In the St Imier thread, the issue of the PKK came up. This led to the desire to have a separate thread on the PKK. So here it is.
It seems that the imprisoned PKK leader Ocalan has been reading Bookchin and encouraging his municpal libertarian ideas. For instance, on the St Imier thread somebody posted this: http://new-compass.net/node/265 How seriously should we take this? Some info and perspectives?
Some comments copied over
Some comments copied over from the St Imier thread.
PKK's alleged libertarian turn has previously been discussed on this thread.
In 2010 robot
Quote: We can also ask about
Just on a couple of factual points, the DTP no longer exists. It was banned at the end of 2009. The current version in called BDP. I am not sure where the idea that they don't have much support comes from. In their strongholds, Diyarbakir, Van, and Hakkari, they pick up more than 50% of the vote, and over 30% in seven other provinces.
Thanks, yes out of date. The
Thanks, yes out of date. The information I had (don't know how reliable) was that the former DTP had little support amongst the majority of members of PKK, but that the upper crust of the moment had been pushing it.
This is interesting: http://ideasandaction.info/2011/03/interview-with-turkish-anarchists/
Somebody sent me a link to this, but I can't possibly listen to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBfK3ye_SBc
Translation of an interview
Translation of an interview from Kurdish anarchist journal Qijika Reş:
Kurdish autonomy and social ecology
Serge Forward wrote: Mind
But we know that nationalist organisations don't transform themselves into libertarian communist ones just like that. We may as well ask what would happen if the moon were made out of cheese.
As far as I can see the PKK is still a nationalist organisation, which is still carrying out a guerrilla war, and still engages is such anti-working class actions as kidnapping school teachers, to name just one example.
It does seem over the past few years to have changed its rhetoric a bit, particular since its overtures to the US were rejected, but I don't think that it has in anyway changed its fundamental nature. Its dropping of claims for an independent state, and its new stance on democratic confederalism, to my mind, still holds all the hallmarks of nationalistic ideology. In the 'Deceleration of Democratic Confederalism, Öcalan states that "Democratic confederalism is based on the reality of the patriotic people". Also in now way does it have anything to do with communism in that " Democratic confederalism is a system which takes into consideration the religious, ethnic and class differences in society", which actually I believe is the only mention of class in the entire document.
Finally the quoted figure of five million Kurdish anarchists is absolutely absurd. Even if you take the highest figures for the numbers of Kurds in Turkey, 25,000,000 it would mean that one in five Kurds was an anarchist. Taking the lowest figure I have seen, 12,600,000, it would mean nearly half of the Kurds are anarchists. The claim is just ridiculous.
Since I've brought certain
Since I've brought certain information, like number of 5 million Kurdish anarchists, I'd like to write here the source. My source comes from lecture by 3 Turkish anarchists, who came to Croatia (and then moved forward to Europe) to discuss issue of national liberation of Kurdish people and what they believe is "anarchist turn" in PKK. They claimed that there's 5 million anarchists in PKK. They have also been talking about this "democratic confederalism" as something anarchist/libertarian and they've talked tales about self-managing communities, communes for abused women etc. They even later organised lecture "Democratic confederalism in Kurdistan" where they've repeated that crap.
Now, Devrim pointed key issues with PKK - it's bourgeois nationalist organisation. Therefore, I find this new anarchist obsession with them quite weird (cause it's not just about few comrades from Croatia). When I've heard that they were in St-Immer I was quite shocked, even I believe that from now on I shouldn't be so surprised.
This "turn" in PKK's politics means pretty much nothing and it has more to do with the fact that Cold war is over, they don't have sponsors and their openly Marxist-Leninist politics won't get them money and guns, but only repression from Turkey and other countries. So, they are trying to be more liberal and just "plain nationalist".
Kontrrazvedka wrote: Since
Since our organization's research center has organized talk of these same people, who first came to Belgrade, I can say that what Kontrta is saying is pure fiction. They gave presentation of new developments in PKK, but they have never claimed that it is anarchist, nor did they ever give crazy numbers such as 5 million of anarchist. In fact, quite the contrary is true, they were adamant that PKK is not an anarchist organization, but, different from internet forum revolutionaries, they have understood that changing of PKKs politics is a process, which has positive sides - such as turning to ideas of confederal organizing as an opposition to authoritarian type of organizing. Also they showed convincing proofs of PKKs struggle against patriachalism.
I don't know where is Kontrra getting his information, and why is he presenting them in this way, but knowing that he is stand-alone freak isolated from any movement and organization in his own country and region, I can guess that his image on internet forums, as only place where there are still some people who could take him serious, is so important for him that he is ready to lie about his supposed source of information, blaming his ridiculous positions on some unnamed activists that can not answer his bullshit.
To come back to PKK development - I find it quite interesting, and I think it would be a big error for anarchist movement to miss this opportunity of establishing hegemony of our ideology over such a vast amount of people. We should intensifie our contacts with PKK, and try in every way to influence development of this organization - always being clear about what our positions are, and what critique of their positions we have.
Oh, Rata do you really
Oh, Rata do you really believe that I'm that stupid to fall for your emotional outburst? Also, are you capable of anything but waving with your hands, screaming and making personal attacks? You should've learned by now that you may scare your minions with that but that I don't give a fuck.
"Unnamed activist" were 3 guys which made this lecture: http://masa-hr.org/content/demokratski-konfederalizam-u-kurdistanu Other lecture carried out by Croatian anarchists on Kurdistan will probably be on youtube by the end of year, so you'd be able to watch it. And 3rd document is written by MASA member after first lecture so you can ask him to send you. In that report you'll find all "5 million anarchists in PKK" in its title.
I don't know what ridiculous positions do I have if I reject nationalist gangs which were killing working class for decades. I believe that only ridiculous position here is your idealist mysticism where you believe that anarchist movement can establish hegemony over nationalist gang, such as PPK, which doesn't even know what working class or class struggle are since they call themselves patriots and fight for national liberation.
Hearing you calling me freak is best compliment that I've got in a long time.
Kontrrazvedka wrote: "Unnamed
Just few posts above, as well as on another thread, you have said that the information on 5 million anarchist and PKK being anarchist came from 3 Turkish anarchist who gave the lecture to whose announcement you are linking here without any reason, since on that page there is nothing that claims that. Than you change the story, and it is not 3 of them anymore that have said that but some document that nobody else saw and lecture given by some Croatian anarchist. Hihihi, get a grip man.
How low can you go? I've said
How low can you go?
I've said that Turkish anarchists said that and that Croatian anarchists repeated that their lecture and in report from lecture by Turkish anarchists. Report is not public and I've advised you to contact MASA members to get it.
Still, I don't see what you're trying to prove with this, especially when you've repeated yourself bourgeois fantasies about PKK :)
rata wrote: To come back to
What opportunities? As was said above there is no evidence that the PKK has changed in any meaningful sense. They have changed their rhetoric, big deal.
As far as intensifying contacts with nationalists with anarchist trimmings goes, would you also be in favour extending this to national-anarchists or is this just special treatment for PKK. Maybe SolFed should phone Troy Southgate up! (edit - last bit was just a joke aimed at idiocy of rata's position.....so no need for SF'ers to go on rampage)
Janet Biehl interview with
Janet Biehl interview with Kurdish activist Ercan Ayboga which I suppose puts the 'democratic confederalist' case. Make what you want of it.
Just a reminder for people to
Just a reminder for people to be polite to one another and immediately cease the personal insults.
Steven, please stop the
Steven, please stop the reminders what matters is the political content of the debate. I don't think the sky will fall on your head if some people have not passed the anglo-american netiquette course 101. :-)
Here, despite the fact that I am very critical of the claims that there has been a radical transformation of the PKK, I do think that the promotion of these ideas by the great leader and others in PKK does open new opportunities see if people (rank and file) would be more receptive to other ideas. It's hard to say "our ideas" because there are so many different readers here. But what I mean by that is beyond the Bookchinist democracy shit.
If somebody was talking about 5 million anarchists or not is irrelevant; it is pretty clear that at least some people referring to the anarchist or libertarian movement are inclined to blow this PKK transformation out of proportion.
Besides the question of the PKK itself, I find several other questions interesting:
- whether or not resigning from aspirations to have a separate nation state removes the nationalist aspect from the movement
- whether we see the ideas of leaders as truly "representative"
- a crticism of libertarian municipalism and limits of democracy
- instances in the anarchist movement of strange naivite
I am personally quite interested in the last two, because of the unfortunate popularity of participatory democracy in Poland and Slovakia, which is even less than libertarian municipalism and which has brought with it tendencies of "anarchist" aspirations to take part in local government. But these ideas are also often supported by prominent municipalists, so it can be seen as part of the same package. Beyong that, the question is about the limits of placing a primacy on democracy when you live in a conservative and reactionary country. Maybe the main idea has to be social equality and getting rid of everything that makes us unequal instead.
