Articles by Dan Cirjan

About Dan Cirjan

Mihai-Dan Cîrjan is a PhD candidate in the Department of History of the Central European University in Budapest. His research interests include economic sociology, financial anthropology and the history of capitalism in Eastern Europe, with a focus on the first decades after the Great Depression. His current research project tackles the restructuring of the Romanian financial system after 1929, with an emphasis on the state’s sovereign debt and the private debt of Romanian citizens.

Romanian Agriculture and its Discontents: Its Social Importance, Its Economic Insignificance

This article has been published in collaboration with Bilten. According to the Eurostat statistics for 2016, one third of all farms in the EU can be found in Romania- roughly 3,600 thousand agricultural holdings. Similarly, the country boasts the largest share of labor force employed in agriculture in the EU, a staggering 26% of the population working in the sector, way beyond any possible European average. By contrast, France features a puny 2.14 %, Croatia, 9.16 %, and Poland 11.5 %. Even compared with non-EU European countries, the figures are outstanding: only 6.71 % of Russia’s labor force is employed in a ..

The Romanian “Parallel State”: The Political Phantasies of Feeble Populism

This article is published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. On the 17th of November 2017, the majority party in the Romanian parliament, the Social Democrats (PSD) issued a statement condemning the existence and practices of the Romanian “parallel state.” This strange notion, with its mysterious air of 1950s spy movies, had already made the headlines in the pro-government press, attracting considerable attention. The party resolution, however, gave it a heightened sense of reality. Suddenly, the most powerful party in Romania’s post-socialist history, the PSD, saw itself besieged by an ..

The Romanian Pension System Between Low Wages and Demographic Fears

This article has been published in collaboration with the Bilten regional platform. The illusion of the “private vs. public” opposition A flurry of irate opinions, fuming comments, and angry analyses have emerged in Romania’s liberal press once the Social-Democratic Prime-Minister, Mihai Tudose, announced in late August, under rather vague terms, his Cabinet’s intentions to reform the pension system. The debate developed into a strange public fray, mixing economic fears, fiscal fatalism, and demographic concerns; a discursive potion which is unfortunately representative of the manner in which the pension ..

The Romanian “Family Referendum” and the New Social Conservatism: Uncivil Society and Feeble Party Systems

This text was first published in Serbo-Croatian by Bilten. On the 25th-28th of May, and with the official support of the Hungarian government, Budapest was the place to be for all those keen on defending “the traditional family”. Called the “Budapest Family Summit,” the event occasioning this huge congregation of patriarchy enthusiasts, was a massive gathering. It featured an impressive array of right-wing organizations tied together by a rather explicit anti-abortion, anti-gay rights rhetoric, along with their commitment to the patriarchal family and Christian faith. Among them one could find the Croatia ..

Romanian Soldiers and 1917: Memoirs from the other Side of the Revolution

Introduction and Context  The Two Revolutions The following text is a short fragment of an eye-witness account of the 1917 Revolutions: Voicu Nițescu’s Twenty Months in Russian and Siberia published in Brașov (Romania) in 1926. The book, a rather long-winded work of three volumes, is not the work of an enthusiast: there is hardly any sympathy in it for the February Revolution, let alone Red October. One would search in vain for the heroic undertones of John Reed’s writings or for its stern fervour. For Nițescu, when not a dreadfully murderous enterprise, the Revolution was just a sure recipe for disaster ..

Chipping away at the Political Consensus: Black Lives Matter and American Exceptionalism

(Review: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Haymarket Books: 2015. ) Real America has a Romanian accent and lives in Prague In Eastern Europe there is a specific way in which the class relations and social transformations which have moulded US politics get lost in a glazed landscape of critical opacity. Within the region’s public sphere, underpinned by its “civil society” ethos, the protests, police violence and urban inequalities characterizing the US in the last decades are usually swept under the blanket with a clear conscience and an unwavering journalistic hand. Par ..

Did it Ever Happen? Social Movements and the Politics of Spontaneous Consensus in Post-Socialist Romania

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article has first appeared in Romanian on the website Criticatac. It was translated into English by Maria Pozsar and extensively reworked by the author.                    1. The Oblivion Today, only two months after they took place, the protests mentioned in this text are already history. In a double sense: not only that they are over, but their presence within the public sphere seems as distant as possible. Like a bizarre non-event, the street demonstrations have largely disappeared from public focus and the changes brought by them don’t differ that much fro ..