Be strict towards self – I learned that in my early youth. That strictness implied that I don’t spend time wastefully, that I live a full life. It implied that I complete my studies of philosophy and literature, that I earned my doctorate. Due to circumstance, France became my first choice when it comes to my professional and scientific work.
My leftist leaning is partly a result of my family upbringing. However that sounds today, I’m still an irreparable leftist. However, I don’t see that which I believe in on today’s political scene. I think that the Left (whatever that term covers today) fell too quickly before the industrial and consumer order. Freedom of expression, the right to vote and representative institutions are conditions of democracy. But that’s just the starting point. Democracy also demands powerful trade unions, tax that’s proportional to revenue and government control over industry (socialisation of the means of production.) I still believe that the idea of a world not abandoned to the appetites of private ownership is possible, a world of free associations and equality. As French philosopher Alain Badiou would say: Communism – what can philosophy think of under that name? The philosophical term, thus, eternal rebellious subjectivity.
Today I’m reading the book Memoroman, by my colleague and friend from my youth Aleksandar Petrov, in which he also wrote a story about how we defended the poet Gojko Đogo. I’ve long been aware of how much of a political risk it was to defend a poet convicted for poems (the collection of poems Woollen Times) that the authorities considered inappropriate for readers in 1981. However, back then, when we wrote our petition in support of Đogo and authored articles against the decision of the government, for me it was implied that I was supposed to do that. Not out of any kind of act of courage, but out of intellectual duty. That would repeat itself in some other situations, so my behaviour, my decisions, in the testimonies of others, would gain much greater significance than I see today.
I still believe that the idea of a world not abandoned to the appetites of private ownership is possible, a world of free associations and equality
My idea of the importance of the existence of the Left took me, after the Communist Alliance, to which I belonged, to the Socialist Party of Serbia, as the political framework of my social engagement. That period was marked by my mandate as minister of culture in the Government of Serbia from 1994-1998.
Today, after 20 years, I experience a very interesting forum in Belgrade which had a topic that was exactly the activity that I came up with at that time – Life’s more beautiful with culture! My happiness is to forget bad things, so I’d rather remember that the budget for culture that I fought for back then has remained unsurpassed.
If everything I did in my career was somehow implied, I didn’t imply that I would establish the Faculty of Media and Communication, and that today, after more than ten years of its existence and very successful work, I would say that I have finally concluded my choice. That’s because education was at the base of everything I did, and when you erect an institution that offers the kind of system of education that I’d desired as a young person, then that’s actually the realisation of one’s own dream.
I’m sometimes sorry that I gave up o my career in science career, which would have implied that I’d have wrote more books and scientific works than I did, but I’m calmed by the thought that my last great endowment, the Faculty of Media and Communication, is the best inheritance I can leave behind for all future students and future professors. And to my children, Professor Aleksandra Perišić and son, editor Vladimir Perišić.