The cat-and-mouse game between piracy supporters on the one hand and state authorities and major multinational companies on the other is heating up. Over the past few years there has been a marked increase in the persecution of websites and individuals involved in piracy. Democratic rights are being thrown overboard and the full force of the state applied in the media industry’s ruthless pursuit of profits.
Since the death of Margaret Thatcher last week the British Establishment have been revelling in their past. In a similar manner to the death of Princess Diana, the Royal Wedding and the London Olympics, they believe that this event could serve as another circus to distract working class people from their problems. We would all come together as one nation and forget our class differences. This has been a serious miscalculation.
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.
Marx wrote in the 18th Brumaire that history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce. This is what is happening in Cyprus. We are witnessing a situation similar to two years ago when the EU put pressure on Greece to accept a bail-out, but this time around 56 Cypriot politicians have created a huge problem for capitalists across Europe.
The false idea that the Assad regime is somehow progressive, is rooted in the events of the 1960s, which were eventually to lead to the setting up of a centrally planned, state owned economy, very similar to that in the Soviet Union. However, a long drawn out process has changed the nature of the Syrian economy from what was fundamentally a planned economy to one where the private sector dominates and this has to be understood if one is to make a correct appraisal of the nature of the regime headed by Assad today.