ALLIANCE 33: June 1999:


    Amongst some sections of the Marxist-Leninist movement, there remains a lingering view that either Milosevic is still a communist; or that he has simply been "demonized". This view has been expressed both on the "Marxist-Leninist List" (a newsletter on the web at: " ) and in North Star Compass, as well as a host of other sources.
    It should be un-necessary to point out that these views simply refuse to consider the well-known history of Milosevic. Who is the real Milosevic? The facts – not a mythical "demonisation" - show that he is an unprincipled demagogue and vicious chauvinist who unleashes the worst fascist hordes on to – whoever was best non-Serbian target of the day.
    Above we discussed the 1974 Kardelj-constitution, and its effective massive devolution. The six republics and two autonomous provinces (Vojinda and Kosova) were able to pursue separate policies but: "Foreign affairs, defence, and essential economic matters remained the prerogative of the federal center, but still required a consensus among the federal units."
Bennett C: "Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse"; New York; 1995; p. 74.

"Federal institutions, from the Presidency and National Bank to cultural and sporting bodies contained representatives from all federal units. Offices were strictly rotational so that every republic and autonomous province had equal access to positions of power. While the system was designed to be manifestly fair, it exacerbated the post-Tito malaise. Federal President and office holders in general had neither the time nor the authority to … iron out the failings of the Titoist system….At the same time republican leaderships were wary of moves to expand the prerogative of the federal center at their expense and were prepared to use their representatives in the federal institutions to maintain the status quo. Devolution had turned the LCY from a highly centralized body into little more than a talking shop for the eight republicans and provincial Leagues of Communists. …..The more successful Yugoslav enterprises had begun to expand out of their home republics across the entire country. This was especially the case in Slovenia, the most economically advanced republic.. Instead of a single economy, Yugoslavia was fragmenting into eight mini-states."
Bennett C: "Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse"; New York; 1995; p.74-5.

    Indeed following the death of Tito in 1980, the only definite "unitary and centralized" institution was the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). In the JNA the Serbs and Montenegrins formed the bulk of the office corps, from the 1960’s onwards (Bennett Ibid; p.76). As the military wing of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) – the JNA had its own seat on Yugoslavia’s collective presidency. It began to exercise more of driven role from the 1980’s onwards. Since: "Yugoslavia was one of the world’s top ten arms manufacturers and largely self-sufficient in weaponry. Arms sales… made a substantial contribution to the country’s balance of trade. For historical reasons the industry was concentrated in Serbia and Bosnia Hercegovina-Serbia had developed a large military with its own arms industry during the 19th century."
Bennett Ibid; p.77
    The stage was set for any potential racist to rip the fabric of Yugoslavia apart. When the Serbian Memorandum (Part 2 of this article: ) was leaked in 1986, both Ivan Stambolic President of Serbia and Dragisa Pavlovic head of the Belgrade League of Communists denounced it in public. Although the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communist also formally condemned the document, its’ President Slobodan Milosevic insisted on keeping this fact secret (Bennett C: "Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse"; New York; 1995; p. 82). In private, Milosevic said to a small group of secret policemen: "The appearance of the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences represents nothing else but the darkest nationalism. It means the liquidation of the current system of our country, that is the disintegration after which there is no survival for any nation or nationality….. Tito’s policy of brotherhood and unity … is the only basis on which Yugoslavia’s survival can be secured."
Tim Judah: "The Serbs- History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia."; New Haven; 1997; p.160.
    Clearly when Milosevic took his subsequent actions at rallies in Kosova, he  knew exactly what he was doing.
    Milosevic was born in 1941 in Pozarevac just outside Belgrade, the son of recent Montenegrin immigrants. Both parents later separately committed suicide. He met and married Mirjana (Mira) Markovic, the daughter of Moma Markovic a political commissar of units, and her mother had been secretary of the Belgrade Communist party although denounced for "unheroic attitudes". Her Uncle Draza Markovic had been a leading Serbian politician and her Aunt Davorjanka Paunovic had been a lover of Tito. The standing of Mirjana in the party was thus high. At university, Mira and Slobodan became friends with Ivan Stambolic, a nephew of a leading Serbian politician called Peter Stambolic.
    Ivan and Slobodan worked through a number of leading jobs together – In 1968 Milosevic was working in the Technogas Company and by 1973 was its head. In 1978 Slobodan became president of Beobanka, a major Belgrade bank.
    By now Ivan Stambolic had become head of Serbia’s Central Committee. Slobodan therefore moved with the help of Ivan’s patronage into politics becoming head of the Belgrade party branch. At this juncture, the climate in Yugoslavia had changed away from any sense of Titoite pretence at a multi-national unified state. Stambolic fueled Serbian nationalism to curry favour with some national elements, but he drew back from the full implications of it. Not so Milosevic. All this time, many of the views being disseminated in Serbia were: "Nationalist analyses of the situation in Kosova (which) were but thinly disguised attempts to criminalise Yugoslavia’s Albanians population in Serb minds. … They would be considered an incitement to racial hatred. The result was by the mid-1980’s Stambolic had given Serb nationalism a respectability it did not deserve and one which would ultimately be his downfall." Bennett C; "Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse"; New York; 1995; p.91-92.     When in April 1987, Stambolic asked him to go to Kosova to intervene in the rapidly heating-up situation, Kosova Serbs clashed with policeman who were mainly Albanians. In Pristina, at a place called Kosova-Polje, Milosevic in a pre-arranged move, said before the TV cameras: "No one should dare to beat you!" (Judah; Ibid; p.162). From this time on Milosevic’s men worked with the Kosova Serb leader Miroslav Soljevic to escalate the tensions in Kosova. His demagoguery struck as it was meant to do: "Before Milosevic’s speech at Kosova-Polje, no communist politician not even Stambolic or Dabcevic-Kucar (President of Croatia during the "Croatian Spring of 1971"-editor) had overtly appealed to the parochial nationalism of one of Yugoslavia’s peoples….. Milosevic became the first politician to drop the Titoist jargon and with all commitment to national equality. Over a series of speeches, his message became plain: that Serbs had to fight for their rights as a nation and that he, as head of Serbia’s League of Communist could best prosecute that struggle on behalf of all Serbs. It was a blow from which Tito’s Yugoslavia would never recover. The decisive battle in Yugoslavia’s disintegration was fought not in 1991, but in 1987.…. The principal antagonists were Milosevic on behalf of Greater Serbia and Dragisa Pavlovic, who became chief defender of the Stambolic wing of the League of Communists and the battleground was the League of Communist of Serbia itself and the Serbian media. .. the odds were stacked against Pavlovic and Stambolic because Milosevic had prepared his offensive well in advance and had already placed his supporters in key posts."
Bennett C; "Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse"; New York; 1995; p.94.
    The most blatant distortions allowed Milosevic to continue turning the screw and propagandizing. Milosevic held mass rallies that were stage-managed, and assisted by free bussing and feedings and holidays from work given. Thus in September 1987, the case of a mentally disturbed Albanian conscript in the Yugoslav National Army who shot dead four fellow conscripts – only one of whom was a Serb. This spurred the Serb media to portray it as Albanian plot, and 10,000 people attended a mass funeral. Although the Kosovar-Albanian miners of Trepca, fought a final battle, in 20 February 1989, the juggernaught rolled on. But by the Eight Plenum of the Serbian League of Communists in September 1987, Milosevic called for and won Pavlovic’s explosion. Three months alter Stambolic resigned as President of Serbia and a Milosevic man was put in. Milosevic now purged the League of Communists and placed his voices on all major posts including in the final parts of the media that had not been on side.
    The same racial slurs were extended across the state to Vojvodian (in the Northern part of Serbia near the Hungarian region) and then Montenegro. As the federal government did not do anything, both governments collapsed under the weight of mass rallies orchestrated by Milosevic. (Bennett Ibid; p.,99).
    Throughout this time the Federal President Raif Dizdarevic was too fearful to declare a state of emergency. The Federal LCY pacified Milosevic and sacrificed Kosova – the sole part of the country that was organizing and refusing to cave into Milosevic led-Serbian demands. Now the Albanian leadership (Vllasi and Kaqusha Jashari) was dismissed in November 1988 and replaced by Milosevic stooges.
