The president of the Association of Political Prisoners and Other Victims of Communist Violence, Andrej Aplenc, gave the initiative to the court called “Hate speech” with the aim of legally achieving that the slogan “Death to Janšism” (Janšim – the act of supporting Prime Minister Janez Janša) should not be shown in public. The District Public State Atorney’s Office in Ljubljana rejected the initiative/report against several suspects, explaining that it was not a criminal offense.
Based on my experience in other European democratic countries, the court should have taken action. If we do not have a legal basis for this yet, we must create one. It is becoming increasingly clear that, with the changes of 1990, we had missed an opportunity to deal with the past as civilizational changes required us to. The consequences are visible today: opponents of democracy still use terms from the time of communism or even fascism and the flagship of the communist revolution, “anti-fascism,” is now called “anti-Janšism.” In this way the attitude towards an independent, democratic state of Slovenia is being articulated. Opposition to democracy among communists is the result of a deeply-rooted historical experience that communism had always been firmly rejected by all established social groups. Not only by the Church and capital, but also by the working class, which sought and found a solution to social problems in determined struggles with capital, but always in some clever dialogue. This, in spite of all the negative phenomena, ensured the working class a higher standard than in the socialist countries, which with their revolutions destroyed more human lives than all the wars combined.
We must understand the actions of the Slovene Communists and left-wing extremists in this context. From its founding in 1937 until today, the Communists have had four names (KPS, ZKS, SDP, SD), which did not prevent a sharp decrease in their popularity among the public. On top of that, for their miserable existence they have to thank the Democrats, who handled them with gloves in 1990 during the independence movement.
It is no wonder, that today the proponents of communism resort to old methods known to them. They not only try to define and condemn their opponent, they also create him. Thus, they do not provide a realistic picture of their political opponent. Instead they portray him as what he is supposed to be – and not in a good way. For this reason, we need to pay close attention to what language is used by the opponents of the current government and democracy in general. Namely, language is a working instrument and can also be used as a weapon. Violence is just a subtype of active power. Verbal violence, on the other hand, is a destructive form of exercising power. It happens consciously with the goal of insulting the other, eliminating, spreading slander, and so on. If I listen to and read the statements and constructs of left-wing opponents of the government, I get the feeling that I am still living in a dictatorship where people are stigmatized, discriminated against and at the same time manipulated. People are not only harmed individually, but are also branded as the negative part of society. This is the case, for example, with SDS members, Catholics, patriots, researchers of communist crimes, fighters for an independent Slovenia and others. Thus, collective consciousness is massively influenced.
Public media, which is supposed to spread real information in a democracy, has the potential to negatively affect the thinking and feelings of many people. After all, most of them trust that public media’s interpretations correspond to truth and objectivity. Therefore, the first step in the right direction would be for the public media to stop spreading hostile slogans that evoke associations in people with half-past history and hinder the normal development of our society in all aspects.
Therefore, the slogan DEATH TO JANŠISM is not just a tasteless ridicule of the opponent. We know what it meant during the last war and what it meant to be labeled a fascist. With this label, a man became a right-less person and was at pursuer’s mercy. This slogan was not chosen randomly and recklessly. It holds more explosive power than those people who do not think, think. With the judiciary at the front.
About the author:
Franci Kindlhofer is vice-president of the Association of Political Prisoners and Other Victims of Communist Violence. He graduated from the Academy of World Trade in Frankfurt am Main. He translated the book Stalin and Hitler – Pact against Europe into Slovene. He has been living in Bled since his retirement. His motto are the words of dr. Jože Pučnik: “Slovenians must re-write recent history completely anew.”