The Democracy Conference entitled “Bread, Freedom, Justice” was held in Istanbul last week. It was really important that many different parties gathered together at this conference, writes Veysi Sarısözen for Yeni Özgür Politika. The issues in Turkey were discussed and the demands of those marginalised segments of society were evaluated. Citizens shouted out their messages during this conference. ”We are starving, we are crushed under tyranny,” they responded aloud. We already knew that they were struggling, but the conference have become an indicator of the “unity” of the oppressed: the unity of people from different parties, different beliefs and sects, and different ideologies.
In bringing all these voices together, in a way, the conference functioned like a ”union” of those who have been suffering from the current regime in Turkey. It is a kind of “union.” I am not referring to a ”working class union” here. I refer to representatives of different classes and social groups who attended this conference. Such large unity is of considerable importance in the struggle against the fascist regime.
But let us put it differently: Can this conference be at the centre of the struggle against the fascist regime? It cannot.
I made a comparison to a “union” to further underline this. It combined the demands under the slogan of “bread, freedom, justice.” But who do they demand “bread, freedom and justice from?”
If we had lived under a parliamentary democracy, even under a very limited one, we could call upon the government. We could shout: “Give us more bread”, “give us more freedom and justice”. If these demands had been fulfilled, we would support the government and if not, we would not support them, isn’t that the case?
But opposition of this kind is not valid in a fascist regime. Fascism already means that the state will reduce your demands to the demand “for bread,” that the state “will take your freedom away and destroy justice”. Nothing can be asked from or of dictatorships. The person who asks anything from a fascist regime gives legitimacy to the regime.
Therefore, the conference does not address its demands to the Erdoğan regime. It appeals to the opposition, saying: ”There is no bread, no freedom, no justice”.
The conference does not ask anything from the dictatorship, but it also does not show the way how to get ‘bread, freedom, justice’, but rather demands that the political parties of the opposition show the path regarding how to acquire all of these. And that is the right thing to do.
What would the opposition say to the representatives of the suffering people? Would they say, “When we come to power, there will be bread, freedom, and justice?”
The conference instead asked: ”How will you come to power, or how will you overthrow this fascist regime?” The opposition is confident, claiming, ”We will demand an early election, and when it happens, we will destroy Erdoğan.”
What a pity…
The democracy conference asks nothing from the fascist regime, but the opposition wants elections from the fascist regime. What will happen if the regime does not accept such a demand? The opposition has no answer.
The worst thing is that we are on the brink of a new Cold War and the regime receives NATO’s support in return for agreeing to do whatever NATO wants us to do, like a donkey. Each day the opposition fails, the government carries the country to new adventures, following NATO, just like what happened in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
In this case, the wide range of participants in the Democracy Conference must take action. They should demand the following from the opposition: ”You must provide an ultimatum to Erdoğan and his accomplices. Either consent to forming an election government and an early election with the participation of all parties in the parliament, ensuring election security by the government, or you must all resign from parliament.”
The participants of the conference conveyed their demands to the opposition. Now, it is up to the opposition. The opposition must articulate how it will address the demands raised at the Conference.
Trade unions, civil society organisations, conferences are the ways to express the demands of the workers, the people, the women, the Alevites, the Kurds and ecological justice and they can raise the struggle for these demands on a localised basis.
Political parties, on the other hand, carry out the political struggle and cannot confine themselves to embracing the demands of the people, but should link these demands to a political struggle and adress these to a tactical-strategic political goal.
The aim of the tactical struggle today is to force Erdoğan and all his men to resign. This demand should be raised first in the parliament and then on the streets. And the strategic goal is to overthrow the fascist regime and establish a democratic republic.