Great Powers Aim to Liquidate the Syrian Revolution!
Mobilize for International Solidarity with the Syrian Liberation Struggle against the Assad Dictatorship! Stop the US, Russian and French Air Strikes! No to Daesh/IS-Terrorism!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 18.11.2015, www.thecommunists.net
1. The Syrian Revolution currently faces a major threat. The Great Powers – in particular the US, Russia and France – are colluding to liquidate the Syrian Revolution. Obama, Putin and Hollande want to achieve this with the help of the barbarous state apparatus built during decades of dictatorship by the Assad clan, as well as by the integration of some corrupt elements among the Syrian opposition. This is the goal of the negotiations which are currently taking place in Vienna and at the G-20 summit, and will also be the key agenda during Hollande’s upcoming visit to Moscow. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) warns that if the Great Powers succeed in their plans, this will be a major blow to the Arab Revolution in general and the Syrian Revolution in particular.
2. While no definite results of the negotiations between the Great Powers are known, there are a number of indications that the rulers are seriously advancing towards agreement on a concrete plan to pacify the Syrian Revolution. They have agreed to intervene more resolutely militarily in Syria and coordinate their attacks. They have similarly agree on a “transition period” lasting for a number of months (the exact length is under discussion and varies between 6 and 18) until parliamentary elections will be held. There are still unresolved differences about the personal future of the dictator Bashar al-Assad himself who has been a lackey of Russia in recent years – after decades of collaboration by him and his father with US imperialism (the 1991 Gulf War, CIA torture programs, etc.) Nonetheless, there is agreement between the Great Powers to retain the bulk of the Baathist state apparatus – a caste of army, secret service and administrative officers trained during decades of brutal dictatorship. There are “constructive discussions” between the Great Powers about a federalization of Syria along religious and ethnic lines which could lead to further mass expulsions and killings of persons living in the “wrong” districts (as it happened in India and Pakistan 1948). Finally, Russian and the US have drawn up lists of “terrorist groups” in Syria which – according to news agency reports – “largely coincide.” This means that the Great Powers agree that while some “moderate opposition groups” could be drawn into the “political transition process,” the vast bulk of the Syrian rebels will be excluded and hunted down as “terrorists.”
3. What is the backdrop of these new developments? First, the past few months have seen a further weakening of the Assad regime which nearly brought about its collapse. Russia’s current robust military intervention together with the presence of more Iranian troops is an attempt to reverse this decline. Second, the Western Great Powers – who had hoped in the past that they would be able to place a lackey at the top of the Baathist state apparatus who primarily would serve Western interests instead of those of Russia – have failed in these ambitions and are therefore now willing to collaborate with Putin in his efforts. In examining the balance sheet of their past tactics in the Syrian civil war, the West sees that these have not brought them a solid force of supporters either among the ranks of the rebels or within the regime. Perhaps their only success was enlisting Kurdish forces – including the petty-bourgeois nationalist of the YDG/PKK – as ground troops in the war against Daesh/IS. Third, the waves of refugees coming to Europe have impelled the EU governments to pacify the Syrian civil war by collaborating with the Assad regime. We note that the EU completely ignored the refugee “crisis” as long as the Syrian refugees settled in Lebanon, Turkey and other neighboring countries!
4. Finally, the Great Powers’ desire to collaborate in liquidating the Syrian Revolution has certainly been reinforced by the two successful terrorist strikes recently executed by the reactionary Salafist-Takfiri Daesh/IS – against a Russian civilian airliner in Egypt as well the 13 November attack in Paris. Both were directed against ordinary civilians and thus serve the ruling class well as a welcome pretext to justify their imperialist wars, while at the same time reaffirming the reactionary character of and role played by the Daesh/IS organization. In contrast, we note that 49 Syrian rebel organizations – including Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham – have denounced the Paris attack.
5. The danger for the future of the Syrian Revolution is compounded by the fact that the revolution itself faces a dreadful crisis of leadership. The rebels are split, a number of leaders have been corrupted, and the strongest forces are Islamists, including sectarian and Salafist groups. This is the result of the working class’s inability to develop their own leadership during the decades of dictatorship by the Assad clan, as well as the shameful collaboration of the two Syrian “Communist” Parties with the regime. To this must be added the betrayal of the Syrian Revolution by the strongest elements of the so-called international “left”: the bourgeois state-capitalist Bolivarian governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador; the Party of the European Left; the Indian Communist Parties etc. – they all either openly side with the bloody Assad regime and hail the imperialist aggression of Russia or take a neutral stance. Finally, for years the “left-wing” Kurdish YPG/PKK also failed to support the Revolution. It rightfully defends the Kurdish people against Daesh/IS, but at the same time it is also treacherously collaborating with US imperialism. It is hardly surprising that the Islamists, the only significant forces supporting the revolution, have succeeded in gaining mass support!
6. The RCIT views the apparent convergence of the Great Powers as a major danger not only for the Syrian Revolution but for the Arab Revolution as a whole. This is particularly true if we consider the recent setbacks of the Yemeni Revolution against the Saudi-led invasion and the continued repression of the Egyptian people by the bloody military dictatorship of General al-Sisi. However, the defeat of the Arab Revolution is far from certain. There are a number of countervailing tendencies: (i) the strength of the Syrian rebels and their opposition to any settlement which would include the Assadist state apparatus; (ii) the semi-Intifada of the heroic Palestinian people; and (iii) the steadfast continuing mass struggle of the Yemeni and Egyptian people against the forces of reaction.
7. Recent developments have also demonstrated again how laughable is the thesis of various pro-Stalinists leftists that Russia is not a Great Imperialist Power. Currently Russia is the state which has undertaken the most serious military intervention in Syria. While Russia mostly executes air strikes, it does so while using the Syrian regime forces and Iranian units as their ground troops. The US and the EU – despite their rivalry with Moscow – have accepted the fact that they will be forced to accept Putin as a partner in liquidating the Syrian Revolution. After stopping Obama from launching a military strike in Syria in September 2013, then annexing the Crimea and the Donbass region in 2014, Russian imperialism has again demonstrated its vigor by its current massive military intervention in Syria and its forcing the Western great powers to collaborate with it. Those who fail to recognize the imperialist nature of Russia (and China) are hopelessly lost in confusion in a world which is increasingly characterized by the rivalry of different Great Powers – mainly the US, EU, Russia, China, and Japan. The blind inevitably end up on the sidelines or even on the wrong side of the barricades in major questions of the international class struggle.
8. Similarly, recent developments have also shown how ridiculous have been those leftists who fantasized about the “anti-imperialist” nature of the Assad regime and the supposed “insurmountable contradictions” between it and the Western imperialists. In fact, these “contradictions” always have been only tactical differences, which were increased recently by Assad’s choice of imperialist Russia, the rival of the West. However, since Russia, the West and the Assad regime agree in full in their mutual hostility towards popular revolution, there is, and in fact always has been, enough common ground for compromise.
9. In today’s dire situation for the Syrian Revolution, what are the major tasks of socialists? The RCIT considers it urgent that the workers and peasants organize themselves independently of all bourgeois and petty-bourgeois forces, including the secular FSA as well as the Islamist factions. Socialists and democrats must support all efforts to build workers’ and peasant councils as well as popular militias. Socialists both in Syria and internationally should rally in their support of the Syrian Revolution and the struggle of the rebels against Assad, as well as against the reactionary Salafist-Takfiri Daesh. The RCIT supports the rebels’ resistance against all imperialists, Russians as well as the US and the French. At the same time socialists must fight against the political agenda of the rebels’ leadership and take steps to build an authentic revolutionary workers’ party.
10. Furthermore it is crucial to increase international solidarity with the Syrian Revolution which includes an unconditional struggle against the collusion of the Great Powers as well as against the reformist, Stalinist and Bolivarian supporters of the Assad regime. We also strongly condemn those leftists who limit their support for the Syrian Revolution to some small circles of petty-bourgeois democratic intellectuals (mostly living abroad) who fit the “progressive” schema of the Western left. Yes, it is unfortunate that the Syrian Revolution is currently led by petty-bourgeois Islamist forces. However this has often been the case – we just remind such leftists of the heroic uprising of the Rif tribes led by the Islamist Abd el-Krim in the 1920s. We likewise remind them that the Algerian independence struggle, led by the FLN, carried out a number of massacres against French settlers and Algerian civilians. (Not to mention these leftists’ defense of the Soviet Union, despite the fact that the Stalinist dictatorship slaughtered millions of workers!) Also, the Spanish Revolution in 1936-39 was led by reformists and Stalinists who defended the capitalists’ private property and killed revolutionary workers and peasants wholesale. No, the RCIT will not cease its support for the justified struggle of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian rebels against the Assad regime and against the imperialist powers, simply because of their Islamist leadership. Only spineless petty-bourgeois cowards who look towards “public opinion” in the West and Russia desert the revolutionary struggle (or a strike) because of the wrong leadership!
11. The RCIT once again calls upon socialists to combine internationalist solidarity with the Syrian revolution with ongoing support for the Palestinian liberation struggle against the Zionist state, the popular resistance against the Egyptian dictatorship, and the Yemeni war of liberation against the foreign invasion by the Al-Saud gang. At the same time socialists in Europe should participate in the pro-refugee solidarity movement and fight for a working class and internationalist perspective.
12. Most importantly revolutionaries have to unite on the basis of a international program which includes solidarity with the Arab Revolution, the struggle for permanent revolution and for working class power, and against both Western and Eastern imperialism. The RCIT calls revolutionaries around the world to join us in the struggle for a new world party of socialist revolution!
13. The RCIT calls upon authentic socialists, on all workers, the poor and the oppressed to fight with us together for:
* Victory in the Syrian Revolution! Down with the Assad Dictatorship!
* No to the collusion of the Great Powers against the Syrian Revolution!
*For the military defeat of the intervention by Russia, the US, and France!
* No military intervention of Britain in Syria! Force the Labour Party to oppose any such intervention and mobilize for protests on the streets!
* No to reactionary sectarianism! Down with the Salafi-Takfiri Daash!
* For Workers’ and Fallahin councils and militias! For a Workers’ Government allied with the Fallahin based on local councils and militias!
* For international solidarity with the Syrian rebels and popular movements! For a mass campaign by organizations of the working class and the oppressed to assist military aid for the rebel movement!
* For international solidarity of the workers’ movement with their brothers and sisters in Egypt!
* Down with the Zionist Apartheid State! Solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle! For a Free, Red Palestine from the River to the Sea!
* Defend Yemen against the al-Saud Gang of Aggressors!
* Revitalize and spread the Arab Revolution which began at the end of 2010! For a socialist federation of the Middle East!
* Solidarity with the refugees coming to Europe! Open the borders! For mass mobilizations against the growing racism towards Muslim migrants and refugees!
* No to the increasing state repression in Europe! Lift the state of emergency in France! No restrictions to democratic rights!
* Forward in building revolutionary parties in Egypt, Syria and internationally! For the revolutionary Fifth Workers’ International!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
For our latest statement on Syria see:
RCIT: Revolution against Russian Imperialism! Stop the US, UK and French Air Strikes! Smash the Assad Dictatorship! 9.10.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-syria-against-russia/
For our analysis of the Arab Revolution we refer readers to:
RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/
For other RCIT documents and articles on Syria see: