A ‘Revolution’ under Attack – the Alternative in midst the War in Syria

A ‘Revolution’ under Attack – the Alternative in midst the War in Syria

category mashriq / arabia / iraq | imperialism / war | opinion / analysis author Saturday October 04, 2014 08:32author by Ulrike Flader – movements@manchester Report this post to the editors

The most recent pictures of thousands of refugees fleeing from heavy attacks of ISIS and making their way from Syria across the border to Turkey, come from the area of Kobani – one of three cantons of the self- proclaimed Autonomy Region Rojava in Northern Syria.


This region – which consists of three geographically disconnected enclaves along the Turkish border – strategically used the deteriorating situation to declare self-rule in July 2012 and has since been celebrated as the “Rojava Revolution” within the Kurdish Movement associated around the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The population of Rojava, which has long been a stronghold of the PKK, is predominantly made up of Kurds – both Muslim and Yezidi[1] – as well as Arabs, Christian Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmen and Chechens. The desire for some form of self-determination especially among the Kurds was triggered through decades of denial of basic citizenship rights under the Assad-regime.

This quiet revolution is, however, not a question of independence. It is not the founding of yet another nation-state. Deliberately declaring itself an autonomy region instead of a state, derived from the critique of existing nation-states with their homogenising and exclusionary principals of citizenship, centralism of government and non-democratic structures under which the Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria have suffered on the one hand and the strategies of classic national liberation movements on the other. This critique along with an alternative model of “democratic autonomy” was brought forward by the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, and replaced the earlier struggle for independence. The concept of democratic autonomy is envisaged along the lines of libertarian thinker Murray Bookchin as a decentralised, radical democracy within or despite the given nation-states which abides by principals of equality between genders, religious- and ethnic affiliations as well as ecology[2]. In this sense, the PKK and its affiliated organisation PYD (Democratic Union Party) in Syria are promoting this model, whose fundamental principal is to achieve a unity of all different faiths and ethnic groups without assimilating them, for the whole of the Middle East.

Within the past one and a half years the outnumbered Syrian military has been expelled from most parts of the region; police, secret service, and the civil service of the old regime have been dismantled, and the legal and education system transformed. Additionally, despite the detrimental security situation, central institutions for the most radical changes have been established in three main areas: the introduction of direct self-government through communes, assurance of equal participation in all areas of decision-making for all faith and ethnic groups and the strengthening of the position of women.

Aiming at decentralizing decision-making and realizing self-rule, village- or street communes consisting of 30-150 households have been organised. These communes decide on questions regarding administration, electricity, provision of nutrition, as well as discussing and solving other social problems. They have commissions for the organisation of defence, justice, infrastructure, ecology, youth, as well as economy. Some have erected communal cooperatives, e.g. bakeries, sewing workshops or agricultural initiatives[3]. They also organise the support of the poorest of the community with basic nutrition and fuel. Delegates of the communes form together a council for 7-10 villages or a city-district, and every city has yet another city council. The city council is made up of representatives of the communes, all political parties, the organisation of the fallen fighters, the women’s organisation, and the youth organisation. All councils as well as the communes have a 40% quota for women. The decisions are to be made on basis of consensus and equal speaking-time is enforced. Besides this, a co-chairperson system has been implemented for all organisations, which means that all councils have both a female and male chairperson. All members are suggested and elected by the population. However, according to the co-president of the PYD, Salih Muslim, this radical change from dictatorship to this form of self-rule is not an easy process: “The people are learning how to govern themselves”[4].

This change in decision-making has also brought about a radical change in the legal system: the establishment of “peace and consensus committees”[5]. These committees, which originally developed as leftist Kurdish underground institutions in the cities of the Kurdish region of Syria in the 1990 and were severely repressed in the 2000s, have resumed their importance with the uprising, and have transformed into the basic structure and fundamental principal of the new legal system. The aim of these committees, which attend to all general legal questions and disputes apart from severe crimes such as murder, is to achieve a consensus between the conflicting parties and in doing so a lasting settlement. In a general assembly of all residents every commune elects the 5-9 members of its local peace and consensus committee (40% of which have to be women) according to their ability to facilitate such a consensus in discussion among between the parties. It is emphasized that these members should not be co-opted by traditional authorities, but democratically elected and in accordance with the gender-equality principal. These peace and consensus committees also exist on the district level, whose members are elected by the popular councils on that level respectively. Parallel women-only committees have been established which specifically attend cases of crimes against women, such as domestic violence, forced-marriages and multiple marriages. Cases which cannot be solved in this consensus-finding way are forwarded on to higher institutions which exist on city, regional and canton level. Courts of appeals have been established in every region and a constitutional court is concerned with the further development of the constitution which has however been framed as a “social contract”[6].

The decision to agree on a social contract instead of a constitution is the manifestation of the centrality of the multi-faith/ethnicity principal behind the concept of the democratic autonomy in Rojava. This contract, which developed out of meetings among representatives of different ethnic and belief groups, has the aim to secure safety and self-rule to all groups. All groups are to be equally present and active in decision-making on political as well as economic and social questions and their right to self-determination is to be ensured not only through self-rule on village-level, but also through the right to organise themselves autonomously on other levels. According to the report of a delegation which visited the region in May this year, the participation of Arabs an Assyrians is steadily increasing in all areas[7]. All groups are also supported in participating in the armed wing YPG or founding their own self-defence groups, as the Assyrians have done most recently.

Similarly, the empowerment of women is not only to be achieved through the presence of women in all parts of decision-making processes through the 40% quota, the co-chairperson system, woman’s legal committees, but also through the establishment of their own military wing YPJ (Women’s Defence Unit)[8]. In an interview, co-president of PYD, Asya Abdullah, argues that the movement in Syria has learned from other revolutions that the women’s question cannot be left until after the revolution. Instead, women in Rojava are playing a leading role in politics, diplomacy, social questions, in the building of a new democratic family structure as well as in self-defence[9]. According to her the self-government structures as well as the self-organisation of women are just as important as the existing independent education institutions and seminars, and the projects to enhance women’s economic independence.

This attempt for a peaceful democratic transformation in co-existence to the state, but on the premises of grassroots self-determination, pluralism and gender-equality is, unfortunately, not welcomed by all in the region. The most recent heavy attacks on the canton of Kobani by ISIS fighters indicate a greater interest in annihilating this autonomy region, which is identified with an increasing strength of the PKK in the region. The Turkish government has reacted sharply to claims made by New York Times and other media that it is, in one way or another, supporting ISIS fighters[10]. Yet the PKK sees these accusations as grounded. Such cooperation raises strong doubts on the sincerity of the government towards the peace talks which it has been holding with Öcalan over the past year. The PKK has warned that it could put an end to the ceasefire it had declared to facilitate a possible peace process[11]. For those who have made their way from all parts of Turkey to the Syrian border to protest and are organising marches and rallies in many cities across Europe, Rojava is not only the test-ground for an alternative democracy in the region, but also a bastion against ISIS.

[1] The majority of Yezidi Kurds live in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The attack of ISIS on the city of Sinjar and the massacre on its inhabitants triggered strong international attention and the decision for intervention in the US. Since then, many Yezidi Kurds were helped to flee into Rojava by the Syrian wing of PKK-guerrilla fighters (YPG).

[2]Gunes, Cengiz (2012) The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey. From Protest to Resistance. New York: Routledge; also see Biehl, Janet (2012) “Bookchin, Öcalan, and the Dialectics of Democracy”, New Compass, http://new-compass.net/articles/bookchin-%C3%B6calan-an…cracy, accessed 20.02.2012

[3] Knapp, Micheal (2014) „Die Demokratische Autonomie in Rojava. Ziel ist eine demokratische Lösung für den gesamten Mittleren Osten“, Kurdistan Report 174, http://www.kurdistan-report.de/index.php/archiv/2014/17…osten, accessed 25.09.2014

[4] Interview with Co-president of PYD, Salih Muslim, “Die Menschen lernen, sich selbst zu bestimmen“, Kurdistan Report 175, http://www.kurdistan-report.de/index.php/archiv/2014/17…immen, accessed 25.09.2014.

[5] Ayboğa, Ercan (2014) “Das neue Rechtssystem in Rojava. Der Konsens ist Entscheidend“, Kurdistan Report 175, http://www.kurdistan-report.de/index.php/archiv/2014/17…idend, accessed 25.09.2014.

[6] See “Charter of the Social Contract” of Rojava under http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/resources/rojava/ch…ract/, accessed 26.09.2014

[7] Knapp 2014.

[8] Interview with Îlham Ehmed, Representative of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Rojava and Member of the Kurdish Highest Council: Civaka Azad (2014) “Perspektiven der Frauenbewegung in Rojava”, http://civaka-azad.org/perspektiven-der-frauenbewegung-…java/, accessed 25.09.2014

[9] Interview with Asya Abdullah Co-President of PYD: Öğünç, Pınar (2014) “Kadın özgür değilse demokrasi olmaz”, Radikal, 22.08.2013, http://www.radikal.com.tr/yazarlar/pinar_ogunc/kadin_oz…47222, accessed 25.09.2014

[10] Official summary of President Erdoğan’s speech at Assembly of the Confederation of Turkish Crafts- and Tradesmen (TESK): TCCB (2014) “We do not accept and have never accepted the notion of Islamic terrorism”, http://www.tccb.gov.tr/news/397/91043/we-do-not-accept-….html, accessed 25.09.2014; The speech refers to this article published in the New York Times on the 15.09.2014: Yeginsu, Ceylan (2014) “ISIS Draws a Steady Stream of Recruits from Turkey”, New York Times, 15.09.2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/16/world/europe/turkey-i….html, accessed 25.09.2014.

[11] Declaration of Cemil Bayık, Co-President of the Executive Council of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK) see Firatnews (2014) “Bayık: We may end the cease-fire”, firatnews, 27.09.2014, http://en.firatajans.com/news/news/bayik-we-may-end-the…e.htm, accessed 27.09.2014

Related Link: http://www.movements.manchester.ac.uk/the-alternative-i…yria/

Syrian Anarchists: An article in greek and english about anarchism in Syria and Lebanon

Syrian Anarchists: An article in greek and english about anarchism in Syria and Lebanon

Date Fri, 03 Oct 2014 21:11:48 +0300

Thanks for our greek comrades for Solidarity; http://kokkinizoni.blogspot.gr/2014/09/e.html —-Comrades, —- The Arab uprisings and Occupy Wall Street and the rest of global uprisings since 2011 have opened more doors for us to communicate and realize more than ever how our struggles against the state and dominant power structures are interconnected and the same. Our fight against the beast is one; we are informed and inspired by your past and current struggles, as well as we know that you are informed and inspired by our struggles, yet we still have a long way to go to understand one another and scale up our common fight. —- Our collective is a small group of radicals, deep ecologists, anarchists, and feminists, and we have not done much compared with the great sacrifices of many of our comrades elsewhere. Yet we know we Also Speak the Mind of many of our Comrades in the Arab World from Morocco to Syria, Who Encountered the Same dilemmas while communicating with Their Western counterparts.

That We know there are A Lot of good Actions Carried out, and honest efforts in all directions, and lives being put on the line, but we also realize that the radical non-authoritarian scene in the West, and especially in North America, is dominated by the strict boundaries of a single “politically correct” ideology. It’s fine if the ideological and tactical parameters you chose work for you, but it does not work for everyone, and it definitely does not work for us. So IT’s unfortunate That During many exchanges with North American anarchists (and to A less Extent European anarchists), some of our Comrades were Always trying to Impose Their politically Correct Ideology on US.

It’s Also unfortunate That many of our Comrades in the West Have digested the patronizing tone of their imperial governments, and use it unconsciously with their comrades from the third world. TOO many times, we found our Comrades dictating with Whom Should we Ally ourselves with, or How Should we Deal with our own like Causes Political Islam, the Syrian Revolution, Anti-Government Tactics, and radical Feminist and Environmental Organizations.
We appreciate the feedback and the exchange, and we think it’s desired and needed, but we feel that there are a lot of subtle expectations that we should become another version of you. And we do not want to. Being on the other end of the equation, the one that has been getting drone missiles, uranium depleted shells, and imperialism for decades, we can honestly tell you that whatever you tried, it did not work well for us, and it seems it did not work for you as Well.

Living Under authoritarian regimes for decades, A Lot of US are radical Anti-authoritarians by Instinct? students and factory workers and artists and fathers and mothers and young and old. Almost all of us had to personally experience and survive state repression in the past couple of years, yet most of us do not identify as anarchists, especially that anarchism is still for many of us a closed white euro-centric ideology with a post-modernist Core.
Communicate The more we we Discover That A Lot of words dear to our Hearts are Confined in Narrow definitions, and Subject to Endless Wars semantic Among you. And we’re not interested in semantics or winning the war over words, we’re interested in dismantling the real physical conditions of oppression and injustice, and we want to experiment beyond the boundaries of classical politics and classical “isms” that dominated both Western and Eastern radical Scenes for decades.

When we learn of your Struggles there are A Lot of Things That INSPIRE US, and there are A Lot of Things That we do not Want to replicate. Even while observing from another continent, it’s clear for us that the radical movement in North America (and to a lesser extent in Europe) is highly sectarian, divided, distracted by identity politics and in-fighting, and in a state of constant horizontal hostility with Itself and Other Movements.

Recurrent We See A Process That Constantly breaks up your Leaders, Isolate your Movements, Leaving you with pseudo-limbed Leaders and collectives, Then we Read you complaining about the Absence of Vision and direction in the Movement. We see hostility toward all forms of organization, a nearly religious reverence for structurelessness and a dogmatic belief in one form of decision making (consensus). See we Rampant identity Politics and Great Energies squandered over Theoretical arguments That No one gives A Damn about, and we do not Understand Honestly IT as the smokes from the burned Body of the World obscures our Sight.

We See A Lot of misogyny, Drug abuse, violent, abusive, and horrible Behaviors, Going unchallenged and unattended in many of your spaces.

We See an aversion Against Strategy, Leading Communities to radical Smash the Same window year after year without Long-term Tactics. We see a lot of energy spent fighting non-essential elements in the system like Fast Food chains and sports shoes corporations leaving aside the three basic structures that keep the system alive, and we mean the structures that ensure the flow of money, information, and energy to those in power. If you’re lacking ideas, there’s A Drone Testing facility somewhere in the desert of Arizona IF you Want to Pay Them A visit.

All That is not to dismiss your efforts or undermine your work, but to Just CAUTION Against the Tendency Among we See our Western counterparts of flattening radical movements under one politically correct ideology, greatly diminishing the vitality of the radical movement. The plurality of opinions, approaches and tactics is needed and desired, and no matter which label we use, or which tactic we prefer, as the world burns, those of us who dream of a livable planet and a just humanity are together in the same Fight, Against the Same Enemy.

Love & Rage
Radical Beirut’s Team
A – I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
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Revolutionary Anarchist Action (DAF/Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet) is taking part in ongoing people’s resistance at the Kobanê border.

Revolutionary Anarchist Action (DAF/Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet) is taking part in ongoing people’s resistance at the Kobanê border.
DAF members are making a call, stating “Whoever calls themselves a revolutionary should feel each bullet fired at Kobane as a bullet fired
at themselves, and should defend Kobane”.
To defend the Kobane resistance, different organizations from different sections are taking place at the guard action along 25km long
border. DAF members are among them.
Revolutionary Anarchist Action member A. Melik Yalçın that joined the border guard thats been going on for 6 days, stated that they
joined the action at Kobane border because they see the Kobane struggle as the struggle of oppressed.
“ISIS mobs will lose against the freedom fighters. Struggle of our comrades that resist in Kobane is a heritage from Kawas that resisted Dehaks. We too, will
continue walking on this way of our comrades” stated Yalçın, adding that communal life during the guard action is important for them, and they gained mutual experience during the resistance guard.

Yalçın stated “Whoever calls themselves a revolutionary should feel each bullet fired at Kobane as a bullet fired at themselves, so its our call to everyone, primarily to all the revolutionaries, to defend the resistance of Kobane”.

A – I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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The possibility of breaking up Iraq

The possibility of breaking up Iraq


A few weeks ago, in one of our bulletins, we (the Kurdistan Anarchists Forum) expressed our opinions and attitudes regarding the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), its attacks on Iraq, and the religious and political struggle between the Shia and Sunni for domination. Here in this statement, we put forward our views about the political situation, the possibility of a divided Iraq, and the current war.

We believe, from 1991 until the present, Iraq has never been a unified country- or indeed, a unified land. This is the case following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies in 2003- since that period, it has been divided into three regions: Kurdistan, where the Kurdish people, since the uprising of 1991, have had their own regional government; the Sunni region, where people have been continuously in dispute with the central Iraqi government due to being isolated, neglected, marginalised and deprived of government services; The third part, the Shia regions in the south and in the middle of the country, have seen its Shia factions ruling Iraq since 2003.

Regardless of the schemes and conspiracies set in place by political leaders and those hungry for power, Iraqis (ordinary, powerless citizens), from north to south, have had a good social relationship with each other, and live harmoniously together. In the meantime, we cannot deny that for over half a century, people- be they Kurdish, Arab or Turkish-have paid the price; Violent skirmishes, the greed of narrow-minded politicians, prevailing wars, the Al-Anfal1 Campaign, the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish, their forced evacuation from their small towns & villages- almost everybody in Iraq has been a victim of various wars and the ruthless and destructive antics of Iraq’s political parties. Despite this, Iraqis were happy to live together- until recently, to a certain extent.

The current military struggle for power has reached such a point that Iraq is either facing a terrible civil war or balkanization. Both possibilities – war or disintegration- benefit the powerful elite. In fact, ordinary citizens outside of influential political circles, and away from power-hungry aspiring elites, have nothing against each other and can manage to live together perfectly. They also can be united during day-to-day activities and in their shared interests, regardless of their differences in nationality, colour, religion, race and tribe.

For us as Anarchists, there is always a third way- a reorganization of society on the basis and principles of building liberated communes and free community-run cooperatives that are collectively owned by the people themselves, through the method of direct democracy. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, state forces and militias want to turn what is their war into everybody’s war, and spread it to all of society’s organs. At the same time, people are either unconsciously divided over political parties and militias, or desperately isolated and marginalised. If the problem is due to a lack of social consciousness, the best alternative is to leave the decision regarding the outcome of Iraq for the people themselves to decide, except for under one condition: by not standing in opposition to war and violence, they are then allowing themselves to be sacrificed for the sake of the capitalist imperialists and corrupt politicians. In this particular circumstance, anything that can prevent an outbreak of war and the slaughter of millions of people and genocide, is obviously the only viable path.

The thirty years-long war between different governments of Iraq and the Kurdish movement has caused the genocide of thousands of people, destroyed hundreds of villages under the name of the Al-Anfal Campaign in 1988, and deployed chemical weaponry in 1985 upon orders from the regimes, in addition to the burning down of marshes in Shia areas in southern Iraq. We witnessed all of these incidents. What is happening at present is the continuation of the past with the support of the government and the main political bodies in order to further expand their control. In order to amass power and influence, they use every trick, every violent method in order to spread hatred and murder innocent civilians for their own personal gain, and also to benefit neoliberal economic interests through enacting the economic policies of the IMF, WB and ECB.

Possibility of division or breaking up

There is some truth to this theory. Kurdish politicians, who are involved in the Kurdistan Regional Government and advocate an independent Kurdish state, or are in favour of a continuation of the current state, are still similar to the Iraqi government (or, the majority of governments worldwide) in that they continue to exploit the working class and underclass. At the same time, they represent the interests of powerful international corporations and organizations. Because of this, even despite the Kurdish people having their own government and state, both of these institutions are involved in the exploitation of workers and those living in poverty, and continues to do the same with economic support funded by influential nations.

It is correct that breaking up Iraq makes the class struggle of exploited people more difficult. Despite the struggle of the Gawrbaghy2 and the cooperation of the working class in their struggles during the fifties and sixties, working class unity was thereafter challenged by political turmoil, exploitative political leaders, religion and intermittent periods of war. Due to current societal turmoil, this is still the case for the working class at present. The possibility of further conflict involving so many different factions in future is particularly foreseeable at this time. We must also remind people, here, that at the end of the Iraq-Iran war, a network of international spies and agents succeeded in creating bands of mafias, terrorist groups, ultra-radical politicians and fanatical religious sects in order to stimulate a situation for further hostility.

In situations like this, there is further likelihood of brutal civil war than unity of powerless communities. The referendum regarding independence may be the best and most wise action to be taken, although it is not our desire or our demand, as we are in favour of any decisions to be put forward by the masses outside of guided suggestions and manipulative strategies put forward by politicians. In the last nine years we tried, and we were ready, to support the call for an independent mass struggle in order to establish people’s cooperatives and free federations, and to connect them to one and other in a regional confederation of districts. But at present, because current fears and threats are bigger and more possible than the hopes, it may be the only option- the direct decision would be made by the people themselves about their future in Iraq.

Even in the situation as explained above, we do not expect that the people’s decision, influenced by poisonous publicity put forth by manipulative and toxic political factions seeking to widen their authority, can ultimately be a healthy decision; we therefore cannot be silent. In fact, in the first instance, we believe that it is our duty in regards to the propaganda spread by neoliberal, nationalist and fanatical Islamic organisations, to work and struggle for independent organisation, local groups, mass movements and self-managing communities created by people themselves based on the principals of direct democracy. We try to create all of these to be used as the tools of future struggles and as a strategy against current or further political oppression that could occur.

Obviously, if anything were to occur outside the will of the vast majority of people, it does not mean we are to be contented with that. Indeed, our struggles will still continue against the hierarchal system, state oppression, any government yet to arise and systematically exploitative organisations.

If Iraq is breaking up into different states, we are likely to still continue our activities, wherever we have the solidarity of our comrades, our fellow working classes, be they Arab, Turkish, Persian or other, within the principal of ‘work and be active locally and think globally’, as we struggle for a world free of borders, inequality and corruption.

Free Referendum

We are positive that in class society there will never be a ‘free’ referendum, as before the decision on the referendum has taken place, the upper classes have already laid the terms of the referendum and its aims will therefore be set according to the interests of the elite and authoritarian ruling minority, and will have nothing to do with the daily necessities, demands and needs of ordinary people. An honest referendum can only be set in mention when society is economically independent, equal and autonomous, and when people can make their own decisions without state interference or being manipulated by media, the media being removed from the hands of the ruling elite and state.

Any referendum to be carried out in the Kurdish regions, or any other Iraqi area, cannot be free and honest, and will not take place outside of the decisions of the dominant classes and powerful foreign nations. In the last couple of decades in Iraqi Kurdistan, referendums have taken place, but the results were not beneficial for the Iraqi invading forces and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and were therefore not finalized by parliament.

This does not mean that socialists, libertarians and anarchists cannot change this outcome. In fact, if these political factions can organize for the principles of independent struggle, revolutionary mechanisms against the current system, struggles and campaigns against oppression, things can be changed. We can mobilise, influence societal opinions and work on encouraging class consciousness of individuals, communities, organizations and groups. For example: if the aims of the referendum go against the people’s will and do not fulfil the needs of the masses, then people can boycott or spoil their white ballot papers. This just one of the ways that the ruling class’s disgusting attempts of imposing their own objectives can be rejected and defeated.

The referendum that the politicians now pose is not for reorganising society by changing the relationship of the means of production, it is not for the self-governance or autonomy of the masses, it is not for building communities and co-operatives in a free society; it is for establishing borders created by the bourgeoisie, further economic gains and political influence for politicians, for domination over the Shia, Sunni and the Kurdish- regardless of whoever has the power and authority over class society. Control exerted by a corrupt and exploitative elite means work slavery and oppression for the vast majority of Iraqis.

The state: regional, central and world  

We certainly reject the Kurdistan state- and the idea of a Kurdish state- that is now being formulated, not simply because of its name- the “Kurdish State”. We believe this is nothing more but yet another ploy to deceive the Kurdish people. In fact, the State can never ever be truly Kurdish, Arab, English or any other nation. It does not matter how the media portrays the state: the reality is that it is not there for protection, nor does it bring freedom, social justice or any intuitive guidance. In fact, the state is generally a tool and administrates the suppression and oppression of the majority of its citizens. We can see this reality in our daily life, in our experiences, in the common history of our class. State protects the interests, wills and demands of the capitalist and politician elite, and at the same time, supresses any rebellion which can emerge from the exploited class and the poor.

Because we reject the state regardless of their colours, we are instead in favour of a free society formed on the basis of social cooperatives, an independent economy, power equality, social justice, unity of the proletariat and international solidarity. Unity between individuals is crucial; whatever the state or nation they may live in. Also paramount is the freedom to make decisions within non-hierarchical organisations in federations and confederations which rely on direct democracy, individual dependency and the formation of communes. All of the aforementioned assets are extremely important for us.

In view of the above, we are always against the state. If at the moment people cannot abolish and dismantle the state, we would desire the following list of fundamental rights and principles to be achieved:

  • Equality and human rights for all ethnicities and religions in a provisional Kurdish state.
  • Racial and gender equality as well as children’s welfare, and for religious and political factions to refrain from infringing on people’s individual rights.
  • Freedom for individuals and their political movements, such as the freedom to organise independently, freedom to establish cooperatives, freedom for people to make life choices without these being encroached upon by the state or religious bodies. Freedom to express opinions, write, criticise, demonstrate.
  • The right for movements and communities to organize autonomously and independently.
  • Incorrupt, free and open elections, and for mother tongues and native languages to be spoken freely in schools, universities, workplaces and communities.
  • Secure the right for regions and localities to have more independence.
  • The right of communities to be self-managed by both people in the communities themselves and in society, based on the principles of autonomy.
  • Abolishing all of the expenses and wages paid into the pockets of politicians and religious governors and their administration, cutting their budgets which have been funded by public money.
  • Abolition of economic privileges, private pensions (in Kurdistan many people who were an ardent supporter of a political organization, or at some stage a freedom fighter, have retired with a very good salary despite the fact the vast majority of them are not of retiring age, and the privileges of the president of the KRG).
  • Taking back the mountains, the valleys, the hills, the lands and sectors from private ownership and bringing them back to the hands of public ownership.
  • Ending contracts enforced by global corporations such as the IMF, WB and ECB.
  • Securing and guaranteeing the right of asylum for anyone of any race, gender, ethnicity and religion. Abolishing the law of first and second class citizenship and banning the deportation of any of refugees.
  • Equality in rights, wages and employment opportunities for the country’s workers and immigrant workers.

As we previously mentioned, we are in favour of a socialist or anarchist society, and reject hierarchy and the dominant political system. We are also in favour of living together and for unity in struggle. However, when ethnic divisions, the threat of war by nationalist factions, fanatical religious organisations and tribes, actively remain and continue to operate, we concur with the rest of the Iraqi people that we do not want to follow the same historical trajectory as Rwanda, South Sudan, Bosnia, Sri Lanka and others. We argue that the only beneficiaries in this war are: multinational corporations, influential financial institutions, the mafia and the capitalist elite.

No to the state and the political system.

No to class society and war.

Yes to class struggle and the class war.

Yes for people of all ethnicities, religions and classes, living together


Kurdistan Anarchists Forum (KAF)

5th July 2014



  1. [1] Operation Al-Anfal, or simply Anfal, was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people in northern Iraq, led by the Ba’athist Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid, in the final stage of the Iran-Iraq war.
  2. Gawrbaghy Was a big strike by the oil worker in Kerkuk started on 03-13/07/1946, the worker had 14 demands. The oil company and the Kerkuk governor did not meet all the demands. The strike, therefore, continued. On 13/07/1946 in a demonstration by the workers the police attacked them and killed many people including women and children and many were injured as well.


The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes

The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes


By Zaher Baher from Haringey Solidarity Group and Kurdistan Anarchists Forum.

July 2014

What you read below is the experience of my visit, for a couple of weeks in May this year, 2014, to North East of Syria or Syrian Kurdistan (West of Kurdistan) with a close friend of mine.

Throughout the visit we had the total freedom and opportunity to see and speak to whoever we wanted to. This includes women, men, youth, and the political parties. There are over 20 parties from Kurdish to Christian, of which some are in the Democratic Self Administration (DSA) or Democratic Self Management (DSM) of the region of Al Jazera. Al Jazera is one of three regions, (cantons) of West Kurdistan. We also met the Kurdish and Christian political parties who are not in the DSA or DSM. In addition, we met the top people from the Democratic Self Administration (DSM), members of the different committees, local groups and communes as well as businesspeople, shopkeepers, workers, people in the market and people who were just walking in the street.

The background:

Kurdistan is a land of around 40 million people that was divided between Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey after the First World War. Historically, the Kurds have suffered massacres and genocide at the hands of successive regimes, especially in Iraq and Turkey. Since then they have continuously suffered and been oppressed at the hands of the central governments of the countries Kurdistan was annexed to. In Iraqi Kurdistan, under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Kurdish people suffered chemical weapon attacks under Operation Anfal [1]. In Turkey, until recently, Kurds did not even have the basic rights of talking in their own language. Historically, they have been recognized as the Turkish who live in the mountains (a reference to the Kurdistan region as there are so many mountains there). In Syria, the Kurds’ situation was little better than Turkey. In Iran they have some basic rights and are recognized as forming a different nation from Persians but have no autonomy.

After the first gulf war in 1991, the Kurdish people in Iraq managed to set up their own regional government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).   After the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the Kurdish people took advantage of this to strengthen their local power. They managed to gain the right to having their own self administration, budget, parliaments and army. These have now all been recognized by the central Iraqi Government and, to a certain extent, are supported by the central government. This has encouraged and had a positive impact on the other parts of Kurdistan, especially in Turkey and Syria.

In the same year as the invasion of Iraq (2003), the Kurdish people in Syria set up their own party, the Democratic Union Party (PYD); although there were already a number of other Kurdish parties and organizations that existed in the region. Some of them are so old that they date back to the 1960s, but they were ineffective compared to the PYD which has developed and spread rapidly among the Kurdish people there.

The Arab Spring:

The Arab Spring reached Syria at the beginning of 2011 and, after a short time, spread to the Syrian Kurdistan regions /cantons of: Al Jazera, Kobany and Afrin. The protest among the Kurdish people in those three cantons was very strong and effective. This, to a certain extent, caused the withdrawal of the Syrian army in the Kurdish cantons apart from some areas of Al Jazera which I will explain further on.

In the meantime, the people there, with the support of the PYD & PKK, formed the Tev-Dam, (the Movement of the Democracy Society). This movement quickly became very strong and popular among the region’s population. Once the Syrian army and administration had withdrawn, the situation became very chaotic, (I will explain why). This forced the Tev-Dam to implement its plans and programs without further delay before the situation became worse.

The Tev-Dam’s programme was very inclusive and covered every single issue in society. Many people from the rank and file and from different backgrounds, including Kurdish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Assyrian and Yazidis, have been involved. The first task was to establish a variety of groups, committees and communes on the streets in neighborhoods, villages, counties and small and big towns everywhere. The role of these groups was to become involved in all the issues facing society. Groups were set up to look at a number of issues including: women’s, economic, environmental, education and health and care issues, support and solidarity, centers for the family martyrs, trade and business, diplomatic relations with foreign countries and many more. There are even groups established to reconcile disputes among different people or factions to try to avoid these disputes going to court unless these groups are incapable of resolving them.

These groups usually have their own meeting every week to talk about the problems people face where they live. They have their own representative in the main group in the villages or towns called the “House of the People”.

The Tev-Dam, in my opinion, is the most successful organ in that society and could achieve all the tasks they have been set. I believe the reasons for its success are:

  1. The will, determination and power of the people who believe that they can change things.
  2. The majority of people believe in working voluntarily at all levels of service to make the event/experiment successful.
  3. They have set up an army of defence consisting of three different parts: the People’s Defence Units (PDU), the Women’s Defence Units (WDU) and the Asaish (a mixed force of men and women that exists in the towns and all the checkpoints outside the towns to protect civilians from any external threat). In addition to these forces, there is a special unit for women only, to deal with issues of rape and domestic violence.

From what I have seen, Syrian Kurdistan has taken a different route (and, in my opinion, the right one) from the “Arab Spring” and the two cannot be compared. There are a couple of major differences between them.

  1. What happened in the countries that were part of the “Arab Spring“were great events and many kicked out tyranny in those countries. The “Arab Spring” in the case of Egypt, produced an Islamic State then a military dictatorship. Other countries fared little better. This shows that people are powerful and can be the heroes of history at a particular time but they were not in a position to achieve what they wanted in the long term. This is one of the major differences between the “Arab Spring” and the “Kurdish Spring” in Syrian Kurdistan where the latter could achieve what they wanted long term – or, at least, so far.
  2. In Syrian Kurdistan the people were prepared and knew what they wanted. They believed that the revolution must start from the bottom of society and not from the top. It must be a social, cultural and educational as well as political revolution. It must be against the state, power and authority. It must be people in the communities who have the final decision-making responsibilities. These are the four principles of the Movement of the Democracy Society (Tev-Dam). Credit needs to be given to whoever is behind these great ideas and the efforts being made to put them into practice, whether it’s Abdulla Ocallan and his comrades or anybody else. In addition, people in Syrian Kurdistan set up many local groups under different names to make their revolution work. In the other “Arab Spring” countries, people were not prepared and knew only that they wanted to get rid of the current government but not the system. Also, the vast majority of the people thought that the only revolution is the revolution from the top. Setting up local groups was not undertaken except by a tiny minority of anarchists and libertarians.

