The resistance of the Syrian people has not ceased to grow since the revolutionary process began in March 2011. The struggle of the Syrian people is part of the popular struggles in Tunisia and Egypt, which has spread to other countries in the region.
The new massacre at Daraya, over 300 people were killed, including dozens of women and children, (a clear response has been made by the LCC against the famous journalist Robert Fisk’s report on the massacre http://www.facebook.com/notes/%D9%84%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7/the-local-coordination-committees-in-daraya-respond-to-mr-robert-fisk/517985734895234) in recent days is added to the long list of crimes of the regime. The terrible repression against the Syrian people continues. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH), announced on August 23 that at least 24,495 people have died in violence since the beginning of the revolution, including a total of 17,281 civilians, while 6,163 soldiers have been killed and 1,051 deserters who joined the insurgency. We must add to this sad news some 1.5 million people displaced inside the country and some 250,000 refugees in neighboring countries.
Despite this terrible repression by the regime, some sections of the left, increasingly a minority, refrain from fully and unambiguously supporting the Syrian revolution, despite the popular struggle of the Syrian people to topple the regime and build a new Syria that is democratic, social and in solidarity with other peoples’ struggles, especially the Palestinian people. Some of these sections hide behind a biased interpretation of anti-imperialism, very primitive and false in many ways, which in the past has defended authoritarian regimes like Gaddafi’s Libya or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, while others simply repeat the propaganda of the Syrian regime, that is to say: the uprising is a conspiracy of the imperialist West allied with regional countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, against a Syria that would be anti-imperialist and pro-resistance.
Another section of the left, with a more nuanced discourse, refuses to support the Syrian revolution, but without publicly siding with the regime. They argue that the Syrian revolution has now become purely a military conflict between the opposition supported by the imperialist Western and regional powers, against a regime that is not anti-imperialist, but opposes imperialist interests and objectives in the region. This section of the left only focuses on the dangers of Western imperialist and regional interventions and, without a word about the much more real and important support by the states of Russia and Iran in particular. They also discuss the dangers of threats of a sectarian religious war, without a thorough analysis of this element while ignoring its dynamics. They also have no way to overcome the dangers of sectarianism. Finally, under the argument “the main enemy is at home”, they claim that their duty is solely to oppose their own imperialist government, while no solidarity and support are shown and manifested for the struggle of the Syrian people. They refuse to brandish the slogan of victory to the Syrian revolution.
We condemn these positions for several reasons, including the “anti-imperialism” of the Syrian regime, which is a lie. Does amnesia strike these sections of the left? Do they not remember that Bashar Al Assad was presented as a reformist by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the beginning of the revolution in 2011, or when Nicolas Sarkozy received with great pomp the Syrian dictator in the Elysee Palace in December 2010, or his invitation to watch the parade of 14 July 2007 on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées?
Also, how can they speak about supporting resistance when the regime crushed the Palestinian and the progressive movement in Lebanon in 1976, ending their revolution, all under the watchful eye of the Western imperialist powers and Israel? This same regime participated in the imperialist war against Iraq in 1991 with the coalition led by the United States and worked with it again in the campaign of the “war against terrorism” launched by U.S. President George Bush. During the past thirty years, the Syrian regime has arrested all those trying to develop a resistance in the country for the liberation of the Golan and Palestine, while no bullet has been fired to free the occupied Golan.
Some nevertheless still speak of re-colonization of Syria such as Tareq Ali, who we answered in this response: https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/response-to-tareq-ali-what-is-really-happening-in-syria/ . This section of the left has failed to see the dynamics of the popular movement in Syria and the high political conscience increasing everyday at a very high cost through the revolutionary process.
The regional and international revolutionary left cannot accept a position that clearly does not support the Syrian revolution or which proves ambiguous vis-à-vis the latter, particularly in light of the sacrifices made by the Syrian people in the face repression.
We say straightforwardly but with full candor and honesty: those who deny popular revolutions thereby set themselves against envisaging emancipation from below and by the people! They cannot be seen as being on the left.
In front the attacks and surrender of these sections of the left, regional (Lebanon Forum Socialist, Egypt Revolutionary Socialist, (Tunisia Workers Struggle, Morocco Al Mounadil, etc…) and international revolutionary socialists’ organizations, the real ones, have increasingly defended and supported the Syrian revolution. Please check these following articles of comrades on the Syrian revolution, and I am sorry for the one I have forgotten of other comrades:
The popular movement is not dead!
The popular movement in Syria has not, contrary to what we have heard, been removed from the streets, universities and workplaces despite the regime’s many forms of political and violent military repression.
The main forms of organization have been through popular committees in the villages, towns and regions. These popular committees are the real backbone of the grassroots movement mobilizing people for events. They also developed forms of self-management based on the organization of the masses in the liberated areas from the yoke of the regime. Elected popular councils have been created to deal with and manage the liberated areas, proving that it is the system which causes anarchy and not the people.
