Bookchin, Öcalan, and the Dialectics of Democracy

By Janet Biehl

Komun Academy

February 3-5, 2012, a a conference was organized in Hamburg, Germany. The theme was “Challenging Capitalist Modernity: Alternative concepts and the Kurdish Question.” The following text was delivered as a speech to the conference. The speeches have been published as a book as well.

In February 1999, at the moment when Abdullah Öcalan was abducted in Kenya, Murray Bookchin was living with me in Burlington, Vermont. We watched Öcalan’s capture on the news reports. He sympathized with the plight of the Kurds—he said so whenever the subject came up—but he saw Öcalan as yet another Marxist-Leninist guerrilla leader, a latter-day Stalinist.  Murray had been criticizing such people for decades, for misleading people’s impulses toward freedom into authority, dogma, statism, and even—all appearances to the contrary—acceptance of capitalism.


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