Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism: Radical Politics After Yugoslavia

This volume offers a profound analysis of post-socialist economic and political transformation in the Balkans, involving deeply unequal societies and oligarchical “democracies.” The contributions deconstruct the persistent imaginary of the Balkans, pervasive among outsiders to the region, who see it as no more than a repository of ethnic conflict, corruption and violence. Providing a much needed critical examination of the Yugoslav socialist experience, the volume sheds light on the recent rebirth of radical politics in the Balkans, where new groups and movements struggle for a radically democratic vision of society.


  • “Finally a book we have been waiting for. A cold analytic look free of all versions of Balkanism, free of nostalgia for Yugoslav self-management Socialism, but also free of all illusions about liberal-democratic Brave New World. A report from the people who are effectively engaged in emancipatory struggles in ex-Yugoslavia. A must for everyone who wants to understand the post-Communist transition from bad to worse.”
  • “They say that when the Nazis had Tito surrounded, he saved himself by hiding in a big cave. This is how it is in the Balkans: the resistance is often forced to conceal itself in caves and forests. But it never goes away. This book hopes and prepares for the resistance to step back into the open.”
  • “We have entered a new age of resistance, and this dramatic change is nowhere more striking than in the post-socialist Balkans. As this invaluable book argues compellingly, the ‘transition’ period ended with a bang: new forms, subjects and strategies of dissent and resistance have sprang from Zagreb to Ljubljana and from Sofia to Sarajevo. They respond to two common enemies, greedy neoliberal capitalism and the post-democratic governance of ‘experts’ and corrupt elites. This book gives a new positive meaning to balkanization: instead of division and fragmentation, it marks the coming together of people in all parts of the region in an attempt to trace the contours of a future of justice and democracy.”
  • “[Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism] is a very important initiative for the region and beyond...[It] is a work that has opened the debate and encourages, in the coming years, the publication of this kind of writings about the space of ex -Yugoslavia and in Eastern Europe in general, which have long been at the center of imperialist propaganda against any idea of transcending capitalism.”


  • Costas Douzinas and Srecko Horvat: What now for the European project

    While the Eurozone crisis is intensifying the contradictions of the project for European integration and the dreaded Troika is forcing unprecedented levels of austerity on the Greek nation, the question of the left's relation to Europe has once more been raised. Owen Jones has been the latest in a long line of prominent leftists to defend a left anti-EU stance, recently arguing in a column in the Guardian for the need for a Left Exit (or 'Lexit') campaign which will wrestle the issue of British withdrawal from the EU away from the UKIPpers and the Eurosceptic Tories. Yet under the leadership of Alexis Tsipras, Syriza is continuing with its attempt to push a left strategy while remaining in the Eurozone.

    In this video, part of Open Democracy's #TalkReal series, philosopher Srecko Horvat, Professor of Law Costas Douzinas and others discuss the future of the European project in response to the increasing crisis in Greece. Should the left push forward with its long march through the institutions or should we be campaigning against the anti-democractic EU? Can the Eurozone become a space for progressive politics or will it continue to be used to force through punishing austerity?

  • Radical Politics in the Desert of Transition

    In Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism, Srećko Horvat and Igor Štiks bring together a series of profound analyses of post-socialist economic and political transformation in the Balkans, and the new movements struggling to realize radically democratic visions of society. We present the editors' introduction below.

    Over the last couple of years we have regularly witnessed popular protests and uprisings in the post-socialist Balkans. The well-known mobilisations, struggles and street violence in the southern part of the peninsula, in Greece and recently Turkey, have a constant and yet under-reported echo in other Balkan states. These have had a different historical trajectory: after the disappearance of the state socialist regimes, in all of these states, most dramatically across the former Yugoslavia, a period of violence, conflict or general instability and economic misery has been followed by a seemingly endless transition to liberal democracy and neoliberal economy. During this process some countries have joined the European Union (Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia), further marginalising the ‘latecomers’ and ‘laggards’ in the long process of ‘European integration’ (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania), all of which are now encircled by the EU border.

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  • Srećko Horvat: "There is no barrier between politics and culture"

    Srećko Horvat, the philosopher and co-editor of Welcome to the Deset of Post-Socialism, a volume which critically addresses Yugoslavian socialism and the future of radical politics in the Balkans, weighs in on the occupation of Zvezda cinema in Belgrade and the privatization of culture in a recent New York Times op-ed piece. 

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