1. A new period of struggle against economic and political reactionism
Turkey is at the threshold of a new period of class struggle, which is affected by the revolutions in the Middle East on one hand, and the world economic crisis on the other. The mass mobilizations that broke out around the Gezi resistance against the bourgeoisie and its repressive-authoritarian government’s reactionary social and political policies, and the rapid spread of these mobilizations throughout the whole country have been the first major signs of this struggle. The masses have started to respond to the reactionary attacks that the 1980 military dictatorship and the subsequent reactionary and pseudo-democratic governments have carried out for decades in economics, politics and all other arenas of social life. Street demonstrations, strikes, protests and resistances that erupt at unexpected times at unexpected places have now entered in the daily lives of workers and the youth.
The neoliberal economic policies that the bourgeoisie implemented through reactionary, conservative and authoritarian governments have placed Turkish economy in the heart of global capitalism and enabled a new process of capital accumulation for industrial and finance capital groups. This process, in turn, brought a 5-percent economic growth, as well as foreign capital investments and export opportunities, and created an ostensible state of stability and development. However, such state was achieved at the expense of the working class – deterioration of the workers’ conditions of living, unemployment and flexible working conditions have become the norm. In this sense, one can’t speak of an improvement of the productive forces in Turkey. Rather, what’s been happening is a ravaging of the two key components of these forces, namely man and nature.
This so-called stability and development was made possible through deceiving the masses of workers and youth with dreams about implementation of democracy, advanced consumption and new fields of work. Instead, what followed these dreams were repressive policies against strikes and resistances, reactionary regulations in the labor law, and religious and conservative initiatives that aim at interfering into the everyday lives of citizens. The bourgeoisie is striving to sustain its process of capital accumulation that rests upon extreme exploitation and impoverishment of the working masses, and it is doing so by confining the employed masses and the youth into narrow political and social models.
Nonetheless, the Gezi resistance revealed that a large segment of the society has started to recognize the reactionary aspects of the politics of the bourgeoisie and has entered into a new process of struggle. Today workers, masses, and the youth are being mobilized in a way that is more resistant, more courageous and more proactive than ever.
The Workers’ Democracy Party (IDP) greets this new spirit of struggle of the masses and joins it with all its strength, but at the same time, assumes the duty of reminding the masses that they are far from having achieved an adequate level of political organization. Only a workers’ government could stop the systematic and continuous attacks of the bourgeoisie. In moving forward, the main task to accomplish is to form a political organization that will bring about workers’ power. IDP’s strategic objective is to construct the revolutionary and internationalist party of the masses that marches toward the establishment of workers’ government.
2. Struggle against the bourgeoisie’s economic attacks
The claims of the bourgeoisie that the economy has grown and strengthened and that the whole society benefits from such growth and consolidation are total scams. The reality points out to a historical loss of labor and social rights within the past decade under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) governments. Subcontracting, flexible labor and deunionization – in other words job insecurity – have never been as prevalent as they have been during the AKP period. From occupational health and safety to working conditions and regulations, everything is regulated according to the interests of capital in making more profit and fueling more competition. In this state of affairs, what fall in workers and laborers’ share are work-related deaths, low wages, lack of power to organize, and more unemployment and poverty.
Since the day that the AKP first came to power in 2002, one of the main axes of its anti-worker policies has been to reduce the labor costs in order to raise magnates’ rate of profit. Two methods have systematically been employed towards this end: low wages and extortion of social rights. As such, the cost of workers that both the government and the employers take to be a burden gradually decreased while poverty and insecurity has steadily increased such that out of 16 million workers who are officially employed today, 44% receive minimum wage and try to make a living at or around the poverty threshold. This is because the minimum wage, which must be determined as a result of a collective bargaining process, is set behind closed doors with respect to the class interests of the government and the employers, and is imposed upon workers. Hence, work with job security and a decent and humane living wage, which are people’s most basic rights, continue to be two of the most important demands of our struggle today.
While these attacks make it more difficult to live a minimally decent life, the reserve army of labor has become an instrument that compels the employed labor force to subordinate to these poor conditions. According to the official figures, there are 2.8 million unemployed in the country and the unemployment rate is 9.9% (September 2013). However, one of every two people of working age in Turkey does not have employment and the labor participation rate is about 51%. The official numbers result from the absence of missing workers (potential workers who have either given up looking for work or aren’t working) and the invisibility of domestic labor in their calculation. Thus, the official rate of unemployment in Turkey is in fact projected to be much lower than it actually is. If the rate of those who actively seek employment and are employed (labor force participation) in Turkey were to be equal to the average rate in Europe (71.3%), Turkey would have to create jobs to accommodate 11 million more people. If those 11 million were to be unable to find jobs, the number of unemployed would rise up to 13.5 million and so would the rate of unemployment, to 35%. The situation is even worse for young people. 52% of the youth are working off record (undeclared work). This, combined with missing workers, makes it such that today, 1 out of every 4 young people is unemployed. One also has to add more than one million immigrant workers to these numbers. Immigrant workers, who are trying to survive while being deprived of many basic rights and freedoms including job security, constitute an integral part of the working life and the working class.
The bourgeoisie consolidated its neo-liberal attacks against masses of workers through legal changes, one of which was the Law no 5510 on Social Security and General Health Insurance. With this law, health and social security ceased to be rights and got commercialized. Another important incident was the ratification of the new Unemployment Insurance Law in 2009, which, at a period of severe unemployment, seized funds that were allocated for workers’ use in case of unemployment. These funds, which were pooled by the premiums that the workers paid in the first place, were then reallocated towards employer/business incentives schemes. Following the vote of confidence that the AKP received on its government and policies in the 2010 constitutional referendum, it began the year of 2011 with another bundle of attacks under an Omnibus Bill. This Omnibus Bill, which covered new legislative changes, was approved in February 2011 with the exception of a few amendments that it included, and it legalized flexible working conditions. As pointed out by the National Employment Strategy Draft, a document disclosed on February 8, 2012, these attacks aimed at unsecuritization and flexibilization of the labor market. This document contains planning for the period of 2012-2013 and it offers a new wave of attacks including proliferation of flexible work based on the concept of “secure flexibility,” revocation of Severance Pay, implementation of Regional Minimum Wage Practice and reshaping of employment procedures through Special Employment Offices.
The spread and empowerment of the worker-youth resistance is one of the most important tasks that need to be accomplished. In this sense, IDP refuses the pro-capital, neoliberal policies of the repressive-authoritarian bourgeois government, which seeks the domination of precarious and flexible working conditions, commercializes the basic rights of health and social security, causes a significant increase in work-related deaths by the implementation of flexible, long, and irregular forms of work, makes workers pay the price of the crisis, and does not hesitate to turn the unemployment fund into capital for employers. No to the revocation of severance pay! Right to severance pay for all employees! No to the Regional Minimum Wage Practice! Secure job and decent living wage for everyone! No to the Special Employment Offices! Labor regulations that preserve human dignity! No to subcontracting! Secure job for everyone! Right to job security and to unionization for
immigrant workers! No retirement on deathbed! Attainable retirement for all employees! Ban on lay-offs! 4 work shifts of 6 hours without wage reduction! No to making unemployment funds capital for employers! Funds at the service of all employees!
3. Control of economy by workers, expropriation and central planning
Bourgeoisie claims that the whole economy can regulate itself in light of neoliberal philosophy under free market conditions. However, the government interventions in banks, main industrial sectors and trade through incentives, loans and direct investments show us that such claims are mere lies that aim to keep the workers and the masses away from the governance of economic life. Government interventions in economy in favor of magnates especially increase during times of crisis and they intensify, as the crisis gets deeper. Ultimately, workers are the ones to pay the price of various kinds of “rescue operations” in form of wage cuts, lay-offs, additional taxes, inflation and so on. The working class and all other oppressed masses are the real creators of prosperity. Thus, they must have right of expression, governance and control in all aspects of economy. IDP advocates for worker and masses’ control over banks, industry and commerce through unions, worker representations in workplaces, committees, and all other possible forms of organized workers’ action.
Additionally, privatization of public goods and wealth is the most prominent and exhaustive form of assault of the bourgeois government upon the working class and poor masses. Privatization attacks are one of the cornerstones of the counterrevolution programme. International bourgeoisie has put this policy into effect in various countries of the world starting in the mid-1970s in order to increase their profits that were in decline in parallel with the world economic crisis of the era, which had made privatization become the major political programme of bourgeois governments in more than fifty countries. Yet again, the working class and the masses are faced with the onslaught of privatization in dozens of countries today. As for Turkey, privatization came to fore with January 24 Decisions, prior to the 1980 military coup d’état. First the military coup executors, then the following ANAP (Motherland Party) governments under Özal (the prime minister of the era) endorsed these policies and put them up on a pedestal. Privatization policies intensified in the 1990s and have become the main policy of all subsequent governments following the 5 April 1994 Decisions of the Ciller-Karayalçın government.
All bourgeois governments of the past 27 years have been aiming for a full integration with world capitalism through their neoliberal political orientations, of which privatization policies are primary.
Nevertheless, the repressive-authoritarian AKP government has been the most loyal and successful practitioner of the neoliberal counter-revolution programme. Of the privatization attacks that have been going on for the past 27 (1985) years in Turkey, 85% have been carried out within the past 10 years (2003-2012) under the AKP government. While the privatizations that occurred between 1985-2002 period brought a 7.7 billion dollars-worth payoff, the worth of privatizations that were carried out during the first 10 years of the AKP government (2003-2012) amount up to 49 billion dollars. Tens of thousands of people got laid off as a result of these privatizations. Only the privatizations that occurred in 2012 is worth 14 billion dollars – this amount is double the total amount of payoff made out of privatizations during the 17-year period prior to the AKP government. In other words, the privatization carried out by the AKP government in only one year is twice more then the privatization made by the previous governments in a total of 17 years. IDP opposes to such form of plunder of public wealth that is produced by virtue of the sweat of workers by the bourgeoisie, and urges the immediate expropriation of all privatized enterprises under workers’ control with no redress payment.
