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AIT: Anti-fascist battalion comprised of internationalists forms in Rojava

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Decals for the Kurdish YPG and YPJ anti-ISIS units in Rojava, northern Syria.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – As a self-taught student of the Spanish Civil War, and the lessons learned from that experience 80 years ago, I am always amazed at the stories of people like Oklahoma native Eugene Poling who traveled to Spain to fight Franco and his fascists, and fought for a better and more egalitarian world.

And as we noted six months ago here at Red Dirt Report, brave and idealistic Americans – and others from around the world – are walking in the brave footsteps of those who fought fascism, as part of the International Brigades, and are going to Kurdish-dominated northern Syria, known as Rojava, and fighting alongside their Kurdish brothers and sisters in the YPJ (Women’s Protection) and YPG (People’s Protection) units in the battle against ISIS. This is an internationalist revolution we noted in our review of To Dare Imagining: Rojava Revolution.

We wrote of Australian volunteer Jamie Bright, who came to Rojava to fight ISIS and was killed there helping his fellow anti-fascists in Rojava. This is a trend around the world where volunteers with a humanitarian bent and skills to offer the oppressed go to places like Donbass in the Ukraine to fight off Ukrainian fascists as we reported several years ago. Some countries, like Denmark and Spain have made it difficult for their citizens to volunteer to fight in conflicts in other countries, as we saw Germans and Italians volunteering to fight fascism in Donbass in Ukraine.

We have noted, with some concern, that Oklahoma National Guard members of the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are heading to Ukraine to train soldiers there in coming months. And this as tensions rise with Turkey, Russia, Syria and that whole region of the world. 

So, it was with much excitement that we noticed that a new internationalist battalion – like the Abraham Lincoln Battalion in Spain – was formed this week known as Antifascist Internationalist Tabur, or AIT, with the symbol of the phoenix, which was used by the revolutionaries in Spain.

From the AIT statement sent to the world on December 19, 2016, and reposted at

“Today a group of fellow anti-fascists, internationalists, anarchists, communists, socialists and libertarians are appealing for support to the revolution of Rojava and so joining struggle of the oppressed. We come from the shadow of the western capitalist world, to fight and to learn from our fellow comrades in Rojava how to claim freedom and the right to exist. With their courage we hope to create a life without oppression and persecution, a world without fascism and obscurantism. We set sail towards this goal pushed by the winds of liberty, equality, and respect for the Earth. This is the way of those exceptional people who have sailed towards oblivion leaving an unquenchable heat inside our hearts. It is the same warmth that we feel now, that animates us, that drove us across the threshold of the flames of the struggle of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria."

The group's symbol, a phoenix is taken from the revolutionaries who fought Franco's fascism in 1936, the statement said.

“Every comrade, here, now, fights for the light, with the living memory of previous partisan struggles, for a better world, that have led up to these fiery lands. So, with the name of our unit, we want to remember the comrade Martyr lvana Hoffman, who fell valiantly fighting ISIS on the Tell Tamir front, in March 2015. Together we fight to defend those values, which we retain in our hearts. We take our symbol from the revolutionaries who fought in Spain, in 1936, for a world without borders, without shadows and without fear— History did not defeat them. Their dreams did not die, but are now reborn with us, with each comrade, who now fights in Rojava. As a phoenix always rises from the ashes, so the fire of the Revolution, will continue to burn forever.”

You can follow AIT on Twitter @AntifaTabur

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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