Fascinating look at the PKK’s adoption of libertarian socialism, a variation of social anarchism originated by American Murray Bookchin. Although there are a number of tensions if not outright contradictions between the PKK’s past/present actions and the ideology, there were numerous stories of social anarchism taking hold in Kurdish areas in northern Syria prior to the fighting around Kobane.
“Öcalan, an atheist, was finally writing as a free-thinker, unshackled from Marxist-Leninist mythology. He indicated that he was seeking an “alternative to capitalism” and a “replacement for the collapsed model of … ‘really existing socialism’,” when he came across Bookchin. His theory of democratic confederalism developed out of a combination of inspiration from communalist intellectuals, “movements like the Zapatistas”, and other historical factors from the struggle in northern Kurdistan (Turkey). Öcalan proclaimed himself a student of Bookchin, and after a failed email correspondence with the elderly theorist, who was to his regret too sick for an exchange on his deathbed in 2004, the PKK celebrated him as “one of the greatest social scientists of the 20th century” on the occasion of Bookchin’s death two years later.”