THREAD. Let’s talk about something that the left should become more familiar with: “Campism.” This refers to a worldview which divides the globe up into competing “camps”: US/Western imperialism v. all opponents of US/West, the “anti-imperialist” camp.
We wanted to give some examples of how the politics of campism play out in problematic ways on the left, but let’s start w/ defining the concept. Here are links to a helpful article & panel video:……
One of the most notorious “campist” outlets is the "Grayzone Project," which features a constellation of “independent journalists” that carry the water for the Syrian, Russian, Nicaraguan, & Chinese states under the guise of opposing US empire.
Grayzone editor, Max Blumenthal, once supported the Syrian uprising against Bashar al-Assad. He interviewed refugees in the Za'atari camp on the Jordanian border in 2013 to learn more about the Revolution. Now, though, he co-hosts a podcast ...…
… Moderate Rebels with Ben Norton. It's dedicated to pushing pro-Assad line that all Syrian rebels in the uprising=al-Qaeda/ISIS. Hence Blumenthal's take that US military was "providing al-Qaeda with air support" after its strikes vs. Assad after 4/17 sarin-gas massacre.
In a Grayzone article, Blumenthal claims that the medical relief org @sams_usa is "al-Qaeda's MASH unit."…
Short on evidence, he rests on guilt by association. He ignores presence of Free Idlib Army & the civilian opposition to Assad & extremist rebels alike. See: Popular protests that took place on past week in Idlib, the last rebel-held region of Syria:
These courageous masses belie Norton’s suggestion that Idlib = al-Qaeda, as seen in this tweet by Norton going after Syrian anarchist Leila al-Shami
Norton’s take here, echoed by Blumenthal, is especially misleading, given that Shami is co-author of what is considered to be one of the best books about the Syrian Revolution, Burning Country ()
In keeping with Grayzone’s support for any regime that claims to oppose US, Blumenthal visited Nicaragua in July & was granted an "exclusive interview" w/ Ortega. He describes April uprising as an "attempted coup,” a complete echo of Ortega’s line:…
He fails to mention the deaths of protesters by police and pro-govt forces since April. Instead, Blumenthal says that "US and its allies... accuse [Ortega] of unleashing lethal violence against peaceful protesters." So what Nicaraguans say is irrelevant?…
Ortega, long criticized by former Sandinistas and many former supporters internationally, receives only positive treatment - helping to grow what critical observers call the “illusions of the Left” around a regime that long betrayed its ideals.…
For Blumenthal & Norton this keeps with their Orientalist erasure of suffering of Syrian people at hands of Assad, Russia, & Iran. See this footage from aftermath of Khan Sheikhoun massacre if you have doubts (CW: distressing images of death)…
Now that Assad & Putin are poised to launched the #IdlibOffensive following failed recent talks, the lives of 3 million Syrians, at least ½ of them internally displaced, are at risk. 🚨 (Map: )
It’s possible that the Regime will use chemical weapons again soon. If it does, you can expect Grayzone to follow @RT_com’s lead in blaming the @whitehelmets.…
Other content in a similar vein is Norton's 'takedown' of recent reports that the Chinese State has forced up to 1 million indigenous Muslim Uighurs from Xinjiang region into "re-education camps."…
In this embarrassing article, Norton & co. frame the conclusions about China's mass-detention of Uighurs as little more than U.S. propaganda. Grayzone doesn't actually engage with content of allegations in any way. Only denials.…
On Thursday, @UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern over these reports & made 8 recommendations to Chinese State, including demands to release all detainees asapa & disclose # of ppl detained in Xinjiang in past 5 yrs…
From the UN report, page 7: “Numerous reports of detention of large # of ethnic Uighurs & other Muslim minorities held incommunicado & often for long periods, w/o being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism.”…
Their ideological commitment to campism caused them to overlook Chinese State's own reaction 2 news getting out: @globaltimesnews reported that crackdown was necessary so that Xinjiang "avoided fate of becoming 'China's Syria' or 'China's Libya'." 🚨…
The denials of the Chinese state’s repression of ethnic Uighurs ignores the long history of anti-Islamic repression that would be rightly denounced as Islamophobic if done by western states. See @AJENews reporting on attempts to ban Ramadan in 2014.…
The Communist Party is clearly pathologizing Islam: “Anyone infected with an ideological ‘virus’ must be swiftly sent for the ‘residential care’ of transformation-through-education classes before illness arises” (Party document from Hotan, Xinjiang).…
As 1 Uighur camp survivor says “The psychological pressure is enormous, when you have to criticise yourself, denounce yr thinking – yr own ethnic group. I still think about it every night, until the sun rises."…
Summary: 1. Campism is an ideological approach to geopolitics that obscures our understanding of events, using a narrow and outdated worldview of imperialism where states are divided into imperialist/anti-imperialist camps.
2. This leads part of the left to side with states often fundamentally hostile to the left values that they pretend to uphold; where atrocities and repression of workers, students, ethnic minority groups are dismissed in the name of a crude, pseudo anti-imperialism.
3. As opposed to disinformation outlets like Grayzone and its writers such as Ben Norton, Max Blumenthal and others, the left should embrace a consistent approach of working-class internationalism that is willing to look critically all states- right, left or otherwise.

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