File spoon-archives/marxism-general.archive/marxism-general_1997/marxism-general.9707, message 209

Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 04:22:32 -0400
Subject: M-G: COCKROACH! #75 (Faces of Women in Turkey...)

COCKROACH! #75 (Faces of Women in Turkey...)



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1. Faces of Women in Turkey... 

2. Sam Wallis/Stevens apoligizes 
   for IG/LQB Class Betrayal!

3. Responses to the "never ending story"...

Faces of Women in Turkey...

Let me try to go ahead.

The march was at least 10,000 strong, perhaps more. This year had a stronger
crowd than the previous years, possibly due to the influence of two factors.
One, the anti-women attack of the Islamists, and the fact that ODP, the
freedom and solidarity party had attracted a rather sizable crowd of woman
to its ranks.

The biggest crowd, the pro-Kurdish Hadep crowd was a sight to see. They had
formed an all-women procession, but there were a lot of men, hanging around,
sort of nervously. The Kurdish struggle has made very important changes in
the lives of these women, who used to live under conditions even worse than
the Turkish woman, since bourgeois values, which are more advanced than
feudal/traditional values, had penetrated the Turkish sectors of the society
more thoroughly. Kurdish women stayed at home and worked like a mule, got
married and worked like a mule. Multiple marriage was common. Since these
women often didn't speak Turkish (whereas the men learnt it at some time in
their lives), it wasn't possible for them to even try to seek protection
from bourgeois courts. After the Kurdish movement, which was much more
socialist in the beginning, an important transformation occurred. First,
there were women guerillas. Considering the make-up of the Kurdish society,
it is difficult to even begin to explain the significance of such a "sight".
These women had given up all hopes of marriage and children. The number of
Kurds who expected women to have anything in their lives besides their
husband and children was very small indeed. These women, "hevala", or
"female comrade" seem to form about 10% of those in the mountains.

Also, the Kurdish struggle has meant that many men and sons and daughters
were no longer their. They were in the mountains, killed, jailed, exiled.
Many women found themselves in the middle of the fight. Leyla Zana, the
female DEP (predecessor of HADEP) deputy in jail is the wife of Mehdi Zana,
former Diyarbekir mayor, who served long prison sentences himself and who is
now in exile. Leyla Zana used to be a housewife, according to her own
statements, and she was the one that cause all the uproar after she was
elected to the parliamant. She came on the first day wearing
green-red-yellow headband (the traditional Kurdish colors). She took the
oath in Turkish, and then she said, in Kurdish, "I took this oath is for the
friendship between the peoples". That was the first Kurdish heard in the
Turkish parliament, and there were many Kurdish deputies before her. She is
still in jail, and she is no Aquino. (One of this years Women's Day
activities was a campaign for "one day for Zana" - many women signed a
statement saying they each want to stay one day in jail for Zana, for her
freedom). I know I am going on at length about this, but the fact that
people now think of Leyla, not Mehdi, when they hear Zana is rather
remarkable in itself.

So, the Hadep procession reflected all the contradictions. At each march,
there are so many women who have obviously come out in an event like this
for the first time in their lives. You can easily tell the veterans as well.
There are many dressed in green-red-yellow, in defiance with the rather
strong police force that had turned out. Some of them do the victory sign in
an awkard way that gives away this is their first time. They are carrying a
lot of banners promoting "peace", the current official line of the PKK, and
"fraternity of the peoples", etc. Their slogans are a bit confused, unlike
those of experienced groups. Their dressing is a mixture between rural and
urban clothing. There are a few in chador. The older mostly have the look of
having spent their lives in courts and jails and morgues, in search of their
husbands, sons and daughters. The younger are clearly their of their own.
They often break into a "zilgit", a crying-like loud sound made with the
tongue. A traditional sound at weddings, it later became a symbol in
demonstrations, marches and funerals. They carry pictures of people like
Zekiye Alkan, who burnt herself on Newroz day in protest. By involving
themselves in the struggle, they risk detention and jail, which, almost
always means sexual abuse or rape for these women. 

Another interesting aspect is how the reaction to rape and sexual abuse
changed over the years. Kurdish women who are raped or sexually abused by
the police now come out, because the emphasis is now on exposing the
security forces. Before, it might have been reason for suicide in and of
itself, regardless of the criminal party, since it was such a source of
shame and social pressure for these women. Of course, the traditional fabric
has not changed, but women who go through such ordeals are now embraced by
the community, and even revered for standing up to such behaviour for the

A lot of the older generation still wears traditional islamic head-scarfs.
It is difficult to tell how deep the transformation will penetrate, but it
is clear there is a younger generation that is changed beyond the point of

Now, after the HADEP procession came the ODP procession. Such a world of
difference at a single moment. Almost the whole ODP procession was urban -
lower middle class. Teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. There wasn't a single
one with head-scarf. Most of the ODP women are socialist urban women. They
had "cute" purple "International Women's Day" and "ODP" bandanas. They were
clearly more at ease. ODP didn't have a crowd of men surrounding the group
in a worried mode the way HADEP did. To their credit, there wasn't a single
banner for secularism. They favourite slogan, which is hard to translate,
was "Love, in spite of everything; Socialism and Revolution, in spite of
everything". An alternative translation would be "Love, in defiance;
Socialism and Revolution, in defiance". It is very clear that these women
are not there with the role of the "mother", a theme that is commonly echoed
among many groups. There are the cadres, young men and women, and the
"mothers". Compared to the HADEP crowd, they are such a contrast in class
make-up. They have common slogans, which is heartening, but you can clearly
see that these women normally would never mix socially. 

Of course, it not a bad thing that these two types of women are out there on
the same march. However, there is a problem one should address. Hadep women
are more militant in some aspects and more backward in other aspects.
Especially the older generation, they are almost undefined in the struggle,
which carries the danger that, if the peace agreement is reached, a lot of
gains could be lost because these women would now just be subjects of a
bourgeois state, if in a better condition. Currently, their militancy is due
to the nature of the struggle. The ODP women are in the struggle regardless
of their husbands, brothers, etc., they are not defined as "somebody's
something". However, they clearly have the danger of not having a proper
base among the population at large, such a class composition would never be
able to reach out towards the kind of women Hadep brings to the streets, let
alone men. Teachers, doctors, nurses are and should be a part of the
struggle, but without the women who are cleaning ladies and housewives, it
will remain very limited.

These were the two sizable groups and I'll skip the others which did not
display any character of importance for this discussion. Now, the feminist
group, which is rather small in numbers but which had received the
permisson, was seriously problematic. A few feminist women made not-too-bad
speeches. The one thing clearly good about them is the ease in which they
address the Kurdish question. There was a speech made in Kurdish as well,
something you never see at social-democratic or union meetings. Only the
radical left in Turkey recognises the Kurds with any ease, and anyone else
who does deserves credit for it, it is no joke. Tours of the Kurdish areas
for the British tourists have been cancelled for some time now, which should
make everyone recognise the gravity of the problem. But, of course, just as
we were wondering how the feminists were not too bad this time, there was an
announcement from the platform. (socialist women and feminists have very bad
relations for some time now, because most of the feminist women have moved
from criticising the left for not paying enough attention to women's issues,
to not paying attention to any other issue at all. Obviously, this is not
countered by the baby out with the bathwater, i.e. ignoring women's issues.
There were a few currents that tried to formulate how unpaid household
labour calculates in the wage-exploitation, and how male dominance is
connected to the military-police-bourgeois dominance, but those that defined
themselves only as feminists moved too far to the right). "All men, please
leave the area, there isn't enough room, the area is small and there isn't
enough room for the women." Ugh. Not only was there enough room for
everyone, nobody would allow for making the men leave even if there was such
a problem. The announcement was not heard all around because of the noise,
but those that heard it quickly started a decision - we'd all leave if it
came to be. The announcement was made a few more times, nobody moved, they
gave up. 

To show how stupid the feminists were, they asked the authorities *not* to
send male police. Right, it would be soo much better to have thousands of
women police in riot gear. Anyway, the police force does not have that many
women (luckily, women aren't accepted to the military, nor are they large in
numbers in the police, and the ones in the police usually do clerical work).
Anyway, we had a huge police force, larger than normal for the size and the
nature of the march. The police seemed a bit uneasy at confronting such a
large number of women, but of course, their superiors knew better - women
are dangerous as well.


