This AWTWNS news packet for the week of 15 December 2014 contains three articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as they are credited.
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– Tugce Albayrak – A heroic and inspirational act
– Afghanistan: 13 years of occupation and no end in sight
– To the street fighters in the USA from the Iranian Youth Committee in Belgium
Tugce Albayrak – A heroic and inspirational act
15 December 2014. A World to Win News Service. In the bathroom at a McDonald’s in Offenbach, Germany on the evening of 15 November, two teenage girls were screaming for help. A 22 year-old German-born student of Turkish origin, Tugce Albayrak, heard their cries and alone rushed to their aid. She found several men harassing the two young girls and stopped them.
Later when Tugce left the McDonald’s, one of the young men took revenge on her in the parking lot. He beat her over the head with a baseball bat or other very hard object. She fell unconscious to the ground. A young man taken into custody initially admitted striking her on the head now refuses to say more.
The story of Tugce’s heroic act, covered by international media and many blogs, touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. With tears and anger, people of all backgrounds and ages from cities across Germany poured into the streets in demonstrations of tribute to her. Candlelight vigils were held at the hospital where she lay in a coma for two weeks before doctors pronounced her brain dead. Her parents decided to remove her from life support on 28 November, her 23rd birthday.
In an effort to burnish its image, McDonald’s took out a full page ad in Bild, one of Germany’s largest selling newspapers, in Turkish and German: “We mourn the loss of an extraordinary woman who showed courage and lost her life… In this moment, our thoughts are with the family of Tugce Albayrak, we wish them strength in this difficult time.” Cynically, McDonald’s added it condemns any kind of violence, “especially in and around our restaurants”.
In the face of this outpouring from people across the country, the German president was obliged to make a public statement to her family. “Our entire country mourns with you. Where other people looked away, Tugce showed exemplary courage.”
The hypocrisy of this statement is stunning. The oppression of people from non-German backgrounds living in Germany has a long history rooted in German imperialism and the structural relations embedded within. “Guest workers” from Turkey who played a huge role in German prosperity after WWII have never been welcomed in the closed society that Germany is.
The structure of oppressive social relations in German society is not only anti-immigrant but also anti-woman. Traditional public opinion scorns a working mother as a Rabenmutter, a heartless “raven mother” who should be at home caring for children rather than pushing them out of their nest. Early child care and schools are often organised so that the hours are inflexible, making it difficult for women to work at more than part-time jobs. Alongside this aspect of patriarchal relations, Germany is home to the biggest brothels in Europe. In fact, the county has been called one giant brothel where more than one million men pay for sex every day. So women out in the evening unaccompanied by men are considered fair game for other men to prey on them. The young man who killed Tugce to defend male “right” may not have been born in Germany, but he learned society’s lessons very well.
Tugce Albayrak broke through some of these social constraints in many ways. Aspiring to teach high school youth, she was an excellent student with a full life before her. When she rescued the two teenage girls, all that was snuffed out because she refused to look the other way.
Now almost 200,000 people have signed an online petition to get the German government to honour her bravery by awarding her the National Order of Merit. What is it in this situation that has touched people so deeply?
By many “good German” standards Tugce was not one of them, yet she defended one of “theirs”. She broke out of the stultifying societal confines of how people are supposed to think and act: “mind your own business”, “keep your head down” and “look out for number one.” She dared to stand up to the male privilege that society tells men is their birthright.
That so many people have been moved by Tugce shows that the oppressive, narrow-minded and suffocating culture that characterizes not just German society but Western countries in general is not inherent in human nature. It arises from and helps perpetuate a system that people are forced to live under. That so many people were inspired by an act that provided a glimpse of a different way of thinking and being shows what could be unleashed if people saw the real possibility of stepping out of the confines of the old ways to help bring into being a world of mutual respect free of all relations of domination and exploitation.
Tugce’s heroic act was inspiring and forward-looking, a manifesto of non-accommodation to the world as it presently is.
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Afghanistan: 13 years of occupation and no end in sight
15 December 2014. A World to Win News Service. U.S. President Barack Obama once promised that he would end his country’s combat role in Afghanistan at the end of December. Then he took it back.
Speaking at the White House last May, he said that while he would keep about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through 2015, they would just be “advisers” and “will no longer patrol Afghan cities or towns, mountains or valleys. That is a task for the Afghan people.”
But in November, he signed an authorisation for American troops to continue combat missions – now to once again include night raids, a form of terrorism against the civilian population that the U.S. had been forced to suspend – and also for U.S. jets, bombers and drones to continue killing Afghans, again a form of military aggression that has repeatedly meant wiping out wedding parties and other civilian gatherings. Several other Nato countries, including Turkey, have announced that they will actually send new troops to Afghanistan.
After thirteen years of U.S. and Nato occupation, there is no end in sight.
This is taking place in a context in which the U.S. and UK are also sending fresh troops to another country whose occupation they had supposedly abandoned, Iraq. The way Obama changed the role of his troops in Afghanistan from “advisers” to combat troops at the mere wave of a presidential piece of paper should not only help unmask this phony distinction but also help clarify Obama’s intentions, which are to pursue the interests of empire by whatever means necessary. If the U.S. can’t get local reactionary armies to serve its interests, American troops have to be sent.
Many people fooled themselves into thinking that Obama intended to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and were surprised by this apparent turnaround. But the change was not one of principle, only of assessment: until recently the “residual” American forces he had always said he would leave there were expected to be able to keep the Taliban from winning outright victory and perhaps force them to accept some sort of power-sharing arrangement that would also be acceptable to the U.S.
While we don’t know all the factors in the U.S.’s policy shift, it could be seen coming. On 6 December, during the U.S. Defence Secretary’s trip to Afghanistan, it was revealed that a decision had been made to increase the number of American troops there in 2015 by a thousand more than previously planned, to a total of 10,800 troops. Nato countries announced that they would have 4,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2015, another thousand more than previously announced. Obviously the current promises that there will only be two more years of occupation (until 12 January 2017, a week before Obama is scheduled to leave office) have to be seen in light of his previous indications that he would end it now.
Some commentators are attributing the shift to the new Afghan president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who has called for “restarting a warm relations” with the U.S. and made a request for the continuation of U.S. and Nato combat missions in Afghanistan. After a contentious presidential election that finally was resolved by a compromise, Ghani signed a so-called “Long-term security agreement” with the U.S. and several of its allies, and this was ratified by the Afghan parliament. Although previous president Hamid Karzai – literally chosen and put in office by Nato as the Afghan face of the invasion – had refused to sign this agreement, not many people believed he was seriously resisting. Given that he was in the final months of his presidency, he was attempting to buy some popularity and legitimatise the office of the presidency. But he – and the U.S. – knew the agreement would finally be signed by his successor.
Some people have been trying to attribute the Obama administration’s shift to pressure by military officials against the White House. According to The New York Times (21 November), the armed forces won the argument, and, officials put it, “The military pretty much got what it wanted.” But there has been no public opposition to the decision from either the Democratic or Republican party. The U.S. Senate has just approved funding for the continued occupation with no dissent. It is one of the issues on which the U.S. ruling class seems to have reached a consensus, at least for now.
In fact, the U.S. ruling class is grappling with contradictory factors. There are real limits to the resources that can be assigned to their occupation in Afghanistan. It has gone very badly for them both when Obama “surged” the number of troops and now that their number has decreased. At the same time, the U.S. is still far from achieving even its modified objectives of keeping some sort of control over the country. In some respects, the “surge” made their situation worse, “a total failure” as some of their ex-generals put it.
One of the same factors that limits their ability to maintain “surge”-level forces in Afghanistan – their recognition of the need to send more troops to Iraq in the wake of the collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of the Daesh offensive last June – also bodes ill for U.S. imperialist prospects in Afghanistan. In both countries the army that the U.S. trained to serve its interests and the religiously-based, U.S.-dependent (and consequently hated and corrupt) political system it installed are tottering. No amount of further “training” by U.S. “advisers” can solve this problem, and shifting occupation forces from one theatre of war to the other has not solved it either. This dilemma has found expression in the contention within the U.S. ruling class, and because the problem has not been resolved, there may be more contention at the top in the U.S. about how to pursue its interests in this situation.
The U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the U.S.-led war whose centre has shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq, then back to Afghanistan, then to Libya and then Syria, and now again in Iraq and continuing in Afghanistan, has been the most important factor in fuelling the rise of the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist challenge to what Obama’s predecessor’s advisers called “a new world order”. It has been mainly the U.S. and its “war on terrorism” that has strengthened the Islamist forces and is bringing them more together.
The U.S. and its allies are trying to pretend that they are de-escalating the war in Afghanistan because they are winning there. This is far from the truth, either in Afghanistan or throughout the region. What they want is the ability and flexibility to shift more easily from one war theatre to another and resolve the challenge by force of arms. When Obama said in his speech in May, that “Americans have learned that it’s harder to end wars than it is to begin them”, he was implicitly saying that neither he nor any other representative of the U.S. ruling class intends to end these wars unless and until they win something of what they want and need. This is not a choice but a necessity for the imperialists to ensure their global interests. Otherwise, why don’t they just end their invasions and occupations? Lately they haven’t even pretended to have that in mind. Instead, sometimes they seem to be preparing public opinion in the U.S. for what the previous U.S. administration called “endless war”.
What have the U.S. and its allies brought to the people of Afghanistan after 13 years of war? Nothing but brutal occupation with its night raids, street searches, bombardments and insults to national and personal dignity, poverty and a collapsed, drug-based economy, and the oppression of women that is actually a common point uniting the pro and anti-U.S. warlords. Nothing but a U.S.-compliant, religious fundamentalist and utterly corrupt regime in Kabul and the revival of the once somewhat discredited Taliban disputing the Kabul regime to impose their own reactionary rule. More occupation can only make things worse for the people, and that’s why it should be opposed.
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To the street fighters in the USA from the Iranian Youth Committee in Belgium
15 December 2014. A World to Win News Service. The following is by the Iranian Youth Committee in Belgium (http://committeebe.blogspot.be/).
Viva International solidarity! They call us thugs, because we want to change the world!
When there are dead bodies here and there, there is nothing for thanksgiving… I can’t breathe… This situation must be stopped… No one can stay on the sidelines…
As the death of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and also the exoneration of the criminal police outraged us, the news of your brave battle with the police in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston and other cities in the USA have enthused all the revolutionary people as well as us. Hope for change has been revived in the hearts of thousands of people.
Your outrage for this manifest injustice and your fights against the brutality of the police force, the main arm of this suppressive system, has endangered imperialism’s “safety” in the safe house of so-called “democracy”. Your fights against the “exporters” of bourgeois democracy has clearly revealed the real face of this system to the extent that they cannot hide it from the victims of the capitalist system, the victims whose hearts were full of hatred of the new world order, but now those hearts are beating for all protesters throughout the streets of America.
Accept our red greetings from Europe. We are a group of young people, standing up again after the reactionary regime repressed the Iranian revolutionary people. Under the suppressive system and massacres of one of the most reactionary regimes in Middle East, our slogan throughout all universities was: “No to reaction, no to imperialism”. We aimed to prove nothing can stop us from dreaming of a better world. Suppression, murder, intimidation, assassination, disappointment, pessimistic voices saying change is impossible and preaching at us to slow down – all this never made us stop dreaming.
History has always shown that protesters who dream and come up with their ideas, they do the right job, even if to realize their deepest ambitions, they sacrifice their lives. So again, accept our revolutionary heartfelt greetings and our ambitious wishes from Europe.
On the 61st anniversary of Student Day in Iran (7 December), we graft our movement onto your protest. In 1953, after the success of an imperialist coup, U.S. vice president Richard Nixon visited the Shah of Iran in Tehran for another allegiance. During the student protest against this meeting and other colonial agreements, three students were killed by the police in the university. Since then, 7 December has been the symbol of the students movement against domestic tyranny and foreign intervention. This day as an historically important day of uprising in Iran, fortunately, is still a symbol of ongoing protest against the theocratic Islamic regime and imperialist military intervention led by the U.S.A.
In our view, today, the fight of American protesters is part of evolving international fight by all oppressed people around the world, and we do believe that we are also part of this stream.
Protests were firstly begun after the murder of Mike Brown. After the murder of Eric Garner, people were confronted with the corrupt judicial system in the United State of America. It revealed this reality that: No one can stay on the sidelines.
Yes, Black people have arisen in the USA; a lot of other people have joined them and occupied streets. This is a significant uprising against historical injustice and oppression. Black oppression is one of the essential bases of white imperialist governments. The ridiculous and painful part of this tragedy is that to get away from the consequences of this historical oppression, apparently the system is under the control of a Black president.
Obama, after being elected the president of America, tried to create a false hope in the hearts of the progressive people including the majority of Black people. Now, we find out that he is nothing but a Black driver for the white giant imperialist suppressive machine. He claims that his being the commander of this huge machine shows great racial progress while he calls all protesters plug-uglies. He thinks protesting against the judicial system in the USA is a kind of vandalism and illegal.
In the same way, the Islamic Republic of Iran has called Iranian protesters “dust” and “brushwood”. Although these kinds of reactionary powers might sound in conflict with imperialist interests, all of them use the same methods against their protesters. That’s why your rebellion and ours are absolutely right and must go on to the end.
According to the revolutionary comrade Carl Dix: This situation needs to be stopped. It is necessary to stay in streets, scream and fight to stop police violence and murders. They fire tear gas, fake and real bullets, but you continue to protest. You block the streets with your bodies lying down there. You organize progressive actions in your workplaces. You turn universities and schools into bastions of your struggle, and you roar the revolution.
Yes! Some of you properly emphasize that “Revolution is not an instantaneous event”! Revolution is a gradual process in which oppressed and outraged people are being informed to take control of the authority, and to change the social relationships through conscious leadership. People on the sidelines will occupy mainlines and will graft their emancipation to the emancipation of all human beings. They will graft it to Mexican protesters who revolted against the government that kidnapped students, Palestine and Kurdistan, Iran and India, North Africa, and at the end, they will shout the emancipation of all human beings. Such a revolution should be led, otherwise it may be defeated and turned back by other forces.
Our revolutionary comrades! Protesters! Democratic and republican parties and all colourful forces are trying to push you back into your homes by threatening, massacring, deceiving, making shallow promises, or negotiating with compromisers who call themselves your representatives. Reactionary priests keep on peaching and calling you “thugs and plug-uglies” in the holy days of Christmas and New Year.
Some of the officials are talking about the communist intervention. The media describes you as plug-uglies. Police forces in European countries are on high alert because they smell danger. When the lord’s house is on fire, all partners and flunkies start extinguishing it by any means.
While it is indeed in danger, the world is starved for a new voice, a new approach to revive a new struggle; a campaign aimed to make a new free world, without any collusion with corrupted powers. Oppressed people must increase their courage more than at any other time to understand all these scientific facts in a scientific way. They need to deal with its complications, and resist to realize and create such a free world. The people need to have revolutionary leaders to do so. Suppressed people, especially the youth, must dare more than others. They must study, draw an intellectual horizon, and dream to crush this depraved system.
Undoubtedly, you and we must develop revolutionary movements that aim for making a world without any oppression, without catastrophic devastating wars of the imperialists, without religious subjugation; a world without massive distortion by the enormous wealth accumulated in a few imperialist countries while on the other side, there are exploited masses increasing day by day; a world without patriarchy, segregation, homosexuals inequity, and religious discrimination; a world without false concepts such as unchangeable human nature. It is certainly possible to make such a world.
We are with you. We are your allies. They call us thugs, because we want to change the world. We are communist revolutionaries since we want REVOLUTION, nothing less!
We go outside in the streets, together all in groups! We go to shout that capitalism is bankrupt!We go to show our will to fight to the end! We go but we won’t tie our fate to the will of reactionary leaders! We go to take our fate in our hands. To stay determined in our way to the end, we must be awake and aware! We need conscious leaders! The choice is ours; others made their own! Our choice is revolution!
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