Bongani Mavundla, 2015, “Film review ‘Our World, Rojava'” (source: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015)

FILM REVIEW of OUR WORLD, ROJAVA, by Bongani Mavundla,

FROM: “Imbila Yesu”, Khanya College Winter School newsletter 15 July 2015.

The spectre of Anarchism haunts all societies that are riddled with turmoil, economic exploitation and political oppression, especially after the defeat of the Spanish revolution (wrongly dubbed the Spanish Civil War) of 1936 until 1939.

Today the world is seeing an anarchist experiment being established and this time around it is in a place called Rojava, in Kurdistan. “Our World , Rojava” is a documentary that details the experiences of the Kurdish people in their fight for self reliance and self determination in a territory that they call Rojava, made up of parts of Syria, Turkey and Iraq.

Armed with Murray Bookchins’ ideology of democratic confederalism, the Kurdish leftists have established a radical, egalitaran, multi-ethnic ministate [sic.] running along Bookchin’s communalist economic model. The documentary shows how this liberatory project is a product of the Kurdish people’s historical and politico-existential struggles.

They have achieved a number of gains, such as the democratic election of army officials, equal rights for women and the imposed ban on polygamy, religious freedom, equality of all ethnic groups and the ban of capital punishment and torture.  Private property and business are protected, though subjected to the democratic will of locally organised committees.

Every liberatory project will have its enemies, which seek to destroy it and maintain the status quo and in the case of Rojava , its direct enem1es are ISIS J1hadists. ISIS Jihadists attack them mainly because Rojava does not organise along religious lines and has committed itself towards the liberation of women, which something ISIS looks down upon.

The documentary seeks to show people that only themselves can be their own liberators. It is also bound to open debates within the leftist circles, because in the documentary one of the Kurdish people said that they are implementing a higher form of democracy because communism [Marxist communism] does not differs from capitalism in that they both have no respect for humanity.

This documentary has the potential of awakening the long time buried, but not dead debate that was started by Marx and Bakunin. “Do we start with destruction of the state or not?” It is seems the people of Rojava follow the path of Mikhail Bakunin.

 

 

About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I have long been involved in union education, and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented or published 100s of papers conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 4 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and produced five books. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I currently teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m 10th generation South African. Also involved in union education, with a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health & Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I have given 120-plus paper presentations, edited four journal specials, and produced four books, around 40 academic articles and book chapters, 20 reference entries, 130-plus shorter articles, and six research reports. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 ‘International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest’ (Blackwell). I won the 2008 international ‘Labor History’ thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) award for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.