Letter to the YPG on the fall of Afrin City

To the General Command of the People’s Protection Units (YPG)

On 18 March 2018, Turkish imperialism and their puppets of the ‘’Syrian National Army’’ took control of Afrin City. This is a major defeat for all those who tried to build up a democratic society in the Afrin cantons since 2012. That the city has fallen is worse enough, but now it seems that the YPG has not even tried to defend Afrin City. Why did you command your brave men and women to abandon the capital? Why did you allow Turkish flags to fly above government buildings, signalling a major victory for Turkish imperialism in Afrin?

Now the region is almost fully under Turkish control. Their puppets from the Syrian interim government will ban any political party that is critical of the ‘’Sultanate of Erdogan’’. Dark days are ahead for the Kurdish population of Afrin, who will be subjugated to an ethnic Arabic regime once again. Because you might remember the days of the Syrian Arab Republic (pre-2012). The Kurds in south east Turkey are forced to live under Turkish cultural imperialism for centuries. They never knew what the people of Afrin got to know between 2012 and 2018, what it is like to be truly free from oppression!

Now that Afrin City has fallen, the puppets of Erdogan will turn towards Manbij. Will the YPG abandon this town too? Will they allow all cantons of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria to fall under control of these reactionary puppets of a Turkish sultan? The People’s Protection Units have to stand and fight. Because this is a battle of life and death. How many forces did the YPG had in Afrin? 10.000? 20.000? Have all these troops been killed or captured? Also what about the Self-Defense Forces (HXP)? Where were these locally conscripted forces trained in Afrin? If the YPG/YPJ and HXP are not able to defend the cantons then the light that is Rojava will go out, destroyed by the Sultanate of Erdogan!

Will the Syrian Democratic Forces now march on Afrin to liberate it? Is there any hope that the people of Afrin can be liberated? Or will the YPG move back because the Americans tell you? Was it American imperialism that told you to abandon Afrin City? Because it would be foolish to trust Washington DC. The USA is the one who is arming the Turkish state. American made F-16 fighters are the ones who bomb towns in Afrin to rubble. Do not think that the western world will come to the defense of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. Most capitalist countries have recognized the puppets of Erdogan to be the legitimate government of all Syria. Do not trust the forces of imperialism, neither America nor Europe or Russia are your friends. Imperialism is the enemy of all workers of the world!

Revolutionary Socialist Media stands in solidarity with you and all brave men and women, who are fighting against Turkish imperialism.

With salute,

Jorein Versteege
Revolutionary Socialist Media



Pseudo-elections in Russia

Russians are allowed to go voting and there will be only one winner: Vladimir Putin. The dictator of Russia controls not only the state, but also the media and the minds of millions. He uses Russian chauvinism to hide the obvious facts, that Russia is suffering a huge economic crisis. Poverty is huge and many workers suffer from it. Yet the Kremlin oligarchy does not care, they hide the deep inequality by boosting nationalism and patriotism. To be openly critical about Putin is dangerous as many critics have face state prosecution. This is why any election in the Russian Federation will always result in a victory for the Kremlin and the oligarchy!

There are eight candidates for the presidency in this election. But none are a alternative for working class people. There are two official ”communist” candidates, one is from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) and the other is of the party; Communists of Russia (KR). Both parties are deeply Stalinist and glorify the dictatorial bureaucracy that ruled the former USSR. However the KPRF is not a true communist party as it has nominated a billionaire to be its candidate. Pavel Grudinin is not even a member of the KPRF, yet the Stalinist party selected him to be their candidate. Maxim Suraykin of the Communists of Russia is very right when he criticizes the KPRF for nominated a member of the oligarchy as their choice. Despite this fact the KR itself is a typical Russian Stalinist party, that plays on nostalgia for the Stalin era. It also promotes social-conservative viewpoints like reintroducing the death penalty and a deep hostility towards LGBT+ rights!

The other candidates are typical bourgeois. Ksenia Sobchak is the only woman, but a deeply right-wing candidate. She wants to privatize the whole Russian economy, this makes her a true capitalist candidate. Like the others, Sobchak is an open nationalist and will support Vladimir Putin once he is ”reelected” as president. This is what all candidates share. They may oppose Putin during this election, but will never directly critize his regime. After the elections are over, all candidates will stand with the Kremlin against the enemies of Russia. This shows why the elections are nothing more then a propaganda show, to give Russians the illusion that these candidates differ from each other. The Stalinist candidates too have shown to support Putin, despite the fact that he is the richest man in Russia. In secret it is said that he owns billions in dollars, stored in banks under different names and companies!

There is no independent socialist candidate running. This is because the Kremlin will not allow anybody to run that could be a true force of opposition against their strong man. Revolutionary socialists therefore call for a boycott of the election. Russian workers have nothing to gain by voting for candidates that are approved by an oligarch government. Vladimir Putin knows that he will be the winner, he does not even campaign on his own behave. He does not enter debates and is not visiting places to speak to his supporters. Why would he? Putin knows the true game and waits until the bureaucracy reinstall him as President of the Russian Federation. The workers movement need to build their own political force against the reactionary forces led by Putin. A big obstacle is the position of the Russian left-wing regarding elections. Sergei Udaltsov is the face of the Left Front, which unites some radical leftist parties. Unfortunate this Udaltsov is not a real revolutionary socialist. He is supportive of the Russian nationalist separatists in Ukraine, he supports a (social democratic) capitalist economy and worked for the pseudo-Communist Party of the Russian Federation in 2012. For the 2018 presidential election the face of the Left Front openly supports Pavel Grudinin, an oligarch capitalist!

Reality shows that there is no true left-wing in Russia. What is called leftist is in fact social-conservative (anti-LGBT+), pro-Kremlin and even pro-capitalist. The communist parties all support the reactionary regime of Putin by standing with ”Mother Russia” against the western capitalist world. The KPRF is more a social democratic party that plays on nostalgia for the USSR while the Communists of Russia are proudly to call themselves Stalinist, totally ignoring the suffering of the Soviet working class under the Red Czar. This is something that unites both the moderate KPRF and the KR. Both use Stalin’s face and claim to follow in his footsteps. If Joseph Stalin had remain rejected by the Russian state as he was between 1956 and 1991, then these ”communists” would not have reused his image for propaganda. But since Vladimir Putin started to idolize the second world war and the leader who led the Soviet-Union at that time, Stalin is back and idolized by all official communist parties. This is only happening in Russia, no other communist party has readopted Stalin face in their propaganda outlets!

Meanwhile the western capitalist world and Russia are locked in a second Cold War. There is a information war happening between the traditional capitalist media of the west and the viewpoints of the Russian sponsored media like RT (Russia Today). Western media does not like the critical questions asked by RT and therefore the organisation is branded as a propaganda network of Russia. While it is true that RT would never critize Putin the way they critize American and western leaders, what they say about the west is not untrue. This is not liked by the media outlets of the west. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, SkyNews and others have denounced RT for spreading ”Russian propaganda” while they are spreading ”western propaganda” for years. Is RT spreading propaganda for Putin? Yes and No, they are not critical about the corruption and abuse of power in the Russian Federation and they are sponsored by the Kremlin. But will Fox News ever expose the corruption of Wall Street and the abuse of power by Donald Trump and his Republican Party? RT is not openly negative about Russia, just as the western media will never be openly negative about the capitalist ways of America and Europe!

Vladimir Putin will become the next president/dictator of Russia. Like Xi Jinping (now president for life in China) and Erdogan, the Russian czar will likely remain leader until his death. Russian workers will continue to suffer as they are the ones most effected by the failing economy. The average income is now around 466 euros (573 dollars) a month. For many this is not enough to meet ends in a society with prices sky rocking. Many Russians cannot live in the newly build houses of the cities, which have grown too expensive for ordinary workers. You spend already 500 euros for basic human needs (house rent excluded). A Four-person family monthly costs around 1500 euros. This would mean that both parents would have to earn at east 750 euros a month, 250 euros above the average income for ordinary workers. Many of the new rich are living in the newly build and renovated apartments. They enjoy the last remaining fruits of Russian capitalism, which is in a decline since 2014. While the few enjoy wealth and privileges, the vast majority is suffering. Russian workers have therefore nothing to lose by doing nothing. They need a workers party on a genuine socialist program to fight not only the Kremlin bureaucracy, but also the pseudo-left-wing represented by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Communists of Russia!


Pavel Grudinin, member of the oligarchy and candidate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Afrin must become a Stalingrad for Turkey

The Turkish imperialists are closing in on the city of Afrin in Syria. Two months after the invasion began the Kurdish YPG is on the retreat. The battle is extremely unfair as Kurdish forces are only armed with light weapons. They lack modern tanks, heavy artillery and an air force. Erdogan’s army is playing a support role as Arab soldiers of the so called ‘’Syrian National Army’’ are doing the dirty work. Now these puppets of Ankara are closing in on the capital city of the Afrin Region. Revolutionary Socialist Media calls for massive resistance and international solidarity. Let Afrin city become a Stalingrad for the puppets of Turkish imperialism!

The situation in the city of Afrin is very serious. Turkish imperialists have cut off electricity and running water. 300.000 people are trapped as the storm-troopers of the ”Sultanate of Erdogan” close in. Revolutionary socialists give our full solidarity with all the men and women of the YPG/YPJ, who will have to fight till the death. Because there is no other way. Turkey wants to destroy their canton and their democratic freedoms. After the conquest of the Afrin Region, Turkish imperialism will install a puppet Syrian government loyal to Ankara!

For Turkish anti-nationalists and anti-imperialists it is very difficult to oppose the nationalist mood. Almost all newspapers are enforcing Turkish nationalism/imperialism and support the invasion of Afrin. To be a anti-nationalist is dangerous as opposition to Turkish nationalism is not even allowed. Many Turks have already been jailed under the pretense that they support ”YPG-PKK terrorism”. This is how the media is portraying the conflict, as if Turkey would ”defend” itself against a attack by the lightly armed YPG. Reality is that Erdogan feared the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and the system of democratic confederalism. This model stands in direct opposition to the brutal nationalist nature of the Turkish state!

Although some say that democracy is death in Turkey, Revolutionary Socialist Media points out that Turkey was never a democracy. Despite that it is not a single party state, Turkey has never been a true free society. Critics of state enforced nationalism have always faced prosecution, especially those who support an independent Kurdistan. It is because of Turkish intolerance towards the Kurds that the PKK started their war of resistance in 1984. Under the leadership of Erdogan the war has reached another level as Turkish armed Arabs are now fighting to destroy the beacon of democracy and freedom, that is the Afrin Region. The so called ”Syrian National Army” has only been so effective against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) because they are supported by Turkish tanks, Turkish heavy artillery and massive bombings by the Turkish Air Force. Their air attacks against Afrin are all possible because western imperialism and Russian imperialism allow it. Both Washington and Moscow have exposed themselves as true imperialists, who care nothing about democracy or freedom. The very idea that the west and east are fighting for the people is a hard lie!

What must be done? The Syrian Democratic Forces are the only ones who can come to the defense of Afrin. All available units from all ethnic groups need to march on the Afrin Region to fight the puppets of Erdogan. The Islamic State is defeated and no longer a major treat. Turkish imperialism is the new danger and it must be defeated. Unless the SDF is able to reach Afrin, it is very possible that the brave defenders of the capital will lose. They are outmatched by an army supported by a fast imperialist war machine, a war machine armed with German tanks and American planes. The criminals of NATO seem uninterested in the fact that Turkey is invading another country, unopposed. Washington DC does not want to offend the ”Sultanate of Erdogan” and therefore remains silent. We saw this behavior before in the 1980’s and 1990’s, when NATO weapons were used to destroy thousands of Kurdish towns!

The elected leaders of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria must not trust that America, Europa or Russia will come to there defense. The Kurds have never been supported as all imperialist powers want to stay friends with Ankara. No matter how much they plea, western imperialism will not help. This is because they value arms deals above human rights. Turkey is a major trade partner and is buying billions in arms in both the EU and USA. Kurdish rights have never been an issue, when it comes to making money the western powers show their true colors. Revolutionary socialists call for international solidarity of working class people against the Turkish imperialist propaganda. Because many Turks are brainwashed to support their nation. This brainwashing is a result of deep ethnic nationalism enforced by a dictatorial society. Turkish workers could end the war if they rejected Erdogan and rose up. But because of the poison that is nationalism, the fast majority of workers are believing the lies that the YPG is a danger to Turkey!

YPG and YPJ forces will have to fight fanatic and to the death. Because if they lose, they will lose more then just the battle. The conquest of the Afrin Region will send a clear message that no other canton of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is save from Erdogan and his puppet; the ”Syrian National Army”. It is therefore that massive pressure must be put on America and Europe, they have the power to stop Turkey. But it is unlikely that western leaders will do anything, because they are right-wing and supportive of imperialism. Erdogan is only able to invade Afrin because Putin allowed it. Russian imperialism shares many elements with Turkish imperialism. Both countries are led by presidents with a personality cult and a nationalist system, that calls anybody a ”traitor” that rejects the state and its leaders!

Revolutionary Socialist Media calls for massive resistance and international solidarity with all those brave men and women of the YPG/YPJ in Afrin City!


Ethiopia: Down with the capitalist EPRDF

Revolutionary Socialist Media calls for the revolutionary overthrow of the corrupt-dictatorial (and capitalistic) Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. This alliance used to claim allegiance to revolutionary socialism and Marxism. But after the overthrow of the militarist-Stalinist DERG (Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police and Territorial Army) the EPRDF silently abandoned their socialist facade and embraced neoliberalism as it main economic model. Ethiopia is under the rule of the EPRDF since 1991 and it is neither a democracy nor a socialist society!  

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front is made up of the following political parties.

  • Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization
  • Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front
  • Amhara National Democratic Movement
  • Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement

Each party represents an ethnic community. The front was created in 1988 to combat the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a Stalinist dictatorship that ruled the country since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1974. The regime mixed nationalism with Stalinist dogma and was at first a military junta, called the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police and Territorial Army (DERG). Opposition to the junta was not allowed and the DERG cracked down very heavy on the revolutionary left who opposed the regime. The military claimed to be ”Marxist-Leninist” to gain support from the Soviet-Union, but the officers never cared about giving power to the working class. They only used socialism as an excuse to rule unopposed!

Revolutionary leftists from the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party rejected the military’s claim, that they were the vanguard of the socialist revolution. The DERG understood that they needed to eradicate the EPRP in order to destroy all opposition. Amnesty International thinks that over 500.000 people were murdered during the Ethiopian civil war, with another 1 million dying due to a man made famine. Most were killed by government soldiers in what became known as the Red Terror. Ironically the victims of this ”communist terror” were communists themselves. The EPRP was eliminated and forced to abandon major cities to the military junta. In July 1977, the militarist Stalinist regime in Somalia tried to take advantage of the civil war by invading Ethiopia. Siad Barre was supported by the western imperialist powers when he attacked. The Soviet-Union and its allies rallied behind the DERG and with their help the Somalian invaders were defeated. American imperialism then choose to support any group that rejected ”communist rule” in Ethiopia!

Fidel Castro ordered 10.000 Cubans to fight for the Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia. These Cuban troops would remain in the country until the regime collapsed. Castro feared that the opposition to the military government of Mengistu Haile Mariam would reinstall capitalist rule over Ethiopia. He was right in this, but in the 1970’s the biggest opponent of the DERG was the Marxist; Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, organized by the Tigrayan people in the north. The TPLF claimed to be ”Marxist-Leninist” in opposition to the military junta, much like the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party was. Fidel Castro however rejected anybody who stood against Mengistu as counterrevolutionary. This may have been because the TPLF was getting aid from American NGO’s and worked with the monarchists of the Ethiopian Democratic Forces!

In 1984, the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police and Territorial Army was dissolved and replaced by the Workers Party of Ethiopia (WPE), as vehicle for Mengistu’s dictatorship. However it was clear that win-out the massive aid from the USSR and Cuba, he would not survive the growing opposition led by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. Like all Stalinist leaders, Mengistu Haile Mariam enforced nepotism to keep vital government functions under his control. The WPE was not a tool for the working class, but a vessel for the dictator and those who supported him. Personal loyalty to president Mengistu was far more important then ideological commitment to socialism. This only proofs how the words of Marx and Lenin became empty slogans used by both the government and opposition, as neither the WPE nor the TPLF would never give political and economic power to the working class and poor!

The TPLF was able to unite the opposition in 1988, this led to the foundation of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. They won their first major battle on 20 March 1989, when their allies of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front defeated the army of Mengistu and entered the city of Afabet in modern day Eritrea. The defeat was hard for Mengistu and with Soviet aid diminishing, he started to realize that his time was running out. Then his own generals tried to overthrow him in a failed coup. Mengistu ordered a massive purged and killed off the rebel generals. With major military leaders purged, the army was unable to stop the rebellion. The EPRDF won more battles and by 1990 was closing in on the capital of Addis Ababa. Moscow understood that the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was collapsing and they cut off all support. Cuban military advisers were pulled out as the WPE started to crumble. In order to save his own skin, dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam finally ended his ”Marxist” facade and renounced communism. He hoped that by enforcing austerity and capitalist barbarism, the IMF and World Bank would support his crumbling regime!

In May 1991, the army of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front entered the capital of Addis Ababa. Officials from the WPE abandoned their Great Leader, who fled to Zimbabwe. Mengistu was the only member of the former DERG who was able to escape. All others were captured and put on trial for their crimes, especially for the Red Terror against the members of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. The EPRDF could have build up a socialist Ethiopia, but by 1991 the ideology of Marx and Lenin could no longer be exploited for Soviet support. This is why the leadership of the EPRDF and many African national liberation movements (like the ANC) choose to abandon socialism in favor of ”social democracy” (capitalism in reality). Now that the rebels had abandoned their socialist ideology, the USA was more then willing to help the new government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia!

For working class people the collapsed of the Stalinist regime of the DERG/WPE was not a major change. The EPRDF consolidated power and wins every election due to massive fraud and voter intimidation. Censorship in Ethiopia makes it difficult for members of the opposition to effectively campaign, it limits knowledge of political candidates as the media gives members of the EPRDF preferential treatment. There are many political parties in the country, but none are able to challenge the ruling alliance. Despite that the member parties still have some revolutionary rhetoric in their names, they are not instruments for socialist change. The whole Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front is a corrupt institution of those who have been in power since 1991. On the local lever, state leaders are left to rule unopposed like little kings. Their power is almost absolute and they use police officers to arrest anybody who criticizes their corruption. It is ironic that the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front created a single party state after they were able to bring about independence for Eritrea. The modern; People’s Front for Democracy and Justice that rules in Eritrea is working on the same corrupt-dictatorial model as the EPRDF!

In 2016 and 2017, growing opposition led to the installment of a state of emergency. It allowed the EPRDF to arrest and jail thousands of activists. Like the DERG/WPE regime, the modern day dictatorship is trying to silent their critics. Ethiopia and Eritrea are both led by former national liberation movements who may have defeated one dictatorship, but choose not to build a democratic and socialist system. Although the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front has not created a single party state like the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice in Eritrea did, both rebel groups have become what they used to fight against. The state of emergency was reinstalled in February 2018 as protests rose again. Working class Ethiopians are fed up with the corruption and injustice. They want genuine change and know that the EPRDF has not liberated them. The lack of a genuine revolutionary party is what preventing a massive uprising. There is anger and rejection, but the masses are not united in a workers party on a socialist program!

Despite their unity on the outside the member parties of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front are growing critical, about the way the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front has been leading the EPRDF since 1988. Not all members of parliament from the alliance voted in favor of state emergency. Under pressure from its people the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization started to talk about changes. Now the four parties that make up the EPRDF are talking about a new political course. Revolutionary socialists do not think that the alliance is working in the best interests of the working class. Like the DERG/WPE before 1991, socialism has never been more then a propaganda tool for the EPRDF and its member parties. Some say that the Ethiopian government is willing to following the Chinese model, a state capitalist economy under a authoritarian political system!

We say no to this model and present the workers of Ethiopia a socialist option.

A socialist program for Ethiopia


  1. No state of emergency – challenge with mass struggle
  2. Free all political prisoners
  3. Freedom to political parties and organisations, free and fair elections to a genuine democratic constituent assembly
  4. Politicians and elected representatives without privileges, with the right to recall
  5. For independent democratic fighting trade unions
  6. For elected committees in all workplaces, villages, universities etc
  7. For the right of organisation, including meetings and demonstrations
  8. Stop all censorship in media and internet, democratic access to printing, television and computers

The movement and the struggle:

  1. For a new democratic and socialist party and movement for all oppressed
  2. Unity in struggle of all workers and poor from all ethnic groups, against the common enemy: the regime, capitalism and imperialism
  3. No to all discrimination, equal treatment of all
  4. Local and regional autonomy for all, defend national rights for all

The regime:

  1. Down with the EPRDF regime – prosecute government criminals, confiscate their property and wealth

Arms and military:

  1. Purge the military forces of all dictatorship supporters
  2. All arms and troops under democratic control of committees of workers and farmers


  1. Stop all land grabbing – confiscate all land given to multinationals
  2. Land reforms, to ensure farmers have land
  3. Full compensation if land is used for roads etc., – local power over decisions
  4. State support to voluntary collective farms


  1. Confiscate all imperialist property under democratic control
  2. Appeal to workers globally for support against imperialism and capitalism

The economy and welfare:

  1. A plan for food to everyone
  2. Fair distribution of the country’s resources
  3. For a democratic plan for the country: education, health care, infrastructure (water, electricity, roads)
  4. Equal job opportunity, free education and health service for all, including disabled.
  5. For a democratic plan of production and distribution of resources
  6. For a democratic and socialist government

Zuma out, ANC needs to go too!

Jacob Zuma of South Africa has left the office of president, after he was told by the African National Congress (ANC) to do so. Zuma was one of the most corrupt presidents of South Africa. He played the populist card to win elections and was even called ”leftist” by the capitalist media. In reality he was neither a socialist nor a leftist. Jacob Zuma and the ANC have proven what revolutionary socialists have been saying since 1994. They not only abandoned socialism, but also enforced brutal neoliberal austerity on the working class of South Africa. The removal of this corrupt president is good, but the rotten core is still in power. Like Zimbabwe, we cannot trust the ruling party as they serve only themselves. Workers of South Africa need to understand that the ANC has betrayed them since the 1990’s. This betrayal started with Nelson Mandela, who refused to carry out the socialist parts of his Freedom Charter. 

The Republic of South Africa is a very unequal nation at the very south of Africa. Until 1991 it was governed by a racist political and economic system that excluded the majority of people, because of their black skin color. Apartheid means separateness, it is a Dutch word that institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination. South Africa introduced this model in 1948, but racism against black people was part of the country even during British colonial times. White people believed that it was their right to exclude the black majority, whites had the audacity to call themselves ”Afrikaners” despite the fact that white people did not enter South Africa until the early 19th century. 12.000 Dutch colonialists formed the base of the modern day Afrikaners, who moved to South Africa in 1835. These ”Boeren” (early name for Afrikaners) founded nation-states like the South African Republic and Orange Free State. All these nations were created only for white people, blacks were regarded as inferior and not given equal rights!

Two wars were fought between the white Dutch and British forces. The ”Boeren” were able to win the first war, but in 1899 they were defeated during the Second Boer War. British imperialists then annexed the South African Republic and Orange Free State. Afterwards they created the Union of South Africa, a British crown colony. In 1915, British South African forces captured German South West Africa during the first world war. For 75 years this country would be ruled by white people from South Africa. Today it is called the Republic of Namibia and black people had to fight a brutal battle with the racist Apartheid regime in order to get independence and freedom. The USA and Great Britain were the ones who supported the whites in oppressing the black majority in both Namibia and South Africa. American imperialism needed the support from the Apartheid regime and because of the Cold War, the USA regarded the freedom fighters of the ANC as ”terrorists”!

In 1961, the Union of South Africa changed its name to Republic of South Africa and ceased to be a colony of Great Britain. Apartheid made sure that only 20% of the total population could vote and participate in society. Black people were completely segregated from the white ruling class. This injustice led to the rise of the African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela. During the Congress of People in 1955, the ANC adopted the Freedom Charter, in it they rejected Apartheid and called for a free South Africa and a socialist society. The criminal Apartheid regime called it a ”communist document” and moved to arrest anybody who came out for it. Soon Nelson Mandela was jailed and the ANC banned. In response to the dictatorial methods of the state, an armed resistance movement was created called the ”Spear of the Nation”.  As the ANC fought back, the racist regime claimed they were fighting ”terrorism” and the USA agreed. The African National Congress was put on the American terrorist watch list and not removed until 2008!

Not all blacks were supportive of the ANC, members of the Zulu tribe supported the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). This right-wing party was founded in 1975 and opposed the leftist ANC. Since they were based on the Zulu people, the IFP never liked the idea of a united struggle against Apartheid. To protect their own interests the Zulu party started to collaborate with the Apartheid state. Angered by this fact, the ANC started to see the IFP as a traitorous, which they where and remain until this day (the Inkatha Freedom Party is a right-wing conservative party). 5.000 people were killed in clashes between the two parties. This only ended in 1990 with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. It is a common held believe that the white rulers let Mandela go because they were forced into it. Reality is more sinister, they agreed on releasing Mandela because he told them that he would ignore the socialist ideas of the Freedom Charter. By 1990 the so called ”socialist world” was  collapsing. Stalinist countries all embraced capitalism. The communist parties of Vietnam and China advised the ANC to embrace neoliberal capitalism, which they did by the time they won the 1994 elections!

The party that came out of the elections was not the same ANC of the 1960’s. Nelson Mandela choose to collaborate with the white ruling class. He was a traitor to the socialist ideas of the Freedom Charter, but because of the collapse of ”socialism” as the capitalist media called it, too few dared to stand up to the icon of struggle against Apartheid. Most blacks were happy that the segregation was over, but by the time Mandela left the office of president very little had actually changed. White people were still controlling most means of production and were still richer. Under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki, the ANC was still able to win 66% during the 1999 parliamentary elections. The New National Party of the white establishment was reduced to 6,76% of the total vote. By now many whites understood that the ANC was not a ”dangerous communist party” and choose to vote for Mbeki, who was a right-winger. Despite the revolutionary songs and rhetoric, the African National Congress had betrayed socialism just like all African national liberation movements!

Why did the ANC was able to win more votes in the 1999 and 2004 elections? This is because more people voted. This gave the African National Congress a big gain as they were regarded as the party of national liberation. Out of loyalty most black workers keep voting on the ANC, despite the iron fact that it is not a workers party and not leftist. By 2009 however the downfall began. A new generation of voters started to understand that you should not vote purely out of loyalty. Under the leadership of Jacob Zuma, the former national liberation party lost its first -3,79% at the 2009 elections. Zuma tried to play the populist card. He knew that Thabo Mbeki was the face of the pro-business wing of the party. Therefore Zuma wanted to be seen as leftist. Not that he wanted a revolutionary change. No, Jacob Zuma belongs to the upper class of rich blacks, people who became wealthy because of government corruption. As president of the country he used state money to renovate his luxurious villa for 19 million euro (22 million dollars). But because of the ANC monopoly in the minds of millions, he was able to be president between 2009 and 2018!

There is so much dirt on Jacob Zuma and the list is BIG. But the fact remains that he was a typical corrupt capitalist president. A person who did nothing to help the poor working class and only cared about his own status. The African National Congress thinks that by getting rid of Zuma they have cleared themselves from wrongdoing, this is wrong. Like the Zimbabwean African National Union – Patriotic Front that dumped Robert Mugabe, you cannot just wash your abuse of power away by removing the figurehead. Jacob Zuma was just the face of ANC corruption, the whole party is the problem. This is why the Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) is calling for the formation of a new workers party. Since the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa was expelled from the ANC dominated Congress of South African Trade Unions, there is a big opportunity to build such a new party. NUMSA has over 330.000 members, it is the largest trade union in South Africa. It is good that they have stood strong and rejected the corrupt ANC leadership inside COSATU. Another puppet of the former national liberation party is the South African Communist Party. This party claims to be a revolutionary force, but has been a loyal mouthpiece of the ANC since it became part of the Tripartite Alliance. This alliance is made up of the ANC, COSATU and the SACP. Politically it is dominated by the pro-capitalist African National Congress, despite that both COSATU and the SACP claim to stand for socialism!

New elections will be held in 2019. Revolutionary socialists say that NUMSA has the historic duty to be the front runner of a new workers party. They could organize 330.000 workers and if they are under revolutionary leadership, the ANC and their puppets will face serious opposition. The fact that the leftist-populists of the Economic Freedom Fighters won almost 6,35% of the votes in 2014, shows that there is need for anti-capitalist ideas. It is too bad that the EFF is not a genuine workers party and run like a militarist group around Julius Malema. This Malema praises dictatorial regimes like the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Also the EFF claims to be ”Marxist-Leninist” which we know to be a mask for Stalinist thinking. This is more then ever true in the fact that the Economic Freedom Fighters are not a democratic party, they are run in a top down military way with Malema as the ”Commander-in-Chief”. Despite the fact that the Workers And Socialist Party is very small, it is actively fighting for a new mass party of working class people. This is why they fight against the corrupt ANC and their puppets of the Tripartite Alliance. Jacob Zuma maybe gone, but the African National Congress will just replace him with another pro-capitalist candidate. What workers need is a party that brakes with capitalism and fights for the socialist ideas of the Freedom Charter!



Special treatment in Stalin’s Gulag

The anticommunist media loves to portray Stalin as the ultimate ”communist” villain. Communism always leads to concentration-camps and mass executions. ”Communists love to kill innocent people” this is what their propaganda is yelling since Stalin began with his Gulag camps in 1930. Members of the Left Opposition were treated extra cruel by the sadistic prison guards, since they represented the anti-Stalinist communist opposition to Joseph Stalin. More then 14 million Soviet workers entered the Gulag camps between 1930 and 1960!

Joseph Stalin was already a powerful man by 1923. But he could not rule for himself yet. After December 1922, he had to share power with Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoview. Vladimir Lenin got his second stroke in December and was forced to leave state matters to Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoview. Because of the civil war and the isolation of the USSR, Lenin introduced a market economy called the New Economic Politics or NEP. Stalin supported the NEP against the Left Opposition led by Leon Trotsky. He got support from Nicolai Bukharin, who represented the right-wing of the communist party!

Lenin tried to fight Stalin, because the sick Soviet leader knew how brutal Stalin behaved in Georgia. The Georgian Affair and Stalin’s great Russian chauvinism had opened his eye’s to the danger of stalinism. Lenin wanted Stalin removed as general secretary. This he wrote in his last letters also known as Lenin’s Testament. Unfortunate for Lenin, he got a third stroke in May 1923 which left him mute and paralyzed. Stalin’s allies made sure that the final letters were not made public to all party members. Only members of the Politburo and those in the Central Committee were giving an edited version!

The Left Opposition lost the struggle and was expelled from the party in 1927. Stalin then removed Kamenev and Zinoview, who had turned against him a year earlier. Both men would later capitulated before Stalin and were re-allowed entry in the All Union Communist Party. Two years later, Stalin removed Nicolai Bukharin from the Politburo. With Bukharin gone, the Politburo was now fully under Stalinist control!

After removing both the left-wing and right-wing opposition, Stalin started with his brutal industrial plans. The economy of the USSR from 1922 till 1929 was state-capitalist, but Stalin knew this was bad propaganda. So he began with forced collectivization, betraying his state-capitalist principals he held since 1921. Trotsky (from exile in Turkey) opposed the collectivization. It led to desperate resistance by the peasants, notably the massive slaughter of livestock. Also it was accompanied by a systematic underdevelopment of investments, in agriculture as much as in the service sector (stockpiling, transportation, distribution) and a fluctuating price policy. Stalin’s collectivization would led to a human made famine in Ukraine, which killed 8 million farmers!

By 1930 the old czarist labour camps were growing fast. After the expulsion of anti-Stalinist Bolsheviks, Stalin started with dogmatic laws that could arrest many people if they were not loyal to what he called: ”MARXISM-LENINISM”. Until 1924 nobody spoke of something like ”Marxism-Leninism”, it was Stalin who made it state dogma. Who criticized Stalin was called a ”counter-revolutionary” or a ”trotskyist”. Article 58 of the Russian SFSR Penal Code was put in force on 25 February 1927, to arrest those suspected of ”counter-revolutionary” activities. Thanks to this article the now Stalinist government started to arrest all critical members of Soviet society. It was Article 58 that allowed the arrest of anti-Stalinist communists!

The labour camps were expanded and put under administration of a new commisariat. The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) used to a part of the government that dealt with police matters. Stalin fused the civilian NKVD and the Soviet secret police into one mighty all-union security force. NKVD soldiers were among the most cruel and sadistic of all Stalin’s henchmen. Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda was their first leader, but Stalin did not liked his work. At the start of the Great Terror in 1936, Yagoda was arrested and executed, although he was a loyal Stalinist. Next leader was Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov, a cruel man who would order the execution of many old Bolsheviks on Stalin’s orders. As the terror increased in 1937, the camps flooded with people called ”trotskyist fascists”. By now more then 500.000 Soviet workers were jailed in the Gulag. Compare that to the 30.000 that were imprisoned in 1927. Between 1934 and 1953, 600.000 communist party members would die because of Stalin. Famous victims of the Great Terror were Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoview and 2/3 of all Soviet leaders!

Yezhov served his master well. But the paranoid Stalin feared the popularity of the NKVD leader among the party members. When they praised Yezhov with the same respect as they did with Stalin, the paranoid dictator became very suspicions. On 22 August 1938 a Georgian Stalinist was appointed deputy of Yezhov. This man became the Heinrich Himmler of the Stalinist Reich, his name was Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria. He and Yezhov did not liked each other, both men fought for popularity. Although cruel and dogmatic loyal to Stalin, it was Beria who was selected by the Red Czar. Stalin made him NKVD leader and ordered the arrest and execution of his loyal Yezhov. After a typical show-trial, the man who loved Stalin as a god was told he would be executed for ”crime against the Soviet people”. Like a baby he was weeping and begging for mercy. His own guards took him to a special execution chamber and shot him. In a twist of irony it was a execution chamber Yezhov had build only a few years ago as NKVD leader!

Supporters of the Left Opposition who were not murdered during the Great Terror were send to the Gulag camps. Since they belonged to the ”traitor” Trotsky, the sadistic NKVD guards gave them ”special” treatment in the form of daily torture and beatings. From March 1938, the guards would take a group of 30 to 40 trotskyists out of a camp. After a short walk they were executed. This was done almost every day until the June 1941 German invasion, when slave workers were needed. It is said that one large group sang The Internationale, while the NKVD marched them towards their death. Dutch revolutionary socialist and anti-Stalinist leader; Henk Sneevliet did the same thing when he and his group were about to be executed by the Nazi’s in April 1942!

If communism is all about terror then why did Stalin ordered his NKVD to give the supporters of Trotsky extra cruel treatment? Although the NKVD was sadistic to most prisoners, the trotskyists were treated extra cruel. The anticommunists have no answer, because they are blinded by their own dogmatic believe that Stalin was a communist and that all communists are killers. The supporters of the Left Opposition were seen as dangerous to Stalin and he was right to fear them.  Because they were the true Bolsheviks, this is why they had to be murdered!

Stalin realized that the Gulag camps could also be used as forced labour camps. Before 1930 the prison guards had opposed this, but these guards were gone and replaced by sadistic NKVD guards. Stalin told Beria that he wanted to use the prisoners as slave workers, so the NKVD put the prisoners to work under cruel and harsh conditions. Right before the war, forced labour provided 46.5% of the nation’s nickel, 76% of its tin, 40% of its cobalt, 40.5% of its chrome-iron ore, 60% of its gold, and 25.3% of its timber. The NKVD build special factories were slave workers would work almost 17 hours a day!

By January 1941, more then 300.000 out of 1,6 million Gulag prisoners were now slave workers. Working conditions were so bad that many died. The NKVD guards limited the food rations in order to boost production. This policy remained until 1948. When the Germans invaded, some prisoners were recruited into the Red Army. But most were kept inside the camps. A few camps were captured by the Germans, who used it for propaganda. The Germans however behaved very cruel and showed no regards for the needs of the population. So most people in Belarus and Ukraine choose to oppose the Germans!

Before the German invasion the Stalinist government carried out mass arrests in the Baltic states. These republics were forced into the USSR after the German-Soviet pact of 1939. Baltic people who opposed the ”Great Stalin” were arrested and put on transport towards the Gulags. When the Germans invaded the western Soviet republics, the Kremlin left the camps to deal for themselves. Food and medicine were not longer provided which resulted in the death of almost 500.000 prisoners between 1941 and 1943. Only when the war turned towards a Soviet victory did the government looked at the camps once again. Most Gulag camps were forced to survive by themselves for almost two years win-out government support!

Not all camps could be evacuated in time when the invasion started on 22 June 1941. In panic the NKVD guards started to execute prisoners. In the first weeks it is said that over 100.000 prisoners were killed by panicking guards. But they failed to kill all prisoners and some camps were ”liberated” by the German army. Had the Germans not been racists they could have used the prisoners against the Red Army. Many hated Stalin and would have been willing to fight the Stalinist USSR. But Adolf Hilter failed to see this, his own racism prevented him from seeing the opportunity to recruit many Russians prisoners to his side. Only late in the war did he gave permission to build a special Russian Liberation Army. This combat force was put in action in 1945 and could not stop the ultimate victory of the Soviet-Union!

After the war more then 2,5 million people were now living in the Gulag camps. The NKVD had build almost 476 camps and more then 2.000 colonies with slave workers. The death-toll was catastrophic. Between 14 and 20 million Soviet workers died because of Stalinist barbarism between 1930 and 1953. Few members of the original Left Opposition survived the end of the Gulag camps around 1960. By order of Nikita Khrushchev the Gulag camps were closed, but many prisoners were forced to stay because they had no to place to live. The last forced labour camp was closed in the 1980’s, this camps was called Perm 36. Today it is a memorial site for the victims of Joseph Stalin and his criminal empire, that killed Lenin’s dream of a union of socialist soviet republics!

Forced labour remains a part of the Russian Federation. Capitalist enterprises benefit from slave workers because they are very cheap. Some members of the feminist group; Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years of forced labour, because they entered a Russian Orthodox Church and denounced the regime of Vladimir Putin. We revolutionary socialists oppose forced labour and call for an end to the current labour camps in Russia!


Republic of Artsakh

Republic of Artsakh, what nation is that? A country in Asia? Or some small African republic? No, it is in fact the former name of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a unrecognized nation that is bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Artsakh is the 2017 name of the Nagorno-Karabak region, that started out as the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Socialist Soviet Republic in 1923. The modern day Republic of Artsakh is not recognized as a independent state. It is seen as part of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the UN and the world community. By the late 80’s, local nationalism was on the rise in the USSR. Religion, language and heritage suddenly became core values as people, friends and former communist party members turned on each other. Its story is that of right-wing nationalism, race hatred and ethnic cleansing!

Armenia and Azerbaijan do not have formal diplomatic relations. This is because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The seeds of the distrust go back to 1918, when the Ottoman Empire collapsed. Bourgeois nationalists took the opportunity to declare their nations independent of Istanbul, capital of the empire. On 24 May 1918, the Democratic Republic of Armenia was founded. The Treaty of Sèvres gave the new state huge parts of modern day Turkey. However the Turkish nationalists under Mustafa Kemal never allowed the Armenians to take control. The Turkish-Armenian War of 1920 resulted in a clear victory for the nationalists of Mustafa Kemal. After the war, the Democratic Republic of Armenia was very weak and political unstable. Since 1918, the Armenians were also at war with the bourgeois nationalists of Azerbaijan, a Turkish people who were allied to Turkey!

The roots of the conflicts lay with ethnic nationalism, race hatred of two people who’s borders were not fixed in 1918. You have the territory of Karabakh, located in Azerbaijan but population by Armenians. Then on the other side there is the territory of Nakhchivan, a landlocked enclave with a majority of Azerbaijani. Because of bourgeois nationalism and the differences in culture, languages, heritage and religion, Armenians and Azerbaijanis have always hated and mistrusted each other. It is this 100 year old feud that lay the groundwork for the modern conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh!

In the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, many workers were supportive of the Russian Revolution. After their capitalist government proved to be ineffective, they came to reject the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. On 1 April 1920, the bourgeois government in Baku resigned. Supporters of the Bolsheviks then founded the Provisional Revolutionary Committee which demanded an end to capitalist rule. By 28 April most elements of the bourgeois state had defected to the revolutionaries. As the Red Army of Soviet Russia entered Azerbaijan, they were welcomed by its workers. However the ruling class was not happy. They organized nationalist uprisings which lasted until 1924. It was clear that the rule of the workers would not go win-out a fight!

Armenia was in a terrible position. They were fighting a losing war with nationalist Turkey. In November 1920, the Turks were closing in on the Armenian capital. It was clear that bourgeois rule had led the country to ruins. To save what was left of capitalist Armenia, the government agreed on signing the Treaty of Alexandropol. However it would never be rectified by the Armenian Parliament. Because the Democratic Republic of Armenia collapsed on 3 December. The pro-Bolshevik: Armenian Revolutionary Committee took over administration and declared the Armenian Socialist Soviet Republic. Although Moscow had organized the Armenian Revolutionary Committee, they had little control over them. In 1920 the Russian Civil War was still ongoing and communication with the Caucasus was slow. The Armenian Bolsheviks started a brutal campaign of terror against anybody who supported the previous government. Nationalist forces were able to organize popular uprisings which were supported by the western world. The 11th Red Army defeated the anti-Soviet revolts and prevented the restoration of the bourgeoisie. It was clear that the tactics of the Armenian Bolsheviks had aliened many workers!

Alexander Miasnikian was elected as first Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of Armenia. Unlike the first Soviet leaders who’s brutality almost led to a restoration of capitalist rule, Miasnikian was supportive and worked hard to rebuild the nation. To end future conflicts about borders, the nations of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were united in a federation called the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. The Georgians were not happy with this, they did not liked the idea that they had to share power in this new federation. However Vladimir Lenin believed that proletarian unity in the Caucasus would end the hatred and mistrust, unfortunately it did not. Despite the good intentions of Lenin, the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic was never a success. Joseph Stalin agreed with his Georgian supporters and in 1936, he disbanded the federation. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent Soviet republics again!

As stalinism took control over the Soviet-Union, great Russian chauvinism was enforced. In the 1920’s there was a policy of tolerance towards native cultures in the USSR. Stalin however wanted Russian culture and language to become dominate. All this was done under the pretense of proletarian internationalism. People who rejected the increasing Russian cultural dominance were called ”bourgeois nationalists” and then arrested. During the Great Terror of 1936, Stalin killed off all old Bolsheviks. Even his loyal Georgian supporters were not spared. By 1939, all important government functions were filled with slave-minded Stalinist gooses. It would not be until Micheal Gorbachev came, that local nationalism started to rise again. Gorbachev’s policy of tolerance towards none-Russian people lay the groundwork for the rise in ethnic hatred and a return of the deep mistrust between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. To blame are the nationalists, the right-wing forces who by 1988 had penetrated the communist parties!

It is said that the first signs of ethnic hatred started in 1987, in the small towns in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Socialist Soviet Republic. Ethnic Azerbaijanis claim they were forced out of their homes by Armenians. Although the mayors of these towns denied that forced expulsions happened, many in Azerbaijan believed them. In February 1988, two Azerbaijani female students came to a hospital. They claimed to have been raped by Armenian men. As a result an ethnic clash happened in the town of Askeran. Azerbaijani nationalists fueled the hatred by organizing a pogrom in the town of Sumgait. Mobs made up of ethnic Azerbaijanis formed into groups and attacked and killed Armenians on the streets and in their apartments. Soviet Azerbaijani police officers did nothing to stop the violence. For three days the mobs attacked anybody who was ethnic Armenian. Official data indicate the 32 people were murdered, Armenia however claims that over 200 died. Despite attempts of Gorbachev to end the hostility, a ethnic war was about to start in Nagorno-Karabakh!

By now the old bourgeois flags of Armenia and Azerbaijan were re-adopted by the nationalists on both sides. Although the official state flags were still based on the Soviet model, the symbols of the nationalists became more and more popular. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation called on Soviet Armenia to defend its people in Nagorno-Karabakh against Azerbaijani nationalism. Because they feared that Azerbaijan would remove all Armenians as they did in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic. Between 1988 and 1990 most ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan were forced to move to Soviet Armenia and ethnic Azerbaijani in Soviet Armenia, were forced to move to Soviet Azerbaijan. January 1990 was a black month as Moscow ordered a state of emergency in Baku to stop the growth of nationalism. The Azerbaijani Popular Front organized the resistance and mass demonstrations started. In order to stop the massive civil disobedience, soldiers were ordered to open fire. 150 Azerbaijani civilians were killed together with 25 Soviet soldiers. Despite Black January the communist party would remain in control of the country until 16 September 1991, when it was dissolved!

Full warfare between Armenian soldiers and Azerbaijani soldiers started right after the USSR collapsed. With communism officially declared death and the nationalist flags restored, Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed their old feud. Armenian militants in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (official name after 1991) numbered around 20.000. The Republic of Armenia was sending another 8.000 to boost their tanks. Azerbaijan could organize 60.000 troops with 350 officers send by Turkey to train the new army. Three years of brutal fighting led to the deaths of 6.000 Armenian soldiers, Azerbaijan lost far more with over 20.000 killed. The Bishkek Protocol ended the war officially. For Azerbaijan it was a defeat, since they lost a part of their country. Also 1/3 of their army ended up death and many were wounded. Nagorno-Karabakh did not got recognition as a independent nation (not even by Armenia). Internationally it is regarded as part of the Republic of Azerbaijan!

724,000 Azerbaijanis from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas were forced out of their homes between 1988 and 1994. At the same time 400,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhichevan had to leave. The war has resulted in the fact that Armenians and Azerbaijanis still hate each other. A sad reality that is the result of ethnic nationalism. Azerbaijan is now the personal kingdom of the Aliyev family since 1993. This KGB nest took power when the Republic of Azerbaijan was at its weakest. Heydar Alirza oghlu Aliyev was the KGB boss of Soviet Azerbaijan and worked his way up to become president. Democracy and freedom of speech are empty words, because Heydar Aliyev never allowed criticism of his government. After he died in 2003, his son became the next president in line. Ilham Aliyev is now in power for 15 years. Like his father he uses Azerbaijani nationalism to oppress his critics. Azerbaijan is very supportive of Turkey and the two countries share a similar cultural heritage!

Armenia struggled after the collapse of stalinism. Turkey supported the 1993 blockade imposed by Azerbaijan, which resulted in a economic crisis. Levon Ter-Petrosyan was the first president of independent Armenia. Although popular in 1991, he was called a fraud as it is said that Ter-Petrosyan manipulated the 1996 elections. He ordered the army to suppress any demonstration and even banned the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Levon Ter-Petrosyan was finally forced out of office in early 1998. But it has not changed Armenia for the better. The country lacks a workers party as all political parties elected are pro-capitalist. Even the Armenian Revolutionary Federation abandoned its socialist ideology and joined the right-wing government in February 2016. The main ruling party is the Republican Party of Armenia. The conservatives have always won 30% to 40% of the total vote. It must however be said that voter turnout is low. In 2017 only 60% came to vote. 1/3 of all Armenians do not vote, which is understandable since there is no party for working class people. The old stalinists are still out there, but who would vote for a communist party that glorifies the Stalinist period?

On 1 April 2016, the war briefly resumed. Both sides claimed that the other started the conflict. The war lasted four days with Azerbaijan taking 1,000 hectares of land in the conflict area. It is difficult to say how many soldiers were killed this time. American sources claim that both countries lost around 300 to 400 soldiers each. The Armenian media claims that over 1.000 soldiers of Azerbaijan died in the fighting while Baku claims that 320 Armenian ”occupiers” were killed. As in the last conflict, civilians suffer from the ethnic hatred and nationalism of the soldiers. 2.000 people were forced to leave their homes and were not able to return!

In 2017, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic changed its name to Republic of Artsakh. The country is a presidential state with a lot of power centralized in the office of the president. Artsakh is regarded as a partly free nation by Freedom House. However it is clear that it is not a full democracy. To reject the ruling Armenian nationalists in Artsakh is regarded as ”disloyal” and even ”traitorous”. Despite that Armenia does not recognizes Artsakh as a independent state, it is clear that the Armenians are supporting the breakaway republic. Revolutionary socialists reject both the nationalists in Artsakh and the dictatorial Aliyev family in Azerbaijan. We call on workers in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to rise to up against their capitalist rulers. Socialism must be build on proletarian internationalism and class unity. The current hatred between Armenians and Azerbaijanis is the direct result of right-wing nationalism. Since these countries lack a internationalist party for all workers, nationalists can poison their minds. It is up to a new generation of socialists, trade unionists and anti-capitalists to stand against nationalism and the bourgeoisie!

Դանդաղեցրեք կապիտալիզմը եւ ազգայնականությունը Հայաստանում

Azərbaycanda kapitalizm və millətçiliyin aşağı düşməsi


Mass arrests in Turkey

Dictator Erdogan is jailing over 300 Turks who spoke out online against the imperialist attack on the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava). These brave Turks who said NO to the invasion are now arrested. In the eyes of their nationalist government they have supported the ”terrorist PKK/YPG”, when in reality they only voiced opposition to the attack on Afrin in Syria. Meanwhile, NATO leaders are praising Turkey for its ”fight against terrorism”. The imperialist alliance has made it very clear that they support Erdogan and his nationalist regime. NATO cares nothing for the fact that Turkey is jailing 300 people for rejecting Turkish imperialism on social media!

Turkey is a vital ally of western imperialism. It is located on the borders of the middle east, therefore it plays a big role in NATO’s strategy. The crimes of the Turkish state have always been ignored, despite protests from human rights activists the imperialist alliance (NATO) keeps Turkey as a member. Long before the rise of Erdogan, NATO armed the Turkish Land Army with German; Leopard tanks, who entered service in the early 1980’s. M48 and M60 tanks were delivered by the U.S Army and used to oppress critics of the secular dictatorship. After the Kurdistan Workers Party started to fight back against the oppressive nationalist nature of the Turkish state, these German/Americans tanks were used to destroy 3.000 Kurdish towns!

Far-right nationalists claim that the PKK is responsible for 40.000 deaths, reality is different. It is the Turkish state that has murdered 30.000 ethnic Kurds since 1984. Kurdish attacks against Turkish soldiers resulted in the deaths of 8.000 members of the armed forces. 284 police officers have been killed by the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the armed wing of the PKK. Revolutionary socialists have always rejected these individual terrorist attacks of the Kurdistan Workers Party. We support class struggle, not guerrilla struggle. The Turkish nationalists have been able to alienate many ethnic Turks with fear about HPG attacks. Most Turkish workers are raised with the wrong believe that the Kurdish resistance is brutal and deeply anti-Turkish. Despite peace attempts between 2009 and 2015, the Turkish government kept violating human rights. Erdogan seemed to be different at first as he gave the Kurds more cultural freedoms. Yet by 2015 with the rise of Rojava, the man who was hailed as a champion for Kurdish rights turned out to be a traitor and a typical Turkish nationalist!

Kurdish people in south east Turkey remain oppressed and this fuels the guerrilla struggle. It is said that many now joining the People’s Defence Forces to defend their homes against government aggression and nationalist attacks. HPG fighters also participated in the Battle for Kobane in Syria. This city was besieged by Islamic State in 2014. Erdogan allowed 600 HPG fighters into Syria to support the People’s Protection Units (YPG). In secret the Turkish dictator hoped for a victory of IS. Had the islamists been able to defeat the Turkish and Syrian Kurds, the whole guerrilla struggle against Ankara would have been weakened. However Erdogan’s plan did not worked, Islamic State was defeated and the YPG became more popular, even with with none-Kurds. This led to the formation of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a unified army of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and Turkmen against the terror of Islamic fundamentalism. Ankara was not happy that the YPG was popular, so they ended the peace talks and resumed the war with the HPG/PKK in Turkey. The current invasion of the Afrin Region is part of Erdogan’s plan to eliminate all forces loyal to the ideas of the Kurdistan Workers Party and its imprisoned leader!

Not all Turks are die-hard nationalists however. There are critics of Turkish nationalism like the leftists of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). However it is very difficult to be a opponent of nationalism in Turkey. The whole state and its apparatus is build on forced patriotism. Turkish workers are not allowed to reject the nationalist ideology of the state, they also cannot critize the cult of personality around Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. If they do then the state is using its police to arrest and jail them. The fear of saying something that could result in jail time is very strong in Turkey. Since 2015, Turks know that they cannot speak freely anymore. Erdogan has used the failed coup of 2016 to impose his conservative/nationalist dictatorship. He is supported in this by all major Turkish political parties, from his own AK Party to the Republican People’s Party and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party. After the failed coup by elements inside the armed forces, the government purged 50.000 workers and arrested over 20.000 of them. To be critical of the president/dictator is seen as ”unloyal to the state”!

By 2018, the HDP has been paralyzed and rendered useless. Its offices are often attacked by far-right thugs linked to the Nationalist Movement Party and its youth group: The Grey Wolves. The Turkish state claims to defend freedom of speech, yet the thugs who attack and intimidate HDP supporters are often released and not prosecuted. HDP supporters on the other hand are now called ”PKK sympathizers”, which gives the state an excuse to arrest them. Turkish nationalists see in any pro-Kurdish political party a wing of the PKK. This is why all attempts to build a unified left party failed. Any political party or group that calls for equal rights for the Kurds is branded a ”PKK supporter” by the nationalist media and banned by the Turkish state. The People’s Democratic Party never called for a violent revolution, nor did it supported guerrilla struggle. However since many of its members are ethnic Kurdish, they are not trusted by many Turks (who are brainwashed to regard all Kurds as PKK supporters)!

The recent arrests of 300 people happened after anti-nationalists spoke out on the internet. During the failed 2016 coup it was the dictator himself who used social media to rally his supporters. By speaking on his smartphone live into a loyal television station, Erdogan called on his supporters to march outside. The people who had organized the coup failed to see how important social media was. By the time they understood it, the dictator had rallied his people into the streets. Despite the use of social media, Turkey has often banned sites like Facebook and You-Tube. Because the propaganda they produce may also be countered by critics. That opponents of Erdogan are free to produce their own propaganda against him is why popular social media networks were shutdown in the past. Ankara simply does not like Facebook and You-Tube, because it gives Turks the freedom to see whatever they want. This freedom is what any dictatorship does not like. China for example bans You-Tube, Facebook, Gmail, Google, Twitter, Vimeo, WhatsApp and the Chinese Wikipedia. 

Revolutionary Socialist Media stands in solidarity with all Turks who are arrested by the government of Erdogan. Diktatörle aşağı, Milliyetçilik için ölüm, bir federal Türkiye için

We say:

  • Free all political prisoners

  • Free Abdullah Öcalan

  • Turkish forces out of Rojava

  • Down with dictator Erdogan

  • For a mass workers party of Turks and Kurds to be build

  • No to Turkish and Kurdish ethnic nationalism

  • For a socialist federal Turkey and democratic autonomy for the Kurds

Turkish police is arresting supporters of the HDP.

Victory to the YPG in Afrin

The ”Syrian National Army” has invaded the Afrin Region under the protection of Turkish tanks and artillery. Afrin is the most western region of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, known by most as Rojava. Arab fighters who originated from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have been recognized by Ankara as the ”Syrian National Army”. They set out to conquer the cantons of Shahba and Afrin. The Turkish Army is supporting the invasion by bombing YPG positions with planes and artillery fire. Revolutionary Socialist Media rejects the invasion and the attempt by dictator Erdogan to destroy the YPG. The people of the Afrin Region will not allow the Turks and their Arab allies to conquer them. It turns out that NATO is turning a blind eye to the crimes of Turkey. Which is no surprise since NATO’s weapons have been used in the past to oppress the Kurdish people!

On 20 January 2018, 6.000 regular Turkish troops invaded the Afrin Region of Rojava. They are the support column of the main attack force, which is made up of 10.000 Arab fighters from the so called ”Syrian National Army”. A part of this Turkish backed Arab army is the Sham Legion, a Sunni-Islamist force of 4.000 men. The Sham Legion was founded in 2014 and wishes to transform Syria into a Islamic state based on Sunni-Islamism. Another Sunni-Islamist force is the Levant Front. This Salafist militia has around 3.000 active men and they also wish for Syria to become a Islamic theocracy. A weaker unit is the Sultan Murad Division of around 500 soldiers. Unlike the Arab fighters, the Sultan Murad Division is Turkmen in origin and supports the line of Turkish dictator Erdogan. Neo-Ottomanism is their ideology, a political line to promote greater political engagement of the Republic of Turkey within regions formerly under the rule of the Ottoman Empire!

The so called ”Syrian National Army” is not in any way secular or democratic. It is made up of fundamentalist FSA elements, who think very much in line of radical Islam. They have rejected the rule of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but this does not mean that they reject Islamism. Most if not all fighters of the Turkish backed ”Syrian National Army” are Islamic fundamentalists. This only proofs that Ankara is supportive of political Islam and it would not be a surprise if many fighters of this ”Syrian National Army” used to be part of Islamic State. Erdogan has made many deals with the former ”caliphate” before the Syrian Democratic Forces destroyed it. Now the Islamic State is reduced to a few border towns as they lost Iraq and their capital in Syria. The destruction of IS is not something Turkey welcomed. In public, Erdogan has always maintained that he rejected the terrorist group. But in secret he hoped for a Islamic State victory against the YPG in Rojava. His dreams were shattered when a united front of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians defeated IS and liberated Syria in late 2017. Now the Turkish dictator tries to do the work himself or mostly by himself, as Arab fighters will be used to conquer Afrin!

Unlike the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, the western media is silent about the Turkish attack on Rojava. The fact that a democratic society has to fight a religious fundamentalist invasion is not news worthy. Turkey claims to have the right to ”defend itself” against so called ”YPG/PKK terroists”. The reality is far different. It is not the PKK nor the YPG who attack Turkey, Turkish imperialists are the once who broke off the peace talks and resumed hostilities with the Kurdistan Workers Party in 2015. Erdogan choose to use violence and dictatorial means to impose his reactionary regime. Critics of Erdogan are slowly fading from Turkish society. Democratic elected mayors have been replaced by puppets of Ankara in Kurdish dominated regions. The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was the only leftist opposition voice. Now the party is paralyzed as its leaders and elected officials are jailed. It maybe just a matter of time, before the HDP is banned too. The list of democratic parties banned by Turkey is very long. What they all share is their rejection of Turkish nationalism and their support for Kurdish minority rights!

From the start, Revolutionary Socialist Media said that Rojava should not put their trust in imperialist powers. Neither America nor Russia care about the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. The USA never supported the rights of ethnic minorities in Turkey. In fact the Turks used American weapons to oppress the Kurds. Also the Americans have put the PKK on the terrorist watch list, a favor to Ankara. Europe followed the USA and has banned the Kurdistan Workers Party, because it carried out attacks against Turkish targets both military  and civilian. Capitalist governments then call this terrorist, ignoring the terrorist methods of the Turkish Army and the dictatorial nature of the Turkish state. The attacks by the PKK on civilians and critics is rejected by revolutionary socialists. We also reject the cult of personality around Abdullah Öcalan, the founder of the PKK. Individual terrorism mixed with Kurdish nationalism has alienated many Turkish workers, who came to fear the PKK and its militants. Revolutionary socialists call on the Kurdish resistance to use class struggle instead of guerrilla warfare!

Class struggle can bring down Erdogan and his far-right allies. There are many workers who understand that Turkey is now a dictatorship. Fear is becoming part of life. Workers know that rejecting the president can lead to arrest. This fear is justified as many leftists have been jailed. If the Turkish working class would brake free of this ethnic nationalist poison, it can overthrow Erdogan. Ethnic nationalism keeps the two people separated. This is not something Erdogan created as even the founder of Turkey used the state to oppress minorities. Turkey has never been a country that tolerated critics of Turkish nationalism. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is worshiped like a living god. There are many statues, portraits and flags of this man, who ruled Turkey as a bourgeois dictator from 1923 until his death in 1938!

The battle for Afrin must result in a victory for the People’s Protection Units. Rojava must defeat the criminal ”Syrian National Army” and any Turkish soldier who wishes to destroy the Rojava Revolution. Our support for the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is not win-out criticism. As said we reject the cult of personality around the PKK leader. Also we call for Rojava to embrace socialism and not a capitalist model. Öcalan has rejected class struggle from his cell and has written that capitalism can be used for his democratic confederalism. Rojava is not socialist as pro-capitalist elements are active. Their administrative system has more in common with a bourgeois parliamentary democracy, with a high level of local self-government rather than a socialist council-based workers democracy. Elections for positions at all levels take place every four years, and there is no right of immediate recall. This shows that the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria remains very typical bourgeois in many ways!

Claus Ludwig of Socialist Alternative in Germany, wrote a Marxist point of view on the Rojava Revolution!

At least one thing seems clear: If one looks at the state from a Marxist point of view, as a formation of armed people upholding certain power and property relations, then it is obvious that a still capitalist state dominated by the PYD and the YPG exists in Rojava – not a socialist project of self-government transcending the structures of a state. An army (YPG, YPJ), police (Asayîş), prisons and a separate legal apparatus – what is this if not a state? Perhaps it is a state which is more democratic than others. But local self-government and real self-rule for a whole society including the economy, the organs of the state, foreign policy etc. are two different things.

