We are publishing an eyewitness account from Belgrade of the violence that broke out after Kosovo announced its independence from Serbia. In spite of the media footage the vast majority of the masses ignored the small number of demonstrators! The working class responded quietly, treating the rioters with nothing but fear and disgust! Hardly anyone is prepared to come out and support the Serbian bourgeois... Its credibility is wearing as thin as the patience of the masses.

The manoeuvres of the various big powers in the region are leading to calls for “independence” for Kosovo, which in actual fact hide the naked material interests of the imperialists. The Serbian ruling elite however is now threatening to raise the stakes, potentially throwing the whole region into turmoil once more. The only solution can be offered by a working class struggling across the national borders for a Socialist Federation of the Balkans.

The process of capitalist restoration in Serbia has been brutal. Hundreds of thousands of workers in the old industries have lost their jobs. The old social buffers provided by the planned economy have been dismantled. In this atmosphere a sombre mood dominates the working class. The only outlet the ruling class can offer is to keep whipping up nationalist sentiment.

This article was sent to us by Nikola Vukobratović, who is the Chairman of the Socialist Youth of Croatia, the youth organisation of the Socialist Workers' Party of Croatia. Since most of our readers will not be familiar with the corruption scandals mentioned in the article, we provide here a short introduction.

The collapse of the former Yugoslavia had led to a swathe of privatisations, cuts in social spending and a systematic dismantling of all the gains of the past. But one event back on November revealed that below the surface a new situation is brewing. Suddenly in reaction to worsening conditions, the imposition and increase in fees and so on, the students in one Faculty occupied the university building in an exemplary manner.

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