The Kurdish Rojava Revolution: Going Beyond the Nation-State

There’s no other group that has captivated me, other than Zapatista uprising, on the creation of political alternatives, than the Kurdish people.

In Rojava, Northern Syria, the Kurdish took it upon themselves to survive a wave of ISIS fighters headed their way for invasion. The Syrian government forces, opposed to Kurdish autonomy, left. Yet, in the vacuum, the Kurdish people were able to reorganize themselves into bottom-up communes, complete with self-defense units and community assemblies. It was years in the making, with the movement learning lessons since the PKK launched attacks at the Turkish state.

Yet, it is quick to say that only the Kurds are involved. This is not the case. Rojava is proving to be an alternative to the nation-state model, avoiding the authoritarian logic locked in the ‘nation’, and preferring to organize in a pluralistic model. Different groups, or affinities, have autonomy and are responsible for the well-being of the whole society. Their principles closely align with anarchist conceptions of decentralization, as well as a simplification of politics.

Feminism has taken on a huge role, empowering women through political positioning of women, as well as allowing them autonomy just like any other political affinity. For the Middle East, and many other so-called “advanced” democracies, this is model to be reckoned with. A revolution that puts the women at the center is certainly one of attention and admiration. Also, we are not referring to liberal conception of “women”, where the liberal feminism only concern is simply “representation” on the avenues of power. Rojava does this and more. It empowers them politically with each other, and with the communes.

Rojava is proving to be a viable and realistic model outside the nation-state. The theory of democratic confederalism from Abdullah Ocalan is certainly showing that left libertarian, anarchist ideals are not a utopia, dreamt about only by professors in ivory towers. It is happening right now in the Middle East. It is our duty to help them.

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