Stalinist caterpillar into libertarian butterfly ? – The evolving ideology of the PKK

The PKK’s thinking is strongly essentialist. Women and nature are often equated, and following this, “woman” is identified with motherhood. Women are assumed to have certain characteristics as women, such as empathy, an abhorrence of violence and a closeness to nature. These qualities need to be taught to men so that patriarchal society can be overcome. These ideas put a heavy burden on women. On the one hand, the traditional family is criticized as a space in which patriarchal attitudes oppress women and as an institution through which the Turkish state and feudal rulers dominate the Kurdish people. On the other hand, the family is seen as the cradle from which a new Kurdish society should be born since the family plays such an important role in socializing people, in “creating personalities”, and this is at the center of the PKK’s vision of liberation. Thus it is women, as mothers and educators, who are given a primary responsibility in deciding the outcome of the struggle. (…) One constant throughout the PKK’s evolution is the centrality of Serok Apo and his statements. When German activists went to North Kurdistan to “see for themselves” how democratic autonomy is implemented, they were repeatedly told that activists were “following instructions” of Öcalan, defenders of Kobani claim “the thought of Apo” was what enabled them to defeat of IS, his picture is prominently displayed on t-shirts and banners. PYD representatives describe their ideology as “the ideology of Öcalan”, Kurdish women’s activists say that they have learned everything they know about feminism from Öcalan. The continuation of ideological and political, if not anymore directly organizational, leadership by a single individual is at odds with the claims of self-emancipation of democratic autonomy. The PKK is an confounding case of a movement that supposedly has embraced a vision of “bottom-up democracy” on instructions “from above”.

Alex de Jong in Stalinist caterpillar into libertarian butterfly? – The evolving ideology of the PKK (Europe-soliraire)