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Submitted by AWL on Fri, 04/10/2013 - 12:38

Hi Maziar,

Sorry for taking so long to reply.

I agree with you that the statement I posted is very long and a bit convoluted. I also have some disagreements with its emphasis and particular bits of it. But leave that for another time.

I don't think our differences are necessarily very big, but let's explore what they are.

On "Hands off Syria": yes, when we first wrote, a US attack was imminent. But Russian, Iranian, Saudi etc intervention was not just imminent - it was already happening! So I think you would have to have a particular assessment of the threatened US attack - ie see it as particularly disastrous or oppressive compared to the other factors involved - in order to give it such prominence. When so many leftists in Britain only talked about the US and not about the other imperialist interventions going on, that is why we argued/stressed that the possibility of US bombing was bad, but not the main problem.

I think I agree with your points a-c. But point d? "We believe the military attack will be more harmful to the oppressed masses than the Assad regime". How so?

And there is a deeper problem about the slogan "Hands off". Wouldn't we use this if we thought there was some genuine democratic/anti-imperialist issue involved, eg a national liberation struggle? Isn't that how Marxists have historically used it? Doesn't "Hands off Syria" imply that in some ways the Assad regime, despite our opposition to it, is fighting a legitimate and progressive struggle against imperialism? Ie that we are not exactly saying "third camp" - except in the sense that the workers must always be a third camp - but rather siding critically with Syria, even under Assad, against imperialism?

I think that would be wrong. So isn't it better and clearer and less confusing just to say "No to the US bombing Syria" or something like that?

Sacha

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