Balkans


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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.

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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.

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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 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?

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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 ZABLUDE PROŠLOSTI published by the Yugoslavian Marxist website Pobunjeni Um.

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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 enthusiasm for either of the two candidates or their pro-capitalist policies.

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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.

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

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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!

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.

Following on from the collapse of the Milosevic regime, the working class of Yugoslavia have moved to reassert their class interests. While Vojislav Kostunica attempts to restore "order" after the mass movement that overthrew the old regime, miners, carworkers, lecturers and other layers turned on their old bosses.

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...

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?

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 movement? And what attitude should Marxists take towards it?

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. Thus on 4th August The Guardian published an article under the headline 'Campaign to oust Milosevic gathers pace'. The television reporting has been particularly insisting on this angle. But when one looks at the real situation on the ground one gets a completely different picture.

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.

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 "international community". Reviewed by Barbara Humphries.

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 North Atlantic alliance to that critical point where civilised men and women are prepared to accept ground war. Ted Grant and Alan Woods analyse...

As the failure of NATO's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia becomes increasingly clear, the number of civilian casualties of this so-called "precision bombing" increase. Yesterday, (Monday April 12) at least ten people were killed and 16 injured after a Nato missile hit a passenger train as it crossed a bridge in south-east Serbia. According to a Press Association wire "reporters taken to the scene by Yugoslav authorities described scattered human limbs, smashed rail carriages and the stench of burning flesh." Western military officials said that the target was a rail bridge above a river that the train "happened to be on at the time" (!!).

"Something must be done" is the understandable feeling of workers watching the harrowing scenes on our TV screens every evening. The sight of thousands of people herded into giant camps, the pictures of the displaced, the dispossessed and the dead, the screaming children, the helpless pensioners, the hungry and the diseased cannot but stir our emotions.

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 is launched by imperialism to try and justify its actions. Ted Grant gives a Socialist perspective.

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.

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