How not to be embarrassed by the lack of information
Long after the war, the fighters from the National Liberation War, even when they did not have an important political function at the municipal level, knew before all who would be the future secretary of the committee or president of the municipality. With the ability to have that information before everyone else, they have long been respected, revered and even considered influential for a long time after their retirements. However. After a while, they stopped being consulted on personnel issues. Some of them found it hard to admit that they were no longer in the game. So, one of them, who was called Mitre, invented a way how to preserve his authority before the people, as a man that is informed and influential. When asked: who will be the future secretary of the committee or president of the municipality, he answered: “I know everything. But it is agreed not to tell anyone. “So Mitre has long lived with the aura of a man in collusion with the most influential and most respected in the country for political issues.
In the 1990s, when Petar Gosev and I discussed ways to include the old fighters in politics, we found that there are advisory bodies of the party or the President among the bodies of parties in the world, which are primarily “deserving persons” from the past party or country, and to which the President gives them more honor by calling from time to time for coffee, he will inform them of the latest developments and give them the opportunity to say what they think about what is happening at that moment. It was one form of strengthening the inclusiveness of the party, but also reducing the sense of defiance of former officials, politicians or intellectuals who once meant something in the party and in the country, and who still held some respect in some layers and generations in the country. It was good for the election support of the party.
Since the changes in the party leadership of SDSM, but also in the other parties were accompanied by conflicts and quarrels in the later period and with the need to distance themselves from the old personnel and leadership, the party council or the intellectuals, the veterans, as a form of fostering inclusiveness seems to have lost relevance. Thus, many of the former members of such councils, as well as the above mentioned fighter Mitre, were left with the possibility, if asked whether they know what was happening to the party and the state, to answer: “I know everything, but it is agreed not to tell anyone”.
But in times of turning changes to society, such as this present in Macedonia, there were other types of providing inclusiveness and building a national consensus on key issues. Even before the parties were created, at the level of Yugoslavia, in addition to all existing party bodies and institutions, in the late 1980s, the famous Kraigher Commission was formed in Yugoslavia. In it, the chairman of that commission, Boris Kraigher, invited the liberal and most advanced economic thinkers from all of Yugoslavia, many of whom were not members of the party, to be part of the team that would draft ideas and recommendations for economic reforms, but also to balances the party’s conservative wing and provides public support for those recommendations and reforms.
I think that according to the model of that commission, in which Petar Gosev was a member, immediately after his election as president of the new leadership, at that time the only party in Macedonia, SKM-PDP, he formed his Reform Commission in Macedonia. Many intellectuals were invited to be members in it, as well as Kiro Gligorov, Dimitar Dimitrov and many others who were not members of the party. The basic idea was the most influential person in the country at that moment, to have a team around him, in addition to the Presidency of the SCM-PDP, who would feed on ideas about the reforms of the political system that were in sight, but also a team of individual and influential thinkers who feel involved in those important processes and publicly defend the good ideas that are still hard to get through in conservative public opinion. Some of the members of that Reform Commission of Gosev later became prominent members and ministers in other parties, but at those times the need for inclusiveness of the many different opinions on the reforms that were ahead of the country was satisfied and a team that felt involved was created and who publicly defended the basic liberal ideas that had not taken root in the public.
After the parties were formed, and after several governments and presidents changed, it became clear that inclusiveness and consensus on many important issues could be provided in various ways. The prime ministers and the presidents form their own teams of paid domestic and foreign consultants, there are numerous committees of the Assembly that include external experts, and there is also developed media culture and freedom, as well as numerous non-governmental organizations that allow everyone from those who are not directly involved in the reforms, their ideas for solving a problem or their dissatisfaction with the way in which the problem is resolved to publicly expose and explain it.
However. In politics there are periods of major changes that are simultaneously filled with political uncertainty. In such periods, it may not be for rejecting the idea of activating some well-known ways of ensuring political inclusiveness around the prime minister. Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs will demonstrate that they respect the experience of the elderly of them, those who were involved in the discussion of the name differences, who have experience and influence on public opinion, and who can be more useful in the debate if they are involved in some way in the process and if they are successfully won for bridging important problems in the country. Gosev’s famous formula with the Reform Commission in the wake of the legalization of political pluralism in the country can help the government become more inclusive and many of those who ask what is happening with the name, the law of languages or the economy for example – to stop to repeat as Mitre the fighter: “I know everything, but I agreed with my comrades not to say anything”