The earthquakes that hit Pazarcık and Elbistan caused an unprecedented destruction in ten cities, a region with more than ten million people, inside the borders of the Republic of Turkey. In addition to Turkey and Northern Kurdistan, the earthquakes devastated many cities in Southwestern Kurdistan and north of Syria. Soon we will witness tens of thousands of toilers losing their lives, fighting for their lives and injured, and millions becoming homeless. Peoples will be deprived of drinking water, staple food, and shelter on both sides of the border in a region where poverty has already spread rampantly.
Both in its first year and in its centenary, the Republic of Turkey is nothing but rubble for the toilers. Today reveals once again that the century-old Republic of Turkey is a paper tiger. In this disaster, the incompetent state left the toilers all alone. Despite all the repeated warnings of such a disaster, it was still caught unprepared. This state failed during the 1999 Marmara Earthquake and failed again and again to all similar events ever since. It puts the burden on the toilers in every incident from the smallest crises to massive social issues.
Oppression of the toilers is the tradition of the Republic. The situation we will face after the earthquake is not new. However, this situation cannot be explained by the rulers’ inefficacy or neglect. It cannot be explained by the non-functioning state as well. Republic was built on a bloody civil war and massacres, treating its own workers’ and peasants’ lives disposables. This one-hundred-year-old state is well known for sacrificing the workers during the pandemics, forest fires, floods and wreckages. The state’s precautions protect itself and capital, not the workers. This state ensures the rule of the bourgeoisie and handful of parasites by suppressing and silencing the oppressed and the workers. It subjugates them to the worst conditions of exploitation.
The rule from the People’s Alliance is the most crystallized form of this state. The twenty-year old Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has made this fact more apparent. It fell upon the People’s Alliance, the AKP-MHP coalition, to rule the crumbling state mechanism that is fast decaying with all its institutions no longer functioning in a coherent manner. Erdoğan’s party and a group of parasitic bourgeoisie feeding off from this government have been talking about the power of the state in every opportunity possible. They are preparing for the elections with the motto of “Century of Turkey.” The current state of failure in the wake of the earthquake should not be seen as a contradiction. The same state is in charge. It is business as usual.
Revolutionaries bring politics to solidarity activities through anti-government propaganda. While capital gets busy planning new profiteering projects, the poor toilers find ways to develop different forms of solidarity work despite the state’s obstruction. They mobilize. They get together with other oppressed people via their limited means despite the government’s hindrance. The masses’ solidarity activities show that they can have no expectations from the state. And it is completely natural for revolutionaries to participate. However, spreading illusions that workers can solve their own problems through solidarity works is civil-societism. When communists and revolutionaries justify their existence for “gathering aid for the toilers,” they are forgetting the reason of their political existence. Their political goal is not to gather the best and most efficient aid for the toilers but to carry out the most efficient anti-government propaganda and agitation among the toilers. The most advanced, the highest level of class solidarity, is revolutionary class struggle to build the rule of workers.
The bourgeoisie’s earthquake prevention protects the interests of the bourgeoisie. One of the lies in justifying the state’s unnatural existence, is that the masses need a central structure to gather all financial resources to guard against such incidents and prevent or at least minimize the damages caused by disasters. For this reason, during all disasters, the bourgeoisie defends a centralized state mechanism and a functioning bureaucracy. They want “experts” to manage the situation, rather than a mobilization of solidarity and cooperation of the toilers. They tell the toilers to remain in place and listen to the experts rather than coming together. The revolutionaries’ proposed measures are for workers to form their own committees and carry out rescue efforts under their control and through solidarity and cooperation.
The only solution for workers is to take power. Toilers cannot have a voice within an unreformable system. The only way for toilers to have a voice is to form workers’ committees and the only way to form workers’ committees is to take power. Without forming such power and ending the reign of capital and rule of the bourgeoisie, nobody can live safely and in peace without any fear. In a system, where the decisions are made by a group of parasites and stinking rich bourgeoisie, workers, tailors and the oppressed cannot avoid being victims of all types of disasters. The problems of those who struggle with death, homelessness, hunger and poverty can be solved not through the conscience of the bourgeoisie and the mercy of the bourgeois state but through their own organisation under workers’ power.
