[Marxism] Between Two Rationalities: The Possibility of an Alternative Politics in Turkey

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 24 08:18:41 MDT 2014

(The HDP referred to below is a left social democratic party, the BDP a 
Kurdish rights party. Their alliance has attracted smaller, more radical 
groups. I may be wrong but it sounds like a promising development--a 
Turkish SYRIZA so to speak.)

The main supporters of the current government—mostly shopkeepers, 
small-scale manufacturers, and workers in precarious sectors with a low 
level of education—focus on the extent to which their daily needs and 
demands have been taken into consideration and met, rather than looking 
at the democratic procedures involved, the legality of the actions 
taken, or whether or not corruption was involved. The same supporters of 
the government remember very well the times before the AKP came to 
power, and that the laws and regulations of that era were the results of 
a very different mindset, the expressions of another social class. The 
bureaucracy of that state, with its corresponding media and judiciary, 
were under the control of this other class. In these preceding decades, 
corruption also used to be endemic, along with countless extra-legal 
executions; current supporters of the AKP have not forgotten how much 
they used to be ostracized and degraded. Let me emphasize this one more 
time: when we are talking about polarization, we are actually talking 
about two differing rationalities, two ways of experiencing the world, 
two divergent forms of subjectivity, two different affective economies, 
and finally, two different sources of legitimacy. In this context, it is 
imperative to draw attention to the political perspective of the 
Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP) as a way to overcome the stranglehold 
of this dichotomy.

 From Revelation to Construction: The Possibility of Alternative Politics

The singular subjectivity of the HDP/BDP can be described by the 
confluence of the struggle for equality and freedom under the universal 
maxim “to claim my right is my prerogative,” and the concrete historical 
experience of social exclusion and deprivation of this right. While 
referencing similar precedents, the HDP/BDP counters the expectation to 
renounce its memory and abdicate its rights in the name of a fake social 
peace. Instead, the movement puts its voice and body unwaveringly into 
the public arena, and claiming the ground to mutually defend the rights 
of all. From the vantage point of sovereign codes, experiences, and ways 
of knowing, this voice may sound like “much ado about nothing.” 
Nevertheless, the HDP today is endeavoring to make its demands resonate 
on universal grounds while rendering them negotiable, and also to take 
other marginalized demands seriously by inviting the aggregation of the 
multitude on a wider basis.


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