CWI Statement on Serbian Uprsing]

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxx at xxxxxx.xx
Tue Oct 10 13:06:30 MDT 2000




Socialist Alternative wrote:

>
> ADDENDUM TO 'WORKERS' UPRISING IN SERBIA OVERTHROWS MILOSEVIC.
> (original statement follows)
>
> Since the CWI published its statement (9/10/2000) on the Serbian uprising more
>information has been carried on the TV and published in the press about the working
>class character of this uprising and subsequent events.
>
> It is now clear that the mass uprising had two main centres. Initially this was
>centred on the Kolubara miners and secondly the events at the town of Cacak. The
>decision of the Kolubra miners to join the strike represented a decisive turning
>point for the regime. The regime failed to grasped how much anger had built up
>against Milosevic and his cronies. The miners had been offered a doubling of their
>wages to end the strike but remained solid in the face of this attempted bribery. The
>Kolubara miners were previously a solid base of support the for Milosevic regime. The
>decision to strike pointed to the sea-change in attitudes and willingness to struggle
>that swept Serbia.
>
> This revolutionary upsurge undoubtedly had a spontaneous character but the
>insurrection also involved an important element of planning. In part this reflected
>the splits that opened up within the state machine. Sections of the state machine
>that had previously supported Milosevic began to desert him and his cronies.
>According to one report the General Staff of the Army split two week ago between
>those who wanted to back Kostunica and those who preferred to do nothing. One General
>resigned.
>
> Later on the leadership of the army began to contact the opposition leaders. This
>was apparently co-ordinated by the retired Chief of Staff General Perisic  who
>eventually got confirmation from the military that they would not intervene.
>
> These developments at the top were an echo of what was taking place amongst the
>working class and the rank and file workers. The mass occupation of Belgrade involved
>a large element of planning. The centre of this was the town of Cacak under the
>leadership of the local Mayor, Velja Ilijic.
>
> Cacak had been a bastion of opposition to the Milosevic regime and griped by a local
>general strike for five days before the march engulfed Belgrade. Thousands of
>workers, farmers and young people formed an armed convoy of trucks and buses and a
>bulldozer that was later to be used to storm the Federal Parliament. In the ranks of
>this workers column were solders and even plain clothes policemen who had gone over
>to the opposition. The movement was armed and prepared to fight to the death if it
>was necessary. The marchers left Cacak under the slogan, "Victory or death".
>
> The 50 buses and trucks from Cacak brushed aside at least five police road blocks on
>their way to Belgrade. Other convoys from all over the country headed for Belgrade.
>As they advanced the movement grew like a tidal wave that was to crash down on
>Milosevic and his cronies.
>
> Ilijic had been contacted by the police who had been sent to attack the miners at
>Kalubara with a request to send people to support the police.
>
> Moreover, when in Belgrade the demonstrators appealed to the workers of Belgrade to
>come onto the streets. It has now been revealed that the police asked for the
>demonstrators to wait until 3.30pm before marching on the parliament. At that
>appointed moment the riot police who formed part of the plan took off their helmets
>and embraced the demonstrators. As they stormed the parliament the tractor from Cacak
>was brought up to the front lines to protect the workers and youth in the front
>lines. The storming of the state TV station was also planned. Involved in this
>movement were the supporters of Belgrade's "Red Star" football club. In the week
>running up to the uprising the regime had threatened to close the stadium because at
>the football matches the supporters chanted anti-Milosevic slogans.
>
> This movement contained an important social element of revolt against the whole of
>the ruling elite and especially Milosevic's cronies. The uprising and what has
>followed has not simply been a repetition of what took place in Eastern Europe in
>1989/92. Since then the working class has had the concrete experience of the
>capitalist market. The situation of western capitalism is also vastly different. The
>economic crisis in Asia, Latin America and other regions and the movements in
>Seattle, Washington and Prague against globalisation and neo-liberal policies are a
>different backdrop to the conditions that existed for capitalism in 1989/92.
>
>  The movement of Serb workers has partly continued since the downfall of Milosevic.
>The miners remained on strike and demanded the removal of managers who were Milosevic
>cronies.
>
> This demand has been repeated by other groups of workers. A group of workers dragged
>Radoman Bozovic, head of the giant Genex import- export state run company. He was
>later forced by workers to resign as head of the company.
>
> Workers at the state-run textile company, Nitex, in Nis, stormed the plant demanding
>that the management be fired.
>
> Of, course this does not mean to say that Serb workers have a clear understanding of
>the need for a genuine socialist alternative. The idea of replacing a "bad manager"
>with a "good manager" can easily gain support if a real socialist alternative is not
>explained. However, these events are not a simple repetition of the upheavals that
>shook eastern Europe a decade ago.
>
> As some demonstrations continued outside the Serb parliament workers hurled
> bricks at Vojislav Seselji, leader of the ultra-nationalist Radical Party, who
>maintained his allegiance to Milosevic until the last moment. This is an indication
>of the nature of the new leadership willingness to collaborate with sections of the
>former regime - a clear case of the King is dead, long live the king!
>
> This policy may provoke further movements of the Serb workers. As the Mayor of Cacak
>stated, "It is sickening to -see these politicians already squabbling over who will
>be Prime Minister and ministers. We didn't do it to become ministers and I warn them,
>if they don't get things right we will march on them as well."
>
> This uprising is now of crucial importance and must be discussed by CWI members and
>workers activists and every effort made to assist the Serb workers embrace the
>alternative of a revolutionary socialist programme.
>
> International Secretariat
> 10 October 2000
>
> WORKERS' UPRISING IN SERBIA OVERTHROWS MILOSEVIC'.
>
> Committee for a Workers' International
> PO Box 3688,
> London,
> E11 1YE
> E-Mail: inter at dircon.co.uk
> Tel: ++ 44 20 8558 5814
> Fax: ++ 44 20 8988 8793
>
>
> WORKERS' UPRISING IN SERBIA OVERTHROWS MILOSEVIC
>
> IN A MATTER OF DAYS a mass revolutionary movement has swept the autocratic
> regime of Slobodan Milosevic from power in the ex-Yugoslavia. After weeklong
> strike action, up to one million people converged on Belgrade on 5 October
> demanding the end of the regime. Miners, farmers, students and other workers
> poured into Belgrade from all over the country.Waves of courageous workers
> stormed the national parliament buildings, tearing down portraits of
> Milosevic and his cronies and setting parts of the building alight. The main
> government television station was seized by those involved in this mass
> uprising following a brief gun battle.
>
> This enormous movement had all the classical features of an uprising of the
> workers and youth. Delegations of workers and peasants converged on
> Belgrade. Many were armed and came determined to finish the regime. The mood
> of these workers hardened during the day especially following the
> consitutional courts decision to annul the election results and leave
> Milosevic in power until the end of his term in 2001. The confidence of the
> masses grew as old state machine collapsed as it became clear that the rank
> and file of the army was not prepared to be used to crushed this movement.
> Even the riot police refused to attack the workers on the streets. Some
> removed their helmets and joined the protesters, others simply gave their
> weapons to the masses. Those who resisted and tried to prevent workers from
> arriving in Belgrade by erecting barricades were disarmed and offered little
> or no resistance.
>
> Enraged by the loss of the state TV channel Milosevic was reported to have
> contacted his Chief of Staff, General Pavkovic whom he ordered to send tanks
> and crush the movement. Pavkovic is reported to have responded "I have
> nobody to do this. The army will remain neutral." Even a special
> anti-terrorist unit known as 'Ulemak', led by a war lord and gangster
> refused orders to attack the workers on the streets.
>
> The stormy events of October 5th were proceeded by a growing mass movement.
> The decision of the Kolubara miners to join the strike was a decisive
> factor. The miners were joined by thousands from the surrounding villages
> who came to help defend them. When riot poilice arrived and ordered the
> miners to leave the mine they refused. Faced with this defiance the forces
> of repression melted like butter on a hot stove. They refused to physically
> confront the miners on the bridge. As the police commander said as his
> forces evaporated, "I'm fed up with this. After this, I'm throwing my hat
> away and going home. The police in Serbia are more democratic than you
> think."
>
> In the social movements that rocked Eastern Europe the working class did ot
> clearly put its stamp on events. In Romania and in this movement the working
> class was decisively at the head of the uprisings that overthrew the
> Caucescu and Milosevic regimes.
>
> However, this uprsing lacked a socialist content. The masses were determined
> that they wanted an end to the Milosevic regime but did not put forward the
> idea of a genuine socialist alternative to replace it.
>
> Western hypocrisy
> The Western powers have hypocritically welcomed the end of Milosevic. To
> them, Serbia under his rule was an unpredictable rogue state in an explosive
> region.
>
> For years, Milosevic was regarded a "a man the West can do business with".
> Only when his regime threatened stability in the Balkans by its bloody
> subjugation of Kosova/Kosovo did the attitude of the Western powers change.
> Eventually NATO went to war against Serbia. The powers wanted to see the
> back of his regime, although they did not want to see the job being
> undertaken by the masses in a revolutionary uprising.
>
> Now that Milosevic has been removed and Vojislav Kostunica, the opposition's
> presidential victor, has set about establishing a new regime, Western
> leaders and the media have gone into overdrive attempting to claim some of
> the victory. Leaders like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have welcomed the
> "return to democracy" in Serbia. Some, like British Foreign Secretary Robin
> Cook, have praised the mass action that led to the downfall of the regime.
> The hypocrisy of these people is unlimited. During the war against Serbia,
> NATO generals specifically targeted economic and industrial targets killing
> workers and other civilians who have now overthrown the hated regime of
> Milosevic. It will not have been lost on many workers that these same
> politicians were only yesterday condemning the fuel protests across Europe
> as "undemocratic", despite the mass support they enjoyed.
>
> The masses of Serbia have in one week removed the old regime, a task NATO
> was unable to accomplish despite unleashing its full military power on
> Serbia during the 78 - day war last year. In fact, the war helped bolster
> the regime at a time when mass anger was welling up against it. Milosevic
> was able to successfully play the nationalist card again and prolong his
> rule. The majority of workers and middle-class Serbs have never
> enthusiastically backed Milosevic but when faced with NATO's war on them
> they rallied to 'defend the nation'.
>
> The Opposition
>
> For over a decade, the right wing, pro-capitalist oppostion parties in
> Serbia have also proved completely incapable of removing the Milosevic
> regime. As the CWI has always argued, this task could only be carried out by
> the working class and masses of Serbia.
>
> According to press reports, Kostunica decided to launch mass demonstrations
> following a meeting on September 29 with senoir generals in the Yusoslav
> army at which they assured him they would not attack civilians. This reveals
> the fact that the army tops could sense the growing anger amongst workers,
> students and the middle classes against the regime, a mood they knew they
> could not quell.
>
> Kostunica and his nineteen party coalition had the limited aim of replacing
> the Milosevic regime. The opposition hoped for an agreement with the old
> regime and called for limited protest. However, they were engulfed by the
> shear scale of mass protest that was unleashed. As the International Herald
> Tribune commented on 4/10/2000: "The democratic opposition has hailed the
> strike (of miners) but been slow to support it."
>
> The tumultuous October events were triggered by the blatant government
> rigging of recent presidential elections. It is clear the opposition
> candidate, Kostunica, won by a large margin, but the desperate regime
> declared it was so close a result that a second run-off election was
> required. The opposition boycotted the second elections and called for
> protests. The response by the masses was overwhelming. Workers staged a
> week-long general strike in many sectors of the economy and students came
> out. By the end of last week Serbia was convulsed by a revolutionary
> upsurge. The oppostion parties repeatedly called for "restraint". They
> intended calling some protests and hoped the regime would accept the
> election result and leave power. However, events spun out of their control
> as the masses took to the streets. The working-class had enough of waiting,
> and acted decisively to overthrow Milosevic and his cronies.
>
> Once the masses were on the street and undertaking insurrection the first
> concern of the opposition was how to end it and get the masses off the
> streets. Once Milosevic was overthrown Kostunica appealed for striking
> workers to quickly return to work and for people to return home. The
> situation is still far from stable, and events can bring workers back onto
> the streets again. But in the absence of an independent working class
> leadership the new administration has so far been able to succeed in
> limiting the mass movement. Nevertheless, the genie has been let out of the
> bottle; workers now have a concrete understanding of their own power and
> will be forced to use it in the future to fight for a real lasting change in
> society.
>
> Wars and poverty
>
> The presidential elections became the catalyst for an outpouring of anger
> and an unstoppable drive  for change. Under Milosevic and his ruling elite,
> the people of Serbia have suffered three terrible wars and  economic
> devastation. Corruption, repression and cronyism were all part of the
> regime's rule. Thousands have died or been injured in conflicts and Serbia
> is awash with hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken Serb refugees. The
> ex-Yugoslavia used to enjoy one of the highest living standards in Eastern
> Europe. But in the last decade these have fallen dramatically. Unemployment
> and poverty are rife and there are no prospects for youth. Economic
> sanctions imposed by the big powers have mainly hit working class people.
> As one of the striking miners explained, "Ten years ago we made $1,500 per
> month and now we make $80." (International Herald Tribune 4/10/2000). Serbs
> were once amongst the wealthiest people of east Europe are today dying of
> poverty related deceases. Output has fallen by two thirds since 1989.
>
> In the past, Milosevic used Serbian nationalism to try and deflect the anger
> of workers and the middle classes He was able to play off a hopelessly
> divided opposition. Mass movements had developed before against the regime
> in the 1990s but were misled by opportunistic, reactionary politicians. But
> after the trauma of another hopeless war, this time over Kosova last year,
> the mood of the war-weary Serbian people began to change decisively.
>
> Protests earlier this year, led by the youth movement 'Otpor' (resistance),
> forced the regime to try and manoeuvre to remain in power. Milosevic brought
> the presidential elections forward, aiming to consolidate his rule. Arrogant
> and aloof, Milosevic and his clique misjudged the popular mood. For once the
> opposition parties were able to produce a single presidential candidate who
> then swept the boards. With the basis of his rule slipping away, Milosevic
> then vainly tried to hold onto power through crude election rigging.
>
> Socialist Alternative Needed.
>
> The most vital ingredient missing in these revolutionary events has been the
> acceptance of the idea of a genuine workers' democracy and socialism in the
> consciousness of the working class. The masses in Serbia demonstrated great
> heroism and determination and have great expectations of what the overthrow
> of Milosevic will bring. However, under capitalism these hopes are certain
> to be dashed in the face of inevitable attacks against the working class by
> the new regime.
>
>  A socialist revolutionary party in Serbia would put forward an independent
> class programme, for democratic rights, full employment, a living wage, and
> decent pensions. This cannot be achieved by the pro-capitalist nationalist
> policies of the opposition parties. Only a government that represents
> workers, youth and the rural poor can defend and develop the gains of the
> revolutionary events.
>
> In order to develop the mass movement along democratic and class lines,
> action committees made up of workers, students and rank-and-file soldiers
> are required at a local, regional and national level. These bodies express
> in an organised form the power and aspirations of the working class. They
> are the basis for a new government representing industrial and rural
> workers, students and the poor.
>
> Unfortunately, class consciousness has been thrown back in Serbia and the
> ex-Yugoslavia, as a result of decades of totalitarian Stalinism, and then
> the return of the market economy and the regime's reactionary nationalism.
