user preferences

Horizons for the Syrian revolution

category mashriq / arabia / iraq | community struggles | opinion / analysis author Monday May 23, 2011 06:11author by Mazen Kalmamaz Report this post to the editors

The main features of the Syrian revolution are its youthful, spontaneous aspect, and the fact that it was created on the streets and is linked directly to the people. It is a revolution without centralized control, led by insurgent individuals. Consequently, no-one can claim to govern it or lead and the reason is simple: the young insurgents rose up spontaneously and there are no signs of participation by religious elements, whose ideas are extremely reactionary, or indeed by any other tendency. [العربية ]


Horizons for the Syrian revolution

Since the advent of the revolution, Syrian intellectuals and political analysts have been divided into two main opposing groups and one hesitant position which in practice and by force of things tends to veer towards one or other of the opposing groups. The first view sees the regime as a ray of light and that once the people are free of the totalitarian regime, they will sink into a civil war with ethnic and factional discord; only reprisals can prevent this outcome. The second view believes that the Syrian people are capable of living in freedom, that they merit it, and the only justification for reprisals by the regime is its determination to loot the country and appropriate power. Certainly it is this latter vision that is encouraging the young revolutionaries to take to the streets; these young rebels are convinced of their right to freedom, their ability to exercise it, and that freedom is the only way to a better life.

That alone explains the willingness of the young revolutionaries to make sacrifices and face reprisals from the regime, reprisals of unimaginable barbarism. Indeed, every day the security apparatus - essentially mercenaries of the regime - are behaving like thugs (Alcbihp) [1] starting with the humiliation of ordinary Syrians and ending with killing, when necessary. In addition the system is using tanks to suppress the citizens of Daraa and is trying to stifle their will by starving them. In other epicentres of the revolution, like Duma, Homs and Damascus, the repression takes on other, more mitigated aspects, with the regime contenting itself with the use of force. Elsewhere, the mercenaries are seeking to cover up the massacres carried out by the regime against the rebels and to deform the revolution of young Syrians with the aim of spreading the idea that the slogan of freedom is not the most important thing.

It is certain that the Syrian revolution was spontaneous and juvenile and continues to be so. It is true that it includes various factions representing the diversity of the street and young Syrians, but mostly the initiators are young and not influenced by ideology They have no dogmatic concept of freedom but rather a realistic view which implies that the totalitarianism of the regime is the only obstacle to freedom.

The main features of the Syrian revolution are its youthful, spontaneous aspect, and the fact that it was created on the streets and is linked directly to the people. It is a revolution without centralized control, led by insurgent individuals. Consequently, no-one can claim to govern it or lead and the reason is simple: the young insurgents rose up spontaneously and there are no signs of participation by religious elements, whose ideas are extremely reactionary, or indeed by any other tendency.

Between these opposing opinions there lie several intermediate ones, at times claiming neutrality (as was stated, for example, at the beginning of the uprising by the writer Nabil Saleh, founder of the ALJAMAL website), at other times raising the danger of ethnic conflict and religious extremism (nearly all those who prefer to stand halfway between the two main opposing opinions or between the regime and the people). Lastly, I can refer to what some have called "the danger of external intervention". Somewhat exaggerated, this is not a serious danger and is not based in reality. Thus the criticisms of imperialism on the regime's crackdown are empty of any meaning and avoid the fact that the imperialists' interests are related to the existence of the current regime and its totalitarian nature: the regime will simply be required to reform certain political positions and redress some of the more serious complaints that are jeopardizing it. The imperialists do not want freedom for the Syrian people as this goes against their interests. However, the day after an eventual triumph of the revolution, they can claim that they supported the rebellion against totalitarianism (this exterior action has been mentioned in several manifestos and statements, amongst which the manifesto of the central organ of Tim and some analysis by the Qasyon current [2]). These stances taken by the two main poles of the conflict have been accompanied by a call for national dialogue and even an attempt to create drafts of this dialogue.

It is quite obvious that the only way out of any crisis is national dialogue, but what sort of dialogue? Society is an amalgam of layers and very diverse social categories, especially the disadvantaged class, and of political and intellectual currents claiming to represent them all. More specifically in the case of Arab and Syrian uprisings, the majority of insurgents are young people who have stood up to demand freedom without being influenced by any ideology, system of thought or clear and definitive concept of the freedom that they chant for. This means that we do need a national dialogue between us, a dialogue that has been banned by the regime which has instead substituted its own unilateral institutions, a dialogue that will allow us to start a new life, to found a new Syria inspired by freedom, as the majority Syrian people today desire. As part of this vision of national dialogue, the regime's attempts to interfere seem incomprehensible, unless one takes into account the fact that it has a huge security apparatus and hired thugs (Alcbihp) that it is ready to use at any time to wipe out the uprising.

Socially, the regime is a rotten governing bureaucracy and any change (if we assuming that reform within the system is feasible) needs to take away its authority and the ownership of the means of production and put them into the hands of the whole of society; outside this view, any change is seen as a reform that is empty of any meaning and does not deserve to be called reform, even as a term of abusive. The regime seems unwilling to sacrifice or allow anyone to touch Rami Makhlouf [3] - or any of the various other masters of corruption - or the integrity of the repressive apparatus. It is even prepared to destroy the whole of Syria in order to maintain its authority and ownership of the means of production. This is diametrically inconsistent with real change or even symbolic reform. The regime does not represent any political or intellectual current: the level of the Ba'ath Party has declined to the point of no longer deserving the name party, in the serious sense of the word.

Even those who practice antagonistic, fundamentalist Sunni sectarianism, cannot consider the government as being representative of the Alawi ethnic group alone; in fact, this is a regime of individuals. These individuals must assume full responsibility for the looting and repression that Syria has suffered in recent decades, and certainly since 2000. The victims among Syria's citizens who have died since 18 March are also their responsibility - this is not a way to exclude one party but rather this is the core of the revolution. What is a revolution if it does not end the domination by the ruling class and the removal of the means of production from its hands? Al-Assad has grasped the truth when he said in his first speech since the uprising began that the conflict was open and he would not be blackmailed. Bashar's remarks were perfectly correct in saying that neutrality, which is another way of saying the search for intermediate solutions, was impossible in this conflict. Any serious way out of ending the repression and looting by the regime will necessarily lead to the fall of the regime; and any other solution will simply mean the defeat of the revolution and failure for the cause of freedom of the Syrian people.

This defeat would inevitably lead to the birth of a dark era of repression and excessive and unprecedented looting against any Syrian who is not part of the power, who participated in the revolution or took a neutral position. It would mean Syria sliding back into the Middle Ages. What the regime wants us to fear is exactly what it intends to do once it has destroyed the revolution; both the revolutionaries and the government are well aware that armistice is prohibited in this conflict, because it would mean a resumption of the initiative by the opposing party. Certain defeat lies in wait for any side that withdraws from the battle. No-one can direct the pulse of the revolution, because it is closely linked to that of the street. To instinctively be aware of this reality is to understand that the extinction of the revolution can be achieved only through barbaric repression, with massacres which will lead Syria into dangerous consequences for which the regime would have sole and total responsibility. Thus the role and importance of the media campaign that follows: it will support the perseverance of young or criticise their morals.

Getting back to the subject of dialogue, it is enough to recall here that it was an initiative of the leaders of the secret service and had begun between the pacifist Samira [4], Faiz Sara and Michel Kilo [5]; the day after this action, Samira was fired from her job because she dared to deviate from the official version of the uprising and Kilo was arrested - such was the fate of the first people who "began the national dialogue". The regime has met with a reluctance that is close to outrage every call for dialogue initiatives that also included conditions, related mainly to the regime. In most cases these calls are comparable to the ceasefire between both sides in a war.

Curiously these agreements are completely ignored by the side that is shooting, which is also the only side that has weapons and is aiming them at the others. I believe that the regime has conducted the dialogue it wanted and its results are clearly visible: we can see them well in Daraa, in Duma and in Homs; we can also see them in the savage repression and the decision taken by the regime to send its tanks into the epicentres of the uprising. The regime had pulled the plug on the voice of democratic leftists, internal opposition forces that had previously been counterbalanced the fundamentalists, Salafis and liberals to some extent on satellite channels; it had stopped Faiza Sara, Mahmoud Issa and some leaders of the Syrian Democratic People's Party, because of their interventions on satellite channels; this may play a negative role, although limited. Thus, the easiest prey for the regime is the democratic leftist opposition; and as in the era of absolute repression, only the fundamentalists and the religious establishment primarily, which has remained relatively free of any exclusion and has even persevered as the only institution that can coexist with the security order and bureaucratic system of the regime. Finally, if it is true - as we have heard - that comrade Fawwaz al-Haraki, a member of the Qasioun faction, was assassinated, this will have to be solemnly declared by the leaders of the Qasioun faction, so they will not deprive the communists this honour - that of the first Syrian communist to be martyred in the revolution of 2011.

The an-Nour and Qasioun currents are the largest that currently exist among the communists at present. The followers of the former are forced to accept their leaders' alliances with the regime, while the latter are relatively free from the results of this coalition. Qasioun denies any involvement of its members in the uprising, but this denial is only an attempt by its leaders not to disrupt the regime, and it is still possible to rejoin the train of the revolution if triumph seems imminent.

The position described above is shared by most communist leaders and Syrian leftists. It has its advantages and disadvantages: firstly it deprives the uprising of the joy of a heavy left presence, and it gives the regime - which is otherwise engaged in repressing the revolution - a certain softness in terms of its relationship with the Syrian left (we are talking with the revolutionary language of today - the front of the regime with the Syrian left). But this does not imply that the government, after crushing the revolution, will not later clamp down on all those who stepped outside the red lines set out for the factions of the left and the politicized elite. On the other hand, the cringing behaviour of leftist leaders will enable the broad masses of young people to engage in debate with fundamentalist leaders but only regarding the cause of freedom - no longer about fundamentalist, religious taboos, but the freedom of Syrians and of society. Moreover, the failure of the left's leaders to direct and participate effectively in the revolution, will enable the communist core and all those who believe in radical social change in the form of social revolution, to rebuild truly socialist relations based on the appropriation of the means of production by producers and of self-management through popular councils.

It is therefore not a case of reproducing Baathist "socialism", which was a model of bureaucratic state capitalism. As in the concept of the martyr comrade Fawwaz Al-Haraki, socialism must be understood as the initiator of participation in the revolution on the one hand, while on the other it must establish a dialogue with the young revolutionaries and must be a way out of the classic dogmatism of the Syrian left towards freedom, revolution and communist and socialist thinking. Normally, communist and leftist leaders, through their ideological discourses and their actions, are supposed to study the bases of revolution and identify ways to prepare for social revolution, cause it to break out and triumph over the ruling class. Alas, on the contrary we can see how these leaders do quite the opposite of this: they justify totalitarianism and maintain the dominance of the exploiting class.

Mazen Kalmamaz,
Syrian anarchist

01 May 2011

Translation by nmcn

1. Armed gangs employed and protected by the regime in order to break the opposition. See and
2. Syrian marxist currents.
3. A dignitary of the Syrian regime, cousin of president Bashar al-Assad and exclusive intermediary between the regime and the multinationals.
4. Samira al-Massalma, former editor-in-chief of Syrian State TV, fired after responding to an interview on an Arabic satellite channel.
5. Intellectuals who defend the idea of a "civil society" in Syria, imprisoned in 2008.

Related Link:
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Front page

(Bielorrusia) ¡Libertad inmediata a nuestro compañero Mikola Dziadok!

DAF’ın Referandum Üzerine Birinci Bildirisi:

Cajamarca, Tolima: consulta popular y disputa por el territorio

Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry

Aodhan Ó Ríordáin: Playing The Big Man in America

Nós anarquistas saudamos o 8 de março: dia internacional de luta e resistência das mulheres!

Özgürlüğümüz Mücadelemizdedir

IWD 2017: Celebrating a new revolution

Solidarité avec Théo et toutes les victimes des violences policières ! Non à la loi « Sécurité Publique » !

Solidaridad y Defensa de las Comunidades Frente al Avance del Paramilitarismo en el Cauca

A Conservative Threat Offers New Opportunities for Working Class Feminism

De las colectivizaciones al 15M: 80 años de lucha por la autogestión en España

False hope, broken promises: Obama’s belligerent legacy

Primer encuentro feminista Solidaridad – Federación Comunista Libertaria

Devrimci Anarşist Tutsak Umut Fırat Süvarioğulları Açlık Grevinin 39 Gününde

The Fall of Aleppo

Italia - Ricostruire opposizione sociale organizzata dal basso. Costruire un progetto collettivo per l’alternativa libertaria.

Recordando a César Roa, luchador de la caña

Prison Sentence to Managing Editor of Anarchist Meydan Newspaper in Turkey

Liberación de la Uma Kiwe, autonomía y territorio: una mirada libertaria para la comprensión de la lucha nasa

Misunderstanding syndicalism

American Anarchist and Wobbly killed by Turkey while fighting ISIS in Rojava

Devlet Tecavüzdür

Attaque fasciste sur la Croix Rousse et contre la librairie libertaire la Plume Noire

Mashriq / Arabia / Iraq | Community struggles | en

Sun 23 Apr, 19:55

browse text browse image

textPalestine-Israel, The joint struggle really changed the world* 20:50 Sat 05 Sep by Ilan S. 0 comments

The failed arrest of 12 year old child in Nabi Saleh caused a million views storm in the media. This situation and the next Friday of the joint struggle demonstrated again how the involvement of the AATW Israeli Jews prevented in the past and prevent now the extinguishing of the non armed Palestinian struggle with rivers of blood. It was one shooting of Gil Naamati in 2003 in a joint action of the anarchists AATW that caused a real wide media scandal in Israel (which forced the higher commander of the army to visit him at hospital and apologize) that resulted in the change of shooting order about dispersing non armed demonstrations in the occupied lands when Israelis are involved. In addition to our helping to distribute the news, Our main contribution is the supply of "life insurance" to the Palestinians and even to the stone throwers in the demos.... though it is not perfect and along the years about 20 were killed and many more were injured. [Italiano]

Bil'in, 10.07.15. Photo: Mohammed Yasin Photography imagePalestine-Israel, The activists participating in the joint struggle get old... but the struggle is s... 15:10 Tue 28 Jul by Ilan S. 0 comments

It is hard for many activists when the real meaning of the struggle are not concrete achievable gains, but a global worldwide struggle. This week, the concrete and the global merged when the struggle against the destruction of Susiya village recruited international support and forced Israel to delay or even cancel the demolition of the village. Pressure from the imperial powers on Israel was joined by European warning about approaching sanctions against the Israeli banking system for its involvement in the settlers' projects in the occupied West Bank. It seems the erosion of Israeli immunity from paying for its war crimes is collecting momentum. The Israeli media is full of news about B.D.S. - the joint struggle in which thousands of international activists participate, contributing a lot. The heroic Bil'in, Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh, Qaddum, Ma'sara, and Sheikh Jarrah keep the weekly flame from extinguishing. [Italiano]

textPalestine-Israel, the joint struggle which enhance the B.D.S. suffer lately more punishments then ev... 04:57 Tue 02 Jun by Ilan S. 0 comments

The non armed joint actions - mainly few Friday demos, do not cause the Israeli armed forces much load. However, the focusing of the media on these, and more so the international activist participating in them who enhance the international struggle when they return home, really worry the Israeli authorities. Their borders screening which succeed to prevent the entry of activists is not much effective. The Israeli ruling elite is not in panic yet, but lately they worry a lot. The president of Israel warn that the development of the B.D.S. must cause a real concern. The threat of the expulsion from the FIFA cause Israel to make concession to prevent the voting and even agreed to a special monitoring comity. The subject of the B.D.S. is more and more in the media and many of the speaker admit their fear from its intensifying. [Italiano]

textPalestine-Israel, As the split in the elite, a part of which is already suffering, threatens Prime m... 23:57 Fri 22 May by Ilan S. 0 comments

