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(en) France, Organisation Communiste Libertarie (OCL) - Courant Alternatif, CA #233 - Syria dossier: A breath of life between Bashar al-Assad and the jihadists? The Kurdish movement at a cros[machine translation]sroads (fr)

Date Sat, 19 Oct 2013 16:42:10 +0300

Rather than rushing to one or communicated necessarily reducing the threats of military intervention and the situation in Syria, we wanted to know a little more about a topic that we know little. Texts from various sources (and other libertarians) have been translated (see on our site ( http://oclibertaire.free.fr/ ), and taking a little time, we have identified some ways to better understand the situation. ---- Many questions, few certainties. Needless to say, we consider the threat of Allied intervention for a clean war and the defense of freedom as an imperialist farce. But once you said that was condemned, we did not say much. because the key is to see if there are hardware and actual items (not an ideological projection of what should be the name of this or that doctrine) that allow for some hopes on the birth of a perspective "third way" that fall outside the conflict Bashar al-Assad/djihadistes-impÃrialistes.

On a popular revolt to a militarization of the conflict

The movement that began in Syria in March 2012 is not born, as is often said, in the middle, classes mainly young and urban. In reality, what happened was exactly the opposite, and this is what distinguishes the Syrian Revolution (first) Egyptian revolution, for example. The mass protests in Syria began and remained for several months confined to marginalized and neglected areas - rural areas such as Deraa, Idlib, Deir al-Zor, Raqqa, poor neighborhoods and slums of Damascus, etc.. Apart from a few demonstrations of solidarity, major urban centers (Damascus and Aleppo) have not really changed. This is because the urban middle classes reluctant to stand on the side of the revolution, they still believed that the plan would succeed in overcoming this "crisis", so it was safer for their interests to remain silent. In contrast, people in rural areas had much more to lose, and their strong regional identity made it easier to break with the regime.

This is also explained by the program "modernization" of Bashar al-Assad implemented in 2000. Its economic liberalization of the country, celebrated by the West as many "reforms" welcome, was conducted through a mafia network of senior military officers and security officers, in partnership with major businessmen, and it is largely concentrated in the traditional bourgeois urban centers, for their benefit. In addition, the economic liberalization was not accompanied by a "political liberalization" that would have made these reforms more acceptable by the people - except for the "Damascus Spring" in 2000-2001, the power was quickly suppressed for fear that too much freedom can destabilize his regime (1).

Gradually, the Syrian version of the "Arab Spring" has been transformed. Other actors have entered the scene: the army officers who formed the ASL, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists who created the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria (SON) and the Syrian Islamic Front (FIS) , jihadist currents associated with Al-Qaida (al-brow Nostra and others). But it also takes with other local groups without specific affiliations. And if only that jihadists outside the ASL, local alliances formed and dissolved.

This militarization has gradually forget the Western observer and its media that this was the start of a confrontation between a repressive regime and a repressed population. "Civil war" version took precedence over social upheaval. However, this militarization of the Syrian revolution is not the entire rebellion. Much of the protesters in the street does not become armed fighters. There continues to be civil movements, peace and non-violence (2), while wanting the fall of the Assad regime, do not want the arrival of jihadists in power.

The question that these movements actually represent. In conversation Joshua Stephens (Institute for Anarchist Studies) with a Syrian anarchist ( http://oclibertaire.free.fr/spip.ph ... ), it gives an example: after the security forces of the regime are removed from Yabroud for Assad can concentrate elsewhere, people were quick to fill the void: "Now we are organizing all aspects of the life of the city by ourselves [sic]. " He adds: "A Darayya, a suburb of Damascus, where the regime has conducted a fierce battle since the city fell to the rebels in November 2012, some people have decided to get together and create a log (Enab Baladi), which focuses on what is happening both locally and in the rest of Syria. It is printed and distributed free throughout the city. " He concludes: "The principles of self-governance, autonomy, mutual aid and cooperation are present in many organizations born in the insurrection. "

Other examples exist than we can list in this article. Let's face it, these initiatives are small and minority in the current context militarized, and they most often limited to organize survival amid bombs. Nevertheless, they exist, and it is these movements that could emerge a "third way" (Neither Jihad nor Assad) if it managed to establish itself as a de facto alliance, if organic, with experiments in Rojava (Kurdish northeast of Syria) by the Kurdish movement (see the following article on the Kurdish movement).

Class conflict born within Syrian society

Since the great powers threaten al-Assad Bashar of military intervention, the analyzes explaining the Syrian events only through the prism of an imperialist offensive multiply the far left, by reviving a simplistic view just a world divided into two camps (the imperialists and others). This has resulted to disappear, too, that this was originally created by the popular uprisings which we spoke earlier. Reducing the conflict to a clash of capitalist global forces, we removed the reality of the class struggle in Syria.

We must of course take into account the impact of imperialism and globalization on the ongoing conflict: the struggles for control of vast wealth that the region has the critical confrontation with Iran, the role Israel, the emergence of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the hesitations of American imperialism, and a thousand other data that are called geopolitics. The world is then seen as a large board on which rationally face the great official powers and powerful occult interests, around which revolve journalists and academics to discuss and interpret the game. And, of course, in this game the "little people" is seen as negligible quantity and influence, as manipulated every time and unable to act for himself.
Yet, we can not consider the popular uprisings as a direct result an imperialist offensive of a world divided between good and evil, but rather the reaction of proletarians against their exploitation locally. The current uprisings and revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East seem generally due to a combination of economic deprivation, social disintegration and repression of political and civil liberties. In other words, it is still in a class struggle driven by specific local dynamics, a growing proportion of the population is being felt increasingly squeezed, marginalized, powerless, humiliated and attacked his dignity. The complex social process that is at work in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria are therefore not reduced to two forces that Western commentators insist most often: Islamist organizations and liberal pro- Westerners, who have managed to take the lead in much wider social strata (people plagued by rampant unemployment, especially among young people, living in substandard housing with dilapidated urban infrastructure and undergoing inflation and other results the uneven economic growth).

The myth of religious conflict

A tendency also exists in the West, to overrate the importance of the rivalry between religions. While the British and Ottoman French colonial powers have, in history, frequently played this card, and they are far from being foreign to the development of sectarianism in the Middle East. But, as elsewhere, most people have multiple identities coexisting - or rather identity markers - that are invoked at different times in history, in different contexts. The emphasis on confessionalism inevitably leads to a simplistic and reductionist views of a system and a complex as those of Syria society. Since 1970, Hafez al-Assad has cleverly used the tensions between ethnic sects and denominations to consolidate his rule, but keeping them under control enough to justify the "necessity" of its power to "prevent civil war." This is a "policy of sectarian tension" rather than the clichà "divide and conquer" Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar after him have always prayed in Sunni mosques and peaceful religious and community leaders Alawites while marketing their "secular" regime. In fact, the Syrian conflict is political, and reduced to a war between religions is just as absurd as to reduce conflicts of interest existing between France and Britain to rivalry between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Comrades of the OCL


(1) For development of these questions, read the translation of "Democratic confederalism policy proposed release of the Kurdish Left" appeared on the website of the OCL http://oclibertaire.free.fr/ spip.ph. ..

(2) When people say "peace" in Arabic, they often mean "disarmed" or "non-militarized." The word is not loaded with the same connotations in English and other European languages.

The Kurdish movement at a crossroads

Of course we must be careful not to reduce the Kurdish movement Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Nevertheless, it is the latter which grows today and seems destined to play an increasingly important within it. But the Kurdish movement as a whole will probably upset the political data in this area of ââthe Middle East.

On August 31, Duran Kalkan, a leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), claimed that "the Kurds are organized around a system of power-cons. Refusing to live with the tradition of the state and the nation-state, the Kurdish movement offers autonomy for all peoples and cultures of the Middle East, and a confederation of people who would be the best solution to live together and in peace without borders. "

In an article in AC (April-May 2013), "Kurds, the largest stateless people in the world" (1) it was noted that for the KCK (2) "the idea of a nation-state Kurdish Turkey is abandoned, like most of the Kurdish population, in favor of an autonomist and border relations confederations and associations "order and the KCP was not an organization but a mode of organization. We know that the PKK has officially dropped any reference to Leninism since the beginning of the century, and its leader Ãcalan, imprisoned since 1999, was influenced by reading the works of the pioneer of the social ecology, anarchist communist Murray Bookchin . Like those of other libertarian and feminist writings, these theories have circulated in the Kurdish movement in deep thought, and then developed the idea of "communalism", also under the influence of the Zapatista movement and the Intifada.

"We see communalism to develop first in Turkish Kurdistan. Since 2007, the liberation movement has created democratic assemblies making their own decisions in the areas of cities where the movement is strong, particularly in the provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Siirt, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Batman and Van. The assemblies were created to make decisions on all issues, challenges and projects in their respective areas, according to the principles of grassroots democracy - everyone has the right to participate. In some of these meetings, not Kurdish people involved, as Azerbaijanis / her or Arameans " , says Ercan Ayboga, rightly questioned in 2011 by Janet Biehl, the girlfriend of Murray Bookchin (3).

We also know that in a highly patriarchal society Kurdish dynamic was born in the mid 1980s in the liberation movement, leading to the presence of women more important and almost equally in all areas of the fight. A fairly rapid evolution has not been without fading on the Kurdish society.

Finally, the move towards a solution to the Kurdish question other than the claim of a nation-state has led the movement to clarify the social project in Kurdistan: "The Kurdish liberation movement is the liberation movement of the oppressed" , said Murat Karayilan (KCK Executive Council), citing the Armenians, the Syriac-speaking communities and Yezidi Kurds. He calls the Armenian people, Syriac, Jewish, Arabic and Greek to support the Kurdish movement. "Kurdistan is already a common homeland in which the Armenians, Syriacs, Arabs, Turkomans and different ethnic and religious communities (...) live. Kurdistan is the common homeland of all communities of all democratic nations. "

One could multiply quotations and facts, at least, are far from the Maoist-Leninist orthodoxy frequently paid, and not without reason, the PKK. It does not take for granted all these statements, but to try to understand how and why they appeared in a rather known for its military strength movement, and especially what influence this "review" may more broadly in society.

Some will see where the demagoguery from a remaining deeply Maoist or Marxist-Leninist organization. But demagoguery is to cuddle in the grain of the positions that we have little or no sharing, to appeal to a population that, her, sharing, and plays an important and independent role in the political future of the territory. However, we believe that denying the tradition of the nation-state and want to live without borders is a desire at this point shared by large masses we should bend demagogic this ideological substrate? Unlikely.

The evolution of the PKK which has led to an ideological revision, including that of Marxism-Leninism and the strategy of "people's war", apparently to us, two important causes: the end of "real socialism" and found dead, at the end of the last century, the guerrillas - who has been in Turkey heavy losses and had to abandon many towns and villages to fold in the Iraqi mountains. And as, moreover, these problems did not affect the determination of the Kurds, including the economic diaspora in France and Germany, to engage in the fight but have instead amplified, it was necessary to reflect on political project and the means to achieve it. Do not overlook the rise of more or less libertarian themes that irrigated some struggles in the world after the fall of the USSR. This does certainly not mean that the PKK will give to play a "leading role", much less that he became an anarchist! But the question is how to observe and be forged political relations between the party and its organizations (his militant sphere) and the population, whether sympathetic or not.
Where there is strong and almost hegemonic, what place does leave it to other expressions of the struggle? What is the relationship he has between "all institutions" (government, schools, municipalities, self-government ...) and the party and its affiliated organizations as partisan institutions? It is these questions that we must try to gather as much information and evidence to wear again and always a critical but not "ideological" about the events that shook the region (as elsewhere). Knowing that nothing is preordained, and that we may as well see the shift "revisionist" deepen and continue only see a return to positions reproduction of domination. It is less a matter of political line and speech that developments sometimes unexpected, history ... and the class struggle.

The "Kurdish factor" has an impact, potential and actual, on the Syrian scene and the ongoing war by the mere fact that the Kurdish movement is not with the opposition (especially if it refuses to recognize the Kurdish autonomy and remains dominated by Islamists) or with the Assad regime. The both of them have not left only good memories! (See box "The Syrian government against the Kurds, an old story").

If the Kurds (or at least some of them) want to be an alternative in the Syrian conflict (the PKK-PYD - PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK - claiming the "democratic confederalism" as a model for the entire Middle East), a third track ("Ni Ni"), they know they can not do it alone (they are at most 10% of the Syrian population, estimated at 23 million). They will need allies (see above the track emerges a third way). On this point, their statement is explicit: "Syria needs a third way. A true democracy is possible with a common struggle between the Kurds and the Syrian democratic forces. " The Kurds will keep their position for the "third way" or "neither with the Baath regime that defends the status quo (nation-state) or with the opposition and extremists (jihadis) are extensions of the world system" , asserted until recently a leader of the PKK (4).

It is the hope of this hypothetical "third way", which can be a kind of passage favoring one hand the emergence of a pole fighting to stop the war, the fall of the regime, opposition to the movement of political Islam, and, secondly, based on the "Kurdish factor" and other process questioning borders and states inherited from colonization, a upheaval in the Middle East political map. And could break free and play a leading role social demands which, hitherto, remain repressed, suppressed or taken hostage and exploited by the logic of power, identity, religion, defense of authoritarian regimes and clashes between peoples.

Comrades of the OCL


(1) See the website of the OCL http://oclibertaire.free.fr/spip.ph ...
Please refer to this article in AC for a more complete picture of the Kurdish movement.

(2) The KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) is the backbone of many Kurdish organizations (political, cultural, economic, military, etc..) And the holder of all the theoretical innovations of the movement. It is of course heavily influenced by the PKK.

(3) the full interview can be found on: http://populaction.com/le-mouvement ... We can also read, Janet Biehl, but in English, the report on the Mesopotamian Social Forum: http:// new-compass.net/node/265

(4) See the article on "free information Mesopotamia Network" http://www.actukurde.fr/actualites/ ...

Bombed Damascus, Damascus martyred Damascus not yet released ...

Everything starts where ends the saga of Lawrence of Arabia. The British agent, working to unify the Arab tribes on the British side to free the Arabian Peninsula of the Ottoman Empire allied with Germany, taking part in Damascus in October 1918. If the dream of Hussein of Mecca to form a large Arab kingdom (comprising Iraq, Jordan, Syria and northern Saudi Arabia today) is not in the agenda, Lawrence believes that Syria must become independent under the reign of Hussein and his son Faisal. Independence will be very short.
's secret Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916 had planned the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and envisaged for after the victory, the current Lebanon and Syria to France, Palestine and Iraq back to the British. No question here of Arab independence, but a mandate from the League of Nations (SDN) and the two powers which strongly resembles a protectorate now formally the existence of the state colonized by placing it under guardianship.

To implement this agreement, France must first crush in 1920 an Arab revolt led by Prince Faisal. Damascus is taken in 1920. The French policy is then cut into small Syria autonomous regions: a rather large Alawite and Christian Lebanon, Aleppo, Damascus, an Alawite territory, another Druze.

The great Syrian uprising 1925-1926 oblige France to commit 40,000 troops. Damascus was bombed in October 1925, leaving thousands dead. Then again by aviation in May 1926 (5 000 deaths). 40,000 soldiers are involved in the repression. Entire villages are burned. In 1936, a new rebellion broke out in the cities. The Popular Front government signed a treaty providing for the independence of Syria and Lebanon ... but Parliament did not ratify it.

At the end of the Second World War, as in other French possessions, an anti-colonial movement grows. May 30, 1945 (three weeks after the massacre of Setif in Morocco), General de Gaulle gave the order to bomb Damascus French aviation for thirty-six hours. 500 dead, including 400 civilians, and there are hundreds injured. It was not until 1946 that Lebanon and Syria became independent states. The French troops leave the region. July 16, 2012, Bashar al-Assad gave the order to bomb Damascus for the fourth time in its history.

History of gas

In 1988, Saddam's Iraq, then an ally of the United States had used gas against the Kurds Hallabja without the Americans attacked Baghdad. Robert Fisk (British journalist with the Independent ) reminds us that the CIA, on this occasion, had spread the rumor that the responsible use of gas was ... Iran. Normal: Iran was the enemy, and when Saddam will become in turn, will be "punished" in 2003 when he had more gas, do we learn then officially! During the war between Iran and Iraq (1980 to 1988), it is the latter, an ally of the United States, which used gas against the Iranians! So exit the history of "punishment" for use of gas! Especially since, as recalled World, the use of gas in a conflict dating back to the First World War, after which we find this practice during the Rif war - in 1921 and 1926 - led by France for government "cartel left" chaired Aristide Briand and Edouard Herriot! And, of course, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1973 when the United States will use. In other words, after using themselves several times the gas, the Western imperialists then grant the right to declare when it should be prohibited.

The Syrian government against the Kurds, an old story

In 1962, the Syrian state withdrew their Syrian citizenship to 70,000 Kurds, and then declared them as "foreigners living in the country." Their rights to education, to travel abroad or property were confiscated. Today, it is estimated that the population has increased from 300 000 to 400 000 people. The year 1963 is another important date in the Syrian history: it is the year when the Baath Party came to power through a coup. This party not only declared Syria as an "Arab country," but it defines the Kurds as "displaced refugees in Turkey." Based on this definition, the Kurds refused all of their rights: the Kurdish identity was banned, and the names of their villages and towns changed. In other words, what Turkey did in the 1920s, Syria has done fifty years later. Even write in Kurdish was considered a serious crime, punishable by long prison incarceration with violent methods. Between 1972 and 1974, thousands of Arabs were displaced so programmed by the Baath regime in Kurdish villages in the province of Al-Jazeera (Jazira), the project announced settlement of an "Arab belt" in region. This project was actively continued into the 2000s, after the death of Hafez al-Assad came to power of Bashar al-Assad. ("The final phase," Amed Dicle http://oclibertaire.free.fr/spip.ph ... )
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