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maandag 2 juli 2018

Anarchic update news all over the world - Part 2 - 2.07.2018


Today's Topics:

   

1.  karakok: Report on the Nationalist Rally in Athens
      (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca)
   

2.  US,      1May: On Syria and Imperialism By KS of M1 Michigan
      Collective (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1






In Athens on Sunday 4th of February, a mass nationalist rally took place over the 
"Macedonian" issue. The police gave an estimation of 140.000 people, while the organizers 
speak of more than a million (!). Perhaps it had more people than the police's official 
estimate but not even close to the organizers claims, which are more of a wishful 
thinking. This was the second demonstration within a month period over the same issue, the 
first being held in Thessaloniki in late January. ---- The "Macedonian issue" which 
triggered both rallies revolves, at least nominally, around the official name of a 
neighboring state, the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The latter use 
Macedonia as its national self-designation, something that the Greek state has opposed 
because it is said to threaten Greek territorial integrity, which has a north region named 
Macedonia. It's a well-known issue in the Balkans and a real point of conflict between the 
Greek and Macedonian/FYROM state. Naturally, the Macedonian issue is also a topic that 
nationalists in both countries have invested a lot in order to promote their ideas and 
agendas.

While the issue dates back to 1992, when huge nationalist rallies took place in Greece for 
the first time, the controversy over the name has been rekindled by recent events in 
FYROM, whose new government appears to adopt a more open stance towards a mutual 
diplomatic solution. The Greek government appears divided over the issue, since the 
far-right minor partner, ANEL, opposes any solution that involves the use of the name 
Macedonia, while SYRIZA, the left major partner is in favor of such a pragmatic deal. The 
Greek government is also pressed by its ‘allies' in NATO to find a solution which would 
lead to an uplift of the Greek veto over FYROM's joining the organization. This provides 
the general geopolitical context of the Macedonian issue currently and determines the 
actions of the various political agents.

While the details are far from fixed, and they are many, the anticipated solution entails 
that the state of FYROM will have a composite name (e.g. North Macedonia or New Macedonia) 
that will use at all times (erga omnes). Greek nationalists bitterly oppose this kind of 
solution, since they don't want under any circumstances the neighboring state to have in 
its name the word Macedonia. It was with this hardboiled agenda, summed up in the 
nationalist slogan "Macedonia is one and is Greek" that the rallies in Thessaloniki and 
Athens took place.

?he heterogeneity of the crowd in both gatherings is quite real and there are many 
distinct agendas among the organizers, which perhaps in the long-run may not be so easy to 
balance. In the same streets yesterday there were Greek Macedonian cultural associations, 
with a barely veiled of course nationalist outlook, rightwing MPs from New Democracy (the 
major opposition party) and other political parties, various fascist groups and militants, 
including of course the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn, and last but not least the Greek 
Orthodox church. All these groups make up what can be called the rightwing spectrum in 
Greece, which has traditionally "eclectic relations" with the deep state. It should be 
stated that part of the patriotic Left has offered verbal support to the rallies, claiming 
that they should not be disregarded as nationalist. However, as far as we can tell, no 
left group has mobilized its mechanisms and got involved in the organization of the rally.

There is thus no question as to the political coloring of the rally: it is a rightwing 
mobilization deploying a rhetoric that was clearly nationalistic and in many cases openly 
aggressive to the neighbor country. The rally was effectively challenging FYROM's right to 
self-determination, a pillar of the modern system of nation-states. Of course, the whole 
story is a bit farcical since the term Macedonia has been used by the majority of other 
states for decades, but delving on the psychosocial and political aspects of this 
seemingly curious persistence of the nationalist rhetoric in Greece would require too much 
space. Inconsistency has certainly never stopped anyone from acting.

The presence of fascist groups in the streets of Athens, acting under the cover offered by 
the rally, has been a cause of alarm for the anarchist movement and an opportunity to show 
its antifascist reflexes. Worries were well grounded, since in the Thessaloniki rally 
fascists had attacked the ‘'Libertatia'' squat and burned it down. Precaution measures had 
to be taken to protect the squats and social centers around the city of Athens and of 
course Exarcheia, the "heartland" of the antagonistic movement. Very important also was 
the protection of squats created to house refugees.

In order to coordinate efforts and offer an effective response assemblies and meetings 
tools place. ?wo broad goals were decided: apart from protecting squats and social centers 
all over the city to give a more coordinated, central political response to the 
nationalists by hosting an anti-gathering in the center of Athens. The key idea was not to 
let the streets at the mercy of fascist thugs.

Having set Sunday 4 as the landmark, an organized counter-campaign begun. All over town, 
anarchist and antifa political groups started intervening in the streets of Athens with 
texts about antinationalism, antimilitarism and internationalism. Saturday night, on the 
eve of the rally, antifa patrols took place in many neighborhoods of Athens. Worth noting 
is an attack at Golden dawn offices in Piraeus, which took place on 3/2/2018 and left some 
of the local leaders of the Nazis beaten. Moreover, there were clashes with riot police in 
Exarcheia and Monastiraki, whereby a comrade was beaten really bad by the cops and got 
arrested.

During the day of the rally the counter demonstration, held in Propylea (a square close to 
Syntagma where the nationalist rally took place) gathered around 2000 comrades, anarchists 
and radical left. Things were quiet since the riot police stood between the Antifa demo 
and the fascists. After 4 hours at the place, the demo turned back to Exarchia. 
Afterwards, there were a lot of fascist being chased around the neighborhood. The fascist 
failed to repeat their actions in Thessaloniki although they tried. After the natioanlsit 
really ended an organized attack took place, at Empros an occupied theater, very close to 
where nationalists were gathering. The squat however had taken the necessary precautions 
and antifascist defense managed to repel the fascists. There were rumors for a second 
attack but it never took place, while the police (expectedly) arrived after the whole 
event had finished.

Under the given circumstances our estimation is that things went well. The movement in 
Greece showed its reflexes and did not let the fascists turn the rally into a festive day 
for them. The message is clear: we will be there in front of them always. Having said 
that, the mass mobilization around a nationalist issue should keep us alert and make us 
reflect on our shortcomings and limitations. Nationalism is rising throughout the world 
and this requires an organized response that engages not only with the symptoms but the 
causes of the phenomenon. One thing is certain:

No nation unites us / no name separates us

https://karakok.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/report-on-the-nationalist-rally-in-athens/

------------------------------

Message: 2





A Revolution Against Neoliberalism ---- When Bashar Al-Assad came to power in Syria in the 
year 2000, any illusion that the dynastic authoritarian Baathist regime was "socialist" in 
any way should have been dispelled, if it already hadn't when Hafez Al-Assad took power in 
a counter-revolutionary coup in the 1970's. The younger Assad vigorously began 
liberalizing Syrian markets - notably food and agriculture - and opening Syria up to 
foreign capital. Over the next eleven years, coupled with the effects of climate change 
caused by global capitalism, Assad's neoliberal program produced devastating results: 
agricultural employment was cut in half, the cost of goods rose significantly, public 
services were cut, per capita income fell drastically and poverty grew rampant. As urban 
centers struggled to absorb the massive rural exodus, small and medium sized rural towns 
were decimated and the class basis of the Syrian Revolution was developed. (1) (2)

If neoliberalism and decades of violent repression were the fuel to the Syrian Revolution, 
the spark was the Arab Spring. The wave of pro-democratic and anti-austerity revolutionary 
uprisings that began in Tunisia and spread throughout the region (indiscriminately hitting 
countries both aligned with and opposed to the US) captured the imaginations of Syrian 
workers and students, and in 2011 the Syrian people began taking the streets in protest of 
the Assad regime. The Assad regime met the peaceful protesters' demands with bullets and 
diversions, similar to how other regimes in middle east responded to people resisting 
austerity, authoritarianism and state violence. As Assad's bullets rained down on his 
opposition, protests turned to revolution; informal spontaneous uprisings turned to 
revolutionary organization. Influenced by the work of Syrian anarchist Omar Aziz, over a 
hundred local revolutionary committees councils of different federations were organized 
throughout Syria, beginning in Damascus and proliferating outward. (3)

