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Turkey, not Dubai - Gezi protests open thread

by Migeru Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 03:53:56 AM EST

I have a feeling the protests taking place in Turkey are going to have broader significance, but I also feel I don't understand why they are happening. The story I was getting about Turkey before was that the country was increasingly self-assured, and its economy was doing well. So I didn't expect Turkish youth to have the feelings of lack of opportunity or betrayal of expectations that appears to be behind the Arab Spring, the European anti-austerity protesters such as que se lixe a Troika, the indignados, the movimento 5 stelle, the greek Syntagma protests, the American Occupy, or even in Germany Blockupy. Now in Turkey it's #OccupyGezi (others talk of a Turkish Spring).

However, an apparently small protest has led to what sounds like disproportionate use of force to repress it, and a media blackout with reports of an internet blackout (incuding rumours that Turkish ISPs were blocking facebook and twitter, as well as warnings that Turkish police would use facebook to identify activists and crack down on them).

Some simmering political tension has definitely boiled over with these events. These are some of the issues:

Use this as an open thread to bring in information and analysis on the Turkish protests.


The protest started out as a bucolic sit-in, to judge by this picture:

So, how did it turn so sour?

This is a summary of the situation (and a call for help) from Turkish site Agos:

Attention! Turkish democracy needs you!

After a series of peaceful demonstrations for preserving a recreational area in Istanbul city centre, which is planned to be demolished for the construction of a shopping mall, Turkish police attacked the protesters violently with tear gas and water cannon, directly targeting their faces and bodies. Dozens of protesters are hospitalized and access to the park is blocked without any legal basis. Turkish media, directly controlled by the government or have business and political ties with it, refuse to cover the incidents. Press agencies also blocked the information flow.
Please share this message for the world to become aware of the police state created by AKP of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which is often considered to be a model for other Middle Eastern countries. Turkish democracy expects your help. Thank you!

Here is footage of a police armoured vehicle running over protesters as they hid from water cannons behind a barricade:

Considering the protest is superficially about felling some trees in an iconic park, the situation has escalated to a surprising level. Figures from Reuters (via Haaretz): Protesters defiant as Turkey unrest goes into third day (June 02, 2013)

939 people have been arrested in more than 90 separate demonstrations around Turkey and More than 1,000 people have been injured in Istanbul and several hundred more in Ankara; Amnesty quotes unconfirmed reports of two deaths.
Now, here's a video of protesters organizing to build a barricade. The video is being shared on the social networks in a boastful tone.

This is the kind of reaction the crackdown has generated

but all it has earned from Erdogan is bluster: Erdogan: For every 100,000 protesters, I will bring out a million from my party (Haaretz/Reuters, June 01, 2013)

PM says the redevelopment of Gezi Park is being used as an excuse for the unrest and warns the main opposition Republican People's Party against stoking tensions.

Display:
See last night's thread.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:00:02 AM EST
This was last week's protest:

Turkish couples kiss in subway in protest | CNS News

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Dozens of couples have locked lips at a subway stop in Turkey's capital, Ankara, to protest subway authorities' admonishment of a couple that kissed in public.

Turkish media say that, earlier in the week, Ankara subway officials made an announcement asking passengers "to act in accordance with moral rules" after security cameras spotted the couple kissing.

The issue prompted an opposition lawmaker to question the Islamist-rooted ruling party, which many secularists fear wants to expand the role of Islam in Turkey, about whether subway officials were authorized to make such demands.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:14:51 AM EST
So, is the real issue not economic but the increasing islamization of the country by Erdogan's party?

That seems to be why protests in Egypt continue after Mubarak's ouster - it's not economic but cultura disaffection that's driving them.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they're carrying signs in (grammatical) English, they obviously have an above-average education, and thus presumably above-average opportunities.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Arab Spring, Occupy, and the Indignants, also consisted of people with above-average education and, presumably, above-average opportunity but below their expectations.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...they obviously have an above-average education, and thus presumably above-average opportunities...

...and are just those who one would expect to lead such a protest. I don't know if Ergodan's bluster is just for public consumption, is an expression of self-righteousness or both. The demonstrations show that deep feelings about secularism are not confined to the military. Ergodan probably though (thinks?) that he had ended the threat from the military, but, with the support of a large and influential minority things could be about to get interesting. It is usually not religiously based parties representing the majority religion that advocate tolerance and protection of rights for minorities, but that is what will be required for Turkey to remain stable and to continue to grow. The religious have to be allowed a role in the polity but must learn to respect the views and rights of others. We will see how it goes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 09:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
it's not economic but cultural disaffection that's driving them.

or a perfect storm of both?

i blame tv.

;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The big irony of this is that Erdogan used liberal and feminist women from outside the country very early on in his leadership to extol the virtues of allowing women more freedom, especially with relation to head scarves.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:11:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Chief Editor of Foreign News Service at Hürriyet:
The Istanbulian: 6 Reasons Why Turkey Is Not A Model Anymore
Turkish government restricted alcohol sales this week.

The Istanbulian: 6 Reasons Why Turkey Is Not A Model Anymore
The Ministry of Interior has just announced plans to establish a new security force with their own uniforms who can be armed like police. Critics called them "regime guards."

The Istanbulian: 6 Reasons Why Turkey Is Not A Model Anymore
Lately, the government announced that they would build a shopping mall at a park near Taksim Square, aka Istanbul's Tahrir, as well as a mosque. Neither buildings are needed in the area. When locals tried to stop the bulldozers before they removed 75-year-old trees today, police used tear gas, again. Only during the May Day demonstrations, Istanbul police deparment admitted that they used 14 tonnes of water with CS gas.

The Istanbulian: 6 Reasons Why Turkey Is Not A Model Anymore
Turkish TV serials, for instance, had a huge appeal in the Arab world, inspiring millions of people.
BAD EXAMPLE 4: Erdogan declared war on these serials, because they were not portraying a pious lifestyle. He just couldn't comprehend that these serials are appealing to today's Arabs, only because they prove that a modern, secular lifestyle is possible for Muslims.

The Istanbulian: 6 Reasons Why Turkey Is Not A Model Anymore
After Ankara subway officials made an announcement asking passengers "to act in accordance with moral rules" following security cameras spotted a couple kissing, scores of people organized a "kiss protest" in the same station. Then, about 20 Islamists chanting "Allah Akhbar" attacked them with knives, stabbing one kisser.

The Istanbulian: 6 Reasons Why Turkey Is Not A Model Anymore
The AKP foreign policy is great on the PR front, but terrible on the ground. First of all, it's full of inconsistencies.

So different grievances finding a common outlet?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:16:13 AM EST
Turkish TV serials, for instance, had a huge appeal in the Arab world, inspiring millions of people.
BAD EXAMPLE 4: Erdogan declared war on these serials, because they were not portraying a pious lifestyle.
Here's one example of a Turkish TV serial thet's being successful also in Europe: Muhteşem Yüzyıl
Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Turkish pronunciation: [muhteˈʃæm ˈjyzjɯl], English: Magnificent Century) is a prime time historical Turkish soap opera television series. It was originally broadcast on Show TV and then transferred to Star TV for its second season. It is based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, the longest reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Serials such as this stem from the new Turkish pride comin from their recent economic (and regional) success. They're a bit like all those recent Chinese films about old emperors. But the Suleiman show also has some elements Erdogan might find questionable:
The show generated controversy and complaints from some viewers, for what they referred to as a "disrespectful", "indecent" and "hedonistic" portrayal of the historical sultan.


In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:22:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...that one is popular ( and I follow it even if it's soap opera) but this one is also based on history ( which of course does not guaranty truth)but there are "million" of others modern Turkish serials and from what I saw (apart that I am not interested in it) is that their way of life is portrayed as very similar to western one and that's what those fundamentalists do not like I suppose...
Some are here:

http://www.natabanu.com/serija/sulejman-velicanstveni.html?start=11

OMG there are 65 of them...

One example that I saw a bit:
http://www.natabanu.com/serija/asi-turska-serija.html


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 08:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A ringside seat as Istanbul protests | DINING WITH AL-QAEDA

The spontaneous look of the small groups of protestors coalescing and dispersing in the street outside is quite unlike the usual formal protests organized by unions and political parties, and lacks the angry, violent edge to the pop-up parades by radical left-wing groups. Mostly young and middle class, they include people in shirts for all Istanbul's big rival football clubs, young women in headscarves, groups of white-coated medical volunteers, and a young man with a big bag of lemons, selling them to the crowd as an tear gas antidote.

On the other hand, Turkey had the same banging of pots and pans in anti-government neighbourhoods in the 1990s, which was widespread on the Asian side of Istanbul last night; and in my district of Beyoglu, every year or two a big issue brings angry demonstrators and policemen with gas weaponry that is used to clear people away. While the government is clearly rattled this time round, after four days, perhaps the only obvious long-term political consequence I can predict so far is that all this will be remembered when Prime Minister Erdogan launches his expected quest for the presidency in an election next year.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:20:27 AM EST
More from Dining with Al Qaeda: Istanbul's demonstrators celebrate victory in Istiklal and Taksim Square (June 2, 2013)
At dawn of the morning after the night before, pigeons were picking on the debris from an amazing 48 hours on Istiklal St, the pedestrian boulevard through the heart of Istanbul. It was littered with trash, broken beer bottles and the odd ornamental tree yesterday's protestors dragged into the middle of the road to act as a barricade against police forces. A few stragglers were still drifting home from a boisterous all-night celebration in Taksim Square of what they see as their victory over the police and government. Protestors and police apparently continue to clash in at least one place elsewhere in the city, Beşiktaş, but for now things are quiet here, although there is still a lingering tang of tear gas in the air.

...

What the long-term implications are of having the heart of Turkey's touristic, commercial and cultural capital captured by young people walking up and down most of the night shouting to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "Tayyip, Resign!"? How impressive is it that these demonstrations spread to half of Turkey's 81 provinces? Is this the beginning of a new democratic era of brave youth confronting an inflexible authority, or should we focus on an early taste of some frightening anarchy and pillaging? How much real political water is there behind this dam burst of secular sentiment in Istanbul, a flood which swept the flags of innumerable marginal and not-so-marginal left-wing groups to the heart of Taksim square? How did a polls-obsessed government misjudge the mood so much? Does an ideology that consists in part of turning Turkey into a country in shopping malls linked by dual-carriageway highways not satisfy the people?

I'm not yet sure about all these big questions, except to note once again that the government still won power in 2011 with 50 per cent of the vote, that it did not order its own probably far more numerous supporters out onto the streets of this city of more than 10 million people, that its cementing over of green spaces is nothing new in Turkish urban planning, and that under this administration, the parks and roadside flowers have looked better than anything previously. And for once in the demonstrations themselves, the security forces and police, however excessive their use of tear gas and despite more than 100 people injured, miraculously killed nobody.



In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 09:30:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the political disputes we've seen in Turkey to date have been between the secular-authoritarian Kemalists and the religious-authoritarian AKP and various allies. And to date the AKP has pretty much won.

