US retreat from Syria sends shock waves through Middle East

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

Right now, the key link in the chain of developments in the Middle East is the humiliating failure of imperialism to overturn the progressive and secular Arab state of Syria by means of either proxy or direct war.

This setback for Anglo-American and French imperialism is creating enormous opportunities for anti-imperialist forces to assert themselves throughout the region and beyond. This is so whether the context is the continuing rout of terrorist forces in Syria itself, the related progress of the Egyptian revolution, the improving relations between Hamas and Iran, the mounting contradictions between Washington and Saudi Arabia, the appearance of a nervously conciliatory US stance towards Iran, Ankara’s growing irritation with the antics of its former jihadist protégés and the complex interplay with and between various Kurdish forces in Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

In every case, Washington’s failure to overturn the Syrian nation either by proxy war or by boots on the ground is sending shock waves throughout the region, weakening the very structures of oppression that imperialism has sought to bolster. Continue reading

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

In Defence of the DPRK

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

The following post was originally written as a reply to discussion on Facebook. It is reprinted here to aid wider circulation and facilitate discussion on this important topic.

Kim Il Sung indicates the way to national liberation after the Pochonbo Battle

Kim Il Sung indicates the way to national liberation after the Pochonbo Battle

We are all agreed about the need to support the DPRK. The questions that have arisen here seem to be mostly attributable to the prejudices that we find hard to shake given the overwhelming anti-Korea propaganda to which we are all subjected on a daily basis.

While we may have recognised this in theory, it still leads to all sorts of spurious allegations being easily accepted as fact. For example, Comrade L’s allegation that there is “very little development of Marxist education among the masses” or that “the party meets very infrequently”.

I can see no basis in fact for these statements. Quite the contrary, evidence from comrades and friends who have visited the DPRK rather points the opposite way. They have found the people to be exceptionally well educated and informed about local, national and international matters – and Marxism is a central plank of the education system.

Here is a short video clip from the National House of Class Education in Pyongyang, for example.

There is an excellent article about north Korea from 2006 by Stephen Gowans that I would recommend everyone to read if they haven’t already. It gives a really comprehensive framework for thinking about and judging all information regarding the country and its leaders.

Growing up infected with imperialist arrogance it is easy for us to dismiss or ridicule the achievements or difficulties of others, and exceptionally difficult to really appreciate how far they have come and against what odds and at what price. Continue reading

With Whom do Communists Stand in Syria? What is the “Solution” to the Syria Question?

The following was an e-mail response by the author of Toilers’ Struggle to some comrades’ question: “What is the solution in Syria?”  

Comrades,
Allow me to posit the following:

The question of NATO intervention in Syria and the Syrian Civil War is a fundamental question of crucial importance to the Marxist-Leninist theory, strategy, and tactics of anti-imperialist struggle in today’s world. It involves a number of important recognitions of the conditions of anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist struggle in the epoch of imperialism, such as the balance and arrangement of class forces in a given time and space, the nature of and possible alliances between certain classes oppressed by imperialism, and the objective realities of struggle in a world in which the main enemy in many circumstances is imperialism, not necessarily capital itself.

The current civil war in Syria, in which the US-NATO imperialist gang is preparing to intervene in order to bolster the losing rebels, is a brutal, merciless, and destructive war waged, not by the popular masses against the Syrian state, but by and on the initiative of the “rebels”, a motley assortment of Islamic fundamentalist groups such as Al-Qaeda who are only “united” as the (make-believe) “Free Syrian Army” by the fact that they are all provably on the US payroll. There are no evident progressive or democratic tendencies or groups among the rebels, much less a significant Syrian proletarian presence, as a large amount of the rebels have actually crossed Syrian borders from foreign countries solely for the purpose of bringing down the secular Assad government.  The only formulated demand of the Free Syrian Army thus far has been “down with Assad.” No program or alternative vision has been placed on the agenda, mainly owing to the motley composition of the rebels who are divided over commitments to their own sectarian visions of a future theocracy.  The “political representative” of the Free Syrian Army, i.e., the Syrian National Council, is based in Istanbul, Turkey (!) and is a cabinet of stooges selected by the West whose only platform, unsurprisingly, has been that the new Syria cooperate with the West, and “respect human rights, freedom of the press, political pluralism, and democracy.” Continue reading

