Dispatch from Istanbul: Final Thoughts


@1 Yeah I don't think this is something we as outsiders can really understand. What are the constituencies that support the current government? Nationalists? Ultra hard-line religious groups? Old people? Who has been electing this guy exactly? I feel like that might give me a little better idea of what's going on.
protests without demands are doomed to have no long term effects. what you need is demands then shift to organizing esp. where you actually do have the vote? then you have to outvote the bad guys. win elections. then budget and legislate. and if sympathetic reporters commenting can't even provide a description of what's it about other than a vague feeling of the current guy is too religious or he wanted a development in a square, well it's clear the development isn't going to happen, but what do the protesters WANT that government can DO for which they can ORGANIZE to win ELECTIONS and DO IT instead of just calling for it to be done.

yelling intentional. like a protest, see?
If the officer who killed that guy was afraid of being lynched before, he should really be afraid now.
It is the centuries old fight for freedom. Religion hates freedom and seeks to enslave. It always has. All religion.
@8 Salves were allowed to read only one thing- the white man's slave bible. Frederick Douglas was the beginning of the civil rights movement.
The message of these protests and protests world wide is quite clear. People have had enough of authoritarian governments pushing the neo-liberal economic agenda. It only takes resistance to a shopping center in a city square to open a space for protest which the people then pour a deluge of their rage at a system that drives toward the betterment of a few and punishes collectively for the bad decisions of those few. Global Capitalism is not going through a crisis, rather, it is the crisis. The message is Enough.
@10 -- you spout words like neo liberalism, then capitalism or global capitalism. what is the alternative they would put in place? and how exactly is this guy erdogon whatever authoritarian, really, if his party keeps winning elections? if turkeys keeps having elections? btw capitalism historically has produced massive massive gains in well being for the majority in the nations trying it .....do you think turks were better off in say, the year 1650? what? your generic type complaints are shared by many, but not as you say by "people" generally or else they're just too vague to constituate an enactable program. or serve as the basis for a party. that wins elections. then governs. also the economist would appear to disagree with you as it says " The "protestors defy labels. There are greens, gays, anarchists, Kurds, Alevis, and lots of women. Nearly all are fed up with Mr Erdogan's efforts to impose his social conservatism on the country"" this kind of hodgepodge mélange of grievances almost never can amount to a platform that results in electoral victory and real change. and while I think its right the guy is somewhat authoritarian, to put that in persepective it appears that turkey like brazil has elections. hello! the "people" if they actually have a clue and a program can simply vote in the party expressing that program. if they can't either they don't have a clue, their grievances are too vague, or they're simply ad hoc generic attacks on the system that we've heard for centuries now. but like marx was wrong, capitalism did not fall apart in short order as he predicted, its globalization is also not doomed to fall apart in short order in fact what we see is just the opposite. china is capitalist now. india getting more so. turkey wants to join the fucking capitalist EU for gosh sakes. a few demonstrations means little, just look at wto in seattle, we all had a good time then most demonstraters went back to buying laptops made in Taiwan and shirts made in Vietnam and driving cars made globally, before hopping on a globally made airbus to hit the beaches of bali. come on. get real. "we protest the system" isn't something you can organize based on, and yes, it takes organization parties elections and legislation. what system would you legislate in place of global capitalism, autarkic feudalism or soviet style socialism? what??????? you likely don't have a clue.

Erdogan can't serve as Prime Minister again, thanks to term limits. And though he was elected on a platform that included reforming the constitution imposed after the 1980 coup, he no longer has the political capital to get that done before the next election.


The people who have kept electing Erdogan all this time are a center-right majority with its base in rural districts. They were galvanized by opposition to authoritarian leftist policies, like bans on headscarves, or abolishing religious schools, that in Turkey's modern era were imposed and maintained primarily by the military, via several coups, most recently the "soft coup" of 1997 in which the political party Erdogan then belonged to was outlawed. A big part of Erdogan's success has been the breaking of the political power of the military.
@11 you pretend like the bourgeoisie sat down and decided that mercantilism was ok but in order to get rid of the aristocracy and seize power what we need to do is make a thing called capitalism, and here it is 1, 2, 3.

No revolutionary ever knows what next year will look like let alone the next decade. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson had no clue. If they did, they wouldn't have been revolutionaries.

Capitalism is amazing stuff. It's dynamic for one and it breaks down a lot of barriers. But it has a lot of problems and it is causing misery and the destruction of species in its quest for profit. It isn't the end all. Nothing is set. Finding the future will be hard work.

If Ben and Jeff and friends "had no clue," they sure were lucky to guess so accurately at what they wanted in all those pamphlets they wrote before the fighting started.
Very grateful for your insightful first-hand accounts, Ned. Thank you.
@11 We're not saying capitalism should be overthrown. We're just saying it needs to be fixed, big time. We have to put restraints on it so it doesn't run all over workers, citizens, and consumers. We can't let it poison our water and air, for instance. Also, a democratically elected government should have control of capitalism, not the other way around.

I've also enjoyed these first hand dispatches about the Turkish protests. They've taken a distant issue I was quite ignorant about and made it very real.

Is that the royal "we?"

Agrippa seems to have something more in mind, with that "Global Capitalism is not going through a crisis, rather, it is the crisis."
@17 Oh, it probably is, but I just wanted to point out the fallacy implied in the unregistered's comment that the only alternative to the current state of capitalism is something extreme. I would hope that I'm not the only one who believes that the ills of the system can be addressed with simple reforms. Hence the "we".
@16 riiight, we agree, capitalism needs to be fixed. but what is your plan to fix it? btw it's not my unregistered fallacy that the only alternative to capitalism is something extreme, I responded to someone who said all these movements are attacking "global capitalism" and I merely asked for what alternative is being proposed. if we recognize that the future will best be some kind of regulated capitalism, it's kind of senseless to inveigh against global capitalism -- using our devices made in china, duh -- instead of rolling up shirtsleeves and defining the reforms needed and fighting for them. "no revolutionary knows what next year will look like" is very juvenile and irresponsible, how do you know you won't make things worse? see: lenin....stalin. "But it has a lot of problems and it is causing misery and the destruction of species in its quest for profit. It isn't the end all." ahem. capitalism is responsible for the end of mass famine in about half the world, the creation of a middle class for about one third the world, and even the poorer nations like china are growing like fucking gangbusters using global capitalism ..replacing genocidal levels of poverty and famine. by pointing out one should have an alternative I did not suggest we need unregulated capitalism. if what you want is in fact regulated capitalism, it's miseducational and stupid, literally, to type posts on your laptop made in Taiwan decrying global capitalism. the ills of the system can't be addressed with simple reforms you say, but you give no suggestion as to what non simple reforms you would suggest. please. get a clue. study something and propose something then come back and try to convince a political party of your views then fucking win an election and pass it instead of spouting off nonsense, okay? "We're not saying capitalism should be overthrown. We're just saying it needs to be fixed, big time. We have to put restraints on it so it doesn't run all over workers, citizens, and consumers. We can't let it poison our water and air, for instance. Also, a democratically elected government should have control of capitalism, not the other way around." well actually the earlier comment saying global capitalism is the problem did suggest it should be overthrown. but so. yes, we need restraints but again, you mention none that are needed! and yes a democratically elected govt. should control capitalism but you fail to perceive that there are things c alled the real world...you can't just legislate growth....and to some extent things like money and debt and accounting and science and such are real. and finally, once again, turkey IS democratic, and so is brazil, so until and unless these vague aspirations and yearnings turn into a program around which people can be mobilized organized elected and things legislated and budgeted -- you know, the "we do need an lbj part" -- though I doubt some of you know what "lbj" refers to -- things aint' gonna change, just like the wto protests in seattle did not change a damn thing as everyone went home driving back to boise in their Toyota and writing antiglobal capitalism missives on their laptops made in Taiwan wearing their hipster hats made in fucking Romania or panama. get a fucking clue please. what are the reforms needed? start there. since you're not proposing feudal autarky or soviet style communism or great leap forward backyard iron making, what in the fuck are you proposing? here's a specific. should turkey join the EU? it's part of the global capitalist system. it's working pretty good too. even Germany is so rich, using global capitalism, it can help bail out Greece to some extent, using EU and global capitalst tools. or should turkey reject being in the EU? see, the real world is much more about concrete things like this (or the 8 hour day, a ban on coal fired power plants, whether to use nuclear power, should that pipeline go through southern turkey for natural gas, what should the annual Turkish budget be, and what should their tax rate be, and should there be a limit on CEO pay or reinstitution of glass steagal) than sitting around launching vague protests and then complaining the cops beat someone up. because that doesn't lead to the next stage. iow try to know where you fucking want to go -- that is what leadership is. saying who cares where we go, woo hoo, revolution is kool, is simply childish bullshit.
@9 Not salves, slaves! Duh.