Emergency Demonstration in Solidarity with Syrian Kurds threatened by Erdoğan, Assad, Russia, and Iran! Friday, December 21, 11am-1pm

By Javier Sethness, for the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice

SDF Syria

Friday, December 21, 2018, 11am-1pm

6300 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

 

On Wednesday, December 19, 2018, Donald Trump abruptly announced that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL, or Da’esh) had been defeated in Syria, and that it’s “time to bring our great young people home.” Whereas this kind of haphazard decisionism is typical from Trump, his immediate mandated withdrawal of an estimated 2,000 U.S. special forces from northeastern Syria, otherwise known as “Rojava” or the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS), was apparently agreed to only in coordination with neo-Ottoman Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with whom Trump spoke by telephone on December 14. Against the advice of senior members within the Trump administration, apparently without even consulting Republican legislators, and shocking coalition partners UK and France, Trump ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Syria within 100 days. Vladimir Putin responded by celebrating the decision.

In a public statement released today, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—a military coalition founded at U.S. behest in October 2015 which comprises Kurds, Arabs, and Assyrians/Syriacs, among others—declared that Trump’s sudden move will negatively affect the ongoing campaign against IS/Da’esh, which, contrary to the president’s conclusion, has not yet been defeated. See map below:

Screenshot_2018-12-20 Map of Syrian Civil War - Syria news and incidents today - syria liveuamap com

Key: Red refers to Regime-controlled regions; black to Da’esh/IS; green to anti-Assad opposition/Turkish-supported occupation; yellow to Kurdish self-administrative forces (courtesy https://syria.liveuamap.com/)

Indeed, Trump’s announcement may very well allow for Da’esh to reconstitute itself, considering that a deadly ailment must be fully treated, if it is not to recur. To this point, the SDF has warned that it may have no other choice but to release its suspected Da’esh detainees with their families “very soon.” In this sense, the president’s mandated withdrawal from Syria appears quite hypocritical and self-defeating, when juxtaposed with his public condemnation of the Obama administration’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq, which according to him, led to the rise of the Islamic State.

This is not to defend the U.S. military presence in Syria, whether in terms of bases, troops, or air support—for the U.S. air strikes over the past four years have killed thousands of civilians, involving attacks on hospitals, prisons, and family-members of suspected IS militants. Instead, we wish to recognize the grave danger that Trump’s impulsive decision-making implies for the Kurds and other ethnic minorities of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS), in light of Erdoğan’s own declaration on Wednesday, December 12, of an imminent offensive combining an estimated 24,000 Turkish military and Turkish Free Syrian Army (tFSA) fighters against the remaining northeastern region of Syria east of the Euphrates River, where Kurdish-majority self-administration forces hold control. As with established precedent vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the war in Yemen, it is clear that Trump made a deal with Erdoğan over the DFNS that at least in part involves arms sales—though it is not clear at this moment if $3.5 billion was the only “win” Trump negotiated in this impersonal, neo-colonial “deal.”

Continue reading “Emergency Demonstration in Solidarity with Syrian Kurds threatened by Erdoğan, Assad, Russia, and Iran! Friday, December 21, 11am-1pm”

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IMHO May Day Speech, Los Angeles

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Invited antiwar speech by representative of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization at May Day rally sponsored by Union del Barrio, following a march by several hundred from MacArthur Park to City Hall.

I went to one of my first protests when I was 16 against the war in Iraq during the Bush regime. I want to tell you about the the war on terror that doesn’t get talked about much. The US has bombed Syria since 2014 in name of killing terrorists. When the US-led Coalition took back the Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS, it destroyed 80% of the city and killed 1400 civilians last year. And in Iraq, the battle to take back Mosul from ISIS was similarly bloody. The US has killed 6000 civilians in bombing ISIS in Syria. We cannot keep silent about this.

We must stand against the endless war on terror, from Syria and Iraq to Yemen and Afghanistan, but we also must also stand against the bombing of Syrians by Assad. Most of the over 500,000 people killed in Syria have been killed by Assad and his imperialist allies like Russia. In Sednaya prison, 13,000 prisoners, mainly nonviolent activists, including many Leftists, have been murdered by the regime. We must reject the idea that the only choices are fascism or terrorism; that’s what fascists say to keep power everywhere.

How many more terrorists has the US created with its endless wars? Why has the US been bombing Afghanistan for 17 years? Why is the US helping to kill people in Yemen? We need to organize mass-marches to end the so-called war on terror that makes us less safe. But at the same time, we also need to let those facing mass murder from fascist regimes know that they are not alone and that we stand with them and against all imperialists and fascists! Solidarity with the Syrian revolution, including Rojava!

 

Internationalists for Afrin and Ghouta

by Javier Sethness

Ghouta
Syrians evacuate from the town of Jisreen in the eastern Ghouta area on the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday. | AFP-JIJI

Response to Fredo Corvo, “Is the defense of Afrin proletarian internationalism?” (Libcom, 5 March 2018)

As a response to “Afrin Under Attack by Neo-Ottoman Erdogan: We Must Defend Afrin,” a statement published on the website of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice on January 22, Fredo Corvo’s posing of the question, “Is the defense of Afrin proletarian internationalism?” (Libcom, 5 March), unfortunately presents several arguments based on straw-men. Though he ostensibly writes from a libertarian-communist perspective, he dedicates much effort to critiquing Marxist humanism, thus overlooking the fact that our Coalition represents a convergence of different revolutionary-left groupings and individuals. Plus, Corvo’s critique is only vaguely anti-capitalist, far from being concretely humanist or anti-imperialist. It is unclear whether Corvo’s critique can be considered anarchist.

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Stop Trump’s War Threats against North Korea and Iran!

by Los Angeles Coalition for Peace, Revolution and Social Justice

August 11, 2017

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Courtesy Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

With Donald Trump’s open threats of nuclear annihilation in August, the U.S.-North Korea confrontation has become the greatest threat to world peace. The U.S. has never recognized the North Korean regime and it was explicitly targeted—alongside Iraq and Iran—in George W. Bush’s infamous 2002 “Axis of Evil” speech. Since then, this brutal totalitarian regime has escalated its nuclear program—most recently, by launching a missile that could reach Alaska, and by threatening to target Guam. Even if the North Koreans have not yet miniaturized their nuclear warheads to fit onto a missile, it is conceivable that this will happen in the next few years. At the same time, the U.S. has targeted North Korean territory with nuclear weapons for decades. We oppose U.S. imperialism and all other forms of imperialism, militarism, and authoritarian capitalism in East Asia and throughout the world.

An equally dangerous war threat we face is the U.S., the Saudis, their allies, and Israel against Iran. Trump has vowed to rip up Iran’s nuclear agreement with the U.S., the UN, and the European Union. Trump also used very bellicose language against Iran during his trip to Saudi Arabia in May. More recently, he has promised to decertify the nuclear agreement in October, which could touch off a real war with Iran. We need to find ways to oppose Trump’s war threats while also supporting democratic and revolutionary movements inside Iran and the region. Iran is a regional power that, with its ally Russia, has intervened brutally against the Syrian people. We oppose the imperialist war threats against Iran and also support the struggles of the peoples of the region against all other forms of imperialism, militarism, authoritarianism, and capitalism.

Stop Trump’s War Threats against North Korea and Iran!

Abolish nuclear weapons everywhere, including the U.S., N. Korea, Israel, Russia and China!

Defend the peoples of the Middle East and Asia from war, imperialism, and authoritarian capitalism!

Stop the Russian-Iranian imperialist intervention in Syria! Support Syrians Who Oppose Assad, ISIS and Al-Qaida!

Stop Trump’s Social War on the people of the U.S.!

Zach Medeiros, “Solidarity with the Oppressed, Not the Oppressors: Why We Should Support Syrian Revolutionaries”

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Zach Medeiros, Socialist Party of the USA

Comments presented at the July 14 launch of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution and Social Justice at a public meeting at the Westside Peace Center, Culver City

How can we support revolutionary Syrians and the Syrian people as a whole? This is not an easy question to answer. Yassin al-Haj Saleh, one of Syria’s greatest intellectuals and a former political prisoner jailed for nearly two decades for speaking out against his government, once wrote that “Syria is the world, and the world is Syria.” In other words, Syria has not only become a global issue, but the world has become a Syrian issue. When Syrians first took to the streets in 2011 to protest the brutality, corruption, poverty and discrimination that defined life for most living under the Assad regime, who could have foreseen that they would become the world? In those heady days, where dictators who had ruled for decades were falling like cards before the might of the people, who could have imagined that over six years later, Bashar al-Assad would still be on his butcher’s throne, propped up to one degree or another by most of the regional and global powers?

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Frieda Afary, “How Did We Go from the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement to the Destruction of the Syrian Revolution and the Global Rise of Racist Authoritarianism?”

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Frieda Afary, Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists

Comments presented at the July 14 launch of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution and Social Justice at a public meeting at the Westside Peace Center, Culver City

In 2011, the world was abuzz with the spirit of the Arab Spring, a revolutionary movement for social justice, freedom and human dignity which aimed to overthrow authoritarian states in the Middle East.   This movement seemed to come out of nowhere but was actually the result of decades of deep mass dissatisfaction with worsening poverty and political repression under authoritarian regimes such as those of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.

The revolts in Tunisia and in Egypt involved the participation of youth and women as well as large labor unions. They led to the overthrow of the dictators, Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt.   The uprising in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad had the most diverse composition, involving youth, workers, women, and not only the Sunni Arab majority but also the Kurds, an oppressed national minority, as well as members of the Alawite Muslim minority, Christians, Assyrians and the Druze Shi-a community.   The Arab Spring was really a Middle Eastern Spring that involved non-Arabs and even extended to protests against poverty and corruption in Israel. It was also preceded by the Iranian Green movement, a mass protest movement against the fraudulent presidential election in 2009 which lasted several months before it was brutally crushed by the Iranian government.

Continue reading “Frieda Afary, “How Did We Go from the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement to the Destruction of the Syrian Revolution and the Global Rise of Racist Authoritarianism?””