"The HDK is building the anti-fascist front"

The uprising in society against the regime is growing and the HDK has even more tasks in this sense, said the co-spokesperson of the Peoples' Democratic Congress (HDK), Esengül Demir.

The Peoples' Democratic Congress (HDK) elected its new co-spokespersons Esengül Demir and Cengiz Çiçek at the 11th General Assembly in June. In addition, 105 members of the General Assembly were confirmed in office. In an interview with ANF, co-spokesperson Esengül Demir talked about the HDK's ten-year history of resistance and its current tasks and goals.

"The importance of people's own strength"

Recalling the history of the HDK, Demir said, "Ten years ago, many associations, non-governmental organizations and individuals from Turkey met to create a structure on the basis of which people could organize themselves and solve their problems by their own efforts. Today, with the collapse of many structures of the state and the erosion of social rights in the context of the economic crisis, it has become clear how indispensable a structure like HDK is."

"The collapse of capitalism and the institutionalization of repression"

Demir continued: "The collapse I have been talking about does not only apply to Turkey, the world has entered a serious crisis in the past quarter century. The continuous wars, the hopelessness of these wars, the dilemmas and the decline of capital accumulation played an important role in the emergence of this deep crisis. The capitalist system is trying to get out of this crisis, and natural connections exist here with the nation-state of Turkey, mainly also because of the Middle and Near East states surrounding it.

We know that the collapse of capitalism has been accelerated by the pandemic process and it is now trying to restore itself. To do this, it is exerting great pressure on society and the population. We see this also in Turkey, where capitalism is in ruins and the AKP/MHP government is trying to institutionalize fascism and build up pressure on all parts of society in order to find a way through this general collapse.

Domination is encroaching on all areas of life, from ecology to culture and health. There is a massive attack on women's lives, their living space and their bodies. We know from the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention for the Protection of Women against Violence and the discussions held in this framework that a misogynist mechanism prevails.

Despite all this, we also know that the AKP and the fascist bloc it later formed with the MHP have not been able to dominate the whole of society during their 20 years of rule. People from the most diverse sections of society are opposing this rule."

"Today the repression is directed against the whole society"

Demir explained that the conditions when the HDK was founded in 2011 were very different from today: "That was the time when peace negotiations were being discussed. Today we are in a phase in which fascism is institutionalized and all segments of society are violently attacked. While in 2011 the attacks were directed only against the Kurdish people, in 2021 we can speak of a repression that has spread to all segments of society. A religiously influenced, reactionary reconstruction process has taken place. Therefore, in the face of fascism's attempt to stifle society, HDK's role is to go on the offensive with greater courage in a variety of ways, thus giving society courage and strength and providing a focus for the divided opposition. Society has a serious need for this kind of organization because there is a growing social uprising. This uprising ranges from agricultural workers to construction workers, from students to academics, from the women's movement to ecological struggles. Everywhere there is serious opposition and always resistance. In this period, the HDK has the task of building an anti-fascist front with courage and determination. The determination of the HDK in terms of its form of organization, its ideas and also to expand the insurgency is needed today more than ever."

"Uniting the anti-fascist struggles"

The HDK plays a key role in uniting the opposition, Demir said and continued, "The HDK wants to strengthen the front of the democratic opposition because it can organize in many forms. The existing structure of the HDK enables it to organize all anti-fascist currents under one roof and to strengthen the anti-fascist bloc and its struggle. The HDK councils play an important role in uniting the antifascist struggles. The HDK's city and neighborhood councils, ecology, health, legal and ideological councils have the potential to bring together diverse social sectors under one umbrella. All of these sectors are under attack. Both the idea and the organizational structure of HDK are perfectly suited to bringing all these structures together to create a common base for the struggle against these fascist attacks."

"We will expand the struggle"

Regarding the difficulties of the HDK in the past, Demir explained: "The HDK has an organizational model in the form of councils, but it also had a problem: the politics of the HDP, which emerged from the HDK, took on a larger political role, and the HDK focused its attention on these attacks and this struggle in the field of democratic politics. But of course, both have clear structural differences and do not have the same basis. One is a party fighting in the field of democratic politics, and the HDK is a confederal umbrella organization. It is a model that includes many opposition structures, individuals and organizations. In the new phase, the HDK will focus on local organization. Of course, all components of the HDK will also take on more responsibility in this process and further strengthen the HDK. The HDK has a building phase of its own infrastructure ahead of it.

The biggest goal of the HDK in the coming process is to expand the struggle of the political structures; but also to implement this struggle in the political structures by establishing local mechanisms to respond to the needs of the population. As a burning problem, we are facing economic and democratic crises. These crises affect a very large portion of society. In particular, it will be a time of intense struggle for our Council for Labor. In addition, from the Ida Mountains to the Istanbul Canal Project, there is huge environmental destruction. On this front, our Council for Ecology will fight. We have already introduced new rules right after the Constitutional Congress. The mechanisms to work with our councils exist, but we have been discussing intensively about expanding the means of struggle and have several goals in mind."