Workers assert themselves in Yugoslava

Luko Willms L.WILLMS at
Wed Oct 25 03:06:04 MDT 2000

     Am  24.10.00
schrieb  lnp3 at (Louis Proyect)
     in at
  ueber  Re: Workers assert themselves in Yugoslava

LP>>> [I might have been guilty of dismissing Xxxx Xxxxxx's CWI
LP>>> communique too hastily yesterday. Although his post had nothing
LP>>> empirical to back up his claims of a workers revolt, I have
LP>>> found numerous accounts in today's dispatches that refer to
LP>>> exactly such a thing. It would appear to be something that
LP>>> Kostunica and his western allies would be anxious to squelch
LP>>> since it has all the earmarks of true proletarian resistance to
LP>>> both capitalism and the kind of NEP-man corruption that marked
LP>>> the Milosevic years.]
LW>>   Exactly.
LP> Luko, I changed my mind on this.

   I noted this, but I see it as a step backwards, or to the right if
you prefer.

LP>                       By the way, I see that the Militant
LP> newspaper is lying about events in Yugoslavia today. It represents
LP> the "crisis committees" as taking a stand against privatization:
LP> <quote>
LP> The committees have been formed largely under this banner: "To
LP> protect the state-owned property from robbery by the ousted criminal
LP> bureaucrats." <endquote>
    This is from a correspondents article, George Skoric, in issue 41

LP> In all the years I have been reading the Militant going back to 1967
LP> when I was selling dozens a week as a party member, I have never seen
LP> such a falsification.

    Aha? I could think of Steve Clark's article attacking José Perez
for his general political positions, without mentioning a single word
by José on the Elián fight. That was the lowest the Militant has ever
published, in my view.

LP>                     In the most highly publicized instance of
LP> privatization facing the Yugoslav people, the crisis committee at
LP> ICN, a state-owned pharmaceutical company, is facilitating the return
LP> of the company to its former owner:

  I delete the about 90% of the article dealing not with the workers.

LP> About 1,000 workers greeted Panic at the drug manufacturing plant
LP> Monday, urging him and the former ICN management group to resume
LP> running the factory, the company said.

  These three lines are the only ones mentioning of the workers, and
in very gemeral terms.

  My comments:

  a) Skoric wrote that "the committees have been formed _largely_
under this banner" (my emphasis), and "largely" does not mean "all".

  b) what a staff writer in Los Angeles is writing on what the workers
over here in Europe are doing, has to be taken with a grain of salt;

  c) assuming this reflects reality correctly, the workers at the ICN
plant seem to have the same stance as the others: to do away with the
Milosevic cronies, and return to the former status;

  d) the ICN plant is, as you noted, a much publicized case of
privatization, and why not call it this way, sellout to US interests,
of a Yugoslav company by the Milosevic regime, which should tell you
that this regime was and is in no way a force protecting the
collective property against private capital (dont let yourself be
fooled when thieves fall out, and one takes the bounty away from the

  e) what the workers in Jugoslavia are doing and how they think about
what they are doing, has to be judged aa) in light of the fact that
the Yugoslav revolution is quite recent, and that there has been a
real popular revolution, in contrast to all other East and Central
European workers states (except Albania); bb) that there is no
revolutionary workers party in Yugoslavia, which remains to be built.

  Expanding on the last consideration, I want to point out that this
is the decisive question in the political development of those workers
states: the working class needs to conquer the political consciousness
of itself, materializing this consciousness in a political party to
take political power in their hands. This task is not easy after
decades of stalinist rule over the working class, destroying any trace
of class consciousness, and can't only by done by the workers
themselves, making experiences, and learning from these experiences.
The political class consciousness does not come handed down the school
steps by some superiour teacher, nor by a police tutelage, the cops
clubs and political surveillance.

  That is why proletarian revolutionists did hail the emergence of
Solidarnosc in Poland for what it was: the first step to working class
independence and regaining class consciousness, and not the final
stage of the process, in absence of a revolutionary polical
leadership. The limitations could clearly been seen in the attitude of
the Solidarnosc leaders to Cuba and especially to the revolution in
Nicaragua. But do you think that some more police clubs on their heads
or a longer term in prison "in the name of socialism and international
solidarity" could generate excitement for what is presented as the
friends of the worker's enemies?

   By the way, in East Germany there was an organized independent
movement of solidarity with the "Third World", including some
Nicaragua solidarty committees. These were instrumental in organizing
protest actions in East Berlin against the IMF meeting in West Berlin
in the fall of 1988, while the GDR government was offering their
hotels, praising it as a protest free zone, whereas the IMF delegates
had to face a lot of protest in West Berlin (a demonstration with
50000 to 80000 people).

   Coming back to nowadays Yugoslavia, it is a fact that the rebellion
which deposed Milosevic unleashed a rebellion in the factories, where
"workers assert themselves" and kick out the managers placed there by
the Milosevic regime.

   The workers cant jump over stages. The question for you and me is:
where do you stand? On the side of the workers, or on the side of the
Milosevic gangster clique coated in his narrow Serbian nationalism? Do
you think that for your New York socialist consciousness it is better
that the workers are under a firm "socialist" police tutelage? Is that
your "nonsectarian" attitude? Or shouldnt you, as a self-proclaimed
"Marxist", have absorbed what Charles Marx wrote in the 3rd of his
"Theses on Feuerbach" (in my translation into english):

   "The materialist theory of the changing of the conditions and
education forgets, that the conditions are changed by the human beings
themselves, and that the educator himself has to be educated. So it
has to divide society into two parts, with one superior to the other.

   "The unification of changing the conditions and of human activity
or self change can only be seen and understood rationally as
revolutionary praxis"

Lüko Willms                           
/--------- L.WILLMS at -- Alle Rechte vorbehalten --

"Kein Land kann seine Probleme in dieser globalisierten Welt allein
auf sich gestellt lösen. Entweder wir retten uns alle zusammen oder
wir gehen zusammen unter. Heute mehr denn je gilt das Wort von José
Martí: Das Vaterland ist die ganze Menschheit."
               - Fidel Castro, Caracas (Veneuzuela), 3. Februar 1999

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