Green Left Foolishness

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 10 08:15:36 MDT 2000

Green Left:
>The federal parliament building was abandoned by the police to
>the people. The state broadcaster, RTS, was first abandoned and
>then in flames. All the shops were closed, with signs saying
>“Closed for theft”, a reference to former president Slobodan
>Milosevic's attempt to yet again steal the elections in which he
>was thrashed.

Actually, a Woodrow Wilson scholar (anticommunist thinktank in California)
wrote in an op-ed piece in the NY Times that the elections were not marked
by massive fraud. The GLW is simply echoing bourgeois propaganda.

>President-elect Vojislav Kostunica, who is no more a friend of
>the working class than Milosevic, called for a general strike to
>pressure Milosevic to abandon office. It appears to have been
>heeded beyond his expectations.

Actually the bourgeois press reported that the general strike was anything
but general. More misinformation from the GLW.

>Milosevic's attempts to scuttle the victory of the Democratic
>Opposition of Serbia (DOS) in the September 24 presidential,
>parliamentary and municipal election results backfired badly.
>Independent monitors gave DOS's Vojislav Kostunica some 56% of
>the vote, but Milosevic's electoral commission awarded him only
>48.2%, to Milosevic's 40.2%, thereby trying to force a second

Independent monitors? How about monitors that were not organized by
international imperialism? Don't they count. I guess not. GLW is more
interested in flattering bourgeois opinion, especially that which
circulates in corrupt Anglophone "Labor" Parties of imperialist nations.

>The scale of the regime's electoral disaster is huge. In
>Belgrade, the DOS won 102 of the 110 seats and the regime did not
>even win all of the remaining seats.

What kind of unbelievable crap is this. Even the bourgeois press reported
that the DOS did poorly in the parliamentary elections. That is why it was
burned down by a drunken, pistol-waving pro-Kostunica mob.

>In choosing a presidential candidate from the list of those
>well-known enough to have an impact, DOS had little choice. Ten
>years of being ruled by the local variant of the Ku Klux Klan has
>had its effect on who gets a hearing: all the available choices
>were chauvinists.

The Ku Klux Klan? What a filthy lie. It would behoove GLW to account for
the real pogroms going on in Kosovo led by their Albanian nationalist
friends  rather than to write lies about Serbia, one of the few places in
the Balkans where national minorities were and are treated with respect.
This kind of ideologically crude and stupid propaganda will surely earn GLW
a place of infamy on the left. I have not seen anything this shame-faced
outside the social democratic press of Albert Shanker and Bayard Rustin
during the Vietnam war.

>If the Serbian nationalism of Kostunica is but a milder version
>of that of Milosevic, what will be US and European policy towards
>the new regime? In fact, a modification of the regime, rather
>than its dismantling, had always been the aim of Western

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. It is about the economy, stupid. Can't GLW find a
reporter who is even the least bit interested in economic issues?

NY Times, Oct. 9:
"The problem was Milosevic, Milosevic, Milosevic, now it's economy,
economy, economy," said Milan Panic, a Serbian-American who runs
California-based ICN Pharmaceuticals, which once owned one of the largest
private companies in Serbia. "This will be a major test for the United
States and Europe."

Mr. Panic's pharmaceutical plant in Belgrade was confiscated by the
Milosevic government in a bitter political battle after Mr. Panic contested
— and lost — a race for president against Mr. Milosevic in 1992. He now
plans to return to Serbia. But he says reconstruction will be slow.

"It is still a socialist country and you will have to change the culture,"
he said in an interview. "It will need aid money — seed money — before you
will see much private investment.

>Imperialism fears its lack of control over a popular
>revolutionary process which may not lead to subservience to its
>economic dictates. More fundamentally, Serbian nationalism — the
>view that all Serbs should live in one enlarged state “cleansed”
>of others who are in the way — remains the ideology of the entire
>Serbian capitalist class that evolved out of the ashes of former
>socialist Yugoslavia and its formal ideology of working-class
>“Brotherhood and Unity” among nations.

Complete falsification of history. Jared Israel posted something on Mark
Jones' list yesterday that dramatizes the difference between Milosevic and
other leaders in the Balkans.

