THE CITY THAT KNOWS NOT ITS OWN NAME – “We’re doing it, kirwe,” said Ali Mehmet, puffing on his Laz Marlboro, “it’s really happening this time.”
“You’re joking, abi,” exclaimed Mehmet Ali, his younger friend.
“May there be Düzgün Baba, kirwe.”
The Maoists, Dersim’s favourite tourist attraction, are hurriedly preparing for the upcoming independence referendum, in which Dersim will vote on whether to secede from itself, owing to the latter’s failure to defend the region’s supposedly long-standing aspiration for freedom from the Turkish Republic which presently occupies it.
“Dersim can never advance towards socialism so long as it’s still full of Dersimliler,” explained Dilan Akdağ, a local DHF member, to our corespondent. “Our people deserve better than to have to live under the oppression of the fascist Kemalist state that we routinely affirm our loyalty to with CHP votes.”
The campaign has won widespread acceptance from the largely apathetic population, with the most significant voice of criticism coming from the post-DevYol grouplets Halkevleri and Kaldıraç, local members of which have been meeting with one another to coordinate for the “no” campaign.
“Everyone attacks us as Kemalists, but our concern here is very genuinely socialist,” explained Fatma Demirkan, a Halkevleri representative at the meeting which our local correspondent attended. “Dersim’s love for itself is not necessarily progressive. We have real trouble getting people to do actual political work, and a big part of this problem stems from the heroic self-image our people have. If we secede, we’re probably the ones who stand the most to gain: a population like that of Dersim would love to be run by people like us, and we’d certainly be able to sign up a lot of people if the CHP didn’t exist, but the question is, are these people ready to fight for socialist values themselves?”
“Is Dersim actually worth liberating?” asked local Kaldıraç cadre Derya Kılıç to our correspondent. “Dersim should frankly be abolished, as it delegitimises its own existence in practice: claiming to be communist, most of us are actually supremely opportunist and reformist, and we all know it. May there be Düzgün Baba, Hüseyin Aygün is less opportunist than most of us, and he’s in the god damned CHP. Will secession change any of that?”
The Bolşevik Parti of Turkey, North Kurdistan, Occupied Hatay, Dersim, and the Black Sea hurried to release an extremely correct declaration of their views on the matter, to be read mostly by writers of Worker’s Spatula and ICOR affiliates from other countries. It concludes as follows:
The people of Dersim have every right to decide their own future. Nobody has a right to intervene in this referendum, although frankly, we would be impressed if they could: almost any conceivable position the Turkish state could push would end up being the position of some leftist group in Dersim who would seize the opportunity to further destabilise the region from the perspective of the state. Almost none of us will honestly notice if Dersim does secede from itself, or Turkey, or Kurdistan, or whatever it’s a part of now, any more than most of Turkey notices this declaration we’re writing right now.
In the event of a “no” vote on Dersim’s secession from Dersim, the Maoists expect an escalation of the people’s war. Incidentally, this is also their expectation in the event of a “yes” vote.
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