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Trump’s Betrayal Of Ypg – Paris Commune Falls Again?

category international | imperialism / war | debate author Saturday December 22, 2018 15:30author by David Van Deusen - District Vice President of the Vermont AFL-CIO Report this post to the editors

The YPG/YPJ have also held the dictatorship at bay (and they have brought a relative stability to this region of Syria). But what deserves our respect is not simply their military prowess, but rather the type of society which they seek to create in liberated areas. They hold socialist tendencies, but what sets them apart is their desire to organize their world according to directly democratic means; something like a secular, decentralized, Town Meeting system where all the people have an actual voice and an unabstracted vote concerning the issues that face them as a people and as a community. Here they take political influence from the anarchist Vermont sociologist Murray Bookchin. Their vision, similar to that espoused by the EZLN & the Zapatistas (Chiapas, Mexico), is as far reaching as that which was dreamed of on CNT/FAI barricades in Spain from 1936-1939. Their fight has parallels to Mahkno and his brigades in the Ukraine in 1919. They do not fight for an ethic Kurdish state, but rather for a new social formation whereby the individual and the community collectively control the world in which they live. Their dreams, perhaps, are not dissimilar those who manned the walls of the Paris in 1871. And to this very point in time, remarkably, they have been winning.
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As an American, as a Vermonter, and as a Labor leader I have marched many times against US lead wars. However, I do not oppose wars and US military action because I assert war as always unjust and always unnecessary. I am not philosophically a Kantian; this is not a moral imperative for me. I am also no liberal. If truth be told it was only through war and armed conflict that Vermont and the United States became republics free from the British Empire. And like the US, Ireland would still be an exploited outpost in the same empire if it were not for the force of arms demonstrated by the IRA. Cuba, today, without their victorious 1959 revolution, likewise would remain an economic colony of America. And further, it was only through the Allied war effort that Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy & their murderous ideologies were crushed for generations. But since my birth, from the Vietnam War, to armed interventions against Latin America, up through the invasion of Iraq, I am hard pressed to find a US military intervention that, by purpose or accident, carried with it an intrinsic moral clarity; rather contemporary US military action time and again has been launched to serve the interests of corporations and a tiny minority of wealthy elite.

For these reasons I was proud to serve as a Vermont AFL-CIO officer when we were aligned with US Labor Against The War, and when our Unions called for the rapid withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq. I was also proud to have helped write the Vermont AFL-CIO resolution stating our solidarity with the Longshoremen when they conducted a one day strike, shutting down West Coast ports as an act of resistance against the Iraq War. And even now I am supportive of calls coming to finally end the generation-long war in Afghanistan. But again, I do not condemn such military actions because I am a pacifist or because I am rejecting the notion of war in and of itself. I do so because I judge the conflicts which the US engages in, much more often than not, as wrong and immoral based on the specific facts and specific interests being served by these imperialistic conflicts.

For some years now the United States has provided arms and limited Special Forces support (now 2000 boots on the ground) to the Kurdish lead YPG/YPJ in Syria. The YPG/YPJ has used these arms to extend their control over most of northern Syria. They have effectively engaged ISIS, driving them out of the north. They have also held the dictatorship at bay (and they have brought a relative stability to this region of Syria). But what deserves our respect is not simply their military prowess, but rather the type of society which they seek to create in liberated areas. They hold socialist tendencies, but what sets them apart is their desire to organize their world according to directly democratic means; something like a secular, decentralized, Town Meeting system where all the people have an actual voice and an unabstracted vote concerning the issues that face them as a people and as a community. Here they take political influence from the anarchist Vermont sociologist Murray Bookchin. Their vision, similar to that espoused by the EZLN & the Zapatistas (Chiapas, Mexico), is as far reaching as that which was dreamed of on CNT/FAI barricades in Spain from 1936-1939. Their fight has parallels to Mahkno and his brigades in the Ukraine in 1919. They do not fight for an ethic Kurdish state, but rather for a new social formation whereby the individual and the community collectively control the world in which they live. Their dreams, perhaps, are not dissimilar those who manned the walls of the Paris in 1871. And to this very point in time, remarkably, they have been winning.

The historical significance of what they have been achieving in Rojava (northern Syria) has not been lost on those in other nations who also can imagine what a truly democratic and equitable society could look like. Presently hundreds, if not thousands, of regular working people (Americans included) have made the difficult journey to Syria in order stand with them, rifle in hand, to fight for this common dream. And many have died defending this dream from ISIS, from Turkey, and from those who instead seek the domination and brutality of a misguided & twisted Islamic state or the repression which a dictatorship or new form of fascism brings in its wake. And still they fight, and still they organize a direct democracy, composed of Kurds & Arabs, in the lands which they have freed.

And now, our own (so called) President Donald Trump has announced his intent to withdraw the 2000 brave American troops currently deployed in this region (and who by circumstance fight with honor alongside YPG/YPJ). And even tonight, Turkey stands in wait, sharpening their swords…

But given the long history of the US imperialism and economic subjugation, why has the US supported them? Some would argue that the very presence of US guns mark the YPG/YPJ as no more than pawns of a morally questionable US foreign policy. Some would say they are dupes of the CIA. After all, why would the US elite support a revolution which seeks to topple the exploitive American capitalism which underpins the old world order (and which continues to sell out American and foreign workers alike)? How can this be? The answer is simple… The United States has supported this revolution because YPG/YPJ are fiercely opposed to ISIS and are effective fighters. The US therefore has acted on the premise that the enemy of my enemy is my friend (at least for a time).

No one should be under any illusion that the US ruling class has supported the YPG/YPJ because they approve of the cooperative democratic society which they seek to create. The ruling elite of the US (Republican & Democrat) would be perfectly happy supporting an authoritarian dictator as long as such a strongman would support America’s perceived long term economic and strategic interests. But as it turns out, few in northern Syria were or are willing to engage in a protracted fight just to see the deck chairs of authoritarian politics rearranged. But the people have been willing to fight (and die) for something much more far reaching. And this has transformed the YPG/YPJ into something far more significant than a regional militia; it has made them into a multi-ethnic force capable of constantly beating back ISIS and other reactionary elements in Syria. And for America, the short term aim was always to diminish ISIS. Here, as the YPG/YPJ was compelled to face existential enemies on all fronts, they were glad to accept guns and logistical support from wherever they would come. When a man’s house is on fire he does not stop to ask the politics of the one who hands him a bucket of water. If that bucket comes from a Republican, it does not make him a Republican. Thus the US support for the YPG/YPJ was nothing more than a temporary marriage of convenience, and the YPG/YPJ are not defined by the politics (and motivations) of those that offer them material aid.

But now, after the YPG/YPJ has diminished ISIS and pushed them into more remote areas, Trump has grown tired of this marriage and his Administration’s true face has begun to look up to again reveal its twisted contours. Trump would have American troops evacuate in order to turn their attention to other more sinister projects (such as those transpiring on our southern border). And no matter that the second largest army in NATO (the increasingly Islamic-Fascist Turks) have announced their desire to launch invasions of northern Syria with the sole aim of crushing this experiment in direct democracy, the United States of America is preparing to look the other way. The reactionary government of Turkey views the YPG/YPJ as a treat in that they represent an alternative not only for Syria but also for Turkey. And they view YPG/YPJ as having close links to the armed PKK (which operates within Kurdish Turkey and which shares similar politics with their Syrian cousins) further driving their genocidal ambitions. What gives the Turks pause, now, is the presence of American troops. Once this deterrent is removed, it is hard to envision a chain of events which does not include a devastating invasion of this island of hope, this city on the hill overlooking the chaos that is the Middle East. And no matter how America got there, once America leaves Trump will own the history that follows. If the Paris Commune must fall again let it be known that the invaders were enabled by a country which once called itself great.

In Solidarity with the YPG/YPJ & The Struggle in Rojava,
David Van Deusen, District Vice President of the Vermont AFL-CIO

***

What follows is a link to the resolution passed by the Green Mountain Central Labor Council of the Vermont AFL-CIO in support of the YPG/YPJ and the struggle in Rojava. This resolution was passed in February of 2018:
https://vt.aflcio.org/green-mountain-labor-council/news...ojava

author by KApublication date Mon Dec 24, 2018 16:28Report this post to the editors

You can only betray something you believe in or have allegiance to. Trump, Obama or the USA didn't believe in the Kurdish project and didn't have any allegiance to it. Their relation was transactional... as you say, a TEMPORARY marriage of convenience in which the enemy of my enemy is my friend (at least for some time). The time to be friends just passed! So what's the surprise?

At this stage continued support for the YPG would risk where the US and Trump allegiance really is: NATO. US continued support of the YPG moved Turkey to come to understanding and strategic alliances with Russia and now with Iran too. He could simply not afford any more damage to their relation with their NATO ally while he has to also intervene in the crisis between the Saudis and the Turks. Not an easy job. The undeniable links of the YPG and the PKK, an organization which the US labels as terrorist made it very difficult in the long term, after ISIS has been largely defeated, to justify ongoing cooperation. While the Kurdish propaganda claims that they don't want a state, in reality they were creating one in eastern Syria and Turkey was not going to stay idle given the secessionist tradition of Kurds in Turkey.

But the most important point is, what alternative are you offering? Permanent US military occupation of Syria? To believe that the US military would defend a Paris Commune of sorts is to have lost completely touch with reality. Despite your verbal criticism of US imperialism, you still are trapped in an imperialist mentality believing the US are a "great country" called to save democracy in countries they don't even know where they are on a map, and to supposedly protect people they just don't understand! This is unsurprising by someone who is a representative of the AFL-CIO, an organisation which has been an important part of the overall US imperialist strategy. But this imperialist duty to protect created disfunctional South Sudan and Libya, of which they don't talk anymore... that was the future for eastern Syria? South Sudan was also very stable while the war lasted. The language you use, the island of hope in the chaotic Middle East is the same language used by Zionists to justify the apartheid state of Israel.

Trump is looking after the corporate and military interests of the US. The US army is not a charity and you know it. So why talk about betrayal? Because you really don't know what is imperialism and you still think the US is somehow on the right side of history. You are wrong. The US has not been in the right side of history since 1870.

author by KApublication date Mon Dec 24, 2018 16:30Report this post to the editors

I wrote a long comment which I can't see now. But I will repeat my question: what is your alternative: permanent illegal military occupation of parts of Syria? is that in the best interest of Syrians or the US tax payer?

author by Tito Cossapublication date Sat Jan 05, 2019 00:40Report this post to the editors

The Coalition against ISIS is not taking powers outside of combating ISIS (if that were the case, the Kurdish nationalist opposition in DFNS had already denounced it), so that the Coalition could stay in North / East Syria. The Kurds made their revolution, initially undisturbed by Turkey: between mid-2012 and 2016, Turkey did not intervene militarily over northern Syria; only attacked them indirectly through the FSA / Al Nusra Front in 2013 and through ISIS in 2014. This was due to the peace between Turkey and the PKK, which broke with the declaration of autonomy and war of 2016 in Turkey. Turkey claims 54 civilian Turkish casualties from the PKK, which is why it invaded Afrin. If the PKK does not leave arms in Turkey, then it only remains to prolong the presence of the United States in the region, or to get the United States to arm the Kurds with better weapons, planes, helicopters and others, as the Tamils ​​of Sri Lanka had, the first left-wing force to have its own fighter aircraft. The possibility of fighting at the same time against Turkey, the rebels, the Syrian regime, and a resurgent ISIS, would lead to certain death.
Regarding your question, yes, the United States is tolerating and even fomenting small collectivist revolutions, as in Nafusa, western Libya, where the Amazigh people are carrying out a process similar to Rojava, which would have been unlikely without the weapons that distributed NATO among the Amazigh to fight Gaddafi. In Nicaragua, the United States supported a (failed) social revolution against Daniel Ortega, a process that declared self-government in a dozen Nicaraguan cities, including the second and third largest cities: Masaya and León. In Yemen there are collectivisations and communes, and the main defense force of these is Saudi Arabia. The level of contradiction between the capitalist and imperialist forces is never seen in history, and that is leading to the opening of a gap for the social revolution, why not take advantage of it?

author by KApublication date Mon Jan 07, 2019 18:20Report this post to the editors

The USA is tolerating and fomenting collectivist revolutions? Where? You can't be serious about Libya or Yemen. The two places are dystopian countries run by gun-toting gangs responsible for horrific daily violations to the population. I'm sure locals are very grateful of NATO for arming the horse riders of the apocalypse, let alone the Saudis... have you heard of the atrocities of Saudi Arabia in Yemen? It is revolting, you can't say they are being progressive for goodness sake. These places are a hell on earth, no socialist collectivism in any form or shape. If your revolutions and "alternatives" are Libya and Yemen, give me an autocratic despot any time. The Nicaraguan opposition today seem anything but progressive too, and although Ortega has betrayed every basic progressive principle the Sandinistas once had and turned into a venal politician, the opposition doesn't want to revive the old revolutionary principles (I hope you are not defending the contras in the 1980s beause that would be rich).

The US and Saudi Arabia have very clear interests: containment of Iran and the destruction of the last remnants of Arab nationalism. Their presence does not open any gap to a social revolution: they actually closed it down. Whatever progressive force existed at the start of the anti-Assad protests was ruthlessly suppressed when the Saudis started funding all those jihadist lunatics and flooding the country with wahabis from all over the world. Whatever potential the Kurdish forces had -which was much bigger- started to be progressively crushed by the US ( and the Saudi of all countries) support. Now the Kurds are extremely pro-US (in Kobani pro-Trump slogans were a common sights until now), extremely pro-Israel, they defend the wahabi monarchy in Saudi Arabia and their radical programmes are languishing and have become more conservative resembling more of a state (indeed, a state supported by foreign occupation forces) than of the communalist democracy once promised. The Kurdish gave us many lessons and they have many radical experiences that are of value to everyone, but their dependency and allegiance to an imperial power should serve us a reminder. Revolution was curbed, not reinforced.

It is naive to believe that imperialists will support a revolution. If the USA is supporting the Kurds wholeheartedly (unlike their initial lukewarm support) is because they know there is no longer any revolutionary threat. And you can't be so naive as to believe that revolutionaries will outplay the USA without clashing with them. The last revolutionaries to outplay the USA were the Cubans and that didn't end up well. Most importantly, the USA learned the lesson. Because they do learn from their mistakes, unlike the left.

author by Tito Cossapublication date Wed Jan 09, 2019 08:42Report this post to the editors


I see that your ideas somehow revolves around the ideas of the left, and i understand that you expressed some support for the Baathist regime. Despite the important differences, i will strive because your point of view contemplates mine. And apologies for the bad translation, I'm using the Google Translator. To the first question about what the United States encourages and / or tolerates, I reiterate that in the Amazigh areas of Libya there is a process similar to Rojava: in fact the Amazigh people had an anarchist leader (Matoub Lounes) until he was killed by the Algerian FLN in 1998. It is also a people with collectivist traditions, and that in the liberated areas of Libya (cities of Nalut, Zuwara, Yefren, Jadu, Al Qala, Tamzin, etc) has been using even the male-female system and Rojava's direct community democracy. Look for the interview with Khaire Elhamesi if you can. They are in a local alliance with the tribe of Zintan (this alliance is slightly similar to the one that SDF has with the Syrian regime). Repsol and the Italian ENI have been two of the companies that have lost with the libyan Amazigh. In Yemen, amid the chaos and atrocities, the province of Marib has been giving way to very similar forms of functioning and existence. The fact that they "fell" on Hadi's side, supported by Saudi Arabia (because the tribes of Marib refuse to be ruled by the pro-monarchists Huthis, who want to rebuild the Muttawakilite Kingdom) does not impute their achievements. In Marib neither Aden governs nor the Sana'a houthi, nor Saudi Arabia, nor the Islah party, nor AQAP, nor the Islamic State. I understand that there are similar processes in the south, because in the Hirak there are people who think similarly. That Libya and Yemen are chaos does not mean that there can not be valuable attempts in some of their areas. Syria is also a chaos, and you see that there are interesting projects underway. On the other hand, in the dystopian places that you mention, the government forces are involved. Assad freed the members of the Muslim Brotherhood from their jails who would later form Faylaq al Sham, HTS, Nureddin al Zinki and others. In Libya it is worse. The ex-officials of Khadafy are involved in the slave trade (accusation that they already weighed on Khadafy since the 1980s). On the opposition of Nicaragua, I think very different. Ortega is a bloody being, abuse of his stepdaughter and won the last elections with fraud. His Nicaragua Canal project not only gives sovereignty to China (in exchange for millions) but also motivated the expulsion of thousands of peasants from their lands. Its pension reform was neoliberal. Many who were historical Sandinistas have gone to the opposition (you will have seen what was written by Gioconda Belli).

