Zaher Baher

We should not let Kobane and the rest of Rojava to be defeated by the big corporations and the international financial institutions

June 3, 2015

      First: The 07th June general election in Turkey:

      Second: the DSA in Bakur and their differences with Rojava:

      Kobane and its Reconstruction:

First of all, I should mention a couple of issues in Kurdistan of Turkey (Bakur) that are strongly connected to the subject. Between 08/05 and 22/05/15 I visited a number of big towns in Bakur, including: Amed (Diyarbakir), Van, Colemerge (Hakari) and Gavar. Later I returned to Suruc and was hoping to cross the border to Kobane.

My main purpose for visiting there were three important points: first: understanding the similarity and differences between the Democratic Self Administration (DSA) in Bakur and Rojava. Second: Reconstruction of Kobane, and third the type of economy that Rojava can have in the future. Although the friends in Peoples ‘ Democratic Party (HDP) , other organisation and the Working Committees of Rojava in Amed and Suruc tried hard to arrange my trip to Kobane but it did not happen.

There are two important issues to talk about. These are:

First: The 07th June general election in Turkey:

Turkey is facing an important election. It is historical, not just for the Kurds but the rest of Turkey. If president Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) win, they will be able implement their hidden Islamic Democratic agenda. The human rights will suffer, the police oppression will increase, the prisons will be full of activists, the rights of individuals, women, ethnic minorities, and other religious almost will be disappeared and also will be a big setback for the peace process.. On the other hand If Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) passes the 10 % election threshold then AKP could be stopped from implementing its inhuman agenda. The HDP manifesto is very radical; even if only 50% of it is implemented Turkey’s Constitution could be reformed unless the military Generals take over.

I met many people in Amed, Van, Colemerg and Gaver. Everybody was busy with election campaign for HDP. Everybody from candidates, the campaigners and the ordinary people who I asked believe that the election of this time is a major event and anxiously look forward to seeing the result of 07/06. Their reasons for that are the following which is very difficult not to agree with them:

Because of the above reasons there is no doubt that the Turkey election of 07th of June has got its own speciality that very much different from any other election in many countries.

Second: the DSA in Bakur and their differences with Rojava:

There are many similarities of the DSA in Bakur and that of Rojava. What both experiments share are self-reliance and belief that things can be changed and done differently. Creating different radical local groups, committees, people assemblies and the House of People in the villages, on streets, neighborhoods and towns. In both experiments there are working voluntaries; making decisions collectively through the people assembly or the House of People. This resulted in bringing back decision making into the hands of communities. This also leads to decentralization and weakening the authority of the state.

In both experiments, the environment is a major issue and become an important part of people’s agenda.

Making revolution from the bottom of the society is a core belief in both experiments. There is no promotion for religions or for nation state.

Naturally, there are many differences between the two experiments. This is due to a different socio-political climate; which gave the both experiments their separate characters. These differences might find themselves in:

In one of my meeting with people in Van they talked in details about the situation there. They talked about the heavy present of police and military forces in their area. These forces put a lot of pressure on people; harassing, humiliating and the threat of arrest. Despite of all these, the activists there continue to further their course to progress there DSA. They work in variety of groups; such as political, language, health services, women, environment and agriculture. It is estimated that DSAs can manage to 80% of Van. In 1056 villages there are people assemblies and in 40% of the area there has been some form of self managements. What is worth mentioning here is women’s 50% participations in these self management organizations.

In addition of the agricultural nature of Van; the region has a great potential to become a great tourist attraction. The House of people in Van has future plans to make it more attractive for tourists and have Eco-tourist projects to protect people and the environment.

One of the other problems facing people is the poor production up to 50% less than expected. This is due to the distraction activities of the regime’s forces. There is also the culture of lack of confidence among people and unwillingness of sharing, lack of freedom and political problems.

However, I was told by people there; that they face a mammoth task. It is not easy to overturn 500 years influence of the Turkish authority. Throughout of these years people have been marginalised, isolated and treated with utter disrespect. To change all these require a lot of work on the ground and on the individual level as well. But what is promising is the zeal and determination of the activists in the area.

In my meeting with co-president of HDP, another party chief and co-leader of Colemerg Municipalities, it became apparent that DSAs in the region are facing major problems. The situation gets worse more you get closer to the boarder. In fact there are areas are restricted by the military and people are not allowed to enter.

Despite all this; the Municipalities in Colemerg are determined to implement their main Ecology plan. They have agreed that Colemerg to be the Ecology Pilot. It has also been decided to work on this project as soon as the election is over.

Kobane and its Reconstruction:

After defeating Isis and Turkey’s regime in the war, Kobane could manage to pass the first test successfully. The USA and its allies took part in the war because they realised that either Kobane cannot be defeated or if it goes down it will take everything else with it. The first possibility would deprive the big corporations from rebuilding Kobane. The second would add another black spot to the history of so-called “international community”.

The war and the sanction indeed made life in Kobane and the rest of Rojave miserable for a long time but in my opinion both factors played a major role in surviving the whole of Rojava.

The war there introduced Rojava to the world and particularly the leftists, communists, socialists, trade unionist, anarchists and libertarians.. It brought love, support and solidarity to Rojava and its people. Hundreds of people from different countries travelled there to be in the front line against Isis and a few of them lost their lives. Hundreds more went there as journalist and aid and community workers to show their support and solidarity.

Using sanction against Rojava by Turkey, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the regional countries all also played a role in surviving Rojava. It prevented corruption, entering money, capital and hindered exploitation by businessmen and landowners. The simple life of the region managed to go on. People had to rely on themselves, work voluntarily and collectively. The true natural relation between the people continued.

Now Kobane and the whole of Rojava enter the economic test which is difficult indeed. Many countries can resist militarily occupation but cannot survive an economic one. Launching an economic war by the big corporations and the international financial institutions can be devastating.

This may start with the reconstruction of Kobane. Rebuilding it could bring death or the survival of Rojava as a whole by initiating its social revolution.

In my opinion rebuilding Kobane may take one of the following roots:

There is currently a big discussion among the politicians, academics and economists about the rebuilding Kobane and the future economy of Rojava. In fact a big conference was held in Amed in early May regarding rebuilding Kobane but so far no decision has been taken. While I was in Bakur I spoke to many people in important position. They all rejected the big corporations and explained that this is their own official and firm view.

Making no decision in rebuilding kobane through the big corporations and the international financial institutions is excellent decision against the interests of US and the Western countries and keeps their powers out. In the meantime it is our duty all to help and support whatever we can to participate in reconstruction of Kobane in order to protect this shiny experiment. We should not let the blood of thousands of people who scarified themselves to liberate Kobane and protecting the social revolution in Rojava to go in vain.

Haringey Solidarity Group, Kurdistan Anarchists Forum,