While we do not know where and when the mass movements will explode, the deepening contradictions are the signal flare of future revolts. Such as Turkey, a country with deep democratic and economic problems, this possibility is always on the table. The resistance of the university students and lecturers against the appointment of the trustee rector Melih Bulu to Boğaziçi University by Erdogan has created such a nightmare fear.
By Esat Erdogan – Feb/09/2021
After the Gezi uprising, the mass movement was largely withdrawn, until the Metal storm… Automotive and metal industry workers in Bursa carried out a tremendous mass mobilization. Now, the struggle that started around Boğaziçi University has the potential to spread in some ways. This resistance is also a sign that even small sparks have the potential to expand rapidly. Millions ready to say “enough” to the knife in the bone await their own vanguard and struggle. The decisive and legitimate struggle of a handful of miners and their pioneers who resisted for months in Soma resulted in gains. However, it is a fact that if these struggles are a river and do not flow together, it will fade over time.
AKP members are right about one thing, of course this is not just a matter of the rector. The struggle at Boğaziçi University is not just an academic struggle either. A new challenge for the palace to consolidate the repressive regime. It’s a new opportunity for the opposition to stand up to the presidential regime and Erdogan. The expression of their identities and differences for the young and left masses. For socialists, it’s a battleground.
How can a line be built that transcends the boundaries of identity politics, does not drown in the shallow waters of bourgeois democracy, and will crush the callous bourgeois opposition? How can the struggles of the working class and youth resisting for their democratic rights be transformed into a joint mobilization against the Palace and capitalism in the broadest sense? The answers to these questions will determine the course of the struggle.
Palace arm in arm with the Junta of 12 September
The student movement has fought for years against the junta’s file, YÖK (Higher Education Institution). The military junta had established the HEC commitments and rectors were choosen by governement. From 1992 onwards, rectors started to come by elections. Those mentioned were approving one person by the president. During the AKP period, rectors began to be determined by president. In this context, the Palace regime revived one of the September 12 practices.
Before Boğaziçi University, all other universities were appointed by the Palace. That is why Erdogan is asking the resisting Boğaziçi students and lecturers , “Are you the only smart one?”. As a position in the university, where bourgeois ideology is strongly produced, dominance is of great importance for the Palace. That is why the Palace quickly issued a new decree, paving the way for new faculties to be staffed at Boğaziçi University and to have more control over the university. Expanding staffing is also a Junta of September 12 practice.
Likewise, the “Look down” order that the police told the students during the intervention in these protests is again an old junta statement. There is no need to find a reason to be detained, and this was the practice that was applied to students who were detained during the 90s every time they looked up. It is a leftover attack from the junta against the youth taken into custody from the Bosphorus actions. However, the juntaists refused to be tortured and accepted putschism. They would struggle to prove it was not torture. Under the palace regime, overt violence, torture became commonplace! Because they know that the Palace and the courts are behind them. This violence against young people, many of whom face the police for the first time, is unacceptable.
We will not enter into unnecessary discussions as “the rector is academically incompetent”, etc.. Allegiance is sufficient criteria for the ruling coalition. For them, rector that is the member of the Party has all the qualifications. For young people taken into custody from the Boğaziçi protests, the Minister of Interior constantly provokes the public by accusing them of members of the Illegal Organization. Again, through the use of EU funds, it tries to prove that LGBT + individuals are an illegal organization, an extension of foreign constellations. While this may seem ridiculous, it must be taken seriously.He’s not kidding; because this is a civil war regime that sees the other half of the population as an enemy. The phrase “Do not test the power of the state”, which they constantly repeat, is a security shield to legitimize unlawfulness and unbridled repression. Erdogan and his ministers call the opposition “non-national, enemies of religion”, constantly provocating the public. It then increases the violence of the state. If the violence continues and the opposition is silent, he makes a victory speech and the subject is closed. If the opposition does not silence, the Erdogan government increases the dose of violence. That’s their strategy.
The fact that the new rector Balu started his academic studies by inviting snipers to the school, then the detention of hundreds of students, the arrest of 8 students and the torture of many students is a small rehearsal of what the new rector and the regime behind him will do. It is difficult to predict where things will go in case of massive protests … But we have been writing for a while that an armed team of so-called civilian forces could step in.
Brazen bourgeois opposition and the lie of reform
The palace has been mumbling on constitutional reform for a while. After the Bosphorus Univercity resistance, it brought this up again. Although these lies appeal to the ears of bourgeois liberals and the incurable petty bourgeoisie, they have no intention of reform. There are lots of games in the Palace. When it’s not enough, the police’s violence is already on standby.
To legalize an electoral system where they will not lose their intentions! Although the palace has the power of all the violent apparatus of the state, it attributes its so-called legitimacy to popular support. Because the common feature of the new type of Bonapartist regimes is their use of election results, albeit symbolically. Therefore, he must both win the election and at the same time silence the opposition violently!
Bourgeois opposition, which constantly warns of provocation and falls into Erdogan’s trap on religion / nationalism issues, shows the same attitude in the Bosphorus demonstrations. In the end, their problem is that the system does not stop. Everything is for the capital! However, it is not possible for them to stand against Erdogan with this opposition language. The bourgeois opposition of the CHP and the Good Party does not have the power to oppose the Palace. They do nothing but confuse the head of the masses. When it comes to “reform, state, nation”, they are ready immediately. They have no intention of fighting for the simplest democratic rights.
The Solution Is In The Unified Struggle
Another parenthesis is for those who squeeze the struggle into identity politics… With a struggle to be made only through identity politics without coming to terms with capitalism, neither the Palace will step back nor establish a social unity. A struggle to be waged through identity politics and cultural differences divides the working class and earns it for the bourgeoisie. However, we need to attract large masses of workers to our side.
Uniting the youth movement with working class struggles all over the country today is the only way out! The task of the revolutionary leadership should be to orient the youth movement in a classist perspective. An action program and a line of struggle that will unite all struggles on legitimate grounds …