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Statement from the left-wing collective Ta’amim al-Masaref in Lebanon: ‘It is time for rage’

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Les dirigeants prévenus en juillet des risques dans le port

(Picture from L’Orient du jour.)

A statement from left-wing collective Ta’amim al-Masaref in Lebanon: ‘It is time for rage’

Comrades, we are trapped.

We are trapped between the barbarism of capital accumulation and the subsequent nonchalant greed it enables.

As our lives become more worthless by the hour, we are trapped between the military machine deployed to defend private property at all costs, and the ruling class it has vowed to uphold.

We are trapped between the death cult that is capital accumulation and its tendency to accumulate, store, bargain for better deals, negotiate and accumulate further, even at its own risk. Especially at our expense.

The August 4 blast is an immediate and irreversible ramification of the ruling class’ deliberate indispensability of the masses. The capitalist, neoliberal system was built at our expense, and always – without exception – seeks to serve the interests of the ruling class. It will never be more evident and salient than it is today the extent to which our lives are regarded as expendable and worthless.

But the blast does not propagate evenly. It rips apart working-class neighbourhoods relentless and with impunity. Wave after wave, we can feel our precarity laid bare as our windows and doors shattered, and our buildings collapsed. The explosion both accelerates our condition and decelerates business as usual. It is in this spatio-temporal reality that we are trapped.

Our livelihoods are closest to the epicentres of destruction. How could they not be, when our livelihoods depend on reproducing chaos, zombie capitalism, and our destitute condition? It slows uncovers their violence and their gentrifying displacement. As their interminable towers merely tremble, their children are kept safe by our comrades, domestic workers.

This regime functions precisely as it was constructed to: to exploit us, displace us, crush us and kill us, unapologetically and without hesitation.

They are untouchable even in defeat. They are indestructible even in catastrophe

But they are unreachable no more.

As thousands of families remain stranded and homeless, it is now our duty to occupy their luxurious homes. The ones purposefully kept empty as a form of class war, as an undying bourgeois sneer. We must occupy what they think is theirs. We must occupy what is, in fact, ours.

As this catastrophe steadily becomes militarized, it is our duty to fight against the unfolding military coup that is going to be perpetually imposed on us.

As we are living through famine, hunger, and poverty, it is our duty to supply for our comrades. To fight for food sovereignty. To divorce dependency from our bellies.

We must demand justice for our dead. For our victims.

We do not need any investigations. We know who the culprits are. Structurally, yes it is the ruling class, its third-party tradesmen, middle-men, technicians of doom, and trades of destruction.

We must form neighbourhood committees, and workers must control their own destiny, both in the production and reproduction of wealth. We must rebuild our own homes. We must share them with our comrades.

We must open public schools. Transform them into temporary hospitals for the wounded.

We must honour our dead. Celebrate their lives. Continue their fight.

We must not let them force us into normalisation. Nothing that we have lived through in our lifetimes, and in the last year, has been ‘normal’.

As we look at Palestine and Syria, we know that our struggles are intertwined, as are our regimes. Millions of Syrians, Palestinians, Sudanese, Algerians and Arabs have fought their regimes in an open war of manoeuvre that has not said its last word. We are nothing if not a continuation of this war.

We must gather the strength to emulate our comrades in 1982 who fought against the Israel onslaught of Beirut. We will fight capitalism at home as we have previously fought imperialism.

We must be inspired by our Syrian comrades who have lived through thousands of the regime’s barrel bombs and Islamist occupation.

We must draw inspiration from our Sudanese comrades in their organising and from our Algerian comrades in their perseverance.

Comrades, the time has come for us to organise and obliterate capitalism and its enablers.

It is now time for rage. For revenge. For justice. It is time to obliterate this regime, by any means necessary. We need to organise, and we need to organise now.

And with that, death to the system that kills our comrades.

Ta’amim al-Masaref in Lebanon

Beirut, 11 August 2020

This statement does not necessarily reflect the views of the Alliance of MENA Socialists.

 

More statements from the site of the The Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists

 

Founding statement,

November 24, 2017

We are an alliance of Middle Eastern socialists opposed to all the international and Middle Eastern regional imperialist powers and their wars, whether the U.S., Russia and China  or Israel, Saudi Arabia,  Iran and Turkey.  We also oppose other authoritarian regimes such as Assad’s in Syria and El Sisi’s  in Egypt as well as religious fundamentalism whether of  ISIS, Al Qaeda,  Hezbollah  or the  Muslim Brotherhood.   Although the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah consider themselves gradualists and oppose the Jihadism of Al Qaeda and ISIS, all of these organizations share the goal of establishing a state based on Shari’a Law and preserving the current capitalist order.  

We oppose capitalism, class divisions, patriarchy/sexism, racism, ethnic and religious prejudice and speak to the struggles of women, workers, oppressed nationalities such as Kurds and Palestinians, oppressed ethnic and religious minorities, and sexual minorities.  We also oppose Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.  

We stand for socialism as a concept of human emancipation and an affirmative vision distinguished from the authoritarian regimes that called themselves “Communist.”

The effort to create an Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, originally started in March 2016 as an Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists with a trilingual website (English/Arabic/Persian)  to help express the aspirations of  “the Other Middle East” and to  offer analyses of critical issues and  new dialogues and bonds of solidarity between Syrians and Iranians opposed to their authoritarian regimes.

Since the destinies of people are linked across borders, important developments in the region –some terrifying and some hopeful—have compelled the formation of a broader Alliance.  

Amongst the international press Le Monde has had extensive coverage.

These are important opinion pieces calling for international solidarity.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2020 at 11:50 am

After Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray: the Persecution of Christians in the Middle East Continues.

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Left must speak out about Persecution of Christians.

The murder of Père Jacques Hamel follows so many atrocities that it is hard to comment on them without being overwhelmed by sadness.

There are those who still wish to see in ISIS killings a response – a “blowback” –  to Western intervention in the Middle East. There are those who point to discrimination against Muslims in Europe. French Christians responded with dignity, calling, with representatives of other religions and secular figures, reminding people that the Priest called for a “un monde plus chaleureux, plus humain, plus fraternel. ” a warmer, more human, more fraternal world.

Giles Fraser in the Guardian has stated that, the sacrifice of the mass is the non-violent absorption of human violence” and that the “Eucharistic sacrifice” is  life-giving, which is not a helpful commentary on what is at stake at the present time and borders on the maudlin.

Instead of looking at these events through ready-made the explanations of  why murderers are attacking targets in Europe, it would be appropriate to begin by outlining what the violent strand of  actually existing Islamism is doing. One important aspect which few left or liberal writers look at is the way they have targeted Christians – well before the tragedy this week.

Yesterday le Monde published an article on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East: Les chrétiens d’Orient, cibles des djihadistes et otages des pouvoirs.

Christophe Ayad described  the kidnapping and murder of  Père Paolo three years ago, the ISIS’s desecration of Churches and the interdiction of public Christian worship in Rakka, and the expulsion of the entire Christian population of Mosul, the attack, in 2010, on the Baghdad Cathedral of Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours, which left 50 dead, and the relentless pressure to expel all Christians from ‘Muslim’ land. There are few Christians left in Iraq. One could add many many other terrible atrocities.

Avad states that in many respects, despite a formal belief that followers of Jesus were ‘people of the Book’ and entitled, if they accepted a second class status and paid a special tax, to protection’ in the present wars the Christians were a soft target, a substitute for the ‘West’.

It would be important to indicate that in the sectarian conflicts which have devastated Syria and Iraq Muslims have been the majority of victims. And that the fate the Yazidis, not recognised as People of book, has left them facing slavery and genocide. That if we are in no position to gauge who is a “true” Muslim or not one thing is certain: the immense majority of Muslims have not just opposed jihadism, but that there are Muslims here and now fighting for dear life against the genociders of Deash.

But  before we talk of the present blood-stained actions of Deash, and other intolerant Islamists, such as the Al-Nusra front, as part of the fall-out from -Western intervention in Iraq Ayad reminds us of the  pogroms and persecution  of the Egyptian Copts.

In modern times these began in 1981.

Those wishing to read about this can find great, detailed, and extremely sad information here:  Persecution of Copts.

In what sense were these the result of deflected anger against ‘imperialism’, or acts against the ‘West’?

A few days ago this was published:

For Many Christians in Middle East, Intimidation or Worse Persecution extends beyond Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The attack on a French church signals the arrival in Europe of a type of intimidation long familiar to Christians in the Middle East, whether from religious extremists, other armed groups or even secular governments.

In areas of Syria and Iraq under its control, Islamic State has seized churches, dismantling crucifixes and vandalizing paintings depicting scenes out of the Bible—considered to be idolatry in their hard-line interpretation of Islam. Many Christians flee when the militants sweep their areas; thousands escaped from northern Iraq when Islamic State took over in summer 2014.

Its branch in Libya killed 21 Egyptian Christians and 31 Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians in two separate massacres last year, slitting their throats and recording their deaths for Islamic State propaganda, which highlighted their religion as justification for the slaughter.

Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, in late June claimed the shooting death of a Christian priest in the north Sinai city Al Arish. The group said the priest was targeted for being a “disbelieving combatant.” It has attacked hundreds of police and military personnel in the area since 2014.

Comrade Owen Jones wrote one of the best responses in 2014

Why the left must speak up about the persecution of Christians.

Those of us on the left – who advocate religious acceptance and diversity – must surely speak louder about the persecution of Christians. The suffering and oppression is real, and in many places, getting ever worse. If we do not speak out, the danger is it will be left to those with ulterior motives who wish to hijack misery to fuel religious hatred – with disastrous consequences.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 29, 2016 at 11:05 am

Will Russian Israeli Military Alliance and US-Russian ‘Tacit Agreement’ throw Stop the War Coalition and Eustonites into Confusion.

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Obama and Putin

‘Tacit Agreement’ on Syria in Sight?

Russia-Israel military alliance in Syria is a breakthrough.

Pravda. 23.9.15.

The agreement reached in Moscow between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on a “mechanism to prevent misunderstandings between Israel and Syria” is to influence the power balance in the Middle East, Avigdor Eskin, the Israeli publicist told Pravda.Ru in an interview.

The Russian-Israeli joint military group will coordinate operations in Syria. This military cooperation is the first one since foundation of the Israeli state, Eskin noted. The military alliance will operate without the US as well as other Western countries. The parties have one opponent, that is the Islamic State, and misunderstandings can occur only on the Syria’s helping Hezbollah, which is declared a terror organization in Israel.

What about Bashar al-Assad, the expert says that the Israeli authorities realized that only his army can oppose the radical Islam, and he is the only intelligible negotiation leverage in Syria. Jihadists, which are currently in the Golan Heights (a disputed area between Israel and Syria) for instance, are backed by the US, and attack the Israeli territory.

Russia and the United States have reached a “tacit agreement” on ending Syria’s bloody crisis, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said.

Damascus (Agence France Press 24.9.15.)

“The current US administration wants to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. There is a tacit agreement between the US and Russia to reach this solution,” Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with state television late Wednesday.

“The US recognises now that Russia has profound knowledge of this region and a better assessment of the situation,” she said.

“The current international climate is heading towards detente and towards a solution for the crisis in Syria.”

Shaaban said there was a “change in the West’s positions” over Syria’s war, which has killed more than 240,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.

*****

Yesterday on Newsnight the consequences of the Russian-US tacit agreement were discussed in some detail by a former UK ambassador to Moscow and Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands).

The main message of the former diplomat was the Russia was focused on the threat from violent Islamism, Daesh. The US had not been able to create an alternative to Assad and to the genocidal Islamists. In present conditions – not least the humanitarian crisis – it was important to get rid of the Islamic State before anything else.

Snyder noted that Putin had a long history of backing authoritarian regimes and had created problems in the Ukraine.

Which did not answer the point about the Middle East and defeating the Islamic State.

******

Today: Syria: U.S., Russia Reach ‘Tacit Agreement’ On Ending Syrian War; Obama And Putin To Meet Monday. (HGN)

“Russia has provided and will provide adequate support to the legitimate government of Syria in the fight against extremists and terrorists of all kinds,” Ilya Rogachev, head of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats, told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Moscow announced Thursday it plans to hold naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in September and October. On Wednesday, the Syrian military for the first time began using Russian drones, and the army has previously received at least five fighter jets along with tanks and artillery.

Now that Russia is militarily involved in Syria, there has been “a change in the West’s positions” over the Syrian war and the crisis “is heading towards detente and towards a solution,” according to Assad’s adviser.

As Stratfor writes, “Russia has rightfully judged that its direct intervention in Syria will force Washington to begin direct military-to-military talks with Moscow on the conflict.”

The White House announced Thursday that Obama and Putin will meet Monday afternoon in New York during a three-day session of the U.N. General Assembly, reported The New York Times. The two will discuss the conflicts in both Syria and Ukraine.

The wider consequences of this change are too great to be examined here.

The mention of Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia,  and Iran should make it obvious that the complexities of whatever is being negotiated are enormous.

But we can observe some effects on UK domestic politics, specifically on the left and foreign policy:

  • The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) has been a leading voice in this country criticising the US and its allies’ interventions in the Middle East. But it has done more than that: it has asserted that the US, and Israel, have been responsible for both the conditions that gave rise to the Islamic State, and that their present actions have to be firmly opposed.
  • The StWC has refused to offer anything remotely realistic to secure the minimal objective of defeating the Islamic state, or indeed, to defend the group which many on the left strongly identity with, the Kurdish people’s armed wings – the principal  democratic fighting opposition to the Islamist killers.
  • Will they continue to do this when Russia is a ‘tacit’ ally of the West?
  • What alternative will they  offer? Or simply, what will they say?
  • The Eustonites, such as Harry’s Place and their right-wing allies in Parliament and the media, have been vociferous in denouncing the StWC and their former Chair, Jeremy Corbyn, for complicity towards Russia and  anti–Israeli forces, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • The Eustonites have advocated (without about as many specifics as a StWC policy-statement) forceful intervention in Syria to create a democratic replacement to the Assad regime – without going into the slightest detail about what this will consist of. They have been prepared to fight to the last Syrian and last Kurd to secure that end.
  • Will they now continue to do so when Assad’s ally, Russia is now about to reach an understanding with the West, and when Moscow has already made an agreement with Israel?
  • What will they say?

 

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how these two opposing groupings react to  developments in the coming days.