August 2006 – Peace & Rock Festival

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Rock against Coca Cola and war in Turkey

BarisaRock Festival (Rock for peace) in Istanbul has ended with a great success last weekend. More than 60 organizations, campaigns and initiatives have been involved in the activities. Besides 30 rock bands, which took the stage during two days, there have been wide range of activities such as over 20 meetings and work-shops on war, anti-capitalist movement, women’s rights, nuclear energy, GM Foods, etc. More than 40 films have been shown.  And there have been over 30.000 participants against Cocal Cola & multi-national companies, against capitalist globalisation, against occupation and war… First year it has been only 3.000 and last year 7.000 participants. This year it’s been third year. The Festival has started three years ago by some individual activists and musicians, who got angry at multi-national Coca Cola, which has used “rock” for its brand. This year hundreds of activists have been involved in the preparations. It is not simply a music festival of two days, but a campaign which runs all-year long on streets. Activists are already planning simultaneous BarisaRock festivals in many places in Turkey for next year.

This year among the participating organizations & campaigns were Global Peace and Justice Coalition, Social Forum of Turkey, Anti-Nucleer Platform, No to GMs Platform, Greenpeace, Amnesty Internetional (Turkey), Association of Turkish Disabled People, etc. Besides, there have been stalls fo women’s organisations, gays, alternative media, trade unions, youth & student organisations, and environmental campaigns.

The most spectacular occurence was the participation of the 110 Coca Cola workers, who have been fired by the Coca Cola company, simply because they have become a member of the Trade Union of Transportion Workers (DISK – Nakliyat-Is). The pick of the whole festival was the moment when the workers have been invited to the stage. Mostly young participants have shown their solidarity with the workers shouting slogans against Coca Cola, US imperialism and war. It was very exciting to see, how young participants and the workers have put the connection between war, anti-union attitudes of a multi-national company and the global struggle against capital. There have been two major demonstrations with participation of the Coca Cola workers during the festival.

Most of the BarisaRock organisers are also part of the social forum process in Turkey. Some of the rock bands will be involved in the mobilisations to the Euroepan Social Forum in Athens next year. We expect to have a very big delegation to the next ESF.

F. Levent Sensever

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