The Romanian “Parallel State”: The Political Phantasies of Feeble Populism

On the 17th of November 2017, the majority party in the Romanian parliament, the Social Democrats (PSD) issued a statement condemning the existence and practices of the Romanian “parallel state.” This strange notion, with its mysterious air of 1950s spy movies, had already made the headlines in the pro-government press, attracting considerable attention. The party resolution, however, gave it a heightened sense of reality. Suddenly, the most powerful party in Romania’s post-socialist history, the PSD, saw itself besieged by an abstract reality, ­­­ an institutional structure whose contours remained as va ..

We Asked: Geopolitics and the Left (Part I: Russia & the West)

The latest wave of confrontation between Russia and the West—from the Skripal affair and the following diplomat expulsions and sanctions on Russia to the gassing of Douma residents most likely perpetrated by the Assad regime and the resulting US-UK-French bombing raids on Syria–rarely left the front pages of mainstream media. LeftEast has until now resisted the topic: it is not quite our fight. Not to sound nostalgic, but if the original Cold War, for all the devastation of its proxy wars and the dictatorships it bred, created conditions that sometimes favored the processes of decolonization, the victory ..

Bulgarian Lessons: Liberalism as Market Power plus Expensive Electrification of the Whole Country

This article is published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croation portal Bilten.org. The past few days, a high-voltage scandal is literally grilling the main politicians and business elites in Bulgaria: an obscure local energy company is going to buy the Bulgarian assets of the largest electricity distribution company in the country, owned by the Czech state company CEZ. The intensity of the controversy belies a deeper debate over when a private business deal constitutes a legitimate public concern. In short, the deal has exposed some paradoxes underpinning the separation between public and private, so dear to li ..

Populism or people’s movements? Interview with Mary Taylor

Ágnes Gagyi: “Populism” seems to have become a central notion in debates about contemporary politics. How do you see the socio-political process that led to this centrality within the US? How would you characterize the political and discursive fields that shape the meanings and applications of this notion in contemporary US debates? Mary Taylor: Let me first address the term ‘populism’s status as a catch phrase more generally at this global historical juncture. It seems that people are using the term quite often without defining it, and that (in most cases) it is valued negatively; it is an accus ..

József Böröcz: “Orbán’s effects have already extended beyond the borders of Hungary”

Note from the LeftEast editors: This interview of Àngel Ferrero with sociologist József Böröcz (Rutgers University) was carried out for the newspaper El Salto and first appeared there in Spanish on the 7th of April 2018. LeftEast reprints the English original with the kind permission of the author.   1/ According to the polls, Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz is set to win the upcoming Hungarian elections with up to 49% of the vote, followed by the MSZP (social-democracy) with 12% and Jobbik (far-right) with 17%. What is the reason, in your opinion, behind the success and popularity of Fidesz? I don’t want to ..

‘A Better Past is Still Possible’. Interview with Boris Buden

Note from LeftEast Editors: This interview was originally published in Bulgarian for dVERSIA (8/2017) on the occasion of the publication of the Bulgarian translation of Boris Buden’s book ‘Zone des Übergangs. Über das Ende des Postkommunismus’. Neda Genova: There is a dominant discourse in Bulgaria which often mobilises an anti-communist rhetoric as an explanatory matrix for almost all of the deficits of the current (hyper)capitalist regime: the privation and violence of the present are interpreted as a result of an insufficiently radical break with the country’s communist past. Thus, issues ..

Interview with Moishe Postone: “Critique and Dogmatism”

Note from LeftEast editors: We re-publish this article, originally published by antidotezine.com on 22.03.2018 – on the occasions of the seven-year anniversary of the Syrian uprisings as well as the passing of the great scholar and political theorist Moishe Postone. The interview (conducted in 2011 by Slovenian then-doctoral student Anej Korsika), was first published in English on Korsika’s blog in 2015. Anej Korsika: In the beginning of 2011, I spent three months at the University of Chicago, studying under the supervision of professor Moishe Postone, my foreign doctoral adviser. As time passes, one ..

The economics of ‘Orbánism’

The steady anti-democratic drift of Hungary in the last eight years have been the subject of some discussion – of varying depth – outside the country as well. But beyond politics, the economic policies and record of the EU’s probably most notorious hard right government is much less talked about. To what extent have they been coherent or successful? Does Orbán’s rule have a solid economic basis at all, and if yes, how does it fit into European and global capitalism? In other words, is it likely that it will continue to reproduce itself in a material sense, or is it perhaps on the verge of collapse or dis ..

No Sweets for Massacres: Katliamın Lokumu Olmaz! An Interview with Boğaziçi Students

Note from the editors: In the week following a non-violent demonstration on the campus of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul against a pro-government Islamist student group handing out sweets to celebrate the victory of the Turkish Army and its allied militias in the Syrian-Kurdish district of Afrin, Turkish police have repeatedly swept into the campus in pursuit of anyone suspected of involvement in the anti-war action. The ongoing wave of detentions on the Boğaziçi campus form part of a strategy familiar from earlier police action on university campuses in Turkey, and which intensified even before the Presiden ..

The ‘Ndrangheta and Slovak Politics: an interview with Alena Krempaská

Note from the editors: The following interview with Alena Krempaská was conducted by Mattia Gallo in the days following the protests in Bratislava. Mattia Gallo: On Friday, March 9, 2018, tens of thousands of people animated the center of Bratislava in a peaceful demonstration against the government of Prime Minister Robert Fico to ask the truth about the murder of the Slovak journalist, Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kušnírová. Kuciak, who was shot dead on February 25, was investigating the presence of activities of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta in Slovakia. What were the slogans and the biggest demand ..