Books

  • Struggles for autonomy in Kurdistan: This book, by Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson, gathers together first-hand accounts of the struggles for a new society taking place in Bakur and Rojava – the parts of Kurdistan within the borders of Turkey and Syria.
    The setting up of local assemblies and co-operatives, as well as radical women’s and ecological movements, are rapidly gathering momentum in Kurdistan. The book gives a simple introduction to democratic confederalism, the idea that has inspired many of those involved in these movements.
    The book also compiles accounts from Kurdish people who are oppressed by the state of Turkey and profiles some of the companies that are complicit in their repression. The interviews give suggestions of how people outside of Kurdistan can act in solidarity. Click here to buy or download this book: https://corporatewatch.org/publications/2016/new-book-struggles-autonomy-kurdistan
  • Revolution in Rojava. DEMOCRATIC AUTONOMY AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION IN THE SYRIAN KURDISTAN. by MICHAEL KNAPP, ANJA FLACH, AND ERCAN AYBOGA and Translated by Janet Biehl. Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it’s not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is  reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, where in the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most progressive societies in the world today. Revolution in Rojava tells the story of Rojava’s groundbreaking experiment in what they call democratic confederalism, a communally organized democracy that is fiercely anti-capitalist and committed to female equality, while rejecting reactionary nationalist ideologies. Rooted in the ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the system is built on effective gender quotas, bottom-up democratic structures, far-sighted ecological policies, and a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay. This first full-length study of democratic developments in Rojava tells an extraordinary and powerfully hopeful story of a little-known battle for true freedom in dark times.  http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/R/bo25051714.html
  • A Small Key Can Open a Large Door. The Rojava revolution. Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness (Editors). The world watched in horror last autumn as the ruthless Islamic State (commonly referred to as ISIS) marched on the small city of Kobane in northern Syria. No one expected the city to survive the attack. But it did. Mixed-gender militias with small arms held one of the most feared armies in the world at bay. The smoke cleared, and Kobane still stood. And western media attention moved on. The YPG and the YPJ, the militias who held the city, were fighting for their lives and their land. But even more than that, they were fighting to defend their their revolution: the Rojava Revolution. When the Assad regime began to fall, Kurds and other ethnic minorities in northern Syria carved out pockets of liberty and started one of the greatest social experiments the world has ever seen. Based on their own history of struggle and on the writings of social ecologist Murray Bookchin, the people of Rojava have developed an anti-state and anti-capitalist way of life. It’s a way of life that values feminism, direct democracy, ecological stewardship, and ethnic, linguistic, and religious pluralism. And right now, 2.5 million people are trying their hardest to defend their revolution against ISIS attacks from the south and an international trade embargo ruthlessly enforced by Turkey to the north.Between language barriers, cultural barriers, and an international trade embargo, it can be hard to understand what is happening there. It can be hard to understand how to support the people of Rojava in their revolution. But in this short book, scholars and militia fighters alike explore and explain the situation in plain language. They discuss the Rojava principles that bind the region together and they discuss what it means to be in solidarity with those fighting in Rojava. Even beyond that, they discuss what we can learn from the brave women and men of Rojava.  https://www.akpress.org/a-small-key-can-open-a-large-door.html
  • Rojava: An Alternative to Imperialism, Nationalism, and Islamism in the Middle East (An introduction) by Oso Sabio. This introduction to “Rojava: An Alternative to Imperialism, Nationalism, and Islamism in the Middle East” looks at how the Rojava Revolution came into being in the largely-Kurdish communities of northern Syria from 2012 onwards. It also gives an overview of the context within which this experience arose. The main purpose of this book, however, is to summarise what has been happening in Rojava, evaluate the ideology behind it, and show why it is a truly inspirational process. In short, it is a must have for anyone wanting to learn more about contemporary Middle Eastern politics and the real-world search for an alternative to oppression, exploitation, and violence.
  • To Dare Imagining by Dilar Dirik. A new collection of articles and essays concerning the Rojava Revolution, including contributions from: David Levi Strauss, Bill Weinberg, David Graeber, Pinar O unc, Peter Lamborn Wilson, Newsha Tavakolian, Havin Gune er, Saleh Muslim & Jonas Staal, Murat Bay, Abdullah Ocalan, Nazan Ustunda, El Errante / Paul Z. Simons, Dilar Dirik, and Michael Taussig. Plus The Charter of the Rojava Cantons and other related resources.”  https://www.akpress.org/to-dare-imagining.html
  • The PKK: Coming Down from the Mountains (15 Aug 2015) by Paul White. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is infamous for its violence. The struggle it has waged for Kurdish independence in southeastern Turkey has cost in excess of 40,000 lives since 1984. A less-known fact, however, is that the PKK now embraces a non-violent end to the conflict, with its leader Abdullah Ocalan having ordered a ceasefire and engaging in a negotiated peace with the Ankara government. Whether these tentative attempts at peacemaking mean an end to the bloodshed remains to be seen, but either way the ramifications for Turkey and the wider region are potentially huge. Charting the ideological evolution of the PKK, as well as its origins, aims and structure, Paul White provides the only authoritative and up-to-date analysis of one of the most important non-state political players in the contemporary Middle East.
  • A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State Paperback – 1 Nov 2016
    by Meredith Tax. “This is the book I’ve been waiting for–only it’s richer, deeper, and more intriguing than I could have imagined. A Road Unforeseen is a major contribution to our understanding of feminism and Islam, of women and the world, and gives me fresh hope for change.” –Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed and Living With a Wild God In war-torn northern Syria, a democratic society–based on secularism, ethnic inclusiveness, and gender equality–has won significant victories against the Islamic State, or Daesh, with women on the front lines as fierce warriors and leaders. A Road Unforeseen recounts the dramatic, underreported history of the Rojava Kurds, whose all-women militia was instrumental in the perilous mountaintop rescue of tens of thousands of civilians besieged in Iraq. Up to that point, the Islamic State had seemed invincible. Yet these women helped vanquish them, bringing the first half of the refugees to safety within twenty-four hours. Who are the revolutionary women of Rojava and what lessons can we learn from their heroic story? How does their political philosophy differ from that of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Islamic State, and Turkey? And will the politics of the twenty-first century be shaped by the opposition between these political models? Meredith Tax is a writer and political activist. Author, most recently, of Double Bind: The Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights, she was founding president of Women’s WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers, and cofounder of the PEN American Center’s Women’s Committee and the International PEN Women Writers’ Committee. She is currently international board chair of the Centre for Secular Space and lives in New York.
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