Afrin, Rojava, Syria, agriculture, cooperative, democratic confederalism

“Our Goal is the Development of Cooperatives”

This is a translation of a report written in Arabic by Dilar Cizîrê, published on ANHA, 2nd February, 2015

Hassan Hassan, an administrative member of the Economic Development Centre in the Afrin Canton, says they have embarked on several economic projects in order to develop the canton’s economy. He stresses that their primary goal is to develop social cooperatives.

During a meeting with the management of the Economic Development Centre in Afrin, organised by Hawar News Agency (ANHA), Hassan Hassan talked about the centre’s work and projects. He confirmed that the centre was established a year and a half ago as a branch of the Centre for Economic Development in Rojava, however, the difficult conditions experienced by the canton had prevented the centre from initiating action until only seven months ago.

Hassan noted that they are currently embarked on three economic projects, and added, “We are late starting up the economic projects due to the suffocating siege imposed on the Afrin canton, and we’ve only just started work on some projects. We are now beginning to build greenhouses for crop production and markets ahead of schedule. Our second project aims to buy olive oil from farmers packed in special containers and to display them in the markets. This project includes filtering the oil. We’ve already started up this project and our products will enter the market soon.

Our third project is the opening of a people’s market, which will house many shops. We have begun this project as well.”

Hassan turned to talking about the future projects that the centre intends to start. He stressed that they are beginning reconstruction projects, saying, “We aim to use this project to solve the housing problem faced by the people.”

Afrin, Rojava, Syria, agriculture, cooperative, democratic confederalism, Ocalan

“We support the cooperatives established by the communes”

Hassan said that their primary goal is the development of cooperatives and they went ahead with some pilot projects in this area, where they sought to encourage people to set up cooperative societies through communes. He said, “We have started some pilot projects. People do not yet understand the economic feasibility of these cooperatives and they are not sure of their success, so we have initiated some of these projects ourselves. Also, the communes can now consult us and propose their own economic projects and we’ll strive to support these projects in every way possible. We’ll put all of our energy into the development of cooperatives. This is the main objective of the centre, so we have begun to hold meetings for the people and to explain the importance of cooperatives and their role in the development of the social economy.”

On the coordination between the centre and the democratic self-administration, Hassan said, “We communicate with the democratic self-administration through Afrin’s Economic Commission, and our relationship is guidance only. However, we are implementing our economic projects in accordance with the laws of the canton and we get cooperative members the necessary permits and paperwork. No, we do not communicate with the democratic self-administration directly, because we are an independent organisation.”