III. Imperialism and the Arab Revolution

13.          The Arab Revolution has been a serious blow for the great imperialist powers which explains why they all working to contain and decapitate it. Western imperialism (US, EU, Japan) relied for decades on the domination of the Middle East by the numerous bourgeois dictatorships. While they had occasionally limited clashes with some rulers (e.g., with various Arab regimes in 1973 resulting in an oil boycott; with Gaddafi in 1986), these regimes secured the Western imperialists’ energy needs with vast supplies of oil, while stuffing their own banks with vast sums of money. The great western powers even collaborated closely with so-called “anti-imperialist” regimes like that of Assad, both father and son. For example, since the First Lebanon War, Syria never fired a shot against Israel and actually secured the northern border for Zionism; and Assad the father even joined the US war against Iraq in 1991, and has collaborated with the CIA torture programs since 2001. As for Gaddafi, his regime was welcomed by Bush, Blair, and Sarkozy after 2001, when the regime opened up its oil companies for foreign investment. And the EU relied on Libya’s repression forces to stop migrants entering Europe from the South, and, like Assad, collaborated with the CIA torture programs. Russian and Chinese imperialism have similarly collaborated closely with various dictatorships in the region. Russia is the major backer of the Assad regime and has close ties with the bourgeois Islamist regime of Iran. The latter is built on the bones of a whole generation of progressive freedom fighters which were massacred in the 1990s. Moscow and Beijing are also building close links with the al-Sisi regime in Egypt. And China is a major trading partner of the oil-exporting states in the Middle East.

14.          After the Western imperialists recognized that the spreading wave of popular uprisings could not be stopped, they tried to contain it by looking for collaborators among the leadership of the popular movements. In the case of the Libyan civil war in 2011, they tried to gain influence among the rebel movement by launching limited military air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces. Under such circumstances, revolutionaries had to wage a war on two fronts: continuing the struggle for the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime while at the same time opposing the NATO air strikes. In the end, the Western imperialists had only limited success, since the Libyan masses continue to hate them as was reflected in the killing of the US ambassador in 2012 and the expulsion of the Western embassies since 2014.

15.          In order to justify their military interventions in the Middle East and in Africa as well as their support for reactionary dictatorships, all imperialist powers – from the EU, the US to Russia and China – are whipping up anti-Muslim chauvinism. The reactionary wave which shattered Europe after the attack against the racist journal Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 is just the latest in the campaign which started at the beginning of this century. As socialists, we absolutely oppose such attacks as the one on the racist journal Charlie Hebdo, because it only serves the ruling class as a justification for a hysterical anti-Muslim campaign, for the mobilization of the army to increase domestic repression and for the justification for France’s, the EU’s and the US’s war in the Middle East and Africa. The RCIT defends Muslim migrants against all forms of oppression (e.g., unequal wages, ban against wearing a hijab, discrimination by the police). We support the resistance against imperialist intervention and occupations such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Mali, Central Africa, etc. We sharply condemn the reformist left (such as the ex-Stalinist Party of the European Left) which fails to oppose the imperialist wars and the racist campaign against Muslim migrants and even joined the reactionary 11 January “national unity” demonstrations in France. At the same time, socialists must work with the Muslim migrant masses in their struggle against discrimination. They must call upon the workers’ movement to support the migrants in this struggle. Based on such a principled internationalist position, it is possible to win Muslim migrants away from their current bourgeois and petty-bourgeois Islamist leaderships and for a socialist perspective.

16.          One of the limited gains of the unfinished democratic revolution in the Arab world is the weakening of the centralized state repression apparatus at the borders. This enables many of the poor from the South to reach the rich imperialist countries in Western Europe and North America where they try to find the basis for a decent life. The increasing number of refugees is the result of the imperialist domination and super-exploitation of the semi-colonial countries and the consequent political, social, and ecological convulsions, including bloody civil wars, which again and again force many millions of people to flee their home countries every year. The imperialist European Union has transformed the continent into a fortress designed to condemn many refugees to death while exploiting those who do manage to enter the EU as cheap labor. Likewise, the US administration has built a 1,125 kilometer long steel wall, up to 6.5 meter high, with modern surveillance equipment along its border with Mexico.

17.          Socialists strictly oppose the imperialist border controls and fight for open borders. The doors of the imperialist states, whose wealth is based on the super-exploitation of the people of the South, must not be closed to the very same people who are the victims of the consequences of this super-exploitation! To the reactionary claim that “the boat is full”, i.e., that the EU and North America can not sustain more refugees, we reply: “Nonsense! Just look at the richest of the rich: for example the thirty-five richest U.S. citizens own a combined wealth of $941 billion. Just expropriate a small portion of their wealth and millions of refugees can find jobs and housing.” We primarily denounce not the gangs smuggling “illegal” immigrants but rather the imperialist governments. Without the reactionary border control of the EU and the US, there would be no basis for gangs to smuggle people! It is the imperialists who are responsible for the officially 1,776 refugees who have died or been declared missing since the beginning of this year. We fight against all forms of discrimination and for equal rights and equal wages for refugees. The workers’ movement, the migrant organizations, and all progressive and democratic organizations in the imperialist countries must work to undermine the border regime and to help refugees to enter their countries by any means possible.