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Thu Feb 12, 2015, 07:02 AM

The No State Solution: Institutionalizing Libertarian Socialism in Kurdistan

In what many outside of the territory are referring to as the Rojava Revolution, a major shift in political philosophy and political programmatics has taken place in Kurdistan. Yet, this shift is not limited to the region of Rojava, or what many call Syrian or Western Kurdistan – a region where the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has taken an active part in this change. In “Turkish,” or rather Northern Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been the foremost leader. In Eastern Kurdistan (lying within Iranian borders) the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) has taken to the change in ideological orientation as well. It is an expanding movement towards what is internally being described as a “democratic, ecological, gender-liberated society” – a collection of ideas, institutions, and practices that compose the political, economic and social outlook of Democratic Autonomy and Democratic Confederalism.

As stated in Democratic Autonomy in North Kurdistan – a book written by a group from TATORT Kurdistan (a human rights advocacy organization based in Germany; “TATORT” translates to “crime scene”) who ventured from Germany into Kurdistan for their research – the paradigmatic shift to Democratic Autonomy and Democratic Confederalism has meant renouncing the establishment of “a socialist nation-state and instead” seeking the creation of “a society where people can live together without instrumentalism, patriarchy, or racism – an 'ethical and political society' with a base-democratic, self-managing institutional structure” (TATORT Kurdistan, Democratic Autonomy in North Kurdistan, Porsgrunn, New Compass Press, 2013, 20). In short, "democracy without a state".

Contrary to what many might believe, the ideological shift did not take place in the last few months or even the last year. Rather, approximately a decade ago it forthrightly appeared when Abdullah Öcalan, long-time leader of the once Marxist-Leninist PKK, issued The Declaration of Democratic Confederalism. In it Öcalan disavowed the nation-state, deeming it an organizational entity that serves as an obstacle to self-determination instead of as an expression of it. Öcalan states, “Within Kurdistan democratic confederalism will establish village, towns and city assemblies and their delegates will be entrusted with the real decision-making.” For Öcalan this means “democratic confederalism of Kurdistan is not a state system, but a democratic system of the people without a state.”

This system of Democratic Autonomy and Democratic Confederalism is composed of overlapping networks of workers’ self-managed enterprises, entities of communal self-governance, as well as federations and associations of groups operation according to principles of self-organization. Most, these assemblages function according to direct participatory democracy as well as with close-to-home delegate structures that are accorded through a council system.


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Reply The No State Solution: Institutionalizing Libertarian Socialism in Kurdistan (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Feb 2015 OP
Fantastic Anarchist Feb 2015 #1

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Feb 24, 2015, 03:51 PM

1. I wish them all the best!

I hope it proves successful!

And it would be somewhat ironic, I suppose, that we Europeans and Americans weren't able to successfully establish such a society for a lengthy amount of time within our own borders, but if it props up in what some would call, the reactionary Middle East, and if it holds for a lengthy amount of time, it would be quite the feat and a beacon for us to follow.

We have the Zapatistas and now the Kurds leading the way!

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