Syrian people’s just rebellion needs people’s war–not FSA, Assad, or imperialism

[The conflict in Syria has been the subject of much  twisted coverage by the US and EU and its surrogates, by supporters of anti-US bourgeois nationalists, by partisans of Russian imperialism against US hegemonists, by advocates of the regional power of the Iranian Islamic Republic, and by "pragmatic opportunists" who wink at the role of Saudi Arabia/Bahrain/GCC.  Many people, outraged at the mass suffering and mass killing of Syrian people, have been justifiably confused, especially as the issues have been distorted by imperialist and reactionary medias which serve these interests.  And to confuse even more, many of the reactionary medias proclaim themselves as anti-imperialist, though careful reading reveals these to be promoting one reactionary power versus another.

We recently received the following statement and analysis of the situation in Syria from revolutionary Maoists in Brazil.  Views of revolutionary internationalists have too rarely been heard on this issue, and so we present these views as a good counterpoint to the prevailing revisionist and reactionary accounts.  We believe these comrades in Brazil have done significant groundwork toward the analysis needed. 

There are some aspects of this analysis which require more work and debate, in our view.  In particular, their argument that People's War--if defined as China's revolutionary military strategy--is universally  applicable to all countries, is a view we do not share.  Our understanding that the Maoist strategic conception of People's War, (as summarized by the phrase, "surrounding the cities from the countryside"), only applies to feudal, semi-feudal, colonial and semi-colonial societies, where repressive power in the countryside is sufficiently weak that people's revolutionary war, seizing and expanding significant liberated areas is an accurately applied historic strategem.  In other countries, where reactionary state power is effectively deployed everywhere, a long period of amassing revolutionary political forces through primarily political , not military, struggle, must precede the armed struggle for state power.  These general categories and strategies have often been taken literally, without detailed investigation and analysis, at great and disastrous cost to revolutionary forces.  The need for detailed study of concrete conditions is especially indicated by the ongoing changes in capitalist-imperialist production, distribution, and state power--and the distribution and growth of people's forces.

But some use the term People's War, not in the sense of the "countryside-overtaking-city" strategem, but synonymous with people's armed struggle for power in all variety of circumstance--as a statement of principle, in opposition to the revisionist and social-democratic notion of the "peaceful, electoral" road to power.  In this sense, People's War (where the masses take up the gun against reactionary power, and where the gun is led by revolutionary politics) is a universal revolutionary principle.  --  Frontlines ed.]

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Proletarian and oppressed peoples of the whole world, united!

Statement of the Revolutionary Front in Defence of the People’s Rights, RFDPR, Brasil, on the present situation in Syria

DOWN THE IMPERIALIST ALLOTMENT IN SYRIA!

LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE’S WAR OF THE PEOPLES IN ALL COUNTRIES!

“The combat to imperialism and reaction without the inseparable combat to opportunism is nothing but empty phraseology”.

Lenin: “Imperialism and the splitting of socialism”.

The nation of Syria has been suffering a bloody imperialist plundering war in the shape of  a civil war. Assad’s armed forces and the so-called free army of Syria are the contestants of this inter-imperialist dispute for the Syrian territory. Syria has been converted into a new treachery for the anti-imperialist world resistance and the newest enclave of the inter-imperialist struggles.

At the present conditions of this struggle development any result will not bring any advance for the Syrian people and nation; it will only deepen the imperialist dominance over the country and oppression on the people since until now an independent and organized intervention of the armed masses has lacked of a proletarian vanguard even very little constituted.

The March 2011 revolt was a spontaneous mass uprising against a fascist regime led by Bashar al Assad and it is part of an overwhelming wave of people’s rebellions that happened all over the North of Africa and Middle East. The mass rebellions awakened in those countries, despite being developed in an unconscious form and not having a proletarian leadership, have the same root: they are antifascist, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist ones.

