neighborhoods are under aerial bombardment.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2016 @ 7:22 pm

  9. Karl,
    There are rules. There are exceptions to EVERY rule. There are exceptions to every EXCEPTION. When it comes to Iraq some people will emphasize the basic rule, others will emphasize the exception, and some the exception to the exception.
    Syria is a case that makes an idiot out of everyone. It first of all makes idiots out of all those outsiders and I do mean ALL outsiders who are spending resources to influence the outcome. None of these outsiders are going to feel a bit of pain if their chosen side does not prevail. If Assad falls Iran might not have any influence in Syria, and therefore Lebanon but it has gained Iraq so Iran will be better off when the dust settles to defend itself from a US military attack anyways. If Assad falls the US military will still need 20 minutes to destroy the Russian military with conventional weapons only, not 19 minutes. If Assad falls the US will have a government in power that will be as compliant as the Assad government was. If Assad does not fall the US has no reason to complain as Assad did little to challenge US dominance in the region. I have heard it said somewhere that Assad helped Iran arm Hezbollah but I think that the US leadership suspected that it was really the Turks who were helping Iran arm Hezbollah. But even if I am wrong nothing really changes because Iran was mistaken to believe in the first place that by using Hezbollah to threaten Israel it could reduce the chances of a US attack on Iran.
    The weapons industries in all of these outside countries that are pouring resources to influence the outcome in Syria benefit at the expense of everyone else in the country that they operate in.
    The war makes fools of the Syrians as well. They have no good choices. Risking your life for any side in this conflict is an absurd choice as the history of the world shows no matter who wins this conflict is going to fail miserably to bring justice to the country. Failing to chose a side and fight for one side or the other almost guarantees that you and your family will be killed by which ever side wins because you and your family can not be counted on and are therefore a security risk to the new rulers. Leaving the country is a very high risk option as well. Your family will not be welcome anywhere that it tries to settle. Your family will almost certainly be condemned to poverty for decades if not forever.
    Furthermore even if by some miracle those that Louis thinks are the good guys should win, the leadership of the USA will immediately start work on destabilizing their rule. It would be much harder to consolidate a socialist revolution anywhere until there is a socialist revolution in the USA Yet that is not going to happen because the field grade officers in the US military are worthless pieces of shit.
    The only thing that a Syrian has to look forward to is being able to watch every other country on the planet disintegrate as they are overcome by the costs of global warming. That is a thought that should warm the heart of everyone.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — December 27, 2016 @ 12:10 am

  10. Curt: We’re not that far apart since I agree with probably 90% of what you’ve just said. The case of Syria certainly makes a fool out of most analysts and virtually no revolutionist is more of an outsider than me on that question, being initially extremely ambivalent but ultimately subscribing to Proyect’s worldview on Syria. I was one of the first on this forum, after all, to have a sneaking suspicion, mainly due to the profound absence of proletarian leadership, during the heyday of the Arab Spring, that it may well all wind up like Corozone Aquino’s “Peoples Power” in the Philappines, where the downtrodden masses took over the streets for a month, yet ultimately, to borrow a phrase from Trotsky, “not a hair on the head of the capitalists was mussed”.

    Yet in Syria, after the peaceful protesters were attacked, a proletarian leadership did in fact arise. They’ve since been decimated but back in the day they had organization, ideals and a vision. Neighborhood org zones were established with democratic meetings that were reminiscent of mini Soviets. These are all established facts.

    So you’re right, what’s left of it today is ruins where the revolutionary fighters are doomed if they do and doomed if they don’t. It’s hard to fathom a solution amidst this reality and that’s why you have to fall back on principles.

    As a college student I had a job at a big University Library and for my hobby I set out to read, since they were housed in this obscure 4th story corner, the collected works of V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky. It took 2.5 years but I did it. Now say what you will about Lenin, while he had spots of humor & irony, he was a pretty boring read. Nevertheless I believe that Lenin was the single most influential figure in the historical outcome of the 20th Century.

    By contrast Trotsky was far more of a Word Smith. Way more interesting to read than Lenin. Whereas Lenin’s “What is To be Done” provided a guidepost or compass for action. Trotsky’s “Their Morals & Ours” laid out the principles of proletarian internationalism.

