In times of international economic and social turmoil, one of the first and foremost tasks of the workers of the world is to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with those of the underdeveloped world who are subjected to the most rapacious and bloodthirsty imperialism of the crisis-ridden and anxiety-driven capitalist powers.
Now is such a time, and it is the internationalist duty of working people and communists of the world to declare solidarity and support to the Syrian people rallied around their Ba’athist government under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad in their resistance against internal civil war, ethnic strife, terrorism, and the threat of external invasion by surrounding aggressor states and their imperialist-bolstered troops. Against the prevailing vile, malicious, and baseless slander against President Assad, the Ba’athist Socialist Party, and the National Progressive Front, it is the duty of working people and communists to, in the course of their support to the people of Syria, lay bare and expose the utter falsity and bankruptcy of the imperialist and Trotskyite propaganda against the Syrian people and their progressive government. Now that the imperialists are attempting to recapture the very nation that cast off their burden nearly half a century ago, this task is more pressing than ever.
The Syrian Arab Republic is a dignified country that was born in the blood and fire of the 1963 anti-imperialist and anti-monarchical coup d’etat, the 8th of March Revolution, that brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party to power, a party of the revolutionary national bourgeoisie, workers, and peasants of Syria, which seized power through a military coup. Following the revolution, radical land reform was carried out, and feudalism was relegated to the dustbin of Syrian history with the completion of the people’s democratic revolution. Shortly following the 8th of March Revolution and its subsequent developments, the Syrian Corrective Movement, led by Hafez al-Assad, removed what was seen as an increasingly Soviet pawned and adventurist government of Salah Jadid, and placed Hafez al-Assad in power, whose son, Bashar al-Assad is the present president.
Given the conditions of imperialist encirclement and aggression and the support of a once large socialist bloc, the national bourgeoisie of Syria retained certain revolutionary qualities that have ever since contributed to the struggle to uphold Syrian independence. Syria has refused to kneel down to imperialist machinations despite some concessions.
This conditioned revolutionary quality of the national bourgeoisie has also translated into the political and economic spheres of the Syrian nation, and the progressive nature of the state cannot be denied when compared to its neighboring Arab reactionaries.
The Syrian government is an effectively functioning republic whose essence is the National Progressive Front, a coalition of political parties in Syria that support the socialist and Arab- nationalist orientation of the government and accept the leading role in society of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. This government has presided over a state-managed economy that has, unfortunately, been increasingly liberalized due to international economic pressure through embargos, sanctions, etc. A Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) article entitled Defend Syria against Imperialist Aggression summed up the economic situation and conditions of Syria as follows:
“For many years, Syria had an essentially socialist-oriented economy, in which the state played the dominant role. As in a number of other countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, relentless pressures in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe forced a retreat from this.
“In particular, in 2006, the Syrian government finally accepted an IMF plan that imposed austerity measures, a wage freeze, opened the economy to foreign banks and privatised a substantial number of previously state-run enterprises. Predictably this led to increased unemployment and inflation alongside deteriorating social conditions. On the other hand, a small number of people were greatly enriched, including some with close ties to the ruling circles.
“But besides these new government policies, there are other reasons for Syrias present economic difficulties, the blame for which cannot be laid at the door of Damascus.
“The country, like many in the Third World, has been badly hit by the dramatic global rise in food prices, and particularly by the suspension of grain exports by Russia and Ukraine, traditionally major suppliers to many Arab states, following the severe drought and devastating fires in those countries.
“These woes have been compounded by severe water shortages, due at least in part to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, home to a major aquifer, since 1967, as well as the building of dams and the resultant diversion of waters from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by successive reactionary regimes in Turkey.
“Perhaps the greatest issue has been the refugee burden that Syria has long assumed as a result of the imperialist despoliation of the region.
“Writing in the US paper Workers World, Sara Flounders noted:
Syria has had the added burden of providing for more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants for the past 63 years. Their conditions are better than in any surrounding countries because, unlike in Lebanon and Jordan, health care, education and housing are accessible to Palestinians in Syria.
The massive US invasion and destruction of neighbouring Iraq, the Bush-Blair discussion of a similar attack on Syria in 2003, and the harsh new sanctions on Syria have added intense pressure.
But the most dislocating factor is never discussed in the corporate media: more than 1,500,000 Iraqis have flooded into Syria to escape the last eight years of US occupation.
This was a huge influx for a country with a population in 2006 of 18 million. According to a 2007 report by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the arrival of 2,000 desperate Iraqis per day had an extreme impact on all facets of life in Syria, particularly on the services offered by the state to all its citizens and all refugees. Syria has the highest level of civic and social rights for refugees in the region. Other surrounding countries require a minimum bank balance and ban destitute refugees.
