The rebellion of Chile and against neoliberalism and Pinera, inspired the world and the women movement is inspired by Las Tesis performance which spread to the world. It was performed in different countries including Turkey. A new wave of women movement arises and protests inequalities, femicides, violence, abortion bans, rape, sexism, women unemployment, and poverty. This new wave of women movement has a new possibility to step forward with the rebellions against neoliberalism and dictators around the world. A new wave of class struggle makes women movement stronger than ever and women who are on the forefront of these struggles give courage to the others.
After the 2008 crisis, far right politicians came to the power with their aggressive anti-worker austerity programs and these sexist, homophobic politicians could impose their sexist politics thanks to the neoliberal agenda that is the kickstarter of this new wave. Millions of women seek for a free, independent and equal life as they take part in social life and work life more that causes huge contradictions with the capitalist system. This is also the case for Turkey.
Under Erdoğan’s regime, rate of femicides are tragic. Registered murders of women so far this year is 430! Some of them were killed after they applied for protection or despite the order of protection. There are two symbolic examples. Cases of Ayşe Tuğba Arslan and Şule Çet. Ayşe Tuba Arslan, who died as a result of a knife attack by her ex-husband, after she filed criminal complaints 23 times and wrote in her last petition, “Will you help me when i die?” Another case is the case of Şule Çet. She was, a 23-year-old university student fell to her death from the 20th floor of by her boss. With bribe and false reports, the murderer boss was released two times! The judge questioned her virginity and lifestyle. After numerous protests on the streets, hundreds of activists attended the trials, and a national campaign the murderer was sanctioned life imprisonment. We can give countless terrible examples.
In Turkey, Erdoğan’s conservative regime hates the idea that women has the right to divorce have an independent life. They want to keep family together and women to ‘tolerate’ domestic violence and keep them silent in order to build a conservative country that Erdoğan has been dreaming of. Sexist politics, failed judicial system and Islamist discourse made rape, violence, femicide are growing problems in sixteen years of Erdoğan rule. If a case of rape or femicide is not publicized, the judiciary sweep the case under the carpet. This make the social anger raise and caused a women movement arise in the last years. Despite police brutality, women continue to take the streets and more women take part in the woman movement.
When Las Tesis protest performed in İstanbul and İzmir, 32 women were detained. It is not surprising that Turkey is the only country women were were attacked after they performed an anti-rape dance performance. The Minister of Interior declared that they were attacked because they called the state and police as “rapist.” The main reason behind this attack is more than their misogyny.
The objective conditions of a social explosion in Turkey is maturing. In Iran, Lebanon and Iraq, millions are on the streets and fighting heroiclly. The ruling class of Tukey is afraid of a kickstarter event that can cause this wave spread to Turkey. The economic crisis hit country so bad that Turkey has a record level unemployment, minimum wage below the hunger line and high unemployment of 13 per cent. Three families committed suicide with cyanide in a row and, everyday on the media we read one or two suicide news of the poor or unemployed people. A working class movement in workplaces also demonstrate an upward trend. The women movement in Turkey, which has been rising for a couple of years, should be considered with the combination of this social background and be seen as a reaction against the moderate-Islamist regime of Erdoğan.
In Turkey, the women movement is basicaly focusing on the violence with a liberal and radical feminist tendency and exclude working class women demands and discourses. This is not enough to make women win. Without any socialist alternative to those social problems in a country under a dictator and in the middle of an economic crisis, women movement cannot gain victories. The women agenda based on an “anti-male” discourse cannot have a possibility to attract the working class women which suffers from deep poverty, unemployment, violence badly. When only middle class and young women are on the street, we cannot go beyond our current limitations. We have to extend the struggle with working class women’s demands such as equal pay, women employment etc. If we want to get rid of these weaknesses and make the regime step back, we have to build our movement on social campaigns that can attract millions. Las Tesis performance and the anger after the women’s detention showed that social opposition and women movement has a great potential. Socialists should intervene this with a socialist program.
Erdoğan’s government, which put the blame on the women all the time, hates the women on the streets chanting “the fault is not mine” “it is the police, the judges and the president”. This brave women movement should be equipped with the means of class struggle to overthrow Erdoğan’s dictate, to stop femicides, to stop violence, to end poverty. We will not let them to give courage to the murderers and rapists with their policies. And we will do more. We will organize a revolutionary women movement and stand against all the capitalists and reactionaries. Because “it is not our fault”. It is your system.