FREEDOM FOR OCALAN CAMPAIGN – BOOK LAUNCH Abdullah Ocalan, Manifesto for a Democratic Civilisation, Volume II: Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings

The book is published by New Compass Press, Norway: new-compass.net and International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan-Peace in Kurdistan, Germany: Freedom-for-ocalan.com; info@freedom-for-ocalan.com
The book was translated by Havin Guneser; the preface was written by Dr Radha D’Souza.

Report by Trevor Rayne

The launch of the English translation of this important work was hosted in London by Unite the Union and supported by Peace in Kurdistan and Centre for Kurdish Progress on 19 June 2017. Approximately 50 people attended. Unite, along with the GMB union, launched the Freedom for Ocalan Campaign in 2016. Opening the meeting, Simon Dubbins, International Director of Unite, described Abdullah Ocalan as ‘one of this century’s and the past century’s biggest political thinkers’ and emphasised that Ocalan’s release is essential to any meaningful negotiations towards peace in Turkey and the Middle East. Dubbins described his visit to Diyarbakir and how he witnessed ‘the brutality and unrestrained violence of the Turkish state’ towards the Kurdish people, for whom Ocalan is their leader. Unite has come to recognise the significance of the Kurdish struggle in the Middle East, and in Britain the Trade Union Congress passed a resolution on trade union rights in Turkey, which included demands for the recognition of Kurdish rights and freedom for Abdullah Ocalan. Simon Dubbins introduced presentations by Dilar Dirik and Radha D’Souza.

Dilar Dirik, a Phd student at the University of Cambridge, addressed Ocalan’s writings and said that this second volume is one of five books written as part of his self-defence, while held as a prisoner by the Turkish state on Imrali island. Dilar outlined the conditions in which Ocalan is held, his isolation and denial of elementary legal rights, and Ocalan’s efforts to initiate a peace process. She stressed that Abdullah Ocalan views his own isolation as integral to the isolation of the Kurdish issue; they are inextricably linked. In the same way, the fate of Ocalan is tied to fate of the Kurds, which is in turn the key for the prospects for democracy in Turkey.

In his first volume, Civilisation: the Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings, Ocalan explains that in order to understand contemporary capitalism and overcome it we must understand previous societies, going back to the emergence of patriarchy. Dilar said that Ocalan traces systems of hierarchy and domination back to the development of the City state, some 5,000 and more years ago. She said that Ocalan sees that there was always an alternative stream within these societies that contributed to their cultures. In the third volume, on a Sociology of Freedom, Abdullah Ocalan says that we need to re-examine how we look at religion, mythology and philosophy in order to realise the potential that is carried within the alternative over the ages. The fourth and fifth volumes explore the Kurdish people’s situation and propose a democratic confederal system as a way of overcoming the hierarchical and domineering nation state. This is not just a way forward for the Kurds but also for the wider Middle East and the world.

Dilar pointed to achievements in Rojava where Ocalan’s theories have been put into practice. Here women are central to their own emancipation, the re-ordering of society and practice of everyday life. Dilar concluded by referring to the dehumanisation of society under capitalism and its tragic manifestation in the recent burning down and death in Grenfell Tower, London. We need to organise, she said.

Dr Radha D’Souza works as an academic; she teaches law and campaigns for social justice. Radha began by reinforcing the view that Abdullah Ocalan is an important thinker and that this second volume of the Manifesto for a Democratic Civilisation is a deeply philosophical book. Following Ocalan, Radha said that it is necessary to undertake philosophy to do history, and to do sociology it is necessary to do history and without sociology you cannot conduct politics and without politics we cannot change our conditions – hence philosophy is essential to us and the way we live.

Radha asked ‘What is the problem he [Ocalan] wants to address?’ She instanced national liberation movements that demanded a state, but then upon achieving power the state ends up oppressing people and not liberating them. Coming from South Asia, Radha explained that India had an enlightenment tradition going back to the thirteenth century onwards until the times of the East India Company in the eighteenth century. This tradition inculcated an aspect of rebellion in people, saying: do not seek to seize state power but be prepared to rebel. She noted that in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the movement against the Empire in India did not want a unified centralised state, foreseeing this as a potential disaster, but wanted a confederal solution instead. The movement used the words ‘democratic confederation’ and said that India was multi-lingual and multi-cultural and that a centralised state would be destructive. Radha said that she found Ocalan to be very much a thinker and writer of the East.

