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Indefensible
Democracy, Counterrevolution, and the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism

A defence of democracy at national and international levels, and critique of attacks on it in the name of "anti-imperialism."

Indefensible offers an essential alternative to the ideology of those who claim to be anti-imperialists but oppose only Western imperialism and the despots it supports. Instead of ignoring or even supporting other imperialist nations like Russia and defending dictators such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hensman takes on the question of how we got here, using important case studies of conflicts such as those in Russia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, and Bosnia. Indefensible powerfully argues for a genuine internationalism that supports mass struggles for freedom and democracy, no matter what regime they are fighting against, and suggests steps that can be taken to promote democracy, end the ongoing violence, and promote human rights.
Reviews
  •  "[A]n important contribution to the debate that has divided the left since 2011, the year that Syria became a litmus test." —Counterpunch

     

    "Fascinating...well written...provocative...I strongly recommend this book!" —Bill Fletcher Jr.

     

    "Too many so-called leftists support regimes that oppose freedom of expression and association; that imprison, torture and kill dissidents; that obstruct free elections; and that promote inequality, sexism, racism, nationalism and religious bigotry. These "leftists" do so in the name of "progress." In her timely and very important book Rohini Hensman eloquently unmasks such "pseudo-anti-imperialists" who believe that the enemies of the West are always our friends and therefore deserve our solidarity. Against such anti-democratic attitudes she argues powerfully for a principled and enduring struggle against any form of authoritarianism and inequality in civil society, whether West, East, North or South. I hope that her work will be widely read and discussed."—Marcel van der Linden, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

     

    "In this highly stimulating work, Rohini Hensman shares her views on a vast number of issues lying at the heart of left-wing politics, from historical to contemporary. Brushing off all sorts of dogmatic beliefs, she does not shy away from thinking out of the box, guided only by her uncompromising dedication to the values of human rights and democracy."—Gilbert Achcar, author of Marxism, Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism

     

    "In support of her argument, Hensman gives a detailed overview of genuine anti-imperialism as opposed to ‘pseudo-anti-imperialism’ through case studies from Russia and Ukraine, Bosnia and Kosovo, Iran, Iraq and Syria. She shows how self-declared ‘leftists’ have repeatedly supported authoritarian regimes over people’s democratic struggles, spread anti-Muslim bigotry, built tactical alliances with fascists, spread conspiracy theories and Kremlin/state propaganda, and engaged in genocide/atrocity denial and victim blaming. Her excellent book, which deserves to be widely read, is a timely reminder that the narratives propagated around Syria, in which the far-left echoes the talking points of the far-right and places geo-politics over people’s struggles and lives, are emblematic of a much broader malaise." —Leila al-Shami