Listen to the Episode — 70 min
Alanis: The Ex-Worker;
Rebel Girl: An audio strike against a monotone world;
Alanis: A podcast of anarchist ideas and action;
Rebel Girl: For everyone who dreams of a life off the clock.
Alanis: Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Ex-Worker. These are grim times. As we write this, the Turkish military is bombarding forces in Rojava, an autonomous Kurdish region within the borders of Syria. Over 100,000 people have been displaced and are fleeing, and hundreds have been killed. Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of the Islamic State (ISIS) have been freed by the fighting and the jihadi forces are regrouping and reclaiming territory. The invasion was made possible by the tacit permission given by President Trump through the withdrawal of a small number of US troops that had been supporting the operations of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the region. The Turkish government claims it intends to establish a so-called “security corridor” by seizing autonomous Kurdish territory and holding it under military occupation. Activists around the world have condemned this as a prelude to ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish population, an effort to destroy an important experiment in self-organization by an increasingly fascist regime, and a move that will destabilize the region and enable ISIS to regain power. As we go to press, the latest reports indicate that the SDF has just struck a deal with the regime of Bashar al-Assad to bring Russian-backed Syrian government troops into Rojava in hopes of halting the Turkish advance. Whether this will succeed, or simply expand the hostilities, remains to be seen; but it marks a major shift in geopolitical alliances, and may compromise the autonomy of the Rojava experiment.
Rebel Girl: As anarchists, we’ve been following the situation in Kurdistan for many years. The experiments in autonomy and democratic confederalism enacted in the cantons of Rojava have been inspiring to many of us, and many anarchists and other radicals have traveled to the region to learn about the social revolution in process there or to fight in the international brigades against ISIS. While Rojava is not an anarchist utopia, it is a critical example of a multi-ethnic feminist and pluralist alternative to the authoritarian regimes that surround it, and the Turkish invasion is a disastrous setback to life and freedom in the region. We consider it an urgent responsibility to do everything in our power to stop it, while making clear that our solidarity with Rojava is in opposition to all authoritarian powers—ISIS, Syria, Turkey, the US, Russia, and the rest.
To this end, we’re going to be releasing a series of Ex-Worker episodes this week covering several angles on the current crisis. In this episode, we’ll bring you up to date on the circumstances surrounding the invasion, with first-hand reports, analysis, statements from fighters in Rojava today, and more. Tomorrow, we’ll be releasing another episode that provides a longer historical context, explaining the background to the Kurdish resistance that led to the formation of the SDF and the autonomous territories of Rojava. Later this week, we’ll share some live interviews with people who’ve been in Rojava recently to give you a first-hand perspective on everyday life and political struggles there. Throughout, we hope to stay focused on the ways that you can act concretely in solidarity by interfering with the Turkish war effort. Remember, the point isn’t just to be well informed, but to take action.
Alanis: As usual, you can find a full transcript of this episode along with links to the texts we draw on and ways to learn more and get involved on our website, crimethinc.com/podcast. If you’ve got feedback, suggestions, or reports of your own to share, you can get in touch by email at podcast at crimethinc dot com. Now, let’s get right to it.
Rebel Girl: To understand the Turkish invasion and the situation that’s happening now, we need to back up and look at the US military’s involvement in the Syrian civil war and the fight against ISIS. Beginning in 2011, as the wave of protests known as the Arab Spring spread from Tunisia and Egypt across the region, massive uprisings against the authoritarian rule of Bashir al-Assad took place in Syria. The regime’s bloody crackdown led to the emergence of an armed struggle, with government authority breaking down in several regions of the country. In the Kurdish majority region known as Rojava, residents began to organize themselves into autonomous cantons, or provinces, involving a decentralized council-based form of political organization rooted in feminist principles of women’s participation. Meanwhile, the Islamic State surged into international notoriety in 2014 by seizing a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq and implementing horrific repression, particularly against women and religious minorities. The armed forces of autonomous Rojava, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fought fiercely against ISIS, most dramatically in the defense of the city of Kobane in late 2014 and 2015. During the siege, the US military began to support the YPG with supplies and airstrikes against ISIS forces, eventually breaking the siege and forcing ISIS onto the defensive. In 2015, the YPG/YPJ joined a Kurdish and Arab coalition and organized as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has been the primary ground force fighting ISIS with military support from the US and other countries.
But the US was also a key military ally of Turkey, which made this provisional alliance rather awkward, to say the least. The Turkish state has been repressing Kurdish people since its creation; as we’ll be examining at length, it has been attempting to crush a Kurdish insurgency for decades and considers the YPG/YPJ and SDF to be terrorist groups. But the US military’s collaboration with these Kurdish forces against ISIS has prevented the Turkish military from attacking Rojava… until now. With President Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw troops from the region, he gave the green light to Turkish president Erdogan to invade.
“US Out of the Middle East” has been a slogan of the anti-war left in the US for decades now. Of course, none of us want to see US military imperialism extend across the globe; we’ve seen the consequences of that for well over a century with indescribable bloodshed, dispossession, environmental destruction around the world, not to mention blowback in the form of anti-American violence from September 11th, 2001 and beyond. But despite Trump’s attempt to appropriate this anti-war rhetoric, this is not a move for peace.
The negotiations between Erdogan and Trump that led to this invasion in early October are the completion of a process that began last year. In December of 2018, after the conclusion of a large arms sale agreement with the Turkish government, Trump announced that ISIS had been defeated and that US troops would be withdrawn. In the face of a massive storm of criticism, including the resignation of his own Defense Secretary, he partially backed down, postponing the scenario that is unfolding now.
As debates raged over the consequences of a US troop withdrawal last December, we published a text titled “The Threat to Rojava: An Anarchist in Syria Speaks on the Real Meaning of Trump’s Withdrawal.” We’ll begin our coverage of the current crisis by sharing a revised excerpt from this piece to explain the context for these developments and the consequences they’re likely to have. Even though this text is about 10 months old now, we’re sharing it at length for two reasons. First, it gives what we think is one of the most comprehensive and helpful outlines of the situation in Rojava, including the very complex web of different forces with different agendas at play. Second, the invasion unfolding right now is one of one of the nightmare scenarios imagined by this author then, so unfortunately it is more timely now than even when it first came out. This is one firsthand account; there are many other perspectives among people on the ground, and some things have changed since then. We’ll do our best to keep you updated with whatever we learn later in this episode and in our coverage to come.
THE THREAT TO ROJAVA
Rebel Girl: “The Threat to Rojava: An Anarchist in Syria Speaks on the Real Meaning of Trump’s Withdrawal.”
Alanis: I’m writing from Rojava. Full disclosure: I didn’t grow up here and I don’t have access to all the information I would need to tell you what is going to happen next in this part of the world with any certainty. I’m writing because it is urgent that you hear from people in northern Syria about what Trump’s “troop withdrawal” really means for us—and it’s not clear how much time we have left to discuss it.
Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria is not an “anti-war” or “anti-imperialist” measure. It will not bring the conflict in Syria to an end. On the contrary, Trump is effectively giving Turkish President Erdoğan the go-ahead to invade Rojava and carry out ethnic cleansing against the people who have done much of the fighting and dying to halt the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS). This is a deal between strongmen to exterminate the social experiment in Rojava and consolidate authoritarian nationalist politics from Washington, DC to Istanbul and Kobane. Trump aims to leave Israel the most ostensibly liberal and democratic project in the entire Middle East, foreclosing the possibilities that the revolution in Rojava opened up for this part of the world.
All this will come at a tremendous cost. As bloody and tragic as the Syrian civil war has already been, this could open up not just a new chapter of it, but a sequel.
This is not about where US troops are stationed. The two thousand US soldiers at issue are a drop in the bucket in terms of the number of armed fighters in Syria today. They have not been on the frontlines of the fighting the way that the US military was in Iraq. The withdrawal of these soldiers is not the important thing here. What matters is that Trump’s announcement is a message to Erdoğan indicating that there will be no consequences if the Turkish state invades Rojava.
Speaking as an anarchist, my goal is not to talk about what the US military should do. It is to discuss how US military policy impacts people and how we ought to respond. Anarchists aim to bring about the abolition of every state government and the disbanding of every state military in favor of horizontal forms of voluntary organization; but when we organize in solidarity with targeted populations such as those who are on the receiving end of the violence of ISIS and various state actors in this region, we often run into thorny questions like the ones I’ll discuss below.
The worst case scenario now is that the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (TFSA), backed by the Turkish military itself, will overrun Rojava and carry out ethnic cleansing on a level you likely cannot imagine. They’ve already done this on a small scale in Afrin. In Rojava, this would take place on a historic scale. It could be something like the Palestinian Nakba or the Armenian genocide.
I will try to explain why this is happening, why you should care about it, and what we can do about it together.
ABOUT THE EXPERIMENT IN ROJAVA
Rebel Girl: First of All: About the Experiment in Rojava
The system in Rojava is not perfect. Years and years of war and militarization have taken their toll on the most exciting aspects of the revolution here. Still, these people are in incredible danger right now and the society they have built is worth defending.
What is happening in Rojava is not anarchy. All the same, women play a major role in society; there is basic freedom of religion and language; an ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse population lives side by side without any major acts of ethnic cleansing or conflict; it’s heavily militarized, but it’s not a police state; the communities are relatively safe and stable; there’s not famine or mass food insecurity; the armed forces are not committing mass atrocities. Every faction in this war has blood on its hands, but the People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ) have conducted themselves far more responsibly than any other side. They’ve saved countless lives—not just Kurds—in Sinjar and many other places. Considering the impossible conditions and the tremendous amount of violence that people here have been subjected to from all sides, that is an incredible feat. All this stands in stark contrast to what will happen if the Turkish state invades, considering that Trump has given Erdoğan the go-ahead in return for closing a massive missile sale.
It should go without saying that I don’t want to perpetuate an open-ended Bush-style “war on terror,” much less to participate in the sort of “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West that bigots and fundamentalists of both stripes have been fantasizing about. On the contrary, that is precisely what we’re trying to prevent here. Most of the people ISIS have killed have been Muslim; most of the people who have died fighting ISIS have been Muslim. In Hajin, where I was stationed and where the last ISIS stronghold is, one of the internationals who has been fighting ISIS longest is an observant Muslim—not to speak of all the predominantly Arab fighters from Deir Ezzor there, most of whom are almost certainly Muslim as well.
Alanis: The Factions
For the sake of brevity, I’ll oversimplify and say that today, there are roughly five sides in the Syrian civil war: loyalist, rebel, Turkish, jihadi, and Kurdish. Here’s a quick summary of the narratives each of these sides promotes about the conflict in Rojava. Hang on, because it’s a bit complicated.
Loyalists refers to supporters of Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad, including the Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF), and other militias, supported at times by Russian air strikes and military aid. These forces emphasize how the US and other countries supported and financed rebels for their own geopolitical ends as the main cause for the escalation of the conflict. The existence of ISIS is mostly attributed to rebel support landing in the wrong hands and more fundamentally as a result of the fallout of the 2003 Iraq war. They emphasize the links and cooperation between so-called moderate rebels and groups like jihadist Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in order to argue they are all part of the same problem. They have varied views on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its legitimacy. This seems to be different from loyalist to loyalist, with some thinking they are almost as bad as traditional rebels and others seeing them as allies against ISIS and Turkish-supported rebels.
Rebels refers to the Free Syrian Army and other groups fighting to overthrow the Assad regime. They emphasize how the brutal suppression of (relatively) peaceful protests of the Arab Spring led to an escalation of the conflict and armed rebellion and eventually full blown civil war. They attribute the existence of ISIS mostly to Assad’s brutal actions and reliance on sectarian militias, which they claim created an environment in which ISIS could grow and gain support. Their views on the SDF range from unfriendly to outright hostile, inflected by ethnic tensions over the perceived domination of Arabs in Kurdish-controlled areas.
Turkish forces refers to the government of President Erdogan and the Turkish military he controls. Their narrative is similar to that of the rebels, but with the important exception that the hostility towards the SDF intensifies to the extreme. They emphasize the links between the SDF and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, characterized them an illegitimate terror organization that is a threat to Turkey and suppresses local Arabs.
Jihadi forces refers to ISIS, also known as Daesh, and other radical Islamist groups active in the region. They see the conflict emerging from a great awakening of Muslims against their apostate Alawi overlords (this refers to the minority ethnoreligious group that dominates Syrian political life, including President Assad). The jihadis see themselves as fighting in solidarity with the suffering Muslims of Syria, but see the rebels as naïve sellouts serving the interests of foreign governments and implementing non-Islamic ideals on their behalf. They perceive the SDF as atheist apostates on the US payroll; the chief difference with Turkey is perhaps the emphasis on lack of religion rather than connections to the PKK.
Kurdish forces centers on the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which includes the YPG and YPJ militias. (There are other Kurdish forces in the region, including the Barzani regional government in Iraq, but in Rojava the SDF and its affiliates are the main game in town. The Kurdish forces see the Syrian conflict as a historic opportunity for the Kurdish peoples in their quest for nationhood, emphasizing the discrimination Kurds faced before the war and how they can take matters into their own hands now. They mostly blame Turkey for the existence and expansion of ISIS, citing Turkish passivity during the battle for Kobane and accusing Erdogan’s government of direct support of ISIS and importing ISIS oil. They tend to regard rebels as either as Turkish proxies or as radical lunatics to whom Turkey can turn a blind eye. The line between rebels and ISIS is often blurred, though they aren’t lumped in together to the same extent as in the loyalist narrative. The Kurdish forces see themselves as the only sane and moral armed actors in a battle otherwise characterized by bad versus bad, and cite both rebel and loyalist atrocities to support this point of view.
Whew… we know that’s a lot to follow. You can refer to the links on our website for more detailed information if you need a refresher.
I want to be clear that each of these groups is motivated by a narrative that contains at least some kernel of truth. For example, in regards to the question of who is to blame for the rise of ISIS, the loyalists are right to say that the US “ploughed the field” for ISIS with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and its disastrous fallout; but the Kurds are also right that the Turkish state has tacitly and sometimes blatantly colluded with ISIS because ISIS was fighting against their primary adversary, and the rebels are right that Assad’s brutal reaction to the Arab Spring contributed to a spiral of escalating violence that culminated in the rise of ISIS. And although I’m least sympathetic to the jihadi and Turkish state perspectives, it is certain that unless the well-being of Sunni Arabs in Iraq and Syria is factored into a political settlement, the jihadis will go on fighting, and that unless there is some kind of political settlement between the Turkish state and the PKK, Turkey will go on seeking to wipe out Kurdish political formations, without hesitating to commit genocide.
Hopefully this background gives you some sense of the various forces at play. It’s useful to keep in mind as we assess the claim made by Trump on December 19th that “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
Let me be clear: ISIS has not been defeated in Syria. Just a few days ago, they took a shot at our position with a rocket launcher out of a clear blue sky and missed by only a hundred yards.
It is true that their territory is just a fraction of what it once was. At the same time, by any account, they still have thousands of fighters, a lot of heavy weaponry, and probably quite a bit of what remains of their senior leadership down in the Hajin pocket of the Euphrates river valley and the surrounding deserts, between Hajin and the Iraqi border. In addition, ISIS have a lot of experience and a wide array of sophisticated defense strategies—and they are absolutely willing to die to inflict damage on their enemies.
To the extent that their territory has been drastically reduced, Trump is telling a bald-faced lie in trying to take credit for this. The achievement he is claiming as his own is largely the work of precisely the people he is consigning to death at the hands of Turkey.
Under Obama, the Department of Defense and the CIA pursued dramatically different strategies in reference to the uprising and subsequent civil war in Syria. The CIA focused on overthrowing Assad by any means necessary, to the point that arms and money they supplied trickled down to al-Nusra, ISIS, and others. By contrast, the Pentagon was more focused on defeating ISIS, beginning to concentrate on supporting the largely Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ) during the defense of Kobane in 2014.
Now, as an anarchist who desires the complete abolition of every government, I have no love for the Pentagon or the CIA, but if we evaluate these two approaches according to their own professed goals, the CIA plan was a total disaster, while the Pentagon plan worked fairly well. What has brought about the by-now almost total recapture of the territory ISIS occupied isn’t rocket science. It’s the combination of a brave and capable ground force with air support. In this sort of conventional territorial war, it’s extremely difficult for a ground force without air support to defeat a ground force with air support, no matter how fiercely the former fights. In some parts of Syria, this involved the YPG/YPJ on the ground with US backing from the air. Elsewhere in Syria, it must be said, ISIS was pushed back by the combination of Russian air support and the loyalist army (SAA) alongside Iranian-backed militias.
It would have been extremely difficult to recapture this territory from ISIS any other way. The cooperation of the YPG/YPJ with the US military remains controversial, but the fact is—every side in the Syrian conflict has been propped up and supported by larger outside powers and would have collapsed without that support.
People employing the Turkish, loyalist, and jihadi narratives often point out that Kobane would have fallen and YPG/YPJ would never have been able to retake eastern Syria from ISIS without US air support. Likewise, the Syrian government and the Assad regime were very close to military collapse in 2015, around the time Turkey conveniently downed a Russian plane and Putin decided that Russia was going to bail out the Assad regime no matter what it took. The rebels, on their side, never would have come close to toppling Assad through military means without massive assistance from the Turkish government, the Gulf states, US intelligence services, and probably Israel on some level, although the details of this are murky from where I’m situated.
And the jihadis—ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and the others—would never have been able to take control of half of Iraq and Syria if the US hadn’t been so foolish as to leave an army’s worth of state-of-the-art equipment in the hands of the Iraqi government, which effectively abandoned it. It also helped them that a tremendous amount of resources trickled down from the above-mentioned foreign sponsors of the rebels. It also helped that Turkey left its airports and borders open to jihadis from all over the world who set out to join ISIS. There also appears to have been some sort of financial support from the Gulf states, whether formally or through back channels.
The Turkish state has its own agenda. It is not by any means simply a proxy for the US. But at the end of the day, it’s a NATO member and it can count on the one hundred percent support of the US government—as the missile sale that the US made to Turkey in December, just days before Trump’s withdrawal tweet, illustrates.
In view of all this, we can see why YPG/YPJ chose to cooperate with the US military. My point is not to defend this decision, but to show that under the circumstances, it was the only practical alternative to annihilation. At the same time, it is clear that this strategy has not created security for the experiment in Rojava. Even if we set aside ethical concerns, there are problems with relying on the United States—or France, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or any other state government with its own state agenda. As anarchists, we have to talk very seriously about how to create other options for people in conflict zones. Is there any form of international horizontal decentralized coordination that could have solved the problems that the people in Rojava were facing such that they would not have been forced to depend on the US military? If we find no answer to this question when we look at the Syria of 2013–2018, is there something we could have done earlier? These are extremely pressing questions.
No one should forget that ISIS was only reduced to their current relative weakness by a multi-ethnic, radically democratic grassroots resistance movement, that incidentally involved international volunteers from around the globe. In view of Trump’s order to abandon and betray the struggle against ISIS, every sincere person who earnestly wants to put a stop to the spread of apocalyptic fundamentalist terror groups like ISIS or their imminent successors should stop counting on the state and put all their resources into directly supporting decentralized multi-ethnic egalitarian movements. It is becoming ever clearer that those are our only hope.
WHAT DOES THE TROOP WITHDRAWAL MEAN?
Rebel Girl: What Does the Troop Withdrawal Mean?
I’m not surprised that Trump and the Americans are “betraying an ally”—I don’t think anybody here had the illusion that Trump or the Pentagon intended to support the political project in Rojava. Looking back through history, it was clear enough that when ISIS was beaten, the US would leave Rojava at the mercy of the Turkish military. If the forces of the YPG/YPJ have dragged their feet in rooting ISIS out of their last strongholds, this may be one of the reasons.
But it is still very surprising and perplexing that Trump would rush to give up this foothold that the US has carved out in the Russian sphere of influence—and that the US military establishment would let him do so. From the perspective of maintaining US global military hegemony, the decision makes no sense at all. It’s a gratuitous gift to Putin, Erdoğan, and ISIS, which could take advantage of the situation to regenerate throughout the region, perhaps in some new form—more on that below.
The withdrawal from Syria does not necessarily mean that conflict with Iran is off the table, by the way. On the contrary, certain hawks in the US government may see this as a step towards consolidating a position from which that could be possible.
However you look at it, Trump’s decision is big news. It indicates that the US “deep state” has no power over Trump’s foreign policy. It suggests that the US neoliberal project is dead in the water, or at least that some elements of the US ruling class consider it to be. It also implies a future in which ethno-nationalist autocrats like Erdoğan, Trump, Assad, Bolsonaro, and Putin will be in the driver’s seat worldwide, conniving with each other to maintain power over their private domains.
In that case, the entire post-cold war era of US military hegemony is over, and we are entering a multipolar age in which tyrants will rule balkanized authoritarian ethno-states: think Europe before World War I. The liberals and neoconservatives who preferred US hegemony are mourning the passing of an era that was a blood-soaked nightmare for millions. The leftists (and anarchists?) who imagine that this transition could be good news are fools fighting yesterday’s enemy and yesterday’s war, not recognizing the new nightmares springing up around them. The de facto coalition of authoritarian socialists and fascists who are celebrating the arrival of this new age are hurrying us all helter-skelter into a brave new world in which more and more of the globe will look like the worst parts of the Syrian civil war.
And speaking from this vantage point, here, today, I do not say that lightly.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
Alanis: What Will Happen Next?
Sadly, Kurdish and left movements in Turkey have been decimated over the past few years. I would be very surprised if there were any kind of uprising in Turkey, no matter what happens in Rojava. We should not permit ourselves to hope that a Turkish invasion here would trigger an insurgency in northern Kurdistan.
Unless something truly unexpected transpires, there are basically two possible outcomes here.
In the first scenario, the Kurdish forces in Rojava will make some kind of agreement with the Assad regime, likely under less favorable terms than would have been possible before the Turkish invasion of Afrin; both sides would likely make concessions of some kind and agree to fight on the same side if Turkey invades. If Russia signs off on this, it could suffice to prevent the invasion from taking place. Either YPG/YPJ or SAA will finish off the Hajin pocket, and the war against ISIS could be basically over.
Both the Assad regime and the various predominantly Kurdish formations have been extremely hardheaded in negotiating, but perhaps the threat to both Rojava and the Assad regime is so extreme that they will choose this option. It is possible that this is one of the objectives of the Turkish threat, or even of Trump’s withdrawal: to force YPG to relinquish military autonomy to the Assad regime.
I can only speculate what the terms of this theoretical agreement might be. There’s lots of speculation online: language rights, Kurdish citizenship being regularized, prior service in YPG counting as military service so that soldiers who have been fighting ISIS all these years can return to being civilians rather than immediately being conscripted into SAA, some kind of limited political autonomy, or the like. In exchange, the YPG and its allies would essentially have to hand military and political control of SDF areas over to the regime.
Could Assad’s regime be trusted to abide by an agreement after they gain control? Probably not.
To be clear, it’s all too easy for me to speak abstractly about the Assad regime as the lesser of two evils. I’m informed about many of the atrocities the regime has committed, but I have not experienced them myself, and this is not the part of Syria where they did the worst things, so I more frequently hear stories from the locals about ISIS and other jihadis, not to mention Turkey. There are likely people in other parts of Syria who regard the Assad regime regaining power with the same dread with which people here regard the Turkish military and ISIS.
In any case, there are some signs that this first scenario might still be possible. The regime has sent troops to Manbij, to one of the lines where the massive Turkish/TFSA troop buildup is occurring. There are meetings between the Kurds and the regime as well as with the Russians, and an Egyptian-mediated negotiation between them is scheduled to take place soon.
This first scenario does not offer a very attractive set of options. It’s not what Jordan Mactaggart or the thousands and thousands of Syrians who fought and died with YPG/YPJ gave their lives for. But it would be preferable to a second scenario in which the Assad regime throws in its lot with Turkey instead of the YPG.
In this case, some combination of the Turkish military and its affiliated proxies will invade from the north while the regime invades from the south and west. YPG will fight to the death, street by street, block by block. Any remaining Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Christians, and other minorities would be expelled, ethnically cleansed, or terrorized. TFSA and related militias would likely loot everything they could get their hands on. In the long run, Turkey would probably dump the Syrian refugees who are now in Turkey back into these occupied areas, bringing about irreversible demographic shifts that could be the cause of future ethnic conflicts in the region. And they would likely give ISIS’s fighters safe passage, a new set of clothes, three meals a day, and this village I’m living in in exchange for their assistance fighting future Kurdish insurgencies.
