Reverse Discourse, Queering of Self-Determination, and Sexual Ruptures : Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdistan Workers Party, and the Problem of the Nation-State

Jongerden, J.P.


The idea of self-determination through independent state formation served as a crucial political principle for groups and organisations resisting colonial domination and the capitalist world system during the post-World War II era. Kurdish political movements and parties were no exception. They embraced the idea that, as a nation, they were entitled to a state that exercised exclusive territorial control. One of these parties was the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which emerged in the context of Turkey’s Kurdish issue and developed into one of the most important political actors in Kurdistan of the last 40 years. In the 2000s, the PKK started to question whether or not self-determination ought to be conceptualised and practiced through state construction. As a result, self-determination became redefined in terms of societal self-organisation, an idea beyond that of the centralised nation-state. This article argues that the PKK has shifted the concept of self-determination away from the idea of the state and towards the self-organising and self-administering capabilities of all people. This queering of self-determination has enabled a radically new understanding of resistance: the building of a post-capitalist, post-state, and post-patriarchal society.