    The Kosovar Albanians responded with huge demonstrations which led into underground hunger strikes by 1300 miners for the Trepca lead and zinc mines. A short-lived victory was the resignation of the Milosevic regime in Kosova on 28 February. But this was short lived – as mass rallies were whipped up in Belgrade and the Kosova assembly on 23 March was: "Ringed by tanks and with MIG’s flying low overhead, was coerced into accepting a new constitution returning authority to Serbia. Five days later … the Serbian parliament proclaimed the constitutional changes, which finally destroyed all vestiges of Tito’s Yugoslavia. Meanwhile Albanians took to the streets… between 120 and 140 died." Bennett Ibid; p. 100.     Milosevic now moved against other states - in turn – first Slovenia – and then Croatia and penultimately Bosnia Herzegovina.
    The Slovenes were being targeted now for having exposed the corruption at the heart of the Serbian arms industry. The youth section of the communist in Slovenia published in its weekly "Mladina", an expose of a visit by the then federal Defence Minister Branko Mamula to Ethiopia – calling him a "salesman of death" – who used conscript soldiers to build himself a luxury villa at Opatija. The JNA struck back arresting on 31 May 1988, JANEZ JANSA – a senior Mladina writer on military affaires and candidate President of Slovenia’s Youth Organization – on charges of betraying military secrets. In total four journalists were finally charged and convicted – under markedly illegal manner. The trial was insisted upon being held in Serbo-Croatian inside Slovenia. The Miladin journalists formed the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights.
    As Milosevic moved now against Kosova, the miners came out in Trepca. The extraordinary fact is that – workers in Slovenia and Croatia assisted materially the Albanian miners: "When the Albanian miners began their underground hunger strike the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights threw its weight behind the miners and began collecting money for them and their families. Despite the severity of Yugoslavia’s economic recession ordinary people in both Slovenia and Croatia dug deep into their pockets to pledge money in support of the strikers. When the federal Presidency sent the military into Kosova, more than 1 million Slovenes, that is half the total population, signed a petition against the state of emergency, 450,00 in one day. On 27 February Slovenia’s opposition organized a rally at Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana’s cultural center to demonstrate solidarity with Kosova… leading communist including the President Milan Kucan joined…. Soon after Slovenia withdrew its police contingent from Kosova." Bennett C; Ibid; p.106. Naturally in the middle of the escalation of pressure that Milosevic was putting both Kosova, and by this stage Slovenia – Slovenians pushed for secession. In fact Milosevic had placed an economic boycott on Slovenia. The Slovenes were also threatened with a mass rally of Serbs in the heart of Slovenia. By this time – the bones of a feudal prince – Prince Lazar – were being paraded around Serbia in hysteria.
    Another key point must be made explicit. This system was NOT socialist. The various Leagues of Communist – were not Communists. Hence – unsurprisingly given the degree of exploitation in Yugoslavia, the dissolution of these charades of "communism" – was nothing more than a Progressive step. And this rapidly now occurred.
    Under pressure from the Slovene people, on 27 September 1989 Slovenia’s parliament passed fifty-four amendments to its constitution:     This followed soon on. Milosevic altered the constitution of Serbia demanding in effect rights across all of Yugoslavia: "Hitherto each Yugoslav republic had been sovereign, and republican leaders had represented all people living in their republic irrespective of nationality. In Serbia’s amended constitution of March 1989, this was altered and that of sovereignty within the nation replaced the concept of sovereignty within the republic. In future, in addition to his own republic, Milosevic claimed the right to represent all Serbs throughout Yugoslavia. Since large Serb populations lived in six of Yugoslavia’s eight federal units, this direct appeal to them above the head of the republican leaderships was an exceptionally powerful weapon in the Milosevic arsenal which he used to undermine authority in the government of Croatian and Bosnia-Herzegovina." Bennett Ibid; p.115-116.     After elections where the majority voted on 8 April 1990 in a multi-party elections. At this point the JNA disarmed both the Croatian and Slovenian defence forces. Facing elections himself, Milosevic deliberately turned to an hyperinflation policy to get himself elected by printing money to the tune of $1.7 Billion (Bennett Ibid; p.121). During this time, Milosevic turned on Croatia and essentially repeated the ethnic goading and racism that he had used successfully in Kosova. Croatia was soon set in flames.
    Now he fired up Serbs in Bosnia and got them to establish three new krajinas that refused to accept Sarajevo'’ authority. At this vital juncture, in May 1991, the rotating head of state – the federal President should automatically have gone to Croatia. Serbia simply refused. There was now no head of state (Bennett Ibid; p. 150).
    Both Slovenia and Croatia were by this time coming under intense pressure from the Serbs.     In fact, both the EEC and the USA refused to back the desperate calls of the Slovenes and the Croats for independence: "Yugoslavs hoped the EEC would (assist in becoming a part of the EEC).. Indeed most parties contesting the 1990 elections aspired to membership, and Slovenia’s former communists campaigned under the slogan "Europe Now" (Evropa Zdaj). The EEC was certainly in a position to play such a role. However one of the requirements for assistance was that Yugoslavia remain a unitary state. The EEC was loathe to see Yugoslavia fragment into mini-states… divorce was likely to be an exceedingly messy affair."
Bennett Ibid; p.153.

"Five days before Slovenia was due to declare independence James Baker (US Secretary of State).. Made an unscheduled stop in Yugoslavia to make the US position on Yugoslavia matters categorically clear. During his one-day visit, he met with Yugoslavia; republican leaders and military chiefs… declaring that the US would not recognize Slovenia or Croatian ‘under any circumstances’. Baker was effectively ordering Slovenia and Croatia ‘under any circumstances ‘ to make a humiliating climbdown, without placing comparable pressure on Serbia and the JNA, or offering the Northern republics any form of carrot."
Bennett Ibid; p. 154.

    On 25th June 1991, the Slovenes declared independence. The JNA then started war on Slovenia on 27 June 1991. This was a decision of the army, now illegally so since no political head sanctioned it. Only now did the EEC imperialists get heavily involved and Luxemburg’s Jacques Poos brokered the Brinoi Accord. On May 31 the JNA attacked Croatia. By 6 April 1992, the USA recognized Slovenia and Croatia, and with the EEC, Bosnia. By