user preferences

Recent articles by Devrim Valerian
This author has not submitted any other articles.
Recent Articles about International Imperialism / War

Πατριωτισμό`... Apr 22 14 by Emma Goldman

Πόλεμο κατά τ&#... Mar 03 14 by Κοινή δήλωση διεθνιστών

De la primavera al otoño árabe Oct 01 13 by Claudio Katz

Debate: On the discussion concerning co-operation amongst revolutionaries in the Middle East

category international | imperialism / war | debate author Thursday September 07, 2006 15:05author by Devrim Valerian - Enternasyonalist Komünist Solauthor email solkomunist at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

Open letter from 'Internationalist Communist Left ' to Anarkismo

An open letter from Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol on the discussions on Anarkismo around Anarchism and national liberation in relation to the war in Lebanon.

In the conclusion of his article titled ‘Eyewitness Lebanon: In the land of the Blind’, Michael Schmidt argues for unity between different groups in the Middle East: “The condition of anarchist communism in Lebanon is nevertheless very weak, notably ACT’s failure to establish relations with the Israeli/Palestinian organisation Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW) - the “apartheid” wall that divides their territory - and its lack of contact with anarchists and left communists in countries such as Egypt, Turkey (Anarchist Communist Initiative), Iran and Iraq in particular (the councillist Workers’ Communist Parties in the latter two) that would allow a far clearer regional anarchist communist analysis and jointly co-ordinated approach to the problems of the Middle East to be developed.”

It is all very well to talk of things like a ‘jointly co-ordinated response’, but it is important to consider what it is that is to be united around. For the left communists the most important political stance is that for internationalism, and against capitalist war. In fact we would say that this position is the crucial dividing line between revolutionary, and anti-working class organisations. Anarchism does not take up a clear position on this issue. Wayne Price writes: “Also, he identifies me correctly as "Wayne Price of the North-Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC)." However, it should be said that these are MY views and I am not speaking (writing) for NEFAC, which does not have a consensus on these questions.”

There are some Anarchists who take a very clear position on the rejection of national liberation struggles. For example the Anarchist Federation in Britain writes in its ‘Aims and Principles’ that: “We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world.” On the other hand there are those Anarchists who support national liberation movements, A good example of this is the argument that Lucien Van der Walt, of the Zabalaza Anarcho-Communist Federation of South Africa puts forward when he says “Anarchists...may fight alongside nationalists for limited reforms and victories against imperialism, but we fight against the statism and capitalism of the nationalists....This requires active participation in national liberation struggles but political independence from the nationalists. National liberation must be differentiated from nationalism, which is the class program of the bourgeoisie: we are against imperialism, but also, against nationalism.”

There is a world of difference between these two approaches, and NEFAC as Wayne Prices writes ‘does not have a consensus on these questions.’
Well this may seem to be a possible approach to have for those sitting in America, but for comrades struggling across the Middle East (and not only in the Middle East, comrades working in places such as Northern Ireland face very similar situations) the position is very different. It is of the utmost importance to take a clear position on these issues.

How for example can comrades operating in this country, Turkey, not have a clear position on the Kurdish national question? When Wayne writes that NEFAC ‘does not have a consensus on these questions.’, we are amazed. This is not some obscure political question, but it is a class line between the proletariat, and the bourgeoisie. If unity, and a ‘jointly co-ordinated response’ is to be based around anything then surely it must be around political perspectives. What is the unity of NEFAC built around? If it doesn’t have unity around basic class positions, then it would seem to me that the unity is based around little more than the fact that the members all call themselves anarchists. This seems to me to be a little pathetic.

Wayne Price writes in response to the Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol (EKS, Internationalist Communist Left, the left communists in Turkey): “He writes that, contrary to my views, "a political group can not be both pro-national liberation and pro-working class." Well, I ask him, can a political group be pro-women's liberation and pro-working class? pro-African-American liberation and pro-working class? pro-Gay liberation and pro-working class? Is it possible to be pro-working class and also to support nonclass resistances? (1) If not, if working class issues are all that matters, then you are both being sectarian and capitulating to the sexism, racism, and NATIONALISM of the dominant society, of the oppressors! (2) If yes, if you do support nonclass struggles (while criticizing their bourgeois leaderships) then why not support the Kurds struggle for freedom? In that case, you are being inconsistent.”

So Wayne advocates support for Kurdish nationalism in Turkey, of course ‘while criticizing their bourgeois leaderships’. Let us be very clear what this involves before we continue. It involves taking a side (albeit the weaker one) in a capitalist war that has left 36,000 dead. It involves supporting a party, the PKK, which has in the past ran campaigns of shooting school teachers. It involves supporting the general tendency towards war, and increased ethnic/sectarian conflict across the whole of the region.

Today the entire Middle East, it is important that revolutionaries address these issues, and not as NEFAC do merely fail to find consensus. The Internationalist Communist Left is very clear on the issues facing the working class: “Faced with this situation what can workers in this country do? All of the political parties in Turkey from the MHP [Turkish far right nationalist party] to the far left seem to advocate support for Hizbullah. The first thing that the left should seriously consider is why they are lining up with the far right. The reason for this is that all of them have an nationalist agenda. It maybe hidden behind high sounding phrases such as ‘anti-imperialism’, and even ‘internationalism’, but in the end it is merely supporting one country fighting against another. There is a lot of talk about the Lebanese, and Palestinian people, but very little about the working class, and this is from people that call themselves socialists. We say that workers in both Lebanon, and Israel have no interest in dying on behalf of ‘their’ states, no interests in fighting beneath a ‘their’ national flags whatever ideology this slaughter is supported by.

The entire region is being pulled closer, and closer to war. Iraq is descending into civil war, and sectarian massacres. Lebanon is still picking up the bodies from the wreckage of a murderous war, which could start again at any moment. The horror in the West Bank continues in the same way as it has for nearly the last fifty years. And at the very moment the Turkish army is shelling villages in Northern Iraq.

The only answer to this deepening cycle of barbarism lies with the working class. A working class that is capable of fighting for its own interests is not one that will be led into war. The struggle against war starts at work. Israel workers have no interest in killing Lebanese, and Palestinian workers, and vice versa. Turkish workers have no interest in killing Turkish workers, and vice versa. We condemn the Israeli state, Hizbullah, the PLO, the Turkish state and the PKK equally.

The TKP’s Yurtsever Cephe [Patriotic Front-a Turkish Communist Party front] says ‘this country is ours’. This country does not belong to the the workers in this country, but to the Sabancis, and the Koçes [The two biggest businessmen in Turkey]. The left is always complaining about imperialism, and calling for an ‘independent Turkey’. We think that 83 years after Mustafa Kemal’s [First Turkish President and founder of the modern T?rkish state] ‘revolution’ it should be obvious that ‘national independence’ is an impossibility. All countries are tied together in the imperialist system. Only workers’ struggle for their own interests provides an answer.”

If people want to know what we mean when we talk about workers struggle the answer is very clear. We are talking about the emerging struggle of the public sector workers in Turkey. We are talking about the massive struggles by public sector workers currently taking place in Palestine, which a HAMAS spokesman said “no relation to national interests”.

When workers are struggling on their own terrain there is never any ‘relation to national interests’. Of course, HAMAS called upon teachers to scab, and to direct their anger against Israel. We are used to the Islamicists, and the ilk, calling on the working class to defend the national interest. What shocks us is when anarchists do it. And although I am sure that all of NEFAC would support this strike, I would just like to remind people of what I am talking about.

Wayne Price expresses it well: “And anarchists should support the right of nations to self-determination, which is NOT the same as supporting nationalism. National self-determination is the ability of the people of a nation to decide for themselves whether they want to be independent of another nation…But if national self-determination means the right to make a choice, then nationalism as such is a particular choice, the choice of a national state. It is possible to support the right of a people to make a choice without agreeing with the immediate choice they make.”

What is all this talk about the rights, and of people? Society is divided into classes. What is the ‘right of nations to self-determination’ except the right of the state, and the bourgeoisie to exploit the working class. It is not 1789 anymore. This is Trotskyism, or maybe just plain old liberalism dressed up in anarchist clothes.

When Wayne Price asks: “Well, I ask him, can a political group be pro-women's liberation and pro-working class? pro-African-American liberation and pro-working class? pro-Gay liberation and pro-working class? Is it possible to be pro-working class and also to support nonclass resistances?”, we treat his questions with the same disdain as we do his support for national liberation. Yes, we oppose racism, and homophobia, but we recognise that only the working class has the power to change society, and to bring about communism.

To conclude the Internationalist Communist Left supports any moves a ‘jointly co-ordinated approach’ in the Middle East, but it must be based around principles, and the opposition to all nationalism is possibly the most important of these. To quote from our basic positions:

"3)The rejection of all forms of nationalism, and the defence of internationalism
Nationalism is a basic slogan used by the bourgeoisie to organize the working class in capitalist interests. The claim that independent from their class position, every member of a nation is on the same boat only serves to destroy the revolutionary potential of the working class by joining two antagonistic classes on an ideological level. Starting form this premise, it comes to say that every person has to work for ‘his or her’ own nation, own capitalist class, and the struggle for their own class interests would result in the sinking of the boat. Unlike the whole lefts claim’s in the case of both Turkish and Kurdish nationalisms, they have no different characteristics.
The basic reality denied by people who talk about national liberation struggles against imperialism is that the characteristic of the struggle of the working class liberation is above nations. The liberation of the working class can only be achieved by raising the flag of class struggle against every kind of national liberation struggle, demagogy, and imperialist war. Today people who talk about a ‘national front’ against imperialists, and national independence are in a race with liberals, who they think that they oppose, to deny class contradictions. Kurdish nationalism, the so called opponent of Turkish nationalism, which it also feeds upon, realizes the complete separation of the working class by performing the same role as Turkish nationalism for the workers in its own region.”

