Third-positionist entryism - Amir Taaki and Rojava

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Mike Harman
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May 8 2018 15:05
Third-positionist entryism - Amir Taaki and Rojava

This has come up in a few different threads, but it doesn't really belong in any of them, so starting a new one.

Summarising some of the older discussions:

The 2016 London bookfair meeting on Syria with Leila Al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab was disrupted by Amir Taaki.

There's some discussing of it in the thread on here, but not anything very clear: https://libcom.org/forums/announcements/london-anarchist-bookfair-saturday-29th-october-2016-06062016?page=1

Leila Al-Shami wrote it up here: https://leilashami.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/london-anarchist-bookfair/

When I first heard about this, I had no idea who Amir Taaki was, and it seems like no-one else really did either.

However, the Institute of Social Ecology (generally very pro-Rojava due to the Bookchin link) earlier this year wrote up this post on him, outing him as a Third Positionist: http://social-ecology.org/wp/2018/01/the-new-reactionaries-amir-taaki-alt-right-entryism-and-rojava-solidarity/ - I read that, then realised it was the same person, and a lot of things fell into place.

Then after that, I saw a Baffler mag profile on Taaki and Cody Wilson (published this month), mentioned in the comments here: https://libcom.org/blog/angela-nagles-plagiarise-any-nonsense-03052018

One writer for the Baffler has links with Eduard Limonov, who co-founded the National Bolshevik party with Dugin (whether this reflects further on the Baffler I don't know).

Taaki is not shy about his support for Dugin, for example this tweet.

Wilson co-founded the alt-right crowdfunding site Hatreon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cody_Wilson#Hatreon

When the bookfair incident happened, people on that thread (and to be honest, me as well although I wasn't at the bookfair so ignored the whole thing at first) mostly wrote it off as 'Syrian revolution defenders' vs. a particularly rude Rojava defender, but I think it's quite a lot worse than that.

I will note that Al-Shami and Yassin-Kassab maybe have positions many of us will disagree with (to my knowledge Yassin-Kassab has supported some western intervention, although Al-Shami has not), but their main focus has been on emphasising the secular aspects of the Syrian revolution as opposed to Russian and Syrian state propaganda that it's entirely an Islamist movement to justify mass bombing campaigns against civilians.

Whether or not there is any communist/proletarian potential in that movement (whether in 2014 or now) the repression that it faced was massive and their work to try to explain what it actually was seems useful even if we might disagree on conclusions. Yassin-Kassab also doesn't present himself as an anarchist, which can't be said for Taaki.

Taaki has appeared on RT talking about Rojava. Another Taaki RT appearance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjLdOk7oN0c.

I've seen plenty of pro-Assad conspiracy theory stuff from the US Marcyites (PSL/WWP/ANSWER) and to a lesser extent the CPGB-ML in the UK - more than you could ever want to read about are detailed in https://libcom.org/library/investigation-red-brown-alliances-third-positionism-russia-ukraine-syria-western-left. However the Taaki/Dugin/Rojava/RT link is new to me and feels like it deserves its own thread.

Also a week ago claiming to 'work for the Rojava administration': https://twitter.com/AmirPolyteknik/status/989744865259892736

Mike Harman
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Joined: 7-02-06
May 8 2018 22:38

Big Haaretz feature on Taaki, just uncritically calls him an anarchist: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/.premium.MAGAZINE-how-a-bitcoin-developer-ended-up-fighting-isis-in-syria-1.5908384