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What proportion of anarchists support the Rojava revolution?

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anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 11:19
What proportion of anarchists support the Rojava revolution?

I was wondering what proportion of you support the revolution in the Kurds’ own terms, not just in the hope that it will turn out how you want it to.

I’m amazed it’s not the main topic/concern of anarchists at the moment, and that there have been virtually no international volunteers.

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Red Marriott
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Feb 11 2015 12:25
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I’m amazed ... that there have been virtually no international volunteers.

If you think that I'll be amazed if you weren't the first volunteer.

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Feb 11 2015 12:35

There are a few who would support the PKK fighters on here, anagoldman, but I would guess most would not be joining the PKK for reasons similar to why we never joined the ANC, MPLA, ZANU-PF, the Sandinistas, FARC or the Provisional IRA.

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Khawaga
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Feb 11 2015 14:45

Why should it be a main topic of concern for anyone but those who live in or around that area? It's interesting to discuss, but what can most of do about it but discuss it? Austerity is imposed on us, work is still shit etc. The main topic of concern, as always, should be how we can build solidarity among the working class to better our conditions where we live, and sure, make international links, but often this immense focus on things far away takes away from practical organizing where you live. Not that I think it's either or, only that there is very little any of us can do about events that far away.

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 19:15

Serge Forward, none of the organisations you mention are remotely similar to anarchism, whereas the Rojava revolution is very similar. There has been nothing comparable since Spain 1936.

Khawaga, it should be the main focus in the way that Spain during the civil war was the main focus, with thousands of people joining the international brigades. Wherever there is a revolution people should concentrate on helping it, through fundraising, raising awareness etc. Meanwhile in Europe anarchists have achieved virtually nothing in the last 80 years, and couldn't be further away from revolution. Building solidarity among the working class and improving the way we live is important, but is hardly exclusive to anarchism.

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rat
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Feb 11 2015 19:59
anagoldman wrote:
...and that there have been virtually no international volunteers.

anagoldman, I assume that you are either already out there, or rapidly on your way to Rojava? If not, why not?

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 20:25

Because I have a serious disability

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 20:27

But, yes I am planning on going, just not to fight. Btw, I’m not criticizing anyone for not going, I’m just surprised at the seeming indifference, and contrast to Spain.

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Khawaga
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Feb 11 2015 20:35

Check out any number of threads on Rojava on this site and you'll see that's it's not a position of indifference. It's been one of the most debated issues on libcom recently, multiple threads with 100s of comments. So please, don't make assumptions. And to equate Rojava with Spain is spurious at best (if you want reasons I suggest you read up on the discussions).

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 20:37

Khawaga, so where are the UK based anarchist/Rojava solidarity organisations? It's not quite enough to comment..

Dannny
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Feb 11 2015 20:42
anagoldman wrote:
Serge Forward, none of the organisations you mention are remotely similar to anarchism, whereas the Rojava revolution is very similar. There has been nothing comparable since Spain 1936.

Khawaga, it should be the main focus in the way that Spain during the civil war was the main focus, with thousands of people joining the international brigades. Wherever there is a revolution people should concentrate on helping it, through fundraising, raising awareness etc. Meanwhile in Europe anarchists have achieved virtually nothing in the last 80 years, and couldn't be further away from revolution. Building solidarity among the working class and improving the way we live is important, but is hardly exclusive to anarchism.

Hi anagoldman.
What is it about the Rojava revolution that you think is comparable to Spain 36?
At that time in Spain millions of workers were participating in industrial and agrarian collectives, some villages and towns abolished money, the militias operated on the basis of assemblies and in several major cities questions of food supplies, public order, education and transport were, to a greater or lesser extent, controlled by revolutionary committees that also operated on an assembly basis. All of this was framed by a mass workers' organisation with a commitment to the establishment of libertarian communism and internationalism. I don't mean to diminish what people are experiencing in Rojava, but in terms of the history of the workers' movement, or of anarchism, it seems that comparisons with Spain aren't very useful. Still, I'd be interested to read arguments against this.
In terms of the support the Spanish revolution received from anarchists internationally, this came in the form of money and volunteers willing to participate, but also in the form of increasingly vocal and bitter criticism when this was considered necessary. Although rejected by a generally indignant CNT-FAI hierarchy, these criticisms chimed with positions that were adopted by revolutionaries within Spain, and I imagine that many anarchists today would consider such criticisms to have been worth making and in line with a tradition that we identify with.

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plasmatelly
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Feb 11 2015 20:50

Good post Dannny - but am I right in thinking the CNT's message for international anarchists was to stay home and build revolution in their own countries?

Dannny
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Feb 11 2015 21:15

Hi plasmatelly. I think that became the official line yeah. It's hard to unpick these things sometimes. The majority of foreign volunteers coming to Spain by the end of '36 were Communists, so there was some reticence about permitting their presence - the CNT's sometimes nationalistic rhetoric can be seen in this light too - 'this must be a Spanish revolution' etc.
Meanwhile, the Republic's offensive against the CNT on the Spanish - French border in Spring-Summer '37 was predicated on the (risible) notion that 'uncontrollable elements' were coming over the border on 'FAI passports'. Members of the CNT charged with investigating this allegation denounced the notion as offensive, describing the foreign anarchists in Spain as ‘comrades who have been active in the revolutionary movement for years and [who] have come here hounded by reactionaries the world over’. This apparent concern for ‘five hundred people’ was further considered strange given that ‘thousands upon thousands of suspicious elements walk freely in the ministries and public offices of Valencia, Madrid etc.’
All the same, it should also be borne in mind that some foreign anarchists were effectively kicked out of Barcelona with the CNT higher-ups turning a blind eye (at best), as a consequence of their criticisms of government collaboration, so I think where 'shut up or fuck off' turns into 'stay home and build a revolution in your own country' is blurred tbh,

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 21:42

Hi, many things are comparable to Spain.

4 million people living according to anarchism in Catalonia, 4 million living according to ‘Democratic Confederalism’ in Rojava. Plus many more are now organised in a similar way in Turkish Kurdistan.

Democratic Confederalism rejects nationalism and the state in favour of a grassroots, bottom-up style direct democracy, with an emphasis on consensus.

The revolution in Rojava aims to end patriarchy, with quotas for women in all organisations. It’s often referred to by the Kurds as a ‘women’s revolution’. Women’s only groups, councils and academies are given a major role, if anything much more importance is given to gender equality than in Spain. The Mujeres Libres, in any case would be an obvious comparison. Gender education classes are given to all the fighters, men and women.

In Rojava some places have abolished money altogether.

The ‘government’ in Turkish Kurdistan and Rojava is purely administrative, easily recalled, and has no decision- making power.

“The building of such a model is closely aligned to Bookchin's conception of confederalism which he defines as “a network of administrative councils whose members are elected from popular face-to-face democratic alliances, in the various villages, towns and even neighborhoods of large cities.” Such administrative councils do not make policy, but rather are “strictly mandated, recallable, and responsible to the assemblies that choose them for the purpose of coordinating and administering the policies formulated by the assemblies themselves.” Administrative councils are just that: they administrate and do not constitute a system of representation which accords high levels of decision-making and policy-making power to representatives.”
[url]http://www.kurdishquestion.com/index.php/kurdistan/no-state-solution-lib...”[/url]

The society generally is run almost entirely at a grassroots level, with thousands of assemblies all over the region.

There is no unemployment, and there is an effort to make industries and land cultivation to run as cooperatives.

The Kurds have repeatedly said that they are not just fighting for themselves, but for humanity, so like Spain, internationalist. They have a strong emphasis on integrating the different ethnic and cultural groups from the region. There are quotas for this so that Arabs, Assyrians, Chechens and many others are not excluded.

