Articles by Raia Apostolova

About Raia Apostolova

Raia Apostolova is from Sofia and a Ph.D. student at the Central European University, Budapest.

We need to recover democracy and to radicalize it

Political theorist Chantal Mouffe speaks about populism and its relation to democracy, models of left-wing populism and the strategies opened to the left at this historical juncture. Chantal Mouffe is professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster. She is a cowriter of the seminal Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), one of the best known contemporary books that discusses radical political theory. She is best known for her conception of radical democracy and her notion of agonistic pluralism. Among her books are The Democratic Paradox, On the Political, ..

Freedom of Movement and Benefit Tourism: Paying Attention to the Background

The following article first appeared at Novara Media. We know that a good director contrasts the foreground and the background of movie scenes in order to show us details that otherwise would go unnoticed. These details are what make the movie complete by virtue of their potential to change the perception of what we consider to be true or not. David Cameron would be a bad film director. But I am afraid that the audience is not paying much attention either. How else would we explain the boundary between ‘deserving refugees’ and ‘undeserving economic migrants’ that has comfortably settled among us? Or binar ..

We Asked: Refugees in Bulgaria

What specific challenges has the position of your country on the refugee corridor between the Mediterranean and Western Europe brought in the past months, in relation to numbers of refugees transiting (issues such as asylum laws, transport, border control)? Curiously, Bulgaria, despite its geographical location, has not experienced the same number of border crossings as for example we witness in Macedonia, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria. But one’s curiosity is immediately satisfied if she looks at the major newspaper headlines in the country, which unambiguously show that push-backs are a major technique emp ..

The German Greens: Or how they learned to stop worrying and game the ‘poverty migrants’

How much are our lives worth? €1 billion, according to Germany’s Green Party. So high a pledge is reminiscent of a racket, in which a potentially dangerous situation is artificially created so as the mafioso can pretend that s/he is able to protect the victims under threat. The story that follows is that of a racket. It is a story of how the Greens, through their use of the stereotype of the thieving EU migrant (or ‘social benefit tourist’), have aimed to pacify the emerging radical refugee movement in Germany. In effect, they have played these two social actors (the ‘legitimate’ asylum seeker, and th ..

Elections in an exhausted Bulgaria: another challenge on the European front

source: New Left Pesrpectives The pre-term elections in Bulgaria scheduled to take place in October come in the midst of a deep political crisis and social disarray. Bulgaria’s right oriented vote in the past two decades has cost the country low budget redistribution, non-existent public services and social destabilization. Thousands of Bulgarian workers commence on a journey to Germany’s slaughter houses or Poland’s agricultural fields as they cannot secure employment in Bulgaria. In this respect, the unfolding enmity towards the working poor on a European scale, and as expressed in the openly declared bat ..

Green wristbands

On October 21st in Munich, Germany a group of about 30 Bulgarian migrants were pushed into a backyard by 20 police officers from the Financial Police (Finanzkontrolle Schwarzarbeit [FSK]). The incident took place in the neighborhood around the Central Train Station, where many try to find work as daylaborers, pushed to do so at street corners because of strict regulations to the “labor market.” About two hours of intimidation began. People’s names were written down in lists. They were constantly reminded that they have no right to work. Some of them were made to sign a document that they do not understand t ..

Exploiting the Barbarians

Perhaps the most pointing allegory of unfreedom in liberal thought is the one that depicts the chained, immobilized body of a slave. The allegory of the chained slave simultaneously positions the “free” subject as a moving, mobile subject. In a similar manner, one of the main principles behind the implementation of the ‘European project’ – freedom of movement – contains in itself the ideologically loaded concept of freedom on the one hand and the idea that movement is constitutive of freedom on the other. Bulgaria is a country at the ‘European’ edge where the dialectic between the so-called ‘for ..

VIDEO: A talk with Sandro Mezzadra in Budapest

Interviewers: Raia Apostolova and Mathias Fiedler On June 22 a group of migrants declared a hunger strike in Munich, Germany. The strike struck at the heart of the European Empire which in the last decades has been the source of the migration policies responsible for the production and further reinforcement of the European Apartheid and flexibilization of labor and class hierarchies. Stripped of all political rights, migrants throughout Europe often resort to hunger striking as their only weapon against the imposition of violence through practices such as deportations and detentions. After more than a year of fie ..

Terminal 2: The joke is on us

Perhaps one of the most common jokes that are circulating lately in Bulgaria is the one that depicts emigration as the most relevant escape from the politico-economic crisis. The joke goes something like this: Question: “What are the possible exits out of the crisis?” Answer: “Terminal 1 and Terminal 2” Author: Christo Komarnitski. Source: ( The caricature captures Terminal 2. In the line on the left is a protestor from the February events. On the right is a protestor fro ..