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Workers' Front (Croatia)

Workers' Front

Radnička fronta
AbbreviationRF
LeaderCollective leadership
Founded9 May 2014 (2014-05-09)
IdeologyDemocratic socialism
Social progressivism
Labour rights
Socialist feminism
Anti-fascism
Anti-clericalism[1]
Eco-socialism
Left-wing populism[2][3]
Antimilitarism
Political positionLeft-wing[4][5] to far-left[6][7]
National affiliationGreen–Left Coalition
(2017–2020)
European affiliationParty of the European Left
Croatian Parliament
1 / 151
European Parliament
0 / 12
County Prefects
0 / 21
Mayors
0 / 128
Website
radnickafronta.hr

Workers' Front (Croatian: Radnička fronta or RF) is a left-wing to far-left political party,[8] formed in May 2014[9] as a political initiative of workers, trade unionists, unemployed and students in Croatia.

Objectives and ideology

The Workers' Front has been compared to Spanish Podemos and Greek SYRIZA by the local and regional media.[10][11][12][13]

With the relative success of the Democratic Socialism for the 21st Century (Croatian: Demokratski socijalizam 21. stoljeća) political programme used to bolster support during the presidential elections, which takes heavy inspiration from those of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, it is once again being used for the upcoming parliamentary elections. A party candidate running in the 8th electoral unit, Ljiljana Nikolovska, described democratic socialism in an interview with a local news site Glas Istre as follows:

I don't espouse socialism, but rather the modern democratic socialism of the Scandinavian or New Zealand type, which we can observe in all developed countries in combination with regulated private capital and social democracy, where the health of society, that is, the majority, is given priority.

— Workers' Front candidate Ljiljana Nikolovska, Glas Istre[14]

Social, civil and environmental issues

The party considers modern-day Croatia to not be a fully independent country, describing the country as a qasi-colony due to what it opines is the unfavorable economic relationship of Croatia with Western Europe, while at the same time praising SR Croatia for having a higher level of independence. It blames Franjo Tuđman for this described loss of independence.[15] At the same time it has stated that while the League of Communists of Croatia had "positive elements", the RF was critical of the party, as they consider it only represented an "enlightened elite" as opposed to the mass of party members as a whole in a "democratic" way.[16]

Workers' Front aims to become a broad progressive front, dedicated to radical change of political, economic and social relations, while fighting for the rights of working people and all the oppressed.

Workers' Front is trying to coordinate various "progressive struggles" – struggle for workers' rights and economic democracy, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, struggle for women's and LGBT rights, ecology etc.[17][18][10]

While the party has expressed the opinion that nationalism is not inherently a bad influence, it is critical of what it deems to be the "revisionist nationalism" of Croatia's leaders, which it links to the "genocidal extremes" during World War 2.[19][20]

Economic policy

The party categorically rejects the privatization carried out in Croatia during the 1990s, as it considers the process both incompatible with Croatian laws at the time, as well as a social injustice. It has declared a goal to undo all privatizations in which there were "irregularities".[21][22][19]

Foreign policy

The party has stated that while it does not oppose the idea of a "united Europe", it opposes the European Union on the grounds that it believes the organization enforces a neoliberal economic policy in Europe, which it deems is a cause for both economic inequality within the member states themselves, as well as between member states.[23]

The RF opposes Croatian membership in NATO, which it deems to be linked to American imperialism.[23][19]

It supports cooperation with the countries of the former Yugoslavia and has explicitly condemned the HDZ's involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which it describes as "clientelism".[23] It has come out in opposition to the rivalry and separation between Serbs and Croats, which it blames on the right-wing.[24][16]

Immigration

The RF blames the immigration pressure under which Croatia is under on unequal national development caused by capitalism. It opposes military measures taken against immigration, as it believes doing so only makes Croatia a "military province" dedicated to protecting EU borders at the cost of the nation's own independence.[15]

History

Billboard poster of Workers' Front for 2015 Croatian parliamentary elections

On 3 October 2015 it was announced on the Workers' Front web site that the party has been disbanded after an attempted purge by a prominent member of the party.[25][26] However, Workers' Front remained an officially registered party[27] and went on with its activities, issuing a statement that its web site was taken over by a group trying to disband the party.[28] Two weeks later this version of events, namely that the party still exists and that the web site was in control of a group of dissidents, was confirmed by a member of the dissident group.[29]

Following this episode, Workers' Front participated in an anticlerical protest in Zagreb,[30] tried to place, but was denied a billboard featuring Ivica Todorić[31] (the richest person in Croatia) and successfully registered for 2015 parliamentary election in three electoral districts.[32]

In the following months, the party helped organize an antifascist demonstration against far-right groups celebrating the Nazi collaborator in Croatia, Ante Pavelić, during a church mass for Pavelić. The protest was assaulted by supporters of the Croatian far-right.[33] Soon after that, Workers' Front staged the first organized cutting of the razor wire planted along the Croatia-Slovenia border, together with Slovenian activists in a cross-border demonstration of solidarity. The action was widely reported by regional media.[34]

On 1 February 2016 the Workers' Front held a protest against the new government, particularly Minister of Culture Zlatko Hasanbegović, on St. Mark's Square, Zagreb with over 1000 participants.[35][36][37][38][39][40]

In March 2017, Workers' Front announced their coalition with New Left for the upcoming local elections in Split and Zagreb.[41] In Zagreb election Workers' Front ran in coalition with Zagreb is Ours, New Left, Sustainable Development of Croatia and For the City which won 7.64% votes and 4 seats in the Zagreb City Assembly, one of which belongs to Workers' Front. In Split election, the Workers' Front-New Left coalition won 4.36% of votes, failing to enter the city council.

On 8 September 2018, the Workers' Front signed a declaration of mutual cooperation with New Left, Sustainable Development of Croatia and the Socialist Labor Party of Croatia in Šibenik, Croatia. The Šibenik Declaration (Croatian: Šibenska deklaracija) contains various criticisms of Croatian society, as well as that of the current capitalist system in general, on which all the signing parties agree on and gather around. The Workers' Front, however, had implemented an article in the document which only it signed as the other parties found it unappealing for their programmes, it reads as follows:

Radical change demands the dismantling of the two opposing classes - the capitalist (those that hold a monopoly on the means of production - banks, corporations, factories, trade centers, hotels, etc. - and make their profit on the labor of others) and the working class (those that sell their labor to survive).

This policy takes it as necessary: reindustrialization in the interest of all; guarantee of workplaces; encouragement of industrial policy that puts in motion and connects the various industrial branches; monetary and fiscal policy in function of industry; the implementation of Workers' self-management and participation in their workplaces, no matter their ownership.

Democracy must stop being a phrase under which capital conceals its dictatorship and must become social reality under which the interests of the working peoples are realised. Hence, it is necessary to halt all privatisation of public services and goods, and to nationalize all the fundamental resources of public importance by placing the control of the services in the hands of the workers, the people.

— Workers' Front, The Šibenik Declaration[42]

On 18 December 2018, it was announced that Katarina Peović, a member of Workers' Front and a former member of Zagreb Assembly, will candidate for a President of Croatia in the upcoming elections. Official presentation of the candidate is scheduled to happen on 21 January 2018.[43]

In May 2020, the Workers' Front joined a green-left coalition with We Can!, For the City, Zagreb is OURS!, Sustainable Development of Croatia, and New Left under the banner Green-Left Coalition. Together they won 7 seats in the Parliament, with Katarina Peović leading the list in the VIIIth electoral district.

Electoral performance

Parliament of Croatia

Year Popular vote
(coalition)
% of popular vote Overall seats won Seat change Coalition Government
2015 6,194 0.41%
0 / 151
New no seats
2020 116,480 6.99%
1 / 151
Increase 1 Green–Left opposition

Zagreb City Assembly

Year Popular vote
(coalition)
% of popular vote Overall seats won Seat change Coalition Government
2017 24,706 7.64%
1 / 51
Increase 1 Green–Left opposition
2021 1,385 0.43%
0 / 47
Decrease 1 no seats

European Parliament

Year Popular vote
(coalition)
% of popular vote Overall seats won Seat change Coalition Affiliation(s)
2019 2,622 0.24%
0 / 12
New With SRP EACL/EL

President of Croatia

Election Candidate Rank 1st round votes % of votes Rank 2nd round votes % of votes
2019–20 Katarina Peović 8th 21,387 1.14% N/A

References

  1. ^ Klerikalizacija hrvatske vojske i policije, Radnička fronta
  2. ^ "A Socialist Approach to the Elections". International Socialist Alternative.
  3. ^ "How the Workers' Front abandoned socialism / Kako je Radnička fronta odustala od socijalizma". Libertarijanska ljevica. Radnička fronta
  4. ^ "Croatian Parliament Dissolved Ahead of Summer Elections". Balkan Insight. 2020-05-18. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  5. ^ "Conservatives Win Croatia Election, First Results Show". Balkan Insight. 2020-07-05. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  6. ^ "No Sunshine for Seasonal Workers on Croatia's Coast". Balkan Insight. 10 August 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  7. ^ FitzGibbon, John; Leruth, Benjamin; Startin, Nick (2016). Euroscepticism as a Transnational and Pan-European Phenomenon: The Emergence of a New Sphere of Opposition. Routledge. p. 132. ISBN 9781317422501.
  8. ^ "Radnička fronta i službeno registrirana kao politička stranka" (in Croatian).
  9. ^ "Osnovana inicijativa za stvaranje radničke partije" (in Croatian).
  10. ^ a b "The formation of the Workers' Front (Croatia): "Revolution, if necessary"". LeftEast.
  11. ^ "I mi možemo!" [And we can!] (in Croatian). Novi List.
  12. ^ "Radnička fronta – Radnička fronta – tko konta, konta" [Workers' front – who understands – understands] (in Croatian). Novi List.
  13. ^ "Damir Pilić: SYRIZA, Podemos, Radnička fronta" (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija.
  14. ^ Glas Istre, Ljiljana Nikolovska, kandidatkinja na listi Zeleno-lijeve koalicije u istarsko-riječkoj jedinici: "Pete i ja imamo puno rodbine u Rijeci, Puli i Bakru", 22. 06. 2020. [1], accessed 25. 06. 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Učestala pitanja i odgovori - Radnička fronta". radnickafronta.hr. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  16. ^ a b "KATARINA PEOVIĆ O NASILJU U ZEMLJI: 'Srbi danas u Hrvatskoj igraju ulogu Židova. Zašto radimo na takvom odvajanju Srba i Hrvata?'". Net.hr (in Croatian). 2019-09-04. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  17. ^ "The left is rising again in Croatia: an interview with Demian Vokši". LeftEast.
  18. ^ "Workers Front – About".
  19. ^ a b c "KANDIDATKINJA ZA PREDSJEDNICU REPUBLIKE: 'Crtanje srpa i čekića na Tuđmanovom kipu je otpor nacionalizmu'". Net.hr (in Croatian). 2019-01-21. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  20. ^ "Kapitalizam, nacionalizam i religija". Radnička fronta (in Croatian). Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  21. ^ "Društvena imovina - Radnička fronta". radnickafronta.hr. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  22. ^ "DRŽAVA TREBA PREUZETI UPRAVLJANJE ULJANIKOM? Radnička fronta smatra da se ni u kojem slučaju ne smije ponoviti situacija s privatizacijom banaka". Net.hr (in Croatian). 2018-09-23. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  23. ^ a b c "Vanjska politika i međunarodni odnosi - Radnička fronta". radnickafronta.hr. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  24. ^ "I RADNIČKA FRONTA O OLUJI: Prokomentirali Thompsona i desničare". Dnevno.hr. 2019-08-05. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  25. ^ "Priopćenje o raspuštanju Radničke fronte". 3 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Radnička fronta više ne postoji". 3 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Registar političkih stranaka u Republici Hrvatskoj" (in Croatian).
  28. ^ "Radnička fronta: Ne raspadamo se, hakirala su nas četvorica članova" [Workers' Front: We're not falling apart, we got hacked by four members] (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija.
  29. ^ "U Radničkoj fronti došlo je do čistke, stiže nova stranka" (in Croatian).
  30. ^ "Stotinjak građana prosvjedovalo protiv Vatikanskih ugovora" (in Croatian).
  31. ^ "Radnička fronta: Cenzuriran nam je plakat s Todorićem!" (in Croatian).
  32. ^ "IZBORI ZA ZASTUPNIKE U HRVATSKI SABOR 2015. – KANDIDATURA" [CROATIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION, 2015 – CANDIDACY] (in Croatian).
  33. ^ "RADNIČKA FRONTA: Održan prosvjed zbog misa zadušnica za Pavelića" [WORKERS' FRONT: Protest held over the memorial service for Pavelić] (in Croatian). Nacional.
  34. ^ "Croatian & Slovenian Activists Met to Cut Border Fence".
  35. ^ "Protivnici Vlade popunili Markov trg: "Ostavka! Ostavka!" pod Vladinim prozorom" [Anti-government protesters filled St. Mark's Square: "Resignation! Resignation!" under the Government's window] (in Croatian). Novi List.
  36. ^ ""Traitors" protest held in downtown Zagreb". EBL News.
  37. ^ "Croatian "Traitors" Organize a Protest Against New Government". total-croatia-news.com.
  38. ^ "Croatian 'Traitors' Defy New War Veterans Minister". Balkan Insight.
  39. ^ "Održan prosvjed "izdajnika" protiv retorike ministra kulture Zlatka Hasanbegovića" [The protest of "traitors" held against the rhetorics of Minister of Culture Zlatko Hasanbegović] (in Croatian). HRT.
  40. ^ "Preko 1000 "izdajnika" okupiralo Markov trg, Vladi poručili: Ostavka! Ostavka!" [Over 1000 "traitors" occupied St. Mark's Square, message to the Government: Resignation! Resignation!] (in Croatian). Index.hr.
  41. ^ "Radnička fronta i Nova ljevica zajedno na izborima u Zagrebu" (in Croatian).
  42. ^ "The Workers' Front signed the Šibenik Declaration" (in Croatian)
  43. ^ "Radnička fronta kandidirat će Katarinu Peović za predsjednicu" [Workers' Front will nominate Katarina Peović as a presidential candidate] (in Croatian). Večernji list. 18 December 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.

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