In the past, Erdogan has used his economic victories as a shield against criticism. As the protests show, there’s an irony to this. By creating a strong middle class—one with wealth and education—Erdogan also created a class of people who are confident enough to speak their mind, and they expect to be heard. In this, he may have also unintentionally strengthened Turkey’s dormant left wing.
Julia Ioffe examines the black humor of the Pussy Riot trial.
On the morning of February 21, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mria Alyokhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich walked up the steps leading to the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, shed their winter clothing, pulled colorful winter hats down over their faces, and jumped around punching and kicking for about thirty seconds. By evening, the three young women had turned it into a music video called “Punk Prayer: Holy Mother, Chase Putin Away!” which mocked the patriarch and Putin. (“The head of the KGB is their patron saint,” they sang, by turns shrieking and imitating a church choir.)
The video went viral: it was two weeks before the presidential election and Putin, facing a wave of unprecedented protests, was feeling shaky. Three days later, a warrant was issued for the girls’ arrest. According to their indictment, their trial promised to be a decisive moment in the history of Christianity; officially, they were being tried for hooliganism, but the mumbling prosecutor clarified that they stood accused of “insulting the entire Christian world.”
Julia Ioffe — “Pussy Riot V. Putin: A Front Row Seat at a Russian Dark Comedy”
Penn State and Berkeley: A Tale of Two Protests
Wednesday night, two universities saw student demonstrations that spiraled into violence. On the campus of Penn State University, several hundred students rioted in anger after the firing of legendary head football coach Joe Paterno. At the University of California at Berkeley, 1,000 students, part of the Occupy USA movement, attempted to maintain their protest encampment in the face of police orders to clear them out.
The difference is that at Berkeley, the Occupiers—a diverse assemblage of students, linking arms—pushed back and displayed true courage in the face of state violence. At Penn State, the almost entirely male student mob was given the space by police, raising their fists in defense of a man fired for allegedly covering up the actions of a serial child molester, according to The Nation.
November 9 was a generational wake-up call to every student on every campus in this country. Which side are you on?
Courtesy of The Nation.
Is Tea Party Ted right about the Occupy protests?
Read TNR Senior Editor Michael Kazin’s “Anarchism Now: Occupy Wall Street Revives an Ideology,” on why protestors from Zuccotti Park to the streets of Oakland are being careful about the way they describe their ideology.
Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.
Police fired tear gas and arrested 97 Occupy Oakland protesters Tuesday night. Police released a statement saying that attacks against officers had precipitated the use of “less lethal force tactics” against protesters.
Oakland has seen violent clashes between protesters and police before. Protesters who have occupied the park in front of City Hall have begun calling it “Oscar Grant Plaza.”
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.
How should liberals approach Occupy Wall Street?
"To draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?"
-The Editors, “Protests and Power,” in TNR’s November 3rd issue.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Occupy Wall Street has hit Washington, DC.
Read how Jonathan Cohn thinks this might change the Left in “Why Occupy Wall Street Makes Me (Mostly) Optimistic.”
Photo courtesy of demotiximages.com.