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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people                              
Vol. 81/No. 36      October 2, 2017



Available Online
(lead article)

Kurds press fight to vote on independence

Back Kurds right to self-determination!

Sept. 14 rally in Zakho, Kurdistan, in favor of independence from Iraq, one of many held in the Kurdish region. Washington and most capitalist governments in Middle East want to block vote.
The following statement was released Sept. 20 by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York.

The Socialist Workers Party urges working people in the United States and around the world to help initiate and join meetings and demonstrations in support of the Sept. 25 independence referendum called by the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.

During Washington’s 1991 war in Iraq, the Kurdish people came to “center stage in world politics as never before, not primarily as victims but as courageous and determined fighters for national rights,” Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes wrote in “The Opening Guns of World War III” in New International no. 7. The establishment of the KRG was an unintended consequence of that war.

The Kurdish people are determined to take advantage of a historic opening provided by the unraveling of the post-World War I and World War II order in the Middle East, including artificial and arbitrary borders imposed on the toilers as part of the imperialist victors’ war spoils.

They see an opening to forge a Kurdish state despite the fierce opposition of Washington, its imperialist allies, Moscow and virtually all the capitalist regimes in the region.

The propertied rulers in the U.S., today’s dominant imperialist power, fear the Kurds’ battle for independence. So do the rulers in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, where most of the over 30 million Kurdish people live, the largest nationality in the world without a state.

This is because every step forward for the centurieslong struggle of the Kurdish people for self-determination anywhere opens the door to new advances, inspiring Kurds wherever they live and others fighting imperialist domination, oppression and exploitation.

“This is the opportunity for Kurds of Iraq to win independence,” Ismail Ajam, an Azerbaijani Turk who lives in Iran, told members of the Communist League, a sister party of the SWP, at a London demonstration in support of the referendum Sept. 17. “This will have a good effect on the oppressed in Iran — on Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmen and on Kurds in Syria and Turkey. It will give confidence to others in the Middle East.”

The ruling families also fear the over 1 million Kurds forced to emigrate to other countries, many fleeing Saddam Hussein’s murderous attacks on Iraqi Kurds, repression of the Turkish government, or because of the impact of Washington’s seemingly endless wars in the region. They are now part of the working class in the U.S., Germany and elsewhere, joining the class struggle there. These workers will win broader support for the right of Kurds to determine their own future and at the same time their experience and confidence strengthen the fighting capacity of the working class wherever they are.

Holding the Sept. 25 referendum, and the overwhelming vote for “Yes” to independence that will inevitably result, will open a new stage in the Kurdish struggle in the Middle East. And it will strengthen the fight of the Catalan people for self-determination against Spain’s capitalist rulers, the Puerto Rican people’s fight against U.S. colonial tyranny and battles against national oppression elsewhere.

The Kurds have a powerful example on how to win and defend national independence in revolutionary Cuba. Cuban workers and farmers, led by Fidel Castro and the July 26th Movement, overthrew the U.S.-backed dictatorship, expropriated the Yankee overlords and overturned capitalist exploitation.
Related articles:
Kurds mobilize for ‘yes’ in September 25 vote
Kurds in US rally for independent Kurdistan
Million march for Catalonia referendum

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