Democratic Confederalism

Democratic Confederalism is the ‘political form’ of the Kurdistan Freedom Movement’s philosophy of radical democracy. It is a way to organise ourselves without needing a state, in a way which encompasses ecology and women’s liberation. The concept of democratic confederalism was articulated by Abdullah Öcalan in a pamphlet written during his ongoing captivity in Turkey.

A key element of democratic confederalism is a focus on grassroots, bottom-up political organising through a variety of different structures, ranging from small neighbourhood communes, unions, co-operatives, councils and committees, through a confederated system all the way up to the world-wide KCK. In conjunction with these, parallel structures provide an autonomous space for women’s and youth organising.

Democratic confederalism is a system that embraces unity in diversity and defends the rights of minorities. It can be adapted to any local context, either in the absence of a state, or within existing state structures. The Kurdistan Freedom Movement sees the establishment of democratic confederalism around the world as an act of solidarity with the movement, as well as a necessary step towards global liberation and justice.

The movement has been developing the structures required to implement democratic confederalism for many years within the regions of Kurdistan, although some are more developed than others. Perhaps the best example is the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), which has evolved as part of the Rojava Revolution since 2012. AANES operates as an autonomous entity within Syrian state borders with a population of roughly five million people and spanning a territory approximately the size of the South of England. For a comprehensive overview of how the political system of North and East Syria operates, see this report by the Rojava Information Center.

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