our interviews

december 07, 2023

Our topic is the characteristics of the socialist personality embodied in Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. What is the relation between socialism and Rêber Apo?

A general theoretical answer could be given to this question; the characteristics of the socialist personality could be listed one after the other. A socialist person is a democratic, sharing, libertarian, and egalitarian person. He/she is a militant who values comradeship, honors his/her word and synthesizes his/her words and actions, that is, theory and practice. We can say all of those for Rêber Apo. All of them are related to the truth of his personality in one way or another. But the personality of Rêber Apo and these attributes do not fit together in a straightforward way. As a matter of fact, those who suffice to counting these attributes for him, do not fulfill their requirements.

There is such a weakness in the personality of the socialists. Instead of perceiving socialism as a personality, as a way of life, as an ideology of life, they see it as theory. Some only look at its theoretical dimensions. They define socialism through various wordings and assessments. Some others regard is as mere practice. They see militancy and practice-orientatedness as the dimensions of socialist personality and ignore other dimensions.

Therefore, what is actually important is to find answers for such questions as “what is a socialist personality?”, “what constitutes the essence of a socialist personality?”, “what are the characteristics of a socialist personality? How should they be? what is not a socialist personality or essence?” More precisely, “how should a socialist personality, a socialist life be like?” What are Rêber Apo’s answers to these questions?

It is essential to make a good analysis of how Rêber Apo’s personality and his 50-years-long struggle has answered, and still answers, these questions. It is also very important tried and still tries to give answers to these questions during his 50 years of struggle and also how he embodied the answers in his personality. there are differences in the answers. Rêber Apo’s personality goes beyond these attributes. Rêber Apo’s truth is not tied to some abstract attributes, but is related to real life. Again, it is not partial, but forms an entire whole. It is not uni-dimensional; rather, it incorporates the whole dimensions. It is both theoretical and practical. In other words, the integrity of word-action, theory-practice is embodied in Rêber Apo’s personality.

He does what he says and says what he does. He has neither theorized, nor mentioned what he has not been able to do. He has never called on others to do what he himself has not been able to do. For this is contrary to the principles of socialism. He has asked others to do what he himself has been able to do. He honors his promises. In other words, his life and behavior is not different from his words. This is a very fundamental aspect of Rêber Apo’s personality. This is exactly where we have to look. There is such an integrity and vitality in personality

On the other hand, Rêber Apo broke away from the establishment as he reached the point of being a socialist personality. His “Theory of Rupture was fundamental and very important. Even if he had not yet completely turned his back on the prevailing statist paradigm by 2003 or 2004, had not yet fully understood, defined this rupture, and, accordingly, not formulated it in theory, program, strategy, organization and action, he had nevertheless broken away from a power-focused, statist, patriarchal mentality and politics from the beginning on. He had broken with this establishment. Of course, the breakaway from the life of the establishment was not on the basis of a missing alternative, acting without definition, randomly and without principles. You can break away from the life of the establishment. You can leave school, you can leave your job, you can leave your family environment. There are many people just wandering around. Such people are ideologically or theoretically defined as Lumpens. And there are many that live like this. They are called the people without system. Obviously the breakaway from the establishment by Rêber Apo was not like that. Breaking with the establishment should definitely not be like that. It needs to involve an alternative life system. While he breaks away from the mentality and political structure that ignores the existence of the Kurds and aims at eliminating them, he develops the many aspects of an alternative which foresees establishing a new life system based on the existence and freedom of the Kurds. He reflects such attributes in his life and personality through reflection, action, and attitudes. By breaking away from the establishment as a person, he evolves an anti-establishment alternative system, a system of life. He has such a personality.

We may ask “how he developed this?”. To answer this question we can quote him. For many times he used to say: “If I had not been able to unify the existence and basic values of Kurdish society with my own personality, the attributes of my own personality with the attributes of Kurdish society at the highest level, I would not have been able to reflect so much, I would not have been able to do so many actions. I would not have been able to show the strength to develop ideas and such a practice”. When breaking from the existing establishment, the level of creating an alternative system depends on the level of relation to the society. He is such a social personality that manages to shape a new society, a free society, a democratic society, a free life, a life on the basis of the freedom of women in his own person and gives it a clear frame. A society that expresses itself via one person. This is how Rêber Apo has defined comrade Egîd. He said that Comrade Egîd represented the whole people, the whole society in his heart. This is most holistically and systematically embodied in the truth behind Rêber Apo, in the Apoist [Apoist is a word for someone following the political philosophy of Rêber Apo, Abdullah Öcalan] personality, in the person of Rêber Apo. This aspect is important to mention when we start reflecting on Rêber Apo personality. In other words, it is necessary to see sense of community, socialism and the connection with society well. He reaches out to the society as he breaks away from the establishment. He takes on communal dimensions as he breaks away from the oppressive state system. He envisions a new society based on based on a free life and a democratic system. Rêber Apo represents such a society and creates its characteristics in his own personality.

How did Rêber Apo put these characteristics into practice? How did he ensure the practical development of those characteristics?

First of all, he educated himself on basis of these principles. He fulfilled a revolution in his personality through breaking away from the establishment and and taking on communal dimensions, thus turning it into an alternative system.

After that, he started to share with others what he had done or understood. He spread and shared what he had developed in his own personality. In other words, he did not say, “I have done all this, they all belong to me, they should be limited to me, let me be a one-man power.” Quite the contrary, due to the fact that he carried the characteristics of the society, he foresaw creating his own society and permeating his own characteristics in the society. He did this through educating his surrounding, propagating, and spreading his ideas and principles. This encouraged others to break away from the establishment, break away from the power and state system, and thus start personality revolution. In other words, this rupture underlies the formation of the Apoist group, that is, the PKK. Although its paradigm still envisaged power and the state, it was actually a rupture with the global power and state system that denied and aimed at eliminating the existence of the Kurdish people. Those who did not break away from the existing system could not unify with Rêber Apo. They could not enter the system of life and society represented by such a leadership. They were in contradictions with this new life system at many levels. Either they resolved their contradictions, made their own personality revolution and marched with Rêber Apo, or they went back again and reintegrated with the system. There were many such people. There have been such people since 1975. There have always been some. But were there also those who understood and joined the leadership, united with him, and participated in the sociality of the leadership at the most advanced level? Yes, there were. There were those who participated at a level that Rêber Apo even described them as “my hidden soul”. There were people like Haki Karer, Kemal Pir, Mazlum Dogan or Sakine Cansiz who qualified on this level. Kemal Pir once said: “The spirit of Rêber Apo is the spirit of us all”. That is how he took on revolutionary criteria. That is why Rêber Apo said about Haki Karer: “He was like my hidden soul.” There were many people who understood the characteristics of the personality of Rêber Apo, internalized such characteristics and became integrated with them. This integration was not like agreeing on some principles or conducts. What is meant here is spiritual unity. Carrying a common spirit, a common soul. That is very important. That is, there were many instances of understanding and participating in the truth of Rêber Apo at such a level.

So how did Rêber Apo bring about changes in these people? How did he bring these people around his ideas? How was he able to have so much effect on them? He didn’t have any money to his name. He lived with the help of others. He didn’t have any weapon or power. I mean, he had no material, financial power, no weapons, no fame. Nobody knew him, but he influenced the people he contacted to the point of binding them to march with him until the end. How could he do so? To answer in brief, by living a communal life with others. Unity in life brought unity in thought and practice. He took it even further. He brought about unity of emotions and spirit. Rêber Apo always focused on forming such unity.

Where was this group established? Together with comrade Haki and Kemal, in the house where he stayed. They lived together and shared everything with each other. Everyone saw how Rêber Apo lived. He did not have a special place or life of his own. He did not give orders from above, he was with the people and stayed with them as he asked them to do something.

Comrade Haki had rented a house by himself. While Kemal Pir never rented a house, as he was more mobile and active in revolutionary work. They rented one more house. But Kemal Pir didn’t stay in those houses for long. He used to go around and live together with other people. He shared his food with people. Where he lived, he used to set the way of life there. How to sit, how to get up, how to dress, what is right, what is liked, what is rejected, how to establish relationships, how to respect, love and be loyal to each other, how to serve each other. He himself showed and practiced these things. He showed this not by saying, but by living it, moment by moment. He showed it in his practice while living together. Where he saw shortcomings or mistakes, he intervened, and said this is what is wrong, this is what is right, we need to do it right. His criticism was not in a way that condemned the other person, but in a way that educated them, in a way that showed them the right direction.

Rêber Apo tried to develop an organized socialist struggle in which he took socialism as a perspective, as a state of mind, as a philosophy, as a theoretical framework. He saw socialism as an ideological-political paradigm with its own organization, strategies, tactics, and line of action. He foresaw socialism as a way of life, as the principles of a free life, as the embodiment of the principles and relationships of a free life. Therefore, he developed a new state of social relations, a new human stance based on free life. First of all, he developed this in his own personality and and then educated his comrades and those around him accordingly. He built his society on these criteria and principles. It was always like this. He never had any other way of life.

Many other circles tend to talk a lot about socialism, but if you look at their practice, you can see something completely different. Rêber Apo is not a socialist in name only. He is not the kind of person who handles socialism as a theoretical matter to talk about while having a life practice with no pertinence to socialism. Rather, he is someone who both speaks of socialism and puts it into practice in every moment of real life.

There are many socialists whose words and practices are different from each other. These socialists speak a lot about matters like ‘principles of freedom’, ‘principles of distribution’, ‘democratic communalism’, and so on, but when it comes to real-life practice you see that they live an individualistic petite bourgeois life They have very different live, very different worlds, and have their own private properties. They have a mere theoretical approach to socialism and tend to handle it more as rhetoric or words. They think that socialism is a matter to occur later, not now. They say it will occur later.

They whine about revolution and insist that it will automatically lead to socialism. In fact what they mean by revolution is coming to power. They say that you can live a socialist life only when you lay your hands on power. But power and socialism are opposite to each other. Power is an system of profit and exploitation. Socialism, on the other hand, is an system of sharing and solidarity. You stop being a socialist once you overtake the power. What kind of socialist you will be while you take control of power. It is impossible to regard a system of power or state as socialist.

There are delusions in such an understanding of socialism. The biggest delusion of the socialist movement was that it regarded the the paradigm of power and state as a tool through which to implement the socialist principles of freedom, equality of diversities, sharing, and communalism. It was also the biggest delusion of all freedom movements before the socialist movement. In other words, the greatest gain of the power and state system in its 5,000-years-long hegemony is that it has urged itself, as the main tool of struggle, upon all its opponents. Here is where its greatest success lies. First of all, it has asserted itself even on those who oppose it most. It tells them: “Through me only you can exist”. It even gets them saying “we cannot exist without you”. And once you predate on that tool, you have already broken away from your goal. The tool directs you according to its own interests. It makes you forget your principles and goals. That is what happened with real socialism, the principles of freedom, equality and democracy were put aside. The state replaced everything. Hegemony replaced everything. Under the name of defending and protecting the Soviet Union, all principles were abandoned. It was the principle of protecting the Soviet Union state which determined the course of everything.

If you apply this kind of understanding to the organization, to the individual, it will lead to self-seekingness, individualism and quest for material power. Rêber Apo has a quite different understanding. He has always ensured the unity of purpose and means, theory and practice. His words are never different from his deeds. He does not have a dual personality. He always wore his heart on his sleeves, as the fella says. There is a consistent integrity between his word and his practice. No breakaway between his words and his practice. He does not see socialism as something to be experienced after the revolution or after the seizure of power.

Socialism is not the making of the state. It is not established through power. Socialism is embodied in the individual, in the society. It is a much a power of thought as it is a way of life. It is the principles and standards of life. Therefore, you are socialist to the degree you live a socialist life, that is, to the degree you live a free, diverse, equal, sharing and communal life. And, the more you break away from socialist way of life, the more you break away from socialism. This is the principle he has always observed.

In fact, he does not talk much about socialism, as many others do. He does not use the word socialism too frequently. He does not praise it too much. He did not turn into a socialist personality only through speaking highly of socialism. He became a socialist by living a socialist life himself, by practicing it himself and putting it into practice wherever he went. He made socialism live in his own personality, in his group, in his comrades, in his organization. He lived socialism and got it live throughout the guerrilla war. That is, he lived a socialist life as he made propaganda, as he founded the organization, and as he waged the guerrilla war. He has implemented this socialist life even in the guerrilla. He lives his whole life according to the principles and criteria of socialism. He didn’t talk much about socialism, rather he lived the reality of socialism

He has such a personality and has trained the PKK to take on such a personality. In doing so, he didn’t give written orders from above and obliging everyone to live a socialist life. Rather, he founded a socialist life through living it for month, for years, together with the people around him. As a result, the PKK stopped being a small group, it grew and spread everywhere.

In the old times, there used to be an educational system in the dervish lodges. Those who were educated in these lodges went around to permeate their ideas. The way the PKK cadres, the cadres of the first ideological group returned to Kurdistan, went to different cities, and lived the socialist life set by Leader APO in Ankara resembles such an educational system. This is the way PKK’s version of socialism and PKK’s organizational model came into being. It is necessary to see it in this way. In Ankara, Rêber Apo never lived a private life, never lived a life different from that of the rest of the group and the rest of the organization. He shared all that he had. His comrades also shared everything according to their new socialist way of life. From the formation of the first ideological group in Ankara to the present day, the basic principles of communal life were applied through all the phases of the development of the PKK. Everyone participated, worked and practiced according to his/her abilities. They contributed their abilities to the communal work as much as possible and used it as much as necessary. Rêber Apo created such a communal life around him from the very first grouping.

He never said “I will only participate up to this point and only work till this point.” Rêber Apo participated and contributed all his abilities, with all his means possible. He assumed all te tasks his comrades had difficulty doing. He took upon himself the most difficult tasks. He said, “I undertook the tasks that no one else has ever done, and I did them. I always left to my comrades the most beautiful work one can dream of. I left the easiest, most enthusiastic and exciting work, such as guerrilla work in the mountains, to my comrades. But I myself did the most tedious and difficult work, and I never complained about being left with difficult tasks. I my comrades cannot do some task, I will do it myself.” He always worked like a cadre and undertook tasks and responsibilities. He did what a cadre does at the most successful level. After and even still while fulfilling his own duty, he helped and contributed to the work of others. Rêber Apo’s role as a leader, as a chief, as a vanguard did not come about through elections, authorization or rank. He said, “I am the first among equals, in terms of service? You may ask ‘Is there equality in the PKK?’ There are no privileges for any cadre. If I am called the first person, it is because I serve more than anyone else. it’s not because of any other characteristic, I work as a cadre like everyone else. I also give strength and support to everyone else’s work. That’s why everyone tries to get support from me. They see me as the first. That’s why you call me the leader, the chief. There are no other reasons for this.”

He is the leader of what, the chief of what, the first of what? First in service. Serving the most and producing the most. But he never gets any personal reward for what he produces. He never said, “I created this, I wrote this, I produced this, so the results, the profit that comes out of this will be mine”. He did not say it would be his property. He never had any private property or wealth. From the beginning on, he gave everything he had to the organization. He developed communalism and collectivism, at the most advanced level, in the party. He set such a trend for everyone who participated. He developed this in the communal houses and in the communal life. He developed it in the guerrilla through training. He developed these principles while organizing the party, while organizing the people, while organizing communes and assemblies. He developed them all interdependently. He never said “I have assumed the hardest works, why others don’t work like me?” For example, he never told anybody “I have done this or that work, and you have to do this or that”. In other words, he undertook all the works of the revolution. He tried to do all that has to be done and called on others to contribute, join forces, and do a lick of work. He developed such an understanding and such a spirit.

That’s the way he lived and waged struggle in Kurdistan. He followed the same principles when he went to Beirut, when he went to Damascus; he didn’t have a private life, he didn’t set anything private for himself. What he did was organizing the party, organizing the communal and collective life within the Party. Wherever he went he founded the Party there, attracted other people to the Party, and lived a collective life. He set up training camps. This is how the Academy of Mahsum Korkmaz came into being. There he lived with the guerrillas. He turned this academy into a headquarter and he lived there. It was a headquarter for theoretical work, for party’s administration, for the guerrilla’s training, for waging the struggle. He turned the academy into an educational environment and a place where all these activities were carried out.

When people observed this, they were impressed. You can forward such a question to any member of the PKK: “what impressed you and made you join the Movement?” (S)he would surely answer: “I am impressed most by the PKK’s way of life, comradery and the way of work.” What does this imply? They were affected by the communal life and collective work. This is the essence of socialism embodied in the personality of Rêber Apo. This is the way socialism, sharing, communal life, and collective work, common will develops. All these emerge with such a personality tribute.

After September 12, when there were guerrilla trainings in Lebanon and Palestine, we had organized a front called the United Front Against Fascism. We had some friends there. Within their organizations, a lot of criticism developed against their own leaders. They said that their leaders lived separately, autonomously, privately, and didn’t come to visit them They pointed to Rêber Apo as an example and said, “Look at Apo, does he ever leave the camp? Does he stay separate from his comrades? Does he have private property? No. He is all with them. They work together, live together, fight together. They do everything together, create together, consume together. They do not allow individualism or private property.”

For Rêber Apo, all camps were places of collective work and communal life. He used to go everywhere, rather than staying in one specific place. He used to stay in one camp for three days, in another camp for five days, visiting every camp. Everyone used to say, “Rêber Apo came to us, he belongs to our group.” Then they would see that Rêber Apo was everywhere, not just in one place. He doesn’t stop working, he doesn’t get tired.

He made every commune house a place of education. Before the 80’s, our commune houses were places of communal life and collective work. They were places of education, administrating, and planning. In other words, there were in one way party headquarters. This is how communal work and collectivism developed in the guerrilla. This is how the whole guerrilla environment was formed. Along with the guerrilla, such trainings were developed in houses. The PKK had basically been founded on such a system of communal life and collective work. These are its main characteristics.

These are the characteristics of Rêber Apo’s socialist personality, and they define his relations with socialism. This is how the whole Party was formed. The guerrilla was formed in this manner. This is how communal life and collective work were represented in both the guerrilla and the PKK. This, of course, led to the line of self-sacrificing throughout the Movement. A personality attribute emerged that sacrifices all his/her life for communalism and collectivism and allocates all his energy and abilities to such a way of life and sacrifices his/her whole life for the cause. This is who the moralities of life and struggle and, accordingly, the acceptance and rejection criteria, and the characteristics and criteria of the cadre’s life developed.

Rêber Apo defined the new paradigm as a democratic socialist paradigm based on ecology and women’s freedom. Even though the Movement began in the colonial capital of Ankara, and most of the young people involved at the time were male, but the more the Party developed, got popular support and made strong connections with the society, the more the other half of the society, that is the women, joined the Party. At the same time, they began to contribute more . It was Rêber Apo who kept the doors wide open for such a development.

Rêber Apo developed the attributes of a socialist personality, a socialist way of life, and the principles of communal life and collective work. This enabled him both to establish a kind of relationship with the men, which can be characterized by spiritual unity at the most advanced level, and also to establish a much more solid order of relationships and common life with women at the same level. He did not make any discrimination in this regard. In particular, he predicated the struggle on the community, the sense of community and the integrity of the community. He foresaw and developed the participation of women. The more the power of women’s participation developed, and the more they contributed to the communal life and collective work system, the more excited he became and the more importance he attached to women’s participation. He reflected more and more on female slavery and the women’s freedom revolution.

In the beginning, he focused more on ‘the Kurdish question’, on the national question, and on the class question. At the time, these were the criteria of the left and reel socialism. But as the struggle in Kurdistan evolved into guerrilla warfare and the difficulties of the guerrilla and the enemy attacks emerged, the power that would overcome these difficulties and make the struggle invincible also emerged. And that power was the participation of the whole people. Rêber Apo realized more and more that the guerrilla resistance and the struggle for freedom has to be carried out with the participation of the whole people. And here, he realized how the participation of the women would make practical contributions and further empower the struggle and how this participation, at a militant and self-sacrificing level, and the resulting developments would bring about changes in the community. He began to realize the fact that women’s freedom and going beyond all forms of male-dominated mentality and policies would have revolutionary effects on the community in terms of creating ideological transformation. He reflected that, as it was the case with the guerrilla, this development would also be a very important revolutionary power. With the prison writings, he turned women’s freedom into a science and developed the science of Jineolojî (the science of women). He made women’s freedom the basis of all freedoms. He foresaw the women’s freedom revolution as the foundation for the entire freedom revolution.

In the reel socialist era there used to be such a saying: a nation cannot be free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations. But this saying used to be underrated and it had not been translated into real practice. There also used to be commonplace sayings like ‘a society cannot be free if its women are not free, or ‘the measure of a society’s freedom is linked to the freedom of women’. These were general theoretical definitions and had not led practical implications. Rêber Apo did not give much credence to these sayings. I can even say that he never repeated these sayings. He spoke and wrote so much, but I can say that Rêber Apo was the one who used these sayings the least. He did not repeat them in words, but he put them into practice. He came to realize how the emancipatory development of women led to a revolutionary change, an emancipatory change in society, and he put this into practice. In this sense, he started to work on issues related to women freedom and reconsidered his approach to women accordingly. He reconsidered the women’s problem and, on this basis, developed women’s organization. Rêber Apo took the women to the point of becoming militants, establishing their own parties and starting guerrilla struggle. In doing this, he didn’t take the man as the criterion. He did not want women resemble men. He did not assess, criticize, and train women according to male criteria. He first dealt with women as women, as a gender, according to their own criteria. While criticizing the negative influences of male-dominated mentality and politics on women he took great care to handled the real self of women as gender. He adopted a female point of view while revealing his own characteristic. The more he reflected on the practice of women struggle he realized that the level of women’s freedom determines the level of the freedom of the society. Therefore, we can say that women’s freedom and women’s freedom struggle are the vanguard and bases of the revolution for freedom. Thus, he predated not only the education of women but also the education of the community and men’s freedom education on women’s freedom. In this way, he set the struggle line of women’s freedom as the main line of the freedom revolution.

For example, our new paradigm envisages a democratic society. It envisages overcoming capitalism, industrialism and the nation-state model of capitalist modernity. Its main pillar is women’s freedom. If there is to be a democratic society, it should be based on women’s freedom, but women’s freedom should not be based on equalizing women to men. Rather, it should be based on women educating and organizing themselves freely as women and participating freely in the entire whole of life. The difference of women as a gender will be taken as a basis. For this reason, Rêber Apo does not see equality as a plain concept. Rather his vision of equality is based on taking into account the differences. He regards women as a gender, with their own unique characteristics and peculiarities, different from men. He predated the equality between men and women on these differences. He regarded freedom of women as a determining factor and took this as a the basis for his creative struggle.

As it is known, the other pillar of his paradigm is ecology. Rêber Apo always said: “Someone like me would never kill or crush ants.” While talking about ecology, he didn’t treat it as some general concepts, but as a real-life practice. For him, ecology is the awareness in life, awareness in relationships. In fact, if ecology is the relationship with nature, the relationship with nature also refers to the internal relationships withing the society. The relationship with society and the relationship with nature are intertwined. Therefore, the relationship between people living communally and working collectively is a relationship in which women freely, according to their own free will, educate and organize themselves and participate in life in an organized way. He expressed a relationship based on complete integrity with nature, complete harmony with nature. This means awareness in life. It also means awareness in human relations and also in relations with nature. Awareness is the basis of ecology. In Rêber Apo, this awareness has always existed at the highest level.

Therefore, the ecological revolution is not a very abstract, high-level theoretical discourse. It is not about polluting the atmosphere or damaging the universe; first of all, it is about the individual’s relations with the environment, how much damage does he/she does to this environment, the degree to which s/he is compatible, friendly, sensitive, conscious, organized and disciplined in his/her relations with the environment. Rêber Apo is really such a disciplinary force. He feels high obligation to greenery, to natural phenomena, and appreciates them. He was always studying natural events and life. The truth is that he never stepped on an ant. He wouldn’t just randomly step on a green place, he wouldn’t crush anything. He would not destroy a plant or a flower so easily. He always values all these creatures the same way he values human beings. He was so integrated and at peace with nature. He cared so much about the natural environment, was so integrated, kept it clean, did not pollute it, did not harm it. He foresaw benefiting from the nature and environment, bu not on the basis of harming them, rather on the basis on using the products that nature provides. He gave the nature as much benefit as he took from it. He had such an attitude towards the animals and towards the plants.

That is his way of life. He is very organized, very disciplined, cares for cleanliness, for the system of life. He doesn’t mix things up, he envisions that everything should function regularly within a system, that life should be very beautiful, harmonious, smooth, joyful. He was very careful about this. For example, he did not forgive mistakes. For him, every mistake has a meaning, and therefore he intervenes. He wanted the right to flourish. He educated himself and accordingly pushed his behavior, pushed his environment. He gets everybody to adopt such an approach.

The ecological revolution is, in fact, first and foremost, the living order of human beings and their relations with the environment they live in. In other words, ecological revolution is one’s approach to the nature and the degree to which s/he appreciated the nature. One’s appreciation of the nature and the natural phenomena goes hand in hand with his/her appreciation of the society and he people around him/her. These two approaches are not disconnected from each other. There is no such disconnection in Rêber Apo. There is complete integrity. His relations with women, his relations with human beings in general, his relations with nature, his relations with the environment all form an integrity. He has always lived this way shaped the PKK accordingly.

Some people criticize the PKK for attaching too much importance to socialism. They say that being socialist constitutes an obstacle in the way of the solution of the Kurdish question. How can we define such an approach? We can say that this is an individualistic and materialistic mentality and personality attribute that has doomed itself to the system of power and state and has neither comprehended Kurdistan, nor the Kurdish question, nor the life. They have no relation whatsoever to these realities. The main approach that has created the PKK the way it is, has made it invincible, has got it make so much progress and survive so many attacks is its socialist character. It is the communal order of life and collective work embodied in the personality of Rêber Apo and permeated through the PKK. This approach does not adjourn socialism until later time, rather, makes it liveable in the personality of individuals, revolutionary militants and patriots, and makes it liveable in the party, in the party principles, in the guerrilla, in the women and youth struggle. Socialism is not something that will “just come later”, rather it is something that is developed, lived and transmitted step by step from the beginning. This is how the PKK has been shaped. Its main source of strength comes from this communal life and collective work. This is what inspires self-sacrificing attitudes, trust, loyalty, and courage and sacrifice come from. This approach to socialism is the source of this level of devotion to Rêber Apo.

They have put him in Imrali and have prevented people from seeing him for 25 years so that they could make them forget him. But no one has forgotten him. Because there were people who met him [before being incarcerated in the prison island of Imrali]. There were party militants who met him, they shared [and still share] their observations about him. He had relations with the society and through these relations he developed the right attitude and understanding about socialism. Those who had hoped that they could reduce his impact ended up facing even more socialists coming up. He carries out his life in Imrali with the same characteristics he established before. He affects the whole society, the whole party, the guerrilla. This is how the revolution develops and changes come about. The change is ideological, in the way of life. He has brought about many changes. He has changed the women, the youth, the laborers, the workers, the four parts of Kurdistan, the outside world, the internationalist friends. He is the fundamental force of change. This is what can be called a revolution.

The biggest deviation and mistake is to regard the revolution as a matter of political power. The revolution has no relations whatsoever with power and the state. This is where the most serious deviation and mistake has come about. We need to put it right. Revolution is in fact the change that has been ensured in the way of life, personality attributes, and mentality. It is the change in the human relationships, in the social relationships, in the criteria for rejection and acceptance. The PKK is experiencing this change the most. The level achieved by the PKK is the peak of a libertarian, egalitarian life based on diversity.

This is the main feature that has made the PKK self-sacrificing, strong, and invincible in the face of so many attacks. This is how the people around the PKK are connected to each other. This is how the society identifies itself with the PKK. They come to see the PKK as a party representing all kinds of justice, righteousness, and truthfulness. People that have come to realize the truth about the Party, admit that they themselves may do harm or commit mistakes, but the Party does not. The party does not do injustice, the party does not do wrong. They have such a belief and trust in the Party. This trust has created communal life and collective work. This is what socialism is about; this is the socialism of Rêber Apo. This is the socialism realized in the PKK. So this is our basic criteria, our source of strength.

What the enemy attacks most are these characteristics. Their attacks aim at spreading individualism and materialism within the ranks. They do this by developing and encouraging petit bourgeois characteristics and attitudes. He wants to spread the petit bourgeois approaches everywhere. By spreading the male-dominated mentality and politics, which is in essence nationalist and materialistic, they are trying to dismantle this sense of community, to break up the system of communal life and collective work. Since the PKK’s main source of strength is here, they are attacking this in order to dismantle and weaken it. They do this by developing and spreading all kinds of individualistic, materialistic approaches. They do this by trying to introduce liberalism into our community. Everyone should be aware of this.

All party militants, all patriots, everyone in the party, our guerrillas, women and youth movements have to see and understand this reality very well. Therefore, everyone should know how to take the necessary stance and attitude that will get them see the enemy’s attack on our main source of power and thwart it. Let’s destroy this petit bourgeois individualism. Petite bourgeois individualism is the basis of monopolism, it is the basis of fascism. Monopolism and fascism rely on a type of petit bourgeois personality characterized by nationalism and materialism. The PKK achieved such a level of strength both in itself and in the society by overcoming this individualistic personality characters and developing collectivism and communism.

They are trying to wipe the PKK out by developing individualism. Therefore, we must wage a deliberative and organized struggle against this petite bourgeois individualism, materialism and nationalism in every field. We must understand the socialist personality of Rêber Apo correctly. We must correctly understand our communal life and collective working order, system and characteristics, which were formed on the basis of Rêber Apo’s personality and embodied in the guerrilla, and we must constantly deepen and develop them. We must oppose and fight against all kinds of discourse, behaviors and moods aimed at destroying and weakening it. By developing our ideological, organizational struggle, class and gender struggle on this basis, we must always develop our free life and democratic commune system based on women’s freedom and ecology at the level of the characteristics that emerge in the party and guerrilla. This is what will ensure our continuous success. When we do this, we will always be successful. We believe in this and invite everyone to this.