12.12.2013 (edited and updated 13.12.2013, 16.12.2013 & 17.12.2013)
CHANGE: WHY THE TRADITIONAL U.K "ANTI WAR" MOVEMENT IN THE U.K HAS NO ...MOVEMENT.
ALL THE U.K STATE CONSIDER IS, WHO WILL CHALLENGE THEM, AND ARE THEY SERIOUS ?
We will never forget that Brian Haw bravely stood on the front line at the belly of the beast speaking truth to power.
serious: banner stolen by ..you guessed it..the police.. in August 2011.
Many around the world have seen the trademark sinister smile of the U.K State, as they murderously suppress people, anywhere, including in the U.K.
In fact, the modern U.K State is - the most - belligerent state (who invented many others) to have ever existed.
Those who cosy up to/with the state will often, as a tactic, assume an air of intellectual superiority, which revealingly does not extend to doing..law.
"The question is -NOT- how much information the state has about you.
The fact is, the people have the global community of big business banged to rights in law, over brutally murdering whoever they like for money."
We should never allow any state to use labels, which marginalize and conceal the fact that we are all human beings.
The long established cabal of the traditional U.K "anti war" movement has many questions to ask itself.
No-one is ever something called "collateral damage".
Murdering people was never "politics".
There is an underlying message way beyond the simple slogan of "anti-war".
We are all human beings.
And real law, (not the phoney legislation of corrupt politicians nor their creature called democracy), is our primary system of managing "competing" human interests.
According to one gossip column (see end of our "Background" page and the link with pink ! which I use as an example) I have been single-handedly responsible for destroying the traditional U.K "anti war" movement.
There is no "misunderstanding".
And I make no apologies, for rattling the cage of what is a mendacious cabal.
Our campaign in Parliament Square has always been about saving lives.
So how did I supposedly rattle their cages ?
I have simply brought legal challenges against their agent provocateurs.
16.12.2013 When this article was posted in response to the comments made about us by the "anti war" movement...
Our legal challenges have included where criminal proceedings were maliciously brought against me (and I gave a "reply" to being maliciously charged with some "crime") or through not so "civil proceedings" in the High Court such as (HQ11X00563) where we filed what remains an outstanding -counterclaim- against Westminster Council and agent provocateurs.
The one constant, that the global community of big business avoids like the plague, is real law.
Law is their loose end, because it is what they do not do.
The timing of this still outstanding counterclaim (the claim against us by Westminster Council was brought in February 2011 and lost by Westminster Council in 2012) rendered the Mayor of London's subsequent phoney High Court injunction (HQ11X01981/2 March/April 2011) null and void ..in legal terms.
So as we all know, they made another phoney law, ss141-150 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, so the whole "anti war" movement in the U.K could watch and cheer, (along with Parliament and the media) while pretty much in their own words, if you read our "background" page, they hoped I froze to death in 2012.
It is obvious to anyone that the U.K State cannot invent an "Act" to try to conceal an already existing civil counterclaim that covers all.
All I have done is quite properly and lawfully name the names of those I could prove with evidence in a court of law, (as opposed to the various personal opinions of gossip columns etc), had -directly- worked with the police, to cause harm to our very visible 24/7 campaign.
The facts involved in living something, are of course quite different to the opinion of any other.
How many of those agent provocateurs I named might in fact, be MI5 agents, remains to be seen.
It would be naive in the extreme, to even think that a vicious state who unusually invented, not one, but two specific acts of legislative violence against our campaign:
1.SOCPA 2005 ss 132-138
2.The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 ss141-150 ...
to violently "censor" our doing law...
did not also make very considerable efforts to infiltrate etc. our campaign.
What we did shockingly discover, was that when you name one agent provocateur, the others will come running to try and murder you, to try and cover up.
Brian Haw was murdered by the U.K State.
That is why the infamous and widely discredited Democracy Village came into existence, before it disappeared into oblivion.
