Fully conscious of our responsibility towards the revolution in Turkey and in the world, TKP/ML at its 40th anniversary of its founding
continues to stand for winning the future with
protracted people’s-guerrilla war!
Historical Conditions That Materialized the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML)
The TKP/ML entered the stage history 40 years ago, on 24 April 1972, under the concepts and leadership of Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, its founder. With this entrance, the united proletariat of Turkey and Kurdistan (Turkey) met with its real communist party “once again,” and the proletariat of the world regained its battalion in Turkey.
The TKP/ML is the continuation of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) that was established under the leadership of Mustafa Suphi in September 1920 at its founding congress in Baku. The TKP was the first communist torch in Turkey. The emergence of the TKP/ML meant the rekindling of this torch as it took on the mission to carry the communist tradition through.
Mustafa Suphi and his comrades were murdered at an ambush by the Kemalist forces on 28 January 1921. Until the establishment of the TKP/ML, the post-Suphi era was marked by 50 years of pacifist – parliamentary – revisionist trends. The founding of the TKP/ML was a vital event that further prepared the ground for a path from social evolution to social revolution in Turkey.
Establishment of the TKP/ML was a milestone in the workers and the revolutionary movement in Turkey, breaking through every convention that had so far held back the struggle. It was a rise-up that offered new avenues for the movement, introducing illegality as opposed to legality, “revolutionary struggle” as opposed to peaceful-parliamentarian struggle, struggle forms outside of the system as opposed to the forms within, radical revolutionary line as opposed to pacifism, and a fundamental break away from Kemalism as opposed to applauding it, challenging all taboos regarding the Kurdish national question, and resisting against fascism with the critical force of weapons in the arena of the war.
Establishment of the TKP/ML was a concrete answer for our revolution’s noble aims and concepts. The previous era was marked by revisionism that was dressed up as Marxism. The founding of the Party, however, marked the peak of a new era that directly challenged previous 50 years’ moldy mental state. The Party was at the centre of a political storm that freshened up the stale air. Most importantly, the Party, as an alternative to this forgery of Marxism and diluted Marxism, was a strong light that revealed revolutionary Marxism and its indispensable ideology to the worker’s class.
However, it must be underlined that 40 years ago the TKP/ML did not suddenly appear as the vanguard of the class. The Party emerged through extremely difficult and intense struggle that was given in heavy underground conditions, which were a consequence of the period’s international and national situation. Without a doubt, the chief commander of this struggle was Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, Party’s “intellectual treasure.”
He was an excellent synthesis of theory and practice, reasoning and courage, discovery and transformation, and knowing and doing. He was the most refined representative of our Party, putting bones and flesh on the transforming power of will in the fire of masses.
It must be noted that there were optimal conditions and advantageous factors in the beginning of 1970s in the emergence of Comrade Kaypakkaya and the Party that he led. Both our Party and the period’s petit bourgeois revolutionary organizations benefited greatly from these optimal conditions and advantageous factors: winds of the history were blowing in their favor, class struggle within the country was getting sharper, and the struggles of workers, peasants and youth were intensifying, sometimes reaching the point of armed conflict.
What were the conditions that gave way to the emergence of the CPT/ML?
The 1970s represented a period in which the old society, pregnant to revolution and socialism, was feeling the pains of labor with increasing frequency all throughout the world but especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The light shed by the October and the Chinese revolution still strongly shone in these regions and provided a deep source of inspiration. Within the same period, the scuffle among imperialists, especially between the USA and the Russian Social Imperialists, was carried on at an increasingly intense rate in the forms of plunder, enslavement, and exploitation.
The essential feature of the period, however, was the rising resistance of oppressed peoples and nations of colonial and semi-colonial countries against imperialism and reactionaries throughout the world.
Another important feature of the period was the thunders of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), echoes of which shook the entire planet. The GPCR, its fuse ignited by Mao, was an extremely important experiment that, in terms of involving the masses in the undertaking, descended to waters’ source and challenged established taboos. It was centered on the question of world view, focusing on the struggle between Marxism and revisionism, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and the socialist path and the capitalist path. The October Revolution was an awakening bell for the world’s proletariat and the Chinese Revolution contributed greatly to the further development of this process of awakening. The GPCR carried this influence into new decades with new dimensions of impacts worldwide. As it succeeded in mobilizing millions of people in China, the GPCR played a crucial role also in activating the oppressed masses throughout the world.
The state of affairs in the 1970s was also, to a point, a product of the events that especially shook Europe during the rebel years of 1968 and 1969. These events, marked by the slogan “We want it all and we want it now!” were initiated and carried out by the student masses, to a large degree, in the West European metropolises. They also embraced certain sections of the European working class and had an igniting impact on explosive elements within the colonial and dependent countries in the periphery of Europe.
The 1968 Movement, with its gravity center in Paris and Europe, took its place in the history as one of the waves of revolutionary waters that were rising on a global scale. It was not a coincidence that the revolutionary tide of 1968 took place concurrently with the GPCR, the Vietnamese revolution, and the guerrilla wars that put stamps all over the 20th century. All these events were correlated and had reverberating effects on each other.
Thus, the world had entered the 1970s with intensifying contradictions clashes and chaos. These contradictions and clashes manifested themselves in the following main categories: The contradiction between the labor and the capital in capitalist countries, the contradictions between socialist countries and capitalist countries, the contradictions among imperialist countries, and the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples. Of these, although the ones among imperialist forces at times heightened sharply on especially regional scale, the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples of the world was the chief and the most decisive one. On the scale of war and revolution, the side that was occupied by revolution was weighing heavier as the principle current. This was characterized mainly by the struggles of peoples in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which were composed of proletarian strata, led by petit bourgeois components, and based on the aim for revolution and socialism. The era of proletarian revolutions that had opened with the 1917 October Revolution, effectively encompassed the 1970s as well. And the preferred method of fight for the oppressed peoples of the world proved to be the guerrilla warfare.
The demand for guerrilla warfare was noticeably boosted by the success of the Cuban revolution. The tragic death of Che Guevara in October 1967 in Bolivia by the hands of trained hunting dogs (military units) of US imperialism triggered a massive wave of sympathy for Che and further enhanced the popularity of guerrilla warfare across the continent. Despite the fact that Cuba could not avoid being stuck in Russia’s orbit, it was still to a large degree the only support base that inspired and triggered the revolutionary initiatives in the continent. This situation went on until the real Maoist parties appeared in the horizon.
As for Turkey, the working class and its closest allies, who were living in abject social and economic conditions under the stifling oppression of the bourgeois feudal fascist dictatorship, could not remain unaffected by the powerful winds that were sweeping across the world. Similarly, the revolutionary tide of the 1960s, the conditions that were ripe for revolutions throughout the world, and more specifically the situation of the laboring masses in Turkey made it possible for the revolutionary and communist movement to rise to its feet. Consequently, with the re-emergence of the revolutionary communist movement, pacifism and reformism in Turkey were to be marginalized from the life and left to expire.
From the volcanic eruption of the 1970s three major revolutionary movements rose up, led by three great revolutionaries. These three great revolutionaries were Deniz Gezmiş (Gezmish), Mahir Çayan (Chayan), ve İbrahim Kaypakkaya. The three major revolutionary movements that they led were, respectively: People’s Liberation Army of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Halk Kurtuluş Ordusu, abbreviated THKO), People’s Liberation Party – Front of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Halk Kurtuluş Ordusu, abbreviated THKP-C), and the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (Turkish: Türkiye Komünist Partisi/Marksist-Leninist, abbreviated TKP/ML).
By the time these three major revolutionary movements appeared in Turkey, neither the ruling classes could effectively rule the other classes nor the toiling masses wished to be ruled as usual. From one end to the other, the entire country was boiling with mass actions of all sorts, from land occupations by poor peasants to worker’s strikes and resistance and from large meetings and forums to massive street demonstrations. all these were happening in a country with no established democratic customs or tradition or genuine political freedom.
As direct consequence of such a situation that at first, as a field bearing the most responsive, most organized, and most vibrant individuals, among the university youth that Denizs, Mahirs, and Kaypakkayas emerged. They eventually became keys to the aim and policies of the democratic people’s revolution in Turkey.
By the early 1970’s, conditions were quite ripe for revolutionary initiatives and activities. There was a popular trend towards the left. Revolutionary thoughts were widespread. Revolutionary publications and leftist milieus were growing ever bigger in volume. Revolutionary ideas were flourishing among students and especially among the university youth. Soil in Turkey had become generously fertile. Kaypakkaya had emerged and developed from within this environment, first within the Worker’s Party of Turkey, then within the Proletarian Revolutionary Illumination, and then within the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey (RWPPT) .Eventually, with the other elements of Marxist-Leninist opposition to the RWPPT that gathered around him, he distinguished his authenticity and uniqueness.
It was a period when worker, peasant, and student resistances, strikes, and occupations were widespread and frequent. As an exemplary embodiment of Mao’s saying, “Organising the masses is politics,” Kaypakkaya could be seen as an active participant in most of these events, which functioned for him as venues of education in class struggle, making him a competent revolutionary in both theory and practice. Especially, the Great Worker Resistance of 15-16 June 1970 played a major role in the development of Kaypakkaya’s concepts.
Whilst being wrought within the core fire of actions and practice among the toiling masses, he was also engaged in a fierce battle within the RWPPT, which further helped develop his ideas to the point of mature ideological, political, and organizational synthesis. During this process, he gradually refined his formulations about revolutionary armed struggle, and prolonged people’s-guerrilla war. He accurately diagnosed the policies of the RWPPT as rightward deviation from Mao and eventually conceptualized the TKP/ML.
This process also included the struggle against the reformist and parliamentarian line that had been imprisoned within the existing system during a period that preceded him by several decades.
As mentioned above, with its internal and external favorable conditions, the era that produced a leader such as Kaypakkaya also prepared the ground for the emergence of revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations such as the PLAT (THKO) and the PLPCT (THKP-C) and their leaders.
What were the fundamental lines that distinguished the TKP/ML from revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations such as the PLAT and the PLPCT?
One of the foremost distinctions is the ideological and political foundation that defines the TKP/ML’s communist identity and the Party’s organisational formation that enables this foundation to embrace the reality in Turkey. TKP/ML’s analysis of Kemalism, the national question, and the history of the Republic of Turkey and, based on these analyses, its evaluation of the Turkish state’s characteristics set the Party apart from the period’s revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations.
While it was taking its theoretical and ideological shape at the early stages, the Party’s position during the “great realignment” process that was experienced within the International Communist Movement also had a decisive and long lasting (in fact still effective) impact on its ideological makeup. At the time, the Marxist-Leninist line, led by Mao’s Communist Party of China (CPC), was waging a historical struggle against Khrushchev’s fake communism, in other words, against revisionism. At this struggle, the TKP/ML aligned itself with the CPC among the ranks where Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Zedong embodied the interests of the working class.
The position of the Party at this realignment had multiple major implications for its identity and its path up to this day. Taking ranks alongside Mao at this struggle has to a large degree determined the Party’s political, organizational, and military line. Thanks to this line’s guidance, the TKP/ML was able to integrate Marxism’s general, fundamental, and universal theories with Turkey’s concrete conditions and draw a map for the revolution in this country.
Today, the Party’s ideological identity, knitted with Marxist-Leninist-Maoist fabric, proves to be capable of embracing the 21st century. The revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations of the period, having deprived themselves of the new and particular experiences and lessons of the revolution in China and of the GPCR, as the highest form of class struggle under the proletarian dictatorship, have suffered political erosion.
Revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations failed to comprehend that under the proletarian dictatorship the revolution must be carried on not only at the economic front but also at the ideological and political fronts as well, as proposed by Mao; that, based on the principle of unity of opposites, the socialist society too is full of contradictions; that under the proletarian dictatorship the front line of the struggle between two paths, two classes, and two lines is within the communist party; and that, after the revolution, as suggested by the new perspective that crystallized with the experience of the revolution in China, the restoration of capitalism, in other words the internal source of the return to the old regime, would be led by the new bourgeoisie, representatives of the capitalist path, that emerged from within the communist party, as opposed to the classes that are overthrown by the revolution as suggested by the view that is based on the experience of Paris Commune. Consequently, above mentioned organizations remained behind the development and the class struggle.
Just advocating the proletarian dictatorship is not sufficient to become communist; it also requires advocating the formulation that proposes the continuation of existence of classes and class struggle under the proletarian dictatorship. Accordingly, it could be stated that the weakest point of these organizations was the failure to absorb Maoist traditions. By the same token, the most robust aspect of the TKP/ML is the fact that it gets constant nourishment from these traditions. This difference has been the most obvious ideological points of distinction between the Party and the revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations in Turkey.
Distinction of the Party has been clear in terms of its political line as well. Having assessed Turkey’s social and economic structure as semi-colonial, semi-feudal, the Party has been able to follow a unique path of revolution adapted specifically to the actual conditions of the country. The active and uninterrupted presence of the TKP/ML in the class struggle for the last 40 years attest to the fact that the Party’s diagnoses of society’s foremost contradiction, which determines each stage and phase of the struggle, and fundamental contradiction, which has a determining role throughout the revolution, are accurate. Subsequently, this bears witness to the fact that the path, methods, policies, and strategies that are adopted by the Party are also affirmed by the history.
The TKP/ML proposes that the essential characteristic of the revolution in Turkey is the new democratic revolution, which is essentially based on the land revolution; that the political leader of this revolution is the proletariat; that its main force and body is composed of peasantry; that the petite bourgeoisie is a close ally of the revolution; and that, as a necessity of this phase of the revolution, the left wing of the national bourgeoisie is a strategic ally of the united front. Targets of our revolution are imperialism, feudalism, and comprador capitalism. Our revolution is composed of two phases. In the first phase, the goal is to resolve anti-imperialist, anti-feudal contradictions, remove the semi-colonial, semi-feudal structure and transform the society into a free, independent and democratic one. In the second phase, the revolution is to be carried on without interruption, based on the principle of continuous revolution, well into socialism and into the golden age. For the victory of revolution in our country, there are three fundamental weapons: The party, the army, and the united front.
In a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country such as ours, the most effective way to capture the power is the people’s war – protracted and dispersed people’s-guerrilla war. According to this path, red base areas form the embryonic mechanisms of the new democratic state and make up the fundamental component of the war, which facilitates the strategy whereby cities are surrounded step by step from the countryside through prolonged revolutionary armed struggle. This strategy gets its nourishment from the fact that in villages, compared to cities, the power relation between the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces is rather in favor of the revolution. As Kaypakkaya had foresightedly pointed out, even if the population of peasantry within the general population goes through a decline due to the gradual dissolution of feudalism, in other words even if the land’s supremacy is eventually replaced by the money’s supremacy, it does not cause a “fundamental” change either in the essence of the democratic revolution or in the city – countryside relationship. Subsequently it does not necessitate a fundamental change in the above-mentioned strategy, either. The only fundamental change that such a development would bring about would be in the content and therefore in the tasks of the democratic revolution.
Experiences of revolutions and countless practices have so far indisputably proven that revolutionary force is an essential requirement for and the mandatory lever of every successful revolution; as such, revolutionary force is the heaver of our revolution, as well.
It must be noted, however, that although armed struggle forms, make up the primary forms of struggle for our revolution, this approach does not negate other, peaceful, legal, etc, forms of struggle. Within the current conditions of our country, revolutionary armed struggle takes the form of guerrilla warfare. Revolutionary violence is the fundamental form of our revolution. Unlike in capitalist countries, in countries such as ours, where warfare is the principle form of struggle and the army is the principle form of organization, the Party, from the very outset, assumes the “combatant party” identity. “The climate of war” is where the ideological and political tempering takes place and the organizational built-up is put to test.
In our country, the structure of the state, from its earliest stages, takes the form of fascist dictatorship, ruled by the comprador bourgeoisie and the landlords and, unlike in capitalist countries, revolution remains as the only option against fascism.
The following composes some of the basic characteristics of our country: Established democratic customs and traditions are absent. Political freedom is very limited and deprived of any security. Bourgeois democratic elements, already stumpy at best, stand on precarious grounds. Separation of powers does not exist. Fascism is chronic and bears feudal characteristics as it invites pre-capitalist elements to the power as partners. Subsequent to the chronic state of fascism, revolutionary situation, too, is chronic, although with certain degrees of ups and downs. National question of the oppressed national minorities remains unresolved, which creates further polarization in the dominant / oppressed nation contradiction. There is continual economic and political instability, which carries at its foundation a chronic internal depression. Imperialism, feudalism, and comprador bourgeoisie, known as the three great mountains, form an alliance against the people.
In such countries, the comprador bourgeoisie is a weak one and can barely retain the power through the extensive support of external imperialist powers. It is closely allied with feudal elements since very early days and quickly resorts to violence as an overcompensation for its weakness. This, inevitably, results in brutal exploitation and savage violence. Consequently, there is very little room in the reality of such a country for our party to carry out its tasks through ordinary means, methods of struggle, and organizational forms. In a country where fascism is chronic and violent repression of people never takes a break, there isn’t any viable alternative form of struggle to that of armed struggle.
Another aspect that clearly distinguished the TKP/ML from other organizations of the period was the fact that the TKP/ML represented a decisive departure from Kemalism after 50 years following Mustafa Suphi and put forth the most clear minded thesis regarding the Kurdish national question. When considered within the conditions of the period, these resolutions and thesis had the effect of a tremendous thunderbolt on a cloudless clear day. Thesis presented by the TKP/ML, in a sense, dispelled the magic and revealed the naked truth. By exposing the true nature of Kemalism, the Party was also revealing the fascist nature of the Republic of Turkey. Furthermore, this exposé of the fundamental characteristics of the state and Kemalism as its official ideology brought the Kurdish national question from the obscure sections of the backstage to the direct light of the front stage. This also meant a direct challenge and refutation of the official ideology’s nonsense and its denial-based attitude towards the Kurdish national question and finally presented a Marxist perspective to the matter.
Even the revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations of the period based on the nationalism of the petite bourgeoisie’s left-most and most radical section viewed Kemalism as anti-imperialist. It follows that they reasoned that Kemalism is progressive and pro-national liberation. In an environment where even the most radical revolutionary petit bourgeois organizations could not avoid assuming such convivial attitude towards Kemalism, the fact that our Party from the beginning condemned it as fascism had far reaching implications as well as being indicative of its distinction among its peers.
These theses, put forth 40 years ago by the TKP/ML, under the leadership of Kaypakkaya, preserve their validity even today. Interestingly, the analysis of Kemalism as presented by our Party is today an accepted norm by most circles.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of CPT/ML’s analyses was their implications regarding the Kurdish national question. The CPT/ML’s approach to this question was a direct and shocking challenge to the taboo regarding the Kurdish nation’s right to self-determination, a taboo that hitherto had become so accustomed to. In response to the official ideology’s status-quoist theses and propaganda, which were based on the denial of existence of Kurds, the TKP/ML unconditionally defended the Kurdish nation’s right to self-determination, including the right to establish own sovereign state. The Party found it crucially important that this right is respected by the toiling peoples of all nations under the slogan of brotherly class solidarity. Although it was atypical at the time, the comprehensive thesis of the TKP/ML on this matter is functioning as a reliable compass for most of today’s organizations.
The ideological, theoretical, and political foundation that was laid under the leadership of Kaypakkaya still ensures the solidity and endurance of our Party, after 40 years. Thanks to this solid foundation, our Party did not get lost even at history’s most sharp twists and turns. Today, the TKP/ML carries on its struggle with this foundation as its most reliable support, beacon, and compass.
As the first quarter of 21st century is drawing nearer to the second quarter, our Party celebrates the 40th anniversary of its founding through the fires of people’s war. It is thanks to the Party’s ideological, theoretical, and political foundation that today the Party is still persisting on guerrilla warfare; that it still resolutely withstands neo-liberalism’s globally diffused poison; that it still remains standing despite the ideological storms of universal liquidationism; and that it has not strayed from its path despite temporary defeats and the prolonged hold of reactionaries on toiling masses.
It is a fact that today our Party does not occupy the heavier side of the scale. This fact, however, does not cast shadow on our assertion and conviction that the power will eventually be overtaken through prolonged and dispersed people’s war. After all it is also a fact that the correct line is not always capable of achieving victory by itself. A revolutionary victory requires a favorable combination of subjective and objective conditions and internal and international situations.
As Lenin had insistently repeated that what is really important is the conviction in the correctness of the path followed. A great goal cannot do other than generate a revolutionary energy that creates miracles. Even though eruptions of revolution that are born out of contradictions that occupy our country may take long period to spread out, it is inevitable that it will eventually spread out to the entire country. For every class bound society preserves and regenerates the means of self destruction. What is essential is to decisively carry on, with a fight that is persistently renewed, in the path that is drawn with the ideological and political resolution and determination.
A Brief Review of the Party’s Status throughout its 40 Years of Struggle
It should firstly be underlined that a party that has endured 40 years of tough struggle cannot possibly be void of mistakes, failures, and various accidents along the way. That is especially so considering that throughout its 40 years of experience, as a revolutionary instrument of war, our party has been under the constant military and civil siege of bourgeois feudal fascist state; that it has waged its struggle under the strict and stifling conditions of illegality; and that it has survived many internal and external setbacks. It is quite natural that throughout the history of struggle of a party, which has engaged in the preparation of the future of revolution in Turkey and in the world, its successes and tactical victories are also accompanied by certain failures and temporary defeats.
Nevertheless, the TKP/ML has so far managed to maintain its solid foundation. This is testified by its preference during the realignment process within the International Communist Movement, by its strong ideological stance against the universal liquidationism, by its persistence in its communist identity, by its time proven resolutions regarding our revolution’s aims and concepts, and by its resolute struggle within the party against various factions. While other self acclaimed glorious organizations and guerrilla forces eventually abandon the revolutionary theory and practice to continue within the boundaries of the system, the TKP/ML never hesitated to stand upon the solid foundation of Marxism – Leninism – Maoism (MLM). However, it has not yet been able to fulfill the expectations of people. Nor has it attained the desired level of advances in the guerrilla warfare.
Since its foundation in April 1972, the TKP/ML could not avoid making a number of mistakes that cost the Party considerable strength and several temporary defeats. Despite the wealth of hard-won theoretical, tactical and practical experiences in developing a valid war line, it has not yet met the hopes that the working class and its nearest allies have invested in its line. When confronting with setbacks and temporary defeats, however, the TKP/ML did not try to comfort itself by crying and whining about its shortcomings. Nor did it every time re-evaluate its ideological and political line in order to come up with excuses to join the bourgeois ranks. Instead, it persisted on its communist identity and its strategy to wage a prolonged people’s war.
Despite the fact that the TKP/ML possesses a full fledged theory, a solid MLM ideology that illuminates its path, a strategy for protracted warfare, and 40 years of experience in struggle, it has not yet attained the position that is expected of it. It has so far fallen short of successfully integrating the Party’s fundamental principles with the conditions, experiences, and prevailing tasks of each new period since Kaypakkaya.
Consequently, the Party was not able to attain the quality of a combatant party; to maintain a stable and continuous leadership; to come up with relevant tactical policies for each emerging situation; to correlate the internal liquidationism with the universal liquidationism and to put up a developed ideological struggle against them; and to actualize the motto that revolution is the product of masses.
These failures, on the other hand, were not solely due to the Party’s shortcomings. There were a number of historical circumstances that had enormous negative effects both on the Party itself and on the masses in general. The military fascist coup of 12 September 1980, for example, brought about such catastrophic devastation that still has repercussions on the masses and on revolutionary organizations in Turkey. Before the shock of the coup could be fully absorbed, Gorbachev’s storm blew in from the north and further fueled the universal liquidationism.
At this point, however, the most essential task is to learn from these mistakes, shortcomings, and failures. As Lenin had pointed out “A political party’s attitude towards its own mistakes is one of the most important and surest ways of judging how earnest the party is and how it fulfills in practice its obligations towards its class and the working people. Frankly acknowledging a mistake, ascertaining the reasons for it, analyzing the conditions that have led up to it, and thrashing out the means of its rectification — that is the hallmark of a serious party; that is how it should perform its duties, and how it should educate and train its class, and then the masses.”
To its credit, the TKP/ML, at its 8th conference, made a considerable headway in the right direction by recognizing its shortcomings and providing answers as to how to overcome internal and external obstacles. Admittedly, however, there is still a long way to tread on this matter.
The future is bright and the path is illuminated. What is essential is to carry on the struggle without falling into despair at the sight of mistakes, shortcomings, and defeats. The humanity should no longer tolerate the situation where the tiny rich minority gets ever richer at the expense of the ever more impoverished masses of the world.
The Deepening Crisis and Its Consequences
The 40th anniversary of our Party coincides with a chronic crisis that has gripped the entire globe. The more the system attempts to create a breathing room for itself through artificial remedies, the more the seeds of future and even stronger crises are planted. As Marx had remarked about 150 years ago, “The real obstacle before capitalist production is the capital itself.” The current crisis is an inevitable consequence of the contradictions that are harbored within the capitalist society itself. The “periodical” recurrence of waves of crisis is a natural outcome of this system.
In 2008, the current economic and financial crisis was at its peak. This one, as are other periodical crises, is tied to capitalism’s general crisis with unbreakable bonds. As is, it has grown out of the arms of the general crisis of the system and spread first throughout the US and Europe and then across the world. The size and scale of it is such that it even led to many questioning the future of the system.
At the upper level, it brought about a number of obvious hard blows to the system. The credit rating institutions considerably lowered the ratings of certain major banks in the US and Europe, as well as of certain countries in Europe and even of the US. Moreover, many countries, including and especially US, is currently suffering under a huge budget deficit and for many countries the national dept has become an insurmountable mountain.
The crisis increased the fever of the US economy, rendering this engine of the world economy further dysfunctional. Economic strengths of Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, for example, were sharply reduced, with Greece on the verge of total collapse. Economic decline of the EU countries was such that the Euro zone tumbled into a situation of chaos and confusion, causing tremors at the very foundation of European Union (EU), leading to questioning its very existance. Many internal contradictions within the EU, so far kept covered up, visibly came up to the surface and revealed, along itself, the EU’s other weaknesses and limits of expansion. The system is currently running out of viable prescriptions for its desperate crisis. There are even proposals to remove countries like Greece, Portugal, and Spain out of the Euro zone, which would mean serious reconsideration of the EU’s future. In the meantime, Italy, the third biggest economy of the Euro zone, appeared at the bankruptcy corridor with its 2 trillion Euros dept. These badly damaged economies of the EU could make a slight breathing room for themselves only by pushing forth severe austerity packages, which of course translate as writing the bill of the crisis again off out of the toiling masses’ account.
Series of consequences continued with political ramifications. For the sake of the show, administrations in a number of EU countries had to be replaced with those that would more submissively comply with the requirement of the EU. Within the EU, disputes over how to handle these economies have become ever more intense. Although currently the voice of those who argue and demand extra financial support seems to prevail, the debate’s pendulum keeps on swinging between the option of removal of worst hit countries and of tolerating through more financial support. Both options, by the way, carry enormous risks. Of these, the former would unravel the EU to its dissolution and the former is just a costly gamble with a remote possible successful outcome. This is bedsides the fact that this is an enormous burden for the EU, especially in the matter of attempting to save a big economy such as that of Italy. The current budget of the European Financial Stability Fund is 440 billion Euros. There are proposals to increase it up to 1 trillion Euros. Even this increase, however, will not suffice to cover up the gapping cracks in Europe’s big economies.
Interestingly, the UK kept itself out of the plans to save Euro. This was revealed at the EU meeting in December 2011, where one of the main items on the agenda was the fate of Euro. There, the proposals presented by Germany and France did not receive a commitment by the UK. Stitches of the union are failing to hold it together.
Powers of capitalism keep on shouting that this is a debt crisis and try to project it as a financial crisis. Although the financial crisis constitutes one aspect of the overall crisis, it does not define the crisis in its entirety. The economic aspect of the crisis cannot be denied. The system’s overlords, however, go into great extents to downplay the economic aspect. Only the chronic existence of an economic crisis can explain the giant dept crisis and budget gaps.
National dept question is tied to the consequences of the 2008 crisis. At the height of the crisis, states handed out billions of Euros of rescue packages. This laid extra weight on already overburdened national economies, eventually leading some of them to the threshold of bankruptcy.
Today, the system is kept under the siege of successive waves of crisis. The masses, on the other hand, are getting ever more impatient and angrier. One manifestation of the masses’ frustration is the Occupy Wall Street grassroots movement that occupied the Zuccotti Park in Manhattan for months. In Greece, the frustration of the people turned into street battles.
As people’s patience is worn out, protests that assume various forms spread out across the world. These protests and resistances function as schools that train the masses in class struggle and prepare them towards the point where they will realize that the only real option against the imperialist plunder and the barbarism of reactionary forces is revolution. As the system is experiencing ever harder times to control its own crises, it will also eventually find it impossible to contain and rule the masses as usual.
Even the masses in Arab countries have broken silence and unleashed their voices. Despite the fact that in these countries the tradition of resistance had not been revived for years and that peoples across the Arab world have not yet entirely done away with the stupefying influence of religion, they have ignited the fuse of resistance and have pulled down the curtain that was stretched between them and the reality by the regimes that were at the full disposal of imperialism.
Favorable conditions that in due course shall supplement capitalism’s historical collapse with political collapse are rapidly maturing across the entire world. The first quarter of 21st century is rolling onto that period in which the large poor majority of the world population is becoming ever more explosive in the face of unbridled exploitation and oppression. The historical process dictates that the meta production based capitalist production process is a series of transformations from product to meta, from meta to money, from money to capital, and from capital to capital’s centralization and concentration. This process translates itself as the intensification of system’s internal contradictions and antagonisms to the point of inevitable crises and eventually to collapse. This is indeed what deeply worries the lords of the system. The 2008 crisis showed once more that it is not possible to forever govern the meta economy based capitalist system through the market.
Exploitation and enslavement policies of imperialists, chiefly of the US, and their local accomplices meet with wall of peoples resistance. The protracted and dispersed people’s-guerrilla war that is waged in Asia and in the Pacific, led by Maoists, the resolute resistances that are exhibited by the peoples of the Middle East, and the struggles that are on going in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq indicate that lords may no longer rule and exploit those below as usual.
Even the masses within the US and Europe have poured into streets. They are angry and poised for confrontation. Despite the absence of revolutionary initiatives, capitalism is coming face to face with factors that will eventually bring its end about. The vanguard of the class must learn from and act according to the situation, where conditions are made further favorable by the current crisis, where masses, including the sections of the population that had not taken to the streets for years now, are out in the streets and protesting, and where the exploited masses of the world, pushed to misery, are ready to be triggered for the final resistance.
Therefore, currently the core question is this: Will the Revolutionary Vanguard, by being able to organize the deeply discontent masses by bringing class conscious to them, be capable of using this historical opportunity to ignite the revolution’s fuse? Admittedly, the answer to this question is at the moment not that positive. Then the principle task is to quickly prepare ourselves to properly fulfill our mission.
Turkey and the Pending Tasks before the TKP/ML
Currently, Turkey is surrounded by severe internal and external contradictions. For the last 10 years the bourgeois – feudal fascist state of Turkey is steered by the cabinets of the AKP [Turkish acronym for the Justice and Development Party]. The AKP dresses up the usual Turkish nationalism, heavily infused with religion, and presents it as “advanced democracy” to the national and international public as a way to avoid the heavily charged clouds. These clouds, however, are gathered by the force of contradictions and antagonisms that surround it and therefore it cannot escape their eventual wrath. On one side, there is the economic depression, which they attempt to remedy with artificial means. On the other side, there is the Kurdish national question, which has long turned the Kurdish people into a powder keg, a keg in fact that has for years given way to continual explosions. Yet on another side, there is the legitimate struggle of the working class and its closest allies.
In order to open up a breathing room to survive as the ruling party, the AKP, using religion and Turkish nationalism as pincers, instigates enmities between Kurds and Turks as well as creating tensions between Sunnite and Alevite communities. In the meantime, it turns the country into a prison and concentration camp for the peoples of various nationalities.
As was underlined in previous sections, Turkey is fundamentally characterized by its semi-colonial, semi-feudal social-economic structure. As such, it cannot escape its fate as a mere warden for the imperialists’ interests, especially within the Middle East. The bourgeois feudal government’s stance in the case of Libya and then in the current case of Syria is indicative of its full compliance with the interests of imperialists, especially those of the US, in the region. Further indication in this direction is the Turkish ruling classes’ submissiveness in offering its military bases, namely Kurecik, for the installment of the radar base for NATO’s missile defense system.
Internally, one of the major problems that Turkey wrestles with is its current economic situation. Country’s national dept and budget deficit is growing rapidly day by day, which creates an enormous pressure on other economic mechanisms of the country. Attempts to reduce this pressure are only artificial and superficial, at best.
The budget gap’s proportion to the national gross product is above 10%, which is a rare example in the world. One of the most successful ways that the AKP deals with problem is to create distractions and pretend that the problem does not exist. Clearly, the government cannot possibly keep on tracking this route. It shall eventually collapse under the weight of its burden.
Another and even graver internal problem is the Kurdish national question. As the current captain of the bourgeois feudal Turkish state, the AKP is suffering with an acute example of “great power complex,” – so much so that, while attempting to create its own version of Kurds, it expands its military offensive on the Kurdish national liberation movement with chemical weapons. The offensive strategy of the AKP aims at the complete annihilation of all entities, legal or otherwise, of Kurdish people that constitute an opposition to the government. There doesn’t appear an end to the series of attacks, arrests, and detentions. The entire country is littered with pores of blood and tears.
While the bourgeois feudal system imposes total surrender on Kurds, the Kurdish national forces, resolutely and bravely, persist on raising the banner of resistance. This is so despite the fact that the Kurdish national liberation movement is affected by a number of weaknesses since its foundation. This situation harbors certain indecisiveness in terms of dealing with the bourgeois feudal fascist Turkish state. What is essential is to insist on the national revolutionary armed struggle that concentrates on the means and methods that are outside of the system and not to give in to the treacheries of the Turkish state, that are presented as avenues of compromise.
There is an undeniable fact before us: the Kurdish national question is a enormous and weighty phenomenon that lies across the path and the process of the democratic revolution. The system, with the AKP as its current skipper, is incapable of tolerating even the bourgeois solutions that are presented from above. Instead, it seems to have sworn to eradicate even the most democratic legal arenas where the Kurdish national forces might find room to operate. In the meantime, they are leading the situation ever more towards a civil war between Kurds and Turks. What deeply frustrates the systems is the fact that they keep on failing to integrate the Kurdish national forces within the system.
While the system is incapable of overcoming these issues, the TKP/ML, in order to materialize its solutions, must close the gap between itself and its pending tasks.
Revolution and Socialism is a Necessity
The 2008 crisis and the subsequent series of crises that have spread throughout the world have a freezing effect on all hopes in the system. The system is finding it ever harder to exploit and rule the production forces as usual. Neither the liberal market porridge nor the concept of maintaining the system through the means of market provided any stable solution. They are both practically bankrupt. Even the most ardent advocates of the system talk about the need of new forms and means.
Therefore, while the “victory marches” of capitalism have given place to “destruction melodies,” it is not all that surprising that, although in last few decades it had retired into a somewhat obscure corner, the revolution and socialism have re-emerged as a necessity. However, it must also be admitted that we cannot expect the revolution and socialism to instantly return to its glory days, to regain its attractiveness, and to be on a rise again across the globe. We cannot expect that communists and revolutionary forces, who had been overwhelmed for years by successive waves of reactionarism, to roar like a rhapsodic river. What is obvious is the fact the magic about non-existence of an alternative to capitalism is dispelled.
Is there indeed no alternative to capitalism?
Everything aside, just the fact that capitalism has failed to get out of the vortex of its chronic crisis is a conclusive proof against the claim that there is no alternative to capitalism. One of the functions of the crisis is that it visibly highlights the system’s blind spots, limitations, weaknesses, its narrow boundaries of expansion. These in turn render the claims about the immortality of capitalism as pure non-sense.
On the other hand, we have the experiments and experiences of people’s democracy and socialism, presented by a quarter of the world population, which covered several twenty year blocks during the 20th century.
It could be asked: Doesn’t the fact that these practices now transformed into their opposites and were defeated on historical plain render this proof as invalid? Answer to this question is provided by many of the examples present throughout the very history of capitalism. History of capitalism is full of example where, before reaching its ultimate victory, it has suffered a series of defeats. During the early stages, before even it had a chance to enjoy any victory it had achieved against the medieval reactionarism and feudal institutions, it had to retreat and accept the defeat a number of times. Throughout a long period of history, power kept on changing hands between the feudal forces and bourgeoisie. Why shouldn’t history follow a similar cycle of power struggle between capitalism and socialism?
It must be kept in mind that history clearly shows how the ultimate victory is never won through a single blow. When looked through the lenses of historical materialism, it is only reasonable to compare socialism’s defeats with those of capitalism’s and to expect new episodes where socialism shall reenter the history’s stage.
After all, it cannot be expected of a class to leave the battle ground and never return to it again. In other words, it is unreasonable to expect from the working class and its vanguard to surrender unconditionally and to exit the ring forever at the experience of a first defeat.
Take England for an example. The revolution that took place in mid 17th century removed the influence of the absolute monarchy, the feudal aristocracy, and the church that was close to the king. The absolute monarchy ended with the hanging of King Charles I. Only after 10 years, however, following the death of Cromwell, Charles II was reinstalled on the throne. Within two decades that followed the crowning of Charles II, however, bourgeois class representatives regained the power. They replaced the Stuart monarchy with a parliamentarian monarchy.
How about France? Although the bourgeoisie had gained the power after decapitating King Louis XVI, it was soon overthrown by pro-monarchies. This was followed by a republic, which in turn, was replaced by the imperial regime, which was followed by the Bourbon monarchy, which gave way to constitutional monarchy, after which returned the imperial regime, and which was finally replaced by the republic.
What weakens this system through the crises is the capital itself. As long as the capitalist characteristic of the means of production is not removed and as long as these means of production do not acquire a social characteristic through the social re-appropriation of them by the leadership of proletariat, the exploitation, plundering, and enslavement of a majority of humanity by the current system shall continue.
This system is “everyone’s war against everyone else;” is a chain tied to the feet of production forces; it is a system that functions anarchically within an anarchy; it is based on a foundation of “happenstances absence of plan, and anarchy;” and is based on the enslavement of labor. And its only viable alternative is socialism, where labor is in power and where dispossessors are dispossessed.
As Marx has scientifically explained, although capitalism, at one phase of development, was a progressive alternative to the society that preceded itself, at another future phase, it fulfills its historical function and gradually turns into an obstacle before the forces of production. At that phase, it becomes a system that needs to be done away with by the representatives of the new progressive system.
The biggest problem before us is the fact that the revolutionary parties are presently dispersed and trying to survive in a chaotic fashion. Since they are the entities that organize the working class, bring class consciousness to it, lead it throughout the struggle, their present status highlights the seriousness of the problem. In other words, the low level of consciousness and organization that the world proletariat is in today is the biggest obstacle for coming out of the crisis with a revolution.
This situation is not a reason, however, for falling into despair. As revolution and socialism is a necessity, our struggle is just and legitimate. Even if at times retreat is what had to be done, even if we had to endure bitter defeats, we must remain resolute and convinced of the our just and legitimate cause, and of the correctness of our fundamental program. In Stalin’s words, “victory never comes of itself—it is won in hard battles and in persistent endevour.” And this is exactly what we must do today.
The Future of the Revolution in Turkey Lies in TKP/ML’s Fight at its 40th Anniversary
As remarked before, the system is surrounded by factors that suffocate it. There is an imbalance, however, between the favorable concrete conditions and the subjective conditions of the revolution. This imbalance must be quickly fixed and the gap closed. The determining factor in closing up this gap is the state of the subjective forces. The better we fulfill do our tasks, the quicker the gap will be closed up. Crucially important tasks are waiting for the TKP/ML. The most essential of these, without a doubt is winning the future with revolution. In our particularity, this translates as deepening the roots of the people’s-guerrilla war among the masses. This is of utmost importance as otherwise the life fire of the Party risks of being extinguished.
The TKP/ML realizes that it is the only communist party in Turkey, representing the world proletariat’s battalion in this country, which is capable of creating the future’s society, where the labor is in power, the new democratic people’s power, through protracted and dispersed people’s-guerrilla war against the bourgeois feudal fascist regime.
With its 40 years of experience that is gained through hard struggles waged in intense condition, and with its time proven communist identity, the TKP/ML bears the assertion, conviction, and fighting spirit that is required to open the doors to a new society. The TKP/ML also has the necessary resolution and courage to learn from its past mistakes, shortcomings, failures, and defeats.
AT ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT, GLORY TO OUR PARTY TKP/ML!
LONG LIVE OUR PARTY TKP/ML!
LONG LIVE OUR RED ARMY, THE WORKER PEASANT LIBERATION ARMY OF TURKEY!
LONG LIVE OUR KOMSOMOL, THE MARXIST – LENINIST YOUTH LEAGUE OF TURKEY!
LONG LIVE PEOPLE’S WAR!