People’s Houses (Turkey) is preparing to organize the second People’s Rights Forum on 21-23 January 2011 in Ankara, in a time when people’s rights struggles against neo-liberal capitalist aggression on labour, humanity and nature are growing.
The first People’s Rights Forum was held in July 2007 with the common initiative and contributions of People’s Houses, Ankara University Political Sciences Faculty – Social Policy Research and Application Centre, and numerous sister associations, professionals’ organisations, trade unions, initiatives, labour movement representatives, scientists, intellectuals and artists. People’s Rights Forum-2007 became an important turning point for collectively realizing the constitutive nature of people’s rights struggles for today’s class struggles and for developing the struggles.
During the three years after the first People’s Rights Forum, we witnessed significant developments in the world, in Turkey and in terms of rights struggles. The capitalist system, which is experiencing its greatest historical crisis in the form of a crisis of humanity and a crisis of civilization, fell into a serious political legitimacy crisis.
In Turkey the ongoing power struggles among the dominant classes entered a new process of compromise; and the “transformation” process in favour of the capitalist classes started to accelerate in the hands of the ruling AKP (Justice and Progress Party) government as the representative of this new compromise.
The AKP government during the same process extended neo-liberal policies into the depths of society. While the Turkish ruling class gears up to be the main active regional tool of imperialism, the entire labour force and natural resources of the country are opened up for pillage. The capitalist class, in order to prevent the oppressed classes from becoming independent political subjects, on the one hand creates new repressive laws and techniques and on the other hand tries to make the mechanisms of neo-liberal governance the sole channel of the so-called inclusion policies.
Such developments increased the political importance of people’s rights struggles, which were defined in the first People’s Rights Forum Final Declaration as the “conscious action of a defensive resistance and of a constitutive construction” by people.
People’s rights struggles developed during the same period as the main sphere of class resistance and started to constitute the real grounds for building people’s left independent political sphere. These struggles started to reveal their political potential for building an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist resistance against neo-liberal aggression and imperialist relations; and for constructing an equalitarian and emancipating social order out of people’s self-initiatives against sexism, racism and fundamentalism which make up the Turkish politic scene over the deadlock on the Kurdish question, market-Islamism and exclusion of people from politics.
People’s Rights Forum-2011 will be organised in a time when Turkey is entering into a new general elections process and when political life will be shaped by the polarisations created by the dominant class parties. Under such circumstances the Forum will aim to extent the spheres of resistance that strengthen independent left political spheres; to evaluate the results of the new capitalist strategies and tactics; and to clarify the answers to such destructive strategies.
People’s Rights Forum-2011 will be shaped over three main themes; namely Struggle against Precarious Conditions; Struggle against Commodification/Destruction of Nature; and Struggle against Capital’s Cities. The Forum will aim to present a platform for those who are struggling in different corners of Anatolia, in order to translate the experiences of people’s struggles into a political program for impeding-stopping the aggression.
People’s Rights Forum-2011 will be organised with the support of the Ankara University PSF for Public Policy Research and Application Centre and with the collective labour and contributions of components of the labour and democracy struggle in Turkey.
On Friday, 21st January 2011, women from different women’s associations and initiatives will come together in the Women’s Forum under the title of “Women Discuss Equality and Freedom”, in order to integrate the specific agendas of the women’s movement with the general agenda of the forum and its workshops.
Again on Friday, 21st January 2011, the Kurdish Question and Rights Struggles Forum will be organised. The discussions in this Forum too will be extended to the workshops which will be held on 22nd January on fourteen different rights struggles themes.
The discussions of the Women’s Forum and the Kurdish Question and Rights Struggles Forum will be presented in the final session of the Forum.
On 22-23 January 2011, the main sessions and workshops of the Forum under the themes and various titles of rights struggles will be organised. The details of the forum can be seen in the program.
We invite all to participate in People’s Rights Forum-2011 and especially in World Rights Struggles Forum which will be organised on 23rd January.
Call for the World Rights Struggle Forum of People’s Rights Forum-2011
During the People’s Rights Forum, which will be held in Ankara on 21-22-23 January 2011, a Forum activity titled the World Rights Struggles Forum will be organised. The World Rights Struggles Forum will be held on 23rd January Sunday between 10:30-13:30 on the Ankara University Political Sciences Faculty campus.
In this Forum, the courses of development of rights struggles against neo-liberalism in different countries of the world under distinct social-political circumstances and their problems and opportunities will be discussed. The discussions will focus on the new struggles which emerged after the 2008 crisis, in advanced capitalist countries, in neo-colonial countries from Latin America to Africa — especially in the Middle East, which is squeezed into the crossfire of imperialist aggression and political Islam.
The main objective of this Forum is to reach common understanding of the experiences of rights struggles in the context of the political crisis of neo-colonial regimes, collapse of the welfare state, imperialist occupation, war and religious fundamentalist regimes, to draw a conceptual framework of the main lines of 21st century socialism debates and to contribute to the construction of grounds for international solidarity.
What makes this effort necessary is that the international character of working-class struggle shows itself at the level of daily struggle as well as under neo-liberal imperialism, in addition to its historical political reality.
Turkey is a geographical neighbour to most of the labour struggles against neo-liberalism, and what people in Turkey see in the movements against the destruction wreaked by the crisis and assaults on the welfare state achievements in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia is their own struggle.
In the neo-liberal era when the class and international content of the struggle against imperialism comes to the forefront and anti-imperialist struggles come to mean one and the same thing as anti-capitalism, the content of rights struggles also acquires an anti-imperialist and internationalist character.
Especially for Turkey, a country which is actively taking part in the process of the neo-liberal integration of the Middle East with imperialism, through pipelines, free enterprise zones and cross-border investments, and which is a bridge for labour migrations, the agendas of its labour and rights struggles too must go beyond its borders.
The current AKP (Justice and Development Party) government on the one hand takes part in military, economic and political institutions of imperialism and on the other hand tries to pretend to be a defender of the peoples whom imperialism dominates, with a demagogical discourse emphasising its Muslim identity. Exposing this hypocrisy and resisting collaborationism will become possible only by developing the joint struggles of the people in Turkey together with the peoples of the Middle East and of the other parts of the world.
This effort needs to create its own specific demands, language and tools immediately. In the Forum, as a part of this effort, rights struggles in the world will be discussed under the conceptual framework — horizons and limits — of strategic debates on 21st century socialism, and the formation of the new revolutionary subject will be evaluated. Also, practical proposals about international struggle and solidarity will be discussed.
We invite all to participate in People’s Rights Forum-2011 and especially in the World Rights Struggles Forum which will be organised on 23rd January.
People’s Rights Forum Secretariat
People’s Rights Forum Program
For more information, contact: Çiğdem Çidamlı, firstname.lastname@example.org, Forum Secretariat (İstanbul); People’s Houses Istanbul Branch, İstiklal Caddesi Orhan Adli Apaydın Sokak No: 10 Beyoğlu / İstanbul, 0090212 245 82 65 (phone), 00902122457010 (fax), email@example.com; People’s Houses Headquarters, Konur Sokak No:8/9 Kızılay, Ankara, 0090-312-4192717 (phone), firstname.lastname@example.org.
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