“Will TKP be renewed?”

soL News interviewed Kemal Okuyan, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), on the centenary of the Party, the recent political developments in Iran and the region, and the 21st century. Okuyan also shared his views with regards to the question: “Will TKP renew itself in 2020?”
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 14:44

TKP was established a hundred years ago. Does TKP feel the need for renewal after a century?

Communism is a modern phenomenon. The communists renew themselves, develop applicable instruments and answers in accordance with the changing conditions. However, the communists are not such innovators as in the current meaning of the term. Today, innovativeness means doing unprincipled and spineless politics without establishing a link between yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There can be no radical change in what communism means, how it interprets the world, how to reach a classless social order without exploitation, and the basic characteristics of the struggle between labor and capital. Capitalism is essentially the same today as it was yesterday.  

TKP does not need any change in its program, principles, and culture of politics. Contrarily, consistency is one of the most important features of TKP. We do not consider questioning our worldview whenever we face difficult times. It is very doubtful that the parties doing this are “new”. Is Akşener’s party [the right-wing İYİP, split from the ultra-nationalist MHP] a “new” one?, or is Davutoğlu’s party [ex-PM’s “Future Party”, split from AKP]? They are advocating the “ancient” regime that should be swept away into the dustbin of history. 

Or, what is new with the “left” that emerged as the “new” one? In Spain, Podemos is also advocating the resurrected version of the tendencies that emerged at the beginning of the last century to polish the existing social order. Syriza has shown a similar practice in Greece. Those who claim that they are the new ones should clarify what they mean with the new. They should also define the “old” one, they should explain what is becoming “old”. They are not persuasive at all. 

But, should not a party that is turning 100 years old need for “new” things considering that it has not achieved its goal yet in such a long time?

Humanity is struggling for overthrowing the exploitative classes, and the hegemony of international monopolies around the world. True, this struggle has not started recently; some big successes were achieved at times. The Russian October Revolution in 1917, the revolutions in China and Vietnam, the defeat of fascist Germany in 1945, the Cuban Revolution… Later we witnessed a temporary withdrawal. We are not talking about a simple change of government; we are talking about the change of social order, getting free from the exploiters. Such big social transformations are not only dependent on your struggle, but the conditions that would pave the way for these changes should also mature. It is inevitable for these conditions to mature; today’s social order is generating crises and wars. 

The oppressed should make preparations and get organized all over the world in order not to miss historic opportunities. Do not let the temporary withdrawal of socialism deceive anyone. This withdrawal is just a matter of a few decades; we will see who will withdraw, and who will collapse in the near future. It is nonsense to think that the religious fanatics have won a permanent victory while secularism has been eliminated in Turkey, the same goes for socialism. Humanity will overcome imperialism and capitalism. As the representative of this assertion and reality in Turkey, TKP is decisively carrying on its path. 

The outbreak of war in the region has been very likely in recent days; Iran and the US have mutually made harmful moves. Then the tension has decreased. Do you think the danger of war is over? 

The danger of war cannot be over, because regional or low-intensity wars are continuing in the Middle East as well as many other regions across the world. It is always possible that these conflicts can rapidly turn into an extensive war. What generates the wars is the imperialist system. One should never forget this fact. In doing so, one would attach less importance to the question of who is just and who is unjust. Because the driving force of the wars is the fight for distribution among the capitalists. Capitalism without competition and fight for distribution is just a dream. Every capitalist country is trying to capture the energy resources, find new markets and fields of investment, and access to the cheap labor force and raw materials as much as they can. They would do everything for this goal. 

You have written an article criticizing those who defame Iran. Is Iran out of this fight for distribution? 

No, as a capitalist country, Iran is also part of this fight. What I have criticized are those who defame Iran with the mindset of the US. Why are they criticizing Iran? Because of the existence of a reactionary rule in Iran? No. If so, they would stand against the imperialist-jihadist coalition that launched a war in Syria, one of the most secularist rules of the region. However, we know that those who are now talking about Iran all the time supported the bloody plot yesterday in Syria as they were shouting, “Down with dictator Assad!”. 

Are these people talking about the workers and laborers of Iran while they are talking about this country? No. They have only one concern: the tension between Iran and the western imperialist countries. So as to conceal their concern, they are manufacturing something like “standing against the totalitarian regimes”. Our evaluations regarding the rule of Iran is very different from that of the imperialist West. What do the US and the other imperialist countries have to do with justice, peace, and the freedom of Iranian people? What would we expect from those who supported the anti-people Shah’s regime for years? If a new social order is to be established in Iran, it should not be something pro-US again; it should be the rule of the workers and working people. An egalitarian, secular, and anti-imperialist order! 

In conclusion, what is the meaning of the centenary for TKP?

On the one hand, we are talking about a century-old struggle, a century-old history, which is worth celebrating. On the other hand, today, in Turkey and around the world, we need to lift up the struggle, meet our deficits, get prepared, produce, and get organized rather than celebrating. 2020 is the year of responsibility for TKP to upgrade this century-old accumulation. 

The Party has taken root within the working people, attracted the attention of broader masses, expanded its organizational strength, leaped forward in workers’ neighborhoods and at workplaces. We are entering into our hundredth anniversary in this direction.  

Won’t you organize special events for the centenary? 

Yes, that’s the part of our struggle. We are studying the century-old history of our Party. Art has an important place in the struggle for a classless society without exploitation; thus this year will be a striking time of artistic creativity for us. In this context, exhibitions, concerts, theatre shows will be organized, some books will be published. In any event, however, we will work to make our Party much broader, much more organized, much stronger and much more influential. We will push back the bosses and the darkness!