Democracy Village was intended to murder both Brian Haw and myself.
In April 2009 we publicly distanced ourselves from an obvious enemy within, called Peace Strike.
It had reached a point, where it was not better to keep the enemy you know, close.
In September 2009, in response to our distancing ourselves from Peace Strike, six members of the TSG riot police tried to murder me in Belgravia Police Station, through the use of positional asphyxiation(HQ13X03488)
No doubt a "pathologist" would have said, I had a heart attack.
I was only saved because Brian was there and he could hear me screaming, because positional asphyxiation involves torture.
The police could not really get away with murdering ....both of us, so I survived.
The U.K State might get away with one murder at a time.
Two was a problem that really would raise too many questions.
We discovered that when Steve Jago saved my life in September 2006, at Charing Cross Police Station.
I then formally named Maria Gallastegui as an agent provocateur in criminal proceedings in January 2010.
By May 2010, the Mayor of London had come running as the face of not so civil proceedings in the High Court, where Westminster Council jumped on the bandwagon.
The media led "initiative" included:
In simple terms, they threw everything they could at our campaign.
It was insane.
Some of those I named who have a well known pattern of going around various movements in the U.K to try and help the state control and destroy them, include Maria Gallastegui, Simon Moore, Gareth Newnham and a creature called Phoenix.
Of course we noted who many other agent provocateurs etc. are, but those specifically named above, are main players.
No lawyer ever helped us. Lawyers only sought to manage us. It was never a lawyer who outed Mark Kennedy as a police officer in the environmental movement. It was a campaigner who found a passport in the wrong name that unravelled that web.
Whether it was Stop the War's, Tony Benn or Ken Livingstone, or Democracy Village/Peace Strike, or the not so alternative Indymedia, the traditional "anti war" movement in the U.K, has become rotten to the core, because it's -leadership- has long been infiltrated across the board, by the U.K State.
They just throw the people's money at their problem.
We discovered what the state knew.
That many people, who are not really agent provocateurs, in the strictest legal sense, were nevertheless, only too willing to sell us out for silver.
There was much money that was made, by many, in horse-trading over our campaign.
Ask yourself this simple question ?
How on earth do Stop the War justify being associated with the likes of Ken Livingstone who very publicly, and violently, as Mayor of London sought to illegally remove our campaign twice in 2007 (HQ13X03488) ?
That sure isn't "politics".
Yet the leaders of Stop the War, including Tony Benn and George Galloway, were silent on what Ken Livingstone quite publicly did.
A member of our campaign called Gary who fingered Galloway as all mouth, in 2007 when Ken Livingstone went for us, was right.
George Galloway was still spitting my blood in January 2013.
So, the fact that Stop the War (Ken) tried to remove our campaign, along with Peace Strike who became Democracy Village, doesn't say much about there being -any- visible peace movement in the U.K, beyond ours.
indeed: young and old alike.
The difficulty the U.K State had in infiltrating our campaign was because it was so visible being 24/7.
If you couldn't do what we did, you could not challenge us, not least because we would expose you.
After all, all we have ever really been doing is, law.
It was incredible how many precious little souls from the supposed "anti war" movement hopped up and down about one simple sign in Parliament Square that, when necessary said it all.
Peace Camp - Police Camp.
No-one in the anti war movement minded that it was true.
What they minded was that we said it.
The "anti war" movement, got so very hot under the collar, about that sign, because most of the general public (and there were thousands of people stopping or going past everyday who) did get what was going on.
Do not believe the mainstream media when they tell you no-one else is thinking, what you are thinking.
Some "members" of the Jordanian State warned us one day, that it was very dangerous to be exposing the state.
I am not entirely sure whether what the Jordanians said was strictly advisory, or a threat.
Meanwhile the so called alternative media, called London "Indymedia" also foamed at the mouth, without being able to answer, when I dared question why on earth they were hosting the old hijacked version of our campaign website, pretending it was ours, when Brian died.
Surely I should be able to know who had agreed this, so that our campaign could sue them for libel.
How could any claim to be above real law ?
It turns out a Gareth Newnham from "We are Change"/"Kew Village"/"Democracy Village",(who gets about) was one of Indymedia's "moderators".
Of course if you are an "anti-war" movement with no intention of any real movement, that challenges law, the last thing you want is a very visible 24/7 campaign in Parliament Square, because it not only begs the question about your own groups lack of genuine movement.
I was inspired to join Brian because I got what he was doing.
Many others have done what they could in extreme circumstances over the years, to help our campaign.
It could always be, one million for one week, we all share what is really going on and get to go home, with the war over, job begun on economic reform.
So, it is ridiculous to suggest that one person can nobble an entire anti war "movement".
After Democracy Village, the U.K State did the George Soros funded "Occupy" movement.
This was when revolutions were in vogue again, and the U.K State could not explain why millions were not on the streets, once again across the U.K.
The U.K Occupy were essentially just a re-run of Democracy Village.
However, George Soros did not dare send "Occupy" to Parliament Square.
We were still in Parliament Square.
They could not take us to the High Court.
HQ11X00563 was still lurking.
We are real.
Instead, yet again massive numbers of police came and stole our shelter on January 16th 2012, without prosecuting us over anything, because it was going to look odd when "Occupy" didn't stand their ground over the Corporation of London's injunction.
It was going to look odd that we were still in Parliament Square challenging the U.K State when Peace Strike vanished.
After all, they had so many people. So the story goes.
We were never prosecuted over January 16th 2012, because we were already prosecuting the U.K State with our -counterclaim- in HQ11X00563.
Westminster had complained in the High Court that even if they withdrew their claim against us (which they did) ours (which is also against agent provocateurs) remained.
We remained in Parliament Square and watched as Occupy, Democracy Village and Peace Strike all came and went.
These movements, along with Stop the War were all shamed.
In 2013, U.K Police started going by the fake number 666...
Across the internet of course, it is much easier in some ways to counter -the effect- of agent provocateurs etc, because there is only ever one simple strategy.
The fact you work with others does not mean anyone should need to control you.
All you have to do, is just carry on doing, what you know to be right.
And as long as you are telling the truth you can't go far wrong.
Our only common focus in the Parliament Square Peace Campaign remains, how to save people's lives.
Everyone does what they can, to that end.
And what each chooses to do is only intended, to complement the whole effort.
What remains most important to remember, however, is that until the people can prevent mass murder by the state, the people cannot change anything.
It is no longer a case of changing the many faces of government.
The whole system of the global community of big business must be changed by the global community of people, becoming the real decision makers.
The combined effects of the Prism Hoax over censorship and the brutal War on the Syrian people, has shown that sufficient numbers of Jo Public across the world are - now - far more aware about how the state do what they do, than the global community of big business would like.
in addition any "juror" would lawfully be able to trawl our website (for example) to their hearts content, because it is, of itself, quite literally, "evidence" of much.
The global community of big business are making huge noise about watching the people, precisely because too many people are watching them.
Our campaign says, we must record and publish all proceedings involving public officials in court.
Let the world see how they do what they do, using a far from legal system.
Publishing recordings of proceedings can transform the far from legal landscape around the world, where secret trials are increasingly becoming the norm of the global business state.
It was an obnoxious old shit who runs the seemingly innocuous "Peace News" from offices in Caledonian Road, London who (before the U.K Attorney General) came and said to me, that I would not "get away" with recording and publishing what really went on in courts.
His face darkened and he -was- threatening me, when I told him, the people will record and publish what really goes on in courts.
Clearly we are on the right track, not only because publishing recordings of proceedings, would prevent "media" from publishing lies, which even this "Peace News" did.
