Middle East

These are a series of accounts we have received from Izmir. While we do not necessarily share all of the conclusions, we think they reflect very well the mood of the movement.

The magnificent movement of the workers and youth of Turkey is an inspiration to the whole world. What began as a peaceful protest against the cutting down of trees in a park to pave the way for the construction of a shopping mall has turned into a tidal wave of mass protests against the vicious and reactionary Erdogan regime, which has acquired insurrectionary dimensions.

What started as a small scale protest against the destruction of Gezi Park that stands next to Taksim Square in Istanbul has now developed into a nationwide movement demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Erdogan, of the AK Party.

I am sure that the fund managers in the City of London or New York’s Manhattan or Frankfurt’s financial distrcit are very surprised. They may even be shocked. I am quite sure that many fund managers and bankers who have helped Erdogan's government stay in power for so many years by channelling their hot money to Istanbul’s stock market are now calling their brokers in İItanbul. 

Yesterday the Guardian Council in Iran announced the names of the eight candidates for the upcoming Presidential elections. The Council is a 12-member body of theologians and jurists, appointed by the Supreme Leader and the head of Judiciary, with responsibility for vetting presidential candidates ahead of the elections, scheduled for 14th June.

This year’s presidential race in Iran was dramatically shaken this week by the news that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had announced his candidacy. Although Rafsanjani has fallen out of favour with the regime in recent years, it is quite possible that his bid could be successful.

As the Syrian revolution remains locked in civil war for a third year, regional powers have begun to use the conflict as an opportunity to advance their own imperialist agendas. Syria has become a battleground for a proxy war between Iran, Israel, and the Arab states of the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the foremost allies of the USA in the Middle East, brutally exploits its migrant workers. The visa regime keeps the workers in a state of permanent dependency on their employers and abuses are common. At the other end of the spectrum members of the royal family, including the king himself, are among the richest people in the world with billions of dollars in wealth. This contradiction has revolutionary implications.

President Obama’s recent visit to Israel and the ‘Palestinian Territories’ has proved to be another abject failure in an obscene diplomacy being flaunted by US imperialism to end the conflict in the region. The only thing this visit brought to the fore is the sheer weakness of Obama and his policy of appeasing Zionist hawks as well as the US right. During the visit he reiterated over and over again that the USA was the best ally Israel could have and Washington would continue to support Israel come what may. In short, it was a high-profile visit by yet another US president with the same old failed message. In many ways, this visit was an endorsement for the Zionist state to continue its

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In the second part of this article we take a look at the contradictions of Egyptian capitalism, which are hindering it from solving the most basic tasks that it is posed with. Only a socialist revolution can solve the tasks of the revolution. But how do we connect the struggle for socialism with the day to day struggles of the masses?

More than two years have passed since the first steps of the Egyptian revolution. At first the movement was in a state of euphoria going from victory to victory sweeping away every obstacle on its path. The mood was intense and to a degree even festive. Millions of people, oppressed for decades, flocked to Tahrir Square imbued with the sense of their own power. They felt that all problems could be overcome with the same ease as they swept aside Mubarak. They felt unstoppable, and they were right to feel so. But experience is teaching them things are not so easy.

Although there had been some concessions to private capital under the old Assad, what was to rapidly accelerate the process and lead to a qualitative change was the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991. The system the Assad regime had modelled itself on collapsed like a house of cards. And just as the Soviet model attracted the young officers who carried out the coup in 1963, now its collapse shook their confidence in that same regime. [Part one][

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