Lambeth Left Unity Resolution on Syria

dontLambeth Left Unity condemns the preparations by the US Administration and
the British Government for missile attacks on Syria.

We also condemn in the strongest terms the Assad regime¹s use of chemical
weapons in Ghouta on 21 August, and all its other massacres of the civilian
population. But no US, UK or Nato attacks will protect the Syrian people
or aid its legitimate struggle for freedom.

Instead we call for food, medical supplies, and shelter for the refugees
and arms without conditions for the freedom fighters.

Left Unity should support protests against UK support for a what could
become a new war imperialist war in the Middle east under the slogans:
No to any imperialist Intervention

Support the Syrian Revolution

Lambeth Left Unity supports the activities for Big Aid Drop for Syria


21 comments

21 responses to “Lambeth Left Unity Resolution on Syria”

  1. Robboh says:

    I was so bitterly opposed to the war in Iraq. I went to all the demos. In that occasion the dictator had no chemical weapons and was not using them on anyone. This time dictator has chemical weapons and you have images of hundreds of dead children. So what do you do? Bomb the cr@p out of him I say. But wait lets resolve this left style, pass a resolution on the issue by a few people in a town hall somewhere no body has ever heard of, call a meeting, call another meeting about the meeting. Then issue a statement that says nothing at all. Then all have a row about the statement, your friends who are now sworn enemies who have gone off and formed a rival group in another town hall nobody has ever heard of.

    • KD Tait says:

      Passing resolutions is a normal part of the democratic process by which people propose political ideas, debate them, and agree them. That is part of the political struggle for ideas. Why do it? So people can see them and have more debate about it in order to build support for the Syrian revolution and support for the anti-war movement. Soon we will have debates, and, no doubt resolutions about the best way to stop intervention. To do dismiss it as resolution mongering is simply anti-politics and is worse than useless. If you want Left Unity to support bombing Syria, I suggest you write something to that effect and argue it in your local branch and see how far it gets you.

    • mikems says:

      Please.

      Let’s have some evidence. We’ve seen plenty of this sort of rhetorical stuff, but no actual evidence.

      if there is evidence for the regime using chemical weapons, then the accused should be tried at the ICC.

      But you want to ‘bomb the crap’ out of the Syrian people.

      In what way are you any better than those who used the chemical weapons on the Syrian people?

  2. Neil Williams says:

    “We also condemn in the strongest terms the Assad regime¹s use of chemical
    weapons in Ghouta on 21 August”

    But this section only joins the US and UK governments predetermined position even before the UN inspectors have reported. It would be better to say “we unconditionally condemn the us of all chemical weapons”.

    “But no US, UK or Nato attacks will protect the Syrian people
    or aid its legitimate struggle for freedom.”

    Again the section appears to take sides rather than calling for negotiations by all sides under the UN umbrella.

    As it is this is a flawed motion that needs withdrawing or rewriting.

  3. Neil Williams says:

    Forgot this bit and its gets worse the more you read the motion – its very very flawed and needs changing urgently.
    “Instead we call for food, medical supplies, and shelter for the refugees
    and arms without conditions for the freedom fighters.”

    Arms without conditions for freedom fighters – what!!! Do you really want a permanent civil war that could then involve the whole of the Middle East?

    • KD Tait says:

      Firstly, to the person who complained about ‘passing resolutions’ – passing

      We call for weapons for the revolutionaries for two reasons:

      1) Only with weapons will the revolutionaries be able to defend their communities and overthrow the Assad regime – a military victory which is the only chance the Syrian people have of democratically determining their future.

      2) It exposes the hypocrisy of the western imperialists who, while using the language of democracy and humanitarian aid, are not prepared to provide the revolutionaries with the necessary weapons to win. Why? Because they don’t think they can trust a future revolutionary Syrian government with maintaining the imperialists status quo in the Middle East.

      Of course we don’t want a ‘permanent civil war’ – we want a full victory for the revolution, and that can only be done now through bullets and anti-tank guns.

      A ‘negotiated solution’ mediated through the UN can only mean a peace which is acceptable to the Russian and US imperialists – and that will be a peace bought with the blood of the Syrians who have risen up in a just struggle to decide their own government – rather than the brutal regime propped up by Russia.

      • Max says:

        Just one point, who are the revolutionaries and freedom fighters you talk of? for supplying weapons unconditionally would lead to the arming of a wide range of groups. Some of which have committed war crimes and others are aligned with alqaeda. So surely it seems quite likely that if Assad were defeated it would merely become a civil war between rebel factions?

  4. I agree with Lambeth Left Unity’s opposition to Western intervention. I also echo their condemnation of Assad’s use of chemical weapons. I support their call for food, medical supplies, and shelter for the refugees.

    However I wholeheartedly oppose their call for arms without conditions to the rebels, not least because, as we know, al Qaeda and other Islamist elements are part of the rebellion – how do you control who gets the weapons? If we want peace, the last thing we should be doing is sending weapons into a warzone. Equally we should be criticising Russia and China for arming the Assad regime.

    The West arming Islamist rebels, Russia arming a repressive regime. Haven’t we been there before?

    • Andrew Crystall says:

      And, Salman, for that matter, the Saudis for sending fighters and Hezbollah for weighting in. It’s not like there’s a shortage of interventions to criticize here, sadly.

    • Stuart says:

      Hear, hear. Does Left Unity have a cache of arms and the comrades willing to go over there and join the fight? Alternatively, does it have the ear of the government or of other (terrorist?) organisations that do and can? If not, this is not a resolution at all, it’s just lefty windbaggery and posturing.

      • KD Tait says:

        Great – so we should only be in favour of things we can actually do right now?

        Left Unity doesn’t have MPs or any control of the economy or any trade unions so by your logic why be against austerity since we can’t do anything to stop it?

        Should Left Unity as a ‘new party of the working class’ simply say to the Syrian workers – ‘yes our government is trying to bomb you, but there’s nothing we can do about it, and we don’t care whether you have weapons to defend yourselves’.

        All this is nonsense, and serves no purpose except to demobilise support for the revolution.

        I want to see a party built in Britain that is big and powerful enough to be able to send members and material support to revolutions around the world – like the old Communist Parties did in Spain. To get there we have to lay the political basis for that – and that means saying that we are in favour of that kind of support.

        Getting it is another question, that’s true, but if we don’t say we want that, then we are simply saying ‘solidarity with the revolution’ – without concrete practical proposals as to what this solidarity should be it’s just an empty slogan.

  5. Baton Rouge says:

    What a mealy mouthed resolution. It succeeds only in giving cover to the pro-Putin Left who must now surely shoulder the blame for any of Assad’s future atrocities.

    There should have been intervention from the beginning … by the international labour movement bringing physical and political solidarity to the Revolution and demanding the overturn of the EU/US arms embargo so that the Syrian people could defend themselves. Instead we have a load of StWC morons trying to paint all Syrians as Jihadis to justify their support for Putin’s ally. Now of course it is the jihadis who will gain from the `international community’s’ indifference to the fate of Arabs.

    A proper resolution would be: LU stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Syria struggling against the murdering tyrant al-Abbas for democracy and freedom. We demand the lifting of the EU/US arms embargo. In the event of a hypocritical Western intervention (unlikely given the lack of oil in Syria) we will not protest it but urge the Syrian people to take advantage, speed up their ouster of Abbass and beware false friends.

