The Process of Democratic Solution and the Socialist Struggle in Turkey
The PKK has killed the capitalist, the state and the sexism within.
No one can doubt the socialist identity of the Kurdish freedom movement and the socialist identity of the Kurdish people’s leader Mr. Abdullah Ocalan. The Kurdish freedom movement and its leader define themselves as the inheritors of all the socialist strugglers in human history. Of course there are differences between the PKK and other socialist organisations in Turkey. The PKK has restructured itself as a result of extensive self-criticism and a thorough criticism of classical socialism and its practiced forms. It sees classical socialist theory as insufficient. The PKK believes that classical socialism is not anti-capitalist enough and is too involved with the state; whereas the state is a tool of suppression. To topple a state in order to create a new one is not revolutionary practice, rather, to surpass, topple or minimize the hegemonic system and replace it with a socialist system by implicating socialism in the moment is the PKK’s adopted method. To topple a state is not the same as toppling the system. To liken these two things together is a sign of deviation from socialism.
Even those that have shown great belief and effort in developing socialist theory and even ultimately sacrificing their lives to this end have maybe lacked in completely liberating themselves from capitalism. Capitalism, with its mentality, economy, sociality and culture is a totality. To reject, surpass and exclude oneself from capitalism as a totality is vital. This exclusion must start immediately; to delay this exclusion and synchronise it with the abolition of a state is a deviation from socialism. To insist on creating a new state on grounds that it will be a socialist one, is at the very least a lack of an acquaintance with the states ontology. The Kurdish freedom movement has purposefully distanced itself from the hegemonic system’s systemic institutions, lifestyle and culture. The PKK has killed the capitalist, the state and the sexism within.
Certain circles are claiming that the Kurdish freedom movement is a “bourgeois movement”, or that it has retreated from its ideals. On the contrary, the Kurdish freedom movement questions the socialist identity and the lack of depth in socialist theory of those who are putting forward these types of claims. Firstly, the very lifestyle of the PKK puts across what kind of socialist organisation it really is. Every aspect of life within the PKK is organised communally and collectively. Of course as one of its principle ambitions is to democratise society the PKK builds relationships with a wide spectrum of social movements and civil organisations. All socialists must see this as a practical obstacle that needs to be dealt with by all revolutionary movements on the road to revolution.
The PKK, as a socialist movement, will always seek socialists and leftist democrats when forming political alliances. However, as a movement of social democratisation, the PKK holds responsibilities against society as a whole and therefore wider strategic alliances with all social factions is understandable. The negotiations in Imrali Island are being developed within these parameters. Yes the PKK wants to make the government take certain steps, but this is happening as a result of our joint struggle with the democratic forces in Turkey; in other words we are forcing the very people we are struggling against to take positive steps. To argue that socialist movements do not negotiate with the state is a delusional approach to the political struggle inherent in socialist struggle. We are not talking about negotiating on ideals and principles. These are mere political negotiations. These are not negotiations on the struggle itself, but negotiations on the means of struggle.
There is now a major opportunity for the left to develop in Turkey and fill a gaping hole in Turkey’s political spectrum. The people of Turkey want justice, equality, democracy and freedom; and for this there is a need for a decent leftist platform to struggle for these demands. However, this platform has been left unmanned for at least the past fifteen years. Conservative and nationalist wings cannot meet these demands. This is why leftist democrats and those who call themselves socialists need to seriously question themselves.
On the one side of the political spectrum in Turkey you have the nationalists and on the other side you have the conservatives. There seems to be a gaping hole that needs to be filled urgently. The People’s Democratic Congress is an important project to this end; but the distant stance of certain groups is hindering the progress of this project. Socialist organisations must act responsibly and take their place in this project, as no other alternative socialist platform is currently visible on the horizon.
By taking part in the process of democratic solution initiated by the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Ocalan, the socialists of Turkey can reinvigorate themselves. There is an urgent need for leftists, socialists, democrats, leftist liberals, ethnic groups, religious groups, women and youths to come together at a conference of democratisation where a union can be formed around a detailed program for democratisation. A strong democratic organisation can very quickly conjure popular support in Turkey.
The AKP government has come to a stage where it is demanding a democratic solution and wider democratisation. The Kurdish freedom movement has brought the AKP government to this stage. All forces for democracy must play an active role in the progression of this process; and not just criticise the process from a distance.