I think we are sinking into anomy. It is a condition in which people don’t understand what is going on, while in fact nothing is going on, everything is rotting away. If I were to look for the source of this anomy, it would be the Democratic Party. Why are they such a big problem? Because ever since the beginning we had high hopes in them. They should have been this civic, democratic, pro-Western, modernizing party. This is what drew the people who believed in this to them. However, very early in their development a destructive gene was built into them, and it is the source of all their problems, and therefore ours.

Let’s go back to 1968. That year gave birth to the weak and sapless opposition – those people we used to call dissidents, who disappeared only in 2000. This is where the leaders of all the political parties were recruited from, when the multi-party system was introduced. The structure of this 1968 opposition was very eclectic, diffuse and unclear. You had the Marxists, by far the most visible group, the left, you had the nationalists, the anti-communists and you had a very weak civic-liberal faction. What’s interesting is that during this whole 30-year period this weakest faction was politically the most operative one and that it led all the actions, the other ones only joined in. The so-called petitioning movement generated in this civic-liberal faction, and the other ones only added their signatures. When communism collapsed globally, both as a political system and as an ideology, something that could be expected to happen happened – the anti-communists declared victory and were able to form the strongest opposition parties. Let me remind you who those people were: Vuk Draskovic, Vojislav Seselj, Mirko Jovic… Naturally, the Marxists were defeated and the majority of them sided with the Socialist Party, fearing what Milosevic calledthe forces of chaos and madness, which scared people. I think their contribution to the Socialists’ victory in the first elections was significant. Out of this civic-liberal faction came the Democratic Party. It was perceived as a modernizing political party which attracted the educated, the urban element.

I remember Kosta Cavoski bringing me their program when the Democratic Party was formed. It was somehow expected of me to join. I did not want to go into politics, but they had my sympathies. However, when I saw their program, I realized that it incorporated two contradictory parts. The first part advocated widely defined democratic values, freedoms, civil rights, market economy, and the other part was nationalism in its darkest form. I would sign the first part in an instant, and the second part I wouldn’t even dream of signing. And now, looking back, I see how even then they were impressed by the success of the Right and of Milosevic’s supposedly leftist party which pursued right-wing policies. So they realized that they would remain isolated and alone if they too didn’t give their contribution to nationalism. That’s when they built into themselves this gene which acted constantly, and which was the reason for the falling out between Micunovic and Djindjic, Djindjic and Kostunica, Nikola Milosevic, Cavoski… This gene was constantly shaking up the party; it was the reason behind the conflict of Tadic and Ceda Jovanovic. The party was constantly being divided by this built-in contradiction, and the result is Tadic’s slogan – both Kosovo and Europe. He is responding to the contradictory demands which they themselves made at the very beginning. This explains the historical reconciliation narrative, because they now want to reconcile the two irreconcilable parts of their program. They want to do it on a personal level, on a governmental level, on the state level.

The gene that they had built into themselves is this society’s curse. And they also rely on a certain mood of the electorate, which is tired of disruptions, the clashes, of what the public calls bickering – please stop bickering and come to an agreement already. The public is still responsive to this peace-making, non-political, messianic role that Tadic is playing, because it soothes those wearied voters. But it can’t get us anywhere, it is self-paralyzing, because it is confined by the two conflicting forces which it contains. It is a void, and this void is wasting the precious little reformatory energy this society has. In fact, it suggests that we are a lost cause and that it would be best if we did nothing. It would be best to sit here and wait for someone else to come to our rescue.

What Milosevic was saying on the Gazimestan is still the ideology of most political parties in Serbia and of their all-encompassing coalition. The only difference is that he used to promise armed conflicts which are now not mentioned, now Jeremic is constantly repeating – strictly by political, diplomatic and legal means. But the objectives remain the same. Today I saw some graffiti in Belgrade which read: “We won’t give up Republika Srpska”. Do we have it so we can not give it up? Is that thing not finished yet? Here we are extending our hospitality to the exiled government of SAO Krajina, the goals remain the same. And we are told – maybe right now we are not in a position to do it, but someday we will be able to achieve those goals. Therefore, the only thing that’s changed is that we as a country abandoned force, but we abandoned it because we wasted our resources, because we are no longer able to use force. So the changes this kind of nationalistic ideology went through since Gazimestan came about because that sort of politics was defeated, but the objectives and the climate for them remains the same to this day.

This historical dead-end in which we are living is in fact a political dead-end, it has to do with values; a value system was constructed in this spasm, in this conflict with the rest of the world which lasted throughout the 90’s. There is a porcupine-like position here which doesn’t allow any universal human values to reach this society. And we learned to live with this isolation, and I don’t think we even register it any longer.

Peščanik, Radio B92, 16.04.2009, rebroadcasted on 05.02.2010. in the episode dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Democratic Party.

Translated by Ivica Pavlovic

Peščanik.net, 14.02.2010.

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Srđa Popović
Srđa Popović (1937-2013), jugoslovenski advokat ljudskih prava. Branio mladog Zorana Đinđića, Brigitte Mohnhaupt (Baader-Meinhof), Vojislava Šešelja, Dušana Makavejeva, Milorada Vučelića, Mihajla Markovića, Miću Popovića, Predraga Čudića, Nebojšu Popova, Vladimira Mijanovića (Vlada Revolucija), Milana Nikolića, Mihajla Mihailova, Dobroslava Paragu, Milana Milišića, Vladimira Šeksa, Andriju Artukovića, Beogradsku šestoricu, profesore izbačene sa Filozofskog fakulteta... Pokretač peticija za ukidanje člana 133 (delikt govora), ukidanje smrtne kazne, uvođenje višestranačja u SFRJ... 1990. pokrenuo prvi privatni medij u Jugoslaviji, nedeljnik Vreme. Posle dolaska Miloševića na vlast iselio se u SAD, vratio se 2001. Poslednji veliki sudski proces: atentat na Zorana Đinđića. Govorio u 60 emisija Peščanika. Knjige: Kosovski čvor 1990, Put u varvarstvo 2000, Tačka razlaza 2002, Poslednja instanca I, II, III 2003, Nezavršeni proces 2007, One gorke suze posle 2010.
Srđa Popović

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