For a Kurdistan free from money, patriarchy and unsustainability
Socialism, Gender Equality and Social Ecology in the Mountains of Kurdistan
by Giran Ozcan
The name of the system: KCK
KCK – The Union of Communities in Kurdistan – is the name given to this social system. The name of the system – and the preparation of its theoretical framework – was set forth by the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan from within his prison cell in Imrali Island, Turkey; although both Ocalan and the PKK are never too slow in acknowledging Murray Bookchin‘s invaluable and indispensable contributions. The KCK is the state/hierarchy/exploitation-free Democratic Confederalist umbrella organisation of free Kurdistan.
The inconceivability of money
The concept of money is internally redundant within the KCK system implemented in the mountains of Kurdistan. The economic needs of the inhabitants of the KCK system are internally supplied through a communal management of resources. Although money is utilised in economic dealings with external systems, internally the concept of money is inconceivable.
No person or community within the KCK system feels the need to build a surplus of goods or resources. Surpluses are constantly redistributed, therefore, viably consumed. Reminiscent of pre-hierarchical and pre-exploitative societies, the KCK system adopts a culture of gifting, rather than a culture of exchange. The communal organisation of agriculture ensures a self-sufficient production and consumption of resources, therefore, deeming surplus, exchange value and the commodification of goods irrelevant.
An attempt at the emancipation of women
The PKK’s and its leadership’s attempt at the emancipation of women began with the “extermination of manhood”. This was an active attack against the patriarchal system’s injection of a false manhood into its male subjects. This injected false manhood would ensure that while every biological cell of the male was being exploited and oppressed by the global capitalist system, he in turn would not refrain from exploiting his mum, sister, daughter and wife.
This approach derived from Abdullah Ocalan’s theoretical inquisitions which would subsequently lead him to state that “women are the first colonies” and that the first exploitation was not that of the working class, but that of women. This is why gender equality in the mountains of Kurdistan is achieved through the parallel efforts of the empowering of women and the purification of men from the patriarchal illnesses of hierarchical society.
The practical reflections of this approach are the equal representation of women in all administrative positions through a co-presidential system and the ideologically, politically, socially and militarily autonomous organisation of women under the umbrella organisation: KJB (the Supreme Women’s Union).
The ecological organisation of society
Communities in free Kurdistan are organised in a way that are not a threat to the environment. Renewable energy sources are preferred where possible; however, energy sources such as water and gas are symbiotically consumed so that both society and the environment are sustained. Vegetarianism is promoted, hunting is completely banned as is the cutting of forests (only deadwood is permitted for burning).
Some say that the PKK “no longer demands a nation-state for the Kurds”. This is true. However, what is not true is the reason given for this paradigm shift.
While many believe that the PKK has redressed its demands to a more moderate level; many in the PKK would argue that a Kurdish “nation-state” would be a way more moderate and seemingly feasible ambition than the construction of a socialist, ecologist and gender liberationist Kurdistan.
The developments in Rojava Kurdistan (Northern Syria) show that the philosophy of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, rather than a moderation of demands, is, on the contrary, a raising of the bar.
This is why Rojava Kurdistan is not only fighting to protect its societal system from the attacks of extremist gangs, but also from the attacks of the representatives of the global capitalist system, namely the KDP, the Turkish government, the Assad regime and the deafening silence of the West!
The PKK led Kurdistan Freedom Movement is no longer demanding for a Kurdish nation-state that will only re-produce exploitation, hierarchical structures and gender inequalities; rather, it is demanding for an alternative system of societal organisation in which the Kurdish question is solved in parallel to the question of exploitation, gender emancipation and human liberation. Its proposal to this end is the KCK.