The third conference “Challenging Capitalist Modernity III: Uncovering Democratic Modernity ― Resistance, Rebellion and Building the New” in light of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan's ideas kicked off at Hamburg University, Germany Friday morning. The conference is a follow-up of the “Challenging Capitalist Modernity I: Alternative Concepts and the Kurdish Case” in 2012, and “Challenging Capitalist Modernity II: Dissecting Capitalist Modernity – Building Democratic Confederalism” in 2015.
The conference has a wide range of participants who include anarchists, feminists, communists, environmentalists, prominent names from social movements and left-wing theoreticians.
Many academics, scientists, and people in search of an alternative life from across the world came together in Hamburg to discuss jineology, ecology, history, philosophy, capitalism, resistance, and the construction of a new life today. The three-day conference is organized by the Network for an Alternative Quest. Books of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan published in English, German, Spanish, Italian and many other languages, as well as traditional Kurdish motives on the stands attract visitors' attention.
The third conference brings up a wide range of issues from Europe to Latin America and the Middle East for discussion.
The headlines of the 6 topic blocks are:
- Breaking Down the Mindset of Capitalist Civilisation
- Beyond State: Thinking and Building Alternatives
- Capitalism can be Overcome: Imagine the “Unimaginable”
- Working groups and workshops (Announcements to be made shortly)
- Ways of Building and Defending the New
- Democratic Modernity: Perspectives Ahead
Today's Sessions include “Breaking Down the Mindset of Capitalist Civilization” moderated by Rahila Gupta, and “Beyond State: Thinking and Building Alternatives” moderated by journalist and author Debbie Bookchin, daughter of Murray Bookchin.
Speakers of the conference include theoretician Prof. David Graeber, sociology professor Frank Adlof, writer and activist Rahila Gupta, writer Silke Helfrich, economist and historian Friederike Habermann, journalist Raul Zibechi and PYD Co-President Saleh Moslem.
BECKER: EVERYONE'S TIME WILL COME
In the opening speech of the conference, actor and trade unionist Rolf Becker drew attention to the massacres perpetrated by the Turkish state in North Kurdistan and said “Mothers were collecting the bodies of their children on the streets. What will we say to these mothers today? I am a child of the last war, a child of the second world war.
The current crisis in the world is the crisis of the capitalist. Some are trying to create new markets through the creation of new crises. This is a conscious effort. The crises they are trying to create in Greece or the Middle East today is aimed for opening new markets. This is the war of Russia and the US.”
Rolf Becker described what is going on in the world as barbarism, and said “The current situation is literally a barbaric one. The time of those in power and ruling should change. The big does not always stay big and the small does not always stay small. The night ends and the day begins after 12 hours.”
ADLOFF: WE ARE HAPPY TO HOST YOU
Frank Adloff, Professor of Sociology at the Department of Socio-Economics at the University of Hamburg, said that they as the university are happy to host such a conference and said “It is great to have such alternative discussions take place. Capitalism does not give anything; it only gives in order to take back. The anti-capitalist discussions and alternative quests we will have here are very important.”
HOLLOWAY: ROJAVA IS SHINING BRIGHT, MY HEART IS WITH YOU
Prof. John Holloway, a Professor of Sociology in South Africa, attended the conference through a video call from Mexico and said “I am sorry for not being there but it is great to be with you through this way. The Sun is shining here, the weather is nice and I am comfortable. However, people are fighting for their dreams and a better world. I admire their efforts. I do not know what to say but you are not alone. Those fighting in Kurdistan are not alone. You are not alone in your pain, neither in your anger.”
Prof. Holloway described capitalism as an attack on not only humanity but on life as well, and continued: “This system wants to destroy our world and humanity. It acts as if there was no alternative. This makes our anger grow more. The only way is to put this anger into practice. Rojava and the Zapatista are shining bright. They are shining bright in the dark sky. You are not alone in your pain and your anger to change the world. We say that the revolution is not in the future; it is now and here. I salute the Rojava revolution.”
Havin Güneşer, one of the organizers of the conference, spoke on the conference's history, saying: “When we began these discussions in 2010, there was only some general information. With the discussions we have here today, we are trying to find an alternative path.”
- Kurdish Question
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