[Marxism] Interview with Diana Johnstone about the destruction of Yugoslavia in Junge Welt

David Thorstad binesi at gvtel.com
Sat Mar 28 09:21:26 MDT 2009

The interview linked below is a cogent critique of the role of Germany, 
NGOs, NATO, the Greens in the European Parliament (especially Daniel 
Cohn-Bendit), most leftist groups, and U.S. imperialism in the 
destruction of Yugoslavia. List members who read German will find it an 
insightful analysis that counters the prevailing myths about the 
subject. Diana is the author of the excellent book /Fools' Crusade: 
Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions/ (Monthly Review Press, 2002). 
The introductory comments are by Diana in her message to me.

This is a very good, thorough interview in German on the occasion of the 
tenth anniversary of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.
For the occasion, I was first in Vicenza, where I gave my speech in 
Italian scolding the Italians for complicity (well, not the Italians who 
were at the commemoration of course) and then in Belgrade for a larger 
but in many ways more depressing conference.  Serbia is a defeated, 
dominated, demoralized country.  The lucid people are almost all over 
sixty, the younger ones are totally confused, mostly longing to be in 
the European Union, e.g. "normal" -- while the EU uses that aspiration 
to wring more and more concessions out of a drained country.  The once 
socialized industries, which really did belong to the workers even under 
Milosevic, have been sold cheap to corporations from the NATO countries 
that bombed them.  Worst examples: the big steel industry to US Steel, 
the Zavasta automotive plant to FIAT.  Workers are still combative but 
isolated. Gypsies (Roma) have poured into Serbia from Kosovo, fleeing 
for their lives, and built wretched shanty towns in garbage heaps.  I 
never saw anything like that before in Serbia, which even poor was 
always neat.  A small number of adolescents have taken to a group called 
roughly "Cheeky" that combines anti-NATO and anti-communist gestures 
with devotion to the Serbian Orthodox Church -- they tried to break up 
the one lonely demonstration in the main square of Belgrade 
commemorating the bombing, throwing small objects at Ramsey Clark 
(totally bewildered) and 86 year old Milhailo Markovic who were there to 
condemn NATO.  Are they provocateurs or just idiotic? They then ritually 
smashed a McDonald's which is what the press picked up on.
One rather obscure detail of imperialist domination was brought to my 
attention. I have a couple of friends at Belgrade University, one 
teaching psychology and the other teaching psychology.  Although 
Associate Professors in their fifties, they come up regularly for 
renewal of their contracts, and since they are the only "leftists" left, 
fear the worst from their sold-out colleagues who must decide their 
fate.  Now, the catch is this: professors are judged on the basis of 
"points", and the most needed points are gained by being published ... 
in _American_ scholarly journals.  This doesn't matter much in 
mathematics or physics, but for the social sciences, it means that 
scholars stop thinking except to try to second-guess what an American 
journal would want to publish.  My friend Gordana was told, for 
instance, that she could not be published because she quoted classic 
German writers in German -- all citations must be in English.  There are 
no English translations of the classic German writers in Belgrade 
libraries.  Even worse, the problematique of research must correspond to 
what Americans want.
Totally depressing. And Yugoslavia is a model for the world.
Anyway, read my interview, which preceded my trip.


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