Making demands to the government does not weaken the government. On the contrary, making demands to the government raise expectations from the government, let alone weaken it. Reformists who listened to the call of the bourgeoisie to “stay at home” during the Covid pandemic and advised declaration of curfew and state of emergency made things easier for the bourgeois state to work laborers to death. Such calls did not help the workers who were squeezed in the factories. And today, those who present the state with a list of demands, who call on the bourgeoisie to take responsibility and ask the state to take action will only strengthen the People’s Alliance and help the bourgeoisie in their attempt to conceal the severity of the situation, It is not the duty of the revolutionaries to tell Erdoğan to do his job.
Joining in the cries of “where is the state” can only strengthen the state mechanism. Masses who experienced the earthquake and lost confidence in the state ask where the state is. It is not unfathomable or strange for those who had lost their homes and who tried to dig through remains with their own means to make such calls. We need to say that we know where the state is. We need to show that the state is in the trenches in operations inside and outside the border, in fortified police stations, in the watchtowers of F-type prisons, at the doors of banks and holdings, and at the gates of bases and embassies of imperialist states. It is obvious that the state neglects all precautions that are beneficial to the toilers. It sees these preparations as unnecessary costs and suppresses those who object. Revolutionaries should not call on the state, especially its military and law enforcement officers, to act for a solution.
Those who want state and the army intervention are responsible for the declaration of the state of emergency. Those who reproach and provide advice to the state and the government are those who still have expectations from the system. Those who think it is a class struggle to give a list of demands to a state are those who think the bourgeois state can work for the benefit of the workers. Following the earthquake, those who cannot comprehend working class’ mobilization have asked for state’s mobilization. By doing so, they not only pointed out a useless solution for the workers, they also contributed to the opening of a dark period. It is a period initiated by the declaration of the state of emergency, which will conveniently last until the elections. From the first day, the state of emergency was put into effect through arrests, preventing the aid from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and banning news broadcast. This state of emergency, like the previous ones, will be used as a weapon against the oppressed and the revolutionaries.
Those who say that “it is not the time to speak today” want to silence the working class. All bourgeois politicians, regardless of whether they are part of the reactionary bourgeois coalition in the government or the bourgeois opposition, want to shut the mouths of toilers, silence them, repress their anger, and conceal the truth by saying that “it is not time for politics now, it is not time to speak”. The calls for unity try to mute the rebelling voices of the toilers besides the rubble. The duty of the revolutionaries is not to be carried away by this tide but to engage in politics today.
Revolutionaries should tell political truths especially today. The revolutionaries’ primary duty is to explain that without ousting the People’s Alliance and burying this bourgeois system, workers cannot be saved from this disaster or potential future disasters. The revolutionary struggle waged to oust the People’s Alliance through the mobilization of toilers is the most advanced, highest level of class solidarity, and class struggle. This duty is not the last but the first step to save lives and be prepared against disasters. For this reason, all vital solidarity activities that need to be heightened today should not delay mobilization of the toilers, but lever such mobilization.
We shoulder the responsibility of creating the revolutionary vanguard. Raising the revolutionary struggle and creating a revolutionary vanguard are urgent and crucial tasks. No other duty can replace this task. No statement can be the complete reflection of the truth unless it mentions that toilers, who at a period when they were thought to be at their most disorganized state, can do much more than the bourgeois state and organize themselves to provide the aid to their class brothers and sisters and whose ability to govern is not less than that of the bourgeoisie. They should form their own government. The efforts for relief cannot delay the duty to tell the truths at every condition.
“We will win our liberation, with our very own hands!” The two-century-old call of The Internationale still stands: “We will win our liberation, with our very own hands!” When there is no possibility for the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois state to permanently solve any social issues in Turkey, it is not possible to say anything concrete without saying “revolution is the only way!” and pointing out to the need for a revolutionary party for the revolution. Revolutionaries owe the working class this truth.
The main enemy is at home!
The bourgeoise system kills, not the earthquake!
Government is responsible for the deaths!
Revolutionary Party for the Revolution!