"Democracy" will not be for all pockets

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Thu Oct 26 11:45:04 MDT 2000

>From globalreflexion.org

"Democracy" will not be for all pockets


"Democracy" will not be for all pockets

In Belgrade, the price of one liter of oil had jumped from 15 to 51dinars,
price of bread from 6 to 14 and of sugar from 6 to 45. "Democratic prices",
mock the consumers, already disappointed. In Kragujevac, trade unionists of
Zastava are beaten and persecuted. At the same time, financed western press
celebrates "good affairs in sight". And finally, one US senator already
threatens Kostunica to expand NATO to Slovenia. What are the connections
between these four facts?

Michel Collon

Our Western media do not speak about Yugoslavia anymore. Still, important
things are happening there. And revealing... Before, government gave
subsidizes for the production of basic food products. So farmers and
merchants still had enough gain, but consumers could buy in spite of
embargo. Nobody was dying of hunger. But the DOS opposition had announced,
in its "G 17 plus" program, that "the new government will immediately
suspend all the subsidization, with no regret or hesitation, because it
will be difficult to apply this measure latter". Indeed, it didn't take
them long at all! Los Angeles Times of 15th writes: "When Kostunica
supporters forced out most managers in state-owned shops and factories and
put their own people in charge, that system of controls collapsed and
prices immediately shot up. New directors are moving quickly to make their
plants more profitable. " Problem: consumers are dissatisfied and elections
are in two months. So, director of G 17, Mladjan Dinkic, is
accusing...Serbian government, still run by SPS socialists, of "wanting to
create chaos". But argument is not holding water: this government is not
functioning precisely because of the chaos created by DOS, its
street-violence and "crisis comittees" which forcibly took over the control
of all institutions.


Therefore we see already that the "prosperity" announced in election
promises will not benefit to all the pockets. But who will? Answer of
Italian financial supplement of International Herald Tribune of 10th (Italy
is Yugoslav economic partner No. 2) "Perspectives seem good and Italian
export goods - shoes, textile, food products - will be the first to profit
the occasion. But privatization in Yugoslavia might also attract the
interest of foreign investors. Lot of public sectors - counting in energy
and airports - can be licenses soon and their re-structuring might give the
space to new foreign capital. What does it mean to "give space"? At the
spot, at the moment of putsch, a friend of mine, Radmila, warned me:
"Actually, our electricity worked really well. Foreign companies would want
to put its hands on it. But to invest, they demand significant profits,
which means huge tariffs growths. People do not understand that this G17
program will ruin them!"

About the export of Italian shoes...Having forgotten my moccasin's back
home, I had to buy a new pair in Belgrade: 1 100 dinars. Tree times less
than the Italians, which I usually buy. Maybe somewhat less "chick", but
comfortable and solid. What will happen, with new regime? With their
financial power, western multinationals will take the control over Yugoslav
factories, closing a big part of them, and western products will flood over
the local market. Europe would be able to get rid of its food-stocks, at
unbeatable prices, because of European Union subsidization (so there! in
this case, it's good to subsidize, isn't it?). "Crazy cows" and other
genetically trafficked food-products can feed the Serbs then, they're too
numerous anyway, right? But West will throw in some help, they
say..."Help"? Germany wants absolutely to re-open the Danube, so it will
open funds. Gifts? No, loans. To keep Yugoslavia "cooperative" in extortion
of payment like numerous other countries forced by spiral of debts to
always the biggest concessions.(???) In short, Yugoslavia will pay for the
bombing damages! Scandalous. And what will this cleaned Danube serve for?
First of all, to flood the country with German merchandise, which will
eliminate local products from the market. In short, instead of promised
prosperity, one New York Times editorial of 15th predicts that "at worst
Yugoslavia's economy could follow Russia's path, to corruption and decline".


In Kragujevac, car factory Zastava trade unionists have been sequestered
and beaten by ex-opposition gangs, people responsible for truck department
were forced to resign. Progressive Italian daily Manifesto (which rather
supported Kostunica) is appalled: " Syndicate members have been
independent, as much from Milosevic as from opposition. They relayed
humanitarian operations of Italian syndicates. But opposition syndicate
activists (formed in Rumania by US experts) are pressuring the workers,
threatening them with massive layoffs. "We fought for the workers, without
engaging ourselves in politics. This is our crime!" concluded one of them".
All those facts are linked together. To push through this IMF policy - high
prices , closing ups, layoffs and gifts to multinationals, every
possibility of syndicate or leftist resistance - must be eliminated. In
Belgrade, one office of New Communist Party has been burned down by
rightist militia. And if all this is not enough, listen to the threats of
American senator Biden: " If Mr. Kostunica thinks he will be able to
continue with one aggressive nationalist Serbian politics, only under
milder appearance, then we'll have to talk him out of it. In this case, we
should concentrate our ex Yugoslavia politics on preparing more democratic
and more prosperous Slovenia, for the next NATO enlargement". NATO, again?
So there, and they kept telling us that Milosevic was the only problem over
there! And what if the problem was the resistance of Serbian people in
general, to economical imperialism and military interventions of the West?
Kostunica - or some other soon - being put in charge to bring those people
up to date. The game is far from being finished in Yugoslavia. A lot will
depend on the resistance capacity of workers. Some leftist alternative is
indispensable, and resistance is being prepared. We'll be back there.

Louis Proyect
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