In the battle for Kobane on the Syrian border everyone talks about the enemy – IS – and the frightening ideas that drive them. No-one talks about the Kurdish defenders and what inspires them.
But the moment you look into what the Kurds are fighting for – what you discover is absolutely fascinating. They have a vision of creating a completely new kind of society that is based on the ideas of a forgotten American revolutionary thinker.
He wanted to create a future world in which there would be no hierarchies, no systems that exercise power and control individuals. And the Kurds in Kobane are trying to build a model of that world.
It means that the battle we are watching night after night is not just between good and evil. It is also a struggle of an optimistic vision of the future against a dark conservative idea drawn from the past.
It is a struggle that may also have great relevance to us in the west. Because the revolutionary ideas that have inspired the Kurds also shine a powerful light on the system of power in Britain today. They argue that we in the west are controlled by a new kind of hierarchical power that we don’t fully see or understand.
There are two men at the heart of this story.
One is the American revolutionary thinker. He is called Murray Bookchin. Here is a picture of Bookchin looking revolutionary.
The other man is called Abdullah Ocalan. He is the leader of the Kurdish revolutionary group in Turkey – the PKK
Here he is in 1999 after he had been captured by Turkish security forces and was on his way to a jail on a tiny island in the Sea of Marmara where he would be the only prisoner.
In his solitude he would start to read the theories of Murray Bookchin and decide they were the template for a future world.
To read the full article by Adam Curtis go to – http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/HAPPIDROME-Part-One
You might also be interested in –Why is the world ignoring the revolutionary kurds in syria? by David Graeber