About 50 people gathered in the Teacher’s Club on Monday evening for a public meeting organised by Rojava Calling.
Speaking at the meeting were Faysal Sariyildiz, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP in Turkey, and Calvin James, a Dublin born DJ and activist who spent 6 months as a volunteer medic in northern Syria in 2016. Faysal joined the meeting by Skype from Brussels as the Turkish state recently cancelled his passport.
A very significant book on the Rojava revolution has just been published. It's called Revolution in 'Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan' and provides a detailed account of the structures of the revolution, social, economic, legal and military. We've found it so useful that we are not only encouraging others to read it but are going to hold a series of three reading groups so we can talk about what is happening and what relevancy it has as an example to those of us in Ireland.
The book is summarised as "A new kind of society is being built in Syria, but it's not one you would expect. Surrounded by deadly bands of ISIS and hostile Turkish forces, the people living in Syria's Rojava cantons are carving out one of the most radically progressive societies on the planet today. Western visitors have been astounded by the success of their project, a communally organised democracy which considers women's equality indispensable and rejects reactionary nationalist ideology whilst being fiercely anti-capitalist. The people of Rojava call their new system democratic confederalism. An implementation of the recent ideology of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, it boasts gender quotas of 40 percent, bottom-up democratic structures, deep-reaching ecological policies and a militancy which is keeping ISIS from the gates. Revolution in Rojava is the first full-length study of this ongoing social and political transformation in Syrian Kurdistan. It is the first authentic insight into the complex dimensions of the revolution. Its authors use their own experiences of working and fighting in the region to construct a picture of hope for Middle-Eastern politics and society, and reveal an extraordinary story of a battle against the odds."
Monday night saw dozens of anti-racist campaigners gather at the French embassy to protest the eviction of Calais refugee camp. France is heading into an election and the eviction which will see thousands of people taken out of the camp is seen as an election stunt by President Hollande seeking to win right wing votes.
Hundreds of people marched through Dublin on Saturday to protest the conviction of a Jobstown teen for false imprisonment. He had been part of a protest which delayed Labour Party leader Joan Burton who had made an unwelcome visit to the community resulting in a sit down in front of her car as she left the area. The delay in her being able to leave resulted in dawn raids on the houses of activists across Jobstown and in the trial of many of them for false imprisonment.
The speeches given before and after March for Choice 2016 provided a broad introduction, through the personal stories of the speakers, to the complex intersecting oppressions imposed by the 8th Amendment on women along with some trans-men and non binary people in Ireland. An oppression that doubles up on those who are also in the Asylum system, disabled, or Travellers. If you are used to protests where the speeches are mostly from politicans telling you what you already know this wasn't one of them.
Tuesday 3rd October evening hundreds of Polish women and their allies gathered outside the Polish consulate in Dublin to protest the anti-woman bill being pushed in the Polish parliament that will criminalise women who have abortions in all circumstances. Ahead of last nights'Dublin - Solidarity with Polish Women on Strike' protest the organisers said;
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.
We’ve tried to address this imbalance somewhat, both in our coverage and through bringing a number of Kurdish and other speakers over to talk at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair. They spoke about what is happening behind the front lines. What is it that is being constructed that so many have judged is worth going to the front lines to defend against ISIS? Our speakers this year included Erjan Ayboga author of ‘Revolution in Rojava’ and US academic Janet Biehl who has visited the region twice since the revolution to investigate what is happening on the ground.
We march today to demand change. So much is wrong in our country and our world. People are denied their Bodily Autonomy or endure Direct Provision racism. Some struggle to find decent work or keep a roof over their heads. Meanwhile, our media is dominated by one super rich villain. Beyond this island, the news is worse. Oil companies are driving us into climate disaster.
The Irish government's attempt to introduce domestic water charges in Ireland is not going well. In fact, for them it's been a disaster because it's sparked off a huge upsurge in working class self organisation and direct action. Saturday saw thousands of anti-water charges campaigners flooding the streets of Dublin o to again voice their opposition to Irish Water & water charges and as a show of strength for the movement.
It has been fully understood since the very beginning of this campaign that Irish Water was simply a vehicle to be used for the privatisation of water services and infrastructure in Ireland. The right wing, neo-liberal political establishment wished to gift the most vital of all resources to capitalist interests who would squeeze as much profit out of commodified water as possible, while cutting off the water supply to anyone who couldn't pay their extortionate charges. However, due to a huge effort on the part of working class organisers, the water charges appear on course to be abolished. The significance of this campaign in laying down a milestone for working class self organisation will be felt for years.