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“Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Erdogan!” (and “Ein Morsi, too”)

Tayyip Erdo­gan

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: The far-right, Nazi-linked Wik­iLeaks is back in the news, with the same coterie of front-run­ners cel­e­brat­ing their actions.

When we last saw Our Heroes, the Wik­iLeaks crowd (Pirate Bay/Pirate Party/Anonymous) were in the process of being uti­lized to fur­ther the covert oper­a­tion pop­u­lar­ly known as “The Arab Spring,” aimed at bring­ing “cor­po­ratism” (as Mus­soli­ni termed his sys­tem) to the Mid­dle East and Mus­lim worlds.

Nev­er ones for learn­ing from expe­ri­ence, the Wik­iLeaks crowd is cel­e­brat­ing the actions of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook [Snow­den]. “Snow­den’s Ride” has all the ear­marks of a U‑2 Inci­dent-style desta­bi­liza­tion of Oba­ma, and beyond that, the U.S. and U.K.

Under the cir­cum­stances, it may prove instruc­tive to revis­it “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring,” as we call it.

A major theme of the so-called “Arab Spring” was the belief that by allow­ing the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood unfet­tered access to the reins of polit­i­cal pow­er, the result­ing regimes would resem­ble the “mod­ern,” “demo­c­ra­t­ic” gov­ern­ment of Tayyip Erdo­gan in Turkey.

(The For The Record series on the “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring” runs from FTR #733 through FTR #739.)

 In FTR #‘s 737, 738, 739, we not­ed that Erdo­gan’s gov­ern­ment was a direct out­growth of the Bank Al-Taqwa com­plex and an exten­sion of the Islam­ic fas­cism of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. In addi­tion, Erdo­gan’s regime has strong links to euro-fas­cists and the Under­ground Reich.

As civic unrest stem­ming from pop­u­lar dis­sat­is­fac­tion with Erdo­gan’s gov­er­nance have spread, he has respond­ed with tac­tics and rhetoric pre­cise­ly and eeri­ly echo­ing the rhetoric of clas­sic fas­cism. Bor­row­ing from the rhetor­i­cal arse­nal of Hitler and Mus­soli­ni, Erdo­gan has staged mass ral­lies of rabid sup­port­ers, used ver­biage con­flat­ing the state and “the peo­ple” with him­self, accused the oppo­si­tion of being part of an amor­phous con­spir­a­cy involv­ing “for­eign inter­ests,” “spec­u­la­tors,” and the media–translation “Da Joos.”

Mor­si has respond­ed to oppo­si­tion in a sim­i­lar fash­ion, both tac­ti­cal­ly and rhetor­i­cal­ly.

In a bru­tal­ly iron­ic way, the “Arab Spring” oper­a­tion has indeed result­ed in the real­iza­tion of Erdo­gan-style gov­er­nance in the Mid­dle East.

“Turkey Expands Vio­lent Reac­tion to Street Unrest” by Tim Arango, Seb­nem Arsu and Cey­lan Yegin­su; The New York Times; 6/17/2013; pp. A1-A7.

EXCERPT: The Turk­ish author­i­ties widened their crack­down on the antigov­ern­ment protest move­ment on Sun­day, tak­ing aim not just at the demon­stra­tors them­selves, but also at the medics who treat their injuries, the busi­ness own­ers who shel­ter them and the for­eign news media flock­ing here to cov­er a grow­ing polit­i­cal cri­sis threat­en­ing to par­a­lyze the gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Tayyip Erdo­gan.

After an intense night of street clash­es that rep­re­sent­ed the worst vio­lence in near­ly three weeks of protests, Mr. Erdo­gan ral­lied hun­dreds of thou­sands of his sup­port­ers on Sunday–many of them trav­el­ing on city bus­es and fer­ries that the gov­ern­ment had mobi­lized for the event–at an out­door are­na on the shores of the Sea of Mar­mara. . . .

. . . . In at least two strong­holds of sup­port for Mr. Erdo­gan, the nature of the con­fronta­tion seemed to take more dan­ger­ous turn, as antigov­ern­ment pro­test­ers clashed with his civil­ian back­ers. In Mr. Erdo­gan’s child­hood neigh­bor hood in Istan­bul, a group of gov­ern­ment sup­port­ers joined the police with sticks and fought against pro­test­ers, accord­ing to one wit­ness. . . .

. . . Even before Mr. Erdo­gan took the stage to deliv­er his near­ly two-hour-long speech, the mas­ter of cer­e­monies had bashed the for­eign news media, which the prime min­is­ter has sug­gest­ed is part of a for­eign plot, along with finan­cial spec­u­la­tors and ter­ror­ists, to top­ple his gov­ern­ment.

“CNN Inter­na­tion­al, are you ready for this?” shout­ed the announc­er to the sea of peo­ple wav­ing flags bear­ing Mr. Erdo­gan’s face and the yel­low and white logo of his Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Par­ty, known by its Turk­ish ini­tials as A.K.P.

Mr. Erdo­gan then sin­gled out BBC, CNN and Reuters, say­ing, “for days, you fab­ri­cat­ed news.”

“You por­trayed Turkey dif­fer­ent­ly to the world,” he con­tin­ued. “You are left alone with your lies. This nation is not the one that you mis­rep­re­sent­ed to the world.”

At least 400 peo­ple were detained on Sun­day, accord­ing to the Istan­bul Bar Asso­ci­a­tion, with local news reports say­ing that some jour­nal­ists had been among them. One for­eign pho­tog­ra­ph­er doc­u­ment­ing the clash­es Sat­ur­day night said a police offi­cer had torn his gas mask off him while in a cloud of tear gas, and forced him to clear his mem­o­ry card of pho­tographs.

Some doc­tors and nurs­es who treat­ed pro­test­ers were detained by secu­ri­ty forces on Sun­day, accord­ing to the legal offices of the Istan­bul Cham­ber of Doc­tors. Lawyers have been held by the author­i­ties in recent days. Mr. Erdo­gan said Sun­day that even the own­ers of lux­u­ry hotels near Tak­sim Square who had pro­vid­ed refuge to pro­test­ers flee­ing the chaos of the police raid were linked to ter­ror­ism.

“We know very well the ones that shel­tered in the hotels those who coop­er­at­ed with ter­ror,” he said at the ral­ly. “Will they not be held account­able? If we do not hold them account­able, then the nation will hold us account­able.” . . . .

. . . . At Mr. Erdo­gan’s ral­ly on the seashore, near the walls of the ancient city, enthu­si­as­tic gov­ern­ment sup­port­ers voiced anger at its oppo­nents. Walk­ing up to the ral­ly grounds, peo­ple chant­ed, “Go gas them, Cap­tain! Break their hands!” A heli­copter over­head to pro­vide panoram­ic footage for state tele­vi­sion. . . .

“Tyran­nies across the World Are Crush­ing Dis­sent. In Britain Con­tempt for the Polit­i­cal Class is Grow­ing. Is It Pos­si­ble that Democ­ra­cy Is Dying?” by Max Hast­ings; Dai­ly Mail; 6/21/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . . Naive Euro­peans hailed the 2010 ‘Arab Spring’ as promis­ing a new era in the Mid­dle East. Yet it seems more like­ly that those nations — Tunisia, Egypt and Libya — will mere­ly be ruled by new auto­crats.

The truth is that democ­ra­cy is ail­ing — not least here in Britain. Many peo­ple despise and dis­trust politi­cians. . . .

. . . . Ear­li­er this month, Turkey’s prime min­is­ter, Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan, adopt­ed one of the noto­ri­ous phras­es of the old fas­cist dic­ta­tors: ‘My patience is exhaust­ed.’

He then com­mit­ted thou­sands of riot police with batons and tear gas to remove peace­ful pro­test­ers from Istan­bul’s Tak­sim Square.

Erdo­gan has said that democ­ra­cy is an instru­ment to be exploit­ed only as long as it is use­ful. He is thought to aspire to chang­ing Turkey’s con­sti­tu­tion to make him­self an elect­ed dic­ta­tor.

Most edu­cat­ed urban Turks are appalled by his desire to break with the coun­try’s cen­tu­ry-old tra­di­tion of sec­u­lar­ism and to once more put Islam at the heart of law.

He has restrict­ed alco­hol sales and attempt­ed to crim­i­nalise adul­tery. More jour­nal­ists are in prison in Turkey than in Chi­na.

Erdo­gan has been able to act despot­i­cal­ly because as prime min­is­ter, he has deliv­ered eco­nom­ic growth. He has won three elec­tions through the votes of the small busi­ness class and rur­al peas­antry, who val­ue sta­bil­i­ty and tra­di­tion­al val­ues far above per­son­al free­dom.

He can claim pop­u­lar sup­port, even though his style of rule is a trav­es­ty of democ­ra­cy. Turkey is only the lat­est exam­ple of a nation bent on rolling back per­son­al free­doms or resist­ing demands for it. . . .

Discussion

2 comments for ““Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Erdogan!” (and “Ein Morsi, too”)”

  1. Well this is pre­dictably depress­ing: The Brazil­ian right-wing is try­ing to take over the protests:

    Brazil’s left and right strug­gle for own­er­ship of protests

    Rival groups split on the polit­i­cal direc­tion of the protests, with claims two organ­i­sa­tions back mil­i­tary rule

    Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro
    The Guardian, Wednes­day 26 June 2013 14.52 EDT

    Rival organ­i­sa­tions behind Brazil’s huge street demon­stra­tions are strug­gling for con­trol amid con­flict­ing views about the polit­i­cal direc­tion the move­ment should take.

    With fur­ther action planned for Wednes­day evening, the left­wing groups who ini­ti­at­ed the march­es sus­pect oppo­si­tion par­ties are try­ing to hijack the protests and use them as a plat­form to chal­lenge pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­ef­f’s gov­ern­ment before next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    The pro­test­ers have proved a for­mi­da­ble polit­i­cal force, notch­ing up vic­to­ry after vic­to­ry in the past week and forc­ing Rouss­ef­f’s Work­ers’ Par­ty and region­al lead­ers into a series of con­ces­sions. But the scale has ebbed in recent days. Although demon­stra­tions con­tin­ue on a dai­ly basis in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and dozens of oth­er cities, they are on a small­er scale than last Thurs­day’s march of more than a mil­lion.

    The vast major­i­ty of march­es have been uni­fied, but there have been a few shout­ing match­es between rival groups com­pet­ing to set the ide­o­log­i­cal direc­tion of the protests. Some would like a stronger focus on inequal­i­ty and improv­ing con­di­tions in fave­las. Oth­ers are push­ing for tax cuts and a crack­down on cor­rupt offi­cials.

    In online chat rooms and microblogs, there is spec­u­la­tion that police are using agents provo­ca­teurs to stir up vio­lence and pave the way for a coup. Evi­dence for that is scant, but dif­fer­ences have become more appar­ent. Groups such as Anony­mous are call­ing for a peri­od of reflec­tion, and arranged work­shops and pub­lic meet­ings in Rio this week to dis­cuss where to go next.

    But sev­er­al organ­i­sa­tions that are clos­er to the right pressed ahead with small­er gath­er­ings on Mon­day and urged more on Thurs­day. Two of them, Organ­i­sa­tion Opposed to Cor­rup­tion and Online Rev­o­lu­tion, advo­cate the return of mil­i­tarism, accord­ing to an arti­cle on the Esta­do de São Paulo web­site. This fol­lowed ten­sion in São Paulo dur­ing last Thurs­day’s march when some groups burned the flags of the Work­ers Par­ty.

