Croatian totalitarian nostalgia

Croatian totalitarian nostalgia is still widespread in the public. Croatian political spectrum has still been deeply divided according to historical perceptions on totalitarian regimes. The fall of communism in Eastern Europe has not brought liberal democracy to Croatia and other countries of South East Europe. It was rather the revival of anti-liberal ethnic populism in favor of communist and/or fascist legacy. Nowadays, Croatian democracy has generally been consolidated, with no major political factor promoting extremism and totalitarianism. Croatian right wing political scene needed a long time to sign away from nationalist authoritarianism and a soft form of fascism. The EU accession process was a critical here to foster the creating of mainstream (social) conservative politics (although not very pro-market). Still, this stabilization is not a guarantee for cheap right-wing populism, calling for restoration of Franjo Tuđman’s legacy (former communist and Croatian nationalist authoritarian president during 1990s). On the other side, the problem exists on the left wing being in uncritical favor of Josip Broz Tito (former Yugoslavia’s communist leader). Many socialist and progressive Croats praise Tito as a people’s liberation hero and the internationally popular person due to Yugoslavia’s non-alignment policy). This is true that Tito’s communists won the antifascist World War II battle. Well, the same as the Soviet Red Army which took freedom from Estonia to Bulgaria. No doubt that Tito’s partisans and mass follower were Bolshevik style communists. 4 years of fascism (1941-1945) were replaced by at least 4 years of Bolshevik communism (1945-1950). Since 1950 Yugoslavia entered the period of a little less totalitarian communism, comparing with the Eastern Block. Is this the Tito’s legacy worth of praise? No doubt that the Nazi/fascist occupation regime managed by the local Ustasche and Chetniks movements committed massive war crimes against the unwanted ethnic and religious groups. Well, the same was true for Tito’s regime, known for promoting “brotherhood and unity”. This motto was reserved only for fostering artificial reconciliation between the South Slavs. What about other ethnic groups? Germans and Italians were massively expelled from their homeland. Concentration camps and caves were not the exception even during the communist era. Yugoslavia soon became a country of very changed demography. Many of its cities and regions (Osijek, Zadar, Rijeka, Istria, Slavonia, Vojvodina etc.), formerly largely populated by Germans and/or Italians, were suddenly culturally erased. Tito’s agents of death did the same as those criticized by them. The same what happened in Sudetenland, at the very same time. The main purpose of article is not to analyze the history so much. At least for liberals and all those who love liberal democracy, history is a source of facts, which, therefore, required very rational approach. The problem is that In Croatia there are many of those who see Tito as a hero. Some of these intellectually blind people may recognize the fact that “certain” (but not massive) crimes were committed. However, you can find Croats with the following reasoning (let me paraphrase): We don’t care whether he did crimes or not. The most important is that in that time we were not hungry. He gave us bread and everybody was working, which is not the case now in the era of social uncertainty, produced by the dictature of neoliberal capitalism. This is the very representative explanation what the hell is happening in many people’s minds. This is a matter of human rights concern (actually not at all for many socialist and progressive minded NGO’s) and a matter of concern for the state of civil society and economic freedom in Croatia. The Council of Europe’s Resolution 1481 (2006) on the Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes is still being differently interpreted by different people in Croatia. Some Croats still think that „democracy“ includes different opinions of totalitarianism. Some of them may favor fascism and some of them communism. In these cases, there is no space for healthy liberal democratic development. Hopefully, these ways of thinking are vanishing. However, they are still present and blocking the mental recovery of Croatian society. In the Western Balkans, perverse mythological emotions have been the carriers of collective thinking. Croatia is now at the crossroads to introduce real market economy and capitalism. This means a clear task to get rid of all collectivist stupidities that block this nation of great undiscovered potentials. Communism brought a complete chaos to the economy. Germans were the land and business owners in a big proportion, as well as the Jews. Nationalization destroyed the whole capitalist bourgeois class. Croatia still has a problem with restoring the stolen private property or at least paying the proportionate fees. The government could say there’s no money in the budget. The reason for writing this article is to talk about social injustice not perceived as such by socialists and progressives. Liberals and libertarians (really the same term) have often been perceived in Croatian society as (radical) proponents of economic freedom and even „market fundamentalism“. „Neoliberalism“ has always been a popular word for those without any smart opinions. In other words, we are perceived as those not taking care much about the civil rights aspect of liberalism. There is really no room to justify ourselves in front of those who are not educated enough, who blame all those who question Tito’s legacy, for so called historical revisionism. The truth is that a part of Croatian anticommunist activists are right-wing populists and semifascists. However, there is no doubt that the other part consists of liberals, (moderate) conservatives and (civilized) social democrats, who want to get rid of all totalitarian legacies. In order to consider the human rights agenda of us as liberals/libertarians, this article is a ground for rethinking our past and learning today to get rid of any favor towards the legacy of totalitarianism. There is no doubt that any moral person simply cannot play on (modernist) civil rights agenda, while at the same to defend the legacy of communism and/or fascism. At least for those who praise Tito, this can be a big problem. The good thing is that they are always free to choose. The problem is that some of these leftist civil society activists are just a “progressive” make-up of modern society. The good thing for them is that Croatian government is planning to introduce civil education, not just in public schools, but also for life-long (adult) education. The same thing applies to all those socialists and progressives whose excessive anti-Western (anti-American) agenda can go so far to include understanding of Putin, Radical Islamists and other similar appearances. It is self-understandable that liberals/libertarians cannot argue for civil rights in countries with no (major) problems/deficits in this field. However, we need to be very active taking into account that almost all countries violate many principles of economic freedom (by high tax, spend and debt policies, over-regulations, printing fiat money etc.) The cases for human rights agenda, if not in the EU or USA, start in our close neighborhood. Crisis In Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and many other countries, the threat of Putin and ISIS to our national securities and individual liberties, are too real, to be neglected.