Our Basic Positions and Our Platform
Capitalism makes the mankind suffer hell. The reign of a handful capitalists makes billions of people all over the planet suffer in the grip of hunger, poverty and deprivation, unemployment, incredible inequality and injustice, bloody wars, oppression and torture, endless decay and alienation. Based on greed for profit this reign also destroys nature ruthlessly. The destiny that awaits the mankind, should it not stop this course, will be an unprecedented barbarity.
And this dark picture exists at a time when the means of creating an earthly heaven are at mankind’s disposal. The epoch-making achievements of science and technology increase the slavery of mankind instead of emancipating it. The fetters of private property and the nation-state on the development of means of production have become unbearable. This situation means that the only way out before mankind is socialism. Socialism or barbarism!
The only force that can save mankind from this swamp and lead it to socialism is the working class which is said to be “extinct”. Facts are stubborn things! Far from disappearing the working class has grown, developed and strengthened objectively. Today the working class constitutes the majority of the world’s population. As a matter of fact, the changes in composition and scope of the working class have been taking place not only today, but ever since the working class was born. The truth is that, the billions who strive to survive through selling their labour force in return for a wage, i.e. the working class, still have nothing to lose but their chains. But they have a world to win!
- The emancipation of mankind lies in socialism. The objective conditions to organise socialism on a world scale exist. The proletariat is the only genuine revolutionary class that has the ability and the potential of putting an end to capitalism which drags mankind to destruction.
- Socialism is a classless and stateless society which cannot be built on a local or national scale but only on a world scale. The so-called theory of “socialism in one country” imposed by Stalinism and its manifestation of “national socialism” in practice has been proved by historical experience to be a reactionary utopia.
- The workers’ power created by the October Revolution was overthrown as a result of a counterrevolution carried out through a variety of stages by the Stalin-led bureaucracy, and a despotic-bureaucratic regime was established.
- What is collapsed in the
USSRand the likes is not socialism or a workers’ state, but despotic-bureaucratic regimes.
- Capitalism cannot be rectified and transformed into socialist society through reforms. If one excludes the countries which are in a state of exceptional backwardness where the proletariat cannot yet play an independent role, the target of a workers’ power is quite possible and must be defended. The idea of posing various stages prior to this target must be rejected.
- Proletarian revolution is a permanent revolution. Successive conquests, essentially in the advanced capitalist countries, are needed for the world proletarian revolution to proceed and workers’ powers to survive. Capitalism cannot be decisively defeated unless it is overthrown in its main centres.
- A workers’ state is a state without bureaucracy, i.e. the self-organisation of workers in a direct democracy. A political power that is not based on the direct democracy of the workers organised in the form of councils, soviets and that does not reflect their actual rule cannot be a real workers’ state, whatever it calls itself.
- If the proletarian revolution is isolated in one country for a long time, the overthrow of revolutionary workers’ power and the liquidation of the transition period is inevitable.
- Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, is the reign of finance-capital all over the world. The globalisation which is pictured as a new or different phase of capitalism, is in reality nothing but imperialism which is an international system of exploitation.
- It is absolutely wrong to use the concepts of colony, semi-colony and neo-colony for the countries which achieved their political independence, i.e. which have built their own bourgeois nation-states, and are less developed or middle ranking capitalist countries.
- The language of anti-imperialism devoid of anti-capitalism is just the eyewash of bourgeois and petty bourgeois tendencies who defend nationalism.
- The wars provoked by the imperialist countries for the purpose of division of the spheres of influence are unjust wars. The correct attitude towards such wars is not to support the war of “one’s own” bourgeoisie against the bourgeoisie of the other country, wage a “national” war in the same front together with it, but to mobilise the toiling masses along the lines of proletarian revolution.
- The national liberation wars developing on the basis of the national independence struggle of oppressed nations are just wars supported by the proletariat. The right of self-determination of oppressed nations is, in essence, the right to found a separate state.
- The working class opposes every kind of social inequality and oppression. The revolutionary programme of the working class defends the rights of the oppressed sex and contains a struggle against the destruction of nature by the capitalist system. Proletarian revolution is the only means to solve all these problems.
- Under capitalism trade unions are the most important mass organisations of the working class. To return the unions to the level of fighting mass organisations cannot be achieved by abandoning the unions using the present problems as an excuse, but by entering the struggle to solve the problems without succumbing to the pressure of these problems.
- The emancipation of working class can only be the task of the working class itself. But to achieve the revolutionary political organisation of the class, a vanguard organisation equipped with Marxist theory is needed, striving tirelessly for this end within the class movement.
- If the revolutionary internationalist content of the proletariat’s struggle for emancipation is not understood correctly and a proper struggle cannot be organised on the international level, then the revolutionary efforts limited to national level will turn out to be fruitless. That is, world proletarian revolution cannot be conceived without an International.
- Socialism is not a national aim, but can only be achieved on a world scale. Likewise, the question of whether the material preconditions for socialism are ripe or not, can be answered on a world scale, not on a national scale. Because capitalism, unlike all pre-capitalist modes of production, is not limited to local or national level, on the contrary it has spread all over the world and been able to create a world system. In this context, what has transformed the separate histories of human societies into a world history is capitalism itself. Thus, socialism can acquire its genuine content, and make good its claim to represent a historically superior system to capitalism, only when it is organised on a world scale. The so-called theory of “socialism in one country” imposed by Stalinism and its manifestation of “national socialism” in practice is a radical deviation from Marxism and a reactionary utopia which is incompatible with the historical interests of the working class.
- Communist society is a classless and stateless society both in its first and higher phases. Socialism, as the first phase of communist society, will be a period in which private property, classes, the state and commodity production are not existent. Also in this period, free producers directly make decisions and implement them in all spheres of production and social life. The higher phase of communist society will have been reached when there is an abundance that can be expressed with the phrase “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.
- However, to reach such a society will never be through evolution of capitalist society. The liberation of mankind from the exploitation and oppression created by class society; its ability to master itself; save nature from capitalist destruction and gain mastery over it in harmony with the long term interests of mankind; all these can only come true through a socialist world revolution. To open this road of universal freedom is the historical task of the proletariat. Because proletariat is the only genuine revolutionary class that has the ability and the potential of putting an end to capitalism which is dragging mankind to destruction.
- Capitalism is an organic world system based on an international division of labour. The blow that will overthrow capitalism in a decisive and irreversible manner cannot be local or particular, but universal and general. The working class revolution is a world revolution. And since the rule of working class is embodied in a soviet power created by the historical act of the class, the establishment of the workers’ power on the international scale can only be embodied in the formation of “World Soviet Republic”.
- Just as the world capitalist system is not an arithmetic sum total of national capitalisms, so the proletarian world revolution will not be the arithmetic sum total of revolutions in individual countries. World revolution is an organic and combined process which advances through successive explosions and in which the revolutions in various countries would trigger one another. When long intervals occur between the revolutions in individual countries, it will not be possible for the isolated workers’ powers to survive for many years. Thus, although it is possible for the working class to take power in a single country, its main task must be to prepare the internationalist revolutionary forces of the working class for a new and lasting advance.
- For the proletarian world revolution to advance and the workers’ powers to survive, successive conquests are needed essentially in advanced capitalist countries. Capitalism cannot be decisively defeated unless it is not overthrown in its main centres. Although the likelihood of revolutions breaking out in less developed countries is higher since the contradictions are sharper and the possibilities of balance are more limited, the decisive factor is the conquest of power in advanced countries as the experience of Russian Revolution proved. Therefore, it is harmful for the international struggle of working class, to exaggerate the significance of the revolutions and revolutionary movements in less developed countries and to develop a general lack of confidence, a contempt towards the revolutionary potential of the proletariat of advanced countries.
- A transition period is needed to reach the aim of the working class movement, i.e. a classless and stateless society (communism), that is, to overcome capitalism completely. The greatest social transformation the history of mankind can ever witness cannot be a work of a moment or a day, but of an entire historical period in which the resistance of old propertied classes would entirely be crushed, all the filth stuck on mankind by class society would be cleared away, all kinds of discrimination (national, gender, racial, religious, etc.) would be eradicated along with classes. Such a transition period from class society to classless society, from state to statelessness, can only be brought about under direct political rule of the proletariat. Therefore Marxism, unlike anarchism, maintains that a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary in this period.
- A transition period is a period of revolutionary transformations lying between the establishment of the political power of working class and the first phase of classless and stateless society, which is socialism. The dictatorship of proletariat is the sine qua non and the fundamental instrument of the transition period. This period is a dynamic historical movement from past to future and involves some elements of both the past class society and the future classless society. Therefore the transition period can only be defined with reference to past and future. The economy of the transition period must be based on centralised planning in a way that reflects the demands, proposals and participation of the proletariat which is organised in the form of soviets. Only in this way production can be transformed into a process in which use-values for the satisfaction of social needs are produced.
- Since capitalism is a world system, the transition period from capitalism to communism and the accompanying social transformations can acquire their real meaning and scope on a world scale. The transition period cannot be conceived independently from the march of world revolution and it can only be completed on a world scale. If it is confined to a single country for a long period of time, the revolution and the transition period ceases to exist. In other words, to imagine that the transition period can be concluded by isolated proletarian powers established in individual countries is the same thing as arguing the possibility of socialism in one country.
- A workers’ state or dictatorship of proletariat is the political form of transition period from capitalism to communism, and means the proletariat organised as the ruling class. Thus, the concept of state loses its classical meaning under the dictatorship of the exploited majority, which is exercised for the first time in history over the exploiting minority. The workers’ state is a “semi-state” representing the transition from state to statelessness. Under the self-rule of the working class, the separation between the producer and the ruler is also put an end to.
