The revolt of the proletarianized masses spreads to Syria: the system responds with massacres!
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 7; Summer 2011)
President Bashar Al-Assad was severely mistaken if he thought he could stop the protest movements by using the stick and the carrot; neither police repression, nor the announcement of reforms were sufficient to smash the movement.
The accusations that foreign powers incited and directed the movements against the Baathist regime of Assad may well not be unfounded, unlike the Gaddafi propaganda claiming that Al Qaeda is organizing the revolt in Libya. It’s not from today that American imperialism, in conjunction with the aspirations of Israel to dominate the region, tries to find points of support in the Syrian opposition. But it is evident that the current situation in the whole North African and Middle Eastern region is not the result of corrupt American, English, French or Israeli imperialists. It is the economic crisis, precipitating the masses into abject poverty, combined with unbearable police oppression and dictatorship, which has caused increasing tensions to the point of provoking explosions in the region.
For decades, the authoritarian regimes have maintained the capitalist order and, beyond their opposing alliances, have assured the imperialist control of this troubled area through the brutal repression of any challenge and of any internal struggle.
The bourgeois factions who, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, took over from the factions tied to Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi, inevitably reap the fruits of a rebellion that sparked the broader masses into social and political actions that were completely banned a few months ago.
Inevitably, because the revolt of the proletariat and the proletarianized masses of these countries did not have at its head a revolutionary communist Party, nor even immediate parties and organizations structured on the principles of bourgeois democracy. The revolutionary communist Party does not exist today other than in an embryonic form deprived of any influence (and we are determined to represent this embryo); moreover, without the resumption of the proletarian class struggle, it would be impossible for the Party to lead the social movement and change the relationship of forces between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Two essential elements are necessary for the formation of a communist therefore international class Party: the restoration of Marxist theory, falsified and destroyed by Stalin and his heirs, which was accomplished by the Communist Left after WWII; and the resumption of large-scale organized proletarian struggle, which seems to lag but will inevitably reappear given the attacks inflicted on the proletariat by a global capitalism, itself fallen prey to multiplying difficulties, forcing proletarians to defend themselves including elementary demands relating to their lives and workplaces. It is precisely these attacks that are the basis of the social struggles in the Arab countries and from which no country is immune.
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An old dictum of international diplomacy in the Middle East states that one does not make war without Egypt and one does not make peace without Syria. This means that Syria, through its history, its geographic position and its pluralistic multifaith characteristics, plays an important role in the regional equilibrium. Syria doesn’t have much oil or gas, very little precious raw materials for the international capitalist economy, but it has a strategic importance: the political and social stability of Syria contributes to the control of social, political and military unrest in the Middle East, wheras its instability increases the risk of instability throughout the region. The United States and other Western imperialist powers, who criticize its ties with Iran, are well aware of its strategic value, the extension of the protest movements issuing from Deraa spreading to larger cities and even Damascus, risking turn into revolt à la libyenne, spreading alarm in the imperialist chancelleries. The warnings repeatedly issued by Obama to Bashar Assad to stop the repression against peaceful demonstrators can hardly be followed by decisions similar to those taken against Gaddafi. Military intervention in Libya is currently bogged down in a siege situation that does not bode well for the civilians who will continue to fall at the hands of Gaddafi troops or to“friendly fire”. This is why Western imperialism would actually not be that unhappy to see the Baathist regime conduct its bloody repression against the masses and the “peace of the graveyards” entrench itself in Syria. In a sense U.S. imperialism which funds the Syrian opposition to the tune of millions of dollars would even do well to allow a regime hated by its people to get its hands covered in blood: “Western democracy” would gain in prestige and legitimacy ...
In any event, there is no doubt that the established order in Syria represented for 45 years by the dictatorial regime of Assad, will be defended with ferocity. If the massacre of civilians has always been a weapon of dictatorial powers, it is also good for imperialism, “friend” or “enemy”, that rebellions are contained and that the iron talons of the State maintain domination over the masses.
Today it is not the proletariat which is in the vanguard of social movements in Syria; and it even seems that it remains relatively marginal to the protests whose protagonists are the layers of small and medium bourgeoisie which gathers the support of the peasant masses.
This does not prevent, in addition to the demands for democracy, the struggle against the corruption and privileges of the ruling clan, the suppression of the decades old “State of Emergency”, special tribunals and release of prisoners, demands for increases in wages, imposition of a minimum income for the unemployed, lower taxes, freedom of organization and expression, have also emerged: all demands that directly interest the workers.
The violent repression of the demonstrations of 15 March, was followed by the even more violent repression of the demonstrations of April 22: More than 70 dead, hundreds injured and arrested. The great slogan of the protest demonstrations in which Arabs and Kurds, Muslims and Christians all protested together is: democratic change! Like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, the generous spontaneity of the masses opens the way for the great illusions of bourgeois democracy.
But the democratic change in Egypt and Tunisia has already shown that nothing will really change for the proletarianized masses and when they demand that this change go further than the new leaders want, they face repressive violence. The repression may be a little less fierce, the police may not have quite such a “free-hand”, corruption may be a little less obvious, but the workers and poor peasants continue to kill themselves from overwork when now as always they find themselves threatened by hunger, unemployment and poverty.
The only way out of the clutches of the existing political and economic system is not free elections of the Constituent Assembly, an independent judiciary, nor that of popular nationalism in which class differences would be confounded in a mélange useful only to the bourgeois ruling class, it begins with the recognition of the irreconcilable antagonism between the working classes and the propertied classes, between proletarians and owners of the means of production, mineral resources, the land and in general the social wealth produced by wage labor.
The only way forward is that of class struggle against all oppressions, whether wage-slavery, national, religious, racial, sexual, against all repressions. It includes the independent organization of the workers’ struggle on the level of immediate defence, for proletarian class solidarity through the constitution of the proletarian party, the revolutionary communist Party.
All other democratic, popular and religious alternatives, can result in nothing other than the continued domination of the bourgeoisie and capitalism.
April 22, 2011
International Communist Party