SIX – The Emergence of the Social Problem
6.1 Defining the Problem of Historical-Society
6.1.a The First Major Problematic Stage of the Monopoly of Civilization
6.1.b From Rome to Amsterdam
6.1.c Eurocentric Civilization’s Hegemonic Rule
6.2 Social Problems
6.2.a The Problem of Power and the State
6.2.b Society’s Moral and Political Problem
6.2.c Society’s Mentality Problem
6.2.d Society’s Economic Problem
6.2.e Society’s Industrialism Problem
6.2.f Society’s Ecological Problem
6.2.g Social Sexism, the Family, Women, and the Population Problem
6.2.h Society’s Urbanization Problem
6.2.i Society’s Class and Bureaucracy Problem
6.2.j Society’s Education and Health Problems
6.2.k Society’s Militarism Problem
6.2.l Society’s Peace and Democracy Problem
7.1 Definition of Democratic Civilization
7.2 The Methodological Approach to Democratic Civilization
7.3 A Draft of the History of Democratic Civilization
7.4 Elements of Democratic Civilization
7.4.b The Family
7.4.c Tribes and Aşirets
7.4.d Peoples and Nations
7.4.e Village and City
7.4.f Mentality and Economy
7.4.g Democratic Politics and Self-Defense
EIGHT – Democratic Modernity versus Capitalist Modernity
8.1 Deconstructing Capitalism and Modernity
8.2 The Industrialism Dimension of Modernity and Democratic Modernity
8.3 The Nation-State, Modernity, and Democratic Confederalism
8.4 Jewish Ideology, Capitalism, and Modernity
8.5 The Dimensions of Democratic Modernity
8.5.a The Dimension of Moral and Political Society (Democratic Society)
8.5.b The Dimension of Eco-Industrial Society
8.5.c The Dimension of Democratic Confederalist Society
NINE – The Reconstruction Problems of Democratic Modernity
9.1 Civilization, Modernity, and the Problem of Crisis
9.2 The State of Anti-System Forces
9.2.a The Legacy of Real Socialism
9.2.b Reevaluating Anarchism
9.2.c Feminism: Rebellion of the Oldest Colony
9.2.d Ecology: The Rebellion of the Environment
9.2.e Cultural Movements: Tradition’s Revenge on the Nation-State
9.2.f Ethnicity and Movements of the Democratic Nation
9.2.g Religious Cultural Movements: Revival of Religious Tradition
9.2.h Urban, Local, and Regional Movements for Autonomy
The Problem of Power and the State
I am frequently compelled to emphasize that just as history is “the present,” any component of the present is also history. The very first thing each new emerging civilization does is to make sure that history and the present are disconnected, using propaganda that aims to ensure its legitimacy and to present it as “past-eternity and post-eternity.” In the real life of a society there is no such disconnection. Furthermore, without a universal history, no local or singular history would make sense. Therefore, the problem of power and the state—which has existed since they first appeared—is also, with a slight difference, a problem at present. These differences result from temporal and spatial changes. When we look at the concepts of differentness and transformation this way, we increase the degree of accuracy of our interpretations. We also need to consider the drawbacks of underestimating differentness, transformation, and development or of regarding them as trivial. Just as our thinking atrophies if it is not based on universal history, evaluating historical development without considering differentness and transformation and treating it as nothing more than repetition obscures the truth to a similar degree. It is quite important not to fall into either of these forms of reductionism.
Our first finding related to power and the state is that they have increased their capacity both over and within society. Until the sixteenth century, domination was primarily built outside of society and was both glamorous and intimidating. Civilization has taken numerous such striking forms through the ages. The state, as the official expression of power, had drawn firm lines, hoping that the sharper the distinction between the state and society, the more it would benefit. In terms of power, these lines were quite explicit as an intra-society phenomenon. The lines separating women from men, youth from the elderly, members of the aşiret from the head of the aşiret, faithful laypeople from the representatives of religions and denominations, were determined in keeping with clear rules and customs. From tone of voice to the way of walking and sitting, the authority of power, of dominating and being dominated, was firmly established with detailed rules. It is perfectly clear that to make power and the state tangible and present—as they were still the minority—required that their authority be established in this way. These rules served as tools of legitimacy and indoctrination.
The reason for the radical transformation of the authority of power and the state in European civilization was the need felt to more quickly infiltrate every nook and cranny of society. Two fundamental factors arguably played a role in the vertical and horizontal expansion of power. The first was the enlargement of the masses to be exploited. Without a corresponding expansion of the administration, exploitation would not have been feasible. Just as a growing herd requires numerous shepherds, the growing population required substantial growth in state bureaucracy. We must also consider the need for rulers to internally suppress society as a corollary of the massive growth of their external defense forces. Wars have always created bureaucracy. The army itself is among the largest of bureaucratic organizations. The second factor was the increasing consciousness and resistance in society. The fact that European society had not experienced profound exploitation and had continuously resisted it meant that extensive power and a large state were essential. In Europe, the struggle of the bourgeoisie against the aristocracy and that of the working class against both of them necessitated the construction of far-reaching power and a pervasive state. Perhaps the fact that for the first time the bourgeoisie, in the form of the middle class, constituted the state made for a new kind of power and state. This bloc, arising within society and becoming the state, with the inevitable increase in power, found itself compelled to organize within society.
The bourgeoisie is a such a huge class that it could not simply dominate power and the state from the outside. As this class became the state, it inevitably found itself enmeshed in internal social strife. The notion of class conflict makes this clear. Liberalism, a bourgeois ideology, beats around the bush looking for a solution to this problem. But what has, in fact, happened so far is further growth of power and the state and a cancerous bureaucratization. The more power and the state grow within the society, the more civil strife there is. This has been the fundamental problem within European society from the outset. The great constitutional, democratic, republican, and anarchist struggles are closely related to the way power and the state are structured. Our current preferred remedy is fundamental human rights tied to strict constitutional rules, the rule of law, and democracy. Instead of a permanent solution, the state and society are coerced to find a compromise around power and leave behind the great stormy past. As such, the problem of power and the state has not been resolved but has been removed to a level where it is sustainable.
If we look closely we can see that the intertwinement of society, power, and the state has been developed using nationalism, sexism, religionism, and various scientisms, whereby, to sustain the nation-state, everyone is drawn into a paradigm where “everyone is both power and society and the state and society.” In this way, it is assumed that the bourgeois nation-state solution will be found by suppressing the internal class struggle and by the defensive position always remaining in place in the exterior. This is one of the main methods used worldwide to suppress the problem rather than resolve it. The fascist quality of the nation-state as the maximum power and state could be seen most clearly in German fascism.
The first example of the nation-state arose during the resistance of Netherlands and England to the Spanish Empire. The nation-state legitimized its rule by mobilizing the entire society against an external power that it called the enemy. Initially, the development of national society in Europe had relatively positive elements. But it was clear that this development, even at its birth, acted to conceal class exploitation and oppression. The nation-state definitely bears the mark of the bourgeoisie. It is this class’s state model. Later, Napoleon’s military expeditions strengthened this model in France and spread it across Europe. The German and Italian bourgeoisie were underdeveloped and had difficulty in creating national unity, which led them to adopt more nationalist policies. The bourgeoisie was compelled to embrace a chauvinist-nationalist state model because of the external threat of occupation, as well as the continuing internal resistance of the aristocracy and the working class. Defeat and crisis—these are the two things that brought many countries, especially Germany and Italy, at a crossroads “either a social revolution or fascism,” with the fascist state model prevailing in this dilemma. While Hitler, Mussolini, and their like were defeated, their systems were victorious.
The nation-state can essentially be described as society being identified with the state and the state with society, which also constitutes the definition of fascism. Naturally the state can no more become communal than society can become the state. Only totalitarian ideologies can assert such a claim. The fascist character of such claims is obvious. Fascism, as a form of state, always has the seat of honor at the bourgeois liberal table. It is the form of rule in times of crisis. Since crisis is structural, so is the regime; called the nation-state regime. It is the apex of the crises of financial capital era. Capitalist monopoly’s state, which has currently peaked globally, is also generally fascist during its most reactionary and despotic period. Although there is much talk of the collapse of the nation-state, claiming that democracy will be constructed in its place is simple credulousness. It may be that both macro-global and micro-local fascist formations are on the agenda. Developments in the Middle East, the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Caucasus are noteworthy. South America and Africa are on the eve of new experiences. Europe seeks to distance itself from nation-state fascism with reform. It is unclear what will happen to Russia and China. The US, the super hegemon, is in an exchange with every form of the state.
Clearly, the problem of power and the state is in one of its worst phases. The dilemma of “either a democratic revolution or fascism” is on the agenda and is still vital. The system’s regional and central UN organizations are no longer functional. Financial capital, which peaked during the most global phase of civilization, is the section of capital that most fuels the crisis. The political and military component of the financial capital monopoly is the intensive war on society. This is what is being experienced on many fronts around the world. Determining what political and economic formations might arise from the world system’s structural crisis requires intellectual, political, and moral work not prophecy.
During the financial capital era, the pinnacle of the virtual capital monopoly of capitalist modernity, society is at risk of disintegrating as never before in history. The political and moral fabric of society has been smashed, leading to a social phenomenon that even goes beyond genocide: “societycide.” Virtual capital’s domination of the media provides it with a weapon for executing a societycide worse than that of World War II. Up against the cannons of nationalism, religionism, sexism, scientism, and artism (sports, soap operas, etc.), with which the society is being battered twenty-four hours a day by the media, how can the society be defended?
Media are effective in society like a second analytical intelligence. Just as analytical intelligence is neither good nor bad, in and of itself, media too is a neutral tool. Just as with any weapon, whoever is using it determines the role it plays. Just as hegemonic powers always possess the most effective weapons in the literal sense, they also have the dominant control over the media as a weapon. Because they use media as a second analytical intelligence, they can very effectively neutralize society’s power to resist. With this weapon, they are building a virtual society. Virtual society is another form of societycide. You could also consider the nation-state a form of societycide. In both cases, society is prevented from being itself and transformed into a tool of the controlling monopoly. Just as it is very dangerous to treat social nature simplistically, preventing it from being itself exposes it to unclear dangers. The age of the virtual monopoly, like the financial capital age, is only possible in a society that has ceased to be itself. Thus, it is no coincidence that both appeared during the same period, since they are linked. The society (thinking it is the nation-state) that the nation-state has deprived from being itself and that the media has seduced is a totally defeated society. From the rubble of societies like this the hegemonic powers are building something new. There can be no doubt that this is the social age in which we find ourselves.
We are not only living in the most problematic societies to date but in societies that offer nothing to individuals. Our societies have not only lost their moral and political fabric, their very existence is under threat. Our societies are not just experiencing some random problem; they face the threat of destruction. If the problems of our age continue to grow and become more profound and cancerous, despite the effectiveness of science, societycide is not just a hypothesis—it is a real danger. The claim that the rule of the nation-state protects society creates a huge illusion and only makes this danger gradually come true. Society is not only facing problems, but its own destruction.
Society’s Moral and Political Problem
I am aware of the dangers that result from partitioning the social problem into individual problems. This methodological approach developed by Eurocentric science using analytical reason unconditionally may seem to have led to some achievements, but the danger of losing the totality of truth cannot be underestimated. I will, nonetheless, use this methodology, always bearing in mind its flaws and the risk that comes with treating a singular social problem as if it were a series of discrete “problems.” And in the epistemology section I will discuss other approaches.
There is a reason for power and the state to be the first social problems addressed, not least because they are at the main source of all social problems. The power and state relations and apparatuses, which, with all their gravity, initially became effective over the society, and since the sixteenth century within society, essentially function to prepare a weakened society, deprived of its ability to defend itself, for monopoly exploitation. This makes it important to define the role of power and the state correctly. Describing power and the state as no more than the totality of the apparatuses and relations of coercion is seriously inadequate. I believe that the most important role played by these apparatuses is to leave society weak and deprive it of its ability to defend itself, by ensuring that society’s moral and political fabric, i.e., its very means of “existence,” is continuously weakened until it can no longer play its role. Society cannot maintain its existence if it cannot form the key areas of morality and politics.
The fundamental role of morality is to equip society with the rules necessary to continue existing and provide the capacity to implement them. Any society that loses the rules governing its existence and the ability to implement them becomes nothing but a herd of animals—and can then be easily abused and exploited. The role of politics, on the other hand, is to provide society with the necessary moral rules and, through a process of continuous discussion, to decide on the means and methods needed to meet society’s fundamental material and intellectual needs. Social politics leads to a more lively and open-minded society by continuously developing discussion and the decision-making skills necessary to meet these needs; this constitutes society’s most essential area of existence, giving it the ability to govern itself and handle its own affairs. A society without politics will slip and slide from one extreme to another, running around like a chicken with its head cut off before its death. The most effective way to leave a society dysfunctional and weak is to deprive it of politics (including its capacity to develop politics, the Islamic term is sharia),17 an imperative factor for the discussion and decision-making necessary for existence and for meeting fundamental material and immaterial needs. Nothing could be worse for society.
This is why, historically, power and the state apparatuses and relations have always instituted “law” in place of social morality and imposed “state administration” in place of social politics at the first opportunity. The fundamental duty of power and the state is to prevent society from using its moral and political power, the two fundamental strategies for its existence, and to replace them with law and rulers at all times. This is necessary to ensure the accumulation of capital and the monopoly of exploitation. Every page of the five-thousand-year-old history of civilization overflows with examples of how to break society’s moral and political capacity and replace it with law and administration by the capital monopolies. This is the history of civilization at its bluntest and with its true motives, and, if it is to be meaningful, it must be written correctly from this point of view. This is the truth hidden at the heart of every social conflict throughout history. Will society live by its own morality and politics or be turned into a herd subjugated to law and to the administration imposed by unrestrained exploitative monopolies? When I say the main source of problems is the unreasonable cancerous growth of power and state law and administration, that is what I mean.
It may be beneficial to elaborate on another issue. When hierarchy is established for the first time and “experience” and “expertise” become important for the benefit of society, whether we call them state or authority, we expect them to be beneficial. The fact that society has not regarded the state and authority (power) as entirely negative is presumably due to these expected benefits. Society expects experience and expertise from the state and authority, believing this will facilitate its affairs. These two factors are the reasons why society puts up with the continued existence of the state. Not everyone has the necessary experience or an area of expertise. Throughout history the state and authority have taken advantage of this legitimate expectation to staff its administration with people who are the most clumsy, inexperienced, and lacking in expertise. As a result, administration became an arena of scheming rather than one that implemented the law, for dawdling instead of providing work based on expertise. The terrible degeneration and disasters we are witnessing are closely linked to this huge distortion and eversion.
The bourgeoisie, an expression of the cancerous development of the middle class, has historically placed itself at the center of society, at its “core,” and presented its most selfish interests as “law” and its most degenerate methods as “constitutional administration,” and to do so it has multiplied power and the state, divided into an unlimited number of “apparatuses” and so-called areas of expertise. This has been a total disaster. Society jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. The far-reaching liberal perspective that developed—the bourgeois refined reason—on topics such as the “republic,” “democracy,” “downsizing the administration,” and “restrictions on power and the state” not only conceals the truth but is imbued with contradictions. The bourgeois middle class no longer has the ability that it had in antiquity to downsize the administration and restrict power and the state by developing a constitution, a republic, and a democracy. It is the material structure of the middle class and its way of existence that render these noble concepts dysfunctional. If the society could not sustain a king or a dynasty in antiquity, how is it supposed to sustain the burden of an unlimited bourgeois apparatus and the accompanying bourgeois family and dynasty? I intentionally use the term “bourgeois family and dynasty,” because they both stem from the same source. The bourgeoisie got its art of administration and rules from the nobility and monarchy that preceded it. It has no capacity for self-creation. The cancerous effect of power and state relations on society stems from the class nature of the middle class, which is imbued with fascism.
Consequently, one of the most fundamental problems is that the bourgeoisie cripples and renders society’s moral and political fabric dysfunctional. Obviously, the moral and political fabric of society cannot be completely eliminated. As long as society exists, so shall morality and politics. But because power and the state are no longer areas of expertise and experience, morality and politics can no longer fulfill their creative and functional capacity. It is crystal clear that nowadays power and the state apparatus and relations (such as media, intelligence services and specialized operational units, ideological teachings, etc.) have infiltrated every nook and cranny of society, stifling it. Society has fallen so far that it no longer recognizes itself and can no longer implement any of its moral principles, engage in any political discussion about its most basic needs, or make any decisions (the essence of democratic politics). In addition, the fact that “global corporations,” the “past-eternity and post-eternity” monopolies—the much discussed and true ruling powers of our times—have experienced the greatest capital boom in history in this era is closely linked to the fact that society has been put in this position. Without the decay and fragmentation of society, it would not be possible to earn money from money by virtual means, which is to say, without involving in any way the means of production. The profits made by the monopolies throughout history and today’s exorbitant profits made without working, as if money grew on trees, are attained by extracting from society’s existence and brainpower, because, in fact, “money does not grow on trees”!
I must emphasize that it is not only the unlimited expansion of power and the state apparatus and relations that puts society in this position. The media is the other key effective source of hegemony, facilitating the ideological conquest of the society. Society cannot be brought down by the imposition of power and the state apparatus and relations alone; it needs to be stupefied with distractions like nationalism, religionism, scientism, and the industrialization of the arts and sports in particular. In the absence of virtual global corporations (i.e., financial capital, or money-capital, is meant here), the historical monopolies would be unable to prevent society from being itself and to subject it to unlimited exploitation—to the point of societycide.
Society’s Mentality Problem
As we’ve established, one of the primary conditions for opening up a society to exploitation is to deprive it of morality and politics, which requires the collapse of society’s mentality—the intellectual basis of society’s moral and political fabric. This is why, throughout history, the rulers and the exploitative monopolies have first and foremost constructed “hegemony over mentality” to attain their goals, for example, the way the Sumerian priests first built the temple (ziggurat) to increase the productivity of Sumerian society, i.e., opened it up to exploitation. It is quite important to bear in mind the function of the Sumerian temple, as this (with its ongoing effects) is the oldest known example of distorting and conquering the social mindset.
I have emphasized that social nature is formed by the most flexible mental structures. If we do not truly apprehend that society is the most intelligent nature, we cannot develop a meaningful sociology. Therefore, tyrants, rulers, and the crafty make it their fundamental duty to undermine society’s intelligence and capacity to think, making the original monopoly the monopoly of mentality, i.e., the temple. This original temple had two functions. First, it was a tool for intellectual domination, a hegemonic tool of the utmost importance. Second, it was the best tool for severing society from its essential intellectual values.
The concept of society’s own mentality needs to be well understood. When a human being first picked up the stone and stick, it was the result of thought. What we have here is not instinct but the first seeds of analytical thought. As experience was accumulated, society developed, which, in essence, was the result of this concentration of thought. The more experience a society gained and the more focused this thought became, the more ability and strength it gained, with the result that it was better able to feed, defend, and reproduce itself. This process clarifies for us what social development is and why it is so important. Once society constantly makes itself think, its moral tradition—common sense or conscience—that is its collective thought begins to take shape. Morality is the greatest treasure of a society, and therein lies its central importance. It is the fundamental organ for accumulating experience and the reason a society survives, sustaining and further developing its life. Because of its life experience, any society understands full well that if it loses its moral base, it will crumble. To a certain degree, every society has a sharp, deep-seated instinct about the centrality of morality for its survival. In the old clan and tribal societies, the punishment for not abiding by moral rules was death or being banished from society and left to die. “Honor crimes,” which still continue in the most distorted ways, are rooted in these moral rules.
While morality represents the tradition of collective thought, the function of politics is a little different. Discussing and making decisions about daily collective affairs requires the power of thought. Politics is necessary to daily creative thinking. Society knows very well that without morality, the source and accumulated thought, there can be neither political thought nor practical politics. Politics is an indispensable area of action for daily collective affairs (serving society’s common good). When there are differences of opinion or even objectionable ideas, discussion is the key to making decisions about society’s affairs. A society that lacks politics either adheres herdlike to rules imposed by others or loses all sense of direction, as in the example of the chicken with its head cut off. The power of thought is not a superstructural institution; it is society’s brain with morality and politics as its organs.
Society’s other organ is, of course, the temple as a sacred site. This temple is not the temple of hegemonic power (hierarchy and state), but society’s own sacred site. Society’s sacred site has a place of honor in archeological discoveries. It is perhaps the most important structure that has survived into the present. This isn’t incidental. Society’s first sacred site is the location of its past, its ancestry, its identity, and what is common to them. It is the site of collective remembrance and worship. It is the place of self-remembering, a sign of creating something rich for the future, and an important reason for being together. Society was aware that if the temple was built in a place that was remarkable, splendid, and worth living in, then it would be better able to symbolize society and would have greater value. For this reason, splendor was displayed most at temples. The temple—as can be seen from the Sumerian example—was also the laborers’ living quarters and the storage site of means of production, which is to say, it was the locus of collective work. It was not only a place of worship but also of collective discussion and decision-making. It was a political center, the home of craftspeople, and the site of inventions. It was where architects and scholars tested their skills. It was the first example of an academy. Not surprisingly, temples in ancient times were also centers of prophecy. All these factors and many more are what make the temple important. It would be entirely reasonable to call this institution the ideological core of society’s mentality.
The megaliths found amid the ruins in Urfa are twelve thousand years old. When this temple was constructed the agricultural revolution had not yet occurred. But it is clear that the stone carvings and the erection of t-shaped stone pillars required advanced skills and, thus, an advanced society. Who were they? How did they talk, feed themselves, and reproduce? How did they think, and what were their customs? How did they provide for themselves? We do not yet have answers to these questions. The only traces that remain are the megaliths and what are most likely the ruins of a temple. Since ordinary peasants today would not be able to carve and erect stone pillars like these, the people who did this and their society were clearly no more backward than today’s peasants and village communities. We can only make assumptions about such issues. Although distorted, the sacred nature of Urfa may be like a flowing river filtered through a tradition that predates written history. This is why I am not discussing the existence and importance of the social temple but the hegemonic temple’s existence and its key function.
Egyptian priests played at least as big a role as Sumerian priests in the formation of the hegemonic temples, and Indian Brahmins didn’t lag behind the Egyptian priests. The temples of the Far East were in no way inferior to the Sumerian and Egyptian temples. South American temples also played a hegemonic role. The youth were not sacrificed in these temples on a whim. The dominant temples of all the eras of civilization served hegemony—like copies of the original. The main function of these centers was to prepare society to serve the rulers. The military wing of the monopoly sowed terror by severing opponents’ heads and using their skulls to build castles and ramparts, while the spiritual wing completed the job by conquering minds, and both served important roles in enslaving communities. One generated fear, while the other convinced. Who can deny the continuity of this aspect of civilized society stretching back thousands of years?
European hegemonic civilization changed its form in this respect dramatically. But it preserved its essence. This change was not sufficient for the gigantic nation-state apparatuses that encompassed society, so they took steps to make society, whose very core they penetrated, dependent on them. What the centers for forming mentality, such as the universities, academies, colleges, high schools, primary schools, and preschools, begin, the churches, synagogues, and mosques complement and the military barracks refine. Is this anything short of the conquest, occupation, and assimilation of the remains of society’s mindset, its moral and political fabric? When certain esteemed commentators claim that turning society into the multitudes amounts to turning the people into herds, they are not, in fact, talking nonsense. Furthermore, the memory of how such a colonization of the mind leads to fascist society is still fresh. The bloodbath of our recent past too is the outcome of this conquest of mentality.
It doesn’t hurt to repeat that if you are the one waving the icons of nationalism, religionism, sexism, sportism, artism (the industrialization of the arts) you move society—or, rather, the herd—toward your desired target. The conquest of the mind is what opened society to the current dominant global financial capital. No use of force would have been as effective. Yet again, we should salute the Sumerian priests and the temples they invented! You were such great conquerors that five thousand years later your current representatives, in today’s temples, can generate the largest accumulation of capital in history without lifting a finger! Even the most powerful images of gods and their shadows (Zillullah) could not yield as much profit.18 Therefore, the continuous and cumulative accumulation of capital is not an empty concept. Distorting the intellect is not a simple operation. Dr. Hikmet Kıvılcımlı,19 and the Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci, defined hegemonic conquest similarly while they were in prison during the nation-states’ glory days. What both Gramsci and Kıvılcımlı knew was based on their experiences. I too, at the end of the day, am a “prisoner” of global capital. Failure to recognize it correctly in my own mind (identity) would be a betrayal of the very mind of society.
Society’s Economic Problem
When there is a talk of economic problems, I always think of ant colonies. If small creatures like ants have no economic problems (since economy for each living being is about food), then how can creatures like human beings, with such advanced reason and experience, have serious economic problems or such an embarrassing situation as unemployment? Is there anything in nature that human beings, with their intelligence, cannot turn into work? The problem definitely has nothing to do with the natural functioning of things or the environment. The arrant wolf of humanity lies within it.20 All economic problems, foremost unemployment, are linked to capitalization of society.
No doubt, Marx’s analysis of capital is valuable. He tries to explain unemployment during periods of crisis. But sadly, the disease of positivism caught him in a very bad way, and the disease of scientism prevented him from a more profound analysis of historical-society. What I am trying to do is to show that capital is not the economy; on the contrary, it is the most effective tool for undermining the economy. I say this primarily because profit and capital have never been the goal of society’s development and, thus, never had a place within society, as such. A rich and prosperous society is conceivable; morality and politics leave room for this. But when society suffers from need and unemployment, focusing on wealth and capital goes beyond being a crime; it is associated with societycide. We see civilization as an entanglement of problems, because it rests on the monopoly of capital.
