The Rojava Revolution taking place in Northern Syria is transitioning the region into a gender equal, and democratic society, based on communes, co-operatives and citizen committees. The movement is rebuilding society based on three fundamental pillars – direct democracy, ecology, and women’s liberation – and co-operation plays a crucial role. We at the Solidarity Economy Association (SEA) are urging UK co-ops to support this movement, and we’re offering free workshops to help those interested to find out more.
Co-operatives currently make up 7% of the economy in Jazira, the largest region of Northern Syria, with women’s co-operatives making up 3%, despite never having been present in the region before. SEA is partnering with women’s economic structures in Rojava to build connections between co-ops there and in the UK, as part of our Co-operation in Mesopotamia project. The project will include a number of ways for UK co-ops to support the movement, for example by becoming a ‘sister co-operative’.
“Solidarity is co-operative work,” says writer and activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement, Dilar Dirik. “Supporting the revolutionary efforts in Rojava to create a solidarity-based economy for a communal, self-sustained society means to contribute to the development of a fundamentally different kind of ethical and political understanding of life. Building bridges between radical, ecological concepts of economy against capitalism’s systematic destruction of life itself is a historic struggle that everyone who does not accept domination, colonisation and exploitation as fate, should rally behind.”
The free workshops are part of our Co-operation in Mesopotamia project (formerly Co-operative Economy in Rojava and Bakur), and will take place during Co-operatives Fortnight – the annual event promoting the difference that co-ops make to people’s lives all around the world – at the following locations:
• Saturday 23 June 11:30 – 15:00 Brighton – with the Free University Brighton – Click here to book Brighton
• Tuesday 26 June 10:00 – 13:30 Oxford – with Solidarity Economy Association – Click here to book Oxford
• Friday 29 June 15:00 – 18:00 Birmingham – with Birmingham Bike Foundry – Click here to book Birmingham
• Monday 2 July 13:00 – 16:00 Manchester – with the Co-operative College – Click here to book for Manchester
• Tuesday 3 July 18:30 – 21:00 Leeds – with the Leeds Bread Co-operative – Click here to book for Leeds
They will include a presentation of the historical background to the region and participatory workshop to help co-operators get a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities our fellow co-operators in Northern Syria are facing. The workshops will be delivered by project co-ordinator Jo Taylor, who has just returned from a visit to the region.
The workshops are free to attend but places will be very limited, so please make sure you reserve a space using the links above.
As part of the events, we’ll also be sharing the first version of the project’s new website, relaunched to make it easier to search the 250+ articles we’ve collated and translated on the co-operative economy in Rojava and Bakur (eastern Turkey).