Over the past few months, a curious campaign has developed among Syrian oppositionists focused on ousting not Bashar al-Assad but National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces President Ahmad al-Jarba. Whoever is behind this campaign is trying to create the impression that the people reject Jarba just as they reject Assad. For example, “Toppling the Coalition President” was the name chosen for the Friday protests on March 21, 2014 and their images are modeled on the coalition’s #EnoughWithAssad meme. Read More
In reviewing Trotskyist academic Gilbert Achcar’s book on the Arab Spring The People Want, Louis Proyect asserts that “classical Marxism” retains both its analytical and strategic validity and yet what is offered up seems to indicate the opposite. Proyect contrasts Achcar’s method in evaluating the Arab Spring’s revolutions with the method of renegade Tariq Ali who baldly claimed that there were no revolutions, not in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, nor Yemen in the 2010-2014 period.
But just because Ali was wrong does not make Achcar right.
The Proyect-Achcar response to Ali’s lie that political power in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria never changed hands in class terms was not to examine the class shifts in these countries but to concede that none of these revolutions was “real” because they were not socialist revolutions. In surrendering to rather than challenging Ali’s glib idiocy, Proyect declares that Vietnam never experienced a “real” revolution: “Vietnam had no revolution when it drove out the American imperialists. Just look at the millionaires in Vietnam today, profiting off of sweatshops.” According to this view, the expulsion of the Americans and the overthrow of the landlord-capitalist clique in Saigon by the national revolution in 1975 changed nothing in terms of which class ruled. Read More