After months of work on a new project, and a week after the beginning of the Turkish invasion of Afrin, we as the Internationalist Commune of Rojava would like to share our situation with this public statement.
Defending the Revolution Means Defending Afrin
As internationals in Rojava, we came to learn about, support, and help organize the revolution. Some of us have been here for years, some of us just for a few months, but we all realise the importance of what is happening here. Many who travelled here simply to help in the fight against the Islamic State also came to learn about and appreciate the values of the Rojava Revolution.
We have learned a lot in Rojava and have acquired a deeper understanding of what it means for the people to make a revolution. But our aim is not only to have a better understanding of what is happening here – we also want to learn how to spread this revolution to our movements and countries. With the foundation of the Internationalist Commune, we became a space where other internationals found ways to be part of the revolution and to discuss what this revolution can mean for our different societies.
The women’s movement in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is an essential reference point for women’s struggles towards freedom around the world. A society based on communal organization, where people solve their problems in a collective way, shows us how people can become a society outside the centralized systems of the nation-state. The principles of social ecology inspiring this movement are powerful values which allow society to emancipate itself from the ecological destruction of the capitalist system.
While the extraordinary strength of the Kurdish women’s movement is known all over the world and the local communes in all of the neighborhoods and villages of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria have made great strides in deepening the democratic structures, the urgency of ecological work has been heightened by both the global and local crises. In the construction of the Internationalist Academy of Rojava, we took into account these fundamental values of the revolution. And thats why, along with the international women autonomous group, and the commune based organization, we also began to organize ecological projects, that will be part of the Academy we are now building.
The ideas of an ecological Academy and tree nursery cooperative, reforesting existing natural reserves, and organizing education about ecological issues, grew stronger with every meeting and discussion we had, both internally and with the different municipality committees of the Democratic Self-administration. We conducted research, studied similar projects, and reviewed the various ongoing projects that the Committees of Ecology and Economy are developing in their fields. With these discussions and experiences, in the last few months we developed what will soon be the first official project of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava: ‘Make Rojava Green Again’.
But since the Turkish Army’s invasion of Afrin Canton on January 20th, we have been forced to rethink our work as the Internationalist Commune. This ruthless attack has reminded us of what the reality is in Rojava and the Middle East: various capitalist powers with imperialist aspirations imposing their interests against the people. Death and destruction are part of the strategy. Erdogan’s dangerous plans don’t stop at his intended ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds, but threaten all the population of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.
This last week has shown the depth of the preparation and popular resistance of the people of Afrin in the face of the enemy’s attacks. The shelling and air strikes targeting civilians, the occupation of land and villages, and the invasion by military forces needs to be answered, because fascism advances if it is not fought. The Turkish Army is the second-largest in NATO, an organization guided by the imperialist aspirations of the USA. But Russia is also an accomplice in this invasion, and colluded with the Turkish state elites in allowing it to take place.
The people of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria want to live in peace and freedom, and we share this wish. But we cannot sit idly by while this brutal attack against a civilian population is ongoing. The military defense forces are fighting to protect the people, but the civilian population is also preparing itself.
With this situation, we believe that it is more important than ever to keep working to defend the revolution. In this sense, we decided to give direct support and join the mobilization of society for the defense of Afrin. We will help the people in the preparation of their defense wherever we can, and we will do our best to spread the news from Afrin and Rojava around the world.
But defending a revolution also means building something new. Therefore we will stick to our plan to launch the ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ campaign on February 3rd. In the face of the fascist terror of the Turkish state, we will not be able to implement every aspect of the campaign now, but we will start with our work to become part of the emerging ecological society.
We call on everybody to show solidarity with the resistance in Afrin and to support it in every possible way! Go out on the streets, rise up against the fascist attacks of the Turkish state and its accomplices! Get in touch with the existing solidarity networks and help to defend Afrin!
Make Rojava green again!
Long live the Rojava revolution!
Long live the resistance of the oppressed peoples!
Internationalist Commune of Rojava
Cizire Canton, Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
28th January 2018