Sunday 27 January, 12:30 pm, Cavendish Square, London
The people of Northern Syria and its democratic self-administration are under severe threat of attack by the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Islamist militias, who are threatening to invade and occupy the Autonomous Administrations of North and East Syria (Rojava), just as they did with the predominantly Kurdish region of Afrin this time last year.
An attack like this could lead to the massacre and displacement of up to three million civilians, open a new and bloody phase of the Syrian ‘Civil’ War, and threaten to crush a unique model of democratic stateless society hat has been thriving for six years based on the pillars of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology – with a co-operative economy.
The Solidarity Economy Association have been following these developments closely and are working together with autonomous women’s economic structures in the region to develop projects based on solidarity, mutual aid and friendship as part of our Co-operation in Mesopotamia project. We have been mapping the hundreds of co-operatives that have taken seed across the region – including over 50 autonomous women’s co-operatives, in which 7,000 women are working and organising together in co-operation.
Just before Christmas, U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly announced a withdrawal of American military forces from Syria. This announcement is a clear message to Turkey’s President Erdoğan and the Turkish State that the United States will not stand in the way of a further Turkish invasion into predominantly Kurdish-held territory.
Erdoğan has threatened to invade, and the population of North and East Syria (Rojava) are preparing for war, with people digging trenches in their gardens and organising mass vigils at the borders.
Rise up for Rojava
There is a very clear message coming from all democratic structures in Rojava, as well as in the diaspora and the internationalist solidarity structures, that now is the time for all who care about the future of this project, and indeed the chances for real democracy, peace and freedom in this world, to rise up in defence of Rojava.
Some of our partners in The Internationalist Commune of Rojava and the Make Rojava Green Again campaign have called for two global days of action on the 27 and 28 January. A demonstration has been called in London on the 27th in line with that call.
We are calling for co-operators in the UK to take a stand in defence of Rojava, against these attacks. Calverts design & print co-op in London and Unicorn Grocery in Manchester have already joined us in calling for a co-operators’ bloc, as part of the broader solidarity bloc, at the demonstration in central London on Sunday 27 January. If you and your co-op would like to join us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-operation against fascism
It is important that the co-operative movement in the UK stands in solidarity with the people of Rojava when they need it so much, especially as their cause is not being supported by states and international bodies. There is a long tradition of international support from co-operatives to aid the fight against fascism dating back to the ‘Milk for Spain’ campaigns and the formation of the International Brigades who fought alongside Spanish comrades against Franco’s fascist forces.
What you can do:
- Sign the petition – help us call for a No Fly Zone in northern Syria
- Attend the demonstration in London on 27th January – meet 12:30pm Cavendish Square
- Heed the call for an economic boycott – don’t holiday in Turkey
- Help spread the word – display materials in your workplace, add your name to the call