• Posts 526
  • Pages 4
  • Categories 45
  • Comments 134
  • Words in Posts 665,397
  • Words in Pages 12,901
  • Words in Comments 12,619

Newsletter (in English)


In RIO, all decisions are made democratically. We try to discuss until we reach an agreement – but this is of course not always possible. In this case, the position of the organization is determined by a majority vote. In RIO – in contrast to many revolutionary organizations – minorities have the right to publish their arguments, as long as their political work is based on the decided position. On the question of the constitutional reform in Turkey, the majority of RIO decided to call for a critical “yes”, while a small minority argued for a boycott. Since this discussion is going on in the entire radical left of Turkey, we want to briefly present the position of the minority.

For an electoral boycott of the constitutional referendum!

The question of the constitutional referendum in Turkey has deeply divided the Trotskyist and otherwise revolutionary left.

  • Groups like Marksist Tutum (“Marxist Attitude”, former section of the IMT), the DSIP (Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party, former section of the IST) and Antikapitalist (section of the IST) call for a “critical yes”, similar to RIO.
  • Groups like the ÖDP (Freedom and Solidarity Party, left-social democratic) – together with groups like the TKP (Turkish Communist Party, Stalinist/left-Kemalist) and the EMEP (Labor Party, Hoxhaist) – call for a “left-wing no”.
  • Groups like the SDH (Permanent Revolution Movement) and the DIP (Revolutionary Workers’ Party, section of the CRFI) – together with groups like the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party, pro-Kurdish) and the MKLP (Marxist Leninist Communist Party, left-Stalinist) – call for an electoral boycott.

There are left-wing arguments for all three positions. For example, for “yes”: that the workers’ movement would gain some small improvements through the constitutional reform, and that we cannot ignore questions of democratic rights. Or for “no:” that the referendum is the first free vote about the coup constitution of 1982, and that we cannot legitimize this constitution. Then for “boycott”: that we need to delineate ourselves from the bourgeois “yes” camp and the bourgeois “no” camp, and that we should form an alliance with the Kurdish movement on this question.

We do not want to ignore the small improvements in the constitutional reform. But we think that a victory of the AKP would strengthen it for further attacks on the working class. The example of Argentina shows that a bourgeois government with a “democratization” program can neutralize important parts of the opposition and thus prepare the ground for social attacks.

We agree with the RIO majority that a “critical no” would easily be mixed up with the “no” campaign of the Kemalist CHP. But we also think that a “critical yes” cannot be clearly divided from the “yes” campaign of the conservative AKP. We think that only a boycott campaign can translate our strategic goal – the complete independence of the workers’ movement from both wings of the bourgeoisie – into the language of tactics.

An electoral boycott only makes sense if there is a social basis for a boycott campaign. We think that this basis definitely exists: in the Kurdish regions, millions of Kurdish people will follow the BDP’s call for a boycott. In Western Turkey, not only Kurds but also radical leftists of different shades will boycott the vote. According to left-wing websites, the “Front of the Oppressed and the Workers for a Boycott” mobilized thousands of people in Istanbul in the week before the referendum.

For this reason, we are for supporting the boycott campaign. Unfortunately, we could not convince the majority of RIO. But here we would like to repeat that we have a tactical disagreement and that everyone in RIO completely agrees on the analysis.

Wladek, for the minority of RIO, September 9, 2010

Leave a Reply