We want to develop ‘jointly co-ordinated approach’ and joint work with all groups whether they call themselves anarchist, Marxist, or communist, that stand by internationalism, and the positions of the working class. We reject the idea of any idea of a dialogue with those who act as cheerleaders, and recruiting sergeants in capitalist wars.

Devrim Valerian

For Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol

../mailto:Solkomunist@yahoo.com

author by Manuel Baptistapublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 16:39Report this post to the editors

«We want to develop ‘jointly co-ordinated approach’ and joint work with all groups whether they call themselves anarchist, Marxist, or communist, that stand by internationalism, and the positions of the working class. We reject the idea of any idea of a dialogue with those who act as cheerleaders, and recruiting sergeants in capitalist wars.»

If we were living in the same country we could -probably- cooperate, at various levels, in spite of not agreeing in all matters.
Something very self-defeating is sectarism. If councillists and anarchists could meet localy and discuss with each other, that would be not only valuable for the local class struggles, but would set an example to similar groups to meet localy around the world.

author by prole cat - ctc supporter (personal capacity)publication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 18:44Report this post to the editors

This is an interesting and lucid article, although I disagree with the thesis.

"What is the ‘right of nations to self-determination’ except the right of the state, and the bourgeoisie to exploit the working class…"

Do you deny the existence of nations as an entity apart from the state? Or do you simply assert that nations have no rights, and should somehow dissolve themselves to suit your ideology?

Nations- meaning groups of people "who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language"- appear to have a concrete historical existence, apart from the state. The Palestinians, for example, appear to see themselves as, and even to function as, a nation (in spite of their lack of a state.) Certainly, there are class divisions within this nation, and we should be always on the side of the Palestinian workers. But I suspect that most Palestinian workers want, and would benefit from, throwing off the yoke of Israeli/U.S. rule (even as they struggle against their domestic bosses).

Were Viet Namese workers better off under the heel of the U.S., or now? (Of course we agree that, ideally, they would liberate themselves as part of an international working class revolution. I refer to, in the meantime...)

This position is more nuanced, and ultimately less satisfying emotionally, than an uncompromising class reductionist stance. Sad to say, modern society is complex and frustrating.

Closer to home, many radical African Americans claim the existence of a New African nation that exists within the geographical borders of the United States. Am I to tell them that, after several hundred years of racially defined slavery, followed by another century and a half of second class citizenship, that they just need to get over this preoccupation with race? Where I live, such a position would be arrogant, morally untenable, and worse, would doom any working class organizing efforts to irrelevancy. When white supremacy is a relic of the past, it will be time enough to tell people of color to forget about race and national identity.

(As with nefac, the capital terminus collective has no consensus on these matters).

author by Andrew - WSM - personal capacitypublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 20:36Report this post to the editors

This is an interesting article to discuss as it shares a common problem with that found amongst some trends within anarchist (insurrectionalism), pre-anarchist (primitivism) and post-anarchist (Crimethinc, post-leftisim etc) ideology. That is the tendency to put the development of an ideologicaly pure position ahead of everything and then to use this 'developed' pure position to denounce those who don't see things your way.

This sort of method is as old and indeed older than the left. Pretty much as soon as you get the opportunity for the development of mass oppositional politics (the radical religous movements of the middle ages) you get the development of sects who define themselves with a primary role of critiquing these movements for a lack of purity. These sects imagine that by doing so they (or their ideas in the anarchist variant) will become at some point in the future the defacto leadership of a pure movement. So they are not at all worried that in the here and now they attract little or no audience. In the case of the some of the anarchist or anarchist related examples I list above they have actually theorised away not only the need for a mass audience but even the possibility of one and so have ended up with an ideology of individualised rebellion, first and last.

This logic is an attractive trap into which more than one otherwise good anarchist group has fallen. And once you are in the pit it seems impossible to emerge, at least I am unaware of any group that has made the transition back again. This is not surprising as escape from the pit would require mass work alongside others - the tactical flexibility this requires would be denounced before it had got off the ground. Alongside this the often vitroilc method of arguing positions means that serious discussion and consideration can be poisioned by the fear of being denounced - this tends to give such tendencies a damaging 'influence' far beyond their small number might lead you to expect. As an example see above how Devrim transforms Wayne's support for Kurdish national liberation into support for the shooting of school teachers!! Pretty much the same rhetorical trick the right uses when support for communism is transformed into support for gulags.

All this is an important prelude because I believe the core difference between anarchist communists and this sort of leftisim is not a question of principles at all but rather a question of involement (from the inside) in mass struggle. So one cannot usefully argue this in terms of 'what are the correct set of principle' rather you need to think of 'what is the appropiate action to take in this set of circumstances'.

Towards the end of the piece Devrim kindly provides a useful overall illustration of the problems of his approach in this paragraph

When Wayne Price asks: “Well, I ask him, can a political group be pro-women's liberation and pro-working class? pro-African-American liberation and pro-working class? pro-Gay liberation and pro-working class? Is it possible to be pro-working class and also to support nonclass resistances?”, we treat his questions with the same disdain as we do his support for national liberation. Yes, we oppose racism, and homophobia, but we recognise that only the working class has the power to change society, and to bring about communism.

Let us leave aside the vitrolic use of 'disdain' and consider the logic of what is being said. Can the questions of opposition to "racism, and homophobia" really be pushed aside ("disdained") by recognising that only the working class had the power to change society, and to bring about communism? Many countries have seen successful struggles against racism under capitalism, often led by the left, that have resulted in real improvements for minorities. South Africa and even the USA are examples where real reforms were won. Should these improvements really be "disdained" because they did not bring about communism? Or should we welcome them and say 'but we still have to fight for communism'? Likewise, the position of women, particulary in 'western' socities has improved immensly in the last 100 years. Is this something to disdain or should we celebrate the role anarchists and the left played in such struggles. These are not just questions of the past because these struggles are not over - for the future do we join in and seek to influence such mass struggles. Or do we disdain them as a waste of time until they come to be only composed of workers fighting for communism?

To me and I suspect most anarchist communists these are rhetorical questions - the answer is so obvious we wonder why they are being asked. But it is useful that Devrim repeats the comparison with national liberation struggles because in doing so he admits the validity of this comparison first raised by Wayne Price. To someone who can disdain struggles against sexism or racism then it is obviously easy to disdain a struggle against national oppression. But many anarchists who would not disdain these latter struggles unthinkingly disdain the former. Yet it should be obvious that just as a working class women can share with her boss the desire for access to safe and effective birth control so a working class Lebanese can share with their boss the wish not to have their house bombed and their family killed. Bosses and workers should have nothing in common but the unfortunate reality is that the experiences of sexual, racial or yes even national oppression can create a common interest that at least temporarly becomes the most important thing in life. We avoid / undermine this not by pretending this cannot happen but by opposing that thing (sexual, racial or yes even national oppression) that has created this common interest in the first place. In doing so we will normally discover the points at which that common interest breaks down. The female boss may want access to safe and effective birth control but she probably wants this as something an individual can pay for rather than as something paid for her out of taxes on her profits so that any women can access it, regardless of income.

The class fault lines do not lie outside the struggle but rather inside it. This also applies to national liberation, workers involvement in national liberation struggles is seldom simply a cause of following the limits of the bosses. The point that the nation is imagined rather than real is widely understood. Militant national liberation struggles often contain the question not just of the nation controlling the economy but who in the nation will exercise that control. From inside the struggle one already has the audience to argue that the answer to this is the workers and not the bosses. A few months back I produced a number of articles of who this played out in the 1916-22 period in Ireland during the Easter Rising and the subsequent War of Independance, see http://www.wsm.ie/history for essays on this.

This should not however be confused, as Devrim does to Wayne, with support for whatever nationalist outfit is running such struggles. I can defend the right of people in Iraq to fight the US occupation without supporting any of the Islamist or Ba'athist factions of the resistance. Indeed I would and have argued against any such support, we published the article at http://struggle.ws/wsm/ws/2005/85/iraqresistance.html making this argument. More to the point Wayne himself published an article on Anarkismo that argues against precisly the sort of line Devrim tries to accuse him of, see The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We "Support the Iraqi Resistance"? at http://nefac.net/node/1956 Perhaps Devrim had missed this article, if not then his characterisation was very dishonest indeed - it is certainly not one that a debate can proceed on.

author by MaRK - NEFACpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 01:02Report this post to the editors

Although Wayne may express his own minority dissent to NEFAC's position on national liberation by stating we have "no consensus" on the issue, we do in fact have an agreed upon position in our group.

From our 'Aims & Principles':

"[...] We do not support the ideology of national liberation movements, which claims that there are common interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination. Although we support working class
struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide and colonization, we are opposed to the creation of a new ruling class. We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through a social revolution waged against both the imperialists and the local
ruling class. This social revolution will have to spread across national borders. We further reject all forms of nationalism as this only serves
to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country, and national boundaries will be eliminated. We
must encourage and develop international
solidarity which will one day lay the basis for a global social revolution."

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 16:40author email solkomunist at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

Mark states that NEFAC does have a position on this. The position seems to be very clear, and I would be in complete agreement with it, except…except for the fact that it seems possible for members of NEFAC to be in complete opposition to the aims and principles of the organisation. Surely if Wayne Price is is direct contradiction of the aims and principles then he should be expelled. Otherwise they mean nothing, and Wayne is right. NEFAC does not have consensus on this issue.

Andrew , however, comes to the defence of Wayne Price’s support for national liberation. Just before I answer his points. I would just like to mention that I showed the article to a comrade who spent some time in America yesterday, and he bet me lunch that the point of attack would be on the comments I made about African-Americans, gays and women. I owe you lunch Leo.

Lets return to the support for nationalism. Andrew writes:

“see above how Devrim transforms Wayne's support for Kurdish national liberation into support for the shooting of school teachers!!”

The way I see it is that if you support Kurdish national liberation. It means supporting the Kurdish national movement, and the PKK (which is the Kurdish national movement in Turkey unless the platformists have their own Kurdish national movement that they are hiding from us) is an organisation that has in the past ran campaigns of shooting school teachers. Andrew, and Wayne seem to want to have their cake, and eat it. They want to support Kurdish national liberation, and distance themselves from the anti-working class gangsters, who are, in fact, the Kurdish nationalists.

This position reeks of the Trotskyist idea of critical support. The reason that I suggested in the letter that it might be just old fashioned liberalism instead is that the Trotskyists at least have conviction in their argument. Wayne on the other hand seems to think that you can support national liberation, and then distance oneself from the implications of this act.

Andrew writes:

“This should not however be confused, as Devrim does to Wayne, with support for whatever nationalist outfit is running such struggles. I can defend the right of people in Iraq to fight the US occupation without supporting any of the Islamist or Ba'athist factions of the resistance. Indeed I would and have argued against any such support, we published the article at http://struggle.ws/wsm/ws/2005/85/iraqresistance.html making this argument. More to the point Wayne himself published an article on Anarkismo that argues against precisly the sort of line Devrim tries to accuse him of, see The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We "Support the Iraqi Resistance"? at http://nefac.net/node/1956 Perhaps Devrim had missed this article, if not then his characterisation was very dishonest indeed - it is certainly not one that a debate can proceed on.”

I have read the article by Wayne that you refer to. I don’t agree with your interpretation of it though. Also, I have just read the WSM article that you link to. I don’t see anywhere in it a call to ‘defend the right of people in Iraq to fight the US occupation’. In fact it finishes by looking to the working class, and workers’ struggles for the answer, just as we would.

Wayne’s article is different. In it his does talk about how there are reactionary elements in the Iraqi resistance, he talks of internationalism, and even of class struggle, but at the end of the day he come down firmly backing a nationalist line.

“As all national liberation struggles have been nationalist in program, this anti-nationalism would seem to pit anarchism against national self-determination. (Actually, it could be argued that Muslim authoritarianism or jihadism is not nationalist in the usual sense, but I will not go into that here.) However, there is another side to anarchism, which points to possible support for national liberation (beyond anarchism’s opposition to imperialism).
Sam Mbah and I.E. Igariwey, of the Nigerian Awareness League, write in African Anarchism (1997), “Anarchists demand the liberation of all existing colonies and support struggles for national independence in Africa and around the world as long as they express the will of the people in the nations concerned. However, anarchists also insist that the usefulness of ‘self-determination’ will be very limited as long [as] the state system and capitalism--including Marxist state capitalism--are retained....A viable solution to the myriad of problems posed by the national question in Africa, such as internecine civil conflicts, is realizable only outside the context of the state system.” (pp. 106--107)


Wayne dresses it all up in radical language, but he comes down on the side of support for national liberation movements. In what way am I being dishonest here Andrew? To me it seems to come out very clearly in favour of support for national liberation struggles. Now, maybe you think that it is dishonest to say that support for Kurdish national liberation means supporting shooting school teachers. I would argue that it is dishonest to claim that it doesn’t.

I also think that it is dishonest to try to tar our position with the same brush as Anarchist insurrectionism, primitivism, and cremating. I am sure that Andrew is well aware of the history of the left communist current, and where it comes from. I am quite impressed though with how you manage to construct a theoretical argument for a lack of principles.

Devrim Valerian

author by Devrimpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 16:42Report this post to the editors

My spell check changed Crimethinc to cremating. Sorry, if that was confusing

author by Andrew - WSM- personal capacitypublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 17:44Report this post to the editors

George Bush is fond of the sort of 'if you are not with us you are against us' logic your post above is based on. But he is actually more honest. He might suggest my opposition to the occupation of Afganistan is akin to support for the Taliban but he doesn't seem to take your extra leap and suggest that I therefore support the stoning of women for adultery. Maybe he'll take a leaf out of the 'left' 'communist' book

More seriously the whole logic of you post in that it has any logic - is that the PKK are the sole possible legitimate representitives of Kurdish national liberation. For if they are not then Wayne could be expressing support for another group or as I suspect support not for any group but for the general concept of a right to self-determination.

I'm not all that familar with the 'Kurdish question' but even I'm aware that more than one organistion claims to represent the Kurds and that there have been conflicts, including armed conflicts between those that make this claim. Quite what your grounds are for presenting the PKK as the sole 'legtimate' group I have no idea?

author by Ender Yilmaz - AKi -Turkeypublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 18:45Report this post to the editors

Firstly I second Devrim's emphasis on a principled stance on the national question. I hope Andrew’s argument does not mean something like “communist principles are not important, but being in the working class “movement” is important wherever it goes”.
Secondly I need more concreteness from the participants of this debate. Especially what they do when there are nationalist/national liberationist org.s around their zone of activity. It looks like we tend to soften our stances while looking to events happening far away (I liked Wayne’s article on Iraq due to this reason: he focuses on what nefac can do in the US. But like Devrim, the discourse of rights seems awkward for me.). I believe that it is impossible to struggle without touching them (nationalists, Leninists, reformists etc.), even if we should keep our criticisms that they cannot be a progressive force. For example we (AKİ) recently organised with other groups a demonstration in okmeydanı (a mainly working class community in Istanbul). The aim was to denounce the rising nationalist trend in turkey (in okmeydanı recently a turkish immigrant from Sivas (which has probably ties to a gang) is murdered by a group of Kurdish immigrants. The main theme of the demo was to prevent this event turning to a ethnic conflict). We managed to let a kurdish worker and a turkish one to speak about their problems at the end of it. Obviously the dtp (legal wing of pkk) and Leninists were also concerned with this issue and they also participated in its organization. So, what was that? A national liberation struggle backed by anarchists? An anti-racist struggle? Or a struggle for working class unity?
I believe that we should accept workers’ grievances on ethnic, anti-oppression or gender lines as genuine as on economic lines and see the potential in these struggles to turn to class struggles just like struggles for wage-increases which are quite useless, if it keeps going in this form. And also: if these struggles (economic, ethnic, gender) are dominated by anti-communist forms and hierarchies (union bureaucrats, nationalist parties, liberal feminists), even the tiniest sparks of class view would be systematically suppressed and they won’t turn to social revolutions. Should we say to the Palestinian of Iraqi worker who is continually harassed by the forces of the government and the US that the tactic of armed struggle against them is not appropriate? Of course not, armed struggle is good, if it is connected to class struggles (We should certainly tell him/her that the solution of expelling American forces won’t change the roots of his oppression – any government needs the docility of the workers to continue their exploitation and they would do it forcefully, if ideological assimilation is not necessary.) Of course even very short term cooperation with non-communist org.s require also their consent; it would be stupid to urge them to participate if they don’t care what you are doing (well, that can also make it very easy to show their anti-working class nature).

author by Andrewpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 19:02Report this post to the editors

I would merely be careful about what we elevate into a principle as opposed to a tactic. There is a rather long history of anarchist involvement in national liberation struggles, right back to Bakunin. The more tactics you turn into principles the more dogmatic and irrelevant you become.

Your 'what is your position closer to home' question is a very good one. I know NEFAC have a preliminary position on the Qubec question on the site somewhere, the WSM position on the partition of Ireland can be found at http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1677 you should find this quite exhaustive in relation to Ireland.

author by mkpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 20:54Report this post to the editors

Here in Spain there is a feeling (specially from the peripheric areas with a strong sense of community like Catalonia, Basque Country, Galiza or the Canary islands) that anarchism is not opposed to national liberation.

National liberation per se is not anarchist. However, during the struggle to get it, it is possible to built anarchic societies. An example of it is the Shimming communes in the Korean revolution. Some of the indigenous struggles in the world don't fight to create another State, but to be free (Mapuchean in Chile, Magonistas in Oaxaca, Berber in Kabilia, Algeria...). They don't want another state, just freedom and socialism.

There're a few examples along history, like those Macedonian and Thracian people who built libertarian socialism out of a national struggle against turks.

One example is this:
http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/?q=node/3481

It's a call to form a Black Bloc during the traditionan demo for the 11-S, in Catalonia, remembering a military defeat of the catalans in 1714.

There are some groups in Bretagne (France)
http://www.cbil.lautre.net/
also in Sardigna, Sicilia, Basque Country and the Canary Islands. I repeat myself they don't want new states, just to defend their cultures, their peoples, traditions, etc.

author by Ilan Shalif - AATWpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 21:19author address Tel-AvivReport this post to the editors

Some people cannot or have a repulsion from fine analyzes they
regard as splitting hairs.
However, if you object to fine examinations of factors involved
you will surely miss real contact with the reality of the struggle
of better life for all.

There are lot of fetishism in the slogan of "there is no common
interests between the working class and the capitalist class".

From an abstract point of view of the long run it is true... but
in the concrete short run it may be entirely wrong - especially
when it is about specific people and not the abstract class.

On the long run there is no common interest between the Palestinian
working class and the capitalist class. However, when the Israeli
settler colonialist state wand to expel-transfer both of them, they
share the interest of defeating such efforts of Israel.

The same is every where when there is significant suppression
along national lines in which this kind of suppression is more
significant for a while than other kind of suppression.

I suspect that in Saudi and some other countries, the suppression
of females is more significant to the working class females than
the suppression and exploitation as working class.

There is no such libertarian communist concept as "rights" which is clearly a capitalist one. However, there are clear facts of suppression, exploitation, and discriminations along national/racial lines we cannot stay blind to. In Darfur of Sudan, there is clearly class differences and conflicts, but all of the black people are murdered and expelled by the state supported terror.

So, we do not support "national liberation" because it is a capitalist class concept, but not because there is never common interest between people of the working class and people of the capitalist class.

When there are such common interests we support such interests and some of the struggles without supporting "national liberation".

Related Link: http://awalls.org
author by Jedipublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 21:34author email JediJedikiadimundi at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

After following the debate on what is going on in Lebanon, and reading Wayne Price's article on the lessons us anarchists can learn from Lebanon, I believe that this point on national liberation is crucial for any further advancement of anarchist praxis.

