Tag Archives: Romania

Romania’s protests and Hungary: Interview with G. M. Tamás

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Over at the Budapest Beacon, Lili Bayer has a very interesting interview with Gaspar Miklos Tamas that people should check out… As protests continue across Romania for the ninth day, the Hungarian leadership and media from across Hungary’s ideological spectrum are watching the country’s eastern neighbor closely. Demonstrations broke out in Romania last Tuesday, when the government in Bucharest issued a decree that would have protected corrupt politicians. The decree – which the government withdrew under pressure on Sunday – would have exempted abuse-of-power offences involving sums below $48,000 fro ..

What is at stake in the Romanian Protests?

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A decision of the Social Democrat government to pass an urgent decree, which partly decriminalized the abuse of office and other related misconduct, brought more than half a million Romanian people onto the streets since last week. The government was wrong to pass this decree. There is no doubt that one of the main beneficiaries would have been Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Social Democrats and Chamber President who is indicted for abuse of office. His case is pending. The argument that the government had to pass this decree in order to respect a previous decision of the Constitutional Court holds no water. Ne ..

Housing and class (trans)formation in Romania

Gentrifying a neighborhood of old public housing, Cluj, August 2016. Photo by Eniko Vincze

The following piece was originally published in Croatian on the online platform Bilten. The article provides an overview on the political economy of housing in Romania as a key driver of the formation of capitalism after the dismantlement of socialist industries and related residential urban systems. It discusses statistical data and information on legislation at national and local level, in particular in the city of Cluj-Napoca, by addressing some central features of these transformations (such as privatisation and restitution, minimal social state, financialisation and class inequalities) in the tradition of cr ..

From hero to zero: The spectacular rise and the immediate decline of the Romanian president

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There is nothing quite like it in contemporary European politics. Perhaps there never was. The story of the current Romanian president seems more of a farce, a figment of imagination, than a real story. As with everything Romanian, it would be deeply funny and amusing if it weren’t tragic. President Klaus Iohannis came to power in November 2014 in very contested circumstances. Trailing by 10% his main competitor after the first round –the then Prime Minister Victor Ponta – and pretty much unconvincing during the TV debates before the run-off, Iohannis was all but defeated. In fact, from the very beginning, ..

“And We Go Willingly, Like a Lamb to the Slaughter”: Migrant Labor in the EU (an Interview with Romanian Construction Worker Bogdan Droma)

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Bogdan Droma has worked in Berlin for three months, between August and October 2014, at building the famous Mall of Berlin. As a result of weeks of work going unpaid, as well as of various forms of abusive treatment, he protested together with other workers between November 2014 and February 2015 on an almost daily basis, turning the popular designation of the mall into the Mall of Shame. The case of the Mall of Berlin workers is not an isolated one. Thus we wanted, together with Bogdan, to start a conversation regarding non-declared or off the books work as performed by immigrants in the West. Interview conducte ..

The Roma Business 160 years since the end of Roma slavery in Romania

AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU

Note from LeftEast editors: This article was originally published in Bilten on 22 February 2016. On 20 February Romania celebrated 160 years since the official abolition of Roma slavery. In a typical Romanian way the event was, of course, surrounded by scandals and controversy. They are revealing insofar as they function as a symptom for the way Romanian society functions and for the very status of the Roma population. A couple weeks ago Nicolae Păun and Mădălin Voicu – two Social-Democrat MPs of Roma origin – were accused of money laundering and embezzlement. In a nutshell, the two allegedly misappropriat ..

NO to transition 2.0: Social recomposition, Decolonisation and Transautonomism

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This article was originally published as part of the Gazette of Political Art (GAP) #12 „In the Name of the Periphery. Decolonial theory and intervention in the Romanian context” December 2015, coordinated by Veda Popovici and Ovidiu Pop. It is the second out of a small series of materials from this issue, which LeftEast will present in English. The illustration was prepared for GAP by Alex Horghidan. (translated from Romanian for LeftEast by Raluca Parvu) In some of the biggest Spanish towns, the 2015 local elections have been won by women, and the left won in the top five biggest cities in Spain. Man ..

From over here, in the periphery: a decolonial method for Romanian cultural and political discourses

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Note from the LeftEast editors: This article was originally published as part of the Gazette of Political Art (GAP) #12 „In the Name of the Periphery. Decolonial theory and intervention in the Romanian context” December 2015, coordinated by Veda Popovici and Ovidiu Pop. It is the first out of a small series of materials from this issue, which LeftEast will present in English. The illustration was prepared for GAP by Alex Horghidan. by Veda Popovici and Ovidiu Pop (translated from Romanian for LeftEast by Raluca Parvu) During the 18th century, philosophers from Western European kingdoms have elaborated a ..

VIDEO: “We are equal, not illegal!” Housing rights commemoration in Cluj-Napoca, December 2015

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The commemorative action “We are equal, not illegal!” took place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania on 17/12/2015. It involved people from the marginalized ‘residential’ space of the city (called Pata Rat) and from other areas with precarious and insecure housing conditions, as well as local activists for housing justice. This public event was a moment of joint struggle for housing rights. The participants gathered to commemorate their shared histories of forced evictions and housing insecurity, of being driven towards informal and precarious housing, of discrimination and institutionalized racism i ..

Did it Ever Happen? Social Movements and the Politics of Spontaneous Consensus in Post-Socialist Romania

Candles are lit next to photographs of the victims outside the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest
Source: Associated Press

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article has first appeared in Romanian on the website Criticatac. It was translated into English by Maria Pozsar and extensively reworked by the author.                    1. The Oblivion Today, only two months after they took place, the protests mentioned in this text are already history. In a double sense: not only that they are over, but their presence within the public sphere seems as distant as possible. Like a bizarre non-event, the street demonstrations have largely disappeared from public focus and the changes brought by them don’t differ that much fro ..