SIX – The Emergence of the Social Problem
6.1 Defining the Problem of Historical-Society
6.1.a The First Major Problematic Stage of the Monopoly of Civilization
6.1.b From Rome to Amsterdam
6.1.c Eurocentric Civilization’s Hegemonic Rule
6.2 Social Problems
6.2.a The Problem of Power and the State
6.2.b Society’s Moral and Political Problem
6.2.c Society’s Mentality Problem
6.2.d Society’s Economic Problem
6.2.e Society’s Industrialism Problem
6.2.f Society’s Ecological Problem
6.2.g Social Sexism, the Family, Women, and the Population Problem
6.2.h Society’s Urbanization Problem
6.2.i Society’s Class and Bureaucracy Problem
6.2.j Society’s Education and Health Problems
6.2.k Society’s Militarism Problem
6.2.l Society’s Peace and Democracy Problem
7.1 Definition of Democratic Civilization
7.2 The Methodological Approach to Democratic Civilization
7.3 A Draft of the History of Democratic Civilization
7.4 Elements of Democratic Civilization
7.4.b The Family
7.4.c Tribes and Aşirets
7.4.d Peoples and Nations
7.4.e Village and City
7.4.f Mentality and Economy
7.4.g Democratic Politics and Self-Defense
EIGHT – Democratic Modernity versus Capitalist Modernity
8.1 Deconstructing Capitalism and Modernity
8.2 The Industrialism Dimension of Modernity and Democratic Modernity
8.3 The Nation-State, Modernity, and Democratic Confederalism
8.4 Jewish Ideology, Capitalism, and Modernity
8.5 The Dimensions of Democratic Modernity
8.5.a The Dimension of Moral and Political Society (Democratic Society)
8.5.b The Dimension of Eco-Industrial Society
8.5.c The Dimension of Democratic Confederalist Society
NINE – The Reconstruction Problems of Democratic Modernity
9.1 Civilization, Modernity, and the Problem of Crisis
9.2 The State of Anti-System Forces
9.2.a The Legacy of Real Socialism
9.2.b Reevaluating Anarchism
9.2.c Feminism: Rebellion of the Oldest Colony
9.2.d Ecology: The Rebellion of the Environment
9.2.e Cultural Movements: Tradition’s Revenge on the Nation-State
9.2.f Ethnicity and Movements of the Democratic Nation
9.2.g Religious Cultural Movements: Revival of Religious Tradition
9.2.h Urban, Local, and Regional Movements for Autonomy
ONE – Preface
This, the third major part of the main defense that I am trying to prepare for my case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), addresses the ruling that the case be reopened.1 This volume both continues and complements the two previous volumes.2 The overall aim of those volumes was to clarify the nature of power and capitalist modernity. Power was defined as tools of force based on human endeavor and essentially constructed with the intention to extort surplus product and surplus value. The apparatuses of power, comprehensively constructed in various forms, are ultimately repressive mechanisms constructed to control human labor. In the modern era, conceptualized as the capitalist system, society is confronted with these mechanisms in their most advanced form. In the current circumstances, the capitalist system, also referred to as globalization, constitutes a unique phase in what we call the world system of power, or democracy, in the model we are seeking to develop.
The reader might well wonder about the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in its institutional role—as a supranational judicial authority that only recognizes the right of the individual as a citizen to file an appeal—and a defense of this nature submitted by the individual named Abdullah Öcalan. There certainly is a relationship, a striking one at that. More importantly, without analyzing the civilization system based on Eurocentrism, we cannot analyze the ideological, political, and judicial system referred to as Europe’s “soft power.” In fact, we can only interpret this “soft power” accurately by examining the Eurocentric civilization system in full. We should always keep in mind that the European civilization system has become the most advanced “world civilization system” of all time. Individual citizenship is one of the most important characteristics of this civilization. Never before in history were the concepts of the individual, individualism, and citizenship given as much significance within a society. The era that we are up against—capitalist modernity—is one where society is maximally dissolved into the individual and the individual into “symbolic society.”
Thus, caught in a situation where escaping the reality of this era was very difficult (but not impossible), I fell into “major doubt” about my identity, constructed as a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. It is undeniable that this, in turn, brought me before the most severe judicial and penal system in history. The Republic of Turkey, a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), refused to implement the ECtHR’s retrial ruling. Furthermore, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, responsible for monitoring the execution of judgments, decided that the action taken by the Turkish judiciary complied with the requirements of the ECtHR’s judgment.3 This decision by the Committee of Ministers was not only a violation of the judiciary—it was scandalous. Several small states admitted during this process at the Committee of Ministers that they agreed to this decision under pressure from larger and more powerful countries, the US among them. This violation is clearly in conflict with their soft power theses. Therefore, for the past ten years I have been rendered “a person who cannot be tried.” In this situation, as a “person who cannot receive a fair trial,” I am still in the one-person İmralı Prison, Bursa, an island prison in the Sea of Marmara, where those sentenced to severe penalties have traditionally been held and left to die.
I have never doubted that the period from my arrival in Europe to my imprisonment on İmralı was planned and implemented with the collaboration of the US and the EU. Nor have I ever doubted that the role assigned to the Republic of Turkey was anything more than that of prison guard. While this is the stark truth, why the long and winding road? There may be some who think that I judge too harshly; however, the fact that on special orders from NATO all European airports were closed to the flight that was carrying me on February 2, 1999, provides convincing evidence of my abduction by these powers. The newspapers reported on it at the time.4 Besides, the representative of then president of the US Bill Clinton openly stated that I was abducted and taken to Kenya, where I was held under customary supervision (all letters and cassettes belonging to me were confiscated at the airport) until I was handed over to Turkey, and that all this happened in collaboration with the US.5 The unimaginable betrayal by the Greek authorities (especially the minister of foreign affairs, national security, the top officials at the Greek embassy in Nairobi, the emissary Major Kalenderidis, and Prime Minister Smitis) is an obvious fact that I find unnecessary to address. If it was my right to benefit from this European jurisprudence in terms of individual law, then why did those powers resort to such secret, obscure, and fraudulent means? What kind of bargaining was going on? Who participated in the bargaining process and to what end? Under the rule of Europe and the US, history has seen terrible colonial wars and witch hunts, denominational and national wars, class conflict, and ideological struggles. Perhaps my experience within this blood-soaked portrait of history is just a drop in the ocean, but it is important, and it does need to be clarified.
First, I must say that I reject the abstraction of individuals from their social identity. The right to an “individual complaint” that is so adamantly insisted upon does not have the meaning attributed to it. The idea of individuals isolated from their social identity is simply a fallacy of official Eurocentric epistemology, which sees itself as scientific. Besides, it is common knowledge that I am being tried on behalf of the Kurdish people, the most tragic people in the world, and not as the individual Abdullah Öcalan.
This brief enumeration of facts alone should provide a sufficient idea of the scope of my case. It is undeniable that all the system’s powers played an active role in my arrest, trial, and conviction. No matter how powerful the central civilization system6—led by the hegemonic US and the EU powers—amid all the confusion, I clearly cannot be that easily eliminated. Furthermore, my people stood up en masse to oppose this great game. They protested against the conspiracy, with hundreds martyred and thousands arrested. They fully grasped the link between my trial and their own historical tragedy. They knew that their liberation demanded that this tragedy be brought to an end—and so they stood by me. The honorable task of explaining this, however, falls to me.
So, evidently, without clarifying all of the dimensions of my social identity—which forms the reality of our people, who have been subjected to perhaps the greatest tyranny and exploitation at the hands of a five-thousand-year-old central civilization system—I cannot easily elucidate the crux of my trial. The essential criteria for addressing my defense in such breadth lie buried in the facts I have presented above. I must now repeat something I have often said: there are moments when history plays out in an individual, and an individual makes history! Although it has been accompanied by a lot of pain, it is undeniable that this honor has partially been mine. I know that all the deceitful scheming behind my back is a result of the fact that I, unlike most others, strive to play a role beyond that of a mere “victim of destiny.” This is why I chose the slogan “Freedom Shall Prevail” for this court case.
Overturning the repeated theme of fate in tragedies in favor of freedom is sufficient encouragement to make any pain bearable. In this play, in which my friends and I have our roles—the play titled Reality— defeat will this time be destiny’s share.
It should now be clear why I have titled this volume of my defense The Sociology of Freedom. Each and every step toward freedom can only be an attempt. Thus, An Essay on the Sociology of Freedom might be a suitable subtitle.
No doubt, the hegemonic European central civilization is only one side of the coin. This civilization primarily represents power apparatuses that were built upon surplus value. The flip side, however, is the democratic face of civilization. The ideas at the base of this defense draw on the legacy of democratic civilization. From the trial of Socrates to mine, I am passionately devoted to the legacy of all the numerous fighters—including ours—who have struggled for their ideals and morals, for their peoples and communes. I hope to contribute to this legacy, even though it may be just a drop in the ocean. These monuments of humanity constitute the main building blocks for my defense. However, their true historical foundation is the five-thousand-year-old wisdom of the East and a tradition of democratic behavior. Without this background in mind, it is impossible to write a universal history of humanity or, more importantly, meaningfully evaluate the present.
The main theme of my defense is that the march of history and of society progresses more freely in the democratic civilization system, and that a life that rests on the right foundations is a better and more beautiful life for individuals.
It may be elucidating and encourage the reader to forgive some shortcomings if I say a few words about my writing technique. In solitary confinement, I am only allowed one book, one magazine, and one newspaper in my cell at any given time. Thus, it was impossible for me to take notes or to quote from sources. My main method has been to commit to memory the points that I found important and absorb them into my personality. I did not endure every prohibition slavishly. I responded by increasingly clarifying memory—the universe’s store of knowledge—and by prioritizing vitally important ideas.
The greatest weakness of this method, however, is that human memory is doomed to failure. Hence, not being able to take notes was obstructive. As I was preparing to write this volume, a new ban was introduced: I was not allowed to have a pen. After this ban was lifted on the tenth day of a cell confinement penalty, I immediately began writing. This haste was necessary, because all the delays had prevented me from keeping my promise to write. In any case, as a result of being denied a pen I focused more intensely on my overall concept.
The next two volumes of my defense are intended as a kind of concrete application of my main ideas. I plan to call them The Civilizational Crisis in the Middle East and the Democratic Civilization Solution and The Manifesto of the Kurdistan Revolution. These volumes, which any intellectual could easily prepare with a certain amount of preparation, may, however, take me quite some time.7 However, in a seething Middle East, and in the Kurdistan that has become its heart, discussing the present in the light of an analysis of historical-society is quite exciting—but it must be approached with a high degree of responsibility.
The past, present, and future have united to constitute a new sort of Gordian knot. To resolve this moment, through an anti-Alexander strike (like Alexander but with minimal physical effort; so that the meaning constitutes the most crucial aspect of the effort) is the most essential and sacred duty of all.8
1 In its 2005 judgment, the ECtHR ordered Turkey to reopen the Öcalan case on the grounds that the original trial did not comply with the principles of a fair trial, i.e., that it violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Turkey avoided implementing this judgment by creating an unprecedented procedure that did not actually lead to any renegotiation. Öcalan’s renewed complaint was directed against this procedure. The entire five-volume Manifesto of the Democratic Civilization represents his submission to this procedure; see Öcalan v. Turkey, Application no. 46221/99, European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, May 12, 2005, accessed August 15, 2019, https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng
2 Abdullah Öcalan, Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, Volume I: The Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings (Porsgrunn, NO: New Compass Press, 2015), a new revised edition will be published by PM Press in 2021; Abdullah Öcalan, Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, Volume II: Capitalism: The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings (Porsgrunn, NO: New Compass Press, 2017), a new revised edition will be published by PM Press in 2020; see www.ocalanbooks.com, accessed November 1, 2019.
3 See “CM Documents,” Council of Europe, March 23, 2007, accessed March 22, 2019, https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1110095&Site=CM.
4 See “World: Öcalan Presumed Hiding in Russia,” BBC News, February 3, 1999, accessed March 22, 2019, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/269533.stm; “World Europe: Öcalan ‘Turned Away by Belgian Jets,” February 5, 1999, accessed March 22, 2019, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/273570.stm.
5 Possibly a reference to Anthony Blinken, who served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and who confirmed on January 31, 2002, on Turkish television, that the order to deport Öcalan was given by Bill Clinton. Blinken coordinated the operation for the National Security Council.
6 In previous volumes the author used the term main civilization instead of central civilization, coined by David Wilkinson.
7 In fact, the fifth and final volume, the author’s most comprehensive book to date, could only be completed one and a half years after this third volume. As the authorities had long refused to forward the manuscript to the ECtHR, the 576-page book was only published three years after the third volume, in the summer of 2012.
8 According to one interpretation of the legend, an oracle declared that any man who could unravel the elaborated Gordian knot was destined to become ruler of all of Asia. When Alexander arrived in Phrygia, he struggled unsuccessfully to untie the knot. He then reasoned that it would make no difference how the knot was loosed, so he drew his sword and sliced it in half with a single stroke.