Turkey:Interview with ODP president.

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sat Feb 24 18:33:11 MST 1996

Ryan provided us with an opportunity to get some political positions
checked out re Turkey. Thanks. Shame he had to spoil it with his laboured
sarcasm. He wrote:

>For my friend Hugh, whose membership in the vanguard party will save us all.

I'm not his friend. He knows it. Relations aren't developed by this kind of
address. Again, the trivialization and individualization of a political
stand: 'whose membership'. The put-down use of 'vanguard party' - no such
thing as a crisis of proletarian leadership, eh? Perhaps Ryan's one of the
non-Trotskyists in the USec these days. Ryan's signature use of 'all'.
'Save us all' indicates a cynical and defeatist attitude to the struggle
for socialism.

The interview wasn't much better.

In it, the working class wasn't mentioned once. The new party isn't even
characterized as a workers' party. Class isn't mentioned at all. Nor is
capitalism. As to method, 'pluralism' and 'improvisation' are to reign.
This doesn't sound like a  party for working class action.

On the Soviet and Chinese experience, we hear nothing about the restoration
of capitalism today and how it is affecting Turkey and Turkish workers
through events in immediately neighbouring countries. No characterization
of the Soviet state. A characterization of the regime of the Soviet Union
in 1921 as indifferent to international solidarity - under Lenin, Trotsky
and Stalin, all lumped together. Nothing concrete about subsequent

On internationalism there's no substance at all. Not one example given. No
mention of any struggle in any country that is likely to receive the
party's help.

The reason becomes clear when the Kurdish question is put directly. This
party does not have a position on national liberation (or is opposed to
it), it is silent on the ethnic repression being carried out in the war of
the Turkish state against the Kurds, and its view of the forces shaping
society in Turkey is pacifist, parliamentary and utopian. It does not
realize that any peace settlement that might be negotiated will have to be
negotiated between the combatants, not bystanders, unless one side is
completely crushed, in which case there won't be any need for negotiations.
The party does not have a position on the PKK (this a bit like a Peruvian
party not having a position on the PCP/Sendero!) - if it does, why doesn't
the chair mention it in relation to the Kurdish question?

If you compare the Kurdish situation with the situation in Ireland or
Palestine (or Iraq or the Malvinas some years ago), it becomes evident that
this party has a Turkish chauvinist line by default. It does not
unequivocally oppose its own oppressor state or seek to mobilize the
Turkish working class against this state, and it does not support the
oppressed peope in its struggle.

I think the less said about the parliamentary aspirations of the party or
the Love and Revolution aspect, the better.

This party seems completely ensnared in the web of bourgeois and petty
bourgeois public opinion. As such its emergence would seem to be
*symptomatic* of an upsurge of working class activity and militancy that is
encouraging. This resurgence will hopefully soon find more adequate class
expression, that will provide a better framework for genuine
revolutionaries in the party to work with.



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