This is the first time we've seen massive protests by secular, non-authoritarian Turks with a Western concept of personal freedom.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 04:21:44 AM EST
it's about a worldwide malaise about the globalised future that chews up and spits out the environment into shopping malls.

add that to increased awareness of how other cultures are handling their issues, increased education and most of all increased expectations, soured by a gloomy economic horizon when it comes to parlaying said education and hopes into tangible benefits.

people are taking to the streets to protest archaic (eg religious and/or totalitarian) solutions to contemporary problems (eg growing wealth disparity, rigged politics, environmental depradation etc).

power to the peeps... OWS is over there too fanning the furore. erdogan is looking at his possible end, having grossly misjudged the situation.

sad to see ataturk's legacy of secularism being perverted.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 05:04:17 AM EST
all increased expectations, soured by a gloomy economic horizon when it comes to parlaying said education and hopes into tangible benefits.
------------
Yes I think so...
and also everything else you said...
Similar like in people in western world (just add religion in this case), it is about economy but not only that, much more is in stake everywhere...freedom and right to live dissent life is disappearing in front of our eyes...anger is building...and it's always just a spark that brings fire in this world full of tensions...
I am worrying about broader picture...tensions everywhere and it could need just a spark to brings us to some kind of WWIII...God forbid...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 08:54:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
it is about economy but not only that,

most people i talk to here in italy, even more than the economy, bemoan the rending of the social fabric, the dissipation stemming from long years of idleness due to unemployment, or depression and angst from precarious, soul-sapping 'joblets'.

people are very nostalgic for community, for a simpler life when people cared more about their neighbours.

as one old codger told me: "before we would just drop in unannounced on each other, now there always is a reason", which sums it up pretty well.

the economy stings of course, but these people remember much worse, during occupation when their relatives often starved to death.

it's the social atomisation that hurts the most, because of a hardening of the heart that is part of the package of 'modernity', especially the 'berlusconisation', the country's embrace of predatory capitalism as modus operandi these last 25 years, and the lines between organised illegal crime and organised legal-ish crime have become so blurred.

there are some possibly well-intended policies to help immigrants with rent allowances, free lunches for the kids at school etc, but poor italians have to pay and they are getting resentful about this. good hearted people are being manipulated into racism, this is tragic when immigrants have a hard enough time as it is even with state help.

there are signs up by the lega (in an area where they don't get a lot of votes) blaming immigrants for the problems of the country, so unfair.

i don't worry about WW3 as much as the gradual fraying of the instinctive bonds which make us human and compassionate, and the hardening of attitudes which bode no good to the general well-being of the populus.

europe is going to the dogs because our leaders are corrupt and more interested in serving the global 1%, personified by the banksters and their cruel sport, where profits matter more than human lives.

just listened to a great podcast with billy bragg. he sings, writes and plays beautifully about the struggle for justice in this world, it did my heart good to hear him. we need more voices like his to remind us of our higher selves, to help us resist the poison that is sold as solid gold, and take back our economies from the greedy paws of a klepto-class of robber barons...

how is the problem! solutions can only come when enough people impress upon their leaders that we are fed up of being betrayed, over and over.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 06:43:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes...you are so right...
And about immigrants...every time when things become "hairy" here in Australia (like everywhere I assume) immigrants are good target, someone to blame...and anger is directed through the media to them. Lately a lot more illegal immigrants are coming to Australia's shores and every night on TV there is something about them to sparkle anger in population. But hey no one is actually connecting the dots to clearly see WHY the hell they are coming in those numbers. They are people almost exclusively from the countries where WE started wars or meddled in their political fabric supporting one or another group making tensions, for the benefit of our interests. So it is perfectly normal that people are escaping "war zone" and are landing on our soil. There were always economic and political assailants but never in these numbers...
On the other hand as for legal immigrants they are here because we needed them for perpetual growth of our economies...same in EU, USA, Canada...Now when economy is going down the toilet we/they want to send them home...this is their/our home...
I hope you are right about WWIII...but honestly I am worrying because atmosphere is not good ...chaos and lawlessness make tensions and war is a very easy to spark when population is deep drowned in poverty.    And we are all (except 1% of the rich) slowly sliding in to the poverty ...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 07:47:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, a ban on beer. That's blasphemy. The ET can't tolerate that. But beer-lovers, kiss-in demonstrators, and tree-huggers are only one part of the protests. I am surprised how little criticism of the militaristic and nationalistic Kemalist elites I find here. I anything and anyone a desirable ally for you in your fight against religious-informed politics? Must I remind you who killed (literally!) the Turkish left in the 1980's?

There are many groups who are pissed off with the AKP's authoritarian style, but I don't doubt the majority of Turks will re-elect them. The polarisation has increased, that's all. The political discourse, if that's the word, has become nastier.

Who Are Turkey's Protesters? The View From Taksim Square - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Turkey is not on the brink of a revolution. A Turkish Spring is not afoot. Erdogan is no dictator. He is a democratically elected leader who has been acting in an increasingly undemocratic way. And as Erdogan himself acknowledged, his fate will be decided at the ballot box, not in the streets. 
(I found all of this article very informative)
by Katrin on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 06:18:25 AM EST
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/istanbul-protests-who-are-protesters-turkey.html
Oops! Looks like something broke. Please try back in a couple of minutes.

I guess I will have to do that.

In the meantime, what does it say about the role militaristic and nationalistic Kemalist elites? Directing the protests or trying to jump on the bandwagon or being sidelined by the protests?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 06:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never seen the riot police beat participants in a right-wing astroturf demo to within an inch of their lives.

I guess there's a first for everything, but it remains to be seen whether this is one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 07:16:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no, this is not a right wing astroturf demo. It is not a movement either. It is a protest from many different angles. Harmless for Erdogan, because the aims of the protesters are so dis-united. Some want beer, some want to rescue the park, some point at the Armenian history of the park, some are missing the military playground of the Kurdish war, and some want the good old times back when women with headscarves were the cleaners and knew their place and education and jobs were for secular city-dwellers.
by Katrin on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 07:28:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think women with headscarves are not getting a lot of jobs in Erdogan's Turkey either.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 09:14:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They can now get an education while before they were banned from universities. I don't believe they will leave it at that.
by Katrin on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 02:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can now get an education while before they were banned from universities.

That's an offensive remark. Nobody was banned from university in Turkey for being a woman. There was a secular dress code. If you can name a country where women's rights were promoted through the imposition of "public decency" through "modest" Islamic dress, that would make an interesting discussion.

In formerly-secular Tunisia, universities are still managing to hold out against the fascist thugs who are trying to impose the veil. I think you should go and check it out, then decide which side you're on.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:05:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I find your remark offensive, and your insinuation that the veil always is imposed mendacious, and your labeling of fascism ridiculous.

I am on the side of all women who want to decide on their own clothes. It's none of your business. I oppose the colonialist who wants to impose western dresscode on the primitives to elevate them towards civilisation just as much as his bearded counterpart who mumbles about public decency. They are two sides of the same coin.

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Im with Katrin, women should be able to choose, and if they prefere headscarves thats fine with me.

Not to long ago they used to be very fashionable.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They weren't fashionable. They were required by modesty dress codes and women made them into an item of fashion, naturally.

Poor women, older women and rural women just wore plain black headscarves. Celebrities were allowed some latitude.

Let's not forget the origin of the headscarf in Mesopotamian-matrix cultures (which includes Islam and the West): "upright" women (i.e., not prostitutes or slaves) were required to wear a headscarf, and prostitutes and slaves were forbidden from wearing it. In this way, the absence of a headscarf indicated availability as a rape target. Whether "upright" women wear ugly or fashionable scarves is beside the point, really.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:16:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not 40 years ago - it was fashion and it was used to protect against wind and rain. And it was a fashion statement.

However you are correct too. But then shouldn't we also fight the use of wigs?

I used to work in a quartier where many jews lived - at first I was amazed the most of the women there had wigs on. Only later I found out, the use them for the same reason muslim women use scarves.

Tzniut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hair covering [edit] Three styles of hair covering common among married Jewish women. From left to right: snood, fall, and hat.

Jewish law requires married women to cover their hair;[3][4] according to the Talmud this is a biblical requirement,[5][6] which in this context is called dat Moshe (the law of Moses).[7][8] The most common hair coverings in the Haredi community are the sheitel (wig), the snood, and the mitpachat (Hebrew: scarf) or tichel (Yiddish); some Haredi women cover their hair covering with an additional hat or beret. The practice of covering hair with wigs, or detached hair, is debated among halachic authorities. Many authorities, including Rabbi Moshe Feinstein,[9] permitted it, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe actively encouraged it,[10] while some authorities forbid it.

I think we should stop fighting the scarves, etc. and focus on the ideologies that limit the choice.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:24:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The classic:
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's hair, with its straight bangs, beehive top and cascading locks, is proving popular among Halloween partygoers and some Orthodox Jewish women.

As Americans gear up for Halloween and Election Day soon after, New Yorkers are snapping up Palin-style wigs and glasses regardless of their political leanings, costume shop owners say.

And in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, the look has become popular among some Orthodox Jewish women, who buy wigs to cover their hair for religious reasons. Made of human hair, the Palin-style wigs cost $695 or more.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:30:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. But in the current Islamophobic political climate a headscarf no longer can be fashionable for white women as in the 1960's when those photos were made. Unthinkable. Another instance of "collateral damage". There is a war on Muslims on, and like all wars part of the fighting is about women's bodies. Rape as a means of war and enforced nakedness are the cousins of the headscarf ban.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not always. I was in Martina Franca (Apulia) a few years ago on some religious festival, where it looked like all the women from the town were marching with headscarves (referred to by the cynics as "Catholic burkas").
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Headscarves are de rigueur for Catholic politicians meeting the pope. Spanish conservatives wear them with a high comb (peineta). The headscarf can actually be made out of transparent lace, it doesn't have to hide the hair from view. But it's all a symbol of patriarchal submission and moral rectitude.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 06:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a Catholic Prime Minister submitting to a patriarch in white:

Here are the Spanish deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary General of her political party submitting to a patriarch in red and black:

You can tell the Party Secretary General is a true conservative and the Deputy Prime Minister is an opportunist because the former actually knows how to wear a comb.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:05:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your domestic preoccupations are making you say terrifyingly inept things. This is about a Muslim-majority country. In Turkey, the headscarf is predominantly a symbol of conservatism and social backwardness. You may have missed this graph posted by Migeru, it shows inactivity rates for 15-24 year olds and their reasons for not participating in the labour force.

The standout is Turkey, in the last line. The young men are either working or in education. The young women are at home, looking after their brothers and/or grandma, or already married. And you can bet they are wearing headscarves. And you are bet they aren't going to university.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you believe you change that by banning them from university?
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 06:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I believe that a young woman from a culturally-conservative, headscarf-wearing milieu who manages to complete a secondary education instead of being kept at home to raise her brothers or married off at the age of 15 or so, will typically be eager to cast off the backward ways which hold her sister back, and the headscarf too.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 06:17:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently you don't often speak to some of the many self-confident girls who want an university education and a headscarf then. They won't meekly comply with the dress code you want to impose on them.  I don't want to heat up the tone but I find your decreeing the headscarf "backward" arrogant.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 06:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're talking at cross-purposes. You seem to be referring exclusively to immigrants of Muslim culture in Europe.

To come back to Turkey. University students have been allowed to wear headscarves since 2010. Civil servants are still banned from wearing them. It appears that university professors may soon be allowed to wear them.

In a country where the majority is Muslim, and where the elected government is Islamic, with increasingly authoritarian tendencies, and where the press is tightly controlled, do you see any problem with figures of authority in a place of learning being dressed in an explicitly religious manner?

I find your decreeing the headscarf "backward" arrogant.

The headscarf is backward, in the general case, because it is an explicit sign of male dominance over women. This is clearly understood by all but the most militant of activists.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:35:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" The headscarf is backward, in the general case, because it is an explicit sign of male dominance over women."

The BAN on the headscarf is is an explicit sign of male dominance over women in the same way as imposing compulsory headscarves. We simply want the freedom to choose our own clothes. And yes, that includes every woman, university professors too. I suspect you would not have any problems with figures of authority in a place of learning displaying symbols of anti-religiosity. Aren't you exaggerating the use of dictatorial means in your fight against religion, especially Islamic religion?

" This is clearly understood by all but the most militant of activists."

You don't call that an argument, do you?

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 08:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I suspect you would not have any problems with figures of authority in a place of learning displaying symbols of anti-religiosity."

I resent your suspicion. What about if the authority figure wears a political party badge? That of the dominant political party? Not a problem for you either I suppose?

"You don't call that an argument, do you?

No, I call that sarcasm, actually.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 08:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
displaying symbols of anti-religiosity

What the heck is a symbol of anti-religiosity? Who displays that on a regular basis? Are we erecting straw patriarchs, now?

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:08:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are free to invent one of your own. Or wear a sticker "Atheism forever" for all I care.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would I want to? To please religionists like you?

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:25:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, what makes you say that flying spaghetti monster paraphernalia is a symbol of anti-religiosity? It was allowed on an ID photo precisely because it was claimed to be a symbol of religiosity.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:39:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it is a mock religion, the purpose of which is to mock regulations giving preferential treatment to that which can claim the religious label. As such it is unlikely to be used by anyone other then agnostics/atheists.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:03:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I resent your suspicion. What about if the authority figure wears a political party badge?"

My suspicion was about symbols of anti-religiosity, not about party badges. I note that you didn't deny it.

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:15:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, you agree that a figure of authority wearing a party badge of the dominant party is a problem. Good.

Now, how is it that a figure of authority wearing symbols of the dominant religion (which is that of the explicitly religious dominant party which is exhibiting authoritarian tendencies) is not a problem?

I suppose it's not a problem if I'm a conservative Turkish Muslim student. But what if I am a student who is not a Muslim? (Or not the correct variety of Muslim?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:52:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because religion has obviously nothing to do with power, ideology or politics.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:08:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, putting words in my mouth? It's not the same. There is no conflict of conscience involved. You would have to point which party badge must be worn in order not tofeel naked. Do we at least agree that the definition of naked or unsufficiently dressed is culturally defined? I really wonder why you think you can make one dress code, that of the (former) coloniser, compulsory all over the world.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 12:11:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, next you'll be telling us that socialising girls to feel dirty if they haven't submitted to genital mutilation is "culture" and therefore beyond reproach.

Acculturation that involves making people feel bad about themselves is psychological abuse.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 01:02:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a reason that (according to a phd-thesis in antropology I read when I should have been cramming for a test, damn you university libraries) genital mutilation is a weaker practise then clothing in groups that practise it, and that is the obvious physical pain. There is still group pressure on the parents (or perceived group pressure in some cases, where the only impetous came from evening rags claiming that genital mutilation was common in their immigrant group), in particular the wish for their daugthers to have a normal life within the group.

And that leads to stuff like a Swedish minister proposing mandatory gyn-examinations for all girls (proposal eventually dropped). But if you punish not the abuse but the sufferers of the consequences of said abuse, then it is dual punishment.

The western ideals of skinny women is causing eating disorders. And it is not solved by banning skinny women from holding public positions.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 02:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you really not know the difference between a mutiliation of girls and CLOTHES?
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:25:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's wider than the difference between scaring girls with being considered sluts and possibly being raped if they don't wear a headscarf, and traumatising small children with images of hell and fear of eternal damnation for assorted mortal sins as used to be standard fare in Catholic education not so long ago.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:30:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's just religion. So it's fine.

(Never mind all the paedophiles and other mutant psycho-freaks in Catholicism.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 09:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you notice that you were the person, just a few posts above, making the same type of comparison:

"Rape as a means of war and enforced nakedness are the cousins of the headscarf ban."

by cagatacos on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 06:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Miguel constructed a parallel between advocating freedom of choice of one's own clothes and advocating the mutiliation of girls' genitals that is practised in some ethnic groups. I constructed a parallel between one group imposing a ban on another group's dress code with forced nakedness and rape as a means of war. (Urban seculars against rural traditionalists or indigenous majority against immigrant minority) I really find difficult to understand how that can be the same for you.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 10:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have deformed Migeru's argument.  Muslim women are strongly, forcefully conditioned as to how they must appear (or rather, disappear) in public. This is not optional, in the general case. A woman who chooses her own appearance, in many Muslim families, will be insulted, humiliated, often abused and beaten, and ultimately excluded (see Amina, below).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 10:34:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Muslim women are strongly, forcefully conditioned as to how they must appear (or rather, disappear) in public."

As opposed to western women who are free... as long as they choose jeans and a tight t-shirt, not wide coat and headscarf. Sorry, this is just orientalist bullshit.

by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 12:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh wait, I see you're right. Women in European cities are tightly constrained in what they are allowed to wear. They all dress the same, now that I think of it : every woman I've seen today wore jeans and a tight T-shirt, except for the few liberated ones who wear a long shapeless dress and a headscarf.

Tell me again, what planet are you living on? It's got a good internet connection, at least.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 01:52:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you never heard of women being discriminated or even assaulted for their headscarf? Banned from school for it? Which planet are you living on?
by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 02:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was ridiculing your remark :

western women who are free... as long as they choose jeans and a tight t-shirt, not wide coat and headscarf.

i.e. can you explain how this constraint works, because I can't see it.

I have two teenage daughters. They used to be fashion followers, very sharp ones. Now they dress how they like (which tends to make them fashion leaders).

So, intuitively, I have a pretty good understanding how cultural constraints influence the way women dress, and how that evolves when women feel independent of cultural constraints.

Jeans and a T-shirt, sometimes.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 03:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So - let's see that long list of Western women arrested by the police for not wearing the religiously prescribed jeans and a tee then.

Take as long as you need. We'll wait.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 01:54:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is arrested by the police for violating a dress code? What are you talking about?
by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 02:47:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Miguel constructed a parallel between advocating freedom of choice of one's own clothes and advocating the mutiliation of girls' genitals that is practised in some ethnic groups.

Katrin, since you still haven't got what I said I'll say it again.

It's the patriarchal culture that will use rape and honor killings as a means of domination that also enforces modesty dresscodes as "protection" against those forms of physical violence. The physical violence then gets sublimated into psychological violence and social violence (shunning, shaming) but the dress code is as much a means of domination as the physical violence.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 11:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I got that you said defending the right of women to choose their own clothes was connected to defending FGM (see your own post), and you might guess that I resent that. Now you talk of enforcing "modesty dresscodes" and I wonder if you have got that I am not defending enforcing anything, I am defending choice.
As to the claim that choosing "modest" clothing protects against rape: you don't need Islamic dress codes for that, western men tell that tale too. I am talking about the reverse though: if I consider a piece of clothing necessary, that's that. If a different ethnic or social group bans me from donning that piece of clothing, because they want to enforce their own dress code over mine, that is forced nakedness and reminiscent/related to rape as a means of war.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 12:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You do realize that there is a difference between displaying symbols of a powerless minority religion and displaying the symbols of a majority religion which is a real political threat to secular institutions, right?

Islamic conservatism is living memory for Turkey, the same way the Great Patriotic War is living memory for Russia.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 02:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might be true if the secular dress codes only applied to women, but in Turkey they do not.  The fez, a popular item of male headwear throughout the Muslim world, as well as in many freemason taverns in the West, was banned in Turkish universities and public forums too.
by santiago on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And this shows that for the sake of the Turkish state banning headscarfs has little to do with fighting patriarcal values, and everything to do with creating a Turkish identity to replace the more universal muslim identity under the Ottoman empire. It is similar to banning beards (Russia), banning shaving (Taliban), banning long hair in a braid (China) or whatever example one might prefer. Hair is apparently very important in the construction of identities.

So to argue that the Turkish state should uphold the dresscode established in the early 20th century, also lends support for upholding that definition of Turkishness. And it may be secular, but it is many other things too.

So bring back the fez!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 02:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is right. And I think this argument gets us nowhere. There are plenty of women in American universities who are feminist but still religious and see the headscarf as religious clothing.

The real question here is one of obligation and or coercion. We don't know what kinds of coercion go into these decisions, but to absolutely state that the choice should be forbidden seems drastic and totally against liberation.

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You, like Katrin, are confusing the issue of an immigrant minority (in the US or Europe) holding onto identity symbols, with the situation of women in Muslim majority countries.

In recent years, in many such countries (where women generally wear headscarves in rural areas or small towns, but much less so in cities), there has been a resurgence of headscarf-wearing. This has coincided with the emergence of fundamentalist islam as a political movement, and is indissociable from it. For many women who formerly had a degree of freedom in how they dress, this freedom has been heavily restricted : depending on time and place, women may be harassed on the street if they are "immodestly" dressed. In her home town, it is unthinkable for my wife to go to the beach and wear an ordinary bathing costume; this would have been commonplace twenty years ago. Friends of hers, subject to social pressure, have abandoned their careers and literally taken the veil, disappearing from public view in their husbands' houses.

So, for those who are committed to public freedoms and the emancipation of women, the freedom to wear a headscarf (or, in some places, the niqab) for a university student or a civil servant is seen as the thin end of the wedge : how long until social pressure imposes it on the majority? How long can the minority retain their freedom to dress otherwise? Without a doubt, political islam wants to follow the Iranian example. Egypt is on that road.

In those countries, including Turkey, which have a secular practice with respect to education and civil service, it's something which is worth defending. In particular, as a space of liberty for women.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 12:17:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like I said, there is no way to account for who is being coerced, and even if I totally agreed with you that 99% of it is coercion, an outright banning does not seem liberal in the least.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 12:31:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that if you can identify a behavior that is in 99 % of the cases symptomatic of an abusive relationship, you'd be well advised to ban that behavior.

Sucks to be in the 1 % for whom it isn't the case, just like it sucks to be in the 1 % of habitual cocaine users who have their habit under control.

But of course, it would be far too bold to claim that the scarf is that firmly associated with abusive relationships. If that were not the case, we wouldn't be having this discussion at all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 12:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I get what you're saying but it verges way too close to reactionary slippery slope arguments for me. In the sense that we are talking about clothing here, rather than psychotropic drugs. One of these is literally related to behavior. The other isn't.  

I do get your larger point, but would hope that everyone sees the material difference between objects and the behaviors they induce.

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 01:33:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 02:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Less flippantly, attacking the symbols of a behavior or political movement that you dislike serves to stigmatize and marginalize that behavior or movement.

It may seem like silly political correctness to forswear, say, misogynist cusswords. But it really does make a difference to patterns of thought and behavior when people who use such cusswords are consistently told that their misogyny is unacceptable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 02:18:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But attacking symbols that are used by a wider community then your political opponents has a very clear risk of broadening your opponents support among that community. And if I understand the situation correctly in Turkey, the headscarf is both a class marker and a religious marker.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 02:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously a marginalization strategy only works if it drives wedges into the coalition you want to defeat. Ideally, you want to sequentially marginalize the symbols of each part of the coalition you don't like.

Headscarves may or may not be the smartest place to start delegitimizing religious overreach. That depends on the time and place. I just note that there is nothing inherently illegitimate about marginalization strategies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can more easily see the connection between a head scarf and misogynistic hate speech than the earlier, but the distance is too great still.  If we were talking about burqas, this would be entirely different.

Hate speech, for one, is clearly hateful--whether we want to ban it or not. The head scarf is not so obviously a symbol of repression.

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, the headscarf is insidious.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insidious and a piece of cloth that covers your head.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 10:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is not the cloth headgear, the problem is the morons who call women whores in public (or beat them, or worse) for not wearing it.

I though we were all agreed it was the assholes that were the problem, not the cloth.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 11:35:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There seems to be little ground to hold either position.

Yes, a society that curtails rights in such a fashion has big problems, and the state's means to respond (banning of clothing) creates another problem. The banning of a material item with symbolic value.

by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 12:51:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In some parts of the American south, you have to wear a baseball hat with a motor oil insignia to show how appropriately retrograde you are. I'd like to see less of those as well!
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 10:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In recent years, in many such countries (where women generally wear headscarves in rural areas or small towns, but much less so in cities), there has been a resurgence of headscarf-wearing. This has coincided with the emergence of fundamentalist islam as a political movement weakening of the neo-colonial powers to enforce their dress code, and is indissociable from it.

You say that before there was freedom and now there is pressure. You must be blinded by your bias. The women who are now free to discard western dress see it differently.

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Afghanistan and Pakistan girls are also free to stop going to school, and free to get themselves a bullet in the head for going to school.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what promises can schools still make for the girls' futures? There is your reason why. You won't change that by a ban on headscarves.  
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:03:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't believe you took my "free" at face value.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am offering you food for thought why the Taliban get away with that.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But there is an easy way out of that of course: a ban on headscarves.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh FFS.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Culture" is a bitchmean bastard.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talk to my wife about it. Seriously.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 03:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From previous threads, it's clear Katrin is just fine with conservative backwardness as long as it's a free choice.

Or something.

Honestly, I've given up trying to make any sense of arguments that seem to boil down to 'Whatever religious types do is cool with me, but you crazy Westerners should get over yourselves already.'

For the record, I continue to be an equal opportunity bigot. Religions and aggressive ideologies - including our very own beloved market capitalism - are terrible, terrible things because they're such fertile breeding grounds for sociopathic values and behaviours, and there is nothing even remotely progressive about trapping people's minds and controlling their behaviour with idiot narratives that hate reality, enforced by violence if necessary.

I don't really distinguish between religions and ideologies, because they all seem to devolve in the same direction.

You can always point to odd little progressive exceptions - but generally not.

But at least they make it possible to debate stupid irrelevant things and distract us all from creating the kind of civilisation we could be building.

So yeah, there's that.

(Oh, and I wear a hat, which makes very unfashionable. So it goes.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 08:12:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Honestly, I've given up trying to make any sense of arguments that seem to boil down to 'Whatever religious types do is cool with me, but you crazy Westerners should get over yourselves already.'"

Interesting text. You contrast "religious types" and "(crazy) Westerners", so apparently WesternersTM aren't religious. And you are putting things in my mouth.

I am ready to defend your freedom to wear a headscarf, a kipa, a pasta-sieve, or a bird's nest or none of them. I have no issue with people displaying "Atheism forever" or whatever on their clothes either.

Why can't you guys accept that women want the freedom to wear clothes of their own choice?

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 08:25:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in the current Islamophobic political climate a headscarf no longer can be fashionable for white women as in the 1960's when those photos were made.

Excuse me, but like hat for men, which went out of fashion after WWII, headscarves for Western women went out of fashion in the 1960s independently of islamophobia, which is a post-1990s phenomenon as far as I can tell.

In any case, black headscarves are still "in fashion" with old rural women in parts of Southern and Eastern Europe. Because the headscarf itself has more to do with conservative sexual mores than with anything else.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 06:55:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right, headscarves as fashionable clothes are connected with the fashion of hairstyles, of course. The hairstyles of the 1960's weren't meant to survive wind.

In some contexts the headscarf has to do with conservative roles, in some contexts it is what "backward" immigrants wear (very much a class marker) and in some contexts it is about fashion or simply practical. The current hatred of the headscarf is Islamophobian, though. I have never heard of attempts to ban Russian immigrants from wearing a headscarf, but it is always debated for Muslims.

Many Muslim women wear a headscarf as a means to say "fuck you" to Islamophobes and racists. For many other women it is a means of freeing themselves from their families and gaining economic independence. Western women had to go through the same phase: proving that getting an education and a qualified job, and an income of one's own is respectable and not connected to lax sexual mores. (Independent decisions about sexual mores can only be made by the economically independent.) Economic independence of brown skinned women is scary not only for families with tribal lifestyle, but for privileged whites too: they suddenly have to compete for the same jobs. Imagine, a qualified brown woman with a scarf being the boss of a white man. Ha!

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an interesting question. In any given society, there are always dress codes. There is no doubt that I could have more easily gained advancement in my career if I had paid more attention to this (I have never worn a tie on a regular basis). Those who rebel against the dress code of their milieu always pay the price. Obviously, I'm unhappy about this. It's a fact of life.

Thinking about it, when I see a woman wearing a headscarf in a professional capacity, it is generally in a menial, poorly paid job (e.g. the cleaner in my building). There are exceptions : I have a couple of headscarf-wearing acquaintances who are high-powered professionals : they are expatriates from Arab countries.

The great majority of self-identifying Muslim women I know, whether practicing or not, do not wear headscarves.

I suppose what I'm saying is that we all make our choices on these things : we are all individuals. Except when we're not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 03:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think your tie is not quite the right comparison: ties aren't meant to cover nakedness, they belong to the concept of manners/appropriateness as opposed to the concept of decency. For men it's really not the topic, as long as you leave your pants on you are not naked. No ambiguities. Simple. For women the line is more subtle and depends on where we are (I can sunbathe topless on most European beaches, but not in all public parks, for instance.) These written and unwritten rules have one constant though: they ban nakedness (whatever the definition) and demand a cover. With the Islamic headscarf it is the other way round: there the debate aims at enforcing nakedness. Forced nakedness is extremely hostile and humiliating in all cultures. It is a typical means of war, though.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 06:42:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nakedness is self-evidently a cultural construct. There comes a time when you have to decide what compromises you are prepared to make if you wish to live within a certain environment. In a sense, by refusing a tie I was excluding myself: I was the naked one, I was not decently dressed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 07:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if you have followed Amina's story. She's the "Tunisian Femen". She became famous when she posted these photos of herself on the internet :


"My body belongs to me, it is not the source of anyone's honour"

She is currently, in practice, a political prisoner.
Persecuted, and prosecuted, because she dares to assert control of her own body.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 10:26:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hilarious, this nipple-less version of the photos! It somehow harms the argument, doesn't it? Apparently Tunisian users have to be more tolerant towards nakedness than ET's readers. We need the censured version here.

That's the only hilarious aspect of your post though. Yes, I have heard of Amina's case, and I have heard about that atrocious organisation, Femen. She has been treated horribly, by the police and by her family. And apparently Femen did not warn her when they prepared the action, that the normal thing when you get arrested for a provocative action is a search of your home. Every activist should know that. Tidy up in time, so that the police doesn't get stoned with your marijuana stocks or gets hurt by the arms you possess illegally. So, now Amina is prosecuted for the possession of pepper spray. I assume Femen wanted to create a martyr, because this could have been avoided easily. But what can you expect of an Islamophobian Holocaust-denialist organisation of sexist idiots. Eurogreen, how much lower are you prepared to go in your obsession with Islam?

by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 12:56:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can agree that the intervention of the European femen was catastrophically inappropriate. They will presumably do jail.

But you seem to have your chronology messed up. Amina was arrested for spray-painting the word "Femen" on a wall near a cemetary. Incredibly, the only thing they initially charged her with was possessing the pepper spray when she was arrested. (which is only illegal through a creative interpretation of a law of 1896, i.e. colonial period). (She would have been ill-advised to walk around with no protection at all, given that her face is well-known and plenty of men would wish to assault her).

After two weeks in custody she was fined about €150 for the pepper spray, released, and immediately re-arrested for desecrating a cemetary and public indecency. i.e. they have decided to keep her locked up.

I have no idea why you choose to insult me for referring to Amina's case. You may disapprove of her choice of allies, but do you for some reason disapprove of her courageous and extremely pertinent activism?

As for my obsession with islam... There is nothing wrong, from a political and human rights point of view, with being concerned with the situation of women in islamic society. I have been a feminist for as long as I have been able to think, and I don't make exceptions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 02:04:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If anything I wrote insulted you, I am sorry. That was not intentional. I don't even know what you mean. Will you tell me?

Amina's choice of an ally is abysmal, and apparently Femen had the intention of producing a martyr, that means Amina's violent treatment was probably calculated by them. I condemn that. I don't find her activism particularly pertinent. I dislike this apotheosis of naked youth and I condemn her making feminist activism difficult for other women. I hasten to add that all this does not justify the violence and the exaggerated prosecution, so don't claim I said that.  

by Katrin on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 02:50:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurogreen, how much lower are you prepared to go in your obsession with Islam?

I'm low, I'm obsessed with islam. Excuse me for mistaking this for an insult.

I don't find her activism particularly pertinent. I dislike this apotheosis of naked youth and I condemn her making feminist activism difficult for other women

Feminist activism is difficult (pretty near impossible) for women in Tunisia because an islamist party is in power issuing retrograde decrees, and black-shirted Salafist thugs are running around destroying art installations and beating up high-school students who do the Harlem shake (I was about to say that I'm not asserting that doing the harlem shake is a feminist act : but actually, what the salafists objected to was, among other things, boys and girls dancing together. So yes, it was a feminist act).

I understand that you are deeply uncomfortable with the issue of how political islam oppresses women, notably with respect to dress codes and self-image (without even going into issues of family law, property rights etc...). I observe that in general, for you, a colonial legacy seems to trump all other issues, including feminism. Also, any criticism of religion seems to be taboo with you. Hence, we disagree; but this does not amount to an "obsession with Islam" on my part, but rather a selective blindness on yours.

I observe that Amina's original act was far too extreme to be acceptable to a majority of Tunisians -- this is hardly surprising -- but it has brought her support from a minority who recognise that her body is indeed her own, and not the source of anyone's honour. She seems to have kick-started a national debate, and that's a very positive thing. She has paid a heavy price for that, but she is unrepentant.

However I am not aware of any violent treatment she may have received from the police. The stupid intervention of the Femen is, however, probably responsible for her re-arrest, since she is now likely to be charged with "criminal conspiracy".

In any case, she has become a cause célèbre locally, and the political power is treading carefully with her :

Tunisie : début du procès des trois Femen européennes - Monde - MYTF1News Tunisia: start of the trial of the three European FEMEN - World - MYTF1News
Le porte-parole de la présidence tunisienne, Adnène Manser a refusé de s'exprimer sur le cas des trois Européennes. En revanche, il juge l'action d'Amina "dangereuse" à Kairouan, tout en soulignant que son arrestation l'avait "sauvée" des habitants et de militants salafistes en colère. "Cette jeune fille s'est exposée au danger et a exposé la ville au danger d'une tuerie. Je considère que son arrestation l'a protégée, sauvée (...) Je sympathise avec son droit à l'expression", a-t-il dit mardi à la radio Kalima.The spokesman of the Tunisian Presidency Adnène Manser has refused to comment on the case of the three Europeans. However, he considers that Amina's action in Kairouan was "dangerous", while stressing that her arrest had "saved" her from angry inhabitants and Salafi activists. "This girl exposed herself to risks and exposed the city to the danger of a massacre. I believe that her arrest protected, saved her (...) I sympathize with her right to expression", he said on Tuesday to radio Kalima.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 03:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are painting Femen, a borderline fascist organisation, in a positive light, and you equal Islam and fascism. You support propagating an image of the female body that excludes the majority of women while denying agency to the women who don't submit to the dress code you propagate. And you feel insulted. I wasn't angry before, but I am now.

Femen's sabotaging the Tunisian women's movement has triggered off some comment from authors whose analysis has some flaws in the eyes of Femen supporters: they are non-white and Muslim. The last thing Tunisia needs is some white women reviving a rite from colonial days demanding that native women discard their primitive clothes and don European ones instead.
"I understand that you are deeply uncomfortable with the issue of how political islam oppresses women, notably with respect to dress codes and self-image (without even going into issues of family law, property rights etc...)."
I find your distortions of my position insulting, by the way. The debate of issues like family law is being muted by a war on women who chose to wear non-European clothes, Mr Feminist. This war on women in Islamic garb prevents the feminist movement that its proponents pretend to support.

by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:22:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Femen, a borderline fascist organisation

Say what!?

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:27:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What attribute would you like better for an organisation that transports a more than problematic image of the female body, that is reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl's efforts? How much respect deserves an organisation that marches through Hamburg's red-light district in the last week of January, claiming prostitution was a Holocaust and painting "Arbeit macht frei" on their way?

Do you suggest a better word?

by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:57:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"controversial"...

I hope we're not about to get into a debate of whether the proper feminist position is for or against prostitution.

I'm also not going to get into a debate of whether Leni Riefenstahl's fascination with athletic bodies is fascistic, or whether it has anything to do with the Turkish protests.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 07:01:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I hope we're not about to get into a debate of whether prostitution and the Holocaust are the same.
by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 11:22:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Femen, a borderline fascist organisation"

Hmm. Do you think PETA is a borderline fascist organisation too?

I don't think you should answer the sloppiness and carelessness of (political) expression by FEMEN with the same behaviuor.

by IM on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 12:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are painting Femen, a borderline fascist organisation, in a positive light

I am painting Amina in a positive light. We are united in condemning the intervention of the European femen.  I'm not interested in discussing here whether or not Femen are "borderline fascist", but Amina is not.

I wasn't angry before, but I am now.

You're angry with a strawman.

you [equate] Islam and fascism

That's a lie. If you don't retract it, I'll probably get angry.

I have equated salafism with fascism (Jake has argued persuasively elsewhere that this is inaccurate, that they are better described as "an extreme-right potential fascist ally". I accept his definition.) If you are claiming that salafism equals islam, then that is absurd and offensive, to me and to the vast majority of Muslims.

I find your distortions of my position insulting, by the way.

If you're not deeply uncomfortable with the issue of how political islam oppresses women, notably with respect to dress codes and self-image, then why do you consistently refuse to discuss it? As far as I can tell, you seem to be saying that discussing this issue impedes and undermines discussion on how political islam oppresses women through family law. OK, let's discuss that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 08:02:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have an issue with the headscarf. Headscarf as in Islam, not as in Salafism. There are many different interpretations of Islam (let alone mere tradition) that promote the headscarf, but you immediately bring up salafism when the headscarf is mentioned, or more generally "political Islam" against which you rant, and which you call fascist whenever Jake isn't around to stop you. You probably don't get that there are only two reference systems for a political debate of legislation, the colonial power's or the Islamic one. If you deny that political Islam needn't be reactionary that's probably because you don't want progressive Islam. You don't even want to accept women's choice of clothes either, after all.
by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 11:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to reply to this. It's just a rant. You're not even talking to me, but to some strawman of your invention. You systematically avoid responding to any of the points I raise.

