Tag Archives: Anarchism

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.

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


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I consider Anarchism the most beautiful and practical philosophy that has yet been thought of in its application to individual expression and the relation it establishes between the individual and society. Moreover, I am certain that Anarchism is too vital and too close to human nature to ever die.

Source: Anarchism – Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment

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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Revolution



First LGBT Unit ‘Created to Fight ISIS’ in Syria. Its Name? The Queer Insurrection

LGBT supporters are fighting back against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on the Syrian battlefield after three years of persecution in which their community suffered stonings, executions from rooftops and a deadly shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

A group of international volunteers fighting with Kurdish forces against ISIS in northern Syria have declared the first LGBT military unit created to battle the jihadi group. Its name? The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA. The International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), an anarchist movement, announced the group’s creation Monday.

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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in Middle East


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Anarchists Fill Services Void Left by Faltering Greek Governance 

It may seem paradoxical, but Greece’s anarchists are organizing like never before.Seven years of austerity policies and a more recent refugee crisis have left the government with fewer and fewer resources, offering citizens less and less. Many have lost faith. Some who never had faith in the first place are taking matters into their own hands, to the chagrin of the authorities.Tasos Sagris, a 45-year-old member of the Greek anarchist group Void Network and of the “self-organized” Embros theater group, has been at the forefront of a resurgence of social activism that is effectively filling a void in governance.“People trust us because we don’t use the people as customers or voters,” Mr. Sagris said. “Every failure of the system proves the idea of the anarchists to be true.”


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American Anarchists Join YPG in Syria Fighting ISIS, Islamic State

On the morning of his first battle, Brace Belden was underdressed for the cold and shaky from a bout of traveler’s diarrhea. His Kurdish militia unit was camped out on the front line with ISIS, 30 miles from Raqqa, in Syria. Fighters stood around campfires of gas-soaked trash, boiling water for tea, their only comfort besides tobacco. “I’ve never been so dirty in my life,” Belden recalls. When the time came to roll out, he loaded a clip into his Kalashnikov and climbed into a makeshift battlewagon, a patchwork of tank and truck parts armored with scrap metal and poured concrete. Belden took a selfie inside its rusty cabin and posted it online with the caption “Wow this freakin taxi stinks.”

Source: American Anarchists Join YPG in Syria Fighting ISIS, Islamic State – Rolling Stone

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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Middle East, Revolution


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Between Rojava and Washington

The Syrian civil war has evolved into a proxy war involving an array of both regional and global powers. On one side, Iran, Russia, and now China have acted to stabilize the government of Bashar al-Assad, while on the other, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Turkey, and the United States are backing anti-Assad rebels, in an effort to affect regime change in Damascus.

Yet the Syrian tragedy — which in five years of fighting has cost nearly half a million lives and provoked the largest refugee crisis since World War II — has brought to the fore forces that have muddied the waters for those powers seeking to oust the Assad government. While the West and its regional allies have sought to back what they describe as “moderate” rebels, the most effective military resistance to the Assad regime has come from a collection of radical Islamist groups. These have included Al-Qaeda’s local franchise, al-Jabhat al-Nusra, which recently rebranded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an organization which seeks to impose a radical version of Islam on not only Syria but the entire Muslim world.

Source: Between Rojava and Washington

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Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Middle East, Revolution


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A New Generation of Steely-Gazed Anarcho-Communists Head Off to War — in Syria

Billymark’s is the most working-class bar in Chelsea, if not all of Manhattan. On a Thursday afternoon in early March, union guys play darts as both TVs air a CBS report on the early days of Syria’s fragile cease-fire. A few minutes after five, Guy, 22, and Hristo, 23, walk in and we grab a booth next to a group of day-drunk FIT students. The minute we sit down, it’s clear something is different. The two men are vibrating with excitement.”You need a punch?” Guy asks me, as he always does at such meetings. He’s asking if I need his dime-size tool to pop the SIM card out of my iPhone — to prevent it from being surreptitiously turned into a microphone. He passes it across the table, and we all remove our SIM cards in silence. Then we turn our phones off — can’t be too careful.”So the first thing we should tell you is we bought our tickets,” Guy says. As usual for them, though, there’s been a hiccup. The bank has put a hold on Hristo’s credit card, suspecting fraudulent activity, so technically they have only one ticket. But after a year of planning, the moment is almost here.

Source: A New Generation of Steely-Gazed Anarcho-Communists Head Off to War — in Syria | Village Voice

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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Middle East, North America, Revolution


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Confederal Kurdistan: the ‘commune of communes’

Back in the 1990s Murray Bookchin, exponent of libertarian municipalism, articulated the need to develop a “new politics”, which is “unflinchingly public, electoral on a municipal basis, confederal in its vision and revolutionary in its character”.

The creation of a free “commune of communes” – something anarchists, especially Bakunin and Kropotkin, have fought for over the past two centuries – has always been envisioned as an ultimate manifestation of anarcho-communism, hence of a “new politics” based on libertarian municipalism.

Today, more than two decades later and in a completely different geography, the Kurds in Rojava/Northern Syria and Bakûr/Southeastern Turkey have become the new avant-gardes of the “commune of communes”.

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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Middle East, Revolution


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Lessons from Kumamoto

The tragedy of the Kumamoto earthquakes has been covered a lot by now (including by myself in various radio and newspapers pieces). What do I personally have left to say about it? First a simple thing then a cute thing, then a ‘serious’ thing. Try not to change channels after the cute one, huh?

First, and very simply – I wish it would stop. The earthquakes are decreasing, but we are already on day 6 as I write this and there have been six or seven strong level 4 quakes tonight. In fact, just to prove the point, another hit right now – just as I typed the word ‘we’ in the previous sentence. About two hours ago there was a quake strong enough to get me up and running for the doorway (again!). So, mother nature – enough already. Come on! We here in Kumamoto, both Japanese and foreigners need to get on with our lives. Plus I haven’t a cup of tea with milk in it for 5 days now. I’m British – i need my milk tea. But there is simply no milk to be had, or bread, or a range of very normal ordinary food stuffs. I’ve still got no gas, like around 200,000 homes here. But at least I have water. Unlike around 200,000 homes here. But I’m already straying into the ‘serious’. Seems that I can’t help it.

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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Asia, Revolution


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George Orwell in Spain: Where the Writer Fully Found His Voice

When I set out a few years ago to write a book about Americans in the Spanish Civil War, one of the pleasures I looked forward to was the excuse to re-read, for perhaps the fourth or fifth time, one of my favorite books, George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. His memoir of fighting in that war is one of the great nonfiction works of the 20th century. It vividly evokes the mixture of grime, boredom, and terror of his combat experience, and is a bravely honest account — something his readers on the left absolutely did not want to hear when Homage was published in 1938 — of the bitter factional fighting within the Spanish Republic.


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