Rojava was born when a Kurdish militia captured a swath of territory throughout the Syrian Civil War. “It’s about not being like a state, because the state is seen by many autonomy struggles as actually a system of domination that controls people, rather than provides for them,” Ms. Dirik stated.
Decision making in Rojava can also be an train in consensus constructing. “Raising one’s hands to vote is less important than reaching an understanding,” wrote Zelal Jeger, the co-chair of TEV-DEM, a political group in Rojava, in response to questions despatched by a consultant. “If we put something to a vote, and you receive more votes, and you win and I lose, fair enough — we do it like this. But before we vote, we discuss for hours, until you and I reach a consensus. Then there won’t be incorrect decisions.”
Rojava has additionally mentioned the way forward for policing. Communes have localized teams of rotating armed volunteers generally known as Civil Defense Forces. “The logic is that it shouldn’t be people from outside,” Ms. Dirik stated. Policing “shouldn’t be, like, ‘Random people who don’t know you just come and beat you up when you make a mistake.’ When people know each other, they also understand what’s going on in that community.”
Robin Makhno, an American anarchist who now lives in Rojava and doesn’t use gendered pronouns, stated in an e mail: “The experiment with democratic confederalism as a post-state way of organizing seemed much more promising than almost anything else being attempted,” In Rojava, they added, it’s potential for outsiders “to really connect with the revolution in genuine ways, to affect and be affected by the struggle to change the society, and not just get a photo op or some kind of war tourism.”
Mx. Makhno known as CHOP a “beautiful and exciting development in an otherwise incredibly bleak time for the United States,” and provides encouragement to protesters in autonomous zones.
“The best self-defense is strong community relationships,” they wrote. “Don’t lose sight of the long-term goals, celebrate every victory and love your comrades. You may have to do things less heroic and more difficult than you imagine.”