Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Unknown Kurd Revolution

Even as Islamic fundamentalists are advancing in Kobane, the resistance from the Kurds are also very stiff. As Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned Kurd leader, says the fall of Kobane could mean the end of everything for the Kurds. A genocide of the Kurds and Yazidis could be the result. But at present the Kurds are resisting bravely. Though the Western media are reporting news about the ISIS campaign and the bombing by the US, not much is known to the outside world about the Kurds. In fact this is the dilemma the US is facing as well. It was the US, that armed all kinds of Islamic fundamentalists including ISIS in order to overthrow Bashar al Assad regime and take control of the country. And now when the ISIS is slipping out of its control, the US is carrying out mild bombings against them. However they don't want an ISIS defeat either. And Turkey, a US ally is arming the the ISIS against the Kurds and preventing the Kurd fighters from Turkey to join their comrades on the Syrian side.

A Little Bit of History And PKK Polititics

However the progressive forces across the globe is keenly watching the Kurd fight as its a fight to protect a unique revolution. The Kurds, spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria had been waging a war for a separate nation since 1970s. Founded In 1978 by some Marxist Leninist students under the leadership of Abdullah Ocalan, PKK wanted a separate Kurdistan for Kurd people and had been engaging in a people's war.Though Ocalan has abandoned Leninism since his arrest by the CIA in 1999 leading the party to adopt his new political platform of Democratic Confederalism its still viewed as a far left political formation. As Ocalan himself described "the democratic confederalism of Kurdistan is not a state system, its the democratic system without a State. It takes its power from the people and adopts to reach self sufficiency in every field including economy." PKK now upholds Democratic ConfederalismLibertarian socialismCommunalismFeminism.  So the PKK now talks of 'stateless revolutionary democracy' and defies nation state concepts. Obviously Some political observers feel their ideological moorings are still Marxism. And that could be why the Maoist Communist Party of Turkey (MKP) and Marxist Leninist Communist party are offering full support to this movement though while retaining their political differences of opinion. All these Communist parties are sending people and arms to Kobane from Turkish side.

Unique and Unparalleled Political Experiment in Rojava.

Since its capture of Rojava, in the Syrian civil war, a unique and Unparalleled political experiment is going on there. As David Graeber wrote in The Guardian "The autonomous region of Rojava, as it exists today, is one of few bright spots – albeit a very bright one – to emerge from the tragedy of the Syrian revolution. Having driven out agents of the Assad regime in 2011, and despite the hostility of almost all of its neighbours, Rojava has not only maintained its independence, but is a remarkable democratic experiment. Popular assemblies have been created as the ultimate decision-making bodies, councils selected with careful ethnic balance (in each municipality, for instance, the top three officers have to include one Kurd, one Arab and one Assyrian or Armenian Christian, and at least one of the three has to be a woman), there are women’s and youth councils, and, in a remarkable echo of the armed Mujeres Libres (Free Women) of Spain, a feminist army, the “YJA Star” militia (the “Union of Free Women”, the star here referring to the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar), that has carried out a large proportion of the combat operations against the forces of Islamic State" . And as Ali Bektas writes, "The radical Kurdish movement’s emphasis on women’s autonomy and empowerment must be underlined. There have been numerous PKK units and guerrilla camps which are only for women. Nearly all political organizations they form have two leaders, one a man and another a woman. Following in this tradition, on April 2, 2012 in Rajava, the autonomous force the YPJ (Women’s Defense Forces) was formed within the YPG (the People’s Defense Forces). Both the YPG and YPJ have had to defend the revolution of Rojava nearly constantly from both the Ba’athist regime as well as the various stripes of Islamists who have turned Syria into the latest front of their jihad." In short, whatever our disagreements with the Kurdish leadership, whats going on there is a unique experiment, an experiment the progressive forces across the world have to take notice of.  It is not only a fight to resist a genocide, but also a fight to create a better world, a brave new world. As is said the people's hangmen US and Turkey's ropes will not save the Kurd people. Its for the progressive people across the world to protect this Kurd revolution and the Kurd people. 

Here Socialistplatform reproduces some articles and post some links, videos and photographs that throws light into the Kurd revolution. Some website links are also posted here.  Posting doesn't mean endorsement to all the views expressed there. 


