French Leftists with the “Syrian Kurds” Threaten Terrorism Against France

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 23 April 2018

The Facebook group for the Antifascist Forces in Afrin (AFFA) posted a video message and transcript yesterday, which was dated 12 April, threatening terrorist attacks against two NATO states, France and Turkey. AFFA, announced in February, comprises French-speaking Left-wing extremists, who are part of the foreign fighter brigades within the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) command structure in Syria. A rough translation of the statement (and the original) are reproduced below, with the key sections highlighted in bold.

Afrin is the canton in north-west Aleppo previously occupied by the PKK, which operates under the name of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. The PKK is an internationally-designated terrorist organisation that has nonetheless been the primary partner in Syria of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS). The YPG/PKK was driven out of Afrin by Turkey last month.

Several hundred Westerners have joined the YPG/PKK. In August 2017, I wrote a report that profiled some of the foreign fighters who have joined the PKK in Syria and noted in concluding that there were trendlines indicating that these people could pose an internal security challenge for the West in the future. Even raising this matter caused considerable anger, not least among the YPG “volunteers” and of course their families. However, developments since then have reinforced the indicators I noted last summer and the below statement pushes in the same direction.

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[Written in] Rojava, 12 April [2018]

There has been a war going on. A war with multiple fronts. A war against a global, yet heterogeneous, knowing within itself factions and antagonisms.

This enemy is imperialism, it is fascism, it is the reactionary forces.

Depending on place and time, it [the enemy] will be Daesh [a.k.a. the Islamic State] or NATO, nationalist groups or the police, but whatever they are, all these groups answer to the same logic, that of annihilation. The annihilation of all forms of free life, all social and political experiences that are out of the ordinary, and all revolutionary possibilities.

Rojava and ZAD[1] are precisely two spaces where these revolutionary possibilities are being carried out, and it is no surprise that for years both have been repeatedly threated and attacked. Here we confront the enemy in its most barbaric form, Islamist fascism, while our comrades in France confront it in its most unrelenting form, the bourgeois state.

War is raging everywhere and, despite our will and our sacrifices, there are battles that we have not been able to win. We lost the ZAD Testet[2] and some others. We lost Afrin, at least for now. We refuse to lose Notre-Dames-Des-Landes.[3]

Because this place [NDDL] is not only symbolic, it is also real and effective. The ZAD is the common effort of people with varied subjectivities to build something “other”. To build projects independent of capitalist logic. The ZAD is meadows, woods, groves, but also houses, huts, and gardens, on which we live and fight as environmentalists, farmers, anarchists, students, communists, insecure workers, feminists, and poets. The ZAD is the promise of better days and happier nights of struggle. But for four days, it has been under the a massive police and military attack. Against our comrades, the state uses lethal weapons and advanced equipment that are not reminiscent of those we have experienced here in Rojava and Syria. Le Pouvoir [The Power] uses uncontrolled violence to terrorize those who dare to resist it. Macron, the new monarch of France, cannot tolerate the slightest dissent in his Empire.

There is something frenzied in his desire to eradicate what cannot conform to his world.

It is good that this is the problem: there are two worlds, theirs and ours, which collide and cannot coexist.

For several weeks, students, railway workers, and hospital workers have been fighting laws that further accentuate social selection at university and the deterioration of the public rail service, as well as the health service. The state and its media are working against them with a campaign of stigmatization, presenting them as inconsistent, privileged people. This same state sends its police against the students who occupy their universities, as in Strasbourg, Nanterre, and Lille, as well as in the demonstrations of the railwaymen. The extreme Right is gaining confidence by attacking student strikers, especially in Tolbiac and Montpellier. The state and the fascists must understand that we will respond to every attack. The striking students have started to move in this direction: 1,100 people in AG in St Denis, sabotage of the computer servers of the university of Montpellier, blockades of universities everywhere in France.

To roll back the government, we have to attack the wallet of the state and its masters.

Let us organise ourselves at our places of work, study, and life! Let us organise self-defence [forces] against the police militias and fascists! Organise the blockages of railway stations, clubs, and the roads! Organise the sabotage of the means of production! Organise the solidarity and action between all sectors of the struggle! Organise a general strike! Let’s block everything!

We have been combatting al-Qaeda and [Jabhat] al-Nusra. We fought the Islamic State and the Turkish state. We will fight the French state with the same determination. We will no longer allow it to interfere in every aspect of our lives. The enemy started this war, not us. But we will be the ones who put an end to it. We need to develop new strategies and practice other tactics. We want diffuse guerrilla warfare, intense and without pause.

