“If we analyze the offers, whether those made directly to workers or for some rapid development of Macedonia by reducing the number of unemployed, we can see that they are extremely unrealistic and unfeasible, and the past period has proven this. If we take a look at everything that has been offered to the citizens, we are far from where we should be today, as nothing of this has been “realized”, stated Pece Risteski, President of the Trade Union of Industry, Energy and Mining, in an interview for CIVIL Media.
CIVIL Media: Are the socially disadvantaged categories in Macedonia abused in a political or electoral context? What are your realizations and analysis?
RISTESKI: If we analyze the entire period of pluralistic Macedonia, we come to an unequivocal conclusion that in different periods of time they have been differently abused in many aspects. The socially, vulnerable categories do not only include those who have no employment, they also include workers who work, but do not get paid or receive amounts that are not enough for them to have a normal life. Especially workers in the public sector, they are always subjected to various pressures for political purposes. The fact is that in this past period of independent Macedonia, workers, perhaps not all but a good part of them, have been abused in almost all election cycles in various ways.
CIVIL Media: Which promises for social justice are realistic, and which promises are a kind of political corruption, or are playing with the expectations of the voters?
RISTESKI: We have a situation in which everything is promised before elections, with which political candidates try to win the sympathy of the electorate and win their vote, which will enable them to come to power. Those promises are quite unrealistic, which I also expect to happen in this election cycle. If we analyze the offers, whether those directly to workers or for some rapid development of Macedonia by reducing the number of unemployed, and so on, we can see that they are extremely unrealistic and unfeasible, and the past period has proven this. If we take a look at everything that has been offered to the citizens, we are far from where we should be today, as nothing of this has been “realized
CIVIL Media: What are the social and political consequences from abusing the issues in the area of social justice?
RISTESKI: The consequences for the workers and the citizens are individual and collective. Because the promise for massive and quality employment that ensures a certain level of existence cannot be realized according to the promises and according to the expectations of the workers. The capacity of the state and of the state institutions, of what is called economy, does not rely on the promises and expectations, so unproductive employments cannot be realized. The consequences are, nevertheless, negative in terms of realizing what has been promised in the pre-election cycles.
CIVIL Media: What can and what should the institutions, political parties, unions and civil society do in order to prevent the abuse of socially disadvantaged categories, and overall the topics in the area of social justice in the political and electoral context?
RISTESKI: We all bear the responsibility of presenting the citizens and workers with the real expectations in this situation in which Macedonia is in. Regardless of who comes to power, in reality, we cannot expect much. Even with the best wishes and best programs, the government that will come to power has no chance of realizing those promises. Because of this, we need to reach the consciousness of every citizen, so that the citizen can make a real assessment on whether all the offers that are given by the political parties – candidates for power, are feasible or not. And not to just casually accept everything they offer, that when they come to power – we will receive all of that. With our activity we have to make it clear to the trade unions and NGOs, regardless if it concerns a youth or other target group for example, that every offer has to be assessed, and not just accept it as it is. To give your vote just like that means a vote has been thrown away, and tomorrow you will be disappointed from those new governments who have offered much, but have realized so very little.
CIVIL – Center for Freedom is implementing the pilot project “Promises and Abuses”, which deals with abuse of social justice for political and electoral purposes. The goal of the project is to contribute to the strengthening of public awareness on abuses in the sphere of social justice in the electoral context, as well as to prevent manipulative practices of the political centers of power. The project is implemented in cooperation with the Heinrich Bὅll Foundation – Office in Sarajevo.