Open letter of the Syrian Revolutionary left to support the Syrian popular revolution!

[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

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 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

Tribune Magazine (UK): Tunisia’s brutal regime may be down, but it has shown it is not out

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.

by Amanda Sebestyen
Friday, May 27th, 2011

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

Asian Dub Foundation: The History of Now

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.”

Philippines Recalls ’86 Revolt with Eye on Middle East



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

Egypt’s Revolutionary Poetry

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.

Article - Dzieza Egypt Poetry

Matt Rourke / AP Photo While protesters in Tunisia chanted these words, written by the poet Abul Qasim al-Shabi, two weeks ago, Iraqi poets staged a reading in solidarity. In Egypt, where al-Shabi’s verses had become a rallying cry, Al Jazeera reported poetry readings in the middle of the protests at Tahrir Square.

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

Abul Qasim al-Shabi

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

Statement of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt

News from website http://www.uruknut.info

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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