Is the Regime in Turkey Authoritarian, Autocrat or Fascist?
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

 
Other articles
 

 

Red Dawn / Issue 18 / Winter 2018-19


Liberal leftists had defined the election victory of Erdoğan and AKP in 2002 as a "silent revolution" and the process of them to rise to a dominant force in the power as kind of "a bourgeois democratic revolution". The 2002 elections were evaluated as a silent revolution in many articles of these liberals' magazines. They still hold onto their claim even today with their emphasis such as "the limits of the democratic character of AKP have been mentioned many times, but it was also said that what has been happening is a bourgeois democratic revolution. The pressure of the forces of the old regime pushes AKP to function as an icebreaker in terms of democratization."
The authors of such verbal charlatanry have been working effectively for decades to provide ideological basis for many currents from left liberals to liberal-tended petty bourgeois socialism. And they don't even consider a self-criticism of their role in diversifying the mass support of the Erdoğan fascism with their consoling and adulation to AKP and Erdoğan. As they continue their non-self-critic hypocrisy, today they don't support Erdoğan fascism and expose it at least verbally unlike Ergenekon 1 clique.
However, to be clear on their position, this time in their analyses and definitions, they produce theories on how not to define Erdoğan and his "palace government" as fascist. And they are ambitious again. Being ambitious despite backing on the wrong horse every time is another paradox and this is a legacy to liberal leftists from bourgeois liberals who were given permission to build up an ideological hegemony over the last quarter century.
From liberals, to liberal leftists and petty bourgeois socialists, the qualification of the theory of these circles on Erdoğan dictatorship is "authoritarianism"! While they assertively argue why the regime is authoritarian but not fascist, they realize that this is insufficient in defining the truth, thus, they keep the authoritarianism description, but also add "autocrat" this time. They do all of these in order not to define the Erdoğan dictatorship as fascist.
Authoritarianism Without Class and Political Content
As Dimitrov's famous description cited from the decision of 13th Plenum of the Executive Committee of Komintern on this matter suggests, fascism is "the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital. "2
Fascism has an high-level absolute authoritarian character, and subsumes this feature. But, not all authoritarian powers are fascists.
For instance, the powers after revolutionary victories have to be authoritarian to suppress the defeated reactionary and imperialist forces. As Engels emphasized "a revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon - authoritarian means, if such there be at all."3 However, this authoritativeness politically stands at the opposite pole of fascism and also it is antagonist respect to the class content.
While the revolutionary power politically demonstrates a high level of authoritativeness towards bourgeoisie and its allies, it provides and expresses the widest democracy for the working class and its allies, laborers and the oppressed. Moreover, it mobilizes them for the political power. Similarly, while the revolutionary power, as its class orientation suggests, dispossesses the bourgeoisie and thus presents the highest authoritativeness, it gets the working class and the oppressed to be ruler of the economical and social life, and the owner of the collective property. Here, the conclusion to be drawn is that, an "authoritarianism" description lack of political and class content does not remark the feature of the power. It only remarks the rigorous and determined domination of a power over the targeted classes.
It is true that the regime symbolized with Erdoğan and his palace bares a high-level absolute authoritativeness, however this authoritarianism qualification cannot explain the political and class feature of this regime and is not enough to characterize it.
The "authoritarianism" theorists both in Turkey and around the world circumscribe the fact that neoliberalism causes governments in many countries around the world to move towards fascism in the stage of imperialist globalization, only with the development of authoritarianism. According to their claim, today we are witnessing social reactions against the neoliberal globalization waves of precarization, irregularization and disestablishment and manipulation of these towards a new authoritarian capitalism model.
Thus, they invent a theory which would obscure the fact that bourgeoisies in different countries have shifted or been shifting towards fascism. These theorists clearly play role in regenerating theories of bourgeois liberals who are directly bound up with imperialist bourgeoisies and diffusing these theories slighting fascism into the petty-bourgeois leftists.
Yet, the escalation on the direction towards "authoritarianism" in the capitalist imperialist world, where the neoliberal capitalist aggression remains running on, bares a fascistic feature. This unfoldment has started with instances of state of emergency and similar laws and bans while still being within the limits of bourgeois democracy, and not yet reached a full-fledged fascism in these countries. But this does not change the fascist feature of this unfoldment.
Bourgeoisies were forced to present a shift towards bourgeois democracy in Latin America countries and some other neocolonies at the beginning of 90's, but they did this in accordance with the tactic to moderate the growing mass movements and under the conjuncture in which an imminent communist revolutionary threat was no longer around. As they keep applying neoliberal and structural adaptation programs, these countries have experienced a financial-economical colonization process with developing imperialist globalization. On the political scene, meanwhile, they have increased the tone of reactionary politics. This regression from bourgeois democracy named as "authoritarian governments" was actually a fascist development.
Besides, apart from Venezuela and Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the regimes which are described as authoritarian by bourgeois liberals, are the fascist regimes of the parties which are shifted to or flourished and carried to power by the bourgeoisie either against the existent revolutionary danger of the developing struggles or against the potential revolutionary threats.
Uribe-Santos-Duque in Colombia, royalist coups in Thailand, USA-backed military coup in Honduras, oligarchy's attempts and movements for a fascist coup in Venezuela, presidential regimes of Temer and Bolsonaro in Brazil, the regime committing genocide against Tamil people in Sri Lanka, Mursi and Sisi dictatorships in Egypt, the power of Fidesz-KDNP alliance and its leader Orban and the Jobbik Party growing in the opposition in Hungary, Modi government in India, etc. are the examples of bourgeois powers and movements in transition process towards fascism in this period in the financial-economical colonies.
Whereas at the centers of imperialist world, fascist features of Trump, state-of-emergency's application in France and fascist legislations in European countries, coalition government of SPÖ and fascist FPÖ, two-times government partnership of Lega Nord in Italy are some developments towards fascism.
In the imperialist countries which are distant and rival to US dominance, bourgeois powers are also unfolding in the fascistic path. Domestic fascist policies of Putin's power, constitutional change to allow Xi Jinping to be the head of the state permanently, theocratic fascist power of Mullah regime in Iran, fascist enforcement of Duterte emerging from the left in Philippines, genocidal fascism of military politic-islamist dictatorship of Bashir in Sudan can be given as examples.
Moreover, neo-fascist movements in Europe are gaining strength and mass base through binding masses to themselves with a reactionary xenophobic theme.
But the essential point to emphasize here is the fact that neoliberalism, by mounting bourgeois reaction alongside, has put the bourgeois and imperialist powers in the process of fascist transformation.
In this process, tones and development degrees of fascism are widely different from each other. Compared to the speed of worldwide fascist transformation in the 1930's, we see a slower shift. One can of course touch on these differences. But, limiting the issue with the "authoritarianism" definition by denying the fascist transformation process of bourgeois and imperialist powers has no good other than giving damage to the antifascist struggle as well as negating the experiences of political history in imperialist period.
Extraordinary Regime Forms Under Extraordinary Conditions
"Authoritarianism" theorists certainly admit that bourgeoisie shifts from bourgeois democracy to extraordinary regime forms to suppress the growing struggles of working-class and the oppressed under the circumstances of political crisis and sometimes along with the circumstances of economical crisis. But they just say that "authoritarian" regimes are among these extraordinary forms.
Among these extraordinary regimes, they count military, bonapartist, "totalitarian", "autocrat" and fascist regimes.
Since the "authoritarianism" theorists restrict the fascist qualification only to Hitler and Mussolini fascism, they avoid qualifying the regimes, which don't share one or more features of these two fascisms, as fascist due to their imperfection from Hitler-Mussolini examples.
For instance, despite they give place to military fascist dictatorships in neocolonized countries led by USA within the extraordinary regime forms of bourgeoisie, they don't describe them as fascisms and suffice themselves with military dictatorship qualification.
Because, according to them, yes, there is no parliamentary election in this type of regime as well; there is the dictator and an open terrorist dictatorship. But, in the military dictatorships, there is no one-fascist party, which actively mobilizes the masses, which rises to government first and then turns into an intermediary functioning as "connection/link" between the state organs and the dictator. What else, there is no police-army hierarchy. Instead, there is an army-police hierarchy in the military dictatorships. These differences stop us the qualification of military dictatorships as fascism!
According to this logic, the features of the open terrorist dictatorship regimes to suppress the revolutionary struggle of working class and the oppressed, the shift of regimes towards open terrorist dictatorship have no importance, but the hierarchy between the power organs of the regime does.
Another critical point here to discuss is the party link. As the modern ruling class, bourgeoisie cares about organization of parties as the representatives of various cliques in order to drag masses along for the social support. The role of the party in fascism is, of course, to mobilize masses actively and aggressively, rather than to pull them close to the regime in a passive way. In the extraordinary and revolutionary periods, bourgeoisie drives forward its fascist parties and if there is none such, it builds one. However, if fascist parties are especially incapable of deceiving and mobilizing masses, militarist apparatuses of bourgeoisie take over the executive power directly and embark on a suppression move against the revolutionary threat.
Especially during the moments of revolutions, generals come to the fore, run for the power and stage a coup d'etat to suppress revolutions more harshly. Kornilov in 1917 in Russia, coups of Kapp in German revolution are some examples. But particularly, military fascist coups staged by US imperialism to defeat revolutionary struggles in neocolonies after the 2nd World War are more common examples. USA-backed military coups in Latin America or military coups in countries from Indonesia to Turkey, as the extraordinary regime forms emerged under extraordinary conditions, were the solutions as the "last" and "effective" remedies of military representatives of bourgeoisies and USA, when bourgeois parties were not enough to govern under these conditions or not enough to suppress the revolutionary threats. And they were not designed as momentary or temporary regimes. They lasted either until they achieved their goal of suppress and of transition to a new order with new legislative framework (in Latin America and Turkey) or until they collapsed (Indonesia).
These regimes didn't have political parties at first, because military coups had taken place due to the inability of bourgeois parties to govern the counter-revolution under extraordinary conditions. Later, some also founded political parties. (Franco united the fascist Falange Party and "Comunion Tradicionalista" organizations and in a way, made use of it as a party of the nationalist-conservative-royalist front. In Indonesia, putschist General Suharto founded Golkar after he took the power.)
Whatever the difference between them, military coups all aimed at suppressing the revolutionary threat, the class and revolutionary movement, attacked to realize this. They established the open terrorist dictatorship of bourgeoisie.
This main purpose and function of military dictatorships has the same feature of classic Hitler, Mussolini fascisms, and this is what determines a fascist power. While Lenin was mentioning Mussolini fascism although from a far distance, he gave the example of Black Hundreds, which the tsardom organized as a means against the revolutionary development through the hands of police chiefs, as a prototype of fascism. Paramilitary organizations, fascist groups and their attacks used by the tsardom were fascistic methods. And there was no fascist party between tsardom and these organizations.
Military fascist regimes have been a regime form when bourgeoisie, imperialism and their political parties couldn't handle and crush the revolutionary struggle. Even though fascist parties and organizations played role in fascist transformation of key positions of the civil bureaucracy, rather than being a link between the fascist boss and the state, they organized mass support for fascism. The army both in the case of Franco fascism (the case of military coup where the fascist party had relatively more functions) and in the case of US-backed military fascist regimes after the 2nd imperialist re-division war undertook more prominent role than these parties and the police.
However, the interesting side of the issue related with Erdoğan and AKP is this: the regimes counted in the "authoritarian" category had mass political parties too and the typical example of it is Erdoğan and AKP. Coming from a political-islamist background together with having the youth and trade union organizations other than the party itself, the AKP and its leader carry this feature of classic fascist regimes. It doesn't make a qualitative difference that Erdoğan cannot mobilize his mass support as actively as Hitler and Mussolini, despite his yearning and efforts towards this.
Japan had experienced a transition to fascism in the power led by the Emperor Hirohito. Japan needed fascism to suppress the opposition inside, but also rather to grab "deserved" colonies as a new emerging imperialist power. Despite setting on civil gangs, Japanese fascism was based on directly the army and police rather than a party link, and motivated the mass support towards a fascist inclination by highlighting these apparatuses.
Yet, these theorists already do not recognize any other fascism other than Hitler and Mussolini regimes and do not want to recognize. They even hardly and randomly admit that Franco regime is not a typical one but still a fascist regime. In the Franco regime, despite the existence of the fascist party, since the founding victory of the regime was gained by the fascist generals, the party took place not only below Franco, but even below the army in hierarchy of the regime.
Well then, the fascist regimes have differences depending on the conditions in which they were built, on the sectors which the building forces are coming from, on the differences in the balance of power, on the national, political and cultural local features. Despite these differences, under extraordinary circumstances such as political crisis or revolutionary threat, when being unable to govern with the previous regime forms, bourgeoisies shift to a regime form which adopts an open terrorist dictatorship as a main feature. And this is fascism.
The differences between fascist regimes in various countries and times have a significance in terms of struggle, but this does not change the fact that these regimes are fascist.
Elections Under Fascism
"Authoritarianism" theorists put forth the argument of "the existence of elections" in order not to admit the fascist feature of the new regime being built under the leadership of Erdoğan.
Well, on the other hand, there was no election in the military fascist dictatorships which they call as "authoritarian". But this time, they don't qualify them as fascist because of the absence of party link or because of insufficient mobilization of masses for ideological and physical attacks when there is such a party link.
To save their theory and describe Erdoğan or similar regimes as other than fascism, even though Erdoğan has a party link, mass support and has managed to set on masses ideologically and physically, they put forward the argument that "there cannot be elections under fascism".
Not only Mussolini and Hitler, but also their novices Dollfuss (Austria) and Horty (Hungary) were the leaders, one of which came to power by elections and other appointed as prime minister by the parliament. Different than the priors, the latter ones shifted to fascism while they were governing. There was no such radical demagogic aims like "new order", "revolution" or "national socialism" as in the prior ones. As the conservative anticommunist minister from the government parties (Dollfuss) and the leader with a military origin brought to top by the alliance of bourgeois parties (Horty) seized the power and established a fascist regime. Then they banned political parties and liquidated elections.
Dollfus banned the communist party. Due to competition of Austria with Germany (over the unity of Germans), he shut down the Nazi Party before the Social Democrat Party. After a few months of civil war with the social democrats and communists, he then shut down the Social Democrat Party. Dollfuss was assassinated by the Nazi Party and with the German occupation in 1939, the German sided fascism had completely become sovereign in Austria. Whereas Horty stayed in power due to his strong alliance with Hitler until the Soviet army entered Austria and defeated Hitler's army.
Tsar Boris (Bulgaria) carried out his coup d'etat in 1923, liquidating the bourgeois parliamentary system established through the uprising of the soldiers, who were actually peasantry youth put on uniforms, at the end of 1st imperialist re-division war and overthrowing the Farmers' Union and its leader Stamboliski from the government. The respond of the communist Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (BSDWP) to this coup d'etat was the Sofia uprising. As he did to ex-leader of Farmers' Union and ex-prime minister Stamboliski with the coup d'etat, Tsar Boris set scaffolds for BSDWP leaders and its militants, tortured and murdered them in dungeons.
However, although the Tsar banned the BSDWP and Farmers' Union, due to deficiency of mass support of fascism, he recognized the right to attend elections for fascist and reactionary parties which collaborated with him. Even he gave room for coalition governments in which these parties participated. Dimitrov interpreted this situation as an example of fascism to be forced to demonstrate some flexibility within certain limits in the case of deficient mass support:
"In certain countries, principally those in which fascism has no broad mass basis and in which the struggle of the various groups within the camp of the fascist bourgeoisie itself is rather acute, fascism does not immediately venture to abolish parliament, but allows the other bourgeois parties, as well as the Social-Democratic Parties, to retain a modicum of legality."
And Erdoğan, too, cannot liquidate elections, parliament and political parties at one swoop due to relative weakness in the mass support, that people being accustomed to parliamentarism for a long time, lack of active support today from the fascist imperialists similar to the one in 1930's and 40's, and that being unable to stop the armed revolutionary resistance. But, by rising over an unauthorized parliament as a presidential diktat and by holding the mechanisms in his control that don't allow anyone except for himself to get elected as president, by beating up the opposition parties through arrests and putting their leaders in prison, he forces to hold de-facto plebiscites instead of elections. Who can deny that he practically banned the Peoples' Democratic Party ( HDP ). He even holds the Republican People's Party ( CHP ) under constant threat of imprisonment. The Justice March of Kılıçdaroğlu4 was actually an action of him to stop the upcoming move to arrest him.
Erdoğan cannot remove elections at one swoop, but he applies the "no election" mandate for now in this form by legally and practically disabling the parliament's authorities and by not allowing any election that he can't win. He has the understanding and intent to live with plebiscites. What is more, he bares in his ideological mindset the Grand Chief role of the Grand Assembly, which Necip Fazıl Kısakürek5 suggested as one of his ideological mentor. He just can't realize it immediately because of the conditions, and that's it. The Grand Assembly is the council of elite reactionary-fascist intellectuals, that is formed without elections.
In the past, the Grey Wolves had been organizing under their chief system, following the orders of their head chief and they been planning attacks through this organization. And as we consider now that the Grey Wolves, mafia, MHP and AKP supporters see Erdoğan as the grand chief, and not only the grand chief himself, but the basis which he tries to turn into fascists also espouses a regime without election.
How Necessary is "Totalitarianism"
The one who underlined the totalitarian feature of fascism was the Italian fascist ideologue Gentile. In Italy, after liquidating parties starting from communists, Mussolini fascism aimed to thoroughly reshape all political and social life as well as the overall power according to the fascist ideology and to create the new fascist human of the "New Order" of "New Italy". That was what it tried to realize. However, he just couldn't advance in this matter as much as Hitler fascism. This was due to low success, related with the strength of Italian bourgeoisie.
Yet, he still managed to mobilize the unemployed, the lumpen, backward sections of the working class and especially petty-bourgeois sections, who were all enraged to the corruption, lies and hypocrisy of the bourgeois parliamentarism. Italian fascism managed to activate masses on the issues like anticommunist aggression, mobilization for war and liquidation of parties, trade unions, democratic institutions. The "New Order", "New Italy" demagogies were effective in this. But, the reactionary respond to parliamentarism and the selfishness and expectation from the imperialist invasions, which could provide a more privileged life, were also essential factors.
