New Year’s message of Kurdish women guerrillas
For the New Year, the community of women guerrillas from Kurdistan calls for filling internationalism with new spirit and new actions, saying; “The internationalism of the 21st century must be able to think, feel and act locally and universally.”
The Community of Women from Kurdistan (Komalên Jinên Kurdistan, KJK) has published a New Year's message. In the statement, the organisation makes concrete proposals to overcome capitalist modernity and calls for internationalist struggle against the old system.
“We must begin to break with the system in ourselves, in our own personality, in order to be able to fight the system successfully. We must become immune to capitalism and its offers. If we do not reconcile our political struggle with our personality, with our thinking, feeling and acting, we will – without wanting to – act in its favour. Therefore, a focus of our struggle in the coming year should be an ideological offensive against capitalism in our personalities,” says the KJK.
Full text of the KJK’s New Year’s message reads as follows:
From the areas of fighting and resistance, from the free mountains of Kurdistan, we send you our love and warmest greetings of solidarity. More than ever, we are determined to build up democratic socialism in the shape of Democratic Confederalism as an alternative to capitalist modernity. With this spirit we remember all our internationalist comrades like hevala Ronahî (Andrea Wolf), Nûdem (Uta Schneiderbanger), Amara (Ekîn Ceren Dogruak), Rojvan Kobanî (Emir Kubadi), Bagok Serhed (Ashley Johnston), Kemal (Erik Konstandinos Scurfield), Avaşîn Têkoşîn Güneş (Ivana Hoffman), Aryel Botan (Mihemed Hisên Kerîm), Gelhat Rûmet (Keith Broomfield), Karker Kobanê (Rifat Horoz), Bagok Serhed (Reece Harding), Dilsoz Bahar (Kevin Jochim), Gabar Rojava (John Robert Gallagher), Rustem Cudî (Günter Hellstern), Kendal Qaraman (Mario Nunes), Gabar Amed (Jamie Bright), Agîr Şervan (Levi Jonathan Shirley), Givara Rojava (Carl Evans), Toprak Çerkez, Rodî Çekdar (Martin Gruben), Firaz Kardo (Badin Abdulhamid Mohammed Al-Imam), Cîwan Firat (Jordan MacTaggert), Amed Kobanê (William Savage), Rojbîn Agirî (Michael Israel), Berxwedan Gîvara (Ryan Lock), Kawa Amed (Paolo Todd), Demhat Goldman (Robert Grodt), Rodî Deysie (Nicholas Alan Warden), Soro Zinar (Luke Rutter), Zafer Qereçox (David Taylor), Orhan Bakırcıyan (Nubar Ozanyan) Şoreş Amanos (Jac Holmes), Canşêr Zagros (Oliver Hall), Delîl Emerîka (Jake Klipsch), Baran Galicia (Samuel Prada Leon), Kendal Breizh (Olivier François Jean Le Clainche), Baran Sason (Sjoerd Heeger), Şevger Ara Makhno, Şahîn Huseyni (Haukur Hilmarsson), Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell), Lêgerîn Çiya (Alîna Sanchez), Şiyar Gabar (Jakob Riemer), Şahîn Qereçox (Farid Medjahed), Giovanni Francesco Asperti (Hîwa Bosco), Bager Nûjiyan/Xelîl Viyan (Michael Panser), Têkoşer Piling (Lorenzo Orsetti), Sara Dorşîn (Sarah Handelmann), Andok Cotkar (Konstantin) and many others who decided to give up their individual lives for a collective future. The martyrs are immortal because they are living on in our struggle and in our achievements. To them, we renew our promise to continue our common struggle with determination until we have achieved our goals. At the same time, we remember the thousands of men and women worldwide who lost their lives in 2019 in the struggles for freedom, peace and democracy.
Another year of struggle and resistance is coming to an end and another new year is awaiting us. The Third World War, which hegemonic powers started 21 years ago in the Middle East with the international conspiracy against our leader Abdullah Ocalan, has continued ever since and is increasingly spreading to other regions of the world. The deep, structural crisis of the ruling system is evident everywhere, although the forms differ. This crisis resembles a conflagration that can no longer be stopped. Every attempt of the imperialist powers to reorganize the world according to their interests deepens this crisis and produces new sources of conflict. The problems and crises reinforce each other on different levels and manifest themselves, among other things, in wars, poverty, displacement, demographic changes up to genocides and femicides, colonialism, denial of identities and cultures, annihilation, violence, militarism, ecological destruction and a desolate state of the education and health systems. The true face of capitalist modernity has been unmasked. Its responsibility for injustice, exploitation, oppression, violence, war and destruction can no longer be concealed. Capitalist modernity, based on a 5000-year-old history of patriarchal and state domination and exploitation, is the cause of all these problems on our planet. These are not “natural disasters”. The pursuit of maximum profit, gain and power by a small minority leads to maximum exploitation of all material resources and immaterial values. In the eyes of the rulers everything is degraded to an object of exploitation: humans, animals, nature, ideas, and even feelings. It is a process of manipulation and alienation in which the rulers want to impose their truth on all people, and make it credible and palatable.
Openly in front of the eyes of the world, coups against governments are initiated that do not conform with imperialist or national interests, as for example in Bolivia, Venezuela and Catalonia. Or external forces try to instrumentalize the anger of the rebellious population for their own interests, as can be observed in Iraq, Iran or Lebanon. Meanwhile, fascist regimes like the Erdogan regime in Turkey are being courted as “important partners” by international organizations and powers. With international support these dictatorships can wage wars of occupation that are in contradiction with international law, as for example against Rojava and Northern Syria. Genocides are commissioned to terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Boko Haram so that these states officially are not making their hands dirty. Thousands of lives are sacrificed to confiscate and plunder raw materials. The rulers deafen the people with nationalism, religious fundamentalism, sexism and positivism to obscure their illimitable greed. In many places, large parts of the population are thus turned into supporters and followers of the exploitation system. It is no coincidence that in these times of crisis, a shift towards right-wing populism can be observed in all countries, that leads up to openly dictatorial and fascist mobilisations and regimes. In order to be able to maintain the ruling patriarchal, capitalist system that is the cause of the crises, the nation state increasingly takes on its nationalist-fascist extreme form as it already did during the crises in the 20th century. All the progressive achievements and values of humanity have either been suspended or are acutely threatened.
The systemic crisis is most evident in the escalation of systematic violence against women, killing of women and oppression of women worldwide. We must never forget that capitalist modernity was built on the basis of the subjugation of women and the destruction of women-centred, solidarity-based forms of society. All its forms of oppression are based on the model of patriarchal tyranny. In the course of the Third World War, aggression against us as women has also intensified and has become increasingly deadly. On the one hand, state institutions are intensifying their attacks on women and rights that have been gained by women’s struggles. On the other hand, sexism within society is being massively stirred up. In particular, monotheistic religions are being used for this purpose. Already during their time of origin these religions defined the status of women as potentially sinful and as servants of men. Through this a second break between the sexes was accomplished in history, which was to define the oppression of women as their “fate”. Today, too, religious, sexist and patriarchal arguments are once again being used to push women back into classical roles, to break their integrity and identity as freedom fighters and to deprive them of their hard-won rights. The more repressive the state acts against the population, the more brutal the attacks on women become. The assassinations of the Kurdish politician Hevrîn Xelef, the Chilean artist Daniela Corrasco or the journalist Martinez Burgos, or the lynching of indigenous women in Bolivia are exemplary cases of femicides by state authorities only in recent months. Male violence against women is legitimised by the systematic misogynist policies of states and is increasing. According to UN reports, a total of 87,000 women were murdered in 2017, and in fact the number of unreported cases is much higher. Wherever the capitalist system imposes itself, the situation of women deteriorates. Women are deprived of their livelihood, social impact and self-determination. Women are isolated, put under social constraints, deprived of their rights and increasingly pushed out of all areas of life. For capitalism is patriarchal at all levels.
As the attacks against women, communities and oppressed people increase at all levels, more and more people across the world are saying “Ya basta! Êdî bes e!” and opposing these attacks. More and more people are becoming aware that the ruling system, which is the cause of the crises, has no solution to offer. Therefore they are looking for collective, solidly united and ecological alternatives that value life, humans and nature and give meaning to life. Democratic Confederalism and the paradigm of a democratic, ecological society based on women’s liberation which were developed by our leader Abdullah Öcalan and which have been advancing the revolutionary struggle and the societal alternative-building processes in Kurdistan for more than 15 years, are such an alternative. This has become clear especially with the internationalist participation in and the broad solidarity for the defence and building of the Rojava Revolution. This is a thorn in the side of the ruling class. Because they want to make all of humanity believe that there is no alternative to their system of oppression and that we must all submit to their dictates. But we have taken our own decision against the choice between plague and cholera. We insist on our Third Way, which means to create our democratic policies, organisation of society and self-defence with our own will. Therefore, all regional and international imperialist forces – despite their differences among themselves – are united in their attempt to crush our freedom struggle and our model of democratic autonomy.
For this reason and with this task, the AKP regime is still in power and is supported by international powers. In 2019 the illegitimate fascist AKP government intensified its attacks against our liberation struggle once more. On October 9, 2019, exactly on the anniversary of the international conspiracy, it started another invasion in Rojava, in North and East Syria. The areas occupied by the Turkish army and its fascist-jihadist mercenary troops are subjected to Arabisation, Turkification and Islamisation. In these areas a systematic demographic change and depopulation policy is carried out. Instead of the native local population, Sunni Arab or Turkmen families from Turkey, other parts of Syria and other countries are being settled here, most of whom are members or sympathisers of jihadist groups. These enforced demographic changes constitute cultural genocide. At the same time, drastic human rights violations continue in Turkish-occupied region of Afrin. The people of Afrin are being attacked by both jihadist forces and the Turkish state.
The state of emergency imposed on Kurds in Bakûr (Northern Kurdistan) and Turkey also continues. The people are not even allowed to protest. Any public action is prohibited. Mere expressions of opinion in social media are punished with long prison sentences. The prisons are again overcrowded with Kurdish people and members of the opposition. Kurdish mayors are arbitrarily removed from their offices and arrested by means of a coup d’état by the AKP against the local governments. In place of the elected mayors, forced administrators are appointed. The will of the population is declared null and void. This leads to whole families committing collective suicide because they are no longer able to feed themselves, let alone to express themselves. The population is literally deprived of breath. The AKP dictatorship would have become history long ago if it had not been continuously supported by international powers, those who want to functionalise the AKP to crush the Kurdish freedom struggle. The AKP has continuously lost approval and support. The AKP has literally plundered the country. Erdogan has used his power to enrich himself, his family and his clique of power. The corruption can no longer be hidden, so Erdogan is fighting now for his power and life. He and his party are also aware that his end cannot be stopped. That is why more and more of his party members are leaving the sinking ship. What finally caused this ship to sink is our struggle and our insistence on freedom.
We’re definitely going through difficult times. But just as the entire history of humankind is not only the history of the rulers, the present is also not only the present of the fascist, patriarchal and colonial powers. As women, peoples, oppressed classes and different social groups, we are simultaneously experiencing a new period of awakening and renaissance. The politics of the ruling class is meeting with massive resistance everywhere, people are no longer afraid. Mass protests that continue for months determine the character of this resistance. Together barricades are set up, alliances are strengthened. The streets have become places of creativity, politicisation and resistance. Under the slogan “Fridays for Future”, young people mobilize millions of people around the world in protest actions for climate protection and to stand up to corporations. People take to the streets, whether to denounce their poor working conditions or to protest against war and destruction.
They protest and resist against corruption and dictatorship, against patriarchy and environmental pollution, against racism and fascism. What characterizes these protests is that many people have lost both their trust in the state and their fear of state power. Hundreds of people have lost their lives during the last months in mass protests in different countries of the world like Iraq, Iran, Chile or Bolivia. People refuse to allow that politics are made over their heads in their name. They want to get involved, to have their say, to participate in shaping it.
The guarantor for a sustainable, better, just and self-determined life for all people, however, is the women’s liberation struggle. It is no coincidence that our leader Öcalan declared the 21st century the century of women’s liberation. The previous century was characterized by class struggles and national liberation struggles. Neither approach succeeded in developing the propagated alternative to the system, because patriarchal mentality and power structures were not sufficiently questioned and overcome. Free women are the main dynamic of life and human society. A society in which women cannot participate with their free will in life and in all areas of society, is a society that cannot create its self-determined politics, communal life and economy. Therefore it is exposed to all kinds of oppression and foreign control.
With our efforts to defend and reactivate an ethical-political social culture, we as women are experiencing a hopeful awakening. We have begun to move again. And the more we move, the more we feel our chains and this in turn increases our will to break the chains and to free ourselves. After more than half a century, women around the world are once again taking to the streets as masses. In all protests women are a driving force at the forefront. “A woman’s place is the revolution” is a slogan that characterised the women’s struggles in 2019. Capitalist modernity can only be effectively pushed back and fought with free and independent women’s organisations and a determined, radical women’s struggle.
At present we are witnessing that liberalism, the main ideology of capitalism, is beginning to crumble. The deeply entrenched paralysing indifference, egoism, and apolitical attitude of society is breaking apart more and more. The need for collectivity, solidarity and organising are becoming more and more important to people. The capitalist lie of the “end of history” is exposed by the resistance of the people and the truth is the end of capitalist modernity is being brought about nowadays. It is becoming more and more clear that we not only have the same enemy and opponent, but that we are also fighting the same struggle with the same goals. Our struggles for our dreams, hopes and visions of freedom, self-determination, equality and democracy, as women, as peoples, oppressed classes, groups and individuals are the same. We can only succeed if we network, connect and organise ourselves globally. The worldwide solidarity with the liberation struggle in Kurdistan, which was expressed in the slogan “We are your mountains!” and the spreading of the campaign, actions and steps of organizing in the framework of the international campaign “Women Defend Rojava” are very valuable and powerful.
It is now time to follow up on this and fill internationalism with new spirit and new actions. The internationalism of the 21st century must be able to think, feel and act locally as well as universally. Democratic Confederalism makes it possible to fight struggles locally or regionally, but relate, coordinate and win victories globally. We must succeed in developing and living our alternative, libertarian and communal forms of life and society everywhere on the basis of democracy, ecology and women’s liberation. For this we need mentalities, organisation, relationships and structures of solidarity that are free of power, competition and possessive thinking. 2019 was a year of resistance and a year with revolutionary potential. All signs indicate that the new year will be even more moving, more militant, more revolutionary. We as a movement have prepared and armed ourselves for the new challenges. The common struggle of peoples worldwide will determine the outcome of this battle of the systems: Either democratic modernity or capitalist destruction, either democratic socialism or barbarism, either women’s liberation or femicides… We must be prepared for an increase in attacks, fascism and wars. Capitalist modernity, which is more and more cornered, will try to prolong its existence by all means, either through violence or restoration. It will use both hard and “soft” methods. It will try to divide the people, to play out the struggles against each other, to deepen the degeneration and meaninglessness of life and values. Therefore, we must be very alert, attentive and focus on our struggle and organising. The more we link and spread our struggles in the new year, the more we can successfully strike back against the attacks of the system and let them come to nothing. No struggle must remain unorganized and without solidarity.
In 2020, we must make our actions even more effective and efficient and expand the areas of our struggles. We must also be aware that we can only successfully defeat capitalist modernity if we overcome all its characteristics also in our own personalities. We must begin to break with the system in ourselves, in our own personality, in order to be able to fight the system successfully. We must become immune to capitalism and its offers. If we do not reconcile our political struggle with our personality, with our thinking, feeling and acting, we will – without wanting to – act in its favour. Therefore, a focus of our struggle in the coming year should be an ideological offensive against capitalism in our personalities. This means questioning, fighting and overcoming patriarchal, nationalist, positivist and liberal attitudes, ways of life and characteristics. We cannot credibly fight for freedom if we ourselves live in power relations and reproduce hierarchies.
Revolution is not something we might achieve at the end of our struggle. A revolution means making fundamental, liberating, strengthening changes in every second, in every moment of life, in one’s own personality, in one’s own organization, in one’s own collectives, and in society. We see how fear is spreading among the rulers as the resistance is becoming more and more contagious among the oppressed. The rulers are afraid of organized women and men, of people who want to live self-determined, free and collectively. The spark of freedom and the flame of resistance are spreading all over the world. We must not hesitate and not get caught up in small calculations. We have a historical responsibility. This applies not only to what we do, but also to what we should have done but did not do. We have great goals ahead of us and we trust that together we will gain back a free life and a free society.
With great determination, motivation and enthusiasm for actions we wish you all a successful, militant and powerful New Year.
Jin Jiyan Azadî! Bijî Serok Apo! Long live international solidarity!