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Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

#Solidarity

In #GlobalRevolution on 29 June 2013 at 11:32

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, June 29

Dear people,

The two biggest popular forums in Istanbul are Beşiktaş and Kadıköy. They host thousands of people every day. The former is a point of reference for the European side of the city, the latter for the Asian side. Both are apparently very distinct in nature, like all the districts of Istanbul. Beşiktaş is left wing with a tendency towards anarchism. Kadıköy is mixed, leaning towards nationalism. Other districts, like Üsküdar are more islamist. But the distinctions don’t end here. Some neighbourhoods are dominated by cats, some by dogs. They don’t mix. The cats have the upper hand.

One thing that people from all the districts have in common is that they love to march and chant. Last Tuesday, we walked together with a few dozen people from Üsküdar to Yoğurtçu Parkı, home of the popular forum of Kadıköy. We again voiced…

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Historical Atlas of Gezi Park

In #GlobalRevolution on 27 June 2013 at 15:49

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, June 27

Dear people,

One of my primary objectives when I arrived at Gezi Park almost three weeks ago, was to leave a map of this place, for the historical record. The reason is obvious. Temporary Autonomous Zones are highly evanescent. You have to catch them straight away.

I started my geographical explorations the day after my arrival. Almost a week later, just before the final attack began, I had only just finished mapping the last neighbourhood of downtown. If I had had more time, I could have done a better job, but the amount of data I collected was enough to create a ‘Historical Atlas of Gezi Park’, which I here proudly present to you.

The Atlas consists of six maps.

One is a general overview of the ‘administrative’ subdivisions of the park.

Two is a detailed road map of Gezi Republic with residential…

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Rebellion. Revolution. Freedom.

In #GlobalRevolution on 25 June 2013 at 10:52

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, June 25

Dear people,

It’s pride week in Istanbul, and this time the term pride has a double meaning. On the one hand, the LGBT folk are proud to be queer, and on the other hand, after their heroic stand against police, the rest of us are proud to have them among us. Last Monday, the week kicked off with a good vibe and a swinging march through Istiklal Street. It was only a rehearsal. The big parade will be next Sunday.

Yesterday, indignation spread through Turkey as the man who killed Ethem Sarısülük with a real bullet was released, pending trial. The judge only needed a week to establish that the police officer in question acted within the ‘limits of self defense’.

It’s a dangerous precedent, because if the killer goes unpunished it may pave the way for a police officer’s ‘license to…

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Back to Taksim

In #GlobalRevolution on 23 June 2013 at 14:53

PostVirtual

[Greek translation here and in comments. Spanish translation attempt here.]

Istanbul, June 23

Dear people,

It has been an extraordinary week of revolutionary assemblies in all parts of the city. But I have to admit, I kind of missed the tear gas.

Yesterday at last we were bound to have some. Taksim Solidarity made a call for people to come to the square with flowers, and make a statement as standing men and women.

Measured by attendance, the gathering was a success. The square was full. Aside from that, it was dull. There was no point to it all, and no real emotion. More than the flowers, you noticed the flags. They were all the same prefab banners carrying the text ‘Taksim Solidarity.’

As my brother Naber pointed out, the umbrella organization that launched the protest is desperately trying to consolidate its power and conserve a central position in…

View original post 790 more words

Community Occupation

In #GlobalRevolution on 22 June 2013 at 01:14

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, June 22, 0200 hrs

Dear people,

When you get off the boat in Besiktas and you take a walk through the neighbourhood, you won’t have difficulty to recognise where the clashes took place. Along some of the roads, the sidewalks have completely disappeared.

To turn a sidewalk into a barricade, you start with the small posts and a lot of people to yank them out of place. Once you have taken them out, you can easily gather the stones, and through a human chain you can transport them to the main barricade, or to the supply barricade. Or you can smash them up for ammunition.

There are many useful things to know about the practice of urban resistance. At Abbasaga Park, yesterday, people employed a gazebo as a small Resistance Museum with photos from the last few weeks. Sling shots, catapults, molotovs. Riot police in…

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Re-Style

In #GlobalRevolution on 21 June 2013 at 15:17

PostVirtual

Istanbul, June 21.

Dear people,

Changing times call for a changing style. Last night, long overdue, I gave my blog a makeover. The name and the url have been updated. This is not about the Spanish Revolution any more, and 2011 is long gone. This about the PostVirtual. A return to reality, maybe. Or something else which we cannot even imagine.

The new interface will give you a much better access to the heap of content I have created in the past two years. On the right side you will find archives of time and space, dating back to the glorious days of Acampada Sol. On top, you will find pages with featured content and links, which I will be regularly updating.

For those of you reluctant to change, don’t worry. The original site will stay online. I will keep reblogging my posts there. But as from today the new…

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Gezi 2.0

In #GlobalRevolution, Istanbul, Turkey on 20 June 2013 at 15:48
Besiktas assembly, June 19. Via @Resist_Gezi

Besiktas assembly, June 19. Via @Resist_Gezi

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, June 20. 1657 hrs.

Dear people,

Kadıköy district of Istanbul is like a big city in itself. It has over half a million inhabitants. The whole of Istanbul, spread out over Europe and Asia, is made up of dozens of districts like these. For a total of around 15 million inhabitants. The size of the Netherlands, more or less. One of the biggest agglomerations of the old world, and the new.

Yesterday there were 35 confirmed assemblies all over Istanbul. More than one in some of the districts. At Kadıköy it was even bigger than the day before. Three thousand people or more came together in Yoğurtçu Parkı. It was a big improvement compared to the day before. The assembly lost some of its spontaneous beauty, but it gained a lot of organization. A stage and amplification. Lights and cameras.

All the people and the buzz of collective emotion throughout the park made it feel like the greatest assemblies we ever held in Puerta del Sol. Citizens united who descended into their public places to feel the wind of change and the sense of history.

As for the topics, it´s all very general. Politically, there is a spirit of direct democracy. Economically, many people propose to boycott banks, multinationals and shopping malls. Socially, we acknowledge the importance of inclusivity, respect for women, for religious and ethnic minorities, for gays and lesbians.

Assembly in Kadikoy, June 19. Via @bhrkrpztrk

Assembly in Kadikoy, June 19. Via @bhrkrpztrk

We are all one.

But as far as Erdogan is concerned, we are all terrorists, looters, foreign agents, alcoholics and marginals. He even says we don´t take our shoes off when we go to mosque.

These lies go around on most televisions, day after day. On the Internet it´s even worse. They say the government accused us of building a nuclear bomb in Gezi Park. Supposedly, forensics have uncovered an underground laboratory, complete with a gas centrifuge for the enrichment of uranium.

Maybe this is also the reason why police evicted the encampment in Izmir this morning. You don´t want hippies building A-Bombs on your doorstep. Indeed, after the invasion, the tv mentioned that certain incendiary devices and other weapons had been uncovered between the rests of the camp.

They arrived at six in the morning in overwhelming force, backed up by a water cannon. The camp was surrounded. Police ordered people to leave. They refused. So the authorities closed the circle and crushed the camp. Over a hundred people were arrested.

At the moment, we wait for the sun to go down and for people to gather in their parks, here and elsewhere in the country. We found refuge in an anarchist cafe on the European side. In the absence of a permanent occupation there´s no better place to plot revolution…

Hundreds of people standing in Taksim. June 19. Via @JFernandezLayos

Hundreds of people standing in Taksim. June 19. Via @JFernandezLayos

Eviction Izmir by adamkara. Via Onedio.com

Eviction Izmir by adamkara. Via Onedio.com

Chapulcu girl keeping the square clean. June 19. id.

Chapulcu girl keeping the square clean. June 19. id.

List of assemblies in Istanbul, yesterday.

List of assemblies in Istanbul, yesterday.

