“How to live, what to do, where to start?” by Abdullah Öcalan

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19 years ago, on February 15 1999, the international plot organized by several intelligence services of different nation-states captured Abdullah Ocalan. Today we want to remember him and the important tasks and thoughts he put in practice, creating the Kurdish Liberation Movement and developing the ideas that today are leading the Rojava Revolution

“How to live, what to do, where to start?”

by Abdullah Öcalan

Liberalism, as the ideological monopoly of modernity, tries by a veritable media bombardment to create a state of chaos in the consciousness of the people. Their basic weapons are fundamentalism, nationalism, sexism, and modern science as a “new positivist religion”. While liberalism (through fundamentalism) controls the conscience of pre-capitalist society, it also controls the citizens of the nation-state and distracts from class contradictions through nationalism. Sexism is their most effective method of keeping the man in permanent control and forcing women to live with constant rape. Positivist science controls the academic world and through it the youth. Thus, there is no way to avoid the compromises that integrate into the system.

Against this ideological attack of liberalism, it is of huge importance to find the right answers to the questions; how to live, what to do and where to start. Until today, the answers of opponents of the system to these questions were ineffective. In all three questions the answers of modernity gained the upper hand. The question “how to live?” was strongly influenced through the development of the modern lifestyle in the last five centuries. In the capitalist modern age like never before in history, a homogeneous lifestyle was imposed on people and internalized.

All ways of life have been homogenized by universal rules. With this homogenization, only small differences could endure. A rejection of modern life was labeled as weirdness and madness. These crazy and insane people were ejected from the system. Few people had the courage to face this danger and continue their resistance.

For five centuries,the question of “what to do” has been planned down to the smallest detail and answered: “You should live an individualistic life”, “always think of yourself”, say “the only way is the way of the modern age”, and do what you are entitled to. Your way is clear, the method is clear; you should do what everyone else is doing. If you are a boss, you should make a profit. If you are a worker, you should work for your wages. To look for other forms of doing is stupidity. If someone insists, the result is being squeezed out of the system. This means unemployment, helplessness, and corruption. Life became as cruel as a horse race. The question “where to start” is answered by the system of education. Schools and universities are indispensable to becoming successful in the system.

The search for the truth and the ideological attitude of democratic modernity offers no doubt, with its alternative to capitalist modernity, in answer to these three basic questions . Analyzing social identity in all areas and offering solutions forms the core of the search for truth. An ideological attitude means to overcome the ideological hegemony of the ruling modernity by intensive criticism. Capitalist modernity, which attacks social identity and prefers individualism to community, is far from the truth. To recognize this requires reaching the truth through an economic-ecological-democratic society.

The first general answer to the questions “how to live?” “what to do?” and “where to start?” is to rebel against the system within the system. But to fight within the system against that system requires, like the wise men of ancient times, to fight for the truth in every moment, even if it requires dying for it. To the questions “how to live?” and “where to start?”, the answer is to escape the madness and hatred of this life. You have to vomit the system out, out of your stomach, out of your brain, and purify your body of this life. Even if it feels like the most beautiful life in the world, you have to puke everything out. The question “what can be done?” can only be answered in the form of an organized and conscious practice.

In relation to democratic modernity, the answer to these three questions is ideological and practically combined with the elements of the alternative system. The vanguard party of former times, in democratic modernity, must play an institutional and actionist pioneering role. The new task of the new leadership is to build the three main pillars of the system (the democratically economic-ecological society). For that it is necessary to create qualitatively and quantitatively new academies, depending on content (Economical Engineering , Agroecology, Democratic Policy, Defense Security, Womens’ Freedom, Cultural Identity, History of Language, Science of Philosophy, Religious Art etc.), which criticize not only the academic world of modernity but also create an alternative.

Without strong academic cadre structures, the remaining pillars of democratic modernity cannot be built. Just like cadres without the other pillars of democratic modernity have no meaning, the other pillars without academic cadres can’t be successful. Holisticity is fundamental to success.

The fragmentation of ideas, language and action, must be cast aside. The unity between ideas, language and action is a holiness that must never be lost. Someone who attempts to answer the questions “how to live?”, “what to do?” and “where to start?” without unified ideas, language and action, should not enter this fight. The fight for truth cannot be guided by the manipulations of capitalist modernity. The cadres are the brain and the organization. They spread through veins in the body, the society. The reality is holistic, and the truth is an expression of this holistic reality. A cadre is its form of action, the action of truth.

As the Middle East renews itself, it must carry out a “truth revolution”. In order to achieve this, a revolution in consciousness and in the way of life is needed. It is a revolution for liberation from the ideological hegemony and way of life of capitalist modernity. On this point, the people cannot be allowed to become influenced by fundamentalists who are attached to religion, or led astray by racial chauvinism. These ideologies do not fight against capitalist modernity, but want nothing more than their piece of the cake. They are at the same time the victims and the henchmen of capitalist modernity. Left, feminist, ecological and cultural movements must, if they are honest in their opposition to capitalist modernity, create the fight for truth holistically.

The fight for truth can only succeed if it goes on in all areas of life, in municipal, environmental and economic communities, democratic cities, and at local, regional, national, and transnational levels. Without knowing how the disciples and believers of the religions lived and fought at their origins, no search for truth can be conducted successfully. The Middle East needs to revive the wisdom of its ancient goddesses. Living like Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Paul, Mani, Veysel Karani, Hallac-I-Mansur, Sehabeddin Sühreverdi, Yunus Emre and Bruno Giordano needs to be revived. The “truth revolution” can only be implemented through this heritage. Revolutions and revolutionaries don’t die. They prove that they can live if their heritage is upheld. The culture of the Middle East is a culture of unity of ideas, language and action. Democratic modernism will enrich this culture with its critique of capitalist modernity and thus play its historical role.

The individual of democratic modernity cannot realize himself without being against the “three death-riders of capitalist modernity”; capitalism, industrialism and the nation-state, without being in constant struggle, and by consistent ideas, statements and actions with the help of the three “freedom angels” of democratic modernity (the democratic-economic-ecological society), waging a permanent struggle for freedom. Without the academic institutions and social communities, the democratic, pure and free world cannot be realized. The criticism of the sacred scriptures and the wisdom of the goddesses are significant in their context of instrumentalization by the ruling civilizations and capitalist modernity. What remains about the criticism is our ageless heritage and our social identity. The “truth militant” in the age of democratic modernity must have this identity internalized in her personality, letting this life itself live and live.

This text has been translated from Turkish to German by the Association of Students from Kurdistan (YXK) and to englis by the Internationalist Commune of Rojava.