Here is a new statement from the Labor Party of Turkey (Emek Partisi, EMEP, and related to the underground Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey, the TDKP), a member of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO), about last week's military coup attempt, first published July 21st. It is also online at: emep.org/en/neither-the-coup-nor-the-one-man-dictatorship/ EMEP chairwoman Selma Gurkan released a short statement opposing both the coup and Turkey's Islamist president Erdogan, calling for "the safeguarding of democratic rights and political freedoms" on July 17th.
Neither the coup nor the one-man dictatorship!
Attempted coup: A counter-revolution within the counter-revolution!
On the night on 15 July, Turkey witnessed a take-over of some critical points in two major cities by soldiers. The plotters took over the headquarters of the Turkish Armed Forces General Staff and the Gendarmerie General Command, an air base and Istanbul Atatürk Airport. The Chief Commanders of the armed forces were detained. Fighter Jets were flying low over cities and later, joined by helicopters, bombed certain targets including TBMM (Turkish Parliament Building), the vicinity of the headquarters of the General Staff and Special Forces Command.
Without enough preparation and power, the plotters, perhaps forced to act by the circumstances and possibly abandoned by sections of the armed forces that pledged support, arrived at a dead end within a matter of hours.
Firstly, they could not win over the people and its organised section. The coup was supported no one; no organised body such as a political party or a trade union. The four political parties in the Parliament issued a joint statement against the attempted coup.
On the other hand, the plotters could not get the main troops within the Armed Forces on their side. They were confronted by the police and the Special Forces, controlled directly by the government and numbered in their hundreds of thousands. Political Islamist militants, with jihadists among them, showed their level of organisation in confronting them hand in hand with the police. They responded to the calls to “take to the streets” by the President, whom the plotters failed to capture. Increasing numbers of AKP supporters and people from those sections of the population that insisted on democracy also filled the streets in defiance of the coup.
In a country that has seen almost ten coups, the only successful ones of which were those backed by the US; the plotters could not secure the support of the US, despite the latter’s ambiguous initial stance.
And they were unsuccessful.
However, it cannot be disputed that the line of domestic and foreign policy pursued by the incumbent AKP government and President Erdoğan – who is creating a de facto “one-manship” – dragged Turkey to this circumstance of a coup.
In fact, during the 2010 Constitutional Referendum, the primary claim of the AKP and Erdoğan was that they were “settling the score with the Constitution of the coup” of 1980 and that “there will be no more coups in Turkey”! This has not happened; not only did “settling the score with the constitution of the coup” never took place, on the contrary, all measures taken since have been taken in order to destroy the already weak institutions and freedoms of the country. The claim to “demolish the coup law” was a veil for building a “one-man, one-party dictatorship, removing what’s left from “the rule of law”.
Soon after his election as the president, Erdoğan claimed “a de facto regime change” and stated that the parliamentarian system is “put on hold”. The legislation has been subordinated to executive power. With the aggrandisement of “National Will”; despite the focus only on the “ballot” rather than democratic rights and freedoms; and finally the removal of the immunity of MPs; this has been advanced to a point of getting rid of unwanted parliamentarians. To prove that “National Will” means the “decision of one-man”, people’s “will” demonstrated in the elections held on 7 June 2015 saying “No” to “one-man dictatorship” have been rejected. Through instigation of the Kurdish war – fuelling chauvinist nationalism – the country was dragged into war and chaos and forced into elections on the 1st of November.
Freedom of the press has been almost entirely removed. Freedom of speech, and especially freedom of thought, the right to hold meetings and organise demonstrations have been made impossible. Especially Mayday demonstrations and even the right of the main opposition party members to hold meetings has been denied. Academics who signed a peace petition calling on the government to halt its military operations in Kurdish region have been sacked and imprisoned. Moreover, it was recently announced that elected administrations of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) municipalities would be discharged and replaced by arbitrary appointments.
Executive power was strengthened by the “Internal Security Act”, giving exceptional powers to the police and district and provincial governors. In the war waged in Kurdish cities, armed forces are protected by granting of immunity; soldiers cannot be put on trial without the Prime Minister’s consent. This course is domestically carried out by renewed alliance with the Ergenekon soldiers, who were erstwhile arrested for plotting against the government, in the name of “fighting terror” instead of the “peace process”. War policies like surrounding of cities by tanks and cannons, killing thousands of people, removing democratic rights and freedoms have forced the country to a situation where it cannot be governed under ordinary circumstances. Above all, increasing use of the arms allowed soldiers to increase their influence on the governance of the country. This made the country more prone to coup attempts.
The judiciary has been subordinated to executive power: through “special courts”; alleged “coup plotters” with differing identities; through the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, made up mostly of appointed members. A third of the judges and prosecutors have been relocated. Before the coup attempt it was stated that except for the Presidents of the Court of Cassation and the Council of State, all members of both institutions would be appointed by the executive power. The failed coup was followed by the dismissalls and detentions of 2745 judges and prosecutors, including two members of the Supreme Court, 140 members of the Constitutional Court and 48 members of the Council of State.
The same course has been advanced in foreign policy pursuing politics of war within the scope of New-Ottoman expansionism. The impracticability of it after the Russian intervention in Syria and the disharmony with US foreign policy caused displeasure and pursuit of alternatives among the dominant forces. AKP government’s “red lines” on Syria relating to Kurdish issue and the future of Bashar Assad regime lost all meaning and forced a policy change.. It adopted a political line of normalising relations with Israel and Russia. However, the collapse of foreign policy targets –focused on politics of war- led to a conflict among the ruling cliques and provoked military pursuits.
Furthermore, steps taken to unite the ruling classes in the name of transition to a one-man, one-party dictatorship led to discontent and bitterness among reactionary forces. Tax penalties and exclusion from government tenders and sharing of government resources, introduced in an attempt to “convince” even traditional monopolistic capital groups, are some of these steps.
Most serious sanctions targeted the Gülen Movement, an ally of the AKP since its foundation but fallen out with after the 17-25 December corruption investigations. This Movement is not only Islamist but also a big monetary fund. With its bank and investment companies, the largest mining company in the country, widespread investment in media and education sectors, and through its alliance with AKP, this group penetrated most of the state apparatus; primarily within the police, judiciary and the Armed Forces.
Following 25 December, this group was declared a “terrorist organisation”, its bank and mining company were seized, media and education institutions were closed down; companies and members prosecuted and imprisoned. Following the clean-up in the judiciary and the police, as the appointments and promotions in the Armed Forces at the end of August approached, inquiries, arrests and court proceedings targeting members of this group had already started. This was the “last straw”; the organised forces of this group and other discontented groups in the army attempted a coup; aware of the clean-up lists, instead of being discharged and jailed, they were, in a way, forced into this attempt.
This failed coup has emerged as a showdown within the ruling class.
It was undeniable that the coup – with its first stated measures of martial law and inhibition – was going to advance the rise of reactionism in both domestic and foreign policy and hence repelling it was important. However, it is clear that the attempted coup has strengthened the hand of the one-man, one-party reactionism of the AKP. President Erdoğan called this attempt a “gift from god” and stated that it gives him a “chance to cleanse the military”. This attempt exposed the Islamist ideological make-up of the police and the existence of a militant organisation loyal to Erdoğan that played a significant role in suppressing the coup after Erdoğan called them to take to the streets. It also strengthened this organised basis of AKP within the population. Now, under the pretext of a rushed “clean-up of the plotters”, an extreme “clean-up” among the judges and prosecutors along with the police and the army has started. It is clear that this will serve the aims to create a state mechanism that follows only the orders of “one-man”. The AKP government has already started to legitimise this purge under the pretext of fighting against the “Gulenist terrorism” and of cracking down on the plotters of the coup. It has used failed coup as a catalyser to unite the population – starting with the bourgeois opposition – around its own objectives.
Our party, EMEP, clearly opposed the coup. Our party warns everyone that the defeat of the coup alone does not necessarily mean “democracy” is the winner. It will be gained by a difficult struggle. We call on everyone to the struggle to prevent the one-man, one-party dictatorship.
Unity & Struggle #32
On the International Situation and Our Tasks
Rules of Organization of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations
Fifty years ago Manuel Lisboa founded the PCR in Brazil
Revolutionary Communist Party – PCR
Regarding the Terrorist Attacks in the West Africa Sub-Region and its Problems
Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta – PCRV
Peace and the Road to Power
Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) – PCC(ML)
‘United Europe’: The Growing Popular Resistance and Reformist Bail-Outs
Workers’ Communist Party of Denmark – APK
The Main Question for the May 15 Elections in the Dominican Republic
Communist Party of Labor – PCT
The Ideological and Political Confrontation with Reformism
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador – PCMLE
“Left Front”: an evaluation of our experience
Workers’ Communist Party of France – PCOF
Solidarity with Migrant Refugees
Movement for the Reorganization of the KKE (1918-1955)
Preface to the Indian Edition of the Textbook of Political Economy (1955)
The Modern Proletariat and Internationalism
Merge Marxism-Leninism with the Working Class and the Popular Masses
Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist) – PCM(ML)
Xenophobia and How the Working Class Should Respond
Position of the Peruvian Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) regarding the Elections of April 10 and June 5, 2016
Peruvian Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) – PCP(ML)
Is There a Need for a Marxist-Leninist International?
Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist) – PCE(ML)
Some Questions about Tactics
Workers’ Party of Tunisia – PTT
A Global Perspective on the Middle East
Labour Party – EMEP
It is Necessary to Face the Present Political Moment with Revolutionary Energy and Boldness
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela – PCMLV
To get a copy in the US, send $5 dollars (the cost for Canadian addresses is $10 and other countries $15) to:
192 Claremont Ave., #5D
New York, NY 10027
This Land is Their Land
George Gruenthal is also the author of a brief (130 pages) and illustrated history of the US from a working class progressive perspective, This Land is Their Land: A Revolutionary Working People's History of the US. The title is similar to Howard Zinn's famous A People's History of the United States, but it was actually inspired by Pablo Miranda's Mi pais, la tierra y sus gentes, about Ecuadorean history. Gruenthal writes "I decided that it would be helpful to progressive readers in the U.S., and particularly young people, to have a similar history of the U.S. Of course, the inevitable weakness in a work of this size that tries to deal with such a complex subject is that it is not possible to deal even with all major events." The contents are below. To order a copy send a check made out to George Gruenthal, a money order, or cash for $4 dollars ($9 for Canada and $12 for everywhere else) to
P.O. Box 1641
New York, NY 10027
Red Star Publishers is another good resource - their catalogue is online at redstarpublishers.org/ . People outside of the US can contact George to get the whole book free as a pdf file. I'm considering talking to local bookstores about ordering copies.
1. The Americas before Columbus
Buffy Sainte Marie: My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying
2. African Slaves
3. Formation of the 13 Colonies into a Single Country
4. Andrew Jackson, “Representative of the Common People,” Indian Fighter and Slave-owner
5. Compromises and Struggles between the Plantation South and the Capitalist North
6. The Mexican American Wars, 1836-1848
7. Civil War
8. Reconstruction and the Development of the Afro-American Nation
9. The Unification of the U.S. Capitalist State
10. 1886 and the Fight for the 8-Hour Day
11. 1880 to 1920
12. Development of Imperialism and the Spanish-American War of 1898
Major General Smedley D. Butler
13. World War I
14. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and its Influence on the United States
15. Formation of the Communist Party
16. Reformist and Revolutionary Organizations within the Black National Movement
17. The “Roaring Twenties”
18. The Great Depression
Early Workers’ Struggles
19. Workers’ Struggles During the New Deal
20. The International Situation Leading up to World War II
21. World War II and the Role of the Major Powers
22. The International Consequences of World War II
23. Post-World War II, McCarthyism and the Trade Union Movement
24. The Korean War
25. The Civil Rights Movement
26. The Rise of the Revolutionary Afro-American Liberation Movement
The Black Panther Party
Gil Scott Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
27. Other Revolutionary National Movements
The Chicano/Mexicano Movement
Asian-American, Native American and Other Movements
28. The Vietnam War and the Anti-War Movement
Phil Ochs: Love Me, I’m a Liberal
29. The Women’s Movement
The Movement of the 1970s
30. The LGBT Movement
31. The Rise and Decline of the New Marxist-Leninist Movements
32. A Period of Ebbs and Flows
The International Situation
33. From the 2000 Elections to the Attacks of 9/11/2001
34. “Terrorism” and Endless Wars
Invasion of Iraq
35. Scapegoating of Muslims and the PATRIOT ACT
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
36. May Day 2006 and the Immigrant Rights Movement
37. The Crisis of 2008 and the Decline of U.S. Imperialism
38. Inter-Imperialist Crises and Internationalism
The Class Nature of Russia and China Today