Petros Stavrou: “The European ruling class sees the economic crisis solely as a reproduction crisis of its own social status”

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 9, 2016.    REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

We publish here an interview with Petros Stavrou, from 2013 until 2015 an economist and advisor of the parliamentary group SYRIZA  for development and social cohesion policies of the European Structural Funds . Conducted by George Souvlis, the interview provides an essential overview of the economic and political context which led to SYRIZA’s failure. Coming after the turbulent negations over Greek debt this year, it is also an important reflection on the possibilities of a progressive leftist project within the European context. After leaving SYRIZA, Petros Stavrou is now part  of a small initiative of the ..

Elections in Romania: A Different Story

The Romanian Parliament in session.

This article is published in collaboration with the regional portal Bilten.org. On December 11 Romanians voted for a new Parliament. Their option was clear. The Social Democratic party won 45% of the vote and with their allies, the Liberal Democrats who got 6%, will have a narrow majority. Even if in terms of actual votes the Social Democrats did not fare too well (3,2 million votes), this being the parliamentary election with the lowest turnout in post-communist history, they nonetheless got a huge win. It is the first time when the party comes close to the 50% mark. In the past, the Social Democrats, the bigges ..

The Imprisonment of Kumar Gunaratnam

His apprehension by the

Political Background Sri Lanka is a middle-sized island with a multinational and multilingual society. The majority population is the Sinhala community, along with whom Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and Malay minorities exist, scattered in the low and high lands. A civil war erupted in the mid-80s as Tamil militant groups started a movement for a separate state for Tamil speaking ethnicities in Sri Lanka. The struggle, which spanned three decades and led to the death of tens of thousands of Tamils living in the North, was crushed in 2009. Yet the reconciliation process is delayed and justice is not yet served. The tropi ..

‘Tyrants across the world know now they can maintain power through mass slaughter.’ Interview with Leila al-Shami for Open Left

A general view shows a damaged street with sandbags used as barriers in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, Syria March 6, 2015. REUTERS/Hosam Katan/File Photo

by Gabriel Levy and Ilya Matveev Leila al-Shami, co-author of Burning Country, a writer who has worked with human rights movements in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, gave this interview to Ilya Matveev and Gabriel Levy on 29 November for OpenLeft (before the fall of Aleppo to the government forces). It sheds some light on the social and geopolitical situation which has rendered the Allepo crisis so severe in these past weeks. It is also, however, part of an emerging transnational conversation between anti-war activists in Russia and Syrian activists, spearheaded by portals such as OpenLeft, where the int ..

Empathy or Solidarity: A Word of Advice from Turkey on How to Survive the Trumpocalypse

Protest march against Donald Trump in Minneapolis. Picture by Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA. Creative Commons. CC BY 2.0.

This article by Justus Links was first published on the portal OpenDemocracy. From the distance spanned by social media, since the presidential election, I have observed friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in North America in a state of trauma. Physical illnesses are spreading and anxiety is intense. Some who are educators feel that their courses cannot go on as usual after the disaster of November 8; one announced that she planned to put the curriculum aside in her next session and “talk about empathy” instead.

 It is hard to talk about empathy without slipping into self-congratulation. Literary theo ..

József Böröcz: “An incapacity to see ourselves as part of the whole world, and the insistence to see ourselves as part of Europe”

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This interview with József Böröcz, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, was conducted by Ágnes Gagyi and Gergő Pulay in 2012. In a way, it is a dense summary of the conceptual perspective which had informed the new wave of  intellectual left emerging in the region – including LeftEast – especially in regard to Eastern Europe’s post-socialist transformation and EU accession in the context of global capitalism. Four years later, further mired in the conflicts that this perspective foreshadowed, this concise summary is colored by the experiences, fatigue and different social geography of the ..

David Harvey: “There is no way you can change the world without changing your ideas!”

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Note from LeftEast Editors: The original interview was conducted by Istanbul-based Imre Azem and Gaye Günay as part of a documentary movie project on global finance. It was first published in Turkish in the December 2016 issue of Express Magazine, Turkey. It includes an in-depth analysis of the mobilization possibilities that the left has today, within the specific social configuration which has made Trump’s election possible. Q: Ancient civilisations in Machu Picchu, Egypt, in Mesopotamia and elsewhere also suffered from social inequality, exploitation, and a fascination with construction to show off their ..

The “Pronto” scandal: Wire-tapping senior officials in Kosovo

Kosovo Albanians watch on a TV screen UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's news conference in a restaurant in the Kosovo capital Pristina, 02 February 2007. The draft proposal which former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari presented  earlier Friday to Serbian and Kosovar leaders, "does not explicitly mention the independence of Kosovo, nor Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity in relation to our southern province," Serbian president Boris Tadic said in a statement.    AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF

This article is published in collaboration with the regional portal Bilten. It’s been a month since one of the main portals in Kosovo, “Insajderi”, began publishing a series of tapped telephone conversations among senior political officials in Kosovo. This was the biggest scandal of its kind since the liberation of the country and the reaction of public opinion was strong, but not strong enough to threaten the continuation of this ruling establishment, namely the coalition of the two largest parties in the country – the Democratic Party and Democratic League. The focus of the tapped phone calls wa ..

“A Spark in the Dark”- new left party Levica determined to enter Macedonia’s Parliament?!

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For a decade now, Macedonia has been systematically devastated by the deeply criminal rightwing populist Gruevski regime, which has demolished the rule of law, media, democracy in the country and has put the commons in the Party’s private possession resulting in rising poverty and unemployment, and a huge exodus of young people in particular. Following two waves of mass protests and an EU-mediated political agreement, the elections present an opportunity to finally get rid of Gruevski’s government. They also represent an opportunity for the relatively new political player, the recently formed lef ..

Capital’s paradise: the rise of global illiberalism

David Parkins/ The Economist

Donald Trump’s election has rightly been acknowledged as a milestone in the political history of the 21st century. He joins an illustrious group of world leaders with a shared distrust towards ideals of liberty, equality and fairness who subscribe to the political ethos of authoritarianism and who are not afraid to use fear mongering, popular prejudices against various groups of people, threats and violence to gain and retain power. This increasingly powerful company, whose membership includes Vladimir Putin, Tayyip Erdoğan, and many others, can rightly be called the force of 21st century illiberalism – to u ..