We have received a letter from a communist activist in Bosnia-Herzegovina (see below) who has recently been fired from his job at a private university for his political convictions and activities. The problems began six months ago, when comrade Goran Markovic, a leading member of the Workers’ Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, headed the party list in municipal elections. The speeches of the comrade during the campaign were broadcast on television and led the university authorities to the decision to expel him from his teaching assistant position at the university.
Because the Labour Act prevents workers from being fired on the basis of their political convictions or affiliation, the university authorities needed to find a legal excuse to fire him. He was asked to sign a breach of contract agreement, which he refused. He was then asked to attend two separate interviews with the owner of the university Slobodan Pavlovic, a well known Yugoslav born profiteer, who demanded to know why Markovic was a communist and whether he would be willing to leave the Workers’ Communist Party, which is in the process of organizing an all-Yugoslav Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties. Other professors at the university had already told Markovic that he was being fired for his communist convictions. He was then advised to write a letter “admitting” his mistaken beliefs and promising to quit all political activity.
Shortly after his refusal, Markovic was informed by Mr. Pavlovic that it would no longer be possible for Markovic to stay on at the university because as a communist “he could not educate children” and that if communism were victorious he would lose all of his capital and property, and he could not have that. Markovic was then fired.
The actions of the university authorities are clearly illegal, anti-constitutional and in violation of basic human rights. Comrade Markovic has decided to continue the struggle in defence of his rights in the courts and overturn the decision of the university.
Letter from the Workers’ Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Communist party leader expelled from university
Bosnia and Herzegovina can hardly be called a democratic state. The violation of basic human rights on the basis of nationality, religion and trade union activity has been publicized for many years. Until now, however, the violation of the right to have one’s own political beliefs has been less common, and has not been recognized by many human rights activists and organizations. The latest example of such a violation is the expulsion of the Communist Party leader from the university where he worked. Goran Markovic, President of the Main Board of the Workers’ Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was yesterday fired from the private university where he worked as a sociology teaching assistant.
The problems started six months ago during the electoral campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when comrade Markovic headed the party list in municipal elections. After his speeches were broadcast on television, university authorities attended secret meetings where they decided to expel him from the university. Considering the fact that the Labour Act prevents the possibility of the violation of the right to work on the basis of political conviction or membership in a political party, the university authorities had to find a formal excuse to fire comrade Markovic.
Knowing that there was no possibility of expelling him without the danger of the university being sued, university authorities proposed that comrade Markovic sign a rupture of employment relationship agreement, which he rejected. After that he was invited to two interviews with the owner of the university. The owner, Slobodan Pavlovic, is a Serb who left Yugoslavia thirty years ago and went to the United States. There he established contacts with Serbian fascist émigré groups and chetnik organizations and made a great fortune. At the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia he came back and started investing. After the process of privatization started, he used his good connections with the political elite to amass more capital by buying state owned enterprises at cheap costs. One of his greatest successes was his purchase of “Semberska Bank” (now “Pavlovic International Bank”) from Bijeljina for three times less than the actual cost. After this “successful” purchase he fired many of the workers and cut the salaries of those who remained.
Mr Pavlovic wanted to know why Markovic became a communist and whether he would consider leaving the party. A few professors had earlier talked with comrade Markovic and told him that real reason for his expulsion from the university was his communist convictions. They advised him to write a letter in which he would admit his “mistake” (being a communist) with the promise that he would quit political activity. After Markovic refused to “admit a mistake” and condemn his own party and himself, the owner of the university said it would not be possible for comrade Markovic to stay on at the university anymore because “as a communist he could not educate children” and that if communism were to win he would lose his capital.
Considering the fact that all activities taken by university authorities as well as by the owner of the university are illegal and anti-constitutional, that they are also in flagrant violation of basic human rights and are the expression of tyranny. Comrade Markovic has decided to continue his struggle against these illegal acts and is going to try to defend his rights through the courts.
Below is a model letter which you can adapt as you wish.
March 19, 2005
To the University Authorities
We have received news of the sacking of Goran Markovic from his position as teaching assistant at your university. We understand that the reasons for this are his political ideas and affiliations. The Labour Act of your country prohibits the violation of the right to work on the basis of political conviction or membership in a political party. What you have done is a denial of Markovic’s basic rights. We are taking this issue up in our country and call on you to withdraw this act of blatant victimisation and reinstate Markovic in his position.