The primary principle of anarchy, the end of the domination of man by man, must be adhered to. Of this there can be no debate, but the debate we are having is centered on the material relationships created by social constructs -- race, religion, and nationalism. We need to be much more dialectic in our understanding of the class struggle, as opposed to being dogmatic which leads to reactionary opportunism. Class struggle is both internal and external. Working class versus Bourgiousie and working class versus working class. At this stage of history, the working class is divided against itself and the capitalists are enjoying free reign and are heading full steam into imperialist wars.

The working class in Lebanon is being bombed, who are these people but poor young men who are sick of being massacred for the interests of capital. They are exploited.

The young 4nar3ist (I think that's how he spelled it) was resolutely for Israel. Why? Because he sees "HIS PEOPLE" being surrounded by a sea of hostility. Again, the contradictions of state are being manifested. The young men and women of Israel see their fellow exploited workers in the middle east as their enemy, and their capitalist oppressors as closer to them then both the Isreali orthodox religious right and the "barbarians at the gate". They are exploited.

The working class of both spheres of inluence are exploited, just in different ways and by different methods. It was working class blood that was shed in the war, and it was working class rage that ended it prematurely. This cessation of the war is also part of the valuable lesson that the anarchist movement should look to by the way. So, why did the workers of who have more reasons to be in solidarity against the capitalist oppresors fight against each other? Simple, ideological social constructs with the sole purpose of dividing the working class against itself.

All forms of nationalism are capitalist ideology. Local cultural identity peculiar to geographical areas is used as a part of the statist ideology of nationalism, but is very distinct from the idea of a nation. Nationalism is a form of stateism where the national identity is primary over the individual identity of the workers themselves. The workers sublimate themselves to a percieved likeness based on the lowest common denominator projected in the interests of creating an affinity for the ruling elite. These projected stereotypes of the master class -- race, language, religion, etc. become calls to arms against "the barbarian horde invaders". The identity of the individual is lost to the the identiy of the state. Bakunin does a great job of explaining the religion of the state, much better than I can actually.

Okay, so, the debate that we are having is where does this leave us as anarchists. Simple, we struggle. Only anarchism can lead to the social revolution necessary for socialist construction to a communist world. Social revolution, socialism, and eventually communism are an effect of the anarchist struggle. If we struggle for National liberation, reformism, or socialism, then we may lose sight of the anarchist struggle. Anarchist revolution is a long term struggle. It takes a quantity of struggle to create qualitative leaps that will eventually negate the social antagonisms of capitalism. Capitalism must maintain divisions in order to preserve itself, and anarchists must create unity to destroy capitalism. Anarchist revolution can only come by fomenting the spirit of revolt within the masses themselves and where the masses organize themselves to struggle. We must struggle with the workers, but our focus should be to link their struggles to other worker's struggle thus creating solidarity and the potential for increased mutual aid.

We must join the mass organizations and struggle to win them away from any form of nationalist ideology and to an anarchist understanding of the world. This is a long process that is going to pay off with an international social revolution in the far distant future. We build today, one by one, but these ones will be multitudes someday. Today, we cannot ever support a nationalist struggle, but we can support the fact that workers need to shoot back to defend themselves. We must point out that the workers are shooting workers. We must point out that only the capitalist swine are benefiting from the bullets and bloodshed.

As the working class struggles against all forms of oppression, the only path that they can follow is the communist path. We join the struggles that the workers organize to illustrate how they need to keep fighting in their interests because their interests are humanity's interests.

We must not juxtapose a tactic for a principle. Will we join unions that are reactionary or national liberation movements? Of course, but only with the express purpose of pushing the movment to attack all forms of oppression, exploitation, and the state. Supporting the ideological construct of stateism in the form of national liberation is anathema to anarchism, but supporting self-defense is another thing. This is a contradiction, but it is based upon the reality that we are living in. Communist revolution is a long term struggle, but only anarchist organizing on anarchist principles will allow us to get there.

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 01:36Report this post to the editors

Firstly to briefly address Andrew’s points, I never suggested that opposing the occupation of Afghanistan was akin to supporting the Taliban. Of course communists are against their ‘own’ countries troops occupying other countries. This week there was a large demonstration in Ankara against the sending of Turkish troops to Lebanon. Members of our organisation took part in it, and distributed a leaflet linking the sending of troops abroad to the class struggle in Turkey. There is a link to a copy of it here, unfortunately only in Turkish: http://libcom.org/forums/enternasyonalist-komunist-sol/lubnana-gidecek-askerler-ve-i-ci-mucadelesi

Andrew also ask how we have decided that the PKK “are the sole possible legitimate representitives of Kurdish national liberation”. Well, although he admits that he “ is not all that familar with the 'Kurdish question’”, he goes on to claim that “even I'm aware that more than one organistion claims to represent the Kurds and that there have been conflicts, including armed conflicts between those that make this claim”. I too know Andrew that in Iraq there are various groups of armed Kurdish nationalists. However, the discussion was around the Kurds in Turkey. If you know of another Kurdish nationalist movement in Turkey besides the PKK, I am sure that both myself, and Ender, would be fascinated to hear about them. Of course it al comes down to what nationaist fraction you want to support. In Ireland there is a wide variety of alternatives. Which one would you like to choose, PIRA, the INLA, the CIRA, or the real IRA? The choice is of course yours. We would reject any of those choices, and look towards the working class. The recent strikes in the Post Office confirm that there is a class option to unite across sectarian divides.

Ender’s argument deserves more serious consideration. It seems that we are in agreement on some basic points. Now if that is the case, we would be very open to doing joint work with them, whatever differences members of our group (i.e. Mikael, and I) may have had with them in the past. It certainly would be good if the internationalist groups in Turkey could cooperate on producing joint leaflets, especially considering that we are both based in different cities. We welcome the idea of producing joint leaflets in both Ankara, and İstanbul. I know that Ender has seen copies of our last two leaflets, one on Lebanon, and Palestine, and one on sending Turkish troops to Lebanon. If he has serious disagreements with our stance, I would invite him to comment on them on our forums in Turkish: http://libcom.org/forums/eks
Both of the leaflets are there, and we can see what the difference of opinion is.
We disagree with what seems to be his position on armed struggle, but would welcome an open honest discusion on this issue with AKİ, which, to be honest, maybe we have not been conductive to in the past.

Devrim Valerian

author by Ender Yilmaz - AKi -Turkeypublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 07:20Report this post to the editors

I believe Andrew's comparison of the stance of EKS with some non-platformist anarchist trends and his broader theoretical argument made both sides to sharpen their teeth. Even if it is logically and empirically correct, it is not very pleasant to compare a group -which tries to create a better communication- with sects.

I also think that both sides have different definitions of national liberation in their mind. I don’t say that they are in fact arguing for the same thing, but I believe that the stance of the other side is more nuanced than they think. I tried with my example to show that national liberation and class struggle are not necessarily direct opposites; it depends how you define it (of course partly, there is a quite extensive historical data which show that national liberation movements in some forms are anti-working class.). Especially the Kurdish question is a good example of it. The Turkish wing of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan was operating since the 1950s and their social base remained small and bourgeois. It was in fact the Worker’s Party of Turkey (WPT) in the 60s which formed the Revolutionary Eastern Culture Associations and organized massive Eastern Meetings to stress the existence of Kurdish ethnicity and the underdevelopment of Turkish Kurdistan (which is later claimed to be a conscious tactic of colonization). It was a good and brave tactic and also a fruitful one for the acceptance of the left among Kurdish workers. Then… the youth wing of WPT is alienated from its parliamentarist reformism and split under the ideological leadership of ex-CP members. The split between socialist revolutionism (WPT) and national democratic revolutionism (youth wing) occurred. 1971 coup illegalized WPT and also the splinter armed groups. In the 70s Kurds turn to their nationalist organizations since everyone wants to make its own national democratic revolution (it is argued that the pkk was a secret service operation to liquidate leftist forces in Kurdistan physically; indeed they have a long list of murdered leftists in the late 70s and also in the 80s, well also in the 90s.. shit!).

I don’t think that this is the issue, but there groups other than the PKK in Turkish Kurdistan. Two small bourgeois groups are HAK-PAR and the group around ex-minister Serafettin Elci. But the main rival of PKK is the growing Barzanism (Iraqi KDP). The state is doing almost nothing to prevent the rise of it. That makes me thing that the whole clatter around entering northern Iraq to end the pkk is total bullshit, because the Turkish ruling classes have already accepted Turkey-Israel-Iraqi Kurdistan axis as the best model for US and also for their interests. Their fear of “free Kurdistan” is totally fake, because Barzani’s “free Kurdistan” destroys the social base of PKK and also mobilizes Turkish Kurds for US interests (also for the interests of the Turkish rulers). So there are many groups and everybody is shit, but one can think (and it is a historical fact) that a communist group is the representative of “national liberation” (not bourgeois rights like “right for self-determination” or creating a new nation-state; just the social acceptance of kurdishness -in fact kurdishnesses, the idea of a homogenous ethnic culture is not only empirically false, but also reactionary- and maybe the possibility of choosing Kurdish education, although I am a firm supporter of one-universal-language ideal).

Devrim, did you postpone your reply to my comments? I rather want to continue the discussion here.

I have read all of your leaflets. I planned to write comments last week, but went to motherland Bulgaria (she expelled hundred thousands of us 17 years ago, but still I go there every summer – I should be some kind of a masochistic nationalist). Mostly agreed with them; I found them enough destructive (maybe a little bit more than enough) and not very constructive. There should be options for lebenonese organizations more than waiting in the factories for the great day (just kidding). I think that an organization should consider participating in the armed struggle depending on its material power or at least mobilizing help for the refugees. ACT disagrees with the former. They may be possibly following the best strategy they can. The only Hizbullah I know is an Kurdish Islamic gang secretly supported by the Turkish state and more openly financed by Iran in the 90s and acted as a an instrument of the dirty war against PKK.

author by Liberty Bellepublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 08:06Report this post to the editors

Where exactly do you see the disagreement with Wayne on national liberation, _as_he understands_it. I realise that different people have different definitions of what the phrase means, but that isn’t likely to be a significant problem for comrades in Nefac. The reason I bring it up, is because I wonder if there is less of an issue for Nefac than meets the eye.

