[Marxism] The West's war will weaken Syria's revolution

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri Sep 6 09:39:20 MDT 2013

'The West's war will weaken Syria's revolution'
Western intervention will either strengthen Assad's grip or destroy the 
gains of the Syrian revolt, says Lebanese socialist Bassem Chit



Since news broke of a possible US strike on Syria the overwhelming mood 
in the region has been an escalation of fear. Thousands of Syrians fled 
towards the Lebanese border, while in Lebanon people were preparing for 
the worst.

The vision of a US strike on Syria as a liberatory breath probably only 
occurred to a tiny minority of people. It could only appeal to people 
who can easily escape the repercussions or who are so desperate that 
they welcome any change.

First an attack will be disastrous for the people of Syria. It 
undermines the development of the revolution that offers real hope. 
There is no such thing as a "surgical strike". The US administration's 
claim that it will punish the regime without also hurting millions of 
people in Syria and across the region is a fiction.

In reality a US strike is most likely to strengthen Assad. 
Alternatively, if the West is determined to bring him down, it will have 
to destroy most of Syria.

In the first scenario, Assad would be able to continue his murderous 
actions against the Syrian population while posing as an 
anti-imperialist hero. This would further isolate the Syrian Revolution. 
Already some people who supported the revolution are turning back to the 
regime under the pretext that it must be defended from the US.

We have seen what it means when the US decides to "depose a dictator" in 
Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Libya.

Even if the Americans succeed, they will also have destroyed all the 
structures and the networks built by the Syrian revolutionaries during 
their struggle against the regime. All the experience of 
self-organisation, all the democratic processes put in place by the 
active masses, all the political developments within them-all of these 
will be destroyed.

That will leave an empty space for opportunist forces, the proxies of Al 
Qaida and the regressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to take 
on the leading role.

In both scenarios, the US attack will first and foremost damage the 
Syrian Revolution. Moreover it will be a pretext for the regime's allies 
in the region to rescue it by widening the circle of war.

Lebanon's leaders could submerge it in yet another war to escape the 
rising popular resentment against Hizbollah sending fighters to bolster 
Assad in Syria.

It would silence local support for the Syrian Revolution under the 
slogan of "national discipline" against imperialism. Already the 
violence is spreading. Just last week Lebanon witnessed car bombs in 
densely populated neighbourhoods of both Beirut and Tripoli.

The idea that revolutions are won by some swift action that disposes of 
a regime and builds another, is a fiction.

Regimes are not simply structures balanced somewhere in some capital, 
that can be simply got rid of or taken over. They are a complex web of 
relations of interests among those on the top of society. They 
continuously adapt their roles and the agencies of economy and thought 
and politics to benefit changing situations. And they have the money and 
the knowledge to do so.

That is why revolutions are not about simply deposing a dictator or a 
military council or a corrupt president, however integral and necessary 
those actions may be. They are also about sparking a process of mass 
transformation and of self-education and confidence within the masses.

This develops through their continuous movement and struggle for change. 
It emerges from the factory of ideas set up by the revolutionary 
process, as alternative structures and agencies of resistance and of 
self-organisation are erected.

In time this process forms the dual power that can truly defy the 
existing order. That is when the system can be brought down to open the 
space for a true mass transformation of society towards a better future.

These processes must take place, even with dangerous setbacks. As has 
happened in Egypt such setbacks can be an important space to polarise 
people to a revolutionary position. They can filter out those elements 
who are willing to compromise with the ruling order at the first 

Moreover, observers often exaggerate the depth of these setbacks. The 
roots of the revolutions we are seeing are not simply a result of 
political conflict.

At their base are contradictions between the immense socio-economic 
developments happening at the base of Arab society and the existing 
superstructure and the political order.

These contradictions are far from disappearing. In Egypt, Syria, Bahrain 
or wherever, revolutionaries remind people of these contradictions and 
the necessity to push the revolutionary process forward.

They argue for the importance of giving time for these agencies and 
structures of resistance to develop and to support them. They can never, 
never fall to despair and call for foreign intervention or to side with 
one side of the ruling class against the other.

The first and foremost task is to support the masses as they develop 
their own potential to achieve change through their own collective 

This can never be achieved by substituting for their movement with some 
surgical actions, whether a coup or a swift strike

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