saturday, 22nd june 2013 - 12:00 - Alter Markt
Europewide Demonstration in Cologne
The struggle for democracy is a global struggle!
A protest against the construction of a shopping mall has turned into a battle for democracy. When, at the end of May, a group of environmentalists, anticapitalist anti-gentrification campaigners, feminists, anti-racist groups and Kurdish BDP-parliamentarians began to occupy Gezi Park, nobody could yet imagine what the results would be. Only a few days later, hundreds of thousands were gathering on neighbouring Taksim Square. The demonstrations spread to other cities in Turkey. Suddenly, the stakes had risen: everything was up for grabs. The response by state and police showed that they were aware of this, too.
The result was thousands of injuries and four deaths. In the early morning hours of the 11th June, the police’s attacks on the protesters showed new and unheard-of levels of brutality. For an entire day, the people defended themselves on the squares, only to be attacked by the police again once night fell. Now, Prime Minister Erdogan no longer only spoke of Capulcu (‘looters’), but openly declared the protesters ‘terrorists’ – and threatened that no one would ‘get away’. Erdogan and his armed gangs have been unable to smother the fight for democracy. On the contrary, the struggle goes on – in Turkey, in Kurdistan and everywhere!
Around the world we see the same images: Frankfurt and Istanbul, Tunis, Kairo, Athens, New York, Madrid, Aleppo and Qamishli. Thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands are no longer willing to bow under forces and relations that rob them not only of their income and housing, of their access to education and health care and the social and political rights that they have struggled for over decades, but also of the air to breathe and of the prospect of a dignified life.
In Germany, the situation is very different from that in Istanbul. And yet, only two weeks ago in Frankfurt we saw scenes that in many ways resemble those currently beamed into the world from Taksim-square. For nine hours, riot police ‘kettled’ over 900 people. Just like on Taksim Square, uniformed thugs jumped individual demonstrators in groups of three of four, sprayed seniors and children with pepper spray, targeted journalists with the baton charges, attacked our lawyers. But there too, the struggle for democracy was not broken – no, here, too, it was only the beginning.
On Taksim Square, an alliance emerged that until recently would have appeared impossible: the red flags of the Turkish left mingling with the Kurdish PKK’s yellow ones, the black-and-red of the Anarchists row-upon-row with the purple flags of the feminists. In the middle of them all, the flags of the political ultras of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas Istanbul. The united Kurdish and Turkish left that emerged in the occupation of Taksim Square will be a new political force, will be another, a new left.
The Blockupy-protests in Frankfurt, too, were organised by a new alliance, one that is still young and unusual: the broad coalition of a new emancipatory movement. Both alliances, those of Frankfurt and Istanbul, are the echoes of other beginnings: those of Tunis and Kairo, Athens, New York, Madrid and Tehran, those of many other cities and towns all around the world. Their struggle, our struggle is a global struggle, and it is being fought everywhere!
We therefore issue a common call to gather on the squares of German cities and towns, both this Saturday (see below for dates and times) and in many more initiatives over the coming weeks and months. Because we know that the German government shares the responsibility for the brutal attack on the Turkish uprisings, we direct our common demands at both the German and the Turkish government:
We support the demands of the Occupiers of Gezi Park: for an end to all construction there, for an end to police violence and for freedom of the press and freedom of speech; for the liberation of all political prisoners, and for punishing the responsible politicians and police.
· Stop all arms sales by German industry and government to Turkey, and to all conflict regions in the world. War begins here; let us therefore also stop it here.
· No arming the Turkish police with modern counterinsurgency-weapons – stop the export of CS-gas to the Turkish police!
· End the Frontex-border regime – open borders for all – no one is illegal – the right to remain for all!
· Against the Troika and the European crisis politics!
For a new internationalism: “They want capitalism without democracy, we want democracy without capitalism!”