As the Syrian conflict drags on, Devrim Valerian looks at the fighting, in particular in Syrian Kurdistan which many on the left have hailed as a "social revolution" and asks whether any side deserves workers' support.
The Arab Winter
How long three years seems. In early 2011 it seemed that a fresh wind of revolt was stirring from the East and spreading throughout the Arab world1 . Massive protests and workers’ strikes in Tunisia and Egypt had terrified the ruling class to the point where they felt the need to depose their own heads of state. The embers of revolt were being fanned across the Arab world, and eventually even seemed to spread sparks across the world as a whole in the form of the occupy and indignados movements. All of this on the back of mass movements in Iran and Greece just a couple of years previously gave millions across the world the illusion that there was a massive return to struggle within the working class, that once again ordinary people were seizing the possibility of radically transforming their lives.
And yet coming towards the end of 2014, the situation is not looking nearly so optimistic. In the Middle East the conflicts in Syrian and Iraq seem to have merged into one joint ethno-sectarian war, which even today is threatening to spill over into neighbouring countries, Lebanon and Jordan seem to be the most vulnerable. In Eastern Ukraine a low level civil war is continuing despite an initial ceasefire. We have travelled in these three short years from a situation where there seemed to be a return to class struggle to a situation where the working class instead of grasping its chance to struggle in its own interests has plunged headfirst into deeper and deeper ethnic-sectarian struggles.
The Arab winter seemed to have set in almost as soon as the first shoots of spring had emerged. While it may have been difficult for some to see as they were swept along with the enthusiasm of the movement without at all noticing the direction that it was going in, the signs were there from March at the very latest. In Tunisia, and Egypt the working class was mobilised in defence of its own interests. In both countries it was strikes of masses of workers that shook the state. However, in other countries this was not the case. The conflict in Libya never possessed these characteristics even at its very beginning. In Libya, the Arab spring took on the characteristics of a fratricidal tribal war. The intervention of the Western powers on the side of the rebels did nothing but push the conflict further in that direction. Further to the East, however, potentially much more dangerous events were brewing.
While the conflict in Libya was essentially a struggle between rival tribes, the struggle in the Levant and Mesopotamia took on a much deeper sectarian character, which had the potential to spread far beyond the borders of a single state, and engulf the entire region. The struggles in both Syria and Bahrain took on these characteristics. Syria, a country where the majority of the population are Sunni Arab Muslims, is ruled by members of a minority Shia offshoot, who have a tendency to rely upon the country’s other minorities for support. Conversely in tiny Bahrain, a Sunni monarchy rules over a majority Shia population. Worried about the Shia minority in their own countries the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an organisation of the Gulf oil monarchies led by Saudi Arabia sent in tanks to crush this Shia uprising in mid-March. At this point it became absolutely clear that the conflict had ceased to be a series of 'national' events and was now becoming a sectarian struggle across the entire region, the main protagonists being Saudi Arabia, and the GCC along with Turkey on the Sunni side, and Iran, Syria, and factions in both Iraq and Lebanon on the other.
Of course there were many on the left, who just as they had in Libya, saw a genuine workers’ revolution in Syria. Others, aware of the reactionary sectarian nature of much of the protest movement, defended the Syrian state in the name of secularism, anti-imperialism or whatever ideology they could use in an attempt to cover up the gore of a murderous bloody state. Anarchists in particular, but not alone, were particularly vulnerable to talk of democratic committees and self organisation of the revolt. Many insisted on these characteristics even as it became increasingly obvious that the war was turning into a multi-sided bloodbath where different ethnic/sectarian gangs controlled the populations that they controlled by force. Of course, as communists we too agree that there can be no genuine working class movement without workers' self organisation. However, we also insist that their can be no workers councils without workers' struggle. Local democracy in itself is not a revolutionary thing. In many countries workers can vote for their local representatives who are responsible for running municipal services, and in many countries few of them bother to.
What invests workers' councils with their revolutionary content is not their democratic forms, but the fact that they are representative of workers in struggle. The war in Syria saw an initial burst of enthusiasm in the struggle against the regime. People created various committees and councils, but this was not a workers' struggle. Ultimately as armed gangs took control of what rapidly became a war, enthusiasm and popular involvement died down. Of course some committees remained, but it was armed men giving the orders. Much, but not all of the left, seemed to realise its mistake. As internationalists had stated from the start there was no progressive side in this war. It seemed like some sort of lesson had been learned.
And then came Kobanê...
The Protagonists -The Da'esh, and the PKK
Since the middle of September the small city of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border has become the centre of world attention when the Da'esh began a siege aimed at capturing the city. Once again the left has renewed its cheer-leading of what is essentially just another phase of the larger sectarian struggle being waged across the region. This moment, within the larger struggle, is almost being portrayed as a struggle between light and darkness by much of the left. In the corner of good and light we have the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, and in the corner of darkness and evil we have the Da'esh, now newly renamed as simply the Islamic State.
The Da'esh's origins lie in Iraq in at the end of the 1990s. It underwent various mergers, and name changes including being known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and eventually settled on the name Islamic State of Iraq in late 2006. The thing that really built the Da'esh during these years was the development of the situation in Iraq into open civil war in 2006. Although presented in the West as a struggle against the US occupation, the Iraqi civil war had more of the characteristic of a sectarian struggle between Sunni, and Shia Muslims.
Iraq had traditionally been a state run by members of its Sunni minority ruling over a Shia majority. After the last Iraq war the newly promised American democracy, gave the Shia majority more representation and control of the Iraqi government. Now the boot is on the other foot. The Shia majority is using its power against the Sunni minority. Acts of ethnic cleansing similar to those being committed by the Da'esh are also being committed against the Sunni population further south in Iraq. The Da'esh managed to place itself as a leading Sunni force in the sectarian civil war in Iraq. During this time, they reduced the number of foreign fighters, and professionalised their military structure by bringing in former Ba'athist military and intelligence officers. It was during this time also that they gained the mastership of tribal politics, which has served them so well in the years since.
With the beginning of the war in Syria, one faction within the Da'esh began to infiltrate militants across the border. Again positioning itself as the defender of Sunni Muslims against atrocities perpetuated this time by the Syrian state, and slowly through its use of tribal alliances and divergences,and its struggles and mergers that have been constant within the Syrian opposition, it has manoeuvred itself to the top. Of course, the support, in political financial, and manpower terms came from Saudi Arabia, and certain of its allies in the GCC, not to mention the support received from Turkey. For the Gulf states in particular, the Da'esh was a weapon that could be used in the wider struggle, pointed at the Shia government in Baghdad, and the Alawite government in Damascus, two of the three main allies of their ultimate enemy, Iran.
The Da'esh now seems to have lost the support of its backers in the Gulf2 . Turkey though seems to still see them as having some use, as a tool in the struggle to overthrow the Syrian state, and as a hammer to strike a blow against its enemy of thirty years, the PKK.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been fighting a war in the South-East of Turkey for the last three decades. Like the Da'esh it is essentially an ethnic militia. Its origins lie not in Syria, but in Turkey. However, during its long war, it has established sections in neighbouring countries with Kurdish populations. Like the Da'esh the PKK has also received support from various foreign states, primarily Syria, but also Iran (until the PKK's Iranian section began to bother the Iranian state), and Russia. It is also suggested that its Iranian section, PJAK, has received aid from the US, and it has certainly tried to deepen whatever contacts it has with America, with PJAK spokesperson Ihsan Warya going as far to declare that “PJAK really does wish it were an agent of the United States”.
The Syria section of the PKK, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) stood apart from the majority of factions at the start of the Syrian war, standing apart from the Kurdish National Council backed by the PKK's rival, Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party, and the Syrian National Council, which it saw as too closely connected to Turkey. In July 2012, the Syrian state made an operational decision to withdraw the majority of its troops from the Kurdish areas of the country in order to enable them to redeploy against an opposition offensive against Aleppo. Shortly after the PYD took control of the vast majority of the Kurdish region. This take-over was accomplished with very little violence, and it has been suggested by many that a deal was done between the PKK/PYD, and the Syrian state. What the PYD has done in Syrian Kurdistan since then, has been seen by many as a social revolution.
Revolution in Rojava
The PKK has been running a massive propaganda offensive in the West. Articles talking about the struggle in Syrian Kurdistan are appearing all over the Western media, from leftist magazines to women's magazine, Marie Claire. What was once seen in the Western mainstream media as an authoritarian Stalinist nationalist group has now repositioned itself as an democratic, ecological, feminist movement, moved by a philosophy called 'democratic confederalism' adapted from that of the anarchist Murray Bookchin. To many in the region, who are familiar with the PKK's mode of operations, this seems very difficult to believe. The PKK is an organisation with a dark past. Even their imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan talks about periods of “gangs within our organization and open banditry, arrang[ing] needless, haphazard operations, sending young people to their death in droves”. The history of the PKK is something that has been well documented by internationalist critics3 . It is not what we want to engage with here.
For us the problem is not that the PKK has a bloody history of crimes against both its own members and the working class. It does have this history of course. This is no surprise though. Virtually all nationalist gangs have a similar sort of history, and while many on the left who back these gangs may wish that they didn't, it does go with the territory. Even if there were some pristine nationalist movement unstained with the blood of the working class, and its own members, the nationalist logic would still propel it in the same direction, so here we intend not to concentrate on the PKK's bloody past, but to concentrate on its position today.
A lot has been made in the Western media of the female only militia units with pictures of young women in combat fatigues with guns gracing the pages of magazines, and websites. To be cynical it sells. Here we have these brave young women fighting off these 'Islamic barbarians'. The PKK marketing department certainly knows its audience. When you stop to think about it now, it’s not really exactly that radical. The Da'esh also have women only groups of combat troops. You can't imagine them having mixed groups in an ultra-Islamic group, but then neither does the PKK, and nor does the Iranian state, which also has female combat troops. In fact the PKK, has a long history of separating the sexes and sexual relationship between the sexes have long been punished, just like in any other bourgeois army.
However, it is a big propaganda selling point for them. The aim of this campaign in the West is twofold. One aim is to have the PKK removed from lists of terrorist organisations in various states. With the emergence of the Da'esh devil, the PKK line for the mainstream is that these young women are the ones fighting against the terrorists. The line they sell to the left is that this is some kind of social revolution, where relations between the sexes are being overturned. Anarchists have been making comparisons to the Spanish revolution, which we discuss in the accompanying article4 . The second goal of this campaign is to get US and European practical support for the fighters in Kobanê, which has so far been successful with the Americans dropping weapons and ammunition to the besieged troops, and providing air support.
To return though, to the question of revolution; for us as communists, a revolution is a creation of the working class in struggle for its own interests. Within the course of this struggle the working class not only transforms society, but also transforms itself. In Syrian Kurdistan, there was no movement of the working class. Control of the towns in Syrian Kurdistan was taken by an armed group filling the power vacuum left after the withdrawal of the Syrian Arab Army. That's not to say that there was no support for the PYD, as everywhere today nationalism in the Kurdish regions is strong. Local committees were thrown up which took control of the necessary tasks usually undertaking by the municipal level of the state. The Da'esh too, has in many cases left local people in charge of local issues, and like the Da'esh, the armed men have maintained power at the top. The supreme ruling body of Rojava, the Kurdish Supreme Committee is a body, not composed of delegates from lower level committees, but an alliance between two political groups, the PYD, and the Barzani backed KDP. Despite all of the democratic pretence, ultimate control is wielded by nationalist gangs with guns.
And a nationalist gang is what the PKK is. As we mentioned before the PKK despite a somewhat patchy history with minority groups in Turkey has now set itself up as the defender of the minorities of Kurdistan. This, however, does not apply, and can not apply to Arabs. On more than one occasion, Salih Muslim, co-leader of the PYD, has talked about 'expelling Arabs', and the possibility of 'war between Kurds and Arabs'. Just to be clear, Muslim is not talking about expelling all Arabs, “One day those Arabs who have been brought to the Kurdish areas will have to be expelled”. The Arabs that he is talking about here are those who were transplanted to the region in the states 1973 Arabisation campaign. Given the demographics of Middle Eastern countries though (Syrian has a median age of just over 22), the majority of “those Arabs who have been brought to the Kurdish areas” will actually have been born there. Muslim himself admits that these Arabs are 'victims' in all of this. This doesn't stop him though from proclaiming that “All the villages where they live now belong to the Kurds”.
Of course these Arabs can no longer be separated from Arabs who were previously there. There are many of them who were born in Kurdistan, who have married with local Arabs, and had children and even grandchildren. How will the PYD discriminate between them, and more importantly how will other Arabs react to this talk of ethnic cleansing? This is the path to ethnic conflict that we have seen across the Middle East, particularly in neighbouring Lebanon, and in places such as ex-Yugoslavia, and Northern Ireland in Europe, all too many times before. Whatever the left talk of some of the protagonists in these struggles, they follow an ever deepening spiral into more and more vicious ethnic/sectarian conflict. At first the worst atrocities might be 'mistakes', shootings of civilians undertaken without direction or permission of the leadership of the various nationalist militias. However, to the families and friends of the victims, this is of secondary importance. They strike back, and murder is followed by atrocity and massacre.
In the midst of a civil war between a Kurdish militia, and what is essentially a Sunni Arab militia, these events will happen. It matters not how progressive the PKK portrays itself. The logic of the situation dictates what will happen. A good example would be the Kingsmill massacre in County Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1976. The IRA, like the PKK, was viewed as a 'progressive, socialist' organisation, but the day after Protestant paramilitaries shot dead five Catholic civilians, Irish Republicans went out and stopped a bus of building workers, and took off the eleven protestants on it, and shot them, killing ten of them. The IRA denied involvement in the attack. However, that didn't stop the Protestant paramilitaries from enacting their revenge, and the tit for tat killings continued.
For communists a revolution cannot be enacted by armed ethnic/sectarian militias and fighting between the militias of different ethnic/sectarian groups will only lead to the working class being divided and being used to massacre itself.
Class War or Sectarian War?
It is this threat of ethnic/sectarian war, which heralds the danger for the future. Ultimately despite the differences between the PKK and the Da'esh, the similarities between the two are what links them. A socialist veneer does not stop an ethnic militia from playing its part in the escalation of the cycle of ethnic conflict, and ethnic cleansing. It is clear in this struggle that the Da'esh is the aggressor, and that the PKK is merely defending its turf. It is also clear that compared to the Da'esh, the PKK looks positively progressive. None of this stops either of them playing their roles in the intensification of ethnic conflict.
Of course we have sympathy for Kurds being massacred by the Da'esh. However, unlike others on the left, internationalists recognise that those dying on the side of the Da'esh, also come in the main from the working class and the peasantry. Like amongst the Kurds, there will be many fighting with the Da'esh who have lost loved ones in sectarian massacre performed by Shia militias in Iraq, and by the Alawite run state in Syria. Also on the side of the Da'esh, as with the Kurds, there will be many young workers and peasants who have been conscripted into these gangs.
In a struggle like this where workers and peasants are butchering each other in the name of nationalism and religion, communists do not take sides. Those who take sides in this war will not contribute in the long term to any progressive victory, but merely to the further ethnic division, and increased militarisation of the region, neither of which will be of benefit to the working class. It also seems ironic that many on the left, especially those aligned to the PKK in Turkey, who for so long sided with whichever local imperialist power, or proxy, opposed America is now cheering the US on. Of course, they must know that American intervention in this war is certainly not for the benefit of the people of the Middle East, but they seem to have forgotten it very quickly.
The working class, neither in the Middle East nor in the rest of the world, is not strong enough to stop this war just as in 1914 it was not strong enough to stop World War One or the Armenian genocide a year later. To pretend otherwise is to be prey to illusions. However, that does not mean that revolutionaries should dive headfirst into taking sides in it, and acting in a way which will almost certainly lead to the prolonging and intensification of ethnic/sectarian conflict. It is important to remember that the siege of Kobanê is but a moment in a larger struggle across the entire region being fought out by the proxies of various local imperialist powers. Turkey along with Saudi, and the GCC, will continue to try to overthrow the Syrian state, and Turkey will continue its terrorist war against not only the PKK, but also the civilian population in Turkish Kurdistan. It is almost inevitable that in return other powers opposed to Turkish policy will begin to channel arms to the PKK to continue its fight against Turkey. Recent demonstrations in Turkey in support of the fighters in Kobanê left over thirty people dead, the majority of them murdered by the Turkish state, and some of them by Turkish nationalist gangs, and saw the state using tanks against demonstrators for the first time since the 1980 coup. The Turkish armed forces have also, after a period of ceasefire, renewed their attacks upon the PKK in Turkey. Of course, Turkey is the aggressor here, but when the PKK replies in kind, and kills some Turkish conscripts that won't be the first thing in the minds of grieving mothers, relatives, and friends...and so the spiral of ethnic hatred, which in turn leads, to violence, murder, and massacre will go on.
The alternative that internationalists pose to this is that of class struggle. It may seem far away now, but it is only four years ago that the TEKEL strike in Turkey really seemed to be breaking down barriers between Kurdish, and Turkish workers, and led to a much wider strike wave. 2013 saw massive demonstrations across Turkey sparked by police brutality against protestors in Istanbul's Gezi park. The three years since the Arab spring may seem like a long time now, but in times like these changes can occur very, very quickly. Although the working class seems weak today struggles where the working class is fighting for its own interests will return in the future, and they are the only solution to overcoming the ethnic and sectarian divide by uniting workers as workers, not as Kurds, Turks, Arabs, and Persians, or Sunni, Shia, Christian or Yazidi.
D. Valerian 28/10/14
Glossary: Who’s Who in Kurdistan – A Brief Summary
- PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party. A Turkish Kurdish political and military organisation, originally Marxist-Leninist (ie. Stalinist) founded in 1978 by Abdullah Öcalan (in prison in Turkey since 1998). At war with the Turkish state since 1984.
- PYD Democratic Union Party. Syrian branch of the PKK founded in 2003.
- YPG People’s Protection Units. Military wing of the PYD.
- KNCS Kurdish National Council in Syria. A heterogenous grouping of Kurdish political organisations opposed to the PYD and under the patronage of the KDP.
- KDP Kurdish Democratic Party. Founded in 1946 by Mustafa Barzani and now led by his son, Massoud. It is the ruling power in the KRG.
- KRG Kurdistan Regional Government formed after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq under Massoud’s KDP it is a staunch ally of the USA.
- PUK Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Founded in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1975 after a split within the KDP. It is dominant in the southern part of Iraqi Kurdistan and its leader Jalal Talabani was President of Iraq 2005-14
- 1 For our take on this see http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2011-08-10/the-unfinished-business-of-the-arab-spring
- 2 See this article for more detailed discussion of the wider imperialist conflict http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2014-10-15/iraq-the-new-caliphate-is-and-the-wider-imperialist-manoeuvres. There is also an update on the material roots of the conflict at http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2014-10-30/is-%E2%80%93-imperialist-barbarism-continues
- 3 See http://libcom.org/library/internationalism-only-response-kurdish-issue-international-communist-current which has many details on the history of the PKK including an interesting section on its attitude towards women.
- 4 See In Rojava: People’s War is not Class War
To play devil's advocate what
To play devil's advocate what about the fact that if the PKK loses there may be a subsequent massacre in Kobane? It's easy to talk about how support for the PKK isn't at all revolutionary, but in terms of preventing any sort of massacre, wouldn't it be best if the PKK defeated ISIS in this battle?
Again a masterful piece by
Again a masterful piece by Devrim, that is full of unfounded accusations against Kurdish movement:
This is plain wrong. See Asayish forces, they are mixed. You again make up something out of your ass (sorry) to frame a group. You are still ignorant of any Kurdish women and their opinions. The example you give is related to history of the movement not its today. You again use an old issue to frame an organization without basis. And you use it to "hide the improvements in the organization in question" itself (which is a given impossibility for you)
Unfortunately my friend thanks to you: you and me (and some other libcom crowd), like Ocalan and its "opponents" are being parts of a debate where men is using women to back up their positions (i.e. their wishes to be authorities) and do not let any women to speak for themselves.
Yes of course, everyone agrees on it I guess. However the issue is in a time (and place) of lack of working class movement and antagonism, should we consider any "new" way (Bookchinian theory for example) just simply as anti-working class. Maybe a sort of experimentalism with new ideas is what is required for future development of communistic theory and praxis. (I do not mean their total acceptance, however I think their total denial is not the answer either)
How do you explain the the Christians and Arabs and Turks (including communists) that are members of YPG? Are they Kurdish nationalists? Or do they think PYD is not a mono-ethnic nationalist political party? Are they so stupid that they can not see what you saw from far far away?
You are again "assuming" stuff. What about New Compass article about dual power structure? What about Zaher's text? Why you do not consider their views. Who are after all go to the fucking Rojava unlike you. I am not saying it is all superb but it is not as basic as you picture it to be also given that it is in a region that is under war. What they accomplished is a HUGE issue.
According to what? According to your bullshit of course.
This is discussed on libcom. You only report one-sidedly. He pardoned and said he is misunderstood and he said he only implied those who support enemy troops. Moreover Rojava constitution explicitly states Arabs are a founding ethnicity (it is not a an ethnic racist national constitution) There are quotas to ensure political participation of Arabs in Cantons and upper councils. You must know these if you read any of the discussions in Libcom forums but you repeat the same lies. So your accusation and subsequent idea is pointless.
What working class you are speaking on their behalf again. Don't you see PKK actually tries to stop Turkish hatred in Kurdish youth that could easily turn into racism? (and this hatred is totally fault of Turkish state who historically did not recognize Kurds)
What ethnic cleansing? What are you saying? Does YPG cut people's head off? Do they sell women as slaves? What are you talking about?
What? How can you blame PYD for intensifying ethnic conflict? They even say “we do not wish to fight outside of our Cantons. We do not want to expand” According to you they must be blamed for defending Kurds from a massacre? What are you saying?
Of course man, you are a lovely creature. I am sure if YPG gives up. You would cry for the killed Kurdish working class.You seem to think this is the ultimate help a communist think of under these conditions. (sorry Syrian workers, you should just born in an advanced capitalist country that is all :D )
Yeah but in the end they decided to kill others as a revenge. Unlike what Kurds are doing now! This is what makes their political organizations reactionary. And this is exactly the point what is so different about Kurdish movement. You could realize this yourself if your hatred of PKK somehow stops.
Sure, How I forget this -communist- god given rule. So you also suggest this for example to a Syrian Kurdish worker right: (I imagine you would say something like this: ) “Leave your co-workers just escape for your ass and let people die for your beloved ones. If you do not do so, you are a nationalist and not a communist at all.”
So you want the war end by the victory of the strongest group. So that you can "organize workers there" which will be living in peace i guess? Very good thinking. Such communism Wouv!.. (Maybe I should make communist “doge” mems? Anyone interested?)
But Kurds who are facing the threat to be massacred like Armenians in Turkey are defending themselves along with organizing in communalistic and democratic lines. AND you keep claiming this is just plain nationalism. I wonder how your communism would support Armenian socialist organizations who tried to stop ethnic cleansing. I guess you would just condemn them as nationalist gangs and equalize them with Ottoman Empire, right?
And people try to say to me I am romantic because I see a possibility in Rojava. I think you are the person that should get this "title".
NOTE: I am sorry for posting for so long again. But articles that are full of disinformation and narrow minded ideological criticism, is produced over and over again. I feel a duty to reply back at them.
EDIT: I just found the a reference to gender mixedness of Asayis it is here:
It is from this. https://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-proved-people-can-make-changes-zaher-baher-2 I recommend everyone to read it.
Devrim: Quote: TEKEL
Tekel strike was big on TV but it did not wield any results. No policy changed. The laws workers opposed were passed (4-C laws, making some workers of state contractual workers) There was a second call to protest. The second TEKEL call was a failure. No worker showed up thanks to State's prevention and stupid worker's union. We wait with a lot of socialists in the Sakarya square against cops and just give up as there were no workers at all.
Also if you have gone to the tents of TEKEL resistance the workers were segregated by their places of birth (one tent is for this city, other is for another one etc...) So basically workers were staying with their own ethnicity (Kurds were mostly in Diyarbakir for example)
Turkish Nationalist workers parties (some of which are explicitly anti-Kurdish) for example came visited TEKEL tents. Nobody (especially Turkish workers) did not try to prevent them from entering into the tents. However unfortunately the same thing never become a possibility for Kurds. I also know a Kurdish flag was taken out due to request of other (Turkish) workers.
I also remember for example during CHP's women branch visited the tents. They took a picture of resistance. However they excluded Kurds from the photo they took as a "memory of resistance". Nobody kick them out for being racists.
So basically I liked TEKEL resistance as much as you do, However let’s not paint it as a paradise of working class. It was hugely divided among the ethnic lines in practice. Kurdish workers were minority and their representation (especially politically) were limited. They were basically threated as second class workers again. (As it is a tradition in Turkish politics.) what we should learn from TEKEL is not that it was a working class paradise but ethnicity is still an issue even for so called actions that are directly related to "working class self-interest".
mikail firtinaci wrote: It is
Not necessarily talking about Kobane, would ISIS attack refugees in the surrounding areas?
k, thx for info
there were reports in the
there were reports in the news during the last couple of weeks that some shells did hit the town of Suruc "by accident": http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2014/09/29/fifth-mortar-shell-hits-border-town-suruc ... but I think, that ISIS will at the moment not launch an outright attack on the territory of its ally Turkey
Mikail what about other
Mikail what about other cantons? If Kobane falls, would ISIS let other cantons existl? What about total of 1 million Kurds (and other nationalities and religious minorities) living in others cantons? Should they also go away to be refugees? And do not fight? Maybe they should even kill themselves to be helpful non-nationalists themselves?
I am also still fascinated by
I am also still fascinated by your willingness to demand from people to give up the fight for their own lives and homes under an enemy attack, just because it is not "the proper (class) war".
Entdinglichung; Why do you
Why do you think that Turkey is an ally of ISIS?
This is so undeserving of
This is so undeserving of publication that one hardly knows where to begin- The jargon, the politics, the anti-Kurd rhetoric, the presumptions. Someone wants to keep folks from finally admitting the political presence of the Kurdish liberation struggle. Not surprising since it has only been since the resistance in Kobani that anarchists have even begun to see the protracted armed struggle of the Kurdish people for survival.
Quote:In a struggle like this where workers and peasants are butchering each other in the name of nationalism and religion, communists do not take sides. Those who take sides in this war will not contribute in the long term to any progressive victory, but merely to the further ethnic division, and increased militarization of the region, neither of which will be of benefit to the working class.
Why take sides? Do like the Turkish military is doing and watch from the sidelines. Or do like the British and French did in the Spanish Civil War and declare neutrality. A "curse on all their houses". Their resistance is not deserving of us. "We" are the makers of history, everyone else just messes it up for "us". Go home Turkish anarchists there is no room for you. Go home little ladies, that is your place in this world. Go home peshmerga you are troops of a government and we might be contaminated with the Southern Kurdistani ebola virus.
If you've done nothing to build this struggle, at least have the decency not to proliferate propaganda supporting the reactionaries. YPK grows because they organized to resist the attacks. They have stood their ground. Kobani shall not fall.
Quote: Of course, Turkey is the aggressor here, but when the PKK replies in kind, and kills some Turkish conscripts that won't be the first thing in the minds of grieving mothers, relatives, and friends...and so the spiral of ethnic hatred, which in turn leads, to violence, murder, and massacre will go on.
That's called resistance kak Devrim. Pacifism leads to genocide.
You might also want to recognize that between 1980 and 1999 the US exported $11.551 billion in arms, $4.627 billion in grant aid (none since 1992), and $1.982 billion in direct loans (none since 1997) Further, transfers of U.S. Weapons to Turkey Under the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) Treaty, 1991-1993 included: 264 M-60A1 main battle tanks,658 M-60A3 main battle tanks, 250 M-113 armor personnel carriers and 72 M-110 Artillery. Between 1994 and 2003, Turkey took delivery of more than $6.8 billion in U.S. weaponry and services. Ending military aid for Turkey is certainly a preferable option to more mass murders.
Behind the slave lies the hand of the master. Behind the free lies the bitter past.
This is from milliyet (Nation) it is a newspaper that is far away from Kurds politically. One of their reporters went to Kobane and he says: In Kobane there is war at night, but children scream and play at the streets in daylight. There is a thousand families still living in Kobane (which I guess mikail is sure that they are militant nationalists and not people who have nowhere to go or does not want to go from their homes) There are children aged 11 and 14 reporter speak to. They say "we are now getting used to war." (But they are again bloody nationalists who deserve to be killed by IS I guess according to mikail, I suppose)
I mean come on mikail how can you be so cold hearted on this issue. you could just write to google and search for civilians in Kobane (in Turkish) and get the articles. And find out yourself not everyone still in Kobane is militants. (rather then sayin they are "propably not civils") . Or you could also think about the faith of million kurds who live in other cantons, if the Kobane falls, yourself.
Don't you see: your hatred against PKK is blinding you. Or in worst case You just don't care about Kurds. They are insignificant to your "game" of working class revolution (in other words: self-enjoyment in Libcom). That's all!
Mikail: Quote: Quote: I am
No why should it bother me? It is very normal of a lot of people get displaced in wars. But why you are so indifferent towards people, in Kobane or other cantons, you speak like they should get away or die or something?
Why you want people to suffer instead they support YPG in their fight against IS ? This is also the case for many Kurds: Relatives of these refugees are fighing in Kobane as parts of YPG. Did youeven speak to one of them? Many came here to bring the kids and elder out of combat. They are not going out of Syria "against the will of PYD" at all.
The objection was to working
The objection was to working class support for capitalist and governmental civil war, even if this has been dressed up to be a 'revolution' (by some who thrive on suggestibility and impressionability of overseas sympathisers, who it seems cannot criticise this fake revolution, the political parties, the conscription, the absence of independent working class organisations, etc) yet there is no control from below (because of the extent of the secrecy).
The military adventures of
The military adventures of these nationalist gangs, like the PKK, are the opposite to class war. "Ethnic war" for me doesn't really sum up the overall force at work here which is imperialist war undertaken by the major powers with the local actors.
"Preventing a massacre", humanitarian intervention is an old trick of the ruling class to cloak its imperialist appetites and warfare. No-one wants to see a massacre of innocents anywhere Soapy but they are going on all over Iraq and Syria and have been for a couple of years now. Hundreds of miles away from Kobani around Bab al-Hawa on the Turkish/Syrian border, towns and villages have fallen one after the other to al-Nusra - sometimes working with Isis, sometimes not. Who would you back here Soapy the US-backed and armed Syrian Revolutionary Front, part of the FSA (the majority of whom seem to have gone over to al-Nusra and Isis - as have many civilians in the face of relentless US, British and French air strikes)? Or maybe back the Qatari-backed Islamic Front who are also fighting Isis (or not, as the case may be)? What about the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias? Once you start looking for a lesser capitalist evil you can only end up supporting the forces of nationalism and imperialism
AES you are done now with
AES you are done now with speaking on behalf of Syrian Kurdish working class and started to speak in the name of mikail or devrim I guess. Well OK. My counter point was there is no clear-cut class distinction in current politics (working class or mainstream) that is not tainted by ethnicity. Communists should not be blind to ethnic issues that materially affect the condition of existence of working class. It might not be case where you came from but it is true for the region under discussion!. Being blind to it only avoids the question for yourself and alienate you from Syrian Kurdish working class more.
Lets make a critique of PKK for its lack of organizing urban working classes based on real issues.Let's make a critique of PKK based on lack of democracy if the problems with TEV-DEM arises. Let's make criticism of conscription, if it continues after war. Let's make criticism of PYD if it backs from its progressive policy concerning women.
However please stop equalizing PYD with ISIS and inventing new bullshit arguments to condemn PYD and framing all the Kurds who fight against IS as power hungry maniacs (as made in text and comments). Overall: I get it, PYD might not be your thing that's OK. But please do not deny the Kurds the political agency they deserve. I think they can and will argue or even revolt against PYD or Ocalan if the conditions arises. However currently their historical and conjectural enemies are so powerful ( Turkish state and IS) that Kurds come together and unite in a very real way. I think this is what the discussion on PKK and Ocalan is missing. This is of course will not last forever but demanding that they should be where you want them to be is a sickness in communist politics. Do not forget theory may not have temporality, but societies and people have. Do not rush things and invent antagonism that is not realized in daily life just to get to "revolution" as it is impossible. However work with masses so that later you could have affect on them when they will be making future decisions.
baboon So you think
So you think communists should not care about 1 million Kurds that will be affected by war (possibly by way of massacre, as willingness of neighboring countries will decline as the number of refugees rise) So what do you think communists care for? If this is communism, I really appreciate US intervention and their "humanism".
NOTE: I just realized I started to feel the same way with Kurdish population in Syria who nowadays started to shout "Biji Obama" slogans (Long Live Obama) Thanks communists.
This is one of the best
This is one of the best articles/analysis on this topic. I think that anyone should read it and I'm grateful to Devrim for writing it and sharing his experience and knowledge with us.
Also, comments on this article pretty much show why was this article so necessary.
Iskra Devrim did not put any
Devrim did not put any experience into article if you want experience read these: https://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-proved-people-can-make-changes-zaher-baher-2 or http://new-compass.net/articles/consensus-key-new-justice-system-rojava
However it is obvious that it is not the experience what you are looking for.
Don't you have better things
Don't you have better things to do with your life then troll his article?
I can only speak from my
I can only speak from my experience, so to clarify, I look to independent working class organisations as a starting point for solidarity, but as we know the PKK/PYD are the reason why there are no independent working class organisations in that specific region. I have not suggested in the past nor do I now intend to speak on behalf of the working class, or anyone else. I will not support capitalist and governmental civil war.
Where I am originally from ethnic nationalism is called racism and Apartheid.
AES No it is not the reason,
No it is not the reason, we discussed it, PKK is the result of nationalism of Turkish left. On top of that Kurdish populations being a population that has no state historically oppressed by every nation they were part of. You are reading the picture backwards. The real power that stops the emergence of Kurdish working class movement is the still oppressive and racist politics of Turkey (and other authoritarian regimes) Assuming that the real thread is PKK is just wrong.
(I am asking now according to our previous discussions) So I guess you were critical of black struggle against apartheid even before apartheid is abolished? You know it was not anarcho-syndicalist and it helped a bourgeoisie to emerge? If you are, only then I can accept your criticism of PKK coherent now. Are you critical of PKK in its struggle against Turkish regime or Syrian regime?
NOTE: I do not know how to speak about races in a proper way in English, if I made a mistake I am sorry about it.
Iskra Thank you for sharing
Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us.
In struggle against
In struggle against apartheid, I helped organise at work on a class basis with my workmates against apartheid bosses and the new bosses. Most of my workmates were black african (including various languages - sotho, xhosa, zulu, ndebeli, shangaan, afrikaans, english and a few european/asian languages). I was involved workplace struggles and also involved with support for landless/homeless and other struggles.
I did *not* support the SACP (the neostalinist) 'national liberation' party in alliance with the ANC (nationalists). I refused to serve as a conscript under the apartheid military regime, I told an army colonel that they cannot trust me with a gun, I was beaten and given a dishonourable discharge (G5K5).
I don't accept that there is any obligation or requirement for workers to support capitalist political parties and support their civil wars.
That is good for you but the
That is good for you but the question was that: Were you critical of people who supported SACP during the Apartheid? Did you consider those who supported SACP as equally bad as apartheid itself? Did you consider SACP as equally bad as Apartheid at that time and under that circumstances? Were SACP was preventing actively the emergence of black working class movement back then? Was SACP the dominant force that stopped emergence of working class movement in black population, or was it also related to attitudes of white people themselves?
