REVOLUTIONARY TASKS IN THE LIGHT OF PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE and
THE CREATION OF THE SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE
1.It has become obvious that the Second Republic will not be able to institutionalize to achieve stability
a) The historical transformation that was materialized by the requirements of the capitalist class, the regional plans of the US imperialism and the aspirations of the reactionism in Turkey failed to secure the order of capital, contrary to the expectations of the class and political forces that supported this transformation. The reactionary transformation which can be described as the dissolution of the First Republic and the establishment of the Second has rocked the bourgeois dictatorship to its roots making it more vulnerable when it was attempting to solidify its rule.
b) Founded in the 1920’s at the peak of the bourgeois revolution, the First Republic has been restructured in accordance with the interests of the bourgeoisie; cleansed of the historically valuable progressive constituents intrinsic to its foundation; undermined by anti-communism and hostility towards labor and finally dissolved when it became impossible to reshape it in accordance with the latest orientation of the capitalist class and imperialism.
c) The early failure of the Second Republic doesn’t indicate a return to the First Republic but rather threatens the rule of capital as a whole and creates revolutionary possibilities for the working class. In this perspective, the thesis of socialist revolution and program has regained relevance.
d) The failure of the Second Republic is not a temporary one, it cannot be reversed. The process will either gain a chaotic character with successive upheavals and sharp turns or the bourgeoisie, with the approval of international capital, will attempt to put into effect a different model. Another possibility is that the working class changes the course of the country completely to put an end to the rule of capital.
e) There are multiple factors that make the Second Republic’s failure a permanent one. For imperialism, all of the dynamics that made the Second Republic preferable to the first one have stalled. Dreams of smooth sailing for the capitalism of Turkey have been shattered right at the onset. The US realized that it has over-relied on Turkey while the conflict between the AKP government and other imperialist countries and regional forces has deepened. The reactionism of Turkey, having gained a lot of ground after settling accounts with the Republican tradition, is now paying the price of its initial euphoria of victory and facing the social potential of enlightenment and patriotism, it is wavering.
f) Despite the massive slashing of workers’ rights and the establishment of market rule that completely ignores public interests, the capitalist class still doesn’t feel safe. The expansion of the economy of Turkey by being mostly dependent on international political balance has in certain aspects worsened the structural problem as opposed to alleviating it. The economy of Turkey carries great risks connected to the potential reduction of foreign investments, over-indebtedness, deficit increase and the burst of the bubble in construction and service sectors. Disturbed by the interventions made by the AKP government in the domestic capitalist balances, the bourgeoisie has less faith in the government.
g) The Neo-Ottomanist policy of AKP put into practice in a large region starting with Arab countries, has collapsed in a short time despite the support and approval of US imperialism. The collapse cannot just be attributed to the failure of the attempt to overthrow the Baath regime in Syria. It has been very quickly been proven that Neo-Ottomanism is not only a very dangerous but also a futureless project by Turkey which lacks economic, political and ideological resources to transform itself into a regional power and eventually an imperialist country.
h) The fascism of September 12 1980, clearing the way for the religious ideologies to organize on the one hand and oppressing the left, the carrier of enlightenment experience, on the other, prepared the foundation which would later be used by the AKP government to religionize the social and political life. AKP, while relying on this foundation, got carried away; disregarding the spirit of enlightenment in Turkey, it assumed that the people would remain unresponsive towards all its interventions in people’s lifestyles, public spaces. It is now proven that this was a dead wrong assumption. AKP government which had been faltering in its economic and international policies has also started struggling in the ideological front as well.
2. The bourgeoisie of Turkey can not only intervene in the chaotic region of Middle East where there is never ending violence due to imperialist intervention and competition, but it has also taken on a load it cannot really carry
a) The bourgeoisie of Turkey which has mobilized after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia to solidify its economic and political presence along with other forces in Caucasus and Balkans has not only discovered its own limits but also become familiar with the realities of the region. After a few ambitious but failed attempts, via policies that are politically cautious and economically opportunistic, the bourgeoisie of Turkey has gained substantial power in both regions, becoming the main interlocutor for strategically important international projects,thanks to energy pipelines. Throughout this period, the interests of the bourgeoisie of Turkey have been safeguarded by the Turkish Armed Forces as well as the low profiled but effective actions of religious organizations headed by the Gülen sect.
b) AKP government, using the religion and with the aid of a closer collaboration with the US imperialism, has convinced the bourgeoisie of Turkey that the conditions were ripe for more aggressive regional policies. This way, while competing with other countries in the Balkans, the interests of the Russia were confronted in Caucasus. The Moscow government which considers ex-Soviet Union Republics its sphere of influence has acted in order to limit the presence of Turkey to only economic activities; increased the pressure on the countries in the region and shut down some of the schools that had been opened by Gülen sect.
c) In Arab countries, the critical region for Neo-Ottomanist expansion, AKP government has pursued openly hostile methods and at times has undertaken initiatives that would even go beyond the US plans. Neo-Ottomanism has moved with motives, some openly expressed by AKP officials and every single one being a reason for tension or even conflict.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been seen as key to convince the cautious bourgeoisie of Turkey for balder policies in pursuit of new areas of investment and markets.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been modeled as a foreign policy practice to supply the energy that would be needed to stabilize and consolidate the Second Republic.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been designed as a tool to further the collaboration with US imperialism and to become the main contractor of Washington in the region.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been preferred as the path to establish and strengthen the Sunni axis which is the ideological driver of AKP reactionism.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been seen as a channel that can be used to further the political, military and financial relations with the reactionary Arab governments.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been designated as the strategy to not only keep the Kurdish problem under control but also turn it into an opportunity.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been planned as a project to facilitate the political and economic integration of oil rich regions of Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria and the transformation of Turkey into a looser, decentralized structure of governance.
– Neo-Ottomanism has been accepted as an opportunity to eliminate Iran and Egypt, the competitors of the capitalism of Turkey in the Islamic word and to strengthen Turkey’s hand against Israel, US’s vital partner in the region.
d) Neo-Ottomanism has gone through four phases.
The first phase is the phase of preparation and enquiry. AKP negotiated with the US government before coming to power in an attempt to convince them of new roles AKP would be willing to play. While AKP couldn’t convince Washington to collaborate with various Islamist forces in the region (since at that time the US government needed a different role to be played by the Islamists in order to create the new US enemy), it still got the US support it needed for getting to power. Throughout this period, also aided by the Gülen sect, AKP increased its political, cultural and economic influence in the Islamic world.
In the second phase of Neo-Ottomanism epitomized in the person of Erdoğan, the reactionary leadership of Turkey carried out systematic work to deceive the peoples of Middle East by creating the illusion of an anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist stance and succeeded in this deception. The governments of Syria and Iran which were targets of US aggression, the political forces in Palestine and most importantly Arap peoples believed that AKP was their friend. The tension between Turkey and Israel which was in large part a big show was used to further the deception and AKP managed to wash away the disreputable image of Turkey, a NATO member in the Arab world.
The third phase started when Obama became the US president. Unable to send more troops to the region, the US was convinced by AKP for collaboration with the Sunni political actors in the region. There is a clear connection between the Neo-Ottomanist policies and the transformation of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprising into to the process called“Arab Spring”. The political parties that came to power in both countries were close allies of AKP and with the successful destruction of Libya; it was now Syria’s turn, a country important for both Erdoğan and Obama.
It is probable that the fourth phase of Neo-Ottomanism is also the last one. The failure of the attempts to overthrow the Syrian government, the resistance of the people of Syria against the terrorist groups, the public reaction in Turkey against the AKP policies against Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt not being able to stay in power due to a large popular movement against it, all these developments have disrupted all the plans. Russia has made it clear that it will protect its own interests in the region and the US government has given signals that it is not happy with the foreign policy practice of Ankara; some of the US contractors over whom Turkey was attempting to establish leadership have shown that they were not as willing to accept AKP leadership as AKP had assumed.
e) The failure of the Neo-Ottoman project has also pushed AKP’s last hopeful move about the Kurdish problem into a state of uncertainty. The “Peace Process” in fact contained plans to collaborate with the Kurdish groups in Syria in order to overthrow the Baath regime. But the fact that the bigger powers have kept the solution “with Assad” on the negotiating table has rendered this planned collaboration useless.
f) The political positions held by the Kurdish in Iraq for a long time and the new Kurdish positions gained by actual conflict in Syria directly impact Iran and Turkey, home to the largest and most political Kurdish population. Even though the Kurdish problem has passed through different historical phases and has different class, ideological and political foundations, it has been acquiring a regional characteristic. When taking a position on a problem that concerns all the peoples of the region, it is necessary to take into accountthe regional and international balances. On that note, the interests of overt or covert struggle between the international capital, imperialism and reactionary forces on the one hand and the revolutionary forces on the other plays a determinant role.
g) The alerting of both domestic and international public by the Communist Party of Turkey on the tendencies of the government in Turkey after having followed the Neo-Ottoman project closely from the start, the correct analysis of the Arab Springby the Party are both of historical value. In the upcoming period, it will be necessary to increase the collaboration and information sharing among communist and progressive forces andstrengthen the political and theoretical capabilitiesin the region.
3. Capitalism, not even able to manufacture fake hopes is waiting for its death
a) Capitalism is not able to overcome the economic crisis it is in. It is facing historical and structural problems. The current crisis is not the product of financial policies but ultimately a reflection of the conflict between over-production, the decrease in the rate of profit, the social structure of production and the concentration of the means of production in the hands of monopolies.
b) It is not surprising that the crisis was initially felt in the weaker economies in EU’s grip. Forced to deploy destructive economic policies during their integration into the union, Greece and Portugal plunged into debt, lost their main industrial production; they were dealt a blow in the agricultural sector and were left vulnerable from an economic perspective facing Germany and France at the center of the union. While a similar process can also be described for ex-socialist countries accepted into the union, the economic destruction in all these countries cannot simply be explained by membership in the European Union. The crisis not only deeply impacts Spain and Italy, two countries watched over by the union, but even the strong imperialist countries. There is no economic dynamism in sight in the whole continent to overcome the crisis and recession.
c) Measures put into effect by USA, the hegemonic imperialist power, to alleviate the crisis actually deepen the problems of US domestic as well as the capitalist world economy. The US economy is sustained by its borrowing power and subsequently its ability to keep the money markets under control. Maintaining its leadership in the imperialist world via political and military domination rather than economic power, the US cannot do without continuing to remain the dominant imperialist power.
d)Countries with high growth rates like China, Brazil, India and the Russian Federation which is grouped among the aforementioned countries due to political reasons, can neither become an economic alternative nor shield themselves from the dynamics of the capitalist crisis for long. Having benefited from having stayed behind economically, the presence of big domestic markets coupled with a lot of resources and labor power; due to the ongoing crisis, these countries have started to lose their competitive power which is mostly based on higher rates of labor exploitation. In conditions of crisis, the market dependency on developed capitalist countries shrinks the value of their competitive power based on higher rates of exploitation.
e) The crisis increases the probability of wars as it triggers more imperialist competition. It is possible that the regional and civil wars that have so far been limited to military interventions go through a qualitative transformation. It is not possible to predict how the conflicts between Russia, People’s Republic of China, Japan and US in the Pacific; US, Russia and Germany in the Middle East; US, People’s Republic of China, France and Germany in Africa will play out. It is also not possible to foresee clearly the future blocks to be formed among these powers.
f) As a whole, capitalism has nothing to offer to humanity other than poverty, difficult working conditions, unemployment, reactionism and wars. More importantly, capitalism cannot even present humanity with new fake sets of hopes and ideals.It is the first time in its history that capitalism faces such a lack of perspective. This means that a heavy political and ideological crisis is also under way.
g) The lack of a future for capitalism creates a great opportunity for the international communist movement. The emergent suitable conjuncture needs to be seized upon in order to strengthen the revolutionary spirit in the movement, to pacify liberal tendencies and to solidify the ideological unity of the movement.
4. As the most important and sweeping social movement in our history, June Resistance has unleashed a political energy that goes well beyond the anti-AKP and Erdoğan stance
a) With its scale, shape and political slogans, the June Resistance is a popular uprising. This uprising, as opposed to being the product of a revolutionary surge, is a retort to the unlawfulness, tyranny and excessiveness of the government.
b) June Resistance, even though it started as a rebellion against police oppression following an environmentalist action, has a dominant ideological and political frame that is unusual for a movement of this scale. The ideology of enlightenment and freedoms has found its political expression in an absolute anti-AKP position.
c) June Resistance has a leftist orientation. The ideology of enlightenment and freedoms has in many instances been blended with the ideas of solidarity and equality as well as patriotism. There is no insurmountable obstacle between the socialist ideology and the masses of people who have participated in the resistance.
d) June Resistance is a spontaneous movement. No spontaneous movement can fully rule out an organized and conscious participation in it. The fact that organized political forces were an organic part of June Resistance right from the start and that Taksim Solidarity emerged as a coordination center does not take away from the spontaneous character of the movement.
e) Despite the heavy participation of the working class in the movement, June resistance is not a class movement. Ideas of solidarity and equality have not been expressed on the axis of the labor-capital conflict but more on a moral and ethical basis. While the reflection of the movement in the work places and process of production was limited, workers have participated in the resistance after work and in their neighborhoods. June Resistance is not a popular movement dominated by the middle class either. While the priorities of the resistance were different based on the actual location of actions, it is also clear that workers from all sectors, unemployed, retirees, housewives, small business owners and students have all participated in the resistance.
f) June Resistance is a social event that has been attended heavily by women. Having tried to box the women into limited roles in social life, the government has been dealt a significant political blow. Women have gained tremendous positions by defending their demands for freedom by actively fighting against the government and reactionism. It would have been impossible to gain these positionsby forms of organizing that constraint them within their women identity.
g) The shallowness of the argument thatthe youth is insensitive to the problems of the country has once again been exposed by the June resistance. Even though the popular movement cannot simply be reduced to the youth, it is also a fact that working class and student youth have massively participated in the resistance. The government has realized what a grave mistake it has made by basing its plans on an “apolitical youth”.
h) June Resistance has caught the opposition parties in the Parliament, the unions and Alevi organizations off guard. CHP, not being able to formulize a political objective even though being the main opposition party, was pushed aside. BDP and the Kurdish movement in general had the tendency to see the resistance as a potential threat to its own agenda. The Unions and Alevi organizations were not able to unite and feed off the popular dynamics, they were rendered ineffective.
i) June Resistance has a dealt a major blow to the elements in the left that were hesitant in breaking away from liberalism. Those who saw decentralization and localization as an alternative to the working class socialism have been caught completely off-guard. It has also been seen once again that practices of revolutionary democratic activism cannot become a partner in the collective mind and legitimacy of a real popular movement.
j) June Resistance is full of lessons to be learnedthat are related to the political and ideological tendencies of the Kurdish politics. Continuing and conflicting statements made by the representatives of the Kurdish politics reveal the level of discomfort they feel about the June Resistance. It is not only the anti-AKP position of the movement that is at the source of this discomfort. Kurdish politics cannot tolerate any social movement that is not under its control and fully aligned with its own agenda.
k) At this stage, June Resistance cannot be boxed into a set of quests and conflicts within the system. While the fact that an alternative for a revolutionary rule has not yet matured makes the movement vulnerable to liberalism and social democracy, one should not expect a radical change in the structure of the movement that puts socialism at an advantageous positionagainst the bourgeois politics and ideology. In this context, in addition to the totality and unity of the popular movement, taking the path towards real liberation is equally important. In the following period, we will fight against any attempts to divert the movement from this path.
l) Despite the important functions of the forums in the last period when both the politics within the system and the resistance have lost pace, the energy of the June Resistance points to a horizon beyond the forums. There is a great fieldcompletely open for socialist organizing and action.
m) June Resistance has not been beaten, it has not gone anywhere. It is obvious that in the forthcoming period, the resistance will continue to exist albeit in different forms. It is also possible that the resistance transform into a revolutionary uprising.
5. TKP has contributed a lot to the resistance, has also learnt a lot from it and has refreshed its political and ideological confidence. The Party will do its best to respond to the popular quest and to accomplish its revolutionary tasks
a) From a political and ideological perspective, the Communist Party of Turkey was not caught unprepared when the June Resistance started. Having emphasized for a long time that Turkey will not fit in the straitjacket of AKP, the Partyalso indicated in the first half of the year that the anger of the people were approaching an explosive level. TKP had also pointed to the spirit of enlightenment and freedom in that accumulating anger. The Party also grasped very well the importance of youth, the dimensions of the enlightenment and patriotic potential and the meaning behind the alliances in Syria and it has taken initiatives in these areas.
b) The Communist Party of Turkey cannot underestimate the tension between settling the accounts with the current government and creating a real, concrete socialist option. The problem is not about the people gravitating towards an urgent solution for getting rid of the AKP government and preferring this solution over another political alternative that will take longer to build. The connection between patriotism, the ideology of enlightenment and a socialist program needs to be rebuilt. Both ideologies have been let loose and free to the extent that they have gone beyond the limits of the First Republic riding the popular movement. Even if the higher level ideology that can attract both is socialism, it should not be assumed that the enlightenment and patriotic tendencies in the society will automatically be connected to the struggle for socialism. The Party needs to reevaluate and restructure both these tendencies without taking into account any of the existing left arguments.
c) The Communist Party of Turkey cannot take a long time to accomplish the mission of adding the working class character to the widespread popular movement. The political and ideological move to organize the class and make it a dominant factor in the popular movementcannot succeed without openly settling the account with organizations and mentality that have crippled the laboring masses. The Party has to shorten the path the workers take to organized politics. Given the current conditions, instead of waiting for the center of the popular movement to shift into the work place and waiting for the working class to create its own models of organization, it is necessary to strengthen the working class at the points most appropriate to the structure of the current popular movement. For the moment, it is not possible to consider the unions and trade organizations as a surface of contact for the politicization of the working class. The people, including the working class have already gone beyond these organizations in terms of horizon as well as scale. The Party will consider the unions and trade organizations important and help strengthen them to the extent that they provide a real opportunity for struggle but it will not place them as the focal point of its class organizing.
d) Instead of seeing the changein the structure of the working class as something negative, the Communist Party of Turkey will in fact focus on the new opportunities revealed by the June Resistance. Instead of delegating to the other platforms the responsibility to develop the ideological, political, organizational and cultural tools that will place an educated, young and dynamic working class sum in the center of the popular movement, the Party should restructure all its work accordingly.
e) The Communist Party of Turkey needs to continue its determination to reach bigger scales in its organizing among the student youth. While there is a bigger possibility to create a new students movement today, it is important to stay away from imitating the past and simply repeating it. The revolutionary heritage of the 60s can be put to good use only by accomplishing the objectives of today. The student youth is no more a privileged group stuck in a few large cities but a large mass waiting to join the working class of Turkey as well as the army of unemployed. The Party will maintain the separation and the autonomy of the student organizing but it will strengthen it with its political and ideological agenda. The Party will also pay more attention to the transitivity between the student youth, the working class youth and the neighborhood dynamics.
f) The Communist Party will maintain an open, simple and principled approach towards the Kurdish problem which gets more and more complicated every passing day. The Party is the first address for the Kurdish workers in Turkey. United struggle and liberation is a key point in the program of the Party. The meaning of this is that there is an historical accord between the demands of equality and freedom by Kurds as a nation and the liberation of the working class of Turkey. The Party will continue to base its decisions on this accord. The guide of the Party when it comes to the developments at the regional scale on the Kurdish problem and the tendencies of the Kurdish national movement is nothing but the interests of the revolutionary front in Turkey and in the region. These interests are not abstract; they crystallize within the struggle against imperialism, the capital and reactionism. The Party determines its friends and enemies in the light of these interests.
g) The Communist Party of Turkey will continue to stay away from constricting and discriminating attitudes towards the June Resistance. The Party will also continue its non-competing and non-sectarian approach towards the others in the left. TKP will do its best for all necessary collaboration as dictated by the interests of the struggle. However, TKP will not be spending time in pursuits of alliances in the upcoming period. The Party will not waste time on agendas that can push back its ideological and political responsibilities, stealing energy from the struggle. This attitude is valid for the upcoming local elections as well. The Party will develop constructive policies to enable the emergence of mayor candidates who can respond to the popular patriotic and enlightenment tendencies, who will defend the social interests instead of the interests of the market and will support these candidates but the Party will not do all this with the expectation of a complete alliance. This objective related to the local elections will be combined with and adapted to the work to achieve the representation of communist politics in the local governance.
h) The Communist Party of Turkey takes very seriously the popular demand “Government, resign!” and it is in complete accord with this demand. The realization of this demand cannot wait for the strengthening of the socialist alternative. On the contrary, whether the socialist alternative will strengthen or not will be determined by the impact of the communists in satisfying the aforementioned demand.
i) The predictions on the potential problems that the Party would be faced with in case of a social mobilization have also unfortunately been proven right to a large extent. There was not enough time to make the Party politics more effective and to change the organizational structure and operations to be more suitable for the revolutionary tasks at hand. Nevertheless, the popular movement has proven to be more efficient than all administrative interventions, facilitating the emergence of a collective willpower necessary for this restructuring.
j) By the lessons taken from the June Resistance, the Communist Party of Turkey will be able attain the political focus and organizational simplicity that it has been debating for a while. The people have a determination of steel to settle the accounts with the government. TKP has the task of strengthening this determination as well as increasing the level of organization within this determination. The people are in pursuit of a political alternative different from the current one. This pursuit is open to the idea of left and socialism. TKP has the task of making sure that a socialist alternative emerges out of this pursuit. The Party will focus on these two intertwined tasks. The Party organization will be simplified accordingly to suit these tasks at hand.
k) With its strong belief in a bright future, the Communist Party of Turkey calls all workers, intellectuals, students of Turkey to join its ranks in order to strengthen the socialist alternative and establish the socialist rule.