by Sungur Savran
New Left Project – June 27, 2013
The evacuation of Gezi Park by the police on the night of 15 June through the ample use of tear gas, and for the first time chemically enhanced water cannon, has not extinguished the fire of rebellion in Turkey.
True, the insurgency that followed the evacuation, which involved night-long marches and the occupation of squares in the different neighbourhoods of Istanbul and cities all around the country, was short-lived. But from the continuing energy of the masses burst forth new forms of action such as the ‘standing man’ and ‘standing woman’, in which individuals stand silently for hours at a venue where they are not otherwise permitted to demonstrate. This form of action certainly isolates individuals from each other, is not amenable to voicing grievances explicitly, and hence is an inferior modality of protest. But in this specific context, where it was almost impossible to stage actions on Taksim Square it heralded the return of the masses to the hotly contested space and raised the morale of the movement after the setback caused by the evacuation (followed, incidentally, by the evacuation of occupied squares in other cities).
Much more significant though has been the convening of what has been variously called ‘forums’ or ‘popular assemblies’ every night in parks all around Istanbul. This is a direct application of the slogan, ‘Everywhere’s Taksim, everywhere resistance!’ – a central battle-cry of the rebellion from its inception now put into practice! These forums serve for thoroughly democratic debates lasting into the small hours of the morning, debates through which the mass movement is trying to reorient itself and set a course of action for the future.
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