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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  October 2014

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE October 2014

Subject:

Fwd: DWV: Solidarity with the defenders of Kobane!

From:

David Westman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:57:04 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (220 lines)

To: Detroit Workers' Voice mailing list
October 14, 2014
RE: The struggle at Kobane

Solidarity with the defenders of Kobane!
It's the people, not the dictators and imperialists,
who are the defenders of democracy!
-------------------------------------------------


For a month, the Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria has been
resisting the advance of the murderous ISIS.  Should Kobane fall to
ISIS, ISIS would impose the same fundamentalist hell as it has done
elsewhere, and it would kill all those who oppose it. If Kobane falls,
it threatens the entire Kurdish autonomous regime of Rojava which has
been set up in northern Syria during the fighting of the last few years,
and it would be a blow against the struggle against Assad. The struggle
at Kobane is very difficult, with the defenders outgunned, short of
supplies, and blockaded by the Turkish and US governments. It is a very
dangerous situation: ISIS has penetrated into Kobane, but still has not
overcome the resistance.

The resistance of the defenders of Kobane against ISIS has inspired
respect around the world. While the heavily-armed Iraqi army suffered
huge losses to ISIS, the lightly-armed defenders of Kobane have held
their own steadfastly against the tanks and artillery of ISIS, giving up
ground only slowly. The main defenders of Kobane are a Kurdish militia,
the YPG (People's Protection Units), which are associated with the
Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party). There are many women among the
YPG's fighters, something which demoralizes the anti-women
fundamentalists in ISIS. Many Kurds in Turkey, including refugees from
Syria, are seeking to rejoin the struggle in Kobane. Also involved in
the struggle are units from the FSA (Free Syrian Army), who are part of
the general uprising against the Assad dictatorship.

While the Iraqi army collapsed before the onslaught of ISIS, the people
of Kobane, and the main anti-Assad forces in Syria generally, are
resisting. While the US government talks of taking years to deal with
ISIS, the people of Syria have another idea, and they are fighting to
push back ISIS now. They don't want the fundamentalists; they don't want
Assad; they don't want US boots on the ground; they don't want to be
part of the political deals hatched up by Washington or the UN; and they
are suspicious of the US bombing, which strikes ISIS but has also struck
the anti-ISIS, anti-Assad forces; and they simply want -- from wherever
they can get them -- the anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns and supplies
that would let them deal with ISIS and the Assad dictatorship. It is not
the lack of people, but the lack of weapons, that has hamstrung the mass
uprising in Syria.

The Baath party dictatorship in Syria, first headed by Hafez al-Assad
and then his son, Bashar al-Assad, has lasted for decades and
continually denied  democratic rights to the Syrian people.  Previous to
that, Syria had been a place with a lively political life. But two
generations have grown up without real elections and without the right
to form independent trade unions or other mass organizations, except
those linked to the Baath party.  Towns in the Kurdish region of Rojava,
and various other towns liberated in the uprising against Assad, have
elected their own administrations for the first time many people could
remember, and the Kurds have built up their own autonomous area. The
people are trying to rise to their feet; and this is why they fight
under trying conditions and against better-armed troops.

Obama has repeatedly derided the Syrian uprising as composed of ordinary
people, like farmers and dentists. Shouldn't ordinary people going up
against a dictatorship be firmly supported? Not according to Obama. He
thinks that "farmers, dentists and folks who have never fought before
going up against a ruthless opposition in Assad" can't win (statement to
CBS on June 22,
http://www.businessinsider.com/barack-obama-and-the-free-syrian-army-2014-6)
  To make sure that they can't win on their own, the Obama administration
has obstructed the flow of outside arms to the Syrian uprising, not just
giving few if any weapons but blocking weapons from other sources as
well. The Obama administration has insisted that a precondition for the
FSA obtaining weapons from outside Syria be acceptance of the latest
American plans, but the democratic anti-Assad forces won't agree to
that. Obama and the American generals and strategists  prefer to see
thousands upon thousands of Syrians slaughtered day after day, than to
see the Syrian people have their own say on what goes on in Syria.

The Obama's administration is opposing ISIS, but its plans for fighting
ISIS have little to do with helping the Syrian people themselves fight
back against ISIS. Instead, they aim at creating a long-term US presence
in the region.  There is talk of training some Syrian fighters, starting
next year, if these fighters agree to accept US plans, whatever they may
be. US Secretary of State Kerry downplayed the importance of the battle
at Kobane, saying preventing its fall to ISIS wasn't a "strategic goal"
of the US. Instead US officials talk of long-term intervention that will
last for years.

This disdain for the working people fighting at Kobane and throughout
Syria is not an accident. It's because the US government, whether headed
by Republicans or Democrats, is an imperialist government, which aims
not at serving the interests of mere "farmers and dentists", but of
bankers, financiers, and multinational corporations.  It is not a
government "of the people",  but a government that mocks and distrusts
people all over the world. This is why, while Syrian fighters will take
weapons from anywhere they can get them, they are suspicious, and
rightly so, of US government plans. This is why the US government will
bomb in Syria - sometimes ISIS, but not always - but still won't let the
Syrian fighters get the weapons to fight for themselves.

Meanwhile the Turkish government is actively blockading Kobane. It
complains of all the refugees from Kobane who, fearing an ISIS takeover,
fled into Turkey, but it's doing its best to stop Kurds who want to go
back and fight ISIS in Kobane. Turkish tanks stand on one side of the
border, visible from Kobane, and just let ISIS continue to bombard the
hell out of the city. Turkish Kurds are outraged at what the Turkish
government is doing, and demonstrations have taken place in many cities
all over Turkey, with about 20 protesters killed.

The area of Kurdish majority is spread across parts of Turkey, Syria,
Iraq, and Iran. The Turkish government, whether secular as in the past
or Islamist now, has oppressed the Kurdish minority for a long time.
Although the present moderate Islamist AKP government had relaxed some
of the vicious anti-Kurdish measures of the past, it doesn't want to see
a Kurdish autonomous zone in Syria, because it fears the example will
inspire Turkish Kurds. So it demands, as the price of opposing an ISIS
attack on Kobane, that everyone agree to set up a "buffer zone" in
Syria, which will replace the Rojava autonomous region. It wants outside
powers to guarantee the suppression of Kurdish rights in Syria, in order
to ensure the continued denial of Kurdish rights in Turkey.

Some outside powers even directly support the Assad dictatorship. The
Russian government, for example, has sent arms. The  Iranian government
has gone all out to supply troops, supplies and money to prop up the
Syrian dictatorship. From their point of view, Assad may be brutal, but
there's nothing that Assad does that they wouldn't do to their own
people, and they also have strategic alliances with the Assad
dictatorship against other countries. Their hands drip with Syrian
blood. The Obama administration is seeking some sort of agreement with
them to fight ISIS, but the price of such accommodation will be
surrendering any serious opposition to Assad.

The mass uprising against Assad began in 2011, and it would have
overthrown him long ago if it weren't for the obstruction and opposition
from so many hostile outside forces, both those mentioned above and
other Middle Eastern governments. Syria has become a focal point where
many of the backward forces in the world have sought to misdirect or
oppose the mass struggle, to back Assad or to promote fundamentalist
groups of one sort or the other or to subordinate the anti-Assad
struggle to international agreements. The result has been 200,000 dead,
tens of thousands languishing in Assad's dungeons, three million
refugees, and millions more people displaced from their homes but still
living within Syria. All this makes solidarity with the mass uprising
more important, and it means that the overthrow of Assad would not just
benefit the Syrian people, but weaken many reactionary forces elsewhere.

There have been differences within the main opposition to Assad.  Simply
because a people rises for freedom doesn't mean that they have put
behind them all their problems such as national chauvinism. One problem
has been that the Free Syrian Army and many other opponents of Assad
were not ready to grant national rights to the Kurdish minority in
Syria. As a result, armed conflicts had broken out between units of the
FSA and some Kurdish villages and armed groups. But in the struggle
against the common enemy of ISIS, some progress has been made. The FSA
and the Kurdish PYD have made agreements on coordinating their fight
against ISIS, and this reportedly includes some recognition of the
desirability of autonomy for the Kurds. As a result, some FSA fighters
are alongside the YPG in Kobane. This is a hopeful development.

If the outside capitalist powers have helped tear Syria apart, it is all
the more important that progressive people around the world support the
Syrian uprising and the Kurdish people. All real communists or
socialists should be in the forefront of supporting these struggles for
democratic and national rights. But most of the groups calling
themselves communist or anti-imperialist have either opposed this
struggle or been silent. Their excuse has been that the struggle against
the Assad dictatorship is supposedly an imperialist plot of the US
government to overthrow the Syrian government. But it was  the Syrian
people who rose against Assad, upsetting the years of cooperation
between Assad and the US government. And we see that today, in the name
of fighting ISIS, the US government is again searching for deals with
the Syrian government and its supporters, such as Russia and Iran. We
see that Obama has scorned the Syrian democrats as just farmers,
dentists, and ordinary folks. We see that those groups who have called
for preventing arms getting to the Syrian democrats have, in part, been
playing the same game as the dominant political faction of US imperialism.

The shameful attitude of much of the left towards the Syrian struggle is
an example of what we in the Communist Voice Organization call
"non-class anti-imperialism". Real anti-imperialism means supporting the
masses of working people, such as those rising up against Assad or
standing for Kurdish national rights. But non-class anti-imperialism
ignores the working masses and instead supports one imperialism against
another, one murderous regime against another. It is a fake
anti-imperialism, a would-be anti-imperialism without any faith in the
people or the oppressed classes. In the case of Syria, the non-class
anti-imperialists support a most bloody and sick dictatorship, that of
Assad. They think his current differences with US imperialism mean that
he is anti-imperialist. They know that the Assad government worked
hand-in-hand with US imperialism for years, even cooperating in the
torture of the Canadian citizen Maher Arar and many other people, but
they cynically shrug that off because the Assad dictatorship had even
closer ties to Russian imperialism than US imperialism. We instead
support the mass struggle. We know that, if dictatorship falls in Syria
- not just bringing down Assad personally but the whole machinery of
dictatorship by the Baath Party - this ultimately strengthens
anti-imperialism. And this will be true even if the democratic
anti-Assad forces managed to obtain some weapons from this or that
reactionary outside force such as the US government.

Solidarity is an important force. Solidarity not only supports the
current struggles, such as those against Assad, but unites people for
future struggles. Let's end the shameful policy that has predominated in
the American left of taking a hands-off attitude to the just struggles
of millions upon millions of people around the world, such as the
struggle against Assad, the past struggle against Qaddafi, and the
struggle in Ukraine against Russian intervention and local economic
oligarchs. Let's end the shameful policy of supporting one imperialism
against another. Instead, let the working people of the world unite, in
struggle against the imperialists and dictators, whether of the east or
the west.

Solidarity against the fundamentalist onslaught!
Support the national rights of the Kurdish people!
Support the democratic uprising against the Assad dictatorship!
Support the democratic struggles of working people around the world!

-- Joseph Green, editor, "Communist Voice"

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