Janet Biehl and Ercan Ayboğa: Revolutions in Rojava and Beyond



first of all I would like to thank everybody who's come tonight from all directions there are people here from all over not just the UK but all over the world and without further ado I would like to introduce Andy Stirling co-director of the ESRC step center anniversary success well thanks very much amber and thanks to everyone involved in organizing this event which does not include me it's it's fantastic to see it's through people I found the discussion already to be moving and inspiring and I'm really looking forward to the onward discussion we have here on the panel my my role is simply to welcome people it seems a bit invidious since we've already really engaged with these huge issues but I just want to put it very briefly in context of what this this particular meeting is part of from our point of view at the steps tender the step centre is a bunch of academics who are part of a network internationally with partners in Buenos Aires and Nairobi and Delhi Beijing so we've got it we've got partners in different countries and what we're really struggling to get to grips with is how one goes about taking seriously the challenges of social justice and sustainability around the world in ways that are respectful to different ways of looking at those problems and we're trying our best to engage with social movements in these different countries in a obviously only a small way but we're trying to do this because so much attention in academia and policy and business is on so called transformation so called radical change in innovation in a top-down way and we're really interested in exploring ways in which that actually not only can be achieved actually really is achieved in the real world by the kinds of more horizontal organization that we've heard about a bit already so this event itself is part of a series of events that we're really privileged to have collaborated with a whole bunch of groups in the UK transformation events we've been holding in various cities around the UK talking about different aspects of transformation how we take it seriously how we achieve it and this is one of those events which I'm very excited to be able to attend today and then tomorrow when we have a workshop and for me this I mean I have found it really inspiring and moving because although the issues here are of incredible momentous importance in that particular area which we want to talk about more also for the world as a whole the challenge of achieving radical egalitarian transformation ecological transformation in way we've heard about in ways that don't depend in rely on reinforce these vertical structures it's something that's really interesting to us so as one of the speakers said in the film we're here to learn and I've already learned a lot and I'm really looking forward to learning more as it conversation proceeds thanks very much everyone for engaging with it and next I'd like to welcome Saleem attest Amir representative of the Kurdish community guest speakers colleagues and friends thank you all for coming here and joining us today it's great it's a great pleasure to welcome you all on behalf of the Sussex Kurdish community and also a member of the organizing committee we are delighted to have you here to participate in this evening's panel discussion on the revolution in rojava and Beyond perspectives on democratic transformations with two distinguished key speakers Janet mill and John Aybar I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to our both key speakers as well as the participants and speakers of the tomorrow workshop which will focus on the immense speedy transformations engage in radical democracy in Kurdistan we appreciate each of these each of them for taking the day time and afford to be here to share their ideas or opinions experience knowledge and expertise to mama to my knowledge this is the first event that addressed Raja Revolution and democratic transformation ago java– in a such broad context in Brighton we are very proud to be part of this event today's event and joint organised by step centre such as Kurdish community and Brighton Kurdistan solidarity I especially would like to thank to step centre amber hoof and Patrick hoof for approaching us with the idea of holding such a event in a critical time when Kurdish people and Kurdish women in particular have been taking their fight struggle resistance against most brutal anti human and barbaric terrorist groups dictatorships and so-called elected governments in the divided homeland Kurdistan in this respect I believe this event is very important for providing an opportunity to bring the large number of academics researchers and activists to discuss the project of democratic reconstruction in rojava that offers possibility for transport for transformative peace freedom democracy and democracy not only in Syria and in the region I also would like to acknowledge my colleagues and organizing committee members namely a for they afford at this event namely Amber goof-goof Patrick Ruth and Cameron meeting Mohammed or and Jamal is karma and steps and stuff for the hard work and dedication for the workshop preparation so we'd like to take this opportunity to inform you briefly about our accession and community Kurdish community is a registered charity established in 2010 by a group of Kurdish residents as a result of large number of Kurdish people living and working in the Sussex to enable them to address their problems and promote the social economic cultural and demanded a democratic rice in Sussex region although our members are made predominantly coming from the northern Kurdistan the developments in other parts of Kurdistan in every sense affect our members deeply especially since the Syrian conflict start the smallest parts of the Kurdistan or Java has become a center of attention for us with its historic resistance against Isis or Isis and and the revolutionary democratic system which being established despite the war thus this discussing the inspiring the case of the ro Java on a such platform is very significant for us as it enables to introduce the ro Java revolution and democratic system in Rozsival a wider audience I certainly hope that this event will be the will be that what you expect it to be and that you take this opportunity to have a discussion and exchange of your visions experiences knowledge opinions regarding the Revolution and why they could Kurdish Democratic Movement with with academics researchers and activists coming from different places and to meet new colleagues in the field of the current studies thank you for your attention okay hello everyone welcome it's great to see so many sue so see so many of you here tonight my name is cameran Martin I teach at University of Sussex and I have had the privilege and pleasure of being involved in organizing this this splendid program as we all know certain movements at certain times assume a significance well beyond their geographical boundaries and their own time and I think role Java and the wider Kurdish freedom movement is an example of such a movement and I think we all noticed this self-consciousness of being part of much wider movement of a universal and humanistic struggle for Galit Arianism and equality from the people whom you saw in the film talking about their vision for the future the struggle they are engaged in and so on so we envisage this program as an opportunity for us to share ideas about or a java movement the ideals it represents the achievement it has produced and the limitations and problems it encounters and we want to use today's event and tomorrow's workshop to reflect critically on this experience up to this point in its evolution and learn from each other's experience and knowledge on Rosa and hopefully some of this comes through today in the panel and in the films which we have already seen so thanks for being here hello thank you all for coming it's wonderful to see such a great turnout and I'm really I'm hoping that you will take what you've learned today and think about ways to translate it into action to help support the project the remarkable project that is Rosa I have several connections with this project most recently I'm the translator of a book that was written by a delegation that visited Raja for a month in May 2014 they wrote it in German and I should be I need to be careful to say that I didn't translate it from Turkish from German and it's been published by Pluto press so part of what I'm doing here this week is doing book the book launches for this wonderful and extremely informative book another way I'm connected with rojava is that I've been there twice myself I've written as part of delegations to observe and witness I've written about I've written about it in several places online and you can find my work my observations about it there but my third connection is is somewhat of a different order it has to do with ideology and that is my my collaboration with this Murray Bookchin that some of you have heard about or may know about already his ideas of social ecology were a great influence on the development of democratic confederalism which is the the basic ideological structure on which row java is based so let me tell you i thought i would tell you a little bit about how this how this route actually dates back long before i new books in to the 1950s to the bronx in the united states in new york in the era after World War two books in had been a communist a member of the Stalinist movement as he later called it in the 30s of trying to create a proletarian revolution to overthrow capitalism but was disappointed that that did not work out in during World War two many of his comrades decided upon the failure of the proletariat to make a revolution to move to the right and to enter mainstream society and have a good life with themselves but Bookchin couldn't do that because he considered but alyssum to be a form of barbarism and to accept capitalism is to accept barbarism and that could not and that was intolerable so he worked with a group of people to think out what were the new limits of capitalism there has to be a limit because capitalism is an evil system and if the limit is not the misery of the proletariat or the falling rate of problem well the different Marxist terms I'm sorry they're not on the tip of my tongue right now then what were then what are the limits of capitalism he looked around and he saw many things about the post-war American society he saw that the American government had become very centralized and very powerful partly as a result of the war you saw that the economy was term being turbocharged with capitalism but giant entropy enterprises were becoming larger and larger and swallowing up small small enterprises he saw that technology was turning people into into robots they that that instead of being the Masters of technology people were being being almost reduced to arms of machines and above all he saw that agriculture was becoming industrialized it was becoming it was being reworked for the purposes of profit as part of the capitalist system and in or in the process of that of small-scale farming had given way to large industrialized tracts that above all relied on chemicals for all sorts of reasons for for you know pesticides and food and preservatives and and herbicides and these were toxic to health now the evil twin as I like to think of it of the industrialized agriculture system that he was criticizing as the megalopolis the giant city cities too in parallel with this gigantic agriculture were themselves becoming gigantic they were being choked with cars they were being crowded with people they were spewing up pollution they have both the air and the waterways they were they were and again reducing people to to automatons who wouldn't do routine jobs in their daily life and stripping them of of their power their potential power as political beings it was the the megalopolis rendering them past passive and the state is the epitomizes the the the political dimension of this process so you know and so in all these ways he developed a program for decentralization he wanted to decentralize agriculture he wanted to decentralize the cities and marry them in a vision of town and country that are united on a small scale so that food is produced near where it's consumed he wanted to read to decentralize technology because he's new he wasn't a primitive asti's new technologies of miniaturization and cybernation and even computers were coming in and he thought that these could lend themselves to a small-scale manufacturing rather than these gigantic industrial facilities that were coming up he needed he thought energy needed to be decentralized because look what was coming in nuclear power for which and and and fossil fuels which were put forward to her contributing to these to this large scale in the large scale of Industry and the cities and so he thought that and and let's see technology it's the economy had to be decentralized as well he had some ideas about that that he later called the municipal ization of the economy but above all the most important piece for what we're describing here I think is the political decentralization he thought that there we needed to be institutions that it wasn't enough to destroy the state as Anika's were we're calling for there needed to be institutions that could embody freedom that could create freedom that could because if you just have a free-for-all then somebody it's gonna fight and become dominant and we'll end up with a dictatorship again so freedom he said has its forms it has to be you have to have institutions that guarantee equality and with people and that guarantee that everyone has rights and this and this would he looked to ancient Athens you look throughout history and found different different models for for place very rare places in history where this had been embodied ancient Athens of the new england town meeting tribal societies the there was some assemblies in the in the Parisian in the French Revolution in the 1790s that he was very interested in but they all had had a were besmirched in some ways by history it was you know it was very easy for people to laugh and say oh oh face to face democracy you know citizens assemblies those things can never work you know what look at ancient Athens it was built on slavery and excluded women and it was imperialist I would look at those New England town meetings they in in in the United they were they were involved with war waging wars against Indians and plus they were religious fanatics and as for the French Revolution there was a lot of blood involved so but what book ssin said was essentially look all those things all those all those that that the defects historical defects are not inherent to the institution's themselves to that idea of a citizens assembly instead of looking for reasons not to do it not to create them because Oh women might be excluded let's start with the idea that we're going to that this is the ethical that this is a way to make politics ethical to include everyone to include everyone so that everyone can make decisions together about their own community life let's start with the premise that it's ethical and then work out the problems from there instead of excluding it from the from the from the outset another objection that was often raised so is will we have a very complex society you know we have the this is the ancient Athens was very it's very small-scale the Paris you know that yeah that was a big city in the 1790s but still you know much smaller than cities today well he had his answer to this problem was Confederation that the citizens assemblies that would be created as the vested in citizen empowered government of localities self-government would work together in Confederation and he took the idea he took the structure from the Anika's of the CNT and a Spanish Revolution and other parts of Anika's history there's a series and they worked in a series of tiers so the power could flow from the bottom up so that so that the delegates would be mandated from from the base level of the assemblies up to a Coordinating Council and maybe up to another one and up to another one so that these so that decisions could be made as an administration could happen over broad areas and yet power would flow from the bottom up that was the all important thing because he was an anarchist by this time he was and this the reason for the he thought that he thought that this state was reducing people to passive not to entities he wanted people to be active citizens he wanted them to take charge of their own lives and and and look also it's you know he was the this human health issue continued to be very important because pollution was wrecking the environment and making the biosphere impossible for people to live in so so those two things for him went together so these ideas became known as as eco we're called by different names if you don't mind me laying on some ideology here to you eco anarchism social ecology communalism libertarian municipal ism is a specific name for this this idea of the political dimension of the of the communes and councils in Confederation and he wanted he thought that this could become become a counter power to the to the nation-state if that that the people would would would see that they can govern their own lives they could make decisions that and that it could could turn society around so it wasn't destroying the biosphere and they would they would when enough people participated in the citizens assemblies and in the Confederations it would form a dual power to the nation-state and could be overthrown before I go and I just want to say a little bit about this economic decentralisation for me that's the heart of his his his study of early society what he called organic society where people lived in in in in in in tribal society operating what according to what Marx called primitive communism but he workbook should use different words which I think are very useful usufruct production for use you work using things just as you need them and but sharing the rest the ethic of complementarity where people different abilities take care of each other and look out for each other the irreducible minimum I love this concept it almost sounds like the guaranteed basic income right I mean the irreducible minimum means everybody is taken care of it means an above all that means the community takes care of everybody that social security lies in community not in each individual person going out and fighting for his fighting for him or herself and you know perpetuating the profit system well he spent decades trying to advocate these ideas and while he did develop some some comments along these lines I joined him in the 1987 a large movement to to undertake this was didn't didn't materialize I'll just point out one if you want to know more about libertarianism and this this political project at his past I wrote this little book called the politics of social ecology : libertarian municipal ism in 1997 or 98 something like that it's published by black rose books and it's been translated into several languages but it's a it's a it's we decided at one point that we needed a primer so and I said it didn't really take off in the United States but as has been as we've all come to to realize now it took his translation became very important several Turkish translations they were read by Abdullah öcalan in in Raleigh prison around I think around to between two thousand two thousand two or three I think especially this book on urban of this I do these political ideas were very important to him libertarian municipal ISM by 2002 he was recommending them to his to his to the vows to the to the friends in them in the PKK and it's at this time the PKK was undergoing an ideological transformation away from the demand for a separate Kurdish state which has been part of its founding manifesto in 1978 a separate Kurdish State created a long sort of Marxist I worked for a long Marxist Leninist lines instead they would give up the idea of a state and try to create this bottom-up polity with councils and Confederate in Confederation communes and councils in Confederation I don't want to this was certainly not the book shion's influence was certainly not the only one he read many books on democracy I'm sure in prison and there's also you know you can look at ancient Athens for ancient models of assembly