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Istanbul Talk for Istanbul METU Alumni Association


 

(5 December 2007) What is the population of Turkey? 70 million? The population of US where I come from is roughly 300 million. How many people do we need on our side to create a new Turkish society? How many people do we need on our side in US to create a new US society? Does anybody want to have a guess? How many do you think we need to have? Nobody knows the answer for sure, of course. But I think if we want to change the US into a society that is truly fulfilling, truly liberating, truly equitable, truly just, which does not have class divisions, which does not have racism, which does not have sexism, then I think we need a movement which has a hundred million participants, a hundred million people not just following a banner, but who actually share the vision, who actually participate, in designing and defining what the movement is about, what its means are, what its procedures are. And likewise, for Turkey, we need about 25 million.

 

There are many people in the US who never think about actually winning, who never think about actually creating a new world. There have been a few phrases which characterize that mindset. In the US people often say: “I want to be on the side of the angels.” Or they say: “Fight the good fight.” “Fight the good fight” means: Imagine you are going to fight Mike Tyson. If you are going to fight Mike Tyson it would not matter how long you train, how hard you work, you are going to get killed! Or imagine you are going to put together a soccer team from a group of randomly chosen people in this room. And we are going to play the Brazilian national team. Then “Fight the good fight.” means we are going to loose, but it urges that we should at least go out and make it appear that we are trying. There is no responsibility to actually try hard, however, because it makes no difference. There is no responsibility to have a serious, coherent and good strategy, because, again, it makes no difference. We are going to lose no matter what. There are lots of leftists, lots of anti-capitalists not just in the U.S. but around the world, and I bet here in Turkey too, who approach the idea of struggle in this fashion. But that is not me! I want to win, and I believe we can win.

 

However, I know we don’t have a chance of winning if all we try to do is “fight the go

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