Matica Crnogorska finds it necessary to present its own views of the present and future of Montenegro in this time and in these circumstances which carry within themselves the crossroads of ages and millenniums. The reasons for this are seen in the warnings from history, the threatenings of the present, and the requirements of the future for foundational changes in the consciousness of the people and their relationships in the society in which they live and create, therefore we present:
Montenegro Facing the Challenges of The Future
I. THE PRESENT TIME
1. Disintegration of the country and the system
The disintegration of the SFR Yugoslavia irrevocably altered the relations in the region. After everything that has happened in this area nothing can be the same. The idea of "Yugoslavness," which was approached by others with far less idealism, and much more pragmatism in the achievement of their state and national interests, has definitely been destroyed in unmeasurable material losses and has been buried together with hundreds of thousands of human lives.
Along with the dramatic and tragic disintegration of former Yugoslavia, a parallel essential change is also developing in the system of political and economic relations, which itself is a turning point in history. The emptiness which occurred with the abolishment of the concept of socialist relations and state ownership, together with the consequences which took place after the collapse of the market and economic connections of the previous community, along with the international isolation which we deserved by blindly taking sides with those who held to a greater state concept, have brought the complete industrial and economic structure of Montenegro to the verge of a total collapse, and the majority of its inhabitants to the brink of poverty. The lack of the legal system, which is characteristic for countries which do not have a clear program for overcoming the process of transition, created the possibility for a minority of the society who are in power, or those close to them, to accumulate ever increasing political might and material wealth
The lack of an independently conceived and clear state concept, or better said remaining on the fence between the knowledge that one has to cooperate with the world according to the rules of the world and not being ready to make a real break with the partner which in the eyes of that world has a large mortgage from which he cannot or even will not get rid of, only prolongs the agony of Montenegrin economy and society. In such a condition there can be no talk of building a real economic strategy, nor any real change in the position of Montenegro and its citizens.
The disintegration of Yugoslavia found Montenegro unprepared and socially exhausted by the economic catastrophe which accompanied the end of the old system. Divided, disoriented and manipulated by propaganda, Montenegro was brought low before the well-organized onslaught of Serb nationalism. Yugoslavia disappeared in the events which took place in Montenegro during 1988/89--but that wasn't the only time when Montenegro had but did not take advantage of an historic opportunity to influence events for the better, or at least to make them lest painful and tragic. The interests of the Great Powers and the rivalries of various Balkan nationalistic programs, have dictated the fate of the Balkan peoples for more than a century. Montenegro once again did not have a strategy which would preserve its national integrity, that is if we discount as a real strategy, that in murky times, "Montenegro must stand with Serbia." It appears that nothing has been learned from the past. Many Montenegrin sacrifices were quickly forgotten, or only remembered to be ridiculed. After all that has happened, one must face the question, "will there eventually come a time of reason in Montenegro when it will be realized that to look after one's interests is not a sin but a virtue?"
2. Montenegro in federation with Serbia
Montenegro entered into the third Yugoslavia in an irregular way, as it entered the first Yugoslavia: it came into the first Yugoslavia through an assembly scripted by Serbian directors and it came into the present, third, Yugoslavia through a referendum. Both times the aim was to give some form to decisions made by Serbian authorities. The citizens of Montenegro were not given the chance to decide the destiny of their state during a time of peace. The destiny of Montenegro was first decided at the end of the First World War, after which as in previous wars, in which it fought with Serbia, or better for Serbia, it had been drained by enormous human sufferings and heretofore unheard of famine. This time the destiny of Montenegro was decided in the circumstances of war and international isolation. The very way the referendum question was put and how voting took place will remain a classic example of how to manipulate one's own people. There was no such voting in Serbia.
The first Yugoslavia came into being, besides all other circumstances, first of all as a result of the endeavors of Serbian politics to realize its long cherished ideal "all Serbs in one state" and that through the state of South Slav people, when the allies were not ready to accept the formation of "Great Serbia." Today's Yugoslavia, at its foundation, was created with the same intentions. In fact, it came into being, that day when the president of Serbia, feeling very powerful, refused to accept the Hague agreement on the formation of the Union of the South Slav states, and the president of Montenegro withdrew his signature from that document, although for its acceptance and the equal treatment of Montenegro he had the decision of the Montenegrin Assembly. In such a state Montenegro neither has nor can have equal status.
For the Montenegrin people, the formation of the present federation was one more deceit, while for the Serbian political leadership it again was a carefully created calculation. From one side, it was the wish to keep Montenegro with its resources and the sea on its side, and to keep the illusion of continuity before the face of the world, counting not only on the benefits coming out of it, but also on avoiding responsibility for human and material losses, in the war which has to be presented as imposed, and not, to the greatest degree, caused by its own politics. Thus the keeping the name, "Yugoslavia," is not mere sentimentality, but only part of that calculation. The wish was to create, at least temporarily and hastily, a provisional - mother-state, to which, as it was certain of, after the winning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, all the "Serbian states" would simply be added and so realize the dream of "Great Serbia" and "all Serbs in one state." As that plan proved to be unrealizable, the current federation became the "minimal solution" for the Serbian leadership, enough to justify historical failures before their own people, to minimize the feeling of devastation of an insane politics, so that in front of international factors they can still come out with the arguments of continuity and the right of succession.
Based on such politics and calculations, such a community neither could nor ever will come into being. The constitution of the new federation was hastily accepted, under pressure to constitute the state at any cost. Certain confederal elements in it, although far from what the Montenegrin Assembly accepted as a "minimum under which one cannot go," were only an illusory concession to make the annexation of Montenegro easier. It was anticipated that that provision of the state and constitution would only last a short time, until the conditions were reached to annex other "Serbian States," and then there would be a different attitude toward Montenegro. But the problems of this federation, nevertheless, do not come out of its constitution. Even if it were essentially different, things would unfold in a similar way. Although this is not clear to many in Montenegro, the new federation was not, in any way, formed to reflect the historical closeness of the Montenegrin and Serbian people. Were that really desired, it would be necessary to affirm first the real individual and mutual interests of Montenegro and Serbia, analyze the elements which, necessarily, must lead to the confrontation of individual interests, and only then determine which form of union enables the realization and preservation of mutual, as well as individual interests. That that form of union could never be federal in any way, not even with great "confederal" improvements. It is not only because bicameral federal unions, even in the case of almost equal partners have never endured the test of time, first of all because of the enormous disproportion between the members in all relevant elements, from the number of inhabitants to the their strategic state interests. State and economic interests of Montenegro with a little over six hundred thousand inhabitants and Serbia with over ten million inhabitants, are objectively very different, so they necessarily lead to confrontation, in spite of mutual feelings of closeness. Serbia, with a developed industry in many areas, from agriculture to automobile and electronics and corresponding markets, must necessarily accommodate its economic policy, from monetary and fiscal to customs. Montenegro has a completely different industry structure; it sees its great chance in tourism, which necessitates an open country, without restrictive customs, with extremely liberal provisions for the import of capital. In the military-strategic sense the contrasts are even greater. With an important strategic position in the Balkans, complex internal relations and potential conflicts, Serbia objectively must have an adequate system of defense. In view of that the strength and necessities of Montenegro are completely different, so the essential question is, "should Montenegro accept such a massive system of defense because of the interests of Serbia, or, on the other hand, should develop a completely different and self-suited system?"
