Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ok, you have your revolution. Now what?


"These movements have erupted in two of the major emergent powers of the 21st century where economies have been growing fast. I do not think this is a coincidence. Ordinary Turks and Brazilians, particularly young people, are reacting to a feeling of global forces beyond their control; they are reminding leaders swept up in boom times of the need for consultation and accountability; they are telling the hyper-connected financiers who have profited most that social justice — society itself — matters. By gathering, by occupying, they are asserting a shared humanity against atomizing development and the globalized shopping mall.
Can they get from 'No' to 'Go'? It will take organization on a scale not yet seen, decisions on objectives and, yes, leaders. But I do not see it all ending in pizza. From Tunis to Istanbul, from Cairo to São Paulo, something essential has already happened. Fear has fallen. That in itself is a game-changer." 

I agree that the protests are good at saying what is wrong, but not good at providing a fix. OWS tried to correct that by having General Assemblies to find solutions.  But that is the clunkiest method ever devised for trying to move forward.  

But I do believe there are solutions. Our current federal legislative system has frozen.  But local and regional systems are still viable.  It may take more local approaches to fix things as well as can be on that level first, while working on a solution for federal gridlock.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Protesters learn from others around the world


"Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets across the country Monday night, and more demonstrations are slated for the coming week. Brazil doesn't have a history of this kind of mass dissent, but it seems to be catching on very quickly.
'The social movements in the world are learning from each other,' said Marco Antônio Carvalho Teixeira, a professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Sao Paulo. 'This is a brand new way of protesting in Brazil.'
The Brazilian protesters have a lot in common with their Turkish counterparts:"

That's one thing the Internet provides; instant information about protests elsewhere.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Please, Turkey, learn the LESSONS of OWS, don't just copy


"So what about the popular assemblies in Syntagma Square, Puerta del Sol and Zuccotti Park? Was that real democracy? When we asked Glezos, he looked at us with an amused smile on his face, and — to our great surprise — just said: 'No. This is not democracy. How can a few thousand people assembled in a square claim to speak on behalf of the millions that live in the region? This is not democracy — it’s a lesson in democracy. If this movement wants to survive, its direct democratic models will need to spread to the neighborhoods and to the working places. Only then will we start seeing the emergence of a genuinely democratic society.'”

I hope that Turks learn from OWS, but that they don't assume OWS was successful.  It was to me a movement that overextended itself horribly.  I hope Tukey will learn how to scale direct democracy, and not waste time trying to accommodate every single person instead of trying to actually accomplish something.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Social media and Gezi Park protests


"Is social media, then, also having a similar impact?
Yes. Similar to the Arab Spring, the role of social media is undeniable in the uprising in Turkey. I would not go as far as to say this is a social media revolution, as some have redundantly argued about Tahrir. But clearly, protestors in Turkey would not have been able to organize and make themselves heard this well and be able to undo the silence of Turkish media channels and their pro-government broadcasting, if they did not have access to social media."

I saw a slick video made by the protesters very similar to Anonymous videos; lots of fun, singing, dancing, but still determined to make their point.  I saw in photos similarities to Occupy Wall St.  They even had a nice library set up, that the cops came and destroyed.  Another thing about social media is protesters around the world can share ideas and methods.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How Turkish protesters are using the Internet


"Protesters became more careful about communicating information privately after they realised police knew where they were, tracking public posts on social media. 'We were giving out information to police without realising,' Damla said.
After that, links and groups visible only to each other became the way they communicated their location or movements, though they were happy to denounce Erdogan's government and upload photos of alleged police brutality on Twitter or Tumblr.
The use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which hide a user's location and allow them to view the internet undetected, has also seen a sharp increase in recent days.
One app, Hotspot Shield, jumped into the Apple App Store's top five in Turkey yesterday, a rise of 120,000 new users in a week, as the population seeks to keep mobile communications channels open in anticipation of further crackdowns and arrests"

This is a great explanation of how protesters are using the net.  Useful reading for the future.

Social media fueled protests


"There are also other interesting political commonalities to these movements, including their use of durable presence in public space as a form of protest, anti-authoritarianism as a uniting ideology, an '“anti-politica'” stance among participants, the participation and key role played by 'lumpen' elements such as soccer fans, the importance of anger towards cronyism, police repression as a spark and uniting theme, to name a few. Hence, this post is an attempt to take a bite out of a complex topic with a special focus on social-media and organizational styles of networked movements:"

And here are her 8 points:

1. lack of organized/institutional leadership
2. organized around a "no" not a "go"
3. a feeling of lack of institutional outlet
4. non-activist participation
5. external attention
6. social media as structuring the narrative
7. breaking of pluralistic ignorance and altering collective action dynamics
8. not easily steerable towards complex, strategic political action

A good read.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Social media is evil! says Turkish leader


"Erdogan also blamed Twitter for spreading unrest: 'There is now a scourge that is called Twitter. The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.'”

Of course, maybe instead the things people are saying on twitter are actual sentiments.  Maybe they are statements of Turkish citizens expressing their views of their government.  And maybe they shouldn't be dismissed by someone who should be listening to the citizens.