Tag Archives: post-socialism

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 ..

The Russian Revolution in Dreams and Reality

(source: WdW Review) In January 2014 the world held its breath and observed the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The spectacular opening ceremony, “Dreams of Russia,” was not simply a technical triumph but also a marvel of national history building. The depicted historical events acquired connections and a certain mutual continuity, building a chain of bright and majestic images told through a vision dreamed by a young girl. It must have been difficult for the modern Russian state to find a better form to invent its own place in history, one cleansed of any contradictions and conflicts, than the recon ..

International Workers’ Day: resounding struggles from Greece to Russia

“For more than twenty years have the wage workers of this country begged and prayed their masters, the factory lords, to reduce their burdens. It has been in vain.” – this proclamation could easily have come from a 1st of May rally in 2015, as it remains equally relevant today. But it dates back to the 4th of May, 1886, when August Spies, one of the key protagonists of the Haymarket affair in Chicago incited the rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour-day, which spiraled into a mass protest and inspired the International Workers’ movement. 130 years on, as the struggle continues, LeftEast s ..

Government policy no longer seeks to prevent the processes of social marginalization in Hungary. An interview with Eszter Neumann.

The Hungarian Government’s steps towards creating a ‘work-based society’ are likely to bring cuts and conceptual reforms in education. Eszter Neumann, in an interview for Fent Es Lent, discussed the social processes behind this policy shift. Fent es Lent: The Hungarian government is preparing serious cuts and conceptual reforms in education. Let’s begin with issues related to the secondary education system. Viktor Orbán, the prime minister has announced his intention to build a “work-based society” instead of the welfare state, and the Secretary of State for Employment announced that he would decreas ..

Hungary’s Brokerage Crisis: How Far Will It Reach

Note from the LeftEast editors: This text was originally published on the authors’s blog Global Social Change, dedicated to his book The European Union and Global Social Change: A Critical Geopolitical-Economic Analysis, Routledge 2009 , and is reprinted on Lefteast with the kind permission of the author. Hungary’s National Bank, in its capacity as financial regulator, has recently suspended a Hungarian brokerage firm by the name “Buda-Cash” for major irregularities. The claim is that the infractions unfolded over a period of more than ten years, and the estimate of the magnitude given by the ..

The National Bourgeoisie vs. the State Apparatus. Reconfiguring the state in Romania

It is perhaps the first time that Romania’s ongoing corruption scandals are more than just a scandal. They offer the possibility for serious theoretical reflection about wider social transformations. However, it is not because recent events dramatically altered the situation in new ways, but the opposite: recent events, precisely by their familiarity, allow us to see the situation anew. First, let me present, very briefly, the facts. Elena Udrea, an MP and former minister, was arrested on February 11 for several charges of corruption, after more than a week of intricate procedural formalities, including a late ..

Debt, Rents and Homelessness: Housing Policies in Postsocialist Romania

On September 16, 2014, about 30 people protested in front of the Bucharest City Hall. They demanded to be offered a housing after they had been forcefully evicted a day before from their houses on 50 Vulturilor Street, in the 3rd District of the Romanian capital. They also asked the municipality to stop the speculative and shady real estate developments in the city center, which led to their situation. The demand to see the mayor Sorin Oprescu came no fruition. The eviction was overseen by court officers and riot police in gear as the tenants, including many children, had to carry their belongings across the narr ..

Housing poverty and (missing) housing policies in Hungary: A radical re-imagination of housing is what we need (part 2)

Note from the LeftEast editors: the first part of Mariann Dosa’s text on the housing policies in Hungary can be read here. Any housing policies that prioritize equity need to be based on broadly accessible public housing, because it is the only way forward that transcends the structure of neoliberal capitalism and hence, offers radical change in our thinking about housing and the actual way in which people live. In contemporary Hungary a mere 3% of the total housing stock is public property. As a comparison it is 32% in the Netherlands, 23% in Austria, 17% in the Chech Republic. But these are also not very ..

Struggles in and over Public Space: Hungarian Heritage as a Homeless Free Zone

Source: CritCom, Council of European Studies, Columbia University In November 2013, members of the organization The City Is for All (A Város Mindenkié, henceforth AVM) were forcibly removed from the Budapest General Assembly, after forming a singing, poem-reciting human chain in protest of the extension of criminalization of homeless people ‘to a major part of the city’ (AVM 2013). This came less than a month after AVM addressed a letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in an attempt to stop the use of heritage in this process of criminalization. Budapest, inc ..

Ukraine’s Fractures. An interview with Volodymyr Ishchenko for New Left Review.

Since the start of the Maidan protests six months ago, Ukraine has been at the centre of a crisis which has exposed and deepened the fault-lines—geopolitical, historical, linguistic, cultural—that traverse the country. These divisions have grown through the entwinement of opposed political camps with the strategic ambitions of Russia and the West, the former bidding to maintain its grip over its ex-Soviet bailiwick even as the latter relentlessly expands its sphere of influence. The fall of Yanukovych at the hands of a pro-Western protest movement in February brought a surge of opposition in the east of the c ..