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Make Rojava Green Again as a bridge for internationalist solidarity

By staff - Internationalist Commune of Rojava, February 2018

We, the Internationalist Commune of Rojava, want to contribute to the ecological revolution in Northern Syria. To this end, we have started the campaign Make Rojava Green Again, campaign in cooperation with the Ecology Committee of the Cizire Canton. The campaign has three aspects:

  1. Building up the Internationalist Academy with an ecological ethos, to serve as a working example for comparable projects and concepts for the entire society. The academy will facilitate education for internationalists and for the general population of Rojava, to strengthen awareness and environmental consciousness, pushing to build up an ecological society.
  1. Joining the work of ecological projects for reforestation, and building up a cooperative tree nursery as part of the Internationalist Academy.
  1. Material support for existing and future ecological projects of the Democratic Self-administration, including sharing of knowledge between activists, scientists and experts with committees and structures in Rojava, developing a long-term perspective for an ecological Northern Syria Federation.

The first two concrete projects of the Make Rojava Green Again campaign are:

  • Realization of the concepts of an ecological life and work in the Internationalist Academy, partly with the building up a nursery as a part of the Academy. In the spring of 2018, we will plant 2,000 trees in the area of the academy, and 50,000 shoots in the nursery.

  • Practical and financial support for the Committee for Natural Conservation in the reforestation of the Hayaka natural reserve, near the city of Derik, in Cizire Canton. Over the next five years, we plan to plant more then 50,000 trees along the shores of Sefan Lake.

Turkish Army burning Kurdish forests: Call for a delegation

By Ercan Ayboga - Mesopotamian Ecology Movement, August 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

With the restart of the war in North-Kurdistan by Turkish state in end of July 2015 the Turkish Army has started to burn down forests. After 2,5 years of negotiations about the start of a peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Freedom Movement, the Turkish side decided to attack the PKK Guerrilla HPG (Peoples Defense Forces) and legal political activists.

In a planned and systematic manner the Turkish Army shoots with munition and bombs which result in forest fires. Particularly in the provinces of Dersim (Tunceli), Sirnex (Şırnak) and Amed (Diyarbakır) the Army has burned down several ecologically highly sensitive forests in its operations against the HPG. Thereby the Turkish Army hopes to limit the mobility of HPG. This method in fighting the long-lasting Kurdish rebellion has been used widely already in the 90’s in North-Kurdistan. Almost every greater forest in the contested regions has been burned down in that years.

The most forest fires have been initiated in areas which have been declared by the Turkish government as “security areas” just after the restart of the war. That is why local people and activists – like from our movement – have been hindered by the Turkish Army to go to the affected areas and try to extinguish the fires. These initiatives have been created while the responsible governmental bodies did not act. We assume that they have been instructed by the government not to intervene. To date several hundred hectares of forests have been burnt down in North-Kurdistan where the main tree type is the oak.

We call on the international political activists, social movements and NGO’s working on ecological issues to join an international delegation. This delegation could investigate the dimension and impacts of the forest fires of the last weeks, the subsequent behavior of Turkish officials, the efforts of locals to extinguish the fires and if existing the ongoing fires and inform the international public based on their observations. We think that the extremely destructive behavior of the Turkish State in this dirty war must be treated also on international level. The period for the international delegation is planned from the 8th to the 12th September 2015. Write us in case of interest.

Ercan Ayboga (e.ayboga [at] gmx.net)
for the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement

Murray Bookchin and the Kurdish resistance

Joris Leverink - RoarMag.Org, August 9, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The introduction to the new book The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy (Verso, 2015), explains how Murray Bookchin – born to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City in 1921 – was introduced to radical politics at the age of nine when he joined the Young Pioneers, a Communist youth organization. This would be the start of his ‘life on the left’ in which he would turn from Stalinism to Trotskyism in the years running up to World War II before defining himself as an anarchist in the late 1950s and eventually identifying as a ‘communalist’ or ‘libertarian municipalist’ after the introduction of the idea of social ecology.

Even though Bookchin never even attended college – except for a few classes in radio technology right after World War II – he wrote dozens of books and published hundreds of academic articles, besides founding several journals and setting up the Institute for Social Ecology in 1974. Possibly his most important contribution to radical politics was to (re)introduce the concept of ecology to the arena of political thought.

Bookchin opposed the ideas and practices of the emerging environmentalist movements, accusing them of advocating mere “technical fixes” of capitalism, counter-posing it to an ecological approach that seeks to address the root causes of the systemic problem. In his view, capitalism’s fatal flaw lay not in its exploitation of the working class, as Marxists believe, but rather in its conflict with the natural environment which, if allowed to develop unopposed, would inevitably lead to the dehumanization of people and the destruction of nature.

