News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following article “Koruculuğa karşı komün hayat” was written by Mehmet Dursun and was published in Özgür Gündem. It has been translated into English below.
In the 1990’s residents of the village of Saçan [in the province of Wan] came out against attempts by the state to expand the village guard system. Despite its expansion they refused to leave their village, and owing to state pressure 19 youths from the village – 11 of them women – joined the ranks PKK. The residents of Saçan have built a system of communal living through the formation of justice, self-defense and economic commissions and a village assembly which they founded. The villagers stress that this system’s architect is the Kurdish Popular Leader Abdullah Öcalan. There is a system of common life and common production in the village and those who visit from the outside are beginning to take notice.
As the village became acquainted with the PKK movement bride exchange (berdel) and early marriage ended, and the view regarding women changed. The village, which has commanded a system of communal living for years, runs all of its agricultural and husbandry in common with the entire village participating. The people of the village formed a village assembly, from which they established various commissions to make their lives easier such as a justice commission by which to more easily solve any problems experienced in the village; an economic commision to help disadvantaged residents and strengthen the construction of communal projects; and a self-defense commission in order to protect against any threats which might develop in the area.
‘We Changed Together With The PKK’
Mehmet Emin Özcan, a resident of the village, explained that “we went from being a community of consumers to a community of producers. We are improving our lives through the philosophy of our leadership.” Özcan, who said that the village had communal living in one form or another for more than 40 years, explained that all work, especially work around agriculture and livestock, was done through a method of collective work.
A Free Life In the Village
In order to free families in difficult financial circumstances from their problems and to make production more regular 30 families bought two breeding cows each and would construct a new commune, said Özcan, explaining how the implementation of each new communal project strengthened the village economy. He added that the village put together each new project relying only on their own resources.
Another resident of the village, Hamza Boyacı, explained how all the problems experienced in the village were solved by the Village Assembly’s Justice Commission, saying “taking the project of our leadership as our principal we are moving forward with our work in serious way. In our village there is a communal and free life.”
Women Have Become Free
A local named Adile Alkan, talking of the violence faced by women in the village before it was introduced to the Kurdish Freedom Movement, said “after the PKK came to our village we came to know the freedom struggle. The PKK taught us about an equal and free life. A new life has been built in our village since the 1990’s. With the PKK women came to understand what freedom was. Thanks to the value given to women by Leader Apo we have taken a place in every sphere of life freely.”