A new massacre in Syria follows many others, whether with chemical weapons or conventional : the imperialists await the opportunity to intervene and bring peace... the peace of the cemeteries.
Only the revival of revolutionary proletarian class struggle can stop them and vanquish them!
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 10; Winter-Spring 2014)
The civil war unfolding over the last two and a half years is between bourgeois forces – on one side the regime of Bashar al-Assad backed by Russian and Chinese imperialism and Iranian capitalism, and on the other bourgeois factions more or less openly supported by American and Franco-British imperialism and wanting to take his place – who are fighting to reorganize a capitalist order able to cope with a severe economic crisis and its consequences on the relationship of forces in a region among the most troubled in the world.
Confronted with the «Arab Spring» and in particular up against the great mass movements driven to revolt by their social conditions, the Western democracies have greeted the fall of Ben Ali and Mubarak as the beginning of a new era – an era of democracy and social progress for the peasant and proletarian masses in Egypt and Tunisia. Reluctantly recognizing the new governments, they counted on being able to make them pliant towards the imperative requirements of imperialism. If, faced with the resistance of the Libyan regime to imperialist pressure from the United States, France and Britain, the Western democracies put in motion a «war of liberation» against the «Gaddafi dictatorship» in the hope of opening the opportunity to big Western capital to more easily appropriate the petroleum riches; and if, confronted with mass protests in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, the Western democracies, given the strength of those respective monarchies have been content to simply countenance the police and military repression of these countries, in the case of Syria, for a long period of time their attitude has been, much more cautious .
The ability of the Al-Assad clan to control the situation with its army and police gave the Western and Eastern imperialisms the impression that the revolt could be contained inside Syrian borders. Syria indeed constitutes a fragile equilibrium in a region that is already a hotbed of chronic instability in Iraq after the ravages of the Anglo-American war, and the risk of contagion of unrest in neighboring countries (from Lebanon to Jordan not to mention Turkey, or even Israel) was too high. In fact, Western and Eastern imperialism mandated the Baathist Al-Assad regime and its generals to restore order, the bourgeois and imperialist order! And that concealed behind the sickening propaganda onslaught about «violated democracy», «human rights» trampled upon and the population martyred!
By crushing the rebellion in the most brutal way (according to family custom) Bashar al-Assad wants above all to defend the capitalist interests of his cronies and those of his Russian allies; but fundamentally he also defends the interests of American, French, English, German, and Italian imperialism... not to mention those of Israel who feared the emergence of a new outbreak of turmoil on one of its borders, after the uncertainties created by the fall of Mubarak .
The major Western powers (the United States in the forefront, but followed by France and Britain with their old colonial tradition in the region), which did so much to overthrow Gaddafi, have never listened to calls from the «true democrats» who asked these imperialisms, historically the most cynical and murderous, to «stop» Bashar al-Assad after the massacres of Deraa, Homs, Hama, and of many other cities.
The UN appeals to end the civil war and for those fighting to meet at the negotiating table obtained the only result that these empty phrases, issued only to feed humanitarian and pacifist propaganda, could get – precisely nothing. The interests at stake in Syria are more complex and vaster than the internal problems in the country: it is a strategic node of primary importance for all the actors in the war, those visible in the foreground and those who operate behind the scenes, all bourgeois bandits who couldn’t care less about the plight of the people. Iran, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are directly interested in what is happening in Syria: major regional powers, they all nurture extra-national ambitions. Behind and above them, are the leading imperialist powers: first the United States and Russia, then France and Britain, and on the second and third level, China, Germany and Italy. If you fire a cannon in Damascus, the shot is heard not only in Cairo, Tel Aviv, or Tehran; it’s also heard in Washington and Moscow, Paris and London, Berlin and Rome. This applies today to the bourgeois confrontations, but tomorrow it will also apply to the proletarian class struggle !
The violent tremors provoked by the economic crisis in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East could not open at once a new era, as the hardened democrats believed. We can see the sad end of the «Arab Spring» in the worsening of the situation in Tunisia, where the proletariat and poor peasants derived no benefit from the new democracy; and in Egypt where in recent weeks the massacres committed by the army returning to power (had it ever left?), are a tragic confirmation of that. The iron heel of the bourgeoisie is not guided by «democratic rights», but by capitalist interests; the more the situation becomes «unstable», the more certain is the repression against those who stand in their way. The proletarians who are the only class that can threaten the power of the bourgeoisie have, in all countries, one single means to resist capitalist exploitation and to obtain more acceptable living conditions: the path of class struggle organized independently of all bourgeois forces and all bourgeois objectives.