- When the working class seizes political power, it sets out to abolish capitalism by putting the means of production under the property of its semi-state. But by doing this it will have paved the way for the elimination of all class structures, including itself, class distinctions and class antagonisms. Thus the death knell of the state, which originally came into being as a result of the division of society into classes, rings.
- When proletariat comes to power in a country, it is its duty to launch the social transformations towards these aims. But the abolishment of capitalism cannot be accomplished on a national scale, but on an international scale. Therefore, to restrict the revolutionary aims to the national scale is a fatal attitude towards revolution. Because a workers’ state cannot survive within the boundaries of a single country, and it can only wither away as it spreads over the world scale. Consequently, the historical interest and the only guarantee of the victory of proletarian power lies in the forging of world revolution, i.e. in the permanence of the revolution.
- In the period of dictatorship of proletariat, the proletariat will still need a guiding political force, that is, its vanguard force, as an organic part of the class and organised as a party. Because without the leadership of the party, eventual malfunctioning of the organisations of soviet type in the hands of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political currents is unavoidable. However, the party is not the apparatus of power and soviet rule cannot be reduced to party rule. To understand soviet rule as a one-party dictatorship means to understand nothing of the historical function and necessity of soviets.
- Even a workers’ “state”, from the standpoint of revolutionary Marxism, is not an end in itself, but just a necessary means to attain the intended end. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to oppose the confusing of means with end, or such approaches that would amount to a vulgarisation of Marxism, by making it look as a worshipper of the “state” or “dictatorship”. To equate socialism with the dictatorship of proletariat and present it as a society with the state is a distortion invented by Stalinism.
- In a workers’ state the fundamental support of bureaucracy is removed, the running of public affairs is simplified and cheapened. What Marxism means by the “abolition of bureaucracy” and “a state with no bureaucracy” is not an immediate disappearance of the need for officials and specialists, but putting an end to the organisation of public affairs in a bureaucratic manner.
- As a matter of fact, bureaucracy originates from the domination of the minority over the majority in societies based upon class exploitation. The state in capitalist society is formed out of bureaucratic apparatuses and rests on a complicated and expensive bureaucracy. Yet under the workers power which is a semi-state from the very start, the organisation and running of public affairs must be radically different. The most characteristic indication of this historical difference is that the workers’ state is a bureaucracy-free state, i.e. the organisation of working class itself as the direct democracy. A government, whatever it calls itself, which is not based on the direct democracy of the workers organised in the form of councils, soviets and which does not represent their actual rule, cannot be a real workers’ state. Workers’ democracy is the sine qua non of the workers’ state.
- The fact that the bourgeois state is based on a bureaucracy specialised on the running of state affairs, that is, a bureaucratic apparatus, does not alter its position of being the dominant and ruling class. But when the means of production are nationalised following the workers’ revolution, the situation is qualitatively different. Because the economic and political supremacy of proletariat cannot be separated from each other. But, if there appears in practice a state with a bureaucracy since the economic and political basis of the revolutionary workers’ power is not sufficiently strong, under this condition the property will belong to the state, and the state to the bureaucracy. In that case the proletariat having been removed from political power by the bureaucracy will also thereafter lose its right to hold the state property (since, unlike bourgeoisie, it is not a private-property-based class), that is, lose its economic supremacy. Thus having seized the right to hold the state property, the bureaucracy will also economically be in the ruling position, since it would also take over the management of whole production. In that case the working class will lose its supremacy, and the bureaucracy will rise to the position of being the dominant, ruling class.
- Even if the nationalisation of the means of production, which is the foremost task of every successful proletarian revolution, begins on the national scale, the socialisation of the property of the means of production can only be realised on the international scale. In other words, the state property in the period of proletarian dictatorship is not yet the social property (that is the property of whole society) in the real sense. Here, the state property still means the effective collective property of the ruling class (but this time of the proletariat) as in other class societies. The state property of the proletariat is an important step forward on the way to social property, but just a step.
- The socialisation of the property of the means of production in the real sense of the word will come true in the classless society. The means of production can unfold their social character in a complete sense only with the accomplishment of the historical function of the proletarian dictatorship on the world scale. In other words, a social adjustment in which the means of production will serve whole world population can only be possible in a world where the world capitalist system is decisively put an end to and the national borders are removed.
- “State property” which we can accept as a gain since it can constitute a bridge for transition to classless society under workers’ power can never be an end in itself. Under capitalism, the form of property of the means of production –state or private– does not make any difference in the capitalist production relations based on exploitation, and does not provide an advantage, a point of support for the working class. The errors of petty bourgeois socialism on the questions of “statism” and “state property” have been subjected to many rightful criticisms, and the theoretical criticisms of Marxism directed towards petty bourgeois socialism on this question must always be kept alive.
- The workers’ state which was isolated in
Russia, a backward peasant country from economic and cultural respects, was overthrown as a result of a counter-revolution which passed through various stages and carried out by the Stalin-led bureaucracy. The important milestones of this process are the following: the process of bureaucratic degeneration (1921-24), the process of bureaucratic counter-revolution (1924-28), and the process of consolidation of despotic-bureaucratic dictatorship (1928-36).
- Having established its domination over the party and state ranks, the Soviet bureaucracy became a rising class, going beyond a bureaucratic caste. The Soviet bureaucracy, having the right to possess collectively the nationalised means of production, rose to the level of being a ruling class by resting itself on this material basis.
- It is impossible to speak of the persistence of the historical gains of Soviet proletariat in a situation that the political power of working class is usurped, its ruling position in the production is put an end to, the regime of toil is rested on a bureaucratic command system of the state instead of the free will of the workers.
- The fact that the idea of “national socialism” came to power in the country of October Revolution also determined the destinies of both the states founded in Soviet sphere of influence in the wake of Second World War and the revolutions that had developed on the basis of national liberation struggles. Whether they were founded by the intervention of the Red Army or by the revolutions of national liberation, all of them are despotic-bureaucratic states, which opened their eyes as the likes of Stalinist bureaucratic state, and are not an outcome of a proletarian revolution.
- Stalinism is the name of the ideological-political-organisational line which reflects the class interests of the ruling bureaucracy. Although it is full of crude inconsistencies, incredible zigzags, the idea of “national interests” lies on the basis of this line, which all the Stalinists unhesitatingly defend. Therefore Stalinism is an ideology which undermines the international struggle of the world working class and which entirely contradicts the essence of Marxism. Just as the bureaucratic dictatorship is the counter-revolutionary negation of the workers’ state, so is the Stalinism of Leninism. Between the workers’ power which opened its eyes with the October Revolution of 1917 and the Stalinist regime which became dominant putting an end to this power, lies a counter-revolutionary process stained with the blood of so many Bolshevik leaders and militants.
- Although a totalitarian regime is characterised with the “personalised” rule of the dictator, such a political formation never justifies ignoring the essence of the regime and the nature of class dictatorship. The problem is not a sudden appearance and turning of a person named Stalin into a despot as a result of some events. The historical phenomenon that must be investigated is not Stalin as a person, but Stalinism. Since Stalin is a historical figure stood out with his being of the leader of the bureaucratic counter-revolution and the foundation process of despotic bureaucratic regime, he has inevitably given his name to this regime.
- According to the Stalinist ideology which equates socialism to étatisme (statism), it is sufficient to call a bourgeois or petty bourgeois government “socialist”, which gets along well with the Soviet state in economically backward countries and takes the road of “statism”. The fact that the regimes in countries like
Algeria, Yemen, Somalia, Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nicaraguaare called “socialist” gives sufficient evidence of to what degree the concept of socialism has been trampled on.
- Historically, in the heart of the distinction between Western type class societies which are based on private property of the means of production and the old Asiatic class societies in which the means of production are under state property (i.e. Asiatic mode of production as a historical category) lies the question of state. In all social formations which fall into the former category, the state belongs, in the last analysis, to the economically dominant class, which owns the private property of the means of production, however “independent” appearance it assumes before society. And in the social formation which falls into the latter category, the economic sphere is mixed with the political sphere and the question of supremacy is materialised in the “ownership of state”. In the social formation in which the fundamental means of production are basically owned by the state, those who hold the state, i.e. the political power, in their hands, will also hold the economic power in their hands. In this case the position of owning the state will decide who is the ruler in economic sense.
- Whilst the bureaucracy remains as a social stratum dependent on the ruling class in the class societies which arise in the Western line of development (slavery, feudal, capitalist), the historical examples of a bureaucracy which can constitute an independent ruling class are only provided by the old Asiatic Oriental societies. As for the despotic-bureaucratic regimes of the 20th century, they did not of course rise above the Asiatic agrarian communes as in the old ages, but have taken shape on a national advance of industrialisation, which strives to reach the modern level of means of production.
- In despotic-bureaucratic regimes bureaucracy holds the state as its property. Therefore this bureaucracy is a ruling class which has both the political and economic power. It represents an organised collective power which had freed itself from society at the top of which it placed itself. In a bureaucratic regime, bureaucracy, holding the collective rule over the state property, is a ruling class which appropriates the social surplus-labour of the proletariat and exploits it. That is, although there is not the exploitation of surplus-value, which is particular to capitalism, there is the exploitation of surplus-labour in the bureaucratic regime and these regimes fall into the category of class societies.
- In a bureaucratic command economy like Russia where capitalism is abolished the distribution of productive resources takes place not according to the laws of market economy (the laws that manifest themselves in the capital’s pursuit of obtaining the highest profit), but according to a central plan which reflects the preferences of the ruling bureaucracy.
- Under bureaucratic dictatorship a “worker” is neither a “free” wage labourer as in capitalism, nor a “slave” who belongs altogether to his master. The right to possess his labour power belongs to the state and, in return for this, he gets a share in the form of a “wage” determined by the state.
- The despotic-bureaucratic regime is not a historically durable and a long lasting socio-economic formation which has the potential to develop on its own foundations against the domination of capitalist mode of production in the world. Since such regimes are not a new mode of production surpassing capitalism in the process of historical evolution of human societies, they cannot be characterised as “post-capitalist societies” in this sense. The despotic-bureaucratic regime is a genuine monstrosity if it is considered from the standpoint of the historical epoch and conditions in which it exists. A despotic-bureaucratic regime surrounded by the world capitalism in the age of modern industry is a socio-economic phenomenon which has no future with its peculiar (sui generis) characteristic.
- Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, is based on the world wide domination of finance capital. Globalisation, which is presented as a new or different phase of capitalism, is nothing but the imperialism as an international system of exploitation. The capitalist world system, which develops unequally but in a combined manner on the basis of international division of labour and reproduces the interdependence within the framework of its unevenness, is like a hierarchical pyramid in which all capitalist countries take place. At the top of this pyramid stands financially mighty metropolitan capitalist countries, at the bottom less developed capitalist countries, and in between these two categories medium scale developed capitalist countries.
- Imperialism rises on the basis of monopolist competition. Within the framework of the dialectics of capitalist development, monopoly and competition form a unity in a mutual dialectical relation. Competition gives birth to monopoly; but its being surpassed by monopoly does not mean its elimination. On the contrary, the formation of monopoly creates a competition on a higher level, that is the competition between monopolies.
- One must distinguish between the tendency to expansion peculiar to the period of capitalist colonialism and the general tendency of imperialist epoch which is based on the domination of finance capital. Colonialism means to establish a colonial empire consisted of colonies deprived of their political independence. As for the imperialist age of capitalism, it is based on spheres of influence formed by the mightiest groups of finance capital.
- In the imperialist age there is no Marxist justification for employing the concepts of colony or semi-colony for the less and middle scale developed capitalist countries which are politically independent, i.e. have established their nation-states. The concept of colony expresses the countries which do not have their political independence and are dependent on the metropolitan country from the standpoint of their political-legal status. And the concept of semi-colony can only mean something in comparison to the pure status of being a colony. That the less developed capitalist countries, which have attained their political independence, are today economically dependent on the imperialist metropolises, has nothing to do with the status of colony or semi-colony of the past period of capitalism.
- Today the imperialist countries representing the big finance capital groups subordinate even the politically independent countries, intervene in their interior affairs, and, through various diplomatic, financial and military impositions they try to protect their oligarchic interests. Imperialism is a system of not colonialism or neocolonialism, but of a financial domination and a universalised exploitation by finance capital.
- To try to explain the economic dependence in the imperialist epoch still on the basis of colonialism with the terms like “neocolonialism” and “neocolony” is an attitude which causes an absolute confusion from the standpoint of the political struggle of the proletariat. Because, by doing this, the question of independence from the capitalist system is reduced to some sort of a demand of national independence instead of a genuine break with the system. Such an attitude also gives an opportunity to the nationalist and reactionary bourgeois forces in the nation-state to paralyse the struggle of working class by taking refuge behind a false language of anti-imperialism.
- Third worldism, the essence of which is petty bourgeois nationalism and the nourishing source of which is national developmentalism, means in reality to sacrifice the interests of the working class movement for the benefit of the interests of native bourgeoisie in backward countries. It constitutes a broad spectrum stretching out between its “left” wing which places the revolutionary movements in underdeveloped countries to the centre of world revolution and its right wing which nears a full xenophobia and a racist nationalism. The bourgeois forces in these countries cause confusion by taking refuge behind the guise of an “oppressed nation” although the political independence has already been achieved. To tolerate or support such political currents in the name of the “right of national independence” of the “third world” countries places the workers’ struggle in these countries in a position of tailing the native bourgeoisie.
- The distinction of “oppressed nation-oppressor nation” is related to the national question. To characterise a nation which has achieved its political independence, that is, established its own nation-state, still as an “oppressed nation” is not correct. Because where the national question is solved the term “oppression” finds its expression more clearly in the fundamental antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat. To give prominence to the bourgeois conflicts between the top countries and the lower countries in the imperialist pyramid by presenting them on the basis of “oppressed nation-oppressor nation” distinction does great harm to the working class struggle. Because such political attitudes nourish nationalist approaches in the form of shifting the attention of working class from class struggle to the ground of “national interests”.
- In the imperialist epoch there is not any nation-states which are economically isolated and independent from other nation-states. A capitalist country cannot survive without integrating into the world capitalist system. Therefore, the idea that there can be an economically independent capitalism from imperialist metropolises, in addition to having acquired the political independence in colonial and semi-colonial countries in the past, is a reactionary utopia.
- The language of anti-imperialism independent from anti-capitalist struggle is just the eyewash of bourgeois and petty bourgeois tendencies which stand for nationalism. A policy which does not combine the struggle against imperialism with a struggle against domestic capitalism and in this way confront the imperialist-capitalist system in a real sense is not anti-imperialist from the standpoint of revolutionary strategy of the working class. The political currents which make working class rage only against the foreign capitalist institutions and imbue them with more friendly feelings towards their own native bourgeois –that is, the very bosses who exploit them– are one of the main factors undermining workers’ struggle. Likewise, a so-called anti-imperialism which does not fill working class with a fighting spirit against the capitalist system as a whole and just directs it to choose one of the capitalist options –for instance, a Turkish capitalism inside EU or outside EU?– has also nothing to do with the Marxist attitude. Also the kind of attitudes which stand for their own nation-state under the guise of anti-globalisation nowadays have nothing to do with Marxism.
- In imperialist epoch there is nothing credible and acceptable in determining the working class’ objective of political power on the basis of the distinction between ripe countries and unripe countries for the proletarian revolution. If one leaves aside some exceptionally backward countries where the proletariat is still too weak to play an independent role, the objective of workers’ power is, in fact, a possible and necessary objective to be defended for all countries. The idea of posing various stages prior to this objective must be rejected since it means nothing but a finished recipe for the defeat of the revolution. However there will of course be some peculiar demands of working class in its struggle for power, determined by the peculiar conditions of each country. But in every case such demands must be given a transitional character and put forward in a manner that can constitute a bridge to the conquest of political power by the working class.
- The petty bourgeois left governments and the so-called revolutionary coalitions which are not formed under the hegemony of proletariat, in the last analysis, end up with bourgeois collaboration. As proved by historical experiences, the kind of revolution which is to handle both the democratic transformations in imperialist epoch and the socialist transformations that would abolish capitalism is the proletarian revolution.
- The tendency to seek to limit the social revolution, freeze it, confine it to local boundaries is the characteristic of petty bourgeois revolutionism. Therefore the revolution can be rendered permanent only through workers’ power. Under the administrations based on such petty bourgeois revolutionary political movements like guerrillaism etc., however radical they might seem, revolutions cannot go beyond the limit of “national developmentalism”.
- The rivalry and struggle for division among the imperialist monopolies does not always operate through “peaceful” means. The increasing tensions in economic, politic, diplomatic relations among imperialist powers which try to settle accounts on the basis of struggle for hegemony, find their reflection easily on the military plane. Imperialist wars to re-divide the world, a policy of violence accompanying this division, rising militarism are the characteristics of imperialist epoch. Imperialism is not an unwanted accidental aggressive foreign policy of capital, as the renegade Kautsy claimed, but the very essence of modern capitalism.
- The Kautskyist tendency which is nowadays defended by the liberal left draws the conclusion that now an epoch of capitalist peace is opening out from the growing tendency to the intermixing of finance capital groups. This approach is derived from the “ultraimperialism” analysis which suggests that monopolist unions would create a single world trust and therefore would eliminate the competition and crises. Today this tendency is embodied in the pro-globalist attitude of the liberal left which is influenced by the world bourgeoisie’s propaganda of globalisation. Yet, despite the fact that big capital groups with different national origins are involved in intricate relations with one another, the rivalry between such monopolies still remain. Thus the aggravation of rivalry intensifies the conflicts of interest among imperialist countries, nourishes the tendency of “protectionism” on the basis of defending one’s own interests, creates various blocks against one another and leads to imperialist wars.
- The military interventions carried out today by the imperialist countries in various regions with the aim of re-dividing a sphere of influence constitute the most typical indication of unjust wars. But not only do the imperialist countries resort to expansionist adventures. Today the wars provoked by the countries which strive to become imperialist (for example,
Turkey, Greece, Iranor Iraq) with the aim of creating their sphere of influence are also unjust wars. The correct attitude towards such wars cannot be to support one’s “own” bourgeoisie against the other’s and to wage a “national” war in the same front with it.
- On the other hand, it is necessary to observe the big imperialist powers behind the unjust wars between various capitalist countries. Those who do not want to see this and cannot understand that the lower rank capitalist countries in the hierarchy are in reality warring as the proxies of big imperialist countries, hinder the struggle of working class, attempting to put this or that capitalist state into the status of “oppressed nation”.
- The historical task before the proletariat in a capitalist country is the proletarian revolution. But in the event of occupation of a capitalist country which has already passed the stage of establishing its nation-state by a foreign state, or of an annexation, a kind of “national question” can also arise before the proletariat. In such cases the task of revolutionary proletariat is to gain the leadership of the masses who have gone into struggle, making use of the mood which drives the toiling masses to a national rebellion, and prevent the passing of the hegemony of this struggle to the bourgeois forces with the illusion of “national unity”. Only through this way can it be possible to advance the struggle of broad working masses towards social revolution.
- The imperialist wars of division do not take place only in the form of classic world wars. There were two great imperialist wars of division in the 20th century. They were the first and second imperialist world wars peculiar to the conditions of their own times, but will not be the last. On the other hand, to understand imperialist world wars only in the way as they were in the past would be an inadequate and mistaken approach. The form and scope of imperialist war is a secondary problem. The important thing is the essence of war and what policies it is the continuation of. Various imperialist powers can even today turn the world into an inferno of war by using the most modern and horrible weapons they developed to settle accounts among themselves.
- The proletariat cannot be on the side of any warring parties in a settling of accounts between capitalist countries. As for the proletarians of those countries which wage such a war, the problem is to put forward the defeat of its “own” bourgeoisie and to succeed in turning the imperialist war into a class war which would put an end to capitalist system of exploitation. Therefore the proletariat’s demand cannot be a pacifist demand of “peace” against the madness of imperialist war. Peace may come to the world only through the war to be waged by the proletariat against capitalist system.
- The task of “national liberation” from the standpoint of colonies and oppressed nations which strive to establish their own nation-state, though so rare today, involves the solution of a historically delayed national question. And national liberation wars developing on this basis continues to be just wars supported by the revolutionary proletariat.
- Despite the limited nature of national liberation struggles, they are nevertheless to the advantage of proletariat for two reasons. First, they signify the conclusion of “national struggle” which shadows the fact that the main point is the united struggle of proletariat aiming at the overthrow of capitalist order. Second, they provide the opportunity to direct the masses, which revolted to win their national independence, towards the struggle of genuine liberation and freedom, that is towards social revolution, under the hegemony of proletariat. On the other hand, the conclusion of the national struggle exposes that the main problem for the working class and toiling masses is capitalism and that unless the imperialist-capitalist world system is overthrown all kinds of economic inequalities (and consequently political oppression, annexations) would be reproduced again and again.
- The right of self-determination is in essence the right to establish a separate state. But the revolutionary programme of proletariat is not content with acknowledging national self-determination. Because even the bourgeoisie can speak of acknowledging this right provided that its political content is largely emptied. Therefore, the revolutionary proletariat must wage a struggle on the following respects depending on the acknowledgement of this right:
- the coercion that the oppressor nation exercises over the oppressed nation, struggling for the right to secede, must certainly be opposed,
- it must be defended that it is up to the oppressed nation to decide whether it would use the right to secede in effect,
- an ideological war must be waged against all kinds of political views which reject self-determination of oppressed nations, exercise or defend the exercise of force over oppressed nations and national communities,
- national privileges and imposition of an official language must absolutely be opposed.
- Unless the oppressed nation is offered the right to secede in the process of ongoing national liberation struggle, the “national question” will continue to exist in general, constitute an obstacle before the unity of the proletariats of the oppressed and oppressor nations, and shadow the need for such a unity. That’s why the programme of revolutionary proletariat is opposed to pushing a real political solution out of the agenda through such liberal chatter as “national cultural autonomy”.
- To defend the unity of front of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on the basis of national liberation struggle on the grounds that this struggle bears a bourgeois democratic content etc., and to develop a strategy on the basis of such a collaboration, means to give up in advance the revolutionary hegemony of proletariat. Whatever the question at hand is, the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat must join the struggle with its own slogans, demands, banner, and never make a concession from its ideological and organisational independence.
- The revolutionary proletariat is not obliged to support every apparently national liberationist movement. It is incompatible with the interests of the proletariat to support reactionary national movements which do not act with a historically progressive demand, and which have even become a toy in the hands of one of the imperialist powers –and therefore cannot be considered in the category of national liberation struggle.
- To support the rightful struggle of the oppressed nation does not mean to tolerate the chauvinism of the bourgeoisie of oppressed nation. The idea that bourgeois of colonial countries or oppressed nations are revolutionary by their very nature is the product of a mentality which restricts the revolution to the task of national liberation.
- Revolutionary proletariat welcomes a voluntary fusion of nations, which has not been accomplished by coercion but as a result of favourable concrete conditions in a certain period of history. There is no question or interest of proletariat in re-splitting of national unions already accomplished from a historical point of view back into its constituent parts.
- Although the policy of the revolutionary workers of oppressed and oppressor nations may differ on the plane of tactics, it must flow from the same essence. On the other hand, it is nothing but narrow-minded nationalism to extend the acknowledgement of the right to secede to the point of organisation of proletariat on the basis of national divisions. What is essential from the point of view of the historical interests of proletariat is to establish the joint revolutionary power of the oppressed and oppressor nation’s proletarians, and therefore, on the basis of acknowledging the right to secede, create the voluntary will of unity of the toiling masses of oppressed nation. But though the internationalist policy of the working class to achieve the same objective must essentially be the same, it may be different in terms of propaganda and tactics, depending on the difference in concrete conditions. The joint objective can be achieved only through the acknowledging of the right to secede by the communists of the oppressor nation on the one side, and the emphasising of unity by the communists of the oppressed nation in their propaganda on the other.
- To support the “national question” means to accomplish a “negative” task from the standpoint of proletariat whose class interests necessitates the unity of workers of all countries, and the historical mission of which is to eliminate national divisions, bringing the voluntary union and fusion of nations. The “positive” task for the proletariat is not to deepen and spread the national divisions, but to overthrow nation-states and pave the way for the voluntary union of nations through a world revolution progressing via embracing as bigger national units as possible.
- No matter how much they present themselves as radical, the environmentalist, feminist currents etc., which have lost faith in the working class and seek “new social dynamics”, do not essentially stand opposed to the capitalist system.
- The oppression of women is as old as the division of society into classes, and its elimination is possible only with the achievement of classless society. That is why the solution of the women question can only be achieved through proletarian revolution. Fighting every kind of social discrimination and oppression, the revolutionary proletariat understands the problems of the oppressed sex on the basis of class division. It rejects bourgeois and petty bourgeois feminism which strive to reduce the women question to a struggle between the two sexes, as if it is a supraclass question.
- Knowing no limits in the exploitation of man, capitalism knows no limit in the exploitation of nature either. The hole in the ozone layer, global warming, environmental pollution, the ruthless destruction of biological variety, the rapid destruction of forests, desertification etc. are pressing problems threatening the whole planet, and the effects of them are felt more and more in recent years. The capitalist system of production which is anarchic by its very nature is alone responsible for these gigantic problems. Only a planned production in harmony with nature can resolve such problems. Those environmentalists, greens etc. are preaching and trying to obscure the fact that these problems cannot be resolved without eliminating capitalism. The only power able to solve these problems is once again the working class.
- The emancipation of working class can only be the task of the working class itself. But the political consciousness which is to carry it to its emancipation does not emerge spontaneously out of daily struggles of the mass of the class. In order to be able to raise the consciousness of the workers to the level of consciousness of revolutionary political struggle and achieve the revolutionary political organisation of the class, a vanguard organisation equipped with Marxist theory is needed, striving tirelessly for this end within the class movement.
- If the revolutionary internationalist content of the proletariat’s struggle for emancipation is not understood correctly and a proper struggle cannot be organised on the international level, then the revolutionary efforts limited to national level will turn out to be fruitless. That is, proletarian world revolution cannot be conceived without an International. He who desire the world revolution must desire its instrument, too. Under present day conditions the organisation of the working class on an international scale is a necessity not only for the success of the world revolution, but even for the victory of local and partial economic struggles.
- The leadership of the working class can only be won over through taking part in its actual struggle, succeeding in becoming a guide, an organiser in every occasion from the simplest economic struggle of the class to the most far-reaching political struggle of it. One cannot become leader through self-assertion, petty bourgeois-type rivalries and boasting.
- The day-to-day economic struggle basically falls within the limits of the existing order, but it is crucial in order to mobilise the ever growing mass of workers in struggle. Trade unions are the most important mass organisations of the working class under capitalism and they still maintain this historical position today. Because no other type of mass workers’ organisation could have been created to replace them.
- Under certain conditions where the working class is in retreat, the tendency on the part of unions to become incorporated into the system is an historically established fact. But it is the union bureaucracy, having placed itself at the top of the unions, that is incorporated into the bourgeois state apparatus, not the unions as a whole. The way to combat these tendencies and fight the union bureaucracy is not to leave the unions and form “new and sterile workers’ organisations”. To raise the unions back to the level of fighting mass organisations cannot be possible through escaping from unions using the present problems as an excuse, but through entering the struggle to solve the problems without surrendering under the weight of these problems.
- The working class conducts its struggle through methods compatible with the nature of this struggle. Substituting their own organisations and adventurist methods for the mass struggle of the class, petty bourgeois currents do harm, in the last analysis, to the class struggle.
- The basic line that guides the internationalist struggle of the world working class has been formed throughout the countless struggles during 150 years and thousands of communists have died for this cause. Those who are still following this internationalist revolutionary line accept Marx, Engels, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Trotsky as the most important founding leaders of Marxist tradition.
- Marx and Engels’ efforts to organise the Communist League, and those links that form the revolutionary chain ever since the First International; the Bolshevik Party in Lenin’s time, the Third International in the period of first four congresses, the Left Opposition (Bolshevik-Leninists) led by Trotsky who waged a struggle against Stalinism after Lenin’s death, and subsequently the International Left Opposition (International Communist League) and the general ideological-political legacy the Fourth International, which had been striven to be created in Trotsky’s time, represented in its foundation; these are the traditions upon which we base ourselves.
The aim of the working class is to reach classless society
Proletarian world revolution
Transition period from capitalism to communism: period of proletarian dictatorship
There cannot be a workers’ state with bureaucracy!
State property and social property are not the same
USSR and other bureaucratic regimes
The characteristics of despotic-bureaucratic regimes
Imperialism and struggle against imperialism
Imperialist wars and Marxist attitude
National question and national liberation struggles
The question of women and environment in capitalist society
Working class methods and means of struggle
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