2013 – His Name is our Pride, his Party is our Honor, his Doctrine is our Guide
ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MURDER OF IBRAHIM KAYPAKKAYA, THE FOUNDING LEADER OF THE TKP/ML, THE DISTINGUISHED ARCHITECT OF OUR WAR PLATOON, THE UNIQUE CONCEPTUALIZER OF OUR REVOLUTION’S DISTINCT FEATURES, WE WILL WIN THE FUTURE AND THE REVOLUTION BY FOLLOWING THE PATH DRAWN BY HIS THEORY AND PRACTICE !
This year it is the 40th anniversary of murder of comrade Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, by the military-civil forces of the bourgeois-feudal fascist state in the dungeons of Diyarbakir on May 18, 1973. Comrade Ibrahim Kaypakkaya is the founder of our party TKP/ML, the advanced detachment of the world proletarian movement in Turkey, 40 years ago, by the time he was killed at the hands of our class enemies that followed months of severe tortures, comrade Kaypakkaya he had already written his name indelibly in the history of revolutionary movement.
After he was torn away from us, his name was not only immortalized as a symbol of resistance, of “giving away one’s head but not one’s secrets” but it was also, and more importantly, became a symbol for a real solution for our revolution’s goals and ideals, for the answer to the protracted and dispersed people’s war in order to attain that goal, and as the premise of development of our revolution. He was a revolutionary of utmost importance in whom the word and the action are masterfully blended within one personality and a single set of brains.
He was in fact even more than that. In contrast to the high sounding windbags that preached revisionism and pacifism and to the pseudo intellectuals, he was a giant and abiding monument of daring challenge with determinism and fearless spirit of revolt and voice of the 1971 Revolutionary Movement. Moreover, comrade Kaypakkaya was the turning point in breaking away from the trend of previous 50 years, summarized by the pacifist-parliamentary cretinism. Whilst with a scientific courage taking upon himself the chore of cleaning up Turkey’s proletarian movement’s moldy state of spirit and the “revisionist dirt,” which had been accumulating after Suphi, he was also providing the revolutionary movement in Turkey with an unprecedented superior weapon:
“Force is the crank lever of our revolution”. He was persistently putting forth one of Marx’s most important conclusions, which is consistently swept under the carpet by reformists; “Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.” With Kaypakkaya, Mao’s theory of people’s war gained its authentic properties specific to Turkey.
He hammered Mao’s slogan “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” into his opponents’ heads. Compared to his petit bourgeois revolutionary contemporaries, leaders such as Deniz Gezmis and Mahir Cayan, it would not be an exaggeration to claim that he was always a step ahead with his communist identity and with his ideological and political line that defined this identity. Apart from other things, he was like a thunderbolt that unexpectedly flashed across my buttless sky with his analyses of Kemalism, the national question, and the history of the Turkish republic, catching everyone with utter surprise.
Kaypakkaya was communism’s torch and a beacon shining light and exposing the true nature of Kemalism as fascism, challenging the taboos surrounding the Kurdish national question, waging a unflinching ideological struggle against liquidationism, against those who played “revolutionaries” on constitutional line, and the die-hard so-called Marxists that wished to monopolise the scene.
A creative synthesis of wisdom and the power of logic, of the universal and the specific, of the entire and the part, of the general and the particular was turned into a living reality with his intelligence; mental drought reached an end with him, dwarf concepts were overcome with him, distinct characteristics of our revolution found the tree of life with him, and the theory became a true foundation, an actual program, and a real leverage of our revolution with his depth of thought, extracted drop by drop from real life.
Our party TKP/ML has built itself up upon the solid foundations of this theory, whose fundamental columns were laid 40 years ago. It has opened itself a path by following this route that is drawn by this theory and in this it is the only communist party to achieve this, becoming a remarkable force for the revolution in Turkey. Comrade Kaypakkaya left behind such a heritage for the proletariat of Turkey and its communist party that its potency and power is still an effective weapon for the TKP/ML in defeating the bourgeois – feudal fascist power and that also provides for the elements that are needed to build the new society.
Relying upon principal foundations laid by him, the TKP/ML has achieved a proud political identity and has been able to grow roots in people’s guerrilla war through the strategy of protracted war. Our Party has never strayed onto a path of “re-formatting” his fundamental principles by taking refuge in the excuse of “conditions.” His theories, which have passed through the test of time, still function as an excellent compass and a veritable base for us. The strong light that he shed upon the character of revolution in our country, its perspectives, and its tasks has lost nothing of its brightness.
Any revolutionary march that does not comprehend Kaypakkaya and does not stand upon his fundamental theoretical principles begins the whole affair on lame legs. Life’s creative revolutionary action keeps on confirming his theories. The TKP/ML derives its audacity and determination to embrace the 21st century, its assertion and conviction to defeat the bourgeois-feudal fascist state, and its courage to seize the dawn from his name, his teachings, and his practice. Our party obtained its proud communist identity through following the path that has been laid with his theory and practice.
Consequently, his name is welcomed by the large sections of the masses with love, sympathy, enthusiasm, and excitement. The essence of this fact lies in the reality of his ideological-political-organizational and military line, of the practice of applying this line to life through the transformational power of arms, and of his rise to symbolise the peaks of absolute resistance.
The fact is, he did not emerge all of a sudden; there were a number of internal and external factors that made comrade Ibrahim Kaypakkaya an active subject of a given period, factors that played a role in the formation of his communist ideas, and that gave way to outbursts of his revolutionary temper.
- 1 CONDITIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS THAT GAVE WAY TO THE EMERGENCE OF KAYPAKKAYA
- 2 THE TWO LINE STRUGGLE WITHIN THE PROLETARIAN REVOLUTIONARY ILLUMINATION (PRE) AND THE NECESSARY “EARLY BREAKAWAY”
- 3 KAYPAKKAYA’s EMPHASIS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE CLASS STRUGGLE
- 4 KAYPAKKAYA’s STANCE AGAINST THE ENEMY and HIS MURDER
- 5 TKP/ML POSITION OF COMRADE KAYPAKKAYA WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT
- 6 IMPORTANCE OF KAYPAKKAYA FOR TODAY
CONDITIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS THAT GAVE WAY TO THE EMERGENCE OF KAYPAKKAYA
A prominent feature of the international situation of the period was that several developments that had very important impact on the course of the world history had occurred concurrently, and that with the rise national and social liberation struggles and guerrilla wars the heat across the globe had risen. At the turn of the nineteen seventies and throughout the seventies, the world was going through a deep and widespread social upsurge.
At almost every corner of the world the fuse for the revolutionary explosion was being ignited, shaking the planet with new revolutions and revolutionary initiatives. In China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) had brightened the skies like a signal rocket for the proletariat and the oppressed peoples. The shockwaves of the Vietnamese Revolution had been circumventing the world, becoming a huge source of inspiration. There was a vast wave of rebellion across Europe and other areas in the years of 1968 – 69 that caught the ruling classes by total surprise with its radicalism, intensity, and massive spread.
Moreover, there were floods of uprisings of oppressed peoples across Asia, Africa and Latin America that could no longer be contained within narrow riverbeds, which were marked by guerilla warfare and revolutionary initiatives. These events and developments played a very effective role as a revolutionary leaven and intensified the contradictions and antagonisms around the world at an extraordinary speed. It must be remembered that this was also a period when the “golden years” of capitalism, a temporary in-between era, was ending. It was the threshold of one of the cyclical crisis of capital.
Subsequently, it was a period when, amongst the intensifying contradictions, clashes, and commotions, the accumulation of consciousness of masses and the working class was further facilitated. All of these developments acted as a catalyst on the objective conditions of the revolution in the world, which was already reaching its opportune temper, as well as laying the effectual conditions for the maturation, rise, and overflow of the revolutionary situation in individual countries.
Of course, these developments had tremendous influence in terms of further deepening the revolutionary situation in semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries such as ours, with their constant revolutionary situation of high and low tides. In summary, the revolutionary wave was proceeding during these years as well without slowing down; both the “metropolises” and the “provinces” of the world had found themselves in the midst of a social upheaval.
Moreover, the supply arc was standing upon a volcano that was ready to erupt. Hence, for this period, Comrade Kaypakkaya had stated that the objective conditions for the revolution are extremely suitable both across the world and in Turkey. In those years, the world was sitting on a bi-polar axis between the United States and the Russian Social-Imperialism. Although the contradictions and antagonisms among the imperialist forces were drastically sharpened, these forces did not hesitate to collaborate when it came to enslavement, plunder, and exploitation of the world’s peoples.
As discerned by comrade Kaypakkaya, concurring to Mao’s analysis, the contradiction between the peoples of oppressed countries and imperialism was the one that determined the course of the development and transformation throughout the world. In other words, the struggles waged for people’s democracy, independence, and socialism composed the overall center of gravity of the world’s panorama.
Apart from other things, the GPCR’s thunder that flashed out from the Asia-Pacific region, accompanied by the supply arc’s powder keg, functioned as a maturing agent for internal antagonist contradictions in many countries and as a potent stimulant for the ignition of many volcanic eruptions across the world. Likewise, the dynamic energy that was emitted from the “rebellion years” that came out with the slogan “we want everything and we want it now!” and mobilized the streets of Europe, with Paris as its epicenter, also played a role as a superconductor in the process of social revival.
And how about the liberation struggle that spanned across many years in Vietnam? The lava that flowed from within this bed for years was enthusiastically received in the streets of rebellion, reverberating on the lips of rising youth loudly as the slogan “More, more Vietnams!” The capitalist system had already entered a prolonged general crisis after the October 1917 Revolution. Since the October Revolution, it has never been able to attain the relative stability and balance of the pre-war era.
The periodic over-production crisis of capital had hence been coupled with this chronic crisis, therefore deepening and further complicating capitalism’s contradictions and antagonisms to the point of collective explosion. While capitalism was barely able to breathe in and out under the suffocating weight of these factors, the new and particular developments that occurred during the 1970s created a wider space for the oppressed peoples’ to strive towards tipping the “historical collapse” of the system to the “political collapse.”
In other words, revolution was breathing right behind bourgeoisie’s neck as an eminent threat. The combined impacts of the Vietnamese Revolution, the wind of rebellion of 1968, and the GPCR, had orientated the masses in all corners of the world to the left, had facilitated for them a new and deeper comprehension of revolution, and had sharply intensified the internal conflicts with the ranks of the ruling classes.
Thus, this become an opportune period to effectively infuse hope and determination to the working class that had been strayed, scared, and confused within the traps of capitalism and to the masses of colonial and semi-colonial countries that had been oppressed, suppressed, exploited, and deceived by imperialism and the bourgeoisie. Characteristically proletarian and petty-bourgeois led struggles of peoples in Asia, Africa, and Latin America based both on class war and national liberation lines, were predominant elements in determining the particular character of the era.
Indeed, the ongoing struggle of the oppressed peoples against imperialism formed the center of gravity of main contradictions and antagonisms. And the prevailing tendency was, revolution. Turkey’s revolutionary and workers’ movement was not isolated from this process. Naturally, the revolutionary wind that blew across the world had also inspired the people and the working class of Turkey and had played a role in the rise of the revolutionary and communist movement, pushing the previously prevalent pacifism and reformism to the margins of life.
It must be noted, however, that notwithstanding the extremely favorable effects coming in from around the world, the developments in Turkey first and foremost were based on Turkey’s internal conflicts and antagonisms. Worker strikes, factory and land occupations, and student resistances were widespread throughout the country since 1965. These struggles had gradually reached new levels, eventually staging the vast and vigorous worker’s struggle of June 15-16, 1970, and the increasing numbers of land occupations by the peasants.
From within these circumstances and from within the student youth as the most responsive, dynamic, militant, and organized section of the society, there emerged Ibrahims, Mahirs, and Denizes, respectively representing the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML in Turkish acronym), the People’s Liberation Party/Front of Turkey (PLPFT or THKP/C), and the People’s Liberation Army of Turkey (PLAT or THKO). There were important ideological and political characteristics that distinguished comrade Ibrahim Kaypakkaya from his contemporaries, namely from the petty bourgeois revolutionary leaders.
The 1970s provided the most suitable basis for revolution and socialism. In Turkey, as in the rest of the world, the masses were increasingly attracted to the left, the volume of translation of leftist books was growing fast, and there were a great number of revolutionary groups and organizations, springing up from within the youth, especially the university students. Comrade Kaypakkaya, too, had flourished from within these circumstance and through the Worker’s Party of Turkey (WPT or TIP in Turkish acronym), through the Federation of Idea Clubs (FIC or FKF), through the Proletarian Revolutionary Enlightenment (PRE or PDA), and through the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey (RWPPT or TIIKP).
His emergence and the revolutionary alternative that he offered had the effect of an enormous hurricane on all other contemporary political stances that were revisionist, pacifist, parliamentarian, Kemalist, and stood as the enemy of the oppressed nation.
The Worker’s Party of Turkey was formed in 1963 by the self-proclaimed socialists, who were in fact reformists that were trying to take advantage of the relatively liberal constitution of 1963. In those years, workers and peasants were showing signs of a massive awakening and rise-up. In the 1965 elections, the WPT received more than half a million votes, becoming a center of attraction for the masses and their yearning for the left. It had become a source of hope for the people who had suffered more than enough under the stick of the state and the Justice Party, which was the governing party at the time.
However, the WPT’s reformist and parliamentary line was increasingly falling behind the intensity and dynamism of workers and peasants’ struggles. As such, it came to function more as a wave-breaker (or pressure valve) before workers and peasants’ rage against the system and the evolution of these struggle into more intense forms of struggles.
The tendency of a section of the masses that felt they are wasting their energy in and around the WPT and the ever more numerous explosions of anger seemed to overlap within the same period. Despite relatively substantial votes received by the WPT, the Justice Party (JP) came out as the single biggest party from the 1965 elections, forming the government without a coalition.
During the administration of the Justice Party, the state increased the intensity of violent oppression. Subsequently, the spontaneously developed struggle of the masses became increasingly tougher. During this period, the radical forces of the right were often used as a knife to stab the left here and there. The period also witnessed the formations of Associations for the “Struggle Against Communism”. The right-wing party known as the Republican Peasants Nation Party (RPNP or CKMP in Turkish acronym) became a hotspot of civil fascists and eventually transformed itself to the Nationalist Movement Party (NMP or MHP).
Another noteworthy trend that took place during this period was the founding of the Confederation Revolutionary Worker’s Union (CRWU or DISK in Turkish acronym), which was formed by the workers who left the yellow, pro-employer union confederation Turk-Is. A good number of the workers who formed the RWUC, however, were from the reformist WPT and from other reformist left groups. By the years 1968 and 1969, the spontaneously developed struggles of the masses gained increasingly more violent tones.
Strikes were followed by strikes, the number and scales of resistances increased, students’ actions began to directly aim at the system, and more importantly the developing struggle was beginning to gain a new character, surpassing the dimensions of the WPT. In short, until the year 1970, a continuous trend of hardening and radicalization of the struggle took place. The trend also brought about an increased number of martyrs. One of the watershed events of the period was the massive protests against the arrival of the US’s 6th Fleet into the Bosporus in the summer of 1968.
The police intervened in the demonstration with force, using violence against the mostly student crowd of protesters and one protestor was killed. Subsequently, the struggles across the country became ever more hardened and violent, against which the government started to use ever more extreme suppressive measures, increasing the number of death in the news every day.
Whilst on the one hand, the official forces of the government launched systematic attacks, the civil fascist units were also deployed as live weapons against the left. In 1969, at a big demonstration where workers and students were marching arms-in-arms, the government again attempted to suppress the event with police forces, leaving more than hundred wounded and two dead. Up to the wake of the 1971 martial law declaration, the number of people killed in the demonstrations was more than 30.
In the meantime, Turkey witnessed a highly significant event: The Great Workers Resistance of June 15/16, 1970. Comrade Kaypakkaya viewed this resistance as “the evidence of how mature the objective conditions of revolution have become in Turkey” Although the resistance was alighted as a reaction to the government’s plans to issue new union regulations, which mainly aimed to eliminate the RWUC, in actuality what took place was nothing less than the outburst of the working class and the masses’ accumulated anger against the years of oppression and exploitation.
This was in fact a movement that trampled over all the petty-bourgeois and bourgeois cliques and the so-called left entities (such as the likes of Mihri Belli, Dogan Avcioglu, Hikmet Kivilcimli, etc.) that never really had any goal for revolution but instead were expectant of the army to stage a coup against the current government of the period, the one formed by the Justice Party. The political power of the comprador bourgeoisie and landlords was not late in recognizing the severity of the situation and it did not hesitate to suppress the resistance with tanks, guns, and martial law.
The resistance was a turning point in terms of the class’s recognition of its own power and class consciousness and in terms of the leap-forth effect it had on the consciousness of the strata neighboring the worker’s class. Furthermore, in terms of its consequences, the resistance brought about many rich lessons. The fact that the security guards of the bourgeois-feudal fascist apparatus suppressed the resistance with violence had an awakening effect on the masses as the thus-far prevailing parliamentarian dreams and the hopes invested in the army were all crushed.
The suppression of the resistance was a major confirmation of Kaypakkaya’s conclusion that “the revolution will rely on violence, that this will be compulsory and inevitable.” In that sense, the resistance was a watershed event as it unveiled the path of the extra-parliamentary methods of struggle as opposed to the intra-parliamentarian one. More importantly, the resistance was a major example that clearly indicated the crucial role of the masses in revolution. This event made it evident that the revolution was not going to happen as a result of plans made by a handful of conspirators like a coup d’état or as a result of radical actions taken by petty-bourgeois youth.
The resistance sent out a crystal clear message that the real force that was going to bring about the revolution was the masses themselves. Additionally, the resistance laid out two other very important lessons; that the objective conditions are quite ripe for revolution and that an eventual attempt at revolution would almost certainly fail unless the struggle is spread out of metropolises and into the provinces. What enriched the journey of the communist movement in Turkey up to the emergence of the Vanguard, among other things, was the absorption of these lessons. Therefore, this resistance occupies an essential piece of the picture in the 1970s’ Turkey.
It must also be noted that throughout this period, contradictions and antagonism among the reactionary ruling classes became ever sharper, the continuous economic depression intensified the political crises to the extreme, and the overwhelmed ruling power were compelled to use excessive violence and despotism to suppress ever rising struggle of workers, peasants, youth, and intellectuals.
Such a situation and especially the June 15/16 worker’s resistance and the ensuing fierce confrontation played a major role in the formation of barricades as “those above” and “those below.” These developments forced the bourgeois-feudal regime into a political dead-end. The usual parliamentarian methods and tools of governing became increasingly useless. The economic depression brought the political contradictions to the extreme.
In short, by the beginnings of 1972, the country was severely shaken by ever worsening economic and political situation. In the meantime, the generation of 1968-69 had entered the early 1970s with a power of action that was at its peak; in an atmosphere of fierce clashes, deaths, worker’s strikes, peasants’ land occupations, student’s university occupations and so on, this generation had experienced a leap-forth in the transformation of their consciousness, by far faster and more integrated than that of the previous 50 years.
In the midst of this situation, as concluded by comrade Kaypakkaya, “in order to undertake an armed people’s war, the objective conditions [were] extremely suitable; ‘the spontaneous struggles of masses of workers and peasants [were] growing like an avalanche;’ and these struggles were intermittently getting to the point of armed clashes.” Conclusions drawn by Kaypakkaya were in fact a concrete analysis of the period up to the military takeover of the government with the declaration of martial law in March 1971.
In his analyses, Kaypakkaya was pointing out the level that the situation in Turkey reached and to the necessity to guide and lead the revolutionary development within this situation. Thus, while coming up with an accurate analysis of the objective conditions, he was also providing a description of characteristics that the subjective forces must had possessed.
Indeed, throughout the recent years leading up to 1971, through strikes, resistances, boycotts, occupations of land, etc., the consciousness and the organization level of the working class was going to be elevated rapidly and the masses of peasants and university youth were going to get ever more competent in struggle through frequent actions and clashes. In the development of this competence, the role of the optimal conditions across the globe of course could not be denied: the guerrilla movements that were growing from the country side to the cities and the uprisings by students and workers in the capitalist centers played an important triggering role in the emergence of revolutionary upsurge, awakening, and organization in the 1970s.
And more importantly, the world-wide wave of revolutions was not going to take long before projecting itself onto Turkey as well. By the beginnings of the year 1970, a new kind of revolutionary movement emerged in Turkey, one that is tried and tested time and again within the struggle, experienced in the fight against the regime and its hunting dogs, and surpassed the bourgeois reformist entities, such as the Workers Party of Turkey; a movement that pulled all the ground from beneath the feet of fifty years of pacifism and bona fide revisionism.
In summary, Kaypakkaya developed his own ideas and elevated them to an ideological, political, and organizational synthesis under the influence of the period’s auspicious historical and political conditions, through the struggle of the masses and organizing them, and from within the crucible of class struggle; in an atmosphere where the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’s tremendous echo still rocked the world and through the process of the difficult internal struggle that he was engaged with while in the RWPPT.
Eventually, this synthesis was going to yield the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML), by taking a bodily form through the armed revolutionary struggle, through “the protracted and dispersed people’s guerrilla war,” by waging struggle against the RWPPT – which had deserted Mao with a “leap to the right,” – by genuinely and consistently defending Mao. Kaypakkaya’s ideological struggle was not limited to the RWPPT, however. It was also and assault against the reformist and parliamentarian line that had imprisoned itself within the regime’s framework.
Kaypakkaya himself describes the conditions that set forth the TKP/ML with the following words: “The ever growing struggle of our brave working class, altruistic peasants, and gallant youth, the ever more widespread Marxist-Leninist books, the world shaking effects of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that took place in China under the leadership of Chairman Mao, all these, were preparing the auspicious environment within which a young communist movement was going to spring out to lead the masses’ struggle upon the soil of our country.”
THE TWO LINE STRUGGLE WITHIN THE PROLETARIAN REVOLUTIONARY ILLUMINATION (PRE) AND THE NECESSARY “EARLY BREAKAWAY”
As it is well known, comrade Kaypakkaya, as well as the leaders of the PLAT and the PLPFT, Deniz Gezmis and his comrades and Mahir Cayan and his comrades respectively, were active in the Federation of Idea Clubs (FID), which was formed in 1965. In the meantime, by the end of 1965 and the beginnings of 1966, the competition between the WPT, which from the start insisted on a pacifist-parliamentarian line, and the Mihri Belli clique, which had invested its hopes in the eventuality of a coup d’état, was getting increasingly sharper.
During this period, the Mihri Belli clique was trying to turn the struggle of the university youth, which was gaining increasingly more militant and radical character, into an instrument for its coup d’état ambitions. Despite the relative polarization and different tendencies between the abovementioned lines, both cliques were essentially national bourgeois currents, only wearing a socialist mask. While the struggle between these two cliques was sharpening, the group identified by the publication the Illumined Socialist Review , which Kaypakkaya too was a part of, took sides with the Mihri Belli clique, in Kaypakkaya’s word, “entered the stage along the tail of Mihri Belli.”
During this period, a section of the masses on the left leaned towards the WPT, while the Idea Clubs got together to form the Federation of Idea Clubs, with the university youth composing its core. In the beginning, the pro-WTP group managed to dominate the FIC administrative board. By 1968, however, at the second congress, pro-National Democratic Revolution group had the clear majority at the board. The third congress resulted in a coalition of the two groups. At the beginning of this phase, in 1967, Kaypakkaya established the Chapa Idea Club along with his 9 friends.
At the same time, he was a member of the WPT. Within the FIC, however, deviations of perspectives gradually developed, “as a natural result of progress of consciousness and enriched experience,” as put by Kaypakkaya. These divisions concentrated on two major courses: One of them, the reformist perspective, considered the parliamentarian instrument of struggle as the only form of struggle while the other course advocated the national democratic revolution (NDR) thesis, which also held up the gradual revolution thesis. Kaypakkaya took position on the side of the latter, the group advocating the national democratic and gradual revolution thesis.
He explained his choice of side with the following words: “In this division, I took position on the side of the group that advocated the national democratic revolution. The circles of [identified by] the Turkish Left and the Illumined Socialist publications were not entirely -in its true meaning of the word- revolutionary in content, nevertheless they were, compared to the WPT, making more efforts to show more interest in the democratic and revolutionary actions of workers, peasants, students, and the other masses of people.” In 1969, the FIC held its fourth congress, which was a turning point both in the history of the federation and in Kaypakkaya’s revolutionary journey.
At this congress, the FIC takes the decision to change its name to the Federation of Revolutionary Youth (FRY) and eventually became the focal point of the revolutionary student youth as the sharpest and most “militant” youth organization and petty bourgeois actions. This new course set by the fourth congress also brought about a new phase of division within the federation, that of between the Revolutionary Youth (or Dev-Genc as popularly known in Turkish) and the Proletarian Revolutionary Illumination. Kaypakkaya took sides with the latter group.
Direct practice and the progress achieved in revolutionary theory lead to a qualitative leap in Kaypakkaya’s consciousness. Consequently, he began to see more clearly the pacifist aspect of the PRE group that was not willing to disassociate from the right-wing line of Mihri Belli. Kaypakkaya and a group of M-L opposition that clustered around him were noticing that the PRE’s pacifist and distant stance vis-a-vis the actions and activities of youth was disconnecting it from the masses of youth, and that this should not had been so even if the actions of youth contain certain weaknesses and dead-ends due to the student youth’s petty bourgeois character.
Thus, the Marxist-Leninist opposition, led by Kaypakkaya, through repeated cases and experiences clearly saw that the PRE, which was later to be called the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey (RWPPT), was in fact defending and practicing revisionism while still hiding under the banner of Marxism-Leninism. Indeed even after the RPI revisionism cut its organizational ties with Mihri Belli, it was still defending his right leaning views under the cover of ML. The following paragraphs from Kaypakkaya are noteworthy on this matter:
"The PRI was content with only watching from the sidelines the militant struggle waged by the youth despite suffering deaths and enduring the ever intensifying fascist oppression. This led to a complete disconnection from the youth mass… Additionally, the PRI revisionism was rejecting the fact that the essence of the democratic revolution is the land reform. It was rejecting the revolutionary role of the peasants.
It was rejecting the armed struggle with the excuse that ‘the conditions are not yet optimal.’ It was rejecting the Marxist-Leninist theories of state and revolution. It was rejecting the right of nations to self-determination. It was still preserving its bourgeois nationalism… At the international level, it assumed a middle-road attitude between the world communist movement and the modern revisionists. The fact that the revisionists had seized the power in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, that the proletarian dictatorships [in these countries] were transformed into bourgeois dictatorship was being negated… Experiences of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution were being rejected. The bourgeois club that was later to be called the RWPPT was born in these conditions, upon this ideological foundation. While on the one hand sustaining the modern revisionism on main topics, it later on stretched its arm also to the Mao Zedong Thought. How did this become possible? Of course, by leaving aside the essence of Mao Zedong Thought …”
While the period was advancing with these developments and contradictions, the Great Workers Resistance of June 15-16 knocked at the door. This enormous resistance of the working class was a critical moment for the Kaypakkaya-led M-L opposition group within the PRE.
The opposition, in Kaypakkaya’s words, “got the necessary lesson” form this resistance. The resistance shed light on the submissive and right-leaning character of the line that had been followed by the PRI since the beginning. In terms of exposing the revisionist nature of the line that was followed, the resistance functioned as a litmus paper. As was pointed out at the time by Kaypakkaya, those who were connected to the masses could accurately derive the lessons from the Great Workers Resistance and those who were disconnected from the masses could not show even a centimeter of progress, except for some cosmetic retouches here and there.
Initially, under the conditions of intense oppression and the martial law that came subsequent to the GWR, the submissive and pacifist line within the PRE could partially be convinced about the illegal organization and methods of struggle. After the first signs of loosening up of the martial law, however, the submissive and pacifist line quickly returned as the prevalent perspective.
At this point, however, in order to conceal the submissive and pacifist rightist line, they began to tread the path of “bragging literature” [demagoguery]. On the one hand, people’s war was praised to the highest heavens but on the other hand people’s war remained only as a meaningless road sign. Mao Zedong became a mask to be used for leaps towards the right. It must also be noted, however, that the revisionists, having become increasingly disconnected from the masses, were compelled to adjust their usual rightist views on certain matters, such as “the class content of state, army, and the rule of martial law, matters that are the ABCs of Marxism-Leninism.” They were also step by step taking a stance against the modern revisionism.
Moreover, as noted by Kaypakkaya, they also appeared to be recognizing the thesis that the political power will be seized through people’s war piece by piece and from the countryside to the cities. This was, again, only in the appearance as even this change of view was opportunist and fraudulent. They were acting as if they had been defending these points since long before. However, on many principal points, they were far from comprehending the democratic revolution’s purpose and essence. More importantly, the theses that they claimed to defend were upheld only in words; when it came to the practice, they never deviated from the revisionist line.
Within the PRE, the struggle between the Marxist-Leninist wing and the bourgeois leadership on many fundamental matters dragged on. The bourgeois leadership insisted on failing to understand the essence of the democratic revolution, only pretending to defend this principle ML thesis, extensively focusing on the legal press activities, organizing only at the level of worker-peasant work committees and bureaus, neglecting activities in villages, pushing illegal activities aside as secondary after-thought, investing hopes in the bourgeois democracy, wrongly diagnosing the principle and fundamental contradictions, rejecting the land reform, and so on.
And with the February 1971 Memorandum, they put the M-L opposition on the target board, attempting to deceive the party members about the real issues. Finally at the April meeting, Kaypakkaya, along with the rest of the opposition group, circulated the article titled, “Let’s Be Brave and Sincere in Self-criticism,” demanding a cleanup of the revisionist mess through a comprehensive and sincere self-criticism. In the bourgeois leadership’s agenda, however, there was no such consideration. In fact, they even prevented the voting of the proposals that were presented by the M-L opposition, summarized as 11 Principles:
- Activity in the countryside [peasantry regions] is principal and in cities secondary.
- Armed struggle is principal, other struggle methods are secondary.
- Illegal activity is principal, legal activity is secondary.
- As long as the enemy is stronger than us throughout the country, the strategic defense is principal.
- Within the strategic defense, tactical attacks are principal and tactical defense is secondary.
- During this stage, in terms of armed struggle, the guerrilla warfare is principal, other struggle forms are secondary.
3In cities (big cities), during the period of strategic defense, accumulation of force and waiting for opportunities are principal, organizing uprisings is secondary.
- In term of organization, the party organization is principal, other forms of organization are secondary.
- In terms of other forms of organization, armed struggle organizations are principal.
- Relying on our own forces is principal, relying on allies is secondary.
- There currently are conditions for armed struggle in our country.
By the first months of 1971, Kaypakkaya and his comrades, the Marxist-Leninist opposition group, had realized that the RPE’s bourgeois leadership is a hopeless case. However, it was still necessary to remain within the PRE in order to further educate the militant and worthwhile cadres and to further expose the bourgeois leadership. Likewise, the M-L opposition group was also hoping that the old work methods and struggle forms, which were rendered largely useless due to the martial rule, would shake the party cadres to help them see the revisionist line with clear their eyes.
All the efforts of the M-L wing, unfortunately, fell flat without producing any reverberation as the bourgeois leadership remained deaf to their appeals. Neither the April meeting nor the Socialist General Assembly brought about any solution to the matter. The decisions taken at the February 7-8 of 1972 by the East Anatolia Regional Committee (EARC or DABK Dogu Anadolu Bolge Komitesi in Turkish) had the effects of a tremendous blast in the ranks of the RWPPT, putting the revisionist leadership in a panic mode.
These decisions were highly important in terms of cohesively expressing some, if not all, practical and theoretical problems of the M-L opposition. The decisions were also reflecting the refinement and resolution in Kaypakkaya’s views, bringing the eventual breakaway even closer. Here is the summary of the most crucial part of the ten-point decisions: Both at the world scale and at the scale of our country, the objective conditions for revolution are extremely favorable and ideal. At the front of imperialism and local reactionaries, crises are followed by yet new crises and this leads to savage attacks by the counter-revolutionary front.
As for the working class and the revolutionary peoples, they heroically stand up against this attack and respond to the counter-revolutionary violence with revolutionary violence. Most of the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America wage armed struggle under the leadership of the working class. Turkey is not immune to this situation. In Turkey, too, the struggle of the working class, poor peasantry, and other revolutionary strata have developed to the point of bloody clashes.
Majority of the working class and poor peasantry have grasped that their liberation will come about only through armed struggle. Only thing to do is to lead the masses and organize the armed struggle in the countryside at the axis of strategy of encirclement of cities from the countryside. A communist movement that does not follow this line is not worthy of carrying this name [the title of communist movement]. A communist organization that does not follow this path is bound to disconnect from the masses and be isolated.
As for our movement, instead of leading the masses with determination and persistence on a line of armed guerrilla struggle, it insists on its previous right-leaning mistakes, continuing the trend under new forms. Armed struggle is advocated only in words, while in essence it is actually negated. Neither the struggle nor the organization forms function as to promote armed struggle.
On the contrary, they play a hindering role. The current rightist line, instead of engaging in armed struggle, postpones it to an indefinite future. In order not to begin with this form of struggle, it employs all sorts of theoretical and practical tricks such as intentionally drawing the wrong conclusion from Lenin’s correct thesis that the revolution will be the achievement of the masses and bringing up the factor of being nation-wide organized as the fundamental condition of beginning with the armed struggle.
Of the above mentioned decisions, the ninth considers the current “moment’s” principal task as to identify the most suitable areas for armed struggle, to mobilize most of the cadres to these areas, and to form guerrilla units in order to emerge as the armed struggle organization of the moment. Concluding with the following statement, which was lethal for the revisionism that kept running away from the armed struggle:
“If necessary, after a very brief activity period of propaganda and agitation, guerrilla actions must immediately be undertaken.” These decisions outraged the RWPPT’s bourgeois clique. After meeting with this clique on March 26, 1972, the M-L opposition group decided to sever all ties with the RWPPT. At this meeting, the bourgeois leadership requested for a self-criticism from the M-L opposition group for having engaged in factionalism.
The M-L group, in return, replied that they see no need for self-criticism as their struggle is against revisionism and rejected all claims of factionalism. The upcoming party congress was going to take place under the leadership of revisionists and their lackeys, leaving room for only several representatives from the M-L wing.
The ML wing announced that they would participate in the congress under the condition that the delegates suggested by them also be invited to the congress. Their proposal was rejected and thus the M-L wing was deprived of the chance to participate in the congress, marking the last point in the division.
Kaypakkaya explains the purpose in the M-L wing’s intention to participate in the congress in the following paragraphs:
“The following was the benefit that the Marxist-Leninists were expecting from the congress: Carry the revolutionary view through to all cadres and, depending on the situation, either to liquidate the hopelessly revisionist leadership and to establish a revolutionary leadership or follow the route to form a new organization with the newly recruited cadres. After all, two different ideologies and politics that were separated from each other with definitive lines could no longer coexist under the same roof. One of the two had to prevail.
If those who engage in deviation [from the Marxist-Leninist line] cannot be corrected through criticism and persuasion, in other words if through their behaviors they prove that they are hopeless opportunists, then there remains only one way for the public service: It is to seize the intra-party power from those incorrigibles and to clean the party up from them. This is a power struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Those who recognize this right for the bourgeoisie and yet deny it to the proletariat are the enemies of the people – whether openly or secretly. The congress was not going to bring any benefit to the Marxist-Leninists.
The bourgeois leadership was going to impose its revisionist line as the congress decision with the majority that it already had. Being faced by the votes of the noisy majority, Marxist-Leninists were not going to even find the chance to express their thoughts. In the case that they succeeded to express their thoughts, their voices were going to be drowned within the confines of four walls. In addition, there was no longer any condition left for survival of the Marxist-Leninists. Under these circumstances, it was both impossible and useless to remain within the organization and to continue the fight. The way to serve to the proletariat and the people was now through breaking away from the revisionist clique organizationally as well. And the Marxist-Leninists did exactly that. They rejected the bourgeois discipline. They decided to fight against it head-on.”
In an article dated June 1972 and titled “the Origin and Development of Our Differences with the Dawn Revisionism,” comrade Kaypakkaya lays out the final breakaway as follows:
“The struggle that continued, sometimes openly, sometimes secretly, sometimes assuming sharp forms, and sometimes softening, but uninterruptedly, between the two wings within the ranks of the DAWN movement, formerly Proletarian Revolutionary ENLIGHTENMENT (PRE), finally reached a point where it became impossible for the two wings to remain within the same organization.At this point, the proletarian wing has definitively severed all its ties with the revisionist-bourgeois clique and has set out to re-organize upon Marxist-Leninist foundations.”
Following the definitive organizational break away from the DAWN revisionism in March 1972, the new organization, the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist, emerged in April 24, 1972, under the leadership of comrade Kaypakkaya. As it was pointed out by Kaypakkaya himself, the organizational break away from the RWPPT was an “early [immature] break away,” despite the fact that it came about after an intense period of many ideological battles.
The pressing circumstances made the immature split an inevitable route for the M-L opposition. This had several important negative consequences; namely that the views of the M-L opposition did not find adequate time and chance to be diffused among all levels of the organization.
Despite the intensity of encounters, the battles throughout the two-line struggle were confined to a tight section of the party. Thus, the criticism brought out by the M-L opposition against the revisionist leadership in the RWPPT could not be heard outside of the upper structure of the party. After the fact that the channel for even a limited two-line struggle was shut down, the M-L cadres were forced to seek another route of struggle.
KAYPAKKAYA’s EMPHASIS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE CLASS STRUGGLE
One of the traits that distinguish comrade Kaypakkaya from the other leading revolutionaries of his time, such as the leaders of PLAT and PLPFT, is the importance he laid upon the communist party in the preparation of revolution, during the revolution, and in the post-revolution period. Contrary to those who advocated a revolutionary course without a party, he was convinced that without a communist party as the vanguard of the proletariat, neither could there be preparation for revolution nor will there be a true revolution.
Indeed, back in January 1972, he had begun with his critique of the RWPPT’s draft program with the issue of party. He attached such great importance to the communist party that he strived to arrive at the most comprehensive, accurate, and ideal conclusion from the question that Lenin had asked years earlier: In order for it to be scientific and to contribute to the political consciousness of proletariat, what should the name of our party be?
Comrade Kaypakkaya considered the question from many different directions within the context of Turkey’s conditions and arrived at the following conclusion: It is clear that the appellation that will most definitively, clearly, and accurately express our movement’s character and its ultimate goals and in practice will contribute to the progress of consciousness for the working class and other toilers, and will distinguish us from all forms of traitors to socialism is Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML).
Above all, TKP/ML is scientifically correct and it is the precise and clear expression of our ultimate goal. There are many organizations necessary for revolutionary struggle in the proletariat’s fight for political power. Among these, however, the party takes place as the highest and most significant form of proletariat’s class organization, directing the revolutionary armed struggle and carrying the proletariat to the revolution. Composed of working class’s most conscious, hardiest, and best qualified elements, the party is an organization where the proletariat’s will and unity of action are crystallized and clasped together with a firm iron discipline; where self-criticism is a must; it is the organization that prepares the proletariat for the revolution and seizure of political power.
That is why Kaypakkaya set out to establish the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist soon after having organizationally split up from the revisionism. The TKP/ML was then born on 24 April 1972. For he had fully realized that in order to achieve an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution in the face of a unified and centralized counter-revolutionary apparatus, there must be a party as a capable general staff directing the war, as a proletarian contingent.
More importantly, based on the practice of the Chinese revolution and the theory that was developed through this practice, comrade Kaypakkaya time and again emphasized that in countries such as ours in order to seize the power from the bourgeois-feudal fascist yoke, the party functions as an instrument of war, as the general staff throughout the war. In semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries such as ours, as distinct from capitalist countries, the Communist Party emerges with its “belligerent” character.
And more importantly, in countries such as ours, the party is built within the climate of war; it develops, gets stronger, gains experience, and becomes steeled through the protracted war. Comrade Kaypakkaya knew that in a country such as ours, belligerent identity of the party comes with certain extra important tasks. Such a character necessitates a certain level of militarisation of the party in terms of its organizational functioning, discipline, and modus operandi.
Comrade Kaypakkaya describes the character and tasks of the communist party in our semi-colonial, semi-feudal country as follows:
“A communist party with a discipline of steel that is free of subjectivity, revisionism, and dogmatism, that is fused within the masses, that combines theory and practice, and applies the method of self-criticism; under the leadership of such a party, people’s armed forces, and again under the leadership of such a party, people’s united front: These are the three weapons of the people that we will use to defeat the enemy.”
Of these principal weapons, he assigns a special and unique role to the party. Party is above both the army and the front and it carries the leadership role. Party is at the focal point of all. Thus, he draws a clear distinguishing line between himself and those who advocate organizing principally as army or front.
Via the long term war, all tasks of the revolution can only be achieved through the existence and the leadership of the communist party. This conclusion, after all, was in confirmation of Lenin’s statement: “In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization.” And this weapon is in the center of all, being the vanguard and leading force in periods prior to, during, after the revolution.
KAYPAKKAYA’s VIEWS ON THE REVOLUTION IN TURKEY
The five fundamental documents that comrade Kaypakkaya authored as a critique of the Dawn revisionism, both while in the RWPPT and after the split, compose an integrated set of ideological-political-organizational-military alternatives regarding the revolution in Turkey. Of these articles, he wrote “National Question in Turkey” in December 1971, “Let Us Correctly Understand Chairman Mao’s Doctrine of Red Political Power” in January 1972, and in the same month, both “the Critique of the RWPPT Draft Program ” and “the Dawn Revisionism’s Theses on the Kemalist Movement, the Period of the Kemalist Rule, the Second World War Years, Post-War, and on May 27 [1960 Military Coup d’état].”
And finally, in June 1972, after the organizational break away, he wrote “the Origin and Development of Our Differences with the Dawn Revisionism: A General Critique of the RWPPT Revisionism.” Comrade Kaypakkaya, in the above-mentioned articles, which were all written in the years 1971 and 1972, through analyses of economic and social structure of Turkey, presents integrated responses as to the nature of revolution in Turkey, its path, its perspectives, its driving forces and its objectives, and as to the fundamental and chief contradictions, people’s war, the Turkish state and its character. Moreover, he offered thus far unprecedented analyses on Kemalism, the history of the Republic of Turkey, and the Kurdish national question, all of which shattered status-quo and taboos that had persisted up to that time.
