No. This is a Genuine Revolution - Interview with Graeber by Evrensel Newspaper

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cantdocartwheels
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Jan 3 2015 17:57
David.Graeber wrote:
Maybe rather than just scoffing at people who are actually engaged in daily revolutionary struggle, you might want to check out some of the voluminous literature produced by the Kurdish movement on this subject. I was hardly going to map out a detailed economic analysis in an interview where I wasn't even asked any questions about the subject anyway. But if you're actually curious - I suppose there's some possibility you might be - I could make a brief introductory list

* the economy of Rojava in general and Cizire especially was of an artificially dependent agrarian economy which suppled wheat, cotton, but also petroleum to be processed elsewhere in the country (there were no mills or refineries in Cizire itself.) Roughly half of land and other resources were state owned but run effectively as private fiefdoms by various government officials or members of their family; otherwise there was a bazaar economy supplying basic needs, much of it made up of black market or smuggled goods. After the revolution the bourgeoisie almost universally fled, and Baathist-owned land and buildings were taken under public control and distributed either to local communes, which exist on each neighbourhood level, and are organised on directly democratic lines, or to municipalities governed by delegates chosen by the communes. These are allocated to various projects, ranging from Academies for popular education, to cooperatives. There have also been efforts to create publicly run mills, refineries, dairy processing plants, and the like to process raw materials that had previously had to be sent off to facilities in other parts of Syria.

* the academy system is a key part of the economic strategy, offering 6 week intensive courses in various forms of expertise that had previously been monopolised by the Baathist, which was very much a rule-by-experts style of administration. There is a conscious strategy of deprofessionalization of knowledge to prevent the emergence of new technocratic classes. Economic academies not only train in technical knowledge but emphasise cooperative management and aim to disseminate such skills to as much of the population as possible.

* The aim is to connect cooperatives directly to one another so as to ultimately eliminate the use of money entirely in the cooperative sector.

* in addition to the collectives and cooperative sector there's an "open economy" sector which includes the existing bazaar economy, which, however, now falls under the ultimate authority of the local communes which intervene to enforce price ceilings on anything considered an essential commodity. Since there is a strict economic embargo on Rojava, most of the goods available in the bazaars are actually smuggled in from elsewhere, so it's not surprising it remains largely in private hands. Key necessities (mainly wheat and petrol that are produced locally) are distributed free to local communes and collectives, by a central board.

* We asked about trade unions but were told that since the "open economy" section is basically commercial, consisting of small shops, or even people selling things in front of their houses, and almost all production is in the hands of worker-owned collectives, this wasn't a priority. There was, however, a women's union which aggressively organised for the rights of caring labor, paid and otherwise.

* a few indigenous capitalists do exist and have not been expropriated though; some are even part of the formal (largely Potemkin) "self-administration" government; the language used to justify this was that the revolution aimed to "change the ground under which they operated" by shifting the way the economy as a whole functioned, and to change the structure of political power so as to make it impossible for them to translate economic advantage into political influence, and thus ultimately, to continue to operate as capitalists in the long run.

* the unusual aspect of the class discourse was the idea that women themselves constitute the original proletariat (arguing here from the German Ideology, etc), and that class differences between men are less applicable between women. This goes along with the formula that capitalism depends on the existence of the state and the state depends on the existence of patriarchy. The elimination of what was often referred to as "capitalist modernity" was seen as having to involve an attack on all three simultaneously. For instance, the family was seen as the primary place of production, production being primarily of people, and only secondarily of material wealth (reversing the idea of production and social reproduction), and women as the primary exploited class within that system; the solution they are trying to put into practice is to undermine both the possibility of a reimposition of state authority and of patriarchy simultaneously by devolving the means of coercive power into the local directly-democratically organised communes (security forces are answerable to the "peace and consensus" working groups of each commune, and not to the formal "government") and ensuring that both the security forces themselves and the communes are composed of women. The emphasis on giving women military and weapons training is not a matter of war-time expedience; people actually insist it is a key part of how they conceive a broader anti-capitalist project for the transformation of social production which would make it impossible to restore a top-down capitalist economic system.

