(Yürüyüş No.75, July 15, 2018)
NATIONALISM HAS BROUGHT NO PEOPLE TO LIBERATION AND IS A DEAD END!
NATIONALISM IS A BOURGEOIS IDEOLOGY AND WILL SEEK CONCILIATION WITH IMPERIALISM IN THE END
THE LIBERATION OF THE KURDISH PEOPLE COMES FROM JOINT ORGANISATION, JOINT STRUGGLE AND JOINT POWER!
On July 6 in Erbil, the foundations were laid for US imperialism’s largest chief consulate in the world. (Translator’s note: Erbil, Hewler in Kurdish, is the capital of northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.) The USA first appointed a representative to Erbil in 2007. This representation was raised to chief consular status and now, on the Erbil-Selahaddin road, a 200,000 square metre new chief consulate building is under construction.
An open-air ceremony was held to mark the foundations being laid of the largest US chief consulate in the world. Nechirvan Barzani, chair of the Iraqi Kurdish regional government, US ambassador to Baghdad Douglas Silliman and Erbil chief consul Ken Gross took part in the ceremony.
What does Erbil being “the largest chief consulate” show?
Speaking at the ceremony, Barzani gave an indication:
“Today we are very pleased with this project and hope this will be a beginning… This is a clear sign to the world that the USA wants to stay in Iraq. The USA wants to stay in Iraq and develop its relations. This is very important for our people, for Iraq and for the USA.” (Sharq al-Awsat, July 8, 2018)
Collaboration is pleased that the USA will be “permanent” in Iraq.
Construction will last four years, will cost 600 million dollars and cover a space equivalent to 28 football fields! Barzani describes the “importance” of this and adds:
“If we look at the USA’s relations with Kurdistan region and Iraq, there can be no doubt that these relations from our viewpoint gained in importance after 2003. But I want to recall that our relations with the USA began to develop after 1991, when we suffered great tragedy and became refugees en masse and the USA was one of the greatest forces serving our people… Since those days it created a no-fly zone… I want to recall to remind you that the USA supported us in our fight against Daesh. We could not have stopped Daesh without the help of the American army.”
The collaborator does not ask who nurtured and built up Daesh in the first place and turned it loose on the people of Iraq.
US and European imperialism prepared the space for Daesh to grow, then wanted to ignore this as they needed Daesh as an excuse to practise occupation of the region.
Because the Barzanis also have need of excuses to legitimise their own collaboration.
America establishes itself everywhere that has been “liberated” or “freed”!
Barzani declares that American imperialism, chief enemy of the world’s peoples, is the “protector and liberator of the Kurds”. Kurdish nationalism has on a number of occasions assigned this mission to forces other than itself. On a number of occasions they have expected to be liberated by them, they have made calls to “save us”. The price of these appeals has always been massacres, but collaboration continued this line.
Erbil had been “liberated” in 2003 with the US occupation of Iraq.
“Free Erbil” is now building the biggest US consulate in the world. Just like the US bases proliferating in Rojava…
On April 11, 2003, the second day of the US occupation of Baghdad, the tanks of American imperialism also occupied Iraqi Kurdistan, accompanied by the Barzani-Talabani forces.
The Kurdish nationalist press that follows the PKK line used this headline the next day:
“And Kirkuk belongs to the peoples!”
At the start of the article these lines could be read: “The Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian peoples, who for decade were repressed by the Ba’athist regime, have rebelled and they celebrated the liberation of Kirkuk from Saddam.”
The American occupation quickly spread to other areas of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Kurdish nationalist press came out with this headline on April 12: “Mosul also belongs to the peoples!”
The news continued that “after Kirkuk Mosul had also been the scene of popular uprising.”
Collaborationist nationalism clearly distorted the truth.
Kirkuk and Mosul were not in the hands of the people but in the hands of the USA. The whole world knew this. But they persisted to distort reality.
