Tag Archives: Bulgaria

Race to the Bottom: The Battle over Minimum Wage in Bulgaria

Ten years after Bulgaria joined the European Union as its poorest member, its economy works at two speeds, deepening the income gap between poor low-skilled workers and a handful of well payed employees working in the country’s booming areas such as IT and auto parts. The following article was originally published in Serbo-Croatian by the online platform, Bilten. Its English version is published here with the site’s kind permission. It is a truism that the wage is one of the most contested aspects in the relation between capitalists and workers. Nothing reveals better the fundamental incomprehensibility ..

Anger from the underground: Bulgarian miners in wildcat strike

Note from the LeftEast editors: we republish this material originally posted  by evgeni5150 on libcom.org  The miners from Obrochishte – the third largest manganese mine in the world, located in eastern Bulgaria, went on wildcat strike on 01.06.2017. The strike was supported by the anarchosyndicalists from ARS (Avtonomen Rabotnicheski Sindikat / Autonomous Workers Union), while the bureaucratic union in the mine opposed the strike and sided with the bosses. 17 miners from the day shift refused to come out of the mine and stayed underground for 5 days. All the workers from the other shifts, around 150 p ..

Bulgaria’s New Cabinet and EPP’s Flirt with the Extreme Right

A version of this article was first published in Bulgarian at Baricada. Two weeks ago, on May 4, flamboyant Bulgarian rightist leader Boyko Borisov swore in for his third time to serve as the country’s prime minister. A return to the helm of power in Bulgaria is not an honour that anyone else can boast for the period since 1989. In November 2016, Borisov filed the resignation of his second cabinet, after the candidate of his political party GERB, Tsetska Tsacheva, was defeated in Bulgaria’s presidential elections by Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) nominee Rumen Radev. That was a move familiar from 2013, when ..

Antarctica: the Last Frontier of Bulgaria’s Colonialist Dream

The following article was originally published in Serbo-Croatian by the online platform, Bilten. Its English version is published here with the site’s kind permission. Around mid-December 2016 a news piece announced that a monument to the Cyrillic alphabet is to be erected in Antarctica. It is a joint Bulgarian-Mongolian project. The news about the monument raised some eyebrows as to the practicality of having a monument to the alphabet in a place with hardly anyone around to appreciate it. I will leave the issue of the “metaphysical” monuments and structures devoid of any function beyond a pure self-refer ..

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

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 Waste Commodity Chains

This article is published in collaboration with the regional portal Bilten. We are habituated to think that polluting things such as garbage normally fall on minorities to deal with in order to keep them as far from us as possible. Thus, conveniently the most “polluting” social classes are tasked with the organization of garbage. For example, in Bulgaria it is the urban Roma work who predominantly for the garbage collection companies. Their symbolic position in social space (as the lowliest and most marginal “caste”) is completed by their inhabiting the physically most marginal spaces in the city and havi ..

The presidential elections in Bulgaria between systemic nationalism and the anti-systemic vote

November 13th of this year saw the second round of presidential elections in Bulgaria. With an overwhelming majority, General Rumen Radev became Bulgaria’s fifth elected president. the outcome of the presidential elections in Bulgaria came to light. We take this opportunity to analyze the political assumptions surrounding the election results. There are multiple ways to interpret the electoral outcomes. First, as a victory of Russia over the European Union. Second, as rise of the anti-systemic vote (usually meant as a reaction against GERB [2]). Third, as change in the balance between the now-neoliberal-former ..

Banning the Veil in Bulgaria

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croat web portal Bilten. Last April Pazardzhik, a Bulgarian town with a population of about 70,000, banned Muslim women from wearing veils. Pazardzhik was followed by Stara Zagora, and proposals for introducing similar prohibitions were made in over a third of the regional cities. It is dubious if municipalities have the constitutional right to introduce regional regulations on clothing, but, regardless, the bans are widely backed. Rumyana Bachvarova, the Minister of Interior, said she supports it because more vigilanc ..

Bulgaria’s Refugee-Hunters

Note from LeftEast editors: This article is published in collaboration with the regional portalBilten. On the 8th of June, 2016 the ZDF broadcast a news report about a paramilitary group, the self-proclaimed Bulgarian Military Union “Vasil Levski”. The piece was shot during a regular “migrant-hunting” operation of the unit in a forest near the border with Turkey. According to the report, by the middle of June there are about 800 individuals taking part in similar groups in Bulgaria. Vigilante groups have three things in common: they push back migrants across the Turkish border, engage in enforcing unlawfu ..

Sofia: the European Center of Information Outsourcing

Note from LeftEast editors: This article is published in collaboration with the regional portal Bilten. Slogans about the “knowledge economy”, “innovation”, “entrepreneurship”, “creativity”, and the “post-industrial” and “information” society are widespread in the EU, and Bulgaria makes no exception. Information technologies are posed as the universal solution to all social ills, a panaceia able to fix everything from lack of economic growth, consumption deficits and ineffective public services to election frauds and corruption. Throughout the last decade, Bulgarian governments of all stri ..