Anarchist Federation statement on Rojava: December 2014

Ocalan's face on flags

The Anarchist Federation looks at the so-called "revolution" in Syrian Kurdistan, and the role of the PKK and compares the reality with the rhetoric.

The following statement addresses the situation in which Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF), Revolutionary Anarchist Action, are involved on the Turkish/Syrian border in opposition to IS. This is a struggle which, if lost, will probably result in far greater repression and tyranny than workers in the region already face, in towns and on the land. It is also one in which class-consciousness and the class struggle must remain at the forefront of anarchist responses. Anarchists on the ground are fighting in a less-than-ideal situation, not least given that the state forces of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and the US, also claim to combat IS. We continue to offer practical solidarity through the International of Anarchist Federations (IFA/IAF). We also offer our own evaluation of the situation.

The Anarchist Federation is only too aware of the support that many anarchists, including those who describe themselves as anarchist communists, anarcho-syndicalists and class struggle anarchists, are offering the “Rojava Revolution”. This includes lauding the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) as a party that has somehow morphed from being an authoritarian nationalist party into being a near-anarchist catalyst for social revolution in the region, and describing the situation in Rojava as similar to the revolutionary situation in Spain in 1936 (David Graeber, as well as Derek Wall of the Green Party left).

Those who wish to hold on to their principles and to keep a clear head, need to examine the facts. The PKK at its birth adopted a leftist nationalist stance. This leftism was very much of the Stalinist variety. In 1984 it began an armed struggle against the Turkish state. With the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, its leader, by the Turkish state, a new period in the evolution of the PKK began. In line with leaders of other parties of the same ilk, Ocalan was and is seen as a charismatic figure to which the leadership elements and the base of the party pay obedience. Ocalan is described as “the sun” around which the various political and military organisations revolve. This situation has not changed with his apparent adoption of Bookchinite confederal municipalism. Ocalan deliberately modelled himself on Stalin right down to the personality cult. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellites, Ocalan and the PKK began to manouevre, to change positions, no longer being able to look towards a discredited state capitalism.

When the PKK military forces were compelled to move over the border to Syria, they met problems with the Kurdish peasantry there, many of whom still held to Muslim religious beliefs at odds with PKK leftism. This impelled Ocalan to talk about Kurdistan as “the cradle of international Islam”. At the same time the PKK entered into a tacit alliance with Syria’s Assad regime, an enemy of the Turkish state.

Ocalan then completed another turn and talked about becoming Turkey’s “most powerful ally” and that “the war on behalf of borders and classes has come to an end”. When this failed to impress his captors, Ocalan then took another turn, recommending that Bookchin must be read and his ideas practised. This initiated an intensive marketing campaign by the PKK towards Western leftists and anarchists in order to look for support and allies.

Apart from the strange occurrence of the PKK, after decades of Stalinised nationalism, apparently turning overnight into some sort of organisation advocating Bookchinite libertarian municipalism, it should be pointed out that this came not from the grassroots of the PKK but was handed down by Ocalan through the PKK command structure. In fact, whilst Ocalan and the PKK might be posing as born again libertarians, it should be remembered that the PKK, whilst facing towards the West as advocates of direct democracy and of secularism, at the same time advocates the setting up of Democratic Islam Congresses to accommodate the Islamists and to religiously legitimise the PKK. This was also at the instigation of Ocalan. In a letter that Ocalan sent to the Democratic Islam Congress he referred to his “brother believers” and goes on to say that “we cannot be defined by western concepts such as communism and atheism". Further he then talks favourably about the Islamisation of Kurdistan. So much for secularism!

As to any change in the structure of the PKK from an extremely centralised structure with Ocalan at the tip of the pyramid into a libertarian federalist organisation controlled by the membership, there is no evidence whatsoever that this has happened. The PKK’s “Democratic Confederalism” is described by Ocalan as “a system which takes into consideration the religious, ethnic and class differences in society", in other words the class system is not being questioned at all. The Koma Civakên Kurdistan (KCK) (Group of Communities in Kurdistan) an organization founded by the PKK to implement the Democratic Confederalism programme, defends private property in its Contract (the key document in the aforesaid programme). This is under Article 8, “Personal, Political Rights and Freedoms". Section C of article 10, "Basic Responsibilities" defines the constitutional basis of mandatory military service:"In the case of a war of legitimate defense, as a requirement of patriotism, there is the responsibility to actively join the defense of the homeland and basic rights and freedoms”.

Zafer Onat, a libertarian communist in the region remarks “While the Contract states that the aim is not political power, we also understand that the destruction of the state apparatus is also not aimed [at], meaning the goal is autonomy within existing nation states. When the Contract is viewed in its entirety, the goal that is presented is not to be seen beyond a bourgeois democratic system that is called democratic confederalism”.

Anarchists can remember Gaddafi’s Green Book, which in rhetoric had far more radical language, where it says: “All that the masses need do now is to struggle to put an end to all forms of dictatorial rule in the world today, to all forms of what is falsely called democracy - from parliaments to the sect, the tribe, the class and to the one-party, the two-party and the multi-party systems.... No democracy without popular congresses and committees everywhere. ... Democracy is the supervision of the people by the people.” But did anyone seriously believe that this was actually being implemented under the repressive regime of Gaddafi?

The uprising against the Assad regime meant that in the course of events, that regime ceased hostilities against the Syrian branch of the PKK, the PYD (Democratic Union Party). This was in order to concentrate on fighting its other opponents, the Free Syrian Army, etc. How seriously should we take the claims about the Rojava Revolution in the Kurdish part of Syria?

We should be clear that the PYD has set up a parliament structure, the Auto-Administration, which it controls with allied parties. It passed a conscription law in July compelling families in the region to send one of their 18-30 year-old members to serve in the defence corps of the PYD, for a period of six months, either continuously or intermittently over a one year period. “Non-adherence” to this law was subject to punishment as stipulated in the law. This law was passed without consulting with other political formations in Rojava and explicitly drafts Kurds into armed groups completely under the control of the PYD. At the same time the PYD is treating other Kurdish political formations in Rojava in an authoritarian totalitarian way, backed up by its use of armed force. It marginalises them and refuses entry into any decision making.

The so-called cantonal assemblies and grassroots bodies are themselves under the sway of the PYD and the Auto-Administration can either approve or block any decisions by these bodies. There is no real direct democracy here, workers and peasants do not control these bodies. At the same time no genuine workers and peasants militias have developed, all of the armed groups are under the control of the PYD. Furthermore, there is no socialisation and collectivisation of the land and the workplaces, as happened, for example, in Spain in 1936. The PKK/PYD marketing campaign has presented the situation in Rojava as one of progressive revolution, but the working class and the peasantry have no autonomous organisation. Whilst there is a quota of 40% representation of women within these local councils/communes/committees, it can be seen from the above that the local structures are in fact not much different from municipal councils in the West, where they act in their role as the local state as support for and in connection with the central state and parliament. Indeed, while some compare the “Rojava Revolution” to Spain 1936 perhaps a better analogy would be the Bolsheviks in 1917 which many anarchists, both internationally and inside Russia, mistakenly supported initially as a truly revolutionary force.

As regards the women’s armed groups, whilst there are signs of feminist influences within them, it should be remembered that the women’s fighting groups are segregated from male units, with no mixed fighting groups. Gaddafi and Saddam both had women’s military brigades, but that did not mean that there was women’s liberation in Libya and Iraq. Similarly women’s military brigades exist in Iran with no sign of emancipation of women. For that matter, ISIS has all-female brigades called al-Khansaa and Umm al-Rayan.

As Zafer Onat remarks: ”First of all we must identify that the Rojava process has progressive features such as an important leap in the direction of women's liberation, that a secular, pro-social justice, pluralist democratic structure is attempting to be constructed and that other ethnic and religious groups are given a part in the administration. However, the fact that the newly emerging structure does not aim at the elimination of private property, that is the abolition of classes, that the tribal system remains and that tribal leaders partake in the administration shows that the aim is not the removal of feudal or capitalist relations of production but is instead in their own words 'the construction of a democratic nation''.”

As Syrian-Kurdish anarchist Shiar Neyo comments: “From the PYD’s point of view, this was a golden opportunity to impose its authority and expand its sphere of influence in the Kurdish areas in Syria. This political pragmatism and thirst for power are two important factors in understanding the party’s dealings with the regime, the revolution, the FSA, and even the Kurds themselves. They also help explain many phenomena that seem to bewilder some commentators and analysts, such as the suppression by PYD forces of independent activists and those critical of the party’s policies, in much the same vein as the Baathist regime did. By way of example, one can cite in this regard the Amuda massacre in July 2013, in which the People’s Protection Units (YPG) opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, or the closure of the new independent radio station Arta in February 2014, under the pretext that it was not ‘licensed’. The PYD’s forces have also assaulted members of other Kurdish political parties and arrested some of them under a variety of excuses; they have been controlling food and financial resources in the Kurdish areas and distributing them in an unjust manner on the basis of partisan favouritism, and so on and so forth. Such practices remind people, rightly, of the oppressive practices of the Assad regime.”

What we are saying might not be popular at the moment, but we feel that our analysis will be borne out by unfolding events.

Our proposed actions

1.Argue for fully open borders for refugees and aid to these refugees. Highlight the conditions in the refugee camps and of Syrian refugees in Turkish cities forced to beg or to turn to petty criminal activities in order to live.

2. Provide humanitarian aid to Rojava via IFA, which has direct contact with DAF.

3. Encourage and support any independent action of workers and peasants in the Rojava region. Argue against any nationalist agitation and for the unity of Kurdish, Arab, Muslim, Christian and Yezidi workers and peasants. Any such independent initiatives must free themselves from PKK/PYD control, and equally from aid by the Western allies, from their clients like the Free Syrian Army, Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, and the Turkish state.

The Anarchist Federation, 1st December 2014.

http://www.afed.org.uk

---

For references, and statements & discussion elsewhere:

References:

Servet Düşmanı (Enemy of Wealth) anarchist website, Turkey- Rojava: Fantasies and Realities [article by Zafer Onat, in several language translations]: http://www.servetdusmani.org/rojava-fantasies-and-realities/

Tahrir-International Collective Network website: On the Syrian Revolution and the Kurdish Issue – an interview with Syrian-Kurdish activist and journalist Shiar Nayo: http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/syria-on-the-syrian-revolution-and-the-kurdish-issue-an-interview-with-syrian-kurdish-activist-and-journalist-shiar-nayo/

Statements:

International of Anarchist Federations: http://i-f-a.org/index.php/news [several statements by KAF (Kurdish Anarchist Forum, UK and Europe) and DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action, Turkey), including translations]

http://anarsistfaaliyet.org/ (DAF website)

https://libcom.org/tags/kurdistan-anarchist-forum (KAF related articles)

Further discussion:

Workers Solidarity Alliance, USA: http://ideasandaction.info/2014/10/rojava-anarcho-syndicalist-perspective/ [anarcho-syndicalist individual, critical of national liberation context]

Anarkismo, platformist network: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27540 [reply to the WSA position with many comments]

Comments

AES
Dec 9 2014 21:19
Gepetto wrote:
"They protect people from genocidal fundamentalists, what more do you want?!"

Gepetto, where is the quote from?

Tyrion
Dec 9 2014 21:36
Petar Stanchev Sanchez wrote:
"Strange to see people far away from Rojava whose only involvement in the "revolution" is cheerleading it on the Internet accuse the AF of being armchair critics. Perhaps anarchists need to put their lives on the line for (at best) social democracy led by a nationalist party before they criticize it."

I am quite curious how you know what one's involvement is :)

I would assume that those actually in Rojava would be able to describe the "revolution" in greater detail than the references to PYD programmatic statements and vague talk of neighborhood assemblies that the PKK's internet cheerleaders are so fond of when they're not engaging in lengthy moralizing devoid of class analysis--perhaps anarchists have also been awful armchair critics for doubting the revolutionary nature of the struggle of the MPLA/FARC/Shining Path/Ba'athists/Nasserists/Gadaffi/FLN against the oppressors of the Angolan/Colombian/Peruvian/Syrian/Iraqi/Egyptian/Libyan/Algerian people?

gamerunknown
Dec 9 2014 22:48
Petar Stanchev Sanchez wrote:
Racism is a social and political construct, developed during the colonial times, where privilege and domination has been build around the dichotomy Europe/US/Rich North and the rest of the world that has been colonised.

You know that parts of the US were colonies, along with some European territories, right? When would you define the beginning of colonialism?

P.S 13 hours in MSPaint

caserio
Dec 10 2014 01:25
bastarx
Dec 10 2014 09:08
gamerunknown wrote:
Petar Stanchev Sanchez wrote:
Racism is a social and political construct, developed during the colonial times, where privilege and domination has been build around the dichotomy Europe/US/Rich North and the rest of the world that has been colonised.

You know that parts of the US were colonies, along with some European territories, right? When would you define the beginning of colonialism?

P.S 13 hours in MSPaint

Don't want no black/brown unicorns polluting my white anarkeez club.

rat
Dec 10 2014 09:40

The Rabble website also has info on 'anti-speciesism' with an article called "Istanbul Actions for World Vegan Day" "31 Turkeys Liberated" and "How You Can Help Kobane".
Strangely, the last article is listed as 'Tagged: anti-speciesism, kurdistan'

http://rabble.org.uk/tag/anti-speciesism/

AES
Dec 10 2014 09:41

For information - not an endorsement

MACG withdraws from Australians for Kurdistan wrote:

This statement was prepared for the public meeting on “Beyond Kobanê – Behind the revolution in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan)”, which was held at Victorian Trades Hall on Wednesday 3 December by Australians for Kurdistan. Most of it was read at the meeting, but due to time constraints, the latter part was curtailed. The parts in italics were not able to be read. There has been minor editing for publication.

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group has decided not to participate any further in Australians for Kurdistan. We have decided this, despite our support for the right of the Kurdish people to national self-determination and despite our support for the Rojava Revolution. We also have our doubts about the depth of the social transformation that has occurred in West Kurdistan, though we definitely support the social transformation that has occurred and the direction it has taken. Because our reservations about the extent of the Rojava Revolution so far take the form of doubts rather than criticisms, I will not pursue them further in this meeting.

The reasons the MACG has decided to withdraw from AfK are concerned with its fundamental strategy – that of alliance with imperialism. While AfK see themselves as “Australians”, the MACG is proudly un-Australian. Appeals to the Australian government to support the Kurdish struggle in Rojava on the grounds of humanitarianism and “anti-terrorism”, and co-incidence with Australian foreign policy, are profoundly incorrect and will be counter-productive.

Even more serious is the orientation towards the United States. The PYD is appealing to Obama, to be his “boots on the ground” in West Asia, and AfK is appealing to Obama to arm the YPG-YPJ. The MACG fully supports the struggle of the YPG-YPJ against Da’esh (a.k.a. the “Islamic State”) and we recognise the YPG-YPJ’s right to get arms from wherever they may be obtained – even from the imperialists. This right, though, is conditional on no concessions being made to imperialism on points of principle. We believe, however, that public political agitation for imperialist States to arm the YPG-YPJ will only serve to build support for imperialist military intervention in West Asia and its political domination of the region.

The MACG’s opposition to imperialist intervention in West Asia is completely in harmony with our support for the struggle against Da’esh. In fact, imperialist intervention is the number one recruitment tool for Da’esh. In the first month of US air strikes in Syria and Iraq, they killed 500 Da’esh jihadis. Da’esh, however, recruited 10,000. In addition, many groups in Syria which had previously been fighting against Da’esh have now turned around and allied with it. Da’esh has become a hydra. Imperialist intervention in West Asia only strengthens it – to destroy Da’esh, the US would have to destroy the entire region and kill millions of people.

For the Kurds, only defeat can come from alliance with imperialism. The only way for the Rojava Revolution to triumph and for Da’esh to be defeated is for the Kurds to stand at the head of the struggle of the people of West Asia against imperialism, religious reaction and the corrupt and brutal States of the region. It is only through class struggle by the working class and its allies that this can be taken forward. Alliance with imperialism by the PYD will eventually see Da’esh strengthened until it overwhelms the YPG-YPJ, but a class struggle strategy gives the Rojava Revolution a fighting chance.

The MACG will continue to provide solidarity for the Rojava Revolution, but we will do so in a manner consistent with our libertarian communist principles. We will attempt to rally the working class, here and internationally, to the struggle against both Da’esh and imperialism and will will also try to hold the PYD to the social vision about which it speaks.

ocelot
Dec 10 2014 11:44

Before I address the statement, or some of the arguments in this thread, my initial reaction to reading this thread impelled me to write the following. A sarcastic strawman, no doubt, but still containing within it some pointers to the problems I see with the ultraleft sectarian knee-jerk response to Rojava , Zapatistas, or pretty much anything really...

---

For the ultraleft sectarian the end of capitalist history has always-already been reached. Whether announced by the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 or the advent of neoliberalism in 1979, capitalism once had developmental dynamics, but no longer does so.

In the era of the end of capitalist history, all of the world's proletariat are always-already fully subsumed under capitalist social relations. There were once pre-capitalist social relations, but there no longer are any anywhere on the global surface of a unified, one-world capitalist system. A smooth space of universal proletarian-capitalist wage relations and none other.

Mongol horse herders, Guarani Indians, Mountain Kurds, Sahel pastoralists. From now on the only acceptable form of their emancipatory activity is to find or invent employers to strike against. The only mistake of the Pacific islander cargo cultists was to build runways rather than factories from sticks and bamboo. Then they could have occupied them and experienced the full joy of proletarian emancipation. All according to the prescribed forms long-established in the past of the one true communist movement.

We are faced with a world where everything that is not "communist" is bourgeois, and therefore reactionary. Any distinction between reactionary and progressive no longer has any meaning. There is nowhere to move towards, no development to promote, because history is now motionless, poised eternally on the brink of glorious communist revolution.

There is no longer any distinction to be made between communism as dogma, "a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself" and "the real movement which abolishes the present state of things", because the former is the latter and vice versa. This inversion of Marx we call the New True Marxism.

History is unilinear and moves along a monorail between its stages. The only thing wrong with the Menshevik view of history was their failure to recognise that the global proletariat has already arrived at the last capitalist station.

The notion that might arise amongst any until-recently pre-capitalist peoples that primitive accumulation and formal subsumption have taken away their past without providing a viable future in the historically-necessary foothills of real subsumption, and that therefore, going back being an impossibility, and with no visible way forward (other than looming ethnocide), a sideways movement might be desirable. Such a notion is erroneous. All attempts to move in any direction other than forwards - even if to destruction - is strictly forbidden by the unilinear view of history.

The notion that feminism or ecologism might have any content other than the purely bourgeois, is again anathema. Feminism already exists in the capitalist world, therefore, like anything else that is not the proper, economistic "state of affairs to which reality will have to adjust itself" is reactionary. Forced marriages, child brides, honour killings, blood feuds, none of these are of any strategic interest to communists, mere sentimental humanitarianism aside.

Accepting the strict division between the economic and the political, social revolution can only be revolution in purely economic categories. The economic categories of capitalism, by definition, being omnipresent, any contrary evidence notwithstanding. Radical transformation in social relations - such as the patriarchal bondage of women, for example - are automatically excluded from the category of social revolution, because only the one-sidedly economic categories of full-subsumption capitalism are genuine or meaningful social relations.

Historical materialism is not a practice of analysis that examines the dynamics of clashing and contradictory encounters of different modes of production, but a confession of faith that we live in the end-time of capitalism awaiting its long-fated chiliasm and all else is reaction.

Above all, true communists hold to two primary principles. First that any attempt to create communism in one country or region is reactionary. Second that any attempted “progressive” social change in any location that does not aim to create communism in one country or region is also reactionary. Catch 22.

bastarx
Dec 10 2014 11:53

That'll show those windmills Ocelot.

Serge Forward
Dec 10 2014 13:24

Ocelot, yes, a fair bit of straw-manning in your post. Possibly some of what you say may ring true with certain elements on the communist left but I think it has fuck all to do with that particular AF statement.

The problem I see with a lot of the anarchists doing the 'Rojava revolution' cheerleading is that it stems from the actual kneejerk 'people are fighting... fighting is good... we must do something to support those fighting...' school of thought. This mindset runs right the way through that Rabble LDN statement, as it does with many of the other Rojava cheerleaders who come to post on here. By the same token, the AF/ACF should have supported the Provisional IRA back in the day (it didn't), neither did we choose between Saddam or Bush, Washington or Moscow and we will not be choosing sides between the anti-fascist fascists or the fascist anti-fascists currently fighting in Ukraine.

Fighting is sometimes right while other times it plays into the hands of the boss class. It also depends who is fighting and what for. But we don't automatically support someone simply because they are fighting. Meanwhile, that Rabble LDN seem to think the act of fighting is good enough. They actually admit that:

Quote:
If the PKK wins the day, its leadership would become one of the biggest threats to the revolutionary tendencies that are sprouting in Rojava

but they then go on to say why supporting PKK fighters is still the right thing to do. That is just total arse and I'm not entirely sure whether they are a bunch of idiots or a gang of cynical cunts.

Anyway, feel free to send virtual white feathers my way. I'll wear it with pride.

Chilli Sauce
Dec 10 2014 13:49

Solid post, Serge. I'll drink (a good American beer) to that.

ocelot
Dec 10 2014 14:51

Serge by all means substitute Rabble LDN for a critique of my own, the wsm's or other Anarkismo groups actual positions. Because, like, they're indistinguishable right?

Seriously, the tactic of finding the most idiotic "cheerleader" position, and saying everything that takes a different political position to the above is equivalent to it, is an indication of your lack of confidence in your ability to defend your position against serious critique.

For the record, I am not a "cheerleader". My legs don't look great in a mini-skirt and the pompoms give me asthma. I have no more illusions than the DAF in the top-down, authoritarian command structure of the PKK or the malign influence of Ocalan-deification within it.

However I have visited Istanbul a fair amount and discussed these matters with DAF comrades and I understand their reasons and decision to engage with some of the KCK-related activity (obviously not including the HDP/BDP electoral stuff). (My discussions with them date back to March, so prior to the military conflict around Kobane).

I'm not really the person to speak for the DAF, but as far as I understand it their position is:

Firstly, as a response to the history of "the Kurdish" problem, as a major dividing factor in Turkish society, repeatedly leveraged to destroy nascent tendencies for class solidarity in the past by playing the nationalist card.

Secondly, seeing an opportunity in the (relative) break in hostilities afforded by the ceasefire and peace process to try and build some links across that divide.

Thirdly, despite scepticism towards any genuine change in the authoritarian habits of the senior PKK leadership, the opportunity to engage in educational events where KCK movement participants are studying/discussing anarchist and related ideas (prefigurative practice, ecology, feminism, etc) on a basis of putting forward their own ideas and listening to the response and learning from peoples take on those discussions.

Fourthly, probably most importantly, the recognition of the importance the Gezi Park protests had in changing the political climate, both locally in Istanbul and nationally. And the recognition that had the PKK-afffiliated Kurdish militants not, at the earliest stage, decided to disobey their initial orders from on high and get engaged, the protests would have been snuffed out at the very start. The practical experience of working side by side with these militants in the Gezi process, was what swung the argument for taking the gamble of furthering that engagement by collaborating (selectively) in KCK-related initiatives, whether educational, social or activist.

In my discussions with them, they were clear that the decision to engage was, necessarily, a gamble (un enjeu) given that there was no way of predicting ahead of time what the outcome would be. But they assessed that the greater risk was to do nothing and implicitly resign themselves to being a small Turkish anarchist ghetto with no genuine ambition to effect real social change in wider society.

So, this is the first contradiction in the AF statement above. Point 2 of the proposed actions is to provide material support for the DAF, despite the fact that they are publicly taking a line of action that is diametrically opposed to the "position" outlined in the rest of the document. This contradiction has already been pointed out by the Turkish ICC (and supporters) in the thread above, albeit from the opposite side. Leo is at least to be commended for the honesty of his open hatred for the DAF comrades, although I don't think the more polite manners of Mikail or Devrim mean a particularly different underlying opinion.

As far as contradictions go, this is in some ways an "external" one, in that the AF can blame the support for the DAF on the IFA, with vague hints that if the latter cannot be made to "see the light" on this question at the next conference, then "we'll see...", as the euphemism goes.

The more problematic, "internal" contradiction of the above position, is the implicit dismissal of feminism as an issue of any social significance to "real revolutionaries", from an organisation that in another frame was one of the principle supporters of the AFem 2014 conference and considers itself an intersectional anarchist organisation. I'll expand on that assertion when I next get a time-box to post.

Alf
Dec 10 2014 14:50

I'm away from tomorrow, back Sunday, but will certainly have something to say about this discussion early next week. It's good that the differences are emerging more transparently.

An ICC article on the sharpening divisions among various anarchist groups and individuals on the Kurdish issue will be available soon.

kurekmurek
Dec 10 2014 20:38

I really cant hold myself back anymore. Although I really do not want to discuss this issue and further be labeled as a nationalist. I really need to adress something.

First Joseph Kay stated it "it is supporters responsibility to support their claims" now Serge says: all supporters just say "figting is good". But this is not at all what is discussed in relevant forums or comments or articles at all (it is just one tiny part of it). However any evidence provided is just dismissed by "non-supporters" completely. The MOST OBVIOUS ONE being Zahers account of his trip.why nobody referenses this guy's article who formerly have a negative view of PKK writes such a positive article after a trip? This question is systematically ignored by everyone here. Instead we are debating accuracy of statements and articles of people who never see Syria let alone experiencing what is now being built there. So in short there is already enough evidence which shows possible importance of Rojava for anarchists, though people do not want to see it but just want to focus on how the actions of some supporters in the west are just thoughtlessly action loving.

Joseph Kay
Dec 10 2014 15:52
Joseph Kay wrote:
First Joseph Kay stated it "it is supporters responsibility to support their claims" (...) The MOST OBVIOUS ONE being Zahers account of his trip.why nobody referanses

Well, I did, on the thread I started 2 months ago and linked above.

Alf wrote:
An ICC article on the sharpening divisions among various anarchist groups

PKK/PYD seize territory; anarchists trade polemics; left communists write about anarchists trading polemics. Now I'm writing about that. King of meta-politics cool

Serge Forward
Dec 10 2014 17:13
ocelot wrote:
I'll expand on that assertion when I next get a time-box to post.

Christ, no, please don't.

Losing the will to live aside, I apologise if I inadvertantly lumped your position, the WSM's and anyone else's position together with that of the dreadful Rabble LDN.

PS: I'm told I look good in mini skirt and pompoms wink

alakarga
Dec 11 2014 09:36

The reference of the afed statement says Servet Düşmanı (Enemy of Wealth) is an anarchist web-side, which is not true. It is left- communist web page. The same argument made decades ago against the zapatistas replicated here. "Ohh ezln, a nationalistic organisation" they said. There is no nationalism as such that all religions and languages, and etnicities equally and peacefully live. In Rojava, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Assyrians, Yezidis, Kurds and others equally live and participate in social affairs. Kurds in Turkey are a part of the same composition.How come you mindless AFed members talk about nationalism. Such occusations in Turkey arised by (left) liberals, state officials,stalinists.

The statement is a shame for AFed.

Chilli Sauce
Dec 10 2014 21:54
Quote:
There is no nationalism as such that all religions and languages, and etnicities equally and peacefully live.

That doesn't equal an absence of nationalism.

And, interestingly, class isn't mentioned at all on your list.

alakarga
Dec 10 2014 22:05

That doesn't equal an absence of nationalism.

And, interestingly, class isn't mentioned at all on your list.[/quote

There is Turkish nationalism, you are right. It is equal actually.

For class, you may like to read the comments list

alakarga
Dec 10 2014 22:09

Nationalism divides humankind with superiority vs inferiority, where peace and equality can not be sustained.

Alf
Dec 10 2014 22:18
mikail firtinaci
Dec 11 2014 00:29

Alakarga is misinformed. Servet Dusmani is not a left communist journal. Members of the Red & Black Istanbul (an anarchist-communist group in Istanbul) also write on SD. In fact I am the only left communist who wrote for SD. Zafer Onat, whose text AF quoted in their statement, is an anarchist communist and a member of the RBI.

Battlescarred
Dec 11 2014 12:26
Alf wrote:
The article mentioned above is now online
http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201412/11625/anarchism-and-impe...

And just repeats the old bollox about the petty bourgeois origins of anarchism. A worthless and snide article.

Chilli Sauce
Dec 11 2014 13:23
alakarga wrote:
Nationalism divides humankind with superiority vs inferiority.

Nope, that's still not what defines nationalism. Nationalism is the division of humanity by nations - artificial constructs which came about as a result of class society.

Despite even the best intentions of nationalists - Ghandi, the IRA, whatever - nationalism is always based on (a) the concept of the other and (b) always based on the premise that there is some shared interest between classes in a given nation.

ocelot
Dec 11 2014 14:19

While I don't have the time right now to complete my exposition of the second main contradiction of the AF statement, (which Serge will be delighted to know will definitely be appearing tongue ). I thought I'd throw this tidbit from my fact-checking the Zafer Onat piece, for anyone interested.

Zafer wrote:
On this point, it is helpful to examine the KCK Contract that defines the democratic confederalism that forms the basis of the political system in Rojava.(2) A few points in the introduction written by Ocalan deserve our attention:

“This system is one that takes into account ethnic, religious and class differences on a social basis.” (..) “Three systems of law will apply in Kurdistan: EU law, unitary state law, democratic confederal law.”

In summary, it is stated that class society will remain and there will be a federal political system compatible with the global system and the nation state. In concert with this, article 8 of the Contract, titled “Personal, Political Rights and Freedoms” defends private property [...]

With the rather haphazard guidance of google translate (still not good at Turkish) I managed to narrow down the statements that Zafer was making reference to in relation to class and private property, from the KCK's contract/agreement doc (Turkish original).

To the following two sections, which I asked a Turkish translater comrade to do me a really quick hack translation of - (NB comments in bold after translation of first quote are hers)

(from Introduction)

5. Ortadoğu’nun ağırlaşan tarihsel ve toplum­sal sorunlarının çözümü içinde demokratik kon­federalizm sistemi geçerlidir. Kapitalist sistem ve emperyal güçlerin dayatmaları demokrasiyi geliştiremez, ancak demokrasiyi istismar edebilir. De­mokratik konfederal sistemde tabandan geli­şen demokratik seçeneği egemen kılmak esastır. Bu sistem toplumsal temelde etnik, dini ve sınıf­sal farklılıkları gözeten bir sistemdir.
=>
5. System of democratic confederalism is operative (doable) in solution of the historical and social problems which have been deteriorating. Implosion of the capitalist system and imperialist powers can not develop democracy, it would rather abuse it. It is fundamental in the democratic federation system that the democratic option developing from the grassroots prevail. This system is the kind of system which, in principle, pursue/pay regards to the ethnic, religious and class differences of the society.(problematic indeed, clarification from the author would be useful)

from Article 8

Madde 8
Sosyal, Ekonomik ve Kültürel Hak ve Özgürlükler
[...]
f-Herkesin yetenek ve yetkinleşme düzeyine göre toplumsal üretime katılma ve toplumsal yaşamda kendini ifade etme hakkı vardır. Kar ve metalaşmaya dayalı olmayan, kullanım değeri ve demokratik paylaşıma dayalı üretim ve mülkiyet hakkına sahiptir.
=>
Article 8
Social, Economic and Cultural Rights and Freedoms
[...]
f. Everybody have the right to participate in the social production and to express themselves in the social life according to their level ability and competency. [People] have the right to produce and [have] property which is based on intrinsic value (use) and democratic share and not for profit and commodification.

---

So make of that what you will. Also if Turkish speakers on the thread want to propose an improved translation for either passage, please do so.

In passing, I should say that while I disagree with some of Zafer's conclusions (we appear to have a different view of what puts the "bourgeois" into "bourgeois democracy" but that's a valid political difference), I find his piece rather more balanced and nuanced than the AF statement which selectively quotes from it. For example I find nothing to disagree with in his final paragraph:

Quote:
The path not only to defend Rojava physically and politically and to carry it further lies in creating a class based grounds for organizing and struggle, and a related strong and globally organized revolutionary alternative. The same applies for preventing the atmosphere of ethnic, religious and sectarian conflict that draws the peoples of the region further in by each passing day, and preventing laborers from sliding into right-wing radicalism in the face of capitalism’s world level crisis. Solidarity with Kobane, while important is insufficient. Beyond this, we need to see that discussing what needs to be done to create a revolutionary process, and organizing for this at the international level everywhere we are is imperative not only for those resisting in Kobane but millions of laborers all over the world.

But NB he is reiterating a position that Rojava , while not the equivaluent to Barcelona July 1936 as some would have it, is nonetheless progressive and worth defending, physically and politically. In marked contrast to the AF position above, which grudgingly accepts only "humanitarian assistance" as valid support.

So maybe Zafer Onat is a "cheerleader" too?

rat
Dec 11 2014 14:39

ocelot wrote:

While I don't have the time right now to complete my exposition of the second main contradiction of the AF statement, (which Serge will be delighted to know will definitely be appearing tongue).

The AF awaits ocelot's exposition of

Quote:
the implicit dismissal of feminism as an issue of any social significance

Any idea of when you will have it written and posted on Libcom?

ocelot
Dec 11 2014 15:29

A wee bit busy with IRL political issues right now (see here for explanation). But as soon as I can manage, promise.

ocelot
Dec 11 2014 16:10
Battlescarred wrote:
Alf wrote:
The article mentioned above is now online
http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201412/11625/anarchism-and-impe...

And just repeats the old bollox about the petty bourgeois origins of anarchism. A worthless and snide article.

You missed this gem, though:

Quote:
Behind this incapacity to defend class principles in an intransigent manner is not only a profound intellectual weakness but also a lack of moral indignation

Which basically sums up ICC "politics". Scare quotes as politics is a guide to action, which as we know, the ICC doesn't involve itself with. Hence moral indignation is what remains.

Oh yeah, and thanks for the name-check guys! (LOL)

Battlescarred
Dec 11 2014 16:16

Since when did a "lack of a moral indignation" have anything to do with the harsh materialist politics of the ICC? I smell the ripe stench of hypocrisy and cant.

Leo
Dec 11 2014 17:36

So wait, are you actually going to join in with Ocelot in his rants against the ICC article for its opposition to Kurdish nationalism just because there were things in it you disagreed with on anarchism?