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40 YEARS OF FASCIST MILITARY COUP ON 12 SEPT, 1980: A HISTORICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN FASCIST MILITARY COUP OF 1980 AND FASCIST PALACE COUP TODAY - MLKP INTERNATIONAL BULLETIN, SEPTEMBER, 2020

05 October 2020

Forty years have passed since the fascist coup of September 12, 1980. The analysis of the defeat of the revolutionary movement and the correct determination of the shortcomings of the fight against the fascist coup of September 12, provide us with important knowledge for the fight against the fascist palace coup of Erdogan. By September 12, 1980, Turkey had, in Gramsci‘s words, reached the height of an “organic crisis”, while the various sections of the ruling class were uniting under a single rule to avert the deadly threat of revolution. In those years clashes raged between state and people and between the bourgeoisie and the working class. In fact, in the 70s, a new revolutionary movement took shape with a massive attraction, based on the enormous legacy of the revolutionary breakthrough of 1971, and especially after the amnesty of 1974. Literally “spontaneously” thousands of students and workers flowed into the ranks of the emerging revolutionary and reformist organizations, whereupon civil-fascist attacks and anti-fascist resistance escalated. The confrontation between fascism and anti-fascism had reached the level of a violent polarization of society. Not only did a revolutionary situation develop, but also a civil war of low-intensity. The regime was unable to overcome this dilemma because the Turkish bourgeois state system, based on the political rule of the generals and the high state bureaucracy behind the scenes, could not possibly produce a solution with its existing structure and instruments. The bourgeois parliament and its governments slipped from one crisis to the other. The Turkish economy was in an overproduction crisis with structural features. The ideological hegemony of the rulers was in the process of dissolution and the dominance of US imperialism in the region was shaken by international developments. These circumstances ushered in one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of the Turkish Republic, in which the fascist state succeeded to inflict a defeat on the revolutionary movement with grave consequences.

A historical comparison between the fascist military coup 1980 and the fascist palace coup today The military coup of September 12, 1980, explained the purpose of the coup at a rally in Konya: “If we hadn't come, they would have come.” TÜSIAD, the association of the collaborative monopoly bourgeoisie, explained the class character of the fascist putsch directly with the words: “So far the workers have laughed, but from now on we will laugh.” Of course, the revolutionary forces had a premonition. Since 1978 almost all revolutionary organizations and political publications had written about an impending fascist coup. But there was no strong preparation of the revolutionary organizations for what was on the way. Despite all the willingness to fight, militancy and the strong mass movement of the 1970s, no successful resistance was prepared. If we leave aside the ideologically very valuable resistance and the revolutionary insistence of individual revolutionary militants and a few limited revolutionary organizations, a “defeat without fight” ensued. The consequence of this was not only that the revolutionary boom has dissolved. Ideological and political devastation, affecting the entire future of the revolutionary movement, strained the following periods of struggle and shaped all subsequent generations. Despite all the similarities between the military coup of September 12, 1980 and the palace coup under Erdogan, there are significant differences: For over five years the vanguard of the revolution in Turkey and Kurdistan has been resisting the severe attacks of the AKP dictatorship. Even if this reality is viewed in isolation from all subjective and objective developments, it has enormous value, because while the fascist palace coup aimed to neutralize the revolutionary movement with shock blows and achieve victory in a short time, the revolutionary forces were able to build a long-term resistance line. Although a long period of five years has passed, the fascist palace coup still failed to achieve its strategic goals, which consist of the liquidation of the revolutionary vanguard and social movements. In general, the longer the struggle against fascism lasts, the lower become the political possibilities of counterrevolution. Fascist coups that do not achieve an early victory, lose a lot of strength over time. Revolutionary forces, on the other hand, who demonstrate their determination and invincibility at this time, can transform the resistance tendencies of the people into a real force. In the terminology of guerrilla warfare, the “prolonged war” will wear down and weaken the fascists, but gradually increase the anti-fascist forces.

The united revolutionary forces struggle today under conditions with many revolutionary possibilities, which subjectively concern the revolutionary vanguard and are objectively based on political developments. The strategic and tactical advantages of the fight against the coup today compared to the days of September 12, 1980 can be explained under the following points: - The fascist military coup of September 12, 1980 succeeded in neutralizing a revolutionary moment, whereby it also eliminated a large part of the revolutionary organizations and abolished the organizational integrity, functioning and working conditions of the remaining structures. In addition, the September 12 coup succeeded to achieve economic, political and social stability on behalf of the ruling class. In the broadest sense, the dynamic of the crisis that sparked a revolutionary situation was largely eliminated by the coup. Today the fascist palace coup failed in all of the above-mentioned issues. Although some revolutionary forces suffered a considerable loss of strength, the revolutionary resistance line could not be liquidated. Turkey is currently in its worst political, economic and social crisis. Even if the palace coup slows down the course of the collapse of the Turkish bourgeois state, which is in a structural crisis, it cannot create a medium-term solution. The situation is still such that the rulers can no longer rule as before and the oppressed no longer want to be live in the same way. Leading revolutionary organizations that want to convert this revolutionary situation into revolutions are ready. This is one of the main reasons the fascist palace coup is doomed to defeat. - The attitude of the revolutionary democratic masses is different today than in the period after September 12, 1980, when an atmosphere of fear was created. Even if there has been a significant decline in the mass movement in 18 the last 5 years, and the numerous massacres, waves of arrests and repression have had a gruelling effect, the most advanced sections of the mass movement persist in fighting. Some social movements, especially the democratic women‘s movement, are clear indicators of this. The links between the mass movement and revolutionary organizations could not be severed either. So the masses do not turn their backs on the revolutionary organizations and in almost all existing social movements the revolutionary vanguard plays a decisive role. The broadest masses, however, in spite of their silence still show the tendency to reject the fascist palace coup.

From September 12, 1980 until today, the level of development of the Turkish-Kurdish revolution has changed considerably. While the revolution in Turkey suffered a defeat on September 12, 1980, the revolution in Kurdistan was preparing for a major advance. Today the Kurdish pillar of our united revolution has triumphed in Rojava, awakened a social dynamic in Northern Kurdistan and created an important balance against the state. While the September 12 coup ended a phase of revolutionary upswing, the attempted coup by the Fascist palace today must defeat a revolution that has started and is making significant progress. -Despite its mass strength, strong cadre reserves and militancy, the revolutionary movement before September 12 was programmatically far from a power perspective. This lack of power perspective has had a direct impact on the choice of means and forms of struggle. The anti-fascist armed struggle of the era before September 12 could not reach the level of a political-military line aimed at power. This is the main reason why, after the coup, the possibilities of creating resistance positions with a political-military character were not seized upon.

Today there is a revolutionary vanguard that organizes revolutionary violence in a way that is aimed at the overthrow of the fascist chief regime and the victory of the revolution. Although the desired level has not yet been reached, today's political-military struggle indicates under a strategic point of view towards a different situation than before. -The most basic need of the fight against fascism are front organizations with a united character. However, it was impossible to build a united revolutionary leadership either before or after the fascist military coup of September 12, and 19 even successful alliances of action were scarce. The FKBDC (United Resistance Front against Fascism), which was founded to take up a political-military struggle against the fascist coup of September 12, 1980, remained on paper and disbanded due to the liquidational attitude of some structures. Although the revolutionary street movement continued in the early days of the military dictatorship and even some armed reprisals followed, a significant part of the old revolutionary organizations turned to liquidationism and orientated themselves on a reformist course within the ruling order.

Today, in contrast to September 12, there are united revolutionary organizations both on the practically legitimate fighting front and on the political-military front. There is uninterrupted resistance on both fronts. In particular, the increasing impact of violent revolutionary actions brought the fight against the fascist palace coup to a new level. This level is developing towards a political centre and becomes a barricade against the ideological dissolution of September 12, which included the goodbye to arms idea. - Prisons play a big role. The coup of September 12 had not only established its rule in the streets, but also conquered the prisons. The revolutionary forces, which the coup could not overcome in the dungeons, offered legendary resistance and developed into a real revolutionary armed force after the prison. However, if you look at the whole picture, the prisons at that time fulfilled the function of integrating the revolutionary movement into the ruling order. The prison policy of the fascist palace coup today is also in line with September 12. In this context there are tens of thousands of revolutionary, patriotic and anti-fascist prisoners. However, the prisoners did not submit to the fascist palace coup. In addition to strong ideological moral values, in some cases resistance in prisons also played a leading role for the political struggle. In view of the fascist coup of September 12, this is a great achievement. In the face of September 12, the revolutionary movement not only suffered organizational defeat, but also fell apart. So much so that over time it lost its ideological hegemony over the laboring people and could not prevent the erosion of revolutionary values. In the quarters, schools and villages under revolutionary hegemony, no armed mass resistance and no barricade fights against the military-fascist regime began

Although hundreds of armed revolutionaries marched from the Black Sea region to the Tarsus Mountains, no guerrilla warfare based on the unity of country and city began. In the months after September 12, when the revolutionary energy of countless militants and their belief in defeating the coup were still alive, no popular resistance was organized. The unused objective possibilities of organizing an anti-fascist resistance of the people against the regime of September 12 make it necessary to analyze the revolutionary mentality of the years before September 12. Especially because in the same objective conditions, the Kurdish freedom movement succeeded in preparing major advances. In summary, all parts of the revolutionary movement were shaped by revolutionary spontanism, which led to strategic myopia and tactical incompetence. The lack of a power perspective manifested itself in the uncertainty in the question how the widespread and effectively waged political struggle against civil fascists could leap straight to the level of a revolutionary war against the state apparatus. For example, the enormous potential of the Kurdish national revolutionary dynamic has not been realized.

The importance of the conflict between Alevis and Sunnis for the revolutionary strategy was not recognized. While the dynamism of the development of the revolutionary movement began to wane since the May 1, 1977 massacre, the need for a revitalized political struggle was not understood. In fact, there was neither a political nor a military strategy. The assassination of the most talented and strong-willed leaders of the revolutionary advance of 1971 prevented the birth and maturation of a practical revolutionary headquarters. Informal and mostly statuteless organizational structures mirrored the revolutionary spontaneity. The “movement or party” debate reflects the theorization of the superficial nature of the organization's spontaneous nature. The weakness of organizational strategies was demonstrated by the fatal blows to major revolutionary organizations only within a few months of September 12. Overall, the defeat after the coup on September 12, 1980 is a school of struggle. Revolutionary cadres of the 1970s transferred the positive characteristics of their generation, the lively appropriation of revolutionary values, devotion and spirit of sacrifice, to the new revolutionary generations, creating generations of victories. The coup experience also provides essential general information. Fascist coups are trying to crush the revolutionary struggle with the help of military and sheer violence. The fascist military coup of September 12 was successful in this way, and the fascist palace coup today aims to succeed in a similar way.

Although the characteristics of both coups are different, that reality remains unchanged. Using the example of Turkey and Kurdistan, we can see that under the current conditions the chances of success for the fight against the coup without a political-military fight are slim. Important achievements of the social movement also run the risk of disappearing if the political-military front is unsuccessful. If a coup means violence, then a line of struggle that does not speak of violence and is not properly organized and has no chance of success. The fascist palace today lacks opportunities to completely ban democratic rights and freedoms, which makes the practically legitimate front of battle an important field of battle, in contrast to the days of September 12. Any movement that legitimately, militantly and consistently pushes the boundaries of the fascist palace coup transforms the tendency of the masses to resist into political force and results in progressive forces being won over to the revolutionary ranks. The most important thing today is the continuity of resistance on every front. Every spark can trigger a revolutionary wildfire, our resistance creates sparks.

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Kabeer Katlat

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