Tag Archives: Romania

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


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)


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


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


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


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

ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 22 09.58

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 ..

Old wounds revealed as Romanian court re-opens miners’ case


Note from the LeftEast editors: this article is published in cooperation with the Serbo-Croatian web portal Bilten.Org  In recent weeks the miners are back again: This time not on the streets, but on the public agenda. The Romanian High Court, following a decision of the European Court of Human Rights reopened the file dealing with the events of 13-15 June 1990 in Bucharest. After 25 years of stalled investigations, the prosecutors decided it is time for a fresh look. Two things are clear. First, this decision cannot be separated from the current wave of arrests shattering the Romanian political class. It contin ..

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

Big anti-corruption demonstration in Bucharest.
Source: Globalpost

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 ..