The Alliance of Middle East Socialists has issued a call for the formation of a “New Socialist-Humanist Solidarity Network”. Here it is below. We think this is an important call and, in fact, it is not that different from the views of the Workers International Network, with which Oaklandsocialist is associated. We think that one step that could be taken is for socialists in different areas to organize to discuss this call and the issues raised in it. Oaklandsocialist wants to help in that. Contact us if you are interested. Here is the statement. Note that the editor of this blog site, John Reimann, is one of the signatories.
April 2, 2019
Critical developments around the globe compel the creation of a new type of transnational socialist and anti-authoritarian solidarity network.
Objectively, we are facing the growth of authoritarian capitalist governments, an increasing economic and military competition between the U.S. and China, and the ominous consequences of climate breakdown. In addition, we confront insurgent white-supremacist and other racist ethno-nationalist movements which, similar to ISIS in their extremist views, are willing to employ mass-violence against Muslims, Jews, and other marginalized people.
Subjectively, a new generation of youth is getting interested in socialism because capitalism’s inhumanity and exploitation does not offer it a better future. The Me Too movement challenging sexual abuse is growing among women around the globe and targeting the abuse of women in government, all fields of work, and the family. The Black Lives Matter movement which emerged in the U.S. in response to state-sanctioned police murder and abuse of Black people has struck a chord internationally. There is no lack of popular protests and strikes around the world, from Sudan, Algeria, Iran and Palestine to Europe, and from China and India to Latin America, Haiti, and the U.S. However, some of these struggles are being crushed by various authoritarian and imperialist forces, and others face the danger of rightwing populism.
In response to these struggles, the international Left has been disappointing. The Syrian revolution was not only crushed by the Assad regime with the help of Russia and Iran. It was also abandoned or rejected by the majority of the international Left. The poor and starving masses in Iran and Venezuela are being told by supposed “socialists” and “peace and justice” advocates that their miseries are only caused by U.S. imperialism and that they have to live with authoritarian regimes like the Islamic Republic or Maduro’s state as the “lesser of the two evils.”
There is no doubt that U.S. imperialism and settler colonialism are the cause of much misery and death in the world both presently in the actions of the Trump administration and historically. Nonetheless, the U.S. is not the only capitalist-imperialist power exploiting and oppressing humanity. We live in a world of various imperialist and sub-imperialist power rivalries. In particular, Chinese and Russian imperialism are competing with U.S. imperialism for global dominance.
In the face of this reality, however, many leftists are rationalizing the actions of authoritarian regimes such as those of Putin in Russia, Assad in Syria, Khamenei in Iran, Ortega in Nicaragua, and Maduro in Venezuela—simply because these governments use the rhetoric of anti-U.S. imperialism. Some socialist observers have named this rationalization or support the “red-brown alliance” which follows the “campist” approach of dividing the world into competing military camps, and negating the role of the working class and oppressed peoples within those “camps.”
Given the evidently sordid and bloody history of U.S. imperialism, many Western leftists justifiably endorse Karl Liebknecht’s declaration, made in 1915 amid the depths of World War I, that “the main enemy is at home.” Liebknecht was expressing what he thought should be the position of socialists in an inter-imperialist war. His statement should not be used as an excuse to abandon working-class struggles around the world. Unfortunately, today, many on the Left have twisted this principle to minimize or deny well-documented chemical-weapons attacks by the Assad regime in Syria; murders of protesters in Russia, Venezuela, and Iran; mass-internment concentration camps such as those holding a million Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region; and other heinous attacks of state violence carried out by regimes that claim to be against U.S. imperialism. Such views greatly violate the core ethical principles of humanism, egalitarianism, and human solidarity with oppressed peoples, and confuse the struggles of workers and the oppressed against capital and the State with inter-imperialist intrigues.
We need a transnational socialist and anti-authoritarian solidarity network that breaks with such careless and undiscerning views of the world and instead sets human emancipation, not inter-imperialist rivalry, as its aim. We need to create a network that offers in-depth analyses, genuine grassroots socialist solidarity, and forums for working out real solutions—such as alternatives to capitalism, tackling climate breakdown, and overcoming patriarchy, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia.
We believe that the essence of socialism is humanism, the idea that human beings have the potential to use their reasoning capacity to move forward, establish intercommunication and relations free of domination and servitude.
