1- About the Karakok Autonome
Striking black roots
In May 2007, anarchists in Istanbul joined up under the name “Karakök Autonome” for the first time. Due to the close political and friendly exchanges with the local comrades, anarchists in switzerland decided to use the same name. “Karakök” means “black root”, which on the one hand stands for the libertarian spectrum in which we move, and on the other hand for the way we’re doing it: like a decentralized network of roots – not based on a single stem or spine, but mesh-like connected and generating new, diverse structures like branches, leaves and flowers.
How are we organized?
We don’t perceive ourselves as an organization after classical conception, but as an association of individuals, who act in the voluntary will to collectivity. The activists in our group don’t hold a single, fixed view or ideology: our common denominator is that we refuse any structures of domination and power and fight for a free world, a self-governing, responsible and open cooperation of all. Of course there are common goals or opinions (which you’ll find below), but they came up in collective discussions or through practical experiences and weren’t determined by a “leading center”.
The Karakök Autonome doesn’t “belong” to anyone, it solely serves as a basis for networking and organizing for the purpose of achieving more effective changes. Everyone can support the libertarian idea freely somehow or other within this name, without the need for being approved by the others. No one has the right to decide on somebody else or to control her/him. Similarly, it’s left to one’s own (and not to any duty) if and in which manner she/he wants to support activities.
We act in the knowledge that we can’t destroy existing, unnaturally forced structures in society without aiming ourselves, too. Resistance against domination and authority cannot be restricted only to government structures, as we’re also part of these structures. Thus it’s important not to ignore the system within ourselves, though it’s often more difficult.
The fact that we are humans, who use a common political name, doesn’t mean that we have to think equally to pull together. On the contrary: the more colors and different perceptions come together, the more effective alternatives can the revolutionary movement develop. Not before everyone can express her/his individuality freely without being dominated by a paralyzing “flock” behaviour -and without this having to mean selfishness, lack of consideration or emerging of leading structures, but self-responsibility, a collective and respectful self-organized cooperation- we can speak of not only free individuals, but of a free society and a free world as a whole. For this is just the world, we want to create: a well-functioning and autonomous collectivity, despite all our idiosyncrasies and different views. As we already create this world in our minds, our actions and our manners, we’ll progress not only politically, but also on an interpersonal level, and will be able to build a free world piece by piece, without any structures, which are forced on society by capitalist, feudal, patriarchal, religious or civic powers.
Another consensus is that the creation of heroes and idols leads us inevitably to populism and hierarchies as well as it paralyzes independent thinking. The anarchist theory can’t “belong” to anybody, it has arisen directly out of life and serves to flow back into life again. Even though theories and ideologies are important to understand history and the present: practice, which is solely based on them, will move us backwards. Only keeping a close watch on the present, its analysis and consequential solutions can bring us forward. Therefore, we set our sights on observing the present situation independently and free from rigid thought patterns.
What do we do?
We participate in many diverse struggles within the revolutionary-libertarian spectrum, such as labor disputes, environmental and anti-war activities, youth, women or queer movement. At local level, we take up current site-specific problems. So it’s quite possible, that while we’re focusing on a specific topic in switzerland, our comrades in turkey are engaged in something completely different. Often, however, we realize that problems vary in their symptoms, but base on the same foundation of a capitalist, hierarchical world of rules, restrictions, state control and repression. This is manifested f.e. in Istanbul in the murder of transsexuals; and in switzerland in the appropriation of the Queer movement by the state and thus its control and weakening. Both cases are underlay by an intolerant and repressive pattern, although they manifest theirselves cultural differently.
We set a high value on solidarity with comrades in other regions. We work anti-nationally together with anti-authoritarian groups and networks of various countries. In 2008, delegates from the Karakök Autonome turkey and switzerland were invited on the 8th Congress of the IFA (International of Anarchist Federations). For the first time in the history of the IFA, activists from turkey were represented and reported about the struggle of the anarchist movement in the anatolian region. In January 2009 we participated in the CRIFA-meeting (Commission for International Relations of the IFA) in Strasbourg as delegates again.
Karakök Autonome turkey: In Istanbul we partaked in the 1st May platform together with other anarchist organizations in 2008 and 2009, and demonstrated as such in Taksim. After the assassination of the italian peace ambassador Pippa Bacca in turkey, we initiated the campaign “Biz erkek degiliz” (“We are not men”) together with other groups, which challenges the patriarchal male image in society by means of different activities. Furthermore, we were calling for the formation of a turkish / anatolian federation and organized preparatory meetings in which took part anarchist organizations of many regions. In Istanbul, we organized a symposium on the topic of “sexuality and revolution” and at a later date cinema days. In the south of Turkey, we have been planning an alternative living and culture project, whose preparations are in progress. We have participated in several demonstrations and meetings within the campaign “Kardesime Dokunma” (a campaign against state violence) as well as in anti-militarist activities and solidarity actions for conscientious objectors.
Karakök Autonome switzerland: In Oktober 2008, we participated in the cultural and practical activities of the “Anarchy week” in Zurich, which was organized by the “Zurich Anarchists”. In November 2008 we organized an anti-nuclear demonstration in Zurich in collaboration with another group and in Munich we joined in the “Action Alliance against the NATO security conference” in the beginning of 2009 and actively supported the anti-NATO protests. The “Feminist Action” of the swiss section took part in the “Autonomous Feminist Womyn’s Gathering” in Vienna (April 2009) and held a workshop on new approaches and modes of operation in Anarchafeminizm. On 1 May 2009 we marched within the Revolutionary Alliance in Basel, where we opened a joint banner with “Villa Rosenau” (squat from Basel) and the “Kurdish Conscientious Objectors”. Afterwards we opened our 1st May stands in Zurich together with the Zurich Anarchists and the IWW. We were actively involved in the student protests at the University of Zurich (April/May 2009) against an education which is dependent on companies’ interests and economically-oriented. Within an action alliance, we co-organized the demonstration “Storming Fortress Europe” against nationalism, racism and exploitation, which took place in Zurich on the International Refugee’s Day. During the demo we were carrying a common banner with the Zurich Anarchists and the “Animal Rights Group Zurich”. Furthermore, we’re on the air at “Radio LoRa” with a monthly, bilingual (Turkish/German) broadcast, which we primarily use as an information platform for the anarchist and broad revolutionary and alternative movement worldwide.
Along with practical political actions, we set value to put our own anti-authoritarian and libertarian attitude into practice in everyday life, whether in family, friendships or in love relationships, in employment or education and in economic relations. Unfortunately, history has shown us, what’s the use of a political revolution, which is dictated top down, as long as the social, psychological and cultural basis isn’t ready. History has also shown us, that sole socio-cultural movements without any involvement into a political, economical and environmental context, can’t change anything either in the long run. Therefore we should pay at least the same significance to both sides.
Life is everywhere. Setting it free lies within our own hands.
Let’s start it in our minds and hearts!
“Isyan! Devrim! Anarsi! “-” Resistance! Revolution! Anarchy! “