When Rosa Luxemburg connected capital accumulation to the existence of noncapitalist society,21 she was wandering at the edge of a very important truth. Had she walked right in, she would have concluded that capital accumulation is not simply dependent upon the existence of a non-capitalist society, this accumulation is also made possible through seizure of society’s values, by bloodsucking ticks. She would have seen that the worker has become an accomplice, drinking a drop of the blood that is his share. Let me be clear, I do not deny the worker’s labor, but the formation of capital is only dependent on the worker’s labor to a very small extent, and when considered philosophically, historically, and socially, this small extent also loses its meaning. Current ecological problems make it increasingly clear that industrialism is a tool for usury at the expense of society and the environment. No person with knowledge and understanding can deny that business managers and skilled laborers have become society’s most privileged strata, with an equivalent snowballing growth of unemployment as its counterpart. The advanced industrial strata, the monopolistic commercial and financial strata—i.e., capital monopolies with their “multi-stakeholder partnerships”—have further rendered the concept of worker meaningless. It is important to acknowledge that the worker has been reduced to a belt that ties society to the monopoly of capital. Just as real socialism, or state capitalism, is a system that rests on the “concessionist worker,” classic private capitalism also has its concessionist workers. They have always existed in society side by side. The remaining society, the noncapitalist society, is what Rosa Luxemburg was thinking about.
What we are discussing here, if one notices, is a distinction made between capitalist and noncapitalist. For Luxemburg both are forms of society. I see it differently. I see capitalism not as a form of society but as an extensive network, an organization that has established itself above society and extorts surplus value, drains the economy, generates unemployment, amalgamates with power and the state, and uses the powerful tools of ideological hegemony. Recently, the concessionist workers have become a part of this organization. I hope to dispense with a number of misunderstandings by defining the essence of the monopolistic network. Above all, I hope to uncover the trap implicit in the concept of “capitalist society.” Defining capitalist monopoly as a society is excessively gracious. Capital might form networks and organizational networks. Indeed, even the mafia must be seen as a gainful network of capital. The only reason that the network of capital is not called the mafia is because of its hegemonic power over society and its relations with the official power. Otherwise, it too would have remained nothing but a network, lacking even the ethics of the mafia.
I must add that I do not consider the medium-sized industrialists, merchants, or farmers capitalists. They are social strata that, for the most part, try to produce to meet genuine economic needs, even if they are being squeezed by capital from every direction. In addition, I do not consider exchange of small goods at the market capitalism or those who produce these goods at their small shops capitalists. Obviously, various professions cannot be considered capitalist. All workers who are not concessionist, peasants, students, civil servants, craftspeople, children, and women form the backbone of society. I aim to develop a definition of noncapitalist society. When I speak of noncapitalist society, unlike most Marxists, I don’t mean a society that is defined as feudal, or one in which the Asiatic mode of production prevails, or one that is semifeudal. I am convinced that these concepts conceal rather than reveal the truth. Furthermore, my analysis not only addresses the capital networks that were centralized in Europe after sixteenth century but all of the capital networks (commercial, political, military, ideological, agricultural, and industrial monopolies) that have extorted surplus value throughout history.22 It doesn’t take a lot of study to see that present-day global financial capital verifies this analysis in striking ways.
It is essential that the anticapital character of social nature is recognized. Throughout its millennia-long march, society has always been aware of the highly corrupting nature of capital accumulation. For example, almost every religion has condemned usury—one of the most effective methods of capital accumulation.
It is not enough to say that capital is currently developing a massive growth of unemployment to create cheap and flexible labor force. While this is partially true, the main reason is that capital constrains society to profit-oriented activities. However, activity for the sake of profit and capital does not meet society’s fundamental needs. If the production to feed the population does not create profit, then even if society wallows in poverty and starves to death—indeed millions of people are currently living and dying in just such conditions—capital will not budge. If a small portion of the capital available was invested in agriculture, the problem of hunger could be eliminated. But, instead, capital is continuously dismantling and destroying agriculture, because the profit ratio in agriculture is negligible to nil. As long as capitalists can earn huge sums of money from money, they will never think of agriculture. Such thinking would be meaningless to capital. In the past, the state as a monopoly considerably subsidized agricultural producers, receiving produce or money taxes in return. The present capital markets have rendered such state activities inconsequential. As a result, states that consider contributing to agriculture face bankruptcy.
This means, therefore, the increasing unemployment and impoverishment of the main body of society is not the outcome of capital’s temporary policies but, in fact, stems from its structural characteristics. Even if people agree to work for the lowest possible wages, society’s unemployment problem cannot be solved, as simple observation should make clear, even without further investigation. Let me say it one more time: we cannot free society from unemployment and poverty without abolishing policies and systems of maximum profit based on surplus value.
For example, why is there such widespread unemployment, hunger, and poverty in the Mesopotamian meadows that mothered Neolithic society for fifteen thousand years and nourished numerous societies through the ages? With a nonprofit production initiative, even by today’s standards these meadows could feed twenty-five million people. Thus, what these people and meadows need is not the hand of capital that prevents work, but for that hand (whether private or state), which is the sole reason for unemployment, hunger, and poverty, to leave them alone. The only thing needed is to link the land with the hand of the true laborer, which would require a revolution in society’s mindset. This, in turn, would mean social morality and politics resuming their function as the fundamental structures, or organs, of society. For this to happen, democratic politics must rush to this task with all its heart, soul, and real brains.
Society’s Industrialism Problem
The Industrial Revolution, which was as important as the agricultural revolution, has carried on with ups and downs, experiencing a qualitative leap in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, based on thousands of years of accumulation. It is impossible to guess where, when, and how it will stop or be stopped. This revolution has a characteristic akin to analytical reason; it is, in fact, the product of this reason. And it is under the absolute domination of capital. There is no doubt, however, capital itself is not the creator of most industrial tools. However, capital has focused on turning them into profitable tools and taken possession of those it considers essential. Cheap mass production offers a major opportunity for the development of society. As with reason, industry that served society’s needs would be valuable. The problem is not with industry itself but with the way it is used. Industry is like the nuclear option. When it is used by the monopolies it can be an unparalleled threat to life, portending both ecological disaster and war. Indeed, its use for making profit has become increasingly evident, accelerating environmental destruction. Industry is rapidly moving society toward virtual society. Humans are increasingly being replaced by robotics. If this continues, it will not be long before humans themselves are redundant.
There is consensus that the current state of the environment not only threatens society but all life on earth. I must emphatically stress that holding industry solely responsible for this would be an aberration. On its own, industry is neutral. An industry in harmony with society’s existence can play a decisive role in developing the world into a third nature, not only for humans but for all lifeforms. It is possible, and if it were the case, we might even consider industry a blessing. But when industry is controlled by capital and is profit-driven, it can make the world hell for all of humanity except a handful of monopolists. In fact, that seems pretty much to be our current situation. Humanity is undeniably extremely alarmed by the current course of events. The industrial monopoly has established genuine empires ruling over society. For a single US hegemon, there are tens of industrial hegemons. Even if political and military hegemons could be stopped, the industrial hegemons couldn’t be easily halted, because they are now global. If a country serving as the center begins to become precarious, then another location and/or country can be turned into the center. Who is to say that one of the US’s industrial empires won’t choose China as its center tomorrow? Why not, if the conditions are more suitable? We can see that this is gradually becoming an option.
Industrialism shot agriculture in the heart. Agriculture, a necessity if human society is to exist, faces rampant destruction at the hands of industry. This sacred activity, which has nurtured humanity for the past fifteen thousand years, was left adrift, and preparations are now being made to turn it over to industrial domination. Contrary to popular opinion, the involvement of profit and capital driven industry in agriculture is not an opportunity for mass production. The industrial monopolies’ use of genetically modified seeds is making the soil like a mother bearing a child by artificial insemination. Just as healthy pregnancy and maternity are not possible through all kinds of artificial intervention, it is also not healthy to inseminate the soil with genetically modified seeds. Industrial monopolies are preparing to engage in just such madness in relation to agriculture. Humanity will, and has even begun to, experience its worst counterrevolution in the agricultural area. The soil and agriculture are not just any mode of production or relationship; they are inseparable existential aspects of society that cannot to be tampered with. Human society is primarily built on the basis of the soil and agriculture. Detaching it from this space and production would be a huge blow to its existence. The cancerous growth of the cities has already begun to clearly exhibit this danger. Liberation would probably largely mean moving in the opposite direction: from the city back to the soil and agriculture. I imagine the main slogan of this movement would be something like: “either agriculture and soil for existence or extinction.” The drive for profit and capital do not allow for industry to unite with the soil and agriculture and link them together by a friendly and symbiotic relationship but instead piles up enormous contradictions and creates hostility between them.
The class, ethnic, national, and ideological contradictions within society may lead to conflict and war, but they are not impossible to resolve. They are constructed by the human hand and they can be dismantled by the human hand. However, humans cannot keep the conflict between industry, and the soil and agriculture under control, because industry is the tool of capital. The soil and agriculture arose ecologically over millions of years. If they degenerate they cannot be reconstructed by the human hand. Just as manufacturing soil is impossible, agricultural products or other living beings, including plants, are not likely to be created by humans at this point. This is not something we can expect. This potential has been fulfilled in the realization of the human being. It is neither meaningful nor possible to repeat what has already occurred. This is a profound philosophical issue, so I won’t delve into it too deeply here.
However, just as the pharaohs tried unsuccessfully to prepare for the future with their pyramidic mausoleums, industrialism will also prove unable to create a future where life is worth living with its robotization. Its very approach is disrespectful to human beings. With so magnificent an entity as nature, how meaningful and important can robots or copies of the natural world possibly be? We are once again confronted with capital’s mad drive for profit. Let us assume that robots offer the cheapest form of production. If there are no humans to use them, what good would they be? This aspect of industrialism is the main source of unemployment and is capital’s major weapon against society’s productivity. Capital uses industry as a weapon to manipulate the market both by employing the fewest possible workers and by enforcing price cuts. Monopolistic prices cause crises (of overproduction)—the main factor behind unemployment. Rotting goods and millions of unemployed, starving, and poor people are the victims of these crises.
Social nature can only be sustained by a tight connection with the environment, which is the product of millions of years and a favorable setting. No industrial creation can replace the environment, which is the fantastic creation of the universe. Land, air, sea, and space traffic have already reached disastrous levels. Industry constantly consumes fossil fuels, poisoning the environment and undermining the climate. The payoff for these disasters is a mere two hundred years of profit accumulation. Is this accumulation worth all the destruction, which is far greater than the sum of the destruction rendered in all of history’s wars, with the loss of lives greater than the sum of total of lives previously lost to human violence, natural disasters, and all other causes?
Industrialism, as a monopolistic ideology and tool, is one of society’s fundamental problems. It should be deeply questioned, and the danger it gives rise to is sufficient reason to do so. If this monster continues to grow and gets out of control, it will make any examination and possible safeguards “too little, too late.” If we are to prevent society from ceasing to be itself and becoming a virtual society, now is the time to take this monster from the hands of monopolies, first to make it harmless, and then to make it a friend of society.
As we struggle against industrialism, there is a need to distinguish between monopoly’s ideological approach to industrial technology and the way it is currently used and a form of industrial technology that is in harmony with the general interests of society. This is the most important aspect of any scientific work done and of any ideological struggle. Groups that claim to struggle against industrialism as humanists (philanthropists) independent of social and class issues cannot be expected to produce anything relevant. These groups cannot avoid coming into conflict with their own goals and ultimately rendering a service to industrialism as a monopoly. Contrary to popular belief, industrialism has an ideological, militaristic, and class-based character, with science and technology as the material form of its ideology. In fact, it represents the most dangerous dimensions of existing science and technology. The industrial monster did not appear entirely of its own volition. Let’s remember that when the English bourgeoisie embarked on its historical imperialist project on the island, on continental Europe, and around the world, it was this class that organized most quickly to make the most comprehensive possible use of industrialism. Later industrialism became a common weapon of the bourgeoisie in every country. This is evident given that bourgeois domination around the world materialized at the point where industrial development—part of the triad of finance, trade, and industry—marked the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
By declaring noncapitalist society reactionary and entering a strategic alliance with the industrial bourgeoisie the real socialist movement unconsciously but completely contradicted its own goals, leading to a more tragic outcome than that experienced by any other movement that has objectively fallen into betrayal. One example would be Christianity, which was a religion of peace for three hundred years, and then entered into an alliance with power and the state, leading it to objectively, and for the most part consciously, contradict and betray its own goals. The point is that Christianity also came into conflict with its initial goal, because it gravitated toward the monopoly of power and, as a result, could not escape becoming a civilization religion. In Islam, this happened while Mohammad was still alive. In the end, they all ultimately succumbed to the power industry.
While today all of humanity is crying out against environmental destruction, as if the judgment day were near, it is important to understand the historical, social, and class dimensions of the devastation caused by industrialism in the light of similar movements, to take up the struggle against industrialism as a society’s movement of existence, and to inevitably wage a struggle in the style of a new sacred religious movement. Just as it is impossible to fight fire with fire, life lived in the swamp of industrialism must be questioned and abandoned if we are to wage an ecological struggle. If we do not wish to live new tragedies like those of Christianity, Islam, and real socialism, then we need to learn the lessons they offer and approach scientific-ideological and moral-political struggle correctly.
Society’s Ecological Problem
Clearly the problem of industrialism is both part of the ecological problem and its essential source. Thus, there is a risk of repetition as we assess this fundamental problem under a different heading. But the ecological problem makes more sense than the problem of industrialism, because it is a social and problematic issue. Although the concept encompasses environmental science, it is essentially a scientific analysis of the tight relationship between social development and its environment. It basically became an issue of concern when environmental problems raised the alarm about a rapidly approaching disaster. A branch of research arose as a result, although not entirely without undesirable implications. Because, like industrialism, the ecological problems were not created by society but are the latest feat of the monopolies of the civilization—a comprehensive problem that encompasses history and is now number one on the agenda of the world—and society.
Perhaps no other problem has been either as severe or as important for revealing the true face of profit and capital systems (organized networks) and putting them on the humanity’s agenda as the ecological problem. The balance sheet of the civilization system of profit and capital (the sum of all military, economic, commercial, and religious monopolies throughout history) is not only the disintegration of society in every respect (immorality, lack of politics, unemployment, inflation, prostitution, etc.) but also the far-reaching threat faced by all life-forms and by the environment. What could prove more strikingly that monopolism is anti-society?
Although human society’s intelligence and flexibility mean that it is recognized as of the highest nature in comparison to all the other living beings, in the final analysis, it too is a living entity. It is of this earth, the product of a very precisely regulated climatic environment and the evolution of the flora and fauna. Our world’s atmosphere and climate and the plant and animal world are essential for human society as well, given that it constitutes the total sum of all. These worlds are highly sensitive and are closely connected. They are in essence a chain, and just as a chain ceases to work when one of its links is broken, when an important link in the evolutionary chain is broken, all of evolution is inevitably affected. Ecology is the science of these developments, and that’s what makes it important. Humans can always reregulate the internal order of society, because social reality is a human creation, but the same is not true of the environment. If important environmental links are broken as a result of the actions of some groups organized around the profit and capital monopoly operating above the society from which it emerged, evolutionary disasters in a chain-like reaction might expose the environment and society to mass destruction.
Let’s remember that the environmental links are the result of millions of years of evolution. The general destruction of the last five thousand years, the last two hundred in particular, has broken thousands of these evolutionary links in record time. We are witnessing the beginning of a chain reaction that threatens a final breakdown. No one has any idea how to stop it. The atmospheric pollution created by carbon dioxide and other gases will take hundreds, even thousands, of years to clean up. We are probably not yet fully aware of the devastation this has caused the plant and animal world. It is, however, clear that, like the atmosphere, both of these worlds are steadily emitting SOS signals. The pollution of the seas and rivers, as well as desertification, hover at the edge of disaster. Nonetheless, everything suggests that the end of the world will not occur as a result of the disruption of the natural balance but at the hands of some groups organized in networks. Of course, nature will inevitably respond, because it is alive and has an intelligence of its own and a limit to what it will endure. It will resist when the time and place are right, and when we arrive at that time and place, it will show us no mercy. We will all be held responsible for betraying the skills and values bestowed upon us. Is this not what the end of the world will look like?
I don’t intend to add anything to the already existing disaster scenarios; but, according to our abilities, each of us must do and say what is necessary as responsible members of society. This is our responsibility and our moral and political duty, the very reason for our existence.
Throughout human history much has been said about the fate of Nimrods and pharaohs who withdrew to their castles and pyramids—for obvious reasons. Each of these Nimrods and pharaohs, whether as individuals or as an order, was a monopoly that laid claim to divinity. They were, in fact, the most sublime example of capital monopolies chasing profit during antiquity. Oh, how they resemble the monopolies that have withdrawn to the shopping malls in the cities! There are, of course, differences between them, but their essence remains the same. Despite their magnificence, castles and pyramids cannot compete with the present-day shopping malls, certainly not in numbers. The historical Nimrods and pharaohs don’t total more than a few hundred. But the number of contemporary Nimrods and pharaohs is already in the hundreds of thousands. In ancient times, humanity was unable to endure the weight of a few Nimrods and pharaohs and complained bitterly. How much longer will it be able to endure the hundreds of thousands of them who have inflicted upon us far-reaching environmental devastation and the disintegration of society? How will it soothe the pain and agony of the war, unemployment, hunger, and poverty they have caused?
In the light of evolutionary development, these facts must be emphasized, as they clarify what we mean when we talk about historical-society as a totality. Are these facts somehow trivial and insignificant?
The science of capitalist modernity, with its positivist structure, was quite self-confident. It assumed major factual discoveries were everything. It regarded absolute truth to be a superficial knowledge of facts. It was sure that we had entered the age of infinite development. How are we to interpret its inability to see the environmental disaster under its nose? How are we to understand the fact that it was unable to address and remedy the social disasters of the last four hundred years, which exceed in sum all previous historical disasters, including, most notably, war? Let’s put aside the prevention of war, which is power that has infiltrated into all the nooks and crannies of society. How do we explain the fact that science has been unable to correctly evaluate this as the case? It is clear that science, especially during the era when the dominant monopolies were at the peak of their hegemony, did not, as expected, answer these questions, because it came under the most intense ideological siege and structurally conformed in the way that best served the system. Science, whose structure, goal, and manner are announced and organized to legitimize the system, has proven to be even less effective than religion. However, it is also clear that if science is not ideological it cannot exist. It is essential that we recognize the knowledge and science that are the ideology of a certain society and class and hence determine our positions accordingly. If ecology, as one of the newer sciences, positions itself correctly within this framework it can provide the ideal capacity for resolving not only the environmental problem but also those of social nature.
Social Sexism, the Family, Women, and the Population Problem
The perception of women as a biologically different sex tops the list of the fundamental factors that result in complete blindness to social reality. The existence of different sexes in itself does not cause any social problem. Just as the duality in each particle in the universe is not seen as a problem, the duality in human existence should not be treated as a problem. The answer to the question “Why is existence dual?” can only be philosophical. Ontological analysis may search for a response to this question (not problem). My response is: the existence of a being is impossible in the absence of duality. Duality is what makes existence possible. Even if women and men were not as they are but were asexual (without a counterpart), they would not have escaped this duality. This is what androgyny must be. We should not be surprised. However, dualities always tend toward different formations, and proof of universal intelligence (Geist) can also be sought in this tendency to dualism. Neither part of the duality can ever be good or bad. It can only be, and must be, different. If dualities become identical, existence ceases. For example, you also cannot resolve the question of the reproduction of social being with just two women or just two men. Therefore, the question “Why women or men?” is pointless. Any response would ultimately be philosophical in nature: “It is because the universe needs to be/has to be/has a tendency to be/has the intellect to be/desires to be formed as such.”
Therefore, it is not only meaningful to examine women as the point of concentration of social relations; it is, at the same time, very important for addressing and overcoming the entangled social problems. Because the dominant male view has become effectively immune to challenge, breaking down the blindness about women is like splitting the atom; it requires a great intellectual effort and the smashing of the dominant masculinity. In relation to women, it is necessary to unravel and demolish the socially constructed woman—this construction has been transformed into something almost existential—to an equal degree. The disappointment encountered in the failure to implement the utopia, program, and principles underlies the success and failure of all struggles—for freedom and equality, as well as democracy, morals, politics, and class-based struggles. This disappointment carries the traces of the relationship of domination (power) between men and women that has not been destroyed. It is this relationship that lies at the root of all of the relations that maintain diverse inequalities, enslavement, despotism, fascism, and militarism. If we want to validate concepts like equality, freedom, democracy, and socialism in a way that won’t prove a disappointment, we need to disentangle and tear apart the web of relations around women that are as old as the relationship between society and nature. There is no other road to true freedom, equality (in diversity), democracy, and a non-hypocritical morality.
Ever since the emergence of hierarchy, sexism has been the ideology of power. It is closely linked to class division and the rise of power. All the archeological and anthropological evidence, along with current research and observation, indicates that there have been extended periods over a long term when women were the source of authority. This authority was not the authority of power based on surplus product. On the contrary, it stemmed from productivity and fertility and was a form of authority that served to strengthen social existence. Emotional intelligence, which has more influence on women, has strong ties to this existence. That women are not distinct participants in power struggles based on surplus product is related to their emotional intelligence and the nature of their social existence.
Historical findings and current observations clearly show the leading male role in the development of power linked to the hierarchical state order. For this, it was necessary to overcome and smash women’s authority, which was substantial until the final stage of Neolithic society. Again, historical findings and current observations verify that major struggles, differing in length and form, were waged to achieve this. Sumerian mythology in particular, is quite illuminating in this regard, almost acting as the memory of historical and social nature.
The history of civilization is also the history of women’s defeat and disappearance. This history is the history of the consolidation of the male dominant personality, with its gods and servants, emperor and subjects, economy, science, and arts. The defeat and disappearance of women is a major defeat that indicates the decline of society. Sexist society is the result of this defeat and decline. The sexist male was so willing to construct his social domination over women that he turned all normal contact into a display of domination. Even a biological phenomenon like sexual intercourse was turned into a consistent nexus of power relations. Men approach sexual contact with women as if they are scoring a victory. This is so deeply ingrained that it has given rise to numerous euphemisms and insults: “I got my end,” “I finished her off,” “her belly should never lack a colt and her back some lashes,” “if you leave it to your daughter, she will run off with the drummer,”23 “bitch,” “whore,” “marry her off immediately,” or “a girl like a boy.” This clearly shows how influential the relationship between sexuality and power is in society. Even today, it is a sociological fact that every man has countless rights over women, including the “right to kill.” These “rights” are acted on every day. Relationships between men and women are overwhelmingly characterized by harassment and rape.
Within this social context, the family is built as man’s small state. In the history of civilization, the institution called the family has been continuously refined due to the great force it gives to power and the state apparatuses. To begin with, the family centered around the man gained power and became the stem cell of state society. Second, the family ensured the unlimited and unremunerated labor of woman. Third, the family served to raise children, meeting population needs. Fourth, as a model, the family propagates slavery and decay throughout society. This family is, in fact, ideological. It gives form and functionality to dynastic ideology. In the family, every man perceives himself to be the ruler of a khanate. Dynastic ideology accentuates the perception that the family is very important and influential. The more women and children in the family, the greater the security and honor for the man. It is also important to consider the present-day family as an ideological institution. If we were to pull women and the family away from the civilization system—power and the state—little would be left of the system. The price paid to maintain the civilization system is the aggrieved, impoverished, decayed, and defeated existence of women in a constant state of low intensity warfare. A second parallel chain of monopoly, similar to the monopolies of capital maintained over society throughout the history of civilization, has been the “male monopoly” over women’s world—the oldest and most powerful monopoly. Interpreting women’s existence as the oldest colonial realm will allow for more realistic conclusions. It is more correct to call women “the oldest colonized people who are not a millet.”24
Capitalist modernity, despite all of its liberal adornments, has not shattered the inherited status and made women free and equal; on the contrary, it has made their situation worse by loading them down with additional responsibilities. The cheapest worker, the houseworker, the unpaid worker, the flexible worker, the maid, and jobs of a similar status indicate the increasing harshness of her situation. On top of that, her role as the most important magazine staple and the major tool of advertising makes her exploitation even more profound. Even her body, a tool for a wide range of exploitation, is rendered a commodity that capital has no intention of giving up. She is the constant provocative tool of advertising. In short, she is the most productive representative of the modern slave. She is both a tool for unlimited pleasure and the most profitable slave. Is it possible to imagine a more precious commodity?
The population problem is closely linked to sexism, the family, and women. The larger the population, the greater the capital. “Housewifery” is the population factory, making it the factory that produces the most precious of commodities, “the offspring” that the system needs. Unfortunately, this is what the family has become under the monopolistic domination. While women are made to pay the bill for all the hardships, the value of this commodity is a most precious gift for the system. Population growth is most destructive to women, just as was the case under dynastic ideology. Familism, as the key ideology of modernity, is the final dynastic stage. All these issues have been increasingly integrated into nation-state ideology. What could be more precious than continuously raising children for the nation-state? The larger the population of the nation-state, the more powerful that state is. This means that underlying the population explosion are the critical interests of firmly organized capital and male monopolies. Hardship, grief, sorrow, accusations, poverty, and hunger are a woman’s lot, while all of the joy and profit go to “her man” and the capitalists. No other era in history demonstrated such power or developed the practice of using women as such a multidirectional tool of exploitation. Women, as the first and last colony, are passing through the most critical moment in their history.
Whereas a joint undertaking of a life reorganized with women, based on a deep-rooted philosophy of freedom, equality, and democracy, could allow us to attain the most perfect level of beauty, goodness, and righteousness. I personally find living with a woman under the current circumstances not only very problematic but even ugly, negative, and wrong. I never had the courage to live with a woman under the current conditions. In my life I tried to question even such a powerful urge as the sex drive. The sex drive exists to sustain life. It is a natural wonder and should be treated as sacred. But capital and the male monopoly have contaminated women so completely that this capacity like a natural wonder has been transformed into an institution that is more like a “seed factory”—the most debased institution producing commodities. With these commodities, society is being ransacked and the environment is gradually collapsing under the weight of the population (it’s currently 7.5 billion; let’s consider what will happen to the environment with a population of 10 or 15 billion). No doubt being with a woman and having a child is a very sacred experience; it is an indication that life will not come to an end. It makes eternity tangible. Is there a more precious feeling? All species experience the excitement of being embraced by eternity under these circumstances. For the present-day human being, in particular, this situation could not be better summed up than by a wandering minstrel singing, “Our seed has become troublesome to us.”25 Once again it is undeniable that we face the far-reaching immorality, ugliness, and fundamental wrongness of the capital and male monopoly that contradicts both first and second nature.
Anything built by the human hand can be demolished by the human hand. What we are experiencing is neither a law of nature nor our destiny. These are the modifications made by the monopolies—the hands of the cancerous and hormone-injected life of the crafty and the strong man, i.e., the network. I always felt the need for women and men, the most wonderful pair in the universe (as far as we know), to achieve a profound understanding. I had the courage to prioritize my relationship with women in this manner, because it is important that above all we can think together, discuss where, when, and how much distortion has occurred and overcome it. One of the cornerstones of my philosophical pursuit is undoubtedly women, who think deeply and who can make good, beautiful, and right decisions, thereby winning my admiration as they surpass me and as people I can relate to. I always believed that the secrets of the flow of life in the universe would be more meaningful, good, beautiful, and true with such a woman. But I was different from other men in embracing a morality that led me to reject a life under the sway of the commodity of “capital and the male,” Hürmüz with ninety thousand husbands.26 In this case, perhaps “jineolojî” (where jin is the woman and jineolojî the science of women), which goes beyond feminism, is a concept that might serve our purpose.
Society’s Urbanization Problem
Madaniyya is another name for civilization, literally meaning urbanization in Arabic. There are more than a few problems stemming from urbanization, and they are no less important than the ecological problems. At present, urbanization is one of the fundamental threats to social life. What has made the city like this?
Briefly, we could say that the formula city = class = state offers a simple explanation for the urbanization problem but lacks depth and prevents flexible thinking. Humanity thought that cities, like villages, would suit the nature of society and went about building them. The city is a key site of concentrated social intelligence, provoking and revealing the intellectual ability of human beings. Reason has developed in a close relationship with the city. The city is where human beings began to recognize the breadth of their capacity. Cities also provided security, those who are confident think more rationally. This development in thought resulted in new inventions. The city also developed methods and techniques for increasing production. The humans who experienced this saw the city as the source of light and always stretched toward it. Unsurprisingly, the city developed around the temple, because at the time the temple was where sacred reason and spirit gathered, making it a site where society discovered and created its own reason and identity. What we are emphasizing here are the assumptions in favor of the city.
As with everything, since its birth there was another side to the city: class division and the formation of the state. The material base of class division, no doubt, was rising productivity. Some of those who possessed the city’s developing reason learned from experience that an increase in the number of people working the fertile land would mean more people could be fed. Once this became clear, the challenge was to develop the necessary mechanism for achieving it. The mechanism that arose was the state, which is a sort of monopoly. This organization of a new order, albeit at the city level, clearly took the form of an agricultural monopoly. Sumerian cities make all of this clear. Many civilizations, including Egypt and Harappa, were agricultural monopolies at their birth and were the apparatus that organized production from the outset. When production reached a level at which there was surplus product—at least twice what the existing population requires—the material basis for the state was in place. In fact, the state could be described as those who live off of surplus production. It might be more meaningful to call it an organization that amasses surplus, with the city the most suitable location for doing so, given that such relations were difficult to establish in tribal or village societies. Tribal and village structures simply did not allow for it. This is the basic reason that the state first arose in the city, and this is why humanity first encountered exploitation—a form of relationship previously unknown—in the city. The name of this new art was “statism.” Whoever controlled the state would be capable of anything! It is an enormous apparatus for advancing interests. Even the slave laborer understood that unemployment under a state would be more comfortable and secure. It would, however, be an exaggeration to say that the laborer worked solely because of force and violence. This is more or less the story of the birth of the city.
Although it led to problems (e.g., the organization of exploitation and the powerful), it is clear that the city was a revolutionary step in the rational development of society. Aristotle considered a population of around five thousand to be ideal for a city. When cities first emerged, their population were generally around that number. The city did, however, signal a new social composition, one that surpassed the tribal community. Urban citizenship unites those coming from different tribes and lineages—“people of the city,” “hemşehriler,” and “bajariler.”27 This shows how the city enriched society, how it was, at that point, a tool for development. It was not yet the source of any serious problems. Throughout antiquity, excluding some periods in Babylonia and Rome, there is no evidence of a city with a population problem. The social superiority of life in the city meant that it continuously grew more popular. As the Sumerian model spread, Egypt began to construct contained cities. Indeed, Egyptian civilization is unique in having been part urban and part peasant. Historians tell us that there were at least ten villages for every city, but there was a symbiotic relationship between them, which meant that at this juncture there was not yet any problem between the city and the village. Nonetheless, trade and craftsmanship were highly developed. Roads, architecture, the arts, and palace structures, as well as other structures around the temple, expanded and reconfigured the city. Many cities were also built around military posts. Roman military posts in particular formed the nucleus of cities.
Rome, the last magnificent city of the archaic age, probably carried within it all of the problems of its era. This made Rome alternately civilization’s most magnificent and its most problematic city. All classes and communities could be found in it (the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, slaves, the lumpenproletariat, all of the different ethnic groups and races, and every belief system). The remnants of the old classes and communities and the embryo of the new ones were both present. It was also possible to note a range of morality and politics and distinct styles of administration. Every form of monarchy, republic, and democracy was being experimented with somewhere in the empire. Both the remnants and embryos of all of the different examples of science, the arts, philosophy, and religion were on display. Rome was a truly ecumenical city. This is another sense in which “all roads lead to Rome” was a reality. Rome represented the peak of the 3,500-year-old central civilization. Even its collapse reflected its magnificence. The two major forces that undermined Roman civilization were the Christians, who made up the poorer classes, and those groups that preserved strong ethnic characteristics (referring to them as barbarians is to fall into the trap of civilization’s terminology). They attacked in waves, one internally and the other externally, and would finally bring the city down. The year 476 CE not only marked the fall of a city—the fall of Rome—but also the decay, decline, and collapse of antiquity and the archaic age of civilization.
At no point during the Middle Ages did civilization again attain the level of urbanization it achieved during antiquity. Initially, the cities, castles, and ramparts of the Middle Ages were relatively small and simple. These cities were little more than small emirates and feudal headquarters. They began to expand when craftspeople and palace servants first gathered around them. Although the merchant class provided the impetus for growth and greater magnificence, there were very few new cities that could hold a candle to older cities, such as Rome, Iskenderiya (Alexandria), Antakya (Antioch), Nusaybin and Dara, and Urfa (Edessa). They may have had larger populations, but in terms of architecture and amenities (temples, theaters, assembly halls, agoras, hippodromes, amphitheaters, public baths, sewage systems, workshops, and the like) they lacked the splendor of the old cities. The civilization of the Middle Ages was more makeshift, with its cities built on the ruins of antiquity and the archaic age. The life of the city in no way surpassed that of rural and village life. Cities were essentially islands in an ocean of villages. The cities were the site of power struggles and class conflicts, but they did not yet pose an environmental threat. In general, the civilization system, in particular due to capital monopolies, eroded the environment gradually—for example, salination was the work of agricultural monopolies. This situation continued until the end of the eighteenth century, with the problems being increasingly aggravated.
The real crisis of urbanization emerged with the nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution. This was no coincidence but was an aspect of the antisocial nature of industrialism. The primary responsibility for the ecological problems created by the city lies with its fundamental detachment from the environment. The village had a one-to-one relationship with the environment and recognized its total dependency on the environment and that it was, in fact, a product of the environment. It lived as if in a direct dialogue with the environment and the animals and plants—its common language being agriculture. Village society formation was heavily influenced by this language. The situation was quite the opposite in the city; the city gradually broke with agriculture and the environment. It developed a new language—the language of the city. It was based on a different rationale, and its attachment to environmental reason grew increasingly weak. The language of the city was more about trade, crafts, industry, and money, which constituted their reason and science and was, therefore, ultimately constituted by them. This was a new dialectical development of language. Clearly, language and mentality are laden with contradictions and alienation. At this point, urbanization was the result of the interplay of the widespread dialects and cultures of the clans, tribes, aşirets, peoples, and village societies of both the old rural society and this new social system. This new system also gave rise to a distinctive science, arts, religion, and philosophy. From a class perspective, two other major categories came into being—the aristocracy and everyone else. The city dweller had not yet attained new and independent characteristics, remaining at this point little more than an extension of general society.
This historical equilibrium was completely undermined in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Obviously, this was not an abrupt development. The renewed rise of the city between the tenth and sixteenth centuries on the Italian Peninsula (Venice, Genoa, Florence, Milan, etc.) denoted the spread of the commercial revolution from Italy to the rest of Europe, beginning in the late thirteenth century. The Italian cities led this process, attempting to replicate the growth of Rome. This resulted in intense inter- and intra-city competition, part of a struggle to gain leadership of this new phase of civilization. It was as if the old life had been revived, but the new conditions would inevitably transform that life. A new Rome could not be created by imitating the old one. That would only result in indistinct copies of Rome. Its attempt at establishing a central monarchy and the nation-state would not be successful either. Nonetheless, it is beyond dispute that the Italian cities of the Renaissance led European civilization during tenth through the sixteenth centuries, under the combined leadership of the church (Ecumenical Catholic) and secular tendencies.
The Hanseatic League (c. 1250–1450) launched the German urban revolution, with its constituent towns later undergoing their own commercial revolutions.28 The rise of manufacturing that was set in motion marks the second period, with an intense struggle against centralization based on the confederalism of the towns. The struggle and rebellions, involving many peasants and various semi-working-class groups and craftspeople, lasted for around four hundred years. After a bloody period, for a variety of reasons (ideological, organizational, and matters of leadership) these early experiences of town and rural democratic confederalism were defeated by the centralized monarchies and the arising nation-states. Had they not been defeated, the history of Europe would have been written differently. The current Federal Republic of Germany is going through a very slow evolutionary transformation from bourgeois nation-state fascism to this older model, but as bourgeois federalism rather than democratic confederalism.
The real boom occurred in the towns in Netherlands and England. The fact that they had been the centers of three intense revolutions played a role. The commercial, financial, and industrial revolutions attained their true victories in Amsterdam and London. Communal federalism was easily suppressed in both of these countries, but this did not mean that all rural or urban people quickly succumbed to the center and the nation-state. It took the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century revolutions in Netherlands and England to accomplish this. Amsterdam was the leading city during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while that honor fell to London in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Both of these cities were world centers of this modern age. They administered the central world civilization system as hegemonic powers during this huge transformation, and, as a result, both their population and their contradictions grew rapidly. It was during this period that the truly cancerous nature of the city began to become apparent. Its diseased structures were subsequently transported to France, the US, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Far East, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The twentieth century is the “term” where the city begins to gain the edge over the rural in history.29 The capitalist urban paradigm, alongside the old civilization, began to replace the paradigmatic world of communal rural society, which had played a key role for the previous twelve thousand years. The city was no longer just the center for commerce, finance, and industry but became the hegemonic center of a particular worldview. This new paradigm established itself through the universities and academic centers for science, as well as through hospitals and prisons and the new class structure and ascendant bureaucracies, and tried to assert control over the old eschatological worldview, replacing it with strict positivism.30 In this sense, positivism became the new bourgeois religion. In the end, it found it more practical and effective to put on the mask of “scientism” and benefit from the extraordinary growth in the importance of the sciences.
Society had truly grown cancerous because of the structure of these cities. Aristotle, for example, had never imagined a city with a population of ten thousand people. Cities have grown steadily in population, from one hundred thousand to one million to five million to fifteen million to twenty million people, and now we can foresee cities with populations of twenty-five million or more! If this is not cancerous growth, then what is? Just feeding such a city could wipe out a mid-sized country and its surroundings in no time. Such growth is irrational and can only lead to the destruction of the nature of society and the city, along with first nature. No country and its population can environmentally sustain such growth for very long. This cancerous growth is the fundamental basis of the current environmental destruction. The city occupies, invades, and destroys, and in the process essentially colonizes its country and its people. The city is the new colonial power, the center of global commercial, financial, and industrial monopolies, with its bases in the shopping malls. The fact that the security precautions taken in these shopping malls are in every way equivalent to the measures taken at the old castles and ramparts confirms this.
Twenty-first-century imperialism and colonialism occur not outside of but inside countries. The colonizers are not foreigners but more like their partners. It is not only capital monopolies that became global but also power and the state. There is no longer a distinction between the inside and the outside of global power. They are all partners, therefore the nation they belong to is no longer of any importance. Making military, economic, and cultural distinctions has also become meaningless. English is their common language, and Anglo-Saxon culture the common culture, NATO, the military organization, and the UN, the international organization. There is no longer a single New York, the hegemonic center of the US that took over from London in the 1930s, but multiple New Yorks and Londons. We have arrived at the age of global cities. The cancerous growth of the cities in the global age, with their rapid spread is not just destroying the environment. The mentality and way of life of urban dwellers would make even a Martian seem relatively earthly and less bizarre. The underdeveloped nobility of urban dwellers became obsolete before it was even born. It attempts to conceal its true monstrosity by presenting itself as modern and fashionable. The real barbarian (with its fascism, genocide, including unlimited cultural genocide, and finally societycide) is no longer rural-based but is city-based—it is indeed the city itself. All the barbaric individuals and groups (virtual simulacra and media-hyped society, sports fanatics, music groups with their frenetic but meaningless blowouts, exterminationist bureaucracies, and market profiteers, those with no discernible moral principles, and those who have become robots) make us miss the old barbarians (although I do not in any way believe that the migrant tribes were actually barbarians).
The Babylonians of the modern age are on the scene (let’s have a little sympathy for Babylon, because until its collapse it was noble and sacred, and its degeneration was limited). The end of this age cannot be estimated, but all of the scientific data show that our planet cannot bear this world (this monstrous world that has betrayed its own interests and is intent on destroying its own ecology). Even if they were to retreat to the rural areas, they are infected from head to toe. It is very important to understand that city society is wandering at the edge of societycide.
No doubt class power and statist structures are responsible for the situation that has befallen the city. The incredible rentier from the city has turned city dwellers into merciless barbarians and created the city monster (the new Leviathan). City dwellers and society alone cannot be held responsible for this. Sometimes the innocent suffer along with the guilty. The slum dwellers—the new Christians of the city—must find a way out for themselves. Otherwise, they are condemned to face much worse conditions at the hands of thousands of Neros than anything a single Nero was responsible for.31
We should consider how to rescue the limited remaining beauty, morality, and reason in the city. Every social project needs to put the problems arising from urbanism (which long ago became a disease) at its center. We need to be aware that this is the only way we can hope to find meaningful solutions to all our current social and ecological problems. There’s no need to look for other reasons for the approaching collapse of the world and society; problems originating in the cities are already sufficient cause for concern.
Society’s Class and Bureaucracy Problem
Those who view class division and bureaucracy as requirements for social existence may find this problematization odd. Some people may assert that class division and bureaucracy may cause certain problems, but as entities they do not constitute a problem in and of themselves. However, these structures are as problematic as the city itself. Like the city, class division and bureaucracy may not have constituted much of a burden or problem during the initial stages of civilization, but their problematic nature has become more evident recently. Class division and the corresponding bureaucratization are problematic realities that do nothing to serve social morality and politics. Society has a long history of widespread opposition to these two developments, raising rigorous resistance and making their imposition less than easy.
The diversity in social nature, which I will elaborate on in later sections, can vary greatly and attain new forms. This is normal and in keeping with the spirit of nature. Just like some tissues in plant and animal species that are undeveloped and do not need to be developed, in the nature of society too—apart from quite limited, temporary, and functional classes and stratifications (including bureaucracy) that would make variety and diversity meaningful and would be a component of them—extremely permanent, nonfunctional, and useless classes and stratifications that penetrate the social fabric like a tumor are nonessential. The class-based development of the priest, the aristocracy, and the bourgeoisie that was to some degree useful for a while can be tolerated conditionally. However, these are the ideological, political, economic, and military hegemonic powers seen throughout the history of civilization. From the point of view of social morality and politics, it is impossible to accept them with their permanent excessively oppressive and exploitative characteristics. The contradiction is antagonistic from this point of view, because the very nature of class and bureaucracy amounts to a negation of social morality and politics. The condition I suggest is very important. A class and bureaucracy that is diverse or encourages diversity is certainly possible. For example, we cannot consider the temple created by the Sumerian priestly class completely dysfunctional. The priests laid the main foundations of science, efficient production, urbanism, religion, craftsmanship, and order. This is not unique; the priestly class played a similar role in the emergence of numerous cultures. Any conditional understanding shown to the priests must be understood in the light of their positive contributions. But the legitimacy of class and bureaucracy in their calcified, dysfunctional, and excessively overblown state is always controversial and must be overcome.
Much the same is also true of the aristocracy. Aristocrats also made contributions to social development in various areas, including order, effective work, administrative elegance, the arts, and science. This framework creates a certain tolerance for the aristocracy. But the familiar calcification, despotism, dynasties, and kingdoms, and even the deification of themselves, are all a disease that cannot be accepted. Social morality and politics are antagonistic to these developments. A struggle to overcome them is required if true morality and politics are to emerge.
All of this is even truer for the bourgeoisie. The development of this class and its bureaucratic apparatus has contributed to social development during revolutionary periods. Commerce and currency tools (like money and bonds), taking the initiative in developing industry, periodically experimenting with democracy, and making limited contributions to science and the arts are aspects we can tolerate. However, the excessively permanent structure of the bourgeoisie, which has led to more class division and bureaucratization over the last four hundred years to a degree unsurpassed in the previous history of civilization, exacerbated their cancerous growth making it larger in numbers and more dangerous than any other upper class. In my paradigm, the bourgeoisie and bureaucracy that occupy the center in the history of class division act like a cancer. Social nature simply cannot sustain such class division and bureaucracy. If forced to do so, I would call it “fascism.” I believe that fascism expresses the ill intent of the middle class—the sum of bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie—toward society. What this indicates is that society and the middle class cannot coexist. Some intellectuals present the middle class as the class base of republican and democratic regimes. This projection is among liberalism’s worst and falsest propaganda. The middle class has played the key role in the negation of the republic and democracy. Other classes play a more limited role and are generally unrelated to fascism. The middle class, with this particular feature, plays the same role as excessive urbanization—cancerous growth. And the tight organic and structural ties between the two should not be overlooked. The city acquires its disease from middle-class greed and growth, while such cities themselves inevitably foster the growth of middle class.
The middle-class mental framework is positivist. This class has the most superficial structure, lacking essence and depth, and cannot, in fact, will not, see all aspects of a phenomena beyond evaluating them on the basis of self-interest. Although it presents positivism disguised as “scientism,” it is the most pagan class in history. For example, the number of commemorative statues has exploded under this class. In appearance, it is secular and worldly, but, at its core, it is the most religious and impulsive power. The religious aspect in this case is its bigoted “positivist” beliefs and thoughts. We know that positivism never rests on the totality of truth. This class, rhetorically secular but essentially anti-secular, shamelessly imposes the most delusionary projects (its otherworldly projects) on society. It is the class that has developed capital’s economic, political, military, ideological, and scientific monopoly at a global level, making it the most anti-society class. Its anti-society nature expresses itself in two ways: genocide and societycide. It was the bourgeois class character that made it possible to annihilate a people or a community because of its descent, race, or religion. Societycide, however, is worse. It occurs in two ways. First, it imposes its nation-state ideology and the institutionalization of power as militarism and war penetrating all of the nooks and crannies of society. This is an all-out war on society carried out by power amalgamated with the state. The bourgeoisie knows full well from experience that there is no other way for it to rule society. Second, virtual society, arising from the “media and informatics” revolution of the second half of twentieth century, has replaced genuine society. Or, more precisely, we have a form of media-hyped, computer-based bombardment warfare. In the last half century, societies have been successfully ruled by this second form of warfare. When the imaginary, virtual, and simulacra society is substituted for genuine society, or is assumed to have been, it engages in societycide.
I favor a different approach to the categories of slaves, serfs, and workers—the exploited and oppressed classes of history. Such class divisions have a limited role in determining the subject and in democratization, because they are completely within the intellectual and structural framework of their masters and have been turned into an insignificant extension or appendage. No class in history has ever become its own subject and toppled its masters. This reflects a very important reality. Even in the case of the oppressed and exploited, class divisions can be viewed as branches at varying distances from the trunk—society. No matter how much the branch droops, or even if it breaks off, it will not affect the trunk, or, when it does, its impact is limited. That is why terms like slave and master, serf and aristocrat, or worker and bourgeois society are faulty. Social sciences must develop new names and descriptions. Just as we cannot describe a tree by its branches, we cannot identify a society simply on the basis of the classes that have emerged within it. More importantly, as we have seen from many examples in the history of both real socialism and anarchism, subjectivizing, praising, and charging these classes (slave, serf, worker, petit bourgeois) with central revolutionary roles has not worked out all that well. As I see it, this is because this is very much the wrong role to give them. The correct approach is to oppose all class division. The slaves, serfs, and working class (mostly semi-rural and craftspeople) may, indeed, have played a positive, subjective, revolutionary role during transitional periods. But they too degenerated and became dysfunctional as they grew, became permanent, and reconciled with the upper classes.
More importantly, a libertarian, egalitarian, and democratic worldview would not subjectivize or give moral and political value to either side of any class division, except in the instances I mentioned above. Such a worldview must struggle against class division and see it in contradiction with social nature and as anti-society regardless of the classes involved. Just because the classes we mention have existed does not make them legitimate or representative of true social values. A tumor cannot be considered a normal part of the body, and we can see social phenomena in the same way. Besides, all of the oppressed and exploited lower classes have arisen as a result of the force and the hegemonic ideologies of power and the state. The slavery, serfdom, and labor that arose under those conditions can only be condemned. To say “long live the glorious worker, serf, and slave!” is to objectively praise and approve the existing forces of hegemonic power. This approach to class by many schools of thought, including those of Marx and his successors, is the main reason for their failure. The upper classes may be meaningful to a certain degree, but because the classes that do the great bulk of the labor with much blood and sweat were formed through violence and ideological persuasion, it is best to continuously condemn such class stratification, never praise it, and struggle to overcome it. Classes are given the honor of being agents for change when they cannot be, and, although it is evident that they cannot make a revolution, they are given such a role, and, as is frequently seen in the history of social struggles, they cannot escape being defeated. The reason for the defeat lies in a faulty understanding of the problem and in attributing the wrong role to class stratification. The social struggles of the new era (the twenty-first century) will only be successful if they do not repeat this fundamental error.
It is true that the bourgeoisie has aggravated the class problem. It is also true that its class interests have acceded to power (acceding to power is effectively waging war on society) in every nook and cranny of society, and it has formalized this with the state, thereby, reaching its most advanced stage. Under the aegis of “capital partnership,” it is abundantly clear that they have instrumentalized many social segments, concessionist workers in particular. The bourgeoisie has almost absorbed society. Even so, it is the most problematic class that has ever arisen, and it has vastly multiplied society’s problems.
Bureaucracy, the ruling class’s institutional instrument of implementation throughout history, has become increasingly ubiquitous with the formation of the nation-state over the last two hundred years, almost playing the role of an independent class and increasing its influence over power and the state. In fact, it can comfortably be said that it considers itself to be the state. It is hard to refute that it has become a primary power for caging society and has secured this role by seizing control of all social areas (education, health, jurisdiction, transportation, morality, politics, the environment, science, religion, the arts, the economy). In our present society (capitalist modernity), it is not only the state bureaucracy that has become monstrous but the world of monopolies that follows in its footsteps. The monopolies are the result of a decision to “become professionally managed companies rather than family businesses,” massively increasing bureaucracies in this domain as well. This new reality of large corporations clearly contributes to the excessive growth of bureaucracy. In a certain sense, this is corporations “becoming states.” In reality, when nation-states prove inadequate and the establishment of a new state form is on the agenda, there is an increasing tendency for global and local corporations to become more like states.
The problems of society resulting from the grip of class and bureaucracy are the current reality. It is—so to speak—the “now” of all history. Furthermore, it can be said that this pair have social nature (traditional society) in the stranglehold of their octopus-like arms and dissolve it. The conclusion that we can draw is that we are going through the most chaotic and crisis-ridden period of history. Social freedom, equality, and democracy will only be possible in a system with democratic civilization structures, and this in turn requires that we struggle to build it on the basis of a rectified science.
Society’s Education and Health Problems
It may look like an unnecessary issue, but it is important to grasp the problems caused when the areas of education and health, as was the case for science, are monopolized by power and the state. Just as science that has become state science is the most effective tool for ideological hegemony, the same is true when education and health are integrated with power.
Education can be defined as society’s effort to pass on its experience in the form of theoretical and practical knowledge to its members, particularly its youth. Children’s socialization is ensured by society’s educational activities. Because children and the youth belong to society, their education is society’s most important duty and not the duty of power and the state. It is both a right and duty for a society to raise children and youth according to its own traditions and social nature. This is vital—a question of survival. A society cannot share with another power its right to exist, and to this end the duty to educate its youth, not even with the state or another apparatus of power. If it does, it will be surrendering itself to the ruling monopolies. The sacredness of the right to education stems from existence itself. No other power, including a child’s parents, can be as close or feel the need to be as close to children and youth as society does. One of the most anti-society aspects of civilization throughout history is depriving society of its children and youth. The statist civilization system achieves this in one of two ways: either by annihilating the elders and enslaving the children and youth or by educating them to make them useful to the upper levels of the ruling power.
One of the most important purposes of war is to set up devshirme centers where children and young women and men—as the most precious goods—can be assimilated.32 This is how the foundation of primitive bureaucracy is established. In a way, the history of civilization is the history of using this method both to weaken society and to constitute the power of the bureaucratic apparatuses—thereby establishing a society to counter society: the society of power and the state to counter natural society. In this establishment, children and youth who have been isolated from their own society are taught a completely different language, culture, and history. The fundamental goal of this education is to alienate children from their essence, and ideologically and materially inculcate them with the most statist identity possible, making it impossible for them to live without power. Power and the state are turned into the only valid framework of existence. Those recruited consider themselves to be power and the state, and thus are pitted against natural society. Sometimes state society and social nature are treated as equal. This is incorrect and contradictory. The history of civilization is built on this contradiction. These historical realities are the underlying reason for the rulers seizure of education. Beyond that, they do not care about the task of education for society. Just as a capitalist educates his workers, rulers similarly educate those they dominate—as their servant-workers. Even the members of the bureaucracy, from the highest to the lowest, are educated as servants.
The nation-state powers in particular secure their monopoly of society’s children and youth through education. Imbued with the rulers’ historical perspective and understanding of the arts, as well as with their religious and philosophical mindsets, these children and youth are no longer members of their families but are now the true children and goods of the rulers. This is how such profound alienation is institutionalized. The bourgeoisie is the class that has accomplished the most far-reaching monopoly over society in terms of education. When primary and secondary school were made compulsory and those wishing to find a job were reminded that they needed a university degree, the clamps of alienation and dependency imposed on society’s youth, as well as the process of being caged, became compulsory. Force, financial power, and education have become the irresistible weapons with which society is colonized.
Throughout the history of civilization, education has been used to deliver the heaviest blow in the war that power and the state have waged against society. A society’s right to education is one of the most difficult of its rights to accomplish. Society must control education if it is to secure its existence against the burgeoning nation-state and the economic monopolies. In this sense, society has entered the most difficult period of its history. Ideological hegemony colonizes not only militarily and economically but, more recently, is greatly facilitated by the communications revolution and the media war—intensely focused and very surreptitious—waged against the whole of society, facilitating a more successful renewed cultural colonization. Society’s only way to freedom and emancipation is to resist this cultural conquest and colonization with its most fundamental tools for existence: moral and political struggle. A society that has lost its youth or, inversely, a youth that has lost its society, is beyond defeated; it has lost and betrayed its right to existence. Decay, disintegration, and annihilation will follow. The fundamental duty of society in response to this is to develop its own educational institutions as the main tools for securing its existence. Revolution of meaning will be successful when society’s educational institutions interpret scientific, philosophical, artistic, and linguistic content in a way that removes them from the alliance of the science-power structures. Otherwise, there will be no way of ensuring that society’s moral and political fabric functions.
Therefore, while addressing the question of education requires moral and political institutions (the fabric of society), the true objective of morality and politics is social education. A society that fails to educate itself will be unable to develop and sustain its own morality and political organizations, and such a society cannot avoid constant danger, decay, and eventual disintegration.
The health of members of society is also an issue every bit as important as education. The foundation, existence, and freedom of a society that lacks the means to sustain the health of its members is at risk, if not already lost.
Dependency in the field of health is a sign of overall dependency, whereas a society that can address the physical and psychological problems of its members autonomously has what it takes to achieve its freedom. The health problems that sweep through colonized societies are linked to the colonial regimes they live under. Establishing health institutions and training specialists must be seen as both a fundamental right and an essential duty of society. Power and the state strip society of this duty and monopolize it; this is a huge blow to social health. To struggle for the right to health is to respect yourself and understand the essence of freedom.
In capitalist modernity, nation-state control of education and health is considered vital. Without taking control of these two fields, upon which society’s existential, healthy, and open-minded development depends, and constructing monopolistic domination over them, it is extremely difficult to maintain an overall hegemony and exploitation. Control of education and health is extraordinarily important to the monopolies, since they understand that they cannot make society their property by military force alone.
Once again, we see that the monopolistic power and state lies at the heart of all of society’s existential problems. Profit and capital cannot be sustained without the power monopoly. It is equally true, however, that without a systemic struggle for a democratic civilization none of society’s problems can be permanently resolved.
Society’s Militarism Problem
Militarism is the most advanced form of antisocial monopolism. It is not unrealistic to assume that the initial effort to establish authority over social nature to oppress and exploit people was the result of the analytical thought and action of a “crafty strongman” from a hunting tradition. Essentially, he attempted to establish his authority over two key groups: the hunters at his side and the women he was trying to confine to the home. Along the way, as shamans (proto-priests) and gerontocratic elements (groups of elders) joined the crafty strongman, the first hierarchical authority was formed in many societies in various forms. With the transition to civilization, the crafty strongman, and his entourage—now the official power—institutionalized themselves as the military arm of the state (the initial monopoly of the economy based on the usurpation of surplus product). The three successive dynasties of Ur that followed in the immediate wake of the priest-king period of Sumerian society reflect this development, and many other communities had parallel experiences. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is possible to follow step-by-step the way the kingdom was clearly detached from the goddess Inanna tradition (the tradition of goddess-priestesses) and the way priestesses were weakened and confined to houses (both public and private).
If we see Gilgamesh as symbolic of the first commander in history, we can better analyze the rise of the militarist tradition. This tradition’s task was to hunt down people to meet the city’s need for slaves. With the help of the collaborationist Enkidu, who is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, they hunted the so-called wild barbarian tribes (practitioners of the Humbaba religion) living in the north of present-day Iraq. It is obvious that the tyranny of the city was the real source of barbarism and savagery. The word “barbaric” in the Greek cultural tradition was developed by the city as diversionary propaganda and a lie to establish ideological superiority. The rural tribes, which were weak and disorganized compared to the city, could not have been barbaric in the sense that official society claimed. The concept of barbarism is one of the most important diversionary lies in the history of civilization. The second task of the town bully was “security.” To this end, the most common method was to erect castles and ramparts and develop ever more powerful and deadly weapons. To do so, millions of people were enslaved, turned into serfs, or proletarianized, with those who did not accept their new status being killed, and, undeniably, all of this has been mirrored as history to us.
In keeping with its power, the military appropriated for itself the largest share of the economic value extorted, as is clear from the many historical expeditions with no other purpose than plundering. Furthermore, property was the basis of the state, and military conquest and seizure was clearly the source of property. Whoever conquered it owned it, declaring this to be a natural and inalienable right. It is the sum of property (especially land) and plunder (transportable possessions) that has been conquered and seized by the forces of power and the state. The principle that “all Ottoman land and people are the sultan’s,” for example, is nothing other than the continuation of this foundational tradition concerning the relationship between the state and military expeditions. Tradition was established in this way and sanctioned in every newly built state. This is why the military sees itself as the true custodian of the state, and, thus, of property. And, in defining itself as such, it takes this historical tradition into consideration. The fact that it is the strongest arm of the monopoly accords with the nature of power and the state. Indeed, the humanpower and weaponry it possessed was sufficient to achieve its goals. In this light, the fact that military coups are the response to the occasional efforts of the civil bureaucracy to increase its share of the monopoly is hardly surprising. The role of ideological and bureaucratic monopolies, also called the ilmiye and kalemiye classes,33 in the establishment of power and the state was unquestionably indispensable but not as decisive as the role of the military. Even the most superficial examination of past and present power and state apparatuses confirms this.
First, what really matters for our purposes is that the military is the most advanced and decisive monopoly. The soldier and the army are not a source of glory, honor, and heroism (this is ideological propaganda meant to mask and distort the essence of things) but are an essential element of the monopoly of power. Their essence is economic. The army relies on the economy. It positions itself over it and at a distance from it, but, at the same time, takes the steps necessary to guarantee its income (salary) above all else. It is the monopoly sector that is the most difficult to oppose and the one that all other segments of the monopoly must compromise and share surplus value with, a practice that has an extensive historical basis and is, as such, a deep-rooted institutional tradition. In essence, it is the monopoly of the class (bureaucracy) that is most closely interested in economic development, but feels the most pressing need to keep its distance. To achieve this, it projects an image of itself as the power that is most remote from society, while in reality it is the monopolistic sector that has equipped itself with the most advanced economic and military weapons. Without a correct analysis of the military, we can neither fully understand what economic monopolism or power and state monopolisms are. The three of them comprise a whole. They feed on the same substance; the surplus values of society. In exchange they claim that they take care of society’s security, education, health, and productivity. This is how statism—the ideological state—presents itself. But this is not the truth; the truth is as we just described it.
The military is the most sharply organized arm of capital and power. Thus, it follows that it is the institution that ultimately subjugates and cages society. The military has always been the power that has penetrated, controlled, and subjugated society regardless of the form of the state, but it reached its apex in the era of the middle class (bourgeois) and under nation-state monopoly. The defining characteristic of the nation-state is that in the name of creating an official army the rest of society was officially disarmed and the monopoly on arms was transferred to the state and the army. At no time in history was society as disarmed as it has been under bourgeois rule. The reason for this extremely important development is the intensification of exploitation and the resultant rise of far-reaching resistance. Society cannot be ruled if it is not thoroughly and continuously disarmed, opened up to the infiltration of power, and subjected to constant surveillance. Society cannot be dealt with unless it is confined in the “iron cage” of modernity.34 In addition, society cannot be ruled if it is not confined and besieged by the media army of the global monopolistic financial age. Formation of the ideological-media monopolies, as well the bureaucratic-military monopolies, replicates the aspects of exploitation monopolies. Not only are they inseparably bound together, they also condition each other. The most recent major central civilization, the super hegemon, together with other regional hegemons, including all of their local collaborators, is based on militarism and a gigantic arms industry, both above and within society. The priority given to this monopoly over any other stems from its historical and current position. In this light, identification of militarism with the fascism of capitalist monopoly makes perfect sense.
Of course, during the era of natural society and throughout written history various forms of society have engaged in wholesale self-defense against the militarist evolution of civilization, developing a variety of forms of resistance and engaging in numerous uprisings, participating in institutionalized guerrilla and people’s defense armies, and waging great defensive wars, all based on a tradition of self-defense. Of course, defensive wars and militarist monopoly wars are not equivalent. There is a difference in both quality and essence. While one is anti-society, colonialist, corrupting, and destructive, the other favors and protects society and strives to free society’s moral and political capacity. Democratic civilization protects and defends society, engaging in systematic self-defense against the central civilization’s militarism.
Society’s Peace and Democracy Problem
Under the previous eleven headings I tried to briefly describe the problems plaguing social nature. Any paradigm or social science will only be of use if it is based on an analysis that takes into consideration the issues raised here and develops responses. Otherwise, there will be nothing to distinguish it from traditional or liberal rhetoric (the art of words that conceal domination). The general conclusion I have reached is that the source of social problems lies in the combined effect, domination, and colonization of the oppressive and exploitative monopolies. They exploit social nature (society’s existence) and in particular the economic resources that generate surplus value. The problems do not arise from nature (first nature) or any social factor (second nature).
Societies cannot survive without social morality and politics, which are factors necessary to their existence (their social fabric) and for addressing society’s common affairs. The natural state of society, its existence, cannot be immoral and apolitical. If a society’s moral and political fabric has not properly developed or has been undermined, distorted, and paralyzed, then it can be argued that society is occupied and colonized by various monopolies, capital, power, and the state among them. To sustain this sort of life is a betrayal of and alienation from its own existence; it is to exist like a herd, like goods, commodities, and possessions under monopoly domination. Under these conditions, society has lost the natural essence and proficiency of a natural society or become obsolete. Such a society has been colonized or, even worse, has become property in every way, leaving itself to decay and poverty. There are numerous societies that fit this definition, both historically and currently. Those that have decayed and been annihilated far outnumber the survivors.
When a society can no longer create and run institutions that provide meaningful moral and political guidance, that society has succumbed to oppression and exploitation. It is in a “state of war.” It is possible to define history as a “state of war” waged by civilizations against society. When morality and politics are dysfunctional, there is only one path open to a society: self-defense. A state of war is nothing more than the absence of peace. As such, only self-defense will make peace possible. A peace with no self-defense can only be an expression of submission and slavery. Liberalism today imposes on societies and peoples peace with no self-defense. The unilateral game of democratic stability and reconciliation is nothing but a fig leaf on the bourgeois class domination achieved by the armed forces. It is nothing but a covert state of war. The major plank in capitalist ideological hegemony is the idea that a true peace is a peace that requires no self-defense. “Sacred concepts” have been used throughout history to express this idea. Religions, in particular civilized religions, overflow with an abundance of such concepts.
Peace is only possible and meaningful if society can defend itself and protect its moral and political character. Peace, particularly the peace that Michel Foucault worked so hard to define, could in this way acquire an acceptable social expression. Peace understood in any other way is nothing but a trap and an implicit state of war on all peoples and communities. In capitalist modernity, the word peace abounds with pitfalls. Using the word without correctly defining it has many drawbacks. Let us redefine peace: peace is neither the complete elimination of the state of war nor stability or the absence of war under the supremacy of one party. There are different parties to any peace, and the complete dominance of one party over another does not and cannot denote peace. Furthermore, weapons will fall silent only when there is acceptance of the functioning of society’s moral and political institutions. The three conditions mentioned immediately above must be met for principled peace. Any other peace would be meaningless.
Let’s elaborate on these conditions; first, a complete disarmament of the different parties is not on the table, but the conflicting parties must vow not to attack one another regardless of the dispute. Military superiority will not be pursued. All sides must accept and respect the right of the other to maintain the means necessary to ensure its security. Second, the ultimate superiority of one party over the others is not at stake. While it is possible to achieve stability and quiescence under the rule of the gun, this cannot be called peace. Peace is only on the agenda when all sides agree to stop the war without one of the parties achieving armed superiority, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Third, again regardless of the positions of the various sides, they agree to respect the moral (conscience) and political institutions of societies when addressing the problems underlying the conflict. This is the framework of what we call a “political solution.” A cease-fire that does not include a moral and political solution cannot be called peace.
Democratic politics is a central issue for a principled peace. When society’s moral and political institutions are functioning, the natural outcome is the process of democratic politics. Those who want peace must understand that peace can only be attained if politics based on morality play a part. To attain peace, it is essential that at least one side acts on the basis of democratic politics. Otherwise, the sole result will be a “peace game” played in the interests of the monopolies. In that situation, democratic politics plays a vital role. Only dialogue among democratic forces can stand up to power and the state forces and achieve a meaningful peace process. Without such a peace, even if the warring parties (monopolies) silence the weapons for a time, the state of war continues. Of course, there is war fatigue and economic difficulties arising from logistical needs, but as long as these difficulties can be resolved, the war will continue until one side attains unchallenged superiority. The silencing of weapons in this context cannot be called peace but, rather, a cease-fire that portends a fiercer war to come. For a cease-fire to lead to genuine peace the three conditions we have outlined must be met.
On occasion, the side engaged in self-defense (the side in the right) may attain conclusive superiority. This doesn’t change the three conditions for peace. As was seen with real socialism and many legitimate national liberation struggles, immediately establishing your own rule and state to secure stability cannot be called peace. This is just replacing an external monopolistic force with an internal force (state capitalism or a national bourgeoisie). Calling it socialism does not change the basic sociological reality. A principled peace is not something that can be attained by the superiority of power and the state. If power and the state, whatever they call themselves (bourgeois, socialist, national, non-national) do not share their advantages with the democratic forces, then peace will not be on the agenda. In the final analysis, peace is the conditional reconciliation of democracy and the state. History overflows with stories of the many attempts at such conditional reconciliations. There have been principled examples that have endured and others that have collapsed before the ink dried on the treaty. Societies do not only consist of the establishment of power and the state. No matter what restrictions are placed on society, unless it is completely annihilated, it will continue to live in keeping with its own moral and political identity. Although not a focus of written history, this is the essential reality of life.
Society should not be seen as a narrative about power and the state. On the contrary, seeing society as the decisive nature would contribute to the formation of more realistic social sciences. No matter how big or wealthy power and states may become, including capital monopolies (like the pharaoh and Croesus) or their present-day beast-like heirs (the new Leviathan), they can never eliminate society. Because, in the final analysis, it is society that determines them, and those who are determined can never replace those who determine them. Even the present rulers’ spectacular and unsurpassed media propaganda cannot obscure this fact. At the end of the day, they are the most miserable and pitiful of forces playing at being giants. In contrast, human society cannot be stripped of its meaning as the most wonderful creation of nature.
The system of democratic civilization—our main paradigm—is a system in which society, both in its historical and present form, is interpreted, scientifically explained, and reconstructed. That is the subject matter of our next chapter.
1 Jacques Mallet du Pan (1749–1800) coined the adage: “The revolution like Saturn devours its own children.” The saying became popular and was used by many people, most famously Georges Danton (1759–1794), a leading figure in the French Revolution.
2 Andre Gunder Frank and Barry K. Gills, eds., The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? (London: Routledge, 1993).
3 They are the ones who possess the quality of ʿilm, or “learning.” Speaking broadly, they are the guardians, transmitters, and interpreters of religious knowledge, i.e., Islamic doctrine and law.
4 This is a Turkish play on words. In Turkish genelev euphemistically means a brothel and literally means a public house whereas özelev means a private home and refers to the family household.
5 Hittites established an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BCE, and Mittanis in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia, from 1500 to 1300 BCE.
6 Karums were Assyrian trading posts from the twentieth to the eighteenth centuries BCE; kârhaneler is a play on words: the word itself means places of profit and is similar to kerhane, a word meaning brothels.
7 The Hittite Empire and the Egyptians fought for over two centuries to gain mastery over the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. The conflict culminated with an attempted Egyptian invasion in 1274 BCE that was stopped by the Hittites at the city of Kadesh (in what is now Syria). The conflict continued inconclusively for about fifteen more years before the treaty was signed. Both sides had common interests in making peace; Egypt faced a growing threat from the “Sea Peoples,” while the Hittites were concerned about the rising power of Assyria to the east. The treaty continued in force until the Hittite Empire collapsed eighty years later.
8 Carthage fell in 146 BCE at the Battle of Carthage. The end of a series of wars marked the end of Carthaginian power and the complete destruction of the city. The Romans pulled the Phoenician warships out into the harbor and burned them, then went from house to house, capturing and enslaving the people. Fifty thousand Carthaginians were sold into slavery. The city was set ablaze and razed to the ground, leaving only ruins and rubble.
9 Maimonides’s history (Laws of Idolatry 1:3) tells us that Abraham was educating people about monotheism. Terach informed on Abraham to Nimrod. According to the Midrash, Abraham was then cast into a furnace but was miraculously saved.
10 The Ummayad dynasty, which ruled in Damascus in 661–750 CE, claimed descent from Umayya, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandfather.
11 Here the author is referring to a play on words: Amr ibn Hishām was a pagan Quraysh leader whose epithet was Abu al-H.akam, meaning Father of Wisdom. He showed relentless animosity to Islam and rejected Mohammad’s message. Therefore, Mohammad referred him as Abu Jahl, meaning Father of Ignorance. 12 In volume 2, at the end of section I and continuing into section 2, Öcalan addresses historical-society, civilizations, and capitalism. While there Öcalan often uses the term that Anthony Giddens popularized—“discontinuity”—in this case he prefers “unprecedented.”
13 Klaus Schmidt, “Göbekli Tepe, Southeastern Turkey: A Preliminary Report on the 1995–1999 Excavations,” Paléorient 26, no. 1 (2000), accessed November 17, 2019, https://www.persee.fr/doc/paleo_0153-9345_2000_num_26_1_4697.
14 Charles V (1500–1558), also known as Charles I of Spain, was the Duke of Burgundy and ruler of Netherlands beginning in 1506, the ruler of the Spanish Empire beginning in 1516, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1519 until he voluntarily stepped down from all positions between 1554 and 1556. He ruled extensive territories in Central, Western, and Southern Europe, and the Spanish colonies in the Americas and Asia. His domain spanned nearly four million square kilometers and was the first to be described as “the empire on which the sun never sets.” Philippe II (1527–1598) was King of Spain beginning in 1556 and of Portugal beginning in 1581. Beginning in 1554, he was King of Naples and Sicily, as well as Duke of Milan. During his marriage to Queen Mary I (1554–1558), he was also King of England and Ireland. Beginning in 1555, he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of Netherlands. During his reign, Spain reached the height of its influence and power.
15 Fernand Braudel specifically says: “Imperialism and colonialism are as old as the world and any reinforced form of domination secretes capitalism”; Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century, Volume 3: The Perspective of the World (London: Collins, 1984), 295.
17 Sharia, an Arabic word meaning the right path, refers to traditional Islamic law. As well as being Koranic, sharia stems from Prophet Mohammad’s teachings and interpretations of those teachings by certain Muslim legal scholars.
18 Zillullah means shadow of God; the title given to sultans.
19 Dr. Hikmet Kıvılcımlı (1902–1971) was among the first generation leaders of the communist movement of Turkey. In total he was in prison for twenty-two years, and he was only able to publish his theoretical work after the mid-1960s. Most of his work written in prison was published only after his death. Kıvılcımlı developed a Marxist interpretation of history that was not economic reductionist and one that emphasized the importance of cultural traditions. His monumental work called “Tarih, Devrim, Sosyalizm” (History, Revolution, Socialism) has examined the five-thousand-year-long historical period not only through the lenses of Marxist literature but also from the perspective of social and political theory of İbn-i Haldun (whom he called Marx of Islam). He has numerous books, and was also the first Turkish Marxist to define Kurdistan as Turkey’s colony, which he did while in a prison located in a Kurdish town. His works can be found at the website of Institute of Social History, accessed February 7, 2020, https://iisg.amsterdam/en/search?search=Hikmet%20K%C4%B1v%C4%B1lc%C4%B1ml%C4%B1.
20 This is a reference to the Latin proverb “Homo homini lupus est,” which translates as “a man is a wolf to another man,” or more tersely, “man is wolf to man,” which was also used in Thomas Hobbes, On the Citizen (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998 ), 3.
21 Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 2003 ), chapter 26, accessed February 7, 2020, https://libcom.org/files/luxemburg%20the%20accumulation%20of%20capital.pdf.
22 This is a play on words; the original Turkish word used is “şebeke,” which can mean either gangs, systems, or networks.
23 These are Turkish idioms and sayings.
24 In Turkish, millet means an ethnic nation, which is how the author is using it; in Arabic it means a community that shares similar ideals.
25 Hozan Serdarî was born in Şarkışla, Sivas. The date of his birth is uncertain, but his poems suggest 1834. He died either in 1918 or 1921. The quote is from a poem titled “Nesini Söyleyim Canim Efendim,” accessed July 25, 2019, https://siirlerlesarkilarla.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/serdari-nesini-soyleyim-canim-efendim-sadik-gurbuz.
26 This refers to a 1963 play by Sadik Sendil, the story of Hürmüz, who married seven different men who were unaware of one another. Will she survive?
27 Hemşehriler means fellow townspeople in Turkish; bajariler means city dwellers in Kurdish.
28 The Hanseatic League was a mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands. After the German push eastward and the settlement of German towns in the Slavic lands of the Baltic in the thirteenth century, the merchant guilds and town associations became leagues; see “Hanseatic League,” Encyclopedia.com, accessed July 26, 2019, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Hanseati.html.
29 This is the use of “term” as Fernand Braudel used it.
30 Eschatology, from the Greek word eschaton (the last), is the theological study of the last things, the final state of each individual, of the community, of all individuals, and of reality itself. Thus, traditionally eschatology has dealt with the themes of death, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, the resurrection of the dead, the end of the world, and “the new heavens and the new Earth”; William R. Stoeger, “Eschatology,” Encyclopedia.com, accessed November16, 2019, https://www.encyclopedia.com/philosophy-and-religion/bible/bible-general/eschatology.
31 In 64 CE, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome, which many Romans believed Nero had purposely set to clear land for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. Nero’s rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance. He is known for many executions, including that of his mother, and the probable murder by poison of his stepbrother.
32 One important example of this practice from the Ottoman Empire was the selection and training of children for the military or the civil service, also known as the blood tax or tribute in blood.
33 There were four institutions within the Ottoman Empire state structure. The function of the ilmiye was to propagate the Muslim religion, while the kalemiye was administrative.
34 Max Weber has used the term stahlhartes Gehäuse (hardened steel casing), translated as “iron cage,” to describe the increased rationalization inherent in social life; Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003).