Rojava

Michael Knapp, Trans. Janet Biehl, “Democratic Autonomy in Rojava,” Oct. 10, 2014, New Compass.

The observations of the delegation of the German group TATORT on how democratic autonomy was set up in Syria, the way the commune system has evolved, and how it functions on a day to day level, particularly in regard to women and family problems.

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Michael Knapp, trans. Richard Braude, “Rojava – the formation of an economic alternative: Private property in the service of all,” Feb. 2, 2015, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

A German historian who has spent time in Rojava discusses its economic plans, which, despite previous under-development and wartime destruction, are beginning to set up a cooperative economy.

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Meredith Tax, “The Revolution in Rojava,” April 22, 2015, Dissent.

 

An overview of the revolution, including the fight against ISIS and rescue of the Yazidis, the PKK’s origins and their paradigm shift to democratic confederalism, with a call to the international left to pay attention.

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Bulent Kucuk and Ceren Ozelcuk, "The Rojava Experience: Possibilities and Challenges of Building a Democratic Life." January 2016. The South Atlantic Quarterly 115:1.

The authors make an argument for the universality of the causes that the Rojavan people are fighting for, emphasizing in particular women’s resistance for liberation from any gender structures of inequality and the movement’s critique of the nation-state, which resonates with the general crisis of the nation-state form. Further, the article analyzes theoretical components of the concept of democratic autonomy. This is an academic article.

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Nazan Ustundag, „Self-Defense as a Revolutionary Practice in Rojava, or How to Unmake the State.“ January 2016. The South Atlantic Quarterly 115:1.

First, Ustundag traces the development of the concept of self-defense out of the PKK’s experiences of armed struggle in Turkey, showing that Ocalan’s concept implies democratization of violence, alongside democratization of production and reproduction, and includes diplomacy as a tool of self-defense. Next, the author examines the organization of defense and justice in Rojava, based on her own observations and interviews in Jazira.

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Alexander Kolokotronis, “The No State Solution in Kurdistan: Libertarian Socialism institutionalized.” March 2, 2016. New Politics.

An explication of the political and philosophical ideas of Murray Bookchin as applied in Rojava, explaining how each community manages itself from the bottom up in the areas of education, ecology, and the empowerment of women and youth.

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Ercan Ayboga, “The geopolitics of the Kurds and the case of Rojava.” January 26, 2018, Open Democracy.

Rojava’s approach to foreign relations in a context of war and threats on all sides, analyzing the behavior of various players including the Assad government, Iran, Russia, and Turkey, and the limits of the relationship with the U.S.

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Debbie Bookchin, “How my father’s ideas helped the Kurds create a new democracy.” June 15, 2018, New York Review of Books.

This article moves back and forth between the historic experience of the Kurds, Ocalan’s discovery of Murray Bookchin’s work, and the politics of Rojava; and the author’s memories of her father and the democratic ideas that are central to his work. 

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Riza Altun, interview, “The Kurdish Freedom Struggle and (Anti) Imperialism in the 21st Century,” Jan. 6, 2019, Komun Academy.

Discussing the theoretical and practical implications of the tactical alliance between the Rojava revolutionaries and the U.S., and urging a non-dogmatic approach by the left rather than one that assumes any movement the U.S. touches is either evil or doomed.

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Karlos Zurutuza, “Rojava: Rebuilding on Quicksand,” March 6, 2019, Nationalia.

A Catalonian journalist visits Rojava in the wake of Trump’s withdrawal announcement and talks to Syriac Christians and people at the new University of Rojava. He finds a vibrant multicultural society with people still living in bombed out conditions but proud of what they are building. 

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Debbie Bookchin, “Report from Rojava: What the West Owes Its Best Ally Against ISIS,” April 5, 2019, New York Review of Books.

Writing from Rojava, Bookchin details the end of the war with ISIS and the achievements of the revolution but points to the dangers it still faces from ISIS sleeper cells, Turkish threats, the thousands of ISIS prisoners nobody in the West is dealing with. The West has an obligation to make sure peace negotiations lead to a federal outcome.