The main reason the working class, and with it all oppressed and poor people, has not succeed in taking power until now is primarily because our class has been misled by non-revolutionary leaderships. If we want to make a revolution, we need to build a genuine revolutionary organization that understands the various non-revolutionary forces inside our class and their weaknesses.
The HDP (Halkların Demokratik Partisi) – Peoples' Democratic Party
The HDP represents an alliance of various political forces. It can be characterized as a reformist petty-bourgeois populist party. While it also has some Kurdish capitalists in its ranks, the dominant sector of HDP supporters are mostly workers and peasants. But the HDP is an openly reformist party. This means that they don’t fight against capitalism and Turkish militarism in a revolutionary manner, nor do they understand that capitalism and militarism can only be ended by a successful socialist revolution which establishes the rule of the working class in alliance with the poor and oppressed.
While we are strongly critical of the reformist leadership and electoralism of the HDP, we recognize their support among various sectors of the masses; thus it is incumbent that revolutionaries put demands on the leadership of this party in an attempt to draw them into the class struggle and consistently fight for democratic rights, social justice, and the national liberation of the Kurdish people. Revolutionaries have to defend the HDP against every form of oppression from the state; and we have to defend them against the attacks of fascists and Islamists.
But at the same time, we need to politically fight against the party’s pro-imperialist leadership and their willingness to let themselves be integrated into a popular front (i.e., a joint front of workers’ organizations and a wing of the capitalist class, in which the workers organizations become subordinate to the capitalists). If the HDP considers or actually enters a government or forms a bloc with any capitalist party, revolutionaries call upon the HDP to break with such forces – and if strong enough – to take the power based upon mass mobilizations of the workers and oppressed, supported by popular militias. We revolutionaries are prepared to consider critical electoral support for the HDP, but this has to be decided in every concrete situation. Critical electoral support means that we call to vote for the party, but at the same time warn the masses about the treacherous role played by the leadership of a reformist or radical-populist party in the class struggle. We place demands on its leadership designed to push the party to the left. We say to the rank and file: “Test your leaders in power, and you will see that revolution is the only way to liberation – but if you don’t trust us yet, see for yourselves!”
PKK, Guerrillaism and Apoism
The PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê – Kurdistan Workers' Party) is a leftwing-nationalist, petty bourgeois-guerilla party. Revolutionaries in Turkey and Kurdistan support the right of national self-determination for the Kurdish people, including the right to have their own state. Now most of the brave fighters who give their blood and energy for this aim follow the Apoist leaders of the PKK, the PYD (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat – Democratic Union Party), or the PJAK (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistanê – Kurdistan Free Life Party). As revolutionaries, we honor all those who gave their live for the liberation of the oppressed, no matter which party or ideology they followed. We respect the sacrifices of the uncounted ordinary Kurdish workers and peasants who are dedicating their live to struggle for the liberation of their people.
However, at the same time we have to oppose the erroneous tactics of the PKK as well as their capitulating reformist leadership. Until 2015, the leadership of the PKK was willing to surrender all weapons to the Turkish state in the framework of a totally rotten compromise. But these weapons are vital to protect the Kurdish people against the Turkish army of occupation and fascist forces. As Marxist revolutionaries we know that the working class plays the central role in society as well as in the struggle for liberation. For this reason, the struggle for liberation of all oppressed peoples must be based primarily in the cities, in the workplaces and neighborhoods, and not in the mountains, far away from the masses of the oppressed. If we want to liberate our class and the oppressed we need to build a new society ruled by democratically-elected workers’ and popular councils in the workplaces, neighborhoods and villages. No party can be a substitute for the working class and its councils. We can achieve liberation only if our class, as a class, foments revolution and takes power.
Such a revolution cannot be isolated to Turkey, but must sooner or later spread to other countries and ultimately throughout the world. Socialism is a system based on the abundance of goods, not on shortages. The economy is only able to produce in abundance on a global scale; therefore trying to build a liberated society in a small part of the world, without energetically spreading it to other parts of the world is a dangerous illusion. We need to have a united struggle for liberation and take up the struggle against injustices committed against other oppressed peoples. National egoism is not revolutionary.
In addition, the leadership of PKK / PYD / PJAK is open to flirtations with imperialism. Not only have they not fired a single shot against the American invaders in Iraq, they have also offered to serve as tools for US-imperialism by destabilizing Iran. Today the PYD and YPG (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel – People's Protection Units) are receiving strong support from US, EU, and Russian imperialism to fight against their various Islamist opponents in Syrian and Iraq. The PYD and YPG are also prepared to provide airfields to the Russian and US armies. With a strategy like this, they are not only incapable of winning any support among the Arab masses; they more and more transform themselves into the foot soldiers of imperialism. Revolutionaries must fight for liberation independent from all imperialist camps; which doesn’t mean that revolutionaries should not take weapons from the imperialists if there are no political conditions attached.
However, despite their shortcomings, revolutionaries must defend the PKK / PYD / PJAK against all reactionary attacks. It matters not if such attacks come from state police, the army, fascists or Islamists. We place demands on the leadership of the PKK, while at the same time advocating the formation of an authentic revolutionary party in Kurdistan. But revolutionaries will nonetheless fight in the streets and on the barricades alongside fighters of the PKK and will try to form united fronts with them, especially in the workplaces and neighborhoods.
We oppose individual terrorism as an impotent and counterproductive tactic in the liberation struggle. Not only do we oppose this tactic, but unequivocally condemn it if it is directed against innocent civilians and not against the repression apparatus (army, police, high officials, etc.). Individual terrorism as exercised by the nationalist TAK or the Stalinists DHKP-C isolates revolutionaries from the masses of the people. We need to fight against the state and their oppression, but this has to be done with means that are understood by at least the vanguard of the workers and oppressed. We have to make sure that our actions (not our political positions) don’t serve to isolate us from our class.
Stalinism is a special form of reformism historically tied to the fate of the existing (degenerated) workers’ states. In the 1917 October Revolution, the workers and peasants in Russia took power into their own hands and fomented the first successful socialist revolution in world history. But because the revolution stayed isolated to Russia and was only able to conquer the workers-fortress in an economically-backward country, a workers’ democracy was not able to prevail. A privileged bureaucracy with its basis in the state and party apparatus eventually came to power, the highest personification of which was Stalin. Stalin erected a dictatorship over the workers and peasants and changed the revolutionary principles of communism in a way that was more compatible with the policy of the bureaucracy. One defeat for the working class after another paved the way for the perversion of the communist policy. The Bolshevik strategy for world revolution was replaced by the Stalin’s doctrine of “socialism in one country,” the strategy for the power of the workers and peasants in poor countries was replaced with the strategy of the national-democratic stage of the revolution, and workers’ democracy was transformed to Stalinist one-party-rule. Tens of thousands of the best revolutionaries were murdered by Stalinists who strove to wipe out any revolutionary opposition to them.
Revolutionary Communists oppose the various shadings of Stalinism. All and any of them are in the end unable to overthrow capitalism and establish the rule of the working class. “At best,” they were able to abolish capitalism under extraordinary circumstances (huge pressure from the left by the masses; assistance by a degenerated workers’ state; massive threats from imperialism), but combined this accomplishment with a bureaucratic police state. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bureaucratic re-establishment of capitalism in China, it is precluded that any Stalinist party will be able to stand up against the ruling class and imperialism and found a workers’ state (to say nothing about a revolutionary-democratic workers’ state).
Only the principles of Revolutionary Communism which are linked to the legacy of Lenin and Trotsky are able to generate a consistently revolutionary party. Such a party will try to build a council-based democracy in which the workers and poor can exercise their power. While Stalinists are open to forming “popular fronts” with a sector of the capitalist class, the experience of popular fronts, wherever they were built and for whatever reasons, has demonstrated that they are only an excuse to hold back the revolutionary workers. Fighting for socialism is not possible if we subordinate the working class time to the bourgeoisie or a faction of this class.
Like Lenin and Trotsky, we as revolutionary communists do not fight for a “democratic,” “new democratic,” or “national democratic” stage of the revolution. Our class can only consistently solve the revolution’s various democratic and national tasks if the working class is allied with the poor peasants and the urban poor in the taking of power. Fighting for a stage of the revolution which preserves capitalism and allows the capitalists to stay in power is just buying time for them, and is not merely a betrayal of the socialism but also of the national and democratic aspects of the revolution. From the example of South Africa, we see that all capitalism can give the workers if they limit themselves to overthrowing a government without taking power with their councils is a sheet of paper claiming their rights. “Democratic” capitalism was not able to change the social inequality resulting from Apartheid; it was not able to stop the plundering of the mines by multinational companies; it was unwilling to perform a radical land reform; and it could not give the masses far reaching democratic rights. Only the rule of the working class can assure this. This is the logic behind the concept of Permanent Revolution. We will begin by conquering state power, ensuring that democratic issues and national liberation are consistently addressed, while at the same time establishing a socialist economy.
By “centrist” we refer to all forces who vacillate between reformism and revolution. Only the building of a consistent revolutionary party can achieve the liberation of our class. History has shown that centrism tends – if it pressured by the masses – to the left, but its inability to take a consistent revolutionary stand is a deception of the masses. The task of revolutionary communists is to show the rank and file of centrist organizations, both in theory and practice, how we are different and why they should fight among our ranks.