American internationalist: Fighting ISIS is not enough

US internationalist Sipan Van Spronson pointed out the necessity of fighting not only against ISIS, but also against Turkish fascism, and said that joining the YPG was an opportunity for him.

The Rojava Revolution is a revolutionary process that embraces not only the peoples of the Middle East, but all the peoples of the world. Internationalists from all over the world have joined the revolution. One of those affected by the Rojava Revolution struggle is American internationalist Sipan Van Spronson. Van Spronson, who came to Rojava 15 months ago, spoke to ANF about his choice to join the YPG and his experience in Rojava.

Van Spronson said: "I came because I believe in the ideology of this movement, I believe in the establishment of a stateless democracy based on the liberation of women, and I believe in self-defense for the people of the middle east against ISIS and Turkish fascism.

When I first arrived in rojava its almost difficult to describe; there was such an intense feeling of freedom that I felt, being here with my comrades who I knew were here to fight for the same things as I, and even within the society it was clear that there was a much more democratic and liberated approach to life and it was truly wonderful to just be within a system and within a people who decide to live that way."

The internationalist continued: "For me, joining the YPG was a wonderful and invaluable experience. It was an opportunity to fight for something I believe in. In opposition to such a violent and repressive way of life. This nationalism, this hyper religious approach, this idea of one flag one people one state. And, to be able to participate in a movement that instead fights for the liberation of women for the creation of an autonomous peoples, and an autonomous way of living."

Addressing the American people Van Spronson said: "I guess if I were to say something to the American people, or all people in the west even, I would say that we are running out of time. The time for complacency is over, if we truly care about freedom, about liberation, about basic equality and basic democracy then we can no longer rely on the work and the blood of others; it must be done with our hands and our own blood. So if we want to call ourselves revolutionaries, fundamentally human, even, then the time is now to get out there, to work, to do something. You don’t have to join a military force but we can no longer be complacent. One other thing I would like to talk about is the importance of the ecological approach within this movement. Especially as a young person I really think a lot about climate change, about the horrible catastrophes that this will, and already is beginning to bring to the people around the world. And so that aspect of it is also really important to me, to fight against this capitalist consumption of the environment, of the land around us."   

The internationalist reminded that "the fight against ISIS is ongoing, and in spite of these frequent reports from the American government, the American military that “we’ve done it we’ve defeated ISIS” and so on, its not true. First off, a lot of the work that’s being done is by our forces, and the work is far from over. We still have sleeper cells that are beheading civilians and doing horrible acts of violence and so I think that what needs to be understood is that if we start a job, we have to finish it, and finish it in its entirety. And that includes our approach to the Turkish state as well, who not only in the past has actively supported ISIS but even now within the various chete groups, the various jihadist groups they support in northern Syria there are ex ISIS members that are just simply looking to to restart their movement, and you can see that within the free Syrian army and many of the other groups that turkey supports. I mean what’s important to understand is that this is a fight that’s ongoing, and we will fight to the very end."

Van Spronson said: "I think one of the other things we’ve seen is a tendency for America to forget its allies, for instance in Afrin and Serekaniye, these places where the American army basically paved the way for Turkish invasion. And I think that from an international perspective, and an internationalist perspective I think it’s important to understand that if we as, for instance Americans, if we want to see freedom for the Kurdish people, for the people of the middle east then we need to come and actually do something about it because its clear that our states will continue to only work for themselves."