On Bookchin & the Kurds + New solidarity project




An excellent overview of the Kurdish movement and its influences from social ecology has just been posted on ROARMagazine.  Also the New Compass, based in Norway, has just posted a link to a new Kurdish solidarity project, based in Greece.

Here’s an excerpt from the ROAR article:

Photo by Uygar Önder Simsek, from
Photo by Uygar Önder Simsek, from

In his 2005 pamphlet, Declaration of Democratic Confederalism, Abdullah Öcalan formally and definitively broke with the PKK’s earlier aspirations of founding an independent Kurdish nation state. “The system of nation states,” he argues in the document, “has become a serious barrier to the development of society and democracy and freedom since the end of the 20th century.”

In Öcalan’s view, the only way out of the crisis in the Middle East is the establishment of a democratic confederal system “that will derive its strength directly from the people, and not from globalization based on nation states.” According to the imprisoned rebel leader, “neither the capitalist system nor the pressure of imperialist forces will lead to democracy; except to serve their own interests. The task is to assist in developing a grassroots-based democracy … which takes into consideration the religious, ethnic and class differences in society.”

… It is no coincidence that the idea of Democratic Confederalism, as developed by Öcalan, shows many parallels with [Murray] Bookchin’s ideas of social ecology. In the early 2000s Öcalan had begun to read Ecology of Freedom and Urbanization Without Cities while in prison and soon after declared himself a student of Bookchin’s. Through his lawyers, Öcalan attempted to set up a meeting with the radical thinker to figure out ways in which Bookchin’s ideas could be made applicable to the Middle Eastern context.

The author, Joris Leverink, an Istanbul-based freelance journalist and ROARMag editor, goes on to examine the Kurdish movement’s specific implementations of confederalism, dual power, and social ecology more broadly.  Well worth reading!