The Myth of the Secular, Pro-Democracy Syrian Rebel

(By Stephen Gowans)

Asked to justify his support for what his interlocutor called “Islamo-fascists,” a leftist sympathetic to the Syrian rebellion replied, “I’m not supporting radical Islamists. I support the Free Syrian Army’s fight for democracy.” With al-Qaeda aligned jihadists beheading some of their enemies and eating the organs of others, that’s the best case supporters of the Syrian rebellion can make these days. Unlike the radical Islamists, who dominate the rebellion and want to build a theocracy atop the hoped-for ruins of Syria’s secular Arab nationalist regime, the uprising’s Western leftist supporters are against dictatorship and for democracy. That’s why, they say, they’re backing the FSA.

But much as they believe they’re on the side on the angels, they’re not. The idea that the FSA is the secular, democratic front of a popular uprising ignores a number of problems, from a misunderstanding of what the FSA is, to blindness to the democratic reforms already carried out in Syria, to an unwarranted fondness for a political arrangement that would open the doors to US domination of Syria. Continue reading

The 22nd International Communist Seminar, Brussels: 31 May – 2 June 2013.

(Published by Lalkar) 

Theme of the seminar: “The attacks on democratic rights and freedom in the world capitalist crisis. Strategies and actions in response”

The above seminar was held near Brussels, Belgium, on the above dates. Fifty-two communist and workers’ parties from 43 countries participated in its deliberations. The CPGB-ML was represented by Harpal Brar and Ella Rule. After considerable discussion, General Conclusions on the seminar theme were agreed upon and have been signed by the majority of the parties that participated in the seminar. The delegates also passed resolutions expressing solidarity with Cuba, on the developments in Latin America, on the attacks on democratic rights in the European Union and on the war in Syria.

The fourth paragraph of the resolution on Syria read: ” We … support the absolute right of the Syrian people, who suffer from subversive attacks and terrorist actions supported by imperialism and the reactionary regimes of the region, to determine their political path and leadership without any foreign interference. We declare complete and unreserved solidarity with the people of Syria.” The CPGB-ML proposed an amendment to add at the end of this resolution the words “led by the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad“, but this amendment was not accepted. The reports, resolutions and general conclusions of this seminar can be accessed at its website http://www.icseminar.org.

Harpal Brar made a presentation on behalf of the CPGB-ML which is as follows:

Dear Comrades

On behalf of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), I express my sincere thanks to the organisers of the Seminar, the PTB, for inviting us to present our views to this important gathering. I would also like to thank the interpreters for their hard work and the kitchen staff who have served us tirelessly during the past 3 days. While greeting the delegates assembled here on behalf of my Party, I wish the Seminar great success.

Dear comrades, we are in the midst of the deepest crisis of capitalism since the late 1920s. Like all capitalist crises, this is a crisis of overproduction, notwithstanding the fact that it had made itself most forcefully felt in the financial sphere. This is to be expected since the feverish speculation in stock markets, bonds, derivatives etc is merely a reflection of the lack of profitable opportunities in the productive sphere. Continue reading

US to Send Arms to Syrian “Rebels”: A defeat for terrorists and mercenaries would be a defeat for imperialism

(By Ben Becker, Liberation News)

In political terms, the announcement that the U.S. government will openly send arms to Syrian rebels is nothing new. For nearly two years, it has left this task to its more ambitious puppets, the Gulf monarchies, and its junior imperialist allies in France and Britain. But U.S. government cash and weaponry has long been flowing into rebel hands, and now they have decided to cut out these intermediaries.

So why now? The notion that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and thus crossed Obama’s “red line” is the explanation we hear from the White House. This is transparently a pretext for military action, and millions of people, remembering the fabricated WMDs “intelligence” in Iraq, will immediately recognize it as such. In fact, any honest study of history would show that the U.S. government has deliberately provoked incidents and distorted events to justify wars that could not be sold otherwise. In World War I, it was the sinking of the Lusitania. In Vietnam, it was the Gulf of Tonkin incident. There have been others since. Continue reading