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Rojava, Revolution and Democracy Seminar Series

This short series on participatory democracy is run by PEN in support of, and preparation for, an event promoting and discussing Jenni Keasden and Natalia Szarek’s Worth Fighting For: Bringing the Rojava Revolution Home (Active Distribution, 2023).

 

The three sessions introduce participants to the theory and practice of participatory democracy, with a focus on understanding and critically discussing the case of Rojava revolution.  

session

1

12 March 2024

7.00-8.30pm

Ӧcalan and Democratic Confederalism

Here we consider Abdullah Öcalan’s essay, ‘Democratic Nation’. Öcalan is an important figure in the Kurdish leftist movement, and considered to be an important influence on real political and military organisations in Rojava. His ideas focus on a theory of political, economic and military organising of the nation but without using state institutions. There will be a short introduction to the author and his work before we move into a discussion of the essay. 

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session

2

19 March 2024

7.00-8.30pm

What is democracy anyway?

Since the 1960s, concepts of participatory and radical democracy have been important for elements of the radical left. Abdullah Öcalan’s theories are known to have been influenced such ideas, especially the works of the green anarchist Murray Bookchin. So what would that kind of society look like? Would it really ‘work’? This session aims to give an overview of contemporary debates around these radical, participatory and representative forms of democracy. 

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session

3

26 March 2024

7.00-8.30pm

Rojava and the Democratic Revolution

In this session we welcome Jenni Keasden and Natalia Szarek’s, authors of Worth Fighting For: Bringing the Rojava Revolution Home (Active Distribution, 2023). Both authors will speak about some of their experiences of the ‘democratic revolution’ in Rojava, considering the relative importance of values, cultures, and institutions in sustaining this new social-political formation. We will then discuss how these ideas relate to our own, crisis-ridden liberal-democratic systems. 

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