By Saranda Pajaziti*
In general, the active participation of the citizens is identified with the “participation in voting”, but beside this form of contribution, there are also other processes, through which people can have an impact in political processes, such as demonstrations, protests, petitions, referendums, public demands, etc, in which they express their discontent about the current policies and where they demand a better standard of living. We have seen the second form of active participation of society quite often in the past few weeks with the protests against theft at the Kosovo Power Corporation which carried on with protests against general theft in Kosovo. These protests which were organized by the “Group of Organized Citizens”, besides showing a political culture of our society, they produced the first spark of light at the end of tunnel, which for some was only a known phrase and a dose of imaginary optimism, but which this time appears as a powerful and penetrating truth.
How was the participation?
In numerical terms, the participation of people in these protests was not as massive as it was expected. In his work “What is illuminism”, Emmanuel Kant says that the reason doesn’t correspond with the numbers of those who claim something, but with the power of common thought for common causes.
Who supported these protests?
Besides the common people, a large support has also been shown by many organizations, clubs and trade unions, the role of which has been somnolent for many other processes, this time they woke from the winter sleep. It’s interesting that today we have hundreds of these, but we haven’t really been satisfied with their work, except for some examples of several social and political organizations which have shown their success in several aspects, but there’s still room for debate, as to whether this involvement has guaranteed citizens a better life or whether their work has just been a “show”. The large number of organizations that we have on one side and the lack of seriousness that they show on the other, would be best explained in the Freudian psycho analysis. In this case it would be understood like this: Today we have many organizations as a compensation for the lack of organization, we have many universities as a compensation for the lack of education, we have many shops as a compensation for the lack of production, we have an Academy of Sciences as a compensation of the lack of science, we have many political parties as a compensation of the lack of political pluralism and we have political leaders as a compensation of the lack of a true leader.
Who is behind these protests?
The question which may arise in everyone’s mind is this: Who is behind these protests? We have seen from experience that collective citizen pressure doesn’t always turn into a sustainable and powerful organizational force. They are often exerted in a sporadic way. We have many cases in the world where the engagement of society, endorsement of petitions, protests or referendums do not require a preliminary organization and a leader. They can be organized in a spontaneous manner, as it was the case in Bulgaria, where the people overthrew the government, a model that shows that spontaneous protests exist and this was the nature of the protests against theft at the Kosovo Power Corporation which became a protest against theft in general in Kosovo.
According to two American researchers, Almond and Verbas, this active spontaneous society is explained in three ways: participating culture, a culture of subject and a parochial culture. The first is that form of culture which includes the voluntary and effective participation of citizens. The second one is that form of culture which includes limited and inefficient citizen participation, therefore passive. The third form of culture consists on the lack of the sense of citizen awareness, individuals that have neither the will, nor the capacity to participate in political processes.
What political culture does our society represent?
The Albanian society can be identified in three forms of political culture. We have those individuals who see their participation in political processes as efficient, but identify it with their involvement in debates which usually take place in café bars or in Facebook. There are also some of those who have lost their belief that they can have an impact on these processes and as such, they exclude themselves from any kind of activity, be it that of the participation in these debates or internet forums. We also have another part of society which is in miniature, but which has a will and believe that massive collectivism will have an impact and will serve to raise the awareness and human point of view toward social problems of our society. This category includes the loyal participants in the protests against theft.
Are protests the only solution?
Compared to other examples in the world, the Albanian society is yet to realize its power. Protests may not be the only solution, but they may be the path toward the solution. We need a greater organization, a more powerful support, time and extraordinary dedication. The case of Bulgaria and many other cases in the world showed this.
It’s sufficient for us to have will and desire.
Thus, meaning should be given to humanism, for a better life, for a healthier youth, for a stronger state, to show that we’re here and that we continue to have a strong bond with the life in community, with organization and government and that we are part of a state forming process.
By protesting, we show a constitutional patriotism which implies love toward the country and respect for the law. He who doesn’t steal from his people and punishes those who steal is the one who respects law the most.
*The author is a political wonk and member of the Coordinating Council of the Political Club of Students, columnist of written media in Kosovo.
** 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.