Democratic innovations in Mexico and Kurdistan
This article offers a comparative analysis of the origins, political concepts, and institutions of three autonomous administrations in Mexico and Kurdistan: the town of Cherán, the Zapatista region, and Rojava. These autonomous administrations are based on popular assemblies and delegatory councils. The article is inspired by Hannah Arendt’s council system and categorizes them as council autonomies, i.e., non-state variations of council democracy. Drawing on qualitative data and recent scholarship, the article argues that council autonomies innovate democracy through renovating and reinventing Mesoamerican and Mesopotamian traditions of democracy. The article urges scholars of democratic theory to engage non-Western origins, traditions, and versions of democracy.