No one in Montenegro contests the need for ties to Serbia, but the nature and character of those ties, which must reflect objective mutual, as well as different individual interests. Experience has shown that the government and others in Serbia have misused those ties using them as an element of coercion and pressure.
Inappropriate ties between Montenegro and Serbia maintain and increase adversarial relations, and as times goes on will lead to ever sharper mutual antagonisms, which can easily escalate. There is an increasing striving in Serbia towards uniterizing the common state, strengthening federal functions, regionalization and abolishing "three governments and three parliaments." The realization of this striving will depend, to a great degree on international circumstances and the presence of international military forces in the region.
The consequences of the war in former Yugoslavia and the unavoidable rendering an account before the domestic and international public for what occurred in this area will be a long process. This drama will finish with Yugoslavia before the International Tribunal in the Hague.
As the status of Kosovo and, most likely, Vojvodina within the federation is resolved, Montenegro will be in an even worse position as to its equal status. In such a constellation it will be even more difficult for Montenegro to safeguard its sovereignty. Montenegro must have sovereignty in its relationship with any other state entity.
The intentions and goals of the Serb political leadership for the federation is clear, but Montenegro remains without a national or governmental program for itself. The differences between the ruling powers in Serbia and those in Montenegro over strategic and social issues are greater than ever. This is paralyzing the federation and is forcing the Montenegrin leadership to seek its own strategy. Montenegro has the status of a satellite and is unable to undertake anything radical to further its own interest.
Montenegro has to resolve the dilemma facing it citizens: Is Montenegro a Montenegrin nation and is it a nation?! If the answer to this question is positive and unambiguous, every other issues will would be easily resolved accordingly.
1. The national status of Montenegro and its relation with Serbia
Montenegro and Serbia in almost all essential elements which determine a nation, have objectively very different positions, which stem from their different sizes, industrial structure, economic and every other potential and strength. Every cooperation between them, if the two are to be preserved as separate states, must respect this fact and the cooperation must enable each of them to develop precisely their objective differences without hinderance. Montenegro and Serbia also have many mutual interests, which come out, not only from historical, ethnic and other ties, but also from their naturally complimentary industrial and economic structures.
There is nothing contradictory here, under the condition that one starts with the fact that those are two separate state and national entities defined by a long history, and under the condition that they each really want to be preserved, and not dissolved into each other. This can certainly not be achieved in the existing governmental relationship, which restricts both members of the federation, and the smaller one certainly more, in the developing of self-suited political and economic relations, and endangers and destroys relationship and cooperation. In order to realize its state and national interests in the most optimal way, and to ensure an improved quality of life for its citizens, Montenegro must do the following:
- It must have internationally recognized sovereignty, recognized in a way and under the conditions which hold for all sovereign, internationally recognized states;
- It should join the United Nations and all its specialized (economic, financial, scientific-educational, health, and other) associations;
- It should work towards joining the European Council and should build corresponding ties to the European Union, its agreements and arrangements;
- It should join organizations for collective security including the "Partnership for Peace" program, and later make other arrangements for defense;
- It should become a member of world, European, and regional sports, humanitarian, and other organizations and associations.
- It should secure independent membership in the European Union Radio Emission agency for purposes of handling all issues relating to radio frequencies, television and satellite channels.
In order to further mutual interests with Serbia, Montenegro should decide upon one of the well known models of cooperation among sovereign states. One such models is an alliance (union) of sovereign states, with clearly defined goals which exclusively relate to the realization of mutual interests.
The basic goals of the alliance would be to enable: free movement of individuals, goods, money, and services, so that all citizens of the members of the union have the same treatment and rights on the whole of the territory , including freedom of the movement, employment, settlement and choice of occupation. The movement of personal property, money, and services should be protected from any protectionism and should be free of all fees, and taxes.
The functional organization of the union must prevent every amassing power, national protectionism, and other difficulties and temptations which are characteristic of the members' long state, cultural, and ethical traditions and great differences in size, number of inhabitants and economical power. Hence the union must act on the principles of mutual respect and trust, in accordance with the norms of international law and the intentions of wider regional and European integration. The realization of the aims of the Union must be rational, so that it would not overburden the members with its bulkiness and endanger its very aims. All entities within the Union would be constituted on par with one another and would make decisions by consensus. Membership in the Union would not infringe on the rights of its members to be members in other international economic and financial organizations. Membership in the Union would be voluntary and would last as long as the Union gives to each member, according to the members' own wishes and judgment, something better than they could achieve independently or in union with other countries.
Could such an alliance between Montenegro and Serbia actually take place and could it meet its non-disputable aim? Such a Union has been functioning very successfully for almost fifty years among the countries of Benelux (Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg) and it has enabled its members, very different in size, number of inhabitants, and industrial structure (consider how small Luxembourg is), to reach the highest level of personal and national development in the world. It has also enabled them to preserve their individual historical and cultural heritages, political and economic sovereignty, and has provided the citizens of the respective countries a settled and prosperous life, without disputes and animosities. The community of western European countries is similarly constituted. Only through such relationships can peace come to the ever-in-conflict Balkan region. This is also the only way for Balkan states to achieve economic and cultural progress and become involved, on an equal basis, in further European integration.
