DISK (THE CONFEDERATION OF REVOLUTIONARY TRADE UNIONS)

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DISK was founded on February 18, 1967. The history of DISK is at the same time the history of the working classes’ separation from the pro-American yellow union Turk-Is (Union of Turkish Workers). When DISK was founded it had 30,000 members and with the exceptionally hard work of the revolutionaryworkers it soon established a base among the working classes. On June 11, 1970 an attempt to end the progressive growth of DISK was carried out by bringing in changes to the law concerning unions and lockouts. With the coming to light of the implications of the new laws, the workers came out on the streets in their hundreds of thousands on June 15. The police and military opened fire on the workers, but this resistance had brought a victory as the attempted changes to the law were cancelled. The resistance on June 15-16 became the highest point in the workers’ struggle.
The national front government and the fascist state were using the State Security Courts to strengthen themselves. DISK warned against this, and on September 16, hundreds of thousands of workers stopped production.The resistance of September 16 affected the politics of fascism and forced it to retreat.
Even though to celebrate May Day was illegal in Turkey, on May 1, 1976 it was celebrated in Taksim Square in central Istanbul. Hundreds of thousands of proletarians expressed the struggle, equality and solidarity on that day. In the following year, May Day 1977, the state attacked the 500,000 proletarians and turned Taksim Square into a bloodbath.Thirty-seven workers were massacred and hundreds injured.
During that period the DISK administration had become very much influenced and entrapped in the “social democratic” sphere. As a result, some leftist groups labelled them as “social fascists”.
The administration of DISK declared these groups to be “Maoist fascists” and tried to prevent theirparticipation in the May Day celebration. The contra-guerrillas used this to stage a provocation and May Day 1977 turned into a bloody massacre. On May Day 1978 250,000 people alongside the working class and the revolutionaries gathered together in the square and became a strong response to the threats and intimidations of the oligarchy. The broad masses of the Turkish working class gathered in the rallies of 1976, 1977 and 1978.
When we observe the number of DISK participants in the May Day celebrations of 1996 and 1997, we see that their numbers have decreased to the point of being negligible. When the military coup of 1980 came into force, the DISK administration left the mass of workers in the lurch and either fled the country or queued up outside the coup’s courts to give themselves up along with the briefcases containing their unions’ files. The administrators of DISK did not resist or defend the workers when they were in prison. They acted not as the leaders of the working class but as defence witnesses for the “system”. The submission of the administrators ofDISK was the starting point for the establishment of unions favourable to the National Security Council (MGK – the body composed of politicians, generals and businessmen which dominates Turkey).
DISK had stopped its activities on September 12,1980 and eventually re-established itself 12 years later at the start of 1992.However, the workers and the mass understanding of what unions were about which had made DISK in the past were no longer there. Due to the harsh and oppressive laws, the revolutionary workers were prevented from going into the legal union administration, thus creating an opening for the “rehabilitated” old unionists. The strategy since 1992 to turn DISK into Turk-Isis clearly today observable in the MGK unions. Here are some examples as to how they have reached the point of becoming MGK unions:
In June 1997 DISK and TISK (The Union Confederation of Turkish Employers) signed a joint agreement and had organized actions together. The bosses of DISK had turned themselves into subcontractors of the bosses by doing this. The revolutionary workers have shown and exposed the truth about the fiasco of MGK unionisation and have torn it to shreds.
The MGK and TUSIAD (Confederation of Turkish Businessmen) started a campaign to overthrow the REFAHYOL government (an alliance of the Islamic Refah (Welfare) Party and the right-wing Dogru Yol or True Path Party). The “left” support which was needed for this campaign came from DISK and eventually REFAHYOL was forced from power and overthrown.
ANASOL-D (the coalition government now in power in Turkey) which DISK supported is subjecting the workers to constant price increases. The government is securing the immunity of the gangs involved in Susurluk. But DISK has done nothing to protect the rights of the workers.
The General Secretary of DISK, together with the representatives of the capitalist monopolies and the contra-guerrilla state, went on a diplomatic tour of Europe. The aim was to try and bring Turkey into the European Union.