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Thu Oct 10, 2019, 12:38 AM

In the Heart of Syria's Darkness, a Democratic, Egalitarian and Feminist Society Emerges

The most amazing thing about Rojava is that hardly anyone knows it exists. We hear plenty about Syria – the battlefields and chemical attacks, the brutality of ISIS and barbarity of the Assad regime. But very little has been written about the fact that in northeastern Syria an anarchist-feminist autonomous region has arisen that is the antithesis to everything around it. Well, maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a world sinking ever deeper into consumer culture, careerist individualism and financial plutocracy, who can believe in the idea of a non-hierarchical society? A coherent autonomy without a centralized government? A cooperative economy? True gender equality? Yet this is precisely the vision that the people of Rojava – known officially as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – are realizing in practice, in an appallingly hostile environment, surrounded by enemies bent on their destruction.

Against all odds, Rojava, which declared its autonomy in 2014, continues to exist – encompassing four million people, seven regions, hundreds of neighborhoods and thousands of communes. Several principles underlie Rojava’s democracy. To begin with, it is decentralized and lacks any hierarchy, a democracy in which communities preserve their sovereignty and manage their lives by themselves. Second, it’s an egalitarian democracy, which does not prefer one ethnicity or religion over others, and where women play an equal and essential role. And third, it’s a democracy based on a fair, ecological and sustainable economy, which does not sabotage the environment and aims to meet the needs of the common people, not aggrandize the powerful. In short, the inhabitants of Rojava are trying to create a political entity that is the opposite of the capitalist nation-state. They are out to forge true democracy, a society in which the people is sovereign.

“We are all children of the village,” says Zelal Ceger, co-chairwoman of Tev-Dem, the Movement for a Democratic Society in Rojava, which initially created the organizational structure of the autonomous entity, from the level of the commune up to the regional one.

“Our system is not like that in Europe,” she notes in a recent interview arranged under the auspices of the Rojava Information Center, which works with foreign media and academics. “For example, go to our villages and look. If a house gets damaged, the whole village fixes that house together. The natural society was created in Mesopotamia, and even now we still have some of that with us, it’s our basis. As such, our people are ready to create a communal life. But in the last 2,000 years of life under the state system, the state wanted to remove the communal life and ruin it for the people, and wanted society to disperse. After the [democratic and feminist] revolution started, we’re coming together once again to build up that life.”

Island prisoner

Rojava (meaning “west” in Kurdish – the region is actually located in western Kurdistan) constitutes a new solution to an old problem: the oppression of peoples. Like the Jews, the Kurdish people suffered for many long years at the hands of hostile rulers and regimes. Unlike the Jewish people, the Kurds have always lived, since antiquity, in a single, contiguous geographical area: the vast, mountainous region called Kurdistan. Despite that fact and their large numbers, however, a series of Great Power agreements after World War I split the Kurds into minority groups in four different countries: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. As a result, their sense of common identity was lost and the Kurds were persecuted and attacked by four different oppressive regimes. Numbering some 35 million in the region, the Kurds have long held the dubious title of the largest nation in the world without a state.


Long...I mean LONG article, but well worth the read!

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Reply In the Heart of Syria's Darkness, a Democratic, Egalitarian and Feminist Society Emerges (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Thursday OP
al bupp Thursday #1
al bupp Thursday #2

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 01:31 AM

1. I agree, an excellent read, and a place we don't hear nearly enough about

Rojava's a social & political system is a based on the writings & philosophy of Murry Bookchin. Here's another piece from The New York Review of Books, dated 2018-06-15:

How My Father’s Ideas Helped the Kurds Create a New Democracy

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Oct 10, 2019, 10:47 AM

2. This thread deserves a kick /nt

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