What is Democratic Confederalism?

What is Democratic Confederalism?


Hello everybody and welcome to a new video. Today, we will go through a very special
ideology, the ideology of Democratic confederalism. This ideology is both simple and
complicated at the same time and in this video we’re going to break down everything for
you in the most simple way possible. If you are new here, be sure to check out
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the video: The year is 1992. The PKK has upon this time fought a war against
the Turkish state. At the time, the Turkish president Turgut
Özal, which partly was Kurd seemed to actually be willing to work for fixing the Kurdish
problem in Turkey. The first ever peace negotiations between
the PKK and the Turkish state was taken place in the beginning of the 90s. At this time, Öcalan got more and more comfortable
with the idea of a Kurdish authonomy within the Turkish state, not at least since the
newly formed KRG had achieved that in Iraqi-occupied Kurdistan. However, big parts of the Turkish state didn’t
like where things were heading, and in 1993, Turgut Özal was murdered by an unknown assassin
due to his will to solve the problem between Kurds and Turks. The negotiations between Turgut Özal and
Abdullah Öcalan became the first seeds of ideas formed by Abdullah Öcalan. However, due to Turkish military aggression,
the two parts fell into war again and in the year of 1999, the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan
was arrested by Turkish special forces after a long time of struggle against the Turkish
state. The capture of Öcalan was a disaster for
the kurds. The movement of PKK was totally built up around
Öcalan as it’s definitive leader and political figure. Many saw an organization which would eventually
fall apart. But the truth is that the PKK can’t be looked
at only by its amount of guerilla units, The PKK is a movement and a large one and in the
darkest times of the PKK during the late 1990s, thousands of gerillas had fled to the Qandil
mountains, a bunch were left in Turkish occupied Kurdistan and a massive amount was living
in Europe, America and other places”. Tens of thousands of people had died in the
PKK struggle and it was hard to imagine that the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan didn’t have
a plan for the years to come. He had. In his first 5 years of prison, Öcalan read a lot of books and would eventually come up
with a whole new ideology, inspired by several others. It was in 2005 as Abdullah Öcalan presented
his new political goal and ideology where he collected philosophical inspiration from
the old American communalist Murray Bookchin. Öcalans new political goal was to create
something he called Democratic Confederalism in Kurdistan and this by decentralizing the
state through local self-governments within the existing borders. Followers were told to organize themselves
and create councils, committees and parliaments, openly if possible but otherwise through underground
movements. PKK insisted, that this was totally necessary
to break the connection between the people and the state. Kurdish independence which PKK had fought
for all these years was hold on ice. But the big question was asked by many Kurds,
was Öcalan abandoning his thoughts of Kurdish independence or was this just a tactical move
to normalize his status in Turkish eyes, and further on go step after step just like the
Kurds of Iraqi-occupied Kurdistan had done? Officially though, the ideology of democratic
confederalism saw the national state as something outdated, still, the majority of PKK followers
still have their big dream of Kurdish independence and a dream of total freedom of the Kurdish
national state that they are fighting for. PKK started to spread the ideology through
several sister organizations in different Kurdish areas in Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish and
Iranian occupied Kurdistan. All these sister parties were controlled by
the higher front KCK, Kurdistans society union which was led by Bese Hozad and Cemil Bayik
in the mountains of Qandil. No other party had changed so drastically
as PKK had. Öcalan described his new political system
as a libertarian one, open to other political groups and factions which would decentralize
states through local autonomies. The ideology of democratic confederalism was
split in three main words that it would follow to achieve a higher goal. Flexibility, which points out that the society
under democratic confederalism never is firm but can be changed depending on which current
political surrounding the society is under. Multi culturalism which secures the political,
ethnical, cultural and religious rights of every human being in the society no matter
of which part of the society they belong to. And anti-monopolistic, simply meaning that
the state’s control of certain things should be removed. Now, how would the ideology work when used
in real life? In Rojava, the current ruling party of PYD
is using Öcalans democratic confederalism as a model for their society. In the beginning, the party of PYD faced some
local issues with Barzanis KDP which had created their own authority (ENKS) in Syria to organize
local parties there to be more Barzani-friendly. But these parties lacked the amount of resources
and a stabilizing leadership, while the PYD was locally and constantly present. In 2011, Salih Muslim, the formed leader of
the PYD said this in an interview: Salih Muslim talked about Öcalans ideology
being implemented into Rojava, The project was meant to revolutionize the kurdish society,
the PYD said. The goal was to achieve a free human being
in the society, a free will and a free thought. The country of Syria was under war and this
was a historical opportunity for the Kurds to take their chance and prepare for what
was coming next after the eventual fall of the Syrian regime. The announcement that PKK left the struggle
of independence choked many kurdish nationalists. And a split among kurdish supporters of Öcalan
was formed where one part stayed pro Öcalan and another anti-öcalan. In his first political texts, Öcalan mentioned
women as the founders of the agriculture many thousands of years ago, and that the arrival
of Sumerian priesthood was, according to Öcalan, the reason for the formation of the patriarchal
society. Through his political texts, women became
a big part of the new ideology of democratic confederalism – and even though cultural
problem still exists in Rojava, the ideology is making a big impact today on womens life
on the Kurdish society. Öcalan slammed several ideologies, not at
least capitalism which he pointed out America as its leader, but Öcalan also slammed socialism,
real socialism and other nationalistic freedom ideologies for failing to free themselves
from the capitalism. Murray Bookchin, which Öcalan had discoved
reading in his prison cell, inspired Öcalan, not at least through his rhetoric about two
different political idéas that was formed after the ancient civilization. The first one was the Hellenic model from
Greece with collective politics and active citizens while the other one was the centralistic
society, with passive citizens, coming from Rome. According to Öcalan, the centralistic society,
the later one, had made a huger success around the world than the first Hellenic one. Öcalan wanted to evolve the Hellenic one,
with collective politics and active citizens into a revolutionary one. Everything was, according to Öcalan, supposed
to interlink through confederalism, a sort of network connecting public councils and
delegates which have been voted in through directly democratic elections, through the
people. The movement of PKK didn’t fully understand
this ideology at first, but was faithful to its leader. In 2005, the ideology was officially presented
as the official ideology of the PKK. However, PKKs demand was not the fall of Turkey,
Syria, Iraq or Iran, but only the weakening of the state, with only a outer and inner
defence, and a social and local safety protection, which the Kurds would handle themselves. When Rojavas autonomy was declared in January
2014, a social contract, very much alike a constitution was formed. This contract made it clear that all power
lies among the people and that the power would be used by politicians choosen by general
elections. The YPG was declared the only military force
of the Rojava society. A electoral authority and a constitution court
was formed alongside other typical institutions which guaranteed human rights in the Rojava
society. The goal was to achieve a society free from
authoritative, military and centralizational impacts from the higher state. A society where religion and state were clearly
separated. The goal was immediately worked on; three
official cantons was formed, Afrin, Kobane and Jazira, where each one got their own government,
parliament and in addition 22 ministers were appointed to each one of the cantons to work
in different questions. Every canton also pointed out representatives
for a higher political gathering in all Rojava. In the end of 2011, PYD was given a choice. Either to join Barzani-authority of ENKS or
to go their own way. They chose the later way. Instead of ENKS, The PYD formed Western Kurdistans
own authority and except of the PYD party itself, 5 other important organizations were
presented. These were: The movement for a democratic society – Tev-Dem The women organization Yekitiya Star The Kurdish institution of language, SZK The revolutionary youth organization, TCS And the institution for marthyrs families,
SMS Each one of these groups had their important
role in the democratic confederalism ideology. Tev-Dem would coordinate the work to spread
the ideology of democratic confederalism. Yekitiya Star would fight for the rights of
the Kurdish women. SZK, had the responsibility to keep and spread
the Kurdish language. Through TCS, a new generation of revolutionaries
would be formed. And lastly the SMS, who would make sure that
everyone that fell in this battle would be honored and remembered. All five of this group went underground and
as Assads troops left Rojava, they all were very fast on filling the vacuum that was created. The democratic confederalims of Öcalan is
praised by many Kurds but critizized by others. Nobody knows what öcalans real intention
with the ideology is, nothing about this can be surely spoken about, but one thing we all
can agree on, you need to subscribe to this channel. And if you liked this video, don’t forget
to click the like button and comment your opinion down below, I really want to read
your personal thoughts of this ideology and of the whole situation in Rojava.

7 Comments on "What is Democratic Confederalism?"


  1. It may work temporarily, but it is inevitable that one day there will be a free united Kurdistan.

    Reply

  2. "YPG was declared the only military force of the Rojava society" But many arms group operation in Rojava for example – Syriac Military Council , Tikko.. Please any one explain how this arms groups organist them-self ?

    Reply

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