There were various events commemorating 30 years since the Revolution last weekend, but while there were various comments and reactions and a few shared posts, I wouldn’t say that any actual event was promoted or supported by the “old guard”, so I won’t say anything else about that here. Not that I’d have much to add about that reunion that took place last Friday on top of what’s already in last week’s post either, but that was a personal post and something like that should have its place in one of these posts as well. However, that actually came right after a protest that took place in Victory Square that evening, the event page listing the hours as 4 PM to 7 PM, and at least a couple of those who attended the reunion attended or at least had a look there first, so I’ll start with that.
The protest was against the proposed budget for 2020, with a similar event taking place in Cluj and possibly others in other cities as well. Said budget includes increased funds for Defense, Intelligence, Police and related services and cuts for the Ministries of Health, Education, Environment and Rural Development, the last two having their budgets pretty much gutted, even more so for the Ministry of Environment, which on top of that now incorporates the former Ministry of Waters and Forests as well. But the event was organized in a hurry, admittedly out of necessity, and the hours picked were rather unfortunate, though it’s also true that the weekend’s events and the reunion left no other real options. Due to the problems with my nose, going was out of the question, but I see that there were about 50 participants, that number being mentioned by someone who came to the reunion from there and in some posts I saw later. And while at first they gathered in front of the Antipa Museum, pictures show that after dark they got moving, stopping for some pictures on a crossing, briefly blocking traffic as a result, and apparently managing to stand in front of the Government as well, at least long enough for a few final pictures.
As I already mentioned, that reunion of the “old guard” took place after that, in a place in the University Square area. The exact reason for it was never mentioned as far as I know, but two of the “old guard” activists, or I guess one of them in particular, created a group chat where dozens ended up being invited and made the arrangements, and I can consider it as being something done to mark five years since those “forums” of the United We Save Community were opened up to anyone who wanted to attend, since that happened after the 2014 presidential election and this was a little after this year’s. Either way, while 7 PM was the listed time, it was clearly specified that it only meant that the place should be ready to receive and seat a larger group at that time, but this was just a way for us to see each other again and catch up, not making plans or discussing strategies, and anyone was free to come and go whenever they pleased, staying as little or as long as they wanted.
It was said than 25 had confirmed, and since 22 were there at the time of the group picture, close to 10 PM, and three had already left earlier, one of them saying that he’ll likely return but not having done so yet, I guess they all did, unless of course the number of those who came without having confirmed just happened to be equal to that of those who had confirmed but failed to arrive. And people did come and go at various times, in fact I think five or so only arriving then, around 9:45 PM. And considering who those were, it seems likely that things got more interesting after that, but I was already getting ready to leave and did so at 10 PM, so I don’t know what actually happened later. Not that I know that much about what was discussed even before then, since the tables were arranged in a corner and I was sitting one seat away from one end, being unable to hear what those on the other side were talking about even when everyone was there, and the smokers left multiple times to go to the smokers’ area and talk there. Plus that, as stated and expected, there was a lot of catching up, involving personal matters and random stuff.
Still, there were some relevant things that I could hear, some having to do with the ongoing Rosia Montana situation and others with the internal battles taking place in USR and Demos. And these last things were quite surprising. I mean, I was aware of some of the mess in USR, but not of just how rotten the ruling faction is and the methods they use. And I wasn’t aware of anything at all in case of Demos. Had noticed things calming down on a group I’m also on and their recent statements and positions gave me a sense of something getting a bit better, but had no idea of the turmoil they had gone through.
To start with USR, I knew that some members had resigned and hundreds had signed an open letter protesting against a member being excluded after pretty much doing her job, being one of those supposed to verify members and actions and having pointed out that some signatures in support of one of their main initiatives had likely been falsified or otherwise invalid and a member had submitted them while aware of that fact. Also knew that the leading faction was pushing for penalties against those speaking out against the decision and suspending a few who apparently had important positions but were lesser known to the public, probably aiming to do as much damage to the opposition as possible while limiting the public backlash. But I wasn’t aware of the methods used by said leading faction to eliminate any challenge and steer the party in their desired direction, to join with the others on the Right and pretty much behave in similar ways, and the desire to kick out those who’d disagree while protecting their own from having to answer for their actions even according to their regulations and in front of their own committees. Also heard of the “coup” staged by one of the leading members of that ruling faction to remove one of the “old guard” activists from his position, a few more things about how they’re trying to get rid of the group from Cluj, and how, after realizing that a fair vote won’t grant them control over the branches in two more of Bucharest’s Sectors, they just brought in enough new members who were certain to vote as they wanted right before the vote. And, while not really a surprise, what was said there also made it more believable that they won’t really support Nicusor Dan to run for mayor of Bucharest even though he was voted as their candidate, undermining him as he’ll run against Vlad Voiculescu from PLUS, their allies, for the position of the Alliance’s official candidate.
About Demos, on the other hand, I just knew that there was a conflict between the identity politics radicals and the rest, but not that said radicals had attempted an aggressive takeover, meant to enforce radical feminism and this new kind of “Progressivism”, focus on women and transgender people, and to a lesser extent some other minorities, allow only those as candidates and in top positions, likely leave straight men of Romanian ethnicity in particular as regular members only, and get rid of anyone and anything not fully supporting their program. They also apparently undermined Claudiu Craciun, probably explaining why he gathered so few signatures when he tried to run for president, and the one who seemed to be their most experienced member when it came to actual politics, their female spokesperson, apparently openly stated that she’ll use every means, be they within their regulations or not, to achieve those objectives. It was apparently quite a battlefield and those who opposed that group went to great lengths to keep it from supporters and the public, and I’d say they did too good a job of that, since that meant they couldn’t get any support from outside. Still, in the end it came to a vote and those radicals lost, then resigned as a result. I looked up a few more things since then, and had the general idea and the resignations confirmed again too, but I just know how many resigned and that one certain name. I believe I can quite accurately guess a few others, but can’t say how important they were as a whole, what chances such a small party has to continue without them, if even more had such important positions. But they clearly couldn’t continue with them either, and now they’re determined to rebuild, so maybe there is some hope… At least from this point of view, since their economic policies remain Center-Left concepts from decades ago instead of that necessary futuristic radical Left.