PKK political evolution

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Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
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Oct 17 2014 23:51
Mikhail wrote:
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;

Quote:
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.
http://www.freedom-for-ocalan.com/english/download/Abdullah_Ocalan_-_The...

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...

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-nep...)

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.

kurekmurek
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Oct 18 2014 04:37

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

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 18 2014 05:50

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.

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mikail firtinaci
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Oct 18 2014 06:17
Joseph Kay wrote:
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 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.

boomerang
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Oct 18 2014 09:26

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.

kurekmurek
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Oct 18 2014 12:34

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.

boomerang
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Oct 18 2014 18:58
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
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.

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.

kurremkarmerruk wrote:
I wrote in another comment mentions this in connection to my speculation on why the direct democracy stuff is left out of constitution.

What's the number for that comment (so I can go back and read it)?

kurekmurek
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Oct 18 2014 20:07

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.

boomerang
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Oct 19 2014 00:47

Do you know the difference between the YPJ and YJA Star? (Google couldn't tell me)

tw_
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Oct 19 2014 12:39

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:

"Article 8

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."

http://civiroglu.net/the-constitution-of-the-rojava-cantons/

--------------------------------------------

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. "
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/alfredo-m-bonanno-palestine-mon-a...

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. "
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/alfredo-m-bonanno-palestine-mon-a...

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Alf
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Oct 19 2014 16:34

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?

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mikail firtinaci
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Oct 19 2014 16:52
Quote:
Do you know the difference between the YPJ and YJA Star? (Google couldn't tell me)

They are just different front organizations of the PKK, w/o any serious differences between them.

boomerang
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Oct 19 2014 17:34

Someone told me that YPJ was founded by the PYD and that YJA Star is with the PKK. Is that true?

tw_
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Oct 19 2014 19:47

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.

...
"
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/alfredo-m-bonanno-what-can-we-do-...

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...

http://www.diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/410688?from=1923065108

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.

(nt)

tw_
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Oct 19 2014 20:11
Quote:
Someone told me that YPJ was founded by the PYD and that YJA Star is with the PKK. Is that true?

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.

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mikail firtinaci
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Oct 19 2014 20:22

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.

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AES
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Oct 19 2014 20:25

Are there *any* worker controlled organisations which are independent of the state and political parties?

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mikail firtinaci
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Oct 19 2014 20:41
AES wrote:
Are there *any* worker controlled organisations which are independent of the state and political parties?

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.

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Oct 19 2014 20:51

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).

boomerang
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Oct 19 2014 23:05
tw_ wrote:
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.

This law is a problem, thanks for telling us. One thing in it confuses me:

Quote:
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.

What's 'Kurdistan Freedom Movement' and why would people in it be exempt from defence service?

satawal
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Oct 20 2014 00:12

Hi Alf,

I was also at that meeting (yesterday) and I recall the hasty and rather awkward exchange between the speaker and the questioner somewhat differently.

Alf wrote:

Quote:
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?

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.

kurekmurek
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Oct 20 2014 08:30
Quote:
AES wrote:
Are there *any* worker controlled organisations which are independent of the state and political parties?
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 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?

kurekmurek
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Oct 20 2014 08:31
Quote:
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).

This is just what you want it to be grin anyway you mean it for Turkey or Rojova?

kurekmurek
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Oct 20 2014 08:37
Quote:
tw_ wrote:
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.

This law is a problem, thanks for telling us. One thing in it confuses me:

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.

kurekmurek
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Oct 20 2014 09:05

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.

Quote:
he 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).

I wish someone asked the question again. I really wonder what would his reply would be if he/she understood the question

Quote:
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 .

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)

Quote:
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.

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.

Quote:
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 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.

satawal
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Joined: 12-05-10
Oct 20 2014 11:53

Hi kurremkarmerruk,

Quote:
What event was that?

At London anarchist bookfair 18/10/14.

Quote:
Was the speaker related to Kurdistan Aanarchist forum

Yes

Quote:
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.

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.

Quote:
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.

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."

You said:

Quote:
This is again I think not a misunderstanding on the part of speaker, but it might be on your part.

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.

kurekmurek
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Joined: 15-11-07
Oct 20 2014 12:59

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-p... if so he already wrote them down)
Why don't you invite him to libcom?
You should definitely get his contact or something? grin

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)?

Alf's picture
Alf
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Joined: 6-07-05
Oct 20 2014 13:14

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.

kurekmurek
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Joined: 15-11-07
Oct 20 2014 13:27

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)
http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/kerry_yardim_krize_anlik_bir_mudahaleydi...

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http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/turkiye_pesmergenin_kobaniye_gecisine_...

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.

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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)

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http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/tezkereden_faydalanan_ilk_yabanci_aske...

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).

satawal
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Joined: 12-05-10
Oct 20 2014 14:58

Hi Alf,

Quote:
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.

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.

Quote:
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.

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.

Quote:
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.

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.