No to Sectarian Divisions and Civil War! For a Workers’ and Popular Government!
Joint Statement of the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the RCIT Yemen, 3.4.2015, www.thecommunists.net
1. Since the night of 25 March, a military alliance of reactionary foreign powers has been attacking Yemen. This gang of aggressors is led by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and includes all other monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula (except Oman) plus the reactionary regimes of Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco, and Pakistan. In addition, it is also supported by Western imperialist powers like the US, Britain, and France as well as Israel. In an assault which Riyadh has dubbed “Asifat al-Hazm“ (Operation Decisive Storm), about one hundred Saudi warplanes plus allied forces are attacking the advancing Houthi rebels in seven different Yemeni cities. During the first nine days of this aggression, they have killed at least 519 people, including many children, and injured more than 1,700. Egypt has also sent warships to the coast of Yemen. In addition, Saudi Arabia has assembled as many as 150,000 troops along its border with Yemen, and Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan have expressed their readiness to take part in a ground offensive as well.
2. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) calls democrats, anti-imperialists, and socialists in Yemen and the Arab world to defend Yemen’s national independence and to support the defeat of the reactionary al-Saud gang of aggressors.
3. While the ongoing war in Yemen reflects different axes of conflict, currently the most important issue is the attack of the foreign, arch-reactionary powers against Yemen’s independence in order to install their disposed reactionary lackey, “President” Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi. While the Saudi King Salman and the other reactionary petro-sheikdoms claim to have launched an “anti-terrorist operation,” they in fact represent the Arab Ancien Régimes. They represent a coalition of ruling classes which has at its core the thoroughly decadent and corrupt Saudi and other Gulf monarchies which are closely aligned with the Great Powers and which unashamedly support fled dictators like Tunisia’s Ben Ali, have financed the blood-thirsty coup d’état in Egypt of General al-Sisi on 3 July 2013 which so far has led to the slaughter of more than 6,000 persons, and have crushed the popular uprising in Bahrain in March 2011. Characteristically, this very same regime of al-Sisi is an integral part of this gang of aggressors. It is joined by the ultra-reactionary, pro-Western monarchy of Morocco which has decades of experience in national oppression of the Sahrawi people in the western part of the Sahara (again under the pretext of “anti-terrorist operations”). Finally, this alliance is completed by the Pakistani regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who also regularly launches “anti-terrorist operations” against their own people in Balochistan, Waziristan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It has traditionally close relations with the Saudi Kingdom whose petro-dollars it desperately needs. Add to this the fact that the Pakistani military has a long history of sending troops in support of the corrupt Gulf monarchies, which have little reasons to trust their own people. (Last time Pakistan did this was during the counter-revolutionary suppression of the Bahraini Revolution.)
4. In short, this al-Saud gang of aggressors represents the ultimate counter-revolution, the desire of the old ruling classes to crush the Arab Revolution, and to return to the old, pre-2011 order. In the same context, one should view the reactionary initiative of al-Sisi and King Salman at the recent Arab League Summit to form a joint military force of about 40,000 elite troops, backed by jets, warships, and light armor.
5. The reactionary alliance of kings and dictators decided to invade Yemen after their puppet, Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, had to flee the country when the Houthi rebels reached the southern city of Aden. As a result of Al-Hadi’s overthrow, US imperialism was forced to remove its military personnel and intelligence operatives from Yemen. In addition, the US, France, Turkey, and their Western European allies closed their embassies in Sana’a. King Salman and his accomplices are determined to control the country either by occupying parts of it with ground troops or by forcing the rebels to accept negotiations which would result in the re-imposition of al-Hadi, who has lost any popular support in Yemen, as the country’s president.
6. The al-Saud Gang of Aggressors is striving to subjugate Yemen not only to deliver another blow to the Arab Revolution but also to control a country which is strategically located for world trade. Whoever controls Yemen controls the Bāb al-Mandab Straits and subsequently the Gulf of Aden and the Suquṭra Islands. Furthermore, whoever controls the Bāb al-Mandab Straits also controls the southern approach to the Suez Channel. It is for this reason that the Western imperialist powers support the Saudi war against Yemen.
7. The Saudi-led alliance fears that the victory of the Houthi movement could lead to a strengthening of the regional power of Iran and hence a weakening of its old rivals, Saudi-Arabia and Israel. This fear has increased with the recently concluded deal between the Great Powers and Iran about the latter’s development and use of nuclear energy.
