David Graeber’s Homage to Rojava.

The imperialists and the ever-faithful Western “Lefts”, led by chronic NATO-cheerleading “Academic Anarchist” David Graeber and the effervescent celebrity-left cling-on Charles Davis, are attempting to appropriate the Syrian Kurds and engineer a situation in Syria very similar to events that occurred during the Spanish Civil War – both from the perceived propaganda angle with regard to the “Lefts”, and the concrete with regard to the imperialists. As a result of this ongoing deception, those who support Syria against imperial aggression are to be portrayed as obstructing an ostensibly “thriving democratic Kurdish autonomy”, or “Kurdish self-determination” in its supposed battle to create a libertarian anarchist eco-utopia in Northern Syria, and break free from the clutches of the “evil Assad regime”, or, as is otherwise known to adults still able to converse outside the lexicon of Orientalist bourgeois propaganda: the Syrian State and nation at large.

Contrary to the mythical fantasies of Graeber & Co., most Communists are fully aware that this supposed “autonomy” gained via the US military will never be achieved under the aegis of imperialism. It will only be usurped and used to further the reactionary goals of empire in dividing Syria and to further exacerbate the consequences of this reaction and impending subordination of the entire region.

Just as the opportunists and anarchists misunderstood the historico-material international characteristics of the civil war in Spain, followed their own utopias and chose to break with the united front and the republic against Franco’s fascism–they choose to oppose the right of nations – the Syrian nation and all its people regardless of their ethnicity – to self-determination by supporting the inevitable imperial domination and division of Syria such imperial “aid” to the Kurds will engender. In their shortsighted compartmentalized support of a “just cause”, the Western “Left” opportunists and poorly disguised social chauvinists once again support the road to reaction.

People may well “empathize” with oppressed actors seeking to acquire “impure assistance” [from US empire] but it is a Communists duty to expose that “impure assistance” as reactionary to the core, that it is antithetical to the material aims both of the oppressed actor forced into a condition of seeking to attain it and to the working classes and oppressed peoples of the wider region. US empire has never aided even the slightest progressive movement without it being in the US empire’s larger interests, which in turn are nothing but reactionary all along the line.

The “Lefts” could arguably sing: the Kurdish cause in Syria is a “just cause” based on the historical persecution they have undoubtedly received at the hands of the Syrian Arab ruling class, and therefore the Kurds “desiring impure US assistance” must be supported to achieve an assumed utopian future, but this is the argument of a one-sided simpleton. Would a Communist have ever advocated the oppressed Irish take the military or political “aid” – and equally therefore the domination – of the German Nazi’s to break the yoke of the British ruling class, to jump from the frying pan into the fires of hell?

The PYD will have no political authority over the “assistance” they are given by empire, as a result of receiving such aid they must become empire’s subordinates, in line with the Kurdistan Regional Govt in Iraq ruled by the NATO/Israeli clients of the Barzani clan. Again, the US will only aid the PYD and its military wing the YPG if that course of action furthers US imperial interests (hence the rabid support from the imperialist “Left” David Graeber), interests which are fundamentally opposed to the interests of the vast majority of the entire region, not least the vast majority of the Kurdish population. US goals in Syria are the break up of the Syrian State into antagonistic ethno-sectarian “mini-states” incapable of obstructing imperial (Western/Israeli) domination. This is not the road to the emancipation of the Kurdish working class, much less the working classes of Syria and the region. Yet it may well prove to be the road to “freedom” (imperial patronage) for a small minority of bourgeois Kurdish elements – as it has proven to be for the Barzani clan in Iraq – at the price of the enslavement of the majority of the population. The argument could well be made that life “under the regime”, would be no better, but this is an ahistorical blind assumption contrary to all the facts. Life for Syria’s Kurdish minority “under the regime” may well have been oppressive, but it was by no means the worst in the region, and nothing like the oppression minorities receive under US client regimes.

So, our dear “Lefts” end up once again appropriating the sections of the Kurdish Syrian community that mistakenly seek alliances with and aid from fascist US imperialism, by focusing on intermittent flare-ups with the Syrian army and anti-Assad elements from within the PYD, and those who aim to influence it in this direction from without, as the sole expression of the entire Syrian Kurdish community. (As it must also be noted here that the PYD is itself divided on its future path and fluctuating alliances, even as it engages in sporadic clashes with the Syrian army and localised militia of the National Defense Forces, and releasing bellicose denunciations of “Assad’s fascist forces”, there are nonetheless concrete local alliances on the ground elsewhere, not to mention the historic ties between the Syrian Ba’ath and the PKK/PYD leadership) Graeber & Co. are deceptively promoting the partition and weakening of the Syrian nation currently under vast imperial aggression and the imminent threat of reaction from all sides. They are further advocating the Kurds submit to US empire, to become its patsies in a war of aggression, its proxy enforcer against the Syrian army and State; they advocate the PYD succumb to an empire that has played a lead role in the persecution of the Kurdish community for decades upon decades.

It is important to stress that the US empire is not attempting to simply aid the Syrian Kurds’ quest for political autonomy; throughout the insurgency the US and its partners have used “ISIS” & Co. as a tool of coercion against the PYD in attempts to cause further cleavage between them and the Syrian State and to act as a conduit for US/Turkish contras. It is these “rebel” contras that viciously assaulted Kurdish communities ever since the PYD became detached from the puppets of imperialism in the “SNC” and refused to become part of the project against the Syrian State in 2012 – coincidentally, of course, when David Graeber & Co. were no doubt singing the praises of the very same “moderate” chauvinist Takfiris utterly opposed to any form of Kurdish self-rule. The US and Turkey have been very clear that any aid to the PYD would be subject to strict conditions, the principal condition being to abandon their neutral stance – by extension any possibility of Bookchin’s libertarian anarchist eco-utopia – and join these “rebels” against the Syrian army.

While the “Left” imperialists pretend the US is willing to “aid” the Syrian Kurds’ quest for this metaphysical “democratic libertarian autonomy” (or pretend that this is even a practical possibility under current conditions), empires’ Kurdish compradors attempt to usurp and coerce the PYD into an alliance with imperialism, with the ultimate objective of using them as a tool to irrevocably divide and disintegrate the Syrian nation, thus further weakening the entire region and its peoples ability to combat Western-Israeli imperial fascism.

The Western “Lefts” who advocate the Syrian Kurds subordination to the fascist American empire are not supporting Kurdish progression or “self-determination”, they are supporting imperialist reaction under the guise of Kurdish progression. And it is an unfortunate but necessary responsibility that falls upon Communists to remind the Kurds themselves who have been lured by this course of action and these reactionary alliances that they are mistaken in their choices, just as Barzani was mistaken in helping to create the cleavages that now form the puppet Kurdish petro-state of US and Israeli imperialism in Iraq.

It is a Communists duty (a Communist of any nation as we are internationalist in outlook, not philistine chauvinists who make concessions to our own imperial bourgeoisie under guise of supporting “their own chosen natives”) to warn the PYD and its supporters that seeking such “aid” from empire is a reactionary and dangerous policy and will lead to the further immiseration and oppression of the Syrian people, including the oppressed Kurds. Communists should just as surely recognise the historical roots of this antagonism and while lending support to the necessity for a unified Syrian front against imperial fascism to not become accustomed to forgetting to criticise and oppose the chauvinist elements within the Arab ruling classes and their oppression of the Kurdish population. It is about separating the two trends and determining a principled position on them both that forwards the objectives of the global working classes and oppressed people, from within the totality of the class struggle under the modes of production during the current epoch of imperial fascism.

Orientalism and the ISIS spectacle.

The Guardian’s resident “Marxist” Richard Seymour has provided us an opportunity to briefly expand upon the prevalent Orientalist narrative oozing throughout the vast majority of modern Western commentary on the Arab and Muslim world.(1)

To frame his latest feebly ambiguous opposition to NATO-bombs on Iraq, Seymour invokes a typically obfuscating perspective from “muted parts of the Left”. In these unspecified sectors of wrongheadedness, according to Seymour, “Leftists” are apparently in reluctant agreement with the recently commenced American airstrikes in Iraq – likely to extend into Syria –  ostensibly aimed at the fundamentalist insurgency, morphed into an existential threat now known as the Islamic State.

Precisely who these “Lefts” are, and what exactly constitutes their political persuasions within an ever-growing and ever-politically abstract demographic of Western “Lefts” remains a mystery. Are these “Lefts” Marxists, Social Democrats, Liberals, anti-imperialists? Or perhaps imperial core petty bourgeois Trotskyite opportunists such as the “socialist” cheerleader for NATO’s destruction of Libya Gilbert Achcar? Who knows, but the desired effect of endowing these pro-NATO characters so terrified in their suburban dwellings of the ISIS monster – “under their skin, infesting them” – with the abstract title of “Left” allows Seymour to portray them, and their pro-imperialist, pro-war, white supremacist “fear” of the Other Barbarian, their irrational and wholly uninformed “reason” for supporting the civilising mission, as something sensible, something to be quietly debated over a frappaccino slouched on a corduroy Starbucks sofa – as opposed to being vehemently rejected.

Of course Seymour’s pro-war “Lefts” are entirely fictional and built to provide him the opportunity to give his petty bourgeois white western liberal readership the luxury of self-identifying as the all-encompassing benevolent “Left”, while massaging their culturally racist affection for the fantasy of the Noble White Crusader destroying the Evil Arab Savage.

The principle that domination is indeed the ultimate motive of imperialism isn’t really touched upon, no totality of analysis is even attempted. Seymour may perhaps believe, as appears do his “Left” subjects, that US imperialism perceives ISIS – a paramilitary organisation the US itself played the principle role in creating and empowering(2)- as an imminent threat, rather than the reality of a strategic boon(3), and is intent on pursuing its God Given altruistic mission of Vanquishing Evil for the good of all mankind – humanitarian intervention(R2P). But surely no serious Marxist would entertain such subjectivist nonsense. Nevertheless, rather than expose this Orientalist spectacle and the civilising mission pretext it now affords imperialism, Seymour instead opts to furnish it, and proceeds to form his reductive analysis and “explanations” for the Islamic State with idealistic twaddle and Western media’s false premises.

The explanation then, for this somewhat rationalised “Left fear” and consequent support for American imperialism are the “monsters” of ISIS, and by offering this explanation all Seymour achieves is to justify the racist ideology underlying his Western “Lefts” agitprop-incited fear of ISIS and the false altruism masking Western imperial machinations. Of course as any serious analysis shows, the West has no real intention of destroying its Frankenstein ISIS, but merely corralling and manipulating it toward meeting strategic objectives.(4)

But how has this organisation of “monsters” come to be? And how has it been able to engender this supposedly justifiable fear within Seymour’s “muted Western Left”? First and foremost, according to Seymour, is the organisations apparent “widespread support within much of the population it seeks to rule”, support “gained on the basis of vicious sectarianism”.

“..whereas the jihadi ultras of the “war on terror” era were an unpopular, marginalised minority within the Iraqi resistance, always fought and opposed by the mainstream of the Sunni Arab insurgency, Isis succeeds because of the support it enjoys within much of the population it seeks to rule. And this support, be it noted, is gained on the basis of vicious sectarianism.”

And the alleged reason for Seymour’s assertion of widespread support is nothing but a regurgitation of US State Department propaganda, “President [sic] al-Maliki’s repression of Sunni Arabs is now driving an insurgency against his rule, from which Isis is gaining” says Seymour, and this one-sided repression is quite literally all that is offered as explanation for the rise of ISIS.

For at least 8 years, the US, and its Gulf Cooperation Council clients – primarily Saudi Arabia – have led a policy of bolstering “Sunni”(5) militants in the region to incite sectarian aggression against the perception of an expanding “Shia crescent” consisting of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.(6) No account or even acknowledgement of this – the crucial context for the US’ latest bombing campaign and wider imperial strategy – appears in Seymour’s article. Not a single mention of the three-year NATO/GCC sponsored Wahhabi insurgency across the border in Syria, nor any word on tens of thousands of foreign fighters, thousands of tons of arms and billions of dollars thrown at ISIS and its intermittent “moderate rebel” allies and competitors.(7) Through this sweeping omission of vital historical context, Seymour’s analysis erases the concrete reality of the policy it purports to examine and instead relies on the rhetoric and propaganda of the spectacle being used to further it.

American or British bombs seem to offer a tempting short cut. This is what has always given “humanitarian intervention” its compelling ideological power: while we as citizens watch in horror, we know that there are powerful people in the world who could stop this without breaking a sweat.

Seymour thus successfully reduces the antagonism into an ahistorical idealist binary of a Sunni-Shia divide in Iraq, through which alleged Shia repression of the Sunni community has resulted in the “natural expression” of the Other: the Savage ISIS. Yet this crass assertion isn’t backed up by a single piece of evidence, it is undoubtedly based on the wretched reporting of Western media and the fantasies promoted to obscure ISIS’ material causes and real sources of influence, those being externally supplied money, fighters and weapons. ISIS and Co. rule the areas they invade through coercion and violence, not through the ridiculous idea of a “tech-savvy popular base”.

This false perception is further exposed by the fact a large contingent of ISIS fighters are not even Iraqi in origin, or Syrian for that matter. A recent report by the CIA(8) revealed that there are approximately 15,000 foreign fighters in ISIS ranks – a figure that has been consistently undercounted by the “experts” to maintain the fantasy of an indigenous uprising in Syria. This coincides with the Syrian Observatory’s latest death toll – often cited by western media & NGO’s – which tallied up to 15,000 foreign fighters killed in action in Syria. Put another way, that’s roughly 1000 foreign fighters for every month since the Syrian insurgency began. Are we supposed to believe all these fanatics took it upon themselves to travel to Iraq & Syria due to Maliki & Assad’s “sectarian policies”?

Contrary to the one-sided idealistic tales of Seymour and John Kerry, the simplistic portrayal of ISIS & Co. earning “grassroots support” simply through the Sunni community’s alleged persecution is entirely false and built to conflate foreign-sponsored militants and their collaborators with the whole Iraqi Sunni population, while shifting the blame for the massive expansion in militant fundamentalism into a reaction against the alleged oppression of “Shia regimes” and away from its chief protagonists: the Wahhabi clients of NATO imperialism.

Peddling sectarian narratives serve several purposes for the Western commentariat, a consistent example of which is provided by the Independent’s highly regarded Patrick Cockburn, who recently went as far as to suggest that “Sunni’s of Syria in areas under ISIS control prefer it to the Government”, an utterly wrongheaded and misleading sentiment that has been repeatedly debunked in the face of ceaseless propagation on behalf of Western and Gulf media for over three years. Yet these narratives persist as they are the primary ideological camouflage to hide external material causes.

In Syria for example, the oft-repeated refrain of a supposedly sectarian “Alawite regime” is largely made up of a Sunni merchant class. The “Alawite army’s” ranks are dominated by Sunni conscripts, along with Christians, Shia, and Druze. But the Assad government has been ceaselessly portrayed as a “sectarian regime” intent on suppressing the Sunni majority. The reality of course is the precise opposite, militant forces of the opposition are of a majority Salafi/Wahhabi fundamentalists, and this has been the case since the very beginning of the Syrian uprising(9) – if you are looking to blame anyone for the rise in sectarianism in Syria then you need look no further than the reactionary Wahhabi clients of Western imperialism.

Equally, blaming the “sectarian policies” of the Maliki government is just as hollow a narrative in the Iraq context(10); the US is responsible for installing the sectarian political system in Iraq in its attempts to divide nationalist resistance to its occupation and ongoing exploitation, a system in which the Maliki government was by no means an innocent bystander.

But the historical record shows that Maliki’s more recent attempts to reverse this destructive process, along with a multitude of other policies which upset US strategic ambitions, including his refusal to allow the permanent installation of US military bases; his governments close alliance with neighbouring independent Iran; their efforts to aid the Syrian government against the NATO-sponsored Wahhabi insurgency; and not least attempts to remove the vassals of the GCC from Iraqi politics–formed the real motives behind the US-Saudi-led campaign to incite Wahhabi fundamentalists against Maliki’s Shia dominated government. Maliki’s “sectarian policies” no doubt existed to an extent in reaction to the circumstances imposed upon it by the dominant aspect driving the antagonism; such policies came about as a result of both the historical legacy of the US occupation and the ongoing US-Saudi-led sectarian incitement and subversion, which in fact forms the historical “social base” for ISIS & Co.(11)

Cockburn and many others within the corporate media circus have continued to peddle these sectarian myths as a useful tool in idealizing the spectacle and extricating wider politics, more specifically culpable external actors. Although rightly regarded as one of the more sensible and rigorous journalists covering the Middle East, Cockburn is nonetheless just as susceptible to selling ahistorical reductive tales in what appear to be attempts at whitewashing or mitigating the role of Western imperialism; often putting repeatedly destructive Western policy down to “mistakes” in lieu of explanation for ceaseless aggression and decades of empowering reactionaries – supposed enemies of “Western Democracy”. The flip side being of course the compassionate West must now attempt to fix its mistakes by means of further intervention, and on and on it goes.

Such narratives are largely premised upon the white supremacist ideal that the Western imperial bourgeoisie inherently seek “progress”, or perhaps even “democracy” within foreign nations, as opposed to the fundamental characteristic of imperialism seeking political reaction all along the line(12). Contrary to Cockburn’s perception of benevolent imperialism, the US does not seek even “stability” within nations unwilling to submit to exploitative Western capital–it seeks their destruction, as has been historically proven time and time again. Yet this concept of “bumbling benevolent imperialist” persists and is drawn from an inability to see past the Noble Western Empire’s altruistic mythology and grasp the reality of a rapacious class destroying its competition.

Imperialism intentionally bolstered ISIS, its predecessors and intermittent Wahhabi allies, in the aim of setting them against Shia dominated political actors and states in the region opposed to US domination. It is now using the ISIS “threat” and spectacle as the moral pretext to both re-invade and divide Iraq, and reinvigorate its regime change and destructive agenda in neighboring Syria.

Instead of attempting to expose these policies in an international totality, Seymour & Co. aim to bolster the white supremacist mythology underlying the imperial civilising mission; on the one hand Seymour Others the Sunni population of Iraq as sympathisers of the ISIS Savage, a racist caricature dutifully embellished in all avenues of Western corporate media. On the other, by portraying “oppressive sectarian (Shia) regimes” as an even worse option than ISIS the entire region and its peoples are painted into a dystopian landscape of Savages and brutal sectarianism; accordingly, Noble Western Empire must save them from their own barbarity.

Moreover, by blaming Iraqis for the barbarism imposed on them externally, Seymour & Co. successfully extricate imperialism from its principal culpability in fomenting and sustaining sectarian antagonism in the Middle East. It therefore needs repeating that ISIS in Iraq is but a continuation of the imperialist-sponsored insurgency in neighboring Syria and the longstanding support to militant fundamentalism preceding it. The states acting under the autonomy of US imperialism responsible for arming and funding said insurgency hold the same principal objectives in Iraq as those pursued in Syria for the last three years, namely: the destruction of state sovereignty; weakening the allies of an independent Iran; the permanent division of Iraq and Syria along sectarian lines establishing antagonistic “mini-states” incapable of forming a unified front against US/Israeli imperial domination.



1.) Bombs wont solve the ISIS problem – Richard Seymour: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/15/bombs-isis-beheadings-iraq

2.) How the West created the Islamic State – Nafeez Ahmed: https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state-dbfa6f83bc1f

3.) ISIS: an expression of imperialism in Iraq: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/isis-an-expression-of-imperialism-in-iraq/

4.) US Intervention Is Not Humanitarian and Will Not Protect the People of Iraq – Sami Ramadani: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/ramadani080814.html

5.) While consistently referred to as “Sunni” within Western and Gulf media it should be stressed that the ultra-conservative strains of Islam practiced by the majority of both “moderate rebels” in Syria and their overtly fundamentalist counterparts within ISIS, Al Qaeda, Jabhat al Nusra et al, are of the Wahhabi/Salafi doctrine and largely rejected by the majority of practicing Sunni muslims outside of the reactionary Gulf Kingdoms where such doctrine is enforced. By applying the Sunni label, authors such as Seymour enable the crude conflation of ISIS & Co. with the indigenous population, furthering Orientalist dehumanization and false sectarian narratives.

6.) The Redirection – Seymour Hersh: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection?currentPage=all

7.) How Saudi Arabia helped ISIS take over the North of Iraq – Patrick Cockburn: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

8.) CIA says ISIS numbers under-estimated: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/09/cia-triples-number-islamic-state-fighters-201491232912623733.html

9.) The Reactionary Essence of the Syrian Insurgency: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/the-reactionary-essence-of-the-syrian-insurgency/

10.) Nouri al-Maliki: the scapegoat in Iraq -Ali Raza: http://lubpak.com/archives/315192

11.) The strange case of Nouri al-Maliki – Eric Draitser: http://journal-neo.org/2014/07/03/the-strange-case-of-nouri-al-maliki/

12.) Imperialism and the Split in Socilaism – V.I. Lenin: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/oct/x01.htm

Philosophical Idealists as Comrades-In-Arms: A Reply to Sam Kriss.

Self-proclaimed “Tech Blogger. Lifestyle Guru” Sam Kriss has taken it upon himself  to “dialectically critique”(1) the theory within my last post, which asserts that the renewed insurgency in Iraq is but a continuation of the NATO/GCC-sponsored insurgency in neighboring Syria; an element of the wider imperialist war on the classes that form the Resistance axis. (2)

Analogies of childhood paranoia within a polemic against alleged “conspiracist thinking” seems an odd juxtaposition, nevertheless, it may have inadvertently provided us with a source of Kriss’ distinct adult aversion to concrete analysis and determinations that tend to upset his metaphysical sophistry. Kriss throws his accusations of faulty theory like toys from a pram, but any concrete evidence to convincingly refute alleged fault is somewhat lacking. We will address the claims regardless, in concrete historical detail.

