KCK: The PKK promoted great achievements in all four parts of Kurdistan

The co-chairs of the executive council of the KCK (Association of Kurdistan Societies), Besê Hozat and Cemil Bayik, speak about the social and economic achievements in Rojava and those gained by the PKK for the people of Kurdistan.

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The first part of the interview dealt with the concept of independence in capitalist modernity, the outdated model of the nation state and the understanding of democratic autonomy in a confederal system, which was shaped by Abdullah Öcalan.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

In this third part, they spoke about the social and economic achievements in Rojava and those gained by the PKK for the people of Kurdistan.

Can you briefly describe some of the social and economic achievements and successes in Rojava? 

Since we ourselves are not directly involved in the socio- economic developments in Rojava, we cannot give a comprehensive account of them. Therefore, based on the developments we have heard about, it may well be that we cannot provide a comprehensive picture. However, we can only report on the developments that we have heard about and that we believe are taking place. 

The mere fact that the people of Rojava have now lived without a state for eight years has paved the way for important developments. States are an obstacle to all kinds of social and political developments. For the state, the economy means nothing else than an area of exploitation. The state is an institution of enormous proportions. The mere maintenance of the state represents an enormous burden for its population. Under the burden of a state, society is destroyed and loses its own willpower. In this sense, living without the state ensures that societies and individuals regain their own will. Statelessness corresponds with democracy to a large extent. Therefore, Rojava has gained very important democratic experiences in the course of the past eight years. There, decisions are made by organized society. The women and the youth are organized. Because of their organized power, they are very important actors in the context of social and political life. Those who ignore them will not be able to shape social and political life in Rojava. These two fundamental social forces have completely changed the face of Rojava. 

Rojava is still surrounded by hostile forces. The Syrian state still refuses to accept Rojava’s democratic system. The Turkish state, together with its Islamist mercenaries, has occupied Afrin, Serekaniye and Gire Spi. Thus, there is a permanent danger that the occupation will be extended and the revolution will be crushed. In this situation, self-defense becomes very important. All work is thus necessarily carried out within the framework of self-defense. In the past, it has not been possible to pay sufficient attention to dangers in certain areas and organize the revolution accordingly. The occupation forces have benefited from this. It therefore leads to certain erroneous conclusions if we regard the current conditions in Rojava or North and East Syria as completely normal. 

There is no longer a state-run economy in Rojava today. The revolution itself, but also the ongoing heavy attacks, have led to an economy that looks like this: a slowly developing communal economic system including production and consumption businesses in the form of cooperatives, agriculture and livestock breeding run by families in rural areas, and, in addition, trade and small businesses run by individuals in cities and small towns. Accordingly, there is no economic system in which state- run businesses exist or play a decisive role. The economy is largely dominated by communal economic associations and cooperatives that emerged during the revolution, and also by agriculture, trade and very small businesses, all of which are run by families in rural areas. Rojava was also once Syria’s center for agriculture and livestock. Today, the region is still in a similar position. The communal economy has great potential for development in this region. A strong social culture still exists there. Therefore, the development of the communal economy is increasingly creating the economic basis for a democratic-confederal system based on an organized and democratic society. 

The Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK) is present in many areas of Kurdistan. What achievements has the PKK gained for the people of all these areas? 

The PKK has initiated enormous developments and achieved huge gains in all four parts of Kurdistan. All the struggles in Kurdistan that took place before the emergence of the PKK were strongly influenced by the Kurdish ruling classes and at the same time were exclusively military-political in nature. Since all these struggles failed to gain influence in the military and political spheres, they led to very little or no social change. On the other hand, ever since its foundation by Rêber Apo, the PKK has been a movement that has brought about revolutionary developments in all areas. From the way of thinking to the most diverse areas of practical life, it has always made it its task to initiate profound changes. It has thus always been a movement that breaks with all forms of backwardness. From the first day, Rêber Apo has made it his main mission to change both his friends and society. He has always criticized the various forms of backwardness and the existing mistakes. In this way, he has dealt with the social and political realities. In this context, he has always emphasized that the struggle for freedom and democracy is impossible as long as the various forms of traditional backwardness are not overcome and changed. Therefore, in its struggle, the PKK has always fundamentally aimed at initiating national, social, political, cultural and socio-psychological revolutions. The national, social, democratic, cultural and political revolutions have always been closely linked and promoted in this way. Most importantly, with the PKK, for the first time in the history of Kurdistan, a movement of the poor, that is, a popular movement, was built. At the time of the foundation of the Apoist movement, all its members were children of the poor popular classes. This alone represents a revolution, a development and achievement of enormous proportions for all of Kurdistan. Today, it is the people themselves who determine the national, social, political and cultural developments in Kurdistan directly based on their own strength. 

In North Kurdistan, there is not a single city or small town, not a single village that has not participated in uprisings. The traditional authorities have been replaced by the power of the organized people. A democratic, social and cultural revolution has taken place there in the truest sense of the word. On this basis, a national Kurdish reality has developed that is characterized by its democratic character. The Kurdish people, who only a few decades ago were on the verge of extinction, have today risen up and are waging a struggle for freedom and democracy. Tens of thousands of young men and women have joined the guerrilla in the course of this struggle. For the first time in human history, such a comprehensive women’s army has been built. Today, the Kurdish people have developed their own democratic political willpower and have thus become an actor fighting for the democratization of Turkey and the liberation of Kurdistan. 

Whether Sunni, Alevi or Ezidi, all Kurds have participated in the national liberation struggle in Kurdistan. The Arabs, Azeris, Turkmen, Armenians and Assyrians- Chaldeans living in Kurdistan have also recognized the struggle for freedom in Kurdistan as their own and have joined it. Thus, the Democratic Nation has become a reality in Kurdistan in an impressive way. 

A huge breakthrough was initiated in the field of Kurdish culture and art, giving new life to the cultural values of the Kurds. By combining them with new values, a new social reality of the Kurds has been created. The women’s uprising has developed in a very impressive way. The social revolution based on women has deepened and at the same time multiplied the libertarian and democratic character of the revolution. In Kurdistan today, a revolution has emerged that has sparked countless revolutions within the revolution based on the women’s freedom revolution. Through these revolutions based on women’s freedom, the Kurds have turned into a very resilient and powerful people. 

Historically, the greatest changes and developments have taken place in Kurdistan. At the same time, Kurdistan has developed a huge strength. It would be wrong to view this Kurdish revolution as limited only to North Kurdistan. Within a very short time, the revolution has had an impact on all four parts of Kurdistan. It has led to national, social and cultural changes throughout the country and has also had a strong influence on Kurdish politics. At a time when there were no modern means of communication at all, the French Revolution had a decisive impact on the Russian society, which itself fought against it and considered it an enemy. Today, however, the means of communication are far more advanced. In such an era, it is only natural that the Kurdish Revolution has greatly influenced all parts of Kurdistan and will continue to do so in the future. Thousands of young people from Rojava, South Kurdistan and East Kurdistan have joined the PKK over the years. Of course, this has also had a decisive impact on their own families and social environment. Many of them have since fallen as Şehids. In addition, the PKK cadres and the guerrilla have established relationships with thousands of families and hundreds of thousands of people living in South Kurdistan, influencing them and initiating changes in their minds and lives. Without this manifold influence of our revolution, South Kurdistan would be in a backward socio-political situation today. Also, the patriotic feelings of the South Kurdish people would not be as strong as they are today. Thus, the PKK has brought about enormous national, social, cultural and mental changes in South Kurdistan. 

In Rojava, the changes and achievements were reached in a direct way. For 20 years, Rêber Apo lived together with and educated the people of Rojava, the youth and women there. Thousands of young women and men have joined the guerrilla from there and many of them have fallen as Şehids. The Rojava revolution has taken place based on the ideas and influence of Rêber Apo. The population of Rojava is for the overwhelming part strongly connected to Rêber Apo. The women of Rojava are the driving force behind this strong bond. The revolution in Rojava has developed on the basis of Rêber Apo`s paradigm. It is clear that it is a very important revolution not only for Kurdistan but for the entire Middle East. 

In East Kurdistan, too, the population is full of a great longing for freedom and democracy. Rêber Apo’s ideas play a very important role in this longing. Despite massive state pressure, the people of East Kurdistan express their desire for freedom at every opportunity. This is the result of the influence that the PKK has today in all four parts of Kurdistan. 

In Europe and many other parts of the world, the Kurds are also organizing themselves on the basis of Rêber Apo’s ideas. As a result, they have succeeded in tangibly expressing their existence as a national community. Today, the Kurdish people are subjected to permanent genocide. Moreover, the political will of this people had been broken. Therefore, it is a very important development and achievement that these people are organizing themselves in places far away from their homeland and actively manifesting their existence as a nation there. The organization of Kurds living abroad represents a very important source of motivation and moral support for the people of all four parts of Kurdistan. Through their strong organization in Europe, the Kurds living there are a kind of window of communication for Kurdistan to Europe and the rest of the world. This organization and the influence of the Kurds based on it in all parts of the world represents a great achievement for the four parts of Kurdistan. 

The PKK’s struggle has led to very great achievements in all four parts of Kurdistan. Despite this, KDP representatives, who have been in government since the establishment of a federation in South Kurdistan, or circles close to them, are spreading propaganda and claiming that the PKK has achieved nothing with its struggle. They have thus clearly shown how narrow-minded and superficial their sociological, political, cultural and national view of the world and Kurdistan is. Kurdistan has been divided into four parts. A genocide is taking place there, for which the hegemonic states are using their own position and drawing support from foreign forces. Therefore, it is not easy to make achievements even in one of the four parts of Kurdistan. Achievements can only be made by overcoming not just one, but four states and their supporters. This in turn depends on the social, political, military and diplomatic strength of the Kurds. Against this background, it becomes clear how superficial the perspective of certain political forces in South Kurdistan is, who attribute all achievements to themselves and claim that the PKK has achieved nothing. 

We have described above the changes that the PKK has initiated in Kurdish society and in Kurdistan. The PKK has also played an indispensable role in the achievements of South Kurdistan. Most importantly, it is worth mentioning that the PKK emerged at a time when South Kurdistan had just experienced a severe defeat. At that time, not only the KDP and South Kurdistan, but Kurdish politics itself had suffered a heavy defeat. It is very significant that the PKK became active in exactly such a historical phase. Moreover, the PKK started fighting in the part of Kurdistan that is the largest, geographically speaking, and in terms of its population. Furthermore, the Turkish state is the force most hostile to Kurds. It considers even the smallest Kurdish uprising a threat to itself. It is a well- known fact that the KDP, which maintains close relations with the U.S. and NATO, is tolerated by the Turkish state in return for strictly preventing the emergence of other Kurdish movements in North Kurdistan. During the Cold War, Turkey represented an important country for the U.S. and NATO. Turkey’s basic national policy at that time was its hostility towards the Kurds and its aim to commit a genocide against them. By starting to fight against this kind of state, the PKK has given room to breathe to all parts and all political forces of Kurdistan. 

The inauguration of the parliament of South Kurdistan coincided with the attacks by the KDP and PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) against the PKK, which began on October 2, 1992. Because the Turkish state was waging a war against the PKK, it accepted the developments in South Kurdistan at that time. With the aim of crushing the PKK, the Turkish state developed relations with the political parties of South Kurdistan. Shortly after the fall of Saddam in 2003, the Federation of South Kurdistan was formed. This occurred in the context of the struggle waged by the PKK in all four parts of Kurdistan. The Turkish state later described its recognition of the federation in South Kurdistan as a historic mistake. It had only agreed to take this step of official recognition because, in return, the U.S. and KDP took a very open stance against the PKK in 2007. When the then U.S. President George Bush called the PKK an enemy of the U.S., the Turkish state formally recognized South Kurdistan. In return, the KDP provided Turkey with extensive assistance in its attempt to crush the PKK and thus openly became part of the genocidal policy in North Kurdistan. If the KDP had not provided support to the Turkish state, Turkey would have been forced to recognize the existence of the Kurds in North Kurdistan and their democratic autonomy. However, due to its relations with the KDP, the Turkish state can claim that it is not fighting against the Kurds, but only against the PKK and terrorism, and is thus able to continue its genocidal policy in North Kurdistan. 

The PKK has made a decisive contribution to the achievements of South Kurdistan. There is no doubt that the South Kurdish people and the political forces there have also fought important battles. But if the PKK had not come into existence, if it had not started its struggle and if it had not left a decisive mark on Kurdistan and the Middle East, all the achievements in South Kurdistan would not have taken place. So, when we conclude that the PKK’s struggle has led to enormous achievements in all four parts of Kurdistan, we are doing nothing other than calling a spade a spade.