- Category: International
- Created on Sunday, 24 July 2011 11:13
- Written by eric ribellarsi
The following is the second of a three part series. Part 1 is available here.
We met Halim, a Turkish Maoist bar owner who has been affectionately dubbed by his anarchist peers “the mayor.” Why the mayor? Because everyone in this entire district knows (and loves) Halim, and wants to debate with him about revolution. He is out every night, walking through the parks and sharing drinks with comrades from all different trends.
Halim and others in Exarchia spend their evenings debating history, his experiences in the revolutionary struggle of Turkey, what is unfolding in Exarchia, and what it will take to free Greece (and ultimately the world). And the anarchists come to his bar, and see him as a sort of mentor. Even if they disagree on strategy, they have deep respect for the people’s war in Turkey (in a way that reminds me of the way that anarchists in America have always respected the Black Panther Party).
Like Halim, many Turkish immigrants have been forced to flee Turkey because of the brutal repression of the communist movement in their countries. They have ended up in places like Germany, Sweden, and Greece. In each of these places, they have worked to dig deep roots among the people of those countries, to learn about their particularities, and have played a role in helping build the revolutionary movement those countries. The partisan base they are forming in Exarchia is part of this.
Halim’s English had some difficulties, and my Greek and Turkish were non-existent. Instead, Halim communicates with us through saying “problem,” and “no problem.” Stomach is upset? Problem. Police wanted to try to fuck with the people? No problem. Halim was fearless and militant in the face of repression.
He wanted to discuss music and film with us, what are the good films in America, he asked. Have we heard about recent communist films from Turkey? He shared his own poetry with us, and wanted us to hear revolutionary music from Turkey and Greece.
Hanging out in Halim’s bar was even more amazing. We met a young communist who was persuaded by Turkish Maoists to quit the KKE (The Communist Party of Greece, an anti-revolutionary party which is notorious for hiding its hatred for uprising and rebellion with an “orthodox” style of Soviet revisionist politics). His exit from KKE came at a key moment, its hostility to the uprisings in 2008. During this time, KKE came out with polemics against the uprising, declaring “when the revolution comes, the workers will not break even a single glass.”
Now he works with the MKP. And there are other unaffiliated Greek communists who have gravitated to the MKP as well, with a deep respect for the roots it has developed in Exarchia and the revolution it is leading in Turkey.
Halim mentioned a party for anarchist political prisoners happening that night, and invited us to head over to it.