Dual Power, Radical Education, and Rojava Event Announced for June 11

by Mohawk Valley Freedom School

Activists in the Mohawk Valley Freedom School and the Bennington College Student Union have teamed up to organize a public event dubbed “Dual Power, Radical Education, and Rojava: A Discussion with Debbie Bookchin, Ozlem Goner, Sabrina Melendez & Kelly Roache.” The event will be held online on Thursday, June 11, 2020 from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST. Those interested must register before hand in order to get the private zoom link for the event. Below is the entire description.


In a time of the current global crisis surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, how do we think beyond the immediate emergency of providing aid to communities in need? How do we develop organizationally so as to begin to institutionalize the political formations that can promote our visions of a more just, ecologically sustainable society? How do we address the current plight of the capitalist education system, which leaves the coming generations unequipped with the analytical tools to understand today’s global crises and respond in transformative and effective ways? This panel will engage with the ideas of social ecology and dual power, what they offer in answer to these questions, and the importance of a radical, liberatory education to make another world possible. The panelists will introduce and reflect on the revolutionary ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, and anarchist theorist and co-founder of the Institute for Social Ecology Murray Bookchin.

The speakers will also share insights from Kurdish and North American municipalist movements. In the midst of the tragedy of the Syrian civil war, the violent rise of ISIS, and the authoritarian rule of the Turkish state, a major social revolution arose in a place called Rojava (Kurdish for Western Kurdistan) in 2012. It’s an area heavily populated by the Kurds who, for years denied a nation to call their own, carved out their own autonomous cantons. The new society in Rojava is firmly rooted in feminism, mutual aid, cooperation, social ecology, democratic confederalism, anti-capitalism, multi-ethnic rule, and participatory democracy.

Meanwhile, in North America, communities from Jackson, MS to Oaxaca, Mexico to Montréal, QC are displacing systems of hierarchy and domination with direct democratic popular assemblies and networks of mutual aid. Dozens of these projects have begun to coordinate to address challenges and needs at the regional and ultimately global levels through the formation of a “democratic confederation”, an emergent formation called Symbiosis.

In a world defined by crisis, do these revolutionary projects have something to offer us in the way of an alternative? Join the Bennington Student Union and the Mohawk Valley Freedom School in this exciting dialogue that will provide deeper insight into North American dual power and the Rojava revolution by participants in these movements.


Debbie Bookchin is an activist, writer and journalist. She is a member of the Emergency Committee for Rojava and spent time in Rojava last year. Bookchin is the coeditor of The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy, a book of essays by her father, the social theorist and historian Murray Bookchin, whose ideas influenced Abdullah Ocalan,the Kurdish freedom movement and the Rojava revolution.

Ozlem Goner is a Kurdish activist and scholar. She is a member of the Emergency Committee for Rojava and is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. She is the author of Turkish National Identity and its Outsiders: Memories of State Violence in Dersim.

Sabrina Melendez is a Puerto Rican activist, scholar, and artist. They co-founded the Autonomous University of Political Education, an alternative institution of education for understanding capitalism and building democratic, horizontal, and ecological systems beyond it. Sabrina is a graduate student in the Anthropology and Social Change program at the California Institute for Integral Studies, and visited Rojava last June with a delegation of activist scholars who were invited to perform an academic exchange with Rojava University and the University of Mesopotamia.

Kelly Roache(she/they) is a board member with the Institute for Social Ecology, and a co-founder and organizer with Symbiosis, a dual-power confederation of local direct democratic institutions across North America. She is also a researcher, published author, and organizer around issues of energy democracy, including with utility watchdog group the Energy and Policy Institute, and previously, the NY Energy Democracy Alliance. Kelly is originally from and has returned to reside at the New Jersey shore.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s