Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Twelve Theses and Six Comments on the ME

Thesis 1: Though the following axiomatic truth is, or should be clear, it is necessary to remind ourselves that we must continue to relate to the ME and the Arab countries, in terms of a system and a structure dominated by the US and its NATO allies, (or US for short) .

Comment 1

It is strange to come across detailed analyses of events in the region, even from people who see themselves as members of the left that stubbornly ignore the above factual background, essential in understanding currents and developments.

Thesis 2: The chief goals of US domination are (a) profits from and control of the region’s resources, e.g., oil and gas and (b) permanent presence of constant strategic military superiority. These goals are guaranteed by an extensive series of agreements, contracts, and treaties with the formally independent, but actually subservient. governments in the region.

Thesis 3: These agreements are based on and ensure super profits resulting from the practice of unequal exchange and implemented so as to establish and maintain ruling circles that govern the specific countries in order to maintain the status quo favorable to foreign domination and local reaction – based on feudal, clerical, dynastic and military circles.

Thesis 4: On the eve of the Arab spring (February 2011) the key factors impacting the US system of domination were:

a) Deepening relative weakness of US economy and international crisis of the capitalist system; b) emerging coalition of countries opposed to foreign domination: Iran; Syria, Gaza and Hezballah in Lebanon; c) relative independence of Turkey re US policy; d) relative failure of US war to control Iraq.

Thesis 5: The first great success of the Arab spring was to undermine the Mubarek regime in Egypt, which along with Israel and Saudi Arabia served as the main agencies of strategic control, military rule and dictatorship against the Arab masses.

Thesis 6: The Arab spring was the signal for the spontaneous and unprecedented rise of the Arab masses in rebellion against the status quo and challenging the leadership of all Arab countries. However, each and every spontaneous rebellion must in its development elaborate its principles and goals – and its orientation regarding possible common fronts and coalitions.

Thesis 7: There is every reason to support the spontaneous rebellion of the masses. But this position must be distinguished from a kind of “revolutionary romanticism” which ignores the capability of existing political forces to co-opt mass movements that are unable or refuse to define their own clear goals.

Comment 2: In Libya many leftist commentators identified left influence and even hegemony among the anti-Quadaffi fighters. Sadly, this turned out to be wishful thinking.

Comment 3: Today, we have to repel attacks on the Arab spring because of current disappointments. It is worth recalling that the rise of the masses in the original spring of nations (1848) met with a resounding defeat. The success of any uprising depends in the final analysis on the clear definition of goals and the ability to organize the movement and its leadership.

Thesis 8: The category of anti-imperialism is under sharp attack by many on the left who argue that it is immoral to define as anti-imperialist regimes characterized by forms of extreme repression. This moralistic approach ignores the following: a) the anti-imperialist nature of such regimes is not a question of abstract theory but of a real, on the ground, clash between the goals and policies of the various anti-imperialist countries, and the US-NATO system of domination and control. The dominant system identifies, for all concerned, threats to it smooth functioning and control. Imperialism knows its enemies.

Comment 4: No one wanted to describe Iraq under Sadam Hussein in progressive terms. But a blatant war of aggression was launched by the US and its allies against the regime and the people of Iraq…. because of their anti-imperialist positions; b) the ideological basis of this approach is widely understood and recognized by Marxism. Resistance to imperial diktat and the aspiration for independence is recognized as progressive even when implemented by backward or repressive regimes.

This policy was completely vindicated in Latin America where the national liberation movements became the foundation of a serious, anti-imperialist threat to Yankee domination.

Thesis 9:

All the regimes in the region are dictatorships. This means that the level of repression and its expressions is more a question of form than of substance. The practice of brutal dictatorship, corruption and unlimited exploitation, cruel and vicious methods of imprisonment, torture and the total subjugation of the masses is commonplace for decades in countries of the region and not headline material. This, the norm of pro-imperialist government, has been imposed on more than 350 million Arabs for decades.

Thesis 10: The countries in the region which have broken away from imperial domination bear witness to having grown up in the same neighborhood. They are no better and no worse in matters linked to individual freedoms and no different in the reliance of brute power when they consider themselves threatened. At any rate, from the minute that they defy imperial domination, they are in danger of bloody reprisal by internal and regional enemies.

Thesis 11: The principle of sovereign rights is an important element which enables and encourages local groupings to consider options based on policies developing national independence. The process of breaking away from imperial domination is an important factor in the acceleration of developing contradictions in the imperial system. This explains the centrality of the intervention issue. Since the West cannot claim the existence of any right of intervention, huge resources are devoted to slanted media coverage and commentary and to richly financed acts of subversion and conspiracy to justify every kind of intervention.

Comment 5: It is amusing to hear the left mocked because it raises the issue of imperial conspiracy and subversion. In the more sophisticated political and intellectual elements of the West it is common knowledge, and rarely denied that such practices are central to the responsible administration of state interests.

12) The system of Western exploitation and domination determines to a decisive degree the class structure of the states in the region. There is throughout the region an almost total lack of investment in manufacturing and industry. As a result it is hard to identify a sizable industrial working class. In many instances, the oil and gas industry is dependent on foreign labor in an area of immense labor surplus.

Comment 6: It can be presumed –though the matter requires further examination – that the strength of religious feeling stems from the fact that it is the main or often the single force that supplies a modicum of material, social and cultural solidarity. It appears that the Islamic clergy and charitable institutions act as a virtual sub-contractor instead of the state – in the area of social services. The source of funding is probably the only oil money that remains in the region that is not devoted to the corrupt regimes and their henchmen.