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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]
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
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
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
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