IN SITU

Art, Politics and Other Things in Life — A Blog by Hakan Topal

Tag: occupyGeziNYC

WHAT NOW?
Michael Hardt on Continuity and Leadership


Global social movements lit up like constellations all around the world beginning in 2011. Protests in Egypt, Tunisia, the United States, Spain, Israel, then Turkey, Brazil, Bulgaria and Greece brought to the fore urgent socio-political issues including neoliberal economic transformation, the privatization of commons, the widening income gap, repressive regimes and a longing for an egalitarian sustainable world. Protestors’ demanded for an inclusive democracy actualized in harmoniously self-organized occupations and encampments. Perhaps the beauty and sadness of these horizontal platforms is the fact that they were short-lived. As these occupations dissolved for various reasons, there is a danger that cynicism will replace them. Instead, perhaps a constitutive and joyful collective potential will be activated via persistent assemblies around the main question: What next? How can we transform these beautiful moments into long-lasting, durable forms of democratic social change?

On October 4th and 5th, activists, scholars, politicians and artists got together for the Talk Turkey: Rethinking Life Since Gezi conference at the New School For Social Research to discuss some of the social, political and economic questions that the Gezi Uprising in Turkey underlined. Each panel was organized around particular issues including the Turkish state’s human rights violations, artists’, LGBT’s and the role of women in Gezi Park, the AKP’s authoritarian/Islamist neoliberal economic policies and development obsessed growth model, urban transformation, mass housing projects and the idea of spectacular city planning with regard to their immediate social political consequences. 

In the Occupy Solidary and Global Consequences panel, Despina Lalaki, Jeffrey Goldfarb and Michael Hardt reflected on the specificity of the new global political movements. Despina Lalaki highlighted the intimate relationship with neoliberalism and the rise of nationalism in Greece, something that resembles the rise of Islamists in Turkey after the 2001 economic crisis. Jeffrey Goldfarb stated that artists, LGBT and women’s participation in Gezi and the consequent cultural production underlines the fact that the politics of small things are something that we should be particularly aware. He commented on the “repertoire of political action” and how they relate to larger social political questions.

Hardt argued that since 2011— different from previous ‘nomadic’ global movements—these new protests are rooted in territory, demand a new definition of publicity and commons beyond the false “public/private” separation. Furthermore, with their ‘multitude’ form, these occupations and encampments provided a real ground where protestors constituted an inclusive and egalitarian togetherness characterized by their demands for ‘real democracy’.

In fact, Occupy movements revealed that there could be a different kind of politics, which is interactive, inclusive, energetic, welcoming, decentralized and creative. Perhaps, the idea is not to provide direct answers through old political tools and methods, but rather to show that there are new social possibilities that transcend current repressive political systems and party politics. In this follow up interview, I asked Michael Hardt a series of questions concerning the future of these movements, the idea of continuity, and the possibility of new institutional and leadership models.

* [ This short post was written for New School For Social Research’s new online online magazine: Public Seminar http://publicseminar.org]

Talk Turkey: Re-Thinking Life Since Gezi 

http://talkturkeyconference.com

Friday, October 4, 2013  

Kellen Auditorium, 66 5th Ave (13th Street) New York, Ground Floor, 1:00pm – 6:30pm

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Wolff Conference Room, 6 East 16th Street New York, 11th Floor, 10:00am – 6:00pm

Here are the two articles that I reflect on Erdogan government’s domestic and foreign policies.

Occupy Gezi: Reclaiming the Commons and the Collapse of Erdogan’s Domestic Policies 

Turkey and Syria: On the Bankruptcy of Neo-Ottomanist Foreign Policy

What is happening in Turkey!

Download PDF version here: http://goo.gl/6To1P

To The Member of the Press, International Human Rights Organizations, and the People of New York City

We are artists, students, intellectuals and citizens of New York City. Together with supporters of Occupy Wall Street, we are here in Zuccotti Park to show solidarity with our friends and brothers and sisters who are occupying Gezi Parki in Istanbul. This is a peaceful event. Our goal is to attract public attention to the protests in Istanbul Gezi Parki and the consequent police brutality of the Erdogan/AKP government!

Since Monday, May 27th, citizens of Istanbul from all backgrounds have been staging a peaceful resistance in Gezi Park, the city’s largest public park, protecting it and its trees from a large gentrification project to transform a public park into a shopping center. The demolition of the park should be understood as another incident of the government’s ongoing appropriation and privatization of public resources. 

Since the peaceful occupation started three days ago, The Turkish police have repeatedly intervened, with each intervention more violent than the last. The riot police set fire to the occupier’s tents, and used tear gas relentlessly, causing serious injuries. 

Finally on May 31st, the police attacks included rubber bullets, in addition to physically beating and ultimately killing of at least one protester.Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Istanbul are resisting the AKP government’s neoliberal policies and the brutal attacks on the protestors continue.

This is not the first time protests have been met with state sanctions violence. Most recently, the Turkish police used unreasonable force to disperse May Day protestors again attacking a group of peaceful demonstrators in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The Erdogan government’s excessive force and the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protestors is unacceptable, it breaches international human rights criteria and must be stopped.

 We are calling on the international community to support the Turkish protestors’ right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. We demand an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of excessive and unnecessary use of force, to ensure that any law enforcement officials responsible for arbitrary or abusive use of force are prosecuted.

#occupyGeziNYC

Basın Mensupları, Uluslararası İnsan Hakları Organizasyonları ve New York Halkı’na duyurulur;

Bizler New York şehrinde yaşayan sanatçılar, öğrenciler ve entellektüelleriz. İstanbul Gezi Parkı’nı işgal eden dostlarımız ve kardeşlerimiz ile dayanışma içinde olduğumuzu göstermek için Occupy Wall Street destekçileriyle beraber burada Zuccotti Park’ındayız. Bu barışçıl bir etkinliktir. Amacımız İstanbul Gezi Parkı’nda düzenlenen halk protestosuna ve bunu takip eden Erdoğan/AKP hükümeti güdümündeki polis şiddetine halkın dikkatini çekmektir!

27 Mayıs Pazartesi gününden bu yana her tür kesimden gelen İstanbul halkı, şehrin en büyük parkı niteliğindeki Gezi Parkı’nın geniş kapsamlı yürütülen bir kentsel dönüşüm projesi çerçevesinde alışveriş merkezine dönüştürülmesini engellemek, Gezi Parkı’nı ve içindeki ağaçları korumak amacıyla barışçıl bir direniş sergilemektedir. Gezi Parkı’nın yok edilmesi, hükümetin ardı ardası kesilmez bir biçimde kamusal kaynaklara el koymasının ve bunları özelleştirme çabasının bir başka örneği olarak görülmelidir.

Bu barışçıl işgalin başladığı üç gün öncesinden bu yana, Türk polisi sürekli müdahale etmiş ve her müdahalesi bir öncekinden daha şiddetli olmuştur. Çevik kuvvet polisi protestocuların çadırlarını ateşe vermiş, halkın üzerinde acımasızca biber gazı kullanmış ve ciddi yaralanmalara neden olmuştur.

Ve nihayet 31 Mayıs günü polis, saldırılarına plastik mermi kullanımını ve dayağı da eklemiş, en az bir protestocunun ölümüne sebep olmuştur.


Bugün İstanbul’da yüzbinlerce vatandaş AKP hükümetinin neoliberal politikalarına direniş göstermektedir ve protestoculara yönelik acımasız saldırılar halen devam etmektedir.


Bugün yaşananlar, ülkemizdeki halk protestolarının devlet eliyle şiddete maruz bırakıldığı ilk olay değildir. Daha çok kısa bir süre önce, Türk polisi 1 Mayıs protestocularını dağıtmak için mantık dışı bir güç kullanmış ve İstanbul Taksim Meydanı’nda barışçıl göstericilere saldırmıştır. Erdoğan hükümetinin barışçıl protestoculara karşı uyguladığı aşırı güç gösterisi, biber gazı ve plastik mermi kullanımı kabul edilemez, uluslararası insan hakları kriterlerine aykırıdır ve durdurulmalıdır.

Uluslararası camiayı Türk protestocularının barışçıl bir şekilde toplanma ve kendilerini ifade etme haklarını kullanmalarını desteklemeye davet ediyoruz. Aşırı ve gereksiz güç kullanıldığı yönündeki iddiaların bağımsız ve tarafsız bir şekilde soruşturulmasını, gücün keyfi bir şekilde kötüye kullanılmasında payı olan emniyet görevlilerinin cezalandırılmasını talep ediyoruz.

#occupyGeziNYC

(c) 2017 - Hakan Topal