The Kurds are Crowdfunding a Revolution



After 134 days of intense fights against ISIS, the Kurdish city of Kobanê is under reconstruction. An international solidarity movement is now using crowdfunding as a tool to support of the so-called ’Rojava Revolution’.

Initiatives to rebuild Kobanê, a secular progressive, and ecologically sound society are emerging from international angles. Recently a conference called ‘International Mobilization for Rebuilding Kobanê’ was held in the European Parliament and with this approval, an international solidarity movement – in which there are many actors – is developing.

One of these initiatives is a Danish, non-profit start-up internetpage FIREFUND, which is a ‘kickstarter’ project for social movements. Through the site, a number of crowdfunding projects across the health, education, water, electricity, gender equality, and ecological sector, will be presented to the public, giving individuals the opportunity to support Kobanê directly.

FIREFUND launched a global crowdfunding campaign to rebuild Kobanê:
“Crowdfunding and social movements are both building on the concept of mass action. Social media expands our networks, and now we need to strengthen these ties to realize direct solidarity,” says Karl Kristiansen, one of the founders of FIREFUND.

Recently, the struggle of Kobanê has gained massive support on social media, where groups from the whole world stand solidaric with the city. Now the Kurds, in collaboration with the Kurdish reconstruction board, hope to turn this sign of solidarity into concrete cash and direct support by using FIREFUND.

FIREFUND is not only a tool for the reconstruction of a city with 80% of the infrastructure in rubbles – it is a movement to realize the Rojava Revolution.
In a Youtube video presentation, the campaign boldly states that “the victory of Kobanê is the victory of global resistance against inequality.”

Both the support from social media and FIREFUND are important for the Kurds: “Kobanê’s only means of survival has been the daily supply of aid from Kurds and individual friends. This source of support is not a sustainable supply of long term aid, and is one that is fast being depleted. The normalization of life and the reconstruction of Kobanê can only be achieved through a collective effort on an international level,” says Hawzhin from the Kurdish reconstruction board.

FIREFUND is based on the classical ‘pledging’ system, where donations are only withdrawn from donor’s accounts if the goal of the campaign is reached. But, there is still another major difference to the established crowdfunding platforms. Karl Kristiansen, points out the basic differences:
“The profit-oriented crowdfunding corporations are perfect for consumer goods, but could never be a tool for the movements. It is about anonymity, political acknowledgement of disobedience, a healthy skepticism towards the alliances between commercial banking and the political elite, and a basic understanding of modern day social movements.”

The platform is non-profit and activist-driven, and raising their own funds by asking donations from individuals and groups, while working on the final product. According to the founders, there is no doubt in their mind, that they need to stand with Kobanê right now.

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