Tag Archives: protests

On the brink: why Russia’s healthcare workers are organising

What would happen if Russia’s healthcare system went on strike? Read this OpenDemocracy-Russia interview with healthcare union leader Andrey Konoval to find out. Russia’s public healthcare system is facing significant problems, and staff are coming out as a result. Ambulance teams in Penza region, central Russia, recently called a work-to-rule action, bringing out more than 100 people in support of better wages and conditions, on the heels of asimilar action by Novgorod region ambulance teams. This wave of mobilisation is connected to serious overwork, staff cutbacks and shortages – which have arisen as ..

What is Rotten with Serbia’s Mass Protests?

The end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 was marked by a wave of mass anti-government protests in Belgrade. The direct cause for the first protest held on December 8th was the attack on the leader of the Serbian Left, Borko Stefanović, ahead of a forum of the newly formed coalition of the opposition parties, Alliance for Serbia, in the City of Kruševac. The first protest was organized by the Alliance under the banner “Stop to Bloody Shirts”. After the crowd expressed its dissatisfaction with the proposals to continue protests after the New Year break, the organization of the protest was taken over by an al ..

Protesting the “slave law” in Hungary: The erosion of illiberal hegemony?

This post is published with the permission of FocaalBlog, the blog of Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology. In recent weeks, Hungary has again made international headlines. This time, it was a popular movement born out of resistance to the latest rewriting of the labor code—which the ruling Fidesz party had already modified in 2011 to the benefit of employers—that made the news. On 12 December, amid chaotic scenes in the National Assembly (where opposition MPs sought to obstruct the voting procedure), Fidesz passed a law that raises the maximum amount of overtime employees can wor ..

Mass protests across Europe show that a new politics is on the horizon

Note from LeftEast editors: We repost this article in collaboration with Counterfire where it was originally published on 29th of December 2018. ‘No Christmas for the bourgeoisie!’ declared graffiti on a wall in Paris as the Gilets Jaunes protests electrified Europe since their first protest on 17 November. Even before the series of French protests had begun, and hardly mentioned in Western media outlets, demonstrations had spread across thirty cities and towns against similar fuel-related measures in Bulgaria starting on 11 November. But they too started wearing yellow vests which had become the visual cha ..

The Political Economy of Hungary’s New “Slave Law”

The new protest wave in December 2018 Demonstrations erupted on the streets of Budapest after the Hungarian parliament—controlled by the fourth consecutive super majority of Fidesz government—had just passed three crucial laws in a rapid parliamentary voting on 12th December, which oppositional parties claimed unlawful. The three major elements in the government’s package were the Overtime Act, which quickly became better known as the “Slave law”, the centralization of the courts nomination procedure, and educational amendments, which permit the privatization of public universities. Parliamentary opposi ..

Gender Studies in Hungary are now being linked to broader struggles: Interview with Anikó Gregor 

LeftEast editor Agnes Gagyi spoke to Anikó Gregor, one of the faculty in charge of the Gender Studies masters program at Budapest-based Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), shut down by the governments de-accreditation of Gender Studies programs in November. Gregor’s analysis places the ban in the context of Fidesz’s strategy of emphasizing liberal democracy’s failures, economic repositioning away from the EU and the privatization of higher education. It provides insight into the emerging links with Anti-Slave Law protests happening in the country for the past two weeks.   In international news, current pr ..

With 10,000 People on the Streets, The Slave Law Means a New Phase

The Hungarian Parliament  accepted a bill referred to as “slave law” on December 12th in a scandalous session.. The governing party endorsed the proposition with no social dialogue beforehand. Setting new standards for maximum overtime and its payment the bill sparked outrage and militant protests unseen for over a decade. The parallel privatisation of a university and attacks on academic freedom put students next to workers in the line. The opposition also found its voice while the government blames on George Soros. Newly emerged possibilities place great stress on the trade union movement, opposition parti ..

The gilets jaunes have shattered the false opposition between “reasonable politicians” and “populists”

Originally published in Croatian at Bilten. Translated by James Robertson. One of the key characteristics of populism, if we are to believe concerned Europeans, is a certain fiscal nonchalance. Populists, that is, are not worried about the “social physics” which stand behind a balanced budget. They throw money around as if there is no tomorrow. And thus they threaten both economic and political stability. Such are the fears raised among the European establishment by the current Italian government, a coalition of the League and the Five Star Movement. For a month now, the Italian government has been in ..

Student protests in Albania: “What we are witnessing is the direct effect of the neoliberal reform in education”

Note from LeftEast editors: This interview originally appeared on the Revolution Permanente website. Albanian students are protesting en masse against a new hike in tuition fees in one of the poorest countries of the continent. While the medium wage in Albania is 350 euros per month, the tuition fees can go up to 2000 euros per year. Government wanted to make students pay for retake exams but it was forced to retreat to try to calm down the movement. But it seems not enough. We interviewed Redi Muçi, lecturer at the Faculty of Geology and Mining and member of Movement For University (Levizja Për Universitetin), ..

What is fueling the fuel price protests in Bulgaria?

The price of fuel has become the focal point of anti-austerity protests and not only in France. On November 11 2018, or one day after the 29th anniversary of the mythical November 10th  1989, celebrated as the day when the Bulgarian Communist Party GenSec Todor Zhivkov filed his resignation and ushered in the disparate panoply of changes known as the “Transition”, a protest called on the people of Sofia to rise up against the prices of fuel, of the mandatory car insurance and the proposed new taxes to be levied on old cars. The protests quickly spread engulfing more than 30 cities and towns, blocking highway ..