The signatories of this call include a variety of socialist and Marxist humanists, anarchists, and anti-authoritarians. We reject the systems that existed in the former USSR and the People’s Republic of China as authoritarian. We oppose capitalism both in private and state form as well as racism, sexism, and heterosexism. We seek humanist, intersectional, and sustainable ecological alternatives to oppression and ecocide.
Please join us in an effort to create a transnational and anti-authoritarian socialist-humanist solidarity network with the initial aim of organizing speaking tours and building a speakers’ bureau with a related website aimed at the following:
1. Concrete expressions of solidarity with ongoing progressive and revolutionary popular struggles on the basis of opposition to capitalism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, and xenophobia.
2. Genuine dialogue and debate on humanist alternatives to capitalism, visions of a free and sustainable society, liberation of women, and LGBT persons, the right to self-determination, and a commitment to truth, reason, and human emancipation.
We propose a speakers’ bureau that would offer a resource list of speakers/topics and coordinate speaking tours which would bring together local, national, and international issues and struggles.
This is an international effort aimed at concrete solidarity work and dialogue on the burning questions of our day, and hopes to prove that the idea of emancipatory socialist solidarity can be credible in theory and practice.
If you agree with these ideas and would like to be part of this effort to form a Transnational Socialist-Humanist Solidarity Network, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abou Jaoude, Elias, Sofware Developer, Lebanon
Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists
Afary, Frieda, Producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation, member of Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, U.S.
Afthinos, Pantelis, Internationalist revolutionary socialist website, e la liberta, Greece
Al-Saadi, Yazan, Syrian Canadian Writer
Amina, Syria solidarity activist, U.S.
Ayoub, Joey, Writer, editor and researcher, IFEX, Global Voices, Scottland
Independent journalist and activist, Argentina
Castro, María, Professor of Spanish and French Studies, U.S.
Chelliah, Lalitha, Maternal and Child Health Nurse – Socialist, Australia
Cuffy, Robert, Socialist Workers’ Alliance, Guyana
Dehkordi, Sara, Manjanigh Collective, Germany
Fareid Eltayeb, Amgad, Spokesperson of Sudan Change Now movement & producer of Sudan Seen blog
Fischer, Dan, Graduate worker, U.S.
Galyon, Shiyam, Syrian American feminist and campaigner
Hensman, Rohini, Writer, independent scholar and author of Indefensible, India
Hirsch, Michael, New Politics Editorial Board member, U.S.
Kousinatas, Kostas, Internationalist revolutionary socialist website, e la liberta, Greece
La Botz, Dan, Teacher, writer, co-editor of New Politics, U.S.
Language professor, Seattle, U.S.
Lopez, Rocío, Mexican-American writer, U.S.
LeFage, Shanelle, Climate activist, U.S.
Leonard, Ralph, Writer and student, U.K.
Maria, Eva, Independent Venezuelan Socialist Feminist, U.S.
Masjedi, Fatemeh, Iranian feminist and history scholar, Europe
Melcher, Thorne, transgender activist, writer and coder, U.S.
Munif, Yasser, Syrian Sociology Professor, U.S.
Noor, Yalda, Psychologist, U.S.
Petersen-Smith, Khury, Socialist and geographer, U.S.
Quiquivix, Linda, Community scholar and farmer, U.S.
Ram, Joshua, Writer, U.S.
Ramírez, Krys Méndez, Disability Justice organizer and Ethnic Studies scholar, U.S.
Reid Ross, Alexander, geography professor, and author of Against the Fascist Creep, U.S.
Reimann, John, Former Recording Secretary of Carpenters’ Local 713 and current producer of OaklandSocialist.com blog, U.S.
Rizzo, Mary, Editorial Staff of Le Vocci de la Liberta, Italian blog for the Syrian Revolution, Italy
Ruder, Eric, socialist and journalist, U.S.
Saravi, Jose, writer and translator, Argentina
Schulman, Jason, New York City Democratic Socialists of America
Sethness, Javier, Family Nurse Practitioner and author, U.S.
Shurmand, Azadeh, Iranian women’s studies scholar, Europe
Sloughter, Tristan, Denver Democratic Socialists of America, U.S.
Soeller, Peter, Anti-fascist activist and writer, U.S.
Smith, Ashley, Socialist writer and activist, U.S.
Weston, Matt, Social Worker, U.S.
Wind, Ella, Middle East Studies scholar and member of Democratic Socialists of America, U.S.
Zekavat, Sina, Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, Germany
Zuur, Cheryl, former president, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 444, U.S.