“Letters from Yugoslavia” consist of translation of previous articles published in different portals whichare piled in "Yugoslavya Mektupları". The current articles are published in İleri Portal, the press agency of TKP (Communist Party of Turkey).

Why "Letters from Yugoslavia"? Click here.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

WILL THERE BE A NEW WAR IN BOSNIA?

(Original text: Published in May 16, 2016)
Recent developments in Balkans, like admission of Kosovo first to UEFA and to FIFA, re-opening of Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka, the capital city of the Serbian entity, which was demolished during the Bosnian War and lastly the demonstrations in Banja Luka by March 14, 2016 were all enough to warm up Bosnian politics. Some talk about an armed conflict or even a new war likely to happen in Bosnia? How realistic is this?

The rise of the ultra-right politics was the focus of the previous article. One of the points that we took attention was the fact that, those political parties who were responsible from the breakup of Yugoslavia are again currently holding the power in ex-Yugoslav republics. The main actors of the nationalist monsters are again in the power. Even Seselj, from whom even Milosevic was discontent of his extreme “practices” is again in the Serbian parliament

Like a nightmare! Those who transformed Yugoslavia into a blood lake are governing the countries again.

Moreover, the recent developments in May 2016 made Bosnia to be more in political tension.

If it winds in Kosovo, Bosnia catches cold. It was in Kosovo where the first crisis in Yugoslavia occurred, and followed by devastation of Bosnia. Since some time Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska – RS) claims independency referring to the independency of Kosovo. In May 2016, despite 24 votes against, with 28 votes Kosovo became member of UEFA and followed by membership to FIFA after a meeting in Mexico in May 13 where membership of Gibraltar was also confirmed.
This was like a cold shower for Serbia who still defines Kosovo as part of Serbia. However, having no other political vision than EU membership, Serbia has not other choice than accepting the bitter reality. Yet, last week (May 2016) the deputy director of European Parliament and Kosovo Reporter Ulrike Lunacek warned once Serbia again that Serbia cannot be member of EU without recognition of Kosovo as a sovereign state.

Serbia is politically locked in that sense, but the naughty brother, RS was not late to use this opportunity and claimed that if UEFA and FIFA recognizes Kosovo, than they have to accept membership of RS as well. Indeed, this is not so easy, since Dayton Peace Accord does not allow such a thing.

Two weeks ago (May 2016) Bosnia probably faced with one of the biggest political crisis since the end of the war.

Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka (capital city of RS), built in Ottoman Era and being demolished with 16 more mosques at May 6-7, 1993 despite being under protection of UNESCO, was restored and re-opened in May 7, 2016. When the reconstruction of the mosque have started in 2001, the start-up ceremony was attacked by about a thousand Cetniks (Serbian nationalists) firing the vehicles around and besieged the building of Bosnian Islamic Union where 250 Bosnian Muslims as well as Jacques Klein, the representative of UN in Bosnia and ambassadors of England, Sweden and Pakistan were also inside. One Bosnian Muslim was killed and 30 people were injured.

Nothing feared happened in May 7, 2016 in the opening ceremony of Ferhadija Mosque where highest security measures were taken and EUFOR battalions were ready to involve in a possible conflict.

This is partly due to the fact that Serbian nationalists have a bit of trouble nowadays. Since the bully tempered RS president Milorad Dodik's SNSD lost 2014 elections, RS is in a serious political crisis. There were two demonstrations last Sunday in Banja Luka organized by Dodik's supporters and opponents. Until the elections in October 2016, it is expected that the political tension will be tightened and may have serious implications in a country stuck into corruption and poverty.
Since the founder of RS; Radovan Karadzic is subjected as committing genocide in Bosnia, the legitimacy of RS as a state founded on genocide, is more under question. No doubt that this issue is well exploited by Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat politicians who cannot offer anything to their people than a corrupted state and poor citizens. That is what they do the best for 20 years.

All those events and facts that are mentioned above brings one question: Can there be a war in Bosnia as a result of all of those political crises? The Western political analysts are very likely to speak about war in any part of the world. However, the dynamics of contemporary Bosnia is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Those nationalist leaders who took advantage of the war, know very well that in case of a war, they can easily lose their positions. Moreover, Bosnia with a disfunctional state very far away of being a threat to imperialism. Thus, a change in status quo in Bosnia is not favoured by imperialism. In addition to that, neither Croatia, who is just accepted in EU would risk to arm Bosnian Croats, nor Serbia who is just domesticated on the path to EU would prefer to risk the journey to EU by falling into the adventure of “Greater Serbia“. Bosnian Muslim politicians on the other side are very much busy with exploiting the limited resources of the country.


If a war in Bosnia will happen, this might be a war against all of those blood sucking current politicians!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

8th of MARCH: MOTHERS' DAY!

(Original text: Published in March 7, 2015)

It is not a joke! Similar to the international mothers’ day, which is celebrated by the second Sunday of May every year, 8th of March is celebrated in a similar way in ex-Yugoslav countries. 8 of March is still defined as “Women’s Day” not as “mothers’ day, but it is normatively accepted as the day for mothers. Kids buy presents to their mothers, and it is very common that women arrange entertaining activities.

For those who have experienced any Mayday in any ex-Yugoslav country, this is not an interesting situation. In fact, where 8th of March is Women’s Day, Mayday is “spring festival”. Usually the days prior or after Mayday become free day and a holiday of a couple of days is arranged. If you see smoke over Beograd, Zagreb or Sarajevo, be sure it is not the tear gas thrown by police to Mayday demonstrators, but it is the smoke coming from barbecue parties. It does not matter if the unemployment rate is breaking new records or it does not matter if the real salaries continue to drop; Mayday is spring festival.

Yugoslav Hedonism

I do not think that the readers of this article favour an ascetic political struggle, avoiding profane joys. At least I am not. At least neither I nor my comrades would not like to have a political vision ignoring the joy of spending time together, having a dinner or a coffee or a drink together or playing football together etc. … Consequently we are all struggling to enjoy life altogether and in those “great days” we will be dancing in the city centres until the dawn.

However, we also cannot think something which is more absurd than transformation of 8th of March into a day where consumerism is boosted, where we in fact commemorate 159 women textile workers at March 8, 1857 in New York. Moreover, it is not only absurdity, nor a disrespect, but it also has to be perceived as an aggression towards the struggle of women.

What means lockouting a strike for workers means the same to celebrate “8 of March” within the conceptualization of it as a day boosting consumerism.

It is very common that especially white electronic companies make special sales in 8th of March. What a paradox! Strengthening the domestic division of labour, defining women in her natural place as “kitchen” in 8th of March, in the day symbolizing the equality and freedom struggle of women!
It becomes even weirder in Yugoslavia where Maydays are transformed into “spring festival” and “8th of March” is considered as “mothers’ day”. At the end, Yugoslavia was a socialist country having an experience of socialist values for 45 years! It is quite difficult to understand how those dates of struggle became the ritualistic carnivals of capitalism.

Considering the theoretical background and practices of “self-management” in Yugoslavia, it is a fact that this absurdity is just a visible scene of a chain of nonsense which is not only limited to 8th of March or Mayday, but an expected consequence of politics of self-management. Briefly, with an anti-Soviet claim, Yugoslav “market socialism” widely enjoyed an artificial welfare society thanks to the financial credits donated by West who were content about that anti-Soviet stance. The most essential part of this hallucination was the culture of hedonism especially at the end of 1960’s that was connected with the hallucination that the “working class was holding the means of production” where in fact the system was exploiting not only the financial credits of Western imperialism, but also socialist values dissolving the pillars of a socialist country like class consciousness and class struggle.
Transformation of Mayday into spring festival and 8th of March into “mothers’ day” is part of this systematic hallucination.

Politicising 8th of March!

