Istanbul: Gezi park – Not about trees, but not about democracy either! (Turkey)
For more than three weeks now, Turkey is being shaken by massive proletarian revolt, that at its peak so far have driven into streets almost 5 million demonstrators all around the country. The movement’s immediate spark was a brutal state repression, i.e. when police crushed a demonstration against destroying and redevelopment of Gezi park in central Istanbul (right next to Taksim square, a place of infamous massacre of workers in 1977 and highly symbolical for proletarian movement in Turkey).
On the several following days, streets of Istanbul and later Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Mersin, Antakya and around 50 other cities as well as many smaller towns filled with demonstrating and rioting people letting loose their accumulated anger against capitalist state and its cops. Brutal beating, water canons, rubber bullets and tonnes of tear gas from the hands of police were met with organized resistance building barricades and utilizing all weapons available from the streets. Clashes with repressive forces so far claimed life of seven demonstrators and at least one cop. With some highways and ports blocked, circulation of commodities was also partially disrupted. According to official trade union figures, over 800 thousands of workers took part in June 17th strike actions called by them (while probably many others “went wildcat” or find other way to join the protests). The uprising also affected importantly various stock rates of Turkish economy.
In places, where cops had been kicked out (like in Taksim area) many locals had come and discussed in general mood of resistance. Some individual soldiers showed solidarity with protesters by handing out gas masks (while army as such on some places helps the police with repression). Many former divisions and ideologies constrains imposed by dominant ideological machine of the capitalist state and internalized by the proletariat in Turkey are starting to receive
serious cracks (that is divisions like “Turks” vs. “Kurds,” “Arabs”, “Armenians”, “left-wingers” vs “right-wingers”, “submissive women” vs. “conservative men” and to some extent even “religious” vs. “secular”). Bourgeois media, as a tool of ideological apparatus of the State, which is not neutral but represents interests of the ruling class, while covering the massive uprising (Turkish media originally tried to hide the situation while ignoring it) focus on clashes, clouds of teargas, rioting of “marginalized groups” or on “peaceful demonstrations”, national flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal, to try to reduce the whole movement to pro-democracy one, of citizens against “creeping islamization” and “autocracy of Erdogan”, “Turkish spring” or another “color revolution” which exists thanks to Internet social networks.
Various sociologist observers from the Left go as far, in their aim to blur proletarian nature of the movement in Turkey, as to call it “a movement of middle classes” and pose demagogic questions, whether and when will “workers join the protests”, as if the proletariat has ever equaled to fucking trade unions (the trade unions that in every massive protest work on “to have dialog with government”, on “peace and stability”, as said by major Turkish trade unions, and on to “protect national economy”, here “the future of Turkey”!, and which with their in advanced announced “strikes” show that they are obstacle in real class struggle – a real strike means attack on system of capitalist production, without warning, without time limits!).
We want to stress, that what the movement in Turkey arises from, is a reality of misery in class society based on exploitation of human labor, with its ever present and ever increasing need to suppress any spark of unmediated human activity, even along with the lives of its actors if necessary. So for us the initial resistance against cutting down trees in Gezi park is just a little manifestation of proletarian struggle against one of aspects of capitalism – an ecological catastrophe which it inevitably brings along with its development, one which is its inner product and cannot be separate from it, and which in Turkey particularly takes form of artificial flooding of huge areas, massive deforestation, waste crisis not dissimilar to that of southern Italy, oil spills, etc. – which in turn increases food prices locally and contributes to “food crisis” globally. Proletarian districts in cities all around the country are being cleared to the grounds and redeveloped as office blocks and expensive flats. In the same way resistance against torture and killings from the hands of state doesn’t equals call for “police reform” and rage against imposing of “Islamist” version of capitalist morality doesn’t mean necessarily acceptance of the “western-liberal” one.
Despite of heroic determination of our class brothers and sisters in the streets facing brutal state repression, despite of that joy of the resistance, all those great feelings being together in struggle, at barricades, helping each other after tear gas attack, sharing food, discussing, all these aspects which one could not imagine before, the movement does not emerge as “pure” revolutionary. Thus every proletarian movement contains internal contradictions. In the current revolt in Turkey it is manifested with its obsession to declare one particular bourgeois faction as core enemy (Erdogan and his AKP), with it’s “ecologist”, “secularist” and “nationalist” ideologies, with “pacifism” or “ritual riots” with futile hurling of stones against armored vehicles.
Recently it seems there has started some decline or transformation of energy. The “standing man” demonstrations transform previous heroic and passionate protests into pacifist and submissive happenings, that could be only welcomed by the state as a possible beginning of inter-class dialog and as a chance for the repressive forces (the police and all ideological apparatus) to regroup and focus on assault against militants (now when police pigs are not busy with bricks and molotovs raining on their heads, a massive selective repression and incarceration has started).
As every proletarian movement, including the current wave in Turkey, it must first try to get rid of the influence of dominant bourgeois ideology and break with its “own” bourgeoisie. It is always the proletariat who bleeds and pays, in the time of peace as in the time of war. The proletariat in Turkey, as in every other country, has NOTHING common with its own ruling class and its State!
But it has EVERYTHING in common with all other proletarians in other countries, consisting of all nationalities, races, sexes. Thus in regards to Turkey and its State, that tries to join other imperialist forces over Syria civil war conflict, it means a practical resistance to military service, disruption of war supplies, anti-war propaganda between rank’n’file soldiers and finally to see other rank’n’file “soldiers” not as enemies but as their fellow proletarians in uniform.
Only when the movement spreads and deepens, when it generalizes its opposition to so many attempts by local bourgeoisie to frame into particular issue, it has a possibility to exist and grow. The movement must overcome all sectorial interests which reproduce competition between workers, and must express needs of the whole class. To achieve this it must focus on maintaining and extending of organizational structures which the proletariat has produced in high moments of the current struggle, to deepen and harden them by evaluation of the present and previous historical struggles, to make them enter new wave of the movement or new open class struggle wave stronger, with clearer program, able to oppose those who want to frame it and put forward means and methods to push it forward.
Do not fool us with fantasies, the normality was the reason why we all have flooded to the streets. This normality is the state of our exploitation, of our misery, repression, wars and disgusting nationalism, oppression and violence based on sex, race, nationality. We can destroy this disastrous system. In every mass and high level confrontation we see how future society is already acting in present one!
Rise up! Everybody to the streets!
Wage real strikes without warning and time limits!
Push the bosses back!
Overcome imposed inter-class divisions!
Solidarity with those most oppressed and exploited!
No support to “own” bourgeoisie, no support to national economy!
No bleeding on battlefields for imperialist interests!
No war but the class war!
This entry was posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 at 5:08 pm and is filed under Autonomy.