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 State of Anti-System Forces
The concept of being anti-system is quite problematic. First of all, does this opposition also mean being anti-civilization? Which aspects does it include or exclude? How does it view the system’s relationship with modernity? Is it possible to construct a new system outside of the existing system without opposing the system’s modernity? How does this opposition see modernity? Has it been able to identify its dual character? Does it have an understanding of alternative modernity? Failing to answer such questions leaves the concept of anti-system forces up in the air. It is difficult to develop a meaningful opposition to the system without both projects for the future and a correct analysis of the past. To overcome these difficulties and arrive at potential answers to these questions, I based my analysis on the concepts of democratic civilization and democratic modernity. I think this is the correct method in the quest for an alternative that will not fall into the previous vicious circles.
Despite their problematic structure, anti-system forces are a reality. They have affected our age as much as the system has. They have been unable to realize their systems theoretically or practically, but it is indisputable that they have accumulated a great deal of experience. While there are important differences across the spectrum of anti-system forces, they also clearly share many common values.
They mean capitalism when they speak of the system, not necessarily modernity as a whole. They particularly differ when it comes to industrialism and the nation-state, the other two dimensions of modernity. They are unclear when it comes to civilization. With their convoluted views, they often take their place at opposite poles. It is not often that their future utopias go beyond modernity. In short, they are not attempting to go beyond modernity but to improve it. For most of them, modernity without capitalism would suffice, and they fail to understand that this is entirely utopic.
They usually agree about the system and that it is in a crisis, but when it comes to how to move beyond the crisis, the differences between them grow. Many methods from evolutionary to revolutionary, from peaceful to bellicose, are proposed. There are those who think that changing the state and rulers is a revolution and those who propose a society with no state or power structure. They all essentially have their roots in the French Revolution. Their mindset offers a broad perspective, from nationalism to communism, from religiosity to positivism, and from feminism to ecology. Although they are heavily intertwined with these ideologies they do not seem to realize it. If a generalization were to be made, it could be said that in terms of their social status they are based on the main part of the middle class that is outside the capital and power monopolies. These movements, which include intellectuals who have received a certain modern education and who face increasing difficulties opposing capitalism, do not embody the majority of society. If roughly 10 percent of the population has an active interest in the continuation of capitalism, approximately the same percent oppose it. The remaining 80 percent of society, the non-capitalist society, is an object not a subject in the analyses of both sides and in the solutions they offer. While capitalism calculates the profit to be made when considering society, the opposition considers society to be a mass that can be externally driven, which is why they are unable to overcome modernity.
When we say that capitalist modernity as a system is under an unsustainable crisis regime, we are not talking about a new “revolutionary situation.” The evaluation of similar situations as the objective conditions necessary for revolution has been misused in past discussions, with no conclusions that led to any meaningful success. The crisis regime is not the only result of the crisis, there may also be even harsher counterrevolutions. Perhaps the revolution has the worst chance. Moreover, the role of revolutions in transformation is generally exaggerated and usually wrongly analyzed. Fundamental transformations are not achieved by revolutions but from differences within the system. Revolutions can only lead to meaningful change within the system that they are part of. No doubt anti-system forces are severely affected by economic depressions and crises, but it would be an error to vest all hope in the outcome of these crises. In the past, this was a common mistake that resulted in profound disappointment.
The fact that within a century real socialism, social democracy, and national liberation movements were incorporated into capitalism had a profound negative effect on opponents of the system. Movements incurred a loss of power. This was the result of their structural inadequacies and a faulty ideological and programmatic perspective. When their mentalities and structures are examined, it is clear that they failed to genuinely overcome liberalism and modernity. Whether they are at the far left or far right of the liberal spectrum, liberalism eventually integrates them. Whether or not they are incorporated into capitalist monopolies depends on their understanding of modernity. Postmodern, radical religious, feminist, and ecological movements are new movements that have emerged in response to these developments. Their current ideological and practical positions make it doubtful that they will be as effective as the system’s former opponents, which is why neoliberalism and radical religionism are able to be somewhat influential. Therefore, what we need is a radical intellectual, moral, and political renewal of opposition to the system. In this context, it is important, necessary, and useful to familiarize ourselves with the history of anti-system forces.
The Legacy of Real Socialism
Communism was one of the first movements to consciously react against the capitalist system. Its founders Karl Marx and Frederick Engels acknowledged trying to develop their counter-system on the basis of three primary sources: German philosophy, English political economy, and French utopian socialism. It would seem that they took their dialectical materialism from German philosophy, their value theory from English political economy, and the concept of class struggle from French utopian socialism. They developed a novel interpretation by synthesizing these three sources. Their very first foray into opposition occurred in the years 1840–1850, a period of serious capitalist crisis that had quite an effect on them, giving rise to the hope that the system could be immediately destroyed. At the time, Germany was struggling to maintain its national unity, while in France the republic had its own problems. England, for its part, was at its peak as the system’s hegemonic power. The 1848 popular revolutions in Europe were seen as a sign that this hope would be fulfilled. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’s Communist Manifesto was intended as a general program for these revolutions.3 Meanwhile, the Communist League was established as the first internationalist party or organization. These two endeavors clearly indicate that they expected success and victory out of the crisis of capitalism and from the popular revolutionary movements.
When the revolutions were suppressed, Marx and Engels felt the need to examine capitalism in more depth. Karl Marx went into exile in London, settling in the kaaba of capitalism,4 where he had regular contact with Frederick Engels. The First International of 1864 was the product of this period. An equally important development at the time was a realization that the revolution might well be delayed, making more protracted evolutionary work necessary, for which unions and parliamentary work might be suitable. Although the 1871 Paris Commune renewed their hopes, the rapid suppression of the uprising led them to increasingly focus on issues like dictatorship, power, and the state. Taking a pro-centralized nation-state position led to opposition from the anarchists, giving rise to the first discussions about revisionism.
The Second International was established in 1889 under a shadow of national chauvinism. Vladimir Lenin, in his work The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,5 would call what was experienced during that period “revisionism” and blame the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD: Social Democratic Party of Germany—the original party under Eduard Bernstein) for leading this revisionism. The Russian October Revolution again strengthened hopes that communist utopia could be realized (achieving what the Paris Commune could not). This revolution resulted in worldwide developments. Supporting the Anatolian Turkish-Kurdish national liberation movement was an initial contribution to the successful development of the age of national liberation. The early death of Lenin, the period of “the struggle against liquidationism,” the socialist construction, the anti-fascist struggle during World War II, the Warsaw Pact established in opposition to NATO during the Cold War, the work done on space travel, the economic competition with capitalism, and the widespread support for national liberation movements were all key developments.
The Third International was formed in 1919, but like the Second International it experienced internal liquidation because of an impasse around the issue of the nation-state. Soviet Russia would, however, effectively play a role as the new candidate for hegemony, influencing one-third of the planet. Soviet Russia would ultimately leave the socialist movements within various nation-states to their own fates and take the same revisionist path as the German SPD, setting the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the road to capitalism. On the other hand, the short-lived Chinese (period under Mao from 1960 to 1976) and Albanian resistances failed to produce any results. The speedy integration of the national liberation movements and the syndicalist workers’ movements into the capitalist system, followed by China’s official renunciation of real socialism in the 1980s, with Russia and its allies following suit in the 1990s, brought the era to a close.
The two hundred years of experience (if we take the French Revolution as the starting point) that led to these movements called real socialist allows us to evaluate them:
1) They seemed to primarily oppose private monopolies without criticizing state capitalism, either in terms of power or capital monopoly, leading to a shallow analysis of power and the state. These movements had a profound faith in their capacity to build socialism if they could take over the state and become the ruling power. Nothing else occurred to them. They even interpreted democracy as the dictatorship of one of two classes (the bourgeoisie or the proletariat). They developed a very narrow analysis of capitalism as a result of their reliance on English political economy.
2) They seemed to be unaware of the class basis of modernity or, at least, see no reason to analyze it. And when they did the result was an entirely right-wing deviation. They were not able to extend capitalism, the first pillar of modernity, beyond boss-laborer, profit-wages, and value-surplus value dichotomies to see that capitalism was a mode of accumulation that has existed since the Sumerians. They did not regard the three hundred years of capitalism of the Italian cities as the beginning of the system but treated the emergence of capitalism in sixteenth-century England and Netherlands as a sort of beginning of history. Industrialism, the second pillar of modernity, was praised. Its qualitative link with capitalism and later related drawbacks were not criticized. On the contrary, it was treated as a savior. By regarding the nation-state, the third pillar, to be a step forward, they left the door ajar for subsequent national and social chauvinism. Instead of confederalism, they preferred the centralized nation-state. Just like the traditional historians of civilization, they couldn’t help but evaluate the flip side of modernity as “backward, dormant, barbaric, reactionary movements reversing the wheels of history.”
3) By ideologically accepting the most vulgar materialist form of positivism as scientific, they made a historical mistake in this field too. They treated the socialism they built as scientific in the same way as the revolutions of Darwin and Newton in the areas of biology and physics. Their sociological approach never got beyond a vulgar Darwinism. They did not feel the need to determine the qualitative differences of social nature, instead they believed that they were subject to the same laws of nature as first nature, opening the door to rigid determinism. During the subsequent development phase, their followers took advantage of this opening to equate even the most vulgar of interpretations with rigid scientific facts.
4) They did not analyze power in general or the nation-state in particular, and they regarded the nation-state as composed of commissions that manage the affairs of the bourgeoisie. The most important shortcoming of their theory was the inability to figure out that power, in particular the nation-state, was the most concentrated form of monopolistic capitalism. Their analysis amounted to nothing but an affirmation of the nation-state. They were sure that socialism could be best built by a nation-state. Not only were they unable to surpass Hegel’s analysis of the state, they were certain that if they were able to seize the state they could use it to make all kinds of adjustments and establish freedom and equality. The relationship between socialism and democracy is one of the major issues that they addressed most superficially and incorrectly. The Russian and Chinese Revolutions developed using this approach. Other national liberation and social democratic applications of power failed to produce anything different. The only thing that distinguished them from private capitalism was their preference for state capitalism, as their use of power clearly shows.
5) Their critique of civilization is even shallower and more insignificant. They did not acknowledge that the capitalist civilization phase is part of historical civilization, the last link in the main chain. They did not feel the need to determine the character of power that had the nature of historical cumulative accumulation. They did not think that their system could easily become a similar kind of power and civilization. Instead of grasping that power is accumulated capital, filth, war, lies, ugliness, and torture, they tried to develop theories about how it could be used to achieve historical progress. History has proven that they were unwarranted and wrong in their views.
6) They did not feel the need to analyze the anti-civilizational forces that are the second pole of the historical dialectic they appear to be attached to. Their comments in relation to these forces are generally negative. In contrast, they have not failed to praise the progressive nature of capitalist colonialism in America, Asia, and Africa, accusing their opponents of defending the former societies. The fact that they were not able to see that the opposite pole of civilization had great significance, democratic tradition, resistance, and freedom, and that it had pursued equality and justice, and experienced communality is closely related to their bourgeois and petite bourgeois class realities. They cannot see this, because those coming from such classes do not have the eyes to see these realities.
7) A positivist universalist, linear-progressive methodological approach to social nature led to a conception of socialism as inevitable and just a matter of time. The eschatology of the holy books was in a way reflected as socialism. Societies were depicted as models that developed linearly, from primitive society to slave-owning through feudalism to capitalism, finally arriving at socialism. Here, a sort of fatalism is at play. At the root of these dogmatic conceptions, which have profoundly affected all of us, was a religious fatalism and the belief in the apocalypse. An understanding of this came too late. They were unable to see that social nature essentially has a moral and political character, and that civilization systems eroded these features, replacing them with vulgar rules of law and state administration. That capitalist modernity developed this process to an unlimited depth and breadth, resulting in an economic and social crisis, as well as a crisis of power and the state. They did not foresee that what is right, good, and beautiful is a democratic confederal system that completely ensures the moral and political character of society and, to this end, moves forward on the basis of democratic politics. No such analysis or solution developed. They were unable to understand that a free, equal, and democratic society could not be established by power and state apparatuses, and that, on the contrary, they were in contradiction with such apparatuses. Thus, they were unable to develop a theory and practice for coexisting alongside capitalist modernity on the basis of a principled peace and the acceptance of one another’s existence. When revolution-power-socialism is accepted as the fundamental paradigm it should come as no surprise that nothing but state capitalism is possible.
Another reason that the real socialist movement ended in state capitalism relates to its class base. I must reemphasize that the bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie, as well as the bureaucracy that largely comes from these classes, failed to find what they hoped for in private monopolies, were unable to accumulate capital, and, in fact, depleted what they had. Thus, the only option was to use the state to become a collective capitalist. The national bourgeoisie and national capitalism are nothing but this. They thus acquire a very strong position as a collective monopoly based on state capitalism, or, otherwise stated, a nation-state. This is why the nation-statism of real socialism is so much more powerful than in other nation-states. This material basis also explains why they could easily reconcile with and integrate into modernity.
8) Feminist, ecological, and cultural movements have been seen as an obstacle to the class struggle. The extreme colonization that women have experienced not only in terms of labor but also all of their bodies and souls has not been seriously analyzed. In trying to resolve these questions real socialism failed to surpass the equality standards of bourgeois law. These laborers, who are both the oldest and the newest, as well as the most often unpaid or, at best, minimally paid laborers, in keeping with male-dominant history, are nothing but objects. It is clear that the class that is being analyzed is the male. Ecology was approached similarly. Not only were such problems not foreseen, they were thought to have a negative effect on the totality of the class struggle. Cultural movements, for their part, were seen as the revival of something old and, therefore, as something else that disrupted the class struggle. The end result was an abstract class ideology detached from all possible allies and suffocated by economism.
9) Class division was not seen as a negative development in moral and political terms; instead it was evaluated as good, progressive, a necessity for freedom, and an inevitable stage. That to accept class divisions is to objectively be in the service of power and the state classes was not grasped. Slavery, serfdom, and being a proletarian were interpreted as the price to be paid for historical progress and freedom from nature. However, we can assert that, to the contrary, all three class divisions are essentially the same and have nothing to do with progress or freedom. Moral and political society cannot coexist with these class divisions, and we must wage a moral, political, and intellectual struggle against them.
We cannot say that the current successors to the two hundred years of the real socialist movement have undergone a radical transformation, although there has been limited self-criticism. They are, however, going through a major crisis of confidence and have been weakened. Still, it is a movement with its place in history. Although it was unable to surpass the capitalist system, it deeply troubled it. It played a role that was both positive and negative in getting us to where we are now. Its crisis is part of the system’s structural crisis. Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge real socialism as the phase that most influenced all opponents of the system and, with the lessons of its legacy taken into consideration, it would be the right approach to see it as part of building democratic modernity and to relate to it thusly and form alliances with it in that light.
Anarchist movements that have their roots in the French Revolution and appeared at the same time as real socialism deserve to be reevaluated in the wake of the dissolution of real socialism, or, rather, its integration into the system. It is better understood today that the criticism made by anarchism’s famous representatives, including Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, and Pyotr Kropotkin, against both the system and real socialism were not entirely unjustified. As a movement that criticizes capitalism not only as a private and state monopoly but also as modernity, they stand out by taking their place at the opposite end of the system. The anarchist critique of power, both from moral and political perspectives, was accurate to a significant degree, but the effects of social structures they came from are evident in their movement. The class reactions of the aristocratic sections that had been removed from power by capitalism and city artisans, who found themselves far worse off than they had been, projected this reality. The fact that anarchists have been unable to develop a strong base, have remained individuals, and were unable to develop an opposing system is closely linked to their social structures. They understand very well what capitalism is doing, but they do not have a very clear idea of what they need to do. To summarize their views:
a) They criticize the capitalist system from the extreme left. They understand better that this system dismantles moral and political society, and, unlike Marxists, they do not attribute a progressive role to capitalism. Their approach to the societies that have been dismantled by capitalism is more positive. They do not see such societies as reactionary and doomed to decay but instead consider their survival moral and political.
b) Anarchism’s approach to power and the state is much more comprehensive and realistic than that of the Marxists. Bakunin, for example, argues that power is absolute evil. But the demand that power and the state be abolished immediately and at all costs is utopian and does not have much of a chance of being realized. Anarchists were, however, able to foresee that you can’t use power and the state to build socialism, and that if you did you would perhaps end up with an even more dangerous bureaucratic capitalism.
c) The prediction that building a centralized nation-state would be a disaster for all of the working-class and popular movements and a major blow to their hopes proved realistic. The anarchists were also quite right in their criticism of the Marxists in relation to German and Italian unity. They have also asserted that the development of history in favor of the nation-state was a huge loss for any utopian vision of equality and freedom, and they strongly criticized the Marxists’ pro-nation-state stance, accusing them of treason. The anarchists, for their part, argued for confederalism.
d) Anarchist views and criticisms of bureaucratization, industrialism, and urbanization have also been largely confirmed and played an important role in the anarchist movement developing an anti-fascist and ecological attitude early on.
e) The anarchist critique of real socialism has been confirmed by the dissolution of the real socialist system. Anarchists were best at identifying the fact that what had been established was not socialism but bureaucratic state capitalism.
Despite these important and confirmed views and criticisms, the fact that the anarchist movement has failed to become a mass movement like real socialism and has never had the chance to implement its idea is worthy of reflection. I believe that this is due to a serious deficiency and flaw in anarchist theory related to the weakness of its analysis of civilization and an inability to develop an implementable system. They have neither developed a suitable analysis of historical-society nor proposed any solutions. Moreover, they too have been influenced by positivist philosophy, and it would be wrong to suggest that they have overcome the Eurocentric social sciences. Their most important flaw, however, is that they lack systematic thought about democratic politics and modernity and the related structures. The rigor they showed in developing correct views and criticisms was, unfortunately, not replicated in systematizing and implementing their ideas. It was perhaps their class backgrounds that hampered this. Another important obstacle was their opposition to any type of authority, both theoretically and in their day to day lives. They displaced their rightful reaction to power and state authority onto all forms of authority and order. This affected their ability to develop democratic modernity theoretically and in practice. I believe that the most important point for anarchist self-criticism would be the inability to see the legitimacy of democratic authority and the need for democratic modernity. In addition, the fact that they have been unable to develop the option of democratic nation in place of nation-state is an important deficiency that also deserves some self-critical reflection.
The dissolution of real socialism, the development of ecological and feminist movements, and a general surge in civil society sentiment have no doubt had a positive impact on anarchists. But sitting around talking about having been right is pointless. The question they need to answer is why they were unable to develop or build an ambitious system that reflected their goals, a question that draws attention to the chasm between their theory and their lives. Have they really overcome the modern life they criticize so much? More precisely, how consistent are they in this regard? Can they leave behind a Eurocentric way of life and truly step into global democratic modernity?
It is possible to multiply similar questions and criticisms. What is important, however, is that this movement, which has made huge sacrifices, has important thinkers, whose views and criticisms are respected within the intellectual community, and a legacy that can be brought together in a consistent system that is open to development and opposed to the existing system. Anarchists are more likely to engage in practice informed by self-criticism than are real socialists. Taking their rightful place within economic, social, political, intellectual, and ethical struggles could prove significant. It is possible for anarchists to both renew themselves and make a strong contribution to the struggles that have hastened in the Middle East and whose dimensions of culture and civilization have become more prominent. They are an important ally in the rebuilding of democratic modernity.
Feminism: Rebellion of the Oldest Colony
The term feminism translated as movement for women by no means fully address the women’s question and could potentially lead to an even greater impasse, because it makes it possible to conceive “masculinism” as its opposite. It suggests the meaning that she is merely the oppressed woman of the dominant man. Yet women’s reality is more comprehensive than that and includes other meanings beyond gender with far-reaching economic, social, and political dimensions. If we do not limit our understanding of colonialism to countries and nations but include all human groups, we can easily define women as the oldest colony. No other social phenomenon has experienced colonization of the body and the soul to the degree that women have. We must understand that women are kept in a colonial state, the boundaries of which cannot be easily determined.
The masculine discourse has left its mark on the social sciences, like it has on all the sciences. The lines that refer to women are laden with nothing but propaganda that fails to come close to reality. This discourse repeatedly conceals the real status of women, just as the historiographies of civilization conceal class, exploitation, oppression, and torture. Instead of feminism, perhaps the concept of jineolojî (science of women) might better meet the purpose.6 I am certain that the facts that jineolojî reveals will be no less true than those of theology, eschatology, politology, pedagogy, sociology, and all the other ogies that deal with many areas of the social sciences. It is beyond dispute that women represent the greatest part of social nature, both physically and in terms of meaning. That being the case, why is this very important part of social nature not the subject of science? That sociology, which has been divided into multiple branches, including, for example, pedagogy for the education and upbringing of children, has not developed jineolojî is best explained by the male-dominated discourse underlying it.
So long as the nature of women remains in the dark, it will be impossible to illuminate social nature as a whole. A genuine and comprehensive illumination of social nature is only possible through a realistic and far-reaching elucidation of the nature of women. Revealing the status of women that includes the history of their colonization and encompasses the economic, social, political, and intellectual aspects of this colonization would greatly contribute to the enlightenment of other historical issues and all aspects of contemporary society.
No doubt revealing the status of women is one dimension of the issue, but the more important dimension is related to the question of liberation. Put another way, the solution of the problem is of greater importance. It is often said that the general level of freedom in a society is directly proportional to the level of the freedom of women.7 How we go about adding content to this fundamentally correct statement is extremely important. Women’s freedom and equality are not merely measures of social freedom and equality. They also require a corresponding theory, program, and organization, as well as mechanisms of action. More importantly, this also shows that there can be no democratic politics without women, that even class politics would be inadequate, and that peace cannot be developed and the environment cannot be protected.
We need to remove the status of “the holy mother,” of “fundamental honor,” and of “indispensable partner” from women and explore the reality of women as the subject-object sum. Of course, such research should first be cleared of the buffoonery of love. In fact, the most important dimension of this research should be to expose the huge villainy (in particular rape, murder, beatings, and endless insults) disguised by the term love. Herodotus’s saying that all wars between the East and the West were fought because of women can only mean one thing: women have gained value as a colony and thus becomes the object of major wars.8 While this is the case in the history of civilization, capitalist modernity represents a colonization of women that is a thousand times worse and more complex; inscribing colonialism into the identity of women. Their colonization takes many forms, and the list is long; they are the mothers of all labor, unpaid laborers, minimally paid workers, the most frequently unemployed, the target of men’s boundless appetite and oppression, the system’s birthing machines and nannies, a means of advertising, and a means of sex and pornography. Capitalism has developed a mechanism of exploitation in relation to women that surpasses all other mechanisms of exploitation. We wish it were otherwise, and we could avoid returning to the status of women, because it causes us pain, but the facts have a language of their own, and they cannot be otherwise for the exploited.
In this light, the feminist movement undoubtedly must be the most radical anti-system movement. The women’s movement, whose contemporary form can be traced back to the French Revolution, has developed through various phases into what it is today. In the first phase, the movement pursued equality under the law. This equality, which does not mean much, seems to have been widely attained today, but we must be aware that it is hollow inside. There were formal developments in terms of rights, including human rights and economic, social, and political rights. Women appear to be free and equal to men. But the most significant fraud is hidden in this sort of equality and freedom. It is not only official modernity but the entire hierarchical and statist civilization system that has infiltrated the social fabric and imprisoned women both physically and mentally, condemning them to the most profound slavery, essentially reducing them to slave labor. Therefore, the freedom, equality, and democracy of women require extensive theoretical efforts, ideological struggles, programmatic and organizational activities, and, most importantly, strong action. Without this, feminism and women’s studies can have no meaning beyond the liberal women’s activities that are only intended to relieve the pressure on the system.
I hope to show with an example how the problems could be better solved were a science of woman to be developed. Sexual instinct is one of the earliest forms of learning in life. This instinct is an answer to life’s need to continue. The fact that an individual cannot live infinitely forced the development of the potential to reproduce the one as a solution. What is called the sexual instinct is the continuation of life by using this potential for reproduction when favorable conditions occur. This, in a way, is a remedy to a certain extent to the danger of death and extinction of the species. The first cell division, the cell—the one—makes itself immortal through reproduction. If we generalize even further, it is the tendency of the universe to become eternal by constant variation and reproduction to confront the void and nothingness that wants to devour it and the continuation of this tendency in the living.
Within the human species, the one or the individual where this universal process takes place is more likely to be a woman. Reproduction takes place in women’s bodies. Men’s role is entirely secondary in this process. It is therefore scientifically understandable that the entire responsibility for the continuation of the family rests with the woman. Moreover, women not only carry the fetus, nurture its growth, and give birth to the child, but they are, of course, also responsible for caring for the child, a responsibility that lasts most of their lives. Therefore, the first conclusion we should draw is that women must have absolute decision-making power about all sexual acts, because for the woman all sexual intercourse involves potential problems that are very difficult to overcome. We must understand that a woman who gives birth to ten children will find herself in physical and emotional situations that are worse than death.
Men’s view of sexuality is more distorted and irresponsible, largely because of ignorance and the blindness that comes with power. In addition, during the hierarchical period and the dynastic state having many children meant indispensable strength for a man. It not only meant the continuation of the lineage but also guaranteed that he would continue to exist as power and the state. In a way, not losing the state, which is a kind of a monopoly over property, depends on the size of the dynasty. Women, in this manner, are transformed into instruments for giving birth to many children for both biological existence and the existence of power and the state. This is how the ground is prepared for the terrible colonization of women in connection with both first and second nature. Accordingly, it is of utmost importance to analyze the decline of women in connection with both of these natures. There is no need to further explain that under this status of both natures it is not possible for women to maintain herself both physically or psychologically for very long or to escape unscathed. Physical and psychological decline develop in an intertwined way early on, causing to have a shortened life full of pain and grief in return for sustaining and securing the lives of others. It is very important to analyze and understand the history of civilization and modernity on this basis.
