Biafra, Rojava, Chiapas – three roads to freedom

On my metaphorical desk there are three documents now, outlining three “alternative” political projects in various stages of implementation. I am going to go through them during next couple weeks and do some cross-analysis. As we witness the official failure of the Westfalian state concept, these models may become interesting blueprints for new strategies, also in Europe. I found them (or maybe they found me) almost incidentally, so this is not a meticulously short-listed set. However, they are interesting enough – and have long enough history – to study and compare them.

biafranflagBiafra Charter dated 2007, seems to be a political framework for the long-lasting (since 1967 at least) independence struggle of Biafrans. The struggle continues and in 2007 a Provisional Biafra Government has been established. The Charter is clearly intended as a preliminary constitutional document. It is relatively new,  but it can bee clearly seen that the underlying values are those of classic republican kind. It may be interesting to see, how much good can be get out of such material.

Flag_of_Syrian_Kurdistan.svgRojava Autonomy has published its Social Contract in January 2014. It was a milestone on a long way originated in Turkey, where Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned “king-philosopher” of Kurdish diaspora, keeps setting ideological directions for the PKK-supporting community. His book, first published in 2011, triggered a radical change in PKK stance, as they dropped both Marxist ideology and military confrontation with the Turkish government. Kurds begun to build their own “parallel polis” first in Turkey, and later in Rojava – on the area of northern Syria. Famous of their heroic – and victorious – struggle against ISIL, Rojava people are now trying to rebuild their structures.

450px-Flag_of_the_EZLN.svgThe EZLN (Neo  Zapatistas) started their political system in 1994, in a Mexican back-country of Chiapas. They have the longest history of practical implementation. They are also famous of their non-violent tactics, including “net war” and efficient use of a “dense social environment” to stop aggression from the government. Just recently their “School of Freeedom” documents started being published in English. One of the fundamental documents, however, is the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, published in 2005, which full and revised English translation appeared in 2013.

None of these documents describes really an anarchist model. But there are at least three good reasons to give them a careful review:

  • Over the time I am more and more convinced, that anarchism – in all its flavours – is really the most demanding way of living. Very few people care and even less is able to go this way. That is why, for the sake of other people, we need also other alternatives to the existing, oppressive-by-design systems. So every model that is trying to introduce new realm of social relationships is worth analyzing.
  • As it was asserted in a an anarchist discussion on Rojava, there is a lot of common aspects between these models and the anarchist approach. We may learn from them, we may support them – even if they are going a different way.
  • Finally, I believe we are obliged to pay attention to those who – for better or worse – struggle for freedom, solidarity and justice. As much as we want them to pay attention to us.

So, hopefully, within next few weeks I will get back to you with some deeper reflection on these three roads to freedom. Meanwhile, if you spare some time to read documents linked here, it may trigger quite a nice discussion, I believe.

Have fun!

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