Category Archives: We Asked

We Asked: Refugee Rights Organizers Address the Conditions of Refugees on the EU’s Borderlands

As the EU’s refugee ‘crisis’ continues to develop, we sat down with refugee rights organizers in central and eastern Europe to discuss the local reception of refugees, how EU policies are influencing member state policies, as well as activist responses that are seeking to curtail rising European xenophobia. Click on the names below to learn more about the responses of community activists and organizers in the different countries along the refugees’ route.

International Workers’ Day: resounding struggles from Greece to Russia

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“For more than twenty years have the wage workers of this country begged and prayed their masters, the factory lords, to reduce their burdens. It has been in vain.” – this proclamation could easily have come from a 1st of May rally in 2015, as it remains equally relevant today. But it dates back to the 4th of May, 1886, when August Spies, one of the key protagonists of the Haymarket affair in Chicago incited the rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour-day, which spiraled into a mass protest and inspired the International Workers’ movement. 130 years on, as the struggle continues, LeftEast s ..

Was the 8th of March cancelled in the Balkans this year?

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Wrapped in a perfumed Valentine’s-meets-Mother’s-Day packaging, year after year International Women’s Day seems to become further stripped of its political flavour. What is worrying is that this occurs at a time when women face deteriorating conditions across the region, in their homes, at the work place and society at large. We asked activists, researchers and feminist thinkers, about the cross-temporal meaning of the day, the current state of women’s struggles in their countries and their sources of inspiration.

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Ankica Čakardić

Ankica Čakardić is an assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. She coordinates educational programmes at the Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb, is a member of The Organisation for Workers Initiative and Democratisation, Croatia, Women’s Front for Labour and Social Rights and the Feminist-Marxist reading group FemFront. “Unfortunately we can really only speak of a decline in the situation of women. During the 1990s the ground was prepared for the further accumulation of capital and privatisation of common/public goods. The attack on the public sector has brought ..

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Anita Tolić

Anita Tolić is a member of the Initiative for Democratic Socialism and Institute for Labour Studies in Slovenia. “In the relative absence of an organized, progressive feminist struggle, the economic and social circumstances, which generate re-traditionalisation, re-patriarchalisation and re-domestification of women, threaten to cause even further regression of the historical achievements for which women (and men) have struggled.” What does the 8th of March mean in Slovenia? How is it celebrated today, and how do you think its meaning/celebration has changed in recent years, and especially in comparis ..

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Eirini Gaitanou

Eirini Gaitanou, is a PhD student at King’s College London, studying social movements amid the crisis in Greece. She has been active in the social movements in Greece for over a decade and has participated in both practical and theoretical debates during this time. She is a member of the anti-capitalist coalition ANTARSYA, on whose ticket she stood as a parliamentary candidate in the recent elections. “The reality brought about by the crisis affects women to the fullest extent. The collapse of social protection and the closure of social services (childcare and nurseries, health units, refuge shelters for ..

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Antonio Mihajlov

Antonio Mihajlov is President of the Association for the critical approach to gender and sexuality – Subversive Front in Skopje and a Committee member of the National network against homophobia and transphobia. “Women MPs in the Macedonian Parliament vote on misogynistic legislation changes imposed by men. Young girls glorify marriage as the only feasible and possible way for a woman to realize her potential, and most miserably, mothers teach their sons and daughters to obey underneath the powerful sword of patriarchy.” What does the 8th of March mean in Macedonia? How is it celebrated today, and ..

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Ana Vilenica

Ana Vilenica is a researcher, theorist and an activist. She is the editor of the book Becoming a Mother in Neoliberal Capitalism, co-editor of the book On the Ruins of the Creative City and the chief editor of uz)bu))na))) journal for art, politics, theory and activism. She regularly publishes texts on social issues in anthologies, journals and portals. “The austerity measures in Serbia have a strong gender dimension. Their implementation is increasing gender segregation of labor, mental and physical insecurity of women, puts pressure on women’s reproductive decisions and contributes to the retraditional ..

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Tijana Okić

Tijana Okić is a philosopher and one of the founders of the Sarajevo Plenum. She teaches at the University of Sarajevo and translates from English,French and Italian. “Feminism has been reduced to gender mainstreaming policies conducted either by state bodies or by the ocean of NGO’s, which depoliticize not only feminism, but also have negative longterm effects on women’s lives and the process of emancipation in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.” What does the 8th of March mean in Bosnia and Herzegovina? How is it celebrated today, and how do you think its meaning/celebration has changed in recen ..

International Women’s Day in the Balkans: Nita Luci

Nita Luci holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. She heads the University Program for Gender Studies and Research and teaches at the departments of Anthropology, Sociology, and Contemporary Art at the University of Prishtina. Nita co-founded the independent feminist organization Alter Habitus – Institute for Studies in Society and Culture, which has focused on gender perspectives to post-war collective memory in Kosovo. “The culturalist explanations about Kosovo, that dominated in Serbia before the war, i.e. the “primitiveness” of Albanian culture and men in particu ..