What proportion of anarchists support the Rojava revolution?

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Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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Feb 12 2015 11:35

To be fair, Kurremkarmerruk, over many discussions, some of us have not been completely dismissive of what is happening in Rojava. Anagoldman is clearly in the role of recruiting sergeant for the PKK. Yet s/he refuses to look at any of the previous Libcom discussions on Rojava - which s/he has decided must be unreliable as only PKK accounts have any validity. How should we respond to this, Kurremkarmerruk? I think we've been reasonably polite so far.

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Feb 12 2015 11:47

Certainly there was one Kurdish communist on here, Leo, who thinks its a reactionary nationalist movement.

Devrim

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 12:46

You are right, it is interesting we did not hear from Latin America, despite their higher level of political activity. It is curious. However I am not sure if this is itself bad. Because for example if you search for statements by anarchist organizations in libcom you will see they are mostly rubbish. They are written in "a very apologizing manner for their support for such authotarian/nationalist groups". The most they can offer is just a call for "humanitarian aid" for the displaced. So anarchist organisations themselves (proving some of Bookchin's old criticisms) are devoid of understanding political importance of Rojava for social anarchism. So my fear is : the amount of misinformation produced about Rojava in anarchist circles over-weights the actual information produced. I really do not think such empty statements help at all with building an international solidarity, if they are outright damaging it. So I would be sad to see another of such "self-righteous anarchist statement that claims we know everything". I am just hoping that Latin American comrades are not badly affected by this bad form of politics.

Anyway (see last part of this , I particularly liked the last expression "the warrior-democrats of Rojava." grin That is my kind of democrat grin ) You are right ending the embargo is very very crucial right now as stated in the text.

As a more long term solidarity project: I also think that the theories and political projects of Kurdish movement should be discussed in larger anarchist circles and groups. Despite people's ignorant reactions in this forms they DO have an originality that might help revitalizing anarchism as a social project in many different places. Because they aim at the heart of the issue, especially on practical ground, what can be a non-state and how can it be established at the actual world dominated by global capitalism. I do not think their solution will solve everything in one stroke, though they nonetheless might -at least- give us hope to develop our own answers wherever we are.

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 12:11

@Serge Forward

Please do not start the same thing again. I am just wishing to discuss something with anagoldman. What makes newcompass or Zaher or Graeber a PKK source is beyond me. You really see reality in a very very distorted form unfortunately.

@Devrim

Quote:
Certainly there was one Kurdish communist on here, Leo, who thinks its a reactionary nationalist movement.

Devrim

Well it is settled then grin (By the way you produced a very interesting sort of nationalist politics, congrats)

Caiman del Barrio
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Feb 12 2015 12:36
anagoldman wrote:
I don’t live in Latin America, but haven’t found anything on the internet that shows Rojava support groups there. Hopefully they’re out there though! I think if more people knew about it there would be great support, as Latin Americans tend to be more politicised than Europeans. It just hasn’t been reported as far as I know, and the people I’ve spoken to have no idea what’s been happening.

What? Surely this is a rather paradoxical statement, and it is highly contentious. What is your relationship with Latin America, out of interest? On the one hand, you call them "more politicised than Europeans", but on the other, you claim they're unaware of political movements which are more or less broadly recognised in Europe? This is totally unsubstantiated and rather wide-eyed, in my opinion. In my experience, Latin America, just like everywhere else, has a left wing which is largely cross-class collaborationist, nationalist and full of shit and a tiny anarchist movement which is unable to break out of its ghetto. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but the most exciting movements are generally those built and constituted by ordinary people rather than 'political' cadre.

Also, how are you defining 'politicised'? What makes you think that you're anymore 'politicised' than anyone else? Your hobby of making internet posts about far away events which - if I'm honest - I'm not sure you've really fully researched?

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 12:44

@Caiman del Barrio

Why do you write as if you are trying to disprove or criticise anagoldman? Did I missed anything? I don't know Latin situation but anagoldman thinks they are politicized, what is so wrong with that?

Quote:
Also, how are you defining 'politicised'? What makes you think that you're anymore 'politicised' than anyone else? Your hobby of making internet posts about far away events which - if I'm honest - I'm not sure you've really fully researched?

What? Why do you think he says she/he is more politicized then anybody else? am I missing a post here? are you cross-posting or sth?

anagoldman
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Feb 12 2015 12:57

I’m just going to ignore the aggressive posts of people on here.

Kurremkarmerruk, yes, these general statements by anarchist organisations condemning Rojava are very arrogant. The Anarchist Federation’s dismissiveness of the gender equality achieved, saying that the YPJ is insignificant because ISIS also has female fighters etc. is totally moronic. I think anarchist groups everywhere can be affected by this type of attitude. It would be good to have a combination of anarchist solidarity groups as well as solidarity groups for non-anarchists.

What’s interesting about the Democratic Confederalism model is that it seems to be thought out/designed particularly for the region. The emphasis on tolerance, inclusion, and cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is very different to say, the anti-religiosity of Spain (which was understandable at the time, given the role of the Church in Spain). Different systems work for different places!

I’ve checked out other links you’ve posted on different threads – they look really interesting, I’ll read them later.

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 13:00

You are welcome

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Feb 12 2015 13:31

So anagoldman, you're not interested in debate, you only want to talk to people that support your view? That's, well, rather uncritical. Take a leaf out of kurremkarmerruk's book. At least he was willing (actually over the top at times) to have a discussion.

Battlescarred
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Feb 12 2015 13:33

Listen, Anagoldman you pro-PKK troll, please go away and stop insulting people on here, some of whom have done a lot more really revolutionary stuff than you could EVER dream of. If you're so keen on people volunteering to fight in Syria and Iraq, why not make the first move and do it yourself. Otherwise, sling your hook.

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Feb 12 2015 13:55
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I think we've been reasonably polite so far

Just got kyboshed by Battlescarred grin

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Feb 12 2015 14:07

Apparently the sort of "discussion" that this thread is calling for involves dismissing any doubts about the great achievements of the great socialist Rojava revolution as disingenuous, pointedly ignoring the very lengthy and involved past discussions on this topic, and hand waving any unavoidably clear examples of class collaboration as just being "realistic." But then again, I am just a fearful armchair anarchist (not to be confused with the heroic warriors battling for Rojava on their keyboards from far away) and I guess there's no reason to be skeptical that social democratic programmatic statements from a nationalist ruling party could be anything less than a genuine embrace of anarchism.

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Feb 12 2015 14:25

Lest we forget:

Beatrice & Sydney Webb wrote:
We have given particular attention to this point, collecting all the available evidence, and noting carefully the inferences to be drawn from the experience of the past eight years (1926-1934) We do not think that the Party is governed by the will of a single person or that Stalin is the sort of person to claim or desire such a position. He has himself very explicitly denied any such personal dictatorship in terms which, whether or not he is credited with sincerity, certainly accord with our own impression of the facts...
...
Stalin is now universally considered to have justified his leadership by success; first in overcoming the very real difficulties of 1921, then in surmounting the obstacle of the peasant recalcitrance in 1930-1933; and in the successive triumphs of the Five-Year Plan. For him to be dismissed from office, or expelled from the Party, as Trotsky and so many others have been, could not be explained to the people. He will therefore remain in his great position of leadership so long as he wishes to do so...
kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 14:43

Lovely picture grin Just as I would have one grin I think Tyrion really made an interesting point btw I will reply back later

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Feb 12 2015 16:04

Yeh, nice pic of kurremkarmerruk & anagoldman in an earlier incarnation.

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 16:52

Are you into that sort of thing Red Marriott? grin Well it does not surprise me to see people with essentially Hegelian ideas to go into religion quickly grin

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Feb 12 2015 17:08
anagoldman wrote:
Red Marriott, what’s wrong with dialogue?

Nothing – you should try it instead of routinely dismissing those who don’t agree with you and assuming we're any less informed than you.

Re. the PKK/Hollande French tea party; of course, statists and ruling classes - established and emerging - have dialogue in the halls of power. Cos this is geo-political horse trading – primary motives prob being for PKK to shed their international ‘terrorist’ listing and make closer relationships with fellow statesmen/women, cement military backing, set up trade deals/reconstruction contracts/capital investments etc. While for Hollande perhaps (in light of recent French events) it’s opportune to promote an image of alliance with those fighting ‘Islamic extremism’.

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There is currently an embargo against Rojava making trade impossible, so the revolution can only last a couple more years unless it is lifted.

So what is claimed to be “libertarian revolutionary” is dependent on the ‘freedom’ to sell oil etc on the world market - and if the embargo lifts this free trade will be a central part of the Rojavan “anti-capitalist” "revolution". And we can speculate that any strikes by Kurdish oil workers would be denounced and suppressed by PKK leaders as ‘counter-revolutionary sabotage’? We’ve been there before... PKK have been repeatedly explicit that they desire a ‘mixed economy with foreign capital investments’ etc – ie, capitalist business as usual, class society and class exploitation intact. None of which is necessarily always incompatible with the participatory democracy so praised by Rojava supporters.

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This can only be negotiated with states. If the Rojava kurds and the PKK hadn’t coordinated with the Iraqi Kurdish government and the US, they would have been defeated by ISIS, but I suppose if you’d been in their place you would have stayed true to your superior anarchist principles and faced slaughter or IS rule.

