When scientific socialism, which for many years was implemented by Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), became too narrow for his purposes, Öcalan deftly answered the call for a radical redefinition of the social sciences. Writing from his solitary cell in İmralı Prison, Öcalan offered a new and astute analysis of what is happening to the Kurdish people, the Kurdish freedom movement, and future prospects for humanity.
The Sociology of Freedom is the fascinating third volume of a five-volume work titled The Manifesto of the Democratic Civilization. The general aim of the two earlier volumes was to clarify what power and capitalist modernity entailed. Here, Öcalan presents his stunningly original thesis of the Democratic Civilization, based on his criticism of Capitalist Modernity.
Ambitious in scope and encyclopedic in execution, The Sociology of Freedom is a one-of-a-kind exploration that reveals the remarkable range of one of the Left’s most original thinkers with topics such as existence and freedom, nature and philosophy, anarchism and ecology. Öcalan goes back to the origins of human culture to present a penetrating reinterpretation of the basic problems facing the twenty-first century and an examination of their solutions. Öcalan convincingly argues that industrialism, capitalism, and the nation-state cannot be conquered within the narrow confines of a socialist context.
Recognizing the need for more than just a critique, Öcalan has advanced what is the most radical, far-reaching definition of democracy today and argues that a democratic civilization, as an alternative system, already exists but systemic power and knowledge structures, along with a perverse sectarianism, do not allow it to be seen.
The Sociology of Freedom is a truly monumental work that gives profuse evidence of Öcalan’s position as one of the most influential thinkers of our day. It deserves the careful attention of anyone seriously interested in constructive thought or the future of the Left.
- “Öcalan’s works make many intellectuals uncomfortable because they represent a form of thought that is not only inextricable from action, but also directly grapples with the knowledge that it is.” —David Graeber author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years
- “Öcalan’s writings written in captivity are thus in the tradition of the ideology of the PKK as a left national liberation movement, which also includes the claim to change their own society. However, Öcalan is apparently also one of those whose political thinking was sharpened by the forced abstinence from daily politics and who succeed in further developing their political thinking in captivity.” —Thomas Schmidinger, author of The Battle for the Mountain of the Kurds: Self-Determination and Ethnic Cleansing in the Afrin Region of Rojava
- “Öcalan’s plea to build a strong and complex self-organized civil society without taking direct action against the state is similar to Zapatismo in Chiapas. . . . Finally, Karl Marx’s realization should be remembered: ‘An idea becomes material violence when it seizes the masses.’ And Abdullah Öcalan’s message has seized the masses in Kurdistan.” —Nikolaus Brauns, historian and journalist, author of Partisanen einer neuen Welt: Eine Geschichte der Linken und Arbeiterbewegung der Türkei
- “Öcalan is the Gramsci of our time.” —Tamir Bar-On, author of The World through Soccer and Beyond Soccer
About the Contributors:
- Abdullah Öcalan actively led the Kurdish liberation struggle as the head of the PKK from its foundation in 1978 until his abduction on February 15, 1999. He is still regarded as a leading strategist and the most important political representative of the Kurdish freedom movement. Under isolation conditions at Imralı Island Prison, Öcalan authored more than ten books that revolutionised Kurdish politics. Several times he initiated unilateral ceasefires of the guerilla and presented constructive proposals for a political solution of the Kurdish issue. For several years, Turkish state authorities led a “dialogue” with Öcalan. Ever since the government broke off the talks in April 2015, he has been being held in total isolation at Imralı Island Prison, with no contact whatsoever with the outside world.” Ocalan
- John Holloway is a professor of sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico. He has published widely on Marxist theory, on the Zapatista movement and on the new forms of anticapitalist struggle. His book Change the World without Taking Power has been translated into eleven languages and has stirred an international debate. His later book Crack Capitalism took the argument further, suggesting that the only way in which we can think of revolution today is as the creation, expansion, multiplication, and confluence of cracks in capitalist domination.
- Havin Guneser is an engineer, journalist, and women’s rights activist who writes and speaks extensively on the topic of revolution in Rojava. She is one of the spokespersons of the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan—Peace in Kurdistan” and translator of several of Öcalan’s books.
- International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan—Peace in Kurdistan” is a multinational peace initiative for the release of Abdullah Öcalan and a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. It was established immediately after his abduction from Nairobi and handing over to the Republic of Turkey on February 15, 1999, following a clandestine operation by an alliance of secret services. Part of its activity is the publication of Öcalan’s works.