The last decade has seen many maps published by 'Think Tanks' and/or 'intelligence organisations' in which the Middle East gives birth to 'new nations/states'. The latest developments in the Middle East have had Western specialists-strategists-analysts playing with their pencils, rulers and compasses, doodling all over their maps of the Middle East; once again hoping to carve up the region to best fit the interests of their imperial masters.
In most prophecies Iraq is divided into at least three parts, Syria is hurtling towards dissection and, well, it seems no country in the Middle East will remain unscathed by the rearrangement of what were already pretty horrendously drawn borders. Who is behind this? Who is supporting who? Who does not want this to happen? Although all of these are legitimate questions, they are already heavily speculated on by the media and therefore do not require any additions; in fact, no addition will be original, so there is no point.
However, there is one new country — that most pseudo-strategists have been predicting since the second Gulf War — that became a dead certainty when a few days ago Israeli Foreign Minister told his US counterpart it was a "foregone conclusion" and that is the emergence of an independent Kurdish homeland: Kurdistan.
With a population of over 40 million spread across four countries in the region, the Kurds have been referred to as "the largest nation in the World without a state". A reference which has led to the creation of a deep inferiority complex among a people credited with being the ancient people of a land (Mesopotamia) that has been referred to as "the cradle of civilisation". However, the Kurds — the revolutionaries of the Neolithic Era — have been largely deprived of taking their place in the "World System" ever since.
The latest surge from sectarian extremists, among other things (of which most are not even inline with human decency), has de facto marked out the borders of South/Southwest Kurdistan. The successful defence of Rojava (west) Kurdistan by the Kurds against al-Qaeda and its offshoots has, in the minds of most, already established Rojava as Kurdistan's first 'fully liberated' territory and the previously 'disputed territories' in South Kurdistan are now seemingly undisputed and under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
However, it is still not straight-sailing from here for the, all but rubber-stamped, newest country in the World. The burning question now — and according to some it has always been — is what kind of Kurdistan? The answer to this — though maybe not as much of a turbulent ride as it has been to actually get the existence of Kurdistan acknowledged — is where the new internal and external struggle lies for the Kurds.
Some may say that it is not helpful for the Kurdish national cause that the two most popular political institutions in Kurdistan (The PKK and the KDP) each have their own different answers to the question posed above. However, although the PKK and KDP have in the past even engaged in military battles against each other, it is widely accepted that in the foreseeable future the political and ideological differences between the two organisations will be fought out politically rather than militarily. This fight has long kicked off.
The backgrounds and profiles of both organisations are full of clues as to what their answers are to the question of what kind of Kurdistan they would like to see constructed:
The PKK is a socialist organisation; the KDP is not.
The KDP is pro-corporation; the PKK is not.
The KDP's strategic partners: USA, Israel, EU, Turkey.
The PKK's strategic partners: Trans-national civil society organisations, socialist/ecologist/feminist organisations, Latin American social movements.
The KDP's vision for Kurdistan: A Kurdish nation state, capitalist-free market economy, representative parliamentary democracy.
The PKK's vision for Kurdistan: A stateless multi-national Kurdistan, communal-ecological economy, confederal-localised direct democracy.
As we can see above, the KDP's vision for Kurdistan is one that will easily fit into the current globalised capitalist system, whereas the PKK's vision for Kurdistan will stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe this was one of the reasons as to what led Kevin McKiernan to call his brilliantly shot documentary "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" all the way back in 2000 (the "Good Kurds" being the KDP led Kurdish uprising in the South and the "Bad Kurds" being the PKK led Kurdish uprising in the North).
While both the PKK and the KDP took up arms to struggle for Kurdistan, it is the PKK that takes its place on terrorist organisations lists in the USA, EU and the UK; whereas the KDP takes its place in official state visits to the very same countries, not to mention regularly plays host to the visits of their Secretaries of State. Is it really a far stretch to think that the ideological differences between these two organisations is what really determines the approaches of these Western states?
So, we can see that the long-running ideological-political-military confrontations between the PKK and the KDP cannot be solely explained by a power struggle between the two as to who will dominate Kurdistan. This is a systemic confrontation; and the PKK and the KDP are not the sole players. The global capitalist powers are actively trying to suffocate the socialist countries of Latin America on a daily basis; and here, they are actively working on preventing a Kurdistan that will be a threat to the capitalist system (PKK's vision for Kurdistan), but pushing for one that will fit like a glove (KDP's vision for Kurdistan).
This would also explain the West's silence and reluctance to acknowledge Kurdish efforts in Rojava. Whereas the KRG administrated South Kurdistan is a prototype for KDP's vision for an independent (by independent I mean West leaning) Kurdistan; Rojava Kurdistan is a prototype for PKK's vision for a socialist, ecologist and confederal Kurdistan. Both of these comparative societal constructs are formed by Kurds; however, one is promoted by the West as a beacon for the Middle East, the other is being isolated and left to face its own destiny in the face of attacks from sectarian extremists.
Although the formula seems extremely clear:
PKK for a socialist Kurdistan.
KDP for a capitalist Kurdistan.
It would seem preferential for the Kurdish national cause if this ideological junction could be dealt with after Kurdistan addressed its immediate adversaries. However, the likelihood is that we will see more bloodshed before we get an answer to what kind of Kurdistan will emerge...


