A Serb striker speaks out

Owen Jones owen_jones at SPAMcwcom.net
Sat Oct 7 05:32:48 MDT 2000

Reply to Macdonald Stainsby, at mstainsby at tao.ca, who wrote on the 6/10/2000

> Welcome to bourgeois democracy. You can't always pick your partners. At
> least Seselj is rabidly (in all senses of the word) anti-Nato. It is
> irrelevant anyways, because the Radical Rarty just got wiped out, almost
> completely, in the last election.

 Well well, we do have a new twist to the popular front by the king of
hyperbole and cheesy cliche, Macdonald Stainsby. In the olden days, there
was the popular front between the workers' parties and bourgeois parties
"against fascism". Today, because bourgeois democracy is such a bastard, it
is acceptable to make a popular front with fascists against imperialism
(even Stalin would turn in his grave). Actually, Macdonald Stainsby did not
even go as far as to say that this would be against imperialism, but pointed
out that this an inherent flaw with bourgeois democracy.

 Now that Macdonald Stainsby has attempted an apologia for an alliance with
fascists in Serbia on the grounds they are anti-NATO, we can perhaps look to
Austria. Well, they had no choice but to jump into bed with the fascists. If
the Social Democratic party there had done so, we would not condemn them,
but rather point out that bourgeois democracy is inherently flawed and they
can't pick their partners. Or further still, supposed the French Communist
party and the National Front formed an alliance, both having anti-NATO
credentials by the way (should we applaud the French fascists'
internationalist opposition to NATO? Hey, it doesn't matter if they beat
Moroccans up in the street, "at least the NF is rabidly anti-NATO"), we
would just say "Welcome to bourgeois democracy. You can't always pick your

 This is how rotten your politics have become. Now it is simple, outright
putting a + where they put a -. This is vulgar anti-imperialism dialectics
for beginners. So we must thereby come to the defence of the Austrian
Freedom Party. In the case of Iraq, one day we would condemn the proxy
Saddam Hussein and the next we would praise his anti-imperialist warrior

 We support something, apparently, solely according to its level of
anti-imperialism, not its class content. And if this happens to include
"anti-imperialist" fascists, then so be it!

 Supposed "anti-imperialism" by itself does not make you a Marxist, as
Macdonald has just proven. Most of the European and American far-Right
opposed the war against Yugoslavia. The point is to oppose the imperialist
war on our side of the barricades, as a working class movement. Otherwise,
you could find yourself on the same side of the barricades as very
unpalatable elements who would liquidate organised labour had they the
strength. Frankly, I bet that those least active in the workers' movement
are those abandoning class perspectives on this question.

 I mourn at the grave of class perspective. Classless vulgar
anti-imperialism stalks our movement.

> If Milosevic is the worst enemy of socialism, then so am I.

 Your admission.

 The problem you have is that you speak of socialism in the most abstract
manner. I think you seem to be defining it by the level of state ownership
of the economy - well, under Apartheid, 60% of the economy was state-owned,
which must thereby be socialism, which you must thereby defend against the
neo-liberal ANC.

 The state is such that it is a machinery for the oppression of one class by
another. Except in special circumstances where you have a situation of dual
power, one class rules the state, even if through a bureaucratic hireling as
under Fascism or Stalinism. In Yugoslavia, either the working class or the
bourgeoisie is organised as the ruling class. Let us abandon "socialism" and
"capitalism" from our vocabulary at the moment.

 To suggest what existed in the first place, before the counterrevolution
undertook by the Milosevic wing of the bureaucracy after the internal coup
staged against the Titoite faction of the Communist League (represented by
his former friend and mentor, Ivan Stambolic), was socialism, or to call
what existed in the former Stalinist states as socialism, is a complete
denial of historical materialism.

 In reality they were societies that shared characteristics of both
socialism and capitalism, ruled by a privileged bureaucratic stratum who
often adopted the culture of the bourgeoisie. It was this stratum that laid
the basis for the bourgeoisie, hence the counterrevolutions of the East. But
these were really hideous dictatorships, and as was demonstrated, the
working class were completely politically atomised and felt pretty
terrorised. Our defence of a workers' state is on the basis of defending its
state property created by the social revolution, not its bureaucracies.

 Milosevic's faction restored capitalism in Yugoslavia, albeit at a slower
pace due to the strength of the working class there which was particularly
resistant to the IMF packages. Milosevic and his family in the process got
very rich indeed, and own a network of businesses, as do their associates
(the richest man in Serbia is the Minister for Privatisation, I believe,
although there are also businessmen such as the guy who is also former
speaker of parliament). If we just look at their son, the most despised
youth in Serbia, Marko - he owns several businesses, such as a perfume
business - a shop of which was trashed yesterday, night clubs, a theme park,
and has various connections to the underworld. A fine young business in
Milosevic's New Serbia.

 Serbia is gangster capitalism gone completely mad. It is much, much worse
than Russia. About half to two thirds of Serbia's economy is "gangster
sector". The reason for this hideous capitalism is due to the simple fact
the baby was starved of oxygen at birth.

I'd be
> organising a counter demo to this shit pile in Belgrade this minute.

 I'd be organising a working class demo composed of working class militants,
not calling for that despised Mafia thug dictator to come back, but rather
for working class revolution and all power to the strike committees. Such a
demo would try to attract as many people from the crowds as possible away
from the support of Kostunica and other reactionary bourgeois leaders.

 If you organised a Milosevic Fan Club demo in Belgrade now, you would be at
best laughed at, or at worst, kicked to death. You are just acting like a
Western petty-bourgeois leftist know-it-all, dictating to the Serbian masses
from the comfort of his pleasant apartment at his shiny computer.

> Without
> a pause. As it is, I can only plead with my Leftist brothers to get a clue
> and try to stop the US destruction of what remains of Yugoslavia. May she
> never rest in peace.

 This is simply so far from the reality of Yugoslavia it's my turn to ask
how much coffee you are having. Milosevic is gone, finished, kapput,
consigned to history. He ain't coming back. Get over it and move on. Instead
of worshipping reactionary gangster-capitalist dictators who attempted to
expel entire nations from their country and fund lumpen militia often of a
quasi-fascist breed to kick pregnant Bosnian Muslim women to death and the
like, why not fight for working class socialist revolution? A heretical idea



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