Nomen est omen

ANALYSIS  Zoran Gajić Published: 22. 02. 2024.

Mastering irresponsibility

Stop making sense!

I’m not falling for the exemption anymore: we are all responsible! That hasn’t interested me ever since I realized that they have committed so much evil in my name and left it to me to deny it as much as I please. Even the distinction between political or civil responsibility and guilt does not help. It has to be said in time ‘Not in my name!’ and something to be done with that statement.

And what have we made with mass taking to the streets? Civil processions or secular moleben? It played out in silence like a provincial play and blended into the spectacle of weakness with which it is successfully being managed in Serbia. The ruler’s hysteria and his pathetic have lasted long enough for him to succumb to the role he thought he would deceive us with. Why then do we continue to participate in his theater of resentment? Well, we don’t need him to feel anger and the desire for revenge, don’t we see that we can emulate each other as well?

It is more than clear – clear to the point of despair – that the people in Serbia need power, and they still think that a state that protects the public interest is possible in the war-ravaged periphery, an area where peace was made with the warlords, criminals, and murderers who along with the territory got us to manage as well.

People still don’t want to see that their children were being killed by the power and that it is also killing them today. But what the citizens who gathered the other day sense, is that this regime, Aleksandar Vučić and his million-strong army of irresponsible and blackmailed people, sympathizers under duress, have nothing to do with the massacres which took place at the beginning of May. Their ‘cause’ goes beyond the regime and that is why the opposition does not dare make a peep, nor has anything to say that everyone hasn’t said already and showed that they have no other proposal than to leave the matter to others – the experts. Both the club and the hoe are for asking the experts.

And are we allowed to hear the unspoken? Are we allowed to say that this was not peer violence at school, but the exercise of power over peers?

The list of causes, and determinants of these events, has been completed and now every one of us can say it by heart. But no one seems to realize that at the base of the community is politics and that this is exclusively the power’s politics when it is not on the side of the people. The oppositionists are playing dumb if they are denying that they are also in power – not only because they are finally sitting in the legislative assembly, but also because they think that politics without power is the stupidity of fanatics and naive people, civic stupidity. Which after all, they would not dare say openly.

And are we allowed to hear the unspoken? Are we allowed to say that this was not peer violence at school, but the exercise of power over peers? That the one from Mladenovac is not a terrorist but a colleague and associate who addresses the cops with respect?

No, it’s not society’s fault, it’s you who do not want to admit that it’s the power that regulates our relationships and calls them social. It is in the interest of those who rule that the culprit be found by naming it and that our passions be calmed enough so that we do not see it in them and not to ask for another power to which we will voluntarily surrender. It’s your fault that you don’t see that the boy was driven by the instinct of self-preservation through competition and dominance, and both by the need for recognition, which Vučić was surprised by when he affectingly spelled out the ‘eponymous verb’ – disparagement – which the youngster from Mladenovac communicated as a motive.

That’s right, both of them were humiliated and belittled, and neither of them was recognized as much as they were told or shown by the actions of others that it was required. And is there a better example of recognition in our world than the one that dominates and rules? And Vučić is not the only one. There are wolves all you want and they are everywhere, even in each of us when we give into them and allow their will.

Žarko Korać set things right – politics is politics, and a clinic is a clinic – but he didn’t make a problem out of it either. There is also no space in Jutarnji List. I agree, an in-depth approach is necessary if we want to understand what happened and if we want to look at the complexity of a situation that cannot be systematized because it is not a mathematical problem, but a human one and a situation in which human behavior is determined – in customs, morals, and habits, in other words, in the state of weakness. For strength, however, we must turn to each other and take time for politics, because it is not only the perpetrators of these crimes, but also their unconscious mandators who do not seek clinical help.

We should also be reminded that mental illness is a socio-cultural and historical fact and that what is abnormal in one society (and moment) may not be in another. The other, which was the reason for the anthropological turn in psychiatry, today is no longer an exotic other whose life was different from ours because we had not yet had the opportunity to meet and reign over each other. Today, otherness develops on the basis of power and resistance to rule, and the values ​​whose system we long for multiply and differ according to as many criteria as we are able to create differences and distances from one’s neighbor. Who then can say that they are psychopaths, except for the power that wants not to be asked about responsibility and that would like to gather the obedient ones and declare the disobedient ones as intruders? And if we were to accept it, we would implicitly admit that we ourselves are ready to govern and do the same. And do not be fooled, this is not a theoretical and philosophical problem, reality brings us rebellions of people who don’t want power, but they are also not happening in our country.

The pacification by war and violence of the power that controls and rules crime makes every radical step in Serbia a state-building act.

There are no rebellions in our country, just as there is no radicalism that leads young people to their deaths with fatalism and mass murders when their demands remain without political articulation of the proposals they may actually have. And those suggestions require work and patience, as well as for clinical help with our mental troubles and problems.

It is a matter of global phenomenon, so the problem should be understood as such. Mass radicalization is a consequence of something called ‘de-institutionalization’ and it is not just about a captive state – that is our problem and we need to return to it – but about a weakening of institutions that makes even those who rule stretched too thin. But what is characteristic of the radicalism that is talked about when it is being threatened and intimidated in a police manner by terrorism, is the loss of political orientation of the broadest layers of society, the people, who until the end of the last century (yes, until the neoliberal reaction) had a way of defending and building their identity and dignity. The fall of the workers’ and communist parties in the capitalist world, their destruction and abandonment in the countries of socialism, occurred within the historical and political conjuncture when progress for a large part of the lower classes and layers was no longer possible – possible in the political sense – and which were then reduced to social and economic exclusion.

There is neither politics in Serbia, nor radicalism which would lack politics. The pacification by war and violence of the power that controls and rules crime makes every radical step in Serbia a state-building act. The power is responsible for the murder of peers at school, as much as it is for the massacre in Mladenovac and its surroundings. Politically, those responsible should resign one by one and show that the politics they lead exceed their capacity as individuals and that they must therefore look for better and braver among themselves, concerning power, citizens must ask themselves how much the way of governing is considered rational corresponds to the reality in which we live in.

It’s not, therefore, a question of criminalizing radicalism either, even though children from the lower classes end up as victims of criminal organizations. Nor is there radicalization of the actions of the poor, nor is crime ‘autonomous’ in the countries of former socialism. And it is common knowledge among criminologists and world police experts: the protection of organized crime in former socialist countries is provided by the state and the security services, not the mafia. There is no mafia in Serbia, it is a ‘Western’ product that we did not import, and its production will soon cease because the discovery that comes from the ‘East’ has already been received in Latin America and is offered as a far more effective way of mastering and governing organized crime, which again, is turning out to be the only possible way of doing business in a deinstitutionalized world in which even those who govern can no longer do it the way they used to.

Even if we did think that governing ideas were the ideas of the governing class, today we know that ideas of governing create them.

To say that there are honorable people means nothing until they show and prove themselves that they are. Until then, we are at their mercy, and everyone who has ambitions to rule knows this very well. The illusion that we live in peace is only our own, the civil one. But the problem is that we are also finding it out slowly, and at first occasionally. The war taking place in Serbia is a war against civil society, and the attitude of citizens towards civil society organizations is only a symptom of a deeper disturbance of mutual trust. Hate, envy, and fear are the dominant affects that have long been present even in children, but now it’s the parents’ turn, those who have been shaped by the war of the nineties and who have no responsibility for the crimes committed in the name of their parents or that their parents managed to commit themselves. For them, war is an imaginary thing and a matter of fiction, even before the video games and consoles that their kids will experience as training simulators.

But a lot of kids play with that nonsense, and they don’t end up killing anyone! Stop making sense! ‘Violence on television only affects those children whose parents act like television characters.’ (Talking Heads) Even in this case, television is more to blame than video and computer games. We receive televised messages that make us helpless or forced to imitate. Publicity and importance make television the power, and that’s why, even from the side of the media, the power is the one that committed these crimes.

Even if we did think that governing ideas were the ideas of the governing class, today we know that ideas of governing create them. I am writing about that power here, and it is not abstract, and even less pure, as one could hear that evil is pure and primordial when created by a child. Power spreads through society as violence that we accept and invest in it the interests that we fight for today by competing and overpowering until submission. That’s why what happened at school is not peer violence, but the violence of the power against a child who was subjected to the world of adults and deprived of his childhood by violating the rights of the child. And that this is not speculation is proven by the fact that today all reactionaries complain about those rights and see in them the reason for the misfortune that befell the Serbian family and parents.

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