The 90’s were turbulent years of major change all over the world. Real socialist states, which had spread across the world and become powerful, fell one by one. When this phase reached Kurdistan, there was a need for reevaluation. Because of this, Abdullah Ocalan broadly and thoroughly dissected real socialism; the primary goal of this was to clarify this – the main reason for real socialism’s fall was its limited and chauvinist approach to women’s issues. To approach the developments of the region and the world with a woman’s perspective and find a solution with this perspective is, no doubt, a meaningful and radical approach. Clarifications of the basis of, and investigation surrounding, women’s issues and socialism were uncovered at this time, and it produced a very important effect. In many places, real socialism created a lot of ruin, and people lived through a time of loss of faith and hopelessness. At the same time in Kurdistan, mass uprisings were underway. Kurdish society created a great and courageous insurrections. Another interesting thing is this: in this uprisings, women took their places as leaders and heroes.
In these uprisings there was real participation and leadership from women, and also women joined in this struggle more and more. Before, only a limited number of women participated, but after this, in a short time, this number reached hundreds and thousands. The increasing number of women marked a new phase in both organization and education. After the war in South Kurdistan in 1992, when the heroic martyrdom of comrade Gulnaz Karataş (Bêrîtan) was witnessed, Abdullah Ocalan made the decision to create a women’s army. He gave the official decision to create this army in November 1993. The militarization of the women meant a new organization for women, and of course the need for an education politic that was more autonomous emerged. In general, this meant that in the dimension of militarization, there was already experience, however this created the need for a force in which women would, with their powerful mentality and knowledge, completely defend a force that was their essence.
Because of this phase, independent studies which has previous been a part of the development of a women’s army were transformed into systematic, independent women’s education. Because within this women’s army, without commanding knowledge and wisdom, strategic and tactical wisdom, stronger knowledge of self, one’s own history and the enemy, ideological and political knowledge, and most importantly strong and meaningful relationships with one’s own sex, there would be no progress. In this phase, independent education for women’s units began in the winter of 1993-1994. These educations, which had ideological and military content, first and foremost aimed to make a women’s army understandable. Thus, the desire was for a revolutionary and military performance to be developed from out of a new organization. In this phase, on the one hand a strong, positive, caring approach emerged, and on the other hand it was still not able to separate itself from the effect of the patriarchal mentality and reactionarism. Some backwards approaches from those with little belief in themselves or their sex emerged.
On the one hand within the practice of real socialism the evaluation of issues which had only been lived in a woman’s dimension, on the other hand the connection of personal male-female/family problems which had been lived in kurdistan evaluated, dissected by itself attained a new dimension
The evaluation of both the problems which women had lived through under real socialism, and the personal male-female and domestic problems which had been lived in Kurdistan, by itself added a new dimension. Evaluations of issues between men and women deepened the familial dimension. Again, the growing participation of women was tied to the need for positive-negative evaluations, particularly of women’s personality and all of the things they had lived through, and this took precedence. Consequently, during this time Abdullah Ocalan especially began with his personal experiences, chief among them with female comrades, and debated this subject with all of the organization’s structures and made it an educational subject. This dissection, which researched and took into account their scientific, philosophical, psychological, and historical values in an academic way, was very important. These evaluations, principles and theses of freedom, each of which was worth its weight in gold, must be ruminated on and researched in terms of sociology, jineoloji (women’s studies), and the science of freedom. In terms of strengthening and deepening universal values, this had a huge effect.
The characteristic and personality of woman, which has been dissected in a positive/negative way, became the foundation for independent women’s education. After the creation of a women’s army, the organization of YAJK completed and systemized the format of independent womens education in their areas and in the homeland. There was a need for a comprehensive and trustworthy education system that could stand against the approaches of backwards and sexist men and against the merciless attacks of the enemy. To meet these needs, in addition to the general education, independent education programs were prepared. That which was carried out in houses of discussion or in small groups was done in the style of independent education. The first independent academy in the homeland, by the name of “Martyr Zeyneb Kinaci Academy”, was opened in 1997. After the international conspiracy, the tradition of academies continued and developed until today. In these same years, independent educations were organized, particularly for young women. Today there is an academy that continues on in the name of the “Leyla Şaylemez Academy for Young Women”.
Tools and components like YAJK, The Struggle of the Sexes, The Theory of Separation, the Ideology of Women’s Liberation, Women’s Parties, and the Transformation of Man allowed both the organization of the women’s movement and the politic of its education to attain a new dimension. If attention is paid to the politics of this education, it progressed parallel to the organization. Because of this, these are thought of as one.
What Ocalan really wanted to do here was to teach dominant men about the struggle of the sexes, and when he did this he tried to pass his essence and power onto them expose the truth of love to his own gender. When this succeeded to a certain extent, a background of life, organization, and struggle was revealed. He criticizes this phase of backwardness. Because at this time, something vital – an identity of a free and skilled woman – was not allowed to be built by dominant men. Because we are talking about women’s education, we are defining the reality of women, but Ocalan criticizes the dominant male in his life, his discussions, and his defenses. Because the dominant male system, which had emerged from conflict, represented itself in identities and personalities.
Women were separated mentally and physically from men and joined in real independent education. There was a deeper style of education to this. It was important to separate anew the roots and power of women’s self-knowledge and cut it off from the individual occupation and dominant system of men. This style brought the essence of both men and women to the forefront. Many questions were asked, like: if women don’t achieve power how will that be, what would it be like if men did not have slaves, and what should define relationships and life. This was truly an education of reality. That is, what are you in a place without colonialism, subjects and objects and oppressors and oppressed? What will your existence be? One could define this style of education as provocative.
In this regard, Ocalan created opportunities for the advancement of women, and these were especially positive in regards to education. From his speech, gaze, stance, exercise positions and hitting power until his feelings and mind, he researched issues of advancement and freedom for women, really spoke with female comrades and suggested alternative outcomes. He especially went to houses of discussion, developed special programs for every individual, and followed and evaluated the progress of these programs; he attempted to follow these outcomes with dialogue. He discussed the phases, books, history, and tactics of the enemy. This was an important educational principle. Maybe there would be a young woman who didn’t know at all how to read or write, a woman who didn’t have any political or military experience, but with strong relationships could ask questions and listen to her comrades with her heart and soul; he tried to understand and teach in this way. Likewise, he also encouraged sports with women like swimming, volleyball, football, basketball, and wrestling. Sports was an important field for the development and mentality of women in terms of tactics and unity. In educational courses which only male comrades participated in, women never left the kitchen, until the course was finished only men left the kitchen. Even if this was not in the men’s best interest, they had no choice but to agree to it. Here, the approach of the “kitchen woman” was condemned and this dogma was broken.
Again, their lived style and perspective, the power of expression which came from the power of thought, their style of speaking with people and understanding issues were all styles of education. To clean and eat a grape which falls from its tree to the earth, to use a paper napkin until the very end, to take a ripped sock out of the landfill, a sock which one’s friend through into the trash with the thought “someone else can wear it”, and put it on, to bend down in front of a child and listen with great seriousness, unity with everyone and many other examples of how you can take examples from life and make them into a style of education exist. It is not just simply giving information, true education is mostly given with lifestyle, relationships, and true comradeship. The beauty of women is revealed through the progress of the forces of struggle and intelligence, and willpower is never reached in the way it is desired. The explanation of these things in a literary, scientific and philosophic way is very important.
Until the phase of the development of the international conspiracy in 1999, efforts for women’s freedom and educational efforts attained a very important level. This strong reply from women put universal dominant male forces into deep thought. Actually, one of the most important reasons for the development of the international conspiracy was the rapid development of women’s willpower. When this phase began, Ocalan had extensive projects on the development of women’s education. Ocalan wanted to spread the areas of education, research and centers of thought and develop them even further. Though the conspiracy stopped this for a short time, it could not obstruct it completely. Independent educational efforts continue in many different ways.
To Be Continued...