There are countries that are at the state of a civil war because their society is split into different groups possessing dissimilar ideas of the future of their country. One of such countries is Syria which is involved in a civil war aggravated by the confrontation with the dictator Bashar al-Assad and the terrorist forces. One of the civil forces that have hard times in this conflict is the Syrian moderate opposition, which is aimed at abolishing the dictator’s regime and building a new state free from terrorist philosophy. However, this political and military force lacks a clear ideology that is able to attract and unite people, guiding them towards the idea of a future state. This paper analyzes the ideas of such philosophers as Luxemburg, Lenin, Mao, Guevara, Cabral, Hitler, Marx, and Gandhi, while characterizing their models of the state as a possible option for consideration by the Syrian moderate opposition. This analysis allows summarizing the benefits and the drawbacks of the ideas proposed by these thinkers in a concrete real-life situation.
The Syrian Case
The scenario of the suggested case involves the need for the Syrian moderate opposition to choose one of the models proposed by the most influential Marxist thinkers. The case scenario suggests that the Syrian moderate opposition is dissatisfied with Burkean and Constantian liberalism due to the weak assistance of the US and Europe during the war. At the same time, despite the fact that every proposed theory represents socialism, the considered thinkers could not reach a mutual agreement on the best model of socialism. As a consequence, this investigation separately evaluates each theory as well as provides comparison and contrast of their basic guidelines, bringing a decision upon the best suitable social model for future Syria headed by moderate Syrians.
Marxism is the core philosophy some aspects of which were borrowed by all analyzed thinkers because it demonstrated a radically new approach to the social system as a phenomenon. It was founded by Karl Marx, a German social scientist and revolutionary, who recognized the core problem of his society as the opposition between the representatives of different social classes (McLellan, 1988, p. 3). In his works, he discussed such topics as production and distribution of goods and services, the division of labor, social separation, various forms of ownership, different stages of social development and social classes. As a result, he recognized that any society needs the cooperation of the productive forces in order to resist the gradual oppression of separate individuals (McLellan, 1988, p. 10). Also, the scholar claimed that the owners of the industrial power become alienated from those who produce goods and services which is why the world’s trade market is unjust and requires a Communist revolution (McLellan, 1988, p. 10). Therefore, Marks recognized that at the specific stages of the development of human societies, evolution was impossible because the ruling classes neglected the needs of the separated and oppressed working individuals. Consequently, in the Marxist ideology, the international collaboration between the representatives of the productive forces should abolish the ruling minority and establish the ruling classes, promoting equality on the grounds of material analysis and forming a “legal and political superstructure” (McLellan, 1988, p. 19). The benefit of Marxism was the formation of a model of a socio-historical transformation of societies on the basis of labor and economic relations that gradually undergo specific stages of development.
For Hitler, one of the critical factors that impacted the change of his model of socialism was nationalism. Thus, in Mein Kampf, he wrote that the example of Austrians demonstrated that this nation overcame “the centrifugal forces of the individual nations” only due to internal national organization (Hitler, 1971, p. 70). Similarly to Marks, he opposed liberalism and recognized socialism as a more favorable social system. At the same time, similarly to the Syrian opposition, he opposed parliament due to the fact that ruling Social Democrats took decisions that “always turned against German interests in critical matters affecting Germans” (Hitler, 1971, p. 76). Consequently, the constant feeling that Germans have been oppressed as a nation led this thinker to the idea that the German nation requires a leader that can unite it and put on the level that is superior to other nations. Hitler considered democracy of the West the forerunner of Marxism because it created social inequalities (Hitler, 1971, p. 78), which is why he favored the vision of the society from the viewpoint of Marxism. Surprisingly, although the history demonstrates that he was one of the most powerful leaders in history, initially he opposed individual leadership, while characterizing it as “the cowardice” that hides important aspects of the social life behind the backs of the majority (Hitler, 1971, p. 82). Therefore, he supported an education of the masses as one of the possibilities for them to become equal and take their right to rule their own country. As a consequence, the ideal society, according to Hitler, manually regulates racial equality (in fact, superiority) by propaganda, anti-Jewish campaigns, promotion of health of the nation, sterilization of the sick individuals and others (Hitler, 1971). Consequently, one of the most critical disadvantages of Hitler’s philosophy is the idea that all social evils are created by the Jews, who represent a minority that was oppressing the German nation.
The Ideas of Rosa Luxemburg
In her turn, Rosa Luxemburg supported the views of Marxism but had several critical corrections that led to the creation of her individual understanding of socialism, as a social phenomenon. The philosopher recognizes the presence of a social struggle between proletarians and bourgeoisie but claims that it is impossible to abolish the latter in the process of social reforms (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 109). Her main criticism of Marxism is that socialism cannot arise automatically from the struggle of the working class, but it is a result of “the growing contradictions of the capitalist economy” and the realization of the proletarians of the need for their suppression (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 111). Therefore, on the one hand, Luxemburg considers pure Marxism a utopia owing to the defective vision of the path to socialism and the need for revolution. One of her core statements is that legal benefits for the society transcribed into constitutions are the results of revolution, which is why these two factors complement each other (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 114). Thus, instead of engaging in negotiations with the majority about the need for social and constitutional changes, Rosa Luxemburg held a view that proletarians should take the initiative into their hands and make these changes a reality. At the same time, her views of democracy opposed those of other Marxists because she was sure that democracy was a benefit for proletarians since it gave it a possibility for adequate validation of social changes (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 119). Consequently, claiming that the program of the socialists was unrealizable (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 119), Luxemburg strongly opposed any inter-class negotiations and favored the path of revolutionary abolition of the bourgeoisie. Moreover, one of the core ways of the social transformation, according to Luxemburg, was a mass strike that represented a new form of social struggle (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 123). However, although these views coincided with Vladimir Lenin’s vision of a social struggle of proletarians, her vision of social democracy drastically differed from the form of socialism proposed by this thinker.
Along with Hitler, Vladimir Lenin was among those thinkers, who not only reflected towards the ideas of socialism and transformed them but also successfully put them into practice. Thus, Lenin’s vision of the need for a rapid social change coincided with the one Luxemburg held, but this was almost a single common idea in their philosophies. For instance, Rosa Luxemburg opposed the need for the Central Committee, as the main body that directs revolutionary activists, and was the supporter of general elections, freedom of the press, a free struggle of opinion and others (Luxemburg, 1988, p. 130). On the contrary, Lenin did not support a perspective of having a democratized dictatorship, while giving preference to the Proletarian Party, as the major governing force of a new social structure (Lenin, 1988, p. 146). In this sense, the major difference of Lenin’s understanding of Marxism from other thinkers was that he did not believe that the workers were capable of creating a new state. He considered that the maximum possible for the proletarians is the achievement of “trade-union consciousness” whereas the fundamental social changes were possible only due to actions of a leading party of revolutionary thinkers (Lenin, 1988, p. 145). This party should guide a newly formed society towards the greater goods, while opposing the world’s monopolies of the banks, oligarchy, colonial policy and other evils of capitalism (Lenin, 1988, p. 160). Lenin preferred having a centralized social regulation validated by the dictatorship of proletarians, which had to lead people through the transitional state of socialism toward Communism (Lenin, 1988, p. 165). Therefore, for Lenin, socialism was only a transitional period that required having a dictatorship for successful implementation of the most critical social changes.
Mao Zedong and Chinese Marxism
Chinese Marxism is a specific form of Marxist philosophy because it was adopted by Mao Zedong and other thinkers taking into consideration the realities and traditions of the Chinese society. In this sense, China differed from its western counterparts supporting Marxism due to the population and its occupation, aspects of social tensions, traditions, and religion. As a result, the major moving force of the Chinese society recognized by Zedong was the peasantry owing to the vast countryside throughout the country and their responsiveness to Communist Party (Zedong, 1988, p. 314). Furthermore, Zedong was assured that it is critical to supply the moving force of revolution with arms because “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” (Zedong, 1988, p. 317). This idea coincided with Lenin’s vision of the need for armed resistance in the course of the revolution, but the Chinese thinker was about to transform guerilla warfare into an army. Another difference of the characteristics of Marxism in China was that Zedong supported the creation of a democratic republic instead of socialism (Zedong, 1988, p. 317). The power of the traditional Chinese philosophy also led to the fact that Zedong understood social tensions as a contradiction that included two components which followed the rules of dialectics (Zedong, 1988, p. 318). As a result, the benefit of Zedong’s approach was that he not only stated the need for the social change but also attempted to understand its internal moving forces and rules of this change. Furthermore, the Chinese thinker recognized that Marxism taught the Chinese people democracy simply as a part of the worldwide superstructure of socialism (Zedong, 1988, p. 329). On the basis of these reflections, Zedong was going to create a form of a democratic dictatorship validated by the centralized rule of people.
Ernesto Guevara and Latin American Marxism
Latin American Marxism is another form of Marxism that understood the ideas of Karl Marks in a specific way on the grounds of the realities of Cuba and the demands of its population. The political situation in Cuba during the 1590s was hard due to the Batista regime and the guerrilla forces that wanted to overthrow it and establish communism (McLellan, 1988, p. 373). As a result, Cuban vision of socialism and revolution did not include any proletarians or peasants as well as class tensions but gave preference to the individual leadership role of Castro and Guevara during a military resistance. Guevara stressed the importance of guerilla strategy, while claiming that armed forces of revolutionaries had to fight for agrarian reforms and assist the poor (Guevara, 1988, p. 374). The general aim of revolution was the liberation of people from the regime of Batista, but one of the critical aspects of its accomplishment was moral dignity that formed an ideology of socialist humanism (Guevara, 1988, p. 377). In his works, Guevara paid much attention to the description of moral aspects of the deeds of revolutionaries, their behavior and assistance, ascetic way of life and others, which transformed his ideas almost into a spiritual teaching. The fundamental role of these teachings was given to a leader, who should build a new socialist society on the basis of humanitarian values. Therefore, Guevara viewed socialism as a path that transformed not only the society but also separate individuals, making them morally correct and just.
Cabral and African Marxism
African Marxism recognized the philosophy of Karl Marks relevant taking into consideration the situation in the African countries that involved social oppression to dictatorship and class tensions. Amilcar Cabral characterized Marxism as a relevant ideology to the African problems due to the need for fighting imperialism (Cabral, 1988, p. 392). The philosopher saw foreign domination as one of the main African problems aggravated by the absence of abolitionist ideology that had a possibility to unite people in their struggle for liberty (Cabral, 1988, p. 394). As a consequence, he perceived Marxism as a basic ideology, while modifying it according to the needs of the local population. However, it was impossible to adapt class ideology to the realities of Africa, which combined diverse social and ethnic groups. Therefore, Cabral insisted on the need for the qualitative change of the African population by means of education and industrialization that would give a possibility for the qualitative progress of the society (Cabral, 1988, p. 398). Another unique aspect of Africa was that the philosopher wanted to transform clashes among tribes into clashes among social classes that were expected to liberate the native population.
The Vision of the Society by Mahatma Gandhi
The philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi is probably one of the most unusual visions of socialism because the Indian thinker combined rational thinking, Indian tradition, and religion when creating his individual vision of the process of the social change. In contrast to other thinkers, one of the milestones Gandhi’s learning was non-violence or peaceful resistance that was a means of establishment of a social system where a country is independent similar to a human being (Dalton, n. d., p. 31). Other critical concepts of his philosophy are truth, guilt, God, love, and the belief that “a real courage and humanity consists in not returning a kick for a kick” (Dalton, n. d., p. 38). Recognizing violence as chaos, Gandhi saw the positive and harmonic way of social transformation into non-violence that would lead to peaceful revolution. Thus, a real civilian of a future society by Gandhi is a non-violent person who has a spirit that makes him or her act according to the rules of love, truth, and God (Dalton, n. d., p. 47). Therefore, the idea of non-violent resistance was a way of the gradual transformation of people and the society, creating civil freedoms of a humanitarian community.
One suggests that possibly the best option for the Syrian moderate opposition would be the adoption of the ideology of Rosa Luxemburg. The reason for this is that although she recognized the need for social resistance that has already taken place in Syria, she aimed at building a democratic community. Along with this, the ideology of Luxemburg strongly opposes dictatorship, which coincides with the opposition’s aim of the abolition of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Summarizing the presented information, the paper concludes that socialism, which is an ideology proposed by Karl Marx, obtained popularity throughout the world but was adapted to the specific needs of the hosting countries. Thus, such leaders as Luxemburg, Lenin, Mao, Guevara, Cabral, Hitler, Marx, and Gandhi selected the factors that allowed their societies to take advantage of socialism in building a future community. In the predominant cases, such transformations were aimed at abolishing a particular regime or opposing class oppression. The analysis demonstrated that the ideology proposed by Rosa Luxemburg is the suitable one for the Syrian moderate opposition because it aims to create a democratic community free from individual dictatorship.