On the interests of the United States in the region, one is, as you say, the containment of Iran: an ultra-right theocracy that killed 50,000 people (mostly leftists) during the Islamic revolution. The other is the destruction of the Islamic State, which represents a serious threat to the United States. Here you can clearly see the difference between the logic of the CIA (which has given a hand to the Islamic State at the time) and that of the Pentagon (the predominant logic, contrary to the existence of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda). About the slogans, Israel and others. DFNS is not pro-Israeli at all. You refer perhaps to the KRG. The PKK was born fighting Israel in El Bekaa (Lebanon) in 1984. The first eleven martyrs of the PKK fell against Israel. In fact Syria invaded Lebanon in 1976 to prevent the PLO of Yasser Arafat from leading a leftist revolution in the country. Then he neoliberalized the country when Hafez al Assad died. If some Kurds put their children "Obama" or things like that, it's because a revolution also includes people with less political training, and even apathetic sectors of the population. If they see that the Coalition led by Obama or Trump helps them get rid of the Islamic State, and they do not have a theory formed about the United States, they may act in that way. People likewise there were in Cuba, Vietnam, Algeria, Yugoslavia, China, Albania or any socialist country with illiterate people and without rights. Not that they are pro-Yankees, at all.

I do not think that the Kurds have become more conservative, or that they are languishing, and it would be hard to call "state" (or something similar) to a structure that after almost 7 years has no president, its own currency, capital city, penal code, centralized system of taxes, customs system, where there is no monopoly on the use of violence and where the state of exception is placed at the base levels. It is a structure for which a word has not yet emerged.

"It is naive to believe that the imperialists will support a revolution." You have to see what Lenin wrote to his group in Zurich when the German Kaiser offered him a train to fly to Russia and overthrow Kerensky. You have to see what Lenin says in the Tenth Congress of the Bolshevik Party where he speaks of the foreign support of capital towards the Bolsheviks. You have to see why the president of the United States Woodrow Wilson ordered not to intervene in the Bolshevik revolution, ordered that Trotsky be given an American passport to get to Russia, and why the oil companies and American banks gave him almost 100 million dollars, dollars with which they bought the former officers of the Zar to form the Red Army (three-quarters of the Red Army were former Zarist officers), after the Bolsheviks lost the elections in the Constituent Assembly against Viktor Chernov and decided to govern against of three quarters of the population that had not voted for them. Another US support for socialism was the support given to Iraq during the 1980-1988 war against Iran, support for China with the Trilateral in the 1980s and its inclusion in the World Trade Organization, or the lifting of the Obama blockade to Cuba.

On Trump: he does not know anything what happens in DFNS. He only has one calculator and thinks he loses a lot of money, especially in Afghanistan. He is thinking of keeping promises for re-election, nothing more. If the US persists in post-Islamic State, it is because Israel begs it, by virtue of Iran's advance, and because it is really concerned about the return of the Islamic State. On Palestine, I do not idealize what happens there. It is one of the most pro-Ottoman populations in the world, and no one has forced them to vote for the "Palestinian AKP": Hamas, Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, where Al Qaeda came from, where the Islamic State came from. Best regards

author by KApublication date Wed Jan 09, 2019 20:31Report this post to the editors

I am in the libertarian left, I support the Rojava experience but I'm a critical supporter and I think we should learn from their mistake of surrendering to imperialism. Lenin said many things in 1918, but the world has moved much from that time. The capitalists have learned, we in the left haven't and this is why you can still quote Lenin and imperialism, or Wilson, in 1918. The imperialists have learned from their mistakes and moved quickly to strangle any country trying to build any form of socialist experience, as they did with the Bolshevik revolution and after this. Cuba is the only exception were they supported the revolutionaries, but they did it before they claim they wanted a socialist country. After that, they have not supported any single progressive or socialist experience as such.

I am familiar with the realities of Libya and of Yemen. The Amazigh have a tradition of fighting central power (Lounes Matoub was hardly an anarchist although he was progressive), but they are still a much patriarchal, tribal and feudal society. Yemen and Libya are dominated by jihadists, and it is much of a stretch of imagination to see any actual and concrete libertarian experience there. Yes, leaders sometimes may talk about democracy because they want to gain Western support and they know how to talk the talk. If you read interviews of any dictator they are always great. In Nicaragua, I agree that Ortega is an awful man who betrayed every single principle of the Sandinistas. Yet, the opposition are not trying to do a revolution, they are not anti-capitalist but actually quite pro-capitalist and the dissident Sandinistas are not leading the movement. My point is not to defend Nicaragua, but you can't make up a revolution where there isn't. A revolution is an exceptional moment in history, you can't see revolutions anywhere, less even so collectivist revolutions -collectivism, by definition implies to question private property which has not been questioned anywhere you mention, and actually, not even in Rojava.

You can't seriously claim that Iraq was a socialist country at the time of Saddam, that China in the 1980s was socialist or that Obama lifting the embargo to Cuba was in any way a support for socialism. That's very wrong on so many levels. The USA may have supported people to claim to have been on the left in order to contain adversaries, like when they supported Pol Pot against Vietnam. This was not to reinforce a revolution in Cambodia (the khmer rouge were butchers, not revolutionaries), but to curb one in Vietnam. You mention the case of China, used to contain the USSR, but this support didn't benefit socialism, but actually plunged China into capitalism further more. China in the 1980s was already an exploitative capitalist nightmare with a CP in power, but communist just in name. About Cuba the plan of lifting the embargo was to accelerate regime change by opening it to the capitalist market because isolating it hadn't work. It was a realist policy, but it was not meant to reinforce socialism in Cuba, quite the contrary.

The SDF supporters and the Kurdish movement, in general, have become closer to accept imperialism as benevolent and to accept Israel as an ally because of their support to Kurdish independence in Iraq. That is evident if you read Kurdish news or see interviews. The PKK is not the YPG, and the PKK now is not the PKK in 1984. They are close, but while the PKK is a movement that comes squarely from the left, YPG is a movement that was formed by the PKK, but as you say that has less solid political base. I've talked to leaders of the movement, to the TevDem and they are all inclined to see with a positive attitude USA, Saudis and Israel. The author of this article is Iranian Kurd, but reflects this trend http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/opinion/64b0f9ad-beb2-470...d8a6f This is the view hold by many, that Kurdistan should copy the example of Israel. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is not (yet) a state. It is a statelet, but the trend is not towards developing more direct democracy. The trend established in its Constitution is to increasingly resemble a state, with ministers, armed forces, and while it has no president, the chairpersons have been there forever as rulers (many states don't have president, you can name them anyway and it doesn't change facts) and TevDem is really the organisation taking decisions at higher levels. Instead of direct democracy there is more and more consultation. the theory is great, the practice is increasingly problematic. The system functions as a federation so there is (yet) no center of power but if the trend continued there would be. The asayish have repressed local population, particularly Christians and people protesting with the Syrian flag. The Kurdish will try to save what they have by coming to a pragmatical agreement with Assad. Some years back they were in stronger position, now they are weaker but they were over confident of imperialism.

I'm not the only one who has supported Rojava who is worried. In this website you have good contributions from informed activists

http://anarkismo.net/article/30759
http://anarkismo.net/article/30280
http://anarkismo.net/article/30915

Does this mean Rojava is useless? Now, it is a experience where we have learned much. But since the links with the USA grow stronger, revolution grows weaker. This is very clear from 2016 until now. No socialism will ever been built in a USA protectorate.

author by Tito Cossapublication date Thu Jan 10, 2019 09:16Report this post to the editors



Comrade, the links you have uploaded are all from Zaher Baher. It is known that he thinks that SDF should say goodbye to the United States, and bravely support a Turkish invasion, a war with the Syrian regime, and a possible reconstruction of the Islamic State, that is, with three fronts open, for Baher the future of DFNS should be the same as that of the Makhnovchina, Spain 36, or, to quote the text above, the commune of Paris. Does that serve us? What do you suggest the Kurds do instead of this, that does not lead to such a scenario? On the other hand, surrender would be if the US took the political decisions there, it would take its resources, foment a neoliberal regime, and things like that. But we must assume that in 4 years of presence in DFNS, they have been respectful of what happens within DFNS. Many anti-imperialists find it hard to accept this, because it results that a weaker local government than the United States may be locally worse off than it. When Britain abandoned mercantilism, and with it, the desire to maintain slavery, the slaves of the Antilles sided with Britain, and against the local governments of the islands, which wanted to maintain slavery. Should slaves continue to be slaves in order to be anti-imperialist?

