Turkey: Mobilise against imperialist war and capitalism!

This article was written in the early stages of the present war. Unfortunately for technical reasons its publication was delayed. It gives an interesting perspective as it was written by Marxists in Turkey, a country closely involved in what is unfolding in Iraq.

New world "order"?

The Iraq war long prepared by US imperialism has begun. Having turned Saddam into a pretext of aggression for their imperialist aims, the Bush clique has set about its campaign. They are telling the lie that they will bring democracy to Iraq and surrounding countries. Yet this ruling clique that is a direct agent of oil and arms monopolies has brought nothing but counter-revolution to the peoples all over the world who rose up against their own dictators demanding democracy. In fact there would not have been a Saddam regime in Iraq had there not been the dirty games and acts of these imperialist rulers, which only meant repression of the revolutionary struggles of peoples with bloody coups. True, the Saddam regime needs to be overthrown; and of course the Iraqi peoples, Shiites, Kurds, Turkmen, deserve genuine democracy . But nobody should deceive themselves; democracy and a better life have never been granted by bullies; good things can only be won by the struggle of the peoples themselves.

An ancient civilisation constructed by humanity for thousands of years is now being trampled over by the boots and tanks of US imperialism which has invented ideologies like the so-called "clash of civilisations" as a cover for its wars to divide and redivide the world. Mesopotamia, the most ancient cradle of civilisation, is being ruined by modern "barbarians" revealing the madness of the capitalist order. Millions of workers and toilers, men and women, young and old, who live in the Middle East die under the onslaught of "smart" weapons produced by capitalist arms monopolies who have transformed advanced technology into a slaughter machine.

Having already proved by its attacks on workers rights that it is by no means different from the other bourgeois parties, the AKP government appears to have lost its way in the smoke-filled rooms where they haggle with the US. The armed forces of the US are already on our soil. They came "quietly" under the pretext of "modernising the bases". It is not clear yet how their bargaining and scheming will end up, that depends on coming developments. The danger of war which was knocking at our door for some time is now a reality. The "smart" bombs of the US have begun blowing up the Middle East have begun. Heaven knows why (!), not only in the Middle East but they have managed to land them on the heads of poor people in Turkey as well.

The bourgeois who are in favour of the imperialist war and their hired pens in the press argue that a fortune in booty and plunder will have been missed for ever if the AKP government does not obey US demands. The Turkish bourgeoisie is very upset at not being permitted to enter northern Iraq. They consider this unjust war launched by the US against Iraq as an opportunity to stretch their own grasping hands towards the oil areas, namely Mosul and Kirkuk. And the US is furious with Turkey, which has been rewarded by the US as a strategic ally until now, but did not allow (until the present anyway) thousands of American and British troops to enter Iraq from Turkish soil. Now the war lobby in Turkey is in feverish state, desperately trying to restore relations with the US and find a middle way between the rulers of the US, Britain and Turkey. When asked they are all "against" war; for God's sake, they have a "sensitive" heart for the deaths in the war! However, according to the words from their own mouths, now "reason" must carry the day over "conscience", and of course let's not forget the "wallet"! Now they say Turkey's loss would be bigger if it does not take an active role in this war. Thus they try to push back the antiwar forces and the CHP (Republican People's Party) and AKP MPs who voted against the motion. They are disgusting admirers of capitalism who equate the importance of human life with the stock exchange indices. What they understand by war losses is not the number of working class soldiers and civilian people who die under the bombs. In their world of numbers you can find only dollars, interest rates, share values, and stock markets.

Pro-American TV channels are pursuing their own war - the ratings war. Their daily schedules are dominated by live war coverage depicting the showering of bombs on Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk. Amid the scenes from the war you can see commercials for weapons made in USA!

This is only the beginning; "keep watching us", "to be continued" there is more of the same to follow! Do not forget the other "evil countries" that are targeted by US imperialism! The struggle for division of spheres of influence in the Middle East and central Asia will become still more aggravated. These regions are targeted by the arms and oil monopolies of America who have turned into monsters out of greed for profit. Here you have the new world "order": a world in flames!

Peace fancies and facts

Major crises of the world capitalist system puncture the bubbles of illusion produced by capitalism over the whole period of upswing, revealing the system's true face and all the weaknesses of the system. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the imperialist powers gave the impression that they could resolve disputes between themselves on the diplomatic table and thus give a new shape to the world. As a matter of fact this was nothing more than hollow propaganda which is contrary to the nature of the imperialist system. The US had already started to prepare the way for big clashes following the collapse of the Soviet Union and other bureaucratic regimes. These countries, including China, took to the road of capitalism. This meant preparing for a new division of spheres of influence that had been shaped according to old power balances, above all by the existence of the Soviet Union. Once again Marxism, which the bourgeois ideologues were at great pains to bury, foretold what was to come: on the basis of imperialism, there is no other future than imperialist wars for re-division!

While the reformists and pacifists were comforting themselves with the illusion of a "peaceful imperialism" during those years, US imperialism was working on "horror" scenarios to give a new shape to the post-cold war world under its own hegemony. US imperialism is preparing to drag the whole world into a long period of wars, repression and darkness. Thus it is not for nothing that a leading ideologue of American imperialism like Richard Perle is called "prince of darkness". While the end of cold war made all philistines, who could not understand the nature of the imperialist system, dizzy with dreams of "peace", the US was taking the first steps into a new period of hot wars. And this Iraq war is not the first example of this. Shall we forget the wars staged by imperialist powers since the beginning of the 1990s? The first Gulf War, a series of wars in the Balkans and throughout different countries of Africa which trampled underfoot the poor masses and caused the deaths of millions of people.

We had entered the twenty first century with a frenzy over the "new millennium!" in accordance with the usual approach of the capitalist system which seeks to turn everything into a mad circus of consumption. The liberal hired press of the bourgeoisie, and other renegades who had discovered the "merits" of capitalism, were heralding a post-imperialist epoch. This, it was argued, would bring with it permanent economic growth. While they were disseminating their lies in their fake world, the storm-clouds that had accumulated on the horizon of the capitalist system proved not to be good omens. The real events that marked the beginning of the new millennium were successive violent tremors on the stock markets, and an economic recession the like of which had not been seen since the second world war. Not only in the periphery of the capitalist system but also in the heartlands a big crisis has begun. This crisis has revealed itself as a serious economic slowdown and served to exacerbate all the problems of the system. Those problems, it had been claimed, would be resolved by diplomacy and summits of the imperialist powers. The conflict between the US and the European Union -or rather Germany and to some extent France- has begun to sharpen and deepen. The contradictions between these two imperialist camps did not come out of the blue. The present severe crisis that magnified the dispute between them enormously and revealed more fully the conflict which had been proceeding in a more hidden way in the previous period.

Every rise has its fall

The last period of ancient Rome provides infinite historical examples regarding the decline of empires. According to the dialectical rule, at the highest point there begins a decline. When the Roman Empire is considered at its highest point, decay and degeneration was in fact at its peak. The emperors were in a swamp of lawlessness, rudeness and non-recognition of any rules. The weaker the tyrants the more cruel they became. These laws of history are valid for the US, the modern Empire, as well.

Trotsky once touched upon a very important point as if he were writing about today. He said that the military, financial and industrial supremacy of the primary capitalist power in the world, i.e. the US, did not ensure the continuity of American economic life as it was. On the contrary, this supremacy was bringing a much more dangerous and convulsive element into the crisis of its social system. The US Empire is not immune to the eternal law of big empires: every ascent has its descent! US imperialism has been engulfed in a deep over-production crisis after a long period of growth. Now it is aggressive in order to assure its hegemony over the world and maintain its supremacy in the future. To refresh its hegemony with a new advance US imperialism needs to reassert itself over its old spheres of influence and not let anyone else step into any new spheres of influence.

There is no other super power to confront US imperialism for the moment. But what about tomorrow? What possible new anti-US alliances might take shape as a result of the collapse of the institutions of the past period like NATO, and the UN which reflected US hegemony? Possible new rivals like China and Russia who have the potential to rise in the coming period? Or the possibility of a new bloc against the US by France-Germany, the kernel force of the EU, and Russia and Iran? Although after the collapse of the Soviet Union the US appeared to be the only super power with no rivals, this "honeymoon" has now come to an end. The USA, which is on the top of the world capitalist system, is obsessed with making this declining system grow once more and with not losing its supremacy in a world that is to be rearranged by means of bombs.

These are the burning issues that affect the middle and long term strategic plans and preparations which US imperialism has been contemplating for some time. Although there is no power as yet looming large in front of us which will confront the US (thus she is now called a "hyper power" rather than a super power), it is apparent that the new conjuncture we have entered is pregnant with big convulsions. To maintain its hegemony in such a world necessitates taking hold of new strategic points with a prompt attack before any rivals of the new period get prepared. The new period of aggression proclaimed by American imperialism particularly after September 11 is the beginning of a brutal and bloody re-division war that will shape the "new world order". In this way it resembles the beginning of a third world war.

Facts are stubborn

All talk of the possibility of "a world without wars under imperialism", theorised by Gorbachev in the last days of the Soviet Union and parroted by all the renegades of the time, has now become history. These same people were very zealous in proclaiming that Marxism was outmoded. Now facts prove to be stubborn things against all the nonsense of the renegades!

There was a lot of talk too about the expansion process of the European Union advancing towards a "United States of Europe" without encountering any serious obstacles; that the membership of Turkey or Northern Cyprus in the EU would soon take place; that those national questions that have become gangrenous, like the Kurdish and Palestinian problems, would be resolved in a peaceful way around the table. Now it becomes more and more clear that these ideas are bourgeois reformist fancies that belong to those years before the big crisis. As happened in previous periods in history, once again all these fantasies are shattered when they bang against the wall of rising clashes of capitalist system. While the "Big Brother" USA whets its war axes taking almost all countries as an "axis of evil" in a fury and rabidity characteristic of a big power which never experienced a period of decline, the EU countries have started to vacillate, being far from taking a clear attitude, except for the "Little Brother" Britain. And the plans of the European imperialists who seek to present themselves as the "peace front" are entirely based on their cold calculations. They seek to preserve their already existing interests in the Middle East and get their share from new post-war investments to be made in the areas that will be levelled out by US bombs.

The masks of all the imperialist powers are off because they were boasting with the supposition that they had won a historical victory against socialism. This was before the present time in which a big crisis is rocking the old equilibrium, institutions and alliances. The capitalist system has never openly revealed itself in the eyes of the masses for what a rabid system of exploitation it is, how hostile an order it is against workers and toilers, what an inhumane, irrational misery it has turned into. That's why workers, toilers, youth are standing up in every corner of the world, Europe, America, Asia. The streets of the world echo with the slogans of millions of antiwar demonstrators. This enormous mass struggle that has risen against the warmongering of the US leads us to the characterisation of the masses as the second superpower at a time when the US remains the only superpower and has become entirely indifferent because it is alone.

But we should immediately add that the antiwar movement, however militant it appears, will never be sufficient if it is not be turned into an organised force against the capitalist system. Never in history have the masses been able overthrow the exploitative class tyrannies if they remained unorganised. This applies today as well. The only force that can save humanity from the flames of hell fired by the capitalist order is the organised power of the working class. Only the active struggle of the working masses can put an end to this brutal order of exploitation. Under the leadership of the working class millions will bring into existence a new order aspired on our earth, a life without wars, exploitation and classes.

The main enemy is at home!

In order to protect the capitalist system from the struggle of the working people, the imperialist powers will seek to prepare traps for us, and to pacify and divert the masses with their lies. We should also be prepared for the tricks of the European capitalist "Allies" who will seek to lead the workers astray with fake appeals for peace against the war coalition of American imperialism. Can one expect any help from these imperialist powers against the horror of wars that are a result of imperialist conflicts over the spheres of influence in the Balkans, the Middle East or central Asia? What would be the difference from surrendering our head to another executioner? If we look at history we can find infinite examples of the cost of such an unawareness. In the first and second world wars the masses were overwhelmed by the bourgeois winds of lies and were drawn into the error of supporting one imperialist power against another. What was the result? The death of millions of working people.

On the table of the imperialist powers they will seek to turn all questions, like the Cyprus question and Kurdish question, which could not be resolved under capitalism, into vehicles of mutual slaughter of the workers and toilers. The imperialists will seek to derail the national struggles, which under the leadership of the working class can be part of the struggle for the emancipation of humanity. As has happened many times before, the American or British imperialists will deceive the oppressed peoples in the Middle East and central Asia that rise up for their national independence and then abandon them in their poverty and misery. These peoples should know that no imperialist power has ever been - or can be - their friend! Their liberation lies in establishing the power of the workers and toilers, hand in hand with the revolutionary struggle of the working class.

The imperialist war which is taking place for the redivision of spheres of influence, where Turkey also plays its part, will be presented as the "defence of the fatherland". Yet we know that the "fatherland" of the capitalists is, in the final analysis, nothing but cheque books, bank accounts, interest rates, stock exchange indexes, etc. What is the use of defending such a "fatherland" for the working class? For millions of people who are in the grip of unemployment and poverty "cheque books", "stock exchange indexes" are like extraterrestrial aliens. Thus the "workers have no land" as the working class of the world has been crying out at the bourgeoisie of the world since the days of the Communist Manifesto.

All workers and toilers, whether Turk, Kurd, Arab, Greek, etc., are brothers and sisters, because they have no interest in profit. Thus they should know clearly who is the main enemy and where it is, without falling into the trap of "their" bourgeois and bourgeois governments who employ the propaganda of the "defence of the fatherland" in the their war drive. The main enemy is the ruling bourgeoisie, imperialist war lobbies and their governments who will drive the workers and toilers to the fronts for their own material interests. In all capitalist countries the main enemy is not abroad but at home! Workers and toilers should not shed one drop of blood for the capitalists who exploit them and want their blood for their oil wars and conflicts of interest.

Class war against imperialist war!

Turkey is part of this imperialist war. The Turkish establishment, both the circles of big capital and the general staff of the army, are haggling over how to minimise the loss to their interests and, if possible, get a share from the spoils. Although their hands do not seem to be strong against the war coalition of the US and British imperialists, it should never be forgotten that they will be very brutal in the face of the attempts of the Kurds to determine their own fate! They will not refrain from driving the Turkish workers and toilers to bloody adventures when the most natural right of the Kurdish nation to "separate and establish their own state" comes on to the agenda. Turkish soil will be part of the battlefield in the Middle East due to the selfish calculations of the Turkish establishment and the pressures of US imperialism.

What this war has already revealed are shattered bodies, wounded people in their death agony, babies whose lives are stolen by weapons that bring death, in one word, terribly horrific scenes. In the face of these bitter scenes there is a bitter fact that all sensitive people should know: the tyranny of the capitalist war barons can only be ended by the united power and organised struggle of the poor people, and not by tears. Imperialist wars cannot be stopped by prayers for peace, pacifist sighs, pangs of conscience.

Imperialist wars of division are an unchanging aspect of the capitalist system. Rival imperialist powers are in a conflict for hegemony and they need to seize profitable markets, new areas of investment, divide the spheres of influence. As long as the capitalist system exists unjust wars will exist. The only way to put an end to these wars is to abolish the capitalist system. Therefore everyone who honestly does not want people to suffer from such wars, should be opposed to capitalism as well, if he/she is to be consistent, and also he/she should join those who are fighting against it. It will be more and more difficult to avoid facing up to the following vital truth: the only way of achieving emancipation from the imperialist-capitalist system which drags the world towards destruction, is through the revolutionary struggle for socialism. In this epoch of ours the only step that can take humanity forward in the real sense of the word and start an epoch of real peace and wealth is through workers' power that will smash the fetters of private property and the nation-state on the development of the productive forces. Today's imperialist war in the Middle East which may spread further means at the same time something else for the working masses: such big wars in history have been the midwife of revolutions, and so why should this not be the case today?

There was a big revolutionary upsurge in the world in the period up to the First World War. Unfortunately, the supposedly "socialist" MPs - the social-chauvinists of the Second International - who voted for the war budgets in Europe betrayed the working class. Thus millions of workers and toilers were plunged into an incredible disaster. These bitter experiences should not be forgotten. Therefore it is extremely important to note that there are correct slogans emanating from the international workers' movement, such as the appeal "not a single penny, a single soldier or a single bullet for the imperialist war in Iraq!" . In the present period the importance of the revolutionary struggle of the working class has increased twofold on an international scale as well as national scale.

We have entered a crucial and a testing period as it once again brings to the fore the revolutionary tasks of the working class. Despite the fact that they are far from the actual battlefields of this imperialist war, in many countries the working masses, the youth, are raising their voices on the streets, in the squares, in antiwar strikes of the workers, in student boycotts. And Turkey is being dragged into the flames of this war. Therefore the masses that are streaming from their workplaces and schools to the squares, that are taking part in massive rallies, that are going on strike to try and stop the war, need clear guidelines more than ever. The most important of all is to form workers' action committees, antiwar committees in the workers' neighbourhoods, that will direct all these reactions into organised channels.

The tasks of the organised workers who are equipped with revolutionary ideas are enormous in illuminating the working masses and in advancing the anti-capitalist struggle of the working class. In order to make the masses conscious of the need to struggle against the capitalist order that ruins the lives of the poor every concrete demands should be raised to the level of a militant weapon of struggle. Let's not forget that while the working class is in the grips of unemployment, poverty and hunger due to the crisis of the system, the bourgeois governments seek to increase military spending and their defence budgets. In short, the war funds that will be squeezed out of the backs of the poor masses, as long as the workers and toilers permit, this will shower over us in the form of bombs . Are we to pay taxes for the war budgets as obedient citizens while the capitalists attack the social rights of the workers under the pretext of the economic crisis and cut public expenditure in vital areas like education and health? Let's raise our concrete demands: No to capitalist arms expenditure! Public funds should be allocated to workers' neighbourhoods, schools, hospitals and pensioners! For a nationalised planned economy under the control and democratic rule of the working class!

In such a moment as this the importance of the trade unions can never be ignored. They are able to raise the struggle of the working class against the war and capitalist system on a massive scale. Although they are in the grip of the bureaucrats, these organisations are the means for organising the working class struggle on a massive scale. The trade unions cannot be surrendered into the hands of the bureaucrats, particularly at such a crucial time. The unions can undertake very important functions when there is a wave of struggles that rises from the rank and file of the working class. Look at the deep discontent that is simmering among the rank and file of the workers' unions. Listen to the voice of militant workers and shop stewards who are try to give a fighting lead in the various union branches. Forward to the class struggle against the imperialist war! No room for pessimism; mobilise in the struggle against the imperialist war and this condemned capitalist order!

Oppose this criminal war!
Down with imperialism and capitalism!
No imperialist war but class war!

March 25, 2003.

Note: The original version of this article has the title "Emperyalist Savaþa ve Kapitalizme Karþý Görev Baþýna!"