Firstly, we must ask why Sam Kriss chose to scrawl two paragraphs on my admittedly blunt refusal to engage a comment from a Libertarian under my last post – rather than say, concentrate on the concrete facts held within the assertions he claims are “shoddy and speculative”. But perhaps Kriss is in fact using the Libertarian as sock puppet because his “Marxist” analysis practically mirrors that of the apologist for American imperialism, with his confused reductionist ramblings. This becomes further perplexing when you consider Kriss’ befuddled attempt to define Marx’s dialectical method in one sentence; something Marx never actually got around to doing himself, but more on that later. We must be ready to meet such obfuscation with the instant dismissal it deserves, and further disregard all the petty bourgeois frat-boy snark posing as intellectual scholarship – as there is much more of the same quality of “critique” for us to work through. For “as long as we do not understand [details], we do not have a clear idea of the whole picture.”. (3)

Let us proceed to correct (make sense of?) Kriss’ distortions of Marx’s third term in relation to the dialectic, the transient aspect, and specifically its relation to the dialectical method of understanding things; the negation of the negation, the unity of opposites, the concrete determinations between the “unity, identity, struggle and transformation of opposites”. Contrary to the concrete objective analysis required even to begin employing the dialectical method, Kriss has deformed and attempted to replace this most essential characteristic into a subjective landscape of confusion. As Lenin rightly said with regard to the essence of dialectics:

“The splitting of a single whole and the cognition of its contradictory parts is the essence (one of the “essentials”, one of the principal, if not the principal, characteristics or features) of dialectics. That is precisely how Hegel, too, puts the matter.”

Put simply, to understand the totality of any thing we must first begin the process with the precondition of the real, but “chaotic” whole, then break this abstract whole into classes and their elements, their interconnections and their contradictions, “from the imagined concrete towards ever thinner abstractions until [we] arrive at the simplest determinations.(4)” – a process achieved on my part with regard to imperialism in Iraq while being wholly ignored on Kriss & Co’s. And then through making analytical determinations via dialectic (the unity of opposites, determining the principal aspect in each contradiction), we will eventually arrive back at the thing — but never as the “Absolute” totality of the preconceived whole, but as a “rich totality of many determinations and relations” containing their own Absolute truths that contain further relative truths within them. In his Notes on Dialectics Lenin wrote:

“The distinction between subjectivism (scepticism, sophistry, etc.) and dialectics, incidentally, is that in (objective) dialectics the difference between the relative and the absolute is itself relative. For objective dialectics there is an absolute even within the relative. For subjectivism and sophistry the relative is only relative and excludes the absolute.” (5)

That last part is crucial to understanding Kriss’ sophism; for those applying subjectivism, the relative is only relative and excludes the absolute, they negate each other and this is the only way to arrive at permanent, metaphysical, Absolute truth. Kriss achieves this perversion of dialectic under sleight of hand – or blind luck and stupidity – by defining faulty interpretations of  what Marx determined “essential” within the dialectic. For Marxism, the determination of the concrete, followed by the “retracing of the journey” does not produce Absolute concepts of the preconceived chaotic whole, but delivers a continuous “rich totality of many determinations and relations.”

“It seems to be correct to begin with the real and the concrete, with the real precondition, thus to begin, in economics, with e.g. the population, which is the foundation and the subject of the entire social act of production. However, on closer examination this proves false. The population is an abstraction if I leave out, for example, the classes of which it is composed. These classes in turn are an empty phrase if I am not familiar with the elements on which they rest. E.g. wage labour, capital, etc. These latter in turn presuppose exchange, division of labour, prices, etc. For example, capital is nothing without wage labour, without value, money, price etc. Thus, if I were to begin with the population, this would be a chaotic conception [Vorstellung] of the whole, and I would then, by means of further determination, move analytically towards ever more simple concepts [Begriff], from the imagined concrete towards ever thinner abstractions until I had arrived at the simplest determinations. From there the journey would have to be retraced until I had finally arrived at the population again, but this time not as the chaotic conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and relations.” (6)

Meaning that, contrary to Kriss’ reactionary Weltanschauung,  Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao have all shown us through conscious scientific practice(7) – ie: dialectical materialism(8) – that although there are Absolute truths to be found, they are not static abstract eternal truths, but constantly changing and evolving within themselves relative to history, motion; the transient aspect of all things. But according to Kriss the transient aspect is in fact Marx’s third term between exchange. This rank sophistry is an attempt to pluck words out of context and use them to distort dialectics to his own subjectivist fancy. Marx’s third term is the sublation/negation of qualitative difference, but not, however, a “pure” quantity in which identity/unity obliterates that difference; it does not “bring opposition into motion”, nor does it permanently solve contradiction into abstract metaphysical unity. In Kriss’ muddled equation, the third term – the distinct property within each aspect of a contradiction that is common to them both, but not indifferent, and not exclusive to the transient aspect – has become “essential” and “revolutionary” to the dialectic. It is no longer the dialectic itself that is revolutionary to the subjectivist, but a static, metaphysical aspect within it. Contrary to this twaddle, and as Marx’s quote confirms, the transient aspect of the dialectic must only be grasped “as well” as its other aspects and not above or superseding them. The dialectic “does not let itself be impressed by anything” – and that includes its transient aspect and the sublation of qualitative difference. It is in fact Kriss who has fallen foul of Marx’s warning and become “impressed by things”; impressed by his static metaphysical permanent concept of resolvable contradiction through a grotesque interpretation of Marx’s third term. As Engels clearly states:

Truth lay now in the process of cognition itself, in the long historical development of science, which mounts from lower to ever higher levels of knowledge without ever reaching, by discovering so-called absolute truth, a point at which it can proceed no further, where it would have nothing more to do than to fold its hands and gaze with wonder at the absolute truth to which it had attained. (9)

If a concept is not to be closed and static, it must contain inner conflict, moreover, the limitations to objective, absolute knowledge are historically conditional, and only historically conditional. As Lenin reiterates:

From the standpoint of modern materialism i.e., Marxism, the limits of approximation of our knowledge to objective, absolute truth are historically conditional, but the existence of such truth is unconditional, and the fact that we are approaching nearer to it is also unconditional. The contours of the picture are historically conditional, but the fact that this picture depicts an objectively existing model is unconditional. When and under what circumstances we reached, in our knowledge of the essential nature of things, the discovery of alizarin in coal-tar or the discovery of electrons in the atom is historically conditional; but that every such discovery is an advance of “absolutely objective knowledge” is unconditional. In a word, every ideology is historically conditional, but it is unconditionally true that to every scientific ideology (as distinct, for instance, from religious ideology), there corresponds an objective truth, absolute nature. (10)

Kriss’ denies this principle with subjectively interpreted dogmas that serve as justification for the revision of Marxist practice: voluntarism. Metaphysical concepts such as the “US-backed Iraqi government” – as if this balance of relations is set in permanency and can never change; or those such as the bourgeois, outright reactionary concept of a “Sunni insurgency” – as if the fundamental principles of materialism itself – the relations of production and the relations of exchange – have suddenly been subordinated to sectarianism, religious thought, ie: pure idealism! Kriss has become so “impressed” by his deformed idea of the transient aspect within a contradiction that it has become a static obstruction to dialectic, a permanent, isolated, thing-of-itself.

Marx continues:

The concrete is concrete because it is the concentration of many determinations, hence unity of the diverse. It appears in the process of thinking, therefore, as a process of concentration, as a result, not as a point of departure, even though it is the point of departure in reality and hence also the point of departure for observation [Anschauung] and conception. Along the first path the full conception was evaporated to yield an abstract determination; along the second, the abstract determinations lead towards a reproduction of the concrete by way of thought. In this way Hegel fell into the illusion of conceiving the real as the product of thought concentrating itself, probing its own depths, and unfolding itself out of itself, by itself, whereas the method of rising from the abstract to the concrete is only the way in which thought appropriates the concrete, reproduces it as the concrete in the mind. But this is by no means the process by which the concrete itself comes into being. For example, the simplest economic category, say e.g. exchange value, presupposes population, moreover a population producing in specific relations; as well as a certain kind of family, or commune, or state, etc. It can never exist other than as an abstract, one-sided relation within an already given, concrete, living whole. As a category, by contrast, exchange value leads an antediluvian existence. Therefore, to the kind of consciousness—and this is characteristic of the philosophical consciousness—for which conceptual thinking is the real human being, and for which the conceptual world as such is thus the only reality, the movement of the categories appears as the real act of production—which only, unfortunately, receives a jolt from the outside—whose product is the world; and—but this is again a tautology—this is correct in so far as the concrete totality is a totality of thoughts, concrete in thought, in fact a product of thinking and comprehending; but not in any way a product of the concept which thinks and generates itself outside or above observation and conception; a product, rather, of the working-up of observation and conception into concepts. The totality as it appears in the head, as a totality of thoughts, is a product of a thinking head, which appropriates the world in the only way it can, a way different from the artistic, religious, practical and mental appropriation of this world. The real subject retains its autonomous existence outside the head just as before; namely as long as the head’s conduct is merely speculative, merely theoretical. Hence, in the theoretical method, too, the subject, society, must always be kept in mind as the presupposition. (11)

For example, from the whole “chaotic” preconception, in this case US imperialism, a plethora of historical evidence is analysed, understood and determined, in turn a concrete concept is formed; not as an abstract totality of the preconceived whole, but as a “rich totality of many determinations and relations”. From this the quantitive assertion that US imperialism is directly linked to the ISIS insurgency is posited. If Kriss is to then claim this historically concrete assertion is “refuted” by an evidence-free claim that “the Saudi’s are not openly funding ISIS” – a refutation so hollow it is forced into near complete retraction – then what we are witnessing is not dialectical critique, but subjectivism, scepticism and sophism.

Now let us address the details of this sophism, the specific refutations of supposedly “shoddy and speculative ontological signifiers”.

Kriss’ vast exposition of “reports coming out of the area” is indicative of nothing but an uninformed Orientalist relaying western media’s tales of “other” savages and barbarians. He quickly informs us of the static, wholly abstract balance of forces within his sectarian Iraq contradiction: it is a “Sunni insurgency” opposed to the “US-backed Iraq government” we are informed, and this alignment of forces, this assertion without evidence, is all we are provided with to refute the much richer, deeper concept provided. To suggest the ISIS-led insurgency is in fact a “Sunni insurgency” is to employ all the wrongheaded analysis thoroughly exposed as ideological propaganda in the original piece, but Kriss ignores it; evidently, he has neither read the notes nor has any understanding of Iraqi society. (12)

The opposing force to Kriss’ apolitical “Sunni insurgency” is apparently the “US-backed Iraq government”. But what is the reality of the Iraq governments current relations with US imperialism and why are we only given another static, ahistorical, abstract definition of this relationship? Is it non-changing,  permanent? Or is it changing before our very eyes? Are we not already seeing that held within the original Iraq theory? ie: US leaders placing the blame for the insurgency on the Iraq government and pressuring the administration to step down, to form “unity governments” that are amenable to US “national security” and oil-producing interests; is the Kurdish regional government signing long-term oil deals with NATO-member Turkey?

Kriss throws the accusation of “depoliticizing tragedy” while employing bourgeois sectarian motifs to mask political processes, therefore metaphysically aligning the current, yet ever-changing balance of power within the Iraq antagonism in the complete opposite to reality to form his false concept. To then suggest anti-imperialists “have abandoned reality-based analysis” while positing muddle-headed theory is indicative of the cognitive dissonance required to uphold such base scepticism.

The main objection within all this waffle disguised as intellect seems to be that years of analysis and determination, concrete historical evidence in various forms of media, is mere “speculation” and the concept that the ISIS insurgency in Iraq is a continuation of the imperialist war on Syria is fundamentally flawed. But Kriss fails to offer any specific evidence, or any concrete refutation against the masses of objective historical evidence provided within the text or in the notes. Rather, Kriss attempts to cherry-pick quotes and build fallacy through false attribution. He breathlessly asks: “Is the capitalist class actually decaying”; is the “simple presence” of capitalist decay a sufficient condition for something – ie: the imperialist class – to be characterized as fascist; is fascism a sufficient condition for culpability in this precise situation; and the final question for the bewildered Kriss: how does destabilizing Iraq stave off capitalist decay? Of course Kriss doesn’t see destabilization as a means of dominating, as he is ignorant of history and the principal characteristics of class war.

As it is clear Kriss is unable to see the wood for the trees, we must explain the answers to his muddled questions clearly. Is the capitalist class actually decaying? Kriss asks. Why any “Marxist” needs to ask this historically answered question is quite difficult to ascertain. Of course the capitalist class is decaying through the inherent contradictions within the capitalist system. And just as importantly, this decay does not negate progress, periods of  economic “boom”, nor does it predicate the downfall of the class as a whole; as the class objectively, consciously fights for its survival in the class war by all available means. Primarily, and particularly during times of crises, those means are extreme violence and demagogy; the quintessence of fascism.

Within this period [the period of imperialism that is still upon us – PG] fascism represents the desperate attempt of the doomed capitalist class to maintain its power and overcome the contradictions by extreme violent means, and thus to maintain the existing social forms at the expense of the development of the forces of production, in particular: (1) to throttle the class struggle by suppression of all working class organizations; (2) to overcome the economic contradictions by active state intervention, so-called “planning”, subsidies, restrictions of production and trade, etc.; (3) to overcome the inner contradictions of the bourgeoisie by the unification of a single governmental party replacing the older political parties and divisions; (4) to overcome the international contradictions by intensified organization for war and world conquest.(13)

Do these particularities apply to the current American ruling class in the current era of imperialism? I am of the opinion that they do, and that they have done since the end of the second world war at the very least. To deny such objective historical reality, rich in content , is to deny historical materialism. To deny the current relations between the opposing forces within the class war – in its international totality – is to deny dialectical materialism. Therefore, we can safely assert that the current American imperialist class is fascist in form by its objective social condition, by its very being within the imperial system of production and exchange.

With regard to imperial fascism “being a sufficient condition for culpability in this precise situation”, no such absurdity is claimed with regard to the specific particularities or wider concept of the Iraq equation, so, Kriss will have to answer that piece of scepticism disguised as critique in his own special way.

How does destabilizing Iraq – ie: destroying, dividing, dominating, the subsequent supplanting of free competition: the fundamental feature of monopoly capital, the quintessence of imperialism – stave-off imperial decay? Kriss asks. This is akin to asking the question: how does capitalist appropriation afford profit for the capitalist; the question should not need asking.

Moving on, Kriss feebly attempts to refute the balance of forces, and the principal aspect in Iraq, by asserting that Egypt, who have played no political role in Iraq for quite some time as a result of their internal and external contradictions, their ongoing antagonism within the imperial system, and are therefore less of a connection to the Iraq equation than the principal classes and principal aspects within the specific contradiction; along with Qatar – who are incidentally included in the Gulf Cooperation Council under the NATO/GCC axis – form “inconvenient facts” (static abstract “facts”, by any chance?) as they “bring too much reality into [my] symmetrical abstraction of a concrete analysis”. The Qatar fallacy is immediately removed by the fact it is a subordinate class actor in the totality of the international perspective under the GCC. Regardless of its own contradiction; these internal and external contradictions do not, by any means, negate the external, nor do they negate or supersede the principal aspect within the Iraq contradiction Kriss has arbitrarily applied them to. One can only assume these two states have been given as refutation of imperialism due to geographical (or perhaps ethnographical?) determination alone.

Instead of addressing these many contradictions, analysing them concretely, demarcating and balancing the power of forces, and then retracing them to a specific and richer concept, Kriss the mechanist floats them in completely arbitrary fashion as cause to invalidate the correct balance of power between the principal aspects of the Iraq contradiction. It is nothing but scepticism, subjectivism and sophistry.

It seems Kriss is also under the impression that prior relations between classes – in this case the US imperial class and the Iraqi ruling class – equate to a permanent static unity/identity that cannot change, or transform into its complete opposite. Indeed, this absurdity is compounded by the assumption that US imperial adventures (so light-hearted the fantasy of  “imperial adventure” is the murder of millions to the coddled petty bourgeois!) may well depend on being able to point to Iraq’s post-withdrawal “stability”. It is to expose that to Kriss US imperial “adventures” are predicated on the perception, or historical record, that they have achieved “good results”. By this we must assume he means social progress for the indigenous population that imperialism is having its “adventures” upon, or at least an end to the temporary crises that supposedly forces the imperial class to “intervene” in external contradictions. But alas, there is not a shred of historical evidence to prove this warped conception is the case, in fact every piece of historical evidence and dialectic on the subject shows the precise opposite has, and still occurs. US imperialism certainly holds the false perception of benevolence, but it takes a devout partisan to determine this perception is in fact related to the reality of imperial predation within the contradiction that is the class war. We are surely not at the stage where we need to physically show the historical record of US imperial destruction to a supposed “Marxist”. But if Kriss and his subjectivist cohorts are indeed oblivious, then examples of “political reaction all along the line” concerning the last seventy years of US imperialism can be provided, at request.

“The precise economic processes behind this manoeuvre aren’t clear, even if the profitability of the arms trade is taken into account,” claims Kriss. The fact the arms trade is but one element of finance capital, ie: imperialism itself, and that militarism forms the “vital expression” of capitalism, and is therefore interconnected with all other forms of imperial profitability, is to Kriss totally irrelevant and can be brushed aside – yet another static abstraction separated from the whole. In a state of utter petty bourgeois delirium, and without a shred of self-awareness, Kriss asks aloud: “Maybe imperial economies are literally sustained by the suffering of the third world”. Maybe Kriss has just inadvertently answered his own question and nullified his entire “critique” with this somewhat crass realisation, or maybe he actually believes that the suffering of the lesser aspect within a contradiction – within the class war – is not the exact requirement for the progress of its opposite. For there to be acquisition, profit and progress within a contradiction, there must also be loss, decline, and decay. Translated to the concrete, as to the “really existing” within the dialectic, Marx explains as thus:

Suppose a being which is neither an object itself, nor has an object. Such a being, in the first place, would be the unique being: there would exist no being outside it – it would exist solitary and alone. For as soon as there are objects outside me, as soon as I am not alone, I am another – another reality than the object outside me. For this third object I am thus a different reality than itself; that is, I am its object. Thus, to suppose a being which is not the object of another being is to presuppose that no objective being exists. As soon as I have an object, this object has me for an object. But a non-objective being is an unreal, non-sensuous thing – a product of mere thought (i.e., of mere imagination) – an abstraction. To be sensuous, that is, to be really existing, means to be an object of sense, to be a sensuous object, to have sensuous objects outside oneself – objects of one’s sensuousness. To be sensuous is to suffer.

Man as an objective, sensuous being is therefore a suffering being – and because he feels that he suffers, a passionate being. Passion is the essential power of man energetically bent on its object.

<But man is not merely a natural being: he is a human natural being. That is to say, he is a being for himself. Therefore he is a species-being, and has to confirm and manifest himself as such both in his being and in his knowing. Therefore, human objects are not natural objects as they immediately present themselves, and neither is human sense as it immediately is – as it is objectively – human sensibility, human objectivity. Neither nature objectively nor nature subjectively is directly given in a form adequate to the human being.> And as everything natural has to come into being,man too has his act of origin – history – which, however, is for him a known history, and hence as an act of origin it is a conscious self-transcending act of origin. History is the true natural history of man (on which more later).

Thirdly, because this positing of thinghood is itself only an illusion, an act contradicting the nature of pure activity, it has to be cancelled again and thinghood denied.(14)

Evidently, no space remains for metaphysical conceptions, permanent identities, the static abstractions of Kriss and the subjectivists; the “US-backed Iraqi government” cannot stand alone in conceptual isolation, it can change, even to its complete opposite. And it will, it is already in the process.

“As it happens” Kriss tends to agree that sectarian conflict is “often” encoded with class-political content  – not always, only “often”; implying the root causes of all contradiction and antagonism are not in fact of the economic and can therefore be identified as principally sectarian; ideological. So in a fuzzy, woolly kind of way, Kriss agrees with the fundamental principle of materialism, but he leaves enough room for doubt, or more specifically; for non-dialectical materialism: dialectical idealism.

Nevertheless, with the bold claim against my analysis of the class composition – in the totality of the international perspective, under which modern capitalism, imperialism, operates and is therefore bound by its interconnections, relations and contradictions – is both lacking attention and “stumbling back into the ontological priority of ethnic divisions”; we are left with another blind assertion.

No specific refutation of actual, “real existing”, historically concrete objective fact that supports the wider concept (the balance of forces concerning the contradiction and its principal aspect – as “contradiction is the basis of life and drives it forward”(13)) is even addressed. Kriss is forced to semi-retract his empty assertion: “its true… many of the groups and class sectors have been armed and funded by Saudi Arabia”. An effort to mask this sorry excuse for an argument is brought about with the colourful insinuation that it must be “strange cosmology” to posit the theory US imperialism would feign opposition to its clients contras; as if there is no historical – interconnected – precedent; as if there is no rich concrete evidence of these political actions being undertaken, analysed, documented and determined for the last three years and many more preceding. But even this vacant “critique” must be qualified with the trickery of caveat and Kriss is once again forced to half-retract the faulty, metaphysical concept by offering historical precedent – the only worthwhile concrete observation in the entire piece.

Kriss’ overt misrepresentations further regress into the mind of a six-year-old with his next baseless and confused accusation. Apparently, the Iraq theory did “indeed take pains to point out the contradictory nature” of the NATO/GCC axis, but “now this posture has vanished”. How exactly, we must ask, has the concrete alignment of forces within a specific determination of a specific contradiction “vanished” if it hasn’t even ended? The contradiction remains: the Iraq theory offered no permanency to the alignment of forces, the opposing aspects. Of course they will change, but they will not change the historically concrete alignment of forces, which “really exist”, which have been documented and determined, with their principal aspect identified, in the historically absolute truth that contains the relative within it.

Kriss is effectively applying the subjectivists permanency, the non-dialectical, static, unmoving conceptions of the objective forces onto my analysis while claiming the virtue of dialectic; utter sophistry! The crux of the Hegelian masquerading as Marxists’ argument seems to be then: “Saying that objecting to a shoddy and speculative reading of the situation in Iraq means denying historical materialism betrays a very low regard for the practice.” This is the theoretical foundation of Kriss & Co’s “dialectical critique”. Minus the sophistry and wrongheaded appropriation of Marxian dialectic, the accusation is that my claims, my assertions, concrete analytical observations and subsequent determinations with regard to the principle aspects of the Iraq contradiction are “shoddy and speculative” in comparison to those of Kriss and Co. Considering the aforementioned, does this accusation hold water, and what exactly is given to prove it other than empty indictments followed by half-hearted retractions?

