For International Solidarity with the Popular Revolution against the murderous Assad Dictatorship! But Without and Against any Western Imperialist Military Intervention!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 27.8.2013
1. The workers and peasants in Syria are bearing terrible misery day-to-day by the hands of the murderous Assad Dictatorship. More than 100.000 people have already been killed since the revolution started in March 2011. The latest slaughter of up to 1.300 people – most of them women and children – by a chemical weapons attack against the rebel-held territory in Ghouta, an area northeast of Damascus, is only the latest and particularly revolting massacre which the Russian-backed Assad regime has committed. Various imperialist Western Great Powers – in particular the USA, Britain and France – have hypocritically denounced this latest chemical weapons attack of Assad and threaten with a limited military strike. The RCIT affirms its support for the popular revolution against the reactionary Assad dictatorship. We warn against any illusions in US, British and French imperialism which never cared about ordinary people’s suffering and which have only the interest to expand their hegemony. We call the international workers and solidarity movement to support the Syrian Revolution. At the same time it must oppose and obstruct any Western imperialist military attack as well as all material support for the Assad gangsters by Russia, Iran and their allies!
The Character of the Syrian Revolution
2. The RCIT has supported from the beginning the Revolution of the Syrian workers and peasants against the bourgeois dictatorship of the Assad regime. We support the popular struggle – even if it takes place under non-working class leaderships – to bring down the dictatorship. We warn against any illusions in the secular and religious bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaderships of the opposition (FSA, Al-Nusra etc.). We support the massive formation of Local Coordination Councils and call for their transformation into action councils (like the Soviets in Russia in 1917) and armed militias of the workers and peasants which should coordinate nation-wide. Our perspective is the struggle for a workers government allied with the peasants and urban poor and based on local councils and militias. This however is only possible if a revolutionary workers party is built in time to lead the workers and oppressed to power.
The Role of Russian and Chinese Imperialism
3. The imperialist Great Powers Russia and China as well as the bourgeois regime of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah support the reactionary Assad regime with massive weapon deliveries as well as Iranian and Hezbollah soldiers. It is obvious that without this military support, the Assad dictatorship would have been already defeated. The Eastern imperialists’ support for Assad is hardly surprising. Syria is the most important ally of Russia in the Middle East. It hosts a Russian military naval base in Tartus at the Mediterranean coast. The Assad regime is Moscow’s seventh-largest military client and got around $1.5 billion worth of arms between 2000 and 2010. Russian as well as Chinese monopolies have major stakes in Syria’s energy sector (including oil and gas) as well as in infrastructure and tourism. China is also Syria’s main importer.
The Contradictory Interests of US, British and French imperialism
4. Given their desperate situation it is understandable that many ordinary Syrians hope for a Western military intervention. However we warn that the Syrian people have nothing to win but only to lose from such a NATO attack. Any limited imperialist military strike against the Assad forces will not seriously affect the military balance on the ground. Let us not forget that the Libyan people won their armed revolution in 2011 because of its popular character as well as the numerical superiority and numerous scarifies of the masses against the Gaddafi’s mercenary army – not because of the limited NATO air strikes! The Obama administration is no friend but an enemy of the Syrian Revolution! One of its leading representatives, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, openly stated just a few days ago: “The Obama administration is opposed to even limited U.S. military intervention in Syria because it believes rebels fighting the Assad regime wouldn’t support American interests if they were to seize power right now.”
5. What are the reasons for the Obama administration and their British and French allies to consider now a limited military strike against the Assad army? To asses this one must keep in mind the imperialists’ interests – both Western and Eastern – to roll back the Arab Revolution as well as the inner-imperialist rivalry. The US, Britain and France want to re-stabilize this strategically important region and offset their loss of influence. The US, British and French imperialists want to contain and if possible to end the Syrian civil war to avoid a new spread of the Arab Revolution. The Western Great Powers as well as the small imperialist power Israel fear that the civil war could result in a situation where popular forces hostile against imperialism and Zionism could gain massive influence and threaten their interests in the region. The highly instable situation in Libya since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, where thousands of workers and peasants remain armed and organized in popular militias, is a cautionary tale for the imperialists. (As is well known, Libya has been the country where the US consulate and the French embassy have been attacked and US ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in September 2012.) These are the reasons why US imperialism supported the counter-revolutionary military coup on 3rd July in Egypt; this is why they didn’t intervene in Syria on the side of the rebel movement; this is why they have started to blacklist sectors of the rebels (Al-Nusra and others) as “terrorists”.
6. At the same time the Western Great Powers want to oust Russian and Chinese imperialisms’ hegemony in Syria and bring it under their control. For this purpose they are bribing and creating lackeys amongst sections of the leaderships of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the Free Syrian Army. For this purpose they give political and diplomatic backing as well as some material support to them. They also have most likely send some army commands to Syria to strengthen their influence amongst these rebel leaderships.
7. What the Western imperialists would like to see is an “orderly transition” towards a regime which consists of an alliance of some pro-imperialist factions amongst the leaderships of the Syrian rebels and a sector of the old Assad regime. This would ensure a continuation of the order of Assad’s bourgeois state apparatus where Assad is replaced by some more pro-Western and anti-Russian politicians. In short, they want to bring a regime to power in Damascus which is not dependent on Moscow and Beijing but on Washington, Berlin, Paris and London.
8. However, as so many things in a world marked by class contradictions, the Western imperialists’ interests are marked by various contradictions. They want to gain influence amongst the rebels’ leadership while at the same time not helping their struggle in any significant way. They want to contain the Revolution but at the same time ensure that Assad is replaced by one of their men. To this one has to add that the military coup in Egypt on 3rd July – which by the way was characteristically hailed by Assad – was a major political blow for US and EU imperialism prestige in the region. The whole Arab and Muslim world is aware that the Egyptian military would not have moved without the US consent. This was a major setback for the US and EU attempts to regain some popularity in the region after they already suffered a setback with the overthrow of the dictatorships of their trusted lackeys Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak and Ali Salem. Some politicians in the Western governments certainly hope to regain some popularity amongst the Arab and Muslim masses if they launch some limited military strikes against the murderous Assad army “for humanitarian reasons”. However given the overall political and economic interests, it is highly unlikely that Western imperialist powers will launch a serious military intervention – i.e. sending substantial ground troops for occupation – in Syria in the foreseeable future. This could only be the case if major changes take place in the course of the Syrian and Arab Revolution and counterrevolution. As long as this does not take place, the dominant character of the civil war in Syria remains the just liberation struggle by the Syrian popular masses against the Assad dictatorship whole the inner-imperialist rivalry remains a subordinated element.
9. The RCIT and its Arab-Jewish section in Israel/Occupied Palestine reaffirm their revolutionary and anti-imperialist stance. We fight for the victory of the Syrian Revolution and side in the civil war with the rebel forces against Assad without giving the existing religious and secular bourgeois and petit-bourgeois leaderships of the opposition any political support. Revolutionaries in Syria should participate in the rebels and popular struggle but advance an independent socialist strategy fighting for working class power. We call the international workers and solidarity movement to support the Syrian Revolution with money, medicine, weapons and volunteers. The Syrian rebels – who are so terrible short on modern weapons – have every right to obtain arms for wherever possible.
10. The RCIT opposes every kind of imperialist intervention in Syria and the Middle East. This is why we supported respectively support the resistance of the Iraqi, Afghan and Mali people against the Western imperialist occupation forces. This is why we opposed the US/UK/French military strikes in Libya in 2011 as well as in Serbia/Kosova in 1999 while continuing to support the just liberation wars of the Libyan and Kosovar people against Gaddafi respectively Milosevic.
11. Therefore the RCIT calls to resist any military intervention of US, British or French imperialism. If the Western imperialists, including Israel, attack Assad’s Syria, we will call for the rebels to fight on two fronts: one against Assad and the other against imperialism. How many forces should be dedicated to each front will depend on who is the more dangerous of the two enemies at any given moment.
12. Russian workers and Iranian workers should oppose and sabotage any military aid for the Assad regime. Likewise workers in the West should obstruct any efforts of the imperialist governments to launch military attacks against Syria. The working class across Lebanon should pressurize Hezbollah to stop its support for Assad. In case of a Western military attack we call for protest demonstrations on the streets of New York, London, Paris and other Western cities.
13. In this crucial situation where the Arab Revolution is threatened by the imperialist-backed counterrevolutionary military coup in Egypt and where an intensified imperialist interference in Syria is possible, the task of forging a revolutionary leadership in Syria and internationally is more urgent than ever. This means nothing less than building a revolutionary workers party as part of the future World Party of Socialist Revolution (which will be the Fifth International in our opinion). Only such a party is capable to lead the workers and oppressed to power and to open the road to socialism. Given the terrible weakness of the revolutionary forces in Syria and worldwide, the most immediate task is to rally the authentic revolutionary forces into a united revolutionary international organization. The RCIT is dedicated to this task!
* Victory to the Syrian Revolution! Down with the Assad Dictatorship!
* For international solidarity with the Syrian rebel and popular movement!
* Stop the Russian and Chinese support for the murderous Assad dictatorship!
* USA, UK, and France: No military attacks against Syria!
* Down with the Zionist Apartheid State!
* Solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle! Support the resistance against the imperialist-backed military dictatorship in Egypt!
* For a Workers Government allied with the Peasants and Urban Poor and based on local councils and militias!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
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For further reading on the RCIT’s position on the Syrian Revolution and imperialist interference we refer readers to various English-language statements and articles on the RCIT website:
* Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d’État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”. A Balance Sheet of the coup and another Reply to our Critics (LCC, WIVP, SF/LCFI), Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 8.8.2013.