Liberating the Middle East from the Nation-State

Guerillas playing traditional instruments in the mountains

Published on Komun Academy on July 2nd 2020

Why is the emphasis on the beginning of history important? Sociality plays a dominant role in the path of being human. Sociality is not independent of the place in which it occurs. Space, conditions and historical periods have obvious effects on this. The Middle East has played a cradle role in human social life, in creating communal values. The Neolithic Revolution, the most important revolution of the in history of humanity along with settled life, has developed step by step in the Middle East, in the region of Kurdistan. It has created and exposed the first examples of the industrial-technical dimensions and the ideological-belief structures that are still part of our lives today. This region, which has played its role of creativity at this level, has been able to carry social wealth and diversity in its bosom for the longest time in terms of belief, culture, language, folklore and many more aspects of human life.

Considering the social reality of an era, how did this region, which was a heavenly oasis, become the target of all kinds of attacks? How did the peoples, beliefs and cultures become witness of these strangling wars? Will the attacks on the conquest of the Middle East really yield results or will it the attacks be fruitless?

The Middle East is perhaps the most important region of productivity and social wealth. The peoples, beliefs and cultures that have emerged attest to this this. It never failed in the historical role it played for the world, even in its weakest moments. It maintained and preserved its character of being a birth center in terms of ideologies, beliefs, moral philosophies, cultures and social struggles. It never failed to develop human values with wisdom, morality, socialism and culture. It continues this role today. The first cores of the intellectual accumulation emerging in the world from mythology to religion, from moral to philosophy, from science to political collections were formed in this area. The answers to important periods that the science of history tries to enlighten, are also thought to be hidden in the bosom of these lands. The truths revealed suggest that we should take the importance of the Middle East in human history more seriously. The way to drop the masks that protect the interests of capitalist modernity is to look more carefully and to better understand the reality of Mesopotamia and the Middle East, which brought forth the truth.

The Middle East, which has hosted such important social revolutions, is now facing some of capitalist modernity’s most brutal and consistent attacks. There are reasons why its targeted by these attacks. The Middle East is one of the most fundamental areas where the communal values of humanity are present in everyday life and as resistance in politics. It is the area that is least affected by the system that capitalism is trying to create. Capitalist modernity, which in one way or another has consolidated its power worldwide, has failed to conquer this area, even though it has turned the Middle East into a nation-state cemetery. This nation-state trap, developed by capitalism in order to add people to its system of exploitation, even though it has serious problems in many parts of the world, somehow remains practice. The nation-state may not have subjected the entire society, but it has integrated a significant part into its system. In the Middle East, society has always torn off this straitjacket that modernity is trying to put it on. The peoples of the Middle East, which are based on maintaining communal democratic values as a social tradition, have insisted on their differences against monism. With these differences, it has made life a cultural tradition.

It is important to bring up the subject of the Middlle East being a continuous target for the attacks of capitalist colonialism. First we have to talk about the role this region played in history. As the birthplace of civilization, it is known that the first mythological and religious paradigms were integrated in the societal culture in this region. Especially polytheistic religions expressed their first original examples here. It is also an important particularity that the birth center of monotheistic religions that still deeply affect the world system, is this area. We are talking about an ideological creation center with its history and compositions. There is a connected reason to want to conquer this region, where the basic codes of social life emerged. They want to control these lands where most of the holy sites of the spiritual world are located, and to make religious communities and peoples serve them through these schools of faith. A second point is that the region has rich energy resources. These energy resources increase the strategic value of the region. Mandatory supply of energy resources in the region is required for the operation of the anti-ecology and anti-social capitalist industrial machinery. It is vital that these resources are usurped, secured, and transferred to areas where capitalism’s factories are operated. Whatever blood means for the body of a living being to survive, capturing the rich energy resources of the Middle East and transferring it to the industrial areas without any problems for capitalist colonialism has a similar meaning. It is precisely for this reason that regimes, administrations, and peoples in this area must be kept under control. Any disruption and problem that may arise for the profits of capitalism will trigger different problems in this exploitation system. Especially the peoples, cultures, belief groups etc. that could not be taken under absolute sovereignty. Social identities are considered dangerous in this regard. The regime that can eliminate this danger is the nation-state.

Nation-state constructions settled to some degree on the European continent, but only after two major world wars and many local wars, and the death of millions of people. Nevertheless it could not solve all social problems and could not prevent their escalation. Numerous treaties, interstate mechanisms and organizations have been established to control these problems. While a temporary calm has been achieved, the problems reflected on racism, sexism, religionism and science show that the nation-state mentality keeps fascism alive. While this is the case in Europe, the wars and conflicts that have been going on for 200 years in the Middle East show that the ingredients don’t match. Capitalism turns people all over the world and in the Middle East into wolves and makes religions and sects clash with each other. It displays the nation-state construction as an up-to-date project. When we look at this process that is happening under our very noses, it will not be difficult to see that the nation-state mentality in the Middle East has really turned into a “slaughterhouse of peoples and religions”. States that seize the riches and values of the Middle East according to their own criteria of democracy for their political interests, are not even a subject of discussion for the people living in the region. The task of these cooperative nation-states built by capitalism is to make society spineless during this extortion process. If a trace of struggle or resistance arises, it will try to liquidate it with a wide variety of brutal, massacring methods.

In the Middle East, especially in the last 200 years, the governments have generally been shaped as centralised, anti-democratic and anti-social structures. “In the Middle East, nation-states were not formed with revolutions, they were built by the hegemonic system. The main purpose of these states is to colonize their people in the strictest way on behalf of this system. In this sense, they were successful.” Why did the Middle East, which also contains important examples of societies’ search for a democratic and free life, encounter such state structures and governments? During the processes in which these nation-state constructions took place, we can also see important national liberation struggles against capitalist colonialism. But these struggles were not enough to develop democratic social administrations and practices. Since the colonial mentality was not fully resolved, they became nation-states and local governors of capitalist colonialism, a despotic form that added to capitalist modernity. The movements of struggle that tried to stay out of this were eliminated early on. In either case, the anger of the people for change and the anger against colonialism could not turn into a democratic system and acquisition.

Especially in the 20th century, serious resistance was shown against the regime constructions of capitalist hegemony. These could be based on the national liberation line, as well as paradigms based on faith and culture. The Palestinian resistance, which marked the 20th century, is a very important and instructive example. When global hegemony (mainly Britain) acted for the establishment of the Israeli nation-state, the Palestinian people also developed a legitimate resistance to this occupation. However, it was not understood why such a nation-state was built in the Middle East during the development of this resistance. So, the process turned into a competition of nation-states’ construction. When the aim was to establish everyone’s own nation-state and turn it into a dominance over the other, legitimate resistance suffered a serious obstruction and turned into a struggle between peoples and beliefs. Insisting on the nation-state mentality has a decisive influence on the creation of this situation. This problem, which continues as a problem deepened by the statist mentality and dimensioned against the people, remains a serious social-political crisis. Again, the ongoing contradictions between the Shia block on the Iranian axis and the Sunni Arab block continue in the nation-state era. Historical contradictions and problems can be used as opportunities by capitalist modernity to realize its aims. It should be emphasized that capitalist colonialism is very talented in this regard. The “Divide, Smash and Rule” policy, which was implemented as the British tactic, is still a tool in the Middle East that maintains its validity. These huge problems caused by modernity and its nation-state mentality contribute to the deepening of the crisis, as well as those who see this mentality as a drug for their own liberation. Every effort that connects the life of a people, a belief, a culture or a language as a mentality to the domination of another, that tries to shape and manage societies through engineering, comes to the same door as the disaster of capitalism.

Nation-state fascism does not allow the people to breath. This mentality, the making of capitalist modernity, and its management model do not democratize systems, but makes authoritarian, despotic, monopolistic and male-dominated approaches the basis of their political principles. That’s why the desire for change, action and rebellion appears in societies. The phenomenon called the Arab Spring actually was the People’s Spring against nation-state fascism. But people unprepared without an organizational and common program failed to realize a truly democratic social revolution, despite shaking many despotic governments and overthrowing some governments. As can be seen in some examples, the classes and groups that came out of their “safe” corners where the social demand for change and action are hidden are not few. In addition to the revolutionary anger and courage of the society, without a focus on an alternative system, a worse new nation-state and power building can take place. This shows that objection, rejection and rebellion alone are not enough. There are a lot of social resistance movements that do not show the same courage in creating an alternative system. The inadequacies in this matter may result in the nation-state rebuilding and this time by the oppressed.

The people of the Middle East discuss this contradiction. Especially the Kurdistan freedom movement, and the solutions presented by our leader Abdullah Öcalan for these problems, have created excitement in the Middle East. These perspectives, which have been observed and comprehended by the peoples of the region for some time, have demonstrated their power of solution with the practice of the Rojava Revolution. The Democratic Nation paradigm of Abdullah Öcalan showed that the nation-state mentality in which the peoples of the Middle East are forced to adapt and the disaster created by this mentality is not the only option for the people. On the contrary, it showed that the Middle East’s historical, social and mentality power has the potential to break this circle of fascist regimes.

The ancient people of the Middle East were always seeking ways to get out of the conditions of exploitation, oppression and slavery that have been going on for centuries. This quest, with the Kurdish freedom struggle, has not only been limited to Kurds but has managed to offer a new perspective of life to the Middle East and the world with the power of the solution it contains. There are many regional imperialist states here, such as the colonial Turkish state, who are the guardians of the status quo. People are also under the genocidal grip of these states. The struggles that started with national liberation struggles have expanded and spread as social liberation struggles. The free and democratic life of the Kurdish people is intertwined with the free and democratic life of other people. The freedom of society is related to the solution of the liberation of women, who are faced with the heaviest colonial and slavery imposed in the entire region. The stealing of social values by capitalist modernity is also one of the problems for the freedom of society. Of course, these issues can be multiplied. But the problems in the Middle East do not fall within the political borders of any nation-state drawn 100 years ago. Because the existence of no people, religion or identity fit within these boundaries drawn with a ruler. The nation-states trying to protect the borders and the status quo in the region did not have any problems in carrying out the genocidal attacks when the issue is people seeking freedom. Social resistance forces must also cooperate as nation-states have done to liquidate democratic popular movements. The democratic nation mentality is based on ensuring the free life and resistance sisterhood of peoples against the genocidal brotherhood of nation-states. The provocation of peoples against each other is not based on reality. This allows nation-giants to take advantage of contradictions between people while controlling their communities.

In the social areas where statist culture and nation-state tools do not extend their reach, the tension between the people and faiths is almost nonexistent. Peoples living with the communal values of socialism were drawn to such hostilities through the canalization of modernity. Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Turks, Assyrians, Armenians and other people living in the region have been made to distrust each other as much as possible in these nation-state regimes. Capitalist modernity, which positions people against each other, has done so with the promise of giving everyone a nation-state. Neither those who have a nation-state, nor those who have been racing toward this goal for more then a hundred years, have been able to reach those prosperous days. The Middle East proves this fact sufficiently with the reality it is in today. The only solution that will save the people from this swamp is the democratic nation, the democratic society. The Rojava revolution has shown that social governance mechanisms can be created without attempting nation-state construction, and that the people can live with their own will to organize their own lives. Moreover, this can be accomplished without creating new privileged classes, groups and identities.

Rojava and its social identities are among the survivors of the centuries-old exploitation history of the Middle East. Today, with the democratic nation paradigm Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, and Turkmens have ceased to be victims of nation-state politics and mentality and have become subjects of their democratic and free lives. The existence of one does not require the disappearance of the other. This idea is a product of the nation-state’s memorization of the lessons of capitalist modernity and its positivist science. The truth is that one people sees their free and equal existence in the other’s free existence. This process is of great importance for every people, belief and identity. But the Middle East is an area where the Arab people are concentrated. The free life practices we have seen across history are also present in this region. But it is also known that human will can be overwhelmed and made unable to speak for itself. Now the situation has changed. The Kurdish freedom struggle and the Rojava revolution have become a pre-Middle Eastern revolution for all the social structures and identities it carries. The role played by the Arab people in this matter is also very important. The Arab people are under the pressure of capitalist colonialism, both economically, religiously and socially. For this reason, it is in a reality that seeks the most freedom and is in search of it. The quest for freedom is very dynamic and powerful. Because of this potential of freedom, it is kept under control and supervision by dozens of nation-states.

The phenomenon of revolution witnessed many instructive experiences in the 20th century, producing enough results to draw lessons. Revolutions ceased to be a pendulum between destroying and creating a state. The practice of revolution in Kurdistan has shown that the most qualified revolutionary work is to organize society, to establish the democratic system as you organize, to defend society against the capitalist modernity mentality. How is society defended? Are purely military methods involved? As we understand it, society is primarily defended with a democratic communal mentality. It is defended with a democratic nation understanding. The freedom force of society is defended by the struggle for the freedom of women. It is defended by self-efficacy and education that creates democratic and free personalities. The society is defended by the creation of a will in which people can make decisions for their own and not on behalf of the public. Therefore, society is defended by being able to speak and act for yourself. Defending society also requires a strong construction of self-defense.

The people and religions of the Middle East are multicultural in a region that is the expression of social freedom. This makes it a source of distinctive wealth. The age we are in reflects monism and monochromatism as an ideal. It is this nation-state fascism and its problems that keep the Middle East connected to this long-term crisis. The way to get rid of these problems is to build an equal, free and democratic system in the Middle East by the people.