Saturday, March 14, 2009

Debate at the Red House

Yesterday a debate was held at the cultural institution Red House in Central Sofia. Under the headline "The Future - Private or Shared Space -"Y" utopian Visions on the Future, represantants from different students organizations, bloggers, ecologists met and discussed. The death of Stojan Baltov drew focus to the problems in Studentski Grad and for Bulgaria in general

Whereas everyone (see for example my post about the socialist youth organization's program here) speaking about Bulgaria, from liberals to fascists, agree on the problems -corruption and lack of citizens' influence, the way to adress them is under discussion. Or should be.

I arrived late to the meeting, and missed about half, but the part I could listen to was a very animated discussion about wether private ownership is part of the problem or of the solution. At the center of the discussion was the question of private universities.

At the meeting, with around 50 participants, there was a rather clear division between the left, centered around the organisation Priviz, and more liberal participants, like the blogger Deljan Delchev. Noone was pleased with the bulgarian post socialistic capitalsim. Priviz seemed to think - this is privatization, it is not wat we want. The liberals undertanding was rather - this might be privatization, but not free competition. Let's create a situation where entrepeneurs can compete and trigger each other to develop the best solutions, that will be good for everyone in the end.

How to take the step from protest against concrete grievances to politics, and if this was dangerous was a higlhy interesting question that the discussion leader Irina Nedeva initiated. Everyone claimed that they were not afraid of bein political, yet the protests we have seen so far have tried to keep a distance form political ideologies. My personal impression, is that no one wants the politics really, but it is forcing itself on the protesters as the protests become more lasting movements.

A teacher from Sofia University alsoasked the student organzations, to which degree they also fighted form groups that not only suffer financially but might be discriminated against on basis of etnicity or gender. Priviz has a good track record when it comes to raising feminist questions, they arranged the demonstrations in suppot of Kostadina Kuneva 8th of March, and everyone said that their struggle was not excluding anyone.

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