Progress in regress. Roma people in the capitalist postcommunism


25 years have passed since the fall of communism, almost a quarter of a century since Romania and the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe are living the hard way the dream of a European Democracy, the “bright and glorious western future”. This is a good moment to investigate what happened with the largest, as well as most neglected and marginalised minority of Europe: the Roma community. Roma population has been seen as the main loser of the never-ending transition period: 10-20 millions of Roma citizens continue to live at the economic, social and political periphery of their own countries.

Moreover, in the last years, a rise in the extreme-right movements has been noticed in most of European, which affects the Roma minority. It is clear by now that the racist discourses are equally present and popular in the East and in the West, especially if we take into consideration all the affrays related to the repatriation of Roma migrants. The democratic lessons that the West offered to the East have failed, and in the end the two shook hands and showed the same racism against the Roma minority.

Most often there are no explanations regarding the statistic evidences, and the discourses are maintained at a descriptive level. The talks are about the dramatic situation of the Roma population, additionally prospects on the idea of reinstatement, without showing the causes which lead to their marginalisation.

The events taking place at Cluj represent also an act of support and remembrance of 17 December 2010, when more than 300 Roma people residing on Coastei Street in Cluj were evicted and moved by the local authorities to Pata Rat area, next to the city’s garbage dump.

Transition online videos which will be presented at Cluj from 17 December 2014 until 23 January 2015 are investigations of today’s situation of Roma minority in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovak Republic. The videos show the rise of new right extremist movements, investigate segregated educational systems, employment, evacuation cases etc.

17-18 December (by prior registrations only)

Workshop for 14-17 year old teenagers led by Erika Varga, activist, editor for Glinda magazine, founder of Romani Design.

18 December, 20:00
Talks about the Romani Design project, as a fight strategy against racial discrimination

18 December, 20:30
Public discussion about the issues that Roma citizens from Cluj are facing

Participants: Júlia Adorjáni, Simona Ciotlăuș, Florin Stancu, Enikő Vincze.
Special guests: Linda Zsiga, Rita Greta
Moderator: Hajnalka Bessenyei

Curators: Hajnalka Bessenyei (ERSTE Foundation) and Attila Tordai-S ( Cluj).

Transitions online and Romani Design are member NGOs in the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership, an informal alliance of organisations dedicated to improving the life of Roma people in the communities across Central and South-Eastern Europe. The platform was born out of a common concern: to support social enterprise development initiatives at community levels, involving Roma and non-Roma collaboration. The Partnership focuses on opportunities for developing livelihoods to create jobs and generate incomes from community initiatives.