Reason and revolution

Politics is rational activity. That’s why it is important for us from the non-governmental sector, when trying to change the system, and for political parties, when trying to change the face of power, to bring decisions via reasonable dialogue instead of sterile revolutionary noise.

The 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, in interview for BBC this June, addressing the journalist’s remark that some people say that her and the party she leads (the NLD) are naïve and cheated by the Government’s nice words, aimed at keeping the party as the minority within the Parliament, said:

“Nobody is keeping us there against our will. If we can best serve the interests of the people in the Parliament, we will stay there. We have extra-parliamentary activities already for 24 years, and now we spread our activities which include the work in the Parliament”.

Political situation in Myanmar is pretty different that the one in Montenegro.

Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned for 20 years. She was freed from house detention in late 2010. The party it leads was allowed to register in January 2011. In 2015, the first regular elections, in which the opposition will take part, are expected. They should lead to the full democratic transition of this country.

Montenegro these days received green light for opening accession negotiations with the EU.

In the first half of this year, with different intensity, the idea to boycott elections and institutions dominated the opposition-inclined public. I doubt that Montenegro would get the start date for the EU talks if the opposition left the Parliament just ahead of such decision being brought.

It is useful for us to recall the experience of neighboring Albania, the agony of the opposition deciding to leave the Albanian parliament and the country’s blurred European perspective. The departing Chief of the EU Delegation in Montenegro recently openly and directly stated the EU’s attitude about boycotting the parliament. He wasn’t supportive of the idea. On the contrary, he criticized it.

Our opposition, but the entire public as well, can testify Montenegrin experience of boycotting the Parliament because of the refusals of public broadcaster to directly broadcast parliamentary sessions. They can also describe our experience of boycotting local elections, although it was selective, brief and limited. On the other hand, the fact stands that no general election has been boycotted since 1990. Not even during the turbulent Nineties.

To be frank, I am not concerned how someone will boycott elections or the Parliament. I don’t believe in that anyway. I just want to highlight the sterility of such idea and discussion.

I want to point out that it is more important for opposition parties, media, people and intellectuals to commit themselves to the only possible way of democratic victory – and those are elections. The ones we usually have, although they are far from perfect, if there are perfect elections after all.

But, more importantly, I want to point to the revolutionary enthusiasm of a part of political opposition and civil society, which has been stepping on the idea of freedom. It usually happens with revolutions. The idea of changes, based on the magical formula “Opposition is leaving the Parliament-street protests-Government’s resignation-technical government-elections-the DPS defeat-Milo going to jail-Montenegro: paradise on Earth”, is imagined as an entrance into the world of political and human honesty, correctness and true beliefs.

Who doesn’t accept or believe in the rationality of such political action, the authors and supporters of the idea suggest, should automatically be labeled as the associate of the regime and mafia. Thanks in advance.

To be frank, for the second time, there are million of reasons in Montenegro for dissatisfaction and civic protests, as I believe that there are as many reasons for Djukanovic to be tried and for the DPS to take the opposition seats. Yet, we talk about something different here – that the dogma, promoted by the revolutionaries, is inconsistent and that it doesn’t deliver results, something clear almost to everyone.

Hence, it is more convenient for us to go to another topic, which is as old as Montenegro’s opposition. It is usually named as “wide anti-regime front”, and supported by the argumentation, which suggests that everyone who is against the widest coalition is also a traitor.

Instead of these slogans, it would be rational to see what the opinion polls say about the potential success of the three or two opposition parties running together in the elections. If anyone, apart from the DPS and the SDP is interested in something like that, at the first place. It would be interesting to hear whether the joint running would mean more votes than the individual running in the elections, whether the effect would be negligent or whether certain degree of the support would be even lost. Answers to those questions should determine the decision about the way of running in the elections.

The second important issue is about the most rational policies of the big opposition parties in comparison with the minor parties. The answer to this question is worth approximately 50,000 votes. Dialogue about these issues should be conducted at this newspaper’s pages as well as the pages of other media, if the intentions are good and goals the same.

Politics is rational activity. That’s why it is important for us from the non-governmental sector, when trying to change the system, and for political parties, when trying to change the face of power, to bring decisions via reasonable dialogue instead of sterile revolutionary noise.

In the end, I want to use this text to encourage all the less visible and less noisy people, committed to democracy and changes while not being seduced by the “magical formula”, to talk freely, without the fear of being labeled as traitors by the opposition and civil society. For such betrayal, they would condemn the great woman of peace and democracy from the beginning of this text.

Stevo Muk

President of the Managing Board

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