3 IMCWP, Contribution of Party of Labour - EMEP, Turkey

6/22/01 12:58 PM
  • Turkey, Labour Party [EMEP] 3rd IMCWP En Asia Europe Communist and workers' parties

The Party of Labour - EMEP, Turkey
by Sukru Cunsili

The Situation, Problems and opportunities
of the Trade Union Movement

1- The Party and Trade Unions in the Proletariat's Struggle
for Power
The two fundamental classes of our day's modern society is
the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The only way for the
proletariat to be liberated from the bourgeoisie that is
organised as the sovereign class and the capitalist world
of the bourgeoisie is by establishing its own class power.
The class power of the proletariat is the single
alternative, not only for its own liberation but the
liberation of humanity as well.

Proletariat can progress towards this aim through the
organisations and means it will create in all the fronts of
conflict it experiences with the bourgeoisie. The sole
organisation to render the victory of the proletariat
possible and guarantee this victory is its political party
that is the fundamental means of its struggle for power. No
working class that is not capable of having a revolutionary
party as the fundamental device of its struggle for power
will be able to show the ability or the success of
establishing power. Since the revolutionary party of the
class is the sole device of establishing and construction
the proletariat power; how will it fulfil this duty, how
will it play this historical role?

If the party is to direct the class movement, it must be in
the position of possessing the strength and relations
necessary for this duty. It can only be possible by
connecting the struggle it carries on in many fronts of the
class movement to the right target, uniting the direct and
indirect reserve forces around the same aim, co-ordinating
all the devices and organisations of the struggle, the
proportion of its influence in the movement and its ability
of taking position within the movement. Henceforth, it is
the condition of a revolutionary class party to be equipped
with revolutionary theory and to own a revolutionary

However, this does not suffice. It is also necessary for
the party to unite the working class around this program,
organise the most militant leaders prominent within the
struggle and to have a powerful effect on the class
movement in this way. No revolutionary party that is not
able to gain the class to draw the class into the struggle
by educating the class with the right tactics at the face
of every concrete development and make the class revolt can
display either the capability or the success of
materialising its claims.

One of the most fundamental fields of gaining he class to
socialism and to the party for the realisation of socialism
is the trade union movement. Thus, the revolutionary class
party must place a specific importance to the area of trade
unions, charge its most competent cadres within this field,
plan the activity program and renew these plans with new
tactics and slogans suitable for each concrete development.


Yet at the same time, the party is in the position of
learning from the historical experiences of the class
movement, of fastidiously examining the process of
development and breaking points of the movement as well the
reasons of these processes and must expose all these, if it
wants to successfully carry out its duty. This will, at the
same time, prove to be an account of the history of the
communist movement. Again the party while performing all
this, will determine its duties through the correct
conclusions it will draw by evaluating the developments in
the national and international conditions and the change
within the relations between the class and power, in
connection to these developments.

A party that is not able to see the change in the relations
between the class and power created as a result of the
significant developments experienced and that is not
capable of renewing its platform in connection to the
necessities of the varying conditions is condemned to
remain behind the developments and hence be externalised
from the class movement.

2- Post 2nd World War Era, Sovereignty of Revisionism and
the Trade Union Movement
Within the 1917 Bolshevik October Revolution, both the
cause of the proletariat and humanity's thousands of years
old dream became a reality. The fact that Marxism-Leninism
was not a thesis to be approached with suspicion but a
scientific doctrine was proven. The October Revolution,
while enchancing the trust in the Marxist parties around
the world, also played a strengthening role on the class
movements. This situation proved to be continuously on the
rise until the 2nd Imperialist War of Division. Both during
and after the war, the confidence and prestige of the
revolutionary class parties int he eyes of the labourer
masses and oppressed peoples of the world, beginning within
the working class of the developed countries had reached
its peak.

Uniting all the forces of the imperialist system around a
single centre, an intense attack was began against
socialism that was growing like an avalanche. The languor
brought on by the giddiness of victory on one hand and the
revisionist deviation putting itself forward in the form of
submission and collaboration on the other, played a role in
rapidly reversing this process to the contrary under the
increasing attacks and pressures of imperialism. While the
proletariat dictatorship in the United Socialist Soviet
Republic (USSR)was becoming alienated from the class
turning into a bureaucratic instrument, the communist
parties in the developed countries fell into the position
of reformist and parliamentary �opposition elements� of the
imperialist bourgeoisie platform. These developments
experienced at a period when such an advanced historical
victory was reached, created profound damages in the
consciousness and activity of the working class. This also
gave rise to the longest period of stagnation, recession
and disorder in the history of the working class. Striking
the deepest blow to the independent political and trade
union activity of the working class, these developments,
meant the suffering of a long period of interruption in the
international unity and activity at the same time.

The extent of the damage caused by the sovereignty in the
USSR and the regression of the communist parties in certain
developed countries to the state of social reformist system
parties, was not only limited to these countries. This
situation also seriously harmed the national liberation
movements and anti-imperialist struggles in many of the
countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which were
drawing strength from the historical gains of socialism and
the proletariat movement. It shook the trust of these
countries in socialism and in the working class.

Thus, the working class movement fell behind historical
development,. It lost its acquired positions. Both its
ideological and struggle forms and in terms of its manner
of organisation and work it became alienated from its
revolutionary traditions and became influenced by reformism
and revisionism. The bourgeois strata that had become
organised as the trade union bureaucracy, state and party
bureaucracy gradually dominated the movement.

The decline of the USSR, declared as the �collapse if
socialism� in the accompaniment of an unmatched campaign of
propaganda and demagogy on a world scale and the
imperialist system lead by the United States of America
(USA), entered into a phase of renewal and construction.
Accompanying this period of repositioning that comprised
all the regions of the world and all the sectors of
economy, the reintensification of the capital in
extraordinary lengths served to further speed up the

Economically; in all countries, thanks to privatisation,
subcontraction, quality circles, casual labour and similar
attacks; unemployment is increasing enormously. Poverty is
growing due to the decrease n real wages, cuts in social
rights and the rendering of trade unions as non-functional.
All the layers outside the monopolies, particularly the
small scale farmers, face a demolition. Public workers and
labourers are the targets of the cuts in wages and rights.

In underdeveloped countries which are the target of fresh
plunder, pillage and exploitation attacks, while the
working class continues its progress under conditions of
pressure and exploitation; due to the demolition
experienced among the strata of peasants and small
bourgeoisie, the army of unemployed is growing, giving
signals of social collapse and decay. Politically; it can
no longer be hidden that all developed capitalist
countries, reactionary laws are being taken to agenda,
fascist parties are being supported and strengthened, the
authorities and the scope of intervention of the police is
extended, all the bourgeois parties agree in the matter of
the interests of the monopoliest bourgeoisie. Despite the
differences in the pretexts and in the form, all these
taking place are equivalent in essence. In under-developed
countries; the chains of slavery are becoming heavier and
heavier, disorders and regional wars are being provoked,
the contradictions between ruling class cliques are
sharpening as an aspect of rivalry and conflicts between
the imperialists, menace and blackmail is increasing, the
growing fascist terror is becoming a daily policy, the
effect of specially educated fascist terror organisations,
police chiefs, and generals in all institutions of states
are broadening and all these are rapidly speeding up as a
general tendency.

In the military field; armies are modernised and special
units are educated for foreign interventions in the main
imperialist countries, especially in the US. In the Middle
East, Balkans and Caucasian, to achieve the goal of taking
position in strategical regions, military interventions and
provocation of civil wars takes place; underdeveloped
countries are forced to sign new military agreements of
slavery; international law are openly violated and replaced
by blackmail and despotism. These activities portray the
general character of the attacks in this field. All these
attacks are accompanied by a systematic propaganda which
threatens not only the working class but the future of all

New Developments and New Tasks in the Trade Union Movement
The immense belligerence appearing as an obligatory result
of the reconstruction process of the imperialist system,
grows and provokes the anger of contrary powers. It will be
useful to take a brief look at these improvements.

Advanced Capitalist countries
During the period in which the social rights and wages were
in a relatively �good� position, the threat of unemployment
was not so great and also the anaesthetic effect of
revisionism and reformism; for log years a serious disorder
and stagnation was experienced in the working class
movement of the advanced capitalist countries.

