|To Looking the Formation of the Turkish Working Class through the “National” Factory|
|(This paper is a part of a session. Session title is Within the 'Worlds of Labour': Why and How to Write 'Factory History'? There will be four participants: Kevin J. Murphy, Aslı Odman, Hakan Koçak, Görkem Akgöz)
To looking the formation of the Turkish working class through the “national” factory
The first bottle glass factory in Turkey was established by the Business Bank (İş Bankası) in 1935 in line with the industrialization move brought by the First Industry Plan. Pasabahce Bottle-Glass Factory, established by the Business Bank, which was in fact a privately funded investment bank but entitled a “national” (a kind of semi public) identity because of its organic relation to the founder elites of the Republic, constitutes a proper model to observe the different perspectives of the formation of a working class in the era of nation building.
The factory has become one of the idealist national development icons in time. The populist discourse that denies the social class differences and the efforts to reveal the history of the labourers ignored by the “national development”discourse make us challenge the myth of the national development in which “everybody participates, join hands”. The social history of the Paşabahce Factory should not be seen as the history of the negotiation of the classes based on nationality basis and/or in the name of the development of a firm. On the contrary, as a reaction to the oppressive or moderated administrative strategies applied by the employees or state, it involves the implicitly or explicitly manifested experiences of class struggles of the workers.
To focus on the factory while trying to understand the formation of the working class enables to see (or to “percieve” sometimes) the working of the capillar vessels and the undersets, and what is going on at the sub levels. In terms of the capitalist factory, the micro domain (factory), more than being just a domain reflecting the macro processes (capital accumulation process and class struggles), should be seen as a locale that produces and reproduces the substantiality and basis (exploitation and resistance to this exploitation) of the macro processes. Consequently, this presentation aims at investigating the details of the Turkish labor history that is dominated by excessive generalizations, developing a more relaistic approach to the formation of the working class; and entering through the door of the factory to rewrite the history of the nation building era in relation to the experiences of the labourers.|