Why is the world ignoring the revolutionary Kurds in Syria?

In 1937, my father volunteered to fight in the International Brigades in defence of the Spanish Republic. A would-be fascist coup had been temporarily halted by a worker’s uprising, spearheaded by anarchists and socialists, and in much of Spain a genuine social revolution ensued, leading to whole cities under directly democratic management, industries under worker control, and the radical empowerment of women.
Spanish revolutionaries hoped to create a vision of a free society that the entire world might follow. Instead, world powers declared a policy of “non-intervention” and maintained a rigorous blockade on the republic, even after Hitler and Mussolini, ostensible signatories, began pouring in troops and weapons to reinforce the fascist side. The result was years of civil war that ended with the suppression of the revolution and some of a bloody century’s bloodiest massacres.
I never thought I would, in my own lifetime, see the same thing happen again. Obviously, no historical event ever really happens twice. There are a thousand differences between what happened in Spain in 1936 and what is happening in Rojava, the three largely Kurdish provinces of northern Syria, today. But some of the similarities are so striking, and so distressing, that I feel it’s incumbent on me, as someone who grew up in a family whose politics were in many ways defined by the Spanish revolution, to say: we cannot let it end the same way again.
The autonomous region of Rojava, as it exists today, is one of few bright spots – albeit a very bright one – to emerge from the tragedy of the Syrian revolution. Having driven out agents of the Assad regime in 2011, and despite the hostility of almost all of its neighbours, Rojava has not only maintained its independence, but is a remarkable democratic experiment. Popular assemblies have been created as the ultimate decision-making bodies, councils selected with careful ethnic balance (in each municipality, for instance, the top three officers have to include one Kurd, one Arab and one Assyrian or Armenian Christian, and at least one of the three has to be a woman), there are women’s and youth councils, and, in a remarkable echo of the armed Mujeres Libres (Free Women) of Spain, a feminist army, the “YJA Star” militia (the “Union of Free Women”, the star here referring to the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar), that has carried out a large proportion of the combat operations against the forces of Islamic State.

How can something like this happen and still be almost entirely ignored by the international community, even, largely, by the International left? Mainly, it seems, because the Rojavan revolutionary party, the PYD, works in alliance with Turkey’s Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), a Marxist guerilla movement that has since the 1970s been engaged in a long war against the Turkish state. Nato, the US and EU officially classify them as a “terrorist” organisation. Meanwhile, leftists largely write them off as Stalinists.
But, in fact, the PKK itself is no longer anything remotely like the old, top-down Leninist party it once was. Its own internal evolution, and the intellectual conversion of its own founder, Abdullah Ocalan, held in a Turkish island prison since 1999, have led it to entirely change its aims and tactics.
The PKK has declared that it no longer even seeks to create a Kurdish state. Instead, inspired in part by the vision of social ecologist and anarchist Murray Bookchin, it has adopted the vision of “libertarian municipalism”, calling for Kurds to create free, self-governing communities, based on principles of direct democracy, that would then come together across national borders – that it is hoped would over time become increasingly meaningless. In this way, they proposed, the Kurdish struggle could become a model for a wordwide movement towards genuine democracy, co-operative economy, and the gradual dissolution of the bureaucratic nation-state.
Since 2005 the PKK, inspired by the strategy of the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Turkish state and began concentrating their efforts in developing democratic structures in the territories they already controlled. Some have questioned how serious all this really is. Clearly, authoritarian elements remain. But what has happened in Rojava, where the Syrian revolution gave Kurdish radicals the chance to carry out such experiments in a large, contiguous territory, suggests this is anything but window dressing. Councils, assemblies and popular militias have been formed, regime property has been turned over to worker-managed co-operatives – and all despite continual attacks by the extreme rightwing forces of Isis. The results meet any definition of a social revolution. In the Middle East, at least, these efforts have been noticed: particularly after PKK and Rojava forces intervened to successfully fight their way through Isis territory in Iraq to rescue thousands of Yezidi refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar after the local peshmerga fled the field. These actions were widely celebrated in the region, but remarkably received almost no notice in the European or North American press.
Now, Isis has returned, with scores of US-made tanks and heavy artillery taken from Iraqi forces, to take revenge against many of those same revolutionary militias in Kobane, declaring their intention to massacre and enslave – yes, literally enslave – the entire civilian population. Meanwhile, the Turkish army stands at the border preventing reinforcements or ammunition from reaching the defenders, and US planes buzz overhead making occasional, symbolic, pinprick strikes – apparently, just to be able to say that it did not do nothing as a group it claims to be at war with crushes defenders of one of the world’s great democratic experiments.
If there is a parallel today to Franco’s superficially devout, murderous Falangists, who would it be but Isis? If there is a parallel to the Mujeres Libres of Spain, who could it be but the courageous women defending the barricades in Kobane? Is the world – and this time most scandalously of all, the international left – really going to be complicit in letting history repeat itself?


