Tag Archives: migration

Morgane Merteuil: Sex work can be emancipatory only as a collective process

Note of the LeftEast editors: On April 13, 2016, the French government promulgated a law that makes it illegal to pay for sex after MPs finally approved new legislation on prostitution following more than two years of rows and opposition by senators. Under the new law, anyone caught purchasing an act from a sex worker will be fined and required to attend classes on the harms of prostitution. Six months on, according to the French union of sex workers STRASS, the law has made the nearly 30,000 sex workers in France more vulnerable. The union has further accused Maud Olivier, Socialist MP who is behind the bill, of ..

Interview: G. M. Tamás on the Anti-Immigration Referendum in Hungary

Note from the LeftEast editors: in run up to the anti-immigration referendum in Hungary (today 02 Oct 2016), Mary Taylor and Agnes Gagyi from the editorial board of LeftEast interviewed Hungarian Marxist philosopher and public intellectual G. M. Tamás on the current developments in Hungary and their connections with wider global-historical processes. LeftEast: On October 2 in Hungary there will be a referendum on the European migrant quotas. What work does this referendum do on the level of the Hungarian nation-state? How do you see the relationship of the referendum to processes on the international scale? G. ..

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 ..

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 ..

Freedom of Movement and Benefit Tourism: Paying Attention to the Background

The following article first appeared at Novara Media. We know that a good director contrasts the foreground and the background of movie scenes in order to show us details that otherwise would go unnoticed. These details are what make the movie complete by virtue of their potential to change the perception of what we consider to be true or not. David Cameron would be a bad film director. But I am afraid that the audience is not paying much attention either. How else would we explain the boundary between ‘deserving refugees’ and ‘undeserving economic migrants’ that has comfortably settled among us? Or binar ..

We Demand Removal of the Fence on the Macedonian-Greek Border!

Note from LeftEast editors: We publish here a demand for removal of the fence on the Macedonian-Greek border as requested by a list of Macedonian grassroots movements and NGOs. At the beginning of March 2016, Slovenia announced the re-establishing of the Schengen zone and the visa regime- only people with valid documents and visas were allowed entry on its territory, which effectively meant a closure of its borders for refugees. Croatia and Serbia followed Slovenia’s example. Macedonia followed suit last week, when it sealed off its border with Greece. With this act, “the Balkan route” last y ..

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 ..

Beyond Moral Interpretations of the EU ‘Migration Crisis’: Hungary and the Global Economic Division of Labor

This article is a reflection in hindsight on the ‘summer of migration’ of 2015 in Europe, and the symbolic debates around the role of Hungary during those months. Historical events that have followed brought significant changes in the structural and political-ideological constellations we describe. However, as political-ideological treatments of the present crisis continue to mobilize moral values tied to particular positions within the global system, we hope a posthumous analysis of how moral stances are ascribed within a long-standing hierarchical global distribution of labor, hiding systemic interconnecti ..

O Balkan Pioneers: Anatomy of an Escape Route

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article appeared originally on Antidote Zine and has been reprinted with the kind permission of the author. The images portray scenes in Serbia and Macedonia, December 2015, captured by unnamed photographers; please inquire before reprinting: antidote [at] riseup . net Q. 
Perhaps twenty years old, probably younger. Kabul, Afghanistan. At the transit point in Adaševci, buses arrive in clusters from points further south in Serbia: the border camps of Preševo (on the Serbian-Macedonian border) and Dimitrovgrad (Serbian-Bulgarian), or from Belgrade. In Adaševci, there is a ..

Forgotten on the wrong side of the border

Note by the LeftEast editors: this text has been published in co-operation with the Serbo-Croat language web portal Bilten.Org. Early in the morning of December 9th, Greek police closed the make-shift camp by the border town of Eidomeni. The eviction from the camp marked a further deterioration in the lives of thousands seeking refuge at the Greek-Macedonian border who in squalid and freezing conditions had been blocked from crossing into Macedonia for over two weeks and had in turn, as act of protest, blocked off the crossing. Their single demand was entry into Macedonia from Greece and transit onto destinations ..