Let Jock Palfreeman Speak! Part I of a Two-Part Interview

In this interview originally published in Bulgarian on dversia.net, the leader of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association speaks with Polina Manolova on the loss of justice, his activism, and left alternatives. Polina Manolova: On 19th of September 2019 Jock Palfreeman was granted parole after serving almost 12 years in Bulgarian prison for fatally stabbing a neo-Nazi on the streets of Sofia in December 2007. His early release has instigated a chain reaction of state repression, far-right mobilisation and media sensationalism. Immediately after his release Jock was taken to an immigration detention centre in S ..

Women are not afraid of “gender ideology” but of exploitation at work (Interview)

Gender scholars Eszter Kovats and Aniko Gregor assess the latest developments in politicians’ attitudes towards gender studies in Hungary and argue, intriguingly – we believe, for an Eastern European feminist agenda which prioritizes women’s access to social services before arguing for gender struggle within families. We republish here the interview conducted by Veronika Pehe, who also kindly provided an English language translation. The piece initially appeared on Czech online publication A2larm. Recently, we’ve seen that the Hungarian government has been targeting so-called “gender ideolog ..

After Years of Neoliberalism, Georgian Workers Have Forgotten What It Means to Win

LeftEast publishes Volodya Vagner’s interview with Georgian unionists in collaboration with OpenDemocracy-Russia. Georgia has recently seen a wave of strikes by newly established unions. In summer 2018, the Ertoba2013 union, which organises Tbilisi’s metro workers,shut down the Georgian capital for several days, before the city municipality eventually met its demands. Earlier this year, a new social workers unionstageda successful strike for wage increases and better working conditions. Both unions are allies of theSolidarity Network, an activist union and workers centre started by retail and service sect ..

“Eastern Europe’s extraordinary 30-year revival.” A Bulgarian immigrant’s anecdotal response

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a video of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov circulated by a Bulgarian Facebook group. The video began with an excerpt of a speech by the Prime Minister delivered to his party at the beginning of the year. In it, pondering the falling popularity of his government, he proceeded to outline the many achievements of his party, GERB – Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria. In a typically arrogant and condescending manner he asked aloud ‘What’s the reason?’, giving the supposed counter argument himself: ‘The income has increased, the infrastructure has increas ..

Fascists lead huge demo on Poland’s Independence Day

By any measure, November 11’s fascist-led Independence Day march in Warsaw was terrifying. The authorities said 50,000 people marched through the Polish capital, while the organisers claimed 150,000. The true figure is likely to be somewhere in between. The march was obviously huge, however. Participants lined up in over sixty rows at the start; the demo took more than an hour to go past its starting point. Thousands more joined it en route and at the final rally. Dream Deferred has reported on this annual march over the past few years (see our previous reports in 2012, 2014, 2015 and last year, 2018). Apart fr ..

‘The fall of the last domino’: an overview of Levica’s departure from the government in Slovenia

The last couple of months have been turbulent for The Left party (in Slovenian, Levica). Firstly, the Left failed to cross the threshold in the EU parliamentary election. Even the fact that their candidate, Violeta Tomić, was also theSpitzenkandidat for the Party of the European Left did not help. And secondly and more importantly, its partnership with the minority government officially ended. Even if this outcome was expected for some months, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec never explicitly claimed that his political party LMŠ (Lista Marjana Šarca) or the other of coalition partners (SD, SMC, SAB and DeSUS) want ..

Change or Stability, Apathy or Disgust: Bulgarian voters lose out yet again

If elections in liberal democracy were to be described as briefly as possible, perhaps it would go something like this: the people get to decide if they want change or more of the same (with both options, of course, embodied in aspiring representatives). Such was the explicit dilemma defining the political discourse in Bulgaria in the past few months. And it seems that the people have chosen more of the same. After a short, insubstantial campaign and two rounds in many places (the capital included), local election results became official on the 4th of November. In the epic battle between the ethereal forces of ..

Bosnia: Refugees’ Supporters Demand Open Borders

This article appeared first in German on mosaik blog. Aside from a handful of local and international organisations, it is women who are leading the charge to support refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina. mosaik editors Franziska Wallner and Klaudia Wieser report on what they witnessed while accompanying the ‘SOS Balkan Route’ donation convoy from Austria to the north of the country during the last weekend of October. It was the Vučjak camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina that ultimately caught the media’s attention – the pictures of people living in tents without mattresses, sanitation facilities and running water whic ..

The Chilean Crisis: behind a thirty-peso fare hike, thirty years of bourgeois domination

On October 6, a fare hike on Santiago’s subway network triggered protests led by secondary students, putting on display the terrible conflict-management skills of president Sebastien Piñera’s right-wing government in Chile. The mass fair-dodging was too quickly called a criminal act, and from then on, government officials started digging their own graves. What started out as a student protest became a massive demonstration that took a whole furious population out onto the streets. People’s discontent does not just come from a 30 Chilean peso fare hike [ed. the equivalent of $0.04 USD]; but from 30 year ..

Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Fails Romanian and Bulgarian Migrant Workers

Editorial note: The following piece originally appeared on Verfassungsblog | On Matters Constitutional. We carry it here with kind permission from the author. Two weeks ago, on a Friday night, I was grabbing a bite to eat with a few Romanian colleagues atBill’s Restauranton Green Street in Cambridge, England. Two of us stepped outside for a cigarette. Mid-conversation, someone stopped and started yelling at the top of his lungs: ‘This is f*****g bullshit. I can’t believe it.’ We thought his indignation must have to do either with our smoking or the fact that we were speaking Romanian. We concluded it was ..