Saturday, 23 October 2021 | News today: 0

SDSM lacks true politicians

Mickovski completely disagrees with the opposition as it is now. Mostly with its managerial, personnel, strategic and ideological policies. In his opinion, SDSM lacks everything, but mostly true national politicians

Critical to what, according to him, harms the party he was a member of until recently, Ivor Mickovski criticized the election of Zoran Zaev for party leader. He disagrees with most of the steps the party has undertaken. The man who studied in Italy, graduated from Political Science, is now determined – election terms are to be agreed on before, not after the elections. After that, it is too late.

The true reason for anger with part of the membership lies within the hypocrisy of the current party leadership, in their shiftiness and opportunism. Furthermore, the fact that most of SDSM members do not see tandem Zaev-Sekerinska as a solution, but agree they have broad political knowledge and power to make changes, Mickovski says.

Are there fractions in SDSM?

Mickovski: In my opinion, the term “fractions” is not something typical only for SDSM, since it exists in any organization, especially political. You think there are no fractions in VMRO-DPMNE? They are, of course, well covered and hidden from the public, which is due to their firm organization and, naturally, the profit they have from sticking together. As for SDSM, most of the fractions – Zaev-wingers or Branko-wingers, something created and imposed by this leadership, I think there is a more profound difference. SDSM nowadays identifies itself with Zaev, which reminds of DPMNE’s in its actions and perception. On the other hand, the previous leadership and all those who are on the verge now, have been trying and are trying for diametrically different political offer in terms of leadership. That does not mean honest SDSM members do not exist anymore who fight for better causes. The problem is in the bigger image and the highest leadership, whose weakness and lack of ideas has either created or overemphasized internal divisions.

What is the reason for the reactions from your part and of some other activists who require urgent changes inside the party?

Mickovski: I can not talk on someone else’s behalf, but to be honest – such activists turned out to be just a few. My reactions are due to my honest dedication to the opposition, or democratic cause. I simply could not remain silent to certain processes, which I find inappropriate for a left-oriented party, faced with undemocratic and authoritarian leadership. Although relatively young, I am part of the media and politics for a long time now and I know the burden of politics to articulate a clear and unambiguous action strategy. I do not see that, on the contrary – I see general opposition regression and confusion and I express my criticism accordingly.

What is the essence of the dispute among members who are unsatisfied of the Zaev-Sekerinska tandem?

Mickovski: You see, the dispute nowadays practically does not exist. It is about ideological and strategical disagreement. Let us put aside the low ambitions of this leadership that wants to act opposition for personal benefits. The true reason for anger with part of the membership lies within the hypocrisy of the current party leadership, in their shiftiness and opportunism. Furthermore, the fact that most of SDSM members do not see tandem Zaev-Sekerinska as a solution, but agree they have broad political knowledge and power to make changes. Eventually, that situation was confirmed with the disastrous election results, when SDSM lost large portion of its electorate and I believe the confusion that follows, inevitable divisions, will only increase opposition’s electorate deficiency.


What is Zaev’s problem, his frequent gaffs, wrong personnel policy, his (lack of) charisma?

Mickovski: Zaev’s problem is that he is Zaev. Just like in a more normal society Gruevski’s problem would be that he is Gruevski. Emphasizing his gaffs is evil and paying remarks only to that. I believe if Gruevski did not only have strictly organized public appearances, his gaffs would be way bigger. The problem is that Zaev and Gruevski are very similar, I do not know if they come from the same mental and anthropological matrix, or bad politics twisted them to the extent where we are all the same, but they are like twins. They both have no charisma, except for the false one created by the media. The both care more for the form than the essence. The difference, of course, is that Gruevski holds all the strings of authoritarian government, money, media, election machinery, repressive apparatus, while Zaev has none of those.

Does Skopje’s animosity for Zaev, as a man who comes from the inside, has any impact?

Mickovski: It is absolutely ridiculous. Geographical and territorial aspects have no role in the existing animosity, although this leadership seems to have a different view on the matter. Zaev, just like many persons from outside Skopje, have always had high positions and authority in SDSM. Nowadays, the matter of Macedonian provinces is a matter of the spirit, now where one comes from. Unfortunately, I have to state that principle which has always been respected, valuing the man, personality and its quality, is extinct nowadays. Zaev has surrounded himself with his provincial vassals, has marginalized Skopje’s municipalities and members and implements centralization atypical for SDSM. As contradictory as it sounds, I call it provincial centralization.

Why does SDSM lose nine times in a row?

Mickovski: Because it is faced with authoritarian regime, which monopolized all public and private institutions in the country. Because he managed to present himself as a sole representative of the biggest and most disastrous confusions in Macedonian history ever through a national-political narrative. Because he rules with outrageous  state-sponsored crime. Because he managed to create an amazingly pyramidal organization, controlled by a narrow oligarchy with feudal methods, enhanced by absolute media dominance. Because the generally poor society or categories bought that nebulous of an allegedly strong patriot and leader. Because most of the critical mass sold itself cheaply, or has been marginalized or destroyed. Finally, because the opposition, though aware it can not compete in a single area, lost, did not manage, it failed in its big story and fight for completely different, democratic and free society.

How, in your opinion, can Gruevski be defeated?

Mickovski: On elections, as this government organizes, and all prior to it, definitely no. Gruevski can fall only if a new “resistance”, new energy appears in our politics and society, which would eventually sit him on a negotiating table and force a technical government out. But, you see, it takes brave people to do that, first achieving such resistance and technical government, than really clean up, as much as possible, all partisan institutions, to introduce at least some media balance. We are far from it. The lack of clear political strategy, alternative and action aside, we are far primarily due to the lack of quality people, prepared to sacrifice everything at all costs. People who would sacrifice everything, would set an example, who would be the same with the people that suffers, in other words, people who do not think they have anything to lose, but only create.

We witnessed statements of Crvenkovski, Zaev and Pendarovski, which harmed the general party image in the public, and caused a discord among members and activists? Did those arguments have to be public?

I cannot interpret whether something had or did not have to happen. On the other hand, I do not think Crvenkovski’s statements harmed the party. Zaev harmed himself by making to opposite statements in one day, forced to face the obvious defeat of his own policies, has decided to sacrifice and marginalize Pendarovski, the strongest ace in the opposition’s hand at the time. I must admit I was disappointed by Pendarovski’s position, which only confirmed the reserved expectations from him. Politics is not a defense game, even less when results and facts are not in your favour.

How would you explain the Crvenkovski-Zaev meeting, a try for truce or unity?

Mickovski: None of the above! I think Zaev tried harder than anyone else to interpret the meeting as unity and absolute evil in his statement. The opposition has no benefit from truces, especially not in times of war. On the other hand, Zaev’s call for truce seems to me extremely unserious, stale, demode. I simply think the opposition has no unity, Zaev’s opposition is overwhelmed with unhealthy unity of interests. The problem is that Zaev’s opposition is neither minority, nor relevant.

What is your opinion on Crvenkovski’s role in Macedonian politics? Should he let SDSM find its way itself, or maybe the party still needs his experience?

Mickovski: Few words on Crvenkovski’s role in the party would bring no justice, and neither would his merits in Macedonian politics. Crvenkovski remains to be the most experienced politician in the country, one of the highest quality, in fact the only politician among the state creators. We completely neglected that dimension. The government itself, unfortunately, its long years of black campaigns, even the inevitable mistakes or actions of a certain politician to some extent, made Crvenkovski seem like the only culprit for the situation in the country. It is a stance too cruel for a dictator like Gruevski, even more for a true politician like Crvenkovski. Throwing stones at Crvenkovski turned into a national sport, many people made a career out of it, but its speaks volumes of our hypocrisy and avoiding responsibility. I honestly do not know what should Crvenkovski do, but I am convinced Macedonia still needs him and it is too soon for his political retirement.



