Speech of Kemal Okuyan (Member of the Collective Leadership, Communist Party of Turkey), International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, 2013, Portugal.
DEFENDING the PRINCIPLES DOES NOT MEAN INEFFICIENCY IN REAL POLITICS!
Turkey witnessed a historical mass popular movement at the end of May this year. Even the police records stated that 11 million people more or less, took part in the demonstrations on May 31 all over the country exceptfew cities.
We tried to share our Party’s evaluations regarding the “June Resistance” with fraternal Parties and continuously inform you about the developments in Turkey on a regular base.
Thanks to that material, I will now try to go further on and try to explain brieflythe political and theoretical conclusions that TKP has reached from the historical events while social struggles in Turkey are entering into a new phase.
As you all know, the “June Resistance” was a mass movement without a political vanguard, in which the people rose up against the Islamo-fascist power for freedom, protection of public area, secularism and independency. The fact that, some political actors such as the TKP which took part in the movement and managed to lead and affect it at certain times and localities do not change this reality.
In this respect, the quality of large masses’ relation with our Party constituted a unique experience regarding how the reactions that created this movement would resonate with struggle for socialism. Our Party’s political line was developed without making any compromises from the perspective of a socialist revolution by completely considering the policies for alliances as a phenomenon within working classes, and by identifying any part of the exploiting classes not as fellows but enemies in any way. The widespread opinion inferring that this line would fall short, received a major blow during the popular movement this year.
It is a reality that, left in Turkey generally, including TKP, receive little vote during the elections due to several reasons: Unique structure of political arena in our country; 10%electoral threshold; weak ties of the progressive forces with the people as they mainly focused on surviving the assaults coming from the state.
The “June Resistance”, however, demonstrated that social dynamics may mature in a very rapid way and embarked on a political quest in Turkey that was considered as a “stabilized country” by capitalist order. This revealed more valuable findings for us in comparison with any electoral practice.
Millions of people rose up against the AKP government’s attempts to impose Islamic way of life. From the very beginning, the TKP has developed such a political attitude to resist these impositions, and criticizes and even stays distant from the unreasonable “Left” attitude saying “this is not our business”. This was also valid in th eon going Islamization of the “secular” political structure even though secularism in Turkey reflects the hypocrisy of bourgeois class.
As a secular and patriotic working class party, the Communist Party of Turkey was neither surprised when millions rose up, nor was concerned about the ideological complexity of the movement. We did not even think of softening or balancing the anger towards the ruling party in Turkey and Erdoğan and people’s passion for freedom and independency by the help of the socialist ideal. On the contrary, we tried to sharpen and maintain all these sentiments and demands.
We looked for a way within the struggle to introduce socialism as an alternative and class contradictions and that Turkish bourgeoisie was the first degree responsible for what was happening.
It appeared that even masses seeking for an immediate solution took the opinion defending that freedom and independency are impossible without socialism in a very serious way. Being affected by the fact that the TKP sincerely and persistently tells the truth about what is going on in Turkey, the most energetic and decisive elements of the masses have appealed to our party for membership or become our permanent friends. More to say, large masses began following and discussing a party, which was considered strange and alien until a few years ago.
This method can be useful only if you are ideologically and politically well-grounded. We know that in the past, working class movement have suffered a lot in Turkey and in other countries, when the movement choose to limit itself with the actual demands and prospect of the masses and gave up with the goal of socialism.
In our case, TKP prefers to act according to some red lines.
First and above all: Not to seek for an alliance or contact with any section of bourgeois class except for petit bourgeois strata living on its own labor and not to collaborate with bourgeois political circles. This is the way of staying away from nationalism and liberalism which we consider as twins.
The second red line: Not to mention any term or expression in our documents, activities or speeches echoing a phase that overshadows the goal of “socialist revolution” that is underlined in our Party Program.
We can speak about more red lines that were drawn by concrete developments in the world and in our region. TKP never tolerates religious fundamentalism and opposes to the use of religious references in political life. TKP takes the part of struggle with an absolute principle against imperialist projects, organizations and aggressions as there is no such a thing like a better or preferable imperialism!
Thanks to those red lines, our Party evaluated the AKP government properly, did not fall into a tragicomic position like other forces; more importantly considered its principles not as sacred things on political field but as a trustworthy weapon that strengthens struggle for socialism.
Thus TKP ventured to organize a big rally in Istanbul during the 90th foundation anniversary of Republic of Turkey. What we were saying was “establishment of a republic wasa historical progress” and explained “what became of the idea of republic in the hands of bourgeoisie” to the people joining the rally, who listened to communists for the first time and had no opinion about the class contents of demands for laicism and independence. Our word was simple: We said, if you want an independent and secular country then you have to free the country from this exploitative capitalist system! Tens of thousands of people stood under the banner “Socialist Republic” against the AKP power and listened to us for hours.
We know that this is only a beginning. But we did also learn something: When you follow a courageous and effective political line, you should not loosen but find a way to strengthen your principles, political program and political course. That is what we are doing. Struggling for socialism means dealing with complex ideological and political issues, that have open or covered link with class contradictions. If you undermine those issues for the sake of the class contradictions it does not work. Same happens when you loose the essence of the revolutionary politics: The seizure of political power.
The popular uprising in Turkey this year, clearly showed that a party without having a secular and patriotic character will have no room among the people. Furthermore, there is an additional conclusion which is no way less important: Without a decisive aim for socialism there is no need for a communist party. There are other forces that are much more fit for playing around inside the bourgeois system.
We think that the world communist movement, in any case, should avoid mechanical and sectarian approaches, defend the actuality and necessity of socialism and experience a radical break from imperialism, bourgeoisie and reactionary forces not in words but in practice.
DOWN WITH CAPITALISM!
LONG LIVE SOCIALISM!