Democratic confederalism
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Democratic confederalism ( ku, Konfederalîzma demokratîk;) also known as Kurdish communalism or Apoism is a
political concept
political concept
theorized by
Kurdistan Workers Party The Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK ( kmr, Partîya Karkerên Kurdistanê) is a Kurdish militant political organization and armed guerrilla movement, which has historically operated throughout Greater Kurdistan, but is now primarily based in ...
(PKK) leader
Abdullah Öcalan Abdullah Öcalan ( ; ; born 4 April 1949), also known as Apo (short for both Abdullah and "uncle" in Kurdish), is a Kurdish people, Kurdish nationalist, political prisoner and one of the founding members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party ...

Abdullah Öcalan
about a system of democratic
self-organization Self-organization, also called (in the social sciences) spontaneous order, is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system A system is a group of Interaction, inte ...

self-organization
with the features of a
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in i ...
based on the principles of
autonomy The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects o ...

autonomy
,
direct democracy upright=1.5, A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland">canton_of_Glarus.html" ;"title="Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus">Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 200 ...
,
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Phil ...
,
feminism Feminism is a range of s and that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social . Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within ...

feminism
,
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social ...

multiculturalism
,
self-defense Self-defense (self-defence in some varieties of English) is a countermeasure that involves defending the health and well-being of oneself from harm. The use of the right of self-defense The right of self-defense (also called, when ...
,
self-governance __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many c ...
and elements of a
sharing economy In capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and ...
. Influenced by
social ecologySocial ecology may refer to: * Social ecology (academic field), the study of relationships between people and their environment, often the interdependence of people, collectives and institutions * Social ecology (Bookchin), a theory about the relati ...
,
libertarian municipalism Communalism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its to ...
, Middle Eastern history,
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more ove ...
and general state theory, Öcalan presents the concept as a political solution to Kurdish nationalism, Kurdish nationalist aspirations, as well as other fundamental problems in countries in the region deeply rooted in class society, and as a route to freedom and democratization for people around the world. Although the liberation struggle of the PKK was originally guided by the prospect of creating a Kurdish nation state on a Marxism–Leninism, Marxist–Leninist basis, Öcalan became disillusioned with the nation-state model and state socialism. Influenced by ideas from Western philosophy, Western thinkers such as the anarchism, libertarian anarchist and social ecologist Murray Bookchin, Öcalan reformulated the political objectives of the Kurdish liberation movement, abandoning the old Statism, statist and centralizing socialist project for a radical and renewed proposal for Democratic socialism, democratic-libertarian socialism that no longer aims at building an Independence, independent state separate from Turkey, but at establishing an Autonomy, autonomous, Democracy, democratic and Decentralization, decentralized entity based on the ideas of democratic confederalism. Rejecting both the authoritarianism and Bureaucracy, bureaucracism of state socialism and the predation of capitalism, seen by Öcalan as most responsible for the Economic inequality, economic inequalities, sexism and Environmental degradation, environmental destruction in the world, democratic confederalism defends a "type of organization or administration can be called non-state political administration or stateless democracy", which would provide the framework for the autonomous organization of "every community, confessional group, gender specific collective and / or minority ethnic group, among other". It is a model of participatory democracy built on the Self-governance, self-government of local communities and the organization of open councils, Town council, town councils, local parliaments, and larger congresses, where citizens are the agents of self-government, allowing individuals and communities to exercise a real influence over their common environment and activities. Inspired by the struggle of women in the PKK, democratic confederalism has feminism as one of its central pillars. Seeing patriarchy as "an ideological product of the national state and power" no less dangerous than capitalism, Öcalan advocates a new vision of society in order to dismantle the institutional and psychological relations of power currently established in capitalist societies and to ensure that women have a vital and equal role to that of men at all levels of organization and decision-making. Other key principles of democratic confederalism are environmentalism,
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social ...

multiculturalism
(religious, political, ethnic and cultural), Individualism, individual freedoms (such as those of Freedom of speech, expression, Freedom of choice, choice and Freedom of information, information), self-defense, and a sharing economy where control of economic resources does not belong to the state, but to society. Although it presents itself as a model opposed to the nation-state, democratic confederalism admits the possibility, under specific circumstances, of peaceful coexistence between both, as long as there is no intervention by the state in the central issues of self-government or attempts at cultural assimilation. Although it was theorized initially as a new social and ideological basis for the Kurdish liberation movement, democratic confederalism is now presented as an anti-nationalist, multi-ethnic and Internationalism (politics), internationalist movement. The general lines of democratic confederalism were presented in March 2005, through a Manifesto, declaration "to the Kurdish people and the international community" and, in later years, the concept was further developed in other publications, such as the four volumes of the ''Manifesto of Democratic Civilization''. Shortly after being released, the declaration was immediately adopted by the PKK, which organized clandestine assemblies in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, which resulted in the creation of the Kurdistan Communities Union (''Koma Civakên Kurdistan'', KCK). The first Constitution of Rojava, chance to implement it came during the Syrian civil war, Syrian Civil War, when the Democratic Union Party (Syria), Democratic Union Party (''Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat'', PYD) Rojava conflict, declared the autonomy of three cantons in Syrian Kurdistan that eventually grew into the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria).


