A commentary on a shameful statement of U.S. “anti-war” groups
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 26 April 2021, www.thecommunists.net
A short while ago – on the 10th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution – about 300 Syrian activists as well as international supporters of the popular uprising against the Assad tyranny published an important statement. This statement – called “Erasing People through Disinformation: Syria and the “Anti-Imperialism” of Fools” – denounced those in the so-called “left” who directly or indirectly support the reactionary Assad regime and discredit the popular resistance as “proxies of U.S. imperialism”. 
As the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has been an ardent supporter of the Syrian Revolution since the very first day, we fully share the message of this statement.  Hence, the author of these lines has been one of the initial signatories of this statement and we have also republished it on our website. 
In response, a group of U.S. reformist pacifists, Stalinists and pseudo-Trotskyists published a kind of counter-statement.  Therein, they basically repeat the usual lies spread by Assad’s “socialist” friends. They claim that our statement would “support the goal of the US and its allies of regime change in Syria”, i.e. they cynically suggest that the Syrians’ struggle against the dictatorship has not been driven by the popular hatred against the tyranny which exists since decades but … by Washington’s desire for “regime change”! Obviously, these boneheads ignore that in the whole Arab world – from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon to Syria – millions and millions have heroically risen up against capitalist dictatorships since 2011.
Hundreds of thousands have been martyred and millions incarcerated in the struggle for freedom! Only the most foolish among professional conspiracy theorists can deny that these have been legitimate popular uprisings but rather manipulated “regime change” maneuvers of out-side imperialist powers!
It is only logical that these bunch of obscurantists characterizes Assad’s desperate attempts to stay in power by slaughtering his own people as “the right of Syria to defend its national sovereignty against this outside aggression.”
The whole statement presents the situation in Syria as a war between U.S. imperialism and the Assad regime – irrespective of the fact that the Pentagon carried out only a handful of military strikes against Assad’s forces within the whole last decade! Hence, while they (rightly) denounce the U.S. military intervention in Syria and call for their withdrawal, they don’t express any criticism on the military intervention of Russian imperialism! To be more accurate, the statement does not even mention this intervention with a single word!
This is a remarkable example of willful ignorance! As it is well-known, Russia’s Air Force regularly bombs Syrian villages and hospitals since 2015, Moscow owns several military bases in that country (a naval facility in Tartus as well as the Khmeimim Air Base, Tiyas Military Airbase, and Shayrat Airbase), and it employs thousands of regular troops as well as mercenaries of the notorious PMC Wagner groups, etc. Every observer has recognized that without the massive military intervention of Russian imperialism, Assad would have shared the fate of Gaddafi many years ago!
But since the motley crew of pacifists, Stalinists and pseudo-Trotskyists are dedicated partisans of the Russian (and Chinese) imperialism and Assad the Butcher, they don’t mind about Putin’s gigantic military intervention. You know, in politics it is important to know the art of decoding. This general truth is particularly relevant in reading the texts of petty-bourgeois muddle-heads. One has to know the real meaning of their categories. When these people raise the banner of “Anti-War”, they mean only opposition against U.S. wars and support for Russia’s war as well as support for Putin’s and Xi’s proxies like Assad. 
This is very similar to two other statement with which we dealt in the recent past. In these statements, various “progressive” parties and intellectuals (rightly) denounced the militarism and Cold War rhetoric of U.S. imperialism but didn’t utter a single word of criticism against the reactionary policy of the Eastern Great Powers China and Russia! 
It is no accident that the signatories of one of these statements are nearly identical with the declaration of love for Assad with which we have dealt at this place! Once more we meet the petty-bourgeois pacifists and Stalinists of the United National Antiwar Coalition, Syria Solidarity Movement, U.S. Peace Council, Hands off Syria Coalition, the Workers World Party (which runs the so-called “International Action Center”), the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and others. 
And, this should not go unmentioned, we also meet again Jeff Mackler’ Socialist Action, the dominant force of the so-called “Left Opposition” in the “Fourth International” (in the tradition of Pablo and Mandel). Other pseudo-Trotskyists – like the PTS/FT, the fragments of Altamira’s PO, Peter Taffee’s CWI, Alan Woods’ IMT, the ISA, the Cliffite SWP/IST, etc. – have also dropped support for the Syrian Revolution many years ago. They utilize the petty-bourgeois Islamist and nationalist leadership of this popular liberation struggle as a pretext to slander it as a “reactionary civil war”. 
This demonstrates once more that verbal adherence to “Trotskyism”, defending “orthodox Trotskyism” in words does not mean anything. As the RCIT emphasized repeatedly every organization must be measured by its combat program, by its approach to the main issues of the world situation and the class struggle. All too often, verbal adherence to “orthodox Trotskyism” is nothing but a fig-leaf for direct or indirect support of sectors of the bourgeoisie and one or the other imperialist Great Power! 
In summary, the statement reveals the real political nature of various reformists, Stalinists and pseudo-Trotskyists. Under the pretext of “socialism”, “Marxism” or even “Trotskyism” they act as servants of imperialist powers like Russia and China and as cheerleaders of reactionary dictators like Assad and Gaddafi. The shameful statement of the “socialist“ friends of the butcher of the Syria people confirms this once more.
Nicolas Boileau, a great French poet of the late 17th century, once wrote: “A fool always finds a greater fool to admire him.”. It seems that Assad has found quite a number of them!
 The statement has been published in parallel on the websites of Al-Jumhuriya as well as New Politics. (https://www.aljumhuriya.net/en/content/erasing-people-through-disinformation-syria-and-%E2%80%9Canti-imperialism%E2%80%9D-fools and https://newpol.org/erasing-people-through-disinformation-syria-and-the-anti-imperialism-of-fools/)
 The RCIT has published numerous documents on the Syrian Revolution which are compiled on a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/.
 Sign-on Statement on Syria, https://unac.notowar.net/statement-of-solidarity-with-the-syrian-people/
 The RCIT has dealt in detail with the Great Power rivalry. See e.g. the book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/; See also the latest pamphlet by the same author: “A Really Good Quarrel”. US-China Alaska Meeting: The Inter-Imperialist Cold War Continues, 23 March 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/us-china-alaska-meeting-shows-continuation-of-inter-imperialist-cold-war/; we refer readers also to numerous documents of the RCIT on the Global Trade War which have been compiled at a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-global-trade-war/. For our analysis of China as an imperialist power see e.g., in addition to the above-mentioned book “Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry”, Michael Pröbsting: Chinese Imperialism and the World Economy, an essay in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope. It has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, in 2020, https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-91206-6_179-1; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91206-6_179-1; see also by the same author: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; How is it possible that some Marxists still Doubt that China has Become Capitalist? (A Critique of the PTS/FT), An analysis of the capitalist character of China’s State-Owned Enterprises and its political consequences, 18 September 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism-2/; Unable to See the Wood for the Trees (PTS/FT and China). Eclectic empiricism and the failure of the PTS/FT to recognize the imperialist character of China, 13 August 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism/; The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-csr-pco-on-china/
 Michael Pröbsting: One-sided and Naïve … at Best! A joint call by the friends of Chinese imperialism and the daydreamers of well-meaning global capitalism, 31 March 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/joint-call-by-friends-of-chinese-imperialism-and-the-daydreamers/; by the same author: Stalinist and “Trotskyist” Supporters of Chinese Imperialism under the Fig-Leaf of “Anti-Imperialism”. A commentary on the statement “No to U.S. war threats against China!” by the “United National Antiwar Coalition” in the U.S., 4 April 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/stalinist-and-trotskyist-supporters-of-chinese-imperialism-under-the-fig-leaf-of-anti-imperialism/.
 For a critique of another pro-Assad statement of various Stalinist parties see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Stalinism: Assad’s Best Friends Forever. A commentary on a joint international initiative of Stalinist parties, 3 July 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/stalinism-is-assad-s-best-friends-forever/
 We have dealt with such slander in various documents. See e.g. these two pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the "Left". The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syria-great-power-rivalry-and-the-failure-of-the-left/; Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/.
 On the degeneration of various “Trotskyist” organizations see e.g. Workers Power (the precursor of the RCIT): The Death Agony of the Fourth International and the Tasks of Trotskyists Today (1983); this book can also be read online or downloaded as a pdf for free at https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/death-agony-of-the-fourth-international-1983/; Michael Pröbsting: Healy’s Pupils Fail to Break with their Master. The revolutionary tradition of the Fourth International and the centrist tradition of its Epigones Gerry Healy and the ”International Committee”, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/healy-and-fourth-international/ There are also critical assessments of various so-called Trotskyist organizations in our above-mentioned book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry as well as in Chapter 13 in our book by Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013: this book can also be read online or downloaded as a pdf for free at https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/great-robbery-of-the-south/.