The Next Revolution includes the 1992 essay The Ecological Crisis and the Need to Remake Society. In it, Bookchin argues that “the most fundamental message that social ecology advances is that the very idea of dominating nature stems from the domination of human by human.” For an ecological society to develop, first the inter-human domination must be eradicated. According to Bookchin, “capitalism and its alter-ego, ‘state socialism,’ have brought all the historic problems of domination to a head,” and the market economy, if it is not stopped, will succeed in destroying our natural environment as a result of its “grow or die” ideology.

For years, Bookchin sought to convince anarchist groups in the US that his idea of libertarian municipalism — which, in his own words “seeks to reclaim the public sphere for the exercise of authentic citizenship while breaking away from the bleak cycle of parliamentarism and its mystification of the ‘party’ mechanism as a means for public representation” — was the key to making anarchism politically and socially relevant again.

Our Perspectives and Tasks on the Revolution in Rojava

By Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra - Black Rose Anarchist Federation, August 4, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

#Rojava #Kobane #internationalsolidarity

As revolutionaries in North America we would like to outline the foundations of our political perspective as well as how we as an organization have agreed to relate the recent events and the struggle underway in Rojava in the Middle East.

Our Perspective

The Rojava Revolution has probably made more concrete progress towards libertarian socialism than any other large-scale struggle at least since the Zapatista insurrection. For this reason alone it is important to engage with this struggle to support the most revolutionary elements of it and to hold it up as an international example of what the self-activity of the popular classes can accomplish.

While we have many questions about the overall political ideology of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) (which would need to be addressed in a separate and longer article), the specific project of democratic confederalism (which is only one part of their political vision for “democratic modernity” and the reorganization of society) has set the popular classes of Kurdistan in motion, constructing autonomous alternatives to capitalism, oppression and the state. In Rojava, and in some cases also in Bakur (north Kurdistan) when state repression doesn’t forbid it, workers’ cooperatives are being formed, land is being collectivized, women’s collectives are spreading, neighborhood assemblies are taking on power, restorative justice is replacing the court system, a democratic militia is defending the region, and other aspects of self-governance are being organized. This is not all that there is to this struggle – much of the land and capital is intended to remain in private hands, the PYD has created a new minimal state instead of abolishing the state, forced conscription has occasionally been implemented, PYD politicians have been lobbying western countries, foreign corporate investment is pursued, etc. But despite much remaining vagueness about the exact details of what’s happening on the ground (even among those who have been to Rojava), it is clear that much of the popular classes in Kurdistan are engaged in a revolutionary process that we should support. It is also clear that since a democratic revolution is based on the will of the people, it will only be through the long-term political education and organizing work among the popular classes of Rojava that the revolution will generalize beyond the current active minority and continue to take shape. We believe that we have a responsibility to both contribute to that process and to learn from it.

Statement on the Recent Massacre in Suruc, Turkey

Press Release - Black Rose Anarchist Federation, July 20, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

#‎Rojava‬ ‪#‎SurucBomb‬ ‪#‎SuruçtaKatliamVar

Today we mourn the loss of friends and comrades and renewing our commitment to an international revolutionary struggle in their memory.

At noon, in the border town of Suruç in Turkish Kurdistan, a bomb ripped through the bodies of communists, socialists, and anarchists who were on their way to assist in the rebuilding of Kobane. Tens of people were killed, many more injured. One Black Rose member was present assisting in preparations for a campaign to support the rebuilding of Kobane and Rojava, but was uninjured in the blast.

A half an hour after the bombing, the city of Suruc shook once more as a second massive bomb hit the border in Kobane. News reports indicate that this was a car bomb attack that was stopped by self-defense forces which minimized causalties.

The trip to Kobane was organized by the Marxist-Leninist organization Sosyalist Gençlik Dernekleri Federasyonunun (SGDF). They brought together youth–entire families–from across Turkey and beyond to give revolutionary support to the developing social revolution in Syrian Kurdistan. Up to 300 people were preparing to cross the embargoed border to help rebuild the city, learn about its political developments, and link the struggles of the Turkish left with the Kurdish movement.

After the bombing, the first to respond was armored military vehicles of the occupying Turkish state that rolled down the street in front of the Amara Cultural Center to block the street and point their guns at the recently injured and trauma-ridden revolutionaries. It took ambulances so long to arrive on the scene that private cars had to be organized to take the injured to the hospital. The military and police were on the scene in minutes, managing to form a line of riot police before the first ambulances arrived. Their alertness should come as no surprise since they had been actively harassing the bus loads of revolutionaries coming to Suruc that morning, monitoring many of them, and had made calls to their families telling them that their young relative was going to join terrorists in Rojava.

This demonstrates the attitude of the state and is indicative of a sad reality: Turkey is continuing its murderous policy towards the Kurds and this attack can be seen as a fulfillment of Erdogan’s promise to stop Rojava by any means necessary. In the coming months, Black Rose will continue to broaden the scope in organizing committees and networks in solidarity with Rojava. We hope for your support.

Biji Rojava! Rojava Lives!

-International Secertary, Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra (BRRN)

Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan

By De Balie -Vimeo, October 21, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

#1. Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan [part 1] from De Balie on Vimeo.

The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has often been portrayed as a fight between the West and its Arab allies against Islamic ultra-fundamentalists. Over the last several years, however, a progressive Kurdish-led resistance has been forming in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) amidst the Syrian Civil War. The resistance has successfully implemented new models of grassroots democracy, gender equality, and sustainable ecology, its members practicing a political project they refer to as Democratic Confederalism. Women and men stand side-by-side in its armed forces in the face of both ISIS and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Despite the resistance’s efforts, Rojava is currently threatened by a massacre, and the international community continues to stand by silently as tragedy unfolds.

This conference discusses the current Kurdish resistance in Kobanê, Rojava against ISIS. With help of representatives from the Kurdish movement as well as specialists in the field, it explores the politics and culture of Rojava and the reasons behind the formation and growth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The question as to what and how the international community and civil society can help is also addressed—not only to stop ISIS, but more crucially, to support a movement from within the region that is offering a new democratic horizon from which the world can learn.

Keynote speeches by Dilşah Osman (co-president of the Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe, KCD-E) and Dilar Dirik (PhD researcher and activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement), contributions by Joost Jongerden (researcher and Kurdish specialist, Wageningen University), Jolle Demmers (co-founder of the Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht), Jonas Staal (artist), Jasper Blom (Director Scientific Bureau Groenlinks / Green Party), Dilan Yezilgoz-Zegerius (Amsterdam council memberfor Liberal Party VVD, former Amnesty International specialist on Turkey) en Golrokh Nafisi (artist) and many others.

The conference is hosted by New World Academy; BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht; and De Balie, Amsterdam.

Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan is the first of a series of events on stateless democracy organized by New World Academy in collaboration with the Kurdish Women’s Movement.

A Response to Rojava: An anarchosyndicalist perspective

By Hüseyin Civan (from DAF) - November 3, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The effects of social revolutions are not limited by the effect of struggle against political and economical powers in the geographical region where the revolution happens. It's important to see their effect on other different regions along with the intellectual and practical changes this effect brings. Being talked about with Kobanê Resistance ,Rojava Revolution gets more important now to see this effect more clearly.

The reaction and attack of the state and capitalism against what's happening in Rojava, is expected at this point. However, we need to turn our face to the internal debates in social opposition at the same time.

It's necessary to emphasize that such debates are an important resort for understanding what the effect of Rojava is. Since the start of this process, anarchist comrades' behaviors towards understanding Rojava and taking up with the resistance has been quite important for remembering the international solidarity, which we aren't familiar to see in such an organized manner. Again we have experienced that solidarity is our greatest weapon.

This manner of solidarity that was created between anarchists inevitably made the resistance in Kobanê a headline especially among anarchists all around the world.

The paper "Rojava: An anarcho-syndicalist point of view" which was published on several different sites is one of the reflections of this headline. This evaluation of the paper especially aims to correct information about Rojava Revolution and Kobanê Resistance, instead of pointing out positive and negative sides of the paper and making a simple criticism.

Considering different comments may form with the different perspectives of anarchist organizations in different geographical regions; I focused the criticism of paper on the matter of incomplete evaluation of Kurdish freedom struggle and Rojava Revolution. Political criticism against a community which is in a life or death struggle under war conditions can't be made ignoring this condition. Even so if said criticism has certain prejudices and was formed with sharp generalization. And of course, if a huge people's movement is evaluated with a degrading manner...

An Anarchist Communist Reply to ‘Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective’

Anarkismo Editors Group - YouTube, November 1, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Web Editor's Note: The IWW EUC did not repost the article, from the WSA publication Ideas and Action, to which this article responds initially; therefore following article is posted in interest of discussion:

Note from the Original Article: This text is a response to the article Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective by K. B., recently published on the Ideas and Action website of the North America-based Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA). In the article, there is an attack on the Rojava revolution in the Middle East, an event in which the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has played a key role.

This response is not published in bad faith or with ill intentions towards the writer or their organisation but, rather, in order to clarify and share our thinking regards the question of anarchist support both for national liberation movements and what is, for us, a very important and inspiring struggle playing out in the Middle East. The aim is to have a frank, and comradely, debate that takes us all forward.

This text is a response to the article Rojava: An Anarcho-Syndicalist Perspective by K. B., recently published on the Ideas and Action website of the North America-based Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA). In the article, there is an attack on the Rojava revolution in the Middle East, an event in which the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has played a key role. This response is not published in bad faith or with ill intentions towards the writer or their organisation but, rather, in order to clarify and share our thinking regards the question of anarchist support both for national liberation movements and what is, for us, a very important and inspiring struggle playing out in the Middle East. The aim is to have a frank, and comradely, debate that takes us all forward.