6 Temmuz 2013 Cumartesi

Londra Gezi Forumu Notları / London Gezi Forum Notes (26 Haziran/June)

These minutes are organised in the following sections:
  • Events {see events page on this blog}
  • Petitions {see petitions and campaigns page on this blog}
  • Resources {see resources page on this blog}
  • Actions list (includes actions for the next forums, examples from actions that are currently being undertaken, and calls to join others’ actions) (some of the actions are in question format to encourage thinking on these issues until the next forum)
  • General discussion notes
  • The next forum
Within each section, individual items are noted in the order they’ve been talked in. The order does not signify priority. The exception is events, which are listed in chronological order.

Moris Farhi, Murat Kavur and about 50 other authors will be publishing an open letter to the PM Erdogan in The Times
In Trafalgar Square, protesters used art: examples of chalk drawings at Trafalgar communicating information / caricatures / jewish and pakistani persons added / we didn’t have any material to give to people / talked to them in person we will do this every weekend, hopefully, with other painters too.
Write to people such as Mark Thomas, Stefan Fure – European Commissioner, Occupy London.
Occupy London said they will help finding secure ways of using the internet. For example, there is a RISE UP email service which needs referral to be joined.
We can learn from Occupy London on how to run meetings to integrate opposing views. We can invite them to one of our forums. This is being actioned.
Communicate this with the British society as a whole and other immigrant groups. We should also be involved in the political movements in Britain, e.g. standing against the EDL.
We should all attend all forums, wherever we are allowed to speak we should go
We can show films of togetherness as part of these forums. An example given was the film “Ekumenopolis”
Two participants who met at the forum will be editing two short films from the footage they have from the streets and from the Turkish media.
Two other participants announced their project on preparing a theatre play using interviews with people, which can also link to Brazil and the UK. They called for others interested in the project to be in touch with them.
We should organise workshops on understanding and counteracting discrimination. Need to explore who can provide such a workshop and when.
Read more and base our argument and discussions on a more scientific basis. For example, recommended readings: Stephanos Yarasimos “Turkiye’de az gelismislik sureci”…Richard Sennett “Together”.
How can we put these things together and help them? Is the page in The Guardian most important? It’s a huge amount of money / instead shall we help some people hire lawyers?
How can we ensure that the forums are open to everyone and everyone can feel they can come and contribute (not only those with higher education)?
How can we make more imaginative use of all sorts of arts? (something new, interesting, carries on the Gezi spirit)
Get advice on how to communicate with AKP supporters in the UK. Then why not invite some AKP supporters to these forums? Let’s ask them do they really mind that much if couples sit on each other’s laps or kiss in public?

The platform was introduced: questions what’s happening / can we help / what would be most effective / connect what’s happening in Turkey and the UK / weekly here at Arcola or elsewhere / voices to be heard / there are many forums here. this one is open to and has the potential to include everybody as no political background / organisation / aiming to develop the capability in acting in a faster way and get to know each other face to face to deepen our relationships / these platforms are chaotic, inclusive, creative
One of the participants gave a personal account from Gezi: I was there from day 1, start was May 1, Taksim pedestrianized, march not allowed, 500 people who couldn’t march…throughout May, many interventions by the government. At first, there were about 200 people in Taksim, similar number who protested the demolition of Emek Cinema. Those were mostly actors and artists. Shop keepers were complaining not realising that cinema brought 2000 people into the area every day. So, I didn’t want to get involved in Gezi. But by 4-5 am police gassed Gezi Park (31 May), so I spent 48 hours resisting around Nisantasi…never seen such a crowds…50000 people…in the morning i spoke to the police, i said we will go into the park, even crossing barricade….48 hours in the streets, over the barricades…eventually entered the park…after the first few days PM left the country on his North African trip…President and head of the parliament asked police to leave the square…park became like a Paris commune….but then PM decided to retaliate as a show of strength. Protests by young people who are not affiliated to politics, would have finished by now if PM had not retaliated. Then it became an issue of honour….Brazilians were marching with Turkish flags, not having a leader is better, because if you lose leader the movement will finish…79 cities in Turkey it’s continuing….the end will be as surprising as the beginning.
A participant asked the following question: Interested in connection (of resistance in Turkey) with austerity movement in the UK: agendas are different and if the agenda is too wide, connection will dissipate the issue?
The discussions that followed (as you’ll see from the action points) have argued that connection with the UK politics is important to raise global awareness of what’s happening in Turkey and also to learn from the experiences here (union movement, people’s assemblies that are happening now).
A participant read the Gezi Solidarity demands. Taksim’s demands are universal which have correspondence in the UK.
There was a discussion about the situation of different groups within the Turkish speaking community in the UK. Whether or not they should all be brought under the same umbrella and the pros and cons and practicality of this was discussed. While there was no voting / concensus building, the general tone of the discussion ended on the following points:
- There are different groups
- Everyone needs to respect others
- Variety is a good thing as was seen in Gezi: this adds variety / creativity / we create an initiative, different kind of togetherness which melts into one – even the supporters of different football teams can continue to support their own teams but work together
- Different forums and other activities are fine, feedback between them needs to be established to avoid inefficiency / duplication of effort / mixed messages etc.
A participant reminded us that the following has been key at Gezi: sharing, resistance, and wit. In London there is no violence to bring us together, but we still need to work together. The same participant also said that the creativity of the resisters is being imitated (omuz omuza slogani). Finally, this participant added ‘the solidarity that we saw in Gezi and elsewhere recently, was first seen during the Tekel strike/resistance in 2009-2010. This had lasted for 78 days and different people came together.
A participant who only recently moved to London said: we need to learn new ways to campaign. The old ways like petitions are not sufficient. This is a period of peace-making as well as resistance. So we are learning to accept each other’s differences. Therefore, communication about Gezi movement should go beyond the Turkish speakers and usual political sides but should include everyone.
A participant said this is a new process and a period for all of us to get to know each other, and also be involved in the politics in Britain, and focus on what we can do from here.
A participant said we need to learn from the young people in Gezi. They don’t have long-standing ties with the past / established parties etc. this gives them freedom. We must get feedback from the young people in Gezi on our forums and actions.
Gezi created real people’s democracy – not just about electing their representatives…to ensure the movement is sustainable, without moulding people into one type, separate local forums should continue.
Instead of doing brochures that show violence, use art. There are many brochures with violence on it, what can we do to make Taksim different. People in Taksim are already achieving this we need to learn from them.
A participant said: I am so glad to be here today…my life has stopped, been on laptop. i’ve learnt how to tweet. We need to stress: 1. police attacks were very brutal. 2. legal system is lost – they took lawyers from the courthouse 3. they arrested doctors for helping protesters (even as late as yesterday because they carry stuff that they can help people with) and 4. media – no coverage

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