In terms of the last one, some things I have heard recently blow my mind. I won't even get into it...
akai wrote: If somebody was
And regarding your question there's one key issue question here. What is a purpose of PKK and/or similar groups? PKK fights for national liberation not for communism. Every national liberation struggle is nationalist, since if they win Turkish bourgeoisie will louse power and Kurdish will get it. These are just basics of internationalist position. If PKK abandons national liberation struggle it will louse it's raison d'etre and lost support it has among Kurdish bourgeoisie and workers.
So, I don't see how can you inject anarchist ideas in such kind of a movement, because it's not just about "authoritarian" or "libertarian" ways to organise - it's about crushing the capitalism.
But I agree that libertarian municipalism must be criticized heavily, as much as direct democracy and OWS-ih democracy stuff, because these are just reformist policies of democratic myth.
And I agree that putting an emphasize on democracy in present state of class consciousnesses is an idealism (or suicide). Democracy can be used as a tool in fighting capitalism, but it can also be used as a tool of repression and diversion.
Kontrrazvedka wrote: So, I
agree. libertarian organisational principles mean absolutely nothing if it is not combined with a goal of the destruction of international capitalism.
(but still in my opinion, a movement to crush capitalism still needs it's leadership to be recallable by the base if it is to avoid structural decay, which can only happen through direct democracy and delegate systems)
Harrison, even though I might not pose it the same way ('direct democracy'), I think I agree in substance with you. For instance, the group (CWO) I am a member of, has a leadership/co-ordination body that consists of a member of each of our 3 local/regional groups.
However, to be honest, a group can have all the structure, procedures etc to try safeguard itself against bureaucratisation, the emergence of a bureaucratic centre. But if it doesn't develop a healthy internal life and culture that really counts for nothing because at the end of day political groups are made up of humans, irrespective of what is written on paper it is up to them to ensure a group doesn't degenerate in the way you point to. The best way to ensure negative tendencies don't take hold is a active and engaged membership.
I agree with Harrison and
I agree with Harrison and especially with Android, but I'd just like to point one more thing.
Organisation can be structured in libertarian way (i.e. based on direct democracy and federalism) and still be authoritarian, because of informal centers of power which develop around certain individuals in the group and which block groups work. Especially, when they are managing to change important/basic political positions every time they change the mood. This is only possible if group is consisted of passive members and if group is voluntarist.
So, in the end, I believe that crucial moment in building an organisation is in developing of active members capable of discussing and engaging in organisations work. This is a healthy basis for every organisation no matter what you chose: federalism or centralism. It's important that members have class consciousnesses and that they are aware of their purpose in class struggle.
When it comes to PKK, I clearly doubt that regular PKK member has any idea of its party's ideology but "fight for Kurdistan" and "kill bad Turks"... After all if they had any class consciousnesses they wouldn't kidnap Turkish teachers (i.e. working class)...
Propaganda by deed:
Propaganda by deed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19322449 :D :D
removed by writer.
removed by writer.
I don't know owt about the
I don't know owt about the PKK so whether it's just rhetoric or moves towards something real is anyone's guess but if they are genuinely making in roads towards something more progressive shouldn't that be supported and helped along? Or even just have a chat with some of the members rather than sniping from the sidelines not knowing either way.
A change in direction by the
A change in direction by the leadership might be an indication of changing political attitudes on the ground in which case it is a positive sign although a change by the PKK itself would be likely to be more about recuperation than anything, as Devrim has said they engage in anti-working class activities and in the UK they are involved heavily in anti working class criminal activity. One thing I will say is that people in Turkey seemd much more engaged with politics, not just the people I met (mostly through politics) but in general. It's also the only place I've ever seen where people will queue up to take leaflets on demos, so maybe good ideas are coming through.
i'm seriously confused by how
i'm seriously confused by how a lot of comrades seem to be orienting toward this. PKK has a several decade long record of being a clearly not anarchist, clearly anti-worker, and clearly left nationalist party. anyone who posts anything on libcom that can be remotely construed to be national liberation will get destroyed (good thing), but a left nationalist party that adds bookchin to its ideology is supposed to be something we should watch and see if its politics evolve? i wouldn't really say its sniping from the sidelines, but instead reasonable political critique. i wouldn't be surprised if PKK is potentially looking for a new international political support base now that capital M "Marxism" is in many ways morally bankrupt, possibly to try and emulate the support EZLN receive (whose official ideology is incidentally bookchin's libertarian municipalism).
I don't think anyone's
I don't think anyone's orientating to anything, it's more wait and see because you don't know their intentions for sure anymore than we do. They can't win either way though, can they? If they do make any moves it'll only be dismissed as a cynical ploy. And people wonder why anarchism is in the doldrums.
Also, yes, destroying someone's views on national liberation over the internet is totally productive and will make them renounce everything.
flaneur wrote: Also, yes,
Supporting nationalist gangsters reading Bookchin over Internet will change course of historical process of building class consciousness... Wait, what? :eek:
Yeah, what? I thought I was
Yeah, what? I thought I was more ambivalent than anything but hey, who am I to ruin someone's fun.
flaneur wrote: it's more wait
i agree with this generally with regard to groups undergoing a change in their politics, and also in the sense of not upholding an overly purer-than-thou attitude, but applied to this specific situation of a left nationalist party, i don't see whats wrong with saying the default attitude should be scepticism unless there is actual hard proof they've changed their practices.
btw that was a reference to when I posted something on a thread a while ago like "if scotland became independent then people would realise that independence won't solve their problems" and got told off, and in hindsight i was wrong.
flaneur wrote: They can't win
Nationalist organisations will obviously make lots of moves depending on the circumstances and the needs of the organisation. IIRC the IRSP published articles of Paul Mattick's in their publication a few decades ago, and the last two leaders of their North American support group were self described 'council communist' and 'libertarian marxists'. Doesn't at all alter the fact they are nationalists though.
From what I have read, my interaction with Kurdish supporters of PKK in UK and Devrim's posts on this thread, I think it is fairly safe to assume that they have not changed in any fundamental way, whereby they'd have something to contribute, positively, to working-class politics.
Well, I think it is fairly clear that rata was arguing for such an orientation:
FT: Analysts link PKK upsurge
FT: Analysts link PKK upsurge to Syrian war
around 10 years ago, it was
around 10 years ago, it was my impression that in Germany, people who i would describe at least as leftwing social democrats/reformist socialists, as Marxist-Leninists or as non-dogmatic leftistst and generally as people who honestly wanted to go beyond capitalism were drifting out of the PKK and its fronts, many of them joined other Turkish left wing groups, the KKP, the PDS, etc. ... the PKK was left with those members and sympathizers who followed every turn of Öcalan
an article in the new Weekly
an article in the new Weekly Worker on the topic: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/929/rejection-of-marxism
Hello libcom.org, I am new
Hello libcom.org, I am new and from germany.
I thought it might be interesting to revive this topic, now that the escalating battles with IS draw attention to the kurdish communtiy once more. One thing is sure, the people in Rojava ("west kurdistan") need our solidarity in this war and their plans for a future are easily the most progressive ideas around at this time. But of cause this also made poeple think again: How progressive actually is the PKK/PYD and their movement today?
Here's an english translation of the Rojava constitution: http://civiroglu.net/the-constitution-of-the-rojava-cantons/
It definitely shows the transformation whoose credibility has been discussed here. It's more or less the democratic-ecologic-feminist-non-separatist programm PKK people have been talking about the last years, so here we got it "on the ground" as somebody expressed it. It definetly has some communist elements in it as well. How well this is implemented during this time of war is of couse another thing...
But I really think all this (thinking about a variety of independent kurdish and turkish news sources confirming that this is what the people in Rojava were trying to build up) is just too much to be a good marketing strategy...
Excerpts from the Rojava
Excerpts from the Rojava Constitution;
It looks like a social democratic programme where individuals and parties are elected to hierarchical positions which then gives them power to appoint others beneath them. I don't see anything there that challenges class society or ‘the bourgeois state’ (not that there's any other kind).
Gaddafi's Green Book is more
Gaddafi's Green Book is more 'radical' and ultra-democratic than the Rojava Constitution. The Green Book has a chapter on class (while it's mentioned only once in passing in the Rojava Constitution) - and also has quotes like;
But even the most naive anarchist wouldn't (I hope) have presented that as evidence of the libertarian/anarchist/communist nature of Gaddafi's repressive Libya or as reason to take up arms in its defence.
Red Marriott: Yeah I guess
Yeah I guess both points are true that: Rojova constitution is liberal at best (although it is HUGELY democratic in many ways compared to its rivals or neighbors) and Just rhetoric of democracy does not mean there is democracy.
However there are some reports from sources that are not affiliated with YPG: http://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-proved-people-can-make-changes-zaher-baher-2
(and the source was formerly a very anti-ocalan and pkk group: see this: https://libcom.org/blog/interview-kurdistan-anarchist-forum-kaf-%E2%80%8E-01042012)
That mentions there is direct democracy and and communailistic mechanisms of government in content (I am not currently sure about the economic dimension though)
I do not know why exactly these are not included in the constitution. I suspect that it is to do with not to be bad with Iraqi Kurdistan. (I commented on it another forum.)
