The Evaporating İdea of Revolution

The period from the late 1980s to the 2000s was marked by the dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. This was accompanied by the spread of the belief that an era was over and that revolutions that marked the 19th and 20th centuries would no longer be seen.

The 2000s began with the so-called “Orange Revolution”, which led to the change of government in Ukraine, followed by developments in Georgia and so on.For a time, a period developed in which various government changes were described by colorful revolutions. While the popularity of these colorful revolutions has faded, we have witnessed developments which are labelled “Arab Spring” in Tunisia that were triggered by the uprising that led to the destruction of the ancient Binali dictatorship.In this medium, the end of Gaddafi came. Libya has been in an unstable civil war ever since. In Egypt, the period of Hosni Mubarak was over, but the period of Mürsi and Ikhwan could not be opened, because they were blocked by the Sisi coup. Mürsi died as a result of a heart attack that was not intervened in court.

In a sense, the idea that there would be no revolution or the superstition of end of ideologies was coming around. A mood that emanated from either the colorful revolutions or the extensions of the Arab Spring also surround the broader sections of the left. The idea of revolution, which is gradually being abandoned, has been replaced by a tendency to hope for such uncertain mass movements.

Without having the opportunity to understand and evaluate exactly what happened in the countries where the Arab Spring was visited, a similar movement developed against the Ba’ath regime in Syria to be regarded as a subject of this wave. Like many others, Tayyip Erdoğan and his supporters dreamed of the collapse of the Assad regime in a short time and they started to take part in the process with the Ikhwan movement.

Rojava Revolution

On the way to July 2012, Erdogan was in preparation for a military operation in Syria, in order to take part directly with the opposition under the FSA against the Assad regime. Prior to this step, the government of Turkey increase logistic, medical and even military assistance to the various jihadist organizations in the Free Syrian Army in a implicit and nonconfidential way. Almost all journalists and deputies who have dealt with these issues have been silenced or imprisoned in one way or another. With the approval of the so-called opposition and silence, the news on this subject was censored; still this censorship has not been lifted.

At this time, in July 2012, the armed forces of the Ba’ath decided to fall back to the south and left some weapons and ammunitions. It is expected that these areas was the target of Turkish Army.

Since this turn, the word Rojava, which means westin Kurdish, has become a word known all over the world and loaded with more meanings than dictionary.

Since then, the PYD has declared autonomy starting from Kobani and in the cantons of Afrin and Jazeera,  where Kurds are relatively dense in northern Syria and more or less people’s assemblies are formed.Since then, Ayn al Arab has been called the Kobani in the world. The word Rojava found its place in all languages of the world.The Canton of Jazeera on 21 January 2014,  The Canton of Kobané on 27 January 2014 and The Canton of Afrin on 29 January 2014 was officially announced. After the Fırat Shield Operation, which was carried out by T.C. in order to disconnect these cantons, and then  the invasion movements to Afrin; Afrin was left without conflict. As a response, a fourth canton (actually the third, historically fourth canton) in Shehba, between Afrin and Kobane, declared its autonomy in August 2017 between the time of Fırat Shield Operation and invasion movements to Afrin.

The topic of the Rojava Revolution has been on the agenda in a geography that is not composed of the Middle East for 7 years.

Democratic Confederalism is in Vogue

With the Rojava Revolution, however, not only the concepts of Rojava and revolution have created a place in the world literature.Parallel to this development, although not so new, an ascending political trend has become popular again. A political strategy known as democratic confederalism and communal municipalism, which is accepted an invention of Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey and Kurdistan, began to gain widespread attention with the Rojava Revolution.

These ideas which created staggering change for Turkish and Kudish left, are not alien even older than Marxism for civil societist and new libertarian left of West. As a matter of fact, it immediately attracted the interest of the movements and people coming from this tradition. In Turkey and Kurdistan, still roots and meaning of this perspective is not fully grasped.

However, as the writings of Janet Biehl, the well-known life partner and companion of Bookchin himself, showed that a considerable exchange of views between Öcalan and Bookchin was ensured despite the İmralı conditions.The translation of some basic books of Bookchin into Turkish was also ensured in the process following Öcalan’s imprisonment in İmralı.