I will however comment on your interesting assertion that "political Islam needn't be reactionary", because this, at least, is new material.

This assertion has several problems. Firstly, throughout the islamic world, parties of the left generally consider that religion should be left outside of the political sphere. This is in accordance with the principle that democratic institutions, and the state itself, should be secular. This is the only coherent position possible for the left, because explicitly Islamic institutions are by construction discriminatory and exclusionary.

Secondly, the ground is already occupied. Religious-based parties in the Maghreb, though pretty clueless on economic issues, cover the spectrum from centre-right to extreme right. That this needn't be the case is something of a pious wish. The predominant form of Islam in Tunisia is sufism, which is certainly more tolerant and progressive than, for example, wahabism. This is under attack by the fundamentalists : salafists funded externally, who run around destroying sufi holy places etc : and the political influence of the sufi tendency within islamic parties is marginal. The example of Abdelfattah Mourou is interesting : he founded Ennahda in the 1970s, and is still its vice-president. He is perhaps on the centre-left. But he has been completely marginalised within his own party.

Thirdly, there is the question of feminism. It's hard to imagine women engaging with an explicitly islamic progressive party : not because Islam is inherently reactionary, but because all its political instruments are. How can a party of the left promote sharia law? It would need to be thoroughly reformed before it could be acceptable; and it is unreformable, because it is based on tradition.

Admittedly, this leaves the left at a severe disadvantage. Whatever the activists' private beliefs, they will be easy to characterise as godless, since they do not refer to god in their political action. And the right has the advantage of unity behind the shield of religion, whereas the left seems condemned to perpetual fragmentation.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 12:01:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, apparently you think it is your privilege to start a conversation with being offended, twisting reality on your way, go on to say that I insulted you while you call my posts a rant. I am speechless.

As to your rant: I believe the left can either try to find a playground of their own, or work in the framework of Islamic law. Western legal systems simply are no longer enforcable. Your "they do not refer to god in their political action" is astonishing. This is about the legal framework, not about God or religion. I don't understand your reference about Sharia being "unreformable, because it is based on tradition". Male and female legal scholars have reformed Islamic law throughout the centuries, so what are you talking about?

by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 03:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your "they do not refer to god in their political action" is astonishing. This is about the legal framework, not about God or religion.
Aren't we talking about a legal system whose primary source of jurisprudence is theological?

It is far-fetched to claim that the legal framework in muslim countries does not involve God or religion. In Europe the Bible is no longer considered a source of law, though it once was. Islamists advocate returning to the Quran and Hadiths as primary sources of law.

Is this even controversial?

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 04:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually the rationale of Islamic law is that God is just and that Sharia is the essence of justice. If applying Sharia leads to unjust results, the interpretation must be faulty. Feminism is about justice too. The aim of Islamic feminism is the prevention of flawed and therefore injust interpretation.

I trust those young headscarf-clad women who are no longer banned from university to fight for this justice. You shouldn't have any illusions that they will trust to the sort of law and justice "the west" wants them to adopt. They have had enough of that.

by Katrin on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:01:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're talking about Turkey, right? You're aware that it's a secular republic? and that before that, the Ottoman empire was ecumenical in nature, and people were not submitted to the laws of a religion they did not acknowledge as their own?

And you appear to be advocating the introduction of sharia law in Turkey? Do you think this is progressive?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am advocating that progressives take part in an ongoing process, instead of disappearing into irrelevance. You on the other hand have so far only advocated to force women who do not meekly submit to your dress code out of education systems.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 04:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I'm trying to understand your position :

you think that, specifically in Turkey, left-wing Muslims should co-operate with right-wing Muslims in transforming their secular republic into an Islamic one?

You think that they should work to transform sharia law, which in every actual jurisdiction where it applies, is overwhelmingly patriarchal and misogynist, in order that it should become progressive?

What could possibly go wrong?

I wonder what the Iranian left would think of your positions?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 05:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. I am saying that the transformation from European concepts of secularity towards a more Islamic informed constitution is taking place and unstoppable. Progressives can waste energy by fighting against windmills or they can participate in shaping this process. I argue for the latter. Sharia is not inherently reactionary, conservative, misogynist, repressive. It becomes all that if left to reactionaries.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 07:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That argument is strongly reminiscent of a certain strain of Leninist denialism which insists upon revolutionary inevitability (well it certainly is inevitable if no effort is mustered to stop it...) and the distinction between Actual Marxism-Leninism and Actually Existing Marxism-Leninism.

Tell me, how does Actually Existing Sharia work out where it, you know, actually exists?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 08:19:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tell me, where is the west still able to shape a discourse (as opposed to reacting to one or saying it with a drone)?
by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 10:16:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in the West either...

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 10:55:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tell me, where is this alleged religious left you keep pinning your hopes on able to shape a discourse?

As far as I can tell, this Islamic version of Liberation Theology (and we all remember how well that went down...) has never existed as a serious political contender outside your imagination.

Turkey at least has a healthy secular labor movement. What tangible political power does this mirage of a supposedly left-wing Islamist faction bring to the table?

The Arab, Persian and Turkish left - PLO, PKK, Nasserites, you name it - has always been secular nationalists. This whole Sunni revival shit is and has always been a far-right distraction sponsored by crazy Saudi oligarchs.

On the sectarian side of the table, we have Erdogan and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, whose only problem with the ancien regime was that they were cut out of the bribe money; Saudi oligarchs who are the ancien regime; a bunch of glorified street gangs like Hamas; and finally rounded out with tribal reactionaries like the Mujahedeen and all the nasties crawling out of the woodwork in Libya, who seem like nothing so much as a palette-swapped copy of Christian Millenialist cults.

I can see precisely one current in contemporary political Islam that isn't in the business of providing corrupt stooges or useful idiots for the colonial powers. And I trust you'll forgive me if I'm skeptical Khomeinism as the model for a viable left-wing version of Islam. The last time that was tried, the relationship ended in a sound-proofed basement.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 11:17:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this connection I find the following interesting (from Wikipedia)
Professor H. Patrick Glenn notes that the European concept of human rights developed in reaction to an entrenched hierarchy of class and privilege contrary to, and rejected by, Islam. As implemented in sharia law, protection for the individual is defined in terms of mutual obligation rather than human rights. The concept of human rights, as applied in the European framework, is therefore unnecessary and potentially destructive to these mutual obligations. By "giving priority to human welfare over human liberty," Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals by collective goals.
This seems to be arguing that Islam is somehow automatically socialistic or at least non-individualistic. This doesn't mean it's necessarily "left" or "progressive". Socialism is (empirically) compatible with authoritarianism and with traditional sexual and gender mores, and homophobia. In fact, the traditional left has had a hard time recognizing gender issues as being as important as traditional class issues, and there is no reason (except for the historical accident of the 1960s in the West) to assume that feminism or gender issues are necessarily or preferentially "left" issues. Also, there's no reason why socialism needs to be secular.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 11:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the fundamental construct (which is being obscured by the religious aspect, which is an obstacle for some of us!) which distinguish islam-based societies from "western" societies : the notion of mutual obligation, which gives rise, among other things, to a phenomenal level of generosity (which I prefer to call solidarity, rather than charity).

Unfortunately, the spread of the liberal market economy puts this model under heavy pressure.

The idea that mutual obligation renders individual human rights superfluous is something that doesn't work in the modern world. You certainly can't stop young people picking up these modern, foreign ideas. An islamic society either has to evolve by coming to terms with human liberty, or become exceedingly repressive in order to prevent it.

As for feminism and gender issues : I agree they're not on the economic "left/right" axis but on the "libertarian/authoritarian" one. When I say "left", it's often shorthand for "lower left quadrant".

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 12:26:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the notion of mutual obligation, which gives rise, among other things, to a phenomenal level of generosity (which I prefer to call solidarity, rather than charity).
And, to my mind, it is solidarity that is the defining feature of left politics even in the West. You can still tell the Social Democrats by the fact that they believe in solidarity.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 01:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"As far as I can tell, this Islamic version of Liberation Theology (and we all remember how well that went down...) has never existed as a serious political contender outside your imagination."

As opposed to a powerful secular left, you mean? Can you name which is the continent where liberation theology used to have most influence, and can you name the continent which has countries with leftist governments? Mere coincidence? I find that unlikely.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 03:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So in your logic, liberation theology is a success because a generation after it was totally destroyed as an effective political movement, decidedly non-Christian labor and first nations parties come to power.

Are we to likewise credit the European fascist parties with giving us Margaret Thatcher? The case for ideological and organizational continuity is almost certainly stronger.

Incidentally, Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia do have powerful secular left-wing movements even to this day. Casting farther afield, so does Malaysia. And those are just the ones I know of. Needless to say, the religious parties of those countries are at the best purely nominally democratic "center"-right parties, and at worst Saudi-style funny farms.

Whether an Islamic left-wing movement would have met with greater success than the secular left in Indonesia, Palestine or Pakistan is an exercise in counterfactual history, because no such movement ever existed in those countries. Or anywhere else outside Iran, as far as I am aware. And we know how well that ended.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 04:40:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberation theology wasn't destroyed. Its ability to translate into organisation was destroyed. The school of thought has left a deep impression that was certainly a notable factor in weakening neoliberal thought.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 04:31:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remarkable claims require remarkable evidence. And it is indeed a quite remarkable claim that an ideology which has for a full generation had no organization, essentially no professed adherents, and no intellectual output would be able to exert any measurable influence.

But let's pretend that you're right about the historical influence of Liberation Theology. Even then, it would be silly to attempt to create it elsewhere, unless one places some sort of value on religious evangelizing independent of its political effectiveness. Going by the historical experience of pretty much every labor movement ever, the same effort would be much more fruitfully applied to bolstering labor unions and partisan activism within the existing secular left-wing institutions.

And that's before getting into all the other problem with identity politics.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 09:40:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • The Supreme Court is trying to stop it in Egypt (having invalidated the unilateral redrawing of the constitution by the Muslim Brotherhood). The Egyptian case poses the philosophical problem of why the substantial Christian minority should consent to an Islamic constitution and sharia, not noticeably influenced by progressive forces, but rather by a very substantial Salafist far right. The result is not going to be all sweetness and light, I'm afraid. And no, it won't be the fault of the secular left, who have tried to play the game since the beginning, and have been slapped down systematically by teh Brothers.

  • The secular left and centre in Tunisia are trying to stop it there. This shouldn't be too hard as they actually have a majority in the Constituent Assembly; but the Ennahda government seems very skilled at playing off the factions against each other, so it's taking far longer than it should. The result will certainly not enshrine sharia in the constitution, so I suppose we can count that as a victory for the left.

  • Turkey has been a secular republic for nearly a century. You seem a bit confused about this : it wasn't a model imposed by Europeans. On the contrary, Kemal threw out the European occupying powers after WWI when creating what were, for all their faults, authentically Turkish institutions. Why an Islamic mode of government would more authentically Turkish is a mystery to me.

  • The Iranian left participated in the formation of the Islamic republic, trusting that the religious authorities would respect democracy. That certainly worked out well.

So your arguments seem to boil down to something like this : theocracy is the ideal form of government. This is true because God is good. All reasonable people will realise this in the end.

I suggest we make a list of successful theocracies that might provide useful lessons for perfecting this model. You start.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 09:35:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"So your arguments seem to boil down to something like this :"

Nothing of what you let follow there had even remotely anything to do with my arguments.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 10:15:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you certainly answered me comprehensively this time!

But seriously. Your opinions on progressive islam are interesting, and I would like to discuss them. I acknowledge that in countries where sharia effectively rules society, it is important to reform it from within in order to improve outcomes. This is the case, clearly, in Iran, because all the the other options have been closed off.

But in the three other cases I've enumerated, it's clear to me that it would be a really bad idea for the left to get on the islamic bandwagon, because they would get shafted like they did in Iran.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 10:35:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you refrain from "summing up" my position into its opposite?

In Iran the left got shafted as partners of, not part of, the Islamic movement. And in other parts of the world with no Islamic movements around the left got shafted too. Face it, there isn't so many places where the left is thriving. Islamist movements do have traction with those who are most in need of leftist politics, and this has reasons beyond deception by the Islamists. Do you want to gain influence with these people or not?

by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 04:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a current of thought among the Central European communist parties in the early 1930s which was based on a very similar sort of analysis regarding the class base of the fascist parties.

If nothing else, the fate of that particular outreach effort should teach us that revolutionary movements are not cuddly friends just because they tap into recruitment pools created by the same objective revolutionary conditions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 04:46:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't proposing to make "cuddly friends" of reactionary movements. I am proposing to take their base seriously. The people who support (and vote) deeply reactionary Islamist movements are seeking things the left can supply, and reactionaries cannot. I am proposing what communist parties of the 1930s notably did not do: empower the bottom to set an agenda. I note that you repeatedly called labour movements (and other parts of the left) in Turkey and elsewhere powerful or strong. For my taste they are NOT powerful enough, or else they would be in power, and they are not even near that, anywhere.

If people want Sharia because they seek justice, I propose justice instead of disdainfully standing aside because a concept based in religion was raised.

by Katrin on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 04:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If people want Sharia because they seek justice, I propose justice instead of disdainfully standing aside because a concept based in religion was raised.

That's fluffy rhetoric devoid of content. What is your actual plan for engaging with potential allies who currently support reactionary sectarianism?

Because right now, your plan sounds like this:

  1. Throw the secularists in your coalition under the bus.

  2. ???

  3. Victory!

Excuse me if I find that less than enticing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 09:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think secularists would have a reasons to throw themselves under the bus. ;) Only the tiny faction who start hyperventilating whenever they hear "religion". I must say you still surprise me in this debate here. I'd never have thought that all this would be so very controversial. My plan is to respect the people instead of dismissing them. It's to use the paradigm they want to see used. I do believe that your approach of dismissing all sorts of religiously informed politics as inimical is successful, and statements like "Turkey has a strong secular workers' movement" and so surprise me: the left as a political force who can set an agenda and has a chance of implementing it is non-existent in most countries of the world. I want to change that.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 01:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My plan is to respect the people instead of dismissing them.

Unless they're secularists.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 01:57:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless it is the sort of secularists that refuses to coexist in respect: including secularists.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 02:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My plan is to respect the people instead of dismissing them. It's to use the paradigm they want to see used.

In other words, throw the secular (and all minority religions) under the bus.

I do believe that your approach of dismissing all sorts of religiously informed politics as inimical is successful, and statements like "Turkey has a strong secular workers' movement" and so surprise me:

Certainly stronger than any attempted Islamic workers' movement.

the left as a political force who can set an agenda and has a chance of implementing it is non-existent in most countries of the world. I want to change that.

That's a nice sentiment, but it's not a plan.

Allowing theocrats to set the agenda and drive the narratives isn't going to accomplish anything other than empowering theocrats. At best, you will be replacing The Market with God, and the justifications for public policy will be couched in bullshit theology instead of bullshit economics. That's a step to the side, not a step forward.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 02:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are repeating yourself. You are misrepresenting me, too, and I am tired of correcting distortions of my position AGAIN.
by Katrin on Sat Jun 8th, 2013 at 03:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, if you don't get how justifying public policy in theological terms unduly privileges members of the religion whose theology you're submitting to, then consider how justifying public policy in business terms unduly privileges businessmen.

If you still don't get it after that, then I give up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 8th, 2013 at 07:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German anti-nuke movement is quite successfully using the same method, and I don't think atheists are very much discriminated against because a large proportion of the movement sees it as a fight protecting God's creation. You sound as if you would prefer nuclear apocalypse to such an alliance.
As to Sharia in predominantly Muslim countries: you don't get that an approach of judging every piece of legislation if it is increasing justice is disproportionately favouring the left. How that infringes on the rights of those who don't adhere to the majority's religion, as you claim, beats me.
by Katrin on Sat Jun 8th, 2013 at 08:36:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are important differences between building a single-issue pressure group and building a governing coalition. The most important difference is that the single-issue pressure group is aligned on what policy to push.

When you can give a definition of "justice" that is as clear, simple and concise as "no fissionables in our jurisdiction," then you can make that analogy. Until then, it's just hot air: You can't find anybody who is not in favor of "justice" - the salient point is who gets to define what is just.

And priests and their worshipers have no special qualifications in that respect.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 8th, 2013 at 11:39:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you think that nations with a more Islamic informed constitution be a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, if it was drafted presently?
by Bjinse on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 12:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was posted in response to Katrin's post - but anyone who wants to reply to it is welcome, of course.
by Bjinse on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 12:36:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure if any nation would sign it today... What do we need political rights for if there is no alternative? :(
Probably you would have to use a different approach in order to arrive at the same level of rights. As a rule western authors dominate formulating such documents. It would be interesting to find ways to democratise the process so that all cultures are involved instead of just making them accept the result.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 03:54:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tunisia is in the process of promulgating a secular constitution, with no state religion and equality between men and women.

With that safeguard in place, I would be quite sanguine about the adoption of a sharia-based legal system. Perhaps the best of both worlds.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jun 7th, 2013 at 10:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually the rationale of Islamic law is that God is just and that Sharia is the essence of justice.

Do I need to remind you of the bit where it says in case of trial evidence given by a female witness is given half the weight of that given by a male witness? Hell-o?

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably you mean the bit about giving different weight to the testimony of expert and laypersons? :) A very good example for my point of not leaving the interpretation of Sharia to the reactionaries. Are you aware of the original case where this principle was created?

In a merchant society whose pre-Islamic law banned women from trade and from giving testimony on matters of trade, merchant A sued merchant B. Merchant B denied that their (oral) contract said what A claimed. The only witnesses to the negotiations were C, housewife, and D, housewife. They both had no knowledge of contract law, but supported A's version. According to pre-existing law, B would have won: 1 testimony for the claim and 1 against means no proof for the claim. The revolutionary of the decision was to say that the women's testimony would be used although they were laypersons. Their testimony does not have the same weight as an expert's, but surely, since there are two of them, they must be weighed like one expert. I find that reasonable, and you? In our era the difference is that being an expert for contract law no longer is tied to gender--that is, if women aren't banned from universities for their dress style.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 04:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Usul al-fiqh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Islamic law within the Sunni understanding draws from numerous sources. The most basic two sources  - indeed, the defining characteristics of Sunni Islam  - are the Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be the literal word of God, and the prophetic tradition including the statements and actions of the prophet Muhammad passed down through historically verifiable reports. consensus is also accepted by Sunni Muslims, though there is much differing over its exact definition. Analogical reason is typically referred to as a fourth primary source by later and modern Muslim authors, though its exact definition and even validity are not unchallenged.

Beyond the four main sources, other methods such as juristic discretion, public welfare and local custom are often considered, though discussions regarding how these sources are to be applied is ongoing.

Public welfare has always struck me as a possible wedge, through which much can be reformed. And indeed it has. Public welfare, Istislah:

Istislah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Istislah (Arabic استصلاح "to deem proper") is a method employed by Muslim jurists to solve problems that find no clear answer in sacred religious texts. It is related to the term مصلحة Maslaha, or "public interest" (both words being derived from the same triconsonantal root, "ṣ-l-ḥ").[1] Extra-textual pragmatic considerations are commonly accepted in Islamic jurisprudence concerning areas where the Qur'an and the practices of the earliest Muslim generations provide no specific guidance. However, appeals to Istislah or Maslaha are controversial when the goal is reforming what has been considered to be divinely-revealed law.[citation needed]

Istislah bears some similarities to the natural law tradition in the West, as exemplified by Thomas Aquinas. However, whereas natural law deems good that which is known self-evidently to be good, according as it tends towards the fulfilment of the person, istislah calls good whatever is connected to one of five "basic goods". Al-Ghazali abstracted these "basic goods" from the legal precepts in the Qu'ran and Sunnah: they are religion, life, reason, lineage and property. Some add also "honour".

Istislah, in this classical formulation, is not mere utilitarianism, which calls good whatever brings about "the greatest happiness for the greatest number." That is so because a measure bringing about the "greatest happiness" might infringe any one of the five basic values.

A more "liberal" strain of istislah has been important in the twentieth century and centres on the work of Rashid Rida. Rida considered that the "no harm no retribution" hadith is a supreme principle of legal liberalism, before which all other principles of the Shari'ah must give way. By this method, legislation promoting negative freedoms and human rights is to be considered "Islamic". In Egypt this approach has been upheld by the Supreme Constitutional Court, which has ratified equitable measures benefiting women even where these seemingly conflict with principles of classical Shari'ah.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:18:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This still seems to me to confirm that legal arguments in Muslim countries must ultimately be framed theologically.

Just like they used to be in 17th century Europe, or how today's Europe requires arguments to be framed economically.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You say :
Western legal systems simply are no longer enforcable.

You said earlier :

You probably don't get that there are only two reference systems for a political debate of legislation, the colonial power's or the Islamic one.

This appears to contain an interesting assertion :  that any legal or legislative system inherited from a colonial power is invalid, and should be rejected and replaced by an indigenous system; you present this as an either/or choice, with no synthesis possible.

Since you can't be talking about Turkey (which was never colonised by any European country, quite the reverse), I'll use Tunisia as an example. This is very topical because their constituent assembly is currently writing a new constitution.

Tunisia was under French control for 75 years, from 1881 to 1956. This period finished 57 years ago. Previously, it was part of the Ottoman empire (from 1574).

So I suppose what you would suggest for Tunisia would be a system of government based on the Ottoman institutions.

But wait! The Ottomans were colonists too. So their influence should also be rejected. We need to search further back, to the medieval period when local Berber dynasties reigned.

But no, that won't do either. After all, the Berbers had undergone colonisation by the Arabs, who had introduced their language and their religion. Clearly we need to seek further back for an authentic system of government.

We must likewise discard the influences of the preceding Byzantine, Vandal, Roman and Phoenician (Carthage) colonists. To find an authentic system of government, it seems we need to go back at least three thousand years. Unfortunately, no written records seem to have survived.

Or... more sensibly, Tunisians can build the legal framework that suits them best, adapting laws and institutions from their incredibly rich past, supplemented with best practice from all over the world.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 05:36:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" This appears to contain an interesting assertion :  that any legal or legislative system inherited from a colonial power is invalid, and should be rejected and replaced by an indigenous system"

Any system must be constantly developed, sometimes even radically. This is the normal legislative process. The colonial influence will no longer maintained during this process. It is neither enticing nor enforceable.

This is not only true for North Africa (where we seem to agree the process is well under way). Atatürk's orienting Turkey to Europe, the wish to be a European country, has lost traction too.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 07:42:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to argue a distinction between salafism and fascism, there are probably nuances, but there is no functional distinction with respect to the salafist/fascist thugs who attempted to force universities in Tunisia to change the dress code, this is well-documented, and crowned with success as it seems that the Tunisian government has overridden the statutary autonomy of universities to force them to admit people wearing the niqab to exams (I do hope they are able to impose an identity check at least...)

If you think that the increase in wearing of headscarves, and the appearance of the niqab, in Muslim-majority countries is somehow progressive or empowering for women, you need to discuss it with my wife. I think you'd probably understand in the end. Sorry if that sounds condescending.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to look at a history book to find out what fascism means. Sorry if that sounds condescending.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 06:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fascism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fascism ˈfæʃɪzəm is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in mid-20th century Europe. Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that promotes the mass mobilization of the national community,[3][4] relying on a vanguard party to initiate a revolution to organize the nation on fascist principles.[5] Hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism, fascist movements share certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism. Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation[3][6][7][8] and asserts that nations and races deemed superior should attain living space by displacing ones deemed weak or inferior.[9]

If you can find a useful distinction with Salafism, in particular with respect to its theory and practice in Tunisia, which was my initial reference, I'd be pleased to learn about it.

The obvious nuance I can see is that Salafists aspire to a universal islamic emirate, rather than revering any nation-state.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nationalism and fascism can only exist in societies with fairly advanced industrialisation and (as you noticed yourself) reactionary policies in Islamic clothes aren't nationalistic. There are enough real fascists around, no need to invent more by calling everyone and everything reactionary "fascist". Fascism is the emergency mode of capitalism.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How much do you actually know about Tunisia? If you are suggesting that it is less industrialised than 1930s western Europe, you are mistaken. The fact that the Salafists' nationalistic allegiance is to a hypothetical pan-Islamic entity rather than to their existing nation state is a minor quibble. It's comparable to the German fascists' nationalism, which was no respecter of existing national boundaries. And the fact that they claim a religious motivation for their fascism doesn't get them any extra credit, historically speaking (so did Spain's fascists, for example).

If you want to explore the nuances further, that should be fun.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Salafism is not the product of the industrial centres in Tunisia, Turkey, or elsewhere. This inflation of the term fascism is plain silly.
by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it quacks like a duck, there is a strong probability that it's a duck. If you can point to any functional characteristic which distinguishes Salafism from Fascism, you should do so.

I think you are perhaps blinded by cultural relativism?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:14:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be a black swan...

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:19:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least in the same genus as ducks and swans.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My take is that the economic base of the Salafists is the middle-aged, poor, rural illiterate, who feels (correctly) that modernity is destroying his way of life, by mechanizing his trade, by luring his kids into the cities (where they can find a depth and variety of the fruits of civilization that the countryside simply cannot match), and by encroaching on his ancestral prerogatives (some of which are actually legitimate enough, others... not so much).

This differs radically from the economic base of fascism (at least in its canonical variety), which was the urban unskilled youth and small businessmen, who had been failed by liberal democratic capitalism (there is great overlap between the primary economic demographics of traditional fascist and communist parties).

That's a fairly major difference, and leads to very different policy priorities. You confuse the two at the peril of talking nonsense.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 01:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"(where they can find a depth and variety of the fruits of civilization that the countryside simply cannot match)"

As long as that promise was true, reactionary counter-movements like salafists had no chance. The party is over, the kids are still lured to the cities, but they don't have a future there either.

by Katrin on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's still true.

The fact that the urban poor are being shafted doesn't mean that the rural poor can't get shafted even harder. And they usually are.

It does, however, mean that if, like most of Europe, you've spent the last thirty years delegitimizing and demonizing the organized left, then you've demolished both the liberal democratic defense (because liberal democracy requires you to not shaft a large plurality of your urban population) and any credible left-wing defense, and created a fertile breeding ground for a fascist fifth column among your urban residents for the religious reactionaries to glom onto.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The gangs of blackshirts who attempt to impose their moral order in the streets of Tunisia are not middle-aged rural men. They have allies among the police, a strong current of support among the main party in government, and a treatment of favour from ministers who do their best to appease them, and often share their professed policy goals.

Ring any bells?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 12:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Allies in the police and overt or tacit support from the supposedly democratic right-wing parties is a feature of all far-right movements, whether monarchist, fascist, fundamentalist or otherwise.

Fascism comes with an economic program to reconcile the capitalist dislike of state interference in the economy with the inherent requirement of industrial economies for heavy state intervention. It does so by directing the intervention into armaments and suppressing organized labor with the concentration camp instead of the unemployment lines.

Fundamentalists typically come either with an program of land reform and defending the rights and prerogatives of the rural smallholder (including his "right" to own his wife and children). Khomeini-style fundamentalism, if you will. Or it comes with a program that amounts to little more a pack of emotional band-aids to convince the rural smallholder that they're championing his cause even as they rob him just as blind as the urban yuppies they pretend to protect him from. Call it Koch-style fundamentalism. The teabaggers have also glommed onto the white racist pensioner vote, promising to preserve their pensions at the expense of fucking over everyone else - but I view that as an opportunistic adaptation of the theme rather than a distinct ideological current.

The latter version has all the nasty small-town small-mindedness, and none of the redeeming economic policies.

Either sort of fundamentalist movement has an easy time coalitioning with fascists, because when they have an economic policy in the first place it is directed at the rural nobility rather than the urban capitalist. And of course their idea of an orderly, traditional society lines up nicely with the fascist idea of an orderly, traditional society.

But "a natural coalition partner for fascists," while no less damning an indictment, is not actually "fascist."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 03:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably fair to say that none of the national fascist movements in Europe had the whole panoply of fascist attributes in their early stages. Nevertheless, as you probably picked, my use of the term "fascist" with respect to salafism is more of a rhetorical device to shake the complacency of those apologists whose cultural relativism might lead them to excuse their acts. In that respect, your clarifications are salutary.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 04:13:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be a lot more sympathetic to that use of the term if we didn't have actual fascists crawling out of the woodwork all over Europe. We need to hang on to a reasonably strict socio-economic definition of fascism if we are to have any chance of recognizing it when it appears in nominally democratic center-right parties.

If you don't recognize a party sliding into fascism until it has SA-style thugs running around in the streets, then you missed a couple of major red flags along the way.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 01:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And how does bringing loose definitions of fascism in an already emotional debate usually work out?

This debate has become so dislocalised that I find it hard to grasp what it is even about. Forced secularism in Turkey, Tunisia and France has vastly differing circumstances and both you and Katrin seem to be jumping around between them with wild abandon.

by generic on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 05:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
both make excellent points, but there's a feeling of flame that's unfortunate, no reason to be impolite. points travel further with civility.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, regardless of the historical exactitude of the term, I didn't expect that calling far-right Salafist thugs "fascist" would actually offend anyone...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:33:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it didn't. What offends me is your persistent misrepresentation of my position, and your insisting that women would never choose wearing headscarf, that they were always forced, without agency, needing liberation. Unbelievably arrogant!
by Katrin on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 04:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My own personal experience adds a point to Katrin's position. I remember a dinner in Riyadh in the mid '80s with an Arab surnamed man of mixed Bahrani and English background, and his wife, an Iranian in their home. I asked about the experience of returning to Iran and donning the chador. The wife explained that it had its advantages. It conferred anonymity in public spaces in Iran, where women had more freedom of movement than in Saudi Arabia, where women were expected to be escorted by men in public. Also, one could be wearing a wide variety of garments under the chador. She did not see it as a problem. One can see this as taking lemons and making lemonade, but to those who grew up in such a society it was not too repressive a step. While there had been much more freedom of dress under the Shah, that had been sufficiently an affair of the elites that most Iranian women were well familiar with the old traditions of the chador and all that this implied.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 09:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i had a couple of massage clients who were moslem women, and they felt sorry for the women who had to endure the lustful gaze of men without the veil.

i would chuckle at the irony of them wearing their veils while receiving treatments that left their um, other cheeks bared.

;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 10:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After 1000 arrests, 100 injured and maybe 2 dead, it may just become a movement.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 09:17:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Delilere Balon (blog)Letter from Istanbul
But now it is something else, it turned into a social movement against Erdogan's fascist, anti democratic and islamic- abusive policies. Police is terrorizing people, civil police officers are provoking  protesters and they try to make it look as if it's an illegal terrorist- extremist movement.

I've been in many European capitals during the last year's mass protests and i've never seen such a thing! Kurds, Turks, LGBT communities, non muslims, football fan groups, artists, parliament officers from different political views are all united and trying to defend their freedom and democratic rights.

Our PM is accusing us to be terrorists just because they attacked us with their"killing" machines and we fight back with stones! Unlike you, we dont have panzers, gas masks, face or body guards or iron sticks to fight back. What we have is what you afraid to see; faith in change, power to change, and dreams about a better future.



In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 09:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would need a common aim. I don't see that. "enfuriated by Erdogan's authoritarian ways" is the thing the protesters have in common.
by Katrin on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 01:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Erdogan is no dictator. He is a democratically elected leader who has been acting in an increasingly undemocratic way. And as Erdogan himself acknowledged, his fate will be decided at the ballot box, not in the streets.

That's exactly what Asad in Syria said and as we know not only that he is dictator but if it's not for Russians some kind of "coalition of the willing" would already occupy Syria "for the sake of civilians and future of democracy".

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 09:02:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Erdogan is no dictator...

...yet.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 10:29:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I(s) anything and anyone a desirable ally for you in your fight against religious-informed politics? Must I remind you who killed (literally!) the Turkish left in the 1980's?

'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' is an old tribal maxim. The Ottomans understood that tribalism must be controlled in order to have a larger polity. Gengis Khan's most basic success was that of suppressing tribal loyalties in favor of state loyalties, so this is not something alien to Turkic peoples. In fact Turkey is an example of linguistic replacement, with the majority of the gene pool likely being Greek. It was also Christan longer than it has been predominantly Muslim.

It may not be probable but history shows it is possible for groups and societies to transcend their historic beliefs and behaviors in the interest of a stronger whole. The potential allies may seem both unlikely and unlikely to change their long held views and behaviors but we can at least hope that such a development occurs here. It would not be without precedent but Erdogan, with his religious triumphalism, seems unlikely to lead such a transformation.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 10:27:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm have great trepidation even weighing in on what's going on because I feel much of what you wrote is largely true. Turkey is a very difficult country to understand in terms of ideology. In the streets, you will see the Kemal flags alongside the protests. Hard to figure out what the message is there.

While it becomes difficult to think about the Ottoman past and the modernist project in terms of ethnic background (Greek, Syrian, Turkish, Kurd, Jewish, Armenian, etc.) there is no doubt that enforced nationalism and secularism was highly successful in unifying the country. Then again, the Ottomans and their multicultural (if racist) tendencies saw much less strife in the middle period (the Empire began with violence and ended with violence) than the nationalist Europeans.

On my Facebook page, I see a lot of normally sane friends projecting their own aspirations onto the Turkish people. It's mind boggling. Even Chomsky has weighed in by calling Gezi the most violent event in the Republic's history. Say what?

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:29:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While all of the tribes Gengis Khan incorporated into his state before he expanded beyond the steps were Turkic, only three were Mongol. The rest were Tatars, Naimen, Kereyid, Uighur and forest tribes in Siberia, and numerous religions were practiced. Gengis Khan managed to break hereditary distinctions amongst these tribes and replace it with merit and loyalty to his state as the basis for advancement. He practiced his own animistic religion but allowed all religions to be practiced without discrimination and he reined in the power of his own shaman. His chief tool for this was his undisputed authority and he proceeded by organizing his military into decimal based groups composed of many or all of the various tribes, but he required these units to first show loyalty to the unit - unit cohesion. His post system was similarly organized.

This basic structure was extensible to any group which the Mongols subsequently incorporated into their empire. Loyalty to the state and merit came to replace heredity and tribal loyalty. All religions were welcome but none could claim authority over the Khan. These developments incorporate much of what we consider to be the differences between traditional and modern societies. While obviously the specific transcendent change brought about by Gengis Khan cannot work in modern Turkey, what is required is an analogous development    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:13:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

This thread has become so deep it ceased to display properly ages ago. Any volunteers to refactor into a diary?

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 12:43:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could we perhaps have a new one on stuff that is happening in Turkey right now too?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 02:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now posted: What are the Turkish protests about? - Gezi protests open thread II

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 06:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
..one of the few relatively calm places in Central Istanbul where you can take a shaded stroll unimpeded by the crush of humanity.

It's also a very logical place to build a shopping mall, commercially speaking.

A damn shame.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 01:52:20 PM EST
It's certainly the only place with decent (for Istanbul) automobile access in central Istanbul.

I was there last week and Istiklal looks a little incrementally more corporate-commercialized than it was when I was there four years ago. More women wearing veils too.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dani Rodrick: Turkey's Democratic Dusk (Project Syndicate, Nov. 22, 2011)
Erdoğan seems immune to criticism. His success at expanding access to health, education, and housing has enabled him to win three general elections - each with a greater share of the popular vote than previously. He has broken the power of the military old guard and the hold of its stale Kemalist ideology - the secular nationalism introduced by Turkey's first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - thereby permanently altering the makeup of Turkish politics. He has presided over the emergence of a vibrant new class of Anatolian entrepreneurs. And, under his rule, Turkey has become a regional power.

CommentsYet, while Erdoğan may appear to be at the pinnacle of power, it is his government's "Gülenist" allies who have grown increasingly powerful. Members of the transnational Gülen movement - inspired by followers of Fethullah Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim theologian - are staffing Turkey's police, judiciary, bureaucracy, and universities. The Gülenist media now set the country's new ideological tone, producing a steady stream of disinformation in their vocal support of the country's show trials.

...

Given that the fight against the common enemy, the secularist old guard, has been decisively won, an eventual break between Erdoğan and the Gülenists is perhaps inevitable. Unfortunately, regardless of which side emerges victorious, the outcome will not be good news for Turkish democracy.



