Forwarded from Anthony (Yugoslavia)
lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sat Oct 7 08:57:25 MDT 2000
Hi Lou: You probably posted this already, but I haven't checked.
What has occurred in Yugoslavia, is strikingly similar to what has just
occurred in Peru.
In both countries a true democratic revolution against corrupt and
dictatorial political regimes occurred - like the February Revolution in
In both countries there was no revolutionary working class leadership, and
none appears to be emerging.
This vacuum of leadership has been filled by imperialism, which has turned
the democratic revolution to its own ends.
This phenemon is not new - the bourgeoisie has always tried to lead
revolutions so that it can stop them before they get dangerous. This
process is as old as the the British and French revoluions - e.g. Napolean.
What is new is that the imperialist bourgeoisie of the United States has
stepped in - in collaboration with - or against - the national bourgeisie
of other countries, to shape the alternate political leaderships even
before democratic revolutions occur.
This strategy has been refined by US imperialism since 1982 (when the
Reagan administration resolved its internal crisis by bringing in George
Schultz as Secretary of State.) In fact, the internal debates of that
administration over Central America, but especially the Phillipines and
Haiti were the real turning point in this recent development.
In the 1970's and 1980's we witnessed this phenemon in many countries:
Argentina, Haiti,Iran the Phillipines. In fact, although prolonged for a
much longer period, the central American revolution was also part of this
The differences in the democratic revolutions in Yugoslavia - a very
degenerate workers state, and Peru, a very dependent capitalist state are
not apparent because in both the process of revolution is being cut short
at its democratic - that is bourgeois - stage.
The only reason this can happen is that the working class itslef is not
politically organized and conscious, - having been disorganized and having
lost consciousness in the long downward slide of organization and
consciousness that was Stalinism - including Titoism.
This is related to the discusssion about Permanent Revolution elsewhere on
this list. The interpretation that democratic trevolutions would in some
automatic way lead to socialist revolution, the interpretation most
commonly found here, has been disproven by history, and is being disproven
again in Yugoslavia and Haiti.
Unfortunately many comrades on this list see the choice as - either
Milosovevic, or imperialism. This is a false choice - like Stalin or Hitler.
Defending the Soviet Union, but fighting for a workers revolution against
the corrupt burueacracy, was the traditional line of Trotsky, and
Trotskyism. This line was blurred, and sometimes lost as much of Trotskyism
saw Stalinists - in Eastern Europe, Titoists, Maoists, Castro, the
Sandinistas, etc. leading revolutions.
In my view, despite the big and important differences among those
leaderships, all of them accepted the notion that socialism was possible,
and could be built in one country. Even a little poor country.
All of them were dependent on the Soviet Union in their early period, and
only a handful were able to break from that dependence. Those that did
achieve independence from the Soviet Union - notably Yugoslavia and China -
did so by making a devil's agreement with imperialism.
None of them learned the lessons of the failure of the Russian revolution
to break out of its isolation. All of them became trapped.
None of them saw the need for political revolution in the USSR - none of
them consequently could ever be a real alternative to the most important
Stalinist bureaucracy. They became little - or big, satelites.
I am sure no one on this list will defend Fujimori, although he is as much
a victim of imperialism's manipulation of the Democratic Revolution as is
In Yugoslavia, as in Peru - a revolutionary individual - but much better a
revollutionary organization - could grow and develop rapidly in such a
situation. But it would have to walk a tightrope.
Put simply, in Yugoslavia it would have to advance the program of a return
to socialist revolution - not Tito's, but October 1917. And in Peru, it
would have to to raise the same program.
And please, I am not talking about raising slogans in a Spartacoid manner.
I am talking about the real content of the period between February and
October 1917 in Russia, esepcially in its capital city.
The differences betweent he two democratic revolutons would then become
clear - in Yugoslavia there is nationalized property, with some sort of
workers control, still intact - there never has been such a thing in Peru.
In both situaitons revolutionaries would push for the formation of Soviets
- but not call them soviets.
In Yugoslavia this would probably recieve real support. It could be
"agitational" and not simply "propagadistic" (i.e. educational). The
program would be for those councils to take on some form of responsibility
for public services, rebuilding bombed factories in Yugoslavia, etc.
Privatization of course would be oppossed. Reestatblishemnet and extension
of workers control would be advocated, and implemented if possible.
In Peru, the focus might be different - it might be on making public the
archives of Montesinos secret police. This would be "agitaitonal" while the
issue of soviets would be propagandistic.
Imperialism of course is aware that this alternative could emerge - that is
why it is so careful to take into its own hands things like "charity and
reconstruction." And that is why they are putting big money into Yugoslavia
to this end. If you want to rebuild, and eat at the same time, knuckle
under and become a poltiically dependent country. That's their message, and
it is a powerful one which many will listen to - even if they listen to it
ashamed, and holding their noses.
Anyway, below is the article I set out to send you. Gotta go, Anthony
October 7, 2000
By STEVEN ERLANGER
BELGRADE, Serbia, Oct. 6 Bowing to a vast popular revolt against him, a
pale Slobodan Milosevic resigned tonight as Yugoslavia's president, ending
13 years of rule that have brought his country four wars, international
isolation, a NATO bombing campaign and his own indictment on war crimes
Vojislav Kostunica, a 56-year-old constitutional lawyer of quiet habits and
a firm belief in a future for Yugoslavia as a normal country within Europe,
is expected to be inaugurated as president on Saturday.
An already exuberant and chaotic Belgrade, celebrating its extraordinary
day of revolution on Thursday, exploded with noise as the news of Mr.
Milosevic's resignation, made in a short speech on television, quickly
spread. Cars blasted their horns; people banged on pots and pans from
balconies, blew whistles and danced in the street.
Mr. Milosevic appeared on television about 11:20 p.m. shortly after Mr.
Kostunica announced, on a television phone-in program, that he had met Mr.
Milosevic and the army chief of staff, Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, this evening,
and that both had congratulated him on his election victory on Sept. 24.
The resignation deal was helped along by Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov of
Russia, who met with Mr. Kostunica and Mr. Milosevic today. Mr. Ivanov was
carrying assurances that if Mr. Milosevic gave up power now, the world
would not press for his extradition to face war crimes charges in The
Hague, senior Western officials said tonight.
"I've just received official information that Vojislav Kostunica won the
elections," Mr. Milosevic said in his television address. "This decision
was made by the body that was authorized to do so under the Constitution,
and I consider that it has to be respected."
Mr. Milosevic spoke with a straight face after an extraordinary set of
manipulations on his part of the Federal Election Commission and the
highest court in the land to deny Mr. Kostunica outright victory.
Speaking of how important it is for political parties to strengthen
themselves in opposition, Mr. Milosevic said he intended to continue as
leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia after taking a break "to spend more
time with my family, especially my grandson, Marko."
Despite his brave words, it is unlikely that the Socialist Party, with its
own future to consider, will keep Mr. Milosevic as its leader for long. The
remarks seemed part of a deal to save him a little bit of face.
There is deep resentment in this semi-reformed Communist Party Serbia's
largest and best organized, in power since World War II of Mr.
Milosevic's indulgence of his wife, Mirjana Markovic, who began her own
party, the Yugoslav United Left. Ruling in coalition, the Socialists saw
more and more of their positions, powers and benefits going to the United
The reaction in Belgrade was immediate and loud.
Tanja Radovic, a 23-year-old student blowing her whistle furiously on Knez
Mihailova Street, said: "He's gone. It's finally true. We had too much of
him, it's enough. This is the end of him and all these thieves."
Dragana Kovac, 31, said: "I'm happy, and not just because of him, but
because of her. He should have spent more time with his family starting 10
Ilija Bobic said: "I wish all my family were alive to see this. My father
used to say that the Communists would finish quickly. He was wrong, but it
came true, finally."
Mr. Bobic stopped, then said: "We all know it won't be better quickly here.
But now you can talk. You're not afraid of the phone, of being an enemy
inside, of having to join the party to have a job."
The United States and Europe have promised a quick lifting of international
sanctions against Yugoslavia, as well as aid, once Mr. Milosevic goes. The
sanctions include a toothless oil embargo and a flight ban, currently
suspended. But financial sanctions and a visa ban aimed at the Milosevic
government are likely to remain in place for now.
The United States and Britain have urged that Mr. Milosevic be handed over
to the war crimes tribunal, and continued to do so publicly today. But Mr.
Kostunica, who considers the tribunal a political instrument of Washington
and not a neutral legal body, has made it clear that he will not arrest Mr.
Milosevic or extradite him.
Mr. Kostunica's vow was also intended to give Mr. Milosevic the security to
leave office, so that an electoral concession did not have to mean, as Mr.
Kostunica said, "a matter of life or death."
Foreign Minister Ivanov came here today to deliver a similar message,
Western officials said tonight.
If Mr. Milosevic conceded and renounced power, even after the pillars of
his rule collapsed this week, he and his family would be allowed to remain
in Serbia, they said. But no Western country would say so publicly, given
the United Nations tribunal's indictment.
Mr. Kostunica has pointed out that if democratic and international
stability is at stake, the requirement to pursue those indicted is
secondary under international law.
The collapse of Mr. Milosevic's position came soon after Mr. Ivanov met him
this morning in Belgrade. This afternoon, the Constitutional Court suddenly
issued its ruling approving Mr. Kostunica's appeal of the election results.
The official press agency Tanjug said on Wednesday night that the court had
decided to annul the main part of the Sept. 24 presidential vote, implying
a repeat of the election. But then the court said that in fact Mr.
Kostunica had won the first round outright, with more than 50 percent of
the vote, precisely as he has insisted. It was another example of Mr.
Milosevic's manipulation, but this time to others' ends.
Then the speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Dragan Tomic, one of Mr.
Milosevic's closest allies, announced that he would convene that body on
Monday to recognize Mr. Kostunica's election as federal president. He
addressed a letter to Mr. Kostunica this way: "To the president of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
The election of Mr. Kostunica carried to power first by the votes of a
majority of Serbs, and then by an uprising by even more of them will
present difficulties and opportunities for Montenegro and Kosovo, both
parts of Yugoslavia.
The Western-leaning president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, will find
himself offered a new deal within Yugoslavia that will be aimed at blunting
the effort toward independence. That may quickly undermine Mr. Djukanovic's
governing coalition in Montenegro, which contains parties firmly backing
Mr. Djukanovic boycotted the federal elections, allowing Milosevic allies
to win all of Montenegro's seats in the federal Parliament. Those allies
are now likely to make a deal with Mr. Kostunica, abandoning Mr. Milosevic,
and leaving Mr. Djukanovic in effect powerless in a Belgrade that could
quickly become the center for democratic life in the Balkans.
Mr. Kostunica will also offer Kosovo a high degree of autonomy. While
outside powers recognizes Yugoslav sovereignty over Kosovo, Mr. Milosevic
was a perfect foil for Kosovo Albanian desires for independence, which have
only grown stronger since NATO intervened on the Albanians' behalf in the
1999 bombing war.
Mr. Kostunica says he will live within United Nations Security Council
Resolution 1244, governing Kosovo, but will insist on the return of Serbs
who fled during the war.
In his television appearance, Mr. Milosevic thanked those who voted for him
and even those who voted against him, "because they lifted from my soul a
heavy burden I have borne for 10 years," he said. He also said a time in
opposition would be good for the left coalition, to allow them to purge
those who got into the party "to feed some personal interest," an
extraordinary comment for a leader who allowed a form of state- sanctioned
mafia to develop.
"I congratulate Mr. Kostunica on his election victory and wish for all
citizens of Yugoslavia great success during the new presidency," he concluded.
In his own television appearance, Mr. Kostunica described his meeting with
Mr. Milosevic. "It was ordinary communication, and it's good that we met,
because there was a lot of fear over the peaceful transfer of power,
especially last night," Mr. Kostunica said.
"This is the first time for many years in this country that power has been
transferred normally, in a civilized manner," he said.
And he said he pointed out a lesson to Mr. Milosevic: "I talked about how
power, once lost, is not power lost forever. You can regain it. This is
something that all my experience taught me. The other side couldn't even
imagine something like this, but now the other side has accepted this, and
it is getting used to this lesson."
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