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Abdullah Öcalan on the return to social ecology

“Humans gain in value when they understand that animals and plants are only entrusted to them. A social ‘consciousness’ that lacks ecological consciousness will inevitably corrupt and disintegrate”.

Just as the system has led the social crisis into chaos, so has the environment begun to send out S.O.S. signals in the form of life-threatening catastrophes. Cancer-like cities, polluted air, the perforated ozone layer, the rapidly accelerating extinction of animal and plant species, the destruction of forests, the pollution of water by waste, piling up mountains of rubbish and unnatural population growth have driven the environment into chaos and insurrection. It’s all about maximum profit, regardless of how many cities, people, factories, transportation, synthetic materials, polluted air and water our planet can handle. This negative development is not fate. It is the result of an unbalanced use of science and technology in the hands of power. It would be wrong to hold science and technology responsible for this process. Science and technology in themselves are not to blame. They function according to the forces of the social system. Just as they can destroy nature, they can heal it. The problem is exclusively a social one. There is a great contradiction between the level of science and technology and the standard of living of the overwhelming majority of people. This situation is the result of the interests of a minority that has control over science and technology. In a democratic and free society, however, science and technology will play an ecological role.

Ecology itself is also a science. It examines the relationship of society to its environment. Although it is still a very young science, it will play a leading role in overcoming the contradiction between society and nature together with all other sciences. The environmental consciousness that has already been developed in places will make a revolutionary leap forward through ecology understood in this way. The bond between the communal primitive society and nature is like the bond between child and mother. Nature is understood as something alive. The golden rule of the religion of this time was not to do anything against it in order not to be punished by it. The natural religion is the religion of the communal primitive society. There is no contradiction to nature, no anomaly in the emergence of society. Philosophy itself defines the human being as “nature becoming aware of itself”. The human being is basically the most developed part of nature. This proves the unnaturalness and anomaly of this social system, which puts the most developed part of nature in contradiction to it. The fact that this social system has turned the human, who enthusiastically united himself with nature in feasts, into such a plague for nature shows that it is itself the plague. The holistic nature of human and the natural environment does not only refer to economic and social issues. It is also an indispensable philosophical passion to understand nature. This is actually based on reciprocity. Nature proves its great curiosity and creative power by becoming human. The human being, on the other hand, recognizes itself by understanding nature. It is remarkable that the Sumerian word for freedom, “Amargi”, means return to the mother – nature. Between human being and nature there is a quasi love relationship. This is a great love story. To destroy this love is, religiously speaking, a mortal sin. Because you cannot create a greater sense of meaning than this one. In this context, the remarkable significance of our interpretation of the female bleeding is shown once again. It is both a sign of the distance from nature and of its origin. The woman’s naturalness stems from her closeness to nature. This is also the real meaning of her mysterious attraction.

No social system that is not in harmony with nature can claim rationality and morality for itself. Therefore, the system that is most at odds with nature will also be overcome in terms of rationality and morality. As can be seen from this brief definition of the contradiction between the capitalist social system and its present chaotic state and the catastrophic destruction of the environment, it is a dialectical relationship. The fundamental contradiction to nature can only be overcome by turning away from the system. It cannot be solved by environmental protection movements alone. On the other hand, an ecological society also requires a moral change. The amorality of capitalism can only be overcome by an ecological approach. The connection between morality and conscience demands an empathetic and sympathetic spirituality. This in turn only makes sense if it is based on ecological competence. Ecology means friendship with nature, belief in natural religion. In this respect ecology stands for a renewed, conscious and enlightened union into a natural, organic society.

Also the practical problems of an ecological way of life are quite topical. One of the tasks of the activists is to expand the many existing organizations in every respect and to make them an integral part of democratic society. This also includes solidarity with the feminist and liberal women’s movements. One of the most important activities in democratisation is the promotion and organisation of environmental awareness. Just as there once was a pronounced class or national consciousness, we must create an awareness of democracy and the environment through intensive campaigns. Whether we are talking about animal rights, the protection of forests or reforestation, such actions, if carried out properly, are indispensable elements of social actionism. For people who have no feeling for the biological can only have a disturbed social feeling.

Those who perceive the relationship between the two can feel true and with all their senses. Nature, which has so far been plundered and exposed, must and will witness a great struggle to restore its cover of flora and fauna. The forest will have to be given a chance again. “Great patriotism means reforestation and planting trees.” This is a valuable slogan.

Those who do not love and protect animals will also not be able to protect and love humans. Man gains value when he understands that animals and plants are only entrusted to him. A social “consciousness” that lacks ecological consciousness will inevitably corrupt and disintegrate, as was seen in real socialism. Ecological consciousness is a fundamental ideological consciousness. It resembles a bridge between philosophy and morality. A policy that promises salvation from the current crisis can only lead to a real social system if it is ecological. As with the problem of women’s freedom, the patriarchal and etatist understanding of power also contributes to the fact that ecological problems have been delayed for so long and have still not been solved properly. If ecology and feminism continue to develop, the patriarchal and etatist system becomes completely out of balance. The true struggle for democracy and socialism will only become a complete affair when it takes up the cause of women’s freedom and nature’s salvation. Only such a complete struggle for a new social system can lead to a meaningful way out of the current chaos.

The text is an excerpt from Abdullah Öcalan’s defense pamphlet “Bir Halkı Savunmak” (engl: “Beyond State, Power and Violence”.)

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