Hitler succeeded to move one more step forward the aim of founding a monist, suppressive, totalitarian system and the creation of the fascist human. He put new goals ahead to create "the master German race" and "national society" through domestic cleansing and to become a hegemonic power in the world as it deserved. While he had been seeing communism as the biggest threat to the capitalist world, he adopted the argument that Nazis were the only capable force to destroy it. He mobilized millions from the German nation. He created the fascist human type he could use in the massacres inside and outside the country. And depending on this active fascist organized mass, he managed to carry out fascism and new invasions. Although this mass was relatively broad, it had a certain limit; but Hitler took over other sections of the society with the fascist terror based on that and bulldozed vast majority of people with fascism. Even broader sections submitted to the fascist state terror, supported fascism due to social and political pressure or remained quiet. Besides, it is important to underscore, Nazi power managed to transform not only civil bureaucracy, but also the army from top to bottom through the SS and the plight of loyalty to Hitler.
Monist, suppressive, totalitarian feature and the aim to create new human are th elements inherited from the institutionalized religions. Bourgeois revolutions and its liberalism put an end to this dogmatism. Currents which don't pose threat to the power of bourgeoisie were tolerated of their propaganda and organizing. Keeping this flexibility, these regimes also had the goal to create new human. The human who worships "entrepreneur spirit", "order of opportunities" and "freedom of capital and property ownership" have become the new human idol of the regimes of bourgeois age. But still, bourgeois modernism, through liberalism, ended the dogmatism not letting any ideological current except for religious dogma. Then it is something ordinary for every ideological current to create new human as in the direction of its goal on various levels and on condition not to fall into sacred dogmatism of institutionalized religion.
Rising from the need of bourgeoisie which organizes the masses actively and sets them on to fight and crush the revolutionary threat with a fascist identity, fascism enforces everyone and everything to obtrude a mono-type fascist feature, and even disallows different views of different bourgeois cliques and cultural diversity. By doing this, it liquidates them not economically, but politically. But still, fascist regime can achieve this on different levels in different countries and periods, depending on the scale of concrete mass support, on the international and domestic balances of power, on national, historical qualities, and so on.
Disregarding other fascisms which are less successful in creating "new" human and totalitarianism compared to Hitler and Mussolini regimes by looking at these different levels, presents a static conception not recognizing any other fascism except for the sort of Hitler-Mussolini and damages the antifascist struggle.
Besides, even though Erdoğan is known with his eclecticism and pragmatism, rising "religious generations" or "domestic and national generations" and creating generations educated with a widened political-islamist agenda reside among his claims and he tries to apply this by driving forward all of his facilities. Erdoğan aims to create the new human of the fascist chieftaincy regime. He tries to reorganize the state mechanism under his ordinance and with a political-islamist character, including not only civil bureaucracy, but also the police in his control and the army as well, through liquidating his opponents and restructuring the education system. And because the state has been restructured at least since the 1980 coup d'etat, he is easily able to advance in this process.
Thus, these theorists hide the scale of the danger by veiling the monist, suppressive, totalitarian purpose and praxis of Erdoğan fascism.
The theoretical theses of liberal leftists are the ones from Poulantzas' book "Fascism and Dictatorship". In this piece where he analyzes fascism, Poulantzas presents useful information about fascism by delving into different aspects; but he offers a theoretical basis only restricted with Hitler and Mussolini fascisms. By producing new regime categories like "authoritarian" and "autocratic" or by advocating "marxist" versions of those produced by the liberals, he falls into crucial mistakes. It is known that these views damaged the antifascist struggle at that time especially during the conditions of developing US-backed fascist military dictatorships.
Some theorists can't even let well enough alone with what Poulantzas said. They criticize him for avoiding theorization of totalitarianism and creation of "new" human in his fascism theory with the purpose of giving no harm to "totalitarianism" in Soviet Union. They claim that Poulantzas doesn't appeal the conception of totalitarianism just to avoid being pushed into approaching Soviet Union in the framework of totalitarianism and defining Stalinism.
Left liberals espouse the ideas of bourgeois liberals and defend them. Unsatisfied with that, they go beyond and claim that the fascist political-islamist Palace regime is far from being totalitarian, but it is just another pragmatist regime. Yet, their effort to prove that it is not fascist, is just in vain.
Autocratic Power
This category is also a view given place by liberal fascism theories, starting from Poulantzas' fascism theory. And under the appearance of creating a more profound theory, the bourgeoisie, in reality, put forth or supported this thesis among others to underrate its military and civil fascist regimes in neocolonies in the post-war period. In that period, imperialist bourgeoisie was waging a hegemony struggle against the socialist system by claiming to be the real victorious of the antifascist struggle and to be a bourgeois democratic alternative of Hitler-Mussolini fascism worldwide. In addition to this claim, they felt the need to underrate the fascist regimes in its own system.
"We defeated the Hitler and Mussolini fascism, they cannot resurrect and there is already no room for fascism in our order, some authoritarian and autocratic regimes may occur but they can be overcome." This or similar arguments have been used by the theses seemingly emerging from the left, but eventually beneficial for bourgeoisie. Today is no different.
As is known, the autocratic regime is a regime form of the era of kingdoms and empires. Regimes like absolute monarchy, empire, tsardom, sultanate, kaiser, etc. were autocracies where one-man decides all and have its own aristocracy and bureaucracy.
Then, together with the transition to the dominance of bourgeoisie over the economy, the mandate of king was no longer unlimited. It was restricted by the constitution and parliamentary in the political field and shifted to semi-autocratic regimes.
Bourgeois regimes ruled by a dictator emerged as more of regimes of military and civil fascisms in the new era, in the era imperialism and proletarian revolutions.
The revolutionary and counterrevolutionary experiences of the period between the French revolution and the beginning of imperialism show us this: the convention of revolutionary period was authoritarian. In the revolutionary period, the dominance, of course, belonged to parliamentary and revolutionary junta, there was no political power period under one-man mandate. However, after the regime became reactionary and especially after Napoleon took the power, it was shifted to autocratic regime once again. But this time, the autocrat, as the sole ruler of the regime, played role in aligning the monarchist and autocratic regime with the need of speeding up the development of bourgeoisie; bringing back feudalism was not its function in this case. Likewise, Napoleon III., who took the power by elections, then transformed the regime into empire by proclaiming himself as the emperor, functioned in accordance with meeting the need to suppress the labor movement for fast development of capitalism. Still, these were surely autocratic regime forms, even monarchists.
As another semi-autocratic regime ruled by a dictator, Bismarckism had a similar function and was born from the need to develop German capitalism fast, to prevent the worker's uprisings in France from spreading to Germany and to suppress the labor movement. In the form of constitutional monarchy but ruled by the "iron man" prime minister Bismarck rather than king/kaiser, the regime was not actually autocratic, it was a reactionary dictatorship. Since it protected the kingdom, it can be called semi-autocratic.
After all these, with the emergence of proletarian revolutions in the imperialist era, bourgeoisie shifted to bourgeois fascist regimes in order to crush these revolutions or proletarian movements.
While bourgeoisie was building its fascist regimes, of course, it adapted all its historical reactionary and despotic ruling methods to suit the contemporary conditions and combined in fascism. One of these methods was the method of ruling in which one person is the sole decision-maker and absolute obedience to the leader is counted as a principle. The conceptions of duce, fuhrer, chieftain, caudillo came out from the experiences of fascism. With the claim to build a new order in fascism, they made broad masses embrace and accept the despotism of previous monarchist regimes, in which everyone conformed to the authority of one person like a king.
Bourgeoisie made masses embrace this through the ideology of new order and national interests. Or in addition to these, they brought in the aim of "fast development", "fast growth" in military and civil fascisms in neo-colonies as a support for their claim. Thus, they enabled the expectancy in the wide masses to embrace fascism; if that country/nation develops fast, then laborers can achieve the welfare of developed countries, different than their poor class siblings in the world.
Nevertheless, the feature of these regimes was not the same as kingdoms and emperors. Bourgeoisie adapted their ruling methods to contemporary conditions, combined with many additional features and created a new regime form, fascism.
Therefore, these regimes must be counted as fascist regimes having autocratic and monarchist methods, but no longer same as the kingdoms and emperors of the past period. Otherwise, the formation of fascist regimes needed by bourgeoisie to overcome their crises and to get rid of the revolutionary threat cannot be fully understood and cannot be fought back.
Anyhow, these "authoritarianism" defenders and theorists already don't want to understand this reality of fascism, they don't want to lose their liberal ground. They keep their eyes closed to the features of fascism in which crowns were used to mop the floor and left its position to the kingdom of money. They restrict themselves with autocracy to describe fascism which is the open terrorist dictatorship of bourgeoisie with its ever-growingly developing militarist mechanisms with the supplement of giant capital accumulation, with its advanced weaponry and surveillance/control techniques, with its ability to use different kinds of organizations as a means of its dominance and hegemony. They try to elude their situation by adding autocracy when the conception of authoritarianism is not enough to convince. But, in the end, they especially damage the struggle against Erdoğan fascism by underrating the actual and recent fascist developments and today's political powers.
In lieu of conclusion
Both in the international discussions and those in Turkey, from bourgeois liberals to left liberals, from self-proclaimed Marxist Poulantzas to the left liberals in Turkey, the authoritarianism and autocracy theories presented on a wide range bare a preventive character obscuring the understanding of fascism and disabling the mobilization of the accumulation of historical antifascist consciousness and anger to the antifascist struggle under new conditions. Therefore, they hit a blow to antifascist struggle. Particularly, they weaken the theoretical and ideological arsenal in the struggle against Erdoğan's fascist chieftaincy regime. Since the necessity of such an arsenal is obviously exists, we have to sweep and flush away these liberal theses.

