Kurdistan News

148 posts / 0 new
Last post
Joined: 17-12-05
Aug 20 2015 14:04
Kurdistan News

Combining several forum threads into one new thread. The conflict has grown across Syria, Iraq and Turkey and is definitely interrelated.

Rojava News
Turkey News in regards to the conflict between AKP-state/Turkey and the PKK (as well as the YDG-H), the HDP, etc...
Iraq Protests in regards to the KRG presidential term limit, protests against corruption, the ongoing bombings by Turkey, ISIS in Mosul and Sinjar and the PKK in Sinjar, Kirkuk, Makhmour, Amelia, pipeline bombings

Some other relevant threads:
Black Rose on the massacre in Suruç
Rojava economy and class structure
Kurdistan? - Gilles Dauvé
Anarchist Federation statement on Rojava: December 2014
Anarchists join fight against IS to defend Kurdish autonomous areas
No. This is a Genuine Revolution - Interview with Graeber by Evrensel Newspaper
The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes - Zaher Baher
'Rojava revolution' reading guide
The Rojava resistance: rebirth of the anticapitalist struggle - Salvador Zana
Mr. Anarchist, we need to have a chat about colonialism
Dear Cheerleaders, we need to have a chat about imperialism
Dear Mr. Anarchist, You Aren’t Listening

Andrew Flood's "Resources on the Rojava revolution in West Kurdistan (Syria)" is also useful.

There are a number of good reddits:
r/syriancivilwar (19,347 subscribers, best aggregator of news about the conflict in Syria, but also in Iraq and Turkey)

Ekurd Daily: langauges: English
Mutlu Civiroglu, journalist, Constitution of the Rojava Cantons
http://xendan.org : langauges: Kurdi, Arabic
http://milletpress.com: PUK, languages: Kurd (Sorani), Arabic, English
ANF News ( http://firatnews.com, http://anfkurdi.com, http://anfenglish.com, http://anfarabic.com, http://anfpersian.com). languages: Kurd, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, English
ARA News ( http://aranews.org, http://aranews.net ): languages: Arabic, English
http://ezidipress.com: pro-HPS, pro-PUK, languages: Kurd (Kurmanji), Arabic, Deutsch, Russian, English
http://rojname.com: languages: Kurd(Kurmanji), Kurd (Sorani), English, Deutsch, Français, Español, Italiano, Russian, Türkçe, Arabic, Farsi
Kurdish Question: pro-KCK (PKK), languages: English
Rojava Report: pro-PYD (KCK), languages: English ( http://en.firatajans.com/features/be-your-own-media )
http://kritisches-netzwerk.de: pro-PKK, languages: Deutsch
http://roarmag.org: pro-PYD (KCK), languages: English
http://new-compass.net: social ecologist, pro-KCK, languages: English

Rudaw: KDP, multiple articles per day. languages Kurd (Sorani), Arabic, Türkçe, English
Rudaw was established and fully sponsored by Nechervan Barzani, KDP senior leader and KRG Prime Minister.

Kurdwatch: anti-PYD/anti-PKK, languages: Kurdi, English, Deutsch, Arabic
Kurdwatch the project of Siamend Hajo and Eva Savelsberg in Berlin. Siamend Hajo being the leader of an expelled faction (the Shaykhmus-wing) of the Kurdish Future Movement. Both factions of the Kurdish Future Movement joined the Kurdish National Council. And Hajo's faction being anti-PYD, while the other faction is willing to talk with PYD. The European Centre for Kurdish Studies in Berlin is also their outfit. Savelsberg is the chair of the board, and Hajo is the treasurer--convenient that. http://kurdologie.de/

And then there are non-Kurdistan specific websites that often have good analysis or news:

Also there are a lot of good tweeters out there:
https://twitter.com/RedurXelil Spokesperson for the YPG
https://twitter.com/DefenseUnits YPG official Twitter
https://twitter.com/DefenseUnitsYPJ YPG official Twitter
https://twitter.com/pyd_rojava PYD official Twitter
https://twitter.com/serokepyd Saleh Moslem official Twitter, Co-President of PYD
https://twitter.com/mutludc Journalist
https://twitter.com/kovandire in Hasakah
https://twitter.com/MarkMonmonier Anarchist Geographer
https://twitter.com/cizirecanton Cartographer
https://twitter.com/sylezjusz Cartographer
https://twitter.com/jackshahine Journalist
https://twitter.com/Gorran_Change Gorran political party official Twitter

Joined: 17-12-05
Aug 24 2015 14:20

(click for an interactive map)

In Bakur, it seems like a number of areas have now declared self-governance and are treating AKP-state as illegitimate.

  • Province of Dersim
  • Province of Şırnak
  • Sur district in Amed/Diyarbakir
  • Varto district of Muş
  • Bulanik district of Muş
  • Yüksekova district of Hakkari
  • Yenimahalle district of Doğubayazıt
  • Cizre-Botan
  • Nusaybin
  • Lice
  • Silopi
  • Silvan
  • Şemdinli
  • Edremit
  • Hizan, Bitlis
  • Hacıbekir neighborhood of Van
  • Bağlar neighborhood of Batman
  • Dağlıoğlu neighborhood in Adana
  • Gazi neighborhood of Istanbul

  • Quote:
    The arrests were criticised by Diyarbakir co-mayor Gultan Kisanak, who said in a press conference that self-governance was a Kurdish political demand and the Turkish authorities should respect their wishes.

    "If the state detains my mayors, of course, I would declare self-rule," she told reporters outside the Sur municipality building.

    Muhsin Kula, DBP co-chair for Dogubayazit, said that they could no longer trust the Turkish authorities.

    "It should be known that we cannot be at peace with such a state,” she was quoted as saying by the pro-PKK ANF.

    “In this regard, we announce hereby that we will not recognise the state institutions, without denying the state itself, and that we will be ruling ourselves from now on. It is not the governors and district head officials appointed by the state, but those to be elected by our side that will form a basis for our ruling henceforwards."

    Eight soldiers killed, Kurdish mayors arrested as southeast Turkey erupts

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 20 2015 15:18
    the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement, or YDG-H, which the Turkish government says is the PKK’s youth unit. She and her comrades say they are self-organized PKK sympathizers.

    “We knew that the state would drop the peace talks, so we grew and organized ourselves meanwhile,” she said."

    “Now, we can talk about a mass youth uprising by the PKK,” said Cengiz Candar, author of a 2012 road map for peace talks and Kurdish disarmament. “There were uprisings in residential areas in the 1990s in Sirnak province, but they were not similar to today or at this scale.”

    "Members of the PKK’s youth movement said they had expanded their networks in dozens of cities while the government was holding peace talks with the insurgents’ jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Now, in this city of 120,000 alone, the militants claim to have 31 units, each with 20 members.

    Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast, Ayla Albayrak, Wall Street Journal, August, 19, 2015

    I think its worth noting that the YDG-H is not entirely or directly under control of the KCK/PKK. They are going do what they are going to do.

    Fnordie's picture
    Joined: 6-02-07
    Aug 20 2015 18:45
    Flint wrote:
    Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast, Ayla Albayrak, Wall Street Journal, August, 19, 2015

    I noticed this article is only visible to Wall Street Journal subscribers. Here's the same article for free on ibloomberg.net

    Fnordie's picture
    Joined: 6-02-07
    Aug 20 2015 18:53

    WSJ tv spot on the YDG-H

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 20 2015 19:33

    YPG/Al-Sanadid closing in on Al-Hawl. Al-Hawl is between Hasakah and Sinjar and part of the supply route between Raqqa and Mosul. Taking Al-Hawl gives a defensive line from Mount Sinjar, through Hasakah to Mount Abdulaziz.

    Some of the offensive against Al-Hawl is coming from the YPG presence in the east in Sinjar.

    al-Sanadid may have already taken Khatuniyah with the help of YPG.

    Al-Sanadid forces affiliated to the Shammar tribe,one of the biggest ones in the region, have taken their place among the forces fighting together with the YPG/YPJ since the start of the revolutionary process in Rojava.

    Shammar tribe is inhabiting in Til Koçer and Jazaa regions of the Cizîr Canton of Rojava as well as in Iraq. The tribe is not under control of any forces in Iraq and only defends its own lands while in Rojava the Sanadid forces of the tribe fight jointly with the YPG/YPJ forces. The Sanadid forces say that they will follow YPG/YPJ wherever they go, and that they can even liberate Baghdad jointly.

    Sanadid forces say they make their plans and and preparations for operations jointly with the YPG forces. They emphasize that members of the Shammar tribe are people of plains while the Kurds are peoples of mountains and that the plains and mountains came together in the nature of things.

    Al-Sanadid forces: We go wherever the YPG goes, July, 5, 2015

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 21 2015 17:29

    Bread prices in Syria by province

    per 1 KG:
    Al-Hasakah under partial YPG control is listed as sp 100 ($0.52 US).
    Compare to beseiged Deir e-Zor that gets supplied by airlift: sp 3500 ($18.64 US)
    Islamic State capitol of Raqqa: sp 200 ($1.04 US)
    Aleppo, largest city in Syria with a YPG controlled neighborhood: sp 175
    Baathist capitol of Damascus: sp 60
    Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) capitol of Idlib: sp 50 ($0.26 US)

    Bread prices in Syria vary widely from province to province: In Damascus, a standard 1kg bag of bread costs between SP35-75 ($.20-.40). To the south, in Daraa province, the price doubles.

    Like the war itself, the problem producing bread is localized. In the suburbs east of Damascus, which regime forces have completely encircled for more than two years, a bag of bread costs on average 800% more than in the Syrian capital.

    Flour shortages, blocked supply routes and ongoing battles all also contribute to spikes in the price of this Syrian staple.

    What emerges from the data Syria Direct gathered is that citizens across Syria, regardless of who controls their village, town or city, struggle with finding quality bread at an affordable price. The notable exception is Damascus, where the government has made bread provision a priority, though even there, shortages are not uncommon. Still, one resident told us that despite strict price controls on the actual bread, privately owned bakeries are now charging for the bag in comes in.

    Syria: Bread prices by province, Syria Direct, August 19, 2015

    Fnordie's picture
    Joined: 6-02-07
    Aug 21 2015 16:23
    Flint wrote:
    sp 200 ($104 US)

    I assume that should be "$1.04"?

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 21 2015 17:29

    Yes. Fixed it. And the broken URL.

    Joined: 15-11-07
    Aug 23 2015 07:42

    There was a Suruc massacre in Izmir in Turkey on 21th august. Organised by sgdf for benefit of the injured and killed and their families. It was totally legal however cops in riot gears showed up at the door of theatre building and demanded they entered to the building like 200 cops otherwise they will not ket the event proceed. After hours of negotiations. Sgdf decided to do it just in front of the building outside (where cops were standing) So it was more acustic than intended. Also there were heavy joking of cops who were watching the event (they eventually get offended and leave to their busses) the crowd was like 500 people (plus similar number of cops watching closely) Anyway it is once again proven at which side Turkish state stands: the killers and not the killed.

    Joined: 15-11-07
    Aug 23 2015 07:46

    Some of the municipal co-chairs of hdp were arrested after the declaration of autonomy.

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 24 2015 17:49

    This came up in regarded to the Rojava Electricity Project being fully crowd funded. Why doesn't Rojava produce Solar Cells?

    They have plenty of silica, Syria has like 150 million tons.

    Solar Cell production

    They don't need clean rooms, but might in the future

    They would need titanium dioxide, which is usually gained from rutile which industrial production gets from here; which would mean imports. Right now, most imports are prohibited by economic boycott of Rojava by Turkey and Iraq (including Iraqi KRG); and by ISIS blocking access to the rest of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Its probably more possible to get a few generators across the border than it is to setup an industrial production chain.

    For thin film production, they would need import tellurium from the U.S. or gallium from bauxite mining or zinc production from China (where they could also get indium imports from.

    Similarly, wind power requires neodymium magnets. Neodymium would also need to be imported most likely from China.)

    For hydroelectric, the rivers flow from Turkey and dams are rather massive infrastructure projects. Very soon, we will probably see the YPG/YPJ/Burkan al-Firat make an attempt to seize the Tishrin Dam. In addition to a capacity of 630 MW, it is the easiest way for the YPG/YPJ/Burkan al-Firat to cross Al-Firat (The Euphrates River); Islamic State destroyed all the bridges north of the Tishrin Dam to prevent passage of the YPG/YPJ/Burkan al-Firat.

    Other hydroelectric dams in Syria are the 824 MW Tabqa Dam and the 81 MW Baath Dam; both much deeper in Islamic State territory along the Euphrates. Before the war, Syria produced 7.6 gigawatts (GW) of electricity with 1.5 GW coming from hydroelectric (generated by those three dams). By comparison, the generators just crowd funded produce 1.32 MW. So, its imperative that the YPG/YPJ/Burkan al-Firat seize the Tishrin dam.

    Seizing the Tishrin dam will probably be easier than ending the economic embargo from Turkey. But there may be a possibility to end it from the KRG if Barzani gets ousted from the executive. Still, that may also mean that KRG will get boycotted by Turkey and the route from Basra to Rojava might be a long haul. Though the amounts of rare earth needed are small quantities (still probably more than you would want to transport by air and the fuel costs there may circumvent whatever carbon savings folks were looking to achieve by avoiding burning diesel).

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 26 2015 03:20
    PYD's Salih Muslim during his yesterday visit to Turkey: "We won't announce another canton in Tel Abyad. We'll let its people decide." Meanwhile 300 Asayish policemen arrived to town from Jazira canton to serve as temporary security until locals are recruited. Civil bodies being set up w/help of Kobane canton representatives and the town will be temporarily linked to Kobane until situation's stable. Tel Abyad ruling council decided the town will be part of Kobane canton and organised similarly to other municipalities across Rojava. Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa says it doesn't accept decision of inclusion to Kobane canton - town should remain in Raqqa province.

    Source: sylezjusz

    Fnordie's picture
    Joined: 6-02-07
    Aug 26 2015 14:06
    Co-mayors of Amed’s Silvan and Sur district municipalities which are both DBP-run municipalities have been formally arrested by a court on August 22. They had been detained on August 19 in the scope of the political genocide operation launched after the declaration of self-governance in the districts.

    According to Bianet’s report between July 20(Suruç bombing) and August 20, in 18 cities, during Turkish State’s total warfare and continuous attacks against guerilla controlled areas 140 people had lost their lives including 55 civilians, 32 guerillas, 35 soldiers, 16 police offcials and 2 state sponsored village guards.

    Isyandan Weekly Report, Aug 17-24

    Fnordie's picture
    Joined: 6-02-07
    Aug 26 2015 14:28

    Kurdish prisoner Behrouz Alkhani and five others executed in Iran

    PJAK calls upon Kurds to step up struggle against Iranian regime

    I'm wondering what to make of this. Does it mean anything for Iran's relations with Kurds outside of Iran?

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 26 2015 14:56
    Fnordie wrote:
    I'm wondering what to make of this. Does it mean anything for Iran's relations with Kurds outside of Iran?

    Do you mean in Syria? There is almost no relationship. Quds Force and Shiite militias have been supporting Assad/Baathists in western Syria and aren't near Rojava.

    In Iraq, al-Hashd al-Shaabi and Peshmerga (PUK) barely tolerate each other as long as ISIS is a threat. There has been violence between them in the past, such as in Tuz Khurmatu. Some folks argue that Iran is friendlier to Kurdish ethnic identity in Iran, but it is still a very authoritarian state that is ruthless to political dissidents. Some argue that the PKK needs to appeal to Iran for support since it won't be supported by Turkey, Iraq, Syria, etc.... but there hasn't been much of anything of the sort.

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 27 2015 02:21

    KRG Peshmerga have started an offensive against Daesh in the Kirkuk area

    August 26, 2015 map:


    KRG frontlines map, May 2015 from the Arming Iraq’s Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict, International Crisis Group, Middle East Report N°158, 12 May 2015

    peshmerga forces--took over army positions in Khanaqin and Qara Tapa (Diyala governorate); Tuz Khurmatu and Kifri (Salaheddin); areas east (Ninewa plain) and west of Mosul (Sinjar and Zummar, including its Ain-Zaleh oil field); and Kirkuk city, its (military) airport and the Kirkuk oil fields (Baba Dome, Avana Dome and Bai Hassan). The KRG began sending oil from the Kirkuk fields northward to Khurmala Dome and onward through the Kurdish region’s strategic pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in January 2015. Kirkuk oil used to flow westward to Bayji and from there through Iraq’s strategic pipeline to Ceyhan, but this line was cut by IS’s arrival.

    The PUK has the front from the Iranian border to an area north west of Kirkuk city, comprising the Germian front (Khanaqin, Saadiya, Jalawla, Qara Tapa, Kifri, Suleiman Beg and Tuz Khurmatu), and the Kirkuk front (Daqouq, Kirkuk, Dibis and Tel Ward). The KDP directs the area from there west to the Syrian border: the Gweir front (Makhmour, Gweir and Mosul Dam) and Sinjar.

    Though PUK forces dominate in Kirkuk, the KDP and PUK agreed to appoint Mohammed Haji Mahmoud, a Suleimaniya-based figure critical of both as military commander there. Moreover, while PUK forces are firmly in control of areas to the east and south east of the city, KDP forces have been trying to assert themselves in the north west, especially around Dibis and Tel Ward districts.

    For instance, Kosrat Rasoul, a top PUK leader, has transformed his protection unit to a brigade of 2,000-3,000 men. The PUK’s Bavel Talabani, Jalal Talabani’s eldest son, commands a well-equipped counter-terrorism force (Dizha Tiror), mostly operating in key disputed territories such as Kirkuk and Khanaqin. In July 2014, Nechirvan Barzani, KRG prime minister and KDP member, sent his personal security force to seize the Bai Hassan and Avana Dome oil fields in Kirkuk. That month, his rival, Masrour Barzani, led an operation to seize Ain-Zaleh oil field in Zummar. Operational coordination can be difficult even within the same party. A low-ranking PUK member commented: “There is not a single office or strategy within the politburo. Each member has his own interests to protect and confronts situations accordingly. The problem is they mix their political interests with peshmerga ones”.

    Mahmoud Sengawi, a PUK politburo member and former peshmerga commander, leads on the front line in the Germian area, south east of Suleimaniya governorate, with the help of Abdul Abor, a younger PUK military commander in charge of the Tuz Khurmatu front line. Sheikh Serwan Barzani, a KDP politburo member, heads units on the Gweir front outside Makhmour, aided by Qader Qader, a KDP central command member.

    Makhmur Front Lines April 7-July 7, 2015

    Kirkuk Front Lines July 6, 2015

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 27 2015 13:16
    Life came to a halt today in Diyarbakir as the local branch of the DBP called a one-day general strike in protest at repeated attacks launched by the Turkish military around the province, reports an article from DİHA carried by Özgür Gündem.

    The call was made in response to recent attacks against civilian areas in the districts of Farqîn (Silvan) and Licê by the Turkish military and police. It asked people to bring daily “life to a halt” throughout Diyarbakir province. In both the city center and the neighboring districts all businesses with the exception of bakeries and pharmacies closed their shutters; transportation workers also stayed home and streets and avenues across the city center were largely empty.

    General Strike In Diyarbakir To Protest Turkish Military Attacks, August 26, 2015

    Life in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır stood still on Aug. 26 after a call to protest recent security operations in two districts of Diyarbakır province.

    The call by the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the sister organization of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said the situation in the districts of Lice and Silvan, where security operations and a curfew were in place, was “unacceptable.”

    “We ask our people to bring life in Diyarbakır to a halt to raise our voice against attacks targeting civilians,” DBP provincial co-chair Hafize İpek said in a written statement on Aug. 25.

    The majority of shop owners in Diyarbakır followed the call and kept their shops closed. Public buses run by the municipality were also not working, while there were notably few minibuses and taxis on Diyarbakır’s uncharacteristically quiet streets.

    “This is the least I can do to show solidarity with the people in Silvan and Lice,” said one shop owner sitting in front of his closed grocery.

    A rally was planned in central Diyarbakır for later in the day.

    Life stands still in central Diyarbakır amid clashes in suburbs

    Several young people have been wounded as Turkish police attacked residents during a daylong walkout in the largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakır... The local political party Democratic Regions Party (DBP) called on people in the main Kurdish city of Diyarbakır to stop life for the day. The action was held in protest against the attacks on Silvan and Lice. Police responded by touring the city dispersing tear gas and using live ammunition at times. Clashes broke out on several main avenues in the Bağlar district.

    Police attack as Diyarbakır shuts down in protest, August 27, 2015

    Fnordie's picture
    Joined: 6-02-07
    Aug 26 2015 19:17
    Some argue that the PKK needs to appeal to Iran for support since it won't be supported by Turkey, Iraq, Syria, etc.... but there hasn't been much of anything of the sort.

    Yeah, that's what I was getting at. There are quite a few posts on r/kurdistan that essentially say "we need to ask for Iran's help," but I have no sense of how rooted in reality that is.

    Flint wrote:
    DBP called a one-day general strike

    Just when I thought I'd learned all the acronyms...who are they?

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 26 2015 19:37
    Fnordie wrote:
    Flint wrote:
    DBP called a one-day general strike

    Just when I thought I'd learned all the acronyms...who are they?

    The DBP is basically the local municipal version of the HDP. So, the DBP are the local mayors who keep getting arrested for being the face of "self-governance" resolutions, while the HDP are trying to get seated in parliament.

    Fnordie wrote:
    Yeah, that's what I was getting at. There are quite a few posts on r/kurdistan that essentially say "we need to ask for Iran's help," but I have no sense of how rooted in reality that is.

    The PUK most often gets accused of being influenced by Iran, while KDP gets accused of being influenced by Turkey. And the PKK gets accused of being secretly supported by whoever the accuser's enemies are. Iran may have shared some intelligence in regards to Daesh to the PUK Peshmerga; but some of it might be "don't shoot our militia over here, shoot Daesh over there" level of intelligence. When KDP wants arrest someone affiliated with the PUK, they claim they were getting armed by Iran without going through the KRG(KDP). That's what they pulled on Haider Shasho/HBS ( 2, 3. )

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 26 2015 19:57

    Black Rose Anarchist Federation and Lib Com in Suruc:

    The organizing effort was extraordinarily successful; hundreds of people volunteered. Sercan (who asked to be identified by his first name to protect his safety), a 28-year-old sociology PhD student, saw the event on Facebook and felt he had to go. “When I learned about the situation of Kobani and the Rojava Revolution,” he says, “I saw it as a very positive development and I thought it should be supported on a humanitarian and political basis… I found it meaningful to go there.”

    Also traveling to Suruc were Christopher Wohlers and Claire Keating, the sole Americans who would be present at the bombing. They had been visiting from Los Angeles, where she teaches high school and he is a physics tutor and an incoming radiation oncology student at Loma Linda University. Neither of them is either Turkish or Kurdish. But Christopher says he was compelled by a “region where people are experimenting with direct democracy, experimenting with socialist economy, with feminism.” While studying abroad at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, he was introduced to the young left in Turkey, and it energized him. When he saw the experiments in Rojava, he wanted to go back. Christopher calls the region the “bright spot of the results of the Arab spring,” and the closest existing embodiment of his libertarian socialist politics.

    Christopher and Claire spent several weeks in Turkey before ending up in Suruc. Driving around the country in a rented sedan, they visited LGBT centers and a socialist bookstore. There was an atmosphere of tension among the young activists they met. “Everyone was waiting to see if the government would push the country to war,” says Christopher. But for leftists, fresh off the electoral victory, there was also a great deal of optimism and a sense of unified purpose. Claire describes meeting people from HDP, labor activists in Istanbul, LGBT activists in Ankara, social ecologists who were doing work around the reconstruction in Kobani. All of these groups finally felt as if they were part of the same enterprise, she says, making it “an incredibly hopeful political moment to be in Turkey. Political space was opening up that hadn’t existed before.” Traveling around, they saw a flurry of left-wing political activity, and in each city they visited, there were flyers promoting the trip to Kobani.

    Arriving at the Suruc cultural center on the night before the Kobani trip, the two found what Claire describes as a “massive street celebration.” Their fellow activists were celebrating the Rojava anniversary with singing and line-dancing. The attendees were diverse, from Istanbul anarchists to Syrian refugee workers. One man had traveled from France, and a family with young children drove all the way from Switzerland, a distance of over 2,000 miles. Christopher and Claire enjoyed the fireworks and excitement for a while, then finished the evening in a café, where they tried some lung and spleen kebabs, and the owner told them with pride that Suruc was a city of the PKK...

    Christopher, Claire, and Sercan escaped the blast through a fortunate inconvenience. Christopher and Claire had decided not to actually cross into Kobani, for fear the Turkish government might not let them back in once they had left. But Sercan was still going, and realized he ought to bring toilet paper, in case the war-torn city was in short supply. The three were leaving for the shop precisely at the moment of the explosion...

    The immediate aftermath of the bombing was predictably gruesome and tragic. But one especially shocking aspect of it was the bizarre response of government forces. Within a few moments of the explosion, heavily armed police and tanks surrounded the cultural center. Yet instead of aiding the victims, they immediately aimed their weapons at the devastated survivors.

    “They just pointed guns at people, but didn’t do anything at all,” says Sercan. As people tried to give first aid to the wounded, and carry them out of the cultural center, the police formed a blockade of armored vehicles at the exit, pointing machine guns at the crowd. The police, wearing full riot gear, closed rank and tried to keep anyone from leaving the area.

    Christopher, Claire, and Sercan escaped the blast through a fortunate inconvenience. Christopher and Claire had decided not to actually cross into Kobani, for fear the Turkish government might not let them back in once they had left. But Sercan was still going, and realized he ought to bring toilet paper, in case the war-torn city was in short supply. The three were leaving for the shop precisely at the moment of the explosion...

    The immediate aftermath of the bombing was predictably gruesome and tragic. But one especially shocking aspect of it was the bizarre response of government forces. Within a few moments of the explosion, heavily armed police and tanks surrounded the cultural center. Yet instead of aiding the victims, they immediately aimed their weapons at the devastated survivors.

    “They just pointed guns at people, but didn’t do anything at all,” says Sercan. As people tried to give first aid to the wounded, and carry them out of the cultural center, the police formed a blockade of armored vehicles at the exit, pointing machine guns at the crowd. The police, wearing full riot gear, closed rank and tried to keep anyone from leaving the area...

    The change was felt immediately. In the few days after the bombing, after Christopher and Claire left Suruc, they found that the Kurdish city of Diyarbakır had instantly been heavily fortified. Undercover officers were monitoring a small vigil there, and when Christopher attempted to take photographs of the gathering, police seized his phone. A peace march they attended in Istanbul was violently broken up by police. Claire found the experience bewildering. “It was very confusing to try to understand how this could possibly be the response of the government to an ISIS attack, to go in and treat the Kurdish community, which itself had been the target of this attack, as the criminals.”...

    For left-wing activists, this has meant an extraordinary new state of fear. Sercan says that “huge operations against leftists” have been occurring, and that while the government claims to have arrested hundreds of ISIS and PKK terror suspects, the vast majority of the arrested are pro-Kurdish leftists rather than Islamists. In the city where Sercan heads a local chapter of the HDP, 18 members of his party have been arrested. Oğuz says that numbers of home raids have sharply increased, targeting members of socialist groups, and that SGDF members have been rounded up and arrested. “Even the most legal and democratic actions can be deemed criminal activity,” Oğuz says, “and one can end up being detained or arrested.” Membership of SGDF or HDP can be deemed a terrorist activity.”

    They are radicals, to be sure, but radicals who detest all forms of oppression whether from ISIS, Turkey, or the United States. They praise revolution, but call fervently for peace. Sercan, though a self-described anarchist, is skeptical of the effectiveness of small armed attacks like those on the Turkish policemen, and believes the electoral victories are heartening...

    The survivors of Suruc are hopeful that these values will someday find a place in the world. “The general rule here,” Oğuz says slyly, “is that wherever the state attacks, that area or that group gets stronger,” and he boasts that SGDF membership has grown. Asked what outcome he ultimately wishes for, he replies that “in an ideal situation, different peoples in this region would live equally together in peace, where youths and women are free…and where capitalism doesn’t damage the environment.” Sercan says he believes “the Kurdish movement’s ideas will eventually go beyond the Kurdish population,” and notes the uniqueness of a national liberation movement that is also critical of the idea of the nation and the state.

    Turkey Is Using ISIS as Cover For Its War Against Kurdish Activists, Nathan Robinson, The Nation, August 26, 2015

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 27 2015 13:01

    3 neighborhoods in Istanbul declare self-government: Gazi, Gülsuyu and Kanarya.

    One of the neighborhoods that declared self-government is Gazi. In 1995, 17 people died in police repression of neighborhood actions. Since then, Gazi has been a key neighborhood for revolutionaries from Turkey and Kurdistan. Last week, the Gazi Neighborhood People's Initiative declared self-government in the neighborhood.

    "The working people of Gazi have been oppressed, colonized, and massacred. But they have lived side by side for years even with different languages, religions and cultures. The time has come for this people to say 'enough' to the cruelty, torture and massacres," said a speaker for the neighborhood initiative.

    Gülsuyu, like Gazi, is a neighborhood dominated by the working class, Alevi Muslims and revolutionaries. The People's Initiative for Gülsuyu's Maltepe district joined the declarations of self-government. In their statement, the group denounced the police targeting of Kurdish politicians. They also decried the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the bombing of Kurdish guerrilla zones.

    The neighborhood of Kanarya is located in the city's Küçükçekmece district. Called "Istanbul's Kurdistan" for its large Kurdish population, Kanarya was a site of resistance. As a result, police raids were frequent. The people of Kanarya decided to join Gazi and Gülsuyu in declaring self-government. Neighborhood people now guard the streets against police attacks every night.

    Internet and telephone access was cut to six towns in Northern Kurdistan (in Turkey) yesterday.

    All six towns--Lice, Silvan, Cizre, Silopi, Şemdinli and Yüksekova--are towns where local people have declared self-government and defended themselves from police violence.

    Telephone and Internet cuts began early in the morning in Silvan and Lice, in Diyarbakır province. Serious police and military operations were ongoing in both towns.

    Six towns cut off from the world in Kurdistan

    Entdinglichung's picture
    Joined: 2-07-08
    Aug 28 2015 08:10

    this one is interesting (if true): http://en.firatajans.com/kurdistan/71-village-guards-resign-from-duty-in...

    71 village guards in Beytüşşebap district of Silopi have resigned from duty in objection to the Turkish army's repression on them to participate in military operations.

    The 71 guards in Çeman (Başaran) village submitted their application for resignation to Beytüşşebap district governor's office yesterday evening, announcing that they will no more take part in the operations, get engaged in clashes and keep guard. Village guards also stated that soldiers have been using them for years.

    One among them told that; "We do not want to kill our brothers and sisters anymore. We trusted the process of solution and believed we would be granted some legal rights and not involved in the bloodshed after that. However, the war has started again and we will not be a party to it. The state can retire us from duty but shouldn't expect us to fight anymore."

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 31 2015 01:05
    It is no injustice to Öcalan to say that he is returning to pre-Marxist utopian socialism – the likes of Babeuf, Fourier, Saint-Simon, Owen and Lassalle, who saw socialism or a society free of a ruling elite as a moral necessity, not as the result of class struggles...

    Öcalan’s notion of socialism has a strong similarity to the agrarian socialist ideas of the Narodniks, the nineteenth century Russian populists, who regarded the Russian village community as the starting point for a just society. From quite early on in the book, Öcalan sounds like a Narodnik; later on he even mentions himself that the PKK is most comparable to this movement...

    It seems as though Öcalan wants to ignore at all cost the significance of classes and class struggles, because they do not fit into his concept of a “natural classless society”, which always existed as a counterweight to class rule and to the state, and which should reassert itself in a natural manner.

    While Öcalan argues against “vulgar materialism”, upon which Marxism allegedly bases itself, he himself has an extremely simplistic and vulgar image of it. His woodcut-like idea of Marxism is probably an expression of the Stalinist ideas that dominate in the Turkish and Kurdish left, which turned Marxism from a living method into a collection of simple articles of faith.

    For example, he speaks of an alleged “inevitable development towards communism” and accuses Marxism of being obsessed solely with questions of economy and inevitability...

    Moving away from the PKK’s original idea of a peasant based “people’s war”, Öcalan deals with the question of armed struggle in a different way. Instead of carrying out a war of conquest, he advocates self-defence, defining the tasks of armed units as “creating guarantees for democratic efforts” and foresees in quite a concrete fashion the political and military practice of the YPG/YPJ in the defence of Rojava. The establishment of self-defence units is something which he regards as necessary due to the “increasing uncertainty”.

    Öcalan does not maintain his militant anti-capitalist stance throughout the whole book. At times, his arguments somersault at breakneck speed. For example, he states that capitalism is “not to be rejected outright” and that the system can repair itself...

    Öcalan seems to counterpoise capitalism to an alternative inspired by humanism and socialism, but he does not define how capitalism can be overcome and how a socialist society would differ from it. In this respect he is not too far away from the classical social reformist interpretation, which sees socialism as a guiding idea and thinks that its realisation can be recognised in each reform within the confines of capitalism...

    In his opinion, the state is “probably the most dangerous instrument in history”. Revolutionaries who aim to create a different, better state – a workers’ state, do not, in his opinion, break with the logic of repression and exploitation; they merely add new aspects to it. Not using the analysis of the Trotskyist movement, Öcalan lumps together Marxism with Social Democracy, “Real Socialism” (his term for Stalinism,) and national liberation movements which, in his opinion, all went this way and in doing so actually prolonged the lifetime of the capitalist system.

    As he has no programme for workers’ democracy, this sounds as if Öcalan had become an anarchist, regarding the smashing of the state and the immediate introduction of the free association of production as central tasks of the revolution. But he clearly distances himself from this idea, saying that the capitalist state should not be smashed, instead it should die off slowly...

    What Öcalan describes as “democracy” is not a new form of society, nor even the seed of such a society within the old, nor a form of dual power. Rather it is a mixture of the formation of a political, social and civil society and the grassroots organisation of social services -which in Turkey are organised only in a very repressive form, if at all. With a view on the practice of Kurdish self-determination in south-eastern Turkey and in Rojava, it should be added that in these regions there is a democratisation of local administration, a comprehensive programme for the advancement of women and a strengthening of small cooperatives and small businesses, in what would probably be most accurately described as a locally based or solidarity wartime economy, while attempting to apply ecological criteria, within capitalism...

    The opening of the PKK which he has pushed forward has been an opening to the “right”, in the direction of a reformist accommodation of capitalism, but at the same time this opening has allowed room for manoeuvre for the unity of working people and the poor across ethnic and religious lines. The rejection of national oppression and the strengthening of democratic rights, particularly women’s rights, are central messages of the Kurdish movement.

    The heroic defenders of Rojava, the hundreds of thousands of supporters of the movement in Turkey, Iraq and Iran are important sources of potential for the building of a multi-ethnic, multi-faith movement of the oppressed and exploited. Marxists argue that such movements should adopt a strategy which bases itself on the mobilisation of the masses, democratic discussions and decision-making structures, the perspective of overthrowing capitalism and the creation of a voluntary socialist federation of states in the Middle East.

    In the end, capitalism in Kurdistan will not be brought down by a Narodnik-like organisation, but rather by a socialist workers’ movement, through a still-to-be-built working class based revolutionary organisation in the region.

    Democratic autonomy or socialism? A Marxist view of Abdullah Öcalan’s political theory, Claus Ludwig, Sozialistische Alternative, August, 25, 2015

    There is a democratisation of administrative structures and the formation of organs at local level – known as “councils”, which according to many reports involve not insignificant sections of the population in processes of discussion and decision-making. At the same time, there are without doubt strong efforts to involve the ethnic minorities in the three cantons of Cizîrê, Kobanî and Afrîn in the running of society and to end discrimination. Cooperatives are supported. And particularly women are playing a special role: there is a quota of 40% women in most administrative bodies and an active struggle is being waged against oppression and patriarchal structures. All of this seems like the only ray of hope in a region marred by ethnic and sectarian civil wars, the terror of ISIS, imperialist military interventions and war, dictatorial regimes, national oppression and discrimination of women.
    Of course all democratic and social progress in Rojava must be defended, just as the three cantons themselves must be defended against attacks by ISIS or, as is likely to occur, from Turkey. But the question is whether Rojava really is a model for the whole region in terms of overcoming oppression, war, terror and exploitation, as claimed by the PKK and PYD? Is “democratic autonomy” a means of overcoming capitalism and stopping sectarian civil wars? We dealt with this question in detail from a theoretical point of view in the article “Democratic autonomy or socialism? A Marxist view of Abdullah Öcalan’s political theory” and answered this question in the negative.(viii) The practical reality in Rojava seems to confirm our verdict...

    Rojava sees itself as a cross-class rather than classless project and claims to not overcome capitalist economic relations (specifically: private ownership of the means of production, profit-oriented production, competition and market relations), but rather to put these in the service of society as a whole.(ix) As such, the Social Contract of the three cantons, the “constitution” of Rojava, speaks of protection of private property and the toleration of “legitimate” competition. This is in tune with the economic ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, who does not advocate a publicly owned and planned economy, but rather replacing competition with contest.(x) This is an illusion, slightly more understandable in a mainly rural society like Rojava, but incapable of being a model for industrialised states like Turkey or Iraq, to say nothing of Europe or North America.

    A clear expression of the attempt to reconcile the interests of the rich, of businesspeople and land owners with those of the poor masses is the fact that Akram Kamal Hasu became Prime Minister of Cizîre canton. He is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Syria...

    In order to be able to defend against this pressure, at least for a time, a break with the structures of the market economy is necessary. This is only conceivable on the basis of a nationalised and democratically organised economy, economic planning and a state monopoly of foreign trade. The “democratic autonomy” in Rojava does not envisage the ending of market relations in the economy. Paradoxically, under the existing conditions of economic embargo, siege and danger of civil war (and actual ongoing civil war in the country to which the three cantons belong) this model has better chances of surviving for a certain period of time. Peace and economic trade with the capitalist states of the region would expose the cooperative-based economy of “democratic autonomy” to competition from cheap products and destroy it.
    Many on the left, including the PYD itself, describe the administrative structures of Rojava as a council system of direct democracy. Reading the Social Contract of the three cantons, it contains many progressive aims. Particularly, as already mentioned, the multi-ethnic character and the role assigned to women. The right to strike and to hold demonstrations are also enshrined, as is the right to political asylum and a blanket ban on deportation of asylum seekers. The creation on monopolies is banned – however, this is also the case on paper in Germany and the EU.
    However, the administrative system has more in common with a bourgeois parliamentary democracy with a high level of local self-government rather than a socialist, council-based workers’ democracy. Elections for positions at all levels take place every four years, and there is no right of immediate recall. In the book “Revolution in Rojava”, Ercan Ayboğa mentions a right of recall in local councils, but this is not explicitly included in the Social Contract. There is also no earnings limit on election representatives, which would be a decisive prerequisite to prevent bureaucratic structures and to achieve real social equality. Even if these structures are called “councils” and “commissions”, they give the impression of an effectively classical capitalist parliamentary electoral system rather than genuine direct democratic rule of the working masses and poor. Some eyewitnesses’ reports also refer to members and leaders of local councils being directly appointed or selected by PYD officials. The “councils” seem also to be less involved in making important political decisions, instead their task seems to be mainly of an administrative nature. All in all, the real decision-making authority seems to remain heavily in the hands of the PYD leadership, with few genuine checks and balances from below.
    In recognition of the fact that these structures only reach a section of the population, preparations for parliamentary elections are underway, which should lead to a dual structure of leadership in society and administration, but will probably reinforce the representative character of the administrative structures.

    At least one thing seems clear: If one looks at the state from a Marxist point of view, as a formation of armed people upholding certain power and property relations, then it is obvious that a still capitalist state dominated by the PYD and the YPG exists in Rojava – not a socialist project of self-government transcending the structures of a state. An army (YPG, YPJ), police (Asayîş), prisons and a separate legal apparatus – what is this if not a state? Perhaps it is a state which is more democratic than others. But local self-government and real self-rule for a whole society including the economy, the organs of the state, foreign policy etc. are two different things...

    The fate of Rojava will not solely nor even mostly be decided in Rojava itself. The course of the civil wars in Syria and Iraq, the military conflict between Turkey and the PKK and above all the class struggles in the region will be decisive for the small territory and its perspectives for survival. The building of independent forces of the working class and poor is the decisive prerequisite to stopping the advance of ISIS and overthrowing the regimes that hold power now, as well as driving out the forces of imperialism. Members and supporters of the PKK and the PYD should do everything to create unity of working people and the poor in the region, across all ethnic and religious boundaries. The multi-ethnic aspiration of Rojava can play an important role in this respect. But the fact that the PKK and PYD leaders have co-operated with US imperialism and with the pro-capitalist Kurdish parties of Barzani and Talabani since the battle for Kobanî and that there are many signs that the emphasis is being shifted from attempting to maintain a multi-ethnic Rojava towards a Kurdish national liberation struggle (which could be further reinforced by attacks by the Turkish military on the PKK), seems to threaten that this chance will be missed....

    The region needs a socialist perspective. Unity of the working people and the poor, a struggle against all reactionary forces, be they Islamist or Baathist, and opposition to imperialism must be the principles of this perspective. Rojava is a ray of sunshine in the “Arab” winter, but it must make the transition to a genuinely democratic council democracy and socialist policies, if it is to survive and show the region a way out.

    The Rojava model: Democratic autonomy or socialist revolution?, Sascha Stanicic, SAV (CWI Germany), August, 25, 2015

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 31 2015 01:55

    I actually don't think these articles from Sozialistische Alternative and SAV/CWI are very good. They seemed to have ignored the People's Economic Plan, the transfer of most capital into the commons and the establishment of workers-cooperatives.

    They are hinging a lot on Akram Kamal Hasu's business interests (without describing them). Probably because they lifted that line from Thomas Schmindger's "Rojava: Von der Revolution in den Bürgerkrieg", Emanzipation · Jg. 4 · Nr. 2 · 2014.

    Akram Kamal Hasu, der zu den reichsten Unternehmern Syriens gehört, wurde in der Folge als Unabhängiger Premierminister des Kantons Cizîrê.

    , page, 34.

    So, we don't know if Hasu is still one of the richest people and what happened to his enterprises. And you won't find much from googling because most of the time, his name is spelled Akram Hesso or Akrem Hisso. If someone could find a biography, find out what his economic positions are or find out what his business interests are and how they function in Cizire or Syria in general--that would be interesting to know! But that kind of research isn't what is being done for these opinion pieces.

    There is a lot of speculation in what Ocalan means in his writings, but very little detail of how the economy is organized in Rojava.

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 31 2015 02:35

    There may be a lot of information to be gathered from the kantonrojava.com website. The website is English, but its clear that its all translated into English and often badly.

    For instance, the following story sounds like the Supply Committee confiscated a lot of flour that had been intended to be rationed to the public, but that the private mill was selling instead.

    "Joint Committee from Supply body confiscated 5 tons of flour from one private mills in Tirpespiyê city.

    "Supply body assigned joint committee composed of committees subordinate to Supply body to supervise on (quality and pricing – the control and inspection – furnaces and mils) and do the task of inspection on mills in Al Jazeera Canton, where they found five tons of flour material of ration that intended for furnaces and prohibited to sale it within private mills in Tirpespiyê.

    "Azad Hiso a member of joint committee said: “Seller and buyer flour of ration material that devoted to making bread for citizen is being call to account and violating them according to ration laws because this material is red line trade by it is not allowed”. The joint committee confiscated and set financial violation against the owner of mill.

    Azad Hiso: The flour from ration is red line does not allow to trade by it, August 18, 2015.

    There was recently successful fund raising for the Rojava Electricity Project organized by theswedish autonomous socialist organisation Allt åt Alla. I can't imagine they got the fuel injectors purchased and smuggled to Amude yet. Here is an excerpt from an article on electricity in Amude:

    "Suliman also confirmed that the basic aim of this project is to serve the residents so the prices that will be paid by the citizens is the half price they were pay for small generators as well as getting of social problems caused by diesel generators in the districts such as inequity in distribution of quotas and also noise

    "In a related context one resident appointed that the city was in dire need to this project in order to alleviate the suffering of people from electric side and now the city become self-sufficient and don’t need power from Remelan station also called on all citizens to restrict about the allocated ampere for each house and not violating it"

    Amude electricity project starts obstetric and affordable prices, August 17, 2015

    Some other articles...

    the co-president of supply division in Qamishlo asserted that supply division not just depend on citizen complaints but they observe markets and oven periodically to detect traders who trading on flour that allocated for citizen

    Evin sekhmous: all selling corrupt materials is violating with the corrupt material price

    The body was held a lot of meeting with haseke electric institution administrators and swedia generating facility but the points that was agreed on did’not implemented so deeper problem by depriving some villages from electric and other enjoy it and leading to defect social justice

    Important decisions search for an expand meeting to resolve electric problems in Aljazeera canton

    Due to the increasing demand for diesel fuel and expensive costs incurred by the administration institutions in the production of this material and economic conditions , the unjust siege on this region and the difficulties faced by aljazeera company for fuels in securing raw materials for this one , so after discussion the self-administration in Aljazeera canton by executive council representative decided to raise the price of diesel fuel from 30 to 45 SP for the consumer , so It should be generalized to all institutions and public and private companies so concerned as of Saturday in 8/8/2015 and it need to be implemented by assets

    Al Jazeera canton raise the price of diesel to 45 S.p

    On revoking Rudaw's license
    A statement of facts for media directorate about distrust anymore in some of channel’s accredited in al Jazeera canton

    She stressed that the relief materials is red line should not be traded because of these materials are right of citizens should be distributed to them and stressed that the relief materials will be distributed to refugee camps. Expired material will be damaged in allocated places.

    Confiscation of relief materials and destruction of the corrupt materials, July 7, 2015

    the body of bread and food ration materials and the people in all the cities of the canton are ready to meet all the needs of displaced people

    Alkaaet said that there is no fear for bread because the body increased the amount of flour in all canton’s cities to meet the needs of citizens and not to create a state of crisis on the bread in the cities of the canton The food materials are available in all markets in canton, according to needs are the provision of services to displaced people by the ration of the people

    Head of Supply body Fenner Alkaaet : We are ready to provide services to the Hasaka’s displaced

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 31 2015 03:11

    There is a long interview from Social Ecology with Sherhad Naaima, a young revolutionary from Kobane and a student of Ocalan’s thinking:

    First of all, people built local assemblies in all fields — such as economic, educational, cultural, social, security, and public services. These assemblies were established by direct elections and face to face democracy as politics became a part of everybody’s lives. I participated in the assemblies translating articles and reports from English to Arabic when I was in Kobane.

    It’s also important to note that societies without any mechanism of self-defense lose their identities, their capacity for democratic decision-making, and their political nature. Therefore, in order to protect these assemblies, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) were founded. This peoples’ army functions like a rose which protects itself with thorns; it is composed of local men and women and is under control of the democratic assemblies. The difference between this and an army is that it is composed not by one party, but by all members of society. Because if only one party controls the army, it is like putting a liver in front of a hungry cat...

    After Ocalan was abducted and held in solitary confinement on Imrali Island, he started spending much of his time reading political and philosophical books in order to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. There in prison he was influenced by great thinkers and philosophers such as Murray Bookchin, Immanuel Wallerstein, V. Gordon Childe, Fernand Braudel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, and the Frankfurt School. When I read Ocalan’s books that were written in prison, I became familiar with the ideas of these thinkers that had influenced Ocalan — especially Bookchin because he offered the solution and alternative that Ocalan was seeking. In this way, Bookchin’s ideas are gaining popularity in the Middle East via the PPK in Turkey and PYD in Syria. However he is not very famous as an individual because his books are not translated into Arabic...

    In the past, the Kurdish Movement was seeking a separate Kurdish nation-state, however, after reading Bookchin’s ideas this ideology has changed. Kurds have become aware that the nation-state does not make sense, for they do not want to replace old chains by new ones and even possibly increase repression. Social ecology advances Communalism [the political aspect of Bookchin’s philosophy] as an alternative to the nation-state. Now, Kurds in Western Kurdistan are putting Communalism into practice. The more Communalism gets stronger, the more nation-state will shrink, and unless the Middle East overcomes the nation-state, it can never be a peaceful region...

    Internal differences within the Kurds can be understood in two parts. One part – the PKK and the PYD – are working against capitalism and to trying to achieve a democratic model by dismantling the statehood mentality. This new model is fueled by the heritage of free thinkers and philosophies throughout history. And the other part, represented by Barzani, is accepting of the state and asking for the answer within the boundaries of capitalism. So the difference is ideological. However, it is also worth mentioning that the PKK and the PYD still have authoritarian threads, which must be overcome by the careful reading of Ocalan’s work and other anarchist thinkers.

    Epistemologies of Freedom: Interview with a young Kurdish revolutionary, August 27th, 2015

    In other militia news MFS now has women's only military wing--Bethnahrin Women Defense Forces

    2000 fighters from Arabic tribe al-Baggara are ready to join YPG. They are from the Mount Kazawan/Abdul Aziz area southwest of Hasakah.

    A conflict between the YPG in Afrin and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) seems t be heating up. YPG has dug a lot of tunnels for a potential seige and killed an al-Nusra leader. The fighting seems to be around the south of Afrin canton, between Atimah and Dewe Jorin.

    Conflict with between YPG in Afrin and the Islamic State is becoming more likely as well, as IS seems close to taking Mare and started attacking Tall Rifat with VBIEDs. After Mare, the next major city and important border crossing is A'zaz. Just to the southwest of A'zaz in Maryamayn area is mainly dominated by Jaysh al-Thuwar, which is a rebels coalition incorporating former FSA and Jabhat al-Akrad (Kurdish) factions. Although theorically part of rebel coalition, it has been allied recently with YPG in sporadic fighting versus al-Nusra and other islamic factions. Jaysh al-Thuwar is down to about 3,000 fighters.

    The Lions of Rojava website has gotten very slick and includes this interesting personal account of Rojava and is focused in the Cizîre canton.

    the council system that gives all social groups a high degree of autonomy, public recognition and a platform to interact as equals with each other. Nonetheless: while open hatred has considerably dropped behind the frontlines, traditionalized animosity, tribal allegiances and strong propaganda have driven lots of people into the arms of Bashar and Daesh respectively, both of whom (especially Daesh) use the new political freedom to more and more openly rally for their causes.

    There remains the considerable amount of people who are indifferent to any sort of change that doesn’t have direct impact on their material living conditions. Many look longingly to Turkey, or to Başûr (Iraqi Kurdistan) where the KRG has created a capitalist, pseudo-liberal oasis with shining lights, flashy SUVs and a flood of America’s finest cultural output that distract many people (especially those who only see it from far) from the social disparity, rampaging corruption and disappearances of government critics. The benefits of the revolution beyond the prospect of a raised standard of living are still beyond many people.

    Also it is understood by many non-Kurds to be “their revolution” instead of “the revolution of all of us” – a claim that is vehemently denied by revolutionary Kurds. Still many Arabs, Assyrians and other minorities remain unconvinced as the imagery, art and music, as well as the characters driving the revolution, are almost exclusively Kurdish. While ties between the Kurdish and Assyrian political movement going back more than twenty years have led to a strong cooperation today, the alliances between YPG and some Arab tribes are more strategical than ideological and there is still lack of any effort able to fully incorporate society into the communal councils of the Democratic Autonomy system. This goes especially for Cizîre, the canton with the most diverse society... Politically Rojava is social anarchist, and economically it is market anarchist. Though these are not rigid definitions.

    Regions are given local autonomy- think multiple dozens within each canton. They have their own local council, maintain their own internal checkpoints and controls, and make decisions on who they buy and sell from.

    Right now a lot of economic philosophy is centered around developing an economy based around unions of local businesses under a cooperative umbrella to serve their needs. Inside people buy and sell from one another and use the umbrella to interact with other groups. This then provides a mechanism whereby by local governments are able to offer their resources (such as industrial equipment) and investment to the umbrella organisation. People inside the organisations make decisions amongst themselves.

    I’ve spoken with various people and there is no tax. People tell me there is no interference or tax on their work. Every locality has its own economic centre. Common resources have some kind of democratic mechanism regulating some parts of how they’re distributed (rather than flowing to central government). Although I’m still unsure how exactly they’re distributed, and a large portion of money is going to maintaining the YPG. The primary source of income for the government is oil and the border crossing.

    Also there’s the TEV DEM which is a big political support network that assists civil society. Land is allocated or put to use through local councils (part of TEV DEM). They are also encouraging cooperatives and providing resources to small independent groups. Industrial machinery and vehicles are centralised in big depos that are then lent out to groups on a need to use basis.

    For instance as a farmer, you can choose to remain independent, or you can join the government’s agricultural cooperative and get access to investment (which you must pay dividends back), access to machines/industrial equipment, and education/access to knowledge. Using the resources, they are able to create a voluntary support network which members want to participate in thereby improving its utility. There are several cooperatives (sometimes competing) and they’re run as social enterprises.

    I have not seen or heard of any forced collectivisations ala 1936 Spain or 1920 Ukraine. The constitution protects private property and has been accused by left anarchists of being bourgeois. The converse is that people very much identify themselves as socialists with equality being a core value (freedom, humanity, equality). The main goals are self-sufficiency and a localised economy.

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Aug 31 2015 17:00

    Earlier, "Anti-War" quoted from an article by Afrin economic minister Ahmad Yousef: "all workers must work in the communal projects", private property is "sacred" and that "the market is a main part of social economy.’"

    The article is worth reading in full:

    f we are exerting some effort and diving into the study of the history of social and economic relations since the beginning of human societies in Mesopotamia, in the Middle East or in any other area on the globe, we will notice that the nature of social relations and the degree of influence of a class on the other categories determine the economic relations in those communities.

    Accordingly, there are many definitions of the economic and those definitions differ depending on economic schools. There are a multiplicity of definitions such as political economy, capitalist economy, socialist economy and the international economy.

    These expressions indicate a certain economic, social, and political situation and the nature of the relations between groups in one community or between diverse communities, but they do not reflect the reality of economic science.

    Historical facts assure us that the economy becomes a science to meet the needs of communities, it isn't a science to maximise wealth for specific groups

    From this definition we must know that the economy would not be economical if it is not social, in other words, any economy that is not aimed at achieving the social welfare of all members of society cannot be defined as economy, but is a sophisticated mechanism for financial, intellectual and cultural looting

    This definition of economics is the theoretical basis for the development of economic and social policies in Rojava.

    Rojava: geography, population and wealth

    Geographically Rojava stretches from the far east to the far west of Northern Syria, an area that is a natural extension of the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Turkey. It is named Rojava (West) because it is located in the western part of Kurdistan, which is divided between four Middle Eastern states: Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, since the First World War.

    Rojava covers a 18300 km2 area distributed between three cantons: Jazira (Cizire), Kobane (Kobani) and Afrin. Jazira canton is the largest Kurdish provinces in Rojava, and it is rich in esoteric wealth, especially oil and natural gas, while Kobanî canton is rich in the production of grain, cotton, and Afrin canton is famous throughout Syria for its production of olive oil.

    The GNP ratio in Rojava ranges between 50-55% of the gross national product (GNP) in Syria, while the proportion of the population in Rojava is between 18-20% of the total population of Syria, its total population being 20 million.

    The concept and the characteristics of the social economy

    Social economy is similar on external merit with the social market economy, these concepts can be mixed up and seem the same on the surface.

    However we will fall into a fatal error if we assume that this similarity means they are the same, because it will lead us to believe that social economy is a natural reaction that has appeared as a result of particular economic conditions in the capitalist system.

    However social economy is quite different, to understand it Mr. Abdullah Öcalan goes back to the beginning of the emergence of economics as a science, and explains that its job is limited to meeting the basic needs of human beings within the limited resources available.

    Mr. Öcalan says that in a social economy the use value must be greater than the exchange value.

    Based on the above we can define social economy as a science, which seeks to secure the needs of the community outside and away from the monopoly of the means of production.

    The characteristics of the social economy

    1 – social economy is anti-liberal economy, which is not a centrally planned economy.

    2 – achieves industrial and ecological integration.

    3 – economy is open to all ecological activities (agricultural, industrial and commercial).

    4 – economy based on ethical values.

    The principles of the social economy system in Rojava

    Basic principles

    Ownership is sacred


    Use value is greater than exchange value
    Organisational principles


    Operation policies

    Social security through the commons

    Non - monopoly market

    Income distribution policies

    The foundations of the social economy in Rojava

    A- Core protection means adopting the economic values ​that protect the nation’s democracy, as well as social economic institutions such as the environmental institutions.

    B- Mentality of the social economy means the mind of Social Economy and identifying the basic points that represent scientifically and historically the examples and justification for the adoption of this methodology. The most important of these points are as follows:

    i - Communes

    The common organisation of life in all social and economic spheres. In Rojava we began to establish the social and economic communes in three cantons, in all villages and towns. Today we have about (400) communes only in Jazira Canton, which is developing daily. The number of members in each commune is about 20-35 persons.

    ii - The social economy and the importance of choice

    Social economy is all the practices in the context of the communes, which means taking economy out of its narrow concept of only profit.

    - It is worth mentioning that the social economy does not acquire legitimacy from laws, but acquires its legitimacy from the nature of society and ethics.

    iii. Social Economy Options in Rojava

    1) Democratisation option: social economy loses its meaning if it is not viewed as a democracy itself.

    We believe that any economic activity without social goals will inevitably lead to encourage the emergence of individualism, and thus will result in the reduction of democratic practices.

    2) The ecological shift option: This is very important for democratic transformation, because the economic practices are applied ecological practices.

    3) The social economy is teamwork: Participating in communes through the following activities:

    Distribution: the distribution of the outputs of economic activities is for everyone across the communes.

    Support and assistance: There are a lot practices under this item in the capitalist system, such as charities, small loans etc. However, in the social economy, we see that all economic activities revolve in a circle of support and assistance that may occur between the communes in the villages or in the cities, because the nature of this economy is based on cooperatives. Nowadays we are starting to establish cooperatives in Afrin Canton (health, agriculture, industrial) cooperatives.

    Demanding justice:
    Freedom: means democracy, which is an important pillar of the democratic nation theory.

    iii. How the social economy considers the core economic activities

    1. Production: there is a private sector for production, but the most important form of production is the production through the communes and cooperatives.

    2. Working: all workers must work in the communal projects.

    3. Ownership: ownership is sacred.

    4. Market: the market is a main part of social economy, but the use-value must be greater than the exchange-value, and there is no stock market.

    5. Technology: is very important and depends on ecological activities and balance.

    6. Industry: there is no industry if it not ecological. This is very important in our economic and social system.

    7. Economic progress: we depend on balanced development theory between three cantons.

    8. Trade: the main form of trade is the trade between commons. This form foregrounds and develops the importance of use-value.

    9. Finance and funding: the banking system is not like capitalist system; it is only to save money and help the communes. The resource of financing is the output of the projects; there is non-centralism in the financing system, because this system depends on communes.

    Elements of the success of the social economy in Rojava

    Applying the principle of democratic nation, which calls for equality among all components of Rojava, i.e. Kurds, Arabs and all others depending on Canton.
    Rojava’s possession of natural resources and the diversity of those riches.
    Existence as a great human wealth in Rojava.
    Weakness of a controlling system of exploitation in economic activity.
    Availability of the morality, which is necessary for adopting the social economy.
    The difficulty arising from the experience of being the first in the Middle East.
    Migration of scientific talent as a result of the poor conditions that prevailed in Syria in the past three years.
    The weakness of the fiscal potential to achieve the first breakthrough in more power.
    Obstacles of success of the social economy in Rojava

    The institutional structure of the social economy in Rojava

    A – Economic Academies: For graduating economists

    B – Communes: Targeting

    1- Social education

    2- Division of work

    3- Good health

    4- Securing basic needs

    C – Cooperatives: Targeting

    1- Securing basic needs

    2- Teamwork

    D – Small and medium private sector

    The Social Economy in Rojava, 26 May 2015

    Entdinglichung's picture
    Joined: 2-07-08
    Sep 2 2015 08:13


    The Kurdish news agency Rudaw reports Aug. 28 that the First Kakai Battalion of the Peshmerga, a 630-strong force made up entirely of members of the Kakai religious minority, is preparing to go into battle against ISIS along the frontline near Daquq—and protests that they are being denied the weaponry they need. When ISIS swept into northern Iraq last year, commander Farhad Nezar Kakai urged the Kurdistan Regional Government to establish the Kakai force to defend the minority's nine villages near the frontline in Kirkuk governorate. "After the catastrophe of Shingal, we felt that same thing could happen to Kakais," Nezar told Rudaw, referring to the massacre of thousands of Yazidis at Mount Sinjar (as it is more commonly rendered). The Kakai, like the Yazidis, are followers of a pre-Islamic faith, and targeted for extremination by ISIS.

    Before ISIS forces surged toward Kirkuk last August, an estimated 360 Kakai families lived in the villages around the town of Daquq. The number of Kakai still living in the area is uncertain. In the village of Zangar, however, of the 75 families who resided there before the attack, only four remain.

    The Peshmerga base Nezar commands in the area has seen some of the toughest fighting along the 700-kilometer frontline. The Kakai fighters say they need more support to continue to resist the near-nightly attacks. "We are fighting with the oldest and worst Kalashnikovs," said Kaka. "Some of them have been repaired [a] few times. Some have been made using parts of other guns, so they suddenly seize up while you are shooting." He says the Kakai battalion needs at least 200 modern guns to strengthen its forces against the ISIS positions in villages across the line of control.

    "I have no doubt that all other Peshmerga battalions more or less have received a number of advanced guns, but we haven’t even received a single one," Nezar said. He added his battalion only received two tank-mounted anti-aircraft guns, and one of them is not functioning. A Peshmerga commander is quoted denying that weapons have been withheld from Kakai battalion, and stressing a general shortage of rifles.

    The Kurdish Academy of Language states that the Kakai are related to the Alevi, and have their roots in the Ahl-i Haqq ("People of the Truth"), an unorthodox Shi'ite sufi order, which incorporates pre-Islamic beliefs and traditions. Estirnates as to their numbers vary from several tens of thousands to over two million; the majority live in Iran, where they are called the Yaresan (or Yarsans). Like the related Shabak, they are a "heterodox group" that identifies as a distinct nationality on the basis of their shared spiritual tradition, regardless of whether they speak Kurdish, Turkish or Arabic.

    Joined: 17-12-05
    Sep 3 2015 22:34

    Turkey's parliament authorizes military action in Syria and Iraq. Only the HDP opposed it.

    klas batalo's picture
    klas batalo
    Joined: 5-07-09
    Sep 4 2015 02:54
    Flint wrote:
    Turkey's parliament authorizes military action in Syria and Iraq. Only the HDP opposed it.