Democratic Confederalism

Democratic Confederalism, according to Abdullah Öcalan, is a libertarian socialist political system that "is open towards other political groups and factions. It is flexible, multi-cultural, anti-monopolistic, and consensus-oriented."[1]

Öcalan, who is the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, founded this ideology while in prison. While originally a Marxist–Leninist organization, the organization modified their views as Öcalan began corresponding with Murray Bookchin and incorporating his ideology. Towards the end of his life, Bookchin became disenchanted with the increasingly apolitical elements of the contemporary anarchist movement and developed libertarian municipalism instead.[2] The central pillars of democratic confederalism are social ecology and anarchist feminism.[3]

According to Abdullah Öcalan, his ideology is rooted in participatory democracy and autonomy at the local level. From his book:

The stronger the participation the more powerful is this kind of democracy. While the nation-state is in contrast to democracy, and even denies it, democratic confederalism constitutes a continuous democratic process.
Abdullah Öcalan[4]
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Adherents don't see the revolutionary overthrow of a state as a way to create sustainable change. Rather, social issues and issues relating to freedom and justice must be resolved by a democratic-confederal process. If a nation-state chooses to go on the offensive, however, supporters may resist with the self-defense force of the democratic confederation (such as the People's Protection Units (YPG)).[5]

Adherents allow the creation of a global confederate assembly which could put forward a platform of civil liberties, as an alternative to the United Nations which they see as an association of nation-states and dominated by the great powers. However, in Democratic Confederalism the focus is on the local level, organizing Confederalism globally is not excluded, but not the interest of the ideology.[6]

The ideology has experienced a growth in interest since adherents such as the YPG of the Rojava revolution have engaged in combat against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[7]

See also


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