From the beginning of the 1970s until now, a story of ressurection of almost half a century has been experienced in the form of a mythological narrative, and it keeps producing new pages in this legend of existence with new motifs and arts. From an invisible people emerges a democratic nation, morally and politically well constructed, which is considered to be the most historically authentic in nature.
As an alternative to all the evils of the world, patriarchal femicide, gerontocratic dictatorship, the situation of the environmental/climate disaster, a true nation of freedom emerges against fascist capitalism. In spite of being almost the last one catching the train of so-called civilisation, this nation performs with an unquestionable set of beliefs, as a movement based on women’s freedom by equalising gender identities. It operates a participatory and transparent local democracy, by which it can make real decisions through collective discussions. By rejecting all kinds of commodification and exploitation, it realizes a new model of social and productive economy.
After this short description, only one practice will come to the minds of many people who have just began to get to know the Kurdish people in recent years, the Rojava autonomous administration of the Syrian Kurds (known as the AANES), who won a glorious resistance war against ISIS and established a libertarian and democratic administration. It is very understandable that people have not known up to now, in the world of capitalist hegemony with its all organised apparatus of media and propaganda. And yet, in fact, especially in Turkey, in Iran and Iraq, where the Kurds have been colonised for at least a century, they are constantly in a state of incredible resistance against these brutal evil regimes and in a state of true being, a flux of existence, against all censorship and limitations. It is a tremendous social awakening revolution with its all sister nations and peoples.
Today marks the 27 November 2021; 43 years ago today, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, the actor of this “existential adventure” -with reference to the ontological philosophy of Martin Heidegger, inspired with his magnum opus “Time and Being”- held its first official congress and announced its foundation on 27 November 1978.
In fact, the first foundational steps were taken around 1971, before its official announcement. So, in fact, the legend of a half-century resurrection is celebrated as a living myth in all the cities and mountains of four parts of Kurdistan, despite increasing repression of Kurds by opressive regimes, not only in the Middle East, but also in Europe and Americas. Fires are lit, dances are held, and celebrations take place. Experiences of being a free nation, without postponing of free life/the utopia until after the war, and in a way of constantly resisting and fighting meanwhile, are brilliantly occuring and and performing its artistic being.
The question regarding the reality of PKK, which is really surprising considering its outcomes, is: How could a classic workers’ party, which was founded according to the modernist, left-wing yet authoritarian paradigm of the last century, evolve into such a national liberation movement that has now become the vanguard of a paradigm of universal liberation?
This question makes sense, since most of such parties have become weaker, marginalised and then liquidated following the collapse of the USSR, after 1989; with the historic fall of the Berlin Wall. The rest, on the other hand, have come to terms with the existing capitalist modernity states and integrated into the system. This reality is really quite striking and clear in the practices of parties such as the PLO-Philistinian Liberation Organisation, ANC-African National Congress, IRA-Irish Republican Army, ETA-The Basque, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, and finally, FARC- Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The magical answer is embedded in the Leadership reality of this movement. In the person of Abdullah Öcalan, there are clear and dedicated minds and souls who have completely been purified of the negative impacts of colonialisation in all of the details, and fully aware of the path they have started to walk, the legendary journey they have embarked upon with the movement.
They started with the youth and libertarian women’s stances, which have no dogma other than social liberation and their authentic existence, and whose only dream is freedom and revolution. They have emerged by challenging the icy realities of the most colonial nation as Kurds and the most colonial class as women in greater region of Kurdistan and the Middle East. The fact that the first congress of the movement was held by 21 people including 2 women, the youngest of whom is thirty years old, is alone enough proof for understanding of how they were admirably devoted and intellectually enligtened to an anti-colonial resistance.
Although the name of the PKK evokes in our minds one of the real socialist definiton of the last century, it is really quite much more than just a party. Frankly, since it always became in a dialectical relationship with the society it leads, with continuous education sessions, open meetings, conferences of self-criticism, as accepting these principals as the social pluralism, diversity, and transparency, the PKK emerges as a congress movement rather than a classic party organisation. Otherwise, it would not have escaped the fate of either being liquidated or integrated into the existing capitalist system, where all of its counterparts fell unfortunately.
This methodological principle of existence of the PKK Leadership constitutes the real secret of protecting it from enormous ideological and physical attacks from the Turkish nation-state, which is the executing power of central world hegemony in the greater region. First, the PKK managed to free itself from the circle of primitive nationalism and reformist Kurdish and Turkish nationalist leftists that surrounded it. This was its first existential victory. Immediately after, the 1980 military coup and its aftermath, as much as the horrific persecution of people and undurable tortures in prisons, PKK responded to this hegemonic oppression by expanding its presence with a modern guerrilla movement. It was the second step in this excellent path of long revolution.
And after the victory of liberalism, in the overthrow of the Berlin Wall, that is, the victory of absolute capitalism in the post-USSR era, which was heralded as “the end of history” to the world, the PKK in response, spread from the mountains and villages to the cities and towns, and mobilised Kurdistan and megacities entirely with magnificent uprisings. These were the years when their counterparts gave up their hopes in the face of the rhetoric of incredibly sophisticated capitalist propaganda machines, and surrendered intellectually and later organisationally to the existing oppresive systems.
However, the hegemonic world system, which entered the post-millennium era with great securitisation doctrines, declared all the movements having transformative revolutionary features as “terrorists”, leaving nothing to hinder its imperialist expansion. The Greater Orient and Latin America were suppossedly to be quickly invaded, colonised, and left to the exploitation of monopolies. The 9/11 New York attacks was the beginning of this period. The Turkish State was no longer, lonely and officially fighting the PKK-led Kurdish Freedom Movement. Yet the USA-led NATO was evidently coordinating this genocidal dirty war. The PKK’s designation as a terrorist organisaton by the USA in 1997, and the same labeling by the EU in 2001 gave the signs of the upcoming genocidal storms.
Undoubtedly, the biggest blow of this period was unfortunately the capture of Abdullah Öcalan by an international conspiracy led by the Turkish State. This date would be the turning point of either extinction or a second birth for the PKK. Of course, the manifestation of the spirit in the personality of Mr Ocalan once again played its part, bringing about the second great birth.
The black hole regions, or with the original names of peripheries of the central-world system, North Africa and the Middle East, raised a red flag for the unlimited and unscrupulous new capitalism launched since the 1990s. Although these peoples were leaderless and unorganised, they carried out a magnificent democratic and freedom uprising called the Arab Spring. Just in this historical period, when the spring had come to Syria, the PKK spirit declared a cantonal and communal revolution in the North of Syria. The realised utopia, which we know as Rojava, has become the practice of the new paradigm that Öcalan achieved with his second birth in the prison cell and under solitary confinement conditions.
As the year marks 2021, the definition of the PKK as a terrorist organisation has lost its legitimacy among the peoples and the majority of the world, including many bureaucracies and nation-state orders. Especially with the defeat of the USA in Afghanistan and the emergence of a military and political alliance with the Syrian Democratic Forces led by the YPG/YPJ, inspired by the PKK in Rojava, this situation has become impossible to sustain.
To end with a tiny glimer of hope for near future, it is still important to address that the USA finally decided to remove FARC from the list of terrorist organisations after its disarmament agreement dating back of five years ago. It is obvious for the PKK that this process will definitely come soon. As long as the Kurdish people, the peoples of the Middle East together with the oppressed all over the world continue to act for their hope of a free future and their international solidarity.