A Message to the Protestors from Slavoj Zizek

Although triggered by the apparently modest local issue of protecting a park in the very center of Istanbul from commercial destruction, the ongoing protests in Turkey obviously refer to a much deeper malaise. The fact that protests exploded in a country widely perceived as a model of “moderate Islamism” with a booming economy are a key indicator of what causes this malaise: the prospect of combining the ravaging neoliberal economy with religious-nationalist authoritarianism. The victim of these two processes is the same: independent civil society with its spirit of solidarity and cultural tolerance, the spirit which forms the very backbone of the ethical health of a nation. As such, the protests are a living proof that the free market does not imply social freedom but can well co-exist with authoritarian politics.

This is why the protests are part of the same global agitation that is shaking the established order around the globe. All people who care about freedom and emancipation should thus say to the Turkish people: welcome! We are now part of the same global struggle! Spain, Sweden, Greece, Turkey… only if we fight together we have a chance!

Slavoj Zizek

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