In light of the current coronavirus crisis, we publish an analysis of Kurdish People’s Leader Öcalan adressing the issue of spreading diseases caused by Capitalist Modernity. The text is taken from Öcalan’s defense called “In Defense of a People”, which will be published soon by the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan – Peace in Kurdistan”.
Power and exploitation in the hands of the bourgeoisie have developed like a cancer devouring society. This social cancer has the same effects as cancer hitting people, AIDS or similar diseases. The moment capitalist society was born, Hobbes defines power (the state) as a necessity “to prevent every man from becoming a wolf for the other man”. The opposite is correct. Capitalism establishes its dominion to make man become a wolf for the other man. In modern times man has become a wolf, not only for man, but for the entire nature. How could this class aiming at maximizing profit and accumulation not exploit society and nature once it comes to power?
No dominant social system has attacked the foundations of society as capitalism has done
Marxism scrupulously analyzed concepts such as value, profit, work, imperialism and war. In order, however, to better understand their function within Marxism, it is necessary to observe them in the context we have presented here. The descriptions of the “fake messiah” in the Holy Scriptures, which should arrive shortly before the apocalypse, are quite well suited to this class. No dominant social system has attacked and destroyed the foundations of society and the natural environment, as capitalism has done. The nation is transformed into nationalism and fascism with racist connotations, the domination of nature in an ecological catastrophe, the profit in massive unemployment. At the same time capitalism devours itself. It gradually loses its specific characteristics and falls apart. It is capitalism itself, not the proletariat, which makes the counterrevolution against itself. It will be possible to start a new social age only by overcoming capitalist class society.
The society for the first time has realised that it’s trapped in chaos
The fact that capitalism considers “everyone a wolf for the other” creates a general security problem. Social security is not only threatened by external factors, such as crime or legally defined crimes, instead elementary threats are above all hunger and unemployment produced by the system itself. Due to rising costs on the one hand and population growth on the other, education and health problems remain unresolved. Chaos-causing diseases such as cancer, AIDS and stress are spreading. The society, which sees itself robbed of basic vital needs, such as the environment, housing, health, education, work and safety, realizes for the first time in history that it cannot find radical solutions and that it is trapped in chaos. The lack of a way out causes dizziness.
When communitarian solidarity breaks down and traditional defense mechanisms are weakened, individual power or a small group take their place. The terror of the tribe and clan develops to oppose the terror of the powerful. To the extent that the political-military power system emerges openly in state structures, a situation of legitimate self-defense is created for society. To the extent that the general state legal norms of equality are not applied, the embargo on human rights and democratic freedom of opinion applies and popular defense forces also necessarily emerge. This leads to a spiral of power and counterpower, which instead of contributing to the solution of the crisis, exacerbates it.
Sport and art are transformed into anesthetizing tools
Activities such as sport and art, which should in fact help to mitigate and eliminate material contradictions, as well as facilitate mutual understanding, are instead transformed into anesthetizing tools, which contribute to creating false illusions. A similar function is attributed to religion, congregations and sects, which prevent society from discerning reality. Transcendental worlds and conservative communities are built, which act as obstacles on the way to a real solution. The trio sport, art and religion is robbed of its true historical-social essence, in order to make society blind and insensitive, with fenders and stone hearts. With them, illusory paradigms are created, in order to make the lack of a way out accepted as inevitable. This type of resistance against chaos generates the opposite effect, that is, it multiplies it further.
Especially in similar times, art, science and technology should act as protective mechanisms and play an illuminating, constructive and guiding role in the reorganization. The extreme monopoly of official power, however, prevents them from performing this function and from producing social solutions. Science is limited to analyzing the aspects of the individual parties, without an overview, or to shooting sparrows with a cannon. Huge resources are wasted on useless armaments and wars, rather than on solving urgent problems; men are directed towards profit-oriented products, opposite to the basic needs of society. The negative effects of all of this help to reinforce chaos.
We could expand beyond the definition of chaos, for which the system is responsible and in which the whole society has been involved. But for our purpose this description is sufficient. If we do not become aware of this chaos situation, but think and act as if we were living in a normal situation, we will not be able to avoid elementary errors that we will repeat indefinitely, instead of finding a solution.
The battle must be won especially on the level of the intellectthat is, of the mentality
In times like these, intellectual efforts are far more important than in other times. In particular, since traditional scientific structures, such as universities and religion, contribute more to incomprehension than to understanding, any truly enlightenment intellectual effort is even more precious. Science and religion, slaves of power, are extremely effective in spreading false and distorted paradigms. In times like these we should be very careful about the counterrevolutionary role of religion, art and sport. There is an ever greater need for a certain science and scientific structures capable of offering society real projects and the right paradigms, which I would call “socio-scientific schools and academies”. The battle must be won especially on the level of the intellect, that is, of the mentality. We live in a time in which the intellectual revolution is of decisive importance.
A mentality revolution must take place in union with moral values. When mentality conquests do not go hand in hand with moral and ethical ones, the result remains uncertain and, in any case, transitory. The enormous ethical ruin wrought by the system must be borne in mind and, consequently, the ethical and moral conduct, personalities and institutions necessary and precious for society must be put in place.
A battle against chaos, which is devoid of ethics and morals, can engulf the individual and society. Morality can never ignore social traditions, but must develop a new social ethics in harmony with them. Since the dominant system in the chaos phase uses political institutions and their tools only for demagoguery, one must be particularly careful with the choice of means and political instruments. In order for parties, elections, parliaments and regional governments to have their role in the realization of the ecological-democratic society, they must be able to develop the tools for solving problems.
There must be a close relationship between the political organization, with its practice, and the society built in a democratic, municipal and ecological sense. In the chaos phase, these generally formulated procedures must be implemented.