Revolutionary Socialist Media agrees with his point of view. Rojava is not socialist and despite good intentions, it does not seem that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is moving towards socialism. This is because Öcalan has moved away from Marxist socialism after 1999. He rightfully rejected Stalinist dogmatism, but by rejecting what Stalin and his successors called Marxism-Leninism, he also abandoned Marx and Lenin. Democratic confederalism remain a vague ideology, which can be used for capitalist politics as the PYD has demonstrated. Six years after the Rojava Revolution started, we have not yet seen a socialist society!

This does not mean that the base of the Democratic Union Party and those who fight in the People’s Protection Units are pro-capitalist. Many who joined the PYD and YPG are anti-capitalist and wish for a socialist society. But unless they realize that many of their leaders have not moved beyond capitalism, Rojava will not become socialist. Soviet Russia degenerated into the monster that we call stalinism, this can also happen in Rojava if class struggle is not enforced by a workers party on a socialist program. The PYD is a mass party, but it lacks a Marxist socialist program. Claus Ludwig ended his work with the following line:

The region needs a socialist perspective. Unity of the working people and the poor, a struggle against all reactionary forces, be they Islamist or Baathist, and opposition to imperialism must be the principles of this perspective. Rojava is a ray of sunshine in the “Arab” winter, but it must make the transition to a genuinely democratic council democracy and socialist policies, if it is to survive and show the region a way out

Rojava: Turkish imperialist attack imminent

The Turkish Army is mobilizing near the Afrin Region of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (known as Rojava). Dictator Erdogan has plans to invade and occupy this Kurdish enclave and to secure Turkish control over the Syrian border, in the north-west of the country. There are over 1.000.000 people living in the Afrin Region, 50% is made up of refugees. Arabs, Kurds and others who fled the terror of Islamic State in 2014. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria has offered these people protection and security. Now the Turkish imperialists want to destroy the enclave, all because of their hatred for the Democratic Union Party, sister of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 

Unlike the Syrian Arab Republic and Islamist rebel held territories, Rojava is a multi-ethnic state based on democratic confederalist principles, gender equality and ecological sustainability. The official name of the nation is Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, Rojava comes from the Kurdish word ”Western” meaning Western Kurdistan. Rojava is the product of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). This Kurdish political party is founded in 2003 as the Syrian-wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party. The Kurds faced political repression at the hands of the Syrian Arab Ba’ath Party, led by Bashar Assad. The Ba’ath Party is promoting Arab supremacy and enforced a brutal policy of ethnic nationalism. It is very similar to what Kurds in Turkey face. Turkish imperialism has also enforced ethnic nationalism to deny the Kurds basic human rights!

The PYD faced a totalitarian regime that crushed any dissident by brutal force. Dictator Bashar Assad seemed all powerful until 2012, when people started to demonstrate for basic human rights. The regime choose to open fire, which started the Syrian Civil War. Over time the Ba’ath government was forced to withdrew from Kurdish lands. This allowed the People’s Protection Units (militia of the PYD) to take control and establish a society based on the ideas of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. While sectarianism and religious intolerance became the standards of the Syrian Civil War, Rojava developed into a beacon of hope for millions. The Syrian Kurds choose not to build a independent Kurdistan, instead they opted for a democratic federalist Syria. Two years after the PYD took control of Kurdish cities and towns in the north, Islamic State entered the stage. Both the Syrian Arab Army and the Islamist rebels were unable to stop the rise of this murderous group of fundamentalists coming from Iraq!

It turned out that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) were very effective in fighting the terrorists of Islamic State (IS). Both male and female soldiers fought side by side against the forces of radical Islam. The islamists were armed with tanks and western weapons taken from so called moderate rebels. This allowed IS to speed up its conquest of northern Syria. In September 2014, the Siege of Kobanî began. Islamist forces besieged this Kurdish city on the Turkish-Syrian border for six months and two days. 1.800 YPG troops faced an army of 9.000 armed with 40 tanks. There was little hope that Kobani could withstand the siege. Turkey realized that if the city would fall, Islamic State would control a vital position in northern Syria. This is why Erdogan allowed 600 PKK fighters to cross the border to help their Syrian comrades. From the western parts of Syria also came 300 rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). It is ironic that four years later, these FSA rebels would be under Turkish control and used to occupy parts of northern Syria!

Despite all odds the alliance of Kurds and Arabs won the siege. Islamic State lost its first major battle. It would take however another three years before the terrorists were on the run. Then in 2015, Erdogan of Turkey turned on the Kurds. Despite some progress in his early days, the Turkish leader choose to use brutal force against the PKK and PYD in Syria. Ankara claims that the Kurds are ”terrorist” and that Turkey has the right to destroy ”terrorism”. The real reason for Erdogan to resume the war with the PKK was Rojava. Because both the PKK and PYD are part of the same group, the Kurdistan Communities Union. In northern Syria, the PYD has begon building a society based on the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, who is imprisoned by Turkey since 1999. Erdogan does not want a free zone for PKK fighters in northern Syria, this is why he resumed the war against the Kurdistan Workers Party. It is also why Ankara is now preparing to invade the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria!

Turkey will probably not send a huge force into Rojava. The main fighting will be done by pro-Turkish elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Since the FSA lost most of its supporters to Islamic rebels, they have organized themselves as henchmen of Ankara. FSA and Turkish troops are already active in Syria. They took control of a small pocket of land, this cuts off the Afrin Region from the others cantons of Rojava. FSA rebels controlling this part will be used by Erdogan as shock troopers for a invasion of the Afrin Region. They will be supported by special forces from the Turkish Armed Forces. Ankara knows that it cannot fully invade Syria, this is why operations will be limited to less then 10.000 soldiers!

The Afrin Region is population by 1.000.000 people. Originally it only had 200.000, but due to the huge numbers of refugees there are now over 1 million people living in the Afrin Region. The capital city is called Afrin and not very big. It used to have only 35.000 inhabitants before the Syrian Civil War began. Ankara may think that a invasion of Afrin will be quickly over. However they underestimate the people. The two cantons who make up the region are mobilizing forces of their own called the Self-Defense Forces (HXP). The only thing that can prevent a possible invasion is the position of the USA and Russia. If Washington DC and the Kremlin do nothing then there Ankara thinks it has a green light. Rojava must not trust in foreign imperialist powers. America and Russia do not care about the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. Putin supports Bashar Assad, Trump supports many Islamist rebels and is a ally of Erdogan. This is why the YPG has only been armed with old Soviet light weapons captured from Syrian stocks!

Should the Turks invade it is up to socialists, progressives, liberals and democrats to support the Afrin Region. We must show our rejection of Turkish imperialism and NATO in general. At the same time we cannot trust Vladimir Putin, who is also playing the imperialist game by arming the Arab dictator of Syria. The Russians want Assad to remain in power, because he grants them the use of a naval base. Russian warships are using the Tartus Naval Base since 1971. Back then the Syrian Ba’ath regime allowed the Soviet-Union to build and operate the base. Putin knows that if the Ba’ath government would collapse, he might lose control over the Tartus Naval Base. Bashar Assad has been a friend of Russian imperialism in the UN and the Kremlin cannot afford to lose it. The USA on the other hand wants Assad gone. Because they see a opportunity to expand their imperialist influence in the middle east. Rojava has accepted American air support in the battle against Islamic State. But will the Americans come to their aid when NATO ally Turkey is invading them?

The world must be made aware of the war-hawking propaganda spread by dictator Erdogan. He has said the Turkish forces are ready to attack the ”YPG terrorists” as Ankara calls the Syrian Kurds. Ethnic unity is now vital. Kurds, Arabs, Syriac-Assyrians and Turkmen need to unite against the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army. It is scandalous that Arab rebels are used by Erdogan as canon-fodder, for him the FSA is just a tool. A weapon used to invade and occupy the Afrin Region. For the YPG it will be difficult to help their cantons as between the Afrin Region and the rest of Rojava lies an army of FSA rebels. Should Erdogan choose to invade, YPG forces will need to attack FSA positions. Until now the Free Syrian Army was an ally of Rojava in the fight against Islamic State. Since that enemy is now defeated, the Arabic FSA is willing to be the pawns of Erdogan’s plan to weaken the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria!

Revolutionary socialists are critical supporters of Rojava. We also support a decentralized society build on gender equality and ecological sustainability. But this cannot happen under capitalism. The political system looks similar to the Swiss canton model which supports direct democracy, but is still based on the bourgeois model of statehood. Abdullah Öcalan has said that he rejected the idea of nation states and the idea of a centralized government. The economy is said to be placed under direct control of workers councils, which is a good thing. 1/3 is however still controlled by private capitalists who can outgrow the companies owned by the councils. This is why we call for the complete nationalization of all means of production under control of the working class. Despite that Rojava is not socialist, it has the potential of moving beyond capitalism. They have made huge improvements in the lives of woman, who were regarded as second class by the upper class of Syria. This is why Revolutionary Socialist Media calls on the world to defend the cantons of Rojava against any imperialist invasion!


Erdogan’s shock-troopers, to be used against the Afrin Region of Rojava!