Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the „Left“ (Part 3)

 

 

The Morenoite LIT, UIT and FLTI: the heart on the right place but not their brains

 

 

 

Let us now turn to others, to those who don’t slander the liberation struggle of Syrian people as a “CIA-directed conspiracy” against the “forces of progress” a la Assad the butcher but who continue to support it. Here we have in mind the two, larger, Trotskyite organizations in the centrist tradition of Nahuel Moreno which are both based mainly in Latin America: the “International Workers League - Fourth International” (LIT-CI) and the “International Workers Unity - Fourth International” (UIT-CI). [1] Here is not the place to deal with the weaknesses of their solidarity with the Syrian Revolution. At this point it is sufficient to say that they are part of the small minority of socialists who continue to support the Syrian liberation struggle.

 

Neither is here the place to point out in detail that the leaderships of these organizations, while getting it right in Syria, have sided with the counter-revolution in other cases: e.g. their support for the right-wing, semi-fascist rebellion in the Ukraine in 2014 [2] or for the reactionary provocations of the right-wing opposition in Venezuela against the left-bourgeois Bonapartist Maduro government. [3] The LIT leadership goes even further and praised the Egypt military coup of General Sisi in July 2013 as a “second revolution” and cheers the impeachment of Rousseff and the arrest of Lula by the reactionary bourgeoisie in Brazil. [4]

 

Unfortunately neither the LIT nor the UIT leaderships are able to combine their legitimate support for the Syrian Revolution with an understanding of the accelerating rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers. Trapped in the wooden schema of the centrist Morenoite tradition, they staunchly refuse to recognize the imperialist character of Russia and China.

 

While both correctly oppose Russia’s military intervention in Syria, they refuse to understand that Russia (as well as China) has become an imperialist power. This becomes obvious if we look at the LIT and UIT statements on the recent events in Syria:

 

The leader (Trump, Ed.) of a coalition that, since 2014, killed thousands of civilians, is suddenly horrified because of the “barbarianism” of his Syrian counterpart. “What happened is barbaric and inadmissible. We are studying the response. Nothing is discarded so far,” he said. Then, he announced “important decisions” in the next “24 to 48 hours.” There is a concrete threat of a military attack on a bigger scale than the current one – characterized by some analysts like “imminent.” From the IWL-FI, we repudiate any type of military intervention by imperialism against Syria. That is not the solution to oppression and to the atrocities of al-Assad’s regime. In the Syrian case, [an intervention] will always pursue to defeat the revolutionary process, not the dictator. Washington uses its missiles serving a policy: better conditions to control the country in a future political “transition”. He does not care about the lives or aspirations of the Syrian people. (...) The Syrian people have lost too much blood already, confronting Assad’s dictatorship. A victorious imperialist military intervention, even under the hypothesis of overthrowing Assad’s regime, will be nothing but a new dictatorship, for the people. It would be the dictatorship of imperialism, the greater genocide of human history.” [5]

 

Ordered by the ultra-reactionary Donald Trump, the US, UK and France launched a criminal attack with missiles over places near the capital Damascus and Homs, in Syria. (...) Our socialist current, the IWU-FI, has spent years repudiating Bashar al Assad dictatorship and his genocidal actions against Syrian people, military supported by reactionary Putin and the Ayatollahs regime of Iran. (...) IWU-FI has been reporting on the permanent imperialist intervention of the US, together with the NATO and their allies, the petrol Arab monarchies and the Zionist State of Israel. (...) Now we repudiate the bombing ordered by Trump. We do not acknowledge imperialism any right to pretend "justice" is served in this way. Yank imperialism is the largest killer in history, with invasions and aggressions everywhere in the world. (...) Their actions are a smokescreen to show they are the world police and to hide that, in fact, they support al Assad, together with Russia and Iran. They have been years negotiating and agreeing military actions with Russia with the argument of "defeating terrorism" in order to support the dictator Bashar al Assad who, since March 2011, saw his power at risk as hundred of thousand of Syrian people took to the streets. We call the people of the world and the political, union, students and left organisations from around the world to express their disapproval to the imperialist bombing. We also call to repudiate Assad regime and Putin and to express solidarity with the Syrian people.[6]

 

In both cases we see that while they, correctly, denounce both the U.S. as well as the Russian military attacks in Syria, they characterize only the Western powers as imperialist. This is no accident or oversight. The leaderships both of the LIT as well as of the UIT have repeatedly stated in theoretical articles that they consider China and Russia not as imperialist powers but rather as large semi-colonial countries like Brazil, Mexico, India or South Africa.

 

The definition of China as a capitalist country has its peculiarities, on the basis that it is a country where capitalism was restored and is still governed by the CPC, a Stalinist party. It is not an imperialist country because it is a country that has been semi-colonized by the large multinationals of imperialist world (U.S. and European), which dominate it, and its total dependence on exports to those countries. China is a large semi-colony with respect to imperialism, such as, for example, Brazil, India and Russia, minding the differences[7]

 

This example goes to prove that Chinese economy is being used by the multinationals to super-exploit the world, while turning China into a semi-colony of world imperialism, a condition of submission which leads to immense contradictions that will explode in the forthcoming years. (…) And then a myth cropped up: China is to be the new global superpower, followed by new regional powers: Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, South Africa, etc. It is true that these countries have a privileged relation with imperialism; however, this relation presupposes their subordination to the transnationals: they are part of the process of recolonisation.[8]

 

This is a complete denial of reality as we have elaborated in our works on Russian and Chinese imperialism and summarized above. How do the LIT and UIT leaders explain that Russia and China, these supposed semi-colonies of U.S. imperialism, manage to challenge the supremacy of Washington?! How do they explain that Putin has succeeded to bring Syria under his control and expand Moscow’s influence at the expense of the U.S.?! How do they explain that China is becoming one of the, if not the, largest foreign investor in Africa, Asia and Latin America and that its political weight is constantly rising to the strong irritation of the U.S. Administration?! These centrists are completely unable to understand, not to say to explain, the dynamics of the world situation in the present historic period. In fact, they must feel like archeologists who discover an old writ with hitherto unknown characters.

 

The LIT and UIT leaders seem to be unaware that there is an inevitable conclusion of their wrong analysis of Russia and China as supposed semi-colonies of U.S. imperialism. If this would be true, they would have the duty, in case of a confrontation between Moscow and Beijing with Washington, to support the former and to call for their victory against U.S. imperialism!

 

As we have elaborated many times, it is the classic and correct position for Marxists to support in any given conflict semi-colonial countries against imperialist powers. Taking the example of a conflict between semi-colonial Brazil and imperialist Britain, Trotsky made this unmistakable clear:

 

I will take the most simple and obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semifascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personally—in this case I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slaveowners, and robbers![9]

 

It is true that the LIT and UIT leaders have fortunately not drawn such conclusions (until now) to side with Russian and Chinese imperialism against the U.S. But this is not the result of their correct analysis but rather a product of their political indolence. Their theoretical failure to understand what imperialism is and what it is not is without doubt a scratch which can easily become gangrene.

 

Let us finally also briefly mention the much smaller Fracción Leninista Trotskista Internacional - Colectivo por la Refundación de la IV Internacional”. [10] (There is the saying “the name is program” but sometimes the name is simple in inverse proportion to the size of the group!). To their credit the FLTI comrades take the solidarity work with the Syrian Revolution more serious than many others (in fact this seems to be the only practical thing they are doing). Again, here is not the appropriate place to deal with the deficits of their position on the Syrian Revolution which suffers from the fact that they are undisturbed by dialectical thinking. Unfortunately the FLTI leadership has replaced the method of materialistic dialectic with vulgar conspiracy theories and reduces the complex reality of the Syrian liberation struggle to a secret conspiracy of the united front Obama/Trump-Putin-Xi-Assad-Hezbollah-Iran-FSA-HTS-etc against the insurrectional masses.

