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They say protests go well on an empty stomach! During recent years, we have seen a wide range of protests taking place in Eastern Europe. From the Orange Revolutions to today’s massive protests in Bulgaria or Poland, we’ve seen waves of discontent. The left is unhappy with the fact that one of the common denominators of many protests – inequality and economic injustice – is being left to one side and that people tend to get easily mobilized on themes such as anti-corruption or human rights but tend to be less inclined to protest against economic hardships. Is this the reality or is it just the perceived reality? Is this how things really are, at present, or is it just the result of the media emphasizing the protests that are less likely to challenge the position of the dominant elites?
On 29 November 2020 Maria Cernat and Boyan Stanislavski were joined by Julia Rone for the latest episode of the On the Barricades podcast. She is a Wiener-Anspach postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge and the Université libre de Bruxelles. She recently published a book entitled “Contesting Austerity and Free Trade in the EU” where she explores the anti-austerity and anti – free-trade protests that followed the 2008 crisis.
When building the structure of the EU, there were widespread concerns that the politicians would eventually abuse their power. The elites established clear economic indicators to limit these potential instances of abuse, but they never questioned that economists might have been responsible for.  Julia Rone discussed about what she called small protests against austerity and free trade and how these protests have been challenging the idea of the economy’s lack of accountability.
Watch the entire conversation on our YouTube channel and don’t forget to subscribe to and like the video. This will help us make our analysis more popular, and more people will have the chance to get familiar with the political, social and economic problems in Eastern Europe.

Photo: Protest don’t take place only in the periphery of European capitalism. Anti-G20 protest in Hamburg (source: Pixabay, CC0)
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