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These are also the reasons why the largest part of the Slovenian public in the elections “leech” on various pigs in a poke

Robert Golob and Ivan Maček (Photo: STA, Youtube)

By: Tomaž S. Medved 

Lately, there has been speculation about what all the so-called right should change to be more successful in elections, more and more. Which is right in its own way. However, most commentators are too quick to satisfy with superficial assessments, e.g., regarding leaders and underestimating the so-called parallel mechanism of the deep state.

It is certainly true that in one election campaign it is very difficult to make up for everything that the Democratic camp has missed in the last thirty years. It is certainly true that it is very difficult to explain to most of the public where the main pitfalls of Slovenian politics are and why their trivial perception of political events is so harmful not only for the state, but also for themselves. Democratic or spring camp relied heavily on its own strengths again, building very little on civil society and on rallies that were virtually non-existent – compared to rallies of left-wing NGOs, which were a raft of. In this way, an association of left-wing NGOs managed to mobilise a critical mass of voters so that they could override all the reform efforts of the current government, which is saying goodbye.

A breakthrough as self-deception

This, of course, is only part of the whole reality. The whole story has deeper roots, namely in the fundamental change of the Slovene national character (which means that Edvard Kardelj succeeded well in this project), while the communist side removed an extremely large part of the population from the nation in one way or another – if they were not killed, they were expelled abroad and in fact, together with their descendants, the vast majority never again formed part of the Slovenian electoral base. However, those who remained in the homeland have received and still receive toxic propaganda, and the dominant media outlets are forcing feelings of guilt on them. Such a practice continues in independent Slovenia, which means that the turning points of the Slovenian spring obviously did not bring the expected discontinuity with the half-past history. Moreover, to talk about the fact that we made a breakthrough at that time is, in fact, an unprecedented self-deception and it is difficult to listen to the keynote speakers who at anniversaries celebrate no less than the great breakthrough with Yugoslavia and the previous regime.

In fact, this breakthrough was very weak, in fact purely cosmetic. Namely, the core of the Slovene Communism Party (i.e., ZKS) kept the awareness of itself that through the Liberation Front it was the only one responsible for the identity of the Slovene nation, which was previously supposedly a nation of lawless people. This consciousness was also imposed on the public, and at the same time it occasionally strengthened the otherwise very slight distance to Belgrade. But as long as Josip Broz-Tito was alive, the unity of Yugoslavia was a taboo subject, despite the fact that even former Ozna officer Albert Svetina-Erno revealed interwar conflicts between the Slovene Party and its Yugoslav and even Soviet “seniors” in his book “From the Liberation Struggle to Banditry”. The Communist Party of Slovenia was founded several years before the beginning of the Second World War on Slovenian soil and thus in a way asserted this fact as a privilege compared to other “fraternal” parties in other republics. At the same time, the then Socialistic Republic (SR) of Slovenia was the only Yugoslav republic that did not border the SR of Serbia, and at the same time it was the only land route of the Yugoslav “centre” to the West due to the border with Austria and Italy. When Tito died (and Kardelj before him), the repressed ambition of the Slovene Party towards a more independent, also pragmatic policy, which it had begun in the time of Stane Kavčič, was released, but was suppressed by Tito’s loyal “healthy forces”.

“White chrysanthemum” as a gift to Kučan

I recently watched a documentary entitled “White Chrysanthemum” in the video archive of the RTV Slovenia website. It is a documentary film made in December 1991, a few months after independence, on the verge of international recognition and on the first anniversary of independence, by Dr Ljerka Bizilj. The content is very welcome because the film itself shows a lot of footage that would otherwise have escaped memory, here and there a humorous crack with Marković’s Mediterranean smile or awkwardness from the Kosovo Assembly, where it turned out that the main party leader Rrahman Morina could not count. But what I paid the most attention to was the author’s emphasis when she presented the history of the second half of the 1980s and early 1990s, namely that the arrival of Milan Kučan at the helm of the ZKS marked a period of reformism and liberalisation. According to her, the last Party leader enabled “socialism tailored to the people”, similar to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who asserted “socialism with a human face”. Kučan really deserves credit for the fact that in his time repression raised tolerance for “counter-revolutionary phenomena”, especially in the ranks of the ZSMS party youth, but the main message of the three-decade-old documentary (which was shown again last December) was that we must thank for our own country above all the domestic Party elite, which defended us against the Belgrade centralists, the hard party line of the Yugoslav People’s Army, and the Serbian nationalists. Of course, let’s not talk about the fact that the engine drivers’ strike in 1988 was not even mentioned (well, since other similar shows do not mention it).

Maybe such a show is due to naivety – at least that is what I thought in the first half. However, when the author started talking about how Ivan Maček-Matija thought of his “narrower” homeland very early on and had a large bunker built in the hitherto closed area of Gotenica and Kočevska Reka to protect Slovenian interests, it became clear to me what it is about: it is about continuity. For the communists, independence was just another step in the development of the National Liberation War – NOB (and let’s not be fooled that the NOB is anything but a revolution, which was very well explained by the late Anton Drobnič – ergo: NOB is not the same as fighting the occupier, here the communists again cleverly manipulated concepts, as the late Viktor Blažič often pointed out), thus the communists actually instigated the NOB (revolution) as the foundation of the Slovenian state, while the new democratic forces always thought they built a state with discontinuity. The Party did indeed “step down from power”, allowing party pluralism in an inherently “liberal” way, while social subsystems never reset. However, negative personnel selection was maintained at many institutions, and the result is the composition of the (old) news programme of RTV Slovenia, as we have it today. Already at the formation of the parties, it was clear that there would be no symmetry between the old forces and the new democratic camp. All the parties formed from the DPOs kept their infrastructure, assets and financial resources, the new parties had yet to build this, they started practically from scratch. Proof: the former Moskovič villa became the “replacement” seat of the Party with a new name (today it is the SD), because its “old” seat on Tomšičeva street (former banovina administration) was used for the needs of the parliament.

People are watching a puppet show – what about the background?

Of course, the main point of the Party’s “descent from power” was a skilful theatrical play that seduced many people. First, with the conflict with Serbia, which was largely forced. Namely, Kučan was aware that only a confrontation with an external enemy could bring him support at home, where (also under the influence of events in Poland, Hungary, and the then Czechoslovakia) democratic forces were already strengthening. In the confrontation with Milošević, who was directly responsible for human rights violations in Kosovo, it was not difficult to emerge as an enlightened moral winner. In fact, the Slovene communist leadership knew very well that the Yugoslav “center” would not be ready to accept their already presumptuous reform proposals, which then resulted in the departure of the Slovene delegation from the ZKJ congress. This was just before the elections, when the ZKS-SDP, with its “European” programme, also needed actions to inspire the Slovenian public. And eleven months later, on a plebiscite evening, a journalist from national television introduced the president of the SDP, Dr Ciril Ribičič as the initiator of the Slovenian spring, and he was joined by Archbishop Dr Alojzij Šuštar and the “centre” Dr Spomenka Hribar. Of course, it should not be overlooked that Kučan had already appeared as the keynote speaker at the first public funeral ceremony in Kočevski Rog and shook hands with Archbishop Šuštar there (even several times), which was of course also noticed by photo reporters and cameramen.

Dr Robert Golob as a product of eternal dialectics

The message of the documentary thus reveals the essence of the unfinished Slovenian transition with all its godparents. They are also concerned that the transition remains incomplete, and that the continuity of the old networks can continue to be strengthened with the help of the dialectic between the old party and its opponents (class enemies who need to be shown as dirty as can be in public – and this has been the government with its president for the last two years). The result of this dialectic is a “new face”, a kind of atypical politician who nevertheless carries out the dictates of the old Party. It is quite possible that the new government will collapse after half a year, but the problem is that the electorate, controlled by the effective messages of the parallel mechanism, will continue this game, and continue to suit such political underworld affairs. Unfortunately, we currently do not have any human resources to stop this game. Perhaps with a well-organised shadow government that will be able to present to the public a comparison of the achievements of the current and new governments. But obviously that will not be enough. And here only God can save us.

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