At Plan C’s most recent congress, we managed to meet as the Rojava Solidarity Cluster to discuss our aims over the next 4 – 6 months. It is obvious that since we formed our cluster the situation regarding the Kurdish struggle has developed considerably. The past 10 months has seen the re-ignition of conflict in Kurdish parts of Turkey (Bakur) as the growing confidence of KCK (Group of Communities in Kurdistan – formed by the PKK in 2005) linked projects has come up against Turkish President Erdogan’s nationalist chauvinism. The continued development of projects of self-organisation in Bakur, including declarations of autonomy in several neighbourhoods in Bakur, and the electoral success of the HDP led to a crackdown by the Turkish state, involving attacks on HDP offices, bomb attacks on peace demonstrations and young activists, and which has culminated in large scale military operations by the Turkish state in Kurdish cities which has led to thousands of deaths and countless war crimes. Given both the severity of the situation and what is at stake our cluster has agreed to broaden its scope to cover the Kurdish struggle beyond Rojava alone.
After the initial burst of energy within the cluster the next few months will be spent solidifying our progress so far and laying the groundwork for further rounds of organising.
1) Co-ordinate: The last year has seen positive steps for the UK based Kurdish solidarity movement. We’ve seen several fundraising projects, talks across the country, and the first national demonstration in London under the banner of “Stop the War on Kurds” (SWOK) which mobilised thousands. We want to participate in developing SWOK into an effective national organisation capable of offering tangible solidarity and winning the political arguments here in the UK. As part of our co-ordination work our member are also participating in local solidarity groups (e.g. in Leeds and Manchester) which are aiming to affiliate with SWOK. This will be a primary focus of the cluster in the coming months.
2) Educate: We want to collectively research and produce more work on the Kurdish struggle, its currents dimensions, and potentials for application here in the UK. We hope these articles delve deeper into the political, economic, and gendered dimensions of the revolution in Rojava. We also want to publish interviews from the region (such as this one with a YPJ commander) and have plans to publish a comic book project we are currently working on with comrades in our European co-ordination platform Beyond Europe by the end of the year.
3) Agitate: We also want to continue spreading information about the Kurdish struggle in the circles and movements close to us. We have been slowly building up an engagement with parts of the British co-operative movement and encouraging it to offer support for the Rojavan experiment. We think there is an underused potential for co-operatives to participate in socially progressive, or even radical, projects and that the experiences coming from Rojava might provide a catalyst for this. To this end some of us are involved in supporting a co-operative fundraiser which aims to raise money for infrastructure being developed by co-operatives in Rojava. As part of our agitational work we have also been involved in raising awareness in a number of different co-operative networks and forums and hosting workshop, whilst still distributing the “Co-operation in Rojava” bulletin printed earlier this year: https://cooperationinrojava.wordpress.com
As well as these more formal aims our local groups will be continuing with their local work. This includes the language school initiative our group in Birmingham are working on in partnership with the IWW and other fellow travellers. The language school is working with the local Kurdish community to co-develop a curriculum which supports them in organising in their workplaces and dealing with the asylum process.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – label emails “Rojava Cluster”.
Plan C Rojava Solidarity Cluster