The Solidarity Initiative in the Revolution of Rojava-North Syria is an assembly of comrades from the anarchist /antiauthoritarian milieu
TEXT OF THE SOLIDARITY INITIATIVE TO THE REVOLUTION OF ROJAVA-NORTHERN SYRIA
2-day Conference, Athens, Greece
“Solidarity to the Revolution in Rojava-Syria”
The Solidarity Initiative in the Revolution of Rojava-North Syria is an assembly of comrades from the anarchist /antiauthoritarian milieu, set up to organize an event on the one hand for the Revolution in Rojava-northern Syria and on the other hand to pose the matter about the Social Revolution in Greece and more broadly in Europe and the developed capitalist world. The initiative has already been involved in solidarity actions, such as the march organised by the Kurdish Cultural Center and the Kurdish Rebellious Youth on 25 January, as well as on 27 January when it responded to the call for solidarity of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava. Undoubtedly, the Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria is characterized as the revolution of our time, since many years and decades have put into practice a revolutionary social venture and experiment that actually challenges the nation-state as the mechanism for managing social affairs, a system of so-called representative “democracy” but also a market economy.
After the Anarchist Revolution in Spain in 1936-39, the last revolution that marked a historic period, that of the Labor Movement (1848-1939), an undertaking that embraced millions of people in the areas of the Spanish territory that had repudiated the Franco coup, the Revolution in Rojava-Northern Syria comes to deny the myth of the apologists – defenders of capitalism and the state, but also trends in modern resistance movements, even anarchists including, that the era of revolutions has passed and belongs to the past.
The Spanish Revolution was the last revolution of a historical period that challenged the State as the mechanism that monopolized the management of social affairs. The defeat of the workers’ movement is due to the triumph of statehood’s fans within the workers’ movement which, despite the declared aim of the extreme communist society since communism is a stateless political entity, prevailed in the theory and practical application of the intermediate transition stage, “working-class state” which, instead of self-dissolving as predicted by Marxist-Leninist theory, has led to the more totalitarian and authoritarian states and regimes of history, e.g the Soviet Union, China and anywhere else. This confirms Bakunin’s prognosis from the 1860s talking about how it ends the practical implementation of the intermediate phase of transition from capitalism to communism.
The triumph of the statehood and the defeat of the workers’ movement had a devastating effect on the historical evolution of class struggle and social and class struggles. After World War II and the rebuilding of capitalism in Europe, the field of social revolutions shifted to the Third World, starting with the anti-colonial national liberation movements and guerrillas in China, Vietnam, Algeria, Cuba, Africa, Nicaragua and everywhere else.
But all these revolutions have adopted by the West the nation-state as the “liberation” model from the industrialized developed forces of the West, while they imitated in economic and political terms, the totalitarian and authoritarian model of the former Soviet Union, in other words the complete nationalization of the economy and the means of production, and also the dictatorship of state bureaucracy that was manned by the Bolshevik-based party which was the leader of the anti-colonial liberation movement.
More or less that was the same perspective for the Kurdish revolutionary movement, where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been conducting a guerrilla war against the Turkish state in northern Kurdistan since 1984, aimed to create a national Kurdish socialist state. However, since the end of the 1990s, and especially since the 2000s, the goal of creating a Kurdish national state was rejected and the idea of a confederal social model that the Kurds call Democratic Confederation and which has been implemented since 2012 in northern Syria, in the Kurdish lands after the collapse of the state structures of the Assad regime after the start of the Syrian civil war.
This model rejects state centralization and is based on the Communes as the cells of the new social organization, in the People’s Assemblies and the Councils operating through processes of direct democracy and not so much in the representative “democracy” that responds to the model of state centralization. Also, the Confederate model not only includes the Kurdish, but also other ethnic groups and peoples of the region, such as the Arabs, the Syrojacobites, the Assyrians, the Turkmen, the Chaldeans, and others. This model respects the different national and religious identities of the peoples of the region and promotes their peaceful coexistence within the Confederation without frontiers.
If, from the French Revolution onwards, the new state, the nation-state was considered to be the model of expression of human rights, national and social freedom and self-determination of people, which in a distorted manner eventually led to the intolerance of nationalism in the twentieth century, racism, ethnic cleansing and genocide within national states and nazi concentration camps, for the first time since the 2th World War, a revolution – and even the most populous of national and religious global conflicts region -, in the Middle East, actually challenges the nation-state model and puts forward a Confederation that includes ethnic groups and people of the region.
That’s why the Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria and the Federation of Northern Syria has a huge political significance today.
The federal-confederal model is politically related to the principles of anarchism developed since the period of the First International Workers’ Union. All classical anarchists, Bakunin, Kropotkin, rejected the State as the mechanism for managing social affairs and appointed the Federation of Communists, producers and workers to replace the state and the capitalism. Bakunin, six months before the Paris Commune, together with other rebels, attempted in September 1870 to occupy Lyon, the second largest city in France, and to turn it into a Commune. By occupying the city hall, they issued a declaration proposing the conversion of France – the proclamation speaks of the French Nation and the Salvation of France, given the Franco-Prussian War that had preceded it – in a Revolutionary Federation of Communes.
Historically, the Commune was nothing but a self-governing, self-governed and self-organized City. Since the Middle Ages in Europe, several cities had developed self-governing institutions such as municipal councils and constituted free territories controlled by their citizens, and were opposing the then state entities of monarchies, noble feudalists at a time when serfdom prevailed. Some of these Communes emerged after the revolutions of the popular classes such as the Munchner’s Commune in Westphalia at a time when the peasant war broke out in Germany in 1535 against the feudal and Catholic Church and in Thessaloniki in 1342 during the Zealots Revolution.
During the French Revolution of 1789-94 there was the Paris Commune of 1793, the popular city council which was the most radical force during the Revolution, which was cleared out by Rovespierro, as well as the committees and radical clubs of the districts.
In the Spanish Revolution of 1936-39, in the rural areas where the anarchists had collectivized a large part of the land and agricultural production, as for example in East Aragon where the number of collectives was around 500 with members around 500,000, the collectives of the peasants were organized at the federal level.
There was e.g. the Federation of Agricultural Colleges of Aragon founded in February 1937. The anarchists in the countryside of the “democratic” zone of Spain, Aragon, Andalusia, Levante, Castile, Catalonia, away from the major urban centers where the “democratic’’ Centralized state survived, they had established a libertarian communist system at federal level where the assemblies of the villages that had collectivized the land and managed everything: the production, the education, the health, etc.
Besides, federalism and confederation were always the way of organizing the anarchist movement. Anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists who have political control and influence were organized in federations, in Spain, Portugal, France, Argentina, Latin America.
The CNT (National Confederation of Labor) in Spain was a united confederation of trades. The same was the CGT of France, which was the first anarcho-syndicalist workers’ federation from 1895 to the First World War, before it came under the control of the FCP, the FORA of Argentina, etc.
The same applies to the purely anarchist federations, FAI of Spain and Italy, FA of France. The federal way of organization, federalism, is in contradiction with the Marxist model of the centralized party as the model of the organization of the working class and the “working-class state” (the dictatorship of the proletariat).
The federal organization of anarchists also reflects their proposal regarding the federal – confederal character of the society they seek, the stateless, classless society. On the contrary, the centralized character of the communist parties reflects the state-bureaucratic character of the society they pursue and imposed on the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and Third World countries where anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements and guerrillas prevailed.
We could find many common points as anarchists with the Democratic Confederation of the Revolution in Rojava–N. Syria such as the rejection of the nation-state, the rejection of patriarchy and the empowerment of women, confederation, internationalism, self-organization, decentralization, political and economic management from the social base, the rejection of representative “democracy” and the adoption of direct democracy, social ecology, counseling and the Communes.
