By: Dr. Štefan Šumah
On October 28th, 1922, the fascist march on Rome took place. The March on Rome was a protest event organised by the National Fascist Party, and from that time until 1943, they did not leave the streets. The first attempt to occupy the streets was organised by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party on November 9th, 1923. They failed then. However, they occupied the streets in 1933 and, with the help of paramilitary units (SA, brown shirts), effectively controlled them almost until the end of 1945. Their occupation of the streets reached its peak on the so-called Kristallnacht. From 1918 onwards, the streets were also occupied by the Bolsheviks, but their occupation, in contrast to the previous two regimes, was significantly more successful, as it lasted almost until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
But what did all three regimes have in common in occupying and monopolising the streets? They did not like competition. The streets were only theirs and only the consecrated (fascists, Nazis, communists) could use them, whether it was for quasi-demonstrations (under the instructions of the inner leadership of the country), parades, or just for a demonstration of power. To defend the monopolisation of the streets, they used all available resources, the police, secret services and even the army. They did not give the streets; they were aware of their importance.
And now certain groups (which are registered as non-governmental organisations), united in the “Voice of the People”, would once again monopolise the streets, saying that only they represent the people. Populists such as Jenull and Kovač are well aware of the importance of streets, especially those of Ljubljana, and they will try to keep them in their possession by all means, which has been most beautifully shown now, when the pensioners’ protest has been announced. The “Voice of the People” would like to decide on behalf of the people who can occupy these streets for protests and who cannot.
Populism always refers to “the people”, something on which it is based, anti-elitism and exclusion of other groups. This characteristic actually defines a policy that creates a social space without any specific criteria other than the separation into friends and enemies. “The people” are often cited as a justification for action, anti-elitism, and out-group exclusion. A state of emergency is declared in the name of “people” or “public interest”, where it is an “existential threat to the way of life”. It is therefore a moralistic representation of politics (the people against corrupt elites), whereby populists are not those who only criticise the government or the situation in the country, but those who are also directed against pluralism (because they claim that only they represent the people), whereby they use the homogenisation of the political community that follows them and essentially create two poles, where of course they are the only legitimate representatives of a unified, morally pure, and authentic people (the correct pole).
However, who gave them the legitimacy to claim to be the sole and saviour representatives of the people? No one, they took it themselves. They themselves, without being weighed in the elections, declared themselves to be the only ones who have the right to decide and the only ones who know what is good for “the people”. In fact, it is only about the spoiled children of the Ljubljana elite, who are convinced that if they fight loudly enough, they will be able to extort everyone. And that is what they are doing for now. The current government helps them in this, takes them as the only true representatives of the people, caters to their whims and further finances them, thereby only increasing their power (even against the current government). In this way, Slovenia is increasingly becoming the rule of the unelected. Apparently, the “Voice of the People” is also becoming the striking force of the current government, a kind of škvadra member, except that the black shirts have been largely replaced by prestigious fashion brands. Yes, it is true. From populism to fascism is just one step! And what can we expect from such people who have lost all moral discernment in the future? We can only hope that not another Kristallnacht.