*** Joint statement on Mayday and May 14 Elections by International Communist Workers, Union of Communist Militants, and KöZ.
The presidential election has been the center of attention in politics for a long while. Calculations regarding the election on May 14 determine not only the statements and actions of political movements but also their inaction, silence, and hesitance. The movements claiming to lead workers surrendered to thought of post election hope.
took over the minds of the movements claiming to lead workers.
Those who claim that the “one-man rule” will end or a democratic Turkey will be established after the presidential election have summarized what needs to be done to destroy the old regime and build a new one with one sentence. “Vote for Kılıçdaroğlu against Erdoğan in the election!”
These are baseless expectations. Toilers can’t build the democracy they need by winning a majority in the parliament of the bourgeois dictatorship or taking its executive office. Wage slaves could only liberate themselves by destroying the institutions guarding the system of capital, not by joining those institutions.
Gaining democratic rights and freedoms in Turkey without a revolution is simply impossible. Acquiring those rights under the wing of the bourgeoisie and its politicians is a pipe dream. Only through a revolution can we achieve workers’ freedom to organize, the withdrawal from NATO, the release of political prisoners condemned as “terror offenders,” and the right to self-determination of the Kurdish nation.
Openly fawning over Kılıçdaroğlu is a minority position among the leftist in Turkey. The dominant sector among the left has a rather insidious position. They keep repeating, “If we weaken the one-man regime on May 14, it will become easier for us to strengthen our struggle!” The dominant section also claims that if Kılıçdaroğlu loses, this will be the last election ever to exist, grow fear that they feed on.
“Mr. Kemal” is the co-nominee for the presidency of an alliance that includes the prime minister and ministers of Erdoğan’s previous governments and the familiar politicians of the pre-AKP (Justice and Development Party) era. The government burned people in the basements of Cizre, while Ahmet Davutoğlu from Table of Six* razed Sur. People’s Alliance is responsible for inflation, while Ali Babacan from Table of Six promotes austerity. The government pursues the isolation of Öcalan, while Meral Akşener from Table of Six considers Demirtaş her arc enemy. “Mr. Kemal” acts as the spokesperson of IMF experts and criticizes the government for not being pro-NATO enough. He voted in favor of removing the immunity of Demirtaş and promised to eliminate the movement in Qandil Mountains. If he wins the election, international capital, its extensions in Turkey, and a section of imperialists will breathe a sigh of reliefş, Not the toilers.
The presidency of Kılıçdaroğlu will not weaken the system. It can only serve as a boost for the system by replacing a worn-down government. We are going through a period when the government is under pressure from all corners. Erdoğan could not defeat the opposition despite his aggressive policies; his constitutional changes caused further trouble. Moreover, as he tried to claw Zab through Operation Claw-Lock, he got locked in Rojava. The wreckage caused by the Kurdistan earthquake on February 6 is still not removed. Under these conditions, supporting alliances is akin to throwing a life vest at the bourgeoisie. It is outright class collaboration.
Paving the way for the presidency of “Mr. Kemal” will cost the toilers dearly. Toilers breathe through their actions. Propping up Kılıçdaroğlu means saying no to all activities by toilers and workers. It means saying no to strikes, resistances, demonstrations, marches, and boycotts by saying, “Let’s not play into Erdoğan’s hands” and “Mr. Kemal can’t win the elections in any other way.”
Those who ask for votes for Kılıçdaroğlu are assuring the bourgeoisie while causing distrust among the working class. The commitment of the Kılıçdaroğlu-supporting left is clear: “We will propagate the ideas of revolution and socialism under ordinary circumstances but under extraordinary circumstances; when things become serious, we will not act in an “irresponsible” manner. We will support the bourgeoisie in its effort to return things to ordinary.”
Mayday demonstrations illustrated the cost of supporting Kilicdaroglu for toilers and the labor movement. Those who promote the illusion of democratization of Turkey by tagging along after the capital turned Mayday demonstrations into Kılıçdaroğlu election rallies. Those who limit the struggle of workers to economic demands left the field open for the Table of Six.
Mayday is not the festival of the capital; it is the day of struggle for the working class. It is the day of striking workers, not the pro-IMF bosses and their spokespeople. It is the day of the toiling masses who were left under the wreckage, not the parties of the contractors.
Mayday is an international day of struggle. It is the day for those who support the oppressed Kurdish nation’s right to self-determination, not the supporters of invasion and chauvinism.
Mayday is the day of unity and solidarity of the class. It is the day of those who say, “Migrants are part of the working class,” not those who say, “We will send Syrians back to their country.”
Today, focusing on the parliamentary elections is a way to conceal class collaboration. The left-wing groups attempt to prove their so-called independent, socialist, anti-imperialist stances through their parliamentary candidates. However, those who bow down to Kılıçdaroğlu in presidential elections can challenge neither imperialism nor the capital in the parliament. Those who aim to “put the seal of toilers on the parliament” or “use the parliament as a platform to voice toilers” rather than “exposing the true nature of the parliament” can only embellish the already weakened parliament of Turkey through their cheap parliamentarism.
It is not enough to refuse to support either alliance of the system in the May 14 election. It is necessary to propagate that stance and express it through actions. Settling for an ambiguous class struggle, revolution, and socialism propaganda and avoiding taking a concrete stance in the presidential election mean shirking the responsibility of challenging the dominant class collaborative propaganda among the left.
Those determined to wage the revolutionary struggle should not refrain from stating the political truths through their actions at a time when the counter-revolutionary current is at its strongest.
The slogan “Class War, Not Class Collaboration!” means more than leaving a subtle mark on history. The lands we wage our struggle on are lands of revolution. The attempts to turn these lands into rose gardens without thorns for the capital by removing revolutionary dynamics have failed and will continue to fail.
Class collaborators can instill the idea of defeatism in the toilers, not because they are talented or influential. They can do so only because of the timidness and hesitancy of those who adopt a revolutionary line. Revolutionary forces will emerge as a real political power that can upset this crumbling regime’s balance. They will do so by challenging it face-on through a substantial unity of action and not by withdrawing into their corners and focusing on their partial work in the face of this liberal wave.
Our statement on the elections is a direct response to those who seek to impose class collaboration and a step in building a unity of action of revolutionary forces. Our call goes to all those forces with revolutionary claims.
Don’t Surrender to the Liberal Wave Imposing Class Collaboration!
Democracy Will Be Built Through the Revolution, Not by the Bourgeoisie!
No Votes for the Alliances of the System in Both Rounds of the Election!
*Table of Six is the name of the six-party opposition alliance in the presidential election against Erdogan.