CAMPACC reports on the first of their innovative workshops series on self-determination

CAMPACC has initiated a research and outreach project which aims to critically examine the contradictions between national struggles for self-determination and the global ‘counter -terror’ regime, which has begun with a series of workshops focusing on key case studies – the Kurdish question; the Tamil struggle and the Somali struggle. Below is the report from their first workshop, which includes videos of each of the presentations.

On the 21st February 2015 CAMPACC, in association with SOAS Kurdish Society, hosted the first workshop in a series on Self-determination against the global ‘counter-terror’ regime. This was on the Kurdish liberation struggle. Continue reading

Victory in Kobane: What next for the Rojava Revolution?

“ ‘The victory of capitalism is in its ability to capture the mind.’ Whereas a hundred years ago, if you were poor you would rebel; now if you are poor, you dream of winning the lottery.”

Quoting PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan at the most recent Peace in Kurdistan Campaign/Roj Women event at SOAS University, Havin Guneser of the International Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan Campaign gave a rich exploration of how one of the world’s most vibrant contemporary anti-capitalist rebellions led not only to victory in Kobane following a devastating 6-month siege by ISIS, but the development of a genuine social revolution. As Guneser explained, it was that social revolution, now embedded in the personal lives and working institutions of the people living in Rojava, that ultimately ensured that Kobane had the strength to fight off ISIS attacks. Continue reading

REPORT ON URGENT AND ESSENTIAL NEEDS IN KOBANÊ

A new board has been established to oversee the reconstruction of Kobane, which has been left devastated after 6 months of siege. Currently 25,000 people are living or have just moved back into Kobane and many more are waiting their chance to return home, but an absence of basic food and water supplies and the physical destruction of the city’s infrastructure makes the situation extremely precarious. In addition, ISIS left land mines and explosive materials behind as they fled Kobane and the surrounding villages, even placing them inside kitchens and bedrooms of abandoned homes.

The Kobane Reconstruction Board has written a report, available for download, which provides an overview of the damage and lists the urgent needs facing the region.

You can download the report here: Report on the urgent and essential needs in Kobane, February 2015

Now Is the time: Abdullah Ocalan Freedom March

On Friday 13th  and Saturday 14th February thousands of people gathered in Strasbourg to call for freedom for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is entering his 17th year in prison on the island of Imrali. The events came after many days of walking as many hundreds of people trekked across Europe to Strasbourg in  a show of solidarity with the PKK leader.  The incredible results of the Free Ocalan Campaign, in which over 10 million people signed a petition calling for Ocalan’s release, were also handed in to officials at the Council of Europe.

Thank you to filmmakers System D for the video!

Continue reading

International legal conference condemns PKK ban

Establishing Kobane Reconstruction Board

A massive effort is now underway to rebuild the city of Kobane. The Democratic Self-Administration has established a board that will coordinate reconstruction and they have set up an official website so people can follow the rebuilding efforts, find out about what is needed and how they can help:

TO THE PRESS AND PUBLIC: ESTABLISHING KOBANE RECONSTRUCTION BOARD

Kobane Canton has been an under severe blockade for nearly two years, and ongoing, fierce brutal attacks by terrorist organization Daesh (ISIS) creating a real humanitarian catastrophe in the province and the countryside.

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The current attacks continue for more than four months aim to empty the province of its population under pressure, threats, execution and indiscriminately shelling civilians. Such atrocities aim at displacing native residents and changing the demographic so that the region will lose all its diversity.

The ongoing besiege and attacks disrupted in all aspects of life, leaving destruction and devastation almost complete infrastructure. Besides, looting and vandalism in the city center and villages carried out by Daesh have impacted the situation very negatively.

The Executive Council in Kobane Canton – Syria, formed a special committee which will be responsible of coordinating reconstruction efforts. “Kobane Reconstruction Committee” is composed of individuals who are professionals in this field. In addition to preparing studies and planning, this committee will also connect with organizations willing to support our efforts in any way they can and providing funds to our projects in the city and countryside.

In addition to the committee members in Kobane, we will also appoint representatives in Europe USA, Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan, the Gulf States and other countries of the world.

