News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
A new article for Özgür Gündem by Murat Çiftçi looks at the emergence of a communal form of social and economic organization in the village of Karakoyun, in the Sêwreg district of Riha (Turkish: Urfa) Province. The villagers are attempting to build a model of social self-government in which decisions are made in common and carried out through common labor.
The villagers are most focused on urgent problems and are putting together a common budget out of which the needs of the entire community might be met. They are working together on road and other infrastructure work, in agricultural production and are also constructing common living spaces.
Solving Their Own Problems Without Waiting For Anyone
The village of Karakoyun is providing the rest of Kurdistan with a model example of democratic autonomy. Under the umbrella of the Karakoyun Village Mutual-aid and Solidarity Society, villagers have united their finances within a common budget and are working to improve life in the villager through common labor. Work on village roads and water infrastructure is now done through common labor while common social spaces such as cafes and funeral homes (taziye evi) are also operating along the same principals. Currently they are working to improve road connections with the Riha provincial city center; in the past roads have become muddy and impassable during winter.
Families in the village and surrounding hamlets of Keserkopri and Bilgin have a long history of supporting Kurdish political parties. In the most recent municipal election the BDP received 784 of 881 votes, with the AKP only winning 14.
Village resident Ahmet Yenturan told the paper that while they have requested help from the local district governor’s office (kaymakamlık) and the mayor’s office they have initiated these projects in an attempt to solve their own problems without waiting for an answer. Yenturan explained how this work was creating a common mentality, saying “we come together at the society and we figure out our problems. We debate different solutions and we decide together. After this it just remains to carry out our decision.” Another village resident, Hacı Kutlutekin told the paper that “we do our work with our own hands and feet. Let them see us and then help those who bring the tanks and artıllery. As for our drinking water and the roads we have done everything ourselves. We will do everything necessary in the name of making a future for our children.”
Taking Charge Of Its Legacy
Kurdish artist Hozan Axîn, who was born in the village of Karakoyun, said that the the construction of a common life was the legacy of the Kurdish Freedom Struggle. Axîn explained: “there are around 10 martys from this village. It was on the side of the freedom struggle from the very beginning. It never held back from sacrifice and took the proper stance. Today as a legacy of this stance it has shown a disposition for freedom and autonomy and within this scope it is building the life it desires for itself.”
We Are Our Own Power
Serdal Sorgül, another village resident, explained that the current system emerged from natural needs, saying “we presented our wishes to the township and local district governor’s office concerning roads and water some time ago. But nothing happened. We were forced to meet our own needs out of necessity. When we saw that this system worked better and made more sense we decided to continue. While this alliance continues we won’t be beholden oto anyone. Other than our village. We are our own power.”