New World Summit—Rojava, part I
16-17 Oct. 2015, Dêrik, Canton Cizîrê, Rojava
Popular Unity Candidacy, Catalunya (CUP)
The 1936-7 revolution in Catalunya, in present-day Spain, where revolutionaries of the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unication (POUM) declared their political and economic autonomy while rejecting statehood is still one of the foundational moments in the history of establishing communalism. The POUM revolutionaries fought against the Stalinist Soviet army as well as against the fascist army of Franco in self-organized battalions and implemented workers self-management in Catalunya’s industry. Often this communalist revolution has been compared to the revolution of Rojava, which fights the regime of Assad and the militia of the Islamic State while at the same time building a new political and economical model of society.
The Catalan autonomist movement supports the independence of Catalonia from Spain and France. In 1932 Catalonia was granted a statute of autonomy, which lasted until the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. In this period the 1936-7 revolution manifested, during which armed libertarian-socialist organizations famously resisted Franco’s rule as well as the Stalinist army, declaring parts of Catalonia under communalist self-rule. Following Franco’s death Catalan autonomy was restored in 1977. One of today’s leading autonomist groups is the Popular Unity Candidacy (Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, CUP) which is made up of local assemblies representing towns and neighborhoods. The highly decentralized nature of the party stems from a belief in eco-socialism and libertarian socialism. The importance given to municipal assemblies is also meant to avoid the hierarchical organization of most traditional political parties. During the most recent elections the CUP won 10 of 135 seats in the Catalan parliament.
Quim Arrufat is a Member of the Catalunyan Parliament for the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP). He studied political science and public administration and has been working for the International Centre for Minorities CIEMEN. He has been an active advocate for the right of self-determination at the World Social Forum and the Human Rights Council of the UN.
The New World Summit: Rojava, part I took place in the cultural centre Tev-Cand in Dêrik, canton Cizîrê, Rojava on 16-17 October 2015. The summit was chaired by Judy Osse.