Syria, North Korea and Cuba by Gearóid Ó Colmáin
As NATO and Gulf Co-operation Council terrorists persist in their attempt to destroy the Syrian Arab Republic with car bombs, torture, beheadings and mayhem, the Syrian state has still shown no evidence of imminent collapse. Russia has sent 5 warships to the Mediterranean. China has continued to condemn, albeit with extreme diplomacy, NATO’s interference; Venezuela has offered oil to help cope with Western sanctions; the Syrian financial budget has been decided for 2013; restaurants and cafes continue to open for business in Damascus and normal bilateral diplomatic and trade relations continue to exist between Syria and most of the world’s peace-loving countries. In short, Syria still has many friends in the world and the people of Syria are determined to resist imperialist aggression to the end. One could argue that Syria has far more genuine friends in the world than the execrable coalition of countries attacking it.
A few months ago, the Syrian government met with officials from the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea in Damascus to discuss the possibilities to widening bilateral trade between the two staunchly patriotic states. The DPRK has been resisting US imperialism since the Korean War of 1950, when the United States under the aegis of the UN razed 19 North Korean cities to the ground, forcing the population to live in caves.
According to Professor Bruce Cumings from the University of Chicago in his book North Korea, Pentagon generals were planning to exterminate the entire population of North Korea.
The diabolical plan was to create what was described as a nuclear desert from North Korea across Manchuria in China. The plan was drafted by a US general Douglas MacArthur. Operation Hudson Harbour was a military exercise which involved sending B-52 bombers over North Korea in a simulation of a doomsday nuclear bombing campaign the US military was planning to unleash on the Korean people. This was the twentieth century’s other “final solution,” one most people have never even heard of.1
General MacArthur’s plan in his own words was “to drop between 30 and 50 atomic bombs strung across the neck of Manchuria.” The bombs, he enthused, “would have spread behind us-from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea… a belt of radioactive cobalt… it has an active life of between 60 and 120 years. For at least 60 years there would have been no land invasion of Korea from the North.”
The UN sanctioned bombings of North Korea exterminated over 3 million people. It is, in the words of Cumings, the twentieth century’s “hidden holocaust.” Those who would ridicule the strange, “extreme”, “totalitarian” or “crazy” image of the DPRK in the world would do well to think about the unspeakable hell on earth the “international community” inflicted on the people of that country, before passing judgment on their refusal to surrender; their siege mentality and the obvious idiosyncrasies of their political system.
It is indeed a miracle that North Korea was capable of surviving the UN genocide. In fact, in spite of being bombed into the Stone Age by the UN, the DPRK managed to provide a higher standard of living for its people than the US proxy, fascist, sweat-shop regime in the south right up to the mid 1980s, in spite of the constant sanctions from the “international community” and military threats from the US-occupied South. Today every family in North Korea has access to free healthcare and education, unlike the “free” United States. North Korean parents don’t need to worry about the safety of their loved ones when they send them off to school, unlike the “free” United States. The former head of the World Health Organisation told Agence France Press on April 30, 2010 that the DPRK had a healthcare system that should be the envy of the entire developing world. “Axis of evil” regimes have a most sadistic tendency to provide free healthcare for their people.
North Korean citizens don’t need to worry if the products they are eating contain noxious GMOs, as GMOs are banned in the DPRK. Unlike the “free” United States where millions of families have lost their homes since the economic crisis in 2008, DPRK citizens also don’t need to worry about losing their homes or jobs as these are provided to every citizen by the state. Millions of Americans are now officially homeless with poverty levels approaching 60 million. The DPRK does not have extreme poverty. Most of the country’s very real economic problems stem from the sanctions imposed by the “international community” who are angry at the people of the DPRK for not surrendering after their bombing campaign of the 1950s.
The close bilateral relations between the DPRK and the Syrian Arab Republic are a cogent example of the solidarity that exists between countries that have been assaulted by Euro-Atlantic imperialism. The Syrian Arab Republic has received full and unambiguous support from its friends in Latin America since the start of NATO’s covert war in Syria on March 17, 2011, when snipers shot at police and protesters alike in town of Deraa.
Unlike the pseudo-leftists who claim to oppose US imperialism, claim to support Cuba and Venezuela while at the same time cheering on the CIA-backed, fascist death squads in the name of “democracy” and “freedom,” genuine anti-imperialists, communists, libertarians, and peace-activists support the patriotic resistance of the Syrian people under the leadership of President Assad. As all politically educated people know, Bashar Al-Assad was never the source of Syria’s deep and complex problems. In Syria, the democratic opposition to Assad such as the Syrian Communist Party (Bakdash), also support the Assad government’s war on terrorism.
What the rebel-cheering, petty-bourgeois leftists simply do not understand is the key Marxist-Leninist concept of primary and secondary contradictions. For example, a communist will remain diametrically opposed to Bashar Al-Assad’s capitalist regime. This is a primary contradiction in the context of peace-time. In other words, when Syria is at peace, a communist would oppose the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie under Bashar Al-Assad. But in wartime, the concrete conditions change and the primary contradiction becomes a secondary one. Now the primary contradiction is between imperialism and national sovereignty. In this context, the communists must support the bourgeois government against the foreign aggressors attempting to colonise and destroy the nation.
