This letter is a call and beginning for our work on the Jineolojî Journal that we seek to carry out…
We are the women involved in a long-term and multi-faceted freedom resistance. We believe that despite the constant struggle of the forces of democratic civilization against a statist form of civilization, these democratic forces are not yet able to construct a system by itself, and then need to create its own paradigm from a women-centered scientific approach. We feel deeply the importance of the systematization of all those existing values that have been transmitted from generation to generation.
Even though Jineolojî as a concept emerges recently, it has come into being as a consequence of our long-term struggle. The debates on Jineolojî come into our agenda after the publishing of the book, titled Sociology of Freedom, written by the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan. This concept of Jineolojî means the rebuilding of a society from a women-centered scientific approach through which long-struggling democratic forces, which are not yet able to establish a system, will actively take place.
Of course, this topic is a comprehensive one, yet we would all together look for the answers to the following questions: “Where to begin, what to do, how to do?” In order to answer these questions, there is a necessity to overcome the boundaries drawn and the knots knitted around women. Again, we believe that together with the collapse of the definition of womanhood made by sovereigns, we will be able to take a new road towards democracy. Therefore, we consider that the main cause of the non-success of social movements and of struggles up to now lies in the issue that social networks around women are not analyzed in a correct manner.
Indeed, the non-inclusion of women into scientific studies, who constitute a significant part of social nature, has to be raised as a question. Yet, there is no doubt that there are multiple reasons behind that. The identity of women’s nature, beyond being a gender and sexual identity, involves comprehensive meanings with economic, social, and political dimensions. In this sense, the enlightenment of the nature of the women will bring at the same time the enlightenment of the nature of society. There is then a need to clarify the position of women, who are considered as the first colonies, from the time of the history of women’s colonization to their economic, political, and mental/intellectual colonization. Therefore, we think that Jineolojî will have a great contribution for the revelation and clarification of every aspect of societal problems and for their solutions.
Along with defining the existing status of women, the question of women’s liberation is also a primary topic for consideration. The solution to this problem and the way of solving it is of vital importance. We think that in practical terms determining the connections between the freedom of society and the freedom of women will be realized through carrying out a struggle in every sense. In order to make the determination of those connections, we are in a continuous systematic search for theory, program, organization and action systems. With the belief that society would not be liberated without women, we likewise believe that without women, democratic politics would not exist; the environment cannot be protected; and also the ethic and aesthetic values of the environment cannot acquire their actual meanings.
We as women participating in the freedom movement have begun to struggle first by trying to break our ties with capitalist civilization before everything else. In doing so, we have set our critical measures for the acknowledgment and rejection of all the ties connecting us with the capitalist system such as family, career, marriage and similar bonds. This meant to have a fierce fight against all our imposed and enforced statuses… We did not stop only at participating in the arenas of struggle. Of course, in these fields of struggle, we continue to quest for ‘discovering’ ourselves and developing a form of self-awareness and self-realization. In these painful processes, we have learned how to become ourselves first at the institutions we established by trusting on our own self-power.
We have faced with our reality of self-alienation and of alienation from our fellow women. We have intensified our trainings about the importance of gender awareness on these issues. Our alienation about many issues, such as the awareness of gender, gender identity, and gender love, is discussed in independent, women only spaces by relying on our self-power, self-consciousness. Of course, all these processes, in which we had an intense fight, have passed quite painfully. We learn this painfulness of the processes of developing self-awareness and of struggles against capitalist civilization forces particularly from the resisting women, who resist and throw themselves from the hills, turn themselves into fire balls and explode themselves by turning themselves into bombs.
Therefore, in order to represent a larger resistance against all the internal and external reactions, we have to organize and institutionalize in all spheres of life. In these processes realized through a significant resistance and dedication, by women’s liberation ideology, the theory of rupture, the project of the transformation of men, the theories of social contract and lastly of free-equal life, we have taken a new path to ‘belong’ to ourselves. Again, we have all witnessed the social struggle of the YPJ against the gangs of the ISIS, which is one of the residues of world’s reactionary forces.
We have started to implement the system of co-presidency, as a revolutionary attempt in the political arena in Turkey and the Middle East. In the construction of democratic cities, we have felt deeply the necessity of free women’s parks and free women’s spaces, and then we have taken steps based on this way as well.
The main point that we want to emphasize is that we have all done these, yet we have failed to bring those debates in the platforms outside our own one. One of the main reasons behind this is the blackening and isolation targeting our movement in the international arena, and the other reason is orientalist and positivist perspectives in general towards the women’s struggle for freedom. These two conditions have limited the possibilities for sharing our ongoing discussions within other platforms. In this respect, we believe that our experience of life and struggle is not adequately examined. We have analyzed the experiences of world women’s movements in many ways, and we have made many assessments and critiques on these movements. However, what we notice is that Euro-centric movements constitute the main axis of the narratives of women’s history.
In the analyses of women’s movements in the Middle East, a dominant modernist approach has emerged; there is this assumption that there is no resistance other than the one created by the defenders of modernity. In a geography like the Middle East, women live under very intense form of colonization; however, despite our multi-faceted developments in the arenas ranging from the fields of politics and military and to our organized social force to institutionalization, our experience on women’s freedom is still not sufficiently explained. Yet, behind the most current developments in Şengal and Kobanê, there is an intense accumulation of mental theoretical and practical knowledge.
For many years, the topics like sexism, feminist history, our history of women’s freedom from the Neolithic society to today, and the historical analysis of women’s culture as well as the critique of sexist history are discussed as the core courses in our training.
Thousands of young people are trained on the axes of these issues. The approach to women’s liberation as significant criteria is discussed on the basis of all the status, achievements and works that we have had. On this ground, while theories are not taken as functioning independent of practice, each consequence of our practices is subjected to a constant re-evaluation. The life stories of hundreds of women, demonstrating their commitment to women’s struggle for freedom at the expense of their lives, have been reflected in the results of our consciousness. These are the stories of our acquired consciousness and achieved will as well as of our brave participation in life. We have been living through the processes of the development of the meeting between communal life and ecology rather than the one between individualism and consumerism. In this respect, Jineolojî is the claim to play the role of a pool that brings together the results of all the accumulated knowledge on our thought, practice and development, and it is also the claim to evaluate the consequences of this revealed practice, as these results are intended to be devoted to all women.
We do not consider Jineolojî as the one rejecting or denying feminism and women’s studies together with their organization and institutions, while it does not aim to unite them under one larger umbrella organization. We believe that developing a women-centered science is a necessity to reach a true sociological approach. While we examine all the issues we have addressed through their organizations and structures from the depths of history to today, we view Jineolojî, as including the transformation of women based on the freedom of women and society, as a social science study. It is acknowledged by everyone that social science approaches, taking the state as the basic unit of study as well as economy and religion as its core issues; they do not illuminate social facts and problems and do not make us reach to right results. In this respect, Jineolojî takes the examination of the definition of women and of their roles in life as the core issues in order to solve the origins of social problems. This means that it is not just a science that prioritizes studying and producing knowledge in favor of women. We believe that all social sciences should have a social perspective, as this sociality historically and currently is required to be shaped around women. Social problems will be solved through free women’s perspective. From now on, deciphering masculine character in the understanding of science in every aspect and also in analyzing the definitions of women in the fields of religion, art and philosophy has to be emphasized. These definitions of women and understandings of life developed in the mainstream scientific, philosophical, religious and artistic approaches are the main sources of today’s serious social problems.
We are aware that we are not the first ones expressing these issues. In years, there have been many works written and produced on this subject. We have continuously strived for examining and understanding these works. A feminist epistemology’s deciphering of male dominated knowledge structure, the need for writing a new history of women, women’s embracement of their own bodies, and their labor and will-power are the concrete proofs of valuable works that have been produced. However, the knowledge, critiques and researches do not turn into a complete system and perspective, because they take the individual as the center of analysis instead of society. Not touching women’s lives, this knowledge does not create any change in the lives of women who are forced to live through everyday exploitation and different forms of massacre in their lives; the reasons behind these issues have to be questioned. These existing studies have a limited access to a particular segment of women, and have produced limited knowledge only at the gender and women’s studies departments at the dominant universities teaching under the rule of hegemonic system. Feminist scholars’ efforts have been made in narrow arenas. While knowledge production is kept under the possession of hegemonic system and is sold for a paid labor, the return of the works of scholars has been limited.
However, Jineolojî will be a form of knowledge produced at the alternative academies, where produced knowledge will be devoted to the whole society, and it also aims to infuse this knowledge into the lives of people. We therefore talk about the new forms of academies, which will employ plain language and communication tools that every women might have access to.
Jineolojî must involve all the information and fields of science through which we as women will be able to overcome the existing male-domination.
At this point, we imagine Jineolojî as the framework that would organize the knowledge produced as well as that would push for resistance and struggle. These are imagined not as utopias or desires, yet we consider them as the works that we are going to realize, yet they are in the need of more exploration and of circulation; these are also the works that we already have the required practical tools to develop starting from today.
It is obvious that our efforts alone will be quite limited and also our gains alone will not be permanent. In this sense, we define the feminist and women’s movements as our significant heritage that we rely on, since these feminist and women’s movements, as the rebellions of the last colonies in the history of resistance, have developed against the colonization of women in the history.
We believe that our commonalities and similarities have to be multiplied and reached out all the society. While we attribute a great value to the efforts and experiences of feminist movements, there are some issues that we criticize and look for solutions with Jineolojî. We think that these critiques and our search for solutions will contribute to overcoming the problems, which feminist movements have experienced. The frustration felt with the experience of real socialism and liberal social liberation projects together with the silencing of different religions, cultures, and others, has resulted in the attitudes that are either too cautious or completely denialist. The judgment, “Everyone has his/her own truth,” generating a fragmentation of theory and practice, renders the anti-hegemonic forces vulnerable and leads to their marginalization and to the non-solution of social problems. These anti-hegemonic forces are pushed to a position that looks for solutions within the system itself, instead of intending to create radical transformation of the system that pursues revolutionary goals. What we critique is not just to have a struggle within the system, because we do not completely project a fight only outside the system.
Actually, the issue we critique is the ways that these struggles have followed within the system, which do not overcome system’s knowledge structures, while taking the hegemonic institutions as the basis of their struggle. Liberalism, as melting all the ideologies and life styles within itself, its theory and practice has generated serious problems with respect to holding a consistent position and having struggle. This is also reflected in the women’s movements, which make demands from the state, as they rely too much on the state law and legal arrangements. In other words, we critique the non-rejection of modernist life. We think that feminism deeply experiences this issue.
As we reject classical meanings of revolution and revolutionism, we stand against social engineering as well. We target the transformation of society with its own dynamics, having its own liberatory roots in the grounds of its own culture, beliefs and communal organization, yet this transformation has to rest on a particular paradigm. We define it as a paradigm centered on democratic, ecological women-freedom. The realization of societal change, we think, will be developed through alternative institutionalizations and a total struggle outside the system.
Our history of struggle as the women’s freedom movement, in the search of our truth, has equipped us with the knowledge of developing a life based on this truth. Not only as women but also as society, we have lived through radical changes. Of course, we still have a long route to get over but we believe that we have discovered the particular route and method that we are going to follow. Our main goal is to challenge and fight with the knowledge structures of the hegemonic system, the life style of modernism, industrialism (destroying nature), capitalism based on exploitation and plunder, and most importantly, with all the institutions limiting women’s freedom, while overcoming each of these through creating their alternatives. We are in the search for an alternative to the mainstream science, which will prioritize women’s history over gender history and will take oikianomos (home economy) and communal economy against the plundering economy, since the mainstream science and technology turns into a monster with its lack of ethical and aesthetic values. That is why, Jineolojî means for us to build this route we discovered with strong stones, to lighten it constantly, and to share its results more and more with growing number of women. This is not going to be a science, which does not produce knowledge but only raises critiques; yet it is the one that turns the produced knowledge into action and organized force.
With this letter, our aim is to overcome the boundaries drawn among us as well as to struggle together within common spaces. We approach the journal of Jineolojî from this kind of perspective. The question of what kind of difference this journal is going to bring among the many other existing women’s journals would be raised. Our most simple answer for this question is the need for a common platform to discuss over women’s sayings, practices, and doings and over things, which are required to be done for the building of the system we call as democratic modernity. We can also say that it intends to fulfill the gaps of women’s journals that do not make propaganda and critique, yet do not also take the contribution in women’s everyday lives, their politicization, and their liberation as their core agendas. The other need that is going to be met by this journal is to approach women beyond being only a gender and sexual identity.
We believe that the solutions, which women bring in for societal problems, play primary roles in all the issues, particularly environment, demography, ethic and aesthetic, and communal economy. We believe the necessity of creating more radical solutions in order not to share the same destiny with the optimistic struggles that turn out to be only a substitute of liberalism.
Under the rubric of our journal of Jineolojî, we seek to flow into the future together first with the women from the Middle East and then with other groups of women sharing similar research and search agendas. We believe that this kind of flow might follow different paths. You can participate and contribute through wide range of ways from involving in the editorial board of the journal; to having that responsibility; from being the reader to the writer of the journal; to enriching the journal with critiques and comments; and to presenting some published resources and studies. For the ones sensitive to our call, we present our salutations and we look forward to receiving your response in a short while.
We wish the best with your studies.
KJA (Kongreya Jinen Azad)