Syria: Defeat imperialism, down with Assad!


On the tasks of Syrian revolutionaries and the character of the Syrian civil war



Joint Statement of Dördüncü Blok and Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), July 2016,,




1.             In 2011, after many decades of brutal rule, the capitalist and sectarian Assad dictatorship started to crumble. Inspired by the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, the multinational masses of workers and peasants in Syria started to stand up against the injustices imposed on them by the Assad dictatorship and the world economic crisis. We characterize this uprising as a justified attempt to foment a democratic revolution and at the same time to fight for important social demands.



2.             Because of the treacherous bourgeois or petty-bourgeois leaderships of the uprising, the first attempt to topple Assad failed. At the same time, the Western Great Powers (the US and EU) in conjunction with the Gulf monarchies and Turkey, tried to exploit the Syrian Revolution for their own particular interests. Assad, for them a puppet of Russian imperialism, was an obstacle to implementing the various plans they had for the region. Western imperialism tried to buy off the anti-Assad rebels, but they were unsuccessful in this and even today they do not have any reliable allies among the rebel movements.



3.             As a result of the failure of the official Arab left, which was mostly in bed with Assad (both of Syria’s Stalinist parties are part of the Assad’s National Front) and corrupt liberals, many poor Sunni Syrians joined radical Islamist forces. They did so because of the absence of an alternative leadership, because the Islamist forces provided food for the poor, and because these reactionary forces did most of the fighting. We don’t judge a mass movement exclusively by its leadership; it is also important to examine the essence of a movement and the classes standing behind it. The Syrian Revolution is not a CIA conspiracy; it is a legitimate mass movement of the workers and peasants against a corrupt, pro-imperialist dictatorship.



4.             Syrian revolutionaries should oppose and criticize the political forces who are now leading the Syrian Revolution, but at the same time they must also demonstrate to the workers and peasants what a revolutionary struggle against Assad looks like. They must show the masses that a red Syria is worth fighting for.



5.             When the Syrian Revolution started, it was multinational: Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Alawites, Christians, Turkmens and Druze all participated in the uprising against the Assad. But both Assad and the reactionary Islamists (who were aided by the Gulf monarchies) had a vast material interest in splitting the masses along ethnic and religious lines. The reason that Assad released many Salafists in 2011 was precisely to undermine the revolution! We must understand Assad’s action for what it was and reaffirm that it is the role of true revolutionaries not only to struggle against oppression, but to do so by fighting for the unity of all oppressed peoples.



6.             Since 2014 and the rise of Daesh/IS, the western Great Powers have entirely dropped even limited rhetorical support for the Syrian Revolution. While still skeptical of Assad, the West nevertheless intervened in the fighting in Syria alongside the regime by bombing not only Daesh/IS but also the forces of anti-western-rebels. Revolutionaries must unequivocally oppose intervention by any imperialist Great Power in the region, regardless of whether this be the US, the EU, Russia or China (or of any of their respective lackeys).



7.             Daesh/IS is an arch-reactionary mass movement, which arose in the wake of the horrific crimes by US/EU imperialism in Iraq and Russia/Assad in Syria. While opposing the imperialist bombing campaign, revolutionaries should do everything in their power to encourage Daesh/IS’s being smashed by the masses.



8.             We oppose an imperialist peace that will try to carve up Syria between the Great Powers who want to establish different protectorates for themselves. We demand the opening of the borders for all refugees from the conflict in Syria to Turkey and from there to Europe!



9.             All revolutionaries must support the right of the Kurdish people for self-determination. We defend the Kurdish people against the reactionary attacks of the Turkish army, Daesh/IS and Iran. But at the same time we criticize the pro-imperialist leadership of the PYD/YPG and the petty-bourgeois ideology of Apoism. We are for a united, socialist Kurdistan from Rojava to Orumiyeh and from Bakhtaran to Qers.



10.          In Syria we are for the formation of popular councils of the workers, peasants and poor. These councils should organize the defense against Assad and topple him. Following their victory, these councils will be able to rebuild Syria, ensure that it is not dived by the Great Imperialist Powers and abolish capitalism. This will reignite the fire that first broke out in 2011, revitalize it and spark workers’ and popular rebellions throughout the entire region.



11.          The first urgent step to this is to found genuinely revolutionary party organizations throughout the Middle East, incorporating revolutionaries who have learned the respective lessons from the failures of Arab nationalism, Stalinism and Kurdish left-nationalism. Only such parties can liberate the masses of the region from the horrors of imperialism and their regional allies – the Arab dictatorships; only such parties can lead the workers and poor towards the abolishment of capitalism; and only such parties will be able to liberate the oppressed peoples – form Palestine, to Kurdistan, from Ahwaz to the Southern Sahara!