┐ Francis McKee went to Istanbul └

At the moment (11th June 2013; 1pm) in Istanbul, the police is trying to clear out Taksim square with water canons and tear gas. Protesters are putting up a fight, setting up more and more barricades and lightning some points on fire. “30 lawyers protesting against handling of Gezi protests detained in front of courtroom in Istanbul” One of the lawyers tweeted (Ismail Demirci): “We’re kept under custody in a lawless way right now. Nothing written, no order, no written proceedings, not even water until our friends arrived.”

Police tried to enter the park but had to withdraw. It seems as if it’s going to be a day of strategic moves, back and forth. Erdoğan keeps telling protesters to leave the streets, or else…
Live streams from Tim Pool @ Vice (he has been live for 7 hours), RT and Reuters can keep you up to date.

Both because of the reality of the events as well as due to their symbolic significance at this moment in history, there is nothing more important today than what is happening in Turkey. It’s giving us insight into what comes next regarding urban movements and direct action. Francis McKee, writer, curator and photography passionate, director of the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow went to see for himself. Here are some of his photographs:

9014886124_fcd9bbbcd5_z9011404292_188cf4119a_z 8996239768_a73cf84141_z9009482945_ba93e0cce5_c9014793866_62ebb818d6_c9014901704_8a93184f4b_c8994961299_ffab656b39_call photographs © Francis McKee, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2013

Francis is updating his Flickr today so you can see more of his photographers later on

┐ A bridge is more than a metaphor, it is a path we can walk └

tumblr_mnpgbofWTR1ste7qoo1_1280BLpNspwCYAEi2_B.jpg largetumblr_mnpec5aipM1ste7qoo1_1280photos taken from the Occupy Gezi blog

After 4 days of protesting… “Police and demonstrators in Istanbul and the country’s capital, Ankara, clashed early Saturday. In Ankara, protesters attempted to march on parliament whilst in Istanbul skirmishes broke out as thousands of demonstrators tried to cross a bridge that spans the Bosphorus River. This bridge links the two continents Turkey covers — Europe and Asia. The demonstrators’ destination was the main square, scene of Friday’s violence.

As the cause of the sit-in is put to one side, protesters are now venting their anger against the Turkish government and its Justice and Development (AK) Party. The BBC reports that police fired tear gas and used water cannons on demonstrators in Taksim Square who chanted, “unite against fascism” and “government resign.”

One Istanbul resident, who gave her name as Lily, told the BBC’s World Service:
“There are 40,000 people crossing the bridge between Asia and Europe today. All the public transport is on lockdown. About half past one the entire city started to reverberate. People were banging on pots, pans, blowing whistles.”

┐ Dominic Nahr └

PAR396294© Dominic Nahr, EGYPT. Cairo. January 29, 2011. A protestor, using the Egyptian flag as a face mask, takes a break inside a building during protests against the government of Hosni Mubarak which pushed towards Tahir Square.

PAR396319© Dominic Nahr, EGYPT. Cairo. January 30, 2011. Protestors cover an Army tank while they chant and sing after another day of protests in Tahir Square.

PAR396316© Dominic Nahr, EGYPT. Cairo. January 30, 2011. The National Democratic Party building along the Nile can still be seen engulfed in flames a day after it was set on fire during clashes with police at protests against the government of Hosni Mubarak which pushed towards Tahir Square.

Looking back at the Egyptian uprising last year, as a entrance to think about current events.

“In the past year and a half, Egyptian society has achieved an unprecedented level of political consciousness. The revolutionary sentiment among the revolutionaries themselves — especially those who fought in the front-lines during the overthrow of Mubarak, and many of whom lost friends and/or family in the uprising — is particularly strong. So when the average Egyptian found out about Morsi’s decrees, they felt as though their struggle had been in vain. But rather than giving up, they took back to Tahrir — and started another sit-in.

But inside Egypt, the people are divided. A schism of epic proportions has developed between Morsi’s supporters and his detractors; a schism that has only now begun to surface. On the one side are the liberals, the leftists, the judges, the youth, intellectuals, and revolutionaries. On the other side are the Muslim Brotherhood members, sympathizers, and many of the poverty-stricken people who have been bought out with a kilo of sugar, bread, or (in the rare occasion) meat – the same people who were bought out on the day of the Camel attacks during the 18-day occupation of Tahrir Square.

The streets have once again become a small war-zone. Tear gas thrown by the police; Muslim Brotherhood militia attacking peaceful dissidents; stones and Molotov’s being thrown by the revolutionaries. But all of this happens as we await, whilst biting our nails, the position of the military. This, just like the beginning of the revolution, will tip the scales in either direction. If the military sides with the dissidents, Morsi will be unable to stand up against the people for long. His Pharaoh-like rule will come to and end as quickly as it came. But if the Egyptian military decides to side with Brotherhood, expect a civil war.”

excerpt of Nadim Fetaih‘s article In Tahrir, the beginning and end of a Pharaoh, in RoarMag. continue reading here

More of Dominic’s work here

┐ Gold Srike └

© Sofia Silva, Stop messing with my life (detail), from the series The Protester, 2012

To all authoritarian regimes insisting on a capitalist structure and austerity measures: vaffanculo!

Live updates about the European strike journey via The Guardian and Libcom.org

┐ an unwelcome guest └

© REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis, A masked protester holds a metal bar during a violent demonstration in Syntagma square in central Athens

OPEN LETTER TO ANGELA MERKEL

Dear chancellor Merkel,

We start by saying we address you only as chancellor of Germany. We did not vote for you and do not acknowledge the existence of a chancellor of Europe. We, the subscribers of this open letter, write to you as free citizens. Citizens of a country you wish to visit on the next 12th of November, as well as citizens in solidarity with all the countries attacked by austerity. Due to the character of the announced visit, those who have to struggle daily with the dire economic and social situation in Portugal, must stress that you are not welcome. You should be considered persona non grata in Portuguese territory because you clearly come to interfere with the Portuguese State’s decisions without being democratically mandated by those who live here.

Even so, because our government has of late ceased to obide with the laws of this country and its Republican constitution, we address this letter directly to you. The presence of many great businessman in your entourage is an outrage. Under the guise of “foreign investment”, you will bring a group of people that will come to plunder the ruins in which your policies have left the Portuguese economy, as well as those of Greece, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Your delegation is composed not only by those who have coerced the Portuguese state, with the connivance of its government, to privatize it’s property and most valuable assets, but also by the potential beneficiaries of those properties and assets, bought today at fire-sale prices.

This letter cannot and should not be seen as any sort of nationalist of chauvinist vindication – it’s a direct address to you as the chief promoter of the Neoliberal doctrine which is ruining Europe. We do not address the German people who have all the democratic legitimacy to elect whomever they want for their representative offices. However, in this country where we live, your name was never on any ballot. We did not elect you. As such, we do not recognize you the right to represent us and even less the right to make political decisions on our behalf.

And we are not alone. On the 14th of November, two days after your announced visit, we will rise with several others in a general strike which will include many European countries. It will be a strike against the governments which have betrayed and still betray the trust the citizens deposited on them, a strike against the austerity applied by them. But do not delude yourself, chancellor. It will be a strike against the austerity imposed by the troika and against all those which intend to transform it into an authoritarian regime. It will be a strike against you, Mme. Merkel. And if we salute the people of Greece, Spain, Italy Cyprus and Malta, we also salute the German people who suffer with us. We know very well that the Wirtschaftswunder, Germany’s “economical miracle”, was built on the basis of successive debt pardons by its main creditors. We know that the supposed current German economic thrust is built on a brutal crackdown on wages for over 10 years and the massive promotion of precarious labour, temporary and low-wage work that afflicts a great part of the German people. That also shows the perspective you, chancellor Merkel, have for your own country.

It’s very likely that you won’t reply. And it’s probable that the Portuguese government, subservient, weak and feeble, will receive you with flowers and applause. But the truth, chancellor, is that the majority of the Portuguese population blatantly disapproves of this government and the way in which it is destroying the country, supported by the troika and yourself. Even if you choose a secret route and a private airport to get away from the demonstrations against your visit, you have to know that they will occur all around the country. And they will be protests against you and what you represent. Your entourage may try and ignore us. The European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank may try to ignore the streets. But we are more and more, Mme. Merkel. Here and in all countries. Our protests will be stronger and stronger. We become more aware of reality every day. The stories you have all told us were always awkward and now we know they were full-out lies.

We have awaken, Mme. Merkel. You are an unwelcome guest.

┐ don’t say a word, don’t tell a soul └

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

some of my photographs from monday’s concentration in front of the parliament to fight Portugal’s austerity plans. as can be seen, this film has been to hell and back, which actually seems to suit the scene. what follows is an excerpt of a text distributed amongst protesters on 15O.

“If you’re photographing a demonstration, make sure not to take any images that might incriminate others. A photograph can fall into the hands of the police and help them chase someone. The police can easily have access to these photos by capturing people’s cameras.
(…)
In case you’re arrested, do not say anything other than your name and address. Do not talk about yourself or others. A good cop might come to tell a joke or a bad cop to make a threat; both want to get information. Ask for a lawyer, be quiet and still and stay away from their game. You are not alone: your fellow protesters and friends will be thinking about you or waiting outside the police station.”

┐ “a terra é de quem a trabalha, os fascistas comem palha” └

yesterday, in Portugal.
some thoughts on what is changing amidst the sort of protests we create here (pt). Also, just for foreigners, a brief description of the events via BBC. I don’t feel like elaborating on what’s happened just now. I’ll come back once my film is processed to share some images. For now a glimpse through the eyes of another:

© D.R.

© Ângelo Lucas/Global Imagens

© Patrícia de Melo Moreira/AFP

┐ The Aesthetics of Vandalism – the consequences of having no consequences └

the twenty mugshots of Black Bloc protesters arrested Saturday in San Francisco.

The detained protesters are now facing charges of conspiracy, riot, refusing to obey a lawful order from a police officer and resisting, delaying and obstructing a police officer, and assault and battery on a police officer. The bail for each person is VERY high, from $36,000 to 51,000.

more details here

(…)Gentrification is all about private property and the primacy of property rights over human needs in a market society. Vandalism of the property of wealthy invaders is an organic automatic response to the threat of dispossession gentrification brings. But sometimes a brick through a window is only a brick in a window. In fact, in most cases a broken window is just a broken window, a mere expression of atomized powerless rage. Context is everything.(…)

(…)In a period of relative social peace, authentic revolutionary extremist action is all about communication. It is about communication to the virtual complete exclusion of all else. If an action or event fails to communicate, then it has failed completely — and it doesn’t matter how much fun it was for the people doing it. Subjectively radical individuals have to try to communicate an uncompromising subversive message, on as wide a scale as possible, of direct relevance to the mundane everyday life concerns of mainstream working people. And this is usually best done as capitalist society itself generates opportunities for it.(…)

an excerpt from Max Crosby‘s In San Francisco’s Mission District, the Black Bloc Breaks Some Windows and Fails to Make an Impact. Continue reading here