Maoist Communist Party (Turkey ) (MKP) statement in 
support of the Kurdish Struggle in Kobane 

Explanations of MKP Kobani'nin

Maoist Communist Party (MKP) Central Committee-Information Bureau, which reached via e-mail in our hands "Kobani'nin condemn the reactionary siege, salute the heroic resistance of the Kurds! Not remedy the imperialist intervention, is a revolutionary resistance and struggle "has issued a statement titled. This description we share with our readers
NEWS CENTER (09/22/2014) - "an actual threat in the region and the fact that Isidor, which has become a heyula read correctly, it is essential to carry out a resolute struggle against him. Reaction from every kind and nature, the essence is the same. In the final analysis, the totals of the reactionary coterie feeds from idealism and scientific world view, as well as the bright future of humanity, is the enemy of the people and the revolution. Isidor of reaction is exactly what is pictured. Isidor reaction on the part of the universal frame and its original format.
Isidor imperialist barbarism its extension reaction carried out by the carnage and slaughter any and all methods that perform more primitive dark gerici- Sunni Muslim fundamentalists Madiran a component or structure.
Isidor imperialist reactionary aggression policies in Iraq and Syria has created a chaotic situation and alternative or opposing qualities no power can easily use a critical mass base formation as a result benefit from whether this ground step by getting organized and power advantage of being caught. Of the first-degree murder and are responsible for its wild, Isidor and aggression that have periodic interest policies in the context of him being organized and ground forces of imperialist reaction that creates these massacres and atrocities at least as guilty as Isidor and responsible. Isidor waging war against the imperialist reactionary masses descended to the position of savior, creating the illusion of sympathy and regions more established and 'legitimate' pursuit of protecting their prerogatives is to settle on the floor. In the mess created by the imperialist powers themselves and bloody games of this manipulation is also an important factor. Isidor and this fact led to the current situation of imperialist scenario is independent of, but in the region 'solution' crossed unable dogfight advantage in the obtain and where the hegemony consolidation strategies for the realization of the opportunity offers ...
In the light of these facts imperialist reaction, her reaction and concrete as a component in Isidor Isidor AKP government, including by supporting the fascist use this equation to be against all reactionary attitude is the only right attitude and class. Only Isidor scenarios and forces behind the obvious struggle to jump right in attitude is conducive to fracture, is also.
In the same way, Isidor in the region, nation and minorities, various beliefs sector for the vicious terror, barbarism and massacres committed class attitude with our curse, attack and massacre exposed to the Kurdish nation, Ezime sects and other nations and minorities were next, more importantly, practical tasks and that we have responsibilities in this respect, we declare that we support the resistance and struggle. Just around the world in a corner of imperialist aggression bloody oppression under downtrodden oppressed peoples and minorities, and the laboring masses is located near support, as we Isidor's barbaric attacks and massacres are exposed to the nation and the minorities and the toiling masses of people internationalist feelings and proletarian revolutionary attitude in accordance with our We support!
Isidor an insatiable appetite for blood and carnage with an attack barbarism new and comprehensive introduction to the enclosure movement has been Kobani'yi. Of course Kobani'de barbaric massacres of the Kurdish national audience exhibits heroic resistance against the siege attacks. This revolutionary communist resistance cordially support, salute.
Initially ourselves, including all the revolutionary forces themselves resistance and war take place in the form of any kind of solidarity and support to Kopani resistance and struggle overall owning magnification to call revolutionary responsibility and attitude requirements of our as we express.
Kobani'yl the most advanced level of solidarity in our attitude, anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and anti-reaction in embodied trait with the trio's international property and we also universal class trait in our sense, while finding proletarian internationalism us to adopt and oppressed against the common enemy partners to combat the requirements of such things as In addition, Iraq and Syria, the Kurdish nation state for the massacre that took place within the boundaries of the Kurdish nation also directly into our region to have received finds expression in reality. Moreover, each part of the Kurdish nation and concrete in the same fate of the Kurdish nation gerici- barbaric slaughter is exposed to attacks stop by.
Very legitimate reaction against the Kurdish nation and progressive resistance exhibits. In this case, what we do to the reactionary attacks and massacres against the progressive and revolutionary resistance can not remain indifferent. Each region experienced a similar situation in our attitude is the same. However, the massacre was carried out of the boundaries of the Kurdistan region, etc. As the concrete situation here also provide support in more concrete raises.
Isidor of the attacks and massacres against reactionary imperialist intervention and remedy the barbaric imperialist reactionary government under the leadership of the coalition with the concept of international reactionary attacks are not planned. Remedies are the revolutionary resistance and struggle, it is the development of resistance in nature.
AKP government should be exposed!
Isidor of the AKP government with a truck to carry weapons and money, which can accommodate in hotels, which treat the injured and provide all kinds of support that is well known in all its nakedness. Even in this case, the agenda of the international press made are discussed.
Today ışid'l political bargain is made, the person carrying out the swap swap bargain made and was approved by President Erdogan is described. Even this reality ışid'l relationship with the AKP government, state Isidor is evidence that supports a variety of formats.
Before the AKP government collusion or on the basis of secret planning and consulates in spite of warnings taken hostage by emptying the intended purposes within the plan to provide a certain event, it was understood from the statements made. Today, the rescue of the hostages will not change anything. On the contrary, the release of the hostages is directly pointing to something.
When you issue the heads of foreign journalists, Turkish hostages after 101 days without anything and was held to be delivered safely. This of course is in need of explanation and Isidor attitude is not very usual. However, it has become clear to Erdogan's statements, the mutual swap is made. This irrefutable nature of the confidential relationship between the AKP and Isidor embodies.
Isidor relations between the AKP and the AKP's support Isidor, training camps, weapons and financial assistance in finding and finally release the hostages until the bargain, etc. are large and obvious. Indeed, the AKP government carried Isidor international coalition to carry out attacks, the United States, although it is not even. All signs and developments friendship and relations with the AKP's secret Isidor indicate. Yes, the AKP-led Turkish state against Isidor Isidor cons, but in favor of a motion to join is to do everything. In fact, the AKP Isidor Kurds in the background, especially to wage war against the Kurds lies Rojav.
Down with imperialism, fascism and reactionary of all kinds!
Long live the struggle of the Kurdish nation justified and legitimate resistance!
Long live the proletarian internationalism! "


Today Kobane is a homeland! Act now and defend it!

(Statement from Marxist Leninist Communist Party (Turkey Northern Kurdistan)

“Today, Madrid is a homeland”! was the slogan of internationalists in defense of republican Madrid against the military units of fascist Franco. 

Kobane, the starting point of Rojava Revolution, has been under siege and constant great massacre threat of barbaric ISIS for 15 days. The ISIS mobs, who reached the gates of Kobane on 26 September, can make great massacre at any time. The AKP government in Ankara has supported the ISIS attacks by giving them weapons and ammunitions. It plans to destroy Rojava Revolution by using the ISIS and then to occupy the region through announcement of “buffer zone”.

The ISIS mobs have got the heavy weaponry such as missiles, tanks and artilleries taken from Iraq-Mosul army and Syria Hezekiah regiments. And the people of Kobane and YPG (People’s Protection Units) have got Kalashnikovs and rockets in their hands. In spite of the extreme inequality of weapons, the people of Kobane and YPG will resist heroically and create the “Stalingrad” of Kurds. They have been continuing with their heroic resistance for 15 days now. However, the ISIS, leaning on the extreme superiority of weaponry, will try to destroy the city and cause a great mass killing. 

The imperialist forces led by the USA have agreed to strike ISIS on the air. They again lit the fire of war under the pretext of ISIS. But, although they have agreed on the air strikes of ISIS, they consider it as something not to hurry up. They also plan to destroy Rojava Revolution by ISIS starting from Kobane and then to attack ISIS.  

Although the Assad regime is in war with ISIS, it does not organize air strike against the ISIS convoys that are full of tanks and artilleries. Because he, too, find the destruction of Rojava Revolution, even by his enemy, in line with his interests. He also calculates that the war will also weaken the ISIS.

All the progressive, revolutionary, communist parties, mass organizations, trade unions and women organizations of Middle East and the world!

The revolution on 19 July 2012 in Rojava (North of Syria) has brought the people from all nations and beliefs onto power by uniting them on the basis of freedom and equal rights. They have established the people’s defense in order to stop reactionary civil war to harm the region. They have mobilized women with equal rights to take part in administration and defense of the region. Our Party, MLCP is also taking part in the Rojava Revolution and fights with its women and men warriors.    

Today Rojava and Kobane is the homeland of the revolution!

Support the resistance of the YPG, formed by the people of Kobane and their heroic sons and daughters, against the attempts of ISIS mobs supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Catar, and to stop a great mass killing and genocide!

Act now to defend Rojava Revolution by organizing demonstrations, protest pickets, and actions in front of the consulates of Turkey and other regional reactionary states. Do not let the barbarians and the reactionary states supported by them to crush the revolution!


