The article below was a presentation by the author to an internal national gathering of the Communist Party of Great Britain on October 16. It appeared in the October 20 issue of their paper, the Weekly Worker. We’re running it as part of a series of articles on Syria.
Redline is an independent Marxist blog – we’re not a party or the embryo of a party or anything similar, and thus we have no collective view on Syria but are keen to promote discussion.
Since we exist, however, in the imperialist world, our two key obligations are the exposure of imperialist machinations and solidarity with oppressed peoples, especially in their struggles to liberate themselves from dictatorships and imperialism.
These two tasks don’t always make for an easy fit.
by Yassamine Mather
There are a number of reasons why we have to discuss Syria, not least because arguments for a no-fly zone are being debated, and because sections of the left are actually collecting signatures for what is essentially a plea to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to support ‘air drops’ for the ‘moderate’, non-jihadist opposition. The list of signatories is quite long: it includes the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and some members of Socialist Resistance, plus others who are weak politically.
Syria is also one of the issues on which Corbyn is clearly going to come under attack. I personally have never been a fan of Corbyn’s foreign policy when it comes to the Middle East – any more than I am of the Stop the War Coalition, which on Iran failed to address the repression of workers and the left and turned a blind eye to the regional ambitions of the Islamic Republic. However, what we are facing now is a completely different issue: a barrage of propaganda about a fictitious ‘moderate Islamic opposition’ inside Syria.
In fact, contrary to what The Daily Telegraph is telling us, the problem with Stop the War is not that it is pro-Russian or pro-Syrian regime. The problem is that, generally speaking, it is quite a conservative group. The whole concept that it is part of a pro-Russian conspiracy, as declared by Boris Johnson, is nonsense. In recent weeks Donald Trump has shown himself to be far more pro-Russian than the STWC.
I will now set out a number of facts and then summarise why we should oppose motions in support of imperialist intervention. Above all else we should explain the situation in Syria – which is complicated, but not so complicated as some are making out.
I think you have to see the situation in Syria in conjunction with what is happening in (more…)