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)

High Noon in Croatia – No Political Levelling Please!

Croatian Flag Clenched Fist Adaptation of photo by (Screenshot)

Croatian Flag Clenched Fist
Adaptation of photo by (Screenshot)


The legendary 1950’s Hollywood actor  – Gary Cooper – and film crew won 4 Oscars at 1953 Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards for “High Noon”. The movie tells the story of a town marshal forced to face a group of killers by himself, a lone man who does the right thing at the risk of his own life.

High NoonPerhaps comparing the current attempt, i.e. the pending meeting called by Most (“Bridge”) coalition at Noon on Monday 7 December, to form a new government in Croatia to the significance of “High Noon” movie (indications are that the one who does not attend the meeting will be cast out of negotiations to form the new government) is not entirely a good match with the facts there are those in Croatia who have done so, albeit cynically as well as with a good dose of satire. The Bridge coalition of independent lists that won crucial 19 seats (currently the coalition counts 15 as 3 have fallen away due to disagreements) have been placed in the position to negotiate with both centre-right HDZ and centre-left SDP coalitions to form the new government. The only problem, it seems, is that Bridge coalition is sticking to its election campaign promises of serious and sweeping reforms for Croatia (overhaul the public sector and judiciary, and reduce taxation pressure on businesses as well as fiscal imbalances…) and seems to lack the decisive elements of consensus and compromise that are so very important in any conflict management and resolution.


The Bridge coalition wants a government of unity: a government comprising of representatives from HDZ(Croatian Democratic Union centre-right coalition), SDP (Social Democratic Party centre-left coalition) and the Bridge but working on the reforms packaged by the Bridge, without – it seems – some crucial elements from HDZ and SDP’s electoral promises! In other words, the Bridge coalition gives the strong impression that it does not trust either HDZ or SDP to lead a new government as majority in a government caucus or that it cares much about the fact that Croatian voters did actually gave more votes to HDZ and SDP promises than what they did to the Bridge promises.

The Bridge coalition is sticking to a proposal of a tripartite government – a cauldron of trouble, political disagreements and without clear lines of political responsibility and governmental accountability! Why anyone would want to impose such a troublesome formula for the makeup of the government of their country is beyond my understanding even if Croatia is in a crisis and at the brink of economic collapse, despite the lining of some wallets with Euro funds.


High Noon has also been portrayed in dictionaries as a phrase meaning “the time of a decisive confrontation or contest”. So, given that Bridge coalition has set a meeting with both HDZ and SDP at Noon on Monday 7 December to possibly achieve agreement in forming the new government of unity for Croatia, with all political sides, friends and foes alike, as members, one does wonder whether the Bridge’s sense for the dramatic or Hollywood style climax has actually stepped into the realms of delusions of grandeur or, worse, communist style of political levelling or egalitarianism as long as one political mind rules the roost. Has the Bridge coalition placed itself into the position of playing God for Croatia’s future (or kingmaker, at least) and if so what would be its avenues for justice (as in “vengeance in mine”) against those who have “sinned” against Croatian independence, democracy, economic prosperity and/or living standards? Surely it could not reward those sinners it campaigned against (e.g. SDP government as having caused much of Croatia’s woes) by placing them all around the joint government table!

Left: Tomislav Karamarko, leader of HDZ Centre: Bozo Petrov, leader of Bridge group Right: Zoran Milanoivic, leader of SDP PHOTO:

Left: Tomislav Karamarko, leader of HDZ
Centre: Bozo Petrov, leader of Bridge group
Right: Zoran Milanoivic, leader of SDP

Certainly the general elections results where HDZ won 59 and SDP 56 out of 151 seats suggest strongly that Croatian voters do not want changes, not earth-shattering ones as forming a tripartite government would suggest. The Bridge coalition’s idea of such a reformist government places the Bridge coalition ambitiously as a real bridge that would unite the political left and the political right into a single task: shaping Croatia in accordance with the Bridge coalition ideas for change! The major problem with this is that in a democracy and a politically competitive climate that is an inherent right within a democracy, the Bridge coalition is attempting to cut-off these rights of political competition at the knees; do away with political pluralism! In true democracies “power should be dispersed among a variety of economic and ideological pressure groups and should not be held by a single elite or group of elites,” says Encyclopaedia Britannica. Furthermore, if a tripartite government is installed in Croatia who is going to be the Opposition in the parliament? How can a government be independent of governing powers held to account, how can new ideas (ideas the government does not come up with) and changes be brought to the parliament floor, how can there be healthy parliamentary debate – if there is no significant Parliamentary Opposition?

The Bridge coalition may have some good ideas as to how to achieve reforms they believe are needed in Croatia but just because it has won enough seats in parliament at the elections to be THE decisive entity that could form the new government, that does not give it the right to play with or ignore the fundamental rights and processes of democracy for which thousands lost their lives in the 1990’s War of Independence for Croatia. Certainly, to me, the idea of a tripartite government that includes an overwhelming majority of political parties, each differing from the other in their crucial ideas, that are supposed to work in harmony has many hallmarks of the former Communist party blanket principle where everyone had to conform to the central idea or be considered a political dissident/enemy of the State!

On Thursday 3 December Croatia moved closer to holding a new election when parliament convened for the first time after an inconclusive vote on 8 November and its SDP-nominated Speaker, Robert Podolnjak (member of the Bridge coalition), withdrew his nomination on grounds that he did not have cross-party support (HDZ did not support his nomination).
The two big parties (HDZ and SDP) have each so far failed in negations with the Bridge coalition on forming a new coalition government and Noon Monday 7 December will be the crunch to decide as to when new elections are to be held. President Kolinda Grabar-KItarovic has called for a second round of consultations in the afternoon of 7 December with all elected parties in her keenness to have a new government formed, but given that her first attempts wasn’t successful and nothing much has changed – her consultations are unlikely to succeed.
If the government is not formed soon, the Croatia’s president will have to call new elections.
Whoever wins the support of at least 76 deputies will become prime minister designate and of course both SDP and HDZ are hoping to achieve this without the offered option of being ushered into a tripartite solution for new government.
It is unclear when the parliament will convene again.
Croatia’s public debt is alarmingly close to 90 % of GDP and employment is at 17%, with 43% Youth unemployment. The European Commission and the International Monetary Fund want the next government to reduce debt and barriers to investment, notably in the private sector.

I hope the Bridge coalition does not succeed in its attempt to kill the democratic debate in the Croatian parliament by forming a tripartite government. I hope new elections are held soon and if the voters give this new Bridge coalition more votes to form a majority government – so be it. But, if the results go in favour of one of the two major coalition blocs (HDZ or SDP) – so be it, too! In politics the concept akin to levelling (known as “uravnilovka” in Croatia or Russian or …where, in this case, all political sides supposedly get the equal right and skill to decide or contribute to government) seems to be protruding from the Bridge coalition’s insistence on a unity or tripartite government. Levelling was/is an operational concept of communist regimes, trying to make everyone equal but ended up creating wider differences between the rich and the poor than thought possible – I would loathe seeing levelling being given a new lease of life in Croatia (it has a life in communist Yugoslavia) – this time within the realm of democratic debate by having the debate cut under the pretence that political friends and foes can govern together in harmony! Desperate times do call for desperate measures but this idea coming from the Bridge coalition to form a unity government and deny Croatia a strong parliamentary opposition is mad and dangerous for democracy in action.  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: