Script: Speech on Rojava v. 1


Volunteers for Rojava reconstruction

1What is Rojava

  • Location, context, timeline

    • Middle East: nexus of geopolitical problems since 1916. Sykes-Picot and drawing lines on the sand. Divide et impera.

    • 40 Years of PKK – a peculiar story of political transformation. Anti-feudal guerilla. Flirting through the Iron Curtain.

    • Kurdish resistance in Turkey & Syria (different strategies). Discrimination, forced assimilation. Situation of women.

    • Kurds: the common enemy for regional hegemons.

    • The philosopher-king. Imprisonment as a reflection time. Top-down implementation of a bottom-up political model. Chances and pitfalls.

    • The cantons: officially since mid-2012. War with ISIS: 2014. Now, reconstruction.

  • Broader context:

    • Inspiration: Bookchin

    • Turkey: the incubator

    • Inclusivity: blueprint for the Middle East (critique from nationalists).

  • Political project: quitting dominance (feminism, assemblies, ecology).

  • Social Contract: beginning of a long journey.

  • Points of critique:

    • More like a representative democracy.

    • Mandatory military service

    • Underage girls in YPJ.

    • Economy: straddling the fence.

    • Realpolitik: under-the-table games.

    • My own point: absence of technology in the model.

  • Havin Guneser: No Miracle at Work

We need to return the moral and political aspects back to the society. Intellectualism has been restricted mostly to the universities; it needs to be returned to all of us. Morals has been replaced by positive law. Politics on the other hand has been brought to an almost stand-still under the administration of nation-state bureaucracy underneath the disguise of parliamentarism.

Thus, in order to be able to stop the perpetuation of capital and power accumulation as well as the reproduction of hierarchy there is a need to create structures of democratic confederalism ― that is a democratic, ecological and gender-liberated society.

  • Democratic civilization must be feminist in character, he says. Following on from Maria Mies he calls women the first class, nation and colony. [Currently,] the relationship between woman and man, (…) is essentially colonial. This fact has been disguised by declaring it to be a private sphere ― an area of exploitation well protected through the use of emotions and love games. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to expose this and to re-define this relationship.

  • Democratic civilization must be based on ecological industry. This follows on from a similar logic and perhaps is an area that is most difficult to overcome due to object-subject dichotomy and the way we live.

  • Democratic civilization must develop its own understanding of self-defense. The use of force has been monopolized by the state and power structures in order to leave the moral and political society defenseless. (…) Self-defense must be tied down to grass roots structures and must not be professionalized―it should not become a sector.

  • Finally, democratic civilization’s economy is a communal economy. (…)Re-connecting and grounding every individual in satisfying their own needs within the community and in a communal manner shall empower the individual and the society and restrict the [replication] of capitalist mechanisms.

2Why is Rojava important?

  • Implementation of ideals: feminism, assembly-based democracy, non-state autonomy.

  • Prefiguration: parallel to EZLN. Weaving new worlds within cracks of the old one.

  • Icebreaker: similarities to Podemos, Syriza, Pirate Party, only much more radical and universal.

  • Universality: rooted in the earliest human notions of cooperation, solidarity and harmony with nature, much earlier that any ideology, being used now as a base for criticism.

  • Open-ended project: the principle of self-determination opens ways for experimental sociopolitical models, rather than imposing one-fits-all solution.

  • [Unlike EZLN] Common heritage: Bookchin, Ocalan, Sumer.

  • Mutual learning. On-the-ground experience vs. quantum observer.

3Conclusion: John Holloway, The Fourth World War and How to Win it.

But it is more than the Kurdish movement isn’t it? There is an overflowing, an overflowing from Kurdistan, and we are that overflowing, We who are here not just to learn about Them, but because they are part of us as we are part of them. We who are constantly being attacked and are desperate to find a way out. We are here not just to support them, but because in them we see a hope for ourselves. We who are trying to weave a different world against and beyond this world of destruction and death and do not how to do it.

(…) It is not enough to be morally right or poetically exciting: we actually want to win the Fourth World War by bringing it to an end, by creating a world free of capitalism.

(…) We are in the centre, this We that we started with: a self-contradictory We, a We who walk asking, walk dreaming. Above all a We who walk weaving. Practically, we create the bases of a different society by weaving it in a movement that goes against and beyond the capitalist binding of our activity into totalising, meaningless labour. This is not just a project, it is something that we are already doing, and that has always been at the centre of all anti-capitalist struggles. We push against capital by doing against labour, that is by weaving a world of many worlds that push towards self-determination. All these weavings are contradictory, all have to face the extremely complex problem of the interface with the world ruled by money, by value: that is why they cannot really be understood as autonomies, but at best as autonomisings, as cracks or crackings in the texture of domination.

(…) These are weavings that are taking place in all the world, weavings that are constantly threatened by capital, frequently crushed by capital, constantly taken up again by us. (…) There is no model, there are no rules as to how it should be done. But there are outstanding examples, examples that light up the dark, depressing sky, examples that inspire us with their strength and beauty. The Zapatista struggle is one glorious example of this. The Kurdish struggle, with all its creative beauty that we have been hearing about, is another.

[BREAK]

4From Ashes to Sustainability and Resilience.

  • Kobane: ground zero & flagship project. Kobane Reconstruction Board. 80% of infrastructure. 90% of population. Booby-trapped everything. Temporary shelters needed.

  • Material and political embargo. No state will allow the enemy grow. France and Syria sort of softer. KRG – de facto against.

  • Old infrastructure made Kobane dependent. Time to redraw. Resilience aboce all. There WILL be wars.

  • Politics: they wait in the shadows, with knives.

5Amargi means freedom

  • Volunteers: international, self-organized network of civilian volunteers

  • To Support: providing help, expertise and community networking, remotely and „on the ground”,

  • Rojava Development: to facilitate reconstruction and redevelopment of Rojava in a sustainable and resilient way.

  • Adding technological component.

6Three steps to go

Subsidiarity

  • No White Man’s Burden!

  • Kurds have no friends but mountains?

  • There’s more than just raising the money or awareness.

  • Grassroot international recognition.

Teaching the teachers

  • Chance for the phase transition.

  • New technologies for the new civilisation.

  • Telegraph network – challenges for the world engineering community.

  • Kurdish Technology Group – powerhouse of new civilisation.

Under own steam

  • Open everything, but no blind copying.

  • Hacker/Maker scene as the knowledge transfer layer.

  • Ultimate target: being redundant.

7Readings, links

Ideological foundations of Rojava (ebook)

Some sources of news & comments:

http://kurdishquestion.com/

https://rojavareport.wordpress.com/

http://new-compass.net/

http://roarmag.org/?s=Rojava

Official pages

My websites

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Turning stories into reality.

Posted in Events, Varia

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