This is what is discussed here AES. I definitely understand your wish to prevent from emergence of another SACP. But how can you say Aparthied and SACP (while it was fighting Aparthied) was the same? Don't you see these articles by international communists do that: They equalize Turkish State with PKK, they equalize IS with PYD etc... This is what I am arguing against. I am perfectly aware PKK will not solve all the problems that culminated in the region (as everyone should be) PKK is basically this for me. I do not know what is misguiding you on what I say and what these articles mean in context of Kurdish population and PKK but I would really like to solve this problem.
Whether PKK/PYD or ISIS/ISIL
Whether PKK/PYD or ISIS/ISIL are the same, is not my point.
Whether SACP/ANC or National Party/IFP/Apartheid were the same, is not my point.
To join a militarist party-complex to avoid terror is coercive tragedy.
I don't accept that there is any obligation or requirement for the working class to support capitalist political parties and to support their civil wars.
The more I learn about the PKK/PYD, the more I consider the fake radicalism called Democratic Confederalism (regardless of it being based on ex-anarchist Bookchin and has been promoted overseas as a 'revolution') is nothing other than top-down structure of local municipal government, which meets business needs, and is suitable for political parties, police, military to 'consult' with "the people".
I cannot be more in disagreement with your suggestion that criticism can only be made after the civil war.
I was not saying you said
I was not saying you said something like that. I was saying that article in discussion (we are actually commenting under) is making this kind of assumption and it is fundamentally wrong. Except that I can just admire your dedication to anarcho-syndicalist cause. However I wish there was a way for you to argue your points not as moralistic principles to be hold regardless of time and place but as actual arguments that you propose to someone in a discussion.
If you want to pursue your
If you want to pursue your objection with left-marxists (left communists) about their position on the PKK again, then address your question to the author of the article about its specific contents.
I have answered your question - to join a militarist party-complex to avoid terror is coercive tragedy.
Above, I have replied to your comments, specifically about your defensiveness for the ideologies you endorse, which are ethnic nationalism and 'democratic confederalism', which I consider from a comparison of my experience as similar, if not the same as the neostalinist two-stage theory of the SACP. It is absolutely clear, that the PKK had to reinvent itself through a radicalisation strategy to regain credibility but for the avoidance of any doubt - I have not found genuine evidence of the PKK making a thorough structural and substantitive change to break away from its Stalinism.
You argue that I am being 'moralistic' and 'ideological', but in fact the position I have held has not been to insist on any ideology at all, in all of these discussions about Rojava, PKK/PYD and ISIS/ISIL. I have argued in favour of the working class to be able to organise itself independently and anti-militarism in relation to all capitalist and governmental institutions. These are basic minimum demands without any particular doctrinaire adherence.
I just recommend everyone to
I just recommend everyone to read DAF's response to basically our three week old conversation: http://libcom.org/library/response-article-rojava-anarcho-syndicalist-perspective#comment-546891
Ok I am done AES. I wont
Ok I am done AES. I wont speak further as we have discussed all this and you seem to not care what I say. Maybe (hopefully) you will see for yourself in time how inaccurate your analogy and your understanding of what PKK is now. (that is unfortunately based on articles such as above that offer to English speaking audience just the wrong impression what situation of Kurds in Turkey (and region) is)
If you want to, you can read the article Marx-Trek mentions in the comment above. It is new.
Matoska wrote: Quote: Of
Are you mad?! It's not about resistance, it's about tit for tat killing.
Gepetto, you are right.
Gepetto, you are right. However mikail is wrong that PKK can not be held responsible for the war. The main reason there is a war in Turkey is the nationalistic foundation of Turkish Republic. Many Turks tend to disregard it, while discussing the Kurdish issue. As it is easy for them to forget as they are not "ethnically" repressed by it like Kurds.
kurremkarmerruk wrote: I
Well, many of these Armenian socialists were social chauvinists that cheerleaded the Russian army and supported the formation of Armenian units within it.
Anyway on the topic of the Armenian genocide, I always wonder how since Hitler the threat of genocide has been the reason for the left to give up working class politics and side with the 'lesser evil', but those on the left with revolutionary pretensions still think that this crime wasn't enough to justify the support for Entente.
Quote: Well, many of these
I can not believe you just said that.
Well, if you think that I'm
Well, if you think that I'm wrong, correct me. There was a pro-Russian faction within the Hunchaks which, if I remember correctly, took the lead during the war and condemned internationalist members of the party, and there were of course the Dashnaks.
There are three very
There are three very interesting sources of information on what is going on in Rojava. One is the KURDWATCH website which lists human rights violations in the area. 'Report no.9' is especially interesting.
Here are some worrying extracts from an interview with Salih Muslim Muhammad, the PYD leader:
KurdWatch: In Kobanî and Serê Kaniyê Kurdish activists were kidnapped and severely tortured. In both cases, the PYD is being blamed.
Salih Muslim Muhammad: There are problems in Kurdish society, as there are problems in all societies. There are immoral incidents, for example drug use. There are people who sell drugs. The state and outside powers are behind this. They want to break society apart. There are people who do not accept this. We are not those people. In several Kurdish cities there are brothels. Here, too, there are people who are against this. It is not the PYD, but society that does not accept this. Thus it is clear that there will be corresponding reactions. There will be an attempt to classify these reactions politically. But politics is not behind this.
KurdWatch: In the 1980s and 90s, the PKK killed many of its Kurdish critics in Syria, many others lost body parts, and others were threatened and beaten. Should we be afraid that the PYD is planning similar acts in the future?
Salih Muslim Muhammad: If the PKK punished people, it had its reasons. We know this much from that period. Either the people in question were traitors or they had caused harm to the PKK. There were PKK courts that determined the punishments. Or people were punished because that's what the people wanted. The PYD is a political organization. If someone betrays us, he will be punished. But we do not use murder or violence. The PKK has military units that follow their own laws, as it is the case with the military all over the world. They do not act like political organizations.
In this same interview Salih Muslim Muhammad also makes clear that: 'we apply Apo's [Abdullah Öcalan's] philosophy and ideology to Syria: It offers the best solution to the Kurdish problems in Syrian Kurdistan.'
Another good source is chapters 4 and 11 of Conflict, Democratization, and the Kurds in the Middle East by David Romano, in which one Syrian Kurd is reported to have said:'The portraits of Bashar Assad have simply been replaced by portraits of Abdullah Ocalan. Nothing has changed.'(p243)
There is also a very interesting report by the International Crisis Group (Middle East Report no.151) where it is claimed that: 'a Qamishli resident who witnessed formation of its council said the PYD selects five to twenty people from a neighbourhood; appoints a leader; and puts the council in charge of distributing gas and humanitarian aid.' This doesn't sound very 'democratic' and neither does the compulsory conscription that has recently been introduced. According to this same report, another interviewee said: 'Each recruit is supposed to receive military training and attend political classes on Öcalan’s ecological and philosophical views'! (p13-4)
Another interviewee claims:'I was in the YPG [PYD militia] since before the uprising, but I have left. Since last year,at least 400 new PKK military personnel came from Turkey and Iran. They are not Syrians,and they want to control everything. They don’t care about Syrians. They make deals with the [Assad] regime and [Iraqi PM] Maliki. This is why I left.'(p17)
Whether any of this is true is very unclear but these sources provide a useful contrast to other equally interesting, but more pro-PYD, reports such as Janet Biehl's (Murray Bookchin's associate): 'Ecology or Catastrophe'
AntiWar Who are you Antiwar
Who are you Antiwar and why are you keep posting pro-Barzani and Armenian Genocide denial pro-Turkish State books and sources on different forums?
Quote: Whether any of this is
What is so useful? What kind of stupid logic is this? As I said to you before (in another thread) the book you share above has an article by Michel M. Gunter (see summary and reviews of his book: http://www.amazon.com/Armenian-History-Question-Genocide-Michael/dp/0230110592) He is an Armenian genocide denial and a friend of Turkish state on all accounts. What makes this guy so reliable for communists or anarchists ? If you look at the book you will see it has no Kurdish named authors (but a lot of turks). It is a book about kurds that is written for benefit of Turkish state! What kind of objectivity is it? I want to know what bounds all communists together with political authorities when the issue is Kurds or Armenians or any other ethnic nationality that is repressed by Turkey or Ottoman empire?
The other sources as I wrote in another forum, I will be short. They are basically pro-Barzani propaganda. you are being part of the power play. (By the way I do not claim PKK never violated human rights in any form. As it did obviously)
What you are trying to do is dishonest!
Matoska wrote: If you've done
What have you done and how is this 'supporting the reactionaries'? Hate to break it to you, but the left (radical especially) is largely irrevelant these days and shit we write on the Internet doesn't have magical ability to tip the scales in favour of any of the sides somewhere far away. So you can't talk even about some 'objective support', because there's no way ISIS would benefit from that article written for a niche audience. The only way you could make any difference would be to go there and actually fight for either PKK/PYD or ISIS, with gun in your hand.
kurremkarmerruk wrote: (sorry
Oh my. Scratch some anarchists and you'll find Maoists.
Thanks for the article
Thanks for the article Devrim.
If I wanted to pick the least worst option then I would vote.
I have no intention to discuss anything more with you, I do not see anyway we can agree on something.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been fighting a war in the South-East of Turkey for the last three decades. Like the Da'esh it is essentially an ethnic militia.
It is a shame This article compares Pkka with Dash. The author is a Stalinist.Kurds are fighting for freedom and democracy Da ash for reaction and ignorance War .
Stalinists and communists are like Dash They are totalitarian and repressive and criminal
We're anarchists, and we support those who fight for freedom...
Devrim is a fucking stalinist
Devrim is a fucking stalinist
im a worker anarchist and i
im a worker anarchist and i fihght againts daash . ther is no sandica or any tradunion in midel east we fight for freedom
I've known Devrim for almost
I've known Devrim for almost 30 years and he has never been anything like a Stalinist. The PKK, however, for most of the three decades you mention, ramyar, has been an actual proper Stalinist/Maoist organisation. So, when you say you are a 'worker anarchist', ramyar, what does this mean exactly?
This means that my
This means that my perspective as an anarchist is different from the writer I know
struggle against the state is true.fighting Against Centralization is not ethnic war.
this is a war against the hegemonic power
noclass, You may be suprised
You may be suprised to find that there are a lot of communists (including some anarchists) who are influenced by versions of marxism substantially different from the one narrow version you associate with the term who would agree with quite a lot of your points and who are represented in a number of texts and discussions on this site when you have time to look into it.
noclass Quote: Kurdish
Yeah I will now get out of my home and inform Kurdish fighters: as you are so scientific
dictatorship of proletariat
dictatorship of proletariat is dictatorship like eslamic dictatorship we are aginst every kind of dictatorship and also eperialism in is a term of cold war. in contemporary world china، Russia are grate emperialist must fight against them too
Murray bookchin is our
Murray bookchin is our thought leader
I am sure that Devrim soon
I am sure that Devrim soon joins the daash an began criminal work Instead class war!!
ramyar wrote: dictatorship of
As both Marx and Engels described the Paris Commune as a dictatorship of the proletariat, I see very little similarity between that and an Islamic dictatorship.
Actually a comparison of
Actually a comparison of Paris Commune and Rojava could be very interesting. Especially in the context of the demand of autonomy from the state in these two cases. (However I am no expert on The Commune and I am sure there is a lot of difference between two, which must also be addressed)
I know I will be criticized very harshly because I dare to use both in the same sentence :D But I think it could be very informative if we could have a serious political discussion of such issues.
Can we stop these gross
Can we stop these gross slanders against Devrim. Moderators?
I agree with Battlescarred.
I agree with Battlescarred. Devrim's text defends an internationalist position and he is being slandered by 'anarchists' who are openly defending a nationalist gang in an imperialist war.
it is clear to me that maybe
it is clear to me that maybe some turkish anarchists or kurdish anarchists (really not sure on that) have come on here... noclass, raymar and that their understanding of Marxism is that of the capitalist Left...so when they see the word "communist" they think Devrim is for a centralized nightmare... i'd encourage raymar and and noclass to read more about the marxist anti-statists that are often posting on this site, though there are very few of them and even the most internationalist communists are for some sorta non-/semi-state transition...tho the CWO has been sliding into anarchist positions on the state lately it seems ;)
*Edited for poor form on my
*Edited for poor form on my part.
i can't tell if that is an
i can't tell if that is an american troll of these foreign anarchos or one of these anarchos...
RebelRising, is in the US and
RebelRising, is in the US and seems to be either mocking to bring across a point or trying to lighten the situation or both.
I agree with recent posts that the slander insults must stop.
Rebelrising is almost too
Rebelrising is almost too funny by the way I really laughed a lot in front of computer, nearly cried. Even my partner came to see me if I was OK :D (Congrats RebelRising ) (also thanks AES for your comment, without which I would not get it.)
Ramyar: Quote: Murray
?? I hope this is a joke, but I am afraid it isn't. As an anarchist, I at least TRY to think for myself, without "thought leader". And I wonder what poor Murray Boockchin would have thought of all this. Whatever his considerable faults, he deserves better than being turned into an icon.
And calling Devrim - a comrade with which, being an anarchist, I disagree sometimes but respect very much - a stalinist, is scandalous and only damages the discussion at least some of us are trying to have.
I think that that person is
I think that that person is just a bad troll. He says "Murray bookchin is our thought leader", so if he is not trolling than it's really sad...
I think that the term
I think that the term "marxist" or "coomunist" - and "anarchist" - can be used by the bourgeoisie and turned on the working class. In the more advanced western democracies the bourgeoisie generates its own "marxists" and "communists" all the time - intellectuals, trade union leaders, journalists and high profile "activist", etc. From "Socialism in One Country" the bourgeoisie has used the capitalist hell of Russia in order to show the working class a lesson of what happens when you get communism. This campaign continued - and continues - to do this with the collapse of the Soviet Union and we are constantly reminded about the real nature of "communism" is that it equals what went on in Russia. But the deformation of words is not really the issue here, it's the content of a political position and the political position of Devrim above is clearly internationalist and against all forms of "local democracy" and "local autonomy" being dressed up as anything vaguely proletarian. That's the issue. And against the anarchist moralism that underlines much of the support for fighting against Isis forces in Kobani, the text gives a clear indication of what a proletarian organisation, a proletarian tendency actually consists of.
It's no accident that on these threads there has been strong support for the "Syrian Revolution" much along the same lines as support for the PKK. The same, with regional variations, for the "Ukrainian Revolution" - and we've seen previous support for other so-called "Revolutions". In fact here's another example of how the bourgeoisie has taken over this word and used it to its advantage, mobilising various elements behind it while emptying the word of all content. This is a particular task of the left of capital. The problem though is a problem of method, or rather a lack of it which enables any critical elements - amongst others - to get sucked into supporting different factions of imperialism through the back door.
Kobani has become another cause celebre of the bourgeoisie, another crime of capitalist war that is being used to divert all attention away from the fact that these massacres and this sort of warfare has been going on in and around the Middle East for years now and are getting steadily worse. As a real strategic threat is opening up on the Syrian/Turkish border around Bab-al-Hawa, as more and more "moderate" forces go over to Isis and al-Nusra (with their western supplied assets), then more western boots on the ground becomes increasingly likely and it reinforces the fact, that for those of us in the west, the enemy is at home.
I should like to clarify that
I should like to clarify that it goes against my better nature to make fun of other people's spelling and grammar if English is not their first language, but in this particular instance I couldn't help myself. Apologies to ramyar for my less-than-constructive contribution.
I also hope nobody took me seriously and that they saw through my facetiousness.
like every political school
like every political school anarchism has its leaders like bakunin kropetkyn malatesta and bookchin their approach was againts hierarchy of pary and state.
marxist-enges-leninist-maoist all are pro state.
i speak a little english and u not must mocking me because u do not know a word of my language (persian)
But if Bookchin is your
But if Bookchin is your political thought leader ( such an expression to me reeks of Maoist phraseology) then you are being misled as revolutionary anarchists have long had quite serious criticisms of his turn towards libertarian municipalism.
As to mocking your English, you won't find me at least doing that. For آنارشیسم
Please if you want to have
Please if you want to have purely an ideological debate I suggest that you find a thread that is more suiting for such a debate.
Please if you want to debate by means of slogans and wiki reference I would suggest anarchistnews.
Please if you want to over generalize and simplify political theory and anarchist/communist/libertarian-leftists/autonomist/marxist theoretical positions I suggest you refrain for posting such comments.
These types of posts do nothing but derail the conversation about regional specific Kurdistan political, social, and economic (non-economic) developments. Instead of simply attacking someone by using a word you assume is some how politically offensive, engage the position and challenge their conclusions (I have fortunately began to just filter and ignore the majority of the posts and response or read that which is relevant to the actual discussion of Kurdish autonomy and critique).
Remember, if you are reading and posting on Libcom, I think it is a pretty safe bet that your fellow thread members are aware and understand such terms as: anarchism, communism, marxism, leftism, stalinism, etc...
I would hope that people are well versed in what they are commenting on, if not, well, that says more about the post(er) more than it does about who they are challenging.
I would also like to point out that its hard to take serious an article that basically quotes and sources itself whether or not valid points are made.
proletariat lost his
proletariat lost his revolutionary role .today anarchists have leadership of social change to a direct democracy and freedom without ownership and state capitalism like soviet.
Bookchin's earlier works such
Bookchin's earlier works such as 'Post Scarcity Anarchism' were excellent. Later, he took a turn for the worse and as Battlscarred says, we are seriously critical. It appears it is this later Bookchin favoured by Ocalan, and by automatic default, the PKK. Ramyar, your level of English is not an issue and should not be mocked. What is an issue is your utterly bizarre attempt to make an icon out of Murray Bookchin, almost like a libertarian version of Mao Zedong or Kim Il Sung. This deserves to be mocked, mercilessly so.
the author ignores the threat
the author ignores the threat of isis and assume the attacked to women and cheldren is ethnic war .
do u think they should not defend themselves. the author has sympathy with isis because of common enemy usa .
Serge Forward What you say
What you say is interesting Serge. Can you open it a bit? I would like to learn a bit more of your reading of Bookchin (or analyis etc..)
Also I would like to point something: It was possibly not realistic for Ocalan to mobilize masses of poor Kurdish populations most of whom either lives in slums or rural places (or cities that are just big villages) based on "post-scarcity anarchism". As the ideology articulated in that book could be very hard (if not outright impossible) to make reference to actual problems of Kurdish rural and urban poor.
I actually realized this gap between people whom I speak here and people whom I (kind of) defend, earlier. While I was starting to hear the very first calls to ban me from the forums. :D Anyway go see for example http://libcom.org/notes/about What is described here as our common situation includes anything hardly relate-able to a life of a working class Kurd in Turkey. (What benefits? Existential boredom of work? what bank balance? A Kurd (also a Turk) can be sure he/she will be married. (as whole society seem to be organized around marrying everyone :D ) Not a problem. Climate change? Mortgage payments? (of what slum houses?) ) A working class Kurd experiences so many different forms of human suffering that is just hard to explain in a language born out of an advanced capitalist country. (This is just to note here, not a call to change "about" page etc...)
RebelRising wrote: I should
I have to be honest, I think it's extremely out of order and the recipient of it didn't find it funny in one bit. Edit it you cunt.
I reccomend a critical
I reccomend a critical reading of this to get some facts on the situation on the ground
ramyar wrote: the author has
No he doesn't. All Devrim wrote is that just as many Kurdish fighters are workers and peasants who were either focibly conscripted or want to defend themselves and avenge the loss of their loved ones, so there are also among those who fight for ISIS many workers and peasants who were either conscripted or want to avenge their loved ones.
1)conscription just started
1)conscription just started months ago (it bassed as a law but was not implemented only 1 year ago. Rojava exists for 3 years now. Manjority of the fighters are still voluntary. (Also if you consider people going there to join YPG)
2)pkk for example has no conscription but it has more than 20000 voluntary fighters
3) in rojova they take only one person a house. In Paris Commune when the commune declared evey able man wss forced to be parts of National Guard (i mind you of the name also)
You cannot compare an event
You cannot compare an event 150 years ago to today and it is quite frankly utterly ridiculous to do so.
Is it also necessary for you to post your pro-PKK propaganda on every thread?
I am correcting gepettos
I am correcting gepettos wrong understanding of kurdish movement.
Although I am ok with your criticism of comparing stuff from different time periods. I also advice you also to be mindful of geograhpy. It is very problematic but repeated many times in libcom. Saying Rojava is not a total worker class movement (revolution) is just a form of disregarding the importance of Rojava in its spatiality (this was adressed ver good in DAF's response)
Except that I do not make propaganda. Ypg still conslsts of voluntary fighters in majority. PKK has no conspriction. And also article above has huge factual errors (i listed in my first comment) that needs to be corrected for correct knowledge to circlulate. So that a real discussion of Rojava could be made.(I also only post in my threads or under such articles etc... Not everywhere)
kurremkarmerruk wrote: I
Yes, this is a good point about the Eurocentrism of libertarian communism. Quite how it leads to launching a longterm campaign of supporting the PKK I'm not sure... ;)
@kurremkarmerruk- that doesn't change much, as I said they are either conscripted or are volunteers with understandable reasons. What matters is that the bulk of the forces comes from the working class and poor peasantry.
Camian del Bario It is your
Camian del Bario
It is your fiction that i make PKK propaganda. I am trying to correct misrepresentations going on here (and they were huge when I started, now they seem better actually) it is your decision to support some movement or not. For example in your qoute of my comment there is not even a sentence that I call for defending for anything I am just pointing to a fact (or a issue) related to geography. And it really was not intended to be so. I know most of my comments could be called pro-pkk but it was just to repel misrepresentations produced by some texts. Because discussing stuff based on them is just making people make errors and just failures in understanding the real succeses and shortcomings of a kurdish population and a movement that kind of represents them.
Gepetto yeah like all of the
Gepetto yeah like all of the wars or revolutions they are. The thing is for me again: politically what IS represents and PYD represents is so different. (Yeah but it is not an immediate salvation of all humanity at once)
Tyrion wrote: As both Marx
Correct me by pointing to a source if you can, but I don't think Marx ever described the PC as a dictatorship of the proletariat. This comes from a foreword to the Civil War in France written by Engels years after Marx's death. Generally I think Marx's alleged enthusiasm about the PC is overstated. I mean a DoP that did nothing substantial on the economic plane to hurt the bourgeoisie... that's really an overstatment.
Correction: it was actually the 1891 postscript, not the foreword.
Jura That is very interesting
That is very interesting actually. However there are actually two questions hidden as one: 1) did marx called the commune a Dictatorship of proleteriat 2) how much marx supported it (you can also divide this into two 2.1 before it was destroyed 2.2 after it was destroyed )
How much Marx supported it is
How much Marx supported it is only very indirectly related to
i) whether communists should have supported it in the 19th century
ii) what communists should think about the Paris Commune today,
and in my view completely unrelated to
ii) whether communists should support the "revolution" in Rojava today.
1) Communists is a very vague
1) Communists is a very vague term. Marx or Bakunin are historical figures with a sort of heavyness connected to them
2) I totally agree with you. I did not said anything that implied we should do exactly as Marx/Bakunin did. The question I ask was to find historical motivations of marx/bakunin to support the commune.
3) Yeah totally. I did not even said anything related to it on my post. You are repliyng to your own age of me and not what I wrote. My explanation however is this marx/bakunin were aware of the political importance of the commune and supported it despite its imperfectness (ideologically) However it is very telling that people can not make histirical comparisons without starting with reservations. It is like judging our own position with the light of communist history can harm us. (I think the opposite)
In terms of Marx's reasons, I
In terms of Marx's reasons, I think the idea was to "wait and see" what would happen, as the Commune was seen as something different from previous proletarian uprisings (i.e., independent of a bourgeois revolution, involving many socialists of many persuasions, instituting a political form with some specifics). I think – and Marx made that quite clear himself – there were no high hopes of what would eventually happen, and he basically thought that the attempt had been doomed from the start. But the idea was that the content of it was new and it would be interesting to see it develop (the same could be argued for workers' political parties and parliamentary participation at that time).
This is clear from the way Marx evaluates the Commune in the Civil War: in the famous passage where he talks about the new "political form at last discovered", he mostly talks about what "was to" happen, "would have" happened, "could have" happened... Because he thought the seeds were there but ultimately didn't get the chance to develop. Now, when comparing the Commune with other events, like Rojava, it is therefore important to look at the seeds, and not at superficial stuff like conscription. Even the existence of councils means absolutely nothing – or can even be a very negative factor – if the council members are appointed by parties and/or the councils have no executive powers and/or the councils are not fully in charge of the armed forces. See Germany 1918/1919. And even then, if the balance of forces is such that it is clear you can't win, I think it should be more important to secure some future for revolutionaries (and also just proletarians) than to fight to the bitter end or enter into alliances with imperialist or anti-worker powers that will destroy said revolutionaries when opportunity arises.
Now, whether Marx's stance was a responsible one is another matter. His influence on the actual events was probably negligible, but notice that his position basically amounts to saying "It will ultimately end in a bloodbath, but let's see what happens." I'm not sure about the ethical implications of that. But if we strip away the mythology, the end result was about 10 000 (depending on the source) Communards dead, heavy repression, and the demise of the First International (although the Commune was not the only factor in the latter).
Of course, all of this can be countered with the usual do-somethingism and I encourage everyone to be my guest.
kurremkarmerruk wrote: The
Of course there are differences between PKK/PYD and the Da'esh, just like in 1914 there was a difference between Russia and Germany or between Germany and France. Sure they can't be as bad as ISIS, however this alone isn't enough to make PYD supportable for us.
Indeed. On the Entente side,
Indeed. On the Entente side, one reason used for taking sides by socialists and anarchists was "the rape of Belgium" by the German army.
jura wrote: Tyrion wrote: As
From this piece by Hal Draper:
Tyrion, thanks, that's very
Tyrion, thanks, that's very interesting! I stand corrected. So perhaps both Marx and Engels were overly optimistic about the Commune.
Edit: I looked into Draper's three volume Marx-Engels Cyclopaedia. It's interesting that he briefly mentions Marx's letter to Nieuwenhuis, but does not discuss the much less enthusiastic appraisal of the Commune it contains: Marx to Nieuwenhuis
Actually I opened another
Actually I opened another thread for exactly like this type of discussions. It might be better to discuss it there perhaps. Jura I don't know if it is your interpretation but what you wrote is very different from what I read on commune and its relation to revolutionaries at the time. Maybe we can find more on it in the speeches given in International. (and thanks Tyrion).
Yeah, sorry. Feel free to
Yeah, sorry. Feel free to respond in the other history thread.
Hi, I have been following
I have been following this site for a while and I am really shocked about the ideas of people who identify themselves as anarchistes/communistes. It seems like nearly all the people in this site are petite burgeoise, due to their unrealistic ideas. Do you really know the political, social structure of Middle East? If you know, you sohuld be admired by what have PKK done in past 30 years. A community with strong religional and feudal supression has now becomin a gender-free (even LGBT movement is included in the Kurdish political movement) community. It is said in the article that PKK is indeed not a gender free organisation since it prohibits the relationships between them. This is the thought what I told as''unrealistic'. Gender relationships (of course only sexual relaitionships) are prohibted for only guerillas or other gunned militants. I tink it is very undestandable for war conditions. ISIS have of course women militants but in hijabs and always inferior to male members. In PKK women have their seperated organizations and most importantly all these rights are achieved by women's self struggle.
PKK is also a national movement, so do not expect it to stuck into only class struggle. Besides, only little, romantic, secure movements are stuck into only class struggle and revolution will be made by not those romantics but by well organized, contentious organisations like PKK.
All in all, even if PKK was only a ethnic movement, ISIS was still incomparable with PKK.I think this comparison is just ulterior motive of the author.
Ohhhooo. I have read the last
Ohhhooo. I have read the last parts of the article new. I think the author is not even a moderate leftist. This article can be easily published in Turkish state-backed papers like 'Yeni Şafak'. It is like a cheap black propaganda against Rojava Revolution.
"The Turkish armed forces
"The Turkish armed forces have also, after a period of ceasefire, renewed their attacks upon the PKK in Turkey. Of course, Turkey is the aggressor here, but when the PKK replies in kind, and kills some Turkish conscripts that won't be the first thing in the minds of grieving mothers, relatives, and friends...and so the spiral of ethnic hatred, which in turn leads, to violence, murder, and massacre will go on."
This quote has nothing with anarchism, communism or socialism. This is the mainstream (so wrong and adherent to state-power) idea of Turkish so-called liberals. PKK does not kill those conscripts because of their being Turkish. Hence, if it leads to a ethnic hatred it is not the faulr of PKK but those who reflect it as an ethnic struggle.
Do we have to put up with
Do we have to put up with these PKK trolls slandering comrades here??
I would say that Koray, in his own words "has nothing with anarchism, communism or socialism."
Could we cool it a tad with
Could we cool it a tad with the 'slandering comrades' objection, at least save it for when it's actually flaming.
Koray, national struggle without class consciousness is effectively meaningless and by definition not revolutionary. The word consciousness is more than incidental, because it always exists and you can either be aware of it, or oblivious. It is not something you can fancifully opt to leave out of your national revolutionary struggle.
Kureigo-San wrote: Could we
It's actually libel, but who cares, the object is the same:
Fuck Turkey, fuck ISIS and fuck the PKK.
Battlescarred, I think that
Battlescarred, I think that we do have to put up with the swamping of this and other related threads by open supporters of nationalism because that is what's happening. It's not only these overt expressions though because they are tacitly supported by "on the one hand and the other" type arguments as well as the pious wish to "do something" against Isis or to find some pathetic element in the situation that corresponds to some sort of imagined municipal socialism. It's these latter expressions that also contribute to the nationalist trumpets and the drum beats of war.
For me the weakness of Devrim's text above is that, while giving an excellent analysis of the forces on the ground, it avoids the international situation and the role of the major powers - which, in my opinion, is integral to the situation. Today the French left, the French CP, the Greens (always ready for a war) and the New Anti Capitalist Party - all no doubt supported by some "anarchists", have thrown their support behind the PKK saying that its demands should be met in Syria and Turkey.
No fucking allowed in ISIS or
No fucking allowed in ISIS or PKK.
Is there anything constructive anarchists can do? Or is it one of those where the muddy puddle is best cleared by leaving it alone.
Quote: Do we have to put up
I agree, this shit has been going on for too long.
I admire people's
I admire people's determination to solve their disagrements in libcom with rigorious logical argumentation and in light of empirical data.
Kureigo-San wrote: No fucking
Apart from if you're one of the leaders. ISIS commanders have sex slaves (I think?) and apparently Ocalan considers most female PKK members sexually available.
Deal with the ripples of the huge humanitarian crisis when it comes to our shores. Last year, Syrian refugees blockaded Calais ferryport demanding that the UK gives them asylum. According to the most recent Novara, only around 50 Syrians have received refugee status in the UK so far.
Or, y'know, you can wave PKK banners around in public and share 'hype' Facebook updates from PKK mouthpieces. ;)
Caiman del Barrio
Ocalan is in prison for 15 years now you are aware of it, right?
No thanks Caiman.
No thanks Caiman. :D
Other elements to those I
Other elements to those I mentioned above that anarchism has helped allow overt nationalism to flourish on these threads are as follows:
- the characterisation of Isis as "fascist", thus imposing a Holy duty on some anarchist elements to support the nationalist and imperialist factions of the "resistance" in the name of "anti-fascism", just as they did during and at the end of the second world war behind the forces of democracy and nationalism;
- the idea of the anti-Isis forces somehow being a "lesser evil" - a purely moral concept that ignores the fact that all the belligerent forces involved in this war come from the same heap of capitalist decay;
- the "feminist" card has also been played, another aspect which is entirely compatible with capitalist and imperialist relations. The lines here are not very clear (nor can they be) but the idea seems to be that women in uniform fighting for nationalist gangs against the rapists and fascists of Isis.is a worthy factor of support; The fundamentally oppressive nature of the PKK towards women has been amply demonstrated elsewhere on here but even if the PKK was an "equal opportunity employer" it would make no difference at all to its capitalist and imperialist role;
- further on this question, the Russian/Iranian backed group Hezbollah deals swiftly and terminally with all instances of battlefield rape among its own ranks but that doesn't make it a "lesser evil" from a communist point of view;
- and further on the "feminist" question, the bare-headed, AK-toting Israeli women soldiers patrolling on top of Jerusalem's al-Asqa mosque are neither striking a blow for the liberation of women, nor for secularism;
- returning to Hezbollah, it's worth remembering that the entry of this group onto this imperialist battlefield, tipped the balance of military strength in favour the Assad regime and opened up a line from Tehran to the Israeli border. And this fact reinforced the support of the US secret services to the jihadist anti-Assad forces. The so-called "moderate" anti-Assad forces have always been a fiction, generated in good part by the CIA.
Again, the main point of
Again, the main point of contention here is:
1. Some people feel that speaking favorably of the socio-economic-political developments in Rojava and within the greater leftist segments of Kurdish political developments is well within the realm of solidarity. These regions, areas, groups, and developments can be considered as aspects of PKK, YPG/YPJ, The Cantons, and what ever else falls within the democratic autonomous realm (which does not include the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, etc... Some even feel strongly enough and have enough knowledge about on-the-ground political developments and as anarchists/communists, libertarian-socialists, or autonomists fully support these political developments and the fighting to defend said political developments. Critical support nonetheless (as if that is even having to be said).
And then we have the second group,
2. Some people who neither agree with speaking favorably or supporting what is happening within Rojava, etc...
I think the 1st group is significantly larger than the second group. The international show of solidarity from the autonomous-leftists around from all over the world suggests a popular support for Rojava. This support is varied and comes in many different forms and for many different reasons. Good! I comfortably fall within the 1st group and feel very comfortable why the company I keep.
The reason why I and some others do not taken the 2nd group's view very serious is because it lacks convincing and actual empirical evidence to back up its ideological claims. The 2nd group appears to be merely arguing for the sake of arguing. This discussion has somehow become some kind of debate competition. I am not very interested in this at all. The weakness of the 2nd groups position is very obvious and the constant conscious refusal to address point-counter-point suggests a lack of general knowledge. This lack of general knowledge is attempted to be made up for by political accusations and ideological slogans.
When it comes to attacking what is happening in Rojava based on some, as far as I can tell, baseless accusations of sexual deviance perpetrated by Ocalan the debate/discussion is no longer about what is happening but instead now the conversation is only about winning the debate and smearing Ocalan. Here is the thing, the sexual critique/smear is just that a smearing of one person to damn the entire region. I am sorry but that is petty (come on, even Marx was attacked for that line in the Manifesto about communal women and sure taken completely out of context and to its logical extreme, yes all communists are for communal women. But now, do I really need to address that and discuss further what that means? I hope not for your sake).
Again, even if the accusations against Ocalan are real, I do not care because that has nothing to do with the autonomous developments within Rojava and the progressive & leftist (class conscious) fighting force that is has engaged ISIS/ISIL/IS.
As for the staunch non-support for what is happening in Rojava being based on ideological lines, I find this argument and position completely irrelevant. I think it comes from a strange political conclusion that I am not interested in exploring any further. Here I find that the group that holds this position is relatively small and therefore I am not all that worried about it. Nonetheless, this position is frustrating when it comes to reading posts about anything on any forum. At the end of the day it is such a safe position that is in itself self-affirming.
I get it, don't support Rojava because the PKK and YPG/J because they are doing backed by Western interests (unfounded and already discussed); don't support because Ocalan is a sexual deviant (not all the interesting because it lacks credible sources, already discussed, and whatever problematic with this has already been discussed and points have been made); and don't support because they are not class conscious (I for one do not see the relevance of this critique here specifically and I strongly believe that class consciousness cannot be measured on rhetoric alone).
What is interesting and what would be interesting to discuss would be the social dynamics within Rojava and the groups that are actively defending it. But here is the thing, we are unable to have an intelligent conversation about these things because people want to continue to argue this topic at its most basic level without any rationale behind the arguments.
So once again, someone write a critique that is worthwhile and addresses your great concerns with actual evidence other than referencing your own articles, seemingly Turkish misinformation, and absolutist ideological arguments. I am sorry but from what people have been writing about concerning history has been so generalized that it is not even relevant to the greater discussion.
Again, I suggest you dig deeper and do not attempt to make up for lacking factual conclusions with ideology.
Finally, as has been said I do not think that anyone from group 1 has suggested that this is some anarchist revolution that is ongoing in Rojava. To be clear, I do think people have said and seen social developments in Rojava that are very interesting and favorable. And that these interesting and favorable developments are worth support and critical research and to dig deeper into.
To take such a non-compromising position on some other group while justifying your own failures and slow progress towards total revolution smells of something...
Mikail, Though I will not
Though I will not make such dramatic conclusions as you, I see what you are saying and obviously in dealing with other groups in the region can have its effects on politics and the inter-workings of things. However, these points have been raised before and have happened and it does not seem that the politic(ing) between various forces and militias has had a detrimental effect on Rojava.
This is reality and things are happening on the ground, the recipe for failure is not as simple as, oh no they are taking to this group and that group and they are shooting against the same enemies which the has to mean complete subversion of the things happening in Rojava.
That is pretty much the same as suggesting that any project or organization is failing because they are forced to deal with groups and activities around them. I am to be completely honest, when is this scenario not playing itself out in all our struggles on varying degrees of intensity?
What's with all the vitriol
What's with all the vitriol on this forum? I'm quite impressed how kurremkarmerruk has been able to withstand this onesided discussion so long.
-who's doing this exactly?
Even if it is an ethnic war, which it is of course (I don't see why that would be controversial enough to demand a whole article on it), surely the participant are still political actors. Its not an apolitical war and I faill to see anything "internationalist" in zealous call to neutrality. I would think anyone even mildy progressive would see development in Rojava worth supporting, in thought at least, compared to the prospet of being conquered by IS. The constant focus on the PKK and its leadership denies any agency to the areas inhabitants in Devrims analysis, the Crisis Group report is a bit similar in this reqard.
It would be nice if threre was an analysis to what extent the PKK is truly in control, rather than just using what political resouces it has in a changing situation. Articles romanticising the emancipatory developments in Rojava at least bother to give some agency for the people, even if it might be romanticised. To me that's a better start for a political position than just focusing on the leaders. From what I get from Roarmag and Crisis Group Middle East Report, PYDs trying to build a sort of a dual structure between itself and the canton system. An opportunistic nation building project at heart, but that alone doesn't mean its detrimental to the population in the long term. To equalise PKK and IS (lunacy in my opinion) is one thing, but threat this as equally bad compared to the rise of islamic state that's willing to war with any country near by, doesn't seem much of a communist position to me.
Dunno how many times I've
Dunno how many times I've tried to write this; in truth I have nothing to add as I'm just learning as it goes - as I guess we all must be to varying degrees, so I'll keep it brief. I'm breaking silence in order to say something I've been meaning to since the start - Devrim's article has been enough for me to change my own opinions about the situation; It might be the best thing I've read on the situation so far. I disagreed with various points when I first read it, and still have issues and still find it lacking - but none of these issues outweigh the strength of the arguments for a class struggle approach to the horrifying situation in Rojava. There's very few articles I've re-read as many times, or taken to work and tried understand as well as I can; even less make an impact that I can actually notice. Thanks.
Sharkfinn wrote: To equalise
No, it's not equally bad and I don't think anybody is saying this. So what?
Marx Trek, I find the whole
Marx Trek, I find the whole "critical support" line laughable. Like anyone reasonable would ever want to support anything uncritically. But then again, leftists have a long history of dogmatism, so it kind of makes sense for them.
Jura, What you said is kind
What you said is kind of my point. If you have followed this conversation from thread to thread, the accusation of uncritical support has been levied against people who are more supportive than those who are not. What is laughable are people's inability to read and engage.
But yeah, dogmatism is always a problem.
I want to speak something
I want to speak something very brief on "mikail firtinaci" quotes and comments (both of which are just above in this page)
First one is this:
Second one is this:
I need to remind you that this book is a historical book the last 15 years of PKK was just jumped over in 15 pages or so at the last part of the book. And it is written from a point of view not appropriate for a communist, anyway (it has no class analysis, progressive agenda etc...)
Please I invite everyone to compare this two quotes. and decide on how bizarrely different in their implications for understanding what PKK is! On the fist comment mikail argues that PKK is in alliance with reactionary powers. Here let's take especially the feudal lords he mentions as these are definitely patriarchal families. The message of this comment is clear PKK is on the same line with their patriarchy and does not challenge them in anyway. OK let's now look at the quote from the book where it is obvious that PKK has power over patriarchal families who do not want to educate their girls. Although the writer takes it from the side of nationalism (which is yeah OK, part of it) but it also shows us something much more important: PKK politicizes a society. Kurdish society is political to its core. What this politicization signifies? It signifies the resolution of old relations by emergence of a new platform of (at least relatively) equal political relations. PKK effectively empowers the girls to get away from their patriarchal families. This is why also many Kurdish women from universities, go and join PKK. They want to help their fellow sisters to be free from patriarchal feudal bounds. PKK is modernizing the Kurdish population that was never done as powerfully as Turkish state. And if you listen to Dirik today the power of women in Kurdish organizations is huge and they enjoy equal participation in most of the political life and this is thanks to their own subjectification. (Here : http://vimeo.com/107639261)
Here let me say this again I am not speaking about the pure intentions of PKK or I am not saying this is the case because of just good will or I am not saying Ocalan is just a lovely person etc... The issue is beyond such naive stuff. Of course PKK possibly started it thanks to the its political and military advantage. However it now effectively evolved to a level that PKK is possibly the most gender equal mixed social force in the whole middle east. PKK is very strong in demanding (or implying at the local level) for women's reforms. Its co-leadership in all (civil) ranks (one male, one female) is very important. (By the way this co-leadership issue, I always wondered if it is a novel invention of PKK, or who invented, proposed it originally?) It has 40 or 50 quota for women's participation in all councils. I know many people just want to see PKK as a bad wolf, but it is really not that. We must account for the increase of agency (and autonomy) of Kurdish women in the PKK and also in Rojava now.
Moreover ideologically speaking PKK says they will not stop here and they will establish not capitalist modernity but a democratic modernity. So PKK has at least intentions to go beyond liberal gender-equalness. However I do not know if they will or could do it. I personally myself don't know how to do it (though I have my ideas they are nowhere a political let alone a social force). I am also perfectly aware that it is possible only the actions of PKK will not solve neither the gender inequality nor the global capitalism on one stroke! However this still does not make what they achieve and try to move forward meaningless at all (for the people whose lives would be affected by this of course).
I mean you can of course just criticize "the illusionary nature of modern political equality", or just come up with some examples from PKK's history that show "how PKK wished to use women as genderless militants" etc. (which are true). And just say "These are only just superficial transformations compared to what we communists want to achieve in the upcoming world revolution." However they are nevertheless important issues to care for that effect the very lives of woman (and subsequently society as a whole) And I think this is why Dirik speaks about Kurdish Women's Movement so strongly.
Gepetto: Quote: Sharkfinn
This is from the above article by Devrim:
What I understand here is this: Although there is differences they are "ultimately" linked (same). PKK just "looks" positive (so not positive at all at its essence). And lastly PKK is responsible for "intensification of ethnic conflict" as much as IS. (Despite: PKK is in defense, and does not have plans to engage in an active war in any of the forces in region and also is the only force in region that argues for recognition of every ethnicity in the constitution of Syria) I don't know you but it appears as equalization to me.
Except here, I discussed in various threats just arguing PKK can not be compared IS. And there were people who argued against me. If you want to you can find them (or ask me) I will not quote them here again.
EDIT: I also just found this quote from mikail: "This is what PKK is hiding and it is critical that anarchists/left communists in Western Europe/US to criticize this organization as strongly as they condemn ISIS." Not that it was necessary but I add it here anyway.
I'm neither impressed with
I'm neither impressed with kurremkarmerruk's rose-tinted specs which ignore Ocalan's rape admissions and the direness of the PKK nor Mikail Firtinaci's questionable sources which include the Turkish bourgeois press for fuck sake. So I dismiss kurremkarmerruk's crap out of hand; then again, I'm really not impressed with the whole ICC stylee PKK = ISIS and the implication that not to agree that both sides are equally as bad means you're in some way supporting national liberation and failing to take a proper class position. On the contrary, some of us think that ISIS is somewhat more horrible than the PKK but would still not take sides with the PKK. Yes, both sides are undesirable from a revolutionary standpoint and a plague on both their houses, but to portray both sides as more or less the same is piss poor analysis, because the implications are sufficiently diferent for those directly affected by the actions of ISIS and the PKK.
In terms of whether Ocalan is
In terms of whether Ocalan is a rapist and a deviant.
You cannot argue that this does not matter if you also accept him as leader of the group and quote his arguments.
To be honest I think that any organisation which has someone who has admitted having sex with hundreds of subordinates in an army with strict discipline in a leadership position is in trouble.
Devrim is not making an argument that the Turkish state would make, they would argue that the PKK are dangerous terrorists who create violence. Arguing that the two are in a mutually-beneficial relationship that perpetuates violence is simple observation.
PKK fighters have their own beliefs and suffering, as do individuals in every organisation, but in the same way as the downfall of Mikhail Khodorkovsky doesn't signal that capitalism is collapsing these sufferings do not show that the PKK as an organisation is suffering. In fact like most organisations it is quite happy to allow or even contribute to the suffering of its supporters if it benefits the organisation.
I do think it is good to allow a variety of viewpoints, even if the criticisms of Devrim and other comrades are incorrect and often aggressive.
I thank the comrades that have responded with clear arguments and that have spelt out the situatons with information and examples. Although you are responding to people who do not seem to be listening (judging by their responses) you have a greater audience than them and that audience is reading what you say.
jef costello you probably
you probably did not write the above comment to me but I would like to point out to something:
This admission comes from only a quote that is part of a 1992 book. That nobody (here) read it and it is not even available in internet. (I guess the book exists by the way) The same quote is repeated in some texts to prove their claims however yet I never seen someone who read it. I just want to read the where the quote comes from to be sure what Ocalan is admitting. Is it too much to ask? Does this make me a ideologue?
Sharkfinn wrote: Quote: Or,
I don't know where you're based, but there have been umpteen demos across the UK, including a number in central London, populated by both members of PKK cells in London and their 'far left' supporters. A couple of weeks ago, there was an international day of action which saw demos across the world. I know this cos a good comrade of mine has gone full fucking Rojava mental and shares approx 10 pro-PYD updates a day. In the threads of discussion here there have been pictures of white English anarchists waving PKK flags (yes, I know), and the solidarity demos generally involve hundreds of 'stately' portraits of Ocalan (who looks unnervingly similar to Stalin's portraits, btw).
If you've been investigating this question and haven't encountered these people and their feckless 'solidarity demos' then I presume you're writing from Antartica. ;)
On a smaller scale the same
On a smaller scale the same thing described by Caiman is happening in the Czech Republic.
I was not accusing you of
I was not accusing you of Turkish nationalism but of having dodgy sources, Mikail. However, I believe I am in error because I could have sworn you linked to Hurriyet. Looking back I can't see it and must have mixed you up with someone else*. For that I apologise profusely.
