Negri, Harvey, Graeber, Wallerstein, Holloway, the cult of Abdullah Ocalan and the Rojava Revolution

Abdullah Ocalan

In April 2015, a conference was held in Hamburg ‘to introduce the thoughts of the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to the international community.’ Silvia Federici was supposed to send a ‘message of greeting’ – just as Toni Negri and Immanuel Wallerstein had at a similar previous conference. Federici then dropped out. However David Harvey, David Graeber and John Holloway did attend and all three spoke on a stage with a large portrait of Ocalan in the background.

During the event, held on Ocalan’s birthday, Harvey claimed that Ocalan ‘is waging a struggle for the freedom of all women.’ While Graeber said: ‘He has written the sociology of freedom. … I have some questions and criticisms in the technical dimension, but I agree and appreciate his views.’

This all raises several questions, such as who exactly is Ocalan and is his political project really as radical as these well-known intellectuals seem to believe?

OCALAN ON VIOLENCE, REVOLUTION AND DEMOCRACY

Abdullah Ocalan is the ideological leader of the Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK, whose offshoot, the PYD, is the main political force in the Kurdish areas of Syria known as Rojava. Many PYD activists in Rojava have what one eye-witness calls ‘total faith’ in Ocalan and consider him to be, to a certain extent, ‘sacred’. Indeed, the leader of the PYD, Salih Muslim, has openly admitted that: ‘We apply [Ocalan’s] philosophy and ideology to Syria.’

This semi-religious attitude to Ocalan goes back to the 1980s and 1990s, well before his imprisonment in Turkey. PKK fighters from these earlier decades say things like: ‘The PKK is in a certain sense identical with its founder, Abdullah Ocalan’ or ‘[Ocalan] doesn’t so much represent the party, as he is the party.’

When ISIS began threatening Rojava in 2014, the PKK/PYD introduced compulsory military conscription. All PKK/PYD fighters are still ‘trained in political thought’ and, consequently, they still say things like: ‘our ideas are based on the philosophy of Abdullah Ocalan’ or ‘these are the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan, this is our ideology’. This deeply Stalinist way of thinking would be a problem even if Ocalan’s ideas were genuinely revolutionary but, like most Stalinists, he has little enthusiasm for social revolution.

To his credit, Ocalan does acknowledge not only the appalling brutality of the Turkish military but also the brutality of the PKK during its war of national liberation against Turkey. For example, he admits that there was ‘unfeeling violence … escalating to the point where we killed the best of our own comrades’ and that ‘young fighters were summarily executed in the mountains.’ He even says that ‘the whole party is guilty; nobody can deny his responsibility.’

But Ocalan’s admissions now just make it easier to believe long-standing claims that he authorised the execution of many hundreds of people including civilians and dissident PKK members. To give just one example, an ex-PKK leader has said that ‘there were between 50 and 60 executions just after the 1986 PKK congress. In the end, there was no more room to bury them.’ Ocalan’s admissions are also seriously marred by his repeated attempts to shift the blame for any atrocities away from himself and onto what he describes as ‘gangs within our organisation’.

This blame-shifting raises even more questions when one reads Ocalan’s claim that ‘young women fighters … [were] forced into the most primitive patriarchal relationships.’ This is a statement that begs to be compared with that of another PKK leader who claimed that it was Ocalan himself who ‘forced dozens of our female comrades to immoral relations’ and that he went so far as to ‘order the murder’ of women who refused to have ‘relations’ with him. *

Ocalan had his accuser killed so we may never know if there was any truth to these allegations. We may also never know how genuine Ocalan’s regrets are concerning wars of national liberation. This is especially the case if we consider his assertions that these wars ‘were valid at the time’, that the war against Turkey ‘could have been won’ and that when ‘nationalism [was] flourishing, it was almost treason not to agree with the principles of national liberation.’ But we do know that the failure of the PKK’s war – combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union – led Ocalan to reject not only any continuation of the war but also any sort of violent revolution.

In his Prison Writings he warns that ‘socialist society must not attempt to overcome old structures of state and society by means of violence and force.’ He goes on to say that: ‘It would be a gross contradiction of the nature of the new ideology if force were to be accepted as a means of overthrowing the state – even the most brutal one.’ He also claims that ‘revolutions and violence… cannot abolish [social phenomena]’ (vol.1 p224) and that ‘revolutionary overthrow … does not create sustainable change. In the long run, freedom and justice can only be accomplished within a democratic-confederate dynamic process.’

These statements are more than just understandable criticisms of violence, they seem to be rejections of any need for social revolution once a Western-style democratic system has been instituted.

Ocalan does claim that such a system will eventually be superseded by ‘a more adaptable administration which will allow even more freedom’. But he also claims that ‘the Western democratic system contains everything needed for solving social problems.’ He even says that, eventually, ‘the right and the left … will come together in the system of democratic civilisation.’
.

OCALAN ON MARXISM, ANARCHISM, FEMINISM AND CAPITALISM

Like so many other neo-Stalinists, from Gorbachev to the Eurocommunists, Ocalan combines his enthusiasm for Western-style democracy with a dismissal of Marxism.

He also rejects anarchism, saying: ‘Anarchism is a capitalist tendency. It is an extreme form of individualism which rejects the state itself.’ He is quite clear that he ‘does not reject nor deny the state’. Instead, he advocates ‘a lean state as a political institution, which only observes functions in the fields of internal and external security and in the provision of social security.' **

Few liberals would have too much disagreement with this approach to the state or, indeed, with Ocalan’s approach to feminism. Just like any liberal, he is also quite clear that women’s liberation ‘should have priority over the liberation of … labour.’

Ocalan does make bold, if somewhat hypocritical, statements about male domination in contemporary society such as: ‘To kill the dominant man is the fundamental principle of socialism.’ And women’s participation in the Rojava revolution is a striking example of how women will be central to any social change in the 21st Century. But a genuine women’s revolution would surely require a proletarian women’s movement outside the control of either middle-class activists or the PKK/PYD.

Such a revolution would also require the transcendence of the family. According to one Rojavan human rights worker: 'Society here is very masculine and very feudal, … there still needs to be a change in the classic family structure if we are ever going to see [women's role] expand.' Yet, despite his criticisms of the family, Ocalan still insists that the family 'is not a social institution that should be overthrown’. Indeed, he even argues that a reformed family is both the ‘most important element’ and ‘the most robust assurance of democratic civilisation.’

As regards capitalism, Ocalan does argue for a ‘progressive transition from a production based on profit to a production based on sharing.’ But he appears to believe that capitalists ‘never number more than one or two percent of society’ and he even claims that the class war ‘has come to an end’. He also proposes that the new social order 'will allow for individual and collective property’ and that labour will be 'remunerated according to its contribution to the entire product.’

In the programme for the Hamburg conference, John Holloway claims that the Kurdish movement in Rojava is one of ‘the most outstanding examples’ of anti-capitalism. But these statements by Ocalan instead show a movement whose ideological leader has a very limited understanding of capitalism and no real desire to end the misery of private property and wage labour. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that one of the economics ministers in Rojava has openly stated that he wants any cooperatives to compete with private capital. While, the head of Internal Security even said that Rojava is ‘a new market, and everyone can play a role, including the Americans.’

Ocalan’s solution to every social problem really does seem to be, not anti-capitalist revolution, but democracy. Democracy is certainly preferable to dictatorship. But it makes little sense to say that democracy, even a radical form of direct democracy, is itself a ‘corrective for extreme class divisions’.

It is, of course, just such extreme class divisions and inequalities, exacerbated by capitalism’s chronic crises and wars, that have led to today’s situation in which so many people have turned to the seemingly revolutionary alternative of ISIS. But from Egypt to Turkey to Iraq, democracy has done little to empower proletarians to push for the radical sharing of wealth that is so urgently needed to end all class divisions and so end the appeal of ISIS.

The PKK say they want to transform the Middle East ‘without the utopian perspective of a world revolution’. But it is surely only the prospect of an anti-capitalist world revolution that could ever inspire people both to overthrow ISIS and to spread the Rojava revolution across the Middle East.

Such a world revolution would require a political movement that was far more internationalist than the PKK/PYD could ever be, burdened as it is by its deep attachment to Kurdish identity. The PKK/PYD is also burdened by its initial decision to be relatively neutral in the Syrian civil war and by its later decision to ally with the US. No matter how understandable these decisions were, they have discredited the Rojava revolution across the Arab world and made it even more difficult for it to become a starting point for international revolution.

Any talk of international revolution may seem utopian. But the Arab Spring and Occupy movements showed that potentially revolutionary movements are now able to emerge and spread internationally like never before. And a global revolution is still a more realistic prospect than any hope that an alliance with Western imperialism will somehow lead to the Rojava revolution spreading across the Middle East.

After the victory at Kobane, the PKK/PYD leader, Salih Muslim, visited government officials in London and spoke passionately in favour of an even stronger alliance with the West. He said:

‘We insist on establishing good relations with the US. … We had a martyr who was English. He died in the same trenches as us. … Our martyrs are the most glorious treasure we have. We see them as the crowns, they are crowns and they are light that show our way to peace and freedom. … We want to establish stronger relations with the English, Australians, Germans and Americans. That relation will be nourished by our martyrs’ sacrifice. … Rojava is taking the lead in giving an example of democracy in all of Syria. And our people are proud of that. And you know it is true when you see a British man next to you in the same trench and he becomes a martyr. … [Our] resistance is becoming an example to the world.’

Despite obvious differences, this overblown rhetoric sounds very much like that of politicians a century ago who extolled ‘English, Australians, Germans and Americans’ to sacrifice themselves for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ in the trenches of the 1914-18 war.

The revolutionaries of the last century made two great errors: one was to support the descent into the imperialist bloodbath of 1914, the other was to support Stalinism. Developing a 21st Century revolutionary politics that avoids any repetition of these disasters will not be easy. Radical intellectuals like Negri, Graeber and Holloway have made important theoretical contributions that can aid this development. But their apparent support for the PKK suggests serious limitations in their political outlook.

Fortunately, younger Kurdish activists are increasingly questioning the authoritarianism of the PKK. If radical intellectuals have any constructive role it is to encourage such attitudes and to avoid giving any credibility to the totalitarian cult around Ocalan.

Capitalism’s present crisis will, sooner or later, compel people to question the entire system more deeply than they are presently doing in Rojava – or, indeed, in other countries where various types of neo-Stalinist have taken power such as South Africa, Venezuela and Greece. Until then, we surely need to keep trying to find ways to support grassroots’ struggles without giving any support to neo-Stalinist politicians – or to imperialism and its endless wars.

Anti War

All sources can be found by clicking on the † next to the quote or see the version at libcom.org

* Some critics of Ocalan have claimed that his response to such abuse accusations was to say: ‘These girls mentioned. I don’t know, I have relations with thousands of them. … [They] say ‘‘this was attempted to be done to me here’’ or ‘‘this was done to me there’’! These shameless women. … I try to turn every girl into a lover. … If you find me dangerous, don’t get close!’ However, unlike the other Ocalan quotes in this article, I have been unable to find a verifiable version of this quote. I have also been unable to find a second source to confirm claims that the Rojavan authorities 'prohibit the display of flags and photos of political figures' other than those of Ocalan and other PKK symbols.

** The revolutionary hopes engendered by the Arab Spring coincided with a fall in support for Islamist terrorism. Once those hopes were dashed, such terrorism revived and, inevitably, the Rojavan police have now set up an elite anti-terrorist unit just like those of any other capitalist state. (See their Hollywood-style video here.) This development is in some contrast to Graeber’s hopes that the Rojavan police were on the way to, one day, abolishing themselves.

‘Democratic’ assemblies, street scenes, militia fighters and colleges in Rojava - all overshadowed by the leader of one party, the PKK’s Abdullah Ocalan.

Posted By

Anti War
May 2 2015 18:10

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  • The PKK is in a certain sense identical with its founder, Abdullah Ocalan."

    Selahattin Çelik, former PKK commander

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Comments

Anti War
May 21 2015 12:42

Thanks for all the though-provoking criticism. Though, I still feel we need to find ways to support grassroots struggles in Rojava, without giving any support to the PKK/PYD and its personality cult around Ocalan.

To appreciate the depth of this cult, check out Ocalan's last ever interview where the interviewer says: 'One has the feeling that [the] PKK is ... totally under your control?' Ocalan reply is to say: 'Yes, ... If I ask them to die, they will do it.'

Also check out this TV interview where a female fighter says, 'I love him' while being interviewed alongside Ocalan. (The Youtube version is here.)

Earlier in this TV interview, he says: 'Prophets have always been leaders in the Middle East. They are called messengers and it's very hard to lead people without understanding the role of prophets. To mobilise these people, you have to use the prophets' methods. You shouldn't get me wrong, I don't call myself a prophet, but I pay attention to their methods as well. It's necessary for success.'

Also check out the opinions of Abdullah Ocalan's brother, Osman. As an ex-PKK leader and dissident, these opinions may be exaggerations, but they should still be taken into consideration:

In 2013, Osman Ocalan said: '[the] ideology of the PKK ... means one party, one leader, and one authority.' He also said: '[Cemil] Bayik comes second after Ocalan in terms of influence and I can say that he - who adopts a radical socialist Stalinist ideology - orchestrates 90 percent of what is happening in Syrian Kurdistan.'

When Osman and others fled from the PKK in 2004, they accused Ocalan of being a 'despot comparable to Stalin or Hitler'. Other dissidents have compared Ocalan to 'Mussolini'.

A women's militia commander who fled at the same time as Osman, in 2004, was very clear when she said: 'One man decides everything, nobody else can say what they think. ...To become a member of the PKK is like joining a religion.'

