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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Travelogue, A Libertarian Communist in the YPG # 06: Internationalist Volunteers, the Ideal and the Reality (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 19 May 2017 09:58:38 +0300

"They do not treat us like cannon-flesh, nor as precious little trinkets, which we must absolutely safeguard." ---- Alternative libertarian reproduces the blog posts Kurdistan-Autogestion-Revolution , travel diary of a fellow committed to the YPG. ---- Over the course of the weeks, he will testify to the life of the fighting militias, the debates that take place there and the experience of democratic confederalism in the liberated zones. ---- YPG Training Academy for Foreign Volunteers, Canton of Cizérre, May 10, 2017 ---- Before coming here to Rojava, I sometimes wondered who might be those courageous people who, leaving their daily routine, chose to come to defend the social revolution with their weapons in their hands, with the risk of staying there.

I assumed, in view of the various stories and " martyrs " of which I was aware, that the majority were revolutionaries who, carried by their ideals, had resolved to do so. The reality is as always much more complex than the calculations made far from the ground.

So, that's what I've seen so far.

We can distinguish two main categories of motivation among internationalist volunteers: on the one hand, on the one hand, people animated by their revolutionary convictions ; On the other hand, those who came to fight Daech (often former soldiers) to defend " their country " or simply add a few lines to their resume to join private military companies.

Of course, there are two main categories that do not summarize the complexity of the individual paths: some who came mainly to fight against Daech may very well discover revolutionary sympathies by seeing and living what happens here. It is the hope expressed by comrades YPG: that by contact with revolutionary ideals and militants we can convince them or, at least, gain them a certain respect for the project of democratic confederalism.
Some may be quite responsive

The presence of this kind of foreign volunteers is, in any case, a great subject of debate among the revolutionaries. While most of them show respect, others display, at best, a clear contempt for the revolution and, at worst, can be profound reactionaries ...

When one is a convinced leftist like myself, it is surely the kind of stuff that comes to disrupt our need for revolutionary purity ... And especially when we made several thousand kilometers to reconnect with the deep sense of the word "revolutionary".

A hall of the Academy: some portraits of comrades who fell at the front.
So what do we think of this type of compromise ?

First of all there is a pragmatic observation: foreign volunteers (especially ex-soldiers and especially Americans) represent a certain assurance (limited of course) that the imperialist powers will not abandon us too quickly. Indeed, if one or two leftists died in an attack of Turkey for example, it would be one thing. But it would be quite another, with a much higher political cost if several dozen ex-navies were killed in bombardments.

We are all heval

I am not suggesting at all that the Kurdish comrades are using us as legitimate insurance policies. On the contrary, there is a true confidence placed in us. Whether we are revolutionary or not, we are all heval (in French, it would give a word between " friend " and " comrade "). They do not treat us like cannon-flesh, nor as precious little trinkets that must be preserved. We can ask for an assignment a little as we want, in accordance with our skills, obviously. These are some of the conclusions we have drawn from our discussions among revolutionaries.

And to say that we will not take a 500 kilos bomb on the face by a Turkish F-16 with our apprentices Chuck Norris, it makes the ex-marines directly more bearable !

At the Academy: some unexpected stickers here !

One can also remember the case of Spain of 1936, where thousands of volunteers joined the revolution and / or the international brigades. It is customary to believe that they were all people driven by a revolutionary ideal. Yet, from my own family history or from studies on the profiles of the engaged, I realized that reality was once again much more contrasted. The great depression of 1933 and the endemic chrome-plating also explain the departure of many young workers to Spain.

Concrete acts of solidarity

In short, I digress a bit, but this little historical detour allows me to highlight two things.

First, the weakness of the revolutionary left's support for a broad social movement, among the most progressive that has been seen for decades. I am not talking, of course, of statements of opinion or of articles or gatherings, but of the concrete establishment of effective solidarity.

Secondly, what I am going to say may be shocking, but here the revolution is not going to defend itself nor to deepen itself with some beautiful turns of phrases but with concrete acts of solidarity.

You want another bitter truth ? The first to come to fight in Rojava were not revolutionaries but ex-soldiers ... Their convictions could certainly be the exact opposite of mine, but here is an act of support remains a concrete act.

Yes, I would of course prefer that all be revolutionaries convinced but, ultimately, who helps the social revolution the most ? The ex-navy that is fighting with us or the militants who are debating the reality of our revolution from their computers thousands of miles away from us and who in fifteen years may have decided whether it was worth defending What's going on here ? And then, the fact that people who are a priori not politicized find themselves on our side, does that not mean that something important is happening ?

Arthur Aberlin

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