The Revolution in Rojava is forced to fight on many fronts, ISIS jihadists, other Islamist groups, the Assad regime, and especially Turkey, which a few months ago captured 1 of the 3 cantons of Northern Syria, Afrin and seeks the extermination of the Kurds and the dissolution of the Federation of Northern Syria, since it is reasonably worried about the spread of the revolution in the territory of North Kurdistan, which would mean its partition. We have no intention of idealizing or presenting that everything is perfect in the revolutionary undertaking in Northern Syria.
In the context of the geostrategic conflict already raging on the territory of Syria between the United States, England and France, assisted by Israel and Saudi Arabia on the one hand and, on the other hand, Russia and Iran assisted by Hezbollah, the Kurdish liberation movement is “ally with the West” in the ‘‘common’’ fight against ISIS.
Such a tactical “ally”, however, have historically been proven not to have a good outcome for the liberation movements. Let us remind ourselves that the Left of the 40s in Greece which was controlled by the EAM-ELAS that was not an anti-capitalistic revolutionary movement but a nation-liberating front aimed at the republican democracy, co-operated in the occupation with imperialist powers such as England in the “common” struggle against the Axis powers (Nazi). But this did not prevent the December’s clash or the repression of the uprising movement of EAM-ELAS.
Let us not forget that the anarchists in Spain made disastrous choices on a tactical level such as separating the revolution from the war against Franco. In the context of the anti-fascist struggle, they co-operated with the counter-revolutionary People’s Front, tolerated the intervention of the Soviet Union despite the clear out of the anarchists by the Bolsheviks, which helped to suppress the revolution after 1937 by the “democracy” before Franco’s prevalence.
Bakunin’s phrase for the Paris Commune is proved to be intertemporal , in response to the criticism of some “purebred” revolutionaries that the Paris Commune was not quite socialist, that “… amongst the finest theories and their practical application there is a huge distance cannot be met within a few days …” The greatest achievement of the Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria is that it exists with its achievements and its imperfections and that it has already lasted several years giving a realistic example to the oppressed people of the world.
The Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria connects in time the past of the revolutionary movement with today, the yarn from the Paris Commune of 1871, the Mexican peasant communities in the Revolution of the Magóns brothers, Zapata and Villa, the soviets in Russia 1905 and 1917 and SE Ukraine in the Makovshchina region before the Bolshevik dictatorship destroyed them, the Commune of Kronstadt, the councils of the workers and soldiers in Germany in 1918-1919, the factory councils and the rural commune Spanish Revolution of 1936.
Although several anarchists have gone to Rojava as volunteers to fight against the jihadists of ISIS (Islamic State) and have even given up their lives for the revolution, the revolutionary undertaking of Rojava-North Syria is not well known nor has it attracted the attention and interest it deserves by the a / a space in Greece and Europe, and more generally at the same time exists the distorted perception and disputation of some leftist parts, that this situation is part of the plans of international imperialism to overthrow the pro-Russian and anti-American Assad regime as a state – pariah has been target of the West since the 90s because they are not integrated into the international system of market economy, a view which is not anti-imperialist because it is essentially supporting the Russian imperialism against the American.
For several in the a/a space seems strange that this undertaking has its starting point in the Kurdish national liberation struggle for their self-determination – many people say that ethnicity is an invention and they are defined as “antivists” – but the classical anarchists (cf. Bakunin) did not deny the existence of the ethnicities but opposed the nation-state which was an invention of the bourgeoisie and believed that the self-determination of the people can only be fulfilled through an international confederation that respects the diversity of people on national identity, traditions, customs and language.
Let us not forget that the cause of the Revolution of the Paris Commune in which also anarchists participated, was the defeat of France in the war with Prussia in 1870 and that the French government of Thiers sought to disarm Paris and deliver to the Prussians the cannons of Montmartre, sparked the revolution of the working class and the people of Paris who declared the Commune proclaiming that, “The proletarians of Paris, in the midst of the defeat and betrayal of the ruling class, understood that it was time to save the situation by taking into their own hands the direction of public affairs … ”. And the only thing somebody can NOT accuse the Communards is.. Nationalism.
Here we could find parallel with the current time since the adoption of the Greek ruling class, the Greek state and the political establishment of the country (parties, media, judiciary) of the Economic Adjustment Programmes, known as memoranda, eliminated any notion of sovereignty and immunity in respect of public property handed over to lenders, effectively abolished representative democracy, gave executive power to the EU, the ECB and the IMF, which together with measures and social genocide policies implemented since 2010 affects certainly not the domestic ruling class whose interests coincide with those of the transnational economic elites but the social base, the middle and lower classes. The inclusion of the country under the power of the EU, the ECB and the IMF, the imposition of the memorandums has also a social, a class and a national dimension as they are linked to each other.
The Initiative Solidarity Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria believes that the revolutionary project of the Northern Syria Federation is something you have to use this as anarchists, if you sincerely want to promote a revolutionary social transformation in Greece towards the overcoming of the state and capital. That is why the Initiative believes that case study should be done in discussion and reflection by Greek a/a space to serve as a ‘tool’ to promote a match truly revolutionary in Greece, Europe and the developed capitalist people. Surely the situation and conditions in a/a space are not at all good today. Lack of serious political constitution, lack of ideas and proposals for another social organization, political and historical confusion, disunity and fragmentation, small topical competitions, are features that have been intensifying in recent years.
While in recent years we have been experiencing cosmogenic changes due to the global financial crisis, the debt crisis and the memorandums, as a space we seem helpless to overcome and evolve into a true revolutionary direction that aspires to change the world – not just our microcosm – and society. The turmoil of 2010-2012, the revolt of Greek society against the memorandums and the country’s subordination to the IMF, the ECB and the European Union, the repeated attempts by thousands of people to occupy parliament have demonstrated our inability to act in a catalytic way and influence events in an anti-capitalist direction, in a revolutionary direction. We have proved unprepared and without being able to have positions and suggestions on the crisis, the memorandums, the question of debt, and the essential abolition of the representative “democracy” that was done by the imposition of the memorandums and the violation of the institutional legal framework itself.
We have not expressed any alternative social proposal against the blackmailing of the status factors, “Economic Adjustment Programmes or destruction.” We stood more like viewers of the events without doing anything more than the simple thousands of insurgent citizens who repeatedly besieged the parliament trying to invade and cancel the imposition of the memorandums and who clashed with the forces of repression. Several today, after years, realize that 2010 – 2012 we lost a historic opportunity to have a catalyst role and push things in another direction. For the a/a space, the prospect of taking advantage of the crisis and the general delegalization of the system that caused the Memorandum and the Crisis’ Policies to create a state of rupture and overturning, if not a short-term level, at least in the medium and long term. It turned out to be that there was more a desire for a rebellion but likely larger than that of December 2008. However, the rebellion alone without a prospect of total rupture without an alternative social proposal is inevitable that it would lead to a stalemate.
The fact that there was no question of Revolution as a response to the crisis and the memorandums was not because of the “immature” objective conditions or because the social parts that revolted in the memorandums did not want to hear proposals for another type of social organization but because the concept of the revolution is already something foreign and unfamiliar to many in the a/a space, while for some, it is just a slogan of empty content. However, unlike what used to be in old classical anarchist movements, the concepts of the people, the politics, the social are also undermined. Several today, seem to have a distorted perception that anarchism is a lifestyle cut off from the social problems of our times. Others assimilate the state with society – without neglecting that the state is being fed by social contradictions – by focusing their criticism on anyone as supporters of oppression and submission albeit of course by themselves, forming a perception that anarchism today is an antisocial theory and practice where the “insurrected” person comes into conflict with everything. Τhat does not lead to the change in submission and oppression in society but is cut off of her keeping the problem intact. Besides, Anarchism was nothing more than an authentic popular and proletarian movement that affected millions of people, mainly from the working class and peasants in France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Mexico, Argentina and everywhere else.
Nowadays modern anti-authoritarian “movements”, unlike classic anarchism, do not attach much importance to the State as the body of centralized power that must be destroyed and replaced but in more decentralized and more diffused forms and mechanisms of power in society such as: power over nature and animals and their exploitation, militarism, nuclear power, patriarchy, sexism, gender issues and sexual orientation, issues of crucial importance, the truth is. However, the view on these issues is made in such a way that it disconnects them from the body of central authority, the state, whose existence is the root cause of these forms of power, with the exception of patriarchy and sexism that existed before its appearance state. For example, the exploitation and destruction of nature, the industrial way of exploiting animals and the industrial way of producing and exploiting food and meat, the mutant food, the intensification of the exploitation of natural resources, the disruption of the ecological balance are due to the modern industrial nation – the state and the capital that have imposed the modern industrial way of life. Today more emphasis is placed on local forms of resistance depending on the priorities of the comrades involved in the current anti-authoritarian “movements” and “regional” actions of the central state power, cut off by a struggle aimed at destroying the state.
Besides, today the view is that “power has no center” (see post-modernism), so as anarchists we cannot imagine a social revolution in universal terms, destroy the forts of central power and build other structures of social organization, but we attach more importance to fragmented actions that are often unrelated, making us ineffective in the struggle against the state and capital. In contrast to what is prevailing in the anti-authoritarian “movements” of the West, the Revolution in Rojava-Northern Syria demonstrates that all aspects of the struggle against all forms of oppression can be linked to a common constituent, namely the rejection of the centralized nation state and confederation with the struggle against patriarchy and the empowerment of women through social ecology. In our opinion, these individual struggles should be linked to a common, revolutionary perspective for the destruction of capital and the state.
As a Revolutionary Initiative in Rojava – N. Syria, we appreciate that this revolution can be a promotional tool for a struggle through which we try to change not just our microcosm but society as it would fit us as anarchists. On the occasion of the Revolution in Rojava – N. Syria, we are seeking a debate today about what we want to do as anarchists. A discussion of our role as anarchists, whether we have the historic mission to change society and the world, and at the same time, together with our society and ourselves, if we want to change the story of history, if we want to overcome the policies of our weaknesses and to become strong, if we want to destroy the state and capital, if we want to create a revolutionary social organization that will drastically and effectively address sexism and patriarchy in every contemporary manifestation, to ensure nature’s protection, eliminating capital and every competitive economic relationship, if we want a society of freedom and equality, if we want to make a revolution starting from the place where we live and giving the example of the expansion. The Revolution in Rojava – N. Syria offers us a bright example that all this is possible as long as we have the will and determination to overcome and play catalyst role in history.
We believe that an event for the Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria and the prospect of the Social Revolution in Greece and Europe would be a good start and a way to talk about what we want to do about our positions and proposals, our means of struggle, our strategy, ANARCHY, the REVOLUTION, LIBERTARIAN COMMUNISM, the CLASSLESS society.
We call on comrades whether or not they are individuals or belong to collectives, groups, hangouts, squatters who genuinely want such a dialogue to share their views and their concerns. We believe that such a debate without prejudices is needed in the a / a space.
We urge comrades to participate actively in a two-day event at ASOEE (Antoniados Hall) on April 4 & 5, 2019
Thursday 4 April 17:30 Subject: The Social Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria
Friday 5 April 17:30 Subject: The Revolution in yesterday and today. From the Paris Commune, the Spanish Revolution to the Revolution in Rojava – Northern Syria. The prospect of an International Social Revolution today in Greece, in Europe and the developed capitalist world.
* από Νίκος Μαζιώτης-Πόλα Ρούπα – Source : Athens Indymedia.org
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Photo by Janet Biehl in Rojava via flickr