Note from LeftEast editors: We share this podcast with the permission of its producers from Contrasens. “Contrasens” is a podcast which explores current themes in the field of the social sciences. The project aims to bring to the forefront and make as accessible as possible research conducted by sociologists, anthropologists and other specialists from related fields. Content hosts and producers are students from the Faculty of Sociologu and Social Assistance, Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj: Marina Mironica, Matei Mlinarcic, Karol Pataki, Pati Murg, Vlad Bejinariu and Maria Martelli. Rarely do we take the tim ..
Note from LeftEast editors: We republish this from the Croatian portal Bilten, where it originally appeared. Bulgaria has some of the lowest wages and lowest productivity rates in Europe, and, not surprisingly, some of the highest rates of out-migration. Employees and employers agree on that, but on little else. Yet with the country’s economy growing and EU accession in 2007 giving it access to the common market, employment is up and in some industries labour shortages have started to cause problems. Workers and bosses are divided over both the causes of the shortage, as well as the solutions, with Bulgaria ..
What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organize? What was at stake with this project was in equal measure painfully distant and painfully close to the contexts I am immersed in, and to an extent represent. In both the UK and in Bulgaria, I would be quite similar to the part of the UK Left that has been eating humble pie about the electoral loss: urban, university-educated, cosmopolitan left-wing voters. In both cases, this is a new Left with two further shared characteristics. First, we are fighting with ghosts fro ..
In this interview originally published in Bulgarian on dversia.net, the leader of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association speaks with Polina Manolova on the loss of justice, his activism, and left alternatives. Polina Manolova: On 19th of September 2019 Jock Palfreeman was granted parole after serving almost 12 years in Bulgarian prison for fatally stabbing a neo-Nazi on the streets of Sofia in December 2007. His early release has instigated a chain reaction of state repression, far-right mobilisation and media sensationalism. Immediately after his release Jock was taken to an immigration detention centre in S ..
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a video of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov circulated by a Bulgarian Facebook group. The video began with an excerpt of a speech by the Prime Minister delivered to his party at the beginning of the year. In it, pondering the falling popularity of his government, he proceeded to outline the many achievements of his party, GERB – Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria. In a typically arrogant and condescending manner he asked aloud ‘What’s the reason?’, giving the supposed counter argument himself: ‘The income has increased, the infrastructure has increas ..
"I hope that politicians will pay greater attention to the people who work as unlicensed labour – the thousands of caregivers, help personnel, child caregivers. The relations between foreign workers and bosses are unequal and demands for labour contracts will never be fulfilled without political will. It is necessary both for the legalisation of our work and for accessible services for the ill and children." Continue reading →
Dark times have fallen upon the media in Bulgaria. Meaningful journalism has been squashed. Public access to reliable progressive information is barely possible. In just a decade since its 2007 EU accession, Bulgaria has fallen on the media freedom scale from the 36th to the 111th place. There is no diversity in media ownership. Almost all newspapers, websites and TV channels are owned by the oligarchy. The national TV and radio have been crippled by budget cuts and practically become extensions of the ruling party. The means of subsistence of any sort of media are limited. Especially if the media is a progressiv ..
For the first time the workers and the disabled have a genuine representative while people on the Left who normally avoid elections for lack of real choice have someone worth their vote. Continue reading →
We are publishing this article in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian web portal Bilten. In the “Offenders in Gabrovo!” Facebook group, natives of the eponymous Central Bulgarian town comment upon all sorts of irregularities: they lambaste the owner of a car parked on the wrong side of the street, mobilize to replace a broken lamp post, ridicule the municipality’s failed street disinfection campaign, announce a lost set of keys, and criticize irregular public transportation. With more than 25 000 members, roughly half the town’s population, the group serves as a messy sort of a citizen’s ass ..
16.11.2018 This first-person account of the conditions inside the prison in Pazardjik, Bulgaria was first published on the web site of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association. The Pazardjik prison is a classic. I had heard a lot about it but now that I’m here, have no words to describe what I’m going through. Most people are mentally unstable or one step away from it, especially the prison management. The institution’s director Veselin Kotzev behaves like he’s at a market square. He screams, scolds and doesn’t know the letter of the law. Or rather, knows it, but behaves like a spoiled brat. His way o ..