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Category Archives: Revolution

Syria in Seattle: Commune Defies the U.S. Regime

The marriage of post-Lock-down and George Floyd protests has nurtured a rough beast that is still immune to any form of civilized debate in the U.S.: the Seattle Commune.

So what really is the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone cum People’s Republic all about?

Are the communards mere useful idiots? Is this a refined Occupy Wall Street experiment? Could it survive, logistically, and be replicated in NYC, L.A. and D.C.?

An outraged President Trump has described it as a plot by “domestic terrorists” in a city “run by radical left Democrats.” He called for “LAW & ORDER” (in caps, according to his Tweetology).

Shades of Syria in Seattle are visibly discernable. Under this scenario, the Commune is a remixed Idlib fighting “regime counter-insurgency outposts” (in communard terminology).

For most American Right factions, Antifa equals ISIS. George Floyd is regarded not only as a “communist Antifa martyr,” as an intel operative told me, but a mere “criminal and drug dealer.”

So when will “regime forces” strike — in this case without Russian air cover? After all, as dictated by Secretary Esper, it’s up to the Pentagon to “dominate the battlefield.”

But we’ve got a problem. Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) is supported by the city of Seattle — run by a Democrat — which is supported by the governor of Washington State, also a Democrat.

There’s no chance Washington State will use the National Guard to crush CHAZ. And Trump cannot take over Washington State National Guard without the approval of the governor, even though he has tweeted, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game.”

It’s enlightening to observe that “counter-insurgency” can be applied in Afghanistan and the tribal areas; to occupy Iraq; to protect the looting of oil/gas in eastern Syria. But not at home. Even if 58% of Americans would actually support it: for many among them, the Commune may be as bad if not worse than looting.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Syria-in-Seattle-Commune-by-Pepe-Escobar-Antifa_Black-Lives-Matter_FBI_Occupy-Seattle-200613-865.html

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2020 in North America, Revolution

 

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How a decade of disillusion gave way to people power

As I write, immense protests are taking place in India against the new anti-Muslim law and Hong Kong activists, who have been protesting for their own rights for months, stand in solidarity with the Uighur people being persecuted on the other side of China. The decade will end in protest. But who can look back a decade when a week in Trump time is like a century, and hardly anyone can remember the overstuffed chaos of the month before, let alone 2017, to say nothing of the remote era before he was president?

Seriously, people keep forgetting what came before, which is why they fail to recognise patterns, consequences and the real power of movements. For instance, the wave of feminism called #MeToo is often treated as a sudden eruption out of nowhere when in fact it came out of a very specific somewhere: a ferocious upsurge of global feminism over the past decade that had been spawning news, protests, hashtags and action about feminism before #MeToo in 2017. That upsurge was itself the culmination of feminist analysis and action for decades before. All that happened in October of 2017 was that movie stars got involved.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/29/decade-disillusionment-global-protests

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2020 in Revolution

 

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The Confederation as the Commune of Communes

In 1936, at the apex of the Spanish Revolution, hundreds of Spanish villages, towns, neighborhoods and factories had organized themselves into collectives in which local residents made decisions about labor and the distribution of resources.

For a splendid few months, these workers’ and peasant assemblies and their committees took charge of nearly one third of Spain. They help to organize every aspect of political and social life: agricultural production, local administration, munitions and how to feed their people.

While each community had a great degree of autonomy, they also cooperated informally, sometimes holding general assemblies that covered more than 1,000 families across 15,000 square kilometers.

