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A Response to Rojava: An anarchosyndicalist perspective

By Hüseyin Civan (from DAF) - November 3, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The effects of social revolutions are not limited by the effect of struggle against political and economical powers in the geographical region where the revolution happens. It's important to see their effect on other different regions along with the intellectual and practical changes this effect brings. Being talked about with Kobanê Resistance ,Rojava Revolution gets more important now to see this effect more clearly.

The reaction and attack of the state and capitalism against what's happening in Rojava, is expected at this point. However, we need to turn our face to the internal debates in social opposition at the same time.

It's necessary to emphasize that such debates are an important resort for understanding what the effect of Rojava is. Since the start of this process, anarchist comrades' behaviors towards understanding Rojava and taking up with the resistance has been quite important for remembering the international solidarity, which we aren't familiar to see in such an organized manner. Again we have experienced that solidarity is our greatest weapon.

This manner of solidarity that was created between anarchists inevitably made the resistance in Kobanê a headline especially among anarchists all around the world.

The paper "Rojava: An anarcho-syndicalist point of view" which was published on several different sites is one of the reflections of this headline. This evaluation of the paper especially aims to correct information about Rojava Revolution and Kobanê Resistance, instead of pointing out positive and negative sides of the paper and making a simple criticism.

Considering different comments may form with the different perspectives of anarchist organizations in different geographical regions; I focused the criticism of paper on the matter of incomplete evaluation of Kurdish freedom struggle and Rojava Revolution. Political criticism against a community which is in a life or death struggle under war conditions can't be made ignoring this condition. Even so if said criticism has certain prejudices and was formed with sharp generalization. And of course, if a huge people's movement is evaluated with a degrading manner...

An Anarchist Communist Reply to ‘Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective’

Anarkismo Editors Group - YouTube, November 1, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Web Editor's Note: The IWW EUC did not repost the article, from the WSA publication Ideas and Action, to which this article responds initially; therefore following article is posted in interest of discussion:

Note from the Original Article: This text is a response to the article Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective by K. B., recently published on the Ideas and Action website of the North America-based Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA). In the article, there is an attack on the Rojava revolution in the Middle East, an event in which the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has played a key role.

This response is not published in bad faith or with ill intentions towards the writer or their organisation but, rather, in order to clarify and share our thinking regards the question of anarchist support both for national liberation movements and what is, for us, a very important and inspiring struggle playing out in the Middle East. The aim is to have a frank, and comradely, debate that takes us all forward.

This text is a response to the article Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective by K. B., recently published on the Ideas and Action website of the North America-based Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA). In the article, there is an attack on the Rojava revolution in the Middle East, an event in which the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has played a key role. This response is not published in bad faith or with ill intentions towards the writer or their organisation but, rather, in order to clarify and share our thinking regards the question of anarchist support both for national liberation movements and what is, for us, a very important and inspiring struggle playing out in the Middle East. The aim is to have a frank, and comradely, debate that takes us all forward.

Western blind spot: the Kurds' war against Islamic State in Syria

By Derek Wall  - Open Democracy, September 29, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A victory for the Kurds and their allies in Syria would be a victory for all who seek a future dictated by neither fundamentalists nor imperialists, writes Derek Wall. Is that why NATO members' have taken no effective action to help Syria's Kurds resist Islamic State - even as Kobane is set to fall, and with 160,000 Kurdish refugees trapped at the Turkish border?

The current narrative from Cameron and Obama is simple: the head-chopping Islamic State is a threat to all of humanity, so western forces need to return to the Middle East.

Yet this narrative is far from supported by the empirical evidence. Non-existent weapons of mass destruction and non-existent Islamic fundamentalist jihadists were used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by George Bush and Tony Blair.

Iraq was transformed from secular totalitarianism to chaos: in turn, chaos and opposition to occupation seeded a jihadist movement.

Western support for opponents of Assad in Syria gave the so-called 'Islamic State' an opportunity to take territory. ISIS was able to seize huge quantities of heavy weaponry supplied by the USA and its allies.

Thus, if US intervention has created or at least massively accelerated the growth of a monster, critics argue that more intervention will no doubt provide the Islamic State with more weapons, more support and more chaos on which to thrive.

Soma Mine was Death Trap, Report Shows

IndustriALL Global Union - Mining.Com, October 2, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A scathing official report into the Soma mining disaster in Turkey has revealed a catalogue of negligent practices and a complete disregard for worker safety. The comprehensive analysis shows warning sensors were ignored, safety reports fabricated and ventilation systems faulty. Three hundred and one miners were killed in the tragedy in May.

The much-anticipated 126-page expert report, commissioned by the Turkish public prosecutor, clearly states the catastrophe was preventable. While eight high-level managers of the mine’s operating company have already been arrested in connection with the tragedy, the report points the finger of blame at almost everyone involved in the mine, including ministry bureaucrats, with the exception of the miners themselves. “The only innocent group is the workers,” says the report.

The Soma mine is owned by a state-owned company Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKI) and operated by a private company, Soma Kömür İşletmeleri A.Ş.

TURKEY: Construction Workers Riot Against Poor Labor Conditions

From Revolution News - September 8, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

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A group of construction workers have launched a protest over poor labor conditions in Istanbul’s Halkalı neighborhood, halting their work and blocking a busy highway. Workers said many of them had health issues due to the inhumane working conditions. They also said they couldn’t receive wages regularly and added that their meal contained parasites and worms. The workers brandished signs and shouted slogans demanding the management’s resignation. Some angry laborers also set various construction materials on fire, partially blocking traffic in the outer western suburb. Riot police were deployed to the area as were firetrucks, which extinguished the blaze. The protests reportedly lasted for around three hours.<

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The working conditions of construction workers in hundreds of job sites in Istanbul have come under the spotlight after the September 6 disaster that cost 10 workers their lives. Officials from the construction company responsible for the field, Torunlar, rejected all accusations and even placed blame on the workers, prompting further anger. Worker unions and critics have repeatedly stressed that most employees in Turkey were made to work and live under unhealthy conditions and that the government is most responsible for this.

"If Gezi never happened, the anger at mass murder at Soma could not have burst forth from the people"

An Interview with IWW member Yusuf Cemel - Libcom.Org, May 20, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

1) Can you describe the general atmosphere in Turkey at the moment? Where do you see the protests going from here? Any predictions for what the summer might hold?

The protests are going on. I just came from one of them. Remarkably the cops didn't attack us this time around.

But I’m sure the government is preparing a political attack on us, because Soma unveiled the AKP’s real face to people who are workers, people who voted for the AKP: the AKP is a rich people’s party. The AKP is collaborating with the bosses against workers. The AKP is covering and helping all bosses.

You can’t believe what they did. People in Soma people hissed and protested at Tayyip’s words. Because he said that the people who protest him are bad-mannered and presumptuous. Then a lot of the people of Soma started to protest him. Then the despot beat someone in a supermarket while saying “Why are you running away, İsraeli semen?” You can watch it here. The AKP’s spokesman denied these words. But we know what we heard. After that the bodyguards attacked this guy.

But now, the guy who was beaten by Tayyip has started to say “He was helping me”.* Can you understand the fear? Can you understand pressure on this guy? Maybe they offered to bribe him while they were threatening him? This is not a dictatorship. This is a regime becoming despotic. An under-secretary of the despot kicked a miner’s relative. I could tell you a lot more about the disgusting affairs during Soma.

The government dispatched some Islamic dervishes into Soma. They told people in Soma that they shouldn’t riot and they should obey the government. You know Marx said “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” This is exactly what’s happening here.

Now, we are trying to expose the AKP’s behaviour to the workers who voted for them. But the demonstrations are not useful for this purpose. We need different facilities. Such as mass strikes, such as a self-organized workers’ movement etc.

Coal's Death Tally Goes Far Beyond Turkish Mine

By Chris Williams - System Change not Climate Change and Socialist Worker, May 19, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Think about the last time you got to the top of a mountain one mile high. Now think about descending that distance below the surface of the earth, foot by dark foot, far below all life, light or oxygen. You go down there to dig.

What you’re digging for, deep in the hot, fetid, bowels of the earth, is carbonized life forms, millions of years in the making, turned to a type of rock that ignites and burns; one that your prime minister and energy analysts tell you will help the economic future of your country.

But you don’t go there primarily to dig or because it’s going to expand the economy. It’s much more personal than that—and much less voluntary. You go there because you have to; because it’s how you survive. Or, in the twisted parlance of the day, in a country where mining deaths are a regular occurrence, it’s how you “make a living.” Digging is just something you do as a means to another end.

How else would there be over 92,000 people from your country, ready to make that descent every day? Knowingly entering such an alien, inherently dangerous environment, where invisible, odorless, colorless, poisonous and explosive gases lurk? Where death and injury are a constant risk, in a country where the death rate among miners is higher than in China; a country where, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, miners suffered over 13,000 injuries in 2013 alone.

The death toll from Turkey’s latest horrifying mining catastrophe, one of the worst industrial tragedies in recent world history, has risen above 300—all human beings who were there to “make a living.” The disaster affects every single one of the 100,000 residents of the nearby town of Soma—from which many of the miners hail and where coal mining is all there is left after neoliberal policies devastated agriculture and other aspects of the local economy.

In the face of such all-encompassing and sudden calamity befalling a community, there are certain responses one could expect from any member of the human species.

The first is to express the most basic of human emotions: sympathy, empathy and deep sadness for the tragic loss of life. To his eternal shame, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP, by its initials in Turkish), which is heavily connected to private mining interests, couldn’t even manage that.

Rather than offering his heartfelt condolences to the injured and their relatives, friends and comrades, desperately searching for glimmers of hope in the darkness, and news of their loved ones, he despicably minimized the horrifying loss of life by comparison to century and a half-old mining disasters in Britain and claimed “these accidents are usual.” There’s simply no excuse one can conjure for such cold-hearted contempt for the working people of Turkey. Particularly as Erdoğan was reiterating a similarly callous sentiment from 2010, after 30 miners lost their lives in an explosion in a mine near Zonguldak city: “Death is the destiny of the miners”.

Turkish mine disaster: Unions Take Strike Action, Blaming ‘Murderous’ Lack of Safety and Privatisation

By John Millington - Red Pepper, May 15, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Turkish trade unions staged a one day strike on Thursday (May 15) in protest at the Soma mine disaster which has left over 200 dead. An as yet unexplained explosion took the lives of 246 miners and around 700 may still be trapped underground.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the area but had his car attacked as hundreds of protesters and angry relatives besieged his car. Unions in Turkey have put the blame for the disaster at the feet of the mine owners and the government for privatising the industry, labelling them “murderers.”

The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions in Turkey who took part in the one day stoppage called on people to wear black and demand answers. “It is a workplace murder, not an industrial accident,” a statement read. “Hundreds of our brothers working in Soma mines have been forced to work in inhuman production process in order to make maximum profit since the matter of promoting workers’ health and security measures are considered in accordance with the pros and cons of expenditures. It means they have been left for dead since the beginning.”

The Public Workers Confederation told the BBC: “Those who pursue privatisation… policies, who threaten workers’ lives to reduce cost… are the culprits of the Soma massacre and they must be held accountable.” Global union INDUSTRIALL demanded the government comply with basic International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards on health and safety to prevent further deaths in the future. “We once again call upon the political authorities to take the lives of mineworkers seriously and to place it above profit,” a statement read.

And the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), representing 90 million workers across the world, denounced the Turkish government and a “murderous lack of safety measures” leading to the deaths. They said: “The WFTU denounces the Government of Turkey and the companies exploiting the mines for their murderous lack of safety measures and demands the end of privatization of the people’s wealth, the natural resources, the modernization of the technology used in the mines, the immediate implementation of safety controls and the application of all necessary measures in all mines to protect the lives of the working people.

“The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its condolences to the families and the loved ones of the victims and demands the immediate full compensation of the victims’ families and the injured workers.”

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