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.
The Solidarity Economy Association (SEA) are urging UK co-ops to support this movement, and are offering free workshops, as part of their Co-operation in Mesopotamia project, to help those interested to find out more. The free workshops 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.
For the Birmingham event, SEA are partnering with the Birmingham Bike Foundry. The Birmingham Bike Foundry is a worker co-operative that promotes cycling activities and recycles discarded bikes. They have previously run a crowdfunding campaign to help set up a women’s bakery co-operative in Kobane in Northern Syria as part of Radical Routes, a network of radical housing and worker co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change.
The event will be held in Artefact, an artist-led, community-focused arts space, in Stirchley, South Birmingham. Artefacthave previously also hosted an information night on civil volunteers from Plan C who spent several months teaching English in Northern Syria.
The event will include a presentation of the historical background to the region and participatory workshop and discussions 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 her second visit to the region, and will include a number of ways for UK co-ops to support the movement, for example by becoming a ‘sister co-operative’.
The workshops are free to attend but places will be very limited, so please make sure you reserve a space.
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).