As young people filled the streets demanding an end to neoliberal and authoritarian rule, 
the Baathist state began to lose its decades-long hold on the country. The resulting 
instability became an invitation for imperial powers to intervene, and an opportunity for 
reactionary currents to develop. As Assad released Jihadis from Syrian prisons (4) and 
executed leftist revolutionaries (5), the US, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and other regional 
powers surrounding Syria began their attempts to develop proxies and strategies to take 
advantage of the instability. The US and other western powers offered limited assistance 
to some of the Syrian opposition early on in the conflict, in the interests of protecting 
their hegemony in the region - but soon focused all of their resources on "fighting 
terror." Russia and Iran intervened militarily at the behest of the collapsing Assad 
regime under the pretense of "fighting terror" and countering US maneuvers. As the 
revolution offered an opening for the Kurdish struggle for self determination, the Turkish 
state intensified its campaign of violence to counter the Kurdish advancement *. Within 
this multifaceted, multidimensional conflict, a common theme has emerged among the 
interests of intervening imperial actors: the priority is to "fight terror". This unifying 
theme does not actually make the situation easier to understand, but exposes layers of 
contradiction and complexity in how each actor in this conflict relates to each other. 
Assad and gulf powers have aided the rise of ISIS and other jihadi groups in Syria (6)(7) 
for opposing reasons: For Assad it was in order have a scapegoat to discredit the 
revolution; for the gulf states, it was to gain a foothold in Syria. The US arming Kurds 
(who they used to call terrorists) to fight ISIS put the US at odds with its ally Turkey. 
The Kurds conflict with Turkey and ISIS put them in a position of collaboration with the 
Assad government. The US, who openly calls for the end to Assad's rule, declares a red 
line on chemical weapons while performing thousands of airstrikes against Assad's enemies 
- and, for purposes of optics, a couple of airstrikes against half-empty regime targets, 
after agreeing with Russia on what are acceptable targets and giving advanced warning (8) 
(9). The complexities of how the conflict reproduces itself everyday, with all of its 
contradictions, are overwhelming. However, clearly, implicit within this decision to 
prioritize "fighting terror" is solid consensus around supporting the Assad regime, even 
if this position is not explicitly articulated. Although there is no convenient soundbite 
that could sum up conflict, this is an important point and basis for discussion.

Later on in this piece, I want to put the geopolitical discussion in its proper place 
given other considerations: the tendency to reduce conflicts and revolutions to the 
maneuvers of states is horribly reductive, as is reducing all causation to solely economic 
considerations - both tendencies are characteristic of (a variety of) Marxist-Leninist 
analysis of imperialism and something we must resist in a truly humanistic discourse about 
anti-imperialism and revolution. However, first I want to critique the framework espoused 
by many Marxist-Leninists vis a vis imperialism and Syria, to point out its theoretical 
limitations. Although geopolitical and political economic considerations are not solely 
determinative, they are important and deserve some interrogation.

Monopoly and Myths of Capitalist Multipolarity

The complexity of imperial presence in Syria caught the western left off guard; it was a 
moment of realization for many that the unipolar world that rose in the wake of the 
collapse of the USSR was being challenged, if not on its way out. I would argue that the 
world is still unipolar in several ways, but the order is indeed experiencing challenges. 
The post-World War II policy of uniting inter-capitalist rivals around the globe has 
become untenable, as the emergence of China, Russia and other emerging markets have 
altered the geopolitical field. The US, China, Russia, Iran, and indeed, Syria, are all 
empires differing size and scope - but not in form. As these countries integrate further 
into the global capitalist order, their tendencies toward expansion and further 
exploitation become more powerful. The imperial state in capitalism plays the role of 
facilitating conquest as well security guard (protecting investments and interests related 
to them). Capitalism is historically not the only driver of imperialism, but imperialism 
has been integral to capitalism since its inception. (10)

The idea that imperial expansionism is inherent to capitalism is an important theoretical 
point, and it's not one that is lost on Marxist-Leninists. However, there is perhaps a 
strategy of avoidance when it comes to this fact. A contradiction within Marxist-Leninist 
theory of imperialism and Monopoly Capitalism is that successful capitalist 
"self-determination" results in empire. Capitalism is only sustained by growth. 
Recognizing this does not imply that one is against national liberation, but rather it 
provides us with a critical anti-capitalist lense to understand national liberation 
through. With this understanding, we can move forward with the recognition that Russia and 
Iran, for example, are not anti-imperialist by definition; they are emerging capitalist 
empires, whose interests in exploitation and territory may or may not be in conflict with 
the US (and each other), but are no different in form. Thus, their interventions in Syria 
are imperial interventions; and given that Assad could not have survived the popular 
revolution without Russian and Iranian backing, we believe it is a farce to refer to the 
Assad regime as an expression of national self-determination (11).

