[Marxism] Serbophobia, inc.

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at theplanet.net.au
Mon Nov 12 06:54:45 MST 2007

Always so charming to hear from Proyect. Actually I'm a little
disappointed you 'just discovered' the site, I'm sure I'd tried to make
you aware of it before.

> I want to call comrades' attention to the bizarre blog launched by
> Michael Karadjis and David Riley 
> http://mihalisk.blogspot.com/
For the record, it is proudly my site, Dave put his name there some time
ago as part of linking it to his Left Click site, so he doesn't have to
take any responsibility for my terrible sins.

> It is filled with diatribes against Edward Herman, Fidel Castro 

Oh yeh, "diatribes" against Fidel. There are a couple of posts
expressing very polite disagreement with Fidel over some statements he
made. Comrades can check for themselves whether they are "diatribes":

On Fidel's 'Reflections' on Independence for Kosova

On Fidel's advice to MIlosevic to "resist": Resistance, yes, but how?

In any case, Proyect of course is the ultimate hypocrite, on this as on
most other points. If Walter Lippmann sends a post where Fidel is making
some statements Proyect doesn't like, such as lauding socialism in China
or Vietnam, or for that matter lauding Iran, or perhaps Zimbabwe,
necessary for diplomatic reasons but in some cases also reflecting real
differences with the "unrepentant marxist's" assessment of these places,
Proyect hurriedly reminds readers that supporting Fidel does not mean
having to agree with everything Fidel says, and he gets all morally
upright about how he can "think for himself" rather than getting his
ideas from Fidel or Jack Barnes or anyone else (Proyect's comparison,
not mine). I'm not sure if these occasions represent "diatribes" against
Fidel by Proyect. I'm not sure if Proyect considers Joaquin Bustelo's
attack on a ridiculous article in the Cuban state media a couple of days
ago a "diatribe" against the Cuban revolutionary leadership. 

Actually, while disagreeing with Fidel over some issues, I note in one
of my pieces: 

"Unlike some of the "anti-imperialist" heroes on the western left, Fidel
wastes no time issuing apologetics for Serbian crimes against humanity
in Kosova, no time trying to belittle the suffering of the Kosovars, no
time trying to show that Milosevic's Serbia was "socialist", and does
not even clearly conclude that Kosova must remain part of Serbia in
perpetuity, but instead focuses on Bush."

Which already puts him heads and tails above the likes of Proyect, but
that ain't sayin much is it? 

Frankly, I don't think anyone here needs lectures from Proyect on
"diatribes", of which he is a master, as this little piece of bile he
sent to the list attacking my site indicates.

As for my diatribes against Herman (no quotation marks there), Proyect
might be referring to articles like this:

Srebrenica: Response to left-wing apologists for genocide

And this:

Reply to Ed Herman on Body Counts in Kosova

Now of course Proyect or anyone else can disagree with what I write
here, you can put it on your head, turn it upside down and round and
round, but that doesn't alter the fact that these are my well-known
opinions and I've never tried to hide them. But I realise lashing out in
pretend outrage is easier for Proyect that debating politics.

> anybody else who broke with the "decent left" consensus around the
> need
> to punish the dastardly Serbs. 

Let's separate two points:

1. "to punish" 

Yeh well since not one of the 60 or so posts on the site advocate
"punishment" I'll assume that's just another "proyect". The site
analyses the wars of the 1990s. Every single article is totally opposed
to imperialist intervention, is that is what is implied by "punish" 

2. "the Serbs"

This is just a piece of crude tabloidism, that the likes of Proyect
regularly employ when they discuss these issues. Like his subject
heading, "Serbophobia", which is Proyect's equivalent to the Zionists'
"anti-Semitism." Criticise the politics of the Zionist state, you are
"anti-Semitic." Criticise the politics of the Serbian state, you are
"anti-Serb," "Serbophobic," "Serb-bashing" etc. What rank populism. So
since I also criticise the Tudjman regime in Croatia, am I "anti-Croat"?
Well, that would be difficult, since Proyect and all Chetnikophiles
viscerally hate Tudjman, so obviously they are "Croatophobic". Is it
"Turkophobic" to criticise the Turkish state for its bloody oppression
in Kurdistan? Is it "Indonesiaphobic" to support Timor's struggle
against brutal oppression there? Don't worry, I won't be waiting for any
coherent answers from you.

The hundreds of thousands of Serbs who stood up to Milosevic during the
attacks on Croatia and Bosnia in 1991-92, such as the 300,000 strong
Belgrade rally in April 1992 identifying with "Sarajevo", the tens of
thousands of Serbian army deserters (only 12% of Serbs heeded the
call-up in Serbia during the Bosnia war), the thousands of Bosnian Serbs
who fought in the multi-ethnic Bosnian army against the Chetnik forces,
including the Serb general Divjak who led the defence of multi-ethnic
Sarajevo against 3.5 years of brutal siege and bombardment carried out
by the ultra-right, racist Serb leadership in Pale that you prefer, the
Bosnian Serbs and Croats who were part of the multi-ethnic Sarajevo
government, the Bosnian Serb and Croat unionists in Tuzla who together
with their Muslim co-workers put out statements calling for working
class solidarity against the chauvinist Armageddon, the thousands of
Serbs from all over the country in 1998 who refused to go to Kosova, and
the 'Bring our sons home from Kosova' movement then, the mass uprising
of the Serbian working class, led by the Kolabura miners, that overthrew
Milosevic's oligarchy in 2000 and continue to resist the attacks of his
like-minded successors - it ain't "Serbophobic" to support all these
Serbs Proyect, even if you prefer war-mongering oligarchs, the biggest
plutocrats of the Balkans that were Slobo's best buddies, racists, and
mass killers.   

As should be obvious at this point in
> history, the NATO war in the Balkans was a dress rehearsal for the war
> in Iraq.
Yes of course, but since there is no issue of supporting the imperialist
attack on Serbia, that is a non-sequitir. 

What is really required is clarity on how you oppose imperialist wars.
If your argument were that opposing an imperialist war on Serbia in 1999
meant necessarily having to agree with the line that says the Milosevic
regime was a lovely socialist regime and that its actions in the Balkans
in the 1990s were all sweet attempts to promote multiculturalism but
that it was merely slandered, then I would say:

1. You are wrong, and 
2. You are a hypocrite

Firstly, it is wrong - I don't just mean these "facts" are wrong -
obviously people will argue over facts - but this method is wrong.
Obviously, when there are crass imperialist lies, we expose these lies.
But we expose them not because we think that if they were true,
imperialist intervention would be OK; nor because we think that exposing
lies proves everything else is dandy about the regime/situation under

For example, when we expose the fact that imperialism was lying about US
WMD in Iraq, that does not mean we are saying that the Saddam regime was
a nice regime and everything said about it were lies. When imperialist
lies such as the "babies in incubators" was exposed in Gulf war I, it
was necessary to expose such crude attempts to demonise. But that did
not alter the fact that the saddam regime was tyrannical, and that a
couple of years earlier it had gassed the Kurdish population en masse,
or that it had launched the invasion of Iran leading to a decade of
slaughter of Iranian and Iraqi working people. When imperialism turns
around and attacks Iraq in 1991, we do not then go back and do
revisionist history of the last decade to show that Saddam wasn't really
that bad, we do not try to defend such crimes, we need to explain why we
oppose imperialist attack *because of what is wrong with imperialist
attack* in and of itself, not because we think the regime is not as bad
as it was made out.

Same in Afghanistan. When we expose various lies the imperialists made
about Afghanistan and the Taliban, that did not alter the fact that the
Taliban was a tyrannical regime that brutally oppressed women, that had
blown up ancient Buddha statues, massacred  minorities etc.

If our "anti-war" rhetoric relies on trying to say that some regime is
not really as bad as is made out, we are actually adopting a dangerous
left-liberal approach: the converse is that, well, *if* it were true
that such massacres were happening, maybe we should support imperialist
war to stop it. What is wring with imperialism needs to be explained.

One reason for the stunning success of the imperialist attack in 1999
and the fact that it could act to some extent as a dress rehearsal was
the fact that enormous crimes had in fact been committed, and through
most of the 1990s, imperialism merely watched, including at Srebrenica.
We need to understand that *actual* violations make it much easier for
imperialism than mere propaganda, which is why it is so much easier to
attack Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, invade Somalia, invade Haiti (1994),
bomb Sudan, attack Argentina (Malvinas) etc, than it is to invade Cuba
or Venezuela.

However, Proyect knows all this; that's why he is a hypocrite. At a time
when imperialism is gearing up for Armageddon against Iran, he cannot
let a single comment go by which suggests any political softness on the
Iranian regime. The same goes for any suggestion that Mugabe might be
doing something right to attract imperialism's ire. Proyect is also no
apologist for Saddam or the Taliban. Nor for the Burma regime from what
I can gather. At least some are more consistent at apologetics than

What accounts for the hypocrisy of Proyect, and certain others, whereby
they can understand that in other cases our condemnation of imperialist
war, intervention, embargo etc does not necessitate giving political
support to the regimes, but only specifically in the case of Serbia they
insist on political support to Milosevic?

Is it that unlike Saddam Hussein, Mullah Omar, Bin Laden, Ahmedinejad
etc, people of "middle eastern appearance", who have beards, who "look
like evil people," who "look like terrorists", Milosevic by contrast
looks like a nice western Christian gentleman in a suit, sharing a
whisky with western negotiators. Who could possibly believe such things
about someone like that?   

A few more posts that might interest comrades, since Proyect has
graciously given me the opportunity:

How Many, and Who, Died in Bosnia?

The Article that Fooled the Left

Six Years of Imperialist Occupation of Kosova

Occupation Regime in Kosova Begins Privatisation Program
(a reply to clueless Clarkey in the Guardian)

Milosevic's Serbia: No Relation to 'Socialism'

Yugoslavia and the National Question Following Break-Up

Comrades might also be interested in this article from the Irish
Socialist Network which led to a stormy discussion in 'comments':

The Left and the Balkan Wars
There was a flurry of excitement some time ago about a controversial
interview with Noam Chomsky in the Guardian. Chomsky himself strongly
contested the account of his views given by the article, and in due
course the paper repudiated it. Reading over the text, there's little
doubt that the journalist (Emma Brockes) was trying too hard to cause a
stir - with the goal of scalping a well-known figure firmly on her mind,
she lost the run of herself and delivered a sloppy, inaccurate and
misleading piece. What many people lost sight of during the controversy,
though, was the light it shone on a troubling problem: the persistence
of left-wing stupidity concerning the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

In full at;

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