Supporting the Grassroots Movements

by Leila Shrooms

Much of the debate on Syria by people who identify as being "leftists" both in the West and the Arab world has been dominated by issues most prominent in the media such as a focus on geo-politics, militarization, Islamism and sectarianism. It's ultimately been a very State-centric discourse. Conversely there seems to be very limited knowledge or discussion about popular struggles or grassroots civil movements in Syria. This is strange because the politics of liberation should not be grounded in discussions between political leaders and States but grounded in the struggles of people for freedom, dignity and social justice.

The consequence of this uncritical adoption and regurgitation of top-down narratives is twofold. Firstly, it detracts from any real discussion of how to give solidarity to those on the ground that are struggling to realize ideals the left supposedly shares. And secondly, it detracts from any real discussion amongst the left as to what can be learned and gained from the experience of Syrian revolutionaries and their courageous struggle, as well as the many challenges they face (we're all aware that the Syrian revolution is under attack from all quarters). Ultimately the failure to support popular movements on the ground, and a lack of ability to respond flexibly to real revolutionary situations as they unfold, is making the left less and less relevant as a political movement.

South Asia

Pakistan passes strict anti-terrorism bill

Pakistan's parliament passed a new anti-terrorism bill that allows warrantless searches and detention of suspects at secret facilities for up to 60 days without charge.

The Amazon

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The Andes

Shining Path leaders indicted in US court

Three leaders of Peru's Shining Path guerrilla movement, two still at large, were indicted in a US district court in New York on charges of "narco-terrorism conspiracy."