This week, Sean Swain rescinds his 5 minute segment for an election statement from Jwow “Kasich”.
For the main portion of this episode, Bursts spoke with Dilar Dirik. Dilar is a Kurdish refugee living in Germany who’s a phd candidate studying and working around issues connected with the Kurdish Women’s movement and the PYD, or Democratic Union Party, in the Rojava territories within the borders of Syria.
Dilar is a Kurdish refugee living in Germany who’s a phd candidate studying and working around issues connected with the Kurdish Women’s movement and the PYD, or Democratic Union Party, in the Rojava territories within the borders of Syria. With it’s foundation in 2004, the PYD has been attempting to create a dual power situation with the government and centering on an anti-state, anti-capitalist, feminist & ecological critique stemming from the influence of the PKK’s founder, Abdullah Öcalan, and his model of Democratic Confederalism. Democratic Confederalism is, in a large part, influenced strongly by the libertarian socialist philosophy of communalism, a term coined by the late Murray Bookchin. Bookchin, although not an anarchist upon his death, had been influential to certain strains of social anarchist thought since the 1960’s and included elements Communalism of Left Anarchism, Marxism, Syndicalism and Radical Ecology. Following the the 2012 pullout of Syrian government forces from the northern territories, the PYD, a group aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, has held the territory as three independent cantons (Rojava, Cizre and Efrin) organized through a series of communes, councils and alternative representational structure.
Primarily during this episode and the following, Dilar speaks about the methodologies of the Kurdish Women’s movement in Rojava to autonomously push the PYD at large to create not just an inclusive but to attempt to center on gender balance in all functions, moving to shift things often called “women’s issues” to the fore and make them issues for the movement at large. Dilar also speaks about the shift from the former national liberation struggles of the Kurdish people for inclusion in the nationstates of the middle east to an embracing of a stateless status and an attempt to invite and include as many ethnic, religious and national communities and individuals of the region into the implementation of Democratic Confederalism (that implementation is also known as Democratic Autonomy) as could be done. Their hope, as people in the larger Rojava Revolution, is to expand the model into a self-sustaining, directly democratic society in tension with the state and capitalism.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), Rojava region, the YPG (Peoples Defense Units) militia and YPJ Star (Women’s Defense Units Star) have come into media headlines in the U.S. of recent because they’ve been some of the main actors in the defense of Kobane (the capital of Rojava) against the forces of the Islamic State In the Levant (ISIL). ISIL has been attacking the three cantons in recent months, in fact for the last 2 years prior to U.S. recognition of it’s existence, and the YPG and YPJ Star have been among the groups fighting ISIL back. The press of ISIL to take the lands, weapons, slaves and wealth and to destroy heretics, continues throughout the 3 cantons despite the retaking of most of the city of Kobane. Perhaps the U.S. public hasn’t learned about resistance and attempts at alternative self-organization until the Siege of Kobane because it challenges the stability of U.S. allies like Turkey, Syria and also of Iran and other countries with significant Kurdish populations in the region.
In the last 2 years, many anarchists in the west have been looking on with interest on the organizing and resistance in Rojava. Recently, David Graber wrote in an op-ed for the U.K. Guardian that the PYD in Rojava fighting the ISIL parallels the Spanish Revolution of 1936 with the Rojava as the anarchists of the FAI and ISIL as the Falangists, and thus that social libertarians worldwide need to pay attention and offer support to the struggles in Rojava. Other western anarchist sources have been critical of the shortfalls of the Rojava Revolution from their ideological perspectives. We here at the Final Straw are excited to present the words of Dilar Dirik about Rojava not because the revolution is by name an anarchist project, but because it teases some boundaries between philosophies and attempts to put them into practice in the midst of a warzone and fight for their lives. This case of Rojava is interesting, but more importantly it’s people, again fighting for their lives.
With that said, because the PKK, which is aligned with the PYD, is on the U.S. terrorist list, it’s difficult to solicit donations for them in the U.S. However, if you’re in the Asheville area, on Wednesday November 5th, 2014 at the Winehaus at 86 Patton Ave, in Asheville from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. There will be music, vegetarian food and the sliding scale tickets from $20-60 will go to the Kurdish Red Crescent to offer material support for those facing assault from the Islamic State. More info can be found at http://bit.ly/aid4rojava
You can find writings by Dilar at http://dilar91.blogspot.com
Also, we’d like to apologize for the quality of Dilar’s audio on the episode, we had a poor connection.
Next week’s show will be the second half of our conversation on the Rojava Revolution and Kurdish women’s movement, media representation of women in Rojava and in the YPJ Star militias fighting against ISIL, if there’s an overlap between anarchism and Democratic Confederalism and more.
For some articles on the Rojava, check out: http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/tag/kurds/
and remain aware that the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) is a seperate movement operating in Iraq and that the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is a movement based in Turkey. Both groups operate inside of Syria and were involved in the fight against ISIL on Mount Shengal (Sinjar in Arabic), which crosses the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava.