The parliamentary group of the Red-Green Alliance (RGA – Enhedslisten) voted together with all out parties for sending a Hercules airplane to Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government. The plane will transport weapons and ammunition to the Kurdish militias fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).”
Archive for the ‘French Left’ Category
Ensemble Backs Kurdish Fighters Against Islamic State.
(Signed – Suren, but it seems clear that the main points have general agreement in Ensemble, as with most of the French left)
Ensemble (‘movement for a left/green solidarity, is the ‘Third’ largest component of the Front de gauche, launched in November 2013, it is made up of Les Alternatifs (Originally from the PSU/FGA, historic self-management tendency), Convergences et alternative (Ex-Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, NPA) , the FASE (democratic Communists, left socialists, Greens, associated with the magazine Politis) , la Gauche anticapitaliste (ex-NPA), and activists of the Gauche unitaire (ex-LCR, the first Trotskyist group to join the FdG but who have split from the ‘Picquet Tendency’ ) and people from no organised left party or faction.
What is at Stake in the autonomous Struggle of progressive Forces against the Islamic State. (Extracts – Adapted)
The announcement of an “international coalition” to fight the “Islamic state” is the latest act in a string of disasters caused by Western imperialist interventions in the Middle East. This – a reminder – is not part of any genuine anti imperialism, but allows us to understand the dynamics at work, which have been reshaped since the US intervention in 2003, in the current situation. As with 2003, Western imperialism produce disasters, then intervenes to “fix” the consequences of these catastrophes, and then creates further disasters of an even greater magnitude – a succession of links in an endless chain.
Thus, we cannot admit that there are “humanitarian” motives at work inside the US administration or support the coalition that they seek to put in place in order to maintain their hold. Nevertheless, it is impossible to denounce, simply, American imperialism, and remain indifferent to the devastation caused by the Islamic State, IS (mass killings, persecution of religious minorities, Sunni disagreements, the tens of thousands of Yazidis left to die in the Sinjar). This would equally be to ignore the actions of the reactionary and authoritarian and regional powers. We need not simply to react to the massacres and repression perpetrated by the IS but also to stem the wave of disasters engulfing the region. Indeed, imperialism finds its strongest basis in these religious confessional and national divisions..
Faced with these obstacles, it is necessary to defend movements of local self-defence rather than increasing the stranglehold of imperialism. This implies, therefore support (including weapons) for progressive forces in the region to combat the Islamic State. That is, for the Popular Committees in Syria who have been abandoned to their fate, and for the broad movement around the Kurdish PKK.
(There follows an analysis which lays the blame for ISIS’s rise in Syria on Assad’s willingness to foment divisions in his opposition, and on Turkey, which is charged with “complaisance” towards the rise of the Islamists.)
Kurdish forces and issues
The main armed resistance opposed to the Islamic State is represented by various Syrian opposition movements and the PKK, the main Kurdish political-military organization of Turkish forces.
The PKK was born in the social and political ferment of the 70s Turkey, created by Kurdish leftist students. Its historic leader, Abdullah Ocalan, is held in prison in Turkey but still leads the PKK and the movement that revolves around it.Following a tradition that can be termed “Stalinist” the PKK has managed to supplant other Kurdish organizations in Turkey and has a mass base in the bulk of Turkish Kurdistan. The PKK “mouvance” (broad movement) can often have a very opportunist line – but retains a military capacity, is the political representative of the large Kurdish minority in Turkey. Note also that the whole movement around the PKK is highly feminised (both in recruitment and in access to positions of fighting and political-military leadership).
..an essential part of fighting is taking place in Syria where this movement already existed. However, it is true that the PKK stepped onto Iraqi territory in the mountains of Sinjar to fight IS and to rescue tens of thousands of Yezidi (a Zoroastrian religious minority from Kurdish-speaking areas). In keeping with its normal practice, the PKK has sought to create a local sister organization, with the Yezidi, the Resistance Units Kirkuk-Mexmour. In northern Syria, the PYD unilaterally declared independence in the territories it controls (the Rojava, that is to say, the Western Kurdistan). It has been criticised by other Kurdish organizations in Syria gathered in the Kurdish National Council. This tension between the PYD and CNK is only a reflection of the broader opposition among the Kurds between the PKK and the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) of Massoud Barzani, the “feudal” political leader who heads the autonomous Kurdish regional government Kurdish in northern Iraq (and which is bound by the CNK in Syria).
Briefly, the PKK reproach, rightly, to Barzani and the Kurdish autonomous regional government in northern Iraq with having links with the Turkish government, leaving the Islamic State free to continue their progress progress in northern Iraq, and, as a result of this alliance, to be so directly responsible for the progress of EI and the fall of Mosul. Conversely, Barzani accused the PKK-PYD of having links with the Assad regime. …
(There follows detailed analysis of these ties, claims and counterclaims.)
The important points of the Ensemble analysis are these: they back “active local defence “, that they regard this as a “medium-term challenge ” to ” imperialist logic” and believe that will contribute towards the “healing” (assainissement) of the Kurdish national question” which is one of “the elements of division between the most important people of the region.”
The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) warns against US-led intervention in Iraq and Syria.
It has yet to offer any comment on demands for “support (including weapons) for progressive forces in the region.”
By contrast Socialist Worker said in August, Arming the Kurds won’t stop Iraq’s brutal civil war.
More recently (September 16th) they found nothing to say on the Kurdish struggle against the Islamist genociders.
Instead they warned US missiles will worsen Iraq crisis.
Apparently one of the main dangers is that, “This will be a green light for targeting Muslims and increasing Islamophobia as all Muslims are portrayed as a terrorist threat.”
Danish Revolutionary Socialists Says: Arm Kurdish Freedom Fighters!
Danish socialists voting for a parliamentary decision to send a military plane to Iraq under US command is not usual. Even more unusual is the fact that I – considering myself a revolutionary Marxist – voted to support that decision. Nevertheless, that is what happened a few weeks ago.
Reports Michael Voss (of the Danish Red-Green Alliance, Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne), known as Enhl, and SAP (Socialistisk Arbejderparti) in International Viewpoint (journal of the Fourth International).
The nightmare of some ‘anti-imperialist’ hipsters has had a real political impact…..
Why Danish leftists supported military aid to Iraq Monday 15 September 2014
Comrade Voss made the honest point that,
In that way there is a temporary coincidence of interests between imperialism and socialists on the simple issue of fighting IS. We want to supply the Kurds with weapons, and US imperialism want to supply the Kurds with weapons – for the time being. Not supporting it, only because of the US command, would be as if Lenin had refused to travel in the sealed train supplied by German imperialism through imperialist Germany to Russia in the middle of the Russian revolution, as another NL-member said.
I don’t think that much argument is needed to back the fact that revolutionary socialists also want to fight and stop IS, a murderous, sectarian and deeply reactionary force. A victory for IS will set back any social, democratic, pro-women or anti-imperialist development that may have taken place in parts of Syria and Iraq.
But that their MPs made sure that,
- that the Danish Hercules plane cannot be used for any other purpose than delivering arms to the forces fighting IS
- that this decision does not allow any other Danish military activity in the region;
- that whatever happens, a new parliament decision is necessary if the government wants to prolong the activity of the airplane after 1 January 2015
As a follow up to the decision the RGA have taken other initiatives to stop military and financial supply for IS, to popularise the fight for the Kurdish peoples’ right to self-determination and to have the PKK removed from the US and the EU list of so-called terror organisations. A special Danish aspect is the fact that the TV-station of Kurds for all Europe was based in Denmark until it was recently banned, and 10 people from the Kurdish community face trial for collecting money for organisations that – according to the police – transfer the money to PKK.
When the first shipment of weapons to the PKK/YPG by a Danish airplane under US command has taken place, it will be hard for the authorities to explain that they are supporting a terror organisation.
This decision took place in mid-August (reported in International Viewpoint on the 15th of Septmeber.
Danish arms to support Kurds in Iraq
25. aug. 2014 13.14
The Red-Green Party’s central committee has agreed that its parliamentary group may vote yes to send Danish arms to support Kurds fighting in Iraq.
However, final approval by parliament on Wednesday is needed before a Hercules transport aircraft containing a consignment of light weapons can be sent as Denmark’s contribution to the USA’s action in Northern Iraq, where Kurdish fighters are being hard-pressed by the militant Islamic State (IS).
“I’m pleased that the central committee has approved the parliamentary group’s proposal for Denmark to support the campaign by sending a transport aircraft with weapons and ammunition to the hard-pressed Kurdish fighters in Northern Iraq,” said Nikolaj Villumsen, spokesman on defence for the Red-Green Alliance.
The government received the final support of all parliamentary parties on Sunday after the remaining parties had acknowledged their approval at a meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee on Thursday.
Today, the government will present its proposal to send the aircraft to Iraq as soon as possible with a consignment of weapons and solders to protect the aircraft.
“The Islamic State is one of the most perfidious movements the world has seen for many years and must be forced back before it commits new crimes against humanity.
“It must be emphasised, however, that our support for this limited action will not entail any Danish military intervention in Iraq and is purely intended as support for the Kurds to help them defend themselves against the Islamic State. We are not entering into a new war in Iraq,” said Villumsen.
Put in their place in 2011
In March 2011, the Red-Green parliamentary group was quickly put in its place by the party when it wished to support the use of Danish F-16 fighter aircraft to support the Libyan Army.
At the party’s AGM, a procedure was established for how the parliamentary group could support Danish military action, when it was made contingent on approval by the central committee.
The authorities are indeed concerned,
Some Danish politicians, however, are sceptical that the Danish involvement could inadvertently support the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the European Union (EU) labels a terrorist organization.
Since IS captured about a third of Iraq in June, the PKK, which is based in Iraqi Kurdistan, has become part of the war. The PKK’s affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, are fighting IS alongside the KRG’s Peshmerga troops. Rudaw.
The Red-Greens are noted for their support for a foreign policy based on human rights.
Enhl initially backed plans for UN-led intervention in Libya but pulled back, after party protests, once the campaign got underway.
The Red-Green Alliance currently has 12 seats in the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) with 6,7 % of the vote.
Wider Backing for Military Action Against Islamic State/Daʿesh
Support for the Kurdish and other democratic fighters against Islamic state is widespread on the European left, a stand that contrasts with the isolationist Stop the War Coalition in Britain.
As the Guardian prints Richard Seymour’s hipster take on ISIS the StWC has just published the weighty reflections of Russell Brand: Will Obama’s bombs stop the ISIS beheadings?
By contrast over the weekend one of the Editors of the French Communist Party daily l’Humanité, and MEP, Patrick Le Hyaric, said of the Islamic State, Da’esh, , “il faut briser les reins à ces égorgeurs.” – we must break the backs of these murderers.
He continued, “Nous avons, à cet instant, une pensée particulière pour nos frères et pour nos sœurs kurdes qui combattent en première ligne contre la cruauté sauvage de l’Etat islamique, en Irak comme en Syrie..” We have a special place in our thoughts for our brother and sister Kurds who are fighting in the front line against the savage cruelty of the Islamic State,in Iraq as in Syria.
Le Hyaric emphasised however that military action should be decided by Parliament and endorsed by the United Nations, and not take place through the channels of NATO.
The French Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, NPA, (the largest group associated with the Fourth International) has yet to publicly take a position on their Danish comrades’ decision.
Other articles in International Viewpoint, such as one by David Finkel published on the same day as the above contribution, repeat the well-known refrain that, “the global terror of imperialism generates its ugly local and regional counterparts from Taliban to the “Islamic State.” The terrorist forces arising in shattered societies can’t be eradicated without uprooting the global system that inevitably breeds them.”
The British FI group, Socialist Resistance has shown deep sympathy for the Kurdish struggle and the fight against ISiS.
The Parti Communiste Français (PCF) declared in July,
The Islamist terrorist organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which decreed the creation of a Caliphate which straddles Iraq and Syria, has launched a military offensive against independent Syrian Kurdistan.
Taking advantage of the disintegration of Iraq and seizing heavy weapons, they have taken their fight to Kurdish districts in Syria, areas in which the population has for months waged a heroic struggle against these obscurantist forces – supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The “West”, including the United States and France bear a huge responsibility in this regional disintegration and in the violence against civilians. Turkey has also shown a benevolent attitude towards this offensive, which fulfils their aim of breaking the democratic experience of the (autonomous Kurdish) town and surroundings of Rojava.
With the Kurds threatened with new massacres indifference is shameful and inhuman.
The French Communist Party expresses its solidarity with the Syrian Kurds. It calls the French government and the European Union to use all their power to stop these crimes.
French Communist Party
Paris July 7, 2014 (adapted)
The PCF has since that date issued numerous appeals.
Support for the Kurds is a priority. Anything that can help, such as the withdrawal of the PKK’s designation as a ‘terrorist organisation’, should be encouraged. France could, as a member of the Security Council initiate a regional conference to help reconciliation, rebuild the Iraqi state and preserve the unity of the Middle East. There is still time to contain the conflagration sweeping the region.
The PCF expresses its support and solidarity with the Kurdish forces and commits itself on the side of the democrats and Kurdish forces against the Iraqi ISIS. In this terrible ordeal, Communists will spare no efforts to ensure that peace and democracy can win out.
Stop the cruelty and persecution against the Kurdish people and minorities in Iraq (August 23rd) called for support for a demonstration in Marseille that day in support of minorities in Iraq.
PARIS, France – High-profile French politicians are urging greater international support for Iraqi Kurds in their fight against jihadists of the Islamic State (IS), saying the autonomous region is fighting for Western democratic values and should be helped in its protection of Christians and Yezidis.
“The Kurds are fighting also for our democratic values and for our safety,” said a petition published in the French newspaper Le Monde.
“Let’s help Kurdistan protect the Yezidis and the Christians. Our values depend on it,” said the appeal, an initiative of the Kurdish Institute of Paris.
It was signed by former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and Michel Rocard, former ministers of foreign affairs Bernard Kouchner and Hubert Vedrine, the current mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, and former ministers Cecile Duflot, Francois Loncle and Pierre Lellouche, among other high profile academics and intellectuals.
Their statement referred to the grave situation faced by the Kurdistan Region, which has received hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping the war by Islamic jihdists. Erbil also is having to protect over 1,000 kilometers of its border against the highly armed forces.
“Since June, Iraqi Kurdistan has been receiving hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people fleeing the massacres committed by the jihadists of the Islamic State. Among them are tens of thousands of Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks and members of other religious minorities,” the statement said.
“Coming after the first wave of 250.000 Syrian refugees, this massive flood far exceeds the Kurdistan Regional Government’s hosting capacities,” it noted. Kurdistan “does not have, on its own, the material means to provide for the accommodation of this additional population of over a million people,” it added.
It noted also that, as the KRG struggles against this deluge, Baghdad has cut monthly budget payments to Erbil over an oil row, cutting deeply into Kurdish finances.
The Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been the toughest line of defense against the jihadis, backed with air support by the US and Iraqi air force.
Erbil has also allowed refugees to cross into its borders, regardless of religion or ethnicity.
“Such a rare example of democracy in the Islamic world not only deserves encouragement but it also needs active and massive solidarity of the citizens and the governments of the Western Democracies,” the French appeal said.
The group called for the intensification of humanitarian aid by the UN agencies and the European Union, implementation of promised arms supplies and measures to enable the KRG to protect minorities in the frontlines. It also called for action to encourage oil-rich Gulf countries to finance the ongoing relief efforts in Kurdistan.
“An international air protection should be provided to Christian and Yezidi areas of the plain of Nineveh in order to enable the return of these vulnerable peoples,” it pointed out.
The petition also urged France, which took the initiative of mobilizing the European Union, to propose a resolution at the UN Security Council to force Baghdad into restarting the constitutional budget payments to Erbil.
Finally, the petition asked the European Union to appoint a special envoy to ease direct mediation, and re-establish dialogue among Iraq’s Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites.
Original, Le Monde 8.9.14. “Aidons le Kurdistan à protéger yézidis et chrétiens, nos valeurs en dépendent.”
A sceptical approach to arming the Kurdish Regional Government and others, which argues that they will use them, “pour affirmer l’autonomie grandissante de leur région, voire leur volonté d’indépendance, ce qui serait un pas décisif vers l’éclatement de l’Irak.” , Questions sur l’armement des Kurdes d’Irak. Alain Gresh. (Blogs, 18th August. Le Monde Diplomatique)
Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste Seeks to “save” capitalism, says International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
Flags Waving to Save Capitalism says ICFI.
Just when you thought you could be smug about the charming but eccentric ways of our old chum Bob Avakian this comes along,
The pseudo-left New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) has reacted to the formation of the new government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls with empty, hypocritical criticisms to mask its responsibility in the installation of this deeply right-wing government, which the NPA will continue to defend.
The World Socialist Web Site, published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) continues in this vein (8th of September) – at length. (1)
For those mourning the withdrawal of cde Tony Greenstein from the fray this site comes as a blessing,
What the NPA fears above all is that the collapse and discrediting of France’s ruling Socialist Party (PS) will provoke a crisis of rule in which the NPA could not stifle a political movement of the working class directed at the PS and its political satellites, including the NPA itself.
There is more but this mighty blow against the NPA stands out,
The NPA, by its hostility to a socialist and revolutionary perspective, contributed to the installation of the most right-wing regime France has known since the World War II-era fascist Vichy regime.
In fact, it is the NPA that is neither revolutionary nor anti-capitalist. It does not seek the overthrow of capitalism, but to save it under conditions where it threatens to provoke war and economic collapse, and the conditions for an eruption of social revolution are fast being prepared.
Not to mention that
This anti-working class party is ready for unprincipled alliances with organizations of all types, whose only common point is their hatred of the working class and of socialism.
(1) The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) is the name of two Trotskyist internationals; one with sections named Socialist Equality Party which publishes the World Socialist Web Site, and another linked to the Workers Revolutionary Party in Britain.
Both groupings originate in the struggle against “Pabloite liquidationism”,
“To sum up: The lines of cleavage between Pablo’s revisionism and orthodox Trotskyism are so deep that no compromise is possible either politically or organizationally. The Pablo faction has demonstrated that it will not permit democratic decisions truly reflecting majority opinion to be reached. They demand complete submission to their criminal policy. They are determined to drive all orthodox Trotskyists out of the Fourth International or to muzzle and handcuff them.”
Despite this background many of the SEP’s ideas would meet with approval or at least some agreement from a lot of people on the left: they are for the United Socialist States of Europe, oppose austerity and cuts.
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calls for a decisive and unambiguous No vote in the September 18 referendum on Scottish independence. All claims that “independence” is a democratic demand, offering an alternative to cuts and austerity, are lies.
The move for separation from the UK is being led by right-wing forces espousing nationalism, whether or not they attempt to dress this up in fake left language. The aim is to transform Scotland into a low tax, cheap labour platform for the benefit of the banks and transnational corporations.
The victims of this will be workers on both sides of the border, who will see a deepening of the ongoing offensive against jobs, wages and conditions that has been waged by all the major parties in both Westminster and Holyrood
Their French membership is believed to hover at 2.