UID-DER’s 10th Anniversary of founding was celebrated on 12 June by a massive indoor event. The event was a blend of telling the nature and activities of UID-DER by presenters, music performed by UID-DER Music Band and Workers’ Choir, recitation of poems, screening of videos and dancing of the audience. Like the founding event held in 2006, the meeting was also a commemoration of and a tribute to the Great Workers’ Revolt of 15-16th of June 1970.
The main theme of the event was the importance of bridging the experiences of past struggles and the future. Hence the title: “From Tradition to Future – UID-DER expands the struggle”
Under Turkey’s present conditions of severe political repression with the country showing strong signs of heading towards fascism, it was a great achievement to succeed in gathering nearly a thousand workers for such an event full of fighting spirit. The hall was packed with an enthusiastic audience composed of workers.
Among the audience were municipality workers who were on a wildcat strike. They arrived from their picket line with their picketing outfits. There were many metal workers who waged a determined fight against the fascist union, i.e. the Türk Metal, and metal bosses during the “Metal Storm” last year. Their struggle is still in progress and since the very beginning they have been helped by UID-DER which they never hesitate to express with gratitude.
There were also some representatives from unions, old working class militants with experiences before the fascist military coup of 1980. They expressed their enthusiasm to see the achievements of UID-DER during the last 10 years. They also expressed their pleasure and appreciation about the main theme of the event which puts a heavy emphasis on the importance of linking with the past experiences of the working class which are made unknown to present generations of workers and the youth. They made the point that under present political conditions of Turkey it was invaluable to manage to organise such a highly organised event with quite a big worker audience.
The hall was beautifully decorated with a variety of banners, flags, posters, placards etc. all related to the present problems and demands of the working class struggle as well as the past struggles of workers in Turkey. While the main banner behind the main stage read “From Tradition to Future – UID-DER expands the struggle”, the opposite wall behind the audience carried the huge banner with one of the most important slogans of the working class for ages: “Workers of all Lands, Unite!”
Many union branches and officials, labour-friendly political parties and organisations as well as groups of fighting workers across the country, such as the dock workers from Mersin port, the biggest one in the southern part of Turkey, sent their solidarity messages to the event celebrating the 10th anniversary of UID-DER’s founding. The language of class solidarity through these infinite messages echoed in the hall with enthusiastic applause.
There were international messages of solidarity being read out as well. In their messages French and Iranian workers extended their wishes of success. The long and inspiring solidarity message from such a distant country as Japan was a genuine embodiment of working-class internationalism and solidarity. Everybody in the hall was carried away with the sense of close solidarity expressed in the message of Doro-Chiba, Japanese railway workers union in Chiba district. Following the series of international messages the hall was shaken by the slogan “Long Live Class Solidarity!”
During the event UID-DER’s roots, its activities, campaigns, its struggles, presence in picket lines, mass rallies were told, which is in fact very familiar for almost all of the audience. One of the points of emphasis was the strong working-class nature of UID-DER as expressed in “UID-DER was born in the heart of the working class and keeps growing right there.” Another point of emphasis was UID-DER’s determined stance on linking up with the past experiences of working class struggles. It was told that UID-DER was founded on the guidance of old working class revolutionaries whose experiences go as far back to the struggles of 1960s. Many combative vanguard workers educated in this spirit came together in 2006 to found UID-DER to link themselves up with these invaluable past experiences.
The videos gave a blend of episodes from working class struggles past and present, home and abroad. Songs and poems expressed the same themes in their own esthetical ways. Final messages given by the presentation expressed our strong faith in the infinite strength of the working class and the bright future of humanity based on the organised struggle of the working class. It was underlined that despite the periods of severe repression in the history of the working class struggle, such as the present one in Turkey, the rulers always failed in suppressing the working class struggle for good. There have always been fighting vanguards establishing the historical links with the past struggles and experiences. It was emphasized that we should not lose hope in better days and the working class struggle.
The audience was particularly carried away with the strong fighting spirit of the songs, some of which were adapted and given new lyrics by UID-DER Music Band. The end of the event was dancing the most popular traditional dances, the Halay and Horon, by the audience. Hundreds of workers jumped to the front place before the stage and formed circles of Halay and Horon.