The world of the Russian Revolution: imperialist rivalries and the First World War

Written by Dominic Alexander, at Russia 1917: One Hundred Years On. Mon 9 Jan, 2017 It is difficult to harbour ambivalent feelings about the Russian Revolution. It is usually either celebrated or bitterly regretted. One common lament is that the revolution would not have occurred if the First World War had not put a such a strain upon the rickety Tsarist state, such that it fell apart under the pressure of industrialised warfare. If not for this cataclysm, it is implied, the Russian state might have allowed some sort of liberal capitalism to evolve. This would have been a deeply unlikely scenario in any case, bu ..

Tariq Ali speaks with Igor Štiks

Over at teleSUR, Tariq Ali spoke with leftist writer and intellectual Igor Štiks about politics in the Balkans today.

Healthcare tailored to the interests of capital

Edi Rama

The following article was originally published by the Serbo-Croatian online platform, Bilten. It is republished here with that site’s kind permission. During the electoral campaign of 2013, the Socialist Party of Albania, then in opposition, made a stunning promise for a Third-Way party. Its chairman Edi Rama stressed that once in power the Socialists would implement universal public health care coverage, modeled after the British NHS. No more health care insurances, which left the unemployed or illegal workers without care, but a state-sponsored central agency, which was going to cover free health care for ..

Andreas Karitzis: The Left in power. What can we learn from the case of SYRIZA? (Part II)

Police measures set by Syriza during US President Obama's visit. Source: HKP

Note from the LeftEast editors: In this long interview with George Souvlis, Andreas Karitzis reflects on his experience as part of the Syriza leadership during the crucial years 2012-2015, on its underpreparedness for the historic project it embarked on, on the odds stacked against it, and on the configurations of power in today’s world. While Syriza’s fight for a fair deal for Greece and a socially just Europe has suffered (a temporary or permanent–we don’t know) defeat, Karizis’s reflections need to be heeded next time the Left comes to power. Part I is available here. ̵ ..

Andreas Karitzis: The Left in power. What can we learn from the case of SYRIZA? (Part I)

Syriza wins the election in September 2015, despite signing the memorandum in July. Source: Ekathimerini

Note from the LeftEast editors: In this long interview with George Souvlis, Andreas Karitzis reflects on his experience as part of the Syriza leadership during the crucial years 2012-2015, on its underpreparedness for the historic project it embarked on, on the odds stacked against it, and on the configurations of power in today’s world. While Syriza’s fight for a fair deal for Greece and a socially just Europe has suffered (a temporary or permanent–we don’t know) defeat, Karizis’s reflections need to be heeded next time the Left comes to power. Part II will follow next week. 1 ..

Leo Panitch: “What does it mean to smash the state? This is our great challenge.”

panitch2

Note from the LeftEast editors: Our comrades from the Serbian Left-wing portal MAŠINA spoke to Marxist political economist Leo Panitch (York University) during his stay in Belgrade. There he was a guest at the conference The Return of Utopia (BCS), organized by the Center for Political Emancipation. This is the first appearance of the interview in English. Its original publication in Serbian can be accessed here. On behalf of Masina it was carried out by András Juhász. Q: Would you publicly declare yourself to be a socialist? A: Definitely. Q: Why? A: That’s a hard question to decide how to answer. In t ..

Turkey’s fragile Bonapartism

Photo: habersepeti.co

Turkey may hold a referendum on the transition to an authoritarian presidential system as soon as late March; however, Erdoğan’s Bonapartist shift does not herald stability for the ruling class, nor a solution to the crisis of neoliberalism. The argument that the contemporary world panorama resembles that of the 1930’s has almost become a cliché. A severe economic depression unseen since that period was likewise followed by a wave of uprisings (2011-14), which, for the moment, seems to be defeated, as we witness a sharp turn towards the right among the working masses. The capitalist system’s current crisi ..

Transgression as ends and means: The trial of Kaur Kender

kender1

Early last year the Estonian writer and controversial public figure Kaur Kender was formally charged with production of child pornography. The charges related to a novella Kender penned in the winter of 2014 entitled Untitled 12, which depicts the violent sexual abuse of women and children by an unnamed protagonist. The persecution of the novella’s author has ensured that it has achieved an infamy incommensurate with its literary worth. Kender’s trial began in May in Tallinn. At the request of the prosecutor, Lea Pähkel, the trial has been partially closed ‘for reasons of public morality’ bu ..

“Of the past let us make a crime…”: Anti-Populism and the Politics of Memory in Bulgarian Liberalism

strelcha-2

Notes from the LeftEast editors: this article is published in cooperation with Bilten.Org where it appeared in Serbo-Croatian on the 12/16/2016. Note from the author on the English language publication: In this article I focus on the latest chapter of the ongoing ‘memory wars’ in Bulgarian public and political life. I tease out the demophobic implications of the latest amendment in the 2000 Law that declares Communism a criminal regime. Anti-communism was the staple food of the 1990s democratic opposition: “democracy” was conceived as anti-communist by definition. The more time passes, however, t ..

The big game: Ulyukaev, Sechin and Russia’s neopatrimonial privatisation

Ilya Matveev// Nov. 21, 2016// OpenDemocracy-Russia The arrest of a federal minister shows that, in Russia, the government and the country’s largest state company are increasingly turning to force. Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev arrives at Moscow’s Basmanny Court. (c) Maksim Blinov / RIA Novosti. Last week, for the first time in Russia’s recent history, a federal minister was arrested. According to the Investigative Committee, Alexey Ulyukaev — at that moment, Russia’s Minister of Economic Development — was detained accepting a bribe of two million dollars at the o ..