The unexpected arrival of these Iraqi refugees has had a dramatic impact on the infrastructure, on guaranteed free elementary and high schools, on free health care, on housing availability and other areas of the economy. It has led to a rise in costs across the board. The prices of foodstuffs and basic goods have gone up by 30 percent, property prices by 40 percent and housing rentals by 150 percent.
Iraqi refugees also benefited from Syrian state subsidies in gasoline, food, water and other essential goods provided to everyone. Such a large mass of unemployed people led to the lowering of wages and increased competition for jobs. The impact of the global economic downturn during this difficult period added to the problems. (Middle East Institute, 10 December 2010, Report on refugee cooperation)
The US created the refugee crisis, which left more than 25 percent of the Iraqi population displaced … Yet it accepts the lowest number of refugees and has donated less than the cost of one day of the war in Iraq toward UN relief costs. US sanctions on Syria have increased the economic dislocations. (Events in Syria which side are you on?, 5 May 2011)
It is clear, therefore, that the main cause of any problems in Syria lies in direct and indirect imperialist pressure, be it in the form of military threats, occupation of part of the national territory by the zionist entity, economic sanctions and the impact of the zionist dispossession of the Palestinian people, and the imperialist occupation and destruction of Iraq.”
Despite these setbacks and problems, however, which cannot be overlooked when analyzing the present Syrian state, the Syrian government has nonetheless done a commendable job in upholding the struggle to ensure that the economic needs and rights of the people are met. Worthy of attention is the fact that in the spheres of literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality, etc., Syria outranks its neighboring Middle Eastern states. Syrians and refugees receive free healthcare and education.
The Syrian government has furthermore pursued an independent foreign policy in the interest of the independent Syrian people, and as a Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) article (No Cooperation with War Crimes in Syria! Join the Axis of Resistance!) correctly stated: “Syria’s leaders have refused to submit to imperialist domination. They have had the temerity to maintain an independent economic and foreign policy rather than allowing American and European multinationals free reign to loot the country’s resources and exploit the country’s people. They have supported anti-imperialist resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon. They have given shelter to millions of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. And they have maintained good diplomatic and trading relations with the three biggest thorns in the side of US imperialism – Russia, China and Iran. For that stand they have earned the enmity of imperialism and the loyalty of the Syrian masses. And for that they deserve the support of workers and oppressed peoples all over the world.”
If the ensuing campaign of imperialist takeover and infiltration were to succeed, these and other social gains and merits of the Syrian people would be discarded, as has been the case in Libya, and the anti-imperialist struggle in the Middle East would suffer a devastating blow.
In the face of such realities, the position of working people of the world and communists is clear. The Syrian Arab Republic is not perfect, and it is most certainly not socialist. But, in the face of a struggle waged by a motley crew of mercenaries, obscurantists, religious fundamentalists, paid imperialist agents, Al-Qaeda provocateurs, etc. (the Free Syrian Army), against the real people of Syria rallied around their progressive and anti-imperialist Ba’athist government under the leadership of President Assad, both of which have justly done a commendable job in providing for the social and economic needs and rights of the Syrian people in difficult times, Marxist-Leninists and all progressive tendencies must promote the defense of the Syrian fatherland against vicious, rapacious, bloodthirsty imperialism, and thus promote the facilitation of an outcome that is favorable to the workers and peasants of Syria. Syria’s revolutionary national-democratic integrity is in danger, and it must not be left to crumble in the wake of NATO’s bombs. In these given circumstances, in which progressive, revolutionary Arab Ba’athism is pitted against various shades of rotten political and social tendencies, sectarian provocations, and imperialist subversions, the correct line cannot but be the fraternal support of Syria’s patriotic and progressive forces with the aim of increasing and popularizing the role of Syrian communists all the while. Only by fighting to defend the Syrian fatherland against unjust invasion and rebellion can Syrian communists prove the ardency of their struggle in the name of the workers and peasants of Syria, and increase their relevance within Syrian society, thus opening up the prospects for a future socialist revolution for the Syrian people.
Stand with Syria against imperialist aggression, and shout the following slogans in the ears of the imperialist warmongers and bloodsuckers:
Victory to the Syrian people!
Long live independent Syria!
Victory to Assad!
Death to the Free Syrian Army and Imperialism!
For a unified bloc of revolutionaries and progressives against the aggressors!
No to another Libya!
Defend Syria against Imperialist Aggression by Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Hands off Syria! Victory to Assad! by Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Terrorist Atrocities Mount in Syria by Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Syria: US Imperialism sows the seeds for the next world war by Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Communists and the Struggle against Imperialism by Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Marxism and Bourgeois Nationalism by Return to the Source