By Boiken Abazi*
The cholera virus has spread in the Republic of Albania. For quite some time, this news has been ignored by the people and politicians. Cholera first hits the bowels. It’s a deadly virus, but not to everyone. There are political parties such as DP and its political allies in the coalition that not only have been infected quickly, but they’ve been the first ones to spread the virus across, a disease they’re accustomed to and cannot carry on without it. Such parties justify themselves by pointing the cholera symptoms, which also appear regularly in SP and its satellites. The latter parties boast unanimously, with the argument that their intestines have not been fully rotten, they don’t vomit venom every night and they haven’t got as many marks on their faces as the political parties in the government who are badly infected by this virus. Amongst these two large groups, there are also political parties such as SMI, which are the consequence and the cause of spreading the disease all over the state institutions. Parties like Red and Black Alliance, whose leader has not fully recovered from the infectious Central Election Commission of 1996, have been recently informed about the virus. Meanwhile, the elections in the cholera time are approaching, the old alliances come to an end, new ones are conceived and the people get angry and bewildered.
This disease of the current political parties cannot be fought without finding the cause of it first and the conditions that keep it existent. Since 1993, Republic of Albania started the structural adjustment program appointed by IMF, initially supported by DP and eventually by all major political parties in the country. These programs have denied once and for all the opportunity of the country to have a transition as quick as possible, cutting all the public expenses drastically, destroying the education and health system, privatizing and selling all the main assets for a few coins and spreading the virus of neoliberal cholera across the country. On one side, the economy lost its potential, but on the other side, one of the wildest species was created, the worst mankind has seen: government leaders, who have established their businesses by making use of the political powers and turned politics into business, otherwise known as “govern-businessmen” The latter are the main agents of the spread and the existence of the epidemic cholera in our country.
This illness of the current political parties cannot be fought without finding its origins and the conditions that keep it alive. Since 1993, the Republic of Albania entered the path of the structural regulation determined by the IMF, initially supported by the DP and then by the main political parties in the country. These programs deprived Albania once and for all the opportunity to have an easy transition, by drastically cutting all public expenses, by destroying education and health system, by selling and privatizing for almost nothing all the main national assets and by spreading in the country the neo-liberal culture. On one hand, the economy lost its potential and on the other, politics saw the creation of one of the most savage species seen by humanity: people of power who raise their businesses through politics and who have turned politics into a business. In other words “business-power men” The latter are the main agents of the spreading and survival of the cholera in our country.
There’s no doubt that Berisha, as the mighty ““business-power man””, and DP must leave the office at any condition. After 1997, after controlling all state institutions, following the 2005 elections that brought him to power, after wild privatizations (such as OSSH) and the destruction of the economy, after the victims of the Gerdec blast, after the killings of protestors on January 21, after one death of a miner each month, after the bill on wastes, after the people he claims he represents burned themselves alive in the centre of Tirana as a sign of desperation, after the criminalization of the state apparatus, after the outrages and desecration that he’s done to the national cause, Berisha and “business-power men” who surround him, not only should they leave office, but they must be trialed and punished by law. Having the slightest dilemma about this is out of question. The solution of the problem gets complicated by the fact that the opposition too, has regularly shown the symptoms of the disease.
There are moments when even the temporary alliances with sworn enemies are justifiable. But, is the latest Rama-Meta alliance an agreement that the instrument justifies the purpose: the removal of DP? The matter of Rama-Meta alliance shouldn’t be judged superficially, but first of all, SP should be analyzed substantially in order to understand the purpose of this party beyond the removal of Berisha. The program objectives of SP are very similar to “third way” of Anthony Giddens, which work out in eco-politic level, completely inside neo-liberalism and see a fiscal mechanism of progressive taxation system with skepticism. SP has its “business-power men” who are appointed in charge of town halls, municipalities, parliament, and around the party. The cholera marks can be spotted on the faces of new members that Rama has brought in the Party. With the “fertility” of Giddens in his mind and with the “business-power men” above, SP hasn’t had the temerity to include in its political program the taxation norms proposed by the party, a tax which would transfer a part of the burden to “business-power men”. SP will not be remedied from this disease. To make it even worse, Rama, through patriotism, has decided to support the colonial negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo, which are being carried out for domestic matters of Kosovo, without a single condition imposed to Serbia. So, the depth of the problem stands on the fact that SP doesn’t offer real solutions, because it’s lacking fundamental principles and that the virus has penetrated beyond vital organs.
The alliance with SMI cannot be nothing more than an epidemic cholera alliance, which ties the “business-power men” of both parties together. It makes no sense to think that after a possible victory of this alliance in the electoral battle against Berisha, Meta will regret it and is going to decide with his freewill to admit the punishment he deserves for the thefts he’s committed. As it is expected, through this alliance, Meta will certainly secure the protection for himself and his close collaborators. But, even though this is clear, the problem “Berisha” still stands, along with the question of what actions should be taken.
It is difficult to think of more than three possibilities for the people who are facing this neoliberal epidemic disease. The first possibility takes two forms – a deliberate infection and indifference – both of which lead to the same outcome at the end: a wider spread of the disease. The second possibility is to vote for cholera-political alliance with many oppositional parties that can achieve the political rotation by disorienting the disease and weakening the DP, regardless of the severity. The third possibility is the canalization of the anger towards the commitment for the establishment of a new political subject in the Republic of Albania, which would open a free political territory, wherefrom the real fight against cholera would start. In the absence of such well organized and emancipated subject, the commitment that combines the principle with strategy, keeping the same objective, would require including the combination of the last two possibilities simultaneously. Those who choose the cholera coalitions, without being ready for the destruction in the near future of the creators of these coalitions, are part of the group of those people who are used to this infection and are not surprised anymore, or part of the group of those people who are unaware of the disease they have.
In the book “Love in the time of cholera”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has used the word “colera” as a homonym, which in the Spanish language could be defined as widespread disease of cholera across the country where the narration of the book is happening, but it also means the wrath of the people against neocolonial rule. In the time of neo-liberalism in the Republic of Albania, those who can go against the cholera alliances are the alliance of angry people against injustice.
This alliance must be cultivated through love for our nation, for the constitution of a new organization which offers to people a fresh trust on the political engagement. For intellectuals, the commitment for the creation of this subject will originate from the mind, as a necessity to free imagination and to link the thought with the political action. Meanwhile, for the poorer, this commitment must start at the point of impact of cholera: the bowels. This anger that is born in the closed bowels must never be undermined. This anger can soon turn into an unrestrained collective anger. This is the anger of hungry and dirty people who, if organized, they can take over the power and punishes “business-power men”. This is the anger that bears all the potential to turn a battle for bread, into an effort for justice and equality.
* Independent columnist in Tirana
** Note: Articles in the OP-ED column represent the positioning of their authors and not necessarily the editorial positioning of IBNA-Independent Balkan News Agency