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Protests in Kosovo

Agon Hamza, Priština

April 16, 2013

There is a new spirit emerging in the Republic of Kosovo. A new spirit of popular unrest towards the neoliberal policies applied in the country.
Forcefully subjected to all sorts of neoliberal social and political experiments, Kosovo became arguably the poorest country in Europe, with 48 per cent of unemployment, and around 18-20 per cent of people living with less than one euro per day.
Following the spectacular rise of the electricity bills, thousands of people protested in the capital city of Prishtina, organised by grass-root activists. Taking into account the political and ideological conjuncture of Republic of Kosovo—that is to say, a country that is directly subjected to EU, US as well as Turkish imperialist interventions—the recent protests mark a new political awareness and revolt.
A minimal, but yet important goal was achieved: the already-announced rise of the electricity bills was annulled. However, even though the electricity bills sparked these protests, they were not reduced to it. The corrupted Government of Kosovo (an extension of imperialist interests in the country), declared its magic-economic program: privatization of everything.
Publicly and socially owned enterprises are privatized by state (or public) enterprises of EU countries: Czech CEZ has privatized distribution in a few regional countries, Slovenian and Turkish state (or public) owned capital is privatizing factories, electricity distribution, airport, telecom in Republic of Kosovo, banks, etc.
This renders visible the hypocrisy of the ruling ideology: neoliberalism is OK as long as it is applied elsewhere, that is to say, in the region of Balkans, and other so called “underdeveloped countries.”
Recent protests in Prishtina did create an intense political energy and an outburst of creativity. New protests are announced in the forthcoming days and weeks, in the fight against privatization, corruption, and neoliberalism. The task of the protest is to move one step forward form the panic they created in the corridors of out government, to the creation of political bodies, independent of the state.
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