Hamburg conference to open on 3 February

Challenging Capitalist Modernity – Alternative Concepts and the Kurdish Quest”, conference in Hamburg on 3-4-5 February
Challenging Capitalist Modernity – Alternative Concepts and the Kurdish Quest” is the title of the three-days conference which will take place at the university of Hamburg on 3, 4, 5 February. (Info at
Three days in which discuss theoretical and practical efforts for an alternative way of life. This conference will provide an opportunity to catch up with the transformation of the Kurdish society and movement as well the alternatives they propose.

The program is full and speakers range from Norman Paech to Antonio Negri (author of Empire), from Immanuel Wallerstein to Achin Vanaik, from Nuray Mert to Muzaffer Ayata, from Wolf-Dieter Narr to Ferda Cetin.

ANF spoke with Havin Guneser, of the organizing commitee.

– How did you get the idea of organizing this conference?

The long-lasting existence-nonexistence struggle of the Kurdish people at the same time consists of an ideological character and a world view. This struggle has no wonder influenced the community, cultural, political and social lives of Kurds and created a transformation in their lives. However, the situation is reflected to the outside only over the reality of a people who struggle for liberation. Furthermore, a true reflection of the situation is also questionable in this age of communication. Therefore, in addition to the meetings and discussions of a group of intellectuals, students we wanted to provide a platform to address a larger audience about the Kurdish people who is struggling and claiming an alternative way of living. This platform would also assemble the theoretic, academic and practical experiences of similar struggles around the world and enable them to strengthen and support each other. While a broadly participated meeting was held in January 2011 for this purpose, arrangements for this conference have been made since that date. Other than that, a new working group was created for the organisation of the conference, Network for an Alternative Quest.

-On which basis did you determine the main topics of the conference?

As a matter of fact, Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan himself has been the propellent power of groundbreaking ideological, political, cultural and other changes in the Kurdish society which lived a very sharp disintegration from the system after 1999. The topics to be addressed at the conference are the subjects that are to a certain extent discussed in general. To give an example, the subject of social sciences was deeply addressed and evaluated by Wallerstein and a group of intellectuals in the 90’s but this analysis didn’t result in a remarkable alternative. The present situation therefore reveals the necessity for the continuation of this discussion. Basing on the facts that a struggle alone isn’t sufficient and true and different ways of struggle should be applied than those of the other side against whom the struggle is given, the conference will address ways of struggle as well as the ways of building alternative lives. The topic titles of the conference actually consist of subjects that are addressed and discussed by Kurds at present. However, despite the Kurdish people’s strong concepts of alternative way of living, we see that the state is today trying to imprison Kurds in a traditional spiral. However, Kurds constitute a community that has already gone beyond usual arguments and displayed a deep deliberation power that not only protects their existence but also determines the way of the life they want to live. For this reason, besides titles such as nation-state and industrialism to be addressed, serious discussions will be held at the conference regarding the reasons why capitalism is against human and nature and how it harms their togetherness. While the subject of the Middle East will specially be addressed as a main title, we also attach importance to the meeting, exchange of views, experience sharing and consolidation of various alternatives that will attend the conference from different places of the world.

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