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Нови Леви Перспективи
"По-лесно е да си представяш края на света, отколкото края на капитализма." Фредрик Джеймисън
The goal of the workshop in Sofia is to bring critically together the phenomena of outward and inward migration and to question the sharp distinctions of what has been dubbed as ‘political’ and ‘economic’ migration by weaving them into one conceptual framеwork. Our starting position stems from the understanding that we need to engage critically with dichotomies such as inside/outside; political/economic migration, illegal/legal which have been comfortably settled in mainstream research but also in political movements. With this workshop we strive to venture beyond by visualizing a framework that better explains the multifarious resistance practices of “migrants” in late capitalism. To do this we bring together academics and activists from several European countries to discuss these issues as intertwined in the larger European political context. We will map knowledges and strategies that go beyond the inside/outside dichotomy and citizen/non-citizen divide in order to fortify our common political efforts.
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The Feminist Workshop catalogue published by Anarres Books is the result of the Feminist workshop that took place in December 2013 at the fridge & Social center Haspel. For more information click here.

The catalogue seeks to draw attention to the necessity of organized action in Bulgarian society, targeted towards visibility of women’s problems (both of the heterosexual and the LGBT community) and to redefine women’s problems and the reasons for their existence – both on local level and within the context of the contemporary capitalist world and its political and socio-economic parameters.

The catalogue includes texts by Boryana Rossa and Liza Babenko on feminist art, the image of contemporary women and the necessity of feminist actions in Bulgaria, Russia and Ukraine. The texts review the most important problems faced by women in these countries such as sexual and domestic violence and poverty, reproductive labor and sexual exploitation. Besides the two texts, the catalogue includes images from the workshop, reproductions of the works shown by Mikaela and Мarina Vinnik, as well as illustrations of artworks supporting the texts.

To download click here
19.11.2013, 19.00 at the fridge & xaspel
Sofia, 8 Madrid. blvd

Book launch with a discussion on "Autonomist Marxism for the 21st century? On the contemporary meaning of a subversive tradition"
Autonomism and Marxism: from the Paris Commune to the World Social Forum

The book Autonomism and Marxism: from the Paris Commune to the World Social Forum (Sofia: Anarres, 2013, 528 pages, published in the Bulgarian language) will be presented by its two editors: Nikolay Karkov (lecturer in philosophy at SUNY College at Courtland, USA) and Stanimir Panayotov (PhD student in comparative gender studies at CEU, Budapest, Hungary), followed by a Q&A on the theme, “Autonomist Marxism for the 21st century? On the contemporary meaning of a subversive tradition.”

Painting by Smart Marry
11-15 December, 2013,
the fridge & Haspel, 8 Madrid Blvd., Sofia


THE FEMINIST WORKSHOP is a platform for discussions, actions and socially engaged art, addressing women issues in capitalist Bulgaria. We hope this platform will show the necessity of organized action in our society targeted towards visibility of women problems (both of the heterosexual and the LGBT community) and for defense of their rights, in solidarity with the other genders.
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26.11.2013, 19.00 at the fridge & xaspel
Sofia, 8 Madrid. blvd
New Left Perspectives: Lecture by Anton Shekhovtsov

Anton Shekhovtsov is an European Research Fellow of the Radicalism and New Media Research Group at the Iniversite of Northampton, United Kingdom. He is also editor of the "Explorations of the Far Right" book series at ibidem-Verlag.

Russian political thinker and, by his own words, geopolitician, Aleksandr Dugin, represents a comparatively new trend in the radical Russian nationalist thought. In the course of the 1990s, he introduced his own doctrine that was called Neo-Eurasianism. Despite the supposed reference to the interwar political movement of Eurasianists, Dugin’s Neo-Eurasian nationalism was rooted in the political and cultural philosophy of the European New Right. Neo-Eurasianism is based on a quasi-geopolitical theory that juxtaposes the ‘Atlanticist New World Order’ (principally the US and the UK) against the Russia-oriented ‘New Eurasian Order’. According to Dugin, the ‘Atlanticist Order’ is a homogenizing force that dilutes national and cultural diversity that is a core value for Eurasia. Taken for granted, Eurasia is perceived to suffer from a ‘severe ethnic, biological and spiritual’ crisis and is to undergo an ‘organic cultural-ethnic process’ under the leadership of Russia that will secure the preservation of Eurasian nations and their cultural traditions. Neo-Eurasianism, sacralized by Dugin and his followers in the form of a political religion, provides a clear break from narrow nationalism toward the New Right ethopluralist model. Many Neo-Eurasian themes find a broad response among Russian high-ranking politicians, philosophers, scores of university students, as well as numerous avant-garde artists and musicians.
19.11.2013, 19.00 at the fridge & xaspel
Sofia, 8 Madrid. blvd
New Left Perspectives: Lecture by Miloš Jovanović

Miloš Jovanović is a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his MA in History from Central European University in 2008, and his BA in History and International Affairs in 2007 from Lafayette College. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Mary J Luecker Prize, the Marc Bloch Prize, and the Shelby Davis Fellowship. Currently he is conducting doctoral research in Sofia under the auspices of the American Research Center Sofia and the Social Science Research Council. Miloš enjoys cyberpunk, gardening and pictures of cats doing funny things.

On November 19th, 2013, Miloš Jovanović will present parts of his doctoral research on the modernization of Belgrade and Sofia during the long nineteenth century. By examining an earlier, difficult period of transformation, he hopes to open a discussion on the role of urban history in the contemporary context of post-socialist Southeastern Europe.
Today's discourse about the Balkan city operates within a particular stage. Europeanization and modernization are its two primary topics, sometimes seen as parallel, and at other times, conflicting processes. Thus, cities like Belgrade and Sofia are sites of conflict between “urban” and “rural”, “civilization” and “barbarism”. In this dichotomy, criminal behavior, low culture and exploitation (whether it is of gender, labor, or the environment) are seen as local corruptions of functioning, civilized urban order. This imagined, developed city operates as aspectacular commodity itself. Images such as the exciting “world city”, the “ordered center”, and the “unruly slum” mediate the everyday experiences of our own communities. On a stage like this, what critique can urban history offer?

Among other topics, Jovanović will discuss how contemporary Balkan urban culture emerged in the nineteenth century. In the post-Ottoman period, tavern life, consumption, and the production of space all became deeply related to the commodity economy. During the state-socialist period, vulgar-Marxist historians analyzed this process as part of a necessary transition for the region. After 1989, however, cultural histories sought to resurrect “civic” culture, relegating to the sidelines the costs of economic transformation. Neither asked a basic question – what does it mean to analyze urbanization as a step forward? What is the role of women's labor in urban transformation? Finally, should one write “history from below” in the Balkans?

Perhaps the most pointing allegory of unfreedom in liberal thought is the one that depicts the chained, immobilized body of a slave. The allegory of the chained slave simultaneously positions the “free” subject as a moving, mobile subject. In a similar manner, one of the main principles behind the implementation of the ‘European project’ – freedom of movement – contains in itself the ideologically loaded concept of freedom on the one hand and the idea that movement is constitutive of freedom on the other.

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18h, 21 July 2013, the fridge & Xaspel, 8 Madrid blvd.
Talk by Don Kalb with Volodymyr Ischenko and Florin Poenaru: Socialism, Postsocialism, Neoliberalism – Interconnections in CEE

Within the framework of the summer school "Between (post)socialism and (neo)liberalism", held in Sofia at the fridge & Xaspel, on July 21st Prof. Don Kalb (Central European University, Budapest) gave a talk on the topic "Socialism, Postsocialism, Neoliberalism – Interconnections in CEE". The talk was held in a dialogue with Volodymyr Ischenko (Ukraine) and Florin Poenaru (Romania), both researchers influenced by and working in the context of Prof. Kalb's research. 

Don Kalb is a Dutch social anthropologist, currently teaching at CEU, Budapest. His most popular book is Expanding Class: Power and Everyday Politics in Industrial Communities, The Netherlands, 1850–1950, and he is also the co-editor of volumes such as Critical junction: anthropology and history beyond the cultural turn; Globalization and development: themes and concepts in current research; Ten Years After: Hidden Histories and New Mythologies in East-Central Europe. Presently he teaches the courses "Debates on Globalization and Development" and "Modernity: Institutions, Power, Agency".

You can listen to the talk here, and pictures from the event can be seen here

17.04.2013, 19.00 at the fridge & xaspel
Sofia, 8 Madrid. blvd New Left Perspectives: Lecture by Miladina Monova

This paper explores changes within the household economy in the postsocialist, post-Yugoslav town of Prilep, and the way in which these transformations mirror changes in social and ritual relationships.In a context of economic hardship, former factory workers holding casual jobs, often within the grey economy, retreat into the household economy, and therefore rely more on kinship and friendship relationships than they ever did during socialism. Tobacco growing is the seasonal activity occupying most of Prilep’s households. But is not only an economistic response to the cyclical social demand for cash. When asked about their spending patterns, or how their incomes were allocated to different budgets heads of households systematically placed ritual celebrations among top priorities. Yet people did not want to reduce the number of such celebrations they classified as “unavoidable” and “expensive”. One could postpone the payment of a bill, but not an important calendar day such as slava, Christmas or Easter, I was told. I will show how If more and more families in Prilep combine casual jobs and factory work with house-based tobacco growing, this is also because they need to invest more heavily in ritual activities. Households need to raise cash for rituals, which in turn secure the social relationships that provide access to jobs in the industrial sphere and the wider economy.

First published in CriticAtac

The events in Bulgaria are moving so fast that it seems that whatever commentators will say will be rendered immediately as non-contemporaneous to them: either too soon or too late. Such instability is driven by the behaviour of the main actors themselves: one day the prime minister is certain he won’t resign (so as not to let the socialists and the Turks take power, he explained), the next day he deposits the resignation of the entire cabinet in Parliament, the official reason being that he cannot stand to watch an enclosed parliament while his “brothers” – the police – beat up citizens trying to reach the building. However, the resignation seemed to be partial: the finance minister Dyankov, who had resigned a few days before, surprisingly announced that he is withholding his resignation and will continue to serve as finance minister in order to guarantee Bulgaria’s fiscal stability and supervise the country’s latest bond issue on international markets. In a gesture that seemed like nothing less than a declaration for the establishment of an autonomous ministry of finance, Dyankov disregarded the fact that the Prime minister Borisov had filed the resignation of his entire cabinet and resumed his job as a minister.
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