In the villages, cities and regions of Rojava, in the predominantly Kurdish north east of Syria, political upheaval has resulted in the largely decentralised self-administration of many areas, including health, economy, law, education and internal security. The Rojava revolution led to both the secularisation and democratisation of institutions that had, until then, been controlled by an elitist-centralist national state. But what exactly does this mean? How is Rojava’s decentralisation expressed in everyday life? Located in north eastern Rojava, Amûdê County demonstrates what decentralisation and self-administration can look like in practice. Starting at the end of government rule in 2012, its communes, district people’s council and the municipality (Şaredarî) were all subjected to processes of democratisation.
The revolution in the Kurdish region of Syria called Rojava has generated significant enthusiasm among broad segments of the left in Europe and North America. The heroic resistance by Kurdish forces in Kobane, Syria during the siege by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in late 2014 and into early 2015 proved to be a pivotal moment. Images of revolutionary fighters, and particularly of armed women, engaged in a life-and-death struggle, bravely resisting the vicious onslaught by Islamist thugs, caught the attention and imagination of many on the so-called international left.
In Rojava, Asayish (Internal Security Forces) and HPC (Civil Defense Forces) forces work together in a symbiotic relationship to provide safety and security to the community. The Asayish work as traffic controllers, arrest criminals, protect victims of domestic violence, serve as security guards at main governing buildings and control the movement of people and goods from one canton to another. The HPC in contrast, are people trained in basic security who only patrol their own neighborhood. The purpose of both forces is explicitly to protect the people from outside threats such as terrorist forces. It is always the HPC that protects a neighborhood, never the Asayish. The Asayish protects the city while the HPC protects the community. Both organizations have a gender quota of at least 40 percent women, if not more. The people are protecting themselves. Security forces protect those who they live with and interact with daily in the neighborhood. This proximity ensures that violations occur only rarely. When they do occur, the neighborhood communes immediately activate community mechanisms of justice, honor, and restoration.
Report Back From Atlanta On Occupation Of Train Tracks Outside Of Arms Manufacturer Tied To The Turkish State. Around 4:00 pm a crowd of mostly costumed people gathered together for a “Halloween Isn’t Dead” potluck at Whittier Mill Park in the North West part of Atlanta, GA. They ate, played football, and explored the woods. Around them children swung on a swing set and teens relentlessly threw a frisbee. The parents split their time between nervously watching their kids and being deep in conversation with one another.
What has been taking place in Rojava is easily one of the most inspiring and exciting experiments in autonomous self-government to ever exist. It is also one of the most massive, and gender inclusive, often compared to the Spanish Revolution of 1936, as well as the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. And yet, people outside the region know little about the different dimensions of the revolution taking place in Rojava. And now, this revolutionary territory is under military and political attack — its very existence at risk.
For several years, the Kurds have been at the forefront of a revolution in Western Kurdistan (Rojava). Their alternative system to capitalism has resonated all over the globe. Their society is organized according to Democratic Confederalism, an ethical form of political organization that brings together ideas from libertarian municipalism, social ecology, and feminism. In Latin America, one of the places where Rojava thought has taken root is Wallmapu, the ancestral territory of the Mapuche people, the largest indigenous group in Chile and Argentina. The Mapuche have struggled for centuries against repression, displacement, and dispossession of their territory and lands. The Mapuche people, inspired by the Kurdish struggle – and especially the Kurdish women’s freedom movement...
By David Rovics in Songwriter's Notebook. The Spanish Civil War has been discussed in the media more in the past few weeks than I can remember in my lifetime. The media has said more nice things about anarchists in the past few weeks than ever in my lifetime as well, and I'm pretty sure they have covered protests more lately than at any time since 1970 or so. At the beginning of the month I wrote a song, "Rojava," after getting encrypted messages from the front lines of the war against Islamic State in Syria, sent by an anarchist from the US who is there fighting with the YPG. Which is the male version of the YPJ, which together makes up the biggest chunk of the military wing of the struggle for the freedom of the people of the region known as Rojava.
By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Net Neutrality ensures that big telecoms like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast etc. can't slow down or restrict your access to any site. If you want to visit my show page via occupy.com, they can't stop you. If you want to watch porn or cat videos – hopefully not any combination of the two – ISP's or internet service providers can't stop you, or demand that you pay more in order to access Mr. Whiskers knocking his food off a table like a boss. Democratic Confederalism may sound yawn-worthy but it is in fact what has successfully stopped ISIS from advancing into Northern Syria and done so while simultaneously building a flat-structure, democratic, feminist society. Known as the Rojava region, this predominantly Kurdish area of Northern Syria has been home to both oppression and resistance for decades, if not hundreds of years. It is here that the Kurdish resistance movement started manifesting progressive alternatives to the capitalist patriarchy already in the 80s.
By Arzu Demir for Grassroots Economic Organizing - The basic principle of the economic policies of the Assad regime in Rojava was to keep the people poor and deprived in order to maintain their dependence. The Jazira [Cizîrê / Cezîre] and Kobanî [Kobanê] cantons served as the breadbasket of Syria. Before the revolution, forty percent of the wheat consumed in the country came from Rojava, and agriculture is still people’s primary source of income. From Derik [Dêrik / Al-Malikiyah] to the east of the Jazira Canton, to Serekaniye [Serê Kaniyê / Ras al-Ayn] in the west, fields stretch alongside the roads, along with the sources of petroleum in the Rmelan [Rumelan / Ramelan / Rimelan] region. Before the revolution, sixty percent of the petrol used in Syria came from the Jazira region. Rojava is a region left impoverished despite its riches. The first town I saw in the lands of the region was Afrin [Afrîn / Efrîn]. The cantons had not yet been established when I visited in September, 2013. When I arrived at the city bus terminal after crossing the border from Kilis with smugglers, I stood and simply looked around for a while. I was struck by the level of poverty and deprivation. Not only in Afrin, but also in the towns of the Jazira Canton where I stayed for a long time, I felt as if I was watching an old movie.
By Andrew Flood for Anarchist Writers - As they have driven ISIS back in northern Syria / Rojava the Kurdish YPG and their allies in the SDF have won increasing visibility in western media. While such reports often mention the key role in this fight played by women in the YPJ, there is otherwise little examination of the revolution happening behind the front lines in Rojava. That revolution is why they stood and fought ISIS rather than fleeing. This can be true of a lot of alternative media coverage. In part this is due to the limited amount of information on what this revolution involves. but it’s also in part because photographs of women with guns are judged to be more striking than women workers in a co-operative bakery or a community assembly.
By Steve Rushton for Occupy.com. While our supposed "democracy" is dominated by the 1%, this alternative uses local participative councils to direct society from the bottom up. While across the world regimes are building walls against people of color, as women remain oppressed, this liberated place is undergoing a radical process of female empowerment and has set in law the principle that every refugee is welcome. And while modern capitalism is driving the world toward ecological meltdown, this society is gearing toward a new ecological harmony. It is the story of Rojava, the autonomous, predominantly Kurdish non-state that has arisen out of the ashes of northern Syria, and defiantly shown that another world is not only possible, but that it is happening. The book Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan is the first full-length account of this remarkable recent history that began July 19, 2012, with the liberation of Rojava from the oppressive Syrian Ba’ath regime.
By Dilar Dirik for Roar Magazine. Rojava - "When people first came to our house a few years ago to ask if our family would like to participate in the communes, I threw stones at them to keep them away,” laughs Bushra, a young woman from Tirbespiye, Rojava. The mother of two belongs to an ultra-conservative religious sect. Before, she had never been allowed to leave her home and used to cover her entire body except her eyes. “Now I actively shape my own community,” she says with a proud and radiant smile. “People come to me to seek help in solving social issues. But at the time, if you had asked me, I wouldn’t even have known what ‘council’ meant or what people do in assemblies.” Today, around the world, people resort to alternative forms of autonomous organization to give their existence meaning again, to reflect human creativity’s desire to express itself as freedom.