Tendance Coatesy

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Spartacist League Backs Isis Against US Imperialist “Main enemy”. Denounces Kurds as “US Adjuncts”.

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Imperialist ‘adjuncts’ Says Spartacist League. 

If ever there was a more bizarre example, and distasteful vile and foul,  at that, of ‘dialectical’ excuses for genociders it would be hard to find.

“It goes without saying that we internationalist communists are die-hard enemies of the ultra-reactionary social and political program of ISIS, whose methods of rooting out “apostates” amount to mass slaughter. We condemn communal atrocities on all sides. ISIS is itself the imperialists’ creation, having emerged out of the intercommunal slaughter triggered by the U.S. occupation.”

Workers Vanguard.

But (there’s got to be a but..) 

“But ISIS today is in battle against the local tools of U.S. imperialism, the main enemy of the world’s working people. A setback for the U.S. in Syria might give pause to Washington in its military adventures, including by encouraging opposition at home. Such opposition adds to the tinder that must be ignited in class struggle against the capitalist rulers who, in their quest for ever greater profits, beat down the workers, black people and immigrants.”

“We uphold the right of national self-determination for the Kurdish people, who are oppressed by the bourgeois regimes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.”

However (there’s got to be a howeverr)

“However, in Iraq and Syria today as in Iraq after 2003, when the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan enrolled as adjuncts of the U.S. occupation, the nationalist parties have subordinated the struggle for Kurdish national rights to their role as imperialist proxies. Championing the Kurds in the current conflict can only mean lending support to imperialist plunder.”

“Protests called by Kurdish nationalist groups in Germany, Australia and elsewhere have backed U.S. airstrikes in Syria and demanded that the imperialists supply the Syrian Kurds with arms. These calls have been echoed by many reformist leftists around the world, giving credence to the “humanitarian” cover for the imperialist onslaught. Thus, the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France and some leaders of the Left Party in Germany (not to mention the bourgeois German Greens) have called on their respective capitalist governments to arm the Kurds in Kobani.”

 “By selling their souls to the imperialists as well as to various regional bourgeois regimes, Kurdish leaders help perpetuate the divide-and-rule stratagems that inevitably inflame communal, national and religious tensions and serve to reinforce the oppression of the Kurdish masses.”

Yet all ends happily…..

“The goal of Marxists in the belly of the imperialist beast is to instill in the U.S. proletariat the understanding that it has the social power and historic interest to destroy capitalist-imperialist rule from within, through socialist revolution. To realize this task requires forging a revolutionary workers party committed to the struggle for workers rule over the entire planet.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

24 Responses

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  1. Hi there, Unfortunately it gets worse. This is what Marie Lynam posted to a local list today:

    A few thoughts from Marie. Hoping to see you Saturday.

    Jose Miguel Arrugaeta and Orsola Casagrande publish an interview in Rebellion, circa 7.11.2014, entitled “The resistance of Kobane opens the way to a new Middle East and a new society”

    (Please refer to originals for any serious study, as my summaries are not translations)
    The last paragraph below is my comments. Marie Lynam

    Arrugaeta and Casagrande say that the Kurdish people of Kobane (in Syria) are still fighting against Isis (IS) to this day. And this, although Kobane is not bigger than a district of Mosul.

    In spite of this, IS is apparently very strong, with tanks and material captured from Mosul, and from the Syrian army itself. But Kobane is apparently very strong too, they say, since it did not fall in one week as expected – but not even after almost 2 months.

    The two interviewees compare Kobane with Stalingrad, “city that fought for more than 40 days”. In their view, “Kobane does not fight just for itself, but against the mentality that belittles women and uses extreme violence against them”. Kurds fighters in Turkey and Kobane “figt in the name of humanity, and against forms of thinking beyond religions, ethnicities, languages, etc.”

    The 2 interviewees say that the Kurd fighters have lost important commanders in this battle. Young and valiant people. In this sense, they say, “the defence of Kobane represents the defence of humanity, and that of the nation of the peoples of Kurdistan”.

    There are no differences between the Kurds of Turkey and those of Syria, they add. The Kurds are all struggling “for a democratic Syria and a democratic Middle East”. The interviewees says also that in Kobane, there are combatants from many ethnic and religious communities. “Our fighters”, they interviewees say, “unite around a democratic [kind of] philosophy”. “Respectful of language, culture and faiths”. The combatants [against ISIS] in Kobane “are struggling to protect diversity and gender liberation”.

