Report from Bulgaria
Mass privatisation – the biggest facturies and resources felt into possesion of the former communist party leaders, which became wild capitalists and like ones, they immediately sold part of them to big western corporations and rest they just led to bankruptcy and sold them for scrap, leaving all workers behind with no job.
Organized crime – when the transition started, the old Militia fell apart – the powerful police machine with tens of thousands of members, was no longer needed. The former police officers had no job and because of thei represion training they formed wide spread organized crime groups. They started widespread blackmailing, kidnapping, tourturing, extortion and so on. All the current huge insurance and financial companies in Bulgaria emerged from these groups. So did our previous prime minister. While the current minister came from the former totalitarian party leaders, who sold the country for no money to western companies.
Western proraganda – the Soviet propaganda was totally replaced by the western one. The word ”communist’ became ofensive, the shamans of the free market ënlightened the people of the “new gods” – the foreign investors, for whom we needed to make the sacrifice of mass privatisation. The result was that 3 million people vanished from the country. 1 million died from poverty and preventable deceases, 1 million emigrated and 1 million were never born.
Recent protests – the reason
All those processes lead us to the condition of the poorest country in the EU. This naturally resulted in social unrest. There were actually such moods before, but because of the propaganda, the protests were aiming for more capitalism. This did not result in anything good, and therefore it did not last long.
Last year was the first widespread rise against the results of capitalism and EU membership. It started against the Electrical companies, who went through privatisation.
In Bulgaria, the whole electrical market is divided between 3 companies, each of them controling as a monopol part of the country. The bills became unbearable to people – in some places the bills equalled the average salary. This situation sparked spontaneous social riots in a couple of cities and spread all across the country.
In Varna – the biggest city on the coast line of Bulgaria with population aroung 400 000 people, nearly half of them went out on the street. This was the biggest riot in the history of the city. It was not organized by any party or union. The protest soon turned violent, as protestors across the country started burning the buildings and cars of those electrical companies.
The poverty and depression caused victims also. 12 people set themselves on fire. One of them – Plamen Goranov (a 36 year old man) set himself on fire in front of the municipal building in Varna, holding a transperant against the city authorities and the local mafia structure “TIM”. It is still arguable whether he suicided or somebody killed him. After more than one year from then, the police are still hiding the video from the incident.
After that incident, the protest became even more powerful with demands for change of the entire political system, revision of the privatisation from the transition and nationalizing of the most important private sectors.
The center-right government and few mayors of cities resigned. This situation was benefit for the bulgarian socialist party who focused people’s attention to the upcoming elections as only possible solution to their problems. Of course, they won the elections and forgot their promises.
All they did was transfer the power and wealth from the previous criminal group to the new one. They didn’t nationalize anything and didn’t do anything to change the overall social situation in Bulgaria. All they did to maintain the power, was to distribute a one-time money support to the retired in the amount of about 15 Euro for Christmas.
The new “socialist” government only caused people’s anger again – this time the protest were anti-communist and dominated by the biggest oposition parties. They took part mainly in the capital – Sofia, where there were clashes with the police, but the government did not resign.
The only one interesting part of that second protest wave which took part last summer, was the occupation of the universities in the couple of cities. The occupation was leftist in its methods and in some of its demands. They asked, not only for the resign of the gouvernment but for direct democracy and solidary economy. Badly, when they get off the tracks of the mainstream protest, the media stopped their support for the students so the public backed down from them and the occupation ended without success. After the fall of the student occupation, the opposition took full control over the protest and transformed it into a pure struggle between the major left and right political parties and into a prelude to the upcoming european elections. To completely overthrow any social an democratic tendencies among the people and to gain some votes, the neo-nazi parties with the support of the faschist football hooligans organization began anti-islamic and anti-turkish demonstrations wich lead to a destruction of islamic temples. The immigrant wave from Syria was also used by the nazi parties like Ataka, NFSB and VMRO together with the street skinhead organizations like Blood And Honor and National Resistance. They united with each other and organized numberous demonstrations against immigrants. After these demonstrations, there was a wave of street violence against immigrants and imigrant look-a-like people which lead to dozens people put in hospital and one in coma. The weak and unorganized resistance against racism and fascism in nationalistic Bulgaria was unable to fight against these crimes and the result is that they actually have popular support even from the apolitical people which are the biggest part of the society.
Never the less, and beside the situation in Bulgaria influated by the very heavy iheritance from the totalitarian regime and the rise of the nationalism, the protests maked way for new left movements. During the last year only, a social centers were created in every major city in the country. These social centers are incubators for new social movements, unknown untill then in Bulgaria. This is the place where the old communist and anarchist organizations meet the new wave of radical lefts emerged from the riots on the streets. This interaction brought to the creation of network between the cities, organizing demonstrations and projects together.
Our main goal as activist is the social revolution not only in Bulgaria, but in the Balkans and the world. That’s why we make connections and visits with our neigbhoring countries, seeking for a common frame to organize our struggle.