قراءة في حديث الرئيس بشار الأسد

صابرين دياب

نوفمبر 21, 2017

حين يتحدّث الرئيس بشار الأسد عن العروبة من دون ورقة، ولا حتى رؤوس أقلام، فذلك أبعد من السياسة بفراسخ، بمعنى أنّ الأمر انتماء وفكر وثقافة، وليس بالأمر الشكلاني قطعاً.

حين كتب ساطع الحصري كتابه المبكر والمميّز «العروبة أولاً»، كان بدون أدنى ريب – يقصد أنّ العروبة نبتٌ سوري صرف، كيف لا، وقد فكَّكت «سايكس – بيكو» الوطن العربي، إلى قطريات، وكانت سورية وحدها التي تمّت تجزئتها من الداخل، حيث اقتطعت منها دويلتان قطريتان لتوابع أعراب، بينما تقرّر اغتصاب جنوب سورية، أيّ فلسطين.

وهكذا، حين تحدّث الرئيس الأسد، في الملتقى العربي لمواجهة الحلف الأميركي الصهيوني الرجعي، ودعم مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني، والذي عُقد مؤخراً في دمشق، فقد أكد على أنّ المستقبل العتيد هو للعروبة وقيمها النبيلة، ولعلّ حجر الأساس في حديث الأسد بشار، أنّ العروبة حالة حضارية ثقافية، لم تنحصر ولم تحصر نفسها في العرب، بل في جميع الشركاء في الوطن، وهذا تأسيس لمواجهة معسكرين: داخل الوطن وخارجه.

داخل الوطن، موجّهة ضد قيادات الاتجاهات الإقليمية والقُطرية والطائفية، التي أفلتت من اللجام إثر تراجع المدّ العروبي بعد الخمسينيات والستينيات، وأعلنت حرباً لا هوادة فيها ضدّ القومية العربية، سواء بتجلياتها في أنظمة أو قوى سياسية، أو حتى ثقافية شعبية.

وضدّ التيارات المتخارجة او المتغربنة من ليبراليين وحداثيين، وخاصة قيادات إثنية، تثير النعرات «الإثنية والقومية والدينية» سواء في المشرق العربي أو في المغرب العربي، تحت غطاء تسمية «المكوّنات»، زاعمة أنّ القومية العربية شوفينية، وبأنّ تلك المكوّنات لها حق الانفصال.

هذا مع العلم بأنّ أياً من هذه المجموعات، عاجزة عن الحياة والاستمرار بقواها الذاتية، ما يؤكد أنّ المقصود ارتباطها التابع بالغرب الرأسمالي الإمبريالي، الذي يستهدف الأمة العربية منذ قرون، وضدّ أنظمة وقوى الدين السياسي التي قادت العدوان ضدّ سورية، وهي التي قاتلت سورية نيابة عن العدو الغربي وخاصة الأميركي و»الاسرائيلي».

وهذه سابقة هائلة، كرّست ظاهرة الإضرار الذاتي او أبدية الإضرار، وهي قيام عرب بتدمير قطر عربي لصالح الإمبريالية والصهيونية بلا مواربة! ظاهرة هدفها تقويض المشترك القومي، وبالطبع ضدّ مشغلي هذه المجموعات والقوى والاتجاهات، ايّ الإمبريالية والصهيونية. وأكد الاسد، في هذا السياق على عدم ترك الدين أسيراً بأيدي قوى الدين السياسي، بل يجب استرداد الدين فهو عربي وبلغة العرب، بل واسترداد المسيحية والإسلام في مواجهة توظيفهما ضدّ العروبة.

وكان الحديث ضدّ اليسار المعولم، اللاقومي الذي تورّط في مواقف ضدّ الوحدة العربية، مواقف لم يسبر المروّجون لها غور الفكر، الفكر الماركسي الذي لم ينفِ المرحلة القومية بل يؤكد حضورها وكفاحيتها في البلدان المستعمَرة، فما بالك بالمغتصبة!

أما ما يخصّ معسكر الثورة المضادّة ولا سيما الإمبريالية والصهيونية والتوابع العرب الرسميين والثقافيين، فكلّ الحديث ضدّهم..

وأكد الأسد أنّ الجيش السوري، جيش عقائدي، ولم يقصد الرئيس تأكيد المؤكد، أيّ عقائدية الجيش، بل أكَّد على أنّ ما سمّي انتهاء عصر الإيديولوجيا، ليس سوى وهم وزيف، قصدت به أميركا بشكل خاص، موت مختلف العقائد، وبقاء وحدانية الثقافة الرأسمالية الأميركية ووثنية السوق، أي بقاء إيديولوجيا السوق، لذا أكد الرئيس على ضرورة تكريس القومية العربية والاشتراكية، وهذه النقطة تحديداً أو خاصة، إشارة تأسيس لما ستنتهجه سورية لاحقاً، وكأنه يقول: أمامكم معارك مع ظلاميّي الداخل، وضواري الغرب الاستعماري.

أما وسورية تتجه نحو حالة من الراحة ولو النسبية، فقد نبَّه الرئيس ولو تلميحاً، إلى جيوب التقرّحات الرجعية والقُطرية داخل سورية نفسها، والتي تجرّ معها طيبين وبسطاء من السوريين، وراء مقولة أنّ سورية ليست عربية، لأنّ «عرباً» غدروا بها وحاربوا ضدّها، ولا شك في أنّ الرئيس تعمّد التأكيد بأنّ العرب الذين غدروا وخانوا واعتدوا على سورية، هم عرب الأنظمة الحاكمة، وخاصة ما يسمّى «التحالف العربي»، أيّ ممثلي «القومية الحاكمة»، وهي عدوة لدودة للوحدة والقومية، ولو كان هناك مجال لاستفتاء الجماهير العربية، لجعلت من دمشق عاصمة الوطن العربي الموحّد.

لذا نقد الرئيس بل كشف خبث مَن يطالبون بتغيير اسم سورية، من الجمهورية العربية السورية إلى جمهورية سورية! أو إلى سورية الفيدرالية، في تمهيد لتقسيم سورية، ولذا أكد أنّ سورية ستبقى موحّدة ولن يتمّ التهاون مع اقتطاع بوصة واحدة من أرضها.

فضلاً عن السخرية ممن يطالبون بجيش «محترف» غير عقائدي! والجيش المحترف هو مطية لأية سلطة تحكم، محيَّد سياسياً، يمكن أن يكون وطنياً وأن يكون لا وطني، وهو أشبه بحكومات التكنوقراط، التي تضع محفوظاتها العلمية في خدمة سيدها أيّاً كان.

وثمّة جوانب لم يقلها الرئيس مباشرة، لكن قراءتها من بين السطور ليست صعبة، لعلّ أهمّها أنّ التركيز على محورية ومصيرية البعد القومي، هو الردّ المتماسك على الذين يروّجون بأنّ سورية غدت تابعة للجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، منطلقين من بعد طائفي مقيت، فالتركيز على البعد القومي هو تأكيد على التحالف ونفي للتبعية، وينسحب الأمر نفسه على العلاقة بالاتحاد الروسي من دون ذكر الدولتين في هذا السياق.

بقي أن نقول بأنّ الرئيس، أدار نقداً في العمق من دون حِدَّةٍ، حين اشار إلى أنّ كثيراً من المؤتمرات القومية قد عُقدت في الماضي، وبأن المطلوب اليوم مؤتمرات فعل وشغل، وكأنه يقول بأنّ «القومية الأكاديمية» لا تكفي. وهذا ما لفت انتباه كثير من الشباب، لا سيما السوري والفلسطيني المنشغل في مواجهة المحتلّ والصمود أمام مشاريعه كلها وتحدّيها، ولا مجال أمامه للمشاركة في المؤتمرات، هذا الشباب الذي قرأ رسائل أسد المرحلة وزعيمها في ميادين التحدّي والصمود والعمل.. فقد طمأنهم الأسد بأنّ سورية ستحيا لتحيا فلسطين والأمة.

كاتبة وناشطة فلسطينية

President Al-Assad: Hitting National Belongingness Weakens Defense Line against Cultural Invasion Attempts

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 17:28

DAMASCUS, (ST)- President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that “hitting national belongingness weakens our first defense line, as a society,  against cultural and intellectual invasion attempts that seek turning us into helpless machines that act according to foreign-prepared plans.”

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting  on Tuesday with participants in the Arab Forum on Confronting the US-Zionist reactionary Alliance and Supporting the Palestinian People’s Resistance currently held in Damascus with the participation of Arab national forces and figures.

“Arabism is a cultural concept that involves all ethnic groups, religions and communities. It is a civilized status to which all who once existed in the region, without exceptions, contributed, said President Al-Assad, adding that “the Arab language and Arab nationalism unite all these ethnic groups, communities and religions and at the same time preserve the privacy of each of them”.

President Al-Assad went on to say that solving the problems facing the Arab nation and restoring brightness to national thinking necessitates hard work as to explain some concepts through which our nation was targeted, including attempts to hit the relation between Arabism and Islam and to put Arab nationalism in a situation of confrontation with other nationalities.

He affirmed the need to clarify the idea that there is no contradiction between belongingness to Arabism and belongingness to Islam as they enhance one another, noting the importance of refuting the ethnic orientation which opposes the national one, particularly in the light of the incessant attempts to divide the region’s countries on ethnic basis. This can be done, the president said, through stressing the idea that Arabism includes all ethnic groups, religions and communities, thus Arab heritage and culture is the accumulation of the heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in this region throughout ancient and modern history.

President Al-Assad pointed out that national action was also influenced by another factor, which is the policies of some Arab governments which acted against the interests of the Arab peoples by serving foreign schemes and facilitating aggression on other Arab countries, thereby creating a negative reaction by many people towards nationalism and Arabism.

“Here we must differentiate between belongingness to identity and belongingness to a certain political system which we reject its Policies,” the president said.

“Arabism and national thinking have continuously been accused by their enemies of backwardness and of being old-fashioned in an age overwhelmed by globalization in order to turn us into tools to serve the interests of huge financial institutions led by the United States,” President Al-Assad asserted, noting the need to adhere to identity and to support openness and development ideas as to confront this challenge.

President Al-Assad clarified that the main goal of the war to which Syria has been exposed for seven years is to return the country and the entire region centuries back through targeting the national feeling and belongingness to this region and through putting the Arabs in front of two options: either to give up their identity and subjugate to foreign powers or adopt the extremist thinking and turn Arab societies into conflicting entities.

The president affirmed that the ongoing war, despite the huge destruction it caused to Syria, couldn’t weaken the faith of the Syrian people in the inevitability of victory over terrorism and its internal and external tools through the sacrifices of the hero Syrian army and the popular support for  this army. It also couldn’t break the Syrians’ will to keep adherent to their identity, doctrine and national belongingness.

Here is full text of President Al-Assad’s speech as reported by SANA

President al-Assad began his speech by welcoming the participants in the Forum which discusses important pan-Arab issues, as pan-Arabism constitutes identity and affiliation as well as being the past and present of peoples and the basis of their existence.

He said that the participants are now in Syria during the war imposed on it, and that there was a general view that the storm that affected several Arab states including Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq to some degree and the ensuing destruction seek to set the region back by centuries, but the main goal wasn’t destruction as what was destroyed can be rebuilt; rather the goal was undermining the Arab people’s sense of affiliation and belonging to their environment, geography, history, principles, and pan-Arabism.

His Excellency said that undermining pan-Arab affiliation means undermining the first line of defense against any attempts at a cultural or intellectual invasion that seeks to turn people into mere machines with no will that move according to plans made abroad.

“But at the same time, as this Arab spring as it was called by the enemies, aimed at undermining affiliation, without the weakness of pan-Arab affiliation and the weakness of pan-Arab sentiment, this ‘spring’ wouldn’t have been able to start in our Arab region, because segments of our societies have regrettably, through the course of time, after losing this affiliation were ready to move in other directions,” President al-Assad said, adding that these segments went in two directions when the events began: either throwing themselves into the hands of foreigners, regardless of which foreign country, or embracing Islamist extremism as a replacement for the Arab identity, despite it being an abnormal and deviant identity that has nothing to do with Islam or any religion.

“In summation, the enemies succeeded during past decades in making the situation reach its current state and succeeded in undermining society partially, dividing this society into groups, some of them distant and some of them discordant, and others are contentious and conflicting,” he said.

“On the other hand, these meetings and pan-Arab work has persisted throughout these decades, with tens and maybe hundreds of meetings being held, but the result today is that the situation for the pan-Arab condition on the Arab arena is much weaker than it was decades ago. So, do we meet again to add another meeting to a group of meetings? Do we meet to reminisce about the good days or lament bad luck or to glorify something that isn’t living its best days which is the pan-Arab condition? Are we meeting just to issue political statements, despite these being important? It’s necessary to talk politics and issue statements and take positions regarding what is happening constantly, but political statements alone cannot restore the luster of this condition we are talking about now.”

“We are facing a real problem with many aspects, and dealing with just one aspect and disregarding other aspects means that we won’t reach any results and these meetings will remain vocal platforms that have no effect,” President al-Assad said.

His Excellency said that we should start with the problem, discussing it and its solution or cure and the possible methods to reach this cure, and this requires focusing primarily on weaknesses and the methods used by the enemies of pan-Arabism, which will help find a way to deal with each aspect, because what is currently happening isn’t sudden; it is the result of long-term accumulation over decades, and its effects today on societies are deep and wide-scale.

He stressed that this issue isn’t superficial or transient, as the West was skilled in its performance and in setting traps, but the Arabs were good at falling into these traps, noting that the West built its plans on realities and facts and was active, while Arabs always based their visions on sentiments and were emotional.

“Therefore, as I am addressing a pan-Arab conference, I have to discuss some points I consider a priority, and perhaps your conference can form a more comprehensive and in-depth vision through its discussions. So, I will discuss some headlines before talking about anything related to the crisis or policy,” President al-Assad said.

He pointed out that the first major problem facing pan-Arab work is undermining the relationship between Islam and Arabism, as some have accused Arabism of being secular or atheist, tying these three concepts together and telling the simple citizens that they have to choose between faith and atheism, and naturally they chose faith, and therefore they would stand against any affiliation other than faith and Islam, so Arabism is part of the affiliation they moved away from due to this way of thinking or this incorrect marketing of the relation between Arabism and Islam.

His Excellency noted that the first to spearhead this method were the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, who were planted by the English during the first half of the 20th century in Egypt and later moved to other areas, and throughout time they spearheaded everything that opposes the interests of the Arab people and pan-Arab affiliation.

President al-Assad said that there’s an organic connection between Arabism and Islam, and there is certainly no contradiction between them, stressing that it is wrong to believe that one can either be an Arab or a Muslim.

“So, undermining this relation through Islamic extremism undermines Arabism. They diverted Islam and pushed it towards extremism. It separated itself from Arabism, and Islam and Arabism became weaker. Someone might ask why I’m talking about Arabism and Islam and not Arabism and Christianity. I would say that of course this is the same relationship; the relationship between nationalism and religion, but colonialism and enemies of pan-Arabism didn’t work in this direction, rather they focused on Arabism and Islam,” he explained.

President al-Assad moved on to the second point, saying that pan-Arabism was put against other “nationalities,” and discussing the nature of these nationalities requires separate discussions, but some of these nationalities existed in a diverse region throughout history and they never fought among themselves, so why is this conflict emerging now? This is happening because as Arab states won their independence, colonialism sowed the seeds of sedition among those nationalities and these seeds were nurtured by enemies of pan-Arabism and even some proponents of pan-Arabism through their superficial thinking and ignorant performance.

His Excellency said that this seed has grown and gained root and dealing with it now requires double efforts, adding that this enemies of pan-Arabism achieved this by giving pan-Arabism an ethnic nature, saying that it is exclusive to the Arab ethnicity, and if one doesn’t belong to it then they need to find an identity elsewhere, thereby creating a rift between groups that have coexisted throughout history, and creating a hidden sentiment that we are living together due to political borders and conditions, and when these changes everyone goes their separate ways.

“They focused on the ethnic issue and took away from pan-Arabism the most important civilized aspects in it which are related to the cultural aspect, language, geography, history, and other things,” he added.

President al-Assad said that another cumulative factor linked to political conditions in the Arab world has affected pan-Arab world, and this factor is the result of the bad political work by some Arab states which existed prior to the war but appeared more prominently as the events began, particularly when Arab states and the Arab League provided cover for the intervention and destruction of Libya, then tried to do the same in Syria, but the political conditions had shifted by then so these attempts weren’t exactly successful.

“However, this role pushed many citizens in several places and here in Syria in particular, to say that if this is pan-Arabism and Arabism, then we don’t want them. If these are the Arabs, then we don’t want to be Arabs, we want to be anything else. Well, what is alternative? There is no alternative. These people are reacting to the conspiring by some Arab states on other Arab states or peoples of causes, and didn’t differentiate between affiliation to a specific identity and affiliation to a political system,” he said, adding that there were reactions towards Arab causes like the Palestinian cause due to the betrayal by some Palestinians of Arab states and peoples that hosted them and defended them, eliciting a reaction, and there were many who said “the whole Palestinian cause can go to Hell,” which indicates the immaturity of the sense of affiliation among these people.

His Excellency went on to address another important point which is that pan-Arabism had been accused of being synonymous with backwardness, which is a hypothesis posed in the 19th century and early 20th century, particularly with the coming of the age of globalization, satellite channels and the internet, which, according to that hypothesis, means that we live in a single world with single principles, interests, and economy, so any form of nationalism is a backwards idea.

“Of course, this is the idea posed by globalization which ultimately aims at having us all belong to the financial institutions that lead the world which are practically centered in the United States, through which they lead politics, economy, and everything else,” President al-Assad said, adding that they tried to claim that Arabism is a passing fad, which is similar to what happened with the fall of the Soviet Union when they wanted to portray socialism and communism as backwards concept.

“Now, after around two and a half decades, things have started to change and inferiority complexes went away. For us in Syria, we never suffered from this inferiority complex at any time, and we used to tell them that even if this language is the language of the 20th or 19th centuries, even if it’s the language of the 1st or 10th century, we will speak it today, tomorrow, and the day after, and we won’t have an inferiority complex. On the contrary, events have proven that the lack of this identity was one of the biggest problems, and adhering to it today is necessary,” he asserted.

His Excellency moved on to address pan-Arab work and the existing political movements, figures, parties, and conferences that have been working for decades under difficult circumstances, as while Syria has been supporting pan-Arabism for many decades, there has been a growing animosity towards pan-Arab work in other states, because this work often made political positions on various Arab causes that embarrassed certain states.

President al-Assad said that there are many people in society who belong to pan-Arabism but disagree with us politically, or have other political visions, or don’t like being involved in the work of political parties, and for them their pan-Arab affiliation is a social and civilized affiliation, adding “This begs the question: where are the non-political aspects of our pan-Arab work? This is a very important aspect.”

His Excellency said that Arabism is a civilized condition, and the most important thing in the civilized condition is the culture it bears, and culture is expressed by language. Without language, the culture turns into a large generator which generates a lot of electricity, but there will be no wires in order to transport this electricity towards the city, factories, or any other place.

“Here in Syria, there is no big problem that we suffer from. After all, education in Syria, including all university stages and others, is in the Arabic language. We support foreign languages, but the Arabic language remains the basis because we understand the meaning of the language,” the President added, stressing that cultural alienation and the dissolution of cultures begins with languages then spreads to other aspects.

President al-Assad said that Syria has suffered from war for seven years, and war weakens any country no matter how strong or large it may be, and this war has exhausted Syria, but it didn’t cause it to collapse. More importantly, it didn’t affect the Syrians’ confidence in the inevitability of victory over terrorism.

“The essence of that war is two groups: first is the persons who lost their affiliation, mainly, the pan-Arab affiliation and the national affiliation. They have lost their identity, the ethics, and with them they lost the homeland. This is the basis that the foreign side depended on. We can talk about conspiracies for days, but these conspiracies would have never found a place in Syria without the existence of these groups.”

“On the other hand, the other group is mainly the Syrian Arab Army, which has fought and made great sacrifices in order to keep this homeland safe,” His Excellency said, adding that the Syrian Arab Army, before being a national army, is an army that was based on a clear creed which was established throughout decades, stressing that no army would have withstood such a war no matter how much external support it got without having popular support.

“This point, which is the strength of the army through its creed, was understood by our enemies. All political work in conferences and talk of transitional governments and federalism, and all the terms you hear can be summed up with a single thing that was required, which is undermining this concept, the army as a symbol” he said, adding that they target the institutions and society as well, because we are talking about one creed, and all the war was working towards abandoning the notion of pan-Arabism starting with the constitution, to name Syria as just “the Syrian state” and to make its army “Syrian.”

“What was the headline they have put? A professional army, which means that the army which carried out all those battles is an army of armatures, a group of amateurs who liked the game of war and went to fight just because they want to fight anyone, just as a hobby! This is what they are trying to market. For them, the professional army is the army which stays inside the country and waits for a signal from outside in order to move with coups against national governments. According to them, the professional army is that which covers the proxy governments when they relinquish sovereignty and work against the people,” President al-Assad said.

“Today, I affirm after 7 years of sacrifices, that we wouldn’t think for even a second to make concessions about creed and Syria’s pan-Arab affiliation just to appease the rejects of the 21st century of the Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh or al-Nusra, or any other groups, whether outlaws or the groups which work in the interests of the Americans and the West in our region,” His Excellency said.

The President said that if we want to improve the pan-Arab work and see results, this requires coming together and discuss various issues through dialogue, noting that in the past, proponents of pan-Arabism have not held dialogue with others; only with each other, adding “I believe that the starting point begins with dialogue with other groups that went astray, those others that put themselves or who were put by conditions in a place that contradicts their natural belonging and in a place that contradicts their interests and the interest of their homeland without their knowledge, in most cases. Recovering those is the start of the correct work in order to reinforce the pan-Arab work.”

President al-Assad said that such people are like cancerous cells that were originally normal cells that were changed due to various circumstances to become enemies of normal cells in the body, and they are fuel for a poisonous concoction made by the West, but we have to counteract this poison through dialogue.

“First, we have to address the group which is convinced about the contradiction between Islam and Arabism, we have to tell them that there is no contradiction between these two concepts, both flow into the other, both reinforce the other,” he said, stressing they cannot separate the Arabism of Prophet Mohammad from his religion, nor can they separate the religious context of the Quran from the Arabic language, so how can they separate Arabism from Islam?

“It is necessary now to refute the ethnic concept. There are people who talk about federalism, nationalism, and federalism on national basis. We have to assert that the concept of Arabism is an inclusive civilized concept that includes everyone, which means that Arabism is greater than being ethnic, the cultural concept includes everyone, includes all ethnicities, religions, and sects,” President al-Assad said, asserting that Arabism is a civilized condition to which everyone in the region contributed, making it the sum of heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in the area throughout old and modern history.

“The most important thing is the language that brings us all together. We all speak Arabic in this region, not other languages, even if there are other languages. .Therefore the Arabic language and pan-Arabism is what brings all religions, sects and ethnics together, and at the same time preserves the characteristics of each one,” he added, noting that after terrorism failed in the region, the enemies started focusing on ethnicities and nationalities.

As for those who renounced Arabism as a reaction to the performance of some Arab states, President al-Assad stressed that the conspiring by these states against Arab causes and the Arab people doesn’t mean that these states belong to Arabism, and affiliation to an identity doesn’t mean affiliation with a political system.

“If they conspire against us, this doesn’t mean that we should run away from the concept and true affiliation and turn things over to those who have nothing to do with Arabism or religion or the societies of this region in everything they did,” he said, stressing that the lack of affiliation doesn’t serve anyone, because the current problems such as sectarian and ethnic division are mainly caused by the lack of pan-Arab sentiment, because people instinctively seek affiliation, and when an encompassing one is absent, they will seek other, smaller ones that lead to the division of minds, geography, and homelands.

“As for linking Arabism to backwardness, we must be the leaders in supporting development ideas, and to have a program that suits this age and suits the interests of the peoples,” the President concluded.

Hamda Mustafa

 

الرئيس الأسد: الهدف الأساسي من الحرب التي تتعرض لها سورية إعادتها والمنطقة قرونا إلى الوراء

استقبل الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد المشاركين في الملتقى العربي لمواجهة الحلف الأمريكي الصهيوني الرجعي العربي ودعم مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني الذي يضم قوى واحزابا وشخصيات من دول عربية عدة.

وشدد الرئيس الأسد خلال اللقاء على أن مواجهة المشكلات التي تواجه الأمة العربية وإعادة الألق إلى الفكر القومي الذي لا يمر باحسن حالاته اليوم تتطلب العمل الجاد من اجل توضيح بعض المفاهيم التي استهدفت أمتنا من خلالها ومنها محاولات ضرب العلاقة التي تربط العروبة بالإسلام ووضع القومية العربية في موقع المواجهة مع القوميات الأخرى موضحا أن العروبة والقومية العربية هي حالة حضارية وثقافية وإنسانية جامعة ساهم فيها كل من وجد في هذه المنطقة دون استثناء فهي لا تقوم على دين أو عرق محدد وإنما أساسها اللغة والجغرافيا الواحدة والتاريخ والمصالح المشتركة.

وأكد أنه من الضروري العمل على توضيح فكرة عدم وجود أي تعارض أو تناقض بين الانتماء إلى العروبة والانتماء إلى الإسلام فكلاهما يصب باتجاه الآخر ويعززه لافتا في الوقت نفسه إلى أهمية تفنيد الطرح العرقي المناهض للتوجه القومي وخصوصا في ظل محاولات تقسيم دول المنطقة على أسس عرقية وذلك من خلال التأكيد على أن العروبة تشمل كل الأعراق والأديان والطوائف وبالتالي فإن التراث العربي والثقافة العربية هي مجموع تراث وثقافات كل الأقوام التي عاشت في هذه المنطقة عبر التاريخ القديم والحديث.

ولفت الرئيس الأسد إلى أن هناك عاملا آخر أثر على العمل القومي وهو سياسات بعض الحكومات العربية التي عملت ضد مصالح الشعب العربي عبر خدمة مشاريع خارجية وتسهيل العدوان على دول عربية أخرى الأمر الذي خلق رد فعل سلبيا لدى الكثيرين تجاه القومية والعروبة وهنا يجب عدم الخلط بين الانتماء للهوية والانتماء لنظام سياسي معين لا نرضى عن سياساته وأن نوضح لهؤلاء أن السبب الرئيسي لما نعانيه اليوم من حالات تقسيمية ابتداء بتقسيم العقول وانتهاء بتقسيم الأوطان هو غياب الشعور القومي والانتماء الجامع.

وأشار الرئيس الأسد إلى أن أعداء العروبة والفكر القومي حاولوا إلصاق تهمة التخلف بهما والادعاء بأن زمنهما قد ولى في عصر تسوده العولمة وذلك بهدف جعلنا مجرد أدوات لخدمة مصالح مؤسسات مالية كبرى تقودها الولايات المتحدة.. ولا بد لمواجهة ذلك من التمسك بالهوية ودعم الانفتاح والأفكار التطويرية في إطار برنامج واضح يتوافق مع مصالح الشعوب ويراعي تطور العصر.

وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن القومية ليست فكرة نظرية وممارسة سياسية فقط بل هي انتماء اجتماعي وحضاري الأمر الذي يتطلب إطلاق حوار بناء مع الأطراف الأخرى التي لا تتبنى نفس النهج والسعي لاسترداد أولئك الذين وضعوا أنفسهم في مكان مناقض لانتمائهم الطبيعي ولمصالح وطنهم مشددا على ضرورة ألا يبقى هذا الحوار محصورا في إطار النخب والتيارات السياسية بل يجب أن يخاطب جميع شرائح المجتمع ولا سيما الأجيال الناشئة.

ولفت الرئيس الأسد إلى أن من أهم الأمور التي تقتضيها مواجهة الغزو الثقافي والفكري الذي تتعرض له الأمة العربية هو التمسك باللغة العربية التي تشكل حاملا للثقافة والعروبة باعتبارها حالة حضارية مؤكدا أن فقدان اللغة هو فقدان للارتباط وغربة عن الثقافة التي ينتمي إليها الإنسان.

وأشار الرئيس الأسد خلال اللقاء إلى أن الهدف الأساسي من الحرب التي تتعرض لها سورية منذ سبع سنوات هو إعادتها والمنطقة قرونا إلى الوراء عبر ضرب الشعور القومي والانتماء لهذه المنطقة ووضع الإنسان العربي أمام خيارين إما التخلي عن هويته والارتماء في حضن الأجنبي أو التوجه نحو الفكر المتطرف وتحويل المجتمعات العربية إلى مجتمعات متناحرة ومتصارعة.

وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن هذه الحرب بالرغم من الدمار الكبير الذي ألحقته بسورية لم تسقط إيمان الشعب السوري بحتمية الانتصار على الإرهاب بأدواته الخارجية والداخلية من خلال تضحيات الجيش السوري العقائدي والاحتضان الشعبي لهذا الجيش كما لم تسقط تمسكه بهويته وعقيدته وانتمائه القومي.

تلا ذلك حوار تناول المستجدات السياسية والميدانية وملف إعادة الإعمار في سورية بالإضافة إلى الأوضاع على الساحة العربية وآفاق تفعيل العمل العربي المشترك ودور المفكرين والقوميين العرب في تعزيز الوعي والحصانة الفكرية على المستوى الشعبي في مواجهة محاولات الغزو الثقافي عبر ترسيخ الانتماء والتمسك بالهوية الجامعة.

وتركز الحوار حول مجموعة من القضايا الساخنة على الساحة العربية أهمها كيفية تحويل الانتماء القومي الى حالة عمل مستمرة تقوم على تطوير المفاهيم والمصطلحات المتعلقة بهذه القضية المحورية بما يتناسب مع طبيعة المواجهة الحاصلة ويساهم في تفكيك الفكر الهادف إلى تصفية الهوية العربية والانتماء القومي.

كما تطرق الحوار إلى أهمية العمل على الجامعات وجيل الشباب في العالم العربي الأمر الذي يشكل محورا أساسيا في عملية التوعية القومية في الحاضر والمستقبل وأهمية وجود آليات واضحة وخطط عملية لتنفيذ هذا الأمر وعدم الاكتفاء بالطروحات النظرية العامة بهدف تثبيت العمل القومي وإيجاد بعض الحلول لما تعانيه الأمة العربية من ترهل.

وأكدت المداخلات أهمية الانتصار السوري في الحرب على الإرهاب والدول التي تدعمه وأن الانتصار السوري هو انتصار عربي مشددة على أن ما طرحه الرئيس الأسد حول العمل القومي يشكل قاعدة يمكن البناء عليها من قبل المشاركين في المؤتمر للتوصل إلى صيغة واضحة يمكن نقلها والعمل عليها في بلدانهم.

كذلك شددت بعض المداخلات إلى ضرورة البناء على انتصار سورية لإعادة الألق للقومية العربية والانتماء العربي بالتركيز على الشعوب العربية رغم مواقف بعض الحكومات العربية التي وقفت ضد سورية في حربها.

المصدرسانا

Hamda Mustafa

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SYRIAN SOCIAL NATIONALIST PARTY, ARAB NATIONALISM AND CONFLICT IN SYRIA

South Front

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

The traditional societies of the Middle East have always been notable for their ethnic and religious diversity. Today, however, the Middle East is on the cusp of a deep schism along ethnic and religious lines. This situation has brought several Muslim Arab states to the brink of collapse, is provoking new difficult to resolve conflicts, and continues to undermine the secular aspect of Arab nationalism to the benefit of strengthening its Islamic component, the replacement of nationalism as such with ultra-religious extremism and ethnic separatism.

An Iraqi Army M1A1M Abrams battle tank destroyed by Kurdish Peshmerga forces during the recently sparked Arab-Kurdish tensions in northern Iraq:

The current range of conflicts, which revolve around the struggle for power and territory, showed their destructive potential. The difficulty in resolving such conflicts is due to their roots in history, which further complicate the search for peace. There is also another, no less important, problem. Most of the current Arab states’ political organizations are based on the principle of nationalism. This is the principle that was used to form the post-Ottoman independent states. Their multi-religious and multi-ethnic nature was also the aftermath of the rather arbitrary drawing of borders during the colonial period.

The Evolution of Arab Nationalism

By the end of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s of the 20th Century, the influence of Islam on Arab nationalist movement began to grow. This was to a large extent due to a deep disappointment on the part of a sizable proportion of liberal secular Arab elites in the “civilizing” mission of the secular and enlightened West. As a result of Middle East policies of Western powers, Arabs were not able to establish a single state. Their lands were arbitrarily divided between Great Britain and France, the newly founded states became colonial dependencies. Simultaneously, Western powers actively supported the creation of a national Jewish nucleus in the Palestine, which only worsened the already tense situation.

After WW2, this process continued, receiving its expression in the concept of urub, or the spirit of Arab national consciousness, in order to strengthen the ties between Arab nationalism and Islam. The struggle over the future course of political development that raged in Arab states in the 1950s and ‘60s in the context of establishing independent states and modern societies brought to power secular Arab nationalists (Ba’athists, Naserites), who tried to pursue development using socialist ideas.

In spite of that, the Islamist trend within Arab nationalism did not vanish but merely receded. Even the most progressive and secular Arab leaders were forced to seek legitimacy in adherence to Islam and respect the interests of religiously active parts of society when forming own base of support.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad (portrait) wave Baath Party flags during a pro-government rally in Damascus. FILE IMAGE: Louai Beshara – AFP

The lack of a charismatic mainstream leader with regional appeal capable of offering a pan-Arab model of secular development respecting the interests of the Arab Muslim majority, the rights and desires of national and religious minorities, and attract regional elites and the broad masses, caused Arab leaders to encounter problems in the early 21st century. The long-serving leaders were  concerned continuity of their political course, in order to guarantee their own interests were preserved. Young Arab leaders inherited power from their fathers. This was achieved through intra-elite compromise, achieved not so much through free agreement or a democratic choice, but rather through clever intrigues and strong-arm tactics used to neutralize possible competition. Therefore the young leaders were forced to mostly worry about forming their own governing team, balancing between various power centers and regularly proving their legitimacy and the ability to govern the state to both domestic and international actors.

In the 1990s and early ‘00s, economic problems and the desire to demonstrate pro-democracy leanings led some Arab leaders to strengthen own legitimacy through elections. But the main winners of this liberalization were Islamist political movements, whose adherence to Western democratic norms was dubious.

As an alternative to hereditary power transfer, a whole range of moderate Islamic movements (for example, Tunisian An-Nahda Islamic party led by Rached Ghannouchi) entered the fray with the aim of democratizing Islam. They called for a “democratic Islamic state” within the existing borders. They also favored renouncing violence as a means of political struggle, condemned terrorism, supported the principle of open parliamentary elections, questioned the idea of divinity of authority, supported democratic power transition procedures, and also spoke in favor of expanding the role of women in the traditional Islamic society while in general actively promoting human rights.

But here the reformers of Islam ran into a problem. There were and are too few supporters of democratic Islam in the strongly traditional Arab society. And one can readily say the society is not ready for them. Can one seriously view the ideologues of moderate Islam the pioneers of democracy in the Arab world? Can a democratic Islamic state ensure political and religious pluralism, which is one of the fundamental aspects of democracy? How does one reconcile the norms of Sharia with human rights in the way they are understood in the West? To what extent can women’s rights be expanded? They could not answer these questions, and therefore the political fray was joined by supporters of Islamic fundamentalism who called for a return to the sources of Islam and build a modern society on this foundation.

Modern Islamic fundamentalism was formed as a reaction to such secular ideologies as liberalism, Marxism, and nationalism. For Muslim fundamentalists, an Islamic state was an ideological state, expanding its authority into every aspect of human life. It would control social, political, economic, and even cultural interactions. Sovereignty in such a state belongs to God, which in practical terms means Sharia law. Fundamentalists spoke in favor of democratic elections not for the sake of establishing democracy or individual freedoms, but in order to establish the rule of Islam. And when fundamentalist theorists touched upon the question of democracy, they were not talking about its compatibility or incompatibility with Islam, but about how difficult it was to reconcile Western democratic principles with Islamic governance that could only be based on the revealed laws of Islam—Sharia.

But even here there were problems. Principles of “pure Islam” adhered to by Wahhabites and Salafites were most applicable to the environment of early Middle Ages. When one had to overcome tribal conflicts and built a centralized state. The assumption of power in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood did not resolve societal problems, but rather made them worse. ISIS implementation of Islamic state ideas in Iraq and Syria showed how savage the application of Islamic norms can be in the context of 21st Century. The only example of successful functioning of a theocratic state is Iran. But here the overwhelming majority of population are adherents of Shia Islam which is based on the principle of vilayat al-fakih. This principle assumes that the leadership over the Shia is to a certain extent centralized and is being implemented by authoritative and competent Shia clerics whose authority is beyond doubt.

Given the proliferation of ideas and Islamic movements, the question of how (and whether) one can reconcile secular Arab nationalism with Islam, in order to develop the basis for a new national ideology, gains in importance. Or perhaps might it not be better to reject the idea of Arab national state with Islamic leanings?

It may be now is the time for concepts based on national, religious, and territorial principles, which could found the basis of a new political system capable of neutralizing obsolete medieval vestiges of Islam, unify states whose borders were drawn by Western powers without considering local issues, ensure justice among various ethnic and religious groups, stabilize international relations in the region.

One of such movements which might be ready to solve above-mentioned problems is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

Party History and Program

The idea of a Syrian nation within clearly defined borders is not new. In the 19t century the proponents of a Syrian state included Butrus al-Bustani, who believed that a unified Syrian nation ought to form an autonomy within the Ottoman Empire that required reform. His follower Henri Lammens, a prominent Arabist of the late 19th-early 20thcenturies, claimed that Greater Syria existed already in ancient times in the Fertile Crescent. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of an Arab state became a very real possibility. But the intervention by Western powers in the affairs of former vassals of the Porte and the Sykes-Picot delineation of spheres of responsibility ended plans for creating such a state.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Antoun Saadeh

But the idea did not die, and in 1932 the Lebanese journalist and Christian Antoun Saadeh created the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). It was founded as an anti-colonial and liberation organization. Saadeh rejected language and religion as defining characteristics of the new nation, and instead clamed nations are formed through joint developments of peoples inhabiting a certain geographic area.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

SOURCE: Stratfor.com

The Syrian national state, as imagined by the party founder, should cover the Fertile Crescent and the area of current Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, Sinai, south-east Turkey (Alexandretta and Cilicia), parts of the Zagros mountains on Lebanese territory, and regions in Saudi Arabia’s north.

According to Saleh, “the aim of the SSNP is a Syrian social renaissance which will accomplish unification and breathe life into the Syrian nation, organizing a movement seeking full independence of the Syrian nation and defense of its sovereignty, creating a new social order to protect its interests and increase its standard of living, seeking to form the Arab Front.”

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

A map of Greater Syria. SOURCE: theweichertreport.com

Its main principles are separation of mosque and state, keeping the clerics from involvement in political and legal processes, removing religious barriers, removing feudal relics from social life, transforming the agrarian economy into an industrial one, protection of worker rights, of national and state interests, and the establishment of strong, effective military.

When it comes to relations with Jews, SSNP is strictly anti-Zonist, since Saadeh believed Jews were unable and unwilling to assimilate. He also criticized assertions that the Jews could be a foundation for a national state. According to SSNP Jews were not a nation because they were a heterogeneous mixture of nations.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

SSNP flag. Click to see the full-size image

The party emblem is whirlwind (Arabic “Zawba’a), which according to party members is a fusion of Christian cross and Islamic half-moon. Emblem arms represent freedom, duty, discipline, power. The black backdrop reflects the dark past as part of Ottoman Empire, colonialism, national and religious fragmentation, and backwardness.

Here one needs a caveat to clarify the party’s name and its emblem. There is no similarity between it and the NSDAP. SSNP was formed long before NSDAP. Saadeh visited Axis powers during WW2 and was arrested by French colonial authorities, but released after they couldn’t find evidence of collaboration, and Nazi leaders said they had no dealings with him. He was also in favor of French colonial authorities over Nazi rule.

The creation of Israel in 1948 and its militant, aggressive policies pursued with Western approval caused worry in Arab states. Israel’s actions caused as an attempt to meddle in Arab matters using Jewish hands, and once again redraw the borders. Arab leaders’ incompetence caused their defeat in the 1947-48 war. Saadeh criticized their actions, and in 1949 SSNPR attempted a coup in Lebanon which failed. As a result of collusion between Lebanese and Syrian governments, and with active British intelligence support, Saadeh was executed. The party was delegalized. Prior to the start of the civil war, SSNP attempted another coup in 1961, fought against Arab nationalists. The civil war the party viewed as the consequence of dividing the Syrian nation into separate states. Until the end of the war, SSNP fought alongside Hezbollah against Israeli occupiers and their Lebanese supporters. Only in the early ‘90s did the party become legalized and, starting in 1992, it participates in Lebanese parliamentary elections.

In Syria itself, SSNP was a significant force since independence. But ideological disagreements with the ruling Ba’ath Party and the Syrian Communist Party led to SSNP leaving Syria’s political arena.

Current Situation

In the spring of 2005, SSPN was partly legalized in Syria and allowed an observer in the National Progressive Front which is headed by Ba’ath.

The party viewed the start of anti-government demonstrations as yet another effort to fracture the country along ethno-religious lines. It organized demonstrations in support of the current government. On February 26, 2012 the majority of Syrians supported a referendum that amended the constitution by removing Ba’ath Party from the post of the leading political force, equalizing its status with other parties. This allowed SSNP to fully participate in political struggles. Between March 2012 and May 2014 the party was part of the opposition Ba’ath National Front For Change and Liberation. But in May its leader stated SSNP would leave the National front and support Bashar Assad in presidential elections.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Ali Haidar

The current leader of SSNP in Syria is Ali Haidar, who also the Minister of National Reconciliation in Syria’s government. The party secretary is Joseph Sweid. He also has a ministerial portfolio. In Lebanon, SSNP is headed by Ali Halil Qanso who is also the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs

The party currently is the most numerous political force in Syria, after the ruling Ba’ath, with over 100,000 members. In 2012 elections the party won 4 out of 250 seats in Syria’s parliament, in 2009 Lebanese elections it won 2 seats out of 128.

Here is what Ali Haidar said in an interview with the Al-Mayadin TV channel concerning the civil war in Syria. “Throughout the war, the US headed the anti-Syrian campaign and tried to destroy Syria’s national existence using terrorist groups such as ISIS and an-Nusra. US airstrikes on ISIS terrorists on one hand, and sponsoring and training “opposition” fighters simply amount to replacing uncontrollable terrorism with US-controlled one.” In his view, US regional strategy has not changed. They seek to change Middle East’s political structure to guarantee Israel’s security and legalize its existence. As to reconciliation, Haidar said that it’s not a political tactic but the fate of all Syrians, the result of governmental effort on the national level, even though in some regions of Syria it is encountering resistance due to the presence of foreign mercenaries.

Armed formations and their role in the Syrian war

SSNP’s armed formation is the Nusur al-Zawba’a (Eagles of the Whirlwind). It was formed during the Lebanese civil war in 1974. The main motivating factor for SSNP member participation in the war was the ongoing war against Wahhabism and Israel which supports it, in order to preserve the multicultural and multi-religious Syria. Since 2014, Eagles of the Whirlwind are considered the most effective pro-government force, after the SAA.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Click to see the full-size map

Eagles’ strength is eastimated at 6-8 thousand. They operate in Raqqa, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Sweida, Deraa, Deir-ez-Zor, Idlib, Latakia, Jobar, Damascus, East and West Ghouta provinces. They are armed mainly with small arms and improvised armored vehicles. This is due to them fighting mainly in urban confines, where rapid movement is required, every  house is a fortress, and tanks are an easy and sluggish target.

Eagles differ from other formations in that they don’t have a single commander. Each unit has its own commander and each region its administrator. Their names are unknown, only their pseudonyms.

The heaviest fighting experienced by SSNP units took place in northern Latakia, in Salma, Ghamam, and Deir Hanna. This region was strategically important since it is adjacent to Turkey and provides supply and reinforcement routes for an-Nusra. Moreover, controlling this region blocks militant movement into the province and also opens a route for government forces into Idlib.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Click to see the full-size image

Another region where Eagles were active is the al-Ghab plain. This plain runs along western coastal mountains, and is in close proximity to Hama province capital. Controlling the plain creates a buffer zone which is crucial to ensure the security of coastal regions. Next to al-Ghab there are several cities with mainly Christian population, Mahardah and al-Suqaylabiya. Mahardah, in particular was the site of heavy fighting since the start of the war. Since 2015, Islamists launched attacks here nearly every day. The approaches to the city were nominally held by SAA’s 11thDivision. But in the 6 years of war, the unit had practically ceased to exist. The division had under 500 soldiers and officers in March-April 2017. SSNP was able to field about 1500 fighters from among local inhabitants, and only their presence allowed the SAA to hold this important sector.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Click to see the full-size image

The Homs province includes the mostly Christian city of Sadad, which was also a test for SSNP fighters. An-Nusra first took Sadad in October 2013. According to Human Rights Watch, 46 inhabitants, including 14 women and 2 children, were murdered, some of the bodies were dropped into a well, and churches were looted. After intensive clashes, the SAA ejected Islamists from Sadad on October 28, 2013.

Two years later, in October-November 1015, ISIS appeared on Sadad outskirts after capturing nearby Muheen. The city was defended by local population, SAA, and 500 Christian fighters. They were helped by 200 SSNP fighters. Fighting together, they were able to stop ISIS advance.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Click to see the full-size image

The Sadad visit by Syrian Orthodox Church Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem Karim II was an important event. He met with the fighters to raise their morale and take part in funeral rites. The defense of the city is significant because it is one of the few remaining Syrian cities with predominantly Christian population, fighting against a huge number of jihadists.

SSNP units are recruited from among Orthodox Lebanese and Syrian Christians. At first, most of the recruits came from Lebanon, then their number decreased as the number of Syrians grew. One should not think, however, the Eagles consist only of Christians. Muslims and Christians are fighting side by side. This was evident in Sadad fighting, where SSNP units contained many Muslim volunteers. This fact is yet more evidence of the level of support the idea of Syrian state has among its adherents, and SSNP does nto segregate along religious lines.

At present time, due to the large-scale government offensive, Eagles units maintain order in cities liberated from the militants.

The party’s future in Syria’s political life

In order to determine SSNP’s role in Syria’s and Middle East’s political life, one must deal with several difficult to answer questions.

SSNP’s strong aspects. Spring 2011 demonstrations were caused by external factors but also the internal political stagnation. The Ba’ath party has been in power since the early ‘60s. Sooner or later the war will end and Syria will have to make a choice—what political forces will govern the country? Secular and radical Islam have shown its true nature, and there is no return to it. USSR collapsed over 25 years ago. Without its support, there is also no future for a return of socialist parties in the Middle East. Therefore SSNP has a good chance to gain power and show its abilities. By Middle East standards, SSNP is a political veteran. It has a clearly defined program, which it follows. There is an advanced ideology with a future, which is important when no other political force can offer anything new. Seeking dialogue with the ruling party (Ba’ath in Syria) means that in extreme conditions SSNP will not seek confrontatios and is ready to aid its former rival. Participating in the war against Islamic and international terrorism, in deed and not word, gives the party considerable weight and popular support.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Omar Sanadiki / Reuters

Weak aspects. Since its start, the party has been underground. This is reflected in its low level of participation in legislative activity in Syria and Lebanon, as mentioned earlier. Apart these two countries and Jordan, where SSNP has been active since 2013, the party has no significant presence elsewhere.

Political democratization in post-imperial nation-states, first secular and then religious, meant the transfer of power into the hands of the majority. The question of religious or national minorities was addressed in different ways by various countries but, as a rule, these approaches tended to rely on force. Some nations had to emigrate, others took up arms. Given progressive state weakness and near-universal drive for autonomy, one can draw the conclusion the region is continuing its process of tribalization. Overcoming the remnants of clan and tribal systems and the minorities’ desire for own sovereign states will be very difficult for SSNP. This is further complicated by the persecution of Christians and their mass exodus from Lebanon in the past and Syria right now. But the local Christians were the most opposed to any forms of violence, and represented the intellectual and entrepreneurial elite. They made the party into what it is today: ready for dialogue, to offer a new path of development, to defend own country with force of arms.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

SOURCE: RIA

There are also external factors which cloud the future of SSNP. How will regional powers, like Turkey or Israel, react to the appearance of a new actor, the Greater Syria? Will they allow it to appear at all? Will the leaders of countries in SSNP zone of interest be willing to give up own power, population, and territory?

Internal and external factors make SSNP’s future extremely uncertain. The idea of establishing a state on the basis of the common aspects of the people populating the region is still ahead of its time. But even if SSNP fails for some reason, it will represent a big step toward creating a new-model Arab state.

Conclusion

Unlimited nationalism as foundation of state system has sparked a trend toward anarchy and therefore can no longer be used as an effective means of political organization and preserving societal stability. Arab leaders who survived Arab Spring find it difficult to ensure own legitimacy, internal stability, and good relations with more powerful neighbors. Some have left the stage peacefully. Some were forcibly removed. Others are fighting to remain in power. Wars, coups, mass unrest, and outflow of refugees are boosting the trend toward anarchy and threaten not only the Middle East but the whole world. The recent history of Middle Eastern countries contains many examples of struggle between and cross-pollination among religious (pan-Islam, Islamic Modernism) and secular (Pan-Arabism, Arab Nationalism) currents. This trend to a certain extend determined the evolution of the Arab political thought and helped to, up to a certain point, adapt to the ideas borrowed from the West. But as noted above, they were unable to avert the fracturing of the Middle East and address the conflict among ethnic and religious groups. This fracturing is made worse by the arbitrary nature of borders of countries which qualify as Arab. These states control the territory they do largely due to powerful external pressure, and not as a result of internal processes. It means the current system suffers from a delay-fuse bomb planted under it. It may be now is the time to implement new political ideas and to establish a state based on a historic sense of community among people living in a certain area, irrespective of their language, religion, or nationality.

The Financial Elite Created France’s New President, Emmanuel Macron

Interview with Diana Johnstone

On Sunday French voters went to the polls and chose Emmanuel Macron rather than Marine Le Pen to be France’s next president. Macron, a former investment banker and economics minister in the hugely unpopular government of President Francois Hollande, was endorsed by Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and the rest of the global elite who favor the unfettered reign of global capital. As economics minister, he succeeded in passing anti-labor legislation that caused rioting in French streets. He supports the privatization of social services like health care and education, NATO hostilities on Russia’s border, and President Donald Trump’s direct missile strikes on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

Marine Le Pen called for France’s departure from both NATO and the European Union, restoration of the French franc as its currency, and “intelligent protectionism” to defend the living standards of French farmers and workers. She favors detente with Russia, she condemned Trump’s missile strikes on Syria, and she has pushed for restricting immigration and deporting citizens of other nations who are on France’s terrorist watch list. She was endorsed by prominent British Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage and praised by Donald Trump.

Both Macron and Le Pen called for prison capacity expansion, but Macron was reported to have called for fewer new cells than Le Pen.

American author and Counterpunch writer Diana Johnstone says that elites whipped up mass hysteria that Le Pen is a fascist to put the neoliberal globalist Macron in power. I spoke to Diana in Paris where she has lived most of her adult life.

*     *     *

Ann Garrison: There’s so much furious determination to identify Marine Le Pen as a fascist that it’s difficult to have a rational conversation about it.

Diana Johnstone: Tell me about it. I’ve stopped trying to talk about it to Americans because they’re just not interested, and the myth is so delightful that no one wants to give it up. Everybody likes to believe they’re fighting fascism.

AG: Well, I can’t even tell what they mean by that. The word’s being used very vaguely and self-righteously.

DJ: That means Hitler coming back to life and putting minorities in Auschwitz and then the gas chambers.

AG: So they mean extremely racist and genocidal.

DJ: Well, that’s the implication, but there’s no sign that she’s a racist and there’s no threat of institutionalized racism here. She is extremely hostile to Islamic fanaticism but Islamic fanaticism is not a race.

AG: To be a real fascist, wouldn’t she have to want to shut down the media and suspend the French constitution?

DJ: Well, you can list everything that characterizes fascism and nothing on the list applies. That’s one of them, but there’s nothing fascist about her. This is just propaganda that is being spread not only by the French establishment but also by the whole Western, NATO establishment.

The real issue here is that there is a growing criticism of the European Union (EU) in France, and the whole Western establishment is panicked about this. Ever since the Brexit, they’ve been afraid that this pro-national sovereignty tendency in France, which manifests across the whole political spectrum, could gain momentum and that France might leave the EU and NATO. And of course the whole globalizing elite absolutely don’t want this to happen, so they went all out to invent their own special candidate, who is supported by everybody in the elite. Merkel, Obama, all of the billionaires, all of the banks, and all of the media, which of course is owned by the billionaires. They went all out to create panic that Marine Le Pen might win. This was just theatre calculated to elect a person who is responsible for the most unpopular economic policies of the Hollande government.

Hollande was so unpopular that he couldn’t run for a second term. His approval rating in polls was down to single digits. So the whole elite and its press invented Macron to take his place. The press all started saying that Macron was going to be the next president as soon as he left the government and said he was going to create his new political movement.

All of this is to reinforce the policies that were so unpopular in the outgoing Hollande government, but behind a new young face. This is a total charade, but Macron is even worse because when he was economics minister, he managed to get some very anti-labor legislation passed, then made it clear that he was leaving that government because he hadn’t been able to push it far enough. So he’s virtually promised to make things worse for working people, but nobody paid any attention to that because so many people were screaming, “Fascism! Fascism!” It was really grotesque.

AG: Simply posting any questions about who Marine Le Pen is has been enough to trigger tirades on social media pages.

DJ: I don’t know why these people are so enraged. Where do they get their information? How are they so sure of what they’re saying? What are their sources? What are they talking about?

AG: What would Marine Le Pen have to do to qualify as a fascist, from your point of view?

DJ: Well, she’d have to be in favor of a single party. She’d have to be resorting to violence and various other things, but the point is that her economic policies are actually very left wing. They are very close to those of the left leader, Jean Luc Mélenchon.

AG: Well, the propaganda was so effective that I even saw a news video of Greenpeace hanging an anti-Le Pen banner off the Eiffel Tower that read “#Resist” and “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.”

DJ: Yes, I know. Have you ever heard of mass hysteria?

AG: Yes.

DJ: Well, this is mass hysteria. All these people in the power elite will praise one another. It’s a great power club. Now they’re saying that Macron’s election saved us from fascism, and people are buying it, both inside and outside France.

AG: I’ve seen the press comparing him to JFK, and you said that French people will see his face on magazines whenever they go to the hairdresser or the doctor.

DJ: Yes, he’s been made by the press. As soon as he left the government and said that he was going to form this new movement, “En Marche,” all the magazines put his picture on the cover. The American “Foreign Policy” magazine ran an effulgent article right at the start about what a genius new leader he was and how certain he was to be the next French president.

AG: Someone at a gathering of French farmers hit Macron in the head with an egg.

DJ: Yes, it’s not hard to understand why and that may happen more. Of course, Marine Le Pen appealed to the farmers and workers who are really suffering in the European Common Market, but the human rights people decided some time ago that workers, farmers, and poor people who are complaining must be complaining because they’re racists. They don’t say they’re racists, they don’t act like racists, but they must be racists. That’s the human rights ideology, so the working class which used to be the favorite of the left is now its hobgoblin, and they’re saying, “Look at all these racist workers and farmers supporting Marine Le Pen.” In fact workers and farmers supported Le Pen because they’re losing jobs, they’re losing security, and their social services are going down the drain. Many of them supported Le Pen because she is going against the policies of the European Union and globalization.

AG: Just to make it quite clear what we’re talking about here, Macron and the rest of the globalist elite are advancing an order in which global capital can freely chase the cheapest labor all over the world, including industrial farm labor, then come back with products with no tariffs imposed upon them, and even sue any government that becomes inconvenient for them.

DJ: That’s about it. What Le Pen and others have said is that they want some “intelligent protectionism” and that goes against the whole neoliberal program, which is to make the whole world safe for investment capital.

Certain countries will just be wiped out by this. France has a tradition of pretty good social services. In fact they’ve been excellent, though they’re now getting worse because of the current government. The French are very attached to their social services, but if you privatize them all and then international financial capital says, “Hmm, we can make more profit in something other than transportation, health care or other services,” then they’ll just go and invest somewhere else. So, if you just have unfettered capital like that, you can’t necessarily preserve the existence of your country. Resisting globalization is just the most basic self preservation impulse; people want to preserve their countries as places where you can live decently. That is demonized as being nationalism and nationalism is demonized as fascism and racism.

AG: When I spun off my little description of globalization, I should have included the privatization of everything.

DJ: Yes, that’s right. And Europe is already the frontline of globalization. It’s been opened up as a playground for financial capital, and Macron was made by financiers. The financial elite found him to be a talent; they brought him into the Rothschild Bank and in no time, he’d made a few million dollars. Once someone finds out how fast they can make money like that, it’s like they’re being initiated into the club and they’re going to defend its interests in every possible way.

Diana Johnstone is the author of “The Politics of Euromissiles: Europe’s Role in America’s World,” “Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions, and “Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton.”  Her essay “The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty and the Future of France,” appears on the Counterpunch and Global Research websites.

Are the French elections a turning point? هل الانتخابات الفرنسية نقطة تحوّل؟

Are the French elections a turning point?

مايو 11, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Winning the French presidency by Emmanuel Macron has been given a big international and regional importance to the extent of describing it with the big transformation in policies, many considerations were dedicated for this idea, as the recall of the partisan project of Macron which was born a year ago, it was linked with renewing the democracy, which France forms one of its bases. Some people have shown the decline of the traditional historical parties especially the Republican and the Socialist Parties which shared the political history of France for half of a century and more. The modernizing electoral platform of Macron at the economic or the political levels made some of the followers of Macron halt at it, it talked about new situation that based on combining the capitalism with the socialization economically, linking the French nationalism with the globalization politically, and the reliance on the youth and the social media in a new structure that is described as revolutionary at the level of the partisan work.

At the first systematic verification of the campaign of Macron intellectually, politically, and economically, all the arguments are dropped. Macron emerged as a candidate, who meets the aspirations of banks and the major French companies on one hand, and the alliance which is represented by the Saudis and the Israelis in the regional policies on the other hand, a candidate who supersedes Francoise Hollande. After the attempts of tempting the Republican party to bring a new Jacques Chirac or a new Nicolas Sarkozy who can meet these policies have failed in front of the accumulative challenges that affect France and its political independence in the time of the US weakness, and the risks of displacement and the terrorism in the light of the war on Syria, the recession, and the unemployment in the light of the failure which affected the European project after the fall of the bets on weakening Russia as an indispensable  source of gas, and the controlling of the resources of the Chinese energy by subjugating Iran. But the campaigns led by America and then by France to achieve these goals failed. The allies’ front has started to regress after the exit of Britain out of the EU, and the attempt of the un-globalized fund in America to take the role of the global policeman along with the adoption of the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House before he was trained and tamped by the globalization institutions in America.

Macron represents the policy of denial which is practiced by those concerned about globalization after their defeat, so in order to ensure their winning they brought the appropriate opponent. An opponent that it is easy to be invested to make the French people in front of the two choices; the fear or Macron after the Republican Francois Fillon was alienated in an invented way, although the observers meet on ensuring his wining in presidency, but for the campaigns which were against him and led to his failure in reaching the second stage, if he was allowed to continue he would win presidency versus Macron or Le Pen, the ensuring of the winning of Macron was in accordance with restricting the competition between him and Le Pen, while the French would be responsible for the rest. Marine Le Pen’s project was foreshadowing the French people with the fear of the unknown within a discourse that threatens of civil war among the French people depending on the color of their skin, and their religion, moreover it grants the terrorism an incubating environment that contains five million Muslims who will be exposed to torture if Le Pen wins, in addition to another unknown that is represented by the impossibility of the exit of France from the EU without destroying it. Knowing that it is in the center of the Union, and it is no longer has its special currency as Britain. So it is logical that France chooses between the unknown and the continuation of the previous situation, not a preference for him but to prevent the reach to the unknown, so Macron wins with fewer voices than Chirac in 2002 versus his father.

What will Macron do in confronting the French challenges; the economy and the war on terrorism in particular? France is burdened with burdens which Macron did not have responses for them despite the improving aspects promoted by the followers of Macron, as revitalizing the economy by reducing the taxes on the major companies as a recipe for the globalization, but it is an experienced failed recipe, because it will not encourage but only the money and the real estate companies and the barters, while the productive sector which needs for customs protection will continue regressing and the labor sectors will supply the unemployment with new figures, here is the importance of Fillon’s proposal of reformulating the EU according to the variables of the national economy and its protection, while in confronting the terrorism. Macron’s project is to continue following Hollande’s recipes which based on turning France to a follower of the US policies, and following Saudi Arabia and Israel and the cooperation with the Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood. These two teams were vowed by Fillon to ban their presence in France in case of his winning.

The legislative elections will take place along with a parliament that will make it difficult for the president to form a government that is similar to him whatever there will be fierce promoting media campaigns and whatever how much money  and media will be spent. The parties which obtained in the first round a closer proportion of twenty percent are three; the radical left led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the extremist right led by Marine Le Pen and the Republican party with its new leadership after the stepping down of Fillon will share the 60% which they won in this session, while Macron will share with his allies in the Socialist party and some of the small parities the remaining 40%. The trade unions which received Macron with the general strike are continuing, they know Macron very well and he knows who support them, the danger of terrorism is remaining and the developments in Syria are resolved no matter if the French presidency changed, although Hollande himself who is Macron’s reference was unable to change them, which means that the first year of Macron will disclose him gradually in front of the French people to reach to the proportion  of 7% which Hollande reached after years.

Macron is repetitive copies of Hollande but with industrial coat that soon will be removed and the forged goods will be revealed.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

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هل الانتخابات الفرنسية نقطة تحوّل؟

مايو 9, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– أُعطي فوز إيمانويل ماكرون بالرئاسة الفرنسية حجماً دولياً وإقليمياً كبيراً لدرجة وصفه بالتحوّل الكبير في السياسات، وحُشدت لصالح هذه الفكرة اعتبارات من نوع التذكير بمشروع ماكرون الحزبي الذي ولد قبل عام ورُبط به تجديد الديمقراطية التي تشكّل فرنسا واحدة من قلاعها، كما استعرض آخرون تراجع وضع الأحزاب التقليدية التاريخية، خصوصاً الحزبين الجمهوري والاشتراكي، اللذين تقاسما تاريخ فرنسا السياسي لنصف قرن وأكثر، ووصل بعض الماكرونيين للتوقف أمام ما وصفه بالبرنامج التحديثي لماكرون سواء على الصعيد الاقتصادي أو الصعيد السياسي، متحدّثاً عن وسط جديد يستند إلى جمع الرأسمالية بالاشتراكية اقتصادياً، وجمع الوطنية الفرنسية بالعولمة سياسياً، والارتكاز على الشباب ووسائل التواصل في هيكلية جديدة وصفت بالثورية على مستوى العمل الحزبي.

– لدى أول تدقيق منهجي بالحملة الماكرونية فكرياً وسياسياً واقتصادياً تسقط كلّ الحجج المساقة، وينكشف ماكرون عن بدل عن ضائع لمرشح يلبّي تطلعات المصارف وكبريات الشركات الفرنسية من جهة، والحلف الذي يمثله السعوديون و«الإسرائيليون» في السياسات الإقليمية، يخلف فرنسوا هولاند، بعدما فشلت محاولات ترويض الحزب الجمهوري للمجيء بجاك شيراك جديد أو نيكولا ساركوزي جديد، يلبّي هذه السياسات، أمام تحدّيات متفاقمة تطال فرنسا واستقلالها السياسي في زمن الضعف الأميركي، ومخاطر النزوح والإرهاب في ضوء الحرب على سورية، والكساد والبطالة في ضوء الفشل الذي أصاب المشروع الأوروبي بعد سقوط الرهانات على إضعاف روسيا وترويضها كمورّد للغاز لا بديل عنه، والتحكم بموارد الطاقة الصينية عبر إخضاع إيران، وقد باءت الحملات التي قادتها أميركا والتحقت بها فرنسا لبلوغ هذه الأهداف بالفشل. وبدأ تداعي جبهة الحلفاء بخروج بريطانيا من الاتحاد الأوروبي، ومحاولة الرأسمال غير المعولم في أميركا الانتفاض على دور الشرطي العالمي مع تبنّي وصول دونالد ترامب إلى البيت الأبيض قبل أن تطوّعه وتروّضه مؤسسات العولمة في أميركا.

– ماكرون ممثل سياسة الإنكار التي يمارسها المعولمون بعد هزيمتهم، لذلك كي يضمنوا نصرهم استجلبوا الخصم المناسب إلى الحلبة، خصم يسهل وضع الفرنسيين أمامه بين خياري الذعر أو ماكرون، بعدما أبعد بطرق مفتعلة الجمهوري فرنسوا فيون الذي يُجمع المراقبون على ضمان فوزه بالرئاسة لولا الحملات التي استهدفته، وأدت إلى عدم بلوغه المرحلة الثانية ولو وصل بوجه ماكرون أو لوبان لضمن الرئاسة. وكان ضمان فوز ماركون وفقاً على حصر المنافسة بينه وبين لوبان، ويتكفل الفرنسيون بالباقي. فمشروع مارين لوبان كان يبشر الفرنسيين بالخوف من مجهول مع خطاب يهدّد بحرب أهلية بين الفرنسيين على لون بشرتهم ودينهم ويمنح الإرهاب بيئة حاضنة قوامها خمسة ملايين مسلم سيتعرّضون للتنكيل مع وصول لوبان. هذا عدا عن مجهول آخر يتمثل في استحالة خروج فرنسا من الاتحاد الأوروبي من دون هدمه، وهي في قلب الاتحاد وليست على طرفه، ولم يعُد لديها عملة خاصة كحال بريطانيا، ومنطقي أن تختار فرنسا بين المجهول واستمرار الحال السابق بقاء القديم على قدمه فيصل ماكرون بأصوات أقلّ من التي جاء بها شيراك عام 2002 بوجه والد لوبان، ليس تفضيلاً له بل منعاً لوصول الخوف من المجهول.

– ماذا سيستطيع ماكرون أن يفعل في مواجهة التحديات الفرنسية. فعلى صعيد التحديين الأهمّ الاقتصاد والحرب على الإرهاب، تنوء فرنسا تحت أعباء لا يملك ماكرون لها أجوبة رغم الفذلكات التجميلية التي يسوقها المروّجون للماكرونية، تنشيط الاقتصاد بتخفيض الضرائب على الشركات الكبرى هي وصفة العولمة، وهي وصفة مجربة وفاشلة. فهي لن تشجع إلا شركات المال والعقارات، والمضاربات، بينما القطاع الإنتاجي الذي يحتاج لحماية جمركية فسيستمرّ بالتراجع وقطاعات العمال سترفد البطالة بأرقام جديدة. وهنا تكمن أهمية طرح فيون بإعادة صياغة الاتحاد الأوروبي وفقاً لمتغيّرات الاقتصادات الوطنية وحمايتها، أما في مواجهة الإرهاب فمشروع ماكرون مواصلة السير في وصفات هولاند القائمة على تحويل فرنسا ذيلاً للسياسات الأميركية والسير وراء السعودية و«إسرائيل»، والتعاون مع الوهابية والإخوان المسلمين، وهما الفريقان اللذان تعهّد فيون بحظرهما في فرنسا في حال فوزه.

– ستأتي الانتخابات التشريعية وتحمل برلماناً يصعب على الرئيس تشكيل حكومة تشبهه مهما خيضت حملات إعلامية تسويقية ضارية، ومهما أنفق من مال واستهلك من إعلام. فالأحزاب التي نالت في الدورة الأولى نسباً متقاربة بحدود العشرين في المئة، وهي ثلاثة، اليسار الراديكالي بزعامة جان لوك ميلنشون، واليمين المتطرف بزعامة مارين لوبان، والحزب الجمهوري بزعامته الجديدة بعد تنحّي فيون، سيتقاسمون الـ60 التي حصدوها في هذه الدورة. وسيتقاسم ماكرون مع حلفائه في الحزب الاشتراكي وبعض الأحزاب الصغيرة الـ 40 الباقية، ونقابات العمال التي استقبلت ماكرون بالإضراب العام باقية على طريقها تعرف ماكرون جيداً ويعرفها هو ومن ورائه حيتان المال، وخطر الإرهاب باقٍ، والتطوّرات في سوريا محسومة الاتجاه لا يغير فيها تغيير الرئاسة الفرنسية التي كان أستاذ ماكرون هولاند نفسه عاجزاً عن تغييرها، ما يعني أن سنة ماكرون الأولى ستتكفل بتعريته تدريجياً أمام الفرنسيين لينال نسبة الـ7 التي وصلها هولاند بعد سنوات.

– ماكرون نسخة مكرّرة عن هولاند مع ماكياج بطلاء صناعي سرعان ما يزول وتنكشف البضاعة المزوّرة.

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Macron wins – the 24% who voted for him rejoice, the rest sigh

May 09, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriMacron wins – the 24% who voted for him rejoice, the rest sigh

Communist ideas have won concessions from industry, but they have been unable to stop high finance from exploiting workers.

That is the big battle today. Only revolutionary and heavily socialist countries like Iran, Cuba and China – as well as dictatorships like South Korea in the past – have been able to stop domination by international finance.

France, however, has fearfully rushed into the arms of the candidate who wants your wages to pay for bad loans: former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron.

It’s almost insulting to take orders from a 39-year old who didn’t come to power at the end of the gun or at the front of a massive revolution, because how can such a young person not be the puppet of older, richer interests?

There’s no way Macron is as smart, experienced and mature as he believes himself to be, or as they want us to believe. It’s “not polite” by French campaign standards, but I note that his record as Economy Minister produced only economic stagnation and record-high unemployment.

I talk to people in France about how they will vote all the time, even though it’s also “not polite” by French standards. Hogwash. Emmanuel only has two appeals: first, he is young and new blood in a country run by an aged, corrupt aristocracy, and second, he is not Marine Le Pen.

Of course Emmanuel won: Le Pen lost in 2nd round head-to-head polling at all times and against everyone. I mean in every…single…poll since polling began in January.

We were hoping against hope, and because hope was a terrible, incompetent, neo-fascist candidate – hope lost.

Huge change from 2012 – there is no joy in Mudville. I can assure you that France’s spirit of resistance was alive and well in 2012. Ahhhh, austerity was so young back then – it’s so firmly-rooted now.

Francois Hollande was elected on a promise to fight high finance, fight Germany, end austerity and renegotiate EU treaties. The French people were 100% correct to be so optimistic – who can live in cynicism?

But who could have expected that Hollande would make such an undemocratic U-turn? His U-turn threatened to destroy the European Union, which has only been given a stay of execution with Macron’s victory. Even though Hollande couldn’t even run for re-election, nobody with any sense of justice thinks that is fair reparations.

I must pause here for a word on civil war: France talks about the possibility of a civil war an inordinate amount. And I perceived this years before this election involving Le Pen.

In the US that’s relegated to beyond the suburbs…half the country, sure. Of course, the English say the same thing. The Spanish may split over Catalonia. Scotland may break off. Ireland remains divided. Italy barely has a government. Belgium didn’t have one for a year (such Parliamentary gridlock is France’s future).

Only the Germans are happy with their leadership. And why not: everyone in the West “admires them”. Not me – higher poverty rate than France, for starters.

My point is: Western society, and not just France, is fractured in a terrible, horrible way. The lack of unity – even if only perceived – is staggering for a region of the world enjoying such enormous relative prosperity. There is, clearly, a problem in their culture.

Cuba doesn’t have this problem. Nor China. Iran – once you get out of rich North Tehran – will almost certainly have a higher voter participation rate in their elections this month than France, and France’s is still among the highest in the West.

The fear of civil war is a major Western phenomenon, and it was a major reason why people voted for Macron/against Le Pen

What do you expect? You’re all divided into parts of unequal sizes

That’s what identity politics is: Is a Black’s ideas worth more than a Gay? Seems like a Transgender rules the roost in 2017, especially if he/she has to go to the bathroom.

Can the White Nationalists fly their flag at the statehouse or not? We better ask the opinion of the left-handed homemakers north of the Mason-Dixon but west of the Mississippi who prefer jam to Nutella on partially-cloudy days – I’m sure their lobby group is being formed.

Or you could just have what works: Class politics.

Us versus the 1 billionth percent, the 8 people who own half the world’s wealth.

Anyone who supported Le Pen was browbeaten with insults against their character, intelligence and morality. Identity politics are not only about inclusion – I am in this group – it is about exclusion: You have to be like this or you are not in this group.

And who doesn’t want to be in the group the entire media (no exaggeration) said was the “good” one?

Because France does not accept multi-culturalism, promoting assimilationism instead, identity politics in France has a different face. The “in group” here is simply “France”. That’s why Macron saved this big PR gun for the final week of campaigning: “The National Front is the anti-France party”.

It resonated, even though the National Front is the most hyper-patriotic party.

Anyway, I ardently supported Marine Le Pen for two weeks – between the two rounds of voting – does that make me anti-France? Or does it make me a fascist and a racist? I’d swear at you but this is a family publication.

Fascism is a real dirty word over here. It’s not that way in the US because American fascists won WWII and thus were never discredited, like over here. People here had relatives die fighting German, Austrian & Italian fascists.

The past is indeed history, and history is indeed past

France also succumbed to the idea that the fascists their grandfathers fought are the real problem, as if France fought a civil war instead of the Germans in World War II.

More than identity politics, Macron won because France was convinced that the father of Marine Le Pen is more important than her ideas to rectify the very different problems of 2017. But high-speed trading didn’t exist in 1941. There was no European Union. In 1941 there was actually a Left in the West, LOL.

“You don’t see it, Ramin,” they told me “the threat of the National Front.”

What I see is you guys taking a backseat to Germany.

But, I’m exaggerating: I see France colluding with the Germans. Again, just like in World War II.

That is EXACTLY what has happened! Check the data: Which banks are leveraged in Greece? German AND French are the top two. Who funds the European Central Bank? The main percentage comes from Germany, with France in a very close 2nd place – we are talking dozens of billions of much-needed euros.

Acting as if Germany pays everything, does everything, plans everything – this is an Anglo-Saxon view not based on reality. I assume it is related to the historical Northern European view of their genetic supremacy over everyone else, including Southern and Eastern Europe.

But, that’s just more identity politics. It ignores the class view, as usual. The reality is that French capitalism is hugely a part of the neo-imperialist project of the European Union to cannibalize other Europeans – it’s not all Germany.

Le Pen would get that – Macron would think I am speaking Greek. Oh well.

Crying ‘terrorism’ is not just for kicks and giggles

But let’s not insult everybody in France as being class ignoramuses – this is not America: the French got two such bad candidates by another primary tactic of high-finance: the security state.

The first round vote was on April 23, and I already wrote a column about how terrorism was in the headlines an inordinately suspicious amount in the week prior to that vote.

And in the 14 days since April 23rd France’s security state made sure terrorism-related raids and announcements were in the headlines almost every day. Should we be surprised anymore? I made a list:

April 24-26: Fourteen arrests made in France and Belgium on terrorism.

April 25: Five more arrests in alleged Marseilles planned terrorism attack.

April 25: National homage to the cop killed on the Champs-Elysees.

April 27: Raid on an alleged terrorist’s home in Réunion. Two cops shot.

April 28: Citing the war on terrorism, police will ban traffic information apps from warning of radar traps and other police stops.

May 2: Five arrests in anti-terrorism.

May 3: Judgment in a high-profile “apology of terrorism” case.

May 3: In the lone presidential debate Macron said that terrorism will be the “focus of his 5 years”. 30 minutes of terrorism discussion, which preceded the debate on the European Union.

May 4: National day of homage to all cops killed in France.

This is an incomplete list. I can assure you that the French anti-terrorism units do not work this often in normal times – we’d all be in jail if they did.

The canard of terrorism was employed by Hollande to undemocratically ram through right-wing economic measures designed to benefit the bondholder class. It was also used to put Macron in office and, as I listed, Macron plans to keep it there.

Ultimately, there is still no plan in effect to win concessions from high finance. Le Pen would not have provided a solution, but she would have at least been a monkey wrench; she would at least have provided a temporary respite; she would at least have provided the chance to discuss solutions.

Finance is international, but Europe requires a unique solution because the creation and support for the European Union means they have a uniquely European problem.

I have no ideas, and neither do the faux-left supporters of Macron. They just keep telling me: “We’ll take to the streets to fight austerity”. Hey, jerk, check the scoreboard – we did that all the time under Hollande: we lost.

Macron will continue the neoliberal policies which didn’t work while he was minster, and they will not work now.

Ultimately, the election of Macon just kicks the can down the road. Prior to the election this was repeatedly written by mainstream journalists to describe the necessary economic “reforms” France resisted implementing. Absurd, these “deforms”.

What is postponed are the revolutionary, pro-communist changes which put finally the people ahead of the financial class, which is the new aristocracy.

Postscript – the Macron Era, Day 1 of 1,826.25

The above was written on election night. I was planning to finish it in between my 10 scheduled live interviews for Press TV, but at this point in the column the Le Pen camp refused my entry to their headquarters, denying me a place to do some of those interviews and also to finish this column.

I wasn’t the only one – Le Monde, Mediapart and reportedly many other media were the victims of the Le Pen campaign’s allegedly accidental and regrettable choice to choose a small, swanky locale for their HQ.

Maybe such treatment was a harbinger of things to come and we dodged a bullet by avoiding the National Front and their anti-press neo-fascism?

Problem is, Macron banned Russian media a couple weeks earlier.

Problem is, prior to that Hollande took Press TV and all Iranian media off France’s state-run satellite Eutelsat, in a clear case of censorship.

Anyway, the day after the election Hollande joined Macron for the WWII Victory Day memorial and then immediately flew to Berlin to meet Merkel. Isn’t that fitting? And there were thousands already protesting Macron, with plenty of police brutality. I wanted to cover it but my cameraman begged off, citing fatigue. Honestly, I felt the same way.

Glass half-full: Macron is from the younger, less-racist generation. Maybe he’ll be able to take a firm stance on France’s xenophobic nonsense?

Problem is, his team threatened to close the nation’s Islamophobia watchdog, saying they are “in danger.” Pretty Le Pen-like, if you ask me, which is what I always said.

I really cannot even stomach reading the mainstream media’s take on France’s election, but people seem to be talking like Trump was avoided in France. People only say that because the economic angle – the class angle – is systematically repressed in favor of the economic angle.

Macron is going to wage an (economic) extremist war on the French public, and who can be excited about that? Nobody is excited about Macron here except unmarried, middle-aged women, who have finally found someone who won’t ignore them. I don’t want to rain on their honeymoon, though, so “Sweet dreams, ladies.”

Just do the math: 25% abstained and 12% submitted blank ballots (LOL, a record), meaning only 67% of the total electorate issued an acceptable vote. That drops Macron’s alleged final score of 66% down to 42% of the total electorate. Now subtract the 43% of Macron’s voters who say the voted to block Le Pen. That means only 24% of the total electorate voted for Macron’s personality or his policies.

Only 24% of France truly voted for Macron. So forget what the financial/foreign press says: there is no joy in Mudville, French democracy has struck out.

But the beat goes on. And for the next five years I’m covering the exact same news beat – Hollande (Jr.) and austerity.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Marine Le Pen Lost to Finally Win

Marine Le Pen Lost to Finally Win

ALEX GORKA | 09.05.2017 | WORLD

Marine Le Pen Lost to Finally Win

Emmanuel Macron has won the presidential election in a landslide victory. The establishment candidate left the anti-establishment rival behind. The man who was not much in spotlight before the campaign started is president now. Much has been said about the 2017 election – a very special event in the history of France with all political heavyweights failing to get into the run-off. But there is a very important aspect mainstream media fail to mention – Marine Le Pen is on the way to become president in five years. Her chances are great. Here is why.

She is the second popular politician and she learns, while Macron has a good chance to follow the fate of his predecessor, François Hollande, with popularity rating descending to record low.

Gay or not gay matters little in France but what if he is? If the recently published stories are right, Macron will be in real trouble because he lied to the voters. If hard drugs add to the scandal, the president-elect will suffer a heavy blow. He just had good luck as the scoop hit media headlines too late to influence the election outcome. A liar will have little respect home and internationally.

France faces parliamentary elections this June. Macron’s movement En Marche! is not predicted to gain majority. Who’ll form a coalition government? Socialists and Republicans? Or is a non-party government possible? None of the scenarios will make the president stronger.

On the international scene, President Macron will be navigating troubled waters between the US and Russia, the EU and Great Britain. Will he be able to not be lost in the background of presidents Putin and Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel? There is a surge in pro-independence sentiment in France, including among those who belong to the elite. The French strive for becoming a great power again. Can globalist Macron define and defend the real national interests of his country?

This is the wrong time for politicians sticking to the pre-EU platform. The EU is going through crisis. It is gradually falling apart to change the political landscape of the Old Continent. The rebellion is at the door. The concept of multi-speed Europe has become a dividing factor to be opposed by many EU members. The White Paper on the Future of Europe has actually nothing to offer.

With no fresh ideas to turn the tide, the pro-EU Macron may frustrate the supporters and make the EU opponents angrier. France may lose its position as a European leader acting in tandem with Germany. Saving the EU and European integration is a tall order but Macron has no choice but come up with something drastic to offer. Will he stand up to the task?

Even if Macron does not fail and runs for the second term in 2022, Le Pen will have a bigger chance. The situation with migrants will greatly exacerbate by the time. Less people will perceive the National Front as an extremist party. The rise of so-called populist parties, opposing further integration and migration policy, is on the way. Present in all member states, they hold one-third of all seats in the European Parliament. The anti-immigration slogans are doomed to grow more popular to make Marine Le Pen President in May 2022 at only 53.

The win of Macron does not signify that the process of opposing globalism started with Brexit and the Trump’s victory is over. It’s a step behind before taking more steps ahead. Nothing is lost and nothing can prevent Le Pen from becoming president when the time is propitious. She has only five years to wait.

STEPHEN GOWANS LAUNCHES HIS NEW BOOK, ” WASHINGTON’S LONG WAR ON SYRIA”

In Gaza

Highly recommended listening (and reading), Canadian author and analyst, Stephen Gowans, lectures in a clear, coherent and easily digestible manner about what is sometimes a complex subject, nuances of Syria, and Wall Street/Washington (and allies)’s long war on Syria.

*
The lecture was delivered on April 25, 2017, hosted by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Gowans’ new book is available at Baraka Books.

*His latest article:  The Real Defenders of Democracy: Syria and the Struggle against the International Despotism of Wall Street

*One further highly recommended article, Gowans’ The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t

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CrossTalk: Le Pen vs. Macron (ft. Pepe Escobar)

The French escalation against Russia is bigger than Macron رفع الجدار الفرنسي بوجه روسيا أكبر من ماكرون

The French escalation against Russia is bigger than Macron

أبريل 25, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Had it not been for the difference of two percent, Marine Le Pen would have been defeated and François Fillon would have entered the presidential second round versus Emmanuel Macron, or Jean-Luc Mélenchon would have won, since each one of them have won 2%  less than Le Pen . So it is not in vain that France has elected under the blows of the terrorism to enable Le Pen  to enter the race beside Macron to ensure his winning, otherwise his competition to win the candidate Fillon or the attractive frank and the accurate candidate Mélenchon would be full of dangers. In case Fillon versus Macron, the followers of Le Pen  will vote for Fillon as the followers of Mélenchon,  they will ensure the winning of Fillon, but in case the competition is between Macron and Mélenchon the followers of Le Pen and Fillion will vote in favor of Mélenchon and will ensure his winning, simply the reason is that despite the big divergence between the internal platforms of the three candidates Le Pen , Fillon, and Mélenchon the challenge which imposed by the terrorism as in the foreign policy options make this tripartite in one circle; the openness to Russia, the cooperation with its President, and the withdrawal from the war on Syria and its President. What is known by the observers is that it will be difficult to the extent of impossibility that the followers of Fillion and Mélenchon will vote for Le Pen in the second round.

The conspiracy is not the momentum which drives for searching for hidden forces which put their importance to ensure the winning of Macron, the conspiracy is not hidden and its owners have names that are defined by the policies of the competing parties who were intended to be removed from the competition. The openness to Russia and Syria is not a secondary issue, but rather a change in the geopolitics and the alliances at the international and the Middle East levels, the withdrawal from NATO is not a simple issue, and the recognition of Palestine is not a joke. The one who follows the biography of this candidate Emmanuel Macron who will become a President will easily discover that he is an employee in Rothschild Foundation which forms the heart of the savage Zionism and Liberalism, the banks, and the major associations in Europe, all of them did not get confused from supporting Macron, and funding his electoral campaign and the call to join his party which was founded only a year ago. Macron had spent only three years in the political work before he was assigned by François Holland as a Minister of Economics in favor of the economic and financial blocs, after he appointed him as an officer at the rank of the Assistant of the Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic.

Macron is not mere a candidate of banks and organizations, he is a public candidate for Freemasonry which its French forums announced their support, he is a supportive candidate of the Israeli and the Saudi positions in the Middle East, in continuation of the policy of his predecessor Hollande. Some people try to explain the rise of Macron supported by Hollande forgetting that Hollande has not gained more than 7 % of the French support before months, and that the candidate of his party Benoît Hamon has revealed the size of the popularity of the party that gained more than the popularity of his president. The organized campaigns for poll as well as the enthusiasm shown by the American, western, and Arab mass media which are funded and operated by Saudi Arabia and Israel to Macron are not hidden, this person has come and has become in front of the French people in a way that does not like that of Donald Trump who has a flowing history as a businessman, and has a media presence previous to his presidential candidacy. The scandals that broke out against the opponents of Macron reveal the programmed work that is carried out by effective and capable support, which intervenes in necessary in order to prevent the fall of France in another front and causes the change of the global and the Middle East balances.

When the votes which obtained by Marine Le Pen , François Fillon, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon are gathered and the outcome is more than 60% of the French people, and when the common among these three candidates is the openness to Russia and Syria then the NATO has the right to be worried, it is the duty of the US intelligence is to announce the state of emergency. This is France, Israel’s task is to get alert, and Saudi Arabia has to pay, the task of the French escalation against Russia and Syria is profits for all of them, but it is an insurance policy for Saudi Arabia and Israel before the others.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

رفع الجدار الفرنسي بوجه روسيا أكبر من ماكرون

ناصر قنديل

أبريل 24, 2017

– لولا فارق الإثنين في المئة لكانت هزمت ماري لوبان وفاز بدخول الدورة الثانية الرئاسية فرانسوا فيون بوجه امانويل ماكرون أو لفاز جان لوك ملينشون وقد نال كل منهما أقل من لوبان بـ2 ، وليس عبثاً أن تكون فرنسا انتخبت تحت ضربات الإرهاب لتمكين لوبان من دخول السباق إلى جانب ماكرون، لضمان فوزه، وإلا فتصير منافسته للمرشح المخضرم فيون أو المرشح الجذاب والساحر والواضح والدقيق ميلنشون منافسة محفوفة بالمخاطر، ففي حال فيون بوجه ماكرون سينتخب جمهور لوبان لصالح فيون وكذلك سيفعل جمهور ميلنشون، ويضمنان فوز فيون حكماً، وفي حال منافسة ماكرون لميلنشون يصوّت جمهور لوبان وفيون لصالح ميلنشون ويضمنان فوزه، والسبب ببساطة أنه رغم التباعد الكبير بين البرامج الداخلية للمرشحين الثلاثة لوبان وفيون وميلنشون، فإن التحدّي الذي فرضه الإرهاب من خيارات في السياسة الخارجية يضع هذا الثلاثي في دائرة واحدة هي الانفتاح على روسيا والتعاون مع رئيسها والانسحاب من الحرب على سورية ورئيسها، وما يعرفه المتابعون هو أنه سيكون صعباً لحد الاستحالة أن يدعم جمهور فيون وميلنشون التصويت للوبان في الدورة الثانية.

