This book sheds light on the political-economic, cultural-ideological and organizational dynamics of the Gezi Park protests, which constitute the largest social mobilization in modern Turkish history. We offer a Marxian framework to explain the transformation of the classes of labour from a state of political fragmentation into a coherent social force capable of launching an offensive against various manifestations of neoliberalization. In this framework, class mobilization is attributed to a set of four factors that includes a) political-economic and -cultural class grievances, b) the conjunctural political climate that helps to activate these grievances, c) the articulation of a collective critique of dominant class practices, and d) the deployment of mobilizing strategies and tactics. In Turkey's case, the first two sets of factors find their expression in the development of what one could call "neoliberalism with Islamic characteristics" and the disenchantment of the relatively more educated and secularly oriented wage-earning working class fractions under the government's increasing conservative interventionism. The remaining factors speak to the social agency-related rather than structural dynamics of class mobilization. These dynamics are most strongly articulated in what Gezi Park protestors call "Disproportionate Intelligence" accompanied by social media activism, innovatory strategies of occupation and civil disobedience (e.g. forums and the Standing Man), and dispersed but coherently organized structures of collective leadership (e.g. Taksim Solidarity Platform and Çarşı). Overall, we make significant contributions to the Marxian social movement literature by offering new conceptual tools such as "neoliberalism with Islamic characteristics" and the "political-cultural fix", "repertoire cultivation", and "cognitive diversion".
"A brilliant analysis of the social roots of the 'Turkish spring' and the culture of resistance it has created."
–Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
"This provocative critical analysis of a local movement draws globally-relevant conclusions. Theoretically sophisticated, critically engaged, and strategically nuanced, the authors' account of the Gezi Park mobilization is an exemplary reflective account of innovative disruptive politics in face of a distinctive form of neoliberal politics. Multifaceted in its approach, concerned with conjunctural as well as structural factors, it provides new insights into the Gezi Park movement and offers important lessons for resisting and moving beyond neoliberalism."
–Bob Jessop, Distinguished Professor and Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced studies, Lancaster University, UK
"Grounded in an acute reading of Turkey's distinctive path of neoliberalization, Gürcan and Peker present a creative and provocative analysis of the cycle of urban protests triggered by the events in Gezi Park. The book deserves to become the definitive account of the Turkish "long summer," and a map to the futures of anti-neoliberal politics."
–Jamie Peck, Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy, University of British Columbia, Canada
"An extremely timely and important book, Gürcan and Peker not only overview in depth the Gezi Park Protests of 2013, but also develop this analysis into a systematic critique of societal change occurring under the Islamist neoliberalism of the AKP regime in Turkey."
–Korkut Boratav, Professor Emeritus, Ankara University, Turkey
"The Gezi Park events constitute one of the decisive turning points not only for Turkey, but also for the indigenous global resistance against neoliberal globalization. Gürcan and Peker bring together a superb collection of academic research that offers a valuable analysis of the political economy behind the Gezi trajectory and beyond."
–A. Erinç Yeldan, Professor of Economics, Bilkent University, Turkey
"'Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance' was the rallying cry of the wave of popular protests that engulfed Gezi Park in May 2013, challenging the corrosive effects of neoliberalism and authoritarianism on social life in Turkey. Gürcan and Peker provide a highly original and theoretically robust analysis of the Gezi Park protests. They reveal how the collective social movement leadership that was forged during the uprising used a combination of protest tactics to offer a trenchant critique of political power in contemporary Turkey. Challenging Neoliberalism at Turkey's Gezi Park provides an innovative approach for understanding the dynamic structures of emergent social movements."
–Nik Theodore, Professor of Urban Planning & Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA