The Stop the War Campaign's Chris Nineham stated on Today:
If we have a protest outside the Russian embassy it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to Putin and it would also actually increase the hysteria and jingoism that is being whipped up at the moment against Russia.
No, this is exactly what will happen if the Left does not engage in solidarity with Syrian opposition against the war being waged by Assad and Russia -- and ground force brought in from Hezbollah, Iran, Iraqi militias and fighters from Afghanistan. Recoiling from the opposition with half-hearted calls for all bombing to end says nothing about the balance of forces and who is being oppressed. And falling in line with Assadist lies that the opposition on the ground is and always has been nothing but "terrorists" only feeds the rights ability to stir up fear of "terrorists" posing as refugees.
Would anyone on the Left take the same approach on economic issues? "If we take up the cause of the working classes job insecurity and low wages it will increase the hysteria and xenophobia being whipped up at the moment."
This stance of Stop the War leaves British Syrians without their solidarity if protests were taken up against the Russian atrocities at the Russian Embassy. Is it the position of the anti-war group that Syrians who are looking for solidarity in action against the state bombing them must move to Russia? Should UN vetos by Russia not be condemned and protested because Russia is not as powerful as the United States? This is saying the suffering of those being bombed by Russia matter less simply because their oppressor is not as powerful as your State.
None of this harms (if anything it adds credibility) to our ability to take action against the US and UK air strikes on area controlled by Al Nusra or Daesh which have been ongoing for almost 2 years now.*
This balancing act leads to a sort of social chauvinism for any state they deem an enemy of Western imperialism. They rally behind the 'war on terror', the militarism in defense of these supposed "anti-imperialist" states and reject the fact that material conditions play a role in associations people make. Instead they frame it as ideological and static.
How are we to unify with the international working class when we weigh their struggles on a scale of how powerful their oppressor is?
Not taking a stand against the Russian state's war crimes means leaving the only counter to the jingoism being whipped up as that of those who deny the crimes of the Russian state and parrot the Assad regime's talking points on who the opposition is. And try as they may, this will never gain traction outside of the far left and far right, because it is factually absurd.
If the Left does not correct its direction and finally shred the decades old world-view completely, I fear we will deserve our irrelevance.
**\*** Sadly I feel it has to be pointed out that this is not to be confused with support for Daesh. Bombing civilian areas because of who controls them will feed the propaganda of those groups and while bombs fall the residents are unable to effectively take up against their occupiers. Opposition to these counterproductive bombardments are another aspect of the "war on terror" that at one time was not controversial on the Left.