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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Bosnia: Protests Continue Despite Contradictions

AntiNote: This article first appeared in German on the website of the Antikapitalistische Linke, a constellation of currents within the far-left German political party DIE LINKE which explicitly includes unaffiliated activists and agitators and views itself as a bridge between DIE LINKE and non-partisan anti-capitalist movements within Germany and elsewhere.

A pair of AKL activists recently visited Tuzla and spoke with people involved in the citizens’ assemblies and protests there which generated a good deal of excitement in Left circles in Europe in February and March of this year…but which regrettably seem to have fallen off the radar screen in recent weeks.

As we have seen a number of commentators, even on the Left, reading the movement in Bosnia its last rites and/or pointing out all the places where it “went wrong,” we at the Antidote Writers Collective wish to insist, along with our friends of the AKL, that there is still fog on the mirror. As long as the struggle continues, the struggle continues. The activists in Tuzla are still speaking; is it not the height of rudeness to turn away?

A dispatch from Tuzla by Inge Höger and Carsten Albrecht

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Not Ukraine’s Revolutionary Moment

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AntiNote: As news breaks today of military incidents between Ukrainian government forces and separatist militants in the East, we are once again reeling from the quickly-shifting circumstances in that country. This interview with Volodymyr Ishchenko is less than a week old, and may already be nearing its expiration date…

But: Ishchenko’s statements (as well as his writing; links below) contain a certain wisdom and thoughtful consideration that make them less perishable. As today’s violence sends the international commentariat into fits of hyperbole, lambasting one side or the other (as if there are even just “two sides!”), we find that Ishchenko’s reasoned call for more nuance is as relevant—even urgent—as ever.

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Bosnian Basics

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 22 March 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview here.

“It’s misleading for the international community to say the citizens of Bosnia need to take ownership of their own issues, but then when they take that phrase literally, say, ‘oh, that’s not what we had in mind.’”

Chuck Mertz: We are speaking with Edin Hajdarpašić. He teaches history at Loyola University in Chicago; he is the author of the forthcoming book entitled Whose is Bosnia? Political Imagination and Nation Formation in the Modern Balkans, and wrote an Al Jazeera article recently on what’s going on in Bosnia right now.

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Tensions in Budapest

AntiNote: We invite your thoughts on this subject, especially from those of you who work in or have contact with groups struggling for social justice in Hungary.  Feel free to contact us at antidote[at]riseup[dot]net.

The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.

On 1 February 2014,  Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) talked to Todd Williams, an American expatriate in Budapest, about the lead-up to contentious elections in Hungary and the character of both New Left and ultra right political currents there.

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Fuck them, they make three thousand a month

This text originally appeared on 9.2.2014 at http://www.lupiga.com/vijesti/glasnik-pregazene-generacije-o-sarajevskim-neredima

By Faruk Šehić, recipient of the European Union Prize for Literature

What actually happened that Friday 7th of February, what wild force was it that had awoken in the people and taken control of the streets surrounding the buildings of the Presidency of BiH and the Canton of Sarajevo? The day before, it had begun in front of the building of the cantonal government during one in a long line of workers’ protests. Amateur footage on the internet documented police brutality and police ineptitude to deal with the situation which quickly escalated. It was to be expected that Friday would be even worse and with even more tension than that first day when the uprising began spreading through the streets of Tuzla. Around noon on the Friday, the building of the cantonal government in Tuzla was set ablaze. After I saw that on state TV, I headed toward city centre.

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Protests Across Bosnia Are A “Collective Nervous Breakdown”

“He who sows hunger reaps anger,” warned the red graffiti on a Sarajevo government building this week. The message hinted at the depth of poverty and disillusionment in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that has driven people to join demonstrations across the divided country, where the unemployment rate is about 40 percent. Protesters have since stormed and ransacked government buildings in Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar, and in the capital city of Sarajevo, where the headquarters of the presidency was also set ablaze. Some protesters allegedly threw firecrackers and stones at police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Hundreds have been injured. On Friday, activist Darko Brkan called the protests “a collective nervous breakdown”.Continue Reading