We are publishing a statement on the rising cost of living in Turkey by some comrades who sympathise with the positions of the communist left. Although the nature of the street protests last November does not appear very clearly in the text, the comrades are clearly in favour of a proletarian response to the crisis –denouncing parliamentarism, bourgeois parties and unions, rejection of all national “solutions” and insistence on the necessity for class struggle across all divisions and borders.
"Clench your fist, not your belt, fill the streets, not the ballot boxes!"
Capitalism means poverty for the working class, it means living on the edge, it means the fear of being unemployed and hungry. Although the cost of living has increased at an extraordinary pace in the recent period and has rapidly reduced purchasing power, capitalism has never promised us more than this. Even though the sudden rise of the exchange rate increased our problems and concerns about our future, most of us were already unable to make it to the end of the month with years of constant price increases.
The economic crisis, which has become undeniable today, is only one of the reflections of the structural crisis of capitalism. No need to look far to see the point that the decay of capitalism has reached and that it is dragging humanity towards extinction: with the production and health crisis we witnessed in the Covid-19 epidemic; with the terrible fires and floods of last summer; with the ecological crisis whose direct consequences we are now experiencing; with the refugee crisis that is getting more tragic every day. In addition, we are seeing the housing problem getting more urgent for workers all over the world, with increasing rents and students' dormitory demands.
Even though these experiences anger us, unless a generalised and realistic solution is found, every word spoken or action put forward ultimately leads to nothing but growing despair. Although immediate reactions such as the street demonstrations that took place after the sudden increase in foreign exchange rates are meaningful, they cannot become permanent and massive in conditions where a revolutionary alternative is not presented.
Of course, the establishment parties are doing their bit to prevent these reactions. While the government is trying to prevent a possible mass uprising through police investigations, attacks and threats against those who took to the streets, the official opposition is trying to hinder the growth of street protests with the fallacy that "it benefits the government". It is understood that they are planning to hold legal rallies - probably together with the official unions - in which the demand for "early elections" will be brought forward in order to stop a mass mobilisation before it starts, to counter any radical demands, to obscure the reality of a deepening crisis. In other words, millions of people who are impoverished day by day and live on the border of hunger are being fed bullshit: "Don't fight, wait, we will save you".
First of all, it should be emphasised that the main reason for the economic crisis is not only the mismanagement of the government, but is part of a worldwide economic crisis. Therefore, the claim that the issue can be resolved with a change of power is completely baseless. Of course, the ruling classes may need a change of government power. In times of crisis, instead of right-wing populist parties such as AKP-MHP, “social democratic” parties such as CHP may be more useful in order to suppress the working class and impose austerity policies on them. It needs to be understood that the current function of the alliance, of which CHP and IYIP are the main elements standing against the AKP-MHP government, is to distract the working class with the election agenda in the face of the burning crisis, to divide the working class with hostility to Kurds and refugees, and to prevent the broad masses from entering into struggle.
The left wing of the establishment, which is attached to the back of these parties and tries to produce national solutions to the crisis of capitalism, has no solution to offer to a proletariat which directly suffers the crisis. Although it has been demonstrated through numerous recent examples that no change is possible with elections: neither the HDP and the political groups clustered around it, nor the search for alliances initiated by the TKP, SOL Party and EMEP, nor any transformation focused on elections presents a perspective other than providing “critical” support to the government from the outside.
We have seen recently in the examples of the PSOE-Podemos coalition in Spain and Syriza in Greece how the left of the establishment has pushed the working class into a dead end all over the world. We also know that left wing establishment parties are quite "useful" to impose "austerity policies" on the working class. We have no choice but to clench our fists, to fill the streets, not the ballot boxes, so as not to tighten our belts any more.
There cannot be national response to the global crisis of capitalism. The answer can only be found through the international unity of the proletariat and its mass action that transcends the parliamentary understanding. The proletariat can achieve its emancipation only by developing mass actions aimed at overthrowing capitalism and by creating appropriate organs of struggle. We need to remind ourselves of all this. We no longer have time to wait, nor any chance of aiming for anything less than the overthrow of capitalism.
We know that we can rely on neither the establishment parties, nor the official unions, which are the guardians of the existing order, in the face of the burning problems we are experiencing today. We see over and over again in every instance that the working class has no other savior other than itself. The increasingly impoverished working people have nothing to rely on but their own self-determination and their class brethren struggling all over the world. Today, in our workplaces, living areas, schools, that is, wherever we are, we need to come together, organise, and stubbornly proclaim these facts.
Class war against capitalism! We want the world, not a few crumbs!
AKP: Erdogan's party
MHP: racist coalition party
CHP: main opposition party, so-called "social democrats"
IYIP: right wing populist/nationalist party
HDP: Kurdish party
TKP: mainstream Stalinist Communist Party
SOL party: similar to die Linke in Germany