Language of Austerity (Ben Tre)

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”


The deconstruction of the welfare state is looming with a breathtaking but completely predictable tempo. Speed is everyting. The left had not yet reeled from the post-electoral fuck-up (Janković) and the electoral rout (everyone else on the left), while the civil society is still bemoaning the defeat on the Family Code referendum. Thus the labout unions, what little authority they have left after stabbing Pahor‘s government in the back, are in fact the only ones left (sic!) standing. But for how long? The right wing (correctly) sensed a window of opportunity to reshape this country way beyond anything we’ve ever imagined possible.

Urgency and instability

As pengovsky has shown, “austerity measures” are nothing short of a raid on this country’s assests as well as a showdown between the government of Janez Janša and the labour unions. The PM said as much earlier tonight during a TV interview when he said that his government will not kneel before the unions. He was also – as per usual with him – quick to introduce two key elements: urgency and instability. Janša said that time is of the essence and that cuts in public spending must be made this year, while revenue side of the budget (new and/or higher taxes, mostly) can only come into effect next year. Additionally, rumours are being floated by key SDS people that the government is likely to step down should austerity measures be nixed. With this Janša is threatning a full-blown political crisis only four months into his term. Remember, speed is everything.

Additionally, the minister for ideological apparatus of the state Žiga Turk is telling teachers’ unions that austerity is the only was to go, that they will have to “do more with less” and basically suck it up, regardless of the consequences. Speaking of consequences – only yesterday the minister issued a memo instucting schools and kindergartens to take care of any children which might show up on the day of the strike. Effectively, the minister instructed teachers to work (albeit in a reduced capacity) during the strike. Which isn’t exactly a placating move, if you catch my meaning. Policemen, for example, are required by law to perform their duties even while on strike. Not teachers, policemen. And speaking of cops, the minister for the repressive apparatus of the state (part of it, anyway) Vinko Gorenak just issued a revised set of instructions for police to follow if a state of emergency is declared.

Ben Tre

Do you see the pattern? The PM says we’re out of time and that it’s “my way or the highway”, threatning political crisis. One of his ministers then dictates the terms of the strike to the unions, while the other one slips the phrase “state of emergency” into the media stream. Add to that the fact that the right wing astroturf movements already took aim at abortion and prescription contraceptives while the Catholic Church decried vilefication of private eductaion by the unions, because “private schools are already cheaper for the state from the financial point of view“. You need further proof that this is about privatisation and deconstruction of the welfare state? How’s this for proof: The PM said that “auserity measures are necessary in order to save the welfare state“.

In other words, we have to destory the welfare state in order to save it. Sort of like in ‘Nam

May whatever god they believe in have mercy on their souls…

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

3 thoughts on “Language of Austerity (Ben Tre)”

  1. Slovenia a welfare state???? Damn, which state is poor then?

    Sorry, I really don’t get that Murgle logic. So please enlighten us, how one can destory (whatever that means) something that never existed????

    And finally some good news for more or less everyone. Obviously this government’s austerity measures won’t suffice so DoubleJ will be forced to resign. No, not by Murgle but by Brussels that will install another “Monti” instead (I’m afraid Mićo is considered as not “radical” enough for them). Who cares if that Slovenian “Monti” cuts much much more. The only thing that counts is that the reign of the Prince of Darkness™ is finally over!

  2. Unfortunately, this kind of rhetoric isn’t new, nor is it exclusive to JJ and Slovenia. But then, you know that.

    I’m just saying that JJ’s statements don’t surprise me, as we’ve heard the same things here a few months ago and they’re still being resonated by all the neo liberal politicians in Flanders, with a mayoral election coming up in six months time. These elections are deemed irrelevant for national and regional politics, but in truth, every political party views them as a political barometer. With all these elections happening one after another and all the futile spinning going on inbetween, one wonders if these people have time to govern and if we need governing after all, as the world and the economy kept turning.

    Perhaps ‘welfare state’ is a poisoned description for the social mechanisms a modern day democracy has in place to allow the weaker people in its society to make ends meet and preserve the social and economical rights of those who keep the machinery going on a daily basis, but nevertheless, this system is being destroyed from the inside, slowly but steadily, all over Europe and so in Slovenia as well.

    The one thing Slovenia has in favour of its EU counterparts, is that the people actually still realise what they have and that it’s worth fighting for. Up here and in several other countries *cough*Germany*cough*, most people have become so self indulgent, selfish, fat and lazy that as long as it happens to anyone but them, they won’t get up out of their sofas and keep accusing the unemployed of ‘persistent laziness’, ignoring the fact that many of these have been laid off in the past couple of years, while the banks get fat, the poor stay poor, the rich get rich and the cops get paid to look away as the 1% rules Europe.* It will take a hell of a lot more nastiness for these dazed and confused people to wake up and you can bet your bottom, eh, Euro, we’re bound to get exactly that. To paraphrase the Chinese : we live in interesting times…

    *(a quote – with some alterations – from the Queensrÿche song ‘Spreading The Disease’, which after 24 years is still as relevant as it was back then)

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