Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s slim victory in the referendum to eliminate Turkey’s parliamentary system is the latest in a series of elections won by xenophobic right-wing forces in conditions of economic insecurity and social upheaval that one might naively have expected to benefit the Left. Insofar as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) clique has successfully shifted the blame for the country’s recent miseries onto malign foreign forces, events in Turkey display some similarity with recent successes of the resurgent nationalist Right in the West. Yet leftists should be careful not to make overhasty ..
There is little on the global horizon these days that points toward socialism, but one thing we have more than enough of is regressive anti-capitalism: a mentality more than a political standpoint, which insists on personalizing the impersonal logic of capital, railing not at the society of commodity exchange, but at banksters, parasites, the New World Order…at Jews, now as then…and at George Soros. The investor with left-liberal aspirations has become the veritable “quilting point” turning vague but intense dissatisfactions with the global capitalist order into conspiracy theory and natio ..
This article by Justus Links was first published on the portal OpenDemocracy. From the distance spanned by social media, since the presidential election, I have observed friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in North America in a state of trauma. Physical illnesses are spreading and anxiety is intense. Some who are educators feel that their courses cannot go on as usual after the disaster of November 8; one announced that she planned to put the curriculum aside in her next session and “talk about empathy” instead.
It is hard to talk about empathy without slipping into self-congratulation. Literary theo ..
Published yesterday, Part I of this article explored connections among the War on Terror, political Islam and the Arab Spring, and reached these conclusions: The regional architecture put in place by the imperial system makes it very hard for a left-wing revolution to succeed. While regimes aligned with the United States have successfully suppressed their internal revolts, in countries like Iraq, the disintegration of the nation-state has splintered society along communal lines. The authoritarian “republican” regimes most challenged by the Arab Spring are for the most part the calcified remains of Arab nation ..
The second part of this essay can be found here. The fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks came and went without provoking quite the volume of critical assessments inspired by past anniversaries. No doubt it helped that there were no copycat attacks on US interests comparable to the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi in 2011. Yet while Americans begin, slowly, to recover from their panic fear and penchant for “preventive” military adventures, the script that US officials wrote for their global “war on terror” continues to plague the Middle East, even if at times in new fo ..
Note from LeftEast Editors: This text was originally in N+1 Magazine. AN HOUR OR TWO BEFORE SUNSET on a warm evening in mid-July, my friends are wondering where they can get a beer. They’re surprised that the local grocery store doesn’t carry alcohol, and that its sale on campus is illegal. But this is a fun-loving neighbourhood, full of college students, and there’s bound to be a solution. I spot a small store with the blue Tekel sign over the door, left over from the recent past: the old state-owned spirits and tobacco company, whose name literally means “monopoly.” I usher my friends inside, where t ..
Monthly Review, March 3, 2016 Turkish Islamists used to dismiss the European Union as a “Christian club.” Their claim has acquired greater plausibility now that EU leaders have appointed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Europe’s refugee gatekeeper, bolstering his Islamist government in order to keep Muslims out of Europe. Such was the import of the agreement the two sides reached last November, in which EU governments promised to pay Turkey three billion euros over two years to cover the costs of detaining and accommodating asylum seekers. The days preceding the agreement saw the assassination of one ..
Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian fighter jet over the border with Syria was a first in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) and may yet become a pivotal moment in the unfolding of the Syrian civil war, but it did not come out of nowhere. Over the last week pressure has been building within Turkey over the assault on Syrian rebel positions by the Russian Air Force and ground forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The territory in question is doubly sensitive to anti-Assad Turks. Not only is the mountainous region west of the city of Jisr-al-Shugur a crucial strategic point connec ..
The night after the massacre of one hundred peace activists in Ankara on October 10, protestors crowded the streets leading to Taksim Square in Istanbul carrying signs reading, “We know the killers” (Katilleri tanıyoruz). Mourning and rage mingled in a beautifully concise statement that nonetheless leaves ample room for explanation of how it happened, with whose permission or collusion, and how likely it is to happen again. Turkish society was not unanimous in grieving for the dead. At a football match held in Konya between the Turkish and Icelandic national teams, some fans responded to the request for a mo ..
At 9:30 yesterday morning Turkish citizens opposed to their government’s war policies gathered at the Ankara Train Station for a demonstration organized by a broad alliance of organizations: the country’s two main oppositional labor unions (DISK and KESK), the national Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), the Medical Association (Tabipler Birliği) and the June Movement (Haziran Hareketi) formed in 2013 to give lasting organizational form to the Gezi Park protests, to name a few. Shortly before ten o’clock the group began its march toward Sıhiyye Square where from 12:00-16:00 they were to hold a ra ..