“By the way, Russia had the first sexual revolution. Lenin was a big homosexual; as for Karl and Marx, I think they were together. But they realized on their own it was going nowhere.”
— 3 milioane1
On 6 and 7 October 2018, in what has become known as the family referendum, some Romanians voted on changing the definition of marriage in the Constitution, from the union between two spouses to that between man and woman. Many more Romanians abstained or actively boycotted the referendum with the felicitous result of only 21.1 percent participation, not even close to the 30 percent threshold required for validation. What are the stakes? As Cristian Lungu, senator and president of the center-right PMP Cluj (People’s Movement Party) summarizes tendentiously, the referendum is all about “reclaiming our country from the grip of the neo-Marxist–progressive–anarchist revolution that promotes moral, cultural relativism and gender ideology.” His is only one of many voices on the Right identifying the referendum with a bid for independence, national sovereignty, and desirable distance from an EU steeped into the sins of liberalism and relativism. It’s no wonder that this referendum provided a domestic opening for the first public grumblings about a possible ROEXIT.
In Dublin today, an intensifying housing crisis is provoking a dramatic public response. Activists, spearheaded by groups like Dublin Central Housing Action, occupy empty properties, draping banners from windows sarcastically proclaiming “10,000 welcomes from 10,000 homeless.” They organize tenants to contest illegal evictions, door knocking in neighborhoods where renters are precariously subject to landlord whim. They research property registers and records, and in guerilla blogs such as “Slumleaks,” they shine a light on negligent landlords who hoard properties and leave them derelict. They march through historic city streets—canyons of Georgian brick and wet pavement—disrupting traffic and chanting, “Housing is a human right.”
We are pleased to announce that the latest issue of Focaal – Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology has recently published and is available online at www.berghahnjournals.com/focaal.
On Sunday, 7 October, the Brazilian people will go to the polls to elect their next president. There has never been such a dramatic election since 15 January 1985, when Brazil returned to the polls after 20 years of dictatorship (1964–1985)—although voting took place still within the electoral college system put in place during the dictatorship. Following the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff two years ago (which Alfredo Saad-Filho described as a “coup”) and a chaotic interregnum led by the corrupted Michel Temer (PMDB)—who nonetheless was very effective in curbing workers’ rights by amending part of the famously pro-labor Consolidated Labour Laws, regularizing outsourcing, and cutting workers’ pensions—the future of Brazilian democracy hangs in the balance. Much of it will be decided at the polls.