The revolt is a just rebellion against a bureaucratic comprador regime at the service of imperialism mostly Russian that has been controlled for decades by the Assad dynasty.

The Yankee imperialism has taken advantage from the situation, as for instance in all Arabic countries rebellions, manipulating the mass struggle, deviating them from the revolutionary path, to guarantee their interests in the region. The intelligentsia services for the imperialist coalition forces have formed and armed a mercenary army self-named Syria’s Free Army –SFA, directed commanded by their agents with the aim of changing the Syrian regime. Thus the USA wants to change the Russian control over Syria, breaking with the relationship with Hezbollah, surround and isolate Iran and prepare the grounds to attack it.

All this complex plan in the Middle East and North of Africa is part of a new war of imperialist plundering and allotment against the peoples. The Yankee imperialism, still being an unique and hegemonic superpower in the world, has declared its objective to create a map of a “New Middle East”, that is, a Middle East totally controlled by the USA, without the influence and interference of other imperialist powers and mostly without the people’s armed resistance of the masses.

The Yankee imperialism, amidst a deep and protracted crises, hit by the people of the world, mostly in the main front of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and by the people’s wars in India, the Philippines, Turkey and Peru, with its hegemony questioned by the inter-imperialist struggle, is more and more at the verge of an unprecedented war.

In this context, the events in Syria are firstly and mostly part of the contradiction between oppressed peoples/countries and imperialist powers; secondly, the inter-imperialist contradiction that could convert into the principal contradiction. This one happens through the dispute for the control of colonies and semi-colonies accumulating and being able to develop into a direct confront in the form of a new world imperialist war. Continue reading

The Failure of the Arab “State” and Its Opposition

Tribal fighters loyal to Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of the Hashed tribe, walk in front of a bullet-riddled building in Sanaa 10 April 2012. (Photo: REUTERS – Mohamed al-Sayaghi)

By: Hisham Bustani, writing in al Akhbar English

Thursday, April 19, 2012

After one year of the Arab uprisings that initially exploded in Tunisia and swept like wildfire throughout the Arab world, it became very clear that the spark, which has resulted in the removal of three oppressors so far, was spontaneous. That does not mean that the explosion had no preludes. On the contrary, the people were squeezed with each passing day, but those uprisings clearly showed that even in the absence of an organized catalyzing formation (revolutionary party, revolutionary class), an explosion takes place when a certain threshold is reached, a critical mass.

Uprisings in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet-bloc states came about through the work of organized opposition groups and parties (like Solidarity in Poland), and by decades of calm covert undermining, infiltration, and propaganda undertaken by the West. By contrast, the Arab uprising was not led by an organized opposition. Instead, it came as a surprise to the imperialist circles that historically backed their client oppressor regimes.

The Failure of the Post-Colonial Arab “State”

Following the British-French-Italian colonialism of the Arab region, the Europeans left behind an area that they deliberately divided into “states”. These were designed so as to leave no possibility for their becoming truly independent and sovereign. They also left a watchdog and an easy solution to assuage their anti-Semitic-burdened consciousness: “Israel,” a colonial-settler state that would maintain the imperialist design in the wake of the physical withdrawal of its patrons.

The post-colonial states were subordinate by design, by their innate nature of being divided and incomplete, and by the ruling class that followed colonialism. Continue reading

New York Times: “A Village in Revolt Could Be a Harbinger for China”

[As the US imperialists and China (capitalist, emerging-imperialists) continued their mutual criticism and competitive challenges, the New York Times explores the rebellion in Wukan as a symbol of China's political instability--and thereby raise some larger questions, parallel in some ways to the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements sparking off, with domino-effect, many such protests and revolts. -- Frontlines ed.]

By , New York Times, December 25, 2011

BEIJING — China’s state-run media have had a field day this autumn with Occupy Wall Street, spinning an almost daily morality play about capitalism gone amok and an American government unable or unwilling to aid the victims of a rapacious elite.

Residents of Wukan rallied to demand the government take action over illegal land grabs and the death of a local leader on December 15.

Occupy Wukan is another matter entirely. The state press has been all but mute on why 13,000 Chinese citizens, furious over repeated rip-offs by their village elite, sent their leaders fleeing to safety and repulsed efforts by the police to retake Wukan. But the village takeover can be ignored only at Beijing’s peril: There are at least 625,000 potential Wukans across China, all small, locally run villages that frequently suffer the sorts of injustices that prompted the outburst this month in Wukan.

“What happened in Wukan is nothing new. It’s all across the country,” said Liu Yawei, an expert on local administration who is the director of the China program at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

A second analyst, Li Fan, estimated, in an interview, that 50 percent to 60 percent of Chinese villages suffered governance and accountability problems of the sort that apparently beset Wukan, albeit not so severe. Mr. Li leads the World and China Institute, a private nonprofit research center based in Beijing that has extensively studied local election and governance issues.

On paper, the Wukan protests never should have happened: China’s village committees should be the most responsive bodies in the nation because they are elected by the villagers themselves. Moreover, the government has built safeguards into the village administration process to ensure that money is properly spent.

"Wukan abuts a natural harbor that is ideal for development."

Village self-administration, as the central government calls it, is seen by many foreigners as China’s democratic laboratory — and while elections can be rigged and otherwise swayed, many political scientists say they are, on balance, a good development.

Actually running the villages, however, is another matter. Village committees must provide many of the services offered by governments, such as sanitation and social welfare, but they cannot tax their residents or collect many fees. Any efforts to raise additional money, for things like economic development, usually need approval from the Communist Party-controlled township or county seats above them.

In practice, the combination of the villages’ need for cash and their dependence on higher-ups has bred back-scratching and corruption between village officials and their overseers. China’s boom in land prices has only broadened the opportunity for siphoning off money from village accounts.

And the checks and balances — a village legislature to sign off on major decisions, a citizens’ accounting committee to watch over the village books — have turned out to be easily manipulated by those who really hold the power.

“Land sales are where the big money is,” Edward Friedman, a political science professor and a China scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a telephone interview. “Every level can see how much better the level above it is doing. And each one wants to live at least that well. The system has within it a dynamic which makes people feel it’s only fair that they get their share of the wealth.”

The opportunities to get that share are vast, apparently. In 2003, a candidate for village committee chairman in Laojiaotou village, in Shanxi Province, spent two million renminbi — then about $245,000 — to campaign for an office that paid 347 renminbi a month, the Chinese journal Legal News reported at the time.

In interviews this month, leaders of the Wukan protest said it was common knowledge that local government and Communist Party officials had spent millions of renminbi to buy potentially lucrative posts. They maintained that Wukan’s village committee stayed in power in part by threatening any challenges to its continued rule. Continue reading

Democracy Now: Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning and on Whistleblowing against War Crimes

Human Rights, the Occupy Movement, and Lessons from the Ella Baker Model of Organizing

by the US Human Rights Network

The financial and economic collapse that began in 2007-2008 became the essential catalyst, domestically and internationally, for the rebellion against neoliberalism that we are witnessing today. Neoliberalism, in its very essence is a violation of human rights. According to Elizabeth Martinez of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), the components of neoliberalism include: the rule of the market; cutting public expenditures for social services; deregulation; privatization; and eliminating the concept of the public good and replacing it with individual responsibility.” To implement these repressive policies governments around the world have invested in the construction of massive repressive agencies and criminalized and/or otherwise alienated millions in order to protect the interests of the ruling elites.

The current, national Occupy Wall Street movement received its inspiration from the wave of rebellions that swept North Africa beginning in December 2010 and spread from there to the Middle East and Europe. Here in the U.S., we have been inspired by the actions of tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers and youth who descended on the grounds of the state Capitol in February of this year to oppose a budget proposal that would strip government unions of most bargaining rights. Deeper still, these actions are part and parcel of an escalating wave of resistance to neoliberalism that commenced with the onset of the global financial and economic crisis. This resistance has included acts of civil disobedience to escalating food prices in numerous countries throughout the world, worker occupations of factories in Europe and Asia, housing occupations in the US and Europe, massive student strikes in Latin America (including Puerto Rico) and Europe, and massive demonstrations against the corporate takeover of the world’s water, oil, and other natural resources. Without question, the inequities of the global capitalist system and the harsh excesses of its accompanying neoliberal ideology have become the target of the anger of the vast majority of the peoples’ of the world.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) first took shape in New York City in September and the Occupy Movement has since spread to 70 major cities and 600 communities. Using the slogan “We are the 99%!,” the corruption, speculation, and exploitation of the corporations and banks and their domination of the political system has been the central theme. There have been numerous demonstrations, actions, and arrests which have occurred across the country. On November 2, for example, the Port of Oakland was shut down by demonstrators that included support from Oakland’s largest union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, along with the Oakland Education Association (OEA), International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Many organizations in the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) believe this is an excellent opportunity to introduce the human rights framework into the discussion about the long-term vision of this movement and where it should be headed next. A sampling of some of the engagement of Network members clearly illustrates this point. Continue reading

Arundhati Roy on Occupy Wall Street, Empire, Obama, and Walking with the Comrades

Democracy Now, November 15, 2011

AMY GOODMAN: We return now to the renowned Indian writer, global justice activist, Arundhati Roy. She has written many books, including The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize. Her journalism and essays have been collected in books including An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. Arundhati Roy’s latest book, just out, is called Walking with the Comrades, a chronicle of her time in the forests of India alongside rebel guerrillas who are resisting a military campaign by the Indian government.

Last week, I sat down with Arundhati Roy when she came to New York—she had just visited Occupy Wall Street on her first day in New York—to talk about the significance of this, but also we spoke about the Arab Spring. We talk about her walk with the Maoists in India. Tomorrow, she will be speaking at Washington Square Park, part of a national day of action. First, Arundhati discusses Occupy Wall Street.

ARUNDHATI ROY: You know, what they are doing becomes so important because it is in the heart of empire, or what used to be empire, and to criticize and to protest against the model that the rest of the world is aspiring to is a very important and a very serious business. So I think that it makes me—it makes me very, very hopeful that after a long time you’re seeing some nascent political, real political anger here.

It does—I mean, it does need a lot of thinking through, but I would say that, to me, fundamentally, you know, people have to begin to formulate some kind of a vision, you know, and that vision has to be the dismantling of this particular model, in which a few people can be allowed to have an unlimited amount of wealth, of power, both political as well as corporate. You know, that has to be dismantled. And that has to be the aim of this movement. And that has to then move down into countries like mine, where people look at the U.S. as some great, aspirational model. Continue reading

Comrades in Cairo send solidarity, and advice, to Occupy Wall Street

by Anonymous on October 25, 2011

To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in sol­i­dar­ity. Having received so much advice from you about tran­si­tion­ing to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demon­stra­tions, riots, strikes and occu­pa­tions taking place all around the world, its foun­da­tions lie in years long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repres­sion, dis­en­fran­chise­ment and the unchecked ravages of global cap­i­tal­ism (yes, we said it, cap­i­tal­ism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhab­i­tants. As the interests of gov­ern­ment increas­ingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transna­tional capital, our cities and homes have become pro­gres­sively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic devel­op­ment or urban renewal scheme.

An entire gen­er­a­tion across the globe has grown up realizing, ratio­nally and emo­tion­ally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under struc­tural adjust­ment policies and the supposed expertise of inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, indus­tries and public services were sold off and dis­man­tled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immis­er­a­tion rein­forced by a massive increase in police repres­sion and torture. Continue reading