The Syrian revolutionary process is a real popular and democratic movement that mobilizes the exploited and oppressed classes against the capitalist elite linked to the global order (very similar to their counterparts in the Arab world).
Is it necessary to recall all the measures taken by the neo-liberal regime that has impoverished society, 60% of the Syrian population living below the poverty line or just above, and weakened the Syrian economy? Is it necessary to recall that the Assad clan, especially around the person of Rami Makhlouf, through the privatization process accounted for more than 60% of the economic wealth of Syria? The neo liberal policies implemented these past 10 years have provoked the collapse of the public sector and led to the domination of the private sector up to 70% of the economy.
Nevertheless we except from the Syrian people to don’t confront their “main enemy at home”, the Syrian regime, which exploits, oppresses and massacres them, because the Assad regime is “anti-imperialist”… No party, government or regime can claim to struggle against imperialism when it’s oppressing and exploiting its own people or other population.
Armed resistance: a matter of survival!
The Syrian popular movement began peacefully calling for reform, but the regime has responded with violence and repression across the board. Parts of the Syrian population then organized armed resistance to defend against attacks from security services and thugs, known as shabihas of the regime. They also defended the protests and the good organization of the popular committees (for a more detailed analysis of popular resistance army see: https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/syria-debate-and-analysis-on-the-popular-armed-opposition/).
The Syrian people’s armed resistance expresses their right to defend themselves against the repression of the regime and has allowed for the continuation of the popular resistance in some regions faced with the attacks of the regime. Some revolutionary councils were formed throughout Syria, as well as coordinating committees and armed political action. Of course these revolutionary councils are not to be compared with the Soviets, reflecting local contradictions, but they are nevertheless a form of self management, just as we saw in other popular revolutions in the region, challenging the rule of the regime.
A code of good conduct, respect for international law and against sectarianism, has also been signed by a large number of armed groups belonging to the armed popular resistance against the regime ( check the content : http://www.facebook.com/notes/%D9%84%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7/new-battalions-sign-the-code-of-conduct/508232342537240). The number of signatories also continues to grow every day. These measures were taken after the acts of torture and killings by armed groups in opposition, not necessarily related to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) however, which have also been condemned by the popular movement and the vast majority of the Free Syrian Army battalions. An officer of the FSA has also declared in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZQD_X4YYZ8) the aim of protecting the goals of the revolution and total opposition to sectarianism.
The Civil Resistance Unit (CRU), which was established in August in Damascus, is a branch of the FSA dedicated to organizing acts of resistance and unity of the popular forces to form a joint military body. The CRU’s efforts focus primarily at the moment on Damascus and its suburbs (more details at https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%82%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B9%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9-f-s-a-civil-resistance-unit/).
Composed of deserters and civilians who took up arms, the armed popular resistance has real roots in the popular insurrection. The largest section of the Syrian revolutionary movement is that of the proletariat and the rural and urban “middle class” who have been economically marginalized by the application of neoliberal policies, especially since the coming to power of Bashar al-Assad. It is mainly these components of the current revolution who joined the armed groups of the Free Syrian Army. It is therefore completely misleading and far from any materialist analysis to identify all these armed groups as proxies and acting for the interests of global imperialist or regional powers. We have also seen how different demands of the popular movement, including the unification of the FSA, the appeal against sectarianism and calls for the preservation of the objectives of the revolution, were taken into account by the opposition people’s army ( for some testimonies ad information check these articles: http://alhayat.com/Details/426355 and http://alhayat.com/Details/427912) .
Similarly, to consider the popular armed resistance as a group of Islamists acting independently of the popular movement is far from reality. It is certain that the Syrians who are Sunni Muslim represent the majority of the popular armed resistance, but to consider each person of this community as an Islamist is wrong and above all Islamophobic. In fact, a Muslim is not equal to an Islamist. The popular armed resistance groups include all ideological, ethnic and religious components of Syrian society.
Finally, the presence of foreign troops is a reality, but one that is exagerrated in the media and which has a negligible influence on the ground. Most analysts of the region and activists in the field agree that they do not exceed 1,000 men, while the Popular Resistance Army consists of about 70,000 men. They are present only in a very limited number of groups. It is further interesting to note that these jihadists are often not seen in a positive light by the local population (see passages in the article http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/proche-orient/djihadistes-en-syrie-une-faible-presence-dument-exploitee_1146676.html).
Similarly, the so-called massive aid sent by the imperialist powers to the popular movement and armed resistance remains to be demonstrated by tangible and real facts after more than 18 months of fighting (see article http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/2012/aug/09/syria-bashar-al-assad). Most Western countries have also refused any military assistance to the armed revolutionaries, while promising non-military aid. The feeble means of resistance of the popular armed resistance comes primarily from the arms of the regime (weapons carried by the soldiers who have defected, buying weapons to corrupt officers, spoils of war).
The imperialist powers do not want the fall of the regime
The major Western imperialists powers, and other world imperialist powers such as Russia and China, as well as regional ones such as Iran, in their entirety and without exception, will continue to try to implement a Yemeni-type solution in Syria – in other words, to cut off the head of the regime, the dictator Bashar Al Assad, while keeping its structure intact, as was witnessed during meetings between U.S. and Russian officials, or at the international conference on 30 June in Geneva. The only sticking point is the Russian position of still trying by all means to keep Assad in power, but Russia may sacrifice this in the near future to protect its interests in Syria. The United States in turn has repeatedly expressed its desire to preserve the structure of the military and security services intact (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/30/us-syria -crisis-usa-idUSBRE86T1KP20120730).
The great powers do not actually favor seeing the regime collapse, for the reasons mentioned above and the security of Israel, whose borders with Syria have been quiet since 1973.
Rejection of sectarianism
The Syrian people continue to repeat their rejection of sectarianism, despite the regime’s attempts to light this dangerous fire which it has used in various forms since the takeover by the Assad clan in 1970. The popular movement has reaffirmed its united struggle, developing a sense of national solidarity that transcends social and ethnic and sectarian divisions. Just in the past few days, under the title “A Revolution of Dignity and Morals”, the committees in the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) organized the first week of a continuous campaign to focus on the principles and goals of the Syrian revolution that we are all committed to it, including civilians and military soldiers (check this link for more info: https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/372/).
In many events, we can see signs announcing “sectarianism is the tomb of the revolution and of countries” or “No to sectarianism.” Following each massacre by the regime plan or unclaimed attacks organized by the regime against many demonstrations, the popular committees condemn them and call for the unity of the people (e.g. “about the bombing of Jurmana” http:www.lccsyria.org/10034)
The local coordination committees (LCC) in Syria also organized a campaign last June under the slogan “Freedom is my religion,” in which the LCC waved signs and symbols rejecting sectarian discourse, the sectarian practices of the regime and its deadly attempts to transform the Syrian revolution into a sectarian trap. In the Committee of the City of Saraqeb, the protesters of the LCC waved signs representing the symbols of all faiths Syrian protesters, while those in Daeel protested with a sign saying “In the future in Syria, the policy of exclusion will be ended.”
These indicators reflect the political and humanist consciousness of a majority in the popular movement. The Syrian people are aware that the fight against sectarianism passes through the struggle and the overthrow of this criminal regime and a radical change in society.
The fight against sectarianism is an essential part of the struggle for democracy, social justice, secularism and the establishment of political solidarity with the peoples struggling for freedom and dignity, especially the Palestinian people.
This break with the regime’s sectarian policies and practices also opposes the Gulf States in their sectarian propaganda and also those sections of the Syrian opposition which support this kind of discourse, which are very much a minority but are present, it must be said. The Gulf States, it should be remembered, financially support some small armed Islamist groups, but not to enable the victory of the Syrian revolution. It is on the contrary an attempt to divert the Syrian revolution from its initial and always present objectives, that is to say, principally civil democracy, social justice and freedom – in order to transform it into sectarian war. The Gulf states in fact fear a spread of revolution in the region which would threaten their power and interests. Changing the nature of the revolution into a sectarian war would also scare their own people with the following message: that every change in the region has a great chance of falling into sectarian war and therefore the status quo should be encouraged – in other words, the dictators should be maintained.
The reactionary leaders of these countries want to intervene in Syria to contain the revolutionary process and restrict the political, social and economic revolutions.
Some opposition parties have also attempted to build a local basis through humanitarian aid or financing of certain armed groups. The Muslim Brotherhood have notably been condemned several times for this type of behavior and an FSA officer has also denounced the theft of donations by the Islamist organization and the non-support of the FSA but the providing of support to other groups not related to the latter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnfxD1yqQlQ).
The struggle of the Syrian people echoed this sentence from the Communist Manifesto: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” The left cannot but support this struggle for dignity and freedom as we have done for other popular revolutions in the region!
Our support for the revolution is inscribed in the struggle for the emancipation of the Syrian people and also in our support for permanent revolution.
Permanent revolution means to oppose and overthrow the dictatorial regime of Assad while opposing global and regional imperialisms which attempt to hijack the Syrian revolutionary process for their own interests against those of the Syrian people. It is for this reason that we reject and condemn all foreign intervention in Syria, whether by the Western and Saudi/Qatari axis, or the Iranian/Russian axis that supports the regime in its repression against the popular movement and in all its financial and military capabilities.
The continuation of the revolution is also in the desire to build a free, democratic, secular and revolutionary Syria that seeks to eliminate all inequality and social discrimination, ethnic, gender and religious, to support the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people, to respect the religious and ethnic minorities, and to ensure all democratic and political freedoms.
The revolution will be permanent because it is also committed to make every effort to liberate the occupied Golan, to support the rights of the Palestinian people for the return of refugees and self-determination in the territory of historic Palestine, and to assist other peoples of the region in their struggle against their dictators and imperialism.
Long live the permanent revolution until victory!