Reply to a social democrat on Yugoslavia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Sep 23 12:11:34 MDT 2002

>Hi Louis,
>Thanks for forwarding your comments.  It's "Project Censored," not "Project
>Underground," by the way.
>I appreciate that you didn't clip out my reference to "villians on all sides
>of the Yugoslavian wars."  I didn't comment on Tudjman in Croatia (or for that
>matter Izetbegovic in Bosnia) because Project Censored didn't attempt to
>whitewash their atrocities.  I agree they also count as villians.
>David Walls

Thanks for the correction, Professor Walls.

In any case, I am not sure what talk about "villains" is supposed to
accomplish. Years ago when I first became a Marxist I learned to stop
thinking in moralistic terms. This is all-important in the light of the
fact that US imperialism (excuse me for using an unfashionable word like
that) now intervenes everywhere in the world to get rid of "villains".

As an alternative approach to understanding Yugoslavia, one might also take
into account how Yugoslavia came to such a state. It seems a rather dubious
proposition to me that "villainy" is the problem. The civil wars of the
recent past would appear to be the result of an intractable economic crisis
beginning in the 1980s fomented by Western banks and international lending
institutions. In much of the "villainy" discourse produced by the Susan
Sontags and Ian Williams of the worlds, who make no claim to Marxism,
everything in the structural-economic dimension gets swept under the rug
and instead we are treated to a postmodern version of the War Against
Hitlerism. Well, the Sontags and Williams of the world are one thing.
Somebody writing for an ostensibly Marxist journal should be another. I
guess my expectations were far, far too high.

Louis Proyect

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