Class and minority struggles in Iran today: Interview with Kamran Matin

Following Donald Trump’s repudiation of the Iran sanctions deal and threats of war and the economic protests that brought thousands of people out to the streets against the country’s government, the Islamic Republic is now increasing its repression in the predominantly Kurdish Northwest. LeftEast’s interview with Dr. Kamran Matin of the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex begins with the Kurdish question, but touches on the relationship between all three phenomena from a leftist perspective. LE: Can you give us a timeline of the general strike in Iranian Kurdistan following ..

Scrap mines, call centers and hashish plantations: The grim options facing Albanian workers

Editors’ Note: Over the last three decades or so, the workplace has receded from visibility in scholarship and in cultural productions. This disappearance is a global phenomenon of the neoliberal era, but the shift in East European societies, which used to valorize labor in many ways, has been particularly extreme. To the outside observer, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine what people do upon entering the gates of their workplace. This is why articles such as the following one by Arlind Qori, about the employment options Albanians face and the attendant forms of violence, oppression, and expl ..

Russia’s Electoral Circus

September 9, 2018 saw regional elections on a massive scale in Russia, with 4,000 representative seats, at various levels of government, at stake: special elections for 7 deputies in the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma; 26 of the 85 heads of regional governments across Russia; as well as elections to regional parliaments and representative organs of administrative centers. Elections in Russia long ago ceased to generate any hopes of real, practical potential for change. The results, as a rule, are known in advance – and in the unlikely chance of an authentic “struggle,” it’s i ..

The Only Way to Fight Fascism Is United in a Front (Interview with Onur Hamzaoglu)

As Turkey entered the new presidential system in the June 2018 elections, with sweeping new powers granted to its re-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the repression of the opposition continued, now without the pretext of the State of Emergency that officially ended on July 18 this year. Shortly after that, I interviewed one of the vocal critics of Erdogan’s regime, Onur Hamzaoglu, co-spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) and an internationally known academic. Hamzaoglu was released from five months of pre-trial detention at a court hearing in Ankara on July 19, 2018. He had been arrest ..

The putsch that never was: Romanian PSD in turmoil

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Balkan web-portal The original publication can be found here. Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), recently survived a small rebellion. A few of his colleagues asked him to resign his positions as head of the party and head of the Lower House in Parliament. However, Dragnea, whose nickname Daddy evokes the patriarchal atmosphere of a famous Tennessee Williams play, managed to win this battle. Or at least this is what is visible publicly: the internal vote went heavily in favor for Dragne ..

Defeat for EU and NATO expansion: the failed referendum in Macedonia

The failed referendum in the small Balkan state represents a major upset for the West, argues Vladimir Unkovski-Korica The 30 September 2018 was a disaster for the EU and NATO in the Balkans. The vast majority of the electorate of Macedonia boycotted a referendum that asked: ‘Are you in favour of membership in NATO and the European Union by accepting the deal between the Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Greece?’ At the time of writing, the state electoral commission expected the final turnout to be between 36 and 37 percent, significantly below the 50 percent required to make the result valid. Half an ho ..

Levica: a left case for boycott of the referendum on the Macedonia name dispute

Note from LeftEast Editors: In June an agreement was signed between Greece and Macedonia. According to it, the latter’s name will be changed into the Republic of North Macedonia. One of the attributes of the agreement is that Macedonia will be promised membership of the EU and NATO, which Greece had previously blocked. The agreement has been applauded by the western establishment and even garnered the support of some well-regarded names on the left. And yet other figures on the left have criticized it for being “ in the service of US imperialism and European capital.” On September 30th a referendum is takin ..

Once you have used all the carrots, only the stick remains

In this interview, Hungarian sociologist Tamás Gerőcs discusses the Orban government’s plans for centralizing academic research and more tightly controlling its funding. As the Hungarian Academy of Sciences states, “The Government of Hungary has recently established a Ministry for Innovation and Technology responsible for the centralized management of national science policy.” In a statement approved unanimously by its members, the Praesidium of the Academy has found it necessary to “call upon the President of the Academy to convene an extraordinary General Assembly should Government act ..

“Dealing” with Macedonia

We are publishing this article in collaboration with the online journal Bilten, which has made it available in Serbo-Croatian here. The month of September has been widely described in Macedonia as a key defining period for the future of the country. The date for the referendum on accepting the Prespa Agreement on changing of the name of the country to the Republic of Northern Macedonia has been set for the 30th of September. The agreement is sought by both governments as a deal that ends the decades-long dispute over the use of the term ‘Macedonia’ and unlocks the country’s path to its NATO membership and ..

Macedonia, without Additions: why we must oppose the Tsipras-Zaev agreement

Introduction The Tsipras-Zaev agreement on Macedonia stipulating, on Greek insistence, that Macedonians must call their country ‘North Macedonia’ instead of simply ‘Macedonia’ has garnered support even from some well-regarded names on the left. In July, the liberal British newspaper, the Guardian, published a letter backing the agreement signed by a host of left-leaning intellectuals including Étienne Balibar, Judith Butler, Costas Douzinas and Jean-Luc Nancy among others. To be precise, the letter didn’t just back the agreement, it praised it to the skies for its many alleged qualities – for res ..