The struggle for women’s liberation has reached a whole new level in Kurdistan in the last 40 years. From this blossomed, among other things, a strong friendship with women, feminist and revolutionary movements worldwide. Today, in the time of the new paradigm, of democratic confederalism, we speak about building a worldwide women’s confederalism, that is, a new step of internationalist struggles. What does this internationalism, which is built with an ideology of women’s liberation, look like? How does it differ from the previous internationalism?
If we look into the history of internationalism, we see that there were, for example, the various Internationals. There were Marxist, Leninist, anarchist and various other attempts to develop internationalism. There have also been many women who have participated in these developments within history in the spirit of internationalism or anti-colonial struggles. Some of them came from Europe, many from other areas around the world. We can say that women have also played key roles within these Internationalist Organizations. They fought in the general organizations and tried to build additional international women’s organizations. A level was reached where crucial questions about women’s freedom were discussed. However, we have to say that within this international, the question of women’s freedom has never been the most decisive issue, although it would have been necessary to do so in order to be successful.
Based on the understanding that patriarchy, as a form of oppression more than five thousand years old and as the basis of all other oppression, should be considered the most important problem to be solved, we approach internationalism today in a very different way. When we speak today of the new internationalism that has emerged since the phase of struggle in Kobanê, we can say that this internationalism has a different quality. This quality is mainly due to the fact that in the revolution in Rojava, as in the whole Kurdish liberation movement, women are organized as a guiding force. On the one hand, on the ideological level there is a struggle for a new consciousness, the consciousness of a free woman and a free social coexistence with equal rights, and on the other hand, a great organizational strength of women has been achieved. In the nineties the women’s guerilla came into being. Nowadays in Rojava and in North-East Syria a large number of Kurdish, Assyrian, Arab, Turkmen and other women are active to participate in the social and military organization of women. This organization is completely autonomous as well as together with men, so that women are fighting for a new consciousness of freedom everywhere and in themselves. Women play a key role in breaking old and fascist views and creating a whole new life. In the Kurdish Freedom Movement a consciousness has been created in which the question of women’s freedom is the crucial question. In the words of Abdullah Ocalan, “A revolutionary organization that does not solve the question of women will inevitably only be able to achieve defeat.”
Today, a multitude of organizations and political currents are participating in the development of the new internationalism. Of course, many of these organizations have not reached the same comprehensive level in answering the women’s question as the Kurdish freedom movement, but we can say that the organization of women, and especially the organization of young women, is like a wildfire that influences everyone who participates in revolutionary struggles together with the organizations of women and young women.
What is the situation of women today? How does special warfare influence her life?
We speak today of patriarchy as a system that is at least five thousand years old, which has its origins in the period shortly after the Neolithic Revolution. Abdullah Ocalan speaks of the woman as the first colony, so she is the part of society that was first and most exploited and dominated. The oppression of women laid the foundation for oppressive systems of rule in general. We can speak of the fact that women as we know them today are at least partially a fallen force, a force that has lost its social strength. We can assume that women had a very great strength in the natural society. But what exactly was this strength? The strength of the woman was that she oriented herself according to the benefit of all people in society. It was not an egoistic strength.For example, if we look today at the man of capitalist modernity, we can say that patriarchy has reached a whole new level, because this is a completely selfish human being, who is very antisocial and thinks only of himself as a single individual. At the same time we can say that patriarchy, from the very beginning of its existence, has always included a concretely violent level, which still exists today and which has an impact on the life of every woman. When we think today about what this violence is, we can say that it includes rape and femicide. Every day rapes happen all over the world, some of them are openly accepted by societies in the context of marriages, and a large number of women are murdered. In Turkey, for example, masses of feminicides are taking place. Fascist forces are attacking Kurdish women in a targeted manner.
We have also seen what Daesh represented for women, because Daesh is a force that can be characterized above all as patriarchal and violent. Worst of all was the sale, enslavement, mutilation and execution of Ezidi women.
It is important that we ask ourselves why these things happen. Violent acts that happen in one’s own environment often imply that there is no direct understanding that the problems are political. What happens to the women often seems like a tragic fate, like something that cannot be changed. However, these acts of violence are usually an act of complete suppression and domination of the woman up to her extinction. She is supposed to be completely robbed of her power.
Without resistance and a political organization this state of affairs will not change.
The goal is to completely enslave the psychology of the woman. It is often the case that women consider this situation completely normal. Even to the point of believing that an image of the woman has been created who does by herself what the oppressive system of domination wants her to do. This woman then perhaps thinks she can achieve petty bourgeois goals in life with her behavior or she mistakenly thinks something is love, which is actually an exploitative relationship.
Of course, the woman is as enslaved in her mentality as the man. We cannot assume that a woman can achieve a more free attitude without an intense struggle in capitalist modernity. The violence that is used against women not only oppresses one woman, but also breaks the whole society, because a woman usually has a lot of influence on society, since she was originally the center of life.
The capitalist system takes on grotesque forms in many questions. This becomes particularly apparent, for example, when we talk about what is understood by beauty in the system, that is, what is aesthetic: beauty is seen as the most important thing in life, so that one should be prepared to do anything for it. This includes mutilating and exploiting oneself. But beauty consists only of an always exactly same ideal.
Already at this characteristic to want to make everything always the same, to let outwardly the always same form develop, we can see that it concerns thereby a fascist ideal of beauty. It is a very fascist concern to want to press everything into the always same shell. On the other hand, we could understand by aesthetics that a person lives according to his inner naturalness and leads an ethical life, so to speak.
When we talk about special warfare, we are talking about warfare that is conducted outside the official framework of war. This can involve a variety of methods. We also talk about special warfare when we analyze the methods used to propagate the patriarchal system or when the system spreads the eternal lie that there can be no alternative to this life. Special warfare is especially about the methods by which a society as a whole is kept under control. Revolutionary movements are to be prevented from arising or wiped out.
A variety of methods of special warfare are used against women. In capitalist modernity, a person is bombarded with advertisements throughout his or her life, and these advertisements are primarily sexist. The propaganda discussed within society can also be a result of special warfare. But also a false rumor scattered in society can be part of it. Especially in the western metropolises there is no escape anymore. Those who are looking for an alternative are again influenced by it. Some mistakes that have been made in leftist movements during the last centuries are also the result of special warfare.
Why does PAJK in particular play such a decisive role at present?
The PAJK, i.e. the Women’s Party is a result of the revolutionary struggle of women in Kurdistan. Very early on, and especially in 1992 and 1993, many women joined the liberation struggle of the guerrilla in Kurdistan, creating a completely new force. In the following years, many revolutionary women’s organizations have emerged from the framework of the liberation struggle in Kurdistan, and we can speak of the fact that a completely independent women’s party has been built. Not only that, it has also undergone a great revolution of consciousness. PAJK today has on the one hand a perspective for the liberation of women, on the other hand a perspective that deals very deeply with the truth about the life, reality and history of the societies in and outside Kurdistan and gives revolutionary answers. With this, she has taken very decisive steps for the liberation of women. This party does not only touch certain parts of the people’s lives, it understands the people from toe to nose, so to speak, just as it understands the life of women and can offer them a perspective in their struggle. Within the organization, it has taken many precautions that prevent a person from becoming part of the system of capitalist modernity again without having answered the revolutionary questions that a person faces. PAJK is an answer to what a militant woman needs to create.
How can we approach the question of women’s freedom?
Women’s freedom is essentially the freedom of their society and of all women, and nothing individual. There are many other questions connected with women’s freedom, and so it is necessary to approach it. Nowadays it is important to ask the question of women’s freedom in all areas, for example Ecology and women’s freedom, what does that mean for us? We cannot separate these issues from each other. In this sense, we should approach this question as the most central of all questions. The oppression of women is the first oppression in history and so we must find an answer to it first. In this way we will also be able to approach the freedom of women.
What does it mean especially as a young woman to participate in this struggle?
Especially young women actually play a role in society on several levels. When we speak of young women, we speak especially of women who have not yet married, who have not had children, or who participate in the revolutionary struggle with a youthful spirit. Why do young women have such a special role? Because they approach women’s freedom both as young people and as women, and they have a very special role in the combination of these two characteristics. In the practice of revolutionary struggles, young women usually play a key role, for example, in the radicalization of struggles or their expansion by linking the struggles to society. By nature, youth, even when oppressed, are always in a great search for freedom. It is important that they do not get lost in capitalist modernity and that they do not orient themselves to strive for the values of capitalist modernity, but rather set out on the path to a free life. According to this definition, many people we speak of as young people today are actually no longer young people, because they do not fight and do not strive for these values and therefore do not live the power of youth. Thus they themselves have become part of a repressive system. Who adapts itself and does not go further on a search becomes thus an old person, we cannot speak here any longer of a young person. Young women release a lot of energy in their search for freedom.
What does it mean as a woman to work together with men in political struggles? What perspectives can we give to male friends?
When we speak of the emergence of socialism in the sense of equal equality and free societies, we are also speaking of the creation of a new man. We cannot create a new revolution of consciousness and a new reality with a capitalist patriarchal man. It is necessary to create a new man. A human being who is able to live according to socialist values, which means that in our political struggles we are trying to create not only a new woman but also a new man. However, it is important to understand that we are not trying to preserve the classical woman as she is today, but to create a liberated woman. Nor do we want to preserve the classical, patriarchal, oppressive and dominating man, but to create a liberated alternative. Of course, there is a very big difficulty in this. We are talking here about a patriarchy that has been anchored in the consciousness of every single man for five thousand years. So it is not an easy thing to overcome and discard such things. Abdullah Ocalan also speaks of the killing of the classical man. Of course he does not mean the physical killing of men, but to overcome the classical man and create a new masculinity. The Jineoloji, a science freed from positivism and oppressive knowledge, gives general perspectives on life and not only limited to women, but answers life’s questions with a search for truth, freed from power interests. Therefore the interest of male friends in this topic should be very high and at the same time the questions that are answered there will have an impact on male friends. This means that Jineoloji plays a very important role in the creation of a new personality we are talking about.
Finally there is the question what role women play in anti-fascism.
In this context anti-fascism means not only to fight the newest fascist forces in their organized form, but also to understand what fascism means. Fascism has many levels and is a form of oppression which in the end has the worst effect on women. In the resistance against it, women will therefore also play a key role, because their fighting consciousness, which strives for freedom, radiates back into their society. So anti-fascism is not the task of individual persons who can solve the problem, but the rising up of the whole society as a revolutionary people’s war, as it happens in Kurdistan. Only in this way can fascism actually be overcome and defeated. Women play the decisive role in this.