[Marxism] "49 armed factions in Syria" was: Syria rebels, activists denounce IS attack on Paris - Yahoo News

Lüko Willms willms at luekowillms.de
Sun Nov 15 14:56:20 MST 2015

on Sonntag, 15. November 2015 at 18:15, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:

> There are still many people in Syria who have politics that are 
> revolutionary even if they don't quote Karl Marx.

 Also in Germany, Poland, the USA etc. And also here is no revolution taking place. 

 And if it were, there would be a unifying trend around one revolutionary leadership. Independent of any label you might want to attach to that leadership. 

 As said, in Syria the opposite development began in 2011, and is still continuing: an increasing fragmentation, a deepening splintering of the "opposition" into -- according to your message -- at least 50 factions, 51 if we include the country's government. Probably much more. And each of them is the result of some "leadership" group forming a separate armed faction in order to exercise power over the people by their separate sectarian leadership clique. 

 That is not revolution, that is the destruction of any chance for revolution. A revolution in Syria would have to chase all those armed cliques away in the first place. 

>  Marx and Lenin fought for democratic rights 

 sure, they were revolutionists. Lenins leadership is one such example of the unifying process of a real popular revolution, which was the opposite of what is happening in Syria right now. 

> and even for the replacement of dictatorial rule by parliamentary democracy, 

 No, that is wrong. Engels even took great pains to explain to the German movement that the concrete democratic rights are indispensable, first and foremost the freedom of the presse, the freedom of assembly and the freedom of association, while parliamentary elections, even common and secret and equal elections are mostly a trap. I think that I mentioned not long ago this article, a veiled polemic against the Lassaleans in the article "The Prussian Military Question and the German Workers' Party", in english in the MIA at 
> <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/02/12.htm 

 For example:

> If the government decreed universal direct suffrage, it would from
> the outset hedge it about with so many ifs and buts that it would in
> fact not be universal direct suffrage at all any more.
> And regarding universal direct suffrage itself, one has only to go
> to France to realise what tame elections it can give rise to, if one
> has only a large and ignorant rural population, a well-organised
> bureaucracy, a well-regimented press, associations sufficiently kept
> down by the police and no political meetings at all. How many
> workers' representatives does universal direct suffrage send to the
> French chamber, then? And yet the French proletariat has the
> advantage over the German of far greater concentration and longer
> experience of struggle and organisation.

 I also don't know of any place where Marx or Engels or Lenin talked about "dictatorial rule" as something to be replaced, and be it only a parliamentary democracy. 

 No, no, our comrades were very clear: we fight for material democratic rights, for the workers to take power out of the hands of the bourgeoisie.

 Lenin explained in a polemic against "Parabellum" (pseudonym of Karl Radek), written in or before October 1915 titled "The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", to be found in an english translation in MIA at
> <https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/oct/16.htm 
of which I want to quote a longer paragraph (which I divide up in smaller ones for readability)

> From what Parabellum says, it appears that, in the name of the
> socialist revolution, he scornfully rejects a consistently
> revolutionary programme in the sphere of democracy. He is wrong to
> do so. The proletariat cannot be victorious except through
> democracy, i.e., by giving full effect to democracy and by linking
> with each step of its struggle democratic demands formulated in the
> most resolute terms. 
> It is absurd to contrapose the socialist
> revolution and the revolutionary struggle against capitalism to a
> single problem of democracy, in this case, the national question. 
> We must combine the revolutionary struggle against capitalism with a
> revolutionary programme and tactics on all democratic demands: a
> republic, a militia, the popular election of officials, equal rights
> for women, the self-determination of nations, etc. 
> While capitalism exists, these demands — all of them — can only 
> be accomplished as an exception, and even then 
> in an incomplete and distorted form. Basing ourselves 
> on the democracy already achieved, and exposing its
> incompleteness under capitalism, we demand the overthrow of
> capitalism, the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, as a necessary
> basis both for the abolition of the poverty of the masses and for
> the complete and all-round institution of all democratic reforms.
> Some of these reforms will be started before the overthrow of the
> bourgeoisie, others in the course of that overthrow, and still
> others after it. The social revolution is not a single battle, but a
> period covering a series of battles over all sorts of problems of
> economic and democratic reform, which are consummated only by the
> expropriation of the bourgeoisie. 
> It is for the sake of this final aim that we must formulate 
> every one of our democratic demands in a consistently revolutionary way. 
> It is quite conceivable that the workers of some particular country 
> will overthrow the bourgeoisie before even a single fundamental 
> democratic reform has been fully achieved. 
> It is, however, quite inconceivable that the proletariat, 
> as a historical class, will be able to defeat the bourgeoisie, 
> unless it is prepared for that by being educated in the
> spirit of the most consistent and resolutely revolutionary democracy. 

> despite capitalist property relations remaining. 

 Capitalist property relations can't be done away with the stroke of a pen. Forming a workers and farmers government, i.e. one which results from a mass movement of working people, and which rests upon the mobilised masses of working people, is only the first step which is needed to transform the mode of production and to do away with capitalist property relations. And a government which doesn't progress along that path, will lose the support of the masses and will lose its power, as it happened in Nicaragua. 

 There are certainly revolutionary people in Syria, and especially are there workers in Syria, but they do not call the shots. Occasionally there is a street demonstration. 

 But in order to advance on the path towards a socialist revolution, they will have to chase away and disarm all those power-hungry armed factions, and chart a course which goes over into an all-Arab mobilisation against imperialism and imperialist intervention, including all the national minorities within the Arab nation, from the Kurds and Hebrews in the Mashraq (East) to the Imazigh in Maghreb (West), and also the workers from the Indian subcontinent, the Philipines and other Asian countries which constitued the majority of the proletariat in the oil dictatorships on the Arab peninsula. And of course break with all those false friends who in their safe US, Australian or European homes join in with the talking heads of the Corporate News Networks and other Faux News regurgitating the propaganda of the enemy, i.e. imperialism. 

Lüko Willms
Frankfurt/Main, Germany

PS: Sorry for the second send of my previous message, the one which Louis P. replied to. I was confused with my new setup, and did the resend 10 seconds too early, when the message to the list arrived at my computers doorstep.

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