An internationalist voice in Turkey

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We are publishing below the statement of basic principles by a new proletarian group in Turkey, Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol, Internationalist Communist Left. In the last issue of WR we published their leaflet on Mayday, which we helped to distribute. In a forthcoming issue, we will publish our comments on the statement. To contact the EKS, write to [email protected] .

Introduction by the EKS 

The positions of the EKS are basic points of adherence. They were written very quickly with a view of moving from being a group who came together to make, and distribute, leaflets for specific demonstrations to moving towards being a political group, and as such they are open to change in the future. They take a stand on what we see as the four basic positions that revolutionaries hold today:

1) The rejection of parliamentarianism, and social democracy.

2) The rejection of Trade Unionism.

3) The rejection of all forms of nationalism, and the defence of internationalism.

4) Communist struggle, and the nature of communism.

They do not define us as either a ‘Marxist’, or an ‘anarchist’ group. While most of our members consider themselves to be communists, we do not discount common work in the same political organisation as anarchists who adhere to the basic working class positions. We feel that in the present situation in Turkey, where virtually nobody holds revolutionary positions, it would be a huge mistake to exclude people, who basically hold the same positions as us today, on the basis of historical arguments about things that happened in the earlier part of the last century. That does not mean, however, that these are issues that we do not discuss, and that we are not trying to develop greater clarity on them. Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol

Basic Principles of the Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol

1) The rejection of parliamentarianism, and social democracy.

The idea that the existing order can be changed through parliamentary or democratic means is the main obstacle that the workers’ movement is confronted with at every step. While this illusion is consciously created by the dominant class, it is also defended and proposed as a solution by the leftist groups, who are unable to grasp the class nature of parliament, which is based on the idea that the working class have a stake in the nation, but in reality, it is no more than a circus that tries to impose the idea that a class based movement is both meaningless, and useless, in order to mobilize the proletariat behind the interests of the bourgeoisie. Social democracy also doesn’t refrain from taking part in that circus itself. Social democracy, which defends the ideology of democratic rights and liberties, and the change of the existing equilibrium in favour of the working class by means of reforms, which are no longer possible under capitalism, is because of its position a tool to create a middle point between the dominant class, and the working class, which defends the interests of the bourgeoisie. While social democracy does not constitute an obstacle to the dominant class, it is anti-working class, and takes a counter revolutionary position in times that proletarian movements arise, and constitutes a collaborative ideology of the class enemy on behalf of the bourgeoisie.

2) The rejection of trade unionism

Just like parliament, unions also organise the workers as a part of capital. Moreover because of their position in the heart of the working class, they constitute the first obstacle to the proletariat’s struggle. When the working class seems to be passive, and its struggle in the face of capital is not clear, radicalised or generalised, the unions organise the working class as variable capital, and as wage slaves, as well as generalise the illusion that there are both honourable and just ways to live in this way. Not only are the unions incapable of undertaking revolutionary action but also they are incapable of defending worker’s basic living conditions in the here and now. This is the main reason that the unions use bourgeois, pacifist, chauvinist, and statist tactics. When the working class movement radicalises, and develops, the unions put democratic, and revolutionary slogans forward, and in this way try to manipulate the movement, as if the interests of the working class is not emancipation from wage labour itself, but in continuing it in different forms. The methods of base unionism and self-management are used in different places and situations, resulting in no more than the workers’ own voluntary acceptance of the domination of capital. In reality the only thing that the unions do is to divide workers into different sectional groups, and pull their class interests as a whole behind social democratic slogans.

3) The rejection of all forms of nationalism, and the defence of internationalism

Nationalism is a basic slogan used by the bourgeoisie to organise the working class in capitalist interests. The claim that, independent from their class position, every member of a nation is on the same boat, only serves to destroy the revolutionary potential of the working class by joining two antagonistic classes on an ideological level. Starting form this premise, it comes to say that every person has to work for ‘his or her’ own nation, own capitalist class, and the struggle for their own class interests would result in the sinking of the boat. Unlike the whole left’s claims in the case of both Turkish and Kurdish nationalisms, they have no different characteristics.

The basic reality denied by people who talk about national liberation struggles against imperialism is that the characteristic of the struggle of the working class for liberation is above nations. The liberation of the working class can only be achieved by raising the flag of class struggle against every kind of national liberation struggle, demagogy, and imperialist war. Today people who talk about a ‘national front’ against imperialists, and national independence, are in a race with liberals, whom they think that they oppose, to deny class contradictions. Kurdish nationalism, the so-called opponent of Turkish nationalism, which it also feeds upon, realises the complete separation of the working class by performing the same role as Turkish nationalism for the workers in its own region.

4) Communist struggle, and the nature of communism

Communism is not a beautiful utopia that someday can be reached, nor a theory that’s necessity is scientifically proven, but it is the struggle of workers for their own interests as a movement. In that sense, communism has no relation to the leftist’s definition of it. It is rather born out of the workers’ struggle for their daily interests, and an expression of their need for emancipation from wage labour, capital, and the state. Due to that, it is denial of all the separations between intellectuals and workers, absolute goals, and daily interests, ‘trade union’ consciousness and ‘socialist consciousness’, and aims and means. Whenever workers start to struggle for their own interests autonomously from the unions and self-proclaimed workers’ parties, then communism flowers inside the struggle. In the same way the communist organisation is formed organically inside this struggle, and is born from the international union of the most radical, and determined minorities’ interventions in the class struggle, which express the antagonism between workers and capital.

(June 2006)