democracy but they also existed in Mesopotamia so but he did put it together in book she did have some importance in fact when he some injured intermediaries wrote to him and we were living together at the time on one morning on my inbox I see some requests for a dialogue and at some point during during that sort of mediated conversation Urgell and said through translators and lawyers and two books in that he was a social ecology considered himself a social ecologist and a very good student action so we know that there was there was some some influence in any case after after book Shan died in 2006 the the PKK Assembly swore that they would be the first Society to the first place to create a book Shin polity on the planet and it turns out that they as as I think air john will go into a little more detail they it was an effort was a conscientious effort had been made to think out the best ideology and then to implement it to put it in practice you know they weren't they weren't just they weren't just tinkering they discussed it first and then decided are the democratic confederalism is the best approach for all sorts of reasons and would put it into practice just before one more thing before I before I have to give up my my microphone here I find I have found that in my in my travels to ro Java and in reading about all this it's very a good way to approach understanding the phenomenon is through this basic rejection of the state the state in all its forms in the Middle East it's for the heterogeneous peoples that live therefore that hit that incredibly polyglot area the state has been a force for repression for denial of identity and and ultimately also for massacres and even genocide there's a this unitary state that insists in Turkey that insisted everyone that lives in Turkey is a Turk and everyone that lives in Syria is an Arab this this overrides ethnicity ethnic and religious differences when I was in row Java I met a woman called Nala nilüfer coach who said you know it's it's ethnic ethnic warfare and religious warfare these are these divisions created by the state if there wasn't the state pitting people against each other we could all live together in peace and I think that's what that's and that's one of the one of the basic principles of the Kurdish of the Kurdish movement it's embodied in there in their constitution so you see in rojava a transfer of basic the the organizing functions of the state into society into a stateless society so instead of a constitution which they associate with the state they have a social contract or a charter and it contains it's not just a change in language it's it's it's it's full of all sorts of human rights affirmations and affirmations of the liberation of women and on ethnicities it doesn't even use the word Rho Java as air John has pointed out because that's a Kurdish word it's an it everyone seems to be included other ways instead of they don't have police because police serve the state they have açaí egalitarian defense forces that defend the society they don't have an army it's you know that's it that's associated with the state they have the YPG and the YPG a the people's protection units you can see just from that language that it's about supporting that these units are militias are to support the society and not the state there's a transfer of land I think if someone mentioned earlier a lot of land was left behind after the Syrian regime left and it's been turned not into not into corporate enterprises bolstered by a state but into cooperatives embodying especially agrarian cooperatives cooperatives embodying these principles that that I think you know you could also call you could call them the irreducible minimum the ethic of complementarity and usufruct they're their people these principles by which people work together and make decisions and organize a cooperative in an egalitarian way and look after each other the education system is it's not they don't use though when I was there they didn't use the word university because they associate university with the state instead they have academies which are institutions for popular education not just for students between a certain age but for students of all ages up to even people who were in their 80s and 90s go to go to the the academies for a popular education and everyone there's no unidirectional flow of education from teacher to student it's a mutual process of mutual discussion I think that's one reason they're so committed to do their ideas is because they've discussed them and discussed all the possibilities so thoroughly until they until they there's this thing everyone till an agreement is reached if this is the way to go forward what else what else oh I had some other some other ways I wanted to mention in which functions are transferred from the state to society but I think I'm running out of steam now so I'm going to turn it over to to air Johnny and we can talk about it more during the question period good evening to all of our wash I'm really happy to speak to here very pleased and I can even say it's a hunter for me to speak about the revolution in rojava and the situation and in around and try to explain I have prepared as presentation we'll go a little in the history not really about to give some basics you see a map which shows areas of Kurdish minor majority here we have the Syrian state you see it's a state were the smallest number of people live and that's it which is a smallest geography and they live along the bull Turkish border more or less there are different maps and I just choose one and each map shows areas a little different the Kurds they make around fifty percent of the population in Syria around and today they are let's say in 2011 the number was around 3 million of totally – 22 23 million and the Kurds they are one of the many cultural groups Surya is a very culturally diverse country a stateless a state and you see the different colors each is for another one and the dark the green one in the north they show the curves this is this map differs from the other one the Kurds they speak all one dialect it's cool man gee it's important because we have five in total more or less and they are all not all almost all I guess 95% are Sunni Muslims if the other percent are ezd people or a Louise Louise live in the northwest the easy decent northeast the Kurds are the first I tried to give differs from the curse and other parts where the state has not promoted the religion so much the Muslim religion so they are conservative on one side but they are not so strong religious the curtains in Syria David ever have been faced in the 60s with a so-called Arab belt and Arabization it's important because in this period the Syrian state settled many Arabs especially to the north east area or along the North Turkish border that changed