Well, that's for starters. There's much, much more.

well thats interesting, most of the other reports i've read on the subject including those from people i know have generally dwelt more on ideology

In practical terms are people paying rent or are most home owned? how does rent work within the communes?
How are wages set? Are wages equal or differentiated?

http://www.haringey.org.uk/content/state/300-the-experiment-of-west-kurd...

Interested because this first hand account paints the communes as more community organisations rather than economic ones.

factvalue
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Jan 3 2015 22:49

Joseph K wrote:

Quote:
(Yes I spent my new year arguing about Rojava, I was at home ill)

You're a starstruck media whore no?

boomerang
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Jan 4 2015 05:47
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
@jk

I need to learn how this twitter works I guess now, as the debate jumped to there. I was avoiding that thing all my life ☺ anyway get well happy new year

Quote:
Twitter was created in March 2006

So you are not even yet 9 years old! Wow I am surprised.
wink

S. Artesian
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Jan 4 2015 06:29
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
@jk

I need to learn how this twitter works I guess now, as the debate jumped to there. I was avoiding that thing all my life ☺ anyway get well happy new year

Don't!

kurekmurek
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Jan 4 2015 07:36

Well, I guess I am unable to show best of my english skills under this forum thread ☺ however it is strange to me how something as strange and hard to use as twitter becomes so widespread. I dont know maybe if I get an account it will get easier to manage ☺

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Jan 4 2015 12:31

I think the point made by rooieravotr in post 56 is the most crucial in this debate:
"The entanglement of PYD with US imperialism cannot be trated as a superfical coincidence, a detail. The entanglement is serious. It means the US is using Syrian fighters as cannon fodder against IS, tolerating al the democratic confederalist rheteoric and even practices going on – for the time being. It is turning , or has already turned, the PYD into a dependent force. How such a force can make an anticapitalist revolution is beyond me".

This point has also been backed up by Red Marriot in posts 25 and 44.

It's the global context, the 'grand narrative' hated by empiricists of all stripes, which allows us to understand the meaning of these events, and the global context is one of a regional inter-imperialist slaughter with planet-wide ramifications. There is no continuity between imperialist war and proletarian revolution - rather, there is a direct opposition between the two. The strikes, mutinies and uprisings of 1916-18 demonstrated this very clearly: to make a revolution, or even to defend their most basic class interests, proletarians are forced to oppose the logic of the war. Whereas the events in Spain 1936-38 showed that different types of 'collectives' and 'worker controlled enterprises' can be integrated into that imperialist logic if the proletarians lose their class autonomy, fail to confront the existing state power, and throw in their lot with a bourgeois military front.

kurekmurek
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Jan 4 2015 14:48

@Alf
Well I do not know I was empiricist, however if the only criticism that can be leveled against it is an Hegelian millennialism with its abstact and empty concepts. that has no this-worldly specifics. (Like "proletarians are forced to oppose the logic of the war." Nice, but it appears that no proletarian still seems to get the message though, especially "the right kind of proletarians") I wish you luck "overcoming" the state and capitalism without having no connection whatsoever to any real concrete being. Moreover I am sure your interpretation of Rojava Experiment as an extension of imperialist war will definitely be remembered as an heroic act of anti-fascism by a 21th Century communist by future generations of communist utopia. Especially of course by Kurdish proletariat (and mostly rural poor, immigrants, women) who was oppressed till you showed up and criticized YPG based on the correct "Grand narrative" to analyse our age and a short history of 20th Century that is so original that nobody never knew before you, thanks so much.

Note: I will repeat again, this sentence ""The entanglement of PYD with US imperialism cannot be trated as a superfical coincidence, a detail. The entanglement is serious. It means the US is using Syrian fighters as cannon fodder against IS" Lacks sufficient reason to back up its claims BECAUSE there is a similarity between short term aims of Rojava and USA. (IS is against both of them because both are basically considered infidels, ok?) If this commonality of interests gets separated in the future (end of IS for example) and USA uses YPG (for example) for imperialist war (so only for its interest), only after that we can believe that this argument is correct, OK? Oceolot did expressed this (possibly much more clearly then me) before.

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 4 2015 15:33
Alf wrote:

It's the global context, the 'grand narrative' hated by empiricists of all stripes, which allows us to understand the meaning of these events, and the global context is one of a regional inter-imperialist slaughter with planet-wide ramifications.

Wouldn't empiricists be quite interested in the actual nature of the world this is happening in and how that might affect things? Ignoring history and jumping the the most optimistic conclusion about events seems to be more of a ideological process.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 4 2015 15:51

I think Alf's saying the details of what is and is not happening on the ground ('empiricism') are irrelevant to political judgement, which is based on the "global context" (a theory of imperialism).

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 4 2015 16:05

I did think of saying that he was admitting his theory of imperialism was based on ideology not material reality, but i decided not to be mean.

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Jan 4 2015 16:12

Fair enough, Alf can elaborate I guess.

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Alf
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Jan 4 2015 16:49

It's not a question of ignoring the 'facts on the ground' but of situating them in a far wider, and deeper, process. Studying the tiniest particles is also part of cosmology.

Joseph K is right to say that the political 'cosmology' in this case is the theory of imperialism, which I do not accept is a form of ideology or a static dogma which must twist real facts to fit into its rigid edifice.

rooieravotr
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Jan 4 2015 17:06

kurremkarmerruk:

Quote:
his sentence ""The entanglement of PYD with US imperialism cannot be trated as a superfical coincidence, a detail. The entanglement is serious. It means the US is using Syrian fighters as cannon fodder against IS" Lacks sufficient reason to back up its claims BECAUSE there is a similarity between short term aims of Rojava and USA. (IS is against both of them because both are basically considered infidels, ok?) If this commonality of interests gets separated in the future (end of IS for example) and USA uses YPG (for example) for imperialist war (so only for its interest), only after that we can believe that this argument is correct, OK?

No, not OK. There is not just similarity of interests. There is cooperation, active and systematic cooperation, between, on the one hand, the PYD, a weak military force doing the fighting and the dying on the ground (so that the US doen not need to do that and doesn have to take casualties there); on the other hand the forces of the US, the biggest military force of this planet, doing the bombing in coordination with the PYD. If huge force ocoperates with small, force, if strong cooperates with weak, it is usually not the long term interests of the weak that prevail in alliances like this.

PYD is a very small force in a very big - and still escalating - war, fought under US hegemony for US reasons. Other parts of the anti-IS alliance are the Saudi regime,beheaders like IS and quite similar in ideology; and the Iraqi state ethnic-leansing Sunni cities in its fight against IS. PYD, whether it likes it or not, fights as allies of these powers.

The PYD may not like their role. The PYD may dream of breaking out of the US stranglehold later on. But it is not a matter of intentions. It is a matter of power realities. And these realities do not bode well for any kind of autonomous revolutionary process, to say the very least. If IS wins the war - very unlikely, considering the overwhelming power ranged against them - PYD and Rojava will be exterminated. If the US wins the war, PYD wil be either tamed or crushed, and the Rojava experiment will either be suffocated or smashed. Nothing to choose there. Only activities directed to oppose or escape the control opf all involved powers in this war have any hope of making any revolutionary sense.

