KCK: Municipal economy as a holistic approach

The co-chairs of the executive council of the KCK (Association of Kurdistan Societies) answer questions about the economic model.

The online portal Libyajamahinya asked KCK chairs Besê Hozat and Cemil Bayik about the basic principles of the Kurdish liberation movement.

The first part of the interview dealt with the concept of independence in capitalist modernity, the outdated model of the nation state and the understanding of democratic autonomy in a confederal system, which was shaped by Abdullah Öcalan.

In the second part, the co-chairs of the executive council of the umbrella organization KCK (Association of Kurdistan Societies) answer questions about their economic model.

In his works, Abdullah Öcalan deals intensively with the question of how capitalism can be overcome and an economy based on cooperatives can be built. What kind of economic policy does the Kurdistan Freedom Movement intend to implement after the liberation of Kurdistan?

Overcoming capitalism is not only a task of the PKK and all socialists. Society, the form of existence of humanity and the source of all its cultural values, is being destroyed by capitalism. There is an attack on the existence of humanity, on humanity as a whole. Capitalism cannot exist, it cannot survive without consuming or destroying society and all its social values. Just as cancer cells in the human body attack and destroy healthy cells, capitalism attacks and consumes society. For this reason, Rêber Apo has defined capitalism as a cancerous phenomenon. Because capitalism attacks and consumes society, Rêber Apo also always considered the term ‘capitalist society’ to be wrong. He spoke of the fact that capitalism and society cannot be brought together. The question of overcoming capitalism, moreover, should not be seen only as an economic problem. Rather, it is a fundamental social problem. Capitalism is the cause of deepening all social problems. This is also the only conceivable result of this kind of exploitation and its modernity, which keeps itself alive by consuming society. Rêber Apo has analyzed capitalism as a whole. Undoubtedly, Marx and Engels have made a great contribution to the analysis of capitalism and have reached important results. Rêber Apo has both paid tribute to the achievements of these socialist leaders and at the same time completed points that had remained incomplete in the analysis of Marx and Engels. Thus he has made a very great contribution to the analysis of capitalism. Today it is no longer possible to develop a holistic approach to capitalism without taking Rêber Apo’s analysis into account. To ignore his analysis would lead to serious shortcomings in the struggle against capitalism and in its overcoming. In particular, the concept of ‘Capitalist Modernity’ must be examined very carefully. Otherwise, the alternative to it, Democratic Modernity, cannot be properly understood. All these are important points to mention before elaborating on the alternative economic understanding of Rêber Apo. We consider it the duty of all people to defend themselves against capitalism in all fields of life. The attack on society began with the attacks on women. Based on this, the various systems of exploitation, oppression, power and state emerged. The hegemony over women was followed by the exploitation of society, the emergence of classes and social problems. In capitalism they have currently reached their climax. If we want to continue to exist as a human society, it is very important to take a stance against capitalism and to take action. Capitalism is increasingly putting humanity in a position that not even the capitalists themselves can justify or defend. That is why the think tanks and intellectuals serving capitalism are intensively dealing with the question of how capitalism can be palatable to humanity. Rêber Apo has comprehensively analyzed capitalism and thereby made it clear that it has become an immense burden for humanity and must be overcome at all costs. For this, he has very convincingly presented a wide variety of evidence and arguments. Capitalism cannot simply be abolished overnight. But it is important to start doing exactly that today. It is undoubtedly necessary, first of all, to break the ideological hegemony created by capitalism. Parallel to this, an alternative economic model must be implemented in practice, i.e. a way of doing business that does not destroy society but, on the contrary, strengthens it. The various societies and individuals today have been taught something like the following economic mentality: `One is necessarily the big landowner, governor, boss, factory or store owner, and the other is correspondingly a simple villager or worker. In order to live, all people have to earn a salary.` Historically, this is one of the worst forms of ideological hegemony. For it means nothing else than the internalization of slavery, that is, to turn the antique form of slavery into something that is voluntarily obeyed. In this regard, the economy is the most fundamental activity of society. When humans became humans, that is, when they began to organize themselves as a society, they satisfied their need for food and shelter through social interaction. It is totally unthinkable to satisfy these needs individually. Apart from what humans found and ate individually in nature, everything was achieved through common social work. Therefore, to pursue the most central social activities today as a slave or worker represents one of the most fundamental social distortions. This is a truly abnormal situation. The fact that this is considered normal today makes clear what kind of distortion we are dealing with. Without changing this, we will not be able to become real people. Rather, it is necessary for us to do our own work, that is, to satisfy our needs as workers of society, without even a single person living a life as a slave or a worker. The technical progress and the increasing professionalization in this field may only be understood as a social division of labor. But social division of labor does not necessarily require the existence of privileges and exploitation. What is crucial is that everyone is able to live and contribute to a healthy and happy life. This ideological hegemony has been reinforced by Capitalist Modernity. It has created the serious misconception that individualism is the most fundamental characteristic of humans and that the individual can exist without society. In connection with the economic understanding that certain people must always be bosses and the rest workers, individualism has developed into a culture. Therefore, it