Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Some thoughts on the PKK, Rojava and the Kurds.

  • I'm very willing to change my opinion on Rojava/PKK and would love to be convinced otherwise.

  • There's too much bluff and bluster from libertarian left movements who've gotten carried away.
  •  I accept the imperfection and difficulty of the situation and know it could not be an anarcho-communist "utopia",
  • It's more like Soviet Russia that Barcelona in 1936.

    • I Support  the fight against ISIS.  However I am unsure about the PKK's other aims.  They absolutely cannot be called anarchist or even libertarian socialist.I despair at thoughtless western leftists and anarchists being sucked in by comparisons to Spain and by exoticism in the same way people glorify Maoism or Cuba or the Vietcong etc.
    • I have read articles and seen videos of the PKK where they treat Ocalan with a cult of personality type reverence. Pictures of him hang everywhere.
    • PKK members do not seem to know much about Bookchin despite the fact they are require to read Ecology of Freedom.
    • The Language of the PKK I have witnessed in videos is about patriots, kurdish nation, kurds etc. It's not one speaking against hierarchy, oppression or in favour of revolution,class struggle etc. Not even close.
    • PKK seems nationalist but not in the sense of a nation but more in the sense of a region.
    • I am very skeptical the PKK are no longer stalinist.
    • They have a centralised organisation.
    • They collect a tax 
    • they use child soldiers and conscripts at times.
    • They work at least tactically with Islamists ,the assad regime and pro-western forces.
    • They are not so radically feminist as it would seem.
      Variations obviously exist within their groups and it can change over time. Written statements may quickly become outdated.
    " Indeed, while some compare the “Rojava Revolution” to Spain 1936 perhaps a better analogy would be the Bolsheviks in 1917 which many anarchists, both internationally and inside Russia, mistakenly supported initially as a truly revolutionary force."

    Revolution in Rojava? - La Oveja Negra

    "It’s amazing to see once again that many of those who claim to be partisans of the destruction of the State and who focus their critique and analysis on that, fall again into the trap. Many of the critiques against the State that they consider to be the central problem of capitalist society don’t grasp its nature and end up defending it under a new shape.
    We must insist on the need to grasp and criticize the society in the most complete way possible. When we talk about social revolution we talk of abolishing the whole of the capitalist social relation: State, private property, wage labor, commodity production, value…
    We became too much accustomed to the fact that when one talks about revolution he talks about the form rather than the content. In this sense, it is easy to compare pictures of Kurdish militias’ armed women with those of militiawomen of Spain 36 as well as talking about fascism of the Islamic State and advocating once again conciliation with the bourgeoisie against the greater evil, as it happened with the republicans against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
    Once again we find ourselves back in front of historical parallels based on misunderstandings of both periods and not on a critical and anti-capitalist balance sheet of the struggles of our class."
    “The subversive nature of a movement or organization cannot be measured by the number of armed women — nor its feminist character either. Since the 1960s, across all continents, most guerrillas have included or include numerous female combatants — for example in Colombia. This is even truer amongst Maoist-inspired guerrillas (Nepal, Peru, Philippines, etc.) using the strategy of “People’s War”: male/female equality should contribute to the tearing down of traditional structures, feudal or tribal (always patriarchal). It is in the Maoist origins of the PKK-PYD that one finds the source of what specialists call “martial feminism”.”

    "We have to get rid of the leftist logic, the logic that is always based on the analysis of the inter-bourgeois conflicts in a region, and then takes its favorite power side. We always have to start from the genuine expressions of the struggle of our class to find a way to show solidarity and contribute to its propagation and spreading.

    We don’t side with anybody in this conflict if we rely on the story that one wants to sell us. Our only possible side is to always claim the invariant mottos, to not give up, and to not to be blind: Social revolution; worldwide and total!"

    The bloodbath in Syria: class war or ethnic war?

    "To return though, to the question of revolution; for us as communists, a revolution is a creation of the working class in struggle for its own interests. Within the course of this struggle the working class not only transforms society, but also transforms itself. In Syrian Kurdistan, there was no movement of the working class. Control of the towns in Syrian Kurdistan was taken by an armed group filling the power vacuum left after the withdrawal of the Syrian Arab Army. That's not to say that there was no support for the PYD, as everywhere today nationalism in the Kurdish regions is strong. Local committees were thrown up which took control of the necessary tasks usually undertaking by the municipal level of the state. The Da'esh too, has in many cases left local people in charge of local issues, and like the Da'esh, the armed men have maintained power at the top. The supreme ruling body of Rojava, the Kurdish Supreme Committee is a body, not composed of delegates from lower level committees, but an alliance between two political groups, the PYD, and the Barzani backed KDP. Despite all of the democratic pretence, ultimate control is wielded by nationalist gangs with guns."

    Kurdistan? - Gilles Dauvé

    "The current Kurdish leaders read Rousseau, not Bakunin.
    The Social Contract [of Rojava] proclaims the “mutual and peaceful coexistence and understanding between all strands of society” and recognizes “Syria’s territorial integrity“. It is what all democratic constitutions say, and there is no reason to expect praise for the class struggle, nor the demand for the abolition of borders, thus of states. [4]"

    To call or identify the "experiment" or "revolution" developing in Rojava as some class based anarchist or communist revolution to the likes of any case based anarchist or communist revolution is just as flawed as refusing to look favorably at Rojava precisely because it is not a class based anarchist or communist revolution. One should not look to others to define one's own "revolution" yet one cannot ignore "international solidarity".
    I don't get this insistence that we should give praise to 'revolutions' which aren't classed-based, when that's how we understand the basis of what a revolution actually is.
    It'd be one thing if the Rojava optimists cooled off a bit and said in earnest 'OK, there are all these glaring problems but perhaps libertarian class struggle work and idea can influence things more favourably' but instead what we actually see is a celebration of how it currently is, and all its glorious achievements which herald the new age of..political professionals controlling everything, a bit like before."


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