Our rebuilding efforts, willingness to bring back the life into our city requires concentrated efforts and possibilities harnessed in the service of the successful reconstruction operations. Whether through effective participation or provide the Board with suggestions and opinions that will activate it. The most obliged people are the technical and academic who are expert in this field.

Therefore, we need urgent help and support from the international community, humanitarian organizations and all freedom and democracy lovers to rebuild out city.

We appeal to the United Nations to do its humanitarian and moral obligations towards these affected geography and people of Kobane, and actively take part in reconstruction of the province. First and foremost step will be opening a humanitarian corridor to facilitate all means of saving people from suffering, displacement, hunger and shelter for the returnees.

You can contact the Board via the following:

Official site: www.helpkobane.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ava_kobane

Email: ava.kobane@gmail.com

Tel: +90-537-967-1739 or 90-545-301-8603

Bank account: To Be Announced Soon

The Executive Council of Kobane Canton – Syria

30/1/2015

10.3 Million Signatures for Peace and Freedom for Öcalan

Free ocalan muralToday, thousands of people have gathered in Strasbourg for the culmination of a huge international campaign calling for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, on the 16th anniversary of his abduction. An incredible 10.3 million people from across the world signed a petition demanding freedom for Ocalan. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has proudly supported the campaign from the beginning and sent a solidarity statement to the organisers of today’s press conference, as did Margaret Owen on behalf of all our patrons, who were among the first signatories to the campaign. 

The International Initiative, which organised the campaign, today released this statement:

Statement of the International Initiative, 13 February 2015

In March 1999, when the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan—Peace in Kurdistan” was founded, it was unthinkable. Unthinkable, that Abdullah Öcalan would ever – get out alive. After his forceful abduction from Kenya with the help of Western intelligence services, a seemingly big victory of the Turkish state, the question seemed to be whether Abdullah Öcalan was executed without a trial or after a trial. To even think of “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan” amounted to lunacy. Nevertheless, an impressive number of intellectuals, artists, politicians and activists read the signs of the times differently. Even back then, 16 years ago, they knew that for a sustainable solution of the so-called Kurdish question Öcalan had to be free and a peaceful solution had to be negotiated. This group founded the International Initiative. Continue reading

Solidarity message to press conference on 13 February 2015

 

I Margaret Owen, on behalf of the UK based PATRONS OF PEACE IN KURDISTAN, who are among the “first” signatories of the petition to secure the release Abdullah Ocalan from his 16 year incarceration on the Isle of Imrali by Turkey, greet you.

We send our most fervent wishes to the organisers of the March to Strasbourg and to all those gathering in Strasbourg on February 13th to demand that Ocalan is freed. The long imprisonment of the Kurdish leader is one of the greatest injustices in history, not just for the Kurdish people, but for all peoples of the world who salute Ocalan for his breadth of vision in defending the universal values of democracy, pluralism, gender equality, and freedom.

London, 7 February 2015

Margaret Owen on behalf of Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall

 

Victory in Kobane: What next in the Rojava Revolution?

victory in kobane

DATE/TIME:
Sunday 22 February, 3-5pm

VENUE:
Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), Main Building, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Speakers:
Havin Guneser, spokesperson of the International Initiative – Freedom for Ocalan
David Graeber. anthropologist, author and political activist

Chair:
Margaret Owen, barrister and patron of Peace in Kurdistan Campaign Continue reading

Rojava – the formation of an economic alternative: Private property in the service of all

 

by Michael Knapp, Historian; Translated from German original by Richard Braude

 

The revolution in Rojava (West Kurdistan/ North Syria), which started in Kobanî (Ain al-Arab) and spread like wildfire through Afrîn, Dêrik (Al-Malikiya), Qamişlo (Al-Qamishli), Amûdê and Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ayn) – the regions lying on the Turkish-Syrian border – has launched an alternative development in all aspects of society.

Inspired by the model of democratic confederalism and democratic autonomy, democratic assemblies, women’s council and other democratic organisations have been established. Every ethnic and religious group must be represented in these councils, and the leadership of each evenly divided between the sexes. This is not a project striving towards a nation state, but for democratic autonomy in the region and a democratic Syria. Continue reading

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