One of the biggest achievements of the post-independence Kosovo politics is the founding of the Strong Party. This party, with its leader, Visar Arifaj, and its many deputy leaders, is the most serious attempt to undertake a settling of accounts with the current politics. A substantive characteristic of Kosovo political scene after the independence has been the failure of every emancipatory political project and the appearance of the parties seeking normalization and attachment to the existing political order. Kosovo has had a movement with a somewhat left-wing political orientation, Self-determination (Vetëvendosje), but this orientation did not last long. The two factors that changed the nature and the direction of it were: the thirst power, to become part of the corrupt parliamentary ‘commonwealth’, and second, the more dangerous one, nationalism. These two easily combinable tendencies changed the direction and the nature of the Movement of an emancipatory politics. The already dark and hopeless, deeply tragic situation, inside an endless and visionless tunnel was left, same as in the neighboring places, without any progressive movement that would represent the real interests of the Kosovars.
I observe from this perspective the coming on the scene of the Strong Party. This is a real political event, not only in Kosovo, but also in the Balkans. The most common mistake of the right-wing policies is that they exchange the long-term policies with the short-term ones. Nationalism is an excellent example that illustrates best the short-term policies. A mentality with empirical disposition ought to acknowledge that nationalism in the Balkans has always been a destructive force, repressive and non-emancipatory. Even when nationalism was not given the opportunity to occupy other territories and repress its people, the contemptible folkloric expressions (take into consideration how we Albanians have treated and still treat the Roma people, nay when we want to offend someone we refer to them as gypsies) as well as the denigrating and discriminating policies towards the other communities are a proof that such politics is built upon a groundless foundation which can collapse and cause eruptions with fatal consequences. This happens because of the short-sightedness of all kinds of particularistic and nationalistic politics.
The Strong Party is a real political party, if not on the ordinary methods and means of the other political parties, it certainly shares the purposes and aims of emancipatory politics. The Strong Party is an emancipatory party, which aims emancipation of the population from the ideologies of the dominating parties that operate today in the Kosovo political scene.
Its role in today’s political conjuncture is twofold: on one hand, the Strong Party via its over-identification with the hegemonic political discourse, creates a crack in the dominant ideology. On the other hand, via this crack in the existing order, it creates the conditions for the spread of emancipatory ideas. To put it in other words: its role is both negative and positive. In the negative aspect, the Strong Party, through over-identification with the dominant ideology, becomes inevitably involved with an immanent critique of the existing order. This is a negative critique because its role is primary compared to its positive contributions. Without this role, the Strong Party would be just like the rest of the parties that are totally indifferent towards the moral and political autonomy of the country and its citizens, but position themselves in the already established conjuncture of the existing order and could not care less about creating real political alternatives, deepening the disparities that make a difference in results, and even less so are interested in creating spaces for breaking the ideological taboos. The negative aspect is the necessary step for the creation of the conditions for escaping the tunnel in which the other parties have entered us in, and that constantly work towards the aim that the citizens do not see and recognize the reality for what it is, but rather present it to their imagination as a one-way street.
The negative aspect of the contributions of the Strong Party in this political conjuncture is considerably more important than the positive contributions, regardless of the significance of the latter. The reason is rather simple: without the creation of the conditions for creating and maintaining the emancipatory ideas and policies, it is impossible to discuss about their implementation. The emancipatory policies require a growth potential and conditions that facilitate their development. A crucial condition, though not sufficient, is the shedding light upon the contradictions, paradoxes, and discrepancies (inconsistencies) of the dominant ideology. Notwithstanding, to put it in Hegelian terms, the negative contribution is already a positive one.
It is hard to break the political and ideological taboos of the dominant system through the ordinary forms and methods of critique – because those only strengthen further the external character of such critiques, be they ideological or empirical critiques, it suffices that they are characterized as idealistic in a world full of controversies that such critiques are delegitimized in the eyes of those already subjects of hegemonic ideology. Whereas, without cracking the system of the dominant ideology itself, it is an illusion to hope that things and the dark situation will somehow miraculously change for the better. Where the normative academic critique fails, not because it is wrong, but because it is attributed unattainable idealistic aims, it is there that the Strong Party intervenes and in a totally immanent and internal way, through over-identification with the existing order, creates the necessary crack and opening for the diffusion of the emancipatory ideas and policies, and in the interim, creates conditions for the academic critique to have a sort of an effect upon the society.
The technique of over-identification with the existing order, under these operating conditions, is the only way to make any changes in the existing order. The Strong Party, through irony and sarcasm, points out the absurdity of the policies and the parties that govern with those policies. This is my response to the many skeptics that think that the Strong Party is not a serious party because through its almost postmodern irony can entertain, but cannot bring forth changes. Entertaining political parties nowadays are those that are considered as serious, because in effect, not only that those are not interested to bring forth any essential changes, but moreover, they stand there specifically to prevent those changes from happening. The Strong Party is a serious party, not because its sarcasms and ironies are not entertaining, but because through irony and sarcasm, as well as through taking seriously the dominant ideology, it reveals some truths that the dominant system and the political parties that function within it would leave out of public circulation and observation.
Through over-identification with the present, contingent on irony and sarcasm, the Strong Party makes possible, for the first time, at the level of political partisan intervention, the observation of the situations from a perspective where change becomes possible and attainable. The impossible becomes possible. The difference between the Strong Party and the other parties in the Kosovo scene is totally formal, but also radical. What sets the Strong Party aside from the rest is precisely its form of political approach: while the other parties, with the greatest seriousness convince one that everything can be discussed and changed, yet not the frame of their politics which makes their changes possible, the Strong Party makes us susceptible of the fact how UNserious are the parties already established in their policies. Their seriousness is the mask that they wear to cover their mirth and mocking with us, whereas the ironies and sarcastic mirth of the Strong Party enable us to see beyond the masks of the serious parties. We are aware of their mirth and mocking, but as long as they remain in shadow, likewise, their effect remains unrecognized. Through use of irony and sarcasm, the Strong Party gives public shape to their mirth and mocking. It is impossible to read, hear, or see an interview of the Leader of the Strong Party and not see in it the most sarcastic mocking of the serious parties, and at the same time, how we can distance ourselves and make their mirth entirely ineffective.
Translated from Albanian by Hana Limani.