The Feminist Revolution in Rojava: Lessons for the Left

Room: 
1.82
Timeslot: 
SATURDAY June 3rd Session 1: 10:00am - 11:50am
Abstract: 
The multi-cultural, non-sectarian Kurdish-led region of northern Syria known as Rojava has enthralled the world with photos of its female fighters routing Islamic State militants. But much less media attention has been given to what the Kurdish movement is fighting for: a multi-ethnic, ecological and bottom-up democracy that endows local assemblies with decision-making authority and empowers women to take leadership roles at every level of government and society. What does this political paradigm tell us about the importance of a feminist politics in the Middle East and about building a feminist left here? How can we support this pluralistic and revolutionary model, which offers such an important alternative to theocracy and dictatorship in the Middle East? What can it teach us about the potential for a municipalist-style government in the West?
Reading List: 
A Road Unforseen: Women Fight the Islamic State (Bellvue Literary Press) by Meredith Tax; Power to the People: A Syrian Experiment in Democracy by Carne Ross (Financial Times) here: https://www.ft.com/content/50102294-77fd-11e5-a95a-27d368e1ddf7
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Debbie
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Bookchin
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
Debbie Bookchin is an author and award-winning investigative journalist who has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The New York Times, and numerous other publications. She was press secretary for U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for three years when he served in the U.S. House. She coedited a recent book of essays by her father, Murray Bookchin, called The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy (Verso 2015). With her husband, she authored an investigation into contaminated vaccines and government neglect called The Virus and The Vaccine, (St. Martin’s Press 2004).
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Carne
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Ross
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Carne Ross is a former British diplomat and author of The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century. He visited Syria for the recently-released documentary film, ‘The Accidental Anarchist’, produced by Hopscotch Films and Mentorn Media with support from the Sundance Institute.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Meredith
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Tax
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
North America Rojava Alliance
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Meredith Tax has been a feminist all her life and a writer since the late sixties and seventies, when she was active in Bread & Roses, the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, and CARASA. She was founding President of Women's WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers, and a cofounder of the Center for Secular Space in London. Her books include a history, The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity and Class Conflict, 1880-1917; two novels, Rivington Street and Union Square, and Double Bind: the Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights. She has recently published articles in The New York Times, The Nation, Dissent, Foreign Affairs, and openDemocracy 5050. Her latest book is A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State (2016: Bellevue Literary Press).
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Joey
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
L
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Joey L. is a Canadian-born photographer and director based in Brooklyn, New York. Since the age of 18, Joey’s work has been consistently sought out by a number of prominent advertising clients, including Lavazza for their 2016 calendar, National Geographic Channel, Jose Cuervo, Summit Entertainment, History Channel, and many others. He has photographed a number of recognizable faces including Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, to name a few. Joey has traveled several times to the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Syria to document the volunteer fighters of the PKK and YPG. His series, Guerrilla Fighters of Kurdistan, highlights the men and women on the frontline of the ongoing conflict with ISIS—a war that is headlined daily but now humanized through Joey’s enlightening portraits. The project was featured in Vanity Fair: Italia, Internazionale and ran as The Independent's Saturday Magazine cover story.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Debbie
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Bookchin
 

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