In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 2nd, 2013 at 02:38:29 PM EST
I have just seen on TV news how USA is going to increase it's "influence" in Latin America and some are worrying that USA and China will become rivals in this battle for South America. As USA is losing "influence" elsewhere in the world they are turning to their "back yard", but I am afraid it's already pretty much occupied. Are we to expect unrest and wars in South America in the future knowing what happened elsewhere where USA had "influence" ?
Hopefully if they avoid violence South America may be swimming in a lot of money while USA and China are biding for it's resources...but hope is pretty tin here...  

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:29:33 AM EST
Erdogan on Twitter
"There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society."
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:37:00 AM EST
Turkey's an interesting case for social media and the internet in general - it's a country with laughable press freedom, but an economy advanced enough and with enough public expectation of its availability that they can't shut it down as easily as Iran, Syria or Egypt.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:54:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
just a bleedin' obvious remark.

Turkey's problem is the lack of democratic alternation. Erdogan as a centre-right manager of surging economic growth had plenty of goodies to share out : that, added to the populist religious element, has made it easy for him to win elections.

In any country on earth, a guy who wins three successive elections, with an increasing majority, feels like he can walk on water. So naturally, Erdogan becomes dismissive and dictatorial; he's broken the military, the left hasn't got its shit together, who is he supposed to compromise with? A bunch of unruly youths? It's just a shame he didn't try this repressive stuff (alcohol restrictions, ban on public kissing...) when he was electorally vulnerable.

The fact that he hasn't sent in the military, or brought "his people" into the streets, is perhaps a hopeful sign : he didn't get where he is today by being tone-deaf.

To me, this looks a bit like Mai 68 in Paris. All sorts of people in the streets because they feel it's time to turn society on its head : you can't hold back modernism merely by having an electoral majority.

No doubt, just like De Gaulle, Erdogan can call a new election, and get a huge majority from rural and small-town conservatives. But he can't turn the clock back, and perhaps this is a cultural watershed for Turkey.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 04:20:09 AM EST
What do you think would be the parallel shifts in post-68 France and post-today Turkey?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Systematic questioning of arbitrary authority. Breaking the back of religiously-sanctioned social conservatism; liberation of the censored press/audiovisual media; women's liberation.

That'll do for a start. Rapid weakening of religion is possible too, but it's a secondary issue.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
The fact that he hasn't sent in the military, or brought "his people" into the streets, is perhaps a hopeful sign : he didn't get where he is today by being tone-deaf.

For his own supporters, yes. But for the military I think Turkey right now has a higher then average chance of the military joining the supporters. So I doubt he'd dare do that.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 07:50:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOCAL - Police intervenes in Ankara protests
Earlier in the day, clashes also erupted between demonstrators and a group of 30 people chanting slogans in favor of the police.

The unknown group, which attacked while shouting "May the hands of those who attack the police be broken," ran away after attacking demonstrators.

Start of counterdemonstrations?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul Mason: Analysis: The hopes that blaze in Istanbul (BBC, 3 June 2013)
The main meme - as with the flags - is "we are sons of Ataturk". That is, we are a secular republic and we are worried about the autocratic use of power by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, combined with a creeping Islamisation.

"We don't want to become Iran," one man said.

Protesters dug up cobblestones and piled them high to create barricades The secondary meme tends to contradict this.

"We're all here," one masked woman told me. "Communists, anarchists, democrats. It's not an Ataturkist movement."



In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:47:54 AM EST
BBC News - Analysis: The hopes that blaze in Istanbul
Is this the Turkish Tahrir? Not unless the workers join in. Turkey has a large labour movement, and a big urban poor working population, and Monday is a work day, so we will see. It is certainly already something more than the Turkish version of Occupy.

And then this:

Turkish union to strike from Tuesday over unrest | Reuters

(Reuters) - Turkey's Public Workers Unions Confederation (KESK) said on Monday it would hold a "warning strike" on June 4-5 to protest at a crackdown on anti-government protests over the last four days.

"The state terror implemented against mass protests across the country ... has shown once again the enmity to democracy of the AKP government," said a statement from the leftist confederation KESK, which has some 240,000 members in 11 unions.

Don't know what groups KESK organises, but its a start.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I came across this collection of blogs, of various viewpoints, hosted by Turkey's principal English-language paper.

I particularly liked this foreign journalist's description of how the locals reacted to being taken hostage by the police repression :
Pots, pans and the mundane terror at Taksim

As I write this loud explosions are punctuating the call to prayer outside my window. People are shouting and screaming down the way. Our everyday soundtrack. I walk out onto the balcony. There are riot police all over the street. Then the old lady in the building next to me starts banging a pot, grinning. The police peer up at her. Then another pot is banged in the building across, then another. A young mother, high up, leans out her kitchen window. Then a young, smiling man leans from his. Another old woman. Bang, bang, bang. Soon it seems the noise is from everywhere, surrounding the officers like their noxious miasma has surrounded us for days. The message is clear: We live here. We are trying to live.

The officers retreat awkwardly from our little street and back to the battleground of a larger one. Our minor exchange didn't involve casualties or the sadly photogenic cruelty that has characterized the celebrated photos of Occupy Gezi. Our losses, our moments of fear, our sleepless nights will not make headlines. But they are a massive part of the injustice that has been visited upon Taksim for four days now.

An amusing Erdogan apologist

The role of social networks in #OccupyGezi protests

- On a typical day, there are 9 to 11 million tweets sent in Turkey.

- When events began to spark on May 31, the total number of tweets sent in Turkey reached 15.2 million.

- That same day, 558 thousand Turkish Twitter users sent a total of 3.7 million tweets using the #geziparkı hashtag, or the words "Taksim" or "Gezi Parkı."

- On June 1, the total number of the tweets sent in Turkey reached 27.5 million.

- 15 million of these tweets were uniquely related to the ongoing protests or damage caused by the clashes.

... one understands why Erdogan is reported to have said that Twitter is an evil thing.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 10:55:46 AM EST
POLITICS - Democracy is not just about elections, says Turkish President
Democracy is not just about elections, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said today in response to the ongoing Gezi Park protests, adding that the message was received by authorities.

Gül making moves against Erdogan?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:35:38 PM EST
Well, an anti-majoritarian message to Erdogan is much needed just now. Seeing himself embroiled in a schism within his own party over such an issue might just rein in his triumphalism a bit. Gul is described as a devout Musllim and is quoted in Wiki as saying "The secular system has failed and we definitely want to change it".  He helped pave the way for Erdogan back into politics and his elevation to the Presidency was backed by Erdogan, so he is definitely not a Kemalist. We will have to see how this plays out, but Gul would seem to be seeking the role of moderator in the interests of stability here. Might he have higher interests? We will see.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 03:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Checking a bit of modern turkish history and trade unions I came across this on wikipedia:

Taksim Square massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Taksim Square massacre relates to the incidents on 1 May, 1977, the international Labour Day on Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey. The event came within the scope of the wave of political violence in Turkey of the late 1970s.

Taksim Square massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ever since the Taksim Square Massacre, the fact that none of the perpetrators were caught and brought to justice has fueled allegations that the Turkish branch of Operation Gladio, the Counter-Guerrilla, was involved. One of the first persons to raise such allegations was the then leader of the opposition Bülent Ecevit.[10]


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 05:23:41 PM EST
Turkey protests continue as US voices concern about police use of force | World news | The Guardian

The US has called for an investigation into the political violence in Turkey and urged restraint on all sides following the fifth day of escalating nationwide protests against the rule of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In remarks that are likely to provoke Erdogan, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said: "We are concerned by the reports of excessive use of force by police. We obviously hope that there will be a full investigation of those incidents and full restraint from the police force."

Earlier on Monday, Erdogan warned protesters against taking the country's political disputes on to the streets, signalling he could mobilise his mass popular support to crush the demonstrations.

Sporadic clashes between protesters and riot police continued in Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul, and two deaths were confirmed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 02:07:36 AM EST
Protester shot dead in southern Turkey
A 22-year-old protester was shot dead late on Monday during an anti-government demonstration in the southern province of Hatay, the provincial governor's office said.

This was the first record of a fatal event in seven days of protests across the country.

Reports said Abdullah Cömert was demonstrating to show support for a wider protest that began in İstanbul last week against the policies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Cömert was shot in the head, according to reports.

It was not immediately clear who opened fire at the Hatay rally, the governor's office statement said, adding that officials had launched an investigation into the incident.

Cömert was a member of the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) youth branch, private NTV television reported, citing a CHP lawmaker from Hatay.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 04:27:42 AM EST
Commission seeks consensus on more articles in new constitution

The proposal for a switch to the presidential system from the parliamentary system was made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) last year.

The adoption of a presidential system has been a common point of debate in Turkey with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who supports a presidential system, frequently bringing the issue to the public's attention over the past year. Many speculate that Erdoğan hopes to become Turkey's first president in the 2014 elections under a new presidential system as he can't run for prime minister again due to the AK Party's self-dictated rules, which don't allow deputies to run more than three consecutive times.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are against the system change while the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is warm to the idea.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 06:40:42 AM EST
Dans la rue, la colère monte contre "CNN-Pingouins" et les médias turcs acquis au pouvoir In the street, anger against "CNN Penguins" and the Turkish media who toe the government line
"Médias vendus ! médias vendus !" Devant les locaux de la chaîne d'information NTV, lundi matin 3 juin, plusieurs milliers de mécontents laissent éclater leur ressentiment à l'égard des organes d'information turcs en agitant des billets de banque. "Media sell-outs! media sell-outs!" In front of the local news channel NTV, Monday June 3, several thousand angry demonstrators vent their resentment of Turkish media outlets, waving banknotes.
Dimanche soir, c'était devant la chaîne concurrente Habertürk, à deux pas des barricades de la place Taksim, qu'un rassemblement s'était improvisé, sans violence ni destruction, mais pour protester contre le traitement, sur les grandes chaînes, des manifestations qui secouent la Turquie depuis vendredi. C'est en effet sur Habertürk que le premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan avait choisi de venir s'expliquer, dimanche, après plusieurs jours de silence, sur le mouvement de protestation parti du parc Gezi et de la place Taksim, à Istanbul.Sunday night, it was in front of Habertürk, a competing channel, close to the barricades to Taksim Square, that a rally was improvised, without violence or destruction, but to protest against the treatment by the large channels of the demonstrations that have shaken Turkey since Friday. It is indeed on Habertürk that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had chosen on Sunday to come and comment, after several days of silence, the on the protests that started in Gezi Park and Taksim Square in Istanbul.
Depuis le début de la crise, les médias turcs sont sous le feu de la critique. Le premier soir des émeutes, les camions de transmission satellite des chaînes de télévision ont été saccagés aux cris de "médias vendus au pouvoir". Samedi soir, alors que des dizaines de milliers de manifestants envahissaient le centre-ville d'Istanbul, sous le regard de médias du monde entier, la chaîne d'information CNN-Türk diffusait un documentaire animalier sur la vie des pingouins. La chaîne, bientôt rebaptisée "CNN-Pingouins" sur les réseaux sociaux, est devenue le symbole d'une presse turque discréditée.Since the beginning of the crisis, Turkish media are under fire from critics. The first night of riots, television satellite transmission trucks were ransacked to cries of "media sold out" . Saturday night, while tens of thousands of protesters invaded the city center of Istanbul, and the world media watched, CNN-Turk channel broadcast a wildlife documentary on the life of penguins. The channel, soon to be renamed "CNN Penguins" on social networks, has become a symbol of discredited Turkish press.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 4th, 2013 at 06:51:43 AM EST
Reuters
Syria gleefully turned the tables on Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday over his response to anti-government demonstrations, calling on him to halt the violent repression of peaceful protests or resign.

[...]

"The demands of the Turkish people don't deserve all this violence," Syrian television quoted Information Minister Omran Zoabi as saying. "If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:03:55 AM EST
well, if he doesn't want to go back to ophthalmology, he's got a great future in stand-up comedy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 06:06:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One might hope, perhaps in vain, that an ophthalmologist would recognize and know how to correct myopia.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 12:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 5th, 2013 at 12:54:41 PM EST
From 972

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 6th, 2013 at 05:59:07 AM EST


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