Andok: Democratic Confederalism suits the demands of all social groups - PART TWO

In a four-part interview, KCK Executive Council member Xebat Andok pointed out the importance of Democratic Confederalism.

This is the second part of the four-part ANF interview with KCK Executive Council member Xebat Andok. The first part can be read here

In this part Andok answered the question 'Why Democratic Confederalism?'

He said the following:

"Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] developed Democratic Confederalism. He is a people’s leader. A person who has waged and is still waging a struggle to solve the Kurdish people’s problems of existence and freedom. We are people who believe in this project, who believe that the Kurds’ problems of existence and freedom can be solved in this way. And we are waging a struggle accordingly. We know that throughout history there have been many people like us who have struggled for equality, freedom, democracy and existence. This struggle has always existed and is still being waged in every aspect. According to our reading of history, if we include the hierarchical stage, i.e. the historical period after the neolithic, we can look back at a process of about 7000 years since the emergence of the state. The first 1000 to 2000 years of this period were the incubation period and constitute the root cause of the social problems that people are dealing with today. It was a period in which the state had not yet been formed, but in which the male-dominated mentality and ideology were gradually being developed, in which power and individualism began to develop. It was also the period that would later give birth to the formation of state and class, but slavery in the known sense did not exist yet. The state emerged some time after the formation of this mentality, about 5,500 years ago.

Historically speaking, the state emerged in Uruk, in today´s Iraq. What we want to say by referring to this historical period is that this system is the source of all the social problems that people are dealing with today and which they cannot adequately solve because of their current mentality. For example, power, nationalism, oppressor and oppressed, class contradictions, etc. Today’s problems are gigantic and the existing mindset cannot solve them. We look at history from the day these social problems emerged until today. We say that different problems have existed since then and that they were created by the rulers. The spirit of the rulers is not communal. They want to dominate. They want to make everything their own. They are detached from the communal essence of society and from being human. They are individualists and always want to rule and dominate. Human nature rejects this because it is libertarian and egalitarian. From the time when those who ceased to be human tried to put such tendencies into practice until today, there has always been a struggle for equality and freedom. The history of hegemony is also the history of the struggle for freedom against it. Under the conditions of natural society, people lived freely, but after they had their freedom taken away from them, they struggled and resisted against those who made them live this way.

Since then, the struggle for equality, freedom and democracy has been continuing. Today, we are a continuation of this struggle. In this respect, we are neither the first nor will we be the last. As long as there are tendencies based on hegemony, power, sexism or the subject-object mentality that fragments society, there will be a struggle for freedom against them. We read history based on this understanding. We say that there have been a great number of struggles for equality and freedom from that day until today, but the world is still unequal, there are still problems of justice and democracy. There are still problems of existence and freedom. The Kurds, women, youth and all the oppressed people are the ones who experience this most deeply. In fact, we live in a world where whole peoples have disappeared. Many peoples were forced to migrate. So there is such a reality, but on the other hand, there has also been a struggle. No one can say that the reason why the oppressed have not succeeded until today is because they have paid too small a price. Millions of people have died in the course of a single war. Kurds have been subjected to genocide for a hundred years. If we add up these hundred years of genocide, tens of millions of Kurdish people have been exterminated. Armenians have been annihilated. But there has always been a struggle to exist. Therefore, the issue is not whether you struggle too little. The crucial question is what kind of mentality you base your struggle on. When we look at it from this point of view, we can see that today the rulers have reached a high level of organization in the form of the state. They have established a monopoly and hegemony over all areas of life, ideologically, politically and militarily. As a consequence, they do not allow different mindsets and ideas to emerge. Even when you fight against the system, it is as if you were fighting based on the system’s own arguments. You look at things from its point of view, with its mentality. You want to achieve your goals with the system´s tools, but this is not possible.

The oppressed everywhere in the world and during all of history have always wanted equality, justice, freedom and a humane life. None of the hegemons want this, because they are the ones who create such problems. These two sides think differently. Because they think differently, their dreams, social projects and utopias are different from each other. And they produce the respective means accordingly. The individualistic, selfish, self-subjugating spirit and way of thought of the rulers has given birth to the state. The state is the most organized institution of all hegemonic classes, of all classes that want to monopolize and dominate. There may have been exceptions throughout history, but in general, almost everyone who has struggled for equality, freedom, democracy, a humane life and justice has also had the state as their goal; the state which belongs to the rulers. We have seen this clearly in the tradition of ethnic groups or the prophets, but also in the national liberation struggle of the 20th century. This was also clearly the case in all three versions of Marxism, which is a class-based departure that tries to build a world for the oppressed. The oppressed normally want justice, equality, democracy, but this tool is not at all suitable for them, for their spirit, thoughts and aspirations. It is a tool that belongs to someone else. A tool that has emerged from someone else’s individualism, selfishness and domination: the state. The state is something that normally belongs to the hegemonic class, it shouldn’t belong to you. Because you cannot think differently, because there is ideological hegemony, because mentalities have been taken over, because the possibility of thinking differently has been taken away from you, you think like the hegemon, even though you actually have a different spirit.

The tool that you have taken as a basis for solving your problems is not a tool that belongs to you, but a tool that belongs to someone else. You only think that it belongs to you. With regards to this issue, our Leadership [Abdullah Öcalan] has said: “Freedom requires its means to be as clean as its goals”. The state is dirty, oppressive, rapist, cruel and monopolist. State and power are among the creators of all social problems. Therefore, no state can bring about equality. There are so many states on earth that call themselves democratic and libertarian. Which state has really solved the problems of justice, freedom, equality and democracy within its borders? None of them have. This is simply impossible, because its chemistry is degraded. The state is existentially, inevitably evil. It cannot be good in the hands of anyone. History has sufficiently shown us that the state is not good even in the hands of the best. Real socialism and the different national liberation movements are examples of this.

When we look at history in this way, we see that the oppressed, all parts of society, those who struggle for equality and freedom, all groups who want to live equally and freely, have struggled throughout history. Yet, they have not been able to find a tool or a form of social organization that suits their demands, dreams and utopias. Our claim is that Democratic Confederalism is precisely such a model that suits the demands of all social groups, all oppressed people. It is non-state, because it is the product of the oppressed, it conforms to their demands. The struggles waged by all the oppressed throughout history must finally reach their goal. All revolutions are made by the peoples, but they have always been put down because the peoples were not able to channel them outside the state. The perception that there cannot be an organization outside the state is so dominant that the peoples have been seeking a state. Therefore, without falling for such a deviation, you need to free yourself completely from the mental codes of the rulers and obtain a tool that suits your egalitarian, libertarian spirit and aspirations. That tool is Democratic Confederalism. It is a system outside of the state in which society organizes itself and thus becomes self-sufficient.

This framework put forward by Leader Apo means that the huge price that has been paid throughout history within the scope of the struggle for democratic communal values, equality and freedom will finally bear results. To the extent that this is realized, the goals of the historic struggle for democratic communal values, equality and freedom will be put into practice and systematized. This is a historical reckoning. Against the 7000-year-old hierarchical statist system – the system of the rulers – this means the establishment of a system on behalf of the peoples. It has such a historical meaning.

We are Kurds. As a people, we are still faced with problems of existence and freedom. We are a people that certain forces try to annihilate. Kurds have been struggling against this for at least a century. This struggle can be traced back all the way to the 19th century. The Kurds have given tens of thousands of martyrs in this struggle for existence and freedom. If they do not solve the problems of existence and freedom, they may even fall victim to a genocide. Whether or not this will happen depends entirely on how much the Kurds organize themselves. The hegemonic forces of colonialism and of capitalist modernity have already decided to carry out a genocide against the Kurds. In fact, when we look at the current situation, all the practical deeds of these forces are based on this.

As the vanguard of a people that is faced with the problem of existence and freedom, the PKK is also waging a struggle. It has given tens of thousands of martyrs in this struggle. The society that the PKK has created has very strong values that come from its very social essence. The PKK does not want its struggle to be in vain, just like it does not want the struggles of all the social groups that struggled before the PKK to be in vain. Today, the PKK focuses on how to solve the Kurdish problem outside the state in order for its 50-year struggle to bear results. In this context, the formula the PKK has found is Democratic Confederalism: A system based on Democratic Autonomy in which the Kurds in the four parts of Kurdistan can continue their existence in a democratic-autonomous way, have freedom of expression and organization, and be themselves. Where has the state taken you? We can see this not only in the case of the Kurds. We also see this in the case of real socialism or Vietnam. We see it in everyone who fought for national liberation. We see it in everyone who has turned towards power. Regardless of whether we have the potential to establish a state or not, regardless of whether there is such a possibility or not, we act with the belief that the solution to the Kurdish problem lies outside the state, not in the state.

So what do we replace the state with? As we have mentioned, our approach is based on the democratic-confederal system which has Democratic Autonomy at its foundation. This means to not dissolve into the system, so that there won´t be any rulers, aghas and oppressors among the Kurds. Kurds have fought for equality and freedom; they have demanded justice. They struggle for their existence to be recognized and for them to have the opportunity to live as Xwebûn [´to be oneself´]. So the result of the struggle must be in accordance with this. Otherwise, there is the example of South Kurdistan [North Iraq]. There, too, Kurds are faced with problems of existence. So much struggle was waged there, but now the results are obvious: It is well-known that a dynastic system has been established there; that someone/a family has taken over all the riches of Kurdistan based on so-called elections which are completely based on fraud; and that they have tried to turn all Kurds into collaborators of capitalist modernity, colonialism and genocide. We seek to prevent such a situation, such cancerous cells from arising among the Kurds, so that the Kurdish struggle results in equality and freedom in line with its real purpose. Let relations be equal and free. Let us move towards classlessness. Let there be no formation of classes. Let there be justice. Let all people be active. Let all people govern each other. Let all people be responsible for each other. In order to achieve this, for us Kurds, Democratic Confederalism, i.e. Democratic Autonomy and the democratic-confederal organizational and social system, is the solution option for us."