Monday, January 28, 2013

Hands off Syria!

Vanguard February 2013
Nick G.

(Above: Assad supporters rally in the Syrian capital)

The Syrian civil war, which began in early 2011, is now entering its third year. Imperialist and reactionary Muslim hopes for an easy victory over the government of Bashar Al-Assad have been dashed.

Consistent with his opposition to imperialism and Israeli Zionism, Bashar Al-Assad has stood firm in the face of insurgent forces variously armed, financed and provided with personnel by the US-NATO bloc (including Turkey) on the one hand, and the Saudi Arabian and Qatari regimes on the other.

Reflecting the different agendas of these external sponsors, the so-called Free Syrian Army lacks the unity and internal cohesion to deliver a decisive blow against the Syrian government.  Its lack of a real base in the Syrian people, whose peaceful demonstrations for democratic reforms and measures to counter social problems arising from certain neo-liberal policies adopted in recent years by the government, leads it to use terrorist violence and arbitrary killings and atrocities. This further alienates the FSA from the people.

Hiding under the fig-leaf of “concern for the Syrian people”, the real agenda of the US-NATO bloc is to destroy Syrian independence so as to more fully exert complete control over the Middle East. It is also a move on the chessboard whose game focusses on the destruction of the anti-imperialist regime in Iran.

People’s struggle good; imperialist interference bad.

Progressive in its political opposition to imperialism, the Syrian government nevertheless administers a capitalist economy, and contradictions between the rich and the poor, exacerbated by sectional loyalties and religious factionalism, have never been far below the surface.

Underscoring the impetus that nationalisation of key industries can provide to a relatively weak national economy, the Syrian economy expanded rapidly in the 1960s and peaked in the 1970s. Over-reliant on oil and agriculture and lacking a strong manufacturing sector, it declined for a time in the 1980s and then grew again in the following decade.

However, from 2000 onwards, and partly to appease the World Bank which began funding various infrastructure projects, the Syrian government approved legislation for a private banking system, promoted the role of the market in commerce and real estate, promoted the influence of finance capital through the 2009 creation of the Damascus stock exchange, and allowed other acts of economic neo-liberalism which enriched a few in the private sector, but led to increases in the prices of land and food and other services, thus impoverishing the majority.

It was in this environment that struggles by the people broke out against the government.

It is the inalienable right of any people to rebel against reactionary authority, but such struggles must remain under the leadership of the working class and not be suborned by forces with an even more reactionary agenda.

Freedom and independence are the essential preconditions for the development of the democratic rights of the people. They can neither be imported nor exported, but must be won by each people conducting its own difficult and protracted struggle.

Support Syrian people’s struggles

Only the people can provide assistance to each other’s struggles without seeking to interfere, to bully or to control. Such is the essence of proletarian internationalism. It stands in stark contrast to the “humanitarianism” of the imperialists who write the word on their banners with the blood of the innocent.

We must take a more active stand in support of Syria’s independence and freedom. 

We must reject NATO intervention and the deployment and use of Patriot missiles in Turkey.

We must explain to our own people the reactionary nature of the Free Syrian Army and its various component factions.

We must condemn Australian government support for the overthrow of the Bashar Al-Assad regime and insist on an Australian foreign policy which respects the independence and national sovereignty of other nations.

We must have confidence in the ability of the Syrian people to determine their own future in which a democratic, independent and secular state unites the different religions and clans on the basis of freedom and equality.

We leave the final word to a recent statement from the Syrian Communist Youth Union (Khaled Bagdash Youth):

There can be no revolution in concert with world imperialism.  No revolution with NATO. No revolution with the reactionary regimes of the mercenary and treacherous rulers of the Gulf who steal the wealth of the people of the Arab peninsula… Because a revolution whose first slogan is not the liberation of the land in opposition to imperialism and Zionism is not a revolution.  A revolution which does not raise the banner of national independence and prevent external intervention is not a revolution.

We shall struggle against the terrorist groups and imperialist death machines, for independence and sovereignty, for the freedom of our homeland and for the good life of the people.

Our battle is long and hard, but we will progress along the path of honourable struggle and we’ll win.

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