Aside from the comfortable certainty of following the simplistic Cold War binary logic, 
underlying the geopolitically motivated support for Bashar Al-Assad by some is the vague 
goal of capitalist multipolarity. The theoretical underpinnings of this can be found in 
Lenin, the Monthly Review school, and Dependency theorists like Samir Amin - and it is 
important to challenge this goal as both an illusion and counter-revolutionary. Under this 
theory of imperialism, imperialism is driven by the interests of monopoly capital, whose 
interests and institutions have been fused with finance and the state (12). Thus 
imperialism is an expression monopoly power in the global market, and the anti-imperialist 
position is to engage in national liberation struggles against the monopoly capitalists of 
the imperial core. Notably, what is emphasized in this framework is the struggle between 
states that represent capitalists, while the struggle between labor and capital moves to 
the side. We have seen historically how this has usually amounted to Popular Frontism and 
justification for allying with the national bourgeoisie in what is essentially an 
exaggerated version of a small business position; if what is most important is to eject 
the foreign monopoly capitalists, then an alliance with national capitalists is justified. 
Indeed, this strategy is what propelled the Syrian Baathist regime initially in the 1960s 
, just as it did for Ayatollah in Iran in the 70's . In both cases, the strategy left 
progressive forces vulnerable to reactionary forces within the front, and capitalism and 
conservatism were reinforced. (13) (14)

The notion that it is absolutely necessary that we pick sides within inter-capitalist 
rivalries for the sake of resisting monopoly is a dead end and founded upon two crucial 
bourgeois political economic assumptions: that capitalist competition allocates resources 
efficiently and optimally, and that the monopoly is the opposite of competition (refer 
back to my last piece on monopoly capital theory). In point of fact, there is no evidence 
that capitalist competition allocates resources better than capitalist monopoly, and all 
monopoly that exists is in fact intense oligopolistic competition. Prices are not 
determined by market power or lack thereof (as bourgeois economists claim), but determined 
by the severity of labor exploitation (15) . Indeed, what matters for workers is not 
*primarily* the power relations between capitalists or capitalist nations, but the power 
relations between labor and capital. In fact, a 2010 study shows that income inequality in 
the US grew simultaneously with a decline in large firms; this counter-intuitive 
development begins to make sense when we consider the more salient fact that this increase 
in income inequality coincides with a decline in organized labor (16). Class composition 
still matters; the national capitalists will betray workers just as fast as monopoly 
capitalists, and rejecting the monopolists without rejecting capitalism is a limited approach.

We oppose monopoly and monopoly capitalists as much as anyone, but we have to be both 
accurate about how monopoly operates in relation to capitalist competition, as well as be 
critical toward the road that has led to Popular Frontism and state capitalism repeatedly. 
A "multipolar world" of several competing capitalist empires cannot be merely assumed to 
be "historically progressive", as it says next to nothing about the relationship between 
the exploiters and the exploited, it doesn't address resource distribution issues on its 
own, and in fact, without the class component, it can only result in more exploitation and 
war as a result of increased competition among capitals. The hegemony of the US must be 
challenged, but under the direction of and in the interests of workers and marginalized 
peoples.

In the case of the Assad regime, the guise of multipolarity allows imperial intervention 
and neoliberalism to be equated with anti-imperialism and even socialism. By turning the 
conflict into a disingenuous and bourgeois geopolitical exercise, class struggle is left 
to the wayside by the authoritarian left. The biggest and most determinative monopoly that 
exists is the monopoly that capitalists hold on productive resources - it would be best if 
we did not ignore that.

Globalization, Inter-Imperialism and Islamophobia

Although the era of truce between capitalist powers looks like it is falling apart in many 
ways, there are significant relationships and connections of mutual interest that tie 
capitalist rivals together. These relationships are engendered by the global capitalist 
system, which the US sits at the top of, and which poses hard constraints on the prospect 
of self determination. In a world where absolute advantage is defined by degree of labor 
exploitation and resource extraction, integration into the world capitalist economy and 
the adoption of the western commodity form pose new questions and challenges for 
anti-imperialism. The authoritarian leftist case for defining capitalist powers like 
Russia, Iran, and Syria as anti-imperialist is inadequate given the criticisms of the 
monopoly capitalism framework, but also it ignores the implications of neoliberal 
globalization. Rather than understanding the adoption of the western commodity form as its 
own form of western imperialism - a result of west's world hegemony, serving western 
capitalist interests - many on the left wish to protect neoliberal elites in supposedly 
anti-imperialist countries who are instituting this adoption. Putin, Assad, Khamenei are 
not insignificant agents in the proliferation of global neoliberalism; and their supposed 
resistance has always been contradicted by their participation in global capital. Assad's 
neoliberal reforms sparked the revolution against him, and it was Putin and Khamenei that 
came to the aid of neoliberalism in Syria.

When we look at the fact that Russia and China are heavily invested in the US and thus 
have an interest in US growth (17)(18), or that the younger Assad opened up Syrian markets 
to the west, we see that there are large areas of mutual interest between capitalist 
powers. One could make the claim that these are relationships of dependency on the western 
imperial core - my interest is not to cast judgements on a situation of imperial 
dependency. However, when the marginalized classes who have been impoverished by these 
measures rise up in revolution against them, where we stand should not be a matter of 
hesitation. When elites like Assad and his family benefit from this impoverishment, we 
should know where we stand. The Assad regime and its backers did not crush the revolution 
to beat back western capitalism - in many ways, they did so to preserve it.

As mentioned earlier, perhaps the biggest area of mutual interest between rival capitalist 
powers in Syria and worldwide is in the islamophobic "War on Terror". From the US to 
Russia to China, the entirety of the global ruling class has been collaborating in the 
campaign to exterminate Muslims for years. The Jihadi has become the archetypal enemy of 
order and stability for the capitalist system, and no amount of civilian deaths is 
considered too excessive in the imperialists' hunt for them. Whilst the western left 
vigorously raised objections to a couple of airstrikes against half-empty Assad targets in 
2017 and 2018, not much has been said about 273 Syrian civilians killed by US coalition 
forces in May 2017 in the "fight against terror" (19), or the thousands of other US 
strikes in Syria. The silence of western leftists when the US imperialists kill civilians 
while hunting Assad's enemies helps us understand the totalizing nature of western 
cultural hegemony and Orientalism: some things have become settled issues and thus no 
longer within the realm of politics - that innocent Muslim deaths are a necessary 
byproduct of the "War on Terror" has become so ingrained that it is no longer even worth 
talking about for many leftists in the west and beyond. If we were to talk about it, the 
intellectual bankruptcy of supporting Assad would be exposed, as Assad is using terrorism 
as a convenient scapegoat and justification for violence in the same exact way the west 
has always done. And the sheer amount of innocent civilians he has killed in doing so has 
been staggering. (20)

Eurocentrism and Anti-Humanist Discourse

The eurocentrism of Marxist-Leninist Assad supporters is a double sided coin. Devoid of a 
theoretical system that more clearly allows for ethics, creativity, and in general, the 
production of the new, they rely almost solely on a reductive and eurocentric historical 
calculation. Historical materialism has an important place in social and revolutionary 
theory, but it is constrained by eurocentric standards of development and statecraft; real 
decolonial self determination is elusive in this framework so long as what is 
"historically progressive" is defined by eurocentric criteria. At the same time, brown 
bodies are reified in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary trajectory, with Third Worldists 
and others measuring the success of Marxism by how many brown bodies are engaged in its 
perpetuation. This contradiction essentially attempts to erase the agency of brown folks 
in the region, with every act of organic resistance to a supposedly "historically 
progressive" (nominally anti-US) tokenized regime transformed into a CIA conspiracy plot. 
The dreams and aspirations of Syrians living within the poverty of neoliberalism matter 
less than Syria's position in the faulty monopoly capital schema, or the supposed 
"secular" credentials of its sectarian state. In fact, Syrians aren't even allowed to 
dream about a better life; it would be ahistorical. The regime's existence is justified as 
revolutionary already, and any resistance must be discredited as counter-revolutionary, 
regardless of purpose.

And so, when they say "historically progressive", we should ask "to who?" - Was the Assad 
regime "historically progressive" to innocent Muslim detainees in the CIA black sites it 
hosted in the years after 9/11? (21) Is it "historically progressive" to families of those 
that were killed when it laid siege to Aleppo? The exercise of universalizing a standard 
of historical progress is a problematic exercise that doesn't sit well with supporting 
self determination - and has amounted to supporting capitalist development, extractive 
industries, the marginalization of those at the fringes of society, as well as 
imperialism. Is this the revolution the authoritarian left supports?

