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 ..
While at the Marx Is Muss 2016 conference earlier this month, Anja Ilic and Pavle Ilic (Marx21) interviewed Stathis Kouvelakis, a member of a party called Popular Unity, which split from Syriza last summer after the referendum. Kouvelakis served at Syriza’s central committee from 2012 to August 2015 and is also a professor of political theory at King’s College in London. This conversation focuses on the political and social situation in Greece today. I would like to start by asking you to summarise the political and social development of the Greek society after the events of August 2015, after the capitulat ..
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 ..
Monthly Review, March 3, 2016 Turkish Islamists used to dismiss the European Union as a “Christian club.” Their claim has acquired greater plausibility now that EU leaders have appointed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Europe’s refugee gatekeeper, bolstering his Islamist government in order to keep Muslims out of Europe. Such was the import of the agreement the two sides reached last November, in which EU governments promised to pay Turkey three billion euros over two years to cover the costs of detaining and accommodating asylum seekers. The days preceding the agreement saw the assassination of one ..
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 ..
Nations in their barbarous condition are impenetrable; they must be broken into… Vico, The New Science, Book I, Axiom CII, proposition 303 (trans. Thomas Goddard Bergin and Max Harold Fisch) On February 6, Europe witnessed what might be the boldest attempt to date to mobilize the continent’s masses against immigration and Islam. An international movement is emerging, uniting Europeans across borders—to call for the strengthening of the continent’s outer borders. The movement is overcoming old national hatred—but it is driven by a hatred that is international. It has even begun to articulate a critique o ..
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 ..
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 ..
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 ..
Turkey’s border with Syria is not the only border region in the country where people are dying. Along the so-called “green border” of the European Union the last few years have witnessed a rising tide of migrants forced back into Turkey, mostly by European police forces. Today, Europe’s politicians are using Turkey as a gatekeeper. This is an old strategy, and has been ineffective so far. Europe has not been putting up the funds needed to enforce it, even if the EU has been investing in Turkish border technologies and camp facilities for some time. To understand the recent developments and their possib ..