News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The follow column,“Eşitsiz seçim yasası ve Rojava,” was written by Metin Yeğin for Özgür Gündem. It has been translated into English below.
We have just come out of an election which was only a caricature of democracy. Just as we do every four or five years (or when those in the palace decides they do not like the results) we put the seal on the ballot paper in our hands. Then we folded it while offering a little prayer that it wouldn’t get mixed up with all the others, folded it it again and put it in the ballot box. And then we returned home to watch the television wondering who would turn out the winner. Now we will all watch the television for another 4 or 5 years. Is this democracy? This is nothing other than Origami, the Japanese art of folding paper that emerges as a riddle. Right, how many times have I said this? But I again repeat it with the sense that nothing explains this caricatured democracy as concisely and as well as this.
It is for this reason that Rojava is the world’s ‘zero point’ both here and around the whole globe. Today Rojava is not only a place where people are working to change who is in power but to build and put into practice a real democracy. It is also for this reason that, as I wrote about last week, the redistribution of 10 thousand hectares of land to the people, the democratization of the land, and its allocation for communal use does not mean simply that poor in Rojava will become land owners but points toward the democratization of land around the world. Please do not think that I am simply exaggerating either because as always we exaggerate when things go as we want or because we are now in need of a victory and a moral boost. However it is very significant that this is done under the influence of a guerrilla strike.
When guerrilla forces confront an army they are never a well-armed, ‘strong’ force with immediate logistical support or the latest technology and equipment. In terms of numbers they never have even a tenth of the men as an organized army but their effect is always more than dozens of organized armies. If I take one of the most prominent examples, this was the reason that the guerrillas in Vietnam, who moved at the speed of a bicycle, were able to defeat the US army which operated with the best technology of the day. What I want to emphasize here is not the military effectiveness of the guerrillas. The thing which at a basic level we generally overlook is that the guerrillas’ political influence is always many times more than their military influence and the former in fact gives birth to the latter.
For this reason the effect of the democratization of ten thousand hectares of land in Rojava is a force in the world a thousand times stronger than the force of those transnational monopolies which every passing day seek to take over more of the planet. The redistribution of land along democratic lines and the revolutionary effect of socializing space amid a developing capitalist hegemony and counter revolts which have broken out in opposition around the axes of space, identity and ecology is a guerrilla political action that has the potential to shake the entire world and in particular the Middle East where this identity is growing. Moreover with the distribution of this land to women its effect will only be increased further. This may not be the first ‘land reform’ in the world but it might be the first time that land has been ‘feminized’ in such a way. In a region where there have been efforts to have women killed, shut up, stoned and liquidated what a beautiful reason for happiness this is.
At the same time this, which in part sacrifices or rather ignores the Che’s organization theory, is the manner in which it allows for the initiative of many different actors and democratic subjects in the rebuilding of the world. The guerrillas destructive effect in the political arena, how much one may want to cover it up, is beginning to bloom in this happy manner alongside this caricature of democracy.
But don’t worry yourselves too much about that: Where there is an oppressor and the oppressed there is also the guerrillas of those who love.