There is place where sex, creed and ethnicity do not harbor division. A place where everyone is military trained so that having a police force becomes obsolete. A place where civilian females, instead of asking for permission, instead of waiting for outside help, have taken up arm against their aggressors, against those who intend to rape, enslave and murder them. This is a place that’s giving birth to its own freedom, in spite of the oppressive forces that surround it.This is a place of sincere revolution, and it’s been happening for years. And it’s happening now. This is Rojava.
Where is Rojava?
Rojava consists of three autonomous regions (Afrin, Jazira and Kobanî), on the border of Turkey and Syria.
What is Rojava?
Rojava is an active, historically unique socio-political experiment. It is a stateless direct democracy consisting of bottom-up self-governing structures. It is a feat of cooporative anarchism. It is a true alternative to the embraced nation state systems that do nothing but dominate and fail, mindlessly looping through history.
How Rojava Operates
Rojava is populated by about 2 million people. It has 22 ministries, each has 1 minister and 2 deputies, all three having to be from a different ethnic background, (Arab, Kurd & Syrian) and at least one of 3 has to be a woman.
Every street has their own democratic assembly. They try to resolve problems locally otherwise it gets delegated up if no resolution is found. Municipalities are autonomous and make their own decisions and control their own resources. It is the localities that make demands from the administration. The police and military answer to the localities.
You can own any kind of weapon (guns, rifles, rocket launchers, tanks). They have a police force (Asayaş) that anyone can join after 6 weeks of training. Their goal is to give every citizen training so that ultimately, they could eliminate the police. They also have the HPC (HezênParastina Cewherî/Individuality Protection Force), a network that anyone can claim to be a member of (like Anonymous). They are the counter-force against the security apparatus.
There is a huge emphasis on education; permaculture, history, languages (Kurdish, Arabic, French, English, Assyrian, Chechen) and philosophy are given a lot of weight. Rojava has hundreds of cooperatives (500 alone in the Jazira Canton) each consisting of 50-100 people. The majority are agriculture coops (mostly wheat).These cooperatives form a network which helps work out demand. Their goal is to eliminate the necessity for money by having cooperatives trade goods based on need, but they are not anti-money (I would love to see them encorporate bitcoin as it fits their decentralized model). The emphasis is on self-sufficiency & empowering all people.
No one is forced to be part of a cooperative, and some of the coops compete with each other. You can be an independent farmer and sell your goods as you like. People have private property and own businesses. You can buy and sell houses but you must go to the local courts to register the new deeds. You can own land but before you build something, you must go to the assembly for that street and make sure it’s ok with the people there. Basically you explain your project to your neighbors first. It’s all about mutual respect.
Oh, and there is absolutely no tax.
Rojava defends itself with DIY weaponry and anything they can get off the black market or scavenge from ISIS. It has diverse voluntary forces that consist of groups like the YPG, YPJ & PKK.
YPG- The People’s Protection Units
YPJ – Woman’s Protection Unit
PKK- People’s Defense Force
Other supportive forces include the “The Lions of Rojava” which consist of western volunteers
Rojava’s forces are currently the only boots on the ground fighting against ISIS. Hey are incredibly heroic. They recently conducted a successful rescue mission of over 20,000 Yezidi people, who were trapped and defenseless against ISIS in the Sinjar mountains.
This all sounds amazing, and it is, but Rojava is crippled. It receives zero direct help from the West, from NATO, or from neighboring countries who should be unifying in the fight against ISIS. Worst of all, NATO member Turkey has assisted in the crippling of Rojava through the denial of aid and the enforcement of trade embargoes.