Note from LeftEast editors: this article is published in cooperation with the web portal Bilten.Org. On September 23rd, the Parliament of Montenegro had its first, quite uncertain post-election session, which saw Aleksa Bečić, a leader of the opposition, elected as its president. The session, as well as its outcome, was mired in uncertainty due to previous tensions among Montenegrin opposition groups on how to share the spoils of victory and who to put forward as a possible prime minister. With Bečić as its leader, the new parliamentary majority is finally complete, excluding, for the first time in 30 years, ..
Although Belarus is often referred to as a repressive state, the familiar ‘Parisian arsenal’ of tear gas canisters, water cannons, rubber bullets, and stun grenades was used here on a mass scale for the first time. Western technologies of violence were complemented by traditional post-Soviet police brutality: beating and detention of random people, torture, humiliation, and sometimes threats of rape in jail, the hunting down of journalists, etc. None of the opposition leaders joined the crowd or made radical statements. The opposition movement turned out to be on the whole amorphous, without clear leadershi ..
Only one day after the Polish National Electoral Commission announced the incumbent president Andrzej Duda as the winner of the close runoff elections, a queer activist was arrested in Warsaw. According to witnesses, Margot’s arrest looked more like a kidnapping because ununiformed police officers handcuffed her with the use of force and dragged her out of her friend’s flat. (...) Queers have become public enemy number one in Poland. Continue reading →
In the blink of an eye, the coronavirus epidemic revealed to the world just how vulnerable global capitalism is: the stock market is in freefall, global supply chains are coming to a grinding halt as privatized healthcare buckles in an instant. The fallout from decades of liberalisation, privatization and financialisation is immense. Even the most conservative of governments are now busy meddling in private enterprise, admitting how otherwise hallowed market forces are in fact completely incapable of providing for people’s needs. The coronavirus arrival in Slovenia coincided with the change in government from c ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: Now, in the aftermath of the defeat of the Corbyn-led Labour party in the United Kingdom, the left’s hopes for an electoral path to power using the vehicle of some pre-existing mass, centre-left party have been reduced to just one name: Bernie Sanders. His populist, common-sense account of the problems plaguing American society (and their root cause, capitalism) as well as his proposed solutions have not only legitimized the hitherto tabooed word “socialism” but have also inspired hope among millions of ordinary Americans. Bernie still has a steep hill to climb: he first has ..
Sinn Féin, a nationalist party that sits with the left/far-left group in the European parliament and from the 1970s to ’90s was attached to an armed insurgency in Northern Ireland, won the most first-preference votes in this month’s general election in the Republic of Ireland. It now has about the same number of parliamentary seats as each of the state’s traditional centrist “big parties”, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. This is an extraordinary development by any measure. However, with the party’s vote and seat share sitting just below one quarter, and with “the Left” in total, gener ..
A century ago a change began in Ireland but some radical change can take centuries. An Irish Countess (married to an undocumented polish immigrant) was elected Minister for Labour for Sinn Féin. This was a first as women had yet to gain the right to vote. The US-based Irish Republican Brotherhood had pushed through an unpopular rebellion even after leaks to the Empire’s Intelligence Services. The rebellion failed but the ensuing military punitive overreaction – executing all but two military leaders – ensured further resistance. De Valera, a Spanish-American catholic, and that same indomitable Countess Con ..
For the past few weeks, protests for fair elections in upcoming municipal polls have become weekly in Moscow and St. Petersburg as thousands have defied authorities to attend unsanctioned rallies. The police crackdown has been particularly harsh in Moscow. Protests on July 27 and August 3 resulted in over 2000 detentions. Images of police in riot gear wrestling citizens to the ground and beating peaceful protesters were reminiscent of the mass protests against election fraud in 2011-2012. LeftEast is happy to share this interview Sean Guillory (of Sean’s Russia Blog fame) conducted with members of the Russi ..
“They want to entrust Istanbul to a very mixed-up marginal group. They want to hand the city over to a group including FETÖ, Kandil, the PKK, the LGBT’s, Gezi and the whole confused mess of the CHP…and this group will reduce Istanbul to ruins.” Thus spoke Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to his interviewer on the news channel Habertürk this past Wednesday evening. Invoking the entire panoply of “marginal groups” which somehow inexplicably amounted to an electoral plurality and 49% of the total vote in the March 31 election for Mayor of Istanbul. Not that Soylu or his ..
For the first time the workers and the disabled have a genuine representative while people on the Left who normally avoid elections for lack of real choice have someone worth their vote. Continue reading →