The Syrian revolution and the speech of Bachar Al Assad

January 4 2013, Achrafieh, Aleppo : We resist until the regime is overthrown, until all forms of extremism is overthrown, the building of our civil and pluralist Syria.

The speech of the dictator Bashar Al Assad on Sunday January 6, 2013 at the opera in the capital Damascus was not different to his last official speeches and was in many way a mere repetition. He once again appealed for the “total mobilization of the nation” to fight against the insurgents who he described as al-Qaeda terrorists. He also called for a reconciliation conference with “those who have not betrayed Syria” which would be followed by the formation of a new government and a new amnesty.

The solution of the crisis of Bashar Al Assad is not a solution, but on the opposite a clear message to the Syrian people: the regime will continue its war against the popular movement, both peaceful and armed.

This speech does not open new perspectives, other than the continuation of the revolution, to the Syrian people that has been struggling for nearly two years to overthrow the criminal and corrupt regime of the dictator Bashar al-Assad. The number of martyrs has now exceeded the 60 000.

Nor is the so called “peace plan for Syria” suggested by UN Peace envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi is a solution for the Syrian people as we said before in a previous article[1]. This plan calls for the formation of a transitional government which holds the total responsibility of executive power to govern Syria until Presidential and legislative elections in 2014 under the auspices of the UN. During this period, the dictator Bashar al Assad would stay in function at the top of the State. The following sentence of the Russian revolutionary Trotsky, which was directed to UN ancestor the League of Nation, applies perfectly to the United Nations: “The League in its defense of the status quo is not an organization of “peace”, but an organization of the violence of the imperialist minority over the overwhelming majority of mankind[2]. The UN as its late predecessor the League of Nations is indeed the instrument of the imperialists powers of the world to guaranty their interests and the Syrian or Palestinian case also are examples among others.

In both cases, these are not solutions, but the continuation of the suffering of the Syrian people and their denial to freedom and dignity which they have called since the beginning of the revolution.

Assad repeatedly described parts of the opposition as agents of foreign powers who could not be included in any negotiations: “We will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West”. The Syrian people agree with this quote, they refuse any negotiation with a regime that has not hesitated for the past 30 years to serve imperialist powers on many occasions. The great powers do actually not see any interests in the collapse of the regime. This regime has helped stabilize the borders with Israel and has worked with the Western powers repeatedly in the “war against terrorism” launched by former President George W. Bush, and in the wars against Iraq in 1991, and in 2003 the regime has participated in the “interrogation” of prisoners by the Western powers, not to mention military intervention in Lebanon in agreement with the Western powers and Israel to crush the Palestinian resistance and the Lebanese left in 1976. The neoliberal policy has accelerated extraordinary since the rise to power of Bashar al-Assad in 2000, and the regime had also opened Syria to many Western and the Gulf investors before the beginning of the revolution. These policies have plunged more than half of the population in misery and poverty. This is why until today the imperialists’ powers have no advantage in seeing the regime collapse, for the above reasons and for the security of Israel, whose border with Syria has been quiet since 1973.  Yes the Syrian people refuse to negotiate with a regime which served imperialists and a dictator that was called a reformist by US official Hillary Clinton for the Six first months of the revolution and who was having lunch at theElysee Palace with French President Sarkozy. The Syrian people will not negotiate, they will fight until you are overthrown.

In the same time, the Syrian people will refuse any attempts to submit Syria to western control as a banner in Binich 2012, September, stated “Overthrow all who want loyalty in exchange of support[3] and will also oppose the section of the oppositions using a sectarian discourse and backed by the Arab Gulf states in their sectarian propaganda, to transform this popular revolution in a sectarian war to prevent the deepening and the spread of this revolution. In that manner, the evil of Sectarianism characterized by many in the popular movement  as “the tomb of the revolution or of the homelands”, which was spread by the regime for decades, can only defeated by struggling in conjunction for democracy, social justice, secularism and real independence.