 

The FLTI leaders are certainly particularly consistent proponents of centrist Morenoism as they carry the nonsense about the semi-colonial nature of Russia and China to extremes. Instead of recognizing the rise of Russia and China as the most serious capitalist challenge for Western imperialism since many decades, the FLTI recasts the reality and characterizes Putin and Xi as “hitmen of U.S. imperialism[11]

 

As we have dealt with the arguments of the FLTI on Chinese imperialism somewhere else [12], we limit our remarks on the FLTI “analysis” to the following: Disarmed by a theoretical thoughtfulness of a dabbling duck, the FLTI leaders do not serve the Marxists by giving them a theoretical compass but rather construct a bizarre reality. The result is not Marxism but rather Neanderthal-Trotskyism.

 

 

 

CWI and FT: failure to understand the imperialist nature of China and Russia

 

 

 

We will deal now with some other relevant organizations from the camp of Trotskyite centrism. These organizations have in common that they deny both the imperialist nature of Russia and China as well as the progressive character of the popular struggle against the Assad dictatorship (albeit they also oppose the regime, contrary to the Stalinists).

 

The Committee for a Workers International (CWI), whose dominant section is the Socialist Party in Britain, struggles since decades to understand the class character of China. Since many years it has internal discussions if capitalism finally has been restored in China or if it is still a deformed workers state. What can be said for sure is that the CWI does not feel the urge to come up with a clear class characterization of China and Russia. (This is hardly surprising given the long-time disdain of the CWI leadership for the Marxist theory as one could also observe, among others, by their crude rejection of Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall as the central law to understand the decay of the capitalist economy.) While there are rare occasions where they characterize Russia as an imperialist power, they usually reserve this characterization only for the Western powers. [13]

 

This becomes obvious when we read the CWI statement about the latest events in Syria as well as their last two extensive world perspective documents. [14] In all these documents – with combined more than 30,000 words – one will find numerous references to “U.S. imperialism” as well as other Western imperialist powers but not to Russian or Chinese imperialism. So while they denounce Russia’s military intervention in Syria, they fail to give it an unambiguous class character.

 

A similar position has been adopted by the leaders of the Trotskyist FractionFourth International (FT) whose main force is the Socialist Workers' Party (PTS) in Argentina. Surely, the FT comrades can, in opposite to the CWI, no be accused of being theoretical layabouts. Quite the opposite, they produce a number of books and pamphlets about issues the CWI leaders would normally not waste much thought on. Unfortunately, in the end the result is not much better.

 

Like the statements of other centrists, the FT declaration on the recent events in Syria use the term “imperialist” only when it comes to the actions of the US and Western powers but not when they mention Putin’s war of aggression. [15] Again, this is no accident as one can see from more elaborated documents of the FT.

 

While the FT concede that China has certain “imperialist features” it claims that neither Russia nor China have created an “independent capitalist class”. Hence it talks, in the case of China, not about the “ruling class” but about the “ruling bureaucracy”. The following quote, taken from the central political document adopted at their recently held international conference, demonstrates that the FT claims Russia and China are much too weak and backward to challenge the U.S. They explicitly deny that China can become an imperialist power “on a peaceful road”, i.e. without a prior major and victorious war against U.S. imperialism.

 

In the past years, the imperialist features of China have deepened. (…) Briefly, China can not challenge today the global supremacy of the U.S. which will remain the most important imperialist power in the next years. The GDP per capita of China is much to low (...), the differences in the military field are still huge, and the same holds true in the technological sector. Furthermore, neither in China nor in Russia could an independent capitalist class consolidate itself given the peculiarities of capitalist restoration. Hence, the role of the state is still dominant. (....) There exists a double challenge: China wants to get out of the limitations which the imperialist world economy imposes on it and at the same time the U.S. tries to break China. (...) This demonstrates that there is no possibility of a “peaceful road” towards an imperialist development of China.” [16]

 

