Kirkuk: Kurds Against a Kurdish State
We hope you’re keeping well. We hereby send you our call for solidarity against the new war in Iraq.
Immediate call to all our anarchist and libertarian comrades wherever they are;
A direct and special call to our Arabic-speaking anarchist and libertarian comrades:
No to states! No to war! Yes to self-administration and social revolution!
For years and years, as anarchists and libertarians in Iraqi “Kurdistan,” Europe, and other countries, all of our public statements and slogans have been about a Yes for self-administration everywhere and for all communities but a No to states.
We raised our voice against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its very recent referendum on an “independent Kurdish state.” We know other anarchists among Arab people, Turkish people, Assyrian people, and others had the same attitude. We also believe this attitude is shared by our anarchist comrades throughout the world: to say no to states, authority, and nationalism, and to be against nationalist and fascist war.
Iraqi “Kurdistan” has been going through a very difficult time since October 2015. The wages of public sector employees have been reduced by more than half; the number of unemployed has increased sharply; the price of everything has gone up; both private sector and government services have been drastically cut. This all happened in addition to the war with ISIS and disputes between the KRG and the Iraqi central government over the budget as well as over disputed lands and cities like Kirkuk.
Many strikes, demonstrations, and work stoppages took place during these last couple of years. Some of them lasted a few weeks, some even months. The KRG, instead of resolving all these problems, tried to divert the attention of the people away from them by announcing in July that there would be a referendum on Kurdistan’s independence—on making a state of Kurdistan—on 25 September.
Masoud Barzani, the head of the KRG, set the day of the referendum without consulting Iraq, other neighboring countries, the US, or European countries. When he called for the referendum, all of them rejected it and told him that he will not get any support.
After the referendum on 25 September, the governments of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey came together against it and threatened the KRG with economic sanctions. The Iraqi government asked the KRG to withdraw the decision of the referendum and to defer to the Iraqi constitution in any decisionmaking. Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister of Iraq, gave Barzani the warning that if he does not back down, the Iraqi government will take control of the oil wells in Kirkuk province that are at the moment under the control of the KRG.
Three days ago [12 October], the Iraqi government sent huge numbers of police, military, and Hash’d al Shaabi [a Shi’a paramilitary group also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF] with heavy weapons to take positions on the city’s approaches.
A civil war is now very imminent between Peshmerga, KRG forces, and the above mentioned forces of the Iraqi central government.
We are asking for support and solidarity from our anarchist comrades to protest, to make statements against this war, and to show both their anger against the war and their solidarity with Iraqi people of all identities.
We are anti-state because we are against the current political system. We are against political parties and against authoritarian ideology from left to right, because we are against class superiority and private ownership and the exploitation of labor. All wars in history happened due to protecting class superiority, private ownership, and labor exploitation.
We are against war, weapons, and hatred among different cultures and different ethnicities. War in general produces death and slavery. The outcome of any war will not support starting a social revolution, in fact it damages and weakens the revolutionary climate. In the meantime, war opens a very big market for selling and buying weapons and destroying the environment. War makes poor people poorer and class superiority last longer.
While we are against war, we are very much in favor of people’s self-administration wherever they are living communally and working collectively. We are also aware that wherever the state exists there is no freedom; wherever a political party is, there is no thinking for oneself or individual independence. Wherever businessmen and money are, there are slave wages and exploited people.
In Iraqi “Kurdistan” there has been a strong authority for the last 26 years; there has been the bourgeoisie in power. For the last 26 years people have been deprived of real freedom and of the ability to make decisions by themselves. For a long time, rulers have done very little for the people in “Kurdistan” in terms of providing services. They encouraged people to move from the rural areas to the towns and cities, made many business contracts with foreign oil companies and corporations for their own profit, sold off all the public lands, and much more. In short, “Kurdistan” became the home of many multinational companies, financial institutions, and the spy networks of neighboring countries and others. Since then they have acted like a proper state in whatever way they wanted to. Why should we expect something different if they set up their own “independent state” and think it will be better than what the people have now?
We ask all our anarchist comrades to support and stand in solidarity with us to prevent this war. It is true that your opposition to the military and nationalist war in Iraq, if it happens, may not be as effective as our opposition. However, your solidarity will be crucial and greatly appreciated.
Again, we are calling all our comrade anarchists, especially Arabic-, Persian-, Turkish-, and Assyrian-speakers to raise their voices and act to stop this vicious war that is not in the interest of working-class and poor people in Iraq and “Kurdistan.” Being silent or not taking it seriously will directly or indirectly serve politicians, big corporations, and the capitalist system. We therefore have no choice but to fight back against the system, its actions, and its war. We expect other anarchists, wherever they are, to stand firm with us and to support the children, the elderly, and the disabled people in Iraq.
No to war!
No to states!
No to nationalism and patriotism!
No to the capitalism system!
Yes to solidarity and unity against the war!
Yes to self-organization!
Yes to social struggle!
Yes to social revolution!
Yes to social uprising!
Yes to self-administration!
Kurdish-Speaking Anarchist Forum (KAF)
15 Oct 2017
Lightly edited for clarity by Antidote
AntiNote: This statement was drafted the same day as Iraqi and associated forces ultimately seized Kirkuk and surrounding areas, and was not published until three days after that. The sentiments expressed, quite obviously, stand nonetheless.
Featured image: Kurdish nationalist graffiti in 2007 Kirkuk.