January 6, 2018

On the slogan of 'Let’s unite for peace and democracy against the one-man, one-party administration'

When this slogan * emerged, I actually thought it was from a local group, not from the party, and mentioned my doubts in its correctness. Now that we know the source, it has become a responsibility to evaluate the slogan.

I believe that the first portion of slogan " 'Let’s unite for peace and democracy against the one-man"  is a correct one, and important as part of "democratic tasks" which should be tied to and integrated with the "Socialist tasks" of the struggle. Yet, 'Let’s unite for peace and democracy against the one-party administration" is not only far from linking, integrating the democratic task with socialist one, but contradicts and rejects it.

Political slogans are created to serve short term political aims, as well as long term. Every slogan contains messages and reflects an ideology. These messages stand out as clear indication of what one believes in and/or should believe in. That is why ideological slogans contain certain message which is directly aimed at forming or manipulating the opinions or behavior of people.They  represent a  form of political discourse, which is used, not only in the political publicity, but also in more elaborated discourse treating a political issue, where it functions as a conclusion-solution of that political issue.

Slogan is a form of persuasion practice used to influence people's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It shapes the understanding, sense of reality and behavior of individuals and masses. The ideology behind the message of slogans - words and phrases - makes it possible to guide the actions, practices of frameworks of understanding not only the current but the future reality.

As for the ruling class, slogans serve to meet the need of authorities to influence political behavior, rationalize the political behaviorestablish control, as well as meeting the changing need of social conditions in the interests of ruling class. 

That is not our subject, but it is important to understand the importance of slogans while we evaluate the referenced slogan.

As for Marxist Leninist slogans ``...socialist slogan " says Lenin "..serves like all the other socialist slogans not to justify the existing order of things, but to indicate the way forward, and to stimulate the proletariat in its active, revolutionary policy of transformation” (1) 

I have to assume that the reference slogan is related to the current political situation in Turkey and may be considered correct as Lenin summarizes in his writing "On Slogans" ;
``Every particular slogan must be deduced from the totality of specific features of a definite political situation.`` (2) 
However, reading Lenin in subject, he is very clear on the issue. 
```That is why the strategic slogans of our Party must not be appraised from the point of view of episodical successes or defeats of the revolutionary movement in any particular period; still less can they be appraised from the point of view of the time or forms of achieving any particular demands that arise out of those slogans. The strategic slogans of the Party can be appraised only from the point of view of a Marxist analysis of the class forces and of the correct disposition of the revolutionary forces on the front of the struggle for the victory of the revolution, for the concentration of power in the hands of the new class.``` 
``The art of any propagandist and agitator consists in his ability to find the best means of influencing any given audience, by presenting a definite truth, in such a way as to make it most convincing, most easy to digest, most graphic, and most strongly impressive.`` (3)
In addition,  Lenin warns us of dissemination of illusion that problems can be resolved within a capitalist system.  He states;
```In politics utopia is a wish that can never come true—neither now nor afterwards, a wish that is not based on social forces and is not supported by the growth and development of political, class forces. 
``The less freedom there is in a country, the scantier the manifestations of open class struggle and the lower the educational level of the masses, the more easily political utopias usually arise and the longer they persist.```(4) 
Slogans as such, may create  not only illusions of this kind, but, in this case, may create the long term understanding that one-party system is a system to be against to. Are we telling the people that multi party system is  better than one party system; bourgeois democracy is better than one party proletarian system?  I am sure it is not the intent, but the masses cannot read the messenger's mind, they read the message as it is . That's why, I believe that calling masses to unite against the "one-party system" , has its mistake not only in relation to  the illusion of bourgeois democracy, but to the proletarian dictatorship - as one party system.

Marxist Leninist leaderships have the responsibility to give the masses correct and clear slogans leaving no room for any illusion and, especially leaving no room for misunderstanding.

"Democracy means equality" says Lenin "The great significance of the proletariat's struggle for equality and of equality as a slogan will be clear if we correctly interpret it as meaning the abolition of classes.”. (5)

Yes, the subject matter may be different, but having the slogan to be clear,  always is a precondition. Slogans that are ambiguous tend to create illusions and may become deceptive.

 "Utopia," Engels writes in The Housing Question, "arises when, 'from the existing conditions', people undertake to prescribe the form wherein this, that or the other contradiction in existing society will be resolved."  (6)

The question is not one party system rule which will disappear with the establishment  of  multiple party system. It is the system itself.

Lenin in his Constitutional Illusions article states ;
```Constitutional illusions are what we call a political error when people believe in the existence of a normal, juridical, orderly and legalized—in short, “constitutional”—system, although it does not really exist.```you only have to detach yourself for a moment from the present hubbub of empty phrases, promises and petty doings which fuddles your thinking, and take a look at the main thing, at what determines everything in public life—the class struggle.``` If political power in the state is in the hands of a class whose interests coincide with those of the majority, that state can be governed truly in line with the will of the majority. But if political power is in the hands of a class whose interests diverge from those of the majority, any form of majority rule is bound to become deception or suppression of the majority.```  (7) 
Slogans, not evaluated thoroughly, may become impractical, and may give the false impression and illusion that a stable, peaceful social system can be realized  by the good will of the ruling class within the existing system. I am sure I do not have to  multi-quote Lenin on this subject. Here is a brief  one which the above slogan may -unintentionally- be screening.
``Bourgeois democracy is democracy of pompous phrases, solemn words, exuberant promises and the high-sounding slogans of freedom and equality. But, in fact, it screens the non-freedom and inferiority of women, the non-freedom and inferiority of the toilers and exploited.`` (8) 
If the slogan did not have the words " unite ..against one man", it could easily be considered  as a camouflaged bourgeois slogan about false freedom and democracy.

Yes, as Stalin puts it` "..... the question of the fundamental slogan of the Party must not be confused with the question of the time and forms of achieving particular demands arising out of that slogan.``  (9)

However the referenced slogan, by being against one man system as well as against one party system ,  "demanding neither victory nor defeat”.

"Democracy is “unattainable” under capitalism" says Lenin" ....socialism alone is “the way out”; “hence”, to advance democratic slogans in our minimum programme,i.e., under capitalism, is a deception or an illusion, befuddlement or postponement, etc., of the slogan of socialist revolution."(10)

That does not mean that Marxists should not use democratic slogans. That would be a practice of separating the inseparable democratic and socialist tasks of the revolution. "..Marxist requirement that every slogan be justified by a precise analysis of economic realities, the political situation and the political significance of the slogan``` (11)  The key word -related to referenced slogan - here is "the political significance of the slogan"  Lenin mentions. As I have tried to explain above, the referenced slogan, politically, "demanding neither victory nor defeat”.

In reference to the slogans'  "unite for peace and democracy  against the one-party system" , we can refer to Lenin ;
Until classes are abolished, all talk about freedom and equality in general is self-deception, or else deception of the workers and of all who toil and are exploited by capital; in any case, it is a defense of the interests of the bourgeoisie. Until classes are abolished, all arguments about freedom and equality should be accompanied by the questions: freedom for which class, and for what purpose; equality between which classes, and in what respect? Any direct or indirect, witting or unwitting evasion of these questions inevitably turns into a defense of the interests of the bourgeoisie, the interests of capital, the interests of the exploiters.  
If these questions are glossed over, and nothing is said about the private ownership of the means of production, then the slogan of freedom and equality is merely the lies and humbug of bourgeois society, whose formal recognition of freedom and equality conceals actual economic servitude and inequality for the workers, for all who toil and are exploited by capital, i.e., for the overwhelming majority of the population in all capitalist countries. " (12)
Every slogan has its depth and extent, from specific to general. This slogan with an intended message may have, actually does,  great significance - without the second part . Slogans aim at convincing the masses that the slogan is correct and that they should accept it as their own. Obviously, most of those with a level of theoretical knowledge will not think that slogan is claiming to be against one-party systems as a general rule. But most of the people will exactly have the understanding of words as a general rule, others, knowing it is a leftist party's slogan, will see it as a "deception". As Lenin puts it ; ``Nothing is more dangerous than deceit.`` (1)

Is it a "true slogan " ? Is that slogan showing the real reasons to fight for , limiting it, or worse, leaving no reason to fight for the  "one-party socialist system"
""" We do not say to the world: 'Stop the struggle; all struggle is in vain', we provide it with the true slogan of the struggle. We are simply showing the world the real reasons it is fighting for, whereas consciousness is something that the world has to gain, regardless of whether or not it wants this. " (13) 
I am neither claiming that the conditions in Turkey is ripe for revolution , nor am I claiming otherwise for the use of slogans in such context. However, this slogan is coming directly from the Party and its content is not only limited to cosmetic changes in the system but against the one-party system. Stalin on Party's fundamental slogans states the following 
``we deeply believe that the majority of the people of our nation are disappointed and frustrated with the slogans of those whose only objectives are to make some cosmetic and minor adjustments to the current regime, and are now demanding fundamental changes in the governance of the country.  
The Party's fundamental strategic slogans, which retain their validity during the whole period of any particular stage of the revolution, cannot be called fundamental slogans if they are not wholly and entirely based on this cardinal thesis of Lenin's.

Fundamental slogans can be correct only if they are based on a Marxist analysis of class forces, if they indicate the correct plan of disposition of the revolutionary forces on the front of the class struggle, if they help to bring the masses to the front of the struggle for the victory of the revolution, to the front of the struggle for the seizure of power by the new class, if they help the Party to form from the broad masses of the people the large and powerful political army which is essential for the fulfillment of this task.`` (9)  
I believe that the first portion of slogan " 'Let’s unite for peace and democracy against the one-man" is a correct one and important as part of "democratic tasks" which should be tied to and integrated with the "Socialist tasks" of the struggle. Yet, 'Let’s unite for peace and democracy against the one-party administration" is not only far from linking, integrating the democratic task with socialist one, but contradicts and rejects it.

Sincere comments based on, and supported with Marxist Leninist theories to show otherwise is welcomed. We are all students to  learn deeper and master to be useful.

Erdogan A
January 7, 2018

NOTES
* 8th Congress of EMEP
(1) Lenin, Junius, The Crisis Of Social -Democracy
(2) Lenin, On Slogans
(3) Lenin, The Slogans and Organisation of Social-Democratic Work Inside and Outside the Duma
(4) Lenin, Two Utopias
(5) Lenin, The State and Revolution
(6) Engels, The Housing Question
(7) Lenin, Constitutional Illusions
(8) Lenin, Soviet Power and the Status of Women 
(9) Stalin, The Party's Three Fundamental Slogans on the Peasant Question
(10) Lenin, Reply to P. Kievsky (Y. Pyatakov)
(11) Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism
(12) Lenin, On the Struggle of the Italian Socialist Party
(13) Marx and F. Engels, Works, vol 1, p. 331, 2nd Russian edition, quoted from Enver Hoxha