Surely, China and Russia are “backward”, compared with the U.S. and other Western powers, when we look at the GDP per capita. But, as we have demonstrated in several studies, such discrepancies between imperialist states have often been the case and do not contradict the imperialist nature of such “backward” Great Powers. We remind the FT comrades, to give just two examples, to the huge differences in labor productivity between Britain and Russia before 1914 or the massive gap on this terrain between the U.S. and Japan in the 1930s. (See for this Table 4 and 5) [17]

 

 

 

Table 4. Population and Gross Domestic Product in 1913 [18]

 

                                                                Population                          $ Billions                             Per Capita in $

 

                                                                (in Million)

 

United States                                      97.6                                        517.4                                      5,301

 

United Kingdom                               45.6                                        224.6                                      4,921

 

Spain                                                     20.3                                        45.7                                        2,255

 

Russia                                                   156.2                                      232.3                                      1,488

 

Japan                                                     51.7                                        71.6                                        1,387

 

China                                                    437.1                                      241.3                                      552

 

 

 

Table 5. Relative GDP per capita (column A) and relative levels of industrialization (column B) in 1913 [19]

 

Country                A             B

 

Britain                   100         100

 

France                   81           51

 

Germany              77           74

 

Austria                 62           29

 

Italy                       52           23

 

Spain                     48           19

 

Russia                   29           17

 

 

 

It is true that U.S. imperialism is, in principle, still superior to its rivals including Russia and China. But the truth is always concrete as Lenin liked to say. Yes, the U.S. is the biggest economic and military power. However, at the same time it is overburdened by the global responsibilities as the former absolute hegemon of the world. Contrary to Russia and China, the ruling class of the U.S. is internally bitterly divided.

 

To make a comparison: the U.S. like a big beast which is wounded. Russia and China are like smaller tigers which are, contrary to their rival, fit and fast. Under such conditions, the superiority of the U.S. becomes more relative and limited.

 

The thesis that China (or Russia) can not become imperialist powers “on a peaceful road” is not new. It has already been raised against the RCIT by another Latin American group. As we did reply already to these comrades, we consider such a position as fundamentally wrong. Of course, there has never been and there can never be a peaceful coexistence between imperialist powers in the long run. This is a pillar of Marxist theory as we have always pointed out.

 

But why do the FT comrades insist that there must first be a war before a state can become an imperialist power? Where did Lenin or Trotsky say such a thing? The US, Japan, and the EU have declined in the past decades without a world war. In the same period, new great powers can and have emerged.

 

Furthermore, we would like to remind the comrades that Lenin himself explicitly pointed out the possibility of the emergence of new imperialist powers: “Capitalism is growing with the greatest rapidity in the colonies and in overseas countries. Among the latter, new imperialist powers are emerging (e.g., Japan).[20]

 

The failure of the FT comrades to understand the rivalry between the US and China as the rivalry between two imperialist Great Powers becomes also apparent in another recently published article. This article, titled “21st Century Economic Nationalism”, deals with the rising tensions between the two powers on the issues of trade. However, despite the length of the article the author fails to mention a single time the word “imperialist” or “imperialism”! [21]

 

It is clear that the development of reality is far more advanced than the empty, wooden schemas of centrism. While they deny he imperialist nature of Russia and China, the reality is marked by the challenge of Western imperialism by the new Great Powers of the East. The centrists are, to paraphrase Lenin, prisoners of old formulas.

 

 

 

CWI / SWP(UK) / FT: refusing to support the Syrian Revolution

 

 

 

Let us now briefly deal with the position of these organizations on the liberation struggle in Syria. The CWI, the FT as well as others combine such failure to recognize the accelerating rivalry between the imperialist powers with an abstentionist, neutral position on the liberation struggle of the Syrian workers and oppressed. While they accept, contrary to the Stalinist fools, that the Syrian Revolution started in 2011 as a legitimate popular uprising, they claim that the liberation struggle soon degenerated into a “sectarian civil war” with no side worthy of support. Such the CWI states:

 

