The Compatible Left’s Support for Genocide

The Compatible Left’s Support for Genocide

By Carlos L. Garrido
Jan 6, 2024

The self-proclaimed ‘radical American magazine’ Compact Mag just published an article from Alan Dershowitz making the argument that Israel has not committed war crimes and that Hamas, on the other hand, has.

What world are these people living in? Do you not see the tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, women, children, and elderly indiscriminately killed by US taxpayer funded bombs? Do you not see the unprecedently dangerous situation for journalists, 77 of whom have been killed (as of Dec 31st, 2023), for United Nations workers, 100+ killed by Zionist crimes against humanity? Has collective punishment suddenly been removed from the list of war crimes under international law? Has using white phosphorus been removed from that list too? Are apartheid states no longer in violation of international law? Is keeping people in an ‘open air prison,’ as even conservative UK prime minister David Cameron called it (including Amnesty international and other global human rights organizations), suddenly acceptable by international law? Does international law now accept concentration camps as legal, the largest of which is the one Gazans are enclosed in according to Hebrew University sociologist, Baruch Kimmerling? Is international law now acceptant of genocidal rhetoric (a rhetoric backed up by actions) on the part of prominent state leaders? Is it acceptable, under international law, to keep a population of 2.3 (densely packed) million blockaded without sufficient water, food, and fuel? Is it acceptable to have leaders of a state refer to the people they’re ethnically cleansing from the land (since 1948) as ‘animals’ and ‘not humans?’ Does international law accept the indiscriminate bombing of schools, hospitals, ambulances, places of worship, ‘escape routes,’ and other civilian packed locations?

Whole volumes would have to be written to comprehensively document the crimes of the Zionist state, and the last few months would have a volume of its own. How much of the Israeli atrocity propaganda from October 7th, propaganda essential in stirring emotions, dehumanizing the Palestinian anti-colonial liberation forces, and manufacturing consent, has been shown to be utterly baseless? 40 beheaded babies? Worse than ISIS? Hamas using Palestinians as human shields? Mass rapes (claims rooted in the comments of an admittingly ‘proud racist’)? Hamas blew up al-Ahli hospital? These and many more stomach-turning atrocity propaganda stories have been spun by Zionist media without a shred of verifiable or credible evidence. In fact, in most instances it is purely based on imperialist projection. It is Israel, not Hamas, who is using Palestinians as human shields. It is Israel who is indiscriminately killing babies and haunting the algorithms with their dismembered bodies (these images, which disgust most regular human beings, are celebrated by blood-thirsty genocidal Zionists in carnivalesque digital forums resembling the lynching spectacles of the apartheid US south). It is leading Israeli military rabbis, not ‘Hamas,’ who defend the rape of enemy women and the killing of babies on the basis of their religious fundamentalism.“

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To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter,” as a young Marx once wrote. Compact Mag, by publishing pro-genocide garbage, is as far as it possibly could be from being ‘radical.’[1] An actual ‘radical’ understanding of Israel’s genocidal war against the Palestinian people is forced to see it within the context of the capitalist-imperialist system which birthed that wretched supremacist state and which continues to use it as a colonial outpost to wage its wars upon the Middle East – a region the imperialists have always thirsted over because of its wealth of resources and global strategic location as a midpoint in the Eurasian world. An actual ‘radical’ position (which is to say, a Marxist position rooted in a comprehensive understanding of imperialism and geopolitical economy) is forced to see Israel’s actions since October 7th as those of not only a fascist, but a Nazi, genocidal state – as Dr. Anthony Monteiro notes. Those states in the West which have supported this genocide, or have turned a blind eye to it, are in violation of the Geneva Convention which holds that “the duty of prevention clearly obliges states parties to do everything they can whenever genocide is committed by whomever, i.e., regardless of whether the person acts as a private individual or qua state official.”

Far from being radical, publications such as this one and others show that Compact Mag (like many other so called ‘radical’ publications in the US and West) is simply an institution of the compatible left. Its job (whether cognizant of it or not) is to provide a ‘leftist’ or ‘radical’ veneer to the defense of the imperialist’s agenda. Any struggle against imperialism, whether socialist in character or not, is subject to radical sounding condemnations from the pro-imperialist ‘radicals.’ The Dershowitz publication is simply one the most blatant one of these. This is a practice that is essential for the ruling elite, who have been systematically propping up compatible ‘lefts’ since at least the mid-20th century anti-communist Congress for Cultural Freedom. It finances, creates, and promotes institutions which can crank out various flavors of radical recuperators, as Gabriel Rockhill calls them. When these are given a superficial “Marxist” veneer, condemning people’s struggles as ‘not real socialism,’ or ‘not really anti-colonial,’ because of said struggle’s ‘impurities,’ they operate within the lifeless outlook I have termed the purity fetish. Since October 7th, as I have previously written, many on the US left have shown (on the basis of their purity fetish) their affinity with the ruling elite they claim to oppose (see my critique of Jacobin editor Meagan Day’s ridiculous condemnation of Palestinian resistance).

