1. New members are thrown in front of the police under the name of “revolutionary activity”. Members who are sent to sell newspapers, open tables and participate in protests, face the police many times and are flagged. Secret organization, all kinds of clendestine work, contrary to what Lenin formulated in his book “What is To Be Done?”, are completely rejected. As a result, all the cadres of the party are recorded and registered. Indeed, every new member’s family is being phone called by the police within a week at most, without any exception. Anyone with any belief in the revolution and the will to fight is thus recognized by the state and ruled out as a risk:
“Naturally, the police, in almost every case, knew theprincipal leaders of the local movement, since they had already “gained a reputation” for themselves in their student days, and the police waited only for the right moment to make their raid. They deliberately allowed the study circle sufficient time to develop its work so that they might, obtain a palpable corpus delicti, and they always permitted several of the persons known to them to remain at liberty ‘for breeding.’” – What is To Be Done?
The “party” is growing rapidly and the state is deliberately not stopping it. After all, this kind of open work is most beneficial to them. This method, which is adopted today under the pretext of the existence of bourgeois democratic rights, is actually the sale and sacrifice of tomorrow. Worse than this is the denial of yesterday’s Bolshevik tradition. It is based on a false optimism that democratic rights are permanent. On the contrary, Fascism is knocking on the door! When fascism comes to power and takes possession of all these documents in the political police, it will be able to imprison the revolutionaries without even allowing the establishment of an underground organization. The Erdogan regime no longer has any legitimacy in the eyes of the people and is prepared to use force; We are in an era where he allows police to access military equipment, fills the army with their own militants, arms many sects, train mercenaries, etc. You have to be blind to not see the direction. Fascism has ceased to be a historical speculation and became question of the day, and this blatant organizing is political suicide.
Are you the only one who is clever? Did no one else think of wandering around the streets, begging random people to get organized? Just as an empty can makes a loud noise, your voice is too loud. The sound is loud, growing, but it is misleading.
2. Although advising members to not be afraid of detention and documentation, the leadership itself avoids any risk. The actual chairman of the party, Volkan Gümüş, (Güneş Gümüş and Derya Koca were brought to the fore) even hesitates to write in the newspaper under his own name and uses a pseudonym. Bahar İmla, who is also a leader, restricts all kinds of organizational activities in campus as a student so that her career at Hacettepe University is not harmed. These people do not show the same attention and care when it comes to the future of young children who are sometimes no more older than 16.
3. These democracy fighters who are obsessed with the word “bureaucracy” are so paranoid and repressive that it is even a problem for MFT members at the Hacettepe University in question to open a separate WhatsApp group. On top of that, at least one person in contact with the leadership resides in each organizational house, monitors the discourse and attitudes of the new members and reports them to the top. There were those who were expelled from the party just because of their preferences in their private life. Fatih Furkan Yaylacı personally admitted to me that he had reported a woman to the leadership and caused his expulsion because he did not adopt a conservative lifestyle.
4. Members who are constantly directed to organizational activities cannot find time to devote to their own theoretical development. The political education provided by the party is sparse, insufficient and far away from giving a comprehensive political consciousness to its members. As a result, the base falls behind the leadership, becomes ineffective in the decision-making process, and this gives the leadership quality of bureaucracy. Just as mental and manual labor are separated in class societies, the same applies to this party.
5. Members are treated as if they have no reason and will, and they are prevented from learning perspectives other than their own. It is essential that members know different views in order to develop a critical consciousness. This alone proves that the WSP does not have a solid program as an organization, and that the ideas they adopt are fragile and disconnected from reality. Otherwise, why should they be so afraid of criticism? Of course, because they have neither the capability nor the grounds to consistently defend their program!
6. Members are tired and frustrated by the repetitive and generally unproductive nature of what has been done under name of organizational activity, their revolutionary spirit is broken. Worse still, the party aims to cut them off from their own social circles by constantly engaging them in such activities. So much so that Soner Aydın, one of the MP members, phone called some members as if he is their father and asked who they were with and where they were. The target is for each member to put the party at the center of their lives, as they wrote in the brochure “The Revolutionary’s Handbook”. Members cannot have a life outside the party. If the member, who is separated from his family and friends, leaves the organization, he will be completely alone, which will force him to stay inside. The party should be a voluntary association of people with common ideas. Only on this basis can the vanguard party be formed. What is done here is the denial of the free will of the people.
