Resist Kazova store against savage capitalism

Resist Kazova store against savage capitalism

According to the “Global Risks 2014” report the World Economic Forum issued shortly before the Davos Summit, one of biggest risks ahead of us is the income gap. This is such a gap that, according to Oxfam, the world’s 85 super rich own the wealth that half of the world population owns. We are talking about 3.5 billion poor against 85 rich.

In Davos, capitalism, which has caused the accumulation of a huge wealth for years, is being questioned. Models are being discussed that would take the place of capitalism. As a matter of fact, this year, the subject was thoroughly discussed at the “Ethical Capitalism” session.

One of the panelists in the session was the inventor of “microcredit,” economist Professor Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh, founder of the Grameen Bank. Yunus regards “social entrepreneurship” as a remedy against capitalism. Another regular of Davos, the lively boss of the British Virgin Group Richard Branson suggests Plan B to the business world as “ethical capitalism.” Branson has called for cooperation with governments for Plan B. Branson’s demand is a just, transparent, environmentalist business model that protects the interests of others, as well as itself.

Well, where is Turkey in this debate?

The story I will tell now is the story of a “production without a boss” model developed by a handful of people against savage capitalism; also in the heart of Istanbul.

Our story started exactly one year ago. One of Turkey’s leading textile companies Kazova laid off its workers without severance pay. The bosses moved most of the machines and goods overnight.The majority of workers have spent their years in Kazova. Some of them have been working there for 26 years. They set up a tent in front of the factory and demanded their rights. Then the “Gezi incidents” started.

The “resisting workers” of Kazova sold the remaining products in those park forums held at Istanbul parks. With the money they got, they repaired the old machinery they had seized through a court order for their due debts. After a while they moved the machinery to a place they rented and started production “without a boss.” They also set up a cooperative.

The leftist segment, including artists and fellow journalists, showed enormous solidarity to the Kazova workers who recently opened their own store in Şişli.

The collection produced for the “Diren Kazova” (Resist Kazova) store is created by contemporary artist Halil Altındere. His video “Harikalar Diyarı” (Wonderland) was one of the most popular in the 13th Istanbul Biennial, featuring the hiphop group from Sulukule “Tahribad-ı-isyan,” telling the story of the effect of urban transformation on children. For the “2014 Resist Collection” prepared by Altındere, some artists and journalists modeled at the newly opened store. The “Diren Kazova” store is a cultural center at the same time.

The first major order has come from Cuba for the Kazova workers, who have pledged to produce cheap and quality goods for people. I hope the “Diren Kazova” store attracts the attention of a capitalist such as Branson who is pursuing a more just world.