Not to be sectarian or anything…


… But I couldn’t help recalling Wilde’s line about Caliban seeing his own face in a mirror. This particular Caliban seems undisturbed by the reflection, however.

I’ve been buttoning my lip for months now, but what is it about Trots and Syria? They just can’t wait to send in the drones. It was the same with Libya, if memory serves. They’re really happy to line up with AIPAC and Netanyahu and the Saudis, on the principle that some abstract idea — like ‘tyranny’ — must be ‘resisted’. No matter who’s resisting it, or who’s supporting them, or why.

One can’t help remembering that the original neocon ranks were extensively populated by ex-Trots. Is there something about that abstract, schematic way of thinking that makes it psychologically easier to just reverse the sign?

I don’t know. I don’t get it. The appeal of Leon Trotsky for me is nil. I’d rather be a transsexual, than whom Trotskyites are the only class of people more tedious.

18 thoughts on “Not to be sectarian or anything…

  1. It is the strain of authoritarianism that runs through it all I think. They’re all looking for a “powerful leader” to “take them through the wilderness” to the “shining shores of” of of of… of something.

    Never have really figured out what the something was.

    • I must respectful gainsay

      Trotsky is the apotheosis of self direction

      His would be followers identify
      with this maverick Quixote

      Yes he was a barrack socialist in one phase
      The top down dean of the red army in another
      But he loved a free for all
      Such was his self confidence
      And any line
      could be scrubbed off in a dash
      If his spontaneous spirit so directed

    • I’m still on Proyect’s mailing list, and he must send out half a dozen furious posts a day, heaping somewhat jejune but heartfelt abuse on anybody who doesn’t see it his way. The guy has a remarkable capacity for moral indignation.

    • Whether or not LPRS were once Trotskyists is more or less beside the point since both are advocates of “broad left” SYRIZA type formations today. To put a stop to such taxonomic confusion, the Liquidationists should coagulate into their own anti-sect sect. The Liquidationist People’s Revolutionary Sect?

  2. Sorry to disappoint your prejudgments, but almost any significant Trotskyist group in this country is resolutely opposed to any US intervention in Syria–that includes the ISO (the largest), Socialist Alternative (whose candidate just became the first socialist elected to public office in the history of Seattle), Socialist Action, Solidarity, and Socialist Equality Party. In fact, I defy you to find a self-described Trotskyist organization in this country that supports any such intervention. So I hope you’ll be man enough to echo Rick’s line from Casablanca: “I was misinformed.”

    And while we’re at it, perhaps you will favor us with an explanation of how Trotskyism in any of its known organizational variants is any more “schematic” than your own Maoist-tinged orthodox Marxism.

    • Documentatioin of the above, by way of one prominent example–an analysis of the Syrian situation published two weeks ago in International Viewpoint, the on-line magazine of the Fourth Interntational, the largest global Trotskyist current with sections in sixty countries–the final paragraph reads:
      “Recent polls show that an overwhelming majority in the United States is opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria under any circumstances. War weariness and deep skepticism regarding U.S. war aims have been fueled in part by the extraordinary revelations of Edward Snowden. This presents a challenge to antiwar activists to find a way to close the gap between mass antiwar sentiment and the numbers ready to mobilize in protests.”

      So just what are you talking about?

      • Finally, Trotsky is looking at a photo of Lenin, not himself, in that ancient edition of The Militant. So your whole strenuously composed introductory image falls flat on its plump derriere, along with the rest of your misrepresentation and sloppy “analysis” of your own fictions.

    • I’m certainly no scholar of the various currents, eddies, backwaters and undertows of the Trot world. But I’m sure there’s much diversity of opinion. Old joke: any room with three Trotskyites contains four sects.

      I only know about the ones I regularly hear from, who indeed do maintain a delicate and (I think) ultimately incoherent balancing act between *saying*, on the one hand, that they ‘oppose’ US intervention (whatever that means, or whatever effect it might have); and on the other, cheerleading the more than dubious Syrian rebels, and denouncing anybody who doesn’t join in.

      The reason I say it’s abstract and schematic is that as far as I can tell it rests on a completely one-dimensional and essentialist reading of the existing government: Assad is a Bad Guy, it’s a ‘bourgeois’ regime, end of story. Anybody who’s against Assad must be a Good Guy, and any uprising against him must certainly have a popular-democratic basis. Next case!