Whatever it is, it is not an exaggeration to say that Bookchin, who has been militant since the age of 15-16 and has gone from trade unionism to Trotskyism and then to anarchism, gained popularity after the Rojava Revolution and through his contact with Öcalan. However, nor in Rojava and Kurdistan in general neither in Turkey this issue has been adressed. The ideas in question are still perceived as Öcalan’s contributions.

On the other hand, aside from this paradox of leadership emphasis, many libertarian civil society movements interested in the Rojava revolution have not tried to emphasize much, it would be unjustifiable to complain that the young libertarians, who acted enthusiastically that the centuries-old dead soil on them were shaking, were interested in the Rojava Revolution.

But what the communists should pay attention to is beyond this romantic side of the matter.

Certainly, with the disappearance of the USSR and the like,it is possible to turn an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on the Rojava Revolutionagainst the blurring of the goals of revolution and classless society and the spread of pessimism around the world. In fact, the fact that a large number of people from many corners of the world have a common concentration on a subject offers the possibility of explaining the political realities on many issues which are seemed unrelated.

In this respect, it would be irresponsible to exclude the Rojava Revolution from our area of interest because of this proudhonist / civil societist shadow. (The Communist Manifesto described this movement as bourgeois socialism!).

On the contrary, the responsibility of the communists must be based on the nature and weaknesses of the Rojava Revolution, and on this occasion try to tie to the fundamental axis of a propaganda activity that highlights the main references of Communism.

The Common Weakness of the Paris Commune and the Rojava Revolution

The Communists, who were among the firststo greet the Rojava Revolution, also pointed to the similarity between this revolution and the Paris Commune. It is now time to deepen the similarity that remains superficial.

The main weakness of the Paris Commune was undoubtedly its indifferent attitude towards central power. The Parisian communards acted with the idea that everyone should take over the local power and organize the daily life like us and then establish a confederation.This indifference caused the central government to recover and attack the Paris Commune with the support of the Prussians. There was heroic resistance of the communards that were remembered. The Kobani resistance, in particular, was memorized with a heroic epic as well as that of the communards.

The Rojava revolution, however, lasted much longer than the Paris Commune. In this respect, it is the scene of multi-faceted experiences that will be subject to review.

From the West of Kurdistan to the North of Syria

First of all, the process that began as the Rojava revolution was positive and promising to the extent that it seemed to be a first step of the Kurdistan revolution from the west. In a short time, the emphasis on Northern Syria came to the fore. Moreover, it was confined to separate cantons in northern Syria.(Even T.C. intervened in two stages and ripped it off). The position of the US and its coalition in the eastern part was feathered. With Trump’s decision to withdraw and the subsequent Turkish occupation, the North emphasis has reached a whole new level and the demand for YPG to become the fifth corps of the Assad regime has begun to increase.

Today, although the word Rojava still exists in the languages, the official Rojava community agreement has been replaced by the Northern Syria federation community agreement. If a revolution is to be mentioned in the first place, there is no doubt that this second is a step back from the revolution.Undoubtedly, revolutions develops back and forth and this phenomenon was not first seen in the Rojava Revolution. But the transition from Western Kurdistan to northern Syria is not only a step back, but also a change towards the darkening of the future horizon. In fact, it will stop the Rojava Revolution when it is no longer a political intention, but will be actualized in life. The meaning cannot be grasped unless it is named.

Certainly, adressing this issue cannot be expected from a movement which is not interested in central political power and has a limited horizon with local reforms. Worse still, this view that does not have a central political objective from the beginning and which limits itself to this framework is seen and shown as virtue and ingenuity. When we do not grasp the fall, the possibility of a new revolution is set aside in advance. Indeed, this is what happened.

Revolution is Associated with the Problem of Sovereignty

Yet another weakness is beside the lack of a perspective on central political power, the efforts to define the Rojava Revolution through reforms in the local and everyday life.For example, developments about the place and role of women in social life, regulations on the organization of daily affairs, and so on are perceived and shown as the main virtues of the Rojava Revolution. The importance of such practices, which express big moves in this way and in the past of Syria, cannot be underestimated, but the preservation of these gains is endangered when it is forgotten that their permanence is related to the central political power.

