Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On the imperialist interventions in Syria and Kurdistan by Voie Proletarienne

Democracy and Class Struggle shares the same concerns as Voie Proletarienne about the Kurdish Leadership and Imperialism and welcome the criticism and support of Kurdish struggle by the Turkish and Kurdish communist and revolutionary organisations, such as the TKP/ML or the MLKP

Our own study of the Prison Writings of Abdullah Ocalan are leading us to the same conclusion of the Maoist Communist Party of Italy that Abdullah Ocalan has made a "Fashion capitulation" on the question of Gender and Marxism which he see's as the fundamental contradiction.

Furthermore Ocalan's  works are one sided in the portrayal of Marxism Leninism let alone Marxism Leninism Maoism as mechanistic and ignores the dialectical tradition in Marxism Leninism and especially Marxism Leninism Maoism because it does not fit his straw man critique of Marxism Leninism.

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya is the genuine voice of Marxism Leninism Maoism on the national question and Imperialism and Fascism and the living proof of the revolutionary dialectical character of Marxism Leninism Maoism which is spurned by Abdullah Ocalan in favour of a mish mash of Anarchism and Marxism which far from bringing clarity like Ibrahim Kayapakka brings confusion and the swamp of revisionism to the revolutionary communist movement.

PS:Democracy and Class Struggle  do not share the same views as Voie Proletarienne who see Assad as Fascist

PCm: We speak about intertwining of class oppression and gender. But, while saying that they develop together, Ocalan 'forgets' the class oppression. 

Indeed, he does worse: the ideology (masculinity) produced the “ruling gender” and the State. 

So the male, not the class, has become the state. Hence the conclusion is inescapable: we have to overthrow neither the state or the ruling capitalist system, but “kill the ruling male” ... and this is passed off as “the fundamental principle of socialism” 

But what a kind of socialism?

Democracy and Class Struggle says Abdullah Ocalan has lifted up the stone of the critic of mechanistic Marxism Leninism to drop it on his own feet by treating the gender class relationship in a mechanical way where gender becomes fundamental and not in a dialectical way where they intersect and interconnect and intertwine with class.


It might have been expected that a crisis on the scale of that currently underway in Syria and Iraq would have led to a large-scale imperialist overland intervention. But the Obama administration said no. Looking back on their failure in Iraq, the Americans have realised that it is not enough to invade a country in order to solve this kind of problem, needing as well to set up a base there and maintain a stable government. This is what we hear referred to as ‘the Obama doctrine’ in the media.

The imperialists have not (re)invaded Syria and Iraq on a massive scale because they are aware of their political weakness despite their military might, to which should be added the fact that invading these two countries would be bound to provoke reactions from Russia and Iran. The US cannot afford to embark on costly military occupations and diplomatic confrontations. Nor could France ever aim so high, being incapable of occupying a country like Syria or Iraq.

By heightening the contradictions between imperialist versus dominated countries, we have already stated that imperialist military, economic and diplomatic interventions – be they direct or indirect – are what lead to such uncontrollable crisis situations. Such interventions can only further fan the flames or at the very least sow the seeds of chaos. This is far from the intention of the imperialist in spite of what certain people of a conspiracist bent claim, overestimating the ability of the imperialists to master the contradictions. It is nothing more than the inevitable result of imperialist interventions. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (ex-Zaïre), where bloody militias have controlled whole areas for decades, is an example of how this kind of situation can drag on. This stands as proof of the crisis of imperialism. The attacks we suffer at home are also a consequence because the centres of imperialism cannot hope to remain untouched. It is fair to say that what we suffered in Paris on 13 November or in Nice on 14 July pale into insignificance compared with what the Congolese or the Syrians face on a daily basis (the Aleppo airstrikes).

The ‘Obama doctrine’ also shows that the imperialists are weaker than we think and unable to keep everything under control. That is objectively encouraging for those who are oppressed and exploited, even if the weaknesses on the part of the imperialists do not automatically correlate with a strengthening of the people’s struggle.

It is also important to combat opportunistic pseudo ‘anti-imperialism’ which involves supporting the Fascist Assad regime or the Russian and Iranian military interventions in Syria under the pretence that all alliances are justified in order to halt the hegemonic drive of the American super-power. Being opposed to the US, France and Great Britain does not make the Syrian regime a substantial anti-imperialist power, bearing in mind that it is enjoys the backing at arm’s length of Russia, unquestionably an imperialist power (competing with the United States), in an attempt to maintain and broaden its sphere of influence.

On the military alliance between the Kurds and the imperialists

Several questions are raised by the links that exist between the PYD, the leading party in Rojava, and its armed units, the YPG/YPJ [1], with the imperialists. VP has always defended the general principle of opposing all military interventions, both direct and indirect, in dominated countries.

Today the YPG/YPJ maintain an open military alliance with the imperialist coalition in Syria [2] which grew up during the siege of Kobanê. At that time, had it not been for the massive airstrikes by the Western powers in favour of the besieged Kurdish forces, it is likely that Rojava would have been crushed by Daesh. The imperialists also came to realise that the YPG were the only force of any consequence fighting Daesh on the ground and their attempts to set up units under the control of the Free Syrian Army only met with failure.

Imperialist policy in the face of Daesh as it stands today is short-sighted, offering support to the Kurds as the only effective anti-Daesh force, whilst at the same time backing Turkey, a NATO member, which in turn is fighting the Kurds.

And while the Turkish army also entered Rojava more with the intention of the fighting the Kurds than Daesh, the USA have, however, sought for Turkey and the Kurds in Rojava to reach an agreement of kinds regarding the share of control over Northern Syria whilst stating that they would be against an independent Kurdish state.

Following the failure of all of their strategies geared to setting up forces under their control (the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian National Council, etc.) to overturn Assad and destroy Daesh, they have been obliged to negotiate with the Syrian regime and to back the already existing forces in order to at least contain Daesh despite their differing political agendas. Yet another sign of a relative weakness on the part of imperialists. At the same time, they no doubt hope to be able to side-track the Kurdish movement into abandoning its initial aim, rendering it a clearly pro-imperialist force similar to the Iraqi pseudo ‘Kurdistan Regional Government’ entrusted by the imperialists to Barzani and his clique.

The United States have supplied them with arms. Special Western (US, Great Britain and France) forces are fighting alongside the YPG/YPJ and are perhaps even training them. These special forces are also there to coordinate the Western airstrikes with the YPG/YPJ-led offensives against Daesh to the point where Turkey has even complained that the US special forces wear YPG insignia [3]. These imperialist troops have even set up their own permanent bases in the territory of Rojava with the approval of the government. All of that is public knowledge and recognised by the YPG/YPJ. Articles in the press (drawing on statements by the Syrian regime and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) also claim that the Americans have either built or are in the process of building an air base in the northeast of Rojava. However, the sources are unreliable and the YPG has denied such reports [4].

Support for the International Freedom Battalion in Rojava

The position adopted by VP is to support the peoples’ freedom movements, especially the Kurdish people, whilst at the same time not side-stepping the surrounding debates. Some will use this alliance as a pretext to throw the baby out with the bathwater, demeaning the struggle of the Kurdish people and refusing them the right to self-determination, while others will claim that because we must support the Kurdish people we should avoid any criticism of the organisations leading the struggle.

As in the case of the struggle of the Palestinian people, there is a clear distinction between the principle of supporting the liberation struggle of the Kurdish people and the different forces involved, with our active support going first to the Turkish and Kurdish communist and revolutionary organisations, such as the TKP/ML or the MLKP [5].

Support for the Kurdish national liberation movement must first and foremost take the form of political support for the revolutionary forces rather than essentially humanitarian support.
Humanitarian support is necessary in so far as it serves as a basis for international solidarity, but it should always be led by politics. Nor does support preclude a frank and honest criticism of the Kurdish organisations as and when divergences arise, as occurred with the OCML VP when it joined the campaign in support of the Freedom Battalion (IFB) in Rojava launched by International Red Aid [6]. This battalion founded in June 2015 under the military command of the YPG/YPJ is made up of foreign anarchist and communist revolutions fighting side by side with the Kurds in Rojava [7].

This is exactly the opposite of the stance adopted by the ICOR in its ‘International Brigade for Kobanê’ campaign [8], a political campaign in support of the Kurdish people devoid of criticism towards the PYD, effectively rendering it a flat and apolitical humanitarian campaign (project for the building of a hospital).

The International Freedom Battalion and its different parts has an independent political expression. In its declarations, it has openly denounced imperialism [9] and one of its brigades has questioned US military support [10]. Other forces within the Battalion such as the TKP/ML [11] have also warned of the dangers of this alliance.

When the OCML VP joined the campaign in January 2016 it was because we believed that it contained a clearly anti-imperialist and revolutionary position vis à vis the situation in the region, whilst at the same time supporting the revolutionary forces active in the conflict. Since then, we have organised and taken part in several events [12], collected thousands of euros, helped spread the views of the International Battalion in French [13], etc.

It provides a concrete way of engaging discussion on the situation in the Middle East with the people around us, demonstrating that progressive and revolutionary forces exist and convincing that even if it is all happening thousands of miles away, we are not powerless : it is a way of fighting despondency and resignation. This campaign has proved a success and has allowed us to collect thousands of euros in Europe, sending hundreds of haemostatic dressings and spreading information about the International Battalion.

