ex-Yugo statements

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Mon Sep 4 23:55:06 MDT 1995


Mauro's post obviously I consider to be ultra-left in content
and in style. In style it relies heavily on sarcasm, which works
to some extent as a tactic, if you are sure you are right, and if
you are sure others will immediately see you are right.

Arguments about who are genuine marxists or not, do not get very far
on this list and are recipipes for flame wars. Anyway Leo has clarified
his relation to marxism and that can be checked in the archives.

Arguments however about which marxist principles are
particularly applicable now and how they should be applied, do get
serious attention.

Maura alleges that Leo knew only of Serb atrocities. I doubt if Leo
is that naive but for my part in this debate I have been explicit that
there are atrocities on all sides and I have forwarded evidence to
clarify the nature of those atrocities.

The difference between Maura and me, is I do not think analysis can
stop there. Really I think Maura's position is a bourgeois pacifist one
in ultra-left clothing. It is necessary to make a concrete analysis of
each war and determine whether it is just or unjust in terms of the
interest of working people.

Lenin's pamphlet "Socialism and War", written in 1915 makes clear the
progressive nature of some wars led by the bourgoisie between the
French revolution and the Franco Prussian War. I would argue that
subsequently the marxist movement came to accept the revolutionary
nature of anti-imperialist struggles of national liberation in the
20th century and the progressive nature of an international united
front against fascism in the thirties and forties.

(That does not of course mean that as a European
contributor to this marxism list, I would expect a single
subscriber from the States to wish to "glorify the US army which liberated
our european countries".)

In "Socialism and War" Lenin argued

"We Marxists differ from both the pacifists and the Anarchists in that
we deem it necessary historically (from the standpoint of Marx's
dialectical materialism) to study each war separately. In history there
have been numerous wars which, in spite of all the horrors, atrocities,
distress and suffering that inevitably accompany all wars, were
progressive, ie benefited the development of manking by helping to destroy
the exceptionally harmful and reactionary institutions (for example,
autocracy or serfdom) the most barbarous despotisms in Europe, (Turkish
and Russian)."

Like others on this list I do not regard Lenin as the last word on
marxism, or without his failures as well as his successes, but if Maura is
sure that he himself is the judge of marxist orthodoxy, I would be interested
in his concrete comments on the passage above.

Especially if he were able to argue that the war that Mladic waged for the
secession of Krajina from Croatia, and the war still waged by Mladic for
the ethnic partition of Bosnia, is a just war, that is progressive and in
the interests of the working people of the former Yugoslavia. If so
where are the massive demonstrations among the people of Serbia proper
in support of this war? How come the leaders of Serbia and Montenegro
criticise the Serb nationalist irredentists, and yet are not overthrown?
How come Serbian TV suppresses news footage of the war?


Chris B, London.



In reply to

From: mauro.jr at iol.it
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 95 11:09:59
Subject: Ex-yugo statements



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