8. The Yemeni people well understand that the present Saudi aggression is an attack on the country’s national independence. This was reflected by the huge mass demonstration in Sana’a on 1 April as well as similar marches in Ta’izz and Amran. People chanted “Death to the USA!”, “Death to the Israel!” and “Down with the Saudi Aggression!” Another popular slogan was “From Sana’a to Qatif, the revolution will not stop,” referring to the city of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia. There are popular calls for the boycott of goods made by countries which participate in the Saudi-led war of aggression. Since the beginning of the Saudi attack, there have been important changes in the political awareness of the Yemeni people. Today, many people who in the past did not support the Houthi rebels, including many Sunnis as well as supporters of the old Socialist Party (which ruled South Yemen until 1990), now see the foreign attack as the main issue. Today, the majority of the Yemeni people, Shiites as well as Sunnis, support the military struggle led by the Houthis against the Saudi aggression.
9. The foreign aggression has transformed the nature of the civil war. As the RCIT has elaborated in past statements, the popular uprising against “president” al-Hadi in the autumn of 2014 after massive price rises had a democratic and legitimate character. Al-Hadi served for 17 years as the deputy of the ousted Yemeni dictator Ali Abdulla Saleh and came to power as a result of a Saudi-arranged deal after the Yemeni Revolution forced Saleh to flee the country in 2011. Socialists supported the Yemeni Revolution as well as the popular uprising against al-Hadi and fought for an independent program of the working class. Later, when the Houthi movement took power, the conflict was transformed into a sectarian civil war in which socialists couldn’t support any side. However, with the advent of the Saudi war of aggression, the character of the civil war has changed once again. It has now become a just war of national defense against the foreign aggression of the al-Saud Gang.
10. The recent developments also demonstrate once more the decline of the US as the hegemonic imperialist power. It is less and less able to wage its wars using its own troops, but instead is forced to withdraw its troops (Iraq, Afghanistan) and rely increasingly on the military forces of allies (i.e., the Iraqi army against the Sunni uprising, the Saudis against Yemen). In addition, it is forced to seek compromises with former opponents like the reactionary al-Assad dictatorship in Syria or the regime of the Ayatollahs in Teheran. Similarly, the US suffered a setback with the Minsk II agreement which temporarily pacified the civil war in the Ukraine. At the same time, new imperialist great powers like Russia and China play an increasingly important role in world politics as well as the world economy.
11. The RCIT calls upon socialists to support Yemen’s just war of national defense and the defeat of the al-Saud Gang of Aggressors. Socialists should support the military struggle led by the Houthi rebels against the foreign aggressors and their Yemeni lackeys without giving any political support to them. Revolutionaries should call upon the Houthi leadership to provide weapons to the workers and oppressed and to assist in the formation of popular militias. They should also oppose the Houthi’s conflating of anti-Zionism (which is absolutely correct) and anti-Jewish chauvinism, reflected in slogans such as "A curse on the Jews" which is thoroughly reactionary. It is wrong to identify all Jews as Zionists (as the Israeli state does), as one can see by the traditional (and today growing) rejection of Zionism by a number of Jewish sectors and individuals. Socialists should warn that the Houthi leadership is a petty-bourgeois Islamist force which is determined to build a capitalist Yemen. The reactionary nature of the Houthi leadership is also reflected by its bizarre alliance with ousted Yemeni dictator Ali Abdulla Saleh whom they fought in six civil wars during the past decade. Saleh brutally ruled North Yemen from 1978 to 1990 and the whole country after its unification until the revolution in 2011. It is crucial that progressive forces in Yemen struggle for overcoming sectarian divisions along religious lines and fight for the unity of the working class and the popular masses.
12. Socialists should fight for a revolutionary Constituent Assembly. Its delegates should be controllable and open to recall by the popular masses. This Assembly should work out a new constitution for the country, one which will unite the workers and poor irrespective of their religious believes. Revolutionaries would fight inside such an Assembly for a socialist program.
13. The task of the working class as well as of the peasants and the poor is to advance the formation of their independent organizations. They should strive for the foundation of new, popular, council-based democratic councils of action as well as popular armed militias. Such councils should be based on regular assemblies of the workers in their places of employment and of the popular masses in their neighborhoods and villages. Obviously such councils and militias would soon clash with the petty-bourgeois Houthi leadership which is attempting to bureaucratically control the popular resistance. The ultimate goal must be to remove the Houthi leadership and to advance a “Second Revolution” which would result in the formation of a Worker’s and Fallahin government. Such a government would rely not on the old and corrupt army but on the power of popular councils and armed militias. Such a government would break Yemen’s dependence on the imperialist monopolies, and would nationalize the key sectors of the economy under workers’ control.
