Serbia: Election Fraud or Fraudulent Elections?

Despite there being no genuine challenge from the all but broken opposition, the regime of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić decided to call early elections at state, provincial and municipal levels. His intention was, undoubtedly to try and top-up the majority he won in the previous elections and to garner a perception of there being an increased popular support for his policies.

However, this maneuver was not calculated on the basis of any growing popularity on the part of his party, the SNS (Serb Progressive Party, a pro-EU split from the hardline nationalist Serb Radical Party). Quite the contrary, growing support for an incumbent government wouldn’t warrant an early election. No, what Vučić was counting on was striking a blow against the rest of the opposition parties while they are in crisis and thus prolonging his own government’s rule for at least two more years in circumstances where his increasingly unpopular regime has the upper hand and taking advantage of their being no other party in Serbia in a position to oust him from power.

This election represents nothing more than a renewal of Vučić’s rule, a stunt similar to the one he pulled mid-term in 2014, after being deputy prime minister, and which had helped him secure the biggest majority vote of his career. However, even though the elections did indeed serve their intended purpose of prolonging Vučić’s rule, they also revealed the growing political instability of Serbian capitalism, as well as a growing divide between the masses and the political parties. Vučić’s “SNS – Serbia Wins” (not a videogame) election list achieved a lower percentage of the votes, while the whole election process was marked by fraud allegations.

The election results are as follows:

  • SNS (Serbian Progressive Party) and its satellites, won 131 seats

  • SPS-JS (Socialist Party of Serbia – Unified Serbia Coalition), led by Ivica Dačić, won 29 seats

  • SRS (Serbian Radical Party), led by Vojislav Šešelj, won 22 seats

  • “Dosta je bilo” (“Enough is enough”), led by Saša Radulović, won 16 seats

  • DS (Democratic Party), led by Bojan Pajtić, won 16 seats

  • DSS (Democratic party of Serbia) – Dveri Coalition won 13 seats

  • LDP-SDS-LSV (Liberal Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party, Social Democratic League of Vojvodina) Coalition won 13 seats

There were 250 seats available in total with the rest of the seats being picked up by marginal and national minority parties. While the composition of the new government remains unknown, there can be no doubt that its policies will be colonial business as usual and that any changes in the ministries will only serve as a “new packaging for the old excrement,” as we say in Serbia.

The Vučić regime

The SNS-led governments, which have ruled over Serbia since 2012, represent typical compradors, i.e. imperialist stooges whose entire set of policies is determined by the economic interests of the IMF, the World Bank and multinational corporations.

They have introduced a new labour law which goes even further than its predecessor in protecting corporate interest and stifling industrial action. They have continued with the policy of privatisation and budget cuts, either selling off or shutting down enterprises under the so called restructuring, while at the same time granting further subsidies to major foreign investors, such as Fiat, Yura, Calzedonia and around 500 other multinational companies, many of which also enjoy the privilege of operating within Special Economic Zones. Serbia is even being advertised in international media as one of the most favourable destinations for foreign capital with a “cheap, highly qualified workforce”.

At the same time, the means allocated to the ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development constituted only 0.35% of the entire government’s annual budget and a new law is being prepared, which aims to completely end what’s left of free education in Serbia by replacing budget financing of students with a system of co-financing. Very soon the “cheap, highly qualified workforce” will only remain cheap, as high qualifications turn into an unattainable luxury.

The treatment endured by the workers in those corporations is becoming more and more revolting, with working conditions sacrificed to provide a quick buck for the owners and levels of human dignity having plumbed an all time low not seen since Serbia was under occupation in World War 2. In the factories owned by the Calzedonia group, the mostly female workers operating the sewing machines are forced to stand for the entire duration of their shifts, causing severe problems with their veins. In the factories owned by the South Korean Yura company, the reign of terror reached a whole new level, with the workers being “suggested” to wear diapers during their shifts, since, apparently, restroom breaks would represent too great a cost to the owners in terms of time and money. Small businesses are often not much better, with reports of workers being beaten up and even bitten by the employer when asking for their wages due.

While being more than generous in offering all sorts of sweetheart deals to foreign entrepreneurs, Vučić and his camarilla were stingy in the extreme when it came to investing in highly necessary infrastructure projects, such as flood defence.

The floods that struck Serbia in 2014 were met with almost no organised resistance from the government, if we leave aside the shockingly absurd mass prayer for the raining to stop, organised by the Serbian Orthodox Church (some people called it a “reversed dodola”, dodola being a pre-Christian Slavic rain dance). Were it not for the will power, strength and solidarity of thousands of volunteers, the results would have been much worse than they were. And they were disastrous: the town of Obrenovac, in the vicinity of Belgrade was entirely flooded, with many people losing their lives as a direct or indirect consequence, and many more losing what little property they had. The most despicable response to the flooding of Obrenovac came when the local SNS authorities convinced the people that there wouldn’t actually be any flooding at all and that there was no reason therefore for people to leave their homes!

Besides brutalizing the working class, the Vučić regime is also notorious for selling off agricultural land to foreign landowners, mostly rich Arabs from countries like the United Arab Emirates. The regime’s collaboration with the Emirates’ sheikh Mohammad ibn Zayed Nahyan (nicknamed “Bin Zajeb”, i.e. Bin Screw-over, by some people here) also includes the gentrification of downtown Belgrade, especially the riverside district of Savamala (the name comes from Sava-mahallah, a village on the bank of the Sava river). This district is – or, rather, was – full of independent cultural and refugee aid centres and was known as “Serbia’s Berlin”. The buildings housing these centres have, however, all been condemned by the Belgrade City authorities, in an action led by one of Vučić’s main stooges, Siniša Mali, in order to build a gentrified neighbourhood for the local elite, called Belgrade Waterfront, which is financed in part by ibn Zayed. This project has been attacked not only by leftist groups and liberal parties and NGOs, but also by the Architects’ Association, who consider its designs to be generic and completely out of tune with the rest of the city.

The method by which Savamala is being cleared for gentrification and demolition doesn’t even honour the regime’s own laws and regulations and amounts to straight-out thuggery, with armed hoodlums wearing masks taking over condemned properties in the dead of night and demolishing them with bulldozers, while the police ignored the neighbours’ pleas for help. As one columnist here once commented: these “unknown perpetrators” wear masks so we know exactly who they are. Everyone was more than aware that the people responsible for this act of tacitly state-sponsored vandalism were none other than prime minister Vučić and Belgrade’s mayor Siniša Mali. For that reason, the demolition attack caused widespread public outrage and demonstrations against the Belgrade Waterfront project.

If we consult the mainstream media, things naturally, appear radically different. In their rose-tinted interpretation of reality (offered foremost by the privately owned “Pink TV”) Vučić and his gangsters are a major success story, creating gazillions of new jobs, despite being constantly hindered by the whining of the never satisfied and maladjusted people, who are stuck in their immature Balkan mentality.

Vučić, a man who built his career during the Yugoslav civil wars, who fetishised his Serbdom and called for a hundred to one retaliation against Bosnian Muslims from a parliamentary rostrum, has made a full circle and now directs his chauvinist venom against “his” people, while praising the European Union and Germany in particular. He has come to sound more and more like a modern day Quisling. Whenever there are serious dissenting voices, they tend to be taken off air, or dragged through all sorts of affairs and even through stories about alleged coup plots, as if plucked from the imagination of a paranoid schizophrenic. One such foaming mad media lapdog is a thing called Vučićević (believe it or not, his surname means “little Vučić” – you can’t make this stuff up!), Vučić’s own barking goblin, who uses profanity and baseless accusations in his paper and the TV show he hosts on “Pink”.

When some stories make it into the mainstream media – mostly into the pro-opposition press – they usually get a personal response from the prime minister, in the form of self-pitying and long-faced speeches about himself and his hurt feelings; offering up the same kind of reactions that a domestic abuser offers up after beating his wife or his child (or his nation). For example, when the story about the abuses suffered by Yura workers finally leaked into the public domain via the newspaper Danas (Today), Vučić’s response was one of condemnation – of all those “waging a campaign against Yura”! He even issued threats of what would happen if we were to antagonize the South Koreans (“Do you want Samsung to come here or not?!”), along with cynical claims that the workers’ representatives should have come to him in order to resolve the matter quietly.

The “opposition”

These and many other forms of crime and madness has created a growing mood of anger and hatred against the Vučić regime – a mood that has not yet found its outlet and so far mostly manifests itself in depression, bitterness and a desire to emigrate.

The reason the so called opposition could not have channelled this anger and resentment into their own electoral camp is simple: They have all been in power and did the very same thing – in fact, they were the ones who started the whole neocolonial process following Milošević’s ousting in 2000. All Vučić did to gain power was to adopt their programme and season it with a little right wing populist rhetoric (which soon became anti-populist, when he gained power), thus managing to dupe some people into believing that his “moderate nationalism” would somehow find a balance between cooperation with imperialism and protecting national sovereignty. What they got, however, was the protection of imperialist rule in Serbia, justified by “national interests”. In the eyes of ordinary people, the opposition leaders are representing various aspects of Vučić’s politics, taken to further extremes.

For example, the DS (Democratic Party, the party of the assassinated prime minister Zoran Đinđić, which has since fractured into various little parties with generic names) is seen as an elitist club of a privileged, better educated and better off layer, steeped in elitism and contempt for the “illiterate masses” and with no significant programmatic differences from Vučić and SNS. In fact, Vučić is often seen as someone who has “hijacked” the Democrats’ original line and is now simply more successful at carrying it through. As much as the Democrats profess their dedication to human rights and the rule of bourgeois law, as much as they present themselves as a more civil branch of capitalist politics – more cosmopolitan, more “open” in the “open society” sense of the word – that isn’t how the masses see them.

Among the majority of the population, especially among the workers, the Yellows (as the Democrats are popularly called) are seen as a pretentious bunch of snobs, who aren’t even all that educated and as civil as they claim. Many still remember the Democrats’ privatisations, where functional state owned enterprises were sold off to mafia bosses, their destruction of Serbia’s state banking sector, their own sweetheart deals with foreign tycoons and the establishments of Special Economic Zones. Their current criticism of government corruption is seen as nothing but hypocrisy in order to cling to what little power they have left, after Vučić had swept them away, exploiting popular resentment. Their criticism of Vučić, which isn’t based on any alternative solutions, but rather on the low education of his stooges, is seen as smug and offensive. And, naturally, their view of politics is seen as autistic and focused on a minority of upper middle class urban intellectuals.

The Yellows also have several splinter parties, such as the Liberal Democrats and the Social Democrats, with whom they share a love-hate relationship. The reason for this is that the middle-class liberal electorate in Serbia is a small pond full of crocodiles. They all claim to represent the legacy of the assassinated prime minister Đinđić and blame each other in a ridiculously dogmatic way for “betraying his ideas”.

The Social Democratic Party is led by the former president of Serbia, and former Democratic leader, Boris Tadić. He withdrew from the Democrats after taking the blame for electoral failure on all levels, including presidential elections. The only reason these people chose to be called “Social Democrats” is because they ran out of other ideas and saw the rise of leftist options in Europe. They have no mass backing and no organic link to the labour movement. They are basically just people trying to stay politically afloat, so they can continue to make an easy living. Having measly numbers and no chance whatsoever of succeeding on their own, they formed a coalition with the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) and the LSV (Social-Democratic League of Vojvodina).

The LSV is not a split from the Democratic Party, but a provincialist petty bourgeois sect whose main goal is to achieve further government powers, a federal unit status and, some say, even secession for Serbia’s northern province, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. Their programme doesn’t differ significantly from the programmes of the previous two parties, since their main point of conflict with them is that the others’ centres are located in Belgrade, while theirs is in Novi Sad.

What about the Liberal Democrat Party? Their leader Čedomir Jovanović once fancied himself a young hope of the liberal scene and strived to take the place of the Democrats. However, his economic and political dogmatism, in which he mixed his dedication to liberal “European values” with insane racist and social-Darwinist outbursts (he reproached one of the previous Democrat-led governments for offering support to African “cannibals” and he also stressed during a speech on the economy that “this is not the time for the weak”), as well as his staunch pro-NATO stance and extravagant and shady lifestyle made him less and less appealing even to the small layer of urban yuppies, to which he tried to turn upon the failure to win over the intellectuals. This led him to form an electoral coalition with LSV and SDS, only to sell them out and appeal to Vučić for a position in the next government in exchange for supporting him in parliament.