The plans of attack that wanted to be applied under names
like �stability precautions� and etc. Lead the working
class to struggle in many countries. In developed countries
such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland,
Belgium and even US, economical and social attacks,
privatisations, redundancies are met with actions like
strikes, general strikes, demonstrations and support

B. Former USSR and Other Countries of the Eastern Block
The Russian working class, carrying not only the experiment
of the socialist revolution and socialist construction but
also the seal of the destruction caused by revisionist
treason, is showing that it will resist against the attacks
and head towards a more advanced struggle with the
demonstrations participated by hundreds of thousands, the
strikes materialised by millions of workers and general
strikes. This growing struggle does not only ruin the
illusion created by revisionism, but also reveals the
international importance of the trade union movement in
this country. And in the other former Eastern Block
countries; actions, strikes and demonstrations directly
against the governments, and the inclination of the actions
beginning with daily urgent demands into political targets,
are typical developments that deserve interest.

C. Underdeveloped and Dependent Countries
Countries in which the accumulation of the working class
struggle is relatively weak, such as South Korea, Turkey
and Ecuador, the working class movement has had a course
which has served to encourage the other labourer classes.
In this struggle that has dragged the trade union
bureaucracy with itself, a tendency towards independent
actions at regional platforms and sector levels could be
seen. Disintegration of the trade union bureaucracy has
placed the reorganisation of the present trade union
movement on the agenda. In small and medium sized
companies, the inclination towards trade union membership
has brought a new struggle with it.

In Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, despite the rise in
reactionary attacks, the trade union movement is developing
as the most important dynamic in the struggle. In countries
like Mexico, Brazil and India there are developments in the
struggle of peasant and other labourers. Such developments
show that the international foundations of the movement of
the proletariat and labourer classes has widened in a way
never before seen. This also develops and strengthens the
class character of anti-imperialist struggle.

The all-encompassing attacks of imperialist bourgeoisie are
clearly nothing but plunder and destruction for the sake of
uncontrolled exploitation and boundless dominance. Against
these attacks, working class has shown that it has taken
the first steps of a struggle which will inevitably lead to
revolution and socialism. The first result of this struggle
id the dissolution of the trade union bureaucracy, which in
some cases approach a situation of collapse. Also trade
unions gain a renewed meaning as centres of organisation,
resistance and struggle in the eyes of the masses.

Revolutionary parties have to recognise this truth and
potential which arises in this period. These parties are
face to face with an ordeal today with their line of daily
struggle; they have to answer the ever-expanding needs of
the struggle and use tactics to advance it.

Every day, bigger masses join the struggle, In these
conditions, class parties have to put the actions of
millions and the needs and responsibilities of these
actions at the centre of their activity. Competent and
talented party cadres have the responsibility of
reorganising and developing the trade union struggle which
will secure the carrying out of trade union policy and
tactics. Especially, the struggle in the area of trade
unions should be connected to a renewal target which takes
the conditions of each country into consideration.


The attacks of the bourgeoisie have a general character. As
a result, though in different forms and different times
varying from country to country, the struggle has appeared
with similar demands. In general; the subject of daily
struggle in certain countries are: Demands against
privatisation, redundancies, threat of unemployment, wage
limitations, belt-tightening, limitations in social rights,
attacks towards social security, working time and holiday
rights. Also, there are other demands against:
Subcontracting, casual labour, quality circles and
dysfunctioning of trade unions. These attacks are aimed at
way laying the struggle against the first attacks and
dividing the forces of the working class.

The general class character of the attacks, are rapidly
converting the struggle which begins with economic or
partially political demands, to a struggle against the
dominant classes an the bourgeois governments and is making
the struggle obtain a political character. This situation
puts forward demands and the unification of these demands
with those of the daily struggle.

In spite of the manoeuvres of the union bureaucracy
alienated from the class, like alleviating the demands of
the class and keeping them at most backward line; the
Revolutionary Class Parties must take up the daily struggle
demands and mottos among the most important conditions of
unifying the largest masses of the class an strengthening
their struggle.

The taking up and formulation of the demands, developing
the struggle for these demands, must be one of the basic
matters of the struggle between the bourgeois reformist and
revisionist currents which try to renew their positions
among the class, and the Revolutionary Class Parties.

The other most relevant destruction created by the bygone
process is; the imprisonment of the class into bourgeois
parlamentarism by being alienated to its own history and
traditions with the insisted bureaucratic line followed in
its forms of organisation and struggle.

The trade union democracy, the real meaning of which has
been rendered hollow, was turned into a tool for
strengthening the dominance of the trade union bureaucracy.
The initiative in factories and workplaces which is the
�source of life� of the organising and struggle skill of
the class, was dulled so that all the authority and the
initiative was collected in the hands of the administration
organs and centres.

A line to make the struggle forms, kinds of parliamentary
bargaining and elements of election campaigns and on the
other side to turn them into nonsensical parades and cheap
shows of the union bureaucrats, was made dominant. The
struggle developing in the last few years, while shaking
the sovereignty of the trade union bureaucrats, also
accelerated the inclination towards the class' own
historical accumulation and towards revolutionary struggle
traditions as a product of this accumulation once against.
To develop these forms of struggle and organisation which
derive their power and legitimacy from factories and
workplaces, is among the most important missions of the
class parties.

The essence if the tactics of the Revolutionary Class
Parties in this matter, depends on the base of developing
the trade union democracy, the line of trade union
organisation and struggle, its active participation in the
daily life and struggle of the class in factories and
workplaces, its initiative and skills, its self-confidence
and bravery. Because, the revolutionary tradition of the
class movement, shows the necessity of making �fortress�
out of the factories and workplaces. However, at the same
time, during such periods the significance of daily
agitation directed at the largest masses of the class,
increases even more than the usual. Only the kind of an
inclination can raise the possibility of developing our
positions in the trade union movement and gaining new
positions. This the basic condition of uniting with the
fresh forces of the class and of renewing and fortifying
our organisational bases.


The problem of alliances and administration, one of the
most degenerated issues remains as a leading key problem in
today's trade union movement. Under the present conditions,
the essence of our policy of tactical alliances in the
trade union struggle can be summarised as making an effort
for alliances necessitated by each concrete situation,
unity of strength and activity on the basis of a designated
platform that will guarantee the process o the development
entered upon by the class movement and contribute to take
this progress further and serve to unite the broadest
sections of the class.

To strive in order to unite the class at a more advanced
line by deepening the disintegration of the trade union
bureaucracy whose foundations are being shaken at a daily
increasing rate and to undo the manoeuvres taking place
among the trade union cliques trying to renew their
platforms constitute one if the fundamental aspects of our
alliance policies. The bases of any alliances to be made
with various leftist groups or currents will be determined
not by the titles they call themselves, or our ideological
evaluations or judgements of them, but the concrete
struggle platforms formed to meet the needs of the
practical movement, the roles of these currents in the
practical movement and their attitudes in each concrete

In the matter of the trade union administrations, the
revolutionary tradition of the class is simple and concrete

In the matter of trade union administrations, the
revolutionary tradition of the class is simple and
concrete; the attitude it takes in struggle and the skill
of sincere representation of the benefits, initiative and
experience of the class. The basic problem for the part is
not �seizing the union administration� but joining the
formation of administrations in an attitude deserving to be
elected for administration, uniting with the advanced
sections of the class here and preparing for harder

On the other hand, one of the most important factors
causing a recession in the revolutionary class
consciousness, erosion of moral values and weakening of
self-confidence is, the paralysing of the international
unity of the working class y imprisoning the trade union
movement into national borders.

The general character of the attacks which entered the
agenda as a consequence if the process the imperialist
system entered upon recently, caused the rise of the
struggle, the similarity if the demands and, by dissolving
of the indefiniteness, the refreshment of the consciousness
of being an international class and the strengthening of
the conditions of internationalist solidarity in many

Today one of the leading missions is, the renewal of the
union movement in the struggle against bourgeoisie,
acceleration of a practice to strengthen this development
in every country especially in the advanced countries.

Marxist-Leninist parties must place importance to
international initiatives where advanced workers join,
defend revolutionary class attitude in order to undo the
attempts of reformism, revisionist, Trotskist etc. Currents
outside of the class to reserve the developing proletarian
movement, continue a systematic struggle with these forces
within this area as well.

Depending on a concrete tactical line tat pays attention to
the general features of international developments and
serves the reorganisation of the trade union movement,
improving and realising daily tactics and polices meeting
the needs determined by specific conditions in our own
countries, is among the most important missions of the
period ahead.

In conclusion; the basic condition for the international
unity if the Trade Union Movement is, the achievements
gained in the trade union activity of the class against the
bourgeoisie and the sovereign classes, and the positions
obtained in our own countries. Today the opportunities to
carry out such a duty, is greater than ever.