They announced in their statements that “Kirkuk, Mosul and other areas where the Kurdish people are settled have achieved freedom.”
We evaluated this situation at the time:
“When they talk of land where the Americans are in occupation and the American flag waved as being the ‘liberation’ of the Kurds, it is that they expect and want occupation by the Americans… Calling the USA’s occupation of and attack on Iraq the ‘Iraqi freedom operation’ is coarse demagogy. But to say that occupied land politically is liberated is to be more royalist than the king and to be more pro-American than the Americans.
The question is naked and obvious – can imperialism bring freedom? From the point of view of history and also Marxism-Leninism, the answer is obvious: NO!
A movement that answers ‘yes’ can make no claim to progress, democracy or nationalism. (American Empire, Nationalism And Democracy, page 68)
“More royalist than the king, more pro-American than the Americans,” – this attitude has continued from that day to this and has reached the point of BECOMING GROUND FORCES OF THE USA.
From The “Liberation” Of Mosul And Kirkuk To The Rojava “Revolution”: The Only Thing That Has Changed Is That Collaboration Has Deepened!
By seeing what happened in Iraq as “the victory of the Kurdish people and democratic forces”, Kurdish nationalists and other left forces are trying to legitimise the peoples of the world entering into the control of American imperialism.
The PKK removed the hammer and sickle from its flag at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, then declared dozens of cease-fires, made calls for “peace”, removed guerrillas from the country, in the name of “showing confidence in the state”, guerrilla groups called themselves peace groups and surrendered to the fascist state and during this entire process the blood of the Kurdish people flowed in streams and indeed continues to flow.
Starting from the 1990s, the process of peace, conciliation, liquidation and surrender in every period became a little more reactionary and right-wing, reaching the point of becoming a land army of the USA.
Together with the imperialist intervention in Syria, when Assad withdrew from Kurdish areas in the north of Syria the PKK declared first Kobane and then Rojava as a “REVOLUTION”.
But this “revolution” is the sort of revolution that Rojava now has 11 US and NATO bases that are known about, and moreover the region also has military forces of French and Italian imperialism present.
Certainly this situation did not just happen all of a sudden. A brief glance at history will show us how nationalism in Kurdistan step by step reached conciliation with imperialism on a continuous basis and reached the point of collaboration.
Nationalism Has Brought No People To Liberation And Is A Dead End!
Nationalism Is A Bourgeois Ideology And Will Seek Conciliation With Imperialism In The End!
Kurdish nationalism’s conformity, that is, its tendency to bow down to other forces, has shown itself in two particular ways over the past century or so:
1 – Placing trust in imperialist forces
2 – Fighting with some of the countries that divide and partition Kurdistan while relying on others
Any movement that does not trust in its own strength is open to being used. It tries to get a footing everywhere it sees as a “strength”. Nationalism is opportunist and can engage in collaboration with imperialism for quite small rewards; for nationalism does not have principles, rules or values or a vein of anti-imperialism. The Kurdish people have paid the price with massacres for this policy of relying on other forces.
Undoubtedly imperialism and its collaborationist government are on the one hand responsible for spilling the blood of the Kurdish people and for massacres. On the other hand, there are leaderships that don’t rely on the strength of their own people for liberation but on developing strategies that look for the internal contradictions of the ruling classes, seek conciliation and have a collaborationist line.
The History Of Nationalism Is A History Of Relying On Other Forces, Then Being Deceived, Being Used And Subjected To Massacres
Imperialism, especially since the First Imperialist War, has used Kurdish nationalist movements for its own interests. Especially in South Kurdistan either directly or through collaborationist governments, it disrespects and even murders the Kurds it has been able to manipulate; the Kurdish leaderships it manipulates are made to collaborate and are directed according to imperialism’s politics. There have been numerous examples of this in the history of South Kurdistan over a century.
In 1943, Kurds in the Barzan region of Iraq revolted, under the leadership of Mullah Mustafa Barzani. The Iraqi army was forced to abandon the Erbil and Behdinan areas. The rebellion lasted for two years.