So there it is: in declaring victory over ISIS, Trump is arranging the only way that ISIS fighters could come out of this situation with their capacities intact. It’s Orwellian, to say the least.
Rebel Girl: Looking Forward
Personally, I want to see the Syrian civil war end, and for Iraq to somehow be spared another cycle of war in the near future. I want to see ISIS prevented from regenerating its root system and preparing for a new round of violence. That doesn’t mean intensifying the ways that this part of the world is policed—it means fostering local solutions to the question of how different people and populations can coexist, and how they can defend themselves from groups like ISIS. This is part of what people have been trying to do in Rojava, and that is one of the reasons that Trump and Erdoğan find the experiment here so threatening. In the end, the existence of groups like ISIS makes their authority look preferable by comparison, whereas participatory horizontal multi-ethnic projects show just how oppressive their model is.
Overthrowing Assad by military means is a dead project—or, at least, the things that would have to happen to make it plausible again in the near future are even more horrifying than the regime is. I hope that somehow, someday, there can be some kind of settlement between the regime and YPG/YPJ, and the regime and the rebels in Idlib, and everyone else who has been suffering here. If capitalism and state tyranny are the problem, this kind of civil war is not the solution, although it seems likely that what has happened in Syria will happen elsewhere in the world as the crises generated by capitalism, state power, and ethnic conflicts put people at odds.
What can you do, reading this in some safer and stabler part of the world?
First, you can spread the word that Trump’s decision is neither a way to bring peace to Syria nor confirmation that ISIS has been defeated. You can tell other people what I have told you about how the situation looks from here, in case I am not able to do so myself.
Second, in the event of a Turkish invasion, you can use every means in your power to discredit and impede the Turkish state, Trump, and the others who paved the way for that outcome. Even if you are not able to stop them—even if you can’t save our lives—you will be part of building the kind of social movements and collective capacity that will be necessary to save others’ lives in the future.
In addition, you can look for ways to get resources to people in this part of the world, who have suffered so much and will continue to suffer as the next act of this tragedy plays out. You can also look for ways to support the Syrian refugees who are scattered across the globe.
Finally, you can think about how we could put better options on the table next time an uprising like the one in Syria breaks out. How can we make sure that governments fall before their reign gives way to the reign of pure force, in which only insurgents backed by other states can gain control? How can we offer other visions of how people can live and meet their needs together, and mobilize the force it will take to implement and defend them on an international basis without need of any state?
These are big questions, but I have faith in you. I have to.
IN SEARCH OF A THIRD WAY
Rebel Girl: The text you’ve just was written in December of 2018. Only now, ten months later, are we seeing the situation unfold as predicted by this piece. As we go to press, it’s looking like the first scenario described in this article is in fact what is happening. SDF Commander in Chief Mazloum Abdi has just stated publicly that, despite their misgivings, they are considering a partnership with Assad’s regime and their Russian backers in an effort to prevent the genocide of their people by Turkish and allied forces. As loathsome as that seems to us, and indeed seems to them, what alternative do they have in these circumstances?
As anarchists, we’re arguing for a third way, against all of the authoritarians attempting to take advantage of the situation to foreclose radical possibilities.
Alanis: Demagogues like Trump and Erdoğan benefit from the terror spread by groups like ISIS; such groups are the only thing that can make their own authoritarian agendas look good by comparison. This latest tragedy fits into a long pattern. CIA funding helped equip al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan; George Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq created the conditions for ISIS to arise, embittering the population and leaving a tremendous amount of military equipment available to insurgents.
As we argued in 2015, following ISIS attacks in Paris,
Rebel Girl: There is a chilling symmetry between the agendas of the nationalists of Europe and the fundamentalists of the Islamic State. The nationalists wish to see the world divided into gated communities in which citizenship serves as a sort of caste system; European history shows that in a world thus divided, the ultimate solution to every problem is war. The fundamentalists, for their part, hope to assert Islamic identity as the basis of a global jihad.
Alanis: In this regard, the only real difference between ISIS and the European nationalists is over whether the criteria for inclusion in the new world order should be citizenship or religion. Both ISIS and the nationalists want to see the conflicts of the 21st century play out between clearly defined peoples governed by rival powers, not between the rulers and the ruled as a whole.
These days, all governments are focused chiefly on maintaining their own power, not addressing the root causes of desperation and social unrest. Again, as we wrote in 2015,
Rebel Girl: From Washington, DC and Istanbul to Raqqa and Mosul, those who hold power have no real solutions for the economic, ecological, and social crises of our time; they are more focused on suppressing the social movements that threaten them. But wherever such movements are crushed, discontent will be channeled into organizations like ISIS that seek to solve their problems through sectarian war rather than collective revolutionary change.
Alanis: All people of good conscience should mobilize immediately to impose consequences on Turkey for this hateful attack and to spread a vision of a future without tyranny or war. If we don’t, the consequences will be horrifying.
Rebel Girl: But the call to oppose the Turkish invasion has raised a set of difficult questions about the uncomfortable alignments that have been produced in this complex situation. For those of us in the US, particularly those of us who’ve been protesting US military involvement overseas for decades, how can we possibly oppose the withdrawal of US troops? And what do we make of the accusations floating around that we shouldn’t support the Kurdish armed forces for a variety of reasons, ranging from their alliance with the US military to their supposed Zionism or Islamophobia or use of detention camps for enemies? We can’t just dismiss these thorny issues; we need to address them head on and think about what critical solidarity really means—i.e., not just cheerleading, but doing our best to provide concrete support that aligns with our values while articulating our own visions of freedom. In the following text, we do our best to respond to these concerns one by one from an anarchist perspective.
WHY THE TURKISH INVASION MATTERS
Alanis: Why the Turkish Invasion Matters: Addressing the Hard Questions about Imperialism and Solidarity
In the following overview, we address some common questions about why it is important to oppose the Turkish invasion of Rojava and suggest an analysis of what it means for world politics.
For those who have not followed the intricacies of the situation in Syria, Turkey, and throughout Kurdistan, it can be difficult to understand what’s at stake here. Some of us have spent time in Rojava and the surrounding regions and can speak first-hand to the urgency of the crisis today. We are writing from relative comfort, far from the massacres the Turkish military is enacting, but with our loved ones in Rojava at the forefront of our thoughts—along with everyone else who has suffered grievously throughout the Syrian civil war.
War doesn’t just involve bombs and bullets. It is also a contest of narrative involving propaganda and information control. The Turkish government has been censoring news reporting, cutting off internet access, and forcing social media corporations to silence its victims; it has even succeeded in tricking some ostensible leftists into legitimizing its agenda. To counter this, we have to rely on our own lived experiences, our international connections with other ordinary people like ourselves, and volunteer-driven projects like this one that reject all state and corporate agendas.
The timing of Turkey’s invasion has likely been determined in part by Trump’s response to the impeachment inquiry. US Presidents have a longstanding tradition of initiating military interventions to distract from domestic issues. The Trump version of this tradition is to intentionally reignite a civil war by pretending to “end” it. Worldwide, the far right seems to be trying to co-opt “anti-war” rhetoric the same way they appropriated “anti-globalization” slogans, while actually intensifying military aggression and capitalism.
The betrayal of the people of Rojava is so shocking that it has even humiliated many otherwise shameless US politicians. Unless we create significant pressure via disruptive direct action, however, we expect that the US government will wait until the ethnic cleansing of Rojava is already accomplished before doing anything to respond. Whatever happens, the Turkish invasion has reignited a civil war that was drawing to a close, ensuring many more years of bloodshed throughout the Middle East. No compassionate human being could support this.
Rebel Girl: “Shouldn’t anti-imperialists want the US to withdraw from Syria?”
Alanis: Supporting Trump’s apparent troop withdrawal from Syria in the name of anti-imperialism is foolish and dishonest. It ignores the reality of the forces at play and the consequences that are guaranteed to unfold.
US involvement in Syria looks much different than it has in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well over 100,000 US soldiers occupied Iraq for over half a decade. By contrast, at the very most, there have only been a couple thousand US troops in Syria—less than 2% the number deployed to Iraq. US soldiers in Syria serve an advisory role, carrying out airstrikes but never taking on frontline combat duty.
Even after Trump’s announcement that he is pulling the US military out of Syria, 1000 US soldiers will remain in the country. Opening the way for the Turkish invasion apparently required moving only 50 special forces personnel—it was just a question of shuffling them out of the way of Turkish bombs. In fact, the US military has sent 14,000 more troops to the Middle East since May, specifically bolstering deployments in Saudi Arabia. We are not seeing a troop withdrawal—we are seeing a policy shift towards permitting the extermination of comparatively egalitarian projects while supporting more authoritarian regimes with a troop buildup.
So anti-imperialists who see this as a win against US militarism are suckers, plain and simple. Trump has done nothing to downsize the US empire. He’s simply given Erdoğan go-ahead to build the Turkish empire, to carry out ethnic cleansing while US troops look on. This is hardly unprecedented in the history of US imperialism.
On another occasion, it would be worthwhile to consider the word “anti-imperialist” in greater detail. We often see this word employed by the partisans of some rival empire—typically Russia or China, but not only those. We may need to use a different word for those who are consistent in opposing all empires, state interventions, and forms of hierarchical power. Anti-colonial, for example. Or, clearer still, anarchist.
For years, we have heard statists from various corners of the left accusing anarchists of being tools for neoliberalism on account of the fact that we oppose the Russian, Chinese, and Nicaraguan governments as well as the United States government. It is absurd to accuse anarchists of being tools of neoliberalism for identifying the ways that China and Russia participate in neoliberalism; it is doubly absurd to accuse anarchists of being tools of imperialism for criticizing the US for giving Erdoğan permission to invade Rojava.
Apparently, some people who oppose US military intervention can be suckered into cheerleading when the US government gives another authoritarian government the green light to kill thousands of people. This shows the consequences of basing one’s politics on opposition to a particular prevailing empire, rather than on opposition to all forms of domination.
Rebel Girl: “Are the Kurds just tools of the US?”
Alanis: The fact that the US government so readily betrayed the people of Rojava undercuts the allegation that they are just pawns in a US strategy. Organizers in Rojava were pursuing the same agenda of multi-ethnic self-determination for many years before the US found it convenient to support their struggle against the Islamic State.
Should we blame groups like the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Rojava for coordinating with the US? Anarchists in Rojava have argued that the people there were forced to choose between being slaughtered by the Islamic State and working with the US government. Considering that they were nearly conquered by the Islamic State in 2014, it’s hard to argue with this.
If we want to live in a world in which people in places like Rojava will not welcome the support of the US government, we will have to offer credible alternatives via social movements and international solidarity campaigns. Anarchists have been seeking ways to do this for years. Right now, that means doing everything we can to impose consequences on Turkey and the US for this invasion.
Rebel Girl: “Do the Kurds support Zionism and Islamophobia?”
Alanis: One of the chief hallmarks of the social experiment that has emerged in Rojava over the past several years is that, in contrast to the various forms of ethnic and religious nationalism so prevalent in the region, it is multi-ethnic and inclusive. A significant part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Rojava is Muslim. It may have been attractive for some Islamophobes in the US to support Kurdish resistance to the Islamic State while the US was endorsing it, but we should not blame the people in Rojava for this.
The Barzani family’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has historically maintained good relations with both Turkey and Israel, but different Kurdish parties have very different agendas. There are many fair criticisms to be made of the PYD, SDF, and other structures in Rojava, but it’s a real stretch to accuse them of being Zionists. On the contrary, by and large, they deserve credit for being neither pro-Zionist nor anti-Jewish in a region where so many actors are one or the other.
Though there are nationalistic elements in some of the Kurdish movements and structures in Rojava, they are hardly as ethnocentric as many of the other nationalist currents in the region. In any case, we don’t have to endorse them to oppose the Turkish invasion.
Rebel Girl: “Did the Kurds betray the Syrian Revolution?”
Alanis: As anarchists, we consider apologists for Assad beneath contempt. Those who explain away the original uprising against the Assad regime as nothing but a CIA operation are conspiracy theorists who deny the agency of grassroots participants. Blessing tyranny with the name “socialism” and justifying state violence on the grounds of legitimate sovereignty is despicable. The original revolt in Syria was a response to state oppression, just like the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. We affirm the right of the oppressed to revolt even when there seems to be no hope of success.
Guided by the experiences of those who participated in the original uprising in Syria, we can learn a lot about the hazards of militarism in revolutionary struggle. Once the conflict with Assad’s government shifted from strikes and subversion to militarized violence, those who were backed by state or institutional actors were able to centralize themselves as the protagonists; power collected in the hands of Islamists and other reactionaries. As Italian insurrectionist anarchists famously argued, “the force of insurrection is social, not military.” The uprising didn’t spread far enough fast enough to become a revolution. Instead, it turned into a gruesome civil war, bringing the so-called “Arab Spring” to a close and with it the worldwide wave of revolts.
The fact that the uprising in Syria ended in an ugly civil war is not the fault of those who dared everything to resist the Assad regime. Rather, once again, it shows that we were not courageous or organized enough to support them properly. The unfortunate outcome of the Syrian uprising illustrates the disastrous consequences of relying on state governments like the US to support those who stand up for themselves against oppressors and aggressors. The current Turkish invasion confirms the same thing.
Some people outside Syria also blame the Kurds for this failure. It strikes us as hypocritical that anyone who did not go to Syria to participate in the struggle would accuse the Kurds of sitting out the first phase of fighting. The only people from whom this charge carries any weight are the ones who participated in the first phase of the Syrian uprising themselves.
We are sympathetic to this frustration we have heard from Syrian refugees. We have learned a great deal from Syrians who took courageous risks in the revolution only to be forced to flee along the Balkan Route, ending up trapped in places like Greece and Slovenia. Many Syrian refugees have contributed admirably to social struggles in these countries—despite not being there by choice, despite the daily xenophobia and oppression they have confronted. Many of them have since been incarcerated or deported by racist border regimes.
From where we are situated, it is not easy to judge the decisions of the members of an oppressed minority in Syria, far from most of the fighting at the onset of the revolt, that has historically been betrayed again and again by other groups in the region. Perhaps, had Kurds and others in Rojava immediately risked everything in the struggle against Assad, it could have turned out differently. If that is true, then the lesson of this tragedy is that it is crucial to build trust and solidarity across ethnic and religious lines before revolt breaks out. This is yet another reason to concern ourselves with the fate of the various ethnic groups on the receiving end of the Turkish invasion right now.
Sadly, it is possible that even if the uprising had toppled Assad, Syria would be little better off today—look at Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Rather than simply replacing one government with another, the most important thing we can hope to accomplish in struggle is to open up autonomous spaces of self-determination and solidarity in which people can explore different ways of relating. To some extent, the experiment in Rojava accomplished this.
But even if the people in Rojava today were somehow responsible for the failure of the Syrian uprising, would they deserve to be slaughtered for this? No, they would not. The Turkish invasion must be stopped to salvage any radical potential still left for the Syrian Revolution.
Rebel Girl: “Aren’t the Kurds holding people in detainment camps?” [56:00]
Alanis: Anywhere there are prisons, there is oppression. We are prison abolitionists; we don’t endorse incarceration of any kind. At the same time, there are thousands of mass murderers among the ISIS captives who are surely determined to resume killing as soon as they are free. This presents a difficult situation for everyone who hopes to see multi-ethnic reconciliation and peaceful co-existence in the region.
Without legitimizing detainment, it’s a practical reality that many ISIS captives would probably have been executed by the Syrian or Iraqi governments, or tortured and killed by the Shia militias, rather than given food and medical care as they are in Rojava. Indeed, some in the region have criticized the SDF for being too soft on these prisoners. If Turkey or its Syrian mercenary proxies enable the ISIS detainees to escape and resume their former activities, everyone who argued in favor of executing the captives will claim to have been vindicated.
In any case, there were jails in Iraq in 2003—and that didn’t keep us from trying to stop Bush from invading Iraq. We don’t have to endorse everything the SDF or PYD is doing to oppose the military aggression of Turkey, a vicious carceral state. For prison abolitionists and anyone else who wants to see peace in the Middle East, the top priority now is to halt the Turkish invasion.
Rebel Girl: “But Turkey says the organizations in Rojava are terrorists that threaten their security.” [57:20]
Alanis: It is absurd to argue that ordinary people in Turkey were really threatened by the experiment in Rojava. The US military had already agreed to oversee patrols all along the border—and many of those on the other side of that border are Kurdish people who have a lot in common with the people in Rojava. A free Rojava doesn’t threaten the Turkish people; it threatens Erdoğan’s regime and the oppression that Kurdish people face in Turkey. This is an ethno-nationalist war, pure and simple.
There has been violent struggle in Turkey between the Turkish state and Kurdish movements and armed groups for decades. Erdoğan believes that he can keep maintaining supremacy by force of arms, both inside Turkey and against the surrounding countries, continuing a legacy that includes the systematic genocide of over one million Armenians just a century ago.
Surely, now that Turkey has reignited the Syrian civil war, far more Turkish civilians are going to be killed than would have died otherwise. Hopefully, that will clarify for some people in Turkey that state militarism does not make them safer, but endangers them as well as those on the other side of the shells and bombs.
Rebel Girl: “But Turkey says it has to seize Rojava to resettle Syrian refugees there.”
Alanis: It’s not clear exactly what Turkey’s plans are for the region, nor whom they hope to settle there; the majority of the Syrian refugees in Turkey are not from Rojava. Chiefly, Turkey would like to get defiant Kurdish people away from its borders in order to stifle Kurdish independence movements.
In any case, for Turkey to use military force to murder or displace millions of people and replace them with an entirely different population is the very definition of ethnic cleansing. The fact that they are announcing ahead of time that they intend to commit war crimes is shocking.
Rebel Girl: “Does opposing the Turkish invasion legitimize the US military?” [59:20]
Alanis: As anarchists, we don’t believe the US military can do any good in the world. But no one has to legitimize the US military to oppose a Turkish invasion. We are not calling for the US military to resolve the situation; we are calling out the parties responsible for this tragedy—the US and Turkish governments and all the corporations that help set their agendas—and pressuring them to put a stop to it.
When Hitler seized Czechoslovakia in 1938, when Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, no one had to affirm or legitimize any state, government, or army to oppose those invasions. Rather, by making it as inconvenient as possible for anyone to stand by while such tragedies take place, we enact our principled opposition to injustice.
Likewise, the betrayal of the Kurds should make it clear to anyone who still puts their faith in the US government—or any government—that we will only get as much peace in the world as we can create by our own efforts, doing all we can to resolve conflicts horizontally while defending ourselves against the vertical power structures of those who aspire to rule us.
Fallacies such as “If you’re against the Turkish invasion, you must be in favor of US imperialism” illustrate the pitfalls of binary thinking. It’s easier to understand what is at stake in this situation if we recognize that there are at least three basic sides to today’s global conflicts, each representing a different vision of the future:
First, there are neoliberals of all stripes, from Lindsay Graham and Hillary Clinton to supposedly leftist parties like SYRIZA in Greece and the Workers Party (PT) in Brazil. Though they disagree about the details, they share a common aim of using networked global state governance to stabilize the world for capitalism.
Second, there are nationalists like Trump, Erdogan, Assad, Putin, and of course ISIS. Like the neoliberals, these forces are often at odds with each other, but they all pursue the same vision of a world of competing ethno-states.
And finally, there are social movements for liberation that seek to foster pluralistic and egalitarian self-determination based in autonomy and solidarity. Much of what we have seen in Rojava fits this category, even if some of it has a nationalistic character as well.
When nationalists collaborate against a social experiment like the one in Rojava, calling for resistance should not mean endorsing the neoliberals who previously administered peace and war. On the contrary, we have to build up our social movements while breaking with both nationalist/militarist and neoliberal/reformist agendas. Otherwise, we will always get used by one side or the other, either via direct manipulation or out of fear of the other group achieving supremacy.
Rebel Girl: “How can we hope to stop Turkey, one of the world’s most powerful militaries?”
Alanis: We may not succeed in forcing the US and Turkish governments to halt the invasion of Rojava. But even if we don’t, there are important things we can accomplish by taking action and valuable opportunities we will miss if we do not.
The invasion of Rojava is taking place against a global backdrop of intensifying nationalism, strife, and authoritarianism. We have to understand this as a single battle in a much larger conflict. Situating it in the context of the larger worldwide struggles taking place right now, we can identify several objectives that are absolutely within our reach:
We can show the complicity between nationalists like Trump and Erdogan and ISIS, and delegitimize them in the public eye by associating them with each other. We can advance an anti-state position as the only reliable form of solidarity with targeted peoples against state oppression and colonialism—not just US imperialism, but also Turkish, Russian, and Chinese imperialism, among others. We can legitimize and popularize forms of direct action as the only way to effectively pressure the authorities. When electoral politics has failed to offer any meaningful progress towards social change, we have to accustom people to other approaches.
If ISIS is able to escalate its activity again—if there is no peace or positive prospect in the Middle East for another decade—we want everyone in the world to know whose fault it is and that we did everything we possibly could to stop it.
The stakes are high, but if we fight hard, we can come out of this nightmare one step closer to a world without wars. Or, failing that, a world in which we are at least fighting in conflicts of our own choosing, not senseless tragedies like this.
CALL TO ACTION: SOLIDARITY WITH ROJAVA AGAINST THE TURKISH INVASION
Rebel Girl: Hopefully we’ve made the case for why critical solidarity is so urgently important in this moment. If you want to take part, there are many ways that you can. Here is the text of a call to action that’s been endorsed by hundreds of individuals and groups. If you or your organization wants to sign on, you can email coordination.for.rojava at protonmail dot com to add your name. This list will be updated regularly at crimethinc.com and itsgoingdown.org.
Call to Action: Solidarity with Rojava—Against the Turkish Invasion! An Urgent Call from a Network of Organizations
On October 6, the Trump administration announced it was pulling US troops out of northern Syria, essentially giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a green light to invade Rojava, carry out ethnic cleansing, and forcibly resettle the area. We are calling for people around the world to engage in protest and/or disruption at Turkish consulates, US government offices, arms manufacturers, and businesses connected with the Turkish government, such as Turkish Airlines. You can find a list of upcoming solidarity demonstrations through links on our website, crimethinc.com/podcast; we encourage you to organize and carry out your own actions.
Since 2012, the autonomous region of Rojava has hosted an inspiring multi-ethnic experiment in self-determination and women’s autonomy, all while fighting the Islamic State (ISIS). After years of struggle, despite sustaining massive casualties, fighters from Rojava participated in liberating all of the territory that ISIS had occupied and freeing those who had been held captive in ISIS strongholds.
In an attempt to justify permitting Turkey to invade Syria, Trump has tweeted that US taxpayers should not have to pay to keep ISIS fighters detained. In fact, the US has not paid a cent to detain captured ISIS fighters; that has been completely organized by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The reality is that the Turkish invasion of Kurdish territory will create the conditions for ISIS to reemerge and resume operations in Syria and around the world. For years, Turkey has permitted weapons, recruits, and resources to reach ISIS through its borders.
Both ISIS and the Turkish invasion pose an existential threat to all the ethnic and religious groups indigenous to the region, including Arabs, Christians (Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs), Turkmens, Chechens, Alevites, and Yazidis. Many of these groups have gained a voice in their own lives for the first time, yet now face massacre at the hands of the Turkish military and the jihadists.
Turkey’s invasion of Rojava sets a new precedent for military aggression, ethnic cleansing, and the destruction of egalitarian and feminist experiments like the one in Rojava. It sets the stage for more bloodshed and oppression everywhere around the world, paving the way for ethno-nationalist autocrats like Trump, Erdoğan, Assad, Bolsonaro, and Putin to dominate world politics for generations to come.
For months, people in Rojava have called for international solidarity in the event of an invasion. We must bring attention to the plight of the people in Rojava and make it known that there will be consequences for this.
To keep silent is to be complicit.
We need to build a context for broad-based direct action as a step towards building a global movement that can make such atrocities impossible. Together, we can stop the invasion.
See you in the streets.
Rebel Girl: Again, please circulate this text and if you want to be added to the list of endorsing groups and individuals, contact coordination.for.rojava at protonmail dot com.
Want to take action? We’ve got a list of companies and institutions that are complicit in the Turkish invasion, as well as a list of publicly announced actions around the US, all available through links we’ve got posted on our website, crimethinc.com/podcast. You can also find the full transcript from this episode and links to the texts we cited and plenty more with additional information, background, and analysis.
And stay tuned—we’ll be releasing more episodes this week covering the crisis in Rojava, including a longer historical background to Kurdish resistance in the region as well as interviews with folks who’ve been in Rojava recently. Till then, thanks for listening.