You can say what you want about social democracy, there is no lack of rituals. Even the boys greet each other edgy with “Friendship Comrade”. An incredibly cumbersome word combination of oddities that you first have to dare to say. Especially public. Almost like a confession of faith: “Yes, me too.” And once you’ve overcome the shame of falling behind, then comes the pride: Yes, me too!
We’ll do it, you and me. Because “no higher being saves us, no god, neither emperor nor tribune”, as the “Internationale” put it. Another anachronism, another tradition, a ritual. Sung at May Day marches and February commemorations, liberation ceremonies, Victor Adler plaque award ceremonies and more. Written in 1871.
Social Democracy likes to look back. She has much to be proud of and more and more that she likes to hide. The complete lack of a vision for the future, for example, from which one could derive something like a historical mission or even just a raison d’être.
In 1871, yes, people were progressive back then. Inspired by the task of liberating the actually oppressed, exploited masses, educating them, providing them with equal rights and opportunities and ending in a social-reformist program what the French and industrial revolutions had begun.
Today, on the other hand, people fight less for human rights than with the fact that historically everything has actually been achieved – at least in this country. Glass ceilings have been smashed, access to education, housing, jobs, perspectives – all of this is now open to everyone. Not exactly the same – that would be an illusion – but basically. And the social democracy? Like her former protégés, she has risen to the highest offices and income brackets in the state.
Today it’s no longer about breaking through, conquering, building up, being progressive – no, today it’s about managing, about maintaining. It’s about preservation. Progressive was yesterday.
The really fat years are long behind us.
The world is moving again. The economic crisis, the refugee crisis, climate change, the corona pandemic – all of these have challenged us enormously over the past decade and a half and will continue to do so in the future. Challenges are growing, only the social democracy, today led by “Vranitzky’s henchmen”, permeated by opportunists and a craving for recognition, is no longer able to accept them…
No, a country populated by indomitable Pannonians takes the bull by the horns, dedicates itself to the social issues of the 21st century and has – hear, hear! – great success with it. Instead of ducking away, distracting, belittling or strutting around like a teacher with a raised index finger, they simply tackle it and do it better. Progressive, looking ahead (and towards the people) – the way social democracy should be!
Or to put it another way: A huge problem for Löwelstrasse. It shows the unbelievable weakness of the federal party, its colorless, unimaginative and visionless leadership.
So it’s no wonder that Doskozil and Fürst are now at the top of the hit list. One police general, hero of the refugee crisis and governor with an absolute majority. The other social worker, journalist, professor and, as state manager, the right hand of the boss.
If it were possible to drive a wedge between them, the spook would be over.
And that is exactly what the Politburo seems to be trying to do. For the first time in a long time, Rendi and Co. see the chance to go on the offensive against their “party friends” – to silence their annoying critics once and for all. The method of choice: “divide and rule” – as simple as it is successful over and over again.
If you’re not prepared for it, there are gaps in the defense, you get unsettled, trust is destroyed – it’s as good as over. The plan is merciless:
1. Recruit the envious: Those who want more than they deserve – their greed makes them your allies.
2. Unnerve the supporters. The good simple party members. Use their credulity on you. Spread rumors, weakening your opponents’ support.
3. Choose your victim and destroy the “Winning Team”. Because you can’t win against them together. Turn the tables and “help” them spot the enemy in their own ranks.
4. Set yourself up for defeat and let them suffer for it.
5. Extend your hand in reconciliation – on your terms.
6. Rejoice, you reign supreme. About ruins!
Based on these considerations, the rumors about a split of the Burgenland state party are nothing more than the second stage of the plot described above – presumably planned and executed by influential circles around party leader Rendi-Wagner.
Ordinary party members become unsettled. People for whom their social democracy is sacred and who want anything but a split in the movement should begin to doubt their governor. “Is the dosko going too far?”
The transition to stage three is then very smooth. If the number of angry emails and phone calls to the party headquarters in Eisenstadt slowly increases, things go on the defensive. If Dosko and Fürst feel compelled to move out and deny it, then the damage has already been done and cannot be repaired anytime soon. That’s roughly where we are now.
The question now is whether the team will allow itself to be divided – or whether it will be able to withstand the pressure. Should people allow themselves to be carried away into questioning trust in one another and heads may even start to roll as a result, there is a risk of a first measurable setback in the local elections in October. Or as the federal party would say: Mission accomplished.
But maybe I’m wrong. We will see.