Anarchists join fight against IS to defend Kurdish autonomous areas

Anarchists join fight against IS to defend Kurdish autonomous areas

Taken from a report by the French Anarchist weekly paper Alternative Revolutionaire this short article gives a taste of developements on the ground in the fight against Islamic State.

On Friday 26th September Alternative Libetaire reported that "Istanbul anarchists along other leftists and feminists, have managed to cross over into Syria and the northern town of Kobane which is currently threatened by ISIS.”

“For several days at the Syrian-Turkish border, the city of Kobanê is besieged by forces of the Islamic State (Daesh). Kobanê is a strategic turning point. If the city falls, the whole of Syrian Kurdistan is threatened, and with it a political and social model, that of "democratic autonomy" and "democratic confederalism" built since July 2012.

More than 100,000 inhabitants and residents have become refugees on Turkish territory.
The city is defended by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), militias linked to the PKK, and in which alongside the majority of Kurdish fighters, are also Arabs, Turks, Muslims, Yazidis, Christians or atheists, united against the fanatics of Daesh/ISIS.

Thousands of young people, socialists, trade unionists, revolutionaries, feminists, libertarians have poured in from all over Turkey to Kobanê. They go there to support the refugees and defend the city.
The Turkish army tries to disperse them, yet is accused of being much more permissive with the jihadists who are also trying to cross the border to join Daesh/ISIS

Despite the blockades of the Turkish army, hundreds of activists and militants have managed to cross the border. Among them, the comrades of the Revolutionary Anarchist Action Group, who made the trip to Istanbul to join the defence of Kobanê.

Posted By

Glimmer
Oct 3 2014 21:42

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kuti
Oct 7 2014 05:22

i'm an anarchist from southern part of asia, and ready to fight weth PYD, YPJ ...if i can reach Rojava....if there's a call from international brigade, count me in..

solidarity...

kuti
Oct 7 2014 07:21

From DAF - Last situation; ISIS is so near in Kobanê. The clashes got increased with ISIS. Now everywhere is Turkey and Kurdistan people are going to the streets... I am sending you the link from anarşi haber (anarchist news) for pictures; https://www.facebook.com/anarsihaber?fref=ts

Wellclose Square
Oct 7 2014 08:54

I'm seeing reports that there are elderly civilians in Kobane too infirm to leave. I doubt the ISIS fukrs will show them any mercy. Common humanity.

Gepetto
Oct 7 2014 13:06
kuti wrote:
i'm an anarchist from southern part of asia, and ready to fight weth PYD, YPJ ...if i can reach Rojava....if there's a call from international brigade, count me in..

solidarity...

Ask on Revleft, they talk about forming new International Brigades every time there's an internal conflict in the world.

(But seriously, please reconsider what you wrote. Do you really think it's a good idea?)

Gepetto
Oct 7 2014 13:01
Marx-Trek wrote:
Though I have a hard time understanding the need for such a hard political/theoretical line to be drawn in this case about leftists fighting ISIS and I find it harder to argue such a hard line when discussing the IRA (its various formations), EZLN, and the PFLP. I do understand that these groups are not purely anarchistic but I still fail to see the importance of such a purist political line.

God why IRA

Why

akai
Oct 7 2014 17:55

Thanks Mikail for your comments.

And I really hope that people will also pay attention to the plight of the refugees.

akai
Oct 7 2014 19:27

About "international brigades", I think Kuti, you'd better research stuff more. Look at this nonsense in Ukraine, with "anti-fascists" fighting alongside fascists. I get the feeling that maybe some people are just looking for a fight.... but not knowing all the facts, or thinking it through. I was guilty of it myself at one point and just happy I didn't get myself killed.

kurekmurek
Oct 7 2014 19:47

I had discussed this issue in another mail list already: But this news at best appears to be partially true.
The event described is this (use google translate please) :
http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/istanbuldan_sinira_giden_grup_kobaniye...
http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/yuzlerce_kisi_sinir_tellerini_yikip_ko...
(This one even mentions people wished to go back from the border to Turkey after an hour )
http://m.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/kobaniye_gecenler_geri_alindi-1215116
(This news says the group is accepted back in Turkey later that night)

It is very doubtful that DAF joined the fight (as an organization alongside with PYD) Their website does not mention it (though it might be due to legal stuff). The event described in the news (passing the border from Turkey to autonomous region) just proves they involved in an action to protest against Turkey’s policy of not supporting Syrian Kurds by blocking the border gates to regions controlled by Kurds in Syria. (Turkey is also known to support Islamic State secretly)

The protest mentioned in the article is visible. It is mostly about making a political point and symbolically showing support. Turkish left also participates in such acts. There are journalistic reports of “real” crossing of border to fight. However the point is they happen much more discreetly. As it appears that there are ways to do it known by Kurds in the area (and possibly used by Kurdish Guerillas as well.) See this one:
http://m.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/bes_dakikada_isidle_savasa-1214724
(its title says: Going to fight ISIS in 5 minutes)

So I think anarchists are only involved in fight symbolically at this point, especially in level of organization. This news is mostly a propaganda article I guess and does not represent any meaningful real participation of Turkish anarchists in actual fight.
(Sorry for long post)

Marx-Trek
Oct 7 2014 20:05

From what I can surmise from the Ireland Workers Solidarity Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/WorkersSolidarityMovement ), DAF is involved in border "actions" or organizing and as well as fighting in Kobane. There is also a post about anarcha-feminists/radical feminists joing up with YPG in fighint ISIS. The Ireland WS page reported this morning that Kobane has yet fallen to ISIS. Ireland's site has links. And the Middle Eastern Feminist has updates as wel: https://www.facebook.com/themiddleeasternfeminist

Whats the problem with discussing similarities or an attempt to get some perspective on what is going on in Kurdistan and drawing conclusions from comparisons with the IRA. I think the IRA and other groups that have left leaning or left leaning national liberation tendencies are relevant in the context of understanding, or attempting to understand, another region and political landscape in the world ( I am attempting to get context and perspective). Though the criticism of the IRA, whether valid or relevant, that is another discussion for itself.

Marx-Trek
Oct 7 2014 20:10

Report about Airstrikes against ISIS in Kobane: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/10/coalition-air-strikes-t...

kurekmurek
Oct 7 2014 20:32

I also wish to comment on the discussion going on:
1) Except in a very abstract (for example: power) analysis level, ISIS and YPG can never be seen as same things for anarchists (or libertarian communists). Failing to differentiate these two, shows lack of political insight in the actual fight going on. Let’s not forget ideology cannot replace the political analysis and action itself.
2) I am familiar with the example of authoritarianism of (some militants of) PKK given by mikail firtinaci and it is a true and sad event. Unfortunately this kind of political bullying is not unfamiliar to Turkish or Kurdish leftist groups (including the anarchists) (for example: we even have an event of a pacifist conscientious objector getting stabbed with a knife by an anarchist organization, true story ) However I hope international communists could get beyond that individual event and develop a much more nuanced relation to Kurdish movement.
3) I think Marx-Trek’s point on making a comparison is important. Everyone should think them at least in relation to other struggles of oppressed populations that are going on in the world right now.
4) As far as I know Kobane is not still taken by ISIS. However ISIS entered Kobane and there is street fighting in the peripheries of the city.

kurekmurek
Oct 7 2014 21:00

Marx-Trek, yeah I checked the posts. The anarcha-feminist group is part of DAF so it is kind of same thing. However I maintain my point all these actions are rather symbolic acts of showing support (as a lot of the leftists do now in different parts of Turkey) I think the way this news is made does not represent the reality of the situation and anarchist involvement in it truthfully.
However it does not mean I ignore or condemn the involvement of DAF.

kuti
Oct 8 2014 03:18

Well, we don't have to go to Rojava, finally ISIS come to you grin...still in pacifist mode grin

Islamists´ holy war arrives in Germany: New clashes with Ezidis

http://ezidipress.com/en/islamists-holy-war-arrives-in-germany-new-clash...

Marx-Trek
Oct 8 2014 04:33

kurremkarmerruk, thanks for the update and info on the anarcha-fems and DAF being the pretty much the same group, or saying that the feminists are joining with DAF and other leftist activists at the boarder to protest/riot/and offer care to people fleeing or dealing with ISIS on the door steps of Kobane.

Of course I agree with your agreement, that we have to look deeper into the actual material conditions and what is happening within the larger Kurdish struggle and the various political orgs and actions happening or flowing therefrom. I am still very interested in seeing this type of resistance against islamic religious fanatics because it actually opens up material options and clarifies to the world that there is more going on beside West vs. Islam. I still maintain that people deciding to join and fight with YPG and other groups is understandable and that the political critique of such an act is not all that interesting. The same goes for solidarity actions from DAF and other leftists in the region (or the world for that matter).

It will be interesting to see what type of reaction will come from self-proclaimed European ISIS making themselves visible. I wonder what type or reaction will come from the autonomous-left.

Shorty
Oct 8 2014 06:56

Anti-fascists in Berlin are buying weapons for the YPG. eek

http://arab.blogsport.de/2014/10/03/spendenkampagne-waffen-fuer-die-ypgy...

Serge Forward
Oct 8 2014 07:40

Where's the emoticon for 'sigh... for fuck's sake'?

solidariedade
Oct 8 2014 07:51

Sectarian violence continues to spread in germany. Last night in Hamburg there were reports of extremely violent clashes between kurds and salafists.

http://www.zeit.de/news/2014-10/08/demonstrationen-kurden-und-salafisten-pruegeln-sich-in-hamburg-08070804

kurekmurek
Oct 8 2014 07:59

Yeah about weapons issue: YPG states that Turkey (or any other country) should give them heavy weapons if they want to help and nothing else basically. They say we are fighting with ISIS, however we lack the weapons like armored vehicles, long range weapons etc… The problem is that although we fight with courage we are limited in what we can do with the current weapons we have. We cant reply back so we can’t destroy their big weapons. So basically, nobody helped on this issue, situation got worse day by day. Salih Muslim said: “our resistance is currently poetic and romantic but it is ineffective, we need guns”. (I can find the quote in Turkish if anybody wants)

So basically the situation in Kobane comes down to this: As you know Kobane is isolated and not connected to other Kurdish cantons and it is surrounded by ISIS every way, except the Turkish border. Turkey placed its army (mostly heavy weapons, armored vehicles, long range weapons) alongside the border, but does not interfere. Turkey says we only allow humanitarian aid to pass the border. That might be happening I am not sure. Bu the thing is it is not what is needed at all. Because without bigger guns Kobane will eventually lose and propably more than 15 000 people currently occupying the place will face very bad conditions. Not because of lack of human power, because of lack of efficient weapons. I assume they have (possibly old) automatic weapons etc… as they are easy to acquire and Kurdish Guerillas etc already have them. There were also pictures of their home-made armored vehicles (like modern day Tachankas  ). But nothing really professional.

The campaign to arm Kurdish forces might be a way to support and solve this problem but again it could not solve the problem I guess, as it would be pretty hard to buy such big weapons needed I guess. So still a help from an “capitalist” country for Kobane seems to be needed for strategic reasons. I do not think nobody can blame them on this. As we are leaving in a 21th Century the war machinery already pretty much replaced the romantic picture of a war and I do not think people who fight a war certainly realize it, maybe much more than we do.

kurekmurek
Oct 8 2014 08:06

By the way on the bright side, YPG made a statement saying that last night's bombing of ISIS targets by anti-ISIS coalition was exceptionally good. It stopped the advance of ISIS completely for now. (Here is Turkish link: http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/ypg_hava_operasyonlari_ise_yaradi_isidin...)

kuti
Oct 8 2014 10:57

very happy to read this, than the dead text smile

These Remarkable Women Are Fighting ISIS. It's Time You Know Who They Are

http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/inspirational-women/these-are-the-women-battling-isis?click=main_sr

Caiman del Barrio
Oct 8 2014 11:41

I find it absolutely amazing that the logic of 'anti-imperialism' leads to people supporting/cheerleading US-led air strikes.

kurekmurek
Oct 8 2014 12:20
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
I find it absolutely amazing that the logic of 'anti-imperialism' leads to people supporting/cheerleading US-led air strikes.

