Estonia 200, the self-styled new political movement that emerged last week, is repeating a call for political reform by now well-known in Estonia: do away with red tape, put the state on a slimming diet, induce citizens to take charge of their own health, and apply technology to make everyday life efficient.
Eesti 200 is just another Reform Party. So was Res Publica. And the Free Party. The same dream that the political right has been offering us since the birth of the Second Republic*. Just another capitalist state, where no bureaucrat stands in the way of a good entrepreneur, where all good people are friends, and so on and so forth. Where anyone's suffering is the result of bad choices, their own fault, and hey, if you use your body the way a good citizen should, keeping it healthy and slim, you don't even have to pay a fine.
They are welcome to try. They will fail just like the others did: there are still too many of us who won’t buy this dream, because we are the ones left out, we, who have to sell our labor to live. And don’t come to us explaining that the only problem is that the current right wing parties haven't considered how things will develop "in the long run". In the long run, we're still all dead.
Estonia needs a very short perspective. We need to remove all the obstacles that constrain freedom, equality, and justice, we need the full development of the human beings who live in Estonia right now.
There are too many of us who have been eating potato peels since we regained our independence. We all promised to do that, remember? But somehow only some of us did: those that had to leave their homes because of property reform and were never refunded for this injustice, those who still love their home in countryside, but have seen transport, schools, hospitals, workplaces wither away.
Those whose homes still don't have plumbing. Those who work in mines to provide our energy security, but still have no right to vote in parliamentary elections. Those who thought that liberty would be more than the liberty to be a businessman. Those who wanted to participate freely, equally, and effectively in the political, economic, and social spheres, being workers. Those who got tired of waiting for the "long run" and emigrated.
We have created an actual working market economy. Now it is finally time to create a social state. The market will adapt, it always does. We have a great e-state, we could be the most effective planners of the public sector of the economy in all of Europe.
Enough with hospitals that focus on the salaries of the board of directors instead of the health of patients! Enough with waste management that doesn’t focus on a clean environment, but the profit of the waste disposal companies! Enough with an education system that produces supplies for the labor market instead of cultured citizens! Enough with business that is based on the exploitation of cheap labor instead of creativity!
There are three simple steps we have to take to create this more just society. First: we abolish the status of statelessness and offer citizenship to every holder of the alien's passport so that we can at last talk meaningfully of citizens of Estonia.
Second, the economic policy of Estonia has to ensure full employment and workers’ rights (for example the right not to be dismissed without just economic cause, or everyone's right to strike).
Third, we need a public investment bank to ensure our small enterprises and those operating outside Tallinn’s golden circle are competitive. And of course we need to give the municipalities the right to manage waste the way they see fit, increasing state investment in science, offering more free time to teachers, and so on.
It isn't that we have too much government. We have too little government, and even what we have tends to be in the wrong place.
Editor: Dario Cavegn