Marx’s Revolutionary Mole Emerged out of Taksim’s Uprooted Trees – A Revolutionary Situation in Turkey!

06.06.2013 | Sinan KARASU

In the eleven-year-rule of the neo-conservative AKP (Justice and Development Party of Erdogan), the molecular process of revolution went on and, in the last several years, accelerated due to his increasingly authoritarian rule, and with the mere “two uprooted trees” [in Gezi Park], as the bourgeois partisan media called, the pent-up anger exploded. AKP’s high-handed manner and prohibitive rule paved the way for a mass uprising. In fact, the true meaning of the demonstrations is the beginning of a mass uprising! The sociological characteristics of the millions of people in İstanbul and the other cities easily prove this fact. Henceforth there is no other force than itself to stop the mole!

But the revolution is thoroughgoing. It is still traveling through purgatory. It does its work methodically. It first completed the parliamentary power in order to be able to overthrow it. … And when it has accomplished this second half of its preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exult: Well burrowed, old mole! (Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)

An avid reader of literature, as well as a decent economist and politician, Marx once described the revolution with a Shakespearean metaphor – a burrowing “old mole”! The mole symbolized what Trotsky called “the molecular process of Revolution”. Even at times that the ruling classes wielded absolute power, that the working class came under the sway of the reactionary ideas, and that everything went awry, the old mole of Revolution typically burrows its way underground and accumulates the quantitative forces of the upcoming Revolution. The characteristically “sudden” outbreak of all revolutions stems from this simple fact.

That is the exact meaning of the “Turkish Spring”. In the eleven-year-rule of the neo-conservative AKP (Justice and Development Party of Erdogan), the molecular process of revolution went on and, in the last several years, accelerated due to his increasingly authoritarian rule, and with the mere “two uprooted trees” [in Gezi Park], as the bourgeois partisan media called, the pent-up anger exploded.

“AKP government,” we wrote only two weeks ago, “is heading to become a more repressive, authoritarian regime. The ban on May Day rally in Taksim Square ushered in an era that has outlawed almost all the meetings throughout the country, and the government priding itself on its reforms in the Kurdish question, which by the way has a lot to do with its own imperialist aims in Syria, has repressed all democratic reactions with tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets. It would be fair to say that Turkey is undergoing a process of ‘Putinization’, or rather heading to a kind of American democracy, where freedom of speech more or less exists, but freedom of action is demonized.”

Now AKP is heading to a Bonapartist police dictatorship with a pace way above our our predictions. Only two weeks after the publication of the above lines, AKP’s high-handed manner and prohibitive rule paved the way for a mass uprising. In fact, the true meaning of the demonstrations is the beginning of a mass uprising! The sociological characteristics of the millions of people in İstanbul and the other cities easily prove this fact.

Having played the role of the champion of democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, the AKP government is quite aware of it. The Taksim revolt is hardly the conspiracy of “a handful marginal”, but the demonstration of millions of people who have up to now has had nothing to do with demonstrations, remained indifferent to political or social problems, but now standing together with the revolutionaries. That the masses’ slogans and chanting are intertwined with invectives is a most particular reflection of it. That is an inevitable part of a storming mass movement. This should not be seen as an insurmountable impediment, but we should, as Lenin said, patiently explain the revolutionary truths.

Moreover, the “lack of consciousness” on the part of the masses is a relative term. The masses are quite aware that this is not only about the “environment problem” or the ban on Taksim. AKP is intoxicated with power, and his attacks on the democratic rights and the imposition of its own reactionary way of life backfired. Ban on May Day, heavy restrictions of alcohol, bans on strikes, the demolition of the Emek (“Labour”) Cinema [a symbolic movie theatre in Taksim], heavy censorship of media and theatres, restrictions of abortion, women’s killings, falling into silence about the dramatic rise of rapes and child abuses while promoting the misogynist behaviours, disregarding the lives of masses in pursuit of its imperialistic aims in Syria, and so on.

All these combined to accelerate the marching of the revolutionary mole and, in the end, the old mole emerged out of Taksim’s trees uprooted by the AKP government that is hostile to the nature as well as to the human! Henceforth there is no other force than itself to stop the mole!

Lenin pointed out that all revolutions possess some certain fundamental features:

For a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. … symptomatic of any genuine revolution is a rapid, tenfold and even hundredfold increase in the size of the working and oppressed masses—hitherto apathetic—who are capable of waging the political struggle. (Lenin, “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder)

The conditions deemed necessary by Lenin for the beginning of a revolution has started to ripen in Turkey. All sections of the society rushed into the streets to vent their dissatisfaction with the AKP rule. In this sense, it is fair to say that there exists “a rapid, tenfold and even hundredfold increase in the size of the working and oppressed masses—hitherto apathetic—who are capable of waging the political struggle”.

Furthermore, there are symptoms of the second condition, i.e., “the exploiters should not be able to rule in the old way”. Though it is hard to separate the facts and baseless allegations, there are many policemen and soldiers being dissatisfied with such a confrontation with the labourers and the youth. The social media campaign calling the policemen to resign and “become an honourable bagel seller” rather than being a pawn of the government, found more or less an echo in the policemen.

There are, however, other symptoms as well. The demonstrations made inroads into the media monopoly, an inseparable part of the AKP government, and many critical voices have been heard. Moreover, several capitalists declared to have given up their partnership to the notorious shopping mall [intended to replace the Gezi Park]. All these demonstrate that not only us, but also the bourgeoisie is aware that the question is not “two uprooted trees”. Taksim is heading to become a Tahrir!

We should, nonetheless, learn from the Tahrir experience. Tahrir also suffered from being the first. Millions of people had invaded the square, but they hardly knew what they had to do next. However what the masses had to do was, and is, crystal clear – to set up tents in the invaded square, maintain the struggle and so organize a genuine general strike, and to seize the bourgeois media, the source of disinformation and the target of rightful reaction of the people and run together with the media labourers, many of whom have complained that they are “duty bound” to bow to the media bosses closely tied to the government.

But it should be remembered that the bourgeois media is just a part of the capitalistic system. It is only by making inroads into the capitalist property and its political superstructure that the struggle will be able to reach its great aims.

June 1, 2013