I think the comparison with
I think the comparison with Qaddafi is an excellent point.
jura: If the situation in
If the situation in Rojova is comparable to Qaddafi (and you know it for sure I guess?), so why do you think KAF wrote so many lies? on http://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-proved-people-can-make-changes-zaher-baher-2
I mean I really wish to know because if he just made up all these stuff I am in a really bad position.
Note: By the way where is zaher anyway? why as he could provide us with real content why he does not do so? I mean does anyone know his whereabouts?
jura wrote: I think the
I wasn't aware that a circled capital A was a magic talisman that preventing its bearers from being wrong ever.
Reddebrek: Quote: I wasn't
I never said anything like that. However I wish to know why people previously had a very anti-PKK, Ocalan and PYD stance, revised their position? (see this if you don't know: https://libcom.org/blog/interview-kurdistan-anarchist-forum-kaf-%E2%80%8E-01042012) And this happens after they actually visit the place in question? ( I do not know if you read it but this piece is actually about a trip to the region in question with real interviews: http://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-proved-people-can-make-changes-zaher-baher-2)
I actually think to contrary I do not believe everyone should believe "anarchists". however I think people should have informed and up-to-date knowledge of events. And this requires at least a critical understanding of reports that are originated from first hand sources and people should be able to give reasons if they deny the validity of these reports. (Not just categorical comparison or assertion of one's ideological position) so that we can have a rational basis to discuss and possibly influence each other.
kurremkarmerruk wrote: I
Are you sure that's the article you meant to link to? It doesn't seem to show the "revised position" you claim. What the KAF actually say about PKK/Ocalan is;
Edit; OK, I see you mean the KAF opinion in 1st article is revised in the 2nd article. But 2nd article seems to be based on views of one visitor whereas 1st article seems to be expressing collective KAF position. So I wonder if some in KAF still hold the views expressed in 1st article.
Yeah totally. i closed my
Yeah totally. i closed my computer. I will check for my post for writing errors tomorrow. But your edit is the correct interpretation of what i tried to mean.
Yeah I really wonder where is Zaher? Does anybody know where he is? As he seems to be the only one among them who actually went to the region and experience it.
some people are seeing Dilar
some people are seeing Dilar Dirik's talk and affiliations with YJA Star as presenting a more internationalist (through global solidarity with women fighting the patriarchal nation-state) as a more anti-statist potentiality..what do folks think?
also syndicalistcat noticed that the rojava social contract created seemingly by the DSA doesn't mention the local communes / committees discussed in the KAF article reposted here at at Anarkismo that seemed to have been a part of the Tev-Dem (Movement for Democratic Society)
these seem if anything to be a hope of the masses and women in opposition to the more partyist forces...especially if they are the ones being claimed to have representation across ethnicities...
is there a power struggle between the masses and their representation?
this is what i and some are left to wonder...
klas batalo: Yeah I also
Yeah I also noticed that (if I mention something I realized from another topic: As I did not stop, after I see it says it defends right to property, but actually read the whole damn thing)
Moreover I made a speculation of why it is so: http://libcom.org/forums/news/isis-17062014?page=7
I wish Zaher or anyone with the first hand account of the situation could inform us
I'm not going to look to a
I'm not going to look to a constitution to tell me much one way or another about what's going on in Rojava. It tells you what the PYD (Democratic Union Party) in Rojava decided about how they think things SHOULD be, and how the government functions, not what's actually happening in communities or as a result of grassroots / popular innitiative.
What's more revealing than a constitution is on the ground reporting about what people are actually doing. So I would take Zaher's report seriously, which isn't about trusting it blindly because you believe anarchists can tell no lies, but why should we be more suspicious of Zaher's eye-witness report than any other eye-witness report of world events?
There's also this book based on reports of people who visited Kurdistan in Turkey: "Democratic Autonomy in North Kurdistan: The Council Movement, Gender Liberation, and Ecology" http://www.akpress.org/democratic-autonomy-in-north-kurdistan.html
I've yet to read it, so I can't say one way or another what my opinion is of what's going on, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
(Note: This post has been edited, as I at first didn't realize this book is about Northern Kurdistan and not Western Kurdistan)
boomerang Quote: So I would
You mean me? No you should not believe no one blindly and Zaher's report could also be wrong definitely and I most certainly believe being an anarchist or communist does not guarantee you are truthful.
I am just saying that however as a Turkish person who knows "Kurdish movement" you should at least give a chance to analyse the current change in their ideology (to a Bookchinian form) and their brave fight to realize it in a social context that is never tried before. It is not propaganda, It is just saying is a sort of "hey comrade, why don't you look at it from inside with closer eye, what you see might surprise you" and that's all.
That's being said, you should buy the book I guess and in another forum thread, Marx-Trek mentioned his/her intentions to read the book this weekend and open a new thread where we can discuss the developments in Kurdish movement in comparison with Spanish Revolution, Zapatistas etc...
I wholeheartedly invite everyone to it.
Burgers so? your point being?
so? your point being?
I think Kurremkarruk et al
I think Kurremkarruk et al need to stop posting extensive quotes of PKK/PYD leaders on their honourable intentions, cos people like Burger, Mikhail can equally reply with shitty or reactionary things they've also said. It's doubly pointless if you believe that the PKK/PYD are being strategic in their temporary alliances with the US-led coalition, the FSA, al'Assad, etc, since a large part of such strategic alliances is surely telling people what they wanna hear, and the notion that the US, the UK, etc, can be 'duped' while only us anarchists are so smart for them to address is honestly is dubious.
I think that events in Kobane are interesting and notable, but there are a number of doubts in my head about it, and I'm perturbed by the utter lack of calm reflection by many supporters, preferring instead emotionally-charged guilt trips on why everyone should drop everything now and do everything possible to support them.
Some of my doubts include:
-the relationship with the West: as JK says above, there's no way the US would allow a genuine expropriation of property on their watch among their allies. Even if the PYD think they're being really smart in dancing with the devil and that they can get out on their own terms, it seems highly unlikely, whatever that puff piece JK links to may claim.
-the Rojava Constitution itself, while markedly different to most political documents in the region, is hardly remarkable on a global level. Umpteen countries across Latin America have adopted 'progressive' Constitutions over the last 15 years, mostly effecting only marginal improvements in the quality of life while the general rhythm of exploitation continues. In case of countries like Venezuela and Ecuador, it actively obscures the reality of daily life, since people point to the bizarre farce of things like comunas (in the case of Venezuela) and 'plurinationality' (Ecuador) to distract from the increasing extraction of resources to service the personal wealths of the national and international elites. I think it's probably fair for people to demand a bit more than a 'nice' Constitution. Things like freedom of expression/dissent - while theoretically enshrined in the Constitution - are easily dismissed under the rhetoric of 'imperialism' or 'protecting public order' in these countries, which are increasingly repressive. It's worth remembering that Rojava has a police force and military conscription and I think it's odd to demand that people totally disregard the legacy of the PKK, which is noxious and pretty misanthropic.
-the relationship of the 'international activist', or external spectator, 'sending solidarity' or cheerleading, the PKK is a rather embarrassing expression of the weakness of, for example, the UK anarchist malaise, both in terms of its internal debate and its understanding of praxis. I think it is tasteless to adopt weekly cause celébres, a la Graeber, since you're basically encouraging more desperate and less secure people than you to martyr themselves. And the way people respond to seeing female soldiers is frankly bizarre: y'know most OECD countries - and many others - have women in their military right? I mean, should we salute the excellent gender politics of the IDF for deploying women in their operations?
Having said that, it's probably fair to say - despite the bizarrely cold and frankly thoroughly unempathetic contributions of the ICC to the contrary - that Rojava is stronger and better off with the sort of political developments being discussed here. They do potentially represent an opening, the first step along the long road to something better, something freer. It'd be interesting to see how much power and control the 'reformed' Marxist-Leninists are willing to cede. Someone above said that there's no point talking about 'free' councils until there are delegates elected to them who actively oppose the PKK. That was the acid test which exposed the myth behind chavista 'direct democracy', after all.
boomerang wrote: I'm not
No, they tell us what the publicly stated aims of the organisation that controls Kurdish areas in Syria. The PYD is the only organisation that exists in those areas as it and the PKK are prone to political fratricide. There are many examples of tiny self important groups holding conventions and publishing draft constitutions with no real effect. The PYD is not one of them, they control the towns villages and roads.
The only way to explain this so called dual existence would be if the PYD were riven with factions pushing the constitution and with some supporting this new shift, or for the organisation to lose control of the Kurdish population entirely freeing up room for independent Kurdish initiatives. I have yet to see evidence of either.
Quite simply because there are hundreds if not thousands of cases of "critical lefties" visiting despotic regimes only to come home singing their praises. Jim Callaghan the moderate Labour PM once declared that Czechoslovakia proved that Socialism worked, and JP Sartre the prophet of existentialism's trip to Cuba turned him into a cheer leader for the Soviet Union. That's because they never saw real life in those regimes because those in control of the those territories had a vested interest in presenting themselves in the best possible light. In Europe this is called a Potemkin job. If we were to take the accounts of individuals and small groups like this at face value then we can only conclude that North Korea is a paradise and that Cuba is safe guarding the revolution.
