Civil society in former Yugo

Chris Burford cburford at
Fri Sep 29 19:26:32 MDT 1995

On Mon 25th Sept Tom Condit wrote:
Monthly Review Press has published a new book by Catherine Samary
called _Yugoslavia Dismembered_.  The editors of _Monthly Review_
quote it in their September 1995 editorial:

"Whatever temporary political agreements may be reached,
challenges to the oppressive and exclusionary policies of the
governments in power must come essentially from their own *civil
societies.* Forces exist and will continue to exist within civil
society that are capable of resisting regressive policies and
rulers. By contrast, those who base their hopes on foreign
military intervention, or believe that progressive solutions to
the Yugoslav crisis will come from Western governments, are
'waiting for Godot': waiting for something that will never come
or will not be enough to solve the problems.

Chris B:

I accept the central thrust of this argument. I have been
particularly impressed by the brave reports on yugo.antiwar
especially of Croatian peace activists. I am sure marxists
and anti-fascists in Croatia would today be working with
such groups.

I attach one of the shorter passages after from Otvorene
Oci, "Open Eye". I would be glad to forward the report of their
latest inspection visit to Krajina, which makes ominous reading.
Or the report of the European Community Monitoring Mission that
is devastatingly comprehensive, and clearly builds on
the courageous work of such people.

It is interesting tonight that Croatia claims it has arrested
400 people for crimes against Serbs in Krajina. Pressure was
needed to achieve this.

Where I would clarify two points on the editorial
Tom quoted,however is as follows,

The credible reports of atrocities by Croats, and for example of
an independent radio station being blown up in Sarajevo, does
not alter my understanding of our obligation to make a
concrete analysis of this war, and to say this war was
a war of fascist aggression by Greater Serb nationalism.

Secondly I regard as leftist the line that claims to oppose
all war and not to take sides against social fascism. Such a
position leaves its supporters vehemently criticising the motives
of US imperialism and sister imperialisms, only when they are
bombing. However imperialisms main agenda is to manipulate some
sort of peace in their interests.

The touchstone of the criticism that must be levelled against
our (western) governments is that they have done nothing to
support the resistance of civil society against fascist and
undemocratic tendencies. Specifically today it is necessary to condemn
the big powers for their leniency towards Croatia's strong fascist
tendencies. All such leniency makes it more difficult to envisage
a significant multi-ethnic state in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Puny though we are, the coherent prizes are to defend democratic
rights in all parts of the former Yugoslavia, to defend the right
of return to homes free of harrassment, to defend multi-ethnicity in
Serbia, to defend the Serb people of Eastern Slavonia from having
to move, to defend a multi-ethnic Bosnia Herzegovina, and yes, I think
international law should be tested by putting Karadicz and Mladic on
trial for war crimes.

This will only be won through determined pressure independent of the
imperialist politics of the US and other main power brokers.

Chris B, London

next post Otvorene Oci on prisoners.

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