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World Youth Conference and Democratic World Confederalism of the Youth as a response to the problems of the youth

Interntionalist Youth Perspective

1. Situation of the youth

We are living in a worldwide situation of chaos and emergency, wherein the youth are facing many specific difficulties. Identity crisis, foul play, and unconventional war are some of the leading problems that we endure today. For that reason, it is important to recognize ourselves as youth, recognize in ourselves a revolutionary identity, research our history and thus illuminate our path forward. In the system in which we live, called Capitalist Modernity in our movement, the role of the youth is very clear. The youth is exploited at all levels, using its energy and dynamism to sustain the system. This is done either by working without a rest for unsustainable wages, fighting in wars to protect economic and political interests that have nothing to do with us, or – especially in the case of young women – seeing our bodies exploited to sell a consumerist and individualistic lifestyle that is devoid of meaning.

This form of domination, in which the youth is manipulated to serve the interests of the powerful, is what we call gerontocracy. Taking advantage of our lack of experience, knowledge and organization, the system forms young minds by trying to cut the wings to our search of truth and freedom. The historical origins of this relationship can be seen in the society that existed prior to rise of the state and the class divison more than 5000 years ago. Even though this society lived in a communal and egalitarian way organized around the leadership of women, old men used their knowledge and cunning to convince the youth to accept their own slavery, and to become soldiers that impose the exploitation of women and of the whole society.

Today, the forms and tactics of the system have changed, but the essence is the same. We live this reality each day. From father to child, from boss to employee, from older brother to younger sibling, from experienced militant to young militant, we always find the same dynamic that rejects new ideas and possibilities in favour of maintaining the existing system.  How many times have we heard sentences like “you are too young to understand,” “when you get older you will change your ideas,” or “it is so because I say so”? We can’t see this as a situation that only affects us individually. These sentences are part of a social process that aims to control the youth by tying them to the dominant system. This is how they appropriate our strength, our dynamism, our intelligence and our curiosity. This is how the excuse of ‘having more experience’ is used to legitimise the misuse and abuse of the power that this experience brings.

So what are we? As young people and young women, this question could be strange for us. Does our identity really exist? Do we have a specific revolutionary function? Do we need to get organized autonomously? We should find the answer to these questions ourselves. If we don’t, others will do it for us. We can see already in every war – most recently in Russia and Ukraine – that wars are built on the blood of young people tricked into fighting for a supposed homeland. At the same time, we can see how in every brothel we found young women coerced into serving as slaves of the patriarchy.

In all the advertisements, the youth is used as a publicity tactic directed towards the middle classes. In each university they steal our time and intellect to their own benefit. In all the jobs they exploit us to continue making money. We are objects of control everywhere. We are used to satisfy the power and capital desires of the powerful on large and small scales. But as youth, the moment to say “enough” has arrived. Examples in history show that the youth can free themselves from their chains, and become a liberation force. It is no coincidence that most of the revolutionary organizations in the 20th century were founded by young people. In collective development, we come to know our strength, and realise what are we capable of. Here lies the revolutionary potential of the youth. This system is afraid of us, because our capability to create,  defend, and develop our communities is so strong. This is why we must know ourselves, and thus take the step to organize ourselves.

2. World Youth Conference and Democratic World Confederalism of the Youth as a response to the problems of the youth:

At this historical moment, we see the need to act and we have the will to act. For that reason, last November, we decided to organize the first World Conference of the Youth, under the slogan “Youth Writing History”. At the conference, we saw ourselves in those around us. We saw young people from all the continents facing similar problems. We found that we want to develop common tools. And we found that the exchange of revolutionary experiences helped us to build up a common vision of both the general and specific necessities of our struggle. We realized that we face similar problems inside our organizations, that we have to organize our collective will to develop our role as youth in the frame of the global revolution. If we don’t get organized and if we don’t unite ourselves, then nobody will listen to us.

This World Youth Conference was a success. It was a first contact, a first demonstration of what we can do, a space to exchange and discuss our practices, and a moment to remind us that we are not alone in our struggle. With these discussions we began to develop a framework for joint action. In this regard, we have created the Youth Writing History network, that could be a central point for the global action of the youth. It is a horizontal network where we will give each other strength, and from which we will answer the specific attacks we receive as youth. These attacks materialize in different ways, for example, the forced migrations from the south to the global north, as a consequence of imposed poverty in many cases. In Kurdistan, we see the forced migration of thousands of young people who are left with three options: prison, death, or Europe.

More than four-hundred youth from forty-five countries and ninety-five organizations, movements and parties attended the conference. This is not a simple matter of numbers, but of the great will that was expressed, and how we get engaged in concrete steps towards our objectives. The conference was not only the result of years of work, it was a starting point of praxis, in our path to freedom. Each person came with their own will. Each youth organization, party and movement came because they saw the need to write history.  Large and small organizations from five continents participated in the conference, where the ability to gather together allowed us to identify two fundamental elements: a common enemy, and the will to build a fair and egalitarian world. We overcame the ideological distinctions – anarchism, Marxism-Leninism, feminism, ecologism – to deliver a message to the world: “Youth striving for freedom is unstoppable.”

This is why we evaluate the conference as a historical step. For many years, the world had not seen the youth show the will to take possession of their future, and could hardly imagine what the free will of the youth means. We are moving forward to the development of a global-subject and a youth identity that seeks its own path. In the last years, we have seen how the imperialist forces have tried to organize the youth, using their youthful dynamism and participation in protests and mass actions to impose imperialist regimes and to justify new ideological offensives of the liberalism. For that reason, this conference held a vital importance, as it was positioned outside the potential benefit of any imperial force. Instead, it allowed the youth to gather, take strength, and fight for their freedom while seeking to reinforce, in every context, a diverse and determined youth independent from any external oppressive force. This conference is a base for the autonomous global action of the youth. It was essentially an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-patriarchal conference of the youth by and for itself.

We organized various workshops during the conference that allowed us to learn different perspectives around these topics. Today, the youth face forced migration, exposure to the harshest forms of liberalism, environmental destruction, patriarchal violence, and exploitation as a tool for the development of militarism and of the fascism. We don’t have a voice inside the education of the system and cannot define how we want to be educated. In light of these attacks, we discussed the problems of the indigenous youth, of the oppressed peoples, and how to implement our own economy free of exploitation and gerontocracy. We also started to connect with our history and discussed the need to organise ourselves internationally. Above all, we talked about our need for freedom, and about how that search for freedom guides us.

It is impossible to convey in a few lines everything that happened in the conference. What we know is that we are going to continue taking steps towards a global youth struggle. We now have a strong alliance and a shared declaration that will allow us to advance. We are going to continue gathering, discussing, and reinforcing our local activities with international action. In world shaped by war, environmental destruction, macho violence and the feminicide, the youth must play a role of change.  

All through the present century we have seen some notable youth mobilisations in the form of protests for democracy, for the defence of the indigenous peoples, for an ecologial relationship between humans and our environment, and for the liberation of women and against all forms of patriarchal violence. We have seen vital economic and organizational alternatives building up and developing large efforts for change across society. This shows that the youth have a vision that opposes the current state of the world, and that if they organize globally, they will be a vanguard that will guide the global change. For that reason it is important to unify and be organized, to create democratic structures with the capacity to reunite the diversity of the youth and confront the attacks of the enemy, and through this to bring freedom to young people and society in general. We have to fight to experiment with freedom, and to fight we must organize ourselves. This Third World War is showing us – as we said in the previous edition – that the global system is going through a reorganization, that we live in a period of chaos, and that we are advancing towards a multi-polar world with many points of oppressive powers in constant confrontation each other. We can see diverse forces participating in this war, with all types and colours of nation-states unifying to gain power, while breaking old alliances and changing their accomplices. This confrontation affects our daily lives, because material conditions worldwide are worsening for the working class, the women, the youth and the planet.

The middle class dream – the American or European way of life – is vanishing between misery and environmental destruction. The woman is facing the deepest violent offensive against her freedom: the absolute liberalization and commercialisation of her body, mind, and identity. The youth is told to search for false hope in nihilism, filling the void of alienation with an empty freedom defined by drugs, alcohol, religious or sport fanaticism, addiction and dependency to work or studying, and toxic relationships at every level of their personal lives. These are all direct effects of the capitalist system, with capitalism’s monopolistic power necessary for the development of the Third World War. In stopping this war, we must reclaim our identity.

To promote, push, and make moves toward freedom for the world, we must break the imposed schemes inflicted on our mentalities and in our daily life, and instead build an organised alternative to the current system. Today, we can see some steps being taken to realise this potential, from the indigenous communities organisation in Abya Yala, to the revolutionary participation of the youth from Myanmar to the Philippines, Palestine, and Mali. In several places, youth are taking the initiative and organising themselves to face their own problems and those of their society simultaneously. Likewise, in the Global North the youth has not remained still and silent in the face of the ecological disaster imposed by the North American and European capitalists. In this point it is important to emphasize the great hypocrisy of the hegemonic system. At the same time as they destroy the environment, they invest millions of dollars in summits that mask this ongoing destruction while legitimising authoritarian regimes. Nowhere is this dynamic clearer than in the fact that the next COP29 will be Azerbaijan despite its brutal occupation and invasion of the Armenian region of Artsakh. Fashionable greenwashing has become the tool with which ongoing colonial violence and ecological devastation is concealed.  

The Youth are organizing against these conditions of exploitation in schools, workplaces, and neighbourhoods. In Kurdistan and the Middle East more generally, the youth have taken a vanguard role in the revolutionary development. However, in our own context we see limitations in the many organisations that do not reflect on the role of youth and so suppress their free will and revolutionary spirit. We also see that the youth organizations can easily be ideologically assimilated into liberalism and fall into either reformism or classical leftist purism and dogmatism, both of which separate youth from society and deactivate our struggle.

The answer is to struggle, to organize, and to educate. But we are conscious of the long way ahead of us, and that today we as youth are still in a limited phase of self-consciousness and organization. We must develop our theory and practice into a global vanguard force. We can’t say that we are one today, but we can say that we have the determination to become one.

We can call the alternative system that we want to create: Democratic World Confederalism of the Youth. This is framed inside the paradigm of World Democratic Confederalism, proposed by the ideological leader of the Kurdistan Liberation Movement, Abdullah Öcalan, as an alternative system to the global capitalistic order. Inside this social system there are various forms of autonomous organisation, with the most fundamental being the autonomy of Women (Democratic World Confederalism of the Women) and the autonomy of Youth (Democratic World Confederalism of the Youth). With this idea, we do not claim to create a unique youth identity, since it is not possible to pretend that the great diversity of youth could be unified under only one body and one reality. No one can impose one identity to the youth. What we believe is necessary is to unify the different existing youths in a common system of autonomous self-organisation that will allow us recognize ourselves, advance together in struggle, and understand what it means to develop revolutionary movements that reach to the very heart of the Capitalist Modernity and make it explode. We are not saying that we have to destroy the capitalist system from inside. Instead, with the alternative that we are building, we will give society back its own capacity to lead itself, and we would develop our ability to resist any attacks wanting to steal this capacity again.

This is how we can create a real inclusive and representative system of youth across the world. We no longer talk about the union of revolutionary organization, but about an organizational form of the global youth; a space where each young person can participate through communes and councils to contribute to the development of all humanity. This is how we can contribute to the progress of an ecological, democratic world, where the women and youth can be totally free.

3. Conclusions: Organization and struggle

In Abya Yala, Africa, Asia, and across the Global North, in cities and in rural communities, in centres and peripheries, the youth have a role. The youth are not here only to protest against the misfortunes of the system, but can build up, promote, and renew their communities physically and ideologically, standing by the side of the woman as the vanguard of social change. For each thing destroyed by wickedness, the revolutionary youth identify and fill the gaps, by building up the alternative in a more free, communal, and democratic dimension. The Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci once said “educate, organize, mobilize yourselves.” This is of critical importance for the construction of the Democratic World Confederalism of the Youth. Read, educate yourselves, discuss, write, take part in seminars, educations, actions, meet, act, create structures to solve the problems. The way in which we do this will be the creative foundation for the development of our Confederalism inside a global frame.

The vanguard role that we have to play is to ensure our ideological and physical strength be used to advance society towards freedom. From today, the youth will redraw the flow of history, and facilitate the free flow of society’s energy. For this purpose, we must continue to concretize the lines developed in the World Youth Conference, and advance toward the global revolution. We have agreed ten points, and now we have to develop them. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

We champion the testimony of yesterday’s many young revolutionaries, bringing them to life, and thus building the future. As Abdullah Öcalan said, “young we started, young we will win.”



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