This all makes it easier to believe that there might be at least some truth to the allegations that the PKK/PYD is now trying to ban any pictures of politicians except those of Ocalan and other PKK/PYD figures:

'On April 12, 2015, the Committee on Internal Affairs for the transitional administration in the canton of ʿAfrin, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), published ordinance number 105, which prohibits the display of flags and photos of political figures and martyrs in and on public places, shops, and private vehicles. The ordinance stipulates that violations will be punished with legal action. A similar ordinance was published on March 30, 2015 in the canton of Jazirah. Independent activists and politicians critical of the PYD fear that the intent of the ordinance is to ensure that only PKK-affiliated symbols are permitted in the Kurdish regions of Syria.'

kurekmurek
May 21 2015 13:02
Quote:
Thanks for all the though-provoking criticism. Though, I still feel we need to find ways to support grassroots struggles in Rojava, without giving any support to the PKK/PYD and its personality cult around Ocalan.

Bullshit, you never ever published any article or written a paragraph on how to do it. You just recently started to make the limp service of saying "grassroots struggles in Rojava" should be supported. However you never write even a single world how it can be done.
Your only contribution so far was producing articles repeating the same argument: Ocalan is a dictator he is as bas as someone could be. PKK is just his tool and all kurds are following him blindly. And apparently especially the women. And decorating your articles with Ocalan images you pick from all over the web.

Pennoid
May 21 2015 15:31

Holy smokes, it's *NOT THAT HARD*

Anti-War:

Quote:
Abdullah Ocalan is the ideological leader of the Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK, whose offshoot, the PYD, is the main political force in the Kurdish areas of Syria known as Rojava. Many PYD activists in Rojava have what one eye-witness calls ‘total faith’ in Ocalan and consider him to be, to a certain extent, ‘sacred’.† Indeed, the leader of the PYD, Salih Muslim, has openly admitted that: ‘We apply [Ocalan’s] philosophy and ideology to Syria.

This is the first paragraph under the first sub-heading. As the author does several times throughout the piece, they define clearly the subject of critique as being the PKK/PYD and associated militants. How again is the author painting the entire Kurdish movement or for that matter, Kurdish people everywhere as worshippers of Ocalan? I know it takes GREAT POWERS of elucidation and critical thinking to pierce the fog of the authors complex prose, (or maybe the fog of your own ideology) but just *try*.

kurekmurek
May 21 2015 18:20

Well I mean the members or the sympathizers of Kurdish freedom movement above, not all Kurds of course. It must be very obvious actually. As there is different Kurdish political parties and tendencies obviously.
However again Kurdish freedom movement (well we are speaking at least 5 million of people here) in general is something more then what Anti-war tries to show it to be. Or current ideological position of Kurdish freedom movement has much to offer than making women Ocalan's sex slaves as Anti-War loves to repeat. Read the whole of the eye-witness account referenced in your quote above: https://libcom.org/news/experiment-west-kurdistan-syrian-kurdistan-has-p...

kurekmurek
May 21 2015 20:09

Another example of what Anti-War tries to accomplish:
Why does this article starts with a demonstration people carrying a lot of Ocalan pictures? Are this picture is relevant to Kobane? What demonstration is it?
Well I searched it on google images and found a result that it was published online in 2001. Why put a picture from 2001 ? I guess it has got to do with the fact that this picture is taken in a demonstration after Ocalan was arrested. So it was from a demonstration to prevent him from being killed by the hands of state, so there is huge amounts of Ocalan pictures in the crowd.
But who gives a shit about time or place or purpuse if the whole idea is to make counter-propaganda isn't it? You know whole purpuse of misinformation lies in how the things look but not in their actual contents. I hope not much people are falling to this tricks.
Edit: Well I guess I finally found the demonstration where the photo is taken. It is from 2011 (if not earlier) see here anyway still the picture has nothing to do with Kobane or Rojava. -But I am 100 percent sure that Anti-War just wishes to help Kurdish people from Kobane by sharing these photos really.

kurekmurek
May 21 2015 20:51

Also apparently this Anti-War person operates not only in here
I also found this picture and article in Louis Proyect's blog:

Quote:
This article was send to me anonymously by “Anti War”. I am forwarding it to my readers .... expect that this article will provide food for thought.

What is more striking about picture is that Louis Proyect seems to fallen for the trick, he thinks this photo is from Rojava or Kobane, millions marching just for the "holy" leader of some sort. Under the picture he wrote:

Quote:
Street scenes, ‘democratic’ assemblies, militia fighters and colleges in Rojava – all overshadowed by the leader of one party, the PKK’s Abdullah

Do you see how easy it is to trick people to make such an impression that all democratic developments in Rojava can be dismissed, using one photo? And Anti-War is shameless in this business as if the current photos of Ocalan in walls looks boring, he just goes and pick a photo from past and from another event so that he can create the impression that all "these" kurds are mindless puppets.
I feel I have exposed Anti-War's real intends enough, You go see the blog yourselves: http://louisproyect.org/2015/05/03/negri-graeber-holloway-the-cult-of-ab...
The problem in short is that: Anti-War works definitely as a Stalinist propaganda machine by mixing fact and judgement and repeating the same messages over and over again hoping that they will catch up with people. He/she is a good example of what he/she appears to criticize. Beware.

Anti War
May 25 2015 17:04

Louis Project's placement of that caption was a mistake. Unfortunately, these things happen when articles get posted around.

Toni Negri's message to an earlier Hamburg conference is here.

The idea that 'kurds are following [Ocalan] blindly' is not my opinion but it is, perhaps closer to Ocalan's own opinion. For example in the above quoted interview, he complains that PKK members 'all have very strong ties with me. If I ask them to die, they will do it. But they don’t have any personal creativity.'

Back in 1992, Ocalan blamed Kurdish national submissiveness on Kurdish women themselves. He said: 'Woman is like a slave, weak, and too unequipped and dangerous.... That is, she craftily uses her own state of being-pulled-down in order to pull down the whole society.... The reason why most of you are inadequately revolutionized is the relationships that you established with the woman reality.... Don’t you know that a relationship with a woman, into which you were plotted, is a trap?'

By 1999, Ocalan was also blaming this submissiveness on 'castrated Kurds', even saying: 'This is why I renounced manhood. Why, because they wanted to castrate me. I told them that I resigned from my manhood.'

Of course, the solution to all this submissiveness is always to look to Ocalan. As he said in 1992: 'One person represents the new upright posture, practically the resurrection of a nation. My role is indeed that of a prophet, speaking to an enslaved, mercilessly oppressed people.’

But, if anyone actually stands up to Ocalan, they are purged. This wikipedia-style website claims that there have been 'almost 1,550 internal executions' in the PKK.

One PKK dissident has written that Ocalan 'demanded absolute submission to his person.'

Another dissident has claimed that PKK activists were 'not allowed to cross their legs (only Öcalan is allowed to do that), to make hand gestures when speaking (Öcalan’s privilege), or to sit before being instructed to do so. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and having sexual or even purely platonic relationships [were] also forbidden.'

Yet another disillussioned former PKK fighter complained that: 'you’re not allowed to question Ocalan’s orders. You’re not free.' He also said that 'If there were a Kurdish State it would be like the PKK.'

The PKK are unable to control Rojava in the way they control their own members but there are clearly tendencies in that direction.

kurekmurek
May 25 2015 17:56

Well making mistakes is not a problem, the thing is that will you accept the responsibility and try to solve the problem? For example will you change the picture at the top of this article? Will you email "Louis Project" about the mistake? Or will you continue to share interviews from 1992 under Rojava as if they are directly relevant to Rojava. Can you provide content for your own words in any way? That is the problem:
Let me remind you what you wrote:

Quote:
Thanks for all the though-provoking criticism. Though, I still feel we need to find ways to support grassroots struggles in Rojava, without giving any support to the PKK/PYD and its personality cult around Ocalan.

Let me repeat it again, what is "support grassroots struggles in Rojava" and what are you doing to support it? Unlike Ocalan or PYD/YPG who are clearly trying to suppress it as you try to make it seem like so (with contemporary material like: interviews and pictures from 90's) ? Well the real picture is very obvious anti-war you can only fool those who are far away from Rojava.

ocelot
May 26 2015 08:52
Anti War wrote:
Another dissident has claimed that PKK activists were 'not allowed to cross their legs (only Öcalan is allowed to do that), to make hand gestures when speaking (Öcalan’s privilege), or to sit before being instructed to do so. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and having sexual or even purely platonic relationships [were] also forbidden.'

Yet another disillussioned former PKK fighter complained that: 'you’re not allowed to question Ocalan’s orders. You’re not free.' He also said that 'If there were a Kurdish State it would be like the PKK.'

The PKK are unable to control Rojava in the way they control their own members but there are clearly tendencies in that direction.

And also in PKK strongholds like Diyarbakir. Having been there recently I can confirm that there is no drinking or smoking. People fear to cross their legs. There is a lack of small children as all Kurds have stopped having sex as "Apo said so". Within a generation the Kurds will be extinct...

Seriously. Are you out of your tiny mind?

You remind me of those medieval monastics who faithfully reported tales of monopods and dogheads they'd heard from travellers to foreign lands. One of the reactions of Western Europeans to Marco Polo's account when he returned from his travels was surprise that he had failed to find the dogheads when he travelled to the East (turned out that people in the East thought the dogheads lived in the West).


Rojava Kurds at Newroz

ocelot
May 26 2015 09:06

That Toni Negri message to the 2012 Hamburg Conference is worth quoting in full:

Quote:
Dear all,
.
I am very sorry not to be there with you. I am there though with my heart.
.
Reading the news - very few I must say in the European press - about what is happening both in Kurdistan and Turkey in the past few months, I have realised once more that yours is a struggle on different levels.
.
On one hand there is the claim to the right to exist as a people, while on the other there is the awareness that even if the right to exist was to be recognised, without a radical change in a progressive way in Turkey, this very right would risk to remain only a formal one.
.
Your struggle is therefore also a struggle for a different society, driven by the recognition of collective rights as well as a different way of understanding economic development and the use of resources, to build a model of governance that goes beyond that of the nation-state. A governance that would be able to challenge a capitalism in crisis but still very aggressive.
.
This conference is yet another concrete sign of your desire to discuss of the crisis of capitalism, the perspectives for the left but above all of the model of society we want to build.
.
The Kurdish people has a millenary history of culture and resistance.
.
On 12 June 2011, the election results gave rise to high expectations and hopes. These hopes have been crushed in blood. Thousands of Kurdish politicians, intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, civil society activists, human rights defenders have been arrested.
.
All sections of the Kurdish society and the Turkish left have been and still are under attack.
.
This conference is another answer to those who would like to silence you.
.
We are with you with our heart and above all with supportive political intelligence.

Clearly another slavish adherent of the Cult of Ocalan. (*sarcasm*)

Flint
May 26 2015 17:05

"Anti War" should know that we all don't have access to their C: drive.

"file:///C:/Users/CRC/AppData/Local/Temp/ejts-4925-the-production-of-the-..."

They probably meant to link to this: The Production of the New Man within the PKK (2014), which is itself quoting: Çürükkaya, Selim (1997) PKK. Die Diktatur des Abdullah Öcalan, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Verlag (first published in Turkish under the title Apo’nun Ayetleri (The verses of Apo), place of publication unknown (Switzerland), 14 Temmuz Yayınları, date of publication unknown).

"file:///C:/Users/CRC/Downloads/ejts-4657-14-from-kawa-the-blacksmith-to-..."

Is probably From Kawa the Blacksmith to Ishtar the Goddess: Gender Constructions in Ideological-Political Discourses of the Kurdish Movement in post-1980 Turkey (2012) which is quoting: Öcalan, Abdullah (1992a), Kadın ve Aile Sorunu (ed. S. Erdem). Istanbul: Melsa Yayınları.

If you read that quote in isolation, it certainly sounds bad... but if you read the whole paper, the quote is talking about opposition to the patriarchal family (a position communists have had since atleast Engels and "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State") and over all the author seems to have a rather positive view of the PKK and Öcalan's embrace of feminism. In the very next paragraph, the author is positively quoting Öcalan: "Women’s liberation is Kurdistan’s liberation; it is even the men’s liberation. It seems to me that men’s relation to women is similar to that of an occupier. … The level of women’s freedom is also the level of society’s freedom; that, in turn, is the country’s freedom. (Öcalan 1999: 27)"

You should slow down the speed with which to publish quotations from 17 to 23 years ago or you might accidentally reveal your identity.

I'm also skeptical of Öcalan or any other individual leader. I also don't like the cult of personality. But a lot of what "Anti War" is doing is just intellectually dishonest. Its also stupid because they think we are incapable of checking the orchard of their picked cherries.

If you want to criticize Rojava and the PYD, do it! But that means engaging the situation there right now and the people involved. The further you get from that, the less believable your criticism gets.

Red Marriott
May 26 2015 20:39
Flint wrote:
you might accidentally reveal your identity.

If you think Anti War is 'someone else' - whatever that means in the world of the internet - why don't you just say who you think they are?

Flint
May 26 2015 20:55
Red Marriott wrote:
Flint wrote:
you might accidentally reveal your identity.

If you think Anti War is 'someone else' - whatever that means in the world of the internet - why don't you just say who you think they are?

Why don't you prove a negative? I get that you don't care about the origin of a criticism. The author is dead, long live the author.

Pennoid
May 26 2015 21:09

WTH you made a claim, however ambiguous, that could reasonably be backed up. We're not talking about total faith here, or unknowable phenomenon or miracles. Yeesh.

Flint
May 26 2015 21:49
Pennoid wrote:
WTH you made a claim, however ambiguous, that could reasonably be backed up. We're not talking about total faith here, or unknowable phenomenon or miracles. Yeesh.

You're right that "Anti War"'s purpose and origin isn't unknowable. Its why I asked.

I asked a series of questions to "Anti War" about what their agenda was, etc... They decided not to answer any of them. A few people criticized me for being politically curious about where "Anti War" was coming from and what the purpose of that project was.

You're right that "Anti War"'s purpose and origin isn't unknowable. Its why I asked.

Anyway, since that time, "Anti War" has continued to do crap like pull a 22 year old quote from Ocalan out of context to imply he was making an essential argument about women when he was actually criticizing the patriarchal institution of marriage that wouldn't sound unusual coming from Emma Goldman.

But really, I'm done with wondering what "Anti War" is about. Challenges that I dare question "Anti War" seems to be the topic, and I'm not really interested in debating that. I pointed out why I thought authorship is important to credibility; but other people don't share any such concerns. I'm alright with agreeing to disagree on that. "Anti War"'s criticisms can continually to float on the air and if anyone wants to dismantle them--have fun in the archives!

Red Marriott
May 26 2015 22:35
Flint wrote:
Red Marriott wrote:
Flint wrote:
you might accidentally reveal your identity.

If you think Anti War is 'someone else' - whatever that means in the world of the internet - why don't you just say who you think they are?

Why don't you prove a negative? I get that you don't care about the origin of a criticism. The author is dead, long live the author.

You're drawing all sorts of fantastic misinterpretations from my simple request for you to clarify, if you can, what you've asserted. Ironic that when I ask you to say who is the author you respond by claiming I don't care about authorship.

AndrewF
May 27 2015 06:40

I'd have thought it was given that the Anti-War account is a sock puppet run by a long time poster here who wants to be able to post out of context material etc without damaging their own credibility though identification with that technique. There is of course a lot wrong with that approach including that other people may make the wrong assumptions about who anti-war really is.

I'd also presume the admins know who it is as they have access to the standard Drupal tracking info as well as I'd presume server logs. Which suggests that anti-war is either ignorant of that or confident that it doesn't matter. But in any case its hardly up to Flint to make potentially damaging best guesses as to who Anti-War really is, if you think there is a problem that means they should be identified you should be talking to the admins, not Flint.

Joseph Kay
May 27 2015 07:11
AndrewF wrote:
I'd also presume the admins know who it is as they have access to the standard Drupal tracking info as well as I'd presume server logs.

(a) No we don't (b) Drupal logs at most give an IP and log in times, which isn't necessarily conclusive (c) We rarely access this information, which isn't available in the dashboard. (I'm not even sure if we still have access to actual IPs, we were looking into hashing them).

If anyone has evidence Anti War is a sock-puppet account please post it, or contact the admins, as sock-puppetting is not allowed.

Posting guidelines wrote:
Sock-puppetting is setting up multiple accounts to agree with yourself, to create a false impression that more people are expressing a certain view, to try and evade an account ban, or to make posts the perpetrator doesn’t want associated with their ‘real’ pseudonym. Sock-puppetting is not allowed, and may lead to ALL associated accounts being banned.

If not, and if Anti War is posting false or misleading - as opposed to disagreeable - information, please take issue in the comments. Admin will try to keep an eye out and take appropriate action.

Red Marriott
May 27 2015 09:10
AndrewF wrote:
its hardly up to Flint to make potentially damaging best guesses as to who Anti-War really is, if you think there is a problem that means they should be identified you should be talking to the admins, not Flint.

I'd imagine Flint's already taken a guess (for all I know he even thinks it's me?). But it's Flint who thinks there's a sock-puppet problem, so according to your logic he should be talking to the admins, not me.

Flint
May 27 2015 12:06

Talking about who I think is a sock puppet is boring even to me.

Plenty of intellectual dishonesty from "Anti War" without having to critique their sock puppetry. I am kind of amazed people defend it though. But whatever. I'm done writing about it.

Devrim
May 27 2015 12:53

Somebody suggested a few pages ago that it was a long term poster in Turkey. As far as I know there are two long term posters in Turkey, Leo and myself. It's certainly neither of us. I don't see why anyone would think that it was. If either of us wrote this article, we wouldn't hide behind some sock puppet.

Devrim

Red Marriott
May 27 2015 14:17
Flint wrote:
I am kind of amazed people defend it though.

I don't see where anyone has defended it - please point that out. Eg, I asked you to say who you thought it was - that's hardly defending sock-puppetry. Sock-puppetry may be bad practice, but making accusations of it and then responding as you have to reasonable and unsurprising requests to clarify that claim isn't too great either.

kurekmurek
May 27 2015 15:25

Ok, I guess you mean me. I said only this:

Quote:
Also my little experiment kind of proved Flint that this Anti-war is actually another poster and most propably a turkish one I suppose (or maybe kurdish but he seems not to know kurdish but who knows)

I did not said it is a long term poster. I said this person is possibly Turkish well because he uses Turkish/Kurdish media very extensively. Photos from Diha or radikal etc... I did not pointed to nobody. I also think there are definitely other posters from Turkey in forums, which I am sure you personally know. (anyway let's leave them aside)

As I stated above I consider the top picture from unrelated event as a deliberate attempt at production of fake information related to Rojava (which is still not changed btw). Moreover I consider selection of misleading bits of quotes (see Flint's comment above) and images from media (selecting the journal covers that only have Ocalan pictures) to produce a misleading impression as a deliberate attempt at production of misleading information. And I do not know anything related to Anti-War except they only writes fabrication articles mixing fantasy and facts and present and past except one comment they made in a totally unrelated issue.
So I do not know who they really are. I did not pointed to anyone for now, OK?

As my last word on the issue, it is too hard to say against Anti-War except tracing the sources of their out of context or one-sided photos. Because ultimately Anti-War has no argument at all. He just rewrites the same image he has about Kurdish freedom movement over and over again. Well when you criticize this attempt at false image production by repetition and old/wrong image circulation, someone else can always say you just "disagree" with anti-war.

I am now thinking Anti-war actually successfully does whatever they want to do. They produce articles we comment under making the articles a "hot" topic. Trying to solve the issues and problems within it, we kind of fall into a trap. This devours our own time to maybe produce good and concrete articles with good (con or pro) arguments. Notice Anti-war does not spent any time replying to anything really, they continue their next propaganda piece. It is just sad that a medium as beautiful as this site is used like this. I also feel very bad that when you try to warn people of these fabrications or misleading quotes, generally get like 5 or so down votes if not more. And I am called an admirer of Ocalan. It is weird how one determined person can stagnate or prevent a possibly fruitful discussion between different ideas and alienate possibly so many people to develop and express their views so successfully.

Spikymike
May 27 2015 18:05

Well Anti War has a rather obsesive singular line of attack against the surely undenighable hero worship of Ocalan and is rightly skeptical regarding the political evolution of Ocalan and the PKK and may well be selective in their use of sources as a result, but some corrections aside, this is still justifiable as a counterweight to the PKK enthusiasts swamping this site with repetitive material arguing for the 'revolutionary anti-capitalist' content of the PKK influenced struggle in Rojava which whatever else it might claim, it isn't.

Flint
May 27 2015 18:46

You don't counter-weight first person accounts of current events of folks actually present in Rojava with twenty-two year old quotes deliberately taken out of context to mean the opposite of their original intent.

Well, I guess you do if you are "Anti War".

Plenty of bad shit going on that there is no need to make stuff up. For example, I posted up the Human Rights Watch criticisms and related content in regards to the suppression of the protest in Amuda, the use of teenage soldiers, the conscription law, etc...

Red Marriott
May 27 2015 19:25
Spikymike wrote:
Well Anti War has a rather obsesive singular line of attack against the surely undenighable hero worship of Ocalan and is rightly skeptical regarding the political evolution of Ocalan and the PKK and may well be selective in their use of sources as a result, but some corrections aside, this is still justifiable as a counterweight to the PKK enthusiasts swamping this site with repetitive material arguing for the 'revolutionary anti-capitalist' content of the PKK influenced struggle in Rojava which whatever else it might claim, it isn't.

Agreed. Whatever Anti-War's faults/errors, they seem imo to be being fixated on and being blown out of proportion by opponents in a lame attempt to discredit all his content - in resentment at someone putting in as much effort as the pro-Rojavans but from a largely opposing angle. It's almost like they don't like this stuff being made an issue.

Red Marriott
May 27 2015 21:16
JK/admins wrote:
If anyone has evidence Anti War is a sock-puppet account please post it, or contact the admins, as sock-puppetting is not allowed.

Can we assume Flint that, as you presumably raised the accusation in good faith and not as only an attempted smear of an awkward opponent, that you've given the info you base your claims on to admins? If it exists you don't seem to want to share it here.

Flint
May 27 2015 21:35
Red Marriott wrote:
JK/admins wrote:
If anyone has evidence Anti War is a sock-puppet account please post it, or contact the admins, as sock-puppetting is not allowed.

Can we assume Flint that, as you presumably raised the accusation in good faith and not as only an attempted smear of an awkward opponent, that you've given the info you base your claims on to admins? If it exists you don't seem to want to share it here.

Fucking drop it. I don't give a shit anymore.

Pennoid
May 27 2015 22:31

Weird.

Flint
May 27 2015 22:45

.