AKP, which is the enemy of labor and supporter of capital, has been defeated!

The Labor-Freedom Alliance is now even more necessary!

Even after utilizing all of its oppressive forces, and political and financial means in order to support the candidates of primarily AKP and the People’s Alliance as a whole, the Palace (Erdoğan) regime has suffered a historical defeat that is most difficult to compensate for. According to unofficial results, AKP has left the ballot as the second party for the first time in 22 years of its rule. It lost 3 metropolitan municipalities, 12 provinces and 179 counties. Again, unofficial results show that adding the losses of MHP, the AKP-MHP bloc will have lost 4 metropolitan municipalities, 14 provinces and 202 counties.

It is not CHP’s policies that have won the elections, but rather AKP’s anti-labor economic policies

There are many reasons as to the frustration AKP experienced at the local elections after its success at the presidential and parliamentary elections just 10 months ago. Taking a picture of the state of consciousness of the workers (even if it is a distorted one) of course requires an examination that spans through all neighborhoods and all ballot boxes, with the release of the official results. However, we can say that it was AKP’s economic policies that are generally responsible for this great defeat.

The May 2023 elections took place under conditions in which workers thought that change was possible through the ballot box and even held high hopes for this outcome. Despite this, no real labor alliance could be presented to the workers, and the socialist left entered the elections in a fractured way. Despite the weight of the economic crisis, the People’s Alliance (lead by Erdoğan) had left the elections victorious by increasing the minimum wage, pensions and social aids.

However, in the process of 31 March 2024 elections, the Palace regime took loans from the World Bank, managed its budget through a sharp hostility to labor and did not make any concessions to workers even for show only, as it was facilitating an out from the economic crisis that favored the bosses. The expression that minimum wage raises would now take place once a year, the humiliation of the retirees that were now pushed to below the hunger threshold and the opposition to increasing pensions spread the anger that was brewing against the government. Moreover, putting candidates that owned hundreds of apartments and held masses of wealth in front of the public eye in high cost of living conditions and keeping on the uninterrupted trade with Israel as it demolished Palestine, combined with the emphasis that CHP put on social municipalism (even if it was just for show) prompted workers to abandon AKP en masse. As a result; in the 31 March local elections, under conditions that lacked a convincing labor alliance, the workers turned towards CHP, the strongest alternative in order to punish AKP.

Even this picture shows once again that the real division in Turkey is one that is based on class.

CHP is a system party, it is no friend of labor. No system party – including CHP – defends separation from the One Man regime

We must underline that CHP has no objection to the economic policies the masses reacted to. Today, no system party -especially CHP- opposes the anti-labor policies which are led by Mehmet Şimşek. It is so much so that even Ekrem İmamoğlu, by stating that Şimşek is a good economist, had offered his support to Şimşek’s plan of putting the weight of the (economic) crisis on the workers. It is clear that the CHP management is a supporter of the anti-labor Medium Term Plan. Şimşek’s economic policies are the same as those he would implement had Kılıçdaroğlu been elected president. The only difference CHP holds towards economic policies is that these policies would be implemented under a seemingly stronger legal system. This shows that CHP is an adamant supporter of a current economic counterrevolution against the labor class.

Consequently, although the masses turned their back on the economic policies of AKP, which causes the poverty, for a very justified reason, CHP is one the main supporters of these policies.

Even leaving all this out, CHP has not followed a pro-labor policy up to this point. The attitude held by CHP-led municipalities against unions, them being protested by their own workers many times and the conditions of the workers employed in municipal subsidiaries are enough to paint a picture.

The mass discomfort caused by AKP’s plunder-rent centered municipalism which went on for years had also manifested itself in the 2019 local elections as the masses punished AKP. With the 31 March local elections, this punishment -combined with AKP’s persistent counterrevolutionary economic policies- reached its peak up to now.

CHP not only supports counterrevolutionary economic policies but also reveals its intentions of recognizing and rehabilitating this regime by not offering a promising concrete out from the oppressive regime. Not offering a perspective of separation from the Palace regime, CHP does not dare to speak of a new constitution which recognizes the basic democratic rights of the working class, the Kurds and the oppressed. For this reason, CHP’s victory in the local elections does not indicate a transformation in the nature of the regime, and as long as CHP continues to be a party striving for the restoration of the system, better days do not await workers and laborers.

As long as there is not a municipal system which puts needs ahead of profits, which is audited by workers and in which elected officials can be called back, CHP’s victory cannot be read as a victory for the workers.

On the other hand, the other system parties also offer no separation from the oppressive One Man regime and the system of exploitation. Alongside the fall of the “hotshots” of the general elections (namely Saadet [Felicity], Gelecek [Future], Deva [Democracy and Progress] and İyi [Good] Parties), their ignorance of the urgent needs of the working people should not be forgotten. The rise of Yeniden Refah (New Welfare-YRP), alongside being ideological, is the result of a populism aiming towards workers and laborers. We will keep warning the workers against YRP’s proposition of national development through National Vision. Alongside having no relation to a separation from the exploitative system, the “National Vision” also has no problem with the One Man regime.

Another thought-provoking point of the 31 March local elections is that the racist policies of Zafer (Victory) Party, which tries to blame the capitalist crisis on immigrants, found a greater response than that of the socialist parties combined. The class base of Zafer Party and the class character of the section to which it finds response in must be analyzed well and the threat posed by the development of this racist party -which does not yet have a street organization- to the working class, the Kurdish people and immigrants must be followed carefully in the coming period.

DEM Party is the victor of the elections in the Kurdish provinces

Despite all the pressures and political blackmail of the Palace regime, the votes it carried to the region, the paving the way for Hüda-Par (Free Cause) and the efforts for undemocratically appointing trustees at the ballot boxes, the great victory of DEM (Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party) in the Kurdish provinces once again shows that the Kurdish people continue to stand behind their just struggle. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that CHP, which is trying to gain the support of Kurdish voters in the West with the Urban Consensus, has not put forward a concrete, genuine stance against the attempts to steal the will of the people by transporting voters in many provinces, especially Şırnak and Kars, where DEM would win, except for the words expressed by Özgür Özel in extremely limited ways.

One of the prerequisites for a separation from the oppressive regime in Turkey is the recognition of the basic democratic rights of the Kurdish people. Neither the solution process nor the “consensus” offers the constitutional guarantee of democratic rights, which is the real guarantee of peace. It is seen once again that the real interest of our poor peoples lies in the labor and freedom alliance of the Kurdish people and the working class of Turkey.

The socialist left has put its own needs before the needs of the masses

In the local elections, where the masses clearly distanced themselves from AKP, it was AKP’s counterrevolutionary economic policies that determined the outcome. However, this did not automatically lead to an increase in support for socialist parties. The few district municipalities won are not enough to change the general picture: A large section of the socialist left has stayed away from the perspective of a labor alliance in the local elections and from the effort to build the most extensive unity of the working people. Instead of proposing a united struggle of the workers independently from the bosses, they have emphasized their own numbers and images.

In addition to this major deficiency, by supporting Kılıçdaroğlu against the repression of the Palace regime from the first round of the presidential elections and by siding with Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş in the local elections, the overwhelming majority of the left in Turkey refused to build an independent option from the bourgeois opposition and rode on the coattails of CHP. The socialist left, which portrayed the image that an out from the oppressive regime was possible with CHP, became an appendage of CHP in the eyes of the masses and became indistinguishable from it, thus failing to gather the votes of the workers that had broken away from AKP. On 31 March, even the total number of votes cast for the socialist left was incomparably lower than the number of votes cast for TİP (Workers’ Party of Turkey) in the general elections of 2023.

Essentially, by once again wasting the opportunity to lay the foundations of an alliance that could transform the future of Turkey, the socialist parties reduced their credibility in the eyes of the masses. Although the masses distanced themselves from AKP, in the context of the struggle for a separation from the regime and capitalism, it must be stated that the socialist movement was one of the big losers of the 31 March elections.

As Workers’ Democracy Party (İDP), we called for a labor alliance on the road to the elections and before the elections. In the absence of this labor alliance, we carried out an active election campaign with our worker candidates in Manisa and various districts of Istanbul with the slogan “Workers Should Rule” within the framework of our cooperation with TİP. In the Kurdish provinces we called for votes for DEM candidates and in other provinces we called for votes for pro-labor, socialist candidates, primarily TİP.

Despite all material impossibilities, our party has carried out a self-sacrificing, disciplined and proud campaign. We are aware that this campaign in itself cannot offer an alternative to the working class of Turkey. The main work of İDP will continue to be to make the modest alliance we have made with TİP a real point of attraction independently of the bosses by uniting with all the forces struggling for labor in Turkey in every field of class struggle in the coming period, and to continue building and strengthening our party in this process.

Workers’ Democracy Party

1 April 2024

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