However, IDP does not only contend with workers and masses’ opposition to privatizations. The party also argues for workers’ taking over the control of economy. Banks, in other words finance capital, rules the economy under the capitalist system. That said, it is evident that there would be a significant general improvement in the living conditions of the working masses if the workers governed industry and commerce by taking over the control of banks and assembling them under a single Central Bank. Therefore, IDP advocates for the expropriation of banks, insurance companies, main industrial ventures, and large commercial and transportation enterprises without any redress payment. Likewise, IDP rejects the repayment of external debts, which results from the dependence of a country’s economy to imperialism and to world finance capital.
These expropriations to be realized by a workers’ government that IDP will struggle to help build would also lay the foundations of a centrally planned economy and a state monopoly over commerce towards the fulfillment of the needs of the working people and the improvement of the country’s productive forces.
4. Revolutionary union struggle
The working class organizes various struggles in unionized and non-unionized workplaces. However, these struggles cannot yet pass the line of defense. While the future of a struggle depends upon workers’ limits of resistance in non-unionized workplaces, the character of a struggle varies in congruence with the political attitude of the existing union in unionized workplaces. Unions could be more challenging and resistant and they might carry on longer-running resistances, particularly in workplaces where there are lay-offs due to union organizing and activities. In such cases, what determines the outcome of the struggle rely upon the extent of the state of workers’ unionized organization on one hand, and the determination of the union on the other. In general, the resistance power of struggles remains weak due to the unorganized nature of the working class, the fragmented character of resistances, the compromising attitudes of union leaderships as well as the magnates’ aggressive opposition to unions and the government support to the magnates. Hence, IDP perseveres in the establishment of unity of action among various union struggles and the consolidation of different resistance struggles in non-unionized workplaces.
Unionization is experiencing a general decline across the world. However, the decline in Turkey is three times higher than the OECD average. While there has been an 11% decline in unionization in OECD countries over the past 10 years, the level of decline in Turkey is about 38%. This picture looks even more alarming if one considers the fact that Turkey is classified as the least unionized OECD country.
Furthermore, unions have been increasingly losing their presence in workplaces because of new laws issued by the government. The latest example of these laws is Law no 6356 on Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreement (STISK), which should be considered as one of the legal bases for the neoliberal labor regime. Under this law, millions of workers have lost the right to Collective Bargaining Agreement (TIS) and others have remained without an authorized union in various sectors. Many unions have lost their authorization to make collective bargains. Moreover, this law made the collective bargaining process, which is the “trust of freedom of unions,” legally subject to the bosses’ objection by revoking union compensation.
In short, these imposed laws that are in accordance with AKP’s class character. Authoritarian understandings of governance enabled the AKP government to restructure the collective labor relations towards an “insecure flexibility” paradigm that is based upon subcontracting, precarious, flexible and temporary forms of labor. Meanwhile capital has strengthened its exploitation of labor thanks to the repressive-authoritarian governments of the past 10 years. Within this framework, IDP struggles for the removal of unionization threshold, the reestablishment of the right to strike and collective bargaining for all workers, the removal of all legal obstacles to unionization, the prohibition of lay-offs due to unionization, and the punishing of all magnates who have an aggressive positioning against unionization.
Moreover, in unions that touch upon a small number of the organized working class, bureaucratic leaderships could restrict the organization of effective struggles against the aforementioned attacks, or even stump already erupted struggles with their attitude of class compromise. These leaderships might halt, isolate, and eventually extinguish actions that they had once started/supported, due to base pressure and/or concerns over their self-existence and continuation. IDP strives for the establishment of union administrations that are independent of bureaucrats and consisting of grassroots militants, the accession of workers’ democracy that incorporates all workers within the decision-making process, as well as the institution and strengthening of workplace committees and councils.
The establishment/proliferation of pro-government unions that are known to take their strength from government support, and the conversion of these unions into transfer belts to stiffen the political-ideological hegemony of power holders during the period of the AKP government are worrisome facts. What is more, these pro-unions are able to force employees to resign from other unions
of which these employees are members through coercion and pressure enabled by the government support so as to make the employees become their own members. The most striking example of this is Memur-Sen (pro-government union for civil servants). The membership to Memur-Sen has increased seven times more during the AKP period (2003-2013) and exceeded 400 thousand people. This fact, in return, caused the unions that are known to hold a tradition of struggle to rapidly lose their base, and to become incompetent. However, there also exist counter-examples. For instance, workers in the metal industry recently took action against the bureaucracy of the union of which they made part and switched to another union that they found to be more combative. This kind of positive examples may increase in frequency in the days that follow. IDP fights for the full independence of unions from the state.
Within the framework of revolutionary internationalism, IDP aims for the adjoining of unions to international revolutionary syndical organizations and currents and, through such linkage, for the unification of various working class struggles on a world scale.
5. Revolution for democracy
Discussions about democracy that have been going on in Turkey since the Ottoman Empire era are now transformed into propaganda, demagogy and even blackmail tools against the masses in the hands of the AKP government. The AKP government embarked on a programme of removing all administrative and judicial obstacles to capital accumulation that the bourgeoisie needs in order to replace the national economy in global capitalism. Such programme is introduced to the masses as “democratization process.” Operations that make part of this “democratization” – such as the legal cases that are pushed-pulled during meetings with the European Union, partial modifications in the 12 September (1980) Constitution, continuous negotiations with the Kurdish political movement, proclamations for “reform packages,” and pledges to create a new Constitution – all fall within the semi-Bonapartist (semi-democratic) boundaries of the regime. While certain democratic-bourgeois institutions grow stronger during this process, the fundamental features of the system still remain coercive, and the regime still continues to be a military-police regime.
For instance, prisons are overflowing despite this rhetoric of democracy. The government condemns all thoughts and actions that it dislikes to be terrorism. The response of the regime to the Gezi mass mobilization and the protests that followed was to deploy state terrorism. Prototypical thinking and behavior is imposed upon society under legal guise in every aspect of life from politics and the media to academia and art. Expectations that arose from the Imralı process about a permanent, historical and peaceful resolution to the Kurdish problem are discredited by discourses of “national unity and togetherness.” The “new Constitution,” which is referred and envisioned as the key to stop the blood and tears that have been shed for nearly 30 years, is nothing but an effort to institutionalize neoliberal interests of capital in administrative, judicial and political spheres. In this very matter, “peace” has become a field of “abuse.”
IDP draws attention to the importance of struggling for the adoption and enactment of all democratic rights:
Withdrawal of all de facto and legal obstacles to democratic rights and freedoms! End the regime’s repression and violence! Elimination of the electoral threshold! End all political and military operations! All political prisoners should immediately be released! The thoroughly rotten, corrupt, and fascist police force that has become the weapon of religious reactionism against the democratic masses should be dissolved! 1980 Constitution, which is the source of coercion and state terror, should be repealed; MGK (National Security Council) should be dissolved! Forward for a Constituent Assembly that is organized to represent all workers and masses!
AKP has continued the discriminatory and repressive policies that have been carried out against Alevis, and all other religious minorities and non-believers throughout the history of the republic. The budget of the Presidency of Religious Affairs increased by about 10 times during the period of the AKP government; the number of Imam Hatip schools (Muslim vocational schools ran by the Turkish state) has risen from 450 to 2,074 as of October 2013. However, under real secularism, if it actually existed, it would not be acceptable for the state to pay the salaries of religious functionaries, nor would it be possible to train religious functionaries in state-ran schools. Fundamental to the concept of secularism is that all sanctuaries and religious functionaries should be financed with funds raised by religious groups, and not with taxes collected from all citizens. For the constitution of real secularism, IDP supports the termination of all repressive and discriminatory policies against Alevis, and all other religious minorities and non-believers, the dissolution of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, and the closure of Imam Hatip schools, and the cancellation of compulsory religion courses in schools. IDP believes that democracy in Turkey cannot be established by the capitalist class, who is the very obstacle to democracy and freedoms, who keeps democratic gains under constant threat, and who is the mere responsible for the crisis. Today, the bourgeoisie, with all of its wings from social democrats to Islamists, has transformed into a reactionary class. A true democracy can be established only by workers who fight under an independent working class political leadership in this country and all over the world, and with the abolition of capitalism.
Today, one of the most important tasks of the working class is to strengthen the struggle by demands for political democracy. Once one understands the repressive ways in which the workers are forced to take “pain-killer drugs” that are prescribed to them as remedy for economic and political crises, one cannot but realize the importance of the political struggle for democracy. It is a historical necessity for the working class to carry the struggle forward by guiding the masses/the entire labor force. If such struggle becomes limited to the building of “bourgeois democracy,” the very first people to lose the struggle would, yet again, be workers.
During the struggle for democracy that shall raise the political consciousness of the masses, if the revolutionary party and the mass mobilization bodies of the working class prove themselves to be an alternative that could “reconstruct the nation around its own core” by arising as a vanguard force and liberator before masses; if the party and the bodies in question construct the bridge between the immediate everyday demands of the masses and the socialist objective through revolutionary slogans; in short, if they make democratic demands attain a revolutionary and class content, then, the struggle for political democracy would cross the boundaries of the existing order and become a permanent revolution in character.
If so, proletarian revolution and socialism gets introduced into the country’s agenda. The link to be established between democracy and the struggle for socialism in Turkey does not depend upon certain intermediate “stages” in the economic and political sense. Rather, it depends upon the level of consciousness and organization of the working class and the masses, as well as on the capacity of the revolutionary leadership of the proletariat.
The so-called democracy within the boundaries of the capital order is nothing but fraud. Therefore, the solution to the problem of democracy cannot be left in the hands and to the mercy of political representatives of magnates. The working class should establish democracy with its own hands and power. The only real democracy for the working class is one in which capitalism is abolished and the working class take the entire economic, political and social life under its control as the productive and governing force. Thus, the only real democracy for the working class is a Workers’ Democracy.
6. Kurdish people’s right to self-determination
The Kurdish problem results from the policies of denial and destruction of the Republic of Turkey, which are reinforced by its founding ideology that worships one state, one flag, and one nation. In line with this ideological-political position, the Kurdish identity was officially ignored up until the 1990s. Any thought or attitude on behalf of Kurdishness was punished severely by legal and illegal methods. PKK’s armed struggle that started in 1984 made the Kurdish problem visible for the first time and brought it to the fore as the main item on the country’s agenda. The “low-density war,” which took the lives of tens of thousands of people, started to directly shape the Bonapartist regime and the bourgeois governments.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, many attempts had been made to physically destroy the Kurdish political movement via direct counter-insurgency methods. Yet, the movement continued to gain power and prevalence despite Öcalan’s capture in an international operation in 1999. It has to be kept in mind that Öcalan had already started to revise the aim for an “independent Kurdistan” and to develop the idea of a “democratic republic” long before his capture. This project of democratic republic was formulated on the basis of allowing “cultural autonomy” and “territorial
governance” instead of a separate Kurdish state, and it had already had its counterpart within the bourgeoisie since the times of Özal government. This counterpart reflected the need for a new process of capital accumulation and the desire to adapt to the changing equilibrium of the world conjuncture that were felt by the local bourgeoisie on the rise in the region on one hand, and a segment of the hegemonic bourgeoisie whose interests necessitated the loosening of the state apparatus on the other. The ruling politico-economic powers of the already existing order played all of their cards, including the military coup card, in order to fail this new process that was clearly going to be to their detriment. This battle that had caused a change in the power equilibrium within the regime, reached yet another new equilibrium with the AKP governments, where old powers of the regime were defused in large part.
The AKP governments have never stopped employing the classical politics of repression-violence of Bonapartist regimes against the Kurdish political movement. The AKP governments strived to tolerate and manipulate the effective gains achieved as a result of the struggle as well as the leaps in the Kurdish national consciousness that the 30-year long “low density war” has engendered. It is with this aim that the AKP governments also embarked upon partial democratic initiatives about the Kurdish problem. Even though every single one of these initiatives were confined by the outer walls of the regime, Öcalan has never done something that would, in his own words, put the AKP government to his trump for the sake of the continuation and strengthening of these initiatives. His boycott attitude offered passive support to the 12 September 2010 referendum, which could have been a crucial stage and a breaking point for a possible restructuring of the regime. The Imralı Process, which was said to be a key stage to reach a resolution point, took place within the aforementioned political-historical background. This adaptive process, which did not include the right to self-determination, was an expression of the armed-reformist character of PKK as well.
A revolutionary transformation of oppressive and violent regimes can only be built around the right to self-determination. The right to self-determination, which includes the right to separation, means that the Kurdish people can decide, of free will, how to live, without being subject to any pressure, limitation or guidance. However, the AKP government set the boundaries of the Imralı process negotiations by drawing red lines. Therefore it is hard to describe the Imralı process as a process in which the Kurdish people exercise their right to self-determination. It is rather a process in which they surrender it.
The only and real ally/friend of the Kurdish people is the working class, and the working, poor people in the region. The Peoples’ Democratic Congress and similar structures are far from fulfilling the needs of the proletariat and of labor-centered struggles because of ideological, political and programme-related reasons. The clearest indicator of this distance is the Imralı process. This kind of structures cut their own throat by taking AKP as the reference point in constructing democracy, even though AKP has been the most anti-worker government in the history of the Republic with the neoliberal policies it has been following for the past decade.
IDP believes that defending the democratic rights of the Kurdish people is one of the main duties of the working class and the masses: The state of the Republic of Turkey should officially acknowledge the existence of the Kurdish nation! The right to mother-tongue education shall not be restricted to private schools and classrooms! End political and military operations in the Kurdish regions! General amnesty for all prisoners! Right to self-determination, including independence, for the Kurds and for all people!
7. Struggle against imperialism
Turkey is dependent on imperialism despite the AKP government’s “Ottomanist” arrogance. Turkish financial and industrial capital that has bonded with multinational capital via methods such as partnerships, sharing and merging serves as the mediator of the systematic exploitation of the country’s workers by imperialism. Governments are also mobilizing all legal and illegal means so as to turn the country into a “cheap labor-haven” for imperialist capital. The repressive-authoritarian government enabled a great increase in the overseas transfer of profits of imperialist capital and assured that the rate of return on this foreign-invested capital (the gross rate of profit) is between 20%-40%, especially during the last four years of the world economic crisis. Thus, the incoming foreign-investment is capable of bringing all of its invested capital back to the imperialist center within three-four years in form of profits.
External debt is another mechanism of exploitation that imperialism has on dependent, semi-colonial countries. During the last tens years of the repressive-authoritarian government, the amount of Turkey’s external debt repayments has reached 455.4 billion dollars and one fifth of this amount (93.6 billion dollars) was repaid in form of interest. Both the cooperation among financial and industrial capital groups and the aforementioned mechanisms of imperialist exploitation still continue with might and main. The external debt burden of the country has reached 350 billion dollars. IDP strives to immediately stop the repayment of external debts. Nonetheless, the only way to stop this systematic plunder completely is to cut off all ties that the country has with imperialism, and the only way to do so is to establish a workers’ government that shall overthrow the bourgeoisie.
Imperialism does not only make use of its presence in Turkey in order to maintain the country’s dependence upon itself. Such presence also allows it sustain its dominance and threats over the Middle East region. The U.S. military bases and nuclear missile warheads in Turkey are means of threat and pressure against the peoples of the Middle East. The bourgeoisie in Turkey is able to carry on its expansionist policies with the aim of reaching new markets thanks to the strength it draws from this heavy presence of imperialism in the country. IDP struggles for the immediate shutdown of all military bases and the total elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the country as well as for Turkey’s withdrawal from NATO – the organization that serves as the military ally of imperialism.
Moreover, IDP also demands the immediate recall of Turkish troops on duty in Kosovo and Afghanistan, who are at the service of the NATO alliance and the bourgeoisie in Turkey. It defends the independence and unity of Cyprus that has been divided into two on behalf of the interests of imperialism; the Island must be cleared of off military bases of imperialism; the Turkish and Greek soldiers should withdraw from the Island.
The dismission of imperialism from the overall region necessitates the common struggle of the people against the regional bourgeois dictatorships that are in alliance with imperialism. IDP supports the revolution processes that have began in the Middle East to the fullest extent and it considers the economic and political struggles of the working masses in Turkey to be a part of these processes. IDP envisions the liberation of the peoples of the region residing in the establishment of a Federation of Middle Eastern Socialist Republics and struggles for the establishment of the latter.
8. Struggle against male-dominated capitalism
Neoliberalism strives to benefit more from women’s paid or unpaid (household) labor in order to create a cheap army of labor all over the world. Therefore, it seeks to strengthen population policies that assign more birth per woman as well as family policies that reinforces women’s unequal role within the household. The AKP government, in a way that is no less typical than its counterparts elsewhere in the world, first turned the Ministry of Women’s Affairs into the Ministry of Family and Social Planning. By doing so, it set up a mechanism of pressure and control, which defines woman only in so far as she exists within the family, decides how many children a woman should bear and the kind of child delivery method a woman should follow, and stigmatizes pregnant women while trying to ban abortion at the same time. The latest Women’s Employment Bill that the government prepared with an aim to “harmonize work and family life” actually condemns women to part-time, piecework jobs by making nonchalance and insecurity the norm in women’s employment. It is not surprising that these policies that transform home into workplace, cut off social security, get away with the requirement to establish day care centers in workplaces, and put all the day care burden on women’s shoulders call for a blessing of the concept of family. Provision of secured, insured and unionized employment instead of flexible and part-time work! Equal pay for equal work! Household labor and childcare are not the fate of women; all work regulations, except right to maternity leave, should consider the joint-responsibility of men. Paid and non-transferable paternity leave must be implemented for all male parents. Right to accessible, free and mother-tongue daycare service! Right to retirement for housewives!
The outcome of consecration of the family during the AKP government period is a 1400% increase in the murder rate of women. This means that at least five women are murdered everyday by men
who hide behind the titles of father, husband, and lover. The AKP government overlooks the male violence by calling it “domestic violence,” which it considers to be an affair between husband and wife that is nobody else’s business. As opposed to protecting women, the government rewards the murderers with penalty abatements such as “unjust provocation.” These facts reveal that the AKP government claims to solve violence against women with politics of morality. Impunity in cases of rape of women and children as well as the non-application of the “groundedness of women’s statement” clause in cases of rape and harassment are clear expressions of state violence against women. Unincreasing number of women’s shelters, of which there are 72, despite a 14-times increase in the murder rate of women in the past 10 years is an indication that the state protects men through its system of justice, laws and law enforcement agencies. Sexual Violence Crisis Centers must be established; women’s statement must be essential in trials against violence! Hate Crimes and Crimes against Women must be considered as deliberate acts of crime! Qualified and equipped women’s shelters in every neighborhood!
The high officials of the state are reproducing sexist ideology everyday with their public discourses on the media that subordinates women to a secondary position compared to men. The increasing objectification of women in textbooks engenders more and more conservatism in education every year. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex individuals who are subjected to physical and sexual violence because of their sexual preferences are still otherized and made invisible by AKP’s conservative politics. Detection and punishment of violence against LGBTI individuals as well as the consideration of hate crimes as deliberate act of crimes are of vital importance to LGBTI individuals. Sexist media and education should be supervised. Legal regulations that prevent oppression and discrimination against LGBT individuals must be put in place. Penalty abatements in hate crimes and crimes against women must be abolished.
Proliferation and consolidation of women’s struggle against these aforementioned attacks is one of the most important tasks to accomplish. In this regard, IDP rejects all sexist and discriminatory views that define woman only in so far as she exists within the family, that condemn women to stay home via precarious, flexible, undeclared and irregular forms of work, that formulate political discourses over female body via population policies in order to create cheap labor force, and that uncover and legitimize violence against women through politics of faith-morality.
For women’s struggle for liberation, the Workers’ Democracy Party endorses a way of organizing that is against the male-dominated system and capital, hence, anti-capitalist and based on a class-based programme. It embraces the unification between the struggle against capitalism and the de facto struggle against male-dominated system today and every day instead of deferring women’s liberation to an uncertain future. Women’s oppression cannot be eradicated with reforms. Women shall become free and liberated of discrimination only when the economic, political and social bases of class- and male-domination are abolished.