    It is in this context I always ask myself in a given political situation: what would Lenin & Trotsky think were they alive today?

    The answer, I’m forced to conclude, is something along the lines of the recent article by the Oakland Socialists:that Proyect has linked: https://oaklandsocialist.com/2016/12/26/cananycapitalistforceprovideasolution/

    This particular “Separated at Birth” page, therefore may be “cheap” but at least it’s a “shot” – albeit in the dark when the light is dimmest.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 27, 2016 @ 2:37 am

  11. P.S. Curt

    I really loved this formulation:

    “There are rules. There are exceptions to EVERY rule. There are exceptions to every EXCEPTION. When it comes to Iraq some people will emphasize the basic rule, others will emphasize the exception, and some the exception to the exception.”

    because when I first read it I thought it was a quote from Donald Rumsfeld!

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 27, 2016 @ 2:53 am

  12. Maybe Rumsfeld did say something like that. Even asses can have an insight now and then. People can be right for the wrong reasons and they can be right for the right reasons. I only like to give them credit when they are right for the right reasons though. Also good ideas can be used to achieve ends that many people would find evil and doing evil is sometimes necessary to achieve a virtuous goal. I think that Economic Integration is a good example. NAFTA was an idea supported by people who I think for the most part we would both consider our enemies or adversaries yet I think NAFTA like the EU is a positive step forward. Yet creating global economic integration is going to far. It would be going to far even if there were a global socialist revolution.
    I consider myself a socialist today. Other people who consider themselves socialist may not consider me a socialist at all. But my historical background is not socialist. Perhaps as time passes I will develope a greater appreciation of the thoughts of Marx, or Lenin, or Trotsky. Then again perhaps as time passes I can persuade some of those who are inspired by these saints of socialism to pay more attention to the works of Machiavelli, Confucius, Sun Tzu, and even Adam Smith, among others.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — December 27, 2016 @ 9:26 am

  13. Karl,
    I made the comment about rules because I think that the Red Chorus here is mistaken about claiming that left support for Putin and Assad is a serious mistake. The greater left has not gone off the rails. They are simply trying to place greater emphasis on the fact that since it is difficult for a revolution working for the greater good to consolidate itself in a world in which the American brand of imperialism is clearly dominant it is more important to cause harm to American imperialism than to show symbolic solidarity with those getting bombed in Aleppo. The mistake of this large group of leftist is to think that the outcome in Syria will make any difference at all in the struggle to defeat the American brand of imperialism. But this is certainly not a huge mistake. Furthermore it is a reasonable mistake. When Assad or Ahmadinejad accuse those working to topple them of being CIA stooges American history makes such accusations sound reasonable. So should a person blame leftist opinion shapers for such a mistake or the American leadership?

    On the other hand the failure of the American plan to replace Erdogan may actually damage the American brand of imperialism. Ironically this loss for American imperialism could also be a loss for the quality of life for the Turkish people even though the Turkish people might not understand that for decades to come. Karl, you and I would probably agree with that living in a secular socialist state would be one in which reasonable people would be happier than living in an Islamic dominated state in which the poor were well cared for. But in a country with Turkey’s history perhaps the only way that most of the people could figure that out is if they had a chance to be born into both kinds of systems and be indoctrinated by both types of systems and then be able to leave both systems and reflect on the quality of life that both systems delivered as both a female and a male.
    That is of course impossible unless people could live inside a computer simulation survive the removal from that simulation and then survive the insertion and removal into a second simulation and have all of the memories of their experiences in both simulations remain intact. So in Turkey a leftist has to chose between trying to gently convince a large conservatively indoctrinated population of the error of their ways or using force or intimidation to get them to submit to our understanding of what is good for them. That was and is the same choice faced by leftists in Syria and it is the same choice faced by leftists in the USA. Because Leftists are smarter I did have some hope for about 10 years that a way could be found to walk a camel through the eye of a needle, meaning repeat the success of the April 1974 Portuguese revolution. Now that camel has been eaten and the needle melted. You have perhaps never heard this saying before, if at first you do not succeed get rid of all the evidence that you ever tried. Jane Seabrook said that.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — December 27, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

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