This post will differ from most on this blog in being more of a pure log of links than an a formulated story or opinion.
I’ve been loosely following the protests in Ukraine and its capital Kyiv since they began in November. No surprise there since my main research topic is how protest movements use urban spaces. The EuroMaidan movement is happening just a bit north to Turkey’s Gezi Park protests, but the ability of the rolling waves of antiglobalization, antiwar, Occupy, Arab Spring, take the square, anti-austerity movements to see it as an extension of or parallel to themselves is much more complicated. Like these protests, EuroMaidan raises questions about how politics is done in the street, the rights (or wrongs) of protesters occupying public buildings and interrupting public life, the ways that mass movements involve an interplay between mass calm gatherings and (smaller) mass confrontation, the tactical interplay between unarmed and armed forces, and the quickening and fracturing of political coalitions. These sorts of questions seem pretty similar across different nations, and there are lessons to be learned from each mass movement for all.
While tactical affinities are obvious, the evidence of the presence or absence of political affinities is contradictory. Is an encampment that began with a defense of a European Union agreement comprehensible to those occupying squares against EU austerity inside the Union itself? Is this a movement for democracy, and is democracy being rethought from the street, as Occupy-ers found? Or are politicians “engineering” the occupations and clashes for their own ends? Is the threat of foreign domination in this case represented by Russia and Putin or by NATO and John McCain? Is this a challenge to corruption and concentration of wealth, or the opportunism of a right-wing and its merely ecstatic allies?
I don’t feel close enough to the situation to sort out all the answers to these questions, but the protesters are not just occupying the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, they’re occupying my thoughts. Here are some sources of insight if they are of interest to you as well:
- Wikipedia on Euromaidan, the Hrushevskoho Street riots, and Regional State Administration occupations.
- 13 Images Of the Massive Protest Taking Ukraine By Storm (secretly, a low-attention-span primer written in December)
- Tactics of Occupation: How do you organize an occupation? | Maidan Inside Out |
In Kiev City Hall, Energized Protesters Settle In for a Long Winter’s Uprising
- Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism?
- Four of the Largest Misconceptions about the Protests in Ukraine
- Ukraine: what’s going on, and what does it mean?
- Language politics: Is It Time For The West To Stop Calling It ‘Kiev’ And Start Calling It ‘Kyiv’? | Do you speak Surzhyk?
- Movements within the Movement: Manifesto: 10 Тheses of the Leftist Opposition in Ukraine | The Ukrainian Nationalism at the Heart of ‘Euromaidan’ | Support Ukrainians but do not legitimize the far-right and discredited politicians!
- Ongoing coverage: EuroMaidan PR in English | Kyiv Post | LeftEast | Imagining Youth | Maidan on the Internet