The election which was a response to rebellion in the elite - threatening to restrict his daily newspaper - resulted in a partial defeat. He is dependant now on the support of the center-right party and the orthodox parties,and now he is trying desperately to regain control. The mounting pressure on Israel threatens to take a fast escalation. It is already expressed in the threat to expel Israel from FIFA and of intervention of the Hague Court. The French initiative in the UN security council is approaching. The escalation in transfer actions - both within Israel and the West Bank is an effort to recruit at least the support of orthodox parties and the extreme right. In spite of harsher efforts to repress the Palestinian struggle - both in occupied east Jerusalem and the popular non-armed struggle the struggle continues. The very optimistic activists already feel the approaching victory. [Italiano]

textPalestine-Israel, The joint struggle enhance the B.D.S. which intensify the international pressure w... 00:20 Fri 08 May by Ilan S. 0 comments

The B.D.S. which intensify the pressure not only worry the Israeli elite - it already caused a split in it. The split expressed in the initiation of law against the Netaniahu daily caused him to dismantle his coalition and call for election. The result was even worse for him. He lost the majority of the hard core right. The 61 (versus 59) coalition was achieved only with Kakhlon center-right that already blocked the main rightist moves and some of the extreme neoliberal tendency. A new power balance in the Israeli elite may result with a near future coalition with the pseudo left party Zionist List or even entirely different coalition without Netaniahu or even without the Licud party. With this back ground, transfer of Palestinians intensify - both citizens of Israel and in the occupy west bank... And the repression and struggle continue in Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Nebi Saleh, Qadoom, Ma'asarah, Sheikh Jarrah, South Hebron Hills and sporadicly in other places. [Italiano]

textPalestine-Israel, The joint struggle continues with fresh conviction that it is a fulcrum of the int... 18:56 Sat 18 Apr by Ilan S. 0 comments

With the conviction that our main contribution is not so much in changes on the ground but in the spirit of the struggle of the participants and the fulcrum we provide to the international lever. The gradual increase in international pressure which the Israeli high court verdict is that is a criminal act for Israeli to promote causing already much of damages in the economy of occupation and concern of the Zionist-colonialist Israeli ruling Elite. We see here again how small number of activists can initiate a turn in the course of history when it is applied in the ripe cross-road. It started in a small joint camp in Masha 2003 for struggle against the separation fence, after the idea raised half a year earlier in the European People Global Action conference in Leiden - in which activists from the East of the Mediterranean region participated too. The camp initiated struggles in various villages that riped at 2005 in the Bil'in struggle... which expanded and expanded...

textPalestine-Israel, The collapse of the deterrent ability of Israel in the last Gaza war is expressed ... 04:37 Wed 08 Apr by Ilan S. 0 comments

The frustrated Israeli state force who do not dare to prevent the weekly non armed popular demonstrations - Joined and purely of Palestinians, resort to shooting on demonstrators with frequent use of live fire by snippers. In the annexed regions of Jerusalem they no more pretend it is not an occupied area and apply there the occupation procedures - both in treatment of detaining children and houses demolition. The "hot" areas of the popular non armed struggle gradually expand but still far away from a general uprising. The international popular struggle worry the Israeli elite but the damages to the Israeli economy is still in the margins. It seems the Zionist settler colonialist elite which bribed the tycoons section of the capitalist elite with extreme neo liberal measures cannot do it any more as other sections of the capitalist elite (backers of Cakhlon) rebelled.

textPalestine-Israel, the joint struggle in turbulent times of the fragmentation in the Zionist rilling ... 15:22 Sun 22 Mar by Ilan S. 0 comments

The merger between the Zionist leadership and the capitalist elite which started 1948 picked in the Tycoons dominance, at 20010. The "too successful" neo-liberalism was challenged by the social struggle, conflicts within the capitalist elite and threatened by international pressure yielded the diminishing power of the old order when the right lost its absolute power in the parliament depending now on the opponent of the milder Zionist right (Kachlon). It is not sure how fast the retreat in the neo-liberal trend and the defeat of the Tycoons combined with the international pressure will yield also retreat in the advance of the Zionist settler and transfer effort. Mean time the joint struggle continue in Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Nebi Saleh, Kadum, Ma'asarah, Southern Hebron Hills, Sheikh Jarrah, the Bedouins of the south, Dahamsh... with additional locations from time to time. [Italiano]

textPalestine-Israel, The joined struggle in a decisive year* 23:42 Mon 09 Mar by Ilan S. 0 comments