With respect to the socialist countries, what bothers the US is the nationalism of some of them. In that, they are equivalent to Iran. Countries with ultraleft governments like Greece are not at all an inconvenience for the United States. Unless they are nationalists. But that does not mean they are good for their people. We must abandon the idea that the bad for the United States is good for the population.

On Matoub Lounes, here is defined as "anarcho-patriot" https://www.elwatan.com/edition/actualite/les-executant...eres- by-commanditaires-06-25-2018

And here as "anarchist" http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.com/2015/11/michael-....html.

Keep in mind that these are the first links i looked for. It may have been progressive in the past or something like that, but its message is too linked to anti-authoritarian thinking to call it progressive.

About Marib, in Yemen http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2017/06/23/marib-local-chang...tics/

I do not agree that we should say which socialist country seems socialist or not. I think we should empirically judge the processes for what they were, and not according to an ideal platonic type that we have in our mind. In that way, we could always forgive "the idea" and never do self-criticism. I believe that all self-declared socialist states were socialists without a doubt. Out of curiosity, what would "socialist" socialism be for you?

About the ministers of DFNS, nobody knows them, they fulfill executive and administrative functions. If there is no monopoly on the use of violence, there is no state, although there are figures with names similar to public institutions that we know. All the libertarian revolutions have had those figures, from the Paris Commune onwards. The Council of Aragon had no police, worked ad honorem and met in a school. It does not look like any state I know. When you say "still" and you are doing a teleological analysis that is very difficult to verify. In the teleological analyzes we tend to enter the desires or ideological interests of each, so they are not recommended. I believe that, on the contrary, the longer time passes, and the more they enjoy freedom, the more they will keep the decentralized federal scheme. There is always the KRG to contrast what they do not want to be. And I do not think it's wrong for the PKK to evaluate who is best for Erbil. That does not mean that they stop releasing more and more zones of the KRG, as they have done in Soran, Pishdar and Khanaqin very recently. There is a lot of information about collective land ownership or cooperatives without employer in DFNS. DFNS protects the possessions of each one as their home and things like that, that in the rest of Syria they respect very little. The issue of repression to probaazists sectors is delicate, but as a theoretical reflection, a commune, a canton, or a group of young people can repress another. It had also happened in Amude in 2013 when the PDKS was allied to Al Nusra and were armed to a march against the PYD, and there were deaths from both sides. It is happening in Idlib at this moment, but they are factional conflicts.

I would not be very optimistic about the recovery of the Assad regime. Israel is half a second away from starting a war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon that could include southern Syria. I do not want more war, but I would not mind if the regime entertains with other fronts. I think that the world crisis of 2019, perhaps initiated in the possibly tough Brexit of March, it will lead to Turkey to collapse, and with a little luck a democratic revolution remove Erdogan and put one less neo-Ottoman, or at least entertain him in the internal affairs of the country. The Islamic State will take a couple of years to rebuild. Those are my perspectives for DFNS.

author by KApublication date Fri Jan 11, 2019 17:17Report this post to the editors

Zaher is a knowledgable comrade who is from the region, who is a Kurd and who knows the situation on the ground. His opinions are not only his opinions, they reflect discussions and ideas which circulate among Arab and Middle East libertarians, few of which are available in English. Alliances were necessary, they made the wrong ones and one was to assume a strategic as opposed to a tactical relation with the USA. Until 2016 the Kurds were playing between Assad, Russia and the USA and at that point they were in a position to agree a federation solution with Assad that if it happened, would have changed the face of the Middle East. They instead got married to the USA and entertained ideas of forming a statelet with a practice which is increasingly similar to other states and more and more top down each passing day as a result of this relationship. This is the result they got, ignoring that the USA is linked to Turkey because of NATO and thy will not risk war or hostility because of the Kurds. I really wished the result was different.