9. The youth shall not be condemned to future-less-ness!
One among every four university graduates is unemployed in Turkey. The AKP government paved the way for child labor with its 4+4+4 education system and completely surrendered education to capital by having signed the Bologna Agreement. The new progressive education system opens legal and practical channels that allow the employment of any child as free, industrial labor power from the age of 11. As for Bologna process, it envisions the organization of education and all subsequent forms of employment in a way that conforms with the needs of capital. While the student status has become a cover to hide the current unemployment, the students themselves have already been pushed into the cheap labor market on behalf of building job experience or having internships. The unemployment that has become a matter of concern on workers’ agenda following the deepening of the crisis, also reinforces worries about future-less-ness in the eyes of students. This neo-liberal state of affairs emphasizes the following three points of convergence between the workers and the youth toward building a network of common struggle: i.) unemployment, ii.) flexible and precarious work , and iii.) future-less-ness. Each attack that is carried upon the working class and its class-based gains directly concerns the youth as well. This fact alone proves that today, universities no longer raise intellectuals and civil servants, but workers and unemployed people of the future.
Cops are waiting for young people fighting for their future at the universities – a situation that recalls the September 12 traditions. The government’s batons are protecting the magnates’ profits in the education “sector.” These neo-liberal ambitions are what lay beneath the oppression and violence that the youth is subjected to. The Turkish bourgeoisie gets its weapons and spy satellites used in its dirty war produced in same universities under the name Teknopark. When the subject matter is the retransformation of universities that have been made into strategic and crucial fields of investment, it engenders more anger than surprise to know that even the official number of students who have been imprisoned reaches up to three thousand.
We own our future! Education is a public right and IDP demands the equal provision of free and mother-tongue education to everyone. End the exploitation of the youth under internships in vocational schools, and under experience building in universities! No to flexible and precarious work! End student hunt! All students prisoners must be released! Elimination of all sanctions! Ban on establishment of private universities! Expropriation of all private foundation universities with no redress payment! Withdrawal of the Turkish Republic’s signature from the Bologna Declaration! Equal job opportunity for male and female students after graduation! We want secure jobs and secure future! Forward for workers and students’ governance in schools! The niche of future workers is by the ranks of the working class!
10. Right to accessible city, health and education for the handicapped!
Consisting of 12.29% of the overall population in Turkey (about 8.4 million people), handicapped people constitute another group of population who is also subjected to state-led systematic discrimination in Turkey. The lack of provision of access to public services such as health, education, transport, etc. and of employment to the 78.9% of the handicapped shows that the state is also a party to such discrimination. What matters for capitalism and the neoliberal-conservative AKP government that serves as its representative is not the assurance of a dignified life for all people, but the existence of a “healthy” labor force that would yield to more profits for cheaper cost. Government’s policies for the disabled assume the character of “charity,” rather than entailing a purpose to make the handicapped a part of social life.
IDP believes that the exclusion of handicapped people from social life is a deliberate choice of the capitalist system. IDP advocates for the removal of all barriers that prevents handicapped people’s access to all public services as well as their full participation in social life. Right to accessible education and health, livable cities and secure jobs for all handicapped people!
11. End the plunder of city and nature!
The capitalist destruction of nature has never been so deep. The expansion of destructive forces in Turkey and across the world is causing irreparable damage to the nature and the human health and culture. Countless brutal attacks on natural environment continue to occur such as the construction of power stations, the privatization of natural (water) resources, and the emergence of seed monopolies – which all over-utilize nature in haphazard ways for the sake of offsetting the intense effects of the crisis and of subsidizing finance and industry. The cities have also exposed to plunder as well due to same reasons. The attacks on natural and urban environments combined engender a very profound destruction over nature as well as over culture. The future of humanity is therefore in danger. That said:
1-) The level of energy production aimed with the present HES (hydroelectric power plant) and nuclear investments is far beyond the current energy needs. The purpose of these investments is not to fulfill public needs for shelter, heat and production. The real objectives are to revive the construction sector and to assure the complete withdrawal of public sector from the process of energy production and distribution. While the bourgeoisie is trying to turn Turkey into Europe’s boiler room, it causes an irreversible massacre of nature.
IDP stands against these projects altogether! It is in fact possible to renovate all unhealthy energy transmission lines, which corresponds to 30% of the total energy produced in Turkey, with the amount of money required to construct only one single nuclear plant. IDP is for the expropriation of the energy sector, one of the most polluting industries, and for its replanning under strict control in favor of nature.
2-) As for agriculture, the biodiversity has been on steady decrease. Various seeds and species have
become extinct due to the production of GMO (genetically modified organism) crops. While this situation makes a few international seed monopolies and domestic food companies get richer, fluctuations in food prices that it generates is becoming the new threat for the masses. The regulations in the agricultural sector, especially during the recent period of time, are implemented in accordance with the tendency to subsidize monopolistic companies. While the control of cultivable soil by large companies has increased the profitability of the agricultural sector, the access to food by the masses has gotten more and more difficult and the biological diversity has plunged.
IDP is against seed monopolies. IDP is for the protection of biological diversity and the prevention of the exploitation of soil through the expropriation of all food monopolies and cultivable soils owned by large companies, and it stands against the kind of agricultural planning that benefits the capitalists and disregards the needs of people.
3-) The exposure of urban public spaces to plunder is considered to be another remedy to the crisis. Various urban parks, historical and cultural places, and natural assets in cities all over the country are opened to construction and made part of the capitalist sector. IDP is against all urban transformation projects that are carried out in this direction. In particular, the third bridge project in Istanbul that is in process of planning as well as the construction of a new airport and port in city would destroy the city’s northern forests. These projects, which are expected to increase the city’s current population by 8 more million, are thus efforts to transform the entire city and make it the financial capital of Europe. These kind of urban assaults that find their most powerful expression in Istanbul are nothing but a series of destructive plans that the bourgeoisie across the country has embraced to offset the capitalist crisis. IDP is against the exposure of all publicly owned urban assets to the private sector and their arbitrary plunder under the name of urban transformation. In addition to the plunder of public wealth, the looting of the houses we live in makes our living conditions increasingly difficult over time and targets our cultural life and experiences grounded in the past. IDP stands against all these attacks and advocates for the idea that no urban transformation project shall be put in effect anywhere without the approval of those who live there.
12. Our principles and strategies
The Workers’ Democracy Party (IDP) is a socialist party. It argues that the source of all inequality, exploitation, hunger and misery in Turkey and all over the world is capitalism and that the only way to overcome these problems that affect the majority of humanity passes through the eradication of capitalism and the construction of a socialist economy and society with no exploitation or class.
IDP is an anti-imperialist party. The imperialist countries, in particular the United States, the Great Britain, Germany and France, are the ones to sustain the current state of semi-colonial and underdeveloped countries through economic and political oppression and the ones to be held accountable for the suffering, wars, massacres, exploitation and looting that the people and workers of the world have been subjected to since the beginning of the 20th century. Breaking and destroying the dominance of imperialist countries that employ economic, political and military means in order to usurp the wealth produced by the workers of the world is one of the most important tasks on the path to reach the liberation of the peoples of Turkey and the world.
IDP is an internationalist party. It considers all the workers of the world as making part of one single class and makes effort to develop solidarity for a common fraternal struggle among the working people of the world by overcoming national borders. It strives for the construction of the International, the socialist revolutionary party of the world working class, along with other national parties and movements all over the world that share the same socialist and revolutionary principles.
IDP is a revolutionary party. It absolutely rejects the idea that capitalism, in its present imperialist stage, could be rendered more “humane” through reforms and thus aims for radical transformations in economy and social structure. It works toward a transition from a bourgeois state structure that enables capitalist domination to a workers’ democracy.
IDP argues that the construction of socialism could only be realized under the administration of a workers’ government. Its main goals are to realize the dispossession of financial capital and grand bourgeoisie, the expropriation of banks and main industrial enterprises, the appropriation of foreign commerce under state monopoly, and the establishment of a centrally planned economy that prioritizes people’s needs under such government.
IDP’s socialist project proposes a reconstruction of the state and the regime based upon the principle of workers’ democracy. Workers’ democracy means that the working class and the masses have a right to speak and make decisions about all matters concerning the economic, political and social governance of the country through the medium of committees, councils, boards, and similar forms of self-organization. IDP relentlessly struggles against the formation of a caste of bureaucrats, who takes away the power of speech and decision from the masses and collects it in its hands, at all levels of organization from committees and unions to the state.
IDP considers the struggle against religious-conservative impositions, fascist attempts, and bourgeois governments’ attacks on the working class and the masses to downgrade democratic gains to be an integral part of the combat for democratic rights. It also argues that the issues such as land reform and national independence that bourgeois governments and regimes could never resolve, can be solved under the administration of a workers’ government, which is the unique power that could sustain a democratic revolution to the full extent.
IDP respects all national and ethnic minorities’ right to self-determination. It argues that all nations have right to secede from the states of which they make part, and that the power that would enable the execution of such right resides in workers’ government and democracy. In this sense, IDP invites all oppressed and exploited nations and peoples to unite against capitalism and imperialism by forming free federations of their own will.
What will save the peoples of Turkey and of the Middle East from national oppression and imperialist domination is the foundation of the Federation of Middle Eastern Socialist Republics by the free will of the workers and the masses. IDP considers the common struggle of the workers and the peoples of the Middle East against all kingdoms, dictatorships, and religious, theocratic or pseudo-democratic regimes of the region to be an integral part of internationalism.
IDP aims for the unity of the working class and the revolutionary mobilization of the masses in its struggle. It never puts itself in the place of the working class or the masses. In contrast, it strives to guide them by offering its revolutionary programme to their common struggle. IDP respects other revolutionary workers’ parties and it invites them to a common struggle gathered under the united front of the working class and within the framework of workers’ democracy against bourgeois governments and for the establishment of a socialist governance.
IDP implacably fights against discrimination and inequality for the democratic and social rights of women, homosexuals and all oppressed and marginalized groups in the society and it supports the idea of positive discrimination in cases where its implementation is doomed necessary for these groups. IDP argues that the basis of all forms of exclusion lies in the class-based structure and that the true liberation will only be possible under socialism.
IDP is a democratic centralist party that is founded by male and female workers, working and young people that have gathered together around the framework of the party’s programme. What makes IDP unique as a party is that all decisions that have to do with the determination of the political line of the party are taken together in free and democratic debates among all members of the party and that, once a decision is taken, the members of the party implement it as one body.