Those of us with at least some kind of rudimentary moral compass are compelled to oppose draconian tyrants like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, whose regime regularly engages in brutal state terrorist campaigns of mass bombing, torture, starvation, and rape of civilians, including children.
There is a small yet vociferous group of quasi-fascist conspiracy theorists who claim to be “leftists,” however, who completely forsake any basic standards of human morality and adamantly defend any dictators who purport to be “anti-imperialist” (by which they actually mean anti-West, because, in their view, Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and other forms of Eastern imperialism are not just permissible, they are to be applauded). If a dictator supposedly opposes Western imperialist powers, it matters not that that despot’s regime slaughters civilians, tortures (leftist) political opponents, and rapes women and children. In this narrow, suffocating view of the world, the ends always justify the means—even the cruelest of means.
Given the egregious ignorance of history necessitated to even entertain the preposterous idea that people like Muammar Qaddafi and Assad—neoliberals who imprisoned, tortured, and killed leftists in their own country; banned the Communist Party (and even encouraged fellow Global South countries to do the same); and did their darnedest to cozy up to the imperialist West—are somehow “progressive,” “anti-imperialist” forces, this crowd prefers ahistorical and fundamentally non-dialectical approaches. Their conception of politics is entirely reactionary; it is manichean. They gleefully adopt Bush’s exact maxim, and, although it may be in the opposite direction, it still sounds exactly the same: “You are either with us, or you are against us.” (It is hence no surprise that their politics come to resemble the cynical, amoral, ahistorical realpolitik of the neo-cons; they are its polar inversion.)
In lieu of actual dialectical and materialist historical analysis, this crowd tends to be attracted to reactionary conspiracy theories. Such absurd, reactionary, irrational conspiracies help them to justify their absurd, reactionary, irrational beliefs. Common among these bigoted beliefs is racism. And the most prevalent of racial bigotries among conspiracy theorists is the preposterous notion that a small “cabal” of powerful Jews control the world.
A small band of Assadistas on Twitter epitomize this repugnant tendency. @TrueNameBrand, @ChrisRulon, @Way2Wonderland, @cossa68, and @vincenttongue are some of Assad’s biggest fans. All of them harbor anti-Semitic ideas and are proud Holocaust revisionists, or even outright Holocaust deniers.
All of them are 9/11 “truth” conspiracy theorists who think Israel (more specifically Mossad) was behind the 9/11 attacks. They are big fans of far-right, neo-fascist publications Veterans Today and InfoWars. Many also support anti-vaccination conspiracy theories and claim that water fluoridation is a nefarious government plot. This is to be expected from people who are so delusional they claim that the Holocaust is a myth—or at the least “exaggerated.”
Most of the time, when people criticize “Zionists,” they actually mean Zionists—that is to say, those who support the racist, ultranationalist, settler-colonialist ideology and movement of Zionism. When these quasi-fascists say “Zionists,” however, they sometimes actually mean Jews.
While peddling neoliberal dictators like Putin, Assad, and Qaddafi, these reactionary conspiracy theorists construct an imaginary cabal of powerful Jews, and blame the Rothschild family (which they believe controls the world), the “New World Order” (NWO), and the “Illuminati” for the world’s problems. In place of a dialectical understanding of the contemporary global capitalist system, in place of any kind of theory of political economy, in place of a materialist conception of history, Assadistas such as these prefer to just blame it on the Jewish cabal, the NWO, and NATO.
This is not to mention their misogyny, in the form of fervent anti-feminism (unsurprising, considering how often racism and misogyny go hand-in-hand). Several of them argue that feminism is a conspiracy created to “destabilize society.”
They in fact, in many ways, parallel the many neo-fascists (including neo-Nazis) who steadfastly support Assad. Like this group, neo-fascists have refashioned themselves as “anti-imperialists,” appropriating the term from actual leftist internationalists and perverting it into an anti-West, anti-multicultural nationalist concept in which NATO and the so-called “NWO,” “Illuminati,” and Rothschilds are responsible for all of the world’s problems. These are the quasi-fascists who are proudly part of the “red”-brown alliance for Syria.
@PartisanGirl, who has developed an internet following peddling absurd conspiracy theories and supporting the far-right, is the most well-known of these figures. Her obscenely reactionary politics and implicit support for neo-fascists is widely acknowledged. The similar politics of her confrères, nonetheless, worryingly, is not often acknowledged.
Here, I have archived just some of the many examples of the virulent anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories, and simply delusional behavior that are so rampant among Assad apologists: