Debate On Middle East, Revolution And Counter-Revolution

November 23, 2014

From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters

Readers’ Views, Part 3

I loved the way “Israel decimates Gaza as world faces global counter-revolutions” (Sept.-Oct. N&L) begins by highlighting how Gazans’ suffering represents global counter-revolution. The Left often takes the side of the underdog, the “lesser of the evils” fighting “U.S. or Zionist imperialism.” The heart of the matter is the two worlds of those who deliver wars and those at the receiving end.        

Htun Lin
Bay Area, Calif.


Many of the miners murdered at Soma, Turkey, were Alevis. Two trade union confederations in Turkey take special efforts to defend Alevis and women and have Alevi leadership. The Gezi Resistance also included and fought for Alevis. We can point to specific movements and parties—the Gezi Resistance, the People’s Democracy Party and the Party of Democratic Regions—as places where these struggles intersect. They would not be as militant and popular were it not for movements “from below.” Turkey’s ruling reactionary party would not be joining the international anti-IS coalition if they did not feel these movements breathing down their necks. People can see their best hopes incarnate in Rojava. Please support us.



I would not mix up the Free Syrian Army (FSA) with the Kurdish defense forces, and treat both as revolutionary. I also welcome the belated air strikes on IS in and around Kobane. When your website statement, “Support the people of Kobane’s struggle for self-determination!” appeals for arming the Kurds, who is supposed to supply these arms? Kurds, who were opportunistically granted legal “citizenship” by Syria’s Assad only a couple of years ago, refuse to be the boots on the ground for the FSA. The best they can do is defend their own autonomous areas, especially since the FSA refuses to accept the right of self-determination and is willing to discuss it “only after” the overthrow.

Bay Area


The national liberation movements of the Palestinian and Kurdish peoples are tied to the Syrian Revolution. They have their own relation to colonialism and opposition to it, and their own ideas. Both movements have raised profound questions about the role of the state. The 1979 Iranian Revolution also once shook the world. Today, Iran’s imperialist role in supporting Assad’s genocide couldn’t be more degenerate. But the Iranian people’s long revolutionary history enters into a potential dialogue with Syrian revolutionaries.                        

Gerry Emmett


The mutually reinforcing tendencies of war and terror are the default when revolution stops short of working out the positive as the power of the idea that shapes human relations so that everyone can experience that most human dimension, the absolute liberation of the self-determination of the idea.

Ron Kelch
Oakland, Calif.


Turkey, at least for the moment, regards Kurdish self-determination as a greater threat than they do IS. Such power politics are necessarily being reflected in the attitude of other NATO members in their insistence on doing nothing more than carrying out sporadic airstrikes, which are not intended to alter the balance of power and risk a potential resurgence in Kurdish ambitions and capacities for self-determination.

Dan Read

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