Kurdish movement and Zapatista movement

This blogpost is a reflection of a paper that “Politics of places/spaces: The spatial dynamic of the Kurdish and Zapatista movements” about similarities between Zapatista movement and Kurdish movement in Turkey, published on New Perpectives on Turkey, wrote by Zeynep Gambetti.

Gambetti focuses on how Zapatista and Kurdish movements constructed two particular places, Diyarbakır and Chiapas, after the armed conflict subsied.

Gambetti aims to show how this place making has affected the discourse and practices of these movements. Secondly, Gambetti aims to discuss the broad outlines of “approprotion of spaces”. This concept refers the spaces of visibality and solidarity opened up by a movement, and its chances of acquiring significance within local, national or global spaces of power. She looks at how.

Kurdish movement has had an impact on democracy in Turkey and compare with the Zapatista movement’s local and transnational effects.

Kurdish / democratization movement

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is a Kurdish organization which from 1984 to 2013 fought an armed struggle against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan and cultural and political rights for the Kurds in Turkey. PKK is the prior of Kurdish movement from 1980’s to these days. After the foundation of legal Kurdish parties and organisations, especially with the process of Turkey’s candidacy of Europian Union, Kurdish movement turned “national”. Kurdish movement expanded to include non-Kurds, leftists, Turkish intelligentsia and civil society activists. But normally it is so local and Kurdish movement focus on Kurdish issue only.

The Zapatista/ autonomy movement

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico.

Zapstistas has been in a declared war “against the Mexican state”, although this war has been primarily defensive, against military, paramilitary and corporate incursions into Chiapas. In recent years, it has been focused on a strategy of civil resistance.

Zeynep Gambetti says that Zapatista movement totally against neo-liberalism. Their alternative politicial vision has led them to develop a much broader concept and practice of democracy. Zapatistas highlight that “The Zapatista concept of democracy is something that it built from below, with everyone, evden those who think differently from us. Democracy is the exercises of power for the people all the time and in all places”

Main differences between Kurdish movement and Zapatista movement

Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) has had an international apperal from the beginning, but Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has not. EZLN’s basic
demands was freedom, justice, democracy, dignity. This general demands cause to be more appeal. Gambetti says that “it did not restrict its request to a particular social or ethnic group; it claimed to be embracing the cause of all oppressed groups and classes, not only in Mexico, but everywhere”

Zeynep Gambetti Politics of places/spaces: The spatial dynamic of the Kurdish and Zapatista movements”




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