The minimal pressure of the imperial power on Israel to soften its pressures applied to the would be transfered Palestinians of the 1967 occupied areas have its results (more in the west bank than in the Gaza Ghetto). The about 100.000 Palestinians of the occupied territories are employed by Israelis. Most of the roadblocks were removed. The rebellion of the Palestinians in the west bank is channeled mostly through a small minority of activists in the joint and separate week end activities. People are like holding their breath to see if the culminated crisis in the international arena will yield a significant break throw. Mean time, the persistent week end struggles - though in a diminished intensity in Bil'in, Ma'asara, Ni'ilin, Nabi Saleh, Qaddum, South of Hebron Hills, Sheik Jarrah... with sporadic struggles in other locations. [Italiano]

textPalestine-Israel, The joint struggle and the activists of the popular committees continue to contrib... 17:00 Mon 29 Dec by Ilan S. 0 comments

The approaching victory in the struggle to block the advance of the Zionist settler colonialist project and even to force it to retreat a bit do not make the real good people to like the enrolling of history. The approaching defeat make the Israeli elite take desperate steps and do its atrocities in the open. The efforts to transfer the Bedouins within 1948 borders and villagers in 1967 occupied territories escalate. The diminishing support of Israel by the imperial power due to changes in the dynamics of the region, world public opinions and economic losses it cause gradually change the power balance within the Israeli capitalist elite that may be expressed in the coming elections. On the ground, the joint struggle in Bil'in, Ni'lin, Ma'sara, Nebi Saleh, Sheikh Jarrah, Qaddum, and South Of Hebron Hills, is gradually expanding to other locations even without the "shield" of Israeli activists. [Italiano]

more >>

textOn the current protests in Lebanon : When spring comes late , would it achieve more ? Sep 20 by mazen kamalmaz 0 comments

On the current protests in Lebanon : When spring comes late , would it achieve more ?

imageRojava: Fantasies and Realities Nov 08 by Zafer Onat 1 comments

The Kobane resistance that has passed its 45th day as of now has caused the attention of revolutionaries all over the world to turn to Rojava. As a result of the work carried out by Revolutionary Anarchist Action (DAF), anarchist comrades from many parts of the world have sent messages of solidarity to the Kobane resistance.(1) This internationalist stance without a doubt carries great importance for the people resisting in Kobane. However if we do not analyze what is happening in all its truth and if we romanticize instead, our dreams will turn to disappointment in short order.

textBlood-baath in Syria and proletarian direct action Feb 15 Class War Group 0 comments

Greetings to proletarians in struggle in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia... and all over the world!

imageItalian speaking tour of an Anarchist Against the Wall Apr 07 Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici 0 comments

From 5-15 April 2009, a member of Anarchists Against the Wall, Haggai Matar (well-known also for his anti-militarist work, since he was one of the first of the new wave of political objectors to military service), will be in Italy for a speaking tour with the dual aim of providing updates on the current situation in the struggle against the wall and the occupation, and of collecting funds for the activities of AAtW. If you can, please come to one of the events below. If you are unable to attend but you want to contribute to the work of AAtW, please log on to for details on how to do so. [Italian]

textAnarchists Against the Wall and Bil'in Popular Committee awarded Carl von Ossietzky Medal Oct 17 1 comments

Anarchists Against the Wall and the Bil'in Popular Committee exemplify the nonviolent resistance to the Israeli-built "Separation Wall" on Palestinian land, as well as steadfastness in the diverse grass-root campaigns against the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

imageIsrael-Palestine: The murder of Ahmad Husam Yousef Mousa Jul 30 0 comments

Ahmad Husam Yousef Mousa, 10 years old, was murdered yesterday as he demonstrated together with his friends against the separation wall which is being constructed on the lands of his village Ni'ilin. When Ahmad and his friends reached the construction site the soldiers shot rubber bullets at them and they began to
retreat. At that point one of the soldiers shot a live round at Ahmad's head from a distance of about 10 meters.

© 2005-2017 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]