The situations in Iraq and Syria constitute at the moment the epicentre of the crisis engulfing the Middle East. The order inherited from the legacy of imperialism is exploding in the most brutal manner, under the effect of the power struggles for influence taking place between various reactionary forces and regimes. (...) On Syria, some on the international left have wrongly adopted some variant of a “campist” attitude, either by prettifying the -mostly jihadist- armed rebels fighting Assad, or by their apologism for the latter.” [22]

 

This is fundamentally a result of the counter-revolution that unfolded in Syria following a genuine mass revolt against the rule of Assad in 2011, inspired by revolutionary movements in Tunisia and Egypt. In the absence of strong, united, working class organisations and a socialist leadership, sectarian and Islamic forces were able to step into the vacuum, aided by reactionary Gulf States and Turkey and by Western powers. This led to the degeneration of the mass revolt into a vicious, multi-faceted civil war.[23]

 

Such an assessment is widely shared by many other Trotskyite centrists. The British Socialist Workers Party (SWP), leading force of the loose International Socialist Tendency, basically arrives to the same conclusions as the CWI:

 

By 2013 the militarisation of the conflict meant people could no longer control the military groups that fought in their names. These became objectively driven by the war itself rather than the goals of the popular uprising. They have often echoed the brutality of the regime. The groups accepted military and financial assistance from countries such as Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in order to survive. These countries’ rulers sought to profit from the crisis and advance their interests. They promoted the most reactionary and jihadist groups.[24]

 

So do the leaders of the Trotskyist Fraction. They characterize the Syrian Revolution (as well as the liberation struggle in Yemen) as a “reactionary civil war” between “the despotic regime of Bashar al-Assad” and “the so-called ‘rebels’”. [25]

 

At their recent XI. Conference, the FT comrades confirmed this assessment. They explicitly stated in their central world perspectives document: “From our point of view, the democratic uprising against Assad, which was part of the ‘Arab Spring’, has already been transformed into a totally reactionary civil war long time ago.[26]

 

We remark in passing that the same refusal to support the ongoing liberation struggle of the Syrian people is shared by other, smaller, groups like the “League for the Fifth International” (L5I) [27] or the Permanent Revolution Collective (CoReP). [28] While they are at least capable to recognize the imperialist character of Russia and China, they capitulate to the Western Islamophobia and use the Islamist leadership of the popular struggle against the Assad dictatorship as a pretext to take an abstentionist, Third-Campist position in Syria.

 

We have dealt elsewhere with the supposed transformation of the Syrian liberation into a reactionary civil war in detail. [29] At this point, we will only state that the abandonment of the popular uprising in Syria just because petty-bourgeois Islamist forces came to leadership is an outrageous and anti-Marxist capitulation to the reactionary wave of Islamophobia which is spreading in nearly all imperialist states around the world – in North America, Western Europe, Russia and China. These centrist deserters of the Syrian Revolution forget (or deny) the fact that various liberation struggles have taken place under a non-revolutionary leadership (including Islamists). We remind our opponents to the armed uprising of the Berber-speaking Rif tribes against French and Spanish imperialism, in northern Morocco led by the Islamist Abd el-Krim in 1921-26 and which was enthusiastically supported by the Communist International. [30] The same was the case with the Great Syrian Revolt led by Sultan Pasha al-Atrash in 1925-27. [31] More present day examples are the Chechen liberation struggle against the Russian occupation or the national liberation struggle against the US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

It goes without saying that revolutionaries must not support such Islamist-led liberation wars uncritically. Quite the opposite, they have to explain – as they do in all class struggles where non-revolutionary forces stand at the top – that these forces are incapable of leading the struggle to victory. They must be replaced by a socialist, working class leadership. This is why building a revolutionary party is the most important task all over the world. But constructing such a party is only possible as part of an ongoing liberation struggle and not against or aside of it!

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

 

We have now arrived at the end of this overview of the position of various reformist and centrist organizations on the recent events in Syria. These events are of crucial importance as they pinpoint two of the most fundamental lines of developments in the current historic period of capitalist decay: the accelerating rivalry between the old and new imperialist Great Powers (U.S, EU, Russia, and China) as well as the liberation struggle of the oppressed people against the reactionary ruling class and foreign occupiers.

 

These two issues are of primary importance for the global class struggle and will become even more important in the coming years. We have not the slightest doubt that the recent escalation of tensions between the imperialist powers around Syria is only a glimpse of the events to come in the next years. Those who are incapable to get a right orientation now and who fail to correct their mistakes will be hopelessly caught up in the coming whirlwind of big world political events.

 

In our recently published document Six Points for a Platform of Revolutionary Unity Today – a proposal directed to all freedom fighters, revolutionary organizations and activists – the RCIT has summarized the tactical platform which, in our view, is crucial for Marxists in the coming period. [32]

 

The above overview demonstrates that most of the so-called left is not prepared for the challenges of the class struggle ahead. We presume that the accelerating contradictions between the imperialist powers and between the ruling class and the workers and oppressed will rather increase the disorientation among these reformist and centrist forces resulting in social-imperialist capitulation and abstentionism from important class struggle events.

 

The RCIT calls all activists inside and outside of these organizations to break with such reformist betrayal and centrist confusion. All those who share a consistent line of anti-imperialism against all Great Powers and of consistent support for the struggle of the oppressed people should unite under a common banner and fight together for the creation of a new World Party of Socialist Revolution! Join the RCIT in this struggle!

 



[1] For the RCIT’s characterization of Morenoism see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Summary of our main differences with the UIT-CI, October 2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/critique-of-uit-ci/; LRCI: Barbaric Trotskyism: a History of Morenoism (1992), Part 1 and 2, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/morenoism-part-1/ and https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/morenoism-part-2/

[2] For an overview of the RCIT’s analysis of the events in the Ukraine and a critique of the reformist and centrist left see our numerous articles on this subject in the sub-section on Europe on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/

[3] For an overview of the RCIT’s analysis of the events in the Venezuela see our numerous articles on this subject in the sub-section on Latin America on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/latin-america/

[4] For an overview of our critique of the LIT/PSTU see e.g. RCIT: In the Wake of the PSTU/LIT-CI Split, What Lessons Can Be Learned? An Open Letter to Members and Sympathizers of the International Workers League (Fourth International), 11.7.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/open-letter-lit-qi/

[5] Daniel Sugasti: We repudiate Trump’s threats on more attacks to Syria! LIT-CI, April 10, 2018 https://litci.org/en/we-repudiate-trumps-threats-on-more-attacks-to-syria/

[6] IWU-FI: We repudiate the imperialist shelling on Syria! No to Trump's killer missiles! April 14, 2018, http://uit-ci.org/index.php/news-a-documents/1985-we-repudiate-the-imperialist-shelling-on-syria-no-to-trumps-killer-missiles

[7] Global Policy Theses, discussed and voted at the Fourth Congress of the IWU-FI, Chapter “VI. China: Towards a new hegemonic power?”, http://uit-ci.org/index.php/mundo/2018-04-05-19-24-25/1912-vi-china-towards-a-new-hegemonic-power

[8] Nazareno Godeiro: The validity of Lenin's imperialism theory, LIT-CI, International Courier, 09 October 2014, http://www.litci.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2568:the-validity-of-lenins-imperialism-theory&catid=729:international-courier&Itemid=39. In another, more recent article, the LIT leaders repeat their schema that China’s ruling class is a servant of the (Western) imperialist powers: “So, an unprecedented historical combination occurs: the Stalinist apparatus, that had led the revolution and built the Bureaucratized Workers’ State, restored capitalism and remained in power after doing so. But now they no longer defend the economic and social basis of a Workers’ State, they are in the service of imperialist capitalism.” (Alejandro Iturbe: Capitalist Restoration in China, September 7, 2017 https://litci.org/en/capitalist-restoration-in-china-special/ )

[9] Leon Trotsky: Anti-Imperialist Struggle is Key to Liberation. An Interview with Mateo Fossa (1938); in: Writings of Leon Trotsky 1938-39, p. 34

[10] An overview of our critique of the FLTI can be read here: Michael Pröbsting: Summary of Our Main Differences with the FLTI, October 2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/critique-of-flti/

[11] See e.g. „Down with the Vienna Summit the Peace of the Cemetery prepared by Obama and his Hitman Putin!“ (FLTI: Vienna Summit with US, Putin, Iranian Ayatollahs, the genocidal Al Assad, Zionism, Qatar, Turkey taking in its hand bourgeois generals of FSA, the chiefs of ISIS of Saudi Arabia, the Kurdish bourgeoisie… Under the command of Obama, all the executioners of the revolutions in the Maghreb and the Middle East are meeting, 4.11.2015, https://www.flti-ci.org/ingles/medio_oriente/noviembre2015/proclama_viena03nov2015.html)

[12] See e.g. chapter 10 of our book The Great Robbery of the South.

[13] We remark, as a side note, that the CWI sometimes mentions Russia’s “imperialist interests“. However, this does not automatically mean that they consider Russia as an imperialist power as they use the term “imperialist interests” in a loose fashion. In their World Perspectives document adopted in December 2014, for example, they also speak about the “regional imperialist reasons” of the Turkish president Erdoğan. (CWI: World Perspectives. A turbulent period in history, 15/12/2014 http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/7008)

[14] Serge Jordan: No to the bombing of Syria! Build a mass movement against the war, CWI 12 April 2018 http://www.socialistworld.net/index.php/international/middle-east/151-syria/9750-no-to-the-bombing-of-syria-build-a-mass-movement-against-the-war; CWI: World Perspectives, 08 December 2017, CWI International Executive Committee, http://www.socialistworld.net/index.php/theory-analysis/9544-cwi-world-perspectives; 11th CWI World Congress: World Perspectives, 22 March 2016, http://www.socialistworld.net/index.php/other-topics/activities/7517-11th-CWI-World-Congress--World-Perspectives

[15] Stop Bombing Syria! Nothing good can come of this bombing or any other imperialist military intervention, April 14, 2018 http://www.leftvoice.org/Stop-Bombing-Syria

[16] As we could not find an English-language translation of this document, we have translated this quotes ourselves from the Spanish-language respectively the German-language version. (XI CONFERENCIA DE LA FT: Tensiones económicas e inestabilidad política. Documento sobre situación internacional discutido en la XI Conferencia de la FT, 22.3.2018, 2018, http://www.laizquierdadiario.com/Tensiones-economicas-e-inestabilidad-politica; FT: Die Welt im Jahr 2018 (Teil 1): Wirtschaftliche Spannungen und politische Instabilität, https://www.klassegegenklasse.org/die-welt-im-jahr-2018-teil-1-wirtschaftliche-spannungen-und-politische-instabilitaet/)

[17] See for this various works listed in the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/; In particular we refer readers to our pamphlet Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power.

[18] Angus Maddison: The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, Vol. 1, 2001, pp. 183-185 and 213-215. The figures are calculated in 1990 international U.S. Dollars.

[19] François Crouzet: A History of the European Economy, 1000–2000, University Press of Virginia, 2001, p. 148

[20] V. I. Lenin: Imperialism. The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) ; in: LCW Vol. 22, p. 274

[21] Juan Cruz Ferre: 21st Century Economic Nationalism, March 26, 2018 http://www.leftvoice.org/21st-Century-Economic-Nationalism

[23] Niall Mulholland: Trump orders missile strikes against Shayrat air base, Committee for a Workers' International, The Socialist issue 944, 12 April 2017 https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/keyword/Committee_for_a_Workers_International/Cwi/25244/12-04-2017/attacks-ratchet-up-syrian-conflict-and-fuel-tensions-between-powers

[24] Jad Bouharoun: How revolution turned to horror in eastern Ghouta, SWP, 21 Mar 2018, Socialist Workers, Issue No. 2597 , https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/46320/How+revolution+turned+to+horror+in+eastern+Ghouta. We have dealt with the CWI’s adaption to social-imperialism on various occasions. See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: US Aggression against North Korea: The CWI's "Socialist" Pacifism. Hippie Day-Dreaming is an Impotent Tool in the Struggle against Imperialist War! Authentic Socialists say: Defend North Korea! Defeat US Imperialism! 12.09.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/cwi-and-north-korea/; Michael Pröbsting: The CWI’s “Socialist” Zionism and the Palestinian Liberation Struggle. A Reply from the RCIT, 15.9.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/cwi-and-israel/; see also chapter 13 of the book The Great Robbery of the South.

