FIVE – The Democratic and Ecological Society

The Historical Essence of Communal and Democratic Values

One of the most fundamental shortcomings of social science is that it does not demonstrate the other side, the “counterpart,” that throughout history has been and must be in dialectical contradiction with hierarchical and statebased societies. They act as if history is free of contradictions and consists of nothing but the linear development of the dominant social system. In reality, the historical development of hierarchical and statist society has occurred in contradiction with the values of natural society—playing the role of an antithesis, given that all phenomena emerge in contradiction with their opposite pole. The hierarchical and statist society nourishes and feeds itself on its antithesis and is, thereby, able to grow and differentiate itself.

We must not underestimate the power of natural society. This society plays the role of the main stem cell. Just as all cells of the various tissues of the body emanate from the stem cell, it is from the natural society that all institutions—which we can compare to tissues—emerge. Just as organs and systems of organs form from tissues, the primordial institutions of natural society lead to the emergence of “primitive hierarchical institutions,” as well as the other more complex organs and social systems. It is possible to suppress, beat back, and restrict natural society, but it can never be destroyed, for this would be the end of society as such. The fact that social science has not comprehended these relationships is one of its greatest shortcomings. What nourished the hierarchy and the state was the natural societies whose formation is the result of a developmental process lasting millions of years. How else could the dialectical contradiction have arisen?

If you carry out social analyses exclusively with narrow class or economic means, you exclude one of the most essential elements of reality from the outset. This great mistake, delusion, and error was made and was exacerbated by the fact that even Marxism, with its great aspirations, perceived natural society, which it called “primitive communism,” as extinct, as having ceased to exist thousands of years ago.

In reality, natural society has never ceased to exist. Even though hierarchical and statist societies have fed upon it, natural society has never been completely consumed and has always managed to sustain its existence. Whether as a point of reference for ethnic groups, slaves, and serfs as a foundation for overcoming proletarianization and the rise of the new society, as nomadic communities in deserts and forests, or as the free peasant and the mother-based family—despite all of the destruction, it has always been present as a living morality of society. Contrary to a widely held view, it is not narrow class struggle alone that is society’s driving force for progress but the strong resistance of communal social values. Of course, the importance of class struggles cannot be denied, but, at the same time, they represent just one of several historical dynamics. The leading role is played by the itinerant nomads in the mountains, deserts, and forests.In terms of their form, they are the ethnic movements, including tribe, aşiret, and people. It has been the strength of ethnicity to survive all of the merciless attacks and all of the natural hardships for millennia: it created language and a culture of resistance, as well as simple and noble humane values and a corresponding morality.

Among the most discussed issues is what kind of systems can emerge from the crisis of capitalism. There was also a crisis in the aftermath of World War I. The Bolshevik Revolution was closely linked to Lenin’s analysis in that regard. World War II demonstrated that the crisis was still not over, and that it had a character of permanency. After that, however, capitalism regained its strength. The second great scientific-technological revolution allowed it to make quite a leap forward. These short-term outbursts couldn’t prevent the crisis-driven cracks in the system from branching out. After the 1970s, and with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, not only has the crisis not been alleviated, it has, in fact, become worse. In the end, the Soviet experience objectively proved to be an effective palli-ative for the system.

Recently, there have been an increasing number of analyses of the crisis by both opponents of the system and proponents of neoliberalism. Is neoliberalism really a caricature of the past? Or is it, in the guise of“globalization,” really something new, as its protagonists claim? While these discussions are in full swing, it has become increasingly urgent for the people of the world to find an alternative system, especially following the crisis of real socialism. Where are the tensions within the system that includes the United States, the European Union, and Japan, the North-South conflict, and the increasing overall social polarization taking us? The environmental, feminist, and cultural movements stepped in as new actors.Human rights and civil society became increasingly important for solving problems. The left has constantly striven to renew itself. What kind of a world did the “club of the rich”—the World Economic Forum in Davos—on the one hand, and the “club of the poor”—the World Social Forums in Porto Alegre—on the other hand, visualize? These shallow discussions never got beyond the necessities of the day. Having a program and planned action was limited, and systematic and theoretical farsightedness was a rare phenomenon on both sides. In short, the proponents of freedom and equality had neither the knowledge nor the necessary structures to successfully transform the crisis into a departure point for something new.

In modern history, liberalism has repeatedly succeeded in pulling the waves of many revolutions into its own waters, as it did during the revolutions led by laborers and peoples in 1848, 1871, and 1917, co-opting these revolutions and influencing their course in its own interests. To prevent neoliberalism from doing the same, so as not to drown in its so-called new waters, it is necessary to avoid repeating the same mistakes. What’s required is the power of correct knowledge, the restructuring of society, and uncovering successful forms. Particularly in the Middle East, where the contradictions are intensifying daily, and crises and conflicts are frantically experienced, a “people’s option” must become meaningful and light must be shed on its structure. In the face of the new US offensive, also called the 9/11 crisis, which displays the most profound conspiratorial quality, the people of the world must have their own range of options ready, if they are not to fall into a radical error once again, and if they are not to become the putty for repairing the rotting structures of the system. History awaited a modest answer, one that was serious and did not mislead—solidly closing its door on well-worn repetitions that proved futile and didn’t hold out any further hope.

In this book, I am taking up the challenge to find answers to these questions, which have preoccupied me for a long time. Both the grave situation of the Kurdish people, who expect a comprehensive and feasible solution, and whose expectations we absolutely have to be worthy of, and the problems faced by the PKK, which took upon itself the responsibility to lead the people, required me to find the power of meaning and the structural instruments necessary for a successful solution. In facing this responsibility, I am fully aware of the need to act in the name of a transnational option for all peoples, while struggling in the name of our own people. A humanism and a view of nature and the universe that go far beyond my earlier narrow understanding of “patriotism and internationalism” provide the basis for all of my efforts. With this in mind, I am presenting my thoughts on a democratic and ecological society for discussion and evaluation.

First, the primary question is what our theoretical framework should be. What are the consequences of having no theory? What are the results of inadequate and false theories? What would the features of a competent theoretical framework that fits the purpose be?

Even though “information society” is a buzz term these days, it is essentially an accurate definition of our era. It indicates that without the necessary knowledge it will be difficult to address and manage even ordinary phenomena, let alone the comprehensive meaning and structuring problems of social transformation. Anyone who tries to solve these problems simply by trial and error will for the most part be bitterly disappointed. Moreover, even successes will always harbor the risk of a coming defeat if they are simply fortuitous. However, a movement or a life that becomes nothing more than a routine is a gradual loss of the meaning of real life. Real life consists not only of movement but of movement with momentum.

As a result, it is very likely that in crisis-ridden societies, efforts to achieve fundamental transformation will be futile or even harmful if they are not elucidated and guided by capable theoretical perspectives fit for the purpose. Therefore, times of historical crisis are often accompanied by intense intellectual efforts. It is for this reason that we observe the development of new schools of thought and communities of faith before and after the emergence of civilizations and the formation of new systems.

Since Marxism-Leninism played such a dominant role for the resistance movements of the twentieth century, we have to take a closer look at it. This worldview has also affected us, and we should have understood earlier—not after seventy years—that we could not proceed without uncovering its fundamental flaw.

The essence of my theoretical approach to my understanding of the system that I call democratic and ecological society is fundamentally to form it outside of any state power—that is, to search for a solution not only outside of the capitalist system’s concept of “power,” but outside of all classic hierarchical forms of state power in all state-based societies. This approach is not utopian; it is so closely tied to social reality that I see it to be the most important accomplishment of my struggle. My personal and social origins have surely played a role in attaining this theoretical capacity, but the most important factor was to understand the overall systemic structure of the historical society. Beneath this ability to understand lies the particularities of our struggle and the ability to successfully be a responsible person. The place of decades of seclusion and prison, of treachery and suffering, in the formation of great religions and schools of thought is indisputable. The values of natural society, as well as the struggle of ethnic groups and the poor for survival, have their indispensable place in this mentality.

Clearly, conceiving of history as a chronicle of important events in the orbit of political power cannot constitute our historical basis. It seems more meaningful to try to understand the system in its totality and to draw the appropriate lessons.

The history upon which we must base ourselves is that of those who live at the opposite pole of hierarchical and class-based social development.The official political narratives of history either do not mention them or regard them as anarchist groups or useless mobs or herds only worthy of exploitation in the service of their interests. Such an understanding of history is not just idealistic and abstract; it is cruel. Our history only becomes meaningful when it is written from the perspective of all kinds of thought and action that stood against hierarchy and political power going back to the time of natural society—the resistance of those who suffered discrimination because they belonged to a certain ethnic group, class, or sex.

Moreover, as we define the historical basis of our theoretical approach, another important aspect is that it must incorporate the power of actual knowledge in the society as much as possible. If these two cannot be integrated, our capacity to understand and our structures will remain deficient for addressing the future. If a theory does not include the entire system’s capacity to know within its own horizon of knowing, it will be inadequate and will inevitably be absorbed within the horizons of opposing theories.This is a fundamental fact of our ideological struggle.

Thus, sketching this theoretical framework for the democratic and ecological society system is our first step. The degree to which this system will conform to the ideals of freedom and equality depends on the substance we give to this framework and on our success in developing a suitable practice. We can safely assume that such a system would be neither the old hierarchical and classic statist system nor the slave system of the defeated, oppressed, and exploited society. It will be a moral system in which there is a sustained dialectical relationship with nature. It will not be founded on internal domination, and the common good will be determined by direct democracy.

The communal quality in the formation of the societal entity is its essence, not just its form, which clearly shows that in the long run a society can only exist communally. Losing communality is tantamount to ceasing to be a society. Any development against communal values means the loss of some of society’s values. That is why it’s realistic to regard communal life as the fundamental way of life. The human species cannot continue to exist without communal way of life. I stress this here to expose the following misconceptions. According to the discourse of civilization, hierarchy and power are valuable because they are what keep society alive and venerated.Everyone lower in the hierarchy and without power is regarded as part of a herd that must be led. This understanding is the first major systematic lie, a lie that is the most ancient and that firmly occupies the human mind. As society is made to believe this idea, it legitimates a process that is contrary to its own interests. This is such a powerful idea, however, that even today almost everyone is deceived by it. Even though the communal order is society’s essential mode of existence, the values that sustain it and are revered are incorrectly ascribed to hierarchical and ruling power. This is a paramount contradiction that must be resolved. This discourse, which distorts social history, is the basic norm of the entire superstructure, especially in historiography, literature, and politics. In the end, society’s true mode of existence is thus turned into a voiceless object lacking in discourse.

Unless we stop calling the primordial society “primitive,” the postulates of social science will inevitably be built on false premises. Here, we must again return to the analogy of the stem cell. It may well be that compared to the more differentiated cells, the stem cell is “primitive.”However, it is not primitive in the sense that it is backward and should be eroded but primordial in the sense of being primary and foundational.Without this perspective on the values of communal society, the analysis of all other institutions must be considered baseless and seriously devoid of meaning.

If we want to be consistent in our social struggle, we must first of all respect the way society exists and look at it realistically. But even the most radical contemporary socialists shy away from communality, not just in their analyses but also in their practice. It is a deception to say that a person is private but their thought is communal. It is the outcome of capitalism’s moral impoverishment of society. Until almost the end of the twentieth century, phenomena such as ethnicity, tribe, aşiret, and people seem to have been underappreciated and to have remained unexamined by social science. However, if ethnic societies (in the sense of non-state societies) are not recognized as just as important as political power, it will be impossible to understand and find appropriate solutions to social problems. The form of the communal essence can be seen more clearly in ethnicity and ethnic groups. What remains of society when we remove ethnicity? Until quite recently, all contemporary schools of thought, including Marxism, regarded ethnicity as an archaic form without function. Even more so, its communal essence was presented as something makeshift, as a reactionary feature! The more social influence individualism gained, the more it dominated social values and, thus, the more important and respected it became. It is not without reason that I see social scientists in a more negative light than I see Sumerian priests. The priests, as particularly conscious members of their society, lived for and with the society—which also constituted the basis for their thought and beliefs. The most important criterion here is not whether or not their knowledge was right or wrong; the essential criterion was their commitment to the communality of society. For “social scientists,” however, regardless of the correctness or incorrectness of their knowledge, social communality is never something they base themselves on. They approach things technically—and this is where the disaster begins. To the extent that they fail to acknowledge the sanctity of society’s communality and devote themselves to it, all scientists in general, but social scientists in particular, cannot avoid being called the“great class of the immoral.” Had people continued to adhere to the communality of society, we would not have war and power or oppression and exploitation on the scale we have them today. What communality would explain the nuclear bomb?

Communal society entered its most critical phase when it reached the threshold where it underwent hierarchical structuring. The accumulated social experience led to richness of meaning with objects and gestures and, thereafter, to language and finally to the symbol. With the totemistic religion, this phase acquired a sacred expression. The particular importance of religion stems from its development as society’s original self-identity.The identification of society with a totem signified a state of primordial consciousness. The sacredness of consciousness in this form arises from social life itself. The rupture from primatial life brings with it the first important difference in meaning. The novelty of the difference is staggering. In all its important steps, social practice led to exciting developments, which, in turn, increased consciousness. In the course of this process, consciousness came to be articulated with words, with words becoming names and names becoming symbols. This development of consciousness was vital to productivity. A life without consciousness became increasingly difficult, and the poor quality of such a life was immediately apparent.The improvement in the quality of life and increased qualitative development went hand in hand with differentiation in consciousness. This was when religion acquired its full importance and sacredness. However, it contained a contradiction from the very beginning. On the one hand, life without religion became difficult, because religion was an expression of the consciousness of the first socialization, an expression of identity. On the other hand, it is conservative in relation to the future, as it carries with it a set of rules in relation to what is sacred and taboo—not to be touched, to be left alone, a forbidden area. It was not open to new elements of consciousness, thereby preventing further development. Therefore, from the outset multiple religions were necessary. Multiple religions and multiple gods were the expression of increasing differences and distinctions in consciousness. This was positive. In the beginning religion imputed a soul to everything; that the world was explained in animist terms was the result of a social paradigm and a naturalist view of the world. That too was positive. The increasing transition to a veneration of the “great spirit” and from there to divinity symbolized a society developing specific qualities, in short, developing an identity. In the beginning, God was the community itself.

In this connection, the story of the prophet Abraham’s concept of“God” is interesting. Famously, with his uprising against Nimrod and the pantheon of the Babylonian-Assyrian god-kings—the divine group—whose statues he smashed as “graven images,” Abraham started one of the most impressive revolutions in mentality in history.1 The tribe whose leader he was could not do without a god for even a day. This god, however, could not be the totem of the primordial era, because there had just been a revolutionary rebellion against the veneration of idols, but creating a new conception was difficult and required a new richness of meaning. Essentially, a radical reorientation of religion was necessary. It would, of course, be affected by the religious and divine system of the time. At the same time, however, there was an enormous desire and necessity for innovation and, with it, the freedom it entailed.

In the prophetic tradition, the process of seclusion is meant for reaching intensity of meaning. The new thoughts awakening in the mind and their concepts and structures are seen as inspiration, illumination, and revelation. Revelation represents the voice of God in a rather abstract way.Compared to the previous system of idols, the abstract concept of “God”represents a leap to a more advanced system of meaning. Having gone through this process, Abraham laid the foundations of his own religion.It was probably at a point when he was beset by numerous problems that Abraham retreated into solitude, where he responded to the traditional voice: “Who are you!?” The voice responded, “I, yah-weh”—meaning He is, the one who speaks. What is more interesting is that the Kurdish word va hev also means He is. Studies on the origin of the Hebrew language show that it was influenced by Aryan languages—the basis of Kurdish. The origin of this development can be even better elucidated if we consider that the Abrahamic cult is from the prophetic tradition that is particularly developed in Urfa—you could even call Urfa its birthplace. At the same time, it was a region with a strong mixture of Semitic and Aryan cultures.This Semitic-Aryan interlace in Hebrew was also reflected in the newly developing religious culture. Yahweh later became Jehovah, and they are connected with the word Jew. The words Israel and Allah are the result of the reflection of this development in the Semitic culture.

Let me continue a little bit more with this well-known example, so that we can better understand the development in communal society. The root of the concept of “Allah,” which has occupied the hearts and the minds of people for centuries is El. El is a divine figure. The word probably emerged around 2000 BCE from the Canaanite branch of the Semitic languages. As nomads in areas that are part desert and part plains, the Canaanite tribes were closer to an abstract understanding of God. Life in nomadic communities was only to a limited degree determined by a local river, mountain, or agricultural land. Nature was uniform. The earth and the sky were infinite expanses. In this situation, the tribe seemed to be the only entity.

Within these tribes, there developed a hierarchy, namely, sheikhdom.The sheikhs were the wise old men of the tribe, before the prophetic institution emerged, in a way like the shaman within the Semitic culture—a precursor to the time of prophets. As their authority increased, they were accorded more and more respect and sacredness. They were literally the brain of the tribe. The more the respect and sacredness attained were conceptually framed, the more they became religious. During the transition from tribal totemism to abstract god, the concept of “sublimity”developed, a concept that is translated as el. In today’s Arabic, ’ala has a similar meaning. When the Hebrews settled down in Canaan in the region that today is called Israel and Palestine, they were, of course, influenced by the local culture they found there. They adopted the concept of “Elohim,”which is also derived from the stem el, but which, in terms of its significance, corresponds to the older Jehovah. Over the course of time, Elohim developed into the concept of “Allah.”

In connection with the development and strengthening of society, as well as attaining contradictory features, the concept of “Allah” also changed. From the simple concept of “el,” i.e., “sublimity,” it was charged with complex meanings during the time of Mohammad. It is ascribed ninety-nine attributes. It would be difficult to find a sociological model that fully projected the collective, most important, and sacred properties of society more impressively.

Let me also add that it would be wrong to vulgarly assess my evaluation—Allah as the figure of the memory of social development—to be the denial of God. On the contrary, the development of this concept, particularly among the Hebrew tribe, then made the leap from social laws to physical, chemical, and biological laws, finally arriving at today’s science and attaining the power of meaning. With its development, both the depth and sublimity of the cosmos and the quantum have been arrived at. The decryption of the genes and the living cell, as well as how they can be constructed, is now within our reach. Therefore, the correct analysis of the concept of “Allah” is a measure of true divinity. That we set this bar so high is a clear indication for how religion should be understood. Real sacredness requires a correct sociological analysis of our times. Otherwise, it would be an even more dangerous denial of Allah than the idolatry of the past to have the masses call out dryly to Allah by rote, devoid of any meaning. In our social reality, it is this that must be cursed and overcome—rote “abstract idol worship.”

The sociology of religion is still far from reflecting social reality.Skillfully establishing the connection between epistemology, the science of knowledge, and sociality is a necessity that must be addressed. The current state of sociology forces us to resolve even the simplest of issues.

It should be emphatically stressed that the nature of communal society has to be the starting point for an analysis, or it will be impossible to understand the subsequent developments. Just as the hydrogen atom with one proton and one electron must be understood before it is possible to explain the other elements, the communal community within the root structure of society must be grasped before the diversity of social phenomena can be understood—an incomplete narrative will bring about a flawed social science. If mythology and theology are dismissed as mere flights of fancy, a patchwork like sociology does nothing but create confusion. This would mean power had unfettered maneuvering room, for if we don’t understand communality, we cannot understand power. Communality is the soil from which hierarchy and state power emerged. The Greek word hierarchy means rule of the sacred. It reflects the increasing authority of the wise old men. At the time of its birth, it had a positive function. Guiding the youth and motivating and leading the clan or the commune was an advanced stage of development, and the benefit to the wise men was to easily overcome the troubles of old age.The more talented among the young rallied around them understood that they would be more successful if they benefited from the experiences of the old. The shaman, as the first example of a religious interpreter, would also become a close ally. As the shaman increasingly became the spokesperson in the field of religion, his transformation into a priest occurred, while the young men who rallied around a masterful chief among the hunters became the prototype of a military entourage. The alliance of the priest, chief, and wise man was the expression of the rising hierarchy. The state as an institution did not yet exist. Loyalties were bound to particular persons, but the power around the domestic system-mother was gradually dissipating.

The mother, the creative force of communal society, fought a major struggle against this new tripartite alliance. Historical relics provide clear evidence that this was an intensive phase. The era of the domestic system-mother reached its peak from 10000 to 4000 BCE but was overcome by the alliance of the shaman, chief, and wise man—representing the birth of patriarchy.

The conflict between Inanna and Enki in Sumerian mythology and that between Marduk and Tiamat in Babylonian mythology are symbolic of the prehistoric era of transition. This is clear even from a simple interpretation of the mythology. Inanna is the strong mother symbol emanating from prehistory. She insistently demands the return of the 104 me, i.e., the means, concepts, and laws of civilization. She claims that the god Enki (the first patriarchal abstraction) stole the values she had created. The most exciting passage of the legend recounts how she moves from the town of Uruk to Eridu, i.e., from her town to Enki’s town, and manages, with great difficulty, to seize the me from him. This legend reflects a major social struggle that actually took place at the time.

On the other hand, the conflict between Marduk and Tiamat in the later Babylonian epic reflects more deeply the struggle over authority.2 It makes manifest the mercilessness of the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy in mythological language. The second and third versions of these epics can be seen with Isis and Osiris in Egypt and Zeus and Hera in Greece, and we find similar conflicts in the epics of the Hittites and the Urartians.

As with mythology, we can learn a lot from religions, particularly monotheist religions. The contribution of Moses to the Abrahamic tradition was the absolute subduing of women. At the time of Abraham, women were not yet so deeply humiliated. In the relationship between Abraham and Sarah there was close to equal power. But in the conflict between Moses and Miriam—acting as his sister—Miriam was doomed to a painful defeat, losing the last remnant of her power. By the time of David and Solomon, women had been reduced to a one-dimensional objects of desire. It appears that they no longer had any authority. They were the objects of pleasure for the rising kingdoms and instruments for the perpetuation of the lineage.Personalities like Esther and Delilah emerged, but even they didn’t play a role beyond being instruments of exploitation.

Within the Jesus and Mary dilemma, we don’t hear a single word from Mary, as if her tongue had been cut out. Christianity represented a giant step toward the situation that women find themselves in today. But if we look at Mohammad and Aisha, we see a tragedy. Aisha, who is still a child, bitterly complains about the rising feudal Islamic authority. Historians often report that she complained: “O Lord, it would have been better if you had created me as a stone rather than given birth to me as a woman.” Even though, in the midst of all the power intrigues, she remains Mohammad’s most beloved wife, she curses herself with the frustration of knowing she is unable to achieve anything.

In the stateless societies still existing today it is possible to observe how hierarchy is primarily strengthened by the patriarchal society’s conflict with matriarchal power. With this defeat of women, there were major ruptures in their social situation. Once the decision maker, she was reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold. The woman, who had previously organized the men, and who had long resisted the loss of her authority, remained a female figure, an identity who had lost her will and was forced to conform to male preference. That this transition was far from smooth can be seen in the rites in which the aspirants to the throne married the mother-goddess and were sacrificed in a sacral ceremony at each year’s anniversary of their sacred wedding. These ceremonies, which we come across in many societies, symbolized the woman long resisting the loss of her authority. They conducted these sacrificial rites to symbolically prevent men from gaining authority and dominating women. The conflict between Marduk and Tiamat shows that in Sumerian society this process ended around 2000 BCE, with a defeat for women. Over the course of civilization, we encounter similar examples in all societies with roots in the Middle East.

Even though hierarchical society played a positive role in the beginning, it was bound to either disintegrate or become a state. It was the transitional stage between communal society and the state. But its strength emanated from the process of attaining its societal character. This form of authority was deeply embedded and remained valid for a long time, reaching its zenith among ethnic groups in particular.3

It is hierarchical patriarchal society that enforces the subjugation of women, youth, and other members of the ethnic group. The most important thing here is how this authority is procured. Authority is not exercised through laws but on the basis of morality, with morality being the society’s power of rules that must be conformed to. This power is not exercised by force but is voluntarily respected because of its vital role in maintaining social existence. The difference from religion is that morality stems from worldly need rather than sacredness. Undoubtedly, religion is also worldly, but the beguiling aspect of its concepts and its ancient origin wraps it in greater sacredness. It is more abstract and ritualized. Morality, however, is more everyday and worldly and is based on necessary practical rules.Even though the two are closely interwoven, morality constantly makes arrangements for the management of the worldly work, while religion is responsible for finding an answer to the questions of belief and the afterlife. Religion is the theory of the primordial society, while morality is its practice.

Until the stage of statehood, these two institutions were sufficient to rule society. It can also be seen as the period when society was ruled by customs, traditions, and beliefs. The communal characteristic of society still had more influence than the individual. Loyalty to the community meant conforming to its religious and moral framework. Noncompliance meant chaos and crisis in society, which was tantamount to destruction and disintegration. Therefore, at the time, religion and morality enjoyed the power to persuade or to sanction. If anybody did not conform to religion and morality, this was seen as causing great damage to society. It was hard for society to tolerate this, and it had to respond with the most severe punishment. It either expelled those concerned or forced them to undergo a strict process of education. The important thing was to prevent any damage to the communal aspect of society. The fact that religionns still regard the failure to conform to certain rules and rites as the greatest sin demonstrates the power of community. It emphasizes the divine quality of the communal relationship.

Nowadays, religion is firmly presented as a personal matter. This is wrong. Religion is never personal; it is the first conceptual, moral, and administrative form of social phenomena. The concept of “hierarchism,”i.e., the rule of the sacred, expresses this fact very succinctly.

Communal society is in permanent conflict with hierarchy. The two societies follow different paths with regard to religious and moral values. In one society, the material and immaterial values that have been created flow back to the society, whereas, in the other, they are increasingly monopolized. While in the religious phenomenon that reflects the values of the patriarchal society there is a tendency toward an abstract and mono theist concept of “God,” the matriarchal authority of natural society resists with a multi-goddess concept. In the domestic mother order, the essential rule was that people worked and produced, and everyone was given what was necessary to keep them alive. While patriarchal morality legitimizes accumulation and paves the way for private property, the morality of communal society regarded this as offensive and as a source of evil, instead encouraging the distribution of everything among all. This is the origin of the concept of “generosity.” The goal was to protect collective property against private property, lest harmony in society deteriorate and tensions increase. Potential solutions to this contradiction were seen either in a return to the old values or a strengthening of both internal and external power. This is how the social basis of violence and war based on oppression and exploitation was formed.

The hierarchical groups that grew around material and immaterial values constantly and jealously made a systematic effort to sanctify authority and the legitimacy of private property to prevent their disintegration. The dispersed and smaller communities had few resources with which to oppose this development. The oppressed clans and tribes could ensure their freedom only through constant migration. The purpose of the nomads’ historical march toward the depths of deserts, forests, and mountains was not just for hunting and gathering but also for the preservation of their communal values.

This constant march, which carries within itself a love of freedom, is one of the most important driving forces of history. The necessity for self-preservation forced the clans and smaller tribes ( kabile) to become an aşiret.4 This is not just about increasing physical numbers; it is a form of resistance to hierarchy. At first, the existence of authority within the aşiret had a positive quality and, thus, was morally praised in legends and songs. The head of the aşiret was the symbol of the existence and freedom of the aşiret, i.e., its mentality, dignity, and security.

The contradictory process described above continued until the stage when the state became the institutionalized authority based on permanent coercion. The birth of the state marked the second great phase in the history of society. It brought radical changes to the structure of production, social life, power, and society’s mentality. The erratic tribal and aşiret conflicts continually eroded accumulation and property. The remedy found to counter this was the institutionalization of authority on the basis of might. The priest was born from the shaman, the king from the sage, and the commander from the chieftain. In all three cases, the person was transient but the institution was permanent. The sedentary rural phase was over, and the age of the city began. In village society, the communal system initially prevailed—it was the basis of life in Neolithic society. The village was the sacred location of the agricultural revolution that lasted from 10000 to 3000 BCE. It was also the place where communal society and hierarchical society coexisted side by side. At this point, there were still no agas or beys.5 The village was the splendid expression of the domestic system of the mother, because all values regarding it arose from her mind.The animals she domesticated and the plants she cultivated provided an unparalleled and miraculous life. Thousands of discoveries and inventions of that time were the work of the mother-woman. It was the time of the anonymous “women’s inventions.” The crafty and increasingly strong hierarchical groups longed to possess these inventions and the wealth of products they generated, so they usurped them and gave birth to the state to perpetuate their position. From that period’s peasantry living in the foothills of the Taurus-Zagros Mountains, where thousands of mounds can be found even today, descending to the plains irrigated by the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Nile, and the Punjab rivers, they built cities that would lead to the state (polis) order.

In the establishment of village and city, the second important factor for the division in society was added: a sedentary nomadic lifestyle. The hierarchical division is vertical, while sedentary nomadism had a hori-zontal character. All later historical social systems were shaped by the contradictions caused by this dividing line.

The revolution in mentality that began with the village and intensified with the city was first reflected in the culture of religious belief. The order of the gods tried to distinguish itself completely and persistently from the order of nature and human beings. To achieve this, the gods were invested with various properties: they were almost immortal, they lived in heaven but sometimes retreated beneath the earth, and they did not allow humans among them and punished them at a whim. In the case of the Sumerian mythological gods, these attributes became increasingly diverse.An extensive pantheon or “team of gods” developed: gods that protected cities, gods of rivers, mountains, and the sea, and gods of heaven and the netherworld. This order of conceptualization represents the power of an ascending class in society intertwined with the forces of nature. This partly mythological, partly religious formation of mentality, which is based on sanctifying and perpetuating the existence of the ruling classes who divide the earth among themselves, was crucial for legitimacy in the new order. While communal society’s fundamental forms of belief and morality collapsed, the new ones were able to provide a stronger and more permanent mentality. This distinction showed itself most poignantly in the transition from a goddess-dominated religious order to a god-dominated religious order. This was the true significance of the conflicts between Inanna and Enki and between Tiamat and Marduk.

No mythology could possibly attain the storytelling power of Sumerian mythology; it describes the emergence of class division and state formation poignantly, creatively, and poetically. What we have in front of us is a fantastic narrative. We encounter the “firsts” of all religious, literary, political, economic, and social concepts and institutions in Sumerian society. As such, we can say that this originality is one of the most important historical developments that would significantly shape the structure of the basic concepts and institutions of society. As a result, the solutions found by Sumerian society have universal ramifications.

Researchers believe that the emergence of the city and the state happened as a consequence of the agricultural village revolution in the foothills of the Taurus-Zagros Mountains. The concepts and tools of this most comprehensive and long-lasting revolution in the history of humanity were carried to Lower Mesopotamia by a hierarchically structured group mainly consisting of priests. It is highly likely that they also brought all of the necessary techniques of soil cultivation, house building, weaving, and transportation, as well as some of the animal species, samples of seeds, and fruit trees, otherwise it would not have been possible to attain all of this in an area that, without irrigation, was nothing but a desert.Available research has clearly shown the road map of this culture carried over with the incoming communities. These migrations took place around 6000–5000 BCE, and after 4000 BCE village units with up to five thousand inhabitants are documented. Uruk, the famous city whose tutelary is the goddess Inanna, emerged as a state around 3200 BCE. It was only appropriate that Uruk was immortalized in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the first great written testimony of the urban revolution, as the gift of the mother-goddess. Just like many other Sumerian words, the word Gilgamesh might be of Aryan origin. In modern Kurdish, gil-gir meamns big, while gamesh means buffalo. In local culture, strong men are still described as “strong as a buffalo.” Gilgamesh could thus simply mean big buffalo, i.e., the strongest man of all. His description in the epic seems to confirm this interpretation.It is always interesting to study what happens to historical values on the road map of cultures.

The Gilgamesh epic recounts the story of the birth of the kingdom and, therefore, of the state. Since it was the first epic ever, it is the main source and model and was later frequently imitated. Major works from Homer’s Iliad to Vergil’s Aeneid, from the Arthurian Romance to Dante’s Divine Comedy, have carried on this tradition. Nobody knows how many once famous but unwritten epics the first great agricultural revolution might have inspired. We find traces of them in the Sumerian, Hittite, and Ionian written narratives. And we can still feel them in the musical patterns and instruments that have been retained until today. The majority of them reflect aşiret culture. The similarity between the values still existing among the aşiret of today and their traces in Sumerian writings is truly striking.

This brief historical excursion provides a clearer understanding of the new social system that arose at this point. We can trace the rise of statist society throughout its history. We see that both institutions, the city and the state, develop in an interwoven way around the great cult of the temple.The Sumerian example lets us give a more accurate definition of religion than Marxism, which says that religion is a superstructural institution that later, as the base, reflects the economic order. The temple itself was both the productive area for the concept of “god” and the center of economic production (the upper floor of the ziggurat is divine; the ground floor is human and reserved for production). The upper floor of the ziggurat belonged to the pantheon of gods, the ground floor was full of tools of production and the stocks. The floors in between overflowed with workers. We must not look at these temples as we do today’s churches and mosques. When they emerged, they mainly served as centers of the new mentality and material production, as is clearly corroborated by available data. We should not forget that it was the priest, as a human, who founded the temple. This very fact shows that mentality was decisive in the revolution in the productive infrastructure, just as much as it was in the case of the city and the state.The temple was an institution where mentality was of the utmost importance. In Hellenic language, theory can be understood as “gazing at the divine”—meaning the fundamental paradigm. Strikingly, in this connection, what must be noted is that the Sumerian temples—the ziggurats—as both theoretical-political and the technological-economic centers, were the stem cells, or prototypes, of the city that would later develop.

The ziggurats were the seed from which both the city and the state emerged. There, in the head of the priest, the interests of the hierarchical society are synthesized and a theoretical model for their more comprehensive development is created and put into practice with the means available.The city is born from the temple, the civilization from a city, the state from the civilization, the empire from the state, and a whole new world is born from an empire. Could one imagine a greater miracle? It is no coincidence that this region is called the “land of miracles.”

We know that the first Sumerian kings were of priestly origin. As the state institutionalized and developed its bureaucracy, the potential of the priest-king had to be curtailed. Politics—i.e., the administrative problems of the growing city—became increasingly important. A development from the sacred character of the state to a more secular and worldly character occurred. While the priests were primarily concerned with the theoretical work, the political element dealt with the practical issues. Although everything is tightly intertwined, this situation would gradually bring the politician to the forefront. The growing city also meant the growing role of the politician. A step after this, particularly if the external security of the city becomes an important issue, was for the role of the military commander to come to the fore. The kingdom, thus, nourished itself from these three sources—and all three were said to emanate from the divine.Since then, what we have seen is the proliferation of this model with a limited amount of diversification. The temple was the stem cell of the state, and what later developed resembled new cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems—just as we see with human beings.

To sum up, this entire formation constitutes the state as the superstructure. In mythology, the state as an institution is likened to a golden throne. On it sat the kings, like the immortal gods, who, intent on never leaving this life, separated their lineages and class from that of all other human beings. Since they ruled as part of a dynasty, they proclaimed their lineages immortal. In this way, kings acquired seats of honor in history as immortal gods. What is even more striking is that this social split gives us all the clues necessary for understanding the later periods. Monotheistic religions, literature, the arts, and politics enter the stage of history as milestones of this original emergence. If we take a closer look at the source of state power, we will better understand why it must be so incessant, intense, and merciless.

In this new historical social system, the contrast with communal society shaped itself as the upper society. It magnified the depth of the difference between them. The crucial question regarding our topic is: Was this development inevitable?

Many theories of society represent the emergence of class society as the basic condition for progress. We will, however, get closer to the truth if we analyze the dynamics of the development. The surplus product due to the irrigation systems developed around the temple facilitated the integration of more people into production. The conditions in which thousands of people could work more efficiently were present. The extensive irrigation canals, the vastness of arable land, bronze and, later, iron tools, and vessels that could navigate canals and rivers allowed for large-scale production and trade. The combination of all these factors meant the city as settlement.At first, the rule of the priests came pretty close to primitive communism, indicating that the city does not necessitate the state. Essentially, the state, dominated by the political and military elements, would be formed when the problems of administering an expanding city and defending it against the tribes from the mountains and the deserts became increasingly important preoccupations. However, could the administration and security of a city not be ensured without a state? The example of the self-defense of many cities, particularly Athens, shows that a democratic administration can do so successfully, and that the state is far from necessary. This model is encountered at the initial stage of the Sumerian society. A council of prominent representatives from the tribes makes up the administration, with defense groups formed drawing upon the city’s youth when necessary.A commander was chosen on the basis of what his duties would require.In Athenian society, this development occurred in a very concrete and systematic way.

, making the birth of the state a basic necessity of history is incompatible with the facts. Instead, it is more accurate to define the state as a tool for rule and repression that arose to facilitate the confiscation of the surplus product made possible by increased production. To do so, it uses the regulation of public life and public security as cover—camouflage and a promotional tool for the creation of the state. Because public administration—the common good of society—and public security can easily be taken care of by a democratic assembly of the city, exploitation of this opportunity, in fact, its confiscation—which is not necessary—must be understood to be a counterrevolution. It is realistic to define this power, which imposes itself on the pretext of ensuring the city’s common good and security, both of which could be assured with democracy, as a reactionary and tyrannical power that has existed since the beginning of history. Even today, there are more politicians and security forces than necessary, and they do little more than develop despotic qualities. This power must be seen more as an additional burden than as a benefit. Essentially, this is no different from the situation of yore, when this whole drama began.

However, it was not the power of democratic governance that grew throughout history but the rule of despotic power. In this process, each step in the development of the state as an accumulation of despotic power was not only unnecessary, it was the essence of the most reactionary, conservative, and distorting development. In a narrow sense, it is important to view power and war as the fundamental passion, mind, and will of this tradition that has very effectively hidden itself within the state. It is, therefore, necessary to separate the “art” of politics and war from general administration and public security. Anyone who has scientific and practical intuition cannot help but see this distinction. The consequence of not making this distinction when analyzing the state is extremely negative. Differentiating between democratic governance and despotic and arbitrary rule serving personal interests in both theoretical and practical dimensions is fundamental and must be the basis of our historical approach.

In hierarchical and statist society systems, the most important political phenomenon is the conflict between the democratic element and the war and power clique. There is a constant struggle between the democratic elements based on communality—society’s mode of existence—and war and power cliques that disguise themselves as hierarchy and the state. In this sense, it is not the narrow class struggle that is the motor of history. The actual motor is the struggle between the mode of existence of the demos (the people), which includes class struggle, and the warrior ruling power clique, which thrives on attacking this mode of existence. Societies essentially exist on the basis of one of these two forces. Which mentality dominates, who comes to possess authority, what the social system and the economic means look like—all of this depends on the outcome of the struggle between these two powers. Depending on the level of struggle, one of three, often intertwined, outcomes have occurred throughout history.

The first is the total victory of the warrior ruling power clique. It is a system of total enslavement imposed by the conquerors who present their glorious military victories as the greatest of historical events. Everyone and everything must be at their disposal; their word is the law. There is no room for either objection or opposition. To even think of deviating from the ruler’s preordained plan is not permitted. You have to think, work, and die in exactly the way you are ordered to! What is sought is the zenith of dominant order with no alternatives—empires, fascism, and all kinds of totalitarian practices fall into this category, and monarchies generally strive to achieve such a system. This is one of the most common systems in history.

The second possible outcome is the exact opposite, society’s system of free life—clans, tribes, and aşiret groups with similar language and culture—against the oligarchy of warrior ruling power veiled as the hierarchy and the state. This is the way of life of undefeated and resisting peoples.All manner of ethnic, religious, and philosophical groups not affiliated with the oligarchy that are resisting attacks in the deserts, mountains, and forests essentially represent this social way of life. The most important force of the resistance struggle for social freedom and equality was the way of life of the ethnic groups, based on emotional intelligence and a lot of physical labor, and that of the religious and philosophical groups, based on analytical intelligence. The libertarian flow of history is the result of this way of life based on resistance. Important concepts, including creative thought, honor, justice, humanism, morality, beauty, and love, are very closely related to this lifestyle.

The third possibility is “peace and stability.” In this situation, there is a balance between the two forces at various levels. Constant war, conflicts, and tensions pose a threat to the survival of society. Both sides might well conclude that it is not in their interest to be in constant danger or always at war and may reach a compromise on a “pact for peace and stability” through various forms of consensus. Even though the outcome might not entirely correspond to the goals of either side, conditions make compromise and an alliance inevitable. The situation is thusly managed until a new war arises. In essence, the order characterized as “peace and stability”is actually a state of partial war, where the power of war and the ruling power and the undefeated power and resistance of the people are both present. It’s more accurate to call the state of equilibrium in the war-peace dilemma a partial war.

A fourth eventuality, in which there is no war and peace problem, would arise if the conditions that led to the emergence of both sides were to disappear. A permanent peace is possible only in societies that have either never experienced these conditions or where the primordial communal natural society order and the war-and-peace order have been transcended. In such societies, there is no place for the concepts of “war” and “peace.” In a system where there is neither war nor peace, these concepts cannot even be imagined.

During the historical periods when hierarchical and statist systems of society prevail, all three situations coexist in an unbalanced way, with none able to function alone as a historical system. In that situation, there wouldn’t even be history, as such. We have to understand that “absolute rule”and “absolute freedom and equality” should be considered as two extremes that are, in fact, idealized conceptual abstractions. In the case of social equilibrium, as with natural equilibrium, neither of the two extremes can ever fully prevail. Actually, we can talk about the “absolute” only as a concept with very limited spatial and temporal dimensions. Otherwise the universal order cannot survive. Just imagine that there were no symmetry and no equilibrium. The preponderance of one tendency would certainly have already led to an end of the universe. But we haven’t yet seen this kind of finiteness, so we can conclude that the absolute exists only in our imagination not in the world of actual phenomena. The language and logic of the universal system, including that of society, is one of almost balanced dialectical dualisms that grow richer or poorer in constant flux.

The validity and complexity of the social system prevailing in a wide variety of communities is the state of partial war and peace known as “peace and stability.” The people are in a constant ideological and practical battle with the forces of war and power to swing the situation in their favor and to improve their social, economic, legal, and artistic conditions, as well as their mentality. War is the most critical and most violent state of this process. The essential force behind war is the force of this warrior ruling power, and its raison d’être is to seize the people’s accumulation in the easiest possible manner. People and oppressed classes are forced to respond with a war of resistance to defend their existence against this insistent plunder and to survive. Wars are never the people’s choice; they are imperative, however, to defend their existence, their dignity, and their system of free life.

It is interesting and instructive to look at democracy in historical systems from this perspective. To this day, the dominant historical conceptions basically correspond to the paradigm of the warrior ruling power group. The expeditions of massacre for booty and plunder could easily be labeled as “holy wars,” thus, developing an apprehension of a “God that commands war.” Narratives presented wars as extraordinarily splendid events. Even today, the dominant view is that war is a winner take all situation, that what is taken through war has been earned. The understanding of rights and legal frameworks based on war is the dominant mode of existence of states.

All of this established the common notion that the more one wages war, the more rights one has. “Those who want their rights will have to fight for them.” This mindset is the essence of the “philosophy of war.” Nonetheless, it is praised by most religions, philosophies, and art forms. This goes as far as the action of a handful of usurpers being described as the most “sacred” action. Heroism and sacredness have been turned into the title of this act of usurpation. Honored in this way, war became the dominant way of thinking and gained a reputation as the instrument for solving all social problems. A morality that portrayed war as the only acceptable solution, even if there were other possible ways, bound the society. The result was that violence became the most sacred tool for solving problems. As long as this understanding of history continues, it will be difficult to analyze social phenomena in a realistic way to find solutions to problems other than through war. The fact that even representatives of the most peaceful ideologies have resorted to war shows the strength of this mindset. That even the major religions and the contemporary class and national liberation movements, which have all striven for permanent peace, have nonetheless fought in the style of the warrior ruling power cliques is further testimony to this fact.

The most effective way to impose constraints on the warrior ruling power mindset is for the people to adopt a democratic stance. This stance is not “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” situation. Even though a democratic position includes a system of defense that encompasses violence, essentially it is about gaining a culture of free self-formation by struggling against the dominant mentality. We are talking here of an approach that goes far beyond wars of resistance and defense; it focuses on and imple-ments an understanding of a life that is not state-centered. To expect the state to handle everything is to be a fish caught on the warrior ruling power clique’s fishing line. You may be offered bait, but only so that you can be hunted. The first step toward democracy is enlightening people about the nature of the state. Additional steps include extensive democratic orgtanization and civil action. In this context, defensive democratic wars will be on the agenda only if they are necessary. To wage war without having first taken every other possible steps results in being the instrument of wars of pillage, which, historically, has very often been the case.

Tracing the developmental process of democratic existence in history is one of the main goals of my analysis. A correct struggle for democratization is possible only on the basis of a correct understanding of history.

Through the interweaving of hierarchy, class, city, and the state, we emphasized that the social being, which we tried to define up to the Sumerians, has acquired a contradictory character. This is a society that was different in every imaginable way, from its economy to its mentality.A clique that has wrapped itself in the instrument of “state” emerged and developed a system using permanent violence and war. The accumulated domestic and external seizure of wealth became the fundamental element of its art of politics. In addition, with the creation of a mindset and literature—mythology—that sanctifies war, an effort was made to convince all of the related segments of society that this is a system of gods that have existed since time immemorial. Objections and resistance to this system, which existed in its pure form from 4000 to 2000 BCE, gradually emerged.At first, the city councils, formed from the ranks of reputable tribal representatives, took an insistently democratic stance. Faced with the clique of priests, kings, and military chieftains, the councils did not forego a democratic approach without resistance,6 and, for a long time, there was a mixed system of part state and part democracy. Eventually, more and more people broke off or were separated from their tribe for internal and external reasons. A symbolic description of this is offered in the Gilgamesh epic.Gilgamesh’s closest friend, Enkidu, is seduced by a woman and lured into the city. This is also the first example of the use of a woman as an agent.Many of the tribal members who gravitated to the city were employed in the more conducive and wealthy city life and within the administration as public servants, soldiers, or working slaves. This development upset the state-democracy balance, which were actually based on the tribal system, to the detriment of the city councils. With the development of this process, one after another, they were liquidated. We can observe a similar development in many new state formations.

The internal struggle resulted in the defeat of the democratic forces, but there was always a certain balance of power held by the tribes in the state that could never be completely liquidated, preserving its existence to different degrees. Meanwhile, the statist society system was also put under serious pressure from the outside. Nomad movements were mobilizing against those who had settled. Such movements, which the Hellenic-Roman literature generally called the “barbarians,” must be analyzed in a dialectical totality. The city, as the sedentary society, constantly expanded its wealth because of the slave labor within the city and uneven trade and repression externally. The city also gave rise to contradictions similar to those found in today’s relationship between impeirialism and the states held in conditions of artificial underdevelopment. It was not the nomads who attacked “barbarically”; it was the city. Unfortunately, since the city was dominant in our conceptual order, it succeeded in presenting itself as “civilized” and all the “Others” as “savages” who were shouting the curious noise (“bar bar”), thereby legitimizing itself. We can compare the great movement of the nomads against the city to the democratic national liberation movements of our time. The form of nomadic societies, in fact, reflected the different stages of ethnicity. The movements they created can essentially be considered as forms of democratic resistance, stance, and existence. Moreover, there is the whole issue of who attacked whom that needs to be carefully researched. The city-states, and later the empires, possessed better tools of coercion and exploitation and sought to constantly grow and expand, objectively positioning them as aggressors.On the other hand, we can characterize the position of the ethnic groups in the opposite way, as being on the defensive and resisting. In another sense, it can be regarded as the process of the first freedom movement targeting incipient slavery.

It is likely that Sumerian society was confronted by tribes of Aryan origin from the mountains in the north and east (where those that founded the society themselves also probably originally came from) and by tribes of Semitic origins called the Amorites, the forebears of the Arabs, from the deserts in the south and the west. This was when the cities began to be ringed with ramparts and fortresses. The relentless waves of attack and counterattack went on for centuries. From this first and greatest historical dialectical contradiction emerged the power of ethnicity strengthened by advanced civilizations. We can observe that this important contradiction took shape in the agricultural revolution alongside the emerging agrarian society when the first language and ethnic groups were formed in Middle East culture around 10000 BCE. This important contradiction began in modern-day Iraq, where it continues to exist in a concrete form. After ethnicity became deeply rooted, around 4000 BCE, its expression made itself felt in specific cultures and languages. We can imagine that before the urban revolution, the ethnic groups were in conflict with each other, fighting over fertile land, as well as ore and stone deposits. While, in the Zagros-Taurus Mountains, the Aryan cultural group came to the fore, in Arabia, which at that time was more fertile than today, it was the Semitic cultural group that stood out. In places where these two cultural groups met between mountains and deserts, mixed systems emerged. Examples of cultures that carried elements of both groups include the Sumerians, the Hebrews, and the Hyksos.7 The Arabs and the Kurds, on the other hand, continue to exist as the deep-rooted groups of the Semitic and Aryan cultures to this day. Many of the cultural groups that emerged later were absorbed by these two main groups. It is possible that the powers that play a role in the relationship and the conflict between Arabs and Kurds today are trying to create a bicultural state in Iraq, replicating the approach taken in the establishment of the original Sumerian state.

The Sumerians knew well both the Semitic groups coming from the south and west and the Aryans coming from the north and the east. Both groups frequently turn up in their literature and mythology. This tells us something about both cultures, at least indirectly. However, it was the stronger Sumerian city culture that expanded within these two cultural groups, a process that essentially continued until the conquest of Babylon by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE.

In a certain sense, history is shaped by the dialectical relationship between the sedentary population and the nomads of these two cultural groups. The outcome spread everywhere in waves, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Sahara to Siberia. To the degree that urban civilization expanded outward and imposed itself, the nomadic societies from the outside would be integrated into it. Therefore, a historical understanding that excludes nomadism and solely considers the city dwellers is seriously flawed. Alongside and connected with the development of the state in sedentary civilization, a democratic stance developed accordingly.

The correct understanding of the relationship between the state and democracy is of decisive importance. I call “democracy” the self-governance of a people who have not become the state and resist statehood.This kind of self-governance has a relationship with the state, but it is not absorbed by this relationship and doesn’t deny itself. The boundaries of the state, on the one hand, and of democracy, on the other hand, are among the most sensitive of political problems. Defining the intermediate point where the state does not deny democracy and democracy does not deny the state is the essence of “peace and stability.” The complete denial of either one or the other will mean war. The various modern conceptions that regard democracy either as an extension of the state or as something coextensive with the state are either erroneous or are designed to obfuscate.

In that case, we may ask: Where can democracy be found in history?Primarily it can be found in the resistance and stance of ethnic groups against the state and civilization to protect their communal characteristics and retain their freedom. The reason for the perennial failure of the sociologists to figure this out is that they are totally permeated by urban culture. Scientists are, in fact, to an extent few people would suspect, the modern priests of the bourgeoisie. They are as loyal to the values of urban culture as believers are to the Holy Scripture.

We could describe the ethnic mode of existence, if it is not defeated, as semi-democracy. To this we must add the attribute “primordial.” Ethnicity is primordial democracy. Commitment to communal values internally and resistance to the dominant state imposing itself from the outside force the popular groups to engage in democratic, free, and equal relationships. If their relationships lacked this quality, their resistance would be meaningless. The definition of democratization in the Middle East has always been hampered by treating ethnicity as a barrier to democracy. But democracy based on the individual in Western civilization cannot be the sole determinant of the definition of democracy. Basing democracy exclusively on the individual is as erroneous as basing it on the state. Pluralist democracy requires society to consist of both communities and free individuals. An approach based on the homogenization of individuals and communities is unnecessary and provides no assurance for democracies. The fundamental feature and specialty of democracies is that they always lead to a novel synthesis while preserving differences.

Regarding ethnic communities as a specialty of democracy can only be possible through the true implementation of democracy. When the leadership of a state, using its own criteria, describes its hunt for votes as “democratic competition,” the system that will emerge is demagogy. We have to regard ethnic diversity as an opportunity for democracy. It can contribute even more to democracy than a free individual.

It is the task of democratic politicians who are active day in and day out to integrate the stance of the people who have internalized a millennia-old culture of resistance with contemporary democratic standards. What would be wrong would be to see the democratic potential of society in the Middle East as an obstacle.

The preponderance of the warrior ruling power within the state structures first manifests itself in the form of the god-kings and imperators. To the extent that their power increases, the significance of the demos, the people, decreases. Sargon, who was of Amoritic origin, was regarded in Sumerian society as the first imperator in history. He stated with great appetite that he had expanded his rule into the interior of the mountainous areas. What was created was something of a symbol of dependence in the silence of the graveyard. This process, which started around 2350 BCE, paved the way for all subsequent empires. Each one of them expanded the boundaries of the previous one. If Gilgamesh was the initial symbol of the kingdom, Sargon was the father of imperators.Therefore, it is appropriate to consider every stance against this growing process to the detriment of communal order as democratic accumulation.The fact that ethnic groups succeeded in living in the depths of deserts, mountains, and forests, despite all difficulties, defying hunger, disease, and attacks, is in itself a great democratic accumulation for humanity.Had these forms of resistance not existed, who would have maintained the pluralism and the wealth of these cultures? Had it not been for those many thousands of years of resistance, how could we have created the popular arts? Thousands of means of production, a multitude of social institutions, dignity, passion for freedom, human solidarity—how could any of it have been achieved?

As Sargon’s Akkadian Empire passes over into the Babylonian and Assyrian dynasties, we see a further increase in imperial power. Each imperator ramps up the bar for subjugation, as if the goal was to break all previous records. There are proud narratives of fortresses and ramparts allegedly built of human skulls. Shouldn’t the lengthy resistance of the ethnic groups in the mountains, deserts, and forests against these unlimited expeditions of annihilation be part of the history of democracy? If they are not part of the history of democracy, then what are they? Should we simply not mention them at all and just ignore them? Would history actually make sense if we did that? Would it then be anything other than the history of robbery and tyranny? Even an attempt to understand how the resistance of some small aşiret found its way into the legends would put us in a much better position to understand the democratic values of the nomads and the ethnic groups. If we were to look at the human beings who belong to an ethnic group and compare them to the allegedly free individual deprived of substance by capitalism, we would find that the former, if evaluated properly, would constitute a more far-reaching democratic power. The real democratic potential is in Eastern societies.

We must clearly understand that the democratic potential of Western society, which has totally absorbed the culture of warrior ruling power, is actually quite limited. The existing form of democracy is a veil for the state, tied to thousands of conditions and strongly influenced by the bourgeoisie.Because of the theories and lifestyles that were invented to devalue our own societies, we have forgotten how to see the enormous democratic potential of our people belonging to different communities.

The Hurrians, that is, predecessors of the Kurds of Aryan origin, were called kurti by the Sumerians. Kur means mountain, while -ti is an inflectional ending that expresses belonging. Which is to say, the kurti are mountaineers, a people of the mountains. They have been resisting since the birth of the Sumerian state. Guti, Kassites, and Nairi are different names for the same people. The resistance of the Urartian and Median semi-states against the Assyrian Empires is one of the noblest struggles in history. Their victory, after a resistance of more than three hundred years against one of the most brutal empires in history, left traces in the form of a festival celebrated by all the people in the region, including the Assyrians themselves.8 If this resistance is not to be recorded as part of the culture of democracy, how then should it be recorded? The Medea in the legend of Theseus of Athens is actually a reverberation of this resistance.9 It is no coincidence that even Athens, so highly praised for its democracy, talks of hapless Medea. During the democratic period, the Athenians saw their proximity to the Medes as an important guarantee for their survival—a glimpse of this can be seen in the Medes being one of the most discussed topics in The Histories of Herodotus.

The Medes, who carried the great tradition of the resistance of the people of the Middle East right to Athens, made the most important contribution to the history of democracy, a contribution that has yet to be acknowledged. It was not by chance that Alexander the Great tried to establish a kinship with the people of Media. He knew the place of these people in Hellenic history and regarded them as a model. As imperator, Alexander swept over the civilization of the East like a steamroller, but he was also appreciative of the influence they exerted on him. The East-West cultural synthesis he created would later make a major contribution to Christianity, and Christianity, in turn, would make major contributions to Western civilization. So, in fact, the instruments of the empire did not just serve the warrior ruling power. The peoples’ cultures of resistance also surreptitiously flowed through these channels and, in this way, wrote the history of peoples’ democracy.

The Roman Empire was perhaps the most powerful and empower-ing representative of the warrior ruling power culture in history, and it produced the most ferocious of emdeperors. This empire systematized the most horrible forms of killing humans—they were crucified or fed to the lions. But is it not also true that the democratic culture of the East sparked a great movement of humanity, a movement of the poor against this power?Did not Jesus, as a link in the prophetic tradition, spark a historical turning point? Would there even be a Western culture, a Western democracy, had it not been for the Christian movement based on the cult of Jesus of Nazareth? Therefore, we also have to look at the prophetic tradition from a democratic perspective.

Prophets and Barbarians

While nomadic society attacked the warrior ruling power from the outside (in what was actually an act of self-defense), on the inside, the social force that we will call the prophetic and priestly tradition served as a channel for the poor seeking to resist. This is a movement with a class aspect.Researchers deduce that the prophetic tradition that has its roots in the culture of the Middle East first emerged, like so many other things, in Sumerian society. In Sumerian culture, we find hints of the first prophet Adam and the paradise from which he was expelled. We can assume that Adam and Eve refused to fully adapt to the system of slavery—the lifestyle of the upper society of the state—and this presumably is the reason for their expulsion from paradise. This might also be a semi-mythological narrative dealing with individual freedom. Since Adam and Eve’s contradictions with the system are so obvious, it might be said that with their expulsion they became the progenitors of a strain of resistance. They represented something along the lines of an estate of free peasants and craftspeople.

It would perhaps prove enlightening to see the middle-class townspeople, who are not slaves, as the class basis of this tradition. That the second great prophet, Noah, was a craftsman is evident, as he built the ark. That he was able to build and equip a ship that could withstand the great flood is testimony to the high level of craftsmanship at the time. The class character became even clearer when the god Enki told him, in secret and without the knowledge of the other gods, “A great flood is coming; equip your ship in such a manner that you can begin a new life.”10 That craftsmen as important as shipbuilders were among those that had a special relationship with members of the ruling strata is only to be expected. The story of the flood narrates the migration that, as with Adam, was probably the result of some sort of uprising against the harassment of the rulers. Noah’s ark reportedly hit land at the mountain Cûdî.11 In Kurdish, the word Cûdî means he saw land. This calls to mind a migration to the north from Lower Mesopotamia, something that happened frequently for various reasons.

Around 2000 BCE, Sumerian city systems were built in abundance at the headwaters of the Euphrates and the Tigris. One of the most important centers was Urfa. The name calls to mind the important Sumerian cities of Ur and Uruk. The syllable Ur means settlement on a hill. Urfa and its surroundings (Harran) are something like the center of the prophetic tradition.12 It seems as if those who were dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the cities of Lower Mesopotamia, who rebelled, and who were seeking freedom and justice were turning to Urfa. There were many such cultural centers throughout history, with Babylon, Alexandria, and Antioch emerging later to play a similar role, while under capitalism it was Paris, London, and, today, New York. It is highly likely that beginning around 2000 BCE, Urfa was such a center of enlightenment. The oldest knopwn temple in Göbekli Tepe, which is dated to 9000 BCE, is not very far from Urfa. Even the traditions that dominate the region to this day would fit into such a course of history. Around 300 BCE, Urfa played a central role for Hellenic culture and the Sabians,13and around 1000 CE it was a center of Christianity. Urfa was the cradle of numerous prophets, including Job and Idris, who are revered there to this very day.14 Quite rightfully, it is also called “the city of the prophets.”

The story of the emergence of Abraham,15 which researchers believe took place around 1700 BCE, makes all of this even clearer. The fact that he smashed the idols in the pantheon of Nimrod, a god-king in the Assyrian-Babylonian style, showed that he dared to instigate a revolution in mentality. That he faced the grave punishment of being thrown into the fire projects his rebellious position as a historical tradition.16 As a result, he had to head toward Canaan during his second great migration, i.e., to the land of today’s Israel and Lebanon. During the hard days in Canaan, he made an important contribution to the prophetic tradition. He had both the courage and the understanding necessary to lay the basis for an abstract, monotheistic concept of “God.”

Even before Abraham, we had Job as a historic figure in the culture of resistance. In a historically significant way, he openly raised an objection against Nimrod, to the effect: “You are hurting the people.” Such behavior toward a god-king was unprecedented and required enormous courage.He was sentenced to rot in a dungeon. His body was infested with maggots. Even so, he carried on. This made him a symbol of patience and led to him being seen as a prophet.

Once we understand how important the monotheistic religions are to our current civilization, we should also be able to see the importance of correctly interpreting the Abrahamic tradition. Another one of Abraham’s skills was his ability to effectively combine the Aryan and the Semitic cultures. That Abraham lived in both cultures gives us an opportunity to understand this combination as a new synthesis that, like the East-West synthesis, led to creativity. A third important characteristic of Abraham’s cult was that he represented the first human authority, as the messenger of God against the Sumerian (Nimrod) and the Egyptian (the pharaoh) systems of the god-kings. During a time when slavery was at its height and a pursuit of freedom was beginning, the Abrahamic option was a way out and represented an important alternative. The fact that he offered a response to the radical searching of humanity laid the base for the most important social movement in history. Even though the ethnic groups waged a strong resistance against both of the slave systems externally, this internal resistance, with its social character, was equally important and offered an alternative.

The uprising against the cult of the god-kings, the pronouncement that it was impossible for human beings to be gods, was a great social revolution.It was a blow against the most important ideological pillar of the slave system. The unmasking of the god-kings as mere human beings led to major cracks in the Sumerian and Egyptian mythological structure. This, in turn, gave rise to the social current that came to be called monotheistic religion, which affirmed the unity of God. It is no accident that there is insistence that the chain starts with Adam.17 It demonstrates the roots and the tradition’s chain-like continuity. The great prophets represent this tradition’s historical milestones, much like the prophets of Marxism or liberalism.

The prophet Moses was yet another groundbreaking figure of this tradition. Moses, who lived around 1300 BCE, and whose lineage could be traced back to Abraham, first appeared leading a similar rebellion in Egypt. He knew Egyptian culture well, and the fact that he dared to instigate the rebellion within the Hebrew tribe, which was slavishly loyal to the pharaoh, indicates that he was a leader with social and libertarian foundations. He has kinship with the Hebrew tribal traditions. The Hebrew tribe’s religion was different from that of the Egyptians. Even though Moses was reportedly influenced by the semi-monotheism of the pharaoh Akhenaten, who pronounced Aton to be the greatest of all gods, he continued to draw primarily on the Abrahamic religious tradition. The Holy Scripture describes the famous march through the Sinai Desert, the impression made on him by a volcano,18 his rejection of idolatry, and his proclamation of the Ten Commandments. Basing himself in the Hebrew tribe, Moses waged a great battle for the new religion. This ideological struggle prevented the disintegration of the tribe and finally led it to the promised “Holy Land.” This ideological firmness represents one of the major developments in Hebrew history. This development and others in Hebrew religious culture offer powerful examples of how a minority can influence a majority.

But prophetic movements cannot be attributed to the Hebrews alone.This tradition gained a universal place through Jesus, who was closer to the Arameans, and Mohammad, who was an Arab.

The prophetic movement that developed as a social tradition from within and in opposition to warrior ruling power stands closer to the democratic stance, not just in the general history of humanity, but also particularly in the historical society system of the Middle East. If we add to this the aspect of poverty, we can say that it represents something like the first “social democratic” movement in history. And, with regard to the strata and classes that form its social base, we can indeed draw a parallel to today’s social democratic movement; it was the middle class, craftspeople, traders, free peasants, and the tribes. In fact, we can go even further. Just as the social democrats gave the system a somewhat milder character but were unable to escape being its substitute, sooner or later, prophetic social democracy also proved unable to escape integrating into the established class society systems or itself building a similar system.

The system they gave rise to in opposition to the rigid slavery of antiquity was the feudalism of the Middle Ages. The prophetic tradition certainly didn’t consciously strive for a feudal system. The goal was peace and justice for all of humanity, but the huge transformative power of the dominant system rendered the god-state of the prophets not overly distinguishable from the original system.

of any sociological interpretation, theological discourse is incapable of explaining the social reality of the institution of prophecy that so pervasively influenced the history of humanity, even though it has a large collection of works at its disposal. The language of the period no doubt expresses the mentality of those times, but in the absence of an interpretation for what it would mean today it cannot go beyond a boring, stultifying, rote narration. Correctly defining this institution as one that, compared to ancient slavery of the Sumer and Egypt, was founded on social and individual freedom and justice is of great importance. It reflected the important social struggles of the peoples in light of the appearance of religion, which suited the mindset of the time. The institution of prophecy was the first major institution of social leadership. The acquisition of prophetic qualities meant being able to synthesize the concepts and thoughts, i.e., the patterns of mentality that dominated the general worldview at the time, and to elevate them to a higher level. Prophets played a socially liberating role to the extent that they broke with the official mythology and the religion of slavery. This was undoubtedly, as always, accompanied by both radical ruptures and compromises with the dominant system.

What is expected from a sociological history of religion is that it be able to analyze the prophets, or at least the most important ones, within their respective cultural environments, which includes the mentality, the ruling power, and the social and economic aspects of their time, thereby enabling an integrated and holistic interpretation of history written in a more realistic way that not only deals with sultanate and heroic legends of“booty plunder” but also features social, popular, and ethnic dimensions. This would also help make sense of the current discussion about laicism. We must clearly understand who actually benefits from the hundreds of thousands of employees and the related budgets.19

In the Roman Empire, the process just described continued in a similar way. Right from the beginning (50 BCE to the beginning of common era), internal religious currents with a social content and external ethnic nomadic movements enveloped themselves around the hitherto most concentrated and greatest warrior ruling power in history. In its phase of gestation and early development, Christianity was a political party movement of the poor (tribes, families, and similar kinship groups) that was at least as universal as Rome in just about every respect. It was the first universal social party of the poor. Just as Rome mobilized its own clique as the greatest warrior power of its time, Christianity mobilized the movement of the poor in line with this. During the capitalist period, a similar class concentration would occur. This is the continuation of the dialectical contradiction between the state’s most repressive and exploitative structure, on the one hand, and the most stringent structures of the toiling masses, on the other hand.

The history of these two currents of resistance and the violent repression in Rome is long. The kind of historiography that consists of stories about the Roman emperors ought to be seen as nothing but a distortion disseminated by official historians. Just as the warrior ruling power, accumulating like a snowball, is the outline of repressive and exploitative history, the nomadic ethnic groups and the social and religious currents represent the outline of communality. The history of peoples as social and ethnic reality still remains largely unwritten. The dominant class character of historiography has probably made the biggest contribution to the distortion of social phenomena and to ignoring the main constituents.Preventing a true historiography combined with extensive distortions is the most effective way to capture the human mind. Societies robbed of their historical consciousness are subjugated to conditions that are even worse than annihilation, that is, losing their purpose and identity.

Societies that have been habituated to such conditions can easily be induced to accept any burden. In this respect, the tradition of monotheistic religions is also significant, because these religions are like the memory of social reality. The chronicle of the prophets is effectively an alternative to the chronicle of the sultanate. Through the institution of the episcopacy, Christianity created a tradition equivalent to that of the Roman emperors, so to speak. A similar development also took place among the leadership of the ethnic groups. The fact that both currents emulated the emperor led both of them to compromises with the system, sometimes in the form of total integration and sometimes as transformation into more sustainable higher-level social structures.

It might make sense to give a crude historical overview of ethnicity, starting with the birth and institutionalization of agricultural culture between 15000 and 10000 BCE.

Much archeological and etymological data show that ethnicity first took shape during this period in the inner arc of the Taurus-Zagros mountain system. The agricultural revolution was the existential condition for the rise of ethnic movements. There was no other way to shake free of clan society. Clan society, on the other hand, could never go beyond being a large family group, a limit set by the productive technology. The linguistic level was also limited at this point; the great language families had yet to emerge. Researchers assume that the history of the language families that we know today begins at around 20000 BCE, yet again, in the same geographic region for similar reasons. The establishment of language led to developments in production, which raised sociality to a higher level. Many scientists, including Gordon Childe, Colin Renfrew, and Vyachesunlav Ivanov, assume that the primeval Aryan language group formed in the aforementioned arc.20 The Aryan mlanguage group is the work of the primordial communal groups that carried out the agricultural revolution. The oldest words of agricultural origin are found among all people who share this language structure. Another commonly accepted view is that this initial period of ethnic formation spread to all continents by cultural rather than physical expansion. Another assumption is that the expansion to the American continent occurred through the migration of what were to become the first Americans across the Bering Strait sometime around 11000 BCE.

Until the development of Sumerian civilization around 3500 BCE, this culture of ethnicity primarily developed along the foothills of the mountains on the shores of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Relics of the oldest settlements and many elements that carry on in popular culture today testify to this. The period from 6000 BCE to 400 BCE was of particular importance in terms of arriving at a sustained ethnicity with distinct identities. Almost all of the inventions and knowledge that led to the beginning of both history and civilization were developed during this chalcolithic period, known also as the Copper Age. By this point, the basic institutions of the arts, religion, and hierarchy had developed. The Hurrians, as the oldest group of Aryans, lived at the center of this emerging culture, and many scientists feel they should be regarded as the earliest ancestors of today’s Kurds. Their name is derived from ur, or hilly location, i.e., they were the inhabitants of places at a certain altitude. Evidence of their existence reaches back to about 6000 BCE. At the time of their founding, they were both relatives and neighbors of the Sumerians. The Sumerians and the Assyrians called a number of groups that shared a similar culture the Gutians, Kassites, Lori, Nairi, Urartians, and Medes.

Around 9000 BCE, the wave of Aryan agricultural culture reached Anatolia. Around 6000 BCE, it reached the Caucasus, North Africa, and Iran.Then, between 5000 and 4000 BCE, it reached China, southern Siberia, and the interior of Europe. Data show that agricultural culture spread across the world. To a lesser extent, this also happened physically through Aryan migrants who traveled as far as India, England, Greece, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, and northern Europe in the period from 3000 to 2000 BCE. It is assumed that around 2000 BCE, reacting to certain developments, they turned, in a countermovement, in the direction of the areas that had become rich as a consequence of the Sumerian civilization. In this way, they became part of the civilizational processes in India, Iran, Anatolia, and Egypt.

This was a very agitated period in history. The seductiveness of Sumerian civilization can be compared to that of the United States today.Its appeal radiated out to all of the immigrants and rural societies in the vicinity, pulling them to itself. In the history of the ethnic groups, the time of the great migrant movements, around 2000 BCE, is the phase of the most far-reaching expansion. As a consequence of this expansion, the foundations of the Chinese, Indian, Hellenic, Anatolian, and Iranian civilizations were laid. In a certain sense, after Mesopotamia, this was urbanization’s—the state’s—second leap forward following the Sumerian trail. Even so, at that time, the cities of the civilization were no more than islands in a sea of migrants. Actually, those taking action were the nomads.The third major immigrant leap forward began around 1000 BCE, from Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia to the areas of civilization in the south, replacing the initial phase in the system of civilization, dynasties, and principalities. The major ethnic groups known for this leap forward are the Dorians in Greece, the Phrygians in Anatolia, the Medes where the Zagros and Taurus convorerge, and the Etruscans in Italy. These groups played an important role in the development of civilization within the Roman state in the first millennium BCE. The Greek, Phrygian, Urartian, Med, and Etruscan civilizations were the most important civilizations established by some of the major ethnic groups in this leap forward.

Organizationally, the movement based on a culture of ethnicity did not go beyond the hierarchical stage. If it was not dispersed by internal or external forces, it was confronted with the problem of founding a state.Becoming a state on the Sumerian model was only possible for those groups that successfully mastered these stages. They imitated the models of civilization they had the closest contact with. The hierarchical structure did not offer the potential for anything else. It is in this situation that classes emerged. Part of the lower stratum remained in the rural areas partially safeguarding its lifestyle. Others turned to the city, becoming slaves or soldiers or integrating into one or another stratum of the sedentary population. In this way, they completed class society.

For class society, ethnic groups always mean fresh blood. They fulfilled a function in ancient civilizations that was comparable to that of the peasantry under capitalism. If we want to draw a general parallel with the present, the national resistance against the expansion of capitalism and the subsequent foundation of a national state have ethnic resistance and the founding of states in the form of principalities based on their ethnic grassroots as their counterpart in ancient civilizations.

The source of religious prophetic movements that we defined as a kind of class struggle of antiquity can be found in these civilizations’ phases of maturation. They were of urban origin and were shaped by the middle class. They were courageous enough to claim that the system of slavery was contrary to reason. They were the first critics and the first actors in a social uprising. They were also influenced by the old traditions of shamanism and sheikhdom that had no influence in the institutions of kingdoms. The abstract character of their concepts of “religion” and “God” and their opposition to idolatry should be seen as a differentiation of mentality. Their most fundamental claim was that human kings could not be gods. The idea of the godly kingdom, on the one hand, and the refusal of rational human beings to believe in it, on the other hand, actually reflected the contradiction and the struggle between the ruling class and the townspeople. Grasping the difference between the laws of urban society and natural animism set the stage for unraveling the belief in the god-king. The differentiation of mentality developed faster in an urban environment. The city offered more room for new quests, concepts, and ways of thinking. The commodity system based on buying and selling stimulated the mind even more. Together, this further strengthened the leadership role of analytical intelligence. At a certain point, the increasing knowledge and the abstract conceptualization began to erode the official ideology—the mythology in which people believed. The search for new ideologies cleared the way for the period of the prophets’ idealism.

This process probably began around 3000 BCE, and, until the time of Abraham, was generally limited to the Sumerian metropoles. Whenever the prophets could no longer find shelter, they moved to peripheral regions that offered them a certain amount of freedom. The period from Adam to Enoch and Job might well be called the era of pre-Urfa prophecy. I hypothe-size that Urfa played a central role in the second and the first millennia BCE.
This is probably when the prophetic tradition became well-established and developed a strong institutional foundation. Several prophets, including Abraham, were “exported” from this area. This hypothesis is supported by numerous legends.

My second hypothesis is that between the first millennium BCE and the fall of Rome, Jerusalem came to the fore as the second center for prophecy.The Holy Scripture contains an extensive list of prophets from this time.The rich and powerful narratives imbued in the prophetic passages, which began with Saul, David, and Solomon, can be regarded as the moral rules that organize social life and the longing for a kingdom. The social component was strongly emphasized. Preventing people from worshiping idols and binding them to (God) is in essence a religious narrative of the effort to protect the Hebrew tribe from disintegration and its formation as a kingdom. Just as Sumerian mythology is the fairy tale version of the history of the god-kings, the Holy Scripture is the religious story of the history of turning a tribe into a kingdom. The reigning mentality and literature of those times necessitated the biblical language. What is important is to grasp the essential content beneath the shell of the outer form. In the end, Jesus’s actual goal was to become the king of Jerusalem, which he calls the“daughter of Zion.” For his attempt, he paid with his life.

The third and last period of prophecy was from 1 CE to 632 CE, i.e., from the birth of Jesus to the death of Mohammad. For the Hebrews, thereafter, the time of the Sephardic scribes began,21 while Christianity expanded enormously among other peoples, first through the actions of the apostles and then of the priests and bishops.

The prophetic literature that was translated primarily into Greek and Latin, that is, the Gospels, radically transformed the mentality of Western civilization. In the struggle with the demigod Hellenic and Roman emperors, this tradition finally deprived the latter of their putative sacredness.

Constantine the Great’s adoption of Christianity in 312 CE, making it the official religion, was the final step in a historical process. This is the success of the idea that started with the first prophets, who said that a human being cannot be God, although it lost much of its essence along the way. The branch of this tradition led by Mohammad that emerged as Islam declares its mission as a messenger and “shadow of God” right from the outset. It also rejected the Christian trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and proclaimed as its most important revelation that human beings could only be the servants of God. But even the understanding of the servant of God still shows the influence of the culture of god-kings. The god-king was replaced by “Allah,” but, even so, this was a poignant example of how far the struggle over mentality in this area had already evolved. All of this demonstrates that the struggle of humans against the god-kings had already been going on for many thousands of years, which shows us very clearly that the struggle for liberation from severe slavery was far from easy.

While the era of the god-kings ended with the fall of the Roman Empire, with Mohammad this chapter of history ends completely. The basic idea of prophecy was that humans should not declare themselves gods. Like a single-issue party program, when the goal is fulfilled there is no point in continuing to exist. What remains are traces, stories, and shadows.

Monasteries, Witches, and Alchemists

The main product of the monotheistic religions of the Middle East was the feudal state of the Middle Ages. Serfdom is a milder, or, rather, more refined, form of classical slavery. It is a step up on the ladder of slavery.Classical slavery also continued within feudalism. The sultan—the warrior ruling power—was seen as the “shadow of God,” and we should regard feudalism as the continuation of the god-king cult. In terms of their democratic stance and communal qualities, both movements, Christianity and Islam, were nonetheless contributions to freedom and justice that should not be underestimated.

The millennia-old tradition of resistance against ancient and classical slavery led to important achievements in mentality, as well as in the political, social, and economic realms. Even if these achievements are often barely mentioned in written history, their existence cannot be doubted. Culture itself is largely based on these two channels of resistance, both of which have provided the primary substance of all of the arts. The monuments, in the form of temple structures, are preserved to this day in all their splendor. If there are still fragments of a social morality, then this is also due to these traditions. Immortal epics, saints, and the lore of the walis reflect the great human stance. It is these traditions that make the wisdom of people who spent years in a hermitage so valuable. The same is true for those who rotted away in dungeons, were nailed to crosses, or ascetically fasted, eating only bread, olives, and dates. These traditions felt the pain suffered by the people and valued wisdom highly. These are also the traditions that valued communal life, the monastic order, and knowledge, as well as the development of arts and crafts, giving them the rank of a school rather than propagating individualism. Once more, it was these noble channels of tradition that helped the people to think about peace, defend human dignity, and base themselves on solidarity, as well as to emphasize fraternity and remain open to universality, even in situations where the warrior ruling power clique gave them no other alternative but to kill or die. While these movements couldn’t establish class society, they also largely failed to prevent their own integration into the dominant social systems. Sometimes they became just as hierarchical and statist as their former masters, but respect for the truth requires us to emphasize that these movements are responsible for the humane values that remain alive today. Today’s democratic stance, freedom, equality, the search for natural environment, human rights, and cultural identities would be unthinkable today without the contributions of these two great traditions. The public realm, which is at least as indispensable a basis for democracy as contemporary individualism, must be regarded as the most important legacy of these two great movements, and doing so will allow us to better understand and analyze the positive effects of this tradition.

The framework of the democratic stance and communalism that we have just outlined can help us better understand the Roman imperial society. Just like all of its predecessors, after a few centuries, the Roman Empire would also collapse as a result of the internal social-communal movement and the waves of defensive attacks on the part of ethnic communities from the north, which were still close to being natural societies. The decay and the collapse of a part of Rome at the end of the fourth century represented—if only indirectly—the combined victory of the relationship between ethnicity and the religious communality. It is one of the great victories of peoples and the communal order, even if their relationship was a complicated one. The statist mentality and its cult were certainly not destroyed. Although it fragmented like a snowball hitting a surface, this did not stop it from reestablishing its existence in many areas rather than melting away. Once again, we see that the warrior ruling power would not endure prolonged fragmentation. New links were added to the chain and it would continue to grow, multiplying these links. In a new form, it would continue as Byzantium in the East and Charlemagne’s Frankish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire in the pristine lands of Europe.

Rome was primarily defeated by Germanic tribes with Aryan cultural roots. The Huns from Central Asia also hemmed the empire in for decades. It is unthinkable that the powerful Roman military machine would have been rendered inoperative without the power of the ethnic groups. Democratic communalists should never talk about the “sad fall of the Roman civilization brought about by the onslaught of the barbarians”; this would not be the language of truth. When we think of the whole chain of imperators, the frightening character of the warrior ruling power becomes even clearer. Regardless of objections, we see the fact that the barbarians—essentially, popular liberation forces—smashed this kind of power as a great step toward freedom.

The decline of Rome serves once more to show what actually determines history. It is the struggle between those who turn war and violence into the basis of the political, social, economic, and moral framework and those who resist this process and insist on democratic stance and a free, egalitarian communal life. If we do not ignore that this constant state of war underlies what is called the order of “freedom and stability,” we can better understand this social reality.

The history just sketched is the background for the unfolding of the Middle Ages in Europe from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, without which Europe would not have been able to create a civilization; it wouldn’t even have learned of the number zero. Brooding over things for a long time during the feudal period, and then its effort to attain and use the new knowledge with a zest for action and actively, and to strive toward a new mentality—all of this would have been unthinkable without this historical background. Later, Europe duly turned toward science and history, drawing strength from both. With the use of these two powers, effective historical and scientific methodologies, an entirely new and important level in civilization would be created.

The positive contribution of Christianity to the Middle Ages is quite limited. In fact, the Inquisition was a conscious effort to prevent the birth of something new. It tried to dry out the positive channels of the past by setting them on fire: heretics and believers in different confessions, witches, the remnants of free women, and alchemists, who were the pioneers of science. Faced with the still fresh memory of the more natural life of the ethnic groups and the force of Protestantism, the Inquisition was finally defeated, and the mentality and will of the new civilization grew clearer and stronger. Protestantism broke the ossified conservatism of the predominant form of religion and paved the way for nationhood based on the culture of ethnicity.

There is no evidence to support the claim that a plan to develop the later capitalist system lay behind this great historical development. Rather, there is more evidence of an effort to develop a democratic civilization.

The feudal system of the Middle Ages took up the dogmatism of the ancient slavery, although with changes and imposing limits. A sultan replacing the god-kings as the “shadow of God” signaled a shift in dogma, but the essence was preserved. The warrior power structure grew even stronger, by expanding into large areas of Europe and Asia. Instead of the weary Roman and Persian Empires, fresh blood flowed into the construction of the Arab-Islamic, the Germanic-Catholic, and the Slavic-Orthodox systems, a process that continued with the Turkish-Islamic and the Mongol-Islamic systems later on. The decisive factor in these new forms of empire was their ability to absorb the “fresh blood” of new cultural elements. Although during their ascendance to power they all tried to emulate the Romans and Persians, Christianity and Islam represented a much more powerful mentality and faith framework. This framework was rich enough to provide the warrior ruling power the fuel needed to preserve the system over a long period of time. On the other hand, the Arab, Germanic, Turkish, and Mongolian hierarchical forces, accustomed to the strongest and longest nomadic and migrant life, were able to recruit however many soldiers they wished from their own tribes. The more comfortable and wealthy city life had such great appeal that it even expanded into the areas predominantly inhabited by these new tribes.The reality is that the lower strata of the ethnic groups and the poor within the Christian monasteries of Christianity and the Islamic tariqa sought salvation and a different world and life. They joined these movements because they detested the repression and exploitation of the state and hierarchy. In a nutshell, they had expectations in a universal humanist democracy based on a synthesis of the religious orders, the monasteries, and the old natural communal life.

In both religions, there were many people like Mawlana, who represented the universal mind and heart of the time.22 Mawlana welcomed everyone, with an approach that can be summarized as: “Come, whichever people you belonged to among the seventy-two peoples. Come, regardless of the sins you have committed in the past.” This embodied a universal democratism. In this way, Mawlana became the voice of the democracy and universalism of the Middle Ages.

This interpretation of these widespread monastic and Sufi currents of that period is stimulating. Whereas the upper strata of the ethnic and religious groups became the feudal state forces, the poor lower strata lived as the forces of the communal order spread over vast areas, living in the monasteries or the Islamic counterpart, the religious orders and dergah.23 This was a profoundly significant class division. In a certain sense, what we find here is the split between the warrior ruling power specific to the Middle Ages, with its dependent collaborators, and the democratic, communal people—and the struggle between these two groups. The contradictions between Batiniyyas and Sunnis in the Islamic world and between Catholics and Heretics in Christianity reflects this.24 We can observe similar divisions within ethnic groups. The contradictions between Seljuks, Ottomans, and Turkmens, or between the Arab caliphs and the Kharijites,25represent contradictions and struggles between different classes within an ethnic group. Some of the movements of the poor managed to politicize themselves at an advanced level. The Qarmatians, Assassins, Fatimids, and Alevites are expressions of the reaction of the poor to class differentiations;26 they are examples of the primitive democracy of the Middle Ages.However, the understanding of rule and power that dominated the social system did not allow for more progressive democratic organizations in these movements.

In any case, as a result of external repression and internal degeneration, they were quickly liquidated and lost their influence. Formations that can be called the “monastic culture,” and which had lasting effects in Europe and Central Asia, proved more viable. Monasteries played an important role in science and the development of productive techniques, becoming the driving force of science and social life. The birth of universities and madrassas in the Middle Ages was also closely related to the monasteries and dergah. Following a major struggle, the warrior ruling power groups managed to become the dominant force in the system. The decisive factors were the mentality and the traditional power of the state as an institution. Its organizational and administrative style was so refined that primitive and semi-democratic formations never had a chance. But even more important than the question of dominance was that this aspect of history is intertwined with major struggles.

Gaining acceptance for the new form of state as the “shadow of Allah, the supreme sultanate,” required a massive propaganda campaign. This new form which was interwoven with intrigues, tyranny, and plunder required much disguising. During medieval feudalism, the warrior ruling power inherited from the Romans and the Persians, which I compared above to a snowball and a fireball, dressed itself in the religious garb of both Islam and Christianity and made itself permanent. Contrary to its own claims, it surpassed the Roman and the Persian Empires in its tyranny and plunder by a long shot. On the other hand, even though they were betrayed by their hierarchies, the neglected, subdued, and impoverished ethnic groups, the monasteries, and the heretical and denominational movements and religious orders represented and characterized the democratic society with a communal spirit and the reality of the people to a far greater extent than would be assumed. If we want to understand our conditions today, we must take the blinkers off when looking at the Middle Ages, including the earlier periods, and move beyond the ossified heart that the rulers have worked to instill in us for thousands of years. We must try to understand and sense theses eras as they are described above, for their spirit and consciousness of freedom.

Those who fail to correctly experience history with both their soul and consciousness can never claim to represent freedom and equality and can never be true democrats.

From the Renaissance to Marxism

The European civilization of the Middle Ages, which had succeeded in taking what is necessary from the positive legacy of Eastern societies—the monastic movement played a decisive role in this—from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries on, prepared the Renaissance with steps accelerated by the creativity of its youthfulness.

It is important to understand why feudalism in its classic form didn’t last long. Class society had evinced this potential to a great extent by having existed in the form of ancient slavery for a very long time—4000 BCE to 500 CE. It had displayed whatever it could conceive of. If the contribution of feudal class structure to this process was relatively minor, that was because of its own limited potential. Feudalism was in no position to make much of a contribution to the social system. Moreover, the objective of both the ethnic and the religious movements required a radical overcoming of this system. Their main goal was not the imperial emulation of hierarchies. In a certain sense, they had attained the new warrior ruling power by exploiting both the social revolution of religion and the tribal revolution of the ethnic groups. Long before the French Revolution, the flag of the resistance of the poor masses carried the message of “equality, fraternity, and peace.” All this happened during the millennia of divine reign.Their utopias were to be eternal with “Armageddon and paradise.” But the hierarchy, masterful in the art of plundering with intrigue and tyranny, proceeded to enforce its own will through deception and suppression.

That this era didn’t last long in Western Europe was the result of the genuine power to enlighten of the Christian monasteries, which were less influenced by monarchs than were Islamic monastic communities, and the still fresh spirit of natural society among the ethnic groups, particularly among the Teutons. As has always been the case historically, these two forces maintained freedom of conscience and free will. With great curiosity and enthusiasm, these two forces carried the flag of science and freedom onto the fertile soil of Western Europe. Neither the medieval princes and kings—poor copies of the Roman emperors—nor the official Church’s Inquisition, which de facto became their very soul, could block their way. If we want to learn the truth about today’s Western civilization, we should treat this period of creation with respect and sensitivity, since at the time there were free-spirited people capable of great thought.The values created at the time were at least as significant as those of the Neolithic village agricultural revolution and the urban civilization revolution. It is the continuation of the spirit of creative consciousness and freedom that is slowly withering away in the East. The consciousness and freedom that was nurtured by the European people was the spirit of wisdom and of natural society that we had carried with us for thousands of years and whose pioneers we had once been. This is not something that is alien to us; on the contrary, it is a reality that is our very own.

The Renaissance, or rebirth, that is said to begin in the fifteenth century was actually the last child of a millennium-old lineage whose primordial mother and father hail from the East. The belief that it originates from some Adams and Eves of Europe is a grave error. It might, in fact, be a child of the East born in exile. One thing is certain: the Renaissance was the accelerated continuation of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It didn’t develop in the palaces of the kings and bishops, those copies of Rome, nor did the political-military force or the economic force of the feudal traders play a decisive role. That honor fell to the rural monasteries and the emerging urban universities, which were independent places of study, surviving on their own labor, that raised the level of freedom and consciousness, supported and nourished by the ordinary people who had placed their hopes in them. I must stress that the road to the Renaissance does not pass through the palaces of the kings and the Church but through the communal schools of ordinary people. Neither the class of feudal lords nor the absent bourgeoisie “showed the way.”

To temporally and spatially locate the Renaissance in the flow of civilization’s river, it is helpful to begin at the source, the Sumerians.27 From its places of origin around Ur and Uruk, it expanded, from 3500 to 2500 BCE, in northward waves along the Euphrates and Tigris to Nippur, Babylon, and Nineveh. We distinguish the era of Nippur from 2500 to 2000 BCE, the era of Babylon from 2000 to 1300 BCE (old and middle period), the era of Assur from 1300 to 600 BCE and, the last Babylonian period from 600 to 300 BCE.Outside of Mesopotamia, from 1700 to 1200 BCE, there was a Hittite civilization in Anatolia, which was directly influenced by the Sumerians, and then from 900 to 550 BCE, there was the Medes, and from 550 to 300 BCE, the Persian civilization. I regard this whole era as the first link in the chain of civilization.

The classical Greek and Roman civilizations, as its second link, should be considered in connection with the second great intellectual revolution, the transition from the mythological to the philosophical way of thinking that developed after the fall of Troy, the last great outpost of the East in the West. Until then, the Hellas and Etruscans settling in today’s Greece and Italy had not reached any specific autonomous development. They had not really transcended the role of migrations of traditional expansion.From 1000 BCE on, the first elements of the Greek and Roman civilizations emerged, and by 500 BCE, with the development of philosophical thought, they were able to make the transition to a civilization with originality. This originality was the result of their long nourishment from the legacy of the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations, their synthesis with the migration from the north, and the influence of the geographical particularities. The developments on the Greek and the Italian peninsulas represented the continuation of Hittite civilization’s development in Anatolia. Once we consider the rich contributions of Egypt and the Phoenicians in the Eastern Mediterranean, the underpinnings of this original development are better understood. The further expansion of this second link from 1000 BCE to 500 CE came to a halt on the European Atlantic Coast.

The third great link in the chain of civilization was accompanied by other temporal and geographical conditions. When the river of civilization surged against the shores of Western Europe, it entered another very fertile period. Around 1500 CE, the third great revolution of the civilization began. If we connect the Renaissance to the chain of world civilization, a flow in this direction makes sense.

The most accurate definition of the Renaissance is as a revolution in mentality that was deep-seated in a number of respects, the first being the rebirth of the individual, who, in the name of divinity, had quite literally been obliterated by religious thought. Christian theology reached the summit of scholasticism around 1250 CE, after integrating Aristotle’s philosophy. We can also characterize this as the most advanced form of metaphysics. Humans, as such, were close to completely forgotten, having been exorcised from life to such a degree that they even ceased to be good enough to play the role of God’s puppets. An extreme form of sociality based on religion had been arrived at. However, human nature cannot endure this state of affairs for long, because this form is incompatible with the practical and concrete life. The efforts of heretics, dissident confessions, and witches (women from the non-Christianized natural society) represented the resistance of the autonomous spirit against Christian dogmatism. Even the alchemists’ scientific experiments attempting to turn natural elements into gold can be seen in this light. The goal of the Inquisition was to suppress anything that might give rise to a free individual. Perhaps the most pertinent example of a break from Christian dogmatism and the leap into the idea of free nature was Giordano Bruno.As a passionate lover of nature, Bruno didn’t distinguish between God and nature. It was as if he was intoxicated by his understanding of a living nature, of a living universe. He admired the independent functioning of nature. This enthusiastic Renaissance pioneer was finally burned alive in Rome in 1600, a sacrifice just as worthy of note as those of Spartacus and St. Paul.

Another important consequence of this perspective that broke with dogmatism in approaching nature was the development of scientific methodology. The human mind, which had been broken away from natural reality by metaphysical and speculative methodology, had managed to turn to nature again, but with a new methodology. By imposing observation, experimentation, and measurement on nature, the “prophets” of the empirical method, Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, and Galileo Galilei, pushed the door wide open for the development of science. The gradual development of a scientific mindset was closely connected to its methodology.A philosophical approach meant approaching nature with hope, while methodology meant turning this hope into reality. While philosophical predictions and hypotheses illuminated scientific fields and their facts, observation, experimentation, and measurement supplied scientific evidence. It is impossible to benefit from nature through philosophical hypotheses without experimentation and measurement. Without the application of experimentation and measurement to a phenomenon, no results can be anticipated. Although steps taken in this direction in the Islamic world yielded some results, they only made a limited contribution to scientific knowledge, because a systematic methodological basis was lacking. The solution of the problem of basic methodology led to a scientific revolution that encouraged the rapid growth of scientific knowledge, one of the foundations of Western civilization. The search for scientific methodologies during the Renaissance also contributed to the emergence of new philosophical schools. The proximity and close connection of philosophy and science have not only led to the development of a more productive science but also to the emergence of advanced philosophical structures that are linked to science.

We can regard this way of thinking and feeling, which completely broke with God, as the foundation of the Renaissance and perhaps the greatest paradigm shift in history. The revolution in mentality that has taken place should not be underestimated. This is the kind of revolution that was the most difficult to carry out. The most important achievement of Western civilization was to have liberated itself from religious dogmatism and to have given meaning to life on the basis of the individual’s capacity to feel and think. A nature that is totally alive, vibrant, and colorful excites us with all that it encompasses and, being full of possibility, engenders great hope. The fact that humans, after thousands of years, and with a significant accumulation of consciousness, once again returned to nature is the source of all subsequent developments.

The second great shift was reform in religion. A reaction to Christian dogmatism, which was in sharp contradiction to the understanding of natural society, was inevitable. The Germanic people’s traditions of natural society and the fact that they became acquainted with religion only fairly late were the necessary preconditions for the reform to come from this culture. Protestantism was actually a Germanic interpretation of Christianity. It represented a revision and reformation that softened and undermined dogmatism and cleared the way for science. We can speak of a counterreaction to the reign of religion. It represented a blow against the strong conservatism of religion that was overly politicized, obstructed practical developments, and had left no room for freedom and the specific characteristics of various people. It was the theological reflection of the revolution in mentality. The breakdown of dogmatic patterns of thought inaugurated a phase of rapid development in philosophical thought. Just as overcoming mythological thought in West Anatolia in the seventh century BCE launched the classical age of philosophy, overcoming religious dogmatism led to a more advanced philosophy. One might say that philosophy, which represents the most advanced development of the revolution in mentality, found its prophets in Baruch Spinoza and René Descartes.

The third development accompanying the Renaissance was a way of life that placed the human being at its center. The idea that a human being was the absolute property of God was a different form of slave mentality.As the mythological thought form that found its way from the cult of the god-kings into the monotheistic religions, it came close to eradicating the individual from social life. It was the residue of a situation in which the slave was entirely the tool of his master. The loss of individuals within the identity of the master and of God to such a degree meant that they didn’t have lives of their own. God didn’t belong to the individual; the individual belonged to God. This situation translated into the extreme dependency of humanity on the religious hierarchy, which transformed itself into the state. Every religion contains a hidden form of slavery that favors the ruling class. The Renaissance resuscitated respect for human beings, and this also neatly fits in with the definition of society as the way of existence that makes individual lives more meaningful. Wherever the social being annihilates the individual aspect, slavery begins to take hold. What happened in Soviet socialism and in the Sumerian priest’s state socialism was essentially the same. Once the individual is merged into the mass, the result must be called slavery, regardless of the purpose this condition supposedly serves. The totemic religions and polytheisms of clan society and antiquity, which were, in a certain way, a projection of society onto certain concepts, supplied the individual with power. Because it erased the individual, the predominant religious understanding that marked the Middle Ages represented a serious deviation from genuine sociality.

By pulling the human being into the center of life, humanism, individuality, and reform were able to mount serious opposition to the deviation in the way of societal existence. In that regard, the Renaissance was one of the most fundamental stages of mentality in history. It was a very important step for human creativity and naturalness and established a foundation upon which an ecological society could develop. When, later on, the mentality of capitalism became dominant, this did not only mean the destruction of all previous achievements by a transition from individuality to individualism, it also paved the way for the greatest ecological deviation in history. The reason for the ecological catastrophe should not be sought in the mentality of the Renaissance but in its capitalist distortion that emptied it of its essence and, in exactly the opposite manner, separated it from the state of social being. While the deviation from the reality of societal existence that mythology and religious dogma introduced consisted of their drive to turn society into God’s society, capitalism commits exactly the opposite deviation, eradicating sociality in favor of individualism. We will come back to this topic when we talk about the ecological deviation, one of the main problems of our time.

Over just three centuries of accumulation (1400 to 1700 CE), the Renaissance essentially shaped Western civilization’s way of thinking.By connecting the human mind, which had been detached from nature and society, with a more profound philosophical and scientific path, it paved the way required for a new civilization.

In connection with this development, there is a particular methodological problem that needs to be addressed. The biggest mistake of the extremely materialist interpretation of the Marxist concept of “history”in particular is its linear presentation of the development of the social systems. The notion that the development of capitalism and its establishment as a system was inevitable may have served capitalism more than any capitalist ideologue ever could—and, even worse, it did so in the name of anti-capitalism. It may seem like a contradiction, but, looking back, we understand better that no capitalist ideologue has served this system as well as the vulgar materialists of Marxist origins.

Along with evaluating the Renaissance as one of the most important revolutions in mentality in history, we must pose the important question as to which social system it was connected to. Classic historical conceptions regard the Renaissance as the mentality trailblazer of the system of capitalist society. The Marxist concept of “history” treats the emergence of this system almost like a divine commandment. Both of these views are the consequence of a life that is dependent on capitalism.

accumulation has existed throughout history to a greater or lesser extent. Beginning with the Sumerians, we see the accumulation of capital and wealth frequently, particularly with the development of trade. Some groups built economic empires and became rich, among them the Jewish elite have a historical reputation in this regard. But, despite this, these groups were unable to become the dominant system. Both the upper state society and the lower communal societies viewed accumulation with suspicion and as something dangerous. They were always well aware that accumulation could easily become the midwife of malice. The most important factor was the fear that it could tear apart the morality of society. Even the warrior ruling power, regardless of how much it reigned over society, could not risk tearing apart the morality of society.For the existence of hierarchy, it is essential that the social phenomenon is preserved, because this is the basis of its institutionalization. When hierarchy destroys a society, it also destroys its morals. Separating a society from its basic moral traditions meant exposing it, bare, defenseless, and vulnerable, to any danger. The fact that capitalist capital could transform itself into a system was closely related to the dissolution of morality and, thus, the dissolution of society. This happened entirely independent of any subjective goal. Without the dissolution of sociality a system cannot be formed from capital, and once capital was on the path to becoming a system, it became extremely destructive.

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels poignantly described this process. But they were also a little bewildered. Even when they conceded a revolutionary role to capitalism, they insistently reiterated its destructiveness and ruthlessness and the necessity to overcome it as soon as possible. Capitalism isn’t a social system like any other; it is a cancerous system of society. We must perceive and examine civilization, both class society in general and capitalist civilization in particular, as a social malady. Cancer is not a congenital disease. It is a disease that emerges once the body is worn out and its immune system has begun to break down. Society functions in a similar way. In civilizational systems, a worn-out society is afflicted by the intrusion of the cancer into all of its tissues—its institutions—as capital infiltrates. Society is exposed to a more or less lethal effect, depending on the type of capitalism. Here, the analysis of the twentieth-century wars can illuminate this reality in a number of respects. But extreme competition, maximum profit, unemployment, hunger, poverty, racism, nationalism, fascism, totalitarianism, the art of demagogy, ecological destruction, excessive finance, individuals who are wealthier than whole states, nuclear bombs, biological and chemical weapons, and extreme individualism must all be regarded as types of cancer related to the capitalist system.

I provide this brief description of capitalism in order to correctly understand its connection with the Renaissance. Definitionally, the Renaissance is to all intents and purposes passionately and undogmatically based on an understanding and love of nature, society, and the individual.It is a return to the sacredness of nature and the individual. This individual is not a capitalist individual but an individual equipped with knowledge of nature, the arts, and philosophy, who avoids war and seeks a free and equal society. The Renaissance utopias were not capitalist but communalist. There is no research that convincingly proves that the emerging social system was capitalism. Life in the monasteries was communal. The dominant spirit of the newly developing cities tended toward democracy.The scientists, philosophers, authors, and artists were all hardworking people who were barely scraping by. Few people accumulated capital, and these, particularly the moneylenders, were hated by the rest of society.Until the Industrial Revolution, the feudal aristocracy and the popular classes born as a nascent nation formed a social system that did not yet have a definite character.

Even this brief assessment shows that one cannot really speak of a capitalist social system until the nineteenth century. It would, therefore, be a grave error to regard the Renaissance as a preliminary stage and a process for forming the mentality that automatically led to capitalism. In reality, it was an interval of chaos that was open-ended to any development.It was an intermediate phase during which the feudal system crumbled and disintegrated, but a new society was not born; only its earliest birth pangs were palpable. During this intermediate phase the reemergence of the feudal system in a stronger form or the birth of an individualistic capitalist system were both possibilities—but, at the same time, developments toward the emergence of a democratic, egalitarian, and free society with an already present solid infrastructure were not impossible. Theoretically, any of a number of systems might have emerged in their entirety, depending on what resulted from the consciousness and political abilities of the diverse groups struggling for particular systems.

In fact, the adherents of a capitalist society and those who sought an egalitarian and libertarian society were locked in a direct battle until the end of the French Revolution. The English Revolution of 1640 had a predominantly democratic character. In it could be found a number of strong personal and collective views about equality and freedom. It was not a bourgeois revolution but a revolution of the ordinary people. The city communes in Spain in the sixteenth century were also democratic in nature. A freedom-loving and democratic quality clearly characterized the American Revolution of 1776, and there were many tendencies in the French Revolution of 1789, including communists. In brief, when considering how the social chaos of the Renaissance might have ended, a free, egalitarian, and democratic society was no less possible an outcome than capitalist individualism.

It was only with the Industrial Revolution that capitalism gained the upper hand in the social war. In the nineteenth century, it increased its dominance everywhere, and, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the system largely completed its expansion across the world for the first time. The struggle for a more egalitarian, free, and democratic society missed the chance to become the dominant social system with the defeat of the revolutions of 1848 and 1871.

To complete the definition of this process, we must also discuss the phenomena of the nation and the national state in connection with the newly emerging social system. It is important to understand that shaping of societies as national phenomena is not a direct product of capitalism.In this regard, the idea that capitalism creates the nation is a grave error shared by Marxism. The process of the formation of clans, tribes, aşirets, nationality, and nation within societies has its own specific dialectics and is not the product of class society. A nation is possible without capitalism. Language, culture, history, and political strength play a more decisive role in the formation of a nation. Free, egalitarian, and democratic social structures lead to healthier nations.

In Western Europe, nations took shape by the twelfth century. But the question of what system within the nations would prevail was only settled at the end of the eighteenth century, with the victory of the bourgeoisie. With the victory of capitalism within the nation, capitalism also replaced religion with nationalism as the dominant ideology. Both developing the market internally and external expansion are closely linked to strong nationalism. These particular aspects of strong nationalism lead to the nation-state. The nation-state developed by piercing the religious ideological veil with secularism. Actually, the concept of a “state for the whole nation” is completely erroneous. Talking about the nationality and national unity of a society reflects a certain reality, but the nationality of a state is more of an ideological attitude rather than a social reality,28 because the state cannot belong to society as a whole. The state is always in the service and at the disposal of a minority within the nation. Just as was the case previously with religion, the state transformed the phenomenon of the nation into an ideological phenomenon, thereby creating a foundation to legitimize itself. All nationalisms of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries can be traced back to this claim to social legitimacy.

Nationalism plays a huge role in covering up internal class contradictions and fostering aggression abroad. We have to understand nationalism as an ideological weapon of the capitalist state if we want to gain a better grasp on its period of expansion.

At the same time, nationalism bolsters the centralism of the state. Contrary to democratic federal structures, state nationalism tends toward centralized unitary structures. From there, a transition is made to a fascist and totalitarian understanding of the state. The social disease turning into hysteria and the capitalist system tending toward a fascist and totalitarian form of the state develop neck and neck. The result is the suicide of capitalism. In that sense, World War I and World War II can be understood as suicidal acts on the part of the system, resulting from the excessive use of nationalism. It is a process whereby capitalism, which itself represents a crisis of civilization, slides down into the most general and deep crisis, and from there into chaos.

Examining the system of capitalist society from a more comprehensive and holistic theoretical perspective exposes how much it is the sum of the most exploitative elements that have infiltrated human society. Exploitation can be understood as a form of opportunism meant to turn everything into immediate profit. It is the high art of opportunism.Material values are the primary goal. However, to the extent that it benefits material interests, immaterial values, such as ideas, beliefs, and the arts, can also be drawn upon. It is fundamental to the philosophy of capitalism to expect to profit from all social phenomena. All values encountered, whether natural communal or hierarchical state values, are indiscriminately exploited. This is why we have compared capitalism to a hungry wolf or a cancerous tumor—we could even think of it as a woodworm in a tree. As long as the wolf doesn’t attack the whole herd, as long as the cancer doesn’t spread to the whole body, as long as the woodworm doesn’t gnaw away at the stem and cause the tree to fall, it remains under control and its hosts can carry on. But as soon as capitalism becomes the dominant system and, with this, drifts into extreme forms, which is its nature, it reaches its most dangerous phase—fascism and totalitarianism. In this situation, society is in a permanent state of war beyond the recognized global wars like World War I and World War II. Even more perfidiously, wars take place within all institutions and relationships of society. At this point, the logic underlying the statement “man is a wolf to man” begins to operate with full force. The war extends to spouses, to children, and to the entire natural environment.The atomic bomb is the symbolic expression of this reality. A surreptitious, step by step but continuous atomization takes place throughout society.

If we look at the national state and the process of globalization, the situation becomes even clearer. Once the national phenomenon becomes uncompromising and completely conquers the state, the individual, whose existence was nurtured heretofore, begins to be quite literally transformed into an “ant.”

Humanity, humanism, and the individual that developed in the context of the Renaissance are now subjected to the inverse process. They come under attack. This alone should be sufficient to demonstrate the contradiction between the values of the Renaissance and those of capitalism. As the capitalist grows, the individual shrinks. Humanism becomes an empty concept or, in light of the ferocious global wars of conquest by the large corporations under the name of globalization, a concept that is a source of embarrassment. Not only the national state but all institutions must be dismantled or colonized in the era of globalization. Adopting an extreme version of the principle that “no value can be above the nation-state” provided the nation-state with a veneer of holiness that no previous state had ever possessed. Everything for the national state! In fact, this whole deceptive camouflage and craftiness around the national state only serves the capitalist. The state, particularly the national state, is a magical shortcut for raking in exorbitant profits, leading to the conver-sion of nationalism, as the ideology of the nation-state, into a system of belief and faith unequaled by any mythological, philosophical, or religious perception or belief. It literally blinds all eyes and seals all hearts.When juxtaposed with the overblown symbols of the nation, other values no longer seem meaningful. Holiness is latent only in these overblown elements of national values. On the other hand, there is an attempt to bind the individuals as citizens to the “brotherhood of the state,” using a style of the proselytizing similar to that of a medieval sect.

Citizenship is another concept that needs to be properly analyzed. In a way, it has taken the place of the relationships of slavery and serfdom, the shape the bond to the state took in antiquity and the Middle Ages. In this sense, it denotes a transformation to a relationship of slavery to the bourgeoisie—i.e., to the state. State citizenship shapes the modern form of the slave that the system requires. The individuals it creates are individuals made useful to the bourgeoisie. They are assigned a number of duties, first among them, the draft and the obligation to pay taxes. They give birth to the might needed by the state and the ruling class. Childbirth is turned into a cost-efficient affair for the bourgeoisie. Regardless of all the talk about economic, social, political, and cultural rights, it is to all intents and purposes only the ruling class that can actually access these rights.

Even more dire are the consequences of the grip of capitalism on science and the arts, which have, for the most part, been turned into tools of state power. Capitalism, and with it the know-how of ruling power, reaches unprecedented dimensions with the power of scientific revolution. The monopolization of science and the arts results in terrible domination and exploitative power, giving capitalism the opportunity to shape the individual as it wants for its own benefit. Capitalism doesn’t limit itself to transforming the mentality and fundamental paradigms to suit its principles but also shapes an individual with blinkers and a heart of stone. With such eyes and hearts, humans are turned into a parochial, self-seeking, egotistical, indifferent, cruel, callous, abstract, robot-like beings. Instead of the extremely lively and sacred world and human-centered viewpoint of the Renaissance, the world and society are now engulfed by a gray, lifeless, loss of sacredness, an uninspired, uninteresting, tense, and weary atmosphere. The laborers, the wage-earning elements of society, have the status of hens laying eggs. Food (their salary), which has become the sole purpose in life, is used to force them to lay these eggs. The homo economi-cus constructs all that they have so that they will be sated. Even worse is the potential of the system to create the highest level of unemployment in history. To keep a steady reservoir of cheap labor, it increases the reserve army of the unemployed.

The relationship between the bourgeoisie and the worker changed in a way that made the heretofore rebellious workers meek as lambs and more dependent on their masters than the serfs of the Middle Ages had ever been. The labor force ceases to be a class in whose name the revolution is made; in the face of huge unemployment and the even greater danger of lower wages, it lost its identity, acquiriseng in its place one that pretty much resembles that of slaves loyal to their master. In this case, the workers were no longer a value in themselves but became an appendage of the bosses or the institution providing them their sense of self.

The situation of the women, the children, and the elderly, who already lived in the most perilous circumstances, became even more brutal. The woman, who moans while being crushed under the weight of the insatiable appetite, insensitivity, and brute force of the dominant man since the establishment of hierarchy, is subjected to yet another set of fetters in the capitalist system. The being that men fabricate the most lies about is the woman. The final words of Freud, who carried out the most comprehensive study of sexuality, before his death are said to have been: “What is the woman?” All of this cannot be regarded as normal. This is a situation created by the terrible ideology of male domination of women. The dominant male, who actually doesn’t want to get to know the woman at all, resorts to “fake love” purple prose—one of his most impnaortant weapons to obfuscate her situation. For the dominant male, love amounts to the concealment of lies, implicit disrespect, the blindness of his consciousness, and his brute instinct gaining increasing space and becoming established.That the woman is put into a position where she must swallow this is related to the depth of her despair under repression. She is cut off from the material and immaterial conditions of life to such a degree that she has only the misery of accepting man’s most despicable insults and attacks as the latter’s natural right.

I have always been astonished by how the woman brings herself to live with this developed “status.” But I must openly confess that I have sensed this: when a butcher leads an animal to the slaughtering block, the animal realizes that it is about to be killed and begins to tremble from head to foot. The posture of the woman before a man always reminds me of this tremor. Unless she trembles before him, the man is not at ease, because this is the main requirement for him to be sovereign. The butcher slaughters only once, but the male slaughters repeatedly throughout his lifetime. This is the truth that must be exposed. Hiding this with love songs is a despicable act. The most worthless objects and concepts of civilization are the ones about love. What a man has never been able to do, what he does not even want to do, is to have the power to approach a woman with everyday naturalness. I would regard any man who did so as a real hero. This problem doesn’t stem from a simple weakness or a biological difference between the sexes but from the fact that the hierarchical statist society has placed the woman right at the bottom, as the first object of stratification. This is the deepest problem of the society because of the features of the status embedded in the society. That sociology has finally taken an interest in the topic, even if only to a limited degree and only very recently, is certainly the result of the current crisis of capitalism.

Once things are finally laid bare, we can expect the phenomenon of woman to manifest itself in all its aspects. The elements of oppression and exploitation capitalism adds to the phenomenon of womanhood require a more comprehensive understanding. The woman is allegedly the most valuable commodity, so to speak. No previous system has ever subjected the woman to such a degree of commodification. There was no big difference between slavery in general and the enslavement of women or concubinage—which was part of general slavery, in any case—in antiquity and in the Middle Ages from the point of view of the system. There was no women-specific slavery or commodification. There were also male harems.There were eunuchs and iç oğlanları.29 Of all systems, it is actually capitalism that makes the biggest distinction between the sexes. A woman literally does not have a single feature that has not been commodified. This is done using supposed artistic embellishments, including literature and novels.But the main function of this art is to make women take on the lion’s share of the unbearable burden of the system. While a fee is charged for all other work, the most difficult work, that is, pregnancy, child-rearing, and all kinds of housework, are free of charge. Nor is there a fee for being a man’s sex slave. In many private homes, the woman is not even accorded a value that is as much as the wage in a brothel.

What is called the virtue or honor of marriage is essentially putting up with the tribulation of the “little emperor.” Just as the great emperor regards it a reason for war if something happens to his state property, which he considers to his honor, the little emperor regards it as a matter of great virtue, and therefore a reason for fighting, if something is done to the woman as the property he considers to be his honor. An even stranger phenomenon is the fact that the woman is completely drained of her soul, but physically she is transformed into an extreme femininity, an embellishment, a “caged bird” with a beautiful voice. The voice and makeup scheme, based on the overwhelming denial of her own identity, is far removed from the natural woman and destroys her personality. Above all, this extreme femininity is a special deprivation of her personality that the woman suffers. It’s a man’s invention, and he imposes it. Even so, he does not hesitate to blame the woman, as if this is her natural posture.Though the system itself is responsible for her being used as advertise-ment and exhibition material, it is a condition that is ascribed to woman as her natural essence. With capitalism, woman’s dignity has reached an absolute low. At the same time, the values of communal society have hit rock bottom alongside the identity of the woman. The logic of the system is both dependent upon it and highly skilled at ensuring it.

Abstracted from all her sacredness by pornography, under capitalism, she is reduced to the status of the early primates. The eradication of woman from society over the course of the history of civilization depends not only on the development of hierarchy and classes but also on the glorification of the dominant male society by men. Even where women have not completely lost their social influence, they have diverged very far from their place within societies based on communal values.

Actually, the woman’s nature is closer to the values of communal society, because her intelligence is more sensitive to the characteristics of nature and, thus, closer to reality, with emotional intelligence at the forefront. Because analytical intelligence is more speculative, its ties to life are limited. The fact that analytical intelligence is developed in man is related to the deceitful and repressive character of his social position.

The system also hangs like a shadow over the world of children. The dream world in which children live is diametrically opposed to the world of icy calculation. Children and capitalism do not fit together. The elderly are like aged children. For capitalist production, the venerated sacred sage has now become a burden, an unnecessary object. While children can still be used once they grow up, the elderly no longer have any value, because they are going to die. In society’s relationship with the elderly, we can see how it completely drifts away from sublimity and sacredness. The way the elderly are shuffled into retirement homes shows the ugly face of the system in all its aspects, including its cruelty and meaninglessness.The problem of old age raises enough damning questions to prove how unnecessary this system is for society in its various dimensions.

While the people in the capitalist metropole are fully satiated, the people in the periphery live with hunger and every form of deprivation.The dialectical relationship between obese people and those who are basically reduced to skeletons makes the extreme-profit feature of the system even clearer. It seems hardly possible for the contradictions within society to become more extreme. Excessive repetition of social contradictions and the disintegration of some institutions are effectively the definitive proof of the permanence of the crisis and that we have entered a state of chaos. Just as in every natural process, here too there is a moment when the chain can be broken, and that moment is now. Old laws are becoming invalid. Structures have become meaningless, because they are dysfunctional. The time has come to create new laws of meaning and the structures they require.

The problem of social ecology begins with civilization. In a way, natural society is an ecological society. The power that curtails society from within also curtails any meaningful bond with nature. Without the curtail-ment from within, no extraordinary ecological problems would have arisen. The aberration is the loss of meaningfulness in civilized society, a meaningfulness that is normally inherent in all natural processes. The new situation is similar that of a baby that has been weaned. The enchantment of emotional intelligence is gradually wiped away.

Analytical intelligence, which frequently moves away from the voice of conscience and nature, increasingly develops its contradiction to the environment in its artificial world. Life’s bond with nature becomes hazy and is replaced by abstract thoughts and gods. Creative nature gives way to the creator God. Nature, which should be understood as a tender mother, is now stereotyped as “cruel.” Finally, it becomes an act of heroism to fight against nature, which is conceived of as mute and cruel. Exterminating animals and plants in all sorts of uncontrolled ways and pollution of the land, water, and air are normalized, as if this were the most basic right of human society. The natural environment is blunted as a dead, hopeless, and transient habitat. Once a boundless source of hope, nature is now seen as no more than a dried-up, uncomprehending, and crude agglomeration of matter.

Even though this understanding of nature was demolished by the Renaissance, in the capitalist system the exploitation and abuse of society is supplemented by the exploitation and abuse of nature. Capitalism wants to complete the conquest of all of humanity with the conquest of nature. It sees it as both a right and an accomplishment to exploit nature at its whim. The result of the Industrial Revolution and its aftermath is that the natural environment, the indispensable source of society’s life, blew a fuse.

As it turns out, it is not nature that is unreasonable but the system. But this realization arrived too late. The environment is sending out a nonstop “SOS” signal. It is literally crying out that it is unable to bear the current social system. In this respect too, the crisis of the system seems to have entered an interval of chaos. But unless the meaning and structure of ecological society is understood in the discussion about ecology, there will be no way out of this chaos.

When we discuss the social system, we need to guard against over-generalization. For example, when defining capitalism, it would be wrong to come to the conclusion that it is present in every nook and cranny of society, or, even worse, to literally identify capitalism with society. No dominant system can ever constitute the entire society. This would contradict the fact that there must always be dialectical opposition. A one-sided development that does not generate its own opposite is an idealistic and a factually invalid concept. Contrary to what one might think, there is always a substantial social realm outside of the dominant system. Here we find the remnants of old systems, the poles in opposition to the ruling system, and future alternatives intertwined together. Society functions in a very lively way and by frequently developing its laws perpetuates its own change.Schematizing systems is useful to gain a better understanding of them, but replacing reality with these schemata creates the risk of succumbing to dogmatic approaches. Therefore, one must not identify the schemata with the highly complex structure of reality itself.

Capitalism is also often described in schematized ways. In some respects, these remain far from capturing reality as a whole, while possibly exaggerating certain aspects. That is why we put so much effort into developing a definition. When we look at the developmental process of the system, we must not exaggerate either the negative or the positive sides if we want to arrive at an objective evaluation. A fatalistic development model is incorrect, but it is also impossible to prophesize a future where the fulfillment of predictions is inevitable. The lifespan of social laws is short. Development of meaning and associated structures is also frequently possible. Nevertheless, scientific knowledge offers the advantage of understanding systems within the context of their own dynamics, without having to resort to fatalism or prophesy, and of acquiring meaning based on the concrete. Philosophy and mythology, however, can also contribute to the richness of meaning. Quite obviously, we can’t define a phenomenon like society, which in itself includes the whole of natural evolution, using laws that resemble simple physical laws. Since we, as observers, are also part of any phenomenon, some uncertainties will therefore be unavoidable. This has been proven by quantum physics.

But it was not only the values that led to capitalism that were inherited from the Renaissance. Finding the necessary power of meaning for collective social structures was one of the other possibilities resulting from the extraordinarily rich material it made available. The first utopists, Tommaso Campanella, Thomas More, and Francis Bacon, and later Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, conceptualized a large number of communal social systems and occasionally even tried to concretely organize them.30 During the Enlightenment, many philosophers once again pondered upon the question of the qualities of the new emerging society. The most important revolutions always included a component that was open to the left and had an unfinished aspect. The capitalist system in its established form is not based on the conception of any important thinker. The social utopias these serious thinkers were striving for always had a collective character and assigned a crucial role to morality. Nevertheless, there were objective reasons for the success of capitalism, for example, the power of the cult of the state, the great influence of the former aristocracy, and the fact that the new bourgeois class was better developed than its counterpart. It is understandable that the new socialists, who carried with them the clear traces of the old dominant society, were easy to take advantage of, because any power struggle carried out without the power of thought and a structural program geared to overcoming the system of state power cannot end in anything other than power changing hands, with the new force saying, “Me instead of you.”

The accumulation of capital and property is the essence of this system.The most important factors making it the ruling system are the pursuit of booty, which has a historical basis; enormous wealth provided by the geographical conquests, the transition from manufacture to the Industrial Revolution brought about by scientific discoveries, the climb from political revolutions to power, and the move from mercantilist statism to the power center of the nation-state. When, in the nineteenth century, capital thwarted the expectations of the utopists and used the Industrial Revolution to become a system, the necessity for a more radical and more solidly grounded theoretical approach and political struggle became clear. This is when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels entered the scene like prophets.

The nineteenth century, when capitalism ensured its victory within the system of civilization, can also be characterized by the systematic development of the current of thought opposed to capitalism and the transition of that current into political action. The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution formed the basis of both currents. The religious perspective lost its predominance, and the secular worldview gained weight. In reality, the scientific revolution and currents of modern art served as a real source of inspiration for developing yardsticks and perspectives required to facilitate this development.

Among the intellectual currents directed against the system, Marxism increasingly stepped into the foreground. Marx and Engels called the oppositional currents predating their own system of thought “utopian socialism”; they explained that the decisive aspect of the utopian character of these currents was that they were developed before capitalism had become the predominant mode of production. Their own thought system was distinct from the others, because it was based on a strict economic determinism.

They based their intellectual system on Hegel’s dialectic, claiming to have stood it on its feet. As further foundational sources of inspiration, they referred to English political economy and French utopian socialism. Of course, it was the philosophical inspiration that became Germany’s contribution. It is clear that they succeeded in creating a synthesis that was very powerful in their time. While there was the fresh victory of a systematized society, the ability to form such a systematic opposition really testifies to an effort with great foresight and a great sense of responsibility. The first product of their effort was the Communist Manifesto.31 It was well-nigh a party program and was soon adopted as the programmatic basis of the Communist League. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels called themselves“scientific socialists” to separate themselves from other socialists.

Clearly, for their time, they developed the most realistic approach to defining capitalism. Capital,32 Karl Marx’s masterpiece, can rightly be regarded as a sophisticated elaboration on the nature of capitalism. On the other hand, Frederick Engels’s The Origin of Family, Private Property and the State was an effort to complete their system of thought by extending the historical analysis of society as far as possible.33

The results of Marxist socialism from around 1850 to the present have sufficiently revealed both its accuracy and the inadequacies and errors in its systemic analysis. For a better understanding of its analyses of the social system it is helpful to compare it with its historical counterparts. The first manifesto that we know of from written sources is the Ten Commandments, in which Moses formulated the break with the system of slavery in ancient Egypt. He was inspired by the pharaoh Akhenaten’s monotheist “sun god”religion and influenced by the Jewish belief of his ancestors in Yahweh. With the Ten Commandments, he tried to create order in his society, the Hebrew tribe. As is well known, this manifesto, which is believed to have been proclaimed around 1300 BCE, has continued to have a great influence until today. The Old Testament, the first part of the Holy Scripture, is a collection of works that emerged from the Ten Commandments. The Old Testament consists of many different parts, including prophet’s manifestos in all critical periods, and was handed down whole from generation to generation until Jesus.

We can regard the Gospel as the second great manifesto. This tradition, based on Christ, was a declaration that was published and developed in opposition to the slaveholding Roman Empire, essentially in the name of all the poor and unemployed people oppressed by it. This was perhaps a first manifesto in the name of the oppressed classes. The consequences of this, in the name of Christianity, are no less effective today than they historically were. Apart from the prophetic tradition, Christianity also possesses a tradition of holy men and women. As with the awliyā, the Islamic saints, we can still learn a lot from these saints today.

The third great historical manifesto is the Koran. This work, in which Mohammad combines his observations about the Arab tribal and aşiret society of his time with his interpretation of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) and the Gospel is a kind of declaration of the “conditions” of medieval feudal society. While Europe had been conditioned by the Gospel, there was an effort to use the Koran to condition the Middle East. These examples can realistically be described as manifestos and social solutions, albeit with a religious mindset.

The most important question that can be asked about Marx’s Capital is: Has it torn down capitalism, or has it strengthened it even further?The same question also ought to be posed about other similar manifestos defining particular systems. To better clarify the issue requires an understanding of the process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis that is the basis of dialectical thought. As mentioned at the beginning, the system of the universe has a dualist quality in that “one” is split into two.

Today, the unity (“one”) in the energy and matter relationship is no longer in doubt. Here, the formula E = mc2 shows us the way. Energy appears as the factor that moves and changes matter. It could also be defined as the essence of matter that is freer. The photon, a particle that moves at the speed of light, is essentially energy that broke away from matter. All matter turning into photons becomes light. This happens, for example, in radio-active processes. Despite this identity, the duality of matter and energy is also a fact. The fact that they are essentially the same does not prevent them from becoming a duality. The actual secret is why or how a “one” is pushed into simultaneously being two things. What is this tendency to dualism, and how does it arise? It is very likely that intra-atomic processes shape all diversity and movement. The latest research shows that the unimaginably small, fast, and short-term formation and transformation of particles determines the atom formation process and the process by which atoms form molecules and molecules form compounds, that is to say, the emergence of different elements and their compounds can be understood.Various magnetic domains probably also play a role.

It is inevitable that this process in nature is adapted to society.Although laws of society are very different, it can be conjectured that they are based on the same system. At least in rough outline, we know that transformations to the social system are also derived from the “one,” the clan. We also know that hierarchical society emanated from the clan and from there gave rise to the various forms of statist society right down to capitalism.

If we don’t interpret the concept of “opposition”—or “dichotomy”—in dialectics as the destruction of one by the other but, rather, as one being impacted by the other and transformed into a different formation at a higher level, we enhance our ability to understand phenomena. What is even more important here is the fact that this is not a straight and linear transformation. The transformation of opposites does not happen according to the schema a × b = ab. This formula of classic logic may be valid in a very limited moment, but in the world of phenomena the transformation can have a more of a zigzag or spiral, fimbriated feature, as well as at times being faster and at other times being slower, and, instead of having no beginning or end, it can have features of instant eternity. chaosWe can safely assume that transformation includes features from linear to spherical that vary with chaos interval.

When opposition to capitalism appears, it would be nothing more than an abstract hypothesis to think it will destroy capitalism and reach the envisaged society, that is, socialism, in a linear way. Reality is very different from that, and, as such, its formation takes place in a different way. The dominant system can absorb its opposite, colonize it, turn it into something identical or into a partner, or it can evolve in a long-term transformation with not much loss of power. It can also suddenly break apart and turn into the material for a new system.

The most basic thing one can say about the development of the Marxist line is that its theory and practice were unable to prevent it from dissolving in capitalism. This took place in three forms: social democracy, real socialism, and national liberation. One cannot, however, claim that these three developments or phenomena had no effect on capitalism. There have been important changes, including changes going in a relatively liberal direction, but the system succeeded in extending its own existence as a result of these forms. It would not be satisfactory to explain this away with“counterrevolutions,” as the issue is much deeper and related to the fundamental qualities in the adopted understanding of socialism.

The root of the error lies in the distinction between capitalists and workers. In essence, this distinction is no different than the distinction between masters and slaves on a Roman latifundium. The analogy also applies to the relationship between the aga and serfs. Let’s look at another example: when we compare the way a “patriarchal” man organizes and his support system within the family and compare that to the condition of the tied-down woman, the winner of the conflict is obvious from the outset.Apart from rare exceptions, the man—as the winner of a particular fight, will emerge stronger than the battered woman at the end of the fight. After which, she becomes even more his. The contradiction remains, but to the degree she transforms, she takes another step in disintegrating within the male-dominant system. We can extend this example to the whole social system. In class society’s civilization, and even in the hierarchical society that preceded it, under conditions where the woman was under the domination of men and bound in thousands of ways, it would be illusionary to adopt a theory and a practical form and expect the liberation of the woman. This would be no different than saying: “Be ready to be beaten even more and put yourself into even tighter bondage.” From the moment the woman agrees to housewifization, she is inevitably on the road to defeat. The lamb can whine as much as it wants, but will that save it from the hand of the butcher? The chances of the lamb surviving depend solely on the butcher’s mercy and his interests. Maybe he will let the lamb live if he needs milk or wool, but he also might slaughter it.

As opposed to what was once assumed, the worker who opposes the capitalist is not in an antagonistic contradiction. If we look at today’s capitalism, a worker with a good job and a decent salary is part of the cream of society. Those actually suffering under the system are the gigantic army of the unemployed, colonized peoples, ethnic and religious groups, and the overwhelming majority of women. The character of the system is determined by hundreds of centers of contradiction, including the situation of children and youth, the elderly, and ecology and the environment. Finally, it is also determined by the internal contradictions and those between various levels of the profit networks within the capitalist society, as well as those between the city and rural areas, between big cities and small towns, between knowledge and power, between morality and the system, between the military and the political, and a whole host of other things. With a deeper understanding of society, it is easy to recognize that a revolutionary theory of change will not have much of a chance if it is not based on these phenomena but instead on the privileged workers who are easily instrumentalized by the system.

But the Marxist approach has more fundamental shortcomings. It has not analyzed civilization as a whole. Engels’s attempts remained very limited. He considered the fundamental contradiction between class society and natural collective society a long gone and backward relic of the past. However, our comprehensive historical definition has shown that there is a continuous and encompassing conflict between communal and democratic positions and hierarchical and statist positions. Communal democratic values are not backward nor have they been annihilated. They continue to play a dynamic role in the emergence of all systems, including capitalism. In the emergence, the development, and the crisis of dissolution of the capitalist system, of all the contradictions those associated with communal democratic values are primary.

The system is quite successful in retaining and instrumentalizing many groups, including peasants and workers. Sometimes, it even manages to turn them into strong allies. By fanning the flames of the scourge of individualism, it succeeds in continuing to mask its rule, thereby perpetuating it. But it cannot prevent society from being a society, and society is essentially communal and democratic. Because capitalism is well aware of this, it reinforces individualism to the detriment of society. It stirs up the instincts. In many ways, it turns human society back into a society of primates, “turning the society into an ape-like existence.” Only if society resists this process and finally succeeds in completely destroying it will there be a chance for something completely new to develop. Social transformation projects have the chance of success if they take into account this fundamental aspect of the contradictions from the outset. In connection with this, no contradiction can technically be resolved without a basis in the moral fabric that capitalism has systematically destroyed.

Without social morality, it is not possible to rule or to change a society using juridical, political, artistic, and economic means alone. By “morality,”I mean society’s spontaneous way of existence. Here I am not talking about the narrow traditional morality; I define morality as society’s conscience and heart in implementing itself. A society that has lost its conscience is doomed. It is not by accident that capitalism is the system that has most thoroughly and profoundly destroyed morality. Being a system whose end is near, it is understandable that capitalism is destroying social conscience. The systematic destruction of morality is the concrete expression of the fact that the system’s potential for exploitation and oppression is exhausted. For all of these reasons, the struggle against capitalism absolutely requires an ethical—i.e., consciously moral—effort. A struggle without this is a struggle lost from the outset.

In Marxist analysis, the life of the person unfolds completely within the capitalist value system. Urban life is prevalent. The individual is bound to the capitalist system in a thousand different ways through city’s way of life—a summary of domination. Even Marx himself was bound to the system in a thousand ways. While a great many Christians and Muslims broke with the system and retreated to hermitages, to the monasteries and the dergah, this only had a limited effect. Most Marxist fighters are not even aware of this sort of moral formation. They assume that it is possible to live with one or another version of capitalism and nonetheless succeed in a theoretical and practical struggle.

Even more serious is the fact that Marxist theory regarding the political revolution and its aftermath has a hierarchical and statist character.War, the dictatorship of the proletariat, and statism are close to being sanctified concepts. But state and power, war and the army, are all products of the civilization of class society and are absolutely indispensable tools for the life of the ruling and exploiting class. To put these tools into the hands of the proletariat means to decide, right from the beginning, to emulate them. And, indeed, they were used quite competently by real socialism to attain victory. But, seventy years later, it became clear that it had created the most rapacious form of capitalism, in comparison to which Western European capitalism looked like Sunday school. It was the most totalitarian and antidemocratic form of capitalism. It was the understanding of state that lies behind this phenomenon.

The state, which Engels once wrote must “slowly wither away,” actually reached its highest stage with real socialism, but to look for ulterior motives or counterrevolution behind this makes little sense. The reality is that the tools used do not lead to socialism but to capitalism—and this would remain true even if “the state were fully conquered.” Socialism requires socialist means, including full democracy at all levels, an environmental movement, a women’s movement, human rights, and self-defense mechanisms for society.

A further factor in the failure of real socialism was that in many social phenomena, such as parties, unions, peace movements, national liberation fronts, and politics, the official regime could not be overcome. Since these tools are not viewed from a general strategic and philosophical perspective that is democratic and ecological, using them as a means of struggle ultimately makes it impossible to avoid integration into the system.

Another critique of Marxism concerns the conjuncture. During the time of Marx, capitalism had reached maturity. As a result, Marx and Engels drew the conclusion that capitalism was inevitable. They saw capitalism playing the role of a bulldozer that paves the way for socialism. If we further generalize, they saw the civilization of class society as inevitable progress and believed that these were necessary preliminary stages of the system they idealized. We have already demonstrated that this should be treated as a fundamental error. As tools of domination for classes and rulers, all the various means of existence, forms, and institutions of the state, except for the compulsory security and public administration that is “indispensable for society,” are not only unnecessary but reactionary and an obstacle. Many institutions, such as state capitalism, excessive domination on the inside and outside, and the welfare state that bloats the bureaucracy, are obstacle to genuine social democracy and a healthy environment. From a moral point of view, for example, war and the army are institutions that must be rejected—except in the case of necessary democratic defense.

When Marx says that they adopted the theory of class struggle from the French historians, he actually takes the nature of the tool he uses as given, which amounts to accepting the ruling class’s way of fighting in an institutional manner. The same is true of the notion of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” He has no qualms in adopting historical dictatorial practices as they are.

Under Lenin and Stalin, dictatorship evolved into a permanent state.Democracy was negated without ever being implemented. But Lenin was closer to the truth when he noted that democracy is indispensable to socialism. In later processes, the method and policies of the dominant ruling class became even more centralized. A complete overlap of the state and the party developed. The party turned into a completely antidemocratic institution, both internally and externally. The policies of war and peace within the system could no longer go beyond powering the mills of capitalism. Fundamental flaws and errors like these, and there are many more, would lead to the inevitable conclusion that no radical change that went beyond reproducing and strengthening capitalism could be permitted, even after seventy years.

Nonetheless, Marxism is undoubtedly a major historical development in the struggle for freedom and equality. It made a rich contribution to social struggle. It introduced the significance of the economy and class into sociology. It forced the bourgeoisie to resort to milder forms in matters of national liberation, human rights, and the welfare state. However, its narrow tactical approach to democracy, its inability to see ecology and women’s freedom differently than they were seen under capitalism, and the inability to overcome bourgeois structures as the basic paradigm of life greatly facilitated its integration into the system. Moreover, social democracy and national liberation, which were both inspired by Marxism and succeeded under the influence of real socialism, always represented weaker versions of socialism and never really parted ways with capitalism.Sections within them even perceived capitalist development favorably. They didn’t fight for a different life but for a larger slice of the pie for their social base within the existing order. The problem of developmentalism and distribution is completely related to the laws of the system. As such, looking at real socialism, social democracy, the national liberation movements, liberalism, and conservatism as nothing more than denominations of capitalism provides us a more realistic perspective. Just as the denominations of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism differ from what was at their origins, these denominations that have emerged from capitalism also differ to an equal degree from their stem cell, capitalism. Put differently, the distinction is as great as that between different species of the same family. Religion also continues to exist in a limited way, and currents like anarchism do not offer much under capitalism other than marginality.

After World War II, the atmosphere of the “anti-fascist” victory didn’t last very long. The revolutionary perspectives of 1968 and the youth movements led to important paradigm shifts. A hatred against the system as a whole emerged. It had become clear that real socialism, social democracy, and national liberation would not be able meet the expectations of those seeking change. The world these currents promised was no better than the existing one. In the 1970s, many intellectual currents that had been based on Marxism since the 1848 Revolutions grew weaker, and other currents came to the fore, particularly the New Left, ecology, and the women’s movement. There was a deep loss of trust in real socialism in its various versions that equaled the distrust of capitalism, and the second great scientific revolution since the 1950s, as well as the new developments in the social sciences and in the cultural realm, brought far-reaching surge in feminism, ecology, and ethnology.

Contrary to general opinion, the unraveling of real socialism in 1989was not to the advantage but to the disadvantage of capitalism. It meant that one of the most fundamental links in the chain of the system had broken.The system that had rallied its masses with the Cold War and kept the rest of the world’s masses distracted with real socialism and national liberation states had collapsed. As a result, for the first time, the worldwide approval for statist society declined and a deep-seated belief that it wasn’t a tool for achieving a solution began to arise. The national state and nationalism have significantly lost their ability to distract people. The social welfare state in the highly developed capitalist states was short-lived and became ineffective in most countries. The system has entered a new phase in all respects. When we look at the history of capitalism, we see that it emerged from the interval of the Renaissance as one of the best organized social systems. It skillfully benefited from political revolutions. With the Industrial Revolution, capitalism reached the peak of its maturity, making it the first system to complete its worldwide expansion.

At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century the system faced profound crises, with contradictions that could only be resolved by world wars. Actually, the whole twentieth century is characterized by a general crisis of capitalism. The periods before, in between, and after the two world wars showed that the system could only be sustained by war. When real socialism and its variants intensified the polarization, the war changed in quality and transitioned from a hot war to the Cold War. The unraveling of real socialism in 1989 deprived the system of this opportunity, and it literally fell into a kind of void, having no one to attack. It had to produce a new enemy, which it soon found in Islam with Middle Eastern roots.

In the terminology of this new era, we encounter notions such as“globalization” or “US Empire” with increasing frequency. Globalization indicates the expansion of systems, thus there is nothing new about it. From the time of the primitive clans to our day, all systems have been “globalist.” Every successful system has a greater or lesser chance of expanding.

The notion of an “empire” is also very old. The conditions for the rise of an empire emerged when the city-states multiplied and the state became the state of all cities. Because the number of the cities grew continuously, the expansion of the empire was inevitable, and specific areas and styles of empires developed. The tradition of empires began with Sargon and the conquest of the Sumerian cities by the Akkadians and has continued to develop since then. At the time, the slaveholding Roman Empire was the largest and most powerful empire the world had ever seen. Later, the feudal Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires arose to replace it and continued the tradition. Similar empires also emerged in China and India. This tradition then continued during the emergence of capitalism with the Portuguese, followed by the Spaniards, and then the British Empire, upon which the sun never set, and on to the end of World War II. After the war, the dichotomy of the US and Soviet Russian Empires dissipated to the seeming advantage of the United States in 1989. Now there was nothing left standing in the way of the Rome of capitalism.

Empires have a character: their structure is not particularly unitary and centralized; they are generally divided into several provinces. Because they have absorbed many state traditions from earlier times, they also often display a tendency toward a loose federation. The more powers the empires bring under their control outwardly, the greater the number of provinces and dependent states under their control. When the expansion reaches global dimensions, this tradition repeats itself to an even greater degree.

In the era of US imperialism, we find a similar dual obstacle at home and abroad. It must be stressed that the United States did not build an empire from scratch but continued a tradition that has existed for millennia. It is forced to sustain it, as the world system of the states cannot exist without an empire. The existence of states that are completely independent of each other is pure conjecture. In reality it does not exist. What does exist is an interdependency among all states. This interdependency, which reaches from the strongest to the weakest states within the system, turns some states into empires. The one regarded as the most powerful of all by the system becomes the greatest empire, and its word carries the greatest weight. It is this tradition that the US has taken over from its most recent predecessors, the British and the Russian Soviet Empires. It has to spread its dominance at various levels both in depth and breadth across a wide geography containing hundreds of languages, cultures, political entities, and economic arrangements. The system’s inherent necessities, i.e., profit and maximum accumulation of capital, require the permanent perpetuation of this process. The continuous flow of profit depends on the expansion of the system. The fact that this collides with the interests of many other powers leads to tension in their relationships. Since the issue is always around being the strongest, this tension cannot lead to the emergence of a second pole, as this would contradict the logic of the system.

Since the 1990s, globalization and the US Empire have been seeking a balance within this framework. The “systemic chaos” that capitalism is undergoing shows that the crisis cannot be overcome as it was in the past. As a result, the globalization of our time will be ridden with crises.Although the factors that intensify the crisis are inherited from the past, they tend to increase in severity. All countermeasures notwithstanding, the falling rate of profit, the increasing cost due to environmental pollution and taxes, expenses rising from the welfare state practices, and the increasing democratic opposition diminish the capital accumulation rate of the system. The distinction between the internal and the external is further reduced. Globalization forces everyone to behave almost as if they were a single state. In this phase, new arrangements between the system and its allies are inevitable. The nation-state, which at the emergence and during the maturity of capitalism had shown limited independence, is now an obstacle. Neither the tendency toward becoming the greatest power nor the economic character of globalization can endure the old nationalism and the nation-state.

The republican tradition going back to the French revolutionary tradition is in particularly dire straits. It is the new example of conservative resistance. This is the source of the contradiction between the United States and European Union. European republicanism and its democracy are grudging in relation to their previous independence. This once again reminds Europe of its colonial past. Europe has not forgotten that capitalism is its Kaaba. For these reasons, the tension between the US and the EU is serious. Although the Pacific—China and Japan, in reality—are assumed to be the locus of a new flowering of capitalism and have the potential to become a third focal point of the system, this region can only maintain a partial independence. Those in this group are masters at imitating systems individually or in combination. Countries like Russia and Brazil also have to be content with equally limited independence. The power logic of the system necessitates this. Countries like Turkey that find themselves betwixt and between will also find themselves in greater difficulty.

States that refuse to align themselves with all of this are regarded as rebellious or rogue states and are brought into line by the system’s military, economic, and cultural power. Far from being completely absorbed by the system, the Middle East presents a totally rebellious stance together with its strong civilizational tradition, Islam, and grave economic problems.Cold War “communism” has been replaced by the “green authoritarianism” of the Middle East.34 The profound reactionary and authoritarian structures hidden under the Islamic veil must now be shattered. The Jewish—the Hebrew tribe—lobby with its influence now wants to realize its millennium-old dream in Israel. The logic of the system can no longer tolerate the Middle East in its current form. The new phase, which had a complicated beginning, including the conspiratorial attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, faces dynamics that will redefine not only the Middle East but also the fate of the system.The encounter between the oldest and the newest in the cradle of civilization’s birthplace promises to be full of surprises that will determine the future form of civilization.


1 Here, the author refers to the legend of Abraham in the Koran, 21:51–70; cf. Abdullah Öcalan, Sümer Rahip Devletinden Demokratik Uygarlığa: AİHM

Savunmaları I. Cilt I. (Neuss: Mezopotamien Verlag, 2002); Abdullah Öcalan, Kutsallık ve Lanetin Simgesi Urfa (Neuss: Mezopotamien Verlag, 2001).

2 Tiamat, Marduk’s mother, is depicted as a dragon, and gets killed and cut to pieces by him, after which Marduk becomes the most powerful of all gods.

3 This references state formations in the Middle East, such as the Samaritans and the Hurrians, among others, in their struggle with the Sumerian city-states, that faced the alternative of submission or of founding their own states.

4 An aşiret is a federation of tribal communities.

5 Big landowners and princes.

6 Thus, even the god-king Gilgamesh was unable to carry out his personal crusade against the monster Humbaba, who lived in the forest, without previously getting the assent of the council of the elders. Quite obviously, here, Humbaba represents a tribe defending the forest against the attackers from Uruk.

7 The Hyksos were a Semitic people who conquered Egypt in 1648 BCE. The country was governed by a Hyksos dynasty until circa 1540 BCE.

8 The legend of the Newroz celebration (March 21) recounts the victory over the tyrant Dehak, a symbol for the end of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BCE.

9 In the legend, Medea, who was kidnapped from the eastern coast of the Black Sea by Jason, appears as the daughter of a king and a powerful sorceress. Looking at the drama of Euripides, Evelyn Reed interprets her struggle with Theseus over their common children as the struggle of a matricentric culture against the patriarchal tradition of Athens. Medea is also regarded as the ancestress of the Medes; Euripides, “Medea,” in Medea and Other Plays, trans. Philip Vellacott (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963), accessed July 9, 2021,; Evelyn Reed, Woman’s Evolution: From Matriarchal Clan to Patriarchal Family (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1975).

10 Here, the author refers to the Sumerian myth of the flood, which was also the apparent model for versions in the Bible and the Koran.

11 Koran, 11:44.

12 See Abdullah Öcalan, Kutsallık ve Lanetin Simgesi Urfa (Cologne: Mezopotamien Verlag, 2001).

13 At the time, the name of Urfa was Edessa.

14 In Islam, Idris is the biblical Enoch.

15 This is the Koranic version of history.

16 According to Koran 21:69, God saved him by preventing the flames from burning him.

17 In Islam, Abraham is regarded as the first prophet.

18 Corresponding to the interpretation of a column of clouds, a column of fire, and the splendor on Moses’s face as the signs of a volcano.

19 This is an allusion to the giant “Office for Religious Affairs” in “laicist” Turkey.

20 The author is referring to the “Anatolia hypothesis” of Professor Colin Renfrew, who postulates a connection between the spreading of both a proto-Indo-European language and agricultural techniques from a core area in Anatolia. He regards terms that are closely connected to these cultural techniques and are found in the entire Indo-European language area as a significant support for his thesis. Opposed to this is the older hypothesis, according to which the speakers of the Indo-European languages only later immigrated into Mesopotamia and the region of today’s Iran.

21 At one time Sephardim designated Jews on the Iberian Peninsula. After the Jews were driven out of Spain from the seventh to the tenth century, collections of poetry emerged that gave comprehensive descriptions of Sephardic life and the lives of their ancestors.

22 Mawlana (1207–1273), also known as Rumi, was the founder of a mystic Sufi order and a poet.

23 The dergah is an Islamic monastery, particularly of Sufi orders.

24 Batiniyya refers to groups that distinguish between an outer, or exoteric, and an inner, or esoteric ( bātin), meaning in Islamic scriptures.

25 Kharijites (the outsiders) were adherents of one of the three original schools of Islam. They did not acknowledge any of the caliphs and were held responsible for the death of Ali. Later on, the word became a common designation for infidels in general.

26 The Qarmatians (also: Karmathians) were a militant İsmaili communal movement that organized protracted uprisings in the ninth century. Hassan Sabah was the leader of the famous İsmaili congregation, the Assassins, who fought the Abbasid caliphs in the twelfth-century Shia counter-dynasty in Egypt. The religious community of the Alawites is often forcibly “co-opted” by Muslims and subjected to great pressure to assimilate. At this point, there are strong efforts in both Turkey and Germany to have them recognized as an autonomous religious community. In Turkey and in Kurdistan, the Alawites were often persecuted by Sunnis and fascists. Hundreds of Alawites were murdered during the 1978 Maraş massacre.

27 On the metaphor of the flow of civilization, see Abdullah Öcalan, Sümer Rahip Devletinden Demokratik Uygarlığa: AİHM Savunmaları I. Cilt I. (Neuss: Mezopotamien Verlag, 2002).

28 The 1982 Turkish constitution was adopted two years into the military coup, includes the phrase “inseparable identity of the state and the nation.” Because of this doctrine, the mere act of mentioning the existence of another nation within Turkey is immediately regarded as separatism.

29 The term “iç oğlan” (lads of the interior [palace]) refers to the boy servants or pages who had been received from Christian parents in the Balkans and converted, according to the devşirme system in the Ottoman Empire—the staff serving in the private apartments of the Sultan and his family.

30 Tommaso Campanello (1568–1639), The City of the Sun (1623); Thomas More (1478–1535), Utopia (London: Cassell and Company, 1901 [1516]), accessed July 10, 2021,; Francis Bacon (1561–1626), New Atlantis, (London: John Crooke, 1660 [1626]), accessed July 10, 2021,; Charles Fourier (1772–1837), The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier: Selected Texts on Work, Love, and Passionate Attraction (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), accessed July 10, 2021, xtsOnWorkLoveAndPassionateAttraction; Robert Owen (1771–1858), A New Conception of Society (London: Cadell and Davies, Strand, 1813), accessed July 10, 2021,; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865), What Is Property? (Princeton, MA: Benj.R. Tucker, 1876), accessed July 10, 2021,

31 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in Selected Works, vol. 1 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969 [1848]), 98–137, accessed July 10, 2021,

32 Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1965 [1867]), accessed July 10, 2021,

33 Frederick Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Chicago: Charles Kerr & Co., 1908 [1884]), accessed July 10, 2021,

34 In the Middle East green is normally identified as the color of Islam.

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