As for what you say at the end about useful and valid criticism in Spain, criticism mostly came from people who were actually involved and went to fight, having friends killed and going through all sorts of horrors. It’s not particularly useful to criticise without knowing much, and without any sort of involvement.

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Feb 11 2015 21:50
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As for what you say at the end about useful and valid criticism in Spain, criticism mostly came from people who were actually involved and went to fight, having friends killed and going through all sorts of horrors. It’s not particularly useful to criticise without knowing much, and without any sort of involvement.

Then that's at least as true of uncritical praise.

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 22:04

Then that's at least as true of uncritical praise.

The revolution in Rojava isn’t perfect, nothing can be.

Articles such as these show where there can be room for improvement:
http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/can-the-revolution-in-kurdish-s...

Neither do I particularly like the cult around Ocalan.

However what has been achieved is truly inspirational and it’s madness of anarchists/socialist libertarians to ignore it or dismiss it. There is lot that can be done to support and campaign for Rojava from here. If anarchists are really so internationalist it’s about time we showed it.

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 22:04

meant to quote the first line of the above, can't work out how to do it.

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Tyrion
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Feb 11 2015 22:57

Looks a lot like the evidence in this thread that there even is a socialist revolution happening in Rojava is based on official statements rather than firsthand accounts, a far cry from the accounts of the Spanish Revolution written by Gaston Leval, Augustin Souchy, and so on. And of course a significant difference between the two is that everyone in Barcelona in 1936 was talking about anarchist communism, whereas the supposed anarchist aims of "democratic confederalism" seem largely projected by the Western left.

anagoldman
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Feb 11 2015 23:16
Tyrion wrote:
Looks a lot like the evidence in this thread that there even is a socialist revolution happening in Rojava is based on official statements rather than firsthand accounts, a far cry from the accounts of the Spanish Revolution written by Gaston Leval, Augustin Souchy, and so on. And of course a significant difference between the two is that everyone in Barcelona in 1936 was talking about anarchist communism, whereas the supposed anarchist aims of "democratic confederalism" seem largely projected by the Western left.

The revolution in Rojava is happening now, so there are hardly going to be many books out yet. There are many good news and analysis websites written by kurds with first hand acounts:

http://www.kurdishinfo.com/
http://kurdishquestion.com/
http://en.firatnews.com/
https://rojavareport.wordpress.com/

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Feb 11 2015 23:40
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Khawaga, so where are the UK based anarchist/Rojava solidarity organisations? It's not quite enough to comment..

I don't live in the UK, so I can't really answer that. The world is rather larger than just the UK. But if you're in the UK what is stopping you from starting one? And also, you should take into account that maybe organizations have discussed this, found that a better use of their time is to do thigns locally, or they may even have offered financial/material and/or political support.

anagoldman
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Feb 12 2015 00:07

There are very few Rojava solidarity organisations in the world. In Latin America it’s unfortunately almost unreported in the mainstream news.

I’m not sure how these clearly very private local organisations you think might exist could help politically without even speaking out.

No need to take things so personally, by the way. I’m not claiming to be better than anyone. I’m suggesting as a group we could do more. I’m new to libcom, I thought it was almost all people from the uk, all the better that it isn’t!

As for your previous comment:

“And to equate Rojava with Spain is spurious at best (if you want reasons I suggest you read up on the discussions).”

Would be very interested to hear your personal reasons. Maybe don’t assume other people are ignorant? And maybe check out more reliable sources than discussions on libcom.

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Feb 12 2015 00:23
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No need to take things so personally, by the way. I’m not claiming to be better than anyone. I’m suggesting as a group we could do more. I’m new to libcom, I thought it was almost all people from the uk, all the better that it isn’t!

I'm not taking things personally; if you interpret it that way it's likely because so much is simply "lost in translation" when communicating electronically. Something as simple as "ok" can be interpreted with indifference, rage or happiness. So I was neither having a go nor was I upset.

Quote:
Would be very interested to hear your personal reasons. Maybe don’t assume other people are ignorant? And maybe check out more reliable sources than discussions on libcom.

Where did I assume you were ignorant? I merely claimed that equating Spain 36 with Rojava today is spurious at best. A closer comparison would be the Zapatistas in Mexico mainly because it is closer in time and thus reflect better the current state of working class militancy world-wide (i.e. basically none).

And without you even having read the discussions on libcom, not realizing that there were both cheerleaders and people extremely critical of Rojava (I consider myself to sit somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, though more to the side of the critics; I am pretty agnostic on the Rojava question) that all have posted a lot of links. It is really an insult to a lot of the posters on libcom that has done quite incredible work of collating lots of sources, in some cases even posting originally translated stuff from Turkish and/or Kurdish. Part of my agnisticism on Rojava is that as someone who doesn't speak Kurdish and Turkish, it is hard to actually evaluate which sources are reliable or not. I don't just take anyone's word for it.

So again, please actually read the discussion on libcom. They cover the whole spectrum of view on Rojava; I personally have found those discussions more informative than anything else. Have you even read one? Or are you just dismissing them because you cannot stomach critique of the experiments in Rojava?

Caiman del Barrio
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Feb 12 2015 00:33

Ana - what are the streets made of in Rojava? I heard it was gold?

wink

Have you tried reading up on any of the previous discussion threads on here? You may find people are a bit cynical/weary of the topic, since it has dominated discussion here for the last 6 months or so.

Also, if you are from Latin America, then I must say there has been precious little actual discussion of it in the latino circles I'm close to, with people preferring instead the sort of uncritical fawning I sense from your posts.

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Feb 12 2015 00:35

The 'anarchist revolution' at work?! - the Kurdish state(-in-waiting) meets the French state;

President Hollande supports this 'libertarian revolution' too;

Quote:
Abdullah: We received pledge of help from Hollande

11 February 2015
News, Rojava

YPJ commander with Francois HollandePYD Co-president Asya Abdullah and YPJ commander Nesrin Abdullah said they had spoken to French President François Hollande regarding joint struggle against ISIS and the reconstruction of Kobanê.

Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-president Asya Abdullah, Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) Kobanê commander Nesrîn Abdullah and PYD Fransce representative Dr. Xalid İsa met French President François Hollande at the Elysee Palace on 8 February.

PYD Co-president Abdullah told ANF that victory in Kobanê had made such meetings possible. She said they had discussed the future of Rojava and developments in the region with the French President, drawing attention to the fact that with Kobanê a new page has been opened in Kurdish history. She added: “Our victory over ISIS has presented us with opportunities internationally. Our relations with France were already good.”

Abdullah said they had discussed the rebuilding of Kobanê, the opening of a corridor, the future of the cantons of Rojava and joint struggle against ISIS with Hollande. She added: “He greeted us warmly and congratulated us for the victory in Kobanê and promised to assist us.” Abdullah said such meetings were important for the Rojava revolution and were just a beginning.

‘Everyone was talking about the success of Kurdish women’

YPJ commander Nesrin Abdullah said they had met with great interest, adding: “Everyone at the Presidential Palace was talking about the success of Kurdish women. They said the spirit of Kobanê was in Paris. If it hadn’t been for the victory in Kobanê such a meeting could not have taken place. For Kurdish women’s military force to have been welcomed like this made us happy. It is important to be accepted officially.”

The French President’s official website has published 4 photographs of the meeting, which was described by the French media as ‘a first’ and a ‘historic meeting’.

Source: Firat News Agency
http://www.kurdishinfo.com/abdullah-received-pledge-help-hollande

Cue; 'just cos something's not perfect you cynics slag it off... blah blah' ... even when it's blatantly just bourgeois politics, pointing that out is apparently a terrible counter-revolutionary crime...

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Feb 12 2015 00:59
anagoldman wrote:
Serge Forward, none of the organisations you mention are remotely similar to anarchism, whereas the Rojava revolution is very similar.

