Actions for Rojava across the United States

Demonstrations took place across the United States on January 27th, as several organizations answered the call for global days of action to defend the revolution in Rojava on the anniversary of the liberation of Kobane.

In New York City, New York, a rally was organized by the Emergency Committee for Rojava, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, Outlive Them NYC, the Muslim-Jewish Antifascist Front, and the American Kurdish Association. The Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Democratic Socialist of America, the largest socialist organization in the United States, endorsed the demonstration.

American feminist Gloria Steinem spoke at the rally, commending Rojava’s institutionalized gender equality and urging people to support the women’s struggle there. “We are rallying in support of the Kurdish people and their long, long tradition of a pluralist, multiethnic society, whose deep traditions and beliefs are direct democracy, preservation of the earth that long preceded words like ecology, and equality between women and men,” she said. “Their constitution ensures equal rights. As someone who has spent a lifetime trying to get women into the U.S. constitution, I can tell you that ours does not.”

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Representative to the United States Giran Ozcan also spoke, commenting on the importance of international solidarity. “It’s very exciting to see that so many people here believe that what’s happening somewhere in the Middle East, in Kurdistan, is worth defending, is worth fighting for,” he said.

“What I can say, as a Kurd from Turkey, is that if we walk through all the streets of Manhattan right now and talk to people about what is happening in Rojava, what kind of a revolution and what kind of a transformation is occurring in that part of the world, I’m pretty certain that not a lot of people would oppose those ideas.”

American actress Debra Winger was the final speaker, reading a poem written by imprisoned former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas. Journalist and author Debbie Bookchin also attended the rally as a member of the steering committee for the Emergency Committee for Rojava.  

In Boston, Massachusetts, the local Kurdish community and their supporters organized a demonstration. Several families from Afrin attended, calling attention to the ongoing atrocities that the Turkish state and its proxy forces continue to commit there one year after the invasion began. The demonstrators called for an end to U.S. arms sales to Turkey, and for a U.S. policy towards Turkey that treated Erdogan’s government as a friend of ISIS and a danger to the peoples of the Middle East.

“Boston is joining many places in the world on the day of action today, honoring the victory over ISIS in Kobani in January in 2015– the victory to liberate Rojava from ISIS. Today, we are facing a greater threat— from Turkey, who says they will invade Rojava and put an end to the women’s revolution, put an end to democracy, put an end to Kurdish freedom,” one demonstrator explained.

In Los Angeles, California, a demonstration was held outside of the Turkish Consulate. Members of the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) – Inland Empire and the Anarchist Black Cross attended the event, along with a former American YPG volunteer.

The California Kurdish Community Center, Bay Area Mesopotamia Solidarity, the Emergency Committee for Rojava, and the Bay Area Light Brigade organized a demonstration in San Francisco. In addition to condemning the Turkish threats against Rojava, demonstrators called for solidarity with Leyla Guven, who has been on hunger strike for 83 days.

In Santa Cruz, California, Rojava Solidarity Santa Cruz, Demand Utopia Santa Cruz, and Californians for Kurdistan organized an informational event on the struggle in Rojava. A member of the Women Rise Up for Afrin campaign in Rojava spoke, and event attendees contributed to the campaign’s fundraising efforts to help Jouma— a child from Afrin who was blinded after he and his family were hit by a Turkish airstrike

In Portland, Oregon, Demand Utopia and Rojava Solidarity Portland organized a rally, carrying photographs of internationalist martyrs and calling on people all over the world to not only defend Rojava’s revolution, but to stand against fascism worldwide.