We need to abandon hopes in imperialism. Nationalism may be bad for its own population. Imperialism is pernicious at a global scale, but workers and ordinary people from imperialistic countries have come to believe that they can save the savages from the tyrants –a tired argument that has been refashioned one way or another for 500 years. Slaves were not freed because of imperialism or by Britain. They were freed because of their own revolts, their own rebellion, but it is easier to ignore the oppressed from history and follow the script of official history. Britain opposed the slave trade at a time they were moving to exploit the black population in their own land instead of exporting it –it coincides with the scramble for Africa. But it is easier to believe the lies of the oppressor and to dismiss the self-activity of the oppressed. The same applies always to justify imperialism. They are saving the world, civilising the savage, saving the soul of the heathen, freeing poor people that can defend themselves from the tyrant. Your argument reproduces the same logic.

You take at self value how people describe themselves without checking their practice. Politicans say all the time they champion the rights of the poor: does it mean they do? That Lounes Matoub describes himself as an anarcho-patriot summarises it all. You can’t take at face value anybody who calls himself anarchist. This I don’t mean in a bad way: Lounes was a valuable and respectable progressive. But he wasn’t an anarchist. Anarchism is not any vague anti-authoritarian feeling. Socialism, likewise, is not a metaphyisical thing. It doesn’t matter what socialism means for me. Socialism has been well defined, it is a political current which is based in the challenge of private property through its collectivisation and transferring power from the bourgeoisie to the working class. There are countries who have tried to achieve this in different ways, but to say this was the case in Iraq or China in 1980 is contrary to logic.

Libya, Yemen, Syria may look great from a distance and you can entertain ideas of social revolutions happening, and Westerners fantasise with them because of their own inability to challenge power in their own countries. It is a revolutionary disguise for orientalism. But people in these countries are tired of war, are desperate and have deep felt needs. At this stage, most people in Syria want the conflict to come to an end even if it means more power for Assad. This is why I say, that if your idea of an alternative is chaos and mayhem of Yemen or Libya, give me a dictator any time. Anarchy is not chaos; it is order in freedom. But it is order. Without order life cannot exist, society is not viable and human suffering is the result. Chaos is oppression, but people if they can’t have order in freedom will opt for order with authority before accepting chaos and perpetual civil war.

That you say that you don’t mind if the Assad regime entertain more fronts reveals a callous disregard for human life in Syria. Syrians would mind a lotthis scenario. Arabs are people, they are not pawns in a grotesque chess game for imperialist or Western radicals who fantasise about revolutions in places they barely understand. The most progressive result for Syria at this moment is for the war to stop as soon as possible. Any other result, including prolonged USA presence in the region, prolongs a human suffering which is unjustified.

author by Tito Cossapublication date Sat Jan 19, 2019 05:00Report this post to the editors

What I wrote was not published, or maybe it was not approved. Zaher Baher can make interesting analyzes, but he lives in Europe and is not very aware of many things. Here it says that Idlib was going to fall in September https://libcom.org/library/battle-idlib-province-syria-...ojava and clearly it was not like that.

We do not know what will happen with DFNS. Trump now left with 4 more months, and only if Turkey agrees not to attack the Kurds, and Erdogan opposed. France said to stay, and the possibility of an agreement with the regime is not small (if DFNS falls, Turkey would keep a lot of territory that it will never return, without mentioning all the oil and the best contained lands. the Syrian revolution, officially led now by Turkey, and the government and Assad's life would be at risk, and we already saw in Afrin that they did not give the canton to the regime, so there is a possibility that their autonomy will be recognized). There was an ISIS attack recently in Manbij, the deep state will pressure Trump to stay. If he still does not do so, he will be blamed for the 2019 crisis by the trade war with China, and may suffer an impeachment. Trump is much less intelligent than he thought, and in case he had it very badly positioned.

Matoub Lounes did not define himself anarcho-patriot, as defined by the one who writes in the note, perhaps because he wanted Kabylia to be an autonomous administrative entity. On the other note he is defined as an anarchist. Nowhere did I see him called or called progressive. On the left, it bothers him that there are anti-authoritarian social leaders. Today, the two greatest revolutionary leaders in the world (Ocalan and Subcomandante Marcos) are anti-authoritarian.

DFNS does not work based on referendums. There has not been a single referendum since July 2012. DFNS operates on the basis of direct democracy.

The Kurds do not want a dictator and will not surrender. Another almost similar to DFNS is Ogoniland in Nigeria Delta, autonomous since 2012.

And yes, socialism is capitalism in all cases. That is why these processes emerge. best regards

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