Capitalist Modernity in Crisis
In the 21st century, humanity finds itself in an unprecedented systemic crisis. Whether the ecological catastrophe, the escalation of wars, the political crisis of parliamentary democracies, or the global advance of nationalism and fascism, they are all expressions of the deep crisis into which Capitalist Modernity has plunged humanity and nature. The capitalist system, with its boundless pursuit of maximum profit and ruthless exploitation of people and nature, continues not only to trap billions of people in poverty and misery, but is today in the process of destroying our ecological basis of life. Climate change, overexploitation, the displacement of a natural-social way of life, and the inexorable destruction of habitat, especially indigenous peoples, are just a few indications of a large-scale collapse. Social isolation, the disintegration of social structures and the downward transfer of the consequences of the crisis are leading to a worsening of the crisis and the rapidly increasing impoverishment of a large part of humanity.
Instead of developing solutions to the most pressing problems of humanity, the established social sciences are incapable of finding answers to social questions and all too often degenerate into a prop of the ruling system. The social sciences produce and reproduce ideologies and ways of thinking that significantly shape social conditions, coexistence, our culture and way of life. However, instead of seeking radical solutions and a way out of the crisis, the social science enterprise has contributed greatly to the legitimization of patriarchy, racism, and capitalist exploitation through its theories and applied methodology over the past two centuries. Since the dominant scientific enterprise is both theoretically and methodologically intertwined with power, and in many ways dependent on the dominant system, there is an urgent need for a radical critique of the existing social sciences, as well as new methodologies and institutions with a different perspective.
The crisis of the democratic forces
The capitalist system is also trying in vain to find a way out of its desperate situation. Not least the doomed “green capitalism” makes it clear that there can be no solution whatsoever within the logic of the existing system. Any attempt to reinvent the old system can perhaps delay the impending collapse, but it cannot point to a way out of the crisis. What makes this hope for betterment with the old dangerous is the associated perpetuation of the given state of crisis.
The growth of new feminist, ecological, anti-colonial and democratic movements must be understood as a reaction to the general systemic crisis. But their current theoretical and practical situation feeds doubts about their ability to build an alternative to the existing system. The democratic forces either strive for power themselves and are increasingly absorbed by the system, or they leave the political sphere untouched and thus cannot form a practical alternative. In order not to fall under the influence of neoliberalism, a real opposition to the system and a radical moral, political and intellectual renewal are needed.
A Way Out of the Crisis: Democratic Modernity
The assault of Capitalist Modernity against society makes the alternative of Democratic Modernity a compelling necessity. In doing so, we can look back on a rich intellectual and scholarly heritage of revolutionary awakenings, ranging from utopian and scientific socialism, anarchism, the Frankfurt School, French philosophy of the second half of the twentieth century, anti-colonial liberation struggles, to the awakenings of the new left, the feminist and ecological movements beginning in the 1970s, and the emergence of postmodern schools of thought since the 1990s.
The perspective of Democratic Modernity, developed by the Kurdistan Freedom Movement, also builds – among many others – on these experiences and represents today a concrete response to the prevailing capitalist patriarchy. The paradigm of Democratic Modernity, with its three pillars of radical democracy, women’s liberation and ecology, is not a concept that is relevant only to the societies of Kurdistan and the Middle East, but far beyond. The experience of the revolution in Kurdistan has helped democratic and socialist forces worldwide find new orientation and inspiration in the paradigm of democratic modernity. The successes of social self-organization in democratic confederalism have renewed hope and faith in the possibility of a world beyond the current capitalist one.
Based on the realization that a solution can only become possible through the development of our own system as an alternative to the three pillars of capitalist modernity – capitalism, industrialism and the nation state, we think it is time to deepen these discussions and take the necessary steps towards organizing and building. The Democratic Modernity, based on a democratic society, an ecological industry and the political system of Democratic Confederalism, we understand as the counter-system to be built.
The Construction of Democratic Modernity
The intensity of the crisis of Capitalist Modernity is noticeably increasing for people worldwide and the rejection is growing. The question of alternatives is now being raised and discussed in broad circles. From our analysis of the world political situation, we understand that global resistance is growing and the construction of democratic alternatives is advancing. In the mass protests and uprisings of recent years, the reawakening of a global women’s movement, the young climate justice movement, the protest movements against racism and white supremacy, and also the mass strikes in industry and agriculture, especially in the global South, Democratic Modernity is becoming tangible and taking shape in the global awakening of humanity. The old world and the new world, Capitalist Modernity and Democratic Modernity already exist side by side and intertwined. However, while the Capitalist Modernity is a highly organized and global system, the alternative remains to this day disorganized, fragmented and without a strategic and unifying proposal of common organization. As Academy of Democratic Modernity, we see our task in building Democratic Modernity, in educational work to create a new understanding of democratic politics, social enlightenment and a new political-moral consciousness, which are the foundations of a free society. At the same time, we consider the creation of new networks and connections between democratic forces as a fundamental prerequisite for the construction of Democratic Modernity. Through the creation of forums and platforms, we want to contribute to the strengthening of the international exchange of experiences and connect existing struggles.
Our work includes the following three areas:
- Social education work – spreading and discussing the paradigm!
The social education work of the Academy of Democratic Modernity is oriented towards the aim: rethink, reexamine and build new institutions! In order for the social sciences to contribute to the development and implementation of social, political and economic alternatives, they must free themselves from material and ideological dependence on the system and see themselves as part of the resistance against capitalist modernity. For autonomous educational work, the establishment of independent academies is a prerequisite. Their task is to contribute, according to social needs, to the development of a society based on radical democracy, ecology and women’s liberation. All scientific work must be carried out by and for the moral and political society. We want to provide a platform to discuss approaches to local problems as well as the fundamental contradictions of the prevailing system. Just as fundamental social change is inconceivable without building the necessary organization, organization is nothing without a coherent and solid theoretical foundation. It is therefore necessary to intensify the critique of the existing, to think alternatives, to educate ourselves and to organize ourselves.
- Connect democratic forces – create networks and learn from each other!
Starting from the situation of the democratic forces, we consider it our strategic task to connect the existing struggles and to create global networks of exchange and solidarity. Through exchange of experiences and dialogue we want to create mutual understanding and collective consciousness. In doing so, we aim to overcome ideological divides and bring our shared values and interests to the forefront. We want to create an awareness of the historical and global interconnectedness of all struggles against exploitation and oppression in order to help our struggles worldwide gain new strength. In order to break through the powerlessness, we must learn to think and act socially and thus unite the various social and ecological struggles. Today, more than ever before, the solution to the most urgent problems of humanity requires the creation of global platforms and structures. The ecological catastrophe alone makes it clear that individual isolated local approaches to solutions are doomed to failure. Only the connection of local work with a global perspective can open a way out of the crisis.
- Concretize the alternative – build the Democratic World Confederalism!
For the unfolding of the democratic and overcoming of the capitalist modernity, concrete local and global institutional structures are also needed. In this sense we consider our activities as a contribution to the building of the Democratic World Confederalism. With the dissemination of ideas, the elaboration of a theoretical basis and the mobilization and networking of the existing organizational potential, we want to pave the way to build Democratic Modernity by means of permanent structures. If we succeed in expanding democratic politics in everyday life – through alliances, councils, communes, cooperatives, academies – the huge political power of society will unfold and be used to solve social problems. Through the expansion of democratic politics and the building of Democratic World Confederalism, the much-needed offensive of the paradigm of Democratic Modernity will succeed.
Let us work together to bring our visions and utopias to life. Another world is not only possible – given the world situation, it is sorely needed. Let us start building our future world together in the present, because to wait any longer would be madness.