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But the tides are well into turning. The world has come out to condemn the US funded Israeli genocide of the Palestinians. The Israeli Occupational Forces, although successful killing babies, women, and the elderly, have been unable to beat Hamas in actual conflict. Yemen’s Ansarallah is intensifying the pressure against the Nazi-Zionist state, as Pepe Escobar notes, with its “stunning and carefully targeted blockade of the Red Sea.” In two key fronts – actual fighting and the information war – the forces of humanity are winning. Advanced imperialist weaponry and technology is no match for a people determined to be free – as the US’s defeat in Vietnam, Cuba, etc. showed. As I have argued before:

[Palestinian’s] struggle for freedom is not limited to Palestinians. A defeat of Israel, the US empire’s outpost in the so-called Middle East – the “baby child of imperialism in the Middle East” as Kwame Ture said – would be a victory for all of humanity.

A defeat of empire in any corner of the earth, as Che Guevara noted, must be celebrated cheerfully by every communist, every person driven by a deep love of humanity. The imperialists hate humanity; their capitalist system undermines, as Marx had noted, the “original sources of all wealth – the soil and the worker.” The Palestinian struggle against the racist Israeli colonial US-outpost is a struggle for humanity – for the exploited and oppressed across the earth. It is a struggle for life, a struggle against the Israeli imperialist death machine.

As is evident by the role Jewish Voices for PeaceIf Not Now, and orthodox Jews have played in calling for a ceasefire and condemning the Zionist entity, more and more Jewish people around the world are rejecting the crimes the Zionist state is committing in their name. Many are even coming to reject the supremacist ideology of Zionism itself, fervently combatting the anti-Jewish equating of Zionism with Judaism (something both the Zionists and actual Anti-Semites agree on). Jewish people, especially in the US, are saying NO to the Zionist lies the elites have attempted to indoctrinate them with. Now more than ever Jewish people (especially younger ones) are coming to Katie Halper’s correct position: “As a Jew, I want to say that Israel does not make me safe. Israel makes me sick, and Israel makes me less safe, because they are committing crimes against humanity in the name of Jews.”

As US imperial power shows its moribund state globally, the forces it once held captive are jumping ship. A new world is coming into being, whether we want to call it ‘multipolarity’ (most common usage), ‘pluripolarity’ (Hugo Chavez’s term), ‘the Afro-Asiatic reconstitution of the world’ (Dr. Monteiro’s term), ‘post-hegemonic world’ (Mexican Economist Oscar Rojas’s term), or the Post-Colombian, Post-1492 world (the term I use in The Purity Fetish). As material conditions decline at unprecedented rates in the imperial core, the base of the last centuries bourgeoisified proletariat (and labor aristocracy) is dying. They are being, as Noah Khrachvik notes, reproletarianized. There is no longer an incentive for working people to look away from their imperialist government’s crimes when it is using OUR tax dollars to fund genocide while we lack healthcare, are in crippling debt, and are struggling to pay the bills at the end of the month. The United Automobile Workers, one of the nation’s largest unions, has been outspoken in its calls for a ceasefire and has connected this internationalism to the struggle of the union against the US’s imperialist war in Vietnam. A crisis of legitimacy, consent, authority (whatever you want to call it) is in the works – both globally and within the US itself. As we say in the US, something has got to give! The weeks where decades happen, as Lenin’s dictum goes, are approaching us in the months and years to come.

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The pro-imperialist compatible left is no challenge for the real movement of working and oppressed peoples. Along with the imperialists themselves, they will be left in the dustbins of history.

Because this great humanity has said: Enough! and has started walking. And their march of giants will no longer stop until they achieve true independence, for which they have already died more than once in vain. Now, in any case, those who will die, will die like those of Cuba, those of Playa Girón, will die for their only, true, inalienable independence! – Che Guevara

If I am unable to return and live in freedom in Palestine, my children will return. – Leila Khaled


[1] ​In a sane society, stooges of imperialism and US power like Alan Dershowitz would find it hard to place their garbage anywhere. But it is too much to ask for sanity from a deeply irrational mode of life.

(Midwestern Marx)

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