Towards a Radical Politics: Grassroots Urban Activism in the Walled City of Nicosia

cuprus buffer zone nicosia

by EIRINI ILIOPOULOU and PAFSANIAS KARATHANASIS*

The opening of the barricades by the Turkish Cypriot authorities, plus the failure of the official peace-talks, the rejection of the ‘Annan Plan’ and the disappointment towards the institutionalised bi-communal activism of the political parties, the trade unions and the NGOs together composed a new socio-political framework in 2003–2004. In this framework, a political subjectivity manifested itself, seeking to express an alternative way of thinking and acting as well as a desire for ‘change’. It was the starting point of the grassroots activism as an ongoing process that has been forming a germinal political tradition. But what kind of ‘change’ are they fighting for? Elaborating on the recent uprising in Turkey, Alain Badiou suggests that it is right to rise up, but when doing so, ‘the problem of the duration and the scope’ opens up (Badiou, 2013). Additionally, another question emerges in relation to the actors’ identity in the way they perceive or construct themselves and their cause. The political scene is a quite fluid and bitty one, interrelated with anarchist, radical left, anti-authoritarian and autonomous groups, mainly comprising sections of the island’s educated youth from both sides of the divide. They insist in forming a ‘communal’ political identity in contrast to the mainstream ethno-national segregation or the liberal and economistic character of the institutionalised ‘bi-communal front’ (Zanou, 2012). In the present climate the grassroots political action is strongly affected by the current capitalist crisis, while the political subjectivity is being transformed in dialectical relation with collective action, bringing together several potential actors (Badiou, 2013) within the generation of crisis.”

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Note from the Authors

* We would like to thank all the participants of the grassroots movement in Nicosia, across the Green Line, who shared with us their experiences, as well as, their thoughts and anxieties, during our participatory fieldwork between 2009 and 2013.

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References of the Above Quote

Badiou, A. (2012) The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings. London/NY: Verso.——— (2013) ‘Alain Badiou on the Uprising in Turkey and Beyond’. 19 June 2013. Available at: [http://cengizerdem.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/alain-badiou-on-the-uprising-in-turkey-and -beyond/], accessed on 31 March 2014.

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Read the Full Article published by The Cyprus Review as [PDF]

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Read More About the Occupy Buffer Zone

Official Occupy Buffer Zone Website

Buffer Zone, Documentary about Occupy Buffer Zone.

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