Common Notions: in the Name of the People (A Book Launch & Discussion)

We present here a discussion of the Liaison collective’s new book, In the Name of the People, to be published by the Common Notions publishing house. This discussion took place in New York in late July 2018. This truly internationalist and collectivist publication boldly examines the forms of right and leftwing populism emergent in the fissures of the political world. Experimental in both form and analysis, In the Name of the People exemplifies the commune form of thought and text. The ghost of the People has returned to the world stage, claiming to be the only force capable of correcting or taking charge ..

The Age of Eclecticism: Some Rearrangements in the Romanian Political Ideologies

Ideology has several speeds and very little memory: in July 2012, when the alliance between the Social Democrats and the Liberals organized a referendum on the dismissal of president Băsescu, a segment of the media supporters of the then president, journalists or public, mainly right-wing, intellectuals, urged the boycott of the referendum, while philosophizing on the ineptitude of popular tyranny in general, and of plebiscite forms in particular. In January 2012, when a population strangled by austerity measures had suddenly come out into the street in scary numbers, these same intellectuals and journalists loy ..

We need to recover democracy and to radicalize it

Political theorist Chantal Mouffe speaks about populism and its relation to democracy, models of left-wing populism and the strategies opened to the left at this historical juncture. Chantal Mouffe is professor of Political Theory at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster. She is a cowriter of the seminal Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), one of the best known contemporary books that discusses radical political theory. She is best known for her conception of radical democracy and her notion of agonistic pluralism. Among her books are The Democratic Paradox, On the Political, ..

Romania: The Demise of Reason

Romania came into worldwide attention again recently. On August 10, an 80,000-strong protest against the current ruling coalition and its perceived policies to curb anti-corruption turned violent. The police intervened brutally, using tear gas, water canons and truncheons against demonstrators. Close to 500 people requested medical assistance and hundreds more filed complaints against the gendarmes after the protest. Videos and photos of the police brutality did the rounds of the international press and legitimately sparked outcry at home. To condemn the violence of the police is easy. To pierce the narratives pr ..

Environmentalists against the Environment: When Good Intentions Are Not Enough

This article is published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. Debates over natural conservation have been at the center of public attention in Bulgaria. They usually appear as clashes between investors and environmentalists over tourist resort projects. Media represents them as a contradiction between concerns with the employment of citizens, living in the vicinity of national parks, and green activists, caring for natural conservation, but disregarding economic growth. In reality, the green movement were complicit in the establishment of a liberal conservationist regime that was abused by inv ..

“In the Hot Summer of ‘68, We Were the Tempest in the Hungarian Teapot” – The Hungarian Maoist ‘Plotters’

In the June 9th 1968 issue of the Hungarian central party newspaper Népszabadság, there is a short news piece hidden on the bottom of page 13: The Capital Court issued a verdict on Saturday, in the conspiracy case of György Pór et. al. The court found Pór and Sándor Bencze guilty of initiating a conspiracy, and consequently sentenced György Pór to 2 years and 6 months in prison, and Bencze to 2 years in prison. The other accused persons got 6-8 month prison sentences for participating in the conspiracy, among whom some sentences came with 3 year-suspensions. Another suspect was verbally reprimanded by the ..

Not as good as they look: Romania’s latest anti-corruption protests

Writing with our feet On August 10 eighty thousand people gathered in Bucharest’s Victoriei Square to protest the attempts of the Social-Democratic Party government to defuse the offensive of the powerful National Anti-corruption Directorate against PSD leaders. Many of the protesters were Romanians living abroad, who had returned especially for the occasion. The one thousand police and gendarmes who were deployed against the protest fired rounds of tear gas and eventually charged into the crowd, injuring 450 persons. International media reported on the violence and citizens’ outrage. Often mentioned were the ..

What Awaits Turkey? A Call for Consolidation against the Geist of Wickedness

From our “correspondents on the ground” we are publishing here an opinion piece on the situation in Turkey after the June elections. The analysis tries to make sense of the lasting stabilization which, despite its permanent weaknesses and shortcomings, the AKP regime seems to have achieved, both through its political appeal and its class alliances. In this sense, the article provides a three-fold discussion on (i) what should (not) be expected by (some of) the leftist actors of Turkish politics, (ii) how we should (not) understand the present politics of Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Pa ..

After Erdoğan’s Narrow Victory

Update: Since the time of writing of this article, over three weeks ago, the Turkish lirahas lost over 25% of its value against the US dollar and inflation is rapidly catching up on this figure. A significant factor in this devaluation has been the diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States over the former’s practice of hostage diplomacy (the arrest of the American evangelical missionary Andrew Brunson) and the latter’s threat to levy a mu lti-billion-dollar fine on the Turkish-state-owned Halkbank over violations of US-imposed sanctions on Iran. But Turkey’s underlying economic problems run muc ..

“Bulgarian welfare does not combat poverty but the poor”*

The article was originally published in the portal of the Bulgarian left, New Left Perspectives. KOI’s 2018 report “The people” against welfare payments: or the art of making those in need ask for more restrictions against themselves authored by Vanya Grigorova is a follow-up of an earlier, 2016 report entitled Poor against poor. That previous report detailed the ever-proliferating types of welfare payments existent in Bulgaria, the common misconceptions about them, and the discursive and policy stratagems the Right deploys to limit access to the social safety nets. The main thesis, then and now, is that t ..