Kalkışma [defunct since 2012]

Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye and the Birth of the Liberal Creed in the Ottoman Empire

Posted in Osmanlı İmparatorluğu, Politik Ekonomi, Tarih by Dead FM on Temmuz 30, 2012

Nineteenth century was marked by a large-scale upsurge in the productive capacities of Western European economies within the framework of a capitalist form of commodity production. Under the auspices of centralized state structures, the continent experienced the unification of national markets, subsequent expansion of the volume of international trade in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars while extraterritorial capital flows soared on a global scale from the second quarter of the century onward. Breakthrough technological developments in transportation and communication and the post-1815 status quo which revolved around the preservation of interstate peace in Europe further contributed to the deepening of market relations on a global scale and ‘strengthened the position of Western Europe as the main center of accumulation in the world economy’.[1] Amid the processes whereby protectionist barriers were eliminated around the world and pre-capitalist economic formations were peripheralized[2], the theory of economic liberalism, in its coherent and doctrinal form was born and constituted itself as the hegemonic strand of economic thought in nineteenth century Europe; henceforth to be disseminated outside the continent.

It was within the nineteenth century context of shifts in the economic and political power balance between the Ottoman Empire and the major powers of Europe at the expense of the former, growing fiscal deficits due to wars the Ottoman state engaged in between 1770s and 1840s and budgetary pressures caused by administrative reforms, that the Ottoman economy was integrated into the novel structures of production and circulation of commodities across borders.[3] The Tanzimat era, a period of intense state-led administrative, social and economic reform whose start can roughly be dated at the beginning of the 1840s displayed, in a sense, both the political and economic asymmetries and contradictions inherent to this expansionist wave of globalizing capitalism and the ways in which the structural patterns of this global economic phase became intertwined with the political and economic structures of the Ottoman state and society. Marked by, among other things, a resolute drive towards fiscal centralism aided by a variety of administrative measures,[4] the Tanzimat period was a response to the transformative flux of global and local conditions in the post-Napoleonic era.

An acute and growing awareness regarding the deteriorating finances of the Ottoman state at the turn of the nineteenth century was, arguably, one of the primary catalysts behind the ambitious economic and administrative reform agenda of Tanzimat statesmen. Yet surrounding the reform program and its implementation lay the tragedy of the archetypal Tanzimat bureaucrat and the nineteenth century Ottoman state: Throughout the four decades, spanning from 1839 to 1876, the Ottoman state secured its central grasp over fiscal and political resources while its foreign trade regime being liberalized and its economy simultaneously peripheralized and ever more integrated into global networks of capital and commodity circulation; its result being a growing inability to service external debt and ultimately, the complete loss of fiscal autonomy -epitomized in the establishment of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration in the wake of the global financial crisis of the 1870s.

The culmination of this process was the thorough transformation of the main pillars of the Ottoman economic structure, the Ottoman state’s traditional economic policy directions and the conventionally hegemonic lines in Ottoman economic thought. The reform period witnessed the parallel processes of economic liberalization on the policy side of the scale and the introduction of the classical economic theory into the Ottoman intellectual realm. The Tanzimat era was thus marked by the transplantation and dominance of a particular version of economic liberalism to the realm of Ottoman economic policy formulations and economic thought -a dominance which would not face serious challenges up until the dawn of the Hamidian era when alternative protectionist currents of thought would find a coherent form and shape.[5]

In light of an early Ottoman book on political economy; Sarantis Archigenes’ Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye, written in mid- to late 1840s, this brief study aims to present an account of the profound shift that occurred in the dominant paradigm within which Ottoman economic policy choices have been structured and essential axiomatic principles of Ottoman economic thought formulated. The first part of the study is devoted to a brief discussion of the existing literature on classical Ottoman economic thought while in the second part we will stick to a descriptive account of the traditional economic policy line of the Ottoman state up until the nineteenth century. We will then go on to present the channels of transmission through which economic liberalism was implanted into the Ottoman realm and conclude with exposing some of the significant positions of Sarantis Archigenes regarding economic theory and his version of classical liberal approach while contextualizing the work within our narrative.

1. Existing Literature on Ottoman Economic Thought

The academic literature on Ottoman economic mentality, despite attempts to overcome its limitations, has generally been influenced by the conceptual tools utilized by the Weberian sociological tradition.[6] Given the significant contributions and advances made in the field of economic sociology throughout the past century, it is remarkable how studies on Ottoman economic thought are still under the spell of a rather vulgarized form of Weberian understanding of economy in terms of conceptualizing the relationship between mentalities and concrete economic activities and processes. In line with the literature’s adherence to this framework, the general tendency in the analyses of classical Ottoman economic thought has been to construct a relationship of direct or indirect causality between the economic underdevelopment of Middle Eastern societies and the Islamic (specifically its Sufi vein) understanding of economy and economic activity.[7] While Islam (and for that matter, Protestantism in relation to the emergence of capitalism in Europe) undoubtedly influenced the specific ways in which economic activities were carried out, it is our contention that the literature’s preoccupation with defining Islam’s relation towards time, matter and social order resulted in a tendency to essentialize a de-contextualized, static and monolithic image of Islam and an overarching ‘Islamic’ perception of economy, overdetermined by mystical ethics supposedly inherent to this religion. Moreover, the dearth of in-depth comparative studies that would take into account the points of converge between the Ottoman and contemporary European economic policies is depressing to the point that it is still commonplace to attribute the orthodox line in classical Ottoman economic policies to the ‘gaza culture’ intrinsic to the self-perception of the state; rather than contextualizing the warrior ethos to the feudal type of social organization and social property relationships that is typical for many Eurasian formations[8].

For the sake of analytical precision and clarity, we will not discuss the ways in which the Islamic understanding of the world, society and wealth in general, might have influenced the particular and prevalent form of economic thought that has shaped Ottoman economic mentality (if one could ever use such a generalization) until the nineteenth century. For our purposes in this study, it would instead be more rewarding to concentrate not on the specific cultural motivations and mental determinants that shape the common producers’ relation vis-à-vis wealth; but rather settle for a descriptive account of what some of the components of the typical and standard stance of the Ottoman state towards economy and economic activity were and how these manifested themselves in the realm of practical policy implementation until the nineteenth century.


2. Traditional Policy Line: Selective Interventionism, Fisco-Centrism

The three-tier structure provided by Mehmet Genç concerning the pillars of the traditional economic perspective of the Ottoman state up until the nineteenth century, although rather schematic, is useful for our purposes.[9] According to this framework, one of the top economic responsibilities assumed by the Ottoman state has been the securing of the standard supply of cheap consumer goods into the markets and the policymakers did not usually hesitate to intervene in the workings of the productive sphere and markets. The general policy orientation of the Ottoman state with regards to the foreign trade regime was influenced by provisionist concerns as well: Imports has generally been encouraged while severe limitations on the export of many items persisted until the ‘liberal turn’. In sum, the ‘provisionist’ policy line could be considered as consumer-oriented -as opposed to a policy choice which would prioritize the profit-motive of producers.[10] 

Studies on Ottoman economy in the last couple of decades, however, have helped refine and ease the general tendency in the literature to attribute a strict and inflexible interventionist attitude to the pre-modern Ottoman state. Whereas the classical framework propounded the image of strong state interventionism exemplified by control of the factors of production[11] through practices such as ‘arbitrary’ and ‘irrational’ monetary devaluations and the extensive use of price-control mechanisms in the marketplace (narh) to maintain price rigidity, new studies shifted the focus increasingly on the limits of such interventionism. As Pamuk argues, straightforward and extensive interventionism was indeed the reality during the reign of Mehmed II when Ottoman centralism was at its zenith but gradually gave way to a ‘selective interventionist’ attitude where increasingly, Ottoman statesmen acknowledged both the practical impossibility and inefficiency of controlling internal monetary and product circulation and generally let the markets decide the exchange rates and prices outside of the imperial capital -this policy, only to be temporarily revoked during periods of extreme scarcity.[12]

However questionable the degree to which the Ottoman state maintained an interventionist posture until the nineteenth century is, it is clear that, as Genç argues, the Ottoman economic policies retained a thoroughly fisco-centric stance towards every form of economic activity to the degree that the “the tradition of writing exclusively on state finances in general, and on taxation in particular, lasted to the end of the nineteenth century”.[13] Perceiving economic activity solely as a potential source of revenue need not necessarily bring about an indifferent attitude towards productionist concerns but it is evident that aside from a few isolated instances, it is not possible to observe a general tendency on the part of the Ottoman state to increase agricultural or manufacturing productivity up until the Tanzimat era. Until the advent of the state-led modernization program in the Ottoman Empire, commercial/trade-related concerns overwhelmed the possibility of an efficiency-oriented productionist focus to emerge and gain currency.[14]

3. The Enduring Question: ‘Why Isolation’?

The provisionist mentality, fisco-centrism and a general absence of productionist concerns, in fact, stood at a crucial juncture where the historical trajectory of the development of the Ottoman economy diverged significantly from some of its west European counterparts from the seventeenth century onwards. Whereas the latter, amidst the stormy processes of state formation, embraced an export-oriented economic outlook (later dubbed as mercantilism) which relied heavily on fiscal centralism and emphasized a positive balance of trade, the Ottoman state maintained the central principles of its traditional policy line that prioritized the security of domestic supply channels -albeit the extent of the central state to command being subject to significant alterations due to the changing character of the relationship between the imperial center and regional political and economic forces throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is evident that the absence of such a re-orientation left the Ottoman statesmen with relatively few alternatives when faced with periodic monetary and budgetary crisis conditions: Devaluation and broadening of the scope of tax-farming contracts as a mechanism of internal borrowing -both of which have, in turn, proven to be mid-range solutions at best. On a broader scale, it could also be argued that the Ottoman economic thought has remained mostly isolated from the policy currents developing outside of its realm where for instance in Europe, the secular trend of economic growth throughout the sixteenth and a general crisis in the seventeenth centuries have altered the class composition and state structures, giving way to novel theories concerning state finances and economic policies.

These being said, the question of as to why and how the traditional pillars of Ottoman economic thought have persisted and in application been perpetuated by deliberate state policies throughout most of the lifespan of the Ottoman state can lead us into problematic conclusions insofar as the question is built upon the often faulty presumption of an essential ‘lack of Ottoman receptiveness’ towards economic ideas of external origin[15]. Moreover, the scholarly preoccupation with the question of as to why, for instance, mercantilism did not gain any ground in the Ottoman realm is informed partly by the teleological grounds on which the history of capitalism is generally analyzed and this further clouds our vision.[16] It may however be possible to explain why the Ottoman statesmen preserved the state’s traditional policy line up until the mid-nineteenth century and answer the question of whether the liberalizing policy measures from 1830s onward signify any belatedness on the part of the Ottomans, without appealing to propositions that relate the scantiness of output in Ottoman economic thought to reasons such as ‘the restrictions imposed by the ulama for philosophical and speculative thought’.[17] To come up with such an explanatory framework is beyond the scope and intent of this study. Suffice it to say that, in order to grasp the fundamental determinants behind the persistence of the traditional economic policy-making patterns in the Ottoman Empire, it would perhaps be useful to consider the presence or absence of crisis conditions and how such conditions interact with i) conventional ‘correction’ mechanisms at the policy level, ii) the existing social property relations and forms of commodity production as a starting point. It should also be added that pre-industrial ancien regimes, left undisturbed by dramatic economic fluctuations or political crises, display a more or less uniform and, quite naturally, a hostile stance towards the possibilities of transformation in one or more of the constituting components of their respective economic formations, such as the land tenure regime.[18] Moreover, it was standard practice for pre-modern states to implement improvisational measures against changes in economic trends, albeit within the paradigmatic framework of their respective traditional economic policy directions: Dramatic policy shifts only occur under dramatically exceptional circumstances.

To briefly concretize what has so far been argued; it was the parallel developments of administrative centralization; the profound changes in both the social property relations (transformation of agrarian class structures) and commodity production (spreading of the putting-out form); and a political revolution that enabled the English state to embark on a distinctly mercantilist policy path. Again in France, it was only at a time of heightened crisis in the mid-eighteenth century that the short-lived attempt of physiocrats such as Quesnay and Turgot who quite radically advocated the necessity of replacing the seignorial system to a bourgeois form of land tenure could gain prominence.[19] Whereas in the Ottoman case, the eighteenth century rise of regional landowning classes neither has produced large and market-oriented agricultural agglomerations similar to English farms[20], nor a fundamental transformation in the relations between the center and peripheral forces so as to enable the landowning classes to influence economic policies of the Ottoman state. It seems to be that for the Ottoman state, it was not apparent until the growing and perpetuated budget crises of the late eighteenth century that the economy faced a serious threat which, as perceived by the reforming statesmen, could not be staved off by an appeal to traditional remedial measures. Coupled with the growing English economic influence and military power, it was the combination of a deep structural crisis and external pressures that enabled a liberal shift in Ottoman economic policy from 1830s onwards.

Although much of the arguments to be found in the existing literature concerning the absence in the Ottoman Empire of an indigenous form of theoretical activity on economics are accurate, it should be pointed out as a concluding remark that it was only in the 1830s that liberalist policy tendencies in certain European countries were merged under a militant and ‘universalized’ doctrinal form under the banner of laissez-faire theories.[21] This fact serves as a useful reminder to go beyond the ‘Ottomans-as-late-comers’ framework and conceptualize the Tanzimat era liberalization as being contemporaneous with European policy trends towards the same direction.


4. Transplanting Classical Economic Theory into the Ottoman Empire

Caught between a perceived need for urgent fiscal reform on the part of the central state and external political and military pressures, 1830s witnessed the first inroads of the theory of classical economics into the Ottoman intellectual life and the realm of policy-making. The 1838 Anglo-Ottoman commercial treaty, undoubtedly, constituted a watershed event and proved to be the major catalyst for the liberalization of the Ottoman trade regime. The treaty stipulated the abolishment of the monopolistic control of the Ottoman state over the export regime, introduced serious limitations over the state’s ability to levy extraordinary taxes on export items, exempted foreign merchants from burdensome internal customs and raised export duties to 12 per cent while establishing the rate of import duties at 5 per cent (before 1838, there had been a flat duty rate of 3 per cent both over imports and exports). Perhaps the single most significant ramification of these arrangements in the long run was the imposition of a serious legal constraint over the Ottoman state’s capacity to pursue an autonomous track in designating its foreign trade regime.[22] Aside from the treaty’s ramifications on Ottoman economic policies, it could well be argued that it “paved the way to the penetration of the Classical approach in political economy into the Ottoman Empire”.[23]

One notable outcome of the process of transplantation and incorporation of both the notions and the jargon of European political economy on a meta-level was a sea change in the epistemological framework within which ‘economics’ and wealth were conceptualized. In line with the particular way in which the ancient Greek tradition was absorbed into the intellectual paradigms of medieval Islam, the conventional Ottoman perception had been confined to a perception of economics merely as ‘household management’[24] and such as it was, the field “did not occupy an important position in the [medieval] Islamic scheme of science”.[25] Whereas in the nineteenth century, parallel to the contemporary scholarly developments in Europe, not only has economics  become a separate field on its own that aspired to capture the essence of economic activity on a grand analytical scale in its totality, the epistemological shift became evident also in naming practices: ‘İlm-i Tedbîr-i Menzîl’ (implying household management),the term that had traditionally been used to denote the science of economics, was gradually transformed into ‘İlm-i Tedbîr-i Servet’ (a clear emphasis on wealth) throughout the century in question.[26]

The initial encounters of Ottoman statesmen and intellectuals with the basic tenets of the liberal doctrine came, in the first half of the 1830s, through such figures as David Urquhart and Alexandre Blacque.[27]  However, the first serious attempts at grappling with the scholarly works of European origin on political economy and the transplantation of liberalism in a coherent ‘scientific’ bundle into the Ottoman context materialized through direct exposure to the primary sources from 1840s onwards and this was a thoroughly gradual affair; spanning over a few decades[28]. The decades spanning from 1840s to the end of the century saw the proliferation of translated books on political economy into the Turkish language as well as the production of a handful of original works authored by members of the Ottoman literati; spearheaded specifically by Armenians such as Sakizli Ohannes Pasha, Portakal Mikael Efendi, Vahan Efendi etc.[29] Undoubtedly, the growing number of Ottomans who studied abroad constituted one of the primary links of transmission of the liberal doctrine and contributed to this trend of proliferation, as evidenced by the fact that nearly all of the authors who produced such works completed their education and formal training in France.[30]

One particularity of the transmission process lay in the specific form of economic liberalism the Ottoman intellectuals chose to embrace. As will be discussed within the context of Archigenes’ work below, the initial link of mediation lay neither in the original works of Smith nor of Ricardo, but rather in a continental version of a Smithian form of liberalism espoused and championed by Jean-Baptiste Say; the French economist, also considered to be the so-called ‘founder’ of ‘vulgar economics’ and his Italian successor at the chair of political economy at Collège de France, Pellegrino Rossi.[31] Whereas the works of British economists of the classical tradition have rather remained under a certain degree of insular isolation[32], Say played a major role in promoting the Smith-Ricardo line, albeit with significant modifications and through a selective interpretation, across the continent and elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire and North America.[33] Because of the sheer magnitude of influence his reading of Smith exerted on the initial acquaintance of the Ottoman intellectuals with European political economy, a few words need to be said about some of the fundamental tenets of his analysis.

Say was a disciple of Adam Smith and believed himself to be a mere interpreter of the late social philosopher.[34] However, his undertaking involved more than a simple exposition of the Smithian framework: “In the process of selecting and refining, Say gave to Smith’s doctrines a twist, which was, in effect, an alternative to the development which they had obtained at the hands of Ricardo.”[35] Writing at a time when David Ricardo proposed significant improvements on Adam Smith’s early forays into the formulation of a labor theory of value by delving deeper into a conceptualization of value in terms of its position within the circuits of productive processes, Say, fascinated by growing productivity through mechanization, chose to abandon the labor theory in its entirety, rejected the proposition that labor is the only source of value[36] and instead attributed the capacity to create value to machinery.[37] Say instead developed a certain form of ‘utility theory of value’ where “both goods and productive services derived their value from the utility of the final product.”[38] In sum, it could be argued that Say, in his capacity as the main propagator of the liberal doctrine outside Britain, reversed the process through which a tendency to ‘socialize’ units of economic analysis (such as labor, profit, rent etc.) into the social totality of the capitalist economy -a tendency whose ‘logical’ outcome was materialized initially at the hands of Ricardo and through his critique, by Marx later in the second half of the nineteenth century.

5. Sarantis Archigenes and Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye

Sarantis Archigenes was born in 1809 into a middle class Greek family in Epivates (today’s Selimpaşa-Silivri).[39] Having received his elementary education in Istanbul and employed as a teacher in Plovdiv for four years, Archigenes went to Paris with a government scholarship to study medicine in the 1830s. He must have become acquainted with the works and presumably lectures of Pellegrino Rossi during his stay in Paris[40]. After completing his studies and internship in the hospitals of various European countries, he returned to Istanbul in 1843 and started working as a surgeon at Mekteb-i Tıbbiye. Apparently, Archigenes wrote Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye during the years when he was still working at the imperial school of medicine in the 1840s[41]. The book, originally written by Archigenes in French, was translated into Turkish in 1849, upon the approval of Meclis-i Maarif. It is believed that the book remained in manuscript form and never published.[42]

One of the most significant ways in which Archigenes departs from some of the main principles that upheld the classical Ottoman social and economic thought  manifests itself in the author’s emphasis on ‘fair income distribution’. Whereas the epistemological framework that structured the economic perspective of the conventional nasihatname literature rested on strong moralist assumptions regarding the ‘just’ social order, Archigenes’ focus on the significance of income distribution is thoroughly secular and its importance is justified in amoral terms: Since the main goal of the science of political economy is to expose how the general welfare of society could be maximized, there is no better way to increase wealth in a sustainable manner than to distribute resources fairly, without depriving the bulk of the society of its vital needs.[43] 

It is clear that the works of Malthus on population theory greatly influenced the author of Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye. Archigenes maintains that in spite of the existence of a generally positive correlation between population increase and the level of economic development[44], the delicate balance between natural resources and a country’s population ought not to be damaged. Although the output that could be appropriated from nature increases only in a limited manner, human needs run the risk of growing indefinitely; -a discrepancy which would cause disruption of the social order.[45] Such potential discrepancies, however, be prevented with an increase in agricultural productivity through an adoption of ‘scientific’ methods of production.

In accordance with Say’s utility theory of value, Archigenes argues that the total value of a good can be derived from its utility for the consumer, which is realized within the realm of exchange[46]. In addition to the degree to which a certain good is ‘useful’ for human needs and necessities, the relative abundance or scarcity is what ultimately determines the value of that particular good.[47] Although the author elaborates on wage and labor elsewhere in the book, nowhere does he try to incorporate labor into the process of value-creation. In fact, the way Archigenes constructs its explanatory framework for the realm of production and how production is linked to value-creation and industrial mechanization is further indicative of Say’s influence. For the author, industry is of fundamental importance and industrialization is recognized as the main catalyst behind economic development.[48] Just as Say, “enraptured with the high productivity of machines, attributed the ability to create new value to the machines themselves”[49], Archigenes shares the Frenchman’s fascination with the mechanization process. It is for the author, machinery that endows a country with economic as well as intellectual progress.[50] Mechanization would lead to increase in productive capacities and a rise in the standard of living.[51] There is a direct link of causality built between industrialization and economic development and Archigenes does not elaborate on the position human labor assumes within the framework of value creation.

In line with the general climate of the period, Archigenes is strongly opposed to barriers against the free circulation of goods across borders and monopolistic practices over national and international trade. Since monopolies only work to the material benefit of a tiny of group of people, the author contends that it limits the majority of the population to access to basic goods by causing an artificial increase in prices.[52] Echoing Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, Archigenes argues that international trade was mutually beneficial for participating countries.[53] 

More than being a simple translation of Rossi’s work, Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye is an adaptation of the Say-Rossi line to the Ottoman realities. Time and again, the author comments on the necessity of improving the transportation network of the country which is in a bad shape[54] and, in line with the already established consensus, defends monetary stability and assumes a negative position vis-à-vis the banknotes.[55]

6. Concluding Remarks

Parallel to the significant advances made in our understanding of the initial phase of expansion of globalizing capitalism from Western Europe to the rest of the world in the nineteenth century, the post-World War II decades saw an immense proliferation in scholarly works on the transmission of economic ideas in the modern world. Despite such progress, students of modern Ottoman economic thought continue to deal with both the legacy of the early Weberian imprint on the literature and the scant output in the field in terms of transcriptions of Ottoman works and production of revisionist theories regarding the classical Ottoman economic outlook.  The gap between contemporary global academic developments in the field and existing studies on the pillars upon which the economic perspective of the Ottoman state and society rose before and after the advent of European influence is enormous and deeply troubling. Although, thanks to the pioneering work of Zafer Toprak, we know a great deal about the Listian ‘protectionist reaction’ that has erupted against the legacy of the Tanzimat era during the ‘twilight’ of the Empire, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the forerunners of economic liberalism in the Ottoman Empire in order to grasp the ancestral links that have linked the mindset of the Ottoman statesmen and intellectuals with that of the currents of liberalism in Europe.

In this study, we have tried to summarize the basic arguments of Sarantis Archigenes while briefly dealing with the shortcomings of the existing literature on Ottoman economic thought and providing a preliminary reaction to the established wisdom that holds that the Ottoman economic thought rationalized at a fairly later stage than Europe. Archigenes’ Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye, being one of the earliest books written by an Ottoman which concerned itself with the ‘scientific’ study of economic phenomena, gives us certain hints regarding the specific form of economic liberalism that seems to have acquired a wide appeal among Ottoman intellectuals in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. The adoption of Say’s interpretation of Smithian economics is, we assume, not accidental and cannot be explained merely by referring to the French cultural and linguistic hegemony across the continent. The works of Say, undoubtedly, were appealing to the Ottoman intellectuals of the era due to the clarity and simplicity of its language[56] -which is itself the reason why he has earned the reputation of a ‘populizer/vulgarizer’. One fundamental reason for this choice, however, is to be found in the way in which Say rid the Smithian economics of its Ricardian influences which has emphasized and advanced the ‘positive’ aspect of Smith’s theory, namely the labor theory of value. Labor theory of value, from its inception onwards, posed serious difficulties for liberal theorists because the theory “could not, in the end, be maintained without the introduction of some non-economic postulate, such as the doctrine of exploitation”.[57] Since Ricardo too, could not lead his extensive elaboration on the theory to its logical outcome (namely, the conceptualization of profit as a portion of the value created by the workers’ labor[58]; hence surplus appropriation and exploitation), by 1830s, labor theory of value was considered to be ridden with serious contradictions. What Say did was to take a step forward and abandon the whole framework. Value, now assumed to be derived from the utility of the manufactured good, was free of any potentially disturbing implications; such as the idea that what actualizes value is in fact labor that is poured into the production process. Therefore, Say’s reading of Smith constituted a safe haven not only for liberal political economists of mid-nineteenth century Europe, but also for many ‘aspiring’ intellectuals of the peripheralizing countries who, on their countries’ path towards modernization, wished to bypass the destructive forces and social perils unleashed by industrialization. Archigenes led the way in the Ottoman Empire.

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_________ (2002). “Küreselleşme Çağında Osmanlı Ekonomisi, 1820-1914,” Türkler, Hasan Celal Güzel, Kemal Çiçek, Salim Koca (ed.), cilt: 14, Ankara: Yeni Türkiye Yayınları.

_________ (2002). “The Great Ottoman Debasement, 1808-1844: A Political Economy Framework,” in Histories of the Modern Middle East, New Directions, Israel Gershoni, Hakan Erdem, Ursula Woköck (ed.), Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

_________ (2000). “Osmanlı Ekonomisinde Devlet Müdahaleciliğine Yeniden Bakış,” Toplum ve Bilim, 83: 133-145

_________ (1998). “Geniş İmparatorlukta Para Politikası: Devlet Ne Kadar Müdahaleciydi, Ne Kadar Güçlüydü?,” in Osmanlıdan Cumhuriyete: Problemler, Araştırmalar, Tartışmalar, İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları

_________ (1992). “Anatolia and Egypt During the Nineteenth Century: A Comparison of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment,” New Perspectives on Turkey, 7: 37-56.