Like the French revolutionaries of the sectional assemblies of 1793 and the Paris Commune of 1871, which called for a nationwide Commune of Communes, the fiercely democratic anarchists of Spain understood that to maintain their autonomy, any decision-making body had to be directly accountable to the communities from which they derived their power.

https://roarmag.org/magazine/confederation-commune-of-communes/

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2019 in Revolution

 

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Report from Rojava: What the West Owes its Best Ally Against ISIS

As the de facto chief negotiator of the liberated region called the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Ilham Ahmed, the Kurdish co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, has much on her mind. In recent months, she has traveled in the US and Europe, negotiating the future of a domain that is home to an estimated 5 to 6 million people, including a substantial portion of Syria’s 6.2 million internally displaced persons, and, now in addition, thousands of families implicated in Islamic State terrorism who are today living in refugee camps. As Ahmed continues delicate talks with the world’s superpowers over the status of this territory, its future is, to a certain degree, in her hands.

With determination in her eyes and a furrowed brow, her face bears witness to this formidable responsibility. But riding in her black armored utility vehicle through plains lush with green spring grasses and grazing sheep, south toward Deir al-Zour province for the official announcement last month of the defeat of ISIS’ so-called caliphate, Ahmed allowed herself a moment to muse about a lesson from history. In the year 612 BCE, she told me, the Guti, ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia whom Kurds sometimes identify as forebears, banded together with the Medes and other tribes to throw off their oppressor, the Assyrian King Zuhak.

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/04/04/report-from-rojava-what-the-west-owes-its-best-ally-against-isis/

 
 

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Stand with Rojava, oppose Turkey’s war

The threat of yet another war looms over northern Syria once again. Turkish troops and their Islamist mercenaries are massing on the borders of the self-governed Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, the predominantly Kurdish regions also known as Rojava. They are gearing up for an invasion that unavoidably will cause many deaths and the displacement of tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The situation on the ground is extremely tense. The populations of Manbij and Kobane have formed human shields in protest against the Turkish invasion and have been readying themselves for war. The People’s and Women’s Defense Units (YPG and YPJ) as well as local militias are not just defending their lands, but they are also defending hope. Hope for a better life that extends far beyond northern Syria. A hope that has inspired many internationalists from all over the world to come to Rojava and join the revolutionary struggle.

This coming weekend they are calling for global days of action to speak up and protest against the threat of a Turkish invasion.

https://roarmag.org/essays/stand-rojava-oppose-turkeys-war/
 
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Posted by on February 22, 2019 in Middle East, Revolution

 

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The idea of a borderless world

As the 21st century unfolds, a global renewed desire from both citizens and their respective states for a tighter control of mobility is evident. Wherever we look, the drive is towards enclosure, or in any case an intensification of the dialects of territorialisation and deterritorialisation, a dialectics of opening and closure. The belief that the world would be safer, if only risks, ambiguity and uncertainty could be controlled and if only identities could be fixed once and for all, is gaining momentum. Risk management techniques are increasingly becoming a means to govern mobilities. In particular the extent to which the biometric border is extending into multiple realms, not only of social life, but also of the body, the body that is not mine.

I would like to pursue this line of argument concerning the redistribution of the earth. Not only through the control of bodies but the control of movement itself and its corollary, speed, which is indeed what migration control policies are all about: controlling bodies, but also movement. More specifically I would like to see whether and under what conditions we could re-engineer the utopia of a borderless world, and by extension, a borderless Africa, since, as far as I know, Africa is part of the world. And the world is part of Africa.

https://africasacountry.com/2018/11/the-idea-of-a-borderless-world/

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Africa, Revolution

 

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The first commune in Kobane: construction and challenges

During the Syrian revolution in 2011, the PYD (Democratic Union Party) party– which has strong support among the Kurds– took the third way. This meant supporting neither the Assad regime nor the opposition, for both have had the same mentality by denying the Kurdish right to self- determination.

The ideological project of the PYD is Democratic Confederalism –a project that was advanced by Ocalan, a political theorist and ideological leader of the PKK– which aims to empower people socially and politically at the grassroots level in popular communes, assemblies, and councils. In this project, feminism, ecology, and radical democracy are celebrated. This project proposes itself as an alternative to the nation-state.

