YPJ fighters parade through Rojava's streets / credit: Flickr
The committee that is preparing the social contract for Rojava and the Northern Syria Democratic Federal Constituent Assembly says that the contract is able to identify the problems in Rojava and Syria and offers solutions to the crisis in Syria.
Speaking to ANF, members of the preparation committee said there were no nation states in Mesopotamia and the Middle East in the past, that peoples lived in a system resembling a federal and democratic structure, which had as its framework the shared values of society. “Why wouldn’t we build this common life again today around democratic values?” they echoed.
Preparation committee members stated that the problems in the region stem from the "nation state concept" and that the free and common future of the peoples is possible through a democratic federal system and said, “Our 2-year experience of a democratic autonomous administration shows that a common life is possible.”
Members of the committee said they had taken important decisions in their meetings and that the "common life principle" in the social contract would protect all peoples, no matter how big or small a community. "This principle will bring freedom for the intellectual and political realm and in this way lead to all peoples accepting each other," they said.
Committee members emphasised the role of women and youth and called them "the fundamental forces of democratic federalism," adding, “If women are not participating in a system with their free will, there can be no talk of democratic criteria there.”
Members Lokman Ehmê, Eli Zabet Gevriye, Ahmed El Salman, Esat Beşir El Yasin stated that the federal system does not aim to establish a state and bases itself on the concept of the "democratic nation" and "organised society," which aims to shrink-limit the state.
The social contract is based on freedoms
Preparation Committee member Lokman Ehmê said that one of the important articles of the social contract dealt with the protection of nature and ecology and continued, “We have taken important decisions on the building of an ecological and democratic society and against the destruction of nature.” Ehmê pointed out that the philosophy based on the nation state gives humans a role of domination over nature and said, “According to our ideological view, humans are an important part of nature, but they need to protect the natural balance, as well as ensure the continuation of the species.” Ehmê continued:
“We have attempted to understand what could be part of the social contract by visiting and taking in assessments and proposals from the peoples of Rojava and Northern Syria, the CSOs and political parties. We continue our discussions and efforts over the emerging draft. The draft is based on the fraternity of peoples, gender equality, women’s freedom and protecting the rights of all peoples in the democratic federal system.
Although the state emerged as an organisational method, it has turned into a sovereign power and thus an order of oppression. The sovereign power of the state will be reduced in direct relation to us establishing democratic values starting with society based communes and assemblies. The society is as strong as its organisation, a highly organised society will not allow for any one power’s sovereignity. If everybody organises among themselves in their localities and fulfills their vital needs, social, ecological and self-defense issues will be solved. An equality among genders must be established within this system. And that is not enough in itself, the system needs to ensure women’s freedom.
"In sovereign regimes there is an understanding of “life can’t exist without the state”. The peoples of Rojava have been running the administration themselves without a state for two years. An understanding of the possibility of life without states is emerging among the population in the democratic self government areas. The federal democratic system is based on the principles of liberty and equality based on the fraternity of peoples. Society can develop only if everybody is united in the spirit of fraternity in an equal and free way. We must not forget that the nation state has become the main source of the problem because it bases itself on one nation and one society."
Women are a criteria for freedoms
Assyrian committee member Elizabet Gevriye told ANF that they had reached important decisions in building a new society and said they based their efforts on women's freedom. Gevriye pointed out that the legitimacy of the social contract they are drafting has a societal side, that “the system consists of the sum of all peoples living in Cizirê” and continued:
“All peoples, cultures and religions take their place in the democratic federal system. The societal sphere and common life are important issues that we especially focus on. The contract is based on social justice.
The principles section asserts that women and the youth are the pioneers of this system. We put immense importance on the issue of women’s rights and we put women’s freedom at the center of all our efforts. Because we are building a democratic system, if women are not participating in a system with their free will, there can be no talk of democratic criteria there. Women’s freedom is the source for all other freedoms. Social issues cannot be solved until the gender issue is solved. We have reached a level of social trust with the struggle of women and youth. Women have proven themselves in war, in politics and in the social sphere. This is why women have become the voice of the revolution.
"We are building a system based on the democratic nation and a diverse and rich social structure. Thus, we refuse the monist system and its practices. We are working from the perspective of a humane and moral system. Social justice that encompasses wide sections of society is an important measure. A system that doesn’t include all parts of a society can’t be just.
The peoples of the region, primarily the Kurdish and Assyrian peoples, have faced numerous massacres and atrocities. We as the Assyrian people take our place here because this is a democratic system. Other peoples have representation in the system as well, with their own culture and language. The federal democratic system refuses monism and the sovereign system that is based on it. Our martyrs, our young daughters and sons paid a heavy price for us to reach freedom and peace, to prevent massacres, to build a new life. We can’t forget that we established this revolution through a struggle of great belief, will and resolve."
As peoples, our aims on the fundamental issues are the same
Arab committee member Ahmed El Salman said that although Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and other peoples living in the Cizirê Canton have different languages there culture was very similar, which meant that there aims on fundamental issues is the same. Salman said:
“We have based our efforts on the democratic rights of the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Turkmen, Chechen and other peoples in Rojava and Northern Syria, regardless of how big their population is.
The dynamics of the federal system emerge not from a political group or a party, but from society itself. In nation states, a political party builds hegemony over the whole of society with the authority they usurp, and disregard the needs of the people, and this is at the root of the problems caused by the nation state. There is great diversity in a society. The aim of the democratic federal system is to create a unity where all the peoples of Syria and political, cultural and faith groups are represented. The base requirement for this system is the will of the people for trust and a common life. The Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and other peoples will live together freely in a spirit of fraternity and justice. The peoples of these lands lived together in peace based on common values for thousands of years. They conducted trade, they had marriages within this common life they built. For example, personally, I am an uncle to the Kurds.”
The fraternity of peoples is fundamental in a democratic society
Turkmen committee member Esat Beşir El Yasin stressed that all peoples in Mesopotamia had built civilisations and played an important role in the development of history, adding:
“These peoples can now come together in a free and equal manner to organise a life around common values and build a system. We are in the process of building the democratic federal system for the peoples of Rojava and Northern Syria. Our discussions on the unique conditions in Syria and the proposed solutions to the issues continues. We aim to be an answer to the demands and rights of all our peoples.
All peoples take their place in our system. We have completed most of the social contract. We have reached important decisions for the freedom of our peoples and our common life. We have answered the allegations of establishing a new state with our principle, ‘The federation does not aim to found a new state. It is based on the democratic nation and organised society and aims to shrink the state.’ The federation is based on the people, not the state. Our efforts are nearing an end. We aim to build a democratic system from the bottom up, within society. We take the cantonal democratic system as our base. Our principle goal is to build a system that is democratic and not centralised and protects the rights of all the peoples.”
The Northern Syria Federation - Rojava, was declared on 17 March 2016 in Derik, Jazira Canton. The committee that is preparing the social contract was elected and given the job of drafting the social contract for the federation.
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