Turkey: Writing the Revolt

Turkey protests in picturesHere we pick out just a few of the articles which we have found particularly useful in analysing the protest movement in Turkey.

In the Guardian Richard Seymour provided some context to the roots of the revolt:

The AKP represents a peculiar type of conservative populism. Its bedrock, enriched immensely in the last decade, is the conservative Muslim bourgeoisie that first emerged as a result of Turgut Özal’s economic policies in the 1980s. But, while denying it is a religious party, it has used the politics of piety to gain a popular base and to strengthen the urban rightwing.

In Ahram online an interview with Turkish activist Ozan Tekn is useful in understanding the specific dynamics of the protests:

A few dozen activists rushed into Gezi Park when the bulldozers arrived on Tuesday night last week to start cutting trees. The bulldozers retreated later that day and a few thousand people occupied the park. The police started attacking the park in the early hours of the morning to let the bulldozers in again. On third day, this sparked an explosion of protest, and tens of thousands joined the struggle in Taksim Square to keep the park safe and protest against police violence.

On Jadaliyya, Evren Savcı provides a good analysis on the Turkish variant of neoliberal authoritarianism:

Just a month ago, on 1 May, when citizens attempted to march to Taksim Square for Worker’s Day, they were met with police firing tear gas canisters in abundance. But we did not need this spectacle to know that the government’s commitment to its people safety and wellbeing was less than stellar. According to one report an average four workers lose their life daily in work-related accidents in Turkey. The same day, a number of people, including teenagers, were severely injured and hospitalized, with two suffering hemorrhages from the blows they received in the back of their head, and one losing an eye.

This theme is developed by Cemal Burak Tansel on Adam Morton’s blog:

Emerging triumphant one more time at the 2011 elections, AKP neoliberalism took a more ferocious and disciplinarian form. The increasing authoritarianism of the government has manifested in the record number of arrests made against students, activists and lawyers in the last decade.

Last but not least, UK activist and writer Mark Bergfeld offers some thoughts on the strategic questions facing the movement:

From now on, different classes will articulate their political strategies through – or, in relation to – the movement. Only if the radical and anticapitalist left acts through the movement can it turn the mass movement from an arena of class struggle into a tool of class struggle. In order to do so, it has to develop and formulate a strategy and alliances based on building a counter-hegemonic alternative fit to lead Turkish society as a whole. The Peace Square in Taksim today is a starting point.

The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings

End of an Old Order?

Edited by Bassam Haddad, Rosie Bsheer and Ziad Abu-Rish. Foreword by Roger Owen

Leading Middle East analysts consider the causes and consequences of the Arab Spring.

“Jadaliyya has established itself as an indispensable source dealing with the contemporary Arab world. This collection of its pieces on the Arab uprisings is perhaps the best introduction to the political movements that have shaken that region since January 2011. It represents a set of intelligent commentaries on revolutionary events in almost every Arab country, and their repercussions in the area generally and beyond. Essential reading.” – Talal Asad

“The outburst of the Arab Revolutions demands imaginative and novel perspectives on the Arab world, and Jadaliyya has managed to provide a unique forum covering the region with a fresh approach to its issues and problems. Its talented contributors, from the Arab world and beyond, combine objectivity with a progressive, humanistic engagement, and never shy away from sometimes explosive topics. Necessary reading.” – Fawwaz Traboulsi, author of ‘A History of Modern Lebanon’

£19.99 only £17.50 on the Pluto site

Tweets and the Streets

Social Media and Contemporary Activism

Paolo Gerbaudo

Analyses the impact of new social media on activism and political dissent, from Cairo to New York.

“Tweets and the Streets is very timely, not just in terms of addressing the impact of Web 2.0 on social movements and activism, but also in that it addresses and soberly assesses the use of technology from recent protests in North Africa and elsewhere […] I highly recommend this book.
– Stephen Duncombe, Associate Professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University. He is the author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy.

“Tweets and the Streets offers an incisive and challenging new direction in thinking about the context and possibilities for digital media and activism. Gerbaudo embeds social media very firmly in the material politics of space, of bodies in motion and in the intensive connections that are vital in turning online affinity into wider movements. This book captures the current mood of rebellion with up to the moment case studies, built from the experiences of those who have played such a vital part in the latest waves of insurrection around the world. “ – Joss Hands, author of @ is for Activism

£16.99 only £15.00 on the Pluto site

What We Are Fighting For

A Radical Collective Manifesto

Edited by Federico Campagna and Emanuele Campiglio

Visions of a different society run in the interests of the 99%. Leading activist voices answer the question the media loves to ask the protesters.

“Here are the first flowers of spring: the beginning of an epochal dialogue about the human future. Inspired by the Occupy movements across the world, What We Are Fighting For should inspire all of us to join the conversation.” – Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums and City of Quartz

“This collection provides a rallying point for all those who resist the dogmas of contemporary politics and seek a fresh set of alternatives. What We Are Fighting For is a manifesto full of urgent, articulate responses to the current situation.” – Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School, New York, and author of The Faith of the Faithless (2012).

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

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