12,000 workers to death fast?

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Devrim
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Jan 8 2010 13:25
12,000 workers to death fast?

The TEKEL workers in Turkey (Leo has written a long post describing the struggle here: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/wildcat-strikes-02012010#comment-359440 ) have decided to start a death fast (hunger strike without water) next Thursday. A death fast kills people much more quickly than a hunger strike, in a matter of days.

Of course we argued against this with strikers we knew, but they seem to have taken a decision to do it.

To be honest I don't really know how to react to this. There is nothing in my political experience that could prepare me for 12,000 workers starving themselves to death in the city centre.

Thoughts?

Devrim

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mikail firtinaci
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Jan 8 2010 13:44

erased

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mikail firtinaci
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Jan 8 2010 13:43

I read the news. According to that the union announced that after 14th of this month they decided to initiate a strike and if this will also be neglacted by the government then the hunger strike will start. So probably it is an intimidation against the government.

petey
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Jan 8 2010 14:37

i think hunger strikes are insane in themselves, but done individually it creates martyrs (like bobby sands). doing it en masse will just give the govt the chance to label the political motivation behind the action (not just the action) as deranged.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jan 8 2010 14:58

unions in turkey (and probably all unions) have a history of making wild and crazy proclamations and take actions to further the misery and isolation of workers in order to show them in the media as wretched poor things. Turkish far right and republicans have found a fortune to exploit in TEKEL workers.

gypsy
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Jan 8 2010 18:04

hunger strikes get mass publicity. As someone else mentioned bobby sands was big news.

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Steven.
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Jan 8 2010 18:10

most hunger strikes don't get mass publicity, Bobby Sands was an exception because of the high profile IRA terrorist campaign, and the fact he was elected as a member of Parliament.

In any case, his is not a good example of something similar, as Irish republicanism was a capitalist movement which had support from large sections of the capitalist class(and therefore the media)

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Devrim
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Jan 19 2010 09:49

This is starting today. I was down there last night and there seems to be a lot of confusion about what is actually happening with some people saying that they weren't doing it, some saying only for three days and some all out.

Devrim

Fletcher
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Jan 19 2010 11:46
Steven. wrote:
most hunger strikes don't get mass publicity, Bobby Sands was an exception because of the high profile IRA terrorist campaign, and the fact he was elected as a member of Parliament.
In any case, his is not a good example of something similar, as Irish republicanism was a capitalist movement which had support from large sections of the capitalist class(and therefore the media)

Irish republicanism at the time of the hunger strikes never had "support from large sections of the capitalist class (and therefore the media)" as you suggest. What facts are you basing that statement on? Irish republicanism NOW has support from the ruling classes but did not at the time.

Republicans were able to use the hunger strikes inside the prison to build a campaign outside which paved the way for Sinn Fein to move towards parliamentary democracy rather than armed struggle. They didn't change their politics just their tactics.

Our argument with Sinn Fein should remain the same whether they are killing in the name of nationalism or cutting our services while in government in the name of nationalism. Their politics fail to address the basic inequality at the heart of society and offer nothing to the working class.

Hunger strike as a tactic is a mistake as it directs the anger of those involved in on themselves and reduces the role of others, not on hunger strike, to supporters who cheer them on to either victory or death. Better to build a fight back that pulls in as many as possible and moves from the politics of protest to those of resistance.

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Jan 19 2010 16:46

Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but I seem to remember when I was very young large sections of the media internationally, such as in the US, where very supportive of Irish republicanism, and capitalists in America provided them with a significant amount of funding, didn't they?

Fletcher
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Jan 19 2010 17:57
Steven. wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but I seem to remember when I was very young large sections of the media internationally, such as in the US, where very supportive of Irish republicanism, and capitalists in America provided them with a significant amount of funding, didn't they?

No they didn't. Grassroots support networks raised funding throughout Irish communities in the states. Don't get me wrong I have no love for republicans/nationalists but there is no point in making factually incorrect arguments either.

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Jan 19 2010 18:10

OK, I have just found out about what is going on. Only (!) 100 workers are on hunger strike.

Devrim

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Jan 19 2010 19:32

Is the idea that they are doing it 'on behalf of the others', or is there real opposition to this tactic among the workers?

Deezer
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Jan 19 2010 20:29
weeler wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but I seem to remember when I was very young large sections of the media internationally, such as in the US, where very supportive of Irish republicanism, and capitalists in America provided them with a significant amount of funding, didn't they?

Probably for a different thread but when you were young bobby was already dead. I think you are really overestimating the level of support for republicans in the ruling class. A lot of different strands going on there and a lot of different sources of support, ghadafi probably sent more support than any single other group.

And loyalists also got arms of him. Really Steven yer comment is more than a bit off the wall.

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Jan 19 2010 22:18
Quote:
Is the idea that they are doing it 'on behalf of the others', or is there real opposition to this tactic among the workers?

it says in the news that lots of other had also applied. But the medical doctors union did not sypathised with the idea and they said that people who were living on the street for 30 days should not en messe go to strike. Union probably became afraid with this and limited the numbers...

That is my observation.

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Jan 20 2010 00:58

Also;

One worker is in death strike /death fast)... It is reported that his wage was 1.200 TL (about 600 euro), that he has a wife who has blood cancer and also a little daughter. It also reported that he said, all of his wage was used for his wife's health expenditures so for him there is no going back and rather than losing he would choose death...

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Jan 19 2010 22:48

Here is the online strike tv reporting from TEKEL workers in ankara;

http://www.sendika.org/

two kurdish workers from Adıyaman has just send their salute to the whole world working class red star

Leo
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Jan 19 2010 22:49
Quote:
Is the idea that they are doing it 'on behalf of the others', or is there real opposition to this tactic among the workers?

The general feeling is against the hunger strike, people apparently think its not an appropriate way forward for the struggle, but thousands applied to do it because they did not want only a hundred workers to do it all themselves, they did not want to leave the ones doing it alone. The union indeed did limit the number based on the doctors' advice.

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Jan 19 2010 23:47

I have translated the latest ICC leaflet. I did not translate the poem;

Quote:
The honorable struggle of the TEKEL workers has been going on since one month. They have carried on the struggle in the Ankara streets, resisting, standing and fighting against all the tricks to get them back to their homes, against cold, biting frost, against rain and against dirt. TEKEL workers are leading the whole Turkish working class with their determination and zeal for struggle. Today the attacks of capitalist order they are facing and resisting, are not only directed to them but to the whole working class.
However it was not only their determination to resist the opression that made them to stay in Ankara and lead the class struggle of Turkish working class. Together with that determination, there was also their willingness to do whatever they can to extend the struggle and tell all the laborers that this struggle was in fact also theirs. During the last month, we have seen that all the workers who showed their will to struggle from the firemen to the doctors, from the teachers to the engineers have said “TEKEL workers are not alone”. It was this zeal that forced Türk-İş to accept at last a demonstration that will enable the meeting up of masses of workers with Tekel workers, after all the tricks, sloppiness and “strikes” for one or two hours.
It is correct to say that today “Tekel worker are not alone”. However, all the workers who see TEKEL struggle as their own should ask themselves that; “what will happen tomorrow?” Will the workers, who hold the hands of TEKEL workers today, leave it tomorrow? Is one day enough for the victory of TEKEL workers, for the victory working class? If it is known that when this day ends, which is a day that has a beginning but also an ending, everyone will go back to their homes we have to say that one day will not be enough for the victory.
Bosses and their state are afraid of the TEKEL struggle and the determination that is expressed by the TEKEL workers. The underlying reason of this fear is their awareness of this particular attack being only a part of their general attack against the whole working class. Bosses are afraid of TEKEL workers, because they know that the fire that TEKEL workers lit will blaze like a forest fire when the whole workers who are subject to the same attacks will join in. That is why the victory of TEKEL workers will be the victory of the whole working class. That is why the victory of TEKEL struggle depends on our class’ will to defend this struggle.
The fire that TEKEL workers initiated can only be extended by the workers themselves. Neither Türk-İş nor the other unions are on the side of the workers’ effort to generalize the struggle, on the contrary… Unions are aware of the fact that this fire which has been started by the workers who will take this struggle to their own initiative and extend it, will also burn them together with the bosses.

Liberation of the workers will be their own creation!
Long Live Class Solidarity!

http://tr.internationalism.org/ekaonline-2000s/ekaonline-2009/el-tutusa-tutusa

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Jan 20 2010 00:08
Quote:
people apparently think its not an appropriate way forward for the struggle,

I am just watching the strike tv. They are interviewing with workers. And it seemed like people were highly enthusiastic with the hunger strike. But yes it might be what you said;

Quote:
but thousands applied to do it because they did not want only a hundred workers to do it all themselves, they did not want to leave the ones doing it alone.
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Jan 20 2010 01:01

It's nice to have the video playing in the background, but I wish I knew what the hell they were saying.

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Jan 20 2010 01:27

Tarwater;
It is weird to watch these on TV!!!

A worker is telling the decisions are taken from the base. Then the interviewer is asking if there is a base is not there also a top level? What about workers' committees? ...

But the some of the general discussions are revolving around solidarity among kurdish and turkish workers. One turkish worker implied that he could not imagine to stay in the same place with the kurdish workers. He said "now we are sharing everything, everything we have belong to all of us"...

It is extasic!!!

--------

I read somewhere that around 1.200 workers are ill now - for staying on the Ankara sreets, in the biting cold...

-------

Other union confederations declared that "we should have an action plan to do something" (!).

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Jan 20 2010 01:51

listening to workers' clarity I realized that a thirty days of strike brings the theoretical clarity that can barely be reached by years of reading. I knew this fact theoretically though smile

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Jan 20 2010 02:08

That is very exciting, thanks for the translations!. Any more soundbites are appreciated.

How bad are conditions (weather, food etc)?

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Jan 20 2010 02:55

It is probably -5 C to -10 C with rain.

Workers are lying on the grounds in the streets. Sick workers -as far as I know- are getting to the houses arranged by students and other workers.

In turkey food is not usually a problem because for some historical reasons people's conscience are very sensitive on this. As far as I heard workers of ankara are bringing food in the mornings before going to work.

Also it is generally reported in some sources that doctor who are voluntarily giving service for the workers are asking for vitamins and drugs. I think they are in need of lots of other sort of thinks from blankets to underwears.

Finally the last worker who they talked with was an older more experienced worker who had the experience of 70's generation of workers. He said while the worker's before coming to Ankara only thought for themselves now they are thinking as a collective. He said something about being a communist is in fact about being a human and the workers who formerly was afraid of communists now sypathising with them. Also he made an analogy of sisyphus in an anatolian version of it. He said we should not be illusioned with the fact that this strike will win despite the union. And; "Even though we win we will lose our gains again so most important thing is to struggle" something like that...

This was the most amazing tv show I have ever watched... Better than 3D smile

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Jan 20 2010 03:42

Thanks, keep the updates coming!

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Jan 20 2010 04:38

I have just checked; there are 17 strike or resistance all over Turkey right now apart from TEKEL.

Some of them are not real strikes. For instance one of them is only about a person who is sacked because of the crisis and her co-workers are not on strike.

One is about a factory that was closed with the crisis as the pretext and workers went on to court for not being sacked. won. but the factory did not begin working. So they are occupying their workplaces.

However in the majority of the cases workers -most of them are unionized- are on strike or "resistance" since they could not get their wages for some time.

Most of these are in the western part of the country and especially around İstanbul and closest towns...

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Jan 21 2010 00:06

ICC has a new article on TEKEL

http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2010/01/tekel-turkey

First of all I should say that this is a very good article, clearing some points about the strike.

But I have some questions for you;
1- you are perfectly reflecting the actual situation of the "24 hours general workers assembly". Although workers are living on the streets for 24 hours, that also enabled an enourmous interaction among workers in general. It is for sure that this is the expression of the dynamism of the working class in general.

However you are also talking about a strike commitee. I wonder whether this is a permanent body? Does it only includes tekel workers? Did this made any declarations openly criticizing union?

2- As far as I understand you are not critizing the general strike slogan at least as the way you did in your first leaflet. Or are you? Did your position changed? If so why?

3- You are talking about how the workers are aware of other struggles. But are they also aware of other small strikes in the west -apart from fireman and sugar workers strikes? I was recently thinking about -this is just an idea- an internet forum or a paper kind of a thing that would eneable discussion between all the striking and struggling workers. Do you think such a thing would be possible? In istanbul there might be people that would be interested in with discussing such an idea...

in solidarity

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Jan 21 2010 00:11
Deezer wrote:
weeler wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but I seem to remember when I was very young large sections of the media internationally, such as in the US, where very supportive of Irish republicanism, and capitalists in America provided them with a significant amount of funding, didn't they?

Probably for a different thread but when you were young bobby was already dead. I think you are really overestimating the level of support for republicans in the ruling class. A lot of different strands going on there and a lot of different sources of support, ghadafi probably sent more support than any single other group.

And loyalists also got arms of him. Really Steven yer comment is more than a bit off the wall.

That, and Sands got elected MP because of his already huge public profile as a hunger striker, not the other way round.

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Jan 21 2010 02:22

the number of workers in hunger strike reached 136 today...

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Jan 21 2010 05:19

So the hunger strikes have begun then? Why the gain, is it only solidarity?

The video makes it seem more tragic...