Balkans

The sharp radicalisation within Serbian society continues, and was put in the spotlight once again last week by the third failed presidential election in a row. The working people of Serbia simply stayed at home, ignoring the government calls to go out and elect a president. The election results clearly showed just how deep the crisis in the country is, and how unpopular and weak the pro-western ruling caste is in reality. From Pobunjeni Um Editorial Board.

We have received this report fromGoran Markovic, President of the Main Board of the Workers' Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina and are happy to publish it. It highlights the reawakening of the workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the terrible war that tore this country apart. The interesting thing is that workers on both sides of the divide are struggling for the same things.

Just after the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, a Marxist in Belgrade sent us this report and analysis. Djindjic certainly had many enemies and our correspondent looks at each one of them. This event reflects the mess that the transition to capitalism has created in the former Yugoslavia. FromPobunjeni Um Editorial Board.

A Yugoslav Marxist student looks at the achievements of state education under the old Titoist regime and compares it to today’s level of education as the whole system is being gradually privatised. Although marred by the bureaucratic deformations of the old Titoist regime, it did show the potential that exists from having a fully state run system. What would have been possible if there had been genuine socialism and workers’ democracy in Yugoslavia? And what does the future hold for the present and future generations of students in the former Yugoslav republics as the greedy hand of capitalism slowly but surely begins to strangle what was good in the old system?

During the four decades of "the building of socialism" in the former Yugoslavia there had been formulated more economic theories of socialism than in all the other self-proclaimed "socialist" countries of Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Dragan Draca explains the bureaucratic motives behind this to justify every U-turn in economic policy during that period. (February 23, 2002) This is the English version of the Serbo-croatian original ZABLUDE PROŠLOSTI published by the Yugoslavian Marxist website Pobunjeni Um.

Last May’s strikes forced the then government into a compromise over wage levels. Since then the government has fallen and a new government has come to power. Now as the economic situation worsens a new strike wave is spreading across Macedonia.

On September 29, the first round of the Serbian Presidential elections was held. The two candidates, Kostunica (Democratic Party of Serbia) and Labus (Group of Citizens), went through to the second round, where Kostunica of the Democratic Party received a majority, but the turnout was so low, only 45.5% of the total electorate, that the elections were not valid. Goran M. in Belgrade, gives us an idea of the mood among the masses that has led to this stalemate. It was obvious that there was no enthusiasm for either of the two candidates or their pro-capitalist policies.

The workers of Macedonia have once again shown that only through struggle can any meaningful victory be achieved. The strike of 80,000 public sector workers which started last week has forced the government to back down.

Our correspondents from Macedonia report on the recent strike wave that has hit the country. After years of waiting for things to "get better" the Macedonian workers have lost their patience. In a region blighted by ethnic conflict, the potential for working class struggle is clearly shown, and is an indication of how things will develop all over Eastern Europe. The class struggle is back on the agenda.

A young Marxist from Yugoslavia has written to us about how things used to be in Yugoslavia before the events of the late 80s and 90s which tore the country apart. By Vladimir Unkovski.

The New York Times of Saturday, March 27, quotes Laura Leslie, a senior from Miramonte High School, San Francisco: "I don't want to see another thing like what happened with Hitler, with a terrible person taking over countries". Laura reads the newspaper and listens to the news, and in her innocent way sums up the message of the propaganda war-supporting machine. She is not to be blamed for oversimplifying what is going on in Kosovo and why her country is at war again. The media and the President try to convince you that this is true and that you should support the men and women of your armed forces for the sake of your values and your children's future. But I would like to offer you a

...

The break up of the former Yugoslav federation has been a disaster for all its peoples. There is nothing progressive about it whatsoever. In all the states that have been created from the break up, reactionary governments have come to power. Tudjman in Croatia and Milosevic in Serbia do not defend the interests of the Croat or the Serb workers. The same is true of Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia.

Nato is to send 3,500 troops to Macedonia with the stated aim of disarming the Albanian rebels who have been involved in armed conflict with the Macedonian army. NATO is going in because Macedonia is on the verge of open civil war. If this were allowed to spread and get out of control it would have far greater consequences than simply that of destabilising Macedonia itself. It could bring Greece and Turkey (both NATO members) into a war where they would be fighting on opposite sides thus seriously weakening NATO's south eastern flank.

We have received this article from Alek Atevik in Skopje, Macedonia. It analyses the historical background and the situation facing Macedonia today. Particularly striking is the reference to workers strikes. As the author points out, when it is a question of defending jobs and wages, such as at the Yugohrom factory, there is no divisions between Albanians and Macedonians. Workers' unity cuts across the ethnic divide!

Join us