Medya News shares the translation of an excerpt from an article authored by Abdullah Öcalan in his book, “The Crisis of Civilisation in the Middle East and the Solution of Democratic Civilisation”, originally published in Yeni Özgür Politika.
Without social morality there is no possibility of changing or governing society by means of law, politics, art and economics alone. Morality should be perceived as a form of existence in itself. I am not talking about morality in its narrow traditional sense; I define it as the conscience, the heart of a society, which makes it function. A society which has lost its inner conscience is a society that is no longer a society. It makes sense that capitalism is a system that harms morality most deeply. (…) The fact that the system of exploitation and oppression consumes all its own potential makes it easy to understand why morality is systematically destroyed. This being the case, the struggle against capitalism requires an ethical effort, a self-conscious morality. Without that, the struggle is already a lost cause.
It is easy to describe morality as a concept. The evaluations of Plato, Aristotle and Kant have not added much to the concept other than providing an introduction to the theory of state. Or rather, these texts are like the preliminaries to prepare the individual for membership of a state, membership of society. It is obvious that they offer the approach that the duty of morality is to best utilise the individual for the benefit of the state. Their ethical interpretations are pro-civilisation.
Morality can be defined as the best way to achieving economy, or more precisely, the basic necessities of life. Morality as morals and method is the modus of achievement of the economy or of the basic necessities. Therefore the distinctions of substructures and superstructures are far from being explanatory. Morality, starting with economical efforts, represents the means by which all social activities are realised in a good way. Therefore, anything social is moral and anything moral is social. (…)
Morality and democracy have the same source.
The modality of the best performance of a certain act sticks in the mind as the best moral code. This results in creating a strong tradition carved in the collective memory, which means that morality is now formed. This is the meaning of morals, tradition. The most important point here is that as much as morality is an act of the intellect, it is also an act of society. It requires both the effort of individual intellect and the collective action of society.
This being the case, the identical nature of original democracy and morality is obvious. Since society keeps running daily businesses, such businesses become a matter of discussion within society. It is an indispensable necessity of life to discuss how a business can be handled or governed better. It is clear that both cases, that is, both discussion and decision, and governing and ensuring that a task is successfully completed, are the most direct way to democracy (what they call a participatory, direct democracy). And this also means the moral governance, the moral way of life for a society. This implies that morality and democracy have the same source, which is the capacity of social practice to handle business with a collective intellect.
When we look at the process of civilisation the first thing we observe is that there are attempts to ensure that the norms of the state dominate in place of morality. In the Sumerian society, the first pillar of the Hammurabi listing the rules of law explains this situation well. Some may remark that laws become necessary when morality falls short, but such an approach is a fallacy. The issue is not that morality falls short, but that moral society is abraded.
More precisely, morality is harmed by the force of the state limiting its playground. The functioning zone of morality (and of direct democracy) will continue to be limited in future civilised societies. The fact that in antiquity it was the Romans who created the system most strongly based on the rule of law is evidence of this reality. In European civilisation society will be virtually invaded by laws. (…) When morality is squeezed into the most deserted corner, law will be welcomed as the guest of honour.
The role of the ideological hegemony of liberalism cannot be denied in the formation and shaping of the contemporary approach to morality. Is there anyone who is unaware that the laws which compensate for morality are filled with the most unconscionable, most unreasonable rules? (…) The more rules of law that are applied in an institution, anywhere, the more oppression there is. (…) It is well-known that law is described as being based on “force”, but in morality, nothing is done forcibly. A rule that cannot be internalised cannot be called a moral rule.
We see Zoroastrianism as an exceptional doctrine and Zoroaster as an exceptional personality with reference to the relationship of morality and religion. Zoroaster and the doctrine he was committed to has been described by many studies as a great moral revolution. “Tell me, who are you?” asks Zoroaster, and questions the mythological and religious divinity of the Sumerian civilisation. It was not for nothing that Nietzsche wrote “Thus Spoke Zoroaster” and filled it with Zoroastrian moral judgments.
As long as morality remained as morality, it did not surrender to the forces of civilisation. Contrary to the religion and the laws of civilisation that were imposed on it, Demos [the people] has always insisted on morality.