Metal strikes in Turkey

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M.A.R.S.
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May 22 2015 04:17

Exactly.

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Entdinglichung
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May 22 2015 09:29

from the WW article:

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These developments, of course, took place in a country where the dirty war in Kurdistan has marred any attempt to win democratic rights. Türk-Metal, meanwhile, maintained good connections with the army top brass and nationalist-fascist forces. The former president of the union was unchallenged from 1971 to 2009 and became the richest trade unionist in Turkish history. He was renowned for his cooperation with the nationalist-fascist forces entrenched in the state security apparatus. Thanks to misappropriated union funds, he ended up owning a nationalist satellite TV channel broadcasting in North Cyprus as well as over the Turkic lands of central Asia. He also formed and led nationalist organisations extending into those countries. In line with the wishes of the army top brass he formed the My Turkey association, grouping together 600 nationalist organisations and prominent former army officers.

Eventually he came a cropper in the infamous Ergenekon coup conspiracy trials, along with retired and serving officers. He lost his position in the union, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment (although he was eventually released on medical grounds). He once described Türk-Metal as “the union of those who are aware of Allah, the Quran and their Turkishness”. And this was the union that dominated all metal manufacturing, including the car industry, up to 2012.

The changed fortunes of Türk-Metal began with the 2012 wage round. The rank and file refused to accept the union dictats in cooperation with the employers and the state. There was an attempt to nip the discontent in the bud and scores of dissenting workers were laid off. However, the industry-wide wage standard was broken, with large factories such as Renault paying even lower wages than rival companies.

But union members refused to accept the terms agreed by the bureaucracy. In December, workers at some smaller factories tried to organise in a different union and decided to strike.

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Jamal
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May 22 2015 13:05

Since when do Stalinists fight in defense of class interests?

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ocelot
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May 22 2015 15:34
Jamal Rayyan wrote:
Since when do Stalinists fight in defense of class interests?

Jesus. See this is the type of thinking I get frustrated with when I talk about sectarian, aprioristic thinking.

There's a reason why this particular quote from the German Ideology gets repeated constantly:

Quote:
Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established , an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

and it's the continual need to push back against the sectarian (by which I mean the objective condition of being isolated from mass class struggle) slippage which identifies class interests as ideological allegiance to the correct "ideal to which reality [and the class] will have to adjust itself". If the maximum programme of Stalinism is not in the long-term class interest, then, reasoning backwards, Stalinists can never fight in defence of class interests - apriori.

Historically of course Stalinists fought for immediate class interests at various places and times, they would have never gained the solid base in the working class that they did in many regions in the past, if they had consistently attacked or refused to defend class interests without exception. And then would have never become a problem to the extent that we still use their name as a synonym for the left boogeyman today.

Capital's cycle of self-valorisation is fundamentally antagonistic to the proletariat's cycle of self-reproduction. When individual proletarians try to resist immiseration on an individual level (crime, ripping off other proletarians, etc) then that is not the expression of a class interest. When a particular segment or section of the proletariat - metal workers in this case - recognise their collective need and power to fight against their exploiters to reduce their exploitation and increase their freedom and material capacity for self-reproduction, then that is a class interest. And anybody, including ideologically-aligned individuals or groups, be they Trotskyists, Stalinists or even, say, CHP members, that contributes to building the organisation and consciousness of collective interest and power is fighting in defence of class interests. And when they are subject to the almost inevitable employer and state repression, we defend them as people fighting in defence of class interests, even when we see that their long-term ideological goals are not in the long-term interests of the class.

It's sobering that we keep having to explain this. Perhaps an index of how weak we are in terms of our engagement with genuine class politics.

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Devrim
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May 22 2015 22:05

I'm not 100% sure of this. It is a little before my time, but wasn't Ricky Tomilson still an NF member when he was arrested in the Shrewsbury conspiracy case? Were people wrong to support him?

Devrim

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Jamal
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May 22 2015 21:51

Ocelot, Jesus won't help your argument. And an "engagement" with Stalinism does not represent an "engagement" with "genuine class politics".

M.A.R.S.
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May 22 2015 21:57

Jamal, what would you say if you were there amidst the striking workers of Renault and Ford in Turkey, when MİB are being arrested in front of them? Fold your arms and shrug your shoulders, or fight for their freedom?

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Devrim
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May 22 2015 22:04

dp

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Jamal
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May 23 2015 02:23

For now I'm not saying anything, just asking questions.

C.Hélène
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May 23 2015 05:36

http://en.cihan.com.tr/news/Workers-of-Turk-Tractor-join-auto-strike-in-...

kurekmurek
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May 23 2015 08:02

It is won by workers yesterday nicht by tofas and makho workers. However everyone is waiting for renault workers to won. People did not started working still.
http://www.evrensel.net/haber/113384/tofas-ve-makoda-anlasma-saglandi

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medseas
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May 23 2015 21:51

It started...

and ended...

After the ongoing strike for 8 days it ended in a happy ending. Tofas representatives and factory management agreed on the terms specified at the end of the meeting, which lasted 4 hours.

The factory full-time into production start on Monday... but still Tofas stocks fell down 4%...

M.A.R.S.
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May 24 2015 02:20

^^^That's only one factory, the others are still going. Chances are it will stagger, but for now the bosses are still losing billions of dollars in profits.

Concessions won by the Tofaş and Mako workers:

1. The removal of Türk Metal from the shopfloor.
2. Management will not fire striking workers.
3. 1.000 Lira payment to each worker when they start again in addition to an annual premium (amount currently unknown).

Now workers know the value of fighting at the level of production. And I don't foresee this being the last time we hear from them.

kurekmurek
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May 24 2015 18:44

http://www.haberler.com/bursa-renault-ta-yapilan-gorusmeler-olumsuz-7341...
Renault factory workers still did not reached an agreement so they continue their strike.

http://www.demokrathaber.net/calisma-hayati/turk-traktor-iscileri-ankara...
Turk Tractor workers in two factories also stoped working. One factory is in city Sakarya, the other is in Ankara.

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May 25 2015 13:39

I understand the pridefulness and uncritical support of striking workers. The thing I don't understand is this; Devrim says "we are against the police arresting workers fighting in defence of their class interests". Similar sentiments are echoed by M.A.R.S., Ocelot and a shit ton of other people, too.

But are Stalinist workers fighting according to Stalinist principles "fighting in defense of their class interests"? No. Does Stalinism represent "genuine proletarian politics" like Ocelot says? No...

Nazis can be workers should we support them when they're arrested in strikes?

kurekmurek
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May 25 2015 13:57

This is weird. So you think we should not support strikes if there are people in workers with whom we might have political/ideological differences?

bastarx
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May 25 2015 13:58

Yes I think these hypothetical arrested striking Nazis should be supported by communists if the were striking for the usual things like pay but obviously not if it was a reactionary strike against non-white workers for example.

It might break the hold of Nazi ideology on them if communists support them and their Nazi comrades don't.

kurekmurek
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May 25 2015 18:23

(Out of topic) I just wish bastrax was as charitable to Kurds, who wish to establish democratic self-government and right to live their life as Kurds among other people, as he is to working class "striking" Nazis. Maybe than the Kurds might also get affected by communist ideas more and their autonomy project might have more communist inspirations (than they have now) grin Just a thought experiment. grin

bastarx
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May 25 2015 14:07

Your analogy fails because I didn't say communists should support Nazis undertaking Nazi activities.

Dear Leader Ocalan would be disappointed with you.

kurekmurek
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May 25 2015 14:26

grin Well what is a kurdish activity?
Resisting the nation states and its borders? Speaking your language? Federalizing unitery/dictatorial states? Establishing trans-national bounds between different people? Respecting other ethnicities, although they failed to show respect to yours in the past? Initiating a modernization project from below? Developing a dual power situation? Developing Cooperative economy? Establishing autonomous Women's organisations to fight against feudalism? Protecting people from different ethnic or religious backgrounds from a very real ongoing thread?Which one is Kurdish activity?

Well to be provocative: I could support any such national movement (which also criticizes nationalism openly -see dear leader grin ) and I doubt I would be the only anarchis/communist doing so Anyway sorry for jumping out of topic, I won't write about this under this thread again. Best wishes

Note: please see this: This a very interesting text written by a nationalist Kurd, criticizing Ocalan because of his refusal of nationalism, writer says: "Staying away from nationalism may ennoble a peace activist from Germany or a libertarian from America, but can a Kurd practice the same indifference to the unfolding and still incomplete national struggle of Kurds for a place of their own under the sun?"

kurekmurek
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May 25 2015 18:22

http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/mazereti_olmadan_isbasi_yapmayanlarla_...
Apparently in Ford Otosan factory 300 or so people still did not started working. There are lack of workers in critical positions in production line so the factory is working slowly. The news does not say who are these workers. Company threatens them to kick out.

C.Hélène
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May 26 2015 06:48

Strike at carmakers hits 2nd Ford plant

kurekmurek
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May 26 2015 10:03

http://www.radikal.com.tr/ekonomi/renaultta_gorusmeler_kesildi_eskisehir...
Renault factory worker's ended the negotiations.Ford as far as I understand has at least 3 different factories: One in kocaeli(izmit) one in Golcuk and one in Eskisehir. Now the factory in Eskisehir is also in strike. so it hit the third now grin

kurekmurek
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May 26 2015 20:45

https://www.facebook.com/KameraSokak/posts/570676069742305
With this link you can see masses of Renault Workers, who are all still on a wildcat strike for more than ten days now, chanting "shoulder to shoulder" (meaning in turkish: side by side) It is a very encouraging video to see.

kurekmurek
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May 27 2015 13:43

http://www.radikal.com.tr/ekonomi/renaultta_9_maddede_anlasma_saglandi_e...
Well the stike in Renault has also ended in its 12th day. It appears that it was not a very successful ending. They managed to kick the yellow union out and get the guarantee that no worker wil be harmed. However they will only get 600 TL gain yearly. And there appears to be dispute between workers. some wished to continue but some some wanted to get back to work. Apparently the strike ended this way.

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Chilli Sauce
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May 27 2015 18:48

This is awesome. Thanks for the updates everyone.

For out Turkish (and/or Turkish-knowledgeable posters), how much precedent is there for this sort of thing? Also, have the workers tied their struggle in with the Gezi movement at all?

Re: Stalinists. These seems pretty simple to me: we can defend Stalinists as workers, just not as Stalinists. I've known lots of good shop stewards who we Labour-types or Trots. I'd happily fight them tooth-and-nail within the union, but would happily go out on strike to defend them if management came after them. Also, the Nazi analogy, come on guys, Godwin's Law.

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May 27 2015 22:38

Nazis, Stalinists, unions...they all need to go

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May 28 2015 00:05

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Chilli Sauce
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May 28 2015 01:10
Jamal Rayyan wrote:
Nazis, Stalinists, unions...they all need to go

While that's fair enough, I think there's a distinction to be drawn between shop stewards (many of whom are shopfloor activists putting themselves on the line) and the union itself, or which I'm in fully agreement does need to go. I'm just not sure such cavalier dismissals do the legitimate anti-union argument any favors.

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May 28 2015 02:38

Those were not cavalier dismissals, offhand remarks. I have spent years and years looking deeply at all the questions posed in this thread.

And I'm still waiting for someone to provide an answer to why supporting Stalinists, just because they were arrested, represents an engagement with what ocelot has called "genuine proletarian politics".

The "Forgive them O LORD for they are WORKERS" spiel is incredibly short sided and just dumb. It's easy to parrot. But you can save this forgive and forget attitude for church on Sunday.

If those Stalinists were armed, and you were on the ass-end of a barricade, I bet you would all respond differently from the amateurish bandwagon-riding bullshit I see happening in this thread. And by that I'm referencing the army of down-voters and people who up-vote Devrim no matter what he writes, without taking the time to respond with a few lines representing their own positions. Do not intend to reference the actual current situation in Turkey which I view as positive and very encouraging overall.

So don't you talk to me about a "real movement", ocelot, if it's one that requires sacrificing your basic political principles in order to become a part of.

You're either a proletarian or a Stalinist, can't be both. Give up your shit politics and maybe we'll help you out of jail. Maybe your shit politics are even what got you there in the first place.