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