Abdullah Ocalan asks what makes societies and communities hang together, and he answers: the need to survive. Repeating Ocalan, Radha said that capitalism destroys the conditions of human life; the struggle is no longer about the state but is about human survival. Capitalism saps our ability to rebel, in particular it promotes individualism. With the democratic confederalism that Abdullah Ocalan proposes communities must come together to organise politically, economically and culturally. In the struggle for communitarianism, old structures and traditions still survive and can contribute. ‘It is time for another liberation struggle’ concluded Radha.

Given the perilous state of the Middle East, the critical juncture for the Kurdish struggle and the fact that Abdullah Ocalan has been held in prison since 1999 and given the scope of his writings, questions and contributions from the audience were wide ranging. Estella Schmid from Peace in Kurdistan made the essential point that Ocalan’s ‘thinking comes out of practical issues that have to be confronted’. The books are not final statements but are work in progress. Ocalan puts different aspects of the Kurdish struggle into words, for example the situation in Syria is not the same as in Turkey, so how do you find alternative ways forward for different settings? How can Ocalan achieve a definitive document when he is isolated and imprisoned, denied access to discuss his ideas with others, denied access to many texts that he could use?

Other contributions raised the issue of Kurds and alliances, the relation to the United States, the character of Barzani and the Kurdistan Regional Government, the growing international prestige of the Kurdish struggle and of Abdullah Ocalan. One contributor warned that Turkish President Erdogan wants to restore the death penalty in Turkey and that this is a threat to Ocalan’s life, just as the stance of the Turkish state is killing Kurdish people today.

In his summing up, Simon Dubbins remarked that for the Kurds to have achieved what they have done in Rojava, with women and youth at the forefront, deserves our praise and that for Ocalan to have written the book under such isolation is a ‘truly remarkable achievement’. The overriding message from the book launch must be that we spread the word about the Kurds and Abdullah Ocalan, we get more people involved supporting their struggle and we discuss and we learn as we do so – using the tools and lessons that they are providing us with. Yes, it is time for another liberation struggle.

For information contact
PEACE IN KURDISTAN: www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.org <http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.org>
Estella Schmid at estella24@tiscali.co.uk <mailto:estella24@tiscali.co.uk> – mobile: 07846 666804

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FREEDOM FOR OCALAN CAMPAIGN – BOOK LAUNCH

Abdullah Ocalan: Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, Volume II Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings

(JN) A5 Ocalan Book Launch Leaflet

MONDAY 19th June 2017, 6pm

To understand how capitalism has come to engulf our world, we must understand how it developed out of classical civilization. Its historical roots lie in the emergence of hierarchies, power, monopolies and the nation-state, argues Abdullah Ocalan.

Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings is the second book in a new five-volume work called Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization. Together, they present the synthesis of Ocalan’s political thinking. This volume completes his journey through the history of civilizations, preparing the ground for the upcoming volume on The Sociology of Freedom. Continue reading

INFORMATION FILE 10.01.2017 The Freedom of Abdullah Öcalan Will Guarantee the Success of the Peace Process in Turkey

The Committee for Freedom of Öcalan c/o KNK Rue Jean Stas 41, 1060 Bruxelles  

Contents

  1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
  2. 2016 REPORT ON RIGHTS AND INFRINGEMENTS IN IMRALI PRISON  ……………….4-7
  3. IMRALI PEACE DELEGATION IN ISTANBUL……………………………………………….8-10
  4. IMRALI PEACE DELEGATION IN STRASBOURG…………………………………………10-11
  5. TRANSFORMATION PERIOD………………………………………………………… …….11 – 12
  6. EFFORTS FOR PEACE AND RESPONSE……………………………………………………..12-13
  7. IMPACT ON THE MIDDLE EAST………………………………………………………………13-14
  8. ISOLATION…………………………………………………………………………………….14 – 15
  9. ISOLATION: FACTS AND FIGURES……………………………………………………… …….16
  10. THE EU AND THE REALITY IN TURKEY…………………………………………………………………… 17
  11. UNITE and GMB APPEAL TO JOIN AND SUPPORT THE ‘FREEDOM FOR ÖCALAN’ CAMPAIGN………………………………………………………………………………………… ….18
  12. ASSASSINATION PLANS AGAINST MR ABDULLAH ÖCALAN……………………………19
  13. FREEDOM FOR ÖCALAN SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FORM……..…………………………20
  14. NOTARY APPROVAL………………..…………………………………………………………….21

 Introduction:

In 1998, Turkey threatened Syria with war if Syria did not expel the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan from the country. As a result of this threat, Abdullah Öcalan left Syria and travelled to Europe in order to promote a political solution. However, due to continued pressure from Turkey, Öcalan could not find amnesty in Europe and eventually found himself in Kenya. Continue reading

Statements call for Ocalan’s release on the anniversary of his expulsion from Syria

CENI WOMEN’S OFFICE FOR PEACE

The Syrian war started with the expulsion of Abdullah Öcalan

His freedom is our freedom

 

On 9 October 1998 Abdullah Öcalan was expelled from Syria, due to pressure from the Turkish government. As a result of an international plot he was later kidnapped and since 1999 has been in a Turkish prison, held under the most severe conditions of solitary confinement. Nevertheless in 2007 the Turkish state started negotiations with him as the representative of the Kurdish freedom movement. However, since 5 April this year he has been cut out of the negotiating delegation and has been kept completely isolated. This treatment of a significant political prisoner holds an entire society hostage and has a detrimental influence on peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Peace negotiations with the participation of Abdullah Öcalan, as well as his freedom, are directly linked to the freedom of the people in the Middle East. Continue reading

Hunger Strike for the Freedom of Öcalan

We received this statement yesterday from the Freedom for Ocalan Committee, which has initiated a 5 day hunger strike for Abdullah Ocalan and to call once again for his release from prison in Imrali island. The campaign for freedom for the recognised leader of the Kurdish movement continues.

Hunger Strike for the Freedom of Öcalan

Ocalan flagWe, the members of Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Committee and representatives of Kurdish institutions in Europe have started a five-day hunger strike (28 September -2 October 2015) to demand the freedom for Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The hunger strike action is a symbolic appeal as part of the “Freedom for Öcalan” campaign, and calls on the Kurdish people living in Europe, their political friends, allies from Turkey and all those waging a common struggle against fascism under the democracy and freedom bloc to stand by the participants of the action for Öcalan’s freedom.
Continue reading

Freedom for Ocalan Committee renews call for his release

The Committee for the Freedom of Ocalan has published a new information file detailing the importance of Abdullah Ocalan for the Kurdish freedom movement and for the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East. It is available to download here (pdf). A full statement from the Committee is below:

The Kurdish question in Turkey entered a new phase with the publication of Abdullah Öcalan’s Newroz letter on March 21, 2013, 2014 and 2015, calling for negotiations for peace and democracy. Following these statements an almost three-year negotiation process took place. Continue reading

International Initiative reps speaks at award ceremony for Ocalan in Scotland

Reimar Heider text of speech (short version)
International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan – Peace in Kurdistan”
Glasgow, 20 June 2015

As much as I am happy to be here, I am very sorry to be here. I am sorry to be here, because the reason that I am here is that the person who has been granted Honorary Life Membership in the University of Strathclyde Student’s Association, Abdullah Öcalan, cannot come and thank you all in person. He has been held under strict isolation on a Turkish prison Island  for more than 16 years now.
Continue reading

Strathclyde students honour Kurdish leader imprisoned for 15 years

Press Release

Leading Scottish writer James Kelman was among the speakers at a ceremony to honour imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan held at the University of Strathclyde Students Association (USSA) in Glasgow on Saturday 20 June.

Kelman reflected on history and recalled how,

“The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had been a legitimate political party until the Turkish State began its operation to have the party criminalised as a terrorist organisation. In the 1990s they discredited PKK by blaming them for a massacre in an attempt to influence members of the European Parliament. This was later exposed as a fabrication of the truth, but the Turkish State succeeded in its aim, and the PKK leadership, including Abdulla Ocalan, was outlawed as a result.”  Continue reading

University of Strathclyde Students’ Association grants Honorary Life Membership to Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan

June 19th 2015

Ocalan flagAbdullah Ocalan, imprisoned Kurdish leader, will be granted honorary life membership of the USSA at a ceremony on Saturday 20 June at the University of Strathclyde Students Association in Vertigo at 5pm.

Joining the students at the ceremony will be award winning prominent Scottish writer and cultural and political campaigner James Kelman and Reimer Heider, spokesperson of the International Initiative “Freedom for Ocalan-Peace in Kurdistan”.

  Continue reading

Message of support to Plaid Cymru

On Election Day today, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign wishes Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, great success. Over the last few weeks, Plaid has put the country and people of Wales centre stage in British politics, demonstrating that only they have the belief and determination to bring the concerns of the Welsh people to the heart of British politics.

Plaid presents an excellent alternative to the failed policies of austerity that have only served to entrench inequality across the country. They have taken a principled stand on key issues of the day, for example confronting the power of corporations and opposing the TTIP agreement, while also standing firm on key issues affecting the Kurdish people, such as calling for freedom for Abdullah Ocalan and the delisting of the PKK. Continue reading