Kalkan: The health of a society is linked to the situation of women

Kalkan assessed a recently
published statement by the KJK and PAJK on self-defense and the fight against fascism.


In the third part of this long interview, Duran Kalkan, member of the Executive Council of the KCK, talked about the statement by the KJK and PAJK on self-defense. He also talked about the fight against fascism.

The first part of this interview can be read here and the second part here

The leadership and coordination of both PAJK and KJK have jointly shared a self-defense declaration for women. As the PKK, what can you say in regard to this declaration?

The joint self-defense declaration of the PAJK and KJK was important and meaningful. It also sparked a certain debate due to its timing. As the PKK, we fully agree with this declaration. We need to do everything to develop awareness about self-defense, to organize it and to take accordingly actions. We definitely need to overcome our shortcomings in this regard.

The declaration was for women. Undoubtedly, women are under the heaviest oppression, persecution, rape and massacre. They experienced the heaviest slavery. Therefore, self-defense is more important and necessary for women than bread and water. But the stance of general society is not very different from that of women. It is said that the level of freedom of a society is determined by the level of freedom of women. We can also read this the other way around. Then the state of a society, the state of slavery, is linked to the state of women. If women need so much self-defense, if they are in such a situation, if there is so much pressure and oppression on them, it is the same for the whole of society.

So yes, it is very important for women, because they are the pioneers. We should definitely not challenge this. But we must spread this consciousness, organization and action throughout the whole of society. Society must be conscious, organized and active in defending itself against this fascist, colonialist, genocidal, special war mentality, system, and attacks. This must be the case from the age of seven to seventy. Women, men, young and old, everyone should be like this. Self-defense means security. Security is one of the three basic conditions of existence, along with nutrition and reproduction. It is inextricably linked to existence, that is, to life, and also to freedom. Therefore, those without self-defense have no security. And those who have no security have no freedom. Those who have no security are under the heaviest slavery because they become the slave of whoever has taken away their security.

These nation states have built armies. Armies signify power, and by depriving society of power, they have concentrated all power in their own hands and the hands of the state. They have dragged society and women to such a position of slavery, deprived of freedom, under oppression and persecution. Therefore, against this, everyone must have the awareness, attitude and will to ensure their own security. Security cannot be entrusted to someone else. Security cannot be given to someone else. You cannot rely on a security force. No one can be anyone else’s security force.

If everyone is to live free, they can only be free to the extent that they ensure their own security. Therefore, if a woman is to be free, this freedom is only achieved to the extent that she ensures her security. If society is to be free, they are free to the extent that they have ensured their own security, if the individual is to be free, they are free to the extent that they have ensured their own security. We need to develop such a consciousness, organization and action in society and make society educate itself, organize itself and take action on this basis. States are doing the opposite. Especially fascist, colonialist, genocidal dictatorships bring people to the state of genocide, the slaughter of society. This is how they weaken societies and take all the power in their own hands. On the contrary, we must give power back to the individual and society, to women. This should definitely be the goal and effort of the revolutionary struggle, the struggle for freedom and equality. Some misunderstandings should not arise in this regard. I mean, self-defense is the most legitimate right; how much more can people trust the UN, how much can anyone trust the law and legitimacy of states? Is there such a legitimacy left? There is none. Therefore, no one should say that “we have rights and laws”. You have the right to live and be free as long as you make yourself conscious, organized and active. There is no other, no one will grant you such rights. This must be the attitude, consciousness and stance.

However, self-defense shouldn’t be limited to being a concept, a state of mind, or a topic of conversation. Furthermore, it shouldn’t be viewed as just an organization or an action. It must be viewed holistically, in terms of consciousness, that is, in terms of the integrity of education and the informed planning and execution of actions. Unconscious planning and behavior, for instance, may result in situations where it is uncertain who this behavior will damage and what outcomes it will bring about. This is what creates gangs. If one only has consciousness, and no organization or action; this would become nothing but an empty, beautiful dream and nothing more. It will not have any practice, sanction or effect. For this reason, we ought to approach it holistically rather than breaking it up this way. There appear to be broken approaches. More people talk about self-defense as an idea, treating it like a subject which is only discussed; they refer to it as ‘self-defense consciousness and struggle’. However, some approaches do not focus on how it is organized and how it functions, nor do they link it with it. These are incorrect. I am able to say this clearly. It doesn’t grow or produce many effects in this way. This eventually makes it harder to fight back against fascist, imperialist, genocidal, and special war attacks of all types.

Some weeks have passed since the municipal elections in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan took place. Is there anything you would like to add to the evaluations made in relation to these elections?

Currently, in Northern Kurdistan and in Turkey, there is a very extreme legalism. Therefore, methods of action are not being enriched. Fascism is oppressing and attacking; in the face of this, there is no organization, no power and no line of action that is capable of frustrating these attacks. The actions are insufficient. There are some actions against these attacks, but these are very reformist, they are not radical. But if we insist on radical democracy, then the language of democracy is action, the line of action has to be radical.

If it is too legalized, too legalistic, it cannot be radical because the current legality and legalism is based on fascism. Can fascism be destroyed only by reformist methods of struggle, only by legal work? It is not possible. The legal system is already taking measures against this. Therefore, it is necessary to overcome being confined only to legalism and legality. If that is overcome, all actions will make sense. But without that, you can’t take many actions, and when you do, they won’t have any effect. As a matter of fact, this is what is seen in practice.

