dijous, 18 de maig del 2017

Anti-fascism is Internationalism

 The public image of the armed forces of Rojava shifted abruptly in the eyes of sections of the left after the liberation of Kobane. While this was undeniably a historic battle, won by an organized community and the power of free women, the widespread sympathy crumbled the very moment that forces on the ground received aerial support from the US-led coalition. Having long been among the most aggrieved victims of imperialism in the Middle East, the Kurds and their neighbors did not require any further enlightenment about the evils of empire. The genocides and massacres committed against them through collaborations of imperialist forces are still in living memory. Dogmatic, binary worldviews and narrow-minded criticisms do not propose any viable alternatives for people fighting for their lives on the ground. More importantly, they do not save lives.

For the people whose families were being massacred by ISIS, the ease with which Western leftists seemed to advocate for the rejection of military aid in favor of romantic notions of revolutionary purity, were incomprehensible to say the least. Advocacy of unconditional anti-imperialism, detached from real human existence and concrete realities, is a luxury that those far removed from the trauma of war can afford. Well-aware of the dangers of being instrumentalized only to be abandoned by great powers like the US and Russia, but stuck between a rock and a hard place, the priority of the SDF was — and remains — to first of all survive and eliminate the most immediate threats to the existence of hundreds of thousands of people across the vast stretches of territory it controls.

While some in the West adopted a realistic attitude of complex, principled solidarity with the SDF, which understands the dimensions on the ground and works within contradictions, others took the alleged “collaboration with imperialism” as a pretext to refuse any form of acknowledgment of positive elements that the revolution in Rojava could propose in a context of war and chaos. Of course, no revolutionary undertaking in the past centuries has been pure or perfect. And the fact that the SDF cannot only fight such a battle but is also held to higher moral grounds than any of the other armed units in the Syrian war is an important check on their war conduct. But the sectarian dogmatism in which much of the Western left remains embroiled — over the question of Syria in general and Rojava in particular — tells us more about the state of the Western left than about the actual realities of the anti-fascist resistance on the ground.

It is easy to reject any form of authority and power when these are far away from the reach of revolutionaries. But it is inescapable to conceptualize revolutionary power — and when necessary, authority — in order to protect millions. It requires bravery and risk-taking to attempt to institutionalize a liberationist system without falling into the traps of authoritarianism. As long as revolutionary undertakings do not eliminate the danger of home-grown authoritarianism, imperialist co-optation and betrayal, hierarchical mentalities, corruption and abuse will prevail.

The governments involved in the war against ISIS contributed to the chaos through their own policies, warfare and arms trade, and they ultimately share a similar mentality to the one that animates ISIS. They can never be the ones to defeat it. ISIS’ main enemies are precisely those who face it with a radically different way of conceiving of life. Defeating authoritarian extremism is only possible through radical democracy and women’s liberation. Within this context, the SDF constitutes one of the most important anti-fascist struggles of our time. It must be supported.

Arîn Mîrkan’s heroic death was a hymn to life, to freedom, to women’s emancipation. Her selfless action out of solidarity with her people and the freedom of women in particular was a heavy blow not only to ISIS, but to the very mentality that underpins global capitalism’s profit-fetishizing individualism. In a world that sexualizes and objectifies the woman, Arîn Mîrkan used her body as a final frontline against fascism.

The battle for Kobane excited the creative imaginary of people worldwide. It illustrated that a politically conscious, organized society — even one with limited means — can defeat the heaviest of weapons, the darkest of ideologies and the most terrifying of enemies. The task of anti-fascists today must be to never surrender the means of resistance to statist and authoritarian institutions, and to re-claim the means of organizing and defending the community. In order to pay tribute to heroic revolutionaries like Arîn Mîrkan, the anti-fascist struggle must mobilize in all areas of life and say:

Êdî bes e (Enough is Enough)

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