Electoral Advance For The Radical Left in Croatia

Local elections were held in Croatia on May 21st. This was the first time since the 1990 that the radical left has made significant gains, which is especially encouraging in light of the probable parliamentary snap elections in September. In the capital of Zagreb, the wide left front (consisting of five, mostly new or newish, parties – ranging from left liberals to anti-capitalists) got 7,64% in the elections for the city council (around 24.000 votes). In lower levels of local government, the left front “Zagreb je nas” had even better results – close to 30% in some cases. The explicitly an ..

Bulgaria’s New Cabinet and EPP’s Flirt with the Extreme Right

A version of this article was first published in Bulgarian at Baricada. Two weeks ago, on May 4, flamboyant Bulgarian rightist leader Boyko Borisov swore in for his third time to serve as the country’s prime minister. A return to the helm of power in Bulgaria is not an honour that anyone else can boast for the period since 1989. In November 2016, Borisov filed the resignation of his second cabinet, after the candidate of his political party GERB, Tsetska Tsacheva, was defeated in Bulgaria’s presidential elections by Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) nominee Rumen Radev. That was a move familiar from 2013, when ..

Ukraine’s Civil War Crimes: Facebook Post As Bad As Kidnapping, Torture, and Murder

On May 12th, the Artemovsk court in the Donetsk oblast (province), sentenced a soldier to five years of prison with a three year probation period for the kidnapping of a local civilian that resulted in his death. The ruling cited the soldier’s ‘sincere confession and military engagement in the Anti-Terrorist Operations in the East of Ukraine’ as the mitigating circumstances and let him go. Numerous eyewitness accounts by army colleagues of the convict describe what had happened: The soldier suspected that a local man had ties with the separatists. He proceeded with kidnapping him, putting a bag ove ..

Socially Destructive Amendments to the Hungarian Labour Code Need to be Opposed

While demonstrations in Budapest and international reactions expressed outrage over the Hungarian Government’s attempt to shut down Central European University (CEU), on 11 April 2017, the Economic Committee of the Hungarian Parliament was also proposing legislative amendments to the Labor Code. The amendments – to the Labor Code, which is already often referred to as the “slave-labor law” (rabszolgatörvény) – would enable an even more flexible, employer friendly use of working time, especially in the production segment of manufacturing. Instead of the currently, already very flexible reference pe ..

Interview with Mariya Ivancheva

Note from LeftEast Editors: We republish an interview with LeftEast editor Mariya Ivancheva, taken by Eli Thorkelson for Academography on April 7th.  Mariya Ivancheva is currently working on a research project with the Universities of Leeds and Cape Town called “The Unbundled University.” Some of her recent work includes “The Discreet Charm of University Autonomy: Conflicting Legacies in the Venezuelan Student Movements” (2016), “Academic freedom and the commercialisation of universities: a critical ethical analysis” (2016, with Kathleen Lynch), “The age of precarity and the new challenges to ..

The times they are a changing: Rebuilding collective action in Albania

Following a wave of protests in Zharrez, Albania, Griselda Qosja spoke with activists affiliated with two of the leading leftist organizations in Albania, Organizata Politike and Thurje. From Aristotle to Hegel, the distinction between state and market has been the basis of understanding the role of civil society. In Albania, however, since the 1990s, unfortunately the role of civic activism has been often marginalized in public opinion, and perceived as an agent linked to the Open Society Foundation (OSF)[1] or backed by foreign embassies. Probably, an atavism of the communist regime, where the fight against fo ..

May Day and The Right to Happiness

Written by one of the central figures of the Romanian social-democracy, for the last May Day before WW2, this is not an “analytical” text, nor does it have any extensive theoretical pretensions. As so many others, it is small chunk of the everyday textual production of interwar socialism and, as such, it is part and parcel of a much more important conceptual effort: that of opening an intellectual space in which complex Marxist analyses could converse, on an equal footing, with the everyday social interpretations of Romanian workers. Recognized as one of the most gifted Marxist theoreticians of the period, Lo ..

Slovak Spring? Not Really, Though the Weather is Changing

The Slovak national anthem begins with this dramatic stanza: “That Slovakia of ours / has been asleep so far / but the thunder’s lightning / is rousing it / to come to.” And it continues in a similar spirit: “Slovakia already arises / tears off its shackles.” While the author Janko Matuška, a member of the insurgent mid-nineteenth-century Romantic movement, referred to the then incipient “awakening” of the Slovak nation, the image conjured by the opening lines is even today reflected in one of the Slovaks’ favourite autostereotypes: that they are “sleepy” i ..

Turkey’s Referendum: the Poverty of Analogy

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s slim victory in the referendum to eliminate Turkey’s parliamentary system is the latest in a series of elections won by xenophobic right-wing forces in conditions of economic insecurity and social upheaval that one might naively have expected to benefit the Left. Insofar as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) clique has successfully shifted the blame for the country’s recent miseries onto malign foreign forces, events in Turkey display some similarity with recent successes of the resurgent nationalist Right in the West. Yet leftists should be careful not to make overhasty ..

First Reactions to the Constitutional Referendum in Turkey: No, It’s Not Over Yet

Last Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan finally got the main item that has been driving his political agenda for the last several years: a majority (51.4%) in a popular referendum to legitimate his de facto executive presidency. Or did he? LeftEast asked Zeynep Serinkaya, Onur Bakiner, and Işık Sarıhan about how this victory was “achieved,” what its consequences will be, and what lies ahead for the forces that opposed it and for Turkey itself. Işık Sarıhan: On winning and losing I come across news articles saying that Erdoğan is the winner of the constitutional referendum of April 1 ..