Communes are the most basic unit of the political system of North and East Syria. They are established in Article 48 of the Social Contract, which defines the commune system as “the essential basic organizational form of direct democracy. It is a system that sets out an organizational and administrative framework within which to make decisions and management. It works as an independent body in all stages of decision making.” As well as acting as a democratic body, the commune also is the organization through which basic necessities are obtained and distributed. One of the earliest functions of communes was the pooling of resources to buy collective generators to provide electricity. Now they serve as an access point for subsidized diesel and bread, as well as the first port of call for many administrative issues.
The three core pillars of the communes are outlined as:
- Self-defense (xwe parastin): protection of the commune
- Education (perwerde): changing mentalities and empowering people
- Conflict resolution and consensus building (li-hevkirin): addressing conflicts within and between families, reconciliation or referral to relevant justice institutions