– ليست نظرية المؤامرة هي التي تدفع للبحث عن قوى خفية وضعت ثقلها لضمان نجاح ماكرون، فالمؤامرة ليست خفيّة وأصحابها لهم أسماء، تحددها سياسات الأطراف المنافسة التي أريد إزاحتها من السباق، فالانفتاح على روسيا وسورية ليس قضية ثانوية بل هو تغيير في الجغرافيا السياسية والتحالفات على المستويين الدولي والشرق أوسطي، والانسحاب من الناتو ليس قضية بسيطة، والاعتراف بدولة فلسطين ليس مزحة. ومن يتابع سيرة هذا المرشح الذي سيصير رئيساً مانويل ماكرون سيكتشف بسهولة أنه موظف وفي لمؤسسة روتشيلد التي تشكل قلب الصهيونية والليبرالية المتوحشة والمصارف والشركات الكبرى في أوروبا. وكلها لم يربكها الإعلان عن دعم ماكرون، وتمويل حملته الانتخابية والدعوة للانضمام لحزبه الذي تأسس قبل سنة فقط. وماكرون لم يكن قد أمضى في العمل السياسي إلا سنوات ثلاثاً قبل أن يعيّنه فرانسوا هولاند وزيراً للاقتصاد لحساب التكتلات الاقتصادية والمالية بعدما عينه موظفاً برتبة معاون الأمين العام لرئاسة الجمهورية.

– ماكرون ليس مجرد مرشح المصارف والشركات، فهو مرشح علني للماسونية التي أعلنت محافلها الفرنسية مساندته، ومرشح مساند لمواقف إسرائيل والسعودية في الشرق الأوسط في مواصلة لسياسة سلفه هولاند، فيما يحاول البعض تفسير صعود ماكرون بدعم هولاند له، يتناسون أن هولاند لم يحز أكثر من 7 من تأييد الفرنسيين قبل شهور، وأن مرشح حزبه بنوا أمون هو الذي يكشف حجم شعبية الحزب الأكبر من شعبية رئيسه، والحملات المنظمة لاستطلاعات الرأي والحماسة التي تبديها وسائل الإعلام الأميركية والغربية والعربية الممولة والمشغلة من الثنائي السعودي الإسرائيلي لماكرون ليست خافية على أحد، ولا يمكن إيجاد جذور لها عند الحديث عن شخص جاء من الغيب وهبط بالمظلة على الفرنسيين، بصورة لا تشبه حالة دونالد ترامب مثلاً الذي يملك تاريخاً حافلاً كرجل أعمال وحضوراً إعلامياً سابقاً بسنوات لترشحه الرئاسي، وتكشف الفضائح التي تفجّرت بوجه خصوم ماكرون عملاً مبرمجاً تقف وراءه أيدٍ فاعلة وقادرة وتتدخّل عند الضرورة كي لا تسقط فرنسا في جبهة أخرى وتغيّر التوازنات العالمية والشرق أوسطية.

– عندما تجمع الأصوات التي نالتها ماري لوبان وفرانسوا فيون وجان لوك ملينشون وتكون الحصيلة أكثر من 60 من الفرنسيين، ولا يكون المشترك بين هؤلاء الثلاثة إلا الانفتاح على روسيا وسورية. من حق الناتو أن يقلق ومن واجب المخابرات الأميركية أن تعلن حالة الطوارئ، فهذه فرنسا، ومن وظيفة إسرائيل أن تستنفر، وعلى السعودية أن تدفع، وهذا ما كان، مهمة رفع الجدار الفرنسي بوجه روسيا وسورية، أرباح لهؤلاء جميعاً، لكنها بوليصة تأمين للسعودية ولـ إسرائيل قبل الآخرين.

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Le Pen, Macron to Face Off in French Runoff Election

 photo pencron_zps46yajpty.jpg

[ Ed. note – Marine Le Pen, who wants to steer France out of the EU, and Emmanuel Macron, the pro-EU candidate, will face off against each other in the May 7 runoff election in France.

Both have emerged as top vote-getters in today’s election. According to the New York Times, Le Pen, with 34 percent of the votes counted, is the official front-runner, having garnered 24.6 percent of the vote, compared to 21.9 percent for Macron. The BBC, on the other hand, while still naming Le Pen in first place, is saying the tallies were much closer–at 23.5 percent and 23 percent respectively.

“What is at stake in this election is a referendum for or against lawless globalization,” Le Pen said to the enthusiastic cheers of her supporters after claiming victory. “Either you choose in favor of a total lack of rules, without borders, with unlawful competition, the free circulation of terrorists, or you make the choice of a France that protects. This is truly what is at stake. It is the survival of France.”

Macron, too, spoke to a crowd of supporters–many of them waving both the French flag and the flag of the EU.

“The two political parties that have governed France for years have been discarded,” he said. “The deep … feeling which has led our people to love our country and overcome its divisions is spectacular. You have shown that the hope of our country was not a dream but a relentless and benevolent will.”

Below is an article actually published a couple of days ago, but it gives some insights into French politics and why today’s election may have turned out the way it did. ]

The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty

By Diana Johnstone

Paris.

The 2017 French Presidential election marks a profound change in European political alignments. There is an ongoing shift from the traditional left-right rivalry to opposition between globalization, in the form of the European Union (EU), and national sovereignty.

Standard media treatment sticks to a simple left-right dualism: “racist” rejection of immigrants is the main issue and that what matters most is to “stop Marine Le Pen!”  Going from there to here is like walking through Alice’s looking glass. Almost everything is turned around.

On this side of the glass, the left has turned into the right and part of the right is turning into the left.

Fifty years ago, it was “the left” whose most ardent cause was passionate support for Third World national liberation struggles. The left’s heroes were Ahmed Ben Bella, Sukarno, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, and above all Ho Chi Minh.  What were these leaders fighting for?  They were fighting to liberate their countries from Western imperialism.  They were fighting for independence, for the right to determine their own way of life, preserve their own customs, decide their own future. They were fighting for national sovereignty, and the left supported that struggle.

Today, it is all turned around.  “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left.

National sovereignty is an essentially defensive concept. It is about staying home and minding one’s own business.  It is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism that inspired fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty.

The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”.  It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.

The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.

That is why the British voted to leave the European Union.  Not because they are “racist”, but primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.

The Socialist Party shipwreck

As his five-year presidency drew to its ignominious end, François Hollande was obliged by his drastic unpopularity to let his Parti Socialiste (PS) choose its 2017 presidential candidate by primary.  In a surprising upset, the Socialist government’s natural candidate, prime minister Manuel Valls, lost to Benoit Hamon, an obscure member of the PS left wing who refused to vote for the unpopular, neo-liberal, anti-labor laws designed by Hollande’s economic advisor, Emmanuel Macron.

To escape from the unpopularity of the PS, Macron formed his own movement, “En Marche!” One after another, Valls, Hollande and other prominent PS leaders are tiptoeing away, leaving Hamon at the helm of the sinking ship.  As Hamon justifiably protests against their betrayal, the party bigwigs pledge their support to Emmanuel Macron.

Macron ostentatiously hesitates to welcome his shopworn converts into the fold, fearing that their conversion makes it too obvious that his “En Marche!” is a clone of the right wing of the PS, on the way to becoming the French subsidiary of the U.S. Democratic Party in its Clintonian form. Macron proclaims that he is neither left nor right, as discredited politicians from both left and right jump on his bandwagon, to his embarrassment.

Hamon himself appears to be unaware that the basic cause of the Socialist Party’s shipwreck is its incompatible devotion to two contrary principles: traditional social democracy, and the European Union (EU). Macron, Hollande and their fellow turncoats at least have made their choice: the European Union.

The Twilight of the Traditional Right

The great advantage of Republican candidate François Fillon is that his policies are clear.  Unlike Hollande, who tried to disguise his neoliberal policies as something else, and based his claim to be on the left on “societal” issues (gay marriage), Fillon is an unabashed conservative.  His policies are designed to reduce the huge national debt. Whereas previous governments (including his own, when he was President Sarkozy’s Prime Minister) beat around the bush, Fillon won the Republican nomination by a program of sharp cutbacks in government spending.  Fillon claims that his austerity measures will lead French capitalists to invest in France and thus save the country’s economy from being completely taken over by foreign corporations, American retirement funds and Qatar.  This is highly doubtful, as there is nothing under EU rules to encourage French investors to invest in France rather than somewhere else.

Fillon departs from EU orthodoxy, however, by proposing a more independent foreign policy, notably by ending the “absurd” sanctions against Russian. He is more concerned about the fate of Middle East Christians than about overthrowing Assad.

The upshot is that Fillon’s coherent pro-capitalist policy is not exactly what the dominant globalizing elite prefers. The “center left” is their clear political choice  since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton revised the agendas of their respective parties. The center left emphasis on human rights (especially in faraway countries targeted for regime change) and ethnic diversity at home fits the long-term globalist aims of erasing national borders, to allow unrestricted free movement of capital. Traditional patriotic conservatism, represented by Fillon, does not altogether correspond to the international adventurism of globalization.

The Schizophrenic Left

For a generation, the French left has made “the construction of Europe” the center of its world view.  In the early 1980s, faced with opposition from what was then the European Community, French President François Mitterrand abandoned the socializing program on which he been elected.  Mitterrand nursed the hope that France would politically dominate a united Europe, but the unification of Germany changed all that. So did EU expansion to Eastern Central nations within the German sphere of influence. Economic policy is now made in Germany.

As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion.  The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market.

The French left bought heavily into this ideal, partly because it deceptively echoed the old leftist ideal of “internationalism” (whereas capital has always been incomparably more “international” than workers), and partly due to the simplistic idea that “nationalism” is the sole cause of wars.  More fundamental and complex causes of war are ignored.

For a long time, the left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalization or closure of profitable industries, without recognizing that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture.  Rather than face reality, the left’s reaction has mostly been to repeat its worn-out demand for an impossible “Social Europe”.

Yet the dream of “social Europe” received what amounted to a fatal blow ten years ago. In 2005, a referendum was called to allow the French to approve a Constitution for united Europe. This led to an extraordinary popular discussion, with countless meetings of citizens examining every aspect of this lengthy document. Unlike normal constitutions, this document froze the member States in a single monetarist economic policy, with no possibility of change.

On May 29, 2005, French voters rejected the treaty by 55% to 45%.

What seemed to be a great victory for responsible democracy turned into its major failure.  Essentially the same document, renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was ratified in December 2007, without a referendum.  Global governance had put the people in their place. This produced widespread disillusion with politics as millions concluded that their votes didn’t matter, that politicians paid no attention to the will of the people.

Even so, Socialist politicians continued to pledge undying allegiance to the EU, always with the prospect that “Social Europe” might somehow be possible.

Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day.  The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists.

Benoit Hamon remains firmly stuck on the horns of the left’s fatal dilemma: determination to be “socialist”, or rather, social democratic, and passionate loyalty to “Europe”. While insisting on social policies that cannot possibly be carried out with the euro as currency and according to EU rules, Hamon still proclaims loyalty to “Europe”. He parrots the EU’s made-in-Washington foreign policy, demanding that “Assad must go” and ranting against Putin and Russia.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon Grasps the Nettle

Not only is the drab, conformist Hamon abandoned by his party heavies, he is totally upstaged on the left by the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick ready to break the rules.  After years as a PS loyalist, Mélenchon broke away in 2005 to oppose the Constitutional Treaty, gaining prominence as a fiery orator. In 2007, he left the Socialist Party and founded the Parti de Gauche (Left Party). Allied with the much weakened Communist Party, he came in fourth in the first round of the 2012 Presidential election with 11% of the vote.  This time he is running for President with his own new movement, La France Insoumise, which can be translated in a number of ways, including “the France that does not submit”.

Submit to what?  Mainly, to the euro and to the antisocial, neoliberal policies of the European Union that are ruining France.

French flags and la Marseillaise have replaced the Internationale at Mélenchon rallies. “The Europe of our dreams is dead,” he acknowledges, vowing to “end the nightmare of dictatorship by banks and finance”.

Mélenchon calls for outright disobedience by violating EU treaties that are harmful to France. That is his Plan A.  His Plan B is to leave the EU, in case Plan A fails to convince Germany (the current boss) and the others to agree to change the treaties. But at best, Plan B is an empty threat to strengthen his hand in theoretical negotiations.  France is such a crucial member, he maintains, that a French threat to leave should be enough to force changes.

Threatening to leave the EU is just part of Mélenchon’s vast and complicated program which includes calling a national convention to draft a constitution for France’s “sixth Republic” as well as major ecological innovation.  Completely changing both France and the European Union at the same time would require the nation to be in a revolutionary effervescence that is by no means visible. It would also require a unanimity among the EU’s 28 member States that is simply impossible.

But Mélenchon is canny enough to have recognized the basic problem: the enemy of jobs, prosperity and public services is the European Union. Mélenchon is by far the candidate that generates the most excitement.  He has rapidly outdistanced Hamon and draws huge enthusiastic crowds to his rallies. His progress has changed the shape of the race: at this moment, he has become one of four front-runners who might get past the first round vote on April 23 into the finals on May 7: Le Pen, Macron, Fillon and himself.

The Opposites are (almost) the Same

A most remarkable feature of this campaign is great similarity between the two candidates said to represent “the far left”, Mélenchon, and “the far right”, Marine Le Pen.  Both speak of leaving the euro.  Both vow to negotiate with the EU to get better treaty terms for France. Both advocate social policies to benefit workers and low income people. Both want to normalize relations with Russia. Both want to leave NATO, or at least its military command.  Both defend national sovereignty, and can thus be described as “sovereignists”.

The only big difference between them is on immigration, an issue that arouses so much emotion that it is hard to discuss sensibly.  Those who oppose immigration are accused of “fascism”, those who favor immigration are accused of wanting to destroy the nation’s identity by flooding it with inassimilable foreigners.

In a country suffering from unemployment, without jobs or housing to accommodate mass immigration, and under the ongoing threat of Islamist terror attacks, the issue cannot be reasonably reduced to “racism” – unless Islamic terrorists constitute a “race”, for which there is no evidence. Le Pen insists that all French citizens deserve equal treatment regardless of their origins, race or religion. She is certain to get considerable support from recently nationalized immigrants, just as she now gets a majority of working class votes. If this is “fascism”, it has changed a lot in the past seventy years.

What is significant is that despite their differences, the two most charismatic candidates both speak of restoring national sovereignty. Both evoke the possibility of leaving the European Union, although in rather uncertain terms.

The globalist media are already preparing to blame the eventual election of a “sovereignist” candidate on Vladimir Putin. Public opinion in the West is being prepared for massive protests to break out against an undesired winner, and the “antifa” militants are ready to wreak havoc in the streets. Some people who like Marine Le Pen are afraid of voting for her, fearing the “color revolution” sure to be mounted against her.  Mélenchon and even Fillon might face similar problems.

As a taste of things to come, on April 20, the EU Observer published an article entitled “Russia-linked fake news floods French social media”. Based on something called Bakamo, one of the newly establishment “fact-check” outfits meant to steer readers away from unofficial opinion, the article accused Russian-influenced web sites of favoring Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon, Francois Asselineau, and Philippe Poutou. (They forgot to mention one of the most “sovereignist” candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, currently polling in sixth place.)  Since a large majority of the eleven candidates, including three of the four front-runners, are strongly critical of the EU and of NATO and want to improve relations with Russia, it would seem that Putin wouldn’t have to make a great effort to get a more friendly French government next time around.  On the other hand, the EU Observer article is only a small sample of blatant “interference in the French election” on the part of the globalists on behalf of their favorite, Emmanuel Macron, the most enthusiastic Europhile.

The Future of France

Among those listed as alleged Russian favorites, François Asselineau is by far the most thorough critic of the European Union.  Systematically ignored by the media since he founded his anti-EU party, the Union Populaire Républicain (UPR), ten years ago, François Asselineau has thousands of ardent supporters who have plastered his poster all over the country. His tireless didactic speeches, reproduced on internet, have driven home several key points:

– there is no way to improve the EU from the inside, because any change would require unanimity among 27 member states who disagree on key issues.

– the only solution for France is to use Article 50 of the EU treaties to withdraw entirely, as the United Kingdom is currently doing.

– only by leaving the EU can France save its public services, its social benefits, its economy and its democracy.

– it is only by restoring its national sovereignty that genuine democratic life, with confrontation between a real “left” and “right”, can be possible.

– by leaving the EU, France, which has over 6,000 treaties with other countries, would not be isolated but would be joining the greater world.

Asselineau is a single issue candidate.  He vows that as soon as elected, he would invoke Article 50 to leave the EU and immediately apply to Washington to withdraw from NATO.  He emphasizes that none of the other critics of the EU propose such a clear exit within the rules.

Other candidates, including the more charismatic Mélenchon and Le Pen, echo some of Asselineau’s arguments.  But they are not ready to go so far as to advocate a clear immediate break with the EU, if only because they realize that the French population, while increasingly critical of the euro and alienated from the “European dream”, is still fearful of actually leaving, due to dire warnings of disaster from the Europeists.

The first round campaign is an opportunity for Asselineau to present his ideas to a wider audience, preparing public opinion for a more coherent “Frexit” policy.         By far the most fundamental emerging issue in this campaign is the conflict between the European Union and national sovereignty.  It will probably not be settled in this election, but it won’t go away.  This is the major issue of the future, because it determines whether any genuine political life is possible.

CrossTalk: Revolt in the West

February 23, 2017

The West appears to have entered into a new era – the era of the political upsets, growing anger, and increased disillusionment with ruling elites. It is not a question of leftwing – rightwing politics. It is all about a failing status quo.

CrossTalking with Stephen Haseler, Marcus Papadopoulos, and Joaquin Flores.

America – Europe: Divide to conquer حديث اليوم | اميركا – اوروبا : فرق تسد

ترامب وأفول العولمة الأميركية

يناير 25, 2017

صفية سعاده

تقهقر الاقتصاد الأميركي

أحد الأسباب الرئيسة لفوز ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية على منافسته هيلاري كلينتون، هو الانهيار الاقتصادي الحاصل في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. ولطالما كان الاقتصاد هو المحرك الفعلي في ترجيح كفة أصوات الأميركيين، إذ إنهم يعيشون في جزيرة قارة ضخمة، وبالتالي لا يأبهون كثيراً لمجريات السياسة الخارجية.

بعد إخفاق رئاسة بوش الابن في تحقيق انتصارات مدوية في افغانستان والعراق، وتوريط الجنود الأميركيين في هذين البلدين، بدأت ملامح فيتنام جديدة تتكوّن مع ما يعني ذلك من تآكل النفوذ الأميركي في مستنقعات آسيا الوسطى والغربية، وتراكم العجز المالي.

وصل باراك أوباما الى سدة الرئاسة، لأنه وعد الناخبين الأميركيين بأنه سينهي الحروب خارج الأراضي الأميركية، وسيعيد الجنود الأميركيين إلى الوطن. وسرعان ما واجهته أزمة سيولة مالية كادت تطيح بالمصارف الكبرى ليس فقط في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، بل في العالم أجمع.

بسبب هذا الانهيار الذي تلافاه أوباما بحجز أموال المواطنين الأميركيين، أعادت دول العالم النظر في نظام معولم قد يطيح بها من دون أن تكون هي مسؤولة عن أخطاء ارتكبها النظام المالي الأميركي الذي أفلت العنان للمصارف الأميركية التي تتصرّف من دون أيّ ضوابط أو رقابة.

العامل الاول إذاً هو زعزعة ثقة العالم بالنظام المصرفي الأميركي، وبالتالي أخذ الاحتياطات اللازمة لدرء تبعات انهيار هذا النظام، كانت نتيجتها إنشاء نظام مالي بديل تترأسه كلّ من الصين وروسيا ويضمّ دولاً أخرى، يتبادل السلع على أساس عملات محلية غير الدولار، ويقوم بمشاريع إنمائية مستقلة.

بالإضافة الى تحوّل العالم باتجاه التفتيش عن حلول بديلة للنظام المالي الأميركي المعولم، نشأت أزمة اقتصادية كبرى داخل الولايات المتحدة الأميركية من جراء العولمة نفسها التي نادى بها، وشجّعها، ونشرها الرأسماليون الأميركيون في الدرجة الاولى.

لقد أخذ الرأسمال الأميركي يتسرّب خارج أراضي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، ما يعود بالنفع على أقلية محدودة العدد من كبار الرأسماليين الأميركيين، لكنه يؤدّي الى إغلاق المصانع والمعامل والصناعات في أرجاء الدولة الأميركية. انتقل العمل من داخل هذه الأخيرة الى خارجها، وبشكل خاص الى غريمتها: الصين. فلا دولة تستطيع منافسة اليد العاملة الرخيصة الصينية، وأيّ منافسة للسوق الصينية محتومة بالفشل.

التتمة ص8

انهارت الطبقة الوسطى الأميركية، وأصبحت البطالة عالية، وتبخر الحلم الأميركي بإمكانية الحصول على منزل وسيارة لكلّ عائلة، وتشرّدت ألوف العائلات، خاصة أنّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ليست بدولة رعائية، فهي لا تؤمّن ضماناً صحياً مجانياً، ولا ضماناً اجتماعياً كما تفعل دول أوروبا، أو كندا أو اوستراليا، أو حتى دول أميركا اللاتينية، على فقرها، ككوبا مثلاً. هذه الشريحة هي التي صوّتت لدونالد ترامب، لأنّ هيلاري كلينتون أرادت أن تكمل مسيرة العولمة، فلقد وعد ترامب بإعادة تفعيل الاقتصاد والمصانع، وإعطاء الأولوية لرفاهية الشعب الأميركي.

العودة إلى ترسيخ القومية

مسار العولمة الذي خطته أميركا يستوجب الهيمنة الاقتصادية الشاملة على العالم، ومن أجل بلوغ هذا الهدف كان من الضروري إلغاء دور الدول الوطنية/ القومية الأخرى عبر محاربة كلّ أشكال الأنظمة الاشتراكية أو القومية، ودفع دول العالم الثالث خاصة الى خصخصة ممتلكات الدولة، وتخلي الدولة عن لعب أيّ دور ناظم في المجتمع أو الاقتصاد. تحرير السوق أدّى الى القضاء على اقتصاد الدول النامية التي لا تستطيع منافسة الدول الصناعية الكبرى، وحوّلها مراكز استهلاك لا إنتاج.

أهداف العولمة اذاً تتضارب مع وجود الدولة القومية التي تدافع عن مواطنيها وعن حقوقهم المادية والمعنوية. فالعولمة تلغي نهائياً مفهوم الدولة الديمقراطية، حيث يقرّر الشعب مصيره، ويُستبدل ذلك بهيئات ناظمة عابرة للدول، كما حصل في الاتحاد الاوروبي، ومثال هذا الاتحاد هو الأقلّ بشاعة من أمثلة دول أفريقيا والعالم العربي. فلقد وجدت دول الاتحاد الأوروبي الفقيرة كاليونان واسبانيا وإيطاليا أنها خسرت قراراتها المستقلة واصبح البرلمان الاوروبي هو الذي يبادر الى توجيه مسار هذه الدول شاءت أم أبت. وفي وضع من هذا النوع يبدو جلياً أنّ الدول القوية هي التي ستطغى على الدول الضعيفة، وفي حالة الاتحاد الاوروبي، اصبحت المانيا هي القاطرة التي تملي على الجميع ما عليهم فعله. الا ان الاتحاد الاوروبي، بما فيه المانيا، هو بدوره فريسة النفوذ الأميركي.

التمرّد على العولمة حاصل اليوم في الدول المتقدّمة والتي عملت جاهدة لإرغام الجميع الدخول في شبكتها. تمرّد مواطنوها، من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية إلى بريطانيا، لأنّ شعوبها لا تريد أن تصادَر حرياتها وقراراتها ومصيرها.

ترامب يتكلم باسم هذا المنحى الجديد، وكما يشدّد على أهمية الحفاظ على قومية ومصالح الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، فإنه أيضاً يؤكد بأنه لن يتدخل في أمور الدول الأخرى، وليس في صدد شنّ حروب على دول لتغيير أنظمتها.

هذا الموقف يقود الى النتائج التالية والتي هي معاكسة تماماً للسياسات التي سبقته:

أولاً: الاعتراف بالدول الأخرى وقبول الاختلاف بين نظامه وأنظمتها.

ثانياً: الاعتراف بتعدّد الأقطاب في العالم، بالرغم من هدف ترامب جعل أميركا الأقوى والأفضل بين الدول.

ثالثاً: الالتزام بالقوانين الدولية في فضّ النزاعات بين الدول.

رابعاً: اعتراف ترامب ان لا وجود للدولة الديمقراطية الا في إطار الدولة القومية التي يقرّر شعبها مصيرها، ورفض خزعبلات الـ establishment الأميركي الذي يتظاهر بأنه يريد فرض الديمقراطية على الشعوب الأخرى بحدّ السلاح والدمار.

خامساً: يريد ترامب القضاء على الإرهاب التكفيري الآخذ في التفشي في العالم، وهو يقول صراحة إنه نتاج الإدارات الأميركية السابقة. أما لماذا أرادت هذه الإدارات دعم وتمويل الإرهاب التكفيري المبني على الفكر الوهابي الإلغائي، فلأنّ هدفها كان استعمار العالم ووضعه تحت الهيمنة الأميركية من دون اللجوء الى جنود أميركيين يقومون بهذه المهمة ويُقتلون، فالمواطنون الأميركيون يرفضون الحرب الا في حال الدفاع عن ارضهم القومية. هيمنة الإسلام السياسي الذي أدرجه أوباما تتطابق مع معايير العولمة العابرة للدول القومية، لكنه لا يتماشى البتة مع مفاهيم الدولة القومية العلمانية، وبالتالي يرفضه ترامب.

President Trump: Nationalist Capitalism, An Alternative to Globalization?

Global Research, January 28, 2017
CIA-trump

During his inaugural speech, President Trump clearly and forcefully outlined the strategic political-economic policies he will pursue over the next four years.  Anti-Trump journalist, editorialists, academics and experts, who appear in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have repeatedly distorted and lied about the President’s program as well as his critique of existing and past policies.

We will begin by seriously discussing President Trump’s critique of the contemporary political economy and proceed to elaborate on his alternatives and its weaknesses.

President Trump’s Critique of the Ruling Class

The centerpiece of Trump’s critique of the current ruling elite is the negative impact of its form of globalization on US production, trade and fiscal imbalances and on the labor market.  Trump cites the fact that US industrial capitalism has drastically shifted the locus of its investments, innovations and profits overseas as an example of globalization’s negative effects.  For two decades many politicians and pundits have bemoaned the loss of well-paid jobs and stable local industries as part of their campaign rhetoric or in public meetings, but none have taken any effective action against these most harmful aspects of globalization.  Trump denounced them as “all talk and no action” while promising to end the empty speeches and implement major changes.

President Trump targeted importers who bring in cheap products from overseas manufacturers for the American market undermining US producers and workers.  His economic strategy of prioritizing US industries is an implicit critique of the shift from productive capital to financial and speculative capital under the previous four administrations.  His inaugural address attacking the elites who abandon the ‘rust belt’ for Wall Street is matched by his promise to the working class: “Hear these words!  You will never be ignored again.” Trump’s own words portray the ruling class ‘as pigs at the trough’ (Financial Times, 1/23/2017, p. 11)

Trump’s Political-Economic Critique

President Trump emphasizes market negotiations with overseas partners and adversaries.  He has repeatedly criticized the mass media and politicians’ mindless promotion of free markets and aggressive militarism as undermining the nation’s capacity to negotiate profitable deals.

President Trump’s immigration policy is closely related to his strategic ‘America First’ labor policy.  Massive inflows of immigrant labor have been used to undermine US workers’ wages, labor rights and stable employment.  This was first documented in the meat packing industry, followed by textile, poultry and construction industries.  Trump’s proposal is to limit immigration to allow US workers to shift the balance of power between capital and labor and strengthen the power of organized labor to negotiate wages, conditions and benefits.  Trump’s critique of mass immigration is based on the fact that skilled American workers have been available for employment in the same sectors if wages were raised and work conditions were improved to permit dignified, stable living standards for their families.

President Trump’s Political Critique

Trump points to trade agreements, which have led to huge deficits, and concludes that US negotiators have been failures.  He argues that previous US presidents have signed multi-lateral agreements, to secure military alliances and bases, at the expense of negotiating job-creating economic pacts.  His presidency promises to change the equation:  He wants to tear up or renegotiate unfavorable economic treaties while reducing US overseas military commitments and demands NATO allies shoulder more of their own defense budgets.  Immediately upon taking office Trump canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and convoked a meeting with Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA.

Trump’s agenda has featured plans for hundred-billion dollar infrastructure projects, including building controversial oil and gas pipelines from Canada to the US Gulf.  It is clear that these pipelines violate existing treaties with indigenous people and threaten ecological mayhem.  However, by prioritizing the use of American-made construction material and insisting on hiring only US workers, his controversial policies will form the basis for developing well-paid American jobs.

The emphasis on investment and jobs in the US is a complete break with the previous Administration, where President Obama focused on waging multiple wars in the Middle East , increasing public debt and the trade deficit.

Trump’s inaugural address issued a stern promise: “The American carnage stops right now and stops right here!”  This resonated with a huge sector of the working class and was spoken before an assemblage of the very architects of four decades of job-destroying globalization.  ‘Carnage’ carried a double meaning:  Widespread carnage resulted from Obama and other administrations’ destruction of domestic jobs resulting in decay and bankruptcy of rural, small town and urban communities.  This domestic carnage was the other side of the coin of their policies of conducting endless overseas wars spreading carnage to three continents.  The last fifteen years of political leadership spread domestic carnage by allowing the epidemic of drug addiction (mostly related to uncontrolled synthetic opiate prescriptions) to kill hundreds of thousands of mostly young American’s and destroy the lives of millions.  Trump promised to finally address this ‘carnage’ of wasted lives.   Unfortunately, he did not hold ‘Big Pharma’ and the medical community responsible for its role in spreading drug addiction into the deepest corners of the economically devastated rural America .  Trump criticized previous elected officials for authorizing huge military subsidies to ‘allies’ while making it clear that his critique did not include US military procurement policies and would not contradict his promise to ‘reinforce old alliances’ (NATO).

Truth and Lies: Garbage Journalists and Arm Chair Militarists

Among the most outrageous example of the mass media’s hysteria about Trump’s New Economy is the systematic and vitriolic series of fabrications designed to obscure the grim national reality that Trump has promised to address.  We will discuss and compare the accounts published by ‘garbage journalists (GJ’s)’ and present a more accurate version of the situation.

The respectable garbage journalists of the Financial Timesclaim that Trump wants to ‘destroy world trade’.  In fact, Trumps has repeatedly stated his intention to increase international trade.  What Trump proposes is to increase US world trade from the inside, rather than from overseas.  He seeks to re-negotiate the terms of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements to secure greater reciprocity with trading partners.  Under Obama, the US was more aggressive in imposing trade tariffs that any other country in the OECD.

Garbage journalists label Trump as a ‘protectionist’,confusing his policies to re-industrialize the economy with autarky.  Trump will promote exports and imports, retain an open economy, while increasing the role of the US as a producer and exporter.. The US will become more selective in its imports.  Trump will favor the growth of manufacturing exporters and increase imports of primary commodities and advanced technology while reducing the import of automobiles, steel and household consumer products.

Trump’s opposition to ‘globalization’ has been conflated by the garbage journalists of the Washington Post as a dire threat to the ‘the post-Second World War economic order’.  In fact, vast changes have already rendered the old order obsolete and attempts to retain it have led to crises, wars and more decay.  Trump has recognized the obsolete nature of the old economic order and stated that change is necessary.

The Obsolete Old Order and the Dubious New Economy

At the end of the Second World War, most of Western Europe and Japan resorted to highly restrictive ‘protectionist’ industrial and monetary policies to rebuild their economies.  Only after a period of prolonged recovery did Germany and Japan carefully and selectively liberalize their economic policies.

In recent decades, Russia was drastically transformed from a powerful collectivist economy to a capitalist vassal-gangster oligarchy and more recently to a reconstituted mixed economy and strong central state.  China has been transformed from a collectivist economy, isolated from world trade, into the world’s second most powerful economy, displacing the US as Asia and Latin America ’s largest trading partner.

Once controlling 50% of world trade, the US share is now less than 20%.  This decline is partly due to the dismantling of its industrial economy when its manufacturers moved their factories abroad.

Despite the transformation of the world order, recent US presidents have failed to recognize the need to re-organize the American political economy.  Instead of recognizing, adapting and accepting shifts in power and market relations, they sought to intensify previous patterns of dominance through war, military intervention and bloody destructive ‘regime changes’ – thus devastating, rather than creating markets for US goods. Instead of recognizing China’s immense economic power and seek to re-negotiate trade and co-operative agreements, they have stupidly excluded China from regional and international trade pacts, to the extent of crudely bullying their junior Asian trade partners, and launching a policy of military encirclement and provocation in the South China Seas.  While Trump recognized these changes and the need to renegotiate economic ties, his cabinet appointees seek to extend Obama’s militarist policies of confrontation.

Under the previous administrations, Washington ignored Russia ’s resurrection, recovery and growth as a regional and world power.  When reality finally took root, previous US administrations increased their meddling among the Soviet Union’s former allies and set up military bases and war exercises on Russia ’s borders.  Instead of deepening trade and investment with Russia , Washington spent billions on sanctions and military spending – especially fomenting the violent putchist regime in Ukraine .  Obama’s policies promoting the violent seizure of power in Ukraine, Syria and Libya were motivated by his desire to overthrow governments friendly to Russia – devastating those countries and ultimately strengthening Russia’s will to consolidate and defend its borders and to form new strategic alliances.

Early in his campaign, Trump recognized the new world realities and proposed to change the substance, symbols, rhetoric and relations with adversaries and allies – adding up to a New Economy.

First and foremost, Trump looked at the disastrous wars in the Middle East and recognized the limits of US military power:  The US could not engage in multiple, open-ended wars of conquest and occupation in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia without paying major domestic costs.

Secondly, Trump recognized that Russia was not a strategic military threat to the United States .  Furthermore, the Russian government under Vladimir Putin was willing to cooperate with the US to defeat a mutual enemy – ISIS and its terrorist networks.  Russia was also keen to re-open its markets to the US investors, who were also anxious to return after years of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry imposed sanctions.  Trump, the realist, proposes to end sanctions and restore favorable market relations.

Thirdly, it is clear to Trump that the US wars in the Middle East imposed enormous costs with minimal benefits for the US economy.  He wants to increase market relations with the regional economic and military powers, like Turkey , Israel and the Gulf monarchies.

Trump is not interested in Palestine , Yemen , Syria or the Kurds – which do not offer much investment and trade opportunities.  He ignores the enormous regional economic and military power of Iran ,  Nevertheless Trump has proposed to re-negotiate the recent six-nation agreement with Iran in order to improve the US side of the bargain.  His hostile campaign rhetoricagainst Tehran may have been designed to placate Israel and its powerful domestic ‘Israel-Firsters’ fifth column.  This certainly came into conflict with his ‘America First’ pronouncements.  It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump will retain a ‘show’ of submission to the Zionist project of an expansionist Israel while proceeding to include Iran as a part of his regional market agenda.

The Garbage Journalists claim that Trump has adopted a new bellicose stance toward China and threatens to launch a ‘protectionist agenda’, which will ultimately push the trans-Pacific countries closer to Beijing .  On the contrary, Trump appears intent on renegotiating and increasing trade via bilateral agreements.

Trump will most probably maintain, but not expand, Obama’s military encirclement of China ’s maritime boundaries which threaten its vital shipping routes.  Nevertheless, unlike Obama, Trump will re-negotiate economic and trade relations with Beijing – viewing China as a major economic power and not a developing nation intent on protecting its ‘infant industries’.  Trump’s realism reflect the new economic order:  China is a mature, highly competitive, world economic power, which has been out-competing the US , in part by retaining its own state subsidies and incentives from its earlier economic phase.  This has led to significant imbalances.  Trump, the realist, recognizes that China offers great opportunities for trade and investment if the US can secure reciprocal agreements, which lead to a more favorable balance of trade.

Trump does not want to launch a ‘trade war’ with China , but he needs to restore the US as a major ‘exporter’ nation in order to implement his domestic economic agenda.  The negotiations with the Chinese will be very difficult because the US importer-elite are against the Trump agenda and side with the Beijing ’s formidable export-oriented ruling class.

Moreover, because Wall Street’s banking elite is pleading with Beijing to enter China ’s financial markets, the financial sector is an unwilling and unstable ally to Trump’s pro-industrial policies.

Conclusion

Trump is not a ‘protectionist’, nor is he opposed to ‘free-trade’.  These charges by the garbage journalists are baseless.  Trump does not oppose US economic imperialist policies abroad.  However, Trump is a market realist who recognizes that military conquest is costly and, in the contemporary world context, a losing economic proposition for the US .  He recognizes that the US must turn from a predominant finance and import economy to a manufacturing and export economy.

Trump views Russia as a potential economic partner and military ally in ending the wars in Syria , Iraq , Afghanistan and Ukraine , and especially in defeating the terrorist threat of ISIS .  He sees China as a powerful economic competitor, which has been taking advantage of outmoded trade privileges and wants to re-negotiate trade pacts in line with the current balance of economic power.

Trump is a capitalist-nationalist, a market-imperialist and political realist, who is willing to trample on women’s rights, climate change legislation, indigenous treaties and immigrant rights.  His cabinet appointments and his Republican colleagues in Congress are motivated by a militarist ideology closer to the Obama-Clinton doctrine than to Trumps new ‘America First’ agenda.  He has surrounded his Cabinet with military imperialists, territorial expansionists and delusional fanatics.

Who will win out in the short or long term remains to be seen.  What is clear is that the liberals, Democratic Party hacks and advocates of Little Mussolini black shirted street thugs will be on the side of the imperialists and will find plenty of allies among and around the Trump regime.

 

مشروع “دستور بريمر” الروسي ينسف هوية سورية العربية والإسلامية ويمنع جيشها من أي دور في فلسطين

 

JANUARY 27, 2017

مشروع “دستور بريمر” الروسي ينسف هوية سورية العربية والإسلامية ويمنع جيشها من أي دور في فلسطين.. ولهذا يجب تعديلة جذريا.. المحاصصة الطائفية “فتنة” دمرت العراق ولا نريدها ان تجهز على سورية.. واليكم قراءة مختلفة

atwan ok

عبد الباري عطوان

يعيد الروس، بطرحهم مسودة دستور جديدة لسورية، تجربة بول بريمر الحاكم العسكري الأمريكي للعراق، التي بذرت بذور الطائفية في البلد، وقسمته الى أقاليم، في اطار صيغة الفيدرالية، واسست لحكم ذاتي كردي بصلاحيات رئاسية توفر كل أسس وركائز “الاستقلال” والانفصال لاحقا.

السيدة ماريا زاخاروفا، الناطقة باسم زارة الخارجية الروسية، نفت هذا “الربط” او “المقارنة” في لقائها الصحافي الأسبوعي، وأكدت ان بلادها لا تحاول فرض شروط التسوية، او دستور على السوريين، انما الهدف من هذه الخطوة تحفيز الحوار السياسي في اطار قرار مجلس الامن الدولي رقم 2254.

من الطبيعي ان تردد السيدة زاخاروفا هذا الكلام، ولكن واقع الحال مخالف لاقوالها تماما، فإختيار مؤتمر الاستانة لتوزيع مشروع الدستور على الوفود المشاركة وباللغة العربية، يوحي بأن موسكو جادة في طرحه، وسيكون العمود الفقري للتسوية وتحديد ملامح “سورية الجديدة”، ونظامها السياسي، ولا مانع من ادخال بعض تعديلات على بعض المواد، لكنها من المرجح ان تكون تعديلات هامشية.

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كان لافتا ان المعارضة السورية المسلحة، كانت البادئة برفض هذه المسودة الروسية بشراسة، حيث اكد السيد يحيى العريضي المتحدث باسمها “ان تجربة بول بريمر في العراق واضحة”، محذرا الكرملين من تكرار الغلطة نفسها، “فالشعب السوري هو الوحيد الذي يملك حق كتابة الدستور، وأثبتت تجربة العراق بأنه عندما تعد دولة خارجية الدستور فان فرص نجاحه معدومة”، وربما تتجنب الحكومة السورية الصدام مع حليفها الروسي علانية، وفضلت ادخال تعديلات جوهرية على هذه المسودة، جرى تسريبها لبعض الصحف، واكتفت بذلك حتى الآن على الأقل.

اخطر ما في هذه المسودة، التي نؤمن بأنها “بالون اختبار” لقياس ردود الفعل، واغراق طرفي الازمة السورية في جدل وخلافات سياسية، حتى لكأنهم بحاجة الى خلافات جديدة، هو تحويل سورية الى دولة “غير عربية” إرضاء للاقلية الكردية، وإقامة حكم ذاتي للاشقاء الاكراد في شمال البلاد، على غرار نظيره في العراق، واعتماد اللغة الكردية كلغة رسمية الى جانب شقيقتها العربية، وإدخال نظام الأقاليم او اللامركزية، وتكريس المحاصصة الطائفية في المناصب العليا، والنص على ذلك صراحة في الدستور المقترح.

اذكر انني شاركت في برنامج يحمل اسم “مناظرة” يحظى بتمويل غربي في شهر حزيران (يونيو) الماضي في تونس، وكان البرنامج النقاشي يتناول النص على حقوق الأقليات في الدستور، ورفضت ذلك بشدة، وقلت ان هذا يعني التمييز ضدها، وجعل هويتها الوطنية منقوصة، وطالبت بالنص صراحة على المساواة الكاملة في الدستور لكل أطياف الشعب الطائفية والدينية والعرقية في الدستور والقوانين معا في اطار التعايش والدولة المدنية، وفاز هذا الطرح عندما جرى طرحه على الحضور للتصويت بأغلبية كبيرة، رغم انه جرى اختياره بعناية فائقة للتصويت لصلح الطرح الآخر.

اعترف انني ذهلت عندما قرأت معظم فقرات مشروع الدستور الروسي المقترح لسورية، وادركت ان عملية التمهيد له بدأت مبكرا، وفي اطار منظومة من الفعاليات السياسية والإعلامية في بعض ارجاء الوطن العربي، وها هو يتبلور تدريجيا.

الأقليات الطائفية والعرقية والدينية كانت، وما زالت، تتعرض للظلم والاضطهاد من الأغلبية الحاكمة، في بعض الدول العربية، وهذا طرح ينطوي على الكثير من الصحة، ولكن هذا الاضطهاد يأتي في ظل أنظمة ديكتاتورية، ومن المفترض ان ينتهي عندما تترسخ الديمقراطية، فالدستور الأمريكي، ومعظم الدساتير الغربية، ان لم يكن كلها، لا تنص على حقوق حصرية للاقليات، وعلى المحاصصة العرقية والدينية والمذهبية، انما على المساواة في المواطنة والحقوق والواجبات، وتحتكم الى الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الانسان كمرجعية أساسية في هذا الصدد.

روسيا تريد تطبيق نظامها اللامركزي على سورية دون النظر الى الفوارق الكبيرة في المساحة، والخريطتين الديمغرافية والجغرافية، فسورية بلد صغير، بالمقارنة الى الاتحاد الروسي العملاق، وتجربتها مختلفة، وتقع في جوار إقليمي غير الجوار الاقليمي الروسي، وعليها التزامات دينية ووطنية وقومية لا يمكن شطبها “بجرة دستور”، والا لما عادت سورية التاريخية التي نعرفها وتمتد جذورها لاكثر من ثمانية آلاف عام.

وقد يجادل البعض ان هذه المسودة للدستور التي تحرم رئيس الجمهورية، أي رئيس جمهورية سوري، من معظم صلاحياته، وتحوله الى “وسيط”، وتمنع أي دور للجيش السوري خارج حدوده، وتشطب هوية البلاد العربية، وتسقط بند الشريعة الإسلامية كأساس للتشريع، هذه البنود تأتي، ويا للمفارقة، في وقت يسيطر فيه الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين على كل الصلاحيات، ويعدل الرئيس التركي رجب طيب اردوغان دستور بلاده بحيث يصبح رئيسا مطلقا بصلاحيات كاملة، والشيء نفسه يقال عن دونالد ترامب في أمريكا أيضا، والامثلة عديدة.

