TEXT BY ANARCHIST PRISONER D.CHATZIVASILIADIS
PREFACE TO THE PUBLICATION
The composition of the text “When the Makhnovists wiped out Grigoriev and Petliura”* began in the first days of the war and was completed in its third week. By the time the manuscript was released from prison and typed, two months of war had passed. The text in greek was then published on athens.indymedia in April ‘22. Printed information from outside to inside prison and written communication from prison to the outside, arrive with delay, even when there is an organized support group for this task for the captured fighter (which is not so in my case). However, the developments fully confirm the present analysis. Nationalists and imperialists from both sides are prolonging the conflict. And libertarians remain trapped within the conventional dilemma between fleeing and abandoning the social struggle on the field or committing political suicide by siding with nationalism. The necessity of an international dialogue for the rebirth of revolutionary anarchism grows more urgent with every day that passes, through the co-shaping of the practical responsibilities pertaining to those who wish to be active subjects in historical evolution.
(A clarifying glossary has been added at the end of the text.)
*Grigoriev was a defector from the Red Army, ex-czarist, who aspired to become leader of Ukraine. Makhno executed him during a public meeting. Petliura was the leader of ukrainian nationalists. He was killed by the Jewish makhnovist Scholem Schwarzbad in 1916 in France, who had lost fourteen of his relatives during anti-jewish pogroms perpetrated by nationalists. In the original post of this text in greek, only Petliura was mentioned, as if he was in the place of Grigoriev at his execution. The historical confusion was noticed after the publication, due to time pressure and to lack of access to resources inside prison. However, the political meaning is the same.
As soon as the military invasion of Russian imperialism on Ukrainian territory began, a call for international mobilization for the “Territorial Defense of Ukraine” was published by anarchists, with the signature “Resistance Committee”i. Such a call, in the given situation and from within the field of an inter-state war and even more so from the perspective of active intervention in the conflict, is important and its political position, whatever it may be, is crucial for the libertarian movement worldwide.
In its life course of the past two centuries, the socialist movement, and particularly the anarchists, have often been caught in the maelstrom of the war between states. War, as the crudest reality of authority, which totally takes over the social space, is the most critical juncture for the social revolutionary movement. There have been many moments when the socialist movement has been divided in relation to a particular war or in relation to war in general, moments when it has been led to the slaughter or when it has itself reproduced warmongering and imperialist structures. On the other hand, all proletarian revolutions emerged from war or from military dictatorship. Our stance during the condensed period of militarily defined class struggle determines the development of the social movement.
In my view, Mikhail Bakunin’s observations and proposals on the franco-prussian war remain the most lucid revolutionary anarchist positions on war. Bakunin saw early enough the revolutionary dynamic in the battle between internationalism and nationalism within patriotic defense, juxtaposed to the racist imperialist ravings of Marx and Engels, long before Lenin put forward anti-imperialism. Later on, the libertarian Soviet revolution in the ukrainian territory became the most educative experience to date regarding the place of anarchists in war. The shifting politics of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine (Makhnovist) in relation to the statist forces involved in the counter-revolutionary war, gives us clear and timeless guidelines (within the historical limits of capitalism). The social revolution in the ukrainian territory was faced with all forms of military rule of counter-revolution: the (monarchical, feudal and, to a lesser extent, the bourgeois) powers of the former dominant empire, the external intervention of the central imperialist powers of Europe, the nationalistic attempt to control the local movement, in addition to all this, the looting gangs and, finally, the continuation of czarist imperialism by the Bolshevik dictatorship, which had previously sold out the ukrainian territories with the Brest Treaty. The Makhnovists were exemplary in addressing the need for developing a war strategy, that would be subordinated to the political goal: the unfolding social revolution.
I felt the need to enter the dialogue around the call of the Resistance Committee for many reasons. First, this brief call contains no political position or proposal, except for the vague apologetic statement that this concerns a “war against empire, not for the state”. Moreover, the concluding imperatives are more than vague, they are controversial: “Free Ukraine” is a concept expressed equally by the people, by nationalists, by nazis and by NATO imperialists, and even by Russian militarists. The delimitation of the revolutionary project within the boundaries of “revolutionary Europe”, and indeed, in the geography of capitalist accumulation, can only raise questions. National socialism of the Assault Battalions era, would find its most fitting expression in this slogan. The call of the Resistance Committee is limited to vague proposals of a military nature. The more extensive textii to which the Committee refers, as to its “positions and opinions”, adds nothing to the lack of reference to any revolutionary politics. Later on I will examine this article – reference, which is mostly a historical narrative republished by the group Crimethink. A critique to this has already been posediii by the comrades of the group Anarchist Fighter (Russia). In agreement with the comments of the Anarchist Fighter, I will extend the critical review.
A second related reason, for writing this text, is the propaganda in favor of the subordination of anarchist and social movement to statist forces, which is directly expressed through texts published in anti-authoritarian media, such as the aforementioned article-identity of the Resistance Committee.
The third reason, related to the previous one, is the distortion of the experience and proposals of the Kurdish Freedom Movement.
I write as an anarchist imprisoned for my participation in the guerrilla struggle within the territorial boundaries of a state belonging to the dominant interstate-capitalist structure of this planet. The Organization Revolutionary Self-Defenseiv, whose history I defendv and whose proposals I reaffirm, was born out of the social movement, so as to serve and to manifest the internationalist strategy, as the basis of revolutionary struggle.
I am also writing on the grounds of bonds created through common struggle with the Kurdish Freedom Movement and with the confederal experience and proposal, bonds with which I have engaged since the revolution in Rojava began.
I should note additionally that I am clearly positioned from a platformist perspective, fighting for the international territorial political unity of anarchists and the cultivation of collective social responsibility within revolutionary self-direction, as well as that I defend the armed consequence of anarchist will and ethics. The present war has brought platformism to the forefront of anarchist discourse. Dialogue that reaches the point of polemics within the same theoretical framework means that this framework is topical.
For the sake of brevity, I will initially refrain from giving my own analysis of the planetary and Ukrainian political-economic situation. The descriptive class political statement of the anarchist federationsvi, with which I agree, will suffice. Their common text constitutes an elementary anarchist approach to interstate and regime conflicts, towards forming a revolutionary orientation. I will examine below a critiquevii made to the federations’ text. There I will focus in particular on the weaknesses of the proposals of this text, which others also pointed to. However, I believe that these weaknesses, which are chronic, have not been addressed to date in a revolutionary direction.
“NOT FOR THE STATE”, WITH THE STATE OR AGAINST THE STATE?
I begin by commenting on the historical narrative of the article to which the Resistance Committee refers, because it paints a picture of reality that aspires to be comprehensive, while being largely and intentionally inaccurate. In short, the text has a journalistic style, letting its political intentions slip under the shadow of its ambiguous, supposedly neutral descriptive focus. The political highlights in its narrative are inherently pro-bourgeois. Events have been described or concealed, with the obvious purpose of covering up the fascist factor. At the same time, any reference to anarchist positions, historical, contemporary or particular of the authors is absent.
Specifically, the distortion of history begins with the Maidan uprising. Behind the lie that “none of the forces were absolutely dominant”, relativized by the word ‘absolutely’, lies the absolute military domination of the nazis on the street, which culminated in their armed attack against the parliament, which, although symbolic (not even twenty rifles, according to all available reports), was the occasion for the handover of government to the pro-NATO bourgeois directorate and the fascists. The handover of the state was done by the state apparatus itself. The reluctance of the police during the escalation of the conflict is presented upside down. While reference is made to the mercenary bodies loyal to the russia-led dictator, the proven fact that the leadership of the pro- NATO opposition had organized and carried out murders of demonstrators by police snipers in order to undermine the regime is glossed over. In the end, a few rifle shots by a group of fascists were enough to bring about the change of position and orientation that the ukrainian bourgeoisie, with the support of the USA, had predetermined. Certainly, the Maidan movement was not a military coup and just as clearly, it was triggered in order to bring about and it brought about an institutional change, similar to the one marked by the “March on Rome” of Mussolini’s Blackshirts.
The authors of the article state that the anarchists’ project to organize alongside the fascists was powerless, pointing out some of the reasons for the anarchists’ weakness during crucial moments -a lasting weakness that transcends borders. However, they make no political comment on the non-existing autonomy of anarchists within the Maidan movement, on the absence of organization of social self-direction and self-defense, on how the combative participation of anarchists was subordinated to fascist militarism, and on the consequent fact of the political domination of nationalism against the social movement.
As the article makes clear, the Maidan movement had no social or political component with proletarian aims. As far as we know, no one raised the question of class exploitation, not even the participating anarchists. The meeting point of proletarians and anarchists, with the rest of the movement, which was politically led by the bourgeoisie, was anti-autocracy. It is in the same narrow light that alignment with nationalism is being promoted today; Russian imperialism is not perceived as a structure of class domination within a more comprehensive system of political and class domination, which is global capitalism, but only abstractly as an agent of oppression, and indeed, a personified one (“the dictator Putin”). How can we fight capitalism and the modern state by going back to the anti-monarchist ideology of the bourgeoisie four centuries ago? Already from the American Union and the French Revolution, we know that bourgeois democracy and the rights it defines offer no protection for the people and no social freedom. Since the era of Peaceful Coexistence (“Cold War”), we know that the promotion of freedom and democracy from NATO led anti-communism, from nationalisms and even from those supported by the state-monopoly bloc, is the veil of counter-revolution. After the full integration into the market economy, the now unharnessed military-capitalist-state onslaught across the globe has completely usurped the lavish robes of democracy. Civil rights today have not only ceased to be a contested field between social defense and state control, but they belong to the ideological arsenal of the fiercest class attack, due to the overexpansion and over-fractionation of capitalist relations. In Maidan, the anarchists’ focus
on anti-autocracy, as the movement’s connecting element, contributed to the hegemony of the bourgeois powers and then to the progress of the dominant authoritarian structure, the nation state.
To avoid misinterpretations, let me note that I am strongly against the condemnation of those social revolts that lack a clear revolutionary program and organization. Parts of the statist left-wing which condemned the popular uprisings in Syria, Venezuela, Belarus and Cuba, did so in order to defend class regimes, only to play the role of the extra within imperialist rivalries and power games. Those who abstained from the Maidan uprising abstained from the real class struggle. The counter- position to euro-bourgeois and nationalist trends in Maidan, could not have been posed in any other space or time. However, the article-identity of the Resistance Committee remains trapped between two poles of political subordination. So trapped, that faced with the resurgence of historic ukrainian nazism, it saw nothing but a farce.
As for the post-Maidan phase, the article does not give any description of how the relations of exploitation and political heteronomy developed. Instead, towards the end it defends the political regime, based on the capitalist ideological dogma about the separation and independence of the three authorities (bourgeois parliament, judiciary, executive).
In the description of the war in the eastern provinces, there is no mention of the anti-social terrorism practiced by the regime. Moreover, the Russian communities are treated by the authors as inanimate organs of the russian state, bare of social and class determinations, just as pro-Russian propaganda tells the story of Maidan exclusively as a laboratory construct of the NATOists. Incidentally, since a part of the people living within the borders of the Ukrainian state is presented as an instrument of imperialism, ethnic war against it appears to be justified. What is the difference between this propaganda of ethnic cleansing, and the pro-“Soviet” one, which, justified what the ukrainian people had suffered at the hands of the bolsheviks, decades earlier, by invoking the practices of the banderites, (like all the peoples of the USSR)?
The article says nothing about the fascist persecutions and murders of Roma, LGBTI and other communities, nor about the crimes of nazi organizations, such as Azov, against Russian residents in the eastern provinces, organizations which are integrated into the ukrainian army and whose members hold government posts. The authors, while promoting ‘European democracy’, have missed out the fact that even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) has accused the Azov battalion, which maintains organic and operational autonomy within the ukrainian National Guard, of war crimes, such as mass looting, torture, beatings of civilians, electric shocks, mock drownings and kidnappings of journalists.
Even worse than the cover-up of the war for ethnic subjugation of the eastern provinces and, more broadly, of ethnic cleansing from russian elements, the article glosses over the massacre in the Odessa trade union building, referring, in a single phrase, to ‘several activists killed during street riots’. Like the announcements of the police and the mainstream media. I guess the murdered were not enough to wean the authors off nationalism. Dozens of people who had taken refuge in the building, pursued by a fascist rally, were surrounded, literally slaughtered, hanged and burned by fascists, on live transmission. Presumably, some of those slaughtered were trade union bureaucrats. But nothing can lend forgiveness to such a horrible nazi act. Its silencing indicates, on the one hand, the guilty conscience of those who have joined ukrainian nationalism and, on the other hand, their decision to continue to serve it.
The article itself describes how some Ukrainian anarchists turned fascist. Again, the authors seem to make no attempt to understand the root causes of the political weakness of anarchists in the ukrainian space (and not only there, of course). The war swallowed up the anarchist movement and the social movement more broadly, since the movement was not ready for war. Just as repression swallows up insurrections when no social force is determined to make a revolution. Let us recall the rift between anarchists at the start of the 1st World imperialist war. Pacifism and assimilation into nationalisms both equally derived from the persistent disorganization of the libertarian movement after the dissolution of the First International. As long as anarchists remain undecided about moving to direct revolutionary action, history does not linger, it continues on the terms of the existing powers. The lack of political orientation and social grounding leads to militarism and this leads to fascism.
The schism within the movement, between pacifism (which in war can go no further than charity) and militarism, extends within the various nationalisms and competing poles of power. Finally, in the absence of revolutionary self-organization, the social movement is assimilated into bourgeois politics, in one way or another.
The article, referring to the activities of anarchists within the field of the nationalist war, makes special mention of a nationalist organization (“Autonomous Resistance”), with which some anarchists collaborated and which has references to the Zapatistas Autonomy and the Kurdish Freedom Movement. The article makes no mention of the ideological veneer of this nationalist organization, as if the similarity between ukrainian nationalism and the paradigm of national resistance as developed by the PKK were a given. This is a vulgar distortion of the revolutionary experiences of the Zapatistas and Kurdish movements. Abdullah Ocalan, PKK and KCK (Union of Kurdish Communities) have formulated and implemented the ideas of the Democratic Nation and of Confederal Autonomy. The Democratic Nation is a transcendence of nationalist, racial and religious rivalries, which are fomented by imperialism and serve its purposes. The Democratic Nation is the fraternity and co-organization of different communities, within and across state borders. The Democratic Nation is the self-organized community which becomes, in program, the basis of the borderless inclusive democracy.
The war of denying the autonomy of a community, of a society, of entire continents and of the world as a whole (like the war of ukrainian nationalism against the autonomy of Russian communities and the war of czarist imperialism against Ukrainian society) is the main enemy of the Democratic Nation. Confederal Autonomy is at the same time the refusal of national enclosures, the respect of social identities and their organized solidarity against all states and against the generic sovereignty of the nation-state. The historical derivatives of russian colonialism and the interconnected ethnic cleansing pursued by ukrainian fascism have nothing to do with autonomy. The vision of autonomy has been hijacked by statist forces from both sides, in order to manipulate social movements.
The assimilation of the social movement has been fascism’s innate, basic mission. We will not allow any nationalism to distort the proposals of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, which today represent the most developed anti-state anti-capitalist alternative.
The PKK has abandoned the idea and politics of the Nation-State, having reviewed the transformation of the state-monopoly regimes and the chronic deadlock of the nationalistic-statist anti-colonial struggle. This change in mindset and practice emerged from the conjuncture of the new nationalisms of the former socialist states, their splits and the NATO manipulation of nationalisms worldwide. Kurdish revolutionaries sought answers to the historical shackles that, among other things, brought the current war within the borders of the Ukrainian state.
The article-identity of the Resistance Committee, describes the simplistic historical- ideological veneer of neo-Czarist colonialism (nazism, World War II and Euro-Atlanticism), on which this regime still depends for disciplining the Russians and manipulating the anti-capitalist movement internationally, as if it were its cause. Given the absence of class political analysis, the article adopts the anti-communist conspiratorial view of history and the sordid style of Gérard de Villiers-type novels. Nowhere is there any recognition of class struggle and the struggle for political self-direction and economic equality. Only pure (but perhaps misguided) Ukrainian fighters on one side and paid agents of the dictator on the other, are recognized. The truth is that money flows into every nationalist camp. It is trite to say that in capitalism all power relations are translated into money. However, the belief in ‘pure’ nationalism is noteworthy.
The propaganda style of anti-communist historical revisionism utilizes the ideological use of anti-fascist history by Russian imperialism and its supporters, so as to strip the meaning off anti- fascism and its history in general. Antifascism, referring to its historical roots, is characterized as apolitical. The hijacking of history, however, is by definition, profoundly political. The writers, I believe, are undoubtedly aware of the political motivations of russocentric historicism. Nevertheless, their aim is to obliterate anti-fascist retrospectiοn as such. In the phase when both fascisms disguise themselves as anti-fascism, the defenders of ukrainian nationalism do not point to the common root, that is capitalism, the Nation-State and its military rule, but instead to the antifascist memory.
Having raised the question of the political nature of antifascism, let us see what is the political nature of the self-defining text of the Resistance Committee. It states that it defends the “independence” of Ukraine. Although the Committee declares “war against the empire, not for the state”, the article does not explain what it means by the word Ukraine. A cultural community, the territories where this community resides, the territory of a state or the structures of this state as well? The concept of independence usually refers to states. The article argues for the “independence of Ukraine”, defending the bourgeois institutions of the Ukrainian state. While it does not put forward any revolutionary proposals, it calls for the defense of bourgeois democracy as a preferable condition of submission. The pro-institutional positions of the article do not have the character of a political maneuver; they exhaust its political proposal. The authors declare that “at this stage” (without reference to a subsequent stage) they place themselves “within the democratic camp”, with “radical approaches and views”. Although there is a brief reference to activities of the libertarian antifascist movement, there are no testimonies of nor suggestions for radical practices in relation to the struggle for social autonomy and equality. Here I conventionally reserve the concept of democracy for the capitalist civic institutions, just as the writers mean, so that readers are not confused by conceptual reformulations. We know, of course, that bourgeois democracy was formed and is maintained to this day as the form of state power that corresponds to the centralized oligarchic class rule.
The authors, in order to disassociate their support for the class and politically repressive regime, give the information that fascist organizations are a minority within the political palette of ukrainian democracy. The very fact that the nazis participate in the bourgeois institutions and the national army does not bother them. While the article-identity of the Resistance Committee gently strokes the nazi pimples of ukrainian democracy, it glosses over the fact that communist (or “communist”) parties are banned. Its shameless pro-regime propaganda presents it as pluralistic, so pluralistic that it embraces the nazis, but bans parties that even feign to be anti-fascist. Surely when Bakunin wrote that “the most imperfect democracy is a thousand times better than the most enlightened monarchy”, he could not know that some day democracy would beget regimes more horrid than the darkest monarchy. Let us not forget that nazism emerged from representative democracy. It is an insult to Bakunin to name as an imperfect democracy, a regime that was established by the action of nazis, carried out ethnic cleansing and banned opposition parties. It is an expression of crude nationalism to rightly denounce russian nationalism for its nazi offshoots, while whitewashing ukrainian nationalism by covering up its own nazis in the medley of non- existent pluralism.
Absent from the text is any reference to the historical class background of power or the current class struggle on ukrainian soil or worldwide. I found only two references to obviously class-based phenomena and they were both in a pro-bourgeois style: Small and medium-sized businesses which “could not work freely” under the previous regime because they were forced to pay its executives. And anarchists who have moved away from the traditional proletarian perception because they work in the IT sector (as if this does not belong to the capitalist chain). The names of nation-states in a state of war appear in every sentence, but the word capitalism, only once, and that in quotation marks. Evidently, those of the authors who have unreservedly placed themselves under the illusory protection of NATO, do not recognize the existence of savage capitalism.
The article as well as the Committee’s brief call, in addition to defending ukrainian bourgeois democracy, poses Europe as the guardian of democracy and as a place of reference in itself. I will pay little attention to the nonsense that Russia has long-term plans to destroy any democracy in Europe, which came straight out of the Cold War textbooks of anti-communist propaganda. I don’t know whether it is worse for the writers to adopt such unrealistic and misleading conclusions deliberately, due to having aligned themselves with a nationalist camp, or whether it is worse for them to actually believe such conclusions; to be possessed by an interpretation of the world defined by the “resistance of democratic Europe” to the “onslaught of the russian monarchy”. Only Zelensky dared to utter such a terrifying expression of the coalescence between the political and the national. The fundamental problem with the political view of the article is that it ascribes to Europe a self-contained political existence. Whether it is “european democracy” that is supposedly at risk, or “revolutionary Europe” (the closing slogan of the Committee’s call), the authors suggest europeanism as their identity. We must ask ourselves: Are they referring to a geographical, racial, cultural or political identity? What single identity does the geographical enclosure of Europe constitute? Outside of its historically developed class and political structures, the european continent does not constitute a particular unity, not even in a geophysical sense. The ukrainian territory is closer to the syrian border, for example, than to the french. Russian imperialism has devastated, by aerial bombardment, entire cities in the syrian territory in the past few years (like Grozny in older times) and the turkish colonial regime is waging a permanent war of occupation within the syrian and iraqi borders. In the first days of the invasion in the ukrainian territory russian imperialism avoided direct mass strikes against residents, in its attempt to not flare up popular resistance of Russians and Ukrainians and the anti-war movement internationally. No NATO “democracy” was bothered by the russian carpet bombing of syrian cities. Now they are shedding crocodile tears for the Ukrainian people, who serve them best as victims of war.
The authors fail to see russian imperialism outside their own national locality, which they place within an enclosure that is, historically and contemporarily, patriarchal war-mongering, statist, capitalist, colonialist, imperialist and racist: namely, “Europe”. What kind of revolution can take place in the european capitalist North if its imperialist militarism, its exploitative control over the Earth, its oligarchic institutions, etc., are not deconstructed? “Revolutionary Europe” can only be a fascist distortion of the revolutionary project, because Europe consists a frontier of the constitution and the defense of planetary domination, and not a community of the oppressed, although it encompasses many communities of oppressed peoples.
The political remarks of this article come down to a specific practical orientation: nationalist militarism. As available options, it advocates “joining the armed forces of Ukraine, involvement in territorial defense, conscription and voluntarism”. Obviously, in the absence of an alternative organizational proposal, territorial defense and voluntarism are subordinated to the knout (to recall Bakunin’s expression) of the national army and the political interests for which it acts. Even at the point where the article describes the anti-imperialist grouping among the authors, “the country’s defense capacity” remains the dominant political framework and consequently, support for the regular army and the demand for the contribution of NATO technology, remain indisputable. But, popular guerrilla warfare takes primacy, ideally, according to the most moderate grouping. The entire article on which the Resistance Committee politically bases its call, points exclusively to a stated practical consequence, to the participation in the war in obedience to the militarism of ukrainian nationalism and its NATO patrons.
I conclude my remarks on the article-identity of the Resistance Committee by noting a contradiction which, in the real conditions of class and political conflict, dissolves the main purpose of the Committee. I commented that the article advocates the “independence of Ukraine” and at the same time considers NATO support necessary. As the anti-imperialist grouping of the authors points out, real independence, social autonomy, freedom and equality cannot be achieved in a state of dependence on an imperialist power. Those who consider resistance impossible without the support of NATO, do not believe in any independence and, more profoundly, do not believe in the emancipatory power of the peoples, in its inherent capacity for social liberation.
Abdullah Ocalan and the PKK abandoned the purpose of the nation-state, the idea of border independence and statism and developed the internationalist and cross-border confederal theory and practice, when they understood that in post-socialist capitalist modernity there is no space left for popular independence through the system of nation-states. We will now look at some historical and contemporary experiences that we have in our hands.
WHEN THE MAKHNOVISTS WIPED OUT GRIGORIEV AND PETLIURA
The text of the Anarchist Fighter collective, makes a comradely response to the article that accompanied the Resistance Committee’s call, recognizing a potential of co-evolution in a revolutionary direction. Corrective remarks are made in a neutral style and points of criticism are posed as questions. I understand and share the comrades’ concern. However, I believe that the given condition of war leaves no time to wait for answers to emerge from the coming experiences and requires that the questions be raised immediately in all their depth.
I have already described how the Maidan narrative was confusing and altogether obscuring regarding fascism. It is important to add a political meaning to the Anarchist Fighter’s polite observation on the “absence of reflexes regarding the internal politics and social structure of Ukraine”. This absence suggests the danger, if not the expediency, of a decline into nationalism. The political interpretation of the absence of reference to class contradictions within the ukrainian territory, is supported by the concluding remark of the paragraph, in relation to the increasing poverty during the new regime. The concluding focus of the critique, on capitalist democracy and especially its european subjectification, aptly identified the most fundamental issue for the revolutionary social movement and for the resistance to the russian military state’s invasion. As the comrades of the Anarchist Fighter group conclude, active participation in the battle against Putin’s imperialism offers hope, but a libertarian revolutionary stance is still missing from the field. If such an effort is made, it will be important that it is communicated globally in the near future.
I will move on to a political critique of the nationalist and pro-imperialist positions of the Committee’s article-identity, based on the historical anarchist experience and the Kurdish Freedom Movement’s implemented proposals. One, the question of borders, ethnicities and war. Intertwined, the question of bourgeois democracy and dependence on imperialist control.
I noted above the radical historical turn of the PKK, in relation to the Nation-State, which was the result of an overall account of the capitalist era and the socialist movement, as well as the result of a deep self-criticism of the patriarchal-authoritarian tradition. I also referred to the concept of the Democratic Nation, which encapsulates the struggle against nationalisms, sectarianisms of all kinds, and their dependencies on imperialism. A struggle that is primarily carried out in the social field. The Democratic Nation, as it is constructed by the Kurdish Freedom Movement and its fellow fighters, is the concrete form of contemporary internationalism, within and against the shackles of fragmentation imposed by capitalist competition. The PKK and the KCK are patriotic organizations, in the sense that they defend the self-determination of a cultural community in the territory where it lives and more specifically, from a historical point of view, in the sense of communal resistance to colonialism, genocide, assimilation, ethnic cleansing, cultural, political and consequently class oppression, etc. But having left behind the systemic tradition of confinement within state borders, which, instead of offering independence, spreads war and dependencies, the autonomy of the patriotic struggle is not founded on the dominion within borders, but instead on the resistance and civic co-organization of all communities within and on either side of borders, in the way of the commune.
When the PKK moved to this worldview and politics, it adapted its strategy and tactics accordingly, gave space to peace in order to give time to the Turkish revolutionary movement so that they converge in a confederal direction, and ever since they have been fighting together. Within the borders of the Syrian state, the Kurdish Freedom Movement opposed the creation of ethnically separate states inside a fragmented Syria that would only be typically federalized, as was the aspiration of the US and of Kurdish nationalists. The Confederation of Northern Syria is a unified polity, open to all social diversity. This is the paradigm proposed by the Kurdish Freedom Movement for the social self-direction of the entire Syrian territory, for the liberation of the Middle East from the imperialists, their armies and fascism, but also for the whole Earth.
So the patriotic practice of the internationalist social movement that embraces and applies the political philosophy of Ocalan and the KCK, begins with inclusive and bordereless social self- organization, which undertakes and organizes its territorial defense autonomously from the power structures and not on the basis of ethnic divisions. The practical rejection of statism, radical for the patriotic Kurdish movement itself, not only did not cancel its proletarian origins (which it continues to projectviii), but on the contrary, it opened the way for the social force to take roots against the structures that perpetuate class domination, the most basic of which is the Nation-State. By abandoning the latent nationalism of a deceptive “national independence”, the social movement can and does become truly culturally, politically and class-wise independent.
Precisely in this way, the Kurdish Freedom Movement, its comrades and the Confederation of Northern Syria are the only forces that defend themselves against the repeated invasions of turkish colonialism behind the syrian and iraqi borders, as well as the only forces that do not follow imperialists’ instructions. The confederal Kurds, at the same time that they do not recognize borders between communities, they sacrifice themselves in the defense of inter-state borders against militaristic violations, posing the need to respect these borders, because they understand that every military invasion and every dispute of specific borders emanates from statism and brings war against societies and against internationalist popular unity. This is why, for example, the KCK had criticized the proclamation of independence of the kurdish region of North Iraq, which was carried out by the regional kurdish government of KDP (Barzani). KDP is a nationalist party, subservient to turkish colonialism and the imperialist powers. Incidentally, during the onslaught of ISIS against the Iraqi and then the Syrian territory, the PKK-affiliated forces were the only ones that resisted, and victoriously so.
Although the international policy of the PKK did not come out of a textbook, this view about war, nationalism, social self-defense and revolution was recorded a century and a half ago by Bakunin. I quote the relevant excerpts, with the introductory information, from the text of the Anarchist Popular Unity (UNIPA, a platformist organization in Brazil), War and Revolution in the Trenches of Rojava: Position of Revolutionary Anarchistsix (2015):
«Faced with these episodes, it is worth to point out here the historical experience, the policy and the theory of the revolutionary anarchists: Mikhail Bakunin and the Alliance, the Makhnovshchina and the Dielo Trouda group, Jaime Balius and the Friends of Durruti. All these anarchists defended a course of political independence of the proletariat as a key piece for the triumph, not only of the revolution, but also of the anti-imperialist war, in other words, defended the inseparability of the two spheres (national international) of the social conflict. According to Bakunin in his Letters about the situation of the Franco-Prussian war: “One must not count on the bourgeoisie (…) The bourgeois cannot see, cannot understand anything outside the State, outside the regular means of State. The maximum of their ideal, of their imagination, of their abnegation, and of their heroism, is the revolutionary exaggeration of the power and action of the State, on behalf of the public salvation.
But I have sufficiently demonstrated that the State in this hour and in the current circumstances – with the Bismarckians abroad and the Bonapartists inside –, far from being able to save France, cannot more than defeat it and kill it. Faced with mortal danger from within and without, France can be saved only by a spontaneous, uncompromising, passionate, anarchic, and destructive uprising of the masses of the people all over France. Be sure: without it, there is no salvation for your countrie.” (Bakunin, p. 112-113) The theoretic elaboration of Bakunin concerning to the consequences of the war of national defense in a period of decadence and counterrevolutionary turn of the bourgeois lideralism, whereupon the main interest of the bourgeoisie is the maintaining of the State and the permanence of the labour exploitation, is clear and fundamental. The defense of the countrie which is colonized or victim of imperialist invasion requires an autonomous action of the proletariat.
This autonomous action, massified, organized in armed popular resistance (whether it be in the form of militias or revolutionary army), for expressing truly its potentiality and social strength, must not be guided by the political ideals of the patriotism and of the State’s grandeur which animated the bourgeoisie in the past, but by the internationalist ideals and by the practical construction of the socialism and freedom. The anti- imperialist or antifascist war must become the socialist revolutionary war. Merely like that it is possible to defeat not only a particular Fascism/imperialism, but resolutely advance in the universal struggle for the proletariat’s emancipation…
The Russian anarchist Bakunin, when he fought in France against the Prussian invasion in 1870-1871, had already positioned himself in relation to the policy of sectors of the “left” which supported the political direction of the republican bourgeoisie, all this on behalf of the national unity and strength. Bakunin talks about the republican radical left: “And did the left contest? It did absolutely nothing. It stupidly acclaimed this ominous ministery that, in the most terrible moment that France could have passed, presented itself, not as a political ministery, but as a ministery of national defense. (…) The radical left believed or seemed to believe that one could organize the country defense without doing policy, that one could create a material potency without inspire it by any idea, without support it by any moral force. (…) For patriotism or fear of paralysing the over- human efforts for the salvation of France of these dignified men, the radical left abstained from all recrimination and all criticism. Gambeta believed to be his duty to direct warm greetings and express his full confidence in the General Palikao. After all, should not they ‘maintain at any price the unity and prevent baneful divisions that would only benefit the Prussians’? Such were the excuse and the main argument of the left, that served from them for cloaking all its imbecilities, all its debilities, all its cowardice.” (Bakunin, Letters, p. 200)
According to Bakunin, war as a condition pushes towards revolution and social revolution is the only way of territorial popular resistance and exit from the warmongering of the bosses. Let me add a clarification, that the concept of patriotism acquires a different meaning when it forms part of the antagonism between states, and even more so of the dominant capitalist centers (such as “Europe”), and the opposite meaning when it expresses the anti-colonial, anti-capitalist struggle. The Paris Commune of 1871 was the first experience of practical positioning in relation to war, as Bakunin had proposed.
The next historical example, the most educative, is the social revolution in the ukrainian area a century ago. The Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine effectively resisted and drove out the alliance of Russian colonialism with counter-revolution and European imperialists. Unlike Lenin,who had sold out the Ukrainian territories to German imperialism in order to maintain the Bolshevik Party’s domination of the revolution in the Russian space, the anarchists (not only Ukrainians), who led the revolution in the ukrainian territory, proved to be consistent anti- imperialists. Contradictory as it may seem, the Leninist theory on revolutionary defeatism within the imperialist camp, on anti-imperialist war and on socialist defense, were inspired by Bakunin’s positions. The opportunist Lenin copied many ideas from Bakuninx, just as he certainly copied and incorporated elements of blanquism, Nechayev and Tkachev into social democracy. xi The Makhnovists did not feel compelled to seek the support of any sovereign power to protect the social revolution; they fought effectively against all the “protectors” of the ukrainian people.
The opponents of the First World War imperialist war and all the oppressive classes of the Russian empire allied themselves because they recognized their fundamental common enemy: the social revolution. Very recently, did not all the imperialists consent to the military repression of the proletarian uprising in Kazakhstan? When ISIS lost its autonomy, with the liberation of Raqqa, the US ceased to be dependent on the Kurdish movement. Both NATO and Russian imperialism now perceive the Confederation of Northern Syria only as a balancing counterweight to the turkish occupation, which they both approved in order to keep the Assad regime under threat, one as a bogeyman and the other as a protector. The Kurdish Freedom Movement has never needed NATO support, and since 2017 the Confederation of Northern Syria has continued to resist with all the capitalist forces against it, openly or by proxy. Further on we will see the nature and scope of the Confederation’s cooperation with NATO. Is there any condition or even any indication to support the view that ukrainian nationalism and NATO have reasons to support the social revolution?
Comrades from the Syrian resistance, in an article republished on Crimethink, made eloquent observations on the role of NATO and the appropriate stance of Ukrainian fighters: “Don’t portray Western countries as the axis of good. Even if they are not the ones directly invading Ukraine, let us not be naive about NATO and Western countries. We must refuse to portray them as the supporters of the ‘free world’. Let us not forget, the West has built its power on colonialism, imperialism, oppression and the plundering of the wealth of many people around the world – and continues to do so today. To speak only of the 21st century, we must not forget the devastation caused by the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, during the revolutions in the Arab world in 2011, instead of supporting democratic and progressive trends, the West was more concerned with securing its own domination and economic interests. At the same time, it continues to sell arms and maintain privileged relations with Arab dictatorships and the Gulf monarchy. With its interventions in Libya, France has added the obscene lie of an economically motivated war masquerading as an attempt to support the struggle for democracy. Beyond this international role, the situation within these countries continues to deteriorate as authoritarianism, surveillance, inequality and, above all, racism are intensified. Today, if we believe that Putin’s regime is a greater threat to the self-determination of peoples, it is not because Western countries have suddenly become ‘good’, but because the Western powers no longer have as much means to maintain their sovereignty and hegemony. And we remain suspicious of this assumption – because if Putin is defeated by the Western countries, this will contribute to their growing power. So, we advise Ukrainians not to rely on the ‘international community’ or the United Nations – which, as in Syria, is obviously hypocritical and tends to mislead people into believing in chimeras.”
The Syrian comrades are clear in their revolutionary project: “A Third Option exists, in addition to NATO and Putin, internationalism from below…We are internationalists, not only because of moral principles, but also as a consequence of revolutionary strategy.”
In their concluding practical call, they refer to the struggle against nationalism and NATO, while at the same time they make polemic critique to leftist propaganda that favors Putin. In the article they have analyzed the counter-revolutionary position of defending imperialist camps, calling it “campism”.
– Fight the pro-Putin dialogue, especially of the left. The war in Ukraine offers a crucial opportunity to put a definitive end to campism and toxic masculinity.
– Fight ideologically the pro-NATO dialogue.
– Refuse to support those in Ukraine and elsewhere who advocate nationalist, xenophobic and racist policies.
– Constant criticism and deconstruction of NATO’s actions in Ukraine and elsewhere. “xii
I should note that this collective from the syrian resistance is promoting local revolutionary councils and coordination committees of the popular, democratic and emancipatory revolt, based on the principles of direct democracy, feminism and equality.
Only the nationalists have reasons to invest in supporting NATO again, without guarantees. Zelensky is a puppet, since the ukrainian military state is weak and he himself is completely predictable. Now he is cursing the ‘protectors’ of ukrainian nationalism, who have abandoned him. Do the Ukrainian and Russian people need the guidance of such an adventurer in order to dismantle czarist capitalism?
When Makhno wiped out Grigoriev, did the revolution weaken or did it grow stronger? With the ousting of the nationalists the social roots of the revolution developed and thus strengthened its combat power. Certainly neither Grigoriev nor Petliura could offer anything to the resistance against the bolsheviks, apart from submission to Vragnell and a compromise with Denikin. Exactly what Zelensky will do. Sharing out the pie in order to maintain exploitation. The Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine fought neither for the national unity of the Ukrainians nor for bourgeois democracy; it organized the libertarian communist revolution in the ukrainian territory and fought to defend it and to promote the libertarian soviet confederation throughout the whole of the former czarist empire. The anarchist guerrilla movement, the workers’ uprising and the spread of the social revolution led to the war against all counter-revolutionary forces; it was not the national front that led to the revolution. The revolutionary class struggle and its development into social self-direction brought victories. Without revolutionary practice, i.e. an immediate revolutionary program and autonomous popular initiative, everything is lost. The Platform for the General Union of Anarchists (the radical proposal of Dielo Truda) pointed out these necessities. The social revolution requires an organized political orientation and its own military bodies.
Fascism prevails when the anti-capitalist forces fail to consolidate their political-military power. The defeat of the libertarian movement in the ukrainian territory a century ago paved the way for the political hegemony of the nazis in the resistance of the ukrainian nation against bolshevik totalitarianism. In 2014 and to date, the absence of a revolutionary anarchist movement has left the field vulnerable to the revival of the nazi tradition and to the ukrainian people’s attachment to Western-servile nationalism and its deadly war adventures. The Resistance Committee’s identity article notes “potential in Ukrainian society, which is one of the most active, independent and revolutionary in the region”. I do not doubt them. But let us remember that German nationalism was also revolutionary in its beginnings (after Bonaparte), certainly independent and highly active, at least until its defeat in the Second World Imperialist War. The chronic weakness of the revolutionary current in the proletarian-social movement in the German territory determined the transformation of revolutionary dynamism into a revolutionary nationalism. The turn to nationalist militarism was made first by the social democrats, the part most attached to european democracy, and later by the national socialists. Besides, bonapartism was also the culmination of disciplining the masses to the bourgeois counter-revolution.
If there seems no other way out for popular resistance within the ukrainian borders than to enlist under the leadership of the nationalists, this is because the revolutionary struggle is absent and consequently nationalism has taken over the social field and the collective consciousness. Did not the same thing happen in 1914, leading the proletariat to an all-out slaughter, incomparable in scale to all the war massacres of previous history?
The conscription under the leadership of the ukrainian state is a tombstone for revolutionary anarchism and social liberation on ukrainian territory. A negative condition for the social movement also in the russian territory and a heavy legacy for the anarchist movement worldwide.
By fighting under the state and thus for the state, it is a given that the empires will remain dominant. It becomes clear that the prominent Resistance Committee is not a committee either, since it has no political-military autonomy from the state.
The organizations which in previous years supported the national war against the Russian separatists are clearly fascist. The misappropriation of the language and practices of anarchists (squats, self-organized welfare structures, reference to Zapatistas autonomy and the Kurdish Freedom Movement, etc.) is a problem. It is an inherent mission of fascism to assimilate the anti- capitalist movement. Those who voluntarily joined in the war against the autonomy of the eastern provinces contributed to the dismantling of proletarian internationalism and thus opened the way for the military conflict between imperialist interests. The war against the Russian separatists differs only in scale from the present invasion of russian militarism. The motives are of the same quality, as well as the mentality of military terrorism. But what is the difference in terms of political ontology between the anti-autonomist war on the russian-ukrainian border and the devastation of the Democratic Self-Government of the Kurdish border towns by the turkish army in 2015? Surely the ethnic oppression of different communities is the method of reproducing imperialist control and not the way to autonomy.
The concept of ‘territorial defense’ is determined by the political characteristics of the forces attempting to hold the disputed territory; it has a different meaning in different class and political conditions of conflict. Territorial defense was the American Revolution, the wars of the French Revolution, but also the war of empires against Bonaparte, the Commune of 1871, but also the resistance of german nazism to the counterattack of its opponents, the resistance of the city of Kobane against ISIS, the resistance of the canton of Afrin and Serekane, but also the resistance of ISIS to the territorial expansion of the Confederation of North Syria. Territorial defense is what the Russian separatist were doing, territorial defense is what the Ukrainian nationalists were doing in order to preserve national totalitarianism in the ukrainian territory, and russian imperialism is also making territorial defense by invading the ukrainian mainland, against the expansion of NATO. How can the confusion be cleared up? Simply by answering what it is that we are defending. Is it the ground of social self-direction or is it national, i.e. capitalist, territories? Until this question is answered in practice, national defense is a prison of extermination for the social movement and for anarchists.
Let us look at the question of alliance with nationalist forces from the point of view of political freedom. I note that democracy and nationalism are not contradictory conditions. Every state is founded and sustains itself on nationalism. The Nation-State was the territorialization of the bourgeoisie against empire and feudalism. It also constituted the material infrastructure of the urban centers as defensive economy in the competition between them. The fractional reproduction of the Nation-State, beginning with the American Revolution (after the French cardinal Richelieu sowed the seeds of nationalism) and with its most explosive historical manifestation in the fragmentation of the state-monopoly bloc and the USSR, is essentially an evolutionary process within capitalism. It is a democratic process, in the sense of the downwards expansion of the bourgeoisie. It is at the same time a process of deepening the class war, as it expands the class pyramid at the global and local level, consolidating powers, exploitations and antagonisms. In this historical axis, modern national democracy is a form of political capitalization of class domination and a capitalist form of organization of political institutions. A fundamentally oligarchic and militaristic constitutional form.
Representative regimes are structurally more capable than dictatorships in defending national interests and in national war, because they have stronger consensus and popular participation in war. Most of all, however, because they enter into wars much more for real stakes of the state than for the maintenance of the regime, and their political cadres rarely have room for national complaisance in exchange for remaining in power. This is precisely how the ukrainian bourgeois democracy established by the Maidan movement, has invested in national war over the years. Let us not forget that the USA had its greatest combative effectiveness in phases of maximum class consensus. Israel, too, waged expansionist wars as long as it was based on a strong participatory social democracy. Nation-state democracy has not contributed at all to the fraternity of peoples. Nor, of course, have its dictatorial manifestations.
The same conditions apply to counter-revolution. Representative regimes have proved more effective in repression. Parliamentarians and fascists complement each other in the manipulation of movements. In counter-revolution the fascists come after; they undertake the deconstruction of the social movement when it has already been defeated politically and militarily. Until then, fascists are the forerunners of parliamentary militarism and institutional nationalism and racism.
Civil liberties have never been a decisive factor in the development of the revolutionary movement. The view that bourgeois democracy is a necessary step against the empire, as suggested by some Ukrainian anarchists, is a theory of political stages, which banishes the social-liberation struggle to the far future of utopia, just as Marxist determinism banished communism to a metaphysical future. It is a fatalistic submission to the bourgeois stratocracy. To date, revolutions have emerged through intra-imperialist war, colonialism and dictatorship, i.e. dialectically rather than consensually as a development of bourgeois reformism.
Dictatorship is a homogeneous phenomenon in the global class pyramid. The historical primacy of the North Atlantic bourgeoisie in capitalist accumulation and imperialist self- composition has precluded the need for, but also the capable conditions of, a militant dictatorship internally. In the capitalist periphery, where the peoples are excluded from the benefit of modern industrial structures, plundered of their natural resources of survival and thus also excluded from dependency on representative institutions, dictatorship is the normal regime. In the stable semi- peripheral zone, to which most of the former socialist states belong, and also the greek, turkish and large latin american states, dictatorship was in many cases the embryonic phase of bourgeois constitution, and after the territorialization of the socialist revolution (even as a scarecrow), it was the political form of counter-revolution in its critical moments, given the precarious position of the local bourgeois classes. Thus, it becomes necessary to see russian neo-czarism as a historical by- product of the Russian empire’s late bourgeois development and the consequent state-monopoly totalitarianism, and at the same time as a continuation of their timeless imperialist positioning. The bonapartism that underlies russian nationalism is not a maintained expression of a traditional monarchism (although it wears this cloak), nor a matter of amoralism; it involves a class historical dynamic of a purely capitalist character. Putin has not resurrected absolutism; global capitalist competition and class struggle make the political structures and bring out the leaders that are their due.
Putin is a product of capitalist development in the former state-monopoly bloc and of imperialist competition. Without diminishing our hostility towards him, his war is no worse than NATO’s wars against the Iraqis, Yugoslavs, Afghans, Pakistanis, Africans or the Islamo-fascists it has bred. The dictatorships imposed by the US since the second world imperialist war are certainly not inferior to russian authoritarianism. Comparisons are always useful, for the respective interests of various politicians, but to take those you consider your allies out of the equation is just political vulgarism. And it’s suspicious. In his war speech before the invasion, Putin, addressing the other imperialists, reminded them that they are of the same paste, capitalists and anti-communists, and that they had, have and will have common business. He told a truth.
With the sweeping capitalist onslaught following the integration of the Eastern European states into the market economy, which marked the collapse of the socialist scarecrow, bourgeois democracy was discredited in the metropolises of the imperialist North. The capitalist offensive in the world periphery and also in the imperialist center, rendered representation unrealistic. Party democracy is historically obsolete. In Northern Europe, representation survives to the extent that national bodies have been de-proletarianised, since surplus value is now derived entirely from the labour of immigrants. Both where the class division between local bosses and foreign proletarians is absolute, and where the political system has lost any grounding in the impoverished local working class, modern bourgeois democracy is an oligarchic regime, not only in the sense of political heteronomy (as it has always been), but moreover in the sense that it exclusively represents the interests of the imperialist directorates and their national mediations by opportunist predators.
The Eastern European states do not escape this historical dynamic. Representative democracy still retains an idealistic connotation, if only because the memory of one-party totalitarianism is still preserved. The past feeds this memory, for a little longer, not the future. In this context, russian nationalism against the NATO imperialist advance and, at the same time, ukrainian nationalism against the russian one, give energy to Europe’s most representative democracies. Except that both are inherently fascist. The ukrainian republic is of this kind: a mirror of russian bonapartism, which can still sedate a large number of its hungry citizens. Here is what the optimal quality of bourgeois democracy can be in the current capitalist era. A regime of nationalist state of emergency. That is why fascism is growing stronger within it.
The only reason that anarchists are allowed to have free political activity in the ukrainian territory, while communist ideas and anti-fascist memory are persecuted, is the fact that some have supported the regime, some actively and others passively. What does the political survival of anarchists matter if their politics are nationalist and pro-imperialist? What does the survival of anyone matter, when the price for this survival is the burial of revolutionary struggle? In conclusion, pro-bourgeois anarchists, in the ranks of the national militarism, sacrifice themselves for the sake of the bosses, after having sacrificed social emancipation.
The Ukrainian anarchists who wave the sacred halo of “European democracy”, have obviously not studied the history of the bourgeois counter-revolution in NATO Europe of the last fifty years. They have not heard about the Piazza Fontana, Gladio, the isolation prison cells, the GSG9 and the SAS in Mogadishu, the dead guerrilla fighters… They do not look for current updates on the full-scale repression of anarchists by the Italian state, of squats and protesters in German, French, Spanish and Italian territory, of trade union struggles everywhere…They have not noticed the fierce political struggle in the Greek territory between the social movement and all the governments. They are indifferent to hungarian fascism and polish racism etc. They feel closer to the bosses of their nationality and thus also to the bosses of the Earth, than to the struggling peoples of capitalist Europe.
Certainly the entrenchment in localism does not characterize the Ukrainian movement alone, it characterizes the entire history of the anarchist movement after the dissolution of the First International. However, the turn to nationalism is an exception. Perhaps the Ukrainian comrades feel isolated, as probably the Russians do. Let us consider the isolation in which the Kurdish revolutionary movement developed. Now it is welcoming and opening up to the whole world, having cultivated a territory of social autonomy, through decades long struggle. Only the struggle for liberation and cultivation of the social ground brings us closer. Social ground means political- military autonomy of the oppressed base. Not political slavery to the bourgeoisie, no discipline to the state.
Confederal communist democracy recognizes every imperialist power as an enemy. A year ago, in a recorded speechxiii, Cemil Bayik (a founding member of the PKK, persecuted by the State Department) as co-chairman of the KCK, explained in detail the Kurdish Freedom Movement’s understanding about NATO and about states and movements. It was a presentation of the revolutionary strategy for the liberation of the Middle East against NATO. Comrade Bayik described NATO’s counter-revolutionary mission, its firm anti-Kurdish position and its overwhelming responsibility for spreading and fostering Islamic fascism.
The Kurdish Freedom Movement does not recognize NATO as a political ally. It denounces it as the strongest enemy of the peoples. In general, the KCK emphatically declares that it does not recognize states and powers as allies, but the people and the social movements for freedom, democracy and socialism.
The Kurdish Movement in Northern Syria did not make any political agreement with the USA, did not make any concessions to the program of democratic autonomy. The military cooperation of the YPG/YPJ and then the SDF (the armed forces of the Confederation) with the US concerned only the war with ISIS. The Kurdish and Confederate forces were politically and strategically autonomous and self-sufficient. The military cooperation took place in a field where NATO was already engaged in military action against the same adversary. After the Kurdish revolutionary resistance left the various nationalist and opposition forces in northern Syria on the sidelines, NATO was forced to cooperate with the resistance in order to remain in the syrian war field against ISIS and, consequently, in the imperialist deal over the syrian territory. For the confederal movement, cooperation was a move to save forces. That is why it was a constructive cooperation, even though the liberation movement did not depend on it. The locals were never forced to cooperate with NATO, as the authors falsely claim. The scenario that the only alternative for them was to flee or be killed is a vulgar historical distortion. The Kurdish Freedom Movement has already been fighting for forty years with NATO against it; it did not need ‘saviors’. It is fighting against turkish fascism, which is the pinnacle of NATO’s aggression. The revolutionary movement of Rojava, having achieved decisive victories, imposed its terms on NATO. If the dependency had been reverse, there would have been no revolutionary development.
Let us look at the particularities of the conflict in the syrian territory. The revolutionary movement in Rojava did not clash militarily neither with NATO nor with russian imperialism. This was because it was not directly threatened by the imperialist powers. The initiative to attack the imperialist militarism would not have expanded the social revolution, but instead would have subjected its strong roots to an exhausting counterattack. Since ISIS has been contained and placed under the direct control of the turkish regime, the US has been indirectly attacking the social revolution in Northern Syria through turkish militarism, its mercenaries and the re-kindling of ISIS activity. Also, russian imperialism is attacking the Confederation through the same war mechanism under its control, as well as through Assad’s paramilitaries. The Confederation is strongly resisting all of them.
However, the Rojava revolutionary movement has clashed politically with the imperialists as to their plans to dismantle syrian unity or restore the regime’s rule. It clashed effectively by projecting its socio-military power.
ISIS is a special enemy. The Kurdish revolutionaries did not collaborate with one imperialist against another imperialist. On the contrary, in the struggle for peace that the social revolution seeks and can impose, they have taken a stance of non-engagement and balancing. They are collaborating with the imperialists in a particular condition – against the monster that imperialism has bred to maintain war and tyranny in Asia and Africa (and also Assad has bred against the Syrian uprising). For NATO it is struggle with a limited-purpose: to regulate the boundaries of the players. For the confederal movement it is a fight to the finish.
No analogy can be made with the conflict over ukrainian territory, except that everywhere turkish fascism has its interests and plays a role in fomenting war. The no-fly zone that the showman Zelensky is asking for, everyone knows and says that it would bring about an immediate intra-imperialist conflict and, consequently, nuclear hell. In the syrian airspace it was imposed, but by NATO against Assad. The russian air force was not bothered at all by the ban: it bombed cities to the ground without violating any “international treaty”. Besides, for two competing imperialist powers to be able to fly within the same borders, it is required that they have constant mutual information intake. After all, the alleged enemy was common: “jihadism”.
It is also falsely reported that the Kurds are forced to cooperate with the Assad regime. Since the turkish invasion in Afrin, which was sanctioned by both US and russian imperialism, the Confederation has called on the national army to defend the borders of the syrian state, based on the firm position of the Democratic Confederation movement against all invasions and border changes. Assad did not respond. During the invasion of 2018 across the border of Rojava, the regime army sent a few units, which were adapted to the organization of the Confederate troops, but did not participate in any combat. Since then, Assad’s paramilitaries, in collaboration with turkish colonial mercenaries, have been assassinating leaders of non-Kurdish communities participating in the Confederation, in order to break the inter-communal poly-ethnic-national solidarity.
Similarly, the Kurdish guerrilla forces are calling on the iraqi state and its armed forces, which have been militarily hit by turkish colonialism, to defend their borders in Basur (South Kurdistan), but the iraqi regime, being subservient to the USA, passively watches turkish expansionism. Only the PKK is defending the iraqi borders.
The narrative of the article-identity of the Resistance Committee, apart from arbitrarily reworking history, also inverts the reality of the movement’s power in order to undermine its proposals. The misinterpretation of the military collaborations of the revolutionary movement aims at projecting onto the Kurdish Freedom Movement political positions of antagonistic positions: fatalistic submission to the imperialist forces, denial of the direct struggle for social self-direction (i.e., outside the bourgeois oligarchic structures), abandonment of the ground to the statist forces. The Committee, calling for conscription into the Ukrainian state army, has attempted to use the Kurdish Freedom Movement to support its unacceptable proposal, presenting the Kurds as having understood the defeatism and subservience shown by the Committee.
When the project of communist self-organization was launched in Rojava, thousands of guerrilla fighters came down from the mountains and devoted themselves with self-sacrifice to the social revolution. When ISIS (which the US had let loose in Iraq as a counterweight to iranian-shiite power) invaded Sengal, launching a new genocide of the Yezidis, no statist force stood up to defend them. Twelve rebels took over and organized the resistance, stopped the advance of the jihadists, turned history upside down. The land of the Yezidis was liberated by popular initiative, not granted by any government, by any “protector”. On the contrary, a year and a half ago the US drafted an agreement with the iraqi government and the subservient kurdish regional government of North Iraq, which operates as an agent of turkish colonialism, to impose the disarmament of the Yezidis and their subjugation to the iraqi state, which had deserted them to the claws of ISIS.
The writers, possessed by militarism, conclude to the necessity of the political-military assimilation of resistance to modern war technologies. And this is where their utilitarian reference to the Kurdish Freedom Movement, with which they have no contact, not even the interest of a basic update, comes into play. In the last five years, the Kurdish guerrilla movement has been facing an intensive technological war, without having any equivalent means. By adapting its organization and tactics, it has managed to nullify the technological superiority of the turkish military. Since the spring of 2020, the turkish army, with dense air support from UCAV and DRONE bombers, has been trying to take over the rebel bases of the Mediya Defense Zones on the turkish-iraqi border. The Battle of Heftanin in the summer of 2020 proved that the guerrilla forces can withstand the technological superiority of a NATO army with inexhaustible resources. In February 21 in Gare and again in the spring and into the autumn during the all-out assault on Mediya, the guerrilla forces, enriched with the lessons learned from the battle at Heftanin, turned the pinnacle of the anti-guerrilla offensive into a never- ending defeat for the colonialists, inflicting multiple casualties and holding the line of defense. As the general commander of the rebels, Murat Karayilan, one of the three PKK veteran rebels, who are wanted by the State Department, stressed that they are “a modern guerrilla army, an example for the whole world.”xiv If the authors of the Ukrainian Committee had taken a brief look at the constant stream of published testimoniesxv of Kurdish guerrilla fighters, they would not have been able to propagate their technophobic fatalism, in which they attempt to substantiate their pro-imperialist stance.
The Kurdish Freedom Movement interacts with anyone who has the intention for peace and fights anyone who attacks it. It has talked with Assad, with russian imperialism, with NATO imperialism, with the traitors of the KDP and the nationalist Kurdish jihadists of the ENKS (who have butchered the people of Rojava), and in the past with Erdogan. Not out of weakness. Its socio- military power gives it the capacity to demand a fruitful kind of peace. Revolutionaries do not seek war, they bring peace, because war is the joy of power and the misery of society. The confederal movement fights for the protection and expansion of social achievements. The ability of the social movement to cooperate also with statist forces, without negotiating its autonomy, is based on its politico-military independence.
If the libertarian soviets had not taken root, the anarchists would not have been able to cooperate with Petliura and Grigoriev, neither could they have eliminated him without complications. Nor, of course, would the bolsheviks have been forced to cooperate with the makhnovists. This cooperation lasted as long as the libertarian army could continue indomitable. When the bolsheviks were able to gather sufficient forces to destroy the libertarian army, cooperation was taken off the list of options.
Today, in the war for Ukrainian territory, conscription under government leadership and dependence is a declaration of defeat for revolutionary anarchism. Advocating the war- mongering nationalism, which since 2014 has been inviting NATO imperialism, is the most dangerous distortion of anarchism in its entire history. The Ukrainian people should be the first to refuse to give more ground to NATO’s advance in Eastern Europe. It is the peoples who, through its own tragedy within the warring apocalypse of power, is able to incite the revolutionary leap forward to the frontier of the imperialist metropolis.
Crimethink, you-hoo! Riding on the back of nuclear democracy without ideology.
The article to which the call of the Resistance Committee refers, was republished on the blog of Crimethink. Surely this republication contributed to it getting widespread, a point which Anarchist Fighter highlighted. I will comment on this re-posting because, on the whole, the political positions of the article are completely at odds with doctrinal positions of crimethink, which it has persistently defended. The strange adoption of vertically opposed views, by a discourse medium which until today has chosen what it publishes with strict ideological criteria, has motivated me to ponder on the fact.
A year and a half ago I critiqued Crimethink posts (not by name) and posts published in Crimethink about the present civil war in the US, about reformism and affinity groups.xvi During the Black Revolt, Crimethink was one of the public voices trying to deny the existence and legitimacy of civil war, i.e. open class warfare. At the epicenter of historically incoherent scholastic definitions, was posed the belief that a military confrontation between the social movement and the US armed forces would result in senseless slaughter. But now Crimethink has put forward a call for a military confrontation with another modern army. What has changed? Perhaps one parameter is distance. The farther away, the better; others will put their hand in the fire. I don’t want to settle for such an undervaluation of the political criteria of the publishers. There are deeper issues underneath the apparent difference in risk.
Why is it that in one case armed conflict is classified as unacceptable militarism, while in the other case it is acceptable for the struggle to be identified entirely with state militarism? There is a common thread. Crimethink has to convince that some other coherent thread underlies its thinking, capable of explaining away the apparent common component: In both geographies we are called upon to not confront American militarism and, in addition, we are called upon to recognize it as our ally outside its borders. Pacifism within the local movement is upgraded to a manifest collaboration with the enemy outside. No to civil class war, yes to nationalism and imperialism. Deep down the two positions are not contradictory in terms of militarism; they are equally militaristic and, indeed, under the same boss. As I explained in the brochure “Antimilitarism and revolutionary anarchism “xvii, the idealist antimilitarism of avoiding class-political war (which requires political-military organization) is a fetishistic submission to state militarism, a manifestation of the domination of its terrorism. Simple as that, the argument for enlisting in ukrainian nationalism and NATO imperialism was the same for refusing the civil war in the US: the social forces are not capable.
In a totally erratic way, Crimethink has in previous years asserted that “affinity groups are all-powerful”. All-powerful generally and abstractly (citing examples only from symbolic activism), but all-powerless to clash with military rule. Thus the anarchist movement in the ukrainian territory, scattered, without revolutionary orientation and without directly acting towards the cultural, and the necessary political-military social autonomy, ended up in nationalism. The remark I had made, about the origins of war and nationalism from affinity, is also valid in reverse, although I had not prophesied the call of the Resistance Committee, nor was I aware of the participation of (former) anarchists in the counter-autonomist war. Affinity found a centuries-old root in nationality, and a hotbed in fascism. I have the impression that this kind of confusion between anarchism and nationalism has also sprouted in the US and is expressed from the anti-centralist Boogalu, to the Trump supporters like Blake in Capitol Hill. From fanatical reliance on affinity groups, Crimethink found itself projecting a pseudo-platformism through nationalism.
The question of ideology, which had preoccupied Crimethink, becomes topical. Crimethink, reproducing the academic purity of the Situationists, has excoriated ideology. Beginning with a trite denial of dogmatism (with which everyone would agree today), the anti-ideologues believe and profess to be free of prejudice; they tell only truths. It is not necessary to have a diploma on the psychoanalysis term of denial to understand that the person who says, “I am not making this terrible mistake,” will do so blindly at the first turn. The darkest ideology is the denial of ideology. It is true that Crimethink has defended ideas like affinity groups, denial of democracy, denial of civil war, and denial of ideology with monolithic passion. Dogmatism that denies ideology differs from dogmatism that acknowledges that it does ideology in the coherence of its material. The non- ideologue mixes anything and everything without seeking coherence. He can elevate the most insignificant detail to a cosmological principle. Whereas the ideologue at least understands that every idea derives its truth or worthlessness from its relations to the entirety of ideas. And if he is not a dogmatist, he understands the concepts in a dialogue in a relativist way.
What, then, does the “territorial resistance of Ukraine” have to do with ideology or with non- ideology? It was squeaky clean of ideology and thus adapted to the seemingly more natural ideology: the ideology of national cleansing and historical cleansing from anti-fascism, anti- imperialism, anti-capitalism…Simply, “Europe”.
From the absolute denunciation of the concept of democracy, a concept that has emerged as a question upon real social processes, from Kurdistan, Crimethink instantly went to the projection of some who propose oligarchic democracy and the regimes of Central-Western Europe as the body of the Virgin Mary. Crimethink had opened a dialogue around the concept of democracy. However, the uncritical republication of a polemic propaganda in favor of imperialist democracy is remarkable. There is a meeting point between the two positions, which becomes self-defining in the actual conflict. In 2020 Crimethink opposed class-political warfare and instead identified liberals (in the political sense, as used by Americans) and the Democratic Party as allies of the social movement. Not democracy by and for the social movement, only pure ideology. But instead, democracy by and under the state, without ideology, only bare capitulation. Now, in a war that exposes the full destructive dynamics of capitalism, with the Democrat president of the United States outdoing the Pentagon pragmatists in war mongering, Crimethink has given the lead to an adventurous stance of identifying with some TV persona in the role of a national hero with nuclear dreams (Zelensky). Well done comrades! Straight ahead to blowing up the Earth.
(I anticipate the publication and the response to my critique by the anti-dogmatic group Crimethink)
The text of the anarchist federations and organizations, poses as a revolutionary and class duty, theorganizationand strengthening of theinternationalist anti-war and anti-imperialist movement of the working class. However, it does not take a concrete position on the practical consequences of this task on the ground of war. It refers abstractly to the sabotage of the war machine. Where can this sabotage take place? In the rear front of the imperialist and inter-state war it is already manifesting itself in a seminal form, with the mass mobilizations in the russian territory and globally. The refusal of the Russians to enlist is very significant. However, the imperialist war stops only with the defeat of the imperialist powers, either on the disputed territory or with a revolution in their metropolises. The russian war machine will collapse either by the ukrainian resistance or by social revolution behind russian borders. The two perspectives are linked: The Ukrainian resistance is the catalyst for the strengthening of the social movement on russian territory, as the comrades of Anarchist Fighter have observedxviii. It is therefore important to bear in mind that the politically and militarily independent resistance of the libertarian revolutionary movement will have the strongest contribution to the russian movement, in addition to limiting the pseudo-anti-fascist pretexts of russian nationalism. In turn, the emergence of a revolutionary movement in russia will be the strongest weapon of the ukrainian resistance. Also, as far as the movement inside russia is concerned, the independent revolutionary action of the libertarians and their distinct anti-capitalist practice against not only the Putin regime, but also those parts of the bourgeoisie that NATO expects to manipulate the social movement in order to replace Putin, is crucial. An uprising lost in so- called democratic reformism will not get either the russian or the ukrainian people out of the tyranny of the imperialist oligarchy and the war it is reviving. There is no peaceful way out for the peoples without the common revolutionary struggle, even if this necessity implies prolonged conflicts of the peoples against the capitalist powers.
Similarly, the NATO advance will be stopped either by the conversion of the Ukrainian resistance into a social revolution, or by a social revolution at the imperialist alliance’s centers. The latter hypothesis seems the most unlikely. But the Black Uprising in the US also shattered conservative projections in one day. Let me note in this regard that on the one hand, the inability of the american state to manage the class conflicts internally, pushes towards the re-exportation of war and “democracy”, and on the other hand, the inability of the insurgency to organist itself into a permanent sociopolitical war, leaves the american war machine free to play the game globally. Viewing the war over ukrainian territory outside its global dimensions is self-destructive.
The strongest guarantee for halting the imperialist war and for the prevalence of revolutionary ideas among the russian and ukrainian people is a militant (and therefore armed) anti-imperialist movement in the NATO rear and on the NATO war fronts. To reawaken the metropolitan guerrilla movement of the previous fifty years. The social revolution in the russian-ukrainian territory passes through the practical support of the social revolution in the Middle East, in Kurdistan, in Palestine, in the turkish territory, in the arab territory, of women’s self-defense and self-organization in afghan territory and beyond.
The Syrian comrades noted the following: “Precisely, it is desirable to understand the economic, diplomatic and military interests of the great powers; to be content with an abstract geopolitical framework of the situation may leave us with an abstract, disconnected understanding of the field. This way of understanding tends to camouflage the everyday protagonists of the conflict, those who are like us, those with whom we can identify.”
The text of the anarchist federations says nothing about resistance in the ukrainian space, nor about social revolution as a necessary form of the anti-war and anti-imperialist movement in ukrainian, russian and NATO territory. The federations advocate the strengthening of class and social struggles, without a word about the necessary commitments and initiatives that we have a responsibility to take as anarchists, collectively and personally, to ignite class and social struggles with the revolutionary characteristics that correspond to current needs. As the federations take no responsibility, the political view is detached from the class-social struggles and thus these struggles remain bare of revolutionary markings. In the concrete reality of the russo-ukrainian and NATO- russian wars, the task of revolutionary anarchists is to actively counter-intervene against the whole matrix of imperialist militarism in ways suitable to bring about its defeat. Clearly, the pursuit of defeating the militarist forces implies direct action for social self-direction and self-defense and at the same time direct guerrilla action.
In the text of the federations, the “world social revolution” is a temporally and practically abstract point of orientation and the “building of libertarian communist society”, the utopia that follows the timeless revolution. It is precisely the utopian deferrals and the various stage theories (which are variations of the former) that cede the real becoming to opportunism. For example, such was the relation of Marxism, with the social-democratic and Leninist genealogy. Such is the historical freeze of anarchism and also the defeat of the 1936 Iberian social revolution in its capitulation to bourgeois democracy. Utopianism leaves the social field inert to be exploited by fascism, as happened in the ukrainian space. And the utopians themselves, in the hour of class struggle, resort to passive pacifism: while the Russian soldiers were riding on chariots and the bombers were heating up their engines, the anarchist federations were content to declare that “we will not kill each other”. Just like Sunday’s prayer. The most certain fact in war is that the anti- war call will not reach even a single Russian soldier. Only resistance, that is, that Russian soldiers also experience the horrors of war, can break their discipline and awaken the need for disobedience, for fraternity, for a common revolutionary struggle. Thus, during the Second World Imperialist War, Italian and German soldiers defected to the anti-fascist front. If we do not share the pain, how can class inequality be overcome? Finally, for the fraternity of the Russian people, who work the war machine of russian imperialism, with the Ukrainian people, a fundamental factor is the autonomous political-military presence of the revolutionary movement in the resistance.
The text of the federations concludes with the proposal that it is time to confront the system in an organized and dynamic way, organizing its overthrow on an international scale. After a year and a half, I will ask again at least the political organizations in Greece, whether they have set as a non-negotiable duty for their members to refuse military conscription. If they have worked for the self-defense of the social movement, i.e. if they have taken care to create armed structures, this should be seen in practice today.
At least the contact of the federations with direct participation in the revolution in northern Syria is a promising sign. And also, some political organizations like the FAU, which has been involvedxix in the long armed anti-dictatorial struggle, I think they can understand the meaning of such a criticism.
The anarchist federations’ text does not make a graver slip than any of the majority of libertarian texts worldwide regarding this war. On the contrary, it recognizes imperialist antagonism as the general context of this particular war, going one step closer to a revolutionary position, in contrast to the idealistic workerism and pacifism that dominate libertarian texts. I have chosen to comment on this text because of the weight of its signatures and primarily because it was the first in the greece territory to describe the situation somewhat concretely. I believe that the most constructive response to the workerist and pacifist metaphysics comes from the London Anarchist Federation -AF Nomadsxx. “Ukrainian anarchists are now forced to choose whether to fight against Russian imperialism and risk being dragged into practical support for the nationalist and militarist institutions that all anarchists oppose, or to try to oppose all military action and risk allowing the people of Ukraine to acquire a puppet state that will be imposed on them and is very likely to be even worse than the present Ukrainian state. We do not envy those who have to make this choice and we would not feel comfortable judging any of our comrades for whatever choice they make. We wish you good luck.” This paragraph alone, in contrast to everything else that has been written by libertarians, tells the critical truth. Through an inescapable negative statement, it describes the captivity of anarchists and peoples who do not organize in a revolutionary direction, and thus subconsciously brings the urgent platformist proposal to the fore, even though the authors of this paragraph distance themselves from the issue at hand. At least their support for the Resistance Committee, having declared solidarity with the Ukrainian people, is the most sincere attitude in the general freeze of the libertarian movement internationally, the most sincere in the general distancing.
In order to penetrate the political weaknesses and consequences of idealist workerism and pacifism, it is sufficient to examine the stance of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The KKE projected anti-imperialist defeatism, probably for the first time in its history. Until now, in every NATO intervention, the KKE has commented on the anti-communist-counter-revolutionary character of the Islamic resistance, as it did on the Saddam regime (it has said nothing about the Milosevic and Assad regimes), but at the same time it has stressed that imperialism is defeated on the battlefield. Now the KKE does not recognize in the ukrainian resistance the character of anti- imperialist defense, according to Lenin’s textbooks; it perceives the Ukrainian people as the forefront of NATO’s imperialism against Russian imperialism. Although from a political point of view this is the case, the ideological annihilation of the Ukrainian people’s defense against the military offensive to which they are subjected, suggests their expected abandonment to Russian domination. Other Leninists, not revisionists like the KKE, remember that revolutionary defeatism means war against all bourgeois powers. How are libertarians who advocate idealistic workerist passive resistance different from the KKE? Even they themselves do not believe that a general strike on ukrainian territory can even remotely hinder the russian military machine. They forget how many military battles the german workers’ movement fought during its revolutionary period after the First World Imperialist War and forget its successive defeats due to the absence of a unified revolutionary organization.
The makhnovist movement was born out of guerrilla resistance, not out of the brotherly reception of the troops of Denikin and Vragnell. The strength of the movement was the direct achievement and constitution of social self-direction and political-military self- reliance. The social achievements of the revolution in the ukrainian space were inseparable from the development of the libertarian people’s army. Now, once again in history, as an international anarchist movement we find ourselves unprepared to intervene as befits the situation.
AN EXAMPLE OF ARTIFICE AND RESIGNATION OR RAW REGIME PROPAGANDA?
Following the debate on the text of the anarchist federations, I will also refer to a text critical of the positioning of the federations, posted on athens.indymedia. Since this is not a republication, it has probably not been engaged with in the international debate. It is of particular interest, however, because it goes a step further than the texts of the Resistance Committee, attempting to wrap the pro-war and pro-imperialist positions in a theoretical cloak, mainly by referring to the example of Kurdish confederalism. The historical and political inversions are blatant.
The text entitled and signed “Revolutionary position of the anarchist movement on the ukrainian question”, aptly identifies the weakness of the text of the federations, at the point where it “calls on workers to sabotage the war machine in general and vaguely”. But to what end does it identify this fundamental weakness?
The text begins with a clearly pro-imperialist position, which attempts to cancel the entire internationalist history of the workers’ movement and the history of the anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle, turning it into an alignment with NATO imperialism within its own territory. Anti- imperialist defeatism is silenced and instead a self-sufficient anti-russianism is unearthed, supposedly anti-imperialist, similar to the one that had led the German proletarians to the slaughterhouse of the First World Imperialist War. “The internationalist, anti-war, anti-imperialist position only makes sense on the territories of the West and only if we are talking about direct aggressive actions and strikes against Russian capital and Russian political representation.” Clearly national-socialist rhetoric.
It is immediately apparent that its reference to the anti-war and anti-imperialist tradition is only a pretext. Anti-war positions on ukrainian ground, i.e. on the field of war, are described as collective abstention and surrender. Against the anarchists’ anti-imperialist positioning, the traditional monarcho-fascist language is deployed: anarchist collectives are characterized as “enslaved” by the anti-imperialist analysis of “the communists”.
Next, the text copies elements of the confederal paradigm, which it then pins down to non- existent subjects and political processes, to arrive at a crescendo of pro-NATO subservience. Plagiarizing confederal proposals in order to openly support a pro-NATO belligerence is unacceptable. I have explained above, as well as in other recently posted textsxxi of analytical briefings, translation of public statements of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, philosophical dialogue, political assessment, etc., that for the Kurdish Freedom Movement, its guerrilla fighters, its militias and the Northern Syrian Confederation, the anti-war political criterion is fundamental and determines their culture, their politics, their strategy and even their ways of fighting. It is obvious that the counter-dialectical perception that pervades this text, which does not recognize the possibility of an anti-war position in war, belongs entirely to the militaristic statist tradition, to the most conservative patriarchal ideology.
The text, before concluding with a political call as general as that of the federations, fires the most poisonous shot against the Kurdish paradigm and social liberation: ‘At the moment there can be no victorious popular revolutionary war against expansionist forces without the support of other expansionist forces’. At this point the text demands submission to imperialism, nationalism and the state in absolutist terms: “As far as the NATO countries and the Ukrainian government are concerned, the revolutionary forces must obey (the needs of the revolutionary war)…” They must obey. And “…so today the revolution has objectiveneeds.” The bad old Marxist determinism, in the service of bourgeois dictatorship. Nothing to do with the radical cosmology of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, which is critical of scientism, positivism, subject-object separation and (now scientifically contested) objectivity.
“Who are forming a camp for the liberation of peoples” today in the ukrainian space? Certainly not those who call for conscription under the leadership of the bourgeois powers and alongside the nazi ones. Not those who call to join the mercenary paramilitary International Legion of Territorial Defense, which is a body similar to the jihadist organizations of the turkish colonialist regime in Northern Syria and probably manned also by jihadists. Not those who have no practice of social autonomy and self-defense, but instead want to lead the Ukrainian people and the international freedom movement into the ranks of NATO imperialism. How will the russian army be defeated “primarily on a political level” if nationalism, reformism and subservience to imperialism are not defeated politically? Obviously, the text understands the political victory over russian militarism as the victory of NATO propaganda. Who are the forces that form a “revolutionary democratic camp” and have the power to impose their terms on NATO, such as the TEV-DEM (Democratic Movement of Rojava), the YPG/YPJ and the Confederation of Northern Syria? What conditions have been imposed on Zelensky and his patrons by the revolutionary movement? Empty words.
Which “Ukrainian anarchists are at war with the fascists”? Certainly not the aforementioned, since even the article-identity of the Resistance Committee does not call for an anti-fascist struggle. So they have “created their own armed wing” of nationalism and not of social revolution. At the moment we do not know of any “power vacuum” in the ukrainian space, but only an over- concentration of warring powers. We know there is a vacuum of revolutionary anarchist presence, which they are attempting to fill with nationalism.
This declaration of allegiance to imperialist domination also invokes as examples, but only by name, “the anarchists in Spain against Franco” and the “alliance of communists with England against the nazis”. But it says nothing about the historical facts, circumstances and weaknesses of the political decisions mentioned, nor about their results.
In Spain, then, the anarchists did indeed ask and expect help from the bourgeois democracies of Europe, and especially the french. No European state had any interest in getting involved in the Spanish civil war and even less in supporting a libertarian revolution. Besides, no one wanted to clash again with german militarism and, moreover, until the attack on the french border, the european bourgeoisie wanted and believed that german imperialism would turn exclusively to the east, with the main target being the territory of the bolsheviks, who were their common enemy. The European “democrats” kept the Spaniards on hold, while abandonment was a foregone conclusion. This illusion of the anarchists cost them in terms of self-sufficiency and initiative; it contributed to their confinement within the government camp.
The Spanish anarchists looked to the capitalist center of Europe instead of turning to their allies in the colonial periphery. Franco started with Mauritanian mercenaries from Morocco. He crossed Gibraltar in boats after the Spanish navy had sided with the republicans. The military movement in the Spanish mainland had been defeated. The anarchists understood with a catalytic delay the importance of working with the Moroccan anti-colonial movement.xxii Let us not speculate on the reasons that kept the Spanish anarchists’ gaze away from the struggle in the Spanish colonies, but let us remember that it is a disastrous stance.
The allies of the Ukrainian people are not NATO, which anyway would not have launched a nuclear war, neither for a rich piece of land at the feet of rival imperialism, nor out of nationalist adventurism. If the US tries to sustain the war on ukrainian territory, as it seems, it will do so for the same reason it fomented it: to weaken the European economy, both western and russian, directly and politically, by undermining the imperialist alliance of the EU’s dominant powers with russian capitalism, and to promote its own commercial interests over those of russian imperialism. NATO’s intervention in the ukrainian state, at least since 2013 and today in the war, is done for the redistribution of the territory of the productive infrastructure (e.g. fuel pipelines) between the imperialist monopolies, and for this purpose, it takes the form of war and destruction for the peoples. Anarchist analysis is classist in relation to every phenomenon in capitalist culture. Transnational developments have the deepest class background. Class relations become more and more concrete as we examine more global levels, while reduction to the most elementary structure of capitalism, wage slavery, does not clarify anything except the need to abolish it. When we lose sight of class conditions and their dynamics, we fall into militarism and then into pro-nationalist positions or into the passive complement of militarism, pacifism. The allies of the Ukrainian people are the Russian people, the bombed and persecuted peoples of the Middle East, the outcasts and proletarians of Africa, starved and slaughtered by warlords, the internationalist, anti-imperialist and anti-war movement, the proletarian uprisings and revolutionary movements around the Earth.
With regard to the KKE’s alliance with british imperialism in the Second World Imperialist War, it is an example to be avoided. It was precisely the spirit of keeping the national fronts disciplined to the stalinist line and the Yalta Agreement, that was the decisive factor for the selling out of the social revolution in Greece, for the party’s betrayal of the popular resistance in the capital, its abandonment to the english weapons and bombers during the December ‘44 events, for the delayed rearguard battle (the civil war) and finally, for the long disarmament of the movement, the massacres, the persecutions, the exiles, etc. If there is one indisputable historical truth, it is that the anti-fascist resistance in the Balkans did not need any external help, neither to assemble, nor to survive, nor to weaken and confine the fascist forces, as did the Albanian and Yugoslav and Greek guerrilla movements (including the Slavo-Macedonian within them). The Albanian communists even, at the end of the war, forbade the english forces to set foot on albanian territory.
Especially this historical distortion, done in a superficial way, renders the text signed “Revolutionary position” suspicious. Although powers do conspire, the most truthful perception is the more coherent one and that is the analysis of class relations, their ideological layers (e.g. economy) and the political conflicts around them. Social struggle is not driven by agents, it is driven by class interests and their associated political ideas. And political ideas do not always end up where they think they will. Rather, they rarely do. The heterogeneity of ends is inescapable: it is not the perfect Reason that dominates, infinities and entropy. As several philosophers of history (Hegel, Marx, Kondylis, etc.) have found, the “artifice of history” often produces results so decisive that no political program and no organized force could have initiated them, but they fall into them. Political weakness and deception does the main work, not conspiracies and stooges. The crucial fact is the absence of revolutionary vision (memory and ideology) and the absence of political orientation. This is evident in the texts calling for a commitment to ukrainian nationalism and for the expectation of imperialist protection. The chronic denial of the necessary political unity of anarchists and the necessary socio-military practice (the diffused anti-platformism), leads to militaristic or pacifist subordination. Militarism seeks a gateway through theories of stages or in conspiratorial illusions.
The political deceptions surrounding the ukrainian national resistance are not at all indifferent. We see how it is attempted to tear down all the victories of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, to plunge the revolutions into the shameful pit of political manipulation. It is crucial to recognize that the war on ukrainian territory, due to historical weaknesses, opens up a way for the assimilation of parts of the anarchist movement into fascism. We ought to be vigilant, internationally and especially in the greek space, where in the past years, with the memorandum treaties and the Macedonian issue, nationalist deviations emerged, by anarchists with a heavy legacy in the history of struggles.
As for the lessons learned from the Kurdish Freedom Movement, while the federations lose sight of the specific due to their structural inertia, this distortion of confederalism is not primarily a sign of weakness, but rather an exploitation with no roots in the movement.
On the topic of history, I will add one comment. With a text xxiii on a related website, the Resistance Committee makes an admittedly catchy argument. It cites the participation of Spanish exiles in the MAKI (french anti-nazi guerrillas) as an example of anarchists teaming up with democrats. It is true. It also mentions the fact that the anarchists with tanks were the first to enter Paris, together with De Gaulle’s troops. Except that the ukrainian regime has more in common with the Vichy regime than with De Gaulle, let alone with the MAKI, which was largely manned by communists: it persecutes communists and has nazis in its apparatus and in the front line, and also has buried antifascist memory, while incorporating Banderas’ nazism into its national narrative.
The text makes a leap from Paris to the USSR, citing some anti-Stalinist Marxists (apparently as a cover for pluralism), to note through their writings that “Stalin was no better than Hitler” and that the leftists of the time were calling for “not defending the Soviet Union”. From an anti-authoritarian perspective, it is unacceptable to debate which tyrant exterminated more people. The important thing about this narrative is that while the anarchists’ cooperation with all normal capitalist forces is justified, in relation to the anti-nazi defense of the USSR a neutral stance is kept, similar to the one the Committee denounces as “participation in Putin’s crimes” (we’ll see this shortly). We can doubt the sincerity of this self-contradiction in the Committee’s positions. It would be prudent to ask whether this is not an implicit justification of ukrainian nazism, of Bandera.
The fact that the russian military state has nazis and mercenaries in its ranks does not justify the other side. Today in the ukrainian space the conditions are clearer than ever for us recognize the necessity of the political-military autonomy of the anarchist movement and the social forces. In the opposite direction, the Resistance Committee, in order to support its turn to the nationalist forces, is resorting to the overt defense of the ukrainian state against accusations of its nazi manifestations. In its newest articlexxiv on Crimethink, although it exclaims that the ukrainian state is neoliberal (the fascists can easily adopt this reformist critique) and “not sympathetic” (as if there are sympathetic states), it compares it to the russian and belarusian states in order to exonerate it. It boldly placates and exonerates practices of ethnic cleansing: the ban on the russian language is called ‘some problems of linguistic discrimination’, a practice which is also exonerated, since ‘russian is freely spoken in the sphere of private life’. As if to say, “you are lucky we let you survive in clandestinity”. In conclusion, the Committee attacks the international anti-fascist movement, calling all critics of the ukrainian state “complicit in the bloody crimes of Putin’s authoritarian regime”. Nationalist bipolarization permeates the Committee’s discourse. “Thus, any person who speculates on Ukraine (sounds like a totalitarian proclamation), saying that it is “a nazi state or something like that (such as having the Azov battalion in its ranks to commit atrocities?)…is a participant in Putin’s forces…”. The Resistance Committee does not convince that it is not undertaking a project to integrate local anarchists, and internationalist solidarians, into the fascist structures of the ukrainian bourgeoisie and of NATO, consciously or unknowingly.
“…Our experience in Syria encourages us not to underestimate the reactionary currents within the popular movements… In addition to offering important posts to ultra nationalists, the Ukrainian regime was resettled by oligarchs and others concerned with defending their own economic and political interests and extending a capitalist and neoliberal model of inequality.” Are the Syrian revolutionaries, who until two weeks ago hated Putin more than anyone else on earth, “complicit in Putin’s crimes”?
As for the accusation of “participating in Putin’s forces and crimes”, anarchist revolutionaries don’t buy this. Ukrainian and russian fascism are brothers fighting over the same field. Only they fight by slaughtering the people whose field it is.
Let’s move on.
AND NOW WHAT DO WE DO?
There is no good theory if it does not give practical answers to the specific needs, in the given circumstances. I will start with the proposals of the Organization Revolutionary Self-Defense, “not in the belief that we said it better then”, but for the sake of simplicity. The three “reference lines for an international revolutionary movement on a solid basis”, which the Organization Revolutionary Self-Defense had put forward, are, I think, a fairly concise and condensed formulation about the unity between the political, class and social dimensions of liberation from power. The three lines of orientation:
“A- The revolutionary movement of our time must and can be anti-statist and must set as its immediate goal the overthrow of the politico-military and economic regime, the abolition of the state institutions and the uprooting of the mechanisms of power.”
Looking at the revolution in Rojava, since it has become the inference of those who advocate joining the national statist forces, we can see that Tev-Dem has in effect nullified the political-military and economic domination of the Assad regime, as well as that of ISIS. It has created new social and political institutions and opposes the power mechanisms and by extending social autonomy and self-defense, it uproots them. The Democratic Self-Government movement attempted to cancel the turkish regime’s authority behind the turkish border in 2015.
“B- The revolutionary movement of our time must and can set as its immediate goal the socialization of all wealth through armed communes that must and can be established from today through the revolutionary action of workers’ and communal assemblies. The characteristic scheme of statist socialism, “first political domination, then social revolution”, is historically dead, having led to irreparable setbacks. We analyzed this in our previous declaration. Now in the phase of self-dissolution of political mediation, as an expression of the systemic crisis, no political change is possible without social revolution. Not even as a farce…Today the overthrow of the politico- military regime can only be done by the social movement which, refusing any political mediation, will build its open federal structures on the basis of the direct overthrow of the economic regime, though the imposition of social conditions against the interests of the bosses and the expropriation of social wealth.”
The war over the ukrainian territory concerns both the imperialist military relations and the economic exploitation and, as a consequence, the political regime. In the ukrainian territory, as in any territory, revolutionary is the internationalist movement that constitutes the political-military power of the exploited, the workers, the poor self-employed and the excluded. Especially in this war, the first article of a revolutionary program must be the persecution of all capitalists and political oligarchs, Russian, Ukrainian and NATO affiliated, the socialization of all natural resources and productive infrastructure and their confederal management according to ecumenical and ecological criteria.
Let us not forget that the russian capitalist oligarchy and the Putin regime are the results of the predominance of market capitalism over state monopoly capitalism. Russian neo-imperialism is not a variant of the USSR, although both structures inherited the czarist civilization; it is the completion and fragmentation of the state centralism of the former czarist empire within global capitalism. From this point of view, diverging nationalisms, such as the ukrainian one, are the completions of bourgeois democracy, but in the specific historical sense of the fractional integration of the political and class oligarchy of capital.
“Certainly, we live in the shadow of workers’ internationalism – which was supported by states, political parties, associations and broad organizations – which was able to bear the weight of the international conflicts in Spain in 1936 and later in Vietnam and Palestine in the 1960s and 1970s.” (Syrian exiles’ collective)
«C- Today it is necessary and feasible to spread revolutionary self-organization to the great mass of the exploited and excluded. It is necessary and feasible to implement social self- direction here and now.»
The calls to join arms with the nationalist camp, such as that of the Committee, begin with the given that they deny the topical nature as well as the possibility of this line of reference, subsequently submitting themselves to the national and imperialist political and economic oligarchy.
As the Organization Revolutionary Self-Defense noted, “The three basic lines of reference for an international revolutionary movement are the consequence of the cause of liberating humanity from political slavery, exploitation and all exclusion. The three lines form a unity from the outset. Each exists within the others and is deduced from them. They strengthen all together or the revolutionary movement does not develop at all.”
Military commitment to the nationalist forces, and especially to the state military pyramid, excludes the political autonomy of the social forces. Even without commitment to the orders of the nationalist leadership, military dependence on it produces the same nullifying effect. There is no political autonomy without military autonomy. The Ukrainian comrades should be the first to know this. It is the main lesson from the experience of the stratovision movement and one of the two main radical ideas of the Platform (the first being collective responsibility).
Without political-military autonomy, the movement is incapable of attempting any implementation of a revolutionary economic program. Fighters are called upon to give their lives for the interests of the Ukrainian and NATO oligarchs. That is why I cannot exclude the hypothesis that behind the call for national conscription, hide persons or even organizations that seek to lead anarchism to its self-destruction for the sake of the bosses.
The so-called “democratic camp”, which in reality is the front of local bourgeois oligarchy together with nazi gangs and militarists, in a condition of total subservience and dependence on NATO strategy, has nothing radical about it, nor could it have. The support of this “democracy” (time to put quotation marks around this rotten pretense) is a guarantee for the political and class enslavement of the Ukrainian people, during the war and in the coming intra-capitalist sharing of territories, infrastructure, trade routes, the new reconstruction market and labor power.
The social democracy of the armed communes, which the Kurdish Freedom Movement has sown (and is radically opposed to bourgeois social democracy) springs from faith in the social forces. The position of the Organization Revolutionary Self-Defense on the feasibility of social self- direction here and now, is inspired by the living example of Democratic Autonomy and also by the historical experience of the rapid spread of the social revolution in the ukrainian space one century ago, through the catalytic action of the anarchist guerrilla fighters. On the contrary, those who note that “anarchists do not have sufficient resources in Ukraine or elsewhere to respond effectively to the invasion of the Putin regime” have not conceived of the sweeping dynamics of the revolted society.
There have been no other resources for revolutionary struggle, throughout history, except the indomitable power of the hitherto weak masses who co-organize their own polity. When this source is missing, it cannot be replaced either by national militarism or by “protectors”. The militarist perception of the Resistance Committee is a manifestation of political and class betrayal, masked by the inherent adventurist illusions of militarism. Moreover, it is a hostile distortion and misappropriation of platformism.
In the first days of the russian invasion, the puppet Zelensky begged NATO to get him out, saying in an EU teleconference that ‘this may be the last time I talk to you’, while on the same day he declared himself available for negotiations. Apparently, his American patrons closed his escape routes. Outside the occupied ukrainian territories, he would have been useless to them. His survival depended on the completion of his cinematic role as a hero of the nation, “democracy” and “civilization”. The US wants a protracted war, maximum military, economic and moral damage for the russian state and maximum political damage for Putin. The ukrainian people are being pushed to the slaughterhouse under the servile national leadership, for the interests of both imperialists. NATO, like the Russian oligarchs, has prepared for it only death, more poverty and no profit. The same for the russian people.
All the imperialists, Americans, Russians, Chinese, except the EU, have gained from this war. Also the oil-producing states (OPEC and also Iran and Venezuela). All imperialists, except the US-British, are designing a new peace, i.e. a sharing of the loot. American imperialism is looking forward to a prolonged crisis at the feet of russian imperialism and in the economy of Western Europe. The ukrainian people themselves, however, will pursue peace, against the expectations of the USA, because they will not tolerate living and dying in the imperialist slaughterhouse for long. It will not be long before it abandons nationalist militarism altogether. When the peace of the imperialists comes, it will become apparent who were fighting today for social liberation and who are the instruments of fascism. It will show whether the participation of some professed anarchists in the war has managed to implant revolutionary foundations. Following that, the revolutionary struggle will become apparent.
Armed resistance is necessary as long as it serves immediately the defense of the internationalist confederal political autonomy of the people, the living communes, the socialized resources, the economic claims of the proletarians and communities, the territories liberated from the political-military control of every authority. The first two inseparable tasks of revolutionary anarchists are the creation of free soviets and the formation of the socio-military front through the guerrilla initiative.
In the current explosive phase of the long-term capitalist crisis of over accumulation and the destructive effects of capitalism on Earth and people, there is no time for reformist illusions. No intermediate stage before the general decomposition of human civilization or social revolution can any longer fit into the total fractionalized class cleansing. Each subsequent opportunity carries the dues of the previous one. We have now entered the phase of cashing in. Unless an initiative is taken to form an internationalist revolutionary movement today in the suffering ukrainian space, most likely the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian peoples will endure until the revolution thrives throughout the rest of the planet. But nothing is guaranteed. “Allah has no other hands but yours.”
•Political-military unity of anarchists, outside and in self-defense against any statist organization and state institution.
•Transformation of the developing social solidarity into a movement of political autonomy of the class base.
•Formation of anti-statist self-defense bodies, that stem from the autonomous and confederal social organizations and are accountable to them.
•Disarmament of the state and parastatal bodies.
•Invitation to soldiers and militiamen to defect from the national army and to join the communal corps, taking weaponry with them. Engage in political discussions with the fighters of the national units towards this direction.
•Sending recruits to the national corps, with the exclusive commitment and purpose of appropriating weaponry.
•Attack against fascist organizations such as the Azov. Staying neutral, but minding for social self-defense, wherever the fascist organizations clash with the military forces of the invaders.
•Cooperation with the present national forces not yet disarmed, only on a tactical (battlefield) level, depending on the needs of immediate revolutionary politics on the disputed territory and the immediate popular needs.
•Recognition of the autonomous entity of the Russians of the eastern provinces, Crimea and everywhere else, as of any other community. Creation of ties in a confederal direction. Denunciation of ethnic cleansing against Russians in ukrainian territory.
•Call for confederal self-administration on both sides of the ukrainian-russian border.
Organic collaboration front with the russian libertarian and revolutionary movement.
•Invitation of Russian soldiers to defect, based on the internationalist revolutionary program.
•Counterattack the imperialist troops to the maximum extent possible.
•Co-formation of civic institutions in the social organizations and a confederal program of internationalist, socialist and ecological economic transformation.
•Defense of the free activity of all political organizations. Restoration of anti-fascist memory, persecution of nazism and banderism.
• Practical solidarity with all peoples and social movements worldwide.
• Expulsion of the mercenaries of the International Legion of Territorial Defense.
•Call and organized reception of internationalist revolutionaries into the structures of social autonomy and self-defense.
•Declaration of hostility to the racist, genocidal, classist policy of the EU against immigrants. Demand to open the borders for all exploited and displaced people. Denounce the Euro-racist exploitation of Ukrainian war refugees and the inhuman denigration of non-Europeans. As the Syrian comrades put it: “Let’s be clear – the reception of Syrian refugees in Europe, while far from ideal, was often more welcoming than the reception of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, for example. The images of black refugees being chased across the Ukrainian-Polish border and the comments in the mainstream media giving privileged status to the arrival of “high quality” Ukrainian refugees, as opposed to the barbaric Syrians, demonstrate the increasingly rampant European racism. We advocate an unconditional welcome for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the horrors of war, but we reject any prioritization of refugees.”
•A declaration of hostility to all imperialist, militarist and warmongering powers.
Declaration of the guerrilla ukrainian territory as forbidden territory to russian militarism, NATO and capitalist investment.
– According to Soltenberg, the most important military aid that Ukrainian nationalism has received from NATO are the turkish DRONEs – the same DRONEs that are bombing the liberated territories
of Rojava and Basur Kurdistan, which have murdered women fighters of the women’ autonomy in North Syria, which support the current counter-revolutionary activity of ISIS, which strike against the facilities and Yezidi fighters of the autonomy of Sengal, which bloodied the refugee camp of Mahmur, which provide cover for the chemical attacks on rebel bases in the Mediya Defense Zones, which have supplied the war in Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Ethiopia and tomorrow again in the Balkans…Since 2021 the ukrainian state is manufacturing the BayraKtar TB-2 DRONEs in Kiev.xxv Ukrainian companies have also provided the turkish war industry with high-tech engines for the DRONEs. Now with the war, the turkish military state is asking its NATO allies to remove the barriers imposed on its war technology and equipment (because of its ties to both russian imperialism as well as for the crimes committed with DRONEs). With its balancing and now mediating policy, the neo-Ottoman regime of Erdogan’s alliance with the Grey Wolves now feels free, unbridled, to intensify its war business everywhere and its counter-revolutionary and occupation attacks in syrian and iraqi Kurdistan. The public recognition that the Turkish regime received from Putin and Blinken, on the same day, for its stance in this war, at the same time as the peace negotiations were starting, was the green light for a frontal attack on the Confederation of Northern Syria and for the promotion of its expansionist plans around its borders.
The revolutionary movement in the Ukrainian territory has the duty to strike at the counter-revolutionary and warmongering collaboration of the ukrainian bourgeoisie with turkish fascism. It has the duty to stand manifestly and practically by the revolutionary struggle in the Middle East against imperialist control. The libertarian revolutionary movement of the ukrainian space must become part of the international participation in the Kurdish resistance.
The internationalist social movement worldwide should be ready for the new attacks that the confederal revolution will receive in Northern Syria, Northern Iraq, Rojhilat Kurdistan (iranian territory) and the Turkish mainland.
•Anarchists around the globe, with the understanding of the platformist proposal of collective responsibility, let’s organically join our forces and make it our common activity to follow the moral-social and political tasks of direct participation in the present revolutionary fields, to counter-attack the anti-migrant polemic line of the European and American North, where the most murderous anti-proletarian war is being waged for the past 30 years, and to drastically sabotage the imperialist militarism on all its fronts and bases.
•All that I forget…
With all my heart I stand with those who are fighting for social liberation from the states, imperialism and war.
At the time when the final editing of this text was completed (17/3), the interstate bargaining had begun. The conflict continued by decision of both rulers, more fiercely, precisely because of the negotiations, in order for each to gain better “cards” and reduce those of the opponent’s. More blood means a better position on the scales. As Lavrov said, “the spirit of entrepreneurship will prevail”…
On the same day, the straw man Zelensky recalled the Berlin Wall, calling on Scholz to get involved. A (another) US hint to the European head-imperialist, about deals on energy. Except that in this war it is the US that seeks to erect a barrier to the monopolistic network between EU and russian capitalism. Zelensky is in a Rambozo movie, where the scenario finishes at the cusp of the 1990s. After the Berlin Wall crumbled, new walls, many bloody walls, began to be built on the borders and bridgeheads of the capitalist North: in Palestine, on the US-Mexican border, in Evros, in the Mediterranean a naval Sinic wall, on the turkish-syrian and turkish-iranian borders as well.
The day before, Rambozo remembered Pearl Harbor. After the first week of the invasion, the US and Soldenberg stressed every day that they would not go ahead to a world war, specifying with every request for specific military assistance (troop involvement, concession of planes, concession of airfields, grounding of flights etc) that this would lead to an immediate generalized conflict. Pearl Harbor, of course, was not a specific request, it was the decisive event for getting the consent of american voters to the US participation in WWII. Biden’s advisors indicated to Rambozo to say this, so that Americans would listen: “We are entering a phase of an unavoidable war of national emergency.” Except Pearl Harbor was on the West Coast. It took seven decades for the East Coast to reach the Azov territory.
On the other side, the ghost of Ivan the Terrible is still wandering about. It’s time to finish with them.
As soon as I handed in the manuscript for typing, I received the PKK’s recent announcementxxvi of the fiftieth anniversary of the Apoist movement (Apo, the nickname for Abdullah Ocalan). It is a multi-page historical political analysis of the development of the Kurdish Freedom Movement against devastating objective conditions. The counter-revolutionary and anti- Kurdish role of NATO, from the fascist-military coup of the 1980s to the interventions in Iraqi territory and the capture of Ocalan, is clearly described. In its annual reportxxvii shortly before, the PKK had highlighted once again the US support of turkish Ottomanism-fascism, identifying the historical context of the coming global conflict and the revolutionary tasks: “The meeting pointed out the signs of decline of the US and stressed that the perspectives developed by Abdullah Ocalan 30 years ago were confirmed. It was stressed that the Third World War will continue and the Middle East will continue to play a central role in this war. It was stated that a defensive, conservative attitude and form of action cannot win under the present circumstances. Instead, an active and aggressive stance is necessary. Referring to the historical collapse of capitalism and its system of power and state, the historical importance of developing the struggle for global democracy based on women’s freedom and social ecology was stressed.”
Also at the end of March, the report of the First Internationalist Congress of Rojava was publishedxxviii, calling on “all anti-systemic forces to fight within the framework of the Democratic Confederation of the Peoples of the World”, given the expanding crisis and war, and setting as a programmatic agreement the development of an internationalist anti-fascist front. The publication stressed that “the international organization of the self-defense of peoples is the strongest response against fascism, reactionary and racist attacks throughout the world. Because the problem is on a global scale, resistance and struggle must be international and global respectively.”
In this light and according to the political positioningxxix of Riseup4Rojava Coordinating Committee, its direct political and financial support to the Resistance Committee should be accompanied by a broad international update of the real substance of this organization and its attitude towards nationalist organizations. Because the confusion damages also the Kurdish resistance.
The completion of this text coincided with a one-week hunger strike of the author (11-17/3) in solidarity with the Turkish revolutionaries held prisoner in Greek prisons and with the revolutionary movement in the turkish and kurdish regions, in view of the urgent meeting of the governor of the greek state, Mitsotakis, with Erdogan (13/3).
Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis March-April 2022
In ordinary language, which carries the ideological markings of the bourgeoisie, various concepts are entangled in the same words. I consider it important that the understanding of class and political oppositions should permeate our discourse down to its most elementary materials, the available concepts. That is why I use different terms when referring to states, different ones for the oppressed and different ones for each different form of relation of social bodies with states, and for each particular manifestation of statism. It is not about being scholastic, it is about the clarity of description and of the practical proposals.
People: the general set of people on the planet who do not hold political or economic power within states. Also, its communities (e.g. Ukrainian people). While bourgeois ideology identifies class enemies inside the concept of people, here it is used with a given class definition.
Society : A broad body of people – not necessarily geographically concentrated or localized- forming and developing bonds of solidarity autonomous from and not dictated by a power structure. I use the word
neither in the academic sense of the general population, which echoes a kind of statist objectivism, nor in the sense of the body of citizens as defined by the nation-state. Society is a conscious active process and is inherently in antagonism with the state and class domination.
Nation: The ideological phantom of a community that identifies with the state.
Ethnicity: A cultural community attached to particular states or identifying itself against them (e.g. the Iroquois nation, the Black nation of the USA).
Ethnic space(e.g. ukrainian space): The territories and cultural environment where an ethnicitylives.
National territory: The territories occupied by a state. The territories enclosed within certain borders. Ethnic spaces intersect. Borders dissect them, territories homogenize them.
National or imperialist mainland: The territorial basis for the constitution of a nation-state which controls economically, politically or militarily, territories outside its official borders.
Ground: Earthly territory and a field of competition between power and social processes.
Names of ‘countries’: What is a country? To which of the above concepts does it correspond? I rarely use the name of a state without the designation ‘state’, only for brevity when referring to minor information in the text and only when it is clear that I am referring to the state organization. The USA is the exception, since the name of the state is entirely political (Americus is not a cultural community, he was the father of the colonialists). By the same token, the social movement should not recognize the continent as american. Names of “countries” are emphatically recorded in my texts when it comes to territories of anti- colonial resistance (Northern Syria, Kurdistan, Palestine…).
Imperialism, colonialism, military rule or stratocracy: I use the word imperialism in the particular sense that expresses the inter-state relations in capitalism, considering Lenin’s remarks on this to the point.
Colonialism has the special character of cultural alteration, assimilation or extermination of the conquered.
Imperialism did not replace colonialism, it incorporated it into its framework. Imperialism is based on military rule, but it extends to the whole of political, class and cultural relations. Military rule is the root of the state and runs through all its relations within and outside its borders. As I have explained in the recent past (https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1611720/ in the footnotes), I have rejected the word geopolitics. It is a marketable, shallow term, digressive in terms of class perception and echoing the racist assumptions of its nazi origins.
Relating to class: The identification of the concept of class relation with wage slavery, is an a- historical abstraction derived from marxist dogmatism. Although capitalism is founded and develops on this relation, within it are formed numerous relations of structured heteronomy and inequality. They are class relations, irrespective of their current correlation in the theft of labor (surplus value).
Communism and soviets: Obviously the two words do not refer to the bolshevik history that violated them. The libertarian revolution in the ukrainian space was avowedly soviet.
Military organization: In the greek language the word army (‘stratos’) does not come from the word ‘war’, nor from the word ‘weapon’, but from the italian word ‘strada’- (course, procession), from which the 16th century mercenaries took their name. I find its etymology appropriate in the context of the platformist libertarian proposal: an organized body on the march, in the context of revolutionary class-
political war. Preferable term to the bare, “war organization”. The war is the externalization of the relation, the active subject is the political-military organization.
xi A rich study on the subject, by the partisan and philosopher Kostas Papaioanou, «Η ΓΕΝΕΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΟΛΟΚΛΗΡΩΤΙΣΜΟΥ» (first edition, 1959).