They have attempted to strangle May Day this year in Turkey and the world. But the working class flied the flag of May Day all around the world. Workers firmly kept carrying the torch fired 135 years ago by their genuine class ancestors. Defying the persecution by the capitalist order they resisted the onslaught of social isolation veiled under the pandemics and spread out the enthusiasm of May Day in factories, streets and all other domains of life. Thus they demonstrated that the legacy of 135 years is not unattended, casting another slap in the faces of those fools who claimed “the working class is over”.
On Monday, Feb, 22, the criminal forces of the "police" and the Revolutionary Guards at the border point between Iran and Pakistan attacked the hard-working and helpless fuel carriers who are working day and night to get a piece of bread for themselves and their families and shot them deadly. Turning that area into a painful hotbed of smoke, fire and blood killed at least 15 fuel carriers, according to Baloch media activists, and injured several others. A local witness put the death toll at 37.
Since it reached the stage of imperialism in early 20th century, capitalism has developed a global system of workings and global relations on the basis of the law of combined and uneven development. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the collapse of the bureaucratic regimes in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, huge markets such as Russia and China became integrated into capitalism, making the system global in the full sense of the word. This development brought forth a discussion that revolved around this new stage of capitalism.
It happened many times in history. When the rulers felt themselves confident about their power and order, they tended to fall in the illusion that their power and order would last forever and regarded all kinds of anti-system critical approaches with contempt. Other modes of production aside, there are countless examples in capitalism that confirm this. A striking example in this respect is the period beginning with 1980 and, especially, the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Today, numerous indications point to the fact that capitalism is suffering an existential crisis. Marxism explains that there can be no capitalism without crises. This is vindicated by the current state of global economy. The upper echelons of finance capital seek to postpone the crisis and save the banks and credit institutions, which only makes the crisis more destructive.
Today (7th of June) in our city (Ontario London, Canada) there was a big march with thousands of attendants, in protest to injustice towards black people. Our family attended the action. There were many things that attracted my attention, from the large number of participants from all nationalities, colors and religions to slogans and placards and the kindness of human beings to each other with the distribution of water and food.
The whole world looks paralysed in the grip of Covid-19 pandemic. We are told by the authorities that we are faced with a very dangerous health threat on a world scale. But we must question what we are told. Although it is mostly taken as a health problem, there should be no mistake that it is a serious class issue. It is used by the ruling class as a means to lock society into a horror tunnel, legitimise repression and a wide range of anti-democratic measures, and make society obediently accept the severe consequences of the economic crisis.
The period between 1960 and 1971 represents a very significant episode in the history of the left-wing movement in Turkey. Indeed, during this period, the socialist movement in Turkey opened itself to masses, leaving behind the protracted years that passed with silence and lack of organisation. Embracing intellectuals, youth and vanguard workers, it gained massive support for the first time in its history. In addition to the general upsurge of the left-wing movement, the 1960s also saw vigorous and intense debates on theoretical, political and organisational matters, to an extent unprecedented in the history of socialist movement in Turkey.
The form of establishment of the bourgeois order in Turkey has completely different characteristics than the development process of the bourgeois order in the Western European countries, where the classic examples of bourgeois revolutions are seen. In France, for instance, bourgeois development began yet in the feudal society, and the rising bourgeoisie, on the basis of private property, established its order by carrying out its own revolution in the following years. However, the historical development line of the Ottoman Empire, that the Republic of Turkey emerged out of, does not resemble that of France.
With the July 15 coup attempt and the ensuing state of emergency introduced by Erdoğan’s rule in the name of suppressing it, the bourgeois order in Turkey has become altogether authoritarian and repressive. In fact, the events that have unfolded since the parliamentary elections of 7 June 2015 demonstrate that we have entered a chaotic era that leads the masses to huge illusions or deep suspicions and fears.
On the occasion of 100th anniversary of the founding of the Third International (Comintern) we are re-publishing The Question of International by Elif Çağlı. The Third International was founded in March 1919 on the basis of the conception of Bolshevik organising and struggle shaped under Lenin’s leadership.
Venezuela is under threat of a military intervention and a coup staged by the US imperialism. In many writings in which we analysed the situation in Venezuela since Chavez came to power we said that so called "Bolivarian revolution" is not a revolution but a bourgeois reform programme and that it actually formed an obstacle to a workers revolution. We insistently pointed to the fact that those socialist tendencies that disregarded this fact and treated Chavez and the Bolivarian regime as "socialist" created optimistic expectations and underestimated the mounting threat. While praising Chavez, they denied the tendency of proliferation of the flames of imperialist war, and, just because those flames are far away from them, put forward views that said a Third World War was unlikely. The following article by Elif Çağlı written in 2006 demonstrates that, with a correct attitude, one can correctly identify dominant tendencies marking the reality and the period, no matter how disturbing they are, and brings light to what is happening today.
The question of transition is directly linked with the fact that capitalism in its imperialist stage is the age of proletarian revolutions. This question expressed by Lenin was brought up in order to win the mass of the working class to the cause of the proletarian revolution and advance the struggle to this end. That Lenin brought up the question of transition was a clear response to the conception of revolution in stages which was once a controversial issue among Marxist ranks.
The period in the run-up to the election reveals that a serious potential on the part of the masses is there in the struggle against the one-man regime. At least half of society does not want this new regime and its leader. Coupled with the recent practices of the government and the conditions that point to an economic crisis, these factors may cause serious vacillations among the working masses that voted AKP.
The principles marking the Bolshevik political organisation (an organised and disciplined functioning on every level, based on democratic centralism) are cornerstones of the Leninist conception of party. The goal of such a party is essentially to arm vanguard workers with communist consciousness, and try to drive the working class into struggle. Building revolutionary kernels within the working class that able to adapt to any circumstances, organising workers’ circles with various functions under the leadership of vanguard workers, making the revolutionary workers movement organised even at the level of sympathizers… all constitute the essence of the Bolshevik way.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.