June 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm #86645J Surman wrote:It will be interesting to see what happens today and tomorrow as there's been a union call for a 2 day strike. On TV Russia Today has reasonable coverage -( you can watch RT online if there's no satellite coverage – is it banned in UK like Press TV is? They also do reasonable coverage.)
No, we can watch RT here in Britain. It's even on Freeview. Lots of members watch the Kaiser Report. Didn't know Press TV from Iran was banned, but you live and learn.More news on what's happening in Turkey here:http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/3/a_turkish_spring_over_1_000June 5, 2013 at 8:00 am #86646Young Master SmeetParticipant
It certainly seems like a naked arm wrestle, with lots of resonances of Paris '68. The AKP government, however reactionary, is democratically elected (As far as I understand), except that it relies on a large conservative rural vote. The worry I have is that some of the protestors would support a dictatorship in the name of liberalism and secularism. To the extent that the riots put down a marker, and a show of strength, they may protect a bit of open space in the large cities, though. Maybe a good outcome would be more municipal autonomy, although I believe local government in Istanbul is AKP controlled.A source of mine tells me that the British government are relaxed about the situation: riots happen and are contained, seems to be the view (the example of Sweden was used, although that was a much more localised experience, Turkey seems to have spread).June 5, 2013 at 8:29 am #86647
Here's the beginning of an article in Hurriyet Daily News which I believe catches the gist of what many Turks are saying: The heart of the matter is hidden in just two lines:“Dictatorship does not run in my blood or in my character,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, June 2.“To me, social media is the worst menace to society,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, June 2.All in all, it looks like Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ambition to raise sin-free, all sober and devout generations could take longer than he hopes. All the same, the opposition should not rub its hands in anticipation of “the beginning of an end;” Turkey’s anti-Erdoğan masses did not grow; but their anger did.Once again, Mr. Erdoğan looked amusingly unconvincing when he tagged hundreds of thousands of protesters as “looters, marginal and members of illegal organizations;” or when he blamed nationwide protests on “foreign enemies who envy Turkey.” But for the deaf, useful and disposable idiots, Mr. Erdoğan once again clarified his understanding of democracy: Dissent is legal only when expressed at the ballot box! (His words).The past four days were no doubt “scary” for Mr. Erdoğan and his men, although one government MP shrugged off the protests, saying “they think they can start a revolution with their drunken heads.” Honorable members of parliament; the drunken heads made the headlines all around the world except Turkey where “top news channels” preferred to broadcast cooking programs at the same moments their foreign colleagues were covering the protests in every detail. Self-censorship could not have been exposed better. (end of quote)His (Burak Bekdil) full article is here: http://tinyurl.com/ks3rjr4Below is the list of demands from the 'ocupiers'. Exactly who they are from the masses there is unclear. I've also read a report that 'representatives' are to meet with authorities today for discussion – but whether these will be the same persons who knows? And thinking of the US Occupy is this a point where infiltration of corporatists etc could take place?Occupy Gezi Demands by Taksim Dayanismasi [Taksim Solidarity]TO THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT!1. Gezi Park will be preserved as it is. It will not be exposed to anyfurther works under the name of a barracks, mall, residential area, ormuseum, etc.2. Unarmed and non-violent citizens who are congregating to exercisetheir constitutional rights will not be exposed to police violence.Those arrested for exercising these rights will be set free. Allpolitical, bureaucratic or public staff who have given the order toattack demonstrators exercising their right to assembly, those directingthe attacks, and those individuals applying the violence, should beprosecuted in line with relevant legislation.3. The main aim of the government's privatisation and environmentalpolicies is to monitor public profit. So that they may benefit thecitizens of Turkey equally, the transfer, sale and renting out of publicspaces, beaches, waters, forests, streams, parks and urban symbols toprivate companies, large holdings and investors will end.4. Democracy does not consist only of going to the ballot box to cast avote. Democracy guarantees the state itself as every group among thepeople expresses its needs and complaints without experiencing fear,arrest or torture. This resistance is a struggle for freedom ofexpression and freedom of thought. Those who want to save the park todayhave received the same treatment as those who advocated the headscarfyesterday. The Gezi Park resistance refuses every type of oppression.5. We have seen the television channels, newspapers and news websiteswhose professional duty is to protect the public good and relay correctinformation have neglected for days this country's citizens, youth andelderly who have been coming to Taksim's Gezi Park to exercise theirconstitutional rights in a peaceful manner. For the media to haveannounced our resistance to the people on its fourth day is to disregardtheir professional duty. In this we call on the media—and especiallythe media patrons who owe their wealth to the people—to act in anethical and professional way.TO OUR FELLOW DEMONSTRATORS!1. The demonstrations will continue until the awaited clarificationregarding Gezi Park.2. To prevent degeneration, the resistance will abstain itself fromvandalism, swearing, alcohol and destroying the environment.3. Permission will not be given to any political group, organisation orideology to claim ownership of the resistance. The resistance willproceed shoulder to shoulder regardless of ethnic group, religiousgroup, political party or gender identity.4. With the aim of discouraging speculation, no news, tweets or rumourswill be spread without corroboration. No information read, heard orreceived from the news will be accepted without question.5. Demonstrators will use media tools to respond to the newspapers,television channels and news websites spreading false news to show thegovernment is in the right. As their readers, audiences and users wewill warn this media and invite it to objectivity by telephone and email.June 5, 2013 at 8:52 am #86648Young Master Smeet wrote:Maybe a good outcome would be more municipal autonomy, although I believe local government in Istanbul is AKP controlled.
Yes Istanbul is AKP. What's happened since they came into power in govt about a decade ago is that there has been a gradual 'transfer' for personal interest of politicians, certainly in local politics, into the AK party, even including going on the Haj (very publicly). Money has been thrown to localities to buy votes – ask rural and urban Turks – there is much cynicism about this but the most oft-heard phrase is 'Burası Türkiye' – 'This is Turkey' and long-suffering acceptance. It's great to see so many waking up and deciding they don't want to take it any more. But where it could go from here, who knows? The population is predominantly young and the problems of unemployment are large, similar to many other countries graduates can't find suitable employment. There are so many contributing factors, but the biggest one seems to be the general feeling of lack of democracy.June 5, 2013 at 10:05 am #86649
Janet posted on SOYMB about the Gezi Park events http://www.socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-green-public-park-or-concrete.htmland also herehttp://www.socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2013/06/occupy-gezi.htmlA few weeks ago SOYMB posted about a 1969 Occupy event in Berkeley that was also sparked by the planned development of a park.http://www.socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-1969-occupy-movement.htmlSeems that parks as public spaces have always been the centre of resistance and protest. I recall the fights for free speech in various cities and various countries during the teens and 20s were centred also on access to the parks.June 5, 2013 at 10:17 am #86650Young Master Smeet wrote:The AKP government, however reactionary, is democratically elected (As far as I understand), except that it relies on a large conservative rural vote. The worry I have is that some of the protestors would support a dictatorship in the name of liberalism and secularism.
Incidentally, why? Why should the secularised and generally more politically advanced people of the large cities and towns accept to be "islamised" by a government relying on a "conservative rural vote"?Under these circumstances formal political democracy is merely what Marx called a "means of dupery". After all, he had first-hand experience of what happens when the vote is extended to everyone in a country with a rural conservative majority: a nephew of Napoleon won a landslide victory in the presidential election and within a couple of years proclaimed himself an emporer and suppressed radical dissent in Paris. We've recently seen the same sort of thing happen in Egypt.I agree with you, though, that the best that can come out of this is to force the government in Turkey to back down and not try to impose backward ideas and practices on the big towns. Otherwise the ghost of Ataturk might well return and put the Islamisers back in their place. Remember that the last "democratically elected" Turkish prime minister who took re-islamisation too far, Adnan Menderes, was deposed in an army coup and hanged. A similar fate might await Erdogan. I wouldn't shed any tears.June 5, 2013 at 11:40 am #86651Young Master SmeetParticipant
That kind of was my point, that this is the limit of 'formal democracy', and only raw strength of numbers and power will settle the issue: a dictatorship from either side would be a bad outcome. De Gaulle weathered the street protests, but the movement put down markers and the French workers still have protections we don't. I suppose it comes back to the old 6th Form debating saw:Saw wrote:If the community democratically voted to put you to death, would you accept the result?
The equally old, and obvious dodge being:Dodger wrote:If they voted to put me to death, they'd succeed, there's more of them than there is of me.
Which contains the slightly more sensible point that after the vote comes the test of strength, democracy in its fullest extent (between friends) relies on ongoing willingness to stay together. Democracy between enemies is counting guns and cutting out the fight.As far as I can see, AKP is just the Turkish Fianna Fail (or even our Tories).June 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm #86652AnonymousInactive
On a lighter note, striking Turkish Airlines staff offer some sensible safety advice…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x56qCv5AgA&feature=youtube_gdata_playerThanks to AF for this.June 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm #86653ALB wrote:. Remember that the last "democratically elected" Turkish prime minister who took re-islamisation too far, Adnan Menderes, was deposed in an army coup and hanged. A similar fate might await Erdogan. I wouldn't shed any tears.
Don't forget Erbakan, the islamist,(Freedom Party was it – i can't recall?) who was removed by the constitutional court at the behest of the military in spring of 1997. Around that time Erdoğan was the mayor of Istanbul and was ımprısoned for hıs speech quotıng relıgıous texts as metaphors and was seen as a threat to secularism.Also, important to remember is that it's not strictly urban/rural because so many Turks have moved fairly recently into towns/cities that you have a mixture totally different from UK urban/rural. It's too simplistic to view things as on a par to UK communities. What you do find , however, is that as you travel further into Anatolia – in general – the people are more conservative, and that doesn't necessarily mean more islamist, but more holding on to the old ways of thinking and doing .Many people are' believers' in a non-fundamentalist fashion but as to Islamisation in certain sectors the Gülen movement has infiltrated the police in a fairly big way. Fethullah Gülen was exiled nearly 20 years ago and lives in the US – in itself an interesting topic – calls himself an educator, a peace lover, and he has a pretty large following here. It is said that Erdoğan and Gül, the president are adherents of his but how can we know for sure?Another thing to be aware of is that government workers, police included do not take employment where they choose to be posted but are mostly working in areas that are some distance from their 'homeland' in a succession of postings through their working lives. This can mean that the police may be somewhat detached because they are not living in their home neighbouhoods.It's a very complex situation – 'nuff said for the moment.June 6, 2013 at 6:49 am #86654
Thanks, Janet. Interesting stuff. As you are on the ground there can you cast some light on the group behind this leaflet that was handed out at the May Day demonstration we went to in London:Quote:No constitution without Alevis. Alevism cannot be forbidden.We Alevis are raising our voice for recognition in Turkey. Alevis are once again protesting Turkey's Alevi policies. We are demanding a "Secular and Democratic Turkey for Equality for all". British Alevis says NO to discrimination, assimilation and Alevi rights violations in Turkey. Freedom for Alevism.This protest is for:(…) compulsory religious lessons to be abolished.To terminate Ministry of Religious Affairs(…) Stop building mosques at Alevi villages and towns.Policies promoting assimilation to be stopped.Stop our homes being marked, threats and blackmailing.Stop alienation of those fasting or not fasting (…)To end Sharia domination in Turkey.To end questioning of people based on their religion, language and ethnic background.
It was signed "Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi".According to wikipedia "Alevis" are a breakaway group from mainstream islam (similar to the Alawites who are said to hold sway in Syria). They seem an enlightened lot. Wikipedia says they could make up as much as 25% of the population of Turkey. In which case they could be a bulwark against the re-islamisation of Turkish society pursued by the present government there.Have you come across them? Are they involved in the current unrest?June 6, 2013 at 11:08 am #86655ALB wrote:Thanks, Janet. Interesting stuff. As you are on the ground there can you cast some light on the group behind this leaflet that was handed out at the May Day demonstration we went to in London:
Alevis/Alawites wherever they are are a sect of Shia Islam. Defenders of separation of religion and state – secularists who believe in individual freedom of choice, They have no mosques, but instead cemevis which are simple gathering places for prayers and other events. Our next-door village is largely Alevi and we see them as more liberal in all senses of the word than the majority Sunni. (Alevis generally considered to be around 20% of pop.) We attend their annual picnic day where men and women gather together freely in dancing, drinking alcohol and eating, generally having a good time together. In Sunni gatherings the men and women tend to gather separately by custom and even if the men drink the women don't.Nationally the Alevi community has been persecuted for a long time – they are perceived as a breakaway sect – and, not being Sunni , as outcasts. They have been targeted by nationalists and by 'weirdos' recruited by elements of the 'deep state' – fire bombs into hotels where they were gathering or incidents at cemevis. The media will often report on arrests of suspects but they are dilatory on following up.As to whether Alevis are represented in the protests, I've seen nothing that shows them as a discrete group but I'd be very surprised if they weren't involved in large numbers as individuals. Similarly, as yet, political parties per se are not represented although some members of parliament have been/are there, certainly from the CHP (republican people's party) and the BDP (the Kurdish party, Peace and democracy). The people prevented the leader of the CHP from speaking early on in the protests by singing loudly over him.I've got more to add re the communist Party, but as I lost all I'd written a little while ago, I'll do it in a separate post.Quote:No constitution without Alevis. Alevism cannot be forbidden.We Alevis are raising our voice for recognition in Turkey. Alevis are once again protesting Turkey's Alevi policies. We are demanding a "Secular and Democratic Turkey for Equality for all". British Alevis says NO to discrimination, assimilation and Alevi rights violations in Turkey. Freedom for Alevism.This protest is for:(…) compulsory religious lessons to be abolished.To terminate Ministry of Religious Affairs(…) Stop building mosques at Alevi villages and towns.Policies promoting assimilation to be stopped.Stop our homes being marked, threats and blackmailing.Stop alienation of those fasting or not fasting (…)To end Sharia domination in Turkey.To end questioning of people based on their religion, language and ethnic background.
It was signed "Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi".According to wikipedia "Alevis" are a breakaway group from mainstream islam (similar to the Alawites who are said to hold sway in Syria). They seem an enlightened lot. Wikipedia says they could make up as much as 25% of the population of Turkey. In which case they could be a bulwark against the re-islamisation of Turkish society pursued by the present government there.Have you come across them? Are they involved in the current unrest?[/quote]June 6, 2013 at 11:23 am #86656
Re the Communist Party of Turkey's demands – (Marxist Leninist) – in light of the current cross-Turkey protests. I read this today and think it will be of interest to others of the SPGB:The Choice for the Working Class Will Certainly Be Created by the Communist Party of Turkey1. For days now Turkey has been witnessing a genuine popular movement. The actions and protests, which have started in Istanbul and spread all over Turkey, have a massive, legitimate, and historic character. The most important of all is the striking change in the mood of people. The fear and apathy has been overcome and people have gained self-confidence.2. The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) has been part of the popular movement from the first day, mobilized all its forces, tried to strengthen the proletarian and revolutionary character of the movement, endeavored to spread a mature attitude of discipline, and organized numerous actions and demonstrations. In this process, the police forces carried out a heavy assault on our party headquarters in Ankara. All over Turkey, several party members have been injured and arrested. There have been some attempts at abduction of our party cadres. But the attempts at provocations against our party have been defeated.3. Our emphasis on the role of the TKP does not aim to underestimate the spontaneous nature of the movement or contribution of the other political actors. On the contrary, the TKP has stressed that this movement has an aspect that is beyond the impact of any political actor or any kind of political opportunism.4. The call of the masses for the government to resign is an absolute truth of this movement. Although it is obvious that a leftist alternative cannot be built "right now," this demand should be expressed loudly. This option for the working people can be generated only through benefitting from the energy that came out of this historical moment. The TKP will focus on this and expose the real meaning of alternatives like "the formation of a national government," which will most likely be put forward to deceive the working masses into thinking that the crisis can be overcome that way.5. Without a doubt, the holders of political power will try to calm the people down, institute control, and even attempt to use the situation to their advantage. They can have temporary achievements. Even in that case the popular movement would not be wasted. The TKP is ready for a period of stubborn but intense struggle.6. In order to act in concert, different branches of the socialist movement sharing similar goals and concerns need to evaluate the rise of this popular movement immediately. The TKP, without interrupting its daily missions and activities, is going to act responsibly regarding this issue and endeavor for the creation of a common ground in line with the urgent demands below.7. In order to nullify the plans of the government to classify and divide the popular movement as legitimate and illegitimate, all forces need to avoid the steps that might cause damage to the legitimacy of the movement. It is the political power that attacks. The people should defend themselves as well as their rightful action but never fall into the provocation trap of the government.8. While the masses are chanting the slogan "Government, Resign," the negotiations limited to the future of the Taksim-Gezi Park are meaningless. The government pretends not to understand the fact that the old balance has been upset fundamentally and cannot be restored. Everybody knows that the popular movement is not the product of sympathy for the trees in Gezi Park. The anger of the people is over the government's urban transformation projects, market terror, open, direct interventions against different ways of life, Americanism and subordination to the US, reactionary policies, and enmity towards the Syrian people. The AKP cannot deceive the people with a discourse of "we will plant more trees than the ones that we will chop down."9. While rolling up our sleeves in order to create the working people's alternative, the movement needs to stand behind certain concrete demands. These demands are valid in the case of the resignation of the government or of Erdogan:a) The government must announce that the projects that involve the demolition of Gezi Park and the Ataturk Cultural Center are terminated.b) Those who were taken in custody during the resistance must be released and all charges against them must be dropped immediately.c) All officials whose crimes against the people are proven by the reports of the commissions that are formed by the Union of Bar Associations and local bar associations must be relieved of their duties.d) The attempts to hinder the right of the people to get true news on the developments must be stopped.e) All prohibitions regarding meetings, demonstrations, and marches must be repealed.f) All de facto or de jure obstacles that block the political participation of the people, including the 10 percent election threshold and the anti-democratic articles of the "law on political parties," must be abolished.g) All initiatives that attempt to impose a uniform way of life on all people must be stopped.10. These urgent demands will in no case affect our right and duty to continue the opposition against the political power. The people's reaction to the government must be reinforced, and efforts must be concentrated to bring about a real alternative in the political scene.11. The star and the crescent Turkish flag that was intended to be used to provide a shield for reactionary and chauvinist attacks against laborers, leftists, and Kurdish people after the fascist military coup of September 12, 1980, has now been grasped by the people, taken from the hands of fascism, and given to the honorable hands of Deniz Gezmiş and his comrades, as a flag in the hands of patriotic people.12. The people's movement, ever since the beginning, has persistently frustrated the sinister strategy to play one community against another in Turkey. This attitude must carefully be maintained, leaving no room for chauvinism or vulgar nationalism.13. Appealing to our Kurdish brothers and sisters, we had already declared that "there can be no peace agreement with AKP." There can be no deal with a political power on which its own people have turned their back and the true face of which has been revealed. Kurdish politics must give up "cherishing hopes of proceeding further with AKP" and become a strong constituent of a united, patriotic, and enlightened working people's movement.14. Our citizens who have lost their lives through the hands of the police force of the political power have sacrificed their lives in the name of a just and historic struggle. The people are never going to forget their names, and those who are responsible for their deaths will pay the price before the law.Central Committee Communist Party of Turkey 4 June 2013And to follow this for some perspective, the election stats for the previous few years:1999 General Election: 37,671 votes (0.12%) as Sosyalist İktidar Partisi2002 General Election: 50,496 votes (0.19%)2007 General Election: 80,092 votes (0.22%)2011 General Election: 64,006 votes (0.15%)In the 2007 election, the party obtained its best result (by percentage) in Ardahan on the border with Georgia, where it got 787 votes (1.42%). TKP does not maintain offices in Ardahan.The PM is due home today after his N African tour. We expect to be bombarded with rhetoric. The ministers and MPs of the AKP have largely been compliant but there are questions being raised by intellectuals as to whether there could be some undercurrents readying to challenge him. That seems to be the greatest hope. A national opinion poll would be handy right now.September 18, 2013 at 1:50 am #86657
Has it disappeared? " If we understand that Occupy is not a brand, an organization or a self-designated group of individuals, but the continuation of a long struggle against the forceful imposition of poverty for many and wealth for a few, then the purpose it represents has only begun to manifest itself." http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/17-10 Worth reading as is this to compare different interpretations of the meaning of success http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/17-9September 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm #86658
Presumably you're referring to the Gezi Park protests? I would say they have morphed somewhat. There are spasmodic demos going on in a number od cities, sparked by different stimuli. I would say the overall sentiment is huge dissatisfaction with the government, especially the PM, for his heavy handed authoritarian way of dealing with any and every situation.There was another death last week in Antakya province where students were demonstrating in support of students of the Middle eastern technical Uni, where thousands of trees were cut on campus to drive a huge road through. There was denial on the part of the police as to how the youth died, even though it was caught on film. There have been a week of nightly protests there. There are demos against involvement in Syria. Public opinion is largely against that. There is much general dissatisfaction. Local elections are next spring, maybe then we'll get a clearer idea of how much it's directed against the AK party.This site http://www.jadaliyya.com/ has some excellent coverage on a rolling basis if you want more in depth stuff. There is a 'Turkey' section and also a weekly round-up for Turkey.We'll be in Istanbul at the end of the month for a few days. Hope to get some time in with friends for more in depth discussion. Will report back.As for 'success' – you could say the biggest success is so many people prepared to get out there to stand up for whatever it is they believe in or are in disagreement about – demanding some kind of democracy and they don't seem to be going away.October 23, 2013 at 1:55 am #86659
Nathan Schneider, author of the just-published Thank You Anarchy, Notes From the Occupy Apocalypse http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/19479-the-occupy-movement-continues-in-its-legacy-of-ongoing-resistance MK: What are your thoughts, in retrospect, on how to actively engage the working class in the struggle for economic justice? NS: I think the answer has to begin with more questions: What does “working class” even mean anymore, and who is part of it? Gone are the days of factory workers ready and waiting to be turned into union members en masse. Today we have the not-working-enough class (the main constituency of Occupy), and the working-too-much class (who had to choose between going to the General Assembly and putting food on the table), and the working-under-the-table-with-threat-of-deportation class (who couldn’t risk being arrested at an Occupy march), and the hoping-these-loans-will-pay-off class (who risked financial ruin if they let Occupy distract them from getting good grades) and many more. Gender and race operate in ways that conventional class theory doesn’t take into account. The power of the “99%” meme was in that it elided the unspoken forms of alienation that prevent us from organizing against capitalism today. It was convenient for conveying a sense of unity. But as people doing deep grassroots organizing know, reality is more complicated than that. Strange how Schneider strikes such a “revolutionary” and “progressive” attitude repeating ideas that are 40-50 year old and that are periodically over the years proved wrong. IMHO, the failure of Occupy was the lack of participation of organised wage-workers in the unions and despite Mayday attempts to involve them, they didn’t succeed. I’m not attaching any blame. There were a lot of reasons for this. But there is no point in re-classifying and re-defining what a worker is to explain this failing. (as an aside, i had to look up the dictionary for the meaning of “elided”) The legacy of Occupy according to Schneider – a return to single issue campaigning and perhaps “good neighbourlyness” regards weather disasters. But perhaps i am being unfair from such a limited interview and not having read his book – but his comments echo other Occupy’s “leading” participants conclusions.
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