How was it suppressed?
In 1945 it was suppressed by the BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE. Barzani and his peshmergas had to withdraw to Iran.
On January 13, 1946, with the support of the Soviet Union, the Kurdish Republic was proclaimed in the city of Mahabad. For a period, the Soviets who were fighting against the Nazis sought a force and supported Kurdish aspirations. But in December 1946 the Soviets withdrew from Azerbaijan (in Iran), Iran bloodily attacked the Mahabad Kurdish Republic and put an end to it. Once again, relying on external forces ended in defeat.
After the Mahabad Kurdish Republic was suppressed, Barzani and 500 of his fighters fought their way through to refuge in the USSR. They could not return to their homeland until 1958.
On July 14, 1958 in Iraq, Abd al-Karim Qasim staged a coup, overthrew the monarchy, proclaimed a Republic and was supported by all progressive forces. The Qasim government recognised the existence of the Kurdish people. The KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) was legalised. Mullah Mustafa Barzani returned from the Soviet Union.
But this democratic environment did not last long. When the Communists in particular made demands related to land revolution and against imperialism, the Qasim government reacted against them and became more reactionary. Previously the Communists had been declared illegal and repression against the Kurdish people began to intensify.
Mullah Mustafa Barzani went from Baghdad to Barzan. On September 13, 1961 planes bombed Barzan. The Kurdish people began to resist the attack.
The Qasim government was removed on February 8, 1963 by a Ba’athist coup. After Qasim was overthrown massacres continued and grew worse. On July 10, 1963 there was a major massacre of Kurdish people in Suleymaniya. The “legality” that had started with submissiveness towards Qasim ended with a massacre.
In the 1970s the Ba’athist government gradually began to take an anti-imperialist attitude. And it was at this point that the KDP began to develop collaboration with Iran and the USA against the Ba’athist government. This development of collaboration by Mullah Mustafa Barzani with Iran and the USA was the reason for distancing himself from progressive Arab and Iraqi forces.
While on the one hand Barzani developed relations with imperialism, counting on benefit from Iraq-Iran contradictions, pragmatic ties with Iran were created. Barzani put his trust in support from imperialism and the Shah Reza Pahlavi, and in 1974 he began to war on Saddam.
OK, What Was The Behaviour Of The USA? During the Iran-Iraq crisis the USA and other imperialists furnished Barzani with weapons and support, but they later abandoned Barzani and because of Barzani’s wrong policies in relation to Saddam when he was at his strongest, he could not get support from progressive and revolutionary Arab and Iraqi forces and suffered heavy defeats.
The USA had no intention of establishing an independent or even autonomous Kurdish state. It simply sought to wear down the Iraqi government for imperialist interests in the region and used the Kurds as a vehicle to do this.
In the meantime Mullah Mustafa Barzani died in the USA in 1976 and his place was taken by his son Masoud Barzani. Jalal Talabani broke with the KDP and set up his own organisation, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
But there was no change in the line of nationalism.
Indeed in South Kurdistan the Kurdish nationalist movement pursued the same unprincipled and opportunist behaviour in 1981 as the Iran-Iraq war started. It tried to benefit from the “opportunity” of Iranian support against the Saddam government. But this policy yielded no results. After the war between Iran and Iraq ended, both Iraq and Iran attacked Kurdish organisations on their own territory and carried out new massacres.
When the war ended Saddam’s government gained strength and carried out massacres to intimidate the Kurdish people completely. More than 40,000 Kurdish women, children and peshmerga were forced to seek refuge inside the borders of Turkey. Rather more fled to Iran. Imperialism did not react in any upright manner to this horror. Because in those days they needed Saddam against the Khomeini government in Iran. This is why they ignored Saddam’s massacres.
Nechirvan Barzani Said “The USA Served The Kurds” In 1991 – What Was The Reality?
In 1991, the Soviet Union was breaking up due to the revisionist politics and capitalist restoration began. The policy of imperialism in this period was preoccupied with turning the former Soviet countries into markets under its control.
It also did not neglect to make efforts to look legitimate. It continued its ideological attacks all over the world. Henceforth the world was “unipolar”. This was the period of “the global village and globalisation”. According to this understanding the whole world was a rose garden without thorns for imperialism. Imperialism started to interfere in countries and regions which had managed to stay independent in one form or another with the support of the socialist system.
The US attack on Iraq under the name of the “Gulf Crisis” in 1991 started this process.
US imperialism united all the imperialists behind it, besieged Iraq from the Gulf and subjected Iraq to heavy and destructive bombardment. The imperialists killed many thousands of people in Iraq and attacked both economic and military targets. After Iraq was dealt these severe blows, a “no-fly zone” was declared.
During this attack the decade of encirclement and embargos, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, including about 500,000 children. During this period US Secretary of State Albright was asked by a newspaper if the number of dead children from the embargo was “worth it”, and she replied that, yes, it was.
When Barzani, Talabani and the PKK assert, presenting the “no-fly zone” as evidence, that this was a period in which “Kurds were served”, this was actually a period marked by a major imperialist encirclement and massacre.
Imperialism besieged Iraq and from time to time bombarded it, making plans to turn South Kurdistan into a Kurdish state under its control. There was a collaborationist nationalism there it could make use of.
Barzani and Talabani totally abandoned any thoughts of national liberation struggle and an independent Kurdish state and took as their basic policy continuing their existence controlled by imperialism and enjoying its confidence. They surrendered entirely to imperialism, seeing it as their protector against Saddam. No national values or nationalism remained. Often they even fought each other for territory and their own interests.
Just as they had no concept of class struggle, they also turned their back on any kind of national struggle.
Imperialism Has Had Two Means For Implementing Counter-Revolution And Conciliation – Religion And Nationalism!
Imperialism has had no interest in the national liberation struggle of the Kurdish people or indeed any other peoples, or in their independence, and is not interested if thousands and tens of thousands are massacred. On the contrary, it opposes all movements that are independent of it. However, if it serves its needs it may appear to offer support. At another time it will not hesitate to crush them if this serves its interests.
In this period imperialism has supported nationalism and religion everywhere.
“In the Balkans and the former USSR, nationalist clashes suddenly erupted. Nationalism spread like a wildfire in these regions.
These flags and “nations” were unfurled on a nationalist basis and USA or European imperialism strengthened them and encouraged them to separate. Forces like the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) emerged as fighters for national liberation, they stitched USA flag patches to their uniforms and this kind of thing was not exceptional.
For decades imperialism had seen “national liberation wars” as a threat, but in this new period imperialism leaned on collaborationist nationalism which turned into a vehicle for realising its regional plans. Nationalism henceforth became a “reserve force of imperialism” in the region.
Imperialism appeared to back “national rights” and various sections asserted that this was one of the proofs that “imperialism had changed”. If you looked at events with the view that imperialism had changed, you could also see a “positive” side to nationalist incitement. But it was not very long before this apparent proof collapsed.
Conditions for imperialist intervention on the grounds that it prevented “ethnic cleansing” or “repression of nations” ensured this kind of nationalist incitement.
(…) Imperialism continued its ancient divide and rule policies. In a controlled form, contradictions between nations and peoples had to be exacerbated, when necessary these contradictions were to be turned into clashes and then a ‘peace-keeping force’ would be created and set in motion in the environment.
This policy turned the Balkans and the Caucasus into a lake of blood. This policy was continued to break up Yugoslavia and bring about open US and European intervention. With this policy the Caucasus was filled with imperialism’s ‘peace-keeping forces’ and US bases.” (American Empire, Nationalism And Democracy, pages 18-19)
This policy was also continually practised in the Middle East
Nationalism is a bourgeois ideology and ultimately it seeks conciliation. This is the reality we see everywhere in the world, from the Soviets to the Middle East, to Latin America. Peoples are brought under control using nation and religion to divide them and then total dominion is achieved. The totality of this can be seen clearly in the current situation of Barzani and Talabani and the PKK-YPG line.
