In solidarity with Syrena collective
IN SOLIDARITY WITH SYRENA
With rage we have learned about patriarchal violence once again destroying our homes and communities – this time taking the shape of an attack on Syrena social center in Warsaw made by the hands of a neighboring squat inhabitants on December 5th 2021 (more info: syrena.org/en). We find it even more shameful, as it happens in the heart of our struggle, and is directed to our comrades from inside of the anarchist movement they belong to, a movement that many of us here in Rojava (North-East Syria) come from. It is not only in Poland that this kind of hateful attacks are targeting our queer and female sisters and spaces they create. Patriarchal violence happens in many places and has many faces. With all our strength and determination we say – enough! And we call everyone to organize against those attacks!
NO! TO PATRIARCHAL VIOLENCE
We stand is solidarity with the evicted collective. There is no place for patriarchal violence in our communities! No further concessions to toxic masculine expansion! Massive reactionary violence coming from comrades, group of men protecting oppressive man, evicting all the women and queer folks by armed mob attack, physical and psychological damage, threats, destroying and privatizing collective property gathered by many years of collective work – those are going hand in hand with state tactics and as such need to be clearly and loudly condemned by all those who struggle for a different world. There is no excuse or a scenario that would justify this turn of events.
As all around the world, violence often starts at home. The systems of domination have created ways to cover up domestic-violence: silencing and shaming victims, relativizing their experiences and putting the blame on them, showing the victims as untrustworthy and the oppressors as “good citizens”, supporting the violators and their version of events. We know very well those methods, and we are enraged that they are still used in communities that claim to be revolutionary or progressive. There is no justification for violators in anti-authoritarian communities! We will not expect the victims of home violence to silently and lonely face the oppressors day by day. In contrary, we should support each other and end patriarchal violence at once! For as much as women are the first slaves, they are also the first rebels.
SOLVING INNER PROBLEMS IN A REVOLUTIONARY WAY
There is now a campaign taking place, in which the attack is justified by the apparently “sectarian” turn the collective supposedly took in the last months, connected to a more queer and feminist focus. Weather the anarchist movement in Poland and in general accepts it or not, feminist and queer struggles are always part of other struggles, such as class struggle. It is time to stop dividing our fights into the worthy and unworthy topics, we need to take care of all the problems holistically at the same time.
It is important to criticize other parts of the movement if we think their practice is separating them from the society (or for any other important reason), but for this we need to find a space for a constructive discussion on topics that divide us. And we need to do it in a solidarity way. To criticize does not mean to attack, humiliate or destroy, it means finding ways to overcome our different points of view taking into consideration not our personal opinions but the goals of our common struggle.
What mechanisms of social justice exist in our places? How do we solve disagreements and conflicts and how we would like them to be solved? Do we have an honest approach to such methods as mediation and accountability? If we don’t want the state, we cannot use the methods of the state, we need to create an alternative. The way the conflict in Syrena was “solved” shows how far away we are from the world we are trying to build. The community around and the broader movement should support both sides. The attackers in acknowledging their own culpability, making amends, finding ways to reconcile and participating in restorative justice process. The evicted collective in continuing their resistance and political work, healing from the trauma, regaining trust and receiving support they need, starting with the recognition of the multi-layer damage that was done to them. We need to act with mutual respect and solidarity to develop and to overcome our own shortcomings. Only from this base we can engage in changing societies through organizing broad social revolutionary movements.
BUILDING A COMMON BASE
The fact, that brutally evicted friends are not back in their place is an unacceptable situation. We need to end with tribal mentality, based on narrowly understood loyalty to tribe members, be it family, friends or political group. What kind of loyalty and principles do we really need, to create a base for our struggle? Very often we fail, because we lack a common shared perspective and base. But to think about revolutionary change, we need to think broader. To see more than my affinity or political group, to think strategically and have a long term perspective as base for alliances. For this we must create a strong ideological foundation, based on a common analysis and understanding of the system and the ways it works. We also need to understand, analyze and strategically plan our common struggle. Antipatriarchal values need to be at the center and at the foundation of a revolutionary struggle.
In Rojava, Turkish state and imperialist forces are making a lot of effort to suffocate this revolution and limit its impact. One of their methods is attacking the women in targeted killings or by supporting reactionary patriarchal tendencies and by this attacking the values of this revolution. They try to either defeat us physically or to push this revolution into a soulless form acceptable by the imperialist powers.
Freedom of women is a threat not only to power interests in this region, but to the worlds capitalist and patriarchal orders that are inseparable from one another.
GOING BACK TO MOTHER-ROOTS OF OUR STRUGGLES
We see a clear connection between the state-church-capitalist system of oppression and the behavior of the mostly male attackers from Przychodnia. Patriarchy is the root of all those systems of oppression, as it is the basis of racism, chauvinism, queer and transfobia, or classism. To build a revolutionary movement, means to analyze the history of humanity, and to understand what are the means of oppression that for thousands of years have been destroying our societies. Our own minds are limited and contaminated by the influence of the state and patriarchy. No revolution is possible, until we change ourselves and uproot the patriarchal thinking from ourselves. For all of us it is a long process of facing own personality, taking responsibility for change, and struggling to become a new self. Again and again we see that without this work on personality and collective values, no freedom movement can grow to become an alternative to the state. It is our responsibility to educate each other, and help each other to overcome patriarchy by building our own strength and strong resilient communities with strong women presence at the center of the struggles. We must support each other on our way to globalize revolution.
We should always remember that we struggle for building a free life, that we want to redefine masculinity, to build up a new understanding of what is a free man and a free woman and every other identity we choose, and that our goal is to build a free society. This logic of building a new life and struggling together must be our guiding star in all our actions.
SELF-ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN
To the growing attacks of patriarchy, in our homes, communities and societies, we need to answer with women self-organization and creating independent self-defense structures. Without a strong women-movement, we are not able to change the mindset of our male-comrades and to face the attacks of the system. We need to stand in radical solidarity with each other, find strength in the historical and present women-struggles and create a deep understanding of our own nature and the meaning of our struggle.
Here in Rojava we know, that the only revolution that answers to the current global crisis, is the women’s revolution.
To all our sisters in struggle: organize and defend yourselves, you are the future and the hope of this world!
To all revolutionary communities: support each other in overcoming the toxic masculinity in your political and every day thinking, organizing and relationships**! Defend the matriarchal values of our struggles – love, mutual care and support, collective justice, holistic approach to our struggles and the world itself, building connections instead of divisions, having free life as a guideline of all our relations and actions.
With revolutionary solidarity – internationalists from Rojava
*when we say ‘women’ we want to indicate persons of different gender identities who are not considering themselves as cis-male, including transwomen and queer people, as we refuse to reduce the term ‘woman’ to the state definitions.
** A good starting point could be collective reading and discussing of the brochure Kustina Zilam (Killing and Transforming the dominant man), soon also available in Polish: http://jineoloji.org/en/2021/01/20/booklet-killing-and-transforming-the-dominant-man/