George Galloway, Syrian Communists, and Assad Dictatorship.
There has been widespread criticism, including on this Blog, of those who canoodled with Gaddafi.
But what of Syria?
Few people in the UK seem to have been close to the regime.
Wars Everywhere writes,
Galloway called Assad “the last Arab ruler” because of his steadfast support for terrorism against Israel and the US. He said that the Syrian people should be happy to have Assad as their “president”. He called Syria a “Democracy” in his speech in Damascus. Shortly before the massive Lebanese uprising which kicked the Syrian army out of Lebanon, Galloway justified the Syrian occupation of Lebanon by saying: “Syrian troops in Lebanon maintain stability and protect the country from Israel.” He went on to express opposition to UN Resolution 1559, which urges the Lebanese government to establish control over all its territory.
Galloway’s affection for the Syrian regime is not unique on the left.
But he has been quiet as a mouse about the country in the last few weeks.
One of the two Syrian Communist parties, (Bakdash) which forms part of Syria’s ruling National Progressive Front., has not been so silent. They have issued this statement (from here). In reading it bear in mind the highly critical stand taken by the Parti Communiste Français to the regime – Here (Hat-Tip to Arthur ).
by the Syrian Communist Party (Bakdash)
A regular meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Syria, chaired by its Secretary General Comrade Ammar Bakdash, was held on 25 March 2011. . . .
The Central Committee examined at length the manifestations of unrest in some cities in Syria, especially the unfortunate incidents in the town of Dara’a. On the 18th of March, a confrontation took place between security forces and a variety of residents of Dara’a chanting slogans and raising demands. At the forefront of these demands was the release of some boys who were arrested under the emergency laws. With the development of the confrontation, other signs and slogans were added, concentrated, on that day, on some security and administrative officials in the province. As a result of the security forces’ use of excessive force in dispersing the crowd, some demonstrators died and many more were injured. That created broad discontent and heightened tension, which led to a number of clashes. The media reported the government’s announcement of the formation of a committee to inquire into these incidents, as well as the release of the aforementioned young detainees.
Then, reactionary forces tried, and are still trying, to exploit the deplorable incidents and to fuel unrest in various parts of the country, using an insidious method to attract the masses, mixing demands and slogans for democratic freedoms with the demands and slogans that are clearly retrograde, obscurantist, and provocatively sectarian in character, directed against the idea of secularism and the spirit of tolerance which have historically been distinctive features of the Syrian society.
The mass media of the countries that are at the heart of imperialism, as well as of the reactionary pro-imperialist Arab regimes, lost no time in beginning a fierce media war against Syria, distorting and exaggerating facts and publishing lies, employing as their mouthpieces suspicious characters whose names mean nothing to the Syrian people. Unfortunately, the Syrian government’s media have not been what they should have been at such a critical moment. In this kind of circumstance, you must tell the truth, not make things look prettier than they are; telling the truth would increase the confidence of the public and strengthen their resolve to thwart the plot.
The Central Committee expressed its support for the decisions and directions of the national leadership of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, among the most important of which in the political sphere are the lifting of the state of emergency, the drafting of a law for political parties, and the reform of the media law.
Those are among the demands that have been constantly put forward by the Syrian Communist Party in its party documents, including the decisions taken at its eleventh conference. In the view of our party, expediting their actual implementation will serve to rapidly reinforce the internal conditions of Syria.
The Central Committee also expressed its satisfaction with the decision to amend the Act 41 of 2004 regarding the status of properties in the border regions, as well as the decision to raise the wages of state employees and retirees, which have been put into decrees.
The Central Committee, however, takes note of the need to review the laws and decisions to liberalize the Syrian economy, which have destabilized national production, weakened the position of the state (public) sector, and worsened the living conditions of the masses, benefitting only the classes of exploiters in society, particularly the comprador bourgeoisie.
In the opinion of the Central Committee, it is necessary to reverse the trend toward economic liberalization, which has negatively impacted national production and the state of the toiling masses. Doing so would strengthen the Syrian economy and meet the demands of the masses of workers and farmers, low-income earners and civil servants, who constitute the mass base for the support of the honorably steadfast national stand of Syria.
The Central Committee considers it of central importance to focus on and support such areas of production as agriculture in Syria, in order to restore and strengthen our food security, and industry under all forms of national ownership, with emphasis on maintaining and developing the public sector. In this regard, the Electricity Law should be amended to fully reinstate the state monopoly of this economic sector that is so vital to sovereignty; and the Telecommunications Law should be amended to prevent the entry of private monopoly capital into land line communications. State enterprises currently open to private investors must be returned to full state ownership. It is also necessary to abandon the harmful approach of price liberalization and reestablish the active role of the state in this area, including the restructuring of the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade.
The Central Committee also regards it as vital to develop the productive capacities of the nation by increasing state investment, not by bringing foreign capital into the country, which, when it does come, is more a curse than a blessing. In this regard, it is important to return to the policy of national exploitation (extracting and marketing) of oil. It is imperative to escalate the permanent campaign to combat corruption and to rein in the comprador bourgeoisie, who are seeking alliance with the bureaucracy to loot both the state and the people wholesale. Here, the expansion of democratic freedoms of the popular masses plays a major role. In order to be effective, action against corruption must be comprehensive.
The Central Committee believes that taking such an approach in the socio-economic sphere is sure to remove the soil on which resentment grows and that it will strengthen the honorable steadfastness of the nation, of which the popular masses are the main pillar, and will serve to put a stop to the conspiracies of enemies of Syria.
The Central Committee emphasizes the readiness of the Syrian Communist Party to exert all efforts to strengthen the steadfastness of the nation and the masses, politically, socially, and economically. Our motto has been, and still is, “Syria will not bend the knee”!