This recent story in Al-Jazeera about an Afghan migrant who joins up with anti-capitalist and anti-fascist forces in Greece is a prime example of what revolutionary internationalism can look like today. Masoud Qahar was formerly a logistical officer for NATO in Afghanistan, a position he held for five years. The Taliban, unsurprisingly, targeted him and his family, killing his younger sister in 2012. NATO refused to help him or his family, so he ditched his job and began a journey via land routes to Greece in 2015.
Qahar soon linked up with local anarchist groups who were helping run refugee camps and organize demonstrations. Now he helps them translate and joins them in anti-fascist protests, and plays a larger role in leveraging his extensive local network in the camps to help connect Greek anarchists and his fellow migrants and refugees. Along the way, he also seems to have developed an extreme disdain for his former employers, which is no doubt pleasing to his radical friends:
He describes both NATO and the Taliban as “houses of fascism”, before adding proudly: “Now I’m an anti-fascist.”
This connection showcases the Greek anarchist movement’s larger strategy of mutual aid and dual power. As reported in this favorable New York Times article on the matter, the sprawling complex of service centers run by anarchists across Greece includes 15 squats in Athens that house 3,000 migrants, run cooperatively and collectively, independent from state and capital.This is absolutely the right direction for radical leftists in the West to go, insofar as revolutionary internationalism is concerned. People caught up in the violent churn of global capitalism and imperialism continue to flee their homelands, and are forming new transnational communities. Qahar’s journey from Afghanistan to Greece is part of a larger trend that seen over 250,000 Afghans making the same journey since early 2015.
Connecting with these communities is how internationalism can be advanced from being superficial statements of solidarity that have no impact on anything, to being a genuine material force that engages in actual, tangible organizing across borders. And it is particularly interesting to consider how these forms of radical transnationalism can intervene in the trend where anti-imperialist politics is coopted in the Greater Middle East region by far-right religious fundamentalists. Qahar has clearly broken from the NATO vs. Taliban dualism that afflicts mainstream media discourse about politics in Afghanistan, but in a way that has lead toward radical leftist politics as the alternative, rather than political apathy as is usually the case. If Western radicals and new diaspora communities from the Greater Middle East continue to network and merge, there is real potential for solidarity politics to evolve into outright transnational revolutionary struggle against all “houses of fascism”, be they Western or local.
Bonus: Video from just a couple of days ago of working-class youth violently clashing with police in Nuremberg, Germany, who are attempting to detain and deport their Afghan classmate. (Article)