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We kick the ass of the ruling class

Articles tagged revolution


Glisten for Mandela

Posted 11 months ago on Dec. 12, 2013, 4:48 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: Nelson Mandela, revolution, magic

(why public transportation is dangerous)

Train experience today - I was talking with my fellow commuters about the NY Post cover, we had a collective sigh and head shake over Mandela's funeral and the Post's front page image focusing on Michelle Obama's "jealousy" at Obama's "flirting."

Right after that, a black dude walks in to do a speech. And he does not ask for money. He says he is speaking to get over his fear of public speaking, he says he's rich and does not need our money. He says that he is there to tell us that we all have a light, a greatness inside of us and we can all do grand things like end apartheid as Mandela helped to do. He said that we are all working jobs that strip away our souls and we need to seize that part back.

Politics aside, we were a bunch of surprised commuters, the guts on this dude. Conversations evolved as people started talking about their inner painters, singers, playwrights, activists that we've ignored for our wage work. One dude said, "you know, I was in this car for a reason."

Now that's what I call remembering Mandela, when you can use a persons' life to remind us that we all got magic in our hands, even if we don't always use it as it should be used. Cynicism about Mandela is good, but today, I'm ok with me and my fellow commuters having a little glisten.

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Anarchism in Egypt — an interview from Tahrir Square

Posted 1 year ago on July 3, 2013, 10:09 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: morsi, civil war, revolution, arab spring, egypt, Tamarod, anarchists

I met Mohammed Hassan Aazab earlier this year over tea at a table of young anarchists in downtown Cairo. The anniversary of the revolution had just passed with massive protests and the emergence of a Western-style black bloc that appeared to have little to do with anarchists in the city. At the time, much of the ongoing grassroots organizing was against sexual violence — in particular, the mob sexual assaults that have become synonymous with any large gathering in Tahrir. The trauma of such violence carried out against protesters was apparent in our conversation. In fact, Aazab told me that he was done with protests and politics, and had resigned himself to the dysfunction of day-to-day life in Egypt.

Then came June 30. Crowds reportedly as large as 33 million took to the streets to call for the Muslim Brotherhood to step down from power, just a year after Mohammed Morsi took office. In the pre-dawn moments of July 1, as Aazab’s phone battery dwindled steadily, I reconnected with him to chat a bit about his return to resistance.

What’s the feeling in Cairo right now? We’re seeing reports here of the largest protests in human history.

Today, all of us worked really hard to get through the protests without violence. Everyone’s afraid a civil war could break out. The protesters gave Morsi 48 hours to step down. If that deadline passes, there’ll be a general strike. In the last five hours, 10 people were killed — four in Assiut and six in front of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters. The sun is coming up now. All the old revolutionaries are preparing for clashes in the streets.

I heard that the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters were torched. Is that true?

Yes. And it’s still surrounded by protesters right now.

Who called for the general strike? Are there particular unions involved?

No. The unions are totally ineffective.

So how is the strike organized?

Tamarod [the Rebel Movement] called for the general strike. Actually, it has not been organized in advance; it has been a spontaneous development. It will work by people believing in and supporting it.

Do you think people will follow through?

Port Said will start the general strike tomorrow. I have no idea to what extent people will follow through on it, beyond that. But it’s clear people are absolutely determined to force Morsi out.

When we met back in February, you seemed pretty jaded, like you’d lost faith in resistance.

I still feel that way, sort of, to be honest. But when people fill the squares in these huge numbers, that feeling dissolves. I’m incredibly happy.

How are anarchists organizing within this particular moment. I got the sense that some of you were involved with Tamarod, but are you playing a particular role?

No, anarchists didn’t sign onto the Tamarod declaration. Tamarod is not revolutionary at all. It was just obvious that the movement connected with millions of Egyptians, so we joined the protests. The protesters yesterday were against the idea of an Islamic dictator, but at the same time, most of them are okay with a civil or military dictator. Fuck any dictator. We’ll never forget. We’ll never forgive.

And you’ve got an anarchist tent in Tahrir, right now?

Yes. We’ve got four tents, actually.

Are you doing anything particular from those spaces?

Right now, we’re working to ensure old regime supporters don’t take over the sit-in.

Like physically stopping them? Are there felool [people nostalgic for the former regime] in the square?

A lot of them.

Are they attacking protesters, or just trying to infiltrate the movement?

They’re trying to convince people to let the SCAF [Egypt's military council] take power again.

There are uprisings happening in Turkey, Brazil, Bulgaria and Chile right now. There was brief indication that it was spreading to Indonesia and Paraguay as well, and of course there is the ongoing struggle in Bahrain. Egypt has been a huge inspiration for a lot of these movements. When you overthrew Mubarak, Tunisia had happened, but not much else. Does it feel different, this time? Do you feel a part of something global?

It’s different, for sure. Now, the fear comes from the possibility of civil war. Mubark was shit, but he never played the civil-war card. Morsi is so stupid that he doesn’t even seem to grasp that we could very likely wind up killing each other in the streets. Things are happening now that never happened before, like people attacking bearded men on the street and insulting them.

I feel like this generation of youth around the world is powerfully revolutionary, and now we have the ability to share tools, and to broadcast ideas.

What are you hopeful for, right now?

I hope that people have learned something from what the Brotherhood did, and I hope it’s the beginning of the end for political Islam, or any kind of faith in religious parties.

How can people here best support you all?

By spreading the word that Obama and U.S. government are actively supporting the formation of religious states in the Middle East. The U.S. ambassador said that Egyptians should learn the meaning of democracy! Who the fuck is she to say that?

This article originally appeared on Waging NonViolence

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Istanbul Is Burning

Posted 1 year ago on June 3, 2013, 11:04 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: revolution, police brutality, repression, Turkey, direct action, #occupygezi

What is happening in Turkey with the #occupygezi protests? Why should we care? We should care because, above all else, our grievances are connected through the violence brought when people stand up to say no to the initiatives of big business, planned behind closed doors and without our consent. The story that follows is a first hand account of the current struggle on the street in Turkey.


"Well, we are just filling light bulbs with paint," said my friend, a cafe owner in Cihangir, the SoHo of Istanbul. Speaking to me on the phone, she sounded as relaxed as if she was baking an apple pie. "You know," she continued, "the only way to stop a TOMA is to throw paint on its window so that the vehicle loses orientation."

My friend, who was completely uninterested in politics until six days ago, had never been in conflict with the police before. Now, like hundreds of thousands of others in Turkey, she has become a warrior with goggles around her neck, an oxygen mask on her face and an anti-acid solution bottle in her hand. As we have all learned, this the essential kit to fight the effects of tear gas. As for TOMA, that is the vehicle-mounted water cannon. To paralyze it, you either have to put a wet towel in its exhaust pipe or burn something under its engine or you and a dozen others can push it over. This kind of battle-info is circulating all over Turkey at the moment. It is like a civil war between the police and the people. Yet nobody expected this when, six days ago, a group of protesters organized a sit-in at Istanbul's Gezi Park to protect trees that were to be cut down for the government's urban redevelopment project.

Ten years of arrogance

The protests that have now engulfed the country may have begun in Gezi Park in Taksim, the heart of Istanbul. It was never just about trees, but the accumulation of many incidents. With the world's highest number of imprisoned journalists, thousands of political prisoners (trade unionists, politicians, activists, students, lawyers) Turkey has been turned into an open-air prison already. Institutional checks and balances have been removed by the current AKP government's political maneuvers and their actions go uncontrolled. On top of this growing authoritarianism, the most important reason for people to hit the streets in support of the Gezi resistance was the arrogant tone of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Even on Sunday, when millions of people were joining the demonstrations, he called the protesters "looters". Throughout his tenure, his rhetoric has been no different. He has repeatedly called his political opponents "alcoholics, marginals, sniffers, bandits, infidels". His mocking sarcasm has become his "thing" over time, and even some of his closest colleagues accept that "he no longer listens to anyone."

Then, there is the fear. This kind of thing is hard to report in a prominent newspaper. That is perhaps why the international media have not reported that the fear of government and the Prime Minister has been growing even among non-political people. You can easily hear your grocery shop man saying "I think my phone is tapped." The mainstream media has not covered it, but we have read reports on social media about people being arrested for making jokes about the government. That is perhaps why for the past two days every wall in Taksim Square is full of curses against the Prime Minister. The public is enjoying the death of the "cruel father figure" with the most sexist curses I have ever seen in my life. And I have seen some. But there is a more important component to the protests.

Killing the fear

As a writer and a journalist I followed the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. As I wrote at the time, Arab people killed their fear and I saw how it transformed them from silent crowds to peoples who believe in themselves. This is what has been happening in the last six days in Turkey. Teenage girls standing in front of TOMAs, kids throwing tear gas capsules back to the police, rich lawyers throwing stones at the cops, football fans rescuing rival fans from police, the ultra-nationalists struggling arm in arm with Kurdish activists... these were all scenes I witnessed. Those who wanted to kill each other last week became - no exaggeration - comrades on the streets. People not only overcame their fear of authority but they also killed the fear of the "other". One more important point: the generation that has taken to the streets was born after the 1980 military coup that fiercely depoliticized the public. The general who led the 1980 coup once said: "We will create a generation without ideology." So this generation was - until last week.

Dangerous questions

"So this is the media that we've been hearing the news from over the last twenty years?" That was the question asked by one young man on Twitter, as he watched a television journalist keep silent while the Prime Minister branded protesters "a bunch of looters". The young man has been on the streets peacefully protesting for the last six days, so now he has many suspicions about what's been happening in his country all this time. Maybe the Kurdish people are not "terrorists". Perhaps the journalists thrown in prison were not plotting a "coup" against the government. All those jailed trade unionists may not be members of a "terrorist organization" after all. All those university students in prison, were they innocent like he is? Questions multiply.

As I write, Istanbul, Ankara - Turkey's capital - Izmir and Adana are burning. Massive police violence is taking place. And in my middle class Istanbul neighbourhood, like many others, people are banging on their frying pans to protest. People are exchanging information about safe places to take shelter from police, the telephone numbers of doctors and lawyers. In Taksim Square, on the building of Atatürk Cultural Center, some people are hanging a huge banner. There are only two words on it: "Don't surrender!"

Ece Temelkuran is a Turkish journalist and author. Follow her on Twitter @ETemelkuran

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