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First Worldist “left” hacks the 2016 US Presidential Election for Donald J. Trump

First Worldist “Left” hacks US presidential election for Donald J. Trump

by Jacob Brown

(llco.org)

How the First Worldist “left” united with Obama-Clinton regime to bring Trump to power:

One of the more blatantly reactionary examples of pseudo-feminists in action.

With the current “#J20” US Inauguration Day protests against Donald J. Trump, a First Worldist pseudo-feminism is presenting itself as the protests’ main ideological engine, and allowing the CIA, anti-Russian narrative pushed by the US imperialist Democratic Party to buttress questions of “illegitimacy”. (1, 2)  Of course, the purported protection of the reproductive health choices of First World women, while signing onto rhetoric about the supposed necessity of US Marines to help “fight for the global sisterhood” in the Third World has rendered itself hollow to the world’s masses after 15 years of the imperialist “War on Terror”.  Imperialist patriarchy packaged as liberation has produced the worst of both patriarchal worlds for the majority of Third World women, both with the proliferation of misogynistic Western gender culture and with its mirror opposite of imposition of traditional patriarchal gender roles and gender apartheid. It would appear that a repeat of the 2006 US International Women’s Day protests is upon us on “J20”. The 2006 IWD protests saw alleged “communists” marching with the likes of Zionist “feminist” Phyllis Chesler to denounce the Iranian state while NATO troops were imposing imperialist patriarchy in Afghanistan and Iraq. (3) With the current rhetoric being used by First Worldist activists who take their cues from the CIA and Democratic Party, perhaps Russia is the next target for “regime change”. The utilization of “Cold War” militarist rhetoric and pseudo-feminism by the imperialists are but only two dimensions of what these kinds of imperialist politics produces in the real world.

The 2011 Wisconsin protests injected First Worldist economism into the “Arab Spring” as it was beginning in Egypt, following the demonstrations in Tunisia. An example of this includes the infamous photo depicting the false statement “One World, One Pain.” (4) Pretending that the First World majority populations were a natural friend of the Third World had its genesis in this First Worldist fallacy. When the “Arab Spring” found its way into Libya just one month later, this First World “solidarity” was extended to mean NATO providing a free air force for anti-Qaddafi neocolonialist Jihadists. The fall of the Jamahiriya in Libya gave both a material and morale boost to NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which would fuel the “pipeline wars” in Syria for the next 5 years. (5)  “Occupy Wall St.”, and the First Worldist networks that followed it, were advancing First Worldist populism with a vengeance. They continued the social-chauvinist thrust of the Wisconsin protests with anti-imperialist politics given less priority or mostly silenced altogether. A kind of false internationalism was supposedly bringing together social-democrats, anarchists, “left communists”, Maoists, Trotskyists, environmentalists, the EZLN, the social-imperialist parties in Greece, and various “rebels” associated with the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood, based on a rather nebulous idea about “tears in the fabric of history”. (6) These First Worldists, so enthusiastic for the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, were silent on the 2013 mass revolt that overthrew the US-backed stooge Mohammed Morsi (7), with numbers that dwarfed the Tahir Square protests by a factor of 7. (8)

If any population within First World borders was sharing “one pain” with Egyptian masses in either the 2011 or 2013 protests, it would have been the migrants who participated in the May 1, 2006 “Day Without An Immigrant” strike. (9) However, many of those migrants ended up getting deported by the Bush administration in the millions, and by the Obama administration by even greater numbers. First Worldists missed the mark on that issue as well, because too many of them were putting all their energy into pseudo-feminist posturing in tandem with the US State Department and the Zionist entity just 2 months before, or otherwise complaining about the presence of Mexican flags as “nationalist” and “divisive”!

The imperialist pseudo-feminism we saw deployed against Iran in 2006 was also utilized in Libya in 2011, with bogus reports of “Viagra-fueled mass-rapes” advanced by Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton. (10)  Of course, no evidence exists to support such claims, but there is ample evidence and testimony of sub-Saharan migrant African women being kidnapped and raped by the very “Libyan Revolutionaries” hailed as anti-patriarchal heroes in the West. (11) In addition to the pseudo-feminist propaganda track in the prelude to the NATO/GCC aggression against Libya, we had a First Worldist “false nationalism” coming from neocolonialist Libyan exiles that was selectively applied in an attempt to silence any non-Libyan supporter of the Jamahiriya with a potent voice. The “authentic voice of the subaltern” was used to justify NATO’s neocolonialist false “liberation narrative” (12), where juxtapositions such as “Muammar Qaddafi = Bad Dictator / Mahatma Gandhi = Good Liberator” were passing for a theoretically solid approach. (13)  Adding the false narrative of the “impending massacre of Benghazi’s population”, and the list of phony justifications for NATO intervention start to gain support in the realm of First World public opinion.

Matthew VanDyke, the American “Freedom Fighter” mercenary in Sirte during the NATO “revolution” Libya  in , would ask the various manifestations of “Occupy” in the First World for donations to continue his imperialist activity in Syria on the side of the neocolonialist “Free Syrian Army”.  He still breathes in 2017.

As the calls for NATO/GCC/Turkish intervention in Syria were increased, the pseudo-feminist angle was used to less of a degree, with some bogus propaganda about “regime rape rooms” being recycled from the last imperialist adventure in Libya. This time however, the false nationalist narrative was more heavily relied upon. The narrative spinning involved equating the imperialist-backed Muslim Brotherhood in Syria with the legitimate indigenous and African anti-colonial struggles (14), or variably by tokenizing Kurdistan liberation forces as a “Third Camp” (15). It is curious that the loudest voices claiming that the Kurdistan liberation forces were on a “long march to Damascus” to topple the Assad regime were doing so in tandem with the US State Department rhetoric about how “Assad must go”, not unlike what transpired in 2006 with the anti-Iran protests.

To understand why purportedly “anti-war” activist scenes around the First World gave space for neocolonialist identity politics to sell the NATO “revolution” in Libya and ramp up the call for NATO intervention in Syria, we can look at the populist and “critical race theory” trends coming into conflict with each other within formations like Occupy. The deliberate First Worldist populism mostly driving the message of Occupy was bound to come into conflict with other forces in and around the Occupy movement calling for decolonization, the politics of which is inherently at odds with the mantra of “We Are The 99% [of the First World]”, regardless if the particular decolonization politics presented is Leninist, anarchist, bourgeois liberal, or something else purportedly “beyond labels” in content. (16) As the “decolonize” rhetoric in the First World activist circles began to congeal, the populist politics of Occupy waned and ended with the Occupy brand itself becoming defunct. The people involved put away their Guy Fawkes masks and copies of Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals”, and started to pick up art and/or poetry and Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth” instead (often to the exclusion of other anti-colonial classics). It became easy for these “radical” First World protest scenes to tokenize pro-Muslim Brotherhood migrants from Palestine, Egypt, and Syria, and accept their neocolonial bogus “decolonial” narratives with unquestioning submission, in tandem with US imperialist “regime change” objectives.

With the uptick of police and paramilitary terrorism against the African diaspora in the United States between 2012-2016, alongside the already existing criminalization of generations of Black youth by the state, the First Worldist activist void left by Occupy was filled with the “Black Lives Matter” network.  This network came together at the same time rebellions were picking up in US cities affected by high profile incidents of police terror like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. Many well meaning veterans of the anti-colonialist movements within the United States had mistakenly believed the myth that the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s was coming back. (17)  As the Democratic Party’s presidential primary elections approached, the original militant anti-colonial thrust of those involved with the Black Lives Matter network was being put on hold in exchange for engaging with Democratic Party candidates over reformist policy issues, and a First Worldist confining of the issue of reparations to the African diaspora within the United States exclusively. (18)   It did not matter what any “official” BLM statement said at that point about refraining from electoral politics, as the horizons of BLM at that point had been limited by both reformist illusions and First Worldist chauvinism. This had practical implications as well, with the noticeable rift causing some around the BLM network to initiate an armed struggle without the material support of a large portion of the network busy with reformist politics.

An example of some weenie First Worldist “communist”  hack that helped pave the way for Trump, like the pseudo-feminist hacks pictured above.

At the same time that BLM was proliferating around the United States, nominally “communist” First Worldist forces were politically capitalizing on conceptions of group identity embraced by the increasingly college student base of the BLM network, smashing several layers of formal and informal First Worldist male dominated leftist groups in the United States and England in sometimes quite public ruptures. However, breaking the hegemony of historical oppressor groups over First Worldist formations did nothing to break the hegemony of First Worldism and social-imperialism in their general orientation. Indeed, even purported “Third Worldist” formations in the First World managed to sneak First Worldism through the back door by denying that most First World women and non-men constitute an enemy gender aristocracy (but use the opposite logic to justify the idea of a labor aristocracy!). (19) In all cases, the results of these social-chauvinist “communist” forces whether they consciously knew it or not, was to slow the progress of building New Power and preparing for Global People’s War. This is even the case when “Global People’s War” or “Third Worldism” is mentioned by these posturing First Worldists, as their penchant for bourgeois identity politics, navel-gazing, and tokenization betrays their true nature.

A parallel First World decolonization movement drawn from indigenous peoples in North America had emerged to confront domestic oil drilling and pipeline construction on indigenous lands. The relatively smaller population size of the indigenous internal colonies (20, 21) in comparison to the African diaspora in the US made for some interesting contrasts in political trajectory. This smaller sized force of mostly indigenous peoples consciously struggle for decolonization before it was trendy in activist circles, to emphasize the preservation of culture in opposition to Euro-American settler-colonialism.  The element of cultural preservation is more pronounced than other historical internal colonies in the US.  How this has played out on the ground, from “Idle No More” to the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline blockades has been almost the mirror opposite of the trajectory of BLM. Unlike the social movement network that originated with BLM, the indigenous protests tended to start out essentially with reformist politics and liberal, settler-imperialist boot-licking, and then more militant and uncompromising anti-colonial Native forces followed and increased the militancy (and may continue to do so, winter weather permitting, as of the time of this article’s publishing). It is not clear with a Trump administration allied with the non-Rockefeller wing of the US oil industry (inclined towards domestic oil drilling / piping in the US) (22), and with those identifying as indigenous people in North America at less than 5% of the total US and Canadian population, that anything besides Global People’s War will be able to stop any new settler-colonial “domestic drilling” agenda under the new regime. At the very least, the Native Warriors at Standing Rock have found themselves outside the capacity for First Worldist “Marxists” or the US Democratic party to co-opt them at this time. However, it isn’t likely that these social-imperialists will give up trying to do so, as their public fawning over US military veterans as some kind of “anti-colonial force” to oppose DAPL attests to. (23)

In 2006, the USA was at the lowest point in global public opinion it had been in decades. (24) There was no Leading Light Communism as an independent system operating in the world at that time. If there were, there may have been a basis to “globalize” the anti-imperialist left under Leading Light Communist leadership. Instead, genuine imperialists were stuck with a dogmatic ideological framework that prevented them from “thinking and acting globally”. Rather, many genuine anti-imperialists and friends of the Third World never escaped the left-liberal horizon of “think globally, act locally” for many years.  Only Leading Light Communism provides any real basis for genuine communist politics independent from First Worldist chauvinism promoted by “mainstream” social-imperialist political parties in the First World, and neocolonialist parties selling First Worldist fantasies to the masses of people in the Third World. The First Worldist “left” offers sometimes-true promises to First World bourgeois majority for more imperialist loot, and always-false promises to the world’s majority in the Third World of attaining First World status by adopting imperialist maldevelopment programs. What these First Worldists of all stripes like to ignore is that such false “proletarian internationalism” actually serves to corral people into pro-imperialist politics. This by default includes electing imperialist politicians for US president, despite any pretense by First Worldist “communists” of opposing electoral politics in principle! When First Worldist “communists” confine their notion of “mass line” to First World peoples exclusively, they are forced to essentially come to a synthesis with social-imperialist electoral politics, regardless of their stated inclinations towards some fantasy of “preparing the masses People’s War” in the First World.

The US social-patriot Michael Moore saw all this coming. (25) The white populist movement that started in 2010 as the “Tea Party” politically evolved into the anti-migrant and economic protectionist force that was to be the social base for Trump’s electoral victory, which Trump’s strategic adviser Steve Bannon coined as the “Alt-Right”. Traditional anti-labor, plus free trade conservative politics was turned on its head with Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP during the Republican presidential primaries, with Donald Trump himself calling for the Republican Party to become an “American Workers Party”. (26)  The identity-based political patchwork combined with the cynical “middle class centrism” that the likes of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair has used to great effect in First World since the fall of the Soviet Union politics were utilized by the Hillary Clinton campaign.  However, the old Democratic Party electoral strategy could not stop Donald Trump’s campaign in a contest for US electoral votes. Along with Michael Moore, surrogates of the US Democratic Party like Van Jones, most of Hollywood, and even Barack Obama himself could not make the liberal politics of the past 25 years work for Hillary Clinton. As Donald Trump himself said many years ago in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he would only run for president if he thought he could win. (27) Well, the First Worldist “left” set up this whole scenario for Trump to achieve electoral victory.

Without a doubt, the First Worldist “left” worked with Barack Obama and the Democrats to hack the election for Donald J. Trump. It is the nature of their politics, as they have been social-imperialist “hacks” for over a period of 15 years with zero credibility, even amongst their own bourgeois First World social base! The First World “masses” prefer Trump’s new GOP “workers party” to the fantasy “communist” outfits of the First Worldists.

“Daddy Donald wants a big kiss, you precious little First Worldist “leftist” weenies!  You did such a good job at not making revolution, that my ascendancy to USA Emperor was a piece of cake!”

How Leading Light Communists should operate during the ascendance of Trump, Marine Le Pen, Brexit, and the general First World nationalist political trends:

Both paramilitary, white nationalist violence and state repression against Third World migrants in the First World could increase. This could be a catalyst for an explosive May 1st within First World borders.  While their demands are likely to be confined to reformist and First Worldist politics, the connection that migrants have to the Third World masses might make for some great potential Leading Light Communist leaders.  This does not mean that Leading Light Communists should be leading some significant “anti-colonial movement” within First World borders, and such notions will need to be quashed both inside and outside the organization if these ideas find expression.  All that aside, it does mean that there are new opportunities to expose the global capitalist-imperialist system, and put Leading Light Communist politics in command of an emerging anti-imperialist united front.

Current efforts to oppose Trump and other hard right nationalists in the First World are dominated by the “left” First Worldist populists, pro-imperialist pseudo-feminists, and neocolonial and individualist fake posturing around “decolonization” connected to the liberal “globalist” wing of the imperialists.  This is unlikely to change beyond a general “washing out” of the more overtly liberal imperialist forces within such an anti-Trump, unorganized, left leaning coalition.  The commitment to building independent institutions of Dual Power within the First World itself is a noble but ultimately fruitless gesture, with no mass social base for revolution. The same gesture to “not allow US imperialism to go unchallenged” is equally noble yet fruitless if not linked up with the New Power of the Leading Light, based on uniting the world’s exploited in their billions as the driving force for a genuinely militant, material challenge to US/NATO imperialism. Nevertheless, Leading Light Communists in the First World should stay engaged with all people who seek an alternative to the current system, and be ready to impart political education and engage in ideological struggle. (28)

Outside of the First World, the First Worldists have failed terribly at supporting the international united front with their acquiescence to Western imperialist taking points since 2001. Ironically, it is now the right-wing nationalists who have taken up a pretense of “anti-imperialism” and “internationalism”.  Theirs is based entirely on a pan-nationalist framework devoid of any historical perspective on colonialism. (29)  This is why we are faced with the ugly and tenuous First World populist unity of anti-migration and anti-interventionism. This is also why Leading Light Communist politics in command can prevent us from becoming surprised by turns towards fascism from those we once believed were firmly in the progressive anti-imperialist camp. The fact that Donald Trump is very popular among the Egyptian, Syrian and Libyan masses (30, 31, 32) for his anti-NATO/anti-interventionist and anti-Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric during the US presidential campaign, even when often couched in a generalized reactionary anti-Muslim chauvinism suited for Trump’s electoral base in the United States, should be an indication that the First Worldist “left”, especially the “antiwar left” has lost its way on genuine anti-imperialism from a communist perspective. Consider this a wake up call to First Worldist so-called “communists”: These vulnerable populations you claim to represent, chose Donald Trump over you, most likely because of your adherence to outdated social-imperialist programs that puts them last, and not first.

Leading Light Communists can combat both the fake First Worldist “leftists”, and the right-wing usurpers of the anti-imperialist movement. We don’t have to defeat both camps simultaneously, but we need to understand that there cannot be strategic unity in coalition with either of these enemy forces within the anti-imperialist united front. Both the white nationalist imperialist camp and the phony “left wing” social-imperialist camp alike advance a politics that demand more for the First World and less for the Third World. The former wants to build border walls and fences to keep Third World migrants away from the value stolen from them. The latter call for a $15 minimum wage for First World workers exclusively, paid for by the international proletariat. Same politics, but different packaging. As long as the political line of the First Worldist “left” remains fundamentally indistinguishable from the line of white nationalists on questions of global value transfer, superficial differences between the two lines on gender and nation will not matter to the world’s oppressed and exploited majority.

Stopping US imperialism begins with Leading Light Communist politics in command!

The only silver lining about the impending Trump regime would be a temporary pullback of the imperialist military from the Global South early in his term (with the exception of some “hotspots” where there is talk of cooperation against Daesh), as well as a reshuffling of existing First World military alliances like NATO and trade agreements like NAFTA. This could potentially allow an opening for the New Power to expanded into places where it has yet to be built, and to deepen the roots of the New Power where it currently is being built. There is much that Trump is keeping close to his chest, so comrades should be mindful if his international policy rhetoric starts to lean less on making deals and more on stealing resources. This could be an indication that US imperialism is seeking to reimpose itself on the world’s oppressed and exploited majority in a rapid and expansive fashion. (33)  Such an aggressive move by Trump and Exxon’s Rex Tillerson could indeed be the catalyst for unleashing Global People’s War in the future, if the international defense of the New Power of the Leading Light is under such an aggressive imperialist attack.

Help us prepare for the best and worst case scenarios alike, by joining with and donating to the Leading Light Communist Organization! A New Power is being born in this dark world! Cherish and nurture it to total victory with your material solidarity!

Notes:
1. http://heatst.com/culture-wars/womens-march-falling-apart-because-racism-white-privilege/
2. http://www.blackagendareport.com/no_tears_for_john_lewis
3. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/gender/iwd06h.html
4. http://twitpic.com/419nfm
5. Oil & Energy Insider; “IRAN-IRAQ: Pipeline to Syria Ups Ante in Proxy War with Qatar”;
February 22, 2013
6. http://www.humanite.fr/monde/alain-badiou-des-printemps-aux-revolutions-554069
7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/07/01/on-the-wrong-side-again-inegypt/?utm_term=.d198d11f3235
8. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-protests-idUSBRE95Q0NO20130630
9. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/mn/mn335.pdf
10. https://levantreport.com/2016/01/04/new-hillary-emails-reveal-propaganda-executions-covetinglibyan-oil-and-gold/
11. http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1938633.html
12. https://kasamaarchive.org/2011/03/04/libyan-exception-dont-tear-the-sails-of-inspiration/
13. Tidal; “General Strike!”; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak; December 2011
14. https://bayareaintifada.wordpress.com/
15. https://ncplc.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/neither-assad-nor-nato/
16. https://bayareaintifada.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/video-decolonization-is-not-a-tendency-2013-seattle-anarchist-book-fair-panel/
17. http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/Image_1_20161014_TPP.jpg
18. https://policy.m4bl.org/reparations/
19. https://anti-imperialism.org/2014/11/17/patriarchy-is-not-secondary-rethinking-gender-oppression/
20. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-10.pdf
21. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130508/dq130508a-eng.htm
22. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/12/donald-trump-finally-admits-he-wants-builddapl-pipeline
23. http://abcnews.go.com/US/2000-veterans-arrive-standing-rock-protest-dakota-pipeline/story?
id=43964136
24. http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/1/survey/7/response/Unfavorable/
25. http://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/
26. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/06/us/politics/as-trump-rises-reformocons-see-chance-toupdate-gops-economic-views.html?_r=0
27. http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/what-donald-trump-told-oprah-about-his-presidential-hopesvideo
28. https://www.ungovernable2017.com/
29. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/10/dugins-occult-fascism-and-the-hijacking-of-left-antiimperialism-and-muslim-anti-salafism/
30. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2016-11-29/egypts-unlikely-ardor-trump
31. http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/16/opinions/donald-trump-speech-syria-reaction/
32. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/2017-01-10/trumpian-peace-deal-libya
33. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySdhGyqGCZk

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn part 3

Turning Money into Rebellion edited by Gabriel Kuhn part 3KUF_Plakat-212x300

(llco.org)

Turning Money into Rebellion: The Unlikely Story of Denmark’s Revolutionary Bank Robbers (Kreplebebad, 2014) edited by Gabriel Kuhn documents the story of one of the most interesting revolutionary trends to emerge from the First World. It is the story of Mao-friendly, modern-day Robin Hoods from Denmark, the so-called “Blekingegade Group.” This trend began in 1963 as the Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds (KAK). Later, in 1978, it split into two groups. One retaining the original name. The other became the Manifest-Kommunistisk Arbejdsgruppe (M-KA). What made this trend unique was that it saw revolution in the West, including Denmark, as hopeless at present because the workers were simply too comfortable to support revolution. So, this trend saw it as their proletarian duty to support Third World liberation movements by providing material aid. They ended up financing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to the tune of millions of dollars through bank robberies. Once the split happened in 1978, the KAK regressed toward typical, traditional solidarity, symbolic activism. The M-KA continued their illegal work providing material aid. It is the latter group that the book focuses on. In the previous parts of this review, the focus was on political economy and practice. In this final part, there are some final reflections on the M-KA and their own summations of their work.

Sino-Soviet split

The KAK had originally taken the Chinese side of the Sino-Soviet split. However, the KAK broke off the relationship with Beijing in 1968. They protested to the Chinese that their coverage of the First World was grossly inaccurate. The Chinese Communist Party continued to churn out First Worldist articles that overestimated the revolutionary potential in the First World despite the KAK’s objections. The KAK originally took its analysis very seriously. After the 1978 split between the KAK and the M-KA, the KAK patched up relations with Beijing. The KAK became a Danish mouthpiece of the Chinese state after 1978. Even though Mao was dead and the Gang of Four were arrested by 1978, even though China was now reversing its revolution and aligning with the Western imperialists more than ever, the KAK submitted to their leadership of the internationalist communist movement. The M-KA did not follow the KAK’s lead. Even though the M-KA was sympathetic to the Cultural Revolution and the Maoist domestic policy, the M-KA were always critical of the rightward turn in Chinese foreign policy in the 1970s:

“Jan: Ideologically, we found ourselves in a dilemma. We did see that the Cultural Revolution in China as a positive attempt to revise communism, but China was no ally in the support of liberation movements. In that respect, the progressive force was the Soviet Union, It had an objective interest in the liberation movements’ success and in the global expansion of socialism. Its leaders also chose their allies wisely. Their criteria were  very similar to ours: they were looking for socialist movements with popular support. The Chinese leadership, on the other hand, was so hostile toward the Soviet Union that it basically supported anyone who shared that sentiment. China developed ties to the most obscure political groups, and its foreign policy began to border on the absurd. In Angola, for example, they supported UNITA and worked alongside the CIA.

Torkil: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, China held the position that the Soviet Union was the most dangerous of all imperialist powers, and they encouraged the liberation movements to side with Western European nations and the U.S. As Jan said, it all became petty grotesque, and it also changed the perception of China among many liberation movements and their allies. KAK was far from the only organization that had a falling-out with the CPC around that time. If you go back to the early 1970, the PFLP was very pro-Chinese and hugely inspired by Mao’s guerrilla strategies. They were not very close to the Soviet Union. All this would change in the next decade.” (106-107)

Also:

“Torkil: …What I said before concerned exclusively the Soviet Union’s foreign policy — and even there, we would have wanted the Soviet government to be more radical and stronger in its support of Third World liberation movements. Regarding the country’s political and economic system, we had no sympathies at all. In the so-called ‘real socialism,’ a ‘democratic economy’ meant ‘nationalization,’ which, in turn, meant the state apparatus owned all the means of production. However, just because the state owns the means of production, the mode of production doesn’t necessarily change. The mode of production in the Soviet Union was very similar to capitalist ones, and sometimes worse. Look at Volkseigener Betriebe, the so-called ‘publicly owned companies,’ in the former East Germany: people never felt they were really in charge. It was the state that was in charge, and the people were not the state. The planned economy of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies was not democratic but very hierarchical. That is why the Soviet Union was never a model for us. However, it was a tactical ally in the support of liberation movements. One must not forget that the simple existence of the Soviet Union as a global superpower was very important to them, It created a space for them to be active. Had it not be for the Soviet Union, the U.S. might have used nuclear weapons to wipe out the Vietnamese resistance. Without the international balance of power guaranteed by the Soviet Union — also with regard to armament — things would have looked very different.” (105-106)

The fall of the Soviet Union, even though it had long gone off the rails, even though it was revisionist and social-imperialist since around the end of World War 2, was a setback for many liberation forces. Heightened contradictions between the imperialists gave liberation movements and independent, progressive regimes room to maneuver, to play one imperialist against another, to play East against West. With the fall of the Soviet empire, the armies of Western empire got a boost. Western imperialism had a freer hand to exploit and control the Third World. The fall of the Soviet Union created more global, transnational imperial unity. The fall of the Soviet Union was a further step in the emergence of a transnational First World empire. The Maoists, even outside China, had seen the Soviet Union as the main imperialist threat in the 1970s. They celebrated its fall in 1990s. Yet that fall had terrible repercussions of liberation struggles around the world. Numerous popular struggles folded or sued for peace as a result. This is something many contemporary Maoists have not come to terms with honestly.

More on the United Front

The M-KA had correct intuitions about the limits of nationalism. For revolutionaries, national liberation is merely a means to a greater end, not an end in itself. It is a means toward achieving socialism and communism. Similarly, anti-imperialism is not an end in itself, but a means for revolution:

“Torkil: For us, there has never been any valid anti-imperialism without a socialist base. We have always been primarily socialists. Anti-imperialism is important as a means to strengthen socialism, and it  doesn’t serve that purpose, it is not relevant for us. The principle of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is way too simple — and dangerous.” (164)

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is usually associated with the tactic of the United Front. The idea is that one should strive to unite as many forces as possible against the main enemy at any given moment. Smaller enemies ought put aside their differences to unite against the main oppressor. Interestingly, the M-KA seem to bend to the United Front when it came to the Soviet Bloc. They considered the Soviet Bloc a partner in the United Front against imperialism. At the same time, they seem to simply dismiss the idea that the Islamic Republic of Iran or other Islamists could be partners in some contexts. “The religious regimes that claim anti-imperialist values have not liberated anyone.” (164) The PFLP that the M-KA supported, for example, has accepted Hamas as a legitimate part of their broader struggle. The Palestinian struggle has received aid not simply from the Soviet Union, but also Iran and the Gulf states. The PFLP has received aid from very reactionary regimes at times. It is odd that the M-KA don’t apply their argument consistently. They themselves acknowledged the Soviet Union could be worse than the liberal capitalist regimes, but it was still a tactical ally. No so with Iran.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” can quickly become inadequate in practice. There are multiple layers of alliances, some are apparent, but others hidden. Alliances can shift rapidly, which makes applying such a principle difficult or impossible in practice at times. There are also considerations about who is the main enemy in the long term versus the main enemy immediately. Even if the United Front is not perfect, one should nonetheless strive to make it a reality. Revolutionaries of the past have had to make all kinds of unsavory tactical alliances to win. There is nothing special about religious forces that make them unworthy of tactical alliances. Remember, the United Front is for our benefit first and foremost, not theirs. Has the Islamic Republic of Iran murdered leftists? Yes, but so had the Soviet Union. At the same time, the Islamic Republic is in the crosshairs of the First World, of imperialism, of Israel, of the Gulf states. The situation here is somewhat similar to the revisionist-era Soviet Union, although Iran is not imperialist on anywhere near the scale the revisionist-era Soviet Union was. Iran is more of a regional hegemon than an imperialist. The revisionist-era Soviet Union had snuffed out revolution inside and outside its borders. It had snuffed out revolutionary energy in many of those forces and regimes it controlled. Yet, despite its terrible policies, the Soviet Union played a progressive geopolitical role sometimes. Similarly, Iran is extending support to Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and fighting the Gulf states, Israel, and sometimes the West. The bigger problem in the “left” in the First World is not one of making unwise tactical alliances, but rather the bigger problem with “left” forces is the rejection the United Front. Those who reject the United Front often  end up as useful idiots for neoliberal efforts at regime change, for imperialist attacks on the Third World. There are plenty of First World “left” forces who have allied with imperialism, who supported imperialist intervention to further regime change in places like Zimbabwe, Libya, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. Neoliberalism has its origin in Trotskyism and social democracy in the service of empire. Even Maoists have ended up serving neoliberalism. Once the United Front is rejected, it is easily to slide into social imperialism.

Looking back and forward

The M-KA interviewees reflect on their practice:

“Torkil: Marxism in general has underestimated capitalism’s ability to adapt and transform. Since the days of Marx, capitalism’s ‘final crisis’ has been announced many times. It was no different than during the 1970s.

Second, I think the imperialist powers have learned a lot from the war of the era. The U.S. has changed its tactics since Vietnam and has confronted liberation movements much more effectively since…

Third, I think we overestimated the socialist element in the liberation movements, especially in its relation to the national element. Many of the movements were deeply nationalistic, but wore socialist colors. Not to be misunderstood: they weren’t consciously deceiving, and the socialist attire wasn’t fake, the socialist convictions just didn’t run very deep. Socialism promised a better life and it gave people hope. But it wasn’t at the core of the struggle, and national liberation rarely led to social liberation.

Fourth, I think we believed too strongly in the possibility of ‘delinking’, that is, of a nation being able to detach itself from the global economic system and introducing a socialist economy within the framework of a liberated nation state. This is a much more daunting task than we thought…

Fifth, whatever one’s opinion of the Soviet Union, its demise also meant the disappearance of the strategically most important counterpower to the U.S. No matter how you want to look at it, this was a strong blow to socialism.” (162-163)

On all these important points, the Leading Light is in agreement. Capitalism has proven very resilient. It should not be underestimated. Just as capitalism refines its science of oppression, so we advance our science of liberation, of Leading Light Communism. A transnational, global empire has emerged, the First World. Just as capitalism is globalizing, so too must resistance to it. Leading Light emerges to lead the transnational Global People’s War against Empire. The future is ours.

Zapatistas or Leading Light?

Further highlighting the contrast between the M-KA and Leading Light Communism are the M-KA interviewees’ comments on the future. When asked about movements today that are contributing positive, new visions, that might point the way forward, the M-KA interviewees identified the Zapatista movement of southern Mexico:

“Torkil: I think the Zapatistas provide an example. They are expressing socialist ideas in a new language. They are also anti-imperialists, although this might be anti-imperialism 2.0. In any case, the perspective of their struggle is global, not national.

We can see similar tendencies in many struggles, addressing everything from privatization to copyright issues to the ‘discursive struggles’ that Foucault has written about. Of course there are important struggles happening on the governmental and institutional level, but there are many small struggles in everyday life that concern very basic questions about what is good and bad, right and wrong, and so forth. All of them include the potential to strengthen socialist ideals. Here, too, the Zapatistas are a good example. They have a Foucauldian understanding of power: the micro level is very important; they don’t have power concentrated in institutions.” (174-175)

It may be true that the Zapatistas are not simply nationalists, especially Mexican nationalist. They are focused on their local communities with less emphasis on Mexico as a whole. It may be true they have raised awareness of their struggle to an international audience very successfully. They are very worldly in their outlook. However,  the M-KA interviewee has a mistaken view about their potential as revolutionary or anti-imperialist force.

As it happens, this reviewer worked, albeit briefly, with the Zapatista National Liberation Front (FZLN) and Indigenous National Congress (CNI) in Mexico in the mid-1990s. Although the Zapatistas were very worldly, they had lowered sites of what was possible. When I was there, the Zapatistas and allied institutions seemed unwilling to seriously ally themselves to other militant struggles in Mexico for fear of tainting their image. The Zapatistas were deeply rooted in a social base in Chiapas. However, outside Chiapas, they played to the Mexican social-democratic and liberal bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. They also directed their message to Western liberals in North America and Europe. Marcos t-shirts were as popular as Che ones. Rage Against the Machine used an image of the Zapatistas on one of their albums. The Zapatistas were part of the people’s struggle, but they were always armed reformists. The Zapatistas themselves denied they sought state power on numerous occasions. They were very successful at appealing to the social-democrats and liberals in Mexico and abroad. They very consciously erected a personality cult around the romantic figure of subcomandante Marcos. Marcos was playing for the cameras when he shared a meal with Danielle Mitterrand in 1996. In typical Marcos style, he handed the former first lady of the French social-democratic, imperialist state a rose. “Madame, I am but a paper knight and all I can offer you is a paper rose.” They did not seek power by uniting popular classes across Mexico through a people’s war. Rather, a large part of their strategy seemed to be aimed at garnering sympathy with social-democrats and liberals in Mexico and abroad. They hoped these forces would pressure the Mexican regime into granting greater rights to Mayan and indigenous communities. To appeal to the conscience of imperialists and social-democrats is not a realistic nor sustainable anti-imperialist strategy. Whatever ideological rhetoric is used to justify this orientation, it is an orientation that is very much idealist. It fails to recognize that revolutionary social change is not made by appealing to the mercy of the exploiter. Revolutionary social change is made by broadly mobilizing the masses, by forming New Power, by people’s war, by putting revolutionary science in command. Maoists were fond of saying “the masses are the real heroes” and “the masses are the motive force in history.”

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano was an important candidate for the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), a social-democratic, liberal bourgeois party in Mexico. In the context of Cardenas’ election bid for mayor (head of government) of the Federal District (“Mexico City”) in 1997, the Zapatistas had distanced themselves even further from revolution. They had distanced themselves from groups like the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) and even broad mass organizations that had suffered repression like the Broad Front for the Construction of a National Liberation Movement – Organization of the Peasants of the South Mountains (FAC-MLN-OCSS), victims of the Aguas Blancas massacre in 1995. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had ruled Mexico for 80 years at the time, but was feeling pressure to step down. It began looking like the PRI would turn over power to the social-democratic “left,” the PRD, at the country-wide, national level. Eventually, they handed power to the National Action Party (PAN), a neoliberal party to their right. In any case, La Jornada and liberal media were happy to juxtapose the “good guerrilla” of the Zapatistas to the “bad guerrilla” of the EPR and others. Sometimes the EPR were falsely called “the Mexican Shining Path” in an effort to malign them in the media. As it happens, the EPR had little to do with hard Maoism or the Communist Party of Peru. The EPR was a more traditional, nominally Marxist, guerrilla organization. The liberal media, through its speculations, seemed to be advocating a reconciliation and negotiated settlement between the Zapatistas and the Mexican state upon a PRD takeover at the country-wide level, which never happened. The Zapatistas presented themselves as cultured, literary, worldly, kind and gentle poets. They presented themselves as people the establishment could do business with, not as sectarian ideologues. However, their politics were localism combine with appeals to be saved by the liberal establishment. We should have no illusions that their path is a dead end.

I worked the entrance to the second CNI. The CNI was an organization allied with the Zapatistas, a coalition in which they played a leading role. I volunteered as a security guard at the CNI at the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) in DF. When the FAC-MLN-OCSS approached the CNI, it seemed they were given the cold shoulder at the time. I know because I had been to the FAC-MLN-OCSS congress in defense of indigenous communities as a representative, part of a delegation, of the ENAH-CNI coordinadora. In addition, those of us wearing the purple security badges were instructed to not allow the Maoists or anarchists into the ENAH compound, not to allow them to agitate inside. Yet we were instructed to allow representatives from traditional parties like the PRI and PRD. At that time, the Zapatistas, although taking up arms and having deep connections to their own communities, seemed like liberal sectarians that was more interested in building alliances with the social-democratic establishment than with other militant peasant and worker organizations.

The Zapatistas were not offering a new vision of socialism. Rather, they were offering social-democratic reform, albeit in a ski-masked. pipe-smoking poetic form. At the time, one of the EPR commanders rebuked the poetry-writing subcomandante of the Zapatistas for what he perceived as their lack of seriousness. Alluding to Clausewitz, the EPR stated, “poetry is not war by other means.” Shortly following this, there were defections back and forth between the two organizations. I have not followed the twists and turns of the Zapatistas in the many years since then. Time flies. However, nothing I have seen in the media to make me reevaluate my assessment. The Zapatistas, for a time, became the darlings of the college and hipster activists in North America and Europe. All stripes of First World activists projected their politics onto the Zapatistas. To the anarchists, they were the living example proving anarchism can work. For  the Chicanos, they were a proud example of la Raza. For the less-rigid Maoists, the Zapatistas had so mastered the mass line, they were real Maoists even if they didn’t recognize it themselves. No doubt, there were even Trotskyists who saw the second coming of the man who organized the Red Army in the pipe-smoking masked man. Marcos himself joked about how people projected their aspirations onto their movement. I wonder if that is not what is happening with the M-KA interviewees. The Leading Light had not emerged in the 1990s. The “far left” was a bleak place indeed. It was a landscape of dogma and liberalism. In such a circumstance, the Zapatistas gave many people hope. Many people, who should have known better, did not examine the movement closely. Many people let their fantasies get the better of them. It is important to look beneath surfaces when examining movements. This is not to say the Zapatistas are not part of the United Front. They are part of the broad United Front. However, they are not offering a new “vision of socialism” nor “anti-imperialism 2.0.”

The level of the science

I discovered an archive of the KAK and the M-KA’s works online.* Although this trend hit upon many correct ideas about imperialism, the class structure, and practice for First World revolutionaries, the documents in the archive were relatively primitive when compared to the Leading Light. Although the M-KA was probably one of the most advanced groups to have emerged from the First World, they never advanced science in the all-round way that Leading Light has. Their lack of all-round scientific development was one the reasons they were not so much a communist vanguard. They seem more like a disciplined, independent support network for others who were leading struggles. The M-KA never merged with its Third World allies to become part of a global organization. Instead, they gave money at those who had a broad similarity with their vision. The PFLP fit the bill, even though the PFLP did not share their Third Worldist political economy necessarily. By contrast, Leading Light thinks the problem the world faces is much deeper. It is not just First World anti-imperialists who must ask “what is to be done?” So too must Third World forces. The worldwide revolutionary movement is at an impasse. The last great waves of revolution are defeated. What remains are dying fragments of the past. More money will not be the deciding factor reversing this trend. More than a vague leftist vision is needed to initiate the next great wave of revolution. What is needed is to adapt and update the science of revolution to today’s conditions. Just as Marx advanced the ideas he inherited, just as Lenin advanced Marx, just as Mao advanced Lenin, revolutionaries today must advance even further. The story of the KAK and the M-KA only highlight just how important our Leading Light work is. It shows how unprecedented and groundbreaking Leading Light Communism is. What we have is precious. We are writing a new chapter is the history of the world. We invite those individuals from the KAK and the M-KA and their circles to join us. We invite those inspired by their heroism to join us. Let your next chapter be our next chapter. You took a first step in the right direction. Now, take another. Pick up the sword again; pick up all-powerful Leading Light Communism. We have a world to win, together.

Kuhn, Gabriel. Turning Money Into Rebellion (Kersplebedeb, 2014)

* An archive of writings this trend can be found here: http://snylterstaten.dk/

Understanding the Kurdish Resistance in Syria

Understanding the Kurdish resistance in Syriajohnson_1-300x200

(llco.org)

Very recently, an alliance of Kurdish forces and their allies has fought off an Islamic State offensive. Kobane, Syria was the focal point of the battle. The Islamic state is a horribly reactionary force that has been encouraged and supported by the imperialists, often through back channels. The Islamic State makes clear its genocidal intentions toward the Kurds. Not long ago, the Islamic State tried to wipe out Kurdish Yazid communities. In the face of such brutality, many people correctly rallied to defense of the Kurdish people who were facing genocidal annihilation. Many were inspired by the brave Kurdish women fighting for their freedom. Even though it is very correct to rally to the defense of the Kurdish people, it is important that we have clarity about the nature and role of the Kurdish organizations.

The Kurdish organization that was most significant in beating back the Islamic State in Syria was the People’s Protection Units (YGP), which are connected to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which is strongest in Turkish Kurdistan. Also aiding the fight were the “Peshmerga,” the Iraqi Kurdish militias of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PUK is openly capitalist has a long history of collaboration with imperialism. However, the PKK has a history as a nominally communist organization, although they have now dropped that label. Today, the PKK are an openly social-democratic organization and do not pretend to be communist. Because of their leftist rhetoric and egalitarian practices, some have supposed the PKK and its satellite organizations  to be some kind of vanguard of the Syrian revolution. Because of their long history of conflict with the racist Turkish regime, some have supposed them to be reliable anti-imperialists. This is not so.

The reality is that the PKK and its satellite organizations are nationalist organizations first and foremost. Their main interest is in establishing an independent Kurdistan. As such, they ally with whatever force can help them in achieving this end. This is why at the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the PKK-YPG was in an alliance with the Assad regime, which ceded areas to them with almost no conflict. (1) This is why the PKK-YPG is today aligned with some parts of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) against both the Islamic State and the Assad regime. (2) This is why today, they seek coordinate with the United States’ bombing campaign. (3) (4) This is why they ask the United States for support in their fight in Syria. (5) This is why they call on material support from Europe. (6) The United States has had secret talks with the YPG’s political wing since 2012. Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford:

“The PYD-YPG is a Syrian group that is moving on the ground, so we had an interest in understanding their viewpoint and ideas..” (7)

According to one source:

“Kurdish sources familiar with the indirect U.S.-PYD talks told Foreign Policy that Washington is currently pushing the PYD to distance itself from the Assad regime by joining the Syrian Coalition, working with the FSA, and improving ties with the KNC and Barzani… The recent agreement between the YPG and FSA factions to fight IS together might reflect a PYD eagerness to meet preconditions for U.S. assistance.” (8)

The willingness to ally with imperialism to achieve its end is not new. The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) is the PKK’s satellite organization in Iranian Kurdistan. Because of the United States’ conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran, PJAK has sought to position itself as a US asset in the region even though they are still on the US list of terrorist organizations. The PJAK made its intent known through Western journalists:

“These words are not quite coded speech, but they are PJAK’s way of batting its eyelashes at the United States, of implying that the world’s superpower and this ornery Maoist gang might find common cause against Tehran. Most of the freedoms Turkish Kurds have been eager to spill blood over have been available in Iran for years; Iran constitutionally recognizes the Kurds’ language and minority ethnic status, and there is no taboo against speaking Kurdish in public. The PJAK Kurds want more: They want secular democracy, they say, and they want the United States to go into Iran to deliver it to them. Kurds enthusiastically boycotted the sham election that won Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran’s presidency last year, and they speak of him in doomsday terms that would fit in at the American Enterprise Institute but sound awkward in this rebel camp where everyone’s heroes are Che Guevara and Spartacus.

‘Ahmadinejad does not respect the Sunnis. He thinks they are agents of Israel and the USA,’ says PJAK spokesman Ihsan Warya, an ex-lawyer from Kermanshah. (Most Kurds are Sunni.) Warya nevertheless points out that PJAK really does wish it were an agent of the United States, and that they’re disappointed that Washington hasn’t made contact.” (9)

Although the PKK and its satellites do not have a deep history of imperial collusion yet, they are not in principle oppose to it if imperialism is perceived to serve their nationalist ends.  As the Syrian conflict develops, it looks like they are positioning themselves to try to be part of a Western-supported coalition. Thus the PKK is not in principle different from the PUK in Iraq nor is it in principle different from numerous other nominal leftist organizations that have sought support from the United States ranging from the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to Iranian Maoists to the Communist Party of Iraq. This is the problem with revisionist and nationalist organizations. Since they are not led by true science, by Leading Light Communism, even if they claim to be revolutionary, they can become instruments and dupes of empire.

Empire has a complex strategy in Syria and the region. It is playing multiple sides, hedging its bets so that its position is advanced no matter what the outcome of the Syrian conflict. Its overall goal is to weaken the region, especially the Iranian-Assad-Hezbollah axis. It has done this by fostering sectarian conflict on multiple sides. With one hand it supports the Islamic State, with the other it bombs them. We must remember the principal duty of progressive people is to oppose imperialism, not opportunistically cheer-lead any particular force on the ground. Let’s be clear, the Kurdish people have the right to defend themselves from genocide. We would like to see a Kurdish people who were truly free, but that freedom should not be bought at the expense of any other oppressed people of the region. We would like to see all the oppressed of the region thwart imperial plans by overcoming their differences with each other, by uniting. If they put truth, science, Leading Light Communism in command, the path to real freedom will open.

Notes

1.http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/07/26/157943/assad-hands-control-of-syrias.html

2.https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0RLSYVIIAEwWwB.jpg:large

3.http://www.kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/u-s-we-are-coordinating-with-ypg/318-u-s-we-are-coordinating-with-ypg.html

4.http://www.voanews.com/content/kobani-islamic-state-fighting-airstrikes-kurdish-fighters/2484354.html

5.http://rudaw.net/english/interview/03072014

6.http://kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/kurds-are-major-players-in-middle-east.html

7.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/07/washington_secret_back_channel_talks_with_kurdish_terrorists_turkey_syria_robert_ford_exclusive

8. ibid.

9.http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/2006/06/iran_bombs_iraq.html?nav=fo

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraqislamic_state_of_iraq

(llco.org)

The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS or ISIL, the Islamic State) has gone through numerous incarnations. In the past, it was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq.” And today, its leader, previously known as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” calls himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” the supreme leader of a new, landlocked Sunni caliphate that spans the Sunni areas of northern Iraq and northern Syria. He has declared that it is the duty of all Muslims to support and follow him and his Islamic State. To understand the nature of the ISIS, it is important to understand its methods, its history, its social base, its role in the class struggle.

It was under the previous leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS, developed its highly sectarian strategy. The main targets of ISIS’ sectarianism are the Shia, other non-Sunni populations, and oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds. When ISIS was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” they pursued a strategy of seeking to cause a civil war between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq, a strategy that continues to this day. The 2006 attack on the Al ‘Askarī Shrine, one of the holiest sites in all of Shia Islam, was attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Although they denied responsibility after a backlash of public opinion against them, the attack on the shrine fits with a pattern of attacks on Shia mosques, shrines, and other non-Sunni holy sites that continues to this day. ISIS’ approach prioritizes sectarian attacks and immediate imposition of sharia, Islamic law, over any other conflicts. In 2005, even the emir of Al Qaeda central, Ayman al Zawahiri, questioned the prioritization of sectarianism Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“We must repeat what we mentioned previously, that the majority of Muslims don’t comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. The sharpness of this questioning increases when the attacks are on one of their mosques, and it increases more when the attacks are on the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may God honor him. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Indeed, questions will circulate among Mujahideen circles and their opinion makers about the correctness of this conflict with the Shia at this time. Is it something that is unavoidable? Or, is it something can be put off until the force of the Mujahideen movement in Iraq gets stronger? And if some of the operations were necessary for self-defense, were all of the operations necessary? Or, were there some operations that weren’t called for?” (1)

At the time, ISIS’s strategy hoped to create chaos in order to cause a US withdrawal from Iraq. Despite their rhetoric and actions, their opposition to imperialism was not principled. They were not opposed to imperialism per se, rather they are opposed to their and the Iraqi Sunni population’s relatively weak position within the imperial system. Their armed struggle was not to throw off the yoke of imperialism, but it was ultimately about elevating themselves and those they represent within the empire. Their armed struggle would become a kind of armed reformism, an armed negotiation, with empire. Even if this was not clear at the beginnings of their movement, it is certainly clear with hindsight.

ISIS’ terror is not just directed at the Shia. ISIS has carried out genocidal policies against non-Sunnis along with a terror imposed on its own Sunni constituency. Eventually, the tide turned against “Al Qaeda in Iraq” when their own Sunni constituency revolted against them around 2007. This is referred to as the “Sunni Awakening” in the imperial media. This resulted from imperial bribes offered to Sunni tribes and it resulted from a backlash against ISIS’ sectarianism and harsh imposition of sharia: banning many traditional practices, censorship, beatings, executions, notorious beheadings, bombing of civilians. This sectarian strategy continued as ISIS intervened in the Syrian civil war. During the Syrian civil war, ISIS quickly marginalized other rebel factions, including other jihadi groups, who were fighting the Assad regime. As the most effective sect, they carved out a semi-state governed by sharia that spanned the Sunni areas of northern Syria and Iraq. Similar to their actions in Iraq, their genocidal, sectarian strategy in Syria targeted Alawi, Shia, Christian, and Kurdish populations with terror and violence. The sectarianism of the Syrian rebel groups was often met with sectarian violence on the part of the Assad regime against Sunni populations in places like Aleppo, where the regime indiscriminately bombed and shelled the population.

ISIn 2014, ISIS was IS-300x192ascending rapidly. They declared themselves the new Sunni caliphate and their leader declared himself Caliph of the “Islamic State.” After stabilizing their hold on parts of northern Syria, they played a major part in overrunning significant parts of Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. The rapid rise of the Islamic State was aided by many factors. The Arab Spring has inspired populations to rise up across the region. It was the weakness of the central states of Iraq and Syria that also allowed ISIS to quickly gain power. ISIS was able to fill the power vacuum and able to exploit longstanding anger amongst Sunnis. The sectarian nature of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq played a major role. The Assad regime in Syria has its support disproportionately amongst the non-Sunni populations; the Assad regime’s support is greater amongst the Alawi, Shia, Christian, Kurds, and others. Assad’s military, for example, is dominated by his Alawi sect. Unofficial pro-regime paramilitaries and mafias known as “Shabab” or “ghosts” carry out sectarian attacks on behalf of the regime. They too are dominated by the Alawi. Even more so, the Maliki regime in Iraq is based disproportionately on Shia support in the south of the country. The policies of the Maliki regime have driven both the Sunnis and the Kurds into rebellion against it. In 2011, even before the ascendency of the Islamic State, the Maliki regime declared its own Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi a criminal and enemy. The Maliki regime was so sectarian and weak that it could not even get its Kurdish population to hand over their countryman after Tariq al-Hashimi went into hiding in the Kurdish areas. The Kurdish Peshmerga, which is ostensibly setup to defend Kurish borders in Iraq, have established a presence in disputed lands. For a long time, they have set up bases here and there in the disputed areas to match the presence of the security forces from the central state. Iraqi’s central state also had limited reach into the Sunni areas, areas that began to see the sectarian Maliki regime as an occupying force. It is because of the sectarian policies of the Maliki regime that the Islamic State was able to again gain the support of those same Sunni tribal leaders who had turned against ISIS years before during the “Sunni Awakening” around 2007.  In their recent surprise offensive, the Islamic State was able to briefly gain the support of Baathist elements in Iraq, remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that continue to suffer persecution, whose base of support is the Sunni population. The Special Republican Guards were never fully committed to battle at the time of the US invasion. And Saddam Hussein’s body-guard network and special operations are thought to have remained intact. Many of the Baathist specialists that had fled to neighboring countries at the time of the US invasion have now returned. (2) Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who occupied the Vice-Presidency and Deputy Chairmanship of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam Hussein, is now heading Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshbandi, or the Army of the Men of the Naqshband. This group, which has its roots in Baathist networks and Sufi Islamic orders, was a key player, along with ISIS, in overrunning Maliki’s state security forces recently. (3) There was much speculation that the disintegration of Maliki’s security forces was part of a conspiracy amongst some of its officers, possibly officers with connections to the old Baathist regime. However, these victories over the Maliki regime are now being undermined. Once again ISIS is imposing its harsh, unpopular Islamic order on the Sunni population and ISIS is also trying to eliminate its rival groups amongst the Sunni population of Iraq. Now the Iraqi Sunni groups have begun fighting amongst each other again. It is highly doubtful the Islamic State will be able to conquer the Kurdish areas or push deep into Alawi and Shia territory in Syria or Iraq. In both Syria and Iraq respectively, the Assad regime and Maliki regimes, along with Shia militias, are slowly pushing back, retaking territory.

The Islamic State’s victories, though dramatic, should not be overstated. Its victories are not based on popular support. The Islamic State demands obedience and the immediate transformation of society. ISIS is a commandist organization with little mass line. This is reflected in their terrorist attacks on civilians. Cities occupied by the Islamic State are sometimes depopulated or underpopulated when ISIS arrives. ISIS has created a stream of refugees from many areas it has conquered. It is not just Shia, Christians, and non-Sunnis fleeing, but also Sunnis fleeing the Islamic State’s sharia. Even their declaration of the caliphate and demand that all jihadis pledge loyalty to them has been criticized as a case of extreme overreaching. Other salafists worry that ISIS will end up discrediting the effort at bringing a viable caliphate into being. They are skeptical that a small, landlocked caliphate without oil spanning northern Iraq and Syria is viable. The population also wonders how such a state would create prosperity for its citizens, especially with such powerful neighbors like Iran. The Islamic State does not like questions. Those groups that oppose the Islamic State are muscled into submission. For example, ISIS declared a merger, that the Syrian Nusra Front be absorbed into its ranks. When the Nusra Front refused, the Islamic State responded militarily, even assassinating high ranking jihadi leaders. Al Qaeda central sought to mediate. They sided with Nusra Front. They declared the merger null and void. The Islamic State ignored attempts at mediation by Al Qaeda central. Instead, they declared the merger would go through. ISIS began to militarily enforce its dominance over Nusra Front. ISIS split from Al Qaeda central. This is why the Islamic State is often described as “too extreme for Al Qaeda” in the Western press. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have warned the Islamic State to “avoid extremism.” (4)  The Islamic State is not patient with the its rivals or the population. Salafists in many countries have criticized the Islamic State’s pretenses and its attacks on Sunni imams and scholars who disagree with them. Such conflict is not new. There is a long tradition of conflict between autocratic caliphs versus Islamic scholars, a conflict going back at least to the Umayyad dynasty. (5) Even if the Islamic State advances the cause, many scholars feel they are being cut out by a transfer of authority from themselves to the new Caliph. Such errors reflect the Islamic State’s non-proletarian origin.

The rise of the Islamic State is also connected to geopolitical conflicts favorable to it. ISIS has benefited from the regional struggle for hegemony between Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime, and, to an extent, the Maliki regime versus the Gulf states, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, Jordan, and others. The Islamic State established itself early on as the most viable opposition to the Assad regime and it has established itself as a strong opponent of the Maliki regime. The high profile nature of the conflicts drew people to its ranks from all over the world. The Islamic State has the ideological credentials and military capacity so that jihadis from all over the world to swell its ranks. Their internationalism not only brought them foot soldiers, cannon fodder for the struggle, but also brought them expertise and sophistication. For example, the Islamic State’s agitprop, internet and media production is some of the most sophisticated of any insurgent force. The ISIS brand fires the imaginations of armchair jihadis everywhere, especially in the Gulf States, who provide ISIS with an endless supply of private funds. Also, the Gulf State regimes have channeled massive military and monetary aid to Sunni rebels in Syria and Iraq. Turkey, Israel, Jordan, European countries, and the United States have channeled aid to Syrian Sunni factions as well. The United States and Jordan even established a camp to train the Syrian rebels in advanced tactics and weaponry, possibly including chemical weapons. (6) Even if this aid is not always directly sent to ISIS, it often ends up in their hands since other groups are too weak to hold onto the materials, or are mafia organizations that resell the aid, or fronts for ISIS. And in some cases, states send aid directly to the Islamic State, which is why ISIS is accused of being a proxy for Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Like other Islamist forces, the Islamic State is partially a product of geopolitical conflicts. Western imperialists and their allies have a history of channeling training and resources to Islamist movements in order to undermine Soviet-backed movements and leftist movements. The most well-known example is the effort by the United States and Pakistan to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the pro-Soviet forces. Some of these mujahideen evolved into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Later, the United States came into conflict with these forces, even deposing the Taliban’s state and occupying Afghanistan. Today, the United States is still fighting the Taliban and claims to be fighting Al Qaeda. Also, the Pakistani state sometimes comes into conflict with its own Islamists, including the Pakistani Taliban, which have connections to their deposed neighbors in Afghanistan. There is an opportunist relationship between the First World imperialists, their regional hegemonic allies, and certain Islamists. The Islamists are propped up by these regimes as a way for the regimes advance their First Worldist or hegemonic interests. The Islamists welcome any support as a way to advance themselves. The extreme sectarian nature of the jihadi ideology allows such movements to engage in opportunism that justifies any alliance with any force, which often leads them into alliances with imperialists and Zionists. Big imperialists and Israel channeled support to Sunni Islamists as a way to undermine pan-Arabism, leftist resistance movements, and Shia movements that come into conflict with their interests. The  Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood and also the Saudi regime conspired to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser multiple times. Even though the main face of Palestinian resistance today is Islamist, Islamists received support as part of Israel’s effort to weaken the Palestinian movement, which was then dominated by nationalists and leftists. (7) Some speculate that the new Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic State, the supreme leader of ISIS, received training by the United States, Britain, and the Israeli Mossad. (8) At one point, the United States had him in custody in Camp Bucca, but he was released around 2010. (9) Many speculate that he was released because he had been a US, British, or Mossad asset. It is also possible that his detention was part of a long-term effort to give him a credible back story as an imperial deep agent who could also use his incarceration to network with jailed jihadis.

Some Islamists are straight-up agents of imperialism. However, it is important to note that although numerous Islamic groups have received imperialist support and have sometimes aligned with the imperialists, it is simplistic to believe they are all simply agents of imperialism. Although some Islamists often act as mercenaries for imperialists, they are often conflicted about it. It is also important to understand that not all Islamist movements are the same. Not only are there differences between Shia and Sunni groups, there are also important differences between Sunni groups. Movements like Hezbollah are very different from ISIS. Movements like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for example, are very different than movements like the Islamic State. The former, for example, are playing a more progressive role in the region as they resist imperialism. The latter, the Islamic State, may spout anti-imperialist rhetoric, may come into some conflict with imperialism, but ends up serving imperialism in the big picture.

The Islamic State is a complex movement. It voices some of the injustice suffered by the Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq. No doubt, it expresses some legitimate grievances. However, ultimately, this is not the principal aspect of the Islamic State. And its rule has proven very unpopular even with the Sunni population. The Sunnis are its victims too. Although it has come into limited conflict with imperialism in Iraq, the Islamic State is not mainly an agent of the Sunni national bourgeoisie coming into conflict with imperialism as some might suppose. If anything, ISIS has come into conflict with the Sunni bourgeoisie represented by the old Iraqi Baathists on numerous occasions. On the whole, the Islamic State represents very backward segments of the Sunni populations of Syria and Iraq, comprador segments propped up by the Gulf States and other imperialists, along with segments of the petty bourgeoisie and intelligencia, along with very backward jihadis — some ideological, some mercenary — from around the globe. ISIS is willing to align with an imperialism that tolerates its fascist and semi-feudal social program. They are a comprador force, agents of empire, even though they spout an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist rhetoric. They are an extension of imperial capital aligned with local reactionary classes and globe-trotting mercenaries and ideologues from various strata. They are a response and contributor to a crisis situation in the region. Their rule is openly terrorist and  barbaric. However, their Islamist ideological commitments make it such that, although they serve imperialism overall, they are unpredictable and fall into limited conflict with the imperialists at times. The proxy war of which the Islamic State is playing a big role is part of the imperialist strategy to divide and conquer the region. Sectarian war is a way to divide masses. It is a way to create regional chaos. Syria and Iraq may be split into smaller states organized around sectarian lines, making it harder to resist imperialism.  The end result will be that the entire region will be weaker.  And Israel will be able to rest easily knowing that its main opponents, Iran and Iran’s allies, are occupied fighting the Sunni groups and their backers, especially ISIS and the Gulf states. Israel is so confident in its position that it is currently involved in an invasion of Gaza involving tens of thousands of troops, possibly an effort at full reoccupation. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in the past few days while ISIS attacks Shia and other Sunni groups in Iraq and Syria. One online site claiming to represent ISIS stated it is not interested in attacking Israel anytime soon:

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.” (10)

That says something about the Islamic State’s priorities. The Islamic State has also attacked the Kurdish populations aligned with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, thus serving Turkey, which is part of NATO. Even though their overall actions serve the United States, Europe, and the First World generally, the Islamic State has come into conflict with the United States in Iraq. Even though the Gulf States are part of the same First World bloc with the United States, even though they share the same regional interests, they have different policies toward the Maliki regime in Iraq. Thus different parts of the imperial allies are supporting different forces in the Iraqi civil war. Thus both sides of the conflict are being played by the Western-Gulf State imperialists. In a sense, ISIS represents a “Plan B” comprador force in Iraq. The United States would prefer to deal with a comprador regime with more liberal, modern flavor, some degree of women’s rights, an outward appearance of multi-national and religious tolerance. However, the Maliki regime is not delivering, which is why Hillary Clinton recently conveyed the US desire to see Maliki resign as a step to forming a new “national unity government.”  Plus, Iran’s involvement in Iraq makes it even more difficult to follow through with neocon nation-building fantasies there. If the imperialists can’t get a liberal comprador regime out of the Maliki, there is always the alternative, a comprador Sunni-fascist ISIS waiting in the wings. If imperialism with a liberal face fails, there is always imperialism with a fascist, feudalist face. “Plan A” doesn’t work, go with “Plan B.” Or, the imperialists will just try to split the country in order to divide and conquer. In other words, their outlook is to support all sides through multiple channels so that no matter who wins, the imperialists  win.

It is important to look beneath the surface. Just because an organization spouts anti-imperialist rhetoric and brandishes automatic weapons does not make them anti-imperialist nor progressive. Imperialism orchestrates and supports many non-state actors around the world in order to further its purposes. The Islamic State is a movement that commits genocide against non-Sunnis and non-Arabs in the region. Alawi, Shia, Christians, Kurds, and others are hunted down and butchered. Areas are depopulated. Their art, culture, holy sites, their places of worship, destroyed. Not unlike other fascist movements, the property of the persecuted is appropriated by ISIS to distribute to its fighters and supporters. Where they have power, they inflict terror on the very Sunni population they claim to represent. Sunni refugees also flee the Islamic State just as others do. Sharia is implemented. Those who do not follow every aspect of Islamic law can be beaten, tortured, or killed. Those who forget to pray are made examples of. Those who have extra-martial affairs are beaten or killed. Censorship is the order of the day. Books and cigarettes are banned and burned in huge bonfires. Young girls and women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, and raped as spoils of war. Women are silenced, their motions restricted, their rights are stripped of them. Women are turned into mere property. ISIS fighters hold themselves to another standard than the populations they control. They see themselves as better and above ordinary people. The fighters act with arbitrary terror against the populations. They do what they wish and take what they wish. They kill who they wish. Beheadings and crusifictions are commonplace. Anything and everything is permitted in the name of advancing Islam. Hypocrisy and corruption are rampant. At the same time, the Islamic State serves the interests of those regimes most closely allied to the United States. They serve and are propped up by the Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, and, indirectly, the United States and European countries. The Islamic State is a hypocritic, corrupt, destructive, oppressive force serving imperialism.

There are many false paths. There are many false leaders. There are many masks that the system hides behind. We must dare to remove the masks. The masses will see through the lies. Islam is not the answer. Fantasies about restoring a feudal, Islamic golden age are lies. Filling the heads of the population with superstition only makes the population more vulnerable. If we are going to defeat imperialism, we need an educated population. If we are going to end oppression, we need masses who think scientifically. If we are going to build a society where the people have decent lives, we need fighters and thinkers. If we are really to defeat capitalism, we need to liberate the masses, not terrorize them into submission as the capitalists, feudalists, and fake caliphs do. If we are to really win, we need the masses at our side. We need women fighting along side us. Fighting without women is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. Women hold up half the sky. Men and women unite. We need to unite the oppressed people of all religious backgrounds, all nationalities, all ethnicities, all languages. Islam is not a weapon that can take us to liberation. We need the best weapon possible, the most advanced revolutionary science, in the hands of the masses. There is one people, one Earth ,one future, one path, one organization, one leadership, one weapon, one answer: Leading Light Communism.

Notes

1. https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Zawahiris-Letter-to-Zarqawi-Translation.pdf

2. http://rudaw.net/english/interview/29062014

3. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118356/izzat-ibrahim-al-douri-saddam-husseins-pal-key-stopping-isis

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689776/Now-Taliban-warns-ISIS-Islamist-rebels-Iraq-avoid-extremism-calls-new-council-jihadi-factions-page.html

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9zGqwKZp58

6. http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-defense-contractors-training-syrian-rebels-to-handle-chemical-weapons/5315180

7. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

8. http://www.islamicnewsdaily.com/country/gulf/iraq/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/

9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10891700/Iraq-crisis-the-jihadist-behind-the-takeover-of-Mosul-and-how-America-let-him-go.html

10. http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.605097

Israel’s pink imperialism

Israel’s pink imperialismIsraelis take part in Jerusalem's annual

(llco.org)

In a recent letter, Israel’s Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar instructed the Population and Immigration Authority and the Jewish Agency to grant citizenship to the spouse of any Jew, regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple. “I do not see a distinction between Jews in heterosexual marriage and those who wed in same-sex marriages abroad in accordance with the law,” Sa’ar wrote in his letter to the Population and Immigration Authority. Yet Israel continues to deny rights to Palestinians. Most Palestinians are not only unable to attain Israeli citizenship, they are also not allowed to return to their land at all. Israeli policy is that the homosexual partners of Jews have more right to the occupied land of Palestinians than Palestinians themselves. Israeli policy grants more powers and rights to homosexual partners than Palestinians. Thus Israeli policy recognizes the longstanding connection between First World gender activism and imperialism. Israeli policy recognizes that appealing to First World homosexuals in Israel and abroad is a useful tool in imperial conquest. Israel’s policy is not unlike that of other Western imperialists today.

There is only so much value created by the global economy. There is only so much value that can be spread around globally. It takes more value to sustain the lifestyle of the average First World person than the average Third World person. More value is channeled to individuals in the First World so that they can maintain their happy existence of consumption and leisure. Typically, First World individuals work less, but receive more value than their Third World counterparts. In the past, the most privileged in the First World were heterosexual men. Today, First World society has opened more. Today, the West is more accommodating and accepting of the desires and ambitions of women and homosexuals in the First World. To extend the full range of First World privilege to women and homosexuals in the First World comes at a price. The social-democratic good life is only made possible through exploitation of Third World peoples. Increasing the quality of life in the First World is made possible by lowering quality of life in the Third World. First World peoples, including women and homosexuals, have a greater range of life options available to them because there is a restriction of life options in the Third World. There are winners and losers in the global economy.

The Israeli policy stands in a long line of liberal imperialism. Social-democratic reform reduces contradictions, reduces social tensions, within the imperial population. Imperialists often extend social-democratic reform as a way to forge the social unity to embark on imperial conquest. Thus liberal imperialism, social-democratic imperialism, is often more efficient than traditionalist imperialism. Social-democratic, pink reform also deflects Western attention from the genocide of Palestinians. Furthermore, pink-friendly Zionism is contrasted to the intolerance of Palestinian Islamic and patriotic movements in the imperial media. More and more, imperialist wars and occupation are portrayed as liberal, cosmopolitan civilizing missions. Less and less, imperialism is portrayed as a traditionalist civilizing mission, as the white man’s Christian burden. Just as the imperialist aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran are sold under the banner of First Worldist feminism, so too is the occupation of Palestine.

The dominant form of imperialism today is not traditionalist imperialism that imposes Christian religion and old gender roles on itself or the Third World. The dominant form of imperialism today is liberal, social-democratic imperialism. The dominant imperialism today does not aim to brutally conquer and control First World women and homosexuals. Rather, the liberal imperialism of today unites with First World women and homosexuals largely on their own terms against the masses of the Third World. Thus liberal imperialism sets First World women against Third World women; it sets First World homosexuals against Third World homosexuals. The belief that there is a unity of interest between First World and Third World women or between First World and Third World homosexuals is as First Worldist as the belief that there is a unity of interest between First World and Third World workers.

The answer to liberal imperialism is not traditionalism. The answer to imperialism with a pink flag is not imperialism with a black flag. It matters little to the Third World masses whether their overlords are listening to Wagner or Lady Gaga. From the standpoint of the vast majority, contradictions within the First World are as unimportant to revolution as the struggle of Coke versus Pepsi. Whether liberalism or traditionalism wins, the Third World loses. Those organizations that orient toward First World women and homosexuals are just as First Worldist as those that orient toward First World workers. First Worldism is First Worldism. Revisionism is revisionism. Leading Light rejects both liberalism and traditionalism. Leading Light rejects First Worldism and all its masks. The First World as whole is an enemy. Leading Light rejects all imperialism, all oppression, all exploitation. Leading Light is our sword. It is our shield. We are armed with the future. We are invincible.

Sources

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Interior-Minster-Saar-Jews-can-now-make-aliya-together-with-same-sex-partners-370837

Understanding the Kurdish resistance in Syria

Understanding the Kurdish resistance in Syriajohnson_1

(llco.org)

Very recently, an alliance of Kurdish forces and their allies has fought off an Islamic State offensive. Kobane, Syria was the focal point of the battle. The Islamic state is a horribly reactionary force that has been encouraged and supported by the imperialists, often through back channels. The Islamic State makes clear its genocidal intentions toward the Kurds. Not long ago, the Islamic State tried to wipe out Kurdish Yazid communities. In the face of such brutality, many people correctly rallied to defense of the Kurdish people who were facing genocidal annihilation. Many were inspired by the brave Kurdish women fighting for their freedom. Even though it is very correct to rally to the defense of the Kurdish people, it is important that we have clarity about the nature and role of the Kurdish organizations.

The Kurdish organization that was most significant in beating back the Islamic State in Syria was the People’s Protection Units (YGP), which are connected to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which is strongest in Turkish Kurdistan. Also aiding the fight were the “Peshmerga,” the Iraqi Kurdish militias of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PUK is openly capitalist has a long history of collaboration with imperialism. However, the PKK has a history as a nominally communist organization, although they have now dropped that label. Today, the PKK are an openly social-democratic organization and do not pretend to be communist. Because of their leftist rhetoric and egalitarian practices, some have supposed the PKK and its satellite organizations  to be some kind of vanguard of the Syrian revolution. Because of their long history of conflict with the racist Turkish regime, some have supposed them to be reliable anti-imperialists. This is not so.

The reality is that the PKK and its satellite organizations are nationalist organizations first and foremost. Their main interest is in establishing an independent Kurdistan. As such, they ally with whatever force can help them in achieving this end. This is why at the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the PKK-YPG was in an alliance with the Assad regime, which ceded areas to them with almost no conflict. (1) This is why the PKK-YPG is today aligned with some parts of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) against both the Islamic State and the Assad regime. (2) This is why today, they seek coordinate with the United States’ bombing campaign. (3) (4) This is why they ask the United States for support in their fight in Syria. (5) This is why they call on material support from Europe. (6) The United States has had secret talks with the YPG’s political wing since 2012. Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford:

“The PYD-YPG is a Syrian group that is moving on the ground, so we had an interest in understanding their viewpoint and ideas..” (7)

According to one source:

“Kurdish sources familiar with the indirect U.S.-PYD talks told Foreign Policy that Washington is currently pushing the PYD to distance itself from the Assad regime by joining the Syrian Coalition, working with the FSA, and improving ties with the KNC and Barzani… The recent agreement between the YPG and FSA factions to fight IS together might reflect a PYD eagerness to meet preconditions for U.S. assistance.” (8)

The willingness to ally with imperialism to achieve its end is not new. The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) is the PKK’s satellite organization in Iranian Kurdistan. Because of the United States’ conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran, PJAK has sought to position itself as a US asset in the region even though they are still on the US list of terrorist organizations. The PJAK made its intent known through Western journalists:

“These words are not quite coded speech, but they are PJAK’s way of batting its eyelashes at the United States, of implying that the world’s superpower and this ornery Maoist gang might find common cause against Tehran. Most of the freedoms Turkish Kurds have been eager to spill blood over have been available in Iran for years; Iran constitutionally recognizes the Kurds’ language and minority ethnic status, and there is no taboo against speaking Kurdish in public. The PJAK Kurds want more: They want secular democracy, they say, and they want the United States to go into Iran to deliver it to them. Kurds enthusiastically boycotted the sham election that won Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran’s presidency last year, and they speak of him in doomsday terms that would fit in at the American Enterprise Institute but sound awkward in this rebel camp where everyone’s heroes are Che Guevara and Spartacus.

‘Ahmadinejad does not respect the Sunnis. He thinks they are agents of Israel and the USA,’ says PJAK spokesman Ihsan Warya, an ex-lawyer from Kermanshah. (Most Kurds are Sunni.) Warya nevertheless points out that PJAK really does wish it were an agent of the United States, and that they’re disappointed that Washington hasn’t made contact.” (9)

Although the PKK and its satellites do not have a deep history of imperial collusion yet, they are not in principle oppose to it if imperialism is perceived to serve their nationalist ends.  As the Syrian conflict develops, it looks like they are positioning themselves to try to be part of a Western-supported coalition. Thus the PKK is not in principle different from the PUK in Iraq nor is it in principle different from numerous other nominal leftist organizations that have sought support from the United States ranging from the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to Iranian Maoists to the Communist Party of Iraq. This is the problem with revisionist and nationalist organizations. Since they are not led by true science, by Leading Light Communism, even if they claim to be revolutionary, they can become instruments and dupes of empire.

Empire has a complex strategy in Syria and the region. It is playing multiple sides, hedging its bets so that its position is advanced no matter what the outcome of the Syrian conflict. Its overall goal is to weaken the region, especially the Iranian-Assad-Hezbollah axis. It has done this by fostering sectarian conflict on multiple sides. With one hand it supports the Islamic State, with the other it bombs them. We must remember the principal duty of progressive people is to oppose imperialism, not opportunistically cheerlead any particular force on the ground. Let’s be clear, the Kurdish people have the right to defend themselves from genocide. We would like to see a Kurdish people who were truly free, but that freedom should not be bought at the expense of any other oppressed people of the region. We would like to see all the oppressed of the region thwart imperial plans by overcoming their differences with each other, by uniting. If they put truth, science, Leading Light Communism in command, the path to real freedom will open.

Notes

1.http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/07/26/157943/assad-hands-control-of-syrias.html

2.https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0RLSYVIIAEwWwB.jpg:large

3.http://www.kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/u-s-we-are-coordinating-with-ypg/318-u-s-we-are-coordinating-with-ypg.html

4.http://www.voanews.com/content/kobani-islamic-state-fighting-airstrikes-kurdish-fighters/2484354.html

5.http://rudaw.net/english/interview/03072014

6.http://kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/kurds-are-major-players-in-middle-east.html

7.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/07/washington_secret_back_channel_talks_with_kurdish_terrorists_turkey_syria_robert_ford_exclusive

8. ibid.

9.http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/2006/06/iran_bombs_iraq.html?nav=fo

Obama seeks new resolution on the so-called “Islamic State”

Obama seeks new resolution on the so-called “Islamic State”obama_war_funding_titled_medium

(llco.org)

On Wednesday, US President Obama opened the door to “limited” ground operations against the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIL, IS) by proposing a resolution to the US Congress authorizing a limited actions. According to a statement by Obama, the resolution does not authorize new troops for another war in the Middle East, but it authorizes activities by those current troops stationed in the region against the Islamic State for three years. Obama proclaimed that the Islamic State “will lose.”

We should look with great skepticism on Obama’s three-year time table, considering that the United States has been actively fighting Iraq since 1990. In reality, the United State has been involved in a continuous war against Iraq since the first Gulf War began in August, 1990 to February, 1991 followed by a decade-long air war. This was accompanied by a war against Iraq’s infrastructure, over a decade of strict sanctions to punish and weaken Iraq. This was followed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq that began in 2003. This war was declared over in 2011, but continues to this day. Now the United States seeks to increase its involvement in Iraq again under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State. Thus the recent declaration by Obama changes very little. It merely seek legitimation for continued imperialist policies against Iraq.

The latest move by the Obama administration reflects the hypocrisy of Empire. Empire sought to use the Arab Spring movements to create a Middle East more friendly to themselves. Empire actively encouraged the destabilization, later to be followed by a clandestine NATO invasion, that toppled the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Empire sought the same in Iran in 2009, but failed. Although, perhaps as a result, Ahmadinejad was replaced in 2013 by those less hostile to the United States. Protests against Assad’s regime in Syria turned to civil war in 2011 with Empire supplying massive funds, weapons, and training for numerous sectarian, Sunni opposition groups and foreign fighters. Although the Western media maintained the myth that there was a viable liberal, moderate “Free Syrian Army,” it quickly became apparent that the extremists were the only capable fighting force opposed to the Assad regime. These extremist groups followed the tactic pioneered by Al Qaeda in Iraq. They sought to bring themselves to power on the back of a sectarian conflict between Sunnis versus Shia. Thus the Syrian conflict became part of a wider regional power struggle between Shia Iran and the Sunni Gulf states, Israel, their allies, and other imperialist states. Thus Empire and its allies began funneling massive support to the Islamic State and similar groups in their effort to undermine the Assad regime and Iranian influence. Soon, the Islamic State had not only filled a power vacuum in northern Syria, but also Iraq. The result was a barbaric, nightmare regime that broadcast its atrocities on youtube: beheadings of prisoners, crucifixions, stoning of women, throwing gays off buildings, murdering minorities, public markets where girls – trophies of war – are sold as sex slaves. Most recently, in violation of Islamic law, the Islamic State burned a Jordanian pilot alive on youtube. Surely, bomber pilots themselves burn whole towns and villages with their bombs, they are not innocent. However, burning people alive on film only creates a spectacle of terror. So much for hearts and minds. The Islamic State is one of the few insurgencies that has been successful putting little emphasis on mass line. How can an insurgency get so far while caring so little for those it rules over?

The Islamic State is a Frankenstein creation of Empire that will not bring liberation. It will only bring ruin. It is part of a divide and conquer strategy by Empire against the peoples of the Middle East. Empire created the conditions for the rise of the monster — a quarter century of aggression that has left Iraq in ruins, killing millions. Empire created the conditions that have killed hundreds of thousands in Syria. Empire has a direct hand in creating the monster through funding, training, and weapons, especially through the Gulf states, Israel, and Turkey. However, now the Frankenstein is too big now. So, Empire is now reigning in its monster. Empire will beat the monster into submission through bombings and ground operations. And, in the end, the Hezbollah-Assad-Iran-Iraq axis will be weaker. The Sunni and Shia populations will be devastated in Iraq and Syria. The people of the region will be beaten into submission. The populations will be more divided than ever along ethnic and sectarian lines. And Empire will be able to justify its continued occupation. And the bourgeois media will proclaim Empire the hero for saving the Arab peoples from the monster. This is part of a new pattern of crisis politics where Empire creates a crisis, then Empire uses the crisis to justify its intervention. Then Empire puts itself forward as the only sensible alternative. With one hand, Empire starts the fire. With the other hand, Empire puts out the fire. And the capitalist media claps with both hands for the imperial heroes. The Islamic State is not a genuine anti-imperialist force even though it appears to be in conflict with Empire. At a deeper level, it is serving Empire’s purpose of weakening the ability of Third World people to resist, discrediting real resistance to Empire that might arise, and it plays the villain that allows Empire to play the hero. Empire is literally playing multiple sides of the conflict in order to weaken the entire region. Empire is pulling the strings of the Islamic State.

We must oppose all imperial plots. We must oppose both Empire and the so-called “Islamic State.” We must oppose further imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria. Empire created the problem. They have no interest in really ending it. We must oppose Empire and its efforts to divide and conquer the Third World by stroking up sectarian conflict and destabilization. We must support the genuine united front against imperialism, not pretenders like the Islamic State that work hand-in-hand with Empire to weaken the masses. The Islamic State only brings sectarian conflict, medieval barbarism, and ruin. The solution is not Empire. The solution is not extremist perversions of Islam. The solution is the Leading Light of truth.

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

Understanding the Islamic State, ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq

(llco.org) islamic_state_of_iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS or ISIL, the Islamic State) has gone through numerous incarnations. In the past, it was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq.” And today, its leader, previously known as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” calls himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” the supreme leader of a new, landlocked Sunni caliphate that spans the Sunni areas of northern Iraq and northern Syria. He has declared that it is the duty of all Muslims to support and follow him and his Islamic State. To understand the nature of the ISIS, it is important to understand its methods, its history, its social base, its role in the class struggle.

It was under the previous leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS, developed its highly sectarian strategy. The main targets of ISIS’ sectarianism are the Shia, other non-Sunni populations, and oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds. When ISIS was known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” they pursued a strategy of seeking to cause a civil war between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq, a strategy that continues to this day. The 2006 attack on the Al ‘Askarī Shrine, one of the holiest sites in all of Shia Islam, was attributed to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Although they denied responsibility after a backlash of public opinion against them, the attack on the shrine fits with a pattern of attacks on Shia mosques, shrines, and other non-Sunni holy sites that continues to this day. ISIS’ approach prioritizes sectarian attacks and immediate imposition of sharia, Islamic law, over any other conflicts. In 2005, even the emir of Al Qaeda central, Ayman al Zawahiri, questioned the prioritization of sectarianism Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“We must repeat what we mentioned previously, that the majority of Muslims don’t comprehend this and possibly could not even imagine it. For that reason, many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia. The sharpness of this questioning increases when the attacks are on one of their mosques, and it increases more when the attacks are on the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may God honor him. My opinion is that this matter won’t be acceptable to the Muslim populace however much you have tried to explain it, and aversion to this will continue.

Indeed, questions will circulate among Mujahideen circles and their opinion makers about the correctness of this conflict with the Shia at this time. Is it something that is unavoidable? Or, is it something can be put off until the force of the Mujahideen movement in Iraq gets stronger? And if some of the operations were necessary for self-defense, were all of the operations necessary? Or, were there some operations that weren’t called for?” (1)

At the time, ISIS’s strategy hoped to create chaos in order to cause a US withdrawal from Iraq. Despite their rhetoric and actions, their opposition to imperialism was not principled. They were not opposed to imperialism per se, rather they are opposed to their and the Iraqi Sunni population’s relatively weak position within the imperial system. Their armed struggle was not to throw off the yoke of imperialism, but it was ultimately about elevating themselves and those they represent within the empire. Their armed struggle would become a kind of armed reformism, an armed negotiation, with empire. Even if this was not clear at the beginnings of their movement, it is certainly clear with hindsight.

ISIS’ terror is not just directed at the Shia. ISIS has carried out genocidal policies against non-Sunnis along with a terror imposed on its own Sunni constituency. Eventually, the tide turned against “Al Qaeda in Iraq” when their own Sunni constituency revolted against them around 2007. This is referred to as the “Sunni Awakening” in the imperial media. This resulted from imperial bribes offered to Sunni tribes and it resulted from a backlash against ISIS’ sectarianism and harsh imposition of sharia: banning many traditional practices, censorship, beatings, executions, notorious beheadings, bombing of civilians. This sectarian strategy continued as ISIS intervened in the Syrian civil war. During the Syrian civil war, ISIS quickly marginalized other rebel factions, including other jihadi groups, who were fighting the Assad regime. As the most effective sect, they carved out a semi-state governed by sharia that spanned the Sunni areas of northern Syria and Iraq. Similar to their actions in Iraq, their genocidal, sectarian strategy in Syria targeted Alawi, Shia, Christian, and Kurdish populations with terror and violence. The sectarianism of the Syrian rebel groups was often met with sectarian violence on the part of the Assad regime against Sunni populations in places like Aleppo, where the regime indiscriminately bombed and shelled the population.

IS-300x192In 2014, ISIS was ascending rapidly. They declared themselves the new Sunni caliphate and their leader declared himself Caliph of the “Islamic State.” After stabilizing their hold on parts of northern Syria, they played a major part in overrunning significant parts of Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. The rapid rise of the Islamic State was aided by many factors. The Arab Spring has inspired populations to rise up across the region. It was the weakness of the central states of Iraq and Syria that also allowed ISIS to quickly gain power. ISIS was able to fill the power vacuum and able to exploit longstanding anger amongst Sunnis. The sectarian nature of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq played a major role. The Assad regime in Syria has its support disproportionately amongst the non-Sunni populations; the Assad regime’s support is greater amongst the Alawi, Shia, Christian, Kurds, and others. Assad’s military, for example, is dominated by his Alawi sect. Unofficial pro-regime paramilitaries and mafias known as “Shabab” or “ghosts” carry out sectarian attacks on behalf of the regime. They too are dominated by the Alawi. Even more so, the Maliki regime in Iraq is based disproportionately on Shia support in the south of the country. The policies of the Maliki regime have driven both the Sunnis and the Kurds into rebellion against it. In 2011, even before the ascendency of the Islamic State, the Maliki regime declared its own Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi a criminal and enemy. The Maliki regime was so sectarian and weak that it could not even get its Kurdish population to hand over their countryman after Tariq al-Hashimi went into hiding in the Kurdish areas. The Kurdish Peshmerga, which is ostensibly setup to defend Kurish borders in Iraq, have established a presence in disputed lands. For a long time, they have set up bases here and there in the disputed areas to match the presence of the security forces from the central state. Iraqi’s central state also had limited reach into the Sunni areas, areas that began to see the sectarian Maliki regime as an occupying force. It is because of the sectarian policies of the Maliki regime that the Islamic State was able to again gain the support of those same Sunni tribal leaders who had turned against ISIS years before during the “Sunni Awakening” around 2007.  In their recent surprise offensive, the Islamic State was able to briefly gain the support of Baathist elements in Iraq, remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that continue to suffer persecution, whose base of support is the Sunni population. The Special Republican Guards were never fully committed to battle at the time of the US invasion. And Saddam Hussein’s body-guard network and special operations are thought to have remained intact. Many of the Baathist specialists that had fled to neighboring countries at the time of the US invasion have now returned. (2) Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who occupied the Vice-Presidency and Deputy Chairmanship of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam Hussein, is now heading Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshbandi, or the Army of the Men of the Naqshband. This group, which has its roots in Baathist networks and Sufi Islamic orders, was a key player, along with ISIS, in overrunning Maliki’s state security forces recently. (3) There was much speculation that the disintegration of Maliki’s security forces was part of a conspiracy amongst some of its officers, possibly officers with connections to the old Baathist regime. However, these victories over the Maliki regime are now being undermined. Once again ISIS is imposing its harsh, unpopular Islamic order on the Sunni population and ISIS is also trying to eliminate its rival groups amongst the Sunni population of Iraq. Now the Iraqi Sunni groups have begun fighting amongst each other again. It is highly doubtful the Islamic State will be able to conquer the Kurdish areas or push deep into Alawi and Shia territory in Syria or Iraq. In both Syria and Iraq respectively, the Assad regime and Maliki regimes, along with Shia militias, are slowly pushing back, retaking territory.