Leftist political struggle is not a hobby.

It is a rebellion against pressure which takes place in everyday life, against a very political repression! The system which does not allow women’s political existence, is a political system and the reply should be political as well!

Not only within its historical context, but also regarding the current political situation, women’s day is a political fact. It is not like that only in countries like Turkey where fundamentalist religious politics restrain women in every single sphere in public life, but also in countries like Yugoslavia with a serious experience of socialism where women enjoyed progressive rights and social representation in every sphere of the society.


In this context, no one can claim that 8th March shall be “celebrated” free of its political meaning! In ex-Yugoslav countries, 8th of March shall even be commemorated in a more political concept where the heritage of self-management shall be questioned as well.

No wonder that, in this land, in Yugoslavia, 8th of March will again be the date symbolizing the struggle of women for freedom and equality, following the path of Marija Bursac and her martyr comrades in the struggle against fascism under the banner of Communist Party of Yugoslavia.


Saturday, 25 February 2017

FOOTSTEPS OF FASCISM IN CENTRAL EUROPE

(Original text: Published in May 2, 2016)

The extreme right wing, neo-Nazi parties are getting stronger. Not yet in power, but more effective in government policies. Liberals are without honour by throwing the blame on immigrants and even to the communists. They ignore the failure of neoliberalism.

The success of AfD (Alternative for Germany) leaded by Frauke Petry which is known by anti-immigrant rhetoric, have shown how the extremist nationalism became closer to power during the local elections in Germany by March 2016. It is especially noteworthy that the AfD could get the 24% of the votes in Lower Saxony, part of ex-GDR. A similar case is also visible for Marine Le Pen's National Party in France. Not only in Germany and France, extreme right wing parties in Denmark, Switzerland and Italy are in a serious rise.

In Eastern and Central Europe, extreme right also became important figure of daily politics, not because they came to power, but because their political ideas became popular among ruling political parties.

The latest elections in Slovakia in March 2016 was under discussion widely in the European politics. People's Party – Our Slovakia leaded by Marian Kotleba performed a serious success by getting 8% of the votes. Kotleba is recognized with his boldness in dressing the symbols of Nazi puppet state of Slovakia (1939-1945) in public places.

The real success of Kotleba and his party is not getting 8% of the votes, but his anti-immigrant discourse found positive reflections in the ruling so-called Social Democratic Party. Even more important is that Kotleba got significant support from youngsters. It also has to be noted that when compared with other European countries, less immigrants exist in Slovakia.

A similar case is valid for Czechia. Currently social democrats hold the power in Czechia and extreme right wing DSSS (Worker's Party for Social Justice) was banned in 2010. Currently, there is not any neo-Nazi party in political arena, but there is also not any political party in Czechia confronting nationalism as well. Since 2010 numerous conservative organizations were established in the country. Although none of them do not have any neo-Nazi names or any neo-Nazi expressions in the discourse, everybody knows that if any opportunity will exist they will show off in city centres chanting „Sieg Heil“. Thanks to communists in Czechia, who are relatively powerful, they do not give any opportunity to neo-Nazis to exist in public space.

PiS (Law and Justice) in Poland is a great trouble. Poland is currently like the stronghold of conservatism in Europe. Even those liberals, who usually do not have problems with conservative values, religion, etc began to feel discontent with conservative politics. The misogynist discourse of anti-abortion law in Poland began to trouble some Poles. Last month (February 2016) number of Poles attending street protests confronting PiS and its politics have shown a rise. However, the ever increasing political strength and political effect of neo-Nazis must not be underestimated. It may sound a bit weird that neo-Nazis would be existing in a country like Poland which have experienced such a huge devastation because of Nazi invasion in World War II. However, during the last ten years numerous nationalist, extreme religious organizations are established and get significant support from youngsters. Their actions even sometimes trouble PiS government.

