Internationalists in Turkey against the Lebanon war
Although the political horizon seems to be darkened by war and barbarism, the proletarian perspective is still alive and growing. This is demonstrated not only by the development of workers’ struggles in numerous countries, but also by the appearance around the world of new groups and politicised elements trying to defend the internationalist positions which are the distinguishing mark of proletarian politics. The article on the congress of our French section in this issue refers to the OPOP in Brazil, and our current International Review contains correspondence with elements in Russia and Ukraine.
The Enternasyonalist Komunist Sol (International Communist Left) group in Turkey is another expression of this trend. Below is a leaflet produced by the group in response to the war in Lebanon. The emergence of this internationalist voice in Turkey is particularly significant, given the strength of nationalism in that country (peddled in particular by the so-called ‘left’), and the fact that Turkey is deeply implicated in the inter-imperialist rivalries which are creating such havoc in the region. The Turkish state is about to launch a new offensive against the Kurdish nationalist PKK – a military campaign which will certainly be justified ideologically by the recent wave of terrorist attacks in a number of Turkish cities, which have been attributed to Kurdish nationalist factions. The Kurdish question is directly related to the situation in Iraq, Iran and Syria, and Turkey is one of the few states in the region to have close ties with Israel. The war in Lebanon is thus very ‘close’ to the working class in Turkey; and at the same time, the Turkish working class, which has a long tradition of militant struggle, could play a major role in the development, throughout that region, of a proletarian alternative to imperialist war.
On the Situation in Lebanon and Palestine
On July 12, right after the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by the Hizbollah, Israeli president Ehud Olmert promised Lebanon a “very painful and far-reaching response”. During the early hours of July 13, the State of Israel started an invasion and pushed its working class into another nationalist and imperialist war. The Israeli state started this invasion for its own interests and without caring about the blood that would be shed. In fifteen days, about four hundred Lebanese civilians lost their lives. Not even the current ceasefire guarantees that the massacres won’t start again as the Israeli state showed that it would destroy anything threatening its own interests, not only with the last conflict but with the ongoing torture of the Palestinians.
Yet, it should not be forgotten that Israel is not the only side responsible for this conflict. Neither Hizbollah, which is attracting the attention of the world nowadays with the fight they gave to the Israelis with a violence that could match their own, nor the PLO and Hamas who have been carrying out a nationalist war in Palestine for years, can be considered ‘clean’. Hizbollah, which was the excuse Israel showed the world before the beginning of the conflict, killed Israeli civilians with rockets provided by Syria and Iran throughout the war. Hizbollah is an anti-Semitic and religious fundamentalist organisation. Most importantly, contrary to what some think, Hizbollah did not fight to protect the Lebanese; instead Hizbollah forced the Lebanese working class to join a nationalist front for its own interests, and it struggled only for the territories they controlled and the authority they had. The PLO which pushed the Palestinian workers from class struggle into the claws of their national bourgeoisie, and Hamas which is an organisation that is as reactionary, violent, anti-Semitic and religiously fundamentalist as Hizbollah, also act only for their own interests.
At this point, it is necessary to briefly describe imperialism. Contrary to what most people think, imperialism is not a policy strong nation states practice in order to take over weak nation states’ resources. Instead it is the policy of a nation state, or an organisation that functions as a nation state, that controls a certain territory, resources on that territory and authority over the population in that territory. To phrase it simply, imperialism is the natural policy any nation state, or organisation that functions as a nation state, practices. As we have seen in the last conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, in some situations nation states or organisations functioning as nation states have clashing interests, and this clash finally reaches the point of an inter-imperialist war.
As the situation is like this, what leftists in Turkey and the world are saying becomes even more ridiculous and inconsistent. Both in Turkey and the world, a great majority of leftists have given full support to the PLO and Hamas. In the latest conflict they become one voice and said “We are all Hizbollah”. By following the logic of saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, they fully embraced this violent organisation which pushed its working class into a disastrous nationalist war. The support leftists gave to nationalism shows us why leftists don’t have much to say that is different from what parties like MHP (Nationalist Movement Party – the fascist Grey Wolves) not only on Hizbollah, PLO and Hamas, but on many other subjects. Especially in Turkey, leftists don’t have any idea what they are talking about.
Both the war between Hizbollah and Israel and the war in Palestine are inter-imperialist wars and all sides use nationalism to draw workers in their territories onto their sides. The more workers get sucked up into nationalism, the more they will lose the ability to act as a class. This is why neither Israel, nor Hizbollah, nor PLO nor Hamas should be supported under any circumstances. What should be supported during this conflict is the workers’ struggle to survive, not nationalist organisations or states that are getting them killed. Yet more importantly, what should be done in Turkey is to work for class consciousness and class struggle that will develop here. Imperialism and capitalism bind all countries together; this is why national independence is impossible. Only workers’ struggle for their own needs can provide an answer.
For Internationalism and Workers Struggle!
Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol, 1/9/06.