Afrin‘s “inhabitants had taken advantage of their peace and stability to develop the democratic principles embraced throughout the majority Kurdish regions of north Syria, known as Rojava. Local decisions were devolved to neighbourhood assemblies in which everyone could participate; other parts of Rojava insisted on strict gender parity, with every office having co-chairs, male and female, in Afrin, two-thirds of public offices are held by women. Today, this democratic experiment is the object of an entirely unprovoked attack”
Category Archives: founding
Suzy Killmister: “Taking the Measure of Autonomy: A Four-Dimensional Theory of Self-Governance” (2017)
“Her view centers on the idea that there are several dimensions to autonomy, and while they are related, one may fall short in one but not the others. The result is a nuanced theory of autonomy that illuminates how the concept applies in a range of domains and to a range of agents.”
“So why should we care about this latest development in the Syrian war? Because Afrin, along with the cantons of Euphrates and Jazira, is experimenting with a form of bottom-up, direct democracy that is arguably more progressive than any other system in the West.”
South Atlantic Quarterly 116: 4 (October 2017), Hardt & Mezzadra, eds.
“Political transitions following bottom up upheavals are very difficult to navigate in that they bring to the surface all the contradictions that were suppressed by the authoritarian regime.”
“If today’s communities offer escape from the cult of individualism only to end up being ‘walled gardens’ for a privileged class of bohemians, entrepreneurs or spiritual seekers, then perhaps, for all their material success, they might yet be said to have failed. Whether today’s collaborative experiments will create tentacles into more diverse populations or tackle agendas of social justice and economic inequality remains to be seen.”
“Yet both the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks were wrong in 1917. The Mensheviks’ faith in Russian liberals was misplaced, as were the Bolsheviks’ hopes for world revolution and an easy leap from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom. The Bolsheviks, having seen over ten million killed in a capitalist war, and living in an era of upheaval, can be forgiven. We can also forgive them because they were first. What is less forgivable is that a model built from errors and excesses, forged in the worst of conditions, came to dominate a left living in an unrecognizable world.”
A. James McAdams: Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton 2017) “from the drafting of The Communist Manifesto in the 1840s to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s”.
“the political is not personal. The political is a collective break from the accumulating effects of power inherited from the past, claiming the right of ingress in the present. The political is what breaks through the personal, shattering the hold of the accumulated power effects that are part and parcel of its constitution, liberating self-affirming powers of primary resistance that co-occur with identity but do not belong to it, that are not contained in it but pass through and around it, that open instead onto the outside, onto new affective vistas of collective becoming.”