Prime Minister’s treat: Money for the workers, more expensive workers for the bosses!

Ilo Trajkovski

The referendum campaign is in full swing. Emotional temperatures are high and rise even higher. Like in a pan in which ajvar, or aver if you prefer, is cooked. Until September 30th, the ‘Ajvar Day’, it is expected various oils that prevent the combustion of the mixture of peppers and aubergines to come up to the surface if the pan. In some pans boycott oils, in others bribe oils. As well as seven years ago, when the first Ajvarijada was held in Strumica, Zoran Zaev played the role of the main ajvar-maker. But with one big difference. On September 9, 2011, Zaev, as Mayor of Strumica, was the first to taste the ajvar. This September 30, according to his statements, as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia and as the main protagonist in the referendum, he will leave the ajvar for later in the afternoon. At this year’s ‘Ajvar Day’ first he will go to vote, and then he can go and prepare ajvar.
He will not prepare the ajvar by himself. Zaev is a business owner, he was even before he became prime minister and still is. There are others that prepare the ajvar for him. But does this mean that he should change his national benchmarks? Especially when it comes to a Macedonian national symbol such as the ajvar. Was it possible in his speech in Veles to tell the boycotters that he respected their point of view and decision Instead of looking at them as opponents of the state, he could have told them that on the morning of September 30, since he is the boss he does not cook ajvar himself, he will first drop by someone’s house to taste their ajvar, and then go to vote! He, as an experienced and successful ajvar-maker, will be able to assess whether the ajvar of boycotters is sufficiently salty, sufficiently greasy, sufficiently cooked, or meets some other criteria. Even though taste is subjective, of course. It would be a move by a prime minister who respects his citizens despite fierce differences with some of them.

Instead of such a dignified conciliatory approach in the campaign, the prime minister at the rally in Kriva Palanka promoted a humiliating corrupting speech. In an effort to induce workers to come out and vote in the referendum, he urged the bosses to give “some reward to their workers” to give “a little treat to the workers”. This statement caused fierce reactions. And it was right to do so. What the Prime Minister said at the rally in Kriva Palanka has a problem with the penal code. It remains to be proved in court. However, the previous experiences with the Macedonian judiciary and, in particular, the public prosecutor’s office deter not only from the expected positive outcome, but from any outcome of the criminal charges.

This is precisely the reason for the analysis of the ideological aspects of his statement. They open up with its consideration from a sociological class perspective. The Prime Minister’s statement and its reverence in public tell us a lot about the class relations between the two main social classes in this transitional society (“one … for all”) and the relationship of those classes to politics.

For the first aspect, the part of the Prime Minister’s statement says that the bosses are those who have the money that the workers need so much. Namely, in this state of poverty, where the majority of the population, especially the part that lives from salary or pension, survives, and among them the worst are the workers, while the money, according to the Prime Minister, is in the bosses’ (businessmen) pockets. The bosses are the ones that have all the money, “the bosses have it”, he says. And even more so. They have so much that they can, if they wanted, “open their wallets a little,” and give some money to their workers, give them a little treat! By giving an extra salary to the workers, the bosses would not question the profitability of their business, and would do a philanthropic act!

With this, the Prime Minister actually “busted” the bosses in front of the workers. He knows that in Macedonia there is a lack of money and that it is desperately needed by the workers, especially now in this season of ajvar, the beginning of a school year, supply of firewood and so on. He knows that many workers can not afford anything with their salaries, and that only one low salary will not be enough to preserve food for the winter, and to purchase school books and materials for children. But he also knows that the bosses have the necessary money and offers it in exchange for a vote.

If we interpret this from the point of view of the conflict theory of power, in this case of economic power and supremacy, what he said means that the bosses have as much as the workers lost! This is a really leftist position for the bosses. It can also serve as a revolutionary slogan. But probably in a different time. I am, more than the subtlety and bribe of the labor and trade unions, amazed by the acceptance of this view of class relations by the bosses. To date, I have not managed to register any reaction of any of the chambers of commerce as their guild associations. What does this silent attitude of the bosses indicate about their attitude towards workers and toward state and political affairs, and specifically towards the Prime Minister? Is silence indicative that the Prime Minister’s statement expresses the bosses’ prevailing opinion of workers and government policy? Does this mean that today the bosses “… and private companies are awake” and realize that the workers really need to get the bulk of the newly created value that the bosses have?

This positive conclusion could include data that is more often published in the media regarding the situation on the labor market in our country. If up to now the main news was the high unemployment rate, in recent years, the shortage of labor has emerged as the main problem, especially in the labor departments. Based on sources from the official statistics, but also from the statements of many bosses, it can be concluded that, to the extent that it is true that workers are losing due to low wages, it is so true that the bosses are scarce for workers. In our Macedonia workers do not have enough salaries, and the bosses do not have enough workers! Several sectors of the economy are facing shortage of labor. The provision of workers is no longer a problem only for the textile and leather industry, construction and agriculture, but it is expanding to new branches in which several foreign companies have invested.

If such knowledge is the reason for the bosses’ silent reception of the Prime Minister’s call, we need to ask ourselves about the sustainability of the highly-promoted policy of bribery and servitude of workers. Especially that after a possible successful referendum and the expected membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the EU, our workers will be able to sell their qualifications and knowledge more expensively and with more dignity to owners in other countries. According to some interpretations so great interest of Germany. For example, the success of the referendum is motivated, above all, by its policy of attracting Macedonian workers to Germany. From that point of view, our bosses have a chance to compete with German bosses only if they play well on the home court. In this direction, the redistribution of the newly created value in favor of workers can only be more effective if it is systematically elaborated, and not merely the instrument of the political campaign.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik