Very few South Africans are aware that currently in the north and eastern parts of Syria (Rojava) a revolution as progressive, profound and potentially as far reaching as any in history is taking place. There, an alternative system to the state, capitalism and patriarchy is being built and it holds the potential to inspire the struggle for a better, more egalitarian Middle East and indeed world.
Since 2012, when the Syrian state in the area collapsed, people in Rojava – Kurds, Turks and Arabs – have established a federation of communes and councils, based on direct democracy, to run society without a hierarchical and patriarchal state. In the process a genuine democratic form of people’s power has been created, in which women play a key role. On the economic front, they have been attempting to replace capitalism with a communal economy. At the heart of this experiment are worker self-managed co-operatives that produce not for profits, but to meet people’s needs. These co-operatives are in fact accountable to everyone in Rojava through the federated communes and councils.