As I read Wayne’s original piece*, he was primarily arguing against supporting the programme of the Islamic or nationalist resistance as well as their actions such as sectarian suicide bombings and the like. Presumably that’s not a major issue with others in Nefac?

Secondly he was arguing that us (i.e. anarchists in the US and Europe I guess) should oppose the tendency of our governments to invade weaker countries, kill and maim a lot of people, and rob wholesale the resources of that country. Now that’s unlikely to be a controversial position in Nefac either.

Thirdly, if it is possible to work with others in order to lessen the oppression – that’s shootings, rape, robbery – perpetuated by western troops, then that should be done, but done in a manner that doesn’t promote a reactionary alternative – say the installation of gender apartheid, religious fanaticism etc. That means encouraging secular, working class resistance as much as we can (which is unfortunately little).

Is it at this point that you may disagree with Wayne, and if so, what would you propose as an alternative? Also, would you approach working in broad campaigns in a similar manner in the US. Say, for example, that there’s a strike on which is highly influenced by naïve Democratic Party types or Trots. Would you exclude yourself from solidarity work because of that, or because the aim of the strike isn’t the immediate establishment of libertarian communism?

The one thing Wayne wasn’t arguing was that we as anarchists should support the establishment of an alternative nation-state with a slightly different ruling class.

So, where is the difference in opinion within Nefac? Are you sure it isn’t a matter of terminology?

*http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1016&search_text=wayne%20price

author by Lliberty Bellepublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 09:07Report this post to the editors

Devrim:
“I would just like to mention that I showed the article to a comrade who spent some time in America yesterday, and he bet me lunch that the point of attack would be on the comments I made about African-Americans, gays and women.”

That’s because of their similarity to the issue in question. Raising them clarifies their arguments around what is meant – and what isn’t meant - by national liberation and anti-imperialism. For example, just as the struggle for women’s equality doesn’t necessitate support for a female ruling class, supporting the ending of oppression of particular cultures doesn’t necessitate supporting a nation-state. In fact anarchists should be involved in these struggles for the opposite reason - because we want to promote a specifically working class resistance.

-----------------

I guess everybody was against apartheid and was willing to work in campaigns to end it. I don’t know if there were active anarchists in South Africa at the time, but certainly there were anarchists involved in solidarity work in Europe. Solidarity work which was conducted alongside a wide variety of other political ideologies, many of which we would also oppose.

Although anarchists consistently pushed for a libertarian alternative to the white South African regime, the anti-apartheid campaign’s goal was inevitably narrower. It doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t have supported the anti-apartheid struggle – does anybody argue that it wouldn’t make much difference if apartheid was re-imposed? And because anarchists supported the anti-apartheid struggle, it doesn’t mean South African anarchists are reluctant about putting forward a libertarian alternative to the ANC.

There are two main bones of contention: does opposing brutal repression of some cultures by necessity involve supporting a statist solution? Devrim would say “yes”, Wayne, Andrew etc “no”. The second issue revolves around what Andrew was saying about purity.

author by Wayne - NEFACpublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:58author email drwdprice at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

(1) My comment was originally meant to say that I was speaking for myself and not for NEFAC. This was because NEFAC did not have a consensus on this issue. I did not expect that this organization would then seize on this latter statement to attack NEFAC! Now they are calling for my explusion from NEFAC!

MaRK quotes a passage from our founding statement (a document which is widely accepted as needing an overhaul). I agree with this statement, if by "the ideology of national liberation" one means nationalism. I am against nationalism, including the idea that the workers and bosses have common interests. (I agree with Ilan and Andrew, however, that workers and bosses may both object to being expelled from their country or to having bombs dropped on their heads. However, there remains a social difference which is important in the not-so-long run.)

On the other hand, I disagree--if the ideology of national liberation is interpreted to mean that there are no such things as nations, that they cannot be oppressed, that they should not be liberated (by working class, not bourgeois, means), and that the working class should ignore national oppression.

(2) Our Turkish writers state, "we oppose racism, and homophobia, but we recognise that only the working class has the power to change society, and to bring about communism."

Why cannot they say, "We oppose national oppression but we recognize that only the working class has the power to change society and to bring about communism"? That is what I have repeatedly said.

I am in complete agreement with the statements by Andrew and p.c. I agree with the class struggle position on national liberation as expressed by the Irish WSM and the South African ZACF.

author by Manuel Baptistapublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 15:46Report this post to the editors

I agree with much that has been written, and will try not to repeat the already exposed arguments. But instead, I will try to explain what is relevant, in my opinion about this issue.

I think the relevant question is a behavioral one. Or ethics of action, if you prefer.

Whenever I see there are class interests and culture interests (I prefer expressing it this way rather than «ethnic or national» interests) that could be conflicting or at least not easy to meet simultanously, I should choose class ones as a priority.
In fact, many times we are defending some culture as we are fighting for this culture's workers class emancipation. I think this is a most common situation. I agree spending efforts in cultural struggles if it makes us come nearer to the social revolution. If, on the contrary, investing in cultural issues makes us divert from our goal (social revolution) then we should oppose to engage in such struggles, but never making it «in principle» opposition.
Concerning State, yes most national liberation movements yield, when they succeed, a national state.
It's the whole world that is organized in Nations/States. We cannot make as if it was not so. We are no «utopists» or immature persons. Therefore, we must see if class oppression is greater in the newly installed State or not. This should be a criterium for a critical support (or not) to a «nation-state building» .
In the Lebanon case, would the strenghening of Hezbollah lead to an increased theocratical society or state?
Sincerely, I have no capacity to evaluate from here (Portugal) the local situation.
But concerning Iberian Peninsula, I think that many movements claiming for «national liberation» here (including Galician and Andaluzian separatisms less well-known than Catalan and Basque ones) are inspired by authoritarian communism (mainly maoism) and they are not libertarian.
In this case I can tell you clearly that they are our enemies in the sense that they make us more difficult to (self)organise the class struggle. Moreover, there is nowadays no truly «national oppression» situation, but rather the need to defend the culture and language from Castillan linguistic and cultural imperialism. But then, this issue has become -in some minds- an all or nothing issue. As people become obsessed with it, they are not able to work in solidarity with their class comrades. In Spain, were created unions and confederations which organise workers in a nationalist basis, for instance. These unions are mere fronts for nationalist parties (some are fronts to «communist» parties).
In Portugal, we have no nationality problem. We have xenophobia and racism, now that there are many immigrants, but there is no «oppressed nation» feeling, even when we are a semi-colony of stronger capitalist interests from EU countries, specially the great Spanish banks and the big companies.

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 18:24Report this post to the editors

Andrew wrote:

George Bush is fond of the sort of 'if you are not with us you are against us' logic your post above is based on. But he is actually more honest. He might suggest my opposition to the occupation of Afganistan is akin to support for the Taliban but he doesn't seem to take your extra leap and suggest that I therefore support the stoning of women for adultery. Maybe he'll take a leaf out of the 'left' 'communist' book.

Actually, Andrew you are once again distorting our position here. There is a world of difference between arguing in support of national liberation movements, and arguing against your ‘own’ countries military occupying another country. We gave out leaflets last week arguing against the sending of Turkish troops to Lebanon. There is a world of difference between this, and arguing for support of national liberation movements, which is what some of the anarchists are doing.

A good example of this is the argument quoted approvingly by Wayne Price that Lucien Van der Walt, of the Zabalaza Anarcho-Communist Federation of South Africa puts forward when he says “Anarchists...may fight alongside nationalists for limited reforms and victories against imperialism, but we fight against the statism and capitalism of the nationalists....This requires active participation in national liberation struggles but political independence from the nationalists. National liberation must be differentiated from nationalism, which is the class program of the bourgeoisie: we are against imperialism, but also, against nationalism

Here he is not only arguing for support for national liberation movements but is actually arguing for ‘active participation in national liberation struggles’. Of course with the little addition of maintaining ‘political independence from nationalists’.

So can you please be clear about what your argument actually is. Is it ‘opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan’, or is it for ‘active participation in national liberation movements’? There is a huge difference between them.

The reasons that we are against national liberation movements is not because we see them as a mistake strategy, but because we see them as anti-working class, and dragging the working class towards war. There is no way for revolutionaries to operate in these type of movements as they are not on the terrain of the working class.

On Ender’s analysis of the region, I have a few points to disagree with which I will come to later. He does say, however, that Barzanism is spreading, which I think is exaggerated a little. I think that a lot of Barzani’s supporting comes from his status as a feudal tribal leader, and I don’t imagine them making big gains in Turkey. However, if they do, Andrew that will give you another nationalist group to support. Unlike their rivals the PUK, I am not aware of them having shot down striking workers in the last few weeks, but they do have a history of anti-working class actions.

Support for national liberation movements is not a ‘tactic’ that can be used by revolutionaries. It means joining in as ‘leftist’ recruiting agents in the drive towards war.

Devrim

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 18:38Report this post to the editors

To clear up any confusion, two members of our organisation attacked the ideas posted in your articles. NEFAC came into it as you said that it doesn’t have a consensus on this position. Of course, I took your word for it. I was latter corrected by a member of NEFAC, who quoted from your ‘Aims and principles’. I then asked how it was possible to have members who were in complete opposition to one of those aims, and principles. If I misrepresented NEFAC’s position I did it quoting from yourself. If you consider this to be an attack on NEFAC, and a call for your expulsion, so be it.

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 19:08Report this post to the editors

Ender writes:

“Devrim, did you postpone your reply to my comments? I rather want to continue the discussion here.

I have read all of your leaflets. I planned to write comments last week, but went to motherland Bulgaria (she expelled hundred thousands of us 17 years ago, but still I go there every summer – I should be some kind of a masochistic nationalist). Mostly agreed with them; I found them enough destructive (maybe a little bit more than enough) and not very constructive. There should be options for lebenonese organizations more than waiting in the factories for the great day (just kidding). I think that an organization should consider participating in the armed struggle depending on its material power or at least mobilizing help for the refugees.”

I thought that it would be a good idea to postpone it. It would allow other non-English speaking comrades to take part, both from your group, and ours. I suggested our forums, as yours appear to be down at the moment. If you want to continue the discussion here that is ok with me.

You write:
“Should we say to the Palestinian of Iraqi worker who is continually harassed by the forces of the government and the US that the tactic of armed struggle against them is not appropriate? Of course not, armed struggle is good, if it is connected to class struggles.”

We think that in the present situation in the Middle East all armed struggle will be pulled on to a nationalist terrain. It is not possible for armed groups, even armed groups of workers, to substitute themselves for the class. There are times when the working class needs to arm itself. This happens when the class is in periods of mass struggle.

You write:
“I have read all of your leaflets… Mostly agreed with them; I found them enough destructive (maybe a little bit more than enough) and not very constructive. There should be options for lebenonese organizations more than waiting in the factories for the great day (just kidding). I think that an organization should consider participating in the armed struggle depending on its material power or at least mobilizing help for the refugees.”

Yes, remember Ender that these were leaflets given out on demonstrations in Ankara. It is not the place to go into a detailed analysis of what communist groups should do in Lebanon. I do thing that ‘participating’ in the armed struggle is to join the national front. I will send your our new leaflet on the KESK dispute, which is a lot more constructive.

Mikael wrote about anarchists in Turkey on another thread on here:
“For most anarchist commies it is obvious that islamists are not better than amercan imperialism, but their self-critique of anarchism as a middle class individualist life style turned them towards leninists and their real-politics. That means to support both kurdish nationalist movement and the next step is possibiliy to support half islamic resistance.

No anarchist communist could recognise here that this can not allow a real internationalist movement to emerge with a real solid working class base rather that a fluid and shaking politico-allianceses ground with leninists.

So for the middle eastern anarchists -and for turkey anarchist communists to be concrete- the first vital necessity is to discuss and to be clear about the internationalism issue.”

I think that part of the problem with your argument is this idea ‘you must do something’, or as one of your comrades expressed in when we discussed the Iraqi resistance in İstanbul earlier this year ‘at least they are struggling’. It is a weakness born out of enthusiasm, which in itself is no bad thing. However, it does have the possibility of leading you into supporting all types of nationalist struggles. And I think that supporting armed struggle at the moment will lead you there.

There are times when the class is weak, and it is very difficult to do anything. However, even in places where the working class are tied to nationalist ideology, struggles on a class terrain can break out, as recent strikes in Palestine, and Iraq have shown us.

Best wishes,

Devrim

author by Quintpublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 04:50Report this post to the editors

I'm not a NEFAC member, but I have generally welcomed the growth of NEFAC, even if I disagree on some things. One of the things that I liked about NEFAC in Quebec was their strong stance against Quebec national liberation. Now I haven't read all the internal statements of principle and bullitins, which might be more equivocal, but all the practice I saw on the ground in Quebec, was anti-nationalist (i.e. against national liberation). NEFAC had shirts that said "Neither Quebec nor Canada". And there were posters during one of the Quebec provincial (national? :) elections that said "Red or Blue they bleed us white. (Red and Blue being the liberals and the Parti Quebecois). I also remember time and again NEFAC folks from Quebec arguing anarchists from anglo-Canada out of their stupid support for Quebec national liberation (which of course was always stated as opposition to the PQ but support for the right of the people to self-determination).

So if in Quebec nobody in NEFAC is arguing for the kind of "critical support" for national liberation, then why tolerate it any more in the Middle-east? Why is no one saying that NEFAC is standing neutral between oppressor and oppressed when they say "Ni Quebec Ni Canada"?



As far as the discussion has touched on women's movement, gay rights movement, civil rights etc... they all have their own particular problems and relationships to class and class struggle. I think you have to talk about them specifically, and you gain no insight by lumping them all together with national liberation as "non-class movements."

author by Waynepublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 07:59Report this post to the editors

Quint:
The way you interpret NEFAC's position, one would think that NEFAC is for national oppression for Quebec! I suggest reading the draft document on Quebec at the NEFAC site or on Anarkismo. Of course, NEFAC is against nationalism, which means the call for a national STATE. Anarchists are against the state. But in my opinion (I am not speaking for NEFAC here), this does not mean denying that an oppressed nation has the right to defend itself from aggression. But is Quebec an oppressed nation? today, not in the past? Is it the same as Lebanon, with US bombs being dropped on it by the Isreaelis? (As you say, "you have to talk about them specificially.") The document analyzes the situation, notes the integration of Quebec capitalists into Canadian imperialism, and claims that national oppression of Quebec exists only as remnants. It is not, currently, a major issue. This does not mean that it is not a major issue in the smashed up streets of Iraq and Lebanon!

author by Phebus - NEFACpublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:01Report this post to the editors

Theoricaly both Wayne and I agree with our Aims & Principles. In practice, however, we usualy disagree on the tactical issues relating to national oppression and imperialism.

It is true that french speacking NEFAC members in Quebec are all anti-nationalists. This is in fact one of the keys our collective identity. The thing is, we have to deal daily with a strong nationalist movement and a left that is generaly nationalist. This is tinting our political analysis and in practice we tend to naturaly fall on classical internationalist positions.

In practice, some of our american comrades are a little bit different. While we, in Quebec, come from the historicaly oppressed side of the national question, they generaly come from the historicaly oppressor side of the national question. Anti-nationalism, in their case, have always been suspect because it generaly meant ignoring the struggle of the oppressed at home and abroad and objectificaly siding with the oppressor ("their" governement and elite). In general they tend to be sympathetic and criticaly support anyone resisting their governement. Objectivly, this usualy means supporting nationalists.

In practice, Wayne and I generaly disagree on national liberation. My position is that we should oppose imperialism (esp. "our" imperialism). Wayne goes a little bit further and say we should take side. Well, actualy he does not say we should take side but rather that we should clearly call for the defeat of the imperialist (wich in my opinion amount to taking the side of the opposing nationalists because, frankly, they are the only one who right here, right now can defeat the imperialists). I think that his politics amount to critical support for the nationalists. I disagree with that. I oppose both sides. But I concentrate my energy against the side that is reachable (i.e. "my" governement). If we realy need to support someone, then I say let's support the victims, the normal people on the ground or, better yet, their social and class organisations.

When he say there is no clear consensus on the issue, this is what he is talking about. Technicaly we agree theoricaly but in practice we disagree on the actual implementation of the theory. This is no reason to split. This is a reason for more debate and inside fight over the line.

BTW, our position on the Quebec national question is there: http://nefac.net/node/1998

Related Link: http://www.nefac.net
author by Ender Yilmaz - AKi -Turkeypublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 20:15Report this post to the editors

"I thought that it would be a good idea to postpone it. It would allow other non-English speaking comrades to take part, both from your group, and ours. I suggested our forums, as yours appear to be down at the moment. If you want to continue the discussion here that is ok with me."

I didn't get it. I'm not writing in the name of aki and the debate around these issues is still continuing in aki (therefore i cannot represent aki). My comments are aimed to make the definitions clearer and i didn't understand why you want to continue a debate on national liberation or nationalism without making clear what it means and how it relates to class.

I ignored Mikael’s comments when I first saw them, because it would produce another empty debate. What would it be when I say that “Mikael’s self-critique of anarchism as a middle class individualist life style turned him towards left communists and their non-politics. That means to oppose every struggle against non-class oppression and exploitation”? That would be another pseudo-argument based on the assumption that the holy “materialist” trilogy of working-middle-ruling class can explain every human thought and behavior on the earth. By the way what is he meaning with the concept “middle class”? Small property owners with no wage labor or is he just creating a category for the sake of constructing an argument?

We can discuss the armed struggle question later since I partly sympathize with your analysis on this issue and I can only play the confused.

author by Wayne - NEFACpublication date Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:10author email drwdprice at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

Phebus makes an insightful analysis of the background of our political differences on this issue: that he comes from an historically oppressed nation and had to fight against left nationalists, while I come from an imperialist country, where we fought against liberals and others who supported US imperialism.

I do not want to get into a lengthy discussion here. I have already written a good amount on this topic; those in NEFAC who disagree with me have not felt a need to respond to my arguments. That is too bad. Let me just say that Phebus and I are in full agreement about the need to oppose imperialism in all forms and in every way. We are also in full agreement about opposing the ideology and program of nationalism (although he thinks I compromise on this issue). And we are in agreement that "let's support the victims, the normal people on the ground or, better yet, their social and class organisations." These are far more important than Hizballah, whatever its immediate impact.

author by Class War - North Eastern federation of Autonomous Class War - Northumberland Branchpublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 03:58author email classjustice at fastmail dot netReport this post to the editors

My post before got wiped off this thread cos I dared issue a subjective expletive to the effect that I couldn't believe that anarchists would waste their time with left communists.

I've been there, seen them, done it, and they have never had (and show no signs of developing it) any influence in the real (as opposed to the ideological one they fetishise) working class movement. In fact I would go so far as to say they are parasitic on the back of the working class movement.

Left communist theory (not so much theory - more holy grail) is regurtitated ad nauseum (and it really makes me sik) with no embarressment. Its as if these mutants with no class history of there own (as individuals) suddenly discover a new religion, and then proceed to bore us with it.

I made a point before that practice preceeds theory in the dialectical wheel, and it is one that is absolutely necessary. Otherwise what you say, as Marx said in the Thesis on Feuerbach, is hot air, and that is what the Left Communists specialise in...

Devrim said this:
"So can you please be clear about what your argument actually is. Is it ‘opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan’, or is it for ‘active participation in national liberation movements’? There is a huge difference between them."

The difference being what? You gave out leaflets by your own small ideologically pure sect that most people wiped their behinds with, about your military not going overseas. This is more irrelevance I think.

As opposed to the anarchists who said, in the case of Ireland, that when the army invade a working class area we join in the fightback - participation... In the white heat of class struggle the future is there to be made, the workers councils will not appear as if by magic comrade!! Its class struggle that we, as participants in a real living and breathing working class community will take part in because it affects our families and friends.

Devrim also said this;
"The reasons that we are against national liberation movements is not because we see them as a mistake strategy, but because we see them as anti-working class, and dragging the working class towards war. There is no way for revolutionaries to operate in these type of movements as they are not on the terrain of the working class."

This is wrong for the reasons I have said above, there is oppression in situations of imperialism that we, as participants in the life of our communities, have no option but to resist. The way this resistance manifests itself, of course, has its own particular history and only those involved in these struggles would have a more totalising memory of it(class consciousness so to speak).

Left communists try to mediate the class struggle by trying to impose an ideal type abstract subject(s) ie. their party or an ideologically pure working class position, into the murky world of the real class struggle. When really there is no such thing as an ideologically pure working class position, the purer it is, the further away it is from the mass of the working class.

Anarchists should know better than to trust would be mediators, as Lenin was just one example of a mediator.

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 05:43Report this post to the editors

To Ender,

Ok, I see what you mean about Mikael’s comments, and certainly they aren’t conductive to discussion. I think that a lot of rhetorical language can get thrown around in these arguments which wouldn’t happen face to face.

How would you define ‘national liberation’? How do you think that it relates to class? How is the debate going in AKİ?

Devrim

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 06:07Report this post to the editors

To Wayne

You write:

“Phebus makes an insightful analysis of the background of our political differences on this issue: that he comes from an historically oppressed nation and had to fight against left nationalists, while I come from an imperialist country, where we fought against liberals and others who supported US imperialism.”

To a certain extent the notions of ‘historically oppressed nations’, and ‘imperialist countries’ is bunk. While I accept that the USA has been in a dominate position for a long time, other countries have flitted between the two situations that you describe.

When the Bolsheviks signed the Treaty of Rapallo in 1922, they recognised Germany as an oppressed nation. There was even a national Bolshevik faction that arose within the KPD. I am sure that nobody needs reminding of how quickly the situation changed.

Similarly, it did not take the new Turkish state formed in 1923 after its national liberation war long to attack the Kurds.

At the moment there is a series of best selling novels based on the rather bizarre idea of Turkey fighting a war with the US. Now I don’t see this happening though the events in the north of Iraq do cause some tension between Turkey and the USA, but if it did, would you suggest that revolutionaries should switch their support from Kurdish nationalism to Turkish nationalism.

You then write:

“Let me just say that Phebus and I are in full agreement about the need to oppose imperialism in all forms and in every way. We are also in full agreement about opposing the ideology and program of nationalism (although he thinks I compromise on this issue).”

I would be in agreement about opposing imperialism, but would disagree on how it can be opposed. I think you do more than compromise on this issue.

I notice that you quote Kropotkin in your article on this issue. Do I need to remind you where he ended up in 1914.

Devrim

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 06:33Report this post to the editors

To Class War

I would just like to start by quoting a few things that you said:

“I've been there, seen them, done it, and they have never had (and show no signs of developing it) any influence in the real (as opposed to the ideological one they fetishise) working class movement.”

“Its as if these mutants with no class history of there own (as individuals) suddenly discover a new religion, and then proceed to bore us with it.”

“You gave out leaflets by your own small ideologically pure sect that most people wiped their behinds with, about your military not going overseas.”

So in the first one you demonstrate that you have no knowledge of the history of the workers movement. The German KAPD, for example, had at its peak around 80,000 members. I would assume that they had some influence in the class.

Then you continue to develop this fashion of speaking about things you have no idea about, by talking about the class nature of our members. Non of whom I presume that you have ever met.

And finally you round off by criticising a leaflet that you haven’t read (I am assuming that you can’t read Turkish here).

Ignorance is not really a good position to judge things from.

On to your points though. You write:

“As opposed to the anarchists who said, in the case of Ireland, that when the army invade a working class area we join in the fightback - participation... In the white heat of class struggle the future is there to be made, the workers councils will not appear as if by magic comrade!! Its class struggle that we, as participants in a real living and breathing working class community will take part in because it affects our families and friends.”

There is a lot of hyperbole here about ‘white hot heat of class struggle’, and ‘living breathing working class community’, but very little substance. I don’t think that any workers councils actually appeared in Derry in 1972 if that is what you are talking about. I think that although there was a class base to those struggles it quickly became submerged in nationalist ideology, and it certainly didn’t lead to the rise of any powerful workers’ movement.

You write:

“This is wrong for the reasons I have said above, there is oppression in situations of imperialism that we, as participants in the life of our communities, have no option but to resist. The way this resistance manifests itself, of course, has its own particular history and only those involved in these struggles would have a more totalising memory of it(class consciousness so to speak).”

So would you then support the nationalist resistance to American imperialism in Iraq, Hizbollah in Lebanon, and the Kurdish nationalists in Turkey? After all they had no option, but to resist. They have all murdered workers as well, as has the IRA, but we will just ignore that for the moment.

You finish by accusing the left communists of being ‘mediators’:

“ Left communists try to mediate the class struggle by trying to impose an ideal type abstract subject(s) ie. their party or an ideologically pure working class position, into the murky world of the real class struggle. When really there is no such thing as an ideologically pure working class position, the purer it is, the further away it is from the mass of the working class.”

Actually, I understand the word mediator to mean somebody who mediates between two different groups to bring about a reconciliation. I am not sure what you mean by it here. However, left communists support all workers struggles for working class demands. They see the defence of workers living standards as being crucial to the development of the struggle. I really do not see what you are ranting about.

Devrim

author by Chekovpublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:43Report this post to the editors

"There is a lot of hyperbole here about ‘white hot heat of class struggle’, and ‘living breathing working class community’, but very little substance. I don’t think that any workers councils actually appeared in Derry in 1972 if that is what you are talking about. I think that although there was a class base to those struggles it quickly became submerged in nationalist ideology, and it certainly didn’t lead to the rise of any powerful workers’ movement."

Devrim, you're about 3 years too late. There really weren't any anarchists in Derry in 1969 so it's all hypothetical. But in the absence of anarchists, or any significant communist groups, it's hardly surprising that things went the way of the nationalists.

The big question is, however, if there had been significant numbers of anarchists in Derry when the B-Specials and later the army moved against the bogside, what should they have done. If they had decided that due to the strength of nationalism amongst the population that they shouldn't have involved themselves in resisting the invasion and sat back while the state crushed and subjugated their areas, they would have been despised by the population and the prospects of them influencing events would have been zero. If, on the other hand, they had got involved, then maybe there would have been workers councils. Of course it's not certain, you never know how things might turn out but the alternative is certain irrelevance.

author by Autonomous Class Warpublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 16:37Report this post to the editors

Forgive me leader, I do not know everything about the worldwide history of the working class – nobody on earth does, and I suppose you know nothing of the anti Parliamentary Communist federation either? The point being, in my lifetime, the Left Communists have been and will forever be totally irrelevant cos they are purists…

As for ignorance, that is something you not only aspire to, you have it in bucketloads!

I repeat things because you have clearly not understood the points, do try harder;

“As opposed to the anarchists who said, in the case of Ireland, that when the army invade a working class area we join in the fightback - participation... In the white heat of class struggle the future is there to be made, the workers councils will not appear as if by magic comrade!! Its class struggle that we, as participants in a real living and breathing working class community will take part in because it affects our families and friends.”

We said this not only in 1972, but repeatedly, and I do not think you have knowledge of the levels of routine class conflict there was going on in Ireland. I have never before seen youth resisting the imperialist power in such an organised and impressive manner, their relays of Molotov production and ‘distribution’ were truly a sight to behold.

So what would you do in a situation where the Imperialist power was actively oppressing the population? Going on what you said you would stand back, and say, “sorry no swamp lumpen proles, you have too much nationalist ideology in your aims for me to participate”.

There is no hyperbole about the ‘white heat of class struggle’, and ‘living breathing working class communities’, that is the reality. You would wish it away so you can mediate it as I said here;

“ Left communists try to mediate the class struggle by trying to impose an ideal type abstract subject(s) ie. their party or an ideologically pure working class position, into the murky world of the real class struggle.

When really there is no such thing as an ideologically pure working class position, the purer it is, the further away it is from the mass of the working class.”

You say groups like the IRA have murdered workers; is your point that we need to participate and encourage a more libertarian class struggle perspective within these organisations?

And by the way, why does resistance to Imperialism HAVE to be nationalist? Have you not thought that perhaps, it could be libertarian communist? Or have a chance of developing libertarian communist characteristics? It will not develop in a progressive way by abstention, we need participation and see what we can encourage. This is the authentic Hegelian Marxist position, a la Marx, we do not say ‘here is the truth kneel before it’ (Marx circa 1844), we say it is a process of becoming…

author by prole cat - ctc supporter (personal capacity)publication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 19:07Report this post to the editors

Devrim writes:
"To a certain extent the notions of ‘historically oppressed nations’, and ‘imperialist countries’ is bunk... the Bolsheviks... in 1922... recognised Germany as an oppressed nation... I am sure that nobody needs reminding of how quickly the situation changed..."

Yes, but as you acknowledge, the USA has been dominant for "a long time". Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, before the Cold War, before the Russian Revolution, or the rise of the modern labor movement even!- "yankee imperialists" have invaded and otherwise bullied Latin American nations south of the border. (And Latin American communities north of the border as well.) Likewise, people(s) across the African continent, (and from the west african coast in particular) have been under the U.S. heel for centuries.

I agree that the notion of the U.S. and Turkey going to war is, at this juncture, bizarre. Nor do I expect Boliva, Sierra Leone, New Orleans or Los Angeles to rise as imperial nations (in the fashion of Germany post WWI) any time in the near future. So from my perspective your argument is esoteric, with no practical relevance to my political work.

author by Anarkismo Editorial Group - Anarkismopublication date Fri Sep 15, 2006 19:32Report this post to the editors

This thread is for the discussion of the article 'On the discussion concerning co-operation amongst revolutionaries in the Middle East' - please don't derail it with arguments about the disagreements of groups in western Europe.

(This is a reference to now hidden posts in relation to the Class War Federation - note that if someone actually makes a false claim of membership of an organisation and this is brought to our attention via the contact us form their post then would be hidden under the no impersonation guideline. )

author by Anarchistpublication date Sat Sep 16, 2006 06:08Report this post to the editors

Wayne Price said: "Phebus makes an insightful analysis of the background of our political differences on this issue: that he comes from an historically oppressed nation and had to fight against left nationalists, while I come from an imperialist country, where we fought against liberals and others who supported US imperialism."

Quebec started off as a colony of France and then was lost to the British Empire and then became a province of the Canadian settler state. The Quebecois proletariat was more oppressed than the Anglophone proletariat in many cases untill the revolt of the 1970s, but Quebec is not an "oppressed nation". The Mohawk, Algonquin, Cree, Innu and Mi'kmaq are the oppressed nations of the territory now ruled by the settler governments of Quebec and Canada. During the Mohawk/Oka crisis of 1990, Quebec proletarians rioted against the Mohawks and burned effigies of Warriors. Many stupid Quebecois somehow think they are the real "indigenous" people of Quebec, contrary to all logic.

The US and Quebec are both examples of the idea of an "oppressed nation" leading to further colonization/ imperialism/expansion of capitalism.

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Sat Sep 16, 2006 19:01Report this post to the editors

Anarkismo Editorial Group wrote:

“This thread is for the discussion of the article 'On the discussion concerning co-operation amongst revolutionaries in the Middle East' - please don't derail it with arguments about the disagreements of groups in western Europe.”

Except that the only people posting here from the Middle East are Ender, and I posting from Turkey. He has recently e-mailed us with a document from his group, and we will reply directly. If I want to debate with Ender, I can e-mail him, or even ring him on his mobile.

There seems to be some uncalled for venom against the communist left despite the fact that in the original article Michael Schmidt specifically mentioned left communists:

“The condition of anarchist communism in Lebanon is nevertheless very weak, notably ACT’s failure to establish relations with the Israeli/Palestinian organisation Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW) - the “apartheid” wall that divides their territory - and its lack of contact with anarchists and left communists in countries such as Egypt, Turkey (Anarchist Communist Initiative), Iran and Iraq in particular (the councillist Workers’ Communist Parties in the latter two) that would allow a far clearer regional anarchist communist analysis and jointly co-ordinated approach to the problems of the Middle East to be developed.”

I will presume that the individual posting this represents nobody but himself, as he was kicked out of the organisation he was claiming to represent, and not bother replying to him.

Prole Cat writes:

“I agree that the notion of the U.S. and Turkey going to war is, at this juncture, bizarre. Nor do I expect Boliva, Sierra Leone, New Orleans or Los Angeles to rise as imperial nations (in the fashion of Germany post WWI) any time in the near future. So from my perspective your argument is esoteric, with no practical relevance to my political work.”

From your perspective I can understand that it doesn’t have much practical relevance to your political work. I don’t see America falling from its position in the near future. However, America isn’t the world, and in the Middle East which is what we are discussing the situation is a lot more fluid. For example, Syria, which is a real potential victim of American imperialism, has also attacked its ‘own’ Kurds this year. Also in the past the Syrians supported the PKK in Turkey, in my opinion as a means for diplomatic leverage. The national liberation movements in the area are often merely tools of rival powers.

There are lots on the ‘left’ in Turkey who see Turkey as an oppressed nation. The TKP (Communist part) runs a patriotic front, and if I had a dollar for every time I had heard leftists shouting for an independent Turkey, I could have retired long ago to a life of bourgeois luxury, and wouldn’t feel the need to post on here.

I also think that it is worth noting that the analysis of imperialism that is used by many of the anarchists on here is one that comes straight from Lenin. That doesn’t make it wrong in itself. It is wrong because on this question, like many others Lenin was wrong.

At the moment in Turkey their seems to be some signs of a class reaction to the war in the South East. It is not the rejection of the war itself, but there is a growing resentment over the fact that the ones who are dying are the sons of the poor, and not the rich. Certainly after years of intense nationalist support for the war these few signs of cracks in that support are very welcome. Even on purely practical grounds I see the support for national liberation as unworkable. I can imagine arguing with somebody who had lost a child that the war was wrong, and that their son had died for the interests of the ruling class. I can not imagine saying that she should support the other side.

Chekov’s point is more interesting, and raise the question of what revolutionaries should do in the midst of these problems. Although he uses Ireland as an example, I think it is fair to draw an analogy between events there, and in parts of the Middle East:

“The big question is, however, if there had been significant numbers of anarchists in Derry when the B-Specials and later the army moved against the bogside, what should they have done. If they had decided that due to the strength of nationalism amongst the population that they shouldn't have involved themselves in resisting the invasion and sat back while the state crushed and subjugated their areas, they would have been despised by the population and the prospects of them influencing events would have been zero. If, on the other hand, they had got involved, then maybe there would have been workers councils. Of course it's not certain, you never know how things might turn out but the alternative is certain irrelevance.”

I think that first it displays overt optimism. I don’t think that there was any chance of workers’ councils emerging from that struggle even if there had been more anarchists there. The idea of this happening was something that was introduced by a previous poster though, and isn’t the main point. I never said that the whole movement was completely driven by nationalism. I said that there were immense dangers of it being dragged down a nationalist path.. I think that what involvement revolutionaries have in these situations must depend on each individual situation. I think though that it is very important to be aware of the dangers of nationalism, and be very careful about what you do, or don’t get involved in.

Devrim

author by prole cat - ctc supporter (personal capacity)publication date Sat Sep 16, 2006 20:11Report this post to the editors

I am not qualified to say much on middle east politics, beyond the cursory comments I have already made. Perhaps another, better versed, anarchist will address Devrim's comments in more depth. (As Devrim says, the middle east is what we are discussing.)

Still, I note that he seems not to challenge my claim that historically oppressed nations actually exist, in certain (many) cases, in spite of the previous comment that "to a certain extent… the notion is bunk." (He also implicitly acknowledges the U.S., at least, as a historical imperialist aggressor.) And I grant his point that in more fluid situations, national liberation movements might often be "merely tools of rival powers".

Glad to have had this civil exchange.
pc

author by Devrim Valerian - EKSpublication date Sat Sep 16, 2006 21:17Report this post to the editors

When I said that the notion was bunk, I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t based on some sort of reality. Of course, the USA is dominant at the moment, has been for a while, and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future. There are some groups, and I think that the Kurds would be a good example who have historically been an ‘oppressed nation’, i.e. the Kurds. This, however, does not stop them from being used by the regional powers, or even powers from outside the region. What I was suggesting is that it didn’t help our analysis.

author by Autonomous Class War - Autonomous Class Warpublication date Tue Sep 19, 2006 17:59Report this post to the editors

Just a reminder that you (Devrim)prematurely ended the 'debate' by not replying; specifically to the criticism that Left communist theory seeks to mediate struggles by inserting/imposing an ideal type class subject (and/or their sect) into the murky world of the real class struggle.

Number of comments per page
  
 

This page has not been translated into Português yet.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Revolutionary Trade Unionism: The Road to Workers’ Freedom

Latest News

International | Imperialism / War | en

Wed 23 Apr, 16:29

browse text browse image

toarms.gif imageWar is hell 20:34 Wed 25 Apr by MACG 1 comments

binladensnipershotdead.jpg imageThe man who knew too much 06:37 Thu 05 May by MACG 0 comments

bahrain_tanks.jpg imageArab dictatorships launching their biggest attack on the masses 05:26 Tue 15 Mar by Mazen Kamalmaz 1 comments

textAustralian Imperialism 17:45 Sat 24 Apr by Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group 0 comments

textResponse to Gaza Bombings in Manhattan - demonstration today in front of the israeli consulate 18:58 Sun 28 Dec by Ilan S. 1 comments

300_0___20_0_0_0_0_0_settimanarossa.jpg imageItaly 90 years ago: World War I ends 17:21 Tue 04 Nov by Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici 0 comments

textMayday 2008: A Fine Day for the Working Class 20:03 Mon 05 May by ronan 0 comments

textNATO out of Afghanistan 20:00 Mon 14 Apr by Alternative Libertaire 0 comments

textThe Sino-American Arms Race Begins 01:41 Fri 19 Jan by Jeff McMahan 0 comments

mediterranean.jpg image"Mare Nostrum" - statement on Italian military intervention abroad 21:19 Wed 13 Sep by Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici 0 comments

more >>

Opinion and Analysis

imageThe rise of Russia in the international system Sep 26 by Bruno Lima Rocha 0 comments

imageSouth Africa’s rulers have blood on their hands Apr 18 by Shawn Hattingh 0 comments

textClass Struggle Anarchist Statement on Gaza Jan 16 by W.S.A. 3 comments

textImperialism, China and Russia Sep 07 by Pier Francesco Zarcone 0 comments

textAbout ANZAC Day Apr 26 by Anarcho-Kyke Federation Of Aotearoa 0 comments

more >>

Press Releases

imageWar is hell Apr 25 Anarkismo 1 comments

imageThe man who knew too much May 05 Anarkismo 0 comments

textAustralian Imperialism Apr 24 Anarkismo 0 comments

imageItaly 90 years ago: World War I ends Nov 04 FdCA 0 comments

textNATO out of Afghanistan Apr 14 AL 0 comments

more >>
© 2005-2014 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]