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Democratic confederalism (Kurdish: Konfederalîzma demokratîk), also known as Kurdish communalism or Apoism, is a political concept theorized by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan about a system of democratic self-organization with the features of a confederation based on the principles of autonomy, direct democracy, political ecology, feminism, multiculturalism, self-defense, self-governance and elements of a cooperative economy. Influenced by social ecology, libertarian municipalism, Middle Eastern history and general state theory, Öcalan presents the concept as a political solution to Kurdish national aspirations, as well as other fundamental problems in countries in the region deeply rooted in class society, and as a route to freedom and democratization for people around the world.
Although the liberation struggle of the PKK was originally guided by the prospect of creating a Kurdish nation state on a Marxist–Leninist basis, Öcalan became disillusioned with the nation-state model and state socialism. Influenced by ideas from Western thinkers such as the libertarian municipalist and former anarchist Murray Bookchin, Öcalan reformulated the political objectives of the Kurdish liberation movement, abandoning the old statist and centralizing socialist project for a radical and renewed proposal for a form of libertarian socialism that no longer aims at building an independent state separate from Turkey, but at establishing an autonomous, democratic and decentralized entity based on the ideas of democratic confederalism.