The American Bear


Syria, the left and a revolution divided | John Rees

Those who cry ‘Hail to the Martyrs’ and ‘victory to the revolution’ without analysing imperialism and its influence on democratic revolutions (revolutions that have not yet developed the capacity to become socialist revolutions) are actually weakening our opposition to imperialism. They are handing over the masses in Syria to the leadership of pro-imperialist political currents.

Astoundingly, there is almost no recognition on the left that whereas the normal process of class and political differentiation within the revolution happens after the fall of the dictatorship, as is now happening in Egypt, in the Syrian case imperial intervention has divided the revolutionary forces before the dictator has fallen.

This is what is wrong with those who have a ‘middle position’, who merely say ‘I’m against intervention but I’m for the revolution’. This involves a mechanical separation of imperialism from the domestic alignment of forces inside the Syrian revolution.

Imperialist intervention has divided the Syrian opposition. There is not one opposition camp, but two. One calls for intervention, the other does not. The revolution is divided.

Marxists cannot simply cry ‘victory to the revolution’ as we did in the 18 days of struggle against Mubarak. Over Syria we must say ‘No to Western Intervention’ and ‘Oppose all those in the Syrian revolution who call for Western intervention’. These forces should be exposed in article after article. Then of course we support all those in Syria who, like us, support non-intervention and the overthrow of Assad.

But if we are serious we know that, no matter how much these currents represent the interests of the mass of Syrians, they are not the ones who are at the moment able to set the agenda. That is not their fault and it does not make them less worthy of support. But the best support we can give them is to defeat their enemies: the imperialists and those Syrians who support the imperialists.