Is the defense of Afrin proletarian internationalism?


The Turkish invasion of Northern Syria, with the declared goal of expelling the Kurdish YPG from the Turkish border, has caused various reactions from organizations that rely on anarchism, socialism or communism. (…) in this case we see that groups and individuals who orient themselves at the Communist Left are influenced by left bourgeois positions. (…) In Germany, this concerns the Council communist Workers’ League” RKAB and the “Friends of the Classless Society”.(1) Some Marxist humanists in the United States arrive at a similar defense of Rojava in a different way. Two articles about the Turkish invasion of Syria have been published on the website “The International Marxist-Humanist”. (…) The two articles on the Afrin conflict are published on behalf of the CPRSJ, the Coalition for Peace, Revolution and Social Justice, a platform of local branches of various organizations (in Los Angeles or California), including IMHO. The quotations from a speech and an article published on this platform, taken from “The International Marxist-Humanist”, should therefore not simply be attributed to IMHO, let alone to other Marxist-humanistic organizations. But they did not contradict the position taken either.

A call by the CPRSJ from January 21., 2018 ends as follows:

“Though the Rojava Revolution has its contradictions, as seen in these very ties between the Kurds and U.S. and Russian imperialists—bonds that now appear to be breaking down — we must defend Afrin! The gains and hopes of the Rojava Revolution, including democratic self-administration, feminism, and communalism, depend upon it! We must resist Erdoğan, a neoliberal authoritarian who fantasizes about resurrecting the Ottoman Empire through genocide of the Kurds!

We call on all people of conscience to support actions in protest of this murderous military campaign being organized by diasporic Kurdish communities and/or emergency demonstrations at Turkish consulates and embassies globally, as well as in Turkey itself. In Los Angeles, the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ) endorses today’s 1:00pm emergency action outside the Federal Building in Westwood.” (2)

At this rally, Ali Kiani gives a speech from which CPRSJ and IMHO have published a summary, [reflecting major illusions from] the Rojava myth (3).

In the name of the same “ideals” that anarchists see as the angle of their ‘analysis’, justice, freedom, women’s liberation, democracy (note, not proletarian democracy), humanism and progress a stand is taken for the defense of a people on the basis of same uncritically accepted ideological disguise of the rule of the YPG-PYD-PKK over the Kurdish “people”, communalism. The difference with anarchism and its followers is that Marxist-Humanists turn to a “dialectic” that would emanate from movements of oppressed peoples and minorities such as African Americans and women. In addition it is of significance that this current, despite its worship of Rosa Luxemburg, has adopted Lenin’s right of the nations to self-determination. (4) (…)

The protection of the oppressed peoples is undisputed within the workers’ movement, the support of national liberation however is not. For instance, before the First World War, Luxemburg and Lenin did not agree on the attitude that Social Democracy should take up with regards to the independence of Poland (then part of the Tsarist Empire). Lenin was in favor, Luxemburg against. (…) With the historic era of imperialism, the bourgeoisie had become reactionary, according to the generally accepted opinion of the revolutionaries, and only the social revolution could pave the way for peace and freedom for the nations. Luxemburg(…) said unequivocally:

“The small nations, the ruling classes of which are the accomplices of their partners in the big states, constitute only the pawns on the imperialist chessboard of the great powers, and are used by them, just like their own working masses, in wartime, as instruments, to be sacrificed to capitalist interests after the war.“(5)

The reality of the struggle for the independence of Kurdistan has confirmed the views of Luxemburg when seen from the standpoint of the class struggle. The ruling classes of Kurdistan are indeed just an appendage to their bourgeois comrades of the great powers, in whose service they put themselves, and whom they sell their proletariat as cannon fodder – but eventually things have turned out different from what was expected, they were betrayed. The trend towards changing imperialist alliances of several states is no reason for the proletariat to adopt this same tactic, on the contrary. (…)

The wars in the Near East will not stop until this movement of workers attains the same level as in Iran at the turn of the year, and develops further in order to create the self-organization of working and unemployed workers in general assemblies. There the discussion can be conducted on how the movement can best be expanded. In particular, the extension beyond the boundaries of sectors, religion, language, culture, and notably across national borders, is of paramount importance. The movement will therefore not only target its own ruling classes, but at the same time all political groups of the ruling classes of all countries.


Fredo Corvo

(Research until February 20, 2018)

Proofreading by: H.C., March 4, 2018

The full version of this article has been first published on:

1 Fragments on these groups in the original Dutch and German versions of this article have been left out in this abridged version.