[P2P-F] Fwd: [NetworkedLabour] Fwd: Victory in Kobane: What next for the Rojava Revolution

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Sat Feb 28 16:57:50 CET 2015

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From: Orsan Senalp <orsan1234 at gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 5:02 PM
Subject: [NetworkedLabour] Fwd: Victory in Kobane: What next for the Rojava
To: networkedlabour at lists.contrast.org

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 Victory in Kobane: What next for the Rojava Revolution?

27 February, 2015
Melanie Sirinathsingh, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

“ ‘The victory of capitalism is in its ability to capture the mind.’
Whereas a hundred years ago, if you were poor you would rebel; now if you
are poor, you dream of winning the lottery.”

Quoting PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan at the most recent Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign/Roj Women event at SOAS University, Havin Guneser of the
Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan Campaign* gave a rich exploration of how
one of the world’s most vibrant contemporary anti-capitalist rebellions led
not only to victory in Kobane following a devastating 6-month siege by
ISIS, but the development of a genuine social revolution. As Guneser
explained, it was that social revolution, now embedded in the personal
lives and working institutions of the people living in Rojava, that
ultimately ensured that Kobane had the strength to fight off ISIS attacks.

Providing much needed context for a captivated audience, Guneser explained
that the revolution taking place in Rojava did not come out of nowhere, but
in reality grew out of a 40-year movement for liberation and
self-determination in which the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and their
imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan developed theories of revolutionary
struggle and social change that have proved highly resilient and
increasingly credible. Indeed, when the PKK was formed and Ocalan was
forced out of Turkey into Syria, Kobane was one of the first cities in
which he organised.

When the PKK emerged in 1978, the Kurdish people had already faced decades
of denial and repression of various forms in all four states in which they
resided; the international acceptance of this denial, even by states often
at odds with each other, meant that according to the PKK, Kurdistan was an
international colony.

Much like many national liberation and anti-colonial movements across the
world at that time, the PKK became engaged in a fight against both
colonialism and capitalism, but sought to do by addressing critical
concerns that had been stumbling blocks for revolutionary movements in the
past – the question of the nation state; the question of women’s freedom;
and the question of violence. It was through historical study and reflexive
praxis on these issues that the concepts of Democratic Autonomy and
Democratic Modernity, terms coined by Ocalan and embodied by the autonomous
social and political institutions emerging in Rojava and Bakur (north
Kurdistan, Turkey), came into being.

You can watch Havin’s talk in full here:

The afternoon’s second speaker, anthropologist and author David Graeber,
likened the PKK movement to the Zapatistas in their democratic form and
organising principles. Having recently been part of a delegation to Cezire
Canton, Graeber offered the audience an insight into how democratic
autonomy was being implemented in Rojava. What most struck him, he said was
the ‘incredibly difficult circumstances people are living in and the
ambition of their vision’. Rojava is still under total embargo and the
border with Turkey remains stubbornly closed, and yet despite being in
desperate need of food, water and basic medical supplies, this experiment
in participatory, bottom-up democracy is still thriving.

For example, Graber described one visit to an academy for the Asayish
(local police forces), where he was told that their ultimate plan was to
give everybody 6 weeks of police training and then abolish the police. He
also spoke about Peace and Justice Committees which are responsible for
local level justice work and use forms of restorative rather than punitive
justice for perpetrators of crime; women’s organisations that can veto any
assembly decision on the basis that it impacts women’s freedom; and the
many academies, which have been set up to de-professionalise and
democratise the production of knowledge. These academies exist for many
areas of society and are a key part of the revolutionary process because
repression often continues through the centralisation of expertise.

While it is clear that Rojava will face serious obstacles for the future,
the possibilities that it presents for Syria and the region are many,
particularly for those traditionally most excluded by the present systems.

*Thank you to Havin Guneser and David Graeber for their presentations; to
Margaret Owen for chairing the event and to Memed for filming on the day. *--

*Peace in Kurdistan *
*Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question *Email:
estella24 at tiscali.co.uk <mailto:estella24 at tiscali.co.uk
<estella24 at tiscali.co.uk>>
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh - Tel: 020
7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596

*Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford,
Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP,
Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce,
Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE,
Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall*

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