Interview with Syrian Communist on conflict in Syria

The following is an interview with Adel Omar, from the foreign bureau of the Syrian Communist Party-Bakdash. The interview was conducted following an international peace conference held in Istanbul and Antakya, Turkey, April 25-28 and was published in the May issue of the Communist Party of Turkey’s monthly publication. The translation from Turkish is by Liberation News.

Can you describe the position of the Syrian Communist Party toward the imperialist aggression against Syria?

First and foremost, as the Syrian Communist Party, we believe that the course of events in Syria is neither a revolution nor a civil war. It is very clear that what has been taking place in Syria has been in accordance with the imperialist plans. It is not possible for us to define a process where NATO has been involved as a revolution. Besides, it is not the case that different sectors of the people of Syria are fighting one another. On the contrary, our people are resisting the imperialist forces together.

It is true that the people of Syria have demands and needs that need to be met, but the way to achieve this is not through destroying everything that belongs to the state of Syria. At the moment, our country is under attack, and achieving unity among the people to defend our homeland is what needs to be done first. At this point, we think it is especially crucial for the government to respond to the demands and the needs of the people. In order to be able to establish a solid resistance front against the imperialist attack, we believe a top priority for the government is to provide for the basic needs of the people, including food and medicine. Only then can the struggle of the people against imperialism be unrelenting.

It can be said that the Assad government partially backed off from its neoliberal tendencies once the imperialist attack against Syria got going. What does the Syrian Communist Party think of the policies of the Assad government? Do you think that the recent changes in their policies are satisfactory?

When we evaluate the 10-year period before the aggression toward Syria, we see that the Syrian government made grave mistakes in the economic area. By choosing neoliberal economic policies, it opened the Syrian market to foreign imports, especially Turkish and Qatari products. As a result, hundreds of factories and workshops shut down and millions of workers lost their jobs.

In fact, there was not a substantial change in these neoliberal policies when the imperialist intervention started. As the Syrian CP, we think that the adoption of these neoliberal economic policies was a fatal mistake. We believe that the solution needs to start by putting an end to these policies.

In addition, a war is going on in Syria. We are facing multifaceted and serious problems. It is important to realize that it is not only the Syrian army that is resisting against the imperialist-backed foreign forces. Ordinary Syrians are also fighting. It would not have been possible for the army to resist for two years against such an assault otherwise.

With this in mind, it is critical that the government support the people through economic policies in order for the popular resistance to be able to survive. But, unfortunately, it is difficult to say that the government realizes this fact even now. They more or less continue with the neoliberal policies. As the Syrian CP, we believe the biggest risk factor for the Syrian resistance is the economy.

Do the terrorist groups operating under the umbrella of the so-called Free Syrian Army target the Syrian Communist Party or similar groups of the resistance?

Yes, of course, and this is not an exceptional situation. The terrorist groups were behind a series of attacks targeting us including the bombing of our central office in Damascus. When they attacked our central office, they were not able to score a direct hit, but the building next to us was heavily damaged.

In Aleppo, the terrorist groups attacking the area of Sheikh Maksoud, which is mainly Kurdish, have primarily targeted the homes of Communist Party members. Unfortunately, three female comrades were murdered in these attacks. There are many other members who were targeted but were saved by luck since they were not home at the time of these attacks.

We are going through a war that though difficult and serious at times cannot be taken lightly. But we are determined to continue with our struggle. To begin with, in imperialist attacks toward a homeland, history shows us that the communists have primary responsibility for resisting and organizing this resistance. As Syrian communists, the duty to struggle for our homeland lies first and foremost on our shoulders. This is our responsibility.

Secondly, we cannot imagine any future in Syria but a victorious one. We have no other choice but victory. With that in mind, you can be sure that we will do our utmost to keep up our end. It is only natural that such determination would be targeted by the terrorists. It is normal.

Are there any communists or left forces that are in dialogue, or stand in solidarity, with you in the other Arab countries that have been subjected to imperialist attacks?

To answer the question frankly, even if there are diplomatic relations that go on at a particular level, it is difficult to say that there is solidarity among us. When our situation in Syria is taken into account, I can say that we need an attitude of solidarity that is more than a “message of goodwill” by this or that party.

