We arrived at this weekend with a Brexit agreement pending approval by the British parliament, a Turkish truce awaiting reciprocation by the PKK-YPG and a call for a general strike in Catalonia which, in the lack of common interests between nationalism and the workers, has become a lockout.
Truce in Syria
Yesterday, the US and Turkey agreed to a 5-day truce so that the Kurdish troops, accompanied by the American troops, can leave the 30 km wide corridor that surrounds the Syrian-Turkish border. If after 5 days the evacuation is completed, a permanent cease-fire will take place.
In other words, Turkey would be able to achieve its military campaign’s objectives without firing a shot, so to speak. It seems unbelievable because after the PKK was placed under the military command of Al-Assad’s Syria, and therefore under Russian hegemony, everything seemed ready for a showdown.
The key lies in Russia… and Iran. Quite the opposite of what the US opposition claims, the departure of US troops puts Putin in a difficult situation. If Russia seizes the US bases at full speed, it is not only to discipline the unreliable PKK-YPG or to stand up to the Turks, but above all because the power vacuum gives a rare opportunity to Iran which wants to get a grip onto as soon as possible. Iran has played its cards by presenting itself as the mediator and ally Erdogan needed to carry out his plans.
Therefore, far from attempting a show of force by relying on the cynical pro-PKK advertising campaign in Europe and the US, Putin and Al-Assad have been pressing to successfully delay the Turkish offensive, turning the US into an ally of occasion and enthusiastically supporting a truce and possible peace that is Turkey’s list of ultimate objectives.
The question is now twofold. Firstly, will Al-Assad and Putin succeed in disciplining the PKK effectively and bring the truce forward? Secondly, how long will the emergence of a new axis of conflict in Syria between Iran and its old allies take?
Truce in Europe
Meanwhile, in Europe everyone congratulates each other and is delighted to see Johnson try to rally votes on the verge of despair for an agreement that actually represents the first firm step towards Irish unification since the Good Friday agreements.
So for now we will have an EU-Great Britain truce. The process has produced and reopened too many wounds in the British establishment and it will take some time for it to recover and rebuild its political apparatus, surely by going through elections and rebuilding parties. The reordering of the trade map has not even waited for the approval of the exit agreement. There is no choice among other things because the British one is not the only fractured bourgeoisie. In the US, Pelosi does not hide her desire to obstruct the trade agreement promised by Trump… and the crisis does not seem to be awaiting British capital to gain access to new markets. On the contrary, British retail data speak of an impoverished domestic market and a precarious working class that cannot keep a steadily growing consumption.
New fake strike in Catalonia
In Spain, the week has been marked by a new awakening of the independentist mobilization. The nationalist petty bourgeoisie and the students have taken to the streets and turned this week’s nights into a great failure. Why? Wouldn’t it be counterproductive for the independence movement to collide against its own government’s police forces? Didn’t the excesses of fire and violence force President Torra himself to condemn the young people and order them to stop?
We have been able to glance at the clue today, supposedly the high point of the independentist response concocting a new “national strike”. The new fake strike had as little chance of success as the previous ones. But the nocturnal shows served so that the management of the big companies -whose “country managers” are part of that nationalist petty bourgeoisie- could claim insecurity and today carry out a technical strike (Seat), extra paid vacations (Bon Preu) or without extra pay, forcing the workers to take a day off (Inditex, Zara, Bershka, etc.).
Basically, the “national strike” is the corporate petty bourgeoisie making its bosses pay in order to forge the appearance of a “real” strike. The demonstrations are full of agrarian petty bourgeoisie showing off their very expensive tractors of the latest generation, of independence-friendly civil servants (the government has been selecting them for decades) and of students. It is, in the street, the expression of the weakness of a movement that finds it too difficult to hide its anti-worker character and racist classism to be able to lead society as a whole. Because what we are seeing these days is a working class that remains solidly and mostly on the margin of the battle between the independentist petty bourgeoisie and the state, aware that both sides only offer the workers the option to become cannon fodder.
That being the case, the bloc of pro-independence parties and President Torra are divided not by the limits of protest, but by its timing. Torra and Puigdemont want to set the course for another unilateral referendum in order to take advantage of the protests’ momentum. The rest prefer to pay attention to their international allies and bet on a “war of attrition” that ends up generating the image of Spain as a failed state in order to give opportunity to an imperialist intervention. Junqueras, guest columnist in the Washington Post could not have been clearer. He later quoted himself on twitter from prison:
— Oriol Junqueras 🎗️ (@junqueras) October 16, 2019
Where are we, where should we be going?
We are now beginning to suffer a serious new onslaught of the systemic crisis. The most enlightened within the bourgeoisie itself, though incapable of imagining a real alternative to capitalism, clearly see that capitalism is choking and decomposing the society it is parasitizing. But for the worldwide bourgeoisie as a class, the more it is directly involved in the crisis the more difficult it finds it to discern the short and the long term. In other words, its strategy is diluted in its tactics and the domination of capital is affirmed aimlessly by patching, repressing or launching the first outlet that appears to ensure, at all costs, a little oxygen for the reproduction of capital.
In this context, the petty bourgeoisie’s expressions will become more and more reactionary and desperate, and they will also try to sell these expressions as novel alternatives. From Catalan independence to “Extinction Rebellion“, from pro-imperialist jingoism to anti-immigrant xenophobia. The workers are going to be negated with intensified violence, being framed and conscripted under the aegis of one or another group… This process can only lengthen and multiply the sufferings of a society in historical decline. Affirming our interests, the only ones that bring with them a future for all, is increasingly urgent and necessary for humanity as a whole.
Further reading (in Spanish)