Is there space for new political subject in the left wing?

Mickovski: There is definitely space, but the question is how many people have the capacity to do something like that. When I say the opposition does not have unity, and Zaev’s opposition is a minority, I refer to the very fact that the number of people in the opposition is larger than the number that Zaev and Sekerinska can mobilize. The road from possibilities to real political options is long. However, I do not think that it is not possible a new force to be born. We fall short of real unifying factor, and maybe after what we have been through, we are too blind to see it, but once the preconditions are created, the process will consolidate quite fast.

You lost the position as columnist in one of the most read Macedonian portals “Okno” immediately after your public reaction. Was it just a coincidence or there is some other background in the decision?

Mickovski: “Okno” is neither one of the most read portals nor was that ever the goal of the editorship. Without false modesty, I believe that I and several other authors of exceptional quality launched it towards certain popularity in a short period of time. The very decision to cut the cooperation with me shows that that was not appreciated. Anyway, I have a high opinion about the editor in chief and the concept of the portal, but I sincerely think that the decision and the time were leastwise symptomatic, ill-assorted and conditioned. In a very interesting and complicated period for the Macedonian politics, culture and society, I left without a platform, something that mostly harms the readers.

Some of the media that are helped by Soros are serious players online, but failed to make difference in favour of the opposition. Why?

Mickovski: It is no secret or a sin that Soros is, perhaps, the major sponsor of the pro-opposition media. It is a public process and something to be appreciated. What is maybe less for appreciation is the fact that in the recent years some media and journalists were preferred more than others. However, you can not expect too much from media that are, generally, limited to the internet. Macedonia is a traditional society and from that point of view, the biggest influence comes from television, which is mostly controlled by the government. That, in turn, speaks about the government’s domination over the media, which neither chooses asset when it comes to shutting down or attacking free media, nor saves any means and money when it comes to creating their own media. Here raises the question whether the strategy and intentions of Soros were completely correct and honest because, regarding the effects, I think they are almost gone.

What would you change in SDSM’s actions?

Mickovski: It is a too broad question to separate certain aspects. It is clear that I totally do not agree with the opposition. First of all, I refer to its management, staff, strategy and ideology. I think that this SDSM’s composition lacks everything, but mostly, it lacks true politicians of national dimension.

If you would make strategies to fight VMRO-DPMNE, what would you do?

Mickovski: Again were are in the domain of general, but I would separate several things. First I would brought back perception, the feeling of the existence of a true left wing party, committed to the general good, ready to lead a “good” policy. Not a party based on selfish individualism or individual ideology. I would reinforce the military and logistical aspect, without any media presence. I would dedicate to a sincere work on the field, organizational re-organization, especially on local level, and continuous promotion of ideas and solutions. The party has to be major and to have a larger unifying capacity. It should be a party that has to obtain civil dimension, to be able to inflame the people’s passions and souls, to be ready to talk with anyone, but also to know how to create a conflict because today conflict with the government is needed to make changes. Political leadership, strong leadership that knows about politics, and all the human resources available, as well as categories and professions are needed when promoting left wing and libertarian values, social justice, social cohesion, economic reforms, plans against poverty. Such party must have the aura of movement, something even limited in time, but whose sole purpose is to bring us to the right path. As I said, people who are willing to sacrifice and will prove that on the field and will inflame the passion and will liberate the people from fear. Something must be happening, you have to be a party with actions which are radically democratic, radically social, progressive. Party-exercise room, separated from the state and the corrupt institutions, ready to return the state policy,  ready to change the state. I could write a book on the topic, these are just some simple guiding ideas.

One of the basic things that helps VMRO-DPMNE to win are the construction works, while during the election campaign we did not hear any major project by SDSM. Did that have any impact on the election results?

Mickovski: That is just one of the many empty phrases of the government, of their populism, hiding outrageous criminal. SDSM”s fault at the elections was the fact that it got entangled in VMRO-DPMNE’s matrix. Yes, it does offer empty phrases, it promises mountains and valleys. But, what is the effect of promising more than the same promises, more then what the people already have, or more precisely, does not have with Gruevski? You are just a bad copy of the catastrophic original! To the contrary, the promises given to the people should be simple and made of tireless work to replace the current regime. Now, the essence of such promises is quite complicated, and it is necessary to choose a clear position and keep to it to the end. So, I say, the promises should be proven, not just said. If the citizens recognize the sincerity in the process and follow you, the government is doomed.

I have an impression that “Return of the middle class” was not much understood by the majority of the population. Do you agree with that?

Mickovski: It is a nice idea, but it is just an idea not a concept. There are many other aspects that need to be addressed outside the economic or the social field. Also, you can not rekindle people’s hearts or passion by merely the call for “return of the middle class”. So, there is nothing complicated in the sole offer, it was just not enough and unprofessionally carried out.

It is obvious that the political battle in which the government is accused of fascism and dictatorship is not accepted by many people, is there any alternative for this failed tactic of the opposition?

Mickovski: It just seems so, because that perception is already imposed and the people know it well. The question is, what to  do about it?! What are we doing to combat this dictatorship? We make up affairs and talk about the middle class?! We go at elections, and then we do not recognize the results? You see, I am convinced that the people know the power very well, and they perfectly know what is happening. The real problem is that they do not see any alternative to dictatorship, they do not see any solution, and they resume playing the dance. The alternative, as I said, in essence, is a matter of politics and emotion. Currently, we have none.

Unlike Crvenkovski, who managed to bring together all opposition factors, even those with national inclinations that were against Gruevski, now SDSM even failed to use Zernovski as the mayor of the richest municipality in the country. How do you explain that?

Mickovski: This indicates that, obviously, it is a question of political incompetence, shortsightedness, but it also confirms the fact that the procedures and the concept of Crvenkovski were correct, gave results and a recipe for the future as well. Apart from incompetence, I can not give you another explanation for the current dissolution and political hara-kiri on the opposition front. It perhaps, talks about a certain stubbornness and obstinacy, as well as the lack of a united and a democratic capacity of the current leadership. As for Zernovski, without going into details, from the beginning of the current leadership, it was noticeable that SDSM waived any cooperation or support to Zernovski. We saw almost no reaction from Zaev and Sekerinska neither in case of the barbaric attack in Center Municipality, nor for inspection pressures and protests. Even in the Miroslav Sipovic case, the reaction of the top officials was anemic and weak.

With all the available resources, VMRO-DPMNE  has managed to reach hundreds of thousands of people and present them its program. SDSM wrote columns and was more active on the social networks. The impression is that you can not turn away from elitism and the idea of ​​coming to power without much efforts?

Mickovski: You speak well, with all the resources that DPMNE has. The government has been entering the homes of all Macedonians for eight years, through the media, through various pressures and bribes, through institutions so the least problem for them is to print thousands of copies of their famous programmes and share them. The programmes are part of a broader package with which the government confuses the public. It does not mean that the opposition should not have a programme, but I would not have put so much emphasis on solutions for the programme. Finally, they are not for waiving, for empty promises, but for something has real meaning. The opposition has completely failed on that field. It re-entered the government’s dance pompously announcing programme, and then was almost two months late with its promotion. It spent some incredible amounts of money for the initial pages of the social networks, which I hardly believe that that had some effects. And again, it is not a question of elitism, it is called amateurism. Elitism is to buy all the banners in the country and to place an image, not a text, but merely a picture of your programme as if some luxury car or apartment that sells itself.  But we must always recognize VMRO-DPMNE’s organization and work. They do that with a tremendous misuse of public funds, but as if the citizens do not see that.


By: Biljana Zafirova

Photo: Gjorgji Licovski