- Romi između multikulturalizma i politike štednje ed. by Tamara Baković Jadžić
In 2018, Forum Roma Srbije (FRS, Roma Forum of Serbia), a Belgrade-based non-governmental organization (NGO) whose aim is the integration of the Roma community and the dissemination of core values such as anti-fascism, social justice, equality, and solidarity, marked five years of activity. To celebrate this, as well as the equally long cooperation with the German Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe, the collective volume Romi između multikulturalizma i politike štednje (Roma between multiculturalism and austerity policy) was printed. The publication, which is also available online on the websites of FRS and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of this NGO's activities, and to represent a basic informer about the work of the organization for interested citizens, activists, policy makers, and researchers alike.
The publication collects 12 short critical texts in Serbian by nine FRS collaborators, activists, and participants in the programme of political education carried out over the last years by this Roma NGO. All texts have been previously published, most in two collections of papers, Obrazovanjem do politizacije romske zajednice, volumes one and two (Through Education to the Politicizing of Roma Community, 2016 and 2017), as well as on the progressive, left-oriented online portals Mašina and Bilten.
Three texts, of a mostly theoretical nature, around which gravitates the rest of the volume, are authored by Ivan Radenković (1977–2018), to whom the collection is dedicated. Radenković, a Serbian left-oriented philosopher, theoretician, and activist, spent most of his life addressing social policy first in Yugoslavia, then Serbia. His interests are Marxism, critique of political economy, and capitalistic societies, the history of economic ideas, class theory, industrial politics, trade union history, and pension systems. Radenković's texts here, translated as, "European management of Roma [End Page 233] issues as runaway from politics," "The Silence of capital is the speech of racial and national hatred," and "The Roma between multiculturalism and austerity policies" (which also gives the publication its title), are a sharp critique of the neoliberal discourse and capitalism in Serbia and in Europe.
Radenković claims that, trapped between the nominal idea of multiculturalism and the neoliberal remedies for the capitalist crisis, Roma increasingly feel the disappearance of the social state and its services and cannot participate in political decision-taking. As such, the author advocates for a change of paradigm for organizing the Roma civil sector, and for politically empowering the Roma.
He starts by criticizing the "neoliberal counter-offensive" promoted by European institutions which allegedly address Roma "as experimental guinea pigs" and generate absolute impoverishment. In his opinion, one of the main paradoxes generated by these institutions in elaborating Roma inclusion policies is that, the more they emphasize the particularity of the Roma community, the more they increase the distance of the Roma community both from politics in general and from the rest of society.
From the European context he goes on criticizing affirmative inclusion measures of Roma in Serbia, and their selective application. Radenković also has harsh words for the Roma elite in Serbia, whom he accuses of exaggerating the role of education. His third text is full of sarcastic, cutting remarks, such as:
It seems that it is considered that all discrimination against Roma will disappear only if they are educated. Namely, most successful Roma men and women often declare that they have not felt discrimination on their skin simply because they were educated ... Education is thus all-encompassing in this elitist imagination. Diploma of completed high studies prevents racial hatred and discrimination, poverty, homelessness, segregation, in short, it is a magic bullet for every form of social injustice.(p. 52)
Other texts in this collection read mainly along the same lines, as Radenković's ideas permeate the entire volume. Robert Kasumanović, in the two texts he authors, looks at the complex structure of discriminatory policies in Serbia towards Roma, criticizing right-oriented ideologies of the current government, and...