Issue 37 – Debates on Political Regimes

Editors: Mustafa Bayram Mısır – Kasım Akbaş

The Future of Constitutionalism and Turkey’s Constitutional Debate
Mustafa Bayram Mısır

In this essay, consisting of two main sections, there is a discussion as to whether the fundamental principles of constitutionalism, (i.e. limitation of the political power and protection of human rights) can be reconstructed on a historical materialist basis. The current constitutional debate in Turkey is evaluated by focusing on the Turkish Style Presidential Government, proposed by Justice and Development Party (“Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi”-AKP). In the first section, there will be an analysis of the foundations of historical materialist constitutionalism in the context of their relation with theories on capitalist state. The central position of the concepts, such as “rights” and “public services”, within the historical materialist analysis of the constitution is highlighted. In light of the
findings of the first section the second section is devoted to, the ongoing constitutional debate on the feature of the political regime is made visible within the distinctive republican projects. In this section, the democratic feature of the AKP’s project is evaluated by reference to the debate on the authoritarian administration and fascism. As a base for an alternative hegemony struggle, I propose a democratic and social republican program. A constitutionalist perspective shall be head for this latter program.
Keywords: Constitutionalism, capitalist State, presidential system, democratic autonomy, democratic and social republic.

On Spontaneity and Voluntarism in the Context of Centralism within the Works of V. I. Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg
Sevinç Türkmen

The relationship between voluntarism and spontaneity is discussed as a common issue of philosophy and the politics. This problem has been determinant in centralism debate between V. II. Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg. The relationship between voluntarism and spontaneity is generally considered in a conditional form with the division between economics and politics. Therefore, without understanding the historical reasons for this relative separation the relationship itself doesn’t seem conceivable. Similarly, the relationship between spontaneity and voluntarism in the current political debate is also discussed in different ways. The issues such as political subject, autonomy, and leadership are current issues of new social movements as well. Without making discussions on these, both conceiving of the structure of contemporary social movements and ensuring the integrity of a rebuilding socialist movement seem quite difficult.
Keywords: Spontaneity, voluntarism, centralism, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg.

Turkey’s “Second Republics”
Ali Somel

In Turkish history the Republic has experienced two moments of renewal. The Republic dated back to 1923 is formally updated in 1960 with the inauguration of the “Second Republic” but this denomination is not maintained. Following AKP power, it has been replaced by a Second Republic which abnegates its founding principles. In the first moment, the First Republic, established as a
result of a revolutionary process, is both reformed and restored. In the second moment a counterrevolutionary process is underway and the constituent element AKP encounters political crises forcing the Second Republic to be restored while being under construction. The paper discusses the political acquis with which the Republic may be further transformed in terms of revolutionreform-restoration dynamics.
Keywords: AKP, Bonapartism, neo-Ottomanism, authoritarianism.

Bringing the Novel Back into the Studies of Turkey’s Political Life: Democrat Party Momentum in Orhan Kemal’s Hanımın Çiftliği
Gökhan Atılgan

This article aims to assert that for any study on Turkish political life to yield a successful and glittering product it is necessary to benefit from novels. In order to substantiate this assertion this paper tries to demonstrate the fact three-volume novel Hanımın Çiftliği, whose author, Orhan Kemal, have been commemorated in 2004 for the anniversary of his 100th birthday, could make significant contributions to understand the Democrat Party (DP) momentum, which is a critical period of Turkish political life. While developing this argument the article also attempts to build a theoretical framework as to why novels are indispensable sources to be used in the studies of political life. Besides, it also engages in a methodological discussion in regards to the ways of using novels in political studies.
Keywords: Orhan Kemal, Hanımın Çiftliği, Democrat Party, literature and political science, political history of Turkey.

Social Change and Classes in Orhan Kemal’s Novels
Mustafa Kemal Coşkun – Berfin Diren Yavuz

The present study argues that novels provide sociological data on the periods they narrate and thus they could be significant instruments to comprehend economic, political and cultural changes. Focusing on the period between 1930 and 1950 in Turkey in Orhan Kemal’s novels, we analyse the effects of such changes on social classes. Both Orhan Kemal’s realism and the overlap between the real-time and novel-time enable us to understand the social changes.
Keywords: Orhan Kemal, social change, social classes, social revolution, bourgeoisie revolution.

Academic Freedom and University from Democrat Party to 27th of May

Cenk Yiğiter

In this article while we discuss the tense relationship between political power and university in the period of Demokrat Party, we also aim to follow the process that academic freedom, which is the founding principle of university as an institution had been achieving constitutional assurance by the constitution of 1961. In fact this process gives key hints regarding to reasons why principle of academic freedom is unable to gain ground and take roots in university culture as well as in political culture.
Keywords: Ottoman–Turkey Modernization, Democrat Party, 27th of May, academic freedom, university autonomy, The Constitution of 1961.

On the University, “Conflic t of the Faculties”, Philosophy, and a
few Instances within the Neo -Liberal Age
Bora Erdağı

In this article we will discuss the effects of hegemony on knowledge and universities in neoliberal period. In that, we will first discuss the issue in the context of academic freedoms and autonomy of the university; then, in the context of Nutku’s objections to the organization of theology in the departments of philosophy in a way in which the discussion will remind us Kant’s “Conflict of Faculties” 200 years after its publication. These discussions will allow us build a relationship between two seemingly separate contexts: “neo-liberalism” and the transformation of the regime under the “current political power.” In this way, we will try to answer questions regarding the universities
as the representative spaces of the regime in Turkey and its transformation, the opposition against the transformation of the regime, in short, the question of “what is to be done?”
Keywords: Neo-liberalism, academia, university, philosophy, the conflict of the faculties, Immanuel Kant, Uluğ Nutku.

The Apartheid Regime in South Africa, in the Context of Race, Class and Capitalist Development
Tolga Tören

The aim of the study is to deal with the establishment and collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa, which was officially introduced by the National Party in 1948 although has roots in the early capitalist development process of the country, from the perspective of capital accumulation. The paper moves from the idea that capitalist development process of South Africa, specifically the apartheid regime as an important phase of this process, cannot be understood without comprehending of relationship between race and class. In this respect, in the paper, moving from the framework developed by Harold Wolpe on relationship between race and class, it is argued that the apartheid, as an institutional racial social order, played a significant role for the capitalist development process of the country between the 1940s and 1970s. However, by the 1970s under the effect of the crisis in the world economy, structural barriers of racial capitalist developmentprocess and struggle against the apartheid regime, the regime lost its functionality for the capitalist development process of the country.
Keywords: South Africa, apartheid, race, race and class, Harold Wolpe.

The Transformation of the Ideologic al Sphere After June 2013: A
Debate on the Methodology of Interpreting Gezi Resistance
Cenk Saraçoğlu

The main objective of this article is to carry out a methodological and theoretical discussion and propose a set of arguments as to the meaning and repurcussions of Gezi Uprising in Turkey. In this vein, first of all the article will present a critical evaluation of the methodological individualist stance embedded in those explanations that assess the meaning of Gezi Uprising based on the individual profile of its participants. The prevalent tendency of characterizing the uprising as a middle-class revolt is one typical example of this approach. Based on this critique the article argues
that the nature of a social movement or a revolt cannot be fully comprehended by focusing merely on the profile of its participants. Rather, it could be better understood from an investigation as to which social/political contradictions in a social formation pave the way to a revolt, what kind of impacts it inflicted on class relations and the class character of the power bloc that it defies. Based on this alternative framework the article attempts to situate Gezi Uprising within the context of the hegemonic project that AKP has tried to consolidate since 2002 and investigate the lasting influences of the uprising on the domain of ideologies in Turkey. The article puts forward the following thesis based on such an analysis: The Gezi Uprising happened at a critical moment when the AKP’s strategy of “ideological dispossesion” (the strategy of dominating and appropriating the historical themes, agendas and discourses around which the anti-systemic opposition had historically organized itself) fell into a deep crisis. The uprising itself deepened this crisis further. In the aftermath of the uprising the AKP had to fully recede from such progressive themes and demands as rights and freedoms, justice and equality and secularism; and they were retaken with new forms and meanings by the anti-systemic opposition. From this point of view the Gezi Uprising cannot be assesed as a typical “movement of class” since it was not motivated by and did not prioritize the economic demands of the labourers in Turkey. However, it is still a “class movement” in terms of the class character of the power bloc that it defied and the irreversible influences and opportunities that it created for class struggles in Turkey.
Keywords: Gezi Uprising, social movements, middle class, ideology, Justice and Development Party.