Istkalen Information Service; Local elections signal turn towards "national" Social Democracy without general insanity that characterized end; new PM outlines state policy
The local elections scheduled for today, radically changed by the collapse of the Rikkalek government and the election of the new Malk government, allowing thousands of candidates who had previously been disqualified for politically motivated reasons to run, resulted in an unexpected for the ruling Communist-Agrarian coalition, while at the same time significantly increasing the number of "technocrats" - non-partisan experts - in government. While most only had a short time to campaign, many benefited from the previously established network of the parties and organizations which backed them, which had continued to operate, as well as from the widespread popularity of the newly installed government, particularly in its rejection of liberalism and its argument that Istkalen should conduct itself as it wishes, albeit peacefully, rather than being beholden to foreign interests and powers. The vast majority of winning candidates, regardless of political affiliation, ran on platforms promising a return to the past, as the Malk government has tried to deliver on - nationalism, stability, self-suffiiency, and a partial return to Social Democratic forms of industrial and social organization, while retaining the advances made in terms of human rights.
The strong support in particular for the named "national" Social Democratic policies reflects a new trend in Istkalener politics. While most in Istkalen were and remain opposed to the extreme totalitarianism and militarism with which it operated at its very end, the vast majority feel that, apart from that short period, life under them was generally better than it is now.
"Under them, it was all better. There were no queues, no shortages, we had everything. People had money, real money; they even received it from the state. There was none of this ethnic conflict, under them it seemed as though everyone was equal. I hated them at the time - in my eyes, the social change, the abolition of the family, the labor-partnership, the childcare and dwelling associations - it was all too much, too overwhelming - but now, what with the endless declarations - at one point, my ethnicity was declared nonexistent, at another the state forcibly arranged a marriage between me and someone I had never known, at another I was forced to change my name, only to have to change it back two weeks later - and then there was the constant reorganizations, I've lost track of the number of different ministers we've had, the number of times ministries and governments and so much more have been renamed, the constant elections - I'm sorry, I've gone on a tangent, anyways, it seems much calmer, much more peaceful, than now. Then, I did not have to worry about the state reaching its hands into my life, so long as I didn't criticize the government. Until now - and I do not even know whether it will last - I had to worry both about the various nonsensical proclamations of the government and refraining from criticizing the government. And no one has any money anymore, now, corruption is everywhere - and I thought it was high under the Social Democrats! - there are constant shortages, until but a few months ago the radio constantly going on about demonic Vards, it seems everything has gone to pieces. I would give my life to see the Social Democrats back, so awful is this existence," said an individual in Kirelesile who otherwise wishes to remain anonymous.
Another, a woman in Liresile, reflected similar sentiments: "Right now, everything is chaos. I don't know what is true and what is not true, one minute they will be saying that everything is lies, and the next that everything is true; I don't even feel as though I really know who I am anymore. They keep changing my legal ethnicity, they keep changing my name, they even regulate who and who not I can share friendships or relationships with. They want to change me, I feel, and I don't think I can resist much longer. There's the economy, too, shortages everywhere, wages collapsed... At least under the Social Democrats, I was not losing myself; at least under them, you could tell when the government was lying to you. At least under them there was not all this erratic behavior. At least under them, I, we, were assured of work and bread, of a roof over our heads and genuine wages. Of course, there was the war, and of course no one liked that, it was more insane than what we have even now, but without that - paradise!"
In essence, in light of the instability of Istkalen under occupation, particularly in regards to the erratic behavior of the politicians leading the country, in addition to widespread shortages of basic consumer goods and the collapse of real wages, Istkaleners have become increasingly unsatisfied with the Republic, which they have come to view as alien, and have turned back towards Social Democratic policy, minus the general insanity at the end which they largely blame for thrusting the country into its present situation. They have chosen, now, to vote against the perceived liberalism and Western-ness of the old governments of Istkalen and for a more authentic and stable "Social Democracy."
Upon the finalization of the election results, Prime Minister Kaisa Malk gave a statement reflecting the popular mood, promising an 'acknowledgement of reality," in essence continuing Rikkalek's policies but without his desire to make concessions to 'the West' or to separate Istkalen from its Social Democratic past.
"We're all tired," she said, "of the past. Or really, hearing about it. We are told that the past was this, then that; so many different things, never the same, never even resembling each other. We are told that the reality that we live is a lie; that we must return to the past to be truly fulfilled. We have been forced to give so much away, constantly, in this vain pursuit of return to some unknown past - to change our names, to cut off our ties with those most dear to us, while being forced to forge new ones with people we, at best, barely know, and, at worst, utterly despise. And then again, it changes, and we are told that the beautiful past we were told of but a few weeks ago was a lie, and that we must now return to yet another past, perhaps imagined, perhaps not. This again, and again, and again, until we feel as though we are forgetting who we really are, as though we have gone insane. Only in October did we see anything change, and even then slowly and barely."
"Today, we together have firmly rejected this. We have thrown out those who scream endlessly about the mythical past, about so many different realities; we look, now, firmly to the future. There is no point in endlessly discussing whether I am Estonian, or Kitetois, or Heltois; whether Minister Demirkol is a Turk or Tatar, whether the Heltois nationality exists or not, whether the labor-partnership, or the dwelling or the childcare associations have any historical basis, whether the family should be restored. I speak Estonian, I believe myself to be Estonian, as do the overwhelming majority of people who share my mothertongue; the same goes with those who speak Turkish, German, Kitetois, even Helts. Most people are a member of a labor-partnership; most people are, too, are members of a dwelling association; most children are raised in the context of the childcare associations. It matters not - will never matter - whether this has been true for 'only' the past 18, 40, 100, 200 years; these are facts that the Republic must finally accept, and it will accept it without delay. There will be no more endless theorizing on this subject, there will be no longer any attempts at social engineering; the state must and will accept the reality that the people live."
"And now, let us turn from the present to the future. In Istkalen, very little is perfect - everyone can recognize that. The country was previously thought of as a conglemoration of multiple ethnicities, and that was indeed what it was. We must attempt to overcome this idea. I am not speaking of forcing people to abandon their ethnicities - no. What I am speaking of is strengthening national solidarity above ethnic solidarity. We should be proud of who we are - but we should also be proud of Istkalen, of being Istkaleners. My government will seek to develop a unified national curriculum for students, making adjustments as to allow for instructions in different languages and in the educational contexts of different cultures, that will seek to cultivate in each child a love for the country; it will also seek to facilitate interaction between youths of different ethnicities by sponsoring a state-run youth organization, as well as by running cultural activities, particularly extracurricular classes and activities including youth clubs and sports, that will seek to bring together youths regardless of their identity. Most importantly, we will seek to develop a national art, interpretable by all, sponsoring artists - a state-run renaissance of sorts, you could say."
"Economically, everyone can accept that the country is doing very poorly - a result of two barriers - an excessive opposition to machinery, and a desire to imitate the West. What those who run around claiming to represent craftsmen, without having even been elected to do so or there having been even a single indication on the part of the craftsmen that they do, must learn is that machinery in itself is not bad - it only becomes malignant when people are made to serve it, as in the West, rather than the other way around. Crafts are not made useless by the introduction of machinery to them; on the contrary, they are expanded, made more useful. With a machine, one can do much more, with speed and detail; the craftsperson is free to do more, rather than being enslaved. Our country proved this first in the 1900s, and was then left behind; what I hope to do is to let us prove it again - that the craftsman, that humanity, can master the machine and make it far more effective than it could have been when it was man's master. Other so-called 'modernizations,' however, may not be as innovative or actually modernizing. There is a trend among some to suggest that in order to advance, Istkalen must imitate the West and its economic policies, its system of industrial organization. This is untrue; imitation of the West is not appropriate in this country, where we each have duties to each other, where we view each other as people rather than as cogs in a machine. Imitation of the West is the introduction of inhumanity. Inhumanity is conflict; conflict does not build, it tears apart. Oh, the West seems developed, but in reality they have torn up something, somewhere, for all that development. They are destroyers more than creators; always remember that. What we want in Istkalen is development without destruction; true creation. We will not introduce the West and its systems; we will pay no heed to what they say. We will walk our own path, based on the path of the craftspeople and the peasant-smallholders of our nation; the path of humanity, of expression and creation."
"To speak more practically, however, there are many immediate issues, far more important than development. We are facing acute shortages even of foodstuffs; there is no raw material to be used to create. The state will seek to purchase all that is necessary, regardless of the cost; it will seek to supply every industrial worker, every craftsperson, every peasant, in this country with the goods they need to continue their work. It will seek to supply every sick person with the medication they need; every person, the food that they need to survive. The Ministry of Public Distribution, with which the Economic Coordination Committee has been merged, will be tasked with gauging the amount to purchase, with making the purchases, and with distributing what is purchased through its established network of warehouses and storehouses."
"Now, politically, there is an elephant in the room, and everyone knows what it is. We would like this elephant to leave immediately; it is making people uncomfortable with its size and stench. If it does not leave, we will be forced to remove it. You cannot force on a people a system alien to theirs, you cannot govern a people without understanding them. You certainly cannot steal from a people and expect of them gratitude! If you would like to know why you have been so poorly received, look at yourselves in the mirror. You have done virtually nothing of good for the people of this country; to us all, you are like a mass of tapeworms, parasites who will feed off of us all until we perish, at which point you and your offspring will slither from the barren lands you have created in search of a new victim. Go, go now! Your presence is unbearable; if you stay any longer, you will face the consequences."
"Now, if we are to ignore the elephant, there are still a number of issues. To many, it is tempting to install a regular democracy in this country - even I believed in such a thing for quite a while - but it is impossible. The country does not possess the requisite social structures to do so; in any case, we have already seen what even introducing part of it would do - that is, cause chaos as various crazed people who believe they have been chosen by whatever entities they choose to believe in fight over the right to govern the country. The oppositional system is too unstable for Istkalen; at the same people, we all are tired of politics. We are sick of it; it has consumed our lives since the beginning of the occupation. I do not deny that the people should have power in this country - they should and must, otherwise we risk another form of insanity which might be far worse - but they should do so through the institutions they participate in as an ordinary person - the communities in which they live, their field of work. The workers' associations and the people's committees have proven themselves able to accomplish this - unlike the national level government, which convulses crazily on a regular basis, they have retained, for the most part, their heads and the ability to reason and think rationally, while at the same time adequately representing the people. Any Republic in Istkalen must be organized based on them, not on any other institution. There will be no assemblies, no whatever, that does not derive its power from them, that is not accountable to them, in the new Istkalen."
"There is also the question of the political parties. It is good to have a place to discuss, to promote, ideas in a rational way; the issue is that they, with a few exceptions, have not behaved rationally. There is a real argument for banning them, as Kerel and Tiraki before him did; there is also the real possibility of forming a one-party state, as Melitek did, as a solution. The people of Istkalen want nothing to do with organized politics; these two paths seem the only solution. We are likely to put the issue to a popular consultation."
"Socially, in Istkalen, there are few issues. I have seen little wrong with the present course; all that is really necessary is an acknowledgement of reality on this issue. We will work to safeguard the present social and cultural institutions of Istkalen. The only major problem is that of ethnic control on certain social issues; the committee of nationalities is preparing a law on this, which will not, by my direct instuctions, not create national-level "ethnic societies" - these are divisive and will only cause further conflict - but will likely do something on the lines of creating municipality-level ethnic councils which might have control over certain aspects of criminal law, although they will be secular in nature - there will be absolutely no religious courts in Istkalen, that is a path to disaster."
"The people have spoken, and they demand normality, stability, and the acknowledgement of reality. What my government will try to deliver, above all, is all these three, so that Istkalen may bloom and prosper an independent and free nation."