In this sense, I would like to draw the attention of the youth, especially the youth of Turkey and Kurdistan. The youth is the most dynamic force in this matter, a force that understands it best and has the ability to develop all kinds of methods of struggle and ways. Therefore, the youth must understand this correctly.

If the youth legalizes itself too much, if it drowns itself in legalism, it will really cease to be revolutionary. If it legalizes itself, it cannot wage a radical struggle. The passive, reformist struggles will not be very effective too then. They would be meaningless. If there was a revolutionary, radical struggle, they would gain meaning along with that struggle. But in this case, they don’t.

In this respect, our young comrades must understand the situation correctly. They should know how to fight against fascism, how to organize. They should look at their history, study the ‘Kurdistan Youth Union’ (YCK), study the ‘The Movement of Patriotic Democratic Youth’ (YDGH). These names are not even being mentioned. However, this youth has a history, it has a line. It is definitely in a position to meet its own requirements. In this respect, we should be able to better develop the consciousness, organization and action that will overthrow fascism. In other words, we should not imprison ourselves in these laws. We must be able to develop all kinds of work, organization and action in our own legitimacy. We must be radical fighters. We must organize and wage antifascist war against fascism. Self-defense is a work of war. We must develop the self-defense war. We must not soften or eliminate the characteristic of war by calling it a ‘struggle’. Only when combined with war, can struggling make sense. Only then can other actions make sense. But without war, nothing will come out of such a struggle. In this respect, it is very important to approach and think correctly. This is my advice to young comrades. This is my call. They should think well. They should study history well.

With what kind of organization and action will the youth ensure that they really become a revolutionary youth? How will they reveal the unique, special organization and will of the youth? They should think about that. They should remember the ‘Revolutionary Youth’ (Dev-Genç). Is there anyone, today, who corresponds to the Dev-Genç? No. There was the YCK, there were other youth organizations, there wa a will. They were leading society, developing a line of action. They were adding the will, emotion and action of the youth. Now there are weaknesses in these matters. On this occasion, I call on all young comrades to understand the fascist, genocidal system more accurately, to understand the questions of how to wage a correct and adequate struggle against it, how to develop organization and action, and to become successful in implementing them, and I wish them success.

We had evaluated the need for democratic forces and the strive for freedom, as well as the need to develop radical democracy in a stronger and more effective way. We also had some evaluations and recommendations for the CHP. We are observing the situation and actions of Ozgur Ozel’s administration. It is too early to say anything, but I think it is necessary to say the following at this point: he is not using the credit given by society and the people correctly and well. If this happens, Ozel will not be able to overcome the Kilicdaroglu administration. If they try to lure everyone to compromise, fascism will succeed. That was the line of the Kilicdaroglu administration, and we can see what it did to the CHP and to Turkey. We also saw how Kilicdaroglu handed everything over to the AKP-MHP. What steps will be taken towards a minimum democratization, to democratize the Republic, to make the second century a century of democratization? We haven’t seen anything serious, but we won’t go on at length. Their credit has finished; it would be useful for them to be informed.

We have come to the end of our interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?

There were some valuable personalities who lost their lives and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Ilhami Aras and Celal Baslangic. Ilhami Aras made many contributions to the revolutionary struggle in Turkey. He was a good friend and companion of Rêber Apo. I wanted to convey this to his relatives, on this occasion.

Celal Baslangic was a democrat who stood upright and insisted on what he knew was right. He did journalism justice. As he saw the practices in Kurdistan, he grew closer to the Kurdish people. He fought and exposed that which was being inflicted on the Kurds in the most difficult environments and without any hesitation. He played an important role in shedding light on these special war practices, attacks, conspiracies and massacres. In this sense, he contributed to the Kurdish struggle for freedom and the struggle for democratization in Turkey. He will be remembered for these contributions. This is how those who knew him, our friends, and everyone defined him. On this basis, I once again commemorate them both with respect and gratitude.

In the villages of Colemerg, the people developed an attitude against the plundering of nature. The people showed their attitude against capitalist modernity, against the private war attacks that plunder nature under the name of coal-mines. It was quite meaningful. The villagers of Marinos, for example, took a good stance. The statements they made were also good. I really salute their stance and resistance; it was meaningful and exemplary. We should all be like that everywhere against the understanding and attitudes that plunder and pillage all our nature. All villagers must be like that, all urbanites must be like that. Women, men, old, young, the whole of society must be like that. Because without nature, what can we do, how can we exist? Existence happened on this earth, with this nature. Whoever destroys this is destroying society, destroying existence. It is such a brutal attack. In this respect, this consciousness and action is very important.

On this basis, meetings are being held in Amed under the name of Ecology Union, it was reflected in the press. Various organizations are participating. In other words, we find all ecological work meaningful and important. We wish them success in these efforts.

Our criticism in this regard is only this. That is, not to tie the ecological struggle to the state, not to sacrifice ecology to politics. In other words, not to entrust the lamb to the wolf. They must not hand the green struggle to those who create the ecological problem. This is an important line. Why am I saying this? Some green movements have become statized, they gained power and later really harmed the ecological struggle. They need to be evaluated and criticized. In other words, they set the movement back. This should be the basic measure. In this sense, I salute any struggle for ecology and the protection of nature. I wish them success.

Finally, Amedspor has achieved an important success. I congratulate its success and wish it greater success. I also salute the fans of Amedspor. They really took good care of their team. But I would like to say this. They would do the right thing if they embraced their Kurdish identity and the struggle for freedom at the same rate. I also call on them to adopt such an attitude of embracement.