"Peace News", like the mainstream media tried claiming on their front page, that Peace Strike were the last remaining campaign in Parliament Square, which explains why they don't want us recording and publishing court proceedings that reveal that they are all knowingly lying to the public.
The list is long and colourful of those who have threatened us, over exposing and addressing the wider truth that it is a far from legal landscape that leads to illegal wars of aggression.
The old way of doing things in the "anti-war" movement is history.
The old "anti war" movement way of doing things, is not just rotten. It is evil.
The most valuable lesson I learnt in Parliament Square, was that the vast majority of people the world over, who really do care about people, understand at some level, that the global community of big business is trying to brutally murder people with illegal wars and revolutions which in changing the many faces of government, will change nothing.
There -remains- huge legal blowback on other countries the world over, like the U.S, only when there are legal challenges in Europe (for example), to war.
Where the people use law to prevent war, the people can change the whole economic system.
It is now possible that sufficient numbers of the global community of people will succeed in demanding a new universal economic model where everyone is free to live in peace with each other.
There are 6.8 billion human beings across the world.
We will be inviting all to join Jo Public to challenge the global community of big business.
We cannot go far wrong when we are doing the truth.
The very well written article below which was passed on to me, is added as a useful reference, with much most can agree with.
The only point that needs to be added, is that it was CND who did not -follow through - with a proper legal challenge to the Iraq War. CND needed to appeal the ruling against them to continue the challenge.
Our own emphasis therefore, remains on the importance of people in the West in particular, taking responsibility for proper control over law, to bring justice, that will change the current global economic system.
Therefore we argue that it is necessary to recognize and support the importance of legal challenges by people in Europe, which do have huge blowback elsewhere, because of -how- the West has created the system that has carved up much of the rest of the world.
("Law is like a plague to the global business state")
The government and courts do not want the march of a million saying, let's do law over war !! because their whole system would be finished.
It is a war on the Syrian people now. The U.K State just do not want a legal link that can be tied down.
All the U.K state consider is - who - will challenge them and are they serious ?
Posted on September 23, 2013 by Alexandra Valiente
By Carlos Martinez
On 10 April 1993, one of the greatest heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle, Chris Hani, was gunned down by a neo-fascist in an attempt to disrupt the seemingly inexorable process of bringing majority rule to South Africa. Although direct legal culpability for this tragic assassination belonged to only two men – a Polish immigrant by the name of Janusz Waluś and a senior Conservative Party MP named Clive Derby-Lewis – the crime formed part of a much wider onslaught against the ANC and its allies. This onslaught – paramilitary, political, legal, psychological, journalistic – was not primarily conducted by fringe lunatics such as Waluś and Derby-Lewis, but by the mainstream white political forces and their puppets within the black community (such as the Inkatha Freedom Party). The leaders of the ANC, and particularly the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed liberation movement with which Chris Hani’s name will forever be associated) were subjected to a wide-ranging campaign of demonisation. This campaign created conditions such that political assassinations of anti-apartheid leaders became expected, almost inevitable. Of course, the more ‘dovish’ leaders of the main white party, the National Party, were quick to denounce Hani’s assassination; but the truth is that they were at least partly responsible for it.
Speaking at Hani’s funeral, Nelson Mandela spoke of this phenomenon: “To criminalise is to outlaw, and the hunting down of an outlaw is regarded as legitimate. That is why, although millions of people have been outraged at the murder of Chris Hani, few were really surprised. Those who have deliberately created this climate that legitimates political assassinations are as much responsible for the death of Chris Hani as the man who pulled the trigger.”
Turning to the current situation in Syria, we see a parallel between the “climate that legitimates political assassinations” in early-90s South Africa and a media climate that legitimates the “limited military strikes” being planned in Washington.
The Syrian state has been under direct attack by western imperialism for the last two and a half years (although the US and others have been “accelerating the work of reformers” for much longer than that). The forms of this attack are many: providing weapons and money to opposition groups trying to topple the government; implementing wide-ranging trade sanctions; providing practically unlimited space in the media for the opposition whilst effecting a near-total media blackout on pro-government sources; and relentlessly slandering the Syrian president and government. In short, the western media and governments have – consciously and deliberately – “created this climate that legitimates” a military regime change operation against Syria.
An anti-war movement that takes part in war propaganda.
Building a phoney case for imperialist regime change is, of course, not unusual. What is really curious is that the leadership of the anti-war movement in the west – the people whose clear responsibility is to build the widest possible opposition to war on Syria – has been actively participating in the propaganda and demonisation campaign. Whilst opposing direct military strikes, they have nonetheless given consistent support to the regime change operation that such strikes are meant to consummate.
Wilfully ignoring the indications that the Syrian government is very popular, Tariq Ali – perhaps the most recognisable figure in the British anti-war movement – feels able to claim that “the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people want the Assad family out”. Indeed, he explicitly calls for foreign-assisted regime change, saying “non-violent pressure has to be kept up externally to tell Bashar he has to go.”
Rising star of the British left Owen Jones used his high-profile Independent column of 25 August this year (just as the war rhetoric from Cameron, Hollande and Kerry was reaching fever pitch) to voice his hatred of the “gang of thugs” and “glorified gangsters” that run Syria, before worrying that “an attack could invite retaliation from Iran and an escalation of Russian’s support for Assad’s thugs, helping to drag the region even further into disaster.” Jones evidently doesn’t know very much about Syria, but that doesn’t stop him from participating in the Ba’ath-bashing: last year, his response to a bomb attack in Damascus which killed several Syrian ministers was the gleeful “Adios, Assad (I hope)”.
According to Stop the War Coalition national officer John Rees, “no-one can minimise the barbarity of the Assad regime, nor want to defend it from the justified rage of its own people.” Any objectively progressive actions ever taken by the Syrian government (such as its support for Palestine and Hezbollah) are nothing more than “self-interested and calculated acts of state policy” – which claim is rather reminiscent of the Financial Times accusing Hugo Chávez of “demagogy” in pushing for land reform in Venezuela!
Rees is only too clear that the number one enemy for Syrians is the government, and that pro-west sectarian Saudi-funded rebels are a secondary enemy – a position virtually indistinguishable from the Israelis, who state: “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” Further, Rees believes that what is really needed is to “give the revolutionaries the chance to shake off their pro-western leaders and defeat Assad.” That’s presumably if they’re not too busy eating human hearts or murdering people on the basis of their religious beliefs.
These are not isolated examples. It is decidedly rare to find a British anti-war leader mentioning Bashar al-Assad and his government in anything but an intensely negative light. Bashar is “brutal”; he is a “dictator”; he should be indicted at the International Criminal Court. Frankly, this leader of independent, anti-imperialist Syria is subjected to far more severe abuse from the mainstream left than are the leaders of Britain, France and the US. In the imperialist heartlands of North America and Western Europe, the defence of Syria has been left to a small minority, although thankfully the (far more important) left movements in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere have a much richer understanding of anti-imperialist solidarity.
At the risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious: if you’re trying to spread anti-war sentiment and build the most effective possible movement against military action, then taking part in the demonisation of the country under threat is probably not a very smart strategy.
This campaign of propaganda, lies and slander has been very effective in creating a public opinion that is ambivalent at best in relation to the attack that is under preparation. Whilst most people may be “against” bombing Syria in principle, to what extent are they passionate enough to actually do anything to prevent this criminal, murderous act from taking place?
Two million people marched against war in Iraq (and given the right leadership, they would have been willing to do considerably more than just march); yet no demonstration against war on Syria has attracted more than a couple of thousand people. Would thousands of people be willing to participate in direct action? Would they be willing to conduct, say, a one-week general strike? Would workers follow the great example of the Rolls Royce workers in East Kilbride and actively disrupt imperialist support for regime change? Highly unlikely. And this is because all they have heard about Syria – from the radical left to the fundamentalist right to the Saudi-sponsored Muslim organisations – is that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator whose overthrow is long overdue.
OK, but haven’t we just prevented a war?
In the light of the House of Commons exhibiting an unusual level of sense by voting against Cameron’s motion authorising use of force against Syria, some anti-war activists were quick to claim that the “sustained mass power of the anti-war movement” has “undoubtedly been a decisive factor.” Members of this movement should “recognise what we have achieved in recent weeks : we have stopped the US and Britain from waging a war that, if the British parliament had voted the other way, would already have taken place, with who knows what consequences.”
Now, optimism and jubilation have their place, but they shouldn’t be used to deflect valid criticism or avoid serious reflection. Anybody who has been involved in the anti-war movement in Britain over the past decade will have noticed the level of activity steadily dwindling. Just two years ago, we witnessed a vicious war fought by the western imperialist powers (with Britain one of the major instigators) in order to effect regime change in Libya. Over 50,000 died. Murderous racists were brought to power. A head of state was tortured and murdered , while imperialism celebrated. Decades of development – that had turned Libya from a colonial backwater into the country with the highest living standards in Africa – have been turned back. Stop the War Coalition weren’t able to mobilise more than a tiny protest against this war, and yet we are expected to believe that, two years later, Britain suddenly has a vibrant and brilliantly effective anti-war movement capable of preventing war on Syria? This is obviously not the case.
Regardless of how much attention the British public pays to the anti-war movement, the fact is that public opinion in the west is only a small factor in the much larger question of the balance of forces. Syria is different to Libya in that it has powerful allies and that it has never disarmed. Furthermore, it shares a border with Israel and is capable of doing some serious damage to imperialism’s most important ally in the Middle East. This makes military intervention a highly dangerous and unpredictable option from the point of view of the decision-makers in Washington, London and Paris.
The uprising was supposed to take care of this problem. A successful ‘Arab Spring’ revolution – armed, trained and funded by the west and its regional proxies in Saudi, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan – would have installed a compliant government and would have constituted an essential milestone in the imperialist-zionist regional strategy: the breakup of the resistance axis and the overthrow of all states unwilling to go along with imperialist diktat. This strategy – seemingly so difficult for western liberals and leftists to comprehend – is perfectly well understood by the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah: “What is happening in Syria is a confrontation between the resistance axis and the U.S./Israeli axis. They seek aggression against the resistance axis through Syria in order to destroy Syria’s capabilities and people, marginalize its role, weaken the resistance and relieve Israel.”
Beyond the Middle East, a successful ‘revolution’ in Syria would of course be a vital boost to the US-led global strategy: protecting US hegemony and containing the rise of China, Russia and the other major developing nations.
And yet, in spite of massive support given to the armed opposition; in spite of the relentless propaganda campaign against the Syrian government; in spite of Israeli bombing raids on Damascus; in spite of a brutal and tragic campaign of sectarian hatred being conducted by the rebels; in spite of the blanket support given to the rebels by the imperialists and zionists; the Syrian Arab Army is winning. The tide has clearly turned and the momentum is with the patriotic forces. Hezbollah have openly joined the fray. Russia has sent its warships to the region and has demonstrated some genuine creative brilliance in the diplomatic field in order to prevent western military strikes. Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and others have been immovable in their demands for a peaceful, negotiated solution to the crisis.
Nobody in imperialist policy circles expected things to turn out like this. The ‘revolution’ was supposed to have succeeded long ago. As a result, the western ruling classes have moved from a firm, united policy (i.e. help the rebels to victory and then ‘assist the transition to democracy’) to chaos, confusion and division. There are hawkish elements that want to bomb their way to victory, and there are more cautious/realistic elements that realise this would be an incredibly dangerous course of action for the western powers and for Israel. Imperialism is faced with a very delicate, even impossible, balance: trying to preserve its increasingly fragile hegemony whilst actively attacking the global counter-hegemonic process. It is a case of “damned if they do and damned if they don’t”.
Such divisions within the ruling circles in the west are to be welcomed, but it would be an act of significant deception to claim victory for a western anti-war movement that has persistently refused to ally itself with global anti-imperialism.
Decriminalise and defend Syria
If we are going to build an anti-war movement capable of mobilising people in a serious way to actually counter imperialist war plans for Syria, we cannot continue with the hopeless “neither imperialism nor Assad” position, which is designed to avoid the obvious question: when imperialism is fighting against the Syrian state, which side should we be on?
A far more viable anti-war slogan is: Defend Syria from imperialist destabilisation, demonisation and war.
But can we really defend this brutal, oppressive, repressive regime? Wasn’t the much-missed Hugo Chavez just being a bit of a nutcase when he expressed his fondness for “brother President Bashar al-Assad” and worked to counter the offensive against Syria by shipping fuel to it?
As with so many things, we have to start with a total rejection of the mainstream media narrative. The country they paint as a brutally repressive police state, a prison of nations, a Cold War relic, is (or was, until the war started tearing it apart) a dignified, safe, secular, modern and moderately prosperous state, closely aligned with the socialist and non-aligned world (e.g. Venezuela, Cuba, DPR Korea), and one of the leading forces within the resistance axis – a bloc that the imperialists are absolutely desperate to break up.
In the words of its president, Syria is “an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West.” For over half a century, it has stubbornly refused to play by the rules of imperialism and neoliberalism. Stephen Gowans shows that, in spite of some limited market reforms of recent years, “the Ba’athist state has always exercised considerable influence over the Syrian economy, through ownership of enterprises, subsidies to privately-owned domestic firms, limits on foreign investment, and restrictions on imports. These are the necessary economic tools of a post-colonial state trying to wrest its economic life from the grips of former colonial powers and to chart a course of development free from the domination of foreign interests.”
The Syrian government maintains a commitment to a strong welfare state, for example ensuring universal access to healthcare (in which area its performance has been impressive) and providing free education at all levels. It has a long-established policy of secularism and multiculturalism, protecting and celebrating its religious and ethnic diversity and refusing to tolerate sectarian hatred.
Syria has done a great deal – perhaps more than any other country – to oppose Israel and support the Palestinians. It has long been the chief financial and practical supporter of the various Palestinian resistance organisations, as well as of Hezbollah. It has intervened militarily to prevent Israel’s expansion into Lebanon. It has provided a home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, who are treated far better than they are elsewhere in the Arab world. In spite of massive pressure to do so – and in spite of the obvious immediate benefits that it would reap in terms of security and peace – it has refused to go down the route of a bilateral peace treaty with Israel. Palestine is very much at the forefront of the Syrian national consciousness, as exemplified by the Syrians who went to the border with Israel on Nakba Day 2011 and were martyred there at the hands of the Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces.
True to its Pan-Arabist traditions, Syria has also provided a home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in the aftermath of NATO’s 2003 attack.
Whatever mistakes and painful compromises Ba’athist Syria has made over the years should be viewed in terms of the very unstable and dangerous geopolitical and economic context within which it exists. For example:
It is in a permanent state of war with Israel, and has part of its territory occupied by the latter.
While it has stuck to the principles of Arab Nationalism and the defence of Palestinian rights, the other frontline Arab states – Egypt and Jordan, along with the reactionary Gulf monarchies – have capitulated.
It has suffered constant destabilisation by the western imperialist countries and their regional allies.
It shares a border with the heavily militarised pro-western regime in Turkey.
It shares a border with the chronically unstable Lebanon (historically a part of Syria that was carved out in the 1920s by the French colonialists in order to create a Christian-dominated enclave).
Its most important ally of the 70s and 80s – the Soviet Union – collapsed in 1991, leaving it in a highly precarious situation.
Its economic burdens have been added to by longstanding sanctions, significantly deepened in 2003 by George W Bush, specifically in response to Syria’s support for resistance movements in the region.
Its economic problems of recent years have also been exacerbated by the illegal imperialist war on Iraq, which created a refugee crisis of horrific proportions. Syria absorbed 1.5 million Iraqi refugees and has made significant sacrifices to help them. Given that “Syria has the highest level of civic and social rights for refugees in the region,” it’s not difficult to understand how its economic and social stability must have been affected.
In recent years, Syria has been suffering from a devastating drought “impacting more than 1.3 million people, killing up to 85 percent of livestock in some regions and forcing 160 villages to be abandoned due to crop failures”. The root of this problem is the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, as one-third of Israel’s water is supplied from Golan.
Given the number of different religious sects and ethnicities within Syria, it has never been difficult for the west and its regional proxies to stir up tensions and create unrest.
While there is clearly a need to enhance popular democracy and to clamp down on corruption and cronyism (in what country is this not the case?), this is well understood by the state. As Alistair Crooke writes: “There is this mass demand for reform. But paradoxically – and contrary to the ‘awakening’ narrative – most Syrians also believe that President Bashar al-Assad shares their conviction for reform.”
So there is every reason to defend Syria. Not because it is some sort of socialist utopia, but because it is an independent, anti-imperialist, anti-zionist state that tries to provide a good standard of living for its people and which aligns itself with the progressive and counterhegemonic forces in the region and worldwide.
Tasks for the anti-war movement
If the anti-war movement can agree on the need to actively defend Syria, then its tasks become relatively clear:
Clearly explain to the public that this is not a revolution or a civil war, but an imperialist war of regime change where the fighting has been outsourced to sectarian religious terrorists. It is not part of a region-wide ‘Arab Spring’ process of “overthrowing reactionary regimes”; rather, it is part of a global process of destabilising, demonising, weakening and removing all states that refuse to play by the rules. It is this same process that brought about regime change in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Congo, Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere. This process was described in a very clear, straightforward way by Maurice Bishop, leader of the socialist government in Grenada that was overthrown 30 years ago: “Destabilisation is the name given to the newest method of controlling and exploiting the lives and resources of a country and its people by a bigger and more powerful country through bullying, intimidation and violence… Destabilisation takes many forms: there is propaganda destabilisation, when the foreign media, and sometimes our own Caribbean press, prints lies and distortions against us; there is economic destabilisation, when our trade and our industries are sabotaged and disrupted; and there is violent destabilization, criminal acts of death and destruction…
As long as we show the world, clearly and unflinchingly, that we intend to remain free and independent; that we intend to consolidate and strengthen the principles and goals of our revolution; as we show this to the world, there will be attacks on us.”
Stop participating in the demonisation of the Syrian state. This demonisation – repeating the media’s lies against Syria, exaggerating the negative aspects of the Syrian state and downplaying all the positive things it has done – is totally demobilising. It is preventing the development of a meaningful, creative, courageous, audacious anti-war movement.
Campaign for an end to trade sanctions on Syria.
Campaign for an end to the arming and funding of rebel groups by the British, French and US governments and their stooges in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait.
Send peace delegations to Syria to observe the situation first hand and report back. The recent delegation by Cynthia McKinney, Ramsey Clark, Dedon Kamathi and others is an excellent example that should be emulated.
Campaign for wide-ranging industrial action in the case of military attack.
Support all processes leading to a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the Syrian crisis, reflecting the will of the vast majority of the Syrian people.
The defense of Syria is, at this point in time, the frontline of the struggle worldwide against imperialist domination. It is Korea in 1950, Vietnam in 1965, Algeria in 1954, Zimbabwe in 1970, Cuba in 1961, Nicaragua in 1981, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Palestine since 1948. It’s time for us to step up.