Michael Panser: Good luck to you all!
Guerrilla fighter Michael Panser tells of his ideas of a contemporary revolution and his experiences in the free mountains of Kurdistan in a video recorded in autumn 2018.
Guerrilla fighter Michael Panser, code-named Xelîl Viyan and Bager Nûjiyan, was killed on 14 December 2018 by bombardments by the Turkish occupying army in the Medya Defence Zones. During a stay at the Academy in the fall of 2018, he reports in a video about his idea of a contemporary revolution and his experiences in the free mountains of Kurdistan:
My name is Bager Nûjiyan
My name is Bager Nûjiyan, before that my name was Xelîl Viyan. My family name is Michael Panser. I was born on 1st September 1988 in the city of Potsdam, in East Germany. My family are people with love for the country and for society, and at that time they were connected to the paradigm of real socialism. They are people of solidarity and they have an emotional connection. I believe that this is also a basis for my quest for the truth of the revolution.
At the young age of about 14 years, I took an active role in the left and began my quest. The fact that I later got to know the PKK and the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan is certainly also based on this phase. I participated in antifascist and leftist works in Germany. I gained a lot of experiences, but it became clear that these experiences were not enough on my quest. The setting of a liberal life, trapped in the constraints of the capitalist system, is very far away from the reality of the revolution. Thus, a departure from it and a further quest followed.
On this quest the way to Kurdistan opened up self-evidently
In 2011/2012, I got to know the first hevals (comrades), especially through the Youth and Women’s Movement. At first, getting to know each other did not involve practice, society or the reality in Kurdistan, but I first got to know the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan. And this is what my quest was: What are the weaknesses of the revolutionary quest we intended to carry out? With our theoretical and philosophical quest, we wanted to find and develop a liberation ideology. In the context of the European society, this was of course coupled with great difficulties. On this quest the way to Kurdistan opened up self-evidently. We got to know Abdullah Öcalan’s philosophy, we read and studied the translated books. In this time, we understood quite a few things: What we are looking for in Europe is what lies hidden – beyond Western civilisation and capitalist modernity – here in the Middle East, whose history got lost. Now these revolutionary achievements are developing anew here, offering new answers. At the same time when real socialism was collapsing in our midst, the way for a new revolutionary reality was paved in Kurdistan. On our quest we became aware of this. We made contacts and found our way to Kurdistan.
The European Problem is the Capitalist Modernity
We were beginning to understand one thing: The European problem is linked to the solution of capitalist modernity, the capitalist way of life. We must be aware that Germany is taking a leading role in the enforcement of the capitalist system of exploitation. We have also realised that no solution to this problem is possible without an internationalist perspective, a revolutionary perspective that overcomes closed borders.
In this way we slowly got to know the revolution in Kurdistan and I actually started to join the revolution seriously during this time. Since 2012 we deepened our thoughts further, we educated ourselves and tried to build a movement according to the values of the paradigm which was the content of our discussions. The experiences and weaknesses that showed themselves in this phase made one thing clear to us: that it does not work to participate just half-heartedly in the revolution. It was during this time that I made my decision. Being a true revolutionary must mean to think holistically. A revolutionary must be contemporary and must free oneself from the narrow-minded thinking of Eurocentrism and the perspectives offered by so-called modernity. Otherwise it is impossible to be successful.
To create revolutionary strength
I gained this insight through ideological deepening and it meant that joining the Kurdistan Workers’ Party would make possible what I consider necessary: to build up the revolutionary strength. I realised that. It also became clear to me that a contemporary revolution cannot know borders. That would be impossible, revolution cannot work like that.
The revolution in Europe begins with the revolution in Kurdistan. This connection definitely exists. Finally, the paradigm, which maintains its dominance in Europe in a close and crude way, imposes a liberal life on society and makes exploitation the absolute basis of its social order, is the very paradigm which today carries out the heavy attacks on Kurdistan. We understood that the first thing we had to do was gaining experience of revolutionary practice. In this way, I have devoted myself entirely to the revolution.
Initially, I participated in internationalist practice, not only spreading Abdullah Öcalan’s thinking and the new paradigm in Europe, but especially learning to better understand capitalist modernity, which imposes itself as the last form of the male-dominant mentality of society. We did research on this, and we also developed a certain practice. Then I came to Kurdistan.
The love for society
At the centre of the revolution is the revolutionary change of consciousness. This is the basic task in the work area of the academies. That which you could not think before in society, because especially in the capitalist centre of Europe thinking is very divided and incoherent, and thus does not allow the emergence of a new consciousness. Thus, in the broad sense of a new paradigm, there is no quest. No new philosophy can emerge that takes life itself as its basis and wants to bring about a real socialism. We are talking about the defence of sociality, of love for society. Obviously, the love for society is not possible in an exploited society.
It became clear to me that those who are on a revolutionary quest must go very far in their quest. They must consistently make their way to the substance. If we want to create a new realisation of socialist life, we must go where freedom is most widely realised. The mountains of Kurdistan are an extraordinary place. They offer the opportunity to experience oneself in practice. They make you realise what it means to be committed and to make an effort; and they make you understand the meaning of this effort anew.
How deep are the traces that the system leaves in our way of thinking? All the problems and shortcomings in our consciousness that are created by the dominant way of thinking become clear in communal life as it is lived in the mountains. A communal living community, a revolutionary environment based on a common will to promote humanity and to free individual personalities from the constraints of the patterns of domination. This opportunity was really created here. The ruling system cannot simply attack this foundation that has been created. Of course, military attacks are taking place, but in the fight against the ideological and psychological consequences of the dominant way of thinking, we can create a new consciousness here through serious efforts and work.
Shared values and mutual support
That was the reason why I came here to the academy on my own request. As much as I was able to achieve in practice a development in thinking, there was the necessity to go to this special place. After all, the academy creates an environment in which intensive and concrete work is carried out to raise awareness of one’s own dominant way of thinking and, at the same time, work is done towards its alternative. This is done in an environment that is characterised by communal life, communal work, exchange with one another; everything is there – shared values, mutual support.
Real friendship is most clearly lived in academies. We analyse in a mutual manner very precisely which remains of the system of exploitation show up in the behaviour of a friend. It is not the case here that we have to separate the individual from the community, or that an individual has to adapt to the characteristics of the group. I can say from my time on the left that we were unable to resolve this contradiction. Finding the right balance between the individual person leading an inner struggle and their environment so that they strengthen and build each other up. It cannot be everything to recognise and protect a friend in the present form – because everyone in this society has been taught dominant ways of behaving. What does true friendship mean which we want to live and create here? We do not take a friend as what they have become and how they stand before me, but according to their goals and potential. It is our approach to develop each friend according to their strength. In this sense, we criticise each other and strive for methods of personality development. That is why I came to the academy and it is a very intense inner struggle. Through these efforts we create the foundation for this life. Because we are aware that the socialism that we want to create – that is, a new life, a life striving for freedom, an equal life that understands the value of the human being, that recognises the value of social achievements – is based on the potential of society itself and the wisdom and struggles that have been waged.
Start with your own personality
If we want to build our dreams and utopias, where do we have to start? In our own personality. Abdullah Öcalan stresses in particular the consequences of patriarchy. His analysis is transferable to the entire hegemonic civilisation by saying: If inner patriarchal masculinity is not overcome, socialism will always remain incomplete. A socialism that does not go into the substance, i.e. does not begin in the human being itself and does not create a new personality, free personalities, cannot bring about new achievements.
In this way we evaluate the past socialism, the historical attempts that have taken place and their insufficiencies. There was a fighting society and a pioneering role developed, but the root of the problem was not grasped: What is a free human being? That is the fundamental question. What are the effects of domination in the human being? That is the fundamental problem. Since these issues have not been addressed, the system has repeated itself. There was no detachment from the dominant way of thinking. Although so many gave their lives in this struggle, great efforts were undertaken and so much blood and sweat were shed, these attempts may not have failed completely, but certainly did not achieve the desired results. We have to realise that.
The life in the academy is the effort to free oneself. Revolution is not something that happens all at once. It is neither a single uprising nor a military victory. That is not possible. Revolution is a lasting condition that begins with a step, with a decision: the decision to participate in the revolution and to detach oneself from the ruling system; the realisation that the life we are forced to live in this system is wrong and that it is necessary to build up something new. Perhaps the revolution begins in every human being with an uprising, but in itself it is a lasting condition. If it does not become a process that is oriented along existing and future circumstances, then it is not a revolution. This is an uprising or a revolt, but not a revolution. This was often historically misunderstood and became an obstacle.
Thinking, feeling, acting
We are building our foundation on this knowledge. Our future participation also depends on this and cannot be predicted. The path of the revolution cannot be designed and implemented according to a plan. History has shown that this is impossible. Therefore, the preparations we are making here are to build up a militant personality. What does it mean to be a militant personality? We must be prepared for everything; just as the current phase demands of us. Thus, we create holistic thinking, the method of understanding what the current situation is, the historical significance of the current situation, the dangers of the current situation in which we find ourselves and also its potentials.
If we live this way and understand it that way, then it is not so important where we are going anyway – in which country we are active, in which part of Kurdistan or if we are going to another continent. In practice, of course, there are differences, but holism is decisive. To understand our ideas correctly, to develop our organisation further, the correct language, the correct form of communication and criticism – and in this sense to organise our lives correctly. If we carry out these things well and strive for good practice, appreciate the value of our efforts, and understand the efforts of our friends correctly, we can act accordingly. In particular, the importance of the effort and commitment of the martyrs who have given their lives in this struggle – if we understand all these points correctly, by creating the unity of thinking-feeling-acting, we can create militants who can carry out everything that will be necessary. That was indeed proven in the development of this revolution, wasn’t it?
Good luck to you all
A human being who is clear in their will and who really connects in their feelings and desires with the quest for freedom, the correct struggle to reveal the truth, can achieve anything! There are examples in our movement, and also in other revolutions before us there are tens of thousands of examples of revolutionaries, how they act, what efforts they make and how they participate. It is both our goal and our duty to take a stand for this and to act accordingly. I can say this much about that. A lot of success to you all!