Apart from the Democrats and their residue, there’s also a spectrum of even further right wing options. One such party, is the “Dosta je bilo” (“Enough is enough”) movement, led by Vučić’s former economy minister, Saša Radulović. As a libertarian, he was an architect of one of the worst labour bills in our history – a bill so bad that Vučić was forced to push him out of the government, fearing a massive public backlash. Radulović later managed to spin his quarrel with Vučić into some kind of principled conflict between a corrupt prime minister and an official who just wanted to “do his job” in a transparent and lawful way. Of course, if you can believe that someone claiming to have enough sense to run the economy doesn’t have enough sense to see Vučić for what he is and join his government, then you can believe in flying pigs just the same. However, Radulović did manage to whip up a base of petty entrepreneurs, young yuppies and yuppie wannabe students, who eagerly swallowed his message about “real, transparent” kind of capitalism. Radulović also resorted to nationalistic rhetoric, slamming Vučić for favouring foreign capital, instead of domestic. Of course, such “concerns” are a mere electoral ploy – he never stated any such complaints or opposite proposals while he held the ministry of economy. “Dosta je bilo” basically managed to successfully attract the layer the Liberal Democrats aimed for, but could never mobilise - that is, the urban yuppie and small entrepreneur middle class. Where LDP’s Jovanović was seen as a bon-vivant with shady “friends” and hot air rhetoric, Radulović is seen as a serious and consistent manager, a so called expert who wants to set Serbian capitalism on the “right path”, so the Serbian middle class could finally cash in all their self-perceived ingenuity and hard work.

The mouldy scarecrows

Even further to the right are the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and the Coalition of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS, not to be confused with the Democratic Party - DS) and a movement called Dveri (an approximate translation would be “Doors to the Altar”). Both of these options are hardline nationalists and don’t have much to offer programme wise, except for jingoistic and eurosceptic rhetoric. Both prefer to focus on Serbia’s territorial appetites in the neighbourhood rather than any issues of substance for the working class. However, there are also certain differences.

The Radicals were formed as a right wing populist movement, led by its founder Vojislav Šešelj, a.k.a. the Duke (a “vojvoda” or duke was a military rank among the chetniks, Serbian fascist collaborators in World War 2), a man suspected of having committed war crimes in Croatia. This party even had its paramilitary troops during the Yugoslav civil wars. Šešelj was also considered the “favourite opponent” of Milošević, because he was all too willing to support Milošević’s regime whenever it came to a crunch. In a period between 1998-2000, until the toppling of Milošević’s regime, Šešelj even served as a deputy prime minister in the state government of Serbia (then part of FR Yugoslavia).

Back then, the other Radicals in the government were precisely the ones that would desert Milošević during his imprisonment in the Hague, including Vučić and the current president Tomislav Nikolić. The entire currently ruling party, the SNS, was founded as a split of pro-EU nationalists, who got tired of being in perpetual hardline opposition. This split, combined with Šešelj’s imprisonment, got the Radicals to the point where they were unable to win sufficient votes to gain a single seat in the parliament.

However, Šešelj’s return did manage to restore some of the party’s appeal, mostly because there are people who see him as someone who “took on the Hague and won” and expect him to be a thorn in Vučić’s side as a revenge. This, however, turned to be a fool’s hope, since Šešelj has pretty much spared Vučić in most of his criticisms directed at the regime, which has led many to believe that Šešelj is planning on entering the government again at some point in the future. Whether or not these rumours have merit remains to be seen. Šešelj’s SRS aims at the vote of provincial working class individuals with lower class consciousness and a high degree of cynicism, as well as provincial smalltime intellectuals, certain layers of peasantry and provincial young lumpen.

The DSS-Dveri coalition, on the other hand, come from the former anti-Milošević milieu and is thus focused on the more urban reactionaries, such as right wing anti-globalist intellectuals, upstart “self-employed” wannabe entrepreneurs and also people who have developed anti-imperialist sentiment but have failed to articulate it along class lines. For example, many of their supporters, especially younger ones, would agree with a communist criticism of imperialism, but would then wrongly place their hope either in Russia or in some imaginary “neutral” nationalism, which would only mind Serbian business.

The DSS gave the presidential candidate who toppled Milošević in 2000, Vojislav Koštunica. However, due to his foreign policy of genuine neutrality and the attempts of his government to re-occupy Kosovo, instead of just talking about it and then doing what Brussels told them, Koštunica was seen as “too rigid” by his own party members and forced into political retirement, leaving the leadership to Sanda Rašković-Ivić, a somewhat more devious version of himself. Koštunica was also prime minister of Serbia for two terms, during which he inflicted severe injuries upon the working class by privatising and destroying several significant enterprises, one of them being Magnohrom in the city of Kraljevo. While committing savage attacks on our industry, Koštunica managed to orchestrate outbursts of chauvinistic hysteria, which I wrote about at the time.

Dveri was created as a relatively recent circle of conservative anti-globalists, who stress “family values” like homophobia and the ban on abortions. Their economic programme is a typical integralist (anti)utopia, with contemporary seasoning, where their leader tries to distance himself from being called both a leftist and a right winger, stating that such a division was “a thing of the past”. Basically, it’s your average contemporary recycled right wing. Both the SRS and the DSS-Dveri Coalition also have their sympathizers among different extreme right – even neoNazi – groups and their membership are at each other’s throats about who the “true patriots” are.