14. Socialists should combine such a program of defense of Yemen against the Saudi aggression with international solidarity with the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist occupation, the US-led imperialist aggression in Iraq and Syria, the Syrian Revolution against the al-Assad dictatorship, the popular resistance in Egypt against the military regime and the struggle for a Second Revolution in Tunisia against the return of the old guard of Ben Ali. The RCIT calls revolutionaries to resolutely oppose phony “socialists” like the “Communist” parties in Syria or Egypt which support the reactionary dictatorships of al-Assad and al-Sisi. We also warn against the reformist Party of the European Left which fails to struggle against the colonial wars of the US, France, or Israel or against the racist wave of attacks upon Muslim migrants in Europe, and against Hadash and the CWI which support the existence of the Zionist Apartheid state Israel.
15. Most importantly, the workers need a new party which is independent of capitalists, imperialist institutions, and bourgeois parties. Such a party should be based on the working class and rally the oppressed peasantry and poor. It should fight against any sectarian divisions along religious lines. Its goal should be the victory of the socialist revolution. Such a revolutionary workers’ party should orientate itself to unite its struggle with those of workers and the oppressed in other countries – from Palestine and Egypt, to Brazil, China, Greece, and the USA. To do this, this party must be part of the Fifth Workers’ International. The RCIT calls revolutionaries in Yemen as well as the Arab world to join us in the struggle for an internationalist, anti-imperialist, and socialist program, and to build a common international organization in the proud tradition of Lenin’s Bolshevik party and Trotsky’s Fourth International.
16. The RCIT calls upon authentic socialists, all workers, and the poor and oppressed to:
* Defend Yemen against the al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! Support the resistance led by the Houthi rebels while not giving any political support to their leadership! No return of the reactionary lackey “President” al-Hadi!
* Support the popular campaign to boycott goods made by countries which participate in the Saudi-led war of aggression!
* For a mass movement which unites Sunni and Shia workers and fellahin, one which is based on solidarity and respect for all groups!
* For a revolutionary Constituent Assembly whose delegates should be controllable and open to recall by the popular masses!
* For the founding of popular action councils and armed militias to defend Yemen against Saudi aggression and to advance the Second Revolution!
* For a Workers’ and Fallahin government defended by popular militias which will expropriate the foreign corporations and the rich domestic capitalists! For the nationalization of the key industries and banks under workers’ control!
* Defend Gaza! Defeat Israel! For an international boycott campaign against Israel! For a Free and Red Palestine!
* Down with the reactionary military dictatorship of al-Sisi in Egypt!
* Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution!
* For a Second Revolution in Tunisia!
* Down with the reactionary monarchy of Saudi Arabia!
* Defeat General Haftar’s alliance of imperialist lackeys in Libya!
* No to reactionary sectarianism! Down with the Salafi-Takfiri Daash!
* Renew and extend the Arab Revolution which started in 2011!
* For a united, socialist Yemen as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East!
* Onward to the building of a revolutionary workers’ party as part of a Fifth International!
For our analysis of the Yemeni Revolution we refer readers to:
RCIT: Yemen: Down with the Price Hikes! For a “Second Revolution” to Establish a Workers and Fallahin Government! 3.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-uprising/
Yemen: The Mass Protests continue, Report from a Yemeni Supporter of the RCIT, 4.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-report-4-9-2014/
For recent RCIT documents on the imperialist aggression in the Middle East and the state of the Arab Revolution, see among others:
* RCIT: Revolutionary Unity to Advance the Struggle for Liberation! Open Letter to All Revolutionary Organizations and Activists at the WSF-Meeting in Tunis 24-28 March 2015, March 2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 33, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/wsf-tunis-statement/
* RCIT: Perspectives for the Class Struggle in Light of the Deepening Crisis in the Imperialist World Economy and Politics. Theses on Recent Major Developments in the World Situation and Perspectives Ahead, 11 January 2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 32, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-january-2015/
* RCIT: Defeat Obama’s New Crusade in the Middle East! For an International Mass Movement to Defeat the Offensive of the Great Western Powers! Support the Kurdish Struggle for an Independent State! No to the Harassment of Muslims in Western Countries! 18.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/obama-s-new-crusade/
* RCIT: Defend Iraq against another Aggression of US Imperialism! Support the Kurdish Right of Self-Determination against IS! Unite the Struggle against the US Attack with the Palestinian Resistance against Israel! 9.8.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 26, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-iraq-against-us/