*Possibly with a WSM member... just kidding :D
Quote: But what is certain is
Before the double dots that can be an idea of Beşikçi. however after it is your opinion not Besikci's. He is critical of PKK's turn away from establishing a nation-state he is very old-fashioned in this matters. I did not know though you were OK with this argument ( PKK was better in old days)
For example (use here Google translate) he says The Kurdish issue is an issue of state and land. So basically for him Kurds should be nationalists. PKK is officially against nationalism and unified Kurdish state. Even this disagreement between İsmail Beşikçi and PKK can be an example how PKK is transformed from a national marxist leninist organization to something new.
Because of these issues, he was kind of threatened in a media by someone who is reported to be someone from a high rank in PKK. Yeah there were petitions signing and a lecture given by him. I attended all of them. Most of the Kurds still love him. I also think it was not really serious. That issue is behind us.
This is a pure biased anti-propaganda sentence. You can't know that appeal saved him or not (because nothing happened in the end) Moreover I doubt that if PKK wanted to do something to someone I am very doubtful that they could be stopped by a stupid petition.
Congratulations mikail your manipulation skills are limitless you now achieved to show Beşikçi as a sort of communist or something. I guess you like nationalists whenever they are against PKK. Those fighters in PKK who fight for autonomy, federation and non-state solution are just pure nationalists, but Beşikçi who is openly a nationalist is a freedom fighter for you, just because he criticizes PKK for its non-state policies.
Yes cult of personality is an
Yes cult of personality is an issue. However there are differences there as well. There is a difference between the cult of personality around Stalin and lets say subcom. Marcos and to an extent even the face of Che. From what I have read about Ocalan and the PKK, it does not appear that Ocalan fits squarely in either of these categories. So yes, as a leader but more specifically the cult of personality and cult or leadership is something worth questioning.
Again, could someone provide the sources that confirms Ocalan as a rapist?
(Is he a rapist in the sense that he has admitted to having sex with lower ranked women within the PKK? Are the accusations making a moral or military/professional hierarchical accusation of rape? Is there evidence of him having raped women? Because, I do not know, I would like to read all these allegations and the evidence that exists. Again, the only information I have found has been reported from what appears to be Turkish right-wing nationalists sources. Please, show my the proof, I want to know one way or another.)
Again, he having raped or is a deviant does not really have much barring on what is developing and what is being supported in Rojava. The argument that becuase Ocalan did bad things as an individual really has no barring on Rojava despite his face being on flags. It may say something about allowing/justifying questionable behavior, sure. However, at the end of the day I don't buy the argument that some political project must be pure to its core before partaking or supporting.
Reducing every conclusion and assumption about an entire region down to one simple point that indicates something negative is a sign of complete lacking in analysis and desire to further explore and understand (no matter how critical that understanding is). This type of arguing is about as moot as your once upon a time grade school teacher attempting to stump you and criticize you for wearing and eating products produced under capitalist conditions.
So yes, if we were to have a multiple choice exam question about who is the best and most noble leader in the world of radical revolutionary history I probably would not circle Ocalan. However, I am not all that interested in that one man but instead the recent political developments within the PKK, YPG/J, and the Cantons in Rojava, despite their willingness to be motivated by this one man's writings.
So again, I am not a rape apologist because i do not accuse nor defend Ocalan as a rapist; I think there is more to the situation than some movie good guy/bad by dichotomy; and one negative aspect will not cease my support or general positive view of something (because if that was the case, then no one could support anything because somewhere down the line something bad happened. Orwell's company branded a dog with their militia org.'s initials, I still there are many positive worthwhile things that happened within the Spanish Civil War. Same with CNT-FAI members joined the Republic's government, and I still think some worthwhile things happened during the Spanish Civil War.
K, When you fellow
When you fellow commentators who are using purely ideological arguments and any other arguments with the ultimate goal of always concluding that the PKK is bad (morally bad) they will inevitably have strange debatable bed fellows.
Another problem is that you
Another problem is that you fail to see how Kurdish movement is trying to formulate a new social struggle that is not nationalist nor statist and how this new approach causes disagreements with Besikci who is an advocate of national liberation struggle (and has no problems with imperialist powers as long as they do not prevent Kurdish state from emergence. He is now actually optimistic that they could help and fulfill Kurd's right to a state. You read him wrong.). Being ignorant of such non-traditional and non-orthodox ideological foundations of Kurdish movement you quickly throw them to the old category of "nationalism".
Klas, Are we now to discuss
Are we now to discuss FARC?
Thank you :)
I do think that a study of
I do think that a study of FARC would be interesting but I suspect that would be next to impossible since we seem to not even be able to discuss Rojava and break apart the various actors, players, and multi-social organizing that is happening.
Though I do not know much about FARC, I am sure there is more to it other than (insert all the horrible things that could happen in any B movie). Not denying it but not going to rely on baseless media like hype conclusions. But again, I do not think that we need to discuss FARC.
One difference between FARC
One difference between FARC and the PYD is that villagers in 'zonas del conflicto' in Colombia have actively mobilised to oppose both the Colombian military and the guerrilla. This sort of space for multiple actors/identities would be good in the debate about the Rojava, ie we need to accept that it's not as simple as saying the PYD is the voice of the people of Rojava and entities coming out of Rojava which reject forced conscription, militarisation and the cranky Maoism of Ocalan et al would be an exciting development.
I'm not closed to the possibility of something positive evolving out of the experience of Rojava, but to do so, the PKK would have to overcome, alongside the FSA, Peshmerga, IS, Turkish state and...oh yeah, the US-led coalition.
Cariman, Exactly. I just
Exactly. I just assume, from how these threads on Kurdish movements have been conducted, that conversation and exchange and discussion would not prove all that useful. Since what interests me here is what the social organizing going on in the cantons more so than the PKK or YPG/J as forces operating within and outside. My view is that the militia's in the area attached or associated with the cantons are in a way defending what is developing within the cantons. But yes, as you, what interests me is the developments by people despite their attachment or not to armed groups. Kind of like how community groups in Mexico have stood up agianst both the mexican state and the cartels...embryo autonomy (albeit apolitical, still interesting as self-activating organizing by "regular people").
Like you said, there is more to it than just group and leaders and arms and fighting, but for whatever reason many people on this thread keep wanting to damn the activity of people by constantly referring to the negative historical and current aspects of one group (PKK). More indepth discussion is what interests me.
I am neither a troll nor a
I am neither a troll nor a fanatic. I got really suprised about your thoughts and tried to make some comments. Maybe it was a little bit rude, but i just want to try again to explain myself. (sorry my English is not much good). I just tried to say that revolution can be made by taking the streets, making war and making politics. It cannot be made with just 'rationally' thinking and if you are really practically making something for the revolution then everything can not go smooth as if it in rational thinking. Gender relationships of guerillas is just an example. Another example is making tactical collaborations with U.S.A when your acquisitions and lives of your people are under a real threat.
Lastly I can say that the Kurdish movement and Rojava Revolution are very important for those peole living in a region surrounded by modern Nazis (ISIS) and fascists states. There are Turkish members here, It makes me suprised more. You should at least see the situation in Turkey. The only opposition group capable of making the government draw back in some issues is Kurdish Movement and their power's resource is not bourgiois but their peoples' struggle.
Due to my English writing
Due to my English writing level i cannot make deep analysis here but i can say one thing more. In its publications for the members and supporters PKK still call socialism, communalism as the final aim of the organization, but in its publications or speech to the international world it uses the more light words like 'democracy' human rights' . It is the politics. But, it indeed shows the truth that the supporters and militacnts of the PKK have a socialist vision. It is why the inside organization arguments are about socialism etc.
Quote: If you've been
I am writing from Arctic in fact. I see your point but I'm still not emotionally attuned with the thread. British anarchos, tankies, trots, posadists and the rest of the usual suspects might be doing that. It sounds like something they would do.
But in the grand view of things, is what's happening in the London left schene such a big deal? Committed class struggle anarchist in Britain are what, 1000-2000 people? Meanwhile the population is about 64 million. So outside of the red and black population, common forms of working class false consciousness have to do with: xenophobia, blaming people on wellfare, daily mailism, and so fort.. -Whereas jingoistic support for the PKK is fairly small issue by comparison.
But when looking at Libcom, Devrims article is the first thing my search engine offers under libcom. The thread is fairly long and as its main motive is counteracting British leftist, this time, libcom is surely out of touch with kurds or anyone outside the libertarian schene. When kurdish posters come here, understandaby angry or baffled about emphasis that's foreign to them, the reception from some of the posters is cold, blaming them of slander or fanatism and finally completed with a racist joke about not speaking english very well. Not very internationalist. And then discussion moves on Paris commune and things in our comfort zone. I would imagine that to Kurds this conversation comes out as alienating.
Certainly, I'm having problems finding anything meaningful from this thread. Perhaps when I'll arrive to Gatwick in two days, and I meet the Anarchists giving me pro-PKK leaflets at the terminal I'll finally get what this is about
Isn't the sectarianism that
Isn't the sectarianism that the article is positioned against inherent in anarchism? The end of the first international, the makhnovshchina, Catalonia, Paris commune etc...
It's too easy to discount the importance of everything but class. Who are the "internationalists" supposed to support? just themselves it seems by the non- interventionist standpoint. What makes this sort of internationalism international at all? Don't know the answers but it seems like an interesting article (to a know nothing) flavoured with a bit of typical anarchist hot air, liberal moralism and no practical nothing. Sorry
(Don't waste your time getting angry with that last bit any of you, it's mostly true)
Quote: But when looking at
Not all the Kurds who post here support the PKK. Internationalist Kurds, that is Kurds who are opposed to the PKK as well as all sorts of nationlism do exist. Neither are all the posters here defending the PKK are Kurds. My impression is that most though perhaps not all are in fact leftist Turkish supporters of the PKK.
The discussion on whether or
The discussion on whether or not to support imperialist war has, in my opinion, been well-relegated behind a thread like "Isis News", where links can be made one after the other with no comment.
Here and there,in related discussions, there are references to how "bad" Isis is, a true and definable "lesser evil" that, critically of course, has to be fought against. Indeed to counter the international brigades of the jihadis, there are now elements of an anti-Isis international brigade appearing (a couple of ex-British soldiers going to fight for the PKK this week, with the government's apparent blessing.
Now that Isis is gaining more and more support and adherents, not only from the likes of al-Nusra and other jihadi groups, but also from many elements of the FSA as well as civilians pushed into its arms from western, mainly US, air attacks and the "resistance" of Shia militias and other forces on the ground, then confronting Isis must mean the mass bombings and slaughter of civilians - unless you buy into the lie of "surgical strikes" that only take out the "evildoers".
During the war in ex-Yugoslavia, British military placements and British government policy was directly complicit in the mass rape of Bosnian women and the mass murder of Bosnian men and boys. The role of the major democratic powers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has directly and indirectly resulted in the horrible deaths and rapes of millions and millions of innocent civilians from the very young to the very old. These are just two small examples and, while I don't want to relatavise them, the crimes of Isis are insignificant compared to the crimes of British democracy say.
Isis is not just a reflection of the growing and spreading decay of capitalism and its flight into irrational warfare, it is a product of it concretely manipulated and maneuvered by the major powers in the imperialist war of the Middle East..
I think the issue has been
I think the issue has been discussed quite a lot actually and again, I dont buy the black or white argument.
What I find interesting is the seemingly yet hesitant slow realignment of middle eastern geopolitical strategy by the US. It seems the US is beginning to get comfortable with the idea of backing more political motivated shia islam as opposed to Sunni political islam. I could see this as a result of the failure to easily implement the Bush Doctrine full out in the Middle East and by circumstance the US is now re-align itself with political Shai instead of political Sunni.
Not sure if this is the
Not sure if this is the correct thread for this but another one bites the dust, this time Film Maker and blogger Adam Curtis is bigging up 'Anarchy in Kurdistan'. The short video clips he makes available in his blogs are interesting as ever. Didn't know Kurds were paid by Turkey to fight PKK much like in India where poor villages are armed by the state to fight any Naxalites.
Here is our last contribution
Here is our last contribution about this issue: