Radnička prava

Primož Krašovec: A Critique of the Public Sector as a Blind Spot of the Left

08/05/2015, 14h, Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, Croatia
School of Contemporary Humanities /// 8th Subversive Film Festival "Spaces of Emancipation: Micropolitics and Rebellions"

"While protesting against budget cuts, austerity measures and neoliberal demonization of the public sector and its employees, it can sometimes be necessary to ignore the existing inequalities and injustices within the real public sector. However, if the Left continues to ignore such problems, it risks that its political discourse becomes irrelevant for both the employees in the public sector and the users of public services. Not questioning the public sector would be justifiable only if the public sector really was – as leftist rhetoric sometimes suggests – an oasis of egalitarian self-management, stable jobs, fair working conditions which ensure universal uncommodified public services. Conversely, the real public sector in Slovenia is a mix of strict hierarchies based on status, high inequalities of income and significant class divisions between the formally employed core and the precarious workers on the periphery. Furthermore, public institutions in Slovenia are not only laboratories of precarious work, but also the main producers of neoliberal ideology and ethics (especially political and educational institutions engaged in social work).

Neoliberal discourse and reformist practices are influential and successful because they are based on real life experiences of institutional inertia, entrenched status inequalities and increased marginalization and frustration of the periphery, consisting of precarious workers in the public sector. On the other hand, political discourses based on an idealized image of the public sector which does not correspond to the actual experience of the employers in the public sector and the users of public services are sentenced to be politically inefficient."

Primož Krašovec (1979) teaches theory of ideology, political theory and epistemology at the Faculty of Arts, Ljubljana.