the demography of the region in a certain way the 150,000 Kurds have they have lost their citizenship from the Syrian state the number rose later to 350,000 and I because I claim that they came from Turkey in the 20s this is something special they had absolutely no rights second-class people yes and the Kurd start in Syria and Nora they started to form of course parties and some people of course were politically active but usually they concentrated on south kurdistan and north coast and in the 60s I started joined the armed struggle in south kurdistan and that time the Christian Democratic Party of Syria PDEs became the strongest party then in the 80s it changed this political situation among the Kurds in the year 1982 lebanon and many PKK members came to Syria and where they prepare the armed struggle in North Korea they starts to organize a lot of codes in the in rojava and in Aleppo especially in the north in the Afrin region and in the kobani region me one back Efrain region is more or less it's this area here is kobani this is this region and here's the region Zera so three main regions through the Arabization on information the population demographic changed so much that the kurds are only here and the majority and here and here are small areas and here mostly but not everywhere it's quite very complicated there are up there celiacs which come from the Assyrians Armenians Chaldeans turkeys in Turk means and so on this is the diversity is more than in the other parts of Kurdistan this is also to mention okay let's continue so PKK became in the 90s always more stronger among the Kurds in rojava in that in 98 uploader i had to leave syria as some of you know or the most in 99 he has been kidnapped to Turkey and this was a point moment where the Syrian state increased their oppression on the curves and the the top peak of the suppression was a massacre in Commission on 2004 when around 30 people have been killed after a football match you must consider that Syrian state was based on the Arab nationalism the path bass part is living there and they used some Arabic groups or other groups to attack the court in this year and the following years the repression was very high and the Syrian state had very good relations with Turkey and in this period we came to the year 2011 this should also mention that Raja hua is the poorest or was the poorest region of Syria the Kurds were the poorest part of the population of course there were other power pool parts but there were absolutely no big investments of state did everything that Konami doesn't develop so much that's why many moved to Aleppo and other big cities so then came the year 2011 the so-called Arab springs up uprisings in North Africa and this in this moment the Kurds they they were very careful and many Kurdish cities people's records started to protest also maybe not in a very big number but especially in the young younger generation and I did demonstrations but they didn't end in violence or in massacres like the other parts this is related that they are careful because a faced extreme repression and because they didn't arm themselves and in this moment in March 2011 PYD the democratic party union which has been created founded in 2003 and represents the Kurdish freedom movement in Raja I mean Kurdish freedom movement the leftist one the left one and they decided dunno to say okay we organized a society so what we do this is a moment they were coming a war a conflict and war and different powers of the region world will intervene and they had unfortunate ahead right and we we must organize ourselves organizing this in the neighbourhoods villages and everywhere how we can and they did it and some people compared with the with the Zapatistas who do not aim to confirm militarily so much more to concentrate on self organizing empowering so the summer 2011 and the waste divided and the Kurds one block was formed by PYD and several other organs across organizations like from the West there people's councils of Wescoe and which is also called have damn the democratic movement for the movement for a Democratic Society the other side was E and K as Krishna encounter of Kurdish council in Syria in he has more let's say liberal right block right parties and the center is the PD key so and the type them especially didn't join the main opposition group in Syria which was formed East owned by the Syrian National Council which has been founded also in the summer 2011 than the waste divided and your August the MGR kid People's Council of a strudel son has been found that I would like to read some sentence from the book to their quotations from activists from that time they described it like this it's a time before before the style of the revolution in July 2012 in the spring of 2011 we expected that the protest movement would spread Sid van our friend told us we taught about how to get ready for it and what we would do we were very watchful that spring we began to build people's organizations the question arose as to how we would protect ourselves so in July or August we establish the y XG the predator of YPG the self-protection units at first we were few in number as most people were still so intimidated by the state we invited all the minorities to founding to a founding Congress but because the war was going on only a handful had the courage to show up the only party that supported us was a PYD we were always criticized for that but the PYD had world every day at the grassroots and and our numbers grow we build the armored units illicitly many people in Kurdistan had weapons hidden away shotguns pistols Kalashnikovs within six or seven months we organized the self-defense committees of the yxg plant distant can clandestinely next paragraph the first to join have a armored told have a Amir told us were young people from the streets with no political views as soon as the first martyrs fell more people joined almost every family already had members who wear martyrs meaning PKK guerrillas at first our work was very dangerous regime agents were everywhere all around us in all of Derick there was only one friend means activist heaven but gradually we visited all the families of martyrs martyrs and prisoners and everyone was ready to do something the state left us in peace and we established a very few strong arms so we had many conversations like this because there are a lot of allegations and claims that the state just that was a meaty agreement between PYD in the state and the PYD get area from the space from the area which was not so true but the state had not the strong interest attacked the Kurds in this moment as it was concentrating on the other rebel groups or oppositional groups in Syria so a lot of things and then MGR key has been founded I don't want to make a long charity background but you see I want to only