Libraries, Archives, Technology, Impending Doom
Hiya, castaways. Things are busy across the pond.
It was a rough day yesterday at Taksim Square in Istanbul. Despite assurances from local government to the contrary, police spent the day firing their water cannons and gas canisters into the square in an attempt to drive out the folks occupying it. The occupants held their own with gas masks, a bonfire, slingshots, and makeshift barricades. There’s some suggestion that the more aggressive of those fighting back with stones and molotovs were provocateurs. I’m always glad that NYPD doesn’t usually use tear gas, and after seeing pictures of Taksim engulfed in clouds of it, I’m even more glad than usual. One of our dear local comrades continues on the ground in Istanbul, and you can follow her updates on Twitter at @BatmanWI; odious as he can be in person, there’s always @Timcast.
Unfortunately, the Gezi Library got hit by water cannons (not to mention that the books have been exposed to tear gas). [Picture source.]
In other protest news, the G8 actions are off to a rousing start, with a raid on the convergence space in London yesterday.
In Greece, ERT, the national television & radio broadcaster, was shut down yesterday as an austerity measure. Some on Twitter noted that police came into the studios during broadcasts to force the shut down, which sounds like a plot point from Wells or Atwood, while some laid-off newscasters continued to broadcast in opposition to the announcement. Shortly after the announcement, supporters showed up at stations, and Greek unions have called for a strike.
Aside from the effect it will have on the people laid off — and these were the first public employees who’ve been cut in Greece, a bad precedent — even more chilling is what this means for the free flow of information. The Greek people are loosing their non-commercial media. This is neoliberalism at its finest; the monetary bottom line is the only metric by which value is judged. The public good, a well-informed populace, and any other less tangible measurement is irrelevant at best, but more likely to be quietly found in detriment to the ruling classes who ultimately control such things as public media.