HDK Parties Courting Fired Academic


ANKARA – Fırat Önder, a left-wing academic recently fired unceremoniously from his position at Ankara University for his opposition to the Turkish state’s war on the Kurdish people, has been without any faint hope of another job since his passport was cancelled by AKP edict. However, he has not wanted for friends in these trying times.

This morning, TÖPG cadres reportedly showed up at the former History professor’s apartment door with a bouquet of flowers to ask him if he wanted to consider going out for a date sometime: “Any day you’re free, we can go to the park and distribute propaganda, or we can talk about dialectics. Whatever you want, abi,” said the young man clutching the yellow roses close to his equally yellow TÖPG vest.

Önder’s newfound popularity is not limited to TÖPG, the only element of the Turkish left whose cadre read as much Hegel as the Germans. Nearly every HDK party or group has come to him, hoping to win him over to their line. We sat down with Önder in his apartment in Çankaya to discuss his situation.

“It started with the letters of support from my students,” explained Önder to our correspondent over tea in his apartment, as SYKP cadre outside his window knocked on it, waving around pamphlets. “A Kurdish student who lost her little brother in the attack on Sûr told me that I was in her prayers. It breaks my heart to think about that.”

“I guess my students really liked me, because before long, they started getting involved in the campaigns for academics who have been fired. One of them joined Partizan and kept ‘bumping into me’ in the street. Now it’s like I’m in some Turkish film from the ’70s, where instead of being courted by men representing different social classes, I’m being courted by a bunch of 20-year-old revolutionaries who started reading Marx because of me.”

Attempts at courtship have varied in their scrupulousness: “Halkevleri approached me the other night at a bar. It was a man about my age and three much younger women whom he seemed to be offering as some sort of socialist concubines. I told them to fuck off, and they asked me, ‘what are you gay or something?’.

“Then there was DSİP. They said they would ring Callinicos for money for myself and other fired academics if I would help them attack EMEP and ESP.”

When asked if he thought he was going to get organised in the end, Önder nodded eagerly and said “Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m going to start working with Devrimci Parti, but they need to get me a few pairs of their trainers to sweeten the deal. I’m not going to give myself away so quickly and look cheap.”



TKP/ML Doing Pretty Good, Report Other Groups in Turkey


İSTANBUL/STEMBOL – An informal survey of various communists in Istanbul confirms that TKP/ML, the illegal Marxist-Leninist and/or Maoist party founded by İbrahim Kaypakkaya (following a split with Doğu Perinçek for being just the worst kind of revisionist) is “not doing half-bad lately, actually”.

“I don’t just mean that compared to the arch-sectarian RIM cultists in MKP, either,” said a representative of the DKP, speaking on condition of mentioning how fashionable his trainers looked. “They’re genuinely making good moves in Istanbul lately. Despite their wacky ‘People’s War’ in Dersim making them look like they’re still all kırdan şehre, I guess they are actually trying to reestablish relevance among the urban proletariat.

“Good for them” he concluded.

“The new songs are quite good, much better than ours,” confessed a representative of the MLKP, speaking through her Circassian-Turkish interpreter. “Not that it matters, since we can listen to anything the Kurds put out, but I’ll listen to that one about the homeland being a sea of blood. Goddamn Maoists know how to sing a tune, you know?”

Even cadres from the Marxist-Leninist-Lukácsist party TÖPG were complimentary: “If I was going to join an illegal party, it wouldn’t be my first choice,” said Fatma Kübra, one of their top cadres in Hatay. “But it also wouldn’t be my last choice? İbo was certainly more handsome than Deniz and Mahir. If I had to be waving around some dead man’s face for the rest of my life, I’d prefer it was him.”

“But Mao was quite ugly,” she added. “So that’s a minus. This is but one of many reasons why our party-initiative doesn’t have a bunch of dead men’s faces on flags.”

Not all Turkish communists agreed that the partisan forces of Comrade İbo were on the right track again. One of Worker’s Spatula’s own central committee members and proper EMEP man if ever there was one, [REDACTED], insisted that those elements impressed by the worker-peasant army were “betraying their petty bourgeois mentality” through their “fetishisation” of “this narodnik cult”.

DSİP cadres were similarly dismissive: “I don’t see how anyone can respect parties like that that hide behind the successes of an allied left group, in this case the Kurdish movement,” explained one “Levent Saygun”. “Unrelated, if you’re off to London, can you tell Callinicos his cheque was late again?”

Stefan Engel, who has been too busy with organisational details of this year’s ICOR Oktoberfest celebration in Bezirk Suhl, did finally pick up his phone to give his feedback on TKP/ML’s progress: “You know I’ve always liked them, I’ve always had faith they would do well in terms of… just a second… ARE THOSE SAUSAGES HALAL?… Yes, sorry. The issue is, they won’t join ICOR. I invited them, trust me. I invite them once a year. But they won’t join unless we explicitly take the line of Mao over Hoxha, which… I’m with the Kurds on this, in Turkey, you want to be on good terms with Hoxhaists.”

UPDATE: They fucked it all up again.

AKP Close to Catching Culprits in String of Attacks on its Enemies


ANKARA – Following yet another bombing, which took place at the wedding of a Kurdish HDP member in Antep, the AKP continues to assure us all that all these attacks which keep hitting their enemies are in fact aimed at the Turkish state and government, and that coincidentally, everyone the Turkish people have heard on the news that they are meant to dislike is behind them somehow.

In a statement which was not even made up by Worker’s Spatula and in fact publicly available in English on Hürriyet Daily News, President Erdoğan managed to link Fethullah Gülen, ISIS, and the PKK, the three principal villains of Turkish daily life according to the constantly blaring television news with the dramatic music we’ve all normalised by now. This follows news of another heinous attack (also probably carried out by the Gülen-ISIS-PKK axis) in which uniformed Turkish police arrested and beat 14 youth for “singing Kurdish songs” in “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Park” in Esenyurt, Istanbul.

A spokesman (it’s always a man) for the AKP responded thus when reached for comment by Worker’s Spatula: “Everyone who the Turkish people don’t like is trying to kill the people the Turkish government doesn’t like, in a complicated conspiracy aimed at attacking the political forces in Turkey which benefit from the current situation. It saddens us a great deal, but we want to assure international Muslim public opinion that we are on the case, and those behind these bloody massacres of Kurds, whose very existence is like a cancer in our lives, will be caught and brought before us to answer for their crimes of making it difficult to sell ‘Democracy à Erdoğan’.”

Many sources within the AKP are blaming “the west”, and the United States in particular, for the reign of terror which grips Turkey and Kurdistan at present. Spokesman for the Office of the President İbrahim Kalın has appeared on television to draw attention to the heinous hypocrisy of international response to this latest bombing: “Everyone knows that the United States were behind the July 15th coup attempt, and soon we’ll be sure that Turkish children are taught this incident in school as an example of a military victory by Turkey against the United States. But of course, we want to maintain good relations with NATO and the United States in spite of this, I mean, Turkey is an independent country which independently entered into an independent alliance with the United States as an independent state. But this alliance will be in grave danger if they continue to stand by and let us suffer as our fiercest critics and most hated enemies are cut down in waves of arrests and attacks clearly aimed at Turkish democracy, which is to say us!”

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım agreed: “The PKK and ISIS are the same, and not at all opposed to each other, and they both definitely have the same mutually antagonistic relationship to the Turkish government and state.” Only joking, Binali Yıldırım can’t string together a complete sentence in Turkish, which is supposedly his native language. It sounded more like this: “PKK terrorism and ISIS terrorism, is… You know, they’re both terrorists. And we’re fighting these terrorism. The same!”

Turkish IST affiliate DSİP wasted no time in falling all over itself to defend the AKP against “Turkish Stalinism” which “constantly stands against the democratic aspirations of our Islamist brothers and sisters”.

“Oh, and terrible to hear about those dead Kurds. We’re in HDP still, right?”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to the victims and added: “We are shocked by this brutal terrorist attack, and we stand in solidarity with the Turkish state in their struggle against terror. In particular, we wish to express our solidarity with Turkey’s disposable labour and open market, a world without which is unimaginable for us. Turkish democracy is locked in a constant struggle with itself, but as a veteran of the German struggle against totalitarianism which tore the country apart, I am confident that religious and corporate democracy will prevail in Turkey as well.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s Name Quietly Removed from Kill Lists of Illegal Groups


İSTANBUL – Following a speech delivered by CHP Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at the “Rally for Democracy and the Martyrs”, in which Kılıçdaroğlu articulated a great many positive views, including support for democratic institutions that would not exclude the Kurdish Movement or others from political discourse, Kılıçdaroğlu’s name was quietly removed from the “kill lists” of several illegal groups operating within the borders of the Turkish Republic.

“I mean, fuck him, but also, you know, not bad” explained a spokesman for the illegal Devrimci Komünarlar Partisi (DKP). “Now we feel even worse about making fun of communists who attended his rallies to try to win people over to our cause. Could we have been ultra-left? No, obviously our line is always 100% correct. But maybe we should be more quiet about our totally correct views on the CHP.”

“When Kandil said that we were entering a tactical alliance with the CHP, I didn’t realise this meant they would actually say some things we agree with now. I thought we were just going to glare nervously at one another while shouting ambiguous anti-AKP slogans. But, I guess if he doesn’t come to power and kill a bunch of our people, we’ll let Kılıçdaroğlu live,” said a spokeswoman for the MLKP.

Reactions from within the CHP are similarly mixed. “Does he want a split?” asked İzmir MP Selin Sayek Böke angrily to our local correspondent. “He thinks he can just promote women’s equality and a democracy that includes the Mountain Turks? Not on my watch. I’d rather rot in a fascist theocracy with Erdoğan as caliph than put up with this.

“Democracy schmemocracy” she concluded.

UPDATE: The DHKP-C has announced that they have added Kılıçdaroğlu to their kill list. DSİP likewise has formed an armed “Permanent Revolutionary Propaganda” wing, whose task is to assassinate Kılıçdaroğlu “and other fascists who oppose Erdoğan, our democratically elected leader, whether we like it or not.”

Sectarian Disputes within Turkish Trotskyism: AKP State to Prosecute Tariq Ali


ANKARA – Turkish courts have made the decision to prosecute Onur Erem after Erem published an interview with well-known international Trotskyist commentator Tariq Ali after Ali called Erdoğan a “tin-pot dictator”. Future investigation of Ali is possible, but clearly the importance of this case lies not in the legal questions, but in the power struggle within Turkish Trotskyism.

Assessments of the situation from the various sides of this struggle were ready at hand. Erdoğan himself mentioned the case of Tariq Ali at the G-20 meeting in Antalya. In his speech Erdogan suggested that the recent terror in Europe was a result of “capitalism’s greed” and proceeded to denounce Ali as a traitor to permanent revolution. He said: “Look at this person. What does he want? Who does he think he is? Look at the world situation today. Mursi and I were carrying the flag of permanent revolution together, but now Mursi has been brought down by the Stalinist Sisi. Yes, Sisi! Yes, so I am the last one standing, surrounded by enemies.

“I thought Ali was on our side in this. After all, he is a Muslim, and therefore a Turk. We are both Turkish Trotskyists and therefore naturally comrades and brothers. But clearly, his class background as the son of a rich Pakistani family led him to betray our movement.” The chairman of Turkey’s biggest holding by far, Ali Koç, rushed to the assistance of his leader: “Capitalism creates poverty and terror. It has to go. Degenerate bourgeois like Tariq Ali will go down together with capitalism.”

Reactions within Turkey were mixed. Turkish IST affiliate DSİP issued a statement saying: “We understand that Ali is not a supporter of our sister party in the UK, the SWP, which already makes him suspect. However, we did not think he would go as far as denouncing our president as a dictator, which would put him in the same category as Stalin and therefore completely unacceptable. We call on Ali to renounce his statement. If he does, we hope that our president will reconsider his intentions, as the movement for permanent revolution should not be split in such dire times.“

A protest note came from the HDK in a joint statement: “Seriously? We say things much worse on a daily basis, providing a much deeper understanding of the AKP regime. Why give such importance to Tariq Ali? By this standard, thousands, if not millions of members of the various organisations which make up the HDK should’ve been arrested in the past few months.”

A short message to Ali was sent from the KCK in the Qandil Mountains: “Heval Tariq, please ignore all the slander and attacks. We wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if we had listened to the naysaying of our enemies. We see that you are serious, so we invite you to join our ranks to take up the armed struggle. We leave it up to you whether you would prefer to fight against ISIS or the Turkish state.”

One of the first international reactions came from Alexis Tsipras, a columnist for a pro-AKP newspaper who splits his free time between his hobbies of being Prime Minister of Greece and being the chief critic of the Prime Minister of Greece: “I really think this is not the time for this. As I recently wrote in one of my columns, we have to cooperate on the central issues of our time. I would be willing to mediate between the two camps. I recommend as a compromise that Erdoğan will condemn his own policies, while Tariq Ali will come to Turkey and encourage Turkish citizens to vote for the AKP.”

IST: “Houthis Could Learn a Thing or Two From the FSA”


SANA’A – While the civil war rages on in Syria, another civil war wages in a much poorer Arab country: Yemen. In keeping with their current strategy of support for NATO/GCC foreign policy except in such cases where elected social democrats are put off, the IST has pledged allegiance to the Hadi-led government.

“Look, if the Houthis didn’t want to get bombed, they shouldn’t have opposed the revolutionary force of Saudi Arabia, who today are bringing democratic revolution to Syria”, read a statement from the ISO in the US.

Their UK sister party, the SWP, agreed: “Yemeni civilians are all tankie bastards for getting support from fascist countries like Eritrea, North Korea… I mean, do I have to spell it out for you? These are poor, non-white, non-English-speaking countries! Inherently counter-revolutionary!”

Our correspondent in Sydney confronted a pro-Hadi march and received this response from a member of “Solidarity”: “Saudi Arabia should kill all the Houthis, they make me sick. I mean, they should learn about real revolution from the FSA: Shoot people dead for being the wrong sect, allow the GCC to directly choose your leadership. That’s how you convince English-speaking revolutionaries like us you’re bringing democracy. But talk to Iran and Russia about anything? That’s fascism, not democracy.”

The Irish SWP praised the “democratic” Hadi-led government for its “revolutionary stance against Assad, the biggest bastard in the whole Arab world”, but added that if Putin started supporting Hadi, they might consider shifting support to the Houthis: “But only if the US says it’s okay.”

Additionally, Turkish IST affiliate DSİP reportedly released their own statement through the magazine Altüst. If only anybody outside of DSİP actually read Altüst, we might know what they said.

The IST’s proclamations did not go unremarked upon by rival Trotskyist groups: “The hypocrisy and lack of any values underlying the strategy of the IST with regard to Yemen is further evidence that they are fake Trotskyists,” read a response statement by the ICL(FI). “That’s why we support Ansar al-Sharia.”

A Yemeni refugee in Athens was willing to speak to our correspondent about foreign leftist views on Yemen: “I’ve never heard of any of these groups. Even if they shared my personal politics, can they actually help me in any way? Do they matter?”

Scandal looming at 2016 Marxism Conference

LONDON/ISTANBUL – DSİP, the Turkish Section of the International Socialist Tendency and thus the sister party of the Socialist Worker’s Party (SWP) has announced that it is likely to boycott the 2016 Marxism Conference in London.

A spokesperson of the party declared: “We feel the need to express our discontent with the leadership of the SWP. Alex Stalinicos has abandoned all principles of democratic centralism and is ruling the party as if it was his private property. Which is something we actually like if autocratic Islamist rulers like Morsi or Erdoğan do it, but not when communists do it, or when we feel the need to accuse communists of doing it because we disagree with them.”

However, there are rumours that the real reason behind the discontent is the fact that the SWP did not provide the necessary material means for the Turkish Marxism Conference held by DSİP in a five star hotel in Taksim in recent years. “They were so used to have nice meeting rooms in five star hotels with plenty of space, especially since nobody ever shows up.” we were told by one insider. “But, you know, Trotskyism doesn’t really exist here in Turkey and after so many people left the SWP because Comrade Delta betrayed them… well, the money isn’t flowing like it used to.”

Asked about these accusations, a DSİP spokesperson responded: “Well, the real reasons are complicated actually, but the Turkish people are too stupid to understand them, so we didn’t want to go into detail. Really, they are just too stupid, otherwise why would they support Marxist-Leninist parties and not us? Anyway, if you must know, yes, we were not happy with some decisions made by the SWP and yes, the money flow has dried up somewhat. The takeaway is this: Callinicos? More like Stalinicos. Whenever you have a problem with someone, compare them to Stalin, because what could be worse than Stalin? Does the comparison have to make any sense? No, but it still works. If you don’t think it works, you’re probably a Stalinist yourself.”

Upon learning that the SWP had been declared “Stalinist”, TKİP sent a letter of solidarity to Callinicos, in which they hinted at the possibility of joining the IST. “So we always tell people we’re Marxist-Leninists, but we basically act like Trotskyites, and you’re officially Trotskyites, but someone called you ‘Stalinicos’, and you know, it seems like a good fit.”

A representative of the SWP reacted to the upheaval from Turkey in a press conference: “So this really hurts us, you know? Our political principle is internationalism, which means for us to be present everywhere and relevant nowhere. However, at the Marxism Conference we gather once every year in London and let representatives from our different sections around the world explain to the audience that they are in fact relevant parts of the movements in their respective countries. If DSİP boycotts the conference, people might get the idea that we’re not leading the revolution in Turkey, and then you know, it’s a slippery slope to British people suspecting we’re not leading the revolution anywhere.” He lowered his voice slightly before continuing: “I mean, what do they want anyway? Do they think they can rely on Turkish people to support them? Well, mate, think again. I suppose they want more money. You know, we basically give all our organisations around the world money in order to pretend that they are a vital and strong political player. If they want more money, others might start wanting more as well. This is not great for us. You know how much money we had to pay them in order to shut them all up about all the rape scandals here at the SWP central committee?”

As was to be expected, there was an intense discussion about these dramatic events. Counterfire immediately published four articles, one for each regular Counterfire contributor, with similar content, namely praising itself for leaving the SWP long before it became cool to leave the SWP among British Trotskyists. Chris Nineham stated: “You know, when it became cool to leave the SWP and uncool to support it, we briefly considered re-entering the party. But as Callinicos got wind of that discussion he sent us a private e-mail that he would rather take an ice axe to the head than breathe the same air as traitors like us, so that was that.”

Sebastian Budgen of Verso Books, a regular reader of Worker’s Spatula, who shares each and every of our articles so long as he is not mentioned in it, asked in a Facebook post: “Does anyone know how to make a poorly-selling e-book out of all this?”

International response was more muted. Stathis Kouvelakis of the newly founded Popular Unity in Greece and a regular participant in discussions with Callinicos commented to our Worker’s Spatula correspondent in Athens: “Should I care? Who were they supporting at the end in Greece? See, the reason I am in a party is so I don’t have to deal with this question every day, Greece is far too complicated. I think it was your paper in which I read about a KKE scale on Greek politics. Obviously, they are crazy sectarians, but I like the concept. What was the question again?”

Our German correspondent called MLPD chairman Stefan Engel to learn about his take on the complex situation. He excused himself for 5 minutes to learn more and promised to call us back, which he did: “I’ve talked to our Turkish and Kurdish comrades. No one of them has ever met anyone from DSİP, but they knew that the party supported Erdoğan’s 2010 referendum alongside many liberals. I believe them to be the perfect representative of Trotskyism in Turkey and the SWP should do everything to keep them happy.”