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Abdullah Ocalan’s message to Hamburg conference

We publish here the message sent by Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Ocalan to the conference “Challenging Capitalist Modernity II: Dissecting Capitalist Modernity–Building Democratic Confederalism”. The conference was held in Hamburg on 3-5 April. Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), is jailed in the Prison Island of Imrali since 1999.

Italian version here.

Dear participants,
In greeting you, the participants of the conference, I salute all those who seek the truth with re –
spect. Your conference carries historical importance in the illumination and implementation of
the fundamental freedom paradigm for our present and future. In this sense, I believe that your
conference will be a meaningful contribution to the realization of humanity’s freedom utopia. I
would have liked to joined you in the conference. However, I feel that I am among you with all
my emotions, thought, and my fighting spirit. In that sense, as a freedom fighter, who defines
himself to be an opponent of capitalist modernity, I am very excited to be able to share my
thoughts with you.
Capitalist modernity has in many areas reached its limits of sustainability. If we were to mention
some they would include, the extreme population growth, the exhaustion of resources, the destruction
of the environment, the perpetually widening societal cleavages, the dissolution of moral
bonds, the loss of life’s magic and poetry under extreme stress, the construction of nuclear
weapons that can potentially turn the world into a desert, and the endless new forms of warfare
that encompass all areas of society evoke the picture of a true Armageddon. The fact that we have
reached such a stage alone shows us that our Regimes of Truth have failed. I do not wish to
present a hopeless picture. But we cannot remain silent and not scream in the face of life’s destruction
inside and in front of us.
It is due to this scope of Western modernity, which consists of the trio of industrialism, nationstatism,
and capitalism, that gives it the character of being the bloodiest period and civilization of
history. The modernity, which bases itself on this intertwined trio, leads to war inside society (fascism),
as well as national, regional and global wars between states. The underlying cause, as we al –
ways repeat, is the production and distribution of profit. By defining their main goal to be indus –
trialization nations states actually express that they are becoming capitalist or at least have the in –
tention. While the capitalists define their political goals in the form of the nation-state, they re –
veal that only by gluing nationalism and the nation together, they can render the nation-state possible
and that this is the most necessary state order for a functioning profit scheme.
Capitalist modernity’s all-out war against society renders the alternative of democratic modernity
to be even more urgent and mandatory. Democratic modernity, which is the present form of
democratic civilization forces, is neither a memory referring to a past golden age nor a utopia for
the future. It is the existence and stance of all social units and individuals whose existence and interests
contradict and clash with the capitalist system.
Being an alternative is only possible by developing one’s own system against modernity’s three pillars;
capitalism, industrialism, and the nation state. Democratic society, eco-industry and democratic
confederalism can be suggested as a counter-system under the name democratic modernity.
With the heritage of democratic civilization, those opposing the system can increase their chances
of success by linking up in the new system.
Democratic confederalism is the fundamental political form of democratic modernity and signifies
a vital role in its re-construction. Democratic confederalism proposes the democratic nation
option as the main solution tool of ethnic, religious, urban, local, regional and national problems
caused by modernity’s monolithic, homogeneous, single-colored fascist societal model implemented
via the nation-state. Under democratic nation, every ethnicity, religious understanding,
urban, local, regional and national reality has the right to participate with their own identity and
democratic federal structure.
The advantage of the theory of democratic modernity is that it does not look at problems from a
hegemonic and statist perspective. Civilization systems that are hegemonic and state-centric, as
well as capitalist modernity the current representative of historical ? civilizations, approach social
issues from a hegemonic and statist perspective. But power and state are the very sources of the
problems they attempt to solve through violence.
The desire for power truly kills life. The age of democratic modernity is the age where the life of
free women is to be found or discovered as being ecological and economic communality. Democratic
modernity nations are not something that can be realized without women’s freedom. On
the contrary, they are revolutions that can only be realized by sharing wisdom and activism with
women in each and every step. Just as the construction of economic society developed with
women’s lead, its reconstruction will also require women’s communal power. Science of ecology is
a science that can only be reunited with the society through women’s sensibility. Quite simply,
democratic modernity is a woman’s revolution and civilization era. It attains truth by analyzing
women’s reality and through the participation of free women as the fundamental constituent of
life in its system.
The capitalist stage of the state and power-based civilization is not the final phase of the human
mind. It is a phase where the traditional mind-set it bases itself on is diminishing while the free –
dom mindset with all its richness is emerging. On this basis it is important to live and to keep
democratic modernity alive against capitalist modernity which is a war paradigm against communalities
and freedoms. In other words “another world is possible”.
Dear friends,
In general, discussions on modernity and specifically on democratic modernity can re-develop our
perceptions of truth. By breaking away from lives that are wasted in wrong, ugly, and bad paths
taken we can steer towards right, beautiful and good life paths. With the mentality revolution of
democratic modernity, we can strengthen our understanding through communal concepts of philosophy,
art, and science and realize a right, good and beautiful life. There cannot be anything
more valuable than arriving at the truth about one’s life during one’s lifetime. The quest for truth
is the most valuable human activity. If we were to summarize the human then it is the being that
renders truth possible. Truth is love, and love is a free life.
I once again greet all the participants of the conference on this basis. I am excited about the findings
and results of the conference and wish you the best of success. Freedom will prevail.
Imrali Prison
Abdullah Öcalan
Translation: Dilar Dirik

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