Declaration of Democratic Confederalism in Kurdistan

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We are in an historical era which is affording mankind both immense opportunities for development and great dangers. The Middle East is going through a period of conflicts and chaos in what has been deemed the Third World War and at the centre of these conflicts and contradictions is Kurdistan. Despite attempts to maintain the former political status quo and the endeavours of the forces of global capital to find solutions in line with their own interests, the peoples seek the development of their own democratic systems based on freedom and to overcome the current situation of chaos and conflict. Here is a rough summary of the main points:

1. The basis for all development of humanity in the 19th century was the agricultural revolution which originated in the ecological system of the Zagros mountains. The 19th century ushered in the second big revolution, the industrial revolution. This second revolution played an important role in the development of “nation states”. The system of nation states, however, has become a serious barrier to the development of society and democracy and freedom since the end of the 20th century.

2. The right of self-determination of nations was interpreted as the right to establish a nation state.

The model of the United Nations based on nation states is not working. The nation state is an obstacle to its development. The Gulf War and the current situation in Iraq stand as proof of this.

3. The only way out of this situation is to establish a democratic confederal system that will derive its strength directly from the people, and not from globalisation based on nation states. Neither nation states nor globalisation which supersedes them are sustainable. Imperialism fails to develop a serious alternative model. Consequently the crisis of the system is deepening.

4. For this reason, the only alternative is democratic confederalism, which is a pyramid-like model of organisation. Here it is the communities who talk, debate and make decisions. From the base to the top the elected delegates would form a kind of loose co-ordinating body. They will be the elected representatives of the people for one year.

5. A system of democratic confederalism would be the model for the resolution of the problems of the Middle East. Neither the capitalist system nor the pressure of imperialist forces will lead to democracy; except to serve their own interests. The task is to assist in developing a grass-roots based democracy. Democratic confederalism is a system which takes into consideration the religious, ethnic and class differences in society.

6. For Kurdistan, however, democratic confederalism is a movement which does not interpret the right to self determination to establish a nation state, but develops its own democracy in spite of political boundaries. A Kurdish structure will develop through the creation of a federation of Kurds in Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. And by uniting on a higher level they will form a confederal system.

7. Within Kurdistan democratic confederalism will establish village, towns and city assemblies and their delegates will be entrusted with the real decision-making, which in effect means that the people and the community will decide.

Current events throughout the world, including the Middle East, and the situation in Kurdistan have led to the conclusion that to develop and establish democratic confederalism is an unavoidable historical duty. To start to develop, promote and establish democratic confederalism on a new Newroz day is historically seen as a progressive, exciting and liberating step.

Democratic confederalism of Kurdistan is not a state system, but a democratic system of the people without a state. With the women and youth at the forefront, it is a system in which all sectors of society will develop their own democratic organisations. It is a politics exercised by free and equal confederal citizens by electing their own free regional representatives. It is based on the principle of its own strength and expertise. It derives its power from the people and in all areas including its economy it will seek self-sufficiency.

Kurdish democratic confederalism draws its strength from the historical roots of its people, and the deep-rooted, rich cultural identity of Mesopotamia. It is based on the democratic communal structure of natural society. Throughout their whole history Kurds have favoured Clan systems and tribal confederations and struggled to resist centralised governments. Democratic confederalism is based on the reality of the patriotic people, the free life and the vast experience of democratic organisation and structures which the PKK has fought for for over 30 years in all areas of the struggle, in particular in prisons and in the mountains with its thousands of martyrs.

Democratic confederalism aims and struggles to press for deep-rooted reforms in order to open the road to democracy; and to remove any barriers facing democratisation. From now on, three laws will be applied in Kurdistan: EU Law, the law of the national government and the democratic confederal law. So long as the national governments of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria respect the democratic confederal laws the Kurdish people will observe their laws and thereby common ground will be sought.

Democratic confederalism is based on the principle of the recognition, and preservation of all cultural identities as well as the promotion of the right to freedom of expression. To this end, it seeks as its main task the resolution of the Kurdish question by democratic means, the recognition of the Kurdish identity on all levels and the development and furtherance of the Kurdish language and culture.

The principle of democratic confederalism promotes an ecological model of society. It is opposed to all forms of sexual oppression and aims to overcome it through the liberation struggle of the women. It seeks the establishment of democracy in all spheres of life of Kurdish society which is based on ecology and equality of the sexes and struggles against all forms of reaction and backwardness. It conjoins individual rights and freedoms with the development of democracy.

Democratic confederalism seeks the resolution of society’s problems without resorting to violence and thus it is based on a policy of peace. It will use the right to legitimate self-defence against any attacks on its country, its people, its freedoms and against any violation of its rights.

Democratic confederalism is the movement of the Kurdish people to establish their own democracy and system of society. It is the expression of a democratic society and transcends all national structures. It is based on the freedoms of political, social, economic, cultural, sexual and ethnic rights. It strives for the unity of the different ecological and communal organisations and at the same time represents the governing organisation as an expression of organised society. On this premise, I am calling upon all sectors of society, in particular all women and the youth, to set up their own democratic organisations and to govern themselves.

Democratic confederalism is the expression for the democratic unity of the Kurds who are spread in four countries and scattered throughout the world. It seeks the resolution of the internal problems of the Kurdish nation through democratic unity. It views the tendency to create a nation state based on nationalism as a continuation of an outdated understanding of the nation state. As these models will neither resolve the Kurdish question nor assist the Kurdish people in the development of Kurdish society I call on these forces to be open to democratisation and to join the confederation on the basis of democratic national unity.

Democratic confederalism is based on a deep-rooted democratic understanding and sense of freedom, it makes no difference between peoples and defends the equality and freedom of all peoples. It replaces the centralist nation state based on borders. It is the basis for the unity of the peoples and democratic forces of the Middle East. It establishes its relationships with neighbouring countries on the basis of equality and freedom of political, social and cultural rights. To that end, I call on all regional peoples to unite within the democratic confederation and I call on the neighbouring countries to adopt a democratic position.

Democratic confederalism is opposed to global imperialism and seeks the global democracy of peoples. It is a system in which all peoples and all humanity should be living in the 21st century. This will pave the way for global democratic confederalism and a new era. I call on humanity to create a new world under the umbrella of a global democratic confederalism.

I believe by announcing the formation of the KOMA KOMALEN KURDISTAN(KKK), as the expression of democratic confederalism and the unity of the Kurdish people, on this Newroz day 2005 we have established a new philosophy and way of life for our people. I call on all our people to establish their own democracy, to unite and to govern themselves under their own flag (on green background a yellow sun with a red star). I will carry this flag proudly and I will continue to carry out my duties as a leader. On this day of spring, a day closer to freedom than the days of springs in the past, I wish our people and the regional peoples a Happy Newroz. With kind regards.

Abdullah Öcalan

Koma Komalen Kurdistan

20 March 2005

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