Interview with Salameh Kayleh, Syrian Revolutionary
Salameh Kayleh is a Syrian Marxist intellectual of Palestinian origin. He spent several years imprisoned by the dictatorship of Bashar al Assad. Arrested again in April 2012 and then deported to Jordan. In the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia, conducted in late March, Kayleh attended the workshop in favour of the Syrian revolution organized by IWU-FI. There, together with other organizations, it was decided to convene an international meeting to support the revolution in Syria on 11 and 12 July in Istanbul, Turkey. In recent weeks a number of battles in the north of the country and in towns close to Damascus, would show that Assad forces are losing ground again.
What is your opinion about what is going on in Syria?
The Syrian situation is difficult and complex, Syria now is the centre for confrontation of regional and imperialist countries to the revolutions that began in Tunisia and expanded like a flame throughout the Arab countries before it stopped in Syria as a result of the brutality of the regime of al-Assad, and the influence of some countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These countries promote the Islamisation and distortion of the revolution, through the support of the radical factions of “jihad”, such as Al Nusrah, ISIS, Ahrar al Sham and Islamic Army.
Thus, the people who revolted in order to change the regime and achieve economic freedom and democracy are placed in a very difficult situation. More than half of population are refugees and homeless after the destruction of towns and villages with fighter planes and tanks, long-range missiles, and chemical weapons. With the departure of so many people the revolution has suffered from the loss of followers. Those who stayed behind are left facing not only the regime, but in addition they are facing ISIS and Al Nusrah. These fundamentalist forces, which want to impose religion (as interpreted by them) and the establishment of the authority of the Caliphate, and the fight against “apostates of Islam”, i.e., those who disagree with them. This is their combat mission instead of fighting the regime. Some people are there facing poverty and siege by the regime, economic collapse, and kidnapping and, at the same time, fighting ISIS and Al Nusrah.
With all this support the regime is unable to claim victory and to end the struggle. But the chaos of the revolution and with the protection of the regime by Iran and the role of the “jihadists” which is supported by the regime ,Iran, Saudi Arabia and others, causing the conflict to move to a dead end, and the solution is now dependent on a regional international solution , as a result of the controlling of some countries such as the US, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia the authority and the opposition parties.
Yet this is not the end of the revolution. The resistance continues. In any case, the revolution will continue until the people are victorious. This makes most important and urgent a network of solidarity with the Syrian revolution.
What is your opinion about what is going on in Tunisia?
Now the government has been formed by the Nidaa Tunis alliance, headed by a former minister of the old regime. After the elections of last December and the failure of the Ennahda Islamic movement government, that wanted to impose its control during the three years after the revolution. But it is clear that the fear of a new uprising of the people, especially with the return to the application of the International Monetary Fund policies that meant looting by imperialism. This has lead to an alliance of the two political groups representing the bourgeoisie, which see the need to join together on the looting of the people. It has become clear that the dependence on the financial imperialist dictates that policies that allow the financial imperialism to plunder even more, given the deep ongoing crisis of capitalism.
Therefore, it’s not about the victory of the “democratic course”, but rather the crisis of the dominant class forces them to face it this way. While the poverty of the people deepens, it is expected the people will explode again. This is the track that one should pay attention to, to the impulse of the next phase, because people are struggling for change and will not stop before they succeed. That is why I think that Tunisia, without a doubt, will witness a new revolution, which will raise the need to discuss the right policies to meet people’s needs; and to develop its revolution in order to truly win and not be distracted by the democratic process, which reflects precisely the devotion of the alliance of the capitalists.
The problem is the old left-wing parties consider that the democratic course is the basis of the struggle, and it is the way to change. Thus they weaken and lose a lot of the youth, who played an important role in the revolution, before and after. This young generation is what counts for the change and is the hope of the future to create a new, Marxist revolutionary left.
In your opinion, what are the steps that should be taken by the revolutionary left in the Arab countries for the near future?
The task is to form a Marxist revolutionary party, depending on the spirit of the revolutions and the engagement of millions of young people in politics without any political consciousness. It has been shown that the totality of the old parties of the left are far away from the impoverished classes, and suffer from fatigue since most of their members are older, and also suffer from intellectual fatigue and focus on democracy. They are not aware of the poor workers’ and peasants’ problems. This caused the start of new tracks of the revolutions that require the establishment of a revolutionary left, to be formed by the same movement and the youth who are facing the conflict. The young generation, who are seeking to develop their intellect through the pursuit of reading Marxism and an understanding of the reality, and who are also in search of the right and necessary organizational forms in order to win the revolution.
What seems important now is: 1) The progression of the Marxist consciousness, based on the fact that Marxism is a thinking approach which by itself allows the scientific understanding of reality; 2) To start a serious dialogue to develop an alternative vision, an alternative project to represent the labourers and poor peasants; that speaks on behalf of the workers and poor peasants, and determines the strategies that will lead to the victory of the revolution as long as we are in the revolutionary era; 3) To understand how to mobilise the peoples movement towards an organised revolution with its own agenda.
Published in El Socialista (13 May 2015), newspaper of Izquierda Socialista (UIT-CI) [Socialist Left, IWU-FI].