Freedom for Öcalan

The Freedom for Öcalan campaign is a UK trade union-backed initiative to secure the release of imprisoned Kurdish political prisoner Abdullah Öcalan.

In 2017 the annual meeting of the TUC voted unanimously for a motion calling for Mr Öcalan’s immediate release and a return to peace talks between Turkey and representatives of the Kurdish people.

Visit here for the campaign website


Campaign by the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Support of Political Prisoners around the World

We propose the following in forming a campaign called, “Solidarity keeps us alive”,

  • To establish meaningful contact between prisoners, especially women, relatives and supporters and to make the situation and voices of the prisoners heard in society.
  • To set up initiatives in all countries to support prisoners and launch petition campaigns against the prison policies of governments.
  • To demand the United Nations, Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), Amnesty International (AI) and similar organizations exert political and diplomatic pressure on the states in question, demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Read the full statement on the Solidarity Keep Us Alive website.

Open letter defending Kurdish women political prisoners

Golrokh Iraee’s letter from inside the Varamin-Qarchak prison; the pressures on #Zeynab Jalalian continue.

Originally published by The Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists

Zeinab Jalalian is one of the longest serving political prisoner in Iran. After enduring years of incarceration and torture in several prisons and detention centers, she has been transferred from Khoy prison- which is close to her home and family – to Varamin- Qarchak prison, and has been put under pressure by the security forces.

During her long years in prison, Zeynab Jalalian has resisted all the tortures and refused to give in to the dictated confession coerced by security forces.

This unexpected transfer of Zeynab after years of imprisonment, as well as the transfer of another Kurdish political prisoner Sakineh Parvaneh to Varamin-Qarchak prison, has been used as a tool to increase the pressure on them.

After being transferred, with the aim of pressurizing, Sakine Parvaneh was taken to Aminabad psychiatric hospital for several times and has been beaten. This is an obvious violation of human rights.

This vindictive action committed by security organizations shall be condemned, it would be a crime to remain silent about it, and places a big responsibility on the shoulders of the ones who claim to care.

Zeynab Jalalian is not only a person or a prisoner, but is “the lost meaning of real struggle” in the current banal political atmosphere of Iran.

She is a teacher of the alphabet of “freedom struggle” and the embodiment of resistance, who has been forgotten by both friends and enemies.

May the memory of Farzad Kamangar (beloved Kurdish school teacher)  last forever, as we are in the 10th year of his execution. May the path of the freedom fighters continue, who were never deceived by the promise of name and power. Although they have risked their lives, or subjected their bodies to torture and persecution, they have never given up the struggle in exchange for personal interests or greed.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee/

May 8, 2020

Varamin-Qarchak prison


Transformative justice & anti-carceral politics

The Global Prison Abolition Coalition invites you to a panel on Transformative Justice and anti-carceral politics.

The main driver behind the public’s rejection to abolitionist movements is the fear that there might be no alternative to prisons. This notion widely pushed by the state as well as other institutions that benefit from the carceral system is not true. There are alternative ways to think about justice beyond prisons and state punishment. This panel will address one such alternative: Transformative Justice (TJ).

Transformative Justice entails a political approach that seeks to build a anti-carceral politics while engaging in harm/violence reduction. This panel will unpack different understandings of abolitionism generated from an internationalist & anti-capitalist politics. The speakers will explore the history and significance of TJ in three locations, namely, Bolivia, Rojava in Northern Syria, and the United States.

Joy James is the F.C. Oakley Professor in Humanities at Williams College, where she teaches in Political Science, Africana Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and American Studies. She is the author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics and Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender and Race in U.S. Culture. Her edited books include The New Abolitionists: (Neo)Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings, Imprisoned Intellectuals, States of Confinement, The Black Feminist Reader, and The Angela Y. Davis Reader.

Nazan Üstündağ received her Ph.D. in 2005 from the sociology department at Indiana University Bloomington. Between 2005 and 2018, she worked as an Assistant Professor at Boğaziçi University, Department of Sociology. Since 2018, she resides in Berlin first as an Academy in Exile and IIE-Scholar Rescue Fund fellow and then as a Gerda Henkel Stiftung Patromonies Program fellow. Her most recent academic articles on state violence and Kurdish Movement appeared in journals South Atlantic Quarterly, History of the Present and Differences. She also worked as columnist in the journal Nokta and the newspaper Özgür Gündem. Üstündağ is a member of Women for Peace and Academics for Peace. Recently, she is finishing a book manuscript with the working title Mother, Politician and Guerilla: The Emergence of A New Political Cosmology in Kurdistan Through Women’s Bodies and Speech.

Raúl Zibechi is a Uruguayan journalist and one of Latin America’s leading political theorists. He is an international analyst for newspapers like La Jornada (Mexico) and Brecha (Uruguay), and a professor at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina. Zibechi has written numerous books on social movements and politics across the Americas, including Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements (AK Press, 2012) and Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces (AK Press, 2010).

Moderator and Translator: The panel is moderated and translated by Linda Quiquivix who is a popular educator, geographer, and translator based in California. Linda Quiquivix (“Kiki”) is daughter of the undocumented migrant community in California and granddaughter of the Mam (Maya) people of Guatemala and Mexico. She places her university training as a geographer at the service of under-resourced communities in Palestine, Mexico, and the U.S. who seek clean water, land, and tools to build autonomy. In her hometown of Oxnard, California, she is part of a collective of seed savers and farmers who intervene against food insecurity, rebuild respectful ecological relationships to Mother Earth, and collectively organize toward climate resilience. She’s also a writer and researcher, currently working on a book manuscript entitled. Palestine and the Wretched of Empire: Race, Cartography, and the Afterlives of 1492, which traces the uses of cartography and international law in Palestine/Israel to show how movement leaders come to replicate domination when the world of empire becomes the starting point for politics.

KJK’s statement on the murder of George Floyd

Originally Published by ANF News

We unequivocally condemn this blatant racially motivated violence perpetrated by the state and express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George. This crime is neither the first nor, unfortunately, will be the last of its kind.

Only on February 19 of this year, ten people were murdered in the German city of Hanau in a racist rampage at a cafe.

Not a day passes when Kurdish people are not attacked and murdered for simply being Kurdish. Everywhere, particular communities are declared as enemies and attacked.

We must not dismiss these kinds of atrocities as individual acts.

We have to look at them in the overall context of social conditions. Nationalism and racism must be challenged critically and fought effectively in the context of the nation-state and capitalist realities. Racism and nationalism are an extremely efficient ideological instrument of state, power and domination systems.

The Kurdish people have been struggling with the origins of nationalism and oppression as those affected by it for a long time. As a people who has been fighting for centuries for their own rights and freedoms, we have made efforts to understand the oppression we are facing in order to fight and overcome it.

We investigate whether oppression is natural, whether it has always been so or whether it was created in the course of human history. The answer is clear. Oppression is not natural. It is a human product for the concentration of power and domination.

The main issues of our time, such as climate catastrophe, environmental destruction, war, poverty, displacement, pandemics and many more, have their origin in power and domination. The imbalances of power that result in atrocities are ideologically supported by a certain mentality.

This mentality builds up hierarchies and power relations between humans and nature, between the sexes, between ethnic communities and religions, between skin colour, culture and classes.

How else could a particular group dominate, oppress and exploit other peoples? This cannot be achieved by physical violence alone. Undoubtedly, physical violence plays an essential role, but without a mentality that classifies some as subjects and others as objects, this form of millennia-old domination, cannot be maintained.

In this way, hierarchies and power relations emerge in which the rulers — be they men, whites, rich or other “privileged” sections — see it as their natural right to abuse, exploit and murder the “unprivileged.”

The murder of George Floyd should also be seen as part of a war that a state is waging against society. Especially by tightening security measures and extending the powers of security forces, unwelcome citizens are even more at risk. The more people begin to challenge the system, the more state violence against them increases. According to press releases in 2019, 1,099 people were killed by security forces in the USA alone.

While the areas of self-determined life are becoming increasingly restricted, the hegemony of the state is increased in all areas.

Today, the state claims the monopoly on violence for itself, while legitimate self-defense is labeled as terrorism.

The nation-state as a pillar of capitalism has contributed on the one hand to the homogenization of different local and cultural identities and social communities within state borders. On the other hand, nationalism has stirred up and orchestrated hostility amongst ethnic communities against each other.

Humanity experienced the inhuman and destructive extent nationalism can have in the two world wars.

After World War I, for example, Kurdistan was divided among four nation-states without guaranteeing the rights and even mere existence of the Kurdish people and many other peoples.

Our identity was denied, everything Kurdish was declared as barbaric and backwards.

We have long been subjected to assimilation policies, to integrate our culture, language and identify to Turkishness, Arabness or Persianness. Nation-states require a violent enforcement of a homogeneous ethnic identity to operate.

Oppression, power and domination are not natural. Therefore the state system is not natural either, rather an instrument of power of the ruling class. It is a product of human arrangement with origins in the subjugation of women. The first oppressed nation, the first oppressed class are women. It is therefore not surprising that despite countless (both anti-colonial-national and class-related) struggles for freedom and equality, these systems of oppression could not be overcome. Since no revolutionary movement has yet put women’s liberation at the heart of their struggle, they could not attack the core of the oppressive system.

Today we know that without ending social sexism, the swamp of hierarchy, power and oppression cannot be dried up. It is no coincidence that the attacks against women have exploded worldwide in parallel with the rise of nationalism, oppression and fascism.

While racially motivated attacks are on the rise worldwide and governing political systems are shifting to the right, state-patriarchal behavior through certain individuals is being displayed all the more blatantly.

Heads of state threaten women with rape and murder, restrict the hard-won rights of women and try to force women out of public life once again.

It is time to declare a meaningful war on this oppressive system in its entirety. This means that we have to understand and lead the fight against white supremacy, nationalism, sexism and capitalism as one.

We have to stand-up for an alternative system which values differences as the richness of society working towards a mosaic-like cohesion of diversity to unite our struggles.

Simply, people should not be regarded as inferior just because of their skin color, gender, ethnic and religious identity. Let’s build our free life beyond the state, power and hierarchy through democratic structures of self-organization and self-determination.