The Ghost of Bookchin Present: Kurdish Nationhood and Fourth World Decolonization

I don’t even know where to start, other than to say this video is one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen in a long time.  And that there must have been something Melchizedek new that Abraham never learned….

I have a keen interest in the contrast between so-called “Third World National Liberation” and “Fourth World Decolonization.”  The general narrative of Kurdish history for the past 100 or so years has mostly fallen into a drive for Statist, often Marxian, national liberation.  But, in what has become a deepening of the Left-wing side of their independence movement, there is now a shift to a remarkable non-statist Fourth World Decolonization orientation.  And apparently this is a result of the prison-cell conversion of their main ideologue, Abdullah Öcalan, to the ideas of post-anarchist Murray Bookchin, contrasting their once stringent adherence to Marxist-Leninism of a modified-Maoist bent.

The theoretical, and quite literal, cross-polination of Bookchin’s ideas and Bioregionalism are so strong that I have trouble telling the difference between the two often, apart from pointing out Bookchin’s hostility to most things “spiritual.”  Bookchin was often published in the Bioregional press, and was always a hot topic in the “green anarchist” community here in Cascadia.  So I’ll admit to being rather wide-eye when seeing the theories and practices coming out of Kurdistan at present.

Most Cascadian bioregionalists are always having to explain “No, we don’t want to create a State,” which is sometimes too-far out of the box for most people trying to understand an independence movement.  And of course, my own Bioregionalist ideas draw heavily from decolonial theory and the “Fourth World-ist” movements for non-Statist Indigenous Nationhood that I see intersecting with Bioregionalism here in Cascadia.

Well now I think we have a serious outside point of reference!

The pluralistic, plurinational, non-Statist, ecology based Kurdish “Democratic Autonomy” movement espouses ideas so similar to my take on Cascadian Bioregionalism that I’m going to have to write something much more in-depth soon (taking into account the privileged, racialized monster that is first-world settler colonialism).  But for now, watch this video again!!

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5 thoughts on “The Ghost of Bookchin Present: Kurdish Nationhood and Fourth World Decolonization

  1. “…they seek (to) coordinate with the United States’ bombing campaign. (3) (4) This is why they ask the United States for support in their fight in Syria. (5) This is why they call on material support from Europe. (6) The United States has had secret talks with the YPG’s political wing since 2012…”

    http://llco.org/understanding-the-kurdish-resistance-in-syria/

    http://news.yahoo.com/us-arms-drop-help-greatly-syria-kurd-fighters-082525032.html

    Remember that u.s. intervention in the Free Syrian Army helped create I.S.I.S.

    (I am not affiliated with llco in any way, shape or form, but the article is interesting)

  2. Yeah. LLCO is creepy. But I somewhat agree with the view point. And I still can’t fault the YPG/YPJ for tactically seeking US assistance. It should be obvious that any group stubbornly following an Ideology will likely end up getting routed in battle. The comparisons with the Spanish Civil war seem pertinent, even though back then it was the Communists who were, also, the Imperialists, and the Anarchists paid dearly for that alliance. But in a war, what are the other options?

    I know the IRA tried to ally with the Germans in WWI and WWII, which is embarrassing in the history books, but at the time any enemy of Great Britain was by all means helping the Irish nationalist cause.

    The thing is, I doubt any State would truly leave the Autonomous Kurdish communities alone, and no doubt the US and Israel want a Kurdish puppet state who would purge the anti-capitalist libertarians just like Stalin did, and then Franco did.

    What could the Spanish Anarchists have done differently? How could the YPJ/YPG/KCK refuse US assistance in reality? I certainly don’t have answers.

    But the hell if I’m going to let puritan Marxism or Anarchism silence my support for the revolution in Rojava and what the survival of this movement could mean for the rest of Kurdistan and the rest of the world. And this rate, all Imperial powers may just run out of bullets! And the mountains will still be there, and so will the Kurds.

  3. Do you have an opinion on the maoists in india, philipines, etc.?

    Despite the bad (executing police informers, originally not respecting indigenous communities) they appear to be fighting for the indigenous populations in their respective areas, and they also appear to be concerned with ecological devastation brought about by the capitalists in their respective countries. (How much of that is general concern for the destruction of their ecosystem v.s. feeling left out of the profits from resource extraction, I don’t know.)

    The communist groups also seem to be some of the only groups in armed conflict over their resources in the world today. I’m sure they don’t all follow Marxism dogmatically, but are most likely influenced by previous national liberation movements with a heavy marxist influence.

  4. Any opinions I have are rather ill-informed. But I have gathered that the Naxalites are not dogmatic Maoists and are often simply demonized as such. The general idea of leaving euro-centric socialism in favor of Indigenous traditions is something I find to be inspiring. I know Öcalan’s ideas are rooted in Indigenous Kurdish history more than Marxism now, and I think the Zapatistas should be given credit for cultivating Indigenous culture over Marxian ideology. I know little of the NPA, and what the past 20 years have been like there as far as their standing with Indigenous folks.

    There of course seems to be an evolution in Marxian thought towards “green economics” and re-embracing old traditions. And to me, this seems like the exact opposite of what Mao went about doing. Why anyone still clings to Marxism seems to me only because there are no other popular critiques of Capitalism, and anarchists rely too much on Marxism IMHO.

    I think a bioregional critique of Capitalism is emerging, and it is directly informed by the these Fourth World movements where Marxists have been making asses of themselves for the past half-century or so. Some sort of rejection of the industrial economy is needed, including the industrial culture most Marxists fall for.

    And in some ways, these are all losing battles anyway if the whole global economy doesn’t get taken apart from 10,000 different places at once. It’s the whole economic system that has to go, and it can never be “redistributed” in a socialist manner practically speaking, let along “morally” speaking. So as long as nation-states are servants of global Capital, it doesn’t matter if Indigenous traditionalists or Maoists are standing in the way of resource exploitation, they will be called “terrorists” and violently destroyed. And, as Öcalan points out, nation-states and Capital are two sides of the same coin.

    The economic incentive for resource exploitation needs to disappear. To me, that’s basic bioregionalism, which economically speaking, is the exact opposite of colonialism.

    • “I think a bioregional critique of Capitalism is emerging, and it is directly informed by the these Forth World movements where Marxists have been making asses of themselves for the past half-century or so. Some sort of rejection of the industrial economy is needed, including the industrial culture most Marxists fall for.”

      Where can I read more about the bioregionalist critique of capitalism/industrial production? (actual books arepreferred, but other blogs, videos, etc. would also be appreciated)

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