The imperialists and the ever-faithful Western “Lefts”, led by chronic NATO-cheerleading “Academic Anarchist” David Graeber and the effervescent celebrity-left cling-on Charles Davis, are attempting to appropriate the Syrian Kurds and engineer a situation in Syria very similar to events that occurred during the Spanish Civil War – both from the perceived propaganda angle with regard to the “Lefts”, and the concrete with regard to the imperialists. As a result of this ongoing deception, those who support Syria against imperial aggression are to be portrayed as obstructing an ostensibly “thriving democratic Kurdish autonomy”, or “Kurdish self-determination” in its supposed battle to create a libertarian anarchist eco-utopia in Northern Syria, and break free from the clutches of the “evil Assad regime”, or, as is otherwise known to adults still able to converse outside the lexicon of Orientalist bourgeois propaganda: the Syrian State and nation at large.
Contrary to the mythical fantasies of Graeber & Co., most Communists are fully aware that this supposed “autonomy” gained via the US military will never be achieved under the aegis of imperialism. It will only be usurped and used to further the reactionary goals of empire in dividing Syria and to further exacerbate the consequences of this reaction and impending subordination of the entire region.
Just as the opportunists and anarchists misunderstood the historico-material international characteristics of the civil war in Spain, followed their own utopias and chose to break with the united front and the republic against Franco’s fascism–they choose to oppose the right of nations – the Syrian nation and all its people regardless of their ethnicity – to self-determination by supporting the inevitable imperial domination and division of Syria such imperial “aid” to the Kurds will engender. In their shortsighted compartmentalized support of a “just cause”, the Western “Left” opportunists and poorly disguised social chauvinists once again support the road to reaction.
People may well “empathize” with oppressed actors seeking to acquire “impure assistance” [from US empire] but it is a Communists duty to expose that “impure assistance” as reactionary to the core, that it is antithetical to the material aims both of the oppressed actor forced into a condition of seeking to attain it and to the working classes and oppressed peoples of the wider region. US empire has never aided even the slightest progressive movement without it being in the US empire’s larger interests, which in turn are nothing but reactionary all along the line.
The “Lefts” could arguably sing: the Kurdish cause in Syria is a “just cause” based on the historical persecution they have undoubtedly received at the hands of the Syrian Arab ruling class, and therefore the Kurds “desiring impure US assistance” must be supported to achieve an assumed utopian future, but this is the argument of a one-sided simpleton. Would a Communist have ever advocated the oppressed Irish take the military or political “aid” – and equally therefore the domination – of the German Nazi’s to break the yoke of the British ruling class, to jump from the frying pan into the fires of hell?
The PYD will have no political authority over the “assistance” they are given by empire, as a result of receiving such aid they must become empire’s subordinates, in line with the Kurdistan Regional Govt in Iraq ruled by the NATO/Israeli clients of the Barzani clan. Again, the US will only aid the PYD and its military wing the YPG if that course of action furthers US imperial interests (hence the rabid support from the imperialist “Left” David Graeber), interests which are fundamentally opposed to the interests of the vast majority of the entire region, not least the vast majority of the Kurdish population. US goals in Syria are the break up of the Syrian State into antagonistic ethno-sectarian “mini-states” incapable of obstructing imperial (Western/Israeli) domination. This is not the road to the emancipation of the Kurdish working class, much less the working classes of Syria and the region. Yet it may well prove to be the road to “freedom” (imperial patronage) for a small minority of bourgeois Kurdish elements – as it has proven to be for the Barzani clan in Iraq – at the price of the enslavement of the majority of the population. The argument could well be made that life “under the regime”, would be no better, but this is an ahistorical blind assumption contrary to all the facts. Life for Syria’s Kurdish minority “under the regime” may well have been oppressive, but it was by no means the worst in the region, and nothing like the oppression minorities receive under US client regimes.
So, our dear “Lefts” end up once again appropriating the sections of the Kurdish Syrian community that mistakenly seek alliances with and aid from fascist US imperialism, by focusing on intermittent flare-ups with the Syrian army and anti-Assad elements from within the PYD, and those who aim to influence it in this direction from without, as the sole expression of the entire Syrian Kurdish community. (As it must also be noted here that the PYD is itself divided on its future path and fluctuating alliances, even as it engages in sporadic clashes with the Syrian army and localised militia of the National Defense Forces, and releasing bellicose denunciations of “Assad’s fascist forces”, there are nonetheless concrete local alliances on the ground elsewhere, not to mention the historic ties between the Syrian Ba’ath and the PKK/PYD leadership) Graeber & Co. are deceptively promoting the partition and weakening of the Syrian nation currently under vast imperial aggression and the imminent threat of reaction from all sides. They are further advocating the Kurds submit to US empire, to become its patsies in a war of aggression, its proxy enforcer against the Syrian army and State; they advocate the PYD succumb to an empire that has played a lead role in the persecution of the Kurdish community for decades upon decades.
It is important to stress that the US empire is not attempting to simply aid the Syrian Kurds’ quest for political autonomy; throughout the insurgency the US and its partners have used “ISIS” & Co. as a tool of coercion against the PYD in attempts to cause further cleavage between them and the Syrian State and to act as a conduit for US/Turkish contras. It is these “rebel” contras that viciously assaulted Kurdish communities ever since the PYD became detached from the puppets of imperialism in the “SNC” and refused to become part of the project against the Syrian State in 2012 – coincidentally, of course, when David Graeber & Co. were no doubt singing the praises of the very same “moderate” chauvinist Takfiris utterly opposed to any form of Kurdish self-rule. The US and Turkey have been very clear that any aid to the PYD would be subject to strict conditions, the principal condition being to abandon their neutral stance – by extension any possibility of Bookchin’s libertarian anarchist eco-utopia – and join these “rebels” against the Syrian army.
While the “Left” imperialists pretend the US is willing to “aid” the Syrian Kurds’ quest for this metaphysical “democratic libertarian autonomy” (or pretend that this is even a practical possibility under current conditions), empires’ Kurdish compradors attempt to usurp and coerce the PYD into an alliance with imperialism, with the ultimate objective of using them as a tool to irrevocably divide and disintegrate the Syrian nation, thus further weakening the entire region and its peoples ability to combat Western-Israeli imperial fascism.
The Western “Lefts” who advocate the Syrian Kurds subordination to the fascist American empire are not supporting Kurdish progression or “self-determination”, they are supporting imperialist reaction under the guise of Kurdish progression. And it is an unfortunate but necessary responsibility that falls upon Communists to remind the Kurds themselves who have been lured by this course of action and these reactionary alliances that they are mistaken in their choices, just as Barzani was mistaken in helping to create the cleavages that now form the puppet Kurdish petro-state of US and Israeli imperialism in Iraq.
It is a Communists duty (a Communist of any nation as we are internationalist in outlook, not philistine chauvinists who make concessions to our own imperial bourgeoisie under guise of supporting “their own chosen natives”) to warn the PYD and its supporters that seeking such “aid” from empire is a reactionary and dangerous policy and will lead to the further immiseration and oppression of the Syrian people, including the oppressed Kurds. Communists should just as surely recognise the historical roots of this antagonism and while lending support to the necessity for a unified Syrian front against imperial fascism to not become accustomed to forgetting to criticise and oppose the chauvinist elements within the Arab ruling classes and their oppression of the Kurdish population. It is about separating the two trends and determining a principled position on them both that forwards the objectives of the global working classes and oppressed people, from within the totality of the class struggle under the modes of production during the current epoch of imperial fascism.