Balkans

The breakup of Yugoslavia led to the domination of imperialism over the republics that made it up. It led to terrible fratricidal killing and the emergence of reactionary political forces, all pushing a nationalist agenda to the benefit of a small clique. This is clear today in the situation facing workers in Bosnia. Here a Bosnian Marxist makes an appeal to all genuine socialist and communists to come together and offer the workers an alternative.

On March 12, 145,000 workers took part in a massive work stoppage in Slovenia. Rising inflation and low wages are pushing the workers onto the path of class struggle. In line with the process of radicalisation taking place across Europe, the Slovenian workers are beginning to mobilise in a big way.

The Slovenian workers have taken part in several massive mobilisations in recent months. Here we reproduce a New Zealand comrade's experiences and lessons learned during his recent stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

There has been a lot of media hype about the big rally in Belgrade last week after the announcement that Kosovo had declared its "independence". But the real mood in Serbia, especially among the working class, is very different. There are indications that the workers are tired of the nationalism and chauvinism being pumped out by the Serbian bourgeoisie and in particular are fed up with all the bourgeois parties. What is missing a political expression of the working class.

We are publishing an eyewitness account from Belgrade of the violence that broke out after Kosovo announced its independence from Serbia. In spite of the media footage the vast majority of the masses ignored the small number of demonstrators! The working class responded quietly, treating the rioters with nothing but fear and disgust! Hardly anyone is prepared to come out and support the Serbian bourgeois... Its credibility is wearing as thin as the patience of the masses.

The process of capitalist restoration in Serbia has been brutal. Hundreds of thousands of workers in the old industries have lost their jobs. The old social buffers provided by the planned economy have been dismantled. In this atmosphere a sombre mood dominates the working class. The only outlet the ruling class can offer is to keep whipping up nationalist sentiment.

On Saturday, November 17, a massive demonstration of 70,000 workers and youth took place in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The workers are fed up with low wages, high prices, cuts in services and privatisation. They have had a taste of capitalism and clearly don’t like it.

This article was sent to us by Nikola Vukobratović, who is the Chairman of the Socialist Youth of Croatia, the youth organisation of the Socialist Workers' Party of Croatia. Since most of our readers will not be familiar with the corruption scandals mentioned in the article, we provide here a short introduction.

The collapse of the former Yugoslavia had led to a swathe of privatisations, cuts in social spending and a systematic dismantling of all the gains of the past. But one event back on November revealed that below the surface a new situation is brewing. Suddenly in reaction to worsening conditions, the imposition and increase in fees and so on, the students in one Faculty occupied the university building in an exemplary manner.

We have received this article from the President of the Workers' Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although we may not agree with every point in it, it gives a very good idea of the totally negative effects of the break up of the former Yugoslavia on the living conditions of workers on both sides of the divide. But there are signs that the class struggle is simmering below the surface.

The break-up of the former Yugoslav Federation led to an unmitigated disaster for the workers of all the republics that emerged from the debris. This article shows how the Croatian economy entered a long period of depression, with very high levels of unemployment. Now a certain stabilisation has been achieved but only at the cost of accumulating a huge foreign debt.

We are making available to our readers this platform. It shows that after all the reactionary bloodletting and criminal break-up of the former Yugoslavia, the idea that socialism is possible is not dead.

The recent referendum in Montenegro produced a majority for separation from Serbia, but this small country remains seriously divided. In reality there is no “independence”, but a small nation prey to the whims of imperialism.

In the morning hours of Saturday, March 11, Slobodan Milosevic, was found dead in his prison cell at the Hague. With his death, the bourgeois media began once again to dig through the recent history of the Balkans in an attempt to make sense of the break-up of former Yugoslavia. But what was the role played by Milosevic, and what is the feeling over his death in Serbia?

The workers and students in Slovenia have awakened. For the first time since Slovenia’s separation from Yugoslavia, workers and students from all across Slovenia came together on November 26 to march for a common goal and to clearly demonstrate that they are prepared to fight against the government’s counter-reforms in education and the economy.