Twenty Years after Castoriadis, one Hundred Years after the October Revolution

Editors’ note: this text has been published in cooperation with the web journal dVersia / dВЕРСИЯ, where it first appeared. The text is also available in Bulgarian. Two consecutive events in Sofia at the end of September 2017 – one on the 27th at Sofia University and another one on the 29th at Fabrika Autonomia – gathered radical activists, scholars and others involved with social and political issues, to commemorate the heritage left by Cornelius Castoriadis on the twentieth year after his passing. The way we as dVERSIA saw it, the discussions sought to provoke deeper reflection regarding the co ..

The Rent is too Damn High! – the development of the first Romanian tenants’ association

Note from the LeftEast editors: this piece has been published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian web portal Bilten. The title of this text has a long history, originating with the tenants’ movement in New York City that was tackling the problem of unaffordable rent. I use this phrase because this is the exact feeling that a growing proportion of people living in Cluj-Napoca have when it comes to mounting rental prices in their community. Over the course of the last years, rents have skyrocketed in Romania’s second largest city, making it the most expensive city in the country, surpassing even the capital ..

Bulgaria’s growing problem with violence among children: a piece is missing or the puzzle is wrong?

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian web portal Bilten.Org For three years now Bulgaria is experiencing a growing concern with violence among children, especially at school. Experts, NGOs, government representatives and media are contesting to restate their commitment to end children’s aggressive behavior, impelled by recurring cases of serious physical harm and even death. 60% of children in Bulgaria do not feel safe at school, the head of the Juvenile Crime Department at the Interior Ministry has stated in October. In 2016-2017 the Ministry o ..

Dissidents among Dissidents: Interview with Ilya Budraitskis about his recent book

Note from the LeftEast editors: Interview conducted by Vasile Ernu for Criticatac.ro, introduced by Giuliano Vivaldi and translated from the Russian by Joseph Livesey. One would have hoped that the occasion of the centenary of the Russian Revolution would have lead to a serious reimagination of both the event in itself as well as the legacy and history emerging from this monumental event. In the English-speaking world many books have been rolling off the press in an attempt to reread this event in a number of ways. China Mieville’s October was arguably the best-written of the actual accounts of the revolutio ..

Politics of the Left beyond Resistance: Reflections and Visions from our 2017 encounter in Skopje

Report by: Mary N. Taylor, Mariya Ivancheva, Adela Gjorgjioska, Veda Popovici  Over the last seven years, members of the LeftEast collective have co-organised  encounters in collaboration with other collectives and comrades in the Eastern and Southern peripheries of Europe. This year, our late summer encounter took place in the Macedonian capital Skopje, hosted by Social Center Dunja, and co-organized with Solidarnost. In Macedonia, the new left political party “Levica” has been facing severe obstructions, from formation to its continuous functioning. Various other left initiatives and formations (struggle ..

Premature Postcolonialists: the Afro-Asian Writers Association and Soviet Engagement with Africa

 This article post is part of the online forum of the African-American Intellectual History Society, “Black October,” devoted on the Russian Revolution and the African Diaspora W. E. B. Du Bois and others with hands linked and raised at the Afro-Asian Writers Conference in Tashkent in October 1958. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. In October 1958, over two hundred writers from Asia and the emerging African nations descended onto Tashkent, the capital of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Among the participants was W ..

Albania and China: the reemergence of an old friendship?

Note from the LeftEast editors: this piece has been published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian Left portal Bilten.Org. Nobody could have expected before the sixties that a tiny and a large country, 7000 thousands kilometers apart, the Popular Republic of Albania and the People’s Republic of China would forge a strong political alliance based on countering the Soviet Union and pushing forward an intransigent version of Marxist-Leninist ideology. For different reasons – from escaping the Soviet dependency to putting breaks to the destalinization process, Albania and China found themselves on the same sid ..

Referendum Interrupted: Has Catalonia a future?

The following interview, which was completed just prior to Catalonia’s declaration of independence, was conducted by Griselda Qosja with drs. Jaume Castan Pinos and Alexis Vahlas. In a 2012 piece for the Huffington Post, the writer Nannette Vonnegut recalled that living with her father, Kurt Vonnegut, was like living with an elephant “that was trying to give birth to something twice its size.” I can’t shake that image when talking about Catalonia, the effect of whose independence would be twice as big for the EU and its neighbors as it is for Spain and Catalonia themselves. In the political structures ..

Friends and Foes. Traditional and Alt-Right in Romania

This article is published in collaboration with Bilten: a regional online portal.  The proposal for a referendum to amend the constitution in order to inscribe the definition of family as the union between a woman and a man is dividing opinion in Romania and it represents a platform for the affirmation of a Romanian version of Trumpism and alt-right. It also offers, inadvertently, the occasion of an unlikely conjunction. The following details might seem too arcane for a foreign public but they are worth the patience in order to grasp the larger picture. The point is significant because it shows the impossible mi ..