Rojava 2015 - A Review

  • Posted on: 15 January 2016
  • By: thecollective

from Insurrection News Worldwide

The following article was written by somebody who currently resides in Rojava for the Crimethinc Ex-Worker podcast’s review of the year 2015

Dear friends,

a friend told us you‘re collecting impressions and reviews on the year 2015 out of a emancipatorian, revolutionary perspective, which seems quite a good idea to us. It’s always good to strengthen our collective consciousness and awareness; to understand the unity of all the revolutionary processes, the great story we‘re in – the global struggle for a new world, in which all worlds fit.

We‘re writing you from Cizre Canton, Rojava, Syria, as some friends, who came here from central europe. We wanted to learn from the Kurdish struggle and connect our different backgrounds to its great treasure of experiences, its philosophy and its methods of organizing.

This year there have been some great progresses for the democratic project of Rojava. As you may know, here three things are happening in the same time – a social and mental revolution, an experiment of radical democracy; military defense and diplomatic entanglement with external powers. As you may know, the revolution is based on establishing a communalist system, like described by Murray Bookchin, and started to organize openly since Assad drew back his troops needing them in the west against the Free Syrian Army. For Rojava, the Civil War turned into a fierce war not only against the regime, but before all against an outer enemy, who has lost all ethical substance and who wants to establish a fascist regime of political islam – the so-called Islamic State.

Since last year Kobane was under military siege and the military situation in general was really difficult, this year the YPG / YPJ reached to free not only Kobane itself and all the villages in the Canton, but also established a corridor between Cizre and Kobane. Also Shengal was freed from IS, so that we now look at a state-free territory under people’s self administration from the Euphrates River in northern Syria in the West until the Shengal mountains in northern Iraq in the East – a historical step in renewing the Middle East.
So, this year started with really good news. After the military victory over IS the rebuilding of Kobane town began, and now life is flourishing again in Kobane Canton as well with many refugees coming back to their villages and to the city. After the Shengal mountains were liberated in beginning of spring, the democratic autonomy was proclaimed and self-defense forces established.

As you know, there is a strange international spotlight on the Middle East, dealing with the new order of this region, with all global players involved you can imagine – the US and the other NATO-states, Russia and its alliances like the political Islam of Shia, such as Iran and the old regime of Damascus. And, not least, the forces of political Sunni Islam, with Turkey isolating itself while supporting militant djihadist groups, and the more pragmatic Arabic states on the Persian Gulf supporting whoever represents their goals. Their game entangles Rojava and the improvised self-government in this game of hegemony. Altogether, even in this strange situation of chaos this year brought up some good things – a lot of external forces now accept the Kurdish movement and Rojava as dialogue partners. Arab opposition forces fought alongside with YPG / YPJ against jihadist gangs, and accepted the achievements of the revolution. While before, the Kurdish society was really isolated within Syria, now there is a process of common understanding and exchange going on. We even heard rumors from small Drusian cities in the south of Syria, which got in contact with the rojava councils in order to learn methods for communalist self organizing. So the system of Democratic Autonomy spreads, and together with the effective way of self defense the YPG / YPJ established, this year brought a good piece of hope to the Middle East and the people, now having an example for an alternative to nation states and neoliberal invasion.

The biggest problem this year turned out to be the huge wave of refugees leaving Rojava. Even though there is a revolution going on, the situation is quite hard for living. Rojava, even though it became larger and much more secure within its territory, is still isolated by an embargo from all sides: in the north by the Turkish border becoming highly militarized, in the east by the Kurdish Regional Government of Kurdish Democratic Party of Barzani, an ally of Turkey and western capitalist states, and in the south and west by the Islamic State. In terms of infrastructure like water and electricity the situation got better, and there is no lack on food and basic needs. But the problem is, that, when you weren‘t much involved in the process of building up the society from anew until now, it may be that the hope for an easy and prosper life in Europe is stronger than your faith in the achievements of the revolution and the friends working for social progress. The last month the wave of emigration decreased again, and for a lot of people it got clear, that Europe won‘t be the answer for the problems of the Middle East. The image of Europe as a secure place of welfare and pluralism is a big threat for an experiment like Rojava, for it drives away the counsciousness about actual need of mutual support and common work in the place you are, and which for sure isn‘t lost – it’s a dangerous hope facing the Rojava societies, being rescued in another place or by external force.

For us as internationalists and activists this year turned out to be a huge progress in personal and collective experience. Essentially we came here for learning about what it means when a society wakes up from long oppression under a regime which tried to hold it unconscious and helpless. Also for us this year we got an impression what it really means to get granted political asylum not in a nation state, but by a society which takes it as given to be responsible and to help everyone who asks for help. Understanding is a long process, and as the story of this revolution is still unwritten, we are willing to stay here also in the year coming to fight and work alongside with the friends who started all this and gave us and a lots of others again new hope for a global revolution and a free Kurdistan. The friends here never distinguish between those prospects.

Probably the year coming won‘t tranquilize the Middle East and Rojava. For sure IS will get hit really hard, and sooner or later they will lose their territory. Then it comes to talks for a new Syria, and as it turns out already, Rojava will play its role and be able to serve as an impressive example of decentralized basis democracy, where people really get involved. Also there will be more and more people coming to Rojava willing to learn and fight together. As far as how things are done here, we can be curious about the opportunities for revolutionary forces in all the world once it becomes clear what this revolution could mean. Until now, it has already abolished borders, and given a new perspective for the whole Middle East and beyond.

We hope that we were able to put another piece to widen our horizon about these interesting times we stumbled in. We look forward to meet at events and occasions coming up, to exchange the secret word of conspiracy against their world, and for fighting together with you to create something better.

With revolutionary regards,

an internationalist committee, Rojava, Syria.



Fucking crimethinc, maintaining international dialogue about insurrection while we were trying to masturbate to Stirner! The nerve!

But seriously, what does everybody (besides certain individualist trolls) think about how events in Rojava are making democracy cool again? I don't know what to tell people to be doing in Rojava or whatever, but I dread seeing the next generation of folks around here trying to revive that particular corpse yet again.

You might have to resign yourself to the dread. Pretty fucking crass of anyone to go to Tahrir square and be all like "No guys, fuck democracy! Don't get taken in by these hucksters." I can't even imagine the emotional investment that you're trying to push back against.

When I was just a kid, like 13 or 14, I made the mistake of telling my WW2 veteran grandfather that I thought democracy was dead and/or had always been a lie and totally took a shit on his entire worldview without realizing it, subsequently making christmas dinner very awkward. This was a man who scraped what was left of his drinking buddies off the inside of the bomber-plane he crewed on. Some little punk kid wasn't going to tell him shit about democracy, doesn't even matter that I was right.

Too heavily invested, bought in with his friend's and family's blood. The truth didn't interest him in the slightest.

forgot to say ^Tahrir square back in 2011

That's a common reaction by your grandfather. Most people in the West, and especially those who fought in wars, revere their own countries, which they identify as democracies.

The people in Tahir Square in 2011 weren't calling for democracy. There were no signs or placards with the word 'democracy' on them. No chants with the word 'democracy' were used, no calls for anything to do with 'democracy' were ever heard by any Western or Middle Eastern reporter. And that's because in the Middle East, most people associate 'democracy' with dictatorships and tyrants propped up by Western governments.

The protests in Egypt in 2011 were about getting rid of one such dictator, President Hosni Mubarak. There were a long list of grievances:, including high unemployment, low wages, food prices, corruption, as well as the damn emergency laws they were living under at the time that were encouraging police and military brutality. People mostly just wanted and end to the emergency laws they'd been living under since 1967.

The Western media op-ed spin was that Egyptians wanted democracy. But since the people there have no idea what democracy is, they wouldn't be calling for it, and they certainly didn't want anything to do with the type of government they see in the West, whose policies they are aware helped to install dictators like Mubarak in the first place. Like most people who live under brutal regimes (or in prisons) they were simply demanding better conditions, which they knew they would not get under Mubarak.

Egyptians are right about what democracy is in the West. It's a type of government, with some types being more socialistic (i.e. socially congenial, like perhaps Norway), with others being less so, and more belligerent (like the US). Anarchy, a society without government of any sort, has nothing to do with democracy.

Ok, you took me to school, duly noted but isn't it still fair to say that the subsequent elections were used to misdirect some of populist energy that fed the insurrections? I mean, I didn't do my homework on this one because I assumed that to be a standard play.

New poster here. Once Morsi was elected, actually, "the people in the street" united with the military to force him out of power non-democratically, and now they have a de facto dictatorship there. It's a mess, but for once the main problem was not so much faith in democracy but rather that the rebels didn't take down the "deep state," the military and bureaucracy, at the beginning. Maybe that would have been too much to do at once, but we can aspire to that in future moments of possibility. And in the meantime, we can emphasize that that's what has to happen.

I see. Of course the "rebels" didn't have a chance in hell against the military, how could they?

"The force of insurrection is social, not military." You can't look at the army as an adversary to confront head on; you have to subvert it from within. Rebellion has to spread. Militarism mistakes the people with radical ideas for the protagonist of the revolt; no, it is the ideas/rebellion themselves that have to spread. And there are plenty of examples of this.

Ended in anarchy exactly and not a new constelation of power?

of course.

History isn't over. Of course we've won a few conflicts, and lost more, but that doesn't mean that they always go a certain way, or that anarchism is a pointless utopian ideal. There have been plenty of opportunities throughout history for things to get even more repressive, and in some cases, we were able to block that. (For example, many historians think that if not for the Paris Commune, the monarchy would have been reinstituted in France in the 1870s, just as it basically was in 1851 after the 1848 revolution.) So we've been part of changes, but not always the changes we have wanted to see, and that is often because of things like not being able to tell the difference between democracy and anarchy. A reason to have these conversations in the first place.

But before I go on any more, what's your agenda? Are you some anti-anarchist bot just trying to spread despair so we don't do anything? Or maybe you're from the Brilliant's school of quietism, where they don't admit that they can have any impact on events in the world around them as an excuse not to acknowledge responsibility for what they do or don't do?

Oh, whoops, I wasn't trying to reply to Azano, and I didn't realize the person I was trying to reply to was Ziggy. Forget I said anything. A total waste of fucking time talking to that guy.

That's the crux of what I'm saying. I actually haven't listened to any of The Brilliant but I suspect he and I have come to similar post leftist conclusions.

This is not to say you can't have fun trying as Bob Black would say nor that you can't take part in history on its own terms in forms of anarchic harm reduction. However histories terms will never be the terms of anarchy which is a temporal experience that can never be recorded or registered, only experienced.

It sounds like you are swallowing the kool aid! History as told to us within capitalist civilization excludes the 95% of human history that has happened outside of its context!
The times and spaces outside of capitalist civilization are not acknowledged by its history, but that doesn't mean they are not a part of actual human history!
I count those times and spaces before nation states and capitalism as part of anarchist history, and those histories continue on in those spaces where capitalist control has not reached, and also when/where people break free from it (from this history of a squat to the spanish civil war, etc...).

You are hypnotized by the history of the system you live inside of.

And the history of the SCW has been extensively covered the the capitalist historians, as have occupations, even way back to the Levellers or Mau Mau uprising. I think you should pick up a capitalist history book occasionally , there is nothing to hide because capitalism has won.

Thetrs no fuicklin ioil in Egyupyt thjats why therts nmo fgreakin dempocrsasy!1! 8bal;l,.,.,

"Wheels in the Head. Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! Now Masturbate to thoughts of my forehead!"
-Max Stirner

What happened to the Zapatistas?

They got hecka cross-faded and moved to Kurdistan

"hecka"? For reals?

no thing happened.
they immersed themselves into the fabric of the
their bio-region, living their lives.

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