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Thursday, February 22, 2024

The new left?

By: Gašper Blažič

I have always been rather critical of the standard division between “left” and “right” because I think that such labels do not correspond to Slovenian reality. During the time of communist totalitarianism, the regime often used the titles “bourgeois right” and “clerical right” for class enemies. With this, the term “right-wing” entered the consciousness of Slovenes as a kind of derogatory term, and at the turn of the 1990s, the media also used it for the Demos coalition, even though it was a mixture of left and centre right.

But those who gave such marks knew very well what they were doing. The “right” had an overtone of exploitation and capitalism, “rightists” were in the eyes of the public representatives of the interests of capital. However, the majority of the ownership of the capital was owned by the succession of the regime’s socio-political organisations, which amassed a huge amount of capital also through the so-called privatisation, but also with the financial machinations of the SDV network, which temporarily deposited the capital abroad. They called themselves the representatives of the poorer strata of the population, which is absurd, because all the time they were actually creating a state of equality in poverty for the majority, while they distributed rents to their chosen ones and created a kind of club of elites who ruled “equal in poverty” even with the help of outrageously high taxes and complicated bureaucracy. The recent appearance of Prime Minister Robert Golob and “his” Tina Gaber in sponsor clothes is actually a caricature of the transition and the great deception, in which the other side voluntarily fell for it by freely accepting the title of “right”. Anyone who closely followed the work of the previous government could notice a mixture of elements of classical liberalism and social democracy. On the one hand, the government distributed various allowances, but on the other hand, it reduced taxes and bureaucracy. Of course, it was not rewarded for this in the elections – quite the opposite. Indeed, psychological engineering has aroused the desire for “freedom” in the public, even though it was clear from the point of view of reason that after the covid19 pandemic, the situation has normalised and there will be no more restrictions on movement, but before that there were restrictions practically all over the world. However, the thing is that the masses make irrational decisions in elections. And this is also the goal of those who guide them.

This Wednesday, March 1st, will be the second large protest rally of pensioners. A massive response can be expected. At first glance, the demands for higher pensions sound very populist and somewhat boring, since it is clear that pensions in our country have been very low in relation to costs ever since the founding of our country. But due to the increase in prices in recent months, social security has further deteriorated, and the situation is becoming unsustainable. It is true that so far, no political elite has wanted to deal with a radical reform of the pension system and eliminate the worst anomalies from past periods. So far, practically no one has wanted to explain why there is a phenomenon where many full-time retirees actually live on the edge of survival as a kind of social supporter. Those who worked abroad, for example in Germany, are somewhat better off. And since no one has wanted to bite into this sour apple so far and since the pensioners now have nothing left to lose, it is clear that the times when, out of fear of losing what little they have, they preferred to remain silent and suffer silently, no to stand out, are over. I still well remember how we urged many of our readers in vain to speak about injustices. You know, I am afraid for my children, my grandchildren, they could take revenge on me.

But this fear is now slowly receding. As the Americans say: when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. And as I already pointed out in one of the past comments: civil movements play a very important role due to the fact that they are much less constrained by procedural rules. Up until now, we have only “trailed” the parliamentary opposition, which is very weak and limited by many rules, so that we can only monitor requests for the convening of various emergency meetings, which the ruling coalition can only publicly mock.

It is this long-standing arrogance of those who consider themselves the successors of the “vanguard of the working class” (or lie to themselves that they have nothing to do with half-past history, but still imitate the practice of their role models) that also triggered a phenomenon that has been going on for a long time. It is about the fact that more and more famous individuals of left origin are turning away from their (former) political opponents. I will not publicly name them (you can search for them yourself), but I can tell you that it is not only former companions from the Demos government who then left for the “big” LDS (by the way, Jelko Kacin came to the Demos government as a member of the ZSMS -LS or “small” LDS, today he is a member of the Konkretno party). Of course, there are quite a few media commentators here, who are mostly of leftist origin, but show great reluctance towards the transitional left. Of course, the propaganda machine of the dogmatic core of the transitional left declared them traitors a long time ago, who are supposedly now resting in the safe hands of the “right”. With the same zeal as the SDS, which is realistically a party of the centre (with social democratic origins), declares it to be the “extreme right”. But if SDS is the extreme right, then what are all those extra-parliamentary parties that offer people extreme anti-vaccination, maybe even anti-Semitism, and exit from the EU and support for Putin’s Russia?

Bojan Požar’s recent report on the rather unusual happenings in the SD party, where under Tanja Fajon all illusions about how the party of the proud successors of the ZKS will once again step on the path of old glory, is actually only the tip of the iceberg of speculations that it may already be in the (gradual) (self-)marginalisation of all transition-left extremists. There is no doubt that Borut Pahor, now the former president of the republic, did not say the last word in Slovenian internal politics. In the centrist voting pool, there is a considerable reserve of those who are otherwise very happy to buy a pig in a poke, as it happened in April last year. Namely, now the number of members of the “disappointed Golob’s followers club” is rapidly increasing, and the champagne effect of the Gibanje Svoboda’s triumph is drying up, as painful sobering up has taken place. But it is also necessary to consider the real situation: the vast majority of voters, regardless of their ideological beliefs, are socialists at the starting point: they much prefer social security here and now, even at the cost of slavery than uncertain tightening of belts for a better tomorrow.

But even if – at least in theory – political events in the near future wash away Prime Minister Golob, not much will be done in the short term. The “uncles” will bring another person to the position of prime minister, and the relationship in the parliament is completely different than during the previous mandate, when the number of parties was eight, now there are only five, of which three are in the coalition, and it is practically impossible to expect that the coalition parties would agree to new preliminary elections, as their position is far too comfortable. Therefore, the future conflict will be all or nothing, and for possible new elections, at least a nationwide mass uprising will have to take place. The current government was brought by the street – and the street will also take it away. And this will also be the end of the transitional left as we have known it so far. The Levica and SD parties are retreating to where they actually belong all along: to the extreme left. Perhaps someone will object, saying that Pahor used to lead the SD? Of course, he did. However, after the end of his second presidential term, SD finally closed the door on him. So, a new left is coming, with which it will be much easier to build a secure future.

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