The press in the West have been highlighting the opposition movement that has been developing in Serbia. They have been announcing the imminent fall of Milosevic ever since the ending of NATO's bombing campaign.Ted Grant and Fred Weston analyse this "opposition" and outline the position of Marxists.
During the NATO bombings in Serbia and Kosovo the propaganda machine of the media in the West was in full swing in order to justify everything NATO was doing. On 16th January ITV broadcast a documentary by Jonathan Dimbleby which confirms most of what was reported at the time were lies and propaganda. Fred Weston reviews.
Over the last year Socialist Appeal has carried a number of articles on the Balkans conflict which have challenged the official interpretation of events. This is also considered in depth by a number of the contributors to "Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis." Although, as the title suggests, this book deals mainly with the role and actions of the media, it does start with a consideration of the conflict itself.
The events in Yugoslavia represent a political earthquake. In the space of 24 hours the entire situation has been transformed. The decisive element in the equation has been the sudden eruption of the masses on the scene. The scenes of an avalanche of humanity descending on Belgrade, the strikes, the confrontations with the police, the storming of the Parliament, have captured the imagination of the world. What is the meaning of the events in Yugoslavia? What is the nature of this movement? And what attitude should Marxists take towards it?
There is a very old tradition in Balkan politics to resort to conspiracy theories to explain everything. There is always some dark plot brewing in some foreign chancellery or other, some obscure forces that are supposed to be manipulating events for god knows what purpose. Such stuff is as inseparable from Balkan political comment as Hail Marys from a nunnery or sex scandals from Bill Clinton's bedroom. After the overthrow of Milosevic, we are now informed that it was all the result of a conspiracy...
Two correspondants from Belgrade provided us with an almost day-to-day account of last week's events in Serbia. These accounts show clearly how the intervention of the working class was decisive in toppling the old regime. What is also clear is the attempt on the part of both the old regime and the "opposition" to curb the spontaneity of the masses.