The Racism/Austerity Feedback Loop

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.

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The Normality of War

by Gavin Rae for LeftEast

“What’s abnormal is not the worst. What’s normal, for example, is world war.”
Franz Kafka

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?

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“Refugee Apocalypse!”

BULGARIA: A look at asylum seekers’ portrayal in politics and media, the little-known practice of “external addressing” in which corrupt officials collude, and the all-too-familiar rise of fascist gangs with the state’s implicit approval

by Tsvetelina Hristova and Raya Apostolova for LeftEast

In the summer of 2013, as a mass of people was fleeing the escalating conflict in Syria, Bulgaria experienced its first “real” push at the border. Or at least this is how media outlets and commentators described the thousands who were crossing the Turkish-Bulgarian border, forgetting that the Bulgarian border in particular—and the European border in general—has been a space of much antagonism for some time.

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How Healthcare Kills

AntiNote: this article appeared this month as part of an ongoing collaboration between LeftEast and the Balkan web portal Bilten.org, where it can be read in Serbo-Croatian. Reprinted with permission.

“Over the last year and a half, ten Bulgarians committed violent suicide via self-immolation because of the increase of electricity prices; with these ‘well-intended’ healthcare reforms we can now anticipate the next, wider, and more bloody wave of ‘unintended’ mass murder—a murder which Bulgarian protesters and civil society could prevent if they shifted focus from ‘moral indignation against corrupt and dysfunctional capitalism’ to a moral indignation against capitalism as such.”

by Mariya Ivancheva

In the last days of March 2014, a Bulgarian woman, Dobrinka Krumova, age 26, died because neither private nor public hospitals in Dupnitsa in southern Bulgaria admitted her for treatment.

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Bulgaria: at Fortress Europe’s Postern Gate

AntiNote: this article was the result of a recent collaboration between LeftEast and the new Balkan web portal Bilten.org, where it can be read in Serbo-Croatian.  It appeared in the original English last week on LeftEast.  Reprinted with permission.

“While the EU proclaims democracy and universal human rights, a new form of nationalism is on the rise – one that is not founded in the nation-state but is instead fortifying the wealthy core member-states by turning the periphery into an alert border zone.”

by Tsvetelina Hristova and Raya Apostolova

When Greece began construction of a wall along its border with Turkey in 2012, nationalist formations in Bulgaria voiced the same demand for the country’s southern border. Back then, this demand seemed comic at best and was ridiculed throughout the political spectrum. Two years later, a barbed-wire fence along the Turkish-Bulgarian border is a nationalist dream-come-true.

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After the Ball, Burschenschaften Explained

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In Austria, right wing extremism is having a ball

by Natascha Strobl for LeftEast

It is a sad fact that each year right-wing student fraternities, the Burschenschaften, are allowed to hold a ball in the Hofburg palace. It has grown into a major event on the yearly calendar of the Austrian and the wider European nationalist right. For those not familiar with all of Austrian or German history, these student fraternities need a bit of an explanation.
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10 Theses of the Leftist Opposition in Ukraine

Euromaidan and a Program for the Left

“Euromaidan’s popularity has nothing to do with Ukrainians finding the question of free trade with the European Union so significant that it emboldened them to survive sleepless nights on the square. The country’s socioeconomic problems, which are much more acute than those of its neighbors to the East and West, gave the protest its meaning.”

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