Syria and Donbass: Two sections of a united front against imperialism

donbass

By Alexey Albu

The writer is a coordinator of the banned Ukrainian Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle), who participated in a recent international solidarity delegation to Syria. Albu is a former regional deputy of the Odessa region and survivor of the May 2, 2014, neo-Nazi massacre at the Odessa House of Trade Unions. He is currently living in political exile in Russia and the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Workers World contributing editor Greg Butterfield translated the article at the author’s request. Abridged here, it is available in full at RedStarOverDonbass.blogspot.com, Nov. 2.

The movement of people adhering to communist views around the world is vast. But the political spectrum within this movement is also vast. The construction of a new, more just society without war, destruction, poverty and exploitation is the dream of hundreds of millions of people around the world. However, views on how to build this new society are all very different.

I would like to make my views clear. I support any attempt to make progressive social changes in society, and I support any political, social and government initiative, if the alternative to it serves reaction, regression and rollback to a lower stage of human development. That is why I support the young People’s Republics of Donbass, because their antipode is Ukrainian fascism, which kills innocent people, destroys cities and villages, and arranges massacres as it did in Odessa on May 2, 2014, the horrors of which I experienced myself. …

Today, in the struggle against imperialism (a pity that some uninformed people confuse this term, which they often use to mean “imperial” or “imperial ambitions,” and not a phase of the capitalist system), Syria takes the main place. … It was therefore very important for us to establish a relationship with all progressive forces challenging the U.S. as the main center of world imperialism, including the government of the Syrian Arab Republic.

It was important for us to see the situation from within the region, the lives of the people in the frontline towns and refugee camps. It was important to meet with senior officials of the government, religious and community leaders in Syria, for me — and for the other comrades from Italy, Morocco, Lebanon, Scotland and Greece who participated in the delegation. …

[When we reached Damascus] I had a good impression from our conversation with [President] Bashar al-Assad’s Deputy Hilal al-Hilal, which took place behind closed doors, in a small circle. I said then that Syria and Donbass are two sections of a united front against American hegemony, U.S. imperialism. And now, being back in Donbass, I can’t stop thinking about how we can expand this front, as we help each other to survive in this difficult struggle.

It was very interesting to see the work of the Syrian government in the area of basic necessities of the common people — repairing housing destroyed by militants, water, electricity, medical care. Speaking of health care, during our visit to wounded soldiers in the hospital, I saw excellent conditions, which often do not exist in Ukraine or Donbass. Yes, perhaps we were shown one of the best medical facilities. But it is comparable to the best hospitals in Ukraine.

During the trip, I realized that the social burden the state carries is huge. This policy is the antithesis of the policy of the new Ukrainian authorities. …

It so happens that as a result of my political activities, I’ve met a lot of comrades from Kurdistan, who told me about the struggle of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for a free, socialist Kurdistan, and how they resisted the troops of the Turkish government on one hand and the U.S. puppet Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on the other. Of course, I believe the Kurdish liberation movement is progressive, and for me it was very important to learn about the relationship between the Syrian government and the young Kurdish state of Rojava arising in the north.

The fact is that we do not always get unbiased information through the lens of the media. Very often the media contrasts Rojava and the Syrian government, saying that Assad bombed peaceful Kurdish villages and violated the agreement granting autonomy to the Kurds. After the trip to Syria, I realized that this is not quite true. The political landscape of the region is extremely difficult. Within the same area there are many different forces and groups that are under the influence of large political centers — united, separated, fighting with each other. …

I realized that the Syrian government intends to respect the agreement and give the Syrian Kurds their long-awaited autonomy. This was very important to me. That is, for now the union of progressive forces continues to operate against the Islamists, and inside this union there is no war. I really hope that mutual understanding will continue within the progressive camp. …

In September 2013, when we carried out actions against U.S. intervention in the war in Syria, I couldn’t imagine that the United States would soon unleash a civil war in my own country. Today we have a common enemy, and the only solution is a united struggle and mutual aid. If we organize — we will win!