The Accidental Anarchist

Carne Ross

Denmark 2017, 1h 24min.

Today, Ross is an anarchist who fights to open Western eyes to the democratic and anarchist revolution of northern Syria. The documentary The Accidental Anarchist provides a unique insight into the way anarchism works in real life.

Anarchism. The term anarchism originates from the old Greek term «Anarchos»,  meaning «without rulers». In the documentary The accidental Anarchist, we follow Carne Ross from his beginning as a patriotic Brit who wanted to become a fighter pilot, to his career as a top diplomat. In the 1990s, he witnessed Iraqi children dying of starvation, as a result of the sanctions he helped impose. When he later saw Iraq collapsed due to an invasion based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, he had had enough. Ross would no longer be a cog in the wheel of what he considered the current rulers.

The film follows Ross’ journey to discover whether it is a realistic possibility to organize the world differently. Whether possible to trade without the classic capitalist system. Ross describes the Spanish collectively-run rural areas where workers live in villages governed by direct democracy. The film takes a historical look at the one time a large segment of a country was controlled anarchically: The Spanish Republic in the 1930s. Ross is passionate about what he considers the Spanish republic of our time: Rojavja, an area in Northern Syria, governed by anarchic principles.

When Öcalan found Bookchin. Ross’ journey to areas in Northern Syria shows something extraordinary. In an area the size of Belgium, there is an attempt of a political movement to bring about equality, people living in harmony with nature, and an including democracy represented by women, men and all religious and ethnic minorities. Decisions take place when people come together and freely discuss and make decisions through referendums. Ross´ film shows the fascinating story of how an anarchic mindset and ideology found its way from Brooklyn to Syria’s Kurdish areas. The imprisoned PKK leader Abdulla Öchalan read Murray Bookchin’s The Ecology of Freedom. This inspired him to develop a vision and a new direction for his political thinking. The PKK leader was inspired to envisage a system without an oppressive central government and a democratic confederation. The basic principles are feminism, ecology and direct democracy. In other words, areas without rulers, governed by the people themselves where they decide what will happen in the village, towns and regions. Carne ross, with his background as experienced diplomat in the Middle East, believes this model to be the answer to many of the region’s problems.

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