7. There is serious financial exploitation inside. It is not clear where the monthly dues collected, which to not pay means expulsion, go. Almost all the expenses of the party are met directly by the members. If a declaration is to be printed, even this is not compansated by the party, but from the pockets of the member to whom the task is given. The SKS Association in Ankara is operated by WSP members on a rotational basis. Meanwhile, the expenses of the association also come out of the pockets of the members! In the simplest way, if food is to be cooked, the keeper buys the ingredients. Apart from this, the keeper works in many jobs such as cleaning, washing the dishes, brewing tea, and being a waitress, but if he eats a plate of his own food, he has to pay for it. The money goes directly into the hands of the party and there is a serious exploitation of labor here. The same is true for newspapers. Members buy newspapers from the party for 5 TL and sell them to the public for 2 TL. As a result, 3 TL goes from their pockets to the party for each newspaper they sell. On top of that, they have turned their association into a marketplace by selling many products, be it party badges or scarves.
8. Financial exploitation arrives upto labor exploitation. WSP members were sent to collect hazelnuts on the land belonging to the father of professional bureaucrat Soner Aydın, and all their income was confiscated by the party bureaucracy. The issue here is party capitalism. Just as DAF, which founded its entire ideology on Anti-Authoritarianism, recently turned out to be a small kingdom, the WSP, which established its entire program on the thesis of “State Capitalism”, turned out to be a capitalist enterprise.
9. There is a caste of “professional revolutionaries” within the organization, which is constituted by the leadership. This caste stays in the organization’s houses for free and lives on the money given by the party. Apart from this, there is almost nothing that this parasitic group does. Of course, I also observed extremely suspicious behaviors. MP and CC members often made secret phone calls behind closed doors, left the house silently, leaving all our questions unanswered about what they were doing. After a while, certain eyewitnesses informed me that they witnessed Soner Aydın greet the police on the street.
10. Systematic mobbing is applied to people with different ideas. They always kept their eyes on me because I brought criticism on various issues related to the party program. The night before the day I was on duty at the SKS Association, they deliberately scattered around, threw cigarette packs on the ground and spilled ashes, and left me a huge load of dishes and a garbage filled to the brim. The purpose of all this was to harass and intimidate me.
After I left the organization and some time past, I was verbally and physically attacked by Soner Aydın on 14 December (the day this polemic was published) when I visited the SKS Association. I was subjected to extremely sexist insults, and it was only because I had expressed my own opinions and recommended several people within the organization that I was close to read my newspaper. This is a serious disrespect to me. Considering that I went there, in first case, to defend them against a possible Fascist attack in these turbulent days!
11. Factionalism is strictly prohibited. From the point of view of Trotskyism, this is indeed an extremely embarrassing situation. The internal contradictions of a political party are the source of the external movement, and the elimination of these contradictions means the disappearance of the movement as a whole. The only thing monolithism will bring is organizational stagnation and degeneration. Let’s take the word from Trotsky:
“The prohibition of factions ended in a prohibition to think otherwise than the infallible leaders. The police manufactured monolithism of the party resulted in a bureaucratic impunity which has become the sources of all kinds of wantonness and corruption.” – The Revolution Betrayed
Or let’s take a look at the quote Lenin wrote in the preface to his book “What is To Be Done?”:
“…Party struggles lend a party strength and vitality; the greatest proof of a party’s weakness is its diffuseness and the blurring of clear demarcations; a party becomes stronger by purging itself…” – Letter of Lassalle to Marx, June 24 of 1852
12. There is a serious personality cult within the organization. Volkan Gümüş is like a miniature Stalin.
13. The WSP operates as a legal bourgeois party rather than a Bolshevik underground organization. First of all, the main body of a Bolshevik party has to be illegal in particular of today. This situation does not prevent participation in the elections in any way. An illegal party may nominate its own candidates as independent candidates, district by district:
“3. In countries where a state of siege or emergency legislation makes it impossible for Communists to conduct their activities legally, it is absolutely essential that legal and illegal work should be combined… In these conditions, Communists can place no trust in bourgeois legality.” – Terms of Admission into Communist International (1920)
The area where the party should benefit from legal opportunities is the mass organizations, but here too, contrary to what it should be, we see an incredibly tight structure. At its simplest, mass organizations should not have specific and known leaders, not even a list of members. The few militants inside should direct the organization in line with the directives from the party. There should not be a “Chairman of the Marxist Ideas Society (MFT)” and similar bureaucratic titles:
“It may be objected that an organisation which is so lose that it is not even definitely formed, and which has not even an enrolled and registered membership, cannot be called an organisation at all. Perhaps so. Not the name is important. What is important is that this “organisation without members” shall do everything that is required, and from the very outset ensure a solid connection between our future trade unions and socialism.” – What is To Be Done?
While the organizational work should proceed naturally on the ground of trust from their private circles of workers, farmers and students, the dreams of rapid growth lead them to abandon this trust and secrecy-based manner.
To put it simply, the newspaper of a revolutionary party should be illegal here and not sold to random strangers on the street. Legal newspaper means to be restricted and to make concessions from radical rhetoric in Turkey. It is traded among people brought together many times by economic activity (including education because of its final purpose) in everyday life. With this way, the secrecy of the party will be preserved. Also people will have the opportunity to learn communist perspectives and discuss them on a routine basis. The political bond that has been captured is kept firmly and is advanced as the developments prove the party’s theses in the process. Working in the opposite way is extremely inefficient and risky. First of all, those who buy the newspapers are usually old left-wingers, and their main goal does not go beyond financial support to the party.
14. MFTs are limited to universities. There is no organization covering the whole youth, and a large part of the working youth is thus ignored.
15. Kocaeli committee has been left to its fate. Emrecan Konyalı, who was appointed to manage this committee, is almost never in Izmit, and I, the other member of the committee, was not given the necessary support. I was not given any propaganda material, nor was I given any guidance on what needed to be done here. When I first expressed that I wanted to leave the organization, they told me that they wanted to talk to me. I never got a return.
1. The organization hesitates even to describe itself as Communist, Leninist or Trotskyist. Bolshevism is too sharp for them, its meaning is diluted by the word socialism. Everything is to appeal to the masses with backward-consciousness, they have left behind the task of bringing out the revolutionary vanguard from the masses.
2. Accordingly, a federal structure has been adopted within the international which they are a member of. While the Revolutionary International should normally be a party above the parties, the ISL does not even have a common program. The party in Argentina and the group in Turkey can act as they wish with completely different programs. The aim here is to adopt the most popular line specific to that region in each country and quickly become popular. But without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary practice. If there is no body of national parties acting with a common program, we cannot talk about a true international, because even Stalinist parties are members of such international platforms.
3. The idea of establishing a communist party throughout Turkey as a whole is rejected. Separate parties are being designed for Turkey and Kurdistan. This is completely against the Leninist theory of the vanguard party. According to this reasoning, it was necessary for Lenin to establish more than one party in Russia, which was a peoples prison, and to break up the Bolshevik party.
While the vanguard party in Turkey may have special organisations for work among the Kurds, these will only reflect a division of labour within the party. This division of labour is simply to carry out the organisation and mobilisation of the Kurdish masses. We stand with Lenin against the segregation into separate parties of proletarians of different nations living within the borders of a single-state power:
“The Great-Russian and Ukrainian workers must work together, and, as long as they live in a single state, act in the closest organisational unity, and concert, towards a common or international culture of the proletarian movement, displaying absolute tolerance on the question of the language in which propaganda is conducted, and in the purely local or purely national details of that propaganda. This is the imperative demand of Marxism. All advocacy of segregation of the workers of one nation from those of another, all attacks upon Marxist ‘assimilation,’ is bourgeois nationalism, against which it is essential to wage a ruthless struggle.” — Critical Remarks on the National Question
4. The organization does not even comply with its own program. Many theses written in the “WSP with Questions” booklet are rejected in practice. Chief among these are those about identity politics:
“The main proposal of the WSP is to take action, go out on the streets and defend our rights to end the oppression of women in every field. Of course, we should not do this by excluding men, but shoulder to shoulder with them.”
When I, as a man, wanted to participate in the actions of Equality, it was rejected because it would get backlash. So I ask, where is that “shoulder to shoulder” struggle?
Let’s also see how these people, who supposedly reject all kinds of identity politics because it divides the workers, make inconsistent demands on women question:
“• Priority in employment and unemployment benefits for unemployed women.
• Finding priority jobs for divorced women by the Employment Agency.” – Why is Family So Important?, Derya Koca, Sosyalist Gündem
These demands are both far from a class perspective and they offer “gains” to one group within the working class at the expense of the other. What is seen here is a very extreme example of identity politics. Female workers are an integral part of the working class and their private interests are inseparable from the general interests of the proletariat. Such divisive demands, on the other hand, are harmful to the movement and are therefore against the interests of women. The intention may be good, but let’s not forget that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
5. Recruitment is made without people being convinced or fully informed about the party program. That’s how my experience was.
6. In the first 5 points I made, we can describe the disease in question with one word: Populism. It means to keep a foot in both camps and to compromise one’s own principles with the dream of rapid growth.
7. Derya Koca, the vice president, put flowers on grave of Ziya Gökalp who is founder of Turkish nationalism. While we were visiting the grave of Sheikh Bedreddin, we saw by chance that Ziya Gökalp was buried in the same cemetery. When I denounced this man who was the ideological father of Armenian genocide, Derya Koca came forward and claimed that Ziya Gökalp was a historically progressive figure because he was an “oppressed nation nationalist” and left a lily on his grave. First of all, this shows us that attributing progressiveness to the nationalism of the oppressed nation will lead to its opposite, attributing progressiveness to the nationalism of the oppressing nation.
With the national bourgeois groups that emerged after the restoration of capitalism in Yugoslavia, the country entered a political disintegration process. Many national “liberation” movements were manifested and the country was divided into a thousand and one pieces. These “liberation” movements gave the working people everything but liberation: most importantly, being ruled by a colonial governor! Simply put, Spanish diplomat Carlos Westendorp was appointed as a “representative” onto the Bosnia in 1995, and his powers ranged from eliminating parliamentary candidates to dismissing the elected president.
That is why any kind of nationalism cannot solve the problems of the working people and cannot be shown as progressive. This is the at most “liberation” these national “liberation” movements will bring.
8. No statement regarding a boycott was published before the Istanbul elections. Is there a covert support given to Imamoğlu? If we remember the support they gave to the People’s Republican Party (PRP) candidate in the Beyoğlu elections, this is not a remote possibility:
“Our party gives ‘critical support’ to Alper Taş, who is a candidate for Mayor of Beyoğlu from the PRP list. If the populist-participatory self-government practice similar to Maçoğlu’s can be exhibited in Beyoğlu, this will create a positive atmosphere for the labor struggle and will be a success for the left.”
Here, there is a belief that a section of the bourgeoisie can bring about the democratic revolution, and the workers’ movement has been tried to be tailed to a bourgeois party.
In the era of imperialism, when the bourgeoisie has exhausted all its progressive gunpowder, only socialism can bring progress. To claim otherwise is to give false hopes to people, to mislead them. This was true in the 20th century, and it is even more true in the 21st century. Here is a break with Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution theses.
The communists have only one flag to shoulder and that is the red banner. The Bolshevik party will in no way tell the workers that salvation lies in a bourgeois party. All of these parties are deeply attached to imperialism and the main source of the suffering of the peoples of Turkey is the imperialist world order. For this reason, none of them can improve the situation of the working people or prepare the democratic revolution. Similar things can be said about the Kurdish question. The result will only be a disappointment to the oppressed masses.
9. ISL treats the theory of imperialism in a very vulgar way. It sees imperialism only as the domination of one nation over another, and in this way, it counts even Turkey in the category of imperialist state. They will be justifiably embarrassed to say that, so they have coined the term Sub-Imperialism to soften the expression Imperialism is first and foremost a global system, and today, after the collapse of the USSR, the Center-Periphery order based on the absolute dominance of the USA was established. In this order, while a dozen Western countries control the entire world’s wealth through finance, the Third World Countries are ruthlessly exploited. Indeed, the capital held by the investment banks of the West is expressed in trillions of dollars, and these banks manage almost all the financial assets (95%) in the world. These banks have a huge army behind them and a military-industrial complex which they feed.
The imperialist countries are few in number and the colonies make up most of the world. By declaring even a country like Turkey imperialist, the ISL actually hollows out this term, and worst of all, it serves the imperialists.
10. Their attitude towards the Russian question is very similar to what I mentioned in Article 9. Even though Russia has a strong army as a country, its control in the world economy is non-existent. It does not have a financial capital similar to that of the West. There is an economy based on the export of raw materials, mostly natural gas. In addition, Russia is a country that is constantly under imperialist attack due to NATO’s inclusion of Poland and many Balkan countries, contrary to what it promised before the collapse of the USSR. Today, this attack is carried out over Ukraine and the Black Sea. Russia’s support to other states, such as Syria and Cuba, strangled by American imperialism, cannot be interpreted as an imperialist policy at all.
11. Coming from a Cliffite tradition, the WSP historically characterizes the USSR and today Cuba, North Korea, China and Vietnam as capitalist countries and takes a position accordingly. ISO, the ideological predecessor of the ISL, celebrated the collapse of the USSR in 1991 as a victory of democracy. Millions of impoverished people and a whole geography that turned into a bloodbath did not interest them at all. Today, ISL continues the same tradition and is a partner in the attack of American imperialism on the People’s Republic of China and other socialist countries.
The ISO, on the other hand, demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country, which came to stop US-backed Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan in 1980. These pseudo-Trotskyists are actually anti-Communist enough to support the jihadists. Another similar case is their support to the CIA-funded Solidarność union, which directly caused the destruction of the Polish socialist state. Today, Poland is a country where even abortion is prohibited and women’s rights are trampled on. Working people are oppressed by unemployment and exploitation, while Fascist gangs organize freely and terrorize the streets. The Polish workers had everything, but now they have nothing.
What was the result of the collapse of the USSR and other proletarian states? In 1989, the United States celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall by invading Panama. Right after, he crowned this by declaring war on his close ally, Iraq, and the rest came swiftly. Yugoslavia, which had previously been in the non-aligned movement, saw the West as its closest ally and was acting out of fear of a “Soviet Invasion”. Later, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was targeted with heavy bombardment of NATO for 78 days. This is a historical record and neither a bridge nor a building is left standing.
If the so-called “State Capitalism” in Russia, which the WSP so hated, had remained in place, there would have been no way of this happening! Every imperialist war resulted in socialism taking a step forward and spreading. World War I brought us the October Revolution, and World War II brought socialism to the interior of Europe along with the 1949 Chinese Revolution. As a result, the bourgeois class put an end to wars among themselves and consolidated with the fear of socialism. The USSR, by its mere existence, intimidated the ruling Western imperialists and became a guarantor of peace. Today China performs the same task, and for the same reason the imperialists are laying their dirty hands on it! Let it be supporting and equipping the rebels in Tibet in 1995, or the bombing of the Chinese Embassy, which helped the state to communicate during the bombardment of Yugoslavia, there has been a cold war declared on China since 1991. This war is not new.
12. The WSP’s demand for “socialism from below” and the rejection of any intervention from the top in the revolutionary period are against the spirit of the struggle. First of all, the struggle develops unequally. The same class dynamism and social mobility are not seen in every province, even in different districts of the same province. Inevitably, some places in Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara and the like) will take the lead in the struggle, and elsewhere a socialist government’s intervention from above will be required for the establishment of the system. Doing the opposite will bring about the emergence of city-states and allow imperialism to easily besiege the revolution.
13. The errors mentioned and the organizational flaws in question are too great to ignore. For this, the construction of a new organization that has adopted Bolshevik principles should be attempted. This document has been written in 1 December 2021 and is the founding document of the Consistent Democracy group. Further content is added in 14 December 2021 because of the verbal and physical attack, also newer information attained.
CONSISTENT DEMOCRACY (WORKERS’ LEAGUE)
One thought on “Bureaucratism in the Turkish WSP of “International Socialist League””
Brilliant article and political analysis, I think every comrade should read and discuss this very important article and its pertinence to ourselves and party, much to learn from it, I believe.