To the beginning of Communism in aphorisms

Communism in Aphorism
(continued ...)

Aphorisms by Zarko Petan

    Presented by Ljubo Sirc

      What was socialism really like?

      What did socialism feel like without the lies? It was announced with fanfares how wonderful and prosperous everything was going to be under socialism:

      We had wonderful plans for planning.

      But nothing came of it. Although he studied economics, Petan had little to say about the economic failures. People adopted the Party rules with some hesitation:

      Before joining the Party, he crossed himself.

      But rewards followed:

      From his father he had inherited a ten-room villa plus his proletarian origin.

      And so on, until

      For himself, he demanded superhuman rights.

      Life was not equally easy for everybody:

      Before the war, we had nothing. Now we have twice as much.

      No wonder some people felt

      I live in socialism; my boss lives in socialism de luxe.

      In an even more distortedly sophisticated way, people thought:

      For everything we do not have we should be grateful to our communist leaders.

      On the other hand, there was worse than having little:

      Under socialism, the State was the worst criminal.

      The political police and the Party members lived better than the rest, but quite a few committed suicide:

      It is easiest to dirty one's hands amidst political cleansing.

      Or, putting it somewhat differently,

      There are ends that corrupt the best means.

      Yet the communists reigned supreme and felt superior:

      The communists refused to believe in life after death because they thought they would last forever.

      In contrast, the rest of the population moved backwards:

      I came back from the future, and being disillusioned, progressed towards the past.

      The same thought was also expressed in terms of personalities:

      Under socialism, I had been waiting for the demise of Tito. His death occurred but nothing changed. Now I can be saved by my own passing away only.

      What next?

      Socialism was a progressive ideology until eliminated by capitalism.

      In fact,

      In 1989, socialism died of shame.

      It seemed that one heard

      Marx's voice from heaven: Excuse me, comrades, I've gotten it all wrong.

      The danger is that illusions will persist, since Marx talked about a second stage of full communism:

      It is a pity we did not live to see full communism; it would have sobered even its most fervent advocates.

      Illusions persisted and most bad things continue to be blamed on capitalism:

      Capitalism is in a serious crisis, it no longer provides jobs for the unemployed from socialist countries.

      A strange triumph of Tito was

      Tito saved us from Stalin and the Russians. I wonder who had brought them here in the first place.

      Despite the absence of the Soviets, many a Slovene thought

      My fatherland is abroad

      and tried to escape.

      How to get out?

      Originally, we looked for a way into socialism. Now we are looking for a way out.

      One almost felt sorry for the communists:

      It is a sad day when revolutionaries have to fight for the status quo.

      The results of this travail were, more often than not, surprising:

      The market is being introduced; already one can buy politicians.

      In other words:

      Bare anti-communism does not abolish communism.

      People are beginning to wonder

      Am I now an ex-anticommunist?

      Difficult to know, since

      Our capitalists were communists when young.

      Suspicion is rife:

      Many returned the Party card but kept the Party mentality.

      Particularly interesting:

      The communists do not wish to be responsible for the sins of their fathers, they just wish to stay put in their villas.

      Do institutional changes help?

      What is the use of democratic rules if nobody abides by them?

      The result?

      Instead of getting closer to Western Europe, we seem to have overshot and ended up in the Wild West.

      What is wrong with capitalism? People live just to consume:

      The best way to fight consumer society is poverty.

      Life lacks excitement:

      What is life like under the rule of law? Dull.

      Now we can see how bad capitalism really is:

      Socialism is dead; tomorrow I shall attack capitalism.

      But let's not forget

      Socialism is the father of post-socialism.

      Maybe this is why so many aspects remind us of times past also under the new dispensation:

      In socialist Slovenia, hardly 5% of the Slovenes were members of the Communist League. In democratic Slovenia, 50% of politicians are ex-communists - do communists multiply?

      Not just politicians:

      The former secret policemen are people for all seasons, usable also under democracy.

      One is led to pessimism:

      The more sinister the past, the more promising the future.

      An accompanying thought Our democracy reeks of old times of repression.

      And so to the top:

      In the Cabinet or the President of all Slovenes, there are no former democrats amongst a great number of former communists.

      Mr Milan Kucan, the incumbent, calls himself the President of all Slovenes because, after 1989, he proclaimed that he would no longer look only after the communists but after all Slovenes. Such words could not be more welcome, but Petan believes

      In our democracy most can be achieved by sticking to the Party line.


      There used to be privileged Party members; now there are privileged former Party members.

      Rather less funny is this truth:

      The abuse of freedom is called liberalism.

      This refers to the Liberal Democratic Party issued from the communist youth and consisting mostly of former young communists. Although this Party was admitted as a member to the Liberal International, the more sober part of it has not so far succeeded in steering it towards real liberalism. Petan even said, when this party was firmly entrenched as the core of the government of Slovenia, that

      Our government does not deserve an opposition.

      The Liberal Democratic Party remained beholden to President Kucan despite the fact that his slogan is that Slovenia must be based on anti-fascism - a communist "aphorism" meaning, in effect, that Slovenia must remain communist. The Liberal Democratic Party was obsessed with preventing genuine liberals from having their confiscated property restored to them. The reason for confiscation was not just that the communists thought that they could manage property better - which they could not - but that the concentration of all property in their hands guaranteed them absolute power. Such thoughts approximate the public opinion as developed under communism:

      Public opinion is the sum total of individual errors.

      If the attempt is made to stop free thinking, thinking itself deteriorates:

      We do not all think the same way - some of us do not think at all.

      No wonder Petan asks

      Have you noticed that communists never use the past tense in their speeches?

      It is easy for the communists to persuade a large part of the population that property should not be returned in spite of the prospect of higher productivity under private ownership and, hence, better life for the vast majority. The Slovenes reflect

      In the Human Rights Charter, I miss the right to live better than my neighbour.

      Unfortunately, it is difficult to work for the future if one's mind is stuck in the past:

      Having yesterday's brains, they want to tell us what the future holds for us.

      Democratic Slovenia One consequence of the strong position of the ex-communists in post-communist Slovenia:

      In Slovenia, we have democracy but no use for it.

      In fact, those entrenched in power, especially by controlling property, even believe

      Now that we have democracy, we no longer need it - ponder those in power.

      The easy transition of the communists bodes badly

      Democrats who were communists yesterday could turn into fascists tomorrow.

      To the beginning of Communism in aphorisms