Taksim and Possible Publics

Jadaliyya has been and continues to be a wonderful source for analysis about the Middle East. They were gracious enough to publish something I wrote with Elizabeth Angell. From our introduction:
So far, no single ideology or party has been entirely able to capture this movement and turn it into a continuation of politics-as-usual. The makeup and the content of the protests have varied widely from neighborhood to neighborhood and from city to city, with different slogans and symbols (e.g., secularist, nationalist, leftist, and anarchist) predominating in different settings. The millions of people who have joined the demonstrations throughout the country are united by perhaps only two broad concerns: first, a roiling sense of frustration with Erdoğan and his administration’s autocratic approach to governance (initially with respect to the urban transformation process symbolized by the Taksim project, but also on a range of other issues); and second, anger at the violent response of the police, and the failure of the mainstream Turkish media to cover it. At this point, the Gezi protests have drawn participants from nearly every ideological stripe in Turkish politics, except for the supporters of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) themselves. The majority of those taking part are middle-class and secular, but the participation of working-class people, practicing Muslims, and ethnic and religious minorities belies any simplistic attempt to characterize this movement as a simple reiteration of existing divisions between secular and religious, urban and rural, Turkish and non-Turkish, and so forth. The positions and goals of the people participating in the demonstrations are diverse and sometimes incompatible, but the phrase that they are chanting everywhere is “her yer Taksim, her yer direniş” (“everywhere is Taksim, resistance is everywhere”), a slogan hearkening back to Taksim Square, the adjacent Gezi Park, and the contested understanding and use of public space they have come to represent.
The article can be found here.


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