• The Rojava Strategy

It is perhaps not without irony that we are launching this website to write about the Rojava Revolution in Syria only now, almost a decade after the onset of the civil war in Syria and of the beginning of the ecofeminist and pluralist revolution in North and East Syria known as Rojava. As we write, what remains of the armies of the Islamic State (ISIS) are huddled in their last bastion, a small neighbourhood in Baghouz, surrounded by the advancing Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of Rojava. Indeed, from its humble but bold beginnings under the auspices of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in 2012, to the near fall of the canton of Kobani to ISIS in 2014, all the way to its present position where, through a pluralist coalition of Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Christians and feminists (among others), it controls about a third of all land in Syria, the Rojava Revolution has come a long way, wilfully and successfully.

All the same, in these closing stages of the Syrian Civil War, and with the fate of the revolution in Rojava hanging in a fragile, metastasizing balance between an imminent withdrawal of the United States’ forces from Rojava, and Bashar al-Assad’s declared plans to reimpose his dictatorship over all Syrians, there is yet much to fight for in this struggle, and much to win or lose. Here, then, we plan to write not only about the probable end to the insurrectionary phase of Rojava’s struggle, but also about a potential transition to the Dual Power stage of Rojava’s resistance against the Assad regime and struggle for the principles of Democratic Confederalism and Democratic Autonomy. Therefore, regardless of how the conclusion to Rojava’s insurrection and the transition to federalism pan out in post-war Syria – even if Assad manages to rule this enclave with an iron fist or, worse, Erdogan happens to extend his ethnic cleansing campaign from Afrin to the rest of Rojava – we plan to offer our analysis and solidarity to Rojava according to the coordinates of unfolding political situations and the strategic necessities of transition to further democracy and autonomy in Rojava.

In this spirit, we hope to open a new space in the production of political literature on Rojava. We believe that the likes of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava (and now the Rojava Information Center) are providing the International and Kurdish Left with excellent news and coverage of the events in and around the Rojava Revolution. But we do not look kindly on the coverage of Rojava in the Western media, and particularly in the Leftist variety that, lacking an adequate comprehension of the realities of the resistance in Rojava, has functioned as more of an ideological nemesis to the revolution, than as a friend and comrade. Here, we hope to bridge the gap between the events in Rojava and their digest in the Western Left media, by way of concrete analysis and opinions that link facts on the ground in Syria to the global media superstructures of the Left.

More than anything, however, we will try to be critical of both the Left in the West and those in Rojava. We take it upon ourselves to suggest alternative pathways out of strategic and ideological impasses in the media landscape on Rojava: the international Left lacks access to no-nonsense, concrete, and cutthroat analysis of the realpolitik that predominates the Kurdish Question in Rojava, as well as in wider Kurdistan. To this end, we intend to measure up to the task of resurrecting and re-appropriating the ethical and critical strategy of a Leftist realpolitik in Kurdistan.