Closing Statement at the Second SPS Congress
October 23 and 24, 1992
Speech delivered by: Slobodan Milošević Chairman of the SPS
The assertion of the
permanent political commitments of our party which has characterised
this Congress, as well as the fierce criticism of the weaknesses in the
achievement of our objectives which have been in evidence in the past two years
testify to the vitality of the Socialist Party of Serbia and its capability to
respond to the challenges of our time and the difficulties we are facing. Both
with its hitherto activity and with this Congress,
this Party has shown that it has no other interests at heart, but those of its
country and its people. This Party pursues its policy (applause) in the
interest of peace, freedom, independence, economic and cultural development and
cooperation on an equal footing with all those who respect these values and
wish for such cooperation. Although the crisis we are facing is not only the
result of developments in
Of course, stopping the war will be of greatest assistance to the Serbian people in war-torn areas, as well as in the resolution of their problems in general. This contribution, i.e. the contribution to halting the war and establishing durable and just peace must be made by Serbia in every possible manner. This means that the Socialist Party of Serbia, as the ruling party, through all the institutions of government administration should pursue a policy conducive to restoring peace in the areas of the former Yugoslavia where war is now waged and a policy of economic, social and cultural development which will facilitate life in the conditions of sanctions and enable rapid recovery after they are lifted. At the same time, while addressing these current and serious difficulties imposed from outside, which we have to face every day, the Socialist Party of Serbia must seek to uphold its principle commitments on a lasting basis. These commitments reflect the progressive ideas of workers and the socialist movement in Serbia and Yugoslavia, as well as the most progressive economic and political ideas of our modern world and left-wing movement. These commitments are based, of course, on all the positive achievements which have emancipated the individual and ensured progress of our society to date. The largest number of our members are ready to subscribe to such commitments of the Socialist Party and act in accordance with them. I think that the SPS leadership which we elected this evening should encourage this general feeling of our membership in its future work much more than before, not only because this is the prevailing feeling among our members, but also because left-wing ideas are progressive and in the interest of the majority in our society, because they have a future, because this is the road which modern civilisation has opted for.
I find it necessary to stress this particularly because in the past two years some SPS members showed an inclination to deviate from the Party programme. While I do not wish to analyse the reasons for all this, let me only say that some were principled and others quite the opposite. In the future it will be necessary to reduce such deviations to the minimum.
Occasionally, the Socialist Party or, to be more precise, certain leaderships and individuals within it, acted sycophantically towards the opposition parties and one could get the impression that they wanted to please and to appease them. This may be (applause) the remnant of our recent past when there existed only one party which, being the only one, wanted to rally and bring together mutually opposing ideas and people. In a multi-party system, however, the ruling party is always exposed to criticism on the part of the opposition. True, this criticism is probably somewhat more principled, less aggressive and more humane than is the case in this country, but such criticism is, all the same, unavoidable. This Party has no reason why to avoid or shirk from such criticism.
Therefore, it is not the task of the ruling party to make unprincipled concessions to opposition parties, nor to determine its programme, organisation and personnel policy according to the criteria set by its political adversaries. It should, instead, act in line with its own policy, seeking to make its activities serve the interests of the society, of all citizens and each individual. In my opinion, this should be the responsibility of both the party leadership and its members, and is of paramount importance for its unity. For, there are many opposition, civil parties on Serbia’s political scene. And whoever finds their political orientation close to his own opinions has no place in the Socialist Party of Serbia (applause).
I call on all delegates to this Congress, and on all party members to demonstrate unity and join forces to help us weather this crisis. Current statistics show that both as a Republic and as a people, we are fending for ourselves in the circumstances imposed from outside much better than expected by those who have imposed them in the first place. But, in our Party (applause), as well as in our people there is an additional strength to surmount difficulties, to defeat the enemy and overcome troubles. This is why major efforts in the future should bring us even closer together, encourage us, mobilise us to get out of isolation, preserve peace, avoid poverty, defeat hatred and chauvinism, secure life and work in peace for our citizens and good-quality education and a happier future for our children and youth. These are the tasks which the Socialist Party of Serbia has the ways and means to accomplish. These tasks will remain with us for several generations to come. But, since we are living in turbulent and unstable times, we have to carry out most of them by ourselves and we have to do it fast. Time is running out. The tasks are daunting. But, there are many of us who are willing to grapple with current problems, and if we remain united we shall win in the end (applause).
In the name of such commitments and beliefs, I greet once again all participants in this Congress. I wish you all better, peaceful and more prosperous days. On behalf of all of us elected to the bodies of the Socialist Party of Serbia, I wish to thank you for the trust you have placed in us. Thank you (applause).