By: Vinko Vasle
Communists have a special, even erotic attitude towards housing policy. For them, housing policy is the sanctuary of the nation’s well-being, housing is a right, such as clean drinking water, and this right should be enshrined in the constitution. That would be purely communist. Everyone gets a roof over their head according to their needs. It is therefore not surprising that proud successors, through Tanja Fajon, have re-addressed this complicated issue. Complicated because even after independence, when the communists were in power for the most part, the communists failed to change the trends in this area.
After the revolution against the Home Guard and non-communists, the first phase of the housing policy of Bolshevism began. The special detachments of the party secret service went from address to address, inventorying the property, and proposing to the central committee who should be taken a life and to whom an apartment should be given. If a top party liquidator and hero of the people cast an eye on a bourgeois apartment in Ljubljana, but the owner was innocent, they found him guilty, because first the Party, then justice. Revolution is not done with flowers. Thus, the old owners of villas in Rožna dolina were given new residences in secret locations, and the new owners were able to move into their villas and bourgeois apartments. Because they deserved it, which is still the subject of controversy.
The second phase of communist housing policy is called socialism with a human face, and at that time large residential neighbourhoods were being built for the working people, such as the litostrojska, built by political dissidents and enemies of the people. Part of this experiment is also called Nova Gorica, where a new town was built over the former cemetery in the phiz of fascist-occupied Gorica, and bricks were made from the ashes of the Anhov cement factory, in which enemies of the nation who were dissatisfied with communism were cremated. So we also made a profit from the enemies. This was a phase of socialist housing, which was not elite, but the roof was. In Velenje, a settlement of miner’s flats, similar like peas in a pod, was created, and the elite of the mine received centuries-old loans for beautiful, friendly houses with flowering gardens, and later also with swimming pools. The maximum repayment period of such a loan was 150 years. Here, communism showed all its humanistic side. After all, Velenje was and is a socialist experiment, only there are fewer and fewer guinea pigs.
The third phase of communist housing policy was – you have a house, return the apartment. Namely, Josip Broz Tito borrowed money for decades from dirty capitalists abroad and in order to gain the sympathy of the nation, he shared cheap loans and deserving Party members built weekend houses as palaces, beautiful houses and lived in social housing. Years later, the fairy tale was over and the Party demanded that all those who had houses return social housing. I checked many sources and statistics say that the campaign paid off well – four flats were returned.
Then came the intermediate 4th phase, when the nation’s roof over its head was no longer talked about because there was no money and the state was on the verge of bankruptcy, and that is when it is right for the nation to hang their heads and shut up. However, it is clear that communists cannot be victims of even their own delusions, because who is not wrong. Therefore, at that time, some kind of housing policy was solved differently. For example, when the Black Widow (Delo) was being built, many officials, who had not yet arrived, got a weekend house, a new house, or at least an asphalted driveway to the property from the remains of the material.
Independence swept it all away. As a result, the Communists were forced to revive the “thousands of new apartments” campaign every four years. The first four years nothing, the second four years nothing, the third four years nothing, and now for the new four-year period Fajon is announcing a housing boom for Ljubljana – 10,000 new apartments, but we would need 30,000. But let’s be modest. So do not ask yourself what Tanja Fajon can do for you, but what you can do for Fajonist castles in the clouds.
Hope dies last.
Vinko Vasle is a long-time journalist, publicist, satirist and writer.