Explainer: The Syrian Democratic Council – A proposal for a democratic Syria

The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) is a political assembly representing political parties and organizations in North and East Syria. The SDC creates a political framework for the governance of Syria along a decentralized, federal model. It is the political body to which the SDF reports. It is also the political counterpart to the Autonomous Administration, which takes on more administrative and executive functions. Negotiations with the Syrian government, as well as diplomatic relations with international powers, are generally conducted through the SDC.

Sheikh Maqsud Council member: “You cannot separate Sheikh Maqsud from Aleppo. We have to cooperate.”

Sheikh Maqsud is a unique enclave within Aleppo, one of the oldest and most populous cities in Syria. Aleppo is under Syrian Government control, but the majority-Kurdish Sheikh Maqsud and Ashrafiya neighborhoods retain autonomy and ties to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. Within the tumults of the civil war Sheikh Maqsud gained independence from Syrian Government forces, and since then its population has been organizing according to the same democratic principles as the AANES. Azad from the General Council of Sheikh Maqsud explains how the district organizes its communes, self-defense forces, health care, and education, and to what extent it is able to cooperate with the central Syrian Government.

Co-operative Regulations of North and East Syria

Co-operatives mean for a society to unite its labour, art and economic opportunities, to provide for its daily needs in this way, and at the same time protect itself from the forces of the capitalist state. A co-operative is the most productive economic organisation for society. Co-operatives are based on members of a community working together, developing communal life and organisations, seeking only to build each other up and love each other. A co-operative must not be developed unless this consciousness is established, otherwise it will end up in service of a state monopoly.

Explainer: Co-operatives in North and East Syria – developing a new economy

Currently, North and East Syria (NES) faces enormous economic difficulties: rampant inflation, a partial embargo, war and the draining of resources by occupying Turkish forces in Sere Kaniye, Tel Abyad and Afrin. In this crisis context, NES is developing an economic model which aims at self-sufficiency and sustainability. The economic program of the Autonomous Administration

Explainer: Kongra Star, the Women’s Congress

Kongra Star, which means “Star Congress” (in reference to the ancient Mesopotamian goddess, Ishtar), is the congress of the women’s movement in North and East Syria. It was first established in 2004 as Yêkitiya Star (Star Union), an underground organization that sought to organize women at a time of Ba’ath regime dominance over the area. Kongra Star operates on the basis of confederalism, with organizations, committees, and unions participating. Its vision is “to develop a free Rojava, a democratic Syria, and a democratic Middle East by promoting women’s freedom and the concept of the democratic nation.” In many ways it acts as the corresponding autonomous women’s body to TEV-DEM (Movement for a Democratic Society, the umbrella body for civil society).

Explainer: TEV-DEM – Unions and Counter-Power

TEV-DEM was founded in 2011 to build up the democratic system of communes and assemblies. This is the role that it played in the previous system, in the three initial cantons: Afrin, Jazeera and Kobane. In Manbij, Raqqa, Tabqa and Deir ez-Zor regions, however, the SDC took on the role of implementing the democratic confederalist

Building Peace

Thanks to the primarily-Kurdish female fighters in the YPJ militia, many people now know that a women’s revolution is underway in North and East Syria (NES), the autonomous region more commonly known as Rojava. Women are organizing autonomously in civil society, and participating as co-chairs with guaranteed 50% representation from the highest levels of the new

Co-operatives as a Revolutionary Strategy – Facing Capitalist Modernity

The idea to start building up socialist elements within capitalism through cooperatives, often accompanied by some kind of (con-)federal unionism, is not new. This strategy may indeed sound tempting in theory. However, estimates suggest that today there exist already up to 3 million cooperatives with nearly one billion members worldwide, therefore 12% of humanity is

Revolution and Co-operatives: thoughts about my time with the Economic Committee in Rojava

In the following I will give a short insight about my experiences during the time with the economic committee of the cantons of Qamişlo and Hasakah in Rojava, North-East Syria. I will especially focus on the cooperative economy that is being built up in Rojava. As a second step, I will discuss to what extend

Explainer: Communes – the building block of democratic confederalism

Communes are the most basic unit of the political system of North and East Syria. They are established in Article 48 of the Social Contract, which defines the commune system as “the essential basic organizational form of direct democracy. It is a system that sets out an organizational and administrative framework within which to make

An Overview of AANES Women’s Institutions in Manbij

The case of Manbij, liberated from ISIS by the SDF in August 2016, shows how women in a multi-ethnic Syrian city used AANES [the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria] frameworks to build institutions, take on leadership roles, and organize in their communities to change discriminatory attitudes.

From Raqqa to Kobane, from Colonial Past til Today’s Flourishing of the Revolution

1. Colonization and stolen history – The stolen brothers of Kobane.2. After war and death, the liberation of life and of women – The women council of Raqqa. Colonization and stolen history – The stolen brothers of Kobane Mezopotamia, cradle of civilizations, is covered by historical sites and relics. From the first settling sites of