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Elif Çağlı

Marxist Attitude On the Question of European Union

True Character of European Union must be Exposed

When it comes to the unity of Europe, the solution is clear. At the current level of productive forces, the interests of all humanity entail integration on the basis of a classless and non-exploitative order. Only a union under workers’ power can prevent the fragmentation of Europe due to confrontations between imperialist powers and national conflicts they provoke. Therefore, against “the European Union” of capitalists, internationalist communists support the programme of unity of the working class and raise the slogan “United Workers’ Soviets of Europe”.

Democracy and Plutocracy

The struggle to be waged by the working class and the toiling masses for their democratic rights in capitalist society is of crucial importance and cannot be neglected. But beyond this minimum goal of struggle, those who want the emancipation of humanity and a real democracy in today’s world, must desire and fight for the revolution that will overthrow capitalism. Nothing but the rule of the revolutionary working class and the workers’ democracy can lead workers and toilers to a prosperous and happy future!

On Reformism

The political mentality called reformism has debilitated the workers’ movement all over the world and in every period; therefore it has been a subject of deep discussions among Marxist ranks. Beginning with the founders of Marxism, Lenin and other revolutionary leaders analysed the political meaning, social roots and destructive effects of reformism.

On the Question of Imperialism

It has been long since first debates among Marxists over the question of imperialism took place at the beginning of twentieth century. But traces of different tendencies and some misconceptions that emerged in these debates can be felt even today despite the fact that so many events and important transformations took place in the meantime. For instance, a great majority of colonial countries that set the background for the debates on colonialism and national independence gained their national independence and established their own nation-states. However, no ideological and political clarity has been reached within Marxist ranks over these developments which occurred especially after the Second World War. The subject has been distorted in the sense that the kind of “dependence” based on unequal relationships of the imperialist system has been identified almost with the dependence of colonies to colonialist countries.

Anatomy of the Petty-Bourgeois

The leaders of Marxism emphasized that the emancipation of opressed and poor people is not a matter of an intelligence work but a matter of a historical struggle. For communists, the central issue is to change the world in a revolutionary way, rather than limiting themselves to interpretation of the current circumstances. The history of the world has already proved that such change can only be achieved by the revolutionary organisation and actions of the working class. In fact, successing a self-change by defeating one’s own weaknesses depends on the same conditions for all who want to join in revolutionary struggle. Without joining the organised life and action, nobody will be capable of overwhelming the petty-bourgeois inside!

Spirit of the Age, “Zeitgeist”

The origins of the widely-used concept, “spirit of the age” go back to the German word “zeitgeist” which appeared in Hegel’s philosophical writings. The concept simply refers to a state of mind, feelings and mentality which characterize a particular period of time. Hegel took the period covering late 18th century and early 19th century as a new transition period and wrote that the distinctive characteristic of this era was essentially the “zeitgeist” initiated by the French Revolution of 1789. The Zeitgeist in those historical episodes pointed out by Hegel implies a transitional state of consciousness stretching from past to present. This state of consciousness is composed of a combination of existing social turmoil and future expectations.

Marxist Attitude On the Question of European Union

European Union in Reality

Imperialist unions cannot be permanent

There have been several imperialist unions on different levels since the beginning of the twentieth century and formation of such unions today is q

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialist era and the distinction between just and unjust wars

Within the context of debates on the national question, Lenin paid great attention to the distinction between just and unjust wars. It was indeed very important because of the war conditions of that period to make this distinction and a prerequisite for communists to take the right attitude against wars.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialism and the question of political independence

Marxists like Bukharin and Pyatakov considered imperialism as “a system of foreign policy” and consequently took wrong political attitudes about national self-determination. In fact, they shared Lenin’s thought that the 20th century was the era of finance capital. But for Bukharin and Pyatakov, the concept of imperialism meant the “policy” pursued by finance capital.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialist epoch and national liberation struggles

From 1905 Lenin noticed that the Russian revolution gave an impetus to bourgeois democratic movements and national awakening in countries like Iran, Turkey and China. National awakening in colonial and semi-colonial countries was loaded with explosives for the world revolution. He considered the awakening in Asia and the rise in national liberation struggles in his articles at that time.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialism and the change in colonial countries

“Finance capital has created the epoch of monopolies, and monopolies introduce everywhere monopolist principles.” This is the briefest summary of 20th century. In imperialist epoch, it is possible neither to make a correct analysis of imperialism nor to develop an adequate anti-imperialism without taking into account the unequal but interdependent relations between countries at different levels of development. However, those Marxists who were carried away with the third-worldist tendency after The Second World War and especially in the 1960s sowed confusion about the inner laws of operation of the imperialist system.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Anti-imperialist struggle cannot be reduced to national liberation struggle

Kautsky and the like who consider imperialism not as modern capitalism, but merely as one of the policies of it do not oppose imperialism as a system. For example Kautsky advocates a policy of opposing its annexation policy only, not imperialist economic process as a whole. This is a completely reformist and pacifist way of thinking and lays the ground for a false “anti-imperialism” understanding.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Inseparable part of imperialist epoch: Wars for hegemony

Because of capital’s need for overcoming national barriers in the imperialist epoch, monopolist competition has an international dimension. Major capitalist states compete with each other to establish their domination over sales markets, raw material markets and capital investment areas. Even if this competition is possible to carry on in a relatively peaceful manner in periods of boom, it becomes impossible in periods of big and deep crises. In such periods, struggle among imperialist states for hegemony over spheres of influence may turn into open wars for division. Imperialist wars are nothing more than continuation by military means of the policy of rivalry among imperialists.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialism is the domination of finance capital

To sum up; imperialism is the system of capitalist exploitation which is crowned by the domination of finance capital and is essentially embodied in the international expansionism of finance capital. The quality of imperialism has not been changed by the national liberation struggles that resulted in achievement of national independence in former colonial countries during the course of imperialist stage of capitalism. On the contrary, it indicates strikingly that what is crucial is the drive for economic hegemony in imperialist epoch.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialism rises above monopolist competition

One of the most striking characteristics of capitalism, as it was proceeding towards the imperialist stage, was the concentration of industrial capital in bigger companies with a high speed. Similarly, banking capital was also being concentrated in a small number of large-scale financial institutions.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

“Dependence” question in the imperialist epoch

The concept of colonial country refers to countries lacking political independence and directly depended on metropolitan country in political-legal terms. Metropolitan country has the complete right of sovereignty and the colonial country is absolutely dependent in politics, economy, diplomacy, military affairs, etc. And the concept semi-colony is only meaningful in comparison with the colonial status. It describes the countries which are in the middle of the road to being colonized, nearly at the point of losing political independence (for example, countries like Turkey, Iran, China at the beginning of 20th century).

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialism is the international expansionism of finance capital

Colonialism was the tendency to seize new lands, annex them in order to yoke them completely to the metropolitan country in both political and legal sense. So to say, this concept was used in the sense of appropriation of political rights, politic annexation, and elimination of political independence of the country which is under domination. But the world empire of finance capital, in fact means economic annexation; establishment of hegemony over weaker countries, and, on this basis, creation of spheres of influence under imperialist powers’ control.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Imperialism and importance of capital export

The shift in the content of the export from developed capitalist countries to underdeveloped regions and colonies in Lenin’s period was very striking. It was inevitable that this new capitalist stage –which would become evident with the export of capital– would transform the colonialist relations of the former period. It is possible for the capital to squeeze more profits in backward countries compared to the developed capitalist countries.

From Colonialism to Imperialism

Formation of monopolies and transition period to imperialism

Transformation of the tendency of capitalist expansionism from colonialism to imperialism involves a certain historical process. In the last period of this process a huge quantitative expansion in capitalist colonization is observed because of the reasons mentioned above. Thus, those years of formation of imperialist expansionism appear as if the peak of colonialist expansionism. This was just a transition period.

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Elif Çağlı
Under present conditions where the working class has no revolutionary international organisation, there is no other way of struggle than to labour and work out revolutionary Marxist solutions and try to carry them over to international platforms. Therefore it is inevitable to get involved in various experiments to solve the question of international organisation of the working class. It must be kept in mind that all great revolutionary advances could be successful thanks to revolutionary class attitude, which means plunging into actual work without being intimidated by difficulties and daring to experiment.
Marksist Tutum
The process of the capitalist development of Turkey is a rather belated process with respect to the West. This historical delay flows from the peculiar socio-economic structure upon which Turkish capitalism developed. For this reason, in order to understand the peculiarities of Turkish capitalism, it is necessary to have an overview of the economic and social history of the Ottoman Empire that forms the historical background of modern Turkey today.
Elif Çağlı
Although such experiences are pleasing in themselves since they carry forward the mass of the class, they are by no means enough for the working class to break the chains of wage-slavery and achieve freedom. Conditions of emancipation can develop depending on the quality and quantity of the distance taken by workers towards political consciousness and organisation. In this respect, it has a vital importance to make sure that at least the vanguard elements of the class are capable of answering the questions such as “what kind of organisation?” or “what kind of a unity?” in a way to carry forward the struggle.
Levent Toprak
The wave of popular uprisings that started in Tunisia and continued with Egypt embracing North Africa and the Middle East has reached a new phase. Though one needs to analyse the situation in Egypt in the aftermath of Mubarak’s overthrow, there is no doubt that the process of mobilisation of millions and Mubarak’s eventual step-down in itself is already a serious source of inspiration in the eyes of other Arab peoples. New upsurges of mass movement that are taking place especially in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya are a demonstration of this fact. Whatever the short term results of this mass wave of revolt it is clear that there is a new era in this region unfolding and that nothing will be the way as they were so far. The social-political struggles to take place in this region in the period ahead and the kind of regimes to be established will be the focus of attention for revolutionaries as well as bourgeois political realm.
Elif Çağlı
When you look into the various cases of opportunist tendencies within Marxist movement you cannot but see that a common feature of all opportunist tendencies is to turn a deaf ear to revolutionary criticism. Although the opportunists sometimes seem to accept general revolutionary principles when they are squeezed, in effect they keep following their well-trodden opportunist way. Thus opportunism makes upsurges that are generally unavoidable. Giving concrete examples will surely make clear these features of opportunism that we state here very briefly. As a striking example we can take the upsurge of opportunism in the case of the IMT (International Marxist Tendency) lead by Alan Woods.
Elif Çağlı
The struggle for the creation of the international organization of the working class requires intransigence in principles and flexibility in tactics. Neither opportunism pursuing short term so-called political achievements nor sectarianism unwilling to see and accept anything other than its own small organization can be of any use for this struggle. The reality we face today in the issue of building the revolutionary international organization of the proletariat puts very important responsibilities and tasks over the shoulders of the internationalist communists. Those who are self-confident will continue revolutionary efforts in every field undertaking these responsibilities and tasks. Those who are not intimidated will move forward. All big problems in history have been resolved this way.
Marksist Tutum
The importance of theoretical struggle on national question springs essentially from the need to take a correct political attitude based on Marxist foundations in the face of the liberation struggle of oppressed nations. Marxism is not an impressionist or positivist philosophy limiting itself only with interpreting the world, but an integral world view which strives to change the world and develops in an inextricably dialectical relationship with revolutionary practice.
Marksist Tutum
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. 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”. 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!