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Barany, Zoltan Ch. 4: The Roma under State-Socialism Socialist Policies in various States Socioeconomic Marginality Social Relations.

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Presentation on theme: "Barany, Zoltan Ch. 4: The Roma under State-Socialism Socialist Policies in various States Socioeconomic Marginality Social Relations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Barany, Zoltan Ch. 4: The Roma under State-Socialism Socialist Policies in various States Socioeconomic Marginality Social Relations

2 Socialist Policies in Various States “ ”(p ) The “Gypsy problem” was handled differently in each state; “the fundamental goal (assimilation) was the same; the means were different.” (p.116)

3 Socialist Policies in Czechoslovakia  1958 CSCP (communist party) decided in favor of a “rapid and comprehensive” assimilation program throughout the country. Law74/1958 took away the right of nomadic people to travel and forced regular employment.  In the early 1970’s government resolutions in the Czech lands and in Slovakia relocated Roma to communal apartments in Urban areas.  The use of Romani language was punished in schools.

4 Czechoslovakia  Sterilization was encouraged starting in 1966, for 35 year old mothers of three or more.  Twenty years later regulations were modified to allow 18 year olds to be sterilized even if they had not had children.  About ten months’ good salary was offered as incentive (25,000 crowns)  Nearly 50 percent of Romani women were sterilized in 1989

5 Socialist Policies in Bulgaria Erode Romani Identity  In in the Northern Plains of Bulgaria where “many of the nomadic tribes lived” there was a strict sedentarization policy that was supported by the USSR that required all nomadic groups be settled as quickly as possible.  In 1958 a government decree prohibited Gypsy travel. One year later the BCP ordered local authorities to ensure full Romani employment.  In 1962 segregated schools were formed.  After 1984 the Gypsies were prohibited from traditional Romani musical instruments, dancing, and even spoken language.  1987 the Gypsy newspaper was shut down along with the Romani theatre.

6 Socialist Policies in Poland  Tried integration in the early 1950’s; by offering Gypsies housing and employment.  In 1964 a more forceful assimilation campaign included “registering local Roma with authorities, restrictions on travel and gathering, and control of Gypsy cultural organizations.”(p.119)  After the mid 1960’s no special legislation was made for the Gypsies and Poland's militia only randomly enforced these laws.  “Polish Roma were the more successful in resisting assimilations pressures”(p120)

7 Socialist Policies in Romania  Romania confiscated Roma horses and wagons in an 1946 attempt to sedentarize nomadic Gypsies.  Again Gypsy employment was a key governmental objective although in Romania this policy was not enforced as wholeheartedly as in other regions.  Prohibition of traditional meetings, and confiscation of valuable gold coins was common.

8 Socialist Policies in Hungary  Unlike many Eastern European states Hungary’s socialist party endorsed a policy of “active support for Gypsy culture and education and stressed the importance of each minority’s national organizations.  Authorities sponsored Gypsy research that would be the foundation of changed future policies.  In 1974 they encouraged Gypsy publications, Bi-lingual education, Intellectuals.  In 1982 the HSWP and the ministry of Education established the Scientific council for the Coordination of Gypsy Research.

9 Socialist Policies in Yugoslavia  The LCY (League of communists of Yugoslavia) clearly preferred integration to assimilation.  Roma enjoyed “ a more secure social status and benefited from a more tolerant state, particularly in the last decade of Tito’s rule”(p.122)  Allowed Roma cultural and social organizations free of state control.  Offered continued accelerated integration in the form of Romani language in the first grade  Macedonia was the most hospitable place for the Roma.  After a 1963 earthquake in Skopje official poured large sums of money into building up Shuto Orizari a suburb of the capital which in 1980 had a Roma population of approximately 40,000. Gypsies there were represented by elected official in the Macedonian legislature.

10 Socioeconomic Marginality  Census data is extremely unreliable for various reasons.  Todor Zhivkov, Niolae Ceausescu, and Nikita Khrushchev declared the nationality problem solved by simply omitting “Gypsy” as a category on census data.  Many Roma registered as alternate ethnic groups to avoid discrimination.  In Hungary the reproduction rate for Gypsy women is more than twice that of Hungarian women. This is likely do to reluctance/ignorance to the use of birth control combined with the state subsidy incentive to have more children.  As a result of the many sedentary policies, industrialization, and urbanization the number of nomadic Gypsies had diminished and the number of gypsies in urban areas had sharply increased.  The socialist policy to purchase and demolish shanty communities  Between ,850 Gypsy families were moved form ghettoes to Slovakia

11 Socioeconomic Marginality  Education was one of the few good things communism brought to Eastern Europe.  However the Romani children were less able to take advantage of the mandatory education of all citizens under the age of 16 for many reasons.  Prior to WWII most Roma had no formal education, so when they did attend school the Romani kids were often much older than their piers and the embarrassment of their age drove them out of school.  Traditional Roma ideas about formal education lend themselves to low attendance rates.  A language barrier existed for many Gypsy students, and their were no Romani Language textbooks.  Many students that did “graduate” were pushed through by teachers and administrators whose pay depended on graduation rates.

12 Socioeconomic Marginality  The Gypsies received no land in the post war land distribution programs, this forced them to go into industrial labor.  Industrialization destroyed much of the Romani seasonal work, and traditional professions like basket-weaving.  In Poland copper and Tinsmiths were collectivized under non-Roma leadership.  In Romania copper and Tinsmiths needed police authorization to pursue their trades.  The Majority of Gypsy men worked construction or other low skill jobs  “All in all the mandatory employment policies of socialist states were relatively successful in integrating Roma into the workforce

13 Social Relations  The combination of Gypsy violent “crime, high birthrates, low hygienic standards, lackluster work performance, and positive discrimination programs all contributed to the negative societal attitudes toward the Roma. In 1988 a poll of Hungarians found that 70% considered Roma parasites, 79.2% lazy, and 72.3% uneducated.”(p142)  This general dislike of the Roma generated many discriminatory social practices like exclusion form restaurants.

14 Summary  The attempts made to assimilate Eastern European Gypsies during the communist era had varying effects on different dimensions of Gypsy marginality. The Roma generally experienced substantial socioeconomic gains.  Although still at the bottom of the ladder the Roma had improved lifestyles, and did not have to fear their security in the socialist era (p.151)  Their political situation had deteriorated because they were represented largely by state controlled organizations that did not truly represent there populations.


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