There are those who sympathize Viktor Orban in Hungary since he is following a balanced politics between Russia and USA/EU. Orban and his government have sometimes even important political problems with EU and USA because of that. This should not mislead us: Orban is not that much different from Erdoğan: Vulgar, arrogant and aggressive... and fascist! On the other side, Orban and his Fidesz are even sometimes not enough to conform racists and conservatists. Jobbik (which has got sympathy to Turkish nationalists) has a clear racist political programme.

When we come to ex-Yugoslavia... Those who are governing ex-Yugoslav republics are either the same ones who drove Yugoslavia to bloody warfarein 1990’s or their kids and successors.
Immigrants are seen as the basic reason behind the empowerment of nationalism and racism in the political arena in Central Europe. On the other side, empirical evidence shows that, number of immigrants in those countries are just a few thousands in each. According to an average European politician, the basic reason behind the rise of nationalism and racism is the fear from immigrants and moreover „antidemocratic legacy of half century long communism“. Solution for them is easy: Ban communism, deport immigrants! This is what the liberal right wing politicians cannot utter clearly, but what exactly is done by extreme right wing bullies without any confrontation with those who defend liberal values.

What is ignored is the ongoing effects of global economic crisis of 2009, which caused tens of thousands to be unemployed. Those people had lost their jobs long before the flow of immigrants!
Those shameless right wing politicians, those idiot analysts who easily blame immigrants and even communists turn a blind eye to 2009 crisis, the crisis of neoliberalism.


The near future of Central Europe is dark. But no need to darken the neck. There are those who struggle. We will continue to be the voice of those who struggle in East and Central Europe.

Friday, 17 February 2017

ALEPPO AND SREBRENICA

(Original text: Published in December 19, 2016)

In Turkish language we have a proverb that any comparison is free of any failure. Indeed, most of the comparisons are likely to have conceptual or factual failures. Especially, in contemporary political milieu when it is in the hands of political Islamists who are famous of deceit and exploitation of emotions, especially the religious sentiments. Even to a degree that they would not feel ashamed of exploiting the tearful memory of Srebrenica genocide.

Political Islamists have huge track of creating false stories, hoax news which requires pages of documentations. No doubt, Chetniks (Serbian nationalists) like any other ultra-right wing political group are quite competitive with the political Islamists. Those fake news created during the Bosnian War in 1992-95 by Serbian nationalists broadcasted through TV channels were quite competitive with those actual ones of our age distributed through social media. Some fantastic fictive stories were remarkable. For example, that one about sterilization of Serbian women by vaccines in Prijedor, Bosnia, or like the those about the Serbian babies who are used as food for the lions in the Sarajevo Zoo. Those and similar fake news found quite a large place in Serbian media just before the war, which provided a huge advantage against the anti-war opposition. An average citizen of Serbia would easily believe that an Islamic fundamentalist government was formed in Sarajevo and started to slaughter Serbs.

After almost a quarter century, hypocrisy and deceitfulness have reached to another stage with the new era of internet. Formerly, the fake news were constructed by those disrespectful journalists who would be easily bought by money or offering some other privileges. Today, it is done voluntarily by millions of social media users even usually without being aware of it.

“Social media illiteracy” is a destructive sickness of our society.

I use “social media illiteracy” in quotation marks since it is different than “illiteracy” and does not have any contextual relationship with diplomas gathered through formal education. I think I do not need to give examples on how it is does not. Since you are reading this article (in web) probably most of your news resources are web portals. It is also probably that from time time you get mad by those awkward social media sharings even by those who have PhD degrees. In the beginning of December 2016, we faced with a similar situation during the operation of Syrian Arab Army which ended with liberation of Aleppo from Islamist opposition.

The pro-government media became crazy when it became obvious that jihadists were losing the battle and they –once again- proved that there is no limit in fictive fake journalism. We witnessed how Al Jazeera, which was the address of true journalism during the Iraq War, became a machine to distribute fake news. Later on it was proved that all those photos and stories from “besieged Aleppo” were fake but who cares? The photos were already in circulation in social media.

On the other side, things are not as easy as it was quarter a century ago. It does not take long for a lie to come to light since “fact checking” is right there. In fact “fact checking” is a technical term of journalism, which refers to confirm a news from other resources. However, in contemporary society, or better to say in “post-truth” era, we use this term to confirm those shared information and news in social media. Those fact-checking web pages become more widespread. Even Facebook decided to imply fact-checking tools in struggle against information pollution. In our contemporary society, in post-truth society, the search for the truth is becomes a more virtuous and a more revolutionary action. The more we search for truth, the more we feel as human. It is not a coincidence that the motto of İleri Portal is “Truth is Revolutionary” –where the original Turkish version of this article is published.

Once we began to reveal Aleppo lies, than we found ourselves in another galaxy of accusations: We are Essadist, Russophile. In fact, this is not alien to us. Weren’t we occupier in Afghanistan, Saddamist in Iraq, Qaddafi supporter in Libya? The most surprising fact was that, those or similar accusations were directed to us even by those intellectually developed people, whom we thought that they believed in truth. There is really a serious epistemological problem: It does not mean that you propagate one side when you are revealing the lies of the other side, when you point the false claims of other side. If we did so, instead of revealing the lies, we would be sharing the footages on how “People of Aleppo welcome Syrian Army with tears” or “People of Aleppo greeted Syrian Army with fireworks”. Above all, it is very much clear that, especially after the experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, statements like “Opposition jihadists slaughters people but Essad is also not a democrat” or “Neither FSA nor Essad” are nothing but just saucy foolishness.

As lies are revealed, then we face with exploitation of facts and events which symbolize the evil, which aches every heart like Srebrenica genocide. In social media, it was commonly emphasized that Aleppo was new Srebrenica, without paying attention to factual, historical and even political irrelevancies between the two. Is it the limit of idiocy? Those thousands of disarmed civilians who were slaughtered in Srebrenica were considered to be equal with those barbarians who exploited civilians as human shields, who enjoyed cutting throats and selling women in slave markets for four years!

In 2011, RTS, the State Television of Serbia declared apology for those fake news which were broadcasted in 90’s on War in Bosnia. The documentary film titled “Godine koje su pojeli lavovi” (The year which was eaten by the lions) directed by Sarajevo journalist Boro Kontiç and projected in Sarajevo Film Festival in 2011 is like a lesson by including interviews made with those journalists who produced those fake news. Those who watched the documentary could see how wretched a journalist can become. Surely they were all regretful of what they did and they all apologized. But some were still defending the evil, still defending the fake news they reported. (1)

It would be a bit naïve to expect that those jihadists who turned Aleppo into hell will apologize. It is even a bit naïve dream that those pathologically stubborn “social media illiterates” who do not hesitate to share hoax news to make a self-criticism and to apologize for what they did. However, those who are searching for the truth should never give up their struggle. Our most effective weapon against that illiteracy is the “truth”. Truth is revolutionary and revolutionaries are fearless fighters for the search of the truth.

(1)
   
For the trailer of the documentary film of Boro Kontiç: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY10R7l_1Cw

Sunday, 18 December 2016

TRUMP'S BALKANS

(Original text: Published in December 12, 2016)

Trump’s victory in US found its reflections in Balkans as well. Apart from the fact that the “first lady” is of Slovenian origin, Trump as the new president of US caused a sort of ambition among the dumb politicians in ex-Yugoslavia which were already polarized between supporters of Clinton and Trump before the elections.

Trump’s victory in the elections was in fact a shock in Eastern Europe. The early signs that Trump will have a more balanced foreign relations with Russia caused a fuss in the rusophobic administrations of Eastern Europe. Some countries have already tended to follow a balanced relation with Russia. Czechia, Hungary or Slovakia. A similar will appeared in Bulgaria and Moldova with the latest elections. However, Poland and especially Ukraine are quite uneasy with the upcoming new era and we suppose that they really have to be quite uneasy with the contemporary governments they have. As it is known: Both inner and international politics of both countries are established on consolidation based on rusophobia.

There will not be easy days for the liberals in Eastern Europe. On the other side, it should not be forgotten that the joy of populist and ultra-right wing politics about Trump’s victory absolutely do not offer better future for working class, employers and leftists. This shall be the subject of another article.

What about US’s “farm in Europe”; the Balkans?

Unsurprisingly, Balkans were divided into two camps even before the elections. A clear cut frontline between the anti-Trump and pro-Trump camps have already appeared.

Locals of Sevnica celebrating the election results. (photo: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-slovenia-trump-idUSKBN1342BF)
Slovenia can be identified as the folkloric member of pro-Trump camp. (Slovenia is not the one which is separated from Czechoslovakia, but the other one) The tiny country of Slovenia is proud of being the homeland of Trump’s (latest) wife Melania Trump from Slovenia. Yes, you did not read wrong: Donald Trump, who blackmails the immigrants to dismiss from US is married with a woman who migrated to USA in 1996 and gathered US citizenship only ten years ago! Melania Trump (Melianija Knavs) is from Sevnica, a small town of almost 5000 population at the skirts of Alps in Slovenia, where inhabitants celebrated Trump’s victory with parties. Nowadays the “aunties” who know little Melanija or Melanija’s old friends are invited to TV shows. Slovenians expect that the national brother-in-law (Donald Trump) will attach special importance to Slovenia and even a tourism boom is expected.

Seselj and his Serbian Radicals rallying for Trump. (Photo: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/file/show//Images/Images.New/Seselj%20Tramp%20640%20Beta.jpg)
However, the prominent songs of victory rose in Belgrade. President Nikolic have already declared his full support for Trump even long before the elections. Prime Minister Vucic did not show a direct support but declared his confidence of Trump’s victory after the election results were announced. The real enthusiasm was of Vojislav Seselj, ex-criminal of war, just left the prison and began to lead his Serbian Radical Party. It has to be noted that Milosevic or Karadzic can be identified as naïve when compared with Seselj. This arrogant Chetnik murder enjoyed to show his support to Trump by dressing t-shirts with Trump’s poster on it.

The love for Trump of Serbian nationalists is not limited with that of from Serbia. In Banja Luka, where a truck showed off in the city the whole day of election with huge posters of Putin and Trump, some celebrated Trump’s victory as well. Since Trump declared a more balanced relation with Putin, Serbian nationalists surely declared themselves as Trumpists. In Macedonia, icons are prepared showing Trump as a saint. Nikola Gruevski, the nationalist arrogant leader of Macedonia is quite happy with the anti-Islam discourse of Trump.

A truck for celebrating Trump's victory, not fırgetting the respect for Putin in Banja Luka. (Photo: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/file/show//Images/Images.New/Seselj%20Tramp%20640%20Beta.jpg)
It is not surprising that in ex-Yugoslavia polarization became a part of daily political life. So is the same case with the US elections. Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Albanians are surely unhappy with US election results with the hope that like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton would also “protect and support” Bosna and Kosovo.

People of different nations in Balkans are in search of some hope from distant countries since some time, without any trust or expectation from the local politicians.




Thursday, 15 December 2016

TITO and FIDEL

(Original text: Published in December 5, 2016)

Since Fidel left us, many from ex-Yugoslavia shared photos in social media in which Fidel and Tito appear together. The“Yugoslavs among us” did the same indeed. On the other side it is known that political relations between Fidel and Tito was not that much cordial.

Just after it is announced that Fidel have died, an article published in Klix, one of Bosnia’s well known web portals caused some discussion not only among leftists in Bosnia, but also those from other ex-Yugoslav republics. While photos of Fidel and Tito, signifying their friendship were shared in social media, the article in Klix was pointing out the reality behind the scene. (1)

Tito and Fidel have met face to face for the first time in United Nations in 1969 when Cuba was in trouble in international relations. Giving direct support to revolutionary movements in South America, Cuba was facing with harsh sanctions from imperialism, leaded by aggressive politics of USA resulting with a diplomatic global isolation of Cuba. Exception was support of USSR. While at the same time, Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia under the rule of League of Yugoslav Communists, which was dismissed from Cominform in 1948, was enjoying close relations with the imperialist countries who were imposing unjust sanctions against Cuba. It also has to be noted that almost 8400 communists in Yugoslavia were imprisoned with the claim of being Stalinist or supporting Cominform.

Yugoslavia was in a political isolation in 1950’s and Tito’s solution for that was to become closer to imperialist countries in 1960’s. Thus, by reforms of 1965, decentralized state federative structure was strengthened and self-management was transformed into a system which was more coherent with market economy.

Of course, Yugoslavia’s move towards more harmony with market economics was not one sided. Western countries, appreciating Yugoslavia as a trump card against Soviet Union were likely to donate Yugoslavia with low-profit rated financial credits. Thanks to those Western financial credits, Yugoslavia enjoyed the most prosperous period ever. In fact, the end of 1960’s and the beginning of 1970’s are mostly referred by Yugonostalgia claimers as the time period when the life in Yugoslavia was the best. (2) On the other side, despite enjoying such a prosperous time period, the symptoms of dissolution and collapse of Yugoslavia could already be observed. Even a CIA report dated in 1970 was mentioning the beginning of the end. However, Tito and League of Yugoslav Communists were far away from reality without being able to analyze the situation. The concept of “self-management” which was certainly not specific to Yugoslavia signifies an anachronism. Yugoslav self-management practice was anachronist, since the idea of self-management of those utopic socialists of 19th century like Proudhon, Fourier and Owen was already surpassed by scientific socialism, though still referred widely by Eurocommunism in indispensable search for an alternative against Soviet experience. Indeed, the new Yugoslav constitution of 1974 was the declaration of dissolution: Yugoslavia was not anymore a federation but a confederation.

It was that time when Fidel directed harsh criticisms against Tito. He was already distant to Tito, since Yugoslavia used to sell weapons to Fulgencia Batista which were directed against revolutionaries in Cuba. Moreover, Fidel was criticizing the luxurious and hedonistic lifestyle of Tito who almost became an iconic figure of Western magazine while hanging out with Hollywood stars or enjoying safari in Africa. The principal ideological break between Fidel and Tito was during the 1979 summit of non-Aligned Movement where Fidel criticized the movement, especially Tito, for their silence against global operations of imperialism. At that time, for sure two communist leaders of two communist countries should have given sincere poses to the journalists from worldwide.

Tito and Yugoslav partisans with their mythical guerilla resistance against fascism, forcing Nazis to kneel in the Dinar Alps take an heroic place in the international history of anti-fascist struggle. However, like many other communists Fidel was also aware that Tito and Yugoslav communists could not show the same will of struggle against imperialism. It also has to be noted that one of the reasons behind the current actual weakness of left and class struggle in ex-Yugoslavia despite the ongoing economic crisis, political problems is the political legacy of Tito and Yugoslav experience which could not pass through a process of self-criticism where a quarter century passed by since the bloody dissolution of Yugoslavia.


Apart from the fact that Yugoslavia and practice of self-management and Tito did not pass through a process of self-criticism, for us Tito is still the heroic commander in the anti-fascist struggle and one of the founders of socialist Yugoslavia with the motto “Protect fraternity and unity like the apple of your eyes”. But if we will put Fidel and Tito in the same photo, it we also have to keep in mind that it is not because of Tito’s political stance, but because of the essence of international solidarity which Fidel have never left behind.

(1) For the aerticle in Bosnian language click here.
(2) For my article on politcal impasse of Yugonostalgia click here

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

THE POLITICAL IMPASSE OF YUGONOSTALGIA

(Original text: Published in January 5, 2016)

There is usually a general tendency to overrate Yugoslav experience in left wing politics. For most, Yugoslavia and Tito are the smiling, humanistic face of socialism and the post-Yugoslav tragedy is just an outcome of nationalism provoked and supported by imperialism.
No doubt that nationalist separatism received support from imperialism and the political impact of West, especially Germany, on the bloody process of breakup of Yugoslavia cannot be ignored. On the other side, it would be a bit naive not to foresee that the constitutional reform in 1973 in Yugoslavia which transformed the Yugoslav federation into confederation would end up with the breakup of Yugoslavia. Especially, at the time when USSR was collapsed and imperialism did not any more need the smiling face socialism.
Despite the fact that almost a quarter century has passed since the breakup of Yugoslavia, the memories of good old times are still alive for some. Almost in all of ex-Yugoslav countries, a café fancied with materials about Yugoslavia or a monument is evitable cherishing the memories Yugoslavia. Even sometimes some new ones opened. For example in Bosnia, Tito Café located at the ground floor of the Sarajevo History Museum is a popular place with canons and armories from the World War II located at its garden where Tito’s birthday is celebrated every year with fireworks. A few more Ex-YU cafés do also exist. One of the main streets in Sarajevo city center is still “Marshall Tito Alley” and a Tito monument in the campus of Sarajevo University still stands. Ex-YU is the abbreviation for ex-Yugoslavia and is widely used in popular culture. Not only in Sarajevo, but also in Serbia, Montenegro or any other ex-Yugoslav countries ex-YU ornaments or places can be found. Even in Slovenia which was the first to claim independence from Yugoslavia.
The nostalgia for Yugoslavia, or as we shortly call; Yugonostalgia, is prevalent in all over ex-Yugoslavia. Differing from “Ostalgie” (nostalgia for German Democratic Republic), or nostalgia for USSR (which is widely exploited by Putin), Yugonostalgia is not alive only in the hearts of ex-partisans or the elders who lived during the most prosperous times of Yugoslavia, but also in the hearts of youngsters who even were not existing in Yugoslavia.
Now, just imagine a country that leaders from 122 countries were in the funeral of your leader including kings, presidents… It is clear that neither in Serbia, nor in Croatia, nor in Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, nor in Macedonia, a similar funeral will never happen again. Just imagine: You were a citizen of a country of 22 million population, not only respectably recognized in Europe, but also worldwide, your leader is main figure of non-Aligned Movement and has a top prestigious position respected in both camps of the world during the Cold War. You have a respected army, a serious economy and then suddenly: Puffff! You are a citizen of a country where people even do not know if your country is separated from Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia, or you are citizen of a country which is recognized only with the national football team with funny looking jerseys. Those two are the so called better off countries of ex-Yugoslavia who are both members of EU. Or you are a citizen Bosnia and Herzegovina, a monument of instability or a citizen of Macedonia even whose official name is not recognized in UN. Or a citizen of a country like Serbia which is shrinking through decades. Or a citizen of mafia-state like Kosovo or a citizen of Montenegro which resembles like a fictitious state. Would not you miss Yugoslavia?
Despite the tendency of Yugonostalgia, class movement and left wing parties are very weak in ex-Yugoslavia. Yugonostalgia obviously does not have any political implication in daily politics, which relies mostly on the anachronic character of Yugonostalgia. The main reason behind the anachronistic character of Yugonostalgia is the exemption of any kind of criticism of Tito and the practice of self-management. More than a political will, Yugonostalgia is a reflection of memories from relatively prosperous good-old days thanks to the financial credits donated by Western countries as a gift to a “socialist” country for her role in Cold War opposing USSR.
In contemporary political atmosphere, it has to be noted that Yugonostalgia, as an outcome of popular culture does not have any political implication. On the contrary, it has negative effect on class struggle and socialist politics in ex-Yugoslavia by blocking any political free of Titoism or Yugonostalgia.