Balkans


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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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This is a report of the May Day march in Belgrade.

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.

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...

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!

Below we publish a letter we received commenting on our article 'Macedonia - the next powder keg?' What is particularly interesting is what is said about places where the local population is mixed, Albanian and Macedonian speaking. Apparently some form of militia has been formed to protect all the population from attacks from the Albanian guerrillas.

What is unfolding in Macedonia today [March 2001] confirms what we have always said. There will never be a solution to the National Question on the Balkans so long as the underlying economic and social problems remain. After they thought they had brought the situation in Kosovo under control, the situation across the border in Macedonia is flaring up.

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.

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

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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?

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Dear Comrades,

As you probably can see on your TV screens, the situation has became very radical. The opposition (DOS) claims that the police and some other vital parts of the regime have collapsed. This is true of the Belgrade city police. DOS (the opposition) is now organising the constitution of a new Federal Parliament, and I think that it is going to be a decisive moment.

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...

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.

A 4 part document by Alan Woods and Ted Grant. The question of nationalities has always occupied a central position in Marxist theory. In particular, the writings of Lenin deal with this important issue in great detail. It is true to say that, without a correct appraisal of the national question, the Bolsheviks would never have succeeded in coming to power in 1917. This document reviews the rich Marxist literature on this issue and applies it to today's conditions.

During the NATO bombings in Serbia and Kosovo the propaganda machine of the media in the West, with a few noble exceptions, obediently put forward the line that it was necessary to concentrate the armed might of the nineteen most powerful nations of the world, in order to stop the "ethnic cleansing" of the Kosovar Albanians. All the news was aimed at justifying everything NATO was doing.

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.

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.

This article looks at the effects of the war in Kosovo on international relations, the perspectives for the opposition movement in Serbia, the situation in Kosovo and the relations between the KLA and NATO, and stresses the need for an independent working class internationalist policy.

This short article by Alan Woods, was originally written for the Galician language magazine "Onte e Hoxe" and it deals with the general position of Marxism in relation to the national question and also explains the situation in relation to Kosovo.

In this interview, conducted on June 6, 1999, Dragan argues that: "a socialist and internationalist policy is the only way to successfully fight imperialism and domestic Stalinists"

Burn This House", published in 1997 is worth reading as the Balkans have been yet again plunged into war. It is written by critical non-nationalist Muslim, Croatian and Serbian historians and journalists who challenge the ethnic-nationalism of the politicians currently running former Yugoslavia and the views and strategies of the so-called...

NATO has not achieved a "victory" in Kosovo. It has not achieved its war aims. The TV and the press are attempting to convince public opinion that the bombing campaign has achieved its objectives. But as in all wars the first casualty is the truth itself. Anyone who wants to understand what is really happening must be careful not to be blown off track by the propaganda machine of the bourgeoisie.

History repeats itself, wrote Karl Marx. First as tragedy, then as farce. After the most inept military campaign since the Crimean War, we are now treated to the spectacle of the most ridiculous diplomatic bungling in history.

The situation in the Balkans is changing from day to day, even from hour to hour. From the beginning of the conflict Socialist Appeal has followed all the twists and turns in the war and the diplomatic and propaganda manoeuvres that accompany it. We here publish an analysis of the recent developments.

With every passing day the beat of the war drums gets louder. The pages of the newspapers, the television screens and radio broadcasts pour out a flood of propaganda aimed at whipping up a mood of bellicose hysteria. What intention lies behind this barrage? Only to blunt the minds and sensibilities of the populations of the countries of the...

NATO's bombing campaign enters into its third week having achieved none of its alleged "humanitarian aims" but on the contrary having worsened the situation. Thousands of Kosovo Albanians have been forced to flee, Milosevic is stronger than ever and innocent civilians are being bombed all over Yugoslavia while a massive propaganda campaign...

A detailed analysis of the causes and perspectives for the conflict in the Balkans from a socialist internationalist point of view. This article deals with the real reasons for imperialist intervention, the role of imperialism in the berak-up of Yugoslavia, the danger of an all-out war in the Balkans and it advances the slogan of the Socialist Federation of the Balkans as the only solution.

For more than 100 years, the democratic and progressive forces on the Balkans have striven to overcome national divisions and hatreds, and to unite the peoples of the Balkans on the basis of a federation, based on genuine equality and fraternal relations. However, on a capitalist basis, the idea of a Balkan Federation remained a hopeless utopia. An outstanding analysis of the break-up of Yugoslavia written at the beginning of the conflict.

NATO war planes have rained down bombs on Yugoslavia killing men women and children. It is a bloody act of naked aggression by the big imperialist powers, who are using a "humanitarian" cover for their ruthless pursuits. Rather than bringing peace, the bombing has brought a trail of suffering, bloodshed and death and threatens to plunge the whole region into open war. Read an internationalist analysis.

The decision of NATO to send troops to Kosovo marks a decisive turning-point. British Defence Secretary George Robertson has announced in parliament that the 4th Armoured Brigade will be sent from Germany to the war-torn province of Yugoslavia. Officially, NATO has not yet approved the intervention. But NATO ministers have already agreed to dispatch up to 30,000 if a peace deal is brokered between the Yugoslav government and the rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). As usual, the

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Your marxist site has inspired me to write to You, in order to show appreciation of Your efforts and to appeal for action. I'm glad to see some understanding of situation in the Balkans in "outter world" in theese hard days for people of Yugoslavia. Seeing that marxism is still fighting its battle on the west gives me a bit of hope and comfort. Here it looks like marxism lost the battle; abused to create a totalitarian regime and then cursed as a bad religion and thrown away.

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"No-one, it seems, has learned anything on the Balkans since 1991." (Financial Times, editorial, 9/3/98.) The scenes of massacre of men, women and children in Kosovo have disturbed the conscience of civilised people everywhere. What is the meaning of this? What is the solution? And how should the labour movement react? Alan Woods analyses the situation and puts forward, as the only solution, the Socialist Federation of the Balkans with full autonomy for all people's.

This article, written by Alan Woods just before the June elections, reviews the election campaign and the several incidents which happened during this, an interview with the leader of the Vlora Committee, Shyti, and draws the lessons for the Albanian revolution from previous revolutionary movements which only went half way.


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A short, ironic piece by the Irish revolutionary James Connolly, written during World War One, where he denounces the big powers for using the rights of small nations as a fig leaf for their real imperialist aims. James Connolly, September 1914.

An update on the situation in Albania written by Alan Woods on April 27, after the arrival of the international intervention force. This article was included by the Christian Science Monitor in the further recommended reading section for an article about Serbia!! (have a look at...

Written by Alan Woods on March 16, 1997, this is a complete analysis of the events in Albania. Includes a historical background section and a detailed explanation of the meaning of the Albanian revolution and lessons for socialists internationally.

The uprising of workers, soldiers, peasants and students in Albania is an inspiration for the working class and the youth all over the world. It represents a forceful answer to all those cynicists, cowards and sceptics who doubted about the revolutionary potential of the working class.