    My comments:

    These particular Kurd leaders (the interviewees) say that they took weapons from the Syrian army. They are therefore involved in toppling Assad.
    When they say that they fight for Kobane “in defence of the nation of the peoples of Kurdistan”, they are fighting for a Kurdistan area in Syria.
    World imperialism led by the US – yes, them again – bomb ISIS from the air, but they want other peoples’ boots on the ground.
    Are those of our LRC comrades complying with the imperialist call for Turkish-Kurdish boots on the ground? (which Turkey granted in exchange for a carrot)
    A Kurdistan area in Syria represents the corridor that imperialism is creating in Syria, along the frontier with Turkey, where Nato is stationed. ISIS will remain a difficult nut to crack as long as that corridor is not finalised.
    A Kurdistan area in Syria, even if it grants an extremely good status to women (and no brothels in the democratic corners) – is a proper attack against the national sovereignty of Syria. It is an act that still remains illegal in capitalist law. Little wonder we get little info about it all. The least said to us, the soonest us outsmarted, eh?
    Abject bourgeois idealism will mint a special medal (these things happen more and more) for those who compare Kobane with Stalingrad.

    Marie Lynam

    Mike Phipps

    November 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

  2. Andrew- that your even interested in what this lot have to say has you clearly marked as an ultra left trainspotter ;-), haven’t you got work to do on the vegetable plot?

    Pete Shield

    November 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    • No – there’s downpour after downpour.

      This comes under the humour section of the Blog….

      Andrew Coates

      November 9, 2014 at 11:42 am

  3. I more than suspect that there is at least an undercurrent of this in quite a few sects. I would add while there are differences you could substitute Ukrainian for Kurd.

    Jim Monaghan

    November 8, 2014 at 8:14 am

  4. At the moment, most of the Far Left (UK) support the Kurds in Kobane against ISIS. At the same time, they state that they are against imperialism and for the defeat of imperialism. (See motions to Left Unity Conference; Pat Smith (Weekly Worker 1031); Socialist Appeal – “Fight Imperialism, Support Kobane!”)

    However, in Kobane, the “defeat of imperialism”, in the present situation, would mean the slaughter of the Kurds.

    “Workers Vanguard” have taken the “defeat of imperialism” to be the main priority and have come to the logical (but grotesque) conclusion that this means critical support to ISIS.

    Other groups on the Left have come to fantasy conclusions and policies – “Hamas, ANC, Venezuela must Arm the Kurds!” (John Rees); “We need a United Working Class response to fight imperialism and Isis” – Socialist Party/Socialist Appeal.

    The sober truth is that there is no magical, clean-hands army of the oppressed coming to the aid of Kobane. The people there can only rely on the Americans to help at the moment. Stating we “have no confidence in American airstrikes” does not mean that the people in Kobane have no confidence in these airstrikes. In fact, they have, literally, seen them as a life-saver.

    Those who wish to defend the necessity of the “defeat of imperialism” in any and all situations have to, in the end, come to the same conclusion as Workers Vanguard and state it openly.

    Or else, realise that the reality is, in this case and for whatever reasons, the Americans are keeping Kobane alive to live and fight ISIS.

    john r

    November 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

  5. And some people wonder why most people despise the far left as callous bloodthirsty, hypocritical maniacs.


    November 8, 2014 at 8:41 pm

  6. The Sparts are run out of Thames House – nothing surprising there.

    Sparty Fart Blast

    November 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm

  7. They are pseudo-left – NOT left in any sense deserving of the concept.


    November 9, 2014 at 5:07 am

  8. Mike Phillips has quoted one Marie Lynam re the comparison between Kobane and Stalingrad. Her views appear on the Labour Representation Committee blog. http://www.l-r-c.org.uk/

    She has been named as the (sole?) representative of the Posadist IVth International here – http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2012/07/10/take-no-lessons-about-syria-from-marie-lynam/

    I have yet to see calls for flying saucers to deal with either Isis or American Imperialism but one lives in hope.

    john r

    November 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm

  9. The Sparts and a few others on the “left” (like the mentally-ill ex-CPGB’er Ian Donovan) who support ISIS, do have one point, and one point only:

    If your starting-point (and ending-point) in politics is to oppose “imperialism” then why not support ISIS? After all, much of the “left” (the SWP, Socialist Resistance and the central people behind the Stop The War Coalition) supported the Taliban, even though they obscured that fact. Is there a qualitative difference between the Taliban and ISIS?

    How ISIS has forced a ‘de facto’ re-think about knee-jerk “anti-imperialism” is discussed here:


    Jim Denham

    November 9, 2014 at 6:37 pm

  10. Regardless of how one evaluates the situation in Kobane or the struggle against ISIS generally, there is no excuse for any self-styled “socialist” or “leftist” to respond to that situation, or almost any situation, without putting it in the context of the global struggle against imperialist capital and its main enforcement arm, the U.S. military, even if the Spartacist League does it badly.*

    The imperialists are going to intervene militarily in the situation with ISIS in whatever way they see is in their interests, without regard to what leftist groups say about it. The task of the left is to expose every move they make that further reveals their imperialist nature and the danger they pose to humanity, and to undercut any efforts by them to paint themselves as a force for good in the world. Part of that work is to constantly remind people of how the imperialists, while they may find it necessary to oppose ISIS for their own reasons, have repeatedly carried out, or aided and abetted, crimes comparable to, or worse (at least in scale) than, those committed by ISIS.

