Teaching insurgence – the revolutionary potential of education in a neoliberal era

Gramsci argued that ‘democracy, by definition, cannot mean merely that an unskilled worker can become skilled. It must mean that every ‘citizen’ can ‘govern’ and that society places them, even if only abstractly, in a general condition to achieve this’. Therefore, he argued that the task for the working class was to become intellectually autonomous, as this was the way for them to lead their own movement and thus, become a ruling class. He relentlessly sought the ways for accomplishing this historical task, among others, in the field of education. His pedagogical program was based on the radical idea ..

Dollars in my pockets

Money! You either have it, or you don’t. Socialist Romania did not. Therefore, it had to borrow money from abroad in order to meet its ambitious development goals. This episode explores socialist Romania’s failed crusade on the sea of global high finance starting from the late 1960s up until the 1980s, discussing the underlying reason for the turn towards austerity: the decision to pay off the accumulated foreign debt in its entirety. This podcast was originally published at podcasts.ceu.edu as part of the Sound Relations Project based at Central European University, Budapest, and is done in collabora ..

Ahead of a Hot Italian Summer

Disenchantment with the euro had been growing in Italy for many years. After the last elections, this disenchantment proved to be the basis for the formation of a coalition between the far-right wing Lega and the diffuse Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Stars Movement). While the two parties differed on many economic and social issues, they agreed on that the Eurozone is dysfunctional for Italy. And they nominated a politically experienced economist and a well-known critic of the euro zone, Paolo Savona, as a Minister of Finance. The prospect of a euro-critical government in Italy produced nervousness among other eu ..

Open Call – Feminist Gathering in Kaunas

The collective around the Center Emma (Kaunas) is organizing a feminist gathering between the 24th and the 26th of August. We publish here their call for contributions, hoping that as many comrades as possible will join the event. The social center seeks to bring together a broader progressive social network, popularize anti-authoritarian ideas, cultivate mutual-support and autonomous politics.  The social center is named after the well known anarchist Emma Goldman to commemorate her young days spent in Kaunas. EN (Lithuanian version below) European Union is experiencing a “refugee crisis”, followed by incre ..

Five Senses of Austerity: Seeing Ruins

In 1977 Romania was hit by one of the most powerful earthquakes in its history. Episode two of the Five Senses of Austerity engages with the way in which the state dealt with the aftermath. On the one hand, the state saw the natural disaster as an opportunity for a particular kind of redevelopment, while on the other hand, for many Romanians, the earthquake marked the actual moment when things started to take a turn for the worse. The moment when austerity began. This podcast was originally published at podcasts.ceu.edu as part of the Sound Relations Project based at Central European University, Budapest, and is ..

Reinventing Witchcraft: Romanian Politics and the Occult

Alexandra Coțofană, a researcher of the significance of the occult in Romanian politics, has recently completed her PhD in anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. Matan Kaminer interviewed her on her research and its implications for LeftEast. MK: So what role does the occult play in Romanian politics today? AC: I started my research by looking at the way communist political elites in Northeast Romania used to collaborate with practitioners of the occult before 1989. At the time, it seemed to me that my project would rely on a logic of indigeneity and that the labors of the occult employed by politician ..

The Five Senses of Austerity: When the Music Stopped

This podcast was originally published at podcasts.ceu.edu as part of the Sound Relations Project based at Central European University, Budapest, and is done in collaboration with the Blinken Open Society Archives. What did Nicolae Ceausescu have in common with Romania’s most famous radio DJ, Cornel Chiriac? In Episode 1 of ‘Five Senses of Austerity’ we explore this and how it relates to the invasion of Prague in 1968. This was a period before austerity, the so-called ‘golden age’ of Romanian socialism. And yet, it is a period in which austerity was already slowly creeping in, especia ..

Land-grabbing and the Financialization of Agricultural Land

On the occasion of the publication of the report Transnational Corporations and Land speculation in Brazil by Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights), Mary Taylor of LeftEast spoke with  Fábio Pitta, Devlin Kuyek and Attila Szőcs about the broader implications of their findings. Mary: First, can you to speak a bit about the report. What are the the conditions of financialization of agricultural land and its consequences in Brazil? Fábio: Financialization of agricultural land is not new in Brazil. It is related to the financialization of capitalism, since the 19 ..

Introducing the Five Senses of Austerity

This podcast was originally published at podcasts.ceu.edu as part of the Sound Relations Project based at Central European University, Budapest, and is done in collaboration with the Blinken Open Society Archives. In recent years, most of us have become used to hearing about austerity. Following the 2007 financial crisis, it was said that austerity was the only viable cure. Today, more than 10 years later, the ghost of austerity still haunts Europe and much of the Western World. But this is not the first time that austerity was imposed on people in order to solve a financial crisis.  In Five Senses of Austerity, ..

Denial of the Obvious: the Far Right in the Maidan Protests and Their Danger Today

We are publishing this article in collaboration with Vox Ukraine. Recently the massive rallies of the far right parties, the powerful public presentation of the National Militia affiliated to Azov’s “National Corps” party, escalating attacks by extreme right groups against leftist, feminist, LGBT, human rights events brought Ukrainian radical nationalists back into the center of the public discussion. The dominant narrative since Maidan in Ukrainian and much of the Western public spheres have been systematically downplaying the problem – either arguing that Ukrainian far right are not really “fascists ..