Policies and cadres; if one of those is lacking, the other does not have much meaning anymore. When there are good policies, but no cadres who can implement them, or the other way around, when there are good cadres but no policies to implement, then it’s impossible to really influence the class struggle. In this sense, belonging to the Party-Front means a real chance. Because the people of the Party-Front have been steering the revolution in Turkey for the last 30 years with their strategy. Because they have garnered experience for over 30 years, because they are at the head of policies and politics which unite the reality of the people and the reality of the country. The Party-Front never held policies which had to be denied or condemned later. That’s why we can say, “what we’ve done, we defended, we’ve put into practice what we’ve defended”.
Susurluk happened, and the leadership of the Party-Front showed how this phase could develop. What has been done till now is not sufficient, life is being analysed anew each day. Our principles and our strategy are guarded and emphasised, but when there are statements which are obsolete, they are overcome. We offer new means for new needs. From the People’s Councils to the People’s Constitution: we develop policies which are an answer to the demands and the desires of the people. It’s the level which has been reached in educating the cadres which is decisive, which determines the influence on the political phase.
Our shortcomings in developing cadres are delaying us. For example the People’s Councils: they could have been spread much more, our actual policies could have steered the people’s movement much more. The struggle can be waged on a higher level, it can be expanded. All the necessary conditions are given.
What’s lacking are the cadres.
Becoming a cadre and educating new cadres is one of the main tasks of everybody in the Party-Front.
“The main task in the phase of Party-building is developing cadres.” We’ve repeated this statement over and over again during the years, it’s a conclusion which has shaped our practice and our organisational activities. Has this task become obsolete after the Party was founded? Of course not. The phase of Party-building is “the phase of establishing ideological and organisational unity”. In this sense, the Party is the unity of ideology and organisation. There is a clear distinction between phases in this respect. But this difference cannot diminish the importance of becoming a cadre and developing new cadres. From the perspective of the sympathisers and supporters of the Party-Front in all areas, becoming a cadre, and from the perspective of the cadres in all areas, educating new cadres is still a task of fundamental importance. And it’s characteristic that this work will retain this importance in almost all phases.
From this perspective, we’ll have to deal with the question of how this task of becoming cadres and educating new ones can be established. This cannot be left tospontaneity, neither from the perspective of the movement in general, nor from the perspective of an area or a specific unit. Spontaneous developments are always possible, but this isn’t a development of cadres which isaccording to the needs of the Party-Front and the phase it’s in, neither with regard to the characteristics of the cadres, nor their quality. Becoming cadres and developing others wasn’t a task in the phase of Party-buildingwhich could be handled separately from political practice. And even now it cannot be handled in the form of a “scholastic education” which is separated from life and practice. Somebody from the Party-Front develops himselfinto a cadre in the struggle itself.
At present, there aren’t enough cadres available which could pursue the line appropriately and intervene in different fields. This is apparent. But this situation cannot be explained by saying “there aren’t enough people available”, nor by listing the deficiencies andweaknesses of individual people and their resistance to development and change. The ones who are responsible for these shortcomings are the cadres and the leading people. That’s why it’s their task to overcome these deficiencies. Because “the question of the cadres is the question of politics and programme. The people are not to blame when they lack experience. Capabilities, won in life by experience, can be discovered by developing platforms where they can express themselves. Without a collective way oforganising, without knowing the people closely, without looking at their capabilities and capacities and determining their shortcomings, education is impossible.”
This leads to the essential question: how does one become a cadre, how are new cadres won?
Cadres Secure The Development Of Cadres
In the development of cadres, one of the main problems today is of course “the lack of cadres who are capable of winning new cadres”. This problem is conceived as an urgent one in all areas, the deficiency is seen and there is always the request to the movement “to send someone” to one’s own unit. It’s obvious the problem cannot be solved by reinforcement from the outside, that the reinforcement from the outside cannot be sufficient for the Front’s potential which is spread all across Anatolia. Of course, sometimes reinforcement by influential cadres in certain areas is possible, because there is a large potential or because political developments bring such an area to the foreground. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that the demand for reinforcements in one area which “needs dozens of cadres” always weakens other areas. In other words, those who want cadres from the movement move in the egoism of one particular area, one specific unit. Support is wanted at the cost of other units which are not considered that important.
Except for the cases as mentioned above, such a demand isn’t justified, it’s an egoistic one, it’s a demand to make it more easy for oneself which isn’t according to the collectivism of the organisation.
In a phase where the potential of the Front emerges with thousands of people, it’s obvious a statement like “there are no people” is unjustified and not according to reality. Apart from the fact that even in difficult circumstances we always should think “but there’s always me”, instead ofusing this as an excuse. When we are present somewhere, we are responsible for the developments there. Another form of excuse is the statement “there’s me, but I’m not enough”. One’s own insufficiency can be used as a means to expressa lack, but it should not be used as a constant excuse not to become a cadre and not to develop other cadres. The revolutionary method would be to pursue the development of cadres, despite the deficiencies, improving one’s insufficient aspects. A cadre who does not do so, cannot do so, is hindering his own development and does not create the conditions to become a cadre. In places where there’s no intervention, no reinforcement from the outside, the work of the cadre is a work which develops himself and others. Becoming a cadre and developing other cadres are interwoven processes, they occur simultaneously. There’s no other way, no other form. One’s own development is decisive for the way others can be developed.
Knowing other people is the first phase of developing cadres. Everyone with responsibility, every leading person, who takes upon himself the task of becoming a cadre and educating others must ask himself “how well do I know our people in my area, my unit?” Without lapsing into the easy answer of “but we know each other”, we should ensure that our knowledge about our people is a real knowledge or not.
This problem can be discussed in the light of a striking example:
“I asked the responsible friend to characterise Idil [Ayce Idil Erkmen, who died in the 1996 prison hunger strike]. In one or two sentences, he described Idil as a passive person. Was there no positive side to Idil?… If there wasn’t, why was she here with us?… What was this to characterise a comrade in one or two sentences, only listing negative sides? Our talk was continued. What were Idil’s positive sides? Diligent, patient, calm, respectful, sometimes too stubborn, something she would not have expected… When we looked with other eyes, what positive sides of Idil could be seen… Why did I not see this before… For four years we saw each other two or three times a week. It’s always the ones with `charm’, the ones who are lively at first sight, the energetic ones, alert, running from here to there, who we see. Idil was not like them. That’s why I never really `saw’ Idil.”
This story, this evaluation of our martyr during the Death Fast,Idil, is a clear example, showing positive as well as negative sides. What do we see when we look at the statement of the responsible cadre about the first woman in Turkey, and the world, who fell during a Death Fast? For example laziness and making it easy for oneself to know people… It’s the somewhat populist ones we tend to see first. And the more modest and silent ones remain in the background… It’s the negative things we see first, the positive sides and talents of the same people are not seen.
Seeing things in a negative light is not an art. One need not be the responsible or leading cadre to do so. Everybody can see that. And it’s also easy to quickly condemn a person with negative characteristics. Everybody can stumble, everybody can fall. Everybody can have deficiencies.
Everybody must be given a chance. This does of course not mean to just take them into the network of relations, just giving them tasks and responsibility. Giving them a chance means primarily coaching and educating them. Approaching them with a special programme and a special policy. Showing them the way how they can overcome their negative sides with their positive ones.
The task of a leading person, a person with responsibility, is to determine the positive characteristics of a person, to develop such a person, to win him over. That’s what he’s responsible for. In the way he performs this task, heperforms his task as a responsible cadre.
Knowing the people, reading their mind, seeing their positive and negative sides as a whole, is the first and indispensable step to develop cadres. A person in which only negative things are seen cannot be educated to be a cadre. Anyway, you wouldn’t think of making somebody a cadre in whom you see only negative sides.
Now, how do we get to know somebody really? It’s obvious one does not get to know somebody by superficially talking to this person once or twice a week, by only doing actions with him. Getting to know a person takes two things. Firstly, we have to be in a collective and organised work in which sharing develops on all levels. Secondly, we have to share life in all aspects.
Precisely this is the place to give a second example. In a statement about our comrade Bulent Pak [a guerrilla martyred in 1997], it was said: “He knew exactly who could perform a certain task because he stood in the middle of life himself. He recognised the talents of people which were missed by others, which weren’t seen by others, and he proposed these people to the movement.”
Only when we share life in all aspects do we really get to know people. Only then can we find the answer to the questions: why do they fight for the revolution, how do they fight for the revolution? What storms are raging in their hearts and minds? What is influencing them positively and negatively?
Bulent Pak knew the people because he lived a life which enabled him to do so. The person who made the statement above continued his report with the words: “…Without saying I’m old, the situation is like this, he ran to all his tasks, small or large. From cleaning the room to tasks of culture and art, from seminars to studying texts, from cleaning the oven to cooking food. Only a few daily tasks were unknown to him.”
Collectivism Is The Second Level Of Becoming a Cadre
We can put together a programme to develop cadres and it can be claimed that such an approach would not be “spontaneous”. But when we don’t work collectively in this field, it would not be enough to secure the development of new cadres. When collectivism is exercised, when the thoughts and proposals of people are taken seriously, it will become clear who possesses which capacities. When the whole of organisational activities, the organisation of practice, are taken on collectively, people will be able to develop, will be able to see their deficiencies, and the way to overcoming those will be shown.
A collective way of working is also necessary to give deficient people the chance to overcome their faults. When collectivism does not prevail, people will be criticised and then left alone with their mistakes. We have to lookat those who swim in mistakes and deficiencies, who oppose criticism and change, with the view that “when they stay inside the revolutionary movement, when they remain in the struggle despite all the risks and difficulties, they must have a positive side as well”. Because it’s possible hat even a person in such a situation possesses a revolutionary characteristic which could help him on his feet again. Of course, we will not always find such a characteristic. In such a situation, whatever the level and the task ofthis kind of people, it cannot be allowed that they hinder development with their mistakes and their resistance against overcoming their deficiencies. We have to find other ways against this, but it’s not our task to discussthis here.
Collectivism develops cadres as well as sympathisers. Mao recognised this fact as well: “A leading person who cannot gain access to concrete experience from the individual persons on the lower level of the units and from individual events, cannot show the units he’s responsible for the general road in a sufficient way.” He called this: “the method of uniting the leadership with learning”.
In all the evaluations, whether of a cadre or a sympathiser, we should not look at one peculiarity, one mistake or one success alone, we should look at the general conduct and the notion of life in fulfilling the tasks. When we act like this, we will be spared from one-sidedness and mistakes which are based on individual impressions. But in order to make this possible, we have to know our people from all their sides, as well as possess a collective way of life and work which allows this kind of knowledge. Where there is no collectivity, this will be forgotten and left in a corner as some purely theoretical truth.
Without The Right Task, No Cadre Development
A factor which speeds up the development of the people is using them in an area which is according to their talents, capacities and characteristics. Of course, this is not always possible. In this sense, a cadre must always possess an angle which makes him suitable in all areas, for all tasks.
Leading cadres will anyhow use the most suitable persons, looking at the conditions, for the given tasks. The basis of our policy in giving people their tasks is the trust we have in our young cadres. The way this trust is expressed can differ, according to the perspectives of certain fields, the unit, or the concrete person. Trust is not something abstract, it is perfected under all circumstances by education and control. We can extract three aspects which are the basis for cadre policy: tasks, education and control. This aspect of our evaluation was expressed in “The development of our movement and the revolutionary struggle”, published in 1983 and working out the essence of policy:
“Whatever justified conclusions are reached, without cadres they cannot be implemented in practice. That’s why the question of the cadres is one of the fundamental questions of a revolutionary movement. By the development, or redevelopment, of the cadres, their political education, control and giving them the right tasks, play a major role…”
The theme of deploying people is usually discussed in the way whether work can be found which suits a person or whether people can be found for a certain kind of work. For us, this is of course a “luxury” discussion. We do as wellthe one, as the other. There’s a person among us who’s not suited for the underground or who cannot be used in an association. But we have to evaluate him. We can develop work which is appropriate. This sometimes means opening a new field, working with new tools… But the main point will always be to find the people for given tasks. There are certain tasks which can neither be postponed, nor neglected. This can be the war, giving leadership or giving training. We educate people for these tasks. Life and the struggle know no gaps. We have martyrs, there are prisoners, this or that task is not fulfilled, but we cannot allow a gap. Maybe less sufficient, but we will fill the mechanism with the people we have available. Giving tasks can of course not be done in the way of “well, we had him, so we just gave the task to him”. On the contrary, to fill empty places, people must be prepared for a new task with a short but broad training, he or she must be constantly coached while fulfilling the task, constantly controlled and trained for this work.
Giving The Right Tasks Expresses The Endeavour Which Is Spent For a Cadre.
From a contact among the masses, sympathisers to a candidate for a cadre position, we are always in the situation of spending efforts for our people. >From a political and organisational perspective, making an effort is principally different from giving some coaching. Mao makes this more concrete in the following way:
– giving direction
– being able to convince someone mistakes have been made
– assisting with strong points
In fact we always reach the same point in the end: training, controlling… The way of becoming a cadre and developing cadres always passes this point. But training and controlling means work. This is probably the essence of the issue. Educating a cadre is really a lot of effort, work and patience. A leading person who doesn’t distance himself from a bourgeois way of life, postponing his work, finding excuses, will not be able to spent enough effort for his work. He will not be able to concern himself with educating new cadres. Every cadre must at least choose a few people who are most open to development and train and develop them from the beginning. He will train them theoretically. He will develop their organisational knowledge and their notion. He will educate them in the art of leading. He will comment on their development and secure their participation in producing politics. He will be the teacher in technical and military themes and he will test that which is learned in shared practice. Obviously, raising a cadre is a lot of work, requiring a lot of effort, when all the listed points are considered. But when we look at this work next to the work that has to be done anyway, we’ll see that it isn’t extra work. The development of cadres is a natural part of educating people and their activities in the organisation. That the Party-Front is a developing force is expressed in every development in practice. This is neither an exaggeration, nor agitation. This becomes clear from the picture which emerges on the squares, in the actions. From the fact of being a developing force, two results emerge. Primarily, our ranks are strengthened by young and older people, by men and women from different segments of the population. Secondly, our tasks and duties are increasing. In short, development means simultaneous increase in potential and the tasks.
While the people’s movement is developing, the armed struggle is even increasing more. A people’s movement which does not go hand in hand with the armed one will get stuck. The task of developing and spreading the war is coming into the foreground. This development strengthens the intolerance of several reformist and opportunistic groups and the Front is exposed to increased attacks and provocations. The task of waging the ideological struggle in a broadened and strengthened way is coming into the foreground.
When we look at the picture more carefully, we see the importance of the question of the cadres in its entire urgency. There are a lot more people in our ranks, but they are young. But at the same time we are confronted with more tasks which can only be fulfilled by people who have just reached a certain point of perfection. This phase in our development can be mastered by filling exactly this gap between these two facts. When we pursue the right policy, address ourselves sufficiently to developing cadres, this is not a problem which cannot be solved. As long as development continues, we will always experience a lack of cadres. This is not unusual. But when we now have not reached sufficient development, be it regarding the general prestige of the front, be it regarding the results of our policy and activities in individual fields, the solution here is also developing cadres more quickly.
After having addressed all this, we can say that everybody who doesn’t give the needed attention for the development of oneself and others in his field, in his unit, is hindering the development of the Front. Hindering the development of cadres means hindering the development of the Front. The opposite is valid as well: when cadres are developed, the development of the Front will be quicker, this development will take root and this will produce even better results.
Source: Revolutionary Left Magazine, March 1998