Monday, November 19, 2007

IMF says: "Good Luck"

I just came across a particular paragraph in IMF’s “Financial System Stability Assessment” (Country Report No. 07/361) on Turkey:

Macroeconomic volatility, especially because of the large current account deficit. Turkey remains dependent on capital inflows and thus on international investor sentiment. Moreover, continued efforts are still needed to anchor inflation at low levels, and the stock of government debt remains relatively high, albeit declining.

I thought that someone should translate these statements that bear some concealed contradictions:

It is distressing that macroeconomic stability of Turkey is at the mercy of the rationality of international investors. But, since the continuity of current inflation rates are directly subjected to the decline of exchange rates via capital inflows, intensification of this volatility is inevitable… Good Luck!

All the arguments of economists to maintain the macroeconomic stability are directed towards the question of ensuring the mental steadiness of international investors. The major fear is “what if they suddenly go insane one day?”

They like self-proclaimed “good” poker players, who believe that it is impossible to win at a table full of loose-aggressive maniacs, because there is always couple of players who are denying the odds and will outdraw you in later betting rounds. Their motto is: “Aces never hold up”

But the real danger lies in the presence of players who play rationally and who are counting the odds. They call when the odds are in their favor and fold when they are against them. This is where you’re really in need of the interference of good luck.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

If Democracy Exists

When I read the news about Chavez’s cross swords with the Spanish King, I recall Zizek’s counter argument to Ivan Karamazov’s assertion on the absence of an ethical ground if god doesn't exists with his If God exists, everything is permitted”.

It was reported that, the Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero warned Chavez to respect the democratic debate, "I want to express to you President Hugo Chavez that in a forum where there are democratic governments ... one of the essential principles is respect,"

Zizek’s argument might simply be applied to politics: If democracy exists, everything is permitted. All our privileges have been limited by mutual respect which could be translated as to avoid touching the heart of the matter that may be antagonize the opposition. The problem with “democratic” governments is their comfort that is feigning as an obligation to rationalize the use of excessive power. The real dictators are not dangerous as such since they are bereft of the shiftiest tools for justification. To be exact, while it is a lot easier “historically” to condemn Nazism for its crimes against humanity, the historical imperialism of the UK could well be tolerated by the invention of new political concepts such as “democratic realism” to validate the modern expansion strategies of the United States which has triggered enough blood bath comparable with the most brutal experiences of the human history. It is very fascinating to keep the track of Hitler’s relatively sloppy arguments to rationalize his position, which are narrowed with denunciation of the “Bolshevik Imperialism” bolstered by the Jewish conspiracy and the betrayal to the pact of peaceful colonialism. Some examples could be:

“Russia planned a world revolution and German workmen would be used but as cannon-fodder for bolshevist imperialism”

“Bolshevism has attacked the foundations of our whole human order, alike in State and society, the foundations of our conception of civilization, of our faith and of our morals: all alike are at stake.”

“If Europe does not awaken to the danger of bolshevist infection, commerce will decrease in spite of all the good will of individual statesmen.”

“Jewry, with its bolshevist onslaught, might smash the Aryan States and destroy those native strata of the people whose blood destined them for leadership, and in that case the culture which had hitherto sprung from these roots would be brought to the same destruction....”

“We know further that now, as before, there is lurking threateningly that Jewish-international world enemy who has found a living expression in bolshevism.”

"I do not know whether the world will become fascist! But I am deeply convinced that this world in the end will defend itself against the most severe bolshevistic threat that exists."

"Germany has no colonial claims on countries which have taken no colonies away from her."
“The German people once built up a Colonial Empire, without robbing anyone and without any war. This was taken away from us. It was said that the natives did not want to belong to Germany, that the colonies were not adminis-tered properly by the Germans, and that these colonies had no true value. If this is true, this valuelessness would also apply to the other nations, and there is no reason why they should wish to keep them from us. Germany has never demanded colonies for military purposes, but exclusively for economic ones”.

What impotent arguments are these that even make us to think once on the historical justness of Hitler’s “preemptive strike” against the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy? But at the same time he was well aware in relation to the tricky power of democracies that licenses variety of actions free from ethical ground:

“There has been formed in the world the curious custom of dividing peoples into so-called 'authoritarian' States, that is disciplined States, and democratic States. In the authoritarian, that is, the disciplined States, it goes without saying that one does not abuse foreign peoples, does not lie about them, does not incite to war. But the democratic States are precisely 'democratic,' that is, that all this can happen there In the authoritarian States a war - agitation is of course impossible, for their Governments are under an obligation to see to it that there is no such thing. In the democracies, on the other hand, the Governments have only one duty: to maintain democracy, and that means the liberty, if necessary, to incite to war...”

To emphasize the mutual connection, I think it could be useful to copy&paste my observation which was posted to Marxmail regarding the relation between Ann Coulter and more sensible neocons:

"I read some of the articles on her website:

The danger behind her ludicrous political propositions is not that they are admissible, but they render the logical premises possible to be perceived as rational. The proposal of "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" is much lessthreatening than the official doctrines as "bringing democracy", "preemptive strikes", "struggle against Muslim fundamentalism", etc. While, the assertion to convert whole infidels to sensible believers is acomplete exaggeration, destroying the secular nationalist Iraq to erect an Islamist but more tractable regime is the logical premise of convertingmischievous subjects to the believers of global order.

This is the duplication of good cop/bad cop craftiness. One of the components of a political discourse portrays the villain, who is symbolising the aftermath of avoiding cooperation, or of the terrifying outcomes of being shy away to interfere in current situation, the other one represents the bearable penalties of being included in the discourse and inevitable sacrifice of the compromise. (If you are eager to live in amore safety world you have to drop some of your old democratic rights, e.g.) Real interrogator is the one, who disguised himself as a good cop but the ultimate misfortune of the suspect.

Ann Coulter gives examples of pathological contradictions of an authentic racist mind like one of her associates: . But these statements arenot truly dangerous isolated from their original political discourse andhow it works in reality. The danger lies in the blindness that they beget which does not allow us to identify the new forms of fascism."

And here is the comment that a left as regards to the article on Renegade Eye dealing with the "democratic" activism of the opposition in Venezuela:

"It is not surprising that, with a sleight of hand a question of social justice is being converted to a discussion of universal premises of civil society, human rights, law of self-defense (yes, it is extremely impolitic to take up a handgun when the aggressors are modest enough to make do with slingshots), right to assemble, freedom of speech, etc. It is gibberish to accuse Chavez for his furtive attempts to undermine the “democracy” by extending the length of presidency when the opposition is genuinely against the economic reforms. But our democrats and humanists in the shallowest sense, all the wise people who are keen on the superiority of freedom and democracy have no intention to debate about the social consequences of constitutional reforms except the one targeting the article 230. So what about the “social stability fund”, limitation of working hours, autonomy of the Central Bank, agrarian reforms preventing the large estates, etc? Are you promoting the freedom of speech enough to apply your own freedom appropriately?"

So, the vital question rises here: What should we rely on other than justice if the democracy eradicates any ethical ground?

Monday, November 05, 2007


I want to presume to make a contribution to the discussion on imperialism since there is a particular confusion has been going on that gives me a pause about the anti-imperialist movements in Turkey.

First of all, the classification of “the highest stage of capitalism” does not indicate a simple formula as modern capitalism is equal to imperialism. This is a misconception just as equalizing capitalism with commodity production. Imperialism is the “modern” concrete form of capitalism and capitalism is the “modern” concrete form of commodity production. In my opinion, translation of this connection to Hegelian dialectics could be like this: commodity production=universal, capitalism=particular, imperialism=individual (negation of the negation). Therefore, Capital starts with the analyses of commodity.

Imperialism is a particular existence form of a socio-economic system but its existence does not resolve the contradictions or the existence of other forms. I mean, if one day, imperialism or capitalism disappears from existence, commodity production could preserve its existence in different forms. For instance, while I was recently proposing the liberal democratic solution for the Kurdish question to be activated urgently, I was well aware that those improvements will not remove the conflicts of other forms of the question. To quote Hegel, “…each of these moments is no less the whole Notion than it is a determinate Notion and a determination of the Notion.”

The problem with blindered anti-imperialist movements is while they are purporting to criticize the whole Notion, in fact they are tackling a single movement of the Notion. But the proper approach is to strive to understand the Notion along its whole process.

Let’s take the example of Worker’s Party (Turkey). After their perfunctory tone of voice has decreased regarding with class struggle, they have directed all their rhetorical appetite towards the most feverish form of Turkish Nationalism and sometimes joined forces with the Nationalist Movement Party which has been obviously pursuing fascist strategies for couple of decades. Their babblings are limited with constant swearing at American Imperialism, and unyielding provocations of nationalism. They are embracing different classes without a doubt but there is nothing progressive about appealing the suppressed desires of the people or opposing to Imperialism alone. I think that these sort of anti-imperialist movements have been forged to mislead the people.

I will write more about the issue, this is all for the present...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Demons of Separatism

“Does the "left" in Turkey support, self determination for the Kurds? The PKK supporters seem to not differentiate Turkish workers from bosses. Why expect different of Maoists and nationalists."

Hello Ren,

In the wake of PKK’s renunciation of its former objectives for political separation, self-determination, in other words, “political separation of these nations from alien national bodies, and the formation of an independent national state”, is now an orphan desire in Turkey. However, its ghost is still haunting the psyche of the warmongers, who are vigilant enough (!) to perceive that political and cultural demands are simply an obfuscation of the intention of separation. Thus, the question of “self-determination” is being introduced generally by dull nationalists for the purpose of escaping from the responsibility to intervene in the causes of the miseries of Kurdish minority. The separation-phobia engendered by Kemalism is a scarecrow in Turkey to ward of the dreadful realities about the Kurdish question. Nowadays, no one is raising publicly the idea of self-determination, separatism, except the adherents of the long-standing state tradition for rationalizing the status-quo. Hence, in the current political encyclopedia of Turkey, the entry of “the self-determination of nations” is not being defined as political separation, but a menace which makes even the bourgeois-democratic revisions impossible.

However, if we recall Lenin’s pamphlet, we should identify a particular contradiction of the Kurdish nationalism. The longing for the formation of national states has habitually been initiated by indigenous bourgeois class to capture the home market. But on the occasion of the natural deficiencies of the region, the Kurdish bourgeois class has integrated with Turkish economy so exceedingly that they defend the political unity or their fidelity to the Turkish identity more viciously than their Turkish colleagues. For instance, Aziz Yildirim, the Kurdish chairman of Turkey’s one of the prominent soccer clubs, recently uttered the famous slogan on the television: “Martyrs do not die; the country can not be divided”. There is an article in yesterday’s Economist exposing the approach of Kurdish bourgeois class on Kurdish nationalism:

"Despite Mr Barzani's popularity, the Turks can take heart from the millions of Kurds who have no desire to break away. That was the message of the July 22nd election, says Sehmus Akbas, a Kurdish businessman in Diyarbakir. He is thinking of the big gains made by the Justice and Development (AK) party in Kurdish areas, at the expense of the pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (DTP). Such is the appeal of AK's mix of liberalism and Islamic piety that it might even wrest Diyarbakir, the Kurds' unofficial capital, from the DTP in local elections next March"…

In sum, self determination for the Kurds is the subject non grata in Turkey even the Marxists (including me) are shy away from. The most well-intentioned expressions are restricted with the presentation of the Kurdish question as a by-product of capitalism and unassuring appeal to overthrow the capitalist states for absolute resolution. Personally, I prefer to stay aphetic concerning a separate national state option, which is a part of renunciation to identify myself with the national identity which is stamped with diversity of political manipulations and deceptions. So, this is not an off-limits area for me hedged with the nightmares of the others. To reiterate, one of the old interpretations of demons in dreams that, people who have a tendency to abuse others have overwhelming fears that outbreak as demons just to ease the burden of guilty conscience. The Kemalist nightmare about separatist demons must be diagnosed in the context that a demon occasionally represents the payoff to sustain one’s own deeds.

"I like how you used quotation marks around the word "left."
At a meeting of the local antiwar group, I reported from your posts, about the situation with Kurdistan.
Considering the Stalinist history of the PKK, if they say they are for or against seperatism, you never know. Not the most honest brokers to say the least."

I did not use them in this post, but I usually use quotation marks along with the term “left” to signify when it includes also the groups that classify themselves as leftists but do not support the distinctive characteristics such as involving in class struggle. Like everywhere, there are so many of them in Turkey that quotation marks are practical tools to point out the ambiguity of the term.

The skeptical expression of “you never know” called to my mind Daniel Negreanu’s article where he dealt with the myth of poker tells. He depicts one of his experiences at a table full of “aspiring pros” paranoiacally struggling to decipher the body language of other players but neglecting the fundamentals of the game: “They were so obsessed with trying to figure out what people's tells were that they completely neglected what was actually going on in the hands - who bet, who raised, and so on.”

It might be noticed that I have been wittingly sidestepping the critique of PKK. It is not by the reason of that I have sympathy for their pragmatic strategies, their desertion of the Marxist roots, adoptions of a Stalinist mind, reactionary collaboration with feudal remnants, etc. In truth, it is not my dilemma. The critique of PKK is the responsibility of Kurds. I have no idea about their “real” intentions and neither have the enthusiasm to crack the code of their political body language. I am more concerned with the truth that PKK is the objectification of the Kurdish question which has been ramified by years of assimilation, oppression, and overlooking policies. We should not judge form of the objectification of the question at first, when the question is still on the table.

Rather than wrestling with the consequences, I want the political demands of the Kurdish citizens of Turkey, like a new Constitution acknowledging the existence of Kurdish people, a general amnesty, an economic plan to improve the daily life in the region, etc. to be accepted immediately. We might have the luxury to be involved in the question of PKK then.

I don't let anyone call me "leftist," if it includes Stalinists, nationalists etc.

Dear Marvin,
I’m really very sorry about the misunderstanding which is due to my careless statements. I didn’t ever attempt to criticize you; Actually, I was criticizing my previous standpoint about the Kurdish question which can be traced back in my older posts. While I was contemplating on this issue recently, I have realized that by introducing the long-term possibilities like workers state and self-determination, we are overlooking the immediate demands of Kurdish people to be treated as equal citizens. I believe that the solidarity of working classes of all nations is the ultimate solution but this should not constrain us from landing an ear to the immediate demands. Please inform me about your further anxieties regarding my assertions.
Sorry again,

I didn't notice anything in personal.
The democratic demands, are not in contradiction to Marxism. Ultimately in the era of imperialism, they can only be won with socialism.


Dear Marvin,

I am tirelessly trying to indicate that democracy of capitalism is an illusion and true democracy is only possible with socialism (For instance, my post titled with Dylan’s song). But I realized that sometimes my appetite for true democracy makes me to overlook the possible gains even in the illusionary one. This is for the first and the last time that I have ever proposed liberal-democratic reconciliations to be activated urgently regarding a particular question, and for me this was not the absolute idea or a dead end of the debate. It was just a plea to draw the question to a more tangible ground. Anyway, I decided to cease this short adventure of mine with liberalism hereafter.