[I]t is a lie that true progressives saw an equality of instigation between
Izetbegovic and Tudjman, on the one hand, and Milosevich, on the other.

Indeed, my progressive serbian diaspora friends are critical of Miloseivch
for not fighting hard enough, for trying too hard to avoid war. (Perhaps he
was like Lincoln during the early days of the US Civil War.)

Moreover, as everyone in Belgrade knows, Izetbegovic and Tudjman are
racists.  What does it mean to equate Milosevich, who is explicitly
anti-racist, with them? Here are statements from the three men, statements
issued during the period from 1989-1995, when national tensions were being
fanned. I ask the reader: who calls for hate? Who calls for a brotherhood
of different peoples?

The first quote is from the "The Islamic Declaration" ("Islamist
deklaracija") . Izetbegovic had it reissued for the 1990 Bosnian elections. :

"... The first and foremost of such conclusions is surely the one on the
incompatibility of Islam and non-Islamic systems. There can be no peace or
coexistence between the "Islamic faith" and non-Islamic societies and
political institutions. ... Islam clearly excludes the right and
possibility of activity of any strange ideology on its own turf. Therefore,
there is no question of any laicistic [ecumenical] principles, and the
state should be an expression and should support the moral concepts of the
religion. ..." (p. 22) Islamic Declaration, Izetebegovic

By the way Iran supplied arms to Izetbegovic and trainers in terrorism, all
with U.S. approval. Thats documented. Has the Yguo government been aided by
any such?

Here is Tudjman speaking after his troops, under US leadership, drove
250,000 Serbs from Krajina. He went on a nationwide railroad tour to
celbrate. Radio Croatia reported that he said:

"There can be no return to the past, to the times when Serbs were spreading
cancer in the heart of Croatia, a cancer that was destroying the Croatian
national being."

Referring to the expulsion of the Serbs, Tudjman continued: "So it is as if
they have never lived here...They didn't even have time to take with them
their filthy money or their filthy underwear!" (See "The Invasion of
Serbian Krajina," by Gregory Elich at: (Aug. 26, 1995, Radio Croatia)

Here is Milosevich, from his speech at Kosovo Field, 1989:

"Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, more than in the
past, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it. This is
not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its
advantage. National composition of almost all countries in the world today,
particularly developed ones, has also been changing in this direction.
Citizens of different nationalities, religions, and races have been living
together more and more frequently and more and more successfully.

"Socialism in particular, being a progressive and just democratic society,
should not allow people to be divided in the national and religious
respect. The only differences one can and should allow in socialism are
between hard working people and idlers and between honest people and
dishonest people. Therefore, all people in Serbia who live from their own
work, honestly, respecting other people and other nations, are in their own
republic." (full text readable at

>Western sanctions on Serbia were never a blockade like that which
>has killed 1.5 million Iraqis in the last decade. Rather, they
>were piecemeal sanctions aimed at splitting the regime.

What breath-taking ignorance. It is not just about sanctions. The West has
been organizing economic warfare against Yugoslavia for a decade. Even the
NY Times was forced to admit that this caused the wages of the
anti-Milosevic coal-miners to drop from $1500 a month to $80. So, they
closed down the mine in order to get rid of the enemy of Washington and to
put in the Serb version of Yeltsin. Now their wages will fall to $40 a
month if they are lucky enough to hold on to a job.

>Around the same time, the US government floated the idea in the
>New York Times that if Milosevic personally stepped down and left
>the country, he need not be prosecuted at the Hague and may even
>keep his fortune. Current rumours of Milosevic seeking asylum in
>Russia via a Greek initiative are a little too strong to be

This kind of reportage is found typically in the bourgeois press. How
depressing to find it in a nominally socialist publication. "Current
rumors" my foot. Last year GLW supporters on this list were crossposting
every piece of slanderous garbage about the Milosevic family fleeing
Yugoslavia with suitcases filled with money they could find in the yellow
dog press to this list. None of it was true, of course.


Who is Karadjis? One of your Croatian rightwing pals that Ernest Mandel
warned you against?

Louis Proyect
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