Tag Archives: Balkans

The open violence of the Balkan labour reforms: an interview with Aleksandar Matković

The following interview between Petar Protić and Aleksandar Matković originally appeared in Serbo-Croatian at Al Jazeera Balkans and concerns the recent labour laws that have been carried out almost simultaneously across several Balkan countries, each bearing similar tendencies: a weakening of workers’ rights and a strengthening of the rights of employers, the increase of precarious work and employers arbitrarily assigning work times as they see fit. These labour reforms form one of the central topics of the interview. Protić: Recently the Chinese company Hesteel Serbia, which operates the Smederevo ironwork ..

Moving Europe release activist brochure, Resistance along the Balkanroute

Note from the editors: The dedicated activists at Moving Europe have just released a very informative and useful brochure on their migrant solidarity work, Resistance along the Balkanroute. The document is full of reports, histories and practical reflections of several years of activism among migrants passing through the Balkans.  In an effort to further promote this important work, we are republishing the group’s general “remarks” on the project and encouraging our readers to check out the brochure, which can be accessed here. Resistance along the Balkanroute: A few more remarks about our star ..

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.

Free Zdravko and Vladimir! Stop prosecuting protesters in Macedonia!

Zdravko Saveski and Vladimir Kunovski, longtime activists and members of Levica, the recently-formed left-wing party in the Republic of Macedonia, have been kept in house arrest for over a month now. Recently, their detentions have been extended for additional 30 days. They are being detained because of their participation in the anti-regime protests which began after the unconstitutional decision by the President to pardon 56 individuals suspected of heavy crimes. These events have exposed the absurdity of judicial system in Macedonia, where complete immunity from prosecution is guaranteed for the corrupt elites ..

Refugees and the Image of Suffering: Why Does Nobody Listen?

From the diary of false faith in the outside world. Last year during my presence on the Balkan migrant route, I struggled with a number of new roles. First I was a volunteer at the borders, then all of a sudden I was to direct a documentary, and then I became a journalist, whose job was to inform the public about everyday affairs in the form of personal diary reports. I do not wish to talk about the instances when media have failed to report about migrants and refugees, nor how these issues are covered by the media (on this issue I recommend this great analysis). After a critical (self-)reflection of my own volu ..

Prisons in Macedonia: the Infected Wounds of a Fractured Social State

Note from LeftEast Editors: This article has been published in collaboration with the web-portal Bilten.org. A month and a half has passed since a Presidential blanket amnesty of over 50 corrupt government figures and their collaborators sparked social upheaval across Macedonia. The action laid bare deep societal rifts, cracked open by double legal standards, dividing on the one end a corrupt political class and their clients shielded by impunity, economic capital, and political power, and on the other the majority of citizens dispossessed of access to legal and social justice. Although public attention has focus ..

Refugees & Volunteering: Beyond the Culture of Giving

Having returned from my volunteering activities in the Balkans, I started reflecting on certain aspects of refugee aid in a number of schools, universities, and in my interviews. After my talk, some of my listeners would come and say: ok, you’ve kind of discouraged us from helping them. However, their reaction stemmed from a misunderstanding, because after all, my goal was to present some of the problematic aspects of volunteer aid work that came from my critical self-reflection. In any case, how did the purpose of volunteer aid work disappear from my consciousness?  Help’s lost ideals Let me use a metaphor ..

Subversive Festival: Balkan Forum – Situations, Struggles, Strategies

Note from the LeftEast editors: with the kind permission of the Subversive Festival organizers we publish the .html versions of the Subversive Festival’s outputs “Balkan Forum: Situations, Struggles, Strategies”. A .pdf version can be downloaded by clicking on the image of the book collection here or from the website of the Forum’s principal sponsor, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Southeast Europe, which also provided the annotation of the volume. Please click on the images below to follow the link to each article. Towards Another Balkans! The first Balkan Forum took place within the Subversi ..

Mapping Workers’ Struggles: The Position of Workers in the Post-Socialist Balkans

This is the third instalment of contributions from the Balkan Social Forum’s working groups. This week’s instalment is by the Working Group on Workers’ Struggles, which was composed of: Mersiha Beširović, Heiko Bolldorf, Maja Breznik, Stipe Ćurković, Petre Damo, Robert Fai, Marko Grdešić, Mario Iveković, Jovica Lončar, Branislav Markuš, Tibor T. Meszmann, Davor Rakić Kićo, Jasna Petrović, Milenko Srećković, Romana Zidar, and Jovica Lončar (coordinator)[1] Introduction The discussion of the group had several general goals, both aspirational and concrete: sharing information, connecti ..

Scalable Communities

By James Neimeister Words, like any signs, mean something. Not only do they allow us to string together thoughts, but they make an impact on the world. They structure what we see, as well as what we don’t. Searchable online words, went the commonly held view, would usher in a new era wherein each person could be free to discover their “tribe” and form new communities of like-minded individuals. Signs, after all, are markers of identity, a way of waving “Hey!” to other people, to recognize tribes. But, bounding unpredictably across the planet, signs take on new meanings as they move from contex ..