[L-I] Why the Western Left Failed to Defend Yugoslavia (was Re:Economic revolutions)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Fri Oct 6 11:55:46 MDT 2000

Lou replied to Justin:

>So the CIA brought out almost the entire population of Serbia against Slobo
>yesterday? Cheez, I bet they wish.  We will see whether the dire
>predictions about the new leadership's policies turn out to be true; I
>actually think that the leadership is rather nationalistic, but time will
>tell. However, I am very disappointed that Lou can only see the sinister
>hand of outside agitators and imperialkist spies in the mass revulsion
>against the  Milosovic regime. --jks
>The revolt against Milosevic was the culmination of ten years of
>subversion, both political and economic, that included the following elements:
>1. CIA and George Soros (same thing basically) sponsorship of NGO's, B92, etc.
>2. Economic sanctions
>3. Nato inspired wars or direct military intervention
>4. Failure of the western left to show solidarity to a country under siege,
>because the powers organizing the siege were perceived as "one of us", like
>the German Greens, Blair's Labor Party or the Clinton White House.
>5. Failure of the former Soviet Union to show even a modicum of solidarity,
>even on the "Slavic" basis put forward by the boneheads at stratfor.com.
>That's it folks. Those who embrace the downfall of Milosevic are embracing

And Doug replied to Lou:

>Louis Proyect wrote:
>>A better analogy would be with the protests against Salvador Allende or
>>Mossadegh. Such activities have less to do with CNN than they do with the
>>power of the dollar and the CIA.
>I wish you'd stop smearing the names of Allende and the Sandinistas
>by likening them to Slobo. You just can't get your head around the
>fact that Serbs don't like your man, can you? Whatever the causes or
>consequences of this rebellion, it looks like authority collapsed in
>the face of a mass uprising. By what means do you see your own
>opinion - that of someone living 4510 miles from Belgrade - as more
>valid than that of the people who've been living under Milo's regime?

I'd like to elaborate on the 4th point of Lou's post.  My
elaboration, I hope, will illuminate Doug's objection to analogy
between Allende, etc. & Milosevic.

One of the main reasons why the Western Left has failed to present a
strong & growing opposition to the imperialist attacks on Yugoslavia
is that the Western Left knows only how to respond in solidarity with
revolutionary (be they socialist or progressive nationalist)
_upsurges_ (e.g., the Sandinistas) in the periphery.  The days of
revolutionary upsurge were _over_ by the time Yugoslavia dissolved
under civil wars and economic sanctions.  The only battles fought now
are mainly defensive ones -- battles that determine how much of gains
made _in the past_ can be preserved.  No new gains were made by the
Milosevic government; it simply _slowed down_ the process of complete
restructuring of Yugoslavia along the neoliberal line -- nothing
more.  The Western Left, alas, failed to see the nature &
significance of this defensive battle.  So did many Yugoslavs
themselves.  Unfortunately, formerly existing socialist regimes
_depoliticized_ citizens under them.  The critical theory that the
Yugoslavs and other citizens of then socialist countries needed to
make sense of what was going on and to stop capitalist restoration --
Marxism -- was taken away from them, since it had been used as the
doxa of the regimes in power.  I urge people to read Michael Munk's
"Socialism in Czechoslovakia: What Went Wrong?" _Science & Society_
64.2 (Summer 2000), which describes this process of depoliticization
very insightfully.


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