Mr. Anarchist, we need to have a chat about colonialism

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kurekmurek
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Apr 2 2015 11:41
Mr. Anarchist, we need to have a chat about colonialism

This article discusses Dauve's text and colonialist attitudes of radicals in general. It mentions: the example of green anarchy vs. EZLN debate. Replies to Dauve point by point. and concludes by saying that some revolutionaries and organizations in the west, due to their sectarian impotence fail to see the revolutionary creativity and potential of Rojava. It is a nice read, enjoy:

http://roarmag.org/2015/04/zapatistas-rojava-anarchist-revolution/

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Serge Forward
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Apr 2 2015 12:32
Petar Stanchev wrote:
colonial mentality

Right, that's us told and we should hang our heads in fucking shame.

But to be honest, it all feels a bit back to the early 80s for me, this. Back then, a refugee mate from Iran was always telling me how I should support the Mujahadin Khalk and a Leninist mate never stopped telling me to back the Sandinistas and the FMLN. Both accused me and every other anarchist they met of siding with colonialism, both were talking bollocks, as is that bellend, Petar Stanchev.

Anyway, I'll have to just live with the accusation. Can't wait for episode 2 though, in which we're all called racist for not showing sufficient enthusiasm for the Nation of Islam.

kurekmurek
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Apr 2 2015 12:49

Yeah if you overgeneralize this easily (from sandinistas to kurds to islam) I think you sould be accused of colonial and eurocentric mentality. Nice point

bastarx
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Apr 2 2015 12:55

Unlike most of the other Kurdish nationalist nonsense that you post here I actually read this latest rubbish.

Here're some particularly stupid bits so others don't have to waste their time reading it.

Quote:
he applies the concepts and standards of Western political thought to the Rojava revolution and rules that it does not fit into his preconceived category of a “social revolution.”

Pop-postmodernism. Tick.

Quote:
Both the Zapatistas and the Kurdish movement are a threat to the status quo because they offer and put into practice alternatives that are actually working.

Such a threat to the status quo that the USAF is fighting alongside them.

Quote:
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), as the leading force in the Rojava revolution, has recognized the integrity of the Syrian state and proposed democratic confederalism as a preferable model for the country as a whole after the overthrow of the regime and the defeat of ISIS.

Is that the overthrow of Assad's regime that they are basically allied with?

Quote:
The so-called open economy is based on foreign investment, which unfortunately remains necessary for the development of the region’s scarce infrastructure. There are, for example, no oil refineries in Rojava, even though the Cizire canton has large reserves of petrol.

If they had large reserves of petrol they wouldn't need oil refineries. Technically as well as politically ignorant.

Quote:
The industry that will eventually be developed in Rojava should be under direct workers’ control, or at least this is the expressed intention of the PYD officials.

Good luck getting that foreign investment then.

Quote:
According to Dauvé, the revolution in Rojava is not anti-capitalist because the “proletarians” have not seized the means of production and private property is still allowed. This is a laughable statement, considering that the “proletariat” in the classical Western sense does not exist in Rojava. Here the author once again illustrates the limitations of a purist class analysis based solely on the outdated and inapplicable realities of 19th century industrial Europe.

What's the classical Western sense of proletariat then? Miners and factory workers? Only idiot savant academics think that's what the proletariat is. More pomo strawmanning.

Quote:
Blinded by frustration with their own marginality and isolated by the incapacity to adapt their ideas to reality and to build a social force that is actually capable of challenging capitalist modernity and the nation state, some Western anarchists still prefer to retreat into their own ideological ivory towers and claim superior knowledge and righteousness through empty statements about the “spineless” radicalism of other people — especially those in the Global South....
Petar Stanchev is finishing a degree in Latin American Studies and Human Rights at the University of Essex. He has previously lived and studied in Mexico and has been involved in the Zapatista solidarity movement for four years.

Blinded by frustration with their own marginality aspiring academics become cheerleaders for various nationalist rackets in the hope that it will differentiate their particular ideology enough from all their competitors and secure them a career.

kurekmurek
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Apr 2 2015 13:07

It seems this one pushed the right nerves. I will not reply no more here as I fear to start another pointless discussion. Anyway if anyone wants to discuss the text we can do this on private messages I am open to all discussion. Solidarity

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Serge Forward
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Apr 2 2015 13:30
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
It seems this one pushed the right nerves. I will not reply no more here

Go on. You know you want to. Us colonialist types need telling right off.

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Tyrion
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Apr 2 2015 16:48
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
It seems this one pushed the right nerves. I will not reply no more here as I fear to start another pointless discussion. Anyway if anyone wants to discuss the text we can do this on private messages I am open to all discussion. Solidarity

Talk about drive-by shitposting. Incidentally, Dauve's not an anarchist.

Anyone want to go to a rally today for the socialist revolution in China? Hopefully you're not all too infected by colonial mentality to impose your classical Western notions and preconceptions on what is and isn't a socialist revolution in places where such things don't apply.

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mikail firtinaci
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Apr 2 2015 17:10

And PKK is talking about "modernizing" Rojava and Kurdistan... How sweet it is to degrade theory and logic in the name of pomo anti-communism. God save Foucault as the Mullahs in Iran might have said back in 1979.

Spikymike
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Apr 2 2015 17:14

Roarmag seem to specialise in promoting a concept of the 'revolutionary' based on a radical version of democratic ideology unable to understand the basis of capitalist social relationships in the modern world of the real domination of capital and suseptable as a result to viewing any process of modernisation in those regions not yet fully integrated into it's orbit as being anti-capitalist rather than the latest means of their integration. This is not to deny the efforts of the exploited and oppressed in those regions to carve out some measure of independence or at least protection in that process, so not to condemn but to understand the process based on an analysis of the different specific circumstances, (as in Chiapas and Rojava), together with the objective relationship to the wider region, (as in Mexico and Syria), and global capitalism. It is the recent claims of a more universal applicabillity of 'Zapatismo' or 'Ocalan style democratic confederalism' as a means of undermining and overthrowing global capitalism rather than everything people might be doing in desperate circumstances in either Chiapas or Rojava that have been the focus of Dauve and most critics on this site which will remain despite the rantings of this Roar article.

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 2 2015 17:33

so let me get this straight

colonial mentality
Is - Skepticism of extraordinary claims with vary flimsy evidence behind them.
Not - visiting for 10 days then claiming to know better than people who live there.
Not- Treating the people Rojova or Kurdistan or quite possible the entire "global south" as one homogeneous mass, without class divisions.

Have you heard of orientalism?

akai
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Apr 2 2015 18:37

Well, I actually think that there should be a serious discussion about issues related to imposing conceptions from one culture/situation/set of presumptions onto another. As a person who does not live in the more priveleged part of the activist world, but in the so-called East, there can be real issues concerning assessments of situations. Unfortunately I have also seen, all too often, how "the Westerners" have been made bogeyman and have been accused of all sorts of things anytime there has been even legitimate criticisms of simply bad politics here in the East. So I think that this question, like the question of "colonialism" can also be used as an excuse. Am not saying this about the article though ....... would have to read more.

Sharkfinn
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Apr 2 2015 19:12

In general discussion on politics should be serious, or at least intelligible. There's nothing colonial about the attitudes here, its closer to infantile.

Calling anyone who disagrees with you po-mo, nationalist or "idiot savant" (is this meant as a derogatory reference to autism?!), doesn't do anything to discredit the article, it discredits you. Its a shame this forum has degenerated into left commies voting down their opponents in tandem and using in tandem drive-by shitposting as the preferred type of argument (and criticizing you of drive-by shitposting for refusing to interact with them anymore).

I wish the subculture had colonial attitudes. It would be easier to deal with that, than with the sense of intellectual infallibility.

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Pennoid
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Apr 2 2015 20:46

Worse than colonial, WE'RE INFANTILE!

(This is a Peanuts-inspired GMIL punchline waiting to happen btw)

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mikail firtinaci
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Apr 2 2015 21:20

To be honest, I don't see how calling internationalist marxists/anarchists to abandon their principles in favor a nationalist "practice" is sensible. What is so tempting about having revolutionaries in this 3th grade replica of "popular front"? PKK is already backed by the US, NATO, liberals, shifty social democrats, and shady stalinists. Why does it need anarchists and even LCs too!! Or is it that any rejection of nationalism should silence itself even in the West? Well this is how PKK worked in the middle east. In Turkey for instance PKK-Ocalan forced its opponents in the Kurdish/Left left to submission and/or liquidation. Now they want to have the same all over the world this time of course with the aid of homegrown anarcho-activist recruits and academic leftists who need to get another paper published in a peer review journal before the year ends...

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plasmatelly
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Apr 2 2015 21:43
mikail firtinaci wrote:
To be honest, I don't see how calling internationalist marxists/anarchists to abandon their principles in favor a nationalist "practice" is sensible. What is so tempting about having revolutionaries in this 3th grade replica of "popular front"? PKK is already backed by the US, NATO, liberals, shifty social democrats, and shady stalinists. Why does it need anarchists and even LCs too!! Or is it that any rejection of nationalism should silence itself even in the West? Well this is how PKK worked in the middle east. In Turkey for instance PKK-Ocalan forced its opponents in the Kurdish/Left left to submission and/or liquidation. Now they want to have the same all over the world this time of course with the aid of homegrown anarcho-activist recruits and academic leftists who need to get another paper published in a peer review journal before the year ends...

I'm gonna get a tattoo of this - nice one mf

Flint
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Apr 2 2015 21:48

I'm annoyed that far more people read and comment on this than "A Mountain River Has Many Bends" and its description of the People's Economic Plan. But folks love a "who is more revolutionary" pissing match than grappling with the contradictions of an ongoing struggle.

http://libcom.org/library/mountain-river-has-many-bends

Flint
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Apr 2 2015 21:59

The U.S. having the same enemies as the YPG/YPJ isn't the same thing as being backed. The U.S. has taken great pains to not support the YPG/YPJ as compared to the lavish support it gives to other groups. Turkey is still part of NATO. Real Stalinists support Assad and the Ba'ath. Ofcourse, someone in this thread also claimed that YPG/YPJ are "basically allied with" Assad too. Such simplifications might score points in a shallow debate but isn't a very insightful look at the situation. On the ground in the Syria, YPG/YPJ is probably the largest faction that is not getting significant support overtly or covertly from a nation-state. The assistance of the KRG/KDP was extremely limited and the PKK/HPG has probably done more for the KRG against Daesh than vice versa; whether that was intervening in Sengal or on the road to Hawler. If Daesh is defeated, it won't be too long before KDP and PKK are contesting each other in Iraq and Syria.

But hey, if you believe everyone is basically a tool of global capital hegemony, it certainly makes things easier to understand.

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Apr 2 2015 22:10

I really dont understand why it is so important to supporters of the PKK that everyone on here has to agree with you. There's like less than one hundred regular posters on here, is getting us to agree with you so important that when we express reservations you all feel the need to resort to attacking us on the grounds of racism/colonialism/infantilism? The support of the posters on libcom is not going to tip the balance in the PKK's favor. (NATO has already done that)

Also people on here are most interested in class struggle, maybe this isn't the right website to get all angry about Rojava on.

(also do the words "colonial mentality" remind anyone else of the Fela song?)

Flint
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Apr 2 2015 22:52

Soapy,

I'd prefer to think of myself as someone interested in and supportive of the revolution in Rojava.

I don't care whether you agree with me or not. I am quite use to most of the world disagreeing with me.

I do care about accurately describing the situation and understanding it.

NATO has been bombing people for as long as I can remember. While I have expended a lot of effort opposing NATO bombings and the U.S. in particular, I agree that many of those situations had little that was of interest to a narrow libertarian communist position in regards to revolution.

However, if folks actually look at the economic, feminist and democratic changes going on in Rojava, I think there are lot of things to be interested in. Unfortunately, I think many comrades approach the situation by initially rejecting any interest in it whatsoever. Some of that comes rightly from a position of skepticism based on the early history of the PKK. Some of it comes from a materialist deterministic argument. A lot of it as contrarian looking to cherry pick out situations or quotes that discredit the PYD or Tev-Dem with some revolutionary litmus test.

Take a look at the PEP and the discussions on collectivization and the commons. There is some stuff there to chew on.

Or don't. If you want to just dismiss whats going on, its probably easy to ignore these sorts of posts. As everyone seemed to ignore adding "A Mountain River Has Many Bends" to the libcom library. If I'm generous, I'd think that's because folks didn't notice it. If I'm not feeling generous, then I suspect people don't want to engage the information in it because it complicates a NATO=PKK=Assad narrative or whatever.

And I didn't post this article as I think its the wrong avenue of discussion because people get all upset when its suggested some of their attitude maybe colonialist. That sort of discussion quickly spirals into ad hominem and personal anecdotes and takes us pretty far from examining the situation in Rojava.

bastarx
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Apr 2 2015 23:41
Sharkfinn wrote:
In general discussion on politics should be serious, or at least intelligible. There's nothing colonial about the attitudes here, its closer to infantile.

Calling anyone who disagrees with you po-mo, nationalist or "idiot savant" (is this meant as a derogatory reference to autism?!), doesn't do anything to discredit the article, it discredits you. Its a shame this forum has degenerated into left commies voting down their opponents in tandem and using in tandem drive-by shitposting as the preferred type of argument (and criticizing you of drive-by shitposting for refusing to interact with them anymore).

I wish the subculture had colonial attitudes. It would be easier to deal with that, than with the sense of intellectual infallibility.

Idiot savant isn't meant as a reference to autism but I suppose for the Tumblr privilege heroes politics is reduced to denouncing their opponents as racists, sexists, ableists etc so you see tend those prejudices everywhere. Like many academics Stanchev appears to know a lot about his own narrow speciality and fuck all about anything else hence the idiot savant tag.

The colonial mentality is coming from those who deny any prospect of universal human liberation on the basis that it is western and instead propose a patchwork of nationalisms because that is the best the darker skinned people can do.

Flint
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Apr 2 2015 23:46

KCK and affiliates argue for universal human liberation and against nation-states and nationalism, now. In practice, Tev-Dem and the YPG/YPJ are multi-ethnic and multi-religious.

You can claim that they are lying, but in rhetoric, they now share your position.

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Apr 3 2015 01:58

@Flint

I have read into this a little and just simply find the topic uninteresting. What I'm saying is why does it matter which side any of us pick in a conflict thousands of miles away, what matters is class struggle in our every day lives at work and at home. Let's start there.

Flint
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Apr 3 2015 02:28

If you don't find interesting, why do you post on the article? Noone cares that you don't care.

Casino workers that my wife was working with just won union recognition! Woot! City goverment is making moves to privatize the water service. Boo! I'm involved in these things. Terribly reformist, I'm afraid.

Flint
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Apr 3 2015 03:03

"Libertarian communism is the political expression of the ever-present strands of co-operation and solidarity in human societies. These currents of mutual aid can be found throughout society. In tiny everyday examples such as people collectively organising a meal, or helping a stranger carry a pram down a flight of stairs. They can also manifest themselves in more visible ways, such as one group of workers having a solidarity strike in support of other workers as the BA baggage handlers did for Gate Gourmet catering staff in 2005. They can also explode and become a predominant force in society such as in the events across Argentina in 2001, in Portugal 1974, Italy in the 1960s-70s, France 1968, Hungary '56, Spain 1936, Russia 1917, Paris 1871…

"We identify primarily with the trends of workers' solidarity, co-operation, direct action and struggle throughout history, whether they were self-consciously libertarian communist (such as in the Spanish revolution) or not. We are also influenced by certain specific theoretical and practical traditions, such as anarchist-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, the ultra-left, left communism, libertarian Marxism, council communism and others.

"However, we recognise the limitations of applying these ideas and organisational forms to contemporary society. We emphasise understanding and transforming the social relationships we experience here and now in our everyday lives to better our circumstances and protect the planet, whilst still learning from the mistakes and successes of previous working class movements and ideas."

Some folks think that situation in Rojava fits the bill. Others do not. I think that all the situations mentioned have similar contradictions and problems. But hey, Chiapas 94-2015 didn't make the cut either.

Is this still a forum that is for discussing such things, or is Rojava somehow beyond the pale?

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mikail firtinaci
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Apr 3 2015 03:18

Flint,

Before discussing about what PKK and its fronts' endless decelerations about their best wishes for the future of the Middle East, I think we should reach an agreement about what PKK is. This is all the more important because there are only two ways that social-political change can happen in Rojava: either under PKKs control, consent and supervision or against it. There are no middle grounds.

PKK is first of all a military organization. It is not a party like leftist parties in the west. It has a strict top-down hierarchy. It is a military organization that systematically purged its ranks. PKK liquidated those elements inside the organization, which were suspect of political, tactical and theoretical deviations. This includes all those critical of Ocalan personally as well.

Now, PKKs recent turn towards a municipality based social democratic(ish) program is not so much important. Was Stalin right when he declared that the economic basis of socialism was constructed in the USSR in 1930s with the five year plans? Maybe to a degree even Stalin was right! But still he was the arch-enemy of communism and the working class. PKK is the same. PKK is still a state-like military apparatus and operates in the region as a state like pawn. It is like a fish in the sea of imperialist conflict. And imperialism is no joke. I am not saying that there is a conspiracy of some sort. The collapse of Sykes-Picot order which created Syria-Iraq-Lebenon based on French and British spheres of influences is totally undermined and created the situation that exists today, almost spontaneously. Today the only basis of statist-capitalist social organization is an archaic division of region into clanish alliances between Kurdish and Arabic ethnic-religious camps.

So PKK can not be an instrument of the world proletariat in its fight against this new round of brutal imperialist re-(un)ordering in the Middle-East. PKK's municipal social-democratic ideology serves the existing imperialist configuration in three ways:

1- PKK assures Turkey that it does not anymore want to establish a nation state, hence solidifies Turkish imperialism in the region.

2- It fights against Arabic-Sunni nationalism (which is organized in ISIS today but tomorrow it can take another name). Further PKK allies itself with any state with the same goal of fighting Arabic-Sunni ethnic groups.

3- PKKs municipal social democracy also ideologically legitimizes the new social arrangement, which spontaneously emerged in the region: a society divided into clan like organizations that are defined on the basis of regional cultural ties, family ties, ethno-religious ties. Its ideology is a cover for this new situation and makes clan chiefs loyal to it content.

That is PKK. And that is why it is counter-revolutionary to the core.

Flint
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Apr 3 2015 03:23

I don't agree with your assessment of the current PKK, nor the more importantly Tev-Dem and the YPG/YPJ, nor the PYD.

It is clear that no matter what Tev-Dem or PYD's politics was, you discount the possibility of anything positive growing from the soil where the YPG/YPJ picked up guns. Can we agree on that being your position?

In your analysis the PKK = Stalin. Can we agree on that being your position?

Is there any action the Tev-Dem or the PYD could take that would cause you to reassess your analysis of the situation?

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mikail firtinaci
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Apr 3 2015 03:28

If you don't agree it means that you know something different about the PKKs structure and internal organization. Please show me any evidences that PKK:

a) is not a strictly hierarchical military organization

b) that genuine political debate leads to any definition/redefinition of political goals inside the PKK.

Black Badger
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Apr 3 2015 03:31

I just don't understand why principled internationalism is so difficult for some people to understand. I don't understand why cheerleaders from hundreds/thousands of miles away get caught up in games centered on statecraft (treaties, pacts, cease-fires, paramilitary formations, hierarchical control of "resources"/development of "productive forces," etc). A rejection of the state -- and therefore politics and statecraft -- is fundamental to anarchism and the most interesting variations of libertarian communism.

Rejection of nationalism is not the same thing as support for colonialism, except in the vulgar dialectics of binary thinkers.

