Progressive politics are going through a dramatic, wrenching metamorphosis & the schism point is war. That’s always been the case, at least since WWI. Differences that have long weakened the antiwar movement have reached the breaking point over Syria.
The primary schism is over the character of the Assad regime & how to respond to Syrian bombing of civilians & foreign intervention by Russia, the US, Iran, Turkey, Australia, Israel, & others. Activists who completely disagree on these questions all claim to speak for the Syrian people.
There is one international current that opposes Assad’s dictatorship as well as Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians. But instead of building a movement to oppose Assad & Putin, this current looks to the US Pentagon to impose a No Fly Zone (NFZ) which would entail a massive escalation of war. As a result, they actively campaign for Clinton as the candidate more likely to increase US intervention in Syria against Assad. Perhaps they can’t be faulted for not understanding how US military policy is formulated but when challenged on this perspective, many of them petulantly respond that a NFZ is what Syrians demand so who are we to stand in the way?
Who are we? We’re the ones who know what a NFZ means & won’t be patronized by such political drivel. What Syrians want is the cessation of bombing & the solution to that is not a NFZ which would only increase bombing & threaten nuclear war. We’re the ones who have watched US militarism unravel the foundations of civilization, destroy entire cultures, bomb millions to smithereens. We’re the ones who witness the devastation of militarism on US society, with increased persecution of Black & Latino youth, increased xenophobia & hatred of undocumented immigrants, increased social hatred of Muslims. We’re the ones who watch beloved family members come back in body bags or with missing limbs, with PTSD & mental illness, who commit suicide, who become twisted & disoriented, even violent, from their experiences in the US military. We’re the ones who have to live with all that.
How do we characterize a political current that understands dictatorship but doesn’t really grasp the consequences of militarism & sees the US Pentagon as the solution to conflict in Syria? It’s not entirely clear, but they are not allies.