Like Rojava supporters generally you conflate ‘anti-capitalism’ not with challenging class society, its economic relationships and the political administration of it but merely with increased democratisation of territorial political organisation, whether described as a state, regional autonomy or local assembly. Wanting to avoid IS rule is now for many probably a case of ‘become a PKK soldier or leave’ - or end up in a PKK jail for refusing conscription; for those disillusioned with all sides in a conflict there are no sides worth dying for. But dressing up PKK’s exploitation of the situation to pursue their explicitly capitalist long term political/economic territorial ambitions as supposedly part of a “libertarian revolution”? Just how debased and bankrupt does your understanding of anarchism, communism, anti-capitalism etc have to become to accept that? It may be that internet warriors squabbling over a distant struggle most of them have no real possible agency in is not that important - except that when the dominant perception of what is really subversive is reduced (particularly by anarchists) to a new low and such a pathetic definition it only strengthens capitalism and likely makes any real challenge just that much harder to find some clarity.

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Feb 12 2015 17:31
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Are you into that sort of thing Red Marriott?

I'm neither very Hegelian or at all religious - nor into movements dominated by quasi-religious personality cults, unlike some... smile

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 18:40

Tyrion kind of shaked me about something:

I will try to be as open as possible so that maybe we reach a higher understanding still I really hope that. Mainly because I like this site, I like the magnificent library, I wish at least to some extend think we are a great community of people here who can reach an understanding, you know like prefiguring post-capitalist post-state life etc… grin I want to see all this happening right now here.

The thing is I -more or less- agree with what Tyrion (or critics in general) says :
1) Kurdish movement is class collaborationist
2) Kurdish movement is nationalist ( Well not really but I do get it: I agree that Kurdish movement mainly consists of -well you know- "Kurds" So they are at least socially "Kurds" and this might affect future of their project (i.e: it might turn out to be another terrible nation state of -this time- Kurds))
3) It is social democracy not communism
4) We can also add here the existence of "Ocalan cult" (as anagoldman also said)

The thing is I agree with all of these*. I think these are real problems to be worried about. So If we were not polarized in this debate we could have reached an agreement on all of this and we would see that our “opponents” and us are not really that different on the “facts” and basic “principles” (like anti-militarism conscription is bad, it should not be etc...).

So why we disagree? Let's take "class collaboration" for example. If I made the impression that I try to say people should just get rid of the obvious evidence that Kurdish movement is "class collaborationist" to be realists, I am sorry but I was trying to do the opposite of that. I actually think we should be very aware of the obvious “class collaborationist” character of Kurdish movement. We should judge them whenever it contradicts their “democratic autonomy ideals” As it will inevitably crash with them. They will of course contradict each other in the long run and then a decision will be needed to be made. So you see my point? We should never let go off our critical capacity to Kurdish movement however this is not something we can do by distancing ourselves from it from the first moment. So for example some Turkish anarchist groups are doing great job ensuring the egalitarian and libertarian ideals are preserved in Rojava. I think many other people as well try to do that. Anyway I hope that this brings some new stuff into the discussion.

*I also think that not only me but also possibly nearly all supporters –including even some PKK members- agree with these criticisms.

Spikymike
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Feb 12 2015 19:22

kurrem...

Some fundamental disagreements over the supposed revolutionary significance of democratic confederalist ideology, there are it is true still some overlapping areas of common understanding between us but 'we critics' on this site take a distinctly different view as to what are the predominant trends in 'the Kurdish movement' based on our understanding of both the 'internal' forces at play and the 'external' forces of both global capitalism and imperialist power, that is the material realities of the situation rather than the understandable wishful thinking of radicals desperate for a beacon of hope in an otherwise rather desperate situation.

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 19:51

well I guess Tyrion get it wrong then grin It was not him/her that was called to be realist ( and accept class collaboration), it was me (or supporters) apparently. grin (to accept "realities" of global capitalism)

Anyway my point was not that we agree on everything: It was rather that If we can bring together your knowledge of

Quote:
the predominant trends in 'the Kurdish movement' based on our understanding of both the 'internal' forces at play and the 'external' forces of both global capitalism and imperialist power,'

(in a non-patronizing manner) with "Turkish anarchists" or even PYD maybe, that would be really helpful for realization of democratic autonomy project against seemingly impossible odds. (certainly more so than you making a speech about how class collaborationist PYD is in a rich country classroom to a -let's say- an audience of 20)
To be brutally honest though, in my eyes you are kind of "expendable" in this sense. There are certainly a lot of very intelligent and educated people (just like you) making solidarity, fighting (even dying) in Rojava for hopes of a better future (and I assure you they are not just reading Ocalan) However again to be brutally honest, you (and your knowledge of the world) do not give me any hope that you will manage to facilitate something as big as Rojava.

Note: Btw this is not personal, I just try to hint more of what I think about all these debate we (all) had here

ChumpChange
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Feb 12 2015 22:17

Ana, you are right. We should be doing something for the population of Rojava but instead we are all tapping away at these infernal devices. And not even getting paid! By the way, I tried getting there but was turned back at the border. Good luck

ChumpChange
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Feb 12 2015 21:51
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...the current state of working class militancy world-wide (i.e. basically none).

Which world do you live in Khawaga?

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Feb 12 2015 21:54

kurrem, I was criticizing more what ana's written than your posts. It's totally contradictory to claim both that there's a socialist revolution occurring in Rojava so obvious that any anarchist who doubts it probably has dark ulterior motives while also acknowledging but defending the active class collaborationist policy of the organization supposedly leading this revolution.

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Feb 12 2015 22:23

Chump Change, I live in North America, before that in the middle east/ north Africa, before that in Europe. Of those three regions the most militancy I saw was in north Africa, though that was before. But my horizon is world wide militancy; militancy in just one country or region will not be enough and will likely be defeated. Hence why it is paramount that we build militancy where we live (although how to do that is a difficult question).

Edit: Sorry, I misread that. I thought you asked what part of the world I live in. But then, my question to you is: you actually think we live through a time of actual working class militancy worldwide? I guess you're from Earth-2 then (or I'm living in that world).

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Feb 12 2015 23:32

Bugger. Why must I read these threads when I have to go to bed to get up in 3.5 hours to get on a plane. This thread is in some way another example of the fact that in the last 6 months the only people I've found even more unconvincing than the critics of the "Rojava revolution" thesis are most of its supporters. The lack of real hard information is only the smaller part of it.

Anyway, no time now. This will have to be a marker for when I next reconnect to t'interwebz. For now I'll just leave as a parting shot the proposition that real movements are problem-driven not ideology driven. i.e. that the common misconception that the causal sequence of movement development is: ideological development -> correct praxis -> solution; is an inversion of the reality which is closer to: problem -> reactive praxis -> ideological post-factum justification.

By which (obviously) I mean that the idea that the PKK's ideological "turn" is first and foremost an ideologically-driven development is nonsense. Before the critics get too smug, I would point out that their conclusion "therefore it must be bogus" accepts the same false premiss as the starry-eyed "supporters".

More later...

ChumpChange
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Feb 12 2015 23:47
ChumpChange wrote:
Quote:
...the current state of working class militancy world-wide (i.e. basically none).

Which world do you live in Khawaga?

Sincere apologies mate. No offence! I shouldn't talk glibbly. But to be honest, every time I go on holiday to a place, as soon as I get back to my yard I turn TV on and the place I was just holidaying in is shown to be ablaze. Palestine, September 2000, Greece 2008, UK n Spain 2011, Turkey ?...

I may have a different definition of militancy but proles on the streets fighting war with the tool of their oppressors surely counts.

The social revolution lives

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Feb 13 2015 00:15
ChumChange wrote:
Sincere apologies mate. No offence!

Oh no worries. I wasn't offended...

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Palestine, September 2000, Greece 2008, UK n Spain 2011, Turkey ?...

Well, I wouldn't really say that Palestine is where there is working class militancy at all (a place I've visited several times); it's almost all nationalism there. Sure, it's on fire, but unrest does not equal working class militancy. And sure in Greece there has been militancy, but it's been recuperated into this Syriaza bs. And in general the other places and times you mention appear to me more like riots and expressions of frustration (and nought wrong in that!) rather than having their basis in some class conscious movement. I'd say one of the most militant movements I've seen recently was actually the Quebec student movement (that struck for half a year) recently where they were openly calling for a sustained social strike, neighbourhood assemblies were forming and so on.

But in all of these cases, the militancy is very local, did not spread and lasted for a short time only. Hence, I would still argue that worldwide there is basically zero working class militancy (and militancy means directly attacking capital and the state, not just proles fighting cops and such).

ChumpChange
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Feb 13 2015 06:02

Quebec is nearer to you than me. Sounds good though. The events we discuss you describe as local and short lived but I view them as part of one continuous struggle from the dawn of history.

I applaud your defeatism and admit I am wrong and once again apologise for my glib talk.

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Feb 13 2015 01:02

Sure, it is not an abstract, but just fighting it (or burning down warehoues) doesn't mean that we actually attack the social relations of capital, which is what keeps the system going. We may burn down a warehouse today, but we still have to work tomorrow to feed ourselves. If there is nothing in place that go beyond capital's social relations we will be bound by the wage, bound by the commodity and still beaten by the state. So what you're describing is not a fight or struggle in any real sense, but just a skirmish that has practically no bearing on overcoming capitalism. Not saying that these things shouldn't be done, but that there are limits to a pure insurrectionary strategy outside of a general social revolution.