Let’s leave aside the severity of the problem from a woman’s point of view. Another dimension of the problem is the excessive growth of the population. The policy of having many children has severe impact on social nature and the ecological environment as a whole as a result of this population increase. One of the fundamental lessons that both the science of women and all social sciences must learn from this is that the human population cannot be maintained, reproduced, or, in rare cases, decreased by an “instinctive learning” method. The main reason for the extreme population growth is that instinct, a very primitive method of maintaining the lineage, is supported by scientific methods developed throughout the history of civilization and modernity. To maintain the human species as a social nature only by instinct, particularly sexual instinct, is extremely backward. Intelligence and our cultural level offer a potential for learning that would be able to sustain social existences in a more advanced manner. Individuals and communities could potentially use their intelligence and cultures, as well as their philosophical and political institutions, to stay alive for a very long time. Therefore, continuation and reproduction of the lineage by way of sexual instinct no longer makes sense. Human culture and intelligence has long since overcome this method. Therefore, it is the profit principle of civilization and modernity that is primarily responsible for this primitiviness. No doubt extreme population growth means extreme monopoly and extreme power, which in turn means maximum profit. The extreme growth of the human species throughout history has not only brought society but also the environment and nature to the brink of destruction. This is most definitely a consequence of the cumulative accumulation of capital and power and, therefore, the law of maximum profit. All other factors are secondary and incidental.
Therefore, the responsibility for solving the demographic problem, which is essential to resolving the women’s question in its gigantic dimensions and preventing ecological destruction, should in principle lie with women. The first condition for this is complete freedom and equality for women, their complete right to engage in democratic politics, and the right to have a complete say and absolute free will concerning all matters relating to gender relations, otherwise, the complete liberation, freedom, and equality for women, society, and the environment will not be possible, nor would democratic and confederative forms of politics.
As a fundamental component of moral and political society, women play a crucial role in the formation of an ethics and esthetics of life that reflect freedom, equality, and democratization. The science of ethics and esthetics is an integral part of the science of woman. Due to their heavy responsibilities in life, women will undoubtedly be both the driving intellectual and implementing force behind breakthroughs and progress in all ethical and esthetic matters. Because of their advanced level of emotional intelligence, women’s bond with life is a lot more comprehensive than men’s. Therefore, esthetics in the sense of beautifying life is an existential matter for women. Women bear a more encompassing responsibility when it comes to ethics (ethics = the theory of morality, esthetics = the theory of beauty). It is in women’s nature to behave more realistically and responsibly in the sense of moral and political society when evaluating, determining, and deciding upon the good and bad aspects of human education, norms of fairness and justice, the importance of life and peace, and the evil and horrors of war. Of course, I am not referring to the women who are men’s puppets or shadows. The women in question are the ones who are free and equal and who have absorbed democratization.
It would also be more useful to develop the science of economics as a component of the science of women. From the very beginning, the economy has been a form of social activity in which women played an essential role. The economy is of crucial importance to women, since the question of children’s nutrition rests on women’s shoulders. In fact, economy in Greek means law of the house and the rules for the maintenance of the house. Obviously, this is woman’s main occupation. Taking the economy out of women’s hands and putting it into the hands of usurers, merchants, capitalists, power, the state and its agents who act like lords (agas) was the greatest blow to economic life. The economy that has been handed over to anti-economy forces has rapidly been turned into the main target of power and militarism and, thus, has been transformed into the main factor behind an unlimited number of wars, conflicts, and struggles throughout the history of civilization and modernity. Today, the economy has been turned into the playground of people who have nothing to do with the economy and who by playing games with their scraps of paper, using methods that are worse than gambling, usurp innumerable social value. The economy, the sacred occupation of women, has been turned into an area they have been completely pushed out of, that has been handed over to factories where war machines, vehicles that make environment inhabitable, and unnecessary products that bring profit but have little to do with meeting essential human needs are produced and where prices and interest rates are manipulated on stock exchanges.
The women’s movement for democratic freedom and equality, including feminism, based on the science of women, will clearly play a leading role in solving social problems. The women’s movement should not be content with the criticism of the women’s movements of the recent past alone but must rather focus on the history of civilization and modernity, which have rendered women a lost identity. If the women’s question and the women’s movements go almost unaddressed in the social sciences, it is the hegemonic mentality of civilization and modernity, as well as the structures of their material culture, that bear the greatest responsibility. We might contribute to liberalism with limited legal and political approaches to equality, but with such approaches we will not even be able to analyze the women’s question as a phenomenon, let alone solve the problem. To claim that the existing feminist movements have detached themselves from liberalism and become anti-state forces would be self-deception. If, as it is said, one of the main problems of feminism is around radicalism, then it must first break with deep-seated liberal habits, ways of thinking and feeling, as well as the corresponding life, and rethink the misogynous civilization and modernity underlying all this, and on this basis set out on meaningful paths to finding solutions.
Democratic modernity must regard the nature of women and their freedom movement as one of its fundamental forces and prioritize both developing it, allying with it, and involving it in the work of reconstruction.
Ecology: The Rebellion of the Environment
One of the main problems caused by the civilization system is the destruction of the critical equilibrium of society and the environment. Social nature has always lived in harmony with the environment and has maintained this critical equilibrium during the long period of its existence and development. The fact that we do not see deviations in spontaneous development that could profoundly change this equilibrium is part of natural development. Essentially, systems tend to develop by mutual nurturing rather than by destroying one another. When deviations do occur, they must be overcome according to the logic of the system. In this sense, civilization is a deviation in the system of social nature. The very expression, civilization system, is nothing more than propaganda, this term was invented to replace the real system of social nature. While those who actually are the system have been called barbarians, nomads, and marginal groups, the networks parasitically feeding on social value came to be labeled the “civilization system.” No matter how you view it: wars, pillage, destruction, massacres, monopolies, tributes, and taxes are the main features of the development of civilization and deserve to be regarded as the real barbarism. The constant destruction and burning down of villages and towns, the murder of millions of people, and the subjugation of the vast majority of the society under a system of exploitation cannot be described as the natural necessity of the system of social nature and can only be regarded as an anomaly.
The five-thousand-year history of civilization is also the history of the development and growth of this anomaly. The eruption of ecological disasters during the age of capitalism—seen as the most advanced age of civilization—is irrefutable proof of this anomaly. Social nature did not cause similar disasters over the course of its approximately three million years of existence. Society and the environmental system nurtured one another. The ecological crises that erupted during the short history of civilization are the result of its destructive profit-oriented essence. Not only capitalist profit but all of the extreme accumulation of value has gone hand in hand with the destruction of both natures in all civilization phases. The pyramids are an example of this accumulation. The price paid in social destruction for this can to some degree be imagined. An abundance of similar forms of accumulation constantly placed additional burden on the environment. Social collapse brought with it environmental collapse. The structures of capitalist modernity based on unlimited monopolist profit took on such proportions that the equilibrium between society and the environment could not endure. As a result, we have entered “the age of ecological crisis.” The strategic role of industrialism, with fossil-fuel based industrialization and modernism as the main factors, were thus decisive. In addition, the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, indirectly leading to disasters through traffic accidents, along with other issues, result in a further chain reaction of destruction. Environmental disasters turn into social disasters and social disasters then exacerbate the environmental disasters in a reciprocating chain reaction. That is why it is wrong to call the capitalist age the age of reason. The accumulation is blind. We see before us the consequences of a blind accumulation that never corresponded to the rationality of environment and society. Analytically, this may be rational. In terms of emotional intelligence, which is the only intelligence relevant to the environment, it is sufficiently clear that analytical intelligence is an intelligence of total blindness and destruction.
Based on previous analysis, we can say that extreme population growth and urban sprawl accelerated as the city and the middle class became the center of power, creating a situation that was more than the environment could endure, nor could social nature endure these developments. Power and the state, which have grown intertwined in the process of capital accumulation, have reached a level of significance that prevents any society or environment from maintaining its equilibrium. The fact that environmental and social crises converge and become permanent is related to the monopolistic growth in both areas, both becoming crisis systems that reciprocally foster one another. All scientific data indicates that if this spiral continues for another fifty years the collapse will reach unsustainable dimensions. But because of their blind and destructive nature, capital and power monopolies cannot see or hear this; such is their nature.
The relatively new history of environmental science and environmental movements further develops with each passing day. What applies to women also applies to the environment: with the development of environmental science consciousness develops, and as consciousness develops so does the movement. It is the area where the civil society movement is broadest. It also attracts both real socialists and anarchists. It is the movement where the opposition to the system is most felt. Because it affects the whole community, participation has attained a transnational and cross-class character. Here too the impact of liberal ideological hegemony on the movement can be clearly seen. As with all social issues, liberalism ignores the structural core of the problem in the ecological area and tries to shift the responsibility onto technology, fossil fuels, and consumer society. But all these are side effects that are the product of the system (or lack thereof) of modernity. Therefore, the ecological movement, like the feminist movement, urgently needs ideological clarity. It needs to shift its organization and activism out of narrow city alleys and into the whole of society, in particular into the agrarian-village communities in the rural areas. Ecology is the fundamental guide to action for the rural areas, agrarian-village communities, all nomads, the unemployed, and women.
These factors constitute the basis of democratic modernity and show perfectly clearly the important role ecology will play in the work of reconstruction.
Cultural Movements: Tradition’s Revenge on the Nation-State
Throughout the entire period of civilization, there has never been a lack of cultural movements. The reason they are often mentioned during the post-modern period is related to the dissolution of nation-state borders. It would also be appropriate to call these cultural movements the rebellion of tradition. During the process in which the nation-state—the nation based on a dominant ethnicity, religion, denomination, or some other group phenomenon—tried to homogenize the society, many traditions and cultures were eliminated by genocide or assimilation. Thousands of tribes, aşirets, and peoples, along with their languages, dialects, and cultures were brought to the brink of extinction. Many religions, beliefs, and sects were banned, folklore and traditions were assimilated, and those that could not be assimilated were forced to emigrate, resulting in marginalization and the fragmentation of their cohesion. All historical entities, cultures, and traditions were sacrificed to a meaningless nationalism in the context of historical-society, based on “one language, one flag, one nation, one fatherland, one state, one anthem, and one culture,” ultimately serving to conceal the concentration of modernity’s commercial, industrial, financial, and power monopolies as nation-states. This process continued for two hundred years at full speed and was perhaps the longest and most violent period of warfare in history. It caused the massive destruction of cultures and traditions that were thousands of years old. The highly organized monopolies driven by the greed for profit did not feel any pain at the loss of any sacred tradition or culture.
When some unsystematic movements, also called postmodern, pierced through modernity’s “nation-state armor” or broke out of its “iron cage,” these cultures and traditions, which were at the brink of extinction and mostly confined to a marginal existence, began to flourish and multiply once more, like flowers blossoming after rain in the dessert. While the collapse of real socialism had an important impact, the 1968 youth movement was the spark that ignited this development. In addition, all the currents and stages of all national liberation movements that resisted capitalist colonialism, which had not yet become a nation-state, also had an impact. In any case, traditions and cultures are resistance in and of themselves. They will either be destroyed or will survive, because their character is such that they do not know how to capitulate. At the next opportunity, their very nature requires that they resist even more vigorously. Nation-state fascism failed to take this reality into account. Suppressing them, even assimilating them, does not necessarily mean that they will cease to exist. The resistance of cultures is reminiscent of the flowers that blossom, piercing rocks to prove their existence, and this is evidenced by the fact that they continue to reach daylight by smashing through the concrete of modernity poured over them. Let’s briefly break these movements down into several groups.
Ethnicity and Movements of the Democratic Nation
One of the main cultural movements that cannot be completely suppressed by the nation-state is the micronationalism of ethnic phenomena. They are different from nation-state nationalism, in that the democratic content predominates within them. Instead of pursuing a new state, their most important goal is to become a democratic political formation based on their own culture. The formation they strive for differs from regional or local autonomy. It is not limited to a specific space and denotes the unity and solidarity of those who share the same cultural identity, even if they do not live within the same borders. Protecting their existence in the face of a dominant ethnicity is another important goal.
Calling the movement, which is a step beyond the various oppressed ethnic groups or peoples, the Movement of the Democratic Nation is meaningful from a sociological point of view and is perfectly accurate. It is really difficult for an oppressed ethnic group to survive and maintain its existence. The movement of those whose cultures have similar languages and dialects, and who share the same geography and political borders must be characterized as the Movement of the Democratic Nation for several reasons. First, they do not aspire to a separate state but to a democratic political formation and governance. Living as democratic political formations under the umbrella of a single state has been a very common political form of existence throughout history. History has, in fact, seen an overwhelming number of political formations representing different cultural groups. The normal form of government allowed for the existence of different political formations within the borders of each state or empire. What was abnormal was either ignoring or suppressing these political formations. Assimilation, for its part, was a method that was hardly ever employed. The Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Persian-Sasanian, and Arab-Abbasid Empires considered the existence of hundreds of different political-administrative units as their raison d’étre—as long as these entities recognized the legitimacy of the emperor or the sultan, of course. A way of life that preserved their language, religion, folklore, and self-governance was the norm. But the nation-state monster (Leviathan) destroyed this order, also providing the basis for fascism. The outcome was a multitude of cultural and physical genocides.
Interpreting the right of oppressed ethnic groups or peoples to be a nation solely as the right to establish a nation-state was a major distortion and disaster on the part of both liberalism and real socialism. This situation was a consequence of fascist nationalism and totalitarianism. Not limiting a normal nation to borders but building it on the basis of culture and principles of democratic governance would have been the right and humane way to proceed and would have been in accordance with social nature. Historical facts also tend to indicate this. Monopolist capital’s ambition to rapidly accumulate capital in pursuit of maximum profit was the most important factor blocking this path. The abnormal nation-state approach to being a nation became the norm, while the normal democratic approach of becoming a nation was increasingly seen as abnormal—or simply totally ignored. This is the great distortion.
As the various dead ends of the nation-state (world and regional wars, bloody national conflicts, obstruction of capital by national walls) became apparent, the normal way of becoming democratic nations became increasingly prominent. After World War II, what all of Europe essentially went through was the transformation from the nation-statism to democratic nationhood. The US has always managed to maintain itself as a nation of democratic nations. In spite of monopolism’s many nation-statist distortions, in the USSR, nation-statism and democratic nationhood were intertwined. In India, there are strong tendencies toward democratic nationhood. In Africa and South America, these tendencies have always been predominant. The very few rigid nation-states were limited to specific geographic areas, in particular the Middle East, where they are now also rapidly disintegrating.
Second, if power-centered and statist nation-building was not to be the basis, then the option was either using some leftover institutions from the Middle Ages (agas, sheiks, sects, the heads of aşirets) and the generally collaborationist henchman administrations based mainly on family interests or developing democratic governance. The first path was the modernized version of the classic collaborator system well known in history. The second path, however, was the path that represented democratic modernity’s real goal. The leadership of the resistance to the nation-state and its collaborators can only be democratic. And this is the soundest liberationist and egalitarian approach to democratic nationhood.
Third, the plural structure of cultures, languages, and dialects also called for a democratic nation. It contradicted the very essence of democratic nation to base itself on the dominance of the predominant ethnic group’s language, dialect, or culture. The only option was to become a nation with many languages, cultures, and political formations. It is clear that this means a democratic nation. Of course, forming a single democratic nation out of several democratic nations is also an option. Developments of this sort are taking place in Spain, India, and the Republic of South Africa, which some people might not like, and even in Indonesia and a number of African countries. Even the US and the EU could in some way be defined as a nation of democratic nations. The Russian Federation is yet another similar important example.
Fourth, if the economic, social, political, intellectual, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences are to be more strongly protected, it is immediately obvious that this would be easiest in a democratic nation. If every difference is turned into separation, this will be to everyone’s loss. “Unity in diversity” is ideal for all, and a democratic nation is its most suitable form. Such solution potential alone is sufficient to explain the enormous solution power of the democratic nation movement and the structural alternative it provides to the nation-state.
The nation-state, which is at an impasse, finds itself squeezed between the global movements of capital above and the grassroots urban, local, and regional autonomy movements, as well as democratic-nation and religious movements, below. The resulting chaos offers the opportunity for the emergence of new systems, of which we have already seen numerous examples.
While, on the one hand, liberalism tries to surpass and reconstruct the classical nation-state ideology, on the other hand, it takes pains to present this as taking place under the cloak of promoting democracy. The rigid proponents of nation-state fight with such a conservatism and backwardness that they leave the former conservatives far behind. These forces have, so to speak, become the true conservatives of our day. The representatives of religious ideologies, on the other hand, are in search of the traditional ummah.9 It is highly probable that they will realize modernism in religious garb and establish a religion-based nation-state. Iran is an instructive example in this regard.
The option of democratic nationhood promises a future because of its high potential for solving the complicated ideological and structural problems that we currently face. In this respect, the path EU has taken is particularly impressive. It is quite important that democratic modernity, both ideologically and structurally, treats the option of the democratic nation as one of its fundamental dimensions. This approach would both contribute to civilization and offer an opportunity for liberation. The efforts to rebuild democratic modernity through the democratic nation offer the most promising projects for solving the fundamental problems of society and the environment.
Religious Cultural Movements: Revival of Religious Tradition
As in the case of ethnicity, we observe a revival of religious tradition, which modernity, and in particular the nation-state, tried to colonize with the concept of laicisim. Undoubtedly this is not a revival that brings it close to the function that religious tradition once had for society. Rather, this comeback is under the influence of official modernity, both in terms of its radical elements and its moderate wings. This comeback is one where many aspects of modernity have been absorbed. In fact, the issue is a little more complicated. Although laicism is defined as religion completely relinquishing worldly affairs, state affairs in particular, it actually remains an ambiguous concept. Laicism, as claimed, is neither worldly nor can the state be completely isolated from religion. More importantly, religions are never about organizing the afterlife. What they actually organize is the functioning of the worldly and the social and, in particular, power and the state.
Laicism is a kind of (masonic) denomination that was developed to break the hegemony of the Catholic world. Masonic lodges were first founded in the Middle Ages by stonemasons, including some Jews. Although laicism developed in connection with the positive sciences, it is highly probable that it was a derivation from the rabbinical elements of Jewish ideology. Without understanding this we cannot understand laicism or the problems it has caused. Laicism carries rabbinical elements at least as much as other religious traditions (divine; rabb means master in Hebrew), but this fact had to be constructed in secret and with a special packaging, as a result of the relentless oppression at the hands of medieval Catholicism. The laicists who made their move with the Dutch and the English Revolutions benefited more from them than from the French Revolution. With the construction of the nation-state they organized themselves in a way that made them the most difficult part of the state’s core to reach, recognize, and topple from power. They have continued this dominance ever since. This is one aspect of the phenomenon known as the “deep state.” The more than two hundred nation-states around the world are as Masonic as they are secular. Masons are the fundamental force behind the ideological hegemony of capitalist modernity. Their influence is global and they continue to consolidate it. Other areas of influence include a number of civil society institutions that play a key role in the strategic direction of the world, such as media monopolies and university teaching staff. They are the masterminds and controllers of modernity, which they call the “secular world.” Their function, which they call earthly or secular, takes place within this framework.
As particularly Catholicism but also Sunni Islam and other rigid religious traditions erode under the influence of modernity, laicism loses its importance as an ideology and a political program. The revival of traditional religions, especially in societies where the Islamic tradition still has a strong influence, has rekindled the discussion about the relationship between laicism and religion. These developments are related to the ideological and political power struggles between the nation-state and the concept of the ummah. Therefore, it would be wrong to present it as if it were only about the modern way of life. A struggle similar to that between Christianity and Judaism is now unfolding between the Islamic world and Judaism. This is what underlies the great conflicts in the Middle East. The goal is to arrange some kind of reconciliation between Judaism and Islam, like that found in Europe and the US. Radical elements oppose reconciliation and are confrontational, while moderate elements appear to be much more open to reconciliation.
Still, it is important not to see the revival of traditional religious cultures exclusively as reactionism rising from the grave. They carry democratic content to the extent that they revolt against modernity and nation-state ideology. Nor should we overlook the fact that they represent a strong moral vein. It is important for democratic modernity to pay close attention to the developments occurring within these religious traditions, because they are among the many cultures that modernity has thoroughly tampered with and colonized. A similar revival can be seen in all suppressed cultures and religious traditions. The issue is global, so it is more than just a dispute between Islam and Judaism but concerns processes that are taking place on a global scale.
Just as it is possible to have different ethnic cultures in a democratic nation, the same is true of the democratic content of religious culture as a free, egalitarian, and democratic element of the democratic nation and making it part of a solution is important. The conciliatory alliance approach of democratic modernity to the anti-system movements should also be applied to religious cultures with democratic content. This is another important task that is vital to the work of reconstruction.
Urban, Local, and Regional Movements for Autonomy
Autonomous governance, which has always played an important part in history at urban, local, and regional levels, is among the other very important cultural traditions that fell victim to nation-statism. In all the forms of social and state governance implemented to date, there has always been governments of the city, locality, and region, each with its own specific characteristics. In fact, it would otherwise be impossible to govern large states and empires. Rigid centralism, essentially a monopolistic character of modernity, is a nation-state disease. Imposed as a necessity of maximum profit, it was organized in such a way that the bureaucrats of the tumultuously proliferating middle-class bourgeoisie came to power, and developed as a model that establishes not one but thousands of kingdoms that can only function through fascism.
The rural, local, and regional autonomous movements shouldered the biggest responsibility for the development of cultural movements—mostly liberal postmodernist and some representing a radical rupture—that accelerated the disintegration of classical modernity. In fact, it is a return to and revival of cultures that include the political, economic, and social dimensions that have been central to them throughout the ages. They are among the movements that have and must have great importance in terms of historical-society. Without the liberation of the city, the local, and region, liberation from the disease of the nation-state is impossible. This is best understood and implemented by the EU member states. The four hundred years of barbarism that they experienced in the name of modernity and the severe devastation of the two world wars have sufficiently taught European culture a lesson. It is no coincidence that, having understood what the genocide the nation-state implies for all national and cultural entities, one of the first measures the EU implemented were urban, local, and regional autonomy laws.
The efforts being made in the European Union in the context of urban, local, and regional cultures are among the most important contributions to solving all global problems. Although not particularly radical, they are important and necessary cultural movements. In any case, many urban, local and regional autonomies have maintained their vitality because central governments have not been able to impose and enforce complete homogeneity on any continent. The most active and current issues related to autonomy and autonomous work are found in areas stretching from the Russian Federation to China to India through the entire American continent (the US is a federal state, Canada has a high degree of internal autonomy, and South America has significant regional autonomy) to Africa (in the absence of traditional aşirets and regional governance, states can neither be formed nor govern). Rigid centralism, a disease of the nationstatism, is implemented only in a limited number of states in the Middle East and some dictatorships around the world.
There is an effort to replace the rigid centralized nation-state structures of classical modernity, which is being squeezed between global capital above and the cultural movements below and gradually disintegrating, with autonomous governance at the urban, local, and regional levels. This tendency is growing increasingly strong at present and will inevitably develop in step with the movement of the democratic nation. In terms of its form of governance, the democratic nation is quite close to confederalism. Confederalism, in a way, is the democratic nation’s form of political governance. A strong city can only secure its existence through autonomous local and regional governance. As such, the form of governance of both movements is identical and overlaps. Democratic nationhood and the democratic nation cannot attain the capacity of governance without urban, local, and regional autonomy. They either fall into chaos and disintegrate or are overtaken by a new nation-state model. To avoid both possible outcomes, the movement of the democratic nation must develop urban, local, and regional democratic autonomy. On the other hand, autonomous urban, local, and regional governance needs to complement the movement of the democratic nation toward a democratic nation to avoid being totally swallowed up and to use their economic, social, and political power to the full. These movements can only completely overcome the nation-state’s extremely centralist monopolistic forces, which nation-states constantly holds and tries to impose on them, by forming strong alliances. Otherwise, neither movement (even as a phenomenon) will be able to avoid being liquidated and absorbed under the threat of renewed homogenization, as has happened so often before. Just as the historical conditions in the nineteenth century generally favored nation-statism, current conditions—the realities of the twenty-first century—favor democratic nations and strengthened urban, local, and regional autonomous governance at all levels.
Of course, we must be very careful that liberalism does not corrupt and absorb these positive tendencies for democratization under its ideological and material hegemony, as it has done so often in its history. The most important strategic task of democratic modernity, as with all opponents of the system, is to bring together in a new ideological and political structure the current of historical-society’s urban, local, and regional political formations in a complementary way. In this sense, it must engage in comprehensive theoretical efforts while developing the necessary program, organizational structures, and actions intertwined with one another. The conditions for ensuring that the fate of the confederal structures destroyed by nation-statism in the mid-nineteenth century is not repeated in the twenty-first century are present, instead the conditions to turn it into a victory for democratic confederalism are quite promising. If we are to emerge from the long and continuous depression in the financial-capitalist phase of modernity, which can only be kept alive and continued by a crisis regime, with a victory for democratic modernity, it is vital that the intellectual, political, and moral tasks in the reconstruction work are successfully realized.
1 The author specifically uses the term “male-dominant” rather than the equivalent for patriarchal in Turkish. There is no distinction in meaning; the author sometimes prefers to use terms that are more descriptive and reveal the content, I maintained the use of “erkek egemen” (male-dominant) rather than using “ataerkil” (patriarchy) [translator’s note].
2 Murray Bookchin, Urbanization without Cities: The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship (Montréal: Black Rose Books, 1992).
3 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in Selected Works, vol. 1 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969), 98–137, accessed August 9, 2019, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto.
4 A small, cubical building in the courtyard of the Great Mosque at Mecca containing a sacred black stone: regarded by Muslims as the House of God and the objective of their pilgrimages.
5 Vladimir Lenin, “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,” in Lenin’s Collected Works, vol. 28 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974), 227–325, accessed August 9, 2019, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/index.htm.
6 The word jin means woman in Kurdish, and –lojî is –logy.
7 This formulation, often attributed to Marx, comes from the French utopian socialist Charles Fourier, whom Marx quoteds. Murray Bookchin refers to this in his major work The Ecology of Freedom (Andover, MA: Cheshire Books, 1982), accessed February 9, 2020, https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/murray-bookchin-the-ecology-of-freedom#toc11. The title of this volume references Bookchin’s work.
8 Herodotus begins his history with an explanation of the causes of the wars between the Greeks and the “barbarians.” It deals with several women being “carried off,” by Phoenicians and Greeks, including Io, Europa, Medeia, and Helena, as the prehistory of the wars between the Greeks and the Persians. Reference is also made to the view if the women had not wanted to be “carried off,” they would not have been.
9 Ummah is commonly used to mean the collective community of Islamic peoples.