NY Times letter on Kobane




From the New York Times editorial page, November 25, 2014. Also see

To the Editor:

Re: “More Than a Battle, Kobani Is a Publicity War” (front page, Nov. 20):

While the Syrian border town of Kobani may be viewed as a public relations battle by the United States and the Islamic State, Kobani’s true strategic importance is that it exemplifies the new Kurdish commitment to eschewing nationalism in favor of building a citizen-empowered democracy that departs radically even from existing forms of democracy in the West.

In Kobani, as in other towns in the Kurdish-held Rojava region of Syria, the Kurds have embraced equal rights for women, ecological stewardship and democratic neighborhood assemblies that endow local citizens of all faiths with decision-making powers. These are the values that the Kobani defenders are fighting so valiantly to protect.

This revolutionary experiment in direct democracy deserves the world’s attention — and not only because it stands as a bulwark against the anti-enlightenment madness of the Islamic State. The Kurdish vision of shared resources and confederated communities is a model that we would be wise to consider as the climate crisis and growing economic inequality in the United States and abroad demand new and non-totalitarian approaches to social organization.

New York, Nov. 21, 2014

 The writer is co-editor of a forthcoming book of essays by her father, Murray Bookchin, “The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy.”