The vanguard corrects itself big time

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Nov 5 06:20:24 MST 2000

>From the November 13, 2000 Militant:

Earlier that day, Militant reporters had visited the office of Nezavisnost
in central Nis. In an interview there, local union president Milojkovic
said that a number of workers from 30 companies, including DIN, had left
the pro-Milosevic union and joined Nezavisnost in the last three weeks of
October. In Belgrade, Nezavisnost leaders told the Militant that national
membership has jumped from 200,000 to as much as half a million in the same

>From what workers at the DIN plant gate and other factories reported,
however, these claims may be exaggerated. At the tobacco plant, all those
interviewed knew about the fleeing of the old union officials. Only one
worker, however, had heard anything about Nezavisnost organizing at the


Many working people believe the collapse of Milosevic’s police state means
they may have a better chance to fight to improve these conditions. Others
are not as optimistic, however.

At the DIN plant gate, Militant reporters met a number of unemployed
workers who had just applied for a job at the tobacco factory. Slobodanka
Stoiljkovic said 1,500 people had showed up that morning to apply for 58
openings at DIN. She thought she had virtually no chance of getting a job


It is such actions by workers--not by the newly formed "crisis committees"
as the Militant reported in a previous article--that in practice have
defended nationalized property relations and countered attempts by the
would-be capitalists in power to open up Yugoslavia further to capitalist


The leadership of the Students Union of Yugoslavia, another major youth
group, has increasingly moved in a social democratic direction. One of its
main activities is maintaining a web site called "Free Serbia," an
operation that now has its own offices in Belgrade and several dozen
employees and volunteers whose efforts are funded from "donors from abroad,
mainly in the European Union and North America," as one of its leaders put


Since Milosevic’s downfall, the Nezavisnost union leadership has also made
more explicit a similar social democratic orientation. One of its main
pieces of literature states that Nezavisnost seeks "the establishment of
the rule of law; genuine multiparty parliamentary democracy; comprehensive
and radical economic reforms based on privatization, economic efficiency
and social justice; [and] integration of Yugoslavia into the international
community." Leaders of this union who in interviews with the Militant
during the NATO assault made remarks supporting self-determination for
Albanians in Kosova have since retracted or distanced themselves from those

Louis Proyect
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