baboon
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Jan 5 2015 20:09

It appears that for radicalgraffiti imperialism is just ideology. I don't really understand this and think that the explanation of imperialism throughout the workers' movement has been relatively clear for many decades. The ideological aspect of imperialism comes for me in the bourgeoisie's denial of it. The bourgeoisie has to constantly obscure its innate and ineluctable drive to war - that flows from the essence of its competition - through ideological lies and mystifications.Thus, when it goes to war it has to dress this up in all sorts of false premises: "humanitarianism", "national liberation", a war for the oppressed, the defence of the mother/fatherland, the defence of freedom and democracy against fascism and so on. That's ideology; How many times during the Cold War, in all the disputed hot-spots around the globe did we hear the leftist/trotskyist arguments about "anti-imperialist", "anti-capitalist struggles" being just a cover for supporting one side (or the other) in proxy imperialist warfare. Since the collapse of the Russian bloc in 1989, despite the capitalist ideology about "peace", imperialism and militarism has continued and will continue to dominate the planet. To reject the global historical framework of imperialism means not only a weakness in the understanding of capitalist warfare, it means an enormous weakness in understanding what a revolutionary force is and what are the needs of a revolution.;This is clear in anarchist support for the "Syrian Revolution" (i.e.,the US-backed Free Syrian Army) or the "Ukrainian Revolution" (a proxy war between the US and Russia).

There's a great deal to be said about the recent history of US actions protecting the Kurdish (and US military elements) against the imperialist advance of the capitalist Caliphate of Isis, but it seems clear that PKK/PYD nationalist elements (and nationalist can only be imperialist) are pawns in a military front.And a military front of the bourgeoisie, for all its constituent parts however big or small, can only be imperialist. The only possible way to confront imperialism is for the autonomous action of the working class and there is no realistic prospect of this in Rojava (or anywhere else in this battlefield) which is just one part of a wider imperialist war.

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 5 2015 20:45
baboon wrote:
It appears that for radicalgraffiti imperialism is just ideology. I don't really understand this

the point i was making was by contrasting "Empiricism" with their theory of imperialism Alf was making it sound like imperialism is not based on evidence and is therefore ideology, of cause this is not the case. ffs
i considered presenting this in a joke by claiming they where admitting there was no evidence for imperialism, but i decided not to partly because i thought the left communists wouldn't get it.

boomerang
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Jan 5 2015 23:34
kurremkarmerruk wrote:
Well, I guess I am unable to show best of my english skills under this forum thread ☺ however it is strange to me how something as strange and hard to use as twitter becomes so widespread. I dont know maybe if I get an account it will get easier to manage ☺

Your English skills are good. I was just making a silly joke because Twitter is less than 9 years old, so you would also have to be younger than Twitter if you've been avoiding it your "entire life", as you said. tongue

wob4lyf
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Jan 6 2015 03:44
baboon wrote:
The only possible way to confront imperialism is for the autonomous action of the working class and there is no realistic prospect of this in Rojava (or anywhere else in this battlefield) which is just one part of a wider imperialist war.

I generally like your post, but I was struck in this context by your phrasing, "the autonomous action of the working class." What that the working class does today can really be said to be autonomous? I am thinking of the media here in particular, not just news but entertainment/music/movies/etc. also, the heavily bourgeois-modulated cultural matrix as a whole that we all live in unless we are hermits. Kind of rhetorically, I just wanted to remark on this.

bastarx
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Jan 6 2015 04:08

I think baboon means working class struggle independent of the unions and national liberation gangs. Nothing to do with the culture industry.

baboon
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Jan 6 2015 13:10

Thanks for the comments. It's not a question of the culture industry, though in relation to the media assault against our senses this does play a role. For example in Britain, the whole gung-ho campaign for war in Libya ("humanitarian"), the great "triumph" (Cameron and Sarkozy) and the subsequent re-writing of history is an example of how the whole media industry goes into overdrive during war and then contributes to obscuring the whole issue. It is a question of the autonomous action of the working class and this is not a question of purity, of divesting the struggle from all bourgeois interests. It's a question of workers fighting for their own demands on their own grounds or at least a tendency towards this development. An outright struggle from the working class against imperialist war is nowhere on the cards at present and such a development would demand very high levels of class struggle that do not exist yet. But workers fighting for their own conditions have the kernel within that to take on much broader political issues - and this is particularly the case in the major powers. As unlikely as autonomous class action is at the moment on any significant scale in the metropoles, then it's much more unlikely in the local conditions of the nationalism of Rojava in the middle of an imperialist battlefield.

As for jokes, or not as the case may be, I think that a discussion on empiricism/imperialism would be a useful one.