2. Economic and developmental strategy
Changing the existing state status and position of Montenegro and changing the current economic status are very mutually dependent. The struggle for preserving Montenegro will be carried on through acquiring its economic emancipation and through offering a higher quality of life to its citizens. The change of the economic status of Montenegro and its citizens will occur only when it is in the position to define and carry out that developmental strategy which is in accordance with its state and national interests. Hence the question of the state status of Montenegro is not only the question which arises out of the need to preserve its historical, cultural, and national identity, but it is an essential precondition for realizing a higher quality of life for its citizens. In the previous state the developmental strategy of Montenegro was greatly determined not only by the logic of a political system, but it was, to a high degree, conditioned by the interests of the other five members of that community, but, nevertheless, the multi-member federation offered some conveniences and left certain possibilities of freedom of choice and action. In the present community such freedom of choice practically does not exist, but the position and the actions of Montenegro are completely conditioned by the logic and interests of only one partner.
The dependence on the political, economic, and other interests of Serbia, brought Montenegro, in the past six years, to the unprecedented economic disaster. That is most directly expressed by the fall of the gross national product per capita, which fell from $2,300 in 1989 to some $800 in 1994, though this figure is probably very exaggerated. What a fall this is can be determined on the basis of the judgments of foreign and local experts, who at the beginning of the 80s predicted that, in the previous social and economic conditions, the gross national product in Montenegro in the year 2,000 could be around $5,000 per capita, and the number employed would increase from around 120,000 in 1984 up to 150,000 in the period up to 2,000. All these estimates were based on the previous social and economic system, with state ownership as a factor significantly limiting development. They were based on the realistic judgment of the natural resources of Montenegro in agriculture, forestry, industry, tourism, on rather developed infrastructural capacities, and the qualified work force. As a necessary condition for a greater utilization of these potentials, even then, the question of the need for foreign capital was put forth. Contrary to the claim of economical insufficiency and necessary dependence of Montenegro on other members of the federation, the real facts show quite a different state. Thus in 1987 the value of imports from all other republics and abroad was 1.7 billion dollars, and the total export to those markets was 1.6 billion, thus the disparity was only 6.25%, which can not be considered a significant imbalance, this is even more clear when one notes that since 1982 Montenegro has always had a positive balance of trade with foreign countries, with a surplus which in 1987 was over one hundred million dollars.
The basic recommendations which foreign and domestic experts gave ten or fifteen years ago are still valid. The developing prospects of Montenegro, even today, must be based on forestry, wood manufacture and agriculture, planning a strategy for its diversification, development of villages, domestic hand crafts, and small agro-industry. By improving the regional infrastructure, establishing regional agro-industrial co-ops, the development of private agriculture would be stimulated and the quality of life in village areas would be significantly changed. That would enable gradual regeneration of rural areas and slowly remove the heavy demographic and social consequences which came about during the period of "so called" industrialization.
Industrial strategy must be essentially different today and must be based on the development of small industry. Of course, one must not neglect large already existing capacities in the area of heavy and metallurgic industry, but it must be clear that revitalization of those capacities must be realized only through their inclusion and connection to greater European and world systems, which are the only ones capable of providing capital, modern technology and markets.
Tourism continues, of course, to be a great developmental opportunity for Montenegro and along with maritime industry the most potential source of foreign currency income which would enable a balance of trade with foreign countries and establish freedom of choice in buying goods which are lacking at the best international market prices. The shortage of coastline (only 250 km) directs toward high capacity tourism with high categories and standards.
The energy potentials of Montenegro, also afford developmental possibilities, but not even these possibilities can be activated without financial support from foreign partners (the need to respect high ecological standards being taken for granted).
To these recognized developmental possibilities of Montenegro should be added developmental ideas of a new orientation. Those ideas are based on an adequate evaluation of the Mediterranean and coastal position of Montenegro, its natural and already created potentials, small size, and low density of population. This could be achieved through the development of Montenegro as a free economic zone, off shore activities, technologies, and ecological projects. Such a strategy best reflects the natural and other uniquenesses of Montenegro, as a small state with only something over 600,000 inhabitants, and enables the creation of an open Montenegro integrated into the civilized international community, and the development of a political and industrial system, which will direct the creative energy of its citizens towards the formation of a society of freedom and wealth, and not keep them imprisoned by others' archaic myths and atavisms. Such an economic strategy has a long history. One example is Iceland, with only about 250,000 inhabitants, who with all unfavorable climatic and geographical circumstances, has a high living standard based on fishing and tourism. Another good example is Malta (350,000 inhabitants) which after an unsuccessful experiment with socialism has achieved a accelerated development based on tourism, maritime industry, small industrial capacities, and open economy. Very impressive is the example of Singapore, a city-state with 2.7 million inhabitants, without any natural resources (they even get drinking water from the continent), which, in a very short time, has become an economic and financial giant, with highly accumulative industry based on technological knowledge, which is without a drop of its own oil, among the 4-5 worlds greatest producers of petroleum products and which, for example, has an annual trade exchange only with the USA of around 20 billion dollars. For us the example of Greek Cyprus is very inspirational, which by the division of the island into Greek and Turkish parts, paid a high price in its complete dependence on Greece and its then military regime, and went afterwards, its own way, and in a short time, leaning only on tourism and offering great advantages to foreign capital, changed from a poor and undeveloped country to one with 13,000 dollars of gross national product per capita. Let us not even mention Hong Kong (6 million inhabitants), whose annual exports are valued at around 150 billion dollars, or Luxembourg (450,000 inhabitants), which, having found the most suitable modus vivendi with its significantly more powerful neighbors, realizes one of the highest incomes per capita (around $35,000). Of all of them, regarding natural resources, geographic and demographic parameters Montenegro has better or at least equal possibilities.
The first condition for realizing such a strategy is that Montenegro have, in the full sense, its state sovereignty, which will enable it to join the international community on the basis of its own interests and which will give it possibilities to independently establish legal and tax regulations, with which it will as a state guarantee long term stability of business with the world. It would be very unrealistic to expect that this can be achieved in the present union with Serbia, since the strategic goals of Serbia are objectively different, even if all political and other conditions were different than they are now. It would also be a delusion to expect that this strategy may be realized by opening so called duty free zones (Bar and others), for the destiny of these zones will always depend on the will of the federal authorities and their plans, who represent the interests of Serbia, and besides that, it would lead to further regional disintegration in Montenegro. From the economic viewpoint Montenegro must be a unique free area, only then can all its comparative advantages come to expression.
Another precondition for the economic prosperity of Montenegro is the transformation of the ownership structure from state ownership to private ownership. The current trend in this sphere, regardless of the determination of political factors, is very slow, complicated, to most citizens incomprehensible, and, at least for now, it looks like a transformation to state and para-state ownership, accompanied with all the characteristics of the state bureaucratic process. This process must be accelerated, made more just, and because of that more open to the interests and control of the citizens. Regardless of the present and future ration of political forces this is one of those important historical questions, where it is necessary to tend towards a broad social consensus and uniting of creative forces, if one does not want the consequences of that heavy process to be carried by generation after generation. Privatization of the ownership should be general, while maintaining state ownership only in the area of large industrial infrastructure and some areas in which there is an overriding public concern.
Montenegro must be a state practically without customs and with minimal fiscal protectionism. Its fiscal system should be in accordance with the latest trends in the European Union, with a value added tax instead of the current inflationary tax on turnover. The value added tax and citizen taxes (on income and property) would be at the level of the countries in the European Union, while taxes on the profit of corporation and off shore activities should be among the lowest in the world. On the principle of reciprocity Montenegro would develop its relations based on duty free sales of goods and services and free movement of people, ideas, and capital. Montenegro must adopt an extremely stimulative and liberalized tax policy, achieve political and legal stability, and so create conditions for investment and business.
Existing banks must be privatized and conditions created for founding foreign and mixed capital banks. The old problem of the foreign currency savings on deposit but not available to the citizens in Montenegro must be solved through the selling of state property and the process of privatization, because without that there is no chance of renewing the banking and savings systems. A decisive step towards removing the influence of the state in industry would be achieved by the privatization of the banking system. The state should help the formation of mortgage banking. This banking would serve to finance small businesses through guarantees based on private property, and there would be reasons to restart frozen housing projects, which would, along with its basic function stimulate other economic activities.
The state would become a creative entity providing a good environment for business through macroeconomic policy, legal protection and security, and by allowing free competition according to known and stable market rules. In our conditions the important role of the state is to provide the conditions for gradual regional development which is a very prominent problem among us with political connotations. The state may achieve the change in the quality of life in those areas by introducing a number of reliefs and benefits for domestic and foreign investors for investing in those regions, forming special banks and banking funds to stimulate the development of undeveloped areas, by benefiting investments in the area of small industry and animal husbandry, building infrastructure and a series of other measures.
For the purpose of realizing its economic strategy, safeguarding its economy and sovereignty, and preventing many negative influences from the surroundings, Montenegro must decide to introduce its own currency and monetary institution. That institution should issue currency only in the quantity which suits the size of market transactions, should base itself only on the market and not on any discretionary monetary policy, form foreign currency reserves and secure the internal, and later the external convertibility of the domestic currency. Such a monetary institution, indisputable in this sphere, must exclude the possibility of the abuse of money for non-market and non-economic purposes, for monetary production of inflation, must secure the stability of prices, make the quality of life dependent, in the first place, on work and ability, and minimize the interference of political power, which earlier as well as today, among us and as ever has had the tendency to put monetary policy in the service of the actual political authorities.
The status of Montenegro as a social state is based on solidarity as an important feature of Montenegrin mentality and tradition, but it, unfortunately, may be endangered in conditions of fast conversion to capitalism, redistribution of state wealth and the general impoverishment of broad sectors of society.
Starting from the fact that private ownership will be dominant, but that state ownership will not quickly and completely disappear, it seems, the most acceptable variant of health insurance for Montenegro would be a mixed system of health care. This system is based on the possibility and right of every citizen to choose one of the three variants:
- Complete state health care in which the state fully finances the health care of the insured in state medical facilities;
- Partial state health care in which the state finances a portion of health care costs at all levels of care;
- Full private insurance.
Resources for state insurance are to be provided out of taxes, but the position of state and private insurance companies are to be equalized. The relation among the Insurance companies - the insured - and the firm the insured works in, as well as between medical facilities - the insured - the insurance company, are to be regulated by special contracts and legislative acts, for which there is abundant knowledge and experience within developed societies and countries.
Regardless of the organization of medical services and the models of insurance, there must be work toward establishing complete health care for all citizens. Equal opportunity will only be achieved from equalized starting positions. As this takes place quality is assured and which in turn leads to a constant renewing of the vitality of society and its functions.
One should not have the illusion that this economic and developmental strategy can immediately, overnight, transform Montenegro and its citizens from the state of general crisis into economic and every other kind of prosperity. But, that strategy is real, being based on the experience and successes of a series of countries similar to Montenegro, and its consistent application, at a small and easily adaptable system, may give the results in a relatively short period of time, which many in the current circumstances may receive with disbelief. Its applicability in Montenegro is based on an essential supposition that today, despite everything, there are new generations with much more self-respect and self-consciousness of value.
3. Legal state
Human rights or the reign of law in Montenegro today can not be talked about out of the context of Montenegro's position in the federation. The federation is a "facade" and is a federation in "name only." In such a federation one cannot expect the protection of individual rights of citizens and the establishing of a legal-political model of limited, controlled, and decentralized power. The direct consequence of this position of Montenegro is the exclusive responsibility of the federation, that is Serbia, for bringing about a state of emergency, a state of the immediate danger of war, and the state of war, which can easily endanger all the most basic natural, civil and political rights of the citizens of Montenegro, and they having no possibility to influence it. In this way legal violence is perpetrated upon Montenegro and its citizens are forced to be submissive servants.
One of the priorities in solving the Montenegrin state question, with the a priori supposition that that should be done in a democratic and peaceful way, is the establishment of adequate protection for human rights and a recognition of the concept of the rule of rights. The sovereignty of Montenegro, therefore, is not a goal based exclusively on the preservation of historical continuity and the realization of economic prosperity, but is also a precondition to establish internal relations based on traditional respect for personality, and based on individual and collective rights recognized by the modern and civilized world. The basic principle on which the independent state of Montenegro should be based is the principle of limited, decentralized and controlled governmental authority, as the only form of legitimate governmental authority. The constitution, as the basic constitutional act of the country, as the only form of general "social contract," accepted by all relevant factors in the state and society, should reflect generally accepted political, legal, and moral positions, that law and the legal system are not only instruments of politics, but first of all means to limit politics and political power of its holders. Such a constituted state and legal system means establishing a state as an organization for the satisfying of the general interests of all its citizens, and not only as an instrument of domination of one group, nation, or class. The starting premise of such a legal-political concept is the "true nature" of state government, that is its immanent characteristic to establish a monopoly on giving orders and physical coercion, directing the destiny of people, which brings to its holders privileges and benefits. The possibility of misuse is immanent to every authority, which very often results in the abuse of the basic rights of individuals and groups, but also makes the functioning of the government, itself, difficult. Therefore in the governmental system of the democratic state of Montenegro mechanisms and institutions should be developed to control and limit that system.
The parliamentary majority is to be formed at free and secret elections, at which all democratic and peace loving political forces freely and without fear of consequences represent and defend their attitudes. That majority forms the government, which not only can be easily changed, but also has freedom to exercise power limited by the constitution and the law and particularly by the individual "natural" rights of the citizens. The basic right of a parliamentary minority to become a majority, can by no means be prevented and denied by the actual bearers of power, especially not through the abuse of power, force and noninstitutional forms of power.
In limiting and equalizing the power and domination of one branch of government over others, it is of special importance to control the executive power (government), police, army, and their secret services by parliament and judicial authorities. Every executive power, in principle and in the existing Montenegrin conditions especially, demonstrates the tendency of misuse and usurpation of power, so it is necessary to achieve a much more affirmative role of the parliament and that especially in its controlling role in relation to executive power.
The establishment of an independent judicial system is one of the imperatives of a democratic and sovereign Montenegro. Courts, regular and constitutional, must become the final "controllers" of the constitutionality and lawfulness of the work of all state institutions and individuals and the guarantor of the rights and freedoms of citizens.
In the democratic and sovereign Montenegro a corpus of human rights would be accepted and put into action, whose volume and contents would be determined by international, universal and regional (European) standards. In such a concept the individual and his freedom are the aim, and the state power is only the means of achieving that aim. Those rights are "natural," that is they are only legal terms for the values and characteristics immanent to humans, like life, freedom, dignity, thinking; those values which are not created or given to individuals by state power, and so can not be taken away by that state power. That means that the state of Montenegro would sign and ratify an Elective Protocol along with a Pact of Civil and Political Rights, and by joining the Council of Europe it would accept the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisdiction of the European Court for Human Rights.
An integral part of the general concept of the protection of human rights is the special protection of collective rights of minority groups and communities. Certain "positive discrimination," that is an additional protection of certain collective rights, for the sake of protecting the identity and integrity of minority groups, is an essential precondition for real equality with the majority. Furthermore, it is not enough to merely voice that option, or even to give norms for settling this problem, but along with all other controls, it is necessary to have an additional control establishing minority rights. Oversight and control of the establishment of those rights can not be fulfilled by the analysis of the attitudes of the majority towards the level and quality of their establishment, but for that, first of all, the opinion of the minority in question should be paramount.
It is of primary importance for the democratic state of Montenegro to create the rights of free and true information, not only because our past and present experience necessarily tells us so, but because it is a precondition for establishing all other rights and freedoms. In achieving this right there are two basic principles to start from. It is the right of every citizen to be informed, in a timely manner, and adequately, of all relevant events and opinions, regardless of how much they are in accordance with the attitudes of the ruling structure. Every citizen has the right not to be exposed to information and opinions which are warmongering, which spread racial, ethnic, national, religious, political hate and intolerance and which condone ideas contrary to the concepts of original human rights. The realization of the first principle comes into being through the greatest possible liberalization of the right to establish and carry out all kinds of media activities of individuals, societies, special interest groups, and political organizations. The second principle would come into effect by temporarily or permanently forbidding the work of the media in question by the regular courts, but only when through regular proceedings it is determined that they did not respect the principle of the citizens right of protection from media activities. The prerequisite for this taking place is the independence of the judicial system.
The role and place of the so called state media, is special in Montenegro because, for the foreseeable future, it will continue to have the most importance and influence. They reflect today's ratio of power in parliament or, in other words, the positions and opinions of the majority party, and other opposition and politically independent attitudes only as much as it is necessary to create the air of pluralistic decor. The dominant way of thinking about the role of the state media is that the state, that is the actual authorities, as its personification, since they are financing that media, have the right to direct and determine its editorial policy. It is forgotten that through the budget, the financing is actually carried out through the taxes paid by all the citizens of Montenegro. With such a way of thinking it is not at all excluded that even with a change of the ruling party, the role of the state media may remain basically the same. Hence the position of state media must be determined by a consensus of all political parties in parliament and that in a way which will make state media as independent as possible from changes in the government.
Democracy can not exist without a free press which reflects the pluralism of public opinion. The independence of the press from centers of financial and political power should be legally protected as should editorial freedom an the inalienable right of journalists to work according to their consciences. The public good should be the guiding standard.
4. Spiritual Identity of Montenegro
The battle for maintaining the state and national integrity of Montenegro must, necessarily, be led through preserving Montenegrin cultural identity, since every nation, and especially small ones, may be affirmed in a state and national sense only when its own specific culture and the notion of it is affirmed, the same as, on the other hand the emancipation of a people may most easily be prevented by negating its cultural uniqueness and by the assimilation of its tradition. Cultural identity should be understood as a feeling of belonging to a community which recognizes some mutual features such as history, ethnic closeness, territory, state, system of values, religion, forms of national culture, which form the basis for its identification in relation to others. Values which made up and still make up the content of Montenegrin cultural identity--the ideal of freedom, the inviolability of justice, the right of personal integrity and freedom to express thoughts, striving for moral idealism, and giving preference to moral laws over natural laws, and human values over social position and wealth, the attitude towards the defense of national, state, and personal values from enemies, respect for foreigners and what is sacred to them, the notion of an exceptional history and long state tradition, equality between the popular and literary language, the proven value of the language as seen in art, a rich cultural heritage, preserving the traces of previous civilizations, the variety of national culture, exceptionally rich and elegant national costumes, a developed case law, and the feeling of ethnic closeness and blood ties--all these uniquenesses, in comparison to others, are easily recognized as coming out of the centuries long duration of the Montenegrin people and state. All these special and unique features of Montenegrin identity are no less confirmed by those who see themselves as the "special and best" members of Serbian collectivity.
That division of Montenegrin identity has its historical basis, first of all, in the circumstances of living for centuries isolated and surrounded by enemies and naturally longing to come out from such a surrounding. This division of identity is especially noticeable since the second half of the last century, since when it has been systematically encouraged and manifested by the denying of its own, for the sake of some "higher" interests. The personal ambitions and aspirations of the Montenegrin ruler also contributed to that, as well as individuals from abroad, who led cultural politics and institutions, who systematically blended Montenegrin uniquenesses into the Serbian, Slav, Orthodox, Yugoslav, and international consciousness. The Montenegrin longing for integrity was very suitable to such integrationist tendencies and was further supported by the myth of the future world role of such communities. Montenegrin cosmopolitanism, openness toward other and kindred collectives, and the readiness to help those collectives in need, were often utilized as an energy for somebody else's nationalism, mainly "greater-Serbianist," which had the most disastrous and destructive effects on Montenegrin being and identity. After the fall of communism, instead of orienting itself towards European multicultural and polycentric politics, and finding its place in such a community, Montenegro developed a policy of self-destruction, which was and still remains a function of a failed project. That secured for Montenegro, in the post communistic world, a specific and unenviable place, which could rightly be called the "Montenegrin paradox." A certain coming to senses may be noticed lately, but also the fact that Serbian cultural domination upon Montenegrin culture continues to spread in a more refined, long term, harder to recognize and therefore more dangerous way.
Contrary to such a trend in Montenegro, in Europe completely different processes are occurring. The identities of small nations are being created on the basis of small differences, without negating all mutual values coming out of Judeo-Christian and Greek-Roman tradition, Indo-European origin, system of values and similarities of cultural models. The tendency toward European globalization is bringing them closer together, but also makes them defend differences, historic, lingual, cultural, ethnic, and all that defines their uniqueness and their own name. The policy of the European Union and the Council of Europe, not only doesn't stifle them, but to the contrary , affirms those differences and upholds the struggle of small peoples against those who would wipe out their identity. It is clear to the creators of European integralism that it can survive only by respecting the differences coming out of the polycentric character of European culture. "European" is becoming a synonym for diversity, multi-lingualism and multi-dimensionalism. Multicultural society is a European reality, and multicultural policy furthers the equal coexistence of those cultures and fruitful dialog among them. European culture is, at its basis, artistic and intellectual, with evident tendencies to struggle against mass produced culture, produced and controlled by multinational capital and media.
Because of all this, and not only because of historical obligation and the possibility of economic prosperity, Montenegro must acquire sovereignty and turn towards European integrationalism, because it provides for the protection of state and economic, national and cultural identity. To every people, and so to Montenegrins, a creative vision is necessary and not adoption to what comes from aside, it is necessary to have "one's own definition of wishes, pretensions, and expectations." The continuous researching and confirming of one's heritage and the studying of one's own history is the requirement of the time, unless we want to become owners of our own past. With consciousness and knowledge of ourselves we will avoid the complex of a small nation, establish equal relations with others, and in the generally accepted language of the European intellectual scene present the achievements of our creative spirit in the context of the cultural values of other peoples. The appearance of Montenegrin culture on the European scene would affirm that in our tradition which is founded upon the best of humanism and humanity, and reject the false, brutal, and inhumane. It would annul all those false ideas, purposeful disinformation and falsifications which were the foundation upon which false notions about us were built which benefitted some people. The answer to a one dimensional cultural influence and assimilational tendencies is not, therefore, xenophobic withdrawing, but, to the contrary, opening up towards wider multicultural influences. The affirmation of the quality of one's own culture and identity is measured in how far one's culture recognizes the foundations of value on which it is based--freedom, justice, struggle for truth and equality, understanding the different. But not only to affirm them in front of others, but, in this time when what is humane is being endangered and even dying, to affirm them within one's own people.
A different Montenegro from the one we have today requires an essentially different system of education. The problem is in the drastic discordance between the level of requirements which are set and the results which are obtained. Such an education is, to a great degree, the product of a system of relations and the state of spirit which has existed for the last 50 years. The wish for a new society to break with the past in all areas of life, the pretension to be building a social system different and better from all others, often brought, even in the system of education, social experiments in vivo which had not been thought through, even though it is true that the school systems, by its own nature, are very conservative and don't tolerate fast and sudden changes. Each of those reforms, with an understandable slogan that it is keeping up with the times, introduced new disciplines and contents, but it could hardly discard the previous. The results are obvious and disastrous: at all levels of education the level of requirements that are put before the young people far surpasses their biological capacities, requires an enormous amount of energy, and the acquired knowledge is neither real nor lasting, and in most cases those young people are brought to a dilemma--for what have they spent the best years of their life. Additionally school standards are very low, school facilities are poorly equipped at all levels, and the personal standards of teaching personnel are continuously low.
A different system of education should be based on the same basic principles which should govern the establishment of a modern Montenegrin state, that is if we are deciding for an open society integrated into the modern world, then it is necessary that the system of education be structured accordingly. One of the goals of education should be that each graduate upon the completion of his education, should be able, through his acquired knowledge, to identify possibilities for employment capable of supporting himself and potential future family, either in his immediate surroundings or elsewhere. Together with this, one's education should enable one to follow innovations, broaden his knowledge through developments in current society. The other basic principle is that what is set as a requirement, at any level of education, should result in real and lasting knowledge, and not the mere fulfillment of some unreal and superficially set task.
The principle of openness and accessibility of education for all young people must, of course, stay an indisputable principle in the establishment of a modern Montenegrin society. But that principle shouldn't be banalized by over-broadening the quotas for enrollment first of all at the university level, and without real interest and capabilities to finish that education successfully within a reasonable period of time. This undisputed principle should be realized starting from the fact that the interests and potentials of young people are objectively different, so by diversification of the types and levels of schools and possibilities to choose different programs within the same school, they should be enabled to realize their ambitions.
A telling example of the irrationality of our school system is the study of foreign languages, the general knowledge of which is unacceptably low, even though the languages are studied at least for eight years. If Montenegro is to be built as an open and modern society, as a free economic and cultural space, then a solid knowledge of foreign languages is essential. Hence the study of foreign languages must take precedence over some other subjects and start at the earliest age, with the final aim being a solid command of at least one foreign language, so that those at the highest levels of education should be virtually bilingual.
If we want a democratic, open, and free society, then one must realize that a freeman is not born by himself, but is developed as he is nurtured from early youth, to the greatest degree through a democratic school system which allows and encourages creativity and the questioning of every kind of dogma.
The system of education in Montenegro must also give much more accurate knowledge of our history and tradition.
A meaningful advance in the system of education, and in the society as a whole, will only take place when we reaffirm the humanistic character of every true type of education and when we realize that to see education only in the context of economics is wrong and shortsighted, that it is the affirmation of a destructive attitude that a man is only valuable in terms of production. Without basic knowledge of the spiritual realm, virtue, good, and the duties of man as a free being, the individual is separated from his own essence and easily becomes enslaved by negative trends. The favoring of materialism, technical standards, instinctual pleasures, offering bad cases as examples, have brought us to the situation where spiritual values are looked at with derision and misunderstanding, and amorality has greatly suppressed humanity.
Society has become rotten through disbelief in virtue, justice, and truth of a higher degree, the individual has been separated from moral duty, the living tie with the essence of both individual and national being has been broken, so it is difficult to go back to our human image spontaneously--this can only take place through thoughtful and principled policy of the country over a longer period of time. That is why the formation of the character of the young generations will be a task of high priority and subtlety for every serious politics.
One should have no delusions that in Montenegro we can build a modern system of education in a short period of time, because such building is, to a great degree, conditioned on the general development of Montenegrin society, just as the opposite is true. By opening Montenegro toward the modern world, however, we may create conditions to apply and transfer, with necessary adaptations, the best achievements in the systems of education in developed countries, to make use of international funds and institutions, to send our young people to be educated abroad much more than previously, and to invite and receive experts from abroad. On the contrary, if we accept the present position of Montenegro, we, inevitably, condemn our young people to isolation, to be decades backwards, which will not be remediable in the foreseeable future.
6. System of Defense
The disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and the social system in the eastern European countries, and especially the disintegration of the USSR, brought cold war antagonisms to an end and completely changed the security picture of the world. A new world order is being established, whose basic premise is that all international disputes may be solved exclusively through negotiations. Because of this premise, the countries of Europe and the USA quickly recognized the independence and boundaries of former Yugoslav republics, the misunderstanding of this premise and the armed engagement of the Yugoslav Army (that is, by then, the Serbian-Montenegrin army) brought Serbia and Montenegro in the position of being an aggressor and being condemned by the world.
Montenegro is a small state, with national minorities who have never expressed a desire for separate territorial status, so it may be said that in view of that Montenegro has, for the most part, a united population. The development of Montenegro as a truly democratic civil society, its direction toward the Mediterranean and western Europe, its joining all international organizations, and even NATO, opening towards neighbors, the choice of a fair economic strategy, would relatively quickly bring Montenegro into the ranks of the developed countries of Europe. All this would have a strong impact on the readiness of the people to defend their country.
In formulating the system of defense of the state of Montenegro, in addition to respecting the uniquenesses of its geopolitical and geo-strategic position in relation to other countries, one should proceed with military-political doctrine that the Montenegrin army should only defend the territory of Montenegro, and that under no circumstances should it be engaged on foreign soil and for foreign interests. Both older and more recent history testifies that the Montenegrin army gained its glory, which often passed into legend, when it fought on its own territory, and as a rule, it was a loser when it fought outside of Montenegro. In the existing state constellation, Montenegro supports one, to large degree, irrational and to its state goals completely unsuitable system of defense.
Montenegro as a sovereign state should form its own army based on the militia model (a people's army). Although that principle is the least accepted in the world, it is no accident that it has been completely accepted by Switzerland, which in its geo-strategic makeup has many similarities to Montenegro and which, with only 3,400 active duty forces during peacetime can activate for war an army 625,000 reservists. That type of army is the most economical, the most democratic, and makes all citizens equal in the defense of the country. An organized military force of this type minimizes the time away from everyday civil activities for members of military units. All citizens are subject to military service, but in peacetime they only participate in training and not in the full time active duty forces. Such a military organization enabled Montenegro to preserve its state while being surrounded by enemies.
A militia type of organization of the army of Montenegro in modern conditions would could continue the best of its tradition. During peacetime conditions there would be an active component in the Montenegrin army, which would consist of a small number of command and professional elements, responsible for planning operations, training, and logistical provision in preparation for war. The active duty component would organize and operate the necessary number of training centers in which, according to a fixed plan and program, forces would be trained. Upon completion of basic training, recruits would be assigned to war time units, structured according to the battle conditions in Montenegro.
One of the weaknesses of this model is the longer period of time necessary to react to a sudden attack. Hence special attention must be given to mobilization planning, verifying the speed of mobilization, the functioning of technical elements and rear area support through mobilization and war exercises. Those who have studied military history and strategy have pointed to the Montenegrin and Swiss armies as those with the fastest mobilization times.
The Montenegrin army would consist of recognized forms and branches, but their use and size would be adapted to Montenegrin conditions. The topographical features of Montenegro, from sea to land, are particularly well suited for defence--in a very small space their are great difference in elevation and climate. This greatly limits simultaneous operations of an enemy and at the same time offers a wide range of possibilities for defence both at sea and on land.
This organization of the defense of Montenegro would require the least number of professional active duty forces and, in the whole, would be maximally economic. Every person would be a participant in defense, that is the main component of the defense would be an armed people. This would be as it has always been in Montenegrin tradition when Montenegro, as a sovereign state, alone took care of its integrity.
III. HOW TO REACH THE GOAL
Finally, Montenegro should make clear its national and state program. The people who have paid dearly for their illusions, should, at last, turn to itself. Every society is obligated to make its own choice and find out ways and methods for overcoming limitations which hinder its integration into the world. That is the job for political, scientific and cultural forces. Montenegrin society should stabilize its institutions which will responsibly take care of its national interests and be the force behind democracy.
It would be good for all actual political forces in Montenegro, although they stand for different options, to declare themselves committed to a peaceful, democratic struggle to achieve their aims. Contrary to others, the forces committed to a sovereign Montenegro were, from the very beginning of the Yugoslav crisis, exclusively for political and peaceful solutions for all disputes including the question of Montenegrin sovereignty.
The battle for an independent Montenegro will take place in Montenegro itself. The political and economic situation in Serbia is very important for relationships in Montenegro; the situation in the former Yugoslav area is also important for the position of Montenegro, as are also the plans and strategies of international movers. Some of those factors can suddenly and dramatically change the position of Montenegro. But, nevertheless, the battle for independence, and an economically emancipated and self-conscious Montenegro is, in the first place, a battle for a change in the consciousness of its citizens, a consciousness that they and their state deserve and may have, if they wish, a far better quality of life. The change of that consciousness will be faster if a real economic policy and strategy is offered, and if it is justly defended and explained, calling upon countries where similar strategies have given extraordinary results. The strategy of Montenegro, as a free economic space, is, no doubt, that which opens a new perspective for life in Montenegro. The enacting of that strategy will, more than anything else, show the essential conflict of interests within the present federation and reveal how impossible it is for Montenegro to realize its vital interests in such a constellation, and thus it will stimulate the need for an independent position.
A change of consciousness can only successfully take place under the conditions of democracy. Opening the most influential media and the possibility of using them to communicate the actual position of Montenegro and other perspectives, is an essential precondition of the emancipation of the consciousness of the citizens. Hence the battle for the freedom of media is not only a battle to break up the domination and monopoly of a single political option and its replacement by another, but it is the battle for the emancipation of the consciousness of the people of Montenegro.
In presenting the idea of an emancipated and independent Montenegro, it is very important that sovereignty not be presented in an elementary and bare form, because that, due to media restrictions, may create feelings of claustrophobia related to living in a small state. Therefore it is very important to emphasize always that the battle for an independent Montenegro is a battle for an open Montenegro, for a Montenegro without boundaries and limits, for a Montenegro living according to its own interests. Current relations and the federal model do not allow conflictless realization of individual interests, nor is that model created for that purpose. It restricts and even makes impossible the realization of mutual interests. One should have all this in mind when carrying on dialogue with the political subjects of Montenegro. The national and religious feelings of the partners, or how they interpret the history of Montenegro is of least importance; much more important than that is how they see the future of the citizens and the state of Montenegro. Feelings of vengeance should be laid aside and partnerships should be sought with all those who are ready for a mutual fight for the project of an emancipated and independent Montenegro. That project will only be able to go forth through a wider consensus of different political options, no matter how much some of them seem to be in conflict at the present time. On the same basis dialogue should go on with different political entities in Serbia.
The multinational and multi-confessional makeup of the inhabitants of Montenegro necessitates the emphasizing of those elements of this project by which a civil and democratic Montenegro secures for each of its ethnic and religious communities, not only equality and tolerance, but also the conditions for the revitalization and development of their own values. This will mean the possibility of living together in a way in which every citizen and every community will enjoy all the individual, collective, civil, national and religious rights, prescribed by international conventions. This is the only way to overcome the present nationalistic and religious tensions and establish a calm and tolerant civil atmosphere which in turn is the only way to join a united Europe.
It is a delusion to expect that something significant can be achieved to correct the problems in the federal arrangement or essentially improve the position of Montenegro in it by personal and collective involvement in federal institutions, from parliamentary, executive, to diplomatic. The ration of forces are such that each individual or collective entity will be faced with a real limitation of its powers. One would have to make compromises with himself, his personal and political conscience or, if he is not ready for that, he will have to give up his engagement. The battle for the project of an independent Montenegro is not a one-sided or one dimensional process, but it is true that the battle can best be carried out in and from Montenegro, among its citizens and in its institutions.
The emancipation of the Montenegrin consciousness is not the matter of a moment nor can it be achieved overnight, though the sharpening of the contrasts in the present federation will rapidly accelerate it. The destiny of Montenegro, and any other country, has never been decided by only one generation. However, some generations, not because of their own merit, find themselves at decisive historical crossroads, at which, whether they want to or not, they determine the destiny of their people for a long time to come. The present generations in Montenegro are just in such a position, and an enormous historical responsibility is upon them. That is why it is very dangerous to relativize their role and expect that some future generations, in some future time, will be in a better position to direct the path of the state of Montenegro. Maybe they will, but, even today, one should remember that after the amnesty and the relatively stabilized state in Montenegro in the first Yugoslavia, the Montenegrin question was, practically, forgotten and it was only left to smolder as a marginal individual or unarticulated collective dissatisfaction or apathy. The number and kinds of consequences for Montenegro and its citizens were evident only many years later. That is why the critical nature of the Montenegrin question should be emphasized at every opportunity and in every place.
No opportunity should be missed to reasonably point out the Montenegrin question to international movers, who are included in the process of settling the situation in this area. They should be informed about what sort of independent Montenegro we are for; one that is based on the principles on which the modern civilized world rests. It should be clearly stated that neglecting Montenegro and accepting its present position, is nothing else but the rewarding of a failed nationalistic project, which was the main cause of the whole Yugoslav drama. Attempts to disqualify endeavors that bring the Montenegrin question to an international level should be rejected, since the relationships in the current world are complementary and mutually dependent. If we want to become an integral part of that world, we must be ready to present our problems to the international community, without complexes, and we must also be ready to receive their warnings.
Beside political subjects there are other forces and institutions which may mobilize for the patriotic task of improving the quality of life in Montenegro, which will, in the midst of a polyphony of many questions, look at the project of an independent and emancipated Montenegro as a priority. The lack of readiness to unite those forces and define the essential questions, to study the experiences of countries which have made those sudden advances, to have expert discussions without either party of some other exclusivity, will lead to a disorientation of public opinion.
It is worth including Montenegrin immigrants in this project wherever they are, because it is a part of their destiny. A sovereign, wealthier, and prosperous Montenegro, whose achievement they could support, will be attractive for the return of its people. A sovereign Montenegro should have a specific and responsible state policy towards expatriates.
In times like these individuals feel helpless. While citizens because of their instinct for self-preservation submit to those who have power, intellectuals fall into a state of resignation. Matica will strive to provide them comfort, from which they can, if they wish, help themselves and others to get free from passivity and restraint, gain self-confidence, strengthen the feeling of their own civil values and the need to influence the establishment of legal order and economic stability.
This Program * is meant for those who consider Montenegro their home and their destiny. Our intention is to warn, and even to alarm and influence as many people as possible to raise their heads from everyday worries and to think--where is Montenegro going and does it have the possibility to choose its own way into the future. It is time for all of us to get on this road and start going down it. That is the way the free world is already going.
* An outline of the Program was presented for public discussion at the Assembly of Matica Crnogorska in Bar on 13 January, 1996, and the Program of Matica Crnogorska was adopted at the Assembly at Cetinje on 23 January, 1999.