    “We live in a democ­ra­cy and this reac­tion is a kind of nation­al­ism tak­en to an extreme. I fear this may be hid­den fas­cism,” said Tali­ta Saito, a 21-year-old law stu­dent at the protest.

    Such inci­dents have so far been on the fringes. More pos­i­tive is the sign of a new polit­i­cal debate that has been stirred up by for­mer­ly apa­thet­ic mul­ti­tudes who are turn­ing out in vast num­bers to peace­ful­ly back the protests.

    But those who ini­ti­at­ed the protests in sup­port of cheap pub­lic trans­port are uneasy that part of the move­ment has mor­phed towards a cam­paign for low­er tax­es.

    A major rea­son for the suc­cess of last week’s march­es was that the organ­is­ers reject­ed affil­i­a­tion with polit­i­cal par­ties. The amor­phous move­ment embraced frus­tra­tions felt across the polit­i­cal spec­trum, many of them brought into relief by the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup.

    About 50,000 peo­ple joined a demon­stra­tion on Wednes­day out­side a sta­di­um in Belo Hor­i­zonte, where Brazil were play­ing Uruguay in a Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup semi-final. Police fired tear gas and pro­test­ers threw stones. In Brasil­ia, where the oth­er semi-final was tak­ing place, police shut down traf­fic in the city cen­tre in expec­ta­tion of unrest.

    After last Thurs­day’s march, the huge range of moti­va­tions was evi­dent in the hand-writ­ten plac­ards pinned on to the walls – “Schools not Sta­di­ums”, “70bn in Cor­rup­tion”, “End Police Vio­lence”, “Stop PEC 37” (a bill that would weak­en the pow­er of the pub­lic min­is­ter to inves­ti­gate offi­cial wrong­do­ing) and “No to the Gay Cure” (a ref­er­ence to evan­gel­i­cal politi­cian Mar­co Feli­ciano’s call for Brazil’s med­ical estab­lish­ment to treat homo­sex­u­al­i­ty as a dis­ease.

    In recent days, Rouss­eff – a for­mer stu­dent rad­i­cal – has talked to organ­is­ers and respond­ed to some of their con­cerns. On Mon­day, she promised a ref­er­en­dum on polit­i­cal reform, tighter penal­ties for cor­rup­tion, a 50bn real (£15bn) pro­gramme for pub­lic trans­port and more sup­port for health­care and edu­ca­tion. Anoth­er con­ces­sion was won from leg­is­la­tors, who dropped the PEC 37 bill.The groups behind the protests say Rouss­ef­f’s promis­es are too vague and fall short of demands they have regard­ing evic­tions of res­i­dents for mega-events, exces­sive police vio­lence (seen on Tues­day in a raid on the Maré favela in Rio that left at least nine peo­ple dead) and wider issues of inequal­i­ty and envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion.

    A state­ment by the Passe Libre group said the gov­ern­ment has to do more to rein in para­mil­i­tary police, who have shot pro­test­ers with rub­ber bul­lets and used tear­gas indis­crim­i­nate­ly. “There is an urgent need to demil­i­tarise the police and put in place a nation­al pol­i­cy to reg­u­late less lethal weapons, which are banned in many coun­tries and con­demned by inter­na­tion­al bod­ies,” the group said.

    Alan Fragoso, one of the organ­is­ers of the Fórum de Lutas group that ini­ti­at­ed the protests, said the demon­stra­tions would con­tin­ue. “Even if the pro­test­ers do not have full polit­i­cal con­scious­ness we must seize the moment to pro­mote the inclu­sion of polit­i­cal debate in the dai­ly life of Brazil­ians,” he said.

    In response to Rouss­ef­f’s promis­es and con­cerns about the van­dal­ism that fol­lowed clash­es with police, the organ­is­ers plan to set new guide­lines for the protests.

    ...

