LAST UPDATE: Jan 9 2017
"We are a group of comrades from different parts of Kurdistan, who define themselves as internationalists. Most of us were persecuted as deserters and/or subversives, many of us have been imprisoned. All but two of us who came directly from Kurdistan for the present meeting, live in exile in Europe. We have met in the struggle against capital and today we are a handful of internationalists who continue to struggle."
Here is the full version of the text. If someone is interested in proofreading this draft translation, (s)he could contact me to coordinate.
We received and translated, and we publish:
Report of a meeting organized by internationalist comrades from Kurdistan
This meeting was held in France in May 2016 on the basis of a call made by us, Kurdish internationalists (from four “countries”), and comrades from France, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Mexico took part to it. The meeting was mainly done in Kurdish and secondarily in Persian and Arabic. This, added to our own weaknesses, made it possible only recently, in September 2016, to have versions of this document (or drafts) in European languages (English, French and Spanish), although from the beginning some comrades published extracts and partial versions. Therefore we call to help us to improve this document and make it known in other international languages. We ask for indulgence and understanding for the repetitions and errors of writing that have all those versions. We are not, nor do we have professional translators.
We are a group of comrades from different parts of Kurdistan, who define themselves as internationalists. Most of us were persecuted as deserters and/or subversives, many of us have been imprisoned. All but two of us who came directly from Kurdistan for the present meeting, live in exile in Europe. We have met in the struggle against capital and today we are a handful of internationalists who continue to struggle. Against the current, we denounce by all possible means the spectacular and deceptive image that has been built internationally on the “Rojava Revolution” and which in fact harms the genuine autonomous struggle of the proletariat in this region and all over the world.
Faced with the enormous international publicity that is made everywhere of the self-proclaimed “Rojava Revolution”, the first thing we want to propagate internationally is that this completely contrasts with what was done in the past in relation to the real struggles against capitalism in the region. Whereas before, whenever there was an autonomous and important struggle of our class, in the West everything that happened was systematically hidden and we were given no chance to make known in the world the struggle that was unfolding in the region of Kurdistan. Now everything is made public. It’s not by chance but before the struggle was concealed because it was a revolutionary and proletarian one, because it contradicted what the international capitalism said about what happened in that region. In this way, an international contagion was avoided and the struggle could be isolated and liquidated. Now it is publicized because it is a reformist, bourgeois and imperialist program that is imposed, making us believe that it is about the propaganda of the “revolutionary struggle”. Both only serve to isolate the genuine revolutionary struggle and liquidate the proletarian autonomy.
This contrasts with what is happening today in Rojava where the international support for frontism and populism of the “revolution” is heaven-sent. In the past the levels of autonomy of the revolutionary proletariat were very important.
We present below some elements of the past where a revolutionary struggle took place, while in the West, accomplice of the local powers, it was systematically hidden:
* In the West, the genuine revolutionary insurrection in Iran was always hidden (or reduced in its importance), the insurrection which overthrew the Shah (1978/79), and then eliminated the various attempts of replacement that the Western imperialist powers tried to impose. At that time, the proletariat in the region clearly confronted the Iranian bourgeoisie and simultaneously fought both Yankee-European and Russian imperialisms. Of course there was no support or information about what happened: everything was drowned in the “struggle for democracy”, typical of the dominant culture and the imperial control of information.
* Revolutionary defeatism was also concealed during the imperialist war between Iran and Iraq, where fraternization on the fronts against war and widespread desertion confronted and questioned at the same time all the military powers operating in the region. Let us remember that the worst bombings of Saddam Hussein’s State were not against Iran, nor against the USA, but against its own troops, that is to say against the proletariat of the whole region. Dozens of thousands of organized deserters from different countries were persecuted, a fact that was always hidden in the West. What the world State of capital worried about more was precisely that the proletariat of all countries defected and deserted the fronts, that it abolished frontiers, and became unified against imperialist war in the region.
* The same thing happened with the proletarian insurrection in Iraq in 1991 (both in the South and in the North), which became widespread throughout the country, destroying the repressive forces of Saddam Hussein in half of the country despite the support of imperialism to the latter. The international isolation of this proletarian struggle was so important so that it allowed the imperialist powers, united in a coalition under the leadership of the United Nations and using weapons of mass destruction, in succeeding to liquidate this struggle. All the United Nations’ missions are obviously repressive ones and when they give some food, they insist on laying down arms and accepting the national/imperialist discipline of the refugee’s concentration camps.
We wish to make known in the West that in all these cases the revolutionary movements of the proletariat openly questioned the private property of the means of production; they proclaimed the necessity of abolishing the system of wage labor and they confronted the State, repression, impunity. In these cases, the population itself passed sentences in the streets against torturers and militaries were executed, those who for decades had organized and directed the torture and massacre of human beings. The proletarian organizations that led the insurrections and the struggle against wars overcame the limited and reformist mottos of the bourgeois left and the Kurdish nationalists, and they proclaimed the need for communist revolution and the abolition of all States… Throughout this process, the contrast between nationalism and proletarian internationalism was the key of class opposition. Throughout Kurdistan, Kurdish nationalist forces were allied with imperialist forces against the proletarian rebellion. The consolidation of the established order was always made with more wars, more massacres and with the power of the various religious or Kurdish nationalist forces.
Those struggles were unknown and/or denigrated as meaningless movements, provoked by despair, or simply disqualified and labeled as “hunger riots”. In the West it was usual to look away from all these struggles and if it someone talked about it was only to denounce “people who fought each other to divide the international aid up among themselves”. You can count on the fingers the international organizations in America and Europe which have expressed solidarity with our struggle. There was a real blockage of class and revolutionary materials that came from the region: the Western and Judeo-Christian ideas had to be maintained that it is only in the West that a class and revolutionary proletariat can take over.
At that time, the proletariat in Iran, in Iraq, in all Kurdistan… not only questioned the capitalist dictatorship in its region, but it strongly challenged war, capital, private property, nationalism… imposed by the Western imperial forces and the very model of triumphant capitalism in the West. On the other hand, now that the feminist and libertarian delegates who sponsor the “Rojava revolution” are proliferating everywhere, there is no mention of the struggle against private property, and the same imperialist powers that have always repressed us are indulgent (to so much of “revolutionary” propaganda).
Therefore, we have elaborated the following points to make known some indisputable facts:
* Never before one talked so much about a “REVOLUTION” in the region, and never before the “revolution” of the proletariat, the genuine one, that attacks private property and destroys capital, had been buried.
* The “Rojava Revolution” takes the “Spanish civil war” as its model; but not the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat in those years, in that country, but, on the contrary, it adopts as a program that of the Spanish Republic. We must remember that in Spain the Republic was the opposite of “the revolution”, which was in fact the counterrevolutionary framework of the proletariat and was the greatest obstacle to its struggle: the Republic always repressed the struggles of the proletariat. At that time, the Leninist-Stalinists of the world joined forces with some “libertarian” and “feminist” fringes that became integrated into populism, abandoning all class references. Also in those years, those who entered into such alliances acted as a front against the revolution, channeling the resistance of the proletariat to the imperialist war. What the republican and Leninist bourgeoisie did was to mutilate that proletarian struggle, to massively bring the workers as lambs to the slaughterhouse of the imperialist war for bourgeois interests. Instead of the struggle against exploitation, to be cannon fodder.
* Instead of internationalist struggle, national narrowness. While historical movements in Iran and Iraq (particularly in the Kurdish region!) proclaimed themselves to be internationalist and fought for the world revolution, the dominant line in Rojava today proclaims “socialism” in “one region” (or in all confederated regions) winking at nationalism and Stalinism (“socialism in one country”) which are the key components of the parties in power in the State of Rojava.
* Instead of attacking private property of the means of production, all the classic demands of the bourgeoisie and its democracy are used: anti-imperialism, feminism, ecology, egalitarianism…; that is to say the western dominant ideology, the same that is fashionable all over the world.
* Everywhere, and thanks to international propaganda, feminism has been promoted with the support of feminism in Rojava and especially the militarism of the YPJ that formed itself as a part of the State. We want to make clear that this feminism has nothing in common with the struggle of proletarian women and men against capital. On the contrary, it’s about the multiclass, militaristic and imperialist feminism that Stalinism always brandished, which served the States to mobilize the troops and which seeks to mobilize women on a national scale. It’s about the same feminism that renders so many services in the United States Army, where the recruitment of women was driven by feminist organizations, thanks to which we have female generals, female torturers.
We specifically refer to the collaborationism of feminism with armies, or rather to the State manipulation known as “sex war” to promote “equality” of rights, leading millions of women to join the armed forces. For example, the US military’s historical deficit after Vietnam (more than one million draftees, with regard to its needs) was absorbed by the army, while massively integrating women, blacks and Latinos from the time of Clinton. This massive recruitment was made possible through the use of the policy of equal democratic rights and the co-optation of antiracist, feminist, “Hispanic” organizations that functioned as recruitment publicity agencies… The particular case of multiclass feminism was emblematic (as well as the supposed antiracism): allowing for exceptions, the US feminist organizations participated in the statist and imperialist process. These organizations were so much corrupted that they even did not denounce the violations committed on women in the army by their (male) colleagues. For decades, the imperial feminism recommended them to shut up!
* Instead of struggling against money, against commodity, against labor… any questioning of private property is prohibited.
* In that “revolution” as it is framed by the dominant parties in Rojava, there is no struggle against the State, but a defense of an alternative (confederal) or parallel State, which develops capitalism. The fact that this State displays itself as a confederation does not change anything to the question!
* Although playing with the terminology and surfing on the “heroic struggle of the proletariat and/or the people” in the region (the population had no choice but to fight the war and that resistance was exemplary!) they reorganized the bourgeois State and they present it as if it were not a State. May they explain us the practical difference! As for the “anarchists” we prefer to remind them that other libertarians, even more famous, like Souchy, have already presented us the same historical lie: according to these “anarchists” Israel would in fact be a NON-State and even the overcoming of all the States! And we can see today what it’s all about!
* The situation of the proletariat is a situation of survival and total emergency, similar to that of the past in Iran and Iraq, but while in those historical struggles, the proletarian classism dominated, in Rojava a clearly bourgeois alternative has been imposed.
* The situation of the proletariat is terrible, it is supposed winning but many sacrifices are required. It’s about imposing a brutal system of austerity. In the name of the revolution, they make you working harder and they ask you for “voluntary” contributions. That’s the reason why the model of the Stalinist countries is used.
* Private property is the key of the whole system. To talk about “revolution” only serves to increase the rate of exploitation, while at the same time any questioning of private property (and any protest or striking movement) is more than ever repressed in the name of this so-called “revolution”.
* The army is trained by Russian officers and more and more by Americans and Europeans, leading inevitably the confederal State to align itself with the world geo-imperialist contradictions.
* No doubt that the US State regards this “revolution” as a good “compensating reservoir” in the region, and the relations between the Pentagon and the “Revolution” are increasingly better. At the moment we meet the imperial powers have a permanent organism and many parallel diplomacy organizations. They head for the formalization of one or several Western embassies.
* In Rojava, the dominant party is the PYD, a party that is actually a younger brother of the PKK, the Stalinist party of Turkish Kurdistan. This party and its ideology have made possible the reconstitution of the State, with all the letters of the word, even if it uses a libertarian discourse.
With regard to the PKK, we would like to emphasize that the fact that its historic leader, Ocalan, imprisoned in Turkey, has befriended Bookchin’s “libertarian” ideas does not change the reactionary character of this party at all, but simply indicates that the crisis of Stalinism is so great that it is obliged to appear everywhere in an increasingly liberal aspect… But the same way “whatever the monkey dresses up in silk…”! “No matter how libertarian it looks…” the Stalinist PKK remains Stalinist: the centrality of Stalinism is not the shape of the State (more or less libertarian, more or less federal or confederal) but rather the “voluntary” forced labor system, the concentration camps, the forced development of labor… This has been denounced by Kurdish internationalist militants from Turkey who know much better the PKK.
* From the inter-imperialist point of view, this has aggravated the problems for the population of Rojava, attacked by the inter-imperialist intricate confusion. On the one hand, because the importance of the PKK in Rojava has been disapproved by the Turkish State, for whom this party is considered as the worst of terrorist groups (beyond the fact that this leads to an inevitable deterioration of the US-Turkish relations). And on the other hand, because the bourgeois and Stalinist ideology is materialized in the practice of imposing to all the population to work more for a lower wage as Stalinism always did.
* The State in Rojava and the armed forces are organized so vertically, as in Stalin’s Russia, but with a libertarian mask, that they are the exact copy of the ideology developed by the PKK in Turkey.
* Imitating all the bourgeois “revolutions”, they proclaim religious freedom but in fact the apparatuses of social control are accomplices of all the religions and ethnic religious separations and play a nefarious role in causing dissension, oppressing, moralizing, repressing.
* In fact, Stalinist and feminist military and political structures simultaneously promote Kurdish nationalism, while using hymns and flags in cities, neighborhoods, schools… appearing in the eyes of the majority of the population as a minority and oppressive dominant ethnic group, what results being terribly destructive of the unity of interests of the proletariat.
* To come back to what is the most global in the alleged Rojava revolution, it seems to us important to say that it constitutes a fashionable alternative, which is very well suitable for capitalism and world imperialism: it is the only “revolution” in history that shows itself off triumphant, libertarian, alternative, feminist, ecological…, without having to get through the class struggle and the consequent violent destruction of the oppressors, of money and generally of the capitalist social relations…
* It’s precisely for this reason that it constitutes a letter of hope for all the world bourgeois society and for all the imperial States.
Internationalists from Kurdistan
Paris, France, May 2016.