The act of Killing, the true face of Indonesian anticommunism

500.000 members of the Communist Party of Indonesia were murdered by the criminal regime of general Shurato in 1965. This bloody dictator killed more communists then any other dictator in the world. Even the White Armies in Russia never killed more then 200.000 Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. The Indonesian people were brainwashed into believing that the members of the PKI ( communist party ) were animals and that the killing of them was good. Today the documentary ''The act of Killing'' is showing the world, the crimes that were committed by anticommunists and with full support of western imperialism!  

The Communist Party of Indonesia was founded by Dutch communists like Henk Sneevliet. The party wanted a socialist revolution and made plans to carry one out. But the Dutch colonial government banned the party and arrested more then 16.000 members. The PKI was forced to work underground since the Dutch colonialists remained in complete control of Indonesia until 1949. 

In 1942, the Japanese invaded Indonesia. Some nationalists choose to work with the Japanese against western imperialism. But the PKI knew that Japanese imperialism was as cruel as Dutch imperialism. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, the PKI was able to control some leftist groups. But Stalinist degeneration had turned the party away from revolutionary socialism. The new republican government of Indonesia was anticommunist and opposed the PKI. Soon there was a conflict between the right-wing nationalists and the Indonesian left-wing who united in the People's Democratic Front led by the PKI!

During the four year war with Dutch imperialists, the PKI was able to rally the left-wing of Indonesia. Together they joined up with the moderate nationalist forces of Sukarno, who became president of Indonesia in 1949. But the right-wing hated the communists and many members of radical nationalist and islamic parties committed various crimes against PKI members. After the war with the Dutch, the PKI wanted a socialist revolution in Indonesia. But the nationalist government started a massive crackdown and arrested many PKI members. This forced the PKI leadership to accept Sukarno and nationalist rule!

 In the 1950's the party supported president Sukarno and his moderate nationalism. They won 16% during the elections of 1955 and got 39 seats. But the right-wing never liked them. Communists were hated and some were killed in right-wing attacks. Two years later the Islamists asked the government to ban the PKI. The Islamic Masyumi Party wanted a complete ban on all communist activities! 

The anticommunists had good reasosn to fear the PKI. Because by 1959, more then 1,5 million people had joined the communist party. The trade unions all stood under the control of the PKI, yet because of Stalinist failures, the party-leadership choose to remain moderate. In August 1959, the right-wing of Indonesia tried their first coup against the government of Sukarno. Many members of the PKI were murdered, this was the first wave of White Terror in Indonesia. 

This time the government was able to crush the right-wing uprising. Although the PKI was supportive of Sukarno it also became critical of his authoritarianism. In March 1960, the party was very critical of his undemocratic handling of the state budget. President Sukarno had the leader-ship of the PKI arrested by the military. After a few days they were released again. 

By 1964, the national-communist Murba Party wanted to impose a single party state in Indonesia. The Murba Party was a nationalist communist party and based on stalinism with Indonesian nationalism. They stood in opposition to the PKI who still claimed to be internationalist. The national-communists asked president Sukarno to impose this single party state, because they wanted a ban on the PKI. But the president did not wanted a single party state and the Murba Party lost much credit. The PKI even called the Murba Party to be trotskyist and imperialist! 

At this time the Communist Party of Indonesia had over 3 million members. This was alarming the right-wing elite and the anticommunists, who feared a communist coup. In reality the PKI was still very moderate and was not even calling for a socialist revolution. Yet the military of Indonesia was very anticommunist and on September 30 of 1965, they got what they always wanted. A reason to ban the PKI and to kill all its members!

It all started with the kidnapping and murder of five Indonesian generals by a group called the Thirtieth of September Movement. General Suharto of the military blamed the PKI for the killing of these five generals. Suharto and the military took control of the government and disposed president Sukarno. Now the anticommunists turned towards their main enemy. The anticommunist general ordered his troops to arrest and kill every PKI member and sympathizer. On October 18 of 1965, the PKI offices were burned down by angry anticommunists. This was the start of the great White Terror in Indonesia. More then 500,000 members and supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia were rounded up and executed! 

General Suharto became president of Indonesia and was support by almost every western nation. He had good relations with former colonials imperialists like the Dutch, but his main supporter was the government of the USA, who had no problems with the killings of 500.000 ''dirty communist pigs''. After years of working with the national bourgeoisie of Indonesia, the PKI leadership trusted Sukarno so much, they did nothing to oppose the killings. For days they waited for information and help from president Sukarno, who was disposed by Suharto. The party leadership was completely paralyzed by the mass murder! 

For 48 years the Indonesian government kept silence over the killings. Dictator Suharto remained in power until 1998. He never had to face punishment for the mass murder he ordered in 1965. Suharto ordered all Indonesian children to be raised as anticommunists, hating communism and glorying the Indonesian military for ''stopping a communist coup in 1965''. The USA supported this lie and so the western world was very proud of this mass murder who killed 500.000 people. Even Saddam Hussein never killed so many! 

Now in 2013, the Indonesian people see for the first time what really happened in 1965. Not in the big official cinema's, but in small cinema's. The documentary ''The act of Killing'' is the first Indonesian made documentary about the mass murder of 500.000 supporters of the PKI. But the government keeps silence. Even today in the so called ''democratic' era of Indonesia, the government does not accept the true. The Communist Party of Indonesia remains banned and the right-wing government and reactionary Islamists still attack left-wing people. Many reactionaries even call for a Islamic Republic of Indonesia!

The Republic of Indonesia is no democracy. The nation is a fake-democracy were only pro-capitalist parties are allowed. Leftist parties have little to no chance. The documentary ''The act of Killing'' is also good for many western leaders, who blindly supported Suharto during the Cold War. Let them see the horror's that this madman created. Let them see the crimes they supported in the name of anticommunism!

Anticommunists burn down the 
offices of the PKI in 1965
500.000 were killed by them!

Arab Democratic Socialist Ba'ath Party

The Arab Democratic Socialist Ba'ath Party is an opposition party in Syria. Unlike the ruling Syrian led; Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, this democratic socialist Ba'ath Party claims to oppose the single party state and the dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad. The history of the Ba'ath movement is similar to the Stalinist movement. Both Stalinism and Ba'athism share a number of similarities.

Unlike historic Ba'athism which advocates Ba'athist political control of the state, the Arab Democratic Socialist Ba'ath Party supports democratic pluralism. The party advocates the implementation of the laws enshrining freedom of speech, assembly, and equality of opportunities. Historic Ba'athism was indeed about a single party dictatorship. When the Ba'ath Party came to power in Syria in 1963, they banned all opposition. 

The Syrian Arab Republic had separated themselves from the United Arab Republic in 1961. But the rulers of Syria did not changed much about the feudalistic nature of the nation. The Ba'ath members of the military wanted to impose a more radical leftist government. After the 1963 coup, Salah Jadid became leader of Syria and the Ba'ath Party. 

His rule was very close in line with Stalinism. Jadid enforce bureaucratic dictatorial rule all in the name of Arab-socialism. Opponents of his Arab-socialism were suppressed and only Ba'ath Party members were allowed to make decisions. Salah Jadid was very close to Soviet Stalinism who supported him in the 60's. Yet the Arab defeat at the 1967 six day war, was also his downfall. In 1970, Hafez al Assad took power and disposed Jadid. Under Al-Assad the Ba'ath Party moved away from classic Arab-socialism and more towards pragmatism and Syrian nationalism!

Now under a new leadership, Syria ended its Arab-socialist rhetoric. Hafez Al-Assad restored diplomatic relations with the Arab world and ended the so called socialist experiments. The left-wing of the Ba'ath Party was expelled from the party. Some of these leftist Ba'ath members choose to oppose Al-Assad in exile. So in 1980, those leftist exiles of the Ba'ath Party founded the Arab Democratic Socialist Ba'ath Party!

A founder of the Arab Democratic Socialist Ba'ath Party was Ibrahim Makhous. Under Salah Jadid he was a minister and a leftist Ba'ath. When Hafez Al-Assad removed the left-wing of the Ba'ath Party from power he went into exile. In Paris he and other leftist Ba'ath members founded the new Ba'ath Party. The new party remained loyal to class struggle and Marxist scientific socialism, which is unique since many Arab-socialists oppose Marxism!

The party joined the leftist secular anti-Assad opposition in January 1980. This alliance of secular leftists is called the National Democratic Rally and unites these political parties:
  • The Democratic Arab Socialist Union - a splinter of the Arab Socialist Union Party of Syria, formerly the main Nasserist party in Syria.
  • The Syrian Democratic People's Party - Riad al-Turk's group, formerly called the Syrian Communist Party - Political Bureau, and an offshoot of the Syrian Communist Party.
  • The Arab Revolutionary Workers Party - a leftist-Marxist offshoot of the Baath Party from the 1960s, which for some time had active branches in Lebanon and Iraq as well.
  • The Movement of Arab Socialists - an Arab socialist group with roots in Akram al-Hawrani's pre-Baath peasant movement.
  • The Democratic Socialist Arab Ba'ath Party - a remnant of Salah Jadid's left-wing faction of the Ba'ath Party, led by his former Foreign Minister Ibrahim Makhous.
In 2006, a sixth party joined the coalition:
  • The Communist Labour Party - the recreation of a hard-line communist group repressed in the 1980s, which originally had its roots in 1970s Syrian student radicalism, with pro-Sandinista, Guevarist, Trotskyite and Maoist tendencies

After the Syrians rose up in 2011, the National Democratic Rally joined the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change!

The Arab Democratic Socialist Ba'ath Party is now in opposition to the Arab-socialist Ba'ath Party - Syrian Region, led by Bashar Al-Assad. We revolutionary socialists hope that these Arab-socialists are genuine socialists. There is still a huge difference between Arab-socialism and Marxist socialism. Arab-socialism is more a rhetoric used by dictatorial anti-imperialist Arab leaders, then a true revolutionary ideology!

Western world aids FSA, Eastern world aids SAF

The Syrian civil war is now becoming even more brutal. The western world is about to stop its arms embargo against Syria. This means that weapons can be sold to the Free Syrian Army. The western world hopes that with the western weapons, the FSA is able to turn the tide of this sectarian civil war. Russia and Iran are the main suppliers for the Syrian Armed Forces of Bashar Al-Assad and they are his last international allies. Meanwhile the Syrian working class is suffering. More then 70.000 people are killed. Most died because of attacks by the Al-Assad regime, but more are getting killed because of rebel terrorist attacks. The Al-Nusra Front shows little tolerance and even FSA fighters have committed acts of terrorism. 

Revolutionary socialists oppose the dictatorship of the Arab-socialist Ba'ath Party, but cannot give political support to these sectarian rebels. The Free Syrian Army is made up of former soldiers and young people. Many of these young people don't have military discipline and with a gun, they are more then just a freedom fighter. They have power over life and death, this power can be abused and abused it has been. 

The Islamists of the Al-Nusra Front have shown that they willing to kill secular Syrians and all who oppose their quest for a Islamic Emirate of Syria. Even the leadership of the FSA has no control over the 10.000 Al-Nusra Fighters. Next to Al-Nusra there are members of the Syrian Islamic Liberation Army. A smaller Islamic group that fights to establish a Islamic Syria. The rise of these radical Muslims has turned Syria into a sectarian civil war. 

During the first year of the uprising, the main battle forces were the Syrian Armed Forces ( SAF ) and the secular Free Syrian Army. But on January 21 of 2012, the Al-Nusra Front was formed by Islamic fundamentalists who wanted to impose strict Sharia rule in Syria. These fighters of Al-Nusra soon behaved like Taliban terrorists. Killing civilian Al-Assad supporters and intimidating other rebels who oppose them!

Fighters from Al-Nusra are mostly angry young Syrians who's hatred for Bashar Al-Assad has made them blind. Hate is now a driving force for many Islamists, after been forced to live in a secular dictatorship for more then 40 years. The main suppliers for the Islamists come from anti-secular Islamic kingdoms like Saudi-Arabia and Qatar. There is a sectarian reason why they support  the Al-Nusra rebels. The ruling tribe of Bashar Al-Assad is made up of Shia Muslims. Most Islamic nations are populated by Sunni Muslims. Only the Islamic Republic of Iran has a dominated Shia Muslim population. The Sunni Islamic regimes in Saudi-Arabia and Qatar would love to destroy a secular regime ruled by Shia Muslims! 

On march 18 of 2013, the USA has said that they will no longer oppose the selling of western guns to Syrian rebels. Meanwhile the SAF is still supplied by Russian made weapons. Russia and Iran have supported the Al-Assad regime for many years. Russia needs a stable regime in Syria, because the Russian Navy is using Syrian bases for its fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Alawites are the tribe of Bashar Al-Assad and the ruling force in Syria since 1971. Hafez Al-Assad was a Alawite and his son Bashar also follows the Alawite Shia Islamic faith. Since the Syrian civil war became more brutal so did the Syrian Alawite dominated government. Every day the SAF is killing rebels, woman, children and innocent people. Meanwhile the Islamic Al-Nusra Front is doing the same thing. Car bombs are killing many innocent people. Even the secular FSA has turned to terrorist actions as the civil war is becoming more bloody. 

Bashar Al-Assad claims that all rebels are terrorists  But he is forgetting that he made these people terrorists. His government started with the killings in 2011 and it is his SAF that is killing more then 50 people every day. In acts of revenge the Al-Nusra Front and FSA, launch terrorist attacks against members of the Alawite tribe and all who oppose their ''Syrian Revolution''.

2,5 million Syrians are Christians. Many of them support the Alawite dominated government out of fear for the Islamists. Because Syrian State Television makes not effort in hiding the crimes of the Islamists. At the same time the state tv is not telling the crimes of the SAF and the secret police. Syrians who support the government get a picture of a brutal rebel army fighting against a reformed Syrian secular government! 

Yet the rebel media is slow in telling the true either. Some rebels love to film their crimes and posting them on you-tube. There are enough short movies about executions carried out by Al-Nusra and FSA fighters. For the Syrian State Television this is great propaganda and they use it in many of their shows. Because of that, many state journalists are now a target for rebels who would gladly kill them! 

Propaganda is a great tool in the Syrian civil war and both sides use it. For the Syrian rebels, you-tube is a popular media station. Also the western media and Al-Jazeera have a pro-rebel view on the conflict. On the other side of the conflict, the Syrian State Television is forced to use internet too, as the Arab League has banned all Syrian state networks from broadcasting using Arab television networks. The Russian network RT has been a pro-government network since the start of the conflict. RT is showing most crimes of the rebels and keeps more silent about the government crimes. The same thing can be said about the pro-rebel networks like Al-Jazeera, who tell you stories about Syrian government crimes against Syrians, yet they keep a little silent about the terrorist attacks by rebels! 

With the USA now selling weapons to Syrian rebels and Russia keeps supplying the Syrian government. This civil war is far from over. Revolutionary socialists have only one solution to the war. No support to dictator Bashar Al-Assad and no support to the Al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army. Syrians must unite against the dictatorial government and the sectarian rebels. There must be no hate against Alawites and Shia Muslims. Supporters of the Syrian government are not that pro-Assad as the rebel media think their are. Most supporters of the Syrian government want reforms and even democracy. They only fear the chaos and the Islamic rebels. 

The task must be to build alliances for mutual protection and security of all threatened neighborhoods and anyone who refuses to be drawn into this sectarian civil war, irrespective of all religious and ethnic boundaries. Alongside this, working people need their own independent movement against both Bashar Al-Assad, sectarian forces and imperialism!

The situation on march 18 of 2013
Blue circles say that it is unknown who owns the town/city
Green circles belong to the Syrian government
Brown circles belong to the Syrian rebels

Falklands War and the left-wing

The Falklands War was fought between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Republic of Argentina in 1982. This small war was fought over the Falklands close to Argentine. These islands remain part of Great Britain, yet Argentine still claims them. In 1982 the military dictatorship in Argentina, invaded the islands and annexed it. In response the British conservative government ordered the British Royal Army to liberate the Falkland Islands. After a British invasion, the Argentinian troops were defeated and British rule was reestablished. For the British left-wing this war was a great matter of debate. The Labour Party supported the imperialist adventure of Thatcher, while many leftists opposed the war. They were attacked by the capitalist media who was pro-war and boosted the image of the Thatcher government sky high!

During the short war, some members of the revolutionary left in Great Britain became Argentinian chauvinists and supported the occupation of the Falklands by the Argentine military junta. This enabled the conservatives to portray the left-wing as anti-British and pro-Argentinian. There was no justification for supporting the Argentinian dictatorship. Both Great Britain and Argentina were bourgeois capitalist nations!

Yet the revolutionary left was blinded by their opposition to British Imperialism. We see this blindness still in the form of dogmatic revolutionary sects like the Communist Party of Great Britain - Marxist Leninist. Like many revolutionary leftists in 1982, the current CPGB-ML has supported every dictatorial regime that stood against western imperialism. From the bloody Gaddafi regime during the Libyan civil war, to the nepotistic Al-Assad regime of today's conflict in Syria! 

The capitalist media only love this stupidity. They use the stupidity of some revolutionary leftist groups to portray all revolutionary socialists/communists as ''opponents of freedom and democracy''. The media did the same thing during the Falklands War. Members of the Labour Party were divided over the war, but the party leadership choose to support Thatcher and her costly war. It would not aid the Labour Party. During the elections of 1983, the Labour Party lost many seats to the conservatives who were boosted by the victorious Falklands War and the media as ''true British patriots''.

Back in 1982, the Argentinian military junta was losing popular support. They needed something to boost popularity. Admiral Jorge Isaac Anaya was the leading member of the junta who build the plans for the invasion. The Republic of Argentina always laid claim to the Falklands Islands, they call them the Malvinas Islands. The Argentinian military forces started their invasion on April 2. 600 marine troops attacked the Falklands and were able to defeat the 57 British SAS marines.After only a few hours of fighting, the Argentinians took full control. The death toll was very low, only one Argentinian soldier was killed! 

The news of the Argentinean invasion soon reached Great Britain. Prime minister Margaret Thatcher took drastic actions and prepared the British milita ry to sail to South America. In the British House of Lords, the conservatives faced some opposition from left-wing Labour Party members. The conservatives accused the left-wing of abandoning the British people on the Falklands to a military dictatorship. Thatcher used classic bourgeois patriotism and called all who opposed the upcoming Falklands War ''cowards''! 

Under heavy pressure from the conservatives and the capitalist media, the Labour Party choose to support the government. The media made sure that the British public were pro-war and fueled with British patriotism, Thatcher soon became a true imperialist war leader. As the British Royal Navy sailed towards the Falklands, the tabloids called it ''The Empire Strikes Back'' after the famous Star Wars movies! 

Another supporter of British Imperialism during the Falklands War, was the social democratic president of France. François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand, was elected president in 1981. He promised to introduce democratic socialism in 100 days. Yet the capitalists and the rich showed that they were the true rulers of France. Massive capital flight and disinvestment by the international markets led to Mitterrand's capitulation. By 1983 he abandoned socialism and started to privatize many state owned businesses. He was one of the first social democrats who embraced neoliberalism! 

Mitterrand was a supporter of British imperialism, this was good for Thatcher who needed the support of Western Europe. Most Europeans supported her imperialist war and he popularity rose fast among British voters. Few people understood how costly this war would be. Most were blinded by war propaganda from the tabloids who only wanted a confrontation between two armies!

There were alternatives to fighting. The Argentinian military junta was weak by 1982. A popular revolution was underway and in June ( after the war ) of that year, the military was forced to allow democratic elections. Had Great Britain waited a few months, then the junta would have fallen. Nobody would have died, the Falklands would be released and Great Britain would be two billion pounds richer. The costs for the ''liberation'' of the Falklands caused massive debts, it also was a reason why Thatcher started with massive cuts after the 1983 elections!

On April 25, Royal Marines and SAS units attacked the islands of South Georgia near the Falklands. The Argentinians had captured South Georgia on April 3, with the liberation of the islands on April 25, the British forces won their first victory. The Argentinians suffered a big defeat on May 2 as the General Belgrano was sunk. The Belgrano was a light cruiser and already 44 years old. Build by the Americans and sold  to Argentina in 1951. For the Argentinian Navy the Belgrano was their pride. Yet on May 2, it was sunk by torpedo's from a British submarine. The sinking caused the death of 323 sailors!

The sinking of the Belgrano remains controversial. Some say that the ship was sailing back to Argentinian ports as it was outside the 200-mile “exclusion zone” which had been unilaterally declared around the Falkland Islands by the British conservative government. Critics say that Thatcher needed a military victory, since it would boost the support for the war. The capitalist-imperialist media needed a big victory story, as fighting in the Falklands would not be huge or sensational enough!

At this moment the media was all about war and fighting. There was no room for criticism or doubts. All major tabloids printed war propaganda and stories of brave British soldiers, fighting for ''freedom and democracy''. As British Imperialism celebrated the sinking of the Belgrano, Argentinian forces plotted revenge. Two days after the sinking the destroyer HMS Sheffield was hit by a cruise missile. Twenty men was killed in this attack and the ship was abandoned. The loss of the HMS Sheffield was a setback for British imperialism who believed that with the sinking of the Belgrano, Argentina would not dare to attack the mighty British fleet!

On May 21, the first British commando's landed in the Falklands. The fighting would last about two weeks and would end with the surrender of 11.000 Argentinian troops. Two days later the British frigate HMS Antelope is bombed by Argentinian fighters sinking the frigate. Another disaster for the British came on May 25. The type 42 destroyer HMS Coventry was hit by two bombs. The expositions killed 19 sailors and wounded more then 30. After only 20 minutes the destroyer had capsized and sunk. The loss of the HMS Coventry was a major blow to the war propaganda of the tabloids!

The revolutionary socialists in the Labour Party called for a socialist solution to the problem. Not by fighting but by a socialist revolution. They claimed that Britain should support a workers rebellion in Argentina and fight to overthrow the military junta. But since western imperialism was supportive of the anticommunist military junta, they did not do such thing. The military of Argentina came to power in 1976. They call their regime the ''National Reorganization Process'', their main enemy were revolutionary leftists. So the military started to arrest and kill many students and left-wing trade unionists. During this dirty war about 22.000 left-wing people were killed by the criminal Batallón de Inteligencia 601! 

On June 14, the Argentinian Army surrendered to the British forces in the Falklands. They lost 649 soldiers, 11,313 were taken prisoner and 1.657 were wounded. Great Britain lost 258 soldiers and 775 ended up wounded. The British Royal Navy lost two destroyers and two frigates. On the other side, the Argentinians lost one cruiser, one submarine and four cargo ships. The Argentinian Air Force lost 35 fighters and 25 helicopters. British Air Forces lost 24 helicopters and 10 fighters! 

Prime minister Thatcher became very popular thanks to the war. She won the 1983 elections and this gave way to a conservative neoliberal government. But the money spend on the war was huge. Two billion British pounds were spend on the fighting. Soon the public found out that the government needed to cut spending and they did not liked that. Thatcher attacked the trade unions and the mine workers, that led to the great mine strike of 1984. She was able to defeat the mine workers, thanks to all the resources of the ruling class she had at her disposal. The miners,  ( some 2% of the labour movement ) had to fight 100% of that centralized ruling-class power with insufficient support and sometimes downright sabotage from the leaders of the other 98%. That was the cause of their defeat in 1984!

The left-wing in Great Britain was very divided over the Falklands War. Some revolutionary socialists opposed the imperialist intervention by Great Britain. The reformist socialists in the Labour Party choose to support it, while dogmatic anti-imperialist revolutionaries choose to support Argentinian chauvinism over British imperialism. The victory of British imperialism during the Falklands War and Thatcher's victory over the mine workers, turned the Labour Party more towards the right-wing. With the collapse of stalinism, the right-wing leadership started a witch hunt against revolutionary socialists. By 1997, the Labour Party completed her transformation from a bourgeois workers party into a fully bourgeois capitalist party! 

Tabloid war propaganda 
they loved the war and the killing 
of 323 sailors! 

Syrian Civil War, dictatorship and sectarianism

1 year, 11 months, 3 weeks and 5 days. That is how long the Syrian Civil War is now ongoing. The main fighters in this brutal civil war are the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Free Syrian Army. Also Islamic militants of the Al-Nusra Front and Syrian Islamic Front fight against the Syrian secular government. What started as peaceful protests against a 40 year old dictatorship ended in a brutal civil war that has killed 70.000 people. The man responsible for the civil war is Bashar Al-Assad, who orderd his police, army and secret police to shoot at demonstrators who demanded reforms and his removal from power! 

''The Ba'ath Party government came to power in 1964 after a successful coup d'état. In 1966, another coup overthrew the traditional leaders of the party, Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. In 1970, the Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad seized power and declared himself President, a position he would hold until his death in 2000. Since then, the secular Ba'ath Party has remained the dominant political authority in a virtual single-party state in Syria, and Syrian citizens may only approve the President by referendum and – until the government-controlled multi-party 2012 parliamentary election – could not vote in multi-party elections for the legislature'' 

This is how Wikipedia tells the story that led to the civil war in the first place. The Syrian Arab Republic was once part of the Federation of Arab Republic until 1977. Then it became a single party state under the absolute rule of Hafez Al-Assad, the father of today's president Bashar Al-Assad. 

Syria showed many similar elements with Stalinist East Germany. It is very likely that Hafez Al-Assad used many aspects of East Germany in his Syrian Arab Republic. Just like the German Democratic Republic, Syria has one great front that united all allowed political parties. This National Progressive Front is dominated by the Arab-Socialist Ba'ath Party, just like the National Front in the GDR, that was dominated by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Both Syria and the GDR had a planned economy and some revolutionary socialists gave Syria the title deformed workers state!

Opposition outside the National Progressive Front was not allowed. Political parties were only permitted if they accepted Ba'ath domination. Also parties who supported free market capitalism were completely banned, because all parties had to support Arab-socialism and Arab-nationalism. The Communist Party of Syria was legalized in 1972, but forced to accept Ba'ath Party rule!

Syria was also effected by the Arab Revolutions of 2011. But unlike Egypt and Libya, the protests in Syria were moderate and small compare to other Arab states. Some said that the Arabs in Syria remained silent because of the almighty Syrian secret police who kept the people in line. But on March 15, the first signs of rebellion appeared. People started to demonstrated for reforms and democratic rights. It started with young people who started to spray anti-government signs on walls. As they were arrested other started to demonstrate against this injustice!

Five days later the people's anger towards the government erupted as a local Ba'ath Party building was attacked and burned. This forced the government to strike back. Soon police forces started to shoot at demonstrations killing many innocents. On June 4, the police was attacked by protesters, who burned a police station and took its weapons  Armed now, the first classes started killing eight police officers. Many towns rebelled against the government forcing  Bashar Al-Assad to deploy the army! 

Soldiers from the Syrian Armed Forces were told to shoot at demonstrations and all who opposed the government. Some soldiers were not able to shoot at unarmed people who only wanted reforms and democratic rights. The order to shoot at people led to the desertion of many soldiers who formed the Free Syrian Army ( FSA ). Leader of this rebels military group became Riad Mousa al-Asaad, a former colonel in the Syrian Armed Forces!  

In early 2012, the Free Syrian Army was armed with only light weapons. They had to fight a guerrilla war against 160.000 troops of the Syrian Armed Forces ( SAF ). Around May, the FSA was made up of 40.000 troops. This rebel army was a mixture of young volunteers and defected soldiers. But they were able to hit the Syrian Army hard, attacking many government soldiers and tanks!

The reaction of the Syrian government was brutal. They used their air force to bomb rebel towns and even used a criminal gang called the Shabiha. These Shabiha committed many crimes, such as child killing, raping of woman and attacking peaceful demonstrations. This fueled more soldiers to defected from the Syrian Armed Forces to the FSA. Soon the small skirmishes evolved into massive conflict, as the Syrian Armed Forces battles the FSA in almost all towns and major cities!

Supporters of Islamic fundamentalism such as Al-Qeada, formed their own rebel movements against Bashar Al-Assad. The Al-Nusra Front is made up of Muslims who want to create a Islamic Syria based on strict Sharia law. Al-Nusra was founded on January 23 of 2012 and it has about 10.000 fighters. Unlike the FSA the Al-Nusra is called a terrorist group by western governments for its attacks on government supporters. Also the Al-Nusra Front has committed war crimes, such as killing captured SAF soldiers and the torture of people who work for the government for information!

Although the Islamic and secular rebels have committed war crimes, the bulk of crimes against innocent people are committed by the Syrian government and its militia's. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a close supporter of Bashar Al-Assad. Although the Syrian Government is secular, the tribe of Al-Assad is based on the Shia Islamic religion. The Islamic Republic of Iran is also a Shia Islamic nation. This while the rest of the Islamic world believe in the Sunni Islamic religion. We talk here about two different Islamic ideologies who oppose each other. That is why the Islamic Republic of Iran is not supported by many Sunni Muslims who oppose Shia Islamism! 

When it comes to killing the SAF is a star. Each day they shoot and kill people in towns and cities. This is why the Arab League as suspended Syria as a member and almost all western governments have recognized the Syrian National Council as representative of the Syrian people. This angered many supporters of the Al-Assad government who fear the Al-Nusra Front and other Islamic rebel groups. Supporters of the president claim that the rebels are terrorists and that they will impose Sharia law on Syria after the fall of Al-Assad!

Sectarianism has grow to a high level. Christians and secular Syrians genuinely fear the Al-Nusra Front and the Syrian Islamic Front, who talk about a Islamic Emirate of Syria and complete Sharia rule. The terrorist attacks by some rebels against government supporters has led many revolutionary leftists to support Al-Assad. With revolutionary leftists we mean people who come from the Stalinist tendency. Like the supporters of the Communist Party of Great Britain - Marxist Leninist, who also supported Gaddafi and his Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The CPGB-ML claims that the Syrian rebels are tools of global imperialism!

But not only Stalinist leftists support Al-Assad. Some secularists in the western world choose side for Bashar Al-Assad. After the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terrorism by the USA, the fear of Islamism has blinded many for the crimes committed by the Syrian government. But does that mean that revolutionary socialists should support the FSA?

No, we believe that the FSA also is infected by bourgeois sectarianism. Class conscious workers and socialists cannot support any side of this reactionary war; neither the doomed -Al-Assad regime or the militias run by religious extremists or who otherwise subordinate themselves to Western imperialism and the reactionary Arab states that sponsor Syria’s rebels.  

Because this is also true. The reactionary monarchies in Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, support the FSA. They are Sunni Muslim and oppose the Shia Muslim dominated Syrian government. For them this war is just a fight to remove Shia Muslims from power and replaced them with Sunni Muslims, pure sectarianism. Also the secular rebels have no political agenda. So it is unsure what they will do once Bashar Al-Assad is gone. The FSA in March 2013 has 70.000 soldiers, the SAF lost about 30% of its soldiers to the FSA!

On March 3, Al-Nusra Front fighters and FSA rebels attacked the city of Al-Raqqah. After three days of fighting, the city was captured. This was the first provincial capital captured by rebels forces. In the city they captured two high government officials. As the SAF retreated from Al-Raqqah, rebels torn down a huge statue of Hafez Al-Assad. This statue stood in the center of the city and was the face of the dictatorial regime for many years. With great joy the Islamic rebels torn the statue down. Yet it is not sure if the rebels are able to hold the city in the long term!  

Also in the news, females are joining the government militia's. Since the SAF has lost many male soldiers to combat and defections, the Syrian government is now turning towards woman. These woman are brainwashed into believing that it is their patriotic duty to defend the Syrian Arab Republic against the Islamic and secular rebels. Years of brainwashing has done its work it seems. Some 500 females have joined a new government militia!

In the long run it seems that Bashar Al-Assad is losing. Even with new females in his army, he is facing international isolation. His government is no longer recognized by western governments and Syrian money in western banks has been frozen. Russia, Iran and China as the last true supporters of Al-Assad. But even with their support it seems unlikely he will win this civil war. The FSA has grown to 70.000 soldiers and the Al-Nusra Front owns 10.000 fighters. His own SAF is down to 120.000 troops. Also on the side of the rebels are the Kurdish rebels fighting in the north of Syria. The Kurdish Popular Protection Units defend Syrian Kurdish towns, against both the government and the Al-Nusra Front. Because the secular Kurdish rebels have no love for the Islamic rebels of Al-Nusra! 

Some Syrians asked for western aid against Al-Assad. But unlike Libya there is no oil in Syria for western imperialism to own. There is little to gain for helping the rebels. Also the western world fears a Islamic victory and the rule of Sharia law. The western world does not care about Syrians, even if they would aid them.  Western imperialism only serves capitalism and if capitalism finds no profits in Syria they will keep out! 

Only the Syrian working class can bring genuine change. Workers must unite to protect their homes against the SAF, but also against criminal FSA and Al-Nusra rebels. They must oppose sectarianism and see that the true enemy is capitalism!  

The flag on the left is the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic
this flag is used by the Syrian government and its supporters.
The right flag was used between 1932 and 1958, 
now in use by the Syrian rebels!

The story of Zhang Shujie

While the capitalist media is still calling China a ''communist'' state, we tell you a story that shows how wrong the media is. The People's Republic of China is not a communist state, let alone a workers state. Mainland China is a state-capitalist dictatorship founded by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Before that date, China was a classic people's republic. The nation had a planned economy and only the state was allowed to own businesses. But the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party had enough of stalinist dogmatism. The years of Mao Zedong had destroyed the Chinese economy. 70 million people had died and the party was chaotic and inefficient. With Xiaoping's victory over Mao's supporters, China opened itself to the world and by 1983, special economic zones allowed foreign capitalists to use Chinese workers!   

Zhang Shujie was born in 1987 and lived in Chongqing. He is of the new generation of Chinese youth who were born in the state-capitalist era. While many young Chinese have embraced state-capitalism, Zhang Shujie choose to oppose it. He started to look on the internet for information about genuine socialism and soon got into contact with members from the Committee for a Workers International. The Chinese CWI is based in Hong-Kong and produces the magazine; SOCIALIST. This magazine is banned in China, because it opposes the rule of the Chinese Communist Party and the single party state!

While the western media loves to tell the stories of liberal democratic Chinese who oppose the dictatorship, they never tell you the story of Chinese revolutionary socialists. Liberal democratic Chinese are pro-capitalist and support a parliamentary democracy. This is what the western media likes, pro-capitalist and pro-democratic Chinese dissidents. But revolutionary socialists who fight the CCP would destroy their picture of a ''dictatorial communist'' China. That is why the western media will not tell you the story of Zhang Shujie!

Until the Arab Revolutions, the secret police of the PRC was targeting liberal democrats and members of the religious Falung Gong group. Liberals and Falung Gong members were seen as the biggest enemies of the Chinese state. There are many stories about famous Chinese liberal dissidents who got jailed for their criticism. But as capitalism grow, so did poverty. Millions of Chinese still live in poverty and nobody stood up for them. Not the liberals and not the official ''communists'' of the party. The only ones who started to protest against the abuse of workers and poor people were revolutionary leftists, from maoists to trotskyists.

In the era of ultra greed and capitalist exploitation, some Chinese choose to return to the works of Mao Zedong. Others searched for more democratic socialist ideals and Zhang Shujie found the CWI and its Chinese magazine; SOCIALIST. But in February 2011, Zhang was told to meet the Chinese secret police. The secret police knew about Zhang work with SOCIALIST and the CWI. They forced him to become a spy for them. Had Zhang refused, they would have jailed him for many years. This is common in China, were dissidents are forced to work for the secret police or spend years in jail!

Zhang Shujie was told to travel to Hong-Kong and to meet his friends in the CWI. The secret police believed that the pro-democracy party, League of Social Democrats was part of the CWI. But this is not true since the LSD is only social democratic in nature and not revolutionary socialist. Zhang however had no intentions of working for the secret police. While in Hong-Kong he told his story to the CWI. With help from the Irish socialists Joe Higgins, Paul Murphy and LSD member Leung Kwok-hung, Zhang was able to escape the eyes of the secret police forces in Hong-Kong! 

After he was able to escape the eyes of the secret police, Zhang boarded a plane toward Sweden in Europe. There he told his story to left-wing members of the Swedish Parliament. Zhang said that the Chinese state has started to hunt down all left-wing opponents of the CCP. Even supporters of Mao Zedong are jailed for opposing the dictatorship. But this is not reported in the media. The western media keeps silent when it comes to revolutionary left-wing dissidents in China. All this because the western world wants to portray China as a ''communist'' state!

The Kingdom of Sweden granted Zhang Shujie political asylum. He now lives in Sweden were he continues to write for SOCIALIST and the website; Even the banning of the SOCIALIST magazine will not stop Chinese revolutionary socialists, from opposing the brutal state-capitalist dictatorship. In Hong-Kong, the CWI has founded the group Socialist Action. This propaganda group is fighting against the pro-Beijing forces in the Special Administration Region of Hong-Kong. One of its main opponents is the Liberal Party. This pseudo-liberal party is not fighting for democracy or personal liberties like many liberals do. Instead this party chooses to support the Chinese government. The Liberal Party supports big business over human rights and democracy!   

In 2011, the Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 90 anniversary. But there was little to celebrated. The rich party bosses sang revolutionary songs under a red banner with hammer and sickle, yet in real live they are richer then all ministers of the British cabinet. Take the new Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He owns more more money then all British ministers and is a very wealthy man. Now this Jinping is leading a supposed ''socialist'' people's republic? 

Also among the members of the National People's Congress ( Chinese Parliament ) there are 75 billionairs ( all who are CCP members ). Those 75 billionaires together own about $90 billion dollars. By comparison, the collective wealth of all 535 members of the United States Congress was between $1.8 billion and $6.5 billion in 2010. This shows how far the CCP has degenerated. From a proletarian party in 1921, to a corrupt state-capitalist party in 2011! 

Meanwhile revolutionary socialists like Zhang Shujie are arrested and jailed, for their opposition to those corrupt and rich party bosses and leaders. Some old maoists have decided to found a illegal maoist revolutionary party in China. The Maoist Communist Party of China is a clandestine party and we don't know much about it. Yet we know that the party was founded by old members of the CCP, who oppose state-capitalism in China! 

While the rich enjoy wealth and power, 800 million Chinese remain poor. The revolutionary socialists are their voice against the state-capitalists of the CCP. Zhang Shujie and the CWI will not stop opposing the People's Republic of China until the CCP regime is destroyed. This story is just one of many revolutionary leftist, who are targeted by the Chinese secret police for supporting workers against capitalists and the state. Those revolutionary leftists deserve credit for the fight against capitalism and dictatorship. That is why Revolutionary Socialist Media tells you this story, because the mainstream media will never tell you this! 

banned in mainland China
for opposing state-capitalism

Hugo Chavez, died at age 58

Hugo Chavez, president of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela died on March 5, 2013. The leader of the Bolivian revolution in Venezuela was for many left-wing people a hero. When he got himself elected in 1999, he promised to end the huge inequality and poverty. Chavez ruled Venezuela not as a revolutionary socialist. He first years were a mixture of social democracy and left-wing nationalism. After the failed right-wing coup in 2002, Chavez became more radical and started to follow the Cuban path. He nationalized some industries, but never gave political power to the working-class. The state bureaucrats were ones in power and many nationalized businesses remained inefficient and mismanaged. With his death in March 2013, the Venezuelan Revolution could be in danger!

Hugo Chavez never trusted the working class, instead he and his closest friends were the ones who ruled. Chavez made alliances with the progressive bourgeoisie and even used state police to crush strikes of workers. In the last years his popularity started to decline, Venezuela was not socialist and the people waited 14 years for socialism. Hugo Chavez never gave them socialism, he kept all the power in the hands of his state bureaucracy! 

But there are also good things to say about him. When he got elected in 1999, democracy was only something for the rich and the elite. Venezuela was a very poor nation were 80% of all people lived in poverty. Many workers never voted because they hated the politicians who were in service of capitalism. Venezuela used to be a close ally of American imperialism. During the cold war, Venezuela was ruled by many right-wing leaders who supported the USA against the USSR. 

In 1992, 38 year old Hugo Chavez was a military officer. He was very much opposed to the right-wing government of Venezuela. In February 1992, Chavez and a few officers tried a coup against the ruling president Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez. This president promised to oppose US imperialism during his election. But after he got power 
Pérez did the opposite, he supported right-wing politics and betrayed his anti-imperialist rhetoric. When the workers protested against this betrayal, the right-wing president ordered the army to shot at them. More then 3.000 workers were killed under the Pérez government. This is why Hugo Chavez tried to overthrow the Venezuelan president in 1992! 

Yet his coup failed. Too few soldiers supported Hugo Chavez. After a few fights he surrendered to the government. Chavez was allowed to speak on television and told the Venezuelan people that he did it for them. This was the first time in Venezuelan history that there was a man who did something for the common people. His coup may have failed  but his popularity with the poor started to rise!

In 1994, Chavez was released from prison by the centrist government of Rafael Antonio Caldera Rodríguez. Hugo Chavez was not allowed to return to the military, but this gave him time to work on his political movement. In 1997 he founded the Fifth Republican Movement, to help him with the presidential election in 1999. The Fifth Republican Movement was the first left-wing populist party to gain massive support among the people. Unlike the dogmatic Communist Party of Venezuela, the Fifth Republican Movement used a mixture of populism, Venezuelan nationalism and left-wing idealism!

December 8, 1999. The date that shocked the elite of Venezuela. Hugo Chavez, the officer that tried a failed coup, became president of the Republic of Venezuela. Many knew that the poor and the middle class were the ones who gave Chavez their vote. The rich and the capitalists feared his leftist rhetoric and in secret they made plans to remove him! 

Chavez first three years were moderate, his revolutionary rhetoric was strong but his economic politics were social democratic and center-left. Fiscally he remained a conservative and a supporter of the Roman Catholic Church. But his charisma and populism made him a loved man by many poor people. He reformed the constitution of Venezuela and gave more power to woman and indigenous people. The ruling class was not happy with this left-wing president. So with the help of the private media, they lanced numerous attacks against Chavez. They called him a dictator and a supporter of communism. This was enforced by Chavez's friendship with Fidel Castro of Cuba! 

On April 11 2002, anti-Chavez military generals started a coup. The private media in Venezuela supported this coup and blamed Chavez for all things that were wrong in Venezuela. Pedro Francisco Carmona Estanga, was put into power by the ruling class. But the poor and the workers were not happy about this. They started to demonstrate and called for the return of Hugo Chavez. The private media called the pro-Chavez demonstrators ''scum'' and ''violent''. But in reality they were the ones who were wrong and criminal. In the end, the military became afraid of the rising anger towards them. So Hugo Chavez was put back into power and Carmona was forced to flee to the USA, who supported him from the beginning!

After the failed right-wing coup, Hugo Chavez became more radical and no longer trusted the old bourgeoisie and their private media. The president started to use state media to counter the private media, who were anti-socialist and anti-Chavez. Venezuela has eight television networks. Only one of them is owned by the state, so the media in Venezuela is mostly private owned and 2/3 of them are anti-Chavez!  

In 2006 the nation was renamed into the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela. Simon Bolivar was a national hero and a symbol for the ideology of Hugo Chavez. While Chavez claimed that his ideology was based on Boliviar, history tells us that Simon Bolivar was a liberal and a supporter of free market capitalism. But there is one thing that Chavez and Bolivar have in common. Both leaders liberated their nation from foreign domination, Bolivar liberated it from Spain and Chavez from the USA. Also both leaders were authoritarian and had little respect for those who opposed him. Bolivar became president for life and Chavez used the state media against all who were critical of his ''21st century socialism''!

Bolivarianism is the ideology of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. This party was founded by all leftist parties and groups who supported Hugo Chavez. Only two left-wing parties wanted to remain independent. One of the two parties was the Communist Party of Venezuela  who supported Chavez, but did not joined the new PSUV. The new party was to be the center of Chavez's revolution. But in reality the PSUV has no democratic structure. Critical revolutionary socialists soon found out, that the ruling elite of the party did not liked their critical attitude. Stalinist bureaucratic centralism was enforced by the party leaders and they used it against all members who were too critical. This made the right-wing stronger. The anti-Chavez opposition joined up in the Democratic Unity Round-table. This right-wing coalition unites all anti-Chavez parties, from the traditional liberal and conservative parties, to social democratic groups! 

The first major defeat for Hugo Chavez was the constitutional referendum of 2007. During this referendum Hugo Chavez wanted to change the constitution again. This time the anti-Chavez opposition was able to rally students against the president. Many students were angry at Chavez for removing the broadcast licence of RCTV. This television station was one of the seven private owned media stations that opposed Hugo Chavez. During the 2002 right-wing coup, they supported the counter-revolutionaries. After Chavez returned to the power, RCTV became a major opposition network, their criticism of Hugo Chavez was harsh and not always justified!

Just before the constitutional referendum of 2007, RCTV was no longer allowed to broadcast. This enraged many students who saw this as a attack on the freedom of speech. With the help of many students and doubts in the Chavez camp about the constitutional referendum, the opposition was able to win the vote. 51% voted NO and Hugo Chavez was forced to accept that the Venezuelan people had voted against him! 

But even with this defeat, Hugo Chavez remained very popular with the poor and the lower working class. Because even with all of his limitations, the Chavez government did reduced poverty by 70%. Sure poverty remains, but it has been dramatically reduced. The government used the profits from oil sale to boost social programs. In the past these profits went to the rich and never to the poor. Hugo Chavez was the first president who used state money for massive social programs who aided millions of poor workers! 

The international friends of Chavez were not among the most genuine democratic. Dictators like Alexander Lukashenko and Muammar Gaddafi were close allies of Chavez. As the Libyan Revolution ended the regime of Gaddafi, Hugo Chavez remained loyal to his Libyan friend. When Gaddafi was killed by rebels, Chavez called him a ''great revolutionary''. Such stupidity only enforced the anti-Chavez opposition!

Yet even with his dictatorial friends and authoritarian rule style, Hugo Chave was able to defeat the right-wing opposition during the 2012 elections. This time his opponent was smarter. Henrique Capriles Radonski used pseudo-left-wing rhetoric against Chavez. He promised to keep the social programs alive and he claimed to be anti-corruption. Yet the Venezuelan people knew that Henrique Capriles was a member of the ruling class, his political party had the reputation of being a party for the rich. Chavez won the election, but the opposition won more votes then it had ever done! 

Soon after the October elections, Hugo Chavez fell sick again. His cancer had returned and he went to Cuba for treatment. In 2013, he returned to Venezuela but he did not showed himself in public anymore. Soon the rumors came that he was very sick. The opposition used this to build up their forces for a new election. They did not have to wait long. On March 5 2013, the government of Venezuela announced the death of president Hugo Chavez, after a two year struggle with cancer! 

Next day many Chavez supporters went on the streets to morn the death of their president. The Democratic Unity Round-table now prepares itselve for a huge battle with the now weaken Chavez party. The Great Patriotic Pole was founded by Hugo Chavez for the October 2012 election and will have to stand again for the presidential election somewhere in 2013!

The death of Hugo Chavez can mean the end of the Venezuelan Revolution. The right-wing has rebuild itself, the left-wing forces are weak and not based on a genuine revolutionary socialist program. They were all based on the charisma and personality of Hugo Chavez. Win out their leader, the left-wing of Venezuela is weak and can be defeated. That is why a revolutionary workers party is needed. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela has shown that it cannot be a workers party. They are a government party, a party of state bureaucrats and dogmatic Chavez supporters. But genuine workers have no place in the PSUV, the last six years have shown us that!

A workers party on a socialist program is needed in order to defeat the right-wing and to advance to genuine democratic socialism! 

Hugo Chavez's last photo alive, with his daughters
released in late January 2013

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism