Alliance Politics, Solidarity Praxis, Precarious Alliances: A Case of the Anti-Capitalist Muslims in Turkey

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Tomac, Ayca
Alliance Politics , Social Movements , Dissident Politics , Islamism , Neoliberal Populism , Turkey , Solidarity , Collective Action
This dissertation focuses on a dissident youth group in Turkey which came to national and international attention during the uprisings of May- June 2013 and dissolved two years later. The Anti-Capitalist Muslims (A-C M) were a meeting ground for individuals from different walks of life but influenced by the critical, Islamist writings of noted Turkish thinker and author, Ihsan Eliacik. My investigation saw the A-C M as a ground of investigation for understanding the potentiality and challenges of solidarity praxis across what had previously been thought to be historically and politically conflicting political groups. Specifically, it seeks to answer several questions: first, what are the roots of this encounter between Turkish Left and a Social Justice-centered interpretation of Islam? Second, what were the terms upon which this diverse group of individuals coalesced? Third, how did their work together transform their own political understanding? Fourth, what lessons can be drawn from this experiment for the future of political labour in Turkey and elsewhere in the world? The dissertation is anchored in a theoretical framework which brings together a broad historical perspective on identity politics and the politics of alliance with reflection on radical labor movements in the Turkish context. In an era in which dissident movements and radical politics both produced and destabilized by the neoliberal trends and re-structuring of state and economy, I argue that the A-C M represents a new type of solidarity/alliance building which are based on transitory political alignments what I call “precarious alliances”. As a concept, the notion of the precariousness of such transitory coalitions offers both a critique to the existing analysis of the process of making alliances and a re-imagination of the terms upon which individuals unite. I suggest that precarious alliances might serve as more than an analytical tool; indeed, for the A-C M it served as a radical political strategy. Moreover, in situating, theoretically and contextually, the A-C M experience in a time of greater social mobilization globally, I hope to contribute to the larger debates on solidarity building among youth of diverse ideologies and positionalities.
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