The Solidarity of the Business Class, or Building Anti-Environmentalist Alliances in Bulgaria

This article was published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. The campaign to save the Bulgarian national Park Pirin has over the past several months become the major source of protest in the country and even brought the attention of international media and NGOs. Instead of embarrassingly shelving their plans for building on the mountain, the Bulgarian business elite has launched a massive and virulent counter-campaign, mobilizing all of its subservient media and politicians. The forces are unequal and in the short term, defeat is likely, but at least the country has learnt the names of its “ ..

A Brief History of the Turkish Left, Part 2: from the 1980 Coup to the Present

This is the second part of our interview with Foti Benlisoy on the history of the Turkish Left from its late-Ottoman beginnings to the present day. As Benlisoy explained in Part I, the era between the coup of 1960 and that of 1980 was something of a high point for the labor movement and socialist political parties in Turkey, marked by high union density and a professional class heavily committed to left-wing, anti-imperialist and developmental-nationalist ideologies. As in many other countries, the 1980’s were a decade of bourgeois retrenchment under the banner of a neoliberal turn backed by the forces of a ..

Armenia after Sargsyan: do the people really need a savior?

Although Serj Sargsyan resigned as Prime Minister, in the parliamentary vote on May 1, Nikol Pashinyan failed to secure a majority of votes, even though he was the sole candidate under consideration. After repeating mobilizations, including a vast general strike on the following day, the ruling HHK finally decided that they would vote for Pashinyan in the next vote in the Parliament on May 8. After a nine-hour-long question-and-answer session, the Armenian Parliament on 1st May voted 55 to 45 against the candidate of the liberal party coalition “Yelk”, Nikol Pashinyan. All 55 “no” votes came from the ruli ..

A Brief History of the Turkish Left, Part I: from the Origins to the 1980 Coup

We have interviewed prolific Turkish leftist commentator Foti Benlisoy on the history of the Turkish left, from its Ottoman beginnings on to the present day. In what follows, Benlisoy provides a historically grounded perspective on the background and prospects of today’s movements to counter the now regnant authoritarian conservatism. He also outlines the left’s recurrent tensions between advocacy for national and religious minorities and the defense of a unitary, sovereign Turkish nation-state. In an upcoming second part, Benlisoy will examine the situation since the 1980 military coup, attending par ..

“Yerevan Spring”: A New Day For Armenian Democracy?

On Tuesday, April 17, when the Republic of Armenia got its first prime minister as it transitioned from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary system, the new boss looked suspiciously like the old boss. Serge Sargsyan, who served for ten years as the country’s president and spearheaded the constitutional changes as he approached his two-term limit, was named the country’s prime minister without being directly elected to that office by the Armenian people. With no term limits under the new constitution, he was poised to potentially stay in power indefinitely. That is, until the thousands of people peacefully f ..

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 ..

We Asked: Geopolitics & the Left, Part II

In continuing the theme of the conflict between Russia and the West, which we discussed last week, now we turn to the broader issue of a leftist perspective on geopolitics. Even though most of the articles LeftEast publishes deal in one way or another with the transnational connectivities, we have been somewhat reticent about the whole issue of geopolitics. For two reasons. In the first place, because of our method of seeking authors based in or at least with deep knowledge of concrete societies, who would share that knowledge with our readers. If so much news analysis, even on the left, starts with some geopolit ..

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 ..

We Asked: Geopolitics and the Left (Part I: Russia & the West)

The latest wave of confrontation between Russia and the West—from the Skripal affair and the following diplomat expulsions and sanctions on Russia to the gassing of Douma residents most likely perpetrated by the Assad regime and the resulting US-UK-French bombing raids on Syria–rarely left the front pages of mainstream media. LeftEast has until now resisted the topic: it is not quite our fight. Not to sound nostalgic, but if the original Cold War, for all the devastation of its proxy wars and the dictatorships it bred, created conditions that sometimes favored the processes of decolonization, the victory ..

Bulgarian Lessons: Liberalism as Market Power plus Expensive Electrification of the Whole Country

This article is published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croation portal The past few days, a high-voltage scandal is literally grilling the main politicians and business elites in Bulgaria: an obscure local energy company is going to buy the Bulgarian assets of the largest electricity distribution company in the country, owned by the Czech state company CEZ. The intensity of the controversy belies a deeper debate over when a private business deal constitutes a legitimate public concern. In short, the deal has exposed some paradoxes underpinning the separation between public and private, so dear to li ..