Sunday, June 02, 2013

From shopping mall to political transformation

The protest in Turkey, like Occupy Wall Street, began with middle class discontent. OWS was ostensibly about money in politics, welfare for banks too big to fail and income inequality, but the pocketbook issues were student debt and unemployment. Critics thought these were spoiled, over-educated, middle-class kids, but we learned that they were economically and socially not the EV gentrifiers. When Penley tried to bring OWS to Tompkins Square Park, EV newbies howled and screamed: not in our backyard (here, also see the negative comments on Grieve's post.)

In Istanbul the protest started as a defense of a local green space from another shopping mall. It almost sounds like a bourgeois NIMBY story from Greenwich Village protesting NYU. Police repression fanned the flames into a much broader anti-government repression movement. But the central issue is still community self-determination. From RT: 
"...respect must come back to the political approach and implementation… That has to do with the way people feel fed up with the interference, micromanagement of their lifestyles." -- Istanbul-based political columnist Yavuz Baydar 

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