Tag Archives: former Yugoslavia

Belgrade: From necessity to aimlessness, or who for whom and what kind of city

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article originally appeared in the Serbian publication Masina on 10.06.2016. It was composed in the months following a series of nocturnal demolitions in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Savamala. The demolitions, conducted by unidentified workers in balaclavas, are widely perceived to be the vanguard actions of Belgrade on the Water, a controversial ‘urban renewal’ project that has been the focus of continuous protests led by the civic initiative Ne da(vi)mo Beograd (a name that simultaneously means: ‘Let’s not give Belgrade away’ and ‘Let&# ..

Montenegro and Serbia between NATO and Russia

In December last year, NATO officially invited Montenegro to become the 29th member state of the most powerful military organisation of our times, if not, in fact, of all time. That the invitation will have flattered the already over-inflated ego of country’s Prime Minister, Milo Djukanović, and his ruling clique, there is, of course, little doubt. Nevertheless, this was flattery to deceive, for as everybody knows, Montenegro’s voice in NATO will be like a whistle in a whirlwind.[1] To be sure, the invitation had nothing to do with the direct military contribution that Montenegro – a country with a populat ..

BOOK REVIEW: “Welcome to the desert of post-socialism!”

Note from the LeftEast editors: This review of Igor Stiks and Srecko Horvath’s edited volume “Welcome to the desert of post-socialism: radical politics after Yugoslavia” (Verso, 2015)  has first appeared on LeftVoice under the title Yugoslavia after Capitalist Restoration. It has been reprinted with the permission of the author. by Philippe Alcoy Released in January 2015 by Verso Books, Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism: Radical Politics after Yugoslavia is a collective work coordinated by two of the best-known leftist intellectuals in the region, Croatian Srećko Horvat and Bosnian Igor ..

The association that dissociates: on the Kosovo-Serbia Agreement

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article was originally published by the Balkan web-portal Bilten.org. On August 25th, in Brussels, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, signed the Agreement on the Association of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo. This was the flash point and most disputable event of the three year negotiation process between Kosovo’s government and Serbia’s government. From the moment that it was made public, there was the conception that we will now have a political entity that is based on the national division of the countr ..

Serbia: October 5th and the Student who Surpassed the Teacher

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article was originally published in Serbian at Mašina. Rs . It was translated into English for LeftEast by Vladimir Unkovski-Korica. The commemoration of the October 5th Revolution on its fifteenth anniversary has been reduced to a marginal event. One public meeting, several round tables and an equally small number of statements and wreaths, were enough to generate a couple of boring media reports about the importance of this date. Few mourn before the faded image of October 5th, least of all the once divided political elites who today all serve the same economic elites, and ..

Forwards to the legacies of ‘post-communism’ in the Balkans – Vladimir Unkovski-Korica

This article is part of the regular assembly “New authoritarian tendencies – a legacy of the past?“ of the Cross-border Committee. It brings four perspectives that zero in on the post-Yugoslav space. In the years following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the countries of the former Soviet Union, the Soviet bloc and Yugoslavia were subjected to a major experiment. Treated as a tabula rasa, these societies became a laboratory for neoliberalism. The recipe is now familiar to most of us: privatisation, liberal democracy, debt-driven export orientation, European integration… The question was not whether to a ..

VIDEO: Where have all the workers gone

This film tells the tale of textile workers in post-Yugoslav states. The garment industry was very successful in socialist times, and employed thousands of workers, particularly women. After the Yugoslav break-up and post-socialist transition, however, the industry underwent a process of economic decline and deindustrialisation. Textile workers in the former Yugoslavia faced factory closures, job losses and exploitative working conditions, thus losing the social security and social rights experienced during socialism. Written and narrated by Chiara Bonfiglioli Directed and post-produced by Yorgos Karagiannakis, P ..

On the Importance of a Strong Work Ethic: Etho-politics in Serbia

During a recent visit to Slovenia, Serbia’s Prime Minister Vucic made a statement on a theme that has come to figure prominently in many of his public speeches and press statements – that of the importance of a strong work ethic. Speaking of his government’s economic reforms and foreign policy measures, Vucic poignantly argued for the respect and nobleness of hard work. “When faced with an easy and hard path, most countries and people always take the easy path, but those that take the hard path will always be more respected,” he stated.[i] Referring to the difficult decisions that Serbia has taken under ..

Perils of Parliamentary Immersion

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article is re-published from the author’s  Word Press page. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead Three years ago, in 2012, Initiative for Democratic Socialism(IDS) didn’t actually exist. It was just a small group of some 20 citizens aiming to change the world. Three years later it is a parliamentarian political party with 6 MPs and 600 members. Last Saturday, on 4th of April, 2015, the party had its first regular congress (after having the founding con ..

Work, Art, and Deindustrialization in Rijeka. An Interview with Althea Thauberger.

This interview explores Althea Thauberger’s experimental digital film Preuzmimo Benčić (Take Back Benčić). The film was made in collaboration with 67 child performers from Rijeka, Croatia. Part documentary, part fiction, the film follows the children’s activities and reflections during a 6 week period when they occupied the H and T buildings of Rijeka’s former worker-managed Rikard Benčić factory. The site had served as a sugar refinery, tobacco processing plant, and ship and motor factory. It now sits empty and deteriorating after being closed and its workers fired during the privatizations of the ea ..