Dr. Ljubo Sirc, a native of Slovenia, honored us with a visit to both Liberty Seminars at Bohinj. It was incredible to have an opportunity to hear Dr. Sirc speak about his experiences and views on various issues. We enjoyed every minute that we got to spend with this genuine fighter for liberty.
A short bio of Dr. Ljubo Sirc:
Dr Sirc was born in Kranj, Slovenia. After the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, Sirc joined the Resistance, but escaped to Switzerland to report that the Communists prohibited others to fight the enemy except under their command. After Churchill's intervention in 1944, he joined the Yugoslav Resistance and served in the Yugoslav Army in Dalmatia, Croatia and Slovenia until 1945. After the establishment of the Communist regime, Dr. Sirc joined other liberals and social democrats who tried to form a legal political opposition to the Regime. In 1947, due to his political activity and friendship with Western diplomats, he was tried in the so-called "Nagode trial" and sentenced to death. His sentence was ultimately commuted to twenty years in prison, of which he served seven with two years in solitary confinement. He spent his time in assiduous reading; he became an expert in Marxist political and economic thought, while he was also able to read the most up-to-date western, especially English and American, economic literature, provided to him by the Slovenian communists in order to translate it for "internal security purposes".
After release, he illegally escaped to Italy and from there to the United Kingdom, where he started an academic career. In his various teaching posts since then, including twenty years at the University of Glasgow, Dr. Sirc has been a leading expert on socialist economics and communist regimes.
Since the fall of the Communist regime in Slovenia, Sirc has been enormously active in Slovenian public life, writing articles, giving interviews and commenting on political developments and economic issues. In 1992, he ran for President of Slovenia with the support of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS), but received less than 2% of the vote. He later claimed that he had been fooled into accepting the candidacy: he believed that the Party had really accepted an economically and politically liberal program, while in reality, he claimed, it remained strongly linked to the former Communist establishment. In fact, as subsequent polls showed, the great majority of the Liberal Democratic Party's voters voted for Milan Kučan in the presidential elections. Dr. Sirc later sharply criticized both Janez Drnovšek and Milan Kučan, accusing them of hindering the development of an Open Society in Slovenia. In the late 1990s, he collaborated with the writer Drago Jančar and historians Vasko Simoniti and Alenka Puhar in staging an influential exhibition Temna stran meseca ("The Dark Side of the Moon") on human rights violations in Communist Slovenia.
Dr. Sirc is one of the founders of the Centre for Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies in London and as of 2006 its Founder President. He is now Founder-President of the CRCE.
Dr. Sirc lives in Glasgow's West End and regularly visits his homeland.
Photos: (top) Dr. Ljubo Sirc during his guest lecture at the 2009 Liberty Seminars. (middle) Dr. Ljubo Sirc and Tanja Štumberger, Liberty Seminars executive director. (bottom) Lovro Jurgec, 2009 Liberty Camp participant, Dr. Ljubo Sirc and Primož Kocuvan, Liberty Seminars staff member.