Our commons - Who, why? - A statement from the movement in Turkey

Protesters cross the Bosphorus on mass
Protesters cross the Bosphorus on mass

A statement produced by participants in the current street protests, strikes, and social struggle in Turkey.

Submitted by libcom on June 9, 2013

What we see

Clouds gathering North and South.
Public spaces, street corners, poor neighborhoods shouting out loud for true democracy. From Tahrir to Sintagma, crowds are urging us all to see: see the inequalities of a system in total crisis, of the dirty games of technocrats and parliamentaries, of insecure of dictators and false democrats.
They would have us without any alternative – all we can do is play by the rules. Work more. Make do with less. And be content with what is left. The consequence of this 30 years-old lie is yet more inequality and more servitude.

It is to this lie that the present revolts. This is where we begin our struggle.

The capitalist system can no longer hide the consequences of the crisis it is crippling into. Fast-paced ecological destruction and global economic crisis mean the same thing for all the poor and the oppressed throughout the world: disaster. Year after year, unemployment rates increase against all statistical manipulation; some are marginalized by being declared “unemployable”, while the great majority of those who are able to find a job are condemned to precarious work. Young people and women are the first ones to live in poverty more than any other, no matter how hard they work. Basic social rights such as education, heath care and accomodation are being attacked one by one – we can benefit from them just as long as we are able to buy. The consequences of the global economic inequality are forcing millions to migration either directly – through hunger and deterritorialization – or indirectly through conflicts and wars. Those who line up at the blind gates of the civilized world, victims of constant discrimination and racism, can ok,nly exist as cheap labor force easily spendable, and be drawn into even more miserable conditions life than the poor people of their new homeland.

And in response to this total crisis, current powers ask for even more. Corporations and governments are turned the crisis into an opportunity and attack what was hard won by hundreds of years of struggles. Thus the capital is trying to lay his hands on out urban spaces and our daily life we all produce in common; on the rural areas to which we owe our existence, their water supplies, and the very seeds they nurture; on the rights we have won through decades of social struggles; on the ideas and goods we produce in common; and even on our genes.

The present time can only mean disaster to us. Less work, more working hours; sacralized family institutions and suffocating homes; war calls everywhere and shamelessly spoken declarations of democracy; water streams preempted, endless projects for energy centrals, alienating urban transformation, entire neighborhoods forcely evacuated; education and healthcare services marketized; secondary schools bringing up the precarious work force out the next generation; higher education institutions where capitalist forces and games of power are displayed; public places watched by hundreds of cameras and security dispositions, disconnected cities, quarters without soul. In short: the loss of what is common. Dispossession, insecurity, loss of integrity. And this aggression has been constantly growing, down from the 12 September 1980 coup d’etat up to the national tyrants of the present times. Here is the happy Neverland stirring the dreams of the world’s powers.

What we hear
Not that we lever lacked objections to this wholesale attack, for sure. There has been opposition yeasterday as there is today, and news of resistance reach our ears from the four corners of the country even when they are not voiced by vested media outlets. Discreetly, silently, objections are ferments. Irregular, broken tunes are being whistled. But we have not crossed the wall yet.

Now we know it well: despite all heart-driven efforts, struggles with one issue based on one locality do not supply continuity. Crowds who take action with certain demands on a certain region, facing the enormous power against them, have to retreat after a while. The experience of those who succeeded can not be transferred to next levels or elsewhere. We are reminded of our perennial powerlesness with the wholesale attacks of the capital. The end-account of the neo-liberal world for us is dismantling and disintegration.

For us, the urgent need of the present time is to create and multiply the spaces of opposition and solidarity to break off from this powerlessness and fragmentation. To make possible a series of articulations on several levels, ranging from the practical necessities of everyday life to more abstract political analyses. We know that we will be able to break the waves attacking us, to dispel the effect of disintegration* caused on us by neo-liberalism, to the extent that we are able to create and multiply these common spaces.

Where we begin
We are not looking for a new roof – we are in search of a common ground. And we do not intend to form a unitary and therefore limited demand or discourse to hold together the network forming us, and neither do we put forward what was tried innumerable times under the label of “novelty, total novelty.”

What we need to do is to pick up and expose the demands, the functioning, the methods and the means of a long-standing, sustainable struggle coming from below – to describe a common space on which we can lay down the building of solidarity. Today’s and tomorrow’s solidarity.

In February 2013 we started to meet together – neighbourhoods threatened with eviction, urban movements, ecologist, feminist and transgender groups, anticapitalists, migrants’ solidarity networks – e propose to create a united ground of action. The mechanisms of power and oppression surrounding us are the same, so should be our struggle. The journey that started in Gezi nurtured our strength and courage with its tenacity, creativity, determination, and self-confidence. In no time, the resistance blossomed from Gezi park to Taksim Square, and from Taksim to all Istanbul and then the rest of the country. The struggle for Gezi park became the place where to voice all our rage against anything preventing us from deciding for our own way to live the city. After this display of rage and solidarity nothing will be the same again. No one of us will be the same. Because now we have seen something about ourselves we had never seen before. We did not just see it: we made it all together. In cities as in countrysides, in neighborhoods and campuses, with citizens and non-citizens, we propose to weave together a resistance of men and women who oppose to capitalism, to ecological destruction, to patriarchy, to heterosexism. We began where we are, but we are not going to stop there. We are moving with a patient haste. This is just the beginning, the struggle continues.

Starting with our commons, we reclaim what belongs to us!

Originally posted at Müştereklerimiz.



10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by MonsieurPlume on June 9, 2013

salutations and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Turkey, we are presently working on spreading the word here in Hong Kong, more on this later!
- Monsieur Plume