'Rojava revolution' reading guide

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Anti War
Jan 1 2015 16:32


  • Bookchin must be read and his ideas practiced

    Abdullah Ocalan

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Jan 1 2015 17:14

Well apart from the graphics, this is pretty good. ıt has everything that was discussed here. Thanks for our efforts.

I know this is a reading guide but maybe you can also put some documentaries?

Jan 1 2015 18:55

It's possible to embed videos. And thanks to Anti War for compiling the various sources.

Jan 21 2015 09:30

EDIT: removed post and wiki due to spam and good resource here and elsewhere.

Jan 21 2015 09:29

EDIT: [removed wiki due to spam and good work here and elsewhere]

Jan 13 2015 20:09

Well there is also Anti-war's own text:


I think everyone should check the comments section below the article grin

Jan 19 2015 09:59


similar structures than in Rojava now evolving in Shingal?!

Jan 19 2015 10:33

You are quicker than me entdinglichung smile

Guerre de Classe
Jan 29 2015 16:34

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


Guerre de Classe
Feb 7 2015 18:57

There is a new text about Kurdistan written by Gilles Dauvé in French: http://libcom.org/library/kurdistan/
Somebody would be interested in translating it in English?

Anti War
Feb 21 2015 18:40

Jeff Miley who accompanied David Graeber to Rojava last year has given a very interesting talk here. (Comments on the talk can be found at: 'I Have Seen the Future and it Works...')

klas batalo
Feb 26 2015 04:15
klas batalo
Feb 26 2015 04:39



these have a wealth of primary documents and information that can be translated from arabic...

i can't read arabic though so idk if all translations are correct but there is a lot of talk about the nation/homeland... fwiw :/

Anti War
Mar 2 2015 20:17
Mar 6 2015 06:52

I get down voted for a list of articles in a book? Really? I'm going to assume that's just sectarian and not personal!

Mar 10 2015 17:28

from the text Stalinist caterpillar into libertarian butterfly ? - The evolving ideology of the PKK by the Dutch Trotskyist (USFI) Alex de Jong

Öcalan’s writings are repetitive and long-winded, something that cannot be blamed only on the confines he is subjected to in prison. Öcalan’s texts are immediately recognizable by their meandering style. The juxtaposition of musings on the meaning of ’humanity’ and ’freedom’, with remnants of the old jargon can be quite bewildering. Terms familiar from Marxism are used in ways that imply that for Öcalan their meaning is very different : the ’Second Manifesto’ talks about ’feudal nomads’, the prison writings declare the ’feudal’ Kurdish leaders to be a ’comprador petty-bourgeoisie’. Terms are left undefined and vague. ’Democracy’ for example has become both the goal and method for solving social problems and the defining characteristic of a new civilization. But in hundreds of pages, Öcalan does not offer a sustained explanation of what the word means to him. In brief, it is often unclear what Öcalan is trying to say.

The ideology of the PKK has undergone major shifts since its foundation in the late seventies. From its original Marxism-Leninism, that saw the conquest of state-power as liberation, there was a shift to conceiving of ’freedom’ and ’independence’ in personal terms. From a Stalinist conception of socialism as state-ownership of the means of production, there was a shift to seeing socialism as the creation of a new man. From a ’united and independent Kurdistan’ and the formation of a new nation-state, there was a shift to a ’free Kurdistan’ which in one way or another could possibly exist inside the borders of the Turkish state. From seeing women as resource for the revolutionary struggle, there was a shift to seeing women as such as central actors in the movement.

The PKK was not only a political and military leadership, it would reorganize the new society. It would built not only social relations that would reflect the desired society but even create the new personalities that would characterize the future society. This principle of prefiguration, of building in the present elements that will reflect the future society, is still present in the movement. Today, it is not only personalities but also the political structures of the future society that the PKK hopes to built in the present by organizing structures that supposedly carry the kernel of the new society. It is also clearly visible in its approach towards women’s liberation when it demands that women and men ’unlearn’ the attitudes that supposedly perpetuate patriarchy. ’We want to build a new society. Let’s realize this new society, equality, freedom, esteem, and love among ourselves first’, Öcalan, 2000. [63]

One constant throughout the PKK’s evolution is the centrality of Serok Apo and his statements. When German activists went to North Kurdistan to ’see for themselves’ how democratic autonomy is implemented, they were repeatedly told that activists were ’following instructions’ of Öcalan, defenders of Kobani claim ’the thought of Apo’ was what enabled them to defeat of IS, his picture is prominently displayed on t-shirts and banners. PYD representatives describe their ideology as ’the ideology of Öcalan’, Kurdish women’s activists say that they have learned everything they know about feminism from Öcalan. The continuation of ideological and political, if not anymore directly organizational, leadership by a single individual is at odds with the claims of self-emancipation of democratic autonomy. The PKK is an confounding case of a movement that supposedly has embraced a vision of ’bottom-up democracy’ on instructions ’from above’.

In the ’old’ PKK, gaps in the theory, subjects that were not dealt with or left unclear, were filled with a stock of received ideas from ’Marxist-Leninist’ theories. The writings of Mehmet Can Yüce, one of the movement’s more prominent ideologues from that time, could almost be written by an ideologue of another party from a similar current - as long as they they do not deal with the few topics on which the PKK had developed its own views like the history of the Comintern. The PKK programs and statements from the late seventies and eighties are in many ways interchangeable with those of other Marxist-Leninist national-liberation movements. Now that the PKK defines itself as ’neither Marxist nor anti-Marxist’, this stock of ideas has fallen away and there is less to fill the gaps.

The resulting vagueness and incompleteness has its useful sides. The liberal ’conflict monitoring’ NGO International Crisis Group for example has suggested that what they call the ’unbearable vagueness’ of the goal of democratic autonomy is a tactic to make it harder for the Turkish state to ban Kurdish groups for propagating ’separatism’ but this underestimates the changes the PKK and the movement under its hegemony have gone through (it also does not take into account that the Turkish state has no problem banning Kurdish organizations under flimsy pretexts). But the vagueness does make the project open for very wide interpretations. Because of this vagueness, the PKK’s political project can appeal to the sympathy from broad layers. From liberals to anarchists, people can recognize their own desires in it.

Even more then when he was the leader of the movement in a direct sense, and in contact with his followers on a daily sense, Öcalan has become a prophet-like figure. And, like with the statements of other prophets, his words are open to interpretation. Activists on the ground have considerable space to maneuver, and to interpret his directives in ways that suit their circumstances. The incompleteness of the new ideology and the relative vagueness of Öcalan’s texts make it possible to adapt it pragmatically to the local situation, while activists can still claim fidelity to ’the ideology of Öcalan’.

Anti War
May 21 2015 12:42

More links about the regime in the PKK:

'PKK dissidents accuse Abdullah Ocalan'

'Revelations on the Ocalan System'

'Abdullah Ocalan's Last Interview'

It's also worth, critically, checking out is this interview with Abdullah Ocalan's dissident brother: 'PYD Will Not Allow Power Sharing in Syria'

May 21 2015 17:31
Anti War wrote:
It's also worth, critically, checking out is this interview with Abdullah Ocalan's dissident brother: 'PYD Will Not Allow Power Sharing in Syria'

Rudaw and BasNews are both KDP propaganda organs.

Osman Ocalan says a lot of things. Most recently saying "PKK has become part of the Shiite Muslim movement (here in Iraq) and in particular, there is a strong Alawite stream inside the party." Interview with Osman Ocalan: 'Thanks To Extremists, PKK Has Had Two Golden Years', 12.05.2015 . He probably isn't the best source when trying to determine the democratic process in Tevgera Civaka Demokratîk.

Aliza Marcus and others do not regard Osman Ocalan as a credible source.. Some say he is a KDP asset.

The most recent Rojava municipal elections were boycotted by KNC (KDP).
Rojava Goes to the Polls
KRG: Elections in Jazira are Not Acceptable

Anti War
Jun 25 2015 14:32

For some historical context. Here are some links to leftist eye-witness accounts of other revolutions before Rojava:

An Anarchist in Love with Mao’s China - Herbert Read’s ‘Letters from China’ ... Plus a list of dubious accounts of ‘successful’ revolutions, from Russia to Rojava

Anti War
Jul 19 2015 15:13

This statement from a 'libertarian' who has been working in Rojava for six months is a remarkable document in that it provides powerful arguments both for and against the Rojava regime:

‘The Time of Theory is Over, Now is the Time for Action’

Jul 19 2015 16:39

Not a good start to the piece at all

To which my response is: then what are you doing in the west? Rojava is better than the west. When you stay in the west, you are helping capitalism. You are part of the machine. If you live in the city, consume products or participate in life there, you are a hypocrite.

I don't think any comment is needed...

And this moralizing bs

Here are some excuses I’ve heard from friends I’ve invited:

I have to look after my dog.
I can do more from here advocating and protesting.
I don’t know if Rojava is real (i.e I will stay comfy in a capitalist state rather than risk a revolution)
I have important work here (maybe your work is more useful in Rojava).
History is made by people that leap into unknowns. If you are satisfied with the status quo, stay where you are. But this revolution is the biggest libertarian project of this century. This is a chance to be a better person, that swum against the tide. The more of us that do this, the stronger we become. And we don’t even need to be that great in number.

Other than the attempt at recruiting through some liberal guilt tripping, it's a decent piece.

Anti War
Nov 2 2015 19:53

Another very critical report has been published by anti-PYD Kurds at the Kurdwatch website:
‘Forcible Recruitment and the Deployment of Child Soldiers’

There is also an equally critical Amnesty International Report and a response by the YPG:
‘We Had Nowhere Else To Go’ - Amnesty International
‘Statement by the General Command’ - YPG

This eyewitness account by a Western ‘anarchist’ fighter is also very interesting:
‘Ask Me About Rojava: Been Here 3 Months’

Equally interesting are these articles about the revolution that occurred in another part of Kurdistan back in 1991:
‘Ten Days that Shook Iraq’
'1991: The Kurdish Uprising'

Nov 21 2016 09:37

The Kurdish national movement in Syria: political goals, controversy and dynamic by Josef Daher (NLR/Fourth International)

Institutions in PYD controlled areas are dominated by PYD-affiliated organisations, with an assortment of Kurdish, Syriac and Assyrian personalities who had little to lose from entering the project. For a far majority of Kurdish political parties and activists, Rojava is only a new form of authoritarianism rather than democratic confederalism in action. As evidence of this many of them pointed out to the exclusion of opposition parties and activists from youth groups within Rojava. Members and leaders of the people’s councils, which were established by the authorities of Rojava, are theoretically responsible for local governance and including representatives of all Kurdish political parties as well as non-Kurdish population in mixed areas, are appointed by the PYD. Likewise, the movement maintains overall decision-making authority, consigning the councils other than for distribution of gas and humanitarian aid to a largely symbolic role. The commune’s institution, one of the key element in the new Rojava system, whose role is to provide humanitarian assistance to the inhabitants in their neighbourhoods, has been criticized to enforcing the rule of PYD linked organisations.

At the same time, these new institutions lack legitimacy among large sections of the Syrian Arabs in these areas, although an Arab president had to be elected to the male/female joint presidency of the town’s local council. For instance Shaykh Humaydi Daham al-Jarba, the head of a tribal Arab militia and an outspoken supporter of the Assad regime, was nominated as the governor of the Jazirah canton in Rojava in 2014. His son became the commander of the al-Sanadid Forces, one of the main Arab militias fighting alongside the PYD-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Prominence of tribal leaders in the Rojava institution was also preserved, rather than challenges.

The authoritarianism of the PYD was demonstrated in its repression and imprisonment of activists, political opponents and the closure of critical organizations or institutions, such as the independent radio Arta in February 2014 and April 2016. Members of other rival Syrian Kurdish opposition parties like the Yekiti Party, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria and Azadi party have particularly suffered from the repression by the authorities in the autonomous regions of Rojava for their peaceful activism and criticism of the PYD. Just lately, the KNC’s president, Ibrahim Berro, was arrested in August 2016 at an Asayish checkpoint in Qamichli, and then exiled to Iraki Kurdistan the day after. As a reaction, in mid September, the local councils of the Kurdish National Council in the northern province of Hassaka, Maabdeh, ‘Amoudah, Qamishli, al-Jawadiyeh, and Malakiyeh organized a sit-in against the practices of the PYD and arbitrary arrests. The protesters demanded the release of political prisoners imprisoned by the party whose number has reached about 100. New protests occurred in October as well.

The PYD has faced growing opposition within the Kurdish population in Syria and active pro revolutionary Kurdish activists for their authoritarian policies. The increasing political and military hegemony of the PYD and the inability of the KNC to project influence inside Syria further weakened the coalition with internal divisions.

At the same time, in the areas controlled by the PYD, there are advances on some aspects that must be acknowledged such as promotion of women rights and gender equality, securalisation of laws and institutions, and to a certain extent some forms of coexistence between the various ethnicities and religious sects, despite some tensions. Some parties within the KNC also saw cooperation with the PYD as the unique way to maintain a power-base in Syria, while large sections of the population saw it as a necessary evil to defend itself against some FSA, Islamic and salafist djihadist forces attacking Kurdish regions since summer 2012. For example, the launch of the campaign “Western Kurdistan for his children” by the PYD in the summer 2012 against the attacks by Islamic fundamentalist groups against the cities mostly inhabited by Kurds also diminished criticisms against the party and gathered temporarily the Syrian Kurdish political scene with the support of other Kurdish groups to this campaign, while reiterating the need for the PYD to work and collaborate with them. The PYD and its military branch, YPG, role as the sole viable protector of Syria’s Kurds were further strengthened therefore. These kind of feeling come back every time the Syrian Arab opposition gathered around the Etilaf reject Kurdish rights and make racist discourses and speeches against Kurds or when various opposition armed forces, from FSA to Islamic Fundamentalist region supported or not by Turkey, attack PYD and Kurdish regions.

Nymphalis Antiopa
Nov 27 2016 16:05

The state of Rojava congratulates the American people for electing a new president of the USA:
[url= http://en.hawarnews.com/msd-congratulates-americans/]

"In the name of Democratic Syria Council, we congratulate the American people who elected a new president and we deeply respect the free and democratic choice of the American people, we also hope that the new administration stands by the oppressed people in the world, undertakes its role in bringing about global peace and security, advances in fighting terror, impose crackdown on the dictator regimes and we are looking forward to more collaboration on all levels in fighting terror in Syria and reach a settlement of the Syrian crisis and we hope success and prosperity for the American people and the new administration”.

Nov 28 2016 13:44

I just want to emphasise the necessity to read the post above in order to get a glimpse of the real nature of the Rojava "revolution".

Nov 30 2016 18:07

Thanks for the sources, I like this among them:

rafi dawn
Nov 30 2016 18:56
I just want to emphasise the necessity to read the post above in order to get a glimpse of the real nature of the Rojava "revolution".

baboon, this is called: tactic