On May 4, the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site hosted an International May Day Online Rally. More than 2,000 participants from over 90 countries listened in to speakers from the United States, Germany, Britain, Sri Lanka and Australia. The text and audio of the speeches are available at the May Day web site:internationalmayday.org.
Hundreds of people left their feedback in messages posted here. Below, we publish additional statements from rally participants from Turkey.
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In the midst of an ongoing social counter-revolution and the growing danger of a new world war, the International Online May Day Rally was another important contribution of the ICFI to the international socialist movement. The comrades delivering speeches revealed the causes of the ongoing crisis and its progressive solution: socialism.
The rally shows not only the commitment of our international movement to Marxist methods and a revolutionary perspective, but also its determination to bring this perspective into the international working class.
K. Y., university student, Istanbul
One hundred years after World War I and 75 years after the World War II, there is another global catastrophe—this time a nuclear war threatens humanity. The alarm bells of a third world war have already started to sound over Ukraine, accompanied by accelerating police-state build-ups in each country. In the face of the explosive internal contradictions of capitalism and the growing anger of the working class over social inequality, the ruling class has no other way than war and despotism.
A tiny fraction of society, the financial aristocracy, possesses an ever-growing part of the wealth produced by the international working class, as the latter has been subjected to unprecedented poverty and misery. In its deepest prolonged crisis, the international ruling class, led by a parasitic and criminal financial aristocracy and its “global police”, the USA, desperately seeks world domination. The reactionary and destructive character of its determination to subdue all regimes, first of all Russia and China, that pose an obstacle to this aim, and to crush the working class resistance at home, finds its expression in growing militarism and police-state measures.
Being aware of the fact that history was in fact not over after the collapse of Stalinist regimes in the period of 1989-1991, that the driving force of society, class struggle, continues to form human life, the ruling class also knows that it cannot eliminate the main social and historical fact. What it seeks after is to distort the facts in the eyes of working people, in order to restrain the vast majority of the people from achieving an international socialist solution to capitalism. Thus, it mobilizes all its institutions—from all sorts of bourgeois and petty bourgeois political parties to the media and universities, including the trade unions and so-called “left” forces.
All the petty bourgeois left-wing forces are in the service of a financial aristocracy that has brought humanity to the edge of a global catastrophe. Despite their secondary differences, their main function is to confuse and mislead workers and the youth. As we all have seen in Greece, Syria, Ukraine and other countries, these pseudo-left forces are ready to cooperate even with the most reactionary sections of society, the fascists and neo-Nazis.
The events of the last two decades make clear that the ICFI’s insistence on carefully studying the Marxist analysis of the historical experiences of the working class and the struggle waged by the Fourth International, the ICFI, against all sorts of nationalist deviations, was of vital importance.
The persistence on the historical and international principles and the perspectives delivered by international comrades in the rally are extremely important to us, Turkish Trotskyists, as the working class and youth movement in this country is traditionally marked with Stalinist, Maoist and Guevarist politics.
Besides the whole work of the ICFI and the WSWS, the online May Day rally was very important for me, personally, too. When the online rally, which I attended with some other supporters of the ICFI at a home, started, I recognised once more how strong we are. For me, the online rally was the embodiment of a real world movement of which my older comrades have spoken. Now, we have to continue our work to realise its embodiment in the working class, i.e. to create a section of the ICFI in Turkey.
H.B., University student in Istanbul
The International Online May Day Rally organized by the ICFI and the WSWS on May 4 was of great historic importance. In their speeches, our international comrades gave the working class and the youth a clear perspective for the need for an internationally organized struggle against the ongoing social counter-revolution and imperialist war threats. There have been a great number of articles on the issue posted on the WSWS, some of which were translated into Turkish. Apart from its guiding content, I would like to mention two points, which show the significance of the rally.
As Marx and Engels stated in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.” Benefiting from all the developments in technology, the bourgeois state plays a decisive role in misdirecting and suppressing the working masses, for the sake of the exploiters. To bring a socialist perspective into the unique revolutionary subject of society in struggle for socialism, the international working class, and to fight against bourgeois ideologies effectively, we, the Trotskyists, have also to take the advantage of developments in productive forces. Since the publication of the WSWS in 1998, the ICFI has successfully proved that it keeps up with these developments, especially in information and communication technology, to spread a Marxist perspective amongst the workers and the youth worldwide.
Another issue is the sense of belonging. The online rally has helped us to strengthen the sense of belonging to the ICFI, especially in countries where comrades cannot participate in international meetings and meet with other comrades for many understandable reasons. I find the online rally of importance for our sympathisers, especially in countries where a small circle of the ICFI’s supporters fight for international socialism. In my opinion, along with others, these kinds of online rallies and conferences organized by the international leadership are very important factor to improve the international revolutionary motivation of our sympathisers.
M.D., employee in finance sector, in Istanbul
For the international revolutionary struggle of the working class, the International Online May Day Rally organized by the International Committee of the Fourth International was an historic step. I am proud of and considered myself lucky to participate in the rally from a country where all sorts of reactionary bourgeois forces—from Turkish and Kurdish nationalists, Islamists and liberals, to trade union bureaucracy and the petty bourgeois left—have stumped workers and the youth for decades.
However, there are signs of a new mood of struggle amongst the workers and the youth, which found its expression in the countrywide mass demonstrations, the Gezi Park protests of the last year, in which millions of people, especially the youth participated. The working class, however, stood aside and did not intervene in the protests as an independent force threatening the government. It was because of the fact that they have no confidence in the union bureaucracy, and bourgeois and petty bourgeois opposition parties, which have deliberately isolated and sold out all working class struggles.
It was the same this May Day. In an artificial conflict over where to celebrate May Day, these forces deliberately misled, confused and divided the workers, in the government’s or bourgeois opposition parties’ best interest.
The growing war threat against Russia over Ukraine, the police-state build-up and the use of fascist gangs in each country is the expression of the fact that capitalism is in a blind alley. The International Online May Day Rally organized by the ICFI under such critical conditions provided us with a scientific analysis of the global crisis and gave us a clear perspective on what to do to avoid the coming catastrophe. That is, study the historical experiences and perspective documents of the ICFI, provide the working class with an internationalist socialist perspective and found sections of the Fourth International in each country. With the happiness and pride of participating in this historical event as a supporter of the ICFI, I send all international comrades my revolutionary greetings.
O.C., university student in Istanbul
Not only because it was the first of its kind, but also due to the current world situation, the International May Day Online Rally organized by the ICFI with the participation of thousands of people, has a great historic meaning. The international May Day activity organized by the World Socialist World Site and the ICFI is an expression of the conception of the Marxist international. It was a historic activity, which shows the working class and the youth the way they should follow in their struggle against the current imperialist war drive.
A new world war threat provoked over Ukraine, the ongoing proxy war in Syria, the encircling of China, and the building up of a police state in parallel with ever growing social inequality, are the real hazards that the international working class face. The Marxist perspective explained in the International Rally, along with thousands of articles posted on the WSWS, laid bare the fact that the only way for the salvation of the world is the regrouping of the working class under the programme of world socialist revolution, i.e. under the banner of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
The growing interest in the work of the ICFI and the WSWS confirms the validity of resolutely insisting upon Marxist revolutionary theory and programme. All over the world, socialism and the ideas of the Fourth International are growing, amidst capitalist reaction.
The International Online May Day Rally has indelibly demonstrated the fact that there is a Marxist revolutionary, i.e. Trotskyist, International capable of leading the international working class in its struggle for socialism.
The main task—of spreading a socialist perspective in the working class and taking active part in the struggle for the foundation of new Socialist Equality Parties in each country—now stands before us. As Comrade David North stated in his speech given to the Rally, “The success of this rally depends not simply on what we say today, but what we all do, collectively, in the days, weeks and months ahead to bring the Marxist program and principles of the Fourth International into the struggles of the working class all over the world.”
Y. A., employee at a steel plant in Turkey