The European Communist Meeting 2018: Work in the working class and its labour movement

The European Communist Meeting 2018: Work in the working class and its labour movement

The European Communist Meeting is held in Brussels, on 11th of April, 2018, with the participation of over thirty communist and workers' parties, under the theme “Work in the working class and its labour movement, as a necessary prerequisite for a clash with the EU, the overthrow of capitalist barbarism and the construction of socialism.” The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) was represented by Secretary General Kemal Okuyan.

Dear comrades,

Today, Turkey has become a very convenient country for those who are always looking for a pretext to defer class struggle.

The dominant class does everything it can to divide the society through Turkish and Kurdish nationalism, stirring up the hostility between Turkish and Kurdish poor. The same issue is at stake between Syrian immigrants and the “natives”. In other words, national issues take precedence over class issues.

The contradictions between one of the most important social bases of secular forces in Turkey, i.e. Alawism, and the dominant interpretation of Islam, i.e. Sunnism, never fall off the agenda due to the explicit Sunni character of the government. In other words, sectarian conflicts take precedence over class conflicts.

While the country has been trifling with a so-called anti-imperialist discourse on the one hand, it is being dragged into an expansionist orientation on the other; war has ceased to be a mere possibility, but has become a daily fact.

In other words, the vicious circle of war and peace pushes class struggle aside.

Negotiations and so-called openings designed by the government, which vehemently takes advantage of the contradictions and rivalry between imperialist powers, are being reflected as a dispute between Atlanticists (those who seek democracy and freedom under the tutelage of NATO and the EU) and Eurasianists (those who seek independence within the axis of Russia and China) upon the society. In other words, geostrategic balances take precedence over the realities of class.

Being a quite strong political figure, Erdoğan imposes his individual position and future at such an extent that this may drive many people to the idea that the main conflict is between a wannabe Ottoman sultan and the rest of the society. In other words, the presence of an autocrat causes many people to put the conflict between labor and capital aside.

In sum, one may easily claim that rather than the working class, the main revolutionary force in Turkey is the Kurds, the Alawites, the largest association of pacifist forces, the anti-Americans or all elements of the society against Erdoğan, etc. Hence, you may always come across justifications for collaborations, for instance, with the U.S. to defend the Kurds, with Alawite tycoons to defend the Alawites, with the European Union to defend peace, with nationalists and fascists to take a stand against the U.S., or with all other bourgeois parties, not even simply with the social democracy, to tackle Erdoğan. And all of these justifications are uttered in the name of revolutionism.

This is a tragicomic situation.

Each and every issue mentioned above are important. But a revolutionary stance can only be pursued when each of these issues is addressed with a class perspective. Only if each of these issues are connected to the main, the determinant struggle, revolutionary energy can be generated and the conditions for toiling masses to gain new ground may emerge.

Without sinking into economism and anarchosyndicalism, Communist Party of Turkey takes a strong stance vis-à-vis all current issues, creates alternatives, and struggles to organize the working class, which is constantly being pushed aside, in Turkey as a political force.

The TKP has never ignored the fact that the conflict between labor and capital does not usually reflect itself unmediated in politics, and the TKP has always acted without being intimidated by such mediations. However, succumbing to these mediations, which have ideological, cultural and political roots, would imply nothing but an alienation from politics based on the only revolutionary force, the working class.

In this sense, under Turkey’s current objective conditions, the TKP carries out its efforts within the working class on the basis of the following priorities:

1. Restructuring its publications and propaganda outlets in a manner to explain the origins, the bases and real roots of current tensions that take precedence over class contradictions to the working class as extensively as possible,

2. Bringing forward the assaults on the working class that the capitalists manage to conceal due to these current tensions; utilizing the party, people’s committees or trade unions, if any (the unionization rate in Turkey is very low) to encourage the working class to react and resist, and to draw more workers into organized political struggle,

3. Increasing the number and scope of workplace cells, i.e. the basis of revolutionary organization among the working class (making a large leap forward in the last year, the TKP has radically increased the number of its workplace cells),

4. Taking effective steps in ideological and cultural spheres to render working class identity an unshakable political reality,

5. Leading acts of resistance in which workers confront capitalists directly, strikes organized despite the prohibitions imposed by the government or similar actions; acting in solidarity with such actions and strikes, and popularizing and translating such actions into persistent organizations,

6. Keeping the inequality between rich and poor, injustices in the society, the high cost of living, which are all results of the contradiction between labor and capital, on the agenda with a revolutionary perspective, without leaving these issues to populist demagogy which always remains within the confines of the established order,

7. Explaining the fact that there can be no good imperialists or good capitalists, and that the currency of socialist revolution is not a strategic choice, but an absolute necessity for revolutionary politics perceptibly and concretely,

8. Counteracting the bourgeois politicians’ weapon of “immediate solution” by explaining the fact that reforms, when they do not constitute a part of revolutionary strategy, would rapidly lead to more reactionism, oppression, further aggravation in working and living conditions, and even to fascism in the hands of those who are trying to keep people’s reactions within the confines of the established order.

Kemal Okuyan

Secretary General of TKP