How the Left abandoned the Kurds by getting stuck up its anti-imperialist cul-de-sac

Yasin Sunca writes: One can simply put hundreds of reasons as to why the left has to oppose and react against the ISIS and what they have been doing to innocent people throughout last two years. However, those who are supposed to speak out against the ISIS, primarily the left wing parties and organisations, have simply failed to come up with a comprehensive approach, are even devoid of understanding what is going on exactly and, unfortunately for them, are stuck in the orthodox interpretation of socialism against imperialism. They have once again stuck to the marginal track to blame their respective governments as imperialist, which in fact, means almost nothing, either for the government or for the society.

In the specific case of the ongoing resistance of the Kurds in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) the Popular Protection Units (YPG) have been resisting against both the brutal attacks of the jihadists and the military aggressions of the Syrian regime. The Kurds have not opted for cooperation either with the regime or the mainstream opposition groups due to very convincing and understandable reasons. The regime has been oppressing the Kurds, among others, for a very long time and therefore, it was impossible for the Kurds to go along with the regime politically. However, facing political and military difficulties in the context of the ongoing war, the regime decided to focus on the strategic areas in their war with the opposition groups and intelligibly, have not carried out heavy military offensives against the Kurdish self-declared cantons, compared to other regions of the country. Furthermore, the declaration of the Kurdish cantons in Rojava would pose certain problems to Turkey which has been amongst the most vocally critical countries of the Syrian regime. Thus, we can talk about a political convergence between the regime and the Kurds rather than a strategically motivated agreement. Besides, the Kurds could not have cooperated with the mainline Syrian opposition because of two core issues. The first, the Arab opposition have not recognised any collective rights of the Kurds and postponed all Kurdish demands to a probable post-Assad period. The second, the Arab opposition did not have a clear agenda for the future of Syria. The question such as whether it would be a new dictatorship or a democracy has not a clear and convincing answer and the Kurds remained sceptical about the will of the opposition in relation to democratisation.

Taking all this background into account, the Kurds opted for a third line policy and started to build their cantons with a new democratic understanding, inclusive of all the different factions of the population. The Kurdish cantons have never carried out any offensives against any group unless a military attack was the case. The current resistance of the Kobane canton is due to the brutal attack of the jihadist ISIS and it is a war of self-defence. The Kurds are carrying out a socialist experiment in the Middle-East, one of the most challenging regions of the world, and the international left is equally responsible for the protection of this emerging socialist hope. This experiment needs the unconditional support of the socialists of the world and internationalist solidarity. (For those who are interested in the new model in Rojava here is an article, available online:

However, the left wing parties and groups in Europe are far from understanding what is going on exactly in Kurdistan and in Kobane, nor do they have any plans to understand the ideological background of the Rojava Cantons. They have to admit that they were unable to understand the third line policy and, just like the mainstream media have been doing, positioned the Kurds together with the Assad regime despite the fact that the Kurds clearly declaring and practically manifesting a billion times that they are an opposition group. They kept on blaming the Kurds to be the proxy of the regime. Besides, some other groups adopted a restrictive approach and claimed that if the Kurds are not with Bashar al-Assad then they have to be with the opposition. Yet one should remind people of the fact that being against the regime doesn’t automatically mean accepting all analyses and projections of the mainline opposition in Syria. Moreover, the mainline opposition in Syria is also supported by “imperialists” against the regime. So, the Kurds clearly understood the right place to stand was a third line. [Continue reading…]

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