Moreover, it is not difficult to see this, for example, if the role of the most women in social and political life is emphasized.

It is obvious that the changing situation of women in Rojava cantons is one of the most emphasized issues today. However, it should not be forgotten that the most prominent examples are the examples of YPJ militants without exception. In other words, it is about the situation of armed women militants. In this case, it is not difficult to understand these militants’ stance against the patriarchy. But what is the situation of other women in Western Kurdistan who are not armed in the war? No testimony has been found yet. This also raises questions about what the table will look like if the YPJ is disarmed. There is no need to be a scholar to think that women who have gained their freedom and are aware of how they have won it, will not easily leave what they have. However, this picture will become more evident if we think that the overwhelming majority of Syrian society is not in the same situation, and even a significant portion of them live as slaves/sex slaves in jihadist gangs.

It should not be forgotten that Parisian communard women were the leading ones who brought the Paris Commune to life.But it is often forgotten that these most prominent women who shed their blood for barricades and in the commune had no place in the Commune’s official institutions and could only find a place for them in secondary tasks such as logistics. Therefore, even when they were sentenced, women were asked to be ignored. One of the most striking examples of this is that Louise Michel, who was shouting for the heaviest punishment as one of the responsible, was punished with the exile and then pardoned. Even the courts of the counter-revolution did not want a woman to appear among the prominent defendants of the Commune.

Those who want to end the Rojava Revolution by adding the western part of Kurdistan to the north of Syria are not only trying to turn a revolution in the way of national liberation into municipal reforms. They also pursue an impossible project. Because even in order for the YPG-dominated regions to remain as a democratic and autonomous islet in northern Syria, the reactionary Baathist regime, which refuses to give up unitary Syria and even tolerate political parties that might oppose it, needs to change. However, there is an Assad that strengthens its power step by step, and the Turkish occupation strengthens this position. In this case, obtaining a partial gains of the Kurds with a democratic constitution in a crude reality without reality

Not the Order of Pessimism

Should we look at this negative aspect of the question and get a pessimistic perspective about the Rojava Revolution and its dynamics?

This is the behavior of those who already tend to leave the end of the rope in advance. Such people do not have any place among the communist revolutionaries. On the contrary, from the beginning,  no doubt the revolution has already created serious political influencenot only in their field but also in Turkey. After that, it would be absurd to expect less impact.

Secondly, there is not a small number of people who are interested in the Rojava Revolution, whether they are motivated by romantic revolutionism or by other motives.Undoubtedly, regardless of the fate of the Rojava Revolution, this will be one of those who will take the lessons from this experience and those who will need these lessons. It is not a dreamer to think that the pioneering elements of the Kurdistan and Middle Eastern revolution will stand out among them. Rather without thinking it, in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East even in the world, being revolutionary is not possible.

But the main task of the communists is to combine the lessons of Bolshevism which they are the heirs with the lessons of the Rojava revolution and present it to the militants who need it more than bread and water.

On the other hand, the people who tend to think that a mistake has been made by calling the Rojava revolution a revolution, taking into account the situation of the Rojava revolution and the apparent possibilities are not few. It represents an approach that looks at revolution and politics at least as far as the romantic revolutionaries. In order to determine that the Rojava Revolution is wanted to be finished by proud bourgeois socialism, first of all it is necessary to accept that a revolution took place in Rojava.

Freedom of the Kurds is a Basic Condition

The knot of the Middle East and the minimum condition of a democratic opening in the Middle East depends on the liberation of the Kurds, one of the two oppressed nations of this geography, together with the Palestinians, and the independence of Kurdistan. This is also the condition for the liberation of the sovereign peoples in the Middle East.

Therefore, it should be said without hesitation that the communists, who will lead the Middle East to escape from captivity, will emerge among those who approach this revolution with this consciousness during and after the seventh year of the Rojava revolution.