Yugo: country versus town

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sun Sep 17 23:02:48 MDT 1995


I am very glad Bryan raised the contradiction in fY between country and
town as I was also thinking this is a relevant part of the matrix.

a) I have being reading the sinisterly named DoctorB on zamir.chat
and he compained of how unfair a fifty fifty territorial division
of Bosnia would be, because many of the Serbs were farmers and therefore
should have more land. It is clear that the Serb farmers used to be
selling their produce to the Muslim townspeople. Hence the shallow
nature of the claim that the Serbs in this part of former Yugo,
represent a full nation rather than a national minority.

b) I still remember the extraordinary reports in 1991 of Serb nationalists
in Krajina I think, killing old Croats and leaving them in the road beside
dead pigs, to make the point. These people are
peasants left over by the former socialist Yugoslavia, who are used to
killing living things abruptly and unmercifully. This war has all the
brutality not just of a civil war but also of a peasant war.

c) Historical analysis generally seems to say that the muslims were
people who took muslim names to accommodate to the Ottoman Turks. In
a crude sense they were middle class and this would be consistent with
them being more concentrated in towns. Hence television has shown to
Westerners that the dreaded muslims are actually people trying to
live a tolerably civilised middle class life in European towns.

d) Stalin in 1925 on Yugoslavia, clearly synthesising a lot of serious
work before he subsequently became very arrogant on the national
question, argued -

>>>it is also undoubted that the peasant question after all constitutes
the basis and intrinsic essence of the national question. It is this
that explains the fact that the peasantry represents the main army of the
national movement; that without the peasant army, there is not nor can
there be a powerful national movement. This is what is meant by saying
that the national question is *virtually* a peasant question.<<<

Bryan's analysis is particularly interesting that

"the militias involved are overwhelmingly rural, and that a majority of
their targets urban centers"

and that

"In short, forces of reaction are developing and using this
antagonism for their own ends - which are of course the furtherance of
state capitalism (different degrees in each nation)."

This seems to me to be particularly interesting and the potential start
of a serious concrete marxist analysis of the class forces in this war.

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