Ghouta, Zamalka: these are the suburbs of Damascus which, according to the regime’s news service, are rebel strongholds. On August 20, they were bombarded with shells containing poison gas (of which, according to the CIA, Syria has recently been officially recognized to possess more than a thousand tons) (1). There were hundreds of deaths, perhaps more than a thousand, including many children. Videos and pictures of the massacre have been shown around the world, «public opinion» worked up by television and newspapers, is horrified. Democratic propaganda takes on a rising tone, calling on Europe to stop the killings of civilians, and asking Obama to be consistent with his statement that the use of chemical weapons was a red line that, if crossed, would lead to military intervention. For its part the Syrian government claims not to have used such weapons and puts it up to rebel machinations, this being sufficient for Russia and China to oppose, in the UN Security Council, any action other than the usual ineffective commission of inquiry to investigate what happened, while bellicose statements are increasing in Western countries.
This cynical ballet over a massacre, is yet another demonstration that what is at stake exclusively concerns sordid imperialist interests of arms dealers, rogue capitalists, leaders of big and small powers driven by the desire to protect their business affairs, their political influence and the diplomatic relations that protect them. The diplomatic ballet, the motions at the UN, the declarations from various mouthpieces are intended to deceive the masses being massacred in the countries at war and hoodwink the proletariat of the imperialist countries into believing that diplomatic activity could stop the slaughter. But since the end of the first World War an uninterrupted flow of blood has characterized imperialist «peace» (which, as Lenin said, is only a truce between wars).
For the proletariat and the poor peasants of Syria, replacing Assad by another representative of local capitalism or a puppet of imperialism, changes nothing: the relentless and cynical juggernaut of bourgeois power will continue to oppress and crush the exploited masses. Even if, as in Egypt, after years of «dictatorship»; «democratic» elections were finally held, the basic situation of the proletariat and the poor masses did not change: after putting a ballot in a box , they returned to their life as outcasts, doomed to die of starvation, overwork or from a hail of bullets.
Today in Syria as in Europe or America, the proletariat is inert, still unable to organize itself on the class terrain, still unable to vigorously struggle for its own interests. If the proletarians of the imperialist countries were organized on a class basis and under the leadership of their own party, class solidarity with the people massacred in Syria would be expressed above all in the struggle against their own bourgeoisie – even if it had not yet decided to intervene militarily. This struggle would boost the confidence of the Syrian proletariat, thrusting them to organize themselves on a class basis.
The European, American, Russian or Chinese proletarians, are still far from that objective, leaving the Syrian proletariat, as the Egyptian, Kurdish and Iraqi proletariat, in the lurch – alone in front of their national executioners and their imperialist overlords. The European or American, Russian or Chinese proletariat are also alone and completely in the hands of their bourgeoisies and their collaborationist lackeys: the outcome for proletarians, if they do not struggle with the class methods and objectives, is the same everywhere.
But the terrible shocks of the crisis are beginning to have some effects: in Egypt the workers in many places had the strength to strike and to organize outside the control of the official unions. Although limited, this is a first step towards the resumption of the class struggle. It is along this path that the proletarians will realize that the struggle for economic demands is only a first step, insufficient to solve fundamental social problems; and with the amplification of the class struggle, the reactions of the bourgeoisie and its state will make them understand that the central issue is that of political power: dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or dictatorship of the proletariat! Then the watchwords and indications of the class party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, will be understood and taken up by the large masses which now seem a far cry from even simply believing that they can challenge the capitalist system.
The bourgeoisie wages an ongoing class struggle against the proletariat; the proletariat will inevitably come to understand that in turn it needs to thrust itself into its revolutionary class struggle, the only perspective that really terrifies the bourgeoisie since it aims at the overthrow of its power and the end of its economic system.
Today it is the proletarians who tremble under the blows that the bourgeoisie hammers down on their living and working conditions, under the repression and massacres it inflicts.
Tomorrow, facing the revolutionary proletariat, organized and led by its class party, it will be the bourgeois in Damascus as in Berlin, in Cairo as in Paris or in Washington, in Tehran as in Moscow or Beijing, who will tremble as they trembled in 1917 not only in Petrograd, but in all the capitals of Europe and the world!
August 24, 2013
( 1) see: La Repubblica, 22.08.2013
International Communist Party