The Fears of the Powerful and the Hopes of the Peaceful

After two decades of cruising along the contaminated economic canals built by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, the Labour Party’s failure to win the 2015 election proved quite definitively that it had no fuel left (even with the oil stolen from Iraq) and was heading for disaster. Fortunately, one dissenter had a proposal for changing course and the energy to do so. His colleagues, however, maintained they were heading in the right direction, with Tony Blair himself (“the poster child of Labour’s loss of principles and integrity”[1]) calling on people to “get a transplant” if they disagreed.[2] Having sold out British workers in favour of their powerful corporate backers,[3] though, the Blairite attempts to send the “arsonist” back to “put the fire out” were useless, as most Labour supporters knew that Jeremy Corbyn was the only candidate capable of truly extinguishing the blaze.[4]

Although many economists agreed, calling Corbyn’s politics “mainstream economics”[5] and rejecting claims that the “loony lefty”[6] would destroy the country, the Labour establishment tried to purge many progressives from the party to stop them voting for Corbyn (as Yvette Cooper was allowed to receive £75,000 from an ex-Tory donor[7] and Liz Kendall received funding from “arms manufacturers” and “autocratic regimes”[8]). Labour was rapidly becoming “more a secret society” than a “broad church”.[9] Media snobs seeking to convert Corbyn sympathisers through condescension (like Janet Daley claiming they were “fools” partaking in an “adolescent rebellion”),[10] meanwhile, simply united them even more.[11]

Ridiculous attempts to slander Corbyn as an anti-Semite, though, suggested the media’s problem with the MP was more about control of foreign territories and resources than anything else. Detached from historical context, hostile commentators failed to explain how ISIS’s Islamism had drawn strength from the West’s treasured alliance with repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia’s,[12] disastrous military interventions, and long-standing determination to destroy secular Middle Eastern movements.[13][14]

In short, Corbyn did not create Islamism, he did not blindly defend the crimes of the Israeli State, and he has never sold weapons to brutal dictators. Nor does he perpetuate the dangerous idea that Islamism and Zionism are the same as Islam and Judaism. Instead, he understands that equating extreme political ideologies with religions is part of the problem and that, in order to build peace, the world desperately needs more dialogue and cooperation.

In other words, “Corbyn is right about Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel/Palestine” and, for that reason, his “principled foreign policy stance” will come under attack repeatedly from those who benefit financially from war and tyranny.[15] The task of British progressives, then, must be to stand resolutely alongside the man who wants peace, justice, democracy, environmental protection, and a promise that Labour “will never flout the United Nations and international law” again.[16] Why? Because under the anti-democratic electoral system we have today, in which neither of the two main political parties is able to attract the support of more than a quarter of eligible voters, Jeremy Corbyn is the best hope for change we have.

[Note finally that the hubbub about Corbyn’s opposition to nuclear weapons is a mere continuation of the media and political establishments’ paranoic defence of the profitable war industry.]

[1] John Wight, “It Is Time to Dispel the Myth That Labour’s ’83 Manifesto Was Too Left Wing”, The Huffington Post, July 24, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015,

[2] Patrick Wintour, “Jeremy Corbyn vows to raise taxes for the rich if elected prime minister”, The Guardian, July 22, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015,

[3] Thomas G. Clark, “The “New Labour are Left Wing” Myth”, Another Angry Voice, January 17, 2014, accessed August 27, 2015,

[4] Richard Sudan, “Yes we do hate you Tony – and it’s you who took Labour over the ‘cliff edge’”, RT, August 17, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015,

[5] Daniel Boffey, “Jeremy Corbyn wins economists’ backing for anti-austerity policies”, The Guardian, August 22, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[6] Zoe Williams “Jeremy Corbyn has the one Blairesque trait the Blairites don’t get: optimism”, The Guardian, July 19, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[7] Solomon Hughes, “Former Tory Donor Gave Yvette Cooper £75,000 Donation”, Buzz Feed News, August 21, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[8] Charles B Anthony, “Jeremy Corbyn can’t win – say Labour’s losers”, Counterfire, July 24, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[9] Peter Taheri with Kapil Komireddi, “With up to 100,000 now barred, Labour has become less a broad church and more a secret society”, The Independent, August 25, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[10] Janet Daley, “Jeremy Corbyn’s young fans are fools – they don’t know how lucky they are”, The Telegraph, August 22, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[11] Caroline Lucas, “My message to Jeremy Corbyn: I can help you build a progressive majority”, The Independent, August 24, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[12]Ben Norton, “How the UK helped kill 4,500 people in Yemen in 150 Days, including 400 children”, Stop the War Coalition, August 27, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[13] Deepa Kumar, “Political Islam: A Marxist analysis”, International Socialist Review, Issue #76: Features March 2011, accessed August 27, 2015

[14] Nicolas J. S. Davies, “Since 9-11 America’s Insane Foreign Policy — Continued Under Obama — Has Killed a Million and Created ISIS”, Alternet, September 10, 2014, accessed August 27, 2015

[15] Owen Jones, “Stand by for more attacks on Corbyn’s principled foreign policy stance”, The Guardian, August 21, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

[16] Ewan MacAskill, “Jeremy Corbyn to apologise for Iraq war on behalf of Labour if he becomes leader”, The Guardian, August 21, 2015, accessed August 27, 2015

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Rojava: An Alternative to Imperialism, Nationalism, and Islamism in the Middle East (PDF)

Below I have attached a copy of my book in pdf form:

Rojava – An Alternative to Imperialism, Nationalism, and Islamism (Full Size)

For a hard copy, visit

Coming soon:

  • A summarised version of the book in Spanish
  • A summarised version of the book in English
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Corbyn’s Victory – The First, Hopeful Step

Originally posted on Oso Sabio's Britain:

Positive Reactions

In spite of the media’s best attempts, and in spite of the political deceit seeking to derail his immensely popular campaign, Jeremy Corbyn has been elected with a “huge mandate”, dwarfing Andy Burnham (19%), Yvette Cooper (17%), and Liz Kendall (4.5%) with an overwhelming “59.5% of first-preference votes” (from 422,664 votes cast). After the announcement of his victory, Corbyn said: “The media, and many of us, simply didn’t understand the views of young people in our country”. In particular, he stressed, the media had at times been “intrusive, abusive and simply wrong”. Suggesting a big movement was just getting started, he promised Labour would now “reach out to everyone in this country”.[1]

“I want to be your voice”, said Corbyn, as he “invited the public to submit questions to him for Prime Minister’s Questions” by email.[2] At the…

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Corbyn: The Campaign Story

Over the campaign, I first looked at Corbyn’s policies and the leadership race in general (1). Then, I analysed the political attacks that were made against him (2). After this, I talked about the media attacks (3). And finally, I outlined the political defence of the soon-to-be leader (4).

1) Corbyn’s Summer Shake-Up (Part One)

2) Corbyn’s Summer Shake-Up (Part Two)

3) Corbyn’s Summer Shake-Up (Part Three)

4) Corbyn’s Summer Shake-Up (Part Four)

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Corbyn’s Summer Shake-Up (Part 4)

Originally posted on Oso Sabio's Britain:

The Unstoppable Shift towards Progressive Politics

Part 1 – A Political Defence of Corbyn

Following on from my outlining of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies and my summary of the media and political attacks directed against him in the corporate media, I will look a brief look below at the political support the leadership frontrunner has received from both colleagues and experts.

Economic Backing

First of all, and perhaps most importantly given the current economic climate, I will summarise the support Corbyn has received from economists:

  • Open University economics lecturer Alan Shipman has insisted that Corbynomics is “shockingly reasonable” and “hardly controversial”. Making the case for public investment, he claimed that such monetary injections into the economy usually “match or exceed those of most private projects”, suggesting they would be necessary in a country which had seen its “longest fall in real wages for more than a…

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Cizre, Leyla İmret, & Turkish Democracy

The HDP co-mayor of the Cizre district of Turkey’s Şırnak Province, 28-year-old Leyla İmret, was brought into the world of politics very abruptly at an early age, with her father being killed “before her eyes” by Turkish “security forces” when she was just five years old. Having grown up in Germany, she was elected democratically in 2014 with “83% of votes“.

In early August 2015, İmret told VICE News that her district was “a center of resistance against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP)”. She also shared a saying with the outlet: “if there’s peace”, she said, “it will start from Cizre, and if there’s war, it will start from here as well”. And, judging by the current circumstances, she asserted, “we have a civil war in Turkey“.

On September 11, after her city had been under siege for over a week, she was “removed from her post by the Interior Ministry” (an unelected office appointed by President Erdoğan) after being accused of “inciting people to hatred and spreading propaganda for terrorism”. This decision was apparently made on the basis of a “deliberate mistranslation in Turkish media of a statement to Vice News”. VICE’s John Beck, meanwhile, asserted that the media had ‘misquoted’ his report to make it sound like she was “conducting civil war”. This statement, he insisted, was “completely false”. But, unsurprisingly, this correction did not change Erdoğan’s mind.

Essentially, İmret’s dismissal and the State’s siege of Cizre were part of President Erdoğan’s policy of political ‘recalibration’ in Turkey (after the HDP had been so successful in the June 7 elections). By ending the fragile peace process with the PKK guerrillas and launching a completely disproportionate military campaign against the progressive group, the president was now shamelessly seeking to gain support for his party from Turkish nationalists and right-wing Islamists (all in the hope of winning November’s election outright by reducing the HDP vote). In short, democracy, peace, and justice were losing out and, although it was very difficult to see what anyone could possibly gain from the return to civil war, the Erdoğan regime pushed forward with its destructive and senseless policy nonetheless.

AKP Turkey Kurds Latuff cartoon

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Was a Civilian Killed in Diyarbakir by the PKK?

In response to the civilian death in Diyarbakir, Turkey on September 11 at the hands of “suspected Kurdish militants“, a comment written by ‘Drew’ at Vice News sought to place the situation into perspective. The murdered waiter, he said, was just “at the wrong place at the wrong time”. In other words, although his death was a tragedy, he was not the target of the attack and, considering that the others injured were police officers, it is clear that creating ‘terror’ by killing a civilian was almost certainly not the motive behind the act.

In the context of Ankara’s war against the PKK, many more civilians have been killed by Turkish forces than by the progressive guerrilla organisation. All were tragedies! In a war, however, innocent citizens often find themselves caught in the middle of the fighting, and it is rare for civilians not to die during civil conflicts. For that reason, the sooner the Turkish State decides to re-enter the peace negotiations advocated by the PKK the better.

Why did this civilian death occur?

Friday’s attack (which would probably be considered a mistake by PKK headquarters) could in part be down to the fact that the PKK is a large organisation with many local groups (which are spread out over a large territory and are difficult to ‘standardise’ effectively). Drew, however, points out a comparison with other guerrilla/resistance organisations, asserting that a significant number of people who join such groups often have “little to no” qualifications, opportunities, or wealth, and are thus forced by circumstance to participate in activities the State considers to be illegal.

Drew then asks a couple of important questions for the Turkish State: A) Is the ‘stick’ (rather than the carrot) genuinely “effective at dissuading young Kurds in Turkey from taking up arms for an autonomous Kurdistan?”; and “B) Are there opportunities in the south and south east parts of Turkey for Kurds to not just exist but to thrive appropriately in correlation to a median standard of life?” The answer to both these questions, he suggests, is generally negative. In other words, young Kurds will only be more likely to enter into ‘legality’ if they have more opportunities (war, for example, doesn’t suddenly give people education, jobs, and wellbeing).

In short, some people belonging to the PKK may make incredibly unfortunate decisions at points that lead to civilians losing their lives. And, while we can seek to explain these mistakes in terms of present circumstances and historical context, these individual actions (and their individual perpetrators) should be condemned and should be brought to justice. The PKK as an organisation, however, is not the one responsible for decades of Kurdish oppression and exploitation in Turkey (or the wider Middle East). Nor is it responsible for the failure of the peace negotiations. Nor are its ideologues able to control the actions of all their comrades.

How do we ensure that this does not happen again?

Without wanting to simplify the situation excessively, it seems like the answer is pretty clear – the Turkish State must ensure that ethnic minorities not only have access to opportunity but also have their democratic rights respected. For, if not, oppressed and exploited citizens will be much more tempted to support revolutionary change (through the PKK) than ‘democratic’ change (through the HDP).

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Demirtaş to Turkish PM: ‘Prove they were not civilians’

A week on from the start of a Turkish military siege on the city of Cizre, the co-leader of Turkey’s progressive pro-peace party (the Peoples’ Democratic Party or HDP) has insisted today that at least 20 of those killed by state forces were civilians (including children). Turkey’s Interior Ministry, however, has tried to argue that most of the dead were PKK militants.

In response to the aforementioned government claim, HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş spoke out on Friday from the town of Idil, saying: “I will resign if [the government] prove the civilians killed in Cizre are PKK militants“. He also read out “the names of all the victims”, according to Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet. [For more, see here] HDP deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız asked, meanwhile, “is the 35-day-old baby not a civilian?”

Amid claims that police in Kurdish communities had taunted inhabitants by calling them ‘Armenians’ (invoking the Turkish genocide of Christians in the early 20th century), meanwhile, Istanbul HDP MP Garo Paylan was quoted on Twitter as saying “You(Police) can think all you want that you’re insulting the people of when you call them “Armenians”… [but] when you hit a , I am Kurdish; when you touch an , the people of are “.

HDP - armenians or kurds

Along with such comments, Demirtaş insisted, the State’s aggressive, ethnically-motivated policies were essentially “forcing people to join the PKK”. He continued, saying, “they [politicians in Ankara] think something will change when they deploy the police and soldiers” but “even the PKK cannot in 30 years conduct as much propaganda as special operation forces did in nine days in Cizre” with both their actions and words.

Later, a Turkish official claimed that the “round-the-clock curfew in Cizre would be lifted on Saturday morning”. Sirnak regional governor Ali Ihsan Su said the operation had been “successful”, and he “thanked local residents for their “patience””. At the same time, though, Demirtaş insisted “if this war were to last another 100 years, the PKK would still be there and the Turkish army would still be there“. [For more, see here]

Posted in AKP, Assassination, Autonomy, Erdogan, HDP, Islamism, Nationalism, PKK, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Support for Corbyn from Unions

Originally posted on Oso Sabio's Britain:

Unison and Unite

With the change in Labour’s electoral system, the unions originally looked set to lose a significant amount of influence in the party. Under the old system, for example, “trade union members and members of other affiliated societies had a third of the votes in the electoral college system”. Nonetheless, they would continue to play an important role within the party, and the 2015 leadership race was no different.

On July 29, The Guardian reported on how Unison, as “one of Britain’s largest trade unions with 1.3 million members”, had officially endorsed Corbyn’s campaign for leader of the Labour Party (just like Britain’s largest trade union Unite). This decision, the paper said, was “a major boost in his campaign”, and would “help to cement Corbyn’s positionas… frontrunner”. In the opinion of Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis, Corbyn’s message had “

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Support for Corbyn from Labour Politicians

Originally posted on Oso Sabio's Britain:

Ken Livingstone Believes in the Credible, Coherent, and Inspirational Corbyn

There were some prominent Labour politicians who stood up for Corbyn, including former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who insisted in late July that the leadership candidate offered a “credible economic alternative” to the neoliberal status quo.[1] He even asserted that Corbyn was “the candidate most likely to win the general election for Labour”, and that “his ability to speak clearly and provide a real alternative to cuts and austerity” was a very appealing characteristic.

Livingstone stressed that Corbyn’s campaign HQ was “heaving with young people who [had] rushed to join the Labour Party”, insisting the organisation could not win the 2020 elections without them. “No Labour leader”, he said, had “connected with the voters like this since Blair”, and the party had simply “come alive”. Having focussed…

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