EXISTENTIAL CRISIS OF THE KURDISH IN TURKEY AND ELSEWHERE: NATIONHOOD OR AUTONOMY?
The Kurds are a nationality concentrated in a territory that straddles four states: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. For months Kurdish militia have been fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in Kobane on the Syrian and Turkish borders and have been subjected to ongoing attacks by the Turkish state.
The Kobane conflict is one episode in the longer struggle by the Kurdish national liberation struggle. It is also increasingly associated with a revolutionary reconstruction of society in the region of Rojava in Syria, influenced in some ways by anarchism, that is, the tradition of Bakunin and Kropotkin. Indeed, left-wing ideas like anarchism, and, Marxism-Leninism, have a lengthy history in the region, of which developments in Rojava are one part.
National liberation struggles have historically taken many forms. Evidently, nationalism– the doctrine that the whole “nation” must unite across class divisions, to secure a nation-state that can express the “national” will – has played a key role. But nationalism is only one of a number of possible responses to national oppression, and it has only sometimes achieved dominance.