On Wednesday 15th October, around 70 protesters gathered in Dortmund Square, Leeds to show their solidarity with the Kurdish resistance in the town of Kobane near the Kurdish borders who are under assault from Islamic State (IS) forces.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
The protest was largely drawn from a Kurdish background, although many others were also present. The sheer desperation of the situation was expressed by many there, some of whose friends and family are involved in the fighting. Although Kurdish forces around the YPG appear to be pushing IS back, the stories of what IS troops have previously left in their wake is haunting.
Socialist Party members distributed a leaflet at the protest, based on a recent article in the Socialist (see – http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/828/19471/08-10-2014/middle-east-repel-is-and-western-imperialism).
Whilst agreeing with several of the demands the organisers raised including the lifting of the Turkish blockade of their border, we feel that the question of military strength is only one side of the question.
We felt that some of the slogans under which the demonstration was organised under failed to take up the disastrous role that imperialism has played in the region and failed to put forward a solution based on the only force in the region that can lead a way out of the impass – the working class.
The divide and rule tactics of imperialism in the region, which has rested in the last period on a sectarian Shia government in Iraq, has driven Iraqi Sunni’s in the direction of IS. For it’s own internal reasons, the Turkish ruling class, which aims to play a sub-imperialist role in the region, wishes to see Kurdish resistance crushed in Kobane, and indeed all of Rojava.
When we explained our viewpoint, it was accepted by many of those on the demonstration. Indeed, several of those attending were in exile precisely because of their socialist beliefs.