  6. Paul Roberts says:

    The Lambeth Left Unity’s resolution is right to condemn the US preparations of a huge military assault on Syria, but otherwise it is fundamentally wrong as it takes the same side as the US & Israel in the Syrian conflict.
    It would be a mistake for Left Unity to go along with such a reactionary framework.
    As others have pointed out, repeating as good coin the Israeli and US ‘intelligence’ claims that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on 21 August discredits the left.
    But most important, is the Lambeth resolutions’ support for the imperialist-backed opposition fighters.
    It is an absurd to represent the fighters, who are allied with the US/Israel/Saudi etc, as part of a ‘revolution’. As with Libya, the opposition fighters in Syria are supported/armed/trained by imperialism to overthrow the regime so the West can get another lackey regime in the region. The Assad regime is no doubt brutal and reactionary in many ways, but replacing it with a pure imperialist client would be far worse – not remotely a revolution!
    The current Syrian government operates independent of imperialism, supports movements resisting Israeli aggression and is allied in defence of Iran against Western attack. That is why the US etc back the opposition fighters. They want a pro-West, pro-Israel, anti-Iran, anti-Hamas, anti-Hezbollah client regime.
    The US is not planning to bomb Syria because it cares about what weapons are used in this conflict. Its own use of depleted uranium in Iraq, its covering up of Israeli white phosphorus attacks on civilians in Gaza etc etc are testament to its real policy. The US planned action is about aiding the Syrian opposition fighters topple Assad, because the opposition have been suffering reversals these past six months. See here for some background (http://www.socialistaction.net/International/Middle-East/Syria/Israeli-backed-insurgency-suffers-setbacks-in-Syria.html)
    The left in Britain should not take the same side as the US and Israel in this conflict. We should oppose a military campaign that aims to install a worse regime. That means opposing the arming of the opposition fighters – not giving support as urged by the Lambeth resolution. The left should not just be an echo of the imperialists’ campaign.
    The US and European states have been scuppering all efforts at bringing about a peaceful resolution to this conflict, because they can only change the regime through war. We should support the calls for a negotiated peaceful solution, build tomorrow’s demonstration against the war in London and generally support the activities of the Stop the War Coalition and CND.

    • Ray G says:

      This is a really disgraceful apology for the crimes of Assad. I am against Western Imperialist intervention, but lets not forget the mass slaughter of unarmed demonstrators at the start of the Syrian revolution. It is quite despicable to put the interests of an undemocratic Stalinised regime before the interests of the working people of Syria.

      Even in Vietnam, while showing solidarity with the people of Vietnam against the USA, I hope we would not have opposed a revolution to establish democracy and human rights inside North Vietnam?

      This contribution is just an echo of Stalinist power politics.

  7. mikems says:

    This is a very bad resolution.

    We must not arm the rebels, since that is a breach of international law, an interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

    Do we want UK enemies to fully arm the Real IRA?

    • Neill says:

      I would have thought that arming and supporting a dictator is the initial interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, as would imposing an arms ban on opposition/rebel forces and bombing the place.

      Arming the rebels would at least allow them to fight on relatively even ground, giving them a chance to determine their own future rather than choose from those futures determined by the West; and with these arms being unconditional it would further limit any interference in the internal affairs of this sovereign state.

      I support this resolution fully.

  8. SeanT says:

    I would have thought that the last thing that ordinary people in Syria need right now are even more weapons – their problem is that there seems to be a surfeit of them – and men on both sides who are mad keen to use them.

    And to claim that a ‘military victory’ by the opposition – which particular section of the opposition isn’t made clear – offers the only way forward for the Syrian people is just plain daft. This is the sort of half crazed Spartist (as in Dave Spart) ranting that has given the far left such a bad name.

  9. Neil Williams says:

    Its my belief that Paul Roberts excellent reply speaks for the vast majority of Left unity members and supporters. I and others members of Left Unity in Milton Keynes will be on the STWC march tomorrow. The Lambeth motion sides with the USA/Tony Blair and the Tory party in the UK – how could Left Unity for one moment support it?
    Paul Roberts conclusion is 100% correct “We should support the calls for a negotiated peaceful solution, build tomorrow’s demonstration against the war in London and generally support the activities of the Stop the War Coalition and CND”

  10. The UK now needs to take up the challenge of promoting real communication as the way forward, starting with a commitment, a real commitment to getting the international Governments round the table listening to each other, trying to understand the others’ fears, and finding common ground.

    The scene is already set for the Geneva II conference, an opportunity to put aside self-interest and seriously work together on a solution for the people of Syria but the international Governments have to want to change the situation. Listen to the UN/Arab League Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, speak on HardTalk.

    There are Syrian organisations – the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change – NCB, for example, advocating dialogue from inside Syria with members outside. This group has been sidelined by the UK Government and others because it is not working from within the Syrian Coalition. NCB was not welcomed by the Coalition because the Kurdish PYD is in membership. It’s time to bring their ideas to the fore:
    http://supportkurds.org/news/haytham-manna-we-reject-any-foreign-military-intervention-and-we-consider-it-an-assault

    100-200 people at least are being killed every day inside Syria …

    The Lambeth resolution does not relate to the problem: The chemicals may have been released with the knowledge of al-Assad who has been responsible for many terrible acts, but it may also have been committed by others. The car bombings in Damascus in the early days was blamed on al-Assad, however it was at the time when jihadists were coming into the country and they may well have been responsible. We don’t know what took place and we would be foolish to assume anything.

    How can sending more weapons into the blood bath help? Others involved on the ground can build up their supplies as well – and who do you arm?

    Who represents ‘the Syrian Revolution’? Would it be the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood who support continued oppression of the Kurds? Is it the jihadists who have been allowed in from outside and who seek to set up their form of Islamic country? Be careful what you wish for.

    The Kurds carved out a relatively stable and managed safe space, but that has been under attack from jihadists, the regime, some FSA and Turkish agents. The Kurds need our support.

  11. Neil Williams says:

    KD Tait “1) Only with weapons will the revolutionaries be able to defend their communities and overthrow the Assad regime – a military victory which is the only chance the Syrian people have of democratically determining their future.”

    And this position i noted was backed by the International Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance in a joint leaflet at the Stop The War protest yesterday (both key supporters of the Left Party Platform).

    How wrong can you get and so worrying that some revolutionary Socialists adopt this position while keeping very quiet about their revolutionary ideas while part of the Left Party Platform. But rather than add my own comments i think those of Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk in the Independent refute the simplistic ideas contained in KD Tait post and supported by the IS and Socialist Resistance (“for their struggle to be successful, they should receive all the necessary material aid, including arms,and humanitarian assistance, without conditions imposed by the west – IS/SR leaflet at STW protest yesterday).

    Patrick Cockburn “It is easy, for instance, to advocate arming and protecting Syrian villagers whose children are being incinerated by napalm dropped by government aircraft. But what if those best able to help those villagers are the veteran jihadi fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who have just chopped off the heads of Alawite prisoners and shot dead a teenager selling coffee for blasphemy? For all the disclaimers, US forces attacking the government in Damascus are in de facto alliance with al-Qa’ida. Likewise in Iraq 10 years ago, the US and Britain were pretending to be fighting for democracy and against the remnants of Saddam’s regime. The reality was that in 2003-06 they had imposed an old-style imperial regime and had become participants in a cruel Sunni-Shia civil war on the Shia side…….
    The best interim solution could be a UN-monitored ceasefire as briefly occurred under the Kofi Annan plan in 2012. All sides are dependent on outside backers, and even those who most want to fight need weapons, ammunition and money. Heavy pressure could be put on them to agree to a peace conference and a temporary ceasefire.

    This would be a Lebanese-style truce – unsatisfactory but better than full-scale war. A peace conference on this basis could be the political and diplomatic counterpart to the limited US military strike President Obama is contemplating.”

    And Robert Fisk in The Independent yesterday:
    “Iran, not Syria, is the West’s real target
    Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West.
    So what in heaven’s name are we doing? After countless thousands have died in Syria’s awesome tragedy, suddenly – now, after months and years of prevarication – we are getting upset about a few hundred deaths. Terrible. Unconscionable. Yes, that is true. But we should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But why now?

    I suspect I know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless army might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm. With the assistance of the Lebanese Hezbollah – Iran’s ally in Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West.”


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