by Institute of Solidarity Economics (ISE)
Cooperative Economy in Rojava and Bakur is a research and solidarity-building initiative that aims to engage the UK and European cooperative movements in better understanding what is happening in Rojava (North Syria / West Kurdistan) and Bakur (East Turkey / North Kurdistan).
Rojava, the predominantly Kurdish-inhabited region of northern Syria, has been a de-facto autonomous region since the Assad regime withdrew and residents declared their independence in July 2012, in the midst of the Syrian Civil War. It is currently the most stable part of Syria, despite being on the front-line in the war against ISIS, suffering a recent invasion from Turkey, attacks by the Assad regime, and having all of its borders closed and trade stifled from all sides. Despite these conditions, a real revolution is flourishing, with women’s liberation, ecology and direct democracy at its heart. The entire structure of society is being rebuilt from the bottom up, including the justice system, education system, and of course, the economy. Cooperatives are springing up across the region, including women-only cooperatives, with the support of the women’s movement umbrella, Kongira Star. Their aim is to eventually transition to a completely cooperative economy, though they are currently a long way from that aim.