Published at anarkismo.net on 15 November 2015 here
With The Working Class, Against Imperialism and Terror Attacks.
Lucien van der Walt
Politics should be approached with a simple rule: does an action help or harm the working class and poor’s struggle for complete freedom?
Strategic choices are determined by moral or ethical ones. More precisely: an ethics centred on anti-authoritarianism, anti-domination, anti-capitalism, anti-statism determine what strategy is acceptable. It is not the means that justify the ends, but the ends we want, that shape the means.
How does this apply to issues like Western imperialism, and issues like the recent ISIS attacks in Kobane (Rojava), Beirut (Lebanon) and Paris (France)?
Obviously, to fight for the freedom of the working class must mean to be against imperialism. That is essential to this struggle.
It does not matter if the imperialism is justified as promoting “democracy” or “freedom.” So, we should completely, unconditionally oppose reactionary Western imperialist actions in the “Middle” East. Imperialism is a great evil, whether it is Western, or Eastern, by a great power, or by a small one.
BUT this does not mean every anti-imperialist movement is worthy of support, or justify a knee-jerk “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” reasoning….
ISIS is genuinely anti-imperialist (leaving aside baseless conspiracy theories) , but its actions and programme are completely reactionary, including its attacks in Rojava against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and in Beirut and Paris against civilians. Its main targets are, in fact, other people in the “Middle” East, secular, Muslim, Christian and others.
The hypocrisy of Western media, and the crimes of Western imperialism, and discrimination against immigrants and “foreigners” do not justify Left support of any sort for either the reactionary Western imperialism *or* for the reactionary anti-imperialists, or apologies or sympathies for either group of reactionaries, West or East.
The hell with both sides. Both sides are our enemies.
The world is not two camps, the imperialist and rebellious “third world” elites, because there is a third side, the working class and Left including anarchists, and that is our side.
The working class and left must lead anti-imperialist struggles, and work with progressive movements, including progressive anti-imperialists, to make a better world, pushing those struggles towards anarchist-communism. Movements like PKK show an important way to fight for national liberation *and* a radical, participatory-democratic and progressive programme.
So, let us approach from the side of the working class and poor, and that means against all oppression and exploitation. From that side, be against imperialism, unconditionally, including whatever outrages the French state will now justify.
But also be against reactionary anti-imperialists with reactionary programmes, and for a progressive anti-imperialism, like that of PKK in Rojava. The same PKK that is also getting attacked by ISIS.
In every country, there is a fight between reaction and progress, and our side is with progress. We should not be dragged along with the ebbs and flows of the struggles of our enemies, but chart our own course.