27 January 2019 00:33

EMEP: No votes for the one-man alliance

The Labour Party's (EMEP) declaration for the local elections: No Votes for the One-man Alliance; Unite in the Struggle for Work, Bread and Freedom!

Photograph: Evrensel


The Supreme Election Council (SEC) has dismissed the objection made against its decision barring the Labour Party (EMEP) from contesting the local elections. Hence, EMEP made a declaration for the local elections in Turkey, on March 31, 2019.

Here's the EMEP'S declaration:

No Votes for the One-man Alliance; Unite in the Struggle for Work, Bread and Freedom!

Turkey is going to local elections at a time of deepening crisis and bargaining in the Middle East is getting tougher. On the other hand; the ruling block sees local elections as a referendum; it’s seen as confirmation of the one-man regime and the survival perspective, the building of which started immediately after the elections of 24 July.

Details of the scene we face is as follows: Firstly, the government mobilised all its resources, peoples’ accumulation and workers funds of solidarity in an attempt to ensure that capital owning classes overcome the crisis with minimum loss. Hence, measures already available to this class are tax reductions, incentive bonuses and some wages being paid from the treasury through insurance premiums. Despite these measures, the number of collapses and statement of bankruptcies are on the increase. In an attempt to make workers pay for the crisis: they are forced to leave work voluntarily; faced with wage cuts and extensions to their hours of work, without compensation; tax arrangements against workers are introduced; they are forced to take on individual retirement insurance (BES); basic consumer goods are subject to huge price increases. During this period we also see attempts to justify removal of rights won through workers’ struggles, such as severance pay and job security. Furthermore, any strike, objection or protest are penalised with extreme violence; workers can be prosecuted and jailed as in the example of Istanbul Airport workers.

Secondly; despite the government’s ambition to increase its influence and expand in the

Middle East, fuelled by the need for new resources; all developments - and primarily the Syria policy - are contributing to a deeper current predicament. Despite dedication to agreements with imperialist forces in the area, provocative and aggressive statements such as “we may suddenly leave one day” and the military mobilisation on the field led not to the desired outcomes but only to a mess. The population continues to be kept in line. From the perspective of our party, it is the Syrian peoples that should determine the future of Syria and the Middle East. We demand that all imperialist powers - not just the US - and the gangs supported by them should withdraw from the region; Turkey should pull its troops back over the border and avoid any future intervention. This will be the guarantor of peace in the region.

Thirdly, during the State of Emergency (OHAL) - the end of which was declared after 24 July - democratic rights and gains were put on hold, wresting of rights was deepened with the use of Emergency Decrees of Law (KHKs). OHAL practices continued following its lifting and OHAL has become norm in the country. Forced government appointments to key positions in local governments, companies, media outlets, etc., again introduced during OHAL, seems to have become common practice. These appointments, especially in local authorities ran by HDP, fly in the face of elections as an expression of free will: proving that local elections based on choices are rendered pointless; it is a statement that local government leaders that do not agree with the central government will be removed. It is clear that citizens’ votes are hijacked from the start.

An important reflection of the times is the fact that the cabinet can not be elected form the Parliament, determination of terms of service are left to the decision of one-man in a technocratic system; the Parliament is made redundant. Ruling politics is organised and run in an entirely appointed manner.

Our party was arbitrarily left out from the election

Some opposition parties, including ours, have been left out of local elections to be held on 31 March due to arbitrary decisions by the Supreme Election Committee (YSK) and the Supreme Court. Despite our party having legally recognised structural organisations in 41 cities, reasons outside the remit of electoral law are used to push us out of the electoral process. The attempts to leave us out of this process are no different from the illegal support and the recognition of Binali Yıldırım’s candidacy in Istanbul; as a candidate, he should resign his position of the speaker of Parliament according to electoral law but he refuses to do so. The same illegal approach overlaps with he registration of fake and non-existent voter registrations by the government, hell-bent on winning the elections. The limit of what they can do to win the local elections is determined not by the law but by their own desire.

General Assembly of our party had a meeting and determined its position against this unjust, unfair and illegal election process. As demonstrated by the 3rd Airport, İZBAN, MAKEL, Flormar, İzenerji, Kütahya and Gümüşhane mine workers; workers and labourers will not be silent in the face of the hijacking of their rights; democracy is not limited to elections. On the contrary, the election process is a moment, a component of the struggle for democracy and freedoms.

The struggle for democracy - the main components of which are workers’ struggle, resistance of those suffering from political tyranny, demands of the Kurdish struggle - will determine the course of the electoral process.

Under conditions of all kinds of abuse, cheating and inequality in opportunity for propaganda; our party determined that the ‘one-man rule’ is responsible for the economic and social issues and that activities are needed to push back against this. We think that the reactionary rulership can only be made to take a step back through the joint struggle of workers’ and democratic forces. Priority must be given to develop this struggle and the elections are seen as one of many fields, tools of this struggle.

Our practical position in the elections

Democracy is not a system limited to voting in elections in a pre-determined calendar. It is clear that a system that does not include direct control and participation of the people cannot be a democracy. Furthermore, the authority and importance of elections held under current levels of inequality, abuse and illegality is reduced in the eyes of the population. Our people will only be successful in these elections if the pre and post election periods can be used to uplift democracy. Our party is a part of this struggle; it will carry out its responsibilities.

On the other hand, it is vital to reclaim power in local authorities in areas where elected mayors were replaced by those appointed. Our party will enter the elections in the region with the HDP, for as long as unity can be established; our party will support HDP candidates in other areas of appointed mayors. All other areas have been evaluated according of existence of democratic powers, their abilities and their power. Hence, even though we are prevented from entering elections, in every area where workers’ and democratic powers’ unity is established, electoral work will be undertaken under an umbrella. In areas where an umbrella structure cannot be established, independent candidates from the unity group will be supported; under conditions of non-unity, our party will have independent candidates standing. Our history and experience of struggle has shown that unity and struggle is the only way to overcome harsh conditions. The workers of our country possess this kind of experience. We will be the winners in this process! (EVRENSEL DAILY)