The empty assertions, that are invariably followed by the sophistry of semi-retraction, are then moulded into the wonderfully absurd axiom that for “US imperialism to function effectively,” says Kriss, “it needs to maintain Saudi acquiescence”. This is nothing but the “Israeli-lobby theory relocated to a Gulf context”, to borrow the words of comrade Higgins, and again Kriss finds himself in the camp of the Libertarian apologists for American empire. It is to suggest that the Saud monarchy, built and sustained via western imperialism, with its US-reliant ICBM’s; its US-reliant military and intelligence infrastructure; its US-reliant oil production and export infrastructure; its US-reliant economy, all this is meaningless in the objective balance of forces. Kriss posits the reactionary, non-dialectical, subjective assertion of the promoters of the Protocols of Zion and NatSec Professors in DC.

The ideological backdrop to all this reactionary fallacy is of course to be found in the social condition of those promulgating it. The subjective assertions and regression into idealism are the expression of the vacillating petty bourgeois intellectual – or in this case the aspiring petty bourgeois intellectual. As Lenin noted:

The flaunting of high-sounding phrases is characteristic of the declassed petty-bourgeois intellectuals. The organised proletarian Communists will certainly punish this “habit” with nothing less than derision and expulsion from all responsible posts. The people must be told the bitter truth simply, clearly and in a straightforward manner.. (15)

The extravagant verbiage that represents Kriss’ summary seems to be an exercise in grandstanding alone.  Nevertheless, a few “salient points” should be addressed in the spirit of etiquette.

The attempt to ostracize through conspiracy-smear permeates like a bad smell, but beyond the vitriol it gives us another delightful semi-retraction to add the list: “I don’t mean to deny that there are, occasionally conspiracies”, says Kriss, and remarkably, one of these concrete conceptions of “conspiracy” is Syria. But why has the imperial war against Syria been given this concrete determination and its corollary in Iraq denied? For Kriss and Co. there is no rational answer, and the objective concrete evidence that he “borrows” from one contradiction and “separates” from another which is in fact directly related and interconnected through its principal aspect – imperialism – stands in the face of Kriss and Co’s metaphysical subjectivism, non sequitur, and outright sophism.

What we are given as “critique” is merely wavering, a non-commitment, a vacillation; at every opportunity a move away from the concrete and into the abstract. The petty bourgeois sophist wants to float “Left” phrases and denounce concrete analysis while pandering to the dominant aspect within the contradiction; that which his social condition is reliant upon: the western imperial class.

Proudhon had a natural inclination for dialectics. But as he never grasped really scientific dialectics he never got further than sophistry. This is in fact connected with his petty-bourgeois point of view. Like the historian Raumer, the petty bourgeois is made up of on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand. This is so in his economic interests and therefore in his politics, religious, scientific and artistic views. And likewise in his morals, IN EVERYTHING. He is a living contradiction. If, like Proudhon, he is in addition an ingenious man, he will soon learn to play with his own contradictions and develop them according to circumstances into striking, ostentatious, now scandalous now brilliant paradoxes. Charlatanism in science and accommodation in politics are inseparable from such a point of view. There remains only one governing motive, the vanity of the subject, and the only question for him, as for all vain people, is the success of the moment, the éclat of the day. Thus the simple moral sense, which always kept a Rousseau, for instance, from even the semblance of compromise with the powers that be, is bound to disappear.(16)

“Lifestyle Gurus” such as Kriss, and the idealist deformities they promote, represent the expression of their social condition. Such comrades are entirely disconnected to the realities of the proletariat, specifically in the international perspective. The Orientalist outlook and tendency to apologise for the crimes of the western imperialist class upon the “lesser” nations endlessly exploited to bring about the superprofits that afford their coddled “lifestyle” is the result their inability to solve the problem of “for whom?”.

…these comrades seldom come into contact with the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, do not understand or study them, do not have intimate friends among them and are not good at portraying them; when they do depict them, the clothes are the clothes of working people but the faces are those of petty-bourgeois intellectuals. In certain respects they are fond of the workers, peasants and soldiers and the cadres stemming from them; but there are times when they do not like them and there are some respects in which they do not like them: they do not like their feelings or their manner or their nascent literature and art (the wall newspapers, murals, folk songs, folk tales, etc.). At times they are fond of these things too, but that is when they are hunting for novelty, for something with which to embellish their own works, or even for certain backward features. At other times they openly despise these things and are partial to what belongs to the petty-bourgeois intellectuals or even to the bourgeoisie. These comrades have their feet planted on the side of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals; or, to put it more elegantly, their innermost soul is still a kingdom of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia. Thus they have not yet solved, or not yet clearly solved, the problem of “for whom?” This applies not only to newcomers to Yenan; even among comrades who have been to the front and worked for a number of years in our base areas and in the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, many have not completely solved this problem. It requires a long period of time, at least eight or ten years, to solve it thoroughly. But however long it takes, solve it we must and solve it unequivocally and thoroughly. Our literary and art workers must accomplish this task and shift their stand; they must gradually move their feet over to the side of the workers, peasants and soldiers, to the side of the proletariat, through the process of going into their very midst and into the thick of practical struggles and through the process of studying Marxism and society. Only in this way can we have a literature and art that are truly for the workers, peasants and soldiers, a truly proletarian literature and art.(17)

But there is more! “Certain anti-imperialists” says Kriss, “..will go through astonishing conceptual acrobatics [no irony here-PG] if it means not ever having to admit western imperialism is capable of fucking up.” But what is the context behind this empty phrase-mongering? Does the Iraq concept not offer numerous historical examples of empire “fucking up”, as Kriss so eloquently puts it? For Kriss to offer a precise definition of what “fucking up”  entails would provide a major development in his dialectical capabilities, especially considering his petty bourgeois white supremacist ideology obstructs him from conceiving his bourgeois master as anything other than benevolent peace broker. The concrete historical reality that is the class war, the battle between competing classes as result of the social condition, the contradictions of capitalism, the destruction of entire classes and societies to subordinate, extract and exploit, is clearly an alien concept to someone weaned on petty bourgeois western chauvinism.

“Fucking up” is all part of the dialectic, and is accounted for in relative contingency through conscious scientific practice; the practice of war, the class war at its highest stage within the totality of the international perspective. Western imperialism has been royally “fucking up” for centuries, but Kriss’ ideological affinity for Great Western benevolence in tandem with a fundamental perversion of dialectical materialism completely blinds him and his fellow deviationists – concocting vulgar materialist concepts rendering camouflage to their vulgar idealism – to concrete analysis, perceptions, concepts and their historical position within a “rich totality of many determinations and relations”.

Kriss informs: “Marxism means identifying the class oppressors and the means by which they carry out their oppression.” The problem is, Kriss & Co. want to achieve this via reductionist subjective “analysis” with ideological conjecture. For all the whining about my faulty alignment of forces, Kriss has failed to provide a concrete determination of his own. Yet apparently my approach is only concerned “with seeing real contradictions and resolving them into false unities”. And this falsehood is the crux of the sophism. He is accusing my dialectic of forming false unities while employing the very method to negate the principal aspect of the Iraq contradiction: his western bourgeois master.

Contrary to the grand pronouncements on “what Marxism means”, Kriss has failed to dialectically challenge any of the specific assertions or conceptions within the Iraq theory at the very first hurdle, because the subjectivists, the sceptics and the sophists, the “Left” Communists, are unable to surpass metaphysical conceptions. What is the “Sunni insurgency” but apolitical bourgeois reductionist absurdity, and what is the “US-backed Iraq government” other than non-dialectical anachronism? The subjectivist allows himself to be “impressed” by the futile search for Absolute truth through the negation of the relative. The “revolutionary quality” of those who vacillate toward bourgeois idealism is lost; they cannot see the wood for the trees. (18)



1.) Simpletons, Charlatans and Hacks – Sam Kriss – https://medium.com/lexical-detritus/simpletons-charlatans-and-hacks-a55804e430c4

2.) ISIS: An Expression of imperialism in Iraq – https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/isis-an-expression-of-imperialism-in-iraq/

3.) Socialism: Utopian and Scientific – Frederick Engels – https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/ch02.htm

4.) The Method of Political Economy (Grundrisse) – Karl Marx – https://www.marxists.org/subject/dialectics/marx-engels/grundisse.htm

5.) Summary of Dialectics – V.I. Lenin – https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/cons-logic/summary.htm

6.) See 4.

7.) On Practice – Mao Tse-tung – https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-1/mswv1_16.htm

8.) Dialectical and Historical Materialism – J.V. Stalin –  https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1938/09.htm

9.) Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy – Frederich Engels – https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1886/ludwig-feuerbach/ch01.htm

10.) Materialism and Emperio-Criticism – V. I. Lenin – https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/mec/two5.htm

11.) See 4.

12.) The sectarian myth of Iraq – Sami Ramadani – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/16/sectarian-myth-of-iraq?CMP=twt_gu

13.) The Question of Fascism and Capitalist Decay – R. Palme Dutt – https://www.marxists.org/archive/dutt/articles/1935/question_of_fascism.htm

14.) Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy in General – Karl Marx – https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/hegel.htm

15.) “Left-Wing” Childishness – V.I. Lenin – https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/may/09.htm

16.) On Proudhon – Karl Marx – https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/letters/65_01_24.htm

17.) Talks at the Yenan forum on Literature and Art – Mao Tse-tung – https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_08.htm

18.) Anti-Dühring – Frederich Engels – https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/introduction.htm

ISIS: An expression of imperialism in Iraq.

While recent developments in Iraq are being portrayed as spontaneous “spillover” from the imperialist war on Syria – still commonly referred to as an uprising, or “revolution” – they are in fact nothing of the sort and in reality represent a culmination of years of covert planning and premeditated imperial policy.

Yet before we come to any concrete conclusions on the renewed insurgency and its wider ramifications, it is first important to concretely demarcate the political actors involved, their aims and objectives, their fleeting alliances and contradictions, and in turn their concrete historical moments of unity. After all, it is not as if we are fooling ourselves with the theories of “headless capitalism” here.

On the contrary. The national classes making conscious decisions and building years of conscious planning to uphold, maintain, and increase their dominant social condition do not act in solely abstract manner under the whims of theoretical “market forces”, bumbling their way into wars of aggression in resource-rich areas; they act consciously, definitively, yet also opportunistically, using all means available – primarily violence and reaction. In turn building decades of objective history and current realities that we can, and must, learn from. It is therefore vital that we first acknowledge and incorporate the concrete history of these competing classes, their actions and aims, into the current objective situation. Then, and only then, can we start to address the many contradictions and interconnections  between these classes and come to the correct conclusion with regard to those aims, actions and culpability, within the Iraq equation.

To achieve sound conclusions, we must first eliminate the white supremacist ideology that permeates the majority of western political commentary [1]: the idea that the western empire, led by the United States, is an inherently altruistic force, begrudgingly acting as global arbiter for the good of all mankind. Simple history proves this twisted ideology to be nothing other than a (white) bourgeois invention. Monopoly capitalism – imperialism – is the never-ending search for profit and domination at the expense of competing productive forces; the fundamental contradiction of capitalism at its highest stage. For imperialism to survive and expand, it must consciously subsume, devour, and dominate all the productive forces in competition with it.

As Lenin said, “the supplanting of free competition by monopoly is the fundamental economic feature, the quintessence of imperialism.” [2] Translated to the modern era, this means that fascism forms the vital expression of the desperately decaying (ie: the moribund, parasitic capitalist, the imperialist) capitalist class; the class that uses extreme violence, reaction and demagogy as replacement for its gradual yet fluctuating loss of strictly economic ability to bribe, extort, extract and control resources, to monopolise markets for profit “peacefully”; to avert the inherent contradiction within its ever-diminishing – yet still superior – social condition. In this regard, we can and must view the United States as the ultimate fascist state from the international perspective, the historic examples of extreme American violence and demagogy employed by the American capitalist class in the conscious aim of upholding superior economic position on the world stage are long and plentiful, and should not need repeating.

When viewed in this historically concrete way, perceptions and the concepts formed regarding US imperial objectives – in Iraq or elsewhere – immediately begin to transform and detach themselves from the false ideological structures avowed to furnish western capitalism its unwarranted moral platform, endlessly recycled in all avenues of western culture. The harsh reality that “political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism” [2] becomes most evident.

Once this historically concrete concept of US imperialism is applied, it becomes necessary to further analyse the various capitalist classes and states that are both in competition with US imperialism and those that are temporarily united, or more specifically, dominated by it. As there is no unity without contradiction, it would be folly to believe that any state or class currently or previously allied to the dominant imperialist class is a permanent static feature, or that contradictions may not exist even during long periods of perceived unity.

In this context, the alliance of states currently allied under US imperialism in its attack on Iraq are primarily its long-held and loyal clients, those of the Gulf Cooperation Council, led by Saudi Arabia, alongside Israel, Turkey, and western Europe, this alliance will be referred to as the NATO/GCC axis. It is by no means a permanent static alliance, and has historically found many contradictions along the road to its temporary current unity on Iraq, but the fundamental feature of this alliance is the American imperialist class holding it together, dominating it, and dividing it for its own benefit.

The opposing force of this contradiction is the Iraqi state, or more broadly speaking, Iraq and its regional allies, namely: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and a subdued yet resurgent Russia acting in a minimally supportive role, this alliance will be referred to as the Resistance axis. As with the imperialist alliance, there are many historical contradictions within that of the Resistance, but it is imperialism itself that produces its current fundamental aspect: in that its social condition and temporary unity is predicated on the necessity of its battle against imperialist predation. Any sound historical analysis of the economic stature, features, and all other aspects leading from the economic particularities of this alliance shows that it cannot be classed as imperialist, and is therefore the oppressed party in the equation when correctly conceived from the totality of the international perspective.

Analysing the political actors involved in crises, processes and conflict in their international totality using such concrete dialectical methods is a fundamental starting point if we are to reach sound conclusions on any of todays antagonisms.

From this starting point, we must then address the specific aims of the NATO/GCC axis as opposed to those of the Resistance axis. On the one hand, the imperialists and their allies (clients) are consciously employing militarism – the “vital expression” of capitalism – upon Iraq, Syria, Iran, and all other “lesser” nations in the inevitable quest for domination to expand their superiority and avert their imperial decay – this is the quintessential feature of predatory imperialism. On the other hand, as a consequence, the far weaker, yet competing productive forces of the Resistance axis are forced to defend their social condition from the threat of imperialist annihilation.

Now that the political forces are correctly conceived and the relationship between the opposing aspects of the contradiction is apparent, we must address the perceptions being promulgated to form false concepts that obscure and even work to reverse this objective balance of forces. One such critical false concept, that of an empire as impartial benevolent peace broker between the antagonism of a “Sunni and Shia” divide – peddled endlessly by western media, commentariat and culture – has three distinct purposes in its current usage: firstly, to detach imperialist (NATO/GCC axis) culpability for the insurgency and its inevitably reactionary sociopolitical ramifications; secondly, to further incite the Iraqi Sunni population by portraying the Shia-dominated Maliki government and its ally Iran as cozying-up to imperialism against percieved Sunni foes; thirdly, and subsquently, this helps to conflate the insurgency as a natural expression of legitimate Sunni discontent, affording false equivalence and a moralistic smokescreen, therefore removing culpablity from the NATO/GCC axis and placing it at the door of the “sectarian policies” of the Maliki government, supported by Shia Iran. This false concept enables the NATO/GCC axis to exert the required pressure to achieve its goal of partition and the subsequent domination of the Iraqi state, while upholding the crucial image of impartiality.

Yet contrary to all such critical imperialist false concepts, a correct analysis reveals the antagonism within Iraq is in fact entirely political and a result of the principal aspect of the contradiction: the age-old imperial policy of fomenting and excacerbating sectarian and ethnic antipathy to divide, destroy, and dominate the productive forces – a policy employed with varied, yet invariably brutal and reactionary results in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003. The political actors that have implemented this deepening of the sectarian divide since the occupation departed with its tail between its legs are the clients of the United States, primarily Saudi Arabia, and it is this dominant aspect of the contradiction that drives the antagonism in Iraq. To conclude: “the principal aspect is the one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position.” [3]

The forces allied to, and aiding the ISIS insurgency further expose this concrete reality. The Naqshbandi militia, the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (MICR), the former Ba’athists, Sunni politicans and defecting Iraqi army officers are largely the proxies and stooges of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, ergo: the NATO/GCC axis. The Kurdish regional government – now calling for de facto partition in the anticipation of gaining the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, and making deals with the very actors tied to the ISIS insurgency – is also in alliance with NATO-member Turkey and Israel, ergo: the NATO/GCC axis. The actors responsible for the historic rise of ISIS et al in neighbouring Syria are of course the NATO/GCC alliance, as has been thoroughly documented [4,5,] and objectively proven regardless of the propaganda and misinformation [6,7,] that aims to depict otherwise.

These actors primarily responsible for the fall of Mosul and the anticipated partition of Iraq are the de facto regional clients of dominant imperialism – ISIS are merely the shock-troop proxies that implement such policy, creating “facts on the ground” when diplomacy and old-fashioned economic coercion no longer suffice. To deny this rational knowledge is to deny concrete analysis, deny historical materialism, the totality of imperialism, to suggest it does not exist beyond the abstract, and that there are no classes employing all means available to uphold it.

In addition, the narrative of the spontaneous rise of ISIS, and its apparent takeover of the western and northern regions of Iraq is a fantastically ahistorical concept built from years of media misinformation and propaganda. ISIS, its former incarnations and confrère across the region – particularly those of the last three years operating in Libya and Syria – are most definitely not abstract spontaneous expressions of Sunni discontent or a “Sunni-Shia divide”; nor the Iraqi governments mismanagement and corruption; nor the alleged “sectarian policies” or the threat of Iranian “Shia expansion”. While there may well be minimal truth within such malformed and distorted perceptions promulgated by the lackeys of imperialism, they are secondary to the fundamental reality that ISIS et al are the organised, concrete manifestation of western imperial policy and its reactionary clients who implement it; they represent nothing more than the corollary of the extremist-dominated Syrian insurgency, in turn nothing more than a tool of imperial machinations. They are mercenaries, private military contractors, intelligence operatives, thrill-seekers and deluded zealots, hoodwinking the desperate and vulnerable subjects of social immiseration; a paramilitary force that is by no means autogenous and whose social condition is reliant upon the imperial class that has engineered and now sustains it.

Sensational tales of bank robberies and extortion rackets that span entire cities represent crass exaggerations and propaganda built to extricate the imperial sponsors of reaction in Iraq. To posit the absurd theory that a “rag-tag militia” has built an illegal cross-country organisation capable of producing billions in revenue from Syria’s dilapidated and war-ridden oil industry is a fantastical sophism detached from reality. In similar vein, we must also ask how exactly this “rag-tag militia” has not only successfully sustained itself during a war, but has superseded the imaginary “moderates” that have received billions of dollars, thousands of tons of arms and logistical support from the NATO/GCC axis – while fighting right alongside them. Are we supposed to believe that the allies (clients) of US imperialism are openly funding and arming such reactionaries against the will of their imperial sponsor, and that it is impotent to stop them? Can anyone but an utter simpleton, charlatan, or partisan hack posit such an apolitical reductionist absurdity?

The argument against this analysis of ISIS and its allies in the insurgency will inevitably be made that it is somehow “denying the agency” of Iraqis – in this case ISIS – exposing an “inverse Orientalism”, and this argument will grow as the insurgency is increasingly conflated and transformed into a “Sunni revolution” akin to its predecessor in Syria. But we have addressed this fallacy before [8] when the opportunists attempted to use it to whitewash their support for the imperialist contras in Syria, we should not need do it again.

The ISIS-led insurgency currently gripping the western and northern regions of Iraq is but a continuation of the imperialist-sponsored insurgency in neighboring Syria. The state actors responsible for arming and funding said insurgency hold the same principal objectives in Iraq as those pursued in Syria for the last three years, namely: the destruction of state sovereignty; weakening the allies of an independent Iran; the permanent division of Iraq and Syria along sectarian lines establishing antagonistic “mini-states” incapable of forming a unified front against US/Israeli imperial domination.



1. White Blindness and Smiley Faces – John Steppling: http://john-steppling.com/white-blindness-smiley-faces/

2. Imperialism and the Split in Socialism – V.I. Lenin: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/oct/x01.htm

3. On Contradiction – Mao Tse-tung:  http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-1/mswv1_17.htm

4. The Reactionary essence of the Syrian insurgency: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/the-reactionary-essence-of-the-syrian-insurgency/

5. The Army of Islam: Saudi Arabia’s finest export: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/syria-the-army-of-islam-saudi-arabias-finest-export/

6. Syria Analysts. impartial? Not likely: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/?p=633&preview=true

7. Brown Moses and “new media”; same as the old media: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/brown-moses-new-media-same-as-the-old-media/

8. Western left-opportunism and “denying agency” in Syria: https://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/867/

9. Arabs, Beware the “Small States Option”. – Sharmine Narwani: http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/16566

10. ISIS in Iraq – Patrick Higgins: http://catsnotwar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/isis-in-iraq_14.html

11. A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties – Oded Yinon: http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html

12. The Redirection – Seymour Hersh: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=all

13. America’s Covert Re-invasion of Iraq – Tony Cartalucci: http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/americas-covert-re-invasion-of-iraq.html

14. Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East” Mahdi Darius Nazemroya: http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

15. A Clean Break: A Strategy for Securing the Realm – The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm








Western left-opportunism, and “denying agency” in Syria.

Having last week expounded upon the duplicity of the western “liberal lefts” position on the imperialist-sponsored fascist coup in Ukraine, a particularly egregious example of the same petty bourgeois sophism so pervasive within western civilised dissent has once again reared its ugly head. In what can only be described as emo agitprop, the western petty bourgeoisie’s flagship of misinformation and imperialist propaganda recently published an article on Syria by self-proclaimed “leftist Artist” Molly Crabapple.

The article covers a demonstration organised by an anti-government Syrian activist, who has chosen to read the names of 100,000 victims of the Syrian war standing outside the White House for 72 hours. The intended symbolism of such a demonstration is quite difficult to ascertain, particularly considering a sound historical analysis shows that western imperialism – ergo: the White House – bears huge responsibility for the deaths of those very people now being used to “guilt” the western public into supporting some form of further “action” against the Syrian state – meaning, (overt) US military intervention, NATO freedom-bombs, etc. Moreover, it seems that both Crabapple and her subject have forgotten, or are intentionally omitting the fact that over half of those victims met their deaths at the hands of the western/Israeli/wahhabi monarch-sponsored fundamentalist dominated militia; the very same militia Crabapple is now lionizing as “revolutionaries”.

Naturally for the Guardian, the narrative fulfills the many western falsehoods propagated on behalf of the reactionary insurgency since it began, by doing so, it provides an opportunity to expand upon and expose the role that western left-opportunism has played in buttressing said falsehood throughout the Syrian crisis. Further still, it provides a chance to counter the twisted theories and phrasing being used to attack anti-imperialists and anti-revisionists from within the western petty bourgeois “celebrity-left” camp, through which Crabapple and Co. postulate the absurd notion that westerners with the tendency to focus on the role of western imperialism represent “perverse Orientalists”.

Barring the usual “40 year dictatorship” slogans so typical of the deluded and self-righteous cheerleaders of western bourgeois “democracy”, the historical context for Crabapple’s Syrian “revolution” is built via the rosy portrayal of a wave of protests that “swept the world”. In Syria, a “police state and neoliberal reforms” are the central material factors used to explain the crisis.

These puerile simplifications are employed to distort and minimise the primary role of western predatory imperialism, either that, or simply through blind stupidity and laziness. In such a decontextualised analysis, there is no space available to document the years of western-led economic sanctions and subversion; nor is any space permitted to analyse the sociopolitical effects of the five-year drought that had decimated Syria’s agricultural industry prior to 2011 – causing widespread impoverishment to the disaffected rural sections of society. There is no economic analysis whatsoever. More importantly, there is no space afforded to document the decades of western support and collusion with Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship of ,ilitant fundamentalist ideologues, with the direct aim of unleashing them and their sectarian hatred upon Syria (or any other target in the region, see: Libya, Hezbollah, Iraq, etc) when political needs required; no space is given for the direct sponsorship of western imperialism toward the ex-pat “SNC” puppet administrators travelling between hotel suites in Ankara, Doha and Riyadh, or the thousands of US State Department-trained “activists” and NGO workers flooding media and commentary with false or bias accounts, staged photos and misinformation. Any critique of the western corporate media, and its complimentary “tailored analysis” industrys disgraceful servitude to western government narratives is completely omitted – regardless of the fact that both form essential components of modern “soft” imperialism.

To suggest western imperialism has invested in any of these individuals, policies or organisations with any sort of altruistic intention is comparable to suggesting over sixty years of historical evidence to the contrary is worthless; negating any value in historical materialism and dialectics. Omission of context and crude historical revisionism are entirely deliberate and further prohibit the prospect of reaching a sound political or moral examination of events and their evolving processes. Dialectics, logic, critical distance and contradictory evidence are replaced with emotionally driven narrow-framed discourse to remove the wider context – therefore western culpability – and form the false depiction of a “popular peaceful uprising versus despotic regime”.

Crabapple informs us that “it took four months for Syria’s protests to become an armed insurgency”. This blatant lie is a most crucial one in upholding western Imperialisms false narrative on Syria. Yet, as we shall see, while the celebrity-lefts continue to blindly recycle the lie, it has long been refuted, in even the most loyal organs of western imperialism itself.

Once the underlying causes of the crisis have been distorted beyond any semblance of reality, whitewashing the “rebels” and their imperialist sponsors’ role as the instigators and primary actors responsible for excacerbating the crisis, Crabapple then attempts to bolster the false distinctions between the supposedly moderate and extremist rebel groups with the double fabrication that Al Qaeda took six months to enter the fray, and that Saudi Arabia took twenty months to “officially” start supplying arms; thereby portraying the fundamentalists emergence at around February to March 2012.

This is quite the perversion, and once again can only be interpreted as pure stupidity, or outright disingenuity in the aim of furnishing the imaginary “secular moderate freedom fighters” with unwarranted moral platform.

Contrary to such crude and uninformed analysis, and long known by anyone paying attention, the dominant proto-Salafi militia, such as Ahrar-al Sham – who form the vanguard of the insurgency throughout, and are inextricably linked to both overt Al Qaeda elements and ostensible “moderates” in thrall to Imperialism – openly admit to planning a violent insurgency before any protests in Syria began. These militia, sharing much in common with their overtly extreme counterparts, were most certainly active in the first weeks of the crisis, as evidenced by the oppositions own death-toll accounts: the one hundred-plus Syrian soldiers and police killed during March-April 2011 alone belies the fantasy that the violence erupted simply through state oppression of peaceful protesters.

Further contradicting the “peaceful protester-moderate rebel” narrative, corresponding incidents of organised violence against state security became widespread by the middle of 2011 (see: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), the massacre of 120 soldiers in Jisr al Shugour (20 miles from the Turkish border) in June 2011, provides but one prominent example. Either Crabapple is oblivious to all this, or is deliberately omitting it for the same reasons listed above. In attempting to skirt the issue, Crabapple regurgitates the evidence-free conspiracy theory that the soldiers were executed by their own superiors for refusing to fire on protesters, further dehumanizing the Syrian army.

Another critical falsehood follows, and one that has been endlessly spewed to form unwarranted moral platform in the face of compelling contradictory evidence. Crabapple claims that “crimes are committed on all sides. But only the Assad regime, with its superiority of force … could kill on the scale and with the consistency that turned war crimes into a tactic of war.” Again, this is a blatant lie and distortion of the facts. The theory that the Syrian airforce’s bombardment of rebel encampments in civilian zones equates to a larger percentage of the death toll is complete logical fallacy void of any material evidence. The opposite is in fact true: according to the US Chief of Staff, 90% of deaths in Syria have been incurred by gunshot or ground-to-ground artillery; weapons which the rebels have had, and used in abundance since the early stages. It has been amply documented that every stage of western, Turkish or Gulf initiated military support to the rebels has resulted in a huge increase in both the death-toll, and civilian displacement – most notably in the period between late 2011, when Russia and China made it clear they would block any Libya-style No Fly Zone attempts, and July 2012, when the CIA and Gulf states dramatically increased the arms shipments to rebels.

Death tolls provided by anti-government activists such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) – used as a principal source for western media, the UN, and western humanitarian “NGO’s”, no less – show it is the fundamentalist rebels that are likely responsible for the majority of killing. In its latest tally, the SOHR claims that 55,000 Syrian army and national defence force personnel have been killed during the conflict, accounting for almost 40% of total deaths, whereas rebel deaths – including 10,000 foreign fighters – amount to 33,000, accounting for almost 25% of the total, leaving roughly 50,000 civilian deaths, or 35% of the total.

Using these figures; if one were to equally divide the civilian deaths between government and opposition forces, then the “revolutionaries” would be responsible for close to 80,000 people killed, or around 55% of the total – unless of course one were to posit the absurd theory that thousands of disparate fundamentalist militia have the ability to kill twice as many professional soldiers than they lose, while avoiding a considerable toll on civilians within the urban zones they invade and militarize.

The equally false portrayal that a majority of Syrians oppose the government is omnipresent throughout such commentary, and of course, this is another blatant lie. An example of just how far-removed from reality this perception is was exposed way back in January 2012 – at the height of domestic anti-government sentiment and western agitprop – when a Qatari-funded YouGov poll found that 55% of Syrians,  a massive majority considering the political conditions, still supported the government. This majority has undoubtedly continued to rise as the conflict has dragged on, primarily as a result of the barbaric practices employed by the rebels in civilian areas they encamp, ethnically cleanse, militarize, and generally terrorize the remaining inhabitants of – a sentiment further intensified through the prolonged incompetence of the ex-pat puppets in five-star hotels, elevated to the lofty position of “the sole representatives of the Syrian people” by virtue of imperialism alone. Needless to say, the poll and its results were completely whitewashed from the western media narrative and was most observantly ignored by the western petty bourgeois opportunists, who find themselves parodying William Hague when claiming to speak on behalf of the “Syrian people”.

Based on the fact a majority of Syrians support the government, and would therefore face the wrath of the fundamentalist rebels rather than the army they see as protecting them, a fact which is further evidenced by the vast majority of internally displaced people fleeing “rebel liberation” for the refuge of government safe-zones; then the wilful misrepresentation of the death toll becomes evermore deplorable. It can only be explained by Crabapple and the opportunists being so indoctrinated by their own narrow parameters and dehumanizing terminology; they simply don’t see the tens of thousands of dead Syrian soldiers, their families, and the majority of Syrian civilians who support the government as people worth accounting for. Crabapple and the pseudo-lefts in turn defile the victims of the wahhabi mercenaries and imperialism in Syria by attempting to blame their fate on the very actors protecting them, effectively turning the victim into the oppressor. The only other explanation is, once again, blind stupidity.

Over and above, it has long been known that western special forces, alongside Gulf, Jordanian, Lebanese factions allied to Saudi Arabia, and their Turkish and Israeli counterparts, have been actively conspiring with, and militarily supporting, what are essentially fundamentalist militia – to the tune of billions of dollars and thousands of tonnes of arms. It is these actors accountable for setting in motion a violent insurgency via the fundamentalist proxies they had been fomenting since at least 2006, and now continue to do so without even the pretense of plausible deniability.

The argument the pseudo-lefts are now attempting to throw at western anti-imperialists is one of utter opportunism and deception. Crabapple mimics Zizek (and other servants of bourgeois intelligentsia), and asserts that the emphasis on predatory western imperialism’s role when analysing conflicts and crises abroad – the emphasis espoused by westerners no less! – is in fact a “perverse kind of Orientalism” that removes and belittles the “agency” (another delightful abstraction implanted into petty bourgeois leftist discourse) of indigenous people.

How damning one might say, but where does this “logic” end? For instance, if one opposed the imperialist rape of Iraq, then did one oppose the “agency” of Ahmed Chalabi and all the other reactionary cretins who allied with western imperialism? Did they who opposed the imperialist destruction of Libya – whose position has now been fully vindicated, despite the grotesque doublespeak of Bernhard Henri Levy and his acolytes – “deny the agency” of Al Qaeda, Salafi warlords and the criminals now running riot and destroying the remnants NATO left behind?

The glaring contradiction is lay bare with the aid of a further simple example that may especially perplex the western opportunists who feign support for Palestinian Resistance: if one opposes the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine, is one opposing Zionist “agency”?

Applying this “logic” to the Syrian question, if western anti-imperialists “deny the agency” of Syrians by opposing a fundamentalist-led insurgency sponsored by imperialism, then what exactly do the opportunists deny when ignoring the majority of Syrians that oppose the wahhabi revolutionaries!? In the western liberal-left equation, this majority of Syrians simply don’t exist, they have no “agency” worth even considering, let alone their right to self-determination. The opportunists are in fact misrepresenting said “agency” they hold in such high esteem by falsely portraying a minority of localised dissent, alongside a fundamentalist insurgency orchestrated and sponsored by western imperialism, as representative of the entire Syrian population. The opportunists accuse us anti-imperialists of Orientalism and “denying agency” while committing the very act! A case of pure cognitive dissonance, or simply a feeble attempt at creating confusion.

Such fallacious arguments and semantic trickery is employed in the vain attempt to shut down critical analysis that does not abide by western bourgeois political ideology and partisan agenda. In reality, it is the western pseudo-lefts who act as the agents of western imperialism, betraying self-determination and the foundations of internationalist socialism. To engage in such pointless obfuscation and theorizing is to deliberately obstruct simple material fact, historical dialectics, a “ruthless criticism of all that exists” and the correct examinations and conclusions to be drawn in the international sense.

Lenin was forced to spend great energy in combatting the same strands of left-opportunism one hundred years ago, rightly describing it as “the principle enemy within the working class movement”. The modern celebrity-lefts’ distortions and twisted theories represent nothing more than the vile opportunism witnessed within the socialist parties during the outbreak of WWI, when the so-called Marxists chose to side with their national bourgeoisie against the bourgeoisie and the working classes of hostile nations. The European opportunists who chose to employ the catchphrases of social chauvinism and act as the agents of their own bourgeoisie in “defending the fatherland” are today reflected by the western petty bourgeois “socialists” and “leftists” that endlessly obscure the international characteristics of modern capitalism and its inevitable antagonism, in turn diminishing the pre-eminent role, and therefore culpability, of western imperialism.

Ukraine, Imperialism, and the sophism of liberal “left” media.

Western media’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis has reached epic proportions of bias and despicable hypocrisy, and once more, the western liberal “left” media spectrum is busily laying the groundwork for imperialist-friendly narratives.

Having last year no-platformed a Syrian nun who had the audacity to protest against western-sponsored takfiri mercenaries in Syria, chief pseudo-dissenter of the British liberal “left”, Owen Jones, has kindly decided to educate the masses on the finer points of the Ukrainian crisis.

True to form, and synonymous with the vast majority of western media, Jones begins his narrative with crass revisionism, claiming that Western governments have been “restrained” in their response to what he describes as a “Russian invasion”. Yet, and quite obvious to most, the events in Ukraine did not commence with Russia adding to its troop numbers in the Crimean peninsular. In reality, the chain of events leading to this particular crisis began when state-members of the European Union, led by the United States and its NATO partners, instigated a violent coup d’etat, through the fomentation and manipulation of a disillusioned minority, alongside the overt sponsorship of Nazi-sympathising oligarchs and their fascist shock-troops. This is not to mention the equally relevant economic origins of the crisis, nor the decades of NATO-instigated war, ethnic division, and social antagonism in the former Soviet bloc in the desired aim of militarily “containing” Russia. When viewed in the wider historical context, Russia’s supposed “invasion” of Ukraine is in fact a muted reaction to the aggressive policies of the Western states. Jones and the liberal “lefts” blatant disregard of the historical process in turn bolsters the false portrayal of a “restrained” western Empire competing with an insubordinate lesser state, in this case Russia.

To omit such vital historical context, the consequent processes, interconnections and their correct chronology, and then duplicitously begin the narrative from the falsehood of a “Russian invasion”, is to engage in the most vile form of historical revisionism.

Moreover, by engaging in the semantics of western bourgeois media and falsely portraying Russia’s limited military manoeuvres in Crimea as an “invasion”, “leftists” such as Jones help to buttress western imperialisms false moral equivalence. In actual fact, the two principal geopolitical actors, the Russian state on the one hand, and the US Empire on the other, are nothing close to comparable in the context of the current crisis in Ukraine, or any other modern conflict. To equate Russia defending – arguably warranted – “interests” on its own borders and allied regions, with aggressive imperialism acting as the catalyst, is beyond stupidity, it is purposeful semantic trickery, propagated in order to demonize “them” and “their” actions, while legitimizing “us” and “ours”. Such use of poorly disguised social chauvinism to form bias narratives is but typical of the bourgeois British liberal, intrinsic within supposed “leftist” media.

Unfortunately, Jones’ muddleheaded sophism has only just begun. Having distorted the underlying historical processes and causes of the crisis, whitewashed the culpability of western imperialism thereby equating it to the lesser target state, in turn building a false moral platform for imperialist aggression, Jones now turns to fascist apologia. While correctly pointing out the “AK-47 wielding.. right-wing extremists” and the subsequent seizure of power via illegal and anti-democratic means, Jones then immediately attempts to mitigate their central role, and the equally important role the fascist shock-troops played in the “victorious uprising”, as he now calls it. “This was not a coup,..” claims Jones, “..but a genuinely popular uprising in the country’s western and central regions, if not in its east and south.” The contradiction is evident in this sentence alone; what exactly is a “genuine uprising” that only reaches the “western and central regions” of any state? Furthermore, what is Jones’ material evidence, let alone criteria, for determining an uprising in less than half of a country is “popular”? Further still, what is Jones’ legal, nay, logical reasoning behind avowing a coup with the title of “Government”?

Such slogans and terminology represent nothing more than liberal quackery of the highest order. Jones has no idea just how “popular” the heavily manufactured protests and opposition groups are, or ever were in Ukraine, or whether they amounted to a big enough demographic to be labelled as the crude abstraction of a “genuine uprising”. Contrary to Jones’ rosy portrayal, more than half of Ukraine totally ignored the Maidan anti-government protests, the eastern half of the country is almost universally opposed to the fascist coup regime in Kiev while local authorities are quite literally asking for Russian aid and protection, not to mention the further intricacies of what has for centuries been a Russian-aligned, virtually autonomous region of Crimea.

Does this sound like a “genuine”, or even “popular” “victorious uprising” of an entire state of forty-plus million people, or does it resemble a violent coup, verging on organised ethnic antagonism, orchestrated by imperialism?

Perhaps the (declared) $5 billion dollars the US State Dept has put towards engineering regime change via the fascist groups now seizing power may have helped the “uprising” become a “victorious” one. No doubt the US-EU bourgeoisie doling out cookies and hand-picking the “Governments” new leadership benefitted its domestic “popularity” in Ukraine enormously. Or perhaps the xenophobia, Nazi iconography and overt racism espoused by Svoboda’s henchmen became so “genuine” that there is no longer any room for a dissenting voice; effectively rendering the fascist vanguard and its acolytes “popular” enough to call a Government. Maybe the former Zionist occupiers leading various neo-fascist thugs in Ukraine helped them gain some “popularity”, or the snipers randomly killing both police and protesters – allegedly employed by the opposition – helped to align the disparate factions of dissent into a “genuine” grassroots unified movement. Then again, perhaps not. Regardless of all this reaction, fascism, thuggery, alienation and social antagonism, imperialism can surely rely on the empty phrases and liberal sophism of western bourgeois media to afford their proxies the veneer of respectability.

According to Jones, there have been no “systematic” attacks on Russian speakers, and although the coup regime are illegally seizing power, including every top position in the Duma and what remains of the military and police, they “do not own the whole revolt, and will only be strengthened by Russian intervention”. To suggest that no party “owns the revolt” is a meaningless abstraction. Does Jones seriously believe that no faction is leading, or “owns”, the coup? That no specific faction is currently enforcing its will unabated with the direct support of western imperialism?

It only takes a cursory glance at the tons of reports and prior documentation (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) that expose Ukraine’s “uprising” as being both led and dominated by reactionary fascists sponsored by imperialism. Yet Jones is either too stupid to see this vanguard long in “ownership” of the revolt, or he is deliberately marginalizing them from the reality of the situation to afford Empires’ proxies with unwarranted moral platform. Whats more, the insinuation that Russian “intervention” against said fascist proxies, will inevitably increase their power is completely bereft of the context of who actually empowered and sustained them up until, and no doubt beyond this very moment! In Jones backward narrative, it is as if these fascists came to power entirely of their own volition as a result of Russian provocation, forget the direct aid and sponsorship of western imperialism. Again, the historical context of the initial causes, and the western actors responsible for the ascendance of fascists in Ukraine has been erased, and replaced with the anachronism of a Russian reaction.

In the western liberal “lefts” moral equation, killing millions through decades of western Imperial aggression and Russia’s bloodless “invasion” of Crimea “are all symptoms of the same phenomenon”. There is of course some concrete truth in that, but for Jones to use the comparison in the Ukrainian context is fraudulent and deliberately misleading, it distorts the historical and material causes of this specific conflict. To then further posit the simplistic notion that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… would have undoubtedly happened anyway” in turn bolsters the skewed perspective of western imperialism, neglecting cause and effect and vital historical context that expose real culpability. It is to demand Russia’s hyped “invasion” should be judged minus the imperialist provocation that instigated it, while further neglecting the decades of western imperialist slaughter, expansion and provocation preceding the latest violent upheaval. Russia is therefore deemed equally, if not more so, culpable for the Ukrainian crisis, while the perception of the predatory western imperialists has been sanitized, and their massive culpability reduced dramatically from the equation.

A further example of the sophism and superficiality so inherent to the modern liberal media class came in the form of a pseudo-moralistic rant from RT “Journalist” Abbey Martin. Immediately lauded by western media liberals for her “principled”, yet ahistorical, and uninformed outburst denouncing the Russian Governments “military intervention” in Ukraine, Martin went on to explain that although she knew little of the situation – why would she? – she opposed “all military intervention”. Well, how principled one might say, but what exactly is the “principle” of non-intervention other than a utopian liberal absurdity? Moreover, what is the worthwhile principle behind denouncing a military manoeuvre you know little of, or can even attempt to explain? Such pandering to empty humanitarian slogans and simplification of complex sociopolitical processes can only be explained by the commodification and subsequent self-gratification that petty bourgeois liberals crave when chasing their individualist desires. Fight the man, doesn’t matter who, or why, just make sure people see you doing it.

Dumbing-down media coverage of complex issues and historical revisionism within all “sides” of the bourgeois media gamut is of course not exclusive to the recent coverage in Ukraine, precisely the same deceptive methods are employed on an endless scale for the same reasons listed above. Libya and Syria provide two further recent examples of how the media’s supposedly “left” and liberal outlets and pundits often fulfill a vital role in legitimizing imperialist aggression; western media’s almost overwhelming support for the imperialist plunder of Iraq arguably provides us with the definitive modern illustration.

Critical historical processes and the chronology of events have been manipulated, misinformed, diverted through false moral platform, or omitted entirely to form western-friendly narratives that remove imperial culpability. Demonization campaigns that effectively “other” peoples, governments and targeted leaders are commonplace in the liberal “left” spectrum of western media just as they are in the “right”. Perhaps the greatest example of the liberal media’s subservience to corporate power is provided by the Guardian newspaper. Its lurid role in promoting religious fundamentalist proxies of western imperialism in Libya and Syria, and the masses of misinformation and bias narratives propagated on their behalf, again exposes the almost complete lack of disparity between the “right” and “left” bourgeois western press. In both cases, and increasingly in Ukraine, media manipulation of timelines, and liberal apologia for what are essentially reactionary proxies of imperialism became critical tools in maintaining western public acquiescence, or worse still, ignorance and support of aggressive western provocations and covert war. Bar a few dissenting voices in the opinion pages, the Guardian’s supposedly liberal “left” coverage of western imperialism is now virtually indistinguishable to that of the shameless right.

No longer can overt militaristic imperialism be forced upon the western masses as it was in the immediate post-9-11 era, hence, covert proxy-war has taken center stage. A most crucial tool of the western bourgeoisie in achieving the concessions and acquiescence of the masses during this current period of covert imperialist violence, has once again exposed itself in the form of the petty bourgeois opportunists, the “social democrats”, the liberal “lefts” of the modern epoch and their corporate media lackeys.

Ominously, and without a shred of self-awareness it seems, Jones warns us: “there is a frightening tradition of conservatives and liberals helping fascists into power.” Indeed, here, Jones is almost correct, but curiously fails to analyse the definitive classes currently aiding fascists into power in Ukraine, ie: the petty bourgeois western liberal class and its bourgeois neoconservative counterparts, both essentially factions of western imperialism. Neither is there any attempt to analyse or distinguish the class which has played the pivotal role in aiding fascists into power in the service of the bourgeoisie throughout modern history, perhaps the result of such an analysis would be too close to the bone.