[L-I] Chomsky cheers the popular uprising in Serbia: Noam Chomsky on Serbia

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Fri Oct 13 08:23:03 MDT 2000



This was posted  by an anarchist on crash list-- Xxxx


Full article at today's crash list (relevant part selected below)

Comments on the Milosevic Ouster, etc.  By Noam Chomsky

Chomsky continues:

*** What happened was a very impressive demonstration of popular
mobilization and  courage. The removal of the brutal and corrupt regimes
of Serbia and Croatia (Milosevic and Tudjman were partners in crime
throughout) is an important step forward for the region, and the mass
movements in Serbia -- miners,  students, innumerable others -- merit
great admiration, and  provide an inspiring example of what united and
dedicated  people can achieve. Right now workers' committees are taking
control of many companies and state institutions, "revolting  against
their Milosevic-era managers and taking over the  directors' suites," as
"workers took full advantage of  Yugoslav's social ownership
traditions." "With Milosevic's  rule crumbling, the workers have taken
the communist  rhetoric literally and taken charge of their
enterprises,"  instituting various forms of "worker management" (London
Financial Times, Oct. 11). What has taken place, and where  it will go,
is in the hands of the people of Serbia, though  as always,
international solidarity and support -- not least  in the US -- can make
a substantial difference.

On the elections themselves, there is plenty of valid criticism: there
was extensive interference by the West and  by Milosevic's harshly
repressive (but by no means  "totalitarian") apparatus. But I think the
Belgrade student  is right: they did it on their own, and deserve plenty
of  credit for that. It's an outcome that the left should  welcome and
applaud, in my opinion.

It could have happened before. There is good reason to take  seriously
the judgment of Balkans historian Miranda Vickers  (again, as
anti-Milosevic as they come) that Milosevic would  have been ousted
years earlier if the Kosovar Albanians had  voted against him in 1992
(they were hoping he would win, just as they did this September). And
the mass popular  demonstrations after opposition victories in local
elections in 1996 might have toppled him if the opposition hadn't
fractured. Milosevic was bad enough, but nothing like the  rulers of
totalitarian states, or the murderous gangsters  the US has been placing
and keeping in power for years all  over the world.

But ridding the country of Milosevic doesn't in itself  herald a final
victory for the people of Serbia, who are  responsible for the
achievement. There's plenty of  historical evidence to the contrary,
including very recent  evidence. It's hard to think of a more
spectacular recent  achievement than the overthrow of South Africa's
Apartheid horror, but the outcome is far from delightful, as Patrick
Bond has been documenting impressively on ZNet, and as is  obvious even
to the observer or visitor with limited  information. The US and Europe
will doubtless continue their  (to an extent, competing) efforts to
incorporate Serbia  along with the rest of the Balkans into the
Western-run  neoliberal system, with the cooperation of elite elements
that will benefit by linkage to Western power and with the  likely
effects of undermining independent economic  development and functioning
democracy, and harming a good  part (probably considerable majority) of
the population,  with the countries expected to provide cheap human and
material resources and markets and investment opportunities,
subordinated to Western power interests. Serious struggles  are barely
beginning, as elsewhere.


--

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222


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