does not occur to anyone to produce together and share the products fairly by bringing people together and building a social economy or a communal economy. Today, it is not an easy task to bring people together and develop common production processes on this basis. Because the dominant idea is to work somewhere as a worker or civil servant and to get the best possible wage. This is ultimately an attitude of accepting slavery. The only goal is to live a little better than in the days of slavery. The more one consumes, the more the profit of Capitalist Modernity increases. That is why today attempts are being made to create conditions in which, in addition to the middle class, the workers are also empowered to consume. By having the workers reinvest their wages in consumer products, it is ensured that the money ends up in the pockets of the bosses once again. The PKK aims to build a free and democratic society that is not subject to exploitation. If democracy, as the leadership by the people themselves, is a sublime value, then the corresponding economic system of the people must also be built. In the field of economy, democracy corresponds to an economic form in which there are no bosses or big landowners. In the democracies that we can find today in capitalist countries, the rule of the people does not exist. In the same way, the economy does not belong to the people, but to the hegemonic classes, since they dominate the system as a whole. But if we declare democracy, that is, the power of the people to govern themselves, to be our goal, then we must also build the corresponding economy of the people. So our goal must be to create an economic system in which there are not bosses and big landowners on one side and workers on the other. As monopolism becomes stronger and stronger in capitalism, the economy increasingly loses its connection to society. Just as democracy in social life means overcoming authoritarian, homogeneous systems, in the economic sphere it overcomes any monopolies and the economic policies of the ruling classes. Rêber Apo calls first of all for the communalization of land, water and energy, that is, of the fundamental pillars of economy. These three economic elements should never be monopolized by anyone. We must understand this communal approach as the first step for the construction of the economic system of the people. The economy can be democratized only if the existing socio-political system is democratic. Therefore, the democratic-confederal sociopolitical system based on the organized and democratic society is a prerequisite for building a communal economy. It is necessary that the people are convinced of the democratic-communal economy and implement it themselves. Against this background, it is very important to break the ideological hegemony of Capitalist Modernity in this area. Otherwise, the economic model we have described cannot be implemented. The communal economy is based on a large number of different economic associations, each of which is organized on a communal basis. The various communities organize themselves in this system in the form of communes. These can be smaller, but also large production communes. These communes are concerned with meeting social needs in the areas of agriculture, industry and commerce. Cooperatives are another form of community economy. A wide variety of cooperatives dealing with production, distribution, trade, transportation, or similar areas can be established within this framework. Of course, all of these are decisions that must be discussed with the people in the context of the democratic system, which is based on an organized and democratic society. There should be no coercion of any kind. At the same time, the democratic-social system will, of course, actively support the establishment of this type of economic association. The more the people recognize the positive sides of this economic system built by themselves, the more the communal economy will expand with each passing day. Historically, there have always existed forms of production based on the work of individuals or families. Also, there have always been small farms that were not designed to be monopolistic. As long as these types of businesses do not become the main component of the economic system, they will make their contribution to the communal-democratic economy, thus completing it and maintaining its existence. It is crucial that the communal economy prevails and that the economic sector based on private small businesses operated by individuals does not become the main economic sector. Within this framework, both private and community ownership can coexist. There should be no attempts to take possession by force of the economy that is based on the old social and political system. Capitalist Modernity intervenes in all areas, merging small production enterprises or making them redundant in order to increase its own influence, and increases its economic influence in all areas, ultimately making it the dominant force. Therefore, the communal economy must likewise develop into a holistic and productive system, advance the people’s participation in it, and thereby ensure its own continuous development. In the communal economy, productivity is of course not only measured in terms of economic-numerical values. Rather, it encompasses a wide variety of dimensions, such as social rights, justice, effectiveness, psychology or morality. Ecology is an area that must be taken into account as well. If primarily economic-numerical values are taken into account and moral values or psychological aspects are ignored, the end result will be a situation such as the one we know from the time of the collapse of real socialism. Taking economy as the base of real socialism, but defining culture, ideology, etc. as superstructure, was one of the central mistakes of the socialist leaders. They did not sufficiently address the importance of moral values because they assumed that they had no direct influence on the economic base. Thus, real socialism does not serve as the basis for the economic model we envision. We aim at a holistic economic model based on democracy, freedom, moral and cultural values. In a nutshell: Capitalism today has become a heavy burden for all of humanity. Even the forces of Capitalist Modernity are looking for new economic models - which, of course, do not overcome capitalism itself - to keep themselves alive. In such a time, the forces fighting for the peoples, freedom, democracy and socialism will naturally understand the construction of a social economic system that overcomes capitalism as one of their most important tasks.