If we are to level legitimate criticisms and uphold our own point of view, it is not enough to sit on the side-lines. We must be engaged in the struggle, as we strive to do.

Is a pact with "the devil" possible ?

A basic contradiction exists, therefore, between opposing imperialist interventions on the one hand and recognising the need for an alliance at certain times on the other. What determines the key factor to be taken into account can only ever be the situation on the ground, the balance of power between the different parties involved and whether the progressive forces can rely on their own means without having to resort to such an alliance.

Any military alliance with imperialism involves a huge risk. Because the aims of imperialism are diametrically opposed to those of the emancipation of the peoples and hopes that its alliance with Rojava will allow it to gain a permanent foothold in Syria. Because imperialism is responsible for the overall situation in the Middle East. From the historical perspective, the contradiction with imperialism remains the main contradiction for the peoples of the region and the current alliance can only be tactical and temporary.

The brutal military tactics of the imperialists can already be seen to contrast with the military tactics deployed by the Communists, with the Western airstrikes in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces causing civilian massacres. Accepting the presence of imperialist troops in Rojava means taking a risk, allowing then to find their bearings, engage in espionage and attempt to attract determined forces. And there is no doubt that that is what they’re up to. The time will come to make a decision, when the PYD will have to choose between an alliance with imperialism and the pursuit of the national and democratic rights of the Kurdish people. Nor do the imperialists, led by the United States, conceal the fact that this couldn’t be further from their true intentions, as they have shown so many times before [14].

It would be going too far to say that the YPG/YPJ are fighting ‘under the command of the imperialists’. High-ranking leaders of the PKK and the PYD [15], such as R?za Altun [16], Cemil Bay?k [17] and Saleh Muslim [18] have publically stated that the imperialist interventions primarily serve their own vested own interests rather than those of the peoples, that they commitments are not to be trusted, etc.

However, it is not sufficient for the leadership of the Kurdish movement to public express its distrust of the imperialists. Two things are essential : firstly, what are the limits placed on the penetration of the imperialist forces in Syria ? And, secondly, to what extent are the masses educated in an anti-imperialist spirit ?

We can already begin to be concerned by the fact that the government in Rojava still appears not to have set any clear conditions regarding the increased involvement of the imperialist forces. First of all the Kurdish forces accepted air support, then arms supplies, then the presence of US and French special forces and finally these troops to set up bases there with the arrival of their own armoured vehicles. It was US troops which often acted as a buffer during the border clashes between the YPG/YPJ and the Turkish army. Where does military aid which can be accepted without endangering the democratic power of the people end and allowing imperialist forces to carry out a coup de force in the near future begin ? Even in Rojava there are essentially reactionary forces which are obliged to accept the leading role of the democratic forces today, such as the chiefs of the Arab tribes and a part of the Kurdish population faithful to the Barzani clan, but which tomorrow could fall into line behind the imperialists should they turn against the democratic forces. This conflict will inevitably happen if the government in Rojava maintains its democratic line.

Furthermore, while the central leadership of the Kurdish movement has an anti-imperialist outlook, at least in words, that is not the case for all of its structures. In Europe, for example, these structures defend positions that we cannot subscribe to because they fail to clearly address what imperialism entails, i.e. in the final analysis an enemy of the peoples, holding out false hopes of what the Kurdish people could expect, for example, from the French government or the European Union [19].

The clash with imperialism is inevitable

The alliance between the revolutionary movements and the imperialist states is sometimes justified, as for example during the Second World War when it was legitimate for the anti-fascist front to join forces with the United States and Great Britain. The military alliance between the people’s resistance and the allied armies was just, as was the exchange of intelligence, the supply of arms, etc.

At the time, the Chinese Communist Party had accepted arms and military training from the Americans, as well as the presence of air bases in the red bases to bomb the Japanese.

Elsewhere, however, the partisan movements led by the Communist parties in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece were strong enough to liberate their countries on their own, resorting to very little foreign aid.

That would have been unthinkable in France in 1944, whereby it was right for the resistance under the leadership of the Communist Party (PCF) to ally itself tactically with the allied powers. However, the PCF fell prey to opportunism by submitting to de Gaulle and the leadership of the anti-fascist movement (Jean Moulin), ending in betrayal by the time of the Liberation by maintaining a united front with the bourgeoisie and helping it rebuild French imperialism.

All alliances are feasible if and when the revolutionary forces have a clear vision of the limits of the alliance and are aware that one day it will be necessary to break with the alliance in order to move forwards. That must be clearly explained to the masses. When temporarily justified, any military alliance with imperialism also calls for a harsh criticism of imperialism, combatting any false hopes both inside and outside the ranks of the movement. In France as in Rojava the duplicity of the imperialists must be denounced, showing how they are responsible for the situation in the first place. The contradictions of imperialist policy must be clearly underlined, showing that all they are really interested in is defending their hold over the region rather than the rights of the peoples. Their support for the reactional fundamentalist forces must be exposed [20] despite them supposedly combatting Daesh, revealing their duplicity regarding the Assad Regime, their support for the Turkish regime, etc. The masses be taught what imperialism is and how to fight it.

There is also an imperious need for the revolutionary movement to maintain its political and organisational independence, avoiding becoming dependant on the imperialists in any way. Despite the existence of an alliance, it is vital to maintain political and military independence and to keep secrets under cover. While the oppressed and the exploited must take advantage of the alliance to advance and strengthen their organisations, they must primarily rely on their own forces : that is the golden rule of the revolutionary movement. The government in Rojava is the representative of the Kurdish people in Syria. Its democratic and anti-fascist programme have shown themselves to be politically the most progressive in the whole of the Middle East, objectively standing in the way of the imperialists’ aims. And while it holds out a flicker of hope for societies marked by feudalism, patriarchy and fascist regimes, we must nevertheless remain on our guard concerning the way the political contradictions and the alliances evolve as well as interference by imperialist forces in their ongoing quest to corrupt the national and democratic forces.

The OCML VP will continue to support the legitimate resistance of the Kurdish people, denouncing the imperialists, first and foremost French imperialism, as the enemies of the peoples in the region, whilst at the same time supporting the revolutionary forces on the ground which defend a political project geared to national and social liberation [21].

OCML Voie Prolétarienne, August 2017

In French : HERE
In Italian : HERE

[1] YPG : People’s Protection Units. Armed branch. YPJ : Women’s Protection Units. Women’s armed branch.

[2] See : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/20/us-drops-weapons-to-kurds-in-syria (in English)

[3] See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYaBW9e80TQ (in English)

[4] See : http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/e8920a6c-e4fe-4023-a4b2-aeffa59c2ae1/U-S--airbase-in-Syriadespite-Kurds-denial (in English)

[5] TKP/ML : Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist. MLKP : Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.

[6] The aim of the campaign by International Red Aid (Secours Rouge International) is primarily to buy haemostatic dressings to stop the bleeding caused by bullet wounds at the front. For more information see : https://secoursrouge.org/Solidarity-campaign-with-the-International-Freedom-Battalion-in-Rojava (in English)

[7] Notably the TKP/ML and the MLKP.

[8] The International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organisations is an international body which we declined to join. See : http://ocml-vp.org/article1632.html?redirect=1 (in English). For more information of the campaign : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pkx2mgQqFg (in French)

[9] Video of the founding declaration of this battalion, June 2015 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cvBGvtp0Dw (in English)

[10] https://twitter.com/bobcrowbrigade/status/776434881123405824

[11] We published an interview with a combatant of the TKP/ML TIKKO in Partisan Magazine including his criticisms on this question. See : http://ocml-vp.org/article1797.html (in English)

[12] For example, we organised a meeting/concert entitled ‘Kurdistan : Feminism and Resistance’ in Toulouse in February 2016 within a broader campaign which drew over 200 people. See : http://ocml-vp.org/article1579.html (in French)

[13] See : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiZhBiuZ6XviEBZFeZ5kuaLMkhBprEno7 (in French)

[14] Especially their strategic support for Turkey, a member of NATO.

[15] Democratic Union Party, the movement effectively at the head of the Autonomous Region of Rojava.

[16] Founder of the PKK and Spokesperson of the Executive Council of Koma Civaken Kurdistan (KCK), an international body made up of different organisations under the leadership of the PKK.

[17] Founder of the PKK and President of the KCK.

[18] Co-President of the PYD

[19] See for example : http://www.akb.bzh/spip.php?article1035 (in French)

[20] For example, while the imperialists refused entry to the PYD at the ‘Peace Conference’ held in Geneva in January 2016 at the same time they invited Saudi Arabia in representation of the al-Nosra Front (previously a member of Al-Qaeda). See : http://www.secoursrouge.org/Syrie-Le-PYD-refuse-par-l-ONU-les-USA-et-la-Turquie-a-la-conference-de-Geneve (in French)

[21] This is the case of the solidarity campaign with the International Freedom Battalion. However, we do not support the ideology of Democratic Confederalism by the PYD. Read our criticism here : http://ocml-vp.org/article1637.html (in French

Source: http://ocml-vp.org/article1820.html

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