The liberation of the majority is more important than the geostrategic interests of the minority
Social change comes from the struggle from below, not manoeuvres from above
25 years ago some people talked about the end of history and others of a unipolar world. The events have showed them wrong: we live in a period of conflict between different imperialist powers. As people who fight for fundamental social change, this poses us many challenges.
The main military force in the world is the United States and more generally the bloc it leads, NATO. Because, furthermore, we live in a state that forms part of this bloc, we have a special obligation to oppose it, and we do so. Every person signing this call has actively opposed the “war on terror” of the USA and its allies. But while the main enemy is at home, that doesn’t mean that the other imperialist powers (Russia, China…) are our allies.
Above all, it doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on popular struggles within those countries.
Therefore, as people committed to human liberation (and not to the interests of one or other capitalist state) we declare that:
- In the Middle East, we support all people’s uprisings for democracy and social justice, irrespective of the international alliances of the state they confront.
- In particular we support the struggle of the Syrian people against Assad, against ISIS, and now against US bombing. The regime of the Assad clan has been repressing, imprisoning and torturing all opposition to their power for more than 40 years. Bashar Assad collaborated with the CIA in the imprisonment and torture of Islamists; he freed some of them so they could build ISIS; he has bombed Palestinian refugee camps; he is responsible for 200,000 deaths in his country… The Syrian dictator is not our ally.
- We defend the right of the Kurdish people to self-determination, their right to break with all the states that currently imprison them, whatever differences we may have with elements of the current Kurdish leadership.
- We support the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, and we will not change our attitude according to the vacillating positions on this issue of the USA or the Spanish Conservative Party, the PP.
- We express our solidarity with the struggles of workers and national minorities in China, as well as with the tens of thousands of young people who make up the Occupy movement in Hong Kong. We denounce the repression they suffer at the hands of the Chinese capitalist state: the main financial crutch, lest we forget, of the USA.
- We defend the right of the peoples of Central and South America to elect governments that promise more social justice and which so annoy the USA. We also defend the rights of the working class and indigenous peoples to defend their interests against these same governments.
- In Ukraine we oppose all the oligarchies and all imperialist interference. We defend the continued independence of the Ukrainian people —in all their diversity— and don’t accept that they have to choose between submitting to the West and returning to the long centuries of Russian rule. We condemn the fascists in Kiev —Svoboda, Right Sector and others— and also the Russian Nazis who play a key role, occupying many senior posts, in Donetsk. We express our solidarity with the whole Ukrainian working class —currently deeply divided and largely lining up behind one or other sector of the oligarchy— and hope they find a way to fight for their own interests.
All of this should be obvious, but it isn’t.
There are sections of the left —including activists who play an active and positive role in defence of social justice here, or in solidarity with different peoples of the Middle East— that label these struggles as the mere product of Western interference. It is obvious that US leaders try to manipulate, but they are not omnipotent; they often don’t even know what they want, let alone have the ability to achieve it. Interpreting popular struggles as imperialist conspiracies leads to serious political errors:
- It shows contempt for the working class and oppressed peoples of the states in question. It implies that they have neither the ability nor the right to rise up and fight for their own interests, for their own liberation.
- If we justify the repression of social struggles in one country, it takes away our credibility when we criticise it in another. The leaders of the world are hypocrites: they claim to promote democracy in other countries while they crush it, whenever it bothers them, in their own. The left must not fall into the same hypocrisy.
- It hinders sexual liberation. Social struggles in general almost always strengthen the struggle for women’s and LGBT liberation, as we saw at the high points of the mobilisations in Tahrir square, or in the popular struggles against apartheid. If for “geopolitical” reasons the left turns its back on social struggles, it also does so on the changes in consciousness they can bring to both women and men; both LGBT and straight people. Not to mention that many supposed allies against imperialism promote sexism and homophobia, just like Western leaders do: for example, Putin in Russia or Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
- It reinforces Islamophobia. Many governments that are supposedly opposed to the USA echo its Islamophobic arguments and copy its “war on (Islamist) terror”: Russia against the Chechen people; China against the Uighurs; Syria against its own population…
- It reflects a one-dimensional view of politics that disorients us before the challenges we have to face up to. Geopolitical analysis is just one factor, alongside the complex realities of each place and each specific conflict. Our struggle is not that of one group of leaders against another, but rather that of the majority from below, against the minority at the top.
We demand, within the left and the social movements, an end to the campaigns of insults against those of us who defend the liberation of the peoples of the world, beyond the interests of the different imperialist blocs. To call people committed to the struggle against imperialism “CIA agents” —or worse, “fascists”— undermines the credibility of the sectors that make such accusations, creates a dangerous environment of lack of mutual respect, and weakens the whole of the movement and the left.
We are clear that we will oppose all Western imperialist intervention, unconditionally. If sections of the movement require that nothing be said against the other imperialist powers and dictatorships, as a condition of a united struggle against US attacks, we demand that nor should these be given any support, nor should their abuse of their populations be justified.
That said, for our part, and in line with our principles, we will combine our opposition to imperialist interventions with our opposition to all dictatorships and our total and open solidarity with the people’s struggles mentioned above.
In short, for us, the liberation of the majority is more important than the geostrategic interests of the minority.