Criticism of paper internationalism

An article written by the Ecuadorian journalist and sociologist, scholar of the Kurdish question Carlos Pazmiño.
The threat of globalized capitalism requires that the efforts of the revolutionaries take an international dimension; a revolutionary process in Kurdistan or Latin America will hardly triumph if the imperialist centers are not weakened if not defeated. This fact makes us think about the international character of the revolution, the need of the program, the tactics, the strategy, the place occupied by the revolutionary minorities in the different countries, as well as an adequate analysis of the correlations of national, regional and worldwide forces. Unfortunately, a good part of the revolutionaries of the world are not considering these elements of analysis and end up being “activists”: people without a political and social structure that intervene in reality, seduced almost always by their individuality and the sole desire to “help”¹ others. Because of this subjugated way of understanding politics, there is demobilization of their revolutionary potential and reduces their “activism” to a liberal and cynical lifestyle of mere consumerism.
Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdish leader, is very clear in pointing out that capitalist modernity has been able to hijack the most progressive values ​​of transforming ideas, colonizing them, making them a product of mass consumption and often turning them into allies of the counter revolution. He has developed this accurate criticism considering the degeneration and increasingly marginal situation of the modern left, from anarchism to liberal feminism, among other political expressions (such as statist Marxism). This marginalization is not only among themselves but from the people, a fact that has located the modern left in universities, cafeterias, clubs, etc.; from which they discuss the revolution, but little or nothing is done for it.
The colonizing and demobilizing action of capitalist modernity on the modern left is also expressed as a form of “fascination of poverty” and “savagery” of the undeveloped countries, by certain societies from a white perspective. This problematic way of understanding the other, its history and place in the world, transferred to the field of internationalism is highly worrying, especially when revolutionaries who wish to “help” or “solidarize” with the causes of the “third world” do not understand the real role they must have in the revolution anywhere.
It is understandable that the revolutionaries of the countries of the so-called “first world” develop this form of relationship with the processes that now occur in the “third world”, since capitalist modernity has destroyed the diversity of their societies, making them the societies of the white man paradigm, where apparently there is no possible revolution. It seems that these revolutionaries have forgotten that they are obliged, through critical and fraternal self-criticism, to think deeply about why their “help” and “solidarity” often does not have any organizational, political or social support to intervene in the people of their countries of origin. As a magnificent epilogue of these thoughts, in an interview published in 2017 on the Kurdish Question web portal, an anarchist Western YPG volunteer referred to the meaning that “Western” internationalism should have in the face of the Rojava revolution: “Many Kurdish friends, in different situations, repeated me the same: “Go back to your town and continue the same struggle there!”, “We do not need western martyrs, we need a revolution in western countries.”²
This form of contemplation or “help” regarding the revolutionary processes that took place in the periphery is not the heritage of the revolutionaries of the West; it is also present in those who, coming from the “third world”, develop, through the action of capitalist modernity, the same perspective, only that this is translated into the observation of similar contradictions in their society of origin, without taking sides for the transformation of their environment. This act is even more cynical than Western internationalism because they are not in the capacity to – or do not wish – to recognize similar conditions of existence and struggle, for which they should take sides in their countries of origin.
In no way does this article attempt to make a “racial” or “ethnic” bias to the action of Western or Third World revolutionaries, influenced by colonizing or admiration vis-à-vis the Kurdish people’s struggle, trying to visualize from a Latin American perspective in dialogue with the Kurdish people, as many times our people have become objects of research, activism or fascination for revolutionaries, who fail to understand the complex challenge that the organization of the revolution means from a national, regional and global perspective.
The resistance to capitalism, to patriarchy, to the nation state, cannot start from individual wills, but from the organization, planning, and decisive commitment of the revolutionaries. That’s why in Latin America we still use the word cadre to the revolution, for we need the development of collective practical capacities that can provide a horizon superior to that of capitalist modernity.
The revolutionaries who travel to Kurdistan to know the revolution, study the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, or stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people, must seriously commit themselves to organizing the revolution in their countries, thinking of it as a world-scale process. The triumph or defeat of the revolutions still to come, will be at stake as long as internationalism is again understood as it was in its infancy. The struggles for the human liberation from the capitalist yoke requires a global process of articulation, in which everyone has a role to play in an organized manner. The best way to pay tribute to the enormous sacrifice being made by those who, like the Kurdish people, are showing a different path to capitalism, is to organize and commit to the revolution.
¹I use the word “help” to characterize a relationship of subordination between two parties.
² Experiences in Rojava: Interview with an anarchist YPG volunteer.
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