What is further so remarkable about his views is that they all compose an integrated structure, with a very consistent inner dialectical logic, which then presents an incomparable key for our revolution’s goals and politics. The integrated portrayal of the conditions that he drew was a direct reflection of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal economic and social structure of our country, for the “general standards” the October and the Chinese Revolution could find a correspondence to our locality only if they could be fused with a correct analysis of Turkey’s social and political structure. Comrade Kaypakkaya attached a great importance to this aspect in his works.
He clearly laid out that the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal conflicts, which are two fundamental conflicts stemming from the semi-colonial and semi-feudal status, coincide with the essence of the democratic revolution. This meant that there is a necessity of national revolution due to semi-colonialism and of democratic revolution due to semi-feudalism. During periods of inner conflict, in other words during the period when the contradiction between feudalism and broad masses of people is the chief contradiction, our revolution assumes the character of democratic revolution.
During periods of external conflict as the chief contradiction, however, in other words in case of occupation by a foreign power, for example, when the conflict between (occupying) imperialism and the people of the country becomes the chief contradiction, then our revolution assumes the character of national revolution. This also meant that in our country, the national and democratic aspects of revolution are both separate and combined at the same time. They are separate because they emerge at different stages of revolution.
Yet they are combined as feudalism is one of the social standing feet of imperialism and thus any blow to feudalism is also a blow to imperialism. The driving forces of such a revolution are the proletariat, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie, and the left wing of the national bourgeoisie, while it targets imperialism, feudalism and comprador capitalism. In the conditions of countries such as ours, fascism has a chronic character as it is a joint dictatorship of the comprador bourgeoisie and the landlords.
Therefore, the class content of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle or front and of anti-fascist struggle is actually same. The aim of the first phase of the people’s democratic revolution is to topple down the three mountains, imperialism, feudalism and comprador capitalism, and to build an independent, free, and democratic society, which in essence corresponds to solving the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal contradictions, while at the second stage, its aim is to carry the society into socialism and communism without an interruption between the two stages.
The way to accomplish such a revolution, or to defeat the bourgeois-feudal power, is to make the people’s guerrilla war the principal form of struggle, based on the “strategy of protracted people’s war” and via red political base areas, which are in fact seeds of future people’s democratic power structure. Clearly, in a country with such conditions, the principal format of the struggle will be war and accordingly the principal organizational form will be military as the revolutionary armed struggle will be the principal form of struggle, ascribing the party a “belligerent” character.
Obviously, such a strategy foresees the line of encirclement of cities from the countryside, coinciding to a prolonged, stubborn, and scathing fight. Comrade Kaypakkaya persistently stressed that the strategy of “the countryside, encircling the cities” is determined by the power relations between the revolution and the counter-revolution and that this is positioned more to the advantage of the revolution in villages compared to cities. The weakest link of the counter-revolutionary chain is located in the countryside.
As if predicting the current situation and providing an answer beforehand, Kaypakkaya states, “Even in the case where feudalism has been gradually resolved and consequently the peasant population is reduced, the strategy still remains valid.” Because the semi-colonial (or colonial) conditions of the country still positions the power relations to the favor of the counter-revolution. Those who view the question solely based on the fact of whether or not the peasant population composes the majority, rather than considering it with a dialectic materialist eye or through the perspective of interactive power relations, miss the point entirely.
As a result, they are convinced that if the peasant population is declined then the strategy of “the siege of cities from the countryside” is no longer applicable. No doubt, in the strategy of siege of cities from the countryside, the prolonged and dispersed people’s guerrilla war occupies a prominent corner in his basic theoretic views. Another highly important point is the role of the national bourgeoisie. It is a strategic ally of the united front of the people in the revolution. People’s united front is built upon the worker-peasant alliance; the petty bourgeoisie and the revolutionary wing of the national bourgeoisie take place in the front as its other components. The proletariat is the ideological-political leader of the revolution and the peasantry is its “base force” as its body.
This distinguishing feature of the peasantry is extremely important and is directly linked to the peasant-agrarian revolution. Clearly, such a revolution, essence of which is determined by the agrarian revolution, at its first stage largely answers to the needs of the peasantry. Comrade Kaypakkaya advocates the right of nations to self-determination, in other words rights of an oppressed dependent nation to establish a separate state with a clear and precise language. On this issue he offers the following statement, based on the principles of Leninism: “Full equality of rights for all nations, nations’ right to self-determination; unity of workers (and oppressed peoples) of all countries.”
Scales and depths of Kaypakkaya’s analyses on the national question could only be achieved by a true communist leader. Kaypakkaya was the only communist leader to succeed in “a radical break away” from the theoretical and political approaches upheld prior to him on the matters of War of National Liberation [subsequent to which the Republic of Turkey was established], the recent history of Turkey, and Kemalism.
His remarkably accurate diagnoses that the War of National Liberation was a revolution of the Turkish merchant bourgeoisie, landlords, moneylenders, and the few industrial bourgeoisie; that the national bourgeoisie was not the leader of this revolution but was the backup force and that the leaders of this revolution were from the very beginning collaborating with the imperialists, becoming a tool of imperialism; and that Kemalism is the ideology of the right wing of the Turkish comprador big and middle bourgeoisie had the effect of launching a tremendous thunder on a clear blue sky.
Statements that the Kemalist revolution took place in order to prevent an eventual land revolution carried out by the workers and peasants; that the Kemalist regime is only a democracy in name but in essence it is a fascist dictatorship shocked his contemporaries and opened the way for a radical re-questioning of Kemalism. With his analyses, the proletariat and its neighbors met for the first time with the naked truth as the spell of Kemalism was broken and the bayonet had fallen. Apart from other things, these solid and enduring diagnoses made by our party from its very early days removed a major obstacle before the development of the revolutionary movement in Turkey.
Even Mahir Cayan, a contemporary of Kaypakkaya and one of the major “intellectual” revolutionary petty bourgeois minds at the time could not avoid falling in the trap of Kemalism. Cayan had stated, “Kemalism is the anti-imperialist stance, on the basis of nationalism, of the most left, the most radical section of the petty bourgeoisie.That is why Kemalism is left; is for national liberation. At the stage of vanguard war, along the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia circles, other ally of the PLPFT could only be Kemalists.”
Among his contemporaries, Kaypakkaya was the only one who emerged as a communist leader who was capable of aiming far ahead, becoming a “beacon” in the face of disorientation and confusion.
KAYPAKKAYA’s STANCE AGAINST THE ENEMY and HIS MURDER
It is a fact that comrade Kaypakkaya’s murder, after three months of savage torture by the bourgeois-feudal fascist apparatus’ civilian-military forces, was not an ordinary event. Even the state’s intelligence agents knew that, he was not an ordinary person or an ordinary revolutionary. He was the founder and visionary of the TKP/ML. They knew that his opinions were like a great ball of fire dropped on the soils of Turkey.
He was the most refined representative of the fusion of the universal principles of Marxism and the concrete practice of revolution in Turkey. Kaypakkaya’s communist identity, his ideological-political formation, his depth of thought, the logical consistency of his ideas and his unwavering commitment to them compelled the forces of the class enemy to mobilize and to eliminate him as soon as possible.
They had to deprive the communist party of its communist leader, of its center of gravity that illuminated the party. This they achieved on May 18, 1973 by murdering him. It took the enemy three months to finally murder him. They butchered him in pieces but he did not retreat even a single centimeter from his communist determination, exemplifying the devotion to the party, to the proletariat, and to the people in the highest form possible. The enemy forces did not achieve their aims, however, by killing him.
Above all, after the intervening 40 years and on, he still remains as a beacon of communism. For tens of thousands who have clustered around his teachings, giving life to the party that he founded with all their forces, conviction, and consciousness. And after forty years, his name still continues to terrify the class enemies. The fact that those who celebrate and commemorate his name, those who regard his name with reverence, and those who praise his name are still being penalized by the courts is only a confirmation of the fear the enemy feels at the mention of Kaypakkaya.
This fear, however, is justified and appropriate. Because he represents the future and the revolution! Comrade Kaypakkaya’s attitude in the face of the enemy has had huge impacts on the generations after him, as well. He was not only a monumental figure at the pantheon of the revolution as a communist leader but also as a “hero who gave away his head but not his secrets.” The “tradition of resistance” that he left behind with his death continues to be an honor and symbol of our party and the revolutionary movement in Turkey.
This is how he responded to his interrogators: “Essentially we the communists as a principle do not hide anywhere our political convictions and views. However, we do not disclose our organizational activities, our friends who work with us within the organization, and the individuals and groups that are not within the organization but provide help for us. I have already told all that is necessary as to my personal responsibility. All that I have done thus far were done in the name of the Marxist-Leninist thought, which I sincerely believe in. And I have no regret about its consequence. If one day I am liberated from your hands, I will work as before.”
The attitude assumed by the communist Kaypakkaya, who did not lament and cry under the blow he suffered, who on the contrary remained loyal to the cause of revolution all the way to the end, is also a big slap on the face of those who turn away from the revolution at the first sight of defeat and fear. This attitude, this indomitable stance will remain as a beacon for every revolutionary and communist, and for our party.
TKP/ML POSITION OF COMRADE KAYPAKKAYA WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT
The position that Kaypakkaya took in the “great debate” within the international communist movement (ICM) played a very significant role in shaping him, in the development of his views, and in the formation of his communist identity. His choice of alignment, furthermore, has had a major impact on the development of the TKP/ML, on its 40 years plus revolutionary march, and on its communist assertion and conviction.
No doubt, the fundamental factor at the center of this polarization, this ideological and political struggle, was a matter of choice between Marxism and revisionism. In this ongoing world-scale ideological clash between the modern revisionism and the Mao led Chinese Communist Party (CCP), representing Marxism-Leninism, Kaypakkaya with all his certainty and insight took sides with the CCP’s front against the Khrushchev – Brezhnev revisionism and thus choosing the course drawn by the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.
Comrade Kaypakkaya’s choice of the course had a deep impact on the formation of our party’s fundamental theoretical line. Comrade Kaypakkaya’s audacious stance against Khrushchev’s fake communism has since become the generator of power for our party’s resilience. This stance has illuminated the tasks of revolution and socialism, allowing our party to successfully pass the ordeals of last several decades.
The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideological identity that is represented by our party today was a result of the Mao Zedong Thought, which was the foundation upon which comrade Kaypakkaya stood in the great ideological polarization. Contemporaries of Kaypakkaya, unlike him, either exhibited a lack of stance in this polarization or chose to follow a middle path, failing to learn from the International Communist Movement’s General Line that was formed by Mao through his battles with Khrushchev’s fake communism.
Similarly, comrade Kaypakkaya had criticized the RWPPT for following a middle path between the international communist movement and the modern revisionism, for sidelining the essence of Mao Zedong Thought, and for negating the experiences of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
IMPORTANCE OF KAYPAKKAYA FOR TODAY
Even 40 years after his death, comrade Kaypakkaya, with his time tested views, is still important and indispensable for the TKP/ML. This importance has significant weight not only for our party but also for a successful revolutionary march of the proletariat and the entire revolutionary movement in Turkey.
This name, which has always represented the liberation, freedom, and independence for the proletariat and its allies, for the oppressed and exploited masses of people, in spite of all these years, still gives nightmares to the bourgeois-feudal fascist state and his teachings still alarm the class enemies about the eventual revolution. This name, which has always been mentioned together with the revolution and socialism, has preserved a deep respect and love in the hearts of the broadest toiling masses.
His views still function as a unique key to embrace the 21st century and as a compass to achieve the revolution. His teachings are still like volcano eruptions against those who attempt to infect the revolutionary movement with their own hopelessness; against quitters, liquidators, revisionists; against those who claim that it can also be done without a revolution; and against the deprivation of belief.
His views still represent the turret of revolution against reformism. Without a doubt, the 21st century can be seized only through the theory that is matured by the experiences of revolutionary experiments of 20th century and of relative regresses. Obviously this can only be achieved through the ideological line charted by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, that embody the interests of the working class and has been proven to be correct by the triumphant revolutionary marches of tens of millions in the last century.
With his stance in the great polarization within the International Communist Movement, comrade Kaypakkaya is the only representative of this line in Turkey. In the current period when all contradictions and antagonisms of capitalism are fully exposed and the system floats through chaos and blight due to its endless series of crises, the need for revolution and socialism is growing stronger. With the path charted for the revolution in Turkey, Kaypakkaya’s views still remain as a starting point in order to win the revolution and the future.
Consequently, our party TKP/ML, which has acquired its essence from Kaypakkaya’s principal tenets, is the only viable answer to this need as the proletariat’s only communist organization in Turkey. All the social and political experiences in our country have shown that no revolutionary undertaking can stand a chance unless it is based on the strategy of protracted people’s guerrilla war, which is wrought within the fire of the struggle of masses.
Another area where our party and the views of its founder and foremost visionary shine and come through is the ever unresolved Kurdish national question. Furthermore, his analysis of Kemalism had already, more than 40 years ago, fully broken down the state of Turkish republic and thoroughly exposed its true nature, unlike the calculated, partial and insincere efforts of certain circles of these days.
We will achieve the revolution by relying on his theories, his audacity, and determination, under the leadership of our party TKP/ML, comrade Ibrahim Kaypakkaya’s greatest legacy. We are certainly capable of this with our communist assertion and conviction, with our 41-year proven communist identity. Let it be heard: Comrade, being a cadre, member, sympathizer, and supporter of your party is the greatest honor for us.
We promise you that we shall always upheld the name of the party, meticulously protect it, and with it shall triumph in revolution and win the future!
We are proud with your name, honored with your party, and enlightened with your teachings!
Honor and glory to those who walk behind this name!
Honor and glory to those who form ranks around his party!
Honor and glory to those who keep up the revolutionary march with his teachings!
COMRADE IBRAHIM KAYPAKKAYA IS IMMORTAL! LONG LIVE PEOPLE’S WAR!
Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) International Bureau