Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 3.6.2013, www.thecommunists.net
1. The protests which started at the Gezi Park and the Taksim Square have resulted in a spontaneously mass movement in the whole of Turkey and have even led to solidarity actions around the world. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) fully supports these protests and calls for international solidarity actions. The protests should be advanced to stop the neoliberal offensive and the repression as well as to bring down the AKP-Erdoğan government. For this the activists need to organize in action committees and to form self-defense committees against the police repression. They should orientate the movement to build itself amongst the working class and to link it with ongoing workers struggle. The protests should be united in a general strike. The RCIT says that the only last solution is the revolutionary overthrow of the regime and its replacement by a Workers Government supported by the poor peasants and the urban poor and based on popular councils and militias.
2. The world working class is watching the developments that started several days ago at the Taksim Square in Istanbul and which rapidly spread around the whole country. More than 90 demonstrations took place since than and about 939 people have been arrested. The protest movement started very small, with just hundreds of activists gathering to protect the Gezi Park against the plan to destroy the green area in favor of building another shopping mall. Tens of thousands of workers, students and intellectuals have joined the protests since then. Although the starting point was the protection of the green area, the actual mobilizations are far away from being an “ecological” movement. The main reason for the development of the demonstrations into a spontaneously mass movement is the police force which brutally attacked the protestors from the very beginning. Since then protests of migrants from Turkey as well as solidarity activists have been organized spontaneously around the world to show international solidarity with the demonstrations at Taksim Square and Gezi Park.
3. The movement, which is occupying the places with tents, is supported not only by protests in other parts of Istanbul, like the famous Bosporus Bridge, but also in all in all 47 Turkish cities like Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Konya, Samsun and many others. The activists were even supported internationally by spontaneous protests in front of the parliament in Brussels, in several German cities like Bochum and Stuttgart, the Austrian capital city Vienna as well as in the famous Zuccotti Park in New York and many others. Such a fast proliferation shows the potential of international coordination of the workers movement across the boarders also for future class struggle events. It also shows the importance of an orientation towards the organizing of the masses of migrants – especially in the imperialist countries – as they are obviously connected to political events in their homelands and often identify with the protests there. Migrants are mostly part of the lower and middle strata of the working class in Europe, the US and other, mainly imperialist states. They are therefore an important breeding ground to revive and strengthen the class struggle and to challenge the bad reformist traditions of the workers movement in the imperialist countries owing to its dominance by the labor bureaucracy and its principal supporter, the most privileged strata of the working class, i.e. the labor aristocracy.
4. On 2nd June, the movement celebrated a first victory in form of the retreat of the police forces from the Taksim Square. The mood in the streets was victorious, which is not only understandable but also well deserved. However after a temporary retreat, the reactionary AKP-Erdoğan regime again sent their repression forces against the tens of thousands of demonstrators. In addition, the project itself, the destruction of Gezi Park and the building of a new shopping mall, is not defeated yet. There are strong indications that this movement is just at its beginning as it is already spreading nation- and worldwide. In addition it also has the potential to deepen its organized support amongst the popular masses. It has therefore the potential to break the relative calm of class struggle in Turkey of the last years which existed despite the fight for freedom and equality of Kurdish people and the heroic strike of the Tekel workers in winter 2009-10. Even more the mass protest could – if they continue and intensify – lead to the emergence of a pre-revolutionary situation. The reason for this is not the role of ecological demands amongst the mass of the protestors or the vanguard of the Turkish working class. The project around the Gezi Park and the reaction of the police forces, the media and the Erdoğan government itself was just the trigger which provoked the explosion of a longer existing deep disaffection of the popular masses in Turkey. This disaffection is nurtured by the aggressive neoliberal policy of the Erdoğan government.
5. The neoliberal policy of the AKP government is the result of the greedy strives for higher profits by both the Turkish capitalists as well as the imperialist monopolies. In fact the Islamist regime defends the interest of the Turkish big capital and governs the country in the service of the imperialists. Contrary to some leftist groups which characterize Turkey as a “sub-imperialist” country, it is in reality an advanced semi-colonial country which is super-exploited by imperialism. Turkey, for example, has to pay nearly half of its total export income to foreign financial institutes. Its runs a balance of payments deficit of about 8 to 10% of its annual Gross Domestic Product, which is nearly the same level as Greece had before its financial collapse. After Turkey’s economic crisis in 2000/01 the share of foreign banks in terms of totals assets in the banking sector rose from around 3% to 33% in 2006 and 40% in 2010! These are just a few examples which demonstrate that Turkey is robbed by the imperialists and which show that Turkey is not in any kind of way near to the stage of an imperialist country.
6. The AKP government is a capitalist regime which combines elements of bourgeois, parliamentarian democracy with elements of Bonapartism – reflected in the strong role of the military state apparatus which repeatedly threatens to undertake a military coup. In addition, it is suppressing the Kurdish people who are fighting since decades for national self-determination. It is however scientifically not correct to characterize the government as “fascist” – as it is routinely done by various Stalinist and Maoist groups since decades. History has demonstrated that fascism means the complete liquidation of the labor movement by a petty-bourgeois mass movement, the abolition of any elements of a bourgeois parliament and other institutions of bourgeois democracy, etc.
7. Since more than a decade the Turkish bourgeois state is massively privatizing civil services, public places and institutions like several Parks and green areas. The Emek theatre was closed, coastal lines have been auctioned for more than $700 millions, and the favorite project of Erdoğan – the “Istanbul canal” – causes not only massive ecological problems but also creates a $350 billion investment market! One of the protestors, who was quoted in the media, correctly says: “Where are the opera houses? The theaters? The culture and youth centers? What about those? They only choose what will bring them the most profit without considering what we need.” In addition to this the permanent open state repression are strengthening the popular anger against the government. Against this background of mass dissatisfaction it is no wonder that bourgeois forces which are actually in opposition to the AKP government like the Kemalist CHP are trying to utilize the Taksim movement for their own interests.
8. One can characterize the movement, which is in its very beginning and which therefore can also fall apart very fast, as a spontaneous mass movement. It is supported by the vanguard of the working class but until now not it is neither linked with nor consciously orientated toward the working class. Until now it is influenced by mainly petit-bourgeois and Stalinist forces as well as bourgeois forces (like the Kemalist CHP). While there are some similarities of the Taksim Square movement with the petit-bourgeois-dominated and pacifist Occupy Movement in the US, it has much more in common with the early stage of the militant mass movement at the Tahrir Square in Egypt. The massive police repression, including the use of water cannons, tear gas, and even the police firing off warning shots at this early stage of the movement provoked popular outrage although the AKP still has substantial support amongst the population.
9. We as the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency stand in full solidarity with the occupation movement in Turkey. Comrades of our Austrian section actively participate since the beginning in the demonstrations of Turkish migrants in Vienna. An organized international solidarity movement with the protestors in Turkey is urgent. We therefore call the international labor movement to solidarize with the protests, and to help actively and immediately to protect it from any repression by the police and the state. It must support the Taksim Square movement in demanding the immediate release of the 939 activists who are in detention as well as the compensation of the nearly 1.000 activists who have been injured by police brutally.
10. In order to win, the Taksim Square movement must orientate itself towards the working class. Not the universities and the think-tanks of the intelligentsia will decide the fate of the movement but the proliferation of the movement into mass working class actions and organizations in the enterprises and popular neighborhoods. Therefore we say: Solidarize with the actions of the workers from Turkish Airline, the upcoming actions of the Metal workers and the public sector strike which is called for the 5th June by the Trade Union KESK! Call the leaders of the labor movement to support actively the movement! Linking the protests together can inspire the creation of a broad proletarian mass movement. A broad and militant mass protest of the workers culminating into a general strike can force the government to take back several privatizations and give back “the theatres, the culture and youth centers”. More than this it can open the road for a victorious fight against the attacks on workers rights and the limitations of democratic rights, like the criminalization of women’s right to abortion. Most importantly, a general strike has the potential to shake the government. Forward to a general strike to stop the neoliberal policy, the repression, and to bring down the Erdoğan regime! The RCIT says that the ruling regime should be replaced by a Workers Government supported by the poor peasants and the urban poor and based on popular councils and militias!
11. In order to give the movement continuity and depth, the activists should move forward to build action committees at the occupied places and to coordinate the demonstrations. Such committees should be democratically elected at regular mass assemblies. They should also form organized self-defence committees in order to protect the movement against the police attacks. To build organized roots in the working class, the movement must strive to build mass action committees in the enterprises, in the popular neighborhoods and the educational institutions of the workers and the youth. Only in such a way will it be possible to broaden the movement and root it in working class. It is the experience of numerous occupation movements in the last years, that for most workers it is not possible to participate in the occupation the whole time. This is rather a possibility only for students and unemployed. But without the full participation of the working class, the movement can not have a decisive impact to stop the neoliberal offensive of the Erdoğan regime.
12. The movement has to prepare for the inevitable betrayal of bourgeois forces like the Kemalist CHP leadership which in the past supported the most reactionary dictatorships in Turkey. Many activists of the Stalinist and Maoist organizations are participating heroically in the movement. However, their leaderships provide them neither with a correct analysis of Turkish capitalism nor with a correct program for the liberation struggle. This is why the building of an alternative leadership is the most important task today. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency calls all militant activists from the working class and the oppressed and all communists to build a revolutionary workers party. Such a revolutionary workers party should link the struggle against the neoliberal offensive of the AKP government, against the repression and for the national liberation of the Kurdish people with the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism. It is pure utopia to believe that a free and peaceful existence is possible for the working class and the popular masses as long as the AKP government is in power and as long as the capitalist class is ruling. Therefore we say that capitalism must be overthrown. This can only be achieved by the militant, armed uprising of the proletarian masses, i.e. the socialist revolution, lead and organized by a revolutionary workers party. Such a revolution opens the door to building a socialist society where the mass of the working population will democratically control all political, economic and socialist decisions.
* Victory to the mass protests at the Taksim Square!
* Immediate release of all activists who are in detention! For the immediate compensation of all injured activists!
* Orientate towards the working class: Solidarize with the actions of the workers from Turkish Airline, the upcoming actions of the Metal workers and the sector wide strike which is called for the 5th June by the Trade Union KESK! Unite the struggles and direct them against the AKP regime! Forward to a general strike against the neoliberal policy, the repression and to bring down the Erdoğan government!
* Build democratic mass action committees to coordinate and defend the protests! For organized self-defense committees! Build action committees in the enterprises, popular neighborhoods and the educational institutes!
* Support the struggle of the Kurdish people for national self-determination – including the right to form their own state!
* For a Workers Government supported by the poor peasants and the urban poor and based on popular councils and militias!
* Build an international, proletarian solidarity movement with the protests in Turkey!
* For of a new revolutionary workers party as part of the Fifth Workers International!
Join our international organization, the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, and fight with us for these goals!