PART 4 of 4
The shame of Europe: Slovenia referendum on the 20 December 2015
I am elaborating racialization as a process of capital’s differentiation between citizens (first and second grade citizens), non-citizens (refuges, asylum seekers), and migrants; they are all violently, but differently, discriminated against, as the labor market under global capitalism imposes violent processes of racial, class and gender selection of im/migration in Europe. Europe is renewed today through a genealogy that excludes all those who are seen from its Western perspective as unimportant (that are constructed as subhuman through a process of dehumanization). I stated in the previous post that in the homophobic Eastern Europe, especially the former Yugoslavia, Russia, etc., we see that the LGBTQI people have the status of second-grade citizens. Slovenia, which was a “model State” for neoliberal privatization, is today a turbo fascist neoliberal wreck that rejected a referendum in 2012 that proposed a family law which made it possible to regulate same-sex partnerships and other basic rights of the LGBTQI population in Slovenia.
Prior to the referendum in 2012 Tatjana Greif, Slovenian lesbian activists and prominent writer, prophetically stated that “the judgment whether the majority of the population taking part at the referendum will be deciding about human rights of a minority is in the hands of the Constitutional Court. From the early initiatives for equality of same-sex couples and families before the law in the middle of the 1980s, through the paper- based draft laws in the 1990s and the passing of the controversial Registration of Same-Sex Civil Partnership Act (ZIPS) in 2005, up to today’s Family Law Act we are moving forward and backward little by little.” (1)
The leader of the civil initiative and of the campaign against gays and lesbians human rights in 2012 and as well the one promoting the referendum in 2015 is Aleš Primc.
Tatjana Greif explained that “this is the same Aleš Primc who in 2001 organized the civil initiative and the campaign against human rights of single women and gathered signatures for the referendum against artificial insemination. He succeeded back then. As much as 88% of those who attended the referendum took away from unmarried women the right to medically assisted artificial insemination. Public opinion expressed indignation at the idea of lesbians or disabled women having the right to children. However, these women have had children to this day despite undemocratic referendum decision. The public debate around the referendum about artificial insemination was, just as the debate around the referendum about Family Code, an example of hostile speech in its rawest form. What will be the outcome of this referendum remains a question to be answered considering the judicial and political moves of the governing regime which are unstable, unreliable and unworthy of civil credo. For this checkmate situation one is not to blame Primc and the crusade troops, since standing behind the puppet machinery are the Catholic Church and political parties directed by the Vatican. A sharper blow, however, is the recognition that the political system and Slovenian legislation has allowed and enabled for three decades the civil inequality and violation of rights of LGBT minorities. The huge lack of political will for the legalization of gay and lesbian rights, the silent consent to be sacrificial lambs of social minorities, panic avoidance of the voting risk of human rights of gays and lesbians, fear of political discourse about enacting sexual rights and legal arrangements of sexual citizenship reflect the moral paranoia of the left- and right-wing parties and are at the same time the most fertile environment for launching the ecclesiastic agenda. Fear, perseverance and renouncement. Repression and discrimination.” (Greif. Ibid)
The results of the referendum in 2012 in Slovenia, when 54.55% of voters rejected a law that would have expanded rights for same-sex registered partnerships, proved to be as announced by Tatjana Greif, just the beginning of a huge saga of homophobic, turbo fascist violent measures sanctioned by the Slovenian state. As a new referendum on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage will be held in Slovenia on 20 December 2015.
That in Slovenia is to be held in 2015 another shameful referendum is scandalous, though this seems not at the center of preoccupation of the EU. The Occident does not want to deal with it, and therefore engages in all imaginable post-human modes, while the present and historical modes of Occidental colonial de-humanization remain largely undiscussed. Gabriele Dietze writes in “Occidentalism. European Identity and Sexual Politics” that “Occidentalism does not only generate the fiction of liberated women and liberal men who provide freedom and rights, but also claims a special brand of enlightened relationship to homosexuality. In addition to women’s liberation, the tolerance of homosexuality is assessed as an ultimate proof of European superiority. The corresponding German discourse still betrays the effort involved in making the claim, because homosexuality has been completely legal only in the last 15 years. ‘Gay marriage’ has only been in place since 2001 (after a bitter fight stopping just short of the Supreme Court). The newness of the anti-discrimination legislation concerning homosexuality did not preclude making the tolerance of homosexuality a major imperative for granting German citizenship.”(2)
Online is given a dry history of the events prior to this shameful referendum on 20 December 2015 in Slovenia.
On 3 March 2015 the National Assembly passed a bill to amend the Marriage and Family Relations Act to the effect that same-sex couples could get married, after which opponents gathered enough signatures to force a referendum. On 26 March, the National Assembly voted to block the referendum on the ground that it would violate the constitutional provision which prohibits popular votes on laws eliminating unconstitutionality in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The proponents of a referendum appealed to the Constitutional Court, which on 22 October declared that the National Assembly does not have the ability to declare a referendum unconstitutional. The National Assembly thus on 4 November scheduled a referendum to be held on 20 December 2015. Per article 90 of the Constitution a law is rejected if “a majority of voters who have cast valid votes vote against the law, provided at least one fifth of all qualified voters have voted against the law”. A poll from November 2015 showed that 46% of respondents support and 54% oppose the bill. The poll suggests a strong division between different groups. While most women, atheists and residents of urban areas support the bill, a significant majority of men, Catholics and rural population oppose it.
For an end without an end, as stated by Maldonado-Torres, “these dehumanizing forces, logics, and discourses hardly seem to find an end in the current neoconservative and neoliberal moment or in the liberal and Eurocentric radical responses that it sometimes generates. Continued […] polarities between sectors considered more human than others, the accelerated rhythm of capitalist exploitation of land and human labor – sometimes facilitated, as Fanon put it, by neocolonial elites among the groups of the oppressed themselves – as well as anxieties created by migration and rights claims by populations considered pathological, undesirable, or abnormal (to name only a few of the most common issues found today), make clear that decolonization will remain unfinished for some time.” (3)
(1) Tatjana Greif, “Thank you for not tearing down the fence,” in DE-ARTIKULACIJA, no 1, 2012. Project within the visual segment of 15th Biennial of Art: DE/RE/CONSTRUCTION: space, time, memories in Pančevo, Serbia.
(2) Gabriele Dietze, “Occidentalism, European Identity, and Sexual Politics”, in: Hauke Brunkhorst and Gerd Groezinger (eds.), The Study of Europe, Baden Baden, Nomos, 2010.
(3) Nelson Maldonado-Torres, “Thinking through the Decolonial Turn: Post-continental Interventions in Theory, Philosophy, and Critique – An Introduction”, Transmodernity, Fall 2011, 1