 

1 Ergenekon was claimed to be the name of the organization constituting high-ranked generals inside the Turkish army, ex-intelligence officials, Kemalist-chauvinist-racist writers/intellectuals and others, who planned a military coup d'etat against AKP. AKP started a counter process and arrested many affiliated people. Later, after AKP changed its course as a result of the inner state power clashes as it drifted away from the liberals especially, many of the arrestees were released in return of their support to AKP.

2 Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works Sofia Press, Sofia, Volume 2, 1972 (www.marxists.org)

3 Marx-Engels Reader, New York: W. W. Norton and Co., second edition, 1978 (first edition, 1972), pp 730-733 (www.marxists.org).

4 In 2017, the leader of CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu marched from Ankara to Maltepe Prison in Istanbul for 25 days in order to draw attantion to the unjust trial processes after one of his party's deputy, Enis Berberoğlu was imprisoned. All along the way, people living in the cities he crossed, joined the march. Some intellectuals , trade union leaders, reformist left parties also supported the march.

5 Necip Fazıl Kısakürek was an Islamist ideologue, poet and novelist who was adopted by many political Islamist and fascist movements in Turkey.

 

 

 

 

Archive

 

2018
November September
June March
2017
October
2008
December January
2007
January
2006
January
2005
April
2004
September
2003
November

 

Is the Regime in Turkey Authoritarian, Autocrat or Fascist?
fc Share on Twitter

 

 

