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sociology | John Feffer
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Church and State in Poland

Poland has one of the stricter laws on abortion in Europe. Abortion is illegal except if the life of the mother is at risk, the fetus has a major defect, or the pregnancy is the result of a confirmed rape. Poland, Ireland, and Malta are the only countries in Europe that do not allow abortion on request. All three countries are also predominantly Catholic (95 percent for Malta, 91 percent for...
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Guilt as Destiny

Diaspora communities played a major role in feeding the fires of conflict in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. As Paul Hockenos detailed in his book Homeland Calling, émigré communities of Serbs, Croats, Kosovars and others supported nationalist leaders, funded guerrilla armies, returned to fight in the wars and serve in the new governments, and even generated some of the more extreme ideas that...
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What Happened to the Red Capitalists?

When revolutions happen bloodlessly, it’s usually because some part of the elite has found its place in the new order. They don’t just open up the gates of the city to let in the Trojan Horse. They become founding members of the Trojan Horse party. They set up kiosks that sell Trojan Horse trinkets. They host TV specials that rewrite history so that the arrival of the Trojan Horse seemed all...
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The Flowering of Feminism in Hungary

The feminist movement, which gathered strength in the 1960s and 1970s in the West, arrived in East-Central Europe much later. Women’s equality was a stated principle of the Communist governments, and official women’s organizations operated in all of the countries. But the official representation of women remained rather conservative. Alexandra Kollantai’s Marxist challenge of patriarchal...
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Pushed to the Margins

Most people who worked with the Stasi tried to hide their collaboration. There were some even in the East German opposition movement who, it was later revealed, worked with the intelligence services. Wolfgang Schnur, for example, was a lawyer who defended dissidents and Church members in the East German courts. In October 1989, he cofounded the opposition group Demokratische Aufbruch, which would...
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