It's become striking to me over the last few weeks how people seemingly committed to social change in fact hold on to privilege and inequality -- even if it is not their own.
This is not a new insight. Activists struggle over this question all the time. I've just come across it first hand in ways that I didn't expect. It seems like some people just like to protest. When the opportunity arises to do something with the capacity that protesting enabled, they fold, providing all sorts of excuses as to why the basic order should be maintained.
I didn't expect people committed to gender equality to defend the continuation of structures premised on inequality. Somehow I didn't expect that they, too, would enjoy hierarchical power. Maybe I can be clearer on this: I am not talking about people at the top of the food chain holding on to power. I am talking about people with relatively little power wanting to maintain the status quo that they in fact critique. It's as if they enjoy what power does to others; they enjoy seeing some people hurt or injured or shamed.
What I'm trying to describe (albeit necessarily vaguely) is not Nietzschean ressentiment. It's more like enjoying through the other. So, for example, people say they are against the exclusionary practices of group X, but when it comes down to changing the structures that let these practices persist, they balk. There are things that they admire about group X. They enjoy what the wealth and status of group X can accomplish, even when, especially when, it becomes violent and transgressive. Maybe a way to say this: class privilege sometimes persists because those who say they are against it are actually invested in it and enjoy inequality.
And the vehemence of the rhetoric and the anger that arises amidst the confusion is in part anxiety over the confrontation with enjoyment. They don't want to be people that, say, secretly tolerate an undercurrent of sexual violence--Zizek's obscene supplement or nightly law. This has to be repressed. Anger at authority is not anger over authority's failure to prevent violence. It's over authority's failure to prevent violence's exposure.
I think I have new appreciation for the power of the nightly law and how hard it is to address, how it can derail reformist as well as revolutionary energies. This may also go some way in accounting for the prevalence of 'awareness' as a left and liberal goal. By making us more aware of a variety of things, the left liberal leaves the obscene supplement in place. We get preoccupied with information and media campaigns instead of changing institutions and policies. It's one thing to be aware of inequality. Eliminating it is another thing altogether.
Fundamental-List (from the October 1988 issue of Marxism Today)
Modern Times New Times Times we haven’t been able to name for 14 years
Fordism Post-Fordism DIY
Modern Post-modern Post-apocalyptic
Steinbeck Pynchon You Tube
Le Corbusier Venturi Tents
Sartre Foucault Zizek
Futurism Nostalgia Dystopia
Marlon Brando William Hurt Jared Leto
Production Consumption Destruction
Mass-market Market segmentation Customization
Ford Toyota Bicycle
Self-control Remote control Surveillance
Depth Surface Network
Belief Credit Debt
Elvis Michael Jackson Lady Gaga
Interpretation Deconstruction Assemblage
Butlins Theme parks Facebook
Relationships White weddings It’s complicated
The Beatles Bros One Direction
Determinism The arbitrary retroactive determination
Maxwell House Acid house Foreclosure
Concrete Holographic glass UHF
Liberalism Libertarianism Anarchism
Mass hysteria Fatal Attraction Depression
Humanism Post-structuralism Speculative realism
Raspberry Ripple Hedgehog Crisps Artisanal pickles
Lady Chatterley Blue Velvet Girls
World wars Terrorism Drone strikes
Angst Boredom Fatalism
Roosevelt Regan Obama
In/Out lists New Times guides In/Out lists
Newspapers Colour supplements Twitter
Conservatism Thatcherism Tea Party
Emotion Affectation Branding
Dow Jones Nikkei Index Troika
Stalinism Glasnost Capitalism with Chinese characteristics
Free love The free market Slavery
The Titanic Challenger MH370
The Cabinet The Prime Minister City of London
Bingo The Big Bang The Big Bang
What if we look at all the revolts of the last few years (from 2010 on) as revolts of the knowledge class or cognitariat? So, we think of knowledge workers broadly -- teachers, adjuncts, civil servants, nurses, Verizon workers, the newly layed off, phone-center employees, programmers, the unemployed students and graduate students -- we read, in other words, the precarious in terms of the majority of knowledge workers (those who generate content and data for communicative capitalism) who have been displaced and disposed because of the very technological innovations that make them knowledge workers. My hypothesis is that all the revolts of the last three years are revolts of these e-proles. The current skirmishes around Google buses are thus absolutely key for understanding the current cycle of struggles. Likewise, university struggles aren't epiphenomenol or derivative. They are major sites of struggle, like factories were in previous cycles.
The problem with much emphasis on the cognitariat has been the focus on the entrepreneuers and billionaires. This emphasis tends to rely on rags-to-riches narratives: homegrown computers and hackers in it for the lulz. But these stories are of course capitalist fairy-tales that displace our attention from workers onto their becoming-capitalist. Success is when they are capitalists, huge amounts of venture capital, successful IPOs, etc. What matters, though, are those who remain knowledge workers.
If this inclination is correct, then the stupid media fixation on Facebook and Twitter in the revolutions is useful: it flags the activity of the cognitariat (I really hate this term, though -- is there another one? like cybertarians? digital proletariat is pretty awful, e-proles? what about e-proles? I think that sounds pretty good ...) It also explains the importance of Anonymous, both as actors and as emblems. And, it links people like Snowden and security questions into the class struggle.
So, looking at the protests and revolts of the last few years as the class struggle of the cognitariat would account for the persistence of personal media, the people protesting, the economic position of the protesters, and the political ambiguity of the protests. E-proles have a strong libertarian bent (I blame 30 years of capital resurgent). They tend to present themselves as post-political, anti-political (for example, in the Spanish movement of the squares). They are so fluid and spongy (whatever beings, imaginary identities -- I talk about this in Blog Theory) that they can be pushed, channeled in different directions (they have a hard time uniting as a class and so tend to concentrate around identity claims). So, the revolt in Ukraine would be part of the same series as Tunisia, Egypt, OWS, and Turkey.
Struggles of e-proles don't look like past struggles of the working class because of the disparate, individualized nature of media under communicative capitalism. But it is a class struggle nonetheless.
Below are excerpts from an essay by Christopher Newfield on the knowledge economy. Much of it is quite useful and interesting. I am posting it because I think it helps provide some good context for the reflections above about the cognitariat. Some folks might recall that this was big a few years ago. The discussion pretty much died down because knowledge workers weren't a revolutionary class. But, I am suggesting that maybe, in fact, we are.
A few weeks ago when Paul and I were in NYC for the baptism of the child of some friends (by Reverend Billy), we ran into some acquaintances. The acquaintances are men in their late twenties. We ran into them around NYU. I made strained small-talk with one while Paul chatted with the other.
The guy I was talking to is a hedge fund manager.
I didn't push it. Really. After covering sports, the weather, the few people we know in common, he asks about my kids. I reply that my son is going to McGill. He's impressed and adds, "a lot of guys in my firm went to McGill." I smile sweetly, "The one thing I hope my son will never, ever, become is a hedge fund manager."
The guy laughs uneasily, "Well, he should be able to make his own choices."
"But not that."
"What's so wrong with being a hedge fund manager?"
I look at him like he must either have severe brain damage or be from another planet (both, I think, are true, the effects of capitalist excess). "Umm, the role of the finance sector in the intensification of economic inequality in the US and the larger global economic crisis?"
He says, "Well, that's your opinion."
"No. It's a fact."
"Well, some would disagree."
"Then they are wrong."
He stares at me. I offer, "My most recent book is The Communist Horizon." He grabs the other guy and insists that they have to go. Now.
The next evening while a blizzard engulfed the city I sat in a bar with a socialist friend a few years younger than the other guys. After I recounted the conversation from the night before, he tells me a similar story. A few weeks earlier, he was chatting with a woman at a party. He said something critical of Wall Street and she became uneasy, volunteering that she worked in finance, that people who go into debt have no one but themselves to blame, that anyone who works hard can easily save enough money to have a good life, etc. He described some of the challenges faced by his working class parents, tying them to the structural role of debt and unemployment for capitalism. She became increasingly uncomfortable, defensive, and angry, ultimately storming off.
The bright side of these stories of twenty-something shame: the fact that they feel it. They aren't bragging and gloating. This isn't Jamie Dimon and his gloating Christmas card. Rather, these twenty-somethings quickly cave under the realization of the wrong of inequality. They might try, initially, to parrot the capitalist ideological clap-trap that protects them, but they feel its holes. They don't believe it anymore, even if they want to. Jamie Dimon and his ilk do their best to patch up the the image of extreme wealth, "look how fun it is!," but their deafness to the tone of the times betrays their underlying desperation. Misfires are symptoms of their crumbling position. They won't be able to hold it much longer.
I lived in NYC in the mid-eighties. I worked for a year in a low-paid publishing job and then went to graduate school. A few friends and a lot of acquaintances had gone to work on Wall Street (Karen's Ho's Liquidated is a great ethnography on this pipeline). They were investment bankers and traders. Some dealt in junk bonds. From the outside, it looked like a wild scene, not as extreme as "The Wolf of Wall Street" but not so far off, either.
The difference is that in the mid-eighties, these guys were shameless, masters of the universe, Tom Wolfe would call them in Bonfire of the Vanities. The Gordon Gekko line, "greed is good," wasn't a critique, it was a flag, a banner.
This flag is now in tatters. The banner has fallen.
Now even those who want to be Wall Street's gekkos and wolves can't. They don't believe anymore that the rest of us believe that they are winners, that they are the smartest guys in the room, that they somehow deserve or have earned their immensely unequal share of the common surplus. They know that the rest of us think that are thieves, extortionists, criminals. A little shame has crept in. That's why the twenty-somethings got angry.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" lays bear the injunction to enjoy underlying the last thirty years of financialization. The ambiguity of the movie comes from our relation to this enjoyment. Does it incite our desire, does it arouse us, making us against our better selves in fact want to be like them, want to have what they have? Does it disgust us, arousing our indignation? Does it blend the two together so that we find ourselves with no place to stand (sex and drugs are fun! I'm no conservative, moralistic, prude!)? And, if it does any of these does the movie end up coming too much to the assistance of Jamie Dimon and his ilk? Maybe the audience for the film is those twenty-something finance types who want to rid themselves of the shame that shadows their work in the sector that is killing the world.
Criticisms of the movie for its sexism miss the mark. The movie enacts obscenity. It enjoins excess and this injunction always is at a cost to someone. Someone is exploited (or excluded--it's a white movie--or beaten up--lots of homophobia). The excess has to be understood as inseparable from Wall Street. Nothing to be proud of here. They should all be ashamed.
Introduction: by Jodi Dean
The last issue of Volume 16 approaches, from different directions, the inexistent. One direction is from the party. The other is from life. The approach from the party, more precisely, from the question of the party, grows out of the contemporary return to communism, extending the communist hypothesis by interrogating the party as the body of the communist subject. The approach from life, more precisely, from the life excessive to sovereign power, grows out of interdisciplinary explorations into the radicality of life as such, affirming in the irreducible excess of life the new horizon of a politics to come. At first glance, these two approaches may appear utterly antagonistic, two sides of a political-theoretical divide suggestive of if not irreconcilable division than at least incompatible assessments of what is most politically urgent today. And, while it may be tempting to glance again, to look for convergence, perhaps the better option is to maintain or even intensify the division, allowing the gap itself to generate new ideas, convictions, and solidarities.
Issue16.4 leads with Peter D. Thomas, "The Communist Hypothesis and the Question of Organization." Thomas orients the return to communism in the international resurgence of the left. He argues that the discussion of communism occurring in the register of theory is a continuation and working through of practical problems of organization already encountered in the alter-globalization movement at the end of the 1990s. Three models of the party mirror the organizational questions present in contemporary movement and revolt – the compositional party, the party as laboratory, and the expansive party of Gramsci's "Modern Prince." Thomas advocates the latter, presenting it as a name for collective political experimentation.
The exchange between Gavin Walker and Jason E. Smith continues the debate on the party form and the question of political organization. Walker dismantles the easy dismissal of the party as a political form dictating a fixed relation between ideology, program, line, and leadership, emphasizing the volatility and heterogeneity of the party within Marxist thought and history. With and against Alain Badiou, who has asserted that the party is a fully "saturated" political form and hence no longer available for revolutionary politics, Walker endeavors "to think the paradox of the party – its consistency or persistence, as an apparatus of division that nevertheless must hold together." In his rejoinder, Jason E. Smith pushes Marx's distinction between the formal and the historical party. For Marx, these are two moments of one party, moments in dialectical interplay, not markers of the multiplicity of party forms. For Smith, attention to their interplay forces acknowledgement of the concrete relation between party, history, and horizon: what, exactly, is the party to do? Here Smith invokes Amadeo Bordiga's famous question, seize the factories or seize the state? Walker replies by unfolding some of the ideas on which they seemingly agree, such as labor power and the self-abolition of the proletariat, noting there the heart of their disagreement: does communism involve the immediacy of this abolition or does communism take this abolition as a task? The answer in part depends on how one understands Marxism: as a theory of capitalist value or as the discourse of the proletariat as a political subject.
Andreja Zevnik, Erzsébet Strausz, and Simona Rentea have curated a symposium for 16.4, "The Power of Life's Excess: Contesting Sovereignty from Sites that do not exist." As Strausz and Zevnik detail more fully in their introduction, available here, the contributions to the symposium attend to the relationships between politics, life, and the body. They look to identify and produce non-sovereign forms of knowledge, know-how, and erotics, grounded in life rather than sovereign order. In addition to Strausz and Zevnik, contributors to "The Power of Life's Excess" include Ari Hirvonen, Angus McDonald, Michael J. Shapiro, and Colin Wright.
Issue 16.4 concludes with five book reviews: Joel Alden Schlosser reviews Bonnie Honig's Antigone, Interrupted; David Ragazzoni reviews Michaele Ferguson's Sharing Democracy; Thomas Jellis reviews Paul Virilio's The Administration of Fear; Stephen F. Kearse reviews Allesandra Raengo's On the Sleeve of the Visual; and Tara Mulqueen reviews Judith Halberstam's The Queer Art of Failure.
This is my last issue as co-editor of Theory & Event. My time is up. It's been an honor and a privilege to work with the members of the Theory & Event editorial board. I am grateful to Jo Anne Colson for her skills in organization and diplomacy. She keeps the journal running. I am also thankful without measure for the experience of working with my co-editor, Davide Panagia. Not only has he taught me a great many things but he has become a cherished friend and comrade. We are all fortunate that he continues as co-editor, joined by the wonderful James Martel, who is moving from his role as review editor to serve as co-editor. Kam Shapiro will take over from James.
No Vietcong Ever Called me N****
by John Gullick
5th November, Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes Night, has rightly become a subversive, global holiday – an Autumnal complement to May Day – in which we support not the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot but the revolutionary spirit behind it. For activists the “holiday season” really begins somewhere between the Pagan festival of Halloween, and Guy Fawkes' Night.
Before capitalism's consumer festivities get going towards Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is one more important date: 11th November, Armistice Day. At 11 o'clock, on 11/11 many places and people observe a minute's silence for all those who died in the “Great War”, or the better name for it “World War I”. This is the "better" name, because it reminds us that it was only the first major conflict of a whole string which continues right up to today.
In the initial confusion of World War I few saw it for what it was: a war of imperial aggression, a competition to see how the world, especially Africa, would be carved up by European imperial powers. As suppressed archives have become available, and hindsight has given us a better view, we do now know that anti-imperial feeling was much more widespread amongst the soldiers than we used to think. These soldiers were the working people of Europe, Europe's colonies, and eventually America too. They were quite literally lined up against each other in a huge imperial game of chess, played using machine guns.
If 20,000 people were killed, today, in a muddy field in northern France we would rightly call it a genocide - even if both sides were doing it to one another . But at the time it was called simply “war”.
In 1917, while people were being mown down by mechanised killing machines and poison gas in the “West”, in the “East”, in Russia, people were making a revolution to overthrow the Tsar, and the imperial way of doing things.
The people making this revolution were some of the few outspoken enough to say the “Great War” was an imperial war, that ordinary people had nothing to gain from it, and everything to loose. Winning the “Great War” would be a victory only for a few elites.
In the end most ordinary people across Europe and much of the world did loose – mass unemployment, slums, the Great Depression and fascism all followed hot on the heels of the “boom-time" recovery from World War I.
Two years before his death Britain's last surviving veteran of World War I, Harry Patch, echoed exactly the Russian revolutionary analysis in a message which we need to heed today, more than ever: the "politicians who took us to war... should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”
Sadly, the tragic, legalised mass murders of empire are strikingly common. These imperial wars, stretch across space and time. They have taken place all over the world, and have a historical lineage going from European empires of the dawn of capital, through the British Empire, via World War I, the Cold War, and up to Iraq and Afghanistan today. “Peace” is made a nonsense by empire even though it is the mainstay of justification for war. The reason of making peace is draped onto these wars by officials as a fig-leaf to cover up the reality that war is good business and good geopolitics for capital.
But there can be such a thing as a people's war – the liberation of the world's former colonies show us this; Russia, the anti-apartheid war in South Africa, and other revolutions show us too. In contrast to empire, people's wars are undertaken grudgingly, when non-violence fails; they are what has to be done and they are truly aimed at peace.
For people's wars, and in revolutions, "peace" has meaning, unlike for imperial wars. Peace has meaning because people's wars and revolutions come about in the face of the reality of a constant, cold civil war. This is what capital, state and empire do: oscillate between waging cold and hot wars on their populations. The mass of people on earth have been, and are, quietly besieged by the state and by business; we are exploited, chained by debt, jailed and surveilled. We know no peace, and will know no peace, until we make peace happen - this is what 5th of November is about, overthrowing, and getting beyond, a system of endemic warfare, systemic injustice and structural exploitation.
So remember, remember the 11th November, Armistice Day and the tragedy of empires at war – they are lessons in why we need to end this terroristic system of capital and state; they are yet more reminders of why we need to make good on our Guy Fawkes' Night promises.
Jennifer M. Silva's Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty (Oxford University Press, 2013) contributes to our understanding of the impact of forty years of neoliberalism on poor and working people in the US, the extreme perniciousness of the individual form, and the erosion of solidarity. Silva writes: "experiences of powerlessness, confusion, and betrayal within the labor market, institutions such as education and the government, and the family teach young working-class men and women that they are completely alone, responsible for their own fates and dependent on outside help at their peril. They are learning the hard way that being an adult means trusting no one by yourself."
Silva frames her book in terms of adulthood: what are the markers of adulthood for the post-industrial working class? This is an important question: since 2009, about half of people between the ages of 18-24 live with their parents. Ever-increasing numbers of working people are postponing or forgoing marriage. Ever-more are pushed into "flexibile" work-lives such that they move in and out of the paid work-force under conditions increasingly disadvantageous to labor. The markers of successful adulthood have thus changed since the 50s and 60s when adult life was characterized by a set of basic, achievable steps: finish high school, get a job, get married, get a house, have kids. Contemporary capitalism has pushed even these basic milestones out of the reach of most working-class people. So, how do they narrate their lives? Silva argues that they focus on themselves, telling a story of personal triumph over adversity. They position themselves as isolated and alone, betrayed and abandoned by all the institutions around them. Absorbing a narrative that integrates neoliberal individualism with therapeutic self-discovery and self-help ("no one can help me but me"), they make the self the primary locus of struggle and achievement. Failure is no one's fault but your own. Success is successful grappling with one's inner life, the trauma of neglect and abuse, and the ability to overcome that by working on oneself. The failure of others is thus their own fault. As one informant said, the biggest obstacle she faces is her own self.
The book comes from interviews with a hundred young working-class people in Massachusetts and Virginia from 2008-2010. Silva's analysis is attentive to race, gender, and sexual orientation, astutely observing "that without a broad, shared vision of economic justic, race, class, and gender have become sites of resentment and division rather than a coalition among the working class." Interview subjects ("informants") were men and women between 24 and 34. Most work in the service sector. About a third live with their parents or other older family member. Not quite half have high school degrees; a little over a quarter have some college. Most have significant debt. Most have trouble locating or keeping a job capable of sustaining them (paying rent, expenses, debt).
Silva outlines an emerging working-class adult self that has "low expectations of work, wariness toward romantic commitment, widespread distrust of social institutions, profound isolation from others, and an overriding focus on their emotions and psychic health." They don't think about their lives in collective terms. They think about them in terms of recovery from painful personal pasts. Absent work as a source of self-respect and self-worth, they "remake dignity and meaning out of emotional self-management and willful psychic transformation."
The primary characteristics of the emerging working-class adult self are rugged individualism and distrust. People are reluctant to pour time, emotion, and energy into relationships that are risky. Although Silva emphasizes the impact on romantic relationships, we can extend this to a broader unwillingness to attach oneself to groups and causes. An inability to commit is an effect of economic insecurity that makes political organization as challenging and precarious as romantic association -- it's hard to know whether or not it's worth it; for many, past experience suggests that it won't be, that they most likely outcome is betrayal. Silva notes the foundational belief in self-reliance among African Americans in her study as they narrate their experiences in terms of their own individual experiences rather than in terms of the structural impact of racism. Solidarity, social trust, and community engagment plumment as the primary worldview conceives rights in terms of "'I's' rather than 'we's', with economic justice dropped out of their collective vocabulary."
Neoliberalism configures the working class self. Oprah, self-help books, therapy world -- these provide tools for people faced with pressures of flexibilization to cope with frequent change. Silva effectively illuminates the material conditions underlying contemporary culture's preoccupation with making and remaking one's individual identity. She writes, "The need to continuously recreate one's identity--whether after a failed attempt at college or an unanticipated divorce or a sudden career change--can be an anxiety-producing endeavor." Therapy offers a culture resource for ascribinging meaning to one's life in a world in flux. The individual self is both constant and maleable, a site for both continuity and change, made possible through a therapy culture that locates problems in individual pathology, inserts these pathologies into a specific individual past, and makes bearing witness to one's own suffering into a ground for a transformation confined to the self. "The sources of meaning and dignity--hard work, social solidarity, family--found in previous studies of the industrial working class had been nearly eclipsed by an all-encompassing culture of emotional self-management." The way working class people deal with upheaval, recession, and unemployment is by fostering flexibility within themselves, making themselves into adaptable beings detached from the outer world.
In a powerful and disturbing chapter on the hardening of working class individualism, Silva describes interview subjects' defense of big business and hostility toward affirmative action. The emotion underlying their neoliberal subjectivity is betrayal. These working class people feel the market to be impersonal, a matter of risk and chance. When government intervenes, it does so in ways that rig the game so that they can't compete. Furthermore, since so many have had to struggle on their own, by themselves, in contexts of poverty and diminishing opportunity, they take the fact of their survival as itself the morally significant fact: making it on one's own is what bestows dignity. Socialists like Obama thus take away their last best thing, the special something that is all they have left (this is my language), namely, the dignity they have precisely because they are completely self-reliant. Indeed, Silva's account suggests that solidarity is a problem because to embrace it would be to acknowledge one's insufficiency as an individual, one's inability to survive alone. Hence, working people are hostile to those below them on the food chain who need help from others because this hostility enables them to project neediness onto others thereby enabling themselves to shore up a fragile and impossible individuality.
Silva argues that young working-class people have learned that they can't rely on anyone. They try to numb their sense of betrayal by affirming the worst cultural scripts of individualism, personal responsibility, and self-reliance, hardening themselves to the world around them and thus becoming precisely the subjects neoliberalism needs insofar as they are hostile to various forms of government intervention, particularly affirmative action. It might be, then, that the sorts of critical exposes we on the left write and circulate, the stories of governmental corruption and the university failure, aren't helping our cause at all. Instead, they are affirming what the working class already knows to be true: they are being betrayed.
Silva's insight into the link between neoliberalism and individualism points to both the challenge for communist organizing and the possibility of a way forward:
autonomy should be understood a a by-product of an uncertain, competitive, and precarious labor market that forces individuals to navigate their life trajectories on their own in order to survive. That is, the more our futures seem uncertain and unknowable, and the more individualistic we are forced to become, the greater our need to find and express our authentic selves. Paradoxically, the more we are required to construct ourselves as individuals, to write our own biographies, the more we realize our utter inability to control the trajectories of our lives.
This 'utter inability' is a key locus of communist organizing. We have to realize together strength in numbers. And, we have to be able to be for each other not an audience for performances of authentic individuality but a solidary collective where meaning comes from common struggle. If people feel isolated, we have to build connections that prove they are not.
Brilliant -- watch this now. Brand passionately says: the problems of the people are not being addressed by our political system. Profit is a filthy word. The time is now -- it's happening everywhere. Occupy Wall Street brought the idea of the one percent to a generation. Revolution: it's going to happen.
An email from my friend, Demet, in Istabul.
There was a great crowd on the street from very diffent groups; socialists, commies are definitely out there on the front yet hard to say that one party or view dominates. It's mainly been a spontaneous, disorganized union mainly against that "AKP is selling everything in the city!" People try to appropriate the common and it is actually the experience of protesting that unites. Especially for the last couple of months, the police have been so violent; pepper and tear gas is like a routine in our daily lives. One noticeable thing of the last months is that the ones who used to scorn protestors for disturbing " peace" and believed them to be a "group of marginals " came to realize this was not the case and that anybody against government policies could easily turn into a "marginal". Now people are almost ashamed to say that they did not get involved in the struggle and that they did not "have the taste of the police gas" !
The whole city has been under the attack of capital, we have no say over it. Although it all started with Gezi Park, it grew out to be a protest in different cities against the authoritarian neoliberal policies and the AKP hegemony that has rendered people invisible and voiceless. (The recent alcohol sale restriction, the Syria policy, the increasingly conservative and religious statements, number of people prisoned as terrorists etc) And the national media is like a joke! On Friday night there was a penguin documentary on CNN Turkey, a beauty contest in another, a food show etc. There was practically a war on the streets in many cities yet on tv no sign of it. No surprise! (A month ago, there was a bombing in the town of Reyhanli - a town near the Syrian border- and according to offiicial reports 50 were killed. And the government banned broadcasting about this for two days) People watch BBC or CNN (ironic!!) to see how this was broadcasted. On Friday afternoon the Supreme Court announced its decision that the execution of the construction in the park was suspended and I just listened to the prime minister's statement over it saying that he cannot understand this decision and finds it somewhat dubious!!! So we'll see how this goes.
keep in touch and in solidarity
(shared with permission)