Syria Once More
I regularly criticize and campaign against the USA, and the rest of the gang of four, Britain, Australia and Israel, as well as other western powers, France, etc, over their invasions, interventions and human and political rights abuses in many countries around the world and also the actions of their oppressive allies such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, among others. In addition I vigorously condemn the USA and countries for their blatant hypocrisy in attacking other countries’ lack of respect for human and other rights and their repressive actions while ignoring their own and that of their allies.
At the same time I also denounce the brutal oppression that Syria, Iran and China among others carry out against their people. It seems to me clearly that some socialists practice the same hypocrisy, condemning the western powers cruelty and oppression and saying nothing about the appalling human and political rights abuses of the regimes in Syria, Iran and China amongst others. We must be consistent and stand up for the political, social and human rights of people everywhere. You can’t have it both ways, supporting democracy, human rights and justice in same places and supporting injustice and inequality in others.
We should equally denounce the repression of different peoples and nations by the USA, the Palestinians by Israel, Kurds by Turkey, West Papuans by Indonesia, etc, but as well the reactionary regimes that oppose the west and indiscriminately kill their own. Socialists cannot stand up for the common, struggling people of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bahrain, Palestine, Sahara, Chile and elsewhere and then stand against the people of Syria, Iran and China. Their opposition to the USA or the other Western powers does not make them virtuous and worthy of support. Reality and facts are good levelers in understanding the world and understanding history is vital in seeing the real nature of things clearly.
The Syrian government is not an imperfect revolution, its not at all revolutionary, in any sense of the word. It is in reality a crony capitalist, militarist, sectarian regime. Many of the real socialist revolutionaries in Syria have been killed or jailed by the regime. I believe it is morally and politically wrong to support such regimes, and really can’t understand why some leftists and socialist groups have gone down this track. And it’s certainly no way to gain any measure popular mass support in Australia or elsewhere in the world, except for the approval of the leadership of the barbaric Syrian regime. It’s just a disastrous dead end for promoting of the concept of socialism. I think Lenin wouldn’t be advocating that workers, peasants or any revolutionary socialists join the Syrian army to fight a war against the imperialist armies, but instead he’d advocate insurrection and civil war by Syrians against the reactionary regime in power in Syria. This is even if the Syrian army/regime were fighting against an imperialist power, which they are not; they are in fact fighting and slaughtering their own people. If Syria is at the forefront of the anti-imperialist struggle, (perhaps along with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who are fighting imperialist armies in Afghanistan) then the socialist movement is in more trouble than I thought.
It is vital socialists look beyond the anti-imperialist sounding rhetoric of governments like that in Syria and see the substance of the regime. In my view, socialists should not be supporting or defending these backward capitalist regimes, but stand with the people who struggle for freedom, democracy, equality, dignity and a decent life against corrupt and vicious regimes. And respect for human (and other) rights is I think fundamental to socialist ideals. That’s what socialism means to me anyway.
Steven Katsineris, April 2012.