Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

While the rest of us were asleep . . .

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 25, 2014

While the rest of us were asleep . . .
“In a nutshell, what’s happening in Rojava and Syria is the largest libertarian socialist (read anarchist) experiment since the Spanish Civil War.”

Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921 – July 30, 2006) was an American anarchist and libertarian socialist author, orator, historian, and political theoretician. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin initiated the critical theory of social ecology within anarchist, libertarian socialist, and ecological thought.

He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology among which the most important were Our Synthetic Environment, Post-Scarcity Anarchism and The Ecology of Freedom.

In the late 1990s he became disenchanted with the increasingly apolitical lifestylism of the contemporary anarchist movement (see: lifestyle anarchism) and stopped referring to himself as an anarchist. Instead, he founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism.

Bookchin was an anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralisation of society along ecological and democratic lines. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, assembly democracy, had an influence on the Green movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets.

Though Bookchin, by his own recognition, failed to win over a substantial body of supporters during his own lifetime, his ideas have nonetheless influenced movements and thinkers across the globe.

Notable among these is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a guerilla organisation in Turkey which has fought the Turkish state since the 1980s to try to secure greater political and cultural rights for the country’s Kurds.

Though originally founded on a rigid Marxist–Leninist ideology, the PKK has seen a shift in its thought and aims since the capture and imprisonment of its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999. Öcalan began reading a variety of post-Marxist political theory while in prison, and found particular currency in Bookchin’s works.

Öcalan attempted in early 2004 to arrange a meeting with Bookchin through his lawyers, describing himself as Bookchin’s “student” eager to adapt his thought to Middle Eastern society. Though Bookchin was too ill to accept the request, he sent back a message of support. When Bookchin died in 2006, the PKK hailed the American thinker as “one of the greatest social scientists of the 20th century”, and vowed to put his theory into practice.

“Democratic Confederalism”, the variation on Communalism developed by Öcalan in his writings and adopted by the PKK, does not outwardly seek Kurdish rights within the context of the formation of an independent state separate from Turkey.

The PKK also claims that this project is not envisioned as being only for Kurds, but rather for all peoples of the region, regardless of their ethnic, national, or religious background. rather, it promulgates the formation of assemblies and organisations beginning at the grassroots level to enact its ideals in a non-state framework beginning at the local level. It also places a particular emphasis on securing and promoting women’s rights.

The PKK has seen some limited success in implementing its programme, through organisations such as the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), which coordinates political and social activities within Turkey, and the Koma Civakên Kurdistan (KCK), which does so across all countries where Kurds live.

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