Sorry but what logic of "anti-imperialism" are you talking about? Imperialism of US? Turkey? ISIS? what do you mean by that? How do you know that: that particular logic is dominant force for support for Kurds? (I think you might be getting the people's motivation to support Kurdish Autonomy quite wrongly, but please explain so we can discuss it?)

Who is cheerleading US led air-strikes? Is reporting them cheerleading? Is reporting a fact (that it blocked ISIS at least temporarily mean) in a positive way (it really stopped ISIS for now) means the reporter is completely ignorant of the motivations of advanced capitalist countries all together?

By he way I wonder what people think of CNT's desperate need of guns during the Spanish civil war? As far as I know there were international movement to arm "republicans" against Fascists taking power in Spain. People held actions to encourage their "capitalist" nonetheless non-fascist governments to give arms to Republicans fighting in the front line. I guess it did not realized its goals but if it could maybe it could help in the war. Would it be then considered as a "cooperating with capitalist countries"? Maybe we would hate Spanish anarchism if it would take these arms and use them against fascists and maybe ensuring their survival and establishing another form of modern society? If that would be case maybe we could blame them like "I find it absolutely amazing that the logic of 'anti-capitalism' leads to people supporting/cheerleading capitalist countries arming them against fascism".

Anyway the point is of course anti-ISIS coalition does not care about Kurdish Autonomy (they even admit it today by saying that our priority is securing the petrol sites [so hindering ISIS's economic power] ) Unfortunately, restating obvious theoretical truths does not help understanding politics and current struggle that has (at least) the possibility to end the bloodbath going on in the region (including the neighboring countries) in much more libertarian and social way then any of the big powers wish to do.

kurekmurek
Oct 8 2014 12:43

It is not as hot as the link grin but you can also watch to learn more about Kurdish Women's movement: http://vimeo.com/107639261 (the video is very basic actually, it represents well [I think] a regular [women] member of Kurdish struggle, so it can be informative if you do not have much first hand account of their "logic" grin )

Caiman del Barrio
Oct 8 2014 13:37
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
I find it absolutely amazing that the logic of 'anti-imperialism' leads to people supporting/cheerleading US-led air strikes.

Sorry but what logic of "anti-imperialism" are you talking about? Imperialism of US? Turkey?

Quite! I'm indicating my lack of faith in 'anti-imperialist' narratives, which generally pinpoints US imperialism and that of its allies (eg Turkey).

Quote:
How do you know that: that particular logic is dominant force for support for Kurds? (I think you might be getting the people's motivation to support Kurdish Autonomy quite wrongly, but please explain so we can discuss it?)

Who is cheerleading US led air-strikes? Is reporting them cheerleading?

I'm referring to UK anarchists and, apparently, various Turkish and German ones too. There are even folk on Libcom indicating their 'support' (which effectively means cheerleading in real terms) for YPG, and by extension, Kurdistan.

Quote:
By he way I wonder what people think of CNT's desperate need of guns during the Spanish civil war? As far as I know there were international movement to arm "republicans" against Fascists taking power in Spain. People held actions to encourage their "capitalist" nonetheless non-fascist governments to give arms to Republicans fighting in the front line. I guess it did not realized its goals but if it could maybe it could help in the war. Would it be then considered as a "cooperating with capitalist countries"? Maybe we would hate Spanish anarchism if it would take these arms and use them against fascists and maybe ensuring their survival and establishing another form of modern society? If that would be case maybe we could blame them like "I find it absolutely amazing that the logic of 'anti-capitalism' leads to people supporting/cheerleading capitalist countries arming them against fascism".

Yes, well, people have and do still say that. I'm not sure what is to be gained from decontextualising something like the Spanish Civil War though: it happened nearly 80 years ago and was incredibly formative in terms of the development of anarchist praxis (although perhaps not sufficiently, considering current events). It was different for cenetistas and other revolutionaries then, they didn't have the lessons and history that we have now, and that can partially explain why they made so many catastrophic mistakes. The logic of supporting a capitalist country as a bulwark against fascism is self-evidently flawed: any regime can swing towards the far right when it suits them, fascism is a far greater phenomenon that official 'fascist' parties. You can find fascistic traits in most contemporary Western 'democracies' if you look hard enough, so to employ them as anti-fascist allies is patently ridiculous.