_________ (1988). “The Ottoman Empire in Comparative Perspective,” Review, 11-3: 127-149.

_________ (1988), “150. Yılında Baltalimanı Ticaret Anlaşması,” Tarih ve Toplum, 60: 38-41.

Quataert, Donald (1993). Ottoman Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Revolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rubin, Isaac Ilyich (1989). A History of Economic Thought, New York: Pluto Press.

Roll, Eric (1983). A History of Economic Thought, London: Faber and Faber.

Sayar, Ahmed Güner (2000). Osmanlı İktisat Düşüncesinin Çağdaşlaşması, İstanbul: Ötüken. 

Schumpeter, Joseph (1954). History of Economic Analysis, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Spengler, Joseph J. (1964). “Economic Thought of Islam: Ibn Khaldun,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 6-3:268-306.

Tezcan, Baki (2010). The Second Ottoman Empire, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Tribe, Keith (2003). “Historical Schools of Economics: German and English,” in The History of Economic Thought, Warren J. Samuels,  Jeff E. Biddle & John Davis (ed.), Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. 

Ülgener, Sabri F. (1981). İslam, Tasavvuf ve Çözülme Devri İktisat Ahlakı, İstanbul: Der Yayınları

Veinstein, Gilles (1991). “On the Çiftlik Debate,” in Landholding and Commercial Agriculture in the Middle East, Çağlar Keyder & Faruk Tabak (ed.), Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

[1] Reşat Kasaba, The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy, (Albany: SUNY Press, 1988), pp. 41.

[2] For elaborate discussions on the incorporation of the Ottoman economy into global markets and the parallel process of peripheralization, see Ibid., pp. 4-9; Şevket Pamuk, Osmanlı Ekonomisinde Bağımlılık ve Büyüme 1820-1913, (İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2005), pp. 1-10; Şevket Pamuk, “Küreselleşme Çağında Osmanlı Ekonomisi, 1820-1914”, Türkler, cilt: 14, ed. Hasan Celal Güzel, Kemal Çiçek, Salim Koca, (Ankara: Yeni Türkiye Yayınları, 2002), pp. 241-252; Şevket Pamuk, “The Ottoman Empire in Comparative Perspective”, Review, vol. 11, no. 3 (1988), pp. 127-149; Çağlar Keyder, Türkiye’de Devlet ve Sınıflar (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2004), pp. 39-71 and Çağlar Keyder, “Dünya Ekonomisi İçinde Çin ve Osmanlı İmparatorluğu; Kolonyal Olmayan Periferileşmeye İki Örnek”, in Toplumsal Tarih Çalışmaları (Ankara: Dost, 1983).

[3] Şevket Pamuk, “The Great Ottoman Debasement, 1808-1844: A Political Economy Framework”, Histories of the Modern Middle East, New Directions, ed. Israel Gershoni, Hakan Erdem, Ursula Woköck, (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002), pp. 21-36; Şevket Pamuk, “From Debasement to External Borrowing: Changing Forms of Deficit Finance in the Ottoman Empire, 1750-1914”, Monetary and Fiscal Policies in South-East Europe, ed. Şevket Pamuk and Roumen Avramov, (Sofia: Bulgarian National Bank, 2006), pp. 7.

[4] Halil İnalcık, “Tanzimat’ın Uygulanması ve Sosyal Tepkileri”, Tanzimat -Değişim Sürecinde Osmanlı İmparatorluğu, ed. Halil İnalcık, Mehmet Seyitdanoğlu, (Ankara: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 2012), pp. 175; Yavuz Cezar, Osmanlı Maliyesinde Bunalım ve Değişim Dönemi, (İstanbul: Alan Yayıncılık, 1986), pp. 305-307.

[5] Ahmed Güner Sayar, Osmanlı İktisat Düşüncesinin Çağdaşlaşması, (İstanbul: Ötüken, 2000), pp. 47; Eyüp Özveren, “Ottoman economic thought and economic policy in transition -Rethinking the nineteenth century”, Economic Thought and Policy in Less Developed Europe, ed. Michales Psalidopoulos and Maria Eugénia Mata, (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 137-140.

[6] It ought to be noted that these attempts generally revolve around the limitations of Weber’s description of Islam as a static entity; rather than proposing a total departure from the Weberian paradigm. The components of the Weberian analytical framework continue to echo in contemporary works on Ottoman economic mentality. For an example, see Sabri F. Ülgener, İslam, Tasavvuf ve Çözülme Devri İktisat Ahlakı, (İstanbul: Der Yayınları, 1981).

[7] For notable examples, see Sabri F. Ülgener, İslam, Tasavvuf ve Çözülme Devri İktisat Ahlakı, (İstanbul: Der Yayınları, 1981); Ahmed Güner Sayar, Osmanlı İktisat Düşüncesinin Çağdaşlaşması, (İstanbul: Ötüken, 2000); Diren Çakmak, Osmanlı İktisat Düşüncesinin Evrimi -Societas ve Universitas Gerilimi, (İstanbul: Libra, 2011).

[8] For an important contribution to comparative studies in this issue area, see Yakup Akkuş, “Osmanlı ve Avrupa’nın İktisat Politikaları Üzerine Karşılaştırmalı Bir Analiz (XIV. Ve XV. Asırlar)”, İstanbul Üniversitesi İktisat Fakültesi Maliye Araştırmaları Konferansları Dergisi, no: 52 (2009), pp. 107-140. Also see Baki Tezcan, The Second Ottoman Empire, (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 81-91.

[9] For the sake of our discussion, we will not discuss the principle of ‘traditionalism’. For a detalied analysis, see Mehmet Genç, “Osmanlı İktisadi Dünya Görüşünün İlkeleri”, Sosyoloji Dergisi, vol:3, no:1 (1988), pp. 175-185.

[10] Ibid., pp. 178.

[11] Mehmet Genç, “19. Yüzyılda Osmanlı iktisadi dünya görüşünün klasik prensiplerindeki değişmeler”, Divan Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi, no: 6 (1999), pp. 1.

[12] For a detailed discussion of the ‘selective interventionism’ thesis, see Şevket Pamuk, “Osmanlı Ekonomisinde Devlet Müdahaleciliğine Yeniden Bakış”, Toplum ve Bilim, no: 83 (2000), pp. 133-145; Şevket Pamuk, “Geniş İmparatorlukta Para Politikası: Devlet Ne Kadar Müdahaleciydi, Ne Kadar Güçlüydü?”, in Osmanlıdan Cumhuriyete: Problemler, Araştırmalar, Tartışmalar, (İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1998), pp. 33-43.

[13] Mehmet Genç, “Ottoman Industry in the Eighteenth Century: General Framework, Characteristics, and Main Trends”, Donald Quataert (ed.), Manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey 1500-1950, (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), pp.63.; Eyüp Özveren, “Ottoman economic thought and economic policy in transition -Rethinking the nineteenth century”, in Economic Thought and Policy in Less Developed Europe, ed. Michales Psalidopoulos and Maria Eugénia Mata, (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 130 -see footnote 3.

[14] Ibid., pp. 132.

[15] It should be remembered that provisionist and anti-mercantilist policies were not specific to the Middle Eastern political landscape and were actually practiced widely in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. See, Şevket Pamuk, “Osmanlı Ekonomisinde Devlet Müdahaleciliğine Yeniden Bakış”, Toplum ve Bilim, no: 83 (2000), pp. 144.

[16] As a typical example, see Halil İnalcık, Turkey and Europe in History, (İstanbul: Eren, 2006), pp. 125.

[17] Ahmed Güner Sayar, Osmanlı İktisat Düşüncesinin Çağdaşlaşması, (İstanbul: Ötüken, 2000), pp. 67.

[18] Robert Brenner, “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe”, Past & Present, no:75 (1976), pp. 58. Whereas for instance both the French and Ottoman states did everything in their capabilities to reproduce petty peasant proprietorship in the land for centuries to come, Prussian and Russian states emerged and grew in a symbiotic relation with their respective big landowning aristocracies.

[19] For more information, see Isaac Ilyich Rubin, A History of Economic Thought, (New York: Pluto Press, 1989), pp. 89-150.

[20] Bruce McGowan, “Ayanlar Çağı, 1699-1812”, in Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Ekonomik ve Sosyal Tarihi, ed. Halil İnalcık and Donald Quataert, (İstanbul: Eren, 2004), pp. 804; Şevket Pamuk, “Bağımlılık ve Büyüme”, pp. 244; Gilles Veinstein, “On the Çiftlik Debate”, in Landholding and Commercial Agriculture in the Middle East, (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991), ed. Çağlar Keyder and Faruk Tabak, pp. 47-53.

[21] Karl Polanyi, Ibid., pp. 135-149. The early forms the liberal theoretical activity in Britain took under the works of Smith and Ricardo, only reached its doctrinal maturity in the 1830s through a radicalization of such tendencies within the context of the widespread economic panic of the early nineteenth-century. Moreover, classical economic theory could be considered as the first coherent ‘school’ in the history of economics: “Mercantilism was neither a scientific school nor a scientific theory -there were then no schools at all in our sense of the word”. See, Joseph Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), pp. 39.

[22] Şevket Pamuk, “150. Yılında Baltalimanı Ticaret Anlaşması”, Tarih ve Toplum, no: 60 (1988), pp. 39. Despite the obvious significance of the treaty and the general tendency in both academic and popular literature to identify it as the primary source of subsequent Ottoman economic subordination and the destruction of Ottoman local industries, an overwhelming body of macroeconomic evidence regarding the Ottoman balance of trade and the state of local manufacturing output from the late eighteenth century onward contradicts the apocalyptic qualities attributed to the treaty. Not only does the volume of Anglo-Ottoman trade (the biggest trade partner of the Ottoman Empire throughout most of the nineteenth century) seem to have picked up an enormous growth trend well before the signing of the treaty (in the aftermath of Napoleonic Wars, from 1820s onward), but also, it is clear by now that certain local manufacturing industries have managed to adapt to the changing trends in the global economy. For further analysis, see Edward C. Clark, “The Ottoman Industrial Revolution”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, no: 5 (1974), pp. 65; Şevket Pamuk, “Anatolia and Egypt During the Nineteenth Century: A Comparison of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment”, New Perspectives on Turkey, No: 7 (1992), pp. 39-40; Roger Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy 1800-1914, (New York: I.B. Tauris, 1993), pp. 84-87; Suraiya Faroqhi, Artisans of Empire, (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2009), pp. 186-207.; Şevket Pamuk, “Küreselleşme Çağında Osmanlı Ekonomisi, 1820-1914”, Türkler, cilt: 14, ed. Hasan Celal Güzel, Kemal Çiçek, Salim Koca, (Ankara: Yeni Türkiye Yayınları, 2002), pp. 245-247; Donald Quataert, Ottoman Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Revolution, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 167.

[23] Eyüp Özveren, Ibid., pp.134.

[24] Mehmet Nuri Güler, “Günümüzde İktisat (Ekonomi) Biliminin Adlandırılma Problematiği”, İslami Araştırmalar Dergisi, Vol: 18 No:4 (2005), pp. 379-380; Ahmed Güner Sayar, Ibid., pp. 64.

[25] Joseph J. Spengler, “Economic Thought of Islam: Ibn Khaldun”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol: 6 No:3 (1964), pp. 269.

[26] F. Samime İnceoğlu, “Tanzimat’ta bir düşünür ve bürokrat: Münif Paşa ve iktisat tasavvuru”, Divan Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi, no: 19 (2005), pp. 233; Joseph J. Spengler, Ibid., pp. 276.

[27] Ahmed Güner Sayar, Ibid., pp. 190; Eyüp Özveren, Ibid., pp. 135. Alexandre Blacque’s supervision of the ‘Le Moniteur Ottoman’ seems to have played a pivotal role in diffusing the principles of economic liberalism among Ottoman ruling elite.

[28] It is known that the first Turkish-written work on economics that seems to imply a degree of acquaintance on the part of its author with theoretical works on political economy is a certain anonymous tract called “Risâle-i Tedbîr-i Ümrân-ı Mülkî” which is authored in the 1830s. See İlber Ortaylı, “Osmanlılarda İlk Telif İktisat Elyazması”, Yapıt, No: 46 (1983), pp. 37-44.

[29] Eyüp Özveren, Ibid., pp.136.

[30] Ahmed Güner Sayar, Ibid., pp. 356.

[31] For vulgar economics and a detailed analysis of Say’s appropriation and transformation of Smithian economics, see Isaac Ilyich Rubin, Ibid., pp. 301-306.

[32] This isolation  having been conditioned mostly by the specific line of economic development Britain has been going through -as opposed to continental Europe. Karl Polanyi, Ibid., pp. 111-129.

[33] Keith Tribe, “Historical Schools of Economics: German and English”, in The History of Economic Thought, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), ed. Warren J. Samuels,  Jeff E. Biddle & John Davis, pp. 218-219; Ahmed Güner Sayar, Ibid., pp. 270; F. Samime İnceoğlu, Ibid., pp. 241.

[34] Eric Roll, A History of Economic Thought, (London: Faber and Faber, 1983), pp. 318. For more on the relationship between Say and Smith, see Evelyn Forget, “J.-B. Say and Adam Smith: An Essay in the Transmission of Ideas”, The Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol:26 No:1 (1993), pp. 121-133.

[35] Eric Roll, Ibid., pp. 319.

[36] Evelyn Forget, Ibid., pp. 128.

[37] Whereas “Ricardo understood perfectly well that machines and the forces of nature which they set in motion, though they may raise technical efficiency of labor and thereby augment the quantity of use values that this labor can manufacture per unit of time, nevertheless create no exchange value.” Isaac Ilyich Rubin, Ibid., pp. 251. The contemporary significance of Say’s divergence lies in the fact that his abandonment of the labor theory of value paved the way for the emergence of a classical value theory which is “labor-free” and one that continues to dominate mainstream economics today.

[38] Denis P. O’Brien, “Classical Economics”, in The History of Economic Thought, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), ed. Warren J. Samuels,  Jeff E. Biddle & John Davis, pp. 116.

[39] Following information on Archigenes’ life is derived from Cemal Kozanoğlu, “Geçen Yüzyıldan bir İstanbul Rumu: Dr. Sarandi Arhiyenis”, Toplumsal Tarih Vol: 2 No:9 (1994), pp. 38-39; M. Erdem Özgür & Hamdi Genç, “An Ottoman Classical Political Economist: Sarantis Archigenes and his Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye”, Middle Eastern Studies Vol: 47 No:2 (2011), pp. 329-342.

[40] “..işbu tel’îf-i mücmelün inşâsına ittihâz-ı esâs olunan Rosi nâm mu’allim-i fâzıl bir gün tasarrufât-ı mülkiyye dersine şürû’ eylediği vakitde bu vechile bast-ı makâl eylemişdür ki..”, Serandi Arşizen, Tasarrufât-ı Mülkiye, (İstanbul: Kitabevi, 2011), pp. 12.

[41] Although not a direct translation, Archigenes’ work draws heavily from Rossi’s Cours d’économie politique, published in 1840. It should also be noted that Rossi, among European scholars of political economy, was a minor figure with no novel contributions to the field. For our purposes in this study, it would be safe to say that Rossi was basically in agreement on almost all of the arguments put forward by his predecessor, Jean-Baptiste Say.

[42] M. Erdem Özgür & Hamdi Genç, Ibid., pp. 331;

[43] “Her milletün hâl-i gınâ ve serveti fakat bir sınıfınun ma’mûriyyetine mevkûf olmayup heyet-i mecmû’a-i nâsun cemî’ urûk ve a’sâb-ı bedeniyyesine dahi sârî ve münteşir olmak gerekdür”. Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 22. Archigenes even goes on to argue that countries should satisfy the basic intellectual necessities of their citizens: “cemî’ evlâd u ıyâl ashâbı havâyic-i mâddiye bâbında lâzıme-i me’mûniyyetlerinden mâ’adâ ba’zı hâcât-ı akliyye ve edebiyyenün îfâsı kudretinde dahi bulunmak gerekdür”. Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 21-22.

[44] “bir memleketün i’mârı aded-i nüfûsunun teksîrine mevkûfdur.” Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 14.

[45] “Arzun hâsılatı ser’î ve mahdûd bir ilerüleme sûretiyle tezâyüd bulmakda ve bi’l-akis insânun kuvvet-i müvellidesi vech-i esra’ ve nâ-mahdûd ile ilerüye varmakdadur ve bu vech üzre bir vakit olabilür ki emr-i muvâzene kavânîn-i tasarrufiyye ma’rifetiyle hâli üzre ibkâ olunmadığu sûretde münfesih olmak lâzım gelür. (…) Aded-i nüfûs ilerü geçmekde ve hâl-i tevakkufda bulunan hâsılât-ı arz nüfûs-ı insânun harb ü vegâ ve kaht u galâ ve emrâz-ı şamile gibi hâlât-ı hâile-i felâket-ü musîbet arasından girü kalmasına bâdi-i mecbûriyyet olmakdadur”. Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 16.

[46] It should be noted that Archigenes does not make a distinction between use value and exchange value.

[47] “Mâ-i lezîz ol mertebe umûmiyyü’ş-şümûldür ki sakâsı zahmetinden mâ’adâ bir ferdün ana bir para virdiği yokdur ma’a-mâfih nedreti vukû’ında satun alınması muktezîdür”. Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 26.

[48] “Sınâ’at-ı destkâriyyeden mahrûm olan memleketün ahâlisi fakîrü’l-hâl ve nâkısu’l-me’nûsiyye olmakda ve bi’l-akis sınâ’at-ı mezkûre bereketiyle ma’mûr u âbâdân olan eyâletün sekenesi serî‘an kesb-i yesâr u mûnisiyyet itmekde oldukları derkâr ise de”. Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 46.

[49] Isaac Ilyich Rubin, Ibid., pp. 250.

[50] M. Erdem Özgür & Hamdi Genç, Ibid., pp. 334; “âlât-ı lâzıme müstahzar olmadığı halde toprağı nâkıs âletler ilte karışdırmak ve buğdayı insân eliyle müteharrik iki taş arasında ezmek ve li-ecli’l-ihtimâ kendülerine topraktan kulübeler yapmak (…) ve’l-hâsıl kelb-i bahrî gibi ta’ayyüş ile yaban âdemi hâlinde kalmak gerekdür. Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 50.

[51] M. Erdem Özgür & Hamdi Genç, Ibid., pp. 334-5.

[52] Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 15 & 63-64.

[53] Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 55.

[54] Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 71-77.

[55] Serandi Arşizen, Ibid., pp. 78-80.

[56] “Mösyö Say gibi ilm-i mebhusun mesal-i esasiyesini az lakırdı ile ifade ve beyan eylemiş olan müellif nadir bulunur”. Cited by, Ahmed Güner Sayar, Ibid., pp. 270.

[57] Eric Roll, Ibid., pp. 318.

[58] Isaac Ilyich Rubin, Ibid., pp. 320.


State Planning Organization at the Juncture of Bureaucracy and Politics (1960-1978): A Reappraisal

Posted in Politik Ekonomi, Türkiye Toplumsal Formasyon by Dead FM on Haziran 17, 2011

“A plan is many things: it is a charter; it is in some contexts a discussion document; it is also a directive. Usually it attempts to achieve multiple goals.” (IDS, 1976: 41)

1.  Introduction and Overview of the Turkish Planning Experience

The fundamental dynamic that has shaped the capitalist world economy throughout the expansionary period following the Second World War was the tendency of manufacturing capital to ‘go global’ (Keyder, 1976: 31). Contrary to common assumptions regarding the existence of a supposed dichotomy between such globalizing tendencies and the inward-oriented development strategies prevalent in the Third World in this era, it is our contention that this global tendency found a complementary dynamic in less developed capitalist countries whereby the emphasis on strategic state interventionism in the markets through an active control on trade links, key relative prices and an enhanced role for the state in devising domestic demand-oriented policymaking in national economies came to be the dominant policy paradigm. Within this framework of new allegiances, the globalized manufacturing capital allied with the domestic industrialists of peripheral formations [mostly composed of former representatives of commercial bourgeoisie (Buğra, 2003: 92)] oriented toward the production of consumer durables either through license agreements or joint ventures. Overall, “through the unrestricted access to a protected domestic market that only the state could provide, the import substitution industrialization strategy offered the manufacturing sector potential for rapid growth and, both economically and politically, a means of increasing and consolidating its relative importance” (Barkey, 1990, s. 60). In this framework, the state mainly fulfilled the function of laying the groundwork of the institutional arrangement necessary for such collaboration between the globalized and domestic industrial capital while pursuing direct and indirect methods of intervention alternatively and simultaneously.

It was in this period that the idea of economic development strategies ought to be guided by medium-to-long-term projections based on rational state-led planning emerged as an appealing alternative to the haphazard pattern and form the path of capitalist development has taken in less developed countries of the capitalist bloc. Accordingly, the plan was envisaged to serve a coordinating and resource-allocative function in a ‘market based’ import substitution model based on “the domestic production of manufactured goods previously imported which takes as given the existing distribution of income and its associated figures (high demand for non-essential consumer durables and personal services by middle and upper income groups; depressed demand for essential mass consumption goods) and is heavily dependent on a variety of foreign inputs” (Nixson, 1981: 57). Given our abovementioned contention, it should be of no surprise that one of the primary advocates of initiating economic development along a planned path in this era was OECD and the organization strongly suggested Turkey that “persistent and continuous planning” should be at the top of Turkish governments’ economic priority list (Akçay, 2007: 66) (Gülalp, 1983: 53).

The inward-oriented accumulation model in Turkey had made substantial inroads already throughout the period between 1954 and 1960 during which the Democrat Party (DP) governments implemented import quotas and extended the volume of public investments in the coal, cement and sugar industries to counter the effects of the deteriorating balance of payments position and the shrinking of foreign exchange reserves while the Turkish Lira was devalued by 220% relative to the Dollar (Boratav, 1989: 86-88). Although a handful of initiatives aimed at providing the institutional framework of planned development were taken by the DP government after 1958 (the establishment of the Ministry of Coordination in 1958 and the invitation of the most prominent planning technician of the decade, Jan Tinbergen, exemplify this new orientation), it was the emergence of a new institutional framework governing the administration of the domestic economy after 1960 that marked the formalization of the import substitutive path of industrialization in Turkey.

State Planning Organization (SPO), founded four months after the military coup of May 1960, stood at a critical juncture where a small group of planners were intended to collaborate with some of the key traditional bureaucratic agencies, ministries and the government in order for the organization to come up with long-term perspective plans, five-year economic plans and to assist the government in drawing the outline of budgetary projections. The organization was bestowed upon a constitutional status in 1961 and between 1963-1978, SPO prepared three five-year development plans. These plans were constitutive of short-to-medium term projections on a wide range of macro dimensions; from level of GDP growth and general price levels to public and private disposable income, public and private savings, marginal savings ratios and investment levels. However, most of the projected targets in question could not be reached -some proving to be highly unrealistic given the domestic and external constraints, static models utilized in the development phase of the plans, a variety of exogenous effects and more significantly for our purposes here, due to the politicized nature of the preparation and implementation phases of plans. As the ensuing political and economic crisis of the regime deepened in the latter half of the 1970s, Turkish development planning, along with the particular accumulation model in Turkey, faced its eventual breakdown.

Thirty years after the demise of integrated and holistic planning in Turkey, questions about the failure of the plans to bring about the desired levels of economic and social development linger over our heads. Formal deficiencies inherent in the macro-models used in the plans, failure to shift to an export-oriented growth model due to structural rigidities and unanticipated dislocations in the domestic economy are usually considered as being the primary factors behind it (Orsan & Tayanç, 1981) (Nixson, 1981) (Yağcı, 1981) (Celasun, 1980) (Uygur, 1981). What we will rather try to evaluate in this brief analysis is the impact of another possible variable; namely, SPO’s relationship with other bureaucratic agencies and the political administration -while problematizing the issue of ‘state/bureaucratic autonomy’. We shall focus on the legal aspects of the web of institutional arrangements within which the planning organization was positioned and draw the general outline of bureaucratic factionalism and coordination problems between the organization and political administration.

2. Institutional Framework and Related Deficiencies

 “It is the duty of the State to encourage economic, social and cultural development by democratic processes and for this purpose to enhance national savings, to give priority to those investments which promote public welfare, and to draw up development projects.” (Constitution of the Turkish Republic, 1961)

 The definition of the state in the Turkish Constitution of 1961 revolved around its ‘social’ character. As opposed to the welfare states of industrialized countries, this accentuated emphasis was constitutive of a desire to equip the state with interventionist and transformative functions which were regarded as prerequisites for economic and social development. It is in light of this novel ‘touch’ that we should contextualize and evaluate the constitutionally defined organizational structure of SPO.

Despite many contesting voices among the junta leaders at the time, the constitution defined the position of the organization vis-à-vis the executive as that of an ‘advisory’ undersecretary. Interviews with the members of the ‘first generation’ of the planning bureaucracy reveal that many top-ranking officials in the junta administration were hesitant to accept a legal arrangement where the organization would possibly end up as a tool at the hand of the politicians whom they regard as being ‘unreliable’ (Kansu, 2004: 60) (Türkcan, 2010: 234) (Akçay, 2007, s. 78). Nevertheless, SPO was established as a body separate from all of the ministries and it stood at a middle point where cooperation between separate branches of the government and the ministries would be provided to ensure coordinated and informed movement in economic initiatives. SPO also assumed certain functions related to the monitoring of plans’ public sector measures and incentivizing duties in terms of bringing private sector activities in line with projections specified in the plans.

The Law no. 91 (Resmi Gazete, Devlet Planlama Teşkilâtının Kurulması Hakkında Kanun, 1960) which laid down the organizational structure of SPO, separated the agency into two branches: The Central Organization and the High Commission of Planning (HCP).  Central Organization consisted of three departments -Economic Planning Department, Social Planning Department and Coordination Department; whereas HCP was designed as the highest body of this arrangement where the prime minister, three ministers appointed by the prime minister, undersecretary of SPO and heads of the three planning departments met, discussed and finalized the content of the measures. It is noteworthy that this arrangement included a principle of equal representation for planners and the government -a principle, indicative of a desire on the part of the constituent assembly to introduce an institutional shield for the activities of the planning agency against the possibility of a unilateral political override of proposed measures.

The Law no. 77 (Resmi Gazete, Uzun Vadeli Planın Yürürlüğe Konulması ve Bütünlüğünün Korunması Hakkındaki Kanun, 1962) regulated the procedural details concerning the preparation and approval of the plans and included configurations aimed at strengthening the plan discipline. Concerning the procedural details, the law endowed SPO with a duty of preparing draft plans in line with the strategic orientations and aims of the government. The drafts would be discussed at HCP and the Council of Ministers until the plan was in ready shape to be sent to the Budget and Plan Commission of the parliament. The commission would then forward the plan to the Senate and the approval of the plan would be finalized at the parliament through the votes of the parliamentarians. The law also contained certain measures aimed at limiting the maximum amount of time to be spent at discussing the plan in parliamentary sessions and curtailed the rights of the MPs to intervene and propose revisions to the plan (Sezer, 1981: 171). Additionally, the law stipulated that any bill of law proposed to the parliament during the implementation phase of the plan and budgetary measures taken by the government must be in line with the projections of the respective plan and any related disagreement should be resolved in light of the reports drafted by the Plan Commission.

It is our belief that the combination and interplay of several of the legal regulations aimed at supervising the activity of SPO and drawing the legal boundaries of the organization’s relations with the government, combined with the particular way in which planning as an activity has generally been perceived by political leaders, the military and segments of the society throughout the 1960s worked in detriment to the planning practices from the onset. Although constitutional regulations limited the role of SPO to that of a ‘consultant’ and formalized the necessity of preparing the plans according to the aims and strategies of the incumbent government in the shape of a principle, the rights of the high-ranking planning bureaucrats for equal representation at the decision making mechanism of HCP signified the ambivalent structure of the organizational framework. Moreover, it seems that the perception of planning as a “mythical tool at the service of economic and social development” (Şaylan, 1981: 200) (Tüzün, 1981: 9) by parts of the military bureaucracy and various political leaders of the time contributed to the formation of a ‘planning ideology’ within the organization that conceived planning to be ‘above classes’ (Tekeli & Şaylan, 1979: 48). As we shall in the later sections, this aspect has become a major source of tension between the planning bureaucracy and representatives of the government at various critical junctures.

As a last point, it ought to be noted that despite the ambivalent situation which has risen out of the lack of harmonization between the legally defined functions of SPO and the procedural details governing the collaboration of SPO with governments, the legal framework supplied the activities with a sufficient degree of refinement necessary for involved actors to know their legal boundaries. The same cannot be said about the legal status of the plans. Five-year plans needed to have legislative approval for them to become operational. Yet, this approval did not endow the plan with the status of a law. Although the plan was legally defined as a document that determines the particular tools and principles put in force to guide the way in which resources were mobilized, there existed no single statute that actually provided a refined arrangement in which the degree of plan’s compulsory or indicative character would be ascertained by the actors (Sezer, 1981: 174). This resulted in much conceptual confusion as terms diverse as ‘administrative transaction’, ‘document with a law-like character’, ‘a norm between the constitution and  law’, ‘an ordinance-transaction with a force that of a law’ were used (Tan, 1976: 99-101) to denote the position of the plan within the Turkish legal system.

3. SPO and Bureaucratic Factionalism

State Planning Organization was the product and leading agent of a new institutional framework. To clarify, this framework refers to the specific form in which the bureaucratic administration was reorganized along the necessities of the inward-oriented accumulation model whereby the mechanisms of bureaucratic specialization was redefined, intra-bureaucratic division of labor reformed and the agencies oriented toward reproducing “the regularities in repetitive interactions” (North, 1986: 231). The establishment of SPO can be considered as the centralization of resource mobilization capabilities within a new bureaucratic-hierarchical composition. The emergence of the new institutional arrangement was not however an outcome of gradual institutional evolution. Subsequent to the protracted cruise of successive governments’ experimentations with certain forms of import substitution from 1930s onwards, it was the alliance between the military administration, top cadres of the Republican People’s Party and various domestic actors [even though the inflationist atmosphere of 1958-60 was advantageous for them, the industrial bourgeoisie became weary of the DP government’s haphazard incentive policies (Keyder, 2004: 187)] that gave birth to the legal ground and the bureaucratic arrangement of the new model immediately after a coup d’etat. The new institution was adopted ‘in a world already replete with institutions’ (Hall & Taylor, 1996: 953) and the reasons for bureaucratic-factional disputes within which the organization has found itself following its foundation ought to be analyzed in light of the overhaul of the institutional ancien regime.

In the new framework of bureaucratic division of labor, SPO possessed a privileged role and function at the heart of the resource mobilization processes. The legal structure furnished the organization with authorities that had been a part of the domain of various other bureaucratic agencies. Prior to the foundation of SPO, perhaps the key actor in the administration of the national economy was the Ministry of Finance. During the period before planning, the decision making practices concerning the fiscal and monetary policies, exchange and interest rates, and the determination of certain prices that have a direct bearing on the public sector production were dominated by the interaction between the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance (Akçay, 2007: 83-84). Whereas the new design introduced SPO and HCP into the picture and the decision making power over these critical issue areas was handed over to the formal decisions borne out of the discussions between HCP and the representatives of the government (see Appendix). Given the legal prerogative of SPO to decide on the outline and the specific items in annual budgets in collaboration with the government and the diminishing of the ministry’s leverage capabilities, the Ministry of Finance seemed to have clung to its rights over the province formerly under its jurisdiction -emblematized by the unwillingness of the bureaucratic layers of the Ministry to cooperate (Tan, 1981: 154).

Changes in the institutional setting can produce its own ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ within the framework of power disparities. Yet, “the losers do not necessarily disappear” and “for those who are disadvantaged by prevailing institutions, adapting may mean biding their time until conditions shift, or it may mean working within the existing framework in pursuit of goals different from -even subversive to- those of the institution’s designers” (Thelen, 1999: 385). The non-cooperationist attitude of the Ministry of Finance, as a loser who has been deprived of its former capabilities by the prevailing institutional regime in the post-1960 period could be read as a significant component of its adaptation. The Ministry, no doubt, disappeared from the picture: it merely adapted to the changing circumstances through various acts of defiance toward SPO.

The lukewarm character of the relationship between the ministry and SPO might also be attributed to the difference in the ‘norm systems’ that govern the two organizations (Şaylan, 1981: 197). Seen from this perspective, the varying degree of antagonism that marked the interactions between these organizations throughout the planned era could be conceptualized as a form of “informal constraint” (North, 1994: 18) that functioned as a marker of distinction between the two organizations and was symbolized by the different conventions and norms that govern the behavior of these. Without a doubt, the ‘growth orientation’ of SPO must have clashed with, what might be called, the traditional outlook of a Finance Ministry.

Other examples of bureaucratic factionalism include the occasional clashes between SPO and the Treasury; with the bureaucratic cadres of the Ministry of Industry regarding the distribution of incentives; certain problems with the managers of the state-owned enterprises regarding the resource allocation schemes and the monitoring of SOEs activities; and the non-cooperationist attitude of the State Institute of Statistics during the initial period following the establishment of SPO (Akçay, 2007: 198) (Şaylan, 1981: 197) (Kansu, 2004: 93) (Tan, 1976: 154).

4. SPO and Governments

“Governments will not have stable objectives, but the resolution and avoidance of social conflicts and the maintenance of their own authority are likely to be among their main preoccupations, with a consequential demotion of the development objective. The fragmentation of power, the implementation gap, and the large uncertainties surrounding many decisions seriously devalue the notion of optimization. The uncertainties and the fact of political instability also make for shorter time horizons than would be compatible with medium-term planning.” (Killick, 1976: 177)

Just as the prominence of SPO’s position within the new bureaucratic-institutional framework has caused much discomfort for a whole set of bureaucratic agencies, the primacy attached to its resource mobilization and consequently, rent distribution capabilities lay at the core of a whole set of conflicts between the organization and incumbent governments and stand as the fundamental dynamic behind the gradual transformation of SPO into a ‘technical bureau’ charged with planning governments’ investment policies (Ahmad, 1996: 267) (Sezer, 1981: 168). Whether such ‘democratization’ of the planning activity is a desirable principle or not is questionable. There exists however no doubt that the transformation of the internal organizational dynamics of SPO, the politicization of the agency through various mechanisms and the change concerning the framework that governs the mutual duties and responsibilities of the organization and the government toward one another contributed to a significant extent to the loss of prestige on the part of SPO and enthusiasm about planning in general. The mechanisms utilized in the process of the organization’s politicization also resulted in the formation of a cumbersome and ‘bureaucratized’ planning, decreasing levels of specialization and expertise within SPO and as a result, transformation of the organization into a highly dysfunctional unit -a situation which corresponds to the deep crisis context of the latter half of the 1970s.

The planning organization was the product of a military regime and an emergent bureaucratic framework which was marked by an apparent desire to amplify the relative power of certain bureaucratic organizations vis-à-vis civilian governments (Tüzün, 1981: 9) and provided some institutional safeguards against possible attempts at political encroachment into domains held in high esteem. To be sure (and as indicated in the second section), the formal legal structure of the organizational framework of planning represented an ambivalent situation where the ‘advisory’ functions of SPO did not show a high degree of match with the procedural details governing the agency’s relations with politicians. As such, it is not clear whether we can consider SPO as an autonomous technocratic unit. But it is evident that the period following the reinstitution of democracy in 1961 and especially the formation of three successive DP governments in the 1965-1971 period can easily be regarded as the primary reason as to why the planning organization did undergo the transformation it did. The democratization of the political scene both resulted in the manifestation of tensions between planners and politicians,     and created a suitable atmosphere where the governments can make advantage of the rent creation capabilities of the organization. The case of Law No. 933 epitomizes certain characteristics of this conflict.

4.1 A Case Study: Law No. 933    

In July 1967, six months after the appointment of the new undersecretary of SPO, Turgut Özal, by the prime minister Süleyman Demirel, a new law was passed at the parliament which stipulated the formation of a new department within the organization that would deal with the creation of incentive structures for manufacturer and licensing of particular incentives to specific applicants (DPT, 1973: 55). The establishment of such a department, contrary to assumptions regarding its novelty (Akçay, 2007: 127), can be considered as the creation of yet another mechanism whereby the funds created out of public sources are transferred to the private sector through various allocation structures -itself a fundamental component of market based import-substitutive accumulation model. Quite interestingly, throughout the initial seven years of SPO’s career, highly elaborate incentive structures have already existed (Kansu, 2004: 286) but the final decision making power regarding the allocation of incentives remained at the hands of the cabinet. In a way,  what the creation of this department brought about was the centralization of pre-existing incentive mechanisms and decision-making powers at the hands of SPO through which the distribution of rents could be handled at a relative ease -with a possible consequence of magnifying the volume of available rents. These mechanisms were strengthened, systematized and institutionalized while the scope of the incentive structure was expanded through the establishment of this department.

Perhaps one outcome of this development that is more significant for our purposes here is its effect on the politicization of SPO and the conflicts which arose out of the penetration of the planning agency into the ‘implementation’ sphere. In a way, there existed a dualism in this situation. As the rumors about corruption and cronyism in the department abounded (Akçay, 2007: 131), certain tensions between the organization and the Ministry of Industry related to the assignment of incentives erupted in this period.

4.2 Revisions to the Plans

Throughout the three separate preparation and implementation phases between 1963 and 1978, the three plans in question underwent serious revisions -either at HCP, immediately before being submitted to the legislature or after their approval. What is common to all of the three plans is the revision of their specific measures during the course of implementation. Although the governments harmonized the levels of public investment in their annual budgets with the five-year projections of the plans (which was a legal requirement), these levels were usually the first items in the budget to be loosed at times of increased fiscal constraints (Önder, 2007: 219). Given the fact that public investments were the primary component of plans, it could be argued that the result of the loss of budget-plan discipline by the relaxation of public investment measures was the reduction of plans’ efficiency.

As for the revisions made by the political administration at the HCP level, the most striking example is the near-complete overhaul of the measures presented in draft of the first plan. The draft included a proposition to introduce land tax (with a hope that the implementation of the tax would lead to a gradual land reform) and a reformation scheme for the Turkish taxation regime that aimed at expanding the scope of taxable items [it included previously tax-exempt activities such as agricultural production, transportation and custom duties (Akçay, 2007: 94)]. These measures were tightly bound up with the problem of providing a viable source of domestic financing for the implementation of the plan.  Yet, as a result of a strong opposition by some members of the cabinet (the most prominent one being Ekrem Alican, a landowner and leader of the New Turkey Party which participated in the second İnönü coalition) a significant portion of these propositions were either rejected or were subjected to broad revisions which rendered them meaningless to a considerable extent. Subsequent to the approval of the revised plan in the parliament, three of the leading bureaucrats at SPO resigned from their posts -citing the revisions as the main reason behind their decisions (Türkcan, 2010: 279).


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Where is Cuba going? Towards Capitalism or Socialism? — Jorge Martin

Posted in Güncel, Küba, Latin Amerika, Politik Ekonomi by Dead FM on Eylül 27, 2010

Uluslararası Marksist Eğilim bünyesinden çıkan serinkanlı ancak yerinde bir mesiyanik tehditkarlık barındıran oldukça faydalı bir makale:



On September 13, a statement by Cuba’s trade union (CTC) published in Granma announced a whole series of sweeping changes in the country’s economy. These measures are the result of the serious economic crisis affecting Cuba, which has been hit hard by the recession in world capitalism. This underlines Cuba’s dependence on the world market and the impossibility of “building socialism in one country”.

The most striking of the measures announced in the CTC statement was the cutting of 500,000 jobs in the state sector by March 2011, as part of a process of reducing one million jobs. Around 85% of Cuba’s workers, 5 million, are employed in the state sector, so this would mean firing 20% of these 10% within the next 6 months.

The statement further explained that these workers will have to move to the non-state sector, through an increase in licenses for self-employment and family run businesses, some workers taking over their small business units and running them through cooperatives, the leasing of state owned premises and businesses to be run by the workers themselves, etc.

Job losses

In the past, workers who were made redundant would receive their full basic wage until they were allocated to another job. But now these 100% subsidies will be limited to one month, after which the workers will receive a further benefit of 60% of their basic wage which will be prolonged in time according to the length of their previous employment: those who have worked up to 19 years for a month, or two months for those having worked between 20 and 25 years, three months for those accumulating 26 to 30 years, and for a maximum of five months for those having worked more than 30 years.

Moreover, those remaining in state sector jobs will have their pay linked to productivity, a measure which had been already announced by Raul Castro but which not all companies had implemented because of the deep economic crisis that the Cuban economy has gone through.

The statement also repeated points made previously by Raul Castro to the effect that “oversized social spending” has to be reduced, and that “excessive subsidies” and “unwarranted gratuities” had to be eliminated. This seems to announce a complete overhaul of the welfare state system, moving from universal benefits to means tested benefits. It will probably mean the elimination of the rationing card which gives all Cubans access to a basic basket of heavily subsidised goods, mainly food. The expansion of self-employed licenses in reality will mean the legalisation of a de facto situation in which many Cubans have been forced to make ends meet by getting involved in the black market.


For the first time, small private businesses will be allowed to hire waged labour, and they will have to pay social security contributions for workers they employ. Those who will take advantage of the expanded licenses for self-employment and family run businesses will have to pay into a new tax system, including 25% social security contributions and taxes on profits of between 40% (for restaurants) to 20% for those renting out rooms.

The state hopes to increase tax revenue on the self-employed and small business by 400%. There are already in Cuba 170,000 cuenta propistas self-employed people working legally and there is probably a similar amount in the black market. This is down from a peak of 210,000 during the opening up of the economy in the early 1990s.

Money wages in Cuba are relatively low, but Cubans receive heavily subsidised or free housing, transportation, education, healthcare and foodstuffs through the rationing card. The problem is that the social wage no longer allows Cubans to live and they have to do a large percentage of their basic shopping in convertible pesos (CUC) which are exchanged at 1 for every 24 Cuban pesos in which they receive their wages.

The CUC shops are run by the state and operate on the basis of high mark-ups as a way for the state to recover hard currency which Cubans obtain through remittances from abroad and their legal, semi-legal and illegal dealings with tourists.

Other measures announced recently include the extension of the duration of leases of land to foreign investors, from 50 to 99 years. This measure was explained as providing “better security and guarantees to the foreign investors” particularly in the tourist industry. There is already talk of Canadian companies building luxury resorts complete with 18-hole golf courses on the island.

Cuba at the mercy of the world market

The measures announced, and others that have already been announced or that are in the pipeline, threaten to increase inequality, develop the private accumulation of capital, seriously undermine the planned economy and start a very powerful process towards the restoration of capitalism. All of these measures are the result of the serious economic crisis that Cuba has been facing in the last two years.

Hotel Nacional in Havana. As we explained in an earlier article (Cuba 50 years later – part two), the Cuban economy is extremely dependent on the world market and as a result, suffers heavily from the movements of the capitalist economy. First, the price of oil and food increased massively in 2007-08. Cuba imports about 80% of all the food it consumes, a total of US$1,500 million, mainly from the US. Then, the price of nickel collapsed from a peak of US$24 per pound down to US$7 per pound in early 2010. As a result of these factors, the terms of trade fell by 38% in 2008 alone.

The world recession also affected negatively the important tourist industry and the remittances of Cubans abroad which amount to US$1,100 million. To all these negative factors we have to include the devastation caused by three hurricanes in 2008 which caused loses worth nearly US$10,000 million.

Cuba is now heavily dependent on the export of professional services (mainly doctors to Venezuela) for its income in hard currency which then allows it to purchase goods on the world market. This export of medical services is worth US$6,000 million a year, three times the income generated by tourism.

The combination of all these factors led to a record trade deficit of US$11,700 million in 2008 (up 70% from 2007) and a current account balance of payments deficit of over US$1,500 million in the same year (in comparison with a US$500 million surplus in 2007). Cuba is not a member of any international financial institution and in the context of the worldwide credit crunch and the US blockade it proved impossible to obtain any additional lines of credit. This led Cuba to default on its payments to foreign creditors by mid 2008 (Cuba’s foreign debt was US$17,820 million in 2007, or around 45% of GDP).

After having grown steadily in 2003-07, reaching peaks of 11.2% and 12.1% in 2005 and 2006, the rate of growth sharply contracted to 4.1% in 2008 and 1.4% in 2009. In 2008 the state had the biggest fiscal deficit of the decade, 6.7% of GDP, and was forced to implement a programme of adjustment, including a massive reduction in imports (including food).

All these figures paint a picture of a Cuban economy which has a very weak base and is heavily dependent on the world market. To summarise, you could say that Cuba exports raw materials (nickel), agricultural products (sugar), but mainly professional services (doctors), and receives income from tourism and the remittances. With the hard currency it earns, it has to import almost everything, from food to manufactured goods, not to speak of capital goods.

This really shows, not in a theoretical way, but in the cold language of economic facts, the impossibility of building socialism in one country. This was not possible in the Soviet Union, which after all, was a country spreading over a whole continent and with massive natural resources. It is even less possible in a small island 90 miles from the most powerful imperialist power on earth.

Collapse of Stalinism

What is truly amazing is the fact that the Cuban revolution has managed to resist after the collapse of Stalinism in the Soviet Union, on which it was completely dependent from an economic point of view (this is explained in more detail in Cuba 50 years later – part two). This is a testimony to the deep roots the Cuban revolution still has within the population. The so-called Special Period showed the determination of a whole people not to allow themselves to be enslaved again.

Crowd celebrating the Cuban Revolution on 26 July. So what attitude should we take to these proposals? It is true that, in itself, the opening of small businesses is not a negative measure. A planned economy does not need to nationalise everything, down to the last barber shop. This was always a Stalinist caricature. In Cuba the nationalisation of all small and medium enterprises took place as part of the “Revolutionary Offensive” in 1968, when 58,000 small businesses, mainly in the cities, were expropriated. Ice cream vendors, barber shops, shoe repair shops, etc, all were nationalised.

This was a completely unnecessary step, which only resulted in the creation of a further layer of bureaucracy to oversee and manage these really small productive units. In the transition towards socialism, it is inevitable that elements of capitalism will continue to exist alongside the elements of a socialist planned economy. That includes a certain number of small businesses, shops and small peasant plots, etc.

In itself, that should pose no threat to socialism, as long as the key points of the economy remain in the hands of the state, and the state and industry is in the hands of the working class. On that condition, and only on that condition, a small private sector could and should be allowed, as long as the state maintains firm control over the commanding heights of the economy.

In the 1920s the Russian revolution was forced to make concessions to private production (mainly in agriculture) and offer concessions to foreign capital, through the New Economic Policy. Lenin was even prepared to offer to lease parts of Siberia to foreign capitalists. Given the extreme poverty of the young Soviet state, the Bolsheviks had no means of developing the colossal mineral potential of that huge region.

In exchange for investment and foreign technology, both of which the Revolution lacked, Lenin was prepared to allow foreign businessmen to open factories and mines on Soviet territory, employ workers and make profits, on condition that they respected Soviet labour laws and paid taxes. But the prior condition for making such concessions was that the working class, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, maintained control of the state. In reality, these offers were rejected because the imperialists were determined to overthrow the Soviet state, not trade with it.

However, such historical analogies have definite limits and can be misleading. The truth is always concrete. It is not a question of repeating general truths about the transitional economy but of analysing concrete facts and trends. We have to ask ourselves the basic question: in the given historical context, what will the concrete results of these policies be for Cuba?

The first problem is that Cuba has an extremely weak economic basis. The second is that it is only a few miles from the most powerful capitalist economy in the world. The third is that, as a result of years of bureaucratic mismanagement, the state owned enterprises are in a very bad state. Last but by no means least, the workers have no sense of controlling the industries where they work, and therefore no interest in questions such as productivity, efficiency and so on. There is a general sense of malaise and discontent that can lead to a mood of alienation that can pose the most serious danger of all to the future of the Revolution.

Everybody agrees that the present situation cannot continue, that “something must change” and “something must be done”. The question of questions is:what is to be done?

Will these measures work?

The notion that the problems of the Cuban economy can be solved by promoting the private sector is a most serious error, and one that can pose serious dangers for the future of the Revolution. This is shown by experience. There have already been some test cases for the privatisation of small businesses, including the leasing out of barber shops and one taxi firm.

A tobacco plantation. The results have been uneven. Some barbers find that they cannot generate enough profits to afford the lease and tax they have to pay to the state, others are thriving. Taxi drivers in one firm where they are now forced to lease their vehicles from the company have complained that they have to work extremely long hours just to cover what they have to pay for the use of the taxi.

It is not clear how these businesses will be able to get credit or how efficiently they will be able to get supplies, etc. The experience of peasant cooperatives and private agricultural producers has not been very successful, as they have had to deal with an extremely bureaucratised state system for purchasing their produce, delays in payments, problems in accessing fertilisers and seeds, etc.

An official document refers to many of these newly created businesses collapsing within one year. This does not allow much room for optimism! Unlike the reforms in the 1990s this time private businesses will be allowed to employ waged labour. This will create a sizeable legal layer of private small capitalists: we are talking about 250,000 new licences on top of the existing 170,000. It is inevitable that this layer will develop its own interests and outlook.

A gulf will open up between the private and public sectors. In a situation where the state is not able to produce good quality industrial and manufactured goods, the private sector will tend to grow at the expense of the state sector. In other words, the capitalist elements will grow and the socialist elements will retreat. The idea that the state can keep the capitalist elements under control is utopian. To the degree that the private sector becomes stronger, the market elements will assert themselves.

Two contradictory and mutually exclusive tendencies will exist side by side. Sooner or later one of them must prevail. Which one? That sector will ultimately prevail which attracts most productive investment, and on that basis, succeeds in achieving a higher level of labour productivity and greater efficiency. The present moves to relax the restrictions on foreign investments will mean a rapid increase in the flow of foreign capital to the private sector, starting with tourism and spreading to other key sectors.

The battle between the two trends will not be won by ideological speeches and exhortations but by capital and productivity. Here the crushing weight of the capitalist world economy will prove decisive. The main threat to the planned economy does not come from a few taxi drivers or barber shops but from the penetration of the world market in Cuba and from those elements in the bureaucracy who, privately, favour the market economy as opposed to a socialist planned economy.

Let us speak frankly: There is a strong current amongst Cuban economists, which is advocating these measures because they are in favour of abandoning the planned economy altogether, introducing market mechanisms at all levels and opening up the country to foreign investment in all sectors. That is, they are in favour of capitalism.

These people are basically proposing a “Chinese way”, although, because of the strong criticism which has developed in Cuba against China amongst left wing intellectuals, they prefer to talk of the “Vietnamese model”. The change of terminology is irrelevant. A rose with any other name will smell as sweet. And capitalism with any other name will smell as bad.

Regardless of how they want to describe their model, the proposals are clear. “The state should no longer plan the economy but regulate it”, “manufacturing and agriculture should be opened to foreign investment”, etc. No doubt the intentions of those proposing these measures are of the best. But the way to Hell is paved with good intentions, and the restoration of capitalism would be Hell for the people of Cuba, even if some do not yet recognise the fact.

Long ago, Fidel Castro rejected the “Chinese model” because it was just another name for the restoration of capitalism. But even if we were to consider this option, it would immediately become clear that it cannot apply to Cuba. The concrete conditions are completely different. Cuba is a small island with a small population and few resources. China is a vast territory with over a billion inhabitants, many resources and a powerful industrial base.

The huge Chinese peasantry has provided China’s capitalist enterprises with a vast reserve of cheap labour, which has constantly supplied the factories of Guandong with workers who work under virtual slave conditions for very low wages. The only thing that a Cuban variant would share is the last: low wages.

A capitalist Cuba would resemble neither China nor Vietnam, but rather El Salvador or Nicaragua after the victory of the counter-revolution. It would soon revert to a similar situation that existed before 1959 – one of misery, degradation and semi-colonial dependence. And irrespective of the intentions of those responsible, the measures which have already started to be implemented, will unleash a powerful movement towards the restoration of capitalism, which would destroy all the conquests of the revolution. It is the entry to a very slippery slope, and once it starts it will be difficult to stop.

Corruption and bureaucracy

But, some will say, we cannot continue as before! No, we cannot. But before we prescribe the medicine it is first necessary to have an accurate diagnosis of the disease. If we think that the problem is one that is inherent in the nationalisation of the means of production, then we must be in favour of privatisation and market economics. But we do not accept that this is the case.

The superiority of a nationalised planned economy was demonstrated by the colossal successes of the USSR in the past. These successes were undermined by the bureaucratic distortions that flowed from Stalinism and the corruption, swindling and mismanagement that are the inevitable consequence of a bureaucratic regime. Over a long period these things cancelled out the gains of the planned economy and undermined it. That is what led to the collapse of the USSR, not any inherent defect of central planning.

All those in Cuba who consider themselves communists and are worried as they see the gains of the revolution being endangered should study the lessons of the degeneration of the Russian revolution. It was the parasitic existence of the bureaucracy, itself a consequence of the isolation of the revolution in a backward country, which finally led to the restoration of capitalism with the catastrophic social collapse which accompanied it. The bureaucratic planning of the economy led to wastage, mismanagement and corruption. Finally the bureaucracy decided to become themselves the owners of the means of production.

The problem of corruption and bureaucracy in Cuba has already been denounced by Fidel Castro himself, in an important speech to university students in 2005. More recently the matter was taken up in a sharp way by Esteban Morales, honorary director of the Centre for US Studies at the University of Havana. In an article published on the website of the National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC), he clearly identified the main counter-revolutionary threat in Cuba today:

“We can have no doubt that the counter-revolution, little by little, is taking positions at certain levels of the State and Government. Without a doubt, it is becoming evident that there are people in positions of government and state who are girding themselves financially for when the Revolution falls, and others may have everything almost ready to transfer state-owned assets to private hands, as happened in the old USSR.”

He explained how the problem with the black market and corruption is not so much that there are people outside the main shopping centres offering products which are not found in the shelves of the shops, but rather those who are supplying them. In a further article, Morales explains how:

“The real corrupt people are not so much those who sell powdered milk, not even those who sell durable goods outside the very doors of the shopping centres, but those who from their positions in the government and the state, control and open the doors of the warehouses.”

Morales explains how corruption at all levels of the bureaucracy is in fact more dangerous than the so-called dissidents, which have no roots or support amongst the population, since:

“the same people, which dissidents have no impact upon right now, if they are affected by a mood of corruption, mistrust in the leadership of the country, if they witness immorality in the handling of their resources (because the resources belong to the people, and that should not be just a discourse), amidst a situation of economic crisis, which has not been overcome, will become demoralised and will weaken their resistance in the political struggle.”

Shortly after publishing his original article, entitled “Corruption: The true counter-revolution?” Morales was expelled from the Communist Party, despite protests from the members of his local branch, and his article was removed from the UNEAC website.

As he himself explains, Esteban Morales is a convinced communist with more than 50 years of struggle behind him. He then wrote a further article in which he denounced these methods since they have a demoralising effect on revolutionaries and communists. He insisted on linking the problem of corruption to the question of bureaucracy and made an appeal to the rank and file members of the party to wage a campaign against both.

He argued that the rank and file organisations of the party should not limit their actions and discussions to their local area, but take on the problems as a whole. The current situation, he said:

“prevents the rank and file organisations of the party from projecting their criticisms to the tops, which would be very important in terms of control of the activity of the higher bodies by the rank and file”. He continued by pointing out that “the most important part of the Party is its membership, not its leading bodies at any level. Such deformation was paid for dearly in the USSR”.

Clearly, Morales, is addressing one of the central aspects of the problems facing the Cuban revolution. When Raul Castro took over, he opened up a widespread national debate about the future of the revolution. Hundreds of thousands, millions of people, participated in the debate and contributed their ideas on how to improve the revolution. This was a debate that generated genuine enthusiasm. However, there was no real mechanism through which the people who participated could decide the outcome of this debate. Thousands of proposals were made, sent up, but nobody heard about them anymore. In reality it was not so much a genuine process of decision making, but rather a consultation which is very different.

The lack of genuine workers’ democracy, in which ordinary working people participate directly in managing the state and the economy, is one of the main threats to the revolution. It breeds demoralisation, scepticism, cynicism and generally undermines the revolutionary morale of the people. If it is combined with a situation in which the basic needs are not met, the purchasing power of wages decreases and everybody is aware of corruption and theft going on at the top of the state, then it becomes a real counter-revolutionary danger of the first order.

Another example of this is the delay of the VI Congress of the Communist Party which was supposed to have taken place last year, after an already long delay of 12 years since the V Congress in 1997. There are many amongst the members of the party who share the concerns of Esteban Morales. They fear that sections of the bureaucracy will lead the restoration of capitalism as happened in the USSR. There are many indications of this ferment to the left within Cuba.

What way forward?

It is clear that the status quo cannot be maintained indefinitely, but are the measures being introduced a way forward, or a step back? One can say that, under unfavourable conditions, the Revolution must sometimes be prepared to take a step back. And it is customary to refer to Lenin and the NEP in this context. As a general proposition, it is undoubtedly correct that sometimes it is necessary to retreat. But a general who retreats must be careful not to turn a retreat into a rout. And what is completely unacceptable is to confuse a tactical retreat with outright surrender.

The Bolsheviks were never under any delusion that it was possible to build socialism in backward Russia. Lenin pointed out many times that in order to consolidate the gains of the Revolution and advance to socialism, the victory of the socialist revolution in one or more advanced European country was necessary. That would have been possible if it were not for the cowardice and betrayal of the leaders of the European Social Democracy. But once the Russian Revolution was isolated in conditions of frightful backwardness, a retreat was inevitable.

The measures defended by Lenin were clearly explained as a temporary setback, because of the delay of the world revolution, not a way forward. The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin and Trotsky, continued to stress the need for international revolution to come to the aid of Soviet Russia and fought against the creeping bureaucratisation of the state institutions and to preserve workers’ democracy. All their hopes were based on the perspectives of the international socialist revolution.

It is not an accident that Lenin and Trotsky paid such a lot of attention to the building of the Third (Communist) International. A narrow nationalist attitude was entirely foreign to their outlook. In the same way, Che Guevara embodied the internationalist spirit of the Cuban Revolution. Che understood that, in the last analysis, the only way to save the Cuban Revolution was to spread the revolution to Latin America, a cause for which he was prepared to sacrifice his life.

The objective conditions for the victory of the socialist revolution in Latin America are a thousand times more advanced today than in 1967. The Venezuelan Revolution, together with Cuba, has provided a rallying point for the revolution in Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries. The initiative taken by President Chavez to launch the Fifth International, dedicated to the overthrow of imperialism and capitalism, should receive the most enthusiastic support of the Cuban revolutionaries. This is the hope for the future!

In our opinion, the only real way forward for the Cuban revolution is revolutionary internationalism and workers’ democracy. The fate of the Cuban revolution is intimately linked to the fate of the Venezuelan revolution and the Latin American revolution in the first instance, and to the world revolution more generally.

It is not a question of “exporting our model”, but of giving active support to the revolutionary forces which are fighting against imperialism and capitalism in Latin America and beyond. Instead of making concessions to capitalist tendencies, the Cuban revolution should be arguing clearly for the expropriation of the oligarchy, the capitalists and imperialism, as the only way forward in Venezuela, in Bolivia, etc. This is precisely the lesson that can be drawn from the living experience of the Cuban revolution itself. Only the expropriation of imperialism and the Cuban capitalists allowed the revolution to advance after 1959.

But an internationalist policy will not solve the needs of the Cuban people here and now! Of course, not! We are not utopians. Neither do we confuse strategy with tactics. It is necessary to combine a revolutionary internationalist policy with concrete measures to solve the economic problems in Cuba. The question is: how is this to be achieved? In our opinion, the measures proposed will not provide a lasting solution. They may temporarily succeed in eliminating or alleviating certain shortages and blockages, but only at the cost of causing new and insoluble contradictions in the medium and long term.

It may be that a section of Cuban society may welcome the proposed reforms, on the assumption that “something is being done”. But when the full effects are felt, that mood will change. The only real way to improve labour productivity is to make the workers feel that they are the ones in charge, that is, by introducing the widest measures of workers’ democracy into industry, society and the state.

Fidel Castro in 1959. The Cuban people have shown repeatedly that they are prepared to make sacrifices to defend the Revolution. But it is essential that the sacrifices should be the same for everybody. Down with privilege! We must return to the simple rules of Soviet democracy that Lenin put forward in State and Revolution, not for communism or socialism but for the day after the Revolution: that all officials be elected and subject to the right of recall, that no official should have a wage higher than that of a skilled worker, over a period of time the rotation of all positions (if everyone is a bureaucrat, no one is a bureaucrat), no standing army but the arming of the people.

Che Guevara insisted on the importance of the moral element in socialist production. That is obviously true but it can only be guaranteed in a regime of workers’ control, when every worker feels that he or she is responsible for taking the decisions that affect production and every aspect of life. However, given the serious problems that exist, some element of material incentives will be necessary.

The basic principle, at this stage, will remain: from each according to his ability, to each according to the work performed. This implies the existence of wage differentials, as was also in the case in Russia immediately after the Revolution. But there should be a ceiling on differentials, which should tend to reduce in the future, to the degree that production increases and with it, the wealth and wellbeing of society.

But the biggest incentive is clearly when the workers feel that the country, the economy and the state belongs to them, and that can only be achieved if it is the workers themselves who take all decisions and all elected officials are accountable to them. Only on this basis can the socialist base of the Cuban Revolution be defended and the capitalist counterrevolution defeated.

What is the alternative?

When the leaders of the Communist Party in China originally began their programme of reforms, they had no idea that they were preparing the way for capitalist restoration. But the introduction of some market measures (in the name of efficiency) has, over a long period of time, led to the restoration of capitalism, with a massive increase in inequality, the destruction of the social welfare system, etc.

Lenin in 1919Those who have benefited from this process were not the workers and peasants but the bureaucrats. It is no surprise therefore that sections of the bureaucracy in Cuba are looking to China as a model. Some people might be impressed by the growth in GDP in China, overlooking the massive social contradictions which have accumulated. In any case, the application of the “Chinese way” in Cuba, would not even lead to economic growth, but rather to the rapid and catastrophic collapse of the planned economy. Foreign multinationals, from Spain, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and others, which are already operating in Cuba, are looking at this process and already positioning themselves. What are they after? Raw materials, cheap labour and the favourable climate of the island, that is, the re-colonisation of Cuba.

Important sections of the US ruling class are already questioning whether the blockade is the most intelligent policy in order to undermine the Cuban revolution, or whether they are missing opportunities for investment to other countries’ multinationals. The restoration of capitalism in Cuba would throw the island back to the 1930s, dominated by foreign capital, and a playground for tourists from advanced capitalist countries. But this is not a foregone conclusion.

Within Cuba there are many who are rightly concerned about the current situation but who do not want a solution along market lines. If a clear alternative based on revolutionary internationalism and workers’ democracy is presented, this could rally thousands of honest communists, veterans, intellectuals, youth and workers, who are not prepared to let the revolution be destroyed either by imperialism or by inside forces. In order to go forward, first we need to go back to the programme of Lenin!

Dokuyu Sıkılaştıralım – 1

Bir kaç önemli soru ve Türkiye’de kapitalizmin tarihsel gelişim hattı -özellikle Türk kapitalizminin ‘ilkel birikim’ evresi bağlamında öne sürülen savlardan bazılarına itirazlar geldi. İtirazların bir kısmı, bu formasyona dair, üzerine tartışılması ‘lüks’ addedilecek alt-başlıklar üzerine değil; tam da sermaye-sınıf-devlet üçgeninin açılarından öte, köşe noktalarının nasıl birleşip birleşemeyeceğini konu edinen temel kavrayışa yönelik -bu manada çok kıymetli. Sorulara, tatmin edici olacağını umduğum cevaplar vermeye ve itiraz konusu olan meselelere dair tartışmayı kendi pozisyonumdan açarak genel hattı ufak bir ölçüde de olsa derinleştirmeye çalışacağım. Soruların bir bölümünün, şimdilik üç parçaya ayrılmış ve hal-i hazırda bozuk nizamda paylaşılan bu serinin son halkasında giriştiğim özel çabanın ‘doğal’ defektlerinden kaynaklandığını farkettim. Üzerine ciltler hasredilebilecek bir konuya; Türkiye kapitalizminin ilkel birikim dönemine ve bu birikimin sermaye-sınıf-devlet ayaklarının özgün etkileşiminin arda devredilen mirasına ilişkin saptamaların -üzerimdeki vuruş ve kelime sınırıyla beraber- maddeler halinde naklinin getirdiği pek çok kayıp var. Hak vermemek mümkün değil: Ortaya konan kimi önermeler, maddelerin katı sınırları arasında bulanıp kaybolmuş. Şimdi dokuyu, girdiğimiz ve eleştirinin geldiği yoldan -maddeler üzerinden sıkılaştırmaya çalışalım -böylece cevap ve derinleştirme çabaları bütünleşik bir yapıda kaybolma riskinden kurtulabilir.

1) Bu maddenin odağını oluşturan esas çabanın iki yönü var. Birincisi, ilk madde olması hasebiyle renk belli etmek; ikincisi ise, bir sonraki maddede belirtilecek bürokrasi-burjuvazi buluşmasının altyapısını; bunun, iki ayrı ‘sınıfın’ ortak çıkarlar paydasında bir araya gelişi olmadığı ve artığa merkeziyetçi el koyuş metodunun, kökü 1839’a fakat olgunlaşmasının Hamidiye reformizmine denk düşen biçimde yaygınlaşması örneği üzerinden açıklamaya çalışmak. Merkezi vergilendirme yönteminde evrim, sahiden de sınıfsal dönüşümü kavrama açısından önemli bir sınama aracıdır ancak sınama araçlarından, belirtmek gerekir ki, yalnızca biridir. Geç Osmanlı-erken dönem Türk bürokrasisinin dönüşümünü anlamada önemli bir sınama aracıdır zira iltizam sistemi -pek tabii hiçbir zaman devlet aygıtının elindeki tek vergilendirme aracı olmamıştır-, imparatorluk coğrafyasının önemli bir kısmına oldukça özgün bir formda yayılarak önemli bir “işlevi” bünyesinde barındırmıştır. Bu vergi rejimi, saray-içi yahut yakın çevresindeki yüksek bürokrat sınıfın, iltizam hakkının bölünerek daimi devri yoluyla, sıklıkla yerel eşraf önde geleniyle bir ve aynı kişi olan mahalli bürokratın, aynı sistemin yardımıyla monetizasyon yoğunluğu yükselmiş bir iktisadi ilişkiler ağında buluşmasını sağlamıştır. Mültezimlik görevini lokal düzeyde satın alanın bürokrat değil, büyük (niceliği Osmanlı’nın tipik küçük mülkiyet düzeyinde kavramak lazm) toprak sahibi olduğu durumlarda da aynı türden bir buluşmadan bahsetmek mümkün. Ancak bu büyük toprak sahibi-bürokrat buluşmasını hiç bir koşulda erken doğmuş bir sermayedar-bürokrat birleşiminin tarihsel kökü olarak okumamak gerekiyor. İki nedenden ötürü: Birincisi, büyük toprak sahipleri, kimi coğrafi ‘kıyı’ cepleri dışında latifundist/kapitalist tarıma geçmeyip ortakçı kiracılığa yönelmişlerdir. İkincisi ise, çıkarlar düzeyinde, geç Osmanlı evresine de yayılmış bir devlet sınıfı-büyük toprak sahibi çatışması vardır. Literatür bunu, iktisadi uğrakta küçük üreticinin ‘kolay vergilendirilebilir’ olmasına, siyasi uğrakta ise ‘tehdit algısına’ bağlıyor; bu kavrayışınsa kesinlikle derinleştirilmesi gerekir. [Kuşkusuz iltizam, vergilendirme ve özellikle küçük üreticinin elinden çıkan artığa el koyma mekanizmasının önemli araçlarından biri olmasının ötesinde bir devletçi iç borçlanma aletidir (devletçi, zira tahvil benzeri aletlerin aksine rehin edilen obje üzerindeki devlet mülkiyeti kaybolmaz) -fakat bu niteliği bağlamımız dışında kalıyor.] Sonuç olarak diyebiliriz ki; artı ürünün önemli bir bölümü, toplama hakkının mülkiyeti söz konusu olduğunda erken modern dönem Avrupa ‘tax farming’inden ayrılsa da aynı aile içerisinde nitelendirebileceğimiz iltizam usulü kanalıyla hazineye girmeyerek bürokrat sınıfın pek çok kademesinden insanın cebine akıyor. Bu temel dinamiğin etrafında soyutladığımız dönemi takip eden reformlar eliyle gerçekleşen vergi rasyonalizasyonunun burada değinilmeyi gerektirecek biricik önemi ise, bürokrat kadroların artı ürün ile dolaysız (iltizamın sub-contracting’i yoluyla ‘dolaylı’) bağlarının kopması temelinden hareketle sınıf niteliği ve evrimsel olarak sınıf reflekslerini kaybetmesidir.

Ve nihayetinde, bu maddede vurgu, yalnızca bürokrasiye sınıf niteliğini bahşeden iktisadi ilişkiler tabanının üzerindeydi. Bu vurguyu, “Türkiye tarihinden bürokrasiyi ‘kaybetmek'” biçiminde okumak hata olur. Sınıfı sınıf yapan temelin tahlile tabi tutulması ve aynı temelin hukuken ilga olunmasıyla elele ilerleyen sınıf dönüşümünün toplumsal gruplar arasındaki yeni ittifaklar boyutunda ele alınması gerekir -bunu basit bir düzeyde, bir sonraki maddede zaten yapmaya çalıştım. ‘Devletin vergilendirme mekanizması ve arkasında gelişen mali yapının kapitalist saiklerle işleyişi, artığa nasıl el konulduğu noktasında,  Geç Osmanlı’nın bir döneminden itibaren kesinleşiyor’ şeklinde ifade edilen eleştiride bir yanlış anlama olduğu muhakkak. Özgün vergilendirme metotlarının hiçbir üretim tarzı ile özsel bütünleşik bir ilişkisi olmadığını biliyoruz. Öyleyse Osmanlı mali yapısının devlet düzeyinde kapitalist saiklerle ‘işleyişini’, aynı devletin artığa el koyuş uğrağı ile ilişkilendirmek saflık olacaktır. Ben de böyle bir çaba içerisinde değilim. Bahsi geçen ‘muğlaklık’ ortadadır; henüz varabildiğimiz şu ilk noktada muğlak olmayan tek şey ise, bürokrasinin artı ürünle dolaysız/dolaylı bağının hukuken kopmuş olduğudur.

Ve o meşhur, ölümsüz soru burada da karşımıza çıkıyor: “Kapitalizmi devletten önce mi yoksa sonra mı varsaymak gerekiyor?”  Sanıyorum yazı, erken kapitalizasyon-burjuvalaşma ‘hissini’ haddinden fazla vermiş -bu meseleyi açıklığa kavuşturmak gerekiyor. Bu noktada ise, serinin ilk parçasında üzerinde vakit harcanan geç kapitalizm ve geç kapitalizmin özgünlüklerine değinen vurguyu yoğunlaştırmak ancak aynı zamanda ‘devletin özerk bir yapı olup olmadığına’ ilişkin soruya cevap yoluyla konuyu açmak lazım. Basit bir önerme: Soyutlanan ‘devlet’; karar alma, idari işlemde bulunma ve ‘yürütme’ uğraklarında görev alan grupların maddi gerçekliğinden soyutlanmış bir yapı olarak hiçbir koşul dahilinde ele alınamaz. Kapitalizm ve modern devlet [birbirlerinin mantıksal uzantıları olduklarından değil; tarihsel olumsallık koşulları dahilinde paralel büyüme gösterdiklerinden ötürü yan yanalar], pre-kapitalist üretim ilişkilerinin siyasi uzantıları ve iktisadi gerçekliği üzerine yükselir ancak bu yükseliş çizgisinin itici savruluşları ve kararlı evrimleri her zaman/mutlaka siyasi uğrakta biçimlenir (özerk kentlerde yoğunlaşan ticaret sermayesinin ‘ezilmesi’, “ikinci serfliğin” tahsisi, burjuva devrimleri, tarım imparatorluklarından savaş makineleri yaratmaya yönelik sınır aşırı motivasyonlar vs). Sömürgeleşmemiş olmasının yanı sıra 19. yüzyıl Latin Amerikası’nın egemen sınıf bileşimi katışıksız komprador nitelikler arzeden burjuva devletlerinden farkı dolayısıyla Türkiye’nin de ucundan dahil olduğunu düşündüğüm geç kapitalist kuşağın özgünlüklerinden biri, Elbe’nin batısındaki ağabeylerinin ekonomi politik deneyleri ve deneyimlerinin ‘öğrenilebilir’ olması idi. Fakat iktisat siyaseti, iktisatsız bir alana doğmaz. Türkiye’yi diğer geç kapitalize olmuş modern devletlerden ayıran husus; kapitalist tarıma şevkle soğurulmayı kabul edecek bir feodal sınıfın yokluğu ve ‘bağırda büyüyen’ ticaret-sanayi sermayelerinin göreli güdüklüğüdür. Ancak temel düğüm yine siyaset alanında çözülmüştür: Siyasi iktidarı gasp eden, Anadolu’nun büyük toprak sahibi sınıfı ve Türk ticaret burjuvazisidir (1913’ü takip eden Milli İktisat rejimi, Ermeni Soykurımı’nı takip eden dönem ve Yunan Savaşı dahilinde M. Kemal hareketine Rum topraklarının gaspı kanalıyla angaje olmuş yerel ileri gelenler göz önünde bulundurulduğunda bu toplumsal grubun hacmini küçümsemememiz gerekir sanıyorum). Özerklik söz konusu değildir; evre itibarıyla embriyonik formu çoktan geride bırakmış bir kapitalist üretimdense henüz söz etmek mümkün değildir.

Bir Okur Eleştirisi

Yer yer oldukça hayati noktalara parmak basan, tahlilimizi parçalı revizyonun atölyesine sokma ihtiyacı uyandıran bir eleştiri yazısı gelmiş ‘Barbarların İstilası’ serisine. Asla okunmayan şu ‘yorum’ bölümünde kaybolmasını istemedim; kritiği gerçekleştiren arkadaşın affına sığınarak paylaşıyorum. İlginize;

-vurgular bana aittir.


(Yazınızı okudum.) Türkiye coğrafyasında tecrübe edilmiş kapitalistleşme süreci ile birlikte koşut giden sınıfsal ayrışma dahilinde gelişen sınıf refleksinin manevra alanı ve çeşitli aygıtları mücadele alanında kullanma becerisi ve dolayısıyla kazandığı sınıfsal olgunluğun tarihsel bir süreklilik çizgisinde ilerlediği varsayılıp halihazırda mevcut gündemi oluşturan referandum ve onunla bağdaşan demokrasi tartışmasına bağlamaya çalışıyorsunuz. Oldukça olumlu bir müdahale ve teşebbüs olduğunu kabul etmekle birlikte; bu sürekliliğin kavranışı, sınıflar arasındaki konumlanış, ülkede kapitalizmin gelişimine dair yaptığınız tespitlere, maddeler halinde oluşturmuş olduğunuz içerikten esinlenerek; benzer bir biçimde naif itirazlar yöneltmek istiyorum:

1) Türkiye tarihini merkez-çevre ilişkisinden kabul edip, sınıf kavramsallaştırmasını tahribata uğratıp, icat edilmiş yetersiz bir ikilikte; sermaye birikimini, sınıfı ve devleti anlamak sorunludur; sosyal ve tarihsel formasyonu açıklama hususunda yetersiz kalır. Ancak, bu coğrafyada sınıfı anlamak daha doğrusu kapitalist üretim ilişkileri (inşasında) bağlamında, sınıfı yakalamak için öne sürdüğünüz sav, takip eden iddialar ile beraber okunduğunda tutarsızlık yaratıyor. Bu kısma geri kalan maddelere olan itirazımı açıklarken değineceğim. İddia ettiğiniz üzere, Türkiye’de devlet aygıtı etrafında merkezileşen, artığa el koyan, özgül bir sınıftan ziyade kapitalist üretim ilişkileri içerisinde şekillenen, gelişen evrensel tabiri ve tarihsel hareket ediş biçimiyle bir burjuva sınıfını görmek mümkündür. Bu sınıfsal dönüşümü tarihsel anlamda kavramak için sunmuş olduğunuz sınama aracını –tarihsel dönem için geçerli- ise “merkezi vergilendirme” sistemi olarak tanımlamışsınız. Dolasıyla, devletin vergilendirme mekanizması ve arkasında gelişen mali yapının kapitalist saiklerle işleyişi, “artığa” nasıl el konulduğu noktasında, Geç Osmanlı’nın bir döneminden (!) itibaren kesinleşiyor. Döneme ait modernleşme ve kapitalistleşme tartışmaları ve süreci analiz etme çabasının bir şekilde yarattığı muğlaklık rahatlıkla sona erdiriliyor. Ancak, devlet böyle bir vergi mekanizmasını nasıl kuruyor? Mali yapıyı bu vergilendirme mekanizmasını tüm kaynağa ulaşacak şekilde nasıl organize ediyor veya bu yapılandırma sürecini hangi motivasyona bağlı kalarak yapıyor? Kapitalizmi devletten önce mi yoksa sonra mı varsaymak gerekiyor? Ya da eşzamanlı ilerleyen özerk bir yapı olarak devleti anlasak, sınıfsal tahlilde gedik açmış mı olacağız? Bahsettiğiniz sürece ve buna bağlı olarak kapitalist devlet ve üretim sürecinin yerleşmesi, sınıfsal ayrışmanın tecrübe edilmesine dair Geç Osmanlı döneminde tarihsel veriler bu savı sürdürebilir kılıyor mu?

2) Çıkarların ortaklaşması ve devleti kurtarmak için yönetici kadronun burjuvaziyle tarihsel çıkar ortaklığını keşfetmesi ve kapitalist amaçlar noktasında birlikte harekete karar veriyor oluşu, vurgulanan “yönetici kadro”nun kim olduğunu daha detaylı kavramsallaştırma sorumluluğunu beraberinde getiriyor sanırım. Bu ara sınıfsal kategoriyi (varsayıyorum), açıklama çabası sanırım sizin metodolojik pozisyonunuzu daha net biçimde ortaya koyacaktır. İkinci maddede de hala daha devlet ve kapitalizm ilişkisi ve dolasıyla sınıfsal ayrışma sorunu netleştirilmemiş. Şu ana kadar yaptığınız tahlilden, devleti özerk, çıkarları olan ancak tarihsel patikanın dikte ettiği oranda oluşsal bir biçimde kapitalizm ve dolayısıyla ulus devlet formu ile kader ortaklığı yapmış bir organizasyon olduğunu varsayıyorum. Hata yapıyorsam, lütfen düzeltin. Maddi manada burjuvalaşma örneği de sanırım bu iddiayı pekiştiriyor. Mülkiyetin el değiştiriyor oluşu bu süreci anlatan bir örnek olmakla birlikte, nasıl el değiştirdiği de anlamak, kapitalist sınıfsal ayrışmanın ve birikim sürecini tanımlamak adına yakıcı bir sorun olarak varlığını ortaya koyar. Buna ek olarak, maddi anlamda burjuvalaşma sürecini detaylandıracak; döneme ait başka tarihsel örneklere sahip miyiz? Ayrıca böyle bir tecrübe, sınıfsal dönüşümü kavramak açısından ve evrensel teorinin geçerliliğini ve burada da birebir uygulandığını kabul etmek açısından yeterli iş görür mü?

3) (Önceki itirazlar daha ziyade partiküler ve tarih alanının teknik sorunları olarak formüle edilip, devrimci teorinin hassasiyetlerine ve yazının bütünlüğüne temas etmediği iddiası temelinde kategorize etmek mümkün. Dolasıyla üçüncü maddenin ilk cümlesindeki iddiayı kelimesi kelimesine paylaştığımı ve savunduğumu belirtmek ister, rengimin açığa çıkmasını da temenni ederim. Meselem, bir Türkiye tarihi tartışmasına girişmekten ziyade, Marksist metodolojinin uygulamasının Türkiye ölçeğinde doğurduğu kısmi hataları gündeme getirmektir.)

ia) 19.yy’ın ikinci yarısında kapitalistleşme sürecinin hız kazandığını kabul etmekle birlikte bu dinamizmin yabancı sermayenin, ticaret sermayesi, pazar açmak ve kapitalist bağımlılık ilişkisini tahsis etmek için kıyı bölgelerinde kurduğu çeşitli iştiraklar aracılığı ile gerçekleştiğini Çağlar Keyder iddia ediyordu. Ancak bu iddianın kendisi aynı zamanda farklı bir varsayımla yola çıkar: Yabancı sermaye hali hazırda kendine açtığı pazarda ittifak kurabileceği ve birikime hız kazandıracak, kendi çıkarlarını taşıyacak ve olgunlaştıracak bir yerel sınıfı bulamaz. Dönüştürmeye başladığı ilişkilerde sınıf yavaş yavaş var olur ve bilincini kazanır. Bu aynı zamanda birikiminin nasıl geliştiğini kavramak, çeşitli ağları kurmak ve teknik gereklilikleri yerine getirmekle mümkündür. Böylelikle kapitalistleşme süreci öncellikle ticaret- yabancı finansal sermaye- sonrasında ise sanayi sermayesi gelişiminin ardışık takibine indirgenir. Bu varsayımdan hareketle, 19.yy ikinci yarısında yerelleşmiş bir ticaret burjuvazisinden ve kapitalist pazardan bahsetmek olası mıdır? Bununla birlikte vurguladığınız ve sermaye birikimini Büyük Savaş sonrasında üstlenen müslüman tüccarların nasıl palazlandığını da açıklamak gerekmez miydi? Müslüman tüccar veya burjuva, henüz ilişkilerin oluşmadığı bir coğrafyada görevi üstlenecek iddiayı daha doğrusu pratiği ve sermayeyi nasıl edinmiştir? Kapitalizm öncesi dönem ile bir süreklilik kuracak olursak eğer bu varoluşu kavramak adına feodal ilişkilere ve zora dayalı el koyma pratiklerini anlamak ve bunun nasıl dönüştüğünü açıklamak yerinde olacaktır. Aksi takdirde, özgün koşulları ve farklılaşmış feodalite formunu dışlayıp, sözü edilen coğrafyada kapitalizmin palazlanmasını için varsayılan bir arkaik potansiyel veya embriyoyu bulmak adına anakronizme varabilecek Marksist savrulmayı gözlemlemek olası değil midir?

ib) Aslında kısaca vurgulanan tarımsal ilişkilerde var olan özgün bir ara sınıfsal kategoriye işaret eden küçük köylü, küçük meta üreticisinin pazarla kurduğu ilişki, basitçe bir yerel eklemlenme sürecinden daha derin bir analizi hak ediyor. Daha doğrusu bu ara kategorinin varlığı ülke tarihindeki belli dönem tartışmalarını domine ettiğini kabul edip; (Bkz. Boratav, Erdost, Keyder ve Aydın’ın tartışmaları) yazının asıl amacının tahlil edilen tarihsel gelişim sürecinin demokrasiyi kurma, yeniden tanımlama gayretinin bir uzantısı olduğunu göz önünde bulundurursak; ara kategorinin varlığı ve nasıl tanımlanacağı, toplumsal öznenin Türkiye ölçeğindeki insiyatifini tartışmak ve bu inşa sürecine nasıl katkı sunabileceğini incelemek açışsından zorunlu bir kavramsallaştırmayı bize dayatmaktadır. Tarımsal ilişkilerin çözülüşü veya mülkiyete sahip ancak birikim yapamayan bu ana kategori; kır ve kent arasındaki ayrımı keskinleştirmiş, ülkenin sınıfsal kompozisyonunu ciddi bir şekilde etkilemiş ve kolektif hareket kapasitesini sorunsallaştırmıştır. Bu maddeyi sizin de yardımınızla, yeri geldiğinde tekrar tartışmayı ayrıca talep ediyorum.

ic) Bu maddenin bir üst maddeyle ciddi anlamda niteliksel bağ kurduğunu düşünmekteyim. İçeriğe tamamen katılıyorum. Şerh düşmekte fayda var: Korporatizmin bu formunun uygulanması ’60 sonrası sanayi sermayenin gelişiminde de sürekliliğe sahip etkisini devam ettirir. Kır ve kent dikotomisi içerisinde devam eden ekonomi politikaları bize ipucunu vermektedir. Kırsal üretimden elde edilen artığın bizzat sanayi sermayesi için teşvik edilişi veya eklemlense dahi Kürt halkının farklı sömürü biçimlerine maruz kaldığı Doğu ve Güneydoğu illeri bu politikadan kendine düşen payı alır. Düğüm haline gelmiş ve Kürt hareketinin kurucu unsurlarının da bu politikaların her biçimde yarattığını düşünmekteyim.

iia) “1908-1923″ aralığının dönüşümü anlamak açısından çok önemli olduğuna kesinlikle katılıyorum. Galip sınıfın kime karşı bir savaş yürüttüğünü, kime galebe çaldığını ve zaferini nasıl kazandığını açıklarsanız memnun olurum. Ek olarak, hukuksal dönüşümün kendisi zafer kazanmış bir sınıfın iktidarını pekiştirdiği ve tacını kazandığı bir üstyapısal alana işaret etse de, patikanın kendisinin uluslararası alanın baskısıyla şekillendiğini düşünmekteyim. Zafer kazanmış sınıfın, kendini tek sayma veya sürekliliği belirleyecek bir toplumsal özne kudretinden ziyade, contingent ve yapısal bir dayatmanın karşısında patikaya girildiğine dair ilk emareleri gösteren bir başlangıç olduğunu düşünmekteyim. Hukuksal düzenlemenin kendisi arkasındaki alt-yapısal, olgunlaşmış kütlenin tezahüründen uzakta da tecelli etmiş olamaz mıydı? Hukuksal düzenlemenin kendisi, sınıfın talebinden, zorlamasından ziyade daha sonraki süreçte bu alanı yeniden şekillendirmeye muktedir olacak bir sınıfı yaratma teşebbüsü olarak okumak mümkün değil midir?

iib) Bu maddenin tutarlı ve iyi örülmüş bir iddiayı içerdiğini teslim ediyorum. 60 ve 70’lerde süre giden kalkınma hamlelerini bir çeşit korporatizm olarak nitelendirmek mümkün. Ancak bu iddianızda yapı ile özne arasındaki ilişkide nasıl bir saf tutacağımız konusunda netleşmek gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Bu dönemdeki hükmetme biçimini talep edilenler ile verilenler arasındaki gerginliği modere etme gayreti içerisindeki bir devlete işaret ediyor. Gerginliğin iki kutbundaki olağandışı iniş çıkışlarda toplumsal özenin, sınıfın gücünü tespit etmek gerekiyor kanımca. Aksi takdirde bu taleplerin kabul edilmesi veya devletin baskıcı bir aygıttan ziyade moderator gibi davranmasını “ithal ikameciliğin yapısal sınırına dayanması ve yeni bir modelin icatı süresindeki bekleyişin yarattığı karmaşada verilen oluşsal ve mantık dışı tavizler” konjonktürel ve yapısal dönüşümlere indirgemek, sınıfın örgütlü mücadelesini göz arda etme riskini taşımıyor mu? Buna ek olarak devletin moderator olarak kavranması sermaye birikim sürecinin dayattığı çıkarlardan bağımsız olarak; devleti özerk bir konumda incelememizi gerekli kılar mı?

iiia) Bahsetmiş olduğunuz bürokratik aygıtın alternatif iktisadi plandan vazgeçmiş oluşuyla veya daha doğrusu bu anlamda alternatifi dayatacak bir muhalefetten yokun oluşu ,alternatif ve doğrudan bir siyasal tasarı ile neden bağ kurmamızı engellesin veya bizi doğrudan bu ihtimalden vazgeçirsin? Devletin kendisi bir üst maddede söylediğiniz üzere, örgütlü sınıf mücadelesinin çıkışa geçtiği anlarda belli bir takım tavizler verebiliyor veyahut moderator pozisyonuna gerileyebiliyor. Şeriat için verilen mücadelesi veya diğer siyasal tasarılar karşısında geniş kapsamlı bürokratik elitin siyasal tavrına kanalize olmak farklı, demokrasinin genişletilmesi noktasında hedeflenen devlet aygıtındaki ayrışmada, manevra kapasitesini kitlenin çıkarın doğrultusunda biçim vermek farklı bir mücadele pozisyonudur. Siyasal alan ile ekonomi arasında devletin manevra alanında ayrışan belli bir takım durumlar söz konusu olabilir. Bürokratik elit diye tanımladığınız bu blok dolayısıyla tavize daha yakın durabilir. Bu ittifak veya siyasi bir mevzilenmeye işaret etmese bile, alanda ortaya çıkan gerilimde taleplerin doğrultusu konusunda bize fikir verebilir. Avrupa’daki demokrasinin genişlemesi de taleplerin ne şekilde, hangi kanallarla ve kime karşı doğrultulduğu kazanım noktasında ayrıştırıcıdır. Genel ve bütüncül bir ülke ekonomi politiğinden, anayasa tartışmasına geçişte metodolojik bir eksiklik olduğunu düşünmekteyim.

iib) Anayasa ile doğrudan ilişkilendirilen demokratikleşme çabasının doğrudan Kürt hareketinin taleplerinin somutlaştığı oranda, Türkiye burjuvazisinin perspektifinin ideal sınırlarını çizmeye zorladığı iddiasını paylaşmıyorum. Kürt hareketinin kendisi ve yönelttiği talepler ülkedeki muğlak demokratikleşme sorununun tüm hatlarına maalesef temas etmemektedir. Hükmetme biçiminin kendisi, dayandığı geleneksel muhafazakar hatlardan sıyrılıp akıl selim ve soğukkanlı davranmayı becerebilse, ki bu makro yapısal unsurların sınırlarından görece azade ve minimal bir insiyatif ile gerçekleştirilebilir, hegemonyanın yeniden tahsisi sürecinde önündeki engeli rahatlıkla aşabilirdi. Tasarıya eklenecek iki madde, Kürt halkının çoğunluğunu bu hegemonik pozisyona rıza üretecek biçimde kanalize edebilirdi diye düşünüyorum. Ayrıca, – Kürt özgürlük hareketi vurgusunu yanlış anlıyor da olabilirim- parlamenter düzeyde hareketin siyasal talepleri maalesef çok boyutlu ancak yetersiz bir temsiliyet sorununa indirgenmektedir. Hareketin kendisi dolayısıyla, liberal pozisyonun idealleştirdiği Batı Avrupa demokrasinin gerektirdiği mevcut toplumsal talebi taşıyacak kapsamı yaratamamaktadır. Bana kalırsa, sınır sadece bu engelin alt edilmesi kalmayacak, talepleriyle de Burjuvazinin ideal “projection”ınını yaratamayacaktır. Vaat edilen demokrasinin kendisi veya sosyalist demokrasinin inşası için gerekli olan ilham ve eğilim tüm ezilenlerin, mağdurların kolektif direnişi ve mücadelesi ile ancak yaratılabilir.


Barbarların İstilası – 3

Birkaç temel önerme:

1) Geç Osmanlı-Türkiye formasyonunun tarihi, bürokrasi ile burjuvazi (bununla yeri geldiğinde değiştirilebilir biçimde kullanılagelen ‘toplum’) arası bir mücadelenin tarihi değildir. Bürokrasi, bahsi geçen dönemde; artı değeri üreticinin tarlası ve tezgahı, rantı tüccarın çantasından dolaysız biçimlerle ‘cebine indiren’ bir sınıf dahi değildir. Özellikle meşruti monarşi döneminin vergi reformları, önceleyen dönemde tarımsal artı değerin devlet hazinesini by-pass etme suretiyle yüksek bürokrasi tarafından temellük edilmesinin -yani bürokrasiyi kendinde bir sınıf yapan maddi temelinin- koşullarının yıkılarak merkezi vergilendirme rejiminin pre-kapitalist üretim biçimleriyle özdeşleşmiş vergi kanallarının yıkıntıları üzerine yükselmesine kapı aralamıştır. Takip eden dönemin ulusal iktisat rejimi politikaları, vergilendirmenin rasyonalizasyonunu tamamına erdirmiştir. Türkiye’de, hele Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri’nin kapitalizasyonu ile beraber bir ‘devlet sınıfının’ varlığından bahsetmek hatadır; sınıf kavramının asla kabul edemeyeceğimiz teorik temeller üzerine bina edilmesi anlamına gelir.

2) İlk önermemize sıkı biçimde bağlı ve Tanzimat’ın bürokrat ‘tipinden’ farklı olarak, İttihat ve Terakki ve ardılı erken dönem Türkiye bürokrasisi, iktisat ile ulusal ve uluslar arası siyasetin teğellendiği noktaları ‘öğrenmiştir’. Aynı bürokrat kanat, muadili herhangi bir geç kapitalizm bürokrasisinin gerçekleştirmesi elzem olan düzeyde; üzerine yapılan fazla vurgu nedeniyle vülgerleşse de gerçekliği tartışmasız olan ‘devlet kurtarma’ misyonuna iktisat siyasetinin bileşenlerini içermeyi başarmıştır. Bu içerme süreci, beraberinde, bürokrasinin  a) maddi manada burjuvalaşmasını (en çarpıcı örneği kuşkusuz Büyük Savaş döneminde yok olan gayrımüslim burjuvazinin mallarının temellükü sürecidir), b) çıkarlarının, ticaret ve tarım burjuvazisi ile bir ve aynı olduğu fikrinin kabulu ve bir yönetici kadro bilinci olarak yerleşmesini beraberinde getirmiştir.  Devlet, aydın bürokratların iyi niyetli çabalarının ötesinde, sermayenin eli ve diliyle ‘kurtarılacaktır’.

3) Türkiye Devleti, arasına oturduğu maddi, hukuki ve siyasi rejim bağlamlarında konsolide bir burjuva devletidir.

ia) 19. Yüzyılın ikinci yarısından itibaren gelişkin olarak adlandırabileceğimiz bir ticaret burjuvazisi ve doğal olarak, ticarette yaygın bir piyasa ilişkileri ağı vardır -bu sınıfın temsilcilerinin Büyük Savaş yıllarında neredeyse bütünüyle yokolması, ticaret hacminde yalnızca oldukça kısa süreli, göreli bir düşmeye neden olmuş; peydah olan boşluğu Müslüman tüccar burjuvalar ve tarımsal üretim sürecine müdahale kabiliyeti artan yabancı sermaye doldurmuştur[1].

ib) Tarımda küçük üreticiliğin tarihsel yaygınlığı ve yıkılması yolunda herhangi bir siyasi çaba somuda bürünmediğinden ötürü kapitalist ‘cash crop’  tarımı ve tarımsal ücretli emek bölgesel niteliğini belli oranda korumuş, ancak tarımsal küçük mülk sahibi sınıf dahi lokal piyasa ağlarına sıkı biçimde eklemlenmiştir.

ic) İmalat sanayii, ulusal sermaye birikiminin konjonktürel sapması olarak nitelendirilebiliecek Büyük Buhran-sonrası dönemde, korporatist niteliklere sahip devlet kapitalizmi yönelimi dahilinde atılımlar yapmıştır. Ancak sınai sermayenin karlılığının ve sınai üretiminin yurt-içi toplam üretim içerisindeki payının mutlak artışı 1960-sonrasının eseridir.

id) Türkiye menşeili yahut Türkiye ekonomisinde hareket eden uluslar arası finans kapital, 1980-sonrasının deregülatif iktisadi atmosferinde semirmişse de, şahikasını 2001 Bankacılık Reformu’nu takip eden süreçte tecrübe etmiştir. Türkiye sermaye piyasasının reformlar aracılığıyla gerçekleşen deregülatif regülasyonu, finansal sermayenin uluslar arası dolaşımıyla uyumlu bir yapı inşa etmiştir.

iia) Muzaffer Türkiye burjuvazisi, Tanzimat döneminin ‘haklar’ manzumeleri ve 1858 Arazi Kanunnamesi ile başlayan süreç içerisinde iktidarının hukuki üstyapısını adımsal olarak kurmaya girişmiştir. Bu tedrici sürecin kopuş uğrağı ise, 1908-1923 dönemidir. Burjuvazinin siyasi iktidarı ele geçirişini simgeleyen bu tarihsel aralık, galip sınıfa, sermaye birikiminin hukuki regülasyonunu konsolide etmesinde atılım gerçekleştirme olanağı tanımıştır. Aynı döneme damga vuran ‘rakip toplumsal projelerin eliminasyonu’ ise,  yalnızca ulusal sermaye birikiminin özgün patikasını belirleme hususunda bir anlam ifade eder.

iib) Ücretli emeğin merkezine oturduğu üretim ilişkilerinde istihdam maliyeti, anaparanın geri dönüş karlılığının önemli kalemlerinden olan üretim maliyetlerinin temel belirleyenlerinden biridir. İstihdam maliyetinin ücretlerin kısılması yoluyla azaltılması ve dolayısıyla kar maksimizasyonunun haddini artırmasının sınırı, ücretli emekle köle emeğinin sınırıdır. Burjuva iş hukukunun ücretli emek hususundaki esnekliği, küresel ve ulusal iktisadi dinamiklerle beraber işçi sınıfı muhalefetinin ters yönlü baskıları arasında bulunan güç dengeleri tarafından belirlense de aynı esnekliğin sınırı köle emeği ve sosyalist iş hukukunun kapılarında çizilir. Sağlıklı birikim ile ücret artırımı taleplerinin/bu doğrultuda tedrici ücret artışlarının konjonktürel olarak geçici denge noktalarına varması ise gayet mümkündür. Ancak bilinir ki, burjuva cumhuriyetlerinde demokratik kanallar aracılığıyla hükümet etme gücüne erişmiş siyasi güçlerin yalnızca aynı hukuğun ‘ötesine’ geçme çabaları değil -seçim yoluyla sosyalist ekonomiye geçiş fikri (1970-73 dönemi Şilisi’nin Halk Cephesi’nin radikal kanadı), sürdürülebilir sermaye birikimi sürecini sekteye uğratacak hukuk-içi manevraları dahi geniş sınıfsal blokların tepkisini çekecektir. Belirtmek gerekir ki, Türkiye’de birikimin 1980’i önceleyen birkaç yıllık dönemde kayaya çarpması -karlılığın azalması- ise, burjuva hukukunun icazet alanının içinde gerçekleşen yahut hukuki rejim tarafından onaylanmak durumunda kalan işçi sınıfı eylemliliği/taleplerinden öte, ithal ikameci iktisadi modelin içsel sınırlarına dayanmasından kaynaklanır. Türk iş hukuku, üretimin iç pazarda tüketime kanalize edildiği ve emek davasını modere etmeyi planlayan siyasi yönelimlerin iktidara geldiği bir dönemde, işçi sınıfının satın alma gücünü artırmaya yönelik ücret artışları ve çalışma koşullarını iyileştirilme taleplerine olanak sağlayacak nitelikler içeriyordu. Türk sermaye çevrelerinin askeri müdahaleyi coşkuyla karşılamasının bir yönü, yeni yönetimin yükselmiş işçi sınıfı militanlığını ezecek olmasının bilinci ise, diğeri meşhur Ocak kararlarının Türkiye ekonomisinin kalkınma/büyüme stratejisine vereceği yeni şekildir. Türkiye’de sermayenin yeni iş hukukunun kendini önceleyen döneme kıyasla beliren özgünlüğü esas itibarıyla, işçi sınıfının, birikimin önüne ancak ‘kısmi’ setler çekebilme kapasitesine sahip ‘ekonomist’ taleplerini dizginleme hedefini barındırmasında yatar.

iiia) Sermaye rejiminin siyasi konsolidasyonu, devletin sivil-askeri bürokrat kanat ile emekçi sınıflarının burjuvazinin iktidarı ve birikime yönelmiş radikal muhalefetinin soğurulması yahut ezilmesi ile mümkün kılınır. Sivil bürokrasinin madden burjuvalaşması yahut burjuvazinin ideolojik hegemonyasına soğurulmasından bahsetmiştik. Üst düzey askeri bürokrasinin de Türkiye burjuvazisinin önemli bileşenlerinden biri haline gelmiş olduğu, sanıyorum, herkes tarafından yeterince biliniyor. Türkiye’de ‘iktisadi rejim-karşıtı komplocluğun 1971’de ihtimal dışı kalmasından bu yana, orta-alt kademe asker kanadın ideolojik yönelimleri görüş alanımızın dışında kalmaya mahkum vaziyettedir. Öyleyse şu sonuca rahatlıkla varabiliriz: Türk askeri bürokrasisinin dönemsel ve bütünüyle siyasi iktidarın takip ettiği iktisadi politikalardan bağımsız biçimde vücut bulan ‘hükümet muhalifliğinde’, hiçbir koşul dahilinde, ezilenlerin çıkarlarının yedeklenebileceği bir siyasi hat bulmak mümkün değildir. Silahlı Kuvvetler’in, tartışmaya gayet açık görünen ‘şeriat karşıtlığında’ dahi ezilenlerin çıkarları namına ‘özsel’ manada pozitif bir dinamik bulmaya çalışmak hatadır -‘90lı yılların ortasında radikal görünümlü İslami muhalefet (ve akabinde iktidar)in ana akımı ‘Adil Düzen’ türünden İslami soslu bir sosyal adaletçilik çizgisinde ilerlerken de ezilenler ve onların temsilcilerinin pozisyonu aynı olmalıydı; şeriat hukuğunun yerleştirilmesi yönünde ne bir ümidi, ama bundan da çarpıcısı, ne de ‘isteği’ olan Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi iktidarı döneminde de kendimizi konumlandırdığımız hat aynı olmalı. Bu noktada, özellikle Cumhuriyet dönemi ‘üstyapı’ reformlarını “Marksist” bir tonda yorumlamaya çalışan analizlerde sıkça göze çarpan “Kemalist devletin dine karşı verdiği mücadele, burjuva toplumsal biçimlerin kuruluşunun önündeki başlıca engellerden birine karşı verilmiş somut bir mücadeledir[2]” türünden kültürel özcü yaklaşımların bir kenara fırlatılması gerekiyor. İslami ortodoksinin, bırakalım günümüz küresel konjonktürünü, 1920’li yıllarda dahi sürdürülebilir sermaye birikimine ve ‘burjuva toplumsal biçimlerinin’ oluşmasına engel teşkil edebilecek kültürel bir ‘özü’ yoktur. İslami modernizmin 19. Yüzyıldan bu yana kimi özgün okumaları, yer yer yoğun bir anti-kapitalist yönelimle yoğurulmuşsa da, Türkiye’de kitlelerin dini söz konusu olduğunda böylesi yaygın bir yönelimden bahsi geçen dönem bağlamında dahi bahsetmek abes olacaktır. İslami heterodoksinin özellikle Anadolu topraklarında ezilmesinin derin bir tarihi vardır; 1980 sonrasında göreli güç kazanmış anti-kapitalist İslami retorik ise özellikle 1997 sonrasında rejim tarafından soğurulmuştur[3].

iiib) Verili siyasi rejimin konsolidasyon/hegemonyasının maksimizasyonu yolunda yegane ‘engel’ Kürt özgürlük hareketidir. Hareketin güncel yönelimi dahilinde ortaya koyduğu hedeflerin, yine verili rejimin maddi sınırları dahilinde kalınarak somuda bürünmemesi yolunda ise hiçbir engel yoktur.  Bu manada Türk burjuva devletinin ‘mantıksal’ icazet sınırları dahilinde izlenebilecek biricik demokratik reformizm hattı, Kürt halkının taleplerinin dikte ettiği hattır.

[1] Çağlar Keyder, Türkiye’de Devlet ve Sınıflar, İletişim, İstanbul 2004, sf. 130

[2] Sungur Savran, Türkiye’de Sınıf Mücadeleleri Cilt 1: 1908-1980, Yordam, İstanbul 2010, sf. 80-81

[3] Terimin İslami radikalizm bağlamında kullanımı ve derinleştirilmesi için özgün bir çalışma; bkz: Cihan Tuğal, Passive Revolution -Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism

Barbarların İstilası

Üzerine geniş fikir birliği bulunuyormuşcasına yaygın biçimde dağarcığımızda yer edinen ‘vesayet’ kavramı, anayasa değişikliğine ilişkin referandumun arefesindeki tartışmalara damga vuruyor. Varlığı yahut yokluğu; sivil türevinin gerçekleşme ihtimali ve ya bu ihtimalleri bertaraf etmenin siyasetine dair yoğun bir fikir bombardımanı, kavramın içine oturduğu soyutlama çerçevesinin titrek temellerini gizleme işleviyle beraber, Türkiye toplumsal formasyonunun devlet bileşenine dair tarihi yanılgıları, görebilen gözlere, görünür kılıyor. Ötesinde, kavramın yüksek kullanımsal değeri, AKP otoritarizminin doğası ve sürdürelebilirliğini kavrama konusunda muazzam bir yetersizlikle malul.

1908 Devrimi’ne uzanan tarihi pek çok askeri müdahale ile damgalanmış bir burjuva rejiminin sularında gerçekleşecek bir halk oylamasında beliren kampların bileşenlerinin; tartışma objesi anayasa gibi sembolik niteliği göreli manada yüksek, kıymeti çoklukla etrafındaki hareden menkul bir ön-tanımlayıcı yasal aygıt olduğunda, olabildiğine amorf olması kaçınılmaz. Delik deşik fakat çelik çekirdek bir anayasanın ışıldayan haresi, liberal kanattan ve sol ideologların, kökünü, çöp niteliğindeki bir devlet tahlilinden alan çıkarımlarını tuhaf bir vesayet haresiyle taçlandırmalarına olanak sağlıyor. Bu türden bir tacın, her türden mistifikasyon ‘aleti’ gibi, kampları bir araya getiren ortak paydayı katılaştırmasıyla simultane olarak sınıf çıkarlarının dikte ettiği istikametten esaslı sapmalara yol vererek cephe bileşenlerinin amorf bir bütünleşik vücut oluşturmasına yol verdiğini söylemek yerinde olacaktır. Amorf bir yapı teşkil eden bileşenlerin, sivil vesayet kavramı üzerinde sergiledikleri sıralı birleşik tutumlar ise ancak parti ve sınıf ideologlarının yoğun ve temelleri bulanık olduğu ölçüde demagoji tellallığıyla kompanse edilmiş kaya kadar sert bir çıkarımlar bütününe sarılmalarıyla açıklanabilir. Nasıl ki sermayedarın iktisatının ‘rasyonel insan/tüketici’  soyutlamasınından hareketle izlediği formel mantıksal çıkarımlar silsilesi, kapitalizmin bekasına dair maddi çıkarlarıyla bileşik bir biçimde bütünsel ekonomi teorisini biçimlendiriyorsa; askeri/yahut sivil vesayet gibi bir çıkış noktasından yola koyulan kaba siyaset analizi, güncel ideolojik rota ve maddi belirleyenlerin birliğiyle beraber, yine mantıksal manada ‘kusursuz’/gediksiz bir değerlendirme-yol gösterme kabiliyetine erişiyor.  Burjuva parlamenter siyasetin tanımlayıcı karakteristiklerinden biri, toplumun sosyo-ekonomik fay hatlarının kırılganlığı üzerindeki manevraların karikatürize edilmiş bir çarpık aynasal görüntüsü olmasıdır. İşte, Türkiye parlamenter siyasetinin maskaracı kimyası ve ana-akım politik platformun ‘dışarı’ yorumcuları olan aydın  ‘bilirkişileri’nin analitik kabiliyetleri ve düzenin (sağ/’sol’) dümensuyunda kendine yer edinen siyasi yönelimlerinden doğan karikatür soyutlamalar; sivil vesayet kavramına ilişkin, bahsedilen bulanık ittifaklara hakim iki ana düşünsel eğilimi kolayca belirleyebilmemize yardımcı oluyor.

Buna göre eğilimlerden biri; klasik ve kaba bir sivil toplumcu perspektifin izinde, kökünü bürokratik ve ceberrut devlet geleneği varsayımından alan bir devlet-toplum dikotomisi ve burjuvaziye atfedilen tarih/bağlam-dışı bir demokrat niteliğe dayanma vasıtasıyla askeri-bürokratik vesayetin güncel bir gerçeklik olduğunu iddia ediyor. Cunta anayasasının sivil reformlar eliyle bu bürokratik vesayet rejiminde gedikler açacağı ve bu yasal düzenlemelerin, siyasi erkin, toplumsal kuvvetlerin yekunu ve genel politik tercihlerine ‘nihayet’ denk düşecek lineer/kesiksiz/bükümsüz bir doğrultuda yeniden şekilleneceği, tanımlanacağı ve kendini tanımlamaya başlayacağı inancı hakim. Bu noktada, sivil vesayet türünden bir kavramsal soyutlamaya karşı açık bir tavır şekilleniyor: ‘Vesayetin sivili olmaz; demokratik bir seçim sisteminin üzerine yükseldiği denetim ilkesi ve toplumsal-siyasi iktidarın devlet kurumlarının demokratik regülasyonu süreci üzerindeki tartışılmaz hakimiyeti, ‘vesayet’ ve ‘sivil’ kavramlarının bir arada kullanılmasını mantıksal bir imkansızlığa dönüştürür’. Eğilimlerden diğeri ise; askeri-bürokratik vasilik rejiminin varlığı ve bu varsayılan rejimin askeri-bürokratik kanadının sivil siyasetin bileşenlerinin önemli kısmıyla daimi gergin bir husumet ilişkisi içinde olduğu hususunda hemfikir kanatlardan müteşekkil. ‘Bu rejime dair ne yapmalı’ sorusuna veriyor oldukları yanıtlar noktasında birbirinden ayrılan istikametlere yönelmelerine rağmen, iktidar partisinin ‘devleti bütünüyle ele geçirmenin eşiğinde olduğuna’ dair bir fikir birliği mevcut. Burada, ciddi bir ‘gizli gündem (hidden agenda)’ varsayımının işler halde olduğunu görmek mümkün. Siyasi iktidarın saklı vaziyette, hasat zamanı için beklettiği bir pakedin ilk ciddi uygulama şansına anayasal düzenlemeler eliyle erişeceği fikri baskın görünmekte. ‘Bağımsız’ yargının siyasi iktidarın oyun alanı haline geleceği, cumhuriyet devletinin laik kimliğinin bekçiliğine yaşamsal önem atfettiği düşünülen askeri bürokrat kanadın uysallaştırılması yolunda önemli mesafe katedileceği vb. (…) Tahlile tabi tutulan eğilimlerin bizzat karikatürizasyon ve sağlam bir dogmatizmden beslenmeleri hasebiyle, bizim karikatürümüz, alışıldık olmayan biçimde bir ‘gerçeklik’ payesine sahip. Tahlile girişin kapılarını açan bu nitelik, analizin derinleştirilmesi noktasında ise pek yardımcı olmayacak. Bu noktada ise özetle belirtmek gerekir ki, eğilimlerden ilki askeri vesayetin varlığı ve güncelliğini kabul etmekle beraber ya, sivil vesayet teriminin mantıksal imkansızlığına vurgu yapıyor, yahut AKP rejimine bahşedilen ‘liberal-demokrat’ yönelimin toplumsal gerçekliğe denk düşmediğinin farkedildiği momentlerde, partinin, ‘bileşenlerinden kaynaklı kararsızlığına’ vurgu yoluyla ‘yardıma ihtiyaç duyan/demokrat radikalizm esintilerine muhtaç’ bir siyasi oluşum olduğu vargısına ulaşıyor. İkinci eğilim ise; askeri vesayetin güncelliğine temas etmekle beraber, masadaki düzenlemelerin sivil otoritarizme açılacak bir kapı olduğunu vurguluyor -bu noktada devreye giren gelecek tahayyülleri ise cephe bileşenlerini ayrıksılaştırıyor. Tüm bu yoğun tartışmalarının orta yerinde keşfedilmeyi bekleyense, birbirini gırtlamakla meşgul iki cephenin altında gizlice buluştukları ağacın niteliği. Kürdistan kurtuluş hareketinin yokluğunda içi ölü kalmaya mahkum olacak ezilenlerin boykot cephesinin yer yer ve sıklıkla yüzeysel bir üslupla değinmekle yetindiği bu ağacın derinlikli bir gözden geçirmeye ihtiyaç duyduğu açık. ‘Sol’ liberal ve ‘sağ’ sosyalistler, öylesi bir kaç temel önerme üzerinde fikir birliği içindeler ki; bunların tahlili ve defterlerinin dürülmesi, emekçi sınıfların devrimci mücadelesi için hayati bir önem taşıyor.

‘Tamamlanmamış Burjuva Devrimi’

Türkiye halklarının üzerinde dolaşan komünizmin değil, püriten bir burjuva devrimi fikrinin hayaletidir. Sol ve sağdan pek çok siyasi eğilimin üzerinde sessiz bir mutabakata vardığı, ‘nihayetine ermemiş Türk devrimi’ fikri bugünümüzü yakmaya, ezilenlerin geleceklerini biçimlendirme çabalarını pasif bir saldırganlıkla taciz etmeye, tıpkı ’60lar ve ’70lerin yükselen ‘sınıfa karşı sınıf’ mücadelelerinin üzerine kabus formunda çöktüğü gibi, bugün de devam ediyor. Burjuvazinin 1908-23 Devrimi’nin ‘tamamlanmamış’ olmasına yönelik toplumsal uzlaşma o denli geniş ki, burjuva devrimlerinin doğaları gereği ve kendi içsel ve sınıfsal dinamiği nedeniyle tamamlanmalarının mümkün olmadığına vurgu yapanların pek çoğu dahi demokratik ödevlere büyük önem atfetmeye devam edebiliyor. Kategorik olarak burjuva devriminin, ancien regimé‘e dair tüm iktisadi yapıtaşları ve üstyapısal öğeleri silip süpürerek zaferini ilan ettiğine dair müthiş bir yanılsama, bugünümüzü yakan güncel yanılsamanın kökünde yatmakta. Aynı şekilde devrimci burjuvaziye yakıştırılan önbelirlenmiş/tarih-dışı demokrat kimlik, günün delhizlerinde yol şaşırtan bir levha işlevini görmeye yaramakla kalmıyor, Türk devriminin, büyük bir hata sonucu ‘kararsız’ olarak yaftalanan rotasının dönüşüm uğraklarını gözden kaçırıyor. Tarihsel saflık arayışı, denilebilir ki, ezilenlerin pusulasını şaşırtan en önemli magnetlerden biridir. Kitabi Marksizmin taşıyıcıları saf liberalizm, kapitalizm, sosyalizm arayışında kendilerini heba ede dursun, İngiltere’nin 19. yüzyıl emperyal ve ‘saf’ liberalizmi devletinin demirden eliyle yerküreyi ezilenlerin cehennemine çevirmiş; ’70ler Türkiyesi’nin kulak sınıfı feodal Anadolu arayışındaki bir kuşak genç komünist devrimciyi egemenlerin namlusunun ucuna servis etmiştir.

Burjuva devrimlerinin önder kadroları tarihsel bir boşluğa doğmadıkları gibi, devrimin konsolidasyonu da benzer bir tarihsel boşluk içinde gerçekleşmez. Devrimin, önbelirlenmiş liberal-demokrat ‘ödevleri’ olduğu varsayımını burada çöpe atmamız gerekiyor. Devrimin esas manada tek bir ödevi vardır; o da sermaye hakimiyetini sağlam hukuki regülatif kazıklara çakmak ve eş zamanlı olarak ücretli emek-artı değer-sermaye birikimi-meta üretimi-ücretli emek döngüsü üzerine oturan üretim ve dolaşım faaliyetlerinin verili iktisadi formasyon dahilinde dominant üretici ‘tip’ olmasını sağlamaktır -ve bu ikincisi de, hukuki regülasyon faaliyetiyle kol kola ilerler. Meijive Çarlık mutlakiyetçiliği, Prusya otoritaryanizmi, geç kapitalizmin doğasına içkin devlet-sermaye ilişkisinin niteliğine ışık tutma yolunda faydalı örneklerdir. Her üç örnekte dikkati çeken unsur, gerek Nippon feodalizmi, gerekse Brandenburg ve Rus feodalizmlerinin; savaş makinelerine dönüşecek bu emperyal devletlerin, kendisiyle bütünleşik biçimde semirterek bu bölgelerde güçlü bir kapitalizmin temellerini atma yolunda sağladığı büyük faydadır (Rusya, devasa coğrafi boyutlarının yol verdiği engeller dolayısıyla Japon ve Alman örneklerinden kısmi olarak ayrılıyor). Ren kapitalizminin dinamosu, feodal Alman toprak sahibi sınıfı büyük bir ivmeyle kapitalist tarıma yöneltmiştir. Bahsi geçen sınıfın, bizzat feodal Prusya devletinin yönetici sınıfı olması dolasıyla Alman kapitalizminin zaferinin şafağı, ’48 devrimlerinin yıkıntıları üzerine, kansız ve fakat topraktan özgürleşen milyonlarca köylünün gözden kaçması olanaksız biçimde artan sefaletine doğmuştur. ‘Soylular, manöryel tarımdan kapitalist tarıma kolayca geçmiştir; köylülüğün büyük bölümünün iktisadi özgürlüğün arındırıcı sularında boğulmalarına izin verilirken[1]’ Beraberinde gelen oy hakkı ise, Prusya devletinin ezilenler üzerindeki muazzam hakimiyetinin gölgesinde kalmaya mahkumdur. Alman birliğinin sağlanması ve kapitalizmin hukuki konsolidasyonu, püriten burjuva devrimi arayışındakileri hayal kırıklığına uğratacak biçimde,  birliğin her manada merkezindeki Prusya toprak sahibi sınıfının tüm ekonomik ve bürokratik ayrıcalıklarının anayasa tarafından korunmasıyle elele gerçekleşmiştir. Benzer şekilde Rus kapitalizmi örneğinde, devletle bütünleşik bir ‘servis aristokrasisi’, yaygın kanının aksine, serfliğin tepesine çöken hukuksal düzenlemelerin ilgasını güle oynaya karşıladı. Devlet, Şubat Devrimi’ne kadar katıksız bir feodal aygıt formunda varlığını sürdürse de -bu manada, Prusya devletindekine benzer bir sermaye hakimiyeti söz konusu değildir- özellikle 19. yüzyılın son çeyreğinde kendi eliyle büyüttüğü kapitalist ağır sınai sermayenin yol verdiği devasa bir savaş gücüne sahip olacaktı. Bu tarihsel bağlam dahilinde Meiji Japonyası ise, geç kapitalizasyonun belki de en uç ‘devlet kapitalizmi’ örneğini yansıtır. Aynı şekilde, tarihin tanık olduğu bu en dinamik kapitalistleşme deneyiminin taşıyıcıları Choshu, Satsuma gibi feodal toprak sahibi ‘klan’ların öncüleri/yeni kapitalistler ve peşinden sürüklendikleri ‘aydınlanmış despot’ Meiji’dir. Geç kapitalizme dair bu çarpıcı örnekler bir yana, tarihin en radikal burjuva kopuşu biçiminde nitelendirilen Fransız Devrimi’nin ne derecede eski rejimden koptuğu/bu rejimin özellikle üstyapısal kimi kurumlarından ‘kurtulma’ hususunda ne ölçüde ‘istekli’ olduğu da büyük tartışma konusudur.

Geç kapitalizmin karakteristiklerine Türkiye özgüllüğü bağlamında geri dönelim. Türkiye’nin ekonomik formasyonunun geç kapitalistleşme yolunda belini büken önemli üst-belirleyenlerden biri, devrimin üzerine doğduğu topraklarda, bahsi geçen örneklerin tamamen zıttında tezahür eden biçimde, bir feodal sınıfın yokluğudur. Bu önemli bir noktadır zira kapitalizm, yalnızca saydığımız geç kapitalistleşen emperyal örneklerde değil; Fransa, Hollanda ve İngiltere gibi erken modern dönem kapitalizmin doğuşunu simgeleyen formasyonlarda da, varlığı, sınırları net bir biçimde belirlenmiş bir dizi hukuki ve ekonomik ayrıcalıklar üzerinden tanımlanan toprak sahibi feodal bir sınıfın dönüşümü ile meyve vermeye başlamıştır. Türkiye örneğinde, erken modern dönemin monetize olmuş feodalizmine görünüşte en çok yaklaşan 18. yüzyıl ayan rejiminde dahi merkezi otorite ile yerel liderler arasında bu türden bir ‘hukuken korunaklı’ karşılıklılık ilişkisi yoktur. Hele ki, II. Mahmud dönemi ve bunu kırk yıl arayla takip eden Hamidiye istibdadının merkeziyetçi eğilimlerinin, bu türden bir  yerel partikülarizm için hiç de uygun bir yatak olmadığı açıktır. Feodalizm, tıpkı Osmanlı işgali sonrası Balkanları’nda olduğu gibi, Anadolu’da da yeşerememiş, muzaffer burjuva devrimcileri yeni ekonomiye eklemlenerek tarımsal üretimi rasyonelleştirecek bir feodal sınıfla ittifak şansı bulamamıştır. Anadolu ve Kürdistan ticari sermayesinin, yine bahsi geçen örneklere kıyasla cüce boyutunda olması, devletin sınai atılım hamlesinde katalizör rolü verebileceği bir sermayedar kesiminden kısmi olarak mahrum kalmasına yol açmıştır (yalnızca Koç ve Sabancı türdeşi bir-iki oligarkın koca bir coğrafyanın kapitalistleşmesi yükünü taşıyamayacağı açıktır). Esasında konjonktürel bir ‘sapma’ olarak doğan ve aksak bir sermaye birikimi hattında ilerleyen Türkiye sanayi kapitalizmi, hal-i hazırda yüzyıllardır hukuki manada özgür olan küçük köylülün yığınlar halinde kent proleterine dönüşmesi için 1950’li yılların ikinci yarısını beklemek durumunda kalacaktır. Nihayetinde ortaya çıkan ekonomik formasyon ve devlet biçimi, basitçe, şöyle izah edilebilir: 1908-23 döneminde Türkiye burjuvazisinin varlığının büyüyerek gelişmesi ve sermaye birikiminin rotasının bahsettiğimiz ‘sağlam kazıklara’ bağlanması için zaruri olan ve azami gerekliliği haiz hukuksal-bürokratik üstyapı inşa edilmiştir. Koynundaki ticari ve sınai sermayedar sınıfının hakimiyetiyle belirlenen İttihatçı ve Kemalist türevleriyle burjuva devleti; kentçil/kırsal yoksulların baskısı ya da burjuvazi içi sektörel çatlaklarla karşılaşmadığı müddetçe demokratik bir rejime yol verecek içsel bir dinamiğe sahip değildir. Nasıl ki, yaygın determinist kanının aksine feodalizm kendiliğindenci bir süreç içinde kapitalizme yol vermiyorsa, verili siyasi dinamiklere sahip bir toplumsal formasyonun aynı dinamikleri, önbelirlenmiş bir rejim biçimini evrilerek doğurmaz. Prusya’yı kapitalizm yoluna sokan büyük ölçüde 1815 sonrası Ren bölgesinin ilhakıdır. Bourbon Fransası’nı mutlakiyetçiliğe yönelten Habsburg tehdidir. Japonya’ya liberal demokrasi ‘getiren’ İkinci Dünya Savaşı; Rusya’yı kapitalize eden Kırım Savaşı ise, bolşevize eden ilk büyük savaştır. Osmanlı-Türkiye devletleri de benzer bir biçimde, Balkan Savaşları’nın yıkıcı etkisiyle Türk sermayesinin mutlak hakimiyeti altına girerek sultanı İngiliz muadilinin pozisyonuna indirecek, 1946 ‘açılımı’ ise tarım kapitalistlerinin yine savaş döneminde tavan yapan ‘zenginleşmesi’ tarafından önbelirlenecektir.

“Burjuva devrimin, önbelirlenmiş liberal-demokrat ‘ödevleri’ yoktur” varsayımımızdan somut özgüllüklere indik; şimdi soyuta dönüp savımızı kısaca zenginleştirelim. Türk burjuva devriminin tamamlanmamış olduğu iddiası, açıkça ifade edilmediği pek çok durumda dahi, devrimin öntanımlı demokratik ödevleri olduğu varsayımına dayanıyor. Tarihsel sosyolojik bir burjuva devrimleri tarihi tahlili, sermayedar sınıfın iktidarı ele geçirme ve konsolide etme süreçlerinin hiç de varsayıldığı gibi, eski rejimlere dair ‘ne bulduysa’ süpüren tarihsel aralıklar olmadığını ortaya koymamıza yetecek bir güce sahip. Kapitalizmin tarihi aynı muzaffer sınıfın, üzerine bastığı eski rejimin hukuki regülatif yapısal bileşenlerinden pek çoğunu korumada ne kadar tutucu bir tavır sergileyebileceğinin örnekleriyle dolu (Reich). Aynı şekilde iktidara çöreklenen sermaye sınıfının eski rejimle özdeşleşmiş yönetsel üstyapı kurumlarının varlığına dokunmada ne kadar çekingen ve isteksiz olabildiği kesinkez ortada (İngiltere, 1908 Devrimi). Avrupa örneğinde kapitalist üretim biçiminin feodalizm üzerindeki dominasyonu ve sermaye iktidarının siyasi zaferinin geniş bir zaman dilimine yayılan ilk zaman aralığı, kıta genelinde senkronik olmayan ama özgül örneklerinin her birinde kesinlikle hibridite sergileyen bir niteliktedir. Burada hayati önem taşıyan nokta, kırsaldaki pre-kapitalist ilişkilerinin yasal düzenlemeler ve kapitalist üretimin çekim gücünün göreli ağırlıklarıyla beraber er ya da geç yerini ardılına teslim edeceği; ancak yeni siyasi rejime miras kalan yönetsel aygıtlar ve yönetme biçimlerinin sermaye iktidarının varlığını tehdit etmeye yahut sermaye birikimi için gerekli atılımların önünde engel teşkil etmeye başlamadığı müddetçe korunmasının önünde hiç bir sakınca olmadığıdır. Burjuva devrimleri, emekçi sınıfların demokrasisinin “gerektirdiği” üretim ve bölüşüm demokrasisinini sağlamaya muktedir olmayan kimyaları dolasıyla değil; doğalarında ‘tamamlanma’ türünden bir itkinin kendiliğinden varolmamasından kaynaklı olarak  çoklukla ‘tamamlanmamış’ niteliktedirler. Tamamına erecek bir burjuva devrimi arayışı dahilinde Batı’nın liberal demokrasilerine mercek doğrultan sosyalistler tarihi bir yanılgı içindeler. Tamamına eren Weimar Cumhuriyeti, yalnızca Bavyera Sovyeti’ni yıkmakla kalmadı, bir dönemin en dinamik komünist kuşağının birinci elden katili oldu. Tamamına eren Fransa Üçüncü Cumhuriyeti, komünistleri burjuva devletin sadık bekçilerine dönüştürmeyi kesin bir biçimde başaracaktı. Erkenden tamamına eren İngiliz meşruti monarşisinin siyasal liberalizmi ise, ülkeyi dünya komünizminin en kısır coğrafyalarından biri haline getirmede başat rol oynadı. Geniş çaplı siyasi liberalizasyonun burjuva rejimlerinin sonal konsolidasyonu manasına geldiğini anlamak, buna yönelik tavırlar geliştirmek gerekiyor.

Vesayet: Kim İçin, Kim Tarafından, Neye Karşı?

Türkiye’nin özgül siyasi formasyonu dahilinde ‘askeri vesayet’ kavramı, Silahlı Kuvvetler’in ‘rejim’ bekçiliği misyonuna atıfla kullanılıyor. Buna göre devletin askeri-bürokratik kanadı, çoklukla, rejimin hayati bir tehdit ile yüzyüze kaldığında vasilik cüppesini üzerine geçirerek ‘yönetime el koyuyor’. Bir diğer yandan, dönemsel olarak gardroptan çıkardığı cüppenin ihtişamı öylesine göz kamaştırıcı, bu kıyafet değiştirme ritüelinin tarihi öylesine derinlerden kök veriyor ki, aynı kanat görkemli ‘el koyuşların’ ötesine geçen bir biçimde gündelik siyasete dair söz söyleme hakkını kendinde görmeye devam edebiliyor. Rejim bekçiliğini, Türkiye’de vücut bulan haliyle askeri vesayetin tanımlayıcı özelliklerinden biri olarak görenler ve bu vaziyete burun kıvıranların arasında Marksistler de varsa, ortada tuhaf bir şeyler var demektir. Zira, bilmeleri gereken öncelikle bizzat bu insanlardır ki, hangi devlet söz konusu olursa olsun ordu, gayet doğal olarak, o rejimin bekçisi, tehdit algısının yoğunlaştığı her durumda aynı rejimin karşı karşıya kaldığı tehdidi kan ve katliam yoluyla bertaraf etmede güvenilebilecek ilk ve en önemli aktördür.  Başka hiç bir toplumsal kesim askeri zor kapasitesini, askeriye denli bünyesinde yoğunlaştırma imkanını haiz değildir. Batı’dan örnek vermek yersiz zira geride bıraktığımız yüzyılın bu coğrafyadaki konsolide kapitalizm-siyasi liberalizm kompleksi, devletin merkezi askeri gücünü alarm durumuna geçirecek boyutta bir tehditle asla yüz yüze gelmedi (Fransa ve İtalya’nın cici çocukları konumundaki komünist parti iktidarları bunun güzel bir örneğidir). Fakat sanırım bu hususta en çarpıcı örnek Latin Amerika’dan geliyor. Kıtanın 19. yüzyıl caudillo‘larından artakalan bir mirasın ışığında boğuşmak zorunda kaldığı askeri darbelerden muaf kalmayı beceren Şili burjuva devleti, hem kapitalist üretim ilişkilerinin İngiltere/Prusya gibi klasik örneklerine benzer biçimde evrimsel/gösterişli kopuşlardan uzak bir şekilde gelişmesi, hem de aynı sürece denk düşen bir şekilde, 1960’lı yıllara gelindiğinde muazzam düzeyde liberal demokratik bir rejime ev sahipliği yapması nedeniyle az önce kendisinden örnek verme imkanı bulamadığımız formasyonlara müthiş bir yakınlık arz ediyor. Örgütsel geleneğinde ‘siyasi müdahalede bulunma’ türünden bir “davranış kalıbı” kesinlikle varolmayan Şili Silahlı Kuvvetleri’nin Halk Cephesi’nin nihayetinde kürtajla sonuçlanan üç yıllık ‘barışçıl yollardan sosyalizme geçiş’ deneyimi sürecinde yükselen emekçi sınıflar radikalizmine nasıl bir karşılık verdiği, sanıyorum aleni olarak biliniyor; tekrara gerek yok. Aynı şekilde, iç savaş dönemi boyunca sallantı durumunda seyreden Sovyet iktidarının, temelini attığı rejimi konusunda güvenebileceği tek odağın ordusu olması gibi. Bu manada; ordunun kendisine biçtiği yahut kimi durumlarda bizzat yasalar tarafından kendisine bahşedilen ‘rejim bekçiliği’ görevinde tuhaf karşılanacak bir yan olmadığı gibi, aynı silahlı kuvvetleri böylesi bir görevden muaf tutmaya çalışmak kelimenin tam anlamıyla imkansızdır. Askeri-bürokrat kanat olarak tanımladığımız toplumsal grup, tıpkı bahsettiğimiz burjuva devrimcileri gibi, boşluğa doğmaz ve varlıklarına içkin göreli siyasi kuvvetini boşlukta seyrediyor olma halinden devşiremez. Türkiye örneğinde de bunun tastamam böyle olduğunu örneklerle anlatmanın yeri yok zira bu tür göstergelerin hepsi ortalık bilgisi niteliği taşıyor: OYAK -ordunun bizzat kendisinin ‘büyük sermaye’ konumunda olması, NATO -ordunun küresel sermaye birikiminin Türkiye uğrağının jandarması olması, darbe döngüleri -1960: sınai kapitalizmin kentçil baskısı -1971: yükselen militan devrimci dalga ve ’71 krizi -1980: yükselen devrimci dalga ve ithal ikameci sermaye birikim modelinin içsel sınırlarına erişmesiyle eşzamanlı olarak parlementer rejimin düğüm vaziyetine girmesi vb. Türkiye’de kansız askeri müdahalelerin gerçekleştiği; örneğin 28 Şubat gibi bir tarihsel uğrağın ise gündemimizde olması söz konusu dahi değildir zira Silahlı Kuvvetler’in kuvvet komutanlarının ‘din devrimi’ algısına cevaben gerçekleşen bu müdahale, anladığımız ve yazıda kullandığımız manasıyla ‘rejim bekçiliği’ ödevinin bir gereği değil, orta sınıf albay laisizminin ordu üzerine bindirdiği bir yüktür -emekçi sınıflar ve Kürtler’in kavgalarıyla hiç bir ilintisi yoktur; tam da bu nedenle bu yazıdaki gündemimizde yeri yoktur. Rejim, 1997’de, tıpkı 2010’da olduğu gibi sermaye rejimidir. Günün ‘askeri vesayet’ tartışmalarının odağındaki güncel örnekleriyle ordu müdahaleceliğinin karakteristiğine ise, 1997’nin İslami rejim tehdidi algısına ek olarak, çok yoğun bir biçimde AKP iktidarının ve iktisat politikalarının çoklukla üzerine yükseldiği yeni sermaye bloğunun rekabeti sinmiştir.  Bu noktada diyebiliriz ki; askeri vesayet bir anlamda vardır ve fakat ‘rejim bekçiliği’ üzerinden gerçekleşen kavramsallaştırılması dolayımından vücut bulan kaçınılmazlığıyla, kesinlikle yoktur -zira karşıtı olabilecek bir ‘vasisizlik’ hali yoktur. Şayet odak, askeri müdahalenin laisist damgalar taşıyan türevlerine kaydırılacaksa, ordunun bu türden bir siyaset yapma halinin, bu sefer de bizim odağımız olan devrimci mücadele ile en ufak bir alakası yoktur -Türkiye’de İslami devrimci radikalizm büyük ölçüde sinmiş, evrilmiş ve sizin AKP iktidarının doğasında ‘sezdiğiniz’ rejim karşıtlığında kendini ele veren şaşı gözlerinizden çok daha keskin duyargalara sahip ordunun görüş alanından çoktan çıkmıştır. Konjonktürel olarak ağır bir liberal kaftan giymek durumunda kalan sağ ideologlar hayal görmüyor: TC ordusunun son hırçın kanatlarının esaslı tasfiyesi ve dönüşümü, sermaye iktidarını dönemsel kardeş kavgalarına bulanma ihtimalinden kurtaracaktır. Rejimin, zor kapasitesinin burjuva iktidarının ilk on yıllarına kıyasla müthiş ölçüde artmış olmasının yarattığı ‘enflasyonist’ etkiyle beraber böylesi dönemsel yarıkların oluşma ihtimalinden kurtulması liberal demokrasi ve bahsi geçen iktidar bloğunun kesin konsolidasyonu anlamına gelecektir.

Sivil vesayet kavramı ise bizi bir başka tartışma alanına çekiyor: AKP otoritarizmini anlamak. Cemaat nüfuzu vurgusu ve Gramsci’ninkine benzemeyen türden bir ‘pasif devrim’ konseptini sıklıkla harekete geçiren sağ sosyalist eğilimin iktidar partisine yönelik korku ve endişe duyması gayet yerinde olmasına rağmen korku objesinin nitelik ve muhtemel eğilimleri müthiş bir Aydınlanmacı kırılmaya uğradığı ölçüde burjuva siyasetinin dümensuyuna giriyor. Kapitalizmin neo-liberal döngüsünün güncel taşıyıcısına yönelik korku, Aydınlanmacı kaygılarla bezendiği ölçüde bir ‘gizli gündem’ paranoyasına yol veriyor. Burada sosyalist solun önemli bir kesiminin, yıkıcı ve alabildiğine sınırsız görünen iktisadi liberalizmin emekçi kitleler nezdinde yaşattığı müthiş maddi erozyonlar karşısında iktidar partisinin Türkiye ölçeğinde sergilemeyi başardığı şaşırtıcı sürekliliği bir türlü kavrayamamanın yarattığı hayret ve hayal kırıklığı büyük rol oynamakta. Aynı kafa karışıklığında kökünde yatan sebeplerden diğerlerinin, devletin toplum ile ilişkilerine aracılık eden katmanları gözardı eden kaba materyalizm esintili bir özne-yapı diyalektiği perspektifi ve Türkiye sosyalist hareketinin İslami radikalizme genel manada oldukça mesafeli durmasınının yatması olduğunu söyleyebiliriz. Aynı kafa karışıklığı sosyalistlerin, radikal İslami hareketten kök alan bir kitle partisinin yeni ve azgın kapitalist bir ‘İslami modernizme’ [2] kapı araladığını görmemekte ısrar ederek partinin her türden manevrasında ‘kokusu’ gelecekte çıkacak bir ‘aldatmaca’ sezmesine neden oluyor. Bu noktada ‘sivil vasilik’ kavramı, kitlelerin demokratik taleplerine kulak asma gerekliliği hissetmeyecek otoriter bir sivil rejimi vurgulamak maksadıyla devreye giriyor. Emekçi sınıfların hatrı sayılır bir kesiminin güncel iktisadi liberalizmin hegemonik diskuruna soğurulması dolasıyla, verili siyasi demokrasi/iş demokrasisi/cinsiyet eşitliği düzeyinden ötesini görmekten bile zaten vazgeçmiş olduğunun farkında değiller mi? Sivil vesayet, şayet ‘çocuk’ kitlelere karizmatik ‘babaları’ tarafından hediye edilen at gözlüğünün aynı çocuklar tarafından şevkle kuşanılması ise; bu süreç hal-i hazırda çok önemli aşamalar kat etmiştir -masadaki anayasa değişikliğinin; toplu sözleşme ve sendikal hakları ilgilendiren ufak iki  maddesi dışında bu türden bir ‘sivil vesayet’ ile uzaktan yakından bir ilgilisi yoktur. Fakat kitleler, çocuklar değildir. Sosyalist solun ‘yanlış ideoloji’ sapkınlığından kurtulması zaruri; fakat bunun aynı zamanda Aydınlanmacı kavrayış evreninden keskin bir uzaklaşmayı öngerektirmesi nedeniyle zor.


[1] Simon, The Failure of the Prussian Reform Movement, sf. 104

[2] Tuğal, Passive Revolution -Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism, sf. 20

The Maturing and the Defeat of the Chilean Revolution (1964-1973) -a Political Economy Perspective

I. Introductory Remarks

The troublesome process through which the dispossessed masses attain political self-empowerment reveals the cracks and cleaveges within a given social formation and causes widespread dislocations in the specific framework in which normal politics had been practised, material resources allocated and social groups positioned in relation to one another. The volatile continuum of the relatively dispossessed’s self-empowerment, no matter how successful it becomes in attaining the goals envisaged, severely disrupts the social status quo in such a way that most often, if not always, it requires a certain violent counter-reformist rupture to supress the novel forms in which making politics has been formally or informally institutionalized[1]. The Chilean experience of the past century, tragically, provides no exception. The shy overtures performed by the hegemonic sectors of the Chilean bourgeoisie  from the early 1960s onwards towards the incorporation and simultaneous accomodation of politically and materially dispossessed masses into the confines of a redistributive reformism, constituted the political program of the overarching attempt to break free from the seemingly cyclical trends that had long been plaguing the Chilean economy -which, at the end was proven to produce nothing but perpetual stagnation; and to counter the growing influence of socialist tendencies among the urban working class. However, the process whose culmination is marked by the presidential term of Eduardo Frei (1964-70); when coupled with the unanticipated radicalization of their potential clients in the wake of widespread political disillusionment and further leftwards drift in terms of the general political atmosphere of the country, conditioned the upsurge of some degree of a militant class-consciousness especially both among the urban and the rural proletariat during the reign of the socialist alliance of Unidad Popular and its leader Salvador Allende between 1970 and 1973. The aborted term of President Allende proved to be a period of intensified class struggle and was marked by attempts to introduce certain novel forms of political participation and self-empowerment. At the same time, the period saw the gradually eroding internal cohesiveness of the socialist political alliance and bulk of the political representatives’ growing inability to cope with the unmanageably radicalized, revolutionized and intractable demands of their constituencies. The defeat of the Chilean Revolution, in fact, came much before the September Coup of 1973. Yet; it took one brutal military junta, a worldwide tide of neo-conservative economic policies and the ‘implosion’ of the socialist regimes throughout the globe to facilitate a break with the living memory of the revolutionary inroads into the heart of normal politics. Moreoever, the political economy of the Allende period, together with the unfolding of the liberal counter-revolutionary surge following it, shook and thoroughly transformed the foundations of the capitalist coalition that had constituted the essential pillars of the Chilean economic development path for about half a decade.

Signals sent out of the frequency range in which the UP’s three-year experiment is positioned, are apparently lost underneath its own ruins and have gone astray within the cloud of dust emaneting from the majestic downfall of the socialist/state capitalist world bloc -and the preceding ideological transformation of the bulk of the world communist movement. The tragedy of this historical experiment with a more egalitarian society lies, not only in the spiny contradictions that constituted the tension between the specific way in which some sectors composing the uneasy alliance of the UP believed in the gradual and peaceful manner the socialist transformation would be put in motion and the structural characteristics of the Chilean economy and social class formation; but also in the costs of and traumatic damage caused by the following sixteen years, under a ruthless military dictatorship.  If those lost signals are to be left aside -hopefully to be utilized as historical evidences within the framework of the seemingly dead terrain of further theoretical discussions on the nature of bourgeois democracies and the characteristics of the transitory economic formations; what is perhaps left to be done for an analyst gazing at the vast temporal terrain in between the maturing years of the Chilean revolution and its immediate aftermath are situated (spanning two decades; roughly from the mid-1960s to the last years of the Pinochet regime) would merely be giving a descriptive account of a chain of events. I shall however, in this short paper, attempt mainly at delineating the contours of the economic policies of the UP-regime and the consequent counter-revolution in a descriptive manner while simultaneously putting forward certain hypotheses on specific issues at hand, as a preliminary effort to form the base of a causal socio-economic framework concerning the period of maturation for the revolution. In order to explain policy directions, social responses and impulses, special emphasis would be put both on the relevant historical determinants that condition certain characteristics of the Chilean class structure and an array of macro-economic indicators.

II. The Historico-Structural Characteristics of the Chilean Bourgeoisie and the Historical Trajectory of Capitalist Development in Chile

Any endeavor aiming at unraveling the causal framework at work behind the specific physical-temporal setting we are dealing with, I believe, ought to address the compositional structure of the Chilean bourgeoisie in a historical-structural manner; mainly because it was this particular class and certain hegemonic segments of it that held eclipsing political and ideological dominance over other social strata and the state apparatus throughout the Chilean national history. It was through direct economic dominance and indirect politial-ideological hegemony that the Chilean bourgeois class steered the national economic development path and gave form to the general outline of the country’s institutionalized politics -even the consequent political mobilization and systematic inclusion of the peasant masses being at the disposal of this class as well[2]. Tracing the origins of compositional characteristics of the Chilean bourgeois corpus helps us to find clues regarding the question of Chilean democratic stability; why the Chilean path of inward-oriented industrialization failed to promote perpetual economic growth; how the reformist wave of the Frei era came about; reasons why UP failed to mobilize or neutralize segments of the bourgeoise in line with their theoretical understanding of the Chilean class structure; and whether the 1973 could really be considered as a political anomaly within the workings of a system that shows great flexibility and adaptability in times of “institutional transformation[3]”.

Although there is a wide consensus regarding the peculiarity of the Chilean case within the Latin American framework in terms of its relative sustained democratic stability up until the 1973 coup, few attempts had been made to explain this distinctive characteristic of Chilean politics in relation to the specific ways in which the development of capitalism took root in this particular setting. While much of the attempts at this direction focus on the strength and highly institutionalized  form of political participation and execution mechanisms, they often fall short in defining why and how this special form of institutionalization -which is revealed as the manifest center of the political equilibrium, came about. It is, at this point, useful to adopt a historical sociological approach and shortly define the characteristics of the Chilean bourgeois class -which bear the historical marks and scars of its initial stage of primitive accumulation, in order to pave the way for a better understanding of the events unfolded in the latter half of the 20th century.

Initial decades following the national independence of Chile in 1820s saw the intensification of financial and extractive capital formation, development of market-oriented interests in productive sectors, widespread adoption of wage labour and the further monetization of internal markets. Main ‘commanding’ pillars of the 19th century Chilean economy consisted of a traditional, latifundial agrarian oligarchy; mineral extractive industrialists; an ascending, export-oriented agrarian bourgeoisie and a financial bourgeois sector of wealthy merchants in tight control of the financing of all sorts of productive enterprises and mediating internal and international trade[4]. The latter half of the century was marked by the erosion of the traditionally autarkic latifundia towards the direction of export-oriented commercial agriculture and growing investments by large estate owners in the promising mining sector -thus the gradual bourgeoisification of these latifundistas. Accompanying this, “a depression from 1858 to 1860, caused a disastrous decline in agrarian land values, impoverished many members of the old order, and permitted the new rich to acquire land and, thereby, social prestige and acceptance[5]”. Due to considerable variatons in land values during the century, the wealthy merchants and mine owners were able to acquire extensive agricultural holdings[6]. By the end of the century, “Chile was governed by a dominant class configuration based on an alliance between the oligarchy of latifundistas and merchants and the mining and agricultural bourgeoisies of the north and the south[7]”. The tight intertwining of rural agricultural interests with urban commercial and mineral-extractive motivations came about, not only through the formation of corporate-type organizational structures with trans-sectoral economic interests but also with the establishment of marital/kinship bonds between landed/pseudo-aristocratic families and the urban rich to form ‘a cohesive core of upper class families[8]’. As in almost all parts of the globe in the latter half of the century in question; Chilean market, country’s mineral resources and non-value added products entered an unsettling and dislocating process of integration into the pervasive web of a globalizing flow of capital and commodities. Though showing an indisputably unsettling character regarding the masses of physically and economically dislocated producers, it could very well be argued that this particular path of transformation of traditional landed interests from along the lines of a pre-capitalist economic formation into an eventual merger with flourishing commercial motivations is a rather exceptional one. The political confrontations that ‘normally’ characterize the tension between traditional patterns of land ownership and bourgeoning urban interests, although not completely absent from the Chilean history, have rarely been intense enough to condition ruptures in the late-19th, early-20th century political formation of the country. The foundational stability of the Chilean bourgeois democracy, thus, could be traced as back as to the particular form the coalescence of urban and rural interests in the latter half of the 19th century took place.

The Great Depression shattered the conditions that held together the capitalist coalition that supported the liberal economic model and the international financial crash interrupted the flow of private capital to Chile, which had provided much of the foreign exchange needed for business, agriculture and the trading sector[9]. Thus; a crucial historical juncture that marked a new stage in the development of the country’s productive forces and one that drew the general outline of the subsequent re-alignment of national political actors came about with the growth of the inward-oriented Chilean industrial capitalism from 1930s-onwards[10] -whose formation was, perhaps, motivated more by a desire to maintain traditional consumption patterns of the better-off sectors of the Chilean class structure than strong ideological committments to a nationalist path of economic growth. Although the kernel of a native industrial capitalist class had existed in embryonic form in the late-19th century Chilean manufacture[11], the core of the newly emerging industrialist sector in the era following the 1929 Depression were, again, to be found in the traditional capitalist bloc of financial intermediaries and important segments of the agro-mining oligarchy. It was predominantly this hitherto dominant faction of Chilean capitalism that transformed itself into a native industrial oligarchy with the help of state subsidies from 1930s onwards[12].The agrarian-bourgeois, raw-material-exporting and import-mediating immediate descent of the new industrial capitalist class shows that, it was not a self-subsisting developmental process which brought about the birth of this new capitalist sector, but rather “a cyclical crack in the relations of dependence[13]” -i.e. ‘the Depression’, that revealed a national industrial path as a possible and feasible route of economic development and paved the way for the metamorphosis of traditional capitalists into an industrial bourgeois segment. The ‘traditional’ links of this new segment especially to the strictly agrarian interests and the continuity regarding the clannish formational character of it reveal much about the striking feature of Chilean mainstream politics as ‘a game of accomodationism[14]’, the reasons why and how “Chile’s social structure has maintained many dysfunctional traditional rigidities[15]” and the high degree of concentration in terms of the ownership of capital assets. Thus, “there was no great ‘industrial revolution’, no violent displacing of elites; the political system maintained a remarkably unchanged appearance, and social immobility remained the rule[16]”. The monopolistic tendencies of the Chilean industrial capital -that stemmed from the specific path the stage of primitive capital accumulation took and the high degree of ownership concentration in specific sectors of manufacturing, conditioned the relative functional tranquility, the structural rigidity of the compositional configuration of the Chilean bourgeoisie and the way in which the prospects for intersectoral conflict were discarded in most cases through the heavy concentration of the Chilean industry in sectors complementary in nature to the agrarian interests -the formation of heavy industries in the 1950s, such as iron and steel constituting certain exceptions to this pattern. The relatively smooth way in which a part of the Chilean social formation was transformed into an industrial one had its reflections in the mainstream political realm. Although the Communist and Socialist Parties of Chile, both being serious components of the political configuration, the scope of making nationwide politics was pretty much confined to a narrow spectrum of policy alternatives and intertwined heavily with the aims of getting bigger portions of ‘dwindling resources’ in a stagnating economy and maintaining the status quo regarding the periodical adjustments in resource re-allocation every once in a while, after gaining sufficient political-executive power. All in all, despite mass urbanization, considerable state-promoted industrialization and an established legacy of a nationwide political party system with a relatively strong institutionalized backbone; the closesly-knit webs of patronage and clientelistic relations continued to play decisive roles in defining the narrow and rigid contours of the ‘legitimate’ way of doing politics in Chile for decades.

Last but not least, the strong asymmetries that constituted the core of the relations between Chilean capitalism and central capitalist economies, more or less, predefined the scope of the Chilean economic development path and possibilities of inward-oriented industrialization, itself a direct product of historical fluctations in relations of dependence, to break the cycle of economic self-insufficiency and stagnation. In line with the traditional dilemma of ‘late-late’ consumer good-industrializers acting within the framework of the global market economy, the complete dependence of the Chilean manufacturing industry on capital and intermediary goods originating from center economies and the seemingly unbreakable ties of international patent agreements, contributed to the perpetuation of the links of dependence. As Feinberg rightly suggests, “the new composition of import needs (i.e. –capital and intermediary goods instead of manufactured consumer goods) left the Chilean economy yet more vulnerable to fluctuations in the balance of payments. Before, a decline in import capability meant less consumption; now, it translated into a broad and dangerous industrial slowdown, with all of its Keynesian multiplier, and politically disruptive effects[17]”.

1950s saw the reaching of limits of the import-substituting path of industrialized economic growth. The optimism of the preceding decade was, again, followed by symptoms of an acute crisis -stagnation, inflation and rising unemployment. The chronic cycle of recession following short waves of growth was intact, so it seemed -the external and internal variables conditioning the downturns in the national economy were as dominant as before. Heavy dependence on copper production for export earnings, mainly because of the unsophisticated way in which the distributional shares in exports were diversified since the Chilean manufactured goods were relatively incompetitive in international markets; coupled with the stagnating agricultural output in an unreformed sector (a thorough industrial revolution certainly required an accompanying agrarian reform in land ownership and production patterns) and the demographic limits of the Chilean national market predetermined the prospects of this particular experiment with inward-oriented development. The gradual shattering of the informal coalition between the land, capital and labor which was symbolized by centrist/populist administrations of the post-Depression era matured in this tumultuous decade. The rise of the socialist/Marxian left as an independent political force under the banner of Frente de Accion Popular in the ‘50s and the haunting ghost of socialism roving over the worn terrain of Chilean capitalism marked the leftwards shift in the national political atmosphere and the consequent growth of the Partido Democratica Christiana which had loose yet persuading left-inclined ideological undertones, from the mid-decade onwards were symptomatic of what was yet to come. The burden of reforming certain pillars on which Chilean capitalism rose, fell on the shoulders of PDC and president Frei, between 1964 and 1970. The bourgeois reformist interlude to put the disturbed route of capital accumulation on track, this time, came along with a package containing prospects of some structural transformations regarding a sector comprising a part of the traditional capitalist coalition. Yet, the uneasy alliance which was a diverse coalition of “urban dwellers, women, small farmers, middle class and big landowners[18]” that brought about the growth of PDC, would soon prove to bear disastrous consequences for the implementation of its program and conditioned an ultimate failure.

III. PDC, Eduardo Frei and the Bourgeois Reformist Interlude

Aside from the aforementioned growth of the constituencies of socialist left throughout the decade preceding the elections of 1964-65 appearing as a crucial warning sign for the propertied classes[19]; expansion of the electorate through the liberalization of registration processes and a specific amendment in the electoral law that prohibited joint-list participation -particularly aimed at curbing the rising power of FRAP[20], contributed significantly to the election of Eduardo Frei in the 1964 Presidential Elections[21] and the success of PDC concretized in its emergence as constituting a single-party majority after the 1965 Congressional Elections. Moreover, it would be helpful to contextualize the bourgeois reformist wave of the 1960s within the framework of the changing stance and policy transformation of the United States as symbolized by Kennedy administration’s ambitious Latin American foreign policy offensive under the name of ‘The Alliance for Progress’ from 1961-onwards. The proposed set of moves by the Alliance included the promotion of a “more equitable distribution of income, trade diversification, improved agricultural production, needed agrarian reform, elimination of adult illiteracy, low-cost housing, price stability in and the influx of $20 billion in external capital[22]” to South America. Indeed, a total of $1, 536 million direct US aid -loans and grants both included- between 1961 and 1970 made Chile, after Vietnam, the second-ranking country in per capita economic aid[23] and between 1964 and 1970, $200 to $300 million in short-term lines of credit was continuously available to Chile from private American banks[24]. In perfect harmony with the aims of the Alliance, calls for a much awaited agrarian reform, income-redistribution with a limited scope and promises for a growing share for public investments in the government budget constituted the main pillars of Frei/PDC-led wave of bourgeois reformism in Chile. All in all, the Frei/PDC program, in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, growing class consciousness on part of the urban and rural poor and in line with the long and short-term insterests[25] of national big business and trans-national foreign capital, appeared as the most radical and extensive reformist move the propertied classes of Chile could formulate. Through PDC’s policy route of further stimulating the entry of foreign capital and technology into the country, it could be argued, Chilean big and middle bourgeoisie, aware of the opportunities such intrusion of trans-national capital would provide themselves in an expanding economy, aimed at utilizing a prospective merger/integration with trans-national big business as a lever within the context of stagnating capital formation within a stagnating national economy and find out the possibilities to establish an optimum point of equilibrium with foreign capital regarding their cooperative operation on the terrain of this peripheral economy. Indeed, the possibilities of such coalscence and a relative shift in the concentration of big capital from traditional to mostly ‘virgin’ and dynamic sectors emerged as the most feasible path in order to induce economic growth in a country where periodic cycles of sectoral growths and booms fail to benefit the economy as a whole ever since the import-export-oriented era. To secure sustained growth, it was hoped, a limited resource-reallocative policy and the incorporation/accomodation of hitherto dispossessed peasant masses into national politics would accompany the process of invigoration of industrial growth through the levering force the entry of foreign capital into ‘promising’ sectors was expected to provide. Below, is a brief account of the developments regarding the relations of foreign and national capital during the Frei period, certain transformations in the sectoral distribution of foreign capital, aims and results of the initiation of the agrarian reform, a brief and rather descriptive account of the Chileanization of the Gran Mineria and some conclusionary remarks about the reformist interlude, supported by selected macro-economic data regarding the period between 1964 and 1970.

IIIa. A New Stage in Chilean Industrial Capitalism[26]

During the Frei era, Chile entered ‘a new stage of import substitution through the creation of new industries producing consumer durables[27]’ and a rapid expansion of the existing ones. Active state promotion in the manufacturing of durable goods, especially in the initial two years of Frei administration, resulted in the massive growth of this sector as shown by specific data: Between 1964 and 1969, the production of televisions showed an almost 15-fold increase while a tripling of output could be observed in the production of cars on the Chilean soil. Needless to say; accompanying this extension of the national capacity of manufacturing durables, the technological dependence of these newly expanding industries deepened considerably. Within the same period and very much in line with the new strategic orientations of the North American capital as made public by the Alliance at the dawn of the decade in question; the intrusion of foreign investments, -as opposed to the previous trend of their concentration in the raw-material extraction and import-trade sectors, this time mostly into the dynamic manufacturing sectors of metal and electrical products, machinery and transport equipments accelerated considerably. Of a total inflow of foreign capital of $1, 672 millon between 1954 and 1970, 87 per cent of this occured during the period of Frei administration. While in 1969, foreign capital owned about a fifth of the total capital stock in all industrial joint-stock companies, the foreign share in the aforementioned dynamic industries of metal, electricity, chemical production and rubber products reached the interval of 35 to 60 per cent. Moreover, ‘although foreign participation existed in only about one-quarter of all Chile’s industrial joint-stock companies, this quarter accounted for 59.5 per cent of all industrial share capital’. Here we not only observe the dominance and heavy hand of foreign capital in the Chilean economy, the disproportionate concentration patterns and the monopolistic nature of the Chilean industrial capital becomes evident as well. The pattern observed in the concentration of industrial capital, can clearly be seen in the case of financial capital as well. Banco de Chile alone, provided about 35 per cent of all private bank credits. Added to this, one might notice a similar tendency of concentration in the ways in which shareholding in individual corporations is distributed. In 59 per cent of the 271 dominant industrial corporations, the ten largest shareholders owned over 90 per cent of all share, and in 85 per cent of the cases their share surpassed 50 per cent. Finally, it ought to be noted that the clannic corporate structure of the business realm is, in fact, very much telling of and crucial regarding our understanding of the monopolistic nature of Chilean capitalism. De Vylder argues that at the turn of the decade in question, “the ‘commanding heights’ of the Chilean economy could be said to have been in the hands of about fifteen large economic groups which were present in every private industrial, financial and commercial activity of importance[28]”. The tight intertwining of trans-sectoral interests and their embodiment in a handful of corporations whose informal association and formal cooperation with one another could be regarded as constituting an oligarchic structure within national economy, would constitute the principal underlying cause of the organized and robust resistance against the far-reaching yet quite ambivalent expropriation process under the UP regime and perhaps of the fact that Chilean industrialization in historical trajectory did not cause significant ruptures in the sectoral composition of the economy up until the Frei era -since selective and state-promoted sectoral growth would in one way or another produce detrimental results for one productive component of the economy[29].

IIIb. The Land Reform and the ‘Chileanization’ of the Gran Mineria under PDC/Frei[30]

IIIb, i. The Land Reform

The agrarian issue, with all of the problems attached directly to matters of land ownership, political power in rural Chile and the stage of development of agrarian productive forces, constituted at the time when Eduardo Frei took office in 1964, perhaps the greatest burden on the Chilean economy and had long been occupying a rather anachronistic space within the country’s socio-economic formation which had, in fact, gone through a process of mass urbanization and accompanying industrialization. Although the hitherto unrestricted political power of the traditional landed oligarchy -despite its aforementioned bourgeoisfication and obscuring of its ‘essentially landed’ interests- had been in constant erosion and the notion of a “social function of property” which involved ‘obligations as well as rights[31]’ assumed legal rationalization by constitutional approval from the 1920s onwards; an agrarian reform that would take on the issues of huge discrepancies in land ownership patterns, low productivity despite assumably rich potentials and concomitant social ills regarding education and health, was not materialized despite ‘common’ acknowledgement of the problems’ graveness.

Some quantitative data regarding the characteristics of the land tenure and production patterns up until the mid 1960s, though seemingly frozen in time and rather inhumane, would certainly help us grasp the essence of the agrarian problem. By 1966, “out of a total of 345,000 rural families involved in agricultural work, 185,000 owned no land whatsoever. The remaining 160,000 families owned -many without a secure title- 150,959 farm units of which 77,5 per cent represented only 4,9 per cent of the total agricultural land in Chile. At the other extreme, a sheer 3,250 units, or 2,2 per cent of the total, each over a thousand hectars, represented 66,8 per cent of the total agricultural land[32]”. The concentration of about 80 per cent of the land in 7,5 per cent of the properties, left an estimated number of 500,000 peasants without any viable land holdings[33]. Over the terrain these data provide, we could situate the cornerstones of the land regime: At one extreme, one could find the large and commercially-oriented landed estates (latifundios) owned by landed/bougeoisfied oligarchs and worked either by resident farmers (inquilinos[34]) alone -who had rights to a plot of land for their own use and a house on it- or with the help of temporary/migratory day laborers (afuerinos) -whose real wages fell by 23 per cent between 1953 and 1964[35]– that supplemented the labor of the permanent workforce. At the other end of the land tenure stood the ocean of small holdings/subsistence farms (minifundios) whose cultivators, despite the superexploitation of these small parcels -“although covering less then one per cent of Chile’s arable land, produced four per cent of total output[36]”, most often joined the ranks of rural wage laborers to reach subsistence levels -while the ‘middle peasant’ who is able to market his surplus, as in the traditional European sense, amounted to no more than 15 per cent of the whole peasantry. In contrast to the overexploitation of minifundios, large estates were generally, rather under-utilized -a problem that contributed significantly to the decreasing agricultural self-sufficiency of the country from the 1930s onwards. While the total agricultural output rose by two per cent annually between 1939 and 1965, population grew 2.26 per cent per annum -equivalent to a decline in ‘agricultural production per capita’ at an annual rate of 0.4[37]. While the state-promoted industrialization move led and fed further and rapid urbanization, the stagnanting course of the growth of overall agricultural production gave way to a steady rise in agricultural imports -in a country which was, up until the end of the 1940s a net exporter of foodstuffs. “While in 1939 there was a favorable balance in the value of agricultural exports and imports -$24 million vs. $11 million-, by 1964 Chile was exporting only $39 million of agricultural products and agricultural imports had ballooned to $159 million[38]”. Last but not least; although some 60 per cent of the arable land in the Chilean central valley changed hands between the 1925 and 1960, ‘the new landowners, primarily from the middle class, emulated the inefficient, absentee ownership patterns of the old landowning aristocracy and often productivity of the lands they acquired declined[39]’.

In 1962, just one year after US President Kennedy declared the goals of the Alliance for Progress -calling for a series of agrarian reforms throughout South America, an Agrarian Reform Law was enacted by the Chilean Congress which would lay the foundations of two state agencies, Corporacion de Reforma Agraria (CORA) and the Instituto de Desarrollo Agropecurio (INDAP) that were to be responsible for land expropriatons and supervision of agricultural credits under the umbrella of the Ministry of Agriculture. However, since the law stipulated the payment of compensation which would be equal to the exact value of the land in question to landowners in cash and at once; it, and the overall scheme of reform which was envisaged did not have any meaning in reality -the Alessandri government in charge, neither had the will nor the political power to materialize a full-fledged reform in the agrarian sector. Frei and PDC’s electoral campaigns in 1964-65 were thus, harshly critical of the way in which land reform was implemented during the Alessandri era and promoted the ‘radicalization’ of it that would bring about a genuine  transformation in land ownership patterns. Important segments of the Chilean peasantry would be, according to the plan, incorporated into the diverse coalition that held up the Christan Democrats through means of land distribution and activation/promotion on agrarian unionization.  Yet, it ought to be noted that the specific focus of Frei’s reform scheme, in contrast to the priorities of the UP era agrarian reform, embraced a ‘developmentalist’ discourse regarding the rural problem -rather than stressing the issue of ‘power relations’ in the Chilean countryside. For Frei/PDC, at the core of the agrarian problem lay the stagnating agrarian output which itself, stemmed from the way in which overall discrepancies in land ownership patterns hinder the possibilities of a rationally-organized agricultural production. The issue of ‘who owned and cultivated the land’ was important, insofar the reforms in the ‘would-be-preserved’ property regime on land and an accompanying political mobilization of hitherto dispropertied masses would not clash with the productionist priorities of the regime. The material and ideological immunity of private property would thus be preserved to the extent to which the land in question meet the requirements brought about by the concept of the ‘social function of ownership’.

Up until 1967, when an amendment in the Agrarian Reform Law of 1962 removed the material limitations on prospective expropriations through permitting compensations to be paid over a period of thirty years and a new Law on Agrarian Unionization was promulagated, the PDC/Frei administration maneuvered within the confines of the old legislation. The period between 1967 and 1970 would see massive political mobilization on part of the rural workforce -tenant farmers, temporary workers and small landholders-, initiation of expropriations and the establishment of a distinct regime of land-labor administration on the rural level. However, although the period of 1967-1970 could rightly be considered both as politically and in terms of the actual material dislocation regarding the patterns of land ownership as the most active temporal interval the Chilean countryside had gone through up to that date; when compared to the inital ambitions of the Christian Democrat administration and to the wave of expropriations/seizures of land and peasant mobilization experienced during the consequent UP era -which will be discussed later, both the process of reforming the sector itself and the results fell considerably short of the expectations. The aim of redistributing land to a hundred thousand peasant families could not be realized and the share of the actually reformed sector in terms of hectares did not meet the initially envisaged figures.

The 1967 Law stipulated the expropriaton of all rural properties larger than 80 hectares -regardless of the operational efficiency. And ‘excess size’ along with the voluntary transfers of rights on the land from landowners to the state agency of CORA (when faced with the threat of expropriation, landowners tended in some cases to transfer their land into state ownership voluntarily to get better terms) constituted, according to available data[40], the main cause of expropriation -around 70 per cent of all expropriations. Yet; two additional clauses regulating the details of land takeovers and post-expropriaton administration of the reformed sector, established certain restraints on this seemingly ‘radical’ plan of transforming the basics of the land tenure and these two, again, remind us that a substantial agrarian reform that goes beyond the basic stipulations put forward regarding the distribution of land, requires an accompanying and radical political vision that could be sustained through perpetual popular support from below. One of those clauses concerned the big landowners whose landed property would be effected by expropriations due to their excess size. It granted, a basic ‘reserve right’ of land that ranged from 80 to 320 hectares to the landowner -thus, could be considered as an attempt by the PDC/Frei not to alienate the big landowning sector further. The second clause was related to the new land-labor administrative apparatus which would be put into effect after the concerned expropriation on the land in question. According to the law, an immediate redistribution of land among peasants would not take place and instead, an intermediary asentamiento stage, installed as a ‘transitional’ system of land administration would be established -designed to run for three to five years until the final/actual stage of distribution. During the interval, the ownership of the expropriated estate would belong to the CORA but the estate be run and managed by a committee of asentados. The crucial problem here was that, these asentados “consisted almost exclusively of inquilinos who ‘belonged’ to the expropriated estate by virtue of their living on the fundo in question[41]”, in contrast to the temporary workers who also tilled the land but had now, as it was in the past, absolutely no right on the administration of the plot they cultivated. “The permanent laborers on expropriated estates, and a few others who recieved land, obtained welfare, employment and income. But the more than two-thirds of the campesinos who are minifundistas or unattached landless laborers had no prospects of benefiting from the reform, and many became even worse off as a result.[42]” The result was, perhaps, similiar to a form of kulakization of a part of the peasantry while, aside from an adjustment that equaled the minimum wage of an agricultural laborer to its industrial counterpart, almost nothing was done toward a substantial integration of the bulk of the Chilean peasantry into the management of the land they worked on. It could be argued that, this sort of a reform implementation with strong selective and discriminatory aspects, contributed to the polarization of the Chilean countryside and the eventual disillusionment of the landless masses from the Christian Democrat reforms. Also the paternalistic attitude of CORA regarding the planning of agricultural production and estate administration, even, aggravated the traditional dependent position of the peasantry vis-a-vis the state in certain respects.

Also, a few words remain to be said about the elimination of the legal floodgates which had been facing the prospects of peasant political mobilization ever since, their formation, under the influence of the landowning oligarchy[43] and bound by the necessities of an industialization move, was prohibited in the late-1930s. Indeed, between the period encompassing the promulgation of the Law on Agrarian Unionization in 1967 and the election of Salvador Allende in 1970, the Chilean countryside saw a wave of immense political activity of peasant masses under the umbrella of newly-established trade unions. Whereas in 1964, “there were 18 legal peasant unions with about 1,800 members, by the end of the Frei administration 488 peasant unions with 140,293 members (around a third of all Chilean agrarian workers) had achieved legal status[44]”. By 1970, the Christian Democrat-led peasant unions contained about 67,5 per cent of all unionized peasants whereas the left-wing oriented confederation Ranquil controlled 31,3 per cent[45] -though it might be claimed that a leftwards shift in terms of peasant mobilization was already underway as frustration with the PDC reforms grew worse. Added to legal agrarian trade unions, small cooperatives of landless peasants which served mainly as educational centers and virtually non-existent prior to the Frei era, ‘absorbed another 100,000 members, mainly minifundistas and small tenant farmers[46]’.

To summarize; the structural deficiences and flaws in the legislative framework, when combined with the rather slow progress of the implementation of expropriatons partly due to the landowners’ legal resistance and partly to certain institutional insufficiencies[47], resulted with a ‘crippled’ land reform; not even able to achieve its humble goals. By July 1970, only 20-30,000 families -out of the 100,000 planned were resettled in 910 asentamientos[48]. At the end, there was modest growth regarding the agricultural production -when the 1965 output is taken as 100 at base value, the production figures reached 114,7 by 1970[49]. One reason, it could be argued, why the production levels did not fall -as in most cases of land reforms, was that there was no accompanying social revolution which would cause widespread dislocations and ruptures in the way in which productive forces are organized. Yet, it might also be said that the reason why the Christian Democrat reform did not result with a much more impressive output growth was that the reform did not touch upon the issue of the seizure/de-capitalization of the movable capital belonging to the landowner -“leaving the latifundista free to “sell all existing capital, including the stock of animals or to transfer it to their own reservas[50]”. All in all, the reformist interlude of the PDC/Frei era left the countryside, this time with its means of political mobilization available and in terms of class struggle, even more polarized than before; yet leaving the subsequent UP administration a legal framework in which further radicalization of the land reform could take place.

IIIb, ii. The ‘Chileanization’ of the Gran Mineria

The only component of the PDC/Frei economic program that, at least for some observers of the era, might have had the possibility of upseting the interests of US-capital in the country, was the proposed ‘Chileanization’ of the copper mines of Gran Mineria -owned by Kennecott and Anaconda corporations and whose output amounted to 85-90 per cent of total copper production of Chile. The proposal of Chileanization could very well be explained by the populist rhetoric embedded in PDC’s reformist strategy and the growing consensus from the 1950s onwards on the conflicting way in which the mines had been operating to the Chilean national economic interests. Indeed, simple factual data show that, in spite of the steadily growing share of copper in the country’s export earnings, the mines’ share in the state’s tax revenues had been in gradual decline since the beginning of the 1950s and the price policies of Kennecott and Anaconda had seriously been disturbing the national interests of the Chilean economy. The prices paid for Gran Mineria-originated copper were consistently much less to its counterparts in the world copper market as a result of the “peculiar arrangement according to which prices were set by the government of the United States -until the mid-fifties the main buyer of Chile’s copper- through negotiations with the large copper producers in the United states and abroad[51]”. Finally, another factor that contributed to the popular negative sentiment against the US-ownership in Gran Mineria could also be found in Chile’s decreasing share in the expanding world copper market despite her possessing some 30 per cent of total world copper reserves; mainly because of the reluctancy of Kennecott and Anaconda to invest further in their mines in proportion to their rising profit shares. Yet; it might be argued that the national and international political forces and certain important segments of the Chilean bourgeoisie/trans-national capital that formed, brought about and contributed to the rise of the Christian Democrats did, indeed, constitute the main structural obstacle in front of a plan that would provide a radical nationalization regarding the most important export revenue of the Chilean state. As hinted by the term of ‘Chileanization’ as opposed to ‘nationalization’ -with all of its strong ideological load, the Frei government put particular emphasis on the goal of rising productivity through increased governmental participation in the administration of Gran Mineria, gave priority to the matter of ‘raising investment and output’ and did not, in any way, plan to fully nationalize the mines.

As for the aggrements; in 1967, 51 per cent of the shares of the Kennecott-owned el Teniente mine were purchased by the Chilean state in return for a $160 million compensation. The price to be paid by the state, apparently, came quite as a ‘shock’ for some -since “the book value of the Braden corporation -that owned the mine, in 1967 was no more than $72,5 million[52]”. Moreover, in order to stimulate output, taxation from Kennecott was heavily reduced. As a result; despite the fact that Chile now owned a majority interest, her total revenue from pre-tax profits, quite ‘ridiculuosly’, declined. Regarding the agreements made with Anaconda; more or less the same things could be said, despite changes in figures. Faced with fierce resistance on part of the Anaconda, the Frei administration only managed to work out a deal with the corporation in June 1969 which stipulated the state’s acquirement of the 51 per cent of the shares belonging to the three mines in the Gran Mineria region operated by Anaconda. In return, comprensation was set at $175 million. However, the deal could not be realized until the end of the Frei era and the task of fully nationalizing the copper mines fell on the UP government in 1970. Overall, the PDC government’s copper nationalization program, in sharp contrast to the culmination of a decades-long of expectations, ended financially in utmost failure for the Chilean state. Only 70 per cent of the total output projections for the year 1970 were met while the total output from Gran Mineria increased only seven thousand metric tons during the six years of Frei administration -from 528 thousand in 1964 to 535 thousand in 1970.

[1] While obvious instances of counter-reformist responses to the political mobilization of the formerly dispossessed include, among many, the anti-communist repression carried out by sectors of the state apparatii throughout the world, an interesting and symbolic example of supression of ultra-leftism in socialist regimes would perhaps be the case of the 1921 Kronstadt Rebellion and the shift away from the slogan of “All power to the Soviets”. The attitude of the moderate elements in the Unidad Popular towards the illegal and spontaneous worker takeovers of some industrial plants also presents us a curious case of pursuing realpolitik in the wake of ‘uncontrolled’ mass mobilization.

[2] Patricio Silva, “The State and Peasant Unions in Chile,” Journal of Lation American Studies 20, no.2 (1988)

[3] Peter A. Goldberg, “The Politics of the Allende Overthrow in Chile,” Political Science Quarterly 90, no.1 (1975): 96

[4] This dominant class composition is actually what Claudio Veliz calls ‘the three-legged table’. Quoting from Veliz and Thomas Wright: “…the political hegemony of groups based in mining, agriculture and commerce -the three legs of the national economic table- ensured a pattern of outward-directed growth within a framework of free trade. Given the dependence of fledgling industry on tariff protection, the dominance of the ‘export-import coalition’ precluded successful industrialization and thus retarted development before 1930.” -Thomas C. Wright, “Agriculture and Protectionism in Chile, 1880-1930,” Journal of Latin American Studies 7, no.1 (1975): 45-  Although there is much criticism regarding the alleged oversimplification and misjudgments caused by ‘firm-intersectoral-alliance’-type of an account of the 19th century Chilean class formation; what is more important for our purposes is to dig through the junctures connecting the commanding pillars of 19th century Chilean capitalism (over whose components, there is wide agreement) and national politics. As long as the nature and specific development paths of these components do not give way to certain drastic transformations in political-economic orientations in question (for example, an instance of inter-sectoral conflict in  interests that would cause large scale political and economic re-orientation; such as a protectionist attitude regarding the national manufacture leading to the erosion of traditional financial intermediaries in import-oligarchies), it would be fair to argue that the so-called oligarchic ‘solidarity’ was strong enough to prevent a manipulation of the national economic development path.

[5] Fredrick B. Pike, “Aspects of Class Relations in Chile, 1850-1960,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 43, no.1 (1963): 15

[6] Charles G. Pregger-Roman, “The Origin and Development of the Bourgeoisie in Nineteenth-Century Chile,” Latin American Perspectives 10, no.2/3 (1983): 47

[7] Pregger-Roman, Ibid., p. 46

[8] Richard E. Ratcliff, “Capitalists in Crisis: The Chilean Upper Class and the September 11 Coup,” Latin American Perspectives 1, no.2 (1974): 84

[9] Eduardo Silva, The State & Capital in Chile -Business Elites, Technocrats and Market Economics (Boulder, CO: Oxford: Westview Press, 1996), 32

[10] “The first industrial census in Chile was taken in 1927 and it reported the existence of 97,832 workers. Almost 40 percent of these, however, were one-man shops and about 75 percent employed fewer than five workers.” – Stanley M. Davis, “The Politics of Organizational Underdevelopment: Chile,” Indutstrial and Labor Relations Review 24, no.1 (1970): 73. -The census, thus shows that only a tiny fraction of the country’s labour force was working in the industrial sector prior to the industrialization move from 1930s onwards.

[11] The presidency of Jose Manuel Balmaceda between 1886 and 1891 was marked by economically nationalist-protectionist policies; -arguably, aimed at planting the seeds of a national industrial capitalist class and the expansion of the country’s manufacturing capability. Yet, the nine-month long civil war in 1891 culminated in Balmaceda’s defeat -and the victory of the united, export-oriented capitalist bloc.

[12] Hugo Calderon, “Şili Burjuvazisinin Sınıfsal Yapısındaki Değişiklikler (1970-1980),” in Friedman Modeli Kıskacında Şili (1973-1981), ed. Hugo Calderon, Jaime Ensignia and Eugenio Rivera (İstanbul: Belge Yayınları, 1982), 18

[13] Calderon, Ibid., p. 19

[14] Robert L. Ayres, “Economic Stagnation and the Emergence of the Political Ideology of Chilean Underdevelopment,” World Politics 25, no.1 (1972): 55

[15] Stanley M. Davis, Ibid., p. 75

[16] Richard E. Feinberg, “Dependency and the Defeat of Allende,” Latin American Perspectves 1, no.2 (1974): 31

[17] Feinberg, Ibid., p. 32

[18] James Petras, “After the Chilean Presidential Election: Reform or Stagnation?,” Journal of Inter-American Studies 7, no.3 (1965): 380  -“…a multiclass coalition of urban middle class political independents, better paid and highly urbanized workers living in close proximity to the middle sectors, tenant farmers who are isolated from outside contact and still subject to the social pressure of the landowners, and farmers of middle-sized holdings.”

[19] The foresightedness of Petras, writing in 1965 is striking. He argues that Frei’s ‘prospective’ failure to achieve some concrete measures toward improvement of living standards among the impoverished lower class and toward the control of the inflationary spiral would, indeed, cause those whose expectations have been aroused to turn elsewhere. He goes on to argue, correctly, that under such circumstances, the prospect for a socialist victory might conceivably increase and even considers Frei as ‘the last hope of liberal-capitalism’. – Petras, Ibid., p. 382

[20] Orville G. Cope, “The 1965 Congressional Election in Chile: An Analysis,” Journal of Inter-American Studies 10, no.2 (1968): 275

[21] To concretize the sense of absolute threat among propertied classes, it would be worthwile to note that Frei was the sole competing candidate against Frapistas, backed even by the large-landowning class despite his explicit references to a reform in the agrarian sector.

[22] Albert L. Michaels, “The Alliance for Progress and Chile’s ‘Revolution in Liberty’ 1964-1970,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 18, no. 1 (1976): 75

[23] Miles D. Wolpin, Cuban Foreign Policy and Chilean Politics (Lexington, MA: Heath Lexington Books, 1972), 71

[24] Joseph L. Nogee and John W. Sloan, “Allende’s Chile and the Soviet Union: A Policy Lesson for Latin American Nations Seeking Autonomy,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, no.3 (1979): 346

[25] While long-term interests of the national/international capital would include the undermining, weakening and eventual neutralization of socialist sentiments among the masses, the basic short-term interest would be the materialization of agrarian reform in order to stimulate agricultural production for urban needs and to expand the consumer market; and reducing rural poverty and possibilities of rural proletarians to align with the left through land distribution and eventual kulakization.

[26] In this subsection, all of the quantitative data regarding output, entry of foreign capital, sectoral and ownership concentration will be taken from: Stefan de Vylder, Allende’s Chile -The Political Economy of the rise and fall of the Unidad Popular (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 14-21

[27] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 20-21

[28] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 18

[29] Quite related to the issue of trans-sectoral corporate structures; in an intersting study on the relationship between the internal differentiation of the dominant class into various segments and the ways in which political hegemony exercised; Zeitlin, Neuman and Ratcliff investigates the specific state of how the struggle and following accomodation between landed interests and the bourgeoisie reached a state of co-existant symbiosis in Chile through the survey of how frequent is it for a political officeholder to come from a background that includes both being a corporate executive and at the same time a big landowner. The high frequency observed in the findings is striking. See; Maurice Zeitlin, W. Lawrence Neuman and Richard Earl Ratcliff, “Class Segments: Agrarian Property and Political Leadership in the Capitalist Class of Chile,” American Sociological Review 41, no.6 (1976)

[30] In this subsection, all of the quantitative data regarding the agreements between the Chilean state and US corporations, copper outputs and related state revenues will be taken from de Vylder, Allende’s Chile -The Political Economy of the rise and fall of the Unidad Popular, p.121-125

[31] Joseph R. Thome, “Expropriation in Chile under the Frei Agrarian Reform,” The American Journal of Comparitive Law 19, no.3 (1971): 493

[32] Thome, Ibid., p. 489

[33] Peter Winn and Cristobal Kay, “Agrarian Reform and Rural Revolution in Allende’s Chile, Journal of Latin American Studies 6, no.1 (1974): 135

[34] Defining Chilean inquilinos with reference to the ‘familiar’ terminology utilized to describe certain dominant patterns observed in the ‘classical’ European peasantry is a tough task. These peasants, unlike the traditional ‘middle peasantry’ of, say, eighteenth century Britain, did not own the land they lived and worked on -yet quite like the typical middle peasant, in certain cases, had the ability to produce for the market. However, even their rights of possession and on working the land were somehow precarious and mostly dependent on the personal relationship they had with the actual landowner. Lastly, and something that made inquilinos also somewhat similar to the agricultural proletarians; they, aside from their right on tilling the land, receieved wages in return for their work on the estate owner’s private land. Whether their ‘in-betweenness’ makes inquilinos or rather the ‘traditional’ European middle peasantry on a grand scale unique, is one of those questions that causes a sense of disorientation very much useful in the long run -thus, a positive confusion.

[35] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 167

[36] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 169

[37] Oficina de Planificacion Agricola (ODEPA), Plan de Desarollo Agropecuario 1965-80, vol. 1, 1-2

[38] Thome, Ibid., p. 490

[39] Pike, Ibid., p. 26

[40] Thome, Ibid., p. 506

[41] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 172

[42] Solon Barraclough, “Agrarian Reform and Structural Change in Latin America: The Chilean Case,” Journal of Development Studies 8, no.2 (1972): 168

[43] Simon Collier and William F. Sater, A History of Chile 1808-2002 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 267

[44] Cristobal Kay, “Agrarian Reform and the Class Struggle in Chile” Latin American Perspectives 5, no.3 (1978): 125

[45] P. Silva, Ibid., p. 436

[46] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 175

[47]A wide array of legal means were available for affected landowners to slow down or put off expropriatons. The agricultural tribunals, established initially to get around of the slow and ineffective regular courts, rarely functioned in a hoped-for manner. Quick trials were not possible and some trials even took several months or years. Moreover, there were institutional inabilities that caused serious delays in the establishment of the asentamiento regime. According to data gathered, out of the 220 cases of land takeovers between July 1967 and October 1968, in only 19 of them were asentamientos properly organized whereas for the rest, the regime was no established at all. -Peter Winn and Cristobal Kay, Ibid., p. 508-511

[48] Thome, Ibid., p. 513

[49] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 242

[50] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 173

[51] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 118

[52] de Vylder, Ibid., p. 122