New World Academy #5: Stateless Democracy
21 October 2014 – 15 january 2016
De Balie, Amsterdam; Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam

New World Academy invites representatives of stateless political organizations to explore, together with artists and students, the role of art at the heart of political struggle.

Session V: Stateless Democracy

The Kurdish Women’s Movement advancing in parallel to the rise of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which waged armed struggle against the Turkish state from 1979 on due to the severe repression of Kurdish cultural and political representation and in demand of an independent state for the Kurdish people. The Kurdish Women’s Movement opposes both the repression of the Turkish State as well as what they consider the patriarchal dimensions of the demand for an independent Kurdish nation-state. Analyzing the role of women as the first colonized class in history and supported by PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan, they defend the idea of democratic confederalism: essentially democracy without the state.

Stateless Democracy is a series of public studies in which the political ideas of the Kurdish Women’s Movement and its principles of self-governance, decentralization, gender equality, cultural co-existence and social ecology are examined. Currently, the Kurdish Women’s Movement has a central organizing role in the northern region of Syria, Rojava. The Kurdish revolutionary forces, in collaboration with many different peoples from the region, declared Rojava autonomous from Assad’s regime in 2012 and are currently engaged in an ongoing fight against the militant Islamic State. The unique new political model being constructed here diverges fully from the dominant global statist paradigm and challenges artists, musicians and writers from the region and abroad to rethink their cultural imaginary in relation to this political imaginary of a new world.

First part:
On October 21st 2014 the first public study with the Kurdish Women’s Movement took place in cultural center de Balie in Amsterdam. During this session there were lectures and debates with Dilar Dirik (Kurdish Women’s Movement), Dilşah Osman (Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe, KCD-E), Joost Jongerden (University of Wageningen), Jasper Blom (GroenLinks), Jolle Demmers (Centre for Conflict Studies, Utrecht University)

Second part:
The second session took place on May 30th 2015 in cultural center de Balie in Amsterdam. During this session the reader Stateless Democracy was presented with a lecture by and debate with journalist, women’s rights activist, and the main translator of the work of Öcalan, Havin Güneser.

Third part:
From 12 to 15 January 2016 the third session of the New World Academy:Stateless Democracy took place in Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. During four days, 50 students and artists, explored the role of art in developing alternative models of stateless democracy. The works developed during this session were exhibited from January 30 – May 1 at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht during the exhibition Unstated (or, Living without Approval)


Havin Güneşer (Kurdish Women’s Movement) at New World Academy 5 – Stateless Democracy (2015)

Jasper Blom

(from 2:28) Response

Dilar Dirik

(from 15:93) Rojava and The Kurdish Question: The Democratic Revolution is Now

Havin Güneşer

(from 32:10) Stateless Democracy: The Kurdish Women Movement

-Lecturers session 1

Jasper Blom

Jolle Demmers

Dilar Dirik

Joost Jongerden

Dilşah Osman

Jonas Staal

-Lecturers session 2

Jolle Demmers

Havin Güneşer

Jonas Staal

-Teachers session 3

Ronahi Afrîn

Florence Bateson

Manuel Beltrán

Mazlum Django

Robert Glas

Ilena Saturay

Urok Shirhan