Rojava: a struggle against borders and for autonomy

As ISIS lays siege on the autonomous Kurdish enclave of Kobanê, thousands of Kurds try to break down the Turkish-Syrian border to join their comrades.
The struggle to abolish borders which separate peoples from each other, is commonly represented by certain well known and extreme examples. The militarized wall between the US and Mexico is one clear case in the consciousness of the Western left. Another disgusting manifestation is the stranglehold of Israel’s apartheid wall around the West Bank. Less well known, despite a hundred years of fierce struggle, are the borders that separate the 40 million Kurdish peoples from each other and which span across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
The Kurdish aspiration to destroy these borders is reaching its peak today on the boundary that separates Turkey and Syria. As a result of decades of resistance to these nation states, the radical Kurds of Turkey and Syria are taking advantage of the geopolitical shake-up in the region and are declaring their regional autonomy. But before we examine the current situation, a brief sketch of the historical context is in order.
A History of Struggle
In the midst of the First World War, the semi-secret Skyes-Picot pact between Britain and France prefigured the borders which would define Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq for a hundred years to come. After a four year war under the helm of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern-day Turkey, the Turkish Republic was formed with the Lausanne Agreement in 1923. Turkey was not only a project resulting from an independence war but also from the creation of an artificial national identity. This Turkish identity began to erase all other ethnicities and cultures which it regarded as a threat, and the Kurdish people were at the top of this list. After being carved up and divided by the imperial powers of Europe, the Kurds now found themselves being erased by the budding Turkish nationalism.
The 20th century history of the Kurds within the borders of Turkey is ripe with rebellions and ensuing massacres such as the events of Dersim that started in 1938. This instance alone left more than 10,000 Kurds dead and at least as many forcefully removed from their homes. Without a doubt, the most resilient Kurdish resistance movement emerged with the formation of the the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, in 1978. Formed by Marxist-Leninist students and led by Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK became a formidable enemy of the Turkish state as it waged a guerrilla war of independence, most aggressively in the late 1980s and 1990s.
At that time, the goal of the PKK was to create a unified Kurdistan along socialist principles. The PKK operated training camps across the border from Turkey in Iraq but more notably in Syria, especially in the Bekaa Valley near Lebanon. As a testament to its transborder aspirations, the PKK and its leader Öcalan left a deep mark on Kurds in Western Kurdistan, located in northern Syria. The 30 year civil war left more than 60,000 people dead within Turkish borders, the vast majority of them Kurds, members and sympathizers of the PKK, as well as 4,500 Kurdish villages evacuated and burnt by the Turkish military.
In 1999, Turkish special forces were able to capture Öcalan from exile in Rome (via Kenya), and the scope of the Kurdish struggle started to take a new form. From his extreme isolation in an island prison in the middle of the Marmara Sea, Öcalan began to make references to the Zapatistas and even to the relatively obscure social ecologist Murray Bookchin. The war for independence became transformed into one for autonomy, self-governance and expression of their identity such as using the Kurdish language, banned until very recently. More emphasis was placed upon the non-guerilla organizations of the Kurdish people, both their legal political parties but also on different modes of civil disobedience and the beginnings of an autonomous mode of federative governance.
The Kurds in Turkey had not been the only group under the yoke of a repressive nationalist Kemalism. Secularism, one of the pillars of the Turkish Republic, had been steadfastly preserved by its guardian — the Turkish Armed Forces — which targeted various stripes of Islamists vowing for power. But the tables turned at the turn of the century when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) put forth a program conjoining neoliberal development and Islam and swiftly rose to power. The AKP, with the rabid yet shrewd Erdoğan as its chief, became the first Turkish government to start a dialogue with PKK leadership in Oslo in 2008. Although mostly window-dressing, such interchange was unheard of until that moment.
In Kurdistan, the Sun Rises from the West
Today, the situation for the Kurds has taken a different turn with the dawn of the Arab Spring and its spread to Syria. The Syrian people were not able to bring a swift departure to their despotic leader Bashar Al-Assad as had been the case in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Instead, the country plunged into a still raging war against the last remaining Ba’athist dictatorship in the region. From this desperate mess emerged Rojava on July 19, 2012.
Rojava, meaning West in Kurdish, was the product of what is referred to as a Democratic People’s Revolution by those who took advantage of the weakening of the Ba’athist regime, namely the PYD (the Democratic Unity Party). Their territory is comprised of three cantons in northern Syria, Cizîr to the East, Efrîn to the West and Kobanê in the middle. Instead of forming a state, the PYD seek to implement democratic autonomy and self-governance with assemblies that extend down to the neighborhood level. In January of this year, their Democratic Autonomous Assembly passed a “social agreement” which guaranteed decentralization, free education in the native tongue, healthcare, housing and an end to child labor and any discrimination against women.
The radical Kurdish movement’s emphasis on women’s autonomy and empowerment must be underlined. There have been numerous PKK units and guerrilla camps which are only for women. Nearly all political organizations they form have two leaders, one a man and another a woman. Following in this tradition, on April 2, 2012 in Rajava, the autonomous force the YPJ (Women’s Defense Forces) was formed within the YPG (the People’s Defense Forces). Both the YPG and YPJ have had to defend the revolution of Rojava nearly constantly from both the Ba’athist regime as well as the various stripes of Islamists who have turned Syria into the latest front of their jihad.
A Gang called ISIS
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, formed in 2009, gradually matured into a full-fledged Salafist organization and expanded its operations to Syria, renaming itself the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Their form of jihad and power struggle led to their disavowal by Al Qaeda earlier this year, and ISIS quickly became the reigning address for Islamic extremists looking to join the holy war. ISIS stepped into the limelight of the Western media with its capture of Mosul in Iraq on June 10, 2014. But the autonomous regions of Rojava have also been under a fierce ISIS assault for more than a year.
Three weeks ago, on July 2, ISIS began a siege of Rojava’s central canton of Kobanê, using military equipment and munitions captured following their victory in Mosul. ISIS is trying to take Kobanê from the east, west and south and this ongoing siege constitutes the most serious threat that Rojava has come under thus far. The Kurdish movement in Turkey identifies deeply with Rojava since the PYD has been enormously influenced by the leadership of Öcalan. Therefore, a threat to the revolution in Rojava also constitutes a serious threat for the aspirations of regional autonomy for Kurds living within the borders of Turkey. In addition, many believe that the Turkish state is using ISIS for a proxy war against Kurdish autonomy by supplying them with arms and intelligence and free movement across its borders.
Following the ISIS siege of Kobanê, Kurdish and Leftist political actors in Turkey — namely the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) and BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) — mobilized to intervene in the situation. Starting on July 9, they set up four different encampments along the border in strategic locations to prevent regular ISIS movements in and out of Turkey so they could bring their wounded to Turkish hospitals and receive logistical support from the Turkish state. These encampments have also been used as staging grounds to cross the border en masse to join the YPG and YPJ forces in their defense of Kobanê. The current climate within the Kurdish movement in Turkey is one of a wartime mobilization with daily calls by party members for the youth to remove the borders and join the defense forces in Rojava.

One of the largest crossings in defiance of the border came on July 14, when approximately 300 youth crossed into Kobanê and were greeted by YPG members on the other side who would guide them across the minefield between the border and Kobanê. But this was only the prelude to what would be a historic celebration of the Kurdish struggle for regional autonomy, on the second anniversary of the revolution in Rojava.
Destroying the Border
All day and into the night on July 18, thousands of Kurds flooded into the encampment in the township of Pirsus (Suruç in Turkish). Tents had been set up near the village of Alizer, a village literally divided by the border between Turkey and Syria. People came from all over Kurdistan to celebrate the revolution in Rojava and to remove the border so as to join their compatriots on the other side in their war against ISIS.
The next day, on the 19th, the air was filled with the dry dust as the camp was set up in the middle of a fallow field under gusts of scorching winds. The sun shone hard at 45ºC, yet people kept coming and joining in the ongoing halay (a circular dance popular amongst Kurds). With more people came more and more tanks and armored personal carriers of the Turkish military as well as the water canons and other armored vehicles of the police.
The tanks and troops of the Turkish military arrived from a nearby base which has on its entrance the words “The border is honor” emblazoned on its entrance. Yet the Kurdish villagers and militant youth were not intimidated by the show of force and remained determined to destroy this border between them and their comrades under siege. On the other side of the border, thousands of Kurds from Kobanê arrived to embrace those separated from them by a flimsy barbed wire. As nighttime set in and the air became cooler, fireworks started to light the sky in a great celebration of the revolution. People were restless and the barbed wire lost any semblance of a deterrent it once represented. The stage was set for a spectacular confrontation.
And that confrontation came as promised. After the wires were clipped, a few hundred Kurdish youth crossed into Kobanê to be greeted by a delegation from the YPG. The police and military brutally attacked the celebration launching hundreds of teargas canisters into the area, as well as assaulting the crowd with batons and water cannons. The perseverance of the people was pure inspiration as everyone from the most bold and wild youth to old grannies joined the resistance against the forces of the Turkish state with rocks, molotov cocktails and fireworks. From the stage came directives for people to come and join those fighting or at least to come with their cars to help evacuate the wounded. After a two hour battle, the police and soldiers forced their way into the area with the tents and set fire to it all.
Five hours later, the military launched an operation at another encampment 30 kilometers away, near the village of Ziyaret, at the township of Birecik. The front lines of the siege of the Kobanê canton is visible from this point and this camp was strategically placed to sabotage ISIS movements and provide support and solidarity to the YPG. The people at that camp fought the military off and regained control of the camp only to have to endure another more vicious attack the following morning, on July 21, during which soldiers and police burned the tents and destroyed the cars of those there, arresting eight people after beating them.
Rojava for the Middle East
In the Western media, when one hears of Kurds or Kurdistan it is most often in reference to Mesud Barzani and the Kurdish territory under his control in Northern Iraq, which has also extended its sovereignty in the current context created by ISIS. It must be pointed out that this political formation has minimal affinity with the radical revolutionary one launched by the PYD in Rojava. In fact, both the PYD and PKK often find themselves in open conflict with Barzani’s vision for the Kurds. Occasionally doing the bidding of colonial states, Barzani is also a frequent visitor of Erdoğan. In fact, as recent as last week he flew to Ankara to meet with him and discuss the situation unfolding in the region.
The siege around Kobanê by ISIS is continuing but the YPG and YPJ are determined to thwart it and as of today have begun to take back territory from them. Meanwhile, their comrades on the Turkish side of the border have begun to rebuild the encampment at the village of Ziyaret and vow to stay there until ISIS is fought off. They see the defense of Kobanê as the crucial battle to keep the battle for Kurdish autonomy alive. Many compare this current mobilization to that which took place in defense of the Spanish Revolution against the fascists in the late 1930s. The crushing of the Spanish Revolution had global repercussions that are still being felt today. Similarly, the perseverance of the revolution in Rojava is the only remote hope for a different kind of Middle East, where peoples come together in solidarity with each other rather than at war under sectarianism stoked by colonial powers.
"Stateless Democracy: How the Kurdish Women Movement Liberated Democracy from the State".

Dilar Dirik is an activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement and a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department of the University of Cambridge. Her lecture at the 4th New World Summit is entitled “Stateless Democracy: How the Kurdish Women Movement Liberated Democracy from the State”

Watch the video here in this link


The Heroic Kurdish Women Fighters


Official website of PKK

Official website of Maoist Communist Party  maoist party site


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