Workers' Voice mailing list
January 21, 2017
RE: A serious anti-Trump movement should support the democratic struggle in Syria
The demonstrations against Trump's inauguration are not just occurring throughout the US, but throughout the world. And conversely, if the anti-Trump movement in the US fails to support the struggles of working people abroad for their rights, it will be weakened. Trump has contempt for the democratic movement in Syria, and the anti-Trump movement should not imitate him. "Syria Solidarity International" was formed recently. It describes itself as "A coalition of Syria solidarity activists and organisations working to build a united international solidarity movement with the Syrian democratic revolution". Yesterday, January 20, it issued an eloquent statement about why the anti-Trump movement should support the struggle against the Assad dictatorship in Syria. It points particularly to problems in the anti-war movement; in our view, the tendency of the leadership of certain large anti-war groups to support reactionary regimes has existed for a long time, and must finally be dealt with.
are excerpts from this statement. The full text and list of slogans can
be found at https://www.facebook.com/AssadOut/posts/709302565896741
The handover of power in Washington DC this week will inaugurate a deeply unpopular president-elect Trump into the White House, and a new era of unprecedented threats to hard-won civil liberties and basic democratic rights across the country. Trump has capitalized on economic despair and justified anger against trade deals that hurt working people, and is attempting to channel this ire into a narrow chauvinist fervor, blaming the country's woes on marginalised groups and public policies that benefit the poor. People of color, women, Muslims, immigrants, working people, and the poor now face immediate threats, including the proposed roll-backs of hard-won civil liberties, health care, public education, environmental protection, social safety net provisions, and basic democratic rights. A new era of necessary defensive domestic battles - against these losses, and the looming threat of fascism - is upon us!
This new era also poses grave challenges for supporters of peace and justice internationally. Trump's aggressive and jingoistic isolationism is a threat to democratic and civil liberties around the world. His demagogic threats to wall off Mexico, arrest and deport millions of immigrants, and treat all Muslims as potential terrorists must be repudiated as assaults on fundamental human rights and democratic liberties. Trump's praise of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin is a clear indication that he will continue the phony "War on Terror", even escalating the attacks on civilians. The Trump-Putin "bromance" also constitutes a dangerous approval of Putin's very real campaign of terror, from the occupied Caucasus to Syria. Principled opposition to the War on Terror must be based on a rejection of all attacks against civilians.
We can only stop fascism at home by standing against fascism everywhere!
We can only fight for democracy at home by fighting for democracy everywhere!
There is a great deal we can do if we stand together to stop Trump's agenda. But we can only do this from a position of principled solidarity with the democratic struggles of the Arab people - and in particular, the Syrian Democratic Revolution! Sadly, the antiwar coalitions we buil[t] together in struggle against the Bush-era wars have been coopted by leaderships who seek to substitute isolationism --Trump's program!--for international solidarity with democratic struggles and principled opposition to attacks on civilians. Leaderships such as UNAC [United National Antiwar Coalition] and ANSWER [Act Now to Stop War and Racism] do not understand that peace, justice, and democracy are international principles, that these principles should never be surrendered!
The leaderships of the ANSWER Coalition, UNAC and other remnants of the broad Anti-War Movement built in opposition to Bush and Clinton's criminal war against the Iraqi people, propose to ANSWER US wars abroad and repression at home by supporting Russian imperialism and Assad's repression! These organisations have stood resolutely in defence of the Assad dictatorship, and support the intervention in Syria by Russia, Iran and its proxy militias, including Hezbollah. To oppose US imperialism, ANSWER and the like support sectarian genocide and the disintegration of Syria! Ironically, by apologizing for the regime's crimes against humanity, ANSWER and the like have resorted to the same arguments used by Israel to justify its terrorist attacks on civilians in Gaza or by previous administrations to dismiss civilian casualties as "collateral damage". Worse still, by repeating Assad's lies that all who oppose him are terrorists, ANSWER and company have adopted Orientalist and Islamophobic rhetoric. Even as they exclude Syrians from speaking about their revolutionary experience and Assad's repression, ANSWER and their followers propose themselves to lead the fight against racism, sexism, Islamophobia and xenophobia! Hypocrisy! It is high time to Listen to Syrians!
To stop Trump and his ilk leading us into the abyss of fascism, we must cut off the tree at its root! The root from which this right-wing shift in the world has grown includes the isolation of the Syrian democratic revolution - an unacceptable injustice vigorously promoted by the very forces who today pretend to lead our resistance! Leaving the Syrian revolution behind cannot be the way forward!
How can we fight racism in the US while asserting Arabs must choose between dictators or jihadists? Who is ANSWER to choose for them! Orientalist and Islamophobic garbage! Chauvinism! The same kind of vicious logic was once used in an attempt to discipline African Americans and postpone their struggle for civil liberties until after defeating fascism in WWII.
The real "ANSWER" is that we cannot!
Our failure as the broad progressive forces of the US to defend our Syrian sisters and brothers these past six years has contributed greatly to the crisis we face here today. ...
The Syrian revolutionaries have shown international solidarity in their own struggle. Even as they struggle against the Assad regime, Syrians have built solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. As their own struggle has grown into the current revolutionary struggle for democracy, they have publicly expressed solidarity with other democratic struggles. The banners and signs raised in Kafranbel and other liberated areas have specifically expressed support for Black Lives Matter, the #NoDAPL struggle against the invasion of and environmental threats to Native American lands, and for the rights of refugees and immigrants, Syrians stand together with all refugees and immigrants, in the US and beyond, seeking safe harbor and a place to rebuild their lives.
We call on all protesters demanding peace and justice in the US to stand together with Syrians demanding the same in ther own country!
on 20 January, 2017 by Syria Solidarity International - A coalition of
Syria solidarity activists and organisations working to build a united
international solidarity movement with the Syrian democratic
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