The sixth statement on the uprisings in Turkey written by Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF, or Revolutionary Anarchist Action) and originally published in Meydan Gazetesi.
This is just a beginning, continue to struggle This is a revolt
Urban Transformation Projects have long been threatening living spaces of Istanbul residents. First slum demolitions, and then 63 million square meters of forests to be pillaged for the third bridge, shopping malls built one after another, luxury hotels, and while the pedestrianization project continued, next was Gezi Park. Istanbul residents continued to resist all of these projects that threatened life. Until excavators came to Gezi Park and uprooted the trees. Until "a handful of marginals" that claimed the trees and their shadows and said "Do not uproot trees, do not build a shopping mall to Gezi Park". This demonstration was introduced as a "ecological and peaceful" action. Until the police did a early morning operation and smothered the park area with gas. The state must have "a lot" to profit since it's trying to bring this peaceful protest down as hard as it can. Police violence had been climbing up in the last few months and protesters were unexpectedly exposed to it. Deputies of opposition parties and artists came to Gezi Park to protest this and to support protesters, but they also had their share of state terror.
In the first day of demolition, state could not get what he wanted because of this scene. Protesters stayed in Gezi Park for the night. It's unknown if they were expecting an attack the next morning, but all protesters were thrown out of the park with the police raid in the morning. The police burned protesters' tents, blankets and belongings. The videos of protesters exposed to continuous gas bombs and violently taken in custody invoked rage in everyone who watched.
Of course this rage was not the rage for a single demonstration. This rage was accumulated. Accumulated for increasing police violence.
It was the attacks with gas bombs, batons and arms that created this rage. It was forbidden May 1st, Dilan, Şerzan, Metin Lokumcu, Aydin Erdem... What created this rage was more than two days. It was increasing oppression, restrictions, censorship, economic exploitation... What created this rage was the state exercising its power on the people recklessly, relentlessly and without questioning legitimacy.
The ones who ascribe the "People's Revolt" as post modern style of action, must see this clearly. The people spontaneously came to the streets because they felt the social, political and economic oppression heavily. The events are neither a deal in the last few days as the blind-deaf mainstream media says, nor are affected by "marginal" groups as the one in state power says.
It is time to raise the curtain before the eyes. This is a revolt. It is the reaction of people against state terrorism, police violence and capitalist exploitation. This is the end of legitimacy of the new state power that had gained the love of other states, international institutions and global corporations.
The Democracy of Marginalization, Othering and Neglect
It's very important that the revolt is happening at a time when the propaganda of state power is "Democratic Turkey". By this reaction to state terrorism, the people have pulled down the "democratic" respectability of the state.
People were on the streets in a setting where the freedom of the people were ignored, people were tortured and killed arbitrarily, all of the mainstream media turned into official state press, the state is preparing for war nearby and killing its own people with its own hands while doing it.
The revolt spread to other cities in the second day. The shared rage against state terrorism started to burn streets everywhere. The public were on the streets not because of main opposition party or some leaders words, but with own volition. To respond to all of this by standing against police violence and state terrorism. With this consciousness, they attacked the police, state buildings and temples of capitalist exploitation. The ones that did it were not "marginal groups". This was also a revolt against the othering behaviour of the state against the ones that did not obey its power, against "marginalizing politics" of the state. Moreover the government did not have anybody to settle or deal with. This revolt was a direct action.
The state neglected the revolt from the beginning. It was banned on television, the papers and other media. It was not only on Taksim. People flowed from Besiktas, Harbiye and other places of Istanbul/ The state had closed Gezi Park and Taksim Square with all law-enforcement officers in hand. The clashes continued all day. The public got more angry on each gas bomb, on each sound bomb and each custody. They resisted the police violence with determination. Nearly a million people that filled Taksim did not step back. To say we are here against the state's neglect.
In the morning of the second day, the police violence was even more intense and we had news of deaths and wounded people. The state terrorized without caring about either legitimacy, nor human rights, nor democracy. In a two day revolt, the state throwed away all the masks of ideals and values that it had been hiding behind. The state showed its real face to its people. The monopoly of violence terrorized not just in Istanbul, but in every place that had actions of solidarity with Istanbul. News of deaths, news of wounds and custodies increased.
Whole forty hours... After nearly forty hours of clashes the people got from Istiklal street to Taksim Square. The law enforcement officers escaped with all vehicles. Forty hours became forty years, the square became the world for us. The was the freedom of revolt. Our sorrow was our friends that were wounded and lost their lives.
then Gezi Park, then Gumussuyu, then Besiktas... Then Sakarya, Kocaeli, Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Dersim... In this revolt that is still going on, the most important motivation that kept the spontaneity was sharing and solidarity. Voluntary health workers formed civil health centers for the protesters that were affected by the police violence. Organisations like law associations, bar, Human Rights Association supported protesters in custody or in similar conditions. Chambers like Turkish Mechanical Engineers Chamber Association turned their buildings to hospitals. People opened their homes, workplaces, gave support with food and drinks. People gave information to each other over social media, people created their own means despite of silenced media.
Everywhere and everyone became the revolt against state terrorism and police violence. Social solidarity have worked when the state left the lives alone and it is continuing to work.
Reservations of Revolt
The media that became "mute" at the beginning of revolt, now tries to give a meaning to the the revolt. Of course the meaning that their boss wants. They said it is individualist, it is reckless, it is post modern, it is urban and secular... They have affirmed the people that streamed the streets with these concepts. They likened it to the Velvet Revolution in Prague. They are trying to void a revolt against state terrorism, police violence and capitalist exploitation.
The sectors that were disturbed by the party in power and its government because of conflicting economic and political interests (many of which are upper and upper-middle class) started to go out on streets on the next days. These sectors that were supporters of the previous rulers of state were emphasizing anti-government protests rather than state terror and police violence. Care must be taken to avoid strong reformist demands of this sector to block this new struggle of the oppressed against state terrorism, police violence abd capitalist exploitation. These sectors may try to manipulate the struggle towards their own economic and political interests.
Parties in opposition may try to exit the scene with profit, as with all "springs". Their call for staying away from "marginal groups" while assessing the revolt, is the most clear evidence that they are talking with the language of power. As in revolts in other places, these parties that try to gain power using this revolt will try to stop the people who revolted spontaneously, without leaders and without parties.
Since these sectors are not the organizers of the movement, they cannot impose their social-economic characters to the public. So, they cannot direct the action. Besides, their insistent phrase "marginal groups" consists of the individuals that annoy them, but are also the real mobilizers of the revolt. Moreover, they are consciously blind to the fact that other oppressed people from different sectors are resisting not only in centers like Taksim and Besiktas but also in "surrounding" areas. Yes, the revolt has an ideology| but it is not an ideology that the media, parties in opposition and various economic focus groups try to homogenize and depoliticise. The ideology of the revolt is the consciousness of the individual that feels the increasing state terror and the individual action to struggle against it.
This revolt started against state terror, police violence and capitalist exploitation as we emphasized from the beginning. We hope that it will increase with general strikes and have more of the oppressed on the streets and with this hope we are growing the revolt. Our reservations against the revolt may be realized moving forward, the revolt may be diminished into a power struggle of opposing parties. But we are not oracles. Revolutionaries do not make hopeless predictions of the future and sit on the corner. We well know that revolts like this are mobilizing moments on the way to social revolution. Our anarchist struggle will continue to embrace the revolt with all passion.