Based on an organized and active living - II

“It should be known that since the age of seven, I have always focused on living in an organized and active manner. In fact, organization requires action; action requires organization. Organization and action should be understood as a state of life.”

Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan divides his personal and political life into three periods:


First period: It begins with the conflict I had with my mother about what I claim to be the right to define my place in society, with the first reactions of refusal against the family and the village and with my attendance to primary school.

Primary school is the first step to become interested in the state, the place where personality moves away from communal society to turn to statist society. This goes hand in hand with urbanization. The values ​​of the city are considered superior to the communal values ​​of the countryside. Middle school, high school, state employment and university studies up to the last year are all steps in preparation for a state career. At this age, the mentality of the city and the state clearly predominates in everyone. The state of underdevelopment and a repressed nation turns into a rejection of the state. Sympathizing with the left actually means nothing more than seeking a state that is more concerned with justice, equality and development. In this phase the personality breaks away to a large extent from its bond with traditional society, denying the communal rural and ancestry society. In its place, a marginal personality is formed, which denies and despises its past, adores the greatness of the state and the city, and runs blindly towards the official system. A very tragic massacre of identity takes place.


Second period: Begins with the attempt to break free from the bourgeois society and the state and to build an independent ideological group, with the aim of creating an own modern political and social system. Against the first phase of socialization based on children with memorizing religious prayers and going to primary school, the second phase of socialization is developed with university students, starting from a leftist and national ideological basis. Despite the effort to re-search own society from scratch against the values ​​spread by capitalism and the chauvinism of the ruling nation, these efforts are far from achieving their goal since the existing national and left currents do not have the strength to overcome the norms of capitalist life.

That period, which we can also define the first step in the formation of the PKK, is a bit like a leaf scattered in the stormy world of the seventies, at the mercy of the wind. It does not only move away from the traditional world, but also fails to commune with the core values ​​of capitalism.

There occurs an attempt to rediscover the society and the country through theoretical and practical quests. In fact, a left-wing tradition widespread all over the world is followed. Now we have our own specific idea and the group grows in number. After the leave from the country, like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon, a phase of great self-confidence and youthfulness begins. It promises hope that utopia could become reality. When the people's partial support becomes a mass movement, this self-esteem is further strengthened. Acquaintance with the power of weapons is gained, a guerrilla group of modern national movements is trained and challenging peaks of the country are reached in an armed manner. Now is the time for the new historic move.

The first part of this period, which includes the years of my life from 1972 to 1984, can be evaluated from different points of view. It could also be called the awakening of the impoverished Kurdish people to the age. It could also be interpreted as the first rebellion, the first shot fired against blind fate. Or, as a cry for honour and dignity. There are other possible interpretations: David's first successful action against Goliath, the first steps towards courage for freedom of thought. Perhaps it is also the breaking of the rules of slavery, with millenary roots. Overall it was a period full of meaning, a second birth even, in which the elaboration of a new paradigm was to be designed and for the success of which a bit of luck, a bit of work and a bit of conviction were needed.

The second part of the second period in my life covers the years from 15 August 1984 to 15 February 1999. This fifteen-year period has been incredibly intense, and the armed struggle was the second PKK initiative. In Middle Eastern history, comparisons could be made with the groups of Babak, the Cardites, the Caramites or Hasan Sabah. While Christianity is dominant in the first part, there is a mixture of Judaism and Mohammedanism in the second part. The task of “leading a group of emigrants to the promised land” requires great effort and skill. While the emigration recalls the act of Moses, the war actions resemble those of Muhammad in Medina. Such a spiritual atmosphere of faith and conviction prevails. The way of dedicating oneself to one's conviction is just like that of believers. Scientific socialism is practiced as if it were a religion.

War is an entirely sacred action. The man, the individual gradually becomes a nullity, the goal becomes everything. It is very difficult to even realize that history has been affected by the typical disease of power. The most typical characteristic is that everything is sacrificed in the belief that the most sacred thing is action. While it should be said that life is the most sacred value, instead, an almost fanatical personality comes to the fore with the commitment that “the goal is everything, life is worth nothing”.

The second period of life was contradictory due to its state-oriented characteristic but not yet lost communal democratic stance. The conflict between these contradictions would determine the result. The 15 February 1999 conspiracy also struck a death blow to the state. If state-oriented partisanship and statism are a disease, then the blow I was dealt by all capitalist world states on 15 February 1999 would also play the role of a midwife, a medicine for my third birth.


The third part of life – if it can be still called life in name and essence – can be considered that from 15 February 1999 onward. Its distinctive feature is that it started with a break with the state-oriented life in general and capitalist modern life in particular. I'm not running into the wild again. I am not going to go back ten thousand years, but it is certain that some of the fundamental values of humanity were hidden in those years. Unless humanity at that time is integrated with today's scientific-technical level, when civilization was cut with a thousand tricks and tyranny, the real liberation and freedom of man would not be possible.

Breaking away from civilization and state-oriented life is not a step backwards. On the contrary, giving up the inflated power personality based on blood and lies, which leads to a fatal break from nature, is perhaps the most fundamental opportunity to get cured.

And there is a return from a society forced into a corner, that became obese, completely alien to nature, in a certain sense plagued by cancerous ulcers, absurdly urbanized, towards an ecological society. From a society with an increasingly authoritarian and totalitarian state, to a democratic-communal, free and egalitarian society. I'm talking about a great intellectual and spiritual paradigm, certainly not a longing created by a one-man prison.

I believe that the real progress has nothing to do with huge cities and the authorities of power, on the contrary, that they are the biggest source of disease. I think rather than living in a place that surpasses the old village and the new city but at the same time combines the new ecological settlements with the latest notions of science and technology, represents the real revolution. If there is a way to the future, I think it makes sense and is worth taking when it's on the basis of facts. I am of the opinion that I have quite clarified the ideological, political, organizational and moral line that I personally want to develop.


This theoretical and ideological competence that I have achieved can be accompanied in two ways: Either trust-based, sincere and humble participation, or deliberate participation in theoretical essence and ideological competence through a high conscious effort. Thousands of comrades, including Haki Karer, Kemal Pir, Mazlum Doğan, Hayri Durmuş and Mahsum Korkmaz, who all contributed to the great value of the PKK, participated in the balanced harmony of these two styles. This concise participation has made them keep the most heroic attitude to the end. On the other hand, those who participated neither sincerely nor humbly, or those who were able to participate on the basis of sufficiently high theoretical and ideological efforts have always stumbled; sometimes they showed swings in the form of crony groups, others in the form of liquidator groups and even gang tendencies. It is difficult for us to meet in a common mindset with those who do not grasp my basic mental power, do not respect it, and cannot show theoretical participation in a humble and high performance. It is the high mentality that should be looked at here. Otherwise, putting a premium on a backward mindset will lead to deviation.


It should be known that since the age of seven, I have always focused on living in an organized and active manner. In fact, organization requires action; action requires organization. The second main point that should be understood is that my political line has favoured a great opening from a natural democratic stance to a conscious and active democratization and that the integration with the people has been achieved. Organization and action should be understood as a state of life. The only correct type of commitment is a very competent organization, embodying this in accordance with the essence of the ideological and political line and integrating it with purposeful and productive action.

The correct ethical attitude is a mastery and wisdom of life, based on science rather than a faith-based life, and sees political freedom as the effort of new creations. This is contemporary believing. Every effort of those who cannot show this ethical power cannot avoid ending up in a deviation. Ethical life means to show the power of participation as the existence of human society with a constant mindset and free will. The real great values of the PKK have been realized by those who have this ethical attitude. Those who really want to have a life in line with the PKK have to show this ethical strength.


In essence, this definition of leadership, which I have been representing personally, shows everyone how it should be reimagined by reviewing his participation. The leadership, as defined by this line, includes the whole universe, human existence, our social reality and the democratic freedom of the people. It is, therefore, not just national but universal.

Compiled from Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s evaluations published under the title “Summary and Additional Letters” in his book “In Defense of the People”.