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Bucharest
October 5, 2022
EDITORIAL

Between the far left and far right, who and what?

Could extremist parties appear and grow in Romania, regardless of the ideological spectrum on which they would position themselves?

This is the question I plan to start from this time.

What is the source of this question and why should it concern us all at this moment?

From my point of view, it’s a question born from naturally thinking about and reflecting on the current reality of Romanian politics.

In fact, in recent years at least, mainly starting after 2000 or so, there has been constant talk about the growth in power and social scope registered by extremist parties in Europe. There was a very active and expansive dynamic. And that was because Europe in itself, as a unitary state through the Union it forms, started to cross an important historic bridge at the end of the 1990s and the start of the 2000s. And this period is somehow approaching its end. It lasted well over a decade and is called the new Europe of the United States of this part of the world. Now, looking back, it is clearly visible that the states did not form this union in an entirely amicable manner completely free of internal conflicts, the Grexit-Brexit we all recently witnessed being one of the effects of this conflictual nature between cleavage and fusion.

Against this backdrop, meanwhile, extremist parties proliferated and strongly expanded in Europe, taking advantage of a context that was as unexpected as it was dangerous. Romania registered a state of latency in all of this European political-social dynamic, being a state whose reaction of adaptation from this point of view only now starting to make its presence felt, maybe also because of her later accession to the Union.

In the Romania of 1990-2000 there were several trends in the appearance of some political entities with more or less nationalist-extremist tones. One of them was the well-known PRM.

Until recently (because 30 years is a very small period at the scale of a state and of history), we Romanians lived in a form of extremism. The communist one. Maybe many people know, or don’t know, communism represents the far-left. In this case too, however, our country had an entirely particular form of communism. With a quasi-socialist tendency, because of the fact that the leaders back then adapted in an entirely “original” way what the USSR set out as a doctrine and guiding line in this part of the world.

And during the 28 years of democracy that have passed so far, an attempt was made, in a way just as “original,” to convert the left-wing extremism we experienced for over 45 years into an “original” form of democratic vision for our country.

This time, the direction taken was at the opposite extreme end, in my opinion. Namely, an extremisation toward Western vision and tradition was attempted. And the result, now, looking back, is the one we have mentioned and we can all see and feel very well: a complete lack of national identity, politically speaking. A complete lack of social-citizen orientation toward one political ideology or the other. All these expressed, of course, through strong disappointment, which is reflected most visibly and worryingly during election periods.

Since 1989, we keep trying to outline our identity as a country, from a political, social, economic, cultural standpoint.

An effort that, unfortunately, was not sufficiently and correctly channelled, in the absence of national maturity gained through experience. Because our political class did not want or did not manage to create for itself stability from this point of view. Not to mention the correct outlining of her identity.

Consequently, at this moment we find ourselves in one of the most difficult and strangest moments in the last 70 years. That of not knowing, as citizens, as people who will cast ballots in several months’ time, which are the true identities of the political parties present on the current political scene, in order to be able to define our own identity and option in this sense.

One hundred years ago, Romania was experimenting a new Constitution and a new political paradigm. Back then there were two large parties that were dominating the political scene of the time. One of them, of the party-state type, with a formal ideology – the National Liberal Party, which dominated the political backdrop in the strongest and longest fashion.

The other – PNTCD – being kind of PNL’s “garnish,” and which was in fact serving, in its turn, PNL’s interest in holding power. Back then, there was even the partisan option of today’s UNPR. In the form of General Averescu’s party.

Also back then, an extremist movement appeared and grew against the aforementioned domestic politics backdrop, but especially against the backdrop of the international politics of that day.

If we pay attention, we will notice that things tend to somehow move the same way today too.

And that is because of the current domestic politics backdrop, where the rudderless movement of our parties is more than obvious, on an upward line of social disappointment with the political class and with the way in which the act of governing takes place. But also because of European and global trends in international politics.

Some political entities have started to appear overnight, entities which, it is not clear how, are gaining ground (apparently).

Which, it is not clear why, seem to get traction with the masses.

And which might generate, at this moment, a huge surprise in the new Parliament and later on.

We don’t know whether they are the creation of the current parties, as a formula to test the electoral market, or are simply the result of the building-up of social dissatisfaction throughout these years.

One thing is certain: all of this should represent a big question mark or rather a warning sign.

What do these entities want? (actually! pay attention)

What is the purpose for which they are created? (real, pay attention!)

Considering that their profile is nationalist and ultra-nationalist. Which, automatically, results in one form of extremism or another.

And, in conclusion, I would draw attention to this:

Victor Ponta’s speech several weeks and months ago, which had a strong and obviously extremist, outright instigating tone. Victor Ponta, who has recently been vehemently and aggressively courted by one of these parties, whose traits and trends are obviously clearly similar to those mentioned above, in order for him to become its leader.

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