For clarity I should say I am open to the idea that the PKK can change, because I've seen organisations change quite a bit (though usually for the worse). I would suggest not murdering opponents just cos would be a good start. But we know it has yet to change since its official Syrian wing is pushing the Rojava Constitution and its trying to entice the support of nations that would never dare back expropriation of property.
A good travel review isn't prove of much, the real proof will be whether this new experiment allows open opposition to the PYD/PKK to exist and develop because without that then this is nothing more then another front group used to benefit the organisation. AKA a Potemkin job.
(I don't have time to read
(I don't have time to read the various replies that have piled up, will get to them later, but I want to address this misunderstanding)
No, no! :) I don't mean you, I was actually trying to defend your position that we should take Zaher's report seriously. I wrote that in response to Reddebrek (and anyone likeminded), who was writing in response to you:
Basically I was trying to say, 'Hey, we're not blindly trusting Zaher because he or she is anarchist, we just don't generally react to eye-witness reports by assuming they must be liars.'
I thought what I wrote made that clear... I'm not sure why it was misunderstood. Maybe because you weren't expecting anyone to agree with you? Anyways, I'm sorry for the misunderstanding!
Camian del Barro I did not
Camian del Barro
I did not like you acting like some sort of higher authority (eventhough you can not even read turkish, so can not check who is saying the truth)
I also do not see what is emotional about for example: emphasizing a previously anti-pkk group (member) changing his view after a trip made him pretty ok with (pyd and ocalan) with very healthy reservations on issues like education etc...
I also never quoted any PYD leader in this particular forum. And till now if i did it was to show those that can not read Turkish the real words of the people or organisations to reveal any prejudices.
Also what you put as a acid test is just the utopia of liberal individual. Although it is really sympathic I do not know any social formation that can produce them at massive scale. I do not think Kurds will solve this problem (at least in short term)
However except these I am fine. I am actually pretty glad finally people start to look the Kurdish struggle beyond their deterministic theories and start to appreciate its fight. That was all I can hope to achieve really, I think kurds will do the rest much better than me. I am glad I have participated in this discussion
Boomerang Oh sorry i
Oh sorry i misunderstood you there
To Reddebrek and Caiman del
To Reddebrek and Caiman del Barrio:
I also agree with the cautious "wait and see" approach of whether dissent to the PYD and PKK will be tolerated within the assemblies and movement in Rojava, as being a crucial test.
Inspired by this debate, I got in touch with DAF (Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet), an anarchist organization in Turkey, to ask them their opinion on all this. They were kind enough to take the time to write me a reply, from one of their comrades who speaks English.
They make the point that the movement in Rojava is similar to the Zapatistas, which I think is a good comparison, because the Zapatistas also are not anarchist (or anti-capitalist) but they are influenced by anarchism and use decision making processes within the tradition of anarchism. Generally, anarchists are in solidarity with Zaptistas, simultaneously celebrate the many positive things in their movement while also being critical of deficiencies (their not being anti-capitalist), and I think this same approach is appropriate in Rojava.
I'm going to copy/paste the email in a new post, but not using the quote blocks, because that makes it harder on the eyes to read.
QUOTING AN EMAIL FROM D.A.F.
QUOTING AN EMAIL FROM D.A.F. (Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet - TURKISH ANARCHIST GROUP)
We can divide your questions in three part;
-effect of Bookchin to theory of Kurdish Movement
-the situation in Rojava
-the position of PKK
Firstly, it is true that Ocalan (the popular leader of the Kurdish Movement) theorise "Democratic Confederalism" referencing Bookchin, Kropotkin and Bakunin. He also declared that he had passed over Marx. This declaration is something like a break point of movement which had a leninist tradition. (But please pay attention that I am using as Kurdish Movement insistently.
Party had also put away the hammer and sickle signs from their flags. So this attitude of party shows something about the changing. Of course,this does not simply show that they have changed their ideas to anarchism.
Democratic Confederalism is a new theory by Ocalan. As I mentioned they reference some anarchists, but Ocalan did not say that it is an anarchist theory. But many similarity with social anarchism.
Ok we have to accept that Bookchin even do not consider his theory as part of anarchism,he thought that it is a new theory (I think this point is another discussion between anarchists). So we can say like, it has relation or similarity with anarchism, like the way of understanding democracy, patriarchy and centralism where Ocalan's theory mostly focuses on.
Especially in 2000s PKK become more social, now it is really hard to say that the decisions are determined by the party headquarter. That is why I am using as Kurdish Movement. Kurdish Movement reference party, HDP which is in Turkish parlament,Ocalan and Kurdish People.
We can easily say that we are witness in decentrification of movement. Direct Democracy is mostly used in arguments of party and also used in the practice that is trying to be built.
I,personally, think that Kurdish Movement and Zapatist Movement have many similarities. Comrade, how can we describe Zapatista Movement? They are also not anarchist, but we are giving importance to this popular movement too.
Now there is a war in Rojava where Kurdish people are trying to maturize a revolution. There could be many defficiency. But it is our responsibility as revolutionary anarchist to solidaire with Rojava Revolution, because revolution has no borders and the real main opposition with turkish state is Kurdish Movement and there could be chance for expand this fire of revolution in west part of anatolia.
As DAF, we can not be far away from this social movement. This is also our understanding of anarchism: be in solidarity with oppressed ones.
I hope this information may help you to understand the situation. Do not hesiatate to ask me detailed question.
Does anybody know if Bookchin
Does anybody know if Bookchin has been translated into Kurdish language(s), and if the PKK have funded that? Would seem a pretty good indication, on the face of it, as to whether they want their rank-and-file reading him or whether it's just for Western consumption.
The DAF also sent me this
The DAF also sent me this excerpt from their interview with with Alternative Libertaire (French Anarchist Newspaper):
In the land that we live in, this struggle was named the Kurdish problem. Kurdish people's fight for freedom was shown as a problem caused by people rather than state. It should insistently be called Kurdish people's struggle for freedom instead of Kurdish problem or Kurdish issue.
If the state in these lands is Republic of Turkey, it shouldn't be very hard to guess anarchists' point of view on this political, economic and social oppressor, the state. Kurdish people have been fighting a struggle of existence against the destruction and denial politics of Republic of Turkey for years, and against other political powers in these lands for hundreds of years. This fight is given against the state and capitalism with the organized power of people. In the slogan "PKK is people, people are here", it's clear who this political agent is, which became distinct in each and every individual and who this organized power is. Ever since we solidified our perception into struggle, in different contexts, our relationship with Kurdish individuals and society and the organization of Kurdish people, have been mutual solidarity.
In addition to this solidarity relationship, we take conscientious objection very seriously and refuse to take part in the army of state, not to become a part of state's strategies in lands of Kurdistan. We publicize the rejection of state's long history of destruction and denial politics with conscientious objection. We try to take part, both individually and organization wide, in the conscientious objection organizations that have this goal.
Of course, we don't just stand in a position of solidarity. In people's struggle for freedom, anarchist movements have always been catalyzers. In an age where Socialism couldn't get out of Europe, when there were no theories called "Right of Nations Choosing Their Own Destiny", anarchist movement took different forms in different regions of world as people's fight for freedom. To understand this, it's enough see the influence of anarchism on people's struggles in a wide range from Indonesia to Mexico.
Nation as a political term obviously has the state by definition. Therefore while considering the struggle of peoples for stateless self-organizations, one needs to keep a distance to the concept "nation". World history of the oppressed is full of people's struggles for freedom. People have been giving this fight before the political structure called the modern state took shape. It would be wrong to consider today's struggle for freedom independent of these fights in the past.
Also, neither the revolution in Rojava, nor the struggle of Zapatistas in Chiapas fit into description of classical national freedom struggles. The common experience in both struggles is realizing the freedom of the peoples.
Fight for freedom in Kurdistan was able to materialize under war conditions. Social movements materialize in such times. Along with the paradigm shift, we can now talk about the influence of anarchism on the Kurdish Struggle for Freedom and its socializing process in this geography, considering its discourse of reconstructing life without state, its trend towards ecological co-existence, and the relationship of "Democratic Confederalism" with direct democracy. We can even talk about the possibility of an internalized anarchism with these experiences that rely on self-organization without state.
I will have breakfast with
I will have breakfast with some kurdish guys sunday i can ask them. However there is one problem although Kurdish is their mother language all the kurds in turkey for example speak turkish due to assimilationist policies. And kurdish is hardly their reading language. For example most of the books of ocalan is in turkish and everyone reads them in turkish.
And bookchin is translated to turkish a new book of him appear frequently. There is also this for example in thoratical journals of kurdish movement there is one article from ocalan and mostly at least one article from bookchin. However younger generations mostly read bookxhins ideas from ocalan i guess
Joseph Kay wrote: Does
Majority of Kurds in Turkey can speak and read in Turkish. But the whole Bookchinist turn is a joke really. It has two very practical purposes; one for Ocalan the second for PKK;
For Ocalan; after he was captured, PKK started preparations for a revenge attack against the state as a reaction to his imprisonment; it was getting ready for a full frontal attack against and inside Turkey. This was in 1999. The rage against Ocalan's capture was so strong that today people in the PKK still claims that it was going to be the strongest attack against Turkey they organized so far. Then, suddenly a message reached out of Ocalan's cell; it did not only call a halt for the attack, but also called PKK to withdraw from Turkey to Northern Iraq! This practically meant giving up the guerrilla war. How could Ocalan legitimize that?
Well, in his prison cell Ocalan started reading and searching in order to formulate a reasonable excuse for his call for withdrawal. His "discovery" of Bookchin gave him an excuse to REJECT PKKs own former political goal (a sovereign Kurdistan) in favor of a "non-state" strategy. Basically, this "new" democratic con-federalism was a way to accept sovereignty of Turkey without explicitly saying so; it rejected "statist" solutions for the Kurdish national question arguing that statist solutions were modernist, sexist, anti-environmental and bla bla.... However, there was no SINGLE word about the already existing Republic of Turkey!! In fact, in a letter that was published in 2011 he defined his position on "democ. confederalism" and its relation to Turkey as;
The superior analytic opportunity given by democratic theory is that it does not see it necessary and mandatory to break away from the state boundaries or to have a tendency to form a counter nation-state. The big bonus of democratic theories is their proposition of a flexible solution that is not state, that does not target to be a state and it does not reject nor deny the state.
I think the really interesting question is why PKK leadership (a Stalinist organization with a military discipline and basically no internal freedom of discussion) accepted that...
To contextualize Bookchin and
To contextualize Bookchin and PKK connection, it is really vital to understand the political atmosphere in Turkey in 1990s.
In Turkey, left enjoyed in 1980s (if not an organizational) at least an intellectual hegemony. Even today, if you go to the basest regular-commercial bookshop you will see huge marxist/anarchist/left sections/collections. I know that in the US for instance that is completely unlikely, but in Turkey, usually the reading public mainly consists of leftists (in a very broad sense).
While during 1990s left in Turkey, especially leftist individuals, went through a great ordeal at the hand of the state (partially due to escalation of the war between PKK and Turkey), this intellectual hegemony remained unchallenged. However, left was ideologically (after the fall of USSR) and organizationally (after 1980 military coup and following waves of oppression) defeated. And this led to a whole series of debates among the leftist intellectuals, triggering a wave of translations. Oppression forced turkish left out of its traditional sectarianism and inertia and they turned into post-structuralist, post-Althusarianists currents in 1990s (Foucault, Deleuze, etc) which were already in currency in Western Europe since 70s. You see; turkish left ignored those till 90s. Bookchin was one of those answers to the late-coming crisis of the Turkish left.
And Ocalan himself originally came out of "Turkish left". In fact the first organizational nucleus of PKK was set up in Ankara. Also in majority of his videos showing him in PKK military camps in Iraq you see him speaking in Turkish.
So, Ocalan's discovery of Bookchin was not merely out of his personal intellectual curiosity. On an intellectual level, it was also a particular reflection of the wider ideological/morale crisis climate that dominated Turkish/Kurdish left throughout 1990s. In the suffocating days of 90s, various theories rejecting class struggle became escape routes out of leninist organizations/ideological ghettos; in their disillusionment, leftists came to reject everything that somehow resonated with former M-L ideologies, including class struggle, marx and even (what the anarchists those times called) "19th century anarchism" meaning class-struggle anarchism.
With few notable exceptions, almost all Turkish anarchist groups developed in this poisonous environment. That is why you rarely see a kurdish or turkish anarchist talk about class struggle or soviet power etc. Because for them, this is mostly "archaic" rhetoric that belong to the defeated left of 1990s. Sadly, (for at least some people) anarchism, bookchinists, post-structuralism, etc. all have been ways to escape from and challenge the traditional leftist conception of marxist-leninism.
I generally agree with the
I generally agree with the criticism of and scepticism about the PKK and Ocalan. It is not a revolutionary organisation because it is not against capitalism and the state. It is hierarchical and is trying to gain support from anarchists/revolutionaries because of its federalism (its variation of electoralism).
We should remember that the apartheid racist regime set up by the boer boss class in South Africa was also constructed by "federalist" populist politicians and they were sympathized with by some 'anarchists' for their "federalism".
Between about 2007 and late 2010, In my discussions with some anarchists in Turkey I was told that the milieu there described itself as anarchist but in fact it was politically attracted to populist/liberal slogans without a strategy or interest in the terrain of class struggle.
Solidarity with Workers.
Against all of the Bosses
Mikhail wrote: Well, in his
Funny – I was wondering about this possibility today, that Ocolan’s anti-statist turn could be very convenient for someone who has decided their enemy can’t be militarily defeated. But is there any hard evidence for its being opportunism – apart from that, for cynics, it seems to fit?
On glowing reports from visitors; I really can’t judge the sincerity, credibility or truthfulness of Zaher’s account. But there are precedents that urge great caution; the Fabian Webbs and others went to USSR and brought back glowing accounts of a “new civilization”/near-workers paradise (“Stalin is not a dictator” and “the USSR is the most inclusive and equalized democracy in the world”; https://archive.org/details/truthaboutsoviet012203mbp) – based on a mix of what they were allowed to see and what they wanted to believe. Similarly, the Western pro-maoists – including those who visited - still praised the Nepali Maoist party as leaders of The World Revolution, even as the party leadership blatantly disarmed and ripped off the veteran guerrilla rank’n’file and got rich on their nepotism and parliamentary careers. (See; http://libcom.org/news/predictable-rise-red-bourgeoisie-end-mythical-nepalese-maoist-revolution-24022012)
There are also plenty of statements from ex-participants of various armed movements expressing later bitter disillusionment about their experiences of the groups they joined. So a little historical perspective and reflection on the implications of involvement might sometimes save a lot of wasted blood and commitment.
People have been quick to make dubious comparisons with Spain 1936; but it may turn out that a slightly less absurd historical comparison could be with the Russian ‘anarcho-Bolsheviks’, anarchists who convinced themselves that the Bolsheviks had become libertarian and were in the process of creating an anti-authoritarian stateless society. No doubt many of them were later ‘disappeared’.
But what is actually possible in territory where social relations are completely militarised – which by definition means becoming controlled absolutely by competing bourgeois forces? Most revolutionary movements emerging from such situations have been those of mutineers. And – for those who insist on the comparison - that includes the rebels of the Barcelona May Days of 1937, rebelling against the bourgeois/Stalinist powers in ‘their own camp’. It’s a dubious comparison but if one wants to cite Spain 36 then cite the lessons of compromise and deals with bourgeois nationalism, Stalinism, states and statism that led to the massacre of any revolutionary potential – and the massacre of those who thought such compromise was pragmatic and could support the libertarian cause. It seems PKK themselves have a long history of deals with various other bourgeois forces, deals which anyone allying with them or accepting their leadership will be likely pawns of.
Of course we all want to see a radical breakthrough emerge. But any look at the history of guerrilla leftism and its political expression shows one long history of false dawns for the naïve – movements bloodily pursuing, not the abolition of state power and class society, but the securing of state power for a leadership. And, whatever else is said elsewhere about ‘anti-statism’, the official statement of the Rojava Constitution is only a ‘democratic’ template for the structuring of a bourgeois state.
But some people only want to know what they want to know. Western leftists, including some anarchists, have a history of a fetish for heroic icons to uncritically support and idealise from afar. So there is always something to be wary of when assessing portrayals of distant conflicts; the regular romanticisation of heroic militants which leftists love to do and are encouraged in by the propaganda put out by guerrilla groups. I’m not sure how much it’s going on in this case so far but it does often feed into debates – eg, a moralistic ‘how can you from a safe distance be so critical of heroic fighters engaged in a life n death struggle for a better world?’ etc. The most ridiculous recent example may be the slavish revleft & Kasama devotees of Nepali Maoism mentioned earlier but such ‘anti-fascist’/‘anti-imperialist’ arguments are always used to justify various leftist rackets, to gloss over any contradictions/inconvenient facts and thoughtlessly dismiss all criticism. Orwell’s treatment when exposing the counter-revolutionary role of Stalinism – for which he was denounced by the whole left intelligentsia for slandering ‘The Republican Struggle’ – showed it was true of Spain and it's still often true today. And I see something of this in those who dismiss criticism of the most radical interpretation of these events or dismiss questioning of the integrity of claims that a veteran hierarchical nationalist group has so radically changed its practice and libertarianised itself.
Mikail is actually correct
Mikail is actually correct here. Left after eperiencing total defeat of 80s coup d etat really give way to other forns of struggle to feminism to LGBTTQ etc. The organization of kurds seperate from left is also this time. However as you can see pkk managed to become a huge power. Especially in 90s where whole left was in crisis kurdish left was expecting to establish kurdistan. It was this mood that was prevalent. Pkk was strong. However noone beat the otherside in civil war and ocalan was captured. After that he proposed to give up state and organise a kurdistan based on confederalism and that should have parts in 4 states
Mikail: I suppose in
Mikail: I suppose in principle, it's possible both that Ocalan's change of politics is cynical and self interested, and that this change (if it means not murdering rivals, say), has created space for more grassroots social movements. I think Red's caution here is wise, and like Khawaga I find wholesale defence of the PKK far more suspect than the more limited claim of social movements emerging in a (prior to the Syrian confict) demilitarisation of the Kurdish struggle.
