Do to initial web-posting problems this is a slightly edited version of the original article. The current post with edits is by the authors request.
Hello- my name’s Patrick, from the First of May Anarchist Alliance
We’re revolutionary anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian network, and we’re proud to stand in solidarity with the revolutions in Syria and Rojava.
As anarchists, one of our core values is solidarity with other people, without caring what side of a border they stand on.That’s why anarchist volunteers have been working from around the world to help the revolution in Rojava. It’s also why anarchists have been trying to help the refugees from Syria make new lives in Turkey, Europe, or here in the US. Where governments are sending working people to war with each other, or closing our borders against people who need safety, anarchists are saying that we don’t need borders and governments telling us who we stand with. We stand with oppressed people everywhere.
We stand with Syrians and with Rojava because it’s the right thing to do- because those lives matter. We also do it, because we know that our liberation and the liberation of other people is tied together. The saying goes, “An injury to one is an injury to all”. So people in Syria, Rojava, or anywhere else in the Middle East are unfree, it keeps us from being free. That’s more than a saying. Here in America, where our government says we can’t afford universal health care, where we can’t fund access to higher education, where we have the highest infant mortality rate of any developed nation, our government spends almost 600 billion dollars a year on the US war machine. That military isn’t there to defend us. It’s there to keep American business interests around the world- to give corporations access to oil, to mines, to cash crops, and to workers whose labor is kept cheap because of poverty, desperation, and oppression.
They call these business interests our “national interests”- but after they kill in our name, the Department of Defense turns around and sells that military gear to the cops, to terrorize our neighborhoods here at home. After the Pentagon and State Departments install “friendly governments” overseas, business moves industry to the countries where strongmen dictators bust up unions. Then, with the factories moving out, our public services getting cut, and us getting taxed out of our wages to pay for war, those same politicians tell us to be afraid of refugees. We know we have more interest in common with working people fighting against this new colonialism, than we have with Trump, Putin, Erdogan, or Assad.
Divide and rule is how governments have always kept power, whether it’s with racism here in the US, or with sectarianism or nationalism in Syria. The Assad regime has always tried to play the people of Syria against each other, and governments in the Middle East have kept Kurds oppressed by dividing them between four states. As long as they keep using these divisions, not only can the Kurds not be free in Kurdistan, but Syrians, Turks, Iraqis, and Iranians can’t be free- and neither can we in America.
The battle in Afrin is a perfect example. Erdogan is sending volunteers from the Free Syrian Army to fight and die against the Syrian Democratic Forces in Rojava. Erdogan doesn’t care about democracy in Syria- he’s just trying to crush the Rojava revolution. In fact, by attacking Rojava, he’s helping Assad. Not only is he sacrificing the FSA for this attack and pulling them away from the front with Assad- but he’s giving Assad the excuse he needs, to come in an “save” Rojava, forcing the Kurds to ask for his help to survive. Every day that the fighting around Afrin continues, the revolutions get weaker, and both Assad and Erdogan get stronger.
Imagine if people who wanted freedom stood with each other, and didn’t let states take over our struggles or tell us who to fight. Imagine Rojava supporting the Syrian struggle against Assad, and the Syrian revolution supporting the Kurdish fight for independence. Imagine revolutionaries around the world supporting each other’s struggles. We want to see a Middle East, and a world, free from the dictatorship of states and the dictatorship of business. None of the world’s powers- not in Washington or Moscow- are going to support real popular sovereignty for people in Syria or in Rojava. Change won’t come from above- it will come from each other.