Red Dawn / Issue 18 / Winter 2018-19


Liberal leftists had defined the election victory of Erdoğan and AKP in 2002 as a "silent revolution" and the process of them to rise to a dominant force in the power as kind of "a bourgeois democratic revolution". The 2002 elections were evaluated as a silent revolution in many articles of these liberals' magazines. They still hold onto their claim even today with their emphasis such as "the limits of the democratic character of AKP have been mentioned many times, but it was also said that what has been happening is a bourgeois democratic revolution. The pressure of the forces of the old regime pushes AKP to function as an icebreaker in terms of democratization."
The authors of such verbal charlatanry have been working effectively for decades to provide ideological basis for many currents from left liberals to liberal-tended petty bourgeois socialism. And they don't even consider a self-criticism of their role in diversifying the mass support of the Erdoğan fascism with their consoling and adulation to AKP and Erdoğan. As they continue their non-self-critic hypocrisy, today they don't support Erdoğan fascism and expose it at least verbally unlike Ergenekon 1 clique.
However, to be clear on their position, this time in their analyses and definitions, they produce theories on how not to define Erdoğan and his "palace government" as fascist. And they are ambitious again. Being ambitious despite backing on the wrong horse every time is another paradox and this is a legacy to liberal leftists from bourgeois liberals who were given permission to build up an ideological hegemony over the last quarter century.
From liberals, to liberal leftists and petty bourgeois socialists, the qualification of the theory of these circles on Erdoğan dictatorship is "authoritarianism"! While they assertively argue why the regime is authoritarian but not fascist, they realize that this is insufficient in defining the truth, thus, they keep the authoritarianism description, but also add "autocrat" this time. They do all of these in order not to define the Erdoğan dictatorship as fascist.
Authoritarianism Without Class and Political Content
As Dimitrov's famous description cited from the decision of 13th Plenum of the Executive Committee of Komintern on this matter suggests, fascism is "the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital. "2
Fascism has an high-level absolute authoritarian character, and subsumes this feature. But, not all authoritarian powers are fascists.
For instance, the powers after revolutionary victories have to be authoritarian to suppress the defeated reactionary and imperialist forces. As Engels emphasized "a revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon - authoritarian means, if such there be at all."3 However, this authoritativeness politically stands at the opposite pole of fascism and also it is antagonist respect to the class content.
While the revolutionary power politically demonstrates a high level of authoritativeness towards bourgeoisie and its allies, it provides and expresses the widest democracy for the working class and its allies, laborers and the oppressed. Moreover, it mobilizes them for the political power. Similarly, while the revolutionary power, as its class orientation suggests, dispossesses the bourgeoisie and thus presents the highest authoritativeness, it gets the working class and the oppressed to be ruler of the economical and social life, and the owner of the collective property. Here, the conclusion to be drawn is that, an "authoritarianism" description lack of political and class content does not remark the feature of the power. It only remarks the rigorous and determined domination of a power over the targeted classes.
It is true that the regime symbolized with Erdoğan and his palace bares a high-level absolute authoritativeness, however this authoritarianism qualification cannot explain the political and class feature of this regime and is not enough to characterize it.
The "authoritarianism" theorists both in Turkey and around the world circumscribe the fact that neoliberalism causes governments in many countries around the world to move towards fascism in the stage of imperialist globalization, only with the development of authoritarianism. According to their claim, today we are witnessing social reactions against the neoliberal globalization waves of precarization, irregularization and disestablishment and manipulation of these towards a new authoritarian capitalism model.
Thus, they invent a theory which would obscure the fact that bourgeoisies in different countries have shifted or been shifting towards fascism. These theorists clearly play role in regenerating theories of bourgeois liberals who are directly bound up with imperialist bourgeoisies and diffusing these theories slighting fascism into the petty-bourgeois leftists.
Yet, the escalation on the direction towards "authoritarianism" in the capitalist imperialist world, where the neoliberal capitalist aggression remains running on, bares a fascistic feature. This unfoldment has started with instances of state of emergency and similar laws and bans while still being within the limits of bourgeois democracy, and not yet reached a full-fledged fascism in these countries. But this does not change the fascist feature of this unfoldment.
Bourgeoisies were forced to present a shift towards bourgeois democracy in Latin America countries and some other neocolonies at the beginning of 90's, but they did this in accordance with the tactic to moderate the growing mass movements and under the conjuncture in which an imminent communist revolutionary threat was no longer around. As they keep applying neoliberal and structural adaptation programs, these countries have experienced a financial-economical colonization process with developing imperialist globalization. On the political scene, meanwhile, they have increased the tone of reactionary politics. This regression from bourgeois democracy named as "authoritarian governments" was actually a fascist development.
Besides, apart from Venezuela and Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the regimes which are described as authoritarian by bourgeois liberals, are the fascist regimes of the parties which are shifted to or flourished and carried to power by the bourgeoisie either against the existent revolutionary danger of the developing struggles or against the potential revolutionary threats.
Uribe-Santos-Duque in Colombia, royalist coups in Thailand, USA-backed military coup in Honduras, oligarchy's attempts and movements for a fascist coup in Venezuela, presidential regimes of Temer and Bolsonaro in Brazil, the regime committing genocide against Tamil people in Sri Lanka, Mursi and Sisi dictatorships in Egypt, the power of Fidesz-KDNP alliance and its leader Orban and the Jobbik Party growing in the opposition in Hungary, Modi government in India, etc. are the examples of bourgeois powers and movements in transition process towards fascism in this period in the financial-economical colonies.
Whereas at the centers of imperialist world, fascist features of Trump, state-of-emergency's application in France and fascist legislations in European countries, coalition government of SPÖ and fascist FPÖ, two-times government partnership of Lega Nord in Italy are some developments towards fascism.
In the imperialist countries which are distant and rival to US dominance, bourgeois powers are also unfolding in the fascistic path. Domestic fascist policies of Putin's power, constitutional change to allow Xi Jinping to be the head of the state permanently, theocratic fascist power of Mullah regime in Iran, fascist enforcement of Duterte emerging from the left in Philippines, genocidal fascism of military politic-islamist dictatorship of Bashir in Sudan can be given as examples.
Moreover, neo-fascist movements in Europe are gaining strength and mass base through binding masses to themselves with a reactionary xenophobic theme.
But the essential point to emphasize here is the fact that neoliberalism, by mounting bourgeois reaction alongside, has put the bourgeois and imperialist powers in the process of fascist transformation.
In this process, tones and development degrees of fascism are widely different from each other. Compared to the speed of worldwide fascist transformation in the 1930's, we see a slower shift. One can of course touch on these differences. But, limiting the issue with the "authoritarianism" definition by denying the fascist transformation process of bourgeois and imperialist powers has no good other than giving damage to the antifascist struggle as well as negating the experiences of political history in imperialist period.
Extraordinary Regime Forms Under Extraordinary Conditions
"Authoritarianism" theorists certainly admit that bourgeoisie shifts from bourgeois democracy to extraordinary regime forms to suppress the growing struggles of working-class and the oppressed under the circumstances of political crisis and sometimes along with the circumstances of economical crisis. But they just say that "authoritarian" regimes are among these extraordinary forms.
Among these extraordinary regimes, they count military, bonapartist, "totalitarian", "autocrat" and fascist regimes.