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لسنا مع الديكتاتورية، وحصر الصلاحيات في يد الرئيس، ونعارض أي دور للجيش، أي جيش في قمع شعبه، ونطالب، وسنظل، بالفصل الكامل بين السلطات، والحقوق غير المنقوصة للمواطن، سواء كان ينتمي الى الأغلبية او الأقلية، وفي اطار سيادة القانون، ولكننا لا نريد تكرار تجربة العراق واليمن وليبيا في سورية، او أي بلد عربي آخر، مثلما لا نريد ان تتحول بلادنا الى حقل تجارب للتفتيت والحروب الاهلية والطائفية والعرقية.

الملامح الأولية لهذا الدستور تؤشر الى محاولة لعزل سورية عن محيطها العربي، ومنع أي دور لها في التصدي للاحتلال الإسرائيلي لاراضيها أولا، وفلسطين التاريخية ثانيا، ولا نعتقد ان السلطة السورية، او المعارضة الشريفة يمكن ان تقل به.

سورية الجديدة التي يجب ان تنهض من وسط هذا الدمار الذي الحقته بها المؤامرة الخارجية، بهوية عربية إسلامية اكثر تجذرا وصلابة، واذا كان هيمنة الأكثرية على الأقلية وحرمانها ابسط حقوقها خطأ لا يغتفر، فأن محاولة تغيير هوية البلاد الوطنية والتاريخية، ومن اجل إرضاء الأقلية خطيئة اكبر، ومشروع فتنة، وعدم استقرار وحروب مستقبلية.

للمرة المليون نؤكد اننا مع المساواة والتعايش ونبذ الطائفية والعنصرية، ونرجوكم اعطونا دستورا مثل الدساتير المحترمة، والمعمول بها في الغرب والشرق، التي توحد ولا تفرق، وتحترم الهوية الجامعة، والكرامة الوطنية.

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Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

July 31, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: A very interesting piece of writing by Eric Walberg. Along the years I have learned a lot from Walberg, one of the very few creative thinkers left within the Left.

Source: http://ericwalberg.com/

Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

By Eric Walberg

For years now, I’ve known there was something wrong when my well-meaning anti-Zionist Jewish friends found it necessary to join Jewish anti-Zionist groups opposing Israel. In the US, Jewish Voice for Peace, in Canada, Not in Our Name; in Britain, Jews Against Zionism — every country has its group, usually more than one. “I am a Jewish witness against Israel,” I would be told. Sounds good, even brave. Sand’s latest deconstruction of Jewishness and Israel, How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014), makes it clear why my suspicions were well founded.

Barely 100 pages, it is a page-turner, a precis of his earlier more scholarly works, arguing that the romantic, heroic age of Jewish nationalism, as embodied in the creation of a Jewish state, is coming to an end. Israel will not disappear, but it is an anachronism, an embarrassment in the postmodern age. A reminder of the horrors of Nazism, but not as the Zionist crafters of the “holocaust industry”, or “holocaust religion”, would have it. The Zionist project is exposed by Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and many more Jewish critics as reenacting the same policies of yesteryear. A flawed answer that is doomed, “an insidious form of racism“.

For the Israeli Sand, the Jewish “national” identity is a fraud (an Israeli identity is fine); the only viable Jewish identity is a religious one, and as a nonbeliever, he logically concludes,  “Cogito, ergo non sum.”

Gilad Atzmon takes Sand’s logic further. He tore up his Israeli passport, becoming an ex-Israeli as well as an ex-Jew. 

What’s so wrong with a secular, ethnic Jewish identity? Well, it can be based on only one of two things: persecution (being “forced” into being a Jew whether one likes it or not, as in the Nazi’s racial laws) or being “born” into the Jewish people. The former is no longer an issue and the latter is full of holes, and based on a dangerous myth.

When was the Jewish People invented?

Sand’s answer is simple:

“At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people ‘retrospectively’, out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people.”

For Jews, this required a homeland, and the westernized Jewish elite were able to provide this. As the West suffered one mortal blow after another (WWI&II), Zionism took on a new meaning. Voila! Israel.

But the exile legend is a myth. Sand is a historian and couldn’t find any texts supporting it. The Romans did not exile peoples.

“Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.”

Jews continued to live in the Holy Land through thick and thin, freer under Muslim rule than Christian, but even the latter never “ethnically cleansed” them. Most converted to Christianity or Islam. Voila! The (Christian, Muslim) Palestinians. However, a tiny core stuck stubbornly to the original monotheism, nurtured by the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC (the only bona fide exile–from which they returned, the earlier Egyptian exile legend being crafted much later, when the Torah was written down and collected in the 3rd century BC).

Jews are not a race but rather a collective of many ethnic groups who were hijacked by a late 19th century ‘national’ movement. There is no racial or ethnic basis for being Jewish any more than there is for being Christian or Muslim. The great majority of those who today consider themselves Jewish are descended from converts in Central Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, not from ancient Hebrews expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans. They are not ethnic “Semites”, of near eastern origin, or ethnic anything else.

Atzmon is a noted jazz musician, and deconstructs a popular 1970s Israeli pop song by Shlomo Artzi: All of a sudden a man wakes up in the morning. He feels he is people and to

Scene from Shoval’s ‘Youth’ (2016)

everyone he comes across he says shalom.Artzi’s youth suggests Jews suddenly became “people” thanks to the state of Israel, conflating being Jewish with being Israeli, suggesting only Israelis can really feel free as Jews. What Artzi ignores is that feeling proud to be an Israeli is only for those Israelis who have “Jew” stamped in their passport, and, among them, only those who are blind to the bloody colonial basis for this privilege. Hardly a recipe for a healthy feeling.

Can a liar tell the truth?

Israel is a “democratic and Jewish state” according to Israeli law. The “Jewish” nature was first defined in the Declaration of Independence of 1948. The “democratic” character was added by the Knesset in 1985. This is a contradiction in terms, as Jewish by definition determines the state according to race, making it undemocratic for those in the state not Jewish. In cartesian lingo, both ‘A’ and ‘not A’ are true.

This flawed logic now lies at the heart of what it means to call oneself a secular Jew, either Israeli or ‘diaspora’. Sand joins other ex-Jews, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, and Will Self, who have renounced Jewishness, either as secularists, or as converts to Christianity, shedding a contradictory, now empty, signifier.  Given what Israel has become, “democratic” and “Jewish” are no longer compatible. Sand rejects the faux Jewish nationalism served up by Zionism, which excludes non-Jews from the narrative, and is left with nothing except himself, his books, his sense of right and wrong. A lonely world.

Atzmon takes Sand’s attack on identity politics a step further, arguing in The Wandering Who that secular Jewish anti-Zionism feeds into the Zionist narrative, the do-gooder counterpoint to the more sinister role of the diaspora, taking Sand’s concerns to an even more uncomfortable conclusion: The Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support. The Neocons transform the American army into an Israeli mission force. Anti-Zionists of Jewish descent (and this may even include proud self-haters such as myself) are there to portray an image of ideological plurality and ethical concern.*

Sand dismisses both religion and nationalism as the basis for his identity. Atzmon argues both are legitimate, though they both are perverted in the case of the Israeli state. Nationalism is an authentic “bond with one’s soil, heritage, culture, language”, a cathartic experience, not at all “empty” as a signifier.  Though nationalism may well be an invention, it is still “an intrinsically authentic fulfilling experience”. It can be misused, is often suicidal, but nonetheless, “it sometimes manages to integrate man, soil and sacrifice into a state of spiritual unification.”

What is especially moving about ex-Jews like Sand, and ex-Israel ex-Jews like Atzmon, is that they are trapped by their own Israeli heritage, whether or not they emigrate. Reading Sand’s book in Hebrew, writes Atzmon,

“is for me, an ex-Jew and ex-Israeli, a truly authentic experience that brings me closer to my roots, my forgotten homeland and its fading landscape, my mother tongue or shall I simply say my Being.”

He is confronted not by some “‘identity’ or politics but rather the Israeliness, that concrete nationalist discourse that matured into Hebraic poetry, patriotism, ideology, jargon, a dream and a tragedy to follow.” Israel’s present state has “robbed him of that Israeliness which was once to him a home.”

Hollow identity

Most still yearn to keep a diaspora Jewish identity alive. Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2013) is by a liberal-leaning Jew who feels she must salvage her Jewishness from Israel’s nationalism and occupation policies. “A new Jewish identity might emerge that connects Tel Aviv with New York’s Upper West Side, Berlin, Paris, London and Buenos Aires — and all of them on an equal footing,” writes Carlo Strener in hisreview.

For Sand and Atzmon, there is no “new Jewish identity” possible, because there is no diaspora. French Jews are French. Canadian ones are Canadian. It’s fine to be a believing ‘person of the Book’, and even an Israeli, speaking Israeli (really a new language) and being a citizen of a well-behaved multi-ethnic nation state, based on universal norms, like France or Canada. But everyone eats matzo balls already.

Assimilation is not like extermination, despite Golda Meir’s cries of “Wolf!” Non-religious Jewishness will continue to evaporate, along with Christian and Muslim identities for those who abandon their faith. There is no shame in calling oneself an ex-Christian or ex-Muslim. 

Occam’s Razor: less is more

Anti-Zionists “rightly see [Zionist] policies as threatening the renewal of Judeophobia” that identifies all Jews as a “certain race-people, and confuses them with Zionists.”** Yes, but, as Atzmon argues, this “confusion” is part of the agenda, pushing Jews outside of Israel to support Israel unthinkingly and accept the resultant resentment they experience as “anti-Semitism”.

And even if they protest–as Jews–they inadvertently support the “Zionist world conspiracy”:

If those who call themselves anti-Zionist Jews without having lived in Israel, and without knowing its language or having experienced its culture, claim a particular right, different from that of non-Jews, to make accusations against Israel, how can one criticize overt pro-Zionists for granting themselves the privilege of actively intervening in decisions regarding

Codepink’s Medea Benjamin

the future and fate of Israel?* 

The Jewish signifier undermines the anti-Zionist one. Slots muddy things. Medea Benjamin, a “one percenter, a nice little Jewish girl” founded the now legendary peace group Codepink. QAIA (Queers against Israeli apartheid) folded when its organizers realized by highlighting their ‘gay’ signifier, they were doing more harm than good. The queers don’t have the luxury of renouncing their queerness, but thoughtful Jews like Benjamin similarly downplay their own tribalism, and Sand and Atzmon have renounced it, as the honorable way out of their Catch-22.

xxx

* Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?, Zero Books, 2011, p70.
** Shlomo Sand, How I Stopped being a Jew, Verso, 2014, p94–95.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: A genocidal campaign – part 2: The rise of Wahhabism and the formation of a bastion of terror.

July 14, 2016

by Aram Mirzaei

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: A genocidal campaign – part 2: The rise of Wahhabism and the formation of a bastion of terror.

In the previous article, we examined the history of the concept of Takfir, Muslims who engage in excommunication of other Muslims. We also examined the history of the first great split within Islam.

In this part we will examine the second surge of Takfir, one that originated in the Arabian Peninsula during the 18th century. Before we examine this surge closer, a short introduction to Islamic jurisprudence, also known as Fiqh is needed.

Fiqh

Islamic Jurisprudence the human understanding or rather interpretation of Sharia, the divine law. Sharia is developed through interpretations of the Quran and the Sunnah (the teachings and practices of Prophet Muhammad) by Islamic jurists (Ulema). As the Islamic community went through several Fitna’s (divisions) several schools of jurisprudence (madhab) developed with different understandings of the concept of Sharia. Among the Sunni schools of thought, four main branches have gained prominence among the Sunni community. These branches are: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought.

The Hanbali school of thought stands out as it is not only the smallest of the four main schools but also the most extreme one. Founded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855) who was a disciple of Al-Shafi’i (founder of the Shafi’i school), he was deeply concerned with “reinterpretations” of the doctrines of the Quran and the Hadiths. Ibn Hanbal was a strong advocate of a return to the literal interpretation of the Quran and the Hadiths, rejecting several religious rulings which he considered to be mere speculations. As he gained followers (Hanbalites), the relations with the Abbasid Caliphate became more and more strained as Ibn Hanbal’s successors such as Al-Hasan ibn Ali Al-Barbahari advocated violence against those deemed to be sinners. Soon, armed mobs were formed, attacking Shiites and fellow Sunnis who were suspected of sinful behaviour.

As chaos began to spread in the Caliphate, Caliphh Ar-Radi publicly condemned the Hanbali school and ended its patronage by state religious bodies. Thus, the Hanbali school had been marginalized.

 

18th century: The rise of Wahhabism

Wahhabism, is named after the 18th century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd-Al Wahhab who started what he saw as a revivalist ideology in the Arabian region of Najd, today part of Saudi Arabia. His ideology advocated a purging of practices he considered to be idolatry (shirk) and the “cult of saints”, referring to the visitation of shrines and tombs of important figures in Islam, something he considered to be impurities and innovations. Thus, his main mission became to spread what he believed to be a call for restoration of true monotheistic worship.

Abd Al-Wahhab began to attract followers, including the ruler of Uyayna (a village in the Najd region) Uthman ibn Muammar. Abd Al- Wahhab came to an agreement with Ibn Muammar to support Ibn Muammars political ambitions of expanding his rule over Najd and beyond, in exchange for Ibn Muammars support for Abd Al-Wahhabs religious teachings. Abd Al-Wahhab began to implement his ideas in the region, forbidding what he considered grave worshipping, organizing stoning of women who were accused of adultery and destroying the grave of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, a companion of Prophet Muhammad.

These actions were however not left without attention from other influential rules in the Najd region, one of them being Suleiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr who threatened ibn Muammar with denying him the ability to collect taxes in the Najd region if he did not kill or exile Abd Al-Wahhab. Thus, Ibn Muammar forced Abd Al-Wahhab to leave Najd.

Abd Al-Wahhab did not stop his quest there, instead he was invited by a ruler of a nearby town in Diriyah, Muhammad ibn Saud.

In 1744 they met and engaged in a pact where Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines of Abd Al-Wahhab while he in turn would champion Ibn Saud’s claim to rule the entire Arabian Peninsula. This agreement was confirmed with a mutual oath of loyalty (bayah) and that same year marked the emergence of the first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah.

 

Wahhabist doctrine and the Salafist movement

The Wahhabi movement can be said to have been inspired by the writings of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, founder of the Hanbali school of thought. Although this question is much of for debate as the Wahhabis do not consider themselves to be part of any school of thought. Wahhabis have always rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Quran and the Hadiths, still despite this claim, they follow the Hanbali methodology of extreme conservativism in applying Sharia law.

The Salafist movement

The Salafi movement is an ultra-conservative movement within the Sunni branch of Islam. The doctrine of Salafism is one that takes a fundamentalist approach to Islam, focusing on emulating the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers the Al-Salaf Al Salih (Pious forefathers). Much like Wahhabism and the Hanbali school, they reject innovations and support a strict implementation of Sharia law. Although it shares many similarities with the Wahhabi doctrine, Salafists still reject the term Wahhabi as derogatory. Still, modern Salafists tend to consider Abd Al-Wahhab as a Salafist, and his book Kitab al-Tawhid is still read and cited frequently by Salafi followers and scholars. Although they share a different past since Wahhabism originated in the Arabian Peninsula and Salafism originated in Egypt, they share the same doctrine of purging practices deemed by them to be idolatry such as shrine and tomb visitation and other “impurities”.

One could break down the Wahhabi doctrine into these defining aspects:

  1. Strict adherence to the Quran, and the prophetic traditions. This means a literal interpretation of the Quran and opposition to Tawil, meaning metaphorical interpretations.
  2. Strict opposition to the act of Tawassul through other than Allah, meaning to ask Allah for things by the means of using a deceased saint or pious man as an intermediary. This part refers to their opposition to tomb visiting and a “cult of saints” belief. This act is viewed by the Wahhabis as Shirk(Polytheism).
  3. Embracing the ideas of Ibn Tayyima, which allows a self-professed Muslim who do not follow Islamic law to be declared non-Muslim— in order for the “true muslim” to justify their warring and conquering of those deemed to be non-Muslims.

 

The Wahhabi Mission

When Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab applied to the rulers of Dar’iyya with the view of disseminating his heresies easily through them, they willingly cooperated with him with the hope of extending their territories and increasing their power. They strove with all their might to disseminate his ideas everywhere.

They declared war against those who refused joining the army of Muhammad ibn Saud when it was said that it is halal to plunder and kill non-Wahhabis. Muhammad ibn Saud and Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab reached the conclusion, that those who wouldn’t accept Wahhabism were kafirs and mushriks (Polytheists) and it was halal to kill them and confiscate their possessions, publicly announcing this declaration seven years later.

This unholy alliance between the Wahhabi ideology and the Al-Saud family has endured for more than two and half centuries, surviving both defeat and collapse. The two families (that of Abd-Al Wahhab and Al-Saud) have intermarried multiple times over generations and it is no coincidence that in modern Saudi Arabia, the minister of religion is always a member of the Al-Sheikh family, descendents of Ibn Abd-al Wahhab.

One of the most notable and cruel attacks by the Wahhabis, was on Karbala in 1802. There, they entered the city and killed the majority of its population in the markets and their homes. They destroyed the dome placed over the grave of Imam Hussein, the third infallible Imam in the Shia faith, and looted the grave completely. This act was and still is considered to be one of the most heinous crimes committed against the city of Karbala and the Shia population as a whole. It is also noteworthy that this act was legitimized by the Wahhabi aggressors since they did not consider the Karbala population to be Muslims at all. This crime was followed up by several other heinous assaults around the region, including the attack on Taif, in the Hejaz region in the Arabian Peninsula where they massacred the entire male population and enslaved the women and children of the city in 1803.

Al-Saud managed to establish his rule over southwestern Syria between 1803 and 1812 before being driven out by Egyptian forces acting under the Ottoman Empire, led by Ibrahim Pasha. In 1818 they defeated Al-Saud, levelling the capital Diriyah and executed the Al-Saud emir. However, they failed to destroy the political and religious leadership of the House of Saud and the Wahhabi ideology. A second Saudi state soon rose from its ashes (Emirate of Najd) and lasted from 1819 to 1891. Since it was isolated within the region of Najd, a desolate place lacking any resources and with limited communication and transportation at the time, the Ottomans were not prompted to conduct further campaigns in the region, and so the Wahhabi ideology survived, albeit severely weakened.

But this would all change with the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War One as the British administrators would look for divisive collaborators in the Arab World, just as they had on the Indian Subcontinent in previous years. They found the perfect collaborators with the sectarian Wahhabi doctrine. The Saudis horrified and fascinated the British at the same time with Winston Churchill writing that the Wahhabis

“hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all those who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahhabi villages for simply appearing in the street”. [1]

Churchill nevertheless also expressed admiration for Ibn Saud for his “unfailing loyalty” to the British. A British government memo from the mid-1940s noted that

“Ibn Saud’s influence in the Middle East is very great, and it has been used consistently for a number of years in support for our policy”. [2]

Syrian President Shukry El Kuwatly (left) and Egyptian Premier Gamal Abdel Nasser shake hands, as Saudi Arabia's King Saud looks on smilingly after the signing of the joint communique. The declaration, which climaxed a series of meetings of the Arab States' 'Big Three' here, announced that the three had agreed on a plan to safeguard Arab security and defend the Arab world against 'the danger of Zionist aggression and foreign domination.'

Syrian President Shukry El Kuwatly (left) and Egyptian Premier Gamal Abdel Nasser shake hands, as Saudi Arabia’s King Saud looks on smilingly after the signing of the joint communique. The declaration, which climaxed a series of meetings of the Arab States’ ‘Big Three’ here, announced that the three had agreed on a plan to safeguard Arab security and defend the Arab world against ‘the danger of Zionist aggression and foreign domination.’

With the rise of Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser, a hero of Arab nationalism, the US also began to take an interest in the house of Saud.

US President Eisenhower was also looking for a plan to split the Arabs and defeat the aims of their enemies (the Soviet Union), by building up the Saudi king as a counterweight to Nasser. This close US-Saudi relationship was highly successful during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, where the Saudis and the US closely cooperated in arming, supporting, training and promoting jihadism against the “infidel Soviets”. This relationship is as Professor Tim Anderson describes it

“not just a relation between a global power and an oil supplier, but rather that of the great power with a principal political collaborator in the region, and one with a long record of sectarianism”. [3]

This alliance still stands today and in the next part of this article series, we will explore their collaboration in the Syrian conflict and the project that is called “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”.

  1. Tim Anderson, The Dirty War on Syria, Chapter 5, Page 42
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid

Related Articles

Hidden Struggle: Why Kurds ‘Must be Kept Under the Roof of Damascus’

Female fighters from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) take a break on the front line in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on September 4, 2015.
11.06.2016

Ekaterina Blinova

A hidden struggle for hearts and minds is going on in Syria: Western geopolitical players are trying to establish their control over the region by hook or by crook, Syrian political analyst Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik. However, this time a new “Sykes-Picot” plan won’t work.

The West is trying to overhype the Kurdish ethnic issue in order to use it as a weapon against Syria, Ghassan Kadi, a Syrian political analyst and expert on Middle Eastern affairs, told Sputnik.

Kadi drew attention to the fact that Washington has repeatedly tried to alienate the Syrian Kurds from Damascus and pull them into the American fold. Therefore, the Kurdish question should be tackled in the most serious way.

The Kurdish Question

“To begin with, we must acknowledge that Syrian Kurds are Syrians and any attempts to marginalize them or keep them out of the equation is not any less realistic than marginalizing, say, any Syrian religious group or province. Once again, the recent outcries that we have heard and read describing Kurds as fifth columnists and comparing their role to the role that Albanians allegedly played in the former Yugoslavia, is historically incorrect, vexatious, malicious, divisive and highly dangerous. Ironically, such allegations came from non-Syrians who clearly know little or nothing at all about the history and demographics of Syria,” Kadi told Sputnik.

“Ironically also, and to prove their ignorance, that loud and vocal mob accused me of meddling in Syria’s affairs because I am ‘Lebanese,’ i.e. in their eyes ‘non-Syrian.’ Little do they seem to know the very recent history of Syria and that Lebanon is part of Syria. If they do not know this fact, in retrospect, I cannot blame them for not knowing who the Kurds are. If some people opt to believe the story of Humpty Dumpty, then this is entirely their prerogative,” he remarked.Kadi underscored that the Kurds are not the only non-Arab ethnicity in Syria: there are also the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Aramaics, Armenians and many others. The expert explained that the Kurds have recently become the focus of worldwide attention because they constitute the biggest non-Arab ethnicity and because they have several paramilitary organizations.

“But just like the nation of Russia is an amalgam of many ethnicities, so is Syria,” the expert highlighted.

It is no secret that Washington wants to use the Kurds to create divisions.

Members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) monitor the positions of Islamic State (IS) group in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, close to the Turkish border on March 13, 2015
© AFP 2016/ DELIL SOULEIMAN
Members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) monitor the positions of Islamic State (IS) group in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, close to the Turkish border on March 13, 2015

“However, if Kurds get the security they seek under Syrian sovereignty, it will be much harder for America to lure them to her bosom. By all peaceful means possible and conceivable, Syrian Kurds must be kept under the roof of Damascus, and even though I’ve said this many times, I was described as one advocating the partition of Syria,” Ghassan Kadi emphasized.

“The perception of this particular aspect of the Kurdish issue seems to be more prominent in the English-language social media than it is in reality. The pro-Syrian social media need a serious reality check,” he added.

There is yet another problem which is largely neglected in the media.

How the West May Upset the Fragile Ethnic and Religious Balance in Syria

Various Western “sectarian” groups and “new-age” churches are pushing to get a foothold in Syria amid the ongoing war, Kadi noted.While it does not seemingly spell trouble, there is a hidden agenda behind it.

“Firstly, I must put an umbrella label on those Western ‘sectarian’ groups you mentioned. They are Christian-Zionists; no more, and no less. Their recent and sudden attempts to attack and hide following the efforts that others and I made to expose them speak volumes,” Kadi told Sputnik.

“Those “missionary evangelists” are trying to ride on the bandwagon of the anti-Daesh sentiment in order to ‘prove’ that their version of Christianity is better than Islam. I have reiterated several times in the past that only reform within Islam will keep Daesh at bay. Islam is a great religion of peace and wisdom when properly understood. It is only the fundamentalist and perverted interpretations that have given rise to violence in its name,” the Syrian expert continued.

In his recent article for The Vineyard of the Saker, Ghassan Kadi pointed out that over the last few decades, “new-age” Western  missionaries have tried to gain ground in the Levant by recruiting young followers.

According to the analyst, these religious conglomerates are upsetting the fragile ethnic and religious balance in the region.

The crux of the matter is that some such “sectarian” groups are alienating its raw recruits from their community. Some of them go even so far as to prohibit their members from voting, to donate blood, to join the military, to engage in political or religious activities, and to trust others outside their faith.

“As I explained in my most recent article on ‘The Saker,’ those “evangelists” will find it very hard to lure recruits from the Muslim community. They will therefore focus on the Syrian Orthodox community, as their ‘colleagues’ have done in the past in nearby Lebanon and several other places,” Kadi noted.

“If the Syrian Orthodox Church is weakened, Syria will become much more vulnerable to future attempts at Jihadi takeovers. Furthermore, Syrian Orthodoxy is an essential part of Syria’s cultural fabric and history. It is currently in grave danger, a stronger danger in my opinion than that of Daesh, because this danger lurks around in darkness, and it works more insidiously in peace time than Daesh does in wartime,” the expert explained.

Young Syrian Orthodox Christians play music during the Palm Sunday procession on April 5, 2015 in the Syrian capital in Damascus
© AFP 2016/ LOUAI BESHARA
Young Syrian Orthodox Christians play music during the Palm Sunday procession on April 5, 2015 in the Syrian capital in Damascus

“What really irks is that a significant proportion of the support base on which the Western evangelists are trying to build their ’empire’ within Syria are well-intentioned Syrians. Gladly however, little by little, they are waking up. If we keep up the momentum, they will wake up sooner,” he stressed.

“Upholding Syrian Orthodoxy and shielding it from what could otherwise become an avalanche of Western ‘evangelists’ from many denominations, is perhaps the surest way of keeping that delicate balance as it had been for many centuries. It is a balance that has its weaknesses of course. It is far from perfect, but to upset it by introducing a new ‘species,’ as it were, is tantamount to playing with fire. With all the problems Syria has now, she does need the introduction of a whole new line of Western Christian-Zionist churches. They can stay in Texas…. or in Virginia,” the expert pointed out.

He stressed that it is of ultimate importance to shine a spotlight on this largely neglected problem to protect Syrian society, already hit by the war, from further destruction.

All for One: Syrian Political Parties Rally Round Assad

Along with the attempts to break the delicate social fabric in Syria, the West continues to spread its distorted narrative about the political balance of power in the region, misinterpreting the term “opposition” and “moderates.”

What parties and movements in Syria constitute a real and healthy political opposition?

“To answer your question, one has to start with defining the term ‘healthy (Syrian) opposition’ or ‘opposition’ in general,” Kadi stressed.

“If we are talking about a party-based political opposition to single-party rule, the current political plurality of the Syrian Parliament and Cabinet clearly indicate that single-party rule is a thing of the past. More pertinently, parties and organizations that understand this development and work within its framework are, in context of the conflict, not at all considered to be in ‘opposition’,” he emphasized.

At the same time, if we go to the other extreme and adopt the Western definition of the so-called “moderate opposition” we will clearly realize that they are militants not very different at all from Daesh and the al-Nusra Front, Kadi explained.”Thus far, the West has not been able to wield the alleged ‘moderate opposition’ groups, let alone identify them,” the expert pointed out.

“In reality therefore, there is no such thing as ‘healthy opposition’ and/or ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria, regardless of how one defines them. Those who represent the ‘opposition’ in Geneva and Vienna are there simply because the West does not allow for such talks to happen without their participation. In reality they are the cronies of the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Their only objective is for President Assad to step down. One might ask how this constitutes a reform agenda!” Kadi told Sputnik.

A fighter from the Jaish al-Islam (Islam Army), the foremost rebel group in Damascus province guards a position on the front line in Jobar, on the eastern edge of the Syrian capital
© AFP 2016/ AMER ALMOHIBANY
A fighter from the Jaish al-Islam (Islam Army), the foremost rebel group in Damascus province guards a position on the front line in Jobar, on the eastern edge of the Syrian capital

The Syrian expert drew attention to the fact that the Syrian ruling party Baath and the Syrian Arab Army have a powerful political ally inside the country: the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP).”Here I must emphasize that the SSNP has been a powerful and effective ally of the Syrian Army, and the recent attempts of some to put the role of the SSNP under the microscope, accusing it of inciting a rebellion against the Baath Party and/or to seek partition of Syria is unsubstantiated, juvenile, and I would like to say laughable, had it not been quite dangerous,” Kadi stressed.

“The Syrian government is internationally an ally of Russia, and domestically an ally of the SSNP as well as other domestic and regional players. Anyone who casts any doubts about the solidarity of those alliances is inadvertently undermining the national securities of both Russia and Syria and their combined effort to fight [fundamentalist] terror,” the political analyst concluded.

Read more

 

Related 

Jewish Identity Vs. Humanism – Rich Forer interviewed by Gilad Atzmon

March 27, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

I have known Rich Forer for a few years, we have met several times and shared a platform more than once. Rich is the author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict?  Rich’s opposition to Zionism is universal and humanist in nature.

Recently, an interview with Rich was published by the Jewish Pro-Palestinian outlet, Mondoweiss.  I was impressed with many of Rich’s statements but thought that some of his ideas should be challenged. I believe that those who are interested in criticism of ID politics, Jewish culture and power may find this dialogue enlightening. 

 

Gilad Atzmon:  I’d like to congratulate you for your recent interview with Katie Miranda.

I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place and I welcome your criticism of Jewish Identity. But I also have some fundamental doubts about your thesis.

In the interview with Miranda you present a binary opposition between the ‘human’ and the ‘Jew.’  You write “If, for example, I define myself as a Jew first and a human being second I will possess anywhere between a subtle and a palpable emotional and intellectual bias that takes for granted that the collective Jewish worldview is superior to other worldviews. On the other hand, if I define myself as a human being first my identity as a Jew is less likely to be pathological.”

I would like to point out to you that the binary opposition you present above is in itself inherently Jewish. Ordinary people, gentiles, don’t ‘define’ themselves ‘as humans.’ Ordinary people know they are human and see no need to identify themselves as such. In other words, your presentation of a distinction between the ‘Jew’ and the ‘human’ suggests to me that you still think within fundamental Jewish categories. And if you cannot emancipate yourself from the Jewish identity complex, who can?

 

Rich Forer: It is nice to dialogue with you. In the interview I made a point of saying: “These psycho-spiritual roots affect all of us regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or ideology.”  So, I disagree that I am presenting “a binary opposition between the ‘human’ and the ‘Jew [my emphasis].’” What I am presenting is an understanding of how the universal dilemma of separation, arising out of the process of identification, affects all humans and how it can lead to immense suffering in the world.

This binary is not inherently Jewish, it is inherently human. Of course, it can manifest in unique ways depending on one’s culture, religion or other categories but there is no qualitative difference from one human to another in terms of the dilemma. To borrow Hindu and Buddhist terminology, the separation or differentiation of the world into self and other and the multitude of permutations that manifest from dualistic thinking is Maya or illusion.

In short, my thinking on this subject not only reflects emancipation from fundamental Jewish categories, it reflects emancipation from all categories that are based upon a presumption of a limited or exclusive identity.

Identification, the act of identifying, begins with the conception of self and other, which cannot be anything other than binary (I prefer “duality”) because, to the conceptual mind, everything falls into one of two categories: self and other; and both of these categories are in flux.

 

Gilad Atzmon: I am sorry to interject. It seems to me as if your terminology is vague. You say, “the act of identifying, begins with the conception of self and other,” surely what you mean is ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Identification encompasses the self’s craving for belonging and doesn’t act alone. But more important, following Hegel’s Master Slave dialectic (and Lacan’s Mirror Stage) we tend to believe that the relationships between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ are not binary in nature but more of dynamic and dialectic.  For Hegel and Lacan our notion of ourselves is shaped by other’s recognition. This is not a binary relationship, it is actually symbiotic or do you disagree?

 

Rich Forer:  From my perspective, self and other is the foundation of dualistic thinking but I cannot say with complete certainty that my understanding is complete. In order to know for sure we have to fully intuit our earliest beginnings as human beings. However, my intuition is that self and other is the being’s innocent acceptance and modeling of a separate identity via its earliest relationships, prior to the development of the thinking mind.

The consciousness of us against them arises out of self and other and requires indoctrination and a thinking mind. I agree that self is shaped to an extent by the other’s recognition and that there is a symbiotic nature to this relationship. There has to be because in the most fundamental sense other is a reflection ofself.

 

Gilad Atzmon: Contemporary Jewish identity involves a certain element of binary qualities due to choseness. As we know, Jewish assimilation and secularization, starting in the 19th century, led to the evolution of a Jewish concept of biological exceptionalism that is racist in nature. The supremacy we detect in Jewish political discourse, both Zionist and so-called anti, points to an inclination towards a Jew/Goy ‘binarism.’

 

Rich Forer:  I agree that the supremacy in Jewish political discourse, Zionist and non-Zionist, points to an inclination towards ‘binarism.’ I would also say that the idea that “Choseness” conveys supremacy is, in my opinion, a perversion of original Jewish teachings. I agree that Jews (and many Christians who’ve also perverted their teachings) who actively participate in or passively defend Israel’s inhumane treatment of the “other” are guilty of a belief in Jewish exceptionalism, whether that belief is conscious or not. This is the predictable result of, allegedly, being chosen by God.

However, I never hear anyone ask the question, “If Jews are a chosen people, what are they chosen for?” The answer I have found in Jewish teachings is that Jews are chosen to bring blessing to the world, to make the world a “dwelling place” for the Divine. The Hebrew phrase for this is dirah betachtonim.  The consciousness of us against them has perverted this teaching and turned it into exceptionalism. I believe making a dwelling place for the Divine is what all humans, regardless of religion, are chosen for.

Gilad Atzmon: I agree. I also believe that the Judaic notion of choseness is less poisonous than the Jewish secular and political version of the word. And yet, when it comes to Judaism, I still wonder what kind of people invent a God that chooses them over all other people. 

Rich Forer: I agree that the Judaic notion of choseness is less poisonous than the secular. In support of that conclusion, Gershon Winkler, a Torah scholar and formerly an orthodox rabbi who now calls himself “flexidox,” told me that the Torah calls the Jewish people “A” chosen people, not “The” chosen people.

I’d like to add that growing up in the U.S., in synagogue I occasionally heard the phrase that Jews were God’s “chosen people” but there was no teaching or discussion of choseness and no mention of Jewish exceptionalism. If people developed a belief in Jewish exceptionalism it was either because of the pride they felt in the accomplishments of fellow Jews throughout the world or as a reaction to anti-Semitism, which made them retreat more devoutly into a Jewish identity. The former is very similar to the pride someone might feel because a beloved celebrity comes from their home town. I refer to this pride or inflation of self as consolation for the ego.

 

Gilad Atzmom: I am not so sure.  I wonder what is it that establishes a delusional continuum between Moishe from the corner shop and Spinoza or Einstein? Isn’t this a manifestation of the tribal fantasy of Jewish biologism – the belief in race or blood connection? This I what I refer to as choseness, and it is uniquely Jewish.

 

Rich Forer: Yes, “Jewish biologism” is a “tribal fantasy” and it has an influence in the collective Jewish mind. Earlier, you said that it evolved in the 19th Century. I suspect its evolution began much earlier as a survival mechanism and that its fuller expression flowered in the 19th century. Centuries have passed and survival is no longer an issue, yet the fantasy persists and has taken what I can only describe as a virulently self and other destructive turn.

I think we disagree on this but although I am not aware of choseness as a concept in Islam or Christianity, both religions see themselves as more blessed or less tainted than other religions and groups of people.

 

 

Gilad Atzmon:  It is possible that some Muslims and Christians may believe to be ‘more blessed than other people’, and yet, such a belief is spiritually driven rather than biologically oriented.  

I really appreciate and admire your emancipation in light of your personal history and affiliation with The Lobby. I wonder, do you think American Jews, who are considered the most privileged ethnic group in the USA, would consider relieving themselves of their exceptionalism? The facts suggest the opposite. Jewish power and identity politics is a snowball, it grows exponentially.  On the one hand you see PM Benjamin Netanyahu imposing himself on the congress, on the other hand you see the so-called good Jews, those who support the Palestinians doing very little but celebrating their affinity to purge culture in our midst. Is it really normal behavior?  Is this a universal tendency? Can you think of any other ethnic group in America that has followed a similar behavioral path?

 

Rich Forer: I seriously doubt that American Jews or any other privileged group would be willing to relieve themselves of exceptionalism. The ego easily becomes addicted to special privilege or status and always finds ways to justify that privilege. Over time this status is taken for granted so that the idea of giving it up is inconceivable. With regard to American Jews, this addiction, combined with fear of losing their privilege, especially in light of the Jewish people’s history of persecution, is, possibly, the greatest obstacle to peace and an acceptance of the Palestinian people as human and as inherently entitled to the same rights as anyone else.

Offhand I cannot think of another ethnic group in the U.S. that resembles this behavioral path, though I suspect others would be pleased to enjoy a similar status as American Jews, so I do see this tendency as universal. To clarify a bit, by “universal” I do not mean to suggest that every member of every group has a desire to acquire special privilege. Many people are humble and fair-minded. But there are always significant minorities in any group who do aspire to privilege. In the case of American Jews, the outrageous and dishonest hasbara that Israel and its lobbies in the U.S. continually disseminate finds its way into the minds of many people, depriving them of rational thinking while depriving the Palestinians of any chance for equal rights.

 

Gilad Atzmon: To take it further; I believe that such identity issues are primarily a Jewish secular symptom that emerged after assimilation.

In the late 19th century, it was only natural for Germans to become Germans and for the Italian to become Italians. It was far more complicated for German Jews to decide who they were.  That specific identity crisis is known as the ‘Jewish Question.’  Bolshevism and Zionism were attempts to solve the Jewish Identity crisis. Similarly ID politics, cultural Marxism and the orchestrated attempt to split Western society into ID groups are also Jewish progressive projects. Jewish intelligencia taught the West to think sectarian.  We learned to identify ourselves ‘as a..,’ ‘as a Jew,’ ‘as a Black,’ ‘as a Woman,’ ‘as Gay,’ etc. Rather than being united in our struggle for a better world, we ended up living in a society shredded by multiple identity synagogues. I am not sure that identity/identification is a universal or metaphysical feature. I think it is a contemporary cultural symptom and it is universally Jewish . I, for instance, have never identified ‘as a saxophonist.’ I am a saxophonist; I make a living playing the sax. I am pretty sure that my next door neighbor knows he is English, he doesn’t have to identify as such. And this brings us to the next question. Can you differentiate between identification and belonging?

 

Rich Forer: Gilad, I am not familiar enough with the history you cite to give a well-thought out answer to that part of your question. I think, though, that you and I use the word “identity” in different ways, which make it appear that we don’t agree, though we are probably in greater agreement than either one of us sometimes tends to think.

When I speak about identity I am speaking about a tendency that is latent within every individual from birth. I think you speak about identity more within an historical context and perspective.

Actually, I have always thought that we agreed about 90% of the time and that the 10% is more a result of unique perspectives than actual rejection of our respective points of view.

I agree with you that you are a saxophonist and do not need to identify yourself as one. I could say I am a Jew by birth but do not need to identify myself as one. However, I don’t think that is the case with most people who, in fact, are attached at a deep, deep level to their conception of self. If the ego or presumed identity is attached to a need to identify with something in order to boost its sense of self or to allay its fear of mortality, it may cling to the label “sax player.” By the same token it may also cling to, or attach itself to its apparent heritage as a Jew as a way of “belonging.”  That belonging provides a security blanket and the false sense that we are not alone, that we are part of a greater whole. This is paradoxical because in one sense we are all alone but in another sense we are a part of the greater whole. It is just that the greater whole we really are a part of is not a particular tribe, as distinguished from other tribes; it is all of humanity and, according to some spiritual realizers, all of life itself down to the smallest atom.

 

Gilad Atzmon: I understand why contemporary Jews are prone to ‘as a..’ identities.  Identification (and by that I mean all forms of identification) removes one from authenticity.  Even ‘identifying as a human.’  Rather than encountering the world authentically, identification imposes a mimicking mediating template as well as a layer of correctness.   Those who ‘identify as’ saxophonists are obviously insecure about their sax playing. They ask themselves what would Coltrane or Bird do on a given chord sequence. Similarly, Jews who identify ‘as human’ are insecure about their ‘humanity.’ They must be asking themselves what humanity entails or how humans are supposed to react in a given scenario. By doing so, they accept or admit being foreign to the human experience. Secular Jews are often obsessed with their Jewish identification because Jewishness is vague for them and yet they cling to it. I think that identity/identification and ID politics is primarily a Jewish discourse. Accordingly the dominance of ID politics is a symptom of Jewish power.

Interestingly enough, Zionism and Israel provide an answer to Jewish ID politics. Israel is telling the Diaspora Jew to stop talking ‘as a Jew,’ come over to Tel Aviv and ‘be one.’  The Scottish nationalists are selling similar products, when they tell their followers rather than talking ‘as Scots’ let’s ‘be Scots.’  Funny enough, ISIS is selling an identical product. Rather than talking ‘as a Muslim’, it offers young French and British Muslims the chance to be Muslims. It is interesting that the Zionist barbarian interpretation of Jewishness is vastly popular amongst Diaspora Jews, yet statistics suggest that ISIS’s brutal version of Islam is only accepted by a fraction of Muslims worldwide.

In short while ID politics robs the human subject of the authentic experience by means of mimicry, belonging, like the ‘dwelling’ is home.

I guess my final question to you is whether you agree that the rise of nationalism is an answer to invasive ID politics and multi culturalism? After all, Brits, Christians, Muslims, saxophonists, humans etc. do not have to identify at all. Within the nationalist context we are what we are rather than what we claim to mimic. We accept otherness because we know that to others we are ‘the other.’

 

Rich Forer: Your comment thatidentification removes one from authenticity and I mean all forms of identification. Even ‘identifying as a human.”  Rather than encountering the world authentically, identification imposes a mimicking mediating template as well as a layer of correctness” is an excellent understanding of the human dilemma. I see this dilemma as common to all of humanity and, although there are distinctions according to DNA, nationality, religion, ethnicity, the dilemma itself does not, in my opinion, differentiate among those characteristics.

Ordinary people do not “see the need to identify as humans,” but that doesn’t mean they are free of the dilemma of separation, which operates at all levels and is so ingrained within the mind that very few ever become conscious of it, let alone resolve it.

We all have many identities, but core identities are particularly problematic because we will defend them to the point of death. The irony is that what we are defending is an illusion. It is not who we really are.  Identities are borne of thought and exist in the mind, yet they influence our destinies and, collectively, the destiny of mankind.  Emancipation from identity and dualistic thinking confers the compassion and clarity necessary to recognize our common humanity with all people.

With regard to your question about nationalism, I consider it another separative ideology. However, if one understands that his nationality is secondary to his humanity then I have no problem with it.

 

Gilad Atzmon: Thanks so much for your time and energy. I guess that we have managed to complete a circle here. You landed back at your original position assuming that there is kind of an elementary hierarchy of identifications between humanity and Nationalism. I do not believe that this is the case. I believe that this form of binarism or even dualism is Jewish in nature. I prefer to see authentic existence as a dialectic continuum. I have argued all along that ID politics and Identification is a symptom of inauthenticity. However, I also think that the fact that we do not agree makes this discussion a fruitful and entertaining dialogue. I hope to continue this exchange in the near future.

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