Military Coups and Revolutionary Tactics: 2) Military Coups as a Result of an Internal Conflict inside the Ruling Elite




Another type of coups is those which basically reflect a power struggle within the ruling elite. As the existence of authoritarian bourgeois regimes usually reflect a crisis-ridden background of their capitalist economic and social fundament, these regimes are often characterized by numerous internal contradictions. Given the nature of such regimes, neither parliamentary elections nor mass mobilizations are available as instruments to solve these internal contradictions inside the ruling capitalist class. As a result, the rivaling factions have to resort to military coups as an instrument of political change.


History has seen numerous examples of such coups which reflect internal conflicts inside the ruling elite. In order to give just a few examples we refer to the various coups taking place in Greece in the 1920s and 1930s or the coups in Syria and Iraq in the 1960s which replaced one faction of the bourgeois nationalist Baath Party with another. [1] The recent coup in Zimbabwe is more recent example of this type of coup.


In such situations, Marxists will always oppose such a coup. However, they will not defend the regime against the coup as both sides represent qualitatively equally reactionary camps. Hence, the working class has no interest in the victory of any of the two camps. It must retain a strictly independent position and prepare for future struggles.


[1] As the result of one of these coups, Assad the father came to power in 1970 and created the dynastic rule of his clan which unfortunately lasts until today.