Political scientist and member of Levica
We need fundamental changes in Macedonia. If these radical changes are not made, we are yet to see how our lives are deteriorating and how things become established practices, things we thought that would never happen to us. Even so, at this given moment there is no critical mass to press for these radical changes. And things are even worse. We have also lost the compass to where we want to move, what kind of society we want to build, what we need to do to achieve it. So we just go with the flow, we allow party leaders to lie to us with their propaganda, helplessly hoping that their stories have at least an ounce of truth in them.
That protest energy, which was crucial for overthrowing Nikola Gruevski’s undemocratic government, has been destroyed. The goal of his protest energy was not just taking rulers, who committed crime, behind bars. This protest energy aimed at a new beginning, demanded the establishment of a democratic, non-corrupt and socially more responsible governance. When it finally reached the government, SDSM destroyed it all. It turned out they lied when they said they fought for freedom, and not for office. It turned out that nothing was important to them but power.
Instead of improving the citizens’ lives, what they devoted their entire energy on were national issues and NATO integration. Although no one has ever asked or expected it to be their priority in the rule. In doing so, acting on foreign directions and agendas, interested only in their posts, they interfered with painful ethnic feelings, awakened ethnic intolerance, opened the gate for nationalists to dictate the agenda and mobilize support. And by contradicting constitutional changes through violations of democracy and unprincipled dealings, the sense of oppression, which the nationalists will abuse, will still grow.
The new beginning did not come with SDSM. We missed yet another chance for a fresh start. But the damage is not limited to that. We do not have an unlimited life to luxuriate with these missed chances. For many of us, life has passed in missed opportunities for a new beginning, chances that are repeatedly given to the two largest clientelist parties, SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE. Thirty years are a long enough time to realize from the way they behave that they neither have the will, nor the capacity to improve the lives of ordinary people, that they are only capable of pushing us even deeper into the abyss in which we already are.
A new policy is needed in Macedonia. And this new policy cannot be brought by clientelist parties in which members are people whose main interest is to gain some benefits for themselves. This new policy must be based on principles and should be carried out by people who will not put their personal interest before the public interest. The country needs a new policy aimed at improving the lives of ordinary people, not serving the interests of large capital and the imperial master.
But it’s easy to say what we need. Everyone knows what they need. How does one get it? Who should do it? Is society at all capable of doing so? These are all important questions, but they do not deny the importance of emphasizing the claim that a new policy in Macedonia is needed. Because we completely lost our way. And in order to get back on it, it is necessary to first see the goal towards which we should strive.
Politics itself is neither unprincipled, nor dirty work. But they made it that way. And since they made it that way, it created its own immune system against those whose principles are important to them. Namely, out of fear of being forced to get dirty, many who do not want to succeed at the cost of their principles choose to stay away from politics. Good for them, but for that reason politics becomes a monopoly of the unprincipled people. And what kind of results can politics produce, if it was created by unprincipled people?
Yes, there can be outside pressure on politicians to make decisions for the benefit of citizens, but at best they will be exceptions that confirm the rule. For a consistent policy for the benefit of ordinary people, you have to enter the political arena, to fight the kleptomaniac politicians, while being careful not to lose yourself in the process and… to rule in favor the ordinary people.
Of course, one swallow does not make a spring. If all this is an isolated case, the non-principled policy will prevail. It takes a tide of people with character in politics in order to transform it. And not just that. People also need to change, in the way they see themselves as social beings and what they expect from those who want to make changes. Our people see themselves as an object of politics, not as an active factor. Our people is constantly waiting for the savior who will deliver it from its troubles, all the time hoping that the savior has finally come, and disappointed it very quickly. Thus, it is quite easy to get to a new abuser of the public money to power, but to improve the state of the people – not so much. Also, falling under the influence of the hypnosis of the great promises must be stopped. Because it always puts the one who knows how to lie in a better position than the one who refuses to do it. Yes, beautiful lies sound better than the ugly truth. But if we do not work on our ability to recognize who lies to get to office, but who sincerely wants to work for the common good, if we continue to give support to the one who will say the most attractive lie at a given moment, how can we expect something different from the state in which we are?
The moral decline is evident. Not only in politics, but also in society itself. An immoral policy has infected the whole society. Seeing how politicians use power for self-interest, how the unscrupulous and flatterers succeed instead of the people of quality, the erosion of the value system, it make one turn to cynicism, the willingness to do what is right instead of what is effective slowly dies. Moreover, the one who sticks to principles is viewed as a fool, the maneuvering space for these kind of persons is narrowing so that they also turn to violation of morality. In such a poisoned atmosphere, it is an extremely naive expectation that politics has the slightest chance of yielding different results from the past.
The only ones who succeed are people who tell people what they want to hear. No matter if this is feasible or not. It’s the only way to get to the desired office and make them worship you. They will later spit on you that you lied to them, but that’s afterwards. After you have your desired office and when you already do not care if they spit on you or not. But this way there is no emancipation of citizens, which is a necessary condition for the implementation of the new policy. Only emancipated people, who have learned to think with their own heads and who are ready to fight for their own rights, can be the bearer of the change. To bring not only a new policy, but also a new society.
Utopia? Instead of working on the introduction of a new policy and a new society in Macedonia, we prefer to convince ourselves that things have no chance of changing and that our choice comes down to picking out the next robber who will steal from us? Then, we have sealed our fate ourselves.
We need serious changes. Both politically and socially. It is a huge mountain standing on our way. But, those who fight might win. Those you choose not to fight – have already lost.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik