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(en) France, Organisation Communiste Libertarie (OCL) - Kurdistan / Liberation of Peoples - Four things that the left has to learn Kobanê (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:28:57 +0300


Many reactions of the Western left have somewhat predictably folded in recycling criticism of American and British imperialism, not seeing what is really exceptional and remarkable recent developments, including the emergence of the PKK hypothesis / PYD democratic autonomy as a powerful alternative to the authoritarianism of the AKP and the crisis of nation-states throughout the region. ---- Four lessons we can and must remove events and around Kobanê. ---- On October 7, 2014 - The Disorder of Things ---- The Kurdish town of Kobanê has recently become the center of a geopolitical conflagration that could change the course of politics in the Middle East. After months of silence on the threat posed to the EIIL Kurds, the world looks at last, even if the "international community" remains remarkably silent.

However, many Western reactions, be they academics, journos or militants, have somewhat predictably folded in recycling criticism of American and British imperialism, often at the cost of not grasp what is really exceptional and remarkable recent developments. Thus, in the manner of these small items in a numbered list of the contemporary left, here are four things that we can and should learn from events in and around Kobanê.

1 - It's time to question the fixation of the West on the EIIL

If one were to believe Barack Obama, David Cameron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the "savagery" of "fundamentalism" is the principal of the NATO involvement in Syria goal. In particular, many leftist critics reproduce the same fixation on EIIL when examining Western interests. However, for a supposedly determined to stop the "Islamic extremism" omnipotent imperialist organization, NATO has been curiously ineffective. In fact, the United States is indirectly responsible for the arming of EIIL and utterly incompetent and / or unwilling to arm the resolutely secular Kurdish resistance.
American and British air strikes were ephemeral, and at best symbolic, having little impact on the progression of EIIL. In addition, Turkey has closed its eyes repeatedly use by EIIL its territory and its borders, respectively, operations training and supply channels. More recently, while Kobanê is about to be conquered, Turkey has insisted that any military assistance to the Kurdish PYD is conditional on his abandonment of self-determination and political autonomy of the cantons, and acceptance of the Turkish buffer zone controlled by the Kurds in northern areas of Syria (which goes further than just a colonial land grabbing).
Now, considering that the United States and the United Kingdom were determined to intervene long before EIIL is perceived as a threat, and considering the long-standing hostility of Turkey to the PKK / PYD, we should demand more of all of these analyzes of the intervention would start with the EIIL and would end with him. In short, it is increasingly clear that EIIL is a little more than an excuse for NATO to pursue other geopolitical goals - namely the overthrow of Assad and destruction of Kurdish autonomy.

2 - Beware of liberal internationalism

Many anti-response critics have argued that non-military options remain available through diplomatic channels and pressure on regional actors such as Iran, the Gulf States and even Russia. This is a misreading of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East. First, the United States does not control all allied states so easily. Despite the historical relationships of dependence, despite the metaphors of "puppets", most Gulf states are full participants remarkably powerful, with interests and activities outside the control of the United States. Any suggestion to ask the Saudis to stop funding is likely to be as effective as asking the EIIL to calm down a bit.

Second, call for an American diplomatic engagement with Russia and Iran to relations of international cooperation that simply do not exist. This means ignoring the geopolitical rivalry between these long three nation states competing for regional domination. That is to focus too much on the criteria of Western states - "if only Western states had forced the villains Eastern States to do this or that, the conflict would be resolved."

Finally, it comes down to marginalize and thus close the door to the possibility of other non-state and anti-capitalist solutions based on the draft PYD / PKK democratic autonomy. Indeed, it is unclear why the imperatives and motives of imperialism so prevalent in the military action would not be equally problematic when it comes to "peaceful solutions" directed either by the West or by regional powers in reactionary and anti-democratic effect. Thus, we must criticize and question the government's claims that military intervention is "the only option". But we must also be wary of the hollow pacifism based on designs (neo) liberal and state-centric cooperation, insofar as the conditions of the latter are absent (and elsewhere in the system of capitalist state, they are still absent).

3 - Listen Kurdish voice

The Western Left often a debilitating tendency to overestimate the orientalist and influence of the United States and relegate communities and societies affected by the intervention status of actors liabilities not worthy to be analyzed as such. Indeed, it is striking that the number of anti-imperialists who rely less on experience and more dynamic and Kurdish communities on hackneyed criticism of the logic of predation of Great Power comments.

On one hand, this can cause the left to reproduce the cartoons of "ugly sectarianism" and "Islamic fundamentalism" in a way that does not seem far removed from the arguments of Cameron and Obama.

On the other hand, it takes little account of the voice of the Kurdish communities attacked because their intentions and their actions do not matter to oppose "imperialism at home." The resulting policy can often be deleterious. One might ask, for example, that the people of Kobanê may well make calls for "peaceful alternatives to war." This is particularly important because in Western Kurdistan (northern Syria), Kurds stand for what is probably the best hope for a political left in the region. Even the most cursory glance at the constitutional order and political achievements of Kurdish cantons would shame most Western organizations.

Yet this week, as the hunger strikes and demonstrations of solidarity took place the Kurdish people in the UK and beyond, anti-war groups organized a demonstration quite distinct and potentially contradictory. Earlier the Western left abandon his penchant to reduce the class struggle in geopolitics, the sooner it can provide an authentic solidarity groups and communities who deserve and need it.

4 - Keep an eye on Turkey

Because of the attitude of Turkey vis-à-vis Kobanê, the Kurdish people and their allies took to the streets of cities across Turkey, clashed with police and gendarmerie to a level not seen since the resistance movement of 2013 events were militant and precise in their objectives, barricading the streets, targeting checkpoints, banks, government buildings, police and army, and according to some reports, releasing some neighborhoods.
Lately, politics in Turkey found herself at an impasse, energy Gezi pretend dissipate, caught between state violence and Erdogan electoral victories. At the same time, the so-called Kurdish Peace process is stalled, perhaps irrevocably, for the reconciliation of the Turkish state has proven to be little more than words. It is difficult to predict whether the current confrontation between protesters and the state will increase, but it is clear that the Turkish Kurdistan machinations result in a response Kurdish in Turkey.

Large sectors of Turkish society remains deeply racist (last night a twitter hashtag inciting violence against the Kurds has been successful in Turkey) and hence the bias is likely. However, there is reason to hope that this time may be different. Gezi foreshadowed a new - but very flawed - support for Kurdish liberation, most clearly demonstrated in the unprecedented support of the pro-Kurdish party HDP in the last presidential elections in Turkey. In addition, Kobanê in Rojava and elsewhere, the model PKK / PYD democratic autonomy is a powerful alternative to the authoritarianism of the AKP.
In this regard, the future is crucial to Kobanê aspirations democratic and revolutionary people of Turkish, Syrian and Kurdish.

October 7, 2014

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Source: The Disorder of Things

Translation: XYZ / OCLibertaire

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Notes of translation:

Most English texts still use the old name "ISIS" (for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) to designate the jihadist organization.

PKK Kurdistan Workers' Party (Turkey)

PYD: Party of Democratic Unity, the party-in-law of the PKK in Rojava (Western Kurdistan / Syria).

The term "Left" in the Anglo-Saxon world tends to include rather the activists and groups who want to change the order of things, and to exclude "left government" and capital management. That's more than the extreme left and unless the entire left.
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