This statement was prepared for the public meeting on “Beyond Kobanê – Behind the revolution in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan)”, which was held at Victorian Trades Hall on Wednesday 3 December by Australians for Kurdistan. Most of it was read at the meeting, but due to time constraints, the latter part was curtailed. The parts in italics were not able to be read. There has been minor editing for publication.
The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group has decided not to participate any further in Australians for Kurdistan. We have decided this, despite our support for the right of the Kurdish people to national self-determination and despite our support for the Rojava Revolution. We also have our doubts about the depth of the social transformation that has occurred in West Kurdistan, though we definitely support the social transformation that has occurred and the direction it has taken. Because our reservations about the extent of the Rojava Revolution so far take the form of doubts rather than criticisms, I will not pursue them further in this meeting.
The reasons the MACG has decided to withdraw from AfK are concerned with its fundamental strategy – that of alliance with imperialism. While AfK see themselves as “Australians”, the MACG is proudly un-Australian. Appeals to the Australian government to support the Kurdish struggle in Rojava on the grounds of humanitarianism and “anti-terrorism”, and co-incidence with Australian foreign policy, are profoundly incorrect and will be counter-productive.
Even more serious is the orientation towards the United States. The PYD is appealing to Obama, to be his “boots on the ground” in West Asia, and AfK is appealing to Obama to arm the YPG-YPJ. The MACG fully supports the struggle of the YPG-YPJ against Da’esh (a.k.a. the “Islamic State”) and we recognise the YPG-YPJ’s right to get arms from wherever they may be obtained – even from the imperialists. This right, though, is conditional on no concessions being made to imperialism on points of principle. We believe, however, that public political agitation for imperialist States to arm the YPG-YPJ will only serve to build support for imperialist military intervention in West Asia and its political domination of the region.
The MACG’s opposition to imperialist intervention in West Asia is completely in harmony with our support for the struggle against Da’esh. In fact, imperialist intervention is the number one recruitment tool for Da’esh. In the first month of US air strikes in Syria and Iraq, they killed 500 Da’esh jihadis. Da’esh, however, recruited 10,000. In addition, many groups in Syria which had previously been fighting against Da’esh have now turned around and allied with it. Da’esh has become a hydra. Imperialist intervention in West Asia only strengthens it – to destroy Da’esh, the US would have to destroy the entire region and kill millions of people.
For the Kurds, only defeat can come from alliance with imperialism. The only way for the Rojava Revolution to triumph and for Da’esh to be defeated is for the Kurds to stand at the head of the struggle of the people of West Asia against imperialism, religious reaction and the corrupt and brutal States of the region. It is only through class struggle by the working class and its allies that this can be taken forward. Alliance with imperialism by the PYD will eventually see Da’esh strengthened until it overwhelms the YPG-YPJ, but a class struggle strategy gives the Rojava Revolution a fighting chance.
The MACG will continue to provide solidarity for the Rojava Revolution, but we will do so in a manner consistent with our libertarian communist principles. We will attempt to rally the working class, here and internationally, to the struggle against both Da’esh and imperialism and will will also try to hold the PYD to the social vision about which it speaks.