Revolutionary Resistance is the Only Antidote to Fascism

In the book Bonapartizmden Faşizme [From Bonapartism to Fascism] and many articles in Marksist Tutum both Bonapartist regimes and fascist regimes and developments in that direction in Turkey have been examined at length. Here, building upon what we have said before, we will briefly touch upon some important issues to bring light upon the actual situation in Turkey.

We are passing through an unstable and chaotic period leading the masses into a deep unrest and unhappiness, a period in which imperialist wars springing from the system crisis of capitalism are contagious, in which a tendency towards authoritarianism is on the rise. In this period of capitalist decay, poor working masses face intensified exploitation, oppression and ruthlessness of this order which is up to bring much more trouble to humanity unless overthrown. There will be no miracle under capitalism that can change this dark picture into a pink one! The only way that will enable emancipation from this rotten order plunging the world and humanity into a quagmire is the revolutionary struggle of the masses.

The chief cause of the enormous suffering today is that at present the working masses lack a sufficient level of consciousness and organising to heighten the struggle. But keep in mind that a new movement across the world is being building up, giving hope for the near future. The “immortality of capitalism” fraud that has been injected by the bourgeois order on young generations is breaking down with loud crunches and from among the convulsions caused by the system crisis we hear slogans called out by young generations of the working class and toiling masses saying “kill capitalism”. So, what we have on earth is not only those developments driving humanity into the darkness of reactionary bourgeois regimes, but also the greening seeds of struggle that would create a bright future. Even though Turkey at present is in the grip of fascism and prominent as “an exemplary country” in the negative, this is a historical episode that will end sooner or later.

Similarities and differences

In the book Bonapartizmden Faşizme [From Bonapartism to Fascism] by Elif Çağlı (Tarih Bilinci Publications, 2004) and many articles in Marksist Tutum both Bonapartist regimes and fascist regimes and developments in that direction in Turkey have been examined at length. Here, building upon what we have said before, we will briefly touch upon some important issues to bring light upon the actual situation in Turkey. First, it has to be noted that the main reason that Bonapartes and Hitlers of yesterday and Trumps and Erdogans of today proved successful in taking power is not that they threw themselves forward with their reckless personalities making them ready to do things other bourgeois politicians are not able to do. The main reason is that the bourgeois order needs “extraordinary” people for “extraordinary” modes of operation in extraordinary conditions capitalist system has plunged into. When the bourgeoisie is in trouble sustaining its rule through parliamentary means, for reasons such as deep crises, civil or external wars, convulsive waves of class conflict, we see an extraordinary regime taking shape in which legislative, judiciary, executive powers are monopolised in the hands of one man.

In bourgeois political setup, before transition from parliamentary regime to an extraordinary regime, there is always a process of “escalation” involving a variety of developments. If this escalation could not be stopped by a robust struggle of the working masses and a diversity of democratic opposition forces, then the course of events would end up in an extraordinary regime and political monopoly would be concentrated in the hands of one man (duce, führer, reis [sort of chief in Turkish], president, etc.). Extraordinary regime can be structured in different forms such as Bonapartism or fascism, depending on concrete circumstances. For example, as demonstrated by the course of events in Turkey in the aftermath of the elections of 7 June 2015, a Bonapartist regime could evolve into fascism, that is, there could be a transition from an authoritarian regime to a totalitarian regime.

As a matter of fact, there are not unbridgeable gaps between extraordinary political forms of bourgeois rule. Of course there are certain differences between extraordinary bourgeois regimes that are defined by different concepts in order to understand their features, but there are significant similarities as well. For example, such phenomena as monopolisation of the executive in the hands of one man (führer, duce, reis, saviour etc.) who symbolises the regime, intolerance to any dissent including the bourgeois opposition, mounting repression, state violence in various degrees, are common features of extraordinary bourgeois regimes. Yet, to point out a nuance between them, we can say that under fascism we find a completely totalitarian structure of power. Fascist power consolidates the repressive regime in full sense of the word by organising and mobilising its own special vigilante forces and the police apparatus.

The Marxist theory is not a dogma composed of templates to be reiterated at all times and places without taking into consideration concrete conditions and variations emanating from them. Marxism is a living guide for action developing in mesh with life and struggle. There are no ready-made recipes to show the way for the struggle of the working masses. It is necessary to determine course by a careful examination of concrete conditions in light of the Marxist theory and historical experiences and hold the main link. And in the case of fascism, again, past analyses and experiences should not be taken as frozen templates. A concrete analysis should be made under existing conditions and synthetic conclusions be made accordingly. When we analyse features of the present political regime in Turkey in this dialectical framework which is in accordance with the living reality, we can see that there are differences with respect to the top-down military fascism of 12 September 1980, which was experienced in the past in Turkey. And also, while reserving many differences depending on time and place, we can see that there are some similarities with Italian and German fascisms that stand out as classical examples.

The fascist regimes in Italy and Germany that were founded before the World War II reigned by deceiving the poor masses under conditions of imperialist war, crisis and unemployment engulfing Europe. Besides the key endorsement they received from the finance-capital circles, i.e. high echelons of capitalist system, these fascist dictatorships, thanks to their “empire of lies,” managed to win over a sizeable section of society. And they established themselves by suppressing, and ultimately wrecking, dissent through naked state terror. In both examples, fascist leaders were careful enough to present themselves as coming from humble roots, in contrast to former bourgeois politicians who had had an elite appearance. The fascist circle worked feverishly to assume attitudes and commit acts in order to keep this impression alive. These fascist regimes, putting on militarist outfits of capitalist order, plunged their nations into imperialist adventures for carve-up. To win the broad masses over to their adventure they created a fascist language of propaganda based on racism, nationalism, discrimination, marginalising others, and they made this language prevail in daily life. Such aspects were common properties of Italian and German fascisms. And these regimes have been branded as “fascism from below” or “civil fascism” as they have climbed to power through stepping over the backs of the poor and unemployed masses.

Italian and German fascisms fell down at the end of the World War II as a result of its great defeat vis-à-vis rival imperialist powers and particularly the Soviet Red Army. But the fascist Franco dictatorship in Spain that was built after the defeat in the civil war during 1936-1939 of the “Republican” front which included revolutionaries prevailed until 1975 when Franco died. Despite these facts, the bourgeois left claimed that there would not be “fascism any more”, relying simply on the overthrow of Italian and German fascisms. Yet, a troubled capitalist system would revive the evil of fascism in diverse forms, just like it would do with imperialist wars, and enmesh the poor masses in it. Indeed, over time, Latin American countries and Turkey witnessed military fascism which came from above in the form of military coups and abolished parliamentary operation of the bourgeois order. Thus, both civil and military types were extraordinary regimes of the bourgeois order shaped and carried out through bare state repression and violence in various degrees. They were variations of bourgeois dictatorship, free from the constraints of parliamentary workings, reckless, unscrupulous, and naked.

Between civil fascism and military fascism, in other words, fascism from below and above, there are no essential differences in terms of the nature of the bourgeois regime. However, they exhibited peculiarities in terms of consequences in political and social life, which require analysis. It will be useful to point out an important difference between the two. In civil fascism, fascist forces secure mass support from below by forming their prevalent demagogies out of historical-social themes that are broadly agreed to by society, and start a march to power on this basis, and then conquer it. In these variations fascism succeeds in selling itself as the “rule of average people” through sweet (bitter, in fact) lies seasoned to their taste. Civil fascism rises to power in times of crisis of the bourgeois order, emerging out of parliamentary workings. It exploits parliamentary weaknesses, expands them, resulting in its paralysis. If it manages to suppress the opposition in the process, it then throws away the rules of parliamentary regime and starts to institutionalise its reign through in its own rules (rather irregularities such as executive decrees).

Since parliamentary system is not dissolved in a sudden blow in civil fascism unlike in the case of military fascist regimes, the effect it created is different. Until the turning point where the fascist rule has been institutionalised, the perception in society at large that an extraordinary regime (fascism) is in the making remains weak. And when this perception begins to take root, it turns out that it is already late.

As in the example of Turkey, military fascism puts a definite end to political life by inflicting a sudden blow to all civil political forces both on the right and left as soon as it comes to power. As if playing the game of offering a choice between the worse and the worst, posing as having put an end to the violent climate prevalent across the country, it makes itself perceived by society as lesser evil. It is a bit different in civil fascism. The ruling party which rules the country by laws of state of emergency (executive decrees) pursues its “civil” politics pretending that the normal bourgeois regime is in its place, while it gradually strangles all other political tendencies. Therefore, a sense of assent gradually sinks into society that political life is somehow continuing (though now in this new mode!).

During the course of its rise to power and its first phase of power, civil fascism applies selective violence to combative organisations of the working masses in particular, and gives the impression that the rest of society would not be touched. If not defeated in this phase, civil fascism, which has risen to power by its “palace” coups or “election” coups through the instrument of its special operation forces, gets a big chance for full settlement of its rule. It is also a fact that fascist practices stretched into a relatively long period of time and increased stepwise make it harder to mount a broad and united struggle to prevent fascism from settling its power.

Military fascist dictatorships destroy by blows from above parliamentary operation, civil political life, and political organisations all of a sudden and definitely. They explicitly mobilise armed forces of the state to suppress with violence the struggle of the working masses and, with these characteristics, perceived by whole society (both supporting and non-supporting sections) as extraordinary regimes coming from above. A period of escalation takes place prior to military coups during which parliamentary workings are paralysed and society is gradually set to await the coup. Therefore it is crucial at these times to wage a joint struggle for democracy against the threat of coup. Since when a military fascist coup takes place in which the bourgeois state is on the street with its police and army, tanks and guns, it would, in a sense, be too late. Of course, military fascist dictatorships also set in motion a fascist propaganda machine to deceive society along with the use of weapon of overt repression after the coup in order to reinforce its position in the saddle of power, set up its institutions and therefore continue its existence. As a common feature of fascism, while opposing sections of society are suppressed or even destroyed by means of overt repression and violence, one section of the rest of society is terrorised and daunted thanks to the mobilisation of ideological apparatuses, and the other section is driven into being supporters.

Regardless of how the masses are suppressed or deceived by means of overt repression and ideological propaganda, after all, the military fascist regime is regarded by majority of society as a temporary regime up to complete its mission and leave its place back to usual parliamentary regime. Yet, if we leave aside the effect of such factors as a mounting domestic dissent, international pressure, and a military defeat, civil fascist regime can prolong its lifetime as long as it manages to increase its mass base through propaganda. Civil fascist regime paralyses society by foisting the anomaly as normal on that section of society which it keeps in illusion by demagogy, and by suffocating the hope for change on the part of the other section of society that which it has failed to deceive in the climate of repression and despair. While military fascist regime draws its strength largely from repression and violence created by guns, rifles, tanks etc. that have themselves become the power as such, civil fascism, in addition to those instruments, penetrates into the inner depths of broad masses by an insidious propaganda appealing to the mediocrity of backward masses, which is more serious and perilous. To the extent it accomplishes this, it breaks down the fabric of society. It must be remembered that when tanks and guns are pulled out from streets and the bourgeois order returns to usual parliamentary regime, it is the end of the military fascist regime in general. Leaving aside the remnants of its institutions and prohibitions, society now assumes a new mood. Yet the consequences of virulent polarisation created by civil fascism by means of embracing a large part of the working masses are more venomous. The consequences of the breakdown of the fabric of broad masses are much deeper, lasting, long term and perilous there of.

State of emergency in Turkey and civil fascism

The final words of the foreword (2004) to the book Bonapartizmden Faşizme [From Bonapartism To Fascism] were as follows: “It is true that fascism in these countries is not yet an imminent threat though fascist parties in some European countries are on the rise to some extent. But who knows what is going to happen tomorrow? In today’s world, which is in the grip of economic crises, carve-up wars, xenophobia, mounting racism, one can never underestimate the possibility that capitalism, once it feels in deep trouble, can give birth to the evil of fascism again. Also it should be remembered that the world is not composed of Europe alone. The effects of great devastation inflicted by fascism upon the revolutionary workers movement in Turkey and some Latin American countries, these weak links of imperialist system, as examples of living history, are there to see.”

As if to confirm what was written in the quote, Turkey unfortunately has now once again come across fascism. But this time in a different way and under different conditions from September 12 fascism. The present extraordinary regime, which is being shaped and institutionalised by an authoritarian rule of one-man, resembles more to cases of civil fascism that emerged in Europe (Germany, Italy) before World War II than military fascism of 12 September. It is important to take into account this element to understand the nature of the present political regime in Turkey and its possible effects. On the other hand, as we stated before, although it is correct to lump together a variety of cases under the category of fascism in general, every regime must be examined and understood in its own peculiarities. We must underline here that Turkey is not a European country such as Germany and Italy, nor today’s conditions are the same as in the past. Yet it would be useful to make a comparison by taking differences into account. The present one-man regime in Turkey has emerged out of usual workings of the parliamentary regime, and opened the way forward by extraordinary means. The parliamentary spectrum that came out of the June 2015 elections was denied and parliamentary system was inflicted a blow by November 2015 elections, and therefore the grounds were laid for the present totalitarian regime.

The present one-man regime in Turkey, as in the past cases of civil fascism, is being ingrained into the fabric of society through themes accepted by the broad masses and regarded as usual in daily life. The main ideological theme is what is called Turk-Islam Synthesis which has been promoted since 1960s on the basis of a statist, nationalist and religious doctrine. That part of the masses, which are drawn to rally behind the government by means of the propaganda based on this theme and the policy of polarisation, is turned into spiteful masses made hostile to the other half of society. Of course, the source of the problem is not that the working masses are Muslim believers, but, on the contrary, that Islam being used by the one-man regime as a key to grip the masses, which helps the regime to settle in the chair of power and institutionalise. We must underline that, regardless of political choice made by the working masses under a usual parliamentary regime, religion, which is already an important thing in their life, does not inherently lead a society to fascism. However, when used by a Bonaparte in his march towards fascism, religion does well serve to make the broad masses, in a historical fallacy and paralysis, become supporters of the fascist regime.

Religion is a social reality which the working masses living in the usual quagmire of poverty and joblessness embraces to relieve their pain. However, to the extent it is turned into an instrument of mass deception in the hands of a dictator, who seeks to perpetuate his rule, religion becomes politicised in a malicious sense to grip the working masses. So the regime seeks to turn that good-hearted modest Muslim toiler whom we are familiar with for so long into a fanatic poisoned so much to be a supporter of fascism. Seen from this angle, civil fascist regime is source of a more lasting danger sinking deeper roots into society compared to the military fascist regime which ruled largely through its armed violence, being also one of the reasons why it did not last long. After all, the military one reigns as an empire of fear based on a threat to social life coming from “outside” of daily political workings, on its incredible repression and torture mechanism. Civil fascism, on the other hand, will subsist as an “inside” threat made “commonplace” that can sometimes come from even your fellow workmate or from your next-door neighbour. So, civil fascism can institutionalise its rule by not only scaring and daunting the working masses, but worse still, by blindfolding one part of them making them spiteful against the other part. This is what is happening in Turkey.

One peculiarity of what is happening in Turkey is that that party and its unchanging leader who led the transition from a bourgeois parliamentary regime to a totalitarian regime had maintained an opposite expectation in society for many years, that is, an optimistic expectation in the direction of democratisation. Indeed, the AKP enjoyed support from broad sections of society on the basis of positive expectations from 2002 until after 2010, the turning point when the course changed, and, even until, though in a diminishing way, 2015 June elections. Because of the positive expectations such as achieving the EU standards, democratisation, resolving gangrenous historical questions such as the Kurdish question, ending the military tutelage system which sickened broad popular masses for many years, and so on, the AKP government could present itself as building a promising future. Thus, the slide towards a totalitarian regime from such starting points has been lived through without so much friction perceived on the part of the working masses in general, blunting their sense of dissent. This point is very important to understand the present situation in Turkey.

The predominant factor in humble toilers’ perception of the now totalitarian AKP rule as emerging out of their own ranks and representing them is the factor of “religious fraternity” which is being used to the measure of completely holding captive their daily life. Thus a government that tramples on the most vital economic-trade-union rights of the working class might still seem as “ours” to many workers. Of course millions of workers are not fools so as to become satisfied, merely on the basis of a religion factor, with a government which enact and implement one after another anti-worker laws and regulations such as bringing worse working conditions, trampling on trade-union and economic rights, banning strikes and so on. However, it is not that easy for the psychology of partisanship caused by the polarisation to be overcome and for the sense of discontent lying in the depths of the masses to turn into an open opposition. These can be achieved only thanks to class revolutionaries’ patient strive for educating as well as painful blows taken from living practice. The effect of the Erdogan-AKP rule that presented itself to the masses as their fellow Muslim brothers should not be underestimated, considering that former bourgeois governments of the status quo suppressed religion of the masses for many years in the name of a would-be secularism. The religion factor which is more naturally embraced as a common denominator than race or nationality has facilitated Erdogan-AKP rule to move forward towards totalitarianism, without, in a sense, causing much disturbance among the working masses.

The state of affairs in Turkey is described by foreign commentators as a dark period that brings down the institutions of parliamentary regime. It is said that the presidential government system is much more likely to plunge Turkey into a spiral of intense violence and chaos than bringing stability to Turkey. Indeed if one takes into account the escalating carve-up war in the region and the present circumstances of crisis that can terribly affect Turkey, it is impossible for the one-man regime in such a historical episode and in such a country to bring stability. Erdogan calculates to utilise and take advantage of the rivalry between big imperialist powers. But every time it goes wrong and the government plunges into a collision course with these powers. This state of affairs is impossible to change under this regime.

Fascist regimes are generally so reckless to mess up things, which are handled with relative ease under usual bourgeois regime, that they leave no room for them to turn back to usual conditions. A military fascist regime can make an assessment saying that “my time is over, it is not good to wear down the military too much” and leave its place in a controlled manner to a parliamentary regime. However, the civil fascist regime attaches its faith tightly to the faith of the “president,” thus eliminating the room for manoeuvre for more modest-looking policies. Therefore it intensifies the contradictions with foreign powers, making such factors as the pressure of the rivalry among imperialist powers, defeat in a war etc. more likely to play a major role in its demise. When it faces foreign threats, the only method it would employ, as long as it is strong enough, is to step up repression and violence inside, in an effort to prolong its lifetime. We cannot foretell what will happen in Turkey as we are not oracles. But there is something very clear. As long as this extraordinary bourgeois regime survives, the working masses will never be able to avoid extra repression, violence and loss of democratic and trade-union rights.

All these issues we are trying to explain on the basis of concrete developments in today’s Turkey might point to pessimistic prospects in the short term. However, this is how things are and this political-social landscape involving bitter realities cannot be changed by escaping from them, but on the contrary, by a struggle based on a profound comprehension of them.

History teaches with examples

In the course of the history of capitalism the usual rule of the bourgeoisie in many countries was established in the framework of parliamentary regime and the bourgeois democratic regime has taken shape on this basis. This form of bourgeois rule has the advantage of securing the “consent” of the masses through parliamentary means and the bourgeois order can carry on with this form as long as the bourgeoisie is sure of its hegemony. In bourgeois parliamentary regime the social sense of “consent” shaped via the parties that take part in elections leaves it place in extraordinary regimes to so-called referendums (plebiscites) imposed by the dictator and “yes” votes that the regime strives to boost.

The room for opposition of a variety of political parties and organisations to the party and leader that symbolise the totalitarian regime is more and more constricted thanks to increasing repression from above. And it goes to the point where opposition becomes almost impossible in the legal framework of the regime. Alongside the increasing pressure upon the opposition, holding dictatorial referendums results of which are easily rigged is also an important feature of the extraordinary bourgeois regime. Of course, the main focus of the regime is to keep society always busy, never leaving it on its own, and operate the ideological apparatuses at full speed to deepen the campaigns to “virulently polarize” society. These campaigns are conducted with various arguments in the form of hatred against Jews, Kurds, other minorities, religious/sectarian differences, etc., depending on the country and time. By this means the working class and the toiling masses at large are divided and a large part of them, betraying in a sense their own existence, become supporters of such extraordinary bourgeois regimes that are in fact hostile to their class.

The working masses that offer support to the fascist dictatorship because they are in deep illusion and eclipse of mind are plunged into a sick mood in the quagmire of a negative social attitude fostered by moving away from positive expectations and developing hostile attitudes. This negative mood is quite different from the state of “consent” those individuals making up these masses grant to bourgeois political tendencies at usual times in positive expectations. One must remember that a “yes” that comes from an unjust and malicious choice making a person hostile to his/her class brother/sister, after all, is a social conduct damaging the soul of that person who give that approval. With a damaged soul under feelings of complex, he/she can even, in a sickening manner, side against what he/she would defend feverishly under normal conditions. This reality explains why an abundantly patient approach and a careful language are needed to show those workers and toilers who are deluded by repressive regimes the right way and win them over to the ranks of struggle. On the other hand, the support they offer to the fascist regime on the basis of big illusions involves weaknesses that would bring the end of that dictatorship in the course of time. For example, over time there will inevitably be a mood of discontent and unrest in a considerable part of the working masses that have been drawn to support the reactionary regime on the basis of forged polarisation and animosity. There will be a growing gap between this mood and the mood of the dictator who boasts that he/she has won the support of a large part of society and that this situation will go on like this.

Parliamentary regime rests on persuasion by the bourgeois rule of the masses through usual means. It is in fact a sign of weakness on the part of the bourgeois order that the bourgeoisie shifts from the point of carrying on its hegemony through parliamentary persuasion to the point of “use of force,” that is “rule by the stick.” Indeed fascism is a reflection of a deep crisis of hegemony which is based on the conditions of crisis and war prevalent across the world. Therefore, we can say that from the point of bourgeois order fascism is a show of strength amid weakness. Fascism, civil fascism in particular, which managed to rise to power due to phasing out of other ways, will not voluntarily step down from power. In other words, it is not possible for the working masses to easily get rid of such a regime. In the last analysis, it can be said as an iron rule of class struggle that he who rules by “force”, is bound to go by “force” through mounting struggle which is helped by the effect of various domestic and international factors!

To draw a lesson from history, in France, on December 2, 1851, nephew Bonaparte came to power by a coup d’etat putting an end to parliamentary regime. This dictatorship called Bonapartism, despite all the fear it created among society and the rampage of its supporters, was thrown into the dustbin of history, pointing to the bleak future of extraordinary regimes. In an illusion to prove France’s superiority he led his country to war with Prussia, but was defeated and surrendered. In the end he was dethroned and republic was proclaimed again in France. While this extraordinary bourgeois regime suppressed the revolutionary struggle of the working class in the short term, it invited a revolution –a work of dialectics- that overthrew it in the long term! When the Paris Commune came into existence in 1871 in the heat of the revolutionary struggle of the working class, it was also fulfilling Marx’s prophecy about the Bonapartist regime.

In March 1852 Marx was writing the final sentences of his famous The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. He explained that nephew Bonaparte made a mess of the whole bourgeois economy, stripped the state machinery of its halo, profaning it and making it both loathsome and ridiculous at the same time, and thus creating a lawlessness and a lack norms from the point of the bourgeois order. Nephew Bonapart who set up a one-man regime set to renew the cult of Christ’s Tunic as the cult of Napoleonic imperial mantle. In his concluding sentences Marx made a historic statement about the fate of the Bonapartist dictatorship: “But when the imperial mantle finally falls on the shoulders of Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue of Napoleon will come crashing down from the top of the Vendome Column.” History would make its work as if to vindicate Marx and the Napoleon monument which has been placed in Paris in uncle Bonaparte’s time would be torn down by Paris communards on 16 May 1871.

Extraordinary bourgeois regimes such as Bonapartism or fascism might appear as having solved troubled affairs of the bourgeois order in the short term by cutting the rights of the working masses and casting blows on their struggle organisations. However, by revealing the dirt of the bourgeois order they actually invite revolution by their own deeds! So, against the prevalent pessimism, one needs to look into history from this perspective as well. And, while the recent developments in Turkey at present embody abundantly the first chapter of the story of nephew Bonaparte, the mole of history is busy digging deep under soil for the second part. Like the venture of Bonaparte of attacking Prussia in a dizziness of power brought his end, today’s counterparts, with their lust for imperialist adventures, are set to exacerbate foreign and domestic contradictions that would actually drive them into corner.

In those days’ Paris when Napoleon statute came crashing down there were surely many foreign and domestic factors igniting the revolutionary revolt of workers. And the objective and subjective factors were mature enough, though not as at the required level, to give rise to the first workers’ power in history. This is the most important point not to be overlooked when one seeks to draw necessary lessons from various experiences. After all, as Marx said, persons or organisations can only set before themselves problems that they are able to solve under given circumstances. If the organised strength of the class is not yet enough to overthrow the bourgeois order, the objective and subjective conditions of revolution are not yet ripe enough, even the hardest and most determined struggle of a revolutionary organisation will not be enough to accomplish this. However, it does not mean that there will be no struggle and work to ripen the conditions themselves. Working-class revolutionism, which draws its strength from Marxism and historically proven revolutionary experience of the working class, is not something like volatile and transient excitements. Therefore, one should turn a deaf ear to misleading verbalism that will appear radical but blow out in the test of practice, and work steadfastly, patiently to sink roots in the working class, which is the best course of action.

Flowers of resistance

The working class in Turkey has not stood against the reigning extraordinary bourgeois regime unlike the examples we see in history. The working class that makes up overwhelming majority of society and that should take the lead also in the struggle for democracy has unfortunately come under the repression of civil fascism, whereas it could not even tackle the harm done by the 12 September military fascism. The level of revolutionary consciousness and organising of the working class has bitterly declined since the turn of 1980 due to various effects such as military fascism inside, and then the collapse of the Soviet Union and change of balances internationally. Let alone revolutionary political organising, even the level of trade-union organisation of the class and the level of militancy of existing unions are outrageously low. In fact, this dramatic decline and the sense of desperation is the reason why AKP was able to establish so extensive influence over the working class. There is one more thing to add this picture. Because workers followed AKP during the years in which there were many seemingly positive factors, particularly the pledges of democracy and reform made by AKP-Erdogan rule, they are now having a hard time to understand or stomach the fact that AKP has turned toward a repressive and anti-working class direction. So, the main link to grasp in forging the working-class struggle ahead must be derived from an analysis of these concrete circumstances.

On the other hand it needs to be underlined that there is a serious sense of opposition and discontent against the totalitarian Erdogan-AKP rule shared by more than half of the society. Surely the struggle against the regime cannot be forged ahead on the basis of sentiments, but by organised struggle that is to turn these dissenting sentiments into active struggle. It is very important and valuable that there is a wide range of tendencies are waging a struggle for democracy against the totalitarian regime, from the oppressed nation, through the united democratic opposition supporting it, to journalists, academics and other intellectuals who endure repression and imprisonment. But this is not enough. It will not be possible to get lasting achievements without adding the revolutionary struggle of the working class to the present anti-fascist opposition.

It must be remembered that although fascism or other kinds of extraordinary bourgeois regimes might cast blows on the struggle and the organisation of the working class, it cannot do away with the working class. It cannot do away with its historical mission and prevent even in darkest periods the responsive elements of the class from burgeoning. The lyrics sung by workers from a variety of industries, who cried out ‘No’ in the interests of their own class at the time of the referendum of 16 April 2017, explain this reality very well: “Flowers of resistance emerge with a lag / but water springs out gurgling from the crack they wedged!” These lyrics that express the dynamic of the working-class struggle in capitalist society in the framework of the dialectical Marxist conception, acquire more importance in the reactionary period we are passing through. The struggle will forge ahead with the strength of knowing that this dark period will not be perpetual and of historical optimism of Marxism. No-one should suspect that!