Javier Sethness, Frieda Afary, John Reimann, Alexander Reid Ross, Sina Zekavat
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
In light of the fate of the Syrian Revolution, which has been crushed by the bloody counter-revolution carried out by Bashar al-Assad together with his Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies, there has debate in the global left about the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism, and the political implications these carry. Many authoritarians claiming leftism cross-over with the white-supremacist right’s open support for the Assad Regime by denying its crimes and overlooking the imperialist role played by Russia and Iran in Syria, focusing exclusively on the U.S.’s supposed opposition to Assad’s rule.
This tendency is a worrisome development, suggestive as it is of a red-brown alliance (or axis) that is not consistently anti-imperialist but rather, only opposed to U.S. Imperialism. It also fails analytically to see how the U.S. has increasingly accommodated Assad’s counter-revolution. In contrast to such approaches, participants on this panel will present anti-authoritarian class analyses of militarism and imperialism. Panelists will discuss the red-brown alliance (or axis) as recalling the “Holy Alliance” and fascism; the concept and reality of imperialism in the Middle East; the current wave of popular protests in Iran; left and right interpretations of geopolitics and political geography both historically and today; the lessons of the Bosnian genocide; and the tragedy of the Syrian Revolution.
Javier Sethness is the author of Imperiled Life: Revolution Against Climate Catastrophe, Eros and Revolution: The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, and For a Free Nature: Critical Theory, Social Ecology, and Post-Developmentalism, and editor/translator of I Am Action: Literary And Combat Articles, Thoughts, and Revolutionary Chronicles.
Frieda Afary is an Iranian-American librarian and translator, producer of the blog Iranian Progressives in Translation and member of the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists.
John Reimann is a retired carpenter and the former recording secretary of Carpenters Union Local 713 (Hayward, CA). He always opposed the pro-employer policies of the union leadership and was expelled from the union for that and for his role in the 1999 SF Bay Area wildcat strike of some 2,000 carpenters. He has visited the workers movement throughout the United States, from the West Virginia teachers’ strike to the movement in Ferguson after Michael Brown was killed and internationally in Pakistan, Venezuela and in Egypt during the Arab Spring.
Alexander Reid Ross is a Lecturer in Geography at Portland State University. His book Against the Fascist Creep was listed one of the best books of 2017 by the Willamette Week.