The May Day celebrations held all around the world and in Turkey has been a day on which the working class and the labourers have declared that they do not want to pay the cost of the crisis. The massive character as well as the prevalence of the celebrations has stood out and they have also revealed both the periodical weaknesses and the opportunities for improvement and reinforcement within the workers’ movement and the trade union struggle.
Both around the world and in our country, the May Day of 2009 has been witnessed to the most prevalent and massive May Day celebrations of the recent years.
The capitalist system is undergoing its most severe crisis after the Second World War. The role of the capitalist system’s attacks (such as dismissals from work, wage reductions, all the different forms of leave without pay and flexible work being implemented etc.) channelled by the hands of the states and governments and directed towards the sections forming the main body of the working class has been significant. In many countries, beginning with France, the trade unions and confederations have put aside the competition between them and have celebrated May Day together against the attacks of the capital.
The economic crisis collectivising the demands, to such a degree, in the celebrations held on an international scale has brought out the international character of the working class movement in the same degree.
More than 300 thousand workers and labourers have participated in the celebrations held around 100 different venues in our country. Another characteristic to stand out in the celebrations has been the Kurdish workers and labourers participating massively and in a widespread manner and claiming the May Day celebrations this year. The Kurdish workers and labourers have expressed their economic and democratic demands together with their class sisters and brothers. This picture gives strength and hope in terms of the future of the common struggle of the Turkish and Kurdish workers and labourers.
However and unfortunately, on the contrary to the tendency around the world, the confederations and trade unions in our country following a “dividing” line of action rather than one respecting the unity of the workers and labourers, has caused participation to remain at the current levels when conditions for different results actually existed. To such an extent that some of the confederations, not content with limiting the division based on “we must go to Taksim Square” to Istanbul, have resorted to dispatching written instructions to the trade union branches in other cities around the country telling them to stay away from joint celebrations.
It is gladdening to see that, despite these negativities the workers, labourers and the trade unionists feeling responsibility towards the labour movement have not paid attention to the “imposing from the top”, subjective approaches of the confederations’ and trade unions’ central administrations disregarding the unity and interests of the labourers and not taking the will of the grassroots into consideration at all and these forces have organised joint celebrations everywhere except for Istanbul and a few other locations around the country. This situation has demonstrated that the idea of the capital’s attacks being only repulsed with a complete struggle has been accepted among the labourers at the grassroots.
This attitude that is pro-unity has shown both that our Party’s May Day tactic has been claimed by the working class and the labourers and has, once again, put forward the path that needs to be trodden by the movement of the workers and the trade unions.
At the point reached today, the central administrations of confederations and trade unions should regard the class movement from a position in accordance with this tendency of the grassroots rather than their own positions and should immediately take the steps in order to build a united line of struggle. In addition to this, insistence on the policy of “We must go to Taksim Square” is one of the most fundamental obstacles in front of maintaining class unity. We must know that the discussions currently carried out around “Taksim Square”; beyond being a simple discussion among the working class and the labourers as to whether the “march took place or not in Taksim Square” or whether the “number of participants was reasonable or not”, is in fact an ideological problem existing between the working class and the elements outside of the class.
May Day will only correspond to the values it represents both historically and in terms of today as long as it is celebrated as a day on which the widest unity of the workers and labourers is maintained around the most urgent economic, social and political demands. A platform on May Day that does not ensure the unity of the workers and disregards their demands cannot be defended on behalf of the working class; no matter what the pretexts put forward happen to be. This is the reality that those insisting on “Taksim Square” refuse persistently in seeing.
Undoubtedly; celebrating May Day in Taksim, beyond being a wish, is the right of the working class of Turkey. However; a genuinely workers’ May Day will have been celebrated in Taksim Square when the workers and labourers have defeated with their own forces the restraints and bans pertaining to this issue imposed by the capital’s governments and the state and have rendered sovereign their own platform with their unity and their demands. What has been experienced in Taksim on the May Day of 2009 has nothing to do with this situation.
The subjectivist attitude and understanding put forward by those setting forth the symbols of the past and their own feelings in a manner alienated from the duties of the present day is a typical indication of the position they have been flung to that is outside of the class.
On the other hand, another reality made obvious one again by the events in Taksim is that the government as well as the Governor and the Chief of Police that are “at the head” of Istanbul as the government’s representatives, deem running this city with police terror as an accomplishment. The police terror storming around Taksim on May Day cannot be accepted by anybody or any organisation on the side of democracy nor can it be justified. The Governor and Chief of Police of Istanbul should immediately resign as those responsible for these actions.
Taking all of these facts into consideration, our Party will continue to offer all its accumulation and means of struggle to the service of the working class and the trade union struggle.
Long live May Day; the day of international unity, struggle and solidarity of the working class!
Long live the unity of the working class!