Socialist Worker

Analysis: Syria's rebels organise despite brutal repression

by Bassem Chit in Beirut, Lebanon
Issue No. 2316

Recent defections from Bashar al-Assad’s government show that it is crumbling. It can only hang on by brutally crushing the popular uprising.

Sections of the mass movement have been forced to take up arms in response to the regime’s relentless attacks.

The real issue is the survival of the movement itself. The revolution is very open—it does not have a centralised leadership. In many ways this is a strength as it makes it harder for the regime to target.

Those opposing Assad on the ground in Syria are not acting under the mandate of outside forces. International powers have been trying to intervene but the revolution has not been hijacked.

We have to stand with the revolution against the regime and at same time stand against international intervention.

The revolt is developing from below. Local Coordinating Committees continue to organise despite facing shelling and the threat of regime spies.

Mass demonstrations still happen. Often they are symbolic, keeping political activity going in neighbourhoods won to revolution.


Here there is a level of self organisation of daily life creating a sense of an alternative. Leadership is emerging organically out of struggle.

In some villages women have been organising solidarity sit-ins for those who have been detained by the regime.

People make neighbourhoods secure, doctors organise in hospitals, committees develop to look after food, to care for refugees and so on.

It looks different to the revolution in Egypt, where some important political breakthroughs took place before the revolution started. The working class had already gained some experience and the roots of organisation.

But in Syria there has been an absence of politics for 40 years in reality. Now many workers are part of this uprising, but not on the demonstrations in organised blocks.

The fight is not easy but new political forces are coming through. There is a strong sense of solidarity across borders, people feel connected by these historic struggles against their rulers.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.