The revolt started by women in Iran continues. The world held its breath, waiting for what will happen. The actions initiated by women against the prohibition and violence of the Islamist and authoritarian regime are extremely meaningful. We can add to this the resistance of women to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, albeit weakly. But there is a fundamental problem. I am afraid that the processes we went through in the uprisings of the peoples, similar to what was called the Arab Spring ten years ago, will be repeated. In fact, the events in the countries to our north, called the Orange Revolutions, ended in a similar way.
It is no longer possible to stand in the way of societies’ demands for equality and justice and revolts against authoritarian regimes in their countries. Thanks to the flow of news and information on social media and the internet, the demands of victims, the poor, women and young people for freedom and a share in the economy are rising almost everywhere, and objections to authoritarian and arbitrary administrations are brought to the streets. But the problem immediately starts from the fact that all these revolts are a “movement of protest”. If there is no story and claim that puts the “new” next to the “objection”, if there is no leading party and cadres carrying this story and claim, if the objection does not develop under the leadership of an organization based on a claim, the result is frustration and slaughter. The same happened in the Arab Spring and the Orange Revolutions. In the end, the system reproduced itself from among the previous actors who appeared to be “so-called reformers” so that “The bathhouse has changed, but the people are the same”. The West, which is the subject of conspiracy theories that allegedly organized these uprisings, also accepted these “so-called new ones”. In all of these countries, the needs and demands of societies for freedom, equality and justice are strong and valid, but their political organizations are still lacking.
In another country, Italy, general elections were held last week and Mussolini’follower of ideas melody led by the far-right alliance won the elections. However, in the local elections held in October 2021, the candidates of the left parties and alliances won the mayorship in big cities such as Milan, Naples and Bologna in the first round, and in Rome and Turin in the second round. According to the local election comments of the Italian press, “the left won victory in the big cities, the right was knocked out, the populists had fallen”. I wrote in this column, “It is too early for this definition”.
By the way, let’s remember that the voter turnout in Italy was 64 percent. Le PenIn the French elections, where ‘s came out stronger, it was 47.5 percent.
The joint candidate of the opposition parties won the capital Budapest in the 2019 local elections in Hungary. The arbitrary, authoritarian and populist leader that the broad opposition alliance will win in the 2022 general elections with this wind. OrbanWhile expected to lose, the opposite happened and Orban won again.
What happened in Chile is another example. The 35-year-old left-wing ex-student leader in Chile’s presidential election in December 2021 Gabriel Boric had won. Contrary to expectations, the new constitution proposal, which is seen as the “most progressive constitution in the world” prepared by the Constituent Assembly, was overwhelmingly rejected in the popular vote.
It is not possible to defeat populism with a new one
All these global and political tide movements have a meaning. If there is no story and claim of the future and an organization that carries this claim, it is not possible to get out of the global and local interglacial period by making an alliance only for numerical necessity. It is not possible to defeat populism with new populism from the right or the left.
It is not a question of a new leader, it is a matter of how you define the new, how much and how you involve societies in building that new one, that is, how you create a new policy.
On October 22, 2021, I wrote in this column by evaluating the latest political developments in the world and the elections in Italy, Hungary and Israel:
“Although some political movements that feed off of this trend, only objections to populism, shine like a fire in some countries, there is no new utopia or a story about the age that has come to humanity yet.
In a way, he is looking for his future story and new policies that will bring that story to life.
Nevertheless, in almost every country, efforts are made to form broad alliances against populist governments without making any distinction between right and left, and at least to stop the strengthening of populism and authoritarian tendencies. Because the arbitrariness of populist governments, which, despite all their handicaps, disrupts and disintegrates even the existing traditional state apparatus, their polarizing policies even within their own society, the damage caused by their dreams of controlling the entire order is so great that almost every country tries to create a balance by forming broad coalitions. For now, the new governments are fed by the need to stop populism, not a utopia that will build a new one.
The pandemic and the accompanying economic rhythm disorder produced an alarm effect that sounded at the same time in the world. Even this two-year period showed how intense and persistent injustice and poverty are on a global and national scale, and that this is unsustainable.
The elections we summarized at the beginning of the article showed how high the social support for populist movements is still in societies stuck with identities, marginalization and polarization.
We see that it is not possible to defeat populism with more vulgar populism and its weapons. Because the problem is not only to get rid of populism, but to build the new, participatory democracy, social peace, equality, justice and freedoms in accordance with the coming age, the rhythm of the earth and sociological changes.
Election turnout may be low in our country as well.
In a way, what we experience in the politics of the country is similar to the first and second acts of the experiences of other countries that I have noted above. If we live the third and final act by insisting on not learning from these experiences, I’m afraid the result is not unlikely to be a similar deep disappointment.
For example, if trust cannot be built in politics in general and in elections in particular, our participation rate may decrease in the upcoming elections, and this will work in favor of the government.
On the other hand, there have been important developments in politics in recent weeks and some points and actors become clear as the election approaches. We see that the answer to the question of who will be the presidential candidate of the opposition, which is an important source of uncertainty, is very close. Kemal Kilicdaroglu very close to the nomination now. Although the leaders and parties in the Six Tables have some reservations or concerns, it is unrealistic to expect Kılıçdaroğlu to oppose his candidacy. They will probably personally tell Kılıçdaroğlu their reservations and concerns, but it can be predicted that they will eventually approve.
Left, socialist, communist alliance
If the candidacy issue is resolved or the candidate debates of two years are over, whether it is announced to the public or not, then the Six Table, albeit belatedly, aims to socialize the principles and goals in the 12 February and 28 February memorandum texts, to socialize the trust of the voters in politics, how to implement economic and political reforms, and to deal with chaos and confusion. they can base on telling how to install the new one without reason. They can move on to the stage of explaining to the public the meaning and importance of their stance with each other, about the political rivalry that should be and the country’s exit from destruction.
The political strategy of the Six Table, the communication strategy and defense strategy required for this are still not clear. Until today, the minds and organizational energies of who the candidate would be had taken hold. Moreover, we saw once again that there was no defense strategy in the crisis produced by a discussion that was not on the table, such as the last HDP ministry. The lack of another defense strategy is evident in Table of Six still making what they need to talk to each other and headlines of natural political rivalry through the media, through spokespersons. The government also uses that defensive weakness to the fullest.
In the political field, besides the Six Table, two more alliances were formed and announced to the public. Two weeks ago, the Socialist Power Union, formed by the left, socialist and communist parties, was established. Last week, it announced the establishment of the Labor and Freedom Alliance (EÖİ), led by HDP, which also includes left-wing parties. It seems possible to form new alliances in which other parties, such as the Victory Party, the Homeland Party, and the Welfare Party, are still outside the announced alliances.
Such alliances will become inevitable as long as the system for elections does not change due to reasons such as the presidential system, 50+1 vote requirement, and 7 percent election threshold. Maybe if the system does not change, politics will experience a new consolidation process through these alliances.
However, taking into account the vote potential, it is noteworthy that the Labor and Freedom Alliance (EÖİ) is the formation with the highest potential to determine the outcome of the elections and what will happen afterwards. The alliance, which has published a comprehensive declaration of goals beyond objections such as democratization, secularism and a fair economy, is starting out as a candidate to be an actor in the process of establishing the new even when it started due to the 13 percent vote potential of HDP.
One of the most important handicaps of Six Tables is that they are statists in the state-citizen dilemma, even though they say that they are ideologically, five of them are traditional right and one is social democrat. Other handicaps were the fact that the Kurds could not produce an inclusive policy against the labor-women-green movements because they did not look at citizens first, their distance from civil society, and the obstruction of their veins to feed off the knowledge, skill and energy of the civil society.
This lack of inclusiveness and nutritional congestion pointed to a significant lack of understanding and inclusion of the needs and demands of the society, not only in the process of winning the election, but also in the process of establishing the new one after the original election.
However, there is a social bottom wave due to a number of reasons such as the pandemic, the great economic flood that followed and still continuing, the arbitrariness, authoritarianism and rudeness of the regime. Class tensions are rising again as the heat of polarization and being stuck with identities, to which the country has been ensnared for a long time, is falling.
As they experience the helplessness in the face of the economic crisis, society realizes every day that the issue is more than just a matter of belief, ethnicity or lifestyle, but a matter of poverty. Young people see that there is not only income justice, but also the lack of opportunity justice in education or employment. Every day, women and young people see that they cannot participate in the decisions about their lives. When politicians and mayors of their own choosing are dismissed and arrested, Kurds experience once again that there is no justice for recognition.
There’s something upside down, something surging at the bottom. There is a great discomfort, and people feel for the first time that it is not just an identity difference, but an economic issue. In addition to cultural polarization and political polarization, class polarization is rising again and this will have important repercussions in politics.
Table of Six does not seem to have grasped this dynamic and produced the appropriate policy. The EO’s opportunity, even the left alliance’s opportunity, is fed by this deep wave. This social dynamic may also strengthen the HDP’s opportunity to become Turkish.
If all of these alliances can agree on a single candidate in the presidential election and if they can set up the political competition for the parliamentary elections correctly, the country can seize a historical opportunity. This opportunity may lay the groundwork for the highest representation of all cultural and class segments of the country in the Assembly, where the new constitution will be discussed and shaped, rather than who the president will be.
If the election process can be experienced as the process of discussing the new era and the new system and creating a new political style and language by each party and alliance in order to produce a great social reconciliation with these discussion processes, the country may find a very positive opportunity to turn the destruction into a process of establishing a new one.
We will see whether political actors, leaders and presidential candidates will be able to develop the skills to fulfill this responsibility, produce a new political style and strategy, or not participate in very high elections like in France and Italy, or will there be comebacks like Hungary and Chile.
Pattern: Selcuk Demirel
This article by Bekir Ağırdır, Oxygen taken from the newspaper