Since the first day of the Maraş earthquake, we have been a part of the mobilization through our organization in the region, in order to be in solidarity with the people as the Socialist Laborers' Party. For seven days, I participated in the activities of our crisis desk, which we created against the destruction of the earthquake in Nurdağı, Narlı, Pazarcık, Adıyaman and Urfa. Of course, this process is full of tremendous experiences of the corruption of the regime, the paralyzation of the state, and the anger of the people. However, in this article, I would like to discuss another aspect of the issue: the heartwarming possibilities of our capacity to build a different world out of all this pain.
Today, let alone the average citizen, even the masses sympathetic to socialism think that revolution and socialism are impossible ideals. Because they do not believe that the people they have known for years can change; because they think that the states in the service of the capitalist order are too strong to allow a revolution. Looking to the present, they become pessimistic. However, history is not limited to today; it is full of extraordinariness that destroy the rule of this rotten order.
Principally, the nature of capitalism has a tendency to create extraordinary moments. The greed of capital that transcends national borders pits countries against each other in great wars and destructions; aggression may extend to the invasion of weaker countries. Wars and great natural disasters turn into great human and natural disasters within the order of those who can think of nothing but "money, money, money". Especially in the crooked capitalisms of underdeveloped countries, under the parasitism, corruption and incompetence of capitalists, wars and disasters create greater human and natural disasters. As the size of the emergent extraordinary conditions grows, the intervention capacity of the capitalist order and the states in its service decreases. When the opportunities of the bourgeois politics that offer glory, fame and wealth disappear and the deep anger of the people come to the forefront, you see that the old masters of the order vanish into thin air. In these extraordinary situations, the existing power vacuum creates conditions where revolutionaries can make a leap in producing an alternative leadership and integrating with the people — as long as they have the capacity and political line to organize an alternative in these extraordinary times.
Look at the history of Greece right next to us. When the country was occupied by Mussolini's fascist troops, it was the communist cadres who started a great partisan resistance, starting from the mountains of Greece, while the corrupt figures of bourgeois politics and the bosses were not around. With the will, determination and organization they showed while clearing the country first of Mussolini's and then the Nazi troops, they reached the power to build a new regime in Greece. The fact that Greece did not stage a socialist revolution is directly related to the transformation of the Soviet Union. The example of Greece shows that only strong-willed cadres are not enough, and when these cadres are not brought together with a political leadership aiming at power, the chance to put an end to the rotten capitalist order is missed. Examples of how revolutionaries, who have undertaken great tasks in extraordinary circumstances, can make great impacts can be extended to many geographies and times.
With the experience of the 7 days I spent in the earthquake zone, I can say that there is a micro example of the revolutionary possibilities created by extraordinary conditions. The state, which had turned into a dry and empty crust in the hands of the AKP, had turned into shadows in the whole region starting from the morning of the earthquake; between existent and nonexistent, unable to touch, unable to make a difference… From search and rescue to help, people were left to their own troubles. It's not just a 2-3-day weakness we're talking about. Imagine if no high-ranking official was around for days, when the opportunity to take office by collecting votes was replaced by face-to-face confrontation with an angry public. Imagine that there is no structure that coordinates search and rescue, provides tents to people, delivers food and distributes aid according to needs. I guess these facts are more than enough to describe the severity of the situation: On the 5th day, people came out alive from the building across Adıyaman Governor's Office; not every wreck in the city was checked to see if there were survivors; on the 4th day, people collected firewood from the wrecks to warm up; the toilet issue is still not resolved; there is still no possibility to bath in the tent areas scattered throughout the city; there are hundreds of families who cannot afford tents and stoves; the flow of food and other basic needs to the region has decreased due to lack of coordination… Imagine that high ranking police officers applied to a group with a clear socialist identity (with their aprons and flags etc.) to feed the search-and-rescue group. Think of dozens of voluntary organizations that bring what they have because they can't produce a solution other than piling up the aid. It is in this vacuum that socialists, who have an organizing capacity and work like a beaver with discipline and self-sacrifice, can easily establish deep ties with the masses as an alternative address.
This is a situation reminiscent of the conditions pointed out by Lenin, that the sovereigns cannot rule as before — the conditions under which the capitalist order, its masters and the dominance of money are questioned. In Adıyaman, where even a shop is not open, it is seen how cruel a regime based on the rule of money is, and how the power partners who have been elected for years disregard human life. In the face of these, socialist cadres working hard to heal the wounds of the working people; creating solutions in impossibilities; labor, sharing, and solidarity becoming the currency… People whose ears have become open not only to your criticisms but also to your revolutionary alternative as a solution… And people you least expect come under the influence of your comradely solidarity, acumen, and your capacity to organize the alternative. Even those who do not come under your influence lose their power to hinder you. In Adıyaman, where the state of emergency has been declared and the AKP-MHP alliance won 64% of the vote, the reason why the political police, who set up camp in front of us from the moment we organized the earthquake solidarity as a party, were content to watch us silently, for example, is nothing but our mingling with the people, knowing that the people will look out for us.
Of course, the extraordinary times that emerged after the earthquake will not be permanent. After the region is emptied and the AKP recovers, they will want to take matters into their own hands again. It will not want the existence of socialists as an alternative force; they will do their best to prevent it. However, even in this two-week period, when you become an organized power, when you rely on faithful cadres, your capacity to have an impact and create an alternative that will reorganize the extraordinary in the interests of the people comes to light. In order to evolve this organized intervention in a revolutionary direction, a solid content is also required. A reformist force can also be well mobilized and organize cooperation and solidarity. There were also such examples in this earthquake. The difference of the revolutionaries is the effort to direct it to channels that will destroy the system. We cannot see the issue solely as an activity to heal the wounds of the working people. After all, this wrecked system is sworn to inflict new wounds on the people. The point should be to advance the struggle to get rid of this rotten system and to enlarge our revolutionary ranks with this goal.