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”.
An Iranian refugee woman worker from Canada , 9 June 2020
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 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.
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.
As early as 2002, while the USA was preparing for the invasion of Iraq, and following the invasion in 2003, Elif Çağlı explained in her articles that, with the end of the bipolar world conditions, the imperialist system was facing a new power struggle for re-division of the world. She pointed out that the USA embarked on a number of invasions in the name of “war against terrorism” for the purpose of retaining its hegemonic position, which it had gained in the aftermath of the Second World War but could no longer maintain with the same ease.
The argument based on air space violation and so-called rules of engagement is nothing but a fake and hypocritical argument to obscure the minds of the public and secure a diplomatic foothold. Just three years ago when a Turkish fighter jet was downed by Syrian air forces with the same justification Erdogan said “you can’t down a jet for just an air space violation of few seconds”. Moreover, a few months ago, a Russian jet violated the air space just the same way and the prime-minister Davutoglu announced that it was by mistake and that Russia had no intention of disrespecting the borders. And it is known that since then there have been many such minor violations occurring and all cases handled peacefully in mutual communication.
The rulers will not succeed in achieving their goals through such attacks. They will not be able to stifle the rightful struggle of the Kurdish people, which constitutes their biggest challenge at this stage. Nor will they be able to stifle the fight conducted by socialists, revolutionists and progressives who stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people. We are deeply in sorrow for our brothers and sisters who lost their lives in this vicious attack. We wish a full and speedy recovery to our wounded brothers and sisters. And we shout out loud to blood-guilty rulers of the capitalist order that our rage and determination are now further sharpened, free from the slightest trace of dismay. We are determined to prevent their plot, in which Erdoğan has the leading role, and which has turned the country into a bloodbath.
We send our condolences to the families of all those activists who lost their lives in those tragic events on October 10 and hope that all the injured have a full and speedy recovery. Once again the Turkish bourgeoisie is trying to weaken the workers’ and Kurdish movements and their growing links to further its own interests. We hope that with greater unity and solidarity you and the other socialist forces of these movements can defeat these reactionary plans.
HDP passed the barrier with a very clear margin as if a strong pole vaulter passes the bar with ease. A 13% rate and 6 million votes is at the same time a severe blow inflicted upon the “terror” demagogy. This is an important victory and it is contributed by socialists, progressives, democrats, freedom lovers as well. On this occasion we, as working-class revolutionaries, share the happiness of the HDP to which we provided our support and the success of which we have worked for.
A big failure awaits those who have gone into euphoria of victory at formation of government by a pro-system left party in a country which is most squeezed by the crisis at a time when historical crisis of capitalism reigns. This development, let alone helping proletarian revolutionaries, makes their task much more urgent, burning and vital.
The political essence of the matter from the standpoint of the struggle of the working class is not “freedom of speech” etc., but the question of imperialist war engulfing the world and of the world working class being divided along religious, sectarian, cultural lines and pitted against each other under the guise of “different civilisations” for that matter. Put more concretely, what is at stake is to pit particularly Western labourers and the labourers in those parts of the world where Islam is the majority religion against each other. Therefore, on the basis of this approach, there could be no doubt that such a slogan as “I’m Charlie” (“Je suis Charlie”) could not be the slogan of Marxists.
The only genuine way to fight the Israeli invaders and the oppressors of Hamas (and PLO-Fatah) and their regional and international paymasters is to arm the masses and work towards building a third camp made up of Arab, Jewish, Kurdish, Turkish, Iranian and other workers. This will no doubt sound like a long-term aim – but there can be no short-cut to overthrowing capitalism and building a socialist society.
The recent events erupted in Ukraine within the last months are simply one of the most blatant examples of ongoing processes in different parts of the world. These processes have a twofold character: Popular masses, having had enough with poverty, misery and corrupt regimes, rise as a result of their deep discontent against the situation they have been through, involve in protests and rebel. Nevertheless, bourgeois forces, taking advantage of the lack of any revolutionary alternatives seek to manipulate and make use of the tremendous energy of these masses for their own interests. This is a common feature of all developments from Libya to Syria, from Venezuela to Ukraine. While capitalist system, passing through a historical crisis and imperialist war, is unable to prevent the working classes from revolting, these social movements, on the other hand, cannot spontaneously develop into a socialist revolution.
It is clear that the movement deserves detailed analyses from many respects and undoubtedly it will be done in the period ahead. We pointed out in the first days of the protests that what made a small scale resistance turn into a mass movement against the government was the reaction against impositions of the AKP, its authoritarianism and growing police terror. And we also pointed out in outlines the issues that we had examined in detail in our previous articles. Here we will point to the character of this movement that has become clearer as it developed, its vital deficiencies and illusions about it. We will undoubtedly examine in detail what the policy followed by AKP in general and Erdoğan in particular against the resistance points to and also basic issues such as the attempts of bourgeois opposition forces to make use of the movement in their own interests, the influences over the movement of the conflicts and rivalry within the bourgeoisie.
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.