Rojava

WSM Points of Unity Explained: 8 - Imperialism

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‘8. We oppose imperialism but put forward anarchism as an alternative goal to nationalism. We defend grassroots anti-imperialist movements while arguing for an anarchist rather than nationalist strategy.’

Many places, including Ireland have a history of being occupied by colonial powers and anti-colonial struggles that included a radical element. For instance the role of the Irish Citizen Army, initially set up to protect striking workers from the police, along with James Connolly are well known radical elements within the anti-colonial struggle here. But there are others, as far back as 1798 there were organised groups within the anti-colonial movement that promoted a radical, levelling democracy not just a change of rulers. There were also reactionary elements who wanted a 'free' Ireland to have its own colonies or who supported the slave trade or otherwise advanced white supremacist positions. Nationalism insists on blending all such elements together into a single movement and history in which being Irish erases the difference between radicals and reactionaries of the past and present.

Rojava revolution - Co-operatives & assemblies - video with commentary in the text

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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.

Eyewitness Rojava Revolution - accounts from participants and Janet Biehl - #DABF video & audio

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In Northern Syria ISIS has been driven back by people fighting for a society based on principles of direct democracy, gender equality, and sustainability. From the their revolution in 2012 they have created a de facto autonomous region in which this ideas are being implemented.

At this opening session of the 2016 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair we heard from eyewitnesses to the revolution including those from the region.

The Rojava Revolution, Gender Liberation & Feudalism Video & Audio from DABF 2015

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This session at the 2015 Dublin anarchist bookfair examined the reasons why gender liberation is central to the Rojava revolution in northern Syria and looks in particular at the importance of the struggle against tribal feudalism.

Rojava - Revolution Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Revolutions are seldom made in favourable circumstances.  Russia 1917 emerged from the mass slaughter of WWI and the disintegration of an economy under the pressure of the supply demands of that war.  Spain 1936 emerged from a well planned and executed fascist coup amongst a powerful military backed and armed by international fascism.  Schemas for revolution that depend on quiet times and plenty may well be doomed from the start.

That said it’s hard to imagine more impossible conditions for revolution than that of Rojava.  A brutal civil war, 3 small areas of territory that were kept in a state of low development by the previous regime and are not even linked to each other.  A fanatic army of barbaric religious extremists armed with captured looted US heavy weaponry attacking from one side, a hostile state quietly backing that army and closing its borders to the good guys on another and waiting in the wings the old regime and its long history of brutal counter insurgency.  And above all this the tactical and strategic intervention of an imperialist power whose manipulations have devastated the land to the South East over a period of almost three decades.

A magnificent gesture - women fighting ISIS in Rojava take time out for #strike4repeal solidarity

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In what is by any measure a wonderful mark of solidarity the women fighting ISIS in Rojava have taken the time to send solidarity greetings to next Wednesdays #strike4repeal in Ireland.

Rojava: a new world in our hearts?

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War is hell. In September 2015, the heartbreaking image of Alan Kurdi went viral. The picture of the little Syrian-Kurdish boy lying face down on Ali Hoca beach in Turkey highlighted Fortress Europe’s racist response to those refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East.  Abdullah Kurdi, Alan’s father, returned to Kobane to bury his wife and two sons. He wrote to the world: ‘I am grateful for your sympathy for my fate. This has given me the feeling that I am not alone. But an essential step in ending this tragedy and avoiding its recurrence is support for our self-organisation’. Kurdi was referring to the emergent experiment in popular democracy sweeping Rojava, the most hopeful thing to have happened in the Middle East for a very long time. A popular, anti-authoritarian rebellion is struggling against the death-world of capitalist modernity. And for now, it seems to be winning. 

After the coup - a visit to Istanbul & north Kurdistan - interview with activist researcher

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Farah recently visited Istanbul and Northern Kurdistan around Amed / Diyarbakir to interview feminist and Kurdish activists.  In this interview on her return to Ireland we talk about the massive repression against the left and Kurdish movement that has seen tens of thousands fired from their jobs and thousands including many of the HDP MPs jailed. 

Revolution in Rojava - audio of Dublin launch and discussion by author

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Revolution in Rojava” is an eye-witness account on the experience of creating a bottom up social order which actively challenges all forms of oppression and exploitation. The struggle in Rojava (a mostly Kurdish region north of Syria), despite the extent of counterrevolutionary and imperialist forces aligned against it, continues to nurture an autonomous, grassroots resistance across its multiply ethno-religious communities.

Author launching Revolution in Rojava across Ireland - Cork, Dublin, Cavan, Dungannon, Belfast

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Next week sees an exciting speaking tour around Ireland when author Ercan Ayboga who spoke at the Dublin anarchist bookfair will be launching  “Revolution in Rojava.”  Dublin WSM has been running a reading group* on this book over the last month and we highly recommend it as an account of the nuts & bolts of the Rojava revolution essential to anyone who wants to transform the world.

Cork: O’Rahilly Building (ORB 132), UCC, 12th December, 6pm

Dublin: Connolly Book (43 East Essex Street, Dublin 2), 13th December, 6pm
Cavan: Bridge Street Centre, Bridge Street, 14th December, 6,30pm
Dungannon: Éalú Centre, Shamble Lane, 15th December @ 6:30pm
Belfast: Just Books (22 Berry Street, Belfast, BT1 1FJ), 19th December @ 6:30pm

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