Bosnia - war widens

Chris Burford cburford at
Sat Jul 29 08:34:55 MDT 1995

Bsonia: war widens.

In previous posts I had concentrated on criticising the cynical
position of the British Foreign Office. I also talked about the
contradiction between the British and the French bourgeois
positions, which was patched up to enable the joint operation
to ensure the feeding of, but not to prevent the shelling of,
Sarajevo, while nothing was done to prevent Zepa falling.

I had been hoping that someone from the States would criticise the
US position and illuminate the contradiction between that and the
French/Brits, and the contradiction between Clinton and Dole.

Now the war is poised on the verge of widening. The Croats have moved
in force into the Bihac region. The butterflies of fate are hovering
over a chasm which might lead to Serbia attacking Croatia outright, or
Croatia attacking the Serb-occupied area of eastern Croatia. Either way
this might *in addition* destabilise the precarious peace in Macedonia
and Kosovo, with a great expansion in killing and ethnic cleansing all
around the periphery of Serb-populated areas. The fact that Turkey is one
of the Muslim states secretly arming the Bosnians adds to the probability
that once the news of atrocities against Serbs in turn mounts, the Slav
fascist bourgeois groups in the former Soviet Union will be unable to
avoid being involved.

The pragmatic and cynical western imperialist position is passively to
condone the Croat seizure of the towns in the Bihac region, and
to apply secret pressure on Tudjman not at this stage
to go to war for the recovery of Kraina.

As a moderated conflict it is not going very gloriously for the self-
appointed peacekeepers of the world. It has virtually been exposed as a
merely a monitored conflict.

But why the difficulty in discussing it on this list? One reason: that
with our ability to get into flame wars about abstract questions,
perhaps a real war makes the whole risk of disagreement more alarming?
I was appreciated Lou's posting of the differing views of his friend.

But I think there is a deeper problem. It is about our lack of confidence
in linking marxist abstraction to concrete reality. If marxism has
any relevance it ought to be able to comment on this cauldron. But do
we hesitate because to do so *concretely* looks either so generalised as
to be banal: (the representatives of the French and British bourgoisie
have difficulty co-operating because they have competing material interests
under the capitalist mode of production). Or does it raise the problem that
to do anything in this concrete world we have to decide who we would rather
compromise with, in a temporary alliance to achieve something if necessary
against someone else.

I don't believe Jeff's position (a plague on all your imperialist houses)
would from my point of view be impossible to discuss if we got down to
concrete details. OK we are in favour of the working class and the working
people, led by good marxist analysis, making the running in the resolution
of this conflict. Good. There are according to Nello, lots of links
through Fidonet. So what do the proletarian, communist, marxist or
generally "good" guys on the ground in the former Yugoslavia, say should
be done. What to be really concrete, do they say should have been done
about Zepa, whose defenders held out for a week longer than anyone
expected before that safe area was ethnically cleansed?

Jeff, don't go barf, go concrete.

Any comments?

Chris B, London

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