An in-depth interview with Joseph Daher
Originally appeared on LeftEast 15 October 2014, with link citations we have not duplicated. Reprinted with permission.
“We need to support liberation struggle unconditionally.”
Note from the LeftEast editors: The following interview was conducted with the Syrian revolutionary Joseph Daher by Italian journalist and activist Mattia Gallo. It provides an important perspective on the current Western intervention in Iraq and Syria that has been excluded from much of the mainstream media reporting of this conflict. We acknowledge that the views expressed here concern a conflict that has lasted over three years and has been especially divisive for the Left in both the Middle East and Europe. We therefore wish to remind our readers that our decision to publish this interview does not reflect an official position of the LeftEast editorial board, but rather our commitment to promoting a broad and informed discussion of the current conflict and its significance for the Left more broadly.
Mattia Gallo: The mainstream media have described the civil war happening in Syria since 2012 as a clash between religious groups present in the country against the Assad regime, effectively ignoring the dynamics from below. Have there been groups of revolutionaries who fought for social justice, equality, freedom?
Joseph Daher: For more than three years now, the majority of observers have analyzed the Syrian revolutionary process in geopolitical and sectarian terms, from above, ignoring the popular political and socio-economic dynamics on the ground. The threat of Western intervention has only reinforced this idea of an opposition between two camps: the Western states and the Gulf monarchies on one side; Iran, Russia and Hezbollah on the other. But we refuse to choose between these two camps, we refuse this logic of the “lesser evil,” which will only lead to the loss of the Syrian revolution and its objective: democracy, social justice and the rejection of sectarianism.
As hard as it is to look on the bright side at the moment, we must acknowledge intriguing connections currently being made between disparate and distant movements. Our task now is to make these confluences of action and intent—this growing solidarity across ideological and geographical chasms—much more concrete, combative, and contagious.
By Antidote’s Ed Sutton
By nearly any account, it has been a devastating summer, and a tough year all around.
AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability. Transcribed and printed with permission.
Since this talk between host Chuck Mertz and author Iain Sinclair (from This is Hell! Radio’s 17 May 2014 episode) covered a lot of ground and went in many different directions, we have removed large portions of it for reasons of space and clarity. We therefore encourage you to listen to the whole thing right here!
Our ‘edition’ narrows the scope of the discussion, which centered on a latter-day exploration of the Beat Generation and their haunts, to just haunts. That is, we found the portions of Chuck and Iain’s conversation that centered on place, cities, and our place in cities to be most complementary to topics we cover on Antidote. Further, much of the discourse about the gentrification and commercialization of—and our alienation and expulsion from—urban landscapes lacks the poetic and emotional sensitivity that this conversation contains. We find this fresh, humane approach both affecting and appropriate to the real pain that underlies our objections to the neoliberal ‘development’ of cities we call home—a pain that can be expressed in the question, “Why doesn’t the city I love, love me?” Continue Reading
by Antidote’s Ed Sutton
Our writers collective has only existed informally for a couple of years, and has only been publishing for a few months. Members of the Antidote Writers Collective are still in the process of introducing ourselves to you. As our regular readers have likely noticed, the relatively few instances where Antidote’s curators weigh in with our own writing, so far, have been largely devoted to expository essays examining our own philosophical ‘upbringings.’ As they continue to trickle out, we hope these reflections on our own experiences of radicalization will help give some approximate shape and timbre to the eZine as a whole.
Continuing this exercise, it is my pleasure to reminisce a little about my home town.
AntiNote: This article first appeared in German on the website of the Antikapitalistische Linke, a constellation of currents within the far-left German political party DIE LINKE which explicitly includes unaffiliated activists and agitators and views itself as a bridge between DIE LINKE and non-partisan anti-capitalist movements within Germany and elsewhere.
A pair of AKL activists recently visited Tuzla and spoke with people involved in the citizens’ assemblies and protests there which generated a good deal of excitement in Left circles in Europe in February and March of this year…but which regrettably seem to have fallen off the radar screen in recent weeks.
As we have seen a number of commentators, even on the Left, reading the movement in Bosnia its last rites and/or pointing out all the places where it “went wrong,” we at the Antidote Writers Collective wish to insist, along with our friends of the AKL, that there is still fog on the mirror. As long as the struggle continues, the struggle continues. The activists in Tuzla are still speaking; is it not the height of rudeness to turn away?
A dispatch from Tuzla by Inge Höger and Carsten Albrecht
AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of the Ex-Worker Podcast’s own transcript of their fourteenth episode, entitled “Squat the World!” That episode includes good discussions on the topic of squatting as well as interviews with squatters; the segment we are sharing here is their review of Hannah Dobbz’s book Nine Tenths of the Law.
Longtime followers of Antidote may recall that we posted a review of the same book some months ago. Ed Sutton’s take on it was characteristically chatty and gushing—and the Ex-Worker’s review also begins with high praise. But the two reviews’ paths diverge when it comes to Dobbz’s conclusions and her prescriptions for any housing justice movement centered on property resistance. Ed is a fan. Ex-Worker is not.
Viva Belarus! (2012, 110 min, english subtitles) by Krzysztof Lukaszewicz
AntiNote: Link to the full movie with English subtitles at the bottom of the page, as well as an interview with Franak Viacorka, on whose experience the film is inspired and loosely based!
This movie is the first independent film about present-day Belarus, an obscure and often misunderstood country in the middle of Europe. Belarus has been ruled for twenty years by “the last dictator of Europe”, Alexander Lukashenko, who has driven his country into isolation and decay. However, a vibrant artistic and cultural life finds its way past censorship, totalitarian control and general apathy to produce little gems like “Viva Belarus”.