Wednesday, 21 October 2015
The Rojava Revolution and Internationalist Solidarity
The following text is an English translation of the introduction to a Rojava solidarity event that was held in Athens, Greece on 24.07.15 by the Anarchist Collective for Combative Proletarian Reconstruction (ASMPA). The text originally appeared on the ASMPA blog.
Our political collective, ASMPA, took the initiative to organize this event for political briefing and revolutionary solidarity; because there are comrades who have made the decision to join in solidarity the revolutionary struggle that is unfolding now in Rojava. We’ve invited you here so as to directly support the internationalist struggle and to reinforce the future of resistance there, until the victory of the revolution.
Two threads of social liberation struggles meet in Rojava, two threads which begin decades ago. One thread begins in the Lacandon jungle of the Chiapas district in Mexico. In an attempt to reconstruct a guerrilla tradition that never really faded away in that continent, an initially small organization of revolutionaries from a left background had been preparing their onset for a decade, in the context of a directly dialectical relation with the oppressed social base. Through this dialogue, EZLN left statist politics and party centralization behind. By occupying and liberating ground for the benefit of all the oppressed, EZLN planted a seed for social autonomy, which is growing and evolving until today.
In the years that followed, the struggle in Chiapas was a catalyst in the development of an internationalist, anti-capitalist movement which focused its efforts on the international mobilizations against the summit meetings of interstate directorates. The mass rallying of anti-systemic rage at these international mobilizations, beyond borders and familiar ground, spread once again in history the spirit of rebellion in the metropolises of global capitalism, peaking in Genoa in 2001 and reaching a turning point in Thessaloniki in 2003. However, in these events the revolt gained ground only circumstantially.
The wave of rebellion sparks once again in 2008 from Greece on the occasion of the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos. The character of this explosion is such that it becomes a transitional point towards the diffusion of insurrectionary movements around the globe, which now attempt to bring down regimes, to establish social territory, to put down the roots for revolutionary organization. But at the same time, capitalist powers and new regional authorities exploit the destabilization of regimes, which is a consequence of rebellions, in order to control them. In the mediterranean, in the arabic world, in latin america, but also in the euro-american north, the anti-capitalist movements create social territory ever more dynamically.
And so we arrive in Syria. The state assassination of some children, who dared to make a call to rebellion via the internet, although their call did not receive a direct response, caused the mass mobilization in certain regions of Syria. When the peaceful demonstrations were attacked by the army, an armed insurrection broke out. The weaknesses of the baathist regime, both internal and external, in conjunction with imperialist plans and interstate antagonisms, gave way to both liberationist social efforts as well as to the most inhumane cannibalism, theocracy which serves capital. It was in these circumstances where the armed resistance and the revolutionary project in Rojava unfolded.
The second thread begins there; it is the historical sequence of Kurdish resistance. The armed struggle of Kurdish people against the nationalism of the states that have occupied Kurdistan until today lasted for three decades. Turkey, Iraq and Iran have perpetrated the most extensive genocide since the Nazi holocaust, against the Kurdish communities. Within the Turkish region, Kurdish resistance has withstood the harshest state terrorism and the most widespread displacement by a powerful military regime.
The fall of the socialist block weakened left movements around the globe. However, the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK) and its civil guards, neither turned to the rising nationalism, nor resigned from the resistance by abandoning their proletarian base in order to integrate into the onset of state and capital. On the contrary, the Kurdish resistance was radicalized further, it placed its trust on social emancipation and internationalism and so it grew stronger. Following the arrest of PKK’s leader, Abdulah Ocalan, who, let’s remind, was delivered to the American and Turkish secret services by the Greek state under PASOK, and despite the personality cult which was inherent in the Kurdish movement, the resistance not only was not disbanded, but on the contrary it developed its collective structure.
As far as the target is concerned, the struggle gave up the trap of a so called independent state entity, which today can only be established in complete dependence to imperialist plans and which fosters a new class of bosses, as is evident in the paradigm of north Iraq. The demand for national self determination gave way to the direct application of intertribal and interreligious social self direction against state borders. The Kurdish resistance abandoned statist politics, but did not give up its arms and so it made a deeper connection to social movements in Turkey and internationally. Let’s note here the inability of the nationalist Kurdish organizations of Iraq to check the advance of ISIS. While they have the support of powerful states they do not have a strong social base. ISIS was halted in Mosul with the intervention of the civil guards of PYD and PKK.
The revolutionary project in Rojava was born out of the age long Kurdish resistance. In the context of the disintegration of the Syrian state’s control, the organized revolutionaries of Kurdistan took the initiative to call the oppressed residents of Rojava to organize themselves in assemblies, self defense formations and horizontal structures for self management. Organized revolutionaries strengthen the struggle towards self direction by opening up paths through their participation in social issues. PKK’s and PYD’s contribution to the social revolution in Rojava is a lesson in revolutionary dialectics.
It is illogical to expect that everyone must first acquire revolutionary conscience in order to revolt; such a stance reproduces the widespread isolation, it distances revolutionary ideas from their vital ground, which is the everyday class conflict, and it confuses insurrectionary and revolutionary action with the authoritarian logic. It is disastrous to wait for everyone to organize themselves without the existence of combative initiative, since liberated territory is necessary, in order for the exploited to be reformed into an autonomous social body. Those who place conscience before revolt and above the struggle, adopt a kind of bourgeois metaphysics, idealism, perhaps because they don’t sense the immediate necessity for a revolution. By intervening in a militant way at every critical point of the class conflict and by liberating ground through the determination of resistance, we can liberate the potential for social emancipation.
The revolution in Rojava sprang up in the midst of a war between powers, in the furnace where societies are pillaged and destroyed. The internationalist revolutionary movement is taking roots whilst facing a dictatorship, imperialist control and theocratic terrorism. In the most brutal circumstances, beyond despair, the common necessity festers and arms itself. Capitalism will not be overcome neither with the maturing of the technological civilization, nor with meticulous planning, but out of the degradation that is caused by the accumulation of power and the inescapable antagonism.
Revolutions break out unpredictably through the vortex of interstate conflict. Paris commune 1871, Russia 1905 and 1917, Germany 1918, Balkans WII. They become the sequel of mass armed insurrection against dictatorship. Kornilov failed coup de etat in Russia, Kapp failed coup de etat in Germany 1920, Spain 1936.
And while in Europe, revolutionary movements where either wiped out or incorporated before the middle of the 20th century, having been attacked, disarmed or transformed, in the periphery of capitalism the resistance to colonial rule and to imperialism continued incessantly on revolutionary terms around the globe. To those who underestimate revolutionary processes in places where the productive forces have yet to mature, according to the dogma, we juxtapose the paradigm of militant liberationist struggles of the most oppressed within the global capitalist arena. Can the exploited of the capitalist metropolis breach their dependence on the privilege that comes with imperialist domination and can they fight against nationalism, without the effective resistance and the revolutionary paradigm of the third world proletariat? The armed movement in Western Europe and North America from the 1960s onwards had accorded particular significance to the anti-imperialist struggle and to solidarity to movements in the periphery. This was something more than an expression of humanitarian sensitivity and consistency with the theory of imperialism; it was a class strategy.
The social revolution in Rojava and the ongoing revolt in Turkey open up paths for the revolutionary struggle globally.
The social self direction as is being put into practice in Rojava, transforms all relations, be they social, political, economic, within communities, between communities, vis a vis authorities, but also in the global field of class and interstate antagonism. On the one hand this is a project towards direct communism, through the self organized reconstruction of the social base and not via a centralized party determination. As the local assemblies or communes, as they’ve been named in Rojava, assume political force, the objective basis is created for the abolition of exploitative relations, the review of needs, the restructuring of production, and the collective reorganization of work. Let’s note as an example, that Rojava is the only place on the planet where the supply of oil is under the collective management of the residents. Only the universal politicization of the class base through processes of militant self direction, can subvert class domination, by redefining the notion of society and of humanity.
On the other hand, the abundant social partnership, without discrimination on the basis of race, religion or national borders, which is practiced in the open structures of self direction and self defense in Rojava, takes away from authoritarian powers at every level every pretence for their conservation, external intervention and repression. Internationalism, the anti-statist perspective and antimilitarism interject into the global war of the ruling classes with quality and force where these are realized en mass by the social base. The revolution in Rojava is a source for the revolutionary creation of civilization as a whole.
The catalytic participation of women in the proletarian war and their all-out contribution into the revolutionary sociopolitical procedures, based on their autonomous organization and its defining might, radicalize the struggle and the collective development. In a place that is brutalized, pillaged and chained by theocracy, the combative resistance of women becomes the front line of the revolution. The fact that the repressed and exploited base universally joins the struggle through new forms of co-organization, delivers incomparable strength. Women’s revolution is the womb from which a new social life is born and it is unbeatable.
Let’s for a moment look at the problem of theocratic terrorism. Should we support in every possible way the resistance against the onslaught of Islamic militarism, it is not because of our fundamental polemic against religion. Nor is it because we wish to side with imperialist liberalism. On the contrary, in Rojava, religious faith is not persecuted, whilst in democratic Europe, Islamic culture is demonized and persecuted, within the framework of a strategy to inflame interreligious conflict, class oppression and intensity of military control and fascism.
Islamic militarism has been bred by the euro-american capitalist centre, mainly by the U.S., since the 60s in order to turn the proletarian rage of peripheral countries, to strike communist movements, to distort anti-imperialist resistance and to throw societies into the chains of totalitarianism. During the post soviet era, NATO’s never ending war campaigns inflamed Islamic militarism. The local state authorities, such as the former regimes of Saddam and Assad, marshaled the same tool. The disdain for human life and freedom, the rampant destruction and the glorification of authoritarianism, as are exemplified in Islamic militarism, shape the modern mirror of the antagonism of state and capital.
In Syria, western imperialists and the baathist regime alike have invested in Islamic militias, in order to control social insurrection and to manage their contradictions, by means of the strife of the most oppressed. The only reliable bulwark against widespread destruction, but also against imperialist intervention, is the revolutionary movement of Rojava, because it is based on popular self defense and autonomy from every authority, and is opposed to theocratic totalitarianism, not as a tactical position but on principle. However, the most fundamental criteria for the strategy of the revolution are the promotion and defense of liberationist social achievements. Those who claim that war should be waged against all powers simultaneously, are perhaps unable to comprehend from their standpoint, what the revolutionary project requires. It is imperative to choose the determinant conflict at each moment in time, so as not to be crushed inside the antagonisms amongst different powers. Today, in Syria, the victory of the social revolution against theocratic militarism is of great historical and global significance. And for this reason, revolutionary comrades have come from distant places to fight in Rojava.
The internationalists who fight in solidarity in Rojava have breached national borders; the state borders that are guarded by the masters’ armies as well as the internal borders before all. Turkish and Kurdish fighters live and die side by side. Proletarians from Europe and the Balkans left the racist retrenchments and the western privileges behind, opening up paths towards the global revolution.
We state openly that we are calling people to join the struggle where the battle is taking place.
Distanced support is insufficient, even hypocritical. Intellectual critique is hostile, anti-proletarian and counter-revolutionary. Quoting the Anarchist Popular Union from Brazil (UNIPA): “For the revolutionary anarchists who defend materialism and dialectics as a method of analysis, what is important is the precise character of the unfolding struggle, whether it is just or unjust from the viewpoint of the social revolution. An anarchist organization must never abdicate its ideological, strategic and theoretical principles. This, as opposed to a puritan detachment, suggests participation and internal dialogue within the mass movement, with an understanding of the particularities of every tendency and faction, their history and present.”
We wish to note at this point that the comrades who fight in Rojava counter in practice the crypto racist statements which suggest that migrants should stay in their own countries in order to struggle. It is every person’s responsibility, and it must be a conscious responsibility for every revolutionary, that she/he shares all her processions with the oppressed, and above all that he shares in the struggle where the most oppressed live. Internationalists in Rojava are truly fighting against the causes of displacement, smashing the conservatism of the capitalist metropolis.
We will not close this introduction on a happy note; In Kurdistan, in Turkey, in the ghettos of the U.S., in Mexico, in Egypt, in the Ukraine and around the globe, proletarians are being slaughtered and are fighting. We do not intend to publish a nice brochure with this here event; rather we wish to strengthen the class war.
Here in Greece, conditions are worse. Facing the most brutal pillaging and terrorism perpetrated by a collapsing regime, there is no organized and combative movement ready to resist. At the same time as the armed left movement in Turkey and in Kurdistan is moving beyond statist politics, here many anarchists and leftists have lined up behind its most despicable form, social democracy. At the same time as the flame of revolt is spreading around the globe, here some have “discovered” the end of insurrection. And the state is raging on unrestrained.
Either we shall attempt the revolution today when it is necessary, or we shall be buried at the pit of history. There, in Rojava is the trial. Here, in the desert of despair we must build all that the living revolutions teach us.