by BD, member of First of May Anarchist Alliance – Detroit Collective
The Fall of Aleppo
On January 3, 2017, Syrian refugees, joined by Iraqi refugees and international supporters, marched on the Russian embassy in Thessaloniki, Greece. An article reporting on the march quotes a Syrian refugee as follows:
“They are trying to kill all the flowers in Syria, but they cannot kill the Spring. The Spring is coming. We are here, they cannot kill all the Syrian people.”
(“Syrian refugees in Greece despair over Aleppo,” reported by Marianna Karakoulaki and Dimitiris Tosidis, DW, January 3, 2017 (http//dw.com/p/2vBIT))
The brave people of Aleppo are dispersed or detained or fallen in their thousands. Their city and their homes are destroyed. The dictator, Assad, the butcher of Aleppo, moves to reassert control with the bombs and backing of Putin and the Russian Air Force and with the support of the armed militias of the government of Iran.
The Arab Spring began six years ago in Tunisia. From Tunisia to Egypt to Libya to Syria and beyond the working classes and anti-imperialists and fighters for freedom rose up. They rose up against dictators, against U.S. imperialism and against oppression. The fighting people of the region brought down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. They inspired people who yearn for freedom throughout the world from the Occupy movements to anti-austerity struggles to the Movement for Black Lives to prisoner struggles and beyond. But now, in Egypt, a new military dictator, Sisi, with the support of U.S. imperialism, is in power. The revolution is in retreat. U.S. imperialism and Russian imperialism and the local capitalists throughout the region attempt to reassert control and maintain control by smashing or diverting the struggles of the working people for freedom.
In Syria, where the people had risen against Assad and had established local formations, Local Coordination Committees, to take control of their lives and their communities, hundreds of thousands are dead and millions are refugees. The people of Syria had Assad on the defensive and retreating, but the Russian imperialists, assisted by the government of Iran, stepped in to “save” the Assad dictatorship and to attack the revolution of the peoples of Syria.
In the region and internationally, revolutionary forces and the working classes are in disarray and under attack. The diaspora of people forced to flee Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and North Africa and beyond continues. Refugees are in border camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and fleeing to Europe and in detainment camps in Europe. Thousands are drowned. Reactionary nationalist forces, fascist forces are on the rise in Europe and the United States. The U.S. imperialists, European imperialists, Russian imperialists and the regional powers and local dictators are responsible for this disaster. The Capitalist Class and Capitalism are responsible for this disaster and have worse coming in the future. Working people everywhere, people who yearn for freedom, must organize and fight.
The Arab Spring is in retreat and has suffered terrible defeats, but it is not defeated. The international working class is on the defensive and in disarray, but we are not defeated. “The Spring is coming.”
People of Syria continue to fight and to demonstrate and to struggle against Assad. Working people of all countries must unite to support their struggle. Assad continues in power because of the support of the governments of Russia and Iran. He must be overthrown.
The imperialists from the United States and from Russia must be driven from Syria, from Iraq, from the Middle East and from every country and region where they try to rule or assert their control. The regional powers and authoritarian governments from Iran and Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States must be driven from Syria, and those governments must be overthrown by the working and oppressed people of those countries and their allies.
The dictators from Assad in Syria to Sisi in Egypt and their imperialist partners would have us believe that there are only two alternatives: rule of the dictators backed by Russian imperialism as in Syria or U.S. imperialism as in Egypt, or the rule and dictatorship of ISIS or other reactionary fundamentalists. This is not true. There is another way: the revolution of the people, the revolution of the working classes, the international revolution against capitalism and imperialism and reaction in all its forms.
The lesson of Egypt is that it is not enough to bring down a government or a dictator; it is not enough to change the regime. Capitalism and the state must be overthrown and replaced by the direct rule and direct control of the working people. There is no other way.
Solidarity shows the way forward. We are not on the ground in Syria; we do not know the country. But the peoples of Syria have the right to determine their own futures, free of Assad and the Russians and the U.S. and the Iranians and Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The peoples of Syria have the right to self determination; as revolutionary anarchists we support that right.
The Kurdish people and others in Rojava also have the right to self determination. We support that right. What is needed now is solidarity among the peoples of Syria, the people of Rojava and among Kurdish people and Arabs and all working and oppressed people. What is needed now is a united fight against Assad and the imperialists and for freedom and self determination, respecting the rights of all the peoples of Syria and the region.
We need solidarity among Syrian refugees, among Iraqi refugees, among all refugees and among their international supporters and the international working classes. We need to open all borders and prepare to dispose of all borders. We need freedom. We need solidarity from the working people of every country in support of all refugees and immigrants and in defense of the refugees and immigrants from fascist, racist and government attacks.
There are political groups in the U.S. and elsewhere who support Assad and Russian imperialism and Iran against the people of Syria, but who claim to stand for working people or against imperialism or for socialism. This is a lie. Any group which supports the dictator Assad and opposes the people of Syria is an enemy of working people everywhere. Some authoritarians claiming to be Marxists and socialists support Assad; they are authoritarians and not revolutionaries. They see a dictator and a revolution to overthrow the dictator, and they side with the dictator. Some other leftists claim confusion and can’t decide.
We stand with the peoples of Syria and Aleppo and Rojava against the Assad dictatorship and all imperialists. We stand with the Syrian refugee at the demonstration in Greece: “… they cannot kill the Spring.”