For now, our priority targets are the Turkish state and the French state, as well as all the fascist groups that are running rampant with their support. Our enemies have weaknesses. Their flank is exposed. Their official representations [i.e. diplomats], their economic support and their political support, those who work and collaborate with them—all are targets within our reach. Their armies, their police, their intelligence services, and all the servile militias under their control are powerful but not invulnerable.

Faced with this situation, there are those who collaborate with the oppressor and those who stand against him. Those who choose submission and those who prefer insurrection. Those who are content to exist and those who prefer to live. Those who obey the police and those who attack them. We are of these. We are those who struggle and fight. Those who think it’s time to be offensive and more, to be aggressive. To attack the enemy where he is and where he is not.

Nothing is more sustainable. This is our chance because we have nothing left to lose.

Let’s open new fronts, launch offensives and destroy our targets.

May the 1st is approaching. Whatever the outcome of the current attack on the ZAD, May 1 is a day of rage and revenge. For all those whom our enemy has assassinated or imprisoned. For our friends who are struggling around the world. Fear must change sides.

Revenge is political.

From France to Rojava, long live Internationalism, long live the Revolution!


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Rojava, le 12 Avril.

Il y a eu une guerre en cours. Une guerre aux fronts multiples. Une guerre contre un ennemi global mais hétérogène, connaissant en son sein même des fractions et des antagonismes.

Cet ennemi c’est l’impérialisme, c’est le fascisme, ce sont les forces réactionnaires.

Selon l’endroit ou le moment ce sera DAESH ou l’OTAN, des groupuscules nationalistes ou des milices policières, mais quels qu’ils soient, tous ces groupes répondent à une même logique, celle de l’anéantissement. L’anéantissement de toutes les formes de vie libre, de toutes les expériences sociales et politiques hors normes et de toutes les possibilités révolutionnaires.

Le Rojava et la ZAD sont précisément deux espaces porteurs de ces possibilités révolutionnaires et c’est sans surprise aucune que depuis des années, l’un comme l’autre, soient sous le coup de menaces et d’attaques répétées. Ici nous affrontons l’ennemi dans sa frange la plus barbare, le fascisme islamiste, pendant que nos camarades en France l’affrontent sous sa forme la plus implacable, l’Etat bourgeois.

Partout la guerre fait rage, et malgré notre volonté et nos sacrifices, il y a des batailles que nous n’avons pas su gagner. Nous avons perdu la ZAD du Testet et quelques autres. Nous avons perdu Afrîn, du moins pour l’instant. Nous refusons de perdre Notre-Dames-Des-Landes.

Parce que ce lieu n’est pas seulement symbolique, il est aussi réel et effectif. La ZAD c’est l’effort commun de personnes aux subjectivités propres et variées pour construire quelque chose « d’autre ». Pour bâtir des projets indépendants de la logique capitaliste. La ZAD c’est des prairies, des bois, des bocages mais aussi des maisons, des cabanes et des jardins, sur lesquels et dans lesquels vivent et luttent des écologistes, des fermiers, des anarchistes, des étudiants, des communistes, des travailleurs précaires, des féministes et des poètes. La ZAD c’est la promesse de jours meilleurs et de nuits de lutte plus heureuses. Mais depuis 4 jours, elle est sous le coup d’une attaque policière et militaire massive. Contre nos camarades, l’Etat utilise des armes létales et des équipements de pointe qui ne sont pas s’en rappeler ceux que nous avons connu ici au Rojava et en Syrie. Le Pouvoir use d’une violence incontrôlée pour terroriser celles et ceux qui osent lui résister. Macron, nouveau monarque de France, ne saurait tolérer la moindre sédition dans son Empire.

Il y a quelque chose de frénétique dans son application à vouloir éradiquer ce qui ne saurait se conformer à son monde.

C’est bien là le problème : il y a deux mondes, le leur et le nôtre, entrés en collision, et qui ne saurait coexister.

Depuis plusieurs semaines, les étudiants, les cheminots et les hospitaliers sont en lutte contre des lois qui accentuent davantage la sélection sociale à l’université et la détérioration du service public ferroviaire ainsi que celui de la santé. L’Etat et ses médias opèrent contre elles et eux une campagne de stigmatisation en les faisant passer pour des privilégiés inconséquents. Ce même Etat envoie sa police contre les étudiants qui occupent leurs universités, comme à Strasbourg, Nanterre et Lille, ainsi que dans les manifestations des cheminots. L’extrême-droite prend confiance en elle en attaquant les étudiants grévistes, notamment à Tolbiac et à Montpellier. L’Etat et les fascistes doivent comprendre que nous répondrons à chaque attaque. Les étudiants ont commencé en ce sens : 1100 personnes en AG a St Denis, sabotage des serveurs informatiques de la fac de Montpellier, des blocages d’universités partout en France.

Pour faire reculer le gouvernement, nous devons taper au porte-feuille de l’Etat et des patrons.

Organisons nous sur nos lieux de travail, d’études et de vie! Organisons notre autodéfense contre les milices policières et les fascistes! Organisons les blocages des gares, des boîtes et des routes! Organisons les sabotages des moyens de production! Organisons la solidarité et les actions entre tous les secteurs en luttes! Organisons la grève générale! Bloquons tout!

Nous avons combattu Al-Qaïda et Al-Nosra. Nous avons combattu l’Etat Islamique et l’Etat Turc. Nous combattrons l’Etat français avec la même détermination. Nous ne lui permettrons plus de s’immiscer dans chacun des aspects de nos vies. L’ennemi a commencé cette guerre, pas nous. Mais nous serons celles et ceux qui y mettront un terme.

Il nous faut élaborer de nouvelles stratégies et pratiquer d’autres tactiques. Nous voulons une guérilla diffuse, intense et sans trêve.

Pour l’heure, nos cibles prioritaires sont l’Etat turc et l’Etat français, ainsi que tous les groupes fascistes qui sévissent avec eux. Nos ennemis ont des faiblesses. Leur flanc est exposé.

Leurs représentations officielles, leurs supports économiques et leurs soutiens politiques, ceux qui travaillent et collaborent avec eux, sont autant de cibles à notre portée. Leurs armées, leurs polices, leurs services de renseignements et l’ensemble des milices serviles sous leur contrôle sont puissantes mais pas invulnérables.

Face à cette situation, il y a ceux qui collaborent avec l’oppresseur ou ceux qui lui font front. Ceux qui choisissent la soumission ou ceux qui préfèrent l’insurrection. Ceux qui se contentent d’exister ou ceux qui préfèrent vivre. Ceux qui obéissent à la police ou ceux qui l’attaquent. Nous sommes de ces derniers. Nous sommes de celles et ceux qui luttent et qui combattent. De celles et ceux qui pensent qu’il est temps d’être offensifs et plus encore, d’être agressifs. D’attaquer l’ennemi là où il est et là où il n’est pas.

Rien n’est plus soutenable. C’est là notre chance, car nous n’avons plus rien à perdre.

Ouvrons de nouveaux fronts, lançons des offensives et détruisons nos cibles.

Le 1er Mai approche. Quelle que soit l’issue de l’attaque en cours sur la ZAD, que ce 1er Mai soit un jour de rage et de vengeance. Pour toutes celles et tous ceux que notre ennemi a assassiné.es ou emprisonné.es. Pour nos amis qui luttent à travers le monde. La peur doit changer de camp.

La vengeance est politique.

De la France au Rojava, vive l’Internationalisme, vive la Révolution!

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[1] As explained by Paul Cohen for Dissent last year, ZAD comes from the French, zone d’aménagement différé (deferred development zone). After socialist president Francois Hollande took office in France in 2012, a Left-wing extremist movement took shape calling themselves zadistes (or ZADists), focused primarily on an anti-capitalist agenda. Most zadistes burn their voter registration cards, priding themselves on working outside the French political system, and indeed outside modern society altogether, speaking the language of environmentalism to oppose productivity and economic growth in toto. The original ZAD—effectively a commune—was on the proposed sight of a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL). Opposition to the building of the airport had unified much of the “green” movement and a small group of activists had occupied the site as early as 2007. Only a radical fringe remained after 2009, and the zadistes moved from seeing themselves as human shields to trying to create a “post-capitalist society”. The zadistes were given a major boost when they violently repelled an effort by the French government to end the illegal occupation of NDDL. The zadistes have shown themselves willing to provoke violent confrontation with the authorities on multiple occasions. By 2015, there were thirty “ZADs”—encampments of squatters and hooligans—across France, hindering various projects.

[2] The “Testet Collective” was a ZAD that occupied the area in the Tarn department in southern France where the Sivens dam was to be built. The death of a young man named Remi Fraisse in October 2014 when the Leftist protesters clashed with police. The officer who fired the tear gas cannister was cleared of wrongdoing and the ZAD was liquidated in March 2015, though the protesters did manage to stop the original project; another potential dam remains under consideration.

[3] See note 1.

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