Possibilities for New Forms of Resistance in the Neoliberal Era: Unification of All Rights Movements During Tekel Workers' Resistance in Turkey

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 2:30 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Aylin TOPAL , Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
The working class has become overwhelmingly disorganized in the neoliberal era partly due to the attacks on legal and institutional grounds of trade unions and partly due to the transformation of working class itself. Dialectically enough, the current phase of capitalism is pregnant with new crises and forms of resistance as a result of increasing precarious jobs, jobless growth, insecurity and extreme commodification. Under these conditions, unions are faced with altering their strategies. A possible formula is to organize unemployed and precarious workers as well as workers around counter-hegemonic united front a non-negotiable defense of collective rights (right to water, rights to transportation, right to shelter, right to decent work etc.). This study provides an historical account of a working class protest which took place in 2009-2010 in Turkey. It argues that this protest foretells the possibility of unifying all rights movements under an expansive struggle for collective social rights. June 2013 mass protests in Turkey also show that the sense of injustice is becoming stronger and felt increasingly by those who are subordinated to all sorts of unequal power relations.