    And now Bul­ge­ria appears to have a grow­ing anti-oli­garch/an­ti-cor­rup­tion move­ment. A big focus of the protest is the recent appoint­ment of a politi­cian with a his­to­ry of cor­rup­tion to a new­ly empow­ered “secu­ri­ty czar” post. The new secu­ri­ty czar is also a mem­ber of the eth­nic Turk­ish par­ty and a fre­quent tar­get of the far-right nation­al­ist Ata­ka par­ty. Ata­ka is of the “anti-capitalist”/“anti-cor­rup­tion” strain of the far-right uni­verse and has seen its pop­u­lar­i­ty surge in the last year. So let’s hope the far-right stays far away from this one:

    The spir­it of protest in Brazil and Turkey has now swept into Bul­gar­ia

    Tens of thou­sands of Bul­gar­i­ans are voic­ing their anger over polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion, abuse of pow­er and eco­nom­ic hard­ship

    John O’Bren­nan
    guardian.co.uk, Tues­day 25 June 2013 13.02 EDT

    In recent weeks the world has been trans­fixed by protests in Turkey and Brazil. Few­er media out­lets have report­ed on the anti-gov­ern­ment protests in Bul­gar­ia, now well into their sec­ond week. But make no mis­take about it: Bul­gar­ia is under­go­ing a pro­found cri­sis of rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

    Every night for more than a week up to 10,000 peo­ple have tak­en to the streets of Sofia, ini­tial­ly protest­ing against the appoint­ment on 14 June of the media oli­garch Delyan Peev­s­ki as Bul­gar­i­a’s “secu­ri­ty tsar”, the head of the State Agency for Nation­al Secu­ri­ty (Dans), the Bul­gar­i­an CIA.

    Peev­s­ki, who is 32, comes from a well-con­nect­ed fam­i­ly that owns Bul­gar­i­a’s largest news­pa­per and tele­vi­sion group (it con­trols 80% of print media in the coun­try) and has no expe­ri­ence in the secu­ri­ty sec­tor. In 2007 he was sacked from his post as deputy min­is­ter and inves­ti­gat­ed for attempt­ed black­mail. He is an MP for the eth­nic Turk­ish par­ty, the Move­ment for Rights and Free­doms (MRF), which sup­ports the prime min­is­ter Pla­men Ore­sharski’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion, led by the Bul­gar­i­an Social­ist par­ty (BSP). His appoint­ment took place with­out a debate in the Nation­al Assem­bly.

    Dans is the agency respon­si­ble both for Bul­gar­i­a’s inter­nal and exter­nal secu­ri­ty. Its role was ele­vat­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the wake of the ter­ror­ist attack on Bur­gas air­port in July 2012 (attrib­uted to Hezbol­lah) which killed five Israeli tourists and their Bul­gar­i­an bus dri­ver. This exec­u­tive role has been strength­ened even fur­ther recent­ly after con­tro­ver­sial amend­ments in the Dans leg­is­la­tion were signed giv­ing the organ­i­sa­tion respon­si­bil­i­ty for deal­ing with organ­ised crime.

    Bul­gar­i­ans are protest­ing against far-reach­ing and sys­tem­at­ic cor­rup­tion and the “cap­ture” of the state by rent-seek­ing oli­garchic net­works. Ore­shars­ki was appoint­ed by the BSP to head a so-called “expert” gov­ern­ment, after a gen­er­al elec­tion in April pro­duced a tight out­come. The tech­no­crat­ic gov­ern­ment came about because the lead­ing fig­ures with­in the two largest polit­i­cal par­ties, the BSP and the cen­tre-right Gerb (Cit­i­zens for Euro­pean Devel­op­ment of Bul­gar­ia) were wide­ly dis­cred­it­ed. And although the prime min­is­ter has now with­drawn the appoint­ment of Peev­s­ki, for pro­test­ers the episode sug­gest­ed that even respect­ed fig­ures like Ore­shars­ki are inca­pable of shak­ing off the shad­owy world of oli­garchic pow­er in Bul­gar­ia.

    In Bul­gar­ia it is often impos­si­ble to know where organ­ised crime ends and legit­i­mate busi­ness begins. The nexus between the two is char­ac­terised by com­plex bureau­crat­ic struc­tures, opaque cor­po­rate account­ing and a maze of off­shore accounts. In Var­na, Bul­gar­i­a’s third largest city, the protests have tak­en direct aim at TIM, a busi­ness con­glom­er­ate allied to Gerb and long the real pow­er in the region. Some esti­mates sug­gest that it con­trols up to 70% of Var­na’s econ­o­my, includ­ing most of the tourist infra­struc­ture. When pro­test­ers in Var­na yell “M‑A-F-I‑A” they are auto­mat­i­cal­ly col­laps­ing busi­ness into pol­i­tics and impli­cat­ing local munic­i­pal offi­cials as the agents of this pow­er­ful oli­garchic net­work.

    Var­na per­fect­ly illus­trates why the cur­rent protests are large­ly non-par­ty-policit­i­cal and anti-pol­i­tics in tone: the defin­i­tive divi­sion in today’s Bul­gar­ia is no longer between right and left, but between the cit­i­zens and the mafia. This is a world where the guilty don’t just go unpun­ished; they ascend to the high­est citadels of pow­er.

    Although cor­rup­tion and the abuse of pow­er are the cen­tral themes of this protest, eco­nom­ic hard­ship also plays a role. New data from the EU demon­strates that Bul­gar­i­ans have the low­est stan­dard of liv­ing in the Euro­pean Union, at around 50% of the EU aver­age. Even Croa­t­ia, which will accede to the EU on 1 July, is sig­nif­i­cant­ly more pros­per­ous than Bul­gar­ia.

    The irony here is not lost on Bul­gar­i­ans. At the onset of the EU finan­cial cri­sis in 2008, Bul­gar­ia had one of the low­est lev­els of pub­lic debt in Europe at 15% of GDP. Its bud­get deficit was below 3%. And yet the gov­ern­ment of Boyko Borissov embarked on a fool­ish pro­gramme of aus­ter­i­ty mea­sures, the log­ic of which was almost entire­ly pred­i­cat­ed on demon­strat­ing to Brus­sels what a good pupil Bul­gar­ia now was. Reduc­tions in pub­lic spend­ing cou­pled with large increas­es in the price of elec­tric­i­ty and oth­er util­i­ties brought peo­ple out on to the streets in Feb­ru­ary. But, like Turkey, what began as a protest against a spe­cif­ic appoint­ment has quick­ly mutat­ed into a gen­er­al oppo­si­tion to the gov­ern­ment.

    Ore­shars­ki also has to grap­ple with increas­ing eth­nic ten­sions in the coun­try. Many Bul­gar­i­ans resent the influ­ence of the junior coali­tion par­ty, the MRF which rep­re­sents main­ly the Turk­ish minor­i­ty (about 10% of the pop­u­la­tion). The far-right par­ty Ata­ka, which won 23 seats and 7.3% of the vote in the recent par­lia­men­tary elec­tion, has sought to exploit this sen­ti­ment at every oppor­tu­ni­ty. Its leader, Volen Siderov, con­tin­ues to stoke the flames of hatred against both the eth­nic Turks and the Roma pop­u­la­tion.

    ...

    Note that while we should hope Ata­ka stays far away from the protest move­ment, that’s sort of hope­less hope giv­en the nature of the move­ment. But at least it looks like Bul­gar­i­ans are gen­er­al­ly wary of these guys and appear to be striv­ing to avoid vio­lence alto­geth­er...despite Ataka’s attempts:

    The Con­ver­sa­tion
    Protests in Bul­gar­ia: the Unno­ticed Upris­ing
    by Anna Plyushte­va

    As in Istan­bul, recent protests in Sofia began with a sin­gle, spe­cif­ic issue. In Bul­gar­ia, it was the appoint­ment of Delyan Peev­s­ki as head of the country’s nation­al secu­ri­ty agency. At just 32 years of age, Peev­s­ki owns var­i­ous large busi­ness­es, includ­ing TV chan­nels and oth­er media out­lets.

    So when he was hasti­ly appoint­ed to one of the top jobs in the coun­try, on June 14, tens of thou­sands of peo­ple took to the streets with­in hours. Dai­ly demon­stra­tions have con­tin­ued for more than a week with no sign of abat­ing. But why are they so per­sis­tent, in a coun­try where pub­lic life is usu­al­ly described as polit­i­cal­ly apa­thet­ic?

    In anoth­er par­al­lel with Gezi Park and Brazil, protests have gone on even after offi­cials backed down on the orig­i­nal cause for the out­rage. On June 19, Peevski’s appoint­ment was with­drawn, as politi­cians mut­tered state­ments about admit­ting mis­takes and the wise voice of the peo­ple. “Keep your apolo­gies, give us your res­ig­na­tions,” chant­ed the crowds, and the ral­lies raged on.

    A brief overview of the devel­op­ments in the days since can begin to shed light on the ques­tions of why, why now, and why the near-com­plete absence of inter­na­tion­al cov­er­age?

    The lack of vio­lent clash­es goes some way towards explain­ing the silence of major news out­lets – not only are num­bers in Sofia much small­er than in Istan­bul or Rio, but also the Bul­gar­i­an police union declared offi­cial sup­port for the protests. So no riot gear, no tear gas, and not a sin­gle smashed win­dow. Despite the angry pick­et signs, the dai­ly demos have been described by some as “a bit of a lifestyle event”, com­plete with dogs, young chil­dren, and plen­ty of cold beer.

    ...

    On this occa­sion, Bul­gar­i­ans are not revolt­ing about income lev­els or detri­men­tal health­care reforms. The June 2013 slo­gans are about dig­ni­ty, absur­di­ty, and the feel­ing of being ridiculed by those paid to rep­re­sent you.

    Attempts to turn the protests into a clash of par­ty ide­olo­gies have so far failed: the nation­al­ist ATAKA par­ty (a baf­fling coali­tion part­ner in a Social­ist-led gov­ern­ment) mobilised a few hun­dred of its sup­port­ers for a counter-protest. The mass demon­stra­tion was instant­ly re-rout­ed to bypass the ATAKA head­quar­ters, thus man­ag­ing to avoid open con­fronta­tion.

    Anoth­er blow to the plan of the extreme right came when the pub­lic TV chan­nel broad­cast an under­cov­er report on their counter-demo. Ear­li­er that day, ATAKA had recruit­ed “sup­port­ers” in local gyms, on the promise of a 30 leva (£13) fee and a sup­ply of free piz­za. Hav­ing enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly shared the sto­ry online, eco­nom­ic con­ser­v­a­tives, anar­chists, LGBT and envi­ron­men­tal activists have con­tin­ued to gath­er (for free, their signs proud­ly pro­claim) dai­ly to pick­et the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the sta­tus quo.

    The Bul­gar­i­an demon­stra­tions seem increas­ing­ly like­ly to top­ple the new gov­ern­ment, but it is becom­ing clear­er than ever that the prob­lems of the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment run to its very foun­da­tions. The protests can­not deliv­er the solu­tion when there is need for rad­i­cal change in the way pol­i­tics is prac­ticed. The small vic­to­ry over the Peev­s­ki appoint­ment, how­ev­er, may serve to bring clos­er the social and polit­i­cal spheres which have been so pro­found­ly divid­ed ever since the end of sin­gle-par­ty rule 24 years ago.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 26, 2013, 6:58 pm
  2. Thanks Dave!

    Posted by Remond Common | June 27, 2013, 7:39 pm

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