(Fwd) Re: Kangaroo court/Milosevic trial/Serbia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 2 16:25:02 MST 2002

On Sat, 2 Feb 2002 16:27:13 -0600, fastred at phreaker.net wrote:
>    Please don't try to unwrite what I wrote.
>The bottom line is  Slobo was/is , a Capitalist.

I suspect that there are two hundred or so people new to Marxmail,
who didn't participate in discussions around the war in Kosovo. In
fact, the only people who viewed Milosevic as a "capitalist" then and
now were sectarian socialists--mainly in England--whose idea of
capitalism bears little connection to what Karl Marx wrote about. The
bourgeoisie had a much more clear-headed understanding of the class
character of Milosevic's Yugoslavia.

On June 6, 1996 the Christian Science Monitor (Scott Peterson, "At
Home, Milosevic Uses Iron Fist While Acting as West's 'Peacemaker'")
commented, "Milosevic is harking back to the political control
promised by that old Communist star on his presidency building. He is
ensuring that his grip on the country is more absolute than Tito's
ever was, and is revoking some privatization and free-market
measures." Why do you suppose that the Monitor would write such
things if Milosevic was committed to capitalism?

The New York Times concurred in a July 18, 1996 article (Jane Perlez,
"Serb Stands Firm in Face of U.S. Effort to Oust Karadzic") which
reported, "Since the suspension of sanctions last December, there has
been little improvement in the Serbian economy, largely because of
the determination of Mr. Milosevic, a former Communist, to keep state
controls and his refusal to allow privatization." Maybe the NY Times
didn't understand that Milosevic was building a uniquely Yugoslav
version of capitalism that was based on state ownership of the means
of production. A rather profoundly dialectical concept. Would one
call this the negation of a negation of a negation? Or just bullshit.

On January 19, 1997, the Toronto Sun (Eric Margolis, "German Industry
Conquers East Europe") reported: "Chancellor Helmut Kohl and
Germany's other politicians were extremely foolish to allow big
unions, and their allies in the left-wing press, to price Germany out
of world markets. Germany's businessmen, however, are no fools. They
are rushing to move plants and jobs en masse across the border into
free-market, low wage East Europe, where workers still know how to
work." And what would be an obstacle to such moves? As always, they
mentioned the stubborn Serbs who did not understand the benefits of

The Toronto Sun endorsed the anti-Milosevic resistance: "Angry Serbs,
both democrats and nationalists, are determined to politically
cleanse Slobodan Milosevic, the communist despot who. . .wrecked its
economy." These are the very same demonstrators who have shown up in
the streets in Belgrade to overthrow the tyrant Milosevic, their sole
only goal to turn Serbia into a friend of the West, so that democracy
and free enterprise can move forward.

These are the kinds of demonstrators who rallied in support of Danko
Djunic, dismissed as Milosevic's deputy prime minister in 1997.
According to the December 16, 1997 Financial Times (Guy Dinmore,
"Threat to Serb reformer"), Djunic was removed because he was too
friendly with western bankers who were attempting to force the Serbs
into a painful debt rescheduling. The Financial Times followed this
report with one on December 22nd (Laura Silber, "Clinton to urge
action over Bosnia") that quoted Robert Gelbard, chief US envoy to
Bosnia, as being "very concerned about the lack of movement on
fundamental reforms, such as privatisation and the property law" on
the part of Milosevic and the Serbs. Doesn't Gelbard get it? Did his
subscription to Workers Liberty run out? If he had been reading the
sectarian British press, he would have learned that private property
has nothing to do with determining the class character of a state.

There are literally dozens of articles like this that appear in the
Western press in the period from 1995 to the war over Kosovo. They
are largely ignored in the sectarian press because they interfere
with their schema of a Milosevic who cared about nothing except
promoting Serb nationalism and opening the door to western
imperialism. One can only reply that anybody who is as eager to
cooperate with the IMF and western banks as Milosevic allegedly was
would not be in jail today facing these kangaroo court charges. If
the west was interested in tracking down government officials for
atrocities, the first place they'd look is in the mirror.

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at panix.com on 02/02/2002

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