Restore the Fourth is a nonviolent grassroots movement protesting indiscriminate government surveillance and the erosion of Fourth Amendment privacy rights. Inspired by recent NSA scandals, Restore the Fourth is planning a series of demonstrations across the U.S to take place this coming July 4th holiday.
In New York City, an organizational meeting will held at 8PM this Wednesday, June 12th, in Washington Square Park (near the Garibaldi statue on the eastern side of the park). Although Restore the Fourth is not formally affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, we encourage occupiers to attend in order to share the lessons we've learned and show our comrades the practices which have been most successful. See below for more information.
A playful place, a place of fun, a dancing world of bright colors, a world in which we bubble and overflow into one another and beyond.
A world without hard lines - a world in which identities exist only to be transcended.
A world in which the basis of human existence is not identity, but the mutual recognition of our dignities.
Not 'I am', 'you are' — but I-you-we do-create-become.
A different form of organization, a different form of coming together.
The mutual recognition of humans, and also, in a different way, the mutual recognition of human and non-human forms of life.
Nonsense, of course, were it not for the fact that it already exists – as potential, as rebellion, as the force of the 'not yet' in the present.
To find the world that could exist after capitalism, we must look to the anti-worlds already being created in countless struggles against capitalism – countless cracks in the texture of capitalist domination.
A world beyond capitalism can only be a distillation of the dreams dreamt against oppressions –
A redemption of the longings of all who have struggled for a better world.
Look then, to the experimental anti-worlds being created in the struggles against capitalism, to the assemblies that characterized the Occupy movement, and its rejection of representative "democracy".
To the protests against guns and violence and war, to the movements not just against male domination, but for the overcoming of all classifications of people by sex and sexuality.
To the millions who fight against the destruction of the Earth by developing a different conviviality with non-human forms of life.
To the constant push for living in a time liberated from the clock, in the space freed from the measuring rant.
To the constant drive inseparable from our humanity to determine our own doing.
In the cracks, in the refusals and creations in the anti-worlds of daily struggles.
That is where the urgently necessary world beyond capitalism is to be found.
Millions are in revolt in Turkey. Although the revolt is called the Gezi Park Resistance, it is no longer about saving trees and parks from the neoliberal capitalist governmental plan of urban renewal. Instead, it is a cry of millions of young people for more freedom and democracy. This is a historic protest of young people, belonging to different social classes, holding different sociocultural and political stands that have no political agenda other than the collective will to end state authoritarianism. It is also momentous due to its politicizing effect on millions of middle class urbanite young people who are often criticized as an apolitical digital generation by their elders. Although this uprising is mobilized and mainly consists of young people of different demographic traits, it is also supported and participated by people from all walks of life and different political stripes across the country.
What is happening in Turkey with the #occupygezi protests? Why should we care? We should care because, above all else, our grievances are connected through the violence brought when people stand up to say no to the initiatives of big business, planned behind closed doors and without our consent. The story that follows is a first hand account of the current struggle on the street in Turkey.
"Well, we are just filling light bulbs with paint," said my friend, a cafe owner in Cihangir, the SoHo of Istanbul. Speaking to me on the phone, she sounded as relaxed as if she was baking an apple pie. "You know," she continued, "the only way to stop a TOMA is to throw paint on its window so that the vehicle loses orientation."
My friend, who was completely uninterested in politics until six days ago, had never been in conflict with the police before. Now, like hundreds of thousands of others in Turkey, she has become a warrior with goggles around her neck, an oxygen mask on her face and an anti-acid solution bottle in her hand. As we have all learned, this the essential kit to fight the effects of tear gas. As for TOMA, that is the vehicle-mounted water cannon. To paralyze it, you either have to put a wet towel in its exhaust pipe or burn something under its engine or you and a dozen others can push it over. This kind of battle-info is circulating all over Turkey at the moment. It is like a civil war between the police and the people. Yet nobody expected this when, six days ago, a group of protesters organized a sit-in at Istanbul's Gezi Park to protect trees that were to be cut down for the government's urban redevelopment project.
Then, there is the fear. This kind of thing is hard to report in a prominent newspaper. That is perhaps why the international media have not reported that the fear of government and the Prime Minister has been growing even among non-political people. You can easily hear your grocery shop man saying "I think my phone is tapped." The mainstream media has not covered it, but we have read reports on social media about people being arrested for making jokes about the government. That is perhaps why for the past two days every wall in Taksim Square is full of curses against the Prime Minister. The public is enjoying the death of the "cruel father figure" with the most sexist curses I have ever seen in my life. And I have seen some. But there is a more important component to the protests.
Killing the fear
As a writer and a journalist I followed the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. As I wrote at the time, Arab people killed their fear and I saw how it transformed them from silent crowds to peoples who believe in themselves. This is what has been happening in the last six days in Turkey. Teenage girls standing in front of TOMAs, kids throwing tear gas capsules back to the police, rich lawyers throwing stones at the cops, football fans rescuing rival fans from police, the ultra-nationalists struggling arm in arm with Kurdish activists... these were all scenes I witnessed. Those who wanted to kill each other last week became - no exaggeration - comrades on the streets. People not only overcame their fear of authority but they also killed the fear of the "other". One more important point: the generation that has taken to the streets was born after the 1980 military coup that fiercely depoliticized the public. The general who led the 1980 coup once said: "We will create a generation without ideology." So this generation was - until last week.
"So this is the media that we've been hearing the news from over the last twenty years?" That was the question asked by one young man on Twitter, as he watched a television journalist keep silent while the Prime Minister branded protesters "a bunch of looters". The young man has been on the streets peacefully protesting for the last six days, so now he has many suspicions about what's been happening in his country all this time. Maybe the Kurdish people are not "terrorists". Perhaps the journalists thrown in prison were not plotting a "coup" against the government. All those jailed trade unionists may not be members of a "terrorist organization" after all. All those university students in prison, were they innocent like he is? Questions multiply.
As I write, Istanbul, Ankara - Turkey's capital - Izmir and Adana are burning. Massive police violence is taking place. And in my middle class Istanbul neighbourhood, like many others, people are banging on their frying pans to protest. People are exchanging information about safe places to take shelter from police, the telephone numbers of doctors and lawyers. In Taksim Square, on the building of Atatürk Cultural Center, some people are hanging a huge banner. There are only two words on it: "Don't surrender!"