To give you a concrete example, we need concrete steps of solidarity like the recent conference in Istanbul that was organized by the Peace Association of Turkey and our comrades of the Communist Party of Turkey. We valued this undertaking immensely. This is why I have been here in Turkey for days. Given the reality that people living in other parts of the world do not have access to honest news about Syria, the conference in Istanbul gave us a great opportunity to tell what is really going on in Syria, to put this on the agenda of the international movements in the right way, to achieve a clarity of approach and to move forward together. This is very valuable.

It is clear that similar conferences need to be held in other cities around the world. Forums of this sort not only help increase the support and understanding of the struggle of the people of Syria, but they also energize us. I need to say that in the struggle we are waging in Syria, we have been left alone. There are 22 Arab countries, and no events in solidarity with the Syrian people have been organized in the capitals of these countries. Yet we have been resisting for two years and we will continue until the end.

How have the events in Syria affected your organizing? Do you think that there are new opportunities for strengthening the party?

History shows us that struggles against imperialism and fascism increase the value and respectability of the communist parties in the eyes of the people. This was the case for the Soviets in their defense of the motherland, and the same in Greece or France. Communists were at the forefront, organizing the resistance of the people for the defense of their motherland. This is the case for us as well.

If we consider our position in Syria, the Syrian Communist Party is a strong organization with more than a quarter of a million members. This was already the case before the attacks. In this regard, the Syrian society is an organized one. With this in mind, instead of whether we are getting stronger during the crisis, it would be more meaningful to talk about our role in keeping the resistance going as much as it has.

As the cadres and members of the Syrian Communist Party, we are aware of the responsibilities on our shoulders. We appreciate the value of life very much, but we are also acting with the consciousness that we may have to be the first ones to face death for the future of our country. The people of Syria are very dignified. If they have been able to keep the resistance up for two years, our party has a share in this. I have to say that the fact that we are among the people, not simply with them, has played a very important role for the resistance.

53 comments on “Interview with Syrian Communist on conflict in Syria

  1. Interesting to get the Syrian CP (Bakdash) perspective on all this. But:

    “…it is not the case that different sectors of the people of Syria are fighting one another. On the contrary, our people are resisting the imperialist forces together.”

    I wonder whether Adel Omar really believes that.

  2. John on said:

    Watching the mounting crisis in Turkey, the words ‘chickens coming home to roost’ spring to mind. Victory to the Free Turkey Army anyone? Sanctions? Conferences? Arm the rebels? Demands for Erdogan’s resignation?

  3. Howard Fuller on said:

    John: Watching the mounting crisis in Turkey, the words ‘chickens coming home to roost’ spring to mind. Victory to the Free Turkey Army anyone? Sanctions? Conferences? Arm the rebels? Demands for Erdogan’s resignation?

    Not sure exactly what you are getting at? Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t support the demonstrators (a) trying to save their environment (b) being unecessarily being attacked by the police (c) demand the release of political prisoners and trade unionists from prison, pushing back the growing right wing agenda of Erdogan.

    Or are you just being sarcastic in support of the brutal Assad dictatorship?

  4. daniel young on said:

    Communism.Religion.Who will win that battle, or will it be a continuation of more of the same.

  5. john Penney on said:

    Another shameful, and indeed, shameless, article on Socialist Unity’s strange, timewarp , Olde Communist Party era website ! What a disgraceful mouthpiece for themurderous Assad kleptocratic family and clan dictatorship the Socialist Unity website provides. The analysis and position of the Syrian Communist Party is based on pure fantasy – and simply reflects a generation of complicity by the Syrian Communist Party with the Assad family dictatorship, father and son.

    It isn’t necessary to sympathise with either the political aims of the West backed Free Syrian Army or the Islamicist Jihadists who have jumped on the “bandwagon” of revolt originating in the spontaneous , peaceful, demonstrations two years ago across Syria – met of course by extraordinarily vicious lethal force by the Assad police state, which sparked off the undoubted civil war now underway in Syria, to recognise the complete legitiimacy of mass resistance to a generations long vicious dictatorship. Only old neo stalinists still feel the need to support a vicious dictatorship because it has in the past included some state ownership of the means of production in its state form, and the regime postures its “anti Imperialism” by weeping crocodile tears at the undoubted grim reality of the Palestinian People.

    Articles like this simply remind anyone who isn’t a dyed in the wool neo stalinist just what rivers of blood separate the ghastly stalinist “communist” tradition from the genuine revolutionery socialist one. The only appropriate response to the continuing Syrian tragedy is ” neither the Assad dictatorship, jihadist Islamicism, or Western stooges, but International Socialism”. And no, that doesn’t assume there actually Is a significant revolutionery socialist, non sectarian, strand to the Syrian civil war (for such it undoubtedly is), it just demonstrates that , as with many conflicts in this capitalist world, in many cases the genuine revolutionery socialist can “take sides” with NONE of the leading participants. Nevertheless the originally entirely peaceful, limited democratic demands, ” uprising” against the Assad dictatorship two years ago was a perfectly legitimate response to the endless oppression of the Syrian people by the Assad family kleptocracy, not a small “conspiracy” by a few western stooges or Islamic zealots. . That the revolt is not taking a progressive socialist direction is a cause of great regret, but no basis for supporting the murderous Assad dictatorship.

  6. Manzil on said:

    john Penney: Another shameful, and indeed, shameless, article on Socialist Unity’s strange, timewarp , Olde Communist Party era website !

    Now there’s a banner quote if ever I saw one.

    Politics. Culture. Shameless Olde Communism.

    So anyway, you don’t think the Syrian Communists are worthy of some due consideration as ‘genuine revolutionary socialists’ given they’re being bombed and murdered by the rebels? What’s your recommendation to them, try not to be bombed but otherwise stay out of it?

    As far as I’m aware, the Syrian Communists do support basic democratic reforms in Syria. They’re just aware they are not likely to come about from a rebel ‘victory’, whatever the hell that would look like.

  7. Marko on said:

    “The analysis and position of the Syrian Communist Party is based on pure fantasy”

    I suspect they have a better grip of reality than john Penney who I suspect gets his reality check from BBC news!

  8. Calvin on said:

    john Penney: The only appropriate response to the continuing Syrian tragedy is ”neither the Assad dictatorship, jihadist Islamicism, or Western stooges, but International Socialism”.

    Loooool

  9. Phil Bishop on said:

    The Syrian “Communist” Party are “genuine revolutionary socialists” quote? Backed by Putin and Hezbollah (!) and backing Assad (!) says no, they are not Communists, nor Socialists but opportunists looking to preserve thier own political power and priviledges. Sectarian, anti working class and anti-democratic no matter what mealy mouthed statements they may make.

  10. The Bakdash CP line cannot really be considered without looking at the situation of the party itself. Like the Iraqi CP in the 1960s and 1970s, it has been allowed to operate more or less legally as a junior partner of the Syrian Baath Party, so long as it does nothing to challenge the power and hegemony of the Baath. From time to time it has been suppressed and persecuted by the Assad regimes, so it knows who the boss is. Of course it is not a “revolutionary” socialist party (whatever that means in the Syrian context) – it is a very conservative socialist party. Nonetheless, Adel Omar is probably right to say :”We have no other choice but victory.” It is hard to envisage much political space for the secular left in Syria if the rebel factions win the civil war.

  11. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    #2 – An explosion that has been a long time coming. Police brutality towards protesters has a long history in Turkey.

    Turkish government spokesmen and their media mouthpieces blame everything from Twitter to “foreign agents” and “illegal organisations” for the trouble.

    The classic responses of a government in trouble. Erdogan”s remarks before he set off on a foreign tour only inflamed the situation further.

  12. Binh: Communists don’t align with fascists in defense of fascism.

    Er, Binh, given that the Communist parties in the Middle East- and left movements in power, ie in Latin America- are aligned against the attempted ‘regime change’ in Syria, I don’t think that truism does much to shore up your position.

