“The EU fortress has proven itself to be a heavily fortified yet ideologically empty construct, and the far-right hordes are cheerfully taking up the opportunity to fill the charmless vacuum that the bureaucrats of Brussels have created around themselves.”
Nearly six years ago, at Keleti pu, Budapest’s largest train station, a group of people got on an early morning train headed for Vienna so that my South Korean partner and I could get married in a small town in Burgenland. We had more or less randomly chosen the location because the wedding halls in Vienna had been all booked up. And as I was still living and studying in Budapest during those times, the venue to choose had to be close enough for us to take the train back and forth across the Hungarian border in one day. So Burgenland it would be.
Living Up to a Name: The Story of Plamen Goranov
Interview and film republished with permission
LeftEast recently sat down with Martin Marinos and Andre Andreev to discuss their film Flame: A Short Film About Plamen Goranov, which recently won the Thessaloniki Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Short Film. The documentary explores the life of Plamen Goranov, whose self-immolation during the Bulgarian protests in 2013 spurred the resignation of Varna’s mayor and was also cited by the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as one of the reasons for his resignation. Martin and Andre have generously made the entire film available to our readers. –LeftEast editors
AntiNote: This article/interview collage appeared last week on LeftEast immediately following an escalation in the student protests that began late last year in Macedonia. Reprinted with permission.
We find these events in Macedonia of particular interest for their largely unsung parallels to the more widely reported student movements and occupations happening in places like Chile, Quebec, London, and Amsterdam as well as the conditions currently being created (and also protested, here and there) in the United States.
It is also encouraging to see this kind of organizing and resistance occurring in a country that appeared, until recently, to understand itself as not having built a culture of political opposition since its independence (there may be hope for Switzerland yet!). The AWC extends our support and solidarity.
Spring has arrived in Macedonia: thousands of pupils and students protest against education policies
by Adela Gjorgjioska for LeftEast
23 April 2015
Thousands of pupils, students and teachers marched today across the country, in a renewed challenge to governmental education policies. Organized by the High School Plenum, the protest comes two months after the [University] Student Plenum declared victory against “reforms” in higher education on the 24th of February, 3 months after the students’ first march on the 17th of November.
“For the first time in the history of Macedonia, but also the region, students and professors will participate directly in the process of devising a law which affects them,” the Student Plenum exclaimed then.
Note from the LeftEast editors: The attempted rape, murder, and burning of 20-year-old university student Özgecan Aslan on Feb. 11th touched a nerve in a society where male-on-female violence has been a chronic problem. Massive demonstrations throughout Turkey followed soon after, but what will it take to stem the surge in femicide over the last decade or so?
(And an AntiNote: in a characteristic attempt to draw connections between issues and interests across movements and contexts, we would also like to emphasize evident ideological and geographical overlap between radical feminism in Turkey and the Kurdish women’s movement, which has found such striking expression in Rojava and the fight against ISIS in particular. We thus invite our hungrier readers to a second helping of Anatolian feminism, from Kurdish revolutionary scholar Dilar Dirik.)
“Women face the most extreme cases of violence when they attempt to become independent of men. The religious-conservative ideological imposition that women should behave according to their purpose of creation is the discourse that perpetuates violence against women because it encourages men to “punish” women who step outside the confines of patriarchal family.”
Mattia Gallo: Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said that women are not equal to men. This public statement is only one piece of a policy pursued by his party of conservative neoliberalism, a policy that increases precarity and poverty for men and women, and which tries to control and subordinate the role of women. What have been the effects of this policy on Turkish society since 2002, the year that brought Erdoğan’s party, AKP, to power? What are the issues that feminists have faced?
Selin Cagatay: This is not the first time that Erdoğan has stated his disagreement with gender equality. In 2010, when he was prime minister, he said, “I do not believe in the equality of men and women. I believe in equal opportunities. Men and women are different and complementary.” More strikingly, he said this at a consultation meeting with women’s NGOs, which included long-standing feminist organizations, during which he addressed women exclusively as mothers.
Transcribed from the 24 January 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“Roma are among the poorest citizens in Bulgaria. But somehow, paradoxically, they are considered the most privileged, because of their supposed “privileged” access to welfare.”
Chuck Mertz: We’ve been discussing neoliberalism, austerity and race on This is Hell! for a while now. But what happens when austerity actually fuels more racism? Here to tell us what austerity means for racism against Bulgaria’s Roma: Jana Tsoneva.
by Gavin Rae for LeftEast
“What’s abnormal is not the worst. What’s normal, for example, is world war.”
The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War takes place in a growing atmosphere of global conflict. The world seems to be once again teetering on the verge of catastrophe. A wave of violence is spreading around the globe, leaving destruction and death in its wake. This surge towards war has developed a momentum that at times seems uncontrollable. Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Iraq – the list of conflicts is growing and war is once again becoming normal.
The anniversary of World War One should be a time of deep reflection for the left. How was it possible that the vast majority of the socialist parties in Europe could drop their avowed internationalism and fall in behind the imperialist war adventures of their countries’ elites? How could they become so subsumed with nationalism and chauvinism that they allowed millions of young men to fall on the battlefields?