Croatia: Root Out the New Left And Its Kin

flag-of-croatia

On approach to Christmas Day – looking back and looking forward with this brief post.

Many would say: deservedly, not a good wrap up for 2016 for the liberalist side of the political field throughout the world and major events and trends of their own making are, hopefully, to cause irreparable damage to key liberal government holds in not so distant a future. Things didn’t go well for the liberals this year: there was the shock of Brexit, there was Germany’s Angela Merkel’s open invitation to all and sundry flocking into Europe in their hundreds of thousands from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan turning now into a crescendo of her party’s imminent demise, France’s François Hollande’s Socialist government sparked the beginning of the worst political crisis France has had in decades and Donald Trump won presidency in the US. This week’s assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey by a Turkish policeman outraged by the agony of the siege of Aleppo, the mosque bomb in Zurich, the truck careering into a Christmas market in Berlin killing 12 people…all add up to shaky grounds for the liberals and left oriented political parties.

As far as Croatia is concerned the significantly weakened power-base of Social Democrats during the year has now, in the past week, seen the surprise emergence of a “New Left” party led by the most socially obnoxious, scumbag anti-Croat pro-Yugoslavia communist fodder, masquerading as liberals, a normal person couldn’t even conjure up to his/her worst enemy. I shall steer away from even mentioning here the names of all the leaders of this new left party in Croatia. I am still in shock after hearing its president Dragan Markovina (an arrogant, irritating, self-important historian and a cemented communist) say: “I am still the fiercest Yugoslav than anyone else…Today when I hear the Croatian anthem played I like to watch Croatia losing (sport games) … Croatia represents nothing to me …”

The mind-boggling and absolutely unacceptable thing in this is that there does not seem to be any official initiative to revoke the registration of this “New Left” political party in Croatia. How could it be possible for a political party to be registered and continue being registered when its leader does not recognise or accept his political party’s country itself, when that country represents nothing to him and yet he aspires to compete for parliamentary seats at next elections?

The world has gone mad and Croatia is no exception. But it’s wrong, very wrong to shrug ones shoulders and say things cannot be helped, the world is mad, nothing can be done about that. Everyone who loves Croatia needs to say “No, no, no!” Those with clout and leadership among the people, the patriots and the conservatives, must reject this political and moral crisis enveloping Croatia. They must root out these communist agents of despair masquerading as liberals. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

New Opposition Leader Davor Bernardic Mimics Communist Collectivism And Socialist Egalitarianism

Davor Bernardic President of SDP, Leader of Opposition Croatia Photo: fah

Davor Bernardic
President of SDP, Leader of Opposition Croatia
Photo: fah

 

Croatia’s largest parliamentary opposition party, the centre left that’s still carrying the torch for the oppressive communist Yugoslavia, Social Democratic Party/SDP – has its new leader in Davor Bernardic. He is relatively young. Born in January 1980 he was only a baby when Yugoslavia’s communist chief Josip Broz Tito died in May 1980. Evidently nurtured within Croatia’s odious communist heritage and ex public servants of communist Yugoslavia, that with other like-minded former communists resisted democratic changes planned for an independent Croatia after the war in Croatia had finished, at the age of 18 he joined SDP and soon climbed to the top of SDP Youth. From 2010 Bernardic’s SDP career spiralled to head its Zagreb branch and to become active Councillor at City of Zagreb local government assembly and has been a member of parliament since 2011. On Saturday 26 November Bernardic was elected president of SDP at second round of part leadership elections, beating his rival Ranko Ostojic – a minister in former Zoran Milanovic government.

Newly elected Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Davor Bernardic said at the 14th SDP electoral convention held in Zagreb on Saturday 3 November 2016 that Croatia needed change and that SDP must be the one to start it.
Over the past 20 years, social inequality has been growing both globally and locally. People seek the setting of more humane goals. The SDP’s goal is to revive the humane agenda. We must awaken the spirit of collectivism as the antifascists did in 1945 and Croatian defenders in the early 90s,” he said.
The goal of a good society is to reduce social inequality. A good society is one in which we build collective responsibility by encouraging a healthy individualism because, without the feeling of belonging to the community and to the people, there is no link which people need to make a fully creative contribution.”

 

First thing that is clear to all except Bernardic and his political comrades is that Croatia’s defenders in the early 1990’s did not awaken 1945 antifascist collectivism but they created the opportunities for togetherness towards an independent from communist Yugoslavia Croatia goal and Bernardic’s SDP was against this goal, even walking out of the Croatia parliament when secession was on the agenda.

I wish Bernardic would steer away from insulting Croatian veterans by comparing them to 1945 antifascists/communists.

 

While collectivism as in nurturing sense of community and belonging is a humane agenda it certainly was never a humane one under Bernardic’s antifascists. The antifascists he talk about we communist thugs who purged those that did not politically agree with them, sat themselves and their family members in important positions of power thus raking in personal wealth, stealing from “collective wealth”, while preaching how collectivism and equality were the social standards to aspire to. The problem with Bernardic’s thinking is that he chooses it seems to acknowledge that there had never been a time in the history of Croatia that produced more social equality than under the communist regime of former Yugoslavia that had equality as its daily mantra to the masses.

The change Croatia needs is not the one Bernardic fuzzily speaks of but the one that would finally eradicate Croatia’s antifascism (communism) from Croatia’s social and government milieu – any other needed changes for the creation of opportunities for all to prosper will follow with any political party at the helm.

With Bernardic’s announcement that SDP wanted Croatia “to be decentralised and to develop there where people live, in municipalities and cities, because strong municipalities and cities can attract investments, create jobs, remove red tape obstacles, and enable people to live better,” one can sense that Bernardic has difficulties in even understanding the equality he espouses let alone possessing the skills to achieve it on a national level. His idea of decentralisation clearly is a sure platform for the creation of inequality and eventual rule of bitterness, resentment and envy between various local municipalities where one thrives economically and the other doesn’t and, hence, living standards are far from equal between the two. Similar issues arose in former communist Yugoslavia as the “well-to-do” states could not subsidise enough those that were not so developed in order to create a social equality across the nation.

Generally, one would conclude that the pursuit of equality’s results in what people have been known to consider as unfair distribution of reward. Because individual capabilities are always different, equality cannot be achieved without taking rewards from the deserving and reallocating them to the undeserving. The sae principle would be applicable to municipal councils as also to different states; in the name of social justice and equality doing well eventually becomes penalised and not doing well (in whatever form) become rewarded. Berdanrdic and his SDP will need to think hard as to how and whether the equality they imagine can be achieved. It ceases to be fanciful rhetoric once it makes its way into party policies.

Zagreb, 03.12.2016 - 14th SDP Election Convention Zagreb, Croatia Photo: fah

Zagreb, 03.12.2016 –
14th SDP Election Convention Zagreb, Croatia
Photo: fah

Bernardic’s argument for egalitarianism would probably encompass the need to combat the unfairness of what egalitarians commonly refer to as ‘privilege’. Egalitarians deem ‘privilege’ bad because privilege is a concept that is not meritocratic and it allows some to enjoy unearned benefits. Yet, since, as examples throughout the world would show us, egalitarian policies still create privileged classes of individuals, who unfairly enjoy unearned benefits, it achieves the opposite of its stated goal, merely transferring ‘privilege’ from one group to another. To achieve true equality that the new SDP slogan promotes (“First Among Equals”) Bernardic would need to step on Croatia’s political elites and on the tycoons who have thieved the country for personal wealth amassment in one form or another as part of or associated with the political elites – his speeches do not show any such intentions on his part.

Of course, many have and will agree that equality is not immoral if pursued voluntarily, even if those pursuing it experience a decline in their quality of life as a result. However, many will also agree that equality is immoral if it is imposed, by the state (with its implicit threat of violence) or through social pressure, upon those who have no wish to pursue it. And it is doubly immoral if the nonconformity of those in the latter group are, as a result, and as we have seen in communism for instance, denied their humanity.

Beranrdic further said last Saturday that the SDP will create public policies for better living and uncompromisingly defend the freedom and the rights of individuals to be different without fear of discrimination, to publicly practice their faith, not to feel inhibited because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation. In recent decades, diversity has been a catchword among egalitarians, politicians … and Bernardic has jumped on their bandwagon. Yet surely, the achievement of equality would appear the negation of difference. Almost every day we hear the phrase ‘different but equal’ has been the egalitarians’ attempt to have their cake and eat it, but it is a logical contradiction and therefore to be strongly rejected as guide for any social change. The implication that the equality Bernardic refers to is some new equality does not hold, because Croatia already has adequate laws that protect citizens from discrimination, facilitate religious freedom, encompass ethnic rights through minority rights etc.

It is a frightening thing to come across in 2016 a leader of the Opposition/Bernardic resurrecting as ideal the 1945 and post-WWII antifascist collectivism, which by the way had in practice failed miserably. Impoverished, post-WWII Croatia (Yugoslavia) led by communists (self-proclaimed antifascists, who due to their crimes should be banned from associating themselves with antifascist movements) lived a socialist utopia in which the Party told the ordinary people that common good and individual happiness were in perfect harmony; the people there of 1970’s and 1980’s no longer extolled the “dictated virtues” of collectivism. In terms of age of the society the idea, the practice –went down the toilet quite quickly.

Bernardic with his SDP wants to drag collectivism back out of the sewers. Make your own conclusion as to why that may be so but my conclusion is that sooner former and current communists are chased into the sewers of Croatia’s society amidst democratic progress the better. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: De-communisation By Any Means Necessary

Student protest Zagreb Croatia September 2016 Photo: Jurica Galoic/Pixsell

Student protest Zagreb Croatia
21  September 2016
Photo: Jurica Galoic/Pixsell

 

A couple of hundred university students at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (a.k.a. Faculty of Philosophy) of the University of Zagreb have thrown their rioting and protesting weight against the current Dean Vlatko Previsic. They insist he must resign or be forced into retirement as he turns 71 in few months. They claim among other things lack of transparency and autocratic and some weak decision-making in his job. They are adamant that the proposed merger/cooperation between their Faculty and the Catholic Faculty of Theology will not go ahead. The protest grew more vicious by the minute, so to speak, and had occupied a great deal of media space and as politically left-minded persons declare their support for the runaway student protests, true causes to protest are lost or become blurred amidst harsh words that keep rushing out like fiery sparks.

 

The students have dug their heels in and are adamant they will get their way, if not, they threatened to blockade the university building and stop the new academic year from starting with thousands of students attending. In all this it appears, while those supporting their protest keep saying that matters of complaints and discontent should be resolved within relevant legal and institutional bounds they seem to keep forgetting to mention that Previsic’s terms and conditions of employment, his employment rights, should also be left to legal and institutional bounds and not to the rioting students in the street.  The war between the Dean and students grew larger than life it seems as the Dean accused the students of politicking, but the police reported that he had received death threats. Students continue to demand his resignation. Student Plenum was held Wednesday 21 September at night outside in front of the faculty building, because the doors of the Faculty building had been locked for 18 hours and heavily guarded due to fear of violence. Demands for the Dean’s resignation stands and student plenum decided upon 3 October as the date by which this should occur. The plenum also demanded the immediate resignation of the Rector of the University of Zagreb, Damir Boras.

Vlatko Previsic Dean - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Zagreb Zagreb Croatia Photo: hrt.hr

Vlatko Previsic
Dean – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Zagreb
Zagreb Croatia
Photo: hrt.hr

These attacks against heads of Faculty/University are not really new to last week – the whole saga stretches several months back (since February) and arises from disagreements that surfaced following the tabling of the final draft at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Plenum of the proposal for a merger/cooperation agreement between this Faculty and the Catholic Faculty of Theology. A contract to similar effects was reportedly signed by the former Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences dean Damir Boras, now the University of Zagreb Rector, and the Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, Tonci Matulic in June 2014. Some Professors and some students from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences then declared their opposition to the contract and, hence, it was placed on hold in early 2015.

The students protest against a reported lack of transparency of contents within the merger agreement, accusing the dean of autocracy and say they should also be the ones deciding whether the agreement or contract will or will not be signed. Such cooperation/merger would be seen as quite normal in other European countries or Western countries but it seems something truly disturbing is at play in Zagreb – remnants of communist minds that reject religion and faith being treated as mainstream, perhaps (?). It’s not unusual to graduate from a world-leading university similar faculty, majoring in Theology – but in Croatia, a former communist nest, this seems to pose problems for some who like to think of themselves it seems as decision makers and breakers.

If the Dean does not resign by 3 October and the rector is not dismissed the protesting students are threatening to blockade the Faculty. The plenum noted that the University Senate canceled the elections for the Student Assembly of the Faculty as well as the election of student representatives in the Faculty Council and say Senate had no powers to do that.

Damir Boras University of Zagreb rector

Damir Boras
University of Zagreb rector

It is interesting to note that the demands from the above plenum (which itself looks violent and threatening and un-democratic) are supported by the politically left-wing inclined such as members of Social Democrat Party, Centre for Peace Studies, and Social Democratic Youth, the Labour Front, Antifascist Front, Group 112, Protagoras Association, the Centre for Women’s Studies, Croatian Peoples Party, Istrian Democratic Party…

 

The politically obnoxious communist-leaning professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Neven Budak – who had been the dean for two mandates there – has been quite vocal in trying to stir revolt against the proposed merger with Faculty of Theology. He keeps stating that there is the question of equality between the students of each Faculty if these merged. That is, he says that enrollment in the Faculty of Theology requires certificate of baptism and the Parish priest’s recommendation. Stirring the pot against anything religious and provoking protesting sentiments Budak asks whether then any students at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences wishing to enroll into Theology would also be required to submit these documents? In this students are not equal, he says and judging by his communist political past he would probably like to see baptism in the church dispensed with altogether. He says that he is personally more worried about student inequality after they graduate and when entering the work force because “we know that religious studies teachers are employed without public job advertisements, bypassing the will or the opinion of the schools…Church and teacher, who would be religious studies teacher and who has, for example, graduated from another subject, such as Croatian language studies, would of course, as the one already employed without competing for the job alongside other applicants, fill in as teacher of the Croatian language at the school should a vacancy arise, and our students would not…”

 

It’s disturbing how a communist mind still works in Croatia and to boot, Neven Budak was the last Secretary of the Communist Party branch at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, when in 1990 it ceased to exist as Yugoslavia was torn apart due to efforts of plights for democracy and independence.

It’s blatantly clear that what Croatia is dealing with here is yet another way or scandal to disrupt the government and governance of its institutions. One would not assume that students or staff have the executive power or decision making regarding any agreements or contracts the Faculty/University that arise as a matter of operating the educational institution. One can comment or discuss to exhaustion but the final say lies with those charged with the responsibility and delegation for decision making.
Member of Croatian Parliament for the diaspora General Zeljko Glasnovic raised a mighty storm when he reacted on Saturday 24 September to the student protest and blockades saying as follows:

The defeated political forces and their useful idiots have commenced a media lynch against Professor Vlatko Previsic … This social performance is played by spoiled brats of recycled communists, quasi-intellectuals who have not worked and just like their parents they want to secure for themselves a comfortable laziness… They are a minority gang of two hundred anarchists and Bolshevik Satanists who block the work of the Faculty and prevent more than 7,000 students from attending classes… In developed democracies, when a minority oppresses the majority, the problem is solved with police batons and tear gas. I propose the formation of a foundation that will enable one-way, non-returnable journey of young Titoists and their leaders with unshaven legs to Pyongyang. There, they will have all the time in the world top develop their own quasi democracy. There, like their grandparents, they can sing for eternity: we will plant the wheat from the sky, while America and England look on.”

General Zeljko Glasnovic, Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

General Zeljko Glasnovic,
Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

While Glasnovic’s words were judged by many as harsh, insulting, extremist and unfounded, it is interesting and indicative of bias to note that his criticisers say that the student plenum – against which he spoke – has a long history of peaceful speech and conduct, which does not include incidents of violence or call for violence! Well, if ultimatums the plenum has given for University employees (the Dean…) to be stood down without reference to any rights as employee and threats of blockades of the Faculty are not in the category of violence, what is?

Without any doubt, Glasnovic’s words against the students will serve as a new foundation for communists and former communists to undermine progress and true democracy under a predominantly conservative new government and keep vilifying diaspora (Glasnovic had lived in Canada for many years before returning to Croatia to help defend the country from Serb aggression in early 1990’s) as extremist and distancing it from Croatia as communists did during the life of communist Yugoslavia.

There comes a time in a nation, especially in a former communist nation transitioning into democracy, when niceties, bon ton, political correctness and such need to be dispensed with and “a spade called a spade”. Here we have aggressive students in Zagreb who are on a mission to topple the Faculty dean and the University rector with vicious and unforgiving force, who have the hide to point the finger at Glasnovic for his words of criticism against their moves and behaviour, which essentially would deny access to studies to 7,000 students until their demands are met. The latest version of student demands that if the dean is sent into retirement as he will be 71 years old next year then the students will not seek the dismissal of the University rector. So, these students and their supporters will engage in discrimination against a 71-year-old, force him into retirement because he made some bad decisions in his work according to the students – and still call Glasnovic extremist.

And these students and their supporters have the gall to call Glasnovic extremist. Rarely has anyone seen such brutal degradation and derogation of one person’s employment rights and fair treatment as we see here against dean Previsic.

If that’s not behaviour reminiscent of communist Yugoslavia, nothing is. Glasnovic speaks out what most people know and feel – Croatia needs to rid itself of every little bit of communist Yugoslavia once and for all – by any means necessary!

Student plenum outside Faculty building Zagreb Croatia 21 September 2016 Photo: Jurica Galoic/Pixsell

Student plenum outside Faculty building
Zagreb Croatia 21 September 2016
Photo: Jurica Galoic/Pixsell

On Saturday 24 September Zeljko Glasnovic, MP, said that there is a need to carry out an academic lustration and de-communisation and throw a light onto historic events and as to the many negative comments his words against the students’ protest attracted he said:
Structures that were here in 1990 have infiltrated Croatia. They have infiltrated and taken over the cultural space, media, education, and politics. I do not care about what someone will think of me, I will speak that for which I think is the truth. We whispered for 40-50 years, that does not need to continue.

Glasnovic attended a mass in remembrance of the 35 highly positioned officers of the Croatian Army of WWII Independent State of Croatia either sent to death or imprisoned for life in September 1945 after WWII ended by Yugoslav communist authorities from Belgrade, Serbia. Glasnovic said that it is necessary to research the past. “Inversion, lies and deceit about history continue in Croatia. History is a branch of science and not hearsay. That is an area that needs research. George Orwell said – he who controls the past, controls the future. Someone else has always been writing our history and that is why we are where we are. We carry out our internal and foreign politics without a historical context and until such time when academic lustration and de-communisation are carried out in Croatia we will not have a Croatian state.” Truer words are rarely spoken in Croatia these days. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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