> There is no mass independent workers' party. Without its own independent
> working class banner the working class cannot fully capitalise on events.
> This allows the pro-capitalist opposition an opportunity to cobble together
> a new government.
>
> However, the events of recent weeks will not be lost on workers and youth.
> They will draw profound lesssons, not least that mass action can remove
> hated governments. The appetite for fundamental change has been whetted.
>
> Given the complete absence of a socialist alternative and the ideological
> confusion of the masses, Kostunica has been able to set about forming a new
> adminstration. However, the anti-working class policies of this government
> will mean that at some point workers will be driven into conflict with the
> new regime. For example, under the behest of the Western powers, Kostunica
> will probably soon move to privatise the remaining state sectors of the
> economy, resulting in mass lay-offs and further poverty. Many of those
> workers that spearheaded the October uprising will be effected. It is from
> these bitter experiences that workers will see the need to have
> organisations that represent their class interests and will be better
> prepared for future battles, including future revolutionary struggles.
>
> In the coming months, workers will require independent action to fight
> attacks on their jobs and living standards. A new party representing working
> people is needed to fight elections Kostunica has promised over the coming
> months.
>
> Serbia - A "Communist" State?.
>
> The demise of Milosevic does not represent the fall of  'communism' as the
> capitalist media have claimed. None of the former Stalinist regimes in the
> USSR and Eastern Europe were genuine communist or socialist societies. They
> were ruled by bureaucratic repressive regimes with a centralised planned
> economy but without a system of genuine workers' democracy. These
> bureaucratic regimes paved the way the return of capitalism. Milosevic came
> to power in 1989 riding on the back of reactionary Serbian nationalism and
> also led the charge towards capitalist restoration. Like other ex-Stalinist
> bureaucrats he used ethnic devisions to grab markets and resources for the
> Serb gangster-capitalist elite.
>
> It is true that the Milosevic regime used some of the symbols of Stalinism
> and some remnants of the old regime continue to exist. However, Serbia under
> Milosevic had become a mafia type of capitalism. Although, a fairly large
> percentage of the economy formally remained in state hands much of it was
> plundered by Milosevic and his cronies. As the Financial Times pointed out:
> "It (Serbia) got the appropriation of state assets by the smartest and
> ruthless members of the old apparatus which happened to degree or another in
> most, former communist states, but it did not get any genuine economic
> renovation."  As Le Monde Diplomatique explained in May 1999: "The Milosevic
> family and the regime's leading officials have literally appropriated for
> themselves the former state enterprises in the energy, agri-food, tobacco,
> alcohol, television and import export sectors".
>
> These investments are linked to sections of the mafia that operate in
> gangster capitalist Russia. Three of the richest people in Serbia, the Karic
> brothers own a mobile phone net work, a television station and energy
> investments.
>
>  As Misha Glenny pointed out in his book "The fall of Yugoslavia", Serbia at
> the beginning of the 1990's, had gone further in its privatisation programme
> than Croatia and other republics.Milosevic pushed through privatisation
> programmes that led to mass unemployment. The privatisations were stopped or
> slowed down because of the war but are likely to be speeded up again. Health
> and education and other welfare services have been devastated.
>
> The Financial Times commented (7/10/2000): "Greek companies are likely to be
> among the first foreign investors to return. Several groups that were
> negotiating acquisitions of state-owned companies with the Milosevic
> government froze deals that were close close to completion when sanctions
> were imposed in 1998."
>
> The Western ruling classes, by their continual reference to Milosevic's
> regime as the "last Eastern communist state", want to try and obscure the
> class issues that lie at the heart of the workers' revolt - the struggle for
> democratic rights and social equality and use this issue to denigrate the
> idea of socialism.
