Occupy Wall Street weren’t that far wrong. As militias contend in liberated al-Raqqa, one seizes the high ground:
It is no secret that immediately after the liberation of Al Raqqa the Movement took control of most of the city’s public funds and utilities. This included taking over the Central Bank, rumoured to be holding between four and six billion lira at the time. The Movement is famous for rushing to take over any public utilities it can lay its hands on in liberated territories. Its leaders talk about using public funds to improve daily life in these areas. Dr. «H», one of the group’s civilian leaders in Al Raqqa, claimed that the Movement was shouldering critical responsibilities in the city’s civil administration and guaranteeing essential food supplies. He did not deny that the Movement had taken control of the Central Bank, but talked at length about the group’s duty to create alternatives to the non-functioning institutions of state. Today in Al Raqqa Ahrar Al Sham Movement appears to be a soft power, but an ambitious one, doing its best to act as a parallel state and generating proposals that touch on all aspects of daily life, from school curricula to the management of state utilities. They are involved in both the health sector and the provision of emergency relief as well operating the Tell Abyad border crossing with a reasonable degree of competence. Dr. «H» could not hold back a smile of pride when he told me that the Movement had recently opened a Human Resources Office...
Pretty much everyone who wrote about the Paris Commune – from Marx to Alastair Horne – noted that the first big mistake the Communards made was to let the French central bank stay under its old management.
Obviously, I don’t know whether the Ahrar al-Sham Movement have been reading up. They’re apparently a Salafist group independent of al Qaeda, and as such have no role in the current showdown in northern Syria between ISIS and local FSA brigades. No guys, you go ahead and fight. We’ll just look after the money.