Lecture 8 of Rojava series about Ecology and Jineoloji now online

Lecture 8 of the Rojava series promoted by Global University for Sustainability, the Civil Diplomacy Center in North East Syria, Synergia Co-operative Institute is now online.

Lecture 8 of the Rojava series about Ecology and Jineoloji promoted by Global University for Sustainability, the Civil Diplomacy Center in North East Syria, Synergia Co-operative Institute is now online.

The lecturer was Zehriban Hussein, a member of the Jineoloji Academy in Northern and Eastern Syria, while the respondent was Eleanora Gea Piccardi, PhD student at Centro de Estudos Sociais, Portugal.

Zehriban Hussein begins the lecture by stating that nature is not a dead thing, it is alive. Our treatment of nature as mere matter is done in the name of industrialization and this has led to catastrophic results. Jineoloji is the science of women and ecology – a social science. Women are the ones who bring life into the world. This is a science that attempts to understand life, nature, and women and the ways in which they intersect and co-exist. The word for woman and life come from the same root – jin. So, Jineoloji is also about finding solutions to the issues and problems that are confronting life and women in the context of patriarchy and the materialization and subjugation of nature and women.

This is the reality that must be recognized and responded to as there is an integral connection and similarity between the nature and role of women and the nature of the world around us. Abdulah Ocalan taught that by liberating women we can also liberate nature. Jineoloji seeks an alternative to this pattern which also reflects the reality around us. The purpose of science is to serve the needs of society. However, science has instead served to destroy nature and undermine human society. The liberation of women is a reaction against sexism. By understanding the nature of women, we can also change the fixed roles that perpetuate sexism. So Jineoloji is also about liberating society from sexism. The paradigm of democratic confederalism bases itself on democracy, ecology, and the freedom of women. These are the three pillars of the democratic nation.

Democratic Confederalism attempts to develop methods that can realize these principles of jineoloji. Education is central to this project and its focus is teaching people how to think, as well as the treatment of politics as a process for how we organize our lives and that of society. Ethics and moral values are central to this approach to politics. The economy is also central to this transformative project. What kind of economy integrates these principles? Democratic confederalism aims at the creation of a social economy – not the replication of a capitalist industrial economy and the destruction of the environment.

In this way, ecology is intimately related to these questions. Ecology must now incorporate radical steps to protect nature, and this is extraordinarily difficult to do in a capitalist world. But to find solutions, we must first understand how the destruction and exploitation of nature started. If society is to survive, we must recover our respect for nature. Ecology and ideology must be in alignment.

Our life depends on it. Eleanora Gea Piccardi begins her comments by commemorating the assassination by Turkish forces of Nagihan Akarsel and other Kurdish women who have advocated for women’s rights. This violence reflects an ongoing and systematic assault against not only women but also the environment and the attempt to find alternatives to capitalism. Jineoloji is one significant response to the state’s capitalist and patriarchal assault on life. Jineoloji focuses our attention on Mesopotamia and the early rise of the state and hierarchical systems in this region. In ancient matriarchal societies, which also existed in the region, the logic of human society was not based on the dualistic forms that were later to rise with hierarchical systems.

The rise of hierarchy was the overturning of traditional life-affirming values to those of power, exploitation, and wealth accumulation. But jineoloji is not linear – nor is history. It is a spiral process, and we are returning to a recognition of forms that were present in matriarchal neolithic times. Jineoloji and the knowledge it reclaims turns our attention to this process and the reversal of the hierarchical and anti-ecological systems of power that are destroying the world.