In its latest issue, June 2013, the French revolutionary socialist magazine Revue Tout est à Nous, published by the NPA (successor organisation to the LCR), carries a dossier on “self-organisation in the people's revolution in Syria”.
The introduction is gushing: "forms of struggle and administration from below are more developed in the Syrian revolution than in any other process in the other countries in the region... This revolution [in Syria] is an authentic people's revolution whose social motor forces and the workers and, more broadly, the urban and rural poor."
The documents translated from Arabic fail to substantiate that summary. The most vivid is the third, which headlines the election of a council in Deir Ezzor (northern Syria) as a “democratic dream”. It is attributed to the middle-east-online.com website, but with a broken link.
Recent reports from Deir Ezzor available on that website include this, in March: “Jihadists of the Hamza unit in Deir Ezzor paraded through the streets to celebrate their upgrade to brigade from battalion.
“We will fight for Syria to be controlled by Islam’, Abu Mohammed shouted through a loudspeaker, as a fellow fighter distributed pamphlets about jihad and martyrdom”.
And this (12 June): “‘Look Shiites, this is how you will end up, you dogs’, cries one man shown in the footage filmed in Hatlah [just across the river from Deir Ezzor]...
“‘God is greatest. All the Shiite houses have been burned down... Look at the fighters of the jihad (holy war) celebrating their entry into the Shiite infidels’ houses’, says a man filming a second video”.
The other documents report no direct elections outside Deir Ezzor. The dossier ignores the fact that mobilisation can be “from below” (in the sense of not being organised by an established government) and yet sectarian and repressive. The brutality of the Assad regime does not guarantee that the opposition is liberatory.