The struggle of the Kurds has been a long one and difficult one, yet the Kurds are still on this earth. The Kurds have not only maintained their language and culture but have made radical adjustments to their society. Using the best of old customs and new ideas, the Kurds have created an inclusive and free society for everyone in Kurdistan. Everyone, even non Kurds are part of the direct democratic decision making. No one fourteen and over is excluded based on ethnicity, gender or religion,
The zine A Mountain River Has Many Bends does not create the illusion that the Rojava Confederation is in any way a Utopia. In fact it makes it clear that what is happening in Rojava is the creation of a stateless anti capitalist community with 2.5 million citizens surrounded by civil war and imperialist authoritative secular forces seeking to crush and conquer the land and people. The economy is dedicated to defense and security while at the same time putting people and planet before profits.
The Rojava Confederation operates as a Democratic Confederacy. Abdullah Ocalan, the president of the PKK, founded the ideology. It is a radical system that is consensus oriented, multicultural, anti monopolistic.
My best understanding of how this system works is by examining how people in the region manage their defence forces and economy. Unlike in the USA, the people as a whole have control over how common land and security forces are managed.
The Economy has three categories. One category is the common land, property that is managed and cared for by the people but can be handed over to individuals for specific use.
In that case the land and or infrastructure falls another category, private property. The land and infrastructure is owned by the individual and they can use it for anything they wish as long as it does not harm the environment or the community. Land can not be bought or sold so as to prevent any one group or individual gain a monopoly on land. An ny industry is owned and operated by the workers. According to the zine, only about one third of the industry is fully under this category for the time being. The economy as it is may not be permanently run as it does currently. Adjustments are made to support the defense effort and the reclaiming of Rojava from IS forces.
The defense and security forces of Rojava are elected. For example, the security forces, or Asayish, are elected and administered by a People's Council in each other the three governing zones, or cantons. Each Asayish is organized in a pleuritic way much like other committees but is not represented in the People's Council. Bothe external defense groups and Asayish elect their own officers but both are submissive to the People’s Council. Military and security bodies have to abide by the decisions of the counsels. If the a committee of a specific area wants unarmed security personnel then the Sayashi of must operate unarmed in specific area. The people make the rules and policies themselves without a centralized bureaucratic system. That would make anyone feel warm and fuzzy all over.
Something that document points out, is the fetishisastion of the the YPJ, Yekineyen Parastina Jin or Women’s Protection Unit in English. The women of the YPJ are not amazons or some sort of mythical creatures. They are flesh and blood humans fighting for their loved ones and for the future of humanity. There have been many anti-capitalistic stainless revolutions but many have been patriarchal and excluded women or harassed them from history. Too often, when they are remembered, armed women are treated like a fluke or an object. Fortunately, feminism has become significant part of the Rojava Plan. Without feminism we can not do away with authoritarianism and capitalism. Without feminism, not only do traditional gender roles remain the norm, but so do restrictive and oppressive systems.
Rojava is not Occupy Portland, or some music/art festival and every one is just hanging out having a good time talking about anarchy. In Rojava there this beautiful little sprout that is finally able to break through ground and is struggling to grow its roots out so that it become a great tree that will feed and shade us all. The Kurds, Arabs, Asyrians and other peoples have been working hard to preserve this tree. If the rest of the world would turn to this region and help nurture this tree then together we can not only bring down capitalism but also set something beautiful and better in its place.
You can learn more by buying the book A Small Key Can Open a Large Door. You can order it online yourself or, if you are in Portland, Oregon, have it ordered for you at In Other Words Feminist Book Store and Community Center
Death to capitalism, down with imperialism, long live Rojava. Palante, Siempre Palante!