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We oppose the far right's attempt to co-opt our fight against Isis jihadism

Five former YPG volunteers pen this open letter in support of those standing up to Tommy Robinson's fascists

AS FORMER members of the armed forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who left Britain and volunteered to fight the Islamic extremist group Isis, we wish to make it clear we oppose attempts by the far right to co-opt the fight against Isis and jihadism, and we support the counter-demonstration against the upcoming right-wing mobilisation on Saturday July 14. 

As those that fought against Isis and had many friends who died in that fight, including some of the eight British citizens who have died, we want to make it clear that Tommy Robinson, the English Defence League (EDL), Generation Identity and the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) are not part of the fight against Islamic extremism and are only trying to make things worse. 

Like the whole of the far right, Robinson offers no solutions, only more divisions.

He is a right-wing career politician who started out in the neonazi BNP, founded the EDL, British Freedom Party and Pegida UK, and is only now presenting himself as some kind of independent journalist.

He is not; he is movement-building, and the kind of movement he wants is clear from his past groups listed here and from his current association with Generation Identity, a group made up of “former” neonazis.

Violent Islamic extremism, as in Isis and al-Qaeda, is not part of traditional Islam. It is a recent development that only took shape after the 1950s.

Similarly, what is commonly called Islamic fundamentalism is also not part of traditional Islam, is just over 100 years old, and only started to become prevalent in the last 50 years.

Although we need to oppose these reactionary backward movements, Islam itself is no better or worse than any other major religion in its doctrine.

When we oppose Islamic fascism we need to be very specific about which groups or individuals we oppose.

The far right has no interest in this. It deliberately tars all Muslims as supporting jihadist terrorism and wanting to conquer non-Muslim countries.

The far right whips up tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims for racist ends — as Muslims are overwhelmingly non-white — and they intend to use this tension and distrust to build a right-wing movement that scapegoats first racial minorities, then others.

This is the same pattern followed by far-right movements across the globe. By creating societies where ordinary Muslims feel unwelcome and unsafe, they will only help recruit for extremists. 

If you have genuine concerns over segregated communities, place the blame on the New Labour and Tory governments that allowed and encouraged segregation, and support a socialist solution of united and equal communities and secular (non-religious) education.

If you have genuine concerns over grooming gangs, place the blame on the New Labour and Tory governments that allowed and encouraged disregard for working-class women and girls, and support a socialist answer to classism and neglect, and proper funding for social services.

If you have genuine concerns over Islamic extremism:

  • Call on the government to break all ties with Saudi Arabia (whose laws are almost identical to Isis’s doctrines) and exports extremist ideology worldwide.
  • Call on the government to break all ties with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has nurtured and allied with Isis to attack the Kurds, supports jihadists in Syria, and is enforcing more and more reactionary fundamentalist laws in Turkey itself.
  • Look for solutions and allies from within the Muslim and migrant communities who are most affected by Islamic extremism.

The YPG did not defeat Isis by promoting one religion over another or one race over another, but through its ideology of secular, democratic, multi-faith, multi-racial, socialism.

Left-wing ideas and policies brought an end to Isis in northern Syria, and the same will be true fighting other extremist movements like it here in Britain too.

Alexander Norton
Callum Ross
Josh Walker
Brace Belden
Tirpan Cudi

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