The Democratic Self Administration (DSA):

After a lot of hard work, discussions and thought, the Tev-Dam has reached the conclusion that they need a DSA in all three Cantons of Kurdistan (Al Jazera, Kobany and Afrin). In the middle of January, 2014, the People’s Assembly elected their own DSA, with autonomy, to implement and execute the decisions from the “House of the People” (the main Tev-Dam committee) and to take over some of the administration work in the local authorities, municipalities, education and health departments, trade and business organizations, defence and judiciary systems etc. The DSA is made up of 22 men and women with each of them having two deputies (one a man and the other a woman). Almost half the representatives are women. It is organized so that people from different backgrounds, nationalities, religions and genders can all participate. This has created a very good atmosphere of peace, brother/sisterhood, satisfaction and freedom.

In a short space of time, this administration has done quite a lot of work and issued a Social Contract, Transport Law, Parties Law and a programme or plan for the Tev-Dam. In the Social Contract, the first page states, “the areas of self-management democracy do not accept the concepts of state nationalism, military or religion or of centralized management and central rule but are open to forms compatible with the traditions of democracy and pluralism, to be open to all social groups and cultural identities and Athenian democracy and national expression through their organization …” There are many decrees in the Social Contract. A few are extremely important for society, including:

  1. Separation of state from religion
  2. Banning marriages under the age of 18 years
  3. Women’s and children’s rights must be recognized, protected and implemented
  4. Banning female circumcision
  5. Banning polygamy.
  6. The revolution must take place from the bottom of society and be sustainable
  7. Freedom, equality, equal opportunity and non- discrimination.
  8. Equality between men and women
  9. All languages people speak must be recognized and Arabic, Kurdish and Syrian are the official languages in Al Jazera
  10. To provide a decent life for prisoners and to make prison a place for rehabilitation and reform.
  11. Every human being has the right to seek asylum and refugees may not be returned without his/her consent.

The economic situation in Al Jazera Canton:

The population of Jazera is over one million people. This population consists of Kurds as well as Arabs, Christians, Chechens, Yazidis, Turkmens, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Armenians. 80% percent of the population is Kurdish. There are many Arab and Yazidis villages plus up to 43 Christian villages.

The size of Al Jazera is bigger than Israel and Palestine combined. In the 1960s, the Syrian regime implemented a policy in the Kurdish area called the “Greenbelt” which the Ba’ath party continued when they came to power.  This stated that conditions for Kurds would be worse compared to those for Syrian people with regards to political, economic and social life and also education. The main point of the Greenbelt was to bring Arabs from different areas to settle in Kurdish areas and to confiscate Kurdish lands which were then distributed amongst the recently-arrived Arab people. In short, Kurdish citizens under Assad came third, after Arabs and Christians.

Another policy was that Al Jazera should only produce wheat and oils. This meant that the government made sure that there would be no factories, companies or industry in the area. Al Jazera produces 70% of Syrian wheat and is very rich in oils, gas and phosphates. So the majority of people were involved in agriculture in the small towns and villages, and as traders and shopkeepers in the bigger towns. In addition, many people were employed by the government in education, health and local authorities, in military service as soldiers and as small contractors in municipalities.

From 2008, the situation deteriorated as Assad’s regime issued a special decree to ban construction of any big buildings justified by the situation arising from the war (referring to continuous war in the region) and also because the area is remote and on the border. Currently, the situation is bad. There are sanctions imposed by both Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan (I will explain this in other sections). Life in Al Jazera is very simple and living standards are very low but they do not have poverty. The people, in general, are happy giving priority to what they have achieved in order to be successful.

Some of the necessities any society needs to survive exist in West Kurdistan which is important, at least for the time being, to avoid starvation, stand on their own two feet and resist the boycotts sanctions by Turkey and KRG . These necessities include having lots of wheat to make bread and pastries. As a result, the price of bread is almost free. The second thing is that oil is also cheap and, as people say,” it’s price is like the price of water”. People use oil for everything; in the home, driving vehicles and making a little equipment needed for a range of industries. To facilitate this dependence on oil, the Tev-Dam reopened some of the oil wells and refining depots. At the moment, they are producing more oil than they need in the region so they are able to export some and also store any excess.

Electricity is a problem because most is produced in the neighboring region under the control of Isis (currently is IS) (The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) or (The Islamic State). Therefore, people only have electricity for about 6 hours a day. But it’s free as people are not charged for it. This has partly been resolved by the Tev-Dam by selling diesel, at a very low price, to anybody with a private generator on the condition they supply power to local residents at a very cheap rate as well.

In terms of phone communication, all mobile phones are either using the KRG line or Turkey’s line; depending on where you are. Land lines are under the control of the Tev-Dam & DSA and seem to be working well… Again, this is free.

The shops and markets in the towns are normally open from early morning until 11pm at night. Many of the goods from neighboring countries are smuggled into the region. Other goods do come from other parts of Syria but they are expensive due to heavy taxes payable to Syrian forces or terrorist groups who allow goods into the Al Jazera region.

The Political Situation in Al Jazera:

As mentioned, most of Assad’s army withdrew from the region but some still remain in a couple of towns in Al Jazera. The regime still has control over half of the main town (Hassaka) while the other half is in the hands of the PDU (The People’s Defence Units).

Government forces remain in the second town in the region (Qamchlo) where they control a small area in the centre of town. However, in the occupied area, the vast majority of people do not use the offices and services centers. The number of the regime’s force in this town is between 6 and 7,000 and they only have control over the airport and the post office.

Both sides seem to recognize the position, power and authority of one another and refrain from clashes or confrontation. I call this situation, the policy of “no peace, no war”. This does not mean there have not been clashes between them in either Hassaka or Qamchlo. Clashes do happen causing the deaths of many people from both sides but, so far, the head of the Arab tribes makes the two sides coexist.

Both sides have taken advantage of the withdrawal of the Syrian army and not fighting with the Kurdish protesters and its military forces saves a lot of cost and expense.   Further, the government does not have to protect the area from other opposition forces , as the Kurdish forces do this instead. Also, by withdrawing from Kurdish lands, Assad has freed up forces which can be used elsewhere against other opponents. Secondly, with Assad’s forces leaving Kurdistan, it is protected and defended by the Kurdish people. Indeed, the units defending the people and women protect their own people from any attack or any force, including Turkey, much better than the Syrian army.

The Kurdish people have also benefited in the following ways:

  1. They have stopped fighting the government and this has protected their land and property, saving many lives and leaving people in peace and freedom. This has created an opportunity for everybody to live in peace and without fear when running their own business.
  2. The government still pays the wages of its old employees although almost all of them, at present, are working under the control of the DSA. This obviously helps the economic situation there.
  3. This situation has allowed people to manage their own lives and make their own decisions. It also means that people are allowed to live under the authority of the Tev-Dam and DSA. The longer this happens then the more chance they have to firmly settle and make themselves stronger.
  4. This gives the People’s Defence Units and Women’s Defence Units opportunities to fight terrorist groups, especially Isis/IS, as and when necessary.

In Al Jazera, there are more than twenty political parties among the Kurdish and Christian people. The majority of them are in opposition to the PYD, the Tev-Dam and the DSA for their own reasons (a point I will come back to later on) as they do not want to join either Tev-Dam or the DSA. However, they have total freedom to carry out their activities without any restriction. The only thing they cannot have is fighters or militias under their own control.

Women and the Role of Women:

There is no doubt that women and their roles have been greatly accepted and they have filled both high and low positions in the Tev-Dam, PYD and DSA. They have a system called Joint Leaders and Joint Organizers. This means that the head of any office; administration or military section must include women. In addition to this, the women have their own armed forces. There is total equality between women and men. Women are a major force and are heavily involved in every section of the House of the People, committees, groups and communes. Women in West Kurdistan do not form just half of society, but are the most effective and important half of that society to the extent that if women stop working or withdraw from the above groups, Kurdish society may well collapse. There are many professional women in politics and the military who were  with the PKK in the mountains for a long time. They are very tough, very determined, very active, very responsible and extremely brave.

The importance of the equal participation of women in rebuilding society and in all issues/questions has been taken seriously by Abdulla Ocallan and the rest of the PKK / PYD leaders to the extent that women in West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) are considered sacred. It is part of Ocallan’s idea, dream and belief that if you want to see the best of human nature then society must return to the state of the Maternal Society but, obviously, in an advanced stage.

Although this is the position of women and although they have freedom, love, sex and relationships among the women involved in the struggle are extremely rare. The women and men we spoke to believed that the above (love, sex, relationships) are not appropriate at this stage as they are involved in revolution and have to give everything to the revolution in order to succeed. When I asked, if two people in military service or sensitive positions are in love with each other, what would happen, I was told that, obviously, nobody can prevent this but they must be moved to more suitable positions or sections.

This may be difficult for Europeans to understand. How can people live without  love, sex and relationships? But, for me, it’s perfectly understandable. I believe it is their choice and, if people are free to choose, then it must be respected. However, there is one interesting observation which I made and which was outside military service, the Tev-Dam and other parties. I have not seen a single woman working in a shop, petrol station, market, café or restaurant. But, women and women’s issues in Syrian Kurdistan are miles ahead of those in Iraqi Kurdistan where they have had 22 years of their own Self Rule and so much more opportunity. Saying that, I still cannot say there is a special or independent movement of the women in Syrian Kurdistan.

The Communes:

The Communes were the most active cells in the House of the People, and have been set up everywhere.  They have their own regular weekly meeting to discuss the problems they face. Each Commune has their own representative in the House of the People and in the neighborhood, village or town where they are based.

Below is the definition of the Commune from the Tev-Dam manifesto and translated from Arabic:

Communes are the smallest cells and the most activist in society. They are formed practically in society and there is freedom of women and ecology and the adoption of direct democracy.”

The Communes form on the principle of direct participation of people in the villages, on the street and the neighborhoods and the towns.  These are the places that people willingly organize themselves with their opinion, create their free will and initiate their activities in whole residential areas and open the door for discussion about all the issues and their solution

Communes work on developing and promoting the committees. They talk and search for solutions of social matters, political, education, securities and self- defending & self-protection from its own power, not from the state.  Communes create their own power through building organization in the form of agricultural communes in the villages and also communes, cooperatives and associations in the neighborhoods.

Forming the Communes on the street, villages and towns with participation of all the residents.  Communes have a meeting every week.  In the meeting Communes make all its decisions openly by people who are in the Commune and are older than 16 years-old.

We went to a meeting of one the communes based in the neighborhood of Cornish in the town of Qamchlo. There were 16 to 17 people in the meeting. The majority of them were young women. We engaged in a deep conversation about their activities and their tasks.  They told us that in their neighborhood they have 10 Communes and the membership of each Commune is 16 people.  They told us “We act in the same way as community workers including meeting people, attending the weekly meetings, checking any problems in the places we are based, protecting people in the community and sorting out their problems, collecting the rubbish in the area, protecting the environment and attending the biggest meeting to report back about what happened in the last week”.

In response to one of my questions, they confirmed that nobody, including any of the political parties, intervenes in their decision making and that they make all the decisions collectively.  They mentioned a few things that they had recently made a decision about.  They said “One of them concerned a big piece of land in a residential area we wanted to use for a little park. We went to the Mayor of the town to tell him about our decision and asked for financial help. The Mayor told us that would be fine but they only had $100 to offer us. We took the money and collected another $100 from the local people to build a nice little park”.  They showed us the park and told us “many of us collectively worked on it to finish it without needing more money”.  In another example they told us, “The Mayor wanted to initiate a project in the neighborhood.  We told him we cannot accept it until we get opinions from everybody. We had a meeting where we discussed it. The meeting unanimously rejected it.  There were people that could not make the meeting so we went to see them in their houses to get their opinion. Everybody in the commune said no to the project”

They asked us about local groups and communes in London.  I told them that we have many groups but we are unfortunately not like them- united, progressive and committed.  I told them that they are miles ahead of us. From their faces I could see their surprise, disappointment and frustration to my answer.  I could understand their feelings because they think how, in a very backward world like theirs; can they be ahead of us, while we live in the country that had the industrial revolution centuries ago!!!!!

The Kurdish and Christians opposition parties:

I said before that there are more than 20 Kurdish political parties. A few have joined the DSA but sixteen didn’t. Some have withdrawn from politics while others have joined together to set up a bigger party. There are now twelve parties set up under an umbrella name, The Patriotic Assembly of Kurdistan in Syria. This organization, more or less, shares the same goals and strategies. The majority of the parties under this umbrella support Massoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, (KRG), who is also the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraqi Kurdistan.

There is a bloody history between the KDP and PKK that dates back to the 1990s. There was heavy fighting between the two groups in Iraqi Kurdistan which left thousands dead on both sides and this is a wound which has yet to heal. I must mention that Turkey’s government had a hand in the fighting as they were close to the KDP and helped attack PKK force on the Iraq/Turkey border for their own reasons.

There is another dispute between Barzani and his family with the former head of the PKK, Abdulla Ocallan, which is about the Kurdish leader’s position as the Kurdish national leader. While the Kurdish people in West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) have managed to collectively organize their society, protecting it from war and setting up their own DSA, they are still not on very good terms with the KDP.

The PKK and Democratic Union Party (PYD) have been very supportive of the changes happening in Syrian Kurdistan. But, this is certainly not beneficial to either Turkey or the KRG.  Meanwhile Turkey and the KRG remain extremely close.

The above is an explanation as to why the KDP in Iraqi Kurdistan are unhappy about what happened in West Kurdistan and are opposed to both the DSA and Tev-Dam. The KDP looks at what happened there a big business and, either this business should not run at all or, if it does run, then the KDP must have the biggest share of this business. The KDP still helps some Kurdish people in West Kurdistan financially and with weapons training in an attempt to set up militias for some of the political parties in order to destabilize the area and its plans. The Patriotic Assembly of Kurdistan in Syria, set up by the twelve political parties mentioned before, is very close to the KDP.

Our meeting with the opposition parties lasted for over two hours and the majority of them were present. We started by asking them how they got on with the PYD, DSA and Tev-Dam. Do they have freedom? Have any of their members or supporters been followed or arrested by the PDU and WDU? Do they have freedom to organize people, demonstrate and organize other activities? Many more questions were asked. The answer to every single question was positive. No arrests were made, no restrictions on freedom or organizing demonstrations. But all of them shared the point that they do not want to take part in the DSA.

They have three disputes with the PYD and DSA. They believe that the PYD and Tev-Dam have betrayed the Kurdish people. Their reasons for this included the fact that half of Hassaka is under the control of the government and that the government’s forces are still in the town of Qamchlo although they admitted these forces are ineffective and only control a small amount of land. Their view is that this is a big problem and the PYD and Tev-Dam compromised with the Syrian regime badly.

We told them that they should think that the PYD and Tev-Dam’s policy is the policy of “No peace, No war” to balance the situation. It has been successful and benefited everybody in the region including all the opposition parties and because of the other reasons already mentioned above. We also said they should know better than us that kicking out Assad’s army from both towns is easy for the PYD with the sacrifice of a few of their fighters but what will happen after that?!! We told them we know that Assad does not want to give up Hassaka and, therefore, the war will start again with killing, persecution, bombardments and the destruction of towns and villages. Also, this opens a door for Isis/IS and al-Nusra to launch an attack on all of them. There would be the possibility of Assad’s army, the Syrian Free Army and the rest of the terrorist organizations all fighting each other in the region with the consequence of losing everything achieved so far. They had no response to this.

The opposition does not want to join the DSA and the next election of this body will take place in a few months time if the situation remains the same. Their reasons for this are, firstly, that they accuse the PYD of co-operating with the regime, while they did not have any evidence to prove this accusation. Secondly, the next election won’t be a free election as the PYD is not a democratic party, but a bureaucratic party. But we know that the PYD has almost the same numbers and positions as any other party in the DSA so statement is incorrect. We told them that if they believe in the election process they should participate if they want to see an administration with more democracy and less bureaucracy. They said that the PYD had withdrawn from the Kurdish National Conference of the KRG, which took place last year in the town of Irbil, to discuss the Kurdish issue. But when we checked this later on with people in the PYD and Tev-Dam, they told us they have evidence of a written document which shows that they committed to the pact but that the opposition did not commit.

The opposition wants to establish their own army, but they are not allowed to by the PYD. When we took this issue back to the PYD and Tev-Dam we were told the opposition could have their own fighters but they must be under the control of the units of the Defence of the People and Defence of Women.. They told us the situation is very sensitive and very tense. It may cause fighting between one another and that this is our great fear and we cannot afford to let it happen. The PYD simply said they do not want the same failure repeated in West Kurdistan. By failure experiment, they were referring to the experiment of Iraqi Kurdistan in the second half of the 20th century which lasted to the end of the century where there were so many fights between different Kurdish organizations at the time. In the end, the PYD and Tev-Dam asked us to go back to the opposition parties with the authority to offer them, on behalf of the PYD and Tev-Dam, anything except letting them have military forces under their own control.

A few days after that we had another meeting for almost three hours in Qamchlo town with the head of the three Kurdish parties: The Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria ( Al Party),the Kurdistan Party for Democracy and Equality in Syria and The Kurdish Patriotic Democracy Party in Syria. In the meeting, they more or less repeated the reasons for their colleagues, in the previous meeting, not joining the DSA and Tev-Dam to build and develop Kurdish society. We had a long discussion with them, trying to convince them that, if they wanted the Kurdish issue to be resolved, a powerful force in the country and to avoid war and distraction, then they should be independent from the KRG and KDP and work in the interest of nobody but the people of West Kurdistan. Most of the time they were silent and had no response to our suggestions.

A few days later we also met representatives from a couple of Christian political parties and the Christian Youth Organization in Qamchlo. None of these parties have joined the DSA or Tev-Dam for their own reasons but admitted that they get on well with the DSA and Tev-Dam and are fine with their policies. They also appreciated that their safety, and protection from the Syrian army and terrorist groups was due to the forces of the Defence of the People and Defence of Women who have sacrificed their lives to achieve all of the above for everybody in the region. However, the people from the Christian Youth Organisation in Qamchlo were not happy with the DSA and Tev-Dam. Their complaint was about not having enough electrical power and not much for the youth to do or be involved in within the town. Because of this they said they will seek an alternative to the DSA and Tev-Dam, so that, if the situation remains the same, then they will have no choice but to emigrate to Europe. The head of one of the political parties who was present in the meeting responded to them by saying ”what are you talking about Son? we are in the middle of a war, can you see what happened in the rest of the main towns in Syria?, Can you see how many women, men, elderly and children are killed daily?!!! There is an important issue which is very important in life. Power in this particular situation is not very important; we can use other means instead. What is important right now is: sitting at home with no fear of being killed, leaving our children on the streets, playing with no fear of being kidnapped or killed. We can run our business as usual, nobody restricts us, nobody assaults or insults us…. there is peace, there is freedom, and there is social justice……” The members of the other political parties agreed and acknowledged all these facts.

Before we left the region we decided to speak to shopkeepers, businessmen, stall holders and people on the market to hear their views which were very important to us. Everyone seemed to have a very positive view and opinion of the DSA and Tev-Dam. They were happy about the existence of peace, security and freedom and running their own business without any interference from any parties or sides.

The Shameful Trench:

Last year the KRG and Iraqi government agreed, allegedly for security reasons, to dig a 35-kilometre long trench, over two meters deep and about two meters wide, on the Iraqi/Syrian border of Kurdistan. The Trench separates Al Jazera in West Kurdistan from Iraqi Kurdistan in the south. The Tigris river covers five kilometers of this border so there was no need for a trench there. The next twelve kilometers were constructed by the KRG, with the final eighteen kilometers built by the Iraqi government.

Both the KRG and Iraqi government say that the Trench was a necessary measure because of fears over peace and security within Iraqi lands including the Kurdistan region. But there are big questions people always ask about these fears. What fear? From whom? From Isis/Is? It is impossible for groups like Isis/Is to get into Iraq or KRG through that part of Syria as it has been protected by PDU and WDU forces and also Al Jazera has been cleared of Isis/Is completely. However, the majority of Kurdish people know that there are a couple of reasons for digging the trench.  Firstly, it is to stop Syrians fleeing the war from reaching Iraqi Kurdistan. Also, the head of the KRG, Massoud Barzani, as explained above, is worried about the PKK and PYD and therefore he and the KRG want to stop them or anybody else from the DSA entering this part of Kurdistan. Secondly, the trench will increase the effectiveness of the sanctions used against West Kurdistan in an attempt to strangle and pressurize them to the point of surrender so as to give into KRG conditions. However, given the choice between surrender and starvation for the Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan, I feel they may choose starvation. This is the reason why the majority of Kurds, wherever they live, call the Trench the “shameful trench”…

There is no doubt that the sanctions have crippled Kurdish life in Al Jazera as the people need everything including medicine, money, doctors, nurses, teachers, technicians and expertise in industrial areas, especially in the oilfield and refining industry to make them work. In Al Jazera, they have thousands of tons of wheat which they are happy to sell for $200 to $250 a ton to Iraqi’s government but it pays $600 to $700 for each ton of wheat elsewhere.

There are people in West Kurdistan who do not understand why the KRG, as a Kurdish self rule government, and its President, Massoud Barzani, (who calls himself a great Kurdish leader) want to starve their own people in another part of Kurdistan.

In Qamchlo, the Tev-Dam called a large, peaceful demonstration on Saturday, 9th of May, 2014. A few thousand people took part against those who dug the shameful trench. There were many powerful speeches from different people and organizations, including the House of the People and many other groups and committees. None of their speeches created more tension between them. People mainly concentrated on brotherhood, good relationships and co-operation between both sides of the border, reconciliation between all the disputed parties and peace and freedom in their speeches. In the end it became a street party with people dancing happily and singing, particularly anthems.

Expectation and fears:

It is very difficult to know what direction the mass movement of people in West Kurdistan will take, but that does not mean restricting us from expectation and analyzing what may affect the direction of this movement and its future. The complete victory or defeat of this big event/experiment that the region, at least for a long time, has not seen depends on so many factors that can be divided into internal ( internal issues and problems inside the movement itself and with the KRG ) and external factors.

However, whatever happens in the end we have to face it, but what’s important is: the resistance, defying and challenging, not surrendering, confidence and believing in making changes. Rejecting the current system and grabbing the opportunities are more important, in my opinion, than temporary victory, because all these are the key points needed to reach the final goal.

The external factors

The direction of the war and the balance of the forces inside Syria:

It was quite clear in the beginning of the people’s uprising in Syria, that, if it was to benefit the Syrian people, then the expected ending of Assad’s regime would not take that long when people united with great support both inside and outside the country. However, after a while, the terrorist groups got involved and changed the direction of the people’s uprising as we all have seen and still see this through the media. This happened because Assad was very clever in implementing a couple of policies which directly affected the direction of the people’s uprising and making his regime strong.

Firstly, he withdrew all his forces in the three Kurdish regions/cantons of Afrin, Kobany and Al Jazera except for a few thousand in the Al Jazeera region as I explained previously. Obviously, a part of the reason for withdrawal was due to pressure from the Kurdish protesters.

Secondly, he opened the Syrian border to terrorist organizations to do what they wanted. We all know by now what happened then. By doing this, Assad managed to weaken and isolate the protestors against his regime and also sent a message to the so-called “international community” to tell them that there was no alternative to him and his regime except the terrorist groups. Do the US, UK, Western countries and the rest really want that? Of course, to a certain extent, the answer is No. It all depends on their interests. These policies have worked very well and changed the direction of the battle completely.

So, there was a possibility of Assad remaining in power, at least for a short time after negotiating with the US, UN, UK and their agents until the next election. In that case, he might have learnt a lesson to change his policy towards the Kurdish people but on his own terms and conditions and not in the way the Kurdish people want.

If Assad was defeated in the war by the terrorist groups with the support of the US, UK, EU and the “International Community”, and they came to power, certainly there wouldn’t

be any future for either the DSA or Tev-Dam. If the modern forces, like the parties or organizations making up the Free Syria Army (FSA) are still not in power, then there is very little chance for the Kurdish people as they do not have a positive opinion of or a good solution for the Kurdish question, let alone when it comes to power. Of course, there are other possibilities of ending Assad’s power including assassination or through a military coup…

The role and the influences of neighbouring countries in the region:

It was very clear that ordinary people in Syria started the uprising due to existing suppression, oppression, lack of freedom and social justice, corruption, discrimination, lack of human rights, and no rights for ethnic minorities like Kurdish, Turkmen and others. Life for the majority of people was terrible; low incomes, the cost of living continuously rising, homelessness, and unemployment all served as inspiration for the “Arab Spring”.

However, the protests, demonstrations and uprising on the ground have been diverted by neighbouring rulers into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey with the support of the US and Western countries on one side and Assad’s regime, Iran and Hezbollah on the other. The Iraqi government has not announced their support for Assad’s regime but they wanted, and still want, Assad to stay in power because of the close relationship between Shias and Alawites and also because Iran is Iraq’s closest ally, while Iran is also extremely close to Syria. What was left from the neighbouring countries was the KRG’s attitude towards what happens in Syria, due to KRG closeness, and, particularly, its President, Massoud Barzani, to Turkey in every respect. They announced, from the beginning, their support for the Syrian opposition to Assad’s regime.   We must note here the double standards and hypocrisy of the KRG as, on the one hand, they are against Assad whilst supporting the opposition but, on the other hand, against the Kurdish in Syria and their popular mass movement while they are one of the main and constructive forces against Assad.

Obviously each country has a big impact as some of them are supporting Assad’s regime and others support the Syrian opposition. What is important here is to know that none of these countries are friends or close to the Kurdish nation in any part of Kurdistan, whether in Syrian Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran or Turkish Kurdistan. They never had a positive view on the Kurdish question and never,, genuinely,, wanted to resolve this question, but they had a positive view on the Kurdish nationalist political parties when these parties were working and fighting in their interests.

The Role of China and Russia:

Although Russia has become much smaller and less powerful than before, it still has weight and power, in competition with the US and Western countries, over its interests. It is no surprise that we now see that Russia cannot reach agreement with the West over Assad’s regime. There is also the fact that Syria, even when Assad’s father was in power, was always in the Soviet camp. This is in addition to Russia being close to Iran which is the main ally of Syria.

With regards to China, China too has its own interests in the region, especially with Iran. Therefore, China tries to protect that interest as it is not to their benefit to see Assad go because it knows that next it will be Iran. So Russia and China’s interests and support for Syria make the war longer than expected. From the above, we can see how two powerful countries would deal with the Kurdish question in Syria, especially with the DSA and Tev-Dam. In my opinion, business and profits decide, in the end, whether or not they will support the Kurdish people in the future.

At present, there is no support for the DSA and Tev-Dam from China, Russia or from the US and Western countries while the Kurds in Syria are the main opposition and fighters against terrorist forces like Isis/IS, through the forces of the PDU and WDU. These units are constantly fighting these terrorist groups in the Kurdish regions of Al Jazera and Kobney.

We can see here the double standards and hypocrisy of the US, Western countries and the rest. They launched a war on terror while the Kurdish people in Syria are the only ones fighting the terrorist organizations seriously, but the above countries do not support the Kurds there. The major reasons for this, in my opinion, are:

  1. They are not serious in fighting the terrorists and terrorism because they themselves or their alliance created and supported them
  2. They fight the people who believe in Islam rather than fighting the religion itself and its holy book, Quran.
  3. They may need this organization again in the future.
  4. They do not want to alter their foreign policy or review it.
  5. The US and UK support, financially and morally, all reactionary faiths under the name of equal opportunity, freedom and recognizing different cultures. We can already see more than one hundred Sharia Courts in the U.K.
  6. The main point is that the mass democracy movement in Syrian Kurdistan, including the DSA, did not create religions or nationalist or liberal power. They know that people in this part of the world have given birth to people power, that they have proved that they can rule themselves through direct democracy without government and support from the US, Western countries and global financial institutions, like the IMF, WB and CBE (Central Bank of Europe).

The Internal Factors:

By internal factors I mean whatever could happen inside West Kurdistan itself. This includes the following:

The civil war among the Kurdish people. Here I do not mean just a war among the political parties inside West Kurdistan but the war between the KRG in Iraqi Kurdistan and the forces of the PDU, WDU and PKK.

There is a very close relationship between the PKK and PYD who are behind this experiment in West Kurdistan and have been very supportive. I mentioned previously that there has been a history of bloodshed between the PKK and KDP and also a sharp dispute between them over the Kurdish leadership.

However, for some time, Abdulla Ocallan, in recent books and text /messages, has denounced and rejected the state and authority. But until now I have not heard that he has rejected his own authority and denounce those people calling him a great leader and who work hard to give him a sacred position. Ocallan’s attitude cannot be correct unless he also rejects his own authority and leadership.

At the moment, the situation is getting worse and the KRG’s relationship with the PYD and PKK is deteriorating, so there is a possibility of fighting between them especially as the KRG is, day by day, getting closer to Turkey. Once this war starts there is no doubt that Isis/IS and others will take part in fighting on the side of the KRG and Turkey. The only way to stop this happening is through mass protests, demonstrations and mass occupations in Iraqi Kurdistan and by friends of Syrian Kurdish elsewhere.

Tev-Dam becomes weak:

As explained above, it was Tev-Dam that created this situation, with its groups, committees, communes and the House of the People which is the soul and mind of the mass movement. Tev-Dam was the major force in setting up the DSA. In general, it is the existence of Tev-Dam that makes the difference to forcing the outcome of what might happen there and to be the inspiration to the rest of the region.

It is hard for me to see the balance between the power of Tev-Dam and the DSA in the future. I got the impression that as long as the power of the DSA increases the power of Tev-Dam decreases and the opposite could be right too.

I have raised this point with the comrades of Tev-Dam. They disagreed with me as they believe the more powerful the DSA becomes, the more powerful Tev-Dam will be. Their reason for this was that they look at the DSA as the executive body, executing and implementing whole decisions made by Tev-Dam and Tev-Dam organs. However, I cannot agree or disagree with them because the future will show the direction the whole movement and society will take.

The PYD and its party structures:

The PYD , United Democratic Party and PKK are behind the mass democracy movement there and are political parties having all the conditions that a political party needs in that part of the world : hierarchical organization, leaders and lead people, and all orders and commands from the leaders coming down to the bottom of the party. There has not been much consultation with members when it comes to making a decision on big issues.   They are very well-disciplined, have rules and orders to go by, secrets and secret relationships with different parties, either in power or not, in different part of the world.

On the other hand, I can see Tev-Dam as being exactly the opposite. Many people inside this movement have not been members of the PKK or PYD.Tthey believe the revolution must start from the bottom of society and not from the top, they do not believe in state powers and authority and they come together in meetings to make their own decisions about whatever they want and whatever is in the best interests of the people where they are based. After that, they ask the DSA to execute their decisions. There are many more differences between the PYD and PKK and the Movement of Democracy Society, Tev-Dam.

The question here is: While that is the task and the nature of Tev-Dam and that is the structure of the PYD and PKK, how can a compromise happen? Does Tev-Dam follow the PYD and PKK or do they follow the Tev-Dam, or who controls who?

This is the question that I cannot answer and have to wait and see. However, I believe the answer is probably in the near future.

The fear of Ideology and Ideologists that can became sacred:

Ideology is a view. Looking at or seeing anything from the ideological perspective can be a disaster as it gives you a ready solution or answer, but does not connect with the reality of the situation. Most of the time, ideologists are looking at the words of old books that were written a long time ago to find the solution while those books are not relevant to the current problem or situation.

Ideologists can be dangerous when they want to impose their ideas taken from what has been written in the old books, on the present situation or on the rest of us. They are very narrow-minded, very persistent, stick with their ideas and are out of touch. They do not have respect for other people who do not share the same opinion as themselves. ideologists have many common points between them from religious people to Marxists and Communists. In short, the ideologists believe that Ideology, or thought, creates uprising or revolutions but for non-ideologists, people like me, the opposite is true.

It is very unfortunate that I found many ideologists among the PYD and Tev-Dam members, especially when it came to discussions about Abdulla Ocallan’s ideas. These people are very stuck with Ocallan’s principles, making them refer to his speeches and books in our discussions. They have total faith in him and, to a certain extent, he is sacred. If this is the faith that people have and put in their leader and are scared of him, it is very frightening and the consequences will not be good. For me, nothing should be sacred and everything can be criticized and rejected if they need to be. Worse than this, there is the House of Children and Youth Centers.   In the House of Children and Youth Centers, children are taught about new ideas, the revolution and many positive things that children need to be raised with in order to be useful members of society. However, besides, these children are taught the ideology and the ideas and principles of Ocallan and how great he is as the leader of the Kurdish people. In my opinion, children should not be brought up believing in ideology. They should not have teaching on religion, nationality, race or colour. They should be free of them and leave them alone until they become adult when they can decide for themselves.

The Role of the Communes:

In the previous pages I explained the communes and their roles. The communes’ duties have to be changed as they cannot just be involved in the problems where they have been set up and make decisions about the things going on there. The communes must increase their roles, duties and powers. It is true that there are no factories, companies nor industrial sections. But Al Jazera is an agricultural canton involving many people in villages and small towns and wheat is the major product in Al Jazera. This canton is also very rich in oil, gas and phosphates, although many of the oilfields are not in use due to the war and lack of maintenance even before the uprising.

So these are further areas for the communes to involve themselves in by controlling them, using them and distributing produce to the people according to their need for free. Whatever is left, after distribution, the members of the communes can decide and agree to deal with it; sell it, exchange it for necessary materials for the people or just simply store it for later when needed. If the communes do not step up to these tasks and maintain what they do now, obviously, their tasks will be uncompleted.

The Conclusion and my final words:

There are so many different views and opinions from the right wing, left, separatists, Trotskyists, Marxists, communists, socialists, anarchists and libertarians about the future of the experiment in West Kurdistan, and, indeed, more deserves writing about it. For me, as an anarchist, I do not see the events as black or white, I do not have a ready solution for them and I also never go back to the old books to look for the solutions either to the events which, are now taking place or for the outcome of these current events I believe that the realities, the events themselves and the situation create the ideas and thoughts, not the opposite. I look at them with an open mind and connect them to so many, factors and reasons for their happening.

However, I must say a couple of things about every uprising and revolution, as they are very important for me. Firstly, the revolution is not expressing anger, is not created by order or command, is not something that can happen within twenty-four hours and is not a military coup, Bolshevik coup or the conspiracy of politicians.   Also, it is not only the dismantling of society’s economic infrastructure and the abolition of social class. The above are all the views and opinions of lefties, Marxists and communists and their parties. These are their definitions of revolution. They look at the revolution in this way because they are dogmatic and see the relationships of existing classes in a mechanistic way. For them, when the revolution happens and abolishes class society, that is, the end of the story and Socialism can be established. In my opinion, even if the revolution succeeds, there are still possibilities that there will be a desire for authority, with it remaining within families, inside factories and companies, in schools, universities and many other places and institutions. This is in addition to the remaining differences between men and women and the authority of men over women within socialism. Moreover, a selfish and greedy culture will still remain, using violence with many other nasty habits which already exist in capitalist society. They cannot disappear or vanish in a short time. In fact, they are going to stay with us for a long, long time and could threaten the revolution.

So, changing the economic infrastructure of society and achieving victory over class society can neither give any guarantee that the revolution happened nor of maintaining it for a long time. I, therefore, believe that there must be a revolution in social life, in our culture, education, the mentality of individuals and individual behavior and thought. The revolutions in the above areas are not just necessary, but indeed, must happen before or alongside the changing of the economic infrastructure of society. I do not believe we are done, following the revolution in the economic infrastructure of society. It must reflect in all aspects of the life of society and its members. For me, people resent the current system and believe in changing it. They desire the tendency for rebellion, the consciousness of being used and exploited and, in addition, the mentality of resistance are extremely important to maintain the revolution.

How do I connect the above point to the experiment of the people in West Kurdistan?

In reply, I say this experiment has existed for over two years and there are generations who are witness to this. They are rebels or already have the tendency to rebellion, they live in harmony and a free atmosphere and are accustomed to new cultures: a culture of living together in peace and freedom, a culture of tolerance and give not just take, a culture of being very confident and defiant, a culture of belief in working voluntarily and for the benefit of the community, a culture of solidarity and living for each other and a culture of, you are first and I am second. In the meantime, it is true that life there is very difficult, where there is a lack of many basic and necessary resources and the standard of living is low, but people there are pleasant, happy and, at all times, smiling and vigilant, very simple and humble and the gap between rich and poor is small . All these have, firstly, helped people overcome the difficulties in their lives and the hardships. Secondly, the events, their personal history and the present environment in which they currently live has taught people that, in the future, they will not put up with a dictatorship, they will resist suppression and oppression, they will try to maintain what they had before; they have a spirit of defiance and challenge and they will not accept other people making decisions for them any longer. For all of these reasons, people will resist surrender, stand again on their own feet, fight for their rights and resist the return of the culture they used to live with before.

The second point is that some people tell us that while this movement has Abdulla Ocallan, the PKK and PYD behind it, then, if the people try to divert this experiment, the experiment will end or a dictator will take power. Well this is possible and can happen. But even in this situation, I do not think people in Syria or in West Kurdistan can, any longer, tolerate a dictatorship or a Bolshevik-type government. I believe the days have passed when the government in Syria can, as before, massacre 30,000 people in the town of Aleppo in a matter of a few days. Also the world has changed and is not as it was.

All that is left to say here is that what happened in West Kurdistan was not Ocallan’s Idea, as many people want to tell us. In fact this idea is very old and Ocallan developed these thoughts in prison, familiarizing himself with them through reading hundreds and hundreds of books, non-stop thinking and analyzing the experiences of nationalist movements, communist movements and their governments in the region and the world and why all of them failed and could not deliver what they claimed. The basis of all this is that he is convinced that the state, whatever its name and form, is a state and cannot disappear when replaced by another state. For this, Abdulla Ocallan deserves credit.



[1] Operation Anfal, or simply Anfal, was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people in northern Iraq, led by the Ba’athist Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid, in the final stage of the Iran-Iraq war.

?What do we think about the current crisis of Iraq

What do we think about the current crisis of Iraq?

Iraq crisis has been continued for decades while it has been under the power of Saddam Husein or under the “current democratic Regime” since the invasion of 2003. There were no freedom, no social justice; no equality and also little opportunity for those who were independent from the political parties who were in power. In addition to existing brutality and discrimination against women and the ordinary people a very big gap was created between the rich and poor, making the poor even poorer and the rich richer.

The current crisis is nothing far from what has been said above. In fact it is the continuation of the same situation of what was happening decades ago. The only differences are the names and the power of the political parties in power.

Politicians and the mass media love to tell us that the current struggles are the continuation of the old struggles & conflict between the two main Islamic religion doctrines: Shia and Sunni that they have a bloody background almost since the birth of the Islam religion.

If we look into history of the nations, countries and their people, their history was always struggling between the powerful people and the powerless, between the exploiters and the exploited, between the occupier and the occupied people, between the invader and the people who have fought back against powers, against authorities and states. In short it was a war for more capitals and profits.

What is happening in Iraq today under the name of “the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Syria), Isis” far from what the mass media portrayed and tells us. The facts are:

1st the Isis advance is a tiny minority aided by Sunni factions disillusioned with Shia leadership in Baghdad, Sunni tribal leaders, Ba’ath party members, old army officers and factions of the former insurgency all came together to plan how to take the fight to the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki . When the Isis marched towards Mosul, the third biggest city in Iraq, and occupied, they were less than 2,000 while around 60,000 people from police, soldiers to intelligent forces and security were existing in the town. This army was equipped heavily with the fighter Jets, tanks and different types of powerful weapons, but this army has collapsed and fled from the Isis group and the other militant with very little resistance or no resistance.

2nd facts what was happening more likely was a plan by Turkey, Gulf countries and Kurdish Region Government “K.R.G” with the knowledge of US and UK.

3rd It is very difficult to know exactly what will be happening in the end, as most of the time it depends on the interest of US and western countries that will measured any uprising or movement whether it gets help or not through their interest. Until now both the US &UK insist on the unity of people in Iraq to live together under the same system. If they know that their interests are under threat they do not mind to divide Iraq in to 3 Simi-states between Kurd, Sunni and Shia.

4th this situation has pushed Iraq to the brink of sectarian war, especially after issuing a Fatwa by Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, one of Shia Islam’s most revered cleric, for citizens to bear arms and sign up for the military.

5th We are very much sure that there is a hidden agenda here as well. We think one of the aim of this war is surrounding and strangling the democratic mass movement of the Kurdish people in west of Kurdistan (Syria’s Kurdistan) and there local administration. The mass movement there proved that there has been alternative to the nation state, old/neo-liberal system and its government. It also proved that the movement of people do not have to follow the “Arab Spring” that ended up in establishing an Islamic government. In addition to that this movement showed the uprising of people should not be supported by US, EU and their agents. It has proved that the revolution has to be started from the bottom of the societies, not from the top as this can be achieved by building the local groups that making most of the decisions by themselves and for themselves. This movement is clearly not in the interest of the politicians and neo-liberalism, so the next step is to attack the west of Kurdistan and their mass movement.

In view of the above we (KAF) denounce this war that has been launched and imposed on Iraqi people and we believe in organising people outside of the political parties, the supporters of the war and outside of the institution of the states and the governments but in their work places, in their neighborhood, in their schools, universities and on the streets to unite and fight back against war, injustice, poverty, starvation, inequality, and suppression that have been imposed by this brutal system through their State, Corporation, finance institution , neo-liberal mass media and the institution of their spies &agents.

Kurdistan Anarchists Forum


FAQ about the Kurdistan Anarchist Forum

FAQ about the Kurdistan Anarchist Forum


What is the Kurdistan Anarchist Forum and who is behind it?

The Kurdistan Anarchist Forum is an internet forum for discussions, debate and analysis among Libertarians & Anarchists on topical subjects, matters and questions against capitalism. It is a place to consider and criticise past experiences & methods of the Socialist movement that have failed, in an attempt to find alternatives.  It is an open door for any libertarian’s voice, it is a voice of those who believe in Freedom, equality and social justice.   In short, the Kurdistan Anarchist Forum (KAF) is a “bridge to reach and to get closer to all libertarian individuals and groups” .

Why the Kurdistan Anarchist Forum?  Does this not mean claiming to belong to one nation and patriotism ?

Not at all, in fact anarchists have been the first fighters when it comes to the history of struggle against occupation and invasion.  They have been the true revolutionaries who have fought for freedom and equality between nations in the world.   At the same time, they are the real enemy of nationalism as a state and authoritarian ideology, while the bourgeoisie of any nation uses and exploits all the classes at the bottom of the society.  The bourgeoisie are claiming that all classes, casts and categories of people within a country have got the same interests, the same rights and they are all equal and free; but this is an obvious lie.

For us as writers in KAF we see Kurdistan as geographical territories where there are a range of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions that speak different languages.  In this aspect KAF is a Forum for all libertarians regardless of the differences mentioned above.  In our view, using the term ‘Kurdistan’, does not relate to nationalistic feeling.  In fact, it is just for persuading people within territories known as Kurdistan, who live with other ethnicities together in Iran, Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, that there are also Kurdish people there who speak their languages.  This can be a connection or link between them and the libertarian groups and their movements.  So we use this word, Kurdistan, as a tool to help encourage these connections.

In addition to what has been said above, we believe in Kurdish freedom, its liberty and independence.  We believe the same things for Turkmenian, Arabs, Kldanian and Ashorieen who live under Kurdish self rule in Iraq.   This belief is based on the ideas seen in anarchist federalism and of self management within factories or any work place.  We believe in independence (Autonomy) of the territories and the right to self determination of all nations. [Here we do not mean the self-determination of the nationalists and their movements and parties.  What they do is to force through their authority and their states under the name of an entire people who live in the nation and the country.  Whereas what they are actually doing is using this authority to control and exploit the working class and people instead of liberating them and ensuring social justice. This is exactly opposite of what they claim to be aiming to do when they are seeking their dominancy.

In the meantime we stress that while we support the liberation of nations, we are against all attempts from the bourgeoisie to establish further nation states.  It is very obvious to us that the nation state invades the freedom of individuals and suppresses any free voice in its attempts to secure the interests of the elite, authority and capitalism in general.  States, whether they are a nation state or invader can achieve all these through dominating and exploiting the working class and the rest of the people who have been placed in the bottom of society, who are unemployed or live on a slave’s wage and keeping them in control.

Do the people writing in KAF belong to any political group?


No. They are independent and do not belong to any political organization.  These people are not even in a group, but they form as a group of people in order to share similar anarchist ideas, interests, tasks and aims.  However, alongside this, each person wherever they live, in their work places or in the communities, whether in Kurdistan or any other country are involved in local groups (Community Groups or any other nonhierarchical organizations).

 We are active in Anarchist & Libertarian groups.  If we are in Kurdistan, we work on the principle of “act locally, think globally” and also as an international duty to help and support the struggles of our classes – for our comrades wherever they are in struggle.  For those of us who live in Europe or other countries, we help and support local groups and independent originations and the mass movements in Kurdistan on the same principle.  While we can think, communicate and write in Kurdish, this makes it easier to create strong links & connect with people in Kurdistan more than those who cannot communicate and write in Kurdish. These tasks obviously put an extra burden on the shoulders of those of us do not live in Kurdistan.

In addition, KAF is the only independent Forum which seeks to introduce and exchange ideas and views on Anarchism. , rejecting and dismay all the accusation that in the long history of the socialist movement labeled and accused  the anarchism idea.  The KAF makes activists in the wide range of  mass movements familiar with  different currents  of  anarchist ideas, for example,  the social Anarchism, individual Anarchism, Anarcha-feminism , Anarcho-Syndicalism, Anarcho-communism, Anarcho-primitivism/green Anarchism, Anarcho-animal liberation front, religious Anarchism and  bisexual Anarchism [The homosexual, bisexual and transgender  anarchists.]

If you are not a group, how are you united and how/why do you not introduce yourselves as a group?


As we said from the beginning KAF is a Website or a Forum operating on the geographical ground or physical space.     In fact it is an independent electronic site to introduce Anarchism (Libertarianism) to readers as an idea not an ideology.  More than that,  anarchist groups will be formed on the ground of daily struggles, demands and activities in the process of the local movement, that means anarchist groups can  appear  in the form of  local groups in different places and different  levels , for instance among  unemployed people, students, children, women, disabled people, teachers, pensioners , workers in their work places, people who work in councils, hospitals, universities  or any other service provider, environmental groups, neighborhood groups, residents group, people who work in parks and any groups that set up around a single issue while the issue remains as a current  matter of concern for members….this list can go on and on.

At the same time we stress that, whatever the name of the groups are is not a problem.  We are not looking for a group to be supported that has labeled themselves or uses the title “Anarchist”.  What is important for us to see is their struggles, how they organize themselves, how they come to make decisions together.  It is important that active local groups as they already exist or emerge in the mass movements are nonhierarchical, non authoritarian organizations which are very different from official parities, authoritarian organizations and NGOs.   No doubt there are differences between each local groups and the way they work. How groups see themselves helps to show their independence e.g. as distinct from and not dependent on political parties, if they don’t believe in elections, parliamentary democracy, official representatives.  We can separate these kinds of groups from the others that do believe in this form of political work and who rely on these power structures to achieve their demands.  In contrast, local groups we support rely on themselves to carry out these roles themselves, to control their lives  through  their activities as  direct action to bring back all the decisions that are made by politicians, local authorities, companies, management  and so-called democratic administration of the government,  into their own hands and into the hands of their communities.  This will happen step by step through mass movement until it reaches its final stage in achieving its goals which is terminating or ending the current system and class society.

In order for local groups and mass movements to avoid bureaucracy, authoritarianism, and doing things that are not in the interests of the groups, we can look to the experiences of class struggles. These have taught us it is important and necessary to fight back from centralization, hierarchism, the role of leaders and ideology.  At the same time we need to publicly defend the independence of community groups to make their own decisions on matters that affect them.  That means we need to work exactly opposite of the groups and organizations that are depending on the lefties and the authority. This kind of organizations are working on the name of the ordinary people and working class in forming different types of organizations  to divert them from the direct action to end the real struggles and force them to move  towards the form of the struggles which they ( the organizations) themselves believe in.  Activists in local groups do not have to name their organizations and groups outright if they prefer, and we are against cultivating seeds of sectarian wars.  Instead, anarchists have once aim and it is to be concerned about their activities in order to help everyone to work collectively, help and support all the groups that come into existence that are against hierarchy and authoritarianism so that we can support one another and strengthen our movement.

Does (KAF) publish all the materials, in other words, any political, social subject, articles or any analyses with different idea, different view and ideology?

Yes and No.

No. When the materials and articles are propaganda or support the ideologies of nationalism, religion, justify existence of the state and its polices, support parliamentary democracy, elections, authoritarian socialism, the idea of Marxism, Leninism, Maoism …promoting the idea of racism, nationality, sexism. All these subjects are not allowed to be publishing on KAF.

Yes, to any of the above subjects. Articles that critically analyse our views or anarchist analysis about anything as long as it rationally deals with his/her view by the use of facts, avoiding humiliation and accusation.  In other words, yes they will be allowed to be published and we will give a response.

The Kurdistan Anarchist Forum (KAF)

1st of May is the day of class struggle & resistance against the militia and the State’s war in Iraq and Syria

1st of May is the day of class struggle & resistance against the militia and the State’s war in Iraq and Syria



Yes to mass struggle and its protest and resistance

No to the militia & tribal war

No to wage war and the States intervention against the mass struggle and its resistances

To all the Libertarians wherever you are in this world: The mass protest and its resistances in Iraq are facing the brutal attack from the Iraqi government !

For the last few months protests, demonstrations, sit-in and strikes have been going on in a few towns in Iraq.  The people there are demanding social justice, ending of corruption and discrimination, peace, ending brutality of the police and &militias,  demanding human rights and achieving the daily necessities of life.


Instead of meeting their demands, the Iraqi government has launched counter attacks to repress and suppress them, encouraging the rift between Sunni and Shi’a communities, creating a wider and wider rift.  Also, they have set up the tribes to be against one another.  These polices of the government have created an environment to be attractive for the region’s States to intervene to set up their own groups and support them using money, weapons, advice and even training them for their own purpose.  In this climate, other fanatical and radical groups have grown increasingly including the remaining individuals of the Baath regime.  All of these forces mentioned above are completing one another’s task as their main goals are to defeat the mass resistance and its struggle.


The state media and the propaganda machines are playing a very big role to extort dilute and confuse the rest of the population including the political parties and the so-called communist& socialist parties, to name and shame the people and denounce them just because they have been stand up for their rights.  The reason that the state and the political parties are waging war against them is because they are independent from the political parties and the politicians, and they organised themselves to fight back against the state forces. They have not been tamed by the state like the other opposition groups in the other parts of Iraq.  No wonder the state media is attacking them and accusing them by reactionary force, calling them agents of the other states in the region and the conspiracy forces against the democratic State.  In fact their demands are fair and common demands with the rest of the people in Shi’a towns and Kurdistan.


We are as a Kurdistan Anarchist Forum (KAF) supporting them and supporting their boycotting of the recent municipal elections.  We also support them for not sending their representatives to negotiate with the State.  We believe this is the most independent and united mass movement in a few towns of Iraq and hoping the rest of the towns including the towns in Kurdistan learn from them this very rich experience as this is the only way to struggle against the state and the power of the political parties.  We wish people to reject the polling station that is designed to elect the worth instead of bad, to organize themselves in order to take control of their affairs.


We as KAF denounce all the types of the militia, the State war and the religions war as well. We announce our support to the independent mass movement in those towns as well as the workers strike in Iraq for their fundamental rights.  We are hoping that the day comes soon to build the united mass movement in the whole of Iraq and also in the region to resist the war that the central government in Iraq has been waging for the last a few months, which in the last few days was intensified against the popular demands from its own people.


While we are asking all Anarchists and the libertarians in the world to show their support to the fair demands of the independent mass movement in those town in Iraq, at the same time we hope to see Iraqi people in all the towns can stop the intervention from the region States (Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) to stop their proxy wars through the tribes and the religious groups.  This is the only way to prevent the Iraqi people going through the same disaster that Syria is now facing it. While we are in solidarity with the working class and the mass movements in Iraq, at the same time we are hopping their struggle will not become a way for the profitable trade by penetrating war-lords and groups, with their only aim being to make money, and also not to be a place for the concurred & occupier forces to deliver their conspiracy to achieve what they want.

Long live to independent mass movement

No to war, no to tribal and religion war

No to State and Capitalism

Yes to independency social self managing.

Kurdistan Anarchist Forum (KAF)

30th 04.2013

turkey: anarchists urgent solidarity call

urgent solidarity call from istanbul-turkey

Members of the Freedom to Earth Association (Yeryüzüne Özgürlük Derneği), who defend animal/earth/human freedom and green anarchists and anarchists as a whole, were taken by government anti-terrorism units from their homes simultaneously on May 14 at 5 a.m. They were kept under police custody for 4 days. While all of the members of the Freedom to Earth Association are now free, nine individuals, including vegan and vegetarians, were taken to prison where they remain today.

Our association, Freedom to Earth, works on some subjects like animal rights, human rights, and ecology. This is the first time an anti-terrorism operation was carried out by the police against animal rights and anarchist activists. The police claim that the arrested individuals were responsible for the May 1 attacks on banks and multi-national corperate stores in some areas in Istanbul. However, this is not and cannot be the case as these same individuals are against violence. In reality, the police were simply trying to silence and criminalize efforts like animal liberation, eco-defense and human liberation struggle.

Both the police and the media claim that “our” attacks on the banks were an act of violence. However the real act of violence was the unfounded arrests and detention of sixty people from around Turkey. Freedom is more important than some broken glasses. We endured four days of police questioning and now nine people are still in jail for their supposed crimes. However their only “crime” was being an anarchist. This is the real crime. Moreover this is a state terror. During questionings, we could not even say who were the alleged perpetrators actually were considering that we do not know ourselves. In recent years Turkish government increased the repression against dissent who are criticizing anti-democratic government and repressive rules. Police state is increasingly expanding and there are lots of political prisoners in Turkish prisons. It is now trying to terrorize our struggle against the system and all kinds of the domination types by creating an imaginary terrorist organisation linked to the legal libertarian foundations and some anarchist, animal liberationist and ecologist individuals. This is a total repression against anarchist, anti-authoritarian, animal liberation, ecodefense thoughts and activities. Now all the activist who are jailed and who are waiting for next arrests worriedly, are expecting some solidarity and support from comrades and friends from all around the world.

For solidarity, we call on all anarchists, anti-authoritarians, animal rights and eco-defense activists to say “Freedom to anarchists and freedom to all Mayday prisoners!” in front of Turkish consulates and embassies throughout the world.

With solidarity and love…

Freedom to Earth Association (Yeryüzüne Özgürlük Derneği)

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Wave of repression hits anarchists in Turkey following May Day demonstrations

Wave of repression hits anarchists in Turkey following May Day demonstrations. 

Yesterday night (May 13) Turkish state organized a night raid to various houses and anarchist social centres in a night raid in Istanbul. 60 people were arrested. It is yet uncertain if some of those people are anarchist or just related/friends of some anarchists. 

The apparent "reason" shown for the raids are the actions of the insurrectionary/primitivist anarchists' stone throwing on the 1st of May actions. However, the groups that are targeted are not insurrectionary anarchists. One of them is social anarchist/anarcho-communist group called "land and freedom" (toprak ve ozgurluk) the other is Revolutionary Anarchist Activity (Devrimci Anarsist Faaliyet).

Till now nothing has been heard from the imprisoned anarchists. They are not even let to talk with their lawyers. Turkish state recently developed the tactic of mass raids towards every kind of currents in the left. Till now thousands of legal Kurdish Party (BDP) members and hundreds of leftists have been imprisoned for years without even trial and a clear criminal allegation. This is the first massive operation against the anarchists. 

Some pictures of the raided anarchist cafe of the RAA:


Libcom.org: http://libcom.org/news/turkish-police-forces-caught-60-anarchists-night-raids-14052012

Istanbul: May day : http://vimeo.com/41606943
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