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donderdag 12 juli 2018

Anarchic all over the world - Part 1 - 12.07.2018

Today's Topics:


1.  Britain, London Anarchist Communists Group ACG: Rebel City
      and the Threat To Public Space (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca)

2.  Britain, Class War: JOE STRUMMER (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca)

 3.  Britain, Glasgow Events Autonomy Update 6th July 2018

4.  Greece, liberta Initiative of Thessaloniki: Prosecution
      against NATO, nationalisms and wars (gr) [machine translation]

      Amazon IP Newspaper [machine translation] (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca)

6.  anarkismo.net: Ecology in Democratic Confederalism by Ercan
      Ayboga (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca)


Message: 1

ACG members of the Rebel City Collective got first-hand confirmation of why we need to 
make London the ‘Rebel City' whilst distributing the paper outside Shepherd's Bush 
underground station. We met at 5 outside the station entrance and began to hand out 
papers. We had the usual competition of the Evening Standard. It wasn't long before we 
were approached by a security guard from Westfield Shopping Mall. We were some distance 
from the entrance to the mall but for some reason the space outside the underground 
entrance is Westfield's private property. We had not got permission from the owner to 
distribute our paper. The security guard was pleasant enough but nevertheless was 
concerned to ‘do his job'. By coincidence comrades from the Angry Workers were also there 
distributing leaflets for the anti-fascist mobilisation on the 14th.
We argued and then moved to the other side of the station which was public. However, we 
were missing quite a lot of people coming in from the other direction. One of our group 
decided to move just into the entrance of the underground but was soon moved on by a very 
hostile London Underground manager. She decided to try once again onto the forecourt area 
owned by Westfield. Again the security guard tried to move her on but this time she 
decided not to. We have written often enough in the pages of Rebel Cityabout the 
privatisation of public space and how difficult it is to take any public political action, 
even something as unthreatening as distributing a political paper or leaflet.
Supported by a member of the Angry Workers she continued to hold her ground until four 
more security guards arrived as well as a ‘dog handler' who we assumed was the police. 
They were surrounded and the ‘police' aggressively ‘laid down the law' about the sanctity 
of private property. All of this was being filmed by a small camera on the shoulder of the 
‘dog handler'.
We moved on eventually but it seems that we shouldn't be moved on from open places that 
are so clearly public but taken over by private companies. We need to reclaim these spaces!



Message: 2

The CIA blasted NORIEGA out by playing I FOUGHT THE LAW by THE CLASH repeatedly.
Now TRUMP is staying overnight on July 12th at the US ambassador's house - we aim to keep 
him awake all night by blasting out....yu guessed it....and LONDON CALLING


Message: 3

Hi everyone. Here's what's coming up in Glasgow over the next couple of weeks, as well as 
a couple of things a bit further afield. As always, let us know about any events or 
actions coming up by emailing us at glasgow af ---- 1. Sma Shot Day: IWW stall & parade - 
Saturday 7th July ---- 2. LGBT Unity Fundraiser - Saturday 7th July ---- 3. Protest 
Trump's Visit (Glasgow) - Friday 13th July ---- 4. Scotland United Against Trump: National 
Demonstration - Saturday 14th July ---- 5. Nelson Mandela International Day - Wednesday 
18th July ---- 6. Critical Pedagogy: An Evening with Antonia Darder - Thursday 19th July 
---- 7. Edinburgh Anarchist Feminist Bookfair - Saturday 21st July ---- 8. Roast the Fash 
- counter-protest to Scottish Defence League "Free Speech Rally" - Saturday 21st July


Message: 4

A NATO Summit takes place in Brussels on 11 and 12 July 2018. At the same time, the 
American (and not only) war machine attempts on the front of Syria, where it collides with 
Russian interests, while the US state is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear program, which 
paves the way for a new generalized war collision. ---- At the moment, global capitalism 
is experiencing another structural crisis of over-accumulation, which emerges clearly from 
its inherent internal contradictions. A fundamental feature of capitalism is the 
accumulation of profit through the exploitation of human labor and nature. Expansion and 
reproduction of capital is a necessary condition for the perpetuation of capitalism. 
States as well as capital are expansive, with each one wanting to expand its radius of 
power and influence. In order to survive in market competition, capital needs to spread 
and find international investment paths. The most direct way to achieve this is war.

As the weather passes and the rivalries between states - and especially the major powers - 
are becoming more and more intense, the possibility of a war of enlarged dimensions is 
quite large. After all, a war of local dimensions is being carried out, and even close to 
us - we see the bombing of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and the Assad regime 
in Syria every day. The big wage of the war is the control of rich energy sources mainly 
in the Middle East and the wider eastern Mediterranean. The "big players" on the energy 
control board are the states that are high on the pyramid of the imperialist hierarchy 
like the US and Russia. Of course, regional imperialist powers (Israel, Turkey, Iran, the 
powerful EU countries) play a minor but important role in this game, but having managed to 
gain relatively high negotiating power in the face of superpowers. Greece wishing to prove 
that it is a "pillar of stability and peace" in the Eastern Mediterranean invested in 
making international alliances in the US. However, the chances of engaging the Greek state 
in a war with the Turkish are well founded. In recent months, we have witnessed 
competition between the two countries for the prevalence of each other on energy sources 
in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Marine plots, EEZs, airspace, coconuts, and 
so on are just a few of the reasons for a conflict and, by extension, a national war. But 
for us, this kind of war means something very specific: it means war for the interests of 
our bosses. Greece wishing to prove that it is a "pillar of stability and peace" in the 
Eastern Mediterranean invested in making international alliances in the US. However, the 
chances of engaging the Greek state in a war with the Turkish are well founded. In recent 
months, we have witnessed competition between the two countries for the prevalence of each 
other on energy sources in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Marine plots, EEZs, 
airspace, coconuts, and so on are just a few of the reasons for a conflict and, by 
extension, a national war. But for us, this kind of war means something very specific: it 
means war for the interests of our bosses. Greece wishing to prove that it is a "pillar of 
stability and peace" in the Eastern Mediterranean invested in making international 
alliances in the US. However, the chances of engaging the Greek state in a war with the 
Turkish are well founded. In recent months, we have witnessed competition between the two 
countries for the prevalence of each other on energy sources in the Aegean and the Eastern 
Mediterranean. Marine plots, EEZs, airspace, coconuts, and so on are just a few of the 
reasons for a conflict and, by extension, a national war. But for us, this kind of war 
means something very specific: it means war for the interests of our bosses. In recent 
months, we have witnessed competition between the two countries for the prevalence of each 
other on energy sources in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Marine plots, EEZs, 
airspace, coconuts, and so on are just a few of the reasons for a conflict and, by 
extension, a national war. But for us, this kind of war means something very specific: it 
means war for the interests of our bosses. In recent months, we have witnessed competition 
between the two countries for the prevalence of each other on energy sources in the Aegean 
and the Eastern Mediterranean. Marine plots, EEZs, airspace, coconuts, and so on are just 
a few of the reasons for a conflict and, by extension, a national war. But for us, this 
kind of war means something very specific: it means war for the interests of our bosses.

At a time when war plans are dwindling and are slowly approaching the "West" itself (eg 
Ukraine), all oppressed and exploited are those who are destined to become northerners in 
the canons of the sovereigns. War is a passage to capital so that it can emerge from the 
structural crisis of over-accumulation that capitalism itself gave birth, destroying 
stable and variable capital - through production and workers - creating new markets with 
business opportunities of excessive profitability, so that capitalists can exploit raw 
materials and workers in utterly derogatory and degrading terms so that capital can be 
reconstructed and developed after a long period of destruction, staring on the corpses of 
the international proletariat.

As anarchists we will not fight for the bosses. We are not going to turn arms barrels to 
our class brothers, from which they are only separated us artificially from top border 
lines, nations and religions, in order to reinforce the disorientation of the underpowered 
political oppression and economic exploitation that exist and divide themselves among 
themselves rather than the community of their material interests. The only war we are 
involved in is the endless social and class war,

To express this, their explicit refusal to fight for the interests of their bosses and 
their explicit aversion to the idea of picking up a weapon against any oppressed, any 
nationality, many comrades all over Greece and all over the world have decide to follow 
the path of total refusal to serve (not serving in the army in any "alternative way"). 
This decision bothers every state mechanism around the world as it challenges the basis on 
which its own existence rests: the "people" rallying around a national idea - always to 
cover up the class exploitation. Against this ideology that all he does is serve the 
interests of capital, we answer that there are no Greeks or foreigners. There are only 





the day of the NATO summit in Brussels WEDNESDAY 11 JULY, 18:30, VELIZELOS AGALMA

Eleftherial Initiative of Thessaloniki - member of the Anarchist Federation 
lib_thess@hotmail.com http://www.libertasalonica.wordpress.com


Message: 5

The sixth number of the company's newspaper "Voice of Amazon crew" published by IP at 
Amazon Fulfillment Poland has been published, with a circulation of 10,000. Distribution 
of the newspaper will start on July 10, 2018 in the canteen and in front of the entrance 
to warehouses located in Bielany Wroclawskie (WRO1 and WRO2). ---- On July 11, employees 
in Sosnowiec (KTW1) will be able to receive the newspaper, on 17 July in Sady near Poznan 
(POZ1), and in the following week in Kolbaskowo (SSZ1). Below you can download a free PDF. 
---- The newspaper is created by employees for employees. In the current issue you can 
find: ---- - the position of the Employee Initiative on the upcoming salary review ---- - 
a report on court cases won ---- - an interview with a shipment worker on the recent 
revolt of wheelchair operators in POZ1

- opposition to the limitation of personal protective equipment

- relationship position regarding the break time and exceeding the standards for energy 

- a report from a demonstration in Berlin during the visit of Jeff Bezos

- incentive to participate in the international campaign "Safe Package"

- a letter of solidarity from Amazon employees from the USA and an invitation to the next 
international meeting on 26-28 September in Germany

- a report from the last All-hands or meetings between the management and the crew

- legal advice: accidents at work

- article on the equivalent of clothing and laundry

- humorous poem to the dismissed employee

- list of representatives and representatives of the Workers' Initiative in POZ and WRO

- membership declaration, information on contributions and presentation of the IP 
committee profile



Message: 6

Ecology is one of the three pillars of the paradigm of Democratic Confederalism, the 
political-theoretical concept of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Besides democracy and 
gender liberation, ecology has been mentioned explicitly as a dimension in this concept 
since 2005. However to date, ecology is less discussed and practiced than the two other 
pillars. ---- Ecological destruction and exploitation in Kurdistan ---- With the 
widespread introduction of capitalism to Kurdistan in the 1950s came a systemic and 
destructive exploitation of nature. The four colonialist states -Turkey, Iran, Iraq and 
Syria - started to plan large energy, mining, agriculture, infrastructure and other 
investment projects whose implementation led to exceedingly grave ecological destruction 
and exploitation[1]. This is caused, amongst other factors, by the capitalist economic 
model, respectively low ecological and social standards in the implementation of the many 
projects as well as by the simple fact that Kurdistan has the de facto status of a 
quartered colony. While keeping the colonial status, the hegemonial states introduced step 
by step, using economic as well as military measures, capitalist relations into the 
societies of Kurdistan. In the 1970s the construction of numerous large projects - 
particularly dams, oil-drilling and mining - had been realized through the exercise of the 
hegemonic power of the highly centralized states in the four parts of Kurdistan under the 
pretext of progress. After the first preparation work in the 1960s, agriculture started to 
be industrialized in the 1970s, particularly in West Kurdistan (Rojava) and North 
Kurdistan (Bakur), later in South (Basur) and East Kurdistan (Rojhilat).

One result of these policies was that communal and solidarity-based relations became 
weaker in the society of Kurdistan. The infrastructure projects and investments were 
designed and implemented with absolutely no consultation of the local population and 
through an authoritarian approach, were in the interest of the colonialist states and the 
colonialist and collaborative Kurdish upper classes and aimed a profit maximization 
through capitalist modernization, oppression and a deepening assimilation. While this 
development was still slow in the 1950s and 1960s, it took on a accelerating character in 
the 1970s. As a result of the implementation of large infrastructure projects in rural 
areas and the consequent displacement of hundreds of thousands; the industrialization of 
agriculture; the continuous economically-driven migration of rural people; rapid 
urbanization; industrialisation; and the colonialist wars against the population as from 
the 1980s; society has lost for a big part its characteristics of solidarity and 
communality. The main characteristics of the pre-capitalist societies were communalist 
approach and solidarity on decision-making, economy, sociality, culture and others issues, 
but different intensity of feudal and conservative forms were also present. Since the 
1990s, the number of implemented large projects, as well as the livelihoods of people and 
economic relations, experienced grave changes. The surviving elements of the subsistence 
economy and local circles of economy were marginalised and Kurdistan became fully part of 
the "national market" of each state and entered the neoliberal global market.

The former times were certainly full of hierarchy, patriarchy and discrimination, but the 
transition to capitalism was a brutal break in the social and historical development and 
in a certain way it has even deepened societal sexism and patriarchy. To understand what 
has been diminished in these decades, the following approaches and characteristics of 
communalism and solidarity were eroded between the 1950s and 1990s. Typically:

Although usually not inclusive concerning sex and age, many villages had in practice a 
kind of assembly of mostly older men and sometimes of some older women which gathered if 
necessary and took decisions.
Solidarity on economical issues was common. For example, when a family or a household 
wanted to build a new house, the whole (or most) of the village joined the construction 
for at least several days which were crucial to building work proceeding significantly.
It was usual that the animals of all households have been grazed together in appropriate 
locations. This was managed in turn by all households.
When a household had a bad year of harvest, the others in the village supported the 
affected family by supplying them with the basic foods.
When a household lacked yeast for cooking bread or milk, the neighbors shared it without 
hesitation or any discussion. In the following days the supported household put the same 
amount in the front of the house whose family gave the support.
When a household had a a large harvest of a certain product (like walnut), it was often 
the practice to share some of the surplus with others in and around the village.
Solidarity on social affairs was also common. For example, when one or two parents of a 
family died or were forced to migrate in search of work, then the others in the village 
took care of the children who could not support themselves.
There was cultural solidarity. In the evenings often people gathered in one of the houses 
and shared stories, myths, poems and songs among each other.
Kurdistan belongs worldwide to the countries where until recently capitalist 
modernity[2]was weak and solidarity and communal structures in the societies were still 
existing in a significant way. Today the older generations of Kurdistan remember quite 
well how life was until the 1960s or 1970s.

There is no objective to romanticize the life several decades ago, but nevertheless there 
was a significant solidarity and sharing in the society and not everything was valued 
monetarily; life and commodification[3]was not materialized as it is the case today.

Start of discussion on ecology

After two decades of freedom struggle in North Kurdistan, in the 1990s the Kurdish Freedom 
Movement (KFM) started to discuss the ecological question on a Kurdish and global level. 
The discussion took place against the background of the systematic destruction in Bakur 
through the Turkish State's war on Kurds; more than 2,5 million displaced people were 
confronted in a brutal way with the urban and capitalistic life while Turkish state forces 
destroyed up to 4000 villages and torched huge forested areas in Bakur. The majority of 
the displaced people had been living before in a mainly subsistence economy with regional 
product circulation and limited ecological damage. Particularly between 1992 and 1995 
large areas were depopulated and many cities in Bakur often doubled their population 
without being prepared in any way and without support from the Turkish government or others.

In the 1990s especially the political leader Abdullah Öcalan of the Kurdish Freedom 
Movement (KFM) questioned the emergence of neoliberal capitalism, with new analyses in 
general and notably in relation to neoliberalism's impacts on nature. Particularly the 
concept of growth, and the increasing disconnection of profit from production has been 
criticized in Öcalan's writings and speeches. In this sense, he is speaking against the 
growing number of large investment projects because of the huge and irreparable 
destruction of nature they cause. Here he included also the climate change which, among 
others, he considered as an acceleration of ecological destruction by capitalism. To 
destroy nature for the interest of central governments and profit of companies means 
usually to destroy the basis of life of millions. The massive ecological destruction 
affects seriously human life. Often large projects displace a large number of people 
and/or exploit the land and surrounding areas which they are forced to leave. Öcalan also 
discussed the disconnection of people to nature and what kind of impacts this could have 
on people's minds and the relation of people to each other. In a fundamental way the 
alienation of people has been put in relation to the disconnection of people from nature. 
At this point Öcalan connects the discussion on ecology with institutionalized hierarchy 
which has its roots in patriarchy.

But ecology had not found a place at the core of the ongoing discussions in the 1990s. It 
was new, not yet theoretically strongly developed and in the shadow of the ongoing brutal 
war of the Turkish state. The central theoretical discussion at that time focused on 
highly important topic of women´s liberation. At that time, it was most urgent for the 
Kurds to discuss the liberation of women as it was the main tool for overcoming 
conservative and hierarchical structures in society. However an important part of the 
revolutionaries and political activists within the KFM took note of the discussion on 
ecology of the 1990s. It influenced in the following years the minds of thousands of 
politically engaged and interested people. Öcalan's discussion showed a strategic approach 
as it was a discussion which was ahead of the times in comparison with all other 
left(ist)-democratic groups and movements in Kurdistan and Turkey. Öcalan was rather at 
the same level with some global discussions and movements which had started to discuss the 
ecological contradiction.

Municipalities in Bakur - Challenge to develop an ecological practice

Shortly after Öcalan has been kidnapped through an international plot under the 
coordination of the USA and delivered to the Turkish state in 1999, the armed struggle of 
the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) stopped, and a new and broad discussion on means and 
perspectives of the freedom struggle started while giving priority to the political-civil 
struggle. The aim to set up a "Kurdish state" has been given up finally. In the same year 
in the local elections several important municipalities had been won by HADEP, the 
People's Democracy Party, the legal party of the KFM at that time. The gained 
municipalities - among them Amed (Diyarbakir), Batman and Wan (Van) - became essential 
elements of the freedom struggle of the Kurds. This coincided with decreasing repressive 
conditions mainly because of the stop of the armed struggle. This facilitated the space 
for the municipalities, HADEP and other organizations of the KFM to spread their own 
political ideas and to get better in contact with new and not politically organized parts 
of the society. What has been claimed for years, namely that the KFM has better and much 
more democratic concepts, could be implemented at local level through municipalities and 
other political organizations. But at the same time the dynamic created by the armed 
struggle did not exist anymore. A shift in the way of thinking and acting became necessary.

Between 1999 and 2004 HADEP administered 37 municipalities and has been challenged to 
prove to the population that it is capable to govern better and more socially-responsibly 
than all other authoritarian and corrupted political parties of the hegemonic system. 
After taking over of the municipalities the state repression never ceased, but it was much 
less than in the 1990s. Rather the State's approach was to give some space, but to bring 
the HADEP (replaced in 2002 by DEHAP, 2004 DTP, 2009 BDP and 2014 HDP/DBP) municipalities 
with certain imposed policies, including challenging frameworks like neoliberalism and 
administrative centralism, to a point where they would fail, thus loose the following 
local elections and finally lose their attractivity.

The HADEP municipalities, and in broader terms the Kurdish Freedom Movement, have the 
declared political goal of creating a democratic-ecological society with the year 2000. It 
was expressed publicly that the approach to the nature would be respectful; natural sites 
would be conserved and developed within the cities and their surroundings would be more 
clean and green; and the investments projects would not be implemented at the expense of 
nature. The practice had to be significantly different from municipalities ruled by other 
parties which in Kurdistan did not care in any way for ecological life.

These first years were the time when thousands of political activists and other 
politically-interested people in Kurdistan and Turkey started to read articles and books 
on ecology and particularly social ecology, including Murray Bookchin. This brought 
forward the discussion how an ecological life should be developed and what that could mean 
in long-term and short-term politics. It affected also some employees and politicians in 
the municipalities. This was important as the difference can be observed sometimes in the 
details. It should be considered that in the whole state of Turkey the discussions on a 
more ecological or "sustainable" country were quite new, and political campaigns against 
destructive and exploitative developments and projects were rarely carried out. But it was 
also the time when in several regions struggles against large investment projects came up. 
In Bakur two struggles became widely known. One was against the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris 
which is planned to flood a large part of the Tigris Valley and the ancient town of 
Hasankeyf. Another one was against several dams on the Munzur River in Dersim where live 
mainly people of Alevi believe. Both struggles gained big support amongst the Kurds. The 
Kurdish society started to discuss for the first time issues of rivers, dams, energy, 
cultural and natural heritage and development in relation to each other on a broader scale 
that contributed to an increase of a critical awareness on these issues.

However, in fact the gained municipalities in their first period (until 2004) showed a 
practice which was by far better than the others from an ecological point of view. The 
cities became cleaner and healthier with improvement of the waste system, also in the 
poorest neighborhoods which had been neglected for decades. The drinking water supply and 
sewage management was improved significantly in several cities within few years. The green 
area per person increased too. The sites of cultural heritage got more attention and 
accessibility for the public. More public spaces like squares or market places had been 
build up. The public transport had been developed to all settled areas and for a 
comparatively low price. Some designed large projects with problematic social and 
ecological impacts had been canceled or changed by the municipalities or not followed up. 
The life conditions in the poor quarters had been improved also by paving the streets, 
building social infrastructure like social centers or washing centers for clothes and the 
neglection of unpaid water bills. Efforts to include civil society groups in the 
decision-making process on many projects and even city planning became day to day reality. 
We can state that in the very beginning there were many urgent works in the field of basic 
services that had to be undertaken. The living quality in most cities was under a big 
threat - a stress that was exacerbated by the situation of those displaced by conflict in 
the 1990s.

Although these positive developments occurred, there was lack of an overall consensus as 
to how to develop a further and future ecological policy and the bigger ecological context 
could not be explained well. Almost all mayors and policy decision makers of the 
municipalities and other structures of the KFM did not consider the ecological perspective 
as one of the main strategic approaches and it remained often secondary if other aspects 
prevailed. The ecological consciousness of such people stayed limited with the pragmatism 
of parliamentarism. This was not very surprising as the general political movement stayed 
weak in the field of ecology and the discussion was quite new for the movement in general 
and particularly for the broader society. There were no strong actors within society who 
claimed a stronger ecological policy by the municipalities. In these years the 
fore-mentioned ecologist movements against dam projects concentrated their efforts on the 
dam projects; and the new "environmental" associations and civil organizations that were 
emerging in the cities, including organisations of engineers, architects, lawyers and 
medical doctors, did not yet demand strongly enough ecological criteria to be included in 
urban development.

There were two other aspects of relevance. The first is that the society was only just 
emerging from an extended period of intensive systematic state terror and was still in a 
phase of basic recovery. The political focus of the KFM was mainly on the human right 
violations of the 1990s and the demand for Kurdish identity in Bakur to be accepted with 
basic autonomous rights within the Republic of Turkey. The second is that capitalism in 
Kurdistan became very strong after the crisis of 2001. In 2003-2004, the official economic 
growth rate achieved up to ten percent, the money in the economy accumulated significantly 
and everywhere new and larger investments were done. Many more people started to earn big 
amounts of money through trade and investments. This created an intense pressure also on 
the cities in Bakur and approaches to open space for private investors affected almost all 
municipalities which suffered from structural financial low income. These were the years 
when neoliberalism entered Bakur.

In Bakur and also in Basur (with the US occupation in 2003) and Rojhilat, the development 
of extractive industries (mining, oil and gas) became very dramatic in these years. 
Investment projects in all fields had become widespread. In this sense the rural areas had 
been confronted with the following projects: all rivers should be transformed by hundreds 
of dams into artificial lakes or dried out by diversion dams; thousands of licenses had 
been commissioned to companies for test mine drilling; all main roads started to be 
broadened; mega coal plants had been constructed in several provinces; one of the world´s 
largest cement factory had been constructed; Bakur had become a hot spot for fracking; and 
finally the whole agricultural land - even the mountainous areas - faced fast change 
according to capitalistic market rules. The state planners started to consider each square 
meter in terms of financially exploitable land and prepared or approved thousands of 
projects. The AKP government under Erdogan attracted with such policies the interest of 
global capital. Only the cities administered by the KFM resisted for a big part this 
development. That is why the government could not implement the most planned policies in 
half of the cities of Bakur.

In a period when the society of Bakur started to develop quickly an ecological awareness, 
the neoliberalized capitalism started to make the largest historical ecological (and thus 
social) destruction and exploitation in Bakur. The destruction of nature and overcoming of 
most of remaining social-traditional elements in the society was much more intensive than 
during the war of the 1990s. Only the mountainous areas with difficult access for humans 
could recover after 2000.

Ecology within Democratic Confederalism: the theoretical concept

On Newroz 2005, Abdullah Öcalan declared "Democratic Confederalism" as the new 
political-theoretical concept of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Thereby the writings and 
discussions of the prior years and the whole experience of 30 years of struggle could be 
summarized and put into relation to each other in a systematic way. Without doubt 
Democratic Confederalism cannot be considered disconnected from the discussions and 
critics after the collapse of the "state/real socialism" around 1990 and the new leftist 
and libertarian social and political movements all around the world. The outcome was a 
critical, inclusive and radical thinking with new perspectives for the Kurds in relation 
with other people in the Middle East. The new political concept is being expressed with a 
paradigm based on three pillars. An ecological approach to the life was stressed as much 
as radical democracy, which goes beyond parliamentarianism, and gender liberation with a 
focus on women liberation. To repeat the obvious: The pillars and the whole concept are 
expressed with the aim to achieve a liberated, emancipated, equal and solidarity-based 
society in harmony with nature.

Radical democracy and women´s liberation had been stressed and developed strongly among 
the Kurds already for many years before. But actually each of the three pillars of 
Democratic Confederalism cannot be thoroughly developed without links to the other two. 
However the initial starting point is women's liberation.

Prior to 5000 years of women's oppression and exclusion evolved the Neolithic period when 
a complete communal social order was created around woman which can be also called 
matricentric society. Öcalan emphasizes that this social order saw none of the enforcement 
practices of the state order and existed for thousands of years. It is characterized by 
equality and freedom, was viable because the social morality of the matriarchal order did 
not allow ownership and it had a harmony with the nature. It is this long-lasting order 
that shaped humanity's collective social consciousness; and it is our endless yearning to 
regain and immortalise this social order of equality and freedom that led to our construct 
of paradise.

Öcalan states that with the overcoming of matriacentric society by patriarchy 
institutionalized hierarchical structures had emerged and spread among human societies and 
characterized the upcoming states until nowadays. Long before explicit social classes came 
into being, the first oppressed and exploited class are women. This has been followed in 
the following centuries and millenia by the oppression of children and man. This 
political-ideological formation led also to the domination and destruction of nature by 
humans during the different periods of human history. The ecological exploitation and 
destruction must be analyzed basically from such an approach.

Today the conservative and reactionary approaches of existing states is experienced in the 
first instance by society through the oppression of women. Another important point is that 
Women as oppressed gender have a stronger relation to the nature than men; in all 
patriarchal societies men are usually more attached to power and thus are more alienated 
from nature than. Thus, the struggle for an ecological and liberated society means in the 
end also the struggle against patriarchy and liberation of women or, to put it another 
way, without the liberation of women there cannot be an ecological society.

As the oppression of society starts with patriarchy, it is logical that the KFM has 
started to focus more and more on the liberation of women which at the same is the 
liberation of all kind of genders and the whole society. Within the KFM, this 
consciousness came out to top in the beginning of the 1990s and thus an intensive and 
widespread discussion on women's liberation started which became more deep and systematic 
after the halt of the war in Bakur in 1999 and additionally more with the development of 
Democratic Confederalism.

Discussing more in depth the approach of the KFM on nature, firstly it has to be stated 
that the KFM views nature as the body of all living beings, including humans. Humans are 
part of nature and do not stand over it or any species. Like in the Neolithic Period it is 
regarded as alive and animated, no different from themselves. All living beings are part 
of one common big ecosystem which offers enough opportunities to live for everybody. 
Nature was omnipresent, there was for the significant majority of people always in the 
daily life a strong connection with nature. Öcalan describes this as follows: "This past 
awareness of nature fostered a mentality that recognized a multitude of sanctities and 
divinities in nature. We may gain a better understanding of the essence of collective life 
if we acknowledge that it was based on the metaphysics of sanctity and divinity, stemming 
from reverence for the mother-woman." Today there are still some beliefs where in nature 
are a multitude of sanctities and divinities, one of them is the Alevi belief. 
Consequently for spirituality and inspiration among humans nature was and is the main source.

Based on through adherence to ecological principles nature should be treated respectfully 
and not as a resource for profit. Nature was and is the source of food, housing and all 
other material needs of life. Under capitalist modernity, humans living in urban centers 
are usually weakly connected to nature and understand less the relation and connection to 
nature. Nature had and has a multidimensional meaning in life and is essential for the 
development of culture and identity as well as spirituality. Due to the alienation between 
human beings which contributes significantly to the alienation between nature and human 
beings, nowadays nature is overexploited. Despite everyone experiencing the impacts of 
grave ecological destruction in the next decades, the destruction of nature seems to 
continue. The current approach of human driven capitalist modernity is a state of betrayal 
of humans to nature, to their body.

In this sense, if human beings would meet only their needs[4], nature would not experience 
serious destruction and the ecosystems would have the capacity to recover itself. At this 
point, the question what is the real need of people today is not easy to be responded and 
should not be left only to biologists or economists, rather it relates to the question of 
democracy, i.e. whether a society can take decisions under broadly democratic conditions 
free from imposed exploitative-extractive economy policies. We assume that in a liberated, 
solidarity-based, radical-democratic and ecological society there will be no pressure to 
over-extract "elements"[5]from nature.

Do not forget that humans are not only physical or material organisms, they have strong 
and deep immaterial feelings and metaphysical needs in their life. Although humans cannot 
express them, they do not think and act only in a rational way. For thousands of years, 
people have sought inspiration and motivation following different methods, including 
retiring from their surroundings to nature. With the exponential increase of urbanization, 
asphalt application, cultivation of landscape and investment projects all over the 
territories, less areas are suitable in this sense and so it becomes always more difficult 
for inspiration by nature, in capitalist modernity particularly for poorer people from 
cities who have less financial capacities to experience directly nature. In connection 
with that this affects also physical reproduction and recovery activities for people from 
urban centers.

Communities far away from the urban centers, industry and industrial agricultural areas 
are closer to nature and have more spiritual connection with environment. The less there 
is capitalist modernity, the more natural and spiritual the life can be. If such 
communities in non-urban areas belong to oppressed groups like the indigenous peoples of 
Latin America, the Adivasi from India and Alevi Kurds, then the connection to nature may 
have an additional importance because the oppressed peoples express themselves also 
through nature. In this sense the nature is a very essential part of their oppressed 
identity. Accordingly the destruction or misappropriation of nature by the colonialist 
force is an elimination of their identity. This is often not much understood by people in 
the capitalist and big urban centers where life no longer has has a strong relation to nature.

In the ideology of the KFM, the ecological perspective is considered of strategical 
importance and as a tool to create awareness in the whole human society and all human 
linked activities and processes from a nature conservation, anti-capitalist and holistic 
perspective. In doing so, the approach is that the dimensions not covered by gender 
liberation or radical democracy would be expressed with ecology. In this sense, the 
emphasis on ecology within Democratic Confederalism can be understood also as the 
completion of the two other pillars.

However, it should be underlined that nature conservation and even nature restoration by 
humans is a strategic goal. From the very beginning on, the KFM stressed that each living 
being has the right to exist due to its natural occurrence. The life of animals and plants 
must be protected actively by humans. Regarding nature conservation, the goal to limit and 
stop anthropogenic climate change is a crucial topic, as in the next decades it could 
affect in a much more dramatic way everything on our planet - actually Kurdistan and 
Middle East have already been affected for almost two decades due to decreasing 
precipitation. Climate change is no less important than "nature conservation" (here it 
meant projects/policies to conserve species, habitats and areas of high biodiversity) and 
reverse, as some environmental organizations or politicians prioritize in their 
discussions, they are mutually dependent and should not be treated independently from each 
other. Climate change can not be limited without the conservation and restoration of 
forests, vegetation, rivers, water cycle, soil, air etc. For the KFM, climate change is 
part of nature conservation and a reason why in this paper climate change is not mentioned 

Thus it is concluded that each struggle against ecological destruction is very essential 
and a necessary step to reestablish a relation to nature for many people; but in long-term 
not enough to protect the contested natural area and related human society. Not enough 
because the related investment project as well as all other destructive projects are 
caused by the dominant political-economic system. This dominant system will never step 
back to implement all designed and planned projects.

That is why being ecological means also to criticize all processes in the society, 
particularly the way of producing and consuming, feeding, housing, mobilization, 
organizing leisure etc. The KFM rejects categorically the way these models are implemented 
by capitalist modernity and the direction they take today - KFM's insistence on communal 
life is an expression of such a rejection. The current level of consumption is without 
doubt too much for the earth. Going on like this would end in the dramatic destruction or 
significant deterioration of all existing ecosystems and the loss of the most 
biodiversity. If there is no deceleration in the short-term and significant conceptional 
change in mid-term, nature's destruction and climate change will continue and the basis of 
life will become much weaker with grave impacts for the ecosystems, biodiversity, animals, 
plants and billions of humans. The worst affected people would be mainly people, 
communities and states with weak socio-economic capacities.

To achieve a considerable change of these models, the basic approach must be to reduce 
consumption of energy and material by at least 80 % in industrial states in mid-term and 
to find a new balance where each human has the same amount of energy and material for use; 
one important criteria should be to allow degraded ecosystems and biodiversity to recover.

At this point it should be emphasized that each destruction of nature or ecosystem has 
serious impacts on humans and is thus a social destruction - several factors determine the 
level. Each investment project like dams and mining has the high potential to destroy 
nature as well as to violate the basic rights of affected people. So ecological 
destruction must be understood also as the violation of political, social, cultural and 
economic rights of people. This connection is still not made by many critical activists or 
analysts in our world.

Going one step further the KFM is aware that with capitalism - even without neoliberalism 
- the ecological destruction can never be stopped, not to mention the reversal, i.e. the 
renaturation of nature and restoration of climate balance. If capitalism dominates the 
global economy and capitalist modernity the political sphere, there will be an intense 
pressure to have "growth" in the capitalist sense and (almost) no space to develop other 
forms of living, for democratic decision-making processes and a communal and democratic 
economy. Over centuries and decades, capitalist modernity has conquered the brains and 
behaviors of billions of humans in a subtle way. It cannot be overcome with a concept 
based only on new social and economic goals as "real/state socialism" intended to do. 
Hierarchy, state and capitalism is firstly an ideological development.

Capitalist modernity has started to deepen at an accelerated tempo the alienation of 
humans from humans and from nature; and this much more than the former hierarchical 
political systems. Particularly in the last 200 years each area of the world and each 
community has been affected by capitalist modernity. Nowadays all people - except the rich 
- have been put under pressure with neoliberalism. Through displacing people from their 
natural environments by physical or economic force to cities, humans lost their culture of 
living in much more natural surroundings. And when territories are under threat by such 
destructive investments in areas where people are oppressed on the basis of their 
identity, the displacement of people by nation-states contributes to the assimilation of 
cultures under threat and pressure. Small or marginalized oppressed cultures are 
particularly affected by such policies. The Kurds are one important example for that.

People in cities do not only consum , they are also disconnected from their strong social 
and cultural heritage and thus are lost fishes in the sea easily to catch. Disconnected 
from their cultural past means, among others, to be open for extreme individualistic and 
isolated ways of life where a healthy balance between individuals and society does not 
exist. People alienated from nature and communal and solidarity-based relations are much 
easier to become instruments of exploitation in industrial production, consumption, 
reactionary thoughts and establishing of authoritarian political systems. Urban people do 
not know usually any more the name of most plants and animals and how in practice 
processes in nature function or how humans can benefit from them sustainably as our 
ancestors have done it for thousands of years. So humans in cities do not live the nature 
on a daily basis. In other words, humans do not feel soil, plants, water, sun and air and 
start to lose a deep understanding for them and their context; they may know it usually in 
theory like biologists. In cities, more now than ever before, everything is organized with 
money while villagers still can produce some of their needs, exchange goods among 
themselves and support each other with self produced goods. People in rural areas are 
usually less affected by capitalist modernity and reproduce a thinking and lifestyle less 
connected to capitalism and state hegemony. In cities, on average humans are faced with 
more psychological and social traumas than in rural communities; and these traumas are 
transferred to their children. The traumas of displaced people from rural areas are maybe 
the worst. Actually, today the majority of our societies live under heavy psychological 

Capitalist modernity creates people offering their labor force to private companies or 
public organizations without to produce any of their needs as their ancestors did in 
villages. Thus from their salary they have to buy all their needs. These people are put 
under hard and stressful working conditions. . Working people under permanent pressure did 
not care much about the ongoing ecological destruction in the first period of 
industrialization when working conditions and salaries were in the center of their 
interest. Although strong trade unions did not developed an ecological approach until 
recently. However after generations more and more people in almost all parts of the world 
have started to think about ecology and alternatives to the capitalist way of living. 
While in the older industrial states the most people start to learn facts on nature and an 
ecological life from zero, in the newly or hardly industrialized states there are much 
more characteristics and remnants of non-capitalistic relations, processes and thinking on 
which critical people can build up. The recovery can be realized in an easier and faster 
way as for example critical people can benefit from the experience of their grand parents 
or even parents. Kurdistan is such a geography.

While above the connection between ecology and women´s liberation has been introduced, 
there is still the connection between ecology and democracy to be described. In order to 
defend nature and ecological relations, destructive and exploitative projects need to be 
stopped and the models of housing, production, consumption, mobility etc have to be 
altered radically. All this can be done only if democratic decision making structures are 
dominant in the society, i.e. radical democracy is developed, and no more small circles in 
the society can influence via lobbying the political decision. Only when there is an 
economy based on solidarity and communality can the big ecological destruction be 
prevented in long-term. Summing up it can be analyzed that the connection between ecology 
and democracy is realized particularly via the sphere of economic relations.

The KFM has developed over the years some new terminology with the concept of Democratic 
Confederalism which may be of interest. Many movements do this, but within Democratic 
Confederalism some more words have been created. It starts with the name of the concept. 
Some definitions are a combination of words like "democracy" and "autonomy" or 
"democratic" and "nation" which are widely used . The theory of Democratic Confederalism 
follows also the line to occupy existing crucial definitions like "nation" or "modernity" 
and to give them also a positive content in a certain framework. From an ecological 
perspective within Democratic Confederalism the terms "ecological industry" and "communal 
life" is of higher relevance. Ecological industry may be controversial as industrial 
activities have led to a big part to the destruction and pollution of the nature and 
concentrate continuously economic and political power. But at the same time the human 
societies have achieved a point of life and economical relation which can not be 
maintained without industry. For the KFM "industry" is understood as the production of 
goods in a systematic and concentrated, i.e. by mechanized processes, way. . It needs some 
expert skills and higher technologies. Actually primitive forms of industry exists for a 
long period in human history. The current level of industry with its negative impacts was 
not inevitable; history could have taken a different turn. However, nowadays it is 
extremely challenging (almost impossible) to de-industrialize societies which would have 
incalculable risks. Thus the question is how to reorganize the industry in terms of 
technology, capacity and management from an ecological perspective and breaking with the 
existing concept of economic growth. Democratic Confederalism has on this topic yet no 
well-developed concepts, but rather basic ideas.

Role of the Guerrilla in the growing ecological awareness

The increasing ecological awareness is related also to the guerrilla of the PKK, the 
People's Defense Forces HPG, which never ceased to exist widespread in the mountains of 
North and South Kurdistan since the 80ies. The HPG has thousands of guerrillas in huge 
areas of Northern Kurdistan, and in a broad stretch of 250 km in South Kurdistan; thus 
must be considered as a geographically and political highly important factor. When not 
fighting with the Turkish Army, the guerrillas spend their time in a mix of military and 
political education. In South Kurdistan, the focus is even more on political discussion 
and education.

The guerrillas discuss the entire range of social and political issues in their political 
educational program. Since the 1990s when Öcalan started to discuss the ecological crisis 
, the guerrilla included ecology in their discussions. The manner in which it discusses 
ecology and all the other topics differs from people and organizations in the broader 
Kurdish society, which makes the discussion itself more independent. The guerrillas are 
not part of the hegemonic political system and have no narrow individual expectations from 
the state or others. In contrast, people and organizations from the "normal" society are 
influenced continuously by concerns and personal limitations. Even if they struggle 
intensively to get rid of influences by capitalism and statism, there is always a 
remaining part.

The difference with the guerrilla is that since its emergence in the beginning of the 
1990s, the life conditions are exceedingly difficult, but completely communal, based on 
solidarity and far away from capitalist modernity. There is almost no private propriety 
existing; money and material interests play no role in the relations among humans; 
decisions are taken sometimes on a basis democratic way; and a system of criticsm and 
self-criticism is implemented systematically.

Concerning ecology, it is also very crucial that the guerrilla lives in harmony with the 
nature. There is almost no negative impact by the guerrilla on plants, animals and 
ecosystems; rather in the last years they care more than ever on this issue. The life is 
oriented strongly alongside ecological criteria. It comes along that the existence of the 
guerrilla in many mountainous regions leads to the prevention of widespread hunting, and 
to the preservation of many forests through calls or bans on the start or continuation of 
numerous destructive infrastructure projects of the Turkish state or the Kurdish Regional 
Government in South Kurdistan.

The discussions and proposals for overcoming the ecological crisis are often practiced in 
the guerrilla areas on a small scale and as much as possible in the lives of individual 
guerillas and as a community. So there are not solely theoretical outcomes, there is also 
a dimension of practice. Through this practice in some cases the guerrilla can adjust 
their first theoretical assumptions.

The ecological practice of the guerrilla can be explained with the following examples. It 
is absolutely forbidden to throw away waste like plastic or metal in the environment; 
trees are cut only under exceptional cases; animals are hunted not much and only in a way 
so that no species would be endangered in a certain region - some species could recover; a 
few dozen small diversion dams for electricity are built in South Kurdistan which divert 
usually one third of the flowing water (most states divert between 2/3 and 90%); as much 
as possible food is produced by the guerrilla's own means in the mountains.

The results and developed approaches of the guerrilla reflect the material conditions with 
the strong characteristics of solidarity, communality and ecology; and they challenge the 
other parts of the society - particularly the part of the population which is physically 
and politically close to them. The reason is that criticsm is much more profound and 
ideologically justified, the claims are higher and there are less "realistic" elements 
which could limit thinking. Thus the guerrilla accept fewer compromises and thus fewer 
spaces for capitalism. The approaches of the guerrilla are closer to harmony with nature 
and request stronger and broader communal structures.

Developed approaches and proposals on ecology - like with the other fields - can be 
connected and transferred quite easily to the broader society of Kurdistan as there is a 
strong relation of the guerrilla with the Kurdish society. Consider that each year 
hundreds of thousands of people meet and discuss with guerrillas. Coming from the 
capitalist modernity and meeting revolutionaries who share communal life affects these 
people and beyond, especially young ones.

However in all fields two basic approaches within the Kurdish Freedom Movement - one 
represented mainly by the expressed ideas of the guerrilla - collide often in a strong 
way. Not all proposals are approved one to one by political activists or politically 
interested people in the broad society who live in different material conditions. There 
are aspects which the guerrilla does not consider in their discussions as they live far 
away and in different and extraordinary conditions. Generally, the approaches of the 
guerrilla are closer to what is considered more democratic, communal, gender liberated and 

The synthesis must have been in majority of the cases the most correct way as the KFM 
managed to survive and to get stronger in the last years. We can say that the 
mountain-city relations of the Kurds have created over the years a specific dynamic which 
is beneficial for the whole KFM.

How the contradiction creates a dynamic

The Kurdish Freedom Movement has been winning the local elections in an increasing number 
of cities in North Kurdistan since 1999, and they have acquired some important knowledge 
on how local governments can transform the society to be more social, gender liberated and 
ecologically oriented. It is only since 2010/2011 that the reasons to transform life 
ecologically were grasped substantially; previously, the approach and the discourse of 
ecology were rather shallow as described above.

There are basically three reasons for that. First, capitalist relations continued to 
advance quickly in North Kurdistan in the second part of the 2000's and the ecological 
destruction reached seriously concerning levels. Second, the concept of Democratic 
Confederalism has encouraged and strengthened ecologists in Bakur to deepen and broaden 
their struggle. Third, the critic and resistance against the ecological destruction and 
exploitation increased in an organized way, gathered some serious experience and even 
small successes.

The book "In defense of a people" by Öcalan published in 2004 and the declaration of 
Democratic Confederalism in March 2005 contributed definitively to the better 
systematization of the ideas and discussion on an ecological society in Bakur and other 
parts of Kurdistan. In the first months after the declaration of Democratic Confederalism, 
there was a controversial discussion among many political activists within the KFM or 
those close to it, about the pillar ecology. While for the activists who already 
incorporating ecology in their activism and discussions this was very encouraging and 
supportive, the others either did not take it into account seriously or raised concerned 
and considered it premature to emphasize ecology or "not fitting to the reality of Kurdish 
society". However, in general, the political structures of the KFM welcomed the pillar 
ecology and started to discuss it - even it was still only superficially. At least it 
opened the mind for ecological discussions, campaigns and requests.

Just in this time the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant, the largest dam project in 
planning or construction in Bakur and Turkey, came again on the agenda after the Turkish 
government started a new effort to build it - the first attempt had failed in 2001/2002. 
Between 2006 and 2010 the struggle against this dam project, which would have huge grave 
impacts on social structures, cultural heritage and the Tigris ecosystem and destructive 
consequences for the local society, was continuously on the agenda of the Kurds and got 
support by many Kurdish organizations, activists and media. Coordinated by the Initiative 
to Keep Hasankeyf Alive this campaign was an expression of the increased ecological and 
cultural awareness among the Kurds. It contributed at a new level to the questioning of 
energy, water, agriculture and development policies of the Turkish state and exceeded 
significantly the discussions during the first round of struggle on the Ilisu project 
between 1999 and 2002.

