Why I’m boycotting the referendum

Zdravko Saveski

The author is a political scientist and a member of Levica

On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court, as expected, politically ruled the initiative to annul the decision on the referendum as unconstitutional. It was embarrassing the kind of “arguments” were used to dismiss the initiative. Constitutional judges are not paid with public money to decide on political guidance, but to provide constitutionality and legality of the acts. But, for the sake of objectivity, probably the pressure on which they were exposed by the government was enormous. So they caved. No matter that by doing so, they have also devalued the Constitution, whose violations in the last period, both from the Parliament and the President of the Republic of Macedonia, has made it a self-service market from which you take what you want and ignore what you do not like.
Since this is my last article before the referendum, I would like to share my arguments why I am not going to vote in the referendum. I will boycott the referendum for the following three reasons: they made the referendum consultative, the question is manipulative, and the government did not give the impression that it is ready to allow the “against” option to win if there are more votes for it.

The fact that the referendum is consultative in itself is its devaluation. When I listen to the servants of power calling for the referendum, because, allegedly, it was the highest form of democracy, I cannot help but think how hypocritical this is. Well, if they so highly value the referendum as a democratic institution, why didn’t they make the referendum mandatory? Ah, yes, you wanted to “bypass” some of the constitutional provisions in such a way, and more easily implement what you have already planned. But what does that say about you, your attitude to the Constitution, the institution of the referendum, towards the citizens themselves? For an issue that is extremely important for many, you, in a system that needs to be democratic, have deprived the citizens of their right to decide and have brought their opinion to a level of non-compulsory consultation.

Your manipulative intentions became quite clear when you made the referendum question ambiguous. Voting for the Zaev-Tsipras agreement, for joining NATO or for joining the EU? Although it was pointed out to you that if the referendum question is ambiguous it would be a contradiction to the democratic standards of organizing a referendum, you remained deaf to the arguments. Because your intention from the very beginning was to manipulate, not allow free expression of the will of the citizens. That manipulation is your main goal is even more clearly seen through your campaign. You have targeted the entire propaganda as if it were a referendum on joining the EU. In order to do so, it should have previously received an EU invitation to Macedonia and a guarantee that, if the referendum passes, (North), Macedonia will become a member of the EU. But that invitation is gone. It does not have the mandate of the referendum, which is a constitutional requirement for a valid referendum on the EU. Hence, mentioning the EU in the referendum question is a cheap attempt to deceive the starving people, whom you want to fool through the “golden” Goebbels’ rule that the when a lie is repeated a hundred times, it becomes the truth.
The manipulative referendum question and making the referendum consultative to avoid constitutional “constraints” already represent strong indications that the government will not allow the referendum to be successful. This impression was further strengthened after Zaev’s sloppy statements, shortly after signing the agreement with Tsipras, that he did not even want to think about the option of the referendum failing. How come? Is this how a prime minister, who respects the democratic decision-making process, acts? No matter how much someone is convinced in the victory of his position, especially when in office, he must create an atmosphere of trust among citizens that their vote will be respected. Instead, it creates the conviction that they are asking us to participate as extras in the circus in their direction, and whose sole goal is to provide an appearance of democracy in the process that the vassals in power perform according to the instructions of their imperial master. Hence, the position of anyone possessing dignity and self-respect is to refuse to participate in the parody of democracy they are planning. They are ready to forge the referendum, if there is not enough turnout. If that’s so, why should we make their work easier? Let them show their true faces, for everyone to see! If the government secures conditions for a democratic referendum, then I will go to the polls and vote against. So I will vote for the following three reasons:
First, the Zaev-Tsipras agreement will not reduce nationalism in Macedonia and Greece, yet will fuel it. In Macedonia, many will treat the implementation of the agreement as a violation of their human right to self-determination, and some of them will fall victim to nationalist propaganda. It is noted that the rulers have a green light from their imperial master to cope with the radical right through repression. But it is never a lasting solution for dealing with nationalism. In addition, it is too easy to forget that dealing with a political opponent through repressive methods always has negative consequences to democracy.
Second, the Zaev-Tsipras agreement has the sole purpose of getting Macedonia into NATO, in accordance with the geostrategic interests of the United States. Macedonia is an indebted country, with a healthcare system that needs immediate sanitation, with a pension system that is maintained through the transfer of large budget funds. In such a context, the cost of “defense” that Macedonia will have to extract further from the budget as a NATO member will mean our further impoverishment. The increased inflow of foreign investment by which mafia propaganda is literally a story for children. The huge privileges Gruevski gave to foreign investors did not manage to attract them in large numbers, so now the membership in NATO will attract them. Literally – a story for kids.
The third and most important reason for voting against in the referendum is the installation of classical vassal power in Macedonia. Because Zaev will successfully complete the task given to him by the imperial commander, at any cost to get Macedonia into NATO, he will receive a blank check to perform the power at his discretion. Democracy will be violated. “Western democracies” will remain silent. Human rights will be violated. Democratic elections and the shift of power in elections – there won’t be any. Imperial masters in vassal countries do not change the vassals that serve them well. And we will be the ones that will pay the price.
I know that many, in fact, the vast majority of citizens in our country prefer to listen to beautiful lies than to be aware of the ugly reality. It sounds nice that we will join the EU, that we will increase our living standard, that security will be improved. It sounds nice, but that’s not what is going to happen. I’m sorry, but have stooped to this level, among other things, because we love beautiful lies more than the realization of ugly reality. We need to think about it if we do not want the manipulators to lie to us again and again, and even after it has become irrelevant, we will realize how much easily and cheaply we allowed ourselves to be deceived. So let’s show them that we are not fools! September 30th will be a dark day for Macedonian democracy. Do not be a participant in its burial.

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