We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Resisting Tear Gas Together

Click here to access article by Ian Alan Paul from Jadaliyya

The author provides a very thought-provoking take on the use of tear gas in protests by authorities, and the responses by the protestors as we have recently witnessed in Turkey. The former try to infect the air with poisonous chemicals where protestors come together, and the latter to sustain their protests must draw on the most basic of human qualities: caring for each other and protecting their space. Is it too dramatic to frame this as a battle between the forces of death versus the forces of human life? In any case, the author also provides some very useful information about this new field of battle that seems to be characterizing the class war that is raging across various parts of the globe. (See this and this for other war fronts.) 
The global uprisings of the last decade, from the US to Spain to Egypt and now Turkey, all have taken this form of organizing against the conditions of vulnerability and precarity. These were not movements shaped by marches or speeches, but rather centered themselves on the construction of occupations and encampments, producing the contexts in which new relationalities and ways of being-together in the world could unfold. The people’s uprising that is currently taking place across Turkey is expressive of this collective desire, and perhaps need, to be together and care for one another in the shared space of the common that Gezi Park came to be for so many in Turkey. This collective practice amounted to a refusal to simply “care or fight for ourselves,” but rather to fundamentally begin “caring and fighting for each other.”