By As'ad AbuKhalil - Sat, 2012-09-01 - Angry Corner
This is the season. There is a myth of a “revolution” in Syria and the myth requires stories, tales, fabrications and distortions, especially when the revolutionaries are none other than the armed gang members of the Free Syrian Army and the various Jihadis who flocked to Syria. To claim that the conflict in Syria is now a revolution is one thing, but to claim that it is a leftist revolution requires more effort and fabrications and distortions, even if the effort is well-intentioned.
Don’t get me wrong. There was at one point a popular uprising in Syria which constituted demonstrations and protests in some parts of the country, especially in rural areas where the cruel neo-liberal policies (that please Western governments and money lending institutions) prevailed in the country. But the promising popular uprising was killed many months ago, stolen by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and their fundamentalist clients.
Now Jamie Allinson is trying to hard to convince us not to believe our own eyes and to pretend that leftist revolutionaries are leading the “revolution” in Syria.
To make his argument, Allinson had to create characters that don’t exist. He begins his long article by claiming that “prominent figures on the Anglophone Left are hurrying to “defend the Syrian regime,” and then adds they otherwise they are trying to “oppose its opponents.” Notice how he polemically mixes the two stances together so that in his mind, any opposition to the opposition – even opposition to al-Qaeda and Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) in Syria, is equal to defense of the regime. This trick is as old and as vulgar as polemics of the Baath itself.
But who are these prominent leftists? George Galloway is named among three. I never thought that Galloway, a misogynist buffoon, should be counted on the Left but we can let that one pass only because this makes Allinson’s task easier for him, and we do want him to have an easy time on a topic that he may not be that familiar with.
Allinson may know about Syria what Trotsky knew about the Bronx when he addressed a rally there early in the 20th century saying: “workers and peasants of the Bronx.” Allinson does not even make room for some of us on the Left who oppose the Syrian regime and who call for its immediate overthrow and who also oppose the Syrian exile opposition and the Free Syrian Army gangs.
Allinson then belittles or dismisses the notion of an international reactionary-Zionist conspiracy in Syria. But it is not really a conspiracy. How could it be a conspiracy when the parties involved (US, France, UK, Germany, UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan) through their media and official pronouncements publicly make their intentions and objectives clear? It is now more like an official regional-global war of proxy (where the Syrian regime is also is a member of a counter regional-international camp).
This dismissal by Allison can only imply that he believes that American and Western Zionists who are calling daily for more arms and NATO intervention to help the FSA gangs is motivated by real love for a real…revolution? By Allinson’s logic, Zionists and Salafis and Ikhwans are all part of a glorious revolution, which he believes has leftist features and objectives.
He ridicules the idea that the armed movement in Syria is an extension of US imperial policies, despite the fact that the US Congress has been dispensing millions upon millions of dollars to that movement. Does Allinson think that the US is merely charitably aiding a leftist revolution, without even knowing it? Does John McCain call for more arms for the Syrian revolution without knowing what Allinson knows: that it really is a leftist movement?
Allinson then ridicules the notion that the Western media spread lies. He implies it would not be possible for the Western media to spread lies. His understanding seems to imply that they are only agents of truth, and truth alone.
Allinson is not only generalizing about the Western Left, he also adds the Arab Left to the mix, but he singles out “Egypt’s revolutionary currents” — unnamed — for praise while other Arab leftists are tossed in the same vulgar camp with the likes of George Galloway. He happens to use one article in Al-Akhbar (which he read in translation) to say that the paper dismisses all Arab uprisings as “political Sunnism.” Here, Allinson is talking about something I happen to know about: he is talking about the paper I write for. This contention by Allinson is a blatant lie.
The paper has published articles about extremist Sunni fanatical currents in Syria (and Lebanon) and this topic has even received the attention of the Western media. That does not in any way mean that all Arab uprisings are dismissed as “political Sunnism.” If Allinson’s ideological task is a very difficult one, he can’t make it easier simply by fabrications or distortions.