Towards the Eye of the Storm- V.U. Arslan
We have entered a special phase in the historical process of the bourgeois social order. It is as if a well-organized global general strike has paralyzed supply, demand, transport and production chains all over the world. While the imperialist capitalist system remains helpless in the face of the growing public health crisis, all developments show that the economic crisis has deepened in a way that it will cause social and political consequences which Turkey also will not be able to escape from.
Class struggle in Turkey and the world would be sharpening in the coming period in which laborers will get poorer expeditiously . Although the popular uprisings expected in many countries of the world create a favorable environment for the development of revolutionary Marxist focuses, there are big problems such as the disorganization of the working masses and the lack of left radicalism. Apart from that, the extreme right-authoritarian reactionary forces wait in ambush in many parts of the world.
The world economy (and meanwhile Turkey’s economy) was moving towards a new a major crisis that coronavirus pandemic came up . The economic and social dimensions of the incoming crisis were also seriously multiplied. Due to the virus, the economic crisis was moved to an earlier time, the losses accelerated and deepened. It’s no more a secret to anyone that the capitalist world economy is crashing as a whole, but what its political and social consequences will be a big mystery. While the economic crisis is turning into a social crisis, the things that can come out of this process can only be “major” and “severe”.
2019 has already passed like a micro 1968. 2020 seemed to promise more. At present, France, Chile, Lebanon and Iraq entered 2020 in struggle that the coronavirus epidemic came to the rescue of the ruling classes just like a half-time. But when the rush caused by the pandemic withdraw, the half-time will end, and this time the conditions will be much worse for the bourgeoisie. Hundreds of millions of laborers lose their jobs in countries, which are the hottest points of the class struggle, the workers in informal sectors lost everything they have, the petty bourgeoisie is currently undergoing a great destruction and the futurelessness for students becomes visible than ever. All these social factors ready to explode concentrates an energy which starts a countdown…
Is a Recovery Possible?
It is up to the bourgeois states to save capitalism all over the world. However, aside from the developed capitalist metropolises, capitalist powers around the world are not even able to dress a wound. Southern Europe, Turkey, Middle East, North Africa and Latin America are like almost like powder keg and the governments are totally helpless in these countries. Considering the fact that they are all in debt head over heels in debt, a recovery is impossible! Italy at the heart of the crisis demands 500 billion Euros from the European Central Bank (ECB), but they already have 360 billion Euros of debt that cannot be paid. In neighboring countries of Turkey, including Southern Europe, no more can be expected than increase in unemployment, bankruptcies, appreciation of the dollar and increasing in the cost of living and poverty.
In the metropolitan countries, the formulas of 2008 is put into practice. In fact, interest rates are lowered, public spending is increased, trillions of dollars are pumped into the markets to keep monopolies and the free market alive. But in 2008, we saw that already failed methods, did not solve but enlarged the problem. Moreover, functioning of capitalism has now stopped. In 2008, the rapid growth of China, which saved the world economy, vanished. On the contrary, China is one of the starters the current crisis. In short, governments in developed countries may perhaps dress up their wounds caused by job losses and rapid impoverishment, but the overall picture will not change. The general picture shows itself in the warning of the International Labor Organization (ILO): “Almost 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide as a result of COVID-19.”
Under these circumstances, actions and strikes in France may return more radically than in 2019. Even there was no outbreak in Italy, it would probably join the generation of radical actions, now they are open to a new wave of radical labor movement. We can say similar things for the USA and the UK. Let’s not forget that neo-reformism was defeated in developed countries. (As in Corbyn and Sanders examples) There are two alternatives: far right and the streets! Traditional bourgeois parties will have nothing more than rubbish in the eyes of the people after this time. In short, the aggravation of class conflict is inevitable in developed Western metropolises.
Limits of Optimism
There are revolts of the laborers and the youth on the horizon. Yes, we can be optimistic in this regard, but it should be borne in mind that the mass movements are unpredictable and, by the way, their political perspectives are weak. Let’s not forget that the capitalist system is not self-destructive. Therefore, the rise of revolutionary political subjects in this historical period will be decisive. It should not be forgotten that the masses become much more open to learning and radicalization during the breaking moments of history. This trend can foster revolutionary forces. Meanwhile, this crisis of imperialist capitalism will be long-lived and deep. In this context, it may be possible to take the opportunities presented by history. It will be very important to push the limits of these possibilities, to organize the workers and the youth by pushing the pessimists aside. If not, the alternative would be far-right, right-wing populism, authoritarianism and fascism. At present, such a dynamic has been on the ground in the world for a long time. On the one hand, there are popular movements and uprisings from France to Chile and in many parts of the world, on the other hand there are Bolsonaro, Trump, Erdogan and extreme right movements that shook Europe.
The Situation in Turkey
The unique conditions of each country are combined with trends in the world. Mass unemployment, rapid impoverishment, reactions against the system and convulsed governments… Turkey was already galloping to the second phase of the crisis started in 2018. The global epidemic was said to be an excuse for the AKP. But things have come to a pretty pass that this is not the case. The laborers in Turkey were saliently impoverished in 2016 and 2018 and now another big crisis is at the door. The unemployment rate leaps forward and solidify. With the virus pandemic, millions have joined the army of unemployed under the name of unpaid leave.
The economic package (Economic Stability Shield) announced by Tayyip Erdoğan in the face of the epidemic showed the AKP’s inability to dress these big wounds. If they try to take measures such as salary and rent support for the working masses, they will not make it through. There is no money left And the state is deep in debt. It is obvious that the engine will catch fire if it is forced a little more. The budget has record deficits, tax revenues are exhausted. In any case, the IMF’s door will be knocked again.
A significant portion of those sent to their homes under the name of unpaid leave will not be able to return to their jobs when the corona epidemic ends. Those who are lucky enough to return their job back will also get to work more indebted, poorer and with less purchasing power. We don’t even count the destruction of the petty bourgeoisie, rising prices and boost in exchange rates.
In sum, there will be social and political consequences of this process for Turkey too. The AKP government will experience great decrease in social support due to increasing mass discontent. In addition to these problems, Erdoğan will have nightmares with the fear of an probable early election calls.
So, what will the laborers do? In August 2019, we argued that the objective conditions for a social explosion in Turkey is taking shape. In the coming period, these conditions will be much more severe for the laborers. Therefore, a spark that will turn into a popular movement should not surprise anyone.
It is obvious that the capitalist system is in a deadlock. The worldwide problem is the weakness of revolutionary socialist alternatives. Socialist left of Turkey cannot take the advantages of this favorable environment unless it get over its historical crisis. Overcoming this crisis will only be possible with the revolutionary actors with a class struggle perspective. Our party SEP has made significant progress in organizing a new generation and fulfilling this historical task. But there is more to do. Times of a perfect storm can bring important opportunities for revolutionary construction to come true, and the conditions to demolish the system can mature with the forces we can obtained in this upheaval. As revolutionaries, we have to be get prepared for upcoming process, gain people to our perspective and grow our struggle as vigorous forces.