Reformists, long dead and stillborn

This election also featured the self-described “leftist”, i.e. reformist parties – one traditional and one upstart.

The traditional one was the SPS, formal heir to the old Communist League of Yugoslavia, turned reformist by Milošević and his clique. Ever since Milošević was overthrown in 2000, the SPS leadership has managed to remain afloat by combining elements of Titoist iconography, Milošević’s “anti-imperialist” rhetoric and contemporary social democratic policies. This strategy allowed the party to retain a stable support of around 10% of the vote, often with the aid of one or two junior partners.

Such a result used to allow them to play kingmaker when new governments were formed. However, this position was practically never used for putting forward even the least reformist demands. To the contrary, the SPS always played the role of a loyal ally to any right wing government, whether it was led by the Democrats or the Progressives.

Such behaviour threatens to make them lose the support they have retained, since their electorate sees less and less point in voting for a party which will do whatever it takes to be part of any government. Some are even speculating that the reason for such behaviour is that Ivica Dačić, the leader of the party, is being blackmailed by the Vučić regime with evidence of alleged ties with people from Serbia’s criminal underground world. True or not, it is also obvious that the mood within the SPS is far from stable and that there are certain dissenting voices, who would like to see the bond between their party and the current regime broken, so they can have a more independent policy and, possibly, rise as the strongest opposition party.

This, however, doesn’t in any way mean that the SPS can pose any kind of alternative to the capitalist order in Serbia. Whatever organic ties to the working class they had, they have lost them all in the 1990s, and remain today a party of ex-Titoist bureaucrats, career politicians and tycoons. There are no conditions under which such a party could be made to shift to the left in anything other than its rhetoric. And even there, they are more prone to flirting with nationalism than socialism, as was proved by their absurd campaign videos, which looked like some strange parody of Milošević’s positions. Any potential for class struggle and socialism in the SPS is long dead and rotted.

The upstart party was the so called Serbian Left. This party was formed through the collaboration of an ex-Democrat career politician, Borko Stefanović, and certain reformist intellectuals from the Belgrade University. It tried to be the Serbian equivalent of Syriza or Podemos, and failed miserably. The main reason was the unreadiness of the leadership – Stefanović and his clique – to even rhetorically question capitalism or even Serbia’s membership in the European Union. They never even tried to present themselves as a party of the working class, or an embryo of such a party. Instead, they went full generic and created a “left” mishmash of various causes addressed in a liberal, particularistic manner.

Their economic programme never went further than bourgeois legalism, and they even issued a truly sad document called “Letter to Capital”, where they assured the bourgeoisie of their support, provided that business is done fairly and in accordance with the law. What’s more, Borko Stefanović was more interested in acquiring financial support from shady local businessmen than establishing any connection with the labour movement. This stillborn and sterile bureaucratic shell tried to outgrow itself by gathering up certain elements from the student movement. These individuals wanted a historical shortcut and actually believed that they could somehow “handle” Stefanović and his apparatus from within and force them to shift to the left and adopt working class policies. At least that’s what they told themselves and members from leftist groups when they tried to convince us to join their party. In reality, they set out on a path of careerism and perpetual compromise, without ever articulating their own initial political line. All the while - for instance by forming municipal coalitions with the far right - Stefanović’s apparatus set out to break every criterion which could qualify that party as remotely left. This unprincipled political stew proved to be a spectacular debacle when “Serbian Left” failed to win even a whole 1% of the vote.

Electoral fraud

This year’s election was also marked by attempts at electoral fraud. Now usually, fraud is committed to ensure electoral victory where the result is uncertain. Here, however, the SNS had the electoral victory in a bag – but with a significantly lower percentage than the last election. That’s what pained our image-obsessed prime minister! He desperately needed to prove that each election makes him stronger and, instead, he merely revealed a declining trend of his electoral support. While the previous election gave them around 55% of the electorate, this one offered only around 48% and Vučić wouldn’t have it.

So, his innovative brain hatched a brilliant idea to try and rob some of the parties too close to electoral threshold, to take their seats and boost his percentage. He did choose his target wisely, though, the DSS-Dveri Coalition, known for their far right ideas and the least likely to gather broader support against the electoral fraud. The initial vote count placed DSS-Dveri just below the threshold – by one single vote!

However, Vučić had underestimated the naked self interest of the “opposition” politicians. This self-interests transcends ideological boundaries and forced them to band together and defend the far right’s entrance into the parliament on the grounds of “defending the electoral will of the citizens”. It was a most curious ad hoc campaign, where all shades of liberals stood behind the fascistoid DSS-Dveri and their political rights. The Democratic Party leadership even went as far as to call upon its members to vote for DSS-Dveri in all the districts where they managed to get the initial vote annulled. This ad hoc campaign even had the incredibly absurd slogan of Je suis Dveri, which, if nothing else, offered a very insightful parody of the hypocritical Je suis Charlie campaign of war mongering French liberals.

While it is pretty clear that the elections were most irregular and that there most likely were attempts of fraud - attempts that probably succeeded in many instances - it still leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth to speak of electoral fraud in an election which was, as a whole, one big fraud, one big mummer’s farce where colours and allegiances change in the manner of hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye. What point is there in discussing electoral fraud, when the election itself is a competition between frauds? What point is there in talking about “the will of the citizens”, when it is widely known that the voters never really get what they voted for, since electoral promises are worth nothing? In that sense, the only response a Marxist, and any honest worker can give to the hue and woe about fraud is: Seriously, guys?

Conclusion

Despite offering more of the same faceless and colourless bourgeois politics, these elections were far from irrelevant. They offer significant indications on the mood inside the public and insight into the question of the foundations on which a genuine workers’ party can and should be built in Serbia.

First of all, the SNS regime failed to secure another record victory and revealed its support to be in decline, in spite of them having won the provincial elections as well. This alone will cause turmoil within this party and encourage all of its opponents to challenge the regime more frequently and more severely.

Secondly, as these lines are being written, there is still no final word on who will form the new government. At this point, a new coalition between SNS and its old ally SPS seems uncertain. That could mean two things. Either Vučić has found a new and more reliable ally, or there is resistance to a new coalition within the SPS itself and Vučić cannot risk having his offer thrown into his face and would rather rule alone.

If there is a new and more reliable ally, the question is who? The Democrats, despite being all but devoid of principles, cannot risk joining him, since their entire existence is based on the claim that they are the “main opposition party”. Likewise, offering the Yellows a place in the government would further decrease Vučić’s popularity by ending the idea that his SNS is at least the “lesser evil” in comparison with the Democrats.

The DSS-Dveri are staunchly anti-EU and plus Vučić tried to cheat them out of parliament, so it’s unlikely that he would want a coalition with them. “Dosta je bilo” would also risk political death if they support a party and a government they have called corrupt at any chance they got.

The coalition of Social Democrats and Liberal Democrats could conceivably join the SNS, but that is not very likely, since they share the Democrats’ predicament. That leaves the Radicals, Vučić’s old party. “The Duke” has a constant following with elements of blind admiration and he most likely could sell such a turn to his electorate and membership, as a “clever manoeuvre“ – his sneakiness is what makes him popular in their eyes. The Radicals would also do wonders to control the extreme right fringes and bring them back into the regime fold, possibly to be used in the eventuality of labour unrest. On the other hand, Šešelj has been Vučić’s boss and mentor for a long time, and it isn’t impossible that they might have certain dirt on each other that none of them is willing to reveal out of fear of mutual destruction. Be as it may, some of the regime media have already planted the idea into the public opinion, stating that Šešelj offered Vučić a coalition, provided that he “turns away from the EU and towards Russia”. That could be simply one of Šešelj’s japes, a way to poke at Vučić and their joint past. However, stranger bedfellows were known to exist in Serbia’s political scene.

Regardless of what the latest government reshuffle brings, it is clear that the bourgeois parties have all been shaken to the core and that there’s a growing mood of disinterest for the parliamentary election process. It is also clear that the masses here are not ready to buy moderate half-solutions and settle for mere abstract “leftist” rhetoric offered by upstart reformists.

Conditions are becoming more and more favourable for building a party of the working class, to stand not only as opposition to the SNS, but to the entire capitalist system. In order to build such a party, a reformist programme and a “broad church” approach will simply not suffice – the masses won’t go for it. Such a programme couldn’t offer any concrete improvement, because such a “broad church” would still depend on the approval of imperialism, which cannot tolerate any progressive reforms on its periphery. Without any concrete improvement, the masses will not be drawn into such a party. For that reason, the only way to build a mass labour party would be to build a revolutionary labour party. Such a party is the goal of the IMT’s Serbian section, “Crveni” and it’s high time all who shared our ideas joined our organisation and helped us build the forces of the future.