Alternative Left Perspectives on Syria

Syrian flag

The responses of most leftists to the Syrian uprising and subsequent war (it’s often forgotten that it started as an uprising — indeed a nonviolent and nonsectarian one) have been deeply disappointing. Disappointing to many Syrian activists, and to many of us on the Left who support the Syrian struggle for dignity and justice, which is now a struggle against both Assad’s killing machine and the jihadi counter-revolutionary forces.

The Left’s responses fall into three main categories:

  1. explicit support for the Assad regime
  2. monochrome opposition to Western intervention, end of discussion (with either implicit or explicit neutrality on the conflict itself)
  3. general silence caused by deep confusion

The first camp, while relatively small, represents a truly hideous, morally obscene and, I would argue, deeply reactionary position – siding with a mass murderer and war criminal who presides over a quasi-fascist police state.

The second camp, which encompasses a majority of peace activists and soi-disant anti-imperialists in the West, represents an (ironically) Eurocentric/US-centric stance (it’s all about the West, not the Syrian people) — a total abandonment of internationalism.

The third camp is at least understandable, given the complexity of the Syrian conflict. The book I co-edited on the subject is titled The Syria Dilemma for a reason. Yet this stance remains disconcerting: silence in the face of what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls “the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world” is a cop-out. Complexity is not a gag order.

There is a fourth camp, however: a small but growing group of progressives who embrace the goals of the Syrian revolution. There are several shades within this camp – it includes Marxists, pacifists, feminists, Third Worldists and leftists of various sorts. Some support the armed struggle in Syria, others do not, standing instead with the nonviolence activists in Syria. But what unites this camp is its solidarity with the Syrian struggle for dignity, justice and self-determination.

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No Place Like Home

Text WARM to 70111 to donate £3 to UNICEF UK’s Syria Winter Appeal. Donate by credit card at http://www.unicef.org.uk/syria (including viewers from outside the UK).

In this short film Ewan McGregor, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Emma Bunton, Rita Ora and Tinie Tempah join UNICEF UK in support of our Syria Winter Appeal for the children of Syria.

Thank you – your help really makes a difference to children’s lives in Syria.

Ellie Goulding, I know you care

The wonderful Ellie Goulding sings a heartfelt song for Syrian children.

Donate to Save the Children’s Syria appeal now by downloading Ellie Goulding – I Know You Care #song4syria at http://bit.ly/1euLyJ3

The civil war in Syria is now in its third year. Nearly 7,000 children have died during the conflict, more than 2 million children within Syria have been forced to leave their homes and another million children have fled the country altogether. Many are traumatised, hungry, in urgent need of shelter and protection. Children are, once again, the innocent victims of war.

Save the Children is working inside Syria and neighbouring countries to ensure that Syria’s children get the food, medicines and protection they need. To donate to the Syria appeal and for more information please visithttp://www.savethechildren.org.uk/abo…

Continue reading “Ellie Goulding, I know you care”

Assad’s Downfall

It seems like the beginning of the end for the Baath regime. Its closest ally Iran is already looking to a future beyond Assad. General Manaf Tlass, a scion of the Tlass family — the keystone for four decades of the Sunni-Allawi alliance — has also had enough of the regime brutality and defected to Paris. Wikileaks has also started releasing Syria Files, a trove of documents that include 2,434,899  email exchanges between regime officials and some cronies. So far there isn’t much that’s particularly interesting, except evidence of continuing Italian support for the regime and this PR advice that the regime received from Brown Lloyd James (BLJ) to brush up its image after its bloody crackdown.