    * I’ve known The Spartacists since before they formed the Spartacist League (although I haven’t paid much attention to them for the last few decades) and know that they can be spectacularly awful at times, such as with their mid-1980’s slogan, “The Defense of the Soviet Union Begins in El Salvador”, that they carried on a huge banner at a march on Washington. But they were right about many things that most of the left was wrong about, including opposing Polish Solidarnosc and the Afghan Mujaheddin and not giving political support to the ANC.

    Aaron Aarons

    November 9, 2014 at 7:12 pm

  11. Jim Monaghan writes, “while there are differences you could substitute Ukrainian for Kurd.” I don’t understand the analogy here, unless JM fantasizes the U.S. bombing the Nazi-infested Ukrainian National Guard who have been attacking cities in the largely ethnic-Russian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    Aaron Aarons

    November 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm

  12. “But they were right about many things that most of the left was wrong about, including opposing Polish Solidarnosc and the Afghan Mujaheddin and not giving political support to the ANC” : care to explain, Aaron?

    Jim Denham

    November 9, 2014 at 10:56 pm

  13. In retrospect the Sparts, while very wrong to support the repression of Solidarnosc, were right to give them no *political* support.

    I did some homework. The Gdansk strike movement, which was a spontaneous strike movement of the sort that episodically appeared in the USSR and its satellites (in Poland on several previous occasions) was turned into a national “trade union” by the action of the Polish Catholic Church (which was able to do so because it was a semi-tolerated opposition, like the Islamists in the near east) as a device to give it a “legal” cover by calling it a trade union. But Solidarnosc never really functioned as a trade union beyond the initial strike movement, moving very rapidly into the character of a political “reform” movement dominated by the intelligentsia and hegemonized by the church, and which certainly didn’t represent a working class *socialist* opposition to Stalinism.

    Most of us on the anti-Stalinist far left goofed up on that one and we should own up to it. It was one thing to argue for Solidarnosc’s right to free speech and assembly and such. It was another to say, as Ernest Mandel did, that they were “the greatest socialists on the world” or whatever exactly it was.

    As for the Sparts giving backhanded support to ISIS…truly there are no words. “A setback for the U.S. in Syria might give pause to Washington in its military adventures, including by encouraging opposition at home.” Gimme a break. The U.S.’s loss in Vietnam did absolutely nothing to “encourage opposition at home,” and at least most Americans paid attention to that war, while few are paying attention to Syria; furthermore, if the Sparts want to pretend that the NLF had something to do with the workers’ movement, they’re entitled to their illusion, but ISIS *really obviously* has nothing to with the workers’ movement, so their position is *particularly* psychotic.

    And didn’t Trotsky write that those who were fighting fascism (or it’s equivalent today) were well within their rights to get weapons from the devil himself if need be? I’m opposed to NATO bombing but I’ll hardly complain if the big capitalist powers decide to send heavy weapons to the YPG or PKK, etc. I simply demand that there be no strings attached (there surely would be).

  14. Wow! Some progress here.

    Now it’s been made clear to him that neither the Stop the War Coalition, or Galloway are opposed to the Kurdish resistance in Kobane, Coatesy has been forced to mine ‘Workers Vanguard’ to find “pro-Islamist” enemies on the left to slag off.
    Except of course, the Sparts are no more “Islamist” than he is!

    However, their article is completely wrong and this is where it really goes off the rails:-
    “Then in early October Washington decided to make a stand in Kobani, with the YPG offering its services.”

    Whereas, it was the YPG that made a stand, because they were facing a massacre.
    While Kerry and the US military didn’t particularly care, because they’re more interested in the oil.
    Then the script was re-written by the international campaign in support of Kobane, which was mainly led by the left.

    Sectarian purists might criticise the YPG for working with the US air force.
    But there is scarcely a revolutionary movement in history which hasn’t formed a tactical military alliance with an imperialist power at some point.

    The real question is what politics are they fighting for and will they prevail?

    Ensuring their dependency on weapons and aid from the Kurdish regional government (KRG) in Iraq might force the PYD-YPG into a strategic alliance with imperialism.
    There are elements in the American Enterprise Institute lobbying for the PKK to be legalised, in order to integrate the Kurdish left into such an alliance.
    (Michael Rubin, who writes on Kurdishquestion.com being one example)
    The sticking point is Turkey, where powerful forces in the state are opposed to further Kurdish autonomy.

    There are also political differences between the PYD and Barzani’s KDP.
    The PYD are demanding that the cantons in Rojava are recognised before setting up a joint command with the KDP and the Iraqi Peshmerga.

    “The KDP must not miss the strategic opportunities which history has placed into the hands of the Kurds, and must turn away from the anti-PYD policies that it has forced onto Rojava as part of Turkey’s anti-Kurdish paradigm. It must recognize the cantons, and must cease from being the obstacle to the Kurdish National Congress. This is to say that the call of history is for unity.”


    The question is, Unity around what programme?
    Setting up a radical commune in Rojava can’t win the wider war in Syria and Iraq.
    If there is to be a solution, then a programme is needed for the whole region.

    This will need to deal with the needs of workers and small farmers in Turkey and Syria, with the rights of the ethnic and religious minorities and women and with how the proceeds of its oil resources will be distributed.

    The programme of the PYD-PKK goes some way to meeting this.
    If implemented in full, it would be a stimulus to further struggle.
    But, as in other such situations, it needs to go beyond the democratic programme towards socialism.

    Some of the issues involved are explored here:-


    November 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

  15. and so they counted angels on pins so long and so theoretical and so far removed from reality that they justified terror unleashed on other people as being for the greater good.


    November 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm

  16. The population of the world can be divided into three unequal parts: 1) The Spartacist League (vanishingly tiny), 2) People who can’t stand the Spartacist League (larger than the 1st part, but still minuscule), and 3) People who have never heard of the Spartacist League (almost 99.9 recurring percent of humanity). Whatever the SL says about anything is invariably a) stupid, and b) of no consequence. No Kurds will suffer as a result of a WV article, we can be sure.


    November 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

  17. @Francis: Aside from the “stupid” part, which is a matter of judgment in both cases, the same could be said with either “Alliance for Workers Liberty” or, even more, “Tendance Coatsey”, in place of “Spartacist League”

    Incidentally, the picture at the top of this page, of six young, serious-looking young women with military vests, combined with the caption, “Imperialist ‘adjuncts’ Says Spartacist League”, is a manipulative appeal to emotion rather than reason. Or is the editor or other creator of this page asserting that the picture AS SUCH provides evidence that those pictured, and the military force they are part of, COULD NOT BE ‘imperialist adjuncts’? Pointing this out, however, is NOT a defense of the assertion that they ARE ‘imperialist adjuncts’!

    Aaron Aarons

    November 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm

  18. Actually, the Sparts may be right.

    It is Marxist ABC that the most important struggle is against imperialism. So naturally any Left must support those who fight against the main armies of such for national self-determination. Supporting IS against USA (UK, KSA, etc)…

    (The fact that this will cause such head-shaking amongst present day Trots is just a symbol or how right they have gone.)

    I would be more sophisticated than the Sparts and say I support the Kurds (self-determination) against IS but then if that Kurdish fight just undermines IS ability to fight the much bigger enemy…

    One thing you have to give IS is their excellent ability to just obliterate imperialist imposed ‘borders’.

    But then it’s predictable which way the Brit Left is going to go when it’s ‘men in headdresses’ versus third-world young women with long dark hair with bandoliers over their tops and sporting guns.

    The main enemy is at home!


    November 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm

  19. “It is Marxist ABC that the most important struggle is against imperialism”

    So what, Southpawwatsit. There are other ‘struggles’.

    I am not aware that IS are fighting against imperialism, they are fighting for a reactionary muslim state.

    i’m not even sure that the cliched posture “It is Marxist ABC that the most important struggle is against imperialism” is always true. Abstractly it is true, but of course it has nothing to say about everyday anti-humanism. Would you support the Khmer Rouge?


    November 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm

  20. […] Coupling Liebknecht’s axiom with the acceptance of the unipolarity of imperialism leads to lesser evilist thinking: “If, as an American, my enemy is my ruling class, then it’s good if the Russian ruling class hurts my ruling class. If Russians of the subaltern sort get fed up with their government’s participation in wars in the Ukraine and Syria and form an anti-war movement that leads to decline in Russian influence there, then Ukraine will join NATO and turn away from Russian/SCO protectionist capitalism and Syria will undergo regime change, and that’s what my enemies at home want so that’s bad.” The moment you accept this lesser evilism, you begin to look to the Russian ruling elites as your friends instead of the common people of Russia. Taken to its extreme, this “hardcore” tendency to make saviors out of perceived foreign enemies can lead to even more cringeworthy iterations than “pro-Russian anti-imperialism”. Some would-be leftists in the West apply the same faulty way of thinking to extend “critical support” to ISIS as an enemy of US imperialism [X]. […]

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