Dragged ever deeper into the vortex of poverty and unemployment, the masses’ stray rocks of resistance are becoming a landslide. Enough is enough.
Beginning with mass protests on November 23rd, the spirit of Gezi is in the air. Discontent in people’s hearts bubbles over onto the streets. An almost festive feeling overcomes the cities as demonstrators march to action, their resistance spirit resounding in the cries of slogans and the banging of pots and pans, cutting to the heart of the fascists’ cultivated aspect of fear.
The uproar has been triggered by a rapid deterioration of living conditions for millions of workers, small businessmen and the poor. Inflation, unemployment and poverty are rampant. The lira has rarely been weaker, nor daily life harder.
People are keenly aware that the current turmoil is not due to the incompetence or economic illiteracy of Turkey’s fascist-in-chief Erdogan – but the result of a reckless inflationary policy, implemented on behalf of the capitalists which support his Palace regime. Not everyone is getting poorer in Turkey – in fact, the number of millionaires has increased by half! It is only the poor, the workers, smallholders, homeless and unemployed, the desperate millions sliding ever closer to the brink.
But the mood is changing. Quiet, passive resistance gives way to the rebel cries of active defence. The people’s rage burns brighter and hotter, its flames licking at the walls of the Palace fortress – as the thieves and cretins of fascist court and council brood inside, pondering the most insidious schemes by which to crush the worker, the poor peasant, the Alevi and Kurd. Their dictatorship is in trouble. Demands for work and freedom, for humane and dignified lives are combining into one call that rises above the rest – to the general strike!
Just as the fascists scheme to suppress the movement, the bourgeois opposition is inclined to pacify it. CHP and IYIP of the Nation Alliance rushed to the regime’s aid without delay. Statements came in thick and fast from leading conciliators, collaborators and shills, imploring the masses not to take to the streets and avoid “provocation”. This shameful display of bourgeois surrender, of keeping order at all costs and abandoning any meaningful stance against the crisis, is an important lesson for the masses on the hypocrisy of our regime-sanctioned opposition.
Another hallmark of the Nation Alliance’s contemptuous, Quisling approach is a deliberate analytical confusion marked by nonsense slogans such as “government resign!” and “elections now!”. They know very well that it is not an elected government which rules in Turkey – but a fascist autocracy in the person of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agent of the oligarchy. There are ministers, but, as with all decisive cadres of the judicial and state bureaucracy, it is the fascist-in-chief who appoints and dismisses them. From domestic to foreign, economy to ecology, constitution to culture – all policy decisions are made by one mad dog. The idea that the dictatorship is not institutionalised, that the monopolies might resign, that fascism itself can be voted out – these are crude illusions meant only to disorient and distract.
In a cascade of crises, what is the way out for workers and the poor, for women, youth and unemployed? Who can provide jobs? Who can raise living conditions to that of a decent life? Who can protect the forest, air and sea from capitalist plunder? Who can guarantee LGBT rights? Who can meet even the masses’ basest demands for bread and water, let alone freedom? Neither the Palace regime nor the parliamentary alternative can make a dent in the urgent needs of our shared future.
The true solution lies in the united struggle of working class and oppressed, in the very strength of our peoples. The slogans of the vanguard must convey this truth to the masses: The bourgeoisie cannot rule, death to fascism, the people to power!
While the upheaval is not presently a revolution, it certainly sets the stage for the masses’ revolutionisation. With sharpening contradictions across the board – between labour and capital, people and patriarchy, subject and state – the desperate millions resemble an oilfield, ready to ignite from one end to the other given the slightest spark. To provide it, communists must keep their finger on the pulse of the masses’ most immediate demands.
For example, Erdogan’s policy of attracting foreign capital investment – at the cost of wages – has transformed Turkey into a living hell for workers. Demands to raise the minimum wage to a humane level, improve working conditions and end summary firings are therefore at the forefront of the class struggle. Communists must conduct their work on this basis, encouraging workers to organise with their trade unions in strikes, slowdowns and occupations.
Further inroads can be made in residential areas, with reference to existing trends such as rent strikes, public bill-burning, the stealing of pots and pans. The voices of women can be raised in campaigns against sexual violence; those of students against academic repression; those of Kurdish workers against national repression and poverty in Kurdistan. There are dozens of concrete slogans to choose from: End tax robbery! Free gas, electricity and water for all! Cancel the farmers’ debts! Give us a decent living wage and the right to secure work! Free health and education! Budgets for workers and students, not the fascists’ wars!
Crucially though, communists must demonstrate that realising these most urgent demands is only possible with the absolute overthrow of fascism and the establishment of a new revolutionary-democratic power – bringing us to our final and most important slogan: Erdogan, we will tear down your Palace!
The first threshold in this direction is a general strike, a mass resistance, a development from local actions to coordinated movements, from passive resistance to the planned offensive. This means shutting down factories, wrecking machines, barricading offices, vacating classrooms, closing shop shutters, halting buses, besieging government buildings, blocking roads, seizing squares and sacking streets.
It means providing the sparks to light the steppe, burning fascism to the heart and crowning a new state power in fiery glory. War on the Palace – to victory!