[The views and voice of the Syrian revolutionary left has been difficult to hear amidst the clamor of contending distortions by international media–whether Western, Russian, Chinese, or from within the Middle East. We are seeking more information from popular secular forces involved in the uprising–including more information about the revolutionary left forces. The following is an important statement and analysis by the Revolutionary Left in Syria, detailing the role and relations of the various forces within Syria and of the world imperialist and regional forces who have been attempting to seize control of the uprising. We will report further materials confirming and contextualizing this, as they become available. — Frontlines ed.]
“The major Western imperialists powers, and other world imperialist powers such as Russia and China, as well as regional ones such as Iran and Turkey, in their entirety and without exception, continue to try to implement a Yemeni-type solution in Syria – in other words, to cut off the head of the regime, the dictator Bashar Al Assad, while keeping its structure intact, as was witnessed during meetings between U.S. and Russian officials, or at the international conference in June 30 in Geneva. The only sticking point is the Russian position of still trying by all means to keep Assad in power, but Russia may sacrifice this in the near future to protect its interests in Syria. The United States in turn has repeatedly expressed its desire to preserve the structure of the military and security services intact.” — from the Open Letter of the Syrian Revolutionary left
The resistance of the Syrian people has not ceased to grow since the revolutionary process began in March 2011. The struggle of the Syrian people is part of the popular struggles in Tunisia and Egypt, which has spread to other countries in the region.
Similarly, the Syrian revolutionary process is part of the global anti-capitalist struggles. The “Indignados” or “occupied” movements and occupations have taken their inspiration from the Arab revolutions. More than 700 cities in over 70 countries have resonated and for some still resonate of slogans and demands of a movement that demonstrates against poverty and the power of finance. In the same time, the resistance of the Greek people against the dictates imposed by financial agencies and notations is also a battle for dignity and social justice, but also the emancipation against the capitalist order and not its submission, joining the struggles of the peoples of the region.
The Syrian uprising, arising out of the global financial and economic crisis is also a revolt against the neoliberal policies imposed by the authoritarian regime, and encouraged by international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).
The neoliberal policies were used to dismantle and to weaken increasingly the public services in the country, to the removal of subsidies, especially for basic necessities, while accelerating the privatization process, often in favor of the ruling and bourgeois classes linked to the political power.
The neoliberal reforms of the regime have encouraged a policy based on the reception and the welcoming of foreign direct investment, the development of exports and of the service sector, especially tourism. The repressive apparatus of this country has served as a “security agent” for these companies, protecting them of all disorders or social demands. This State has played the role of matchmaker for foreign capital and multinationals, while ensuring the enrichment of a bourgeois class linked to the regime.
The ills and consequences of these neoliberal policies in Syria are numerous. This includes the high rate of unemployment, particularly among young university graduates who cannot find opportunities in an economy now focused on low value-added jobs, and where skilled labor is scarce, or characterized by underemployment, a direct consequence of these measures. Continue reading
Since the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali was ousted by mass unarmed demonstrations, successive waves of protest and self-organisation have dismantled many of the old structures of that dictatorship.
But earlier this month the old regime showed it could still strike back. The prospect of a coup by the old dictator’s party, which had one million members, after the elections in July led to further demonstrations. This time protesters were beaten and journalists – male and female – were singled out. It emerged that a censorship law had been secretly rushed through by the interim government. News from the Tunisian heartland, where the democratic revolution started, is being censored.
La Tunisie profonde is where the uprisings began. The Jasmine Revolution is seen as bloodless, but when you reach the small towns almost everyone knows someone who died, and almost everyone marched and organised against the regime. Since then, they have been setting up their own local councils, been central participants in the independent trade unions, made organisations for the graduate unemployed whose plight kicked off the uprising, held women’s marches, and begun court proceedings to prosecute the snipers who killed the young men and women demonstrators. Continue reading
EGYPT REVOLUTION – TUNISIA REVOLUTION – THE HISTORY OF NOW (ver 1)
Photos and videos from Tunisia and Egypt in January and February 2011 of protesters in Tunisia seeking Ben Ali ouster and Egyptian protesters seeking Mubarak resignation in central Cairo. Music from Asian Dub Foundation, “History of now”
The Egyptian capital Cairo was the scene of violent chaos on Friday, when tens of thousands of anti-government protesters stoned and confronted police, who fired back with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons. It was a major escalation in what was already the biggest challenge to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-rule. They are demanding Mubarak’s ouster and venting their rage at years of government neglect of rampant poverty, unemployment and rising food prices.
Asian Dub Foundation – A History of Now (chapter 1) (new ver)
AsianDubFoundation1 on Mar 2, 2011:
“In anticipation of our performance at this year’s Brighton Festival which is exploring the twin themes of freedom and voice, we are delighted that Jimmy Cauty (founding member of KLF and The Orb) is putting together a series of different interpretations of the video for the History Of Now. In the run up to our opening performance on 7th May we will be featuring these on the website and our YouTube channel video. Revolution is the spirit of the moment. This is the History of Now.”
|By JIM GOMEZ / AP WRITER||Thursday, February 24, 2011|
MANILA — From the fist-pumping crowds to the anguished dictators, the pro-reform revolts reshaping Arab history resemble the Philippine uprising that booted a strongman 25 years ago. But the similarity ends with the killing of protesters from Tunisia to Libya.
The four-day “people power” revolt a quarter century ago that Filipinos commemorate this week saw multitudes of civilians and rosary-clutching nuns and priests mounting a human barricade against tanks and troops to bring down dictator Ferdinand Marcos with little bloodshed as the world watched in awe.
The democratic triumph has been hailed as a harbinger of change in authoritarian regimes in Asia and beyond. Since then, democratic revolutions have ended autocracies and military rule in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia in relatively peaceful feats that seemed unimaginable before 1986.
But the Philippines also became a showcase of post-dictatorship pitfalls that revolt leaders say could provide lessons to Arab nations, which will have to grapple with daunting uncertainties once the euphoria wears down.
Aside from democracy, little has changed in this Southeast Asian nation of 94 million. It remains mired in corruption, appalling poverty, rural backwardness, chronic inequality, long-running Marxist and Muslim insurgencies and chaotic politics. A restive military often tries to undermine civilian rule. Continue reading
Protesters throughout the Middle East are using famous classical poetry as subversive chants against the government. Josh Dzieza on countries where verse still has power—and the Pete Seeger of Egypt.
Imperious despot, insolent in strife,
Lover of ruin, enemy of life!
You mock the anguish of an impotent land
Whose people’s blood has stained your tyrant hand,
And desecrate the magic of this earth,
sowing your thorns, to bring despair to birth
The readings and poetic chants in Tunisia and Egypt are only the latest instance in a long history of political poetry in the Middle East, going back all the way to pre-Islamic times, when the sa-alik (roughly translated as “vagabond”) wrote about living outside the tribal system. In modern times, poetry has been a tool for creating a sense of political unity, giving voice to political aspirations, and excoriating governments and leaders. Maybe most surprising to an American used to poetry’s increasing confinement to college campuses, poetry is a tool for galvanizing people to political action.
“Outside the West poetry is still very powerful,” says Muhsin Jassim al-Musawi, professor of Arabic literature at Columbia University. “It might not be very conspicuous, but it is there, an undercurrent, and whenever there is a need for it you will be surprised that people have something to say.” Postcolonial literary criticism has neglected the political power of poetry, says Musawi, focusing instead on the way narrative defines cultural and national identities. But when those identities are first being formed, he says, when people are taking to the streets in protest or trying to establish a new government, it’s poetry people turn to. It’s easier to rally around a verse than a novel. Continue reading
News from website http://www.uruknut.info
|PFLP, February 2, 2011
Comrade Hussein al-Jamal, member of the Central Committee of the Gaza branch of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said on February 2, 2011 that “the Front will never stand aside or claim neutrality toward popular revolution or the national liberation movements in the Arab world. Our Front stands beside all of the Arab people, and especially the peoples of Egypt and Tunisia at this time of their great revolutions.”
In an interview with Gaza-based Voice of the People radio, Comrade Jamal said that the “clock of the Arab world will not go backwards, but instead forwards toward freedom and emancipation from oppression,” adding that the victory of the Arab revolutions would deal a severe blow to Israel and the Zionist movement.
He noted that Israel is currently confused and carefully watching events in Egypt, and warned of attempts by the state meant to subvert the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Comrade Jamal said further that the common factor of these revolutions is their popular base and origin, and have a fundamentally progressive and leftist character. Continue reading
France okayed tear gas as Tunisia revolt peaked
By Brian Love
PARIS, Feb 1 (Reuters) – France, on the defensive ever since it offered Tunisia its crowd control know-how as protestors died in the streets, risks further embarrassment after the revelation on Tuesday that it authorised tear gas exports at that time too.
Prime Minister Francois Fillion acknowledged in a letter to a member of parliament that permits for tear gas exports were granted as late as Jan. 12, two days before Tunisian President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali fled in the face of a popular uprising. Continue reading
Solidarity with the Tunisian revolt!
Bloodshed, tears, but no democracy. Bloody turmoil won’t necessarily presage the dawn of democracy
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The end of the age of dictators in the Arab world? Certainly they are shaking in their boots across the Middle East, the well-heeled sheiks and emirs, and the kings, including one very old one in Saudi Arabia and a young one in Jordan, and presidents – another very old one in Egypt and a young one in Syria – because Tunisia wasn’t meant to happen. Food price riots in Algeria, too, and demonstrations against price increases in Amman. Not to mention scores more dead in Tunisia, whose own despot sought refuge in Riyadh – exactly the same city to which a man called Idi Amin once fled.
If it can happen in the holiday destination Tunisia, it can happen anywhere, can’t it? It was feted by the West for its “stability” when Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was in charge. The French and the Germans and the Brits, dare we mention this, always praised the dictator for being a “friend” of civilised Europe, keeping a firm hand on all those Islamists.
Tunisians won’t forget this little history, even if we would like them to. The Arabs used to say that two-thirds of the entire Tunisian population – seven million out of 10 million, virtually the whole adult population – worked in one way or another for Mr Ben Ali’s secret police. They must have been on the streets too, then, protesting at the man we loved until last week. But don’t get too excited. Yes, Tunisian youths have used the internet to rally each other – in Algeria, too – and the demographic explosion of youth (born in the Eighties and Nineties with no jobs to go to after university) is on the streets. But the “unity” government is to be formed by Mohamed Ghannouchi, a satrap of Mr Ben Ali’s for almost 20 years, a safe pair of hands who will have our interests – rather than his people’s interests – at heart. Continue reading
Arab Leaders Keep a Wary Eye on Tunisia
By MONA EL-NAGGAR and MICHAEL SLACKMAN
New York Times, January 18, 2011
CAIRO — From the crowded, run-down streets of Cairo to the oil-financed halls of power in Kuwait, Arab leaders appear increasingly rattled by the unfolding events in Tunisia and elsewhere in the Arab world, where men continued to set themselves on fire — two more in Egypt on Tuesday, and a third who was stopped.
Though the streets of Cairo, Algiers and other Arab cities around the region were calm, the acts of self-immolation served as a reminder that the core complaints of economic hardship and political repression that led to the Tunisian uprising resonated strongly across the Middle East.
“You have leaders who have been in power for a very long time, one party controlling everything, marginalization of the opposition, no transfer of power, plans for succession, small groups running the business, vast corruption,” said Emad Gad, a political scientist at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. “All of this makes the overall environment ripe for an explosion at any second.” Continue reading
On Friday, January 14, 2011, after almost 30 days of increasingly violent protests and government efforts to qwell them, the President of Tunisia Zine el Abidine BEN ALI, who had been in power for 23 years, fled the country. The Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi assumed control of the government and declared a state of emergency. The “Jasmine Revolution” had begun, and immediately made history as Tunisia became the first nation in the Arab world to have its leader removed through a popular uprising of its citizens or, more precisely, its netizens thanks to Tunisia’s modern communications infrastructure, pervasive Internet access and a completely digitized mobile phone network.
BEN ALI’s repressive regime against journalists dates back a long time but the spark for this revolution was the self-immolation of a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17th. Ethan Zuckerman has a great article about events in Tunisia wherein he describes what happened next:
Bouazizi’s suicide struck a chord with other frustrated Tunisians. Thousands took to the streets in Sidi Bouzid to protest widespread unemployment, government corruption and lack of opportunity. Another frustrated youth in Sidi Bouzid, Lahseen Naji, killed himself by climbing an electricity pylon while crying out “No for misery, no for unemployment!” before grasping the high voltage line. The Tunisian government responded by sending baton and teargas-wielding reinforcements to the city and by promising future economic development projects. But riots have spread from Sidi Bouzid across the country, and the government has responded by closing the high schools and universities, arresting those they perceive to be ringleaders and imposing a curfew. Global Voices contributor Slim Amamou was one of those arrested on January 6th – we’ve not heard from him or been informed of the charges.”
Besides physical protests and demonstrations, many Tunisians used social media to vent their outrage which prompted an increase in an already repressive government censorship program run by the state’s one ISP – the Tunisia Internet Agency. Continue reading
The ouster of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali emboldens protesters in other Arab countries, but — lacking a galvanizing event — there is doubt that Internet-fueled movements can seriously challenge entrenched regimes in the Middle East.
Rioting spreads across Tunisia; unrest also reported in Algeria
By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan, Los Angeles Times
January 15, 2011
Reporting from Cairo — Hours after riots forced Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali to flee his country, hundreds of Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo with a warning to their own authoritarian president, Hosni Mubarak.
“Ben Ali, tell Mubarak a plane is waiting for him too,” they chanted late Friday night. “We are next. Listen to the Tunisians; it’s your turn, Egyptians.”
The slogans were a burst of envy and elation in a country where people have protested for years but have never ignited a mass movement to threaten Mubarak’s nearly 30-year-old police state. Dissidents were finally daring to contemplate the possibility that public anger really could explode with dramatic change. Continue reading
By Heba Saleh in Tunis
January 13 2011
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the president of Tunisia, has been forced out of office by weeks of protests in which dozens have been killed. State television announced that had he had fled to Malta and would be replaced temporarily by Mohamed El Ghannouchi, the prime minister.
Mr Ghannouchi announced on television that he was taking over the authorities of the president because Mr Ben Ali was unable to discharge his functions temporarily.
He called for calm and promised to carry out political, social and economic reforms.
Less than an hour before the announcement was made, Mr Ben Ali had imposed a state of emergency across the country and dismissed his government as he tried to cling to power in the face of an escalating uprising demanding his removal. Continue reading