      I don’t know any Maoists any more, so I don’t know what their line on Syria is. Back when I was haunting the sects, though, we prided ourselves on what we considered a Realpolitiker analysis of equivocal figures like Assad. The fact that the Likudniks have been straining every nerve to overthrow the Syrian government for decades would not have seemed to us like an irrelevant consideration.

      To be sure we had plenty of quaint schematisms of our own. Main Danger, Main Enemy, Main Contradiction — everything had to be shoehorned into such categories. But I do think we tended to view the world in more *concrete* terms.

      • You needn’t be a scholar of Trotskyist arcania to know that nearly every organized Trot current is militantly opposed to US intervention in Syria or anywhere else, for that matter. You just need to be reasonably well informed before you haul out your keyboard.

        And what does it mean that these groups oppose US intervention–just that. If you want to make a hermeneutic jigsaw out of Dick and Jane, that’s your privilege–but unconditional opposition to US intervention is just that. Here A equals A–no Hegelian contortions where A equals not A.

        Finally, there’s nothing “essentialist” about regarding the Assad regime as an oppressive dictatorship–any more than regarding the Democratic Party as irremediably servile to corporate interests. Perhaps you’d like to inject some nuance and “flexibility” in your adamancy about the Democrats, and perhaps start banging the drum for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders in 2016? What’s good for the Trot goose is good for the Smith gander, right? Or perhaps drawing a firm line somewhere somehow on certain matters is the difference between principle and conscience on the one hand and complicity and weakness on the other.

        So . . . one man’s schematism is another man’s principle, and one man’s flexibility is another man’s vacillation. You seem to be applying a double standard here based on ancient sectarian atavisms. Thrash a trot a day and keep the doctor away–a little old-fashioned Stalinist catharsis is good for the mind and body–for some, I guess.

        Perhaps your own penchant for schematism is not as “quaint” or ancient as you self-servingly imagine it to be.

  3. Thursday, September 26, 2013
    My apology to revolutionary Trotskyists
    A reader sent me this note. I hope I did not generalize about Trotskyists in my previous critique of Trotskyists groupies of the Syrian “revolution”: “Speaking of which, recently on your blog, you lamented what modern day trotskyists have become, but perhaps you used the word trotskyist too loosely. Groups claiming the Trotskyist label have split amongst themselves multiple times over history, and often hate each other.The WSWS has written sharp takedowns of other supposed Trotskyists, even just on the Syria issue.”
    Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 2:18 PM

  4. Trotskyist coverage of the Syrian war:

    Syrian “rebel” factions battle each other on Turkish border
    By Bill Van Auken
    4 October 2013

    Heavy fighting was reported Thursday between two factions of the Western-backed Syrian rebels around the northwestern town of Azaz on the Turkish border. The battle underscores the deep-going crisis of the US-backed war against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the wake of the Obama administration’s calling off of planned military strikes in the face of massive popular opposition.

    The violent clashes around Azaz have pitted fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda-affiliated group that originated in Iraq, against those of the Northern Storm brigade, a locally-based outfit that had been affiliated to the US-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA).

    The local population, unwilling bystanders to the armed conflict between Al Qaeda fanatics and vicious criminals, both backed by outside powers, only want them all to go away and leave them alone.

    The Washington Post reported Thursday that, “The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, US-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war.”

    These “moderates,” i.e., criminals like those of the Northern Storm brigade, “have been unable to mount a serious challenge to Assad or to match the growing strength of rival rebel factions that have hard-line Islamist agendas and, in some cases, ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist network,” the Post reports.

  5. So some are ”cheerleading the more than dubious Syrian rebels, and denouncing anybody who doesn’t join in.”

    Do they [the pro-Assad Trots] even know who ”the rebels” are and funded by?

    – al Q’uida
    – al Nusra
    – The I.S.I.S.
    – Syrian kids

    – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    – U.S./Israel
    – Some guy in Jordan
    – Few others

    Anti-Russian connections to Northern Caucasus as well, so Russian//KSA tensions.

    This old fart semi-Trot thinks ‘lesser evil’ [Assad] probably best.

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