Published at 20:35 on 2 March 2015
Rojava being a set of three disconnected regions from what has traditionally been a part of the Syrian-controlled part of Kurdistan. In the chaos of the Syrian Revolution, a form of social organization with many anarchist characteristics seems to be emerging there.
Apparently, their main source of inspiration is the PKK, who’s leader has apparently discovered the works of Murray Bookchin while in prison and been inspired by them to change his ideology from orthodox Leninism to something more decentralized and anarchistic in nature.
I am hesitant to flat-out call what is happening there anarchism; there’s some stuff on libcom.org which points how it falls short of anarchism, or at least what the group of anarcho-communists who run that site say “anarchism” is. Which, while not identical to my own definition of anarchism, is not completely dissimilar, either.
But, we’re talking about something that would be a major social change even in the West. In a part of the world that has historically lagged when it comes to individual liberty, the level of change is even more profound. And we live in an imperfect world, where nothing will ever achieve any ideal.
What seems inspiring about it all are the positive developments that have apparently happened there. Probably most revealing were actually my attempts to find embarrassing bits dirt on the revolution there.
One of them was about the checkered past of Gil Rosenberg, a Canadian-Israeli woman who went there to fight and was enthusiastically welcomed into their ranks. The standard “See? They will accept anyone, that’s how low their standards are.” rhetoric was trotted out.
Well, guess what? Joining foreign military organizations as a way to run away from and forget an unpleasant past is something that’s been around for a very long time. There’s even an entire fighting force that is based around precisely that concept as a recruitment strategy; it is called the French Foreign Legion. And if you’re a struggling revolutionary movement and someone offers you help, you say YES and you say it with great enthusiasm and thanks (did the American Revolutionaries refuse the offer of help from the French monarchy)?
And this was for an Israeli Jew, mind you! That alone speaks volumes as to how revolutionary values are changing traditional prejudices.
To this can be added how a collective that I generally trust a great deal has come out with a book which concurs that remarkable things are happening in that part of the world. There’s also a fairly good BBC report on the subject.