I forgot something important about the march. The day after the march in
which women called for things ranging from peace and a political solution to
the Kurdish problem to socialism and revolution, the bourgeois media proudly
proclaimed that women had marched with banners against the Welfare party and
for secularism. I went around the whole area at least three times, there was
not a single "secularism" banner. All calls against islam were general in
nature. Women had made it clear they were not part of the National Security
sponsored, "Oh, the islamists are so bad, let's have Kemalist secularism
instead" game. I was afraid that a few "social-democrat" women with banners
of "Ataturk, you saved us once, save us again (with the help of the
military)". But, nothing, they didn't dare come near the crowd.

One of the bourgeois papers that had the "women for secularism" headlines
published pictures of the march. Quite a large picture, in fact. None of the
banners readible in the picture was a "securalist - Ataturkist" banner. The
bourgeois media has unbelievable nerve, something to really ponder about.

Sam Wallis/Stevens apoligizes 
   for IG/LQB Class Betrayal!

Wallis writes;

>Remember, this quotation was dug up by Workers Vanguard. Yet the wording 
>of it does not prove the accusation that the comrades 'sued' the 
>union. It appears that they merely petitioned the court to affirm the 
>'validity' (read 'legality') of the UNION'S decisions. This is my 
>interpretation of the quotes Workers Vanguard provides. Malecki, who 
>everyone knows is only semi-literate, of course jumps to salute his 
>old buddies.
>But, assuming the above is correct, what kind of 'socialists' are 
>completely indifferent to the legality or otherwise of union elections, 
>or whether the COURTS remove the elected leadership of a union and 
>replace it with their appointees, and TAKE NO SIDE when the elected 
>leaders of the union use every legal avenue to try to reverse that? It
>seems to me that, the illiterate and easily fooled Malecki aside, if
>this is true and the Spartacists are distorting this, which knowing
>their practices seems likely, then the real scabs are the Sparts, not
>the Brazilians.
>Sam Wallis

Dear Sam W.

Rather then pointing out how the WV article on this stuff is explicitly 
clear, you my friend are looking for and excuse to cross the class line and 
join the traitors of IG/LQB!

The point is picket lines mean don,t cross and cop and courts out of the 
labor movement. 

Communists despite all the squirming that the IG/LQB are doing these days on 
the net to creep out from under the pile of shit they threw on themselves by 
crossing the class-line, going in back of the ICL, by 
internally arguing the correct point of working-class inedependence from the 
state and externally dragging the unions into the courts, and have unlike 
you the white knight riding in here to defend these characters class 
betrayal another approach. Sam Wallis and his cheerleader Stevens even goes 
futher then the IG/LQB who whine about "self critism" and dropping the 
"suites" and argues why not take the unions to court!

You are trying to soften up people on the list by arguing. Why it was those 
horrible bureacrats and pro-cop union people that started this stuff by 
bureaucratically manovering so that those elected got thrown out of their 
union posts. Then turn around and basically say it is alright to go to the 
bougeois courts and manovre to get those posts back from those horrible 
union bureaucrats.

Well Communists do not on principle use the same methods as class traitors 
which at best your above implies. If we were elected to union posts on our 
program and monovred out we do not turn to the bougeois courts-but we turn 
to the workers who elected us and struggle.

You show rather that you given the chance would do exactly the same as
the opposition in the union. Now we would turn to the workers who elected us 
and state our program and our case. Maybe not neccessarily even getting our 
"posts" back in the union if it was a court order. But in the long run the 
workers would KNOW that we are principled fighters in their interests, we 
have a program and we have a party!
THey would know how our party under fire reacts and fights on a principled 

The IG/LBQ manovres have in fact destroyed this possibility in the eyes of 
the workers because they have done exactly the same thing that all other 
reformists and centrist traitors always appear to do. Rely not on the power 
of their program and the poor and working class but alien class forces and 
the bougeois state to solve their prolems.

So go cheer on the IG/LQB traitors. You deserve each other Sam. 

But any serious militant who wants to be part of the future reforged
International and with the program, tactics and politics which can show the 
way forward I suggest you either go to my homepage and
read the article or immediately take contact with the nearest branch of the 
Spartacists in numerous countries around the world. If you can't find them 
well the address and direct Email to the ICL can be found at my home page.

PS and David Stevens who is "confused" about all this joins in and agrees 
with Wallace with a line of who does Workers Vanguard think
they are , why in any bougeois court bla bla bla bla.

The hate Spartacist, Hate Trotskyism, Hate the ICL League leap in to the 
arms of the bougeois courts and the class traitors of the IG/LQB. But they 
leap right past the positions that the IG/LQB are using in order to cover 
their trail . The difference between the IG/LQB and Wallis and Stevens is. 
The IG/LQB say we did it, but self critised ourselves and dropped the suits. 
The Wallis/Stevens position is that the IG/LQB should have done it! You two 
characters are a fucking joke!

But congratulations! You two have just made it into a future issue of Cockroach!

PS: And any of the militants who mistakenly followed these centrist class 
traitors out of the ICL I suggest knocking on the door and BEG ON YOUR KNEES 
TO GET BACK IN. If you want to be a part of the party and International that 
represents the program of Bolshevik/Leninism and Trotskyism...

Warm Regards
Bob Malecki

Check out the Spartacist Page at;

Responses to the "never ending story"...

Dear Bob:

Fuckin' A right!

These little yuppie "leftists-AT-labor-party.EDU" wouldn't know the plight
of poor workers if they were buried under a mountain of rotted teeth!

Unlike these intellectual "mental masturbators", we at least have an
understanding of what it means to be poor and working class.  That's the
composition of our organization!  I'm lucky to make over $8 an hour
here, even though I have enough computer skills to make triple that. 
But I'm not a yuppie shitbag, like some of these so-called

I agree with you about the issue of the "left."  WoVo despises being
thought of as part of the "left" for precisely the reasons you talk
about.  We look at the "left" -- how insular and inward-looking it is,
how it prefers to keep to itself, and how it repels real working-class
militants (like yourself) -- and shake our heads in disgust; we often
privately refer to it as the "left ghetto", invoking the term in its
original meaning (a walled-off, isolated section of a community).

The work we do, whether it's with other "leftists" or not, is meant to
break away from the "left ghetto" and actually build among poor and
oppressed workers.  We get sneers and criticism from the "left" for
this.  For example, I have been going to meetings of a parent, teacher,
school employee group here in Detroit, which meets at the same time as
the Detroit Newspaper strike support meetings -- in the same building,
across the hall.  This group, named UPSET (United Parents, School
Employees and Teachers) is a majority Black, working-class group with
deep links in the commmunity here in Detroit.  ACOSS, the strike support
group, is linked mostly with more privileged layers of the working class
and their petty-bourgeois "leftist" hangers-on.  I've been criticized by
these "leftists" for *NOT* going to the ACOSS meetings!

I say:  mother made 'em, mother fuck 'em!  If that's their attitude,
they can get bent!  Screw them!

Workers' Voice has a hard committment to working among the majority of
the working class -- the poor and oppressed sectors.  Our record speaks
for itself:  organizing defense of undocumented (and documented!)
immigrants, organizing low-income tenants, organizing welfare
recipients, fighting to build real organizations of strugle for sectors
not represented or protected by trade unions and ignored by the Labor
Party. Yes, we are incredibly small.  This inhibits our work.  But we
try to do the best we can under the conditions.

Internationally, we are looking to build working-class, Marxist
organizations with a similar method and outlook.  We live by the slogan:
"One class-conscious worker is worth a thousand students."  But we would
clarify by saying: "And that includes anyone from a petty-bourgeois

Some have accused us of being "working-class separatist" for saying that
workers have the capability to develop into revolutionary leaders, and
by insisting that comrades from petty-bourgeois backgrounds "de-class"
themselves.  If that is "separatism," so be it.  I call it Bolshevism.

Anyway, sorry about the ranting.  I had to get this stuff off of my
chest.  It's been a long time coming.

(another poor worker)

P.S.:  If we were there, we'd be proud to run the picture of your
toothless self. :-)
Check Out My HomePage where you can,

Read or download the book! Ha Ha Ha McNamara,
Vietnam-My Bellybutton is my Crystalball!

Or Get The Latest Issue of,

COCKROACH, a zine for poor and working-class people

Back issues of Cockroach and my book at


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