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The revolutionaries of Bethnahrin: cooperation between Christians and Kurds

 

Dawronoye's television team visits the guerrillas. Beside Jacob Mirza (front row, third from left) sits Sargon Adam, holding a machine gun. (Photo courtesy Sargon Adam, August 1999).

By Carl Drott

May 25, 2015 -- Warscapes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This article is primarily based on interviews conducted in Syria and Sweden between August 2013 and January 2015. For the sake of simplicity, the term "Syriac" is here employed to denote also those individuals or communities identifying as Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Christian Kurds or Christian Arabs.

* * *

In northeastern Syria, “Christian militias” (as they are often termed) are now battling the Islamic State [also known as ISIS] alongside Kurdish forces. However, these groups did not simply emerge spontaneously as a response to a security threat: they are the latest incarnations of the Dawronoye movement, which first appeared on the European and Middle Eastern political scenes 20 years ago.

Discussion: Michael Cooke on the left and fundamentalists

By Michael Cooke

For the record then, I have no patience with the position that "we" should only or mainly be concerned with what is "ours’" any more than I can condone reactions to such a view that require Arabs to read Arab books, use Arab methods and the like. As C.L.R James used to say, Beethoven belongs as much to the West as he does to Germans, since his music is now part of the human heritage.

Partly because of empire, all cultures are involved in one another; none is single and pure, all are hybrid, heterogeneous, extraordinary, differentiated, and unmonolithic. This I believe, is as true of the contemporary Untied States [or Australia] as it is of the modern Arab world … Edward Said[1]

Saudi Arabia’s lesser known exports after oil: Wahhabism and pro-imperialism

US President Barack Obama fetes the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

By Rupen Savoulian

April 19, 2015 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author's permission -- Saudi Arabia’s aerial offensive against Yemen has continued for the fourth week at the time of writing. Yemen is undergoing a humanitarian crisis, with millions of Yemenis lacking basic access to food, clean drinking water and health care. The Saudi bombardment has only worsened the plight of the Yemenis, with schools destroyed, hospitals and health-care facilities targeted, and electricity supplies cut off. Basic infrastructure is being shattered, thus precipitating a catastrophic health situation for Yemeni residents.

Farooq Tariq: 'Fue un ataque de fanáticos musulmanes contra los niños musulmanes'

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4210.]

Por Farooq Tariq

Sábado, 20 de diciembre de 2014 -- Viento Sur -- Ha sido el ataque más mortífero realizado contra una escuela por los fanáticos religiosos. En la Escuela Pública del Ejército [una de las cerca de 150 creadas y gestionadas por el ejército. ndr] hubo 146 víctimas. Entre ellas, 136 niños con edades comprendidas entre 10 y 17 años. A los niños se les pidió que recitaran el Kalma [ver: http://ismaili.net/heritage/node/10521] y luego les dispararon. Fue un ataque de fánaticos musulmames contra niños musulmanes.

El Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan se atribuyó la responsabilidad y envió una foto de los siete militantes que participaron en la "operación" portando armas y bombas. Lo hicieron depués de que se publicaran en la web los rostros de los siete militantes muertos, asesinados por el ejército en el contraataque, no antes de que ellos causaron el daño máximo.

Los fanáticos afirmaron que no mataron niños pequeños, que su "islam" no les permite asesina a niños del "enemigo" menores de 12 años. Casi el 11% de los niños matriculados en la escuela murieron en los primeros 15 minutos que tuvieron ocupada la escuela.

Farooq Tariq and Tariq Ali on the 'Talibanisation' of Pakistan and the Afghan war blowback

Tariq Ali appeared on the December 18, 2014, episode of Democracy Now! (text below).

Click HERE for more on Pakistan.

By Farooq Tariq

December 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was the most deadly attack on any school by religious fanatics: 146 were killed in a Peshawar Army Public School, including 136 children, ages ranging from 10 to 17 years. The attackers asked the children to recite the Kalma and then fired at them. It was an attack on Muslim children by Muslim fanatics.

Tehreek Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility and sent a group photo of the seven militants who took part in the “operation” holding guns and bombs. This was in response to the posting online of the dead faces of the seven who were killed by the army in the counter attack, not before they caused maximum damage.

Thailand's official religion is not Buddhism but 'Monarchy'

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 5, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As far as the Thai ruling class is concerned, the official religion of the country, which they are forever trying to ram down our throats, is not Buddhism but “Monarchy”.

For historical and philosophical reasons Buddhism has not been the main authoritarian tool of the Thai ruling class. Kings and military dictators were always wary of building up rivals if they promoted the power of the monks. Since the late 1950s the military sought to control the monks and make sure that they were mainly apolitical. This is unlike in Burma or Laos, where the Buddhist monks were politicised by the nationalist movements.

Thai Buddhism is also a religion based on the actions of private individuals who try to amass merit. Thai monks do not usually give public sermons in order to control the beliefs of the population. Buddhism is also practiced in a manner which is strongly laced with animistic beliefs in spirits and ancient superstitions or it is mixed with Hinduism.

Challenging the globalisation of indifference: Pope Francis meets with popular movements

The author, Judith Marshall, meets Pope Francis.

By Judith Marshall

November 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have recently returned from three fascinating days in Rome where I participated in a World Meeting of Popular Movements. This event brought to the Vatican a throng of articulate delegates from among the poor and excluded of the 21st Century, people fighting for land, for housing, for work and for dignity. Pope Francis was a central force in creating this gathering in Rome. Our meeting with him in the Old Synod Hall of the Basilica was a high point.

The meeting brought together 150 delegates. Thirty of them were Bishops from various parts of the world whose ministries include strong accompaniment and support for movements of the poor. The other 120 came from various popular movements working on the thematic issues of the meeting – Terra, Labor, Domus. Men and women fighting for land, work and housing were present from every continent. In a statement from the organisers, the logic was clear.

A lesson in humility for ‘New Atheists’

Christianity, Islam and Atheism: Reflections on Religion, Society and Politics
By Michael Cooke.
Sydney: Resistance Books, 2014.
Order HERE.

Review by Ben Courtice

September 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For a time I stopped referring to myself as an atheist in public. I was intensely embarrassed by seeing ads on buses promoting atheism around the time of the World Atheist Conference in Melbourne. For a while I simply became “not religious” for public purposes. I found it embarrassing because public evangelism is the one thing that particularly galls me about religion.

I didn't change my opinions, but this book does a good job of outlining why I felt as I did, in far more insightful terms than I ever thought of.

Palestine: Hamas is leading a legitimate struggle for self-determination

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City on December 8, 2012. 

By Rupen Savoulian

September 4, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas is the abbreviation from the Arabic – has constituted the democratically elected government of the Palestinian territories since January 2006. It swept to power in that year, winning a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, amid recognition of the failure of the traditional secular nationalist Palestinian parties, in particular the Fatah party that had dominated the Palestinian leadership for decades.

Iraq and Syria: The struggle against the 'multi-sided' counterrevolution

June 27, 2014, BBC map of the gains made by ISIS.

By Michael Karadjis

June 25, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- As a coalition of Sunni-based forces, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), took the major northern Iraqi city of Mosul and then most of the Sunni heartland in the north and west of Iraq, regional and western capitals went into crisis mode: the entire post-US occupation stabilisation had collapsed in a heap.

The Gulf and Islamism in Syria: myths and misconceptions

ISIS fighters.

By Michael Karadjis

June 3, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Over the last year, the sectarian (mainly Sunni versus Alawite) element of the Syrian conflict has markedly grown, within an uprising that began as a multi-sectarian popular democratic uprising against Syria’s tyrannical regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The hold of Sunni sectarianism is by no means universal among the insurgent Syrian masses and their myriad of civil and armed resistance organisations; on the contrary, despite persistent myths, the revolution still contains a powerful secular wing (both within the civil uprising and the Free Syrian Army), and even the largest parts of the clearly political-Islamist wings are not specifically sectarian; and many are markedly moderate Islamists. However, there is no denying that a dangerous level of Sunni sectarianism has grown, especially among the more extreme ‘jihadist’ fringe affiliated to al-Qaida, and that this is an entirely negative and reactionary development.

Ecuador: 'Markets are a terrible master', says President Rafael Correa

For more on Ecuador, click HERE.

By Jonathan Nack

April 29, 2014 -- IndyBay, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Ecuador's President Rafael Correa explained what he means when he describes himself as a “modern socialist” in an interview with PBS TV journalist Charlie Rose on April 15, 2014 (above). “We believe in societies with markets, but not in societies [ruled] by markets – that's the difference... One of the [biggest] problems in the present time is that markets are controlling everything. We believe in society with markets, but society must govern the markets... Markets [are] a very good servant, but a terrible master”, said Correa, during a wide ranging interview with Rose.

Correa said that being a modern socialist means to “look for social justice”. “My political thinking has been influenced by the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and also Liberation Theology."

Farooq Tariq, Awami Workers Party: 'Left unity a precious gain amid right-wing advances in Pakistan'

Farooq Tariq

April 10, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One of the international guests at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, to be held in Sydney June 7-9, 2014, will be Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in Pakistan. Conference organiser and Green Left Weekly correspondent Peter Boyle interviewed Tariq on April 10. He will speak on "The struggle for democracy and justice in Pakistan" on June 7 at the Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville, Sydney.

Get your ticket here.

* * *

It has been nearly a year and a half since the Awami Workers Party was formed out of a merger of the Awami Party Pakistan, the Labour Party Pakistan and the Worker’s Party Pakistan. How is this united party going today?

Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism

By Rupen Savoulian

March 24, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In 2005, Palestinian human rights groups and civil rights organisations launched a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. This campaign has multiple aims, one of them being to pressure the Israeli government to comply with United Nations resolutions and ensure that its policies conform with international law and the Universal principles of human rights.

Specifically, the BDS campaign intends to achieve the full recognition of Palestinians as equal citizens within the state of Israel, to achieve the right of return of Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel since 1948, as demanded by Article 11 of the United Nations general assembly resolution 194, to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab land, cease the building of settlements and dismantle the ongoing Israeli West Bank barrier (also known as the Apartheid Wall).

Paul Buhle on a new book about radical Jesus: 'Why didn’t I hear about this in Sunday School?

By Paul Buhle

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
by Reza Aslan
2013: Random House
336 pp.

February 6, 2014 -- Truthout/Rag Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A better title for this best seller would be: Jesus Against Empire. If the devil can quote scripture, according to tradition, and if the recovery and analysis of assorted versions of what became Bible text (or did not) have become a scholarly big business, then we can hardly expect any version to be accepted by all.

Still, Reza Aslan himself is by now the kind of major media personality who appears on The Colbert Report (and what could be more major?) with views on subjects ranging from Iran (where he was born) to the silliness of Fox News on Christmas.

Lionsgate has purchased the film rights to his new book, Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and he is reportedly scripting a television series for FX. Conservatives gripe at his Jesus, while senior Biblical scholars seem to be complaining that they never got the earthly attention and rewards now ladled upon him.

Marx on the 'Jewish question': anti-Semitic or a cogent critique of liberalism

Favourite maxim: Nothing human is alien to me

Favourite motto: De omnibus dubitandum -- Everything should be doubted -- Karl Marx[1]

By Michael Cooke

July 2, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These two dictums are never truer when one confronts the negative commentaries on a relatively obscure and early piece of writing of Karl Marx’s entitled “On the Jewish question”, published in 1844.[2] Critics have highlighted statements like:

What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is the worldly god? Money.[3]

Later on in his polemic he bluntly states:

Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist.[4]

Paul Le Blanc on Martin Luther King: Christian core, socialist bedrock

January 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following article was first published in Against The Current #96 (January/February 2002) and is one of the first to focus on the fact that Martin Luther King was a socialist from the time he war a college student until his death. It is posted at Paul Le Blanc's suggestion and with his permission.

For more on Martin Luther King, click HERE.

* * *

By Paul Le Blanc

The life and example of Martin Luther King, Jr. are central to any quest for a better world—in part because he so effectively illuminated, and helped people struggle against, the realities of racism, highlighting the link between issues of racial and economic justice.  I will argue here that his outlook represents a remarkable blending of Christian, democratic, and socialist perspectives.

The Arab uprisings, democratic demands and the Saudi payroll

Hillary Clinton (centre) meets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (right) in Riyadh to discuss Syria. Photograph: AP.

By Rupen Savoulian

May 21, 2012 -- Antipodean Athiest, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author-- In April 2012, a number of high-level political officials attended conferences in Paris and Istanbul organised by the Friends of Syria group. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton attended these meetings, and joined the foreign ministers from the NATO powers and Arab Gulf monarchies in denouncing the killings committed by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Pakistan: Stop the kidnapping, forced religious conversion and forced 'marriage' of women!

April 20, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 17, the Sindh Progressive Committee (SPC), which brings togetther activists from the Labour Party Pakistan, Workers Party, Communist Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, National Party, Awami Party and Watan Dost Inquilaabi Party, held a rally outside the Hyderabad Press Club (photo above by Irfan Ali/Express Tribune) protesting against the kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage of young Hindu women.

The rally was violently attacked by thugs belonging to the Sunni Tehreek party. Police intervened on the side the aggressors and detained 22 SPC activists who have since been released but are still facing charges being pressed by the Sunni Tehreek.

Pakistani mainstream press reports: http://tribune.com.pk/story/366193/forced-conversions-as-leftists-protest-st-takes-offence/

http://dawn.com/2012/04/18/escalation-of-clash-between-rallies-averted

Below is a statement from Pakistani progressive organisations.

Martin Luther King Day: The gulf between promise and fulfillment

[For more on Martin Luther King, click HERE.]

By Billy Wharton

January 16, 2012 -- Socialist Webzine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- More than 40 years since the death of Martin Luther King Jr., his significance remains an uneasy battleground between those wishing to sanitise his legacy and those seeking to draw inspiration from his radical deeds and words.

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