Disheartened Communist’s Fighting Spirit Revived by “Through the Fire and the Flames”

Ethem

İSTANBUL – As HDP campaigning carries on in the shadow of ongoing AKP repression, progressives across Turkey are redoubling their efforts to unite all poor and oppressed in a principled struggle against fascism on all fronts. One ordinarily disheartened communist has had his spirits lifted by British power metal outfit DragonForce’s hit 2006 track “Through the Fire and the Flames”:

“Most days I trend towards hopelessness, despair, and a belief that all my efforts are for naught and the fascists will invariably win,” explained Özgür Ğ in between handing out HDP propaganda to passers-by. “A vote for the HDP is a vote for fraternity and peace!” he shouted towards a curious crowd of onlookers, before turning back to our correspondent:

I would say I think about failure and death… most days. But ever since I heard that song about carrying on through the fire and the flames, it’s been stuck in my head, and I keep thinking: the fire and the flames are like the gunshot that killed Ethem Sarısülük. The carrying on? Well that’s you know… carrying on. In spite of that.

Some young students passing Özgür took some of his propaganda without his having to convince them, taking a swig of water he turned to our correspondent and smiling said: “the young comrades are the best, they are the hope for the future. If you ever think we won’t win, look to the young women with their fierce determination. They will lift up the struggle to heights you have never seen before.”

Some things seem really difficult, like victory in the face of fascist forces who have shown their readiness and willingness to take on the army in a reactionary-on-reactionary civil war. After the July 15th coup attempt, it’s easy to think we are weak and on the sidelines. It’s easy to imagine the red dawn will never come. You would think victory was impossible.

But then you hear Herman Li shredding on his fucking guitar on that “Fire and the Flames” track, all weedly-deedly-weedly-deedly, and it just makes you think: fuck it, communism will win. We will inscribe socialism into the 21st century.

Asked for his assessment of a likely body count from post-election violence, Özgür merely began bellowing Theart’s lyrics at our correspondent, which admittedly sound vaguely Stalingrad-ish if that’s your angle:

WHEN THE DARKNESS HAS FALLEN DOWN AND THE TIMES ARE TOUGH ALL RIGHT

THE SOUND OF EVIL LAUGHTER FALLS AROUND THE WORLD TONIGHT

FIGHTING HARD, FIGHTING ON FOR THE STEEL

At this point, Özgür merrily twirled his own Stalin-esque moustache and bounced further down the street.

However, by time of press, an argument with a belligerent Vatan Partisi uncle had re-convinced Özgür of the inevitability of failure, causing him to lapse back into depression, and could be seen sobbing in an alley, crying “it’s pointless, we’re all going to die!”, at which juncture an HDP friend grabbed him roughly by the shoulder and pantomimed an air guitar motion to bring him to his senses.

To this Özgür responded with an equally enthusiastic air guitar display of his own, and an off-key wailing:

THROUGH THE FIRE AND THE FLAMES WE CARRY OOOOOOOOON!

Did you enjoy this piece, or anything else on Worker’s Spatula? Then consider donating as little as one imperialist Yankee dollar a month to supporting our work!

 

Advertisements

Humourless Marxist Reviews: Kedi

kedi

My name is Ceyda Torun, the director of the Turkish documentary film about cats, “Kedi”. Had I known that producing this film would result in my imprisonment, I very likely would not have made it. But what’s done is done, and now I have to live with the consequences.

I continue to encourage everyone to see my film, proceeds from which will go to my legal fund. In the meantime, I am writing this review of my own film in the hope that it may aid in my defence.

The claim which the AKP regime has made is that my cat documentary is “propaganda for a terrorist organisation”. While this claim might appear bizarre, this is actually quite difficult to refute in the Turkish context, as a clear precedent has been set that everything good and hopeful and joyful in Turkey is in fact “propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, and accordingly punishable by imprisonment.

Therefore, I have no recourse but to resort to post-structuralism.

Erdoğan would concede that terrorist propaganda does not become such through the act of writing, but through the act of reading. It is by the intervention of the reader (the reader in question of course being Erdoğan) that terrorist propaganda emerges as such. But what Erdoğan doesn’t realise is that this understanding of textuality is derived from the writings of famous Frenchman and non-Muslim Jacques Derrida.

The French, for their part, have long been aware of Erdoğan’s post-structuralism. The fact that Erdoğan is ignorant of his own post-structuralism might appear at first glance to be a major obstacle to using post-structuralism to free myself from prison. But this would be an ignorant structuralist error: In the false binary between scholars of French philosophy and non-scholars of French philosophy, we must privilege the non-scholars before we can arrive at the truth beyond this oppressive binary, the truth being something vaguely Fichtean.

I can understand why Erdoğan would see in my film many signifiers which indicate HDP-like values that are of course terroristic to articulate. The film contains women talking about their alienation in patriarchal society, workers being humanised and allowed to speak, and most horrifyingly of all, the implication that massive construction projects are not necessarily improving İstanbul.

I can certainly see why the authorities would view any film which depicts the social life and values of İstanbul society as being predicated upon concern for the well-being of others instead of the profit motive as dangerous communistic propaganda, an obvious recruitment ploy by the HDP and their various subversive affiliates.

If I were in Erdoğan’s shoes, I would certainly ban this film, arrest its director, and probably kill several dozen cats just for good measure.

But meanings shift, and signifiers are ultimately meaningless. While it is a well known fact that cats are a symbol of Devrimci Karargâh (who recently united with DKP), they are also a symbol of the famous dancer Adnan Oktar. The same signifier can signify multiple, contradictory things. And while clearly it is up to the viewer, and more specifically Erdoğan, to determine the meaning of my film in the context of the layers of meaning that led up to my film, it is also the case that if Erdoğan rewatches my film, he will be able to overcome the subversive elements which he thought were so essential on first viewing. In a new context, my film may be about something entirely different.

Consider the theological motif in the film. What could be more wholesome than ordinary İstanbullular discussing the piety of cats, a species known to have been beloved by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)? We even had a fisherman who used the word “kâfir”! Viewed in a particular context, my film could practically be an advertisement for the Türk-İslam sentezi for YouTube cat video-addicted gâvurlar!

While I understand the offence caused by having a film in which women wear dreadlocks or laugh in public must have been great for our president, I hope that he of all people understands that interpretation of my film, like anything else, is continuously deferred, and that perhaps now might be an appropriate time to focus on its more theological themes and let me out of jail?

Our president is the most committed to différance of any in the world. Praised for his piety and constantly to be heard referencing God, he does so with the full knowledge that even this supposed transcendental signifier is in a constant state of flux, and may be interpreted however the AKP needs it to be. I too am willing to opportunistically use religion for my own personal ends, in this case, being allowed out of the prison that I, like thousands of others in Turkey today, was so hastily thrown into.

In conclusion, I wish to assure readers, particularly the judge who holds my fate in their hands, that my film “Kedi” is not communist propaganda.

I mean, come on, nobody even speaks Kurdish in it.