Interview with Paul Z. Simons on Stories from Rojava on revolution, daily life & hope
Paul Z. Simons, also known as El Errante, is interviewed by rydra on his recent trip to Rojava. Paul tells stories of his trip, relays discussions he had with people in Rojava in the YPG, YPJ, taxi drivers, translators and more. Paul describes the situation in Rojava as a “post-leftist revolution in a pre-leftist society.” Paul also tells us how he got into the country, how others can, and why he feels that what is going on there is important to anarchists all around the world.
0:00 Paul talks about being a post-left anarchist and interacting with actual humans instead of just theory
3:30 logistics of how he made contacts and got into Rojava
7:30 border crossing and “press passes”
9:30 discussion of western media and the accuracy of the news coming out of Rojava. More discussion of how geography and autonomous structures look. How do the cantons relate to each other?
13:50 rydra asks Paul to explain the role of the US, Turkey, Syria, and Russia in Rojava.
17:00 Rojava power structure broken down with a cake analogy. How do communes function there?
20:00 TEV-DEM: who are they and how are they working in the communes
23:00 discussion of daily life, what it looks like in the villages and the cities.
26:00 ideology? “they are aware that they are in the midst of a revolution.” “Would the US government accept a passport from an anti-government.” Personal stories.
29:30 Paul runs into the legislative minister for Kobani and discuses their role.
31:20 visiting with YPG, and what life looks like for the militia, and the differences between their militia and an army
34:00 discussion of gender and the YPG. YPJ, and a cultural shift?
37:00 impression of what is going on, tastes, smells, sights. What is going on socially? The idea of death to Gilgamesh, and Rojava as a different way for humans to live.
42:00 A bit of analysis on anarchism and the common comment that “it can never work.” Paul on hope.
43:20 rydra edits a super smooth transition into a revolutionary YPG song
45:20 returning to the idea of hope(hiccups) and what it means to be a human being in Rojava completely surrounded by giant power structures and multiple governments.
47:30 Paul discusses what a revolution is like, getting out of our heads, and the feeling that “revolution grabs you by the heart.”
51:00 Where do Ocalan and the PKK fit into all of this. Is there concern over this and how is power playing out?
55:30 Being a post-leftist, cussing, and “a post-leftist revolution in a
pre-leftist country.” Never heard talk of working class and being
58:40 lessons learned from his trip, coming back to America and the Bay Area.
1:00:25 “I’ve made my decision, I’m here to help others make theirs.” The idea of an anarchist home.
1:04:00 things for people to do?