Articles by Philippe Alcoy

Poland mass teachers’ strike: “We were afraid parents would be angry; I am pleasantly surprised”

Just before Polish teachers suspended their strike to allow for exams, Philippe Alcoy interviewed Dagmara. She gave us an insider view on the causes of the historic struggle of Polish teachers as well as on the solidarities of pupils and parents. From the French: Celine Cantat. Dagmara Zawistowska-Toczek has been a primary and secondary school teacher in the Polish city of Gdansk for 19 years. She teaches in two institutions (30 hours of in-class teaching with students, plus 10 to 15 hours of work at home). As she explains, she is a “qualified teacher,” the highest rank in the Polish school system, an ..

Workers won in Audi Hungary: “We hope that our strike has send the message to other employees to unite”

Employees of Audi Hungary in the western city of Györ conducted a successful seven-day strike in late January. It was the AHFSZ (Audi Hungaria Independent Trade Union) that led the strike. The AHFSZ currently has 9,700 members in the plant (72% of the workers) and defines itself as a “union independent from all political parties as well as from any Hungarian trade unions or federations”. Members of AHFSZ kindly agreed to answer Philippe Alcoy’s questions. The workers of Audi Hungary in Gyor went on strike for seven days on wages and working conditions and won a great victory against this global ..

Protests in Hungary: “The slave labor law was clearly written to appeal to German industrial interests!”

Protests against what is being called Viktor Orban’s “slave [labour] law” in Hungary are turning into a questioning of his entire regime. For nearly 2 weeks now, Hungarians have been taking to the streets in Budapest and in other cities across the country, protesting labour law reforms that will allow bosses to force workers to work up to 400 extra hours a year. For many observers, this movement is unlike others the country has experienced. We interviewed Gergő Varga, editor of Tett, hosted by Mé Demonstrators have denounced Orban’s “slave [labour] law” as completely favorable to the bosses. ..

Student protests in Albania: “What we are witnessing is the direct effect of the neoliberal reform in education”

Note from LeftEast editors: This interview originally appeared on the Revolution Permanente website. Albanian students are protesting en masse against a new hike in tuition fees in one of the poorest countries of the continent. While the medium wage in Albania is 350 euros per month, the tuition fees can go up to 2000 euros per year. Government wanted to make students pay for retake exams but it was forced to retreat to try to calm down the movement. But it seems not enough. We interviewed Redi Muçi, lecturer at the Faculty of Geology and Mining and member of Movement For University (Levizja Për Universitetin), ..

Why is this a Scandal? Two Swiss-Kosovar Players Celebrate their Goals

Even in the world’s greatest “football festival,” politics is never far away. Balkan politics too came to the party, in a big way! Serbia lost to Switzerland in the last minute, thanks to two goals scored by players of Kosovar origins. Celebrating their goals, they made gestures recalling their origins, reigniting nationalist passions in the process On Friday, June 22nd, the Swiss team defeated Serbia by a score of 2 to 1. Switzerland’s two goals were scored by Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, two Swiss players of Kosovar origin. To celebrate their two (beautiful) goals, the players made a gesture evokin ..

The 1968 Student Revolt in Yugoslavia: “We demanded a radically different socialism!” (Part 2)

We publish here the second part of our interview with Dragomir Olujić (Oluja) on the “student revolt” of 1968 in Yugoslavia, in which Oluja took part as a student in Belgrade. In the first part of the interview we discussed the international situation, the struggles of the workers and the youth around the world, struggles against the Vietnam War, the wars of national liberation in the so-called ‘Third World,’ dissident movements in the ‘socialist camp,’ etc. All of this influenced the situation in Yugoslavia, but Yugoslav society was also undergoing its own political, economic ..

The Yugoslav students on the wave of revolts in 1968, interview with Dragomir Olujić (Part 1)

The year 1968 marked a peak in the class struggle at the international level. Students and workers became protagonists of revolts in the West, but also in the East. The general strike and mass mobilizations of workers and students in France is one of the better known examples from that year. The uprising in Prague is the most famous example from Eastern Europe. 50 years later, a number of commemorations have been taking place around the world, reflecting on the legacy of those years. Few know that Yugoslavia also saw its own student revolt in 1968, strongly supported by the working class but also by important Yu ..

Armenia: “a mass movement the country never has seen before” (an interview with Hovhannes Gevorkian)

A mass movement in Armenia pushed out the Prime Minister and former president Serj Sargsyan. Even if liberal currents are trying to channel the movement and gain electoral support, this event could also be a positive move for the oppressed youth and the working class in the country. We interviewed Hovhannes Gevorkian, an Armenian student of Law in Berlin and member of the Revolutionären Internationalistischen Organisation (RIO) of Germany. The interview was conducted by Philippe Alcoy (PA). PA: How did the movement start? Is it the first time that people demonstrate against the government? The movement started a ..

Manifesto of the Congress to the Peoples of the East (Baku, 1920)

The congress of Baku (Azerbaijan), held in September 1920, was a major attempt on the part of the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union to help organize peoples of colonial and semi-colonial countries to fight against class and national oppression; to help them in their struggle against imperialist countries, especially Great Britain, the main imperialist power at that time. Of course, it was a really difficult and complex task; but at the same time a crucial task for the international workers’ movement and the cause of international revolution.  The Baku Congress wasn’t just a symbolic meeting where only a small ..

Another crisis in Ukraine? The fragmentation of the pro-West bloc

The fragmentation of the pro-Western bloc in Kiev. This is the new stage of the political crisis in Ukraine. The division is not a new one but past weeks have shown to the world how deep runs the crisis between president Petro Poroshenko and the former Georgian president (and now pretender to power in Ukraine), Mikheil Saakashvili. Of course, while the crisis in the East of the country continues to flame, and Russia is gaining ground in the Middle East, especially at the expense of the US and its regional allies, Western powers will become very nervous about the situation in Kiev. The Maidan movement that began i ..