2014 September 12 Friday
Marxism Lifts Up Kurdish Women In Middle East

The Marxists of the Kurdish Worker's Party are the biggest force for women's rights in the Middle East

It was as a young woman in the rugged mountains of southeast Turkey and northern Iraq that Avesta says she discovered herself. "It was in the mountains that I found out women can be also powerful," said Avesta. The ranks of the PKK, a Marxist organization, are filled with women, a rarity in the conservative cultures of the Muslim world. About half of the organization's leaders are women. And the Kurdish guerrilla group stands in especially stark contrast to the radical fundamentalism of the Islamic State, which confines women's role to mostly domestic tasks such as raising children, cooking, cleaning, and pleasing their husbands.

All the people who think Marxism belongs to the dust heap of history are so obviously wrong. I was wrong too. But now I see the error my my ways.

There are plenty of female Kurdish soldiers on the front lines. They’re smaller than their male comrades, but they talk just as tough as they prowl the battlefield clutching automatic rifles and vowing vengeance for those victimized by the Islamic State.

“We are equal with the men,” said Zekia Karhan, 26, a female guerrilla from Turkey who is with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK. “Every responsibility for a man is the same for a woman. We are treated equally, and that is why we are fighting.”

Marxism is doing more to elevate the status of women in the Middle East than anything the United States has done. In fact,, the US interventions have worsened the plight of women, Christians, and Yezidis.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 September 12 10:16 PM 

bob sykes said at September 13, 2014 4:22 AM:

The communists liberated Afghani women, too, something the Taliban hated and undid.

Stephen said at September 13, 2014 4:59 AM:

The US has been busy undermining those arab states that have endeavoured to modernise.

Latias said at September 14, 2014 10:10 AM:

So are being serious Randall? You really have demonstrated contempt for Marxism. I used to be a Marxist-Leninist (and I could say that we are NOT liberals nor do we have fantasies about taking power in the US), and I could say that the Afghan PDPA party was progressive and tried to advance woman's rights, but the US supported a reactionary forces by supporting religious extremists.

Randall Parker said at September 14, 2014 11:37 AM:


Marxism is bad. But in the Middle East it is actually a modernizing influence. Since the Marxists are unlikely to become major players in the Middle East I see a net benefit from supporting the PKK.

THE SAME said at September 14, 2014 4:56 PM:

@"Marxism is bad."

Huge claim, Randall.

Care to explain why?

Everything on his Kapital has become true so far. Read it and see for yourself.

Captain said at September 14, 2014 6:43 PM:

Maintaining proper gender roles is the one thing Islamist do right.

Eric Patton said at September 15, 2014 12:52 PM:

The PPK women generally play a role in logistics, they only do line work if they're really hurting for warm bodies and choose to go. The PPK is rigidly marxist, they don't allow people to say grace or cross their legs, some even refuse to use cellphones because it's too capitalist. It's amazing the group has managed to survive as long as it has given how inept it is.

There is on-going debate about what role women should play even within Mujahid circles, in part because of female suicide bombers like Sajida al-Rishawi. The PPK thing is just a part of a larger regional modernization.

Myra Esoteric said at September 16, 2014 5:58 PM:

I think the general record shows that Marxism prepares premodern people for modern life and democracy, and that is why it played a role in improving economies in Russia and China historically. Marxism isn't a good idea for countries that are already modernized, I think, because it often relies on charismatic leaders who remind peasants of the feudal kings they're used to.

Check it out said at September 23, 2014 4:18 PM:

Predatory capitalism created a complex industrial system and an advanced technology; it permitted a considerable extension of democratic practice and fostered certain liberal values, but within limits that are now being pressed and must be overcome. It is not a fit system for today's world. NOAM CHOMSKY

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate. BERTRAND RUSSELL

Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks. KARL MARX

Modern capitalism needs men who cooperate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consume more and more; and whose tastes are standardized and can be easily influenced and anticipated ... what is the outcome? Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow man and from nature. ERICH FROMM

Private ownership of land and capital is not defensible on grounds of justice, or on the ground that it is an economical way of producing what the community needs. But the chief objections to it are that it stunts the lives of men and women, that it enshrines a ruthless possessiveness in all the respect which is given to success, that it leads men to fill the greater part of their time and thought with the acquisition of purely material goods, and that it affords a terrible obstacle to the advancement of civilization and creative energy. BERTRAND RUSSELL

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