Life and Work of Anarchist Omar Aziz

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OmarAzizOmar Aziz (fondly known by friends as Abu Kamel) was born in Damascus. He returned to Syria from exile in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the early days of the Syrian revolution. An intellectual, economist, anarchist, husband and father, at the age of 63, he committed himself to the revolutionary struggle. He worked together with local activists to collect humanitarian aid and distribute it to suburbs of Damascus that were under attack by the regime. Through his writing and activity he promoted local self-governance, horizontal organization, cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid as the means by which people could emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the state. Together with comrades, Aziz founded the first local committee in Barzeh, Damascus.The example spread across Syria and with it some of the most promising and lasting examples of non-hierarchical self organization to have emerged from the countries of the Arab Spring.

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Syria and the Euro-Leftist Double Impotency

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, many radical leftist groups and networks, both on the international and local levels in Europe and around the world, have engaged in a heated debate on whether to support the revolution or not, and whether it was a revolution or an imperialist conspiracy.

The European counterargument against the revolution had a quite telling approach that was different from many in the rest of the world. It wasn’t just the usual claim that the Assad regime is one of the last standing anti-imperialist forces. That claim became weaker in Europe after the aggravation of the regime crimes accompanied with hard-to-deny evidence of its brutality continuously coming out from Syria. But many within the European left over and over affirmed that they will not support what is happening in Syria until they find revolutionary forces worthy of their support. The difference in approach was in the claim that there was no third option that is “revolutionary” and that poses a substitute to both the Assad regime and the Islamist militias.

This approach wasn’t only problematic in its privileged laziness in not doing the needed effort to find these networks in Syria, but also in its White-tailored presets for what is a “better future” for the Syrians. Continue Reading

Why Pacifism Is Morally Indefensible

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Influenced by Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi is perhaps the first person to put the principles of nonviolence and non-cooperation into effect of a mass scale. Explaining this principle, in For Pacifists, he wrote;

The science of war leads one to dictatorship, pure and simple. The science of non-violence alone can lead one to pure democracy…Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment….It is a blasphemy to say non-violence can be practiced only by individuals and never by nations which are composed of individuals…The nearest approach to purest anarchy would be a democracy based on non-violence…A society organized and run on the basis of complete non-violence would be the purest anarchy.Continue Reading

The Struggle Against Orientalism in Reverse

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We have in the first part attempted to show how and why the struggle against Islamophobia is a major issue for the radical left (although it is unfortunately often overlooked by some comrades) in its struggle for an egalitarian and emancipated society against the capitalist system. In this second part, we want to demonstrate that the struggle against Islamophobia should under no circumstances be replaced by “Orientalism in reverse or in return” that affects certain parts of the radical left when we analyze the Middle East and North Africa.Continue Reading

GYBO – Manifesto 2.0

Gaza Youth to Planet Earth! Anyone out there? “Gaza what?”

The previous manifesto seems to have grown bigger than expected; many supported us, many others stood firmly against us, and very few stayed indifferent. Everyone had an opinion, yet rarely did they listen to others’ and in the middle of that mess, our own voice remained unheard.

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Eyes With No Memory See Nothing

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The situation in Greece is reaching a point comparable to that of mid-1930s Spain. On the brink of civil war, as a lab rat in the ongoing neoliberal austerity experiment, Greek society is being pushed further and further towards the complete obliteration of democratically achieved civil and human rights and is becoming a festering sore of rightwing nationalism.Continue Reading

Syria, European Pseudo-Leftists, and Žižek

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I was a bit disappointed when I read Žižek’s article on Syria. It is true that the people in Syria have no excuse for not making a revolution, but compassion is a virtue. Maybe if “comrade” Žižek could’ve taken the time to scribble them a manual of “Revolution 101″ they could’ve been brought to their senses. Possibly a syllabus of recommended readings? Žižek has a lot to teach the people in Syria and Egypt. The European Left as a whole has much to share. I mean, Europe has been revolting for decades and the victories of the European Left are a source of global envy. Žižek himself has stood atop the barricades and put a stake in the heart of neoliberalism in his own country.Continue Reading