Who Will Take Care of Workers’ Rights?

Workers have many problems. We can count at least the following:

Are workers’ problems trivial problems, which do not deserve addressing? Of course not. Why are the problems which involve tens of millions of people ignored?We must first underline that the parties such as AKP, CHP and MHP do not look after the problems of workers. They do not, because they are servants of the capitalist order.
  • Wages are low; millions of workers earn either minimum wage or just a bit more than that. They are continuously forced to do overtime to increase their income. They cannot spend time with their families and are getting more and more detached from social life. The struggle to survive makes life unbearable and miserable for workers.

  • Working day is too long. Working week in practice is around 70-75 hours. With obvious insufficient nutrition, workers get exhausted due to long working hours.

  • Out of their greed for more profit, bosses do not take necessary precautionary work safety measures. As a result, every month a hundred workers on average lose their lives in workplace accidents, and many more become disabled. For bosses, the money spent for work safety means wasting the profit. What is important for them is not workers but capital.

  • Contracting out is rampant, which means short-term contracts, working without insurance and other social rights. The AKP government drafted a bill expanding the subcontracting system. If the bill passes the parliament, a subcontractor will be able to undertake all kinds of work and there will be no workplace free of subcontractors.

  • Unemployment is snowballing. According to the official figures there are three million unemployed workers.

  • Bosses and the AKP government seek to eliminate the severance payment by transferring it to a fund.

  • As those laws that raise obstacles for unionising still remain in their place, workers who attempt to unionise are persistently fired.

It is possible to expand the list.

Although it is obvious that workers have so many problems, the question to ask is why are not they paid attention? Why does the Assembly not discuss these problems? Why do not the parties such as AKP, CHP and MHP address these problems?

Every worker should ask these questions to themselves and seek answers.

Are workers’ problems trivial problems, which do not deserve addressing? Of course not.

We are talking about problems involving the working class that forms the majority of society, with millions of workers and their families. Without workers’ labour, nothing can move from their place, there can be no production and society would starve.

So, why are the problems which involve tens of millions of people ignored?

We must first underline that the parties such as AKP, CHP and MHP do not look after the problems of workers. They do not, because they are servants of the capitalist order.

These parties are established for bosses’ interests.

These parties represent various sections of the ruling, exploiting class.

For that reason, they do not address the problems of workers, they do not wage a struggle to solve these problems. Sometimes, they promise to solve some problems of workers to gain their votes in elections and squeeze each other. But after elections they forget workers.

Because workers do not have strong organisations their problems are ignored and easily covered up.

The artificial polarization created within society especially by AKP, CHP and MHP make the problems of workers invisible.

To polarise society, AKP is dividing people as religious and nonreligious; they are trying to channel the religious people by exploiting their religious feelings. After their 11 years in power and making their crony capitalists richer and richer they are still complaining. AKP plays the victim by saying “they do not want us to have complete control over the state and they want to bring us down through illegitimate methods.”

AKP is still using the headscarf issue for its policy by not completely lifting the ban.

Interfering in peoples’ life styles, AKP seeks to reshape society in their own conservative worldview in a manner of “my way or the high way”. They are trying to silence everybody who claims their democratic rights by the police baton and tear gas. They present those people who react against repression and tyranny as “terrorists”. This way they conceal the state terror as well as the real problems.

One section of bosses and CHP are making use of this polarization to squeeze AKP. CHP is conducting a policy to channel the secular people and Alevi society. CHP employs an elitist language, ignores the other sections of society and aggravates the artificial polarization.

MHP is mounting hostility against Kurdish people. It is trying to divide people along nationalist lines and gain votes on the basis of nationalism.

All politics is currently based on the artificial polarization/confrontation.

These parties that unashamedly talk about democracy are dividing society and they do not care about other peoples’ rights. If these parties were really democrats, they would not abuse the problems in society and they would work to solve the problems about democratic rights.

The artificial polarization is not to the interest of workers at all. Because this polarisation divides workers and throws them to opposing sides. The real polarization should be formed on the basis of class lines: Their class and our class, their interests and our interests! We workers should unite as a class for our own interests.

All workers, Turks and Kurds, Alevis and Sunnis, those with and without headscarf should join hands and we should overcome this artificial polarization imposed on us.

We are the working class; we shall act with a class consciousness and follow a policy to eliminate artificial polarizations.

We, as supporters of UİD-DER, declare: It is the working class who defends real democracy. No section of society has the right to impose their life style on others. All sections of society should have the right to practice their faith without pressure: Freedom for all beliefs!

Alevis demand their democratic rights and these rights should be recognised.

The ban on headscarf should be lifted and exploitation of this issue should be ended.

Kurdish people’s democratic demands should be met and peace should be established.

All these demands are democratic demands and meeting all these demands is to the interest of workers. If workers take care of all these problems and struggle to solve them, bosses’ parties will not be able to divide society into artificial poles.

Only workers’ organisations can take care of workers’ problems. Just as UİD-DER!

We are inviting all workers, our class sisters and brothers, to UİD-DER ranks, taking care of democratic rights of all sections of society and fighting to solve workers’ problems in a determined way.

Translated from İşçi Dayanışması (Workers Solidarity) 64, 16 July 2013

16 September 2013