Syria and “Ugly American” Chauvinism

(By Return to the Source) 

A little over a month ago, the US war machine kicked into high gear and came as close as ever to striking Syria in the almost three years of unrest. Although the US, Western Europe, Saudi Arabia and Israel have intervened on behalf of the so-called rebels since the conflict began – with the latter actually striking Syrian military facilities twice in 2013 – President Barack Obama’s appeal to Congress for war authorization represented a new stage in the conflict. Repeating lies and nonsense about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons, the US sought to build a case for war that eerily paralleled the build-up to the war in Iraq, which began a decade ago in March.

Several factors torpedoed this proposal. Russia, Iran and China firmly came out against military intervention by the Western powers in Syria, with Russia and Iran threatening material consequences for a strike. Moreover, a dramatic change in strategy by the Assad government in the last year – fighting the conflict as a civil war rather than relying solely on counter-insurgency measures – broke the nearly two year stalemate and gave momentum back to the Syrian Arab Army. In other words, Assad is winning the conflict. Though this was part of the reason for the West’s increased threats of military force, it was dialectically a factor in their calculus to avoid intervention.

However, another factor sunk the President’s proposal for military force: that of popular protests by people in the US. From California to New York, Chicago to Florida, and everywhere in-between, anti-war activists took to the streets and organized demonstrations pressuring Congress to not authorize a strike on Syria. As the votes tallied higher against military action – not incidentally coming largely from the Republican right-wing of Congress – and as public opinion reached a low-point with a stunning 91% of Americans voicing opposition to the proposal, it was quietly withdrawn by the Administration. Continue reading

Communists and the Struggle Against Imperialism

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)) 

Only by returning to and uniting around the profound truths contained within the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao can the communist movement gain the strength it needs in the present era of crisis and war.

The most cursory glance at the contemporary international situation shows that imperialism’s inherent tendency to wage wars of aggression has not in any way disappeared. If anything it has become enhanced, notably after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe, since when we have seen numerous wars of colonial reconquest, such as those against Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya.

Moreover, faced with what is emerging as the gravest economic crisis in the history of capitalism, the pace and intensity of imperialism’s inexorable drive to war is increasing yet further. The imperialist powers are presently at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They are also waging unofficial and proxy wars in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. They are abetting and bankrolling the Israeli zionists’ war against the Palestinian people. This year they have also waged war against the Ivory Coast. And the list continues.

Even with war already raging on so many fronts, a further war is now being prepared against Syria, the danger of which grows with each passing day. Syria, in turn, is seen as a stepping stone to an attack on Iran … and so on. Just as the wars of the 1930s, waged by the fascist powers against Spain, China, Korea, Albania and Ethiopia, paved the way for an attack on the socialist Soviet Union and an all-out world war, so today the imperialists’ ultimate target is the People’s Republic of China, a conflict which, if it came, would once again plunge the whole of humanity into the abyss of war.

Response of the communist movement to imperialist expansionism

Our party, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) has taken a consistent position on all this war-mongering activity of the imperialist powers – a position of absolute and implacable opposition to every aspect of all the wars prepared, instigated and waged by imperialism. And we have called for the victory of all those fighting against imperialism, irrespective of who they are, their social composition or the nature of their programme.

Sadly, this clear and straightforward position is far from universally accepted in the working-class or anti-war movements, whether in this country or elsewhere. Indeed, the scoundrels who dominate the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition have attempted to bureaucratically expel us for daring to express our unequivocal support for the government of Libya, whose overthrow was the objective of the vicious and predatory war waged by Nato and our own ruling class against the Libyan people. Such people are incorrigible counter-revolutionaries, heirs, in the main, to a bankrupt ideology, Trotskyism, which has betrayed and sabotaged every revolutionary movement to which it has come within sniffing distance since it first emerged as a discernible political trend in the 1920s. Continue reading

Reflections on the Middle East: Revolution, Counter-Revolution, and Imperialism

The world’s streets were particularly crowded in 2012, as cities across the globe ranging from Cairo to New York and Athens to Damascus became the scenes and stages of the largest social and political upheavals witnessed in decades.  Libyan and Syrian rebels, Egyptian protesters, disillusioned Americans, and down and out Greeks earned 2012 its undeniable place in history, and the Middle East, perhaps above all, has occupied an especially recognized place on the canvas of recent revolutions and mass movements.

In particular, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and now Syria have been on the tongues of millions of people the world over, as reports and accounts of groundbreaking changes and transformations have captivated the world and confounded the many who claimed to understand the dynamics of politics and life in the Middle East in general, and these countries in particular.   Continue reading

Marxism and Bourgeois Nationalism

(By Return to the Source)

Tripoli is burning. Thousands of black Libyans and African immigrants are rounded up by the NATO-backed rebels and thrown into prisons. Supporters of the ousted nationalist government wait with baited breath for the inevitable and bloody purge by the new rebel government. Libyan oil gushes out of Benghazi into the pipelines of Western energy companies. And militia groups, deputized by Interpol and the now-victorious National Transitional Council (NTC) government, hunt for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and his family across the Libyan desert.

Now that NATO has won this asymmetrical imperialist war, at least in the short term, no one can reasonably say that the Libyan people are better off with the rebel government in power. For all of the flaws of Qaddafi’s government – and other nationalist governments like his – the Libyan people enjoyed the highest standard of living on the African continent, rising from the lowest standard of living in the world as of 1951. (1) The national and tribal governments had an amicable working relationship that allowed for decentralized planning and local decision-making. Moreover, Libya’s natural resources were controlled by a national government at-odds with Western energy corporations, and the wealth they generated was publicly owned and shared. (1) In other words, the Libyan nation exercised its inherent right to self-determination.

Qaddafi’s government wasn’t socialist; it was nationalist. The relations of production in Libya were capitalist in nature, but to deny that Qaddafi’s government was more progressive and objectively anti-imperialist ignores the brutal material reality that millions of Libyans are facing because of the NTC government.

As the West begins to re-calibrate its war machine and set its crosshairs on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, Marxist-Leninists need to understand their relationship with nationalist bourgeois states, like Qaddafi’s Libya. History has objectively proven those “leftists” who were cheerleaders for the fall of Qaddafi’s government in Libya or Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq wrong. Continue reading