Analysis 21 Apr 16

The New Left is Rising in Serbia

Disappointed in a weak political and economic system, new leftist political forces have emerged in Serbia in the last few years to oppose austerity measures and a reduction in workers rights.

Sasa Dragojlo
BIRN
Belgrade
Borko Stefanovic, leader of the Serbian Left, playing guitar at a rally in Nis in southern Serbia | Photo: Facebook

They mockingly call him the ‘Serbian Tsipras’. He drives citizens in a cab, discusses buyoff prices with farmers in villages, promises better working conditions to underpaid factory workers, hammers nails into roofs with construction ‘nail benders’ and hangs out with students arguing about the ideology of the “new European left”.

This is all part a new image for Borko Stefanovic, leader of the “Serbian Left” party, LS, a three-month-old party attempting to restore the ruined credibility of leftist parties in Serbia.

Stefanovic, a former high-profile member of the Democratic Party, DS, left the party at the end of 2015, disappointed with their unwillingness to ‘seize the historical momentum’ and change the program by moving more to the left.

“For more than a year I tried to convince them towards a new, more socially sensitive program. But, it did not work, so I left the party. I was a ‘whip’ of the party’s parliamentary group, so if it were only in my personal interests I would have stayed there,” said Stefanovic explaining his dispute with DS.

He thinks that the ‘old school’ social-democracy is impotent in the face of the global capitalism we live in.

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