If anyone has sources on the pre-war economy/class structure of Rojava and how/if it has changed, I've started a thread here.
Joseph Kay wrote: Mikail: I
I couldn't clearly understand what you meant by "grassroots social movements".
Ocalan's change is important to the degree that it leads PKK to change its politics. Clearly, the question is then not the outer image the organization paints for itself, but what it actually does. This is what I am trying to point out.
Does anyone know who wrote
Does anyone know who wrote the Rojava Constitution? I assumed it was just the PYD by itself, but was it a broader range of organizations? Was it just leaders or was there a much more inclusive process? Or was it written by delegates from the assemblies and councils?
I haven't read it, but to those who have, is there really no mention of the assemblies and direct democracy in it?! If not, that's very confusing!
What's actually happening in practice matters much more than the constitution. But the fact that this isn't in there makes me wonder. If democratic confederalism is being promoted by the PYD, and if it's become so popular among Kurdish people in Rojava, then why leave it out?
On another note...
I agree with what Red Marriott says that there is a problem with some anarchists and other anti-capitalists who will dismiss all criticisms about Rojava or other movements in far away places. (To be clear, though, I don't think Kurremkarmerruk is guilty of that.)
In addition to that, I think there's also a problem with some people who dismiss all positive progress and positive practices. The direct democratic structures in Rojava are positive progress, why not be glad about that? There's also positive progress in their feminism. I'm also impressed that efforts are made (or so it's been reported) to reach out to and include people of all ethnicities as equal participants in the assemblies, etc.
Respecting the positive doesn't mean we need to stop being critical or throw out a healthy level of skepticism.
I am on phone now but it was
I am on phone now but it was written not just by pyd. There were also kurdish national council which is syrian party of barzani. I wrote in another comment mentions this in connection to my speculation on why the direct democracy stuff is left out of constitution.
kurremkarmerruk wrote: I am
So just two organizations - PYD and Kurdish National Council... why only these two groups? I'd say this is a failing on their part for not being much more inclusive.
I know the PYD has widespread popular support in Rojava. Does the Kurdish National Council, as well? Why was this particular group included, but not others?
I realize you might not know the answer to all this, just putting the questions out there in case.
What's the number for that comment (so I can go back and read it)?
Yeah ok my phone (i dont know
Yeah ok my phone (i dont know why) does not show that.
yeah i do not know the answer to your questions. However i think pkk-pyd and barzani are the most dominant forces. I dont know about others.
i also read that (i dont know where) but pyd was actually not that endorsed by the local syrian kurdish population from the start i think they become so popular as they fight and defend Kobane and its people. How this evolved and where this process of establishment of Pyd as the dominant force is actually very new. For example pkk in turkey is old their relations to population is not just superficial it is very rooted. Anyway i think this question of where the process will lead and the other one how this constitution is written are really interesting.
Do you know the difference
Do you know the difference between the YPJ and YJA Star? (Google couldn't tell me)
First of all there's no
First of all there's no direct demoracy in Rojava, it's called as direct demoracy by the ones who support and ask for the support, but that's beyond reality, even it's called different by themselves.
There's a kind of representative democracy which named as: Democratic Confederalism. As it's noted in the Rojava Constitution by the creators of it not by some outsiders or any writer which is important because they, themselves, don't call that practices as a direct democracy example:
All Cantons in the Autonomous Regions are founded upon the principle of local self-government. Cantons may freely elect their representatives and representative bodies, and may pursue their rights insofar as it does not contravene the articles of the Charter."
DAF in generall another group who likes to be a part of the instutional power structure, they have no kind of critics even though they said that famous but most times empty rhetoric: "We're supporting the oppressed ones, we're on the same side". What the fuck about the "mandatory military service?" in Rojava? In that sense their practical support to so called social movement is supporting the ones who have instutional power structure in the name of "being against the power" and "in the special circumstances", is just another propaganda to spread their own ideological motivations, influences and practices. Of course they're are not evil as none can be., they may be doing some good thing with refugees for example.
But need to consider everything with its goods and bads. DAF, now supports an organisation who doesn't call itself a state but practically a state with its police, military forces and prison structures.
And once again, we're going to have another kind of disaster in an another ongoing disaster. The one which has the similarities with Palestine but that time it is much more faster in terms of its statization period.
So, as in general, need to go beyond labels to see what really is going on. Beyond the label of anarchist, beyond the level of autonomy. DAF is pretty good example what may happen if there's very limited or not at all critical analyses and perspective about what's going on.
So, Bonanno said about the palestinian state in Palestine Mon Amour:
" A Palestinian State could not fail to move in the direction of all States: that of military reinforcement, armed intervention, and the transformation of future diplomatic agreements into instruments of threat and retaliation. "
So, as already before the the early signs of the coalition agains "evil enemy" Rojava started that process of practical statization.
And, with its unique differences, it seems there'll be somehow same experiences too, that will be lived as it's already started in the discussion like that happened in the Palestine:
" In the same way that it took us years to convince ourselves that the Israelis were torturers even though they had just come through the extermination camps, now goodness knows how long it will take to see that the Palestinians, comrades once upon a time, can become torturers today. "
So, as in general, need to go
So, as in general, need to go beyond labels to see what really is going on. Beyond the label of anarchist, beyond the level of autonomy. DAF is pretty good example what may happen if there's very limited or not at all critical analyses and perspective about what's going on.
There was a very clear example of this at the large meeting organised by Syrian Kurdish anarchists at the London Anarchist Bookfair yesterday. Among the majority of the audience, there was a very strong sense of this lack of critical analysis that tw is referring to; no attempt to look at the global context of what's happening, above all to consider the nature of the war in Syria/Iraq. Instead there was an immediate plunge into 'let's do something now' coupled with a naive belief that something really revolutionary is happening in the midst of all the barbarism. However one speaker from the audience (i don't know who) asked a very cogent question, which the speaker manifestly didn't understand, and not just for language reasons: where is the class war in Kurdistan? is there a bourgeoisie and a proletariat? Is there communism in Kurdistan?
Quote: Do you know the
They are just different front organizations of the PKK, w/o any serious differences between them.
Someone told me that YPJ was
Someone told me that YPJ was founded by the PYD and that YJA Star is with the PKK. Is that true?
Alf, thanks for sharing
Alf, thanks for sharing experiences.
That's interestingly in generally bad, i mean lack of critical analyses, but good part of is the feeling of doing something.
I don't want to be seen as a follower of Bonanno, i don't want that nor he wants. But sometimes it's not easy to find right words to describe an the texts written before about similiar or very rarely very close situation helps.
"Fascism is a seven-letter word beginning with F. Human beings like playing with words which, by partly concealing reality, absolve them from personal reflection or having to make decisions. The symbol acts in our place, supplying us with a flag and an alibi.
And when we put ‘anti-’ in front of the symbol it is not simply a question of being against what absolutely disgusts us. We feel safe that we are on the other side and have done our duty. Having recourse to that ‘anti-’ gives us a clear conscience, enclosing us in a well-guarded and much frequented field.
Forget the word and the concept, but not what is concealed under it. We must keep this in mind in order to prepare ourselves to act. Hunting fascists might be a pleasant sport today but it could represent an unconscious desire to avoid a deeper analysis of reality, to avoid getting behind that dense scheme of power which is getting more and more complicated and difficult to decipher.
I'm not saying the people in Rojava is enemy, that would be mad to say. i just say there needs to be critical support in general. And also saying that, by the decisions of the management of that zones, (anyone who is familiar with the represantation system and even in the direct democracy form that representation can be a big problem) we and the primarily, more closely -physically- people who are decided to be used force to make them in the army or got punished with the military law that will be prepared or already prepared there. Yet we don't know the details about what's going on, what're the punishments, but i'm sure this law is not passed as an contribution to the history of literature.
IT IS A LAW TO FORCE PEOPLE IN THE ARMY, IN THE ARMY THAT CAN ONLY BE YPG.
YOU CAN NOT EVEN FIGHT INDEPEDENTLY IF YOU LIKE TO FIGHT. THERE'S NO INITIATIVE. YOU NEED TO BE UNDER THE MANAGEMENT OF YPG COMMANDERS.
For me anyone who is ok with that law is a kind of socialist and nothing to do with anarchist perspectives nor the practices.
Here it's, image what the practices may be because we can only imagine, since it's very hard get information about that. I, personally found some websites about the people who likes to escape from Rojava, but i'm not sure if it's an anti-propaganda. But also think that scepticism of mine is problematic too, unluckily there're bad things happening in the "good side" too...
The news site is close to the "Kurdish Movement". Can be seen also as a part of that movement...
Rojava to defend itself with this law
KOBANÊ (DİHA) - The Democratic Autonomous Administrations Founder Assembly held a meeting in Rojava and legislated an important law regarding the service of defense.
