We are software engineers, economists, inventors and philosophers. We are re-imagining education, moving away from dogmatism towards pragramatism and creativity, away from emphasis on constrained systems of thought and mass schooling toward meaningful relationships and development. We aim not just to achieve personal development and sovereignty for individuals but also communities. This is the cultural revolution to reclaim our sovereignty as peoples.
"The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any."
- Hannah Arendt
Any system of rule in human history is intent on displaying itself as eternal and unquestionable. Forces that are in contradiction with it are therefore condemned in the strongest possible terms, their ideas outlawed, any memory of them wiped out.
Yet our world is shaped by the conflict between opposing forces. Throughout the ages such conflict has been described in different terms by different people: as a struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, slaves and masters. Zarathustra, Lao Tse, Hegel, priests, philosophers and revolutionaries have all described aspects of this dialectic.
History books would have us believe that human civilization has developed in a linear fashion, that the development of agriculture, cities, money, markets, art and religion all inevitably led to the institutionalized power of a few over the many – in other words, the state. This is a narrative that has little to do with historical facts and everything with legitimizing contemporary authority. We know today that cities, trade, science and technology all existed long before the first states and empires, and have continued to exist outside of their control. This civilization of free societies has been in conflict with the forces of central coercive authority ever since. Its morals and politics are democratic, in the sense that they are rooted in cooperation, mutual agreement and a positive vision of the future.
To be ignorant of this reality means to consign oneself to the absolute and eternal reality of the hegemonic state civilization. Education can be a means to manifest the contemporary myth of power, by actively spreading or passively acknowledging it, or it can be a means to question its totality and eternity by uncovering the legacy of the free and beautiful ways of life in the past and present.
In the age of modernity state civilization has become a global system affecting almost every human on earth. Dystopian science-fiction has with prophetic imagination painted a realistic picture of the future that this system is moving towards: one in which life on earth is almost wiped out and the surviving humans are constantly fighting for their mere existence, hunted down, killed or enslaved by machines of their own making.
This is no certain fate. The intellectuals who would have us believe in such inevitability, building their arguments on supposed biological, economic and psychological facts, have merely appropriated the religious dogma of fatalism and given it a modern, scientific veneer. Its purpose, as it always has been, is to keep people complacent, hopeless and dumb, will-less tools to be formed and wielded at will by the ruling power.
The fact remains that for all its effort and brutality, state civilization has become neither universal nor without alternatives. The legacy of free society has endured in a myriad of forms. It remains strong in the periphery, in ferns and forests, deserts and steppes, on remote islands and high mountains. And it holds sway in the centers, the eternal suburbs and high-rise megacities, from the lowliest women forming secret clubs to fight off rapists and educate their children, to the high-level government employee leaking information about the state's war crimes and surveillance programs to the public.
The reason that state civilization remains hegemonic and seemingly without alternative is that it has developed a global system of institutions that back its power materially and ideologically, whereas its democratic counterpart is in a disarray of a thousand disconnected fragments, lacking unity and direction.
The revolutionary mission of the 21st century is to reclaim our societies’ moral and political legacy, to unite the forces fighting for freedom and justice, and usher in the new age of democratic modernity. The academy is one of many efforts to achieve that.
We are in a state of war. The hegemonic forces are on the attack every day, murdering, raping and torturing, locking people up or silencing them, destroying ecosystems the entire world depends upon, assimilating every culture, wiping out our histories and replacing them with lies, indoctrinating our children and leaving our old to die alone. This war is upon everyone, whether they decide to fight it or not.
It is one of the fundamental laws of war that when you fight a war by your enemy's rules you have already lost. It is another law of war that when the force of your enemy is far superior to your own, you do not face him in the open field. A third law states that the greatest general is the one who wins the war without fighting a single battle.
We have no intention to fight the state on its own terms. Our strategy is to create autonomous communities outside of the state system, replacing its hold on society wherever we can by building our own institutions and organizations. This approach has many forms and names. Kurdish revolutionaries call it democratic autonomy, American agorists refer to it as counter-economics, European crypto-anarchists speak of parallel society. The fundamental concept is the same.
Education is vital for the success of this strategy. It must cover all the fields of social activity, be accessible and practical. Our academy aims to fulfill a specific role within this larger goal; rather than trying to be universal and deal with everything it has a particular field of focus and the commitment to achieve tangible results.
As such the academy takes an integrated approach dealing with three fields of study: programming, economics and ideology. Students are encouraged to use their skills toward building economic autonomy, to create value that can sustain themselves and contribute to an emerging infrastructure. Projects being developed are built on the grounds of decentralized finance and privacy, which provide a new context for entrepreneurial opportunities, that are uncensored and may be sovereign of state power.
Programming or software engineering is still a recent technology. Contrary to most of the other great inventions of the 20th century, including computer hardware, it was not pioneered by the military as much as by young students with a deep love of freedom and moral conviction – the hacker movement. Compared to the megatechnics of early computers and other modern machinery software engineering requires virtually no resources besides the availability of the machine itself, a supply of electricity, and the dedication and enthusiasm of the engineer. These attributes among others have made this technology much more resistant to capture by the state. It also greatly relies on collaboration, mutual aid and the free sharing of information, which are attributes of technology that historically often enable people’s autonomy from state power. While the production and maintenance of the hardware and infrastructure it relies upon is still almost exclusively controlled by monopolistic corporations relying on large-scale slave labor to source the raw materials, software technology has managed to defend itself against total capture and libertarian philosophy is still strong among many of those who build it. Because of this and also because it is a relatively new but massively influential development in society, it has a huge potential to disrupt the existing power structures and build democratic alternatives.
Studies in the academy will begin with training beginners in Python and Linux. Beginners will learn to use open source tools, which will open them to a new realm of possibilities, as most advanced tooling today is developed as open source command line applications on Github. Students will build their own programs in Python and learn proper software design which adheres to the original Unix philosophy of small composable systems. By integrating the use of well-designed open source software alongside learning to develop, students will understand the complete process of software development from idea to distribution for others to use.
Programming studies in the academy will develop into advanced tracks
- Anonymity engineering
- Offensive/defensive security
- Smart contracts
- Intelligent systems/AI
Unlike coder bootcamps, the academy is not focused on bringing students into the workforce where they can trade meaningless labor for comfortable salaries. The academy encourages traits of creativity, curiosity, self-motivation and purpose.
Prospective students can join with any amount of prior experience. From an absolute beginner that wants to learn advanced skills without the existing institutions, to a professional that wants new skills to work purposefully with community.
A mentor will design a specific track for you or a group based on your personal goals and desired outcomes. All tracks will have an element of applied research, self-inquiry into personal objectives, and collaboration with others.
If you are interested in setting up a programming track, join the Adalan Telegram group here and speak with the programming mentors.
Economics has been called “the dismal science” because of how inaccurate and seemingly disconnected from reality it is. Operating at the intersection of social science and mathematical empiricism, the inconsistencies in academic economics are often obvious as it deals with the material needs and wants of people, physical realities that can to a large extent be quantified and compared.
A handful of cosmopolitan institutions including the IMF, the WEF, the BIS, the World Bank and the leading central banks exercise immense political power in order to create and maintain the conditions which the hegemonic economic paradigm proclaims natural laws. One of the key instruments of this doctrine is to distort and obscure the role of money and credit. Karl Marx’s investigations of accumulation, labor-value and the socioeconomic relations of the capitalist production process became a cornerstone of economic theory, but he did not manage to refute or replace the classical paradigm as such. On the question of money and credit in particular he largely adopts the definition of Adam Smith.
In practice, both states described as capitalist and socialist respectively rely on a high degree of centralized economic planning and authoritarian control over markets, money and productive resources, maximizing their monopolies through the continuous accumulation of surplus value. Today even the shrewdest advocates of this system recognize that its premise of continuous growth inevitably means destruction and extinction.
Due to their reliance on abstract axioms rather than physical reality, classical and neoclassical economics are unable to explain this dilemma, much less to provide a solution. The proposed fixes for the most part ignore the field of economy and amount to the imposition of more centralized authority in the hands of governments, central banks or other extra-national autocratic institutions. The supposedly unchangeable flaws of the economic system are used as an excuse to eradicate civil rights, accountability and any opposition to total state power.
We fight this threat by studying, developing and implementing democratic economics. Once we understand that the prevalent economic system is designed by humans to fulfill specific objectives we are able to imagine and develop tools and systems that serve different objectives, and recognize where such alternatives already exist in practice.
Irregular economies - so-called black markets - sustain millions of people around the world without government intervention or enforcement. Community banks encourage innovation and prioritize long-term benefits for the entire community over short-term profits. Cryptocurrencies allow for fully transparent and democratic monetary policies while shielding economic actors from state intervention and censorship.
We strive to accurately understand the macroeconomic reality and to devise courses of action to build an effective and scalable counter-economy. We place a central focus on DeFi, decentralized blockchain-based finance, due to the vast array of tools it provides and enables to design monetary instruments, coordinate markets and organize complex economic systems.
We are looking for skilled and experienced people to teach and study macroeconomic and monetary theory, the study of financial and monetary instruments, research into markets and decentralized distribution systems, economic ethics and philosophy regarding risk, trust, speculation and hedging, market analysis and token economics. It is an objective of the academy to develop and distribute education materials that give a comprehensible overview of economic history and counter-economic strategy and contribute to the emerging paradigm of democratic economics.
Read reports from the academy's economics research group here.
The search for knowledge is always related to the search for wisdom, meaning and truth. The question of the nature of truth is therefore at the heart of all science, religion and philosophy. Ideology refers to the mental frameworks by which people relate to the world around them and discern truth from it. The ability to shape what people perceive as truth is one of the greatest sources of power. The advent of state civilization was enabled by the imposition of ideological dogma that justified the new separation of people into noble rulers and wretched servants. All great struggles, wars and revolutions are fought for or enabled by particular ideologies. All scientific discovery and technological progress has been made possible and shaped by the ideologies under which they appeared.
Western intellectual thought, which has become hegemonic around the globe over the last 300 years, is lead by the conviction that there is absolute, objective truth which humans can gradually uncover by rational and empirical methods. The belief in absolute truth is not a scientific but a religious idea, manifested chiefly by way the Abrahamic religions. From it derives the modern doctrine of objectivism. Since objectivism and positivism themselves have come into question through scientific developments such as quantum physics and the chaos theory, Western thought has increasingly embraced relativism. As different as they may appear the belief in absolute truth (universalism) and relativism are two sides of the same coin. They are ideological premises with the purpose to justify and stabilize existing social conditions, to hide truth rather than to reveal it. Like the religions of old, the ideology of the hegemonic civilization denies it is an ideology and calls itself simply truth, fact, law of nature.
The systematic analysis and critique of ideology is a fundamental aspect of the academy. The aim is to provide a basis for new thought patterns and strategies for building parallel societies, in particular democratic economy and technology. Ideology studies in the academy are always part of economics and programing courses.
Abdullah Ocalan's Manifesto for Democratic Civilization serves as a conceptual framework from where to begin. Students research the relation between ideology and technology, and investigate of the nature and organization of power. The studies aim to uncover the intellectual, moral and political legacy of society beyond the limitations of hegemonic state-based thought.
“Grey, dear friend, is all theory, and green the golden tree of life.”
- The devil’s advice to the student in Faust by J.W. von Goethe
We believe only in theory that proves itself through action. All of our studies therefore linked to practical steps and methods. The academy is an active community relying on the experiences of its students to grow and adapt. Our theories, strategies and tactics are tested in practice and discarded, revised or augmented accordingly. The common methodology of how to do this is the backbone of the academy.
Postmodern society is deeply shaped by the practice of eclecticism. It means the arbitrary combination of different ideas and principles into a thought system to serve a particular end. Modern society is awash with philosophies, religions, cults and lifestyles following this approach. It means picking and choosing ideas and methods based on arbitrary preference. It is a purely utilitarian approach that remains superficial and fails to understand any of the truths carried by the philosophies it picks from. This way of trying to understand reality is just as bad as dogmatism, the belief in absolute and unquestionable truth.
Our preferred method is dialectical, related to the scientific one. We begin with a thesis that is supported by experience and observation. We know that this thesis is not infallible but a sufficiently meaningful approximation of truth that allows us to draw real-life conclusions. We then look at its weak points, inconsistencies and contradictions, look for alternatives and eventually propose changes (or an anti-thesis). If the results of the new proposals are more meaningful than the old ones the original thesis has to be changed, a synthesis is formed and the cycle begins anew. This method demands that no thesis, or truth, is beyond questioning or changing, but also that no thesis is discarded as long as there is no consistent alternative. This applies to science as well as to philosophy, methodology, and day-to-day operations of the academy.
The prevalent student-teacher relation, where a teacher dictates a program to a student who has to learn the material, makes students passive and reliant on the instructor, instead of developing independently. Creativity is suppressed since students do not explore and engage with knowledge dialectically.
The academy fosters a system of mentorship. All participants engage in study and research. The subjects are related to one another in various ways and students are encouraged to study multiple subjects, but with a clear focus and direction. This approach places a high responsibility on the students which they are expected to live up to. Our aim is to empower people, to not shy away from leadership and responsibility but to practice it in a libertarian way. Therefore every member must strive to
- Gain strategic knowledge that allows them to coordinate with others, shape strategy and take decisions
- Be ready to act upon the things learned, make mistakes and get better through practice
- Be humble and not afraid to be criticized, willing to confront one’s own weaknesses and contradictions
Ideas are only as valuable as what we do with them in practice. However, blind undirected action is wasted effort. Therefore we seek to foster the dialectical relation of both aspects in participants. With the mentorship system, whenever members are studying, they are self directed but under the influence of more senior mentors. If they get stuck, they can ask mentors for assistance to get past difficult concepts or discuss ideas to gain a better understanding. Learning through dialogue is encouraged since it creates stronger bonds and relations between people in the community.
The academy places great emphasis on fostering an own culture of learning and working together that goes beyond the content of its courses. We value free and open debate and exchange of ideas, including ideas that appear controversial or dangerous. We are not interested in constantly agreeing with one another but in challenging each other’s ideas, learning to defend, develop and improve them.
To be able to uphold full intellectual freedom all participants in the academy are expected to abide by common moral principles. Everyone who is sincere about the mission is welcome. Participants respect each other and help one another wherever possible. When we criticize we try to bring others up, not push them down, and propose alternatives. When we get criticized we always take it seriously and learn from it. Our ideas are validated through action, and the morals of how to treat one another are the first and foremost step of that action.
Commitment and self-discipline are important values as well. Without it any coordinated effort either starts to rely on central leadership until it becomes authoritarian, or turns into an inconsequential waste of resources. Members of the academy strive to be pioneers, brave and compassionate people who are at the same time engineers, warriors and philosophers. They use their strength to help others and have the courage to ask for help when they need it. Their path is one of dedication, empathy, perseverance and humility, of being students as well as teachers.