Flint
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Apr 3 2015 03:46

There is a lot of information about the change in the PKK and its affiliated organization's politics and organization. You just regard it as propaganda and not true, right? You also discount anything put out by DAF? And anything put out by the academic delegation that went to Cizre? And presumably anything now put out by the Kurdish Anarchist Forum that now says: "PKK or at least the dominant faction or group within the PKK, has taken the right decision and the right direction by silencing their weapons and opening their minds, changing from military forces to people’s power and from political revolution to social revolution. The wave of the social revolution is so strong it will be extremely hard for anybody or any political party to change its direction let alone to stop it. It became a culture, custom especially for the young generation, they have realised that is the only way to defy the power, to challenge the system and make major changes." Its all either lies the PKK has spun, or well-meaning but "useful idiot" leftists who have been duped by the PKK's expert propagandadists? And certainly we have to just disregard anything written by the HDP, or anything written by Dilar Dirik.

I think the KCK and affiliated organizations have gone to considerable length to show their changes in political ideas prior to the Syrian civil war. With Tev-Dem, they have had an opportunity to show in practice what their ideas are. I was also skeptical about the PKK's change in politics when I first heard of it August 29, 2006 (It got to me late! I live on the other side of the planet). However, the reports of what has been going on in the cantons has me optimistic about their activity. It seems like their practice is more in line with the rhetoric.

A practice that most folks don't want to discuss, but instead want to either 1) focus on the PKK in the 20th century or 2) dismiss it as being anything intresting because they will inevitable be a pawn for imperialist conflict (and whose pawn depends on the speaker!)

To give AFED credit, they brought up a number of contemporary issues like Tev-Dem's conscription and the Islamic Democratic Congress. Also to AFED's credit they pushed a position to fully open the border to refugees and to send humanitarian aid through the DAF. Do you agree with AFED on the border or aid?

Yes, the YPG/YPJ is engaged in an ongoing military action. That action has military organization.

As I said, if you just think its impossible for anything positive to come out of it, I suppose our discussion is at an impasse.

Flint
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Apr 3 2015 03:55
Black Badger wrote:
Rejection of nationalism is not the same thing as support for colonialism, except in the vulgar dialectics of binary thinkers.

Tev-Dem claims to have rejected nationalism and the nation-state. "Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, and Turkmen, as well as Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis—cross boundaries: that is, the lands where they live do not begin or end at the state borders. This diversity will foster correct and healthy relations with neighboring countries, and it will also form a fertile ground for the construction of democratic confederal relationships that will spread in the Middle East, one that inherently rejects ethnic and religious nationalism as well as the nation-state."

You just don't believe them.

Its a lot to be skeptical of. In practice, they do seem to be serious about being multi-ethnic, multi-religious in Tev-Dem and the YPG/YPJ's organization. But it could be that you believe like Mikail Firtinaci that it is all just a lie for "a society divided into clan like organizations that are defined on the basis of regional cultural ties, family ties, ethno-religious ties. Its ideology is a cover for this new situation and makes clan chiefs loyal to it content."

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mikail firtinaci
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Apr 3 2015 04:03

Flint,

I read and discuss about PKK since I became politically conscious. It is the central political question in the Turkish left. So, I am open to learn. But KAF's statement you quoted is not enough to change my conviction and judgement about the PKK. The front organizations and their claims also are not significant. I am familiar sith stalinist politics and Turkey is full of (trotskyist, maoist, m-l, "revisionist" etc) Leninist front organizations which claim to be independent from the dominant party-army, that they are open to discussion etc.

What I am looking for is a credible and solid proof that PKK ceased to be an army and a state like organization. This proof must come from within the PKK.

However, PKK is still controlled by the leadership residing in its central Kandil mountain basis. Its acting (and unquestionable) second leader is (since Ocalan was captured by the Turkish state) is the same person since 1999: Murat Karayilan. All political and military directives emanating from this center are unquestionably followed by the rest of the organization and its fronts. This central institution (whatever it says about itself) acts like a state. Can you see any evidences that could counter this?

If you can, I am ready to discuss the vices and virtues of municipal social democracy as something more than an ideological weapon in inter-imperialist conflicts.