History


Background

Created in the 1970s under the context of Cold War Polarity (international relations), geopolitical bipolarity, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was initially inspired by national liberation movements across the planet, many of whom were influenced by Marxism–Leninism, Marxist-Leninist ideals and left-wing nationalism. Over the years, however, the PKK has distanced itself from these ideologies, considering that the Kurdish question was not a mere problem of ethnicity and nationality solved by the revolutionary seizure of state power or the constitution of an Independence, independent state. Becoming a major critic of the very idea of a nation state, nation-state and even of National liberation, national and social liberation from a Marxist-Leninist perspective, Abdullah Öcalan initiated a substantial transition from the Kurdish liberation movement in search of a form of socialism distinct from the Statist socialism, statist and centralizing system associated with the former Soviet Union, Soviet superpower. This process was consolidated after the capture and arrest of Öcalan by the National Intelligence Organization (Turkey), Turkish intelligence services in 1999. Although he is kept in isolation on the prison island of İmralı, Öcalan used his time not only to prepare his Defense (legal), defense strategy in the course of the Turkish trial which had Capital punishment, sentenced him to death, but also to elaborate his proposals on the Kurdish question and on its political solution. Having access to hundreds of books, including Turkish language, Turkish translations of numerous historical and philosophical texts from Western philosophy, Western thought, his plan was initially to find theoretical foundations in these works that would justify the PKK's past revolutionary actions, and to discuss the Kurdish–Turkish conflict within a comprehensive analysis of the development of the nation-state throughout history. Thus, Öcalan began his studies from Sumerian mythology and the origins of Neolithic culture, Neolithic cultures, as well as from the history of the City-state, first city-states. But it was the readings of thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche (whom Öcalan calls "the prophet"), Fernand Braudel, Immanuel Wallerstein, Maria Mies, Michel Foucault, and particularly Murray Bookchin,, that led him to a definitive break with the Marxism–Leninism, Marxist–Leninist socialist perspective and develops a new proposal for democratic socialism called "democratic confederalism". In 2005, while the European Court of Human Rights condemned Turkey for "inhumane treatment" and "unfair prosecution" in the case of Öcalan, calling for a new trial for the Kurdish leader, Öcalan issued "Declaration of Democratic Confederalism in Kurdistan", where he laid the groundwork of democratic confederalism. Later, the concept was further developed and presented in works such as ''Democratic Confederalism'' and ''Manifesto of Democratic Civilization'' (the latter in four volumes).


Concept

Responding to the needs of the Kurdish movement across Kurdistan, Öcalan's studies resulting in ''democratic confederalism'' addressed various aspects of Kurdish society in the fields of anthropology, linguistics, and International relations, international politics, international law, as well as introducing a Feminist movements and ideologies, feminist approach called jineology, the latter in particular having been inspired by the struggle of Woman, women in the PKK and Sakine Cansız, Sakine Cansiz. His greatest theoretical inspirations came from
social ecologySocial ecology may refer to: * Social ecology (academic field), the study of relationships between people and their environment, often the interdependence of people, collectives and institutions * Social ecology (Bookchin), a theory about the relati ...
and libertarian municipalism as formulated by the American anarchist Murray Bookchin. In his works, Bookchin argues that the domination and Environmental degradation, destruction of nature is the continuation of the domination of other Human, human beings by capitalism. Establishing a connection between the ecological crisis and capitalist society, the American philosopher observes that the social structure of humanity needs to be rethought and transformed from a destructive capitalist society to an ecological social society that maintains a balance between its parts and whose communities can organize their lives independently. Admiring Bookchin's concepts, Öcalan developed a critical view of
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more ove ...
and the Nation state, nation-state that led him to interpret peoples' right to self-determination as "the basis for the establishment of a basic democracy, without the need to seek new political frontiers". Based on this, Öcalan proposes that a political solution for the Kurdish people does not involve the foundation of a new national state, but the constitution of a Democracy, democratic, Decentralization, decentralized and Autonomy, autonomous system of
self-organization Self-organization, also called (in the social sciences) spontaneous order, is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system A system is a group of Interaction, inte ...

self-organization
in the form of a
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in i ...
.


Main points

The main principles of ''democratic confederalism'' can be summarized in: * The new Politics, political, philosophical and Ideology, ideological approaches of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, Kurdish liberation movement finds its most appropriate expression in the so-called democratic socialism. A Freedom, free Kurdistan is only conceivable as a Democracy, democratic Kurdistan. * The Kurdish movement does not work for creating a Kurdish nation-state based on the Self-determination , right of self-determination of peoples, but considers this right "''as the basis for the establishment of grassroots democracies''" without aiming new political borders and is seeking to a system of democratic self-organization in Kurdistan with the features of a confederation that "''provides a frame-work within which Ethnic identity, inter alia minorities, Religion, religious communities, Multiculturalism, cultural groups, Gender, gender-specific groups and other societal groups''" can organize themselves autonomously. * The democratization process in Kurdistan encompasses "''a broad societal project aiming at the economic, social and political sovereignty of all parts of the society''", as well as the creation of necessary institutions and the elaboration of instruments that guarantee and enable society self-government and democratic control, in which each decision-making process (organized in open councils, Municipal council , municipal councils, Parliament , local and general parliaments) should have the direct involvement of local communities. A self-government model allow a more adequate implementation of basic values such as freedom and equality. * The solution of the Kurdish question should be tried together with a process of democratization not only of all countries that exercise Hegemony, hegemonic power over the different parts of Kurdistan, but also extends across the entire Middle East. A new democratic policy, however, could only exist from Political party, democratic parties and their affiliated institutions "committed to the interests of the society instead of fulfilling state orders". * While this Democratization, democratic reforms is not yet possible, a peaceful coexistence with the Nation state, nation-state is admitted as long as there is no intervention in central issues of self-government or attempts at Cultural assimilation, social assimilation, as well as this coexistence does not mean acceptance of its "classic state structure with its Despotism, despotic attitude of power". At the end of this process of subjection to democratic reforms, the nation-state must become a more modest political institution, functioning as a social authority that observes functions only in the fields of internal security and in the provision of social services, and its state-related Westphalian sovereignty, sovereign rights are only limited. * The health system and the right to First language, native language and culture education must be warranted by both state and civil society. * The Women's rights, freedom and rights of women must be a strategic part of the fight for freedom and democracy in Kurdistan, as well as the environmental protection must be taken seriously during the process of social change. * The Individualism, individual freedoms of Freedom of expression, expression and Freedom of choice, choice are irrevocable. Freedom of information is not only an individual right, but an important social issue who depends on the existence of an independent Media (communication), media whose communication with the public is marked by democratic balance. * The economic resources are not the property of the state but of the society'','' and its Redistribution of income and wealth, just redistribution is also extremely essential "for the liberation process of the society". An economy committed to the population should also be based on the implementation of an Economic policy, alternative economic policy that does not aim solely at Profit (economics), profit, but a Sharing economy, production based on sharing and in satisfying basic natural needs for all.


Implementation

On June 1, 2005, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK officially adopted the ''democratic confederalism'' program at the end of the 3rd General Assembly of the People's Congress of Kurdistan (''Kongra Gelê Kurdistan''). Thereafter, the Kurdish liberation movement began to form clandestine assemblies immediately in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, which in 2007 resulted in the creation of the Kurdistan Communities Union (''Koma Civakên Kurdistan'', KCK), the Political organisation, organization established to put into effect Öcalan’s concept. The KCK brings together Kurdish political parties such as Democratic Union Party (Syria), Democratic Union Party (''Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat'', PYD), Kurdistan Free Life Party (''Partiya Jiyana Azad to Kurdistanê'', PJAK), and Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (''Partî Çareserî Dîmukratî Kurdistan'', PÇDK); Civil society organization, civil society organizations; and armed groups in all countries in the region over the different parts of Kurdistan. Inspired by the project of democratic confederalism, mayors of the Party of the Democratic Society Party (''Demokratik Toplum Partisi'', DTP) started a fight for Individual and group rights, collective rights of a political nature in Turkey through Civil disobedience, civil disobedience campaigns. Challenging the laws that prohibit the official use of the Kurdish languages, Kurdish language, these politicians begin to use the municipal services and dispatch official correspondence in Kurdish, to reinsert Kurdish names in public places and to spend resources for the development and spread of the Kurdish language. However, these policies made the DTP mayors and deputies targets of judicial harassment, and the Kurdish party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in 2009. It was during the Syrian civil war, Civil War in Syria that an opportunity arose to implement Ocalan's new political doctrine deeply, after the Democratic Union Party (Syria), PYD declared the autonomy of three cantons in Rojava, a region comprising parts of the north and northeast of Governorates of Syria, Syrian territory. Creating a political entity opposed to the capitalist nation-state, Rojava experienced an original experience of Democracy, democratic, Decentralization, decentralized and Anarchism, non-hierarchical society, based on Feminism, feminist, ecology, Multiculturalism, cultural pluralism, co-operative
sharing economy In capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and ...
ideas, and participatory politics and consensual construction.


See also

* Social ecology (Bookchin), Social ecology * Communalism * Libertarian socialism


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

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External links


Democratic confederalism manifesto
(in PDF) {{Portal bar, Politics, Kurdistan, Anarchism, Ecology, Socialism Democratic confederalism, Anarchism Anti-capitalism Anti-Stalinist left Ecology Libertarian socialism Political theories