Bosnia, a Serb Referendum and the Left

Photo: Anadolu.

What exactly has been going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina? A good question. At first sight, it might well have seemed like a storm in a teacup. Republika Srpska, the Serbian statelet in divided Bosnia, wanted to celebrate its own statehood day on 9 January. No big deal, you might think, but you’d be wrong. This is serious. In 1992, Bosnia split apart on warring ethnic lines. In 1995, the Dayton Peace Agreement formalised the split by partitioning Bosnia into a Bosniak-Croat federation and Republika Srpska. The issue of celebrating statehood day on 9 January, the date of Republika Srpska’s 1992 declaration of indep ..

Cretinous Parliamentarianism

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At the September 18th Russian parliamentary elections, the ruling United Russia party increased its vote to 54%, guaranteeing it a constitutional majority of 343 seats in the 450-member lower chamber. The other parties represented in the previous parliament—Russian Communist Party (13.5%), the Liberal Democratic Party (13.3%), and Fair Russia (6.2%)—will remain there. None of the extra-parliamentary parties such as Yabloko and PARNAS managed to pass the 5% barrier. Perhaps the most telling number, however, was the turnout: 48%, the lowest ever in Russia’s parliamentary history.  The most inappropriate reac ..

Seven points on the local elections in Berlin

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Note from LeftEast editors: The 18th Berlin state election was held on 18 September 2016 to elect 149 members to the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin (Berlin state parliament). We publish here a 7-point commentary by Gal Kirn. A few after-thoughts on the local elections in Berlin: 67% of people went voting, which is more than in 2011. My comment seems more negative than positive, but not “alarmist.” Let’s start with the positive: 1.CDU-SPD ruling coalition, which was founded on security, and attracting outside capital, lost. In terms of percentage, both parties are at a historic low: SPD 21.6%, CDU 17,6 % ..

Precarious employment and the role of trade unions in post-socialist Central Europe

Taxis drivers in Budapest protest against Uber.

Photo credit: APTOPIX Hungary

Since the outbreak of the global economic crisis in 2008, precarious employment has increasingly become the focus of attention for socially responsive international organizations and critical scholars and activists. Precarious employment has found its place at the centre of employment and social policy debates. Common in the conceptualization of precarious employment is the “lack of decent jobs, security, protection and rights.” A recent ILO report, for example, underlines the most common forms of precarious employment relations, trends and features by noting that: “more than 60 percent of workers world ..

Banning the Veil in Bulgaria

A woman wearing a veil in the Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik. Photo credit: BBC News.

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croat web portal Bilten. Last April Pazardzhik, a Bulgarian town with a population of about 70,000, banned Muslim women from wearing veils. Pazardzhik was followed by Stara Zagora, and proposals for introducing similar prohibitions were made in over a third of the regional cities. It is dubious if municipalities have the constitutional right to introduce regional regulations on clothing, but, regardless, the bans are widely backed. Rumyana Bachvarova, the Minister of Interior, said she supports it because more vigilanc ..

The rural-urban divide in Kosovo

The village of Beleg, Kosovo.

Note from the editors: The following piece was originally published in Croatian on the online platform Bilten A general analysis We can freely say that a key characteristic of Kosovo’s history is that it has had no cities – in the literal sense of the word that was used in medieval Europe. A characteristic of European cities until the end of feudalism was their distinction in trade, whether through sea ports, or other trade routes, while villages were mainly engaged in agricultural activities. This economic independence also led to the creation of powerful city-states of the Medieval and Early Modern ..

On Czech Marxism: An interview with Ivan Landa and Jan Mervart

Karel Kosik

LeftEast’s James Robertson speaks with Czech scholars Ivan Landa and Jan Mervart about their current project collating and translating some of the key texts from the history of Czech Marxism. Robertson: Both of you are currently involved in publishing a series of English translations of works by Czech (and Slovak?) Marxists. Can you say a few words about this project? How did it come about? Which philosophers you are working on? Landa: In fact we are currently pursuing two bigger parallel editorial projects: English translations of some of the most interesting Czech Marxist thinkers and besides that the cri ..

Housing and class (trans)formation in Romania

Gentrifying a neighborhood of old public housing, Cluj, August 2016. Photo by Eniko Vincze

The following piece was originally published in Croatian on the online platform Bilten. The article provides an overview on the political economy of housing in Romania as a key driver of the formation of capitalism after the dismantlement of socialist industries and related residential urban systems. It discusses statistical data and information on legislation at national and local level, in particular in the city of Cluj-Napoca, by addressing some central features of these transformations (such as privatisation and restitution, minimal social state, financialisation and class inequalities) in the tradition of cr ..

Turkey: Academics for Peace: Urgent Call for Solidarity

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Urgent Call for Solidarity! Members of “Academics for Peace” and Education and Science Workers Union (Eğitim-SEN) have been removed from their positions in public higher education institutions permanently! In January 2016, 2,218 scholars from Turkey signed a petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Petition. Since then the signatories (“Academics for Peace”) have been subject to heavy pressure and persecution. Hundreds of them have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, or violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or ..