Since the "authoritarianism" theorists restrict the fascist qualification only to Hitler and Mussolini fascism, they avoid qualifying the regimes, which don't share one or more features of these two fascisms, as fascist due to their imperfection from Hitler-Mussolini examples.
For instance, despite they give place to military fascist dictatorships in neocolonized countries led by USA within the extraordinary regime forms of bourgeoisie, they don't describe them as fascisms and suffice themselves with military dictatorship qualification.
Because, according to them, yes, there is no parliamentary election in this type of regime as well; there is the dictator and an open terrorist dictatorship. But, in the military dictatorships, there is no one-fascist party, which actively mobilizes the masses, which rises to government first and then turns into an intermediary functioning as "connection/link" between the state organs and the dictator. What else, there is no police-army hierarchy. Instead, there is an army-police hierarchy in the military dictatorships. These differences stop us the qualification of military dictatorships as fascism!
According to this logic, the features of the open terrorist dictatorship regimes to suppress the revolutionary struggle of working class and the oppressed, the shift of regimes towards open terrorist dictatorship have no importance, but the hierarchy between the power organs of the regime does.
Another critical point here to discuss is the party link. As the modern ruling class, bourgeoisie cares about organization of parties as the representatives of various cliques in order to drag masses along for the social support. The role of the party in fascism is, of course, to mobilize masses actively and aggressively, rather than to pull them close to the regime in a passive way. In the extraordinary and revolutionary periods, bourgeoisie drives forward its fascist parties and if there is none such, it builds one. However, if fascist parties are especially incapable of deceiving and mobilizing masses, militarist apparatuses of bourgeoisie take over the executive power directly and embark on a suppression move against the revolutionary threat.
Especially during the moments of revolutions, generals come to the fore, run for the power and stage a coup d'etat to suppress revolutions more harshly. Kornilov in 1917 in Russia, coups of Kapp in German revolution are some examples. But particularly, military fascist coups staged by US imperialism to defeat revolutionary struggles in neocolonies after the 2nd World War are more common examples. USA-backed military coups in Latin America or military coups in countries from Indonesia to Turkey, as the extraordinary regime forms emerged under extraordinary conditions, were the solutions as the "last" and "effective" remedies of military representatives of bourgeoisies and USA, when bourgeois parties were not enough to govern under these conditions or not enough to suppress the revolutionary threats. And they were not designed as momentary or temporary regimes. They lasted either until they achieved their goal of suppress and of transition to a new order with new legislative framework (in Latin America and Turkey) or until they collapsed (Indonesia).
These regimes didn't have political parties at first, because military coups had taken place due to the inability of bourgeois parties to govern the counter-revolution under extraordinary conditions. Later, some also founded political parties. (Franco united the fascist Falange Party and "Comunion Tradicionalista" organizations and in a way, made use of it as a party of the nationalist-conservative-royalist front. In Indonesia, putschist General Suharto founded Golkar after he took the power.)
Whatever the difference between them, military coups all aimed at suppressing the revolutionary threat, the class and revolutionary movement, attacked to realize this. They established the open terrorist dictatorship of bourgeoisie.
This main purpose and function of military dictatorships has the same feature of classic Hitler, Mussolini fascisms, and this is what determines a fascist power. While Lenin was mentioning Mussolini fascism although from a far distance, he gave the example of Black Hundreds, which the tsardom organized as a means against the revolutionary development through the hands of police chiefs, as a prototype of fascism. Paramilitary organizations, fascist groups and their attacks used by the tsardom were fascistic methods. And there was no fascist party between tsardom and these organizations.
Military fascist regimes have been a regime form when bourgeoisie, imperialism and their political parties couldn't handle and crush the revolutionary struggle. Even though fascist parties and organizations played role in fascist transformation of key positions of the civil bureaucracy, rather than being a link between the fascist boss and the state, they organized mass support for fascism. The army both in the case of Franco fascism (the case of military coup where the fascist party had relatively more functions) and in the case of US-backed military fascist regimes after the 2nd imperialist re-division war undertook more prominent role than these parties and the police.
However, the interesting side of the issue related with Erdoğan and AKP is this: the regimes counted in the "authoritarian" category had mass political parties too and the typical example of it is Erdoğan and AKP. Coming from a political-islamist background together with having the youth and trade union organizations other than the party itself, the AKP and its leader carry this feature of classic fascist regimes. It doesn't make a qualitative difference that Erdoğan cannot mobilize his mass support as actively as Hitler and Mussolini, despite his yearning and efforts towards this.
Japan had experienced a transition to fascism in the power led by the Emperor Hirohito. Japan needed fascism to suppress the opposition inside, but also rather to grab "deserved" colonies as a new emerging imperialist power. Despite setting on civil gangs, Japanese fascism was based on directly the army and police rather than a party link, and motivated the mass support towards a fascist inclination by highlighting these apparatuses.
Yet, these theorists already do not recognize any other fascism other than Hitler and Mussolini regimes and do not want to recognize. They even hardly and randomly admit that Franco regime is not a typical one but still a fascist regime. In the Franco regime, despite the existence of the fascist party, since the founding victory of the regime was gained by the fascist generals, the party took place not only below Franco, but even below the army in hierarchy of the regime.
Well then, the fascist regimes have differences depending on the conditions in which they were built, on the sectors which the building forces are coming from, on the differences in the balance of power, on the national, political and cultural local features. Despite these differences, under extraordinary circumstances such as political crisis or revolutionary threat, when being unable to govern with the previous regime forms, bourgeoisies shift to a regime form which adopts an open terrorist dictatorship as a main feature. And this is fascism.
The differences between fascist regimes in various countries and times have a significance in terms of struggle, but this does not change the fact that these regimes are fascist.
Elections Under Fascism
"Authoritarianism" theorists put forth the argument of "the existence of elections" in order not to admit the fascist feature of the new regime being built under the leadership of Erdoğan.
Well, on the other hand, there was no election in the military fascist dictatorships which they call as "authoritarian". But this time, they don't qualify them as fascist because of the absence of party link or because of insufficient mobilization of masses for ideological and physical attacks when there is such a party link.
To save their theory and describe Erdoğan or similar regimes as other than fascism, even though Erdoğan has a party link, mass support and has managed to set on masses ideologically and physically, they put forward the argument that "there cannot be elections under fascism".
Not only Mussolini and Hitler, but also their novices Dollfuss (Austria) and Horty (Hungary) were the leaders, one of which came to power by elections and other appointed as prime minister by the parliament. Different than the priors, the latter ones shifted to fascism while they were governing. There was no such radical demagogic aims like "new order", "revolution" or "national socialism" as in the prior ones. As the conservative anticommunist minister from the government parties (Dollfuss) and the leader with a military origin brought to top by the alliance of bourgeois parties (Horty) seized the power and established a fascist regime. Then they banned political parties and liquidated elections.
Dollfus banned the communist party. Due to competition of Austria with Germany (over the unity of Germans), he shut down the Nazi Party before the Social Democrat Party. After a few months of civil war with the social democrats and communists, he then shut down the Social Democrat Party. Dollfuss was assassinated by the Nazi Party and with the German occupation in 1939, the German sided fascism had completely become sovereign in Austria. Whereas Horty stayed in power due to his strong alliance with Hitler until the Soviet army entered Austria and defeated Hitler's army.
Tsar Boris (Bulgaria) carried out his coup d'etat in 1923, liquidating the bourgeois parliamentary system established through the uprising of the soldiers, who were actually peasantry youth put on uniforms, at the end of 1st imperialist re-division war and overthrowing the Farmers' Union and its leader Stamboliski from the government. The respond of the communist Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (BSDWP) to this coup d'etat was the Sofia uprising. As he did to ex-leader of Farmers' Union and ex-prime minister Stamboliski with the coup d'etat, Tsar Boris set scaffolds for BSDWP leaders and its militants, tortured and murdered them in dungeons.
However, although the Tsar banned the BSDWP and Farmers' Union, due to deficiency of mass support of fascism, he recognized the right to attend elections for fascist and reactionary parties which collaborated with him. Even he gave room for coalition governments in which these parties participated. Dimitrov interpreted this situation as an example of fascism to be forced to demonstrate some flexibility within certain limits in the case of deficient mass support:
"In certain countries, principally those in which fascism has no broad mass basis and in which the struggle of the various groups within the camp of the fascist bourgeoisie itself is rather acute, fascism does not immediately venture to abolish parliament, but allows the other bourgeois parties, as well as the Social-Democratic Parties, to retain a modicum of legality."
And Erdoğan, too, cannot liquidate elections, parliament and political parties at one swoop due to relative weakness in the mass support, that people being accustomed to parliamentarism for a long time, lack of active support today from the fascist imperialists similar to the one in 1930's and 40's, and that being unable to stop the armed revolutionary resistance. But, by rising over an unauthorized parliament as a presidential diktat and by holding the mechanisms in his control that don't allow anyone except for himself to get elected as president, by beating up the opposition parties through arrests and putting their leaders in prison, he forces to hold de-facto plebiscites instead of elections. Who can deny that he practically banned the Peoples' Democratic Party ( HDP ). He even holds the Republican People's Party ( CHP ) under constant threat of imprisonment. The Justice March of Kılıçdaroğlu4 was actually an action of him to stop the upcoming move to arrest him.
Erdoğan cannot remove elections at one swoop, but he applies the "no election" mandate for now in this form by legally and practically disabling the parliament's authorities and by not allowing any election that he can't win. He has the understanding and intent to live with plebiscites. What is more, he bares in his ideological mindset the Grand Chief role of the Grand Assembly, which Necip Fazıl Kısakürek5 suggested as one of his ideological mentor. He just can't realize it immediately because of the conditions, and that's it. The Grand Assembly is the council of elite reactionary-fascist intellectuals, that is formed without elections.
In the past, the Grey Wolves had been organizing under their chief system, following the orders of their head chief and they been planning attacks through this organization. And as we consider now that the Grey Wolves, mafia, MHP and AKP supporters see Erdoğan as the grand chief, and not only the grand chief himself, but the basis which he tries to turn into fascists also espouses a regime without election.
How Necessary is "Totalitarianism"
The one who underlined the totalitarian feature of fascism was the Italian fascist ideologue Gentile. In Italy, after liquidating parties starting from communists, Mussolini fascism aimed to thoroughly reshape all political and social life as well as the overall power according to the fascist ideology and to create the new fascist human of the "New Order" of "New Italy". That was what it tried to realize. However, he just couldn't advance in this matter as much as Hitler fascism. This was due to low success, related with the strength of Italian bourgeoisie.
Yet, he still managed to mobilize the unemployed, the lumpen, backward sections of the working class and especially petty-bourgeois sections, who were all enraged to the corruption, lies and hypocrisy of the bourgeois parliamentarism. Italian fascism managed to activate masses on the issues like anticommunist aggression, mobilization for war and liquidation of parties, trade unions, democratic institutions. The "New Order", "New Italy" demagogies were effective in this. But, the reactionary respond to parliamentarism and the selfishness and expectation from the imperialist invasions, which could provide a more privileged life, were also essential factors.
Hitler succeeded to move one more step forward the aim of founding a monist, suppressive, totalitarian system and the creation of the fascist human. He put new goals ahead to create "the master German race" and "national society" through domestic cleansing and to become a hegemonic power in the world as it deserved. While he had been seeing communism as the biggest threat to the capitalist world, he adopted the argument that Nazis were the only capable force to destroy it. He mobilized millions from the German nation. He created the fascist human type he could use in the massacres inside and outside the country. And depending on this active fascist organized mass, he managed to carry out fascism and new invasions. Although this mass was relatively broad, it had a certain limit; but Hitler took over other sections of the society with the fascist terror based on that and bulldozed vast majority of people with fascism. Even broader sections submitted to the fascist state terror, supported fascism due to social and political pressure or remained quiet. Besides, it is important to underscore, Nazi power managed to transform not only civil bureaucracy, but also the army from top to bottom through the SS and the plight of loyalty to Hitler.
Monist, suppressive, totalitarian feature and the aim to create new human are th elements inherited from the institutionalized religions. Bourgeois revolutions and its liberalism put an end to this dogmatism. Currents which don't pose threat to the power of bourgeoisie were tolerated of their propaganda and organizing. Keeping this flexibility, these regimes also had the goal to create new human. The human who worships "entrepreneur spirit", "order of opportunities" and "freedom of capital and property ownership" have become the new human idol of the regimes of bourgeois age. But still, bourgeois modernism, through liberalism, ended the dogmatism not letting any ideological current except for religious dogma. Then it is something ordinary for every ideological current to create new human as in the direction of its goal on various levels and on condition not to fall into sacred dogmatism of institutionalized religion.
Rising from the need of bourgeoisie which organizes the masses actively and sets them on to fight and crush the revolutionary threat with a fascist identity, fascism enforces everyone and everything to obtrude a mono-type fascist feature, and even disallows different views of different bourgeois cliques and cultural diversity. By doing this, it liquidates them not economically, but politically. But still, fascist regime can achieve this on different levels in different countries and periods, depending on the scale of concrete mass support, on the international and domestic balances of power, on national, historical qualities, and so on.
Disregarding other fascisms which are less successful in creating "new" human and totalitarianism compared to Hitler and Mussolini regimes by looking at these different levels, presents a static conception not recognizing any other fascism except for the sort of Hitler-Mussolini and damages the antifascist struggle.
Besides, even though Erdoğan is known with his eclecticism and pragmatism, rising "religious generations" or "domestic and national generations" and creating generations educated with a widened political-islamist agenda reside among his claims and he tries to apply this by driving forward all of his facilities. Erdoğan aims to create the new human of the fascist chieftaincy regime. He tries to reorganize the state mechanism under his ordinance and with a political-islamist character, including not only civil bureaucracy, but also the police in his control and the army as well, through liquidating his opponents and restructuring the education system. And because the state has been restructured at least since the 1980 coup d'etat, he is easily able to advance in this process.
Thus, these theorists hide the scale of the danger by veiling the monist, suppressive, totalitarian purpose and praxis of Erdoğan fascism.
The theoretical theses of liberal leftists are the ones from Poulantzas' book "Fascism and Dictatorship". In this piece where he analyzes fascism, Poulantzas presents useful information about fascism by delving into different aspects; but he offers a theoretical basis only restricted with Hitler and Mussolini fascisms. By producing new regime categories like "authoritarian" and "autocratic" or by advocating "marxist" versions of those produced by the liberals, he falls into crucial mistakes. It is known that these views damaged the antifascist struggle at that time especially during the conditions of developing US-backed fascist military dictatorships.
Some theorists can't even let well enough alone with what Poulantzas said. They criticize him for avoiding theorization of totalitarianism and creation of "new" human in his fascism theory with the purpose of giving no harm to "totalitarianism" in Soviet Union. They claim that Poulantzas doesn't appeal the conception of totalitarianism just to avoid being pushed into approaching Soviet Union in the framework of totalitarianism and defining Stalinism.
Left liberals espouse the ideas of bourgeois liberals and defend them. Unsatisfied with that, they go beyond and claim that the fascist political-islamist Palace regime is far from being totalitarian, but it is just another pragmatist regime. Yet, their effort to prove that it is not fascist, is just in vain.
Autocratic Power
This category is also a view given place by liberal fascism theories, starting from Poulantzas' fascism theory. And under the appearance of creating a more profound theory, the bourgeoisie, in reality, put forth or supported this thesis among others to underrate its military and civil fascist regimes in neocolonies in the post-war period. In that period, imperialist bourgeoisie was waging a hegemony struggle against the socialist system by claiming to be the real victorious of the antifascist struggle and to be a bourgeois democratic alternative of Hitler-Mussolini fascism worldwide. In addition to this claim, they felt the need to underrate the fascist regimes in its own system.
"We defeated the Hitler and Mussolini fascism, they cannot resurrect and there is already no room for fascism in our order, some authoritarian and autocratic regimes may occur but they can be overcome." This or similar arguments have been used by the theses seemingly emerging from the left, but eventually beneficial for bourgeoisie. Today is no different.
As is known, the autocratic regime is a regime form of the era of kingdoms and empires. Regimes like absolute monarchy, empire, tsardom, sultanate, kaiser, etc. were autocracies where one-man decides all and have its own aristocracy and bureaucracy.
Then, together with the transition to the dominance of bourgeoisie over the economy, the mandate of king was no longer unlimited. It was restricted by the constitution and parliamentary in the political field and shifted to semi-autocratic regimes.
Bourgeois regimes ruled by a dictator emerged as more of regimes of military and civil fascisms in the new era, in the era imperialism and proletarian revolutions.
The revolutionary and counterrevolutionary experiences of the period between the French revolution and the beginning of imperialism show us this: the convention of revolutionary period was authoritarian. In the revolutionary period, the dominance, of course, belonged to parliamentary and revolutionary junta, there was no political power period under one-man mandate. However, after the regime became reactionary and especially after Napoleon took the power, it was shifted to autocratic regime once again. But this time, the autocrat, as the sole ruler of the regime, played role in aligning the monarchist and autocratic regime with the need of speeding up the development of bourgeoisie; bringing back feudalism was not its function in this case. Likewise, Napoleon III., who took the power by elections, then transformed the regime into empire by proclaiming himself as the emperor, functioned in accordance with meeting the need to suppress the labor movement for fast development of capitalism. Still, these were surely autocratic regime forms, even monarchists.
As another semi-autocratic regime ruled by a dictator, Bismarckism had a similar function and was born from the need to develop German capitalism fast, to prevent the worker's uprisings in France from spreading to Germany and to suppress the labor movement. In the form of constitutional monarchy but ruled by the "iron man" prime minister Bismarck rather than king/kaiser, the regime was not actually autocratic, it was a reactionary dictatorship. Since it protected the kingdom, it can be called semi-autocratic.
After all these, with the emergence of proletarian revolutions in the imperialist era, bourgeoisie shifted to bourgeois fascist regimes in order to crush these revolutions or proletarian movements.
While bourgeoisie was building its fascist regimes, of course, it adapted all its historical reactionary and despotic ruling methods to suit the contemporary conditions and combined in fascism. One of these methods was the method of ruling in which one person is the sole decision-maker and absolute obedience to the leader is counted as a principle. The conceptions of duce, fuhrer, chieftain, caudillo came out from the experiences of fascism. With the claim to build a new order in fascism, they made broad masses embrace and accept the despotism of previous monarchist regimes, in which everyone conformed to the authority of one person like a king.
Bourgeoisie made masses embrace this through the ideology of new order and national interests. Or in addition to these, they brought in the aim of "fast development", "fast growth" in military and civil fascisms in neo-colonies as a support for their claim. Thus, they enabled the expectancy in the wide masses to embrace fascism; if that country/nation develops fast, then laborers can achieve the welfare of developed countries, different than their poor class siblings in the world.
Nevertheless, the feature of these regimes was not the same as kingdoms and emperors. Bourgeoisie adapted their ruling methods to contemporary conditions, combined with many additional features and created a new regime form, fascism.
Therefore, these regimes must be counted as fascist regimes having autocratic and monarchist methods, but no longer same as the kingdoms and emperors of the past period. Otherwise, the formation of fascist regimes needed by bourgeoisie to overcome their crises and to get rid of the revolutionary threat cannot be fully understood and cannot be fought back.
Anyhow, these "authoritarianism" defenders and theorists already don't want to understand this reality of fascism, they don't want to lose their liberal ground. They keep their eyes closed to the features of fascism in which crowns were used to mop the floor and left its position to the kingdom of money. They restrict themselves with autocracy to describe fascism which is the open terrorist dictatorship of bourgeoisie with its ever-growingly developing militarist mechanisms with the supplement of giant capital accumulation, with its advanced weaponry and surveillance/control techniques, with its ability to use different kinds of organizations as a means of its dominance and hegemony. They try to elude their situation by adding autocracy when the conception of authoritarianism is not enough to convince. But, in the end, they especially damage the struggle against Erdoğan fascism by underrating the actual and recent fascist developments and today's political powers.
In lieu of conclusion
Both in the international discussions and those in Turkey, from bourgeois liberals to left liberals, from self-proclaimed Marxist Poulantzas to the left liberals in Turkey, the authoritarianism and autocracy theories presented on a wide range bare a preventive character obscuring the understanding of fascism and disabling the mobilization of the accumulation of historical antifascist consciousness and anger to the antifascist struggle under new conditions. Therefore, they hit a blow to antifascist struggle. Particularly, they weaken the theoretical and ideological arsenal in the struggle against Erdoğan's fascist chieftaincy regime. Since the necessity of such an arsenal is obviously exists, we have to sweep and flush away these liberal theses.

 

1 Ergenekon was claimed to be the name of the organization constituting high-ranked generals inside the Turkish army, ex-intelligence officials, Kemalist-chauvinist-racist writers/intellectuals and others, who planned a military coup d'etat against AKP. AKP started a counter process and arrested many affiliated people. Later, after AKP changed its course as a result of the inner state power clashes as it drifted away from the liberals especially, many of the arrestees were released in return of their support to AKP.

2 Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works Sofia Press, Sofia, Volume 2, 1972 (www.marxists.org)

3 Marx-Engels Reader, New York: W. W. Norton and Co., second edition, 1978 (first edition, 1972), pp 730-733 (www.marxists.org).

4 In 2017, the leader of CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu marched from Ankara to Maltepe Prison in Istanbul for 25 days in order to draw attantion to the unjust trial processes after one of his party's deputy, Enis Berberoğlu was imprisoned. All along the way, people living in the cities he crossed, joined the march. Some intellectuals , trade union leaders, reformist left parties also supported the march.

5 Necip Fazıl Kısakürek was an Islamist ideologue, poet and novelist who was adopted by many political Islamist and fascist movements in Turkey.