Protests

Learning to be a citizen through policy analysis and protest

Karin Doolan
student protests Zagreb

The legacy of the student protests in Croatia is multi-faceted. On a societal level, they were the first protests to bring into question the country’s contemporary economic and political order from a radical Left perspective, invoking Marxist vocabulary in the process. In the educational field, they were the first to exercise a critical reading of educational policies by locating them in the broader neoliberal context and critiquing them from a human rights and social justice standpoint. They were successful in terms of influencing tuition fee policy, innovative in terms of their organisational creativity, which included gathering in assemblies and exercising direct democracy principles, and using social network websites for mobilising. They provided a spontaneous site for citizenship education and they had a biographical impact on certain student protesters who became committed to activism. 

 “We are students not customers”, “This is not a production line”, “Education is not for sale”, “Education is a right not a privilege” and “Save schools not banks” are some of the slogans expressed in the wave of student protests that swept across the globe from California and Austria in 2009 to Chile and Canada in 2012.

Protests and Plenums in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Emin Eminagić
Bosnian protests

During these events, there was no attempt to show that precarity does not know boundaries, it just appeared that the interests of one group were exclusively their own and do not share their logic with others. This problem points to something more traumatic in Bosnian society. This is not only a consequence of the war which ended in 1995, but which is still going on, that the political elites in the last twenty years are using ethno-nationalist manipulation and threats of new conflicts on grounds of ethnicity and in this way obscuring other problems that face the country. 

The protests by the workers of Tuzla's privatised chemical industry that began on February 5th were the start of something no one expected to see happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Activist citizens in the Balkans

Nick Holdstock
Why did they mobilise

‘Why did they mobilise?’- a panel discussion on Social Struggles in Ex-Yugoslavia, a new book that explores the diverse forms of activist citizenship that have swept the region over the last few years. The discussion took place between contributors Boris Kanzleiter, the head of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Belgrade office, Andrea Milat, an activist and journalist from Croatia, Primož Krašovec, a Slovenian activist and theorist and its editor Michael G. Kraft. The discussion was chaired by Stipe Ćurković, the editor of the Croatian edition of Le Monde diplomatique, at the Subversive Forum in Zagreb in May 2013.

‘Why did they mobilise?’- a panel discussion on Social Struggles in Ex-Yugoslavia, a new book that explores the diverse forms of activist citizenship that have swept the region over the last few years.

‘We are all in this together’: a civic awakening in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Igor Štiks
Bosnian protests

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a seemingly trivial administrative issue ignited an unprecedented movement of civic resistance across the country's old dividing lines. Understanding the message of defiance was directed against them all, politicians tried the old trick of 'divide and rule' – only to be ridiculed by protesters.

This piece originally appeared in Open Democracy digital commons. 

Urban struggles: Activist citizenship in South-East Europe III

Kıvanç Atak
Gezi protests

Many observers have drawn parallels between the Gezi protests and the Arab Spring mobilisations, Occupy protests, and the crisis mobilisations in Southern Europe. But the protests in Turkey differ from these in certain respects. Unlike the Arab Spring mobilisations, they are not directed against the very foundations of an autocratic regime. They are also not driven by economic grievances. Yet what the Gezi protests have in common with these is the increasing public conviction in the power of protest. The most obvious evidence is the politicisation of the previously un-politicised. Both the deep engagement of the 90s generation and the participation of the people with no activist record are unusual in Turkey’s map of contentious politics.

Why are they so rebellious? Preliminary observations on the uprisings in Turkey

Urban struggles: Activist citizenship in South-East Europe II

Karlo Basta
Sarajevo protests

While the divisions in civil society tend to reflect those in the political sphere, the events of the past several weeks could be cause for cautious optimism. Each ‘wing’ of the civil society might make a difference in its own domain (entity or canton). In order to do this, they need to sustain this level of activism, not only via protests, but through continuous organisation, awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy. It is through such activism that they can hope to make politicians in their own sub-units more accountable. In the circumstances facing Bosnian citizenry, democratisation of the state must start at the local and entity (or cantonal) level.

Bosnian Protests: Between Post-Ethnic Revival and a Stillborn Civil Society

“COMMUNIST ZOMBIES”: NOTES ON ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP IN SLOVENIA

Julija Sardelić
Slovenian protests

it is important to understand that the current and ongoing protests, described by many as the Slovenian uprisings, cannot be reduced to anti-austerity protests similar to those in other parts of the European Union. The uprisings in Slovenia should be seen as a protest through which people living in Slovenia are manifesting their mistrust and resentment toward the political elites and are stating their decision to take the future into their own hands. 

Slovenia has often been portrayed as an idyllic alpine state, home to hardworking and diligent people.

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