protest gathering in solidarity

The Industrial Workers of the World condemns the invasion of North-East Syria by the Turkish State, and calls on all trade unionists to support the revolution in any way they can.

In 2019 the Turkish State continued its politics of violent ultra-nationalism, deposing democratically elected Kurdish mayors and imprisoning activists, politicians, and journalists in unprecedented numbers. For months Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been seeking to extend this to the south, beating the drum of war against the Autonomous Self-Administration of Northern Syria, amassing troops on the border and lobbying the United States and international community to allow the creation of a “peace corridor” of thirty kilometres into Syrian territory. This wish was granted after a single phone-call with US President Donald Trump, who signalled the withdrawal of the US military on Sunday 6th October despite protests from his own allies. On Wednesday 9th October, Turkey began its invasion and has brought unnecessary war to what was the most peaceful region in the country.

With this invasion, Erdoğan aims to commit ethnic cleansing of the population, a war crime, lauding that he plans to “resettle” two million people in the proposed “safe-zone.” This policy is designed to ensure that Turkey has a long-term stake in the region and important place at the negotiating table as the Syrian Civil War comes to a close. This is not the only goal; Turkey seeks to destroy the Autonomous Self-Administration and any resemblance of Kurdish revolutionary strength.

Inspired by libertarian municipalism, the Autonomous Self-Administration is a revolutionary experiment to liberate the working class of North-East Syria. It has established directly-democratic structures that give local people real control over the affairs of their communities. These structures, alongside new institutions promoting social ecology and women’s liberation, directly empower marginalised people and ensure cohesion for the multi-ethnic, multi-religious working class.

In addition, the revolution has sought to end the exploitation that comes from capitalist private-property relations by promoting a solidarity economy, collectivising land where it can and establishing cooperatives across the region.

The Rojava revolution has inspired socialists across the world, including members of the IWW. Many IWW members have journeyed to Northern Syria either to fight or to aid the revolution directly in a variety of ways. Two of whom were şehid Anna Campbell (Hêlîn Qerecox) and şehid Michael Israel, killed by Turkish airstrikes as they fought to defeat Daesh. They were our friends, siblings, and comrades. Though we mourn them, we carry enormous strength from their memory, and they live on through us.

The Turkish State does not act alone. It is a member of NATO and is supported by European capitalism. The UK and German military industries in particular supply arms, jets, and tanks (with ongoing maintenance) to Turkey, which are being used to murder our comrades and commit ethnic cleansing. Our governments are complicit, and we have a duty to oppose them.

The revolution exemplifies and surpasses much of what the IWW aims for and works so hard to achieve. We express our enormous admiration for the Autonomous Self-Administration and the people of North-East Syria, and call on all IWW members and trade unionists to do everything they can to support the revolution.

Şehid Namirin – The martyrs never die.