Manifesto

MANIFESTO

OF THE BULGARIAN

SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

Sofia, 2010


The Bulgarian left is in its deepest crisis since the beginning of the democratic processes in the country in 1989.

On the government elections in 2009, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) received only 40 deputies from the total of 240. Bulgarian Social Democracy (BSD)- Euroleft was the only party from the left that did not participate in these elections. Other left parties and groups were preliminary marginalized by the BSP and remained part of the overthrown by the electors Triple coalition.

In 2009 the BSP achieved its lowest result for the last 65 years. But this is only the exterior expression of the crisis. Its other dimension is the moral collapse caused by the consecutive failure of the ruling of the BSP and the major corruption in the higher levels of the government, allowed by the former premier S. Stanishev.

The national party council of BSD- Euroleft set as its task to analyze the causes for the crisis of the left. We have the moral right to give our evaluation and to provoke a wide social discussion. BSD- Euroleft participates for more than 17 years in the Bulgarian political life. It is the only social democratic party that independently became parliamentary power in the period 1997- 2001 and is the only left party outside of the BSP which has international recognition.

For us the Bulgarian social democrats it is undoubtable: Bulgaria cannot develop as a successful European country if it does not have stable left. That is why the question for the crisis of the left and for the exit from it is our question, our responsibility and destiny. History will not forgive us if we become reconciled with the current pitiful condition of the left political spectrum.

 

I

 

The historical failure of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP)/ BSP

 

Over the past 20 years the BSP had three prime ministers of Bulgaria – Andrey Lukanov (1990), Zhan Videnov (1994- 1997) and Sergey Stanishev (2005- 2009). The influence of the BSP was strong during the governments of L. Berov (1992- 1994) and of S. Sakskoburggotski (2001- 2005). We can say that for 20 years of transition the BSP has controlled directly the country for 10 years and for other 5 years it had very strong influence.

The result from the Bulgarian transition especially in the sphere of economy is sorrowful. We lagged behind all other former socialist countries and in the moment we produce per capita 2-3 times less than them. Our country remained the poorest in Europe. The salaries and pensions are the lowest from all European countries. Because of serious political mistakes was destroyed more than 2/3 of the economy. The best lands and woods of Bulgaria were plundered. Huge corruption was allowed.

Regrettably for the people with social thinking in Bulgaria, the main cause for this historical failure is the Bulgarian Socialist Party. We do not undervalue the failures and mistakes of other ruling parties like the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) and the National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NMSP), but the facts say that the biggest crises in Bulgaria are caused exactly by the BSP.

There is no greater evidence for the historical failure of BSP than the three national crises caused by the governments ruled by the BSP.

In 1990 after continuous demonstrations the second government of A. Lukanov, composed entirely by representatives of the BSP, gave its resignation and fell from power. Product crisis followed. We moved to the coupon system. The queues for fuel and food became daily round. For this crisis is blamed personally A. Lukanov and his encirclement. However, this is not the whole truth. The more important thing is that the conservative powers in the BSP did not approve and did not support in September and October 1990 the proposed by their premier reforms for liberalization of the prices and accelerated privatization. As a result- general economic crisis, lack of products, coupon system, recession of the economy.

In February 1997 after several years of ruling and again after mass protests fell from power the government of the BSP led by Zhan Videnov. This government allowed:

-         the biggest hyperinflation of the Bulgarian lev for the whole XX century;

-         collapse of the banking system and chain bankrupts of banks and companies;

-         impoverishment on a mass scale of the population;

-         depreciation of main funds in the whole country

In 2008 during the ruling of the government of S. Stanishev and the formed “Triple coalition” the European commission stopped the funds for Bulgaria because of “corruption in the higher levels of government” and “misuse of European resources” – unprecedented measure for a country- member of the European union. The last disclosures prove that during the period 2005- 2009 the country really became object of massive despoliations and thefts by the BSP and the government of the Triple coalition. To this we should add also the inadequate reaction of the government on the occasion of the global economic crisis. In the report of the International Monetary Fund from 2009 is indicated that “the government of S. Stanishev did not evaluate the power and scale of the economic crisis”. Contrary to the actions of all the other governments, the cabinet of S. Stanishev began in 2007- 2008 massive despoliations of resources:

-         for inefficient projects or projects with very continuous term of return;

-         for insecured by the budget investments for about 2,5 billion leva;

Contrary to the forecasts of all world institutions the government of the BSP accepted for 2009 a budget with growth of the Gross Domestic Product of 4,7 %. This wrong policy was not only result of incompetence, but more probably of fraud. In the end of 2009 it became clear that the Gross Domestic Product has decreased with more than 5 %. This way the accepted false budget however allowed the former government to waste without any control budget money which were not covered by the income from taxes.

The general political conclusion is obvious:

During all of its governments during the last 20 years the BSP was leading the country to crises, it caused colossal losses to the population . To explain this by mistakes of separate leaders, these mistakes to be undervalued, to be excused by exterior factors and conspiracies is obscene and irresponsible. The BSP must take the responsibility for these failures.

The Bulgarian people have the right to know the truth for the transition during the last two decades. This is the cause to indicate the four fundamental mistakes – consequence of particular decisions of the Senior Council of the BSP, which influenced negatively the whole history of Bulgaria and made it the poorest country in Europe.

The first one was the delay of the structural reforms and the privatization in the period 1990- 1997. From these eight years the BSP ruled the country at intervals of six. This is time of incontrollable plundering of the state enterprises, of the development of major crime activity, of wild initial accumulation of capital. Close to the BSP companies and persons plundered huge financial resources. The so-called economic groups were formed, nearly completely managed by persons close to the former communist party and the security services.

The second mistake was the collapse of the Bulgarian financial system in the period 1996- 1997. In these years, and also later, during the period 2005- 2009 the BSP showed itself as a party which creates financial and property privileges to certain persons and groups and which depends on and obeys to the will and greed of the economic groups and oligarchs. Since 1993 began the massive distribution of insecured credits. In the end of 1995 the bad credits exceeded 50 %. Rather than tighten the financial discipline, the BSP government allowed massive money printing. The final result is collapse of the lev and hyperinflation. Bulgaria completely lost the chance to join the successfully reformed communist countries.

The third mistake was initiated by the BSP massive privatization. This is the biggest in its negative consequences mistake of the transition. During 1995- 1996 the BSP government announced (and enacted a law) that 1 050 Bulgarian enterprises with registered capital of 290 billion leva will be privatized by distributing of bonds (vouchers) to all Bulgarian adult citizens. Through this action the left populism reached its peak point.

The results from the mass privatization are catastrophic:

-         from the “privatized” this way enterprises today only 18 % of them are still functioning;

-         from more than 3 millions of people that received vouchers only 0,1 % have actually received enterprises or stakes from them, and the others have sold their securities at a knock out price;

-         the created for several months about one hundred multimillionaires began to sell off their enterprises and machines due to lack of capital and managerial experience.

This decision of the Senior Council of the BSP is not an ordinary political mistake. It is a historical sentence of one ideologically confused party. The unique mixture of left populism and oligarchic policy will remain as the biggest lie in the new history of Bulgaria. Through it was destroyed the bigger part of the Bulgarian economy.

The fourth major mistake is connected with the so called substitutions made during the government of S. Stanishev.

It became evident that without a word in the period 2003- 2009 the governments of S. Sakskoburggotski and S. Stanishev have made nearly 5 000 exchange deals (in nature) and 450 000 dca land and 37 000 dca woods.

According to expert data the losses of the country are for more than 6,2 billion leva or this is the amount of money which as state aid have been given to a group of oligarchs and close associates of the government.

 

II

 

The causes for the historical failure of the BSP

 

Three governments that have failed, trillions of plundered state funds, continuing corruption practice – all of this is a synonym of collossal political failure.

The deep cause for all of this is that the BSP remained the only former communist party in Europe that did not completely reform itself. The reforms in this party were not only delayed, but also happened partially and contradictory. Even today it keeps in itself the style and the method of the former communist parties – conspiracy, backstage policy, intrigues, using of persons from the criminal contingent.

We the Bulgarian social democrats clearly declare: having in mind these circumstances the BSP cannot be a successful alternative of the current center-right Bulgarian government. History proves that this party did not accept the traditions and style of the European social democracy, it changed the ideological basis of the left with neoliberal decisions.

The introducing by the “Stanishev” cabinet of the so called flat tax was a clear defense of the wealthy circles at the expense of the ordinary people. The hiding behind the social- liberal doctrine of the Triple coalition deprived of faith the citizens in the left.

Nearly during the whole 20 years period the BSP remained dependent of the old structures of the BCP and its party aristocracy.

During the first half of the nineties the governing body of the BSP was dominated by former members of Politburo and the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the BCP A. Lukanov and A. Lilov. During the first decade of XXI century the governing body of the BSP was given to the sons and daughters of the old party aristocracy. All East European left parties changed the leaders of the former communist parties with new persons different from the old communist oligarchy. Only the BSP restored the power of the former communist aristocracy through its leader S. Stanishev and ten more representatives of the old privileged clans.

This surely did not contribute to extension of the faith in the Bulgarian left movement. Something more- the restoration of the positions of the old communist families also reproduced old group and interpersonal conflicts.

During the last 20 years between the structures of the BSP and the structures of the former State Security was preserved extremely warm relationship. Political network for influence was formed by leaders of the BSP, oligarchs and former employees of the communist State Security with the aim of taking strong positions in the economy, policy, the judiciary and the medias.

So it was formed what today the Bulgarians call a political octopus. We are speaking of the backstage and corruption activities of politicians, businessmen and magistrates aimed at:

-         appropriation of huge resources and property from the country on corruption basis;

-         directing the eurofunds to the related to the BSP and The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) companies;

-         taking control upon magistrates aimed at circumvention of the law or stimulation of fake accusations of political enemies;

-         influence and control upon medias, including on financial basis;

This backstage government gained huge power during the ruling of the government of S. Stanishev. Only this way can be explained such unique and criminal in their nature deals like:

-         the substitutions that lead to the impoverishment of the country with more than 6 billion leva;

-         the sale of the Bulgarian Telecommunication Company (BTC) at a knock out price with difference of more than 2- 3 billion leva;

-         the sale of the electricity distribution companies to the detriment of the country’s interest;

-         the premeditated bankruptcy of “Kremikovtsi JSC”;

-         the deals in the energetics and the paying of gigantic commissions for the projects “Tsankov kamak” and Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Belene

-         the sale of the Plovdiv fair

-         the corruption in the assimilation of eurofunds, etc.

It will not be correct to say that only the BSP and the employees of the former State Security have formed “the political octopus” and the political mafia in Bulgaria. But it is undisputed that namely the BSP and its coalition partners MRF and NMSP were the main factor this to happen during the last decade.

All main actions of the three governments of the BSP speak for politics and actions in favour of particular economic groups and separate oligarchs.

This is the main cause the BSP to lose its left identity and to become a party of oligarchic type.

During the 20 years of transition the governing body of the BSP uses its own party as a peculiar political guarantee of the transformation of the political power of the former communist elite in economic. This way it successfully “delivered” the forming and confirmation of the Bulgarian oligarchy today, formed primarily by former employees of the security services. For a very long time it played the role of socially- political “konsiliere” of the political- economic octopus and the organized crime.

To be honest we should say that the majority of ordinary members of the BSP do not have the slightest idea of the actions of their party elite, of the corruption and the substitutions, of the commissions and the distribution of privileges. But we should also reject the thesis that the crimes and mistakes of the BSP are acts only of particular leaders. These are not separate actions but  more than 15- years practice. These are not accidental mistakes but consequence of a common political line.

 

III

 

Neo-communist coalition policy of the BSP

 

The following question arises: Why in the event of three consequent government failures of the BSP, in the event of complete absence of social political identification, other left parties did not aim to strengthen their projects. We think the causes for this are:

First: the BSP succeeded in deceiving part of the international left wing that it has reformed itself, that it bears the inheritance of the old social democracy. Neither the first, nor the second is true.

Second: The coalition policy of the BSP during the whole transition period is inseparable part of the tradition of the communist United and Fatherland Fronts. According to this policy the communist party (meaning the BSP) has leading, monopoly place in each coalition. Every difference, even independent act is greeted “at daggers drawn” by the BSP.

Third: The former communist party wages constant wars on all left alternative parties and particularly with the social democratic movements. For 20 years of transition the BSP has had as coalition partners 27 different parties. 19 of them are created in the cabinets of the leaders of the BSP or other groups from the former security services. Five have been subordinated through “buying” of leaders with money or deputy seats. None of the coalition parties of the BSP had independent political value or even independent behaviour. The aim of these “genetically modified parties” is not to create but stay in the way of other left parties. Essentially the BSP violates from a long time the Law for the political parties through backstage buying of leaders and parties with a view to its interests.

When the purchase tactics fails, backstage blows, threats and manipulations, organized media campaigns begin. The BSP has spent financial resources in the past to neutralize unhandy political leaders. But this practice during the government of S. Stanishev reaches unprecedented heights. On the order of the former premier and leader of the BSP, the state security services have been used for tracking of political opponents, including such from the left. Mechanisms for chasing and bringing shame on journalists, politicians, protesting students were elaborated.

 

IV

 

For the necessity and principles of the new left wing

 

The historical failure of the BSP presumes the necessity of decisive change in the development of the left movement in Bulgaria.

In this situation the BSP ca no longer dominate and bear the main responsibility for the Bulgarian left wing. Also the president G. Parvanov cannot run away from responsibility, who as a president of the BSP imposed its present coalition policy, and later created the Triple coalition and always supported it.

The question is for a principle change on the basis upon which is built the left movement in Bulgaria, for its new aspect.

This movement can no longer allow:

-         any depending on or commitment with the structures of the former State Security;

-         direct or indirect relationship and support of the crime contingent;

-         dynastic and family depending on the families of the former rulers of the Communist party;

-         any succession with the failed governments of Zh. Videnov and S. Stanishev.

Categorically and sharply the Bulgarian left should perform its own operation “Clean hands”. Everybody who wants to be part of the renovated left should prove his property, his income and taxes, his political moral.

The new left movement should start afresh, it should turn its back to “the oligarchic model” of the BSP and the connected with it criminal political octopus. It is an illusion to be formed coalitions also with parties from the Triple coalition or with pseudo-left parties, created by the BSP and used in the pre-election Coalition for Bulgaria.

When we speak of complete change of the left political wing, we do not have in mind a consecutive left project. We are speaking of new identity of the Bulgarian left, of movement based on the European social idea and included in the philosophy of the Socialistic international and the Party of the European Socialists.

a) Primarily this new left identity should show itself through clear battle against the political corruption and the created state-political octopus. We support the actions of the current Bulgarian government against the corruption and crime. This is a battle for restoration of the Bulgarian state system. This battle has no colour, in it there are no ideologies. The real left cannot stay aside from this battle. Neither it can leave it only to the right. We are speaking of total purifying of the political elite.

b) The second main priority is Technological renewal program of the Bulgarian economy. The old industries in Bulgaria are either plundered and destroyed or uncompetitive. The Bulgarian social democrats have such a program and will follow it undeviatingly.

c) The third priority is new income policy.

The current income policy is an insult for the Bulgarians. The delusion is that the lowest pensions and the lowest salaries in whole Europe will lead to bigger investments. The Bulgarian citizen today is not defended from the social exploitation and humiliation.

BSD- Euroleft is the pioneer for Bulgaria of the Bill for minimum hourly wages. We do not reduce this project only to change of the mechanism for regulation of the minimum earnings – from monthly to hourly. The reform we are defending is based on gradual and regulated by the country accession of the earnings of the Bulgarian citizens to the average European levels. The retardation of the earnings between five and seven times compared to the main European countries dooms us to massive emigration, especially of young highly educated citizens.

Essential part of the new left identity is also the healthcare reform. Let’s recall that the Bulgarian Euroleft and its successor the Bulgarian Social Democracy elaborated in the period 1999- 2000 a project for healthcare reform based on the following principles:

-         removal of the monopoly of the health fund and creation of 3 to 6 health funds built on the principle of the health banks;

-         accumulation of the resources of every Bulgarian citizen for health care in accounts;

-         free choice of doctor, hospital and way of medical treatment corresponding to the accumulated money;

-         guaranteeing of the rights of the health services of the poor through purposeful financial funds formed by the interest rates of the health funds.

The combination of the market and solidarity principle – this is the core of the social democratic reform in the sphere of healthcare.

 

V

 

For a new national forum of the Bulgarian Social Democracy

 

The Social Democracy does not exhaust the concept Bulgarian left. But in contemporary Europe the social democracy should be the core, the center of attraction for every left union. The displacement of the center of gravity in the Bulgarian left in the last 20 years to non- European socialism and neocommunism brought us only troubles.

The party BSD- Euroleft is the only left party which was not involved in the failures of the Triple Coalition and in the government of Zh. Videnov. We are not engaged in the corruption in the higher levels of power. This gives us the morel right to be a main engine of the new renewed Bulgarian left political movement. There is no doubt that its building will be a complex task. The damage inflicted by the BSP is too much, but this should not discourage us, instead, it should mobilize us.

We begin a major movement for change. Our aim is monopoly of the left. We want main role in the forming of the new left movement to play the civic social movements and therefore we begin joint actions with them. Our main political goal this year will be:

-         opening of joint actions with the civic movements, which are close in ideas and program with the European left;

-         determination of the ideologic and political identity through forming of alternative social policies;

-         strengthening of the party structures of the BSD;

-         determining of the principles of a new coalition policy different from the one in the BSP and the old left.

During the discussions about the introduction of the present Manifest was proposed in the near future to be held a National forum of the Bulgarian left. It was decided this forum to be held on 29 March 2011 in Sofia. On this forum should be discussed and accepted a Program for development of the left in Bulgaria and a Program for development of the Bulgarian municipalities in connection with the forthcoming local elections. In the national meeting not only citizens with social democratic convictions will participate but also all supporters of the left European idea. The main political goal for 2011 will be the gaining of maximum number of advisory and mayor seats in the local elections and the active participation in the presidential campaign.

We call on all people with left political thinking and European value system to support the National forum, to overthrow the monopoly of the BSP in the left political wing, and to jointly elaborate applicable in practice new contemporary social policy.