Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East

2018.02.14. 08:06

How the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement promotes democracy in North Kurdistan.

In Rojava, a region in Syria also known as North Kurdistan, a groundbreaking experiment in communal living, social justice, and ecological vitality is taking place. Devastated by civil war, Syria is a place where a cessation of hostilities often seems like the most that can be hoped for. But Rojava has set its sights much higher. What started as a movement for political autonomy in the city of Kobane has blossomed into an attempt to build a radical pluralist democracy on the principles of communal solidarity — with food security, equality for women, and a localized, anti-capitalist economy at its core.The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement (MEM) has been at the heart of Rojava’s democratic revolution since its inception. The Movement grew out of single-issue campaigns against dam construction, climate change and deforestation, and in 2015 went from being a small collection of local ecological groups to a full-fledged network of “ecology councils” that are active in every canton of Rojava, and in neighboring Turkey as well. Its mission, as one of its most prominent founding members, Ercan Ayboğa, says, is to “strengthen the ecological character of the Kurdish freedom movement [and] the Kurdish women’s... - Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
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