Murray Bookchin and the Rojava revolution

I first heard of Murray Bookchin when I read that his philosophy had been adopted by the Kurdish fighters in Syria.

kurdistan-cock01_3805_01The Kurds are the only faction in the current struggles in the Middle East that I root for.

The Kurds of Rojava in northern Syria fight ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, while defending themselves against the Syria government.

They practice religious freedom and shelter persecuted ethnic minorities, including Assyrians and Turkmen, and religious minorities, including Christians.  They recognize equal rights for women.

Abdullah Ocalan, the leader and co-founder of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, was a Communist and a nationalist leader who fought to create an independent Kurdish state.

After his arrest in 1999, he read Bookchin and adopted a philosophy he called “democratic confederalism,” which he thought would enable the Kurdish people to achieve freedom and true democracy on a local basis while remaining within the borders of Turkey.

Ocalan’s followers in Syria have adopted his ideas.  The Turkish government sees them as a threat and has them under an economic blockade.

The Kurdish people in Iraq have meanwhile achieved self-government and practical independence although they are technically and legally part of Iraq.  They, too, are enemies of ISIS.

Unlike the Kurds in Syria, however, they accept capitalism, and deal happily with American oil companies.  Also unlike the Kurds in Syria, they gave good relations with the Turkish government.


Murray Bookchin’s New Life by Damien White for Jacobin.

Kurds are practicing the most democratic form of government on the planet by Debbie Bookchin, Murray Bookchin’s daughter, for the Verso Books blog.

How Syrian Kurds dropped Marx and adopted communalism , an interview of Debbie Bookchin by Claudia Gallo for La Stampa.

An interview with Debbie Bookchin on her father’s contributions to revolutionary theory and the adoption of his theories by the Kurdish revolutionary movement by Frederico Venturini for ROAR magazine.

Ecosocialism Against ISIS – A Salute to Murray Bookchin by Martin O’Bierne.

Rojava: A libertarian myth under scrutiny by Andrea Glioti for Al Jazeera.

Power to the People: Rojava, anarchism and Murray Bookchin by Carne Ross for the Financial Times.

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