[25] Claudia Cinatti: The Geopolitics of the Civil War in Syria, September 14, 2016, http://www.leftvoice.org/The-Geopolitics-of-the-Civil-War-in-Syria

[26] See the central resolution adopted at the recent FT conference quoted above.

[27] While the comrades of the League for the Fifth International (L5I) sided with the Syrian Revolution for some years, they later dropped their support and concluded that “there is a need to recognise that the Syrian revolution has been defeated.” They declare the Arab Revolution as finally over: “Now, even if the brutal civil war in Syria resumes, with Idlib and other remaining liberated areas coming under renewed attacks, we have to recognise that the Syrian revolution, which began six years ago, has suffered a strategic defeat. Indeed, we can apply this judgment to the entire Arab Spring, given the reactionary nature of the civil wars in Libya and Yemen. It was defeated by a range of counterrevolutionary forces; military bonapartists, such as el-Sisi or Assad, monarchist, as in Bahrain, or salafist-jihadists who emerged out of the resistance. The task of revolutionaries in the Middle East and internationally is to face the truth, no matter how bitter, that they now face a counterrevolutionary period, whose duration cannot be known, before there will be a re-emergence of mass struggles.” (L5I: Resolution on Syria, 02/03/2017, http://www.fifthinternational.org/content/resolution-syria) What an unfortunate opportunistic adaption to the middle-class leftist milieu in Western Europe which despises the supposedly “Backward” Muslim people!

[28] CoReP: The Liaison Committee of Centrists capitulates in front of Islamism, 2 October 2016, http://www.revolucionpermanente.com/english/?p=250. In this bizarre statement, the CoReP group attacks those Trotskyists, including the RCIT, who continue to support the liberation struggle in Syria, as “capitulators to Islamism”. In fact, this article is rather a damning indictment of the French CoReP leadership’s adaption to Islamophobic social-chauvinist public opinion of imperialist France!

[29] See the numerous articles of the RCIT collected in the special sub-section on our website mentioned above. In particular we refer on this issue to our pamphlet Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified?

[30] See on this e.g. David H. Slavin: The French Left and the Rif War, 1924-25: Racism and the Limits of Internationalism, in: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 1991; see also numerous documents from the PCF which are reproduced (in German language) in Jakob Moneta: Die Kolonialpolitik der französischen KP, Hannover 1968, p. 42-61; Scott Nearing: Stopping a War. The Fight of the French Workers against the Moroccan Campaign of 1925, Social Science Publishers, New York City 1926; C. R. Pennell: Ideology and Practical Politics: A Case Study of the Rif War in Morocco, 1921-1926, in: International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Feb., 1982), pp. 19-33; C. R. Pennell: Women and Resistance to Colonialism in Morocco: The Rif 1916-1926, in: The Journal of African History, Vol. 28, No. 1 (1987), pp. 107-118; Abd El Krim: Memoiren. Mein Krieg gegen Spanien und Frankreich, Dresden 1927; Fouzia El-Asrouti: Der Rif-Krieg 1921-1926, Klaus Schwarz Verlag, Berlin 2007; Friedrich Jarschel: Abd El Krim, Zeitbiographischer Verlag Limburg, Koblen 1961

[31] See on this e.g. Michael Provence: The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas Press, Austin 2005

[32] RCIT: Six Points for a Platform of Revolutionary Unity Today, February 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/6-points-for-a-platform-of-revolutionary-unity-today/