The Islamic State’s victories, though dramatic, should not be overstated. Its victories are not based on popular support. The Islamic State demands obedience and the immediate transformation of society. ISIS is a commandist organization with little mass line. This is reflected in their terrorist attacks on civilians. Cities occupied by the Islamic State are sometimes depopulated or underpopulated when ISIS arrives. ISIS has created a stream of refugees from many areas it has conquered. It is not just Shia, Christians, and non-Sunnis fleeing, but also Sunnis fleeing the Islamic State’s sharia. Even their declaration of the caliphate and demand that all jihadis pledge loyalty to them has been criticized as a case of extreme overreaching. Other salafists worry that ISIS will end up discrediting the effort at bringing a viable caliphate into being. They are skeptical that a small, landlocked caliphate without oil spanning northern Iraq and Syria is viable. The population also wonders how such a state would create prosperity for its citizens, especially with such powerful neighbors like Iran. The Islamic State does not like questions. Those groups that oppose the Islamic State are muscled into submission. For example, ISIS declared a merger, that the Syrian Nusra Front be absorbed into its ranks. When the Nusra Front refused, the Islamic State responded militarily, even assassinating high ranking jihadi leaders. Al Qaeda central sought to mediate. They sided with Nusra Front. They declared the merger null and void. The Islamic State ignored attempts at mediation by Al Qaeda central. Instead, they declared the merger would go through. ISIS began to militarily enforce its dominance over Nusra Front. ISIS split from Al Qaeda central. This is why the Islamic State is often described as “too extreme for Al Qaeda” in the Western press. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have warned the Islamic State to “avoid extremism.” (4)  The Islamic State is not patient with the its rivals or the population. Salafists in many countries have criticized the Islamic State’s pretenses and its attacks on Sunni imams and scholars who disagree with them. Such conflict is not new. There is a long tradition of conflict between autocratic caliphs versus Islamic scholars, a conflict going back at least to the Umayyad dynasty. (5) Even if the Islamic State advances the cause, many scholars feel they are being cut out by a transfer of authority from themselves to the new Caliph. Such errors reflect the Islamic State’s non-proletarian origin.

The rise of the Islamic State is also connected to geopolitical conflicts favorable to it. ISIS has benefited from the regional struggle for hegemony between Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime, and, to an extent, the Maliki regime versus the Gulf states, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, Jordan, and others. The Islamic State established itself early on as the most viable opposition to the Assad regime and it has established itself as a strong opponent of the Maliki regime. The high profile nature of the conflicts drew people to its ranks from all over the world. The Islamic State has the ideological credentials and military capacity so that jihadis from all over the world to swell its ranks. Their internationalism not only brought them foot soldiers, cannon fodder for the struggle, but also brought them expertise and sophistication. For example, the Islamic State’s agitprop, internet and media production is some of the most sophisticated of any insurgent force. The ISIS brand fires the imaginations of armchair jihadis everywhere, especially in the Gulf States, who provide ISIS with an endless supply of private funds. Also, the Gulf State regimes have channeled massive military and monetary aid to Sunni rebels in Syria and Iraq. Turkey, Israel, Jordan, European countries, and the United States have channeled aid to Syrian Sunni factions as well. The United States and Jordan even established a camp to train the Syrian rebels in advanced tactics and weaponry, possibly including chemical weapons. (6) Even if this aid is not always directly sent to ISIS, it often ends up in their hands since other groups are too weak to hold onto the materials, or are mafia organizations that resell the aid, or fronts for ISIS. And in some cases, states send aid directly to the Islamic State, which is why ISIS is accused of being a proxy for Qatar or Saudi Arabia. Like other Islamist forces, the Islamic State is partially a product of geopolitical conflicts. Western imperialists and their allies have a history of channeling training and resources to Islamist movements in order to undermine Soviet-backed movements and leftist movements. The most well-known example is the effort by the United States and Pakistan to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the pro-Soviet forces. Some of these mujahideen evolved into Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Later, the United States came into conflict with these forces, even deposing the Taliban’s state and occupying Afghanistan. Today, the United States is still fighting the Taliban and claims to be fighting Al Qaeda. Also, the Pakistani state sometimes comes into conflict with its own Islamists, including the Pakistani Taliban, which have connections to their deposed neighbors in Afghanistan. There is an opportunist relationship between the First World imperialists, their regional hegemonic allies, and certain Islamists. The Islamists are propped up by these regimes as a way for the regimes advance their First Worldist or hegemonic interests. The Islamists welcome any support as a way to advance themselves. The extreme sectarian nature of the jihadi ideology allows such movements to engage in opportunism that justifies any alliance with any force, which often leads them into alliances with imperialists and Zionists. Big imperialists and Israel channeled support to Sunni Islamists as a way to undermine pan-Arabism, leftist resistance movements, and Shia movements that come into conflict with their interests. The  Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood and also the Saudi regime conspired to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser multiple times. Even though the main face of Palestinian resistance today is Islamist, Islamists received support as part of Israel’s effort to weaken the Palestinian movement, which was then dominated by nationalists and leftists. (7) Some speculate that the new Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic State, the supreme leader of ISIS, received training by the United States, Britain, and the Israeli Mossad. (8) At one point, the United States had him in custody in Camp Bucca, but he was released around 2010. (9) Many speculate that he was released because he had been a US, British, or Mossad asset. It is also possible that his detention was part of a long-term effort to give him a credible back story as an imperial deep agent who could also use his incarceration to network with jailed jihadis.

Some Islamists are straight-up agents of imperialism. However, it is important to note that although numerous Islamic groups have received imperialist support and have sometimes aligned with the imperialists, it is simplistic to believe they are all simply agents of imperialism. Although some Islamists often act as mercenaries for imperialists, they are often conflicted about it. It is also important to understand that not all Islamist movements are the same. Not only are there differences between Shia and Sunni groups, there are also important differences between Sunni groups. Movements like Hezbollah are very different from ISIS. Movements like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for example, are very different than movements like the Islamic State. The former, for example, are playing a more progressive role in the region as they resist imperialism. The latter, the Islamic State, may spout anti-imperialist rhetoric, may come into some conflict with imperialism, but ends up serving imperialism in the big picture.

The Islamic State is a complex movement. It voices some of the injustice suffered by the Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq. No doubt, it expresses some legitimate grievances. However, ultimately, this is not the principal aspect of the Islamic State. And its rule has proven very unpopular even with the Sunni population. The Sunnis are its victims too. Although it has come into limited conflict with imperialism in Iraq, the Islamic State is not mainly an agent of the Sunni national bourgeoisie coming into conflict with imperialism as some might suppose. If anything, ISIS has come into conflict with the Sunni bourgeoisie represented by the old Iraqi Baathists on numerous occasions. On the whole, the Islamic State represents very backward segments of the Sunni populations of Syria and Iraq, comprador segments propped up by the Gulf States and other imperialists, along with segments of the petty bourgeoisie and intelligencia, along with very backward jihadis — some ideological, some mercenary — from around the globe. ISIS is willing to align with an imperialism that tolerates its fascist and semi-feudal social program. They are a comprador force, agents of empire, even though they spout an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist rhetoric. They are an extension of imperial capital aligned with local reactionary classes and globe-trotting mercenaries and ideologues from various strata. They are a response and contributor to a crisis situation in the region. Their rule is openly terrorist and  barbaric. However, their Islamist ideological commitments make it such that, although they serve imperialism overall, they are unpredictable and fall into limited conflict with the imperialists at times. The proxy war of which the Islamic State is playing a big role is part of the imperialist strategy to divide and conquer the region. Sectarian war is a way to divide masses. It is a way to create regional chaos. Syria and Iraq may be split into smaller states organized around sectarian lines, making it harder to resist imperialism.  The end result will be that the entire region will be weaker.  And Israel will be able to rest easily knowing that its main opponents, Iran and Iran’s allies, are occupied fighting the Sunni groups and their backers, especially ISIS and the Gulf states. Israel is so confident in its position that it is currently involved in an invasion of Gaza involving tens of thousands of troops, possibly an effort at full reoccupation. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in the past few days while ISIS attacks Shia and other Sunni groups in Iraq and Syria. One online site claiming to represent ISIS stated it is not interested in attacking Israel anytime soon:

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.” (10)

That says something about the Islamic State’s priorities. The Islamic State has also attacked the Kurdish populations aligned with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, thus serving Turkey, which is part of NATO. Even though their overall actions serve the United States, Europe, and the First World generally, the Islamic State has come into conflict with the United States in Iraq. Even though the Gulf States are part of the same First World bloc with the United States, even though they share the same regional interests, they have different policies toward the Maliki regime in Iraq. Thus different parts of the imperial allies are supporting different forces in the Iraqi civil war. Thus both sides of the conflict are being played by the Western-Gulf State imperialists. In a sense, ISIS represents a “Plan B” comprador force in Iraq. The United States would prefer to deal with a comprador regime with more liberal, modern flavor, some degree of women’s rights, an outward appearance of multi-national and religious tolerance. However, the Maliki regime is not delivering, which is why Hillary Clinton recently conveyed the US desire to see Maliki resign as a step to forming a new “national unity government.”  Plus, Iran’s involvement in Iraq makes it even more difficult to follow through with neocon nation-building fantasies there. If the imperialists can’t get a liberal comprador regime out of the Maliki, there is always the alternative, a comprador Sunni-fascist ISIS waiting in the wings. If imperialism with a liberal face fails, there is always imperialism with a fascist, feudalist face. “Plan A” doesn’t work, go with “Plan B.” Or, the imperialists will just try to split the country in order to divide and conquer. In other words, their outlook is to support all sides through multiple channels so that no matter who wins, the imperialists  win.

It is important to look beneath the surface. Just because an organization spouts anti-imperialist rhetoric and brandishes automatic weapons does not make them anti-imperialist nor progressive. Imperialism orchestrates and supports many non-state actors around the world in order to further its purposes. The Islamic State is a movement that commits genocide against non-Sunnis and non-Arabs in the region. Alawi, Shia, Christians, Kurds, and others are hunted down and butchered. Areas are depopulated. Their art, culture, holy sites, their places of worship, destroyed. Not unlike other fascist movements, the property of the persecuted is appropriated by ISIS to distribute to its fighters and supporters. Where they have power, they inflict terror on the very Sunni population they claim to represent. Sunni refugees also flee the Islamic State just as others do. Sharia is implemented. Those who do not follow every aspect of Islamic law can be beaten, tortured, or killed. Those who forget to pray are made examples of. Those who have extra-martial affairs are beaten or killed. Censorship is the order of the day. Books and cigarettes are banned and burned in huge bonfires. Young girls and women are kidnapped, forced into marriage, and raped as spoils of war. Women are silenced, their motions restricted, their rights are stripped of them. Women are turned into mere property. ISIS fighters hold themselves to another standard than the populations they control. They see themselves as better and above ordinary people. The fighters act with arbitrary terror against the populations. They do what they wish and take what they wish. They kill who they wish. Beheadings and crusifictions are commonplace. Anything and everything is permitted in the name of advancing Islam. Hypocrisy and corruption are rampant. At the same time, the Islamic State serves the interests of those regimes most closely allied to the United States. They serve and are propped up by the Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, and, indirectly, the United States and European countries. The Islamic State is a hypocritic, corrupt, destructive, oppressive force serving imperialism.

There are many false paths. There are many false leaders. There are many masks that the system hides behind. We must dare to remove the masks. The masses will see through the lies. Islam is not the answer. Fantasies about restoring a feudal, Islamic golden age are lies. Filling the heads of the population with superstition only makes the population more vulnerable. If we are going to defeat imperialism, we need an educated population. If we are going to end oppression, we need masses who think scientifically. If we are going to build a society where the people have decent lives, we need fighters and thinkers. If we are really to defeat capitalism, we need to liberate the masses, not terrorize them into submission as the capitalists, feudalists, and fake caliphs do. If we are to really win, we need the masses at our side. We need women fighting along side us. Fighting without women is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. Women hold up half the sky. Men and women unite. We need to unite the oppressed people of all religious backgrounds, all nationalities, all ethnicities, all languages. Islam is not a weapon that can take us to liberation. We need the best weapon possible, the most advanced revolutionary science, in the hands of the masses. There is one people, one Earth , and only one possible future –communism.  And there is science, a weapon, a path to this communist world –the revolutionary science of Leading Light Communism.

And there is an organization with that revolutionary scientific line and leadership in command, carrying with it the spirit of loyalty, sacrifice, ruthlessness, courage, intelligence, creativity, and of service to the Planet and its People –the Leading Light Communist Organization.  Become a Leading Light for communism and join us!

Notes

1. https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Zawahiris-Letter-to-Zarqawi-Translation.pdf

2. http://rudaw.net/english/interview/29062014

3. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118356/izzat-ibrahim-al-douri-saddam-husseins-pal-key-stopping-isis

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689776/Now-Taliban-warns-ISIS-Islamist-rebels-Iraq-avoid-extremism-calls-new-council-jihadi-factions-page.html

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9zGqwKZp58

6. http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-defense-contractors-training-syrian-rebels-to-handle-chemical-weapons/5315180

7. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

8. http://www.islamicnewsdaily.com/country/gulf/iraq/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/

9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10891700/Iraq-crisis-the-jihadist-behind-the-takeover-of-Mosul-and-how-America-let-him-go.html

10. http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/.premium-1.605097