Long live the memory of Halil Çelik!

We are publishing the tribute given by Johannes Stern, editor of the German-language edition of the WSWS and a leading member of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party) in Germany, to Halil Çelik, founder and leader of the Sosyalist Eşitlik Grubu, the Turkish section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Stern’s remarks were read at a memorial meeting for Halil on the fifth anniversary of his death held Sunday, January 14 in Istanbul.

Halil Celik in Berlin, February 2016

Dear comrades,

On behalf of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei I send revolutionary greetings to the meeting held by the SEG on the sad occasion of the fifth anniversary of comrade Halil’s death. Your gathering is taking place in a situation where the crisis of capitalism has reached an unprecedented severity. In its New Year’s statement, the WSWS writes that all the “red lines” that demarcate civilisation from barbarism are being crossed. Nuclear war is being “normalised”; genocide is being “normalised”; eugenic mass murder in the pandemic, staggering levels of social inequality and the abolition of democracy and authoritarian and fascist forms of rule are being “normalised.”

The other side of the development are the struggles of the international working class, which have increased sharply in recent years, especially in the last year, and will continue to increase in 2024. In this situation the subjective factor is decisive. There is a gap between the advanced level of the objective crisis and the subjective understanding of this crisis and its political implications in the consciousness of the working class. This gap must be closed and this requires the building of the International Committee of the Fourth International as the new revolutionary leadership of the working class.

This is the great significance of Comrade Halil’s life. Based on a careful study of the principal documents of the IC and its history and Halil’s own personal experience with all kinds of Stalinist and pseudo-left tendencies, Halil understood that building a truly Marxist tendency in Turkey and throughout the Middle East requires an international orientation and perspective, and the assimilation of all the central strategic experiences of the working class in the 20th century.

Armed with this understanding, Comrade Halil fought tirelessly for Trotskyism, especially in the last decade of his life, and thus laid the foundation for the founding of the SEG as the Turkish section of the ICFI. In this sense, Comrade Halil lives on and the achievements of the last five years since his untimely death are the direct fruit of his political work and will forever be associated with his name. The greatest tribute we can pay to Halil on this memorial day is to continue his struggle with even greater energy and to build the Fourth International and its Turkish section as the new mass party of world socialist revolution.

Long live the memory of Halil Çelik!

Long live the Sosyalist Eşitlik Grubu!

Long live the ICFI!