We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Zionism, Genocide and the Colonial Tradition in Contemporary Syria [a must-read treatise]

Click here to access article by Stephen Gowans from What's Left

I regard Gowans as having a first-rate mind; a mind which reflects clarity of thinking, mostly free of ideological mind-traps that most thinkers fall into, and well informed by having had access to the best intellectual sources. Nobody is infallible, but there are some people who have been blessed with abilities, time, and opportunities to offer the very best analyses to help us understand some of the urgent issues facing humans today. There are numerous articles available over the internet and most are read and quickly thrown away like most consumer products. This is not one of those products. This is a major treatise (of moderate length) that beams a powerful light through the fog of propaganda to help us understand what is going on in the strife-ridden Middle East.

By studying this treatise you will come to understand that what is going on in the Middle East is an updated version of old-fashioned colonialism known as neocolonialism:
Saudi Arabia, along with Israel, stands as one of the most important regional allies of the international dictatorship of the United States. And, as protégés of the dictatorship, the Saudi rulers long ago reconciled themselves to the existence of a Jewish state as an outpost of Western imperialism in the middle (literally) of the Arab nation.... As much as Israel, Saudi Arabia is a satrapy of the United States.
You will learn that in order to disguise their aggressions against other Arab states on behalf of the US Empire, Saudi Arabia and its satellites use anti-Islam sectarianism.
The dictatorship on the Arabian Peninsula leads from within the region a war against anti-neo-colonial forces which reject the hegemony of the United States and Israel and implacably insist on Palestinian self-determination. It seeks to weaken and undermine these progressive forces by using religion to achieve the profane end of diverting resistance to the Western imperialist project into wars on “apostates” and “infidels.”
Israel is the worst neocolonial crime committed by the Western capitalist nations against the nations of the Middle East. You will learn the real, thoroughly democratic position by those Middle Eastern countries and forces that are in opposition to Israel.

And finally, you will learn to put the European holocaust into a larger perspective: 
The greatest holocaust of all was not the one carried out against Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany, though that genocide, accompanied by the systematic extermination of others, including Roma, communists and Slavs, was as obscene as any other. If we have to attach priority to genocide, as is done in capitalizing the anti-Jewish holocaust as the Holocaust, then a much larger genocide, of which there is little discussion if even acknowledgement, has a more compelling claim to this grim mantle—the holocaust of the indigenous people of the Americas. In terms of the number of human beings exterminated, the American Holocaust is perhaps the greatest crime of the European colonial tradition. 
I find two interpretations of Gowans that I differ with in this essay. First, he fails to connect colonialism with capitalism. One would think that colonialism was only a racist disease that infected Europeans, instead of an inevitable desire by capitalists of any nation to expand their opportunities throughout the world in order to gain access to raw materials and cheap labor. The fact that capitalism first appeared in Europe is only an accident of historical forces.

Second, I totally disagree with his interpretation of the Western hostile attitudes toward Hitler and the Nazis. Although I don't have time to develop my argument here, my position is that Hitler and all fascists were created by Western capitalists both as a defense against socialist/communist forces within their own countries and to prepare particularly Germany to attack and destroy the Soviet Union, a nation that rejected capitalism and tried to establish the first workers state. The hostility often expressed by Western leaders is a psychological defense against this very embarrassing reality.

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