In the following years there was a steady increase in the number of groups and people 
working on issues concerning nature conservation, the impacts of big infrastructure and 
energy projects, food production and social ecology theory. Associations and initiatives 
opposing dams, mining, coal plants, environmental pollution, urban development, 
commercialization of life etc. have been initiated or strengthened for example in Amed, 
Dersim, Çolemerg (Hakkari), Batman, Qoser (Kiziltepe), Wan and Riha (Urfa). Although in 
these years the diversity of contested project types broadened, dams were still the main 
challenge for the ecology movements. These were the years when each square kilometer of 
Bakur and the whole Turkish state territory have been considered by state planners and big 
companies as a source of profit - internationally this approach started to be discussed as 
"extractivism". Capitalism was spreading to all niches of the society of Bakur. The 
capitalist modernity unfolded its maximum destructive forces, the AKP government did 
everything to enable investments in the region. The need to form a coalition of groups and 
activists with a strong ecological and critic awareness in Bakur has become important in 
these years.

Considering these growing protests and the need to act in a comprehensive way against the 
encroachment of neoliberal capitalism, the coordination of the Mesopotamian Social Forum, 
which has been organized for the first time in 2009 in Amed, decided to organize an 
Ecology Forum. At this forum in January 2011 with the contribution of activists by all 
struggles of Bakur, researchers, representatives of different civil organizations and 
movements and activists from Turkey and other countries, ecological struggles and 
approaches were discussed in Kurdistan in a broad and organized way for the first time in 
history. As consequence of the forum, "ecology activists" started a discussion to form a 
network of groups in Bakur. It took more than one and half year to achieve the first 
meetings of about ten groups and a decision to form the "Mesopotamia Ecology Movement" was 
taken. The theoretical basis from the very beginning on was Social Ecology and Democratic 
Confederalism. Although the name described it as a movement, rather in the first years it 
was a network.

In these years capitalism has started to affect in a strong way also some political 
structures and thinking of activists in the KFM, including municipalities and activists in 
small towns. Due to the fact that there was still a lack of system and depth in the 
discussion of ecology regarding all decisions and actions within the KFM, it is not 
surprising that some people and structures acted contrarily. The impact in the practice 
was that, among others, the behavior and approaches of political parties and organizations 
of the existing hegemonic system did not change significantly for many activists of the 
KFM decisions like city planning did not really brake with capitalist-statist prescriptive 
practices; some mayors were co-opted by local entrepreneurs to get tenders; and 
competition far away from solidarity relations between organizations and activists partly 
increased. These challenges may always come up and become dominant in the case of a not 
very well developed and accepted radical democratic structure with transparent and 
inclusive decision-making processes. The KFM had only started in 2007 to set up a 
completely new political structure which takes the paradigm of Democratic Confederalism as 
basis. The Democratic Society Congress (in Kurdish: KCD; in Turkish: DTK) as the umbrella 
structure of the KFM for the new people's councils from the neighborhoods, civil society 
organizations, social movements, professional organizations, municipalities and political 
parties was quite new and still in the process of finding a way to function properly given 
the big diversity of above-mentioned structures.

In the initial stage, the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement (MEM) was challenged to find ways 
to bring the member groups together around subjects, campaigns and discussions and set up 
a permanent and reliable working structure. If this could be realized, the struggle 
against the numerous destructive and exploitative projects and policies of the state could 
be confronted better and within the KCD the struggle for ecological discussions, thinking 
and approaches would get more political weight. In confronting the government`s projects 
and objectives, a continuously rising number of people started to question the state 
policies in other areas. Not only the policies on Kurdish identity, collective rights, 
education, women's rights, militarization, but also those on economy, energy, agriculture 
and related issues in Bakur became more and more a focus of the political struggle. Each 
economic decision or investment project started to be perceived more critically.

At the same time, the municipalities governed by the legal party of the KFM came under a 
critical focus by the MEM because municipalities acting against the political goals of the 
general movement would harm the whole struggle, including the ecological dimension. The 
demand was that municipal politics had to be changed comprehensively along ecological 
principles, developed by the MEM, and the self-administration of people's councils. The 
aim of the state is clear: it wants to dominate, oppress and exploit the society in close 
cooperation with big companies, and in Bakur also with middle big companies. In this 
struggle, the KFM municipalities had to make a clear stance against the state policies. 
Although municipalities are according to Turkish law in the end an organ of the central 
government, they have limited capacities and freedom with which they could challenge state 
policies. While on the one hand they are forced to act in compliance with Turkish law, on 
the other hand the municipalities should do everything in their powerto support radical 
democratic structures in the society, i.e. particularly the people's councils, women's 
self-organization and a communal economy, as well as taking as stance against the 
gentrification of urban areas and bringing equitably services to the entire population. 
But the reality in these years was often only in part like this. Capitalism has put the 
municipalities of Bakur under the pressure to follow the neoliberal AKP municipalities as 
development model through the domination of discussions about urban development. It was a 
time - up until 2011 - when economic growth in Turkey was high, the social contradictions 
in Turkey and Bakur were significantly less and the AKP government was still not very 
repressive: hence, the criticsm by the KFM against capitalist modernity did not go down 
well in Kurdish society. Another pressure was systematic financial discrimination by the 
Turkish national government: since 1999, KFM municipalities could not benefit from many 
governmental funds unlike other municipalities.Obstacles were also often created in the 
approval of big projects (each big project needs usually approval by the governor who is 
directly appointed by the Turkish government) and the KFM municipalities have not been 
supported with experts and skills like the other municipalities. This latter 
discrimination was not very surprising as the Kurds have been oppressed since the 
foundation of the Republic of Turkey. It is a subject with which a struggle is needed.

However, what was more concerning for the MEM was the lacking stance of the municipalities 
on capitalist development. In this respect,one case became important for the ecology 
struggle in Kurdistan. It is about the hill "Kirklar Dagi" in the outskirts of the city of 
Amed where a housing project was announced in 2009. As a historical and natural area at 
the south edge of the city of Amed, Kirklar Dagi is very known among the population and 
thus a sensitive location. When the physical preparation for the housing projects started 
in 2011/2012, which actually was not in line with the master plan approved in 2006, the 
MEM and some other civil organizations requested an immediate stop and cancellation: after 
long discussions and negotiations, the two involved municipalities of Amed rejected this 
demand. So, when the construction started fully in 2013 a demonstration by the MEM with 
thousands of people was organized. Although the project did not stop, the demonstration 
was a novum for the KFM: a civil organization criticized publicly in a sharp way a 
municipality from the "own political movement" because of an urban project. However, this 
had some long-term impacts. In the following years, the Democratic Regions Party (DBP; the 
party of the KFM and member of the HDP) municipalities started to act more carefully when 
they planned any housing or bigger project. This case showed that thinking and acting 
ecologically needs activists to consider also their own side and not the other side, the 
state and big capital. Apart from the case of Kirklar Dagi there are many other projects 
in the cities, which are object of capitalist transformation and need to be regarded much 
more critically.

Another criticsm of the MEM targets the big shopping malls which have been constructed in 
the last years in each city. These are private projects and of course supported by the AKP 
government, but there were some cases where the DBP municipalities have not intervened and 
in few cases even welcomed them. Some of the shopping malls could have been prevented, or 
at least delayed. The Turkish law allows the central government to take over city planning 
whenever it considers necessary. So, the question is how to resist this legal unfairness; 
even if it not possible to impede in the long-term the non-wanted projects, at least they 
should be delayed and subject to public debate. After intensive criticsm by the MEM and 
other movements like the women´s movement in 2014, a much more critical approach has been 
implemented by the DBP municipalities.

These two cases show that the ecology struggle in Bakur has not only to focus only in 
rural areas, but also in urban areas, because capitalism has started many years ago to 
seek for profitable investment projects everywhere. 2013 was the year when an ecological 
awareness and criticsm started to express itself much more openly, accompanied by public 
actions and this not only through the MEM. The youth movement, women´s movement, 
professional organizations (particularly architects, engineers, medical doctors), trade 
unions achieved qualitatively a new level in their approach as to how society mightbe 
conceived from an ecological perspective.

At this point, it needs to be stated that within the concept of Democratic Confederalism 
one field - in Bakur society is organized by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK/KCD) 
into 14 fields (also branch or sector), like women, justice, health, education, diplomacy, 
beliefs, ecology, municipalities, youth, self-defence - is usually promoted by one 
movement or organization, but it is not only limited to this organization. Actually, it is 
favored that activists from other fields also discuss deeply ecology, women´s liberation 
or communal-democratic economy. For this, the connections between the fields become 
important. In parliamentarian systems, ecological/environmental NGOs and movements act 
usually on their own for the objective to stop certain projects and/or to change the laws 
or society in ecological sense. In the new system of Bakur - and Rojava - the social 
movements struggle for their objectives, but do it within a democratic and inclusive 
system. This comes from the perception that society is one whole and has been divided by 
capitalist modernity so much that the different social and political groups and genders do 
not act in balance with each other: one group tries always to dominate the other one. In 
capitalist modernity, usually the groups with big financial capacities or weapons dominate 
over the others. This is a significant difference which has been brought by Democratic 

An example how the different movements can work successfully together and how much the 
different fields are interrelated, are the relations of the MEM with the economy movement. 
The economy movement has been formed in 2013 after broad discussions by dozens of 
activists from different struggles and critical economists from Bakur and Turkey. Among 
these people were several activists from the MEM. Since then there is a good connection 
and exchange between the two branches. The good relationship has brought together the two 
branches into cooperation on certain projects; projects which are related to both fields 
ecology and economy. One example is the long-discussed construction of a bank for local 
organic seeds. A dynamic, cooperative and critical relation with the new upcoming economy 
movement, which wants to develop a communal and democratic economy in Bakur, is crucial 
for the aim to develop an ecological society. All that is discussed and developed among 
the MEM is aimed to be implemented in cooperation with the economy field as well with as 
the municipalities. Without considering communal economy, an ecological society is 
impossible as described above.

The Mesopotamia Ecology Movement

In 2014, a new discussion among the activists of the MEM about its restructuring with the 
aim to become a real and broad social movement started. After many discussions, it 
resulted in the formation of councils in each province of Bakur which offered space for 
political activists working on ecology and for newcomers. All previous and new initiatives 
and associations and activists working on ecology, but also other civil society 
organizations, professional organizations, unions, municipalities and the people's 
councils of the KCD in the urban quarters and rural regions had been invited to 
participate. This form of representation intends to include as much as possible of 
societal playors and to establish something which in short and medium term should build a 
society that is more ecological, and thus, more just and democratic.

The main work of the MEM is done in the different commissions which are established 
according to the needs and emphasis defined by the provincial councils. Every activist in 
the MEM joins at least one commission in its province. Apart from the commissions which 
exist in nearly every province, there are some specific commissions. For example, in the 
province Dersim, there is one commission for forests and, in the metropolitan area of 
Amed, one for animal rights. There are also a few commissions at the Bakur level, like 
those for diplomacy, law and organising. The coordination at provincial level consists of 
the two co-spokespersons - one woman and one man. The co-chairs are elected periodically 
(3 or 6 months) by the provincial assembly which gathers at least twice a year (sometimes 
4 times each year). Each provincial assembly elects annually several (around 6) delegates 
based on gender quota for the assembly at Bakur level which meets twice a year. The 
coordinations at provincial level elect two delegates, one woman and one man, for the 
Bakur coordination which meets more often than the Bakur assembly. As it can be determined 
within the MEM each structure has a gender minimum quota of 40% for its delegates. The MEM 
has a 50% quota.

Since this restructuring the MEM is now represented more strongly in the KCD through the 
actions, projects and campaigns it is realizing. The MEM can bring better its content and 
requests to the coordinations of the KCD on provincial and Bakur level and to the KCD 
general assembly. The stronger the MEM is, the more it can have impacts on the KCD as a 
whole, and on its activists. For example, it is crucial to work towards those 
municipalities which have no good practice on ecology as well as on other issues.

The MEM is connected quite well with many ecological movements and NGO's outside of Bakur 
within the Turkish state. Since 2015 for several times there were common actions, 
delegations (like on forest fires) and discussions. In this sense it is part of the 
ecology council of the People Democratic Council (HDK). The HDK is the turkey-wide 
supra-structure of all structures of direct democracy, thus also including the HDP. In 
other words, HDK is equivalent to KCD while not being comparatively strong like the KCD.

Since its start the MEM had to struggle with a low awareness for ecology in society which 
has its impacts in the different organizations of the KCD. Although there is a meaningful 
change in the last years, ecology is still considered by a big part of the society as 
something elitist and far away from real life and is associated with focusing on the 
conservation of some species or important natural areas or having healthy but expensive 
organic food. Moreover the terminology used still does not make much understandable what 
the activists are seeking. That is why practice has become so crucial in order to attract 
more people for the movement. Considering that even a large number of people with an 
academic background are interested less in theory and more in practice, projects on the 
ground can motivate and activate many and can make better understandable what is aimed 
with an ecological society. Projects like common gardening and traditional construction, 
which all interested people can join, have also the impact that the MEM can validate and 
develop its theoretical approach based on the outcomes of such projects. This should be 
considered also in the light that the KFM starts with the general approach in the most 
fields of society and substantiate its approach in a protracted process of practice and 
discussion. Projects on the ground offer collective work and give back the feeling of 
community and solidarity to people, particularly from cities. One successful project was 
the collection of local and organic seeds from different areas Bakur in the winter 
2015/2016 and their reproduction in 2016 in seven provinces. The reproduction has been 
done mostly with the local people's neighborhood councils which is a good example how the 
different fields of the KCD can work together. This campaign on seeds received interest by 
many parts of the society. Considering that humans are rational as well as emotional 
beings, touching soil, water, mud, plants and wood can create a big synergy. A further 
result such a practical approach can have: in times of repression and war it can hold 
people together and allows them to come through politically difficult periods like the one 
started with the war in summer 2015 which worsened with the state of emergency in summer 2016.

In autumn 2015 the MEM conducted a half year discussion on the eight main political fields 
(agriculture, energy, water, health, communal economy, forests/biodiversity, ecological 
cities, eco-technology) for what working groups at Bakur level had been established. At 
the end of these processes, papers have been prepared and later approved at the first MEM 
conference in April 2016 in Wan. These policy papers have become the guidelines for the 
future work which cover a broad span and are linked to other political fields like women's 
liberation, economy and health. This challenging work may help to find initial answers on 
the question as to which direction the MEM should take, strengthen without doubt the 
commitment to the struggle and privide tools for successfully struggling against state and 
companies as well as within the KFM.

1) It needs to be stated that the heavy political repression in Bakur on all levels of 
political engagement, which started in summer 2015 and achieved with the state of 
emergency, declared in July 2016, an extreme level, has affected in a strong way also the 
MEM. Since then the most activities of the MEM have been limited, halted or changed. 
However the activities have undergone some important change. In this paper the period 
after the state of emergency has not been considered. Rather it has been aimed to describe 
the development of the consciousness and discussion on and the struggle for ecology in 
Bakur before the current repression.

2) The discussions and practice of Rojava has not been included in this paper as there are 
very different frameworks (no state any more, much less capitalism etc.) although the 
political concept is the same.

[1]In recent discussions also described as "extractivism".

[2]The KFM uses the definition capitalist modernity in order to describe the current 
hegemonic political-economic system. According to that capitalism is covers mainly 
economical activities while capitalist modernity is a system which includes the political 
and ideological (for example it is meant: mentality, human relations, social behavior) 
dimension of the developed hegemonic system.

[3]Change from use value to exchange value

[4]Often "basic needs" is used in such discussions. But its quite difficult to differ 
between "needs" and "basic needs", thus here it is foregone to use "basic".

[5]Instead of "resources", which is used widespread nowadays, here "elements" is 
preferred. "Resources" assumes that they exist or wait to be extracted and exploited by 
capitalist economy.
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