New World Summit—Rojava, part I
16-17 Oct. 2015, Dêrik, Canton Cizîrê, Rojava
I Democratic Confederalism
Janet Biehl, political writer
The unique political model that has been established in Rojava from 2012 onwards is called “democratic confederalism,” and was theoretically developed by revolutionary Abdullah Öcalan. He describes this model as a form of “democracy without the state.” This model of stateless democracy takes notions of self-government, voluntary association, cultural and religious diversity, gender equality and communal economy as its points of departure.
Janet Biehl is a political writer and academic who developed the notions of libertarian municipalism and social ecology. From 1987 to 2000 Biehl and the American anarchist and libertarian socialist Murray Bookchin co-wrote and co-published the theoretical newsletter Left Green Perspectives. She is the editor and compiler of The Murray Bookchin Reader (1997); the author of The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (1998) and Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics (1991); and co- author (with Peter Staudenmaier) of Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience (1995). Together with Murray Bookchin, she developed the political theories on notions such as confederalism and municipalism that Abdullah Öcalan credited as one of his inspirations in his development of the theory of democratic confederalism. In October 2015 her new book Ecology or Catastrophy. The Life of Murray Bookchin comes out at Oxford University Press.
In the last years, Biehl has been a prominent voice in congresses and debates on the Rojava Revolution. In 2014, she visited Rojava for the first time as part of an academic delegation, after which she wrote extensively on its models of cooperative economy and education. A series of watercolors she made during the travel were sold in an online auction with the profits donated to women’s organizations in the region.
The New World Summit: Rojava, part I took place in the cultural centre Tev-Cand in Dêrik, canton Cizîrê, Rojava, 16-17 October 2015. It was chaired by Judy Osse.