We believe that the Syrian people, like all people, are capable of social revolution; the 
orientalist defeatism that portrays the world outside of the west as a monolithic mass of 
backwards people who need to settle for what they have needs to be rejected. The erasure 
of people of color who have dreams of living beyond neoliberal destitution needs to be 
rejected. The ever presence of imperialist maneuvers and reactionary elements does not 
automatically discount all opposition to "historically progressive" regimes as imperialist 
or reactionary; this is the modern world, and empire and reaction are everywhere. Likely, 
the western left's utter distrust of Syrian revolutionaries comes from a deeply seated 
arrogance and bigotry; why they couldn't trust that the Syrian revolutionaries, who have 
lived with reactionary jihadism and imperialism in their own communities for years, knew 
best how to deal with these elements illustrates a sort of orientalist paternalism. (22) 
It is legitimate to critique - that is how we all move forward - but it is something else 
entirely to distrust and discredit. This paternalism speaks to the notion that the Syrian 
people are reified in the eyes of some of the western left; they are no longer humans, but 
cogs in a historical machine who just need to play their proper and useful role in the 
grand narratives of imperialism and geopolitics.

Towards internationalism

So what are some ways we can illustrate international solidarity to our comrades in Syria 
and elsewhere? What would a truly anti-imperialist internationalism look like today? In 
reality, the answers are not neatly laid out; as with all organizing efforts, we have to 
learn as we go along, while absorbing critiques and lessons from the past. However, the 
minimum basis I would suggest we go by is that internationalists and anti-imperialists 
should support all struggles for social justice, radical democracy and self determination 
worldwide. This means a blanket rejection of all imperialist interventions, whether they 
be by the US or the other imperial powers. This also means a rejection of neoliberal 
globalization and support for struggles against austerity and poverty.

We must also recognize that the state operates primarily in the interests of the ruling 
classes, whether imperial monopoly capitalists or national capitalists or both - and 
states in general are institutions of order and capture, whose interest is to either 
destroy social movements or channel social movements toward its own ends. A state is not a 
movement, even when a state supports or is supported by movements, and that distinction 
must be clear when thinking about national liberation struggles. As anarchists, we should 
oppose all states but also recognize the movements they are attempting to capture as 
legitimate and support them as far as they demand social justice and self determination. 
Hence, we must offer critical support to national liberation struggles against empire, and 
also recognize when the facade of national liberation and anti-imperialism is being used 
solely to serve imperial, capitalist and state interests - as in the case of Assad.

As anti-imperialists, we must also continue to understand issues at the intersection. The 
intersections of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious identity still 
matter to people in their everyday lives, whether oppressions can be clearly traced to 
empire or locally. Our solidarity to marginalized peoples must not be limited by 
supposedly leftist states or grand geopolitical narratives. The oppressed have the right 
to demand dignity from whoever is denying it to them, and we have a duty to support them 
as comrades.

The tendency for activists to reify people in the struggle makes it all the more clear 
that the most important thing we must do is build international connections for 
communication and tangible support. In the west, anti-imperialism cannot remain within the 
confines of heated social media arguments and Stalin memes; situations become abstract, 
arguments become a means to social capital. People become mere things or plot devices. It 
is imperative and urgent to organize and act in solidarity with our comrades under the gun 
in Syria and around the world. As revolutionaries and internationalists, we have a duty to 
make our solidarity concrete. How can the housing justice movement in Detroit relate to 
mass evictions in China? How can those within the US prison abolitionist movement connect 
with those who live in the open air prison of Gaza? How can striking Iranian and American 
teachers work together in common cause (23)? How can our presence in the core of empire 
help stop US wars of aggression?  These are the questions we need to ask and the 
connections we need to make, in conversation with our international comrades.

* Since this piece was intended to be about how we should orient toward the Syrian 
Revolution, I opted to narrow my focus and not go in depth about the Kurdish struggle. 
Much has been written on Rojava by anarchists; not as much has been written in solidarity 
with the Syrian revolution writ large.

