Whipping up a storm of chauvinist support, fascist-in-chief Erdogan is laying the ideological and political groundwork for a new Rojava campaign. Socialists in Turkey must take practical steps to prevent workers being swept up in the winds of war.
Erdogan’s regime has declared its intention to invade Rojava. The warmongers of his fascist court, from spokesman to minister, journalist to adviser, general to grunt, appear to be competing with each other for the biggest colonial appetite – declaring the targets of the new invasion to be Til Rifat and the Manbij line.
Turkish colonialism maintains occupations in Rojava and Bakur, the west and northern regions of Kurdistan. In Bashur, the south – relying on the approval of US and EU imperialists, the cooperation of the Barzanis and silence of Baghdad – the regime has added counterinsurgent assassinations in Sulaymaniyah to its rap sheet in Shengal and Maxmur. It takes advantage of imperialist conflicts of interest between the US, Russia and others across the region, and organises Islamist gangs to expand occupied areas through demographic manipulation.
Erdogan intends this invasion to be a new link on the chain around the neck of Kurdish national liberation – which he has rightly identified as the main political and military force of the revolutionary-democratic resistance against fascism. The colonial chief cannot rest easy on his throne until the Kurdish movement is destroyed.
The move is an equally desperate attempt to slow the rapid disintegration of social and political support for the regime – which intends to convert a warlike mass psychology into political support for fascism’s domestic agenda, freeing up space to intensify the repression of HDP and boxing in the bourgeois opposition. The dirty colonial war in Kurdistan is therefore increasingly part of a “palace war” for the survival of Erdogan’s regime.
The heroic armed resistance against colonial campaigns in Kurdistan are therefore not limited to the struggle to defend Kurdish national-democratic positions; but a most vital part of the general antifascist front of the working class and oppressed against the Palace itself. While guerilla and revolutionary forces in Rojava and the Medya Defence Zones are resisting occupation with their lives, they are also actively preparing the collapse of fascism in Turkey. In short, guerrilla-led Kurdish forces are the chief ally of the Turkish working class and oppressed against their oppressors – let’s recall here the political shockwaves resulting from the defeat of fascist occupation forces at Garê at the hands of Kurdish guerilla resistance, and the morale boost it gave antifascist masses across Turkey and North Kurdistan.
As to the prospect of a new invasion, it must first be accepted that dirty backroom deals between Turkey and the various imperialist concerns will ensure there is little international resistance. Critical responsibility for repelling the attack will therefore again fall to the leaders of our own revolutionary and antifascist forces. Concretely, this must involve continuous political action, agitation and propaganda among Turkish and Kurdish workers against the attack, raising slogans of national resistance and freedom for Kurdistan and bringing the masses to the streets: in short, fomenting highly visible mass expressions of the people’s opposition.
In Bakur, Kurdish youth must be attracted to and organised within the ranks of the struggle, and the siege of depoliticisation broken. These youth must be deliberately targeted according to their potential to become a leading dynamic in the fight against psychological warfare and state terror in countryside and city. In Turkey, the main focus of the revolutionary socialists must be on taking practical steps to prevent workers being swept up in racist, chauvinistic and warlike propaganda, paving their way to active opposition. Erdogan’s political and ideological groundwork for the campaign must be undermined at every turn.
The mainstream left and bourgeois opposition’s inability to take a clear stance against fascism’s colonial designs constitutes a crippling weakness of democratic movement in Turkey; a cowardice which leaves Turkish workers vulnerable to the snake oil of chauvinism, of which the dosage increases day-by-day. This situation calls for revolutionary socialists to position themselves as an icebreaker, pioneering real critical analysis of fascist policy and calling the workers to arms against colonial war. They must clearly oppose the failures in education and health to the limitless budget for war and occupation, and link the freedom of the peoples of Kurdistan to that of the Turkish workers themselves. Only by grasping this inseparable relationship, like that between fascism’s deprivation of democratic rights and humane living standards and its insatiable colonial aggression, can antifascists rally the masses to a real unified resistance.
Political conditions in Turkey and North Kurdistan and Turkey are difficult. Opposing colonialism means facing the harshest attacks and repressions of the regime – but the need is urgent, and the opportunities many and varied. From graffiti and leafleting in worker neighbourhoods to discussion forums on campus, from wildcat strikes to public demonstrations – bridges must be built between the political struggle in Turkey and national liberation in Kurdistan. That burden is the socialists’ to shoulder.