Is the defense of Afrin proletarian internationalism?

Demonstration in Rostock, Germany

A critique of two articles published by the International Marxist Humanist Organisation by Fredo Corvo.

Is the defense of Afrin proletarian internationalism?

The Turkish invasion of Northern Syria, with the declared goal of expelling the Kurdish YPG from the Turkish border, has caused various reactions from organizations that rely on anarchism, socialism or communism. In general, the Turkish invasion is condemned and "the Kurds" are defended. The well-known left-wing bourgeois groups have responded according to the patterns used for decades to decide on which side of the war front they will take part in the imperialist massacres. This is nothing new. But in this case we see that groups and individuals who orient themselves at the Communist Left (1) are influenced by left bourgeois positions. Even groups whose ancestors defended proletarian internationalism in the Second World War now find it difficult to put forward the workers' struggle against imperialist war. As we shall see, this has partly to do with a microscopic view of Rojava, the microcosm of a supposed "socialism in one province".
Most groups of the Communist Left have long done with the myth of Rojava.(2) Unhindered by this, some groups who rely wholly or in part on Marxism and the Communist Left believe, still enthusiastically or doubtfully - with many 'yes, but' – in the ideal of Rojava. In Germany, this concerns the “Council communist Workers’ League” RKAB and the "Friends of the Classless Society".(3) Some Marxist humanists in the United States arrive at a similar defense of Rojava in a different way.

The International Marxist-Humanist and the Rojava Myth

Two articles about the Turkish invasion of Syria have been published on the website "The International Marxist-Humanist". This is the website of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization (IMHO), which was founded in 2013. Marxist-Humanism is an American internationalist movement based on the work of Raya Dunayevskaya.(4) Other Marxist-humanist organizations are News & Letters Committees (NLC) and its split-off, Marxist-Humanist Initiative (MHI). Of these three groups, only IMHO has so far reported on the Turkish invasion of Syria, although enthusiastic personal reports of Rojava can be found in News & Letters. The two articles on the Afrin conflict are published on behalf of the CPRSJ, the Coalition for Peace, Revolution and Social Justice, a platform of local branches of various organizations (in Los Angeles or California), including IHMO. The quotations from a speech and an article published on this platform, taken from "The International Marxist-Humanist", should therefore not simply be attributed to IHMO, let alone to other Marxist-humanistic organizations. But they did not contradict the position taken either.
A call by the CPRSJ from January 21., 2018 ends as follows:

Quote:
Though the Rojava Revolution has its contradictions, as seen in these very ties between the Kurds and U.S. and Russian imperialists—bonds that now appear to be breaking down — we must defend Afrin! The gains and hopes of the Rojava Revolution, including democratic self-administration, feminism, and communalism, depend upon it! We must resist Erdoğan, a neoliberal authoritarian who fantasizes about resurrecting the Ottoman Empire through genocide of the Kurds!
We call on all people of conscience to support actions in protest of this murderous military campaign being organized by diasporic Kurdish communities and/or emergency demonstrations at Turkish consulates and embassies globally, as well as in Turkey itself. In Los Angeles, the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ) endorses today’s 1:00pm emergency action outside the Federal Building in Westwood. (5)

At this rally, Ali Kiani gives a speech from which CPRSJ and IHMO have published a summary, of which I quote the following regarding the Rojava myth:

Quote:
(…) a multi-ethnic and democratic movement of liberation-oriented women from a grassroots organization, which happened to take root in Rojava (…).
(…) the democratic feminist alternative form of self-governance in the Middle East (…)
(…) the least we can do is to offer solidarity with the progressive, multi-ethnic people of northern Syria for the future possibility of a democratic alternative in the Middle East based on justice and freedom, something that could evolve into an anti-capitalist humanist alternative. The Kurdish people of Afrin can depend only on International solidarity and the comradeship of progressive forces who stand for an anti-capitalist alternative. (6)

In the name of the same "ideals" that anarchists see as the angle of their 'analysis', justice, freedom, women's liberation, democracy (note, not proletarian democracy), humanism and progress a stand is taken for the defense of a people on the basis of same uncritically accepted ideological disguise of the rule of the YPG-PYD-PKK over the Kurdish "people", communalism. The difference with anarchism and its followers is that Marxist-Humanists turn to a "dialectic" that would emanate from movements of oppressed peoples and minorities such as African Americans and women. In addition it is of significance that this current, despite its worship of Rosa Luxemburg, has adopted Lenin’s right of the nations to self-determination. I will not reiterate my criticism of these principles of Marxism-Humanism.(7) Instead, we move from the Rojava myth to some classic justifications of involvement in the imperialist war, which can also be found in the "defense of Afrin" by some Marxist-Humanists.

Oppressed peoples

The protection of the oppressed peoples is undisputed within the workers' movement, the support of national liberation however is not. For instance, before the First World War, Luxemburg and Lenin did not agree on the attitude that Social Democracy should take up with regards to the independence of Poland (then part of the Tsarist Empire). Lenin was in favor, Luxemburg against. During the First World War Lenin expressed himself in the Draft resolution of the left Social Democrats for the first international socialist conference 13th July 1915 (5-8 September 1915 in Zimmerwald) extremely cautious about the support of oppressed peoples. With the historic era of imperialism, the bourgeoisie had become reactionary, according to the generally accepted opinion of the revolutionaries, and only the social revolution could pave the way for peace and freedom for the nations.(8) Luxemburg, however, said unequivocally:

Quote:
The world war serves neither the national defense nor the economic or political interests of the masses of the people whatever they may be. It is but the product of the imperialistic rivalries between the capitalist classes of the different countries for world hegemony and for the monopoly in the exploitation and oppression of areas still not under the heel of capital. In the era of the unleashing of this imperialism, national wars are no longer possible. National interests serve only as the pretext for putting the laboring masses of the people under the domination of their mortal enemy, imperialism.
The policy of the imperialist states and the imperialist war cannot give to a single oppressed nation its liberty and its independence. The small nations, the ruling classes of which are the accomplices of their partners in the big states, constitute only the pawns on the imperialist chessboard of the great powers, and are used by them, just like their own working masses, in wartime, as instruments, to be sacrificed to capitalist interests after the war.(9)

The reality of the struggle for the independence of Kurdistan has confirmed the views of Luxemburg when seen from the standpoint of the class struggle. The ruling classes of Kurdistan are indeed just an appendage to their bourgeois comrades of the great powers, in whose service they put themselves, and whom they sell their proletariat as cannon fodder - but eventually things have turned out different from what was expected, they were betrayed. The trend towards changing imperialist alliances of several states (10) is no reason for the proletariat to adopt this same tactic, on the contrary. Ali Kiani describes the fate of this partner exchange in the case of the YPG-PYD as follows:

Quote:
The Kurds earned the world’s respect for defeating ISIS with their courageous freedom fighters.
Erdoğan’s attack could not have been launched without the approval of Russia, which controls the airspace over Afrin. In fact, Russia moved its troops out of Afrin as Turkish warplanes bombed the Syrian Kurdish militia group YPG and also its parent organization, the PYD.
"According to officials in Afrin, Russia proposed to protect Afrin in return for handing over control to the Assad regime. But as the offer was rejected, Russia gave green light to Turkey’s invasion. The United States, meanwhile, which conveniently used the Kurds as ‘reliable boots on the ground’ in Syria for the last years in the international anti-ISIS coalition, stays quiet over their NATO ally’s ambitions to sacrifice the heroes of the ISIS war, merely warning Turkey to ‘avoid civilian casualties‘.”

This fragment is revealing if we do not read it as written, from the point of view of nations, but from the point of view of the working class, as Luxemburg put it above. In an attempt to present himself as opposing both superpowers, Kiani stresses that Russia and the USA both abandon the Kurds. As a result, he misses the diametrically opposed imperialist interests of both powers hidden behind the invasion of Afrin: Russia wants that the Turks drive the USA out of Syria.(11) Compliments to the "courageous freedom fighters" and "heroes" hide that the Kurdish proletarians are deployed as foot soldiers in the imperialist interests of the USA, Russia and several regional powers against the emergence of a new imperialism in the region, ‘Islamic State’, in which the capitalist interests of the Saddam clique rallied after the latter’s liquidation.

Marxist-Humanists might know how the Stalinists, under the pretext of supporting oppressed peoples, tried to subjugate the workers of these peoples to their own bourgeoisie. After Lithuania, Turkey and China, it was the turn of the United States during the Second World War. At the beginning of the war, they tried to cover up the Hitler-Stalin Pact and prevent American interference behind the ultra-right principle of “America First”. Germany’s invasion of Russia changed everything: the imperialist war had become a war of national liberation, according to the Stalinists. Dunayevskaya did not accept that, but what about her followers when calling for the defense of Afrin?

Even after the implosion of the Soviet Union, Stalinists and Trotskyists have continued to defend ‘national liberation’ and to support ‘oppressed people’. The Trotskyists do this in a more “clever” way than the Stalinists, by laying claim to the workers' struggle and concealing the interests of the great imperialisms in minor conflicts ('Hear, hear', Mr Kiani) (12) In their support of the "Kurdish struggle" this is reflected by their demand that the PKK should involve Turkish workers in their struggle. The question this poses is clearly: In what interests does it lie when workers take sides for one camp in a war between imperialist powers? Criticizing the YPG-PYD for its dependence on American support is part of the classical Trotskyist arsenal. Kiani also criticizes Rojava's dependency on Russia, in order to appear as taking an independent stance with regards to both major powers. But this sort of ambiguity is dropped massively by the Trotskyists in a major imperialist conflict, as has already been demonstrated by their support of the "degenerate workers’ state" in World War II.

Defensive war

The Social Democratic parties sided with their ruling class in the First World War under the pretext that this would be a 'defensive war', as Marx and Engels had supported in their time. The revolutionary Social Democrats, the later Communists including Lenin, all argued that World War I opened a different era, that of imperialism and social revolution. After the imperialist conquest of the world's most important regions by the capitalist countries, an inter-imperialist struggle for the redistribution of the world began. In this new period, the distinction between "attack" and "defense" served no other interest than an ideological deception of the population. All countries claimed that they were defending themselves against an attack, because in everyday consciousness this implies the right of self-defense. To justify future wars, the right of self-defense is part of international and martial law agreed between imperialist sharks. In the continuity of "attack" and "defense" the broad exploitation of the number of victims and atrocities by... the enemy has become part of any imperialist war propaganda.

The defense of 'oppressed nations' and the Russian 'workers’ state' by the Comintern, later by the former People's Commissar for Nationalities, Stalin, led to a return to the previously condemned pretext of the ‘defensive war’ and has become part of the ideological arsenal of the bourgeois left ever since.
The frequent use of terms such as "Turkish attack" makes it unnecessary to annoy the reader with quotes from the aforementioned texts, that show them accepting the idea of attack and defense without alternative. By contrast, it suffices to remind that the Trump administration announced that it would use Kurdish fighters as border guards in an area where several US military bases are located. It was therefore on purpose that, after having used the YPG against ISIS, to have the Kurdish "freedom fighters" defend US presence in this important region. Russia, by contrast, is interested in the USA leaving the area, allegedly for the "territorial integrity" of Syria, but in reality... to defend its own military presence in the Middle East and its access to Mediterranean ports. On its part, not without justification in view of the past, Turkey feared that Kurdish border guards would use their military positions along the Turkish border for attacks on Turkish territory, and chose to attack Kurdish territory as its "best defense". In this way, Turkey hopes to lay its hands on a part of Syria, should this fall apart, allegedly for "receiving refugees". Of course, Turkey found Russia's aid and some understanding with Germany, that wants to continue the refugee agreement with Turkey, and traditionally pursues its own imperialist interests through Turkey and Iran. At the end of January, Turkish threats were made to its NATO-ally USA, holding out an "Ottoman slap", should they continue to support the YPG. The battles between Turkey and the YPG are therefore part of a much broader and potentially more dangerous conflict between imperialist superpowers. We can not lose sight of this broader context, just as the imperialist antagonisms between Germany, Russia, France and England behind the "Serbian-Austrian affair” of the assassination at Sarajevo in July 1914, which provided the diplomatic pretext for the outbreak of World War I.

The struggle against imperialist war

Marxist-Humanism, in contrast to the bourgeois left, emerged from an internationalist standpoint of the workers’ struggle against both camps during World War II. This explains Kiani's apparent independence from both Russia and the United States in the Afrin conflict, while losing sight of the real contradictions between the major powers. The urgency of Kiani's calls raises the question how he believes a repetition of the genocide of the Armenian people can be prevented in the case of the Kurds. How can we prevent an end to the "progressive movements" (in which he equates Rojava and the uprising in Iran without any class analysis), and how could an anti-capitalist humanist alternative be derived from it? According to the CPRSJ this can be achieved by participating in solidarity demonstrations of the Kurdish exile community at Turkish diplomatic representations. If such actions are widely reported in the mainstream media, and the US government uses them as an opportunity for bombing – as for example was the case when Kobane was threatened by ISIS – this can still be ironed out by criticizing the YPG and the SDF for their dependence on the USA.

Under the guise of solidarity, the proletariat gets used to wrong decisions in imperialist conflicts. It is kept from a struggle on the basis of its class interests, and it is thereby prepared for its ideological and physical integration into imperialist war efforts. The left-wing bourgeois groups cooperating with this thereby prove to be part of the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie. Those internationalist groups who do the same, will slide more and more away from the positions of the working class, until they too are part of the bourgeois state.
The bitter truth is that the working class is unlikely to be able to stop the imperialist wars in the short term. Even the movement of the oil strike in the Iraqi Kurdish region and then into Iran, and the subsequent protests by mostly young unemployed proletarians, could not stop Iran's participation in the imperialist wars in the Near East. After a rapid development into a movement against all ruling groups of Iranian capitalism and against Iran's participation in the regional wars, the movement stagnated due to a lack of organization "In Real Life”.(13) Since then, hidden from the eyes of the "democratic" allies, repression reigns by anonymous gangs that do not make prisoners but let” militant proletarians “disappear".

The wars in the Near East will not stop until this movement of workers attains the same level as in Iran at the turn of the year, and develops further in order to create the self-organization of working and unemployed workers in general assemblies. There the discussion can be conducted on how the movement can best be expanded. In particular, the extension beyond the boundaries of sectors, religion, language, culture, and notably across national borders, is of paramount importance. The movement will therefore not only target its own ruling classes, but at the same time all political groups of the ruling classes of all countries.
The road to an inevitable proletarian world revolution is long and runs everywhere through the rise and fall of the workers' actions against the consequences of the capitalist crisis and the imperialist war. But it is the only road for the working class to develop the class consciousness and self-organization needed to defeat capitalism worldwide.

Fredo Corvo

(Research until February 20, 2018)

Proofreading by: H.C., March 4, 2018

Notes

1) The Communist Left consists of the left-wing currents that have opposed the reformist tactics imposed on the other parties by the Bolshevik Party within the Communist International. Council communism, to which Arbeidersstemmen relates, was one of those left-wing currents.
2) Among others: ICT In Rojava: People’s War is not Class War, Mouvement Communiste Rojava: the fraud of a non-existent social revolution masks a Kurdish nationalism perfectly compatible with Assad’s murderous regime.
3) Fragments on these groups in the original Dutch and German versions of this article have been left out in this abridged version.
4) F.C. The Communist Left and Marxist Humanism - Part 1 On Trump and Neo-Fascism and Part 2/2 The ‘Unfinished American Revolution’.
5) Afrin Under Attack by Neo-Ottoman Erdogan: We Must Defend Afrin!
6) Ali Kiani Behind Turkey’s Attack on the Afrin Kurds: Imperialist Machinations in the Middle East.
7) See note 4.
8) See Lenin’s Draft Resolution.
9) Rosa Luxemburg Theses on the Tasks of International Social-Democracy (Late 1915).
10) The transformation of alliances is repeating itself ever more. This leads to confusion not only among the bourgeois left but also among left communist groups.
11) Nuevo Curso ¿Está iniciando Turquía una guerra mundial?
12) Gruppe Internationaler Kommunisten Der Klassenkampf im Kriege. No English translation available.
13) Nuevo Corso Movilizaciones de trabajadores en Oriente Medio and ¿Por qué se desinfla el movimiento en Irán?

Posted By

Fredo Corvo
Mar 5 2018 09:21

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  • The reality of the struggle for the independence of Kurdistan has confirmed the views of Luxemburg when seen from the standpoint of the class struggle. The ruling classes of Kurdistan are indeed just an appendage to (...) the great powers, (...) and whom they sell their proletariat as cannon fodder.

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Comments

WithDefiance
Mar 12 2018 11:50

What I find always so interesting about your positions is that you call people that have been declared an imperialist war to (and who are defending themselves) as partakers (initiators) of this very war.

As nicely stated in the article just released on 'tankies' (not saying you are one):

Quote:
Our position is that regardless of the actions of the Iranian or Syrian state, we completely oppose foreign intervention, whether US, Russia, or Turkey, on the base that foreign intervention always makes things worse. But to oppose intervention does not require a denial of the internal contradictions of those states or the reality of working class resistance to them.

The same applies to North Korea - we reject under any circumstances US intervention in North Korea, hawks in the US talking about a nuclear weapons programme gloss over the US bombing Japan twice in 1945, let alone the use of depleted uranium shells against civilian areas in Iraq. But to reject sanctions and intervention can rely on a principled anti-militarism and internationalism, solidarity with the North Korean working class, not with Kim Jong Un personally. As we would support the Gwangju uprising in South Korea in 1980, we would support workers struggle in North Korea too.

What is your practical proposal, abandoning the people being at threat to be massacred because they are not proletarian enough? There is definitely also a class-character to this struggle or would be if the war wouldn't reach the a humanitarian character/crisis as is being created today by the imperialist powers (in which the autonomous project of Rojava tries to maintain itself).

Also its ignores the ambitions of federalism that go beyond borders - in Shingal there is a similar autonomous administration is implemented. The model of democratic confederalism might not match the western revolutionary vocabulary, but that only means that we need to learn to translate positions into our own language - not abandon because we don't understand. The project of democratic confederalism with the declaration of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is trying to break out of the national-liberation and I find it a little odd its being ignored. Also the internationalist character of revolutionary solidarity is expressed through the call by revolutionaries in Turkey not to have their children go to war (which is of course suppressed for being against the national (war) interest).

I do agree that the collaboration with imperialist powers and the at times opportunist approach is difficult as socialist, communist, anarchist internationalists and revolutionaries. But I think its our duty to try and get the revolution onto a road that helps us further those ends.

Abandoning it will most certainly not move it in that direction and may well have it destroyed in isolation because of sectarianism. There are many honest revolutionaries involved and I think they should be supported. Its not about siding with Russia or the US, or Turkey, or NATO or Syria or any of the other nation states. Its siding with a project that has internationalist and non-sectarian promises in a region ripped by imperialist interests and war.

Spikymike
Mar 22 2018 14:23

Some misconceptions in that last post regarding the supposed conflict between the practice of 'democratic confederalism' and nation state building, the benefits of a more non-sectarian social movement in this area of the 'middle east' aside:
Apart from the references in Footnote 2 above these critical texts are helpful in understanding the material and historical forces shaping these changes;
https://libcom.org/library/rojava-reality-rhetoric-gilles-dauve-tl and
https://libcom.org/news/kurdish-question-isis-usa-etc-17112014

R Totale
Mar 26 2018 18:45

Am I right in thinking from the last few paragraphs that the authors of this piece would oppose any participation in protests against the Turkish war effort?
"According to the CPRSJ this can be achieved by participating in solidarity demonstrations of the Kurdish exile community at Turkish diplomatic representations...
Under the guise of solidarity, the proletariat gets used to wrong decisions in imperialist conflicts. It is kept from a struggle on the basis of its class interests, and it is thereby prepared for its ideological and physical integration into imperialist war efforts. The left-wing bourgeois groups cooperating with this thereby prove to be part of the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie. Those internationalist groups who do the same, will slide more and more away from the positions of the working class, until they too are part of the bourgeois state."

Is this saying that there's no way to oppose the actions of the Turkish state without becoming part of the bourgeois state? Imo it'd be better to take part in protests and distribute clear internationalist positions - such as the Yeryüzü Postası statement, for instance - rather than abstain from them altogether.

syndicalist
Mar 26 2018 19:10

Got a summary version?

R Totale
Mar 26 2018 20:47
syndicalist wrote:
Got a summary version?

Summary version of which - the piece above, or the Turkish anarchist statement? It's not that long, but this gives a taster:
"Police is wildly attacking press statements in public places, people are handcuffed just because they made posts in social media against war and arrested. Against all these attacks, as anarchists, communists from Turkey and other international comrades, we should stick together and altogether continue to raise our voice against war.

Furthermore, people of Afrin and people of Turkey who are fighting against this invasion are in need of international solidarity more than ever. This international war, in which the only winners are capitalists and the only losers are laborers of all nations, can only be stopped with international solidarity.

We think that to struggle against this war is a historical duty for anarchists, communists and other internationalists all around the world. We are calling all of our comrades to struggle against the operation of Afrin, against AKP’s oppression to war resisters and against all states that are responsible for the actual situation in Syria.

Internationalist Class Solidarity or Capitalist War and Barbarism

War to Palaces, Peace for Slums!

No to war between nations

No war but class war"
I think that does a pretty decent job of taking a firm position against the war without going in for any kind of mythmaking.

Mike Harman
Mar 28 2018 09:14

Ali Kiani from the IMHO/CPRSJ has written two responses to this:

https://cprsj.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/internationalists-for-afrin-and-ghouta/

https://cprsj.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/in-defense-of-freedom-and-humanity-in-afrin/

This from the first statement isn't exactly how I'd put it, but aligns with how I felt reading this piece:

Ali Kiani wrote:
We acknowledge that the Syrian Revolution which began in March 2011 was a necessary precondition for the Rojava Revolution of July 2012, and we seek to build solidarity for both ongoing processes, which are greatly threatened by the despotic forces of Assad and Putin as well as Erdoğan, respectively. We disagree that our statement in solidarity with besieged and displaced workers and peasants in Afrin equates to or implies an uncritical “defense of Rojava” on our part, and we reject the idea that such a statement aligns us with neo-Stalinism or imperialism against the working classes. We do not see our call for solidarity with Afrin as different from our support for the besieged population of Eastern Ghouta, who now must await capture by the very forces that have been bombarding them for nearly five years now, cross perilously into regime-controlled territory, or accept forcible transfer to the Idlib province, which will be the next major target of the militaristic imperialism of the Assad Regime, Russia, and Iran. Support for oppressed peoples means criticizing and organizing against those forces oppressing them; it does not mean uncritical support for those who claim to defend them by force of arms.

Ironically, then, we agree in the abstract with Corvo’s conclusion that an end to the various wars and genocides now gripping the Middle East will not come until the region’s working classes “attai[n] the same level as in Iran at the turn of the year,” with a few qualifications. First, this task is not only that of the Kurdish workers, as Corvo implies, but of all workers in the region—and not only the region, but also the world, given the global nature of imperialism.

Spikymike
Mar 28 2018 11:02

R Totale asks shouldn't we take part in Kurdish Solidarity protests (outside Syria) and at the same time distribute clear internationalist positions? and the answer would seem to be 'in the abstract' a clear yes! but some further questions need to be answered before that, such as: who is organising these protests and why, what is the primary public demand of such protests, what is the practical outcome of such (based on past experience), how will the involvement as supporters of minority internationalists impact on the protests either positively or negatively, is a leaflet on it's own, rather than a critical banner effective, are such internationalists putting themselves in personal danger from the protest organisers by putting forward strong internationalist positions. Sometimes it's a case of not being sure and going ahead at risk but learning by experience.
Mike Harman's links to the defensive response from one of the 'Marxist Humanist' groups is helpful in extending this discussion but people should read the second linked content (rather than just the extract) and it's sarcastic response to Fred Corvo who's basic Council Communist politics are easily understood against the Leninist and pro-national liberationist politics of the IMHO.
I understand that 'internationalists' in Turkey and elsewhere are raising their voices against the Turkish states military incursion into Syria as we would expect but in difficult circumstances and inevitably with little practical effect at present.

Mike Harman
Mar 28 2018 10:52
SpikeyMike wrote:
who is organising these protests and why, what is the primary public demand of such protests,

The worst thing I've seen from reports of the protests is people calling for a no fly zone - which is a terrible idea just on pragmatic grounds let alone principles. Worth nothing the IMHO response is very careful to say they oppose that demand as well.

Even the BBC was arguing against this as a massive escalation of the war, at the end of 2016 in the context of Aleppo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-37621825

I never understand it when people argue for things like this - I wonder if some of them are well intentioned but are conflating diplomatic agreements to stop or pause air warfare/bombing with an actual enforced no fly zone. Obviously others just want a massive US military presence on 'their side'.

baboon
Mar 28 2018 19:50

I don't think that you can have an internationalist position on the wars and tensions in the Middle East without including its Kurdish component - the defence of imperialism sold as a "revolution" or, at least, a lesser evil. Why the defence of Afrin and why not the defence of the civilians of Raqqa, Aleppo, Mosul and all the rest? Is this to abandon the people of Afrin to their misery and fate? No more than the abandonment of the peoples of Raqqa, Mosul and Aleppo, etc. What's needed is a clear and unambiguous class analysis and not the defence of one faction in an imperialist war. In this sense the quote from Rosa Luxemburg included by Fredo Corvo above is the absolute starting point. The leaflet from the group YP is very positive but again its weaknesses relate to the Kurdish dimension. In case you missed it the ICC responded thus: http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201803/15049/leaflet-group-yeryuzu-postasi-turkish-military-assault-afrin-international-st

As to handing out an internationalist position at a "defend Afrin" rally then I think that at least one should take a great deal of care. It's water off a duck's back, but from the cheerleaders and supporters of Kurdish nationalism on libcom I've been subjected to threatening abuse, told to fuck-off and shut-up. These elements would be at such a rally I imagine.

Mike Harman
Mar 28 2018 20:15
baboon wrote:
Why the defence of Afrin and why not the defence of the civilians of Raqqa, Aleppo, Mosul and all the rest? Is this to abandon the people of Afrin to their misery and fate? No more than the abandonment of the peoples of Raqqa, Mosul and Aleppo, etc.

I've seen people on social media who closely follow the war take a very consistent position on people living in both Afrin and Eastern Ghouta recently. This is not the case for all Eastern Ghouta supporters or all Rojava supporters of course, but it's encouraging nonetheless.

fwiw I thought https://libcom.org/library/syria-seen-viewpoint-imperial-purity-crushing-narcissism-empire from Cautiously Pessimistic was good on tackling some of these questions.

eccarius
Apr 5 2018 21:58

On Internationalism and National Liberation in Syria: Should Afrin Be Defended?
Summary: Two separate articles, by Javier Sethness and Ali Kiani, respond to a critique of our support for the Syrian Kurds by Fredo Corvo, “Is the Defense of Afrin Proletarian Internationalism?” The response by Sethness and an earlier version of the one by Kiani first appeared in Coalition for Peace Revolution, and Social Justice — Editors
https://www.imhojournal.org/articles/on-internationalism-and-national-liberation-in-syria-should-afrin-be-defended/