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.

Rojava: Eyewitness to a women's revolution - report back from a May 2018 trip at #DABF 2018

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The 12th Dublin anarchist bookfair heard this account from Wendy, a Human Rights & immigration lawyer who visited Rojava in May 2018 as part of a fact finding delegation. [audio]

The Turkish invasion of Afrin

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This is a collection of four pieces we wrote during the Turkish invasion of Afrin and the two month defence of the tiny canton against NATOs second biggest army.  A desperate struggle in which almost 900 SDF fighters were killed by Turkish airpower and military trying to defend the Rojava revolution.  These reports were originally published on our Facebook page and are presented here as published.

Icelandic anarchist and YPG volunteer Haukur Hilmarsson killed by Turkish state

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6th March the IFB announced the death of Icelandic YPG volunteer Haukur Hilmarsson at the hands of the Turkish state in Afrin. Hauker who was described as a 'dedicated anarchist militant' was a well know anti-racist and anti-austerity activist in Iceland who had been arrested at the height of the protests against the banking scandal there.

Turkey invades Afrin in another attempt to snuff out Rojava revolution

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The Turkish invasion of revolutionary Rojava has now entered its 17th day.  NATO’s 2nd largest army has failed to achieve any significant breakthrough against the defenders of Afrin despite deploying some of the most advanced tanks, helicopters, artillery and jet bombers.  On our graphic the small map at top centre shows Turkey in orange, the tiny blue area under Turkey is the canton of Afrin, the target of this invasion and one of the 3 original cantons of the Rojava revolution.  These cantons are where the experiment in direct democracy, gender equality, and sustainability began in 2012 in the most impossible conditions of the Syrian civil war and the ISIS invasion of two of the cantons.

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.

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