Category Archives: Rojava

Paul Z. Simons on the Dispaches from Rojava; part 1 of 3

Paul Z. Simons pt 1

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In 2012, a power vacuum formed in parts of northern Syria as a result of the civil war. These areas, part of the lands inhabited by Kurdish peoples,soon became a testing ground for an implementation of an anti-state communalism influenced in part by an American former Anarchist turned Communalist named Murray Bookchin. Bookchin’s thought helped to shape the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan, ideological leader of the Kurdish Worker’s Party, PKK, in neighboring Turkey. The people participating in what’s been branded The Rojava Revolution are organizing administration and defense based from the neighborhood councils. Popular militias are attempting to fight external enemies like the Syrian military of Bashar Al-Asaad and ISIL/Daesh as well as the internal structures which hold in most societies such as patriarchy, class division and xenophobia. Anarchists, anti-capitalists of all stripes from around the world, feminists, ecologists… these peoples and more around the world are among those engaging with the 3-year-runnning experiment of Rojava.

This week’s episode features the first of three segments of conversation with Paul Z Simons,a post-left anarchist and co-editor of Modern Slavery Magazine. Paul, writing under the name El Errante, documented his recent tripto the Rojava region in Northern Syria. This first episode will not be followed up immediately by another episode on the subject, however we are making the second and third episodes content availablealongside of this one online. If you’re in a hurry to hear the complete conversation on his observations of institutions and organizing On The Ground in Rojava, follow this link for part II and this link for part III. These segments will make their way into radio versions in the near future.

Bursts and Paul talk about Democratic Confederalism, gender, ecology, international intervention, religion, ethnicity, anti-capitalism, competing tendencies, holding tensions, international fighters and much much more

To follow the links that our guest mentioned in this interview, just click these websites below!

http://kurdishquestion.com/
http://rojavaplan.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tev-Dem

To see more of Paul Z. Simon’s work, you can visit this website

Next week on The Final Straw, you’ll hear a conversation with an anarchist in Spain about recent and continued repressions of anarchists in that country. Updates on that situation can be found at https://efectopandora.wordpress.com/category/english/ and for past episodes of The Final Straw check here.

Announcement:

At Grand Valley Institute for Women (GVI), a federal prison in Kitchener, Ontario there has been a recent crackdown against LBTQ2+ prisoners and/or prisoners in relationships amongst themselves. Intimate relationships between prisoners are being attacked by a clique of guards acting without apparent direction or oversight from the Corrections Canada administration. We need your support with a call-in campaign to end these practices.

Harassment of prisoners includes throwing them in solitary as punishment for being in a relationship, threatening them with transfers to remote parts of the country, separating partners by placing them in different parts of the prison, and laying spurious institutional charges that can lead to being locked in the maximum security unit.

Most troublingly, guards have been using physical intimidation and invasions of personal space to harass prisoners who speak up against these practices.

The prisoners have been organizing in response to these attacks, but have faced increasing repression for their efforts.

Outside support right now can make a major difference in putting a check on the repression of prisoner relationships and dissent among prisoners.

To protest this treatment, it’s asked that people call Grand Valley Institute for Women at (519) 894-2011. For more guidance about how to conduct this phone call and for updates on this situation you can visit the website https://gviwatch.wordpress.com/

Playlist

Dilar Dirik on the Rojava Revolution, pt 2; Nicky Danesh on (A)’s in Iran

Turkish anarchists from DAF cross border to support resisters in Kobane
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This week’s we’re presenting the second half of my conversation with Dilar Dirik, Kurdish feminist and anti-capitalist, about the Rojava Revolution. The Rojava Revolution, as we spoke of in the last episode, is the name for the Kurdish-initiated project to organize stateless communities in Northern Syria into 3 autonomous cantons in the wake of Syrian State withdrawal during the progress of the civil war in that country. Rojava is West in Kurdish and refers to the communities of Kurds living in that area as distinguished from Kurds living and struggling inside of the borders of Iraq, Iran & Turkey. Folks aligned with the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, in Rojava have been among the people fighting against incursion by Islamic State militants.

After hearing from Dilar, we’ll be hearing a segment shared by the folks from Anarchistisches Radio Berlin, which they worked together from audio recorded by Furia de Radio, an anarchist programme on 97 Irratia FM in Bilbao, Euskadi. It can be heard every Friday at 7pm in the Basque Country, or on http://www.mixcloud.com/FuriaDeRadio. The folks at Furia de Radio conducted an interview with Nicky Danesh, an Iranian anarchist living in exile in Australia this September. More content from Anarchistisches Radio Berlin can be found at http://aradio.blogsport.de in German, English, Spanish, French and more.

This week we’ll hear Dilar continue to speak about the Rojava Social Revolution, the Kurdish Women’s movements 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. The first half of this conversation can be found here.

You can find writings by Dilar at http://dilar91.blogspot.com

A quick reminder to those in the Asheville area this week: Leslie will be speaking at Warren Wilson College in Black Mountain this Monday, the 3rd at 7pm in the Canon Lounge about his life and continued activism despite constant sureveilance!. Leslie James Pickering – former head of the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO), author, publisher, and co-founder of the Buffalo, NY bookstore, Burning Books – has endured heavy state repression for years. Leslie will discuss the current ongoing FBI investigation into his work and life as well as his extensive legal campaign to resist this surveillance. This is a free event. https://www.facebook.com/events/729763163770135/

Can’t make it out to Warren Wilson? On Tuesday, Leslie will be speaking at Downtown Books & News on Lexington Ave in Asheville at 6pm on Tuesday, November 4th. This is another free event. https://www.facebook.com/events/1419215874989621/

On Wednesday, there’ll be a benefit vegetarian dinner with music offered at the Wine Hause at 86 Patton Avenue. All proceeds will go to the Kurdish Red Crescent, offering free emergency health aid to the people of Rojava, in particular in the beseiged canton of Kobane. This event runs from 6:30 to 8:30pm.
http://bit.ly/aid4rojava

Finally, on Wednesday night at the Odditorium, on Haywood Rd in West Asheville, at 10pm there will be the opening salvo of a hopefully ongoing queer dance party series and safer space entitled Cake. This night’ll feature a performance by Bootz Durango from Charlotte and it’s suggested that queers and allies come dressed as their favorite confections. https://www.facebook.com/events/1500284163556631/

Another article recently published on the subject of Rojava from an Anarchist perspective:
http://anarkismo.net/article/27540

One in a series of blog posts by British filmmaker, Adam Curtis, on this same subject: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/HAPPIDROME-Part-One

The playlist for this episode is here.

Dilar Dirik on the Rojava Revolution, part 1

http://dilar91.blogspot.com/
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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.

http://ideasandaction.info/2014/10/rojava-anarcho-syndicalist-perspective/
https://robertgraham.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/david-graeber-support-the-kurds-in-syria/

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