Before starting, I would like to ask a question. Have any of you comrades heard about the American soldiers in Turkey? I mean their visit to Izmir last week.

Have any of you noticed that in the news?

I will tell you why I mention this point.

3500 soldiers, who have been killing and getting killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, were in Izmir for 3 days last week; to get a rest, to visit the bars, to drink, to bargain with the pimps. And our comrades in Izmir marched against this visit, when, in front of a bar, we came upon some soldiers just at the very moment we were shouting “Yankee go home.” Turkish police were there to guard the U.S. soldiers.

Our comrades threw rotten eggs.

It is a great shame for us that the soldiers who killed thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan can come to our country and have a vacation, feel themselves at home. And in the name of our dignity, our communist honor, we taught them that they should not!

Please allow me to highlight a point.

During the Bush period, soldiers had hardly had the opportunity to take rests. They were utterly busy killing and get killed, for long time.

Now this is the Obama way. They are killing and having some rest.

This is the Obama style: kill and have some rest. Kill and have some rest…

Please allow me to offer you greetings from Turkey. We will also thank the comrades from CPI and CPI(M) for successfully organizing this meeting and for their hospitality.

The capitalist system is going through one of the deepest crisis it has witnessed since 1929. Certainly, as Marxist-Leninists, we all emphasized that although the crisis was initiated by the collapse in the financial markets of imperialist countries, this does not imply that it is a “financial crisis.”

The crisis is an outcome of contradictions inherent in the capitalist mode of production, the pattern of capital accumulation and income distribution that has been imposed on toiling masses since early 1980s, the parasitism and decay of capitalism at its imperialist stage, and the rivalries and contradictions ongoing among imperialist powers. The crisis in which we live today is an extension of the crises that have manifested themselves at different parts of the world for the last two decades.

The severity and depth of the crisis have led many, not only Communists but also some bourgeois ideologists, to assert that the world capitalist system cannot continue its way as it used to. Since Marx, we know that crises are inherent to the capitalist mode of production, and each crisis lead to various changes at various depths in the balance of forces between social classes and the capitalist system endeavors to restore itself through these changes. Yet again, we know that whatever change is initiated, the capitalist mode of production cannot manage to maintain stability for a long time. It always generates new crises.

Therefore, the emphasis put on the notion of “change” and the expectations generated therefrom shall be taken with a grain of salt. Of course, there will be changes, but the concentration and centralization of capital, monopolistic tendencies of conquering and re-conquering the world,  abandonment of material production and the quest for speculation, the instability caused by capital’s movements, the bloating of the service sector, the commodification of all aspects of social life, the liquidation of the public  sector, etc. All of these are maintained. These trends will be maintained by the capitalist class, because they are not only the fundamental factors that lie at the root of the crisis, but they are also the irrevocable elements of the class response that the capitalist-imperialist system resorts to in order to find a way out of the crisis on their own behalf.

At this point we should address several issues of discussion, various positions which may find reflection also on our ranks now and then.

One of these issues is the potential of change within imperialist hierarchy or rather the position of the U.S. imperialism in near future. It is certain that the monopoly of the U.S. power over world capitalist system is getting weaker especially in the economic sphere. For instance, the financial architecture based on U.S. dollar as the reserve currency is at stake, and this will have further repercussions on the pattern of capital flows in the capitalist world economy. The funds transferred to the U.S. economy due to the position of U.S. currency would decline, which implies the end of the over-consumption of U.S. citizens buttressed by financial speculation and rent-seeking and the hegemonic position of the U.S. dollar.

However, this also means the sharpening of class conflict in this country, as we have been witnessing since the beginning of the crisis, in the United States as well as in other imperialist countries. Economic policies to transfer wealth to the capitalist class have been put into practice at all costs. Without a moment’s delay, bailout programs have been implemented although such policies would undermine the fundamentalist pro-market ideology that has been preached for the last three decades.

Despite all these, despite the apparent factors which shake the hegemony of the United States, we are still living in an era in which U.S. hegemony in international politics and military issues is not challenged at a significant level.

Furthermore, threats to U.S. hegemony in the economic sphere render this imperialist power more aggressive in other fields. It would be grave mistake to assume that Obama administration is seeking to develop diplomatic channels and trying to avoid the use of military means. The United States simply cannot give up the use of military threat. Neither can it abandon the ground it has created for the last two decades in many regions, especially in the Middle East.

The diplomatic audacity of Obama administration serves nothing but to increase the options of U.S. imperialism, which has found itself at a deadlock in the former period for instance with the rising anti-imperialist struggles of the Latin American people or with the powerful resistance of the Iraqi people against invasion. Increasing the options through diplomacy does not rule out military threat and aggression, but on the contrary, it includes these as well as trying to impose the U.S. interests through “negotiation” with several actors in various regions.

This point also relates to the new perspectives of our ruling class in Turkey. We strongly argue that the so called new Ottoman vision of the Turkish bourgeoisie is a part of the efforts by the imperialist to strengthen -and restore in some points, the imperialist hegemony of the US.

In conclusion, although the position of the United States within imperialist hierarchy is run down further by the crisis, we are not yet in a position to say that the U.S. hegemony will collapse in the near future. Rather we can see that imperialism in general and U.S. imperialism in particular is becoming more aggressive in all senses of the word.

The only actual force to stop this aggression is the resistance and the struggle of the working class in all countries. However, despite issues such as the acceleration of unemployment, rapid increase in poverty, transfer of wealth, especially public funds, to the capitalists etc., we cannot say that the working class resistance to the attacks of the capitalist class for the last two years has increased at a great extent. Of course, this is not surprising, because we all know that the reactions of the working class during crises do not ascend in a straight line.

Yet, we should address another factor that is of importance today. In the two previous great depressions of the capitalist-imperialist system, the crisis in late 19th century and the crash of 1929, the rise of the working class movement was enhanced by the fact that the militancy of the toiling masses prior to these crises  was greater. The experiences gained by the working class within class struggle beforehand had facilitated it to confront the crisis in a more militant way. Yet, the militancy of the working class in major capitalist countries could not succeed to stop great catastrophes, and we know that the decisive moments when the communists could intervene had not been the beginning of the crises particularly, but these moments of catastrophe.

Unlike the two previous great crises of the capitalist world economy, the current crisis was born in a counter-revolutionary era, which implies that the militant experience of the working class is relatively weak. This factor leads to certain repercussions on the rise of class struggle and the development of class consciousness within the course of the crisis. This leaves greater room for the capitalist class to manipulate toiling masses by ideological and political means.

Allow me to give an example from my country, Turkey. While the official unemployment rate is around 15 percent and the real unemployment rate is around 25 percent, the reactionary Justice and Development Party government is trying to cut social security benefits greatly. While the bourgeois government is carrying out this anti-labor policy in a country which is one of the most deeply affected by the global crisis, it endeavors to substitute the notion of public interest with the “charity” of Islamic societies facilitated and empowered by government resources. Hence, many unemployed, poor people beg for the charity and are ideologically become committed to these reactionary practices.

Although the current crisis is born in a counter-revolutionary era and the militancy of the working class is low with respect to the early 20th century, we also said that the class struggles in each crisis do not have a linear development trend. As we can foresee that greater catastrophes are yet to come, we are also saying that we have not reached the critical moment yet.

It would be absurd to understate the intensity of the current crisis and its effects on toiling masses. But taking the crisis seriously does not imply to expect a linear rise in the working class movement. We have to take into account that each and every crisis has periods of contraction and expansion. Hence we need to consider the internal fluctuations of the process. Communists must keep account of these fluctuations in order to be able to lead the working class to socialist revolution when the critical moment arrives.

In other words, it would be misleading to assume that displaying the very nature of the capitalist mode of production that it is the system itself which leads to these outcomes would be enough to raise class consciousness of the workers. We have to emphasize this fact while, along with it, we are challenging their ideological and political endeavors to legitimize the system.

To this end, the communist and workers’ parties must increase the cooperation and political discussion among them. We have to learn from the experiences of our comrades, and we have to discuss with each other about the stance of our parties in the struggles we wage against the capitalist-imperialist system. This is not only “wishful thinking”, but joint political action, cooperation and more intense discussion are requirements for us to overcome capitalist dictatorship.

November 22, 2009