Turkish Elections: The Crisis of Capitalism will not be Resolved at the Ballot Box

Elections are often touted as the cornerstone of democracy, the means by which people exercise their political power and shape the future of their society. However, under capitalism, the realities are far from this idealistic image. The working class will not see its own emancipation on the ballot paper, but only the parties and representatives of various bourgeois factions that are candidates for our exploitation. No matter what stories the governing and opposition parties tell us, their only intention is to fill their own pockets at our expense. There is no magic solution to our problems in the ballot box. Whether the current government or the opposition wins, the deepening international crisis of capitalism means conditions for the working class will only continue to deteriorate. In this situation, we need to realize the true political power of our class, instead of getting pessimistic or burying our heads in the ballot box with misplaced hope.

After twenty years of Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) rule, the situation seems to be in favor of the opposition, according to polls.(1) It may be difficult to understand why some people might still prefer the current government despite all kinds of scandals, theft, terrorism, war and the state of the economy over the years. However, it is clear that the opposition has not offered much of an alternative during this time. This is also true today. So much so that the main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP), has formed an alliance by making concessions to parties that left the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP), some of which received only 1% of the vote. The only difference in favor of the opposition today is that the government cannot sustain the economic growth it provided through the boom in the construction sector and various other means; nor can it even control the rates of inflation and exchange anymore. On top of that, the construction amnesties and anti-seismic building rules issued before the earthquake(2), and the criticisms made after the earthquake for both late and inadequate interventions, make the government's job more difficult.

While the working class is confronted with the barbarism and death brought by capitalism every day, support for the election agenda has spread all over the country. The Workers' Party of Turkey (Türkiye İşçi Partisi, TİP), which calls itself socialist, is legitimizing the system in the name of “socialism”. While nominating bourgeois candidates, it tries to sell "equality" to the working class. But as Lenin said,

you all pay lip-service to the “class struggle”, but actually you close your eyes to it at the very time when it is growing especially acute. And to do that means to side with capital, with the bourgeoisie, against the working people.

Lenin, Forward to “Deception of the People with Slogans of Freedom and Equality”, 1919

Boycotting elections is not an act of passive indifference, as some believe. Every vote, even for the lesser evil, means confirming the legitimacy and continuation of the system and contradicts the interests of our class. Even if these parties claim to call themselves workers or communists! These parties and organizations that associate themselves with "socialism" are currently trying to direct all the anger of the working class towards the election. Because these parties are concerned only with mitigating these contradictions instead of eliminating them. However, all of the existing contradictions of the capitalist mode of production are getting sharper by day. In a globalised capitalist world, we are faced with the climate crisis and its consequences, the threat of World War III and a major economic crisis. These contradictions are condemning the world to barbarism.

The boycott alone is not enough. The criticisms of those who claim that by abstaining we support the government partly come from this point, but they are trying to confine the struggle to the ballot box! What we need to do is to ignore them and initiate, encourage and support all kinds of self-organization in our workplaces. And get actively involved in the struggles of our class. We need to draw lessons from past and current struggles and formulate and elaborate the communist program. In countries where democratic regimes have ruled for a long time, the minds of the masses have been poisoned with the ideas of "democracy and freedom". Therefore, we first need “to remove from the minds of the proletariat those illusions and prejudices which have been spread with the complicity of the old social democratic leaders in order to turn it away from its historical path.” (Bordiga) Following this historical path will not be easy and will take time. We have to struggle, here and now, to build our own organizations for a real future without this system that offers no future to humanity. And our struggle should not be limited to this or that region, it should be global. We must build an international political organization that will coordinate the struggle against world capitalism, not just its version in Turkey.(3) We need a world without national oppression (without borders), where economic life is based on the satisfaction of the majority, not the profits of the few. This will only be possible by acting independently, without giving others the right to act for us.

ICT Sympathizers in Turkey


(1) en.wikipedia.org

(2) "Construction amnesties" (in Turkish) are legal waivers given (for a fee of course!) by the government for buildings that violate building regulations. Erdoğan even used to boast about them in his rallies and before the earthquake the opposition wasn't against it either as it would have cost them votes, since more than 50% of the buildings in Turkey ignore the regulations.

(3) In May 2022 the Turkish government requested that the United Nations should officially use Türkiye in English instead of Turkey.

Sunday, May 14, 2023