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The “Group in Cluj” Phenomenon

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Autor: Adrian Severin 01 Iul 2008 - 00:00

The “Group in Cluj” is a Romanian application of the phenomenon of “waiting for Godot." Few know who compose it.

There is a confusing waiting feeling in the Romanian society and in the entire world as well. People are waiting for someone to do something to turn things away from the evil path and get them on the good path. Because they cannot describe the person, the deed, or the target, they get into absurd disputes, arguing on things they do not know anything about, expressing meaningless hopes and endless fears. We are dealing with the atmosphere created by a Samuel Beckett in his famous piece "Waiting for Godot." The absurd theater passed into our real life.


The “Group in Cluj” is a Romanian application of the phenomenon of “waiting for Godot." Few know who compose it. Its reputed members have always denied its existence. Therefore, we cannot even be sure that it ever existed. The doctrine or the group projects are unclear. Nevertheless, people think it's about modernization. However, none can tell the meaning of the word “modernization” in this context, or, each one has its own version or expectations when it comes to modernization. However, modernization means something else than what it is; namely not anything else, but something that expresses a logic essentially different from the logic of current bastard order.

If we refer to a party, this is normally a group of adhesion the members of which are organized hierarchically and demarcate other groups depending on the values they believe in, values that transcend the boundaries of administrative-territorial units or the ethnic origin or any other objective data. If modernization means the denial of such paradigms, it follows that the party would no longer be led from the top, but from the bottom, and many of its centers of power would act according to local priorities of each, delimitated by administrative boundaries, but crossing the ideological borders. Obviously, one cannot build a coherent and predictable national strategy based on this. Or, this is the only kind of strategy that wouldn’t be debated in public. The administrative pragmatism is spontaneous and occult. One cannot say that this is the platform of the "Group in Cluj", but it certainly is what many believe it is.



Therefore, one would have expected the "local barons" of the parties to sympathize with the "Group in Cluj". After all, the alleged proposed modernization by them is rather a feudalization. Paradoxically, things weren’t like that. The only ones that were suited for it were the central leaders without local background. Unlike the others, who were interested in supporting the local magnates, the President only wanted to weaken its national competitors – the parties – by dividing their power into weak power centers. Fact or fiction, the "Group in Cluj" was such a center without power, without ... strength. The results of the elections have not ceased to confirm it.

Beyond decentralization and de-ideologization, the "Group in Cluj" has also been associated with the idea of Occident. Why? Maybe because, according to the Romanian beliefs, Transylvania means the West, but not just a province like all the others. Or, maybe because Cluj was the symbolic meeting point for the Central-European deals. There is a total rivalry between this cloudy nomenclature and the flamboyant oligarchs of the southeastern Romania transition. The latter are looking to control a sufficiently strong state with the help of the political operators, the parties, in order to protect themselves from external competition. The first ones seem to want the dissolution of the entire state power - both regionally as well as nationally - in the space of the Western order, by weakening the top and the bottom at the same time, but empowering an invisible network of transnational bureaucrats that work for their private interests. From such a perspective, the modernization becomes a struggle for substituting national corruption (national billionaires fear they will only be global millionaires) with the global corruption (national millionaires hope they will become global billionaires). However, the "Group in Cluj" is not a palpable entity, but a contradictory phenomenon that reflects the expectations of confused and frightened people. Metaphysically, it is a source of hope and a reason for sympathy. Actually, it is a factor of desegregation and object for appeal. Therefore, it failed on the electoral test. This is why its fall brings regrets and melancholy. One doesn’t vote for illusions, but they cannot live without them!

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