Tag: Kurdistan

Oct 12

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Redux On The National Question … Scotland and Kurdistan by NY Brit Expat

Two more different places do not come to mind, yet what we have been witnessing are two instances of the national question which have been in the news recently. I was originally going to write only on Scotland, but the immediacy of the catastrophe that is happening to the Kurds in Syria and the fight being waged against great odds while the world watches (and literally the Turkish army sits in its tanks watching while prevented Turkish Kurds from joining the fight in support of those fighting in Kobaně) needs to be addressed. So I decided to discuss both issues and to ask where the left stands and where it should stand on what should have been termed historically the national question and what criteria we should use to ascertain whether there is a legitimate issue that should be supported.

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As we watch the power of states in the advanced capitalist world be weakened through the internationalisation of capital beyond national borders, one would think that the national question (a question arising at the end of the 19th century with the consolidation of nation states like Germany and Italy in the 1870s in the context of the consolidation of bourgeois nationalism and then the creation in the early 20th century of new nation states following the collapse of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires, e.g., Hungary, Greece, Czechoslovakia) would have ceased to be a relevant consideration. However, even as we sit here and watch the control over “domestic” capital weaken in state by state (this can be easily seen in the inability to control taxation of profits of MNCs), the issue of the national question still raises its head.  This is not only the situation in the post-world war II period of anti-colonialist struggles (e.g., India, Algeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe), nor the struggle against neo-colonialism and imperialism’s attempts to control the economic and political situations in other countries, but also includes the issue of the rights of nations currently in union, through historical circumstance, or forced through being conquered historically to be part of a state (e.g., The Basque, Catalonia, Scotland, Wales).    

Since both questions impact significantly on the issue of anti-imperialist in theory and practice, they bring to the fore issues that the Left needs to address. Inevitably, there will be differences among the Left due to different perspectives on the both the acceptance of the right of self-determination, the issue of nation-state themselves, and how this impacts upon anti-imperialist struggles.

Feb 11

A Transgender Valentine


I used to hate Valentine’s Day.  It seemed like an excuse for people in relationships to flaunt them to raise themselves over the people who weren’t.  And at the time, be a transwoman, there did not seem to be any relationship in my future, near or far.

I was married to a woman for nearly 25 years when I came out.  Beginning transition completely destroyed that relationship.

Life goes on and I was pretty sure that it would go on with me being alone.  I resolved to adjust to that.  About the time I thought I had, I was contacted by a woman who read my submissions to an email list and wanted to get to know me better.  She was teaching English to the Japanese near Tokyo, so it was a very long distance friendship…which grew into a long distance romance and thence to a long distance relationship (LDR).

I wrote a poem about that.

Mar 27

Ruh-oh! Tough Time for Iraqi Incumbents as Allawi Wins Election

Saturday, 3/27/2010 Allawi’s Side Wins Iraq Elections

Ruh roh!  Tough time for incumbents….. everywhere.  Current PM Nouri al Maliki comes in 2nd in Iraq, and

….  he’s not happy.


Iraq election results, out of 325 seats, 163 needed to form a government:


Ayad Allawi’s Iraquiya coalition – 91 seats

Nouri al Maliki’s State of Law Alliance – 89 seats

(Shia) Iraqi National Alliance – 70 seats

Kurdistania (K. Democratic Party, Patriotic Union of K.) – 43 seats


(ARC note: clever readers notice this doesn’t add up. Some small minority factions are awarded reserved seats.)

Dec 25

Christmas in Iraq

I’ve written about the real War on Christmas- in Iraq. Well, the New York Times has this, today, from Baghdad:

Inside the beige church guarded by the men with the AK-47s, a choir sang Christmas songs in Arabic. An old woman in black closed her eyes while a girl in a cherry-red dress, with tights and shoes to match, craned her neck toward rows of empty pews near the back.

“Last year it was full,” said Yusef Hanna, a parishioner. “So many people have left – gone up north, or out of the country.”

In a safe neighborhood, in the midst of the relative calm of the current relative downturn in violence, this is still less than a Merry Christmas.

Iraq’s Christians have fared poorly since the fall of Saddam Hussein, with their houses or businesses frequently attacked. Some priests estimate that as much as two-thirds of the community, or about one million people, have fled, making Sacred Heart typical. Though a handful have recently returned from abroad, only 120 people attended Mass on Monday night, down from 400 two years ago.

But, of course, that was in a safe neighborhood. Elsewhere, the violence continues, irrespective of religion or season. The Washington Post reports:

Gunmen stopped a minibus driving north of Baghdad on Monday and abducted 13 Iraqi civilians inside, Iraqi police reported. The mass kidnapping was a renewed tactic that has grown increasingly rare as violence has ebbed in Iraq.

An ominous sign?


Oct 27

PKK Bush Ralston Lockheed Scandal Breaks Into Wapo!

Don Rumsfeld was charged with war-crimes today. Bushco’s connection to Mid-East terrorism and pork may be the next story to blow.


Retired Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, a former NATO commander Bush appointed last year as his special envoy to work on the issue, left the job recently because of what several sources described as his frustration at the administration’s failure to devote serious attention to the problem. Ralston, vice chairman of an international consulting firm led by former defense secretary William S. Cohen, did not return several calls for comment.

There’s far more at stake…

Oct 25

Ray L. Hunt: Catalyst for Cataclysm

Why on earth have tensions suddenly escalated along the Turkish border with Iraq? Why have Kurdish PKK guerrillas been going out of their way in recent weeks to provoke a conflict with Turkish forces and draw the Turkish Army into a cross-border incursion into the Kurd-administered region of northern Iraq?

The most important clue may lie in the persona and actions of Ray L. Hunt, CEO of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., member of the Halliburton Board of Directors, Bush “Pioneer,” major Republican fund-raiser, and, oh, by the way, member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).

Hunt is no mere peripheral bit player; he has donated $35 million to his alma mater, Southern Methodist University, for purchase of an apartment complex that seems destined to be the site of the Bush Presidential Library and possibiy an affiliated think tank (oxymoron alert).

In short, Ray L. Hunt is a poster boy for Republican, Texas Big Oil, crony capitalism.

Below the break let us ponder how Hunt appears to be a primary catalyst for cataclysm in the Middle East.

Oct 13

Gen. Joe Ralston: Lies and Lockheed Behind the Bush PKK Turkey Crisis

Turkey is ready to invade and not over any US resolution .

If you don’t know who Joseph Ralston is, then George Bush is likely very happy. Because Joseph Ralston is the former NATO Supreme Commander George Bush appointed to prevent America’s exploding crisis with Turkey from happening. 

Except the general was gone. Just yesterday I wrote that Ralston quit suddenly on October 5th. Yet, there were inconsistencies in the few accounts I could find.

I was stunned to discover that Ralston actually quit in frustration months ago. Bush didn’t tell anyone and didn’t replace Ralston. Bush just pretended Ralston was working to end PKK attacks against Turkey all along. In part, no doubt, to avoid questions about Ralston’s other job.

Details below…