In this context then, a genuine communist will support Assad IN HIS FIGHT AGAINST imperialist aggression. The difference between the communist and the bourgeois nationalist has now become a secondary contradiction. In the immediate fight against imperialism, classes can unite to defend the nation. But as soon as imperialism is defeated, the contradictions between the communists and the bourgeois nationalists will become primary once more. To support Assad or Kim Jong Un, therefore, is not to support this person per se, nor their specific socio-economic policies, or the political ideology these people represent. It is simply to affirm the right of nations to decide their own fate.
What today’s petty-bourgeois leftists lack is this rudimentary understanding of dialectics and revolutionary tactics. When communists joined the British Army to fight for the British Empire against Hitler during the Second World War, they were fighting for the very modest gains they had made in Britain through class struggle against the Nazi system which would have deprived them of even those basic rights. But they were not fighting for Churchill or the Queen. On the contrary, they saw their fight as a necessary stage in the on-going struggle for social and political liberation. They understood that the capitalist state would have to be tackled once the threat of fascism was averted. The same primary and secondary contradictions were manifested in the heroic alliance of the French Communist Party and General de Gaulle during the Nazi occupation of France. The difference between these communists and the veritable caricature of leftism that prevails today is that they former possessed a concrete and scientific understanding of class struggle and the intricacies of the genuine revolutionary tactics of their time.
Notwithstanding the unceasing daily accusations made by the so- called “rebels” and MI6’s propaganda organ, the now infamous “Syrian Observatory of Human Rights” — not to mention US government-linked organisations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International — not one crime allegedly carried out by the Syrian security forces has been verified. However, hundreds if not thousands of crimes carried out by NATO/GCC armed gangs have been posted online by the terrorists themselves.
NATO’s minions are obviously proud of the fact that they can act with impunity. As the capitalist mode of production forces most people to work longer hours where independent media access is often blocked as a matter of company policy, and where corporate obedience replaces critical thought, the citizens of Western societies have been reduced to a sprawling mass of semi-comatose fools, continuing to feed on media junk food, unaware of the health warnings concerning NATO war propaganda posted across the independent internet media.
On December 4, Syrian Minister of Health, Dr. Saad Al-Nayef visited Cuba to attend the International Conference on Global Health in Havana. Dr. Al-Nayef visited several hospitals, biotechnological and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Cuba and affirmed Syria’s wish to avail of Cuban expertise in medicine.
The Syrian health service, which is universal and free, has been under considerable strain for many years due to the extra medical care needed to treat the more than one million refugees the Syrian government received from Iraq after the US invasion in 2003. If there is a humanitarian agenda to be spoken about in Syria, it is the unfailing generosity and support Damascus has given refugees fleeing American-occupied Iraq and Israeli- occupied Palestine.
As in the example of North Korea above, Cuba and Syria have also much in common.
Like Cuba, the Baath regime in Syria pursued a policy of extensive land reform in the 1960s, redistributing land to peasants and undertaking ambitious agricultural projects with the aim of becoming self-sufficient in food production. As any visitor to Syria can attest, the country has a thriving agricultural sector, and the markets are overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables. While farmers in US-occupied Iraq are now being forced to grow GMO crops, the noxious anti-food is banned in the Syrian Arab Republic.
One of the techniques used by corporate press to fool naive and politically illiterate youth is to make occasional “anti-imperialist” allusions, in order to present the empire’s mercenaries as analogous to genuine revolutionaries. And so, Mark Urban of the BBC compares the “revolutionary tactics” of the “rebels” to those of Mao and Che Guevara. From the very start, the Arab Spring was portrayed by the corporate press as a spontaneous uprising against globalisation. Most leftists took the bait. Urban’s leftist baiting is worth reproducing in full here.
When Mao led his communist army on its “Long March” in China in 1934, it was a struggle for survival prompted by the encirclement of a “liberated area” that his critics said he had declared prematurely.
Che Guevara debated the Liberated Zone concept with Fidel Castro, and in their war against the Soviet army, the mujahedeen at times proclaimed parts of Afghanistan, such as the Panjsher Valley to be free too.
Here we see Mao and Che Guevara being compared to US-backed feudalist Mujahedeen against the socialist government in Afghanistan during the 1980s. This is all it takes to dupe the postmodern leftist: dress up a gang of ruthless fascists in a garb of commie memorabilia and you’ve got an effective left cover for naked imperialism.
Imperialism loves rebels. When the Spanish rebels led by Francisco Franco waged war against the democratic government of Spain in 1936, imperialism came to their aid in the form of a bombing campaign. The same scenario was repeated in Libya last year with the allies playing the role of the Axis powers, bombing the fascists to power.
