Much like the Kurdish liberation movement, the organisation Progressive International (PI) believes in and advocates for an internationalist approach to tackling global issues of social justice and liberation. PI was founded in December 2018 to unite international progressive political parties and movements, following a call by the Democracy in Europe Movement and the Bernie Sanders Institute. Its stated aim is to “unite, organise, and mobilise progressive forces behind a shared vision of a world transformed.”
As such, PI has taken a principled and consistent stance on the Kurdish issue. The organisation has regularly issued statements and joined calls in support of self-determination, democracy and liberation in Kurdistan. PI spokesperson Daniel Kopp also recently led an international peace delegation to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to advocate for an end to Turkey’s military incursion in the region, widely decried as being in violation of international law and human rights standards.
David Adler is a political economist and general coordinator of PI. He spoke with Medya News to describe his organisation’s political vision as it pertains to Kurdistan, Turkey and the wider region, and to give his perspective on how progressive forces across the globe can mobilise and unite to support Kurdistan and one another.
Adler explained that the organisation was founded in 2018, partially in response to a rise in global right-wing authoritarianism, citing US President Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jai Bolsanaro as examples. “It was in that moment that we saw the rise of a reactionary International that many of us around the world saw the need for a progressive International to defend those democratic and progressive socialist values,” he said.
In contrast to previous Socialist Internationals which had a direct focus on establishing revolutionary communist governments and spreading state socialism throughout the world, the organisation has a pluralist, decentralised approach with a focus on building alternatives to hegemonic world systems through a diversity of tactics.
Adler highlighted a recent visit by a PI delegation to observe the ongoing ‘Kobane Trials’ in Turkey, where members of the People’s Democratic Party or HDP are facing thousands of years in jail time for participating in demonstrations against ISIS’ assaults upon the Kurds, as the type of active international solidarity which PI promotes: “We wanted to go beyond writing declarations and saying we stand in solidarity with something without any actual convictions or programme. We’re trying to give more substance to the definition of internationalism. That means identifying the pressure points in our international political system we can press to deliver change.”
Such steps would be vital to create pressure on the Turkish government to respect the democratic process during the upcoming 2023 elections, he said, adding: “What’s been great about working with the Kurdish movement in general is the way that that solidarity does come so naturally to them.”
In conclusion, he noted that it was vital not only for the international community to stand in practical and engaged solidarity with the Kurdish freedom movement in its various manifestations throughout the region, but also for progressive international forces to learn from the Kurdish movement.
The Rojava revolution stood as an example indicating it was possible to build genuine alternatives to repressive states seeking to establish hegemonic control in the Middle East and elsewhere, he explained, saying: “We need a fundamental reorientation of our political systems, and I think the Kurds have so much to teach us about that. It’s an obligation of the international left to defend the Rojava revolution on its tenth anniversary with such an imminent threat posed by the invading forces of Erdogan… Defending a project which has given the world a shining example of a novel, transformational, feminist and egalitarian model.”
Please listen to podcast for whole interview.