According to ANHA, the Democratic Autonomous Administrations Defense Law, which will be applied in all three cantons of Rojava, has been published in the official gazette. Defense Law includes 9 articles. According to the law, civilians aged between 18 and 30 must enlist in the military for six months. The law also states that the soldier can choose to either serve the six months with no interruptions or in break the time up into different phases. The duties and responsibilties of those residing in Democratic Autonomous Administrations are as follows:
First Article: The participation of residents of Democratic Autonomous Administrations into YPG fronts is defined as "Defense Service".
Second Article: The duty of defense is a/an social and ethical duty. Each association and family must charge someone for defense service.
Third Article: According to the law, each citizen aged between 18 and 30 has to enlist in the defense service. The participation of young women is voluntary.
Fourth Article: The duration of defense service is 6 months. When the duty of defense ends, attendant can optional leave or can join in the units of defense. It's necessary to complete the duty of defense within one year. Students must finish their defense service over a period of two years.
Fifth Article: The situation of quitrent from defense service; Those, who are in the ranks of YPG/YPJ (People's Protection Units/Women's Protection Units), asayish (security) and Kurdistan Freedom Movement, are exempt from the defense service. Families' only members, youths with heavy illnesses and disableds are exempt from the defense service.
Sixth Article: Financial contribution is given to the families of those who put the bread on the table in the family along their defense service.
Seventh Article: Those, who refuse to give the defense service and to join in defense of country, will be face disciplinary measures. Those who acts unlawfully during their duty will be on trial which will be based on the military law.
Eighth Article: Those, who want to give defense service, join in YPG units.
Ninth Article: This law is valid when it is published in the Offical Gazette.
Quote: Someone told me that
You're right about the YPJ-PYD and YJA Star-PKK distinction but there're also strong connection with PYD and PKK.
For the note: Both armed organisations are hierarchical organisations.
In addition to tw_s post
In addition to tw_s post above - and to clarify;
PKK has three main sub-groups;
PYD in Syria or West Kurdistan
PKK in Turkey and North Iraq or North/South Kurdistan
PJAK in Iran or East Kurdistan
All these have their own front groups (women, youth, etc) which operate under strict centralized control of PKK center in Kandil mountain base in South Kurdistan/North Iraq.
Are there *any* worker
Are there *any* worker controlled organisations which are independent of the state and political parties?
AES wrote: Are there *any*
The short answer to this is no. Kurdish nationalist movement has a strong influence in KESK (a left wing union organized among the state employees in Turkey) and it clashes with the Turkish left sects for the control of it though. Needless to say, this conflict has nothing to do with class-struggle and workers' interests, and KESK is a horrible union overall. It is basically an umbrella organization that various leftist sects (leninsts mostly) fight over the control over the workers.
I suspected that was the
I suspected that was the situation. Based on earlier discussion, no doubt the PKK represents the greatest obstruction to the formation of worker controlled organisations (which are independent of the state and political parties).
tw_ wrote: IT IS A LAW TO
This law is a problem, thanks for telling us. One thing in it confuses me:
What's 'Kurdistan Freedom Movement' and why would people in it be exempt from defence service?
Hi Alf, I was also at that
I was also at that meeting (yesterday) and I recall the hasty and rather awkward exchange between the speaker and the questioner somewhat differently.
A small clarification first, the questions and the answers were not about "Kurdistan" as Alf say but about the specific region of jazera where the speaker had visited. The speaker was very clear throughout that he was reporting on what he saw, in the place where he went, at the time when he went.
The audience member first asked is "is there class war" in jazera. The speaker seemed somewhat confused, I think this was a language/hearing issue as he initially responded by repeating that jazera was in peace when he was there as opposed to what Kobani is facing, i.e. he misunderstood the question as being about military war (which the previous few questions had been about).
The questioner reframed the question as "is there a bourgeoisie", I don't remember him being asked if there was a proletariat. His immediate answer was that there is no bourgeoisie in jazera . Personally I am suspicious of the answer but he had previously spoken about how an Assad policy had been to block the construction of any factories in jazera and that the main production is of wheat and some oil. Given the speaker has already answered elsewhere on this website that agriculture there is mostly small farms/peasants and oil is somewhat socialised, this may partly explain the answer. It’s not entirely implausible that there is no bourgeoisie in jazera (I have been to remote rural areas where there is no bourgeois class IN RESIDENCE), but I remain pretty sceptical.
The final question referred to by Alf was as I remember "would you describe it [jazera] as communism'. He gave an emphatic no and said he understood communism as being something from the soviet union. This could have been a total misunderstanding on his behalf of the questioners political background, but I suspect from the way he said it with a mischievous smile that he knew perfectly well what the questioner meant but was making a point of his own.
The talk itself was pretty much exactly the same as the visit report by the same person already up on libcom.
Quote: AES wrote: Are there
I think this exchange is a bit misleading. KESK is a turkish national union. It is controlled by different alliences (mostly based on time, and place) main three groups are: socialist left, Turkish nationalists (with or without somewhat leftist stance) and Kurdish movement. And when two of these groups make a coalition they rule the KESK, now in the main centre I guess there is the coalition of socialists and Kurds.
Anyway however KESK has nothing to do with Rojova. Did you asked about it AES?
Quote: I suspected that was
This is just what you want it to be :D anyway you mean it for Turkey or Rojova?
Quote: tw_ wrote: IT IS A LAW
Yeah I thik it is a huge problem I only wish it to be temporary. However the global pressure to eliminate it should continue (though it should not obscure the peopl's fight for survival and their autonomy also)
Also as a note before the rape apologist accusations start again: It was I, who first brought it up, I also confirmed it in libcom. In news comments: anarchist fight alongside PYD or something. (I wrote this not for self promotion (which would be comical to make on this points) but so show if people actually read my comments instead of just accusing me of stuff they will see I am not uncritical in terms of my solidarity with Rojova.
satawal and alf: What event
satawal and alf:
What event was that? Was the speaker realted to KurdistanAanarchist forum, was it Zaher Baher? Was it that bad as you described? It seems the speaker made a very bad job in explaining what is going on there in Rojova. Because according to your description everyone in the event (even its organizers maybe) wished Rojova to just die, after his/her speech.
I wish someone asked the question again. I really wonder what would his reply would be if he/she understood the question
But here it seems he must have understand the first question. He seems to kind of deny existence of any significant class relation (and one especially based on economy like a capitalist country)
I mean of course I understand you are being skeptical but you give better explanation then I could give why there might not be classes in Rojova and why that anarchist guy/girl who traveled there thinks so (here again I emphasize class structure like a capitalist society.
This is again I think not a misunderstanding on the part of speaker, but it might be on your part. Here you should know Ocalan, Ocalan criticizes soviet example and says that democratic modernity will provide and alternative to capitalism and communism. So here I do not think speaker did not misunderstand what you said. He might rather tried to channel the discussion to his point. Which was that communism and capitalism are not just ideals but implemented, exercised (to some extend) regimes and they have an historical baggage associated with them. And all were proven not good for humans (very basically). Democratic autonomy will be more than these two. In this sense the economic dimension of Democratic autonomy will not be communism and capitalism in this sense. (however it will be communalistic, so it will be emphatic to Communism) I really wish to know however in practice what this eclectic model amounts to.
(Note: So I assume my opinion from my knowledge of Kurdish movement, and on your behalf maybe the Kurdish person might fail to explain them really good. However it just seems to be unrealistic to me that a political Kurdish person has no understanding on class war, bourgeoisie or communism, so I think you might have problems with communicating your ideas to each other in english)
Of course you might not agree with his analysis. However this does not make his ideas invalid just like that.
Please bring more of that discussion to here, I would really love to hear it.
At London anarchist bookfair 18/10/14.
Personally I found the talk inspiring whilst admirably open about the potential power conflicts within jazera. I suspect he (understandably) has somewhat rose tinted glasses on but am open to his observations being correct. He got a very large round of applause at the end of his talk from most of the 200? present (including me) so the audience definitely did not wish "Rojova to just die". Following the meeting there was an impromptu solidarity organising meeting that allot of people attended, I couldn’t attend so can’t comment on it.
To be clear the second question re bourgeoisie was a rewording by the questioner (not me) of the first question. The speaker answered it as I said in my earlier quote. He did not elaborate further as unfortunately the meeting was running out of time.
I said in my previous post: "The final question referred to by Alf was as I remember "would you describe it [jazera] as communism. He gave an emphatic no and said he understood communism as being something from the soviet union."
As I said in my previous post: "I suspect from the way he said it with a mischievous smile that he knew perfectly well what the questioner meant but was making a point of his own [by saying communism was what happend in soviet union]" He didn't elaborate so it's impossible to know what he meant any further but my guess is that he identifies as an anarchist but not an anarchist-communist (which is fine with me). He is speaking at The Cowley Club in Brighton tonight so I will try and get a clarification from him if we have time to chat.
These three questions and their answers took maybe less than a minute of a 1 hour meeting. In my view the first question was simply misheard by the speaker, the following two questions were fully understood and answered, though very briefly and obviously not to the satisfaction of the questioner.
Ok, I guess at first I
Ok, I guess at first I misunderstand you. sorry for that.