Busy with suppressing the armed groups– under the name of the Free Syrian Army– the Assad regime withdrew its forces from the Kurdish cities in 2012. The Kurdish cities, in north Syria, were run by the Kurdish freedom movement.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/cihad-hammy/first-commune-in-kobane-construction-and-challenges

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2018 in Middle East, Revolution

 

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Dark Victory in Raqqa

In August, in the living room of an abandoned house on the western outskirts of Raqqa, Syria, I met with Rojda Felat, one of four Kurdish commanders overseeing the campaign to wrest the city from the Islamic State, or ISIS. Wearing fatigues, a beaded head scarf, and turquoise socks, Felat sat cross-legged on the floor, eating a homemade meal that her mother had sent in a plastic container from Qamishli, four hours away, in the northeast of the country. In the kitchen, two young female fighters washed dishes and glanced surreptitiously at Felat with bright-eyed adoration. At forty years old, she affects a passive, stoic expression that transforms startlingly into one of unguarded felicity when she is amused—something that, while we spoke, happened often. She had reason to be in good spirits. Her forces had recently completed an encirclement of Raqqa, and victory appeared to be imminent.

The Raqqa offensive, which concluded in mid-October, marks the culmination of a dramatic rise both for Felat and for the Kurdish political movement to which she belongs. For decades, the Syrian state—officially, the Syrian Arab Republic—was hostile to Kurds. Tens of thousands were stripped of citizenship or dispossessed of land; cultural and political gatherings were banned; schools were forbidden to teach the Kurdish language.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/06/dark-victory-in-raqqa

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Middle East, Revolution

 

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VIDEO: How to Resist Trump’s Shock Doctrine

Shock. It’s a word that has come up a lot since November— for obvious reasons.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about shock. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” an investigation that spanned four decades from Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in 1970s Chile to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

I noticed a brutal and recurring tactic by right wing governments. After a shocking event – a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster – exploit the public’s disorientation. Suspend democracy. Push through radical “free market” policies that enrich the 1 percent at the expense of the poor and middle class.

The administration is creating chaos. Daily. Of course many of the scandals are the result of the president’s ignorance and blunders – not some nefarious strategy.

But there is also no doubt that some savvy people around Trump are using the daily shocks as cover to advance wildly pro-corporate policies that bear little resemblance to what Trump pledged on the campaign trail.

And the worst part? This is likely just the warm up.

We need to focus on what this Administration will do when it has a major external shock to exploit.

Maybe it will be an economic crash like 2008. Maybe a natural disaster like Sandy. Or maybe it will be a horrific terrorist event like Manchester or Paris in 2015.

Any one such crisis could redraw the political map overnight, giving Trump and his crew free rein to ram through their most extreme ideas.

But here’s one thing I’ve learned over two decades of reporting from dozens of crises around the world: these tactics can be resisted.

And for your convenience, I’ve tried to boil it down to a 5-step plan.

http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2017/06/video-how-resist-trumps-shock-doctrine

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in North America, Revolution

 

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A new shock doctrine: in a world of crisis, morality can still win

We live in frightening times. From heads of state tweeting threats of nuclear annihilation, to whole regions rocked by climate chaos, to thousands of migrants drowning off the coasts of Europe, to openly racist parties gaining ground: it feels like there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about our collective future.

To take one example, the Caribbean and southern United States are in the midst of an unprecedented hurricane season, pounded by storm after storm. Puerto Rico – hit by Irma, then Maria – is entirely without power and could be for months, its water and communication systems severely compromised. But just as during Hurricane Katrina, the cavalry is missing in action. Donald Trump is too busy trying to get black athletes fired for daring to shine a spotlight on racist violence. A real federal aid package for Puerto Rico has not yet been announced. And the vultures are circling: the business press reports that the only way for Puerto Rico to get the lights back on is to sell off its electricity utility.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/28/labour-shock-doctrine-moral-strategy-naomi-klein

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Revolution

 

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