I wouldn't say the PKK is remotely similar to anarchism either.

anagoldman
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Feb 12 2015 09:16

“Part of my agnisticism on Rojava is that as someone who doesn't speak Kurdish and Turkish, it is hard to actually evaluate which sources are reliable or not. I don't just take anyone's word for it.”

Khawaga, if you trust things written by Turks and Kurds, see the links I posted, most articles are translations.

“Also, if you are from Latin America, then I must say there has been precious little actual discussion of it in the latino circles I'm close to, with people preferring instead the sort of uncritical fawning I sense from your posts.”

Caiman del Barrio, maybe the latino circles you are close to aren’t representative of an entire continent? Anyway, I’m not a spokesperson for Latin-americans, your comment is pretty dismissive with the implication that my supposed lack of criticism is due to being latin American.

Red Marriott, what’s wrong with dialogue? There is currently an embargo against Rojava making trade impossible, so the revolution can only last a couple more years unless it is lifted. This can only be negotiated with states. If the Rojava kurds and the PKK hadn’t coordinated with the Iraqi Kurdish government and the US, they would have been defeated by ISIS, but I suppose if you’d been in their place you would have stayed true to your superior anarchist principles and faced slaughter or IS rule.

Serge Forward, the ideology of the PKK - Democratic Confederalism is similar to anarchism for the reasons I’ve already explained in detail in this thread.

bastarx
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Feb 12 2015 09:18
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What proportion of anarchists support the Rojava revolution?

Any proportion above 0% is too high.

anagoldman
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Feb 12 2015 09:36

Bastarx, thanks for your insightful comment.

So far no dialogue/discussion with anyone who actually knows about Rojava on this thread.

Battlescarred
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Feb 12 2015 10:34

Particularly from you...

kurekmurek
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Feb 12 2015 11:23

anagoldman

Hi, nice to see you here. I did debated here about Rojava and its importance for any revolutionary in contemporary capitalist world. Unfortunately people whom you are debating above has a tendency to reject every first hand account and any actual evidence (check all of new compass it has good articles on actual organization of Rojava by the way also see this including the comments section where Graeber actually writes) that remotely demonstrates Rojava has some sort of progressive politics that might be relevant and imporant for a revival of anarchism as a social project. Instead they are happy with their own image of anarchism/communism and only interested in criticizing any actual process by how it lacks the perfection of this ideal image. That is why people can after all these discussions still argue "there is no first hand account" or "Kurdish movement is unrelated to anarchism" or "I am in the middle ground" (in other words; "supporters" are a bunch of people hypnotized to blindly follow what Ocalan says)
Anyway actually I was thinking international solidarity was going good for Rojava myself. You don't think so? Especially in terms of political solidarity or discussion of kurdish situation and Bookchin etc... If you mean only direct involvement in combat. I think it is not really a requiremnt for YPG right now. and most of the people who go to Rojava (for example from Turkey) actually try to make a "civil" repression on Turkey to open its border or to help people etc... So mostly "solidarity" actions (Though you can still be killed for that) What is your impression on current state of support for example in Latin America for example?

Edit: Added more links and context

anagoldman
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Feb 12 2015 11:09

Kurremkarmerruk, thanks for your post! Yes, it’s getting tiresome to be continually dismissed by people with no interest in what’s happening. They probably feel threatened by the fact that there is finally a reason for revolutionary commitment, which they never intended to have anything to do with.

Yes, you’re right, there doesn’t seem to be a need for many more fighters anymore. I think the most important thing is political solidarity and pressure on Turkey to lift the embargo.

I don’t live in Latin America, but haven’t found anything on the internet that shows Rojava support groups there. Hopefully they’re out there though! I think if more people knew about it there would be great support, as Latin Americans tend to be more politicised than Europeans. It just hasn’t been reported as far as I know, and the people I’ve spoken to have no idea what’s been happening.

There are solidarity groups in Spain and France though smile