Why don't you ask them to make a video of it and upload it and we can watch? Ask him to write his presentation? (By the way he is not Zaher right? https://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-proved-people-can-make-changes-zaher-baher-2 if so he already wrote them down)
Why don't you invite him to libcom?
You should definitely get his contact or something? :D
Also if you have time maybe you can ask them some questions: (if he knows the answers of course)
Does he know why the constitution of Rojova does not mention direct democracy, how does direct democracy? Why is that?
What does he know about mandatory military service? Is it here to stay for ever? Will there be a right to civil service etc...
Are there any capitalist corporations (you know not just a shop but a chain of something, private factory, etc?)
Are there landless peasants? How is agriculture is made? what are the plans?
Where we can good news and updates on Rojova (and not just military ones)?
satawal, thanks for your
satawal, thanks for your response. You may be right on the details- there were a lot of problems hearing what people were saying. But I think the person who posed the question about class struggle was fundamentally correct in his implied criticism of the KAF's advocacy of a populist, non-class approach. The existence of the bourgeoisie is not just dependent on whether there are factories. The bourgeoisie also exists at the political level and in Syrian Kurdistan this takes the form of the Kurdish nationalist organisations, which includes the PKK. The speaker seemed very unclear about whether these 'popular' organisations that have been set up are independent from the PKK or in fact front organisations for them.
Along with the class war, another great absence was the imperialist war: I can't recall any attempt by the speaker to locate the situation in Kobane in the context of a chaotic inter-imperialist conflict involving the US. Britain, France, Russia, Iran, Saudi, Qatar, and all sorts of local gangs. At the moment, as others have shown, the PKK is operating as the ground force for the US-led coalition. When a supporter of the Free Syrian Army (I think) raised the question of getting weapons to the fighters, the speaker said "I am against war", but it was impossible to know what that meant in this context. To support the PKK in any way means to defend one side in this war, however critically.
This is why I didn't find the meeting inspiring but more of a warning about the danger of rushing in to 'practically express solidarity' when it's not at all clear who you are in solidarity with.
On imperialism point see
On imperialism point see these, please by the way:
This news says US transferred guns of Iraq Kurdistan to near Kobane (it is of today) (some turkish media says it is to YPG but it is wrong)
This says Turkey let peshmerga to cross its land to reach Rojova. This might make Barzani stronger n the region. This is potentially not so good. If the effect of Barzani increases in Rojova, we will see an orientation toward parts of imperialist plans.
My suspicion is kind of confirmed. US does not say they give arms to YPG. They say they transferred the guns from air to near Kobane (arms of Iraq Kurdistan). Also the second news I share says Turkey now let Peshmerga to pass from its lands to reach Kobane. as you know Turkey was not letting people to pass to Kobane legally and arrest members of PKK-YPG.
Therefore although YPG might benefit from the guns. These guns are guns of Iraq Kurdistan trasferred there by US and possibly will be used by/with Peshmerga.
I know people will label again YPG for this. However the real problem is this. If Peshmenrga becomes active in region and affect Rojova. Will it still continue to be a democratic autonomy experiment? (Without the power of YPG and PYD to politically support it to be so)
This news says: Turkey is training Peshmerga.
The collaboration between Barzani and Turkey is really bad and it might give PYD hard time to hold their non-totally-cooperative position with the imperial powers and their political ideals. As Peshmerga can become powerful with support from Turkey in the region and alter what YPG wants to implement (and also they are very open to western cooperation like Turkey).
Hi Alf, Quote: The speaker
I got the feeling from what he said and what he has written that he thinks to a certain degree they are and to a certain degree they are not and the extent to which they are differs between places and may be different now than it was when he visited. I wouldn't be surprised if the situation on the ground had this kind of messiness when he visited.
Your right, but then he largely didn't talk about the specific situation in Kobane, rather his focus was on the two years of relative peace within jazera that in his view opened up space for a social revolution influenced by a mix of self-activity and Ocalan influenced ideology.
The meeting was just his talk and some rushed few questions and answers. The latter was not inspiring at all, and I do worry that some will subsequently jump to aid the PKK with the same lack of criticism that many anarchists have with palestinian groups. Regarding the claim that the PKK may be/have shifted in a libertarian direction, I’m keeping an open mind, but hopefully not so open that my brain falls out. Whilst the Q & A was pretty dismal I did find his talk inspiring in the description of the positive (at least partly grassroots) social changes (economic, gender, health, ecological) he said he witnessed. Like you I am deeply cynical about the organisational structures he described, though not mainly because of the PKK link. I would also be suspicious if such large, interconnected, federal structures were set up by anarchists ala some peoples dreams of post anarcho-syndicalist revolution or Bookchins libertarian municipalism. As I said earlier the speaker did spend allot of time talking about the strictly social rather than the political and that was what I found inspiring. He was quite clear that this may be only a temporary moment.
Playing catch-up on this
Playing catch-up on this particular thread, so apologies for jumping back to an earlier post.
There's also many counter-examples of political leaderships of armed struggle groups realising the situation is militarily hopeless and opting for a "peace process" within the current state borders, without feeling a need to reinvent themselves as "anti-statists".
In Ireland, Adams and Mcguinness were able to stand down the IRA and make the transition to being the local representatives of nationalist bourgeois politics without having to re-invent themselves as libertarians or anarcho-crusties (although Adams does a rather humorous Twitter line in tree-hugging hippiedom).
Admittedly Irish republicanism was never the most ideological of movements in the first place, but there are myriad other examples around the world of M-L and other armed struggle groups throwing in the towel without feeling any need to associate themselves with obscure US anarchists. And lets face it, there's not much patronage to be had from cosying up to an anarchist movement that is extremely marginal at best, and practically non-existent in the Middle East. The explanation for the specific selection of political elements that Ocalan picked needs to be sought elsewhere.
Ocelot where should we look
Ocelot where should we look for the explanation by Ocalan for his selection of a turn to an anarchist democratic federalism other than the isolation and disorientation of a Turkish prison cell and the realisation that an independent Kurdish state without compromise with the existing global and regional powers was an impossibility?
Reading some of the more than sympathetic texts on the 'compass' site it still seems to me that whilst Ocalan's change of direction is genuine enough that it doesn't necessarily involve in the practice of the PKK any significant shift from Ocalan's earlier emphasis on the objective of a democratic Turkish republic with a longer term goal of some cross border Kurdish alliance?
Beyond that we should anyway contest the strategy laid out by the modern day libertarian communalists of a counter power based on a reconstructed citizenry and a gradual territorial expansion of liberated space rather than an international working class struggle against global capitalism (whatever the potential insights and strengths to be gained from the ''buried memory of organic society'' recognised by both anarchists and marxist communists).
Spikymike wrote: Ocelot where
You misunderstand me. By specific selection, I mean the entire assemblage, including not just the "democratic autonomy" bits, but also the feminist and ecological aspects that mikhail dismisses as "bla bla...". (I can understand why someone with such blinkered economistic politics would dismiss these elements as irrelevant window dressing, but I would have expected something better from yourself.)
My point is that, to take the feminist aspect, this involves the council movement activists in a fair amount of work (in a number of the council areas, this is reported as the bulk of the social movement work, in the Tatort report) in dealing with issues around forced marriage, domestic violence, honour killings, family feuds, etc. This activity is not only dirty and dangerous, it comes with a potentially high cost to the organisation in terms of risk of alienating socially conservative families, earning emnity from powerful clans, etc, etc. If a political decision has been made to engage in such high cost activities, it must be because there is a potential benefit to be gained - and I don't think a bunch of Facebook "likes" or re-Tweets from Western anarchos or feminists really cuts the mustard.
To really answer these questions would require access to proper sociological data which for various reasons (not least the hostility of the Turkish state) are just not available to us, afaics.
However we can see that Daesh, which has also had some success in enlisting Kurdish recruits, are also, in their own, radically different way, addressing the management of civil society in a far more interventionist way than the default bourgeois approach of defending private property, freeing market forces and letting civil society look after itself if best it can. The ability of both Daesh and the KCK to recruit willing volunteers from within the Kurdish community suggests that they are a symptom that the default laissez faire approach to social reproduction is not working. i.e. that both are responses to social breakdown within Kurdish society. Similarly to how Swiss confederalism and Bavarian national socialism were different responses to social and political fracturing in their time.
That's my speculation from very limited information. But I certainly don't think the selection of the different pillars of "democratic confederalism" are either random or done for the purposes of gaining hippie-cred.
for k yes the talk was by
for k yes the talk was by zaher
here is the audio you may have found it and posted it elsewhere
Interesting vid, The
The resistance has successfully implemented new models of grassroots democracy, gender equality, and sustainable ecology, its members practicing a political project they refer to as Democratic Confederalism. Women and men stand side-by-side in its armed forces in the face of both ISIS and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Despite the resistance’s efforts, Rojava is currently threatened by a massacre, and the international community continues to stand by silently as tragedy unfolds.
This text is probably
This text is probably relevant to this extended discussion though it looks more at the fundamental relationship between modern global capitalism and developments in the Middle East: