Kemal Okuyan, General Secretary of Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), who had attended the Twentieth International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP) in the recent days have answered the questions of soL news regarding the situation of World communist movement. Okuyan reminded the current and historical duties of the communist parties and made comments regarding the yellow vests movement in France.
The meeting was held with representatives from 91 parties out of 73 countries, including the Communist Party of Turkey. TKP hosted IMCWP in 2015 and has been one of the active participants in the process of the preparations of the 2018 meeting.
Twentieth International Communist and Workers Parties Meeting was held in Athens. You have addressed the question “What is our agenda?” in the meeting held under circumstances where capitalism cannot even promise false hopes, where bourgeois’ politics are losing efficiency and billions of people are in a cycle of despair. Was this a reaction against the gap left by the World communist movement?
Reaction is not the correct word; it was more of a critical evaluation. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we all focused on the reasons behind the dissolution and we looked for answers to this question. No doubt, it was significant, but the end of Soviet experience after so many achievements, caused each component of the world communist movement to forget their own duty to question themselves. Yes, the Soviet Union was very important, but the world workers movement has a very significant history apart from the Soviet Union and there are also issues to be evaluated in this experience. Besides, the world communist movement, especially the problems in the European movement, has a share in the obstruction Soviet Union went through.
What are these problems?
Let me address the most significant one. Almost all of the communist parties in Europe were founded between 1917-1924. Why were these parties founded? For a better capitalism? No, all of these parties were founded for another establishment, for establishing communism. However, due to certain reasons, the communist parties of Europe have abandoned this goal. There is no need for a communist party without the goal of socialism. No doubt, there are many reasons for this withdrawal, but we need to think now. After all those years, if there are communist parties in the world, this shall only mean one thing: the claim to establish communism, a society without classes or exploitation. It is not realistic to postpone this claim by reasoning other ideals such as peace, democracy, freedom, and independence because of two reasons. Firstly, it is not possible to reach these ideals without the destruction of capitalism. It is obvious that the existing world system does not even allow the slightest hope or illusion regarding this. Secondly, all of these ideals are goals to be achieved while realizing the claim to establish a communist world.
But, the goal of communism seems distant from the eyes of the people and argued that it is not realistic.
We are still living in the 21st century. The project called ISIS has been followed by hundreds of thousands of people, right-wing leaders whom we may call “boor” with the softest expression are giving hope to people in Europe and the most strong, moral and consistent social project developed by our civilization does not seem realistic? Is this the case? To some extent, this is the mistake of the people carrying the flag, the claim, of communism. How would the people accredit the goal of communism while the carriers of this claim are getting away from it!
Do you think the withdrawal of Communist and Workers' parties from their reason of existence under these circumstances and their search for shortcuts could be caused due to fast phase of developments, instability of imperialist equilibrium and a general problem of focusing due to these reasons?
This is exactly what we are discussing. The specifications you have mentioned cause capitalism-as a world system- to be more fragile. The fragility of capitalism, its instability, and its nature, which gives rise to crises, is in a way dangerous for the oppressed. Regional wars become more common, the possibility of a great war between imperialists grows stronger, millions are forced to migrate, living and working conditions deteriorate, fascism and similar movements get stronger… Struggle against these are important, but these elements cannot be prevented under capitalism. This is where we should look at the other side of the medallion. Capitalism grows weak in these kinds of periods due to intensifying internal conflicts and decreases in its ability to provide hope to masses and other similar reasons and the suitable conditions develop for the overcome of capitalism. Communist parties shall focus on this. Whoever argues that the crisis of capitalism is the result of untalented leaders, they are pure liars.
The resolution declaration of the meeting points to a similar direction by stating, “the struggle for peace, disarmament, respect for peoples sovereignty, solutions for people’s problems and the struggle for the destruction of capitalist barbarism and socialism are tied to each other with unbreakable bonds.” How do you evaluate the resolution of the meeting?
The meeting of world communist and workers' parties is held annually. It is a known fact that there are significant strategic differences between the parties attending these meetings. However, there is still common ground for a healthy discussion. The last meeting was interesting in this way. Everybody spoke clearly so the differences and the reasons behind the differences were observed obviously. I also made a speech exceeding the text we had prepared.
100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Communist International is approaching. In the spotlight of historical experiences, the importance of these kinds of organizations and unions for the World communist movement is apparent. How do you evaluate the recent 20th International World Communist and Workers' Parties meeting from this perspective? What could you tell us regarding the binding and pursuit of the decisions taken in these meetings related to the position of the components of the movement in their own countries?
Communist International has emerged in 1919 under very special world circumstances. The Communist International (Third International) was a world party, which combined forces in order to make the fatal blow to capitalism. However, the circumstances of the world had changed after a while, so did the goals of the International. This was the reason behind the shutdown of International in 1943. Right now, there are no grounds for a new International. The meetings today are not binding. No doubt, everyone listens to each other. Parties that are close to each other collaborate or do even more, but in the meetings, every component walks through their own way. This is the right attitude for now.
Today, probably, the demonstration of hundreds of thousands of people in France is on the agenda of the world communist movement. Within the framework of your evaluation above, could you mention the “emergency” tasks of the world communist movement in a period where we see an increase in the spontaneous reactions against the despair and hopelessness spread by world capitalism?
We need to stay clear of some expectations. First one is the fantasy that a revolutionary political agent who has not achieved certain positions in the society can lead the movement when the masses hit the streets. The second one is the fantasy that being a part of the movement, when the masses hit the streets, without questioning the ideological-political direction of the movement will be fruitful. It is observed that the communist parties, which lost their ability to mobilize the masses, apart from the exceptions in a few countries, stagger and get ahead of themselves during such movements. However, the fate of the periods with increased movements in the society is determined during stable periods. You cannot convince the masses that hit the streets against the government or the existing establishment to a revolutionary program in a country where the goal of communism has no trace. The program of a communist party shall be single and consistent at every period. It does not produce good results to focus on establishment politics during stable periods and remember the revolution when the masses hit the streets. Radical right benefits from such policies.
TKP has an impact on the international movement. What is the reason behind such impact of a party that does not have any success in domestic elections?
First, you need to clarify what you mean by impact. Today, there are no criteria for evaluating impact in the international movement, so it is a relative concept. However, criteria such as “number of members” or “representation in parliament” have lost its importance compared to ten years ago. For two reasons: It may not reflect a social value and it is not permanent. The equilibrium changes fast. The Communist Party of Ukraine, which was strong in the parliament, is now almost illegal. Look at Brazil. Under these conditions, a consistent, productive, decisive party with aim discipline and productive but frank international relations gather attention. That is all. The priority and essential mission of TKP is to have an impact on Turkey, within the working masses. We are moving forward in this direction.