It is clear as day for those who succeed in drawing the lessons of the past and move forwards to the future: The experience so far does not demonstrate the downfall of Marxism, but of a conception of “socialism” that is its negation. As the end of the decaying capitalism comes closer, Marxism continues to guide humanity’s struggle for emancipation and happily foretells that the future lies in socialism.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Mass organisations of the working-toiling classes are of great importance and carrying on work in these organisations in a revolutionary way plays a key role in class struggle. It is an essential part of the task of fulfilling revolutionary strategy and tactics to create such organisations and conduct a correct work within them. A successful organising that provides the ground for fulfilling this task can only rise above historical tradition, principled attitude and experience. The path to take in organisational area has been developed by contributions of Marx and Engels and other revolutionary leaders, but illuminated principally by Lenin and the Bolsheviks in his leadership. What happened as a result of the bureaucratic counter-revolution that altered the nature of the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet power after Lenin’s death is a completely different matter.
Therefore the petty bourgeois intelligentsia which led the national liberation movements on the second half of the twentieth century has not played an independent role in conformity with the predictions of Trotsky, and has marched along the way opened by the Soviet bureaucracy which had been an international power in the given international conjuncture. And in the case of conquering power it transformed himself to a ruling bureaucratic class. This fact is so obvious that, a few national liberation movements still continuing to exist in the last decade of the past century, have begun to get rid of all their “Marxist-Leninist” symbols, rhetoric and programs just after the collapse of the USSR. And now they are trying to become reformist parties inside the capitalist system by abandoning their existence as guerrilla organisations, to rediscover the way of “democracy” and to find a “democratic” solution under the patronage of “international public opinion”.
Marxism explained that the basic determining factor of a mode of production is, in the last analysis, the economic base. With this achievement the need and importance of studying productive forces and production relations that constitute the base in order to understand the traits of different modes of production came to light. Every single mode of production, or in other words, every single socio-economic formation, is consisted of the unity of the economic base and ideological superstructure rising above the economic base, which encompasses diverse realms such as state, politics, law, culture, religion. To grasp his unity in a correct way with diverse economic-ideological-political-social aspects it is necessary to approach the relationship between the base and superstructure in a dialectical manner.
No one can bring back the past on correct foundations with mistakes deleted out. But at least it is possible to draw lessons from past experiences to advance the struggle today. Proletarian struggle demands the honest revolutionary Marxist take an attitude in this direction, face their mistakes, renew themselves through drawing a revolutionary balance sheet and leap forward in order to build the new by arming themselves with the revolutionary lessons of historical experiences. It should be kept in mind that in the present world where objective conditions are fully ripe for the world working class to overthrow capitalism the task of creating the revolutionary leadership of the proletariat is as much important. To cope with this task and move on, the hindrance that has been posed by the past years’ worldwide negative legacy on organisational area must be overcome. These are the fundamental pillars of how internationalist communists, who do not lose their historical optimism and, when necessary, dare to swim against the current, understand duties of the day both on a national and international level.
The tendency to fabricate theories, which has nothing to do with revolutionary Marxism, can be characterised as a passion for theoricism that is alien to revolutionary struggle of the working class. The theories produced by some writers, who owe their fame to “Marxist” studies in academic circles, can generally be counted within this framework. As the theory remains unchecked, disconnected from the light and discipline of revolutionary class struggle, it becomes nothing more than confusing variations.
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”.
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!
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.