The crises of depression, hopelessness and anxiety experienced by young people are not individual, but social. Neither can overcoming these contradictions to attain the joy of life, freedom and hope for the future be achieved by the lone individual, but only with the organised power of the condemned.
Enes Kara, a second year medical student at Fırat University, ended his life on January 10th – days after shooting a video in which he described the daily pressures he faced living in a cult-like Islamic dormitory.
This tragedy was not a suicide, but murder. The culprit is the capitalist system and its fascist government, which created the economic, social and political conditions that deprived Enes of his spirit and drove him to the edge. It is Erdogan’s effort to create a “religious generation”, combined with the predatory neoliberal world of capitalism and especially private education.
Enes is not the first student to commit suicide due to anxiety, unemployment, financial insecurity or the myriad other trials and tribulations of modern capitalist life – he is one among hundreds of young people whose names live in our memory. Although these appear as individual acts, they are simply reflections in the individual of a wider social malaise. The picture painted by images and words Enes left behind will be all too familiar to millions of young people.
His description of life in a religious sect dormitory, a life spent under pressure and alienation, reveal not only the situation in this particular part of the education system, but also that faced in the daily life of any average teenager in the capitalist system. Every young person who is poor and unemployed, ignored and marginalised, deprived of their freedom of speech and action; deprived, between study and work to support their own subsistence and that of their family, of the simple pleasures of life; anyone whose free will, beset on all sides, cowers in the corner of a dark cage, can find something of themselves in what Enes says.
But what does it tell us that after scores of student suicides receiving no such reaction, it is Enes’ name that echoed through the youth masses’ consciousness? As economic crisis and state terror becomes ever more palpable in daily life, the accumulation of anger and reaction to fascism has reached a breaking point. And the masses’ close identification with Enes’ desperate frustration has provided a catalyst for action – as we saw on the streets of Taksim.
The most important distinguishing features of the Taksim march were its unity and militancy. These two important qualities, essential for any leap forward in revolutionary struggle, are exactly in line with the immediate tasks of the youth. Among the most effective such actions in recent years, the Taksim march pointed to the necessity of bringing together large masses of youth, united around their most burning demands for a decent life, to direct their energies to the struggle against fascism.
As ever, the regime’s attempts to repress the masses by police blockade, checks on every corner and reactionary coverage from the Palace media only served to expose the very system that killed Enes Kara – the same political-Islamist power that cannot meet the youth’s most basic needs.
These actions will occupy an important place in the history of the development of the youth movement, as bringing moral motivation to the wider antifascist struggle and lighting the path by shining example.