10 theses.1. There is a cosmic current which connects the tectonic makeup of the new world which is struggling to be born. Today Rojava (Kurdistan) and Chiapas (Mexico) are the northern and southern magnetic poles orienting a new compass of revolution; they are new centers of gravity for a new physics of struggle; they are new quiblahs for a new prophecy of liberation.
quincy saul, july 2017
quincy saul, july 2017
2. The Zapatista uprising in 1994 established indigenous autonomy in Latin America for the first time in 500 years. The women of Kurdistan have upped the ante on the politics of the impossible, by establishing their autonomy in the Middle East for the first time since the emergence of patriarchy in the Fertile Crescent 5-6,000 years ago.
3. Like the indigenous people of Chiapas, “Kurdistan was thrown out of the world system and also out of history.” (Muzafar Ayata, Network for an Alternative Quest conference, 2015). This is what the Rojava communes have in common with the Zapatista caracoles: Their exclusion from capitalist modernity is the basis of a universal struggle against it. In the words of Huey Newton they have “turned pain into power.” Or as Steve Biko proposed, "being an historically, politically, socially and economically disinherited and dispossessed group, they have the strongest foundation from which to operate." (White Racism and Black Consciousness, 1972) World-historic jiu jitsu; world-systemic alchemy.
4. The people of Rojava and Chiapas are in a fight for indigeneity – to rescue the communal and egalitarian origins of humanity; to revindicate the ancestry of free life, before herstory gave way to history. In this way they are fighting for all of us: their fight is for the meaning of human life and for life itself.
5. The recent chronologies of both revolutionary processes run parallel: from the traumas of the 1960s to the guerrilla formations of the 1970s and 1980s to the respective “revolutions within the revolutions” led by women in the 1980s and 1990s. In Kurdistan and Chiapas, women took positions of military, economic and political authority, more or less quietly, away from the cameras and in the mountains.
6. The intellectual leadership of both regions is chaired by radically anti-patriarchal men. Abdullah Ocalan says “my life's work has been the creation of a free woman.” Subcomandante Galeano (formerly known as Marcos) writes “if you asked me how to define the goals of our struggle, I would say it is so that one day a girl could grow up without fear.” Male leadership is still there but it is always being turned on its head.
7. The discovery and elaboration of the connections between the Zapatistas and the Kurds is not a theoretical exercise but an exercised theory. They study each other. Their respective solidarity networks share many nodes. Representatives of each movement visit each other.
8. Intersubjectivity: This is a term elaborated by Carlos Lenkersdorf in his book about the Tzeltal language (“Los hombres verdaderos”) – one of the five indigenous languages spoken by Zapatistas – whose grammar has no subject-object distinction. Kurdish doesn't have a subject-object distinction in its grammar either. Is it a coincidence? Intersubjectivity involves all kinds of political and philosophical implications which stretch backward and forward in time. Abdullah Ocalan writes that “the subject-object dichotomy is nothing but the legitimization of slavery.” (Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, volume 2, 2017)
9. Rojava and Chiapas each have imaginary counterparts which exist in the minds of friends and enemies all over the world. The imaginary Zapatismo is lovely, full of enchanting poetry, indigenous mythology and philosophical paradoxes, but it has very little to do with daily life in an autonomous municipality in Chiapas. The imaginary Kurdish struggle is enchanting, full of beautiful and fearless women, and infused with biblical significance, but it has not much to do with daily life in the confederated autonomous cantons of northern Syria. There's nothing wrong with the imagination – both struggles have been so successful precisely at igniting the imaginations of people all over the world. These theses, for instance are in the imaginary category. But it remains essential to always recognize that there is a big difference which must be honored between words like these, and the reality out there, implacable. The wild truth, which I whisper near the end like a secret, is that the real revolution of every day life in Chiapas and Kurdistan is even more enchanting and beautiful than we imagine.
10. These theses run the risk of romanticism. Following WEB Dubois who said that “the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression,” so we must formulate today that the cost of romanticism is less than the price of disenchantment.