SELF-PROTECTING COMMUNITIES!

HPC-09-edit

HPC- Community safety in Rojava.

Hawzhin Azeez, writes:

“In Rojava, Asayish (Internal Security Forces) and HPC (Civil Defense Forces) forces work together in a symbiotic relationship to provide safety and security to the community.”

“The Asayish work as traffic controllers, arrest criminals, protect victims of domestic violence, serve as security guards at main governing buildings and control the movement of people and goods from one canton to another. The HPC in contrast, are people trained in basic security who only patrol their own neighborhood. The purpose of both forces is explicitly to protect the people from outside threats such as terrorist forces. It is always the HPC that protects a neighborhood, never the Asayish. The Asayish protects the city while the HPC protects the community. Both organizations have a gender quota of at least 40 percent women, if not more.”

“Through this alternative method, the possibility of instituting hierarchies of power and authority are considerably reduced. The people are protecting themselves. Security forces protect those who they live with and interact with daily in the neighbourhood. This proximity ensures that violations occur only rarely. When they do occur, the neighbourhood communes immediately activate community mechanisms of justice, honor and restoration.”

“The social ecology of this system is protected by promoting women’s participation, a deep respect for multiculturalism and recognizing the sacredness of nature. It is not enough to create alternative institutions without significant educational efforts to undo patriarchal, socio-political, economic and cultural hierarchies. This system is established through concerted efforts toward democratization, education and unlearning within society. This is the only way that meaningful, long-term and organic change can occur.”

“In order to re-educate society, people in Rojava enter academies for one, two or even three months at a time. This is done on a volunteer basis but also involves government institutions. For example, the Ministry of Education rosters groups of up to thirty teachers at a time to enter academies. During this process, workers continue to be paid. Women with children can take their children along and have free childcare as they spend weeks learning about civic duties, democratic rights, gender liberation, ecological sustainability, the history of capitalism and more.”

“While at the academies, everyone participates in the daily cleaning, cooking and management of the education center. Such communal co-existence is promoted as a conscious effort to re-organize and reformulate society. These people then return to their communities and join the Asayish, the HPC, as well as the communes, cooperatives and local councils.”

“One of the foundational values of democratic confederalism is an anti-hierarchical approach to communal structures and co-existence. Essentially, for this anti-hierarchical system to work, it must be based on the active promotion of equality across ethnic, religious and decision-making processes. This approach starts with the difficult task of promoting women’s liberation and participation throughout the public arena. A quota of 40 to 60 percent women’s participation exists across all administrative and decision-making structures.”

“Rojava’s co-chair system requires that all leadership positions are held by one male and one female. This system is based on the fundamental recognition that political institutions with high degrees of women’s participation tend to be more inclusive and democratic in nature.”

“In a democratic confederalist system, people are encouraged to participate in civil society so that people’s interests and needs are expressed through mechanisms other than through ethno-religious positions and preferences. This civic re-orientation only works when people do not feel threatened because of their cultural identities. In this way, colonial alienation, fragmentation and anxieties are avoided while new, interlinked avenues of belonging and political expression are created. Likewise, political and civic participation is encouraged and expected. De-politicization, apathy and non-involvement are seen as the anti-thesis of a democratic society.”

[The above extracts and photo on community alternatives to state forms of policing are reproduced from an article by the Kurdish academic, poet and activist, Hawzhin Azeez and is published with her permission. The full article (recommended) appears in ROAR at;

http://roarmag.org/essay/police-abolition-and-other-lessons-from-rojava

or on her own blog –  http://hawzhin.press

Roy Ratcliffe (June 2020)

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