The left’s hollow anti-imperialism over Syria Reply

By Joey Ayoub

Middle East Eye

The inability of many leftists to see past outdated narratives on Syria has galvanised the rise of reactionary nativism in the West

Over the last week, some members of the Twitter bubble argued over the left’s response to the ongoing Syrian crisis. I took part in it, if only briefly and hesitantly, knowing in advance that it would most likely not bear any fruit. Here, I will try and explain why I think it’s important that such discussions continue.

The heated exchange was not between anti-imperialists and pro-imperialists but between those who can’t see past one form of imperialism and those who are struggling against all imperialisms (or strive to). Crucially for our purposes, the former typically underestimates, or willingly ignores, Russian and Iranian imperialism in Syria and it does the same with regards to the regime’s daily atrocities. The latter sees it as its mission to remind the former of what countless Syrians have been repeating for nearly four years now, namely that it is utterly meaningless to speak of struggling for equality and justice when a fascist, neoliberal and imperialist-friendly dictatorship is overpowering anyone who wishes to fight against it. As long as this balance of powers remains unchanged, the rest is wishful thinking, with very serious repercussions on the ground.

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