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 Turkey and the forces that opposed it. Işık Sarıhan: On winning and losing I come across news articles saying that Erdoğan is the winner of the constitutional referendum of April 16. One ..

Ukraine: Statement on the Armed Attack on the Left-wing Activist Stanislav Sergienko

A group of people armed with knives has attacked Stanislav Sergienko, activist of “Social Movement” and student of Kyiv-Mohyla academy on the 20th of April in Kyiv. Stanislav has been stabbed multiple times and is currently being treated in the hospital. There are strong reasons to conclude that ultra-rightists committed this crime. On the April 20, 2017 at about 4 pm Stanislav Sergienko, activist of the platform “Start” and the civil organization “Social Movement”, was attacked and stabbed by two unknown people near the entrance to his home. Now Stas is in the hospital, where he has had urgent surger ..

The Soros Affair

Swiftly after March 28th, when a legislative proposal backed by the FIDESZ government endangered the existence of Central European University in Hungary, events  followed at an unprecedented pace. The whirlwind of bellicose statements, powerful street-protests, counter-statements, and legislative show-down have highlighted some of the political strategies and structural constraints molding the decisions of the Viktor Orbán government. We publish here an article by GM Tamás which originally appeared at the beginning of the conflict in Hungarian, in the magazine HVG. Ironically referencing the numerous “affair ..

Turkey’s referendum and its aftermath

The Turkish original of this article is accessible here. Only a few days are left before Turkey’s April 16th constitutional referendum on the transition to an authoritarian presidential system. Those who thought that the referendum would be a piece of cake for the government given the countrywide state of emergency were proven wrong. Regardless of the eventual outcome of the referendum, the vivacity of the different “No” campaigns in the face of the state’s heavy-handed tactics is a considerable source of hope for all forces of social opposition. In the little time that remains, we must not only strive t ..

St. Petersburg: “The Terrorist Attack Will Provide a Pretext for Reinforcing Restrictions over Opposition Groups”

On Monday, 3 April, an explosion in the St. Petersburg subway caused the death of 14 persons, while more than 50 were wounded. One day after the attack, Philippe Alcoy interviewed Kirill Medvedev, an anti-capitalist militant of the Russian Socialist Movement. A direct reaction to the events, this article was first published in French at www.revolutionpermanente.fr, Photos of the shattered Petersburg subway-car have quickly made the rounds on the internet.  The ensuing confusion has essentially been caused by the fact that no one, neither individual persons nor groups, have claimed responsibility for the attack. ..

The Art of Empathy: An Interview with Russian Graphic Artist Victoria Lomasko

Victoria Lomasko is a fixture at Moscow’s trials and protests, documenting the tumultuous processes that shape today’s Russia. Not content to limit herself to the political life of the country’s capital, Lomasko travels around the country and through the former Soviet republics, exploring the domestic, psychological, and spiritual condition of its diverse marginalized groups. Sex workers in Nizhny Novgorod, women in underground lesbian clubs, teachers in a remote village school, and children at the juvenile prison colonies, where Lomasko volunteers as an art teacher, have been some of the subjec ..