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Introductory note by LeftEast editors
March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition.
By Nick Fredman
March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.
I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.
Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis, first published at Salvage
George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically?
Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.
By Davide Grasso
March 15, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from InfoAUT — When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 – few of us knew the dimensions of what was about to happen. North Africa and Southwest Asia were ticking time-bombs waiting to explode, waiting to manifest, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, deep contradictions and new paths towards the future. Few among us were aware of how unprepared we were for these events and, initially, for developing a solid analysis of what was happening beyond the Mediterranean.
At the time, a friend told me: "These 'springs' have swept away the Salafis from the history of those countries denying that tendency to be the dominant one among the youth." The following events, up to the present ones, demonstrate how incomplete and one-sided this impression was. We were projecting our expectations on the events. We did not analyze the facts in all their complexity, for what they were, albeit in their ambivalence; we looked at them for what we wanted them to be.
By Tony Iltis
February 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the US has been involved, at first, through arming and supporting groups opposing the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, and supporting allies in the region doing likewise; and since 2014, through its direct involvement in leading an international coalition in an air war against ISIS.
Small numbers of US Special Forces and CIA operatives are also in Syria, supporting different, mutually antagonistic groups in the multi-sided conflict.
The US role in Syria often appears confused and contradictory. This seems set to increase under the new US administration.
By Hawzhin Azeez
February 2, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Kurdish Question — Zahra Shexo bends over her sewing machine and meticulously, but expertly allows the course material to run through her fingers and under the pointed needle of the machine. The sound of over a dozen women’s laughter and conversation intermixes with the repetitive mechanical sounds of the sewing machines in the large room. The sewing room is a Kaleidoscope of different coloured materials, samples, threads and other necessary sewing items. Zahra is the current administrator of the textile cooperative Amargi in Kobane city.
January 18, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English –– YPJ (Women's Defense Units) Spokeswoman Nesrin Abdullah described Raqqa operation that was launched at the end of 2016 and led by the YPJ as the operation to avenge all women, and said “Raqqa’s liberation is also the liberation of mentalities. Because as the women of the YPJ, we aim not only liberation from ISIS but also a liberation of mentality and thoughts. Democratic culture and fraternal life must be deepened because war is not only the liberation of land. We are also fighting for the liberation of women and men. If not, the patriarchal system will prevail once again.
By Anna Lau, Erdelan Baran, and Melanie Sirinathsingh
November 23, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — For 4000 years since the breakdown of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, almost every major societal collapse has featured five trends: spiralling migration, state collapse, food shortages, epidemic disease and climate change. What makes the present era distinct is that whilst previous collapses have been geographically contained, the globalisation of carbon-intensive industry since the 1800s and particularly over the last four decades means that the relationship between cause and effect has been obscured. Many of the people worst impacted by human-caused climate change today are also the least responsible for it. The Climate Stories project believes that averting further damage and building a different future means being led by those who are the first to hear the earth rise up in protest, have considered the causes and are innovating solutions. In this spirit, this article documents reflections from a series of conversations with members of the Kurdish movement on climate change.
Exploring the roots of a 21st century ‘climate crisis’
Kurds and Turks are at the edge of a cliff: An interview with arrested Kurdish women’s rights activist Ayla Akat
Nadje al-Ali and Latif Tas interview Ayla Akat
November 4, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Ayla Akat, lawyer, former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Batman, KJA Spokesperson and prominent Kurdish women’s rights activists based in Diyarbakir (Amed) was arrested a few days ago alongside other Kurdish women’s rights activists.
They were protesting against the illegal arrest of Gültan Kışanak, co-mayor of Diyarbakir, who has been detained together with the city’s male co-mayor, Fırat Anlı. In addition, 27 elected Kurdish co-mayors are in prison in Turkey, while 43 of them were dismissed. On 11 September 2016, the central government appointed deputy governors as trustees to replace the dismissed Kurdish mayors who were elected by more than 70% of the public vote.
October 19, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF News — Rojava Cantons General Coordination issued a statement on the outcome of the coordination meeting where they assessed the recent political developments in Syria and the region.
The Coordination statement reads: “The Rojava Cantons General Coordination convened on October 10, 2016 to assess the political developments in Syria and the region. We would like to share our views and the political situation in the region in the face of the historic weight placed on our shoulders by the developments.
By Rojava Solidarity NYC
September 24, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Saladdin Ahmed, an assistant professor of Philosophy at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey, interviewed by Robert Leonard Rope
Robert Leonard Rope(RLR): Please briefly describe your background. Were you named after Saladin the Great? And what was it like to teach at a university in Turkey?
Saladdin Ahmed (SA): I never know how to answer questions about my background mainly because my identity has always been shaped around negations rather than the promotion of a certain upbringing. I wouldn’t say I have an identity crisis, but I would say identity, at least in today’s world, is itself a crisis.
August 29, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Crisis and Revolt — Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria on 24 August was flagged up as a move to drive the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) out of the border town of Jarabulus. But that is just a cover: Turkey’s not very secret major objective is to crush the 50,000-strong Kurdish YPG (people’s Protection Unit) militia, and overrun the three autonomous Kurdish dominated areas, collectively called ‘Rojava’ by the Kurds.
By Phil Hearse and Sarah Parker
August 27, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — In the wake of the failed military coup in Turkey, and the massive wave of state repression that has followed, building solidarity with the progressive resistance in Turkey and Kurdistan is even more vital. The attention of socialists and democrats worldwide will be turned towards the reactionary mobilisation that the ruling AKP has unleashed. This will put the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) centre stage.
By Sarah Parker and Phil Hearse
August 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The dramatic events of 15/16 July created an international shock wave: this was, contrary to some initial opinions, a very serious coup involving large sections of the armed forces. Both the parliament and the presidential palace were attacked by fighter planes. Hundreds were killed, both demonstrators and police killed by pro-coup soldiers and helicopter gunships, and young conscripts lynched by the anti-coup crowds. The coup showed the deep rifts that exist inside the Turkish ruling class, and its aftermath showed the growing drive towards the creation of an Islamist dictatorship.
(Updated) HDP leader: 'We must take a clear position against both pro-coup mindsets'; plus Kurdistan National Congress statement
July 20, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Peoples’ Democratic Party English website -- Öcalan had warned Erdogan about this matter a lot. “Tell him, he does not get it, he is acting like an idiot” Öcalan said. “By continuing the resolution process I supported him, if this process ends, the mechanics of coup would step in and he would end up just like Morsi of Egypt” he constantly warned.
Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party, defined the attempted coup as “the coup attempt of putchists against putchists” and added: “A clear attitude must be adopted against both pro-coup mindsets and the struggle must be stepped up because the coup mindset that tried to seize power through military forces using tanks and cannons is illegitimate and so is ruling the society through an election that takes place with war, violence, and bombing of the cities, it also is a civil coup.”
July 14, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Dawn News -- In the framework of the International Festival Utopia in Marica (Brazil), The Dawn News and Resumen Latinoamericano interviewed a People's Protection Units (YPG) militant, Serhad Ayers. He talked about the situation of Kurdish people in Syria, the relationship with Bashar Al Assad’s government, the misrepresentation of female Kurdish fighters in Western media, cooperation with Arab forces, the link between Turkey and Daesh and the Kurds’ strategy to democratize the Middle East while eliminating Daesh.
By Sarah Parker and Phil Hearse, foreward by Kate Hudson
By Ruken Isik
April 5, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Next System Project -- The struggles of Kurdish women in Rojava Kurdistan (Northern Syria) became known to many people in the world during the brutal attacks of ISIS against the city of Kobane in northern Syria on September 15th, 2014. While Kurdish men and women were trying to defend the city from ISIS militia men with limited ammunition and inadequate weapons, compared to sophisticated weapons in the hands of ISIS, Kurds worldwide took to the streets to be voice for Kurds in Rojava and Kobane. From the battle to defend Kobane onward, Western media and politicians have started to talk about the brave Kurdish women who are fighting against ISIS and its brutal treatment—including enslavement—of women.
But a question still resonates in many ears: how do Kurdish women join the fight against ISIS in such numbers, and why are women on the forefront of the struggle? What is the history behind this remarkable departure from the norm, and what can advocates for systemic change and feminism learn from Rojava?
Interview by Karlos Zurutuza
March 25, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal translated from the Spanish edition of Vice News and reposted from Kurdistan Tribune — Salih Muslim Muhammad (born Kobani, Aleppo, 1951) is co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party-PYD, the political force that has led the uprising of the Kurds in Syria since the war began, in March 2011.
After spending 12 years as an oil industry engineer in Saudi Arabia, Muslim returned to Syria in the 90s to work clandestinely — Kurdish political parties were banned. By the time he became president of the Democratic Union Party, in 2010, he’d already paid for his political dissent with torture and imprisonment in Assad´s prisons.
It is not the first time Vice News has talked with Muslim, but this time we wanted to hear first-hand his take on the role his people are playing in a conflict that started five years ago.