Syria – Anarchism in the service of an imperialist war

Some of the anti-state heroes in the cabinet of Spain in the 1930s


Due to the uncontested dominance of Stalinism whether in the form of the traditional Stalinism or in its metamorphosed form like different groups of Worker Communism, the other leftist tendencies such as Maoism, Trotskyism, etc. have been marginal in the political milieu of Iran. Anarchism has not been represented by any political tendencies in the political milieu of Iran; recently only individuals have expressed their individual, anarchist beliefs. But these individuals have not said anything without throwing a stone at Marx and the Marxists. If the question remained at this level, definitely anti-Marxist propaganda like this would not attract anyone’s attention. Apparently the interests of Anarchists in anti-Marxist propaganda are in line with that of the institutions and bourgeois ideologists.

One of these anti-Marxist heroes known as “Nader Tiff” regarded Marx as a tyrant and, reducing the social events to the level of personal conflict, he writes:

“The dictatorial attitude of Marx in the First International and the expulsion of Bakunin and imposition of a split in this international organization …” [Our translation]

Anarchists are unable to understand this issue that the influence and the power of the Marxists in the First International indicated that the workers were leaving behind the period of small manufactories and were flooding toward the industries and, as a social class, were demanding an influence over social developments.

Bakunin failed to understand that Marxism expressed maturity and reflected the emergence of a social class in society that wanted to carry out its historic mission of overthrowing capitalism through the Communist Revolution and establishing a communist society, not through rebellion or insurgency but rather with a political program and a social revolution. So by resorting to anti-worker actions and the formation of freemasons within the First International Bakunin tried to destroy it from within. Adventures, anti-working traditions and the humiliating attitude of the workers of Bakunin and Proudhon are not the scope of this article and other writings are required.

But, in the other text by Mr. ”Nader Tiff”, he is suffering from delirium and believes that the Bolshevik Party led to the defeat of the October Revolution by seizing the power of the Soviets, and he writes:

“Before the Bolshevik Party defeated the October Revolution by pre-empting of power of the Soviets…”. [Our translation]

Internationalists have announced that although Anarchists and Stalinists are mortal enemies, they have a lot in common. Only Stalinists and Anarchists can believe that socialism can be established in a developed island like Great Britain. The socialism of Stalinists became the Eastern bloc, the revolution and socialism of the anarchists became the “Spanish Republic”. The glorious October Revolution was not defeated by the Bolsheviks and not in Moscow or Leningrad but rather the wave of world revolution was defeated in Berlin and Munich. The shooting of revolutionaries were begun by the Germans and the bloodiest revenge on the authors of the October Revolution took place. Stalinism stabilized itself on the bones of the communists that were turned to blood.

If anarchists just dealt with anti-Marxist propaganda and did not encourage workers to slaughter in the imperialist war, it would be important as a critical tendency. But the recent translation by Mr. “Nader Tiff” indicates the deep reactionary and anti-worker nature of this anti-Marxist anarchist, who is hiding behind the seemingly radical word, and reveals and illustrates how the workers became cannon fodder in the war against gangsters under the title of the calls for revolution.

Mr “Nader Tiff” has recently translated a text from Syrian anarchists into Persian that in fact is a commemoration of one of the Syrian theoreticians and economists of anarchism, called “Ommar Aziz” which recently died in prison at the hands of Syrian gangsters. This translation has been published on one of the Iranian leftist sites [1], and clearly shows how anarchism is serving the imperialist war in Syria.

The text explains that “Ommar Aziz”, “anarchist intellectual and economist”, in the early days of the revolution returned to Syria, to organize the leaderless and horizontal organizations and established the neighbourhood council on the outskirts of Damascus. Calling every reactionary movement ‘revolution’ and every organization ‘Council’ only expresses the position that anarchism stands. The basic question is, what is the material force of this revolution? During the Revolution, which new mode of production is going to replace the old mode of production?

The anarchists’ text explains that youths, women and ethnic minorities are the material forces of this revolution, and they have no traditional ideology and are only active for human rights and their primary goal is the overthrow of the Assad regime in Syria, and yet they have no ideas for the future of Syria.

“The majority of activists, youths, women and ethnics do not follow one of the traditional ideologies, but they are fighting for freedom and basic human rights. They have a main target which is the overthrow of the regime and yet they do not any idea of finding great ways for the future of Syria.”[2] [Our translation]

Anarchists hide their reactionary nature behind the phrase of Revolution and Council; saying that revolution is going on but the material force of this revolution does not yet have any idea of finding great ways for the future of Syria! If we put aside the paradoxes and inconsistencies of the text, just a paragraph of the text shows that anarchists (at least the anarchists of Syria) are not different from other tendencies of the left of capital and in Syria they are in the service of the imperialist war and make the workers cannon fodder for the bourgeoisie. We can look at these gem words from the Syrian anarchists:

Three – communications with the Free Syrian Army and interrelationships for the continuation of the revolution, to defend and protect the community. Aziz believed that coordination between civil resistance and armed resistance is very important. He believed that the Free Syrian Army could undertake the protection and defence of the community, especially during the protests and provide safe lines for the connection between different areas for the displacement of people; the transporting of their needs can be done safely away from the side of the attack of the Assad regime. Instead neighbourhood councils can provide food and shelter for members of the Free Syrian Army and match its activities to protect and defend the strategic area”. [3] [Emphasis in original] [Our translation]

The theorist and economist of anarchists, thugs, and a group of criminals of Bashar al-Assad’s regime have now joined the opposition, who have blood on their hands, and in the line of the imperialist policies of Western and Arabic countries and with financial, arms and logistics support these gangsters have formed a group called the free Syrian Army. The criminals organized in black gangs of the Free Syrian Army get the title as the armed resistance and recommend the people provide food, housing and other needs of these gangsters. Through demagoguery these criminals will ensure public safety against the mercenaries of the Assad regime.

Unlike the delirium of the anarchists, who call the backfiring of a motorcycle exhaust ‘revolution’, we can say that not only is there no on-going revolution in Syria but also a barbarism that is the stigmatism of capitalism actually going on there. This war has disintegrated the leading echelons of society. This war provoked differences in ethnic, religious, and tribal groups and has destroyed the requirement for an independent movement by the working class. The war distracts protesters from their class-independent path and prevents the Syrian working class from stamping its role on social events as a battalion of the international working class. So this war is a war against the working class as well.

This is not the first time that anarchists encourage workers to act as bourgeois cannon fodder. In the 1930s the left of capital, including the anarchists, tried to subordinate the working class to the bourgeois state. This was while the champion workers of Barcelona in the summer of 1926 repelled the battalions of Franco, who were armed to the teeth, without any guns. But when the same workers began to protest in January 1933, the socialist Azana in Andalusia province as our Lajevardi sent the order: “No injuries, no prisoners, shoot them all down!” Anarchists paved the way for the formation of the People’s Front and on the 15th January 1935 the leftist currents signed the Treaty of People’s Front. Anarchist leaders abandoned their anti-parliamentary principles and supported the People’s Front.

Our anti-Marxist anarchist, Mr. Nader Tiff expresses the most sensational anti-government sentiment, without doing a critique of anarchism, in relation to this issue and he writes:

“That’s where we can say that the main enemy of the labor movement anywhere in the world can be summarized in a four-letter word: state [the word “state” in Persian consists of four letters].” [Our translation]

The question is, why did anarchists, these anti-state heroes, with their four ministers, form a part of the Spanish Republic’s cabinet in the 1930s? In February 1936 the first government of the People’s Front was selected. When a new wave of strikes took place, the state invited the workers to keep calm and urged them to end their strike, claiming that workers’ strikes were in the service of fascism. And when a general strike was formed, anarchists, with their famous slogan “self-management”, prevented workers from confronting the state, because this policy isolated workers in the factories or in their communities and prevented the protests from spreading to other parts of society. In the same year, 1936, the People’s Front actually converted the civil war to an imperialist war.

Then hundreds of thousands of workers were mobilized in paramilitary forces of leftists and anarchists to become cannon fodder in the imperialist war. This anti-fascist state now also included anarchists who suppressed the workers. The presence of anarchist ministers gave more validity to state of the People’s Front to convince the workers with an announcement that the state of the People’s Front is a state of the people. Anarchists played a key role in the blinding of the class nature of the state of the People’s Front.

Frederica Montseny, anarchist minister in the Spanish Republic November 1936, used demagoguery such this and argued that with the anarchists’ entrance into the government, the nature of the bourgeois state will be changed to the state of people and the state would lose its class nature! It would no longer be against the working class. She says:

“Both at the level of principles and beliefs, CNT has always been against the state, and an enemy of all forms of government. But circumstances have changed the Spanish government and the nature of the state. Today, the government, as an instrument to control the organs of government, ceased to be an oppressive force against the working class, just as the State has ceased to be a body which divides society into classes. Both oppress the people less now that CNT intervenes within them.”

Choosing between democracy and fascism is not the position of today’s internationalists. During the 1938 massacre of workers by the People’s Front, of which anarchists were a part, the magazine of the Communist Left called “Bilan” by a manifesto stated the following:

“Bullets, machine guns, jail: This is the answer of the People’s Front to the workers of Barcelona.”

During the fascists rise to power and during World War II, internationalists (Left Communists), unlike the anarchists, in absolute isolation condemned both sides of the imperialist war and remained proudly loyal to internationalism, and were persecuted both by Nazis and Fascists on one side and by Democrats and Stalinists on the other side for their defense of internationalist positions. Anarchism is not a theory for the emancipation of workers from wage slavery, far from being an internal consistency it is an indication of the immaturity of the workers. Marxism is the only coherent theory for the emancipation of the workers from wage slavery.

Long live Marxism!

M. Jahangiry

25 January 2014



[2] As above

[3] As above


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