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Working papers

N° 42 Stalinist caterpillar into libertarian butterfly? The evolving ideology of the PKK

This paper examines the evolution of the ideology of the Turkish Kurdish PKK. The first two parts discuss the early strategic orientation of the PKK and its similarity to other national liberation movements of the time. Part three discusses the idea of 'creating a new man', an idea that became central to the PKK's conception of the future society they struggled for. This idea was a distinctive characteristic of the PKK. It is not unusual for activists in this movement to describe their political convictions as 'the ideology of Öcalan' and part four discusses the role of Abdullah Öcalan as the leader and ideologue of the movement. Part five discusses another distinguishing characteristic of the PKK: the role that it sees for women and women's liberation in social change. Part six and seven deal with the changing ideas of the PKK about the future society: its vision of a 'democratic civilization and its changing conception of 'socialism'.

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N° 41 Reality, knowledge and forecasting

This paper is a "dynamic document" to use a fashionable term in the field of electronic publishing. It is the next step in an attempt to attack the problem of human knowledge from a materialistic and dialectical point of view. A first skeleton was published in the anthology Returns in Marxism. What follows below is more an exercise in stock-taking and in posing the question. What does it mean to say a dialectical and materialistic approach to the understanding of human knowledge? After the dogmatic period of the a Stalinist philosophy of science, we balance on a tightrope, as it is easy to retreat to empty dogmatic notions, whilst the far end of the rope is still not visible. The theory is still in the making and only after a full understanding (or a mature view), can you explain something comprehensively as if it were obvious. Unrolling thoughts and investigations map out a bumpy road. So, what follows below represents a more inductive approach than derived from the so-called hypothetical deductive method, where the author supposedly has a firm idea and consequently tries to prove or disprove it. New ideas largely pop up intuitively.

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N° 40 Technological Utopianism in the early USSR, and what does that mean for us now

Since the disastrous results of Stalinist plan economy on almost all emancipatory fields the Bolshevik revolution tried to accomplish, technological utopianism is hardly a theme in socialist theory. However, the technological
advances enabled many agricultural, societal and communicative achievements, which raise worldwide (uneven) welfare, as well as helped many democratic emancipatory movements. This essay reviews two books on the early enthusiastic phase of Russian socialism, were hopes, dreams and experiments dovetailed with a trust in the benign role science and technology will play in changing the world to the better.
The first book by Josephson (2010) eloquently reviews the downturn of the bureaucratic institutionalised equation of technology with progress. The second book by Krementsov (2011) deals with the utopian ideas of Bogdanov in his dream to collectivise people: socially, culturally and biologically.
Both books challenge utopianism but, more importantly, are well written studies we need for present-day reflections on the role and use of science and technology in future emancipatory developments.

Author(s)

N° 35 The long march of the Dutch SP

This Working Paper looks at the evolution of the Socialist Party (SP) in the Netherlands. With its roots in the maoist milieu of the seventies, the SP is a rare example of a party coming from the far-left to make a lasting national breakthrough. During its own long march, the SP underwent a metamorphosis from a small revolutionary group to a social-democratic mass-party. Alex de Jong is a co-director of the IIRE Amsterdam.

Author(s)

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