Tuzla’s Declaration of Citizens and Workers (Tuzla #1)

DECLARATION 7 February 2014. Today in Tuzla a new future is being created! The [local] government has submitted its resignation, which means that the first demand of the protestors has been met and that the conditions for solving existing problems have been attained. Accumulated anger and rage are the causes of aggressive behaviour. The attitude of the authorities has created the conditions for anger and rage to escalate.

Now, in this new situation, we wish to direct the anger and rage into the building of a productive and useful system of government. We call on all citizens to support the realization of the following goals:

(1) Maintaining public order and peace in cooperation with citizens, the police and civil protection, in order to avoid any criminalization, politicization, and any manipulation of the protests.

(2) The establishment of a technical government, composed of expert, non-political, uncompromised members. [They should be people] who have held no position at any level of government and would lead the Canton of Tuzla until the 2014 elections. This government should be required to submit weekly plans and reports about its work and to fulfill its proclaimed goals. The work of the government will be followed by all interested citizens.

(3) Resolving, through an expedited procedure, all questions relating to the privatization of the following firms: Dita, Polihem, Poliolhem, Gumara, and Konjuh. The [government] should:

§  Recognize the seniority and secure health insurance of the workers.

§  Process instances of economic crimes and all those involved in it.

§  Confiscate illegally obtained property.

§  Annul the privatization agreements [for these firms].

§  Prepare a revision of the privatization.

§  Return the factories to the workers and put everything under the control of the public government in order to protect the public interest, and to start production in those factories where it is possible.

(4) Equalizing the pay of government representatives with the pay of workers in the public and private sector.

(5) Eliminating additional payments to government representatives, in addition to their income, as a result of their participation in commissions, committees and other bodies, as well as other irrational and unjustified forms of compensation beyond those that all employees have a right to.

(6) Eliminating salaries for ministers and eventually other state employees following the termination of their mandates.

This declaration is put forward by the workers and citizens of the Tuzla Canton, for the good of all of us.

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2 responses to “Tuzla’s Declaration of Citizens and Workers (Tuzla #1)

  1. Pingback: Belgrade Daily Media Highlights 14 February « UNMIK Media Monitoring - Kosovo·

  2. This is a rather sad example of positive political manoeuvres, in my opinion; it’s got lots of people desperately hopeful, but there’s nothing here that looks like much more than a standard form of cooptation/recuperation, hoping to freeze the momentum of the movement and channel it into a bureaucratic programme. Whilst clearly expressive of an attempt to break with the past, it still sees things in terms of representative government. There’s an element of a utopian capitalist project here, unrealisable within any international capitalist framework. And worse – a “‘pragmatic government’ made out of professional, non-partisan and uncorrupted members”. Sounds like some proletarianised “pragmatic” middle class professional-cum-budding-politicans-of-the-people have prepared this proclamation beforehand. As if historical experience hasn’t shown us that even those who up until their entry into positions of state were not obviously compromised within the existing system, have still clearly gone on to develop the logic of their hierarchical position and consolidated it. Any “professional” political position inevitably leads to a self-interest separate from the general interest, whilst still needing to represent this general interest. And what’s this – “:Maintaining public order in cooperation with citizens, police and civil protection , to avoid any criminalization , politicization and manipulation of any protests .” ? Ambiguous at best. What order? What police? What “citizens”? “Civil protection ” of what? Of course, there could be a radical interpretation of this, but also a very conservative one. Despite graffiti like “Stop nationalism” (in Tuzla) and ” All of them must go- Fuck Nationalism.” (Sarajevo), this seems like an attempt to channel the movement into a purely national solution which, for the working class, is not only an impossible “solution” but also what the representatives of international capital undoubtedly hope for.
    Titoism also developed some form of self-management within a state capitalist framework with a bit of private enterprise. The regional heirarchy of financial favours and poverty, was a divide and rule strategy to contain the massive class war there before the EU-provoked civil war massacres. It was a way of pitting region against region in order for the central state to appear to be the sole arbiter of peace which posed as the resolution of conflicts that the central state had itself encouraged. Which was one of the things it had in common with the Ottoman Empire before it, when it maintained; “a precarious equipoise of mutual animosity” between the different regions, as my O level history textbook put it. For some of the contradictions of the period from the end of WWl to the Titoist period, see Yugoslavery (http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/blob_yugo.html).

    Maybe, considering the overwhelming disaster neoliberalism has been, there’s a kind of “inevitability” to this social democratic-cum-statist solution in reaction to neoliberalism. But historical experience has told us that the “inevitable” frying pan-fire false choice uncriticised and approved without attempting to go way beyond this “inevitability” “inevitably” leads to just as bad or worse. There’s no doubt that the most tragic aspects of history are those that are not-self-organised, those that resign themselves to an external authority. It is the fundamental tragic mistake that history and our own consciousness never forgive. Such tragedies repeat themselves, but the second time usually as an even worse tragedy – and no farce.

    It might well be that history will repeat itself if people in different parts of the Balkans don’t explicitly oppose the attempts to manipulate, once again, the different regions against each other: Glas Srpske, the most widely circulated daily newspaper in Bosnia – Herzogovina, even led with a cover story (I thin k on Feb 10th – but I can’t understand Serb), claiming that protesters in the Federation were being armed and prepared for sorties into the Serb-dominated entity (see http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/urging-more-resignations-bosnians-mull-alternatives?). Which is intended to once again turn the working class of the region against each other.

    Whilst positive pollitical “solutions” tend to be imposed as abstract ideals onto the fluidity of the movement, it might well help the current situation to take a critical look at the history of workers’ councils, (e.g. this: http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/councils.html ) with their system of permanently revocable mandated delegates. But this would have to be connected with taking over public buildings, work places etc. and discussing how to connect internationally with people fighting the misery, whilst accompanied by actions directly organising the distribution of food and other necessities. Though, of course, given the lies about what’s happened in each region, simply finding out the truth of the last 30 years would be an extraordinary leap.

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