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Jan 6 2015 20:36

Hi all,

Thank-you to those who clearly articulated their positions and illustrated their points with facts, clarified areas of difference and asked for further clarification from those with different view points.

Until this week I didn't know anything about Rojava et al. A comrade in AWSM kindly wrote up an introductory article. I came here looking for further information.

Please take this the right way, it's meant in a comradely spirit: it is quite hard to find the gold in this forum when there is so much shit being thrown about.

EDIT: Clarification, I meant the personal attacks, not people's view points.

It takes time to sift through the crap. It means others, without our obsessions and forum-inoccuation, are less likely to read the good stuff comrades have spent valuable time writing.

I may have missed it, but can someone please point me towards the forum or website where anarchists are discussing what we should be doing.

It's important to remember support comes in two forms 1) solidarity and 2) strategic engagement. Solidarity and mutual aid is the right thing to do, even if it isn't "strategic". Ok, we've got time constraints, so we can limit it, but we still need to do it. It might just mean an hour or two not on these forums. We can have that strategic discussion while we spend an hour holding a rally or a couple of hours bucketing to buy a bullet proof vest for a Rojava co-operative's school teacher.

I felt proud to be an anarchist when I read posts written on new years eve. It might be a bit geeky and I may only think it's awesome 'cause I'm geeky. But I'm pretty sure we can make our mates proud of their anarchists friends by channeling some of that libcom-inter-fighting-forum-stuff into doing practical things to support Rojava. I know it might not be revolutionary, and Rojava's revolution might not be perfect (or even a revolution), but I'm pretty sure its more revolutionary than me writing this post.

Kind regards,
HC

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Jan 6 2015 15:46
happychaos wrote:
I may have missed it, but can someone please point me towards the forum or website where anarchists are discussing what we should be doing.

It's important to remember support comes in two forms 1) solidarity and 2) strategic engagement. Solidarity and mutual aid is the right thing to do, even if it isn't "strategic". Ok, we've got time constraints, so we can limit it, but we still need to do it. It might just mean an hour or two not on these forums. We can have that strategic discussion while we spend an hour holding a rally or a couple of hours bucketing to buy a bullet proof vest for a Rojava co-operative's school teacher

I think this mindset of "we need to do something!" is very problematic in this situation. Frankly, I'm quite doubtful that anarchists thousands of miles away can have much impact on this situation other than shipping off to fight and die themselves. Trying to directly send supplies to particular Rojavans is 1) likely to run up against barriers by Western and PYD authorities in actually getting there 2) very limited for financial reasons 3) why does it make more sense to buy a bulletproof vest that may very well never reach a co-op teacher instead of using that money for some valuable cause that you have more direct familiarity with? Seems like a questionably effective use of funds.

So I don't think practical mutual aid is really on the table for Western anarchists for geographic reasons. There are certain organizations that're certainly capable of bringing substantial military assistance to Rojava, namely the Western powers, but I think the reactionary nature of them being further involved in Rojava is self-evident.

wob4lyf
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Jan 6 2015 19:39
baboon wrote:
Thanks for the comments. It's not a question of the culture industry, though in relation to the media assault against our senses this does play a role. For example in Britain, the whole gung-ho campaign for war in Libya ("humanitarian"), the great "triumph" (Cameron and Sarkozy) and the subsequent re-writing of history is an example of how the whole media industry goes into overdrive during war and then contributes to obscuring the whole issue. It is a question of the autonomous action of the working class and this is not a question of purity, of divesting the struggle from all bourgeois interests. It's a question of workers fighting for their own demands on their own grounds or at least a tendency towards this development. An outright struggle from the working class against imperialist war is nowhere on the cards at present and such a development would demand very high levels of class struggle that do not exist yet.

I understand that. Something in the phrasing just acted as a key to show me yet again how, everywhere one turns (in the media world, news and culture), there is yet another path leading the working class back to bourgeois interests and degradation. And I agree, as you say, that "An outright struggle from the working class against imperialist war is nowhere on the cards at present and such a development would demand very high levels of class struggle that do not exist yet."

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happychaos
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Jan 6 2015 22:01

Hi Tyrion,

Thanks for the feedback.

Quote:
I think this mindset of "we need to do something!" is very problematic in this situation. Frankly, I'm quite doubtful that anarchists thousands of miles away can have much impact on this situation other than shipping off to fight and die themselves. Trying to directly send supplies to particular Rojavans is 1) likely to run up against barriers by Western and PYD authorities in actually getting there 2) very limited for financial reasons 3) why does it make more sense to buy a bulletproof vest that may very well never reach a co-op teacher instead of using that money for some valuable cause that you have more direct familiarity with? Seems like a questionably effective use of funds.

I don't disagree that a bullet proof vest isn't a particularly good use of funds. I was superficially giving a couple of throw away tasks as examples of "doing something" that doesn't need to take much time. The point was time, not the examples, I didn't make that particularly clear.

Talking about a "we need to do something" mindset isn't particularly helpful. There is a huge range of "doing" from very little to a lot. I made a clear distinction between solidarity and strategic (priority) work, and indicated that limited time frames can be put on solidarity work. The what and for how much time to dedicate would be two areas for further discussion that I would be interested in.

I'd be interested in what you think is worthy of doing.

My immediate thought, without having put much thought into it, would be to set up a Commission of Inquiry into Rojava and Kurdistan movements. The project would be temporary and time-limited with a clear mandate. It's goal would be to create a report including: a literature review, summary of key points, key debates, class composition, historical account, sociological and political analysis, areas for further clarification, realistic options for solidarity etc. It would only need include a small group of comrades, preferably but not necessarily from different groups to co-ordinate the project. The committee would do some initial work on setting out that mandate and put it to anarchist groups for comment and suggestions. It need not be 100% perfect. Once the mandate is clear, the group can identify known and/or respected anarchists, anarchist journalists and anarchist authors to write the commission. By respected, I simply mean people who will adhere to the mandate, have demonstrated writing skills and adherence to expected objectivity/self-reflexive subjectivity. To fund this we could create a kick starter project, put buttons on our websites, post some hook articles to get interest. I'm sure my own small organisation would be willing to put a bit of dosh in for that. If the commission is framed broadly, i.e. not simple restricted to anarchists, but can still achieve our objectives, I'm sure other organisations or individuals would be interested in participating.

This is just an idea off the top of my head. Brainstorming ideas is one of my favourite past-times. Keen to do this with others around this issue.

Any comments on this idea or discussion around other ideas are welcome. As above, if anyone knows where these discussions are already happening, please let me know. I'm not hooked into any networks at the moment except for AWSM.nz.

Kind regards,
HC

ajjohnstone
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Jan 9 2015 05:01

Another interview/article to dissect and try to evaluate

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/01/the-unfolding-revolution-in-rojava/

Quote:
The model which has emerged in Rojavais the system of ‘Democratic Autonomy.’ If the democratic nation is its spirit, democratic autonomy is its body. Democratic autonomy is the state by which the construction of the democratic nation comes to take on flesh and bone and is realised concretely. A short summary of this system’s essentials goes like this: The source of power is the people and it is the people who possess the power. Administration is provided for by organizations and assemblies chosen by elections. No government can remain outside or above the Social Contract established by the Administration of Democratic Autonomy and be considered legitimate. The source of the assemblies and governing bodies founded on a democratic foundation is the people. No body which acts by itself or in the interest of a single group is accepted....
...The economic pillar has been an essential part of the Rojava revolution! It defends an autonomous economic model and is working to put it into practice. Capitalism has surrounded everyone and everything, and in a century in which it is difficult to breath and where we are seemingly bereft of alternatives an exit is now being discovered through an alternative economic model and a communal economy. Dr. Ahmet Yusuf, the Economic Minister of the Efrîn Canton, made some important remarks recently at conference held on the ‘Democratic Autonomous Economy.’ He said “We take as a principle the protection and defense of natural resources. What we mean by defense is not defense in a military sense, but the self-defense against the exploitation and oppression which society now faces. There are many obstacles to restructuring the communal economy in Rojava. Systems which take capitalist systems as their reference have attempted to to obstruct our progress in the economic as well as the social spheres. We ourselves take the communal economy for our principal. We are working to create a system which combines anti-liberalism, ecological sustainability, and moral common property with communal and cultural production.”

Anti War
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Jan 11 2015 18:22

If anyone missed these, here's two libcom pages that should interest those into the Rojava revolution:

‘I have seen the future and it works.’ – Critical questions for supporters of the Rojava revolution

'Rojava revolution' reading guide

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Jan 12 2015 00:53

People might also want to evaluate this text, where a PKK leader describes Ocalan’s political programme for the Turkish ruling class, their future relations with their Kurdish counterparts and (as I discussed earlier in posts #44, #51, #55 & #68) what seems like a clear demand for recognition of regional autonomy for a PKK administration as part of ‘realising Ocalan’s ambitions and visions for the future’;

Quote:
...There have always been those that have wanted to misinterpret the Kurdish people’s leader Ocalan’s similar efforts in the past twenty years ... This leader’s mentality and his ambitions must be understood correctly. The Kurdish people and their friends have always understood the Kurdish people’s leader and have shown every effort in realising his visions for the future. ...

Without a doubt a democratic solution is a bilateral process. One of these sides is the state; those that support state policies. The other side are those that struggle against the state around specific demands. The state is mostly persecutory and resists against responding to popular demands. A democratic solution is at the same time a stage in the struggle where a compromise with the state has become possible. If a radical split from the state has not realised and efforts to form a separate democratic system have not been completely successful, then a compromise can be met. Revolutionary struggles do not always bring about radical solutions. Compromise and solutions from the middle ground are also results of a revolutionary struggle. The very definition of a radical solution is in itself problematic. If there is no ambition of abolishing one state to form another, a good democratic solution can bring about long term radical results. If by revolutionary and radical developments we don’t just mean the abolishing of states, then democratic solutions are definitely capable of bringing about deep-rooted radical developments.

A forty year struggle has shown that radical changes can come about even without the abolishing of or forming of states. On top of this, the abolishment and formation of states does not express a radical change. Especially for those that possess a democratic and libertarian mentality statist solutions are meaningless and definitely do not entail revolutionary changes. ...

... In the past forty years Kurds have completed their revival, have enforced everyone to accept their existence and have become significant actors in democratic developments in all four parts of Kurdistan. Today, the existence, strength and impact of the PKK can be felt in all parts of Kurdistan. This is why the Kurdish people’s leader Mr. Ocalan’s latest move is being closely followed by all parts of Kurdistan. The Kurdish freedom movement has created significant revolutionary developments; the latest attempt for a democratic solution is being made on this backdrop. This is why the Kurdish people’s leader is calling this “a new era” in which major democratic strides will materialise.

By taking a stride towards democratic emancipation and free life, The Kurdish people’s leader wants to reinvigorate the democratic forces of Turkey and energise the Kurdish people for a final push on solving the Kurdish question and democratizing Turkey. Whereas during certain circumstances armed struggle may seem like a viable method, during a process of democratisation democratic politics and democratic struggle come to the fore. If the AKP government decides to follow the Kurdish people’s leader’s foresights and forethoughts then the fruits of a forty year struggle will not only be a democratic solution of the Kurdish question but will also lead to a wider democratisation of Turkey. ...

A democratised Turkey that has solved its Kurdish question will no doubt be an attractive prospect, just as Europe did after the Second World War. This attraction will derive from the effects of a deeper democracy and wider freedoms. The Kurdish people will be a pushing force during this process. Therefore, with this push for democracy the gates will be open to a democratic confederalism of the Middle East. This will be a suited democratic solution to the heritage of the Middle East where a symbiotic balance between the peoples of the region will flourish.

These are the hopes for Turkey and the Middle East in the foresights of the Kurdish freedom movement. In this version of the Middle East all peoples, ethnic and religious communities will freely and democratically live side by side. Other circles may have different plans for the Middle East, but this is the projection of Kurdistan, Turkey and the Middle East in the forethoughts of the Kurdish freedom movement.
http://www.pkkonline.com/en/index.php?sys=article&artID=181

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Red Marriott
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Jan 12 2015 15:18

This assessment is quite a contrast to, eg, Graeber's description of what's happening - Joseph Daher, a member of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, living in Switzerland, interviewed by Riad Azar, November 18, 2014;

Quote:
... What is happening in the Kurdish autonomous region is far from perfect. There is repression of Kurdish activists and forced conscription — people who refuse are imprisoned. Institutions that criticized the PKK were closed. The PYD — the Democratic Union Party, a Syrian Kurdish political party established in 2003 — like its mother organization the PKK, is not democratic in its internal functioning. We must remember for example the protest movements in late June 2013 in some cities of Rojava, such as Amouda and Derabissyat, against the repression by the PYD of Kurdish revolutionary activists.

But at the same time you have some very positive aspects when it comes to the protection of religious minorities, strengthening women’s rights, and secularism. In comparison with the popular councils that were established from below in the liberated areas of Syria by the revolutionaries, which are real example of self-administration, in the case of Rojava it is more a dynamic from above, led and controlled by the PYD. So again, these are the different aspects that you can say about this intervention in Kobanê and how I see it. ... http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/kobane-turkey-and-th...

kurekmurek
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Jan 12 2015 15:59

It is not contrary to what Graeber says. Their focus is different. Joseph Daher, mentions human rights violations and some history (which were also discussed here, oppressions of non-PYD cooperating parties and groups - most of whom are Barzani supporters, though they are now somehow integrated after Duhok agreement, I guess.) Graeber does not mention these. As his account is only a description of his trip (as it is more new and interesting actually). Graeber only talsk about these:

Quote:
But at the same time you have some very positive aspects when it comes to the protection of religious minorities, strengthening women’s rights, and secularism.

Graeber just explains what is so positive about it which if you don't mind I really would like to know. Joseph Daher himself is very positive of Rojava (and YPG) especially where he explains their official stand (in the beginning of the interview) (Also in overall I find this Graeber bashing unfruitful to any real debate)

However I do not get this part of his account:

Quote:
In comparison with the popular councils that were established from below in the liberated areas of Syria by the revolutionaries, which are real example of self-administration, in the case of Rojava it is more a dynamic from above, led and controlled by the PYD.

What are these councils established in liberated in Syria? According to what ideological background? And by which political force? How big and consistent they are? I definitely get his criticism of PYD of brginging democracy from above. But I am very suspicious of real spontaneous democracy just emerging out of nothing in liberated Syria. Does anyone know anything about these? If they exist why don't we speak about it? I would be glad to discuss those.

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Red Marriott
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Jan 12 2015 18:39
Quote:
It is not contrary to what Graeber says.

I actually said it was “quite a contrast”; neither Graeber or Daher deny existence of a ‘top’ and a ‘bottom’ in Rojavan society – but Graeber doesn’t portray a picture of top-down imposed democracy, he emphasises the opposite, a popular democratic grass roots-controlled movement. See the tweets JK reposted above (#87). In contrast Daher describes an “administration, in the case of Rojava it is more a dynamic from above, led and controlled by the PYD” - an assessment, btw, which you seem to accept;

Quote:
I definitely get his criticism of PYD of brginging democracy from above.

Quote:
I find this Graeber bashing unfruitful to any real debate

Disagreeing with Graeber or questioning his views by, eg, contrasting with other sources isn’t “bashing” – unless you want everyone to be as slavishly admiring of him as many are of ‘the great leader’ Ocalan.

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happychaos
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Jan 13 2015 02:15

Hi,

If anyone has any useful links or information, I'm collecting information for an article I'm writing for Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) on Rojava, including different anarchist points of view.

www.strongertogether.info/rojava

It's using the same software as Wikipedia, so it's easy to use.

Kind regards,
HC