AES
Oct 8 2014 13:41

Excellent post Caiman

kurekmurek
Oct 8 2014 14:03

Ok, I wont quote but just number my responses:

1) I mean if you say people support due to Anti-imperialist reasons yeah you are right it is very weak argument (not totally bad though, on this issue I do not wish to be judgemental much) But the point is as i tried to indicate my last sentence: Kurdish Autonomy Movement means something bigger and better than anything currently in existence in the region. That issue nobody should miss. Their anti-patriarchalism, their pricnicples of direct democracy and confederalism is a huge thing. Especially if you compare it to Assad Dictatorship, ISIS fundamentalism or arabic nationalisit free syria army. It is a project far beyond democracies of late capitalist countries. So even if there could be slight chance that might work it could might have an effect on libertarian left in that region. That's really important.

2) I know nobody believes in this but YPG only uses the name Kurdistan to mean a place now they even do not use it as the name of their region (ıts called Rojava) (please check the video I linked above) However I guess I will not be able to persuade anyone on how Kurds offer a project that is very multicultural and open in nature. so I will just skip this and hope that time will settle it for me grin

3) I really do not understand your comment on Spanish anarchism. On the one hand you say it was formative on the other you say it was not. You mean what mistakes? You know what better than them now? I really do not get your position. Anyway you are making the mistake of replacing an actual political question (how to win a war and achieve revolution when the all the odds are against you) with a ideological one (it is bad to side with capitalist state, as they can switch from fascism to democracy at will, and hey all democracies are flawed so to hell with them all...) I think this is totally wrong approach. I really want to learn what history teach you to win an actual civil war? Do you know it better than them now? Do you think you could do it better than them? I think such knowledge can not be had, it is shaped in the actual political process.

mikail firtinaci
Oct 8 2014 15:19

-Necessary edit-:

A few notes on the argument that PKK is secular and, hence it must be defended. I don't agree that is enough reason to defend it, but even if we for once assume that it was, then those questions remains to be explained:

1- PKK, with the call of Ocalan convened a "Congress of Islam" last year. Ocalan claimed back then that "we had to imitate Mohammed" etc. playing to the islamist sentiments of the government and the reactionary forces in the region.

2- PKK's legal wing, HDP invited islamist reactionaries to the party. Altan Tan a Kurdish nationalist islamist is a member of HDP parliamentary group now. So basically, HDP claims that it unites all "Kurdish forces" islamist or secular...

3- PKK collaborated with FSA which includes islamist groups, supported by the very reactionary Turkish government that you rightly criticize.

This list goes on forever... It is completely wrong to assume that PKK is a "secular" force. PKK is essentially an opportunistic bourgeois nationalist force. If it benefits PKK, tomorrow its leaders can as easily claim that "Islam is progressive," and so on... Today PKK poses as "secular" simply because it wants to play into the rising anti-Islam, racist sentiments in the west.

In fact, it is quite dishonest to give half broken weapons to a bunch of young girls aged 16 or 17 and to send them to the front to die at the hand of ISIS brutes, just to send some PR messages to the West... In Middle East, as elsewhere, it is the international working class who can really stop islamist sectarianism and not the unprincipled, machivellian nationalism of PKK.

kurekmurek
Oct 8 2014 15:04

I am in a demo for kobane just now so i will reply later. But devrim you just jump from subject. Please show me where i said i support it because it is secular? I never based my argument on that.

mikail firtinaci
Oct 8 2014 15:22

Opps sorry Kurremkarmekuk. I think someone else wrote that in a previous post. I confused it with yours. I edited my post above, but I still would like to read your thoughts about this question.

Wellclose Square
Oct 8 2014 16:02

"In Middle East, as elsewhere, it is the international working class who can really stop islamist sectarianism and not the unprincipled, machivellian nationalism of PKK."

Agreed, Mikail. Sorry I misunderstood your comment about 'the land does not belong to them'.

All told, though, I think we're all fucked. Globally. Personally, I'm stepping back from everything, giving up on it all. Sorry for muddying the waters by appearing to waver on hard-learned principles won by the class. I think the nihilist communists are correct. Need to demobilise. The straws in the wind that activists clutch for - from Cairo, to Ferguson, to Hong Kong - are just that. No more.