Revolution Goes Viral

In #GlobalRevolution, Istanbul, Turkey on 19 June 2013 at 14:59
People standing in Taksim. Via @sinanchakmak

People standing in Taksim. Via @sinanchakmak

June 19 Istanbul, 1248 hrs

Dear people,

The manhunt continues. Yesterday somewhere between 90 and 400 people were arrested. As a result and as a precaution we abandoned our cove near Taksim Square and we are now in hiding.

The government obviously has no idea how to handle the uprising. They tried brutal repression. They brought out the National Guard, they are making massive arrests, they menace to bring in the army and declare martial law. All to no avail. The resistance is spreading like wildfire. After the eviction of Gezi Park, popular assemblies are popping up everywhere and multiplying by the day.

June 16. Man sitting guard at barricade in Osman Bey

June 16. Man sitting guard at barricade in Osman Bey

Yesterday, the Beşiktaş Assembly in Abbasaga park tripled its amount of participants. In total there were ten popular assemblies going on in Istanbul alone. There was at least one in Izmir that we know of. Most if not all of them are adopting the same hand signals as the Spanish Assemblies.

These meetings have nothing to do with Taksim Solidarity any more. They are spontaneous initiatives by local people who are fed up with Erdogan’s disregard for the Turkish citizens, their rights and freedoms, their history, beliefs and traditions.

As GlobalRevolution team we covered the assembly in Kadıköy on the Asian side. Two years ago, in Puerta del Sol, we were the International Brigade. Here we are known as the Spanish Brigade, even though there is only one Spanish person among us. And he went to cover the meeting in Beşiktaş. On the way down to the assembly, in Üsküdar district, people are doing their daily pot and pan bashing at dusk, like the one I witnessed in Mecidiyeköy the other day. Bear in mind that Üsküdar is a predominantly muslem district of the city.

We arrive in Kadıköy, and truly, I couldn’t believe this was happening. Well over two thousand people were gathered on the green, to express their anger with the government’s eviction of Gezi, and to share their hope for a better Turkey. Like anywhere else, it was a cross section of the population, which included all races and creeds.

“Once these assemblies get started, you can’t stop them,” Jack says. “This is going to be checkmate.”

There is a sense of euphoria in the air, the happiness people experience when the artificial walls of society are being torn down. We are all one. And it’s true what they say. After Gezi, nothing will ever be the same.

Assembly in Kadıköy. Via @sinanchakmak

Assembly in Kadıköy. Via @sinanchakmak

The assembly abruptly ends when the sprinklers go on. People run for cover, they giggle and reunite in small groups to discuss their organization, their coverage, their goals and demands.

We head home. At the bull statue in central Kadıköy we experience another of those beautiful emotional moments that characterise revolutionary times. A dozen people are standing silently in protest, some holding Turkish flags, some holding images of Atatürk, some simply reading a book. People from the neighbourhood bring them supplies. Someone lifts a bottle of water to their lips. Passers by are applauding, cars are honking. This is happening all through the country. At the moment, hundreds of people are standing in Taksim.

To quell all this, the ruling party is trying to adopt the Deviated Secret Services Act (DSSA). This law would allow Turkish intelligence to detain or eliminate people inside and outside the country without any control from legal authorities, in case of an ‘internal threat’. Even if they misuse their power they can only be judged by special tribunals under special laws, and only with the consent of the prime minister. The Intelligence Agency responds directly to Erdogan.

Standing people at Kadıköy.

Standing people at Kadıköy.

We are considering to get the hell out of this country at this point. But then again, it’s just about to get interesting. There will be at least 17 assemblies in Istanbul tonight. Who knows how many there will be in the rest of the country.

And even if we get out, it will be the same. Gezi Park is everywhere. By now, we are Brazil, we are Bulgaria, we are Bosnia. Soon we will be Egypt, Indonesia, Argentina, the United States of America.

The authorities still don’t understand what’s happening. They look for leaders, people to corrupt or to eliminate. But there are none. We are not an organisation, we are a world wide web. We are the people on the threshold of changing times.

Reading people at Kadıköy.

Reading people at Kadıköy.

Kadıköy. People holding image of Atatürk

Kadıköy. People holding image of Atatürk

People standing in Besiktas. Via @JFernandezLayos

People standing in Besiktas. Via @JFernandezLayos

Police gas bombing grocery store. By Selcuk Karacayir

Police gas bombing grocery store. By Selcuk Karacayir

Ukrainian women in solidarity with Gezi. Via @selcukkaracayir

Ukrainian women in solidarity with Gezi. Via @selcukkaracayir

June 16, barricade at Osman Bey.

June 16, barricade at Osman Bey.

June 17. Sit-in resistance at Istiklak Street.

June 17. Sit-in resistance at Istiklak Street.

id.

id.

Keep on Standing

In #GlobalRevolution, Istanbul, Turkey on 18 June 2013 at 12:58
In honour of those who died during Occupy Gezi, via @ByFingers

In honour of those who died during Occupy Gezi, via @ByFingers

[Spanish translation in comments]

Istanbul, June 18, 1251 hrs.

Dear people,

Istanbul is under occupation. On all the squares there is police. The National Guard is out patrolling the streets with real guns. In the neighbourhoods, AKP thugs armed with clubs and knives are intimidating people to stay indoors. The government has started to make targetted arrests. In Ankara it’s turning into a manhunt. And yet, it’s us they accuse of ‘terrorism’.

Twenty-two members of çArşı (A stands for Anarchy), the Besiktas hardcore who kicked police asses in the first week and made it possible for people to occupy Taksim, have been arrested in their homes and taken into custody under accusation of terrorism. Their crime is that they have been seen, in photos, at the barricades.

Sunday had been another tear gas festival all over town. In the evening, a small group of people gathered in Abbasaga park in Besiktas to discuss the arrests, and what to do next. Yesterday they returned, more numerous than before. We went down there as well.

Assembly in Abbasaga park Besiktas, June 17. Photo by Isabel Hunter

Assembly in Abbasaga park Besiktas, June 17. Photo by Isabel Hunter

A few hundred people filled the stone theater of the park to hold an assembly. They call it a forum here in Turkey, but it’s the same thing. What unites us all is the will, the need, to continue the struggle. Occupy Gezi has been a turning point for Turkey. It made people lose their fear, it made them experience freedom, solidarity, generosity. Above all, it made people listen. For everyone I speak to, this has been the most amazing thing. Turks are used to talking, loudly, but not to listening.

Now they listen to each other five hours straight, two minutes per person. To our surprise, they use the same hand signals as the Spanish do in their assemblies. They wave their hands if they agree, they make a cross with their forearms if they don’t. There’s no real moderation of the assembly yet, just one person who keeps track of time. For the time being, the assembly is a flow of emotions in the spirit of Gezi Park.

The only thing that interrupts the meeting, is a birthday celebration. The whole assembly sings. Cake and coke are going round. Five minutes of joy and laughter, then we get back to business.

A girl who studies political science, and in particular the Occupy and Indignado movements, offers to do simultaneous translation for us. The ideas being proposed vary from peaceful disobedience to armed resistance. Many people propose to form a political party, but the Turkish democratic system is designed to bar any party from entering parliament unless it gains ten percent of the vote.

Id.

Id.

The most important thing for now, people say, is to stay together. We need to talk to the people in the villages, to the people who only watch television. We need to convince the nationalists and the conservative muslems that Erdogan doesn’t care for the Prophet, or for Atatürk, that he only cares for himself and the power of money.

Resistance can take many forms. And as long as we support each other we will succeed. While the assembly continues into the night, one man in Taksim makes a silent statement. He stands. In front of the flag, in front of police. He doesn’t bow his head. For hours and hours he just stands. Then people start to join him. The Standing Man becomes yet another symbol of resistance. Finally, he is detained. But at that point, his statement already made its way around the square and the world.

When we pass by Taksim late at night, we ask someone what happened to the Standing Man. “I am the standing man, can’t you see?” We look around, everywhere people are standing, silently.

We will keep standing against oppression. Tonight, tomorrow night and the day after. In all parks, in all squares, everywhere. Nine o’ clock. We can beat them by pure force if we want to, we have proven that. We will also beat them with the power of our ideas.

Standing Man in Taksim via @berilbulat

Standing Man in Taksim via @berilbulat

People Standing, via @15mbcn_int

People Standing, via @15mbcn_int

Defiant women drumming at Istiklal street via @JFernandezLayos

Defiant women drumming at Istiklal street via @JFernandezLayos

Reuters reporter attacked by police via @TopcuElmas

Reuters reporter attacked by police via @TopcuElmas

Resistance via @ceviktoma

Resistance via @ceviktoma

Statues with mouth caps in Abbasaga park, by Isabel Hunter

Statues with mouth caps in Abbasaga park, by Isabel Hunter

Barbarian Invasion

In Istanbul, Occupy Gezi, Turkey on 16 June 2013 at 19:18
Stormtroopers advancing in Gezi Park. Photo via OccupyGeziPıcs.tumblr.com (ogp)

Stormtroopers advancing in Gezi Park. Photo via OccupyGeziPıcs.tumblr.com (ogp)

[Spanish translation in comments down below]

Istanbul, June 16, 1907 hrs.

Dear people,

What we accomplished at Occupy Gezi was a change of paradigm. As human beings we went beyond our petty differences. For once we unconditionally respected each other, and took care of our fellow living beings. Instead of competing, we collaborated. Instead of accumulating, we shared. We tasted the joy of solidarity, and we did for a moment create a better world.

Yesterday, this world came to an end. Just as I was doing geographical explorations to make an elaborate map of this place for the historical record, evil forces moved in to crush it. It was Saturday night. Gezi was as full of people as it had been for days. At ten minutes to nine, police launched a full frontal attack. It’s what you get for feeding the hungry, for treating of the sick, for spreading happiness without a catch.

Attack on Gezi from the sky. Vıa ogp.

Attack on Gezi from the sky. Vıa ogp.

Water cannons moved in to blast people away from the platform facing Taksim. Tear gas and flash bangs were launched deep into the park. There were families with young children and elderly people who got caught in the dense cloud of gas and smoke. It didn’t take long for police to enter. They lined up at the end of the avenues, they took aim and they fired at the retreating crowd using rattlesnake guns. These are mainly used to scare people. They sound like a light version of machine guns, but the ammo is quite harmless. I got hit on my heel, but was perfectly able to walk on.

It became a rout. As the fumes rose over Gezi, people poured out of the camp on the North side, and we could see the silhouettes of the Empire’s stormtroopers appear out of the haze.

Police had also taken position on the Northwest side, from whence they fired at people as they fled from the park. Many of us found refuge in the Divan hotel, which had opened its doors to be used as a field hospital after last Tuesday’s battle. Next to it, there was an elevated piece of garden which was in effect a suburb of Gezi park, with its own infirmary and kitchen. I didn’t even know it existed, it was the first and last time I saw it. I made a mental note to add it to my map.

Barricade. Via ogp.

Barricade. Via ogp.

I move to the main boulevard going North to join the resistance. We try to raise barricades, but there’s not enough material and not enough time. When some people try to smash up a bank, the crowd gently dissuades them. Among the people in the front line I don’t only see the hardcore clashers. Is see middle aged men and women encouraging us. I see ten year old boys with helmets and gas masks bringing stones for the barricades.

Then the second wave of attack comes. All out tear gas. At every attempt of regrouping, a new salvo of canisters is launched in the middle of the crowd. For hundreds of meters, for miles. At a certain point I get caught up in one of the side streets. From houses all around comes the sound of pots and pans being bashed in our support.

At Osman Bey metro station we keep retreating. Now the water cannons are deployed to speed us up. At the next square we try to regroup. A garbage vehicle tries to block the road for the water cannons, but police continue their advance, launching another gas attack. Hundreds of meters further up the road it seems like people are finally dispersing. In reality, they are connected to the social networks to reorganise. A new meeting point is established at Mecidiyeköy subway station. In small groups we move down there to reinforce the crowd.

Vıa ogp.

Vıa ogp.

We manage to unite enough people for continued resistance. Police are dispersed as well by now. We have to deal with a few dozen officers. For about an hour we hold our ground, despite repeated tear gas attacks. I have so much respect for these people. Especially the women. My god, the women! Maybe they are not half of the crowd, but there are so many of them. And they are so brave. They lead the chants. ‘Everywhere is Taksim! Everywhere is resistance!’ And indeed, it’s true. Tonight, all over Istanbul, all over Turkey, people are on the streets to defend their newly found freedom.

We receive reinforcements. From the North, a fresh crowd comes marching down the street to join us with Turkish flags. A new barricade is erected. The noise is immense. The sound of metal scraping over the pavement as people drag construction materials to the barricade. The chants. The incessant honking of cars in our support. The pots and pans. The flash bangs. The ambulances. The tear gas. It’s a wonderful symphony of revolt.

Police make another frontal attack. As I take a quick whizz I get caught behind enemy lines. So I follow the advancing police troops at a less than safe distance. They use an armoured personnel carrier (APC) to break through the barricades. Hundreds of meters further up, they launch a final attack of tear gas, and that’s it. People are scattered. I turn back.

On the road I encounter small pockets of resistance. I get adopted by a platoon of eight. Everywhere I went, these days, people embrace me as a member of the family. They are grateful that foreigners support their struggle. And me, I’m grateful to be with them.

We descend the streets of Mecidiyeköy. Some lone police units keep throwing tear gas. This neighbourhood features a lot of minorities, including Kurds and Alevis, who are used to clashing with police. This is the first time they get the support of a major part of the population.

Around two, we retreat for the night. Two Armenian friends, brother and sister, take me in to their home, to eat, to sleep, to rest and to communicate to my GlobalRevolution comrades that I’m safe.

Massive arrests. Via ogp.

Massive arrests. Via ogp.

The day after, we harvest shreds of news. Clashes have continued all night in Istanbul. Police have tear gassed the hotel where people had found refuge. Water cannons have fired their chemical mixtures inside one of the hospitals. Doctors have been detained for sticking to their Hippocratic oath. During the night, people once again marched over the Bosphorus bridge. Massive arrests are being made. In Ankara, the funeral gathering for the man who was killed with a real bullet is brutally attacked. Police can’t handle the situation any more. Erdogan has called in the National Guard (Jandarma). Military vehicles are moving into Istanbul.

At four in the afternoon, we take the streets again. While the prime minister hires buses and boats to bring his supporters to a Nuremberg style rally and television accuses us of being terrorists and whatnot, the only thing we can do is take the streets and make a lot of noise.

We came close to Taksim before police started another all out counter attack. Now we are back home to wait until the sun goes down. I’m still caught on the wrong side of Taksim. At the moment, Turkey is on fire. Everywhere is resistance. I hope to be able to break through the lines soon, to rejoin my comrades. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, take care, keep calm, and resist.

Vıa @15mBCN_int

Vıa @15mBCN_int

Attack on Gezi. East side.

Attack on Gezi. East side.

Attack on Gezi. Central Park.

Attack on Gezi. Central Park.

Gezi next morning. Via @JFernandezLayos

Gezi next morning. Via @JFernandezLayos

id.

id.

Library destroyed. Via ogp.

Library destroyed. Via ogp.

Police attack today. Vıa @eldiarioes

Police attack today. Vıa @eldiarioes

Dutch consulate being tear gassed. Via Instagram / @15MBCN_int

Dutch consulate being tear gassed. Via Instagram / @15MBCN_int