Works Cited

(1)http://www.synaps.network/syria-trends#chapter-3699080

(2)https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/syria-is-not-exceptional-interview-with-joseph-daher-part-1/

(3)https://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/syria-the-struggle-continues-syrias-grass-roots-civil-opposition/

(4) https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/assad-and-isis-theyre-both-the-same

(5) https://isreview.org/issue/107/revolution-counterrevolution-and-imperialism-syria

(6) http://news.sky.com/story/is-files-reveal-assads-deals-with-militants-10267238

(7) https://www.thedailybeast.com/americas-allies-are-funding-isis

(8) 
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-air-strikes-us-russia-warn-ahead-airbase-donald-trump-putin-missile-attack-tomohawk-cruise-a7671736.html

(9) http://www.newsweek.com/now-russia-says-it-told-us-where-syria-it-was-allowed-bomb-895204

(10) https://antidotezine.com/2018/04/19/the-specter-of-slavery-still-stalks-the-land/

(11) https://www.sbs.com.au/news/russia-saved-syria-as-a-state-says-putin-during-assad-meeting

(12) https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch07.htm

(13) http://www.marxist.com/in-defence-of-the-syrian-revolution-the-marxist-perspective-2.htm

(14) Moghadam, Valentine M. "Socialism or Anti-Imperialism? The Left and Revolution in Iran"

(15) Shaikh, Anwar. Capitalism: Competition, Crises, Conflict. 69

The price of any commodity can be represented as the product of two distinct elements. The 
first of these is the vertically integrated unit labor cost associated with the production 
of this commodity (Sraffa 1960, appendix A; Pasinetti 1965; Kurz and Salvadori 1995, 85, 
168-169, 178). This is the sum of the unit labor costs of the industry producing the 
commodity in question, plus the unit labor costs of the set of industries producing inputs 
(raw materials, etc.) of this particular industry, plus the unit labor costs of the 
industries producing the inputs for the industries producing inputs, and so on. Vertical 
integration in this (analytical) sense captures the total industrial labor cost of 
producing a given commodity. The second element is the vertically integrated ratio of 
profits to wages associated with the same industry. This is a weighted average of the 
profit-wage ratio in the industry producing the commodity, plus the profit-wage ratio in 
the set of industries producing the inputs, plus the profit-wage ratio in the set of 
industries producing the inputs for the inputs, and so on. (7)

Adam Smith was the first one to make this decomposition, by means of a verbal argument. It 
is quite easy to reproduce analytically (once a great thinker has already shown the way). 
David Ricardo subsequently used a similar mode of reasoning to argue that the relative 
prices of any two commodities would be dominated by the ratio of their vertically 
integrated unit labor costs. His upper limit for the influence of the remaining element 
was 7%. Thus, on his estimation, relative vertically integrated unit labor costs would be 
expected to account for at least 93% of the inter-industrial structure of relative prices. 
With only a few notable exceptions (Schwartz 1961, 42-44), this "93% Theory of Price" has 
been long derided by modern economists on theoretical grounds.

It is always illuminating to look at the actual empirical evidence. Figure 2.14 displays 
the relation between observed market prices and prices proportional to vertically 
integrated unit labor costs (direct prices), for each of the seventy-one sectors of the US 
input-output table for 1972. The vertical axis represents the market value of each 
sector's total output (i.e., its unit market price times its total output), while the 
horizontal axis represents the corresponding direct money value for the same outputs. The 
two sets of prices are scaled so that they have the same total. Also displayed on the 
chart is 45-degree line, for purposes of visual comparison. From 1947 to 1998 the average 
absolute deviation of observed market prices with the respect to direct prices is 15.4%. 
But Ricardo's concern was with the long-run competitive prices, not market prices, and for 
the actual rate of profit in each the average deviation of competitive prices from direct 
prices is 13.2% (chapter 9, tables 9.9 and 9.13). To put it in Ricardian terms, about 87% 
of the inter-industrial structure of long run competitive prices is accounted for by 
direct and indirect unit labor costs.

(16)https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/monopoly-or-competition-which-is-worse/

(17) http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/17/investing/russia-us-debt/index.html?iid=EL

(18) https://sputniknews.com/business/201608171044357006-russia-us-debt-investment/l

(19) http://sn4hr.org/wp-content/pdf/english/964_civilians_killed_in_May_2017_en.pdf

(20) 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-casualties/syrian-war-monitor-says-465000-killed-in-six-years-of-fighting-idUSKBN16K1Q1

(21) https://www.wired.com/2013/02/54-countries-rendition/

(22) 
https://socialistworker.org/better-off-red/12-save-kevin-cooper-the-crisis-in-syria-with-anand-gopal-and-yasser-munif 
@ 42:17

(23) 
https://www.allianceofmesocialists.org/what-can-u-s-teacher-protests-learn-from-iranian-teacher-protests/

http://m1aa.org/?p=1527

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