Labour Party (EMEP) - Turkey
I’d like firstly to thank our host, the Portuguese Communist Party, for their hospitality.
We have gathered at a time of important developments around the world. I believe that discussions and exchanges of knowledge and experiences in these meetings will be useful for all of us.
The crisis that started in 2008 in the USA and spread throughout Europe and the world has demonstrated the immediate need to tear down capitalism. As the parties of the class, we can lead workers struggles - and primarily the main mass of labourers - to build their own communities only through tangible analyses of tangible conditions and by identifying politics that meet their daily needs.
The growth witnessed in the second quarter of 2009 has today given way to stagnation and the capitalist world economics is again shrinking in almost all fields. The data points to a path towards a new crisis. The data on the development of world trade volume point to worldwide industrial production growing faster than the markets and that the capitalist world is face to face with overproduction, the basis of crisis. The inevitable results of overproduction are; shrinking of production, closure of or reduction in capacities of factories, rise in unemployment and poverty, poverty within wealth and the shrinking in markets that follows. This is the base for the sharp drop in the rate of industrial production worldwide in the second quarter of 2011, and the reduced rate of trade growth worldwide. Developments in North Africa and the aggressive economic packages witnessed in Greece, Spain, Italy, England, Portugal, etc. have become another factor that hastened this process and exacerbated the consequences.
Armies of unemployed have grown in the countries in crisis and those where the rate of growth is falling quickly, especially in countries facing debt crisis. The official unemployment rate in Greece and Spain has reached 25%. Unemployment in Europe has risen to 11.2% in the second quarter of 2012, according to official figures.
Retirement age has risen following a quick succession of aggressive packages. Cuts in almost all areas including education to health have increased and become widespread. Rights won by workers’ and labourers’ struggles have been restricted worldwide. While no measures are taken against national and international monopolies that led the country to a debt crisis (such as increasing the taxes on banks and national and international monopolies), taxes on workers have been increased. Real wages have continued to drop. Most countries went through an unmistakable period of impoverishment. Modes of work such as flexible working, temporary work, part-time work, etc. have increased worldwide.
While the 2008 crisis has lead to acceleration in the conflict between work and capital, the nature of capitalist economics led to a further deepening of the contradictions between sectors, countries, production, markets, etc. If we approach the situation from a countries perspective, with the exception of Germany, industrial production in all developed capitalist countries can be seen to be below the levels pre-2008 crisis. Industrial production in most developed countries did not even reach the levels of 2005, especially in England, France and Italy. The German industry grew by %11.5 and %9 in 2010 and 2011 respectively and its position within EU and the Euro zone strengthened. This led to its imposition of belt-tightening policies in a number of countries.
In this period, China again has expanded its economy and especially its industry and strengthened its position among countries with the largest economies in the world. A similar situation is also true for Russia. These two imperialist powers have been declared by imperialist powers, primarily the USA, as the countries whose development and expansion should be prevented.
Within the last year workers and mass movements have developed all around the world; with different demands, in different forms and at different levels. We should especially mention the struggles developing in countries facing ‘debt crises’ due to their mass social basis and results.
The miners’ strike in Republic of South Africa, youth movements and strikes in Chile and Brazil, the demonstrations that lasted a month with the participation of four million people in Turkey and the mass people’s movements in Egypt and Tunisia have been noteworthy struggles.
In many countries facing debt crisis, especially in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, strikes, general strikes and mass people’s demonstrations have become widespread. But the workers’ movements have, despite some clashes, not managed to go beyond peaceful protests and one/two day strikes or resistances. Those long term strikes, resistances and factory occupations that took place were limited to work places or small sectors.
Economic situation in these countries and the aggressive packages of so called austerity and stabilisation have affected not only the working class urban and rural semi-proletariat masses but also petty-bourgeois and non-monopoly bourgeois strata and especially lower strata. The mass basis of struggle against imperialism and financial capital has widened. The conditions for the working class and revolutionary parties to be leaders of the widest masses of society, and the opportunity to organise united peoples’ front and movement have developed.
Despite the wide social basis of the movement, international financial capital and national monopoly bourgeoisie have not stepped back (Only in Portugal the last aggressive package was held back). At the expense of parliaments and parties losing support and their social bases eroded, daring and driven aggressive packages are implemented. One of the consequence of this was the masses realising they will not be able to resist the aggressive packages with one/two day strikes or peaceful protests, and discussions among advanced sections of modes of struggle and continued general strikes.
Union bureaucracy, social reformist parties and trends that dominate workers’ movements followed a line of ‘reducing to a minimal’ level of not only the organisation and methods of struggle but also the platforms and demands of workers. But this approach has led to them losing influence on workers and labourers. Attacks and worsening conditions, while affecting the lower layers of worker aristocracy and bureaucracy also deepened contradictions among their layers.
Mass struggles in countries facing ‘debt crises’ developed to a platform of protests against organisations like IMF and EU, bourgeois parties and governments that introduce these aggressive packages and of demands for the withdrawal of packages. This, within the narrow bounds of an initial spontaneous movement is natural and understandable. But the inability of the developing movement to go beyond these narrow limits has been one of its main weaknesses. This weakness could only have been gotten over, along with other things, through an agitation programme that would demonstrate, through their own experiences; the necessary steps to overcome the hardship faced by the population of the country and those social forces that stand in the way of this, and also would facilitate the raising of slogans, demands, struggles and the types of organisation and make it widespread among the masses.
The forthcoming period will be one where, in line with the world economy, working and living conditions of workers and labourers will worsen; attacks in all areas of economy and politics will become harsher and widespread; tendencies of dissatisfaction, anger and struggle among workers and labourers will increase; and the infighting and contradictions among imperialists will intensify. We must advance by drawing lessons from the historical experiences of the world working class and labourers and recent developments.