>
>  It is true that most Serb workers at this stage associate their problems
> specifically with Milosevic, but it was not only his particular regime that
> was responsible for their misery. Fundamentally, it is the market economy
> and capitalism that has resulted in mass impoverishment and conflicts. The
> failure of the former Stalinist regime in Yugoslavia eventually paved the
> way for capitalist restoration.
>
> The overthrow of the Milosevic regime and its replacement with a capitalist
> nationalist regime will not resolve the crisis facing Serb workers.
> Although, Kostunica won support in the elections as an opponent of Milosevic
> his policies will eventually erode any support he currently has amongst the
> working class.
>
> Lech Walesa of Poland who was swept to power as the old Stalinist regime
> collapsed in Poland today received the support of less than 2% in recent
> elections. A similar fate is likely to greet Kostunica as his policies are
> seen for what they represent in practice. The pro-capitalist polices of the
> regimes in other countries of eastern Europe have been an economic and
> social disaster for the working class. These events have taken place during
> a period of economic growth for world capitalism.
>
> The new regime in Serbia will be greeted in a relatively short period of
> time by a recession or slump in the world economy and will gain even less
> than Poland and other countries have from capitalism during the last decade.
>
>  What is required to meet working class demands is a social revolution; to
> abolish capitalism, to install a workers' government, and to introduce a
> democratic socialist society based upon human needs not profits.
>
> This is anathema to the pro-market opposition parties and media.  They have
> been funded by the big powers. Western secret services, such as the CIA,
> have spent months trying to encourage and control opposition to  Milosevic.
> Germany has helped the oppostion produce material which it has financed to
> the tune of 4 million DM according to Der Spiegel. The western powers want
> to try and ensure that a new government follows their line as much as
> possible. Sanctions are being lifted and other promises of 'aid' are being
> made.
>
> It appears the western powers are prepared to tone down their demands for
> Milosevic and others to be brought before the War Crimes Tribunal at the
> Hague. This area of 'principle' can be put aside in order not to antagonise
> the new regime. Kostunica reflects Serb nationalism and the still raw anger
> of many Serbs towards NATO when he refuses to work with the Tribunal. After
> the UN ruled that NATO and Western powers could not be put trial for war
> crimes, groups like Amnesty International were compelled to condemn the
> crude partisanship of the Tribunal.
>
> The new nineteen party coalition government is no reliable Western prop.
> Enormous strains are already showing within it, as parties and individuals
> jockey for positions and influence. The coalition is extremely unlikely to
> last long.
>
> Kostunica will try to reform a new governing alliance. He desperately needs
> to take on board the SNP party  from Montengro. This party has traditionally
> been in a pact with Milosevic's forces in the parliament, making them the
> single biggest block.
>
> Opportunistic horse-trading and right wing policies will be the hallmark of
> this new regime. There will probably be a public show of 'cleaning up' the
> system, but cronyism and corruption are permanent features of capitalism in
> the Balkans.
>
> Kostunica's Nationalism
>
> Kostunica is certainly not the big powers' first choice as Serb president.
> He has a long history of espousing hard-line Serbian nationalism. His
> Democratic Party of Serbia attacked Milosevic for "compromising" by signing
> the Dayton Accords in 1995, which marked the end of the Bosnian war.
>
> Kostunica is a pro-capitalist nationalist but he also wants to gain as much
> financial aid and resources from the West as possible. If he can consolidate
> a government Kostunica will probably try to balance between his domestic
> nationalist base and the Western powers.
>
> The powers are seriously worried about the consequences of this week's
> events for the entire Balkans. With their old adversary Milosevic removed
> they are now faced with a whole new set of problems. They will attempt to
> force Kostunica to follow their line but there are no guarantees.
>
> Kostunica has said he favours a "new Yugoslav federation". The government of
> Montengro, the rump Yugoslavia's other republic, is extremely wary of his
> Serb nationalism. They fear Kostunica wants to continue the Serb domination
> of Montenegro. So much so, they have thus far declined to recognise
> Kostunica as Serbia's new president.
>
> Nevertheless, government sources in Montenegro have indicated they want to
> renegotiate their position in the federation. The new government of Serbia,
> dominated by pro-capitalist and nationalist parties, will want to maintain
> their influence and access to resources and income. They are likely to try
> and make a compromise to achieve this. The big powers fear a break-up and
> the creation of new states in the Balkans, which can lay the basis for
> future conflicts and wars. They too will argue for new constitutional
> arrangements that keeps Montenegro in the federation. But the demand can
> grow in Montenegro to break competely  from Serbia during this period of
> volatility and with nationalist strong man Milosevic off the scene.
>
> Albanian leaders in Kosova are not celebrating the arrival of the new
> Serbian regime. Kostunica declared in his first speech as President that
> Kosova should be brought, "more under our (Serbian) sovereignty."
> Ironically, the Albanian leaders in Kosova calculated that as long as
> Milosevic remained in control the big powers would be forced to act as their
> 'guarantors' and eventually they could achieve independent statehood.
>
> Kostunica will have the support of the imperialist regimes in opposing a
> further disintegration of what is left of the Yugoslav Federation. But the
> fate and democratic rights of the people of Kosova have always been so much
> small change to the powers. They do not want an independent Kosova to become
> an example to other minorites, such as the Hungarians in Vojvodina, an area
> in northern Serbia. The powers will encourage new arrangements that keeps
> both areas formerly linked to Serbia.
>
> The Albanians and Serbs of Kosova can have no faith in the Western powers.
> Milosevic's repression and NATO's war meant thousands of deaths and turned
> Kosova into an economic wasteland and sectarian bloodbath. With limited 'aid
> ' designated for the Balkans, Kosova could well find much of its promised
> 'reconstruction funds' being relocated to Serbia and elsewhere, now that the
> relationship of forces has changed in the region.
>
> By continuing to refuse demands for self-determination in Kosova and
> allowing the country to fester, the West is only  storing up enormous
> problems that will at some point explode in their faces.
>
> None of the fundamental problems facing the region - the national and
> ethnic issues, and appalling economic and social conditions - can be solved
> as long as capitalism remains. Furthermore, imperialist plunder and the
> intrigues of the big powers in the region will continue to destablise the
> situation.
>
> United workers' struggle is the way forward
>
> The mass revolt we have witnessed in Serbia has many lessons for the working
> class of the Balkans region. However, only a united struggle by the working
> people of the ex-Yugoslavia for democratic rights and social and economic
> demands can unite the various nationalities to resolve the national and
> ethnic conflict in the area.. The revolution in Serbia shows the power of
> the working class to overthrow dictatorships but also the need for the
> working class of the region to embrace the alternative of genuine socialism
> and workers' democracy. If these lessons are learnt the overthrow of
> Milosevic and his cronies can help mark the beginning of the reverse of the
> last ten years of terrible wars and ethnic and national division, which
> severely set-back the workers' movement. Under capitalism it will not be
> possible to resolve the conflict in the region on a lasting basis.
>
> For a workers' movement to succeed it must guarantee the right of self
> determination to nations. In the ex-Yugoslavia this means support for an
> independent socialist Kosova. Only a democratic socialist confederation of
> states, on a voluntary and equal basis, can begin to fundamentally resolve
> the national issues. A socialist economy, democratically controlled and
> planned by the working class, can unlock the tremendous resources of the
> region, leading to a complete transformation of living standards.
>
> The main lesson from the October events in Serbia is that it is mass action,
> led by the working class, that achieves real change.
>
> 9 October 2000
>
> International Secretariat of the CWI
>
>
> ------- End of forwarded message -------
>
> Socialist Alternative (CWI/Canada)
> http://www.socialistalternative.net
>
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>
>                  Name: Serbia.rtf
>    Serbia.rtf    Type: Rich Text Format (application/rtf)
>              Encoding: base64






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