Whether or not imperialism is present, all nationalist movements must see that national liberation and patriotism are not possible through collaboration with imperialism. There is no end to submission and collaboration! While nationalist movements do not reckon up what collaboration really means, they are doomed to be controlled by imperialism.
Barzani-Talabani Collaboration Is The Soot, PKK Nationalism Is The Fire!
The PKK saw the 1990s Gulf attack as an “opportunity” and tied the fate of the Kurds to the USA, and at the start of the 2000s it has also behaved in an opportunist manner in relation to the occupation of Iraq and the current imperialist intervention in Syria.
It evaluated the imperialist occupation of Iraq as “putting an end to a dictator and freeing Iraq”. Under American occupation they could refer to South Kurdistan as “Free Kurdistan”. The left in Turkey’s “left” also failed to oppose the occupation, using the slogan “neither Uncle Sam nor Saddam” and a section of them also tailed the Kurdish nationalist movement, in practice legitimising collaboration with imperialism. What Haluk Gerger wrote in this period is striking:
“For years the world was a bystander while the Kurds in South Kurdistan were massacred and subjected to great pain. Nobody supported the Kurds. Two options remained, to be on the side of the USA or on the side of Saddam. Naturally the Kurds took the side of the USA. It is an example of a bad situation where you have to clutch at straws. For this reason progressive people or other circles have no right to criticise the Kurds. Because we gave them no other alternative.” (June 1, 2003, Ozgur Politika)
The pragmatism and collaboration by Kurdish nationalism was legitimised on the left in this way. Amid dozens of massacres Kurdish nationalism still applauds occupation by the USA:
“The intervention by the USA and allies ended the 24 years of Saddam dictatorship. Commiserations to the Saddam lovers. May the eyes of the supporters of Kurdistan be bright. One of the legs of the exploitative system has been brought down. May the turn come for the other legs of the exploitative system!” (Yusuf Serhat Bucak, April 16, 2003, Ozgur Politika)
These words mean nothing other than to applaud occupation and to say, “Massacre yet more people in the Middle East”.
What history and theory have taught us is very clear: being controlled by the USA is not “freedom”! Being mercenaries of the USA is not “REVOLUTION”!
This is the point the Kurdish nationalist movement has reached. At this point Kurdish youths are being equipped with American weapons and trained by Americans for no other purpose than the massacre of the Kurdish and Arab peoples.
As a result of its cooperation with the USA, the PKK has legitimised occupation by Americans, it has announced “revolution” in an area in the north of Syria under American control, and then they became mercenaries of America in Raqqa. PKK-YPG, Kurdish and Arab youths, have fought against their own peoples in the name of the USA. So US bases have been established in Syria in areas under PKK-YPG control. This tableau is one of betrayal of the peoples. And this betrayal will not be forgotten.
Nationalism Is Not A Solution! The Only Solution Is Revolution, The Only Liberation Is Socialism!
Today imperialism has a number of new bases in Rojava and its biggest consulate is in Erbil, and it is no coincidence that it has been established under the collaborationist administration of a son of Barzani.
Barzani is pleased with the presence of consulates, embassies, military bases of imperialism, and that they are lasting. The PKK-YPG issues statements calling on the “USA not to leave Syria”. Here there is no nationalism left, it is merely COLLABORATION.
It has got to the point where they are a force firing on the peoples of the Middle East in the name of imperialism. This line is no longer one of submission, conciliation, even surrender. It is clearly collaboration and it is betraying even its own nation.
For the Kurdish people, the collaborationists like Barzani who betray the national struggle and the PKK-YPG line in Raqqa which is one of becoming mercenaries for the USA are not alternatives.
Nationalism divides and creates conditions for imperialists to intervene. Whereas Marxist-Leninists are defenders of the unity of the peoples and urge a revolutionary line of joint struggle. With the revolution we will achieve in Turkey, our peoples will be common owners of its wealth. The Kurdish nation is a reality and it is revolution that is the guarantee of nations’ right to self-determination, including the right to separate, as it is the guarantee of all other rights.
The liberation of the Kurds, Turks and all peoples lies in fighting against imperialism. Joint struggle for independence, democracy and socialism and a government arising from liberation achieved through this will bring socialism.
For Independence, Democracy and Socialism, let us unite, fight and win!
(Sidebars to main article)
In The Final Analysis, Nationalism Cannot Step Outside Of Capitalism, that Is, The Imperialist System, So For This Reason It Cannot Solve The National Question.
In the past 15 years of intensifying intervention by imperialism, directly or indirectly, it is a period making it abundantly clear that nationalism is a dead end. Look at the “internal” support for imperialist intervention: the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) in Yugoslavia, the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the KDP-KYB in Iraq… And in our country the oligarchy is being threatened with a US stick (by the PKK).
Nor is it new for Kurdish nationalism in Turkey to openly invite imperialist intervention.
When they say “the West solved Kosovo, let them also solve Turkey”, they want imperialist intervention in Turkey just as it was done in Kosovo and are making a call to all imperialist institutions from NATO to the UN to “intervene and solve the situation”.
The peoples, in oligarchic or petit bourgeois dictatorships, are not compelled to choose imperialists; there is a choice that reflects the interests of the peoples, and that is for the peoples to oppose imperialism and fascist dictatorships on the basis of unity of the peoples and for the peoples to struggle to establish their own government.
We as Marxist-Leninists, when we speak of “a solution to the Kurdish problem”, understand from this the national and class liberation of the Kurdish people. Those who talk of “solution” in confused formulas, diplomatic processes or breadcrumbs of rights have become submissive to a form of ruling class politics.
The Kurdish national revolution is a part of the anti-imperialist, anti-oligarchic revolution in Turkey. Who practises oppression of nationalities? Imperialism and collaborationist ruling classes. This situation also explains why liberation from the imperialist yoke is also a precondition of liberation from national oppression.
End expectations from the AKP and collaboration with the USA!
The interests of the Kurdish people are in the struggle against imperialism and fascism”
THE SOLUTION IS IN INDEPENDENCE, DEMOCRACY AND SOCIALISM
1 – “PEACE” IS A DECEPTION;
2 – There is no “SOLUTION” for the Kurdish people under AKP Fascism.
3 – No excuse can defend collaboration with US imperialism! It is to be part of the imperialist front as imperialism uses the contradictions between the peoples.
4 – Failing to react against (imperialist) attacks is surrender.
5 – The correct behaviour is to resist the AKP everywhere and in every form and to end every form of collaboration with the USA and all imperialists.
The solution to the Kurdish question is to create conditions for the Kurdish people to be able to realise their right to self-determination.
In a democratic, free country which has expelled the imperialists and brought down the oligarchic government, the Kurdish people will be able to exercise their right.
US imperialism has bases there.
French imperialism is there.
Italian imperialism is there.
Where is the Rojava revolution?
“In reality it is a step forward to be tied to the USA and the British. (…) Instead of a despot for a husband, a more democratic husband.” (Abdullah Ocalan, quoted from The Kurdish File, Rafet Balli, P.246)
“In the past decade there has been a big change all over the world…
The USA is conducting it and dominates it and calls it the ‘New World Order’ and on this subject it has reached a significant level worldwide.
We need to see this, understand it and accept it.”
(Serxwebun, [a PKK theoretical magazine], August 1999, p.212)
Henceforth the PKK has no ideology.
It has no aim.
All it has in its hands are:
And the blood of the Kurdish people…
It is always open to being used by anyone…