  13. Manzil on said:

    Binh: talk to George Sabra or Dr. Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm

    Not exactly the first socialists in history, or even the first this decade, to let themselves be blinded on issues of war and imperialism.

  14. Manzil: blinded on issues of war and imperialism.

    Well indeed, in the interview cited approvingly by Binh, Dr Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm dismisses as irrelevant the issue of imperialism. And he also shows a willful or utterly naive blindness to the sectarian agenda which the Gulf monarchies + Israel, backed by NATO, are promoting in order to isolate and defeat Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

  15. BTW. The Daily Telegraph has published an interesting article by the maverick right-winger Peter Oborne, which- whatever its motivations- cuts through the ‘humanitarian / democratic’ drivel on Syria. Oborne criticises the position of UK Prime Minister Cameron as follows:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10100943/Can-David-Cameron-explain-why-he-has-put-us-on-al-Qaedas-side.html

    Quote:

    ***********

    I dare say that the Prime Minister is sincere when he asserts that Syria is in the grip of a civil war, with democrats and human rights activists ranged up on one side against an evil dictator […]

    Certainly, the liberal elite in which the Prime Minister places such hopes was involved at the beginning of the uprising. But armed elements funded and supplied by interested parties in Saudi Arabia and Qatar were also present from the start. Their fundamental aim was nothing to do with human rights and the protection of minorities. It was to destabilise and destroy President Assad, Iran’s closest ally in the region, and therefore assert Saudi dominance.

    To what extent have Britain and America been complicit? It is hard to judge. What can be said with certainty is that over the past decade the Middle East, and to some extent the Islamic world, has broken down into two armed camps. On the one side are Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, backed by the United States and (quietly) Israel. To everyone’s enormous embarrassment, al-Qaeda is very firmly in this camp.

    On the other side are Iran, Hizbollah and post-bellum Iraq, strongly backed by Russia and China. Viewed from this wider perspective, Mr Cameron’s claim to be on the side of democracy and human rights, and against dictatorship, is not merely fraudulent – it is patently ridiculous.

    We are not on the side of democracy. As Sir Peter Tapsell hinted in the Commons, Britain has wholeheartedly backed the Sunni camp – Saudi, the Gulf States, and al-Qaeda – in its increasingly bloodthirsty and horrifying conflict against Shia Islam. There may be some very good reasons for this, but I do wish that the Prime Minister would re-engage with the real world, come out publicly, and explain what they are.

    *****************

  16. Binh: Communists don’t align with fascists in defense of fascism.

    If you want to talk to a Syrian communist, talk to George Sabra or Dr. Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm: http://therepublicgs.net/2013/04/27/interview-with-dr-sadiq/

    Y’know what Binh, if you commented in a comradely, open way, suggesting other points of view we might want to explore (which is, after all, all we were doing here), we would welcome it, and it would be good to debate it.

    But your entire approach to anyone who does not take your line is to sneer down at us, to make out that we’re somehow less than you, that we can’t even be debated with as adults.

    If you actually hope to persuade people that you’re right, I’ve got news for you: You’re turning people strongly away from your politics.

    You started off with a sneering lesson, about what real communists do or don’t do and using highly ideological terms to do so.

    Well here’s one for you: People who really want to change the world don’t act the way you’ve acted over this. People who really want to change the world will treat their allies as comrades even when there are serious disagreements, because people who really want to change the world actually want to influence people and convince them of their opinions.

    Sadly, in all your interventions in our comments, you’ve shown that are content only to be better than us. Well, ok, SU officially decares that you’re better than us. Congratulations.

    Meanwhile, given how different your opinion is and given how (for want of a better word) dogmatic you’ve been over Syria, I’d genuinely appreciate a proper critique of the Oborne article.

  17. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    It would seem the American authorities tap everyone’s phones, e-mails, Google searches, at least in the USA and probably elsewhere too.

    I read people like Binh, presumably a typical member of what US left that there is, and wonder what the point is if the supposedly most rebellious people in the USA are like Binh, with a similar foreign policy to John McCain. But then again, it would be naive to suppose that the state taps everyone’s phones and e-mails but refrains from infiltrating carbon-based life forms into the left as well.

  18. Judging by the interview Binh linked to, Dr. Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm is a fine fellow and a credit to the Syrian intelligentsia. I expect most of us here would share his enthusiasm for secular democracy. But if we get behind the romantic rhetoric of revolution, what we see in Syria is a brutal struggle for power waged by different factions of men with guns, none of whom seems particularly devoted to the ideals of secular democracy. If the “revolution” wins, I hope there will be a place for people like him in the new Syria. But I wouldn’t put money on it.

  19. Francis, it’s hard to argue that I have a romantic/idealized view of any revolution. That’s actually a huge problem that has emerged on the Marxist left since early 2011, as I document with examples here:
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=5759

    As for the rest, complaining about someone’s tone is the oldest trick in the book to avoid dealing with issues. Have any of you here written anything that rigorously factual and in depth that has grappled with any of the issues you raise — imperialism, Islamism, democratic versus socialist revolutions?

    I’ve put my work in on these topics:
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=8118
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=8293

    I’d like to see a critic do the same instead of bemoaning about manners.

  20. Binh,

    The trouble is mate, however erudite your analysis, if you base that analysis on wishful thinking instead of the facts then the results will be dubious.

    In Syria the forces opposing the government are not secular democrats, dreaming of a constitutional society bounded by the rule of law, and respect for pluralism.

    Assad’s government, however flawed it is, holds the line against a descent into barbarism, and collapse into sectarian anarchy.

  21. Manzil on said:

    Binh:
    Francis, it’s hard to argue that I have a romantic/idealized view of any revolution. That’s actually a huge problem that has emerged on the Marxist left since early 2011, as I document with examples here:
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=5759

    As for the rest, complaining about someone’s tone is the oldest trick in the book to avoid dealing with issues. Have any of you here written anything that rigorously factual and in depth that has grappled with any of the issues you raise — imperialism, Islamism, democratic versus socialist revolutions?

    I’ve put my work in on these topics:
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=8118
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=8293

    I’d like to see a critic do the same instead of bemoaning about manners.

    Only joking. But seriously, someone has a very high opinion of themselves.

    To be fair, you didn’t write anything rigorously factual or in-depth. You called the Syrian government ‘fascist’, and linked to an interview with a Syrian academic that, while interesting, has a rather partial view of the rebel forces. In those circumstances, there wasn’t much to respond to other than your tone.

    Did it not strike you as mildly ironic that your response to Tony’s comments about putting people off your politics essentially underscored his point?

    It’s hard to know how to respond to an analysis that regards the AWL as too anti-imperialist.

    The common thread to your articles seems to be that the ‘revolutionary Syrians’ and the pro-government forces are treated as simplistic and homogeneous blocs, while outside forces – whether NATO or the Gulf states – are essentially acknowledged but then dismissed as inconsequential to the political development of the civil war. Which is another point: the substantial backing for the government forces, and the reality that Syria is suffering a civil war rather than a popular revolt, is not addressed. Nor are the concerns of Christians and Shiites.

    If the people who voted for the government poll on constitutional reforms is even vaguely representative of the people who, if not supporters of Assad, nevertheless do not want the state to be overthrown by the rebels, then the number of people broadly antipathetic to the rebellion is a clear majority. This conflict is not something that will dissipate simply because the Assad family is overthrown, any more than Saddam’s disappearance resolved the tensions and contradictions within Iraq.

    The argument that Libya suffered no negative effects from NATO intervention, simply because there are no NATO bases, seems rather simplistic. And to apply this to Syria ignores the role that Saudi and Qatari governments play in propping up imperialism. The sectarian Sunni forces, which with their backing appear ascendant within the Syrian rebels, are essentially an indigenised expression of US interests – the isolation of Iran by breaking down its one regional ally.

    Little thought seems to be given as to what happens if the rebels win. Because they are consistently portrayed one-dimensionally, as an entirely scrupulous and democratic movement, no attempt is made to predict what will happen should the rebels seize power – the question then becomes how it will be distributed, who will hold the whip hand. This should not be dismissed as an afterthought. These are people’s lives.

    It seems to me that the absolute precondition for any flowering of democracy is a cessation of the conflict by mutual agreement. Your black-and-white perspective however seems to think that it should be fought out to its bloody conclusion.

  22. Vanya on said:

    Manzil:

    Only joking. But seriously, someone has a very high opinion of themselves.

    To be fair, you didn’t write anything rigorously factual or in-depth. You called the Syrian government ‘fascist’, and linked to an interview with a Syrian academic that, while interesting, has a rather partial view of the rebel forces. In those circumstances, there wasn’t much to respond to other than your tone.

    Did it not strike you as mildly ironic that your response to Tony’s comments about putting people off your politics essentially underscored his point?

    It’s hard to know how to respond to an analysis that regards the AWL as too anti-imperialist.

    The common thread to your articles seems to be that the ‘revolutionary Syrians’ and the pro-government forces are treated as simplistic and homogeneous blocs, while outside forces – whether NATO or the Gulf states – are essentially acknowledged but then dismissed as inconsequential to the political development of the civil war. Which is another point: the substantial backing for the government forces, and the reality that Syria is suffering a civil war rather than a popular revolt, is not addressed. Nor are the concerns of Christians and Shiites.

    If the people who voted for the government poll on constitutional reforms is even vaguely representative of the people who, if not supporters of Assad, nevertheless do not want the state to be overthrown by the rebels, then the number of people broadly antipathetic to the rebellion is a clear majority. This conflict is not something that will dissipate simply because the Assad family is overthrown, any more than Saddam’s disappearance resolved the tensions and contradictions within Iraq.

    The argument that Libya suffered no negative effects from NATO intervention, simply because there are no NATO bases, seems rather simplistic. And to apply this to Syria ignores the role that Saudi and Qatari governments play in propping up imperialism. The sectarian Sunni forces, which with their backing appear ascendant within the Syrian rebels, are essentially an indigenised expression of US interests – the isolation of Iran by breaking down its one regional ally.

    Little thought seems to be given as to what happens if the rebels win. Because they are consistently portrayed one-dimensionally, as an entirely scrupulous and democratic movement, no attempt is made to predict what will happen should the rebels seize power – the question then becomes how it will be distributed, who will hold the whip hand. This should not be dismissed as an afterthought. These are people’s lives.

    It seems to me that the absolute precondition for any flowering of democracy is a cessation of the conflict by mutual agreement. Your black-and-white perspective however seems to think that it should be fought out to its bloody conclusion.

    Which might just be forgiveable if there was the slightest shred of credible evidence that such a conclusion would be vaguely progressive.

    But none of the left supporters of the rebellion have presented anything I have seen that represents such evidence.

  23. Vanya on said:

    Tony if I select a bit of text to quote it still posts the whole comment I quote. On android that is.

  24. Binh: As for the rest, complaining about someone’s tone is the oldest trick in the book to avoid dealing with issues.

    Well, it’s not as old as the trick you’ve played there: pretending that your opponent is only complaining about your tone instead of dealing with the issues.

    I’ve dealt with the issues you raised, but as I said previously, your obnoxious tone towards people means people aren’t willing to have a comradely discussion with you.

    See, if you spent any time on this site, you would’ve seen by now that what people like me really thirst for is an honest exchange of views, to perhaps persuade each other, to learn some new facts.

    But your entire posture is to dismiss us, to sneer at us. You don’t want to persuade us, you just want to let everyone else know how wrong we are.

    That’s not a socialist, marxist, or honest approach. Perhaps I complain about your tone because it’s the thing that comes across more than any “points” you raise.

    Over the last few months, you’ve not engaged with anyone on here except to sneer at them.

    That’s fine if all you want to do is show how much better you are. As I’ve said, we at SU willingly concede, you’re better than us. You should be proud that we have conceded this. It’s a great prize you’ve won.

    However, we’re actually interested in teasing out the issues on here. I’m not interested in the thing you keep doing, which is to post links and sneer. I asked you for your take on the Oborne article, but you did what you always do – you ignored that part of what I said.

    Talk about “avoiding issues”.

    Now, do you actually want to engage people in a constructive debate in which you might persuade people to see things from your point of you? If so, as I said to you enough times in the past, you’re very welcome to make your case. I really want to see it. But don’t just tell me that you’ve written all about it elsewhere. If that’s how we’re doing things, we may as well just list all our articles and say “there, that’s what we think”.

  25. Vanya: Tony if I select

    Yes?

    Vanya: a bit of text to

    To what?

    Vanya: quote

    Ah. Do go on.

    Vanya: it still posts the whole comment I quote.

    Hmm. That’s odd. What platform are you using?

    Vanya: android

    Ah. Ok.

    Can you do a bit of experimenting – for example, when you “preview” the comment, does the whole quote come up? Does it happen in every thread? Does it happen even if you select one word?

    This *might* be something that’s just buggy in Android (ie “tough luck, get an iphone”) – I’ll look into it. Thanks for the heads-up. Oh, also do you remember whether this happened under the 1970s version of the site?

  26. I just noticed, it’s the same on my iphone.

    Vanya, this means it’s not your fault!

    It happens in Safari and Chrome, so it’s clearly a proper bug. I’ll look into it…

  27. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    The “rebels'” key sponsor in Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, is now mired in huge difficulties after showing the world that there is not much space for protest in Turkey without the cops moving in with riot guns and gas. Yet he appeared to be sitting pretty just two weeks ago.

    If Sabra and so on cannot see imperialism, perhaps it is because it is an elephant in the room which they don’t want to mention because the elephant is also their employer.

  28. iVanya:
    #29 Are you on a commission from Apple by any chance Tony?

    Don’t pretend you wouldn’t have taken the money to rebrand it as iSocialist Unity, too. Personally I think the Apple & Sickle makes for a lovely emblem.

  29. Vanya on said:

    #33 You may or not be aware that one of the inventor of the Apple Mac and co-founder of the Apple company was (maybe still is) a member of a US trot group affiliated to the USFI- a split from the US SWP following their expulsion of orthodox trots.

    All the members of the said group, which is based in San Fransico were issued with a free Mac (or so I understand).

  30. Manzil on said:

    LOL

    I wasn’t aware. But nothing is too good for the (revolutionary party of the) working class.

  31. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    The police are attacking demonstrators in Taksim. They say they are not attacking the ones in Gezi Park itself but in fact these are being affected by the gas.

  32. daniel young on said:

    Paid your spare room tax yet Mark.Is death tv of those not in your room more important.

  33. Manzil on said:

    daniel young:
    Has your Mum packed your LUNCH for your stint on the barricade.COME ON.

    This is literally the first coherent thing you’ve ever managed to type, and it turns out to be both completely inexplicable, and insulting. I preferred it when you typed with your feet.

  34. It’s unfortunate nobody who criticized my views actually bothered to look into the plethora of sources and links I provided to things like Kafranbel’s popular committee which is drawing up the kind of constitution Andy confidently assures no one in the Syrian opposition is interested in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_UVQHIMx88

    So instead of engaging with evidence, we just get assertions that none has been presented.

    In other news, the IDF is helping the regime crush the revolt:
    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Syria-asked-IDF-to-hold-fire-as-it-battled-rebels-315882

    And at least one person recognizes fascism when he sees it:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jun/11/bnp-nick-griffin-syria-assad

  35. Binh: Kafranbel’s popular committee which is drawing up the kind of constitution Andy confidently assures no one in the Syrian opposition is interested

    Meanwhile, some of your allies shoot a 14 year old boy in the face for flippantly mentioning Mohammed’s name, and another of your allies bites a human heart ripped from a dead foe as his troops cheer on. The rebels are descending into anarchistic conflict between themselves, as “Al Qada in Iraq” takes over the Islamist forces.

    What does it say about that in the proposed “constitution” ??

  36. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    And Erdogan, a key Syrian “rebel” supporter, is looking and acting more like Hitler with every day that passes.

  37. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    And Erdogan has called for “national will” rallies in his support. Anything like “triumph of the will”? I think we can add the AKP government in Turkey to the growing roster of 21st century fascism.

  38. John on said:

    Erdogan is receiving his just deserts over his treacherous role in Syria. I was at a meeting last night to listen to Palestinian hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak and got speaking to a Turkish activist. She told me that the majority of Turks are opposed to Turkey’s involvement in Syria as a puppet of the West.

    Another way of describing what’s unfolding in Turkey is poetic justice.

  39. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    John:
    Erdogan is receiving his just deserts over his treacherous role in Syria. I was at a meeting last night to listen to Palestinian hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak and got speaking to a Turkish activist. She told me that the majority of Turks are opposed to Turkey’s involvement in Syria as a puppet of the West.

    Another way of describing what’s unfolding in Turkey is poetic justice.

    Most people in Turkey, even AKP voters, want to stay out of the Syrian situation. They realise that Turkey has just been acting as a proxy for the USA. As for the left, in Western Europe much of it has junked any anti-imperialist analysis. Not in Turkey. The left there is much more conscious of their country being used as a launching pad for adventures against Iraq, Syria and Iran and they are opposed to such adventures.

  40. John: She told me that the majority of Turks are opposed to Turkey’s involvement in Syria as a puppet of the West.

    I wonder, though – is Turkey’s involvement in Syria simply that of a “puppet of the West”? Turkey is an increasingly important regional power in its own right, with its own quite imposing imperial history – not least in what is now Syria. Perhaps its rulers are intervening in the Syrian conflict primarily in pursuit of their own hegemonic ambitions rather than someone else’s?

  41. John on said:

    Francis King: I wonder, though – is Turkey’s involvement in Syria simply that of a “puppet of the West”?

    This certainly appears to be the perception.

    Yes, doubtless the Turkish military leadership and political class has its own hegemonic interests. However those interests can only be achieved as part of a strategic alliance with other states pursuing their strategic interests, given the global importance of the region.

    Erdogan made the choice to ally Turkey with Israel and the West with this objective in mind.

    I believe and hope it will prove his undoing.

  42. Binh: IDF is helping the regime crush the revolt

    Oh sure it is, by sending its planes to bomb Syrian government military installations. LOL.

    Binh: at least one person recognizes fascism

    Well, Griffin & co also say they support nationalising the railways. So presumably you think the left should abandon that policy!

  43. Francis King: is Turkey’s involvement in Syria simply that of a “puppet of the West”? Turkey is an increasingly important regional power in its own right, with its own quite imposing imperial history – not least in what is now Syria. Perhaps its rulers are intervening in the Syrian conflict primarily in pursuit of their own hegemonic ambitions

    This is a good point- & BTW Saudi Arabia, Qatar and of course Israel also have their own nasty & greedy agendas. However as John suggests, these interests can only be promoted under the umbrella of progressing western (mainly US) imperialist objectives. Conversely for the USA, it advances or defends its global economic & strategic interests partly by facilitating the ambitions of its proxies.

    In this case, promoting an anti-Shiite/Alawite sectarian agenda is helpful for all these parties, aiming to isolate, weaken & destroy the resistance axis of Iran, Syria & Hizbollah.

  44. Moktar on said:

    Not a single mention of CLASS by the supposed “communist” throughout the interview. Pathetic and shows what they really are (bourgeois lackeys)

  45. jack ford on said:

    Looks like the neocons are determined to carefully orchestrate some kind of “humanitarian” pretext to bypass the UNSC and intervene militarily. Remember how the Iraqis were allegedly tossing Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators? How the Bosnian Serbs lobbed mortar rounds (in an physically impossible trajectory) into the Markale market in Sarajevo? The Racak massacre? How the Serbian “Chetniks” used “rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing” (even though their enemy was of the same ethnicity)? Do you remember how Gaddafi gave Viagra and condoms to his soldiers? How Saddam could launch chemical warheads at the UK in 45 minutes? Ok, it appears that now Assad has used chemical weapons against the FSA. Nevermind that this narrative categorically contradicts even a superficial attempt at understanding what is going on in Syria by using common sense. Hey – if Western politicians say its true, then you can take it to the bank. After all, we all know that Western politicians never lie, don’t we?