Mehring Yayıncılık publishes new ICFI books for İstanbul Book Fair

By Ulas Atesci
29 October 2019

Mehring Yayıncılık (Mehring Books) in Turkey has published five crucial books by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in October. It will participate in the upcoming Tüyap International İstanbul Book Fair of November 2-10, with a stand located in the fourth meeting hall.

On the last day of the book fair, November 10, David North, the chairperson of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, will directly address his Turkish readers for the first time, on “Leon Trotsky and Socialism in the 21st Century,” via video conference.

Along with In Defense of Leon Trotsky and T he Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century by David North, Mehring Yayıncılık has also published three other important books: Why Study the Russian Revolution? by the ICFI; Why Are They Back? by Christoph Vandreier; and 1968: The General Strike and the Student Revolt in France by Peter Schwarz.

As stated by Comrade Halil Celik, the late founder and leader of the Sosyalist Eşitlik (the Socialist Equality Group), the sympathizing group of the ICFI in Turkey, in his presentation of the first five books by Mehring Yayıncılık: “In a country where the working class and socialist movement in general has been dominated by Stalinism, Maoism and petty-bourgeois nationalist tendencies for decades, these books are of prime importance in developing socialist consciousness among workers and youth. Publications of the contemporary Marxist literature produced by the world Trotskyist movement in Turkish, we believe, will contribute to the laying of the theoretical and political foundation for the building of the Turkish section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).” Comrade Halil also made a great contribution in translating the new books published this year.

After the publication of The Heritage We Defend; Castroism and the Politics of Petty-Bourgeois Nationalism; 2017 International May Day Online Rally; The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (US); and Socialism and the Fight Against War, almost two years ago, these new books are an important step to establish a firmly-rooted Trotskyist tradition in Turkey.

In Defense of Leon Trotsky

Turkish readers will now have access to the second edition of the book by David North, the leader of the world Trotskyist movement and authority on the life and political ideas of Leon Trotsky. The book refutes the attacks made recently by a number of British historians on the personality, and ideological and political heritage of Trotsky (1879-1940), who was the leader of the October Revolution alongside Vladimir Lenin. He was the principal opponent of Stalin, and founder of the Fourth International. As North shows, almost 80 years after the murder of Trotsky at the hands of a Stalinist assassin, lies and falsifications by Stalinists and Cold War anti-communists dominate contemporary Western academia.

The publication of the book is of particular importance in Turkey. As North states in his Introduction to the Turkish language edition of In Defense of Leon Trotsky, “There is a certain historical justice at work, however belated, in the publication of a Turkish-language edition of In Defense of Leon Trotsky,” as Trotsky came to Turkey in February 1929 as a political exile from the Soviet Union, and spent four and a half years in this country. During these years, Trotsky produced two masterpieces here: his autobiography, My Life, and his three-volume History of the Russian Revolution. He also developed his farsighted call for a mobilization of the working class against the danger of the coming to power of the Nazis in Germany.

The Turkish publication of In Defense of Leon Trotsky marks a major step in the defense of historical truth about Leon Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, and in laying the political foundations for the building of a Turkish section of the ICFI.

The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century

David North’s book is essential in providing a political orientation and formulating a socialist response to the global crisis of capitalism. It argues that the battles of the last century in the spheres of politics, economics, philosophy and art have not been settled, and continue to rage on.

The volume contains a wealth of material, written in polemical form, on the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union, Leon Trotsky’s struggle against Stalinism, the Theory of Permanent Revolution, the rise of fascism, the origins of World War II and the historical evolution of the trade unions.

Amid the explosive resurgence of the class struggle all over the world and mounting danger of a new world war, the Turkish translation of The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century is invaluable for workers, youth and intellectuals to understand not only the twentieth century, but also the present, and to develop a Marxist historical perspective on which a revolutionary leadership can be built.

Why Study the Russian Revolution?

Mehring Yayıncılık has also published Why Study the Russian Revolution? Centennial Lectures of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Originally published as two volumes, titled The February Revolution and the Development of Bolshevik Strategy, and Toward Workers’ Power and World Socialist Revolution, the Turkish edition is available in a single volume.

The book consists of lectures and essays by the ICFI leaders on the 1917 Russian Revolution, the most politically significant, historically progressive, and complex event of the 20th century.

As stated in its preface, “The first volume reviews the historical context within which the revolution developed, the theoretical issues that underlay the strategy of the Bolshevik Party, and the outbreak and aftermath of the February Revolution, which overthrew the tsarist aristocracy and established an unstable regime of ‘dual power’ in Russia. The second volume deals with the subsequent course of the Russian Revolution, including the conquest of state power by the working class, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, in the October Revolution.”

Why Are They Back?

In his book, Why Are They Back? Historical Falsification, Political Conspiracy and the Return of Fascism in Germany, Christoph Vandreier, the assistant national secretary of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei ’ (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) and a leading writer for the World Socialist Web Site, answers the fundamental question: Why are the Nazis back?

As stated by Chris Marsden, National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (UK), in his preface, this book “is the product of a six-year struggle, waged by the Socialist Equality Party (Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei-SGP), and its youth movement, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), to alert workers and young people to the grave political dangers they face.”

Amid the growing danger of the far-right and authoritarianism all over the world, especially again in Germany, the writer shows that the only way forward to fight against fascism is the Marxist perspective on the basis of international socialism, advanced by the ICFI.

1968: The General Strike and the Student Revolt in France

This book consists of an eight-part series by Peter Schwarz, the secretary of the ICFI, and first appeared on the World Socialist Web Site during May-June 2008, the 40th anniversary of the general strike in France. It also includes “Lessons of the May–June 1968 general strike in France,” a speech delivered to the ICFI’s May Day 2018 International Online Rally by Alex Lantier, the national secretary of the French section of the ICFI, the Parti de l’égalité socialiste, (PES) and the founding statement of the PES, “Build the Socialist Equality Party (France)!”

In his work, Schwarz deals with the events in France in 1968 from the standpoint of the Trotskyist perspective and explains the reactionary role played by the Stalinist Communist Party, the social democrats, and the Pabloites. He also evaluates the evolution of the Organisation communiste internationaliste (OCI). Having been a co-founding section of the ICFI in 1953, the OCI pursued a centrist policy in 1968 and then turned sharply to the right, finally breaking with the ICFI and with Trotskyism in 1971.

We urge all readers in Turkey to attend the event at the İstanbul book fair by David North, obtain these crucial books, and study them as essential material to develop Marxist consciousness and a socialist leadership within the working class.

Details of the event:
“Leon Trotsky and Socialism in the 21st Century”
Tüyap International İstanbul Book Fair
Karadeniz Hall
Sunday, November 10, 1 p.m.
Tüyap Fair and Congress Center, Büyükçekmece, İstanbul

 

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