Finally, in his speech, the dictator Bashar Al Assad said that “This is not a revolution, a revolution needs intellectuals, where are the intellectuals of this revolution?” A revolution needs leaders who are the leaders of this revolution? “This sentence symbolizes the lack of understandings of the Syrian dictator and regime, symptomatic of all dictatorships, in front the popular movement and the dynamics around it. The popular movement self organization through popular committees at the level of villages, neighborhoods, cities and regions have been the rule since the beginning of the revolution. These popular committees are the real backbone of the movement, mobilizing the people for demonstrations. They have also developed forms of self-management based on the organization of the masses in the areas liberated from the yoke of the regime. Popular elected councils have emerged to deal with and manage the liberated areas, proving that it is the regime that causes anarchy and not the people. In the same time, the armed resistance of the Syrian people on the other side is the expression of its right to defend itself against repression, and it has made possible the continuation of popular resistance in some regions in the face of the regime’s attacks. Revolutionary councils have been formed across Syria, as well as coordinating committees for political and armed actions

The leaders of this revolution are every woman and man involved in this revolution and invested in these popular committees. The leaders of Syria are the people of Syria themselves.

And for the intellectuals, they are all those who brandish their messages on their placards to demand freedom, dignity, a democratic, social and secular state, denounce sectarianism and repeat the Syrian people are one and united, or saying that the speech of Bachar al Assad only deserved a shoe in his face…

Yes the intellectuals as argued by Gramsci can no longer consist in eloquence or restricted to its ivory tower as perceived by some, but has to join actively in practical life, as constructor, organizer, and permanently active persuader among the masses.

The intellectuals are therefore every woman and men involved and invested in this revolution. The intellectuals of this revolution are the Syrian people.

Without any doubt, this is truly a revolution and this since the beginning. And despite the harsh and criminal repression, the Syrian people have always the same answer to what next:  permanent revolution until victory!

Viva the Syrian Revolution and Peace for all the martyrs of the revolution!

8 thoughts on “The Syrian revolution and the speech of Bachar Al Assad

  1. Pingback: SYRIA: The Syrian revolution and the speech of Bachar Al Assad « Tahrir-ICN

  2. You can tell that the author ripped his Trotsky quote so grossly out-of-context to apply to the situation in Syria when considering Trotsky’s actual stance with regards to similar conflicts:

    “I will take the most simple and obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semifascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personally—in this case I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!”

    • I have already seen this comment and I answer it in a similar way:

      There is no military offensive of Western powers on Syria and actually quite on the opposite they are not for the overthrow of the regime as I have explained it in previous articles, but for a yemeni solution ( cut the head and maintain the regime’structure). In addition to this you have a vivid popular movement struggling against an authoritarian and bourgeois regime, which had no pbms with dealing and serving imperialists. so please do not use Trotsky and shame his name, as he was a great revolutionary humanist, on the opposite of you.

      thank you

  3. While it is not so obvious what the imperialist powers really want it has become obvious for anyone not engaged in daydreaming that while the revolt in Syria started as a legitimate opposition of much of the population against a bourgeois dictatorship with turning towards armed rebellion it had to fall under the influence of those forces without whose material and political support that armed struggle wouldn’t have had a chance to keep on for such a long time now. These forces range from Turkey to the Wahhabi gulf monarchies to the various international sunni jihadi outfits and their imperialist backers. The imperialists may have tactical agreement or differences with these regional forces however. The Syrian toiling masses for their part while still in legitimate opposition to the regime have lost their decisive influence on what’s going to happen both to the regime as to themselves. To pretend not to know about the growing importance within the armed opposition, which because it is armed cannot be but the decisice factor, of the experienced and well supported jihadi forces such as the Jabhat an-Nusra, who whatever they may also be are certainly reactionary, terrorist forces and deadly enemies of the working class, is pathetic (to use a word as kind as possible). As to Leon Trotzky it should not be forgotten by the way that he – contrary to all those who undiffentiatedly hail the Syrian” revolution” – was not a blind admirer of any militant movement but a Leninist who saw the importance of the revolutionary (i.e. proletarian) leadership and as such he subscribed to Lenin’s saying that there cannot be a revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory. Where is the revolutionary proletarian vanguard in Syria today? Certainly not there where “leftists” try not to antagonize reactionary forces because the”people” are misled by these forces. Or do these “leftists” really believe that something like a functioning bourgeois democracy (which in fact would be a progress) is possible on the basis of dependent capitalism in underdeveloped countries like Syria? If they think so at least they should not pretend to have anything to do with Trotzky’s legacy.

    • I have already spoken and answered to the different point you mentionned in your comment notably around Jabhat al Nusra and imperialist powers, check the blog. But on the most important point of the revolutionary left I have very often answered to such comments in various articles, and this is my answer below to you who pretends apparently to be a socialist revolutionary


      So what is the role of the revolutionary Left in these circumstances? Should we leave the battle and wait for a social revolution that is perfect, as some do, and have done in the traditional Left? Or should we decide to be an integral part of this revolutionary process and throw our forces totally into this struggle to overthrow the regime, while working for the radicalization of the various elements of the revolution?

      Lenin answered this question some time ago:

      “To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without (…) revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc. – to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for socialism”, and another, somewhere else, and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will be a social revolution! (…) Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is” [A revolutionary process is not all of one colour and never will be, otherwise it would not be a revolution. On the other hand, the role of the revolutionary Left is absolutely clear: to fight against the regime and to radicalize the popular movement!

      The fight against sectarianism is therefore an essential part of the struggle for democracy, social justice, secularism and for establishing policies in solidarity with peoples struggling for freedom and dignity, and particularly the Palestinian people.

      • Well the problem is not that the Syrian “revolution” is not a clear cut proletarian revolution with a revolutionary proletarian leadership. The problem is that those forces which are bound to reap the fruits of an eventual military victory over the regime (more and more unlikely however, and not at all primarily because the regime gets weapons from Russia, Iran and soldiers from Hizbullah) are the the ones who are disciplined and armed with a clear ideology and have the material backing from financially strong forces, even if numerically they may be a minority within the armed forces and even more so within the population as a whole. Obviously here I speak about the various salafi-jihadi outfits. On the other hand there is the multitude of militias working under the name of the FSA which up to now have been shown as being unable to unite and offer a definite alternative to the jihadi forces. All the history of national liberation struggles (the Syrian conflict is not one of these of course) and social struggles make clear that when the gun speaks those without a gun do not count for much. The working class can be an exception when it is able to paralyse the country and thus the regime by waging a general strike. In Syria however the working class as such is not included within the oppositional forces. This is to be expected given that the oppositional forces, at least those with some weight on a national scale, have not put forwards a political and economic program of any particular interest for the working class as such and have not really tried to organize the workers on a class basis. So there is an ideological and organizational vacuum, and this vacuum is being filled every day more by reactionary religious sectarian “thinking” and feelings. As long as the weak forces of the revolutionary left in Syria (if there are any at all) keep on giving “critical” support to a so called revolution which has come under the leadership of black reaction their crititicism of those forces like the Jabhat an-Nusra is hardly worth the ink it is written with. Such a “revolutionary” left is bound to end as support forces for the worst kind of reaction (the islamists) against another sort of reaction (the regime). It is a totally wrong idea to pretend that it is the duty of leftists to always engage actively with the masses. When these masses go astray and the revolutionary forces are too weak to turn the tide it is a crime to accompany the masses on their wrong way. The Iranian left, those who have made this mistake and those who did not, have dearly paid for giving support to the Khomeiniists, although it must be admitted that their objective situation was less clear then as is the present situation in Syria. The organized working class in the Iranian revolution was a force to be reckoned with, organized and even armed left-revolutionary cadres were existent inside Iran, and Khomeini himself had – due to this balance of forces – hidden his real plans for the country as long as he had not monopolized power.
        And as for Lenin: did he support the Black Hundreds when they tried to topple the bourgeois governement in July 1917, a government he was going to topple himself in October of the same year? No, he even supported this rotten government. Now the Provisional Government in Russia was more or less a democratic one, something nobody can say about the Assad-Regime, and Kornilov’s coup attempt had nothing to do with a people’s revolt. Still the point here is that the enemy of my enemy is not automatically my friend. More important is the fact that even the proletariat, if it is not class conscious, is just “material for exploitation” as Trotzky put it, and may be largely blind and being led into a direction detrimental to its objective needs. The left is not called up to accompany these masses into their graves. However it has the duty to explain the plain truth to the masses. As Lissagaray, the chronist of the Paris Commune, remarked: “The one who tells wrong revolutionary legends to the people… is as punishable as the geographer who designs wrong maps for the seafarer”. And Trotzky said that in times of reaction when the revolutionary Marxists do not have the means and power to progress in practice their duty is to defend the lessons of the history of proletarian revolution. Obviously at the beginning of the revolt it was the task of the revolutionary left in Syria to actively engage with it in order to imprint it with its visions. But when it became clear that it had lost this battle it was wrong to remain on the battle field. Staying there would mean offering itself to exterminating by both the regime forces and even more so by the jihadi forces while it was important to have an independent existence in the post civil war period.

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