March for Our Lives: blowing off steam or exercise of political power?

March for our Lives (MICHAEL REYNOLDS:EPA-EFE:REX:Shutterstock) Mar 24 2018

This won’t be a popular thing to say but I’m going to say it anyway: There are probably a million marching in DC for gun reform with close to 1,000 marches around the country. As a seasoned rally organizer, I know the kids at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were not the primary organizers. It took tens of thousands of dollars to pull off this event with know-how in rally permits, crowd control, transportation, etc. What’s impressive as hell were the young people speaking with extraordinary power & eloquence. What’s less than impressive is that they made a connection between gun reform & getting out the vote but not a one in DC made the connection between gun violence & US militarism. Gun violence is not some disembodied phenomenon but is directly rooted in militarism. Many of these kids, especially those not sucked into the Democratic Party apparatus, have or will make that connection between school shootings & war & what these protests show is that they are potentially a mighty force for change & for rebuilding the antiwar movement. The reason it matters is that they use the same disembodied method to condemn the holocausts under Hitler & even use the same slogan “never again.” The causes of genocide & gun violence become abstractions & opposition is reduced to a moral crusade to avoid confronting the real causes of both. The more abstract & disembodied, the less effective, reducing public protest to blowing off steam rather than exercising political power.

Photo is from Washington, DC rally today.

(Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)

The video of the Israeli policeman strangling a Palestinian boy is fake & I have removed it. Those who shared it might want to do so also. There are enough monstrous crimes by Israeli forces against Palestinian kids that there’s no need to invent any & it only discredits the just cause of the Palestinians.

Eastern Ghouta falls to Syrian regime

Syrian soldiers taking selfies with terrified women Mar 24 2018

Assad propagandists are waxing triumphal about the Syrian army taking down Eastern Ghouta in a brutal siege that lasted 33 days. Well of course the forces of reaction defeated unarmed civilians. To do so, they used 1,578 ground missiles; 2,976 bomb strikes; 5,416 rocket launchers; 447 incendiary weapons, including napalm & white phosphorous; 8 toxic gas attacks, including with chlorine; unknown numbers of cluster bombs & bunker buster bombs; 7,013 artillery assaults with mortars & missiles. Over 1,400 civilians were killed, some burned to death by napalm & phosphorous, others suffocated by chlorine. The number of injuries are upwards of 6,000.

There are videos of Assad officials taunting survivors & forcing them to chant pro-Assad slogans in order to receive food & water. There are soldiers taking selfies with terrified women & children. But the propagandists are making this terrifying experience look like a festival of celebration by posting photos of soldiers holding little kids, helping the elderly, carrying the injured in their arms. It’s a glorification of militarism fully endorsed by the utterly corrupt antiwar movement.

This is a watershed moment in time, separating the wheat from the chaff: those who cheered on the slaughter of civilians & the destruction of the Syrian Arab Spring uprising & those who opposed it. The latter are in the majority, no matter the number of likes on social media cheering on slaughter. Most of those likes are Russian trolls. For so long, so many held out hopes that the measure of savagery by the Syrian regime would rouse its supporters from their political stupor rooted in Islamophobia & anti-Semitism & aligned with international fascist forces. But hope is now replaced with certainty that those who support the Assad regime, regardless of their confusions, have helped defeat one of the most important social, political, & revolutionary struggles of the past 100 years. May they rot in hell.

Photo is triumphal Syrian soldiers taking selfies with terrified women & children. In the fall of Aleppo, the Syrian army separated women & children from men which is ominous for all those involved.

Stand with the Syrian people & demand the immediate cessation of Syrian, Russian, Turkish, & US coalition bombing & the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Syria.

(Photo circulated on Twitter)

If I made a list of those who call themselves Marxists that support the Assad dictatorship, all of the international gurus of the left would be on it. If I made another list of all of them who have not said a peep about the Kashmiri & Rohingya struggles, it would include the same people. Most mention BDS & the Palestinian struggle a couple times a year but you probably couldn’t get a cogent explanation out of most of them. No need to continue excoriating the left for failures. It’s dead as a doornail. It’s a parody of itself, reduced to gossiping & infantile Trump-fixation. They just like to call themselves Marxists since it sounds intellectual & rebellious. But they’re dopes.

“It would be a shame if all those buses suddenly fell into a massive sinkhole somewhere on route to Idlib. Best thing is to eliminate them all once and for all time. Letting them go means Syria will have to fight them again in the near future.”

–An Assadist proposing what humanity has come to know as the “final solution” on Twitter post of Assad official Fares Shehabi about civilians, who Shehabi calls “jihadi monkeys,” being evacuated out of Eastern Ghouta.

“…it is surely elementary ABC that for the international left, supposedly the inheritors and continuators of Enlightenment values, torture committed by anybody and against anybody under any pretext whatsoever is completely beyond the pale. If the prisoners were al Qaeda, it makes absolutely no difference to the case; how can those who protested the bestial behaviour of the US in Abu Ghraib, or the use of torture by Nazis or the French in Algeria, justify the torture and execution by hanging of 13,000 people by the Assad regime and still claim to be part of the socialist and humanist tradition? I still cling to the hope that some of those who may have embarked on a course of political support for a savage dictatorship can turn back in time before their path leads them far from the ranks of the left and far from our common humanity.”

–John Scott on fascist Vanessa Beeley & those on the left who justify the torture of political prisoners because they are “monsters, mostly hardcore Al Qaeda.”

Assad propagandist Vanessa Beeley publicly defends torture

Ceasar photo (!)

Ceasar photo (2)

Ceasar photo (3)

Ceasar photo (4)
“…tbh torture happened, I’m never going to say it publicly, but it happened. Under Bashar Al-Assad it was being brought under control…& tbh the creatures in Sadnaya were monsters, mostly hardcore Al Qaeda.”

–That statement is by Assad propagandist Vanessa Beeley justifying the torture & hanging of over 13,000 political prisoners in five years in Saydnaya prison, according to a 2017 Amnesty International report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass hanging & extermination at Saydnaya prison.” Just exactly as Stalinists continue to justify the torture & execution of political prisoners in Russia’s gulag.

These photos, shown only to expose Assad’s criminality, are from the Caesar collection of 28,000 photos by a forensics officer named “Caesar” who smuggled them out of Syria after defecting from the Assad regime. These men were political prisoners & under the rule of law, even if they were terrorists, torture is a violation of their human rights. You cannot justify this unless you are so deranged as to also justify Guantanamo & the entire CIA rendition program of secret prisons. When Bartlett & Beeley & the entire stable of deranged Assadists & their fellow travelers–from Tariq Ali to Jeff Mackler, Rania Khalek, & Cindy Sheehan–support these crimes, they become complicit & expose the political stuff they’re really made of. These young men were human beings, not monsters to be tortured, mutilated, brutalized, & murdered. They were revolutionists, not terrorists.

Stand with the Syrian people & demand the immediate release of all political prisoners; the immediate cessation of Syrian, Russian, Turkish, & US coalition bombing; & the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Syria.

(Beeley statement defending torture from Twitter, released in a dispute among Assad propagandists)

Alice Walker’s association with David Icke

David Icke tweet with Alice Walker Mar 23 2017 & 2018

Reposting this from March 23rd, 2017 because understanding the issue of how anti-Semitism entangles with Islamophobia is extremely important. Nothing shows that more clearly than supporters of Assad who openly hate on Jews, ascribe to that Illuminati crap about Jewish bankers, & blame the entire Syrian conflict on Israel & its alleged plans for a “greater Israel.” Those who don’t understand how compromised the antiwar & Palestinian solidarity movements become by ignoring the motivation & presence of anti-Semites use the metaphor of marching with the devil for justice. What they don’t understand is that these anti-Semites & Islamophobes are not marching for justice but only to increase the persecution of Jews & the oppression of Muslims.

It is profoundly disturbing, actually horrifying, to learn the author Alice Walker, a long-time supporter of Palestinian solidarity & a participant in the 2011 Gaza Flotilla, has been a public & ardent apostle of libertarian David Icke since 2013 & advances his ideas on her website & in media.

Icke’s ideas, as deranged as they are hateful, can be called the theoretics of fascism. The core of his ideas, which Walker explicitly defends, is that the world is run by the Jewish Illuminati, a corporate & banking elite of blood-drinking, flesh-eating, shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptiles trying to create a new world order of global fascism.

Like KKK & white supremacist David Duke, Icke & his apostles like Eva Bartlett & Vanessa Bartlett, associate with Palestinian solidarity only for a platform to spread the hatred of Jews. Their role as propagandists for Assad are manifold: support for his fascism & contempt for working people; hopes the Syrian counterrevolution will help to destroy Israel & massacre Jews; admiration that the Assad dynasty has expelled all Jews from Syria. The struggle of Palestinians against colonialism & apartheid is no part of their considerations. Their goal is not a democratic, secular state for Palestinians & Jews to live in harmony but the extermination of Jews–before they then turn on Palestinians, the Semitic cousins of Jews.

Walker’s association with David Icke absolutely excludes her from participation in Palestinian solidarity events of any kind, including as a forum, rally, or honored keynote speaker, or in any formal capacity at all. She can no longer be allowed to speak on behalf of solidarity because she compromises its integrity in the most despicable way by endorsing the notion that Jewish bankers run the world, which was the ideology of German fascism & the Jewish holocaust. Her presence should be barely tolerated as a participant in public protests open to all.

Walker’s prestige isn’t a good enough reason to tolerate hating on Jews in Palestinian solidarity. That isn’t imposing a purity test on the movement; it is the standard of basic principles social movements employ to protect the movements from disgrace, dissension & destruction. In the same way hating on Jews is incompatible with Palestinian solidarity, the women’s movement of the 1960s-70s distinguished our support for abortion rights from those of eugenicists who wanted legalization for ethnic cleansing purposes.

Walker has taken on the honored status of guru among women, Black, & other progressive activists & is honored by Palestinians & their supporters. Now she should face the music for promoting the wretched hatred of Jews & apparently for Muslims since she has not publicly differed from Icke’s support for Assad. Hopefully her glory days as a guru are over because in the politics of liberation you can’t play both sides of the street.

(Photo is David Icke tweet from September 2016:

Support for Assad dictatorship finishes off the degenerated left

Support for the Assad dictatorship finishes off the left which has been in theoretical & political dry rot since at least the end of the Vietnam War. The corruption is steeped in a grotesque adherence to Stalinist politics freebasing on factionalism, sectarianism, & cultism & making them indistinguishable from fascism.

What is to be learned from all that? Don’t do gurus. Don’t uncritically follow those who talk with bellowing authority but are glib windbags & don’t know beans from buckshot about the politics of social transformation. Don’t do elitists who treat you like a guppy with nothing to contribute. Don’t let others do your thinking & your study for you. Don’t let anybody push you around intellectually. If it looks like Stalinism, run like hell. If it isn’t democratic, don’t waste a moment of your time because there is no possibility of change coming from hand-raisers. Keep your nose clean & don’t engage in double-dealing. Never let anyone break the rebel in you because it is rebels staying a principled course who help to change the world. If you want to know what a rebel looks like, look to Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya, the indigenous peoples fighting neoliberal economics on every planet, the Filipino human rights activists standing against vigilante death squads, & so many others who will not bend the knee to violence. Those who fight oppression despite seemingly insuperable odds are our teachers. Let the gurus & the windbags go to seed.