Libya’s far-right Islamo-fascists also received extensive support from liberals and Trotskyites such as the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste in France. During the Spanish Civil War, Franco also received indirect help from the Trotskyists in Spain when they refused to join the popular front behind the democratic government against the fascists.2 After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the slogan of neither/nor — Trotsky’s Brest Litovsk gaffe where he refused to make peace agreements with the Germans, almost losing the Revolution — is the general rallying cry of the Trotskyists. We don’t support NATO but we don’t support Assad either. We’re for the rebels but against NATO. This is the kind of stupidity that the Trotskyites have been engaging in now since the 1930s.
During the Spanish Civil War, for example, the Trotskyites encouraged attacks on Christian churches. Atrocities and crimes against humanity were committed against Catholic priests at a time when the Frente Popular was desperately trying to win support among progressive Catholics for the people’s democratic resistance to Franco. J.R Campbell writes:
The efforts of the Communist Party to explain that such activity had nothing in common with revolutionary tactics were spat upon. Yet, one of the most important problems facing the Spanish workers was to win religious-minded peasants for the Popular Front. Church burning hindered the vital task and helped the counter-revolution. So much so that in various parts of the country, before the Fascist rebellion, Fascist groups were caught red-handed burning churches.3
In the height of the Spanish Civil War when fascism was about to seize power, Trotsky urged his followers to attack the bourgeois Spanish government and the popular front. He wrote, “It is necessary to pass to an international offensive against Stalinism.”4 This was music to ears of Franco, Hitler and Mussolini. It is not surprising therefore that Goebbels wrote in his dairy that the Nazis were using Trotskyist propaganda to win workers to their side during Operation Barbarossa.5
This pseudo-leftist rhetoric that serves imperialism goes right back to their namesake Leon Trotsky, a man who was so desperate to seize power in the USSR that he collaborated with Nazi Germany and militarist Japan.6
The Islamo-fascists are now receiving the same support in Syria, while Trotskyites are up to their usual tricks masking their imperialism in pseudo-revolutionary phrases. The SWP, in spite of being proven wrong by an overwhelming barrage of data, continue to defend Nato’s death squads while masking their non-analysis in left-sounding phrases like “revolutionary committees.”
Meanwhile in France, the farcical Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, true to old Trotsky, gives full support to the Syrian rebels, masking their reaction in phrases such as “permanent revolution.” When will these people every learn?
Respect for socialist Cuba runs deep in Baathist Syria. Many shops throughout the country sell memorabilia and books of Che Guevara. A key technique of the Arab Spring destabilisation has been to portray right wing reactionaries as akin to “communist revolutionaries.” Capitalism has always used the symbols of the left to perpetuate itself in times of severe economic crisis. This is why the German fascists in the 1920s chose to call themselves “national socialists.” It was an attempt by the ruling class to regenerate capitalism through the use and distortion of the symbols of socialism. That is also why the proletarian clenched fist has become the logo of CIA-funded colour revolutions today.
Like Syria, Cuba has been resisting US terrorism since the revolution in 1959. America’s desire to “free” the Cuban people has involved poisoning their crops using biological weapons, placing bombs in their hotels; blowing up civilian airliners; putting cement in children’s milk and imposing a crippling economic embargo on the country’s people.
Yet notwithstanding this unrelenting terrorist campaign, Cuba, like North Korea and Syria, continues to resist. Closer co-operation between Syria and Cuba in the health sector shows the determination of both countries to confront war with peace, hate with love, and disease with health.
In spite of the occupation by NATO/GCC death squads of several quarters of Aleppo where they are imposing a crude, Taliban-like caricature of Sharia Law on its traumatised citizens, the Syrian Army continues to fight for the independence and sovereignty of the Syrian people, whose unswerving support it enjoys. These soldiers, like their counterparts in Libya in 2011, are the real heroes, the real revolutionaries of the so-called “Arab Spring.”
All of progressive humanity supports the Syrian Arab Republic. The longer the Euro-Atlantic oligarchs and their Gulf puppets pursue their genocidal neocolonialism in the Levant, the more discontent with austerity, misery and lies will grow at home. If they do not cease this madness the Euro-Atlantic oligarchs may yet be hoist with their own petard when people realise just who the dictators of this world really are.
Gearóid Ó Colmáin was born in Cork, Ireland, and is currently based in Paris. He is a former bilingual columnist with Metro Eireann. His interests include geopolitcs, globalisation, philosophy and the arts. He is a member of Pôle de renaissance communiste en France (PRCF) a political movement which advocates Marxism-Leninism and the formation of a revolutionary communist party in France. Visit Gearóid’s website.
. 1.Cumings, Bruce.(2004), North Korea: Another Country, The New Press, New York, London. [↩]
. 2.Landis, Arthur. (1972), Spain the Unfinished Revolution, International Publishers, New York. [↩]
. 3.Campbell, J.R.(1939), Soviet Policy And Its Critics, Victor Gollancz LTD, London. [↩]
. 4.Ibid, p. 372. [↩]
. 5.Losurdo, Domenico.(2008), Stalin, Storia e critica di una leggenda nera, Carroci Editore S.p.A, Roma, p.87. [↩]
. 6.Professor Grover Furr, Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan. [↩]