[Marxism] Fwd: Participatory Democracy and Micropolitics in Manbij

Nick Fredman nick.j.fredman at gmail.com
Wed Mar 1 21:34:32 MST 2017


With regard to Chris last point about the role of women in liberated
Manbij, there were some very interesting comments on Facebook by
Syrian-Kurdish-Australian scholar and activist Hawzhin Azeez, now working
for the movement in Kobane, following a visit by her there in January. It
reminded me of passages in Orwell's Homage to Catalonia:

"Today I visited Manbij city with a few friends. Manbij consists of about
80% Arabs in northern Syria, and is a surprisingly bustling and industrious
city considering it has only been about 4 months that it was liberated by
the Syrian Democratic Forces from ISIS. Unlike Kobane it did not suffer
significant damage to its infrastructure and the city has managed to retain
its equilibrium since liberation. The city is a hub of noise, honking cars,
speeding motor cycles, street sellers, kebab and fresh fruits and
vegetables...

"Manbij had been under ISIS control for over two years and the people of
the city had suffered horrendously during that period. Most specifically,
women were most in danger because ISIS thugs were known for forcibly taking
young girls, women and wives and marrying them off or worse. Regular
beheading, public floggings and other terrible crimes were daily
occurrences in the city.

"In my previous visits to the city I had only seen women wearing the full
Burka, with an additional cloth covering even the women's eyes; I must
admit that there was a certain degree of culture shock as women across
Rojava wear various degrees of the hijab but never had I seen the Burka nor
to that degree. The problem was not the Burka itself but the degree and
consistency of the Burka with the only distinction being that some women's
eyes could be seen, or they were not wearing gloves.

"This time however, I witnessed something wonderful. During lunch time we
visited a restaurant where a young girl by the name of Dinah was serving
us. I couldn't help beaming with pride as soon as I saw her. She was full
of energy and obviously took great pride in her job. During lunch we
communicated with each other with broken Kurdish on her part and broken
Arabic on my part- and with the help of our friends who translated. She
spoke of her happiness to not only be able to work but the fact that she
could leave the house freely with only a scarf rather than clad all in
black...

"...It is difficult to determine what exactly is the future, and where
Dinah will be in a year or two. Will she still be working in the
restaurant? or will the changing tide of politics force her back into her
home and her burka, or across oceans as a refugee? instead I hope that all
the women in Manbij and across Syria gain a sense of control and autonomy
over their lives and bodies and live liberated from terrorism and
authoritarianis . I hope they will be able to go to work and study and live
a life with dignity and freedom in a society that recognizes their worth. A
society that is democratic, a society that is striving towards change and
progress. A society that creates energy, motivation and hope in young women
rather than apathy, fear and death. I hope Dinah lives in such a Syria and
grows old having experienced the full wonderful spectrum of beauty, love,
happiness, and prosperity that a free life can offer".

Full https://www.facebook.com/hawzhin.azeez/posts/1365339890195570


On Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 1:23 PM, Chris Slee via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Yasser Munif's article is very interesting.
>
>
> But he is incorrect to say:  "In August 2016, the Kurdish Democratic Union
> Party drove out the Islamic State".  In reality, Manbij was liberated from
> the "Islamic State" by the multi-ethnic Manbij Military Council and Syrian
> Democratic Forces.
>
>
> Below is a link to an interview with the two co-presidents of the
> "Democratic and Civilian Administration of Manbij and its Surroundings",
> established after ISIS was driven from the city.
>
>
> One of the co-presidents is Ibrahim Kaftan.  According to the ANF
> newsagency, Kaftan was formerly the "president of the Sawra Council in
> Manbij affiliated to the Free Syrian Army."  I am not sure if this is the
> same as the Manbij Revolutionary Council that Munif describes.  In any
> case, it suggests that there is some continuity between what happened in
> Manbij in 2012-2014 and what is happening today.
>
>
> However, the role of women is much greater today.
>
>
> Chris Slee
>
>
> ***
>
>
> Liberated Manbij city institutionalizes its self-administration
>
> http://anfenglish.com/features/liberated-manbij-
> city-institutionalizes-its-self-administration
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Marxism <marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu> on behalf of Louis
> Proyect via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, 1 March 2017 11:57 PM
> To: Chris Slee
> Subject: [Marxism] Fwd: Participatory Democracy and Micropolitics in Manbij
>
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>
> Here, during an interlude of relative stability when neither the Syrian
> government nor foreign-backed jihadist groups had taken over the city,
> Syrians were deciding how to run their city for themselves.And they were
> excelling at it.
>
> full:
> https://tcf.org/content/report/participatory-democracy-micropolitics-
> manbij/
> [https://production-tcf.imgix.net/app/uploads/2017/02/
> 21114527/Munif7.jpg?w=1280&h=140&fit=max]<https://tcf.org/
> content/report/participatory-democracy-micropolitics-manbij/>
>
> Participatory Democracy and Micropolitics in Manbij<https://tcf.org/
> content/report/participatory-democracy-micropolitics-manbij/>
> tcf.org
> Manbij, a city in northern Syria, hosted a compelling example of
> successful grassroots governance during the two-year period between the
> Syrian regime’s wi
>
>
>
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