Revolutionary Rojava

November 24, 2014

From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters

When we talk about IS and global counter-revolutions, we need to understand that these things occur in response to the freedom movements from both theory and practice. The specific freedom movements here are the liberation movement expressed in the creation of revolutionary Rojava in Syria and the social movements across North Kurdistan and Turkey which took as their points of departure the Gezi Resistance and the Kurdish liberation movement. Both movements go forward in direct relationship with the environmental, women’s and LGBTQI movements as well as the movements of national minorities (Alevis, Armenians and others).

Kurds fighting in Kobane, October 2014.

Kurdish women fighting in Kobane, October 2014.

For years now Rojava (“Syrian Kurdistan”) has been making perhaps the most advanced revolution we will see anywhere in our lifetimes practically alone. It prioritizes women and youth, cooperative production and building a new life for all. Women have their own armed forces and military colleges, for instance, and in one or two of Rojava’s three cantons women’s economic activity is guaranteed through laws giving women 10% of the economy as theirs. Before the current fighting about four million people lived in the three cantons.

We believe that IS is being used by the imperialists to defeat this revolution. The revolution has proceeded under the inspiration of the thinking of Abdullah Ocalan. But Rojava has its own structures and reality that push somewhat beyond his writings. And what happens now in Rojava determines if the armed struggle will resume in Turkey or not and under what conditions.

It should be understood that today the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) often thinks of themselves more as a social system than as a political party, that the demand now is for democratic self-management and revolutionary confederalism; and that Rojava is putting these demands and this understanding of the party into practice. Rojava has scores of political parties, but the leading Democratic Union Party (PYD) sees themselves as part of this framework. Both the PKK and the PYD believe that their revolutionary ideas and practice can transform the entire Middle East.

It is disappointing that there is no support for Rojava’s revolution in the Left in the U.S. and we wonder why. Only two left publications here have been willing to carry articles on Rojava while many more refuse but will not state their reasons. There is a news blackout in the U.S. regarding revolutionary Rojava that runs across the entire political spectrum. Everyone but the people are frightened by freedom.

We produce a daily blog covering freedom struggles across Turkey, North Kurdistan (“southeastern Turkey”) and Rojava. That blog can be read at Please note our appeal to the U.S. left there. Please support us.


0 thoughts on “Revolutionary Rojava

  1. Brief but excellent article. I think is awesome for letting us know what is happening in that “distant” part of the world. It gives us hope to know that “for years now Rojava has been making perhaps the most advanced revolution we will see anywhere in our lifetimes practically alone”. I have translated this article into Spanish for Praxis in América Latina, the Marxist-Humanist journal we are building in Mexico, in order to let know Spanish readers abour Rojava.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.