Yassin al-Haj Saleh on Syria and the Global Crisis of Liberal Democracy – via ‘Mufta’

Some good points in this article, from Mufta, as shown in the excerpt below.

Comments please.


* * * *


“Revolutionary change is an uncertain process with no guarantees. The history of the United States, France, and other democracies speaks to this fact. The desire to control or thwart change often occurs from fear of the unknown, and desire for stability. As banal an explanation as this may be, conservative, anti-revolutionary forces do harbor an obvious fear of change, as it is a risk to “safety.”

“The Syrian revolution has been a unique victim of this fear. The dominant political forces of the world, which are themselves rigidly resistant to social and political progress (often due to the incorrect assumption that they are themselves “perfect”), have attempted to control the revolutionary process in Syria and oppose new avenues for positive change, by engineering a war to maintain the status quo.

“Positive, democratic change in Syria was never guaranteed, but, at the beginning of the uprising (and for at least the first two years of the armed struggle), it had a fighting chance. When the revolution became fragmented and dominated by forces seeking to suppress the very possibility of change, however, any alternative to the status quo (namely, of Bashar Al-Assad’s criminal regime) was virtually abolished. Indeed, the war being waged in Syria is an affirmation of the regressive, “anti-change” zeitgeist of the day…

“For this reason, we must begin to conceive of the demand for change in Syria (and elsewhere) as intricately linked to a global desire to unify the world in a struggle for true democracy. Indeed, this underlying impulse toward democracy is precisely why Syrians were motivated to rise up for social and political change in their country, and it is also why, after the collapse of the peaceful uprising, many sought asylum in other democratic countries (especially in Europe).

“Although the rise of the far-right has been a decisive challenge to democracy, the world is increasingly connected by the need for true internationalism”.

(Interview with the author in The Boston Review).

4 thoughts on “Yassin al-Haj Saleh on Syria and the Global Crisis of Liberal Democracy – via ‘Mufta’

  1. This article seems like some sort of comfort food. When events are moving so dramatically what do people say has happened – let alone what will happen next in Syria? Events were every day bombing your views into garbage and yet you have all persisted so long with this refusal to discuss and this almost silence? OK so Syria is a complex mess, nothing new with that. At what point ought people review what they were saying previously on events and make any corrections required? Marxism like this is what the old CPA (ML) was all about when Mao died. It was pathetic then and it got no better as it regularly re-emerged over the next 45 years. What gives with condoning and facilitating such destructive conduct as this issue has thrown in front of everyone? What issues would people like me to look at and what corrections would you like from me?


  2. Patrick, if you wish to comment on the article, written by a Syrian who identifies as a communist and served 16 years in one of the Assad gaols, please do so. If you have me in mind with the comment about ‘every day events bombing your views into garbage’, then I’d be interested to know which views you are referring to, as I have usually been cautious on the rare occasions when I’ve been willing to commit to a view in a public forum. I await your critique of the article.


  3. I will respond to the article later Barry but for now I recomend people contrast the author’s earlier article https://muftah.org/yassin-al-haj-saleh-syria-three-impossibilities/#.WVHhrbzhntQ It is a far better article IMV that speaks to the earlier confusions on what things were and were not possible in what would always be a very protracted struggle to drain this part of the swamp. It was these blinding notions that produced most of the meltdowns over Syria because ‘it could not be’ always came to the fore. So the Emperor always had clothes for most people.

    For example you took a stand on important Syrian issues that were said by you back in December 2015 to be going to be ‘tested over the coming months.’ against my views. The views were tested and the collection of half theory views that you sided with and put forward yourself got barrel bombed into silence.

    More than 18 months ago December 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm YOU said ‘There will be another round of talks in a week or so. We should follow and discuss what happens. Whether we are seeing the process of the end of Assad will be tested over the coming month and year. Will there be a basic ceasefire brokered by the UN? Will a process for drafting a new Constitution be underway (within six months)? Will free and fair elections eventually take place (within 18 months)?’ Reality mugged you and you know it.

    Over those few months back in 2015 and even into 2016 I had made a fair attempt to argue my case against whatever was being put forward from your side and I was correct to do so. You said it would be up to reality to test and all three of you essentially then departed from any further involvement at Strangetimes. My alternative views were worse than scoffed at by Arthur in those last few months that thankfully so irritated him but none of you actually argued much against what I was saying. No doubt you all thought it a waste of time dealing with me but none of you ended up confident enough to publish anything in the MSM and that was the initial proposal. I hope I ‘annoyed’ people to the extent of at least stopping you getting the line you were putting in the MSM.

    Arthur you and Dave were not just wrong about what Putin was doing in Syria either. You were all wrong in the way you went about dealing with the quite reasonable dispute! There were tiresome gross stunts contemptibly used to avoid dealing with substantive issues from me and that conduct I say was just another example of a much older regularly recurrent problem that I could lead people through if required but right now I want to focus on Syria and why your views got bombed into silence. I want to move on to think about ‘What Now?’ Six months ago I posted about just that and none of you have had anything to say.

    Views were developed over a couple of months of reasonable confusion after the Russians turned up and began the bombing. That is when all manner of people were attempting to make sense of what was going on. Arthur called it early and wrong and you and Dave went along! Arthur then became a mindless wrecker unwilling to bother with my views and you provided this venue for him to post in free from an annoying me. Well he had everything he wanted and the result was silence. The war in Syria has not ended and both views are on record.

    It was wrong to carry on in the manner that he did and that Dave did and that you did and I hope you all stop doing so but with the track records I can reflect on to inform me I have long learnt not to hold my breath waiting for even reasonable behaviour. I live in hope.

    I tried posting before so this is a second attempt fingers crossed.


  4. Patrick, I stand by what I said in December 2015. I was not ‘taking a stand’ but posing a series of questions, which should indicate that I was not confident to make predictions and recognized the limits of my understanding. I don’t feel that reality mugged me (why the hostile tone?) but rather I can only keep trying to understand things better.

    I set up this blog in 2014, prior to any dispute you have with Arthur and David (and apparently me). I’m always happy to have a contribution from either of them.


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