INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUALS CALL ON THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT TO DESIST FROM ITS REPRESSION OF POPULAR PROTESTPosted: June 18, 2013
We deplore the recent crackdown of the Turkish government on its own
citizens, the clearly unjustified use of tear gas, acts of force, gas
canisters and smoke bombs that have resulted in a vast number of
injuries, imperiling the lives of those who seek to exercise their
basic freedoms of assembly and protest. This assault of the Turkish
government on its own people constitutes an attack on democratic
principles and a departure from legitimate methods of governance — we
unequivocally oppose such tactics of intimidation and state violence.
In the name of democratic principles, we call upon the Turkish
government to cease these violent actions immediately. We affirm the
aims of the popular resistance to the privatisation of public space,
to the growing authoritarian rule dramatically instantiated by this
objectionable display of state violence, and the preservation of
public rights of protest. We call upon the government to (a) stop the
beating of all protesters and those in the media who seek to represent
their point of view, including lawyers and journalists; (b) cease
obstructing access to medical care for the injured; (c) put an end to
the practice of unlawful detention and sequestering of protesters,
medical personnel and legal counsel and (d) facilitate access to
medical care and legal representation for those injured by the police.
We call for the immediate end to this appalling state violence and we
reaffirm the rights of popular dissent and resistance, the right to
have access to a media uncensored by governmental powers, and the
right to move and speak freely in public space as preconditions of
Tariq Ali, author and editor, New Left Review, UK
Tewfik Allal, Président du Manifeste des Libertés, France
Etienne Balibar, Universite Nanterre, France
Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Judith Butler, University of California, BerkeleyUSA
Margaret Brose, University of California, Santa Cruz
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Université Paris 7, France
Alex Demirovic, Technische Universitat Berlin, Germany
Lisa Duggan, New York University, USA
Cynthia Enloe, Clark University, USA
Eric Fassin, Université Paris – 8, France
Michel Feher, Director, Zone Books, France
Alfredo Saad-Filho, United Nations and SOAS, UK
Nilufer Gole, Ecole des Hautes Etudes, France
Siba Grovogui, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Hannes Lacher, York University, Canada
George Liagouras, University of the Aegean, Greece
Michael Löwy, CNRS, France
Adam David Morton, University of Nottingham, UK
Matthieu de Nanteuil, Universite de Louvain, Belgium
Ravi Palat, State University of New York, Binghamton, USA
Hugo Radice, University of Leeds, UK
Josep Ramoneda, journalist and philosopher, Spain
Miranda Schreurs, Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany
Stuart Shields, University of Manchester, UK
Daniela Tepe-Belfrage, University of Sheffield, UK
Eleni Varikas, Université Paris 8, France
Hayden White, Stanford University, USA
Clemens Zobel, Université Paris 8, France
Riot police in Athens fire tear gas at hooded youths hurling rocks and bottles during a demonstration.
posted at Aljazeera.com 20 Feb 2013 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/02/201322017825943615.html
|Tens of thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets of Athens and other cities as part of a nationwide strike against austerity that confined ferries to ports, shut schools and left hospitals with only emergency staff.Beating drums, blowing whistles and chanting “Robbers, robbers!” more than 60,000 people angry at wage cuts and tax rises marched on Wednesday to parliament in the biggest protest for months over austerity policies required by international lenders.
In the capital, riot police fired tear gas at hooded youths hurling rocks and bottles during a demonstration, mostly of students and pensioners, which ended peacefully.
The two biggest labour unions brought much of crisis-hit Greece to a standstill with a 24-hour protest strike against policies which they say deepen the hardship of people struggling through the country’s worst peacetime downturn.
Representing 2.5 million workers, the unions have gone on strike repeatedly since a debt crisis erupted in late 2009, testing the government’s will to impose the painful conditions of an international bailout in the face of growing public anger.
“Today’s strike is a new effort to get rid of the bailout deal and those who take advantage of the people and bring only misery,” said Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary general of the ADEDY public sector union, which organised the walkout along with private sector union GSEE.
“A social explosion is very near,” he told the Reuters news agency from a rally in a central Athens square as police helicopters clattered overhead.
The eight-month-old coalition of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been eager to show it will implement reforms promised to the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which have bailed Athens out twice with over 200 billion euros.
The government has cracked down on striking workers, invoking emergency laws twice this year to get seamen and subway workers back to work after week-long walkouts that paralysed public transport in Athens and led to food shortages on islands.
Labour unrest has picked up in recent weeks. A visit by French President Francois Hollande in Athens on Tuesday went largely unreported because Greek journalists were on strike.
“The period of virtual euphoria is over,” said opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party has regained a narrow opinion poll lead over the governing conservatives.
“Those who thought Samaras would renegotiate the terms of the bailout … are now faced with the harsh reality of unpaid bills, closed shops and lost jobs,” he said.
Anger at politicians and the wealthy elite has been boiling during the crisis, with many accusing the government of making deep cuts to wages and pensions while doing too little to spread the burden or go after rich tax evaders.
“This government needs to look out for us poor people as well because we can’t take it any more,” said Niki Lambopoulou, a 43-year-old insurance broker and single mother.
“I work night and day to make ends meet and the government is killing our children’s dreams.”
Greece secured bailout funds in December, ending months of uncertainty over the country’s future in the eurozone, and
“If these expectations are not satisfied by the summer, then whatever is left of the working class will respond with more
Six years of recession and three of austerity have tripled the rate of unemployment to 27 percent. More than 60 percent of young workers are jobless.
by Nina Power
November 30th saw two million UK public sector workers take strike action up and down the country. Schools and universities closed, hospitals cancelled non-urgent operations, 146,000 civil servants walked out and marches took place up and down the country. Picket lines formed outside public sector buildings everywhere and many people refused to cross picket lines in solidarity. A breakaway group from the main march organized by the Occupy group stormed Panton House (home of the FTSE mining group Xstrata and of the top-paid CEO, Mick Davies) and managed to get a banner to fly off the building, which read ‘All Power to the 99%’. The police responded quickly, perhaps to flex their muscles as part of their new ‘total policing’ strategy and arrested around twenty protesters; earlier in the day police had arrested around 35 people in outside a library in Hackney, for reasons that remain mysterious.
At least 40 injured and Rome left billowing in smoke after anti-austerity protesters clash with riot police in front of Parliament for over two hours tonight.
By Jérôme E. Roos On September 15, 2011
After weeks of dithering on the precipice of his own downfall, Silvio Berlusconi tonight survived a crucial vote of confidence, by one of the narrowest possible margins, allowing his government it to push through its proposed package of deeply unpopular austerity measures.
The cutbacks and tax hikes had been demanded by the European Central Bank in exchange for its buy-up of Italian bonds on secondary markets, after markets turned their sights on Italy last month, pushing the government’s borrowing costs close to the level where Greece had previously required an EU bailout.
But as Parliament prepared to vote on the austerity measures, violent clashesbroke out between protesters and riot police. Downtown Rome was left billowing in smoke and littered with debris as at least 40 protesters were injured by random rounds of police baton charges.
“The police displayed a disproportionate reaction,” one witness told La Repubblica. “They were hit with batons, even women. A mother, too, was pushed and fell to the ground.” Images on Italian TV showed several people with bleeding head wounds and other injuries. Read the rest of this entry »
Author: Gaston Gordillo (Space and Politics)
The global media has been nervously covering two simultaneous forms of destruction: the obliteration of wealth in the financial markets and the destruction of property in the United Kingdom. This destruction involves different actors, objects, temporalities, and spatial scales. The looting by youths in the UK had a short-term temporality and has been territorially contained to one nation. But this destructive violence had a profound affective impact because of its power to temporarily wrest the streets from the control of the state and because it can be immediately represented, visually and live, on countless screens. The corporate media promptly mobilized these images of burning shops, burning police cars, or wounded passersby to scare and enrage the “normal citizens” and modulate their attachment to state authority through the image of looters in hoodies. Read the rest of this entry »
Author: Illan rua Wall
Few are willing to make comparisons between this past year’s radical political activity – from the student protests to the major TUC demonstration – and the Tottenham riots. The reasons for this are fairly obvious: there is no unifying political goal of these ‘looters’, ‘hooligans’ and ‘thugs’. Theirs instead appears to be a ‘consumerism of the excluded’ – as someone quipped recently. But there is a common denominator – that is the role of the police in patrolling the fringes of ordered liberal society.
The response to every and any hint that the police might have behaved badly is remarkably similar in so many instances. Firstly, denial: ‘he shot first’, ‘he moved towards me’, ‘he was being restrained for his own safety’. Then, if the pressure is great enough and the evidence obvious enough: acceptance and repentance. This comes with promises that any bad apples will be sought out, plucked from the tree and binned. Then finally, when the fury has dissipated, charges and complaints are dropped, or one person takes the hit – rarely anything beyond a slap on the wrist. As Alex Wheatle says, no police officer has ever been convicted for the death of a black person in custody. This should not surprise us. The police will close ranks in an attempt to protect their own. The political and legal establishment will tolerate this to a certain extent. They recognise ‘the difficult job that officers do’. Yet, this type of reasoning misses the everyday and ordinary violence of the police, and by extension that of the state (and the law). A different way of looking at this emerges when we refuse to accept, for a moment, that police violence is automatically legitimate. Read the rest of this entry »
I keep hearing comparisons between the London riots and riots in other European cities—window smashing in Athens or car bonfires in Paris. And there are parallels, to be sure: a spark set by police violence, a generation that feels forgotten.
But those events were marked by mass destruction; the looting was minor. There have, however, been other mass lootings in recent years, and perhaps we should talk about them too. There was Baghdad in the aftermath of the US invasion—a frenzy of arson and looting that emptied libraries and museums. The factories got hit too. In 2004 I visited one that used to make refrigerators. Its workers had stripped it of everything valuable, then torched it so thoroughly that the warehouse was a sculpture of buckled sheet metal.
Back then the people on cable news thought looting was highly political. They said this is what happens when a regime has no legitimacy in the eyes of the people. After watching for so long as Saddam and his sons helped themselves to whatever and whomever they wanted, many regular Iraqis felt they had earned the right to take a few things for themselves. But London isn’t Baghdad, and British Prime Minister David Cameron is hardly Saddam, so surely there is nothing to learn there. Read the rest of this entry »
By Christos Giovanopoulos
There may be no better proof of the rupture that is brought about by the “movement of the squares” other than its open, participatory, directly democratic way of organising and functioning. Within a single week it has given birth to a political culture of a different type, one that literally overcomes all known models of organising and struggle to date. Even if the issue of its procedures is incomplete, it comes up again and again and comprises the most important legacy already left to the political and social life of the country. This does not mean there are no issues with disorganisation, inefficiency, delays. Taking into account however the explosive rhythm of its development, the lack of previous experience on the side of those who created it, along with the need to compile, step by step, heterogeneous and different opinions of all participants through open procedures, all this is to be expected. Even if time-consuming, its procedures are flexible and are altered by the day; they are self-criticised, adjusted according to mistakes, comments and suggestions deriving from them being tested in practice. The open, egalitarian and participatory character of the procedures and ways of organising derives from the will to find such procedures that can unite all who are affected by the crisis and dissatisfied with the current political system. Read the rest of this entry »
by Jérôme E. Roos on May 22, 2011
An unprecedented wave of spontaneous protest is washing across Europe as outraged Spanish protesters seek to export their nascent revolution.
Something incredible is happening in Europe right now: the M-15 movement that was born in Spain last week, with the Democracia Real Ya protests on May 15, is rapidly spreading across the continent as young people everywhere take to the streets to demand real democracy now.
Below are some of the most inspiring videos from the wave of protests that is washing over the continent. Please let me know in a comment if you have any other footage that I could put up. And make sure to find a protest near you and join the global solidarity movement!
THOUSANDS of people defied both the protest ban and heavy rain to again occupy la Puerta del Sol in the centre of Madrid over Wednesday night.
Workers, unemployed people and pensioners joined young people in calling for an end to neoliberal ‘austerity’ measures and a democratic system based on the needs of people, rather than economics.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo explained that when the majority of protesters left the square at midnight, hundreds of young people again stayed on throughout the night, in a powerful gesture echoing the Tahrir Square occupation in Cairo.
Food was distributed free to anyone who wanted it and, while the weather put paid to the planned general assembly, debates were held on the future of the May 15 Movement for real democracy.
El Pais said that the protests had taken a big step forward. Whereas on Monday and Tuesday they had attracted younger people via social networking sites, on Wednesday older people arrived, having heard about the movement through traditional media.
The newspaper described a sense of ‘indignation’ in the air and thought it unlikely that the protests, which have also been happening across the country, would disappear before Sunday, which is a day of local elections.
The protests have also been featured on Fox News Latino.
The site reports: “Chanting a cry of resistance from Spain’s 1936-1939 civil war, thousands of mainly young people thronged this capital’s emblematic Puerta del Sol square Wednesday night in defiance of a ban on demonstrations ahead of weekend regional and municipal elections.
“Demonstrators also shouted slogans expressing disgust with both the governing Socialists and the main opposition conservative Popular Party.
“Police, who forcibly evicted some 150 protesters from the area early Tuesday, stood by as the activists vowed to resist peacefully if authorities tried to dislodge them.”