mention it what were the basis Democratic Confederacy was a political approach developed by PKK especially Waialua jalan 2005 it has been declared it just says its idea is and here it he refers especially to Murray Bookchin he says the I we must find a structure which includes involves all parts of the society is open to them not a class and as much as possible people should join the decision-making processes in our society should be the actors in this sense different cultural groups means ethnic and religious groups were important and from this approach the rejection of the nation-state became very open and the determined the term democratic nation has been developed in this context the decision-making should be done according to a radical to direct democracy we call it radical democracy that means not what we have in the most Western states or the most part of the world's a parliamentary representative system we must do it more democratic more we must go more to the ground the broader population must be the actors then the women liberation is a very crucial elements it forms actually every sphere and in the movies documentary it was said enough about the ecology I am personally in the Mesopotamian ecology movement active which is based in North Forest and for us it is very crucial and the ecological dimension means not only the conservation of nature and ecosystems and biodiversity it's more it's about the way how we live how we produce consume and how we distribute and move and so on and this leads us if he continued in the logic to anti-capitalist approach in yes it's were more or less the basis and short we can say empowering people the be benefited lots of the people on Raja have benefited from the experience of POC or North Kurdistan at that time because since 2007 the Democratic Society Congress has been founded there were also neighborhoods and structures and upper structure social movements and so on NGOs etc and the goose pelt is ruled by the Kurdish freedom movement and their North produced and come all the actors and the Democratic Society Congress together a North Korean has different very different conditions because we have a state strong a repressive state a very new liberal state the capitalism is growing very faster a lot of investments to okay Church State belong to one of the states in the world where you can make a lot of profit with investments so this affected also Kurdistan of course the capitalism came stronger to North Curtis them and our movement wanted to establish something ultimately very far from capitalism solidary Society so the two extremes they existed and exists in North Korea Stan and it's much more difficult to establish develop deepen their because of capitalism and repression you know between two thousand nine and twelve almost ten thousand activists had been arrested so I know many friends are arrested again late yes I have become to show you some pictures from the liberation in kobani and the Cobra it started there are two pictures are not very good many pictures from that time pictures here's the popular uprising and here you see how they there's a flag coded flag on the building which is one of the governmental buildings in kobani so this has been done by popular uprising I want to mention it because we say it is a revolution it is not only uprising or liberation it is a liberation which started in kobani that makes kobani important and after the resistance against Islamic state in 2014 it makes it doubly important for us at the city of resistance so continuing yes the the moment of this liberation is also important to only recover just one two days ago the big attack of FSA and other jihadist groups started in Damascus and Aleppo and other cities and the Syrian state shaped a lot and just in this moment have them the structure for the councils and the end YPG decided to liberate the state cities and the liberation of kobani is not like this it was a decision which was taking in one day okay we do it tomorrow like this and there was also the Syrian state was a very weak situation to use it to take advantage of it and there was a risk that if we don't do it the FSA or other Islamists will come and take our lands so this liberation continue the next days and weeks and slowly slowly they liberated the area sometimes there were small clashes but not big because the Syrian state they had retreated already a lot of police and military from the towns so the biggest threat after the style of the revolution came from the Turkish states and the jihadists and some FSA units she had this emphasis on FSA they worked closely together with the Turkish state which is which worked had a strategy together Saudi Arabia and Qatar and which was supported by the natural States so the Turkish state they but the Turkish state's approach was important that the jihadist started to attacks Raja Watts didn't start it with Islamic state in 2014 so the church that the Turkish state has a double strategy on one side the fourth encouraged jihadist as part of a safe FSA to attack Raghava which started November 2012 another side there were meetings the Turkish government didn't say yet PYD is a terrorist organization of YPG sometimes they said used in the said it indirectly sometimes there were still meetings you remember the PYD co-leader culture Sally Houston has been invited twice to Turkey so Turkey tried to make pressure on tell them to join the Syrian National Council and to make pressure on YPG and to join FSA but they were rejected because the may so-called main opposition of Syria they didn't accept really the rights of Kurds I mean culturally accepting the identity on the same level autonomy decentralized state like lights estate it was not really never accepted so this was a time and that time we started I was in Germany and we discussed ok we what's going on we try to read everything what we could but it was not enough and internationally it was not really discussed even many Kurds in Europe or North Korean didn't really understood or I didn't take it very serious what's going on there and didn't really were not convinced that there's a revolution so in this time we said ok we must send a delegation who should stay there and make as much investigation the reserves interviews as possible so we three people went to there in May 2014 we did hundred twenty interviews and we could go everywhere and because we're three we are also part of this broader Kurdish freedom movement we had better access and many journalists or let's say other activists which were not so much connected and yes we could had a very interesting insight and the result was a book what this book first in German the in English but after the translation we did also a lot of updates in English and I must say that Janet didn't only translated it she also edited the book and we have to mention it and make proposals how to move parts from here to there and in that time the English translation was important because the English translation was basis also to translate it in further other languages now the book has been translated also an Italian very soon in Spanish Russian and Greek and very hopefully in two three four months in Turkish and in Arabic so totally eight languages yes back to we stated that there is a big process a lot of things are done undergoing there are a lot of discussion interesting discussions we have seen a lot of cooperatives or communes at that time you know when the Revolution our church they were Commun commencement at smallest organization unit existed in the villages but not in cities and cities we had the neighborhood councils which include the neighbor put we're left usually several thousand ten twenty thousand people in 2014 I met to be met a lot of people who worked in this community I said we must break down the lowest have organizational structure and we must go to the residential streets to include more people and the organization and to involve give a task to everybody and empower people of course PYD did it does it and have them activists they go to the people and say we should do this others have done it you should also do it and they encourage people to organize themselves on the lowest level I mentioned this because in 2011 there was no big request in the Kurdish society of rojava that we now organize ourselves and direct radical democracy only PYD discussed they discussed it they were but there were 2000 people maybe in total even less who really discussed this issue so it's a process this is important so now look to 2011 and today today we will see a lot of people on the ground which have started the idea of self-organizing on the lowest level yes then this structure developed 2013 and summer there was a new big attack by here's a picture of where in a neighborhood the coordination of some new community came together we joined it it's in the city of deity yes and then in 2013 someone there was a big attack by flummoxed eight al-nusrah and some FSA groups Jawad was a big one and was defeated after one two months directly after that a new discussion started by initiated by tell them to have them to Movement for Democratic Society at the coordination of the People's Council of West Corazon with it which is mg R key and I mentioned the two names because they're used here and there and always not really understand what is what even we didn't really understand it until we went to Raja WA the new process started have them which it was not only supported by P P various party mean why four or five other polish parties and the important part of the chaldeans in Raghava they started in the discussion with 50 organizations including parties for a new more comprehensive umbrella political structure for Raja and they started and of course you needed a social contract which janet mention it was prepared over four months there were a lot of discussions of society there's the difference between the first raf and the last one last one i could compare it and January 2014 it has been approved approved accepted completely with a declaration of democratic autonomy political model and the democratic autonomous administration's have been created you see here diagram don't look too much on it before I must explain two things this new structure was a let's say more kind of what we know work with a parliament Legislative Council with the government the basis the municipalities on the communal level and which should be the upper structure there were a including all these different organizations which were represented in these common Parliament's of each tonton now the Shura regions became the name Canton and yes with each had 22 ministries and so on and but there were two main reasons why this has been done first to include more wolf more part of the population of Raja WA tandem was representing maybe will more than 50 percent or 60 percent something like this but still many Kurds especially the celiacs or RF were not part of it this there was a need to include more of course to have them could continue to exist and try to include more but there was a need in urgent needs there's war embargo and always attacks and this was the second reason seek force legitimation on Syrian international level and for status and status means involving in the negotiation to Geneva talks yes and this summarized is also in the book shortly the structures on the basis we we have the communes here it starts from here it's a typical more or less typical council democracy more or less and they have a coordination and culture men and women of course and different Commission's Commission's yes and the Commission's are here basically eight which include all the society the health is excluded but working together I don't want to go too much in detail you can ask or read in the book and yes and the coordination represents a communion to the next level and this level has also coordination and so on it goes to until the rajaiahhhhhh level in the beginning there was it was not a division between the the Canton's however okay this area they include everything maybe you will not see everything defense YPG is connected to here and YPG and you see the women's have a special autonomous role in all these structures and they have a big for example they elect the female culture alone not together with a man and they have their they have their own peace and justice committees which in the justice system for the cases which affect the woman so this is a structure which existed then came democratic alternative structures and this legislative and executive council have been created as I said I explained to try to explain the reasons but these structures continue to exist and they never gave up set okay now we have government and Parliament so we will make elections and everything is good no the commune the number of communes increased at the 2040 beginning now we have 2500 at that time we had less than thousand communes are important for as I said for empowering of people that continued and this all this the head of course the State Commission exists on each of this level and they are have been integrated into the ministries more or less and other actors which we are not here to enjoying it what's interesting only one point I will not speak too much about it is that each Ministry of the 22 ministries has something like a assembly or council and tell them is represented there with 40% I believe and other actors let's say take the merci for agriculture they have this assembly and farmers elect representatives to this assembly and this assembly takes the main decision and the minister alone cannot take decision this combination so many people have have criticized say why we have all these structures as we had this but as I said to include involve more people that's important and the result is that if you look today that these structures continue it's of course a kind of compromise we made some concessions but we should not look too much only on the formal things the power of the people how they organize and find and or to set up more cooperatives and the spreading of the communes also outside of row Java to the liberated areas is going on and this is the interesting part of it the new structure the democratic autonomous administration si en que es didn't join and PD key yes okay PD key from Iraq I mean the Krishna regional government there but especially the PD key from Barzani they started with almost embargo against it because the right his parties which are close to him have not join it and have more less and less power and yes and the developing of this political model as a search alternative to sue yeah so here you see the borders of the administration's and the three here are the borders as you see the liberated areas are a little more and each Liberty area doesn't is not included automatically to the Canton system it depends on the people there to where they want to belong or how they want to act process of discussion so this is a very interesting and wonderful picture it's this legate's that if counts as a g0 Canton when people take decisions on the woman's rights as you see see it's they are people from the grounds parties organizations they have brought them sent them to their also the Parliament they are also connected important power to tap them to different social movements and so on and well the women movement I don't want to say so much I mentioned the separates peace and justice which are important the number of yes and here you see a picture from a meeting in the street and Eric when we were there this is this is an EF la yeah you see her joining this meeting you see that the women are even autonomously organized in the youth movement there were all meetings and structures the women have mostly more meeting than men but I needed it as described all the documentary and this here showed the Academy for language literature which we could visit for a good day and I have started with the Kurdish lessons in the schools then they started to Inc to give the lessons different lessons also in Kurdish and was the second step of last year now they disguise University in the g0 Canton has just started Mesopotamian University they use in what University maybe they have discussed whether to you mentioned different by they use now the University and but here I have to mention that in even the sea reacts or the Turkmens or the Cherokees they've started to give lesson in their language tape which I didn't do in the school and here's lesson for the people here you see a picture from one of the many women academies the room there a lot and I don't know how many at least five six and the number of academics grows there's now also academic for ecology which had two years ago didn't exist but we have it also now which I want to with it here are the young people doing meetings just was more by accident when we met them around fifty or sixty years old and here we visited the hospitals and make very fast what's here important is I said the health system not was not directly part of the MGR key system because the in 2012 they created health councils and more than 90% of the medical doctors nurseries and all the personnel jointed the people with different political and cultural or backgrounds because health is so important they take this strategic decision have them didn't try to set it should be part of us and it's free service if you can you pay a little if you are very poor you don't pay and it's a justice system with with people working on justice interesting theory seeing is our the peace and justice committees on the ground which are connected or part of the commune or the neighborhood councils for conflict resolution as much as possible now there's a project with the Justice platforms which are a broader thing which includes some hundred people here is a church and Derick which visited and there didn't join the even of the democratic autonomous structure they were more in the middle and they had even a picture of Assad but they can not normally act in rojava and here the Syriac say have started to establish in their neighborhood there are security forces and they work closely with us iishe and you must consider that the fury acts they have also been faced with the genocide in 2090 a hundred years ago like their minions and the worse it's there are still but less prejudice or tensions with the Kurds yeah with this process they are also coming together so pictures from cooperatives I don't have much but this one textile that's a bigger one and where we go many international activists and delegations the textile here's a bakery and we have bakeries everywhere we have made products vegetables' on different areas of production but also on distribution of services they're growing and there are hundreds of cooperatives now and they are becoming slowly but more dominant in the economy it's not a niche important here's a picture of the Association has IKEA is more in the south and was at that time divided and the very tense city of tension and I do we today that ever began some small clashes but I don't know with between whom this three young as age women they came with us to some places in the city of amudha here YPG commanders which recruit with it and this is a port in strategic position Hill at the board turkey it was important for two years and here are some more pictures and so I'm coming to the end three three things I want to say first I do you should not idealize what's going on in rojava it's a revolution there four really big steps and they make a lot of progress and with our conception and head we cannot sometimes understand it and here we go there and see that some things can work and but there are also a lot of problems of course challenges and nine young stills yeah so many young people leave the area economic problems and so on or other problems Raja is a real which is in the middle is the most progressive most democratic I would say just beside the territory controlled by the Islamic states and most let's say repressive structure in the middle is the most fascist one so the two extremes control hands are existing besides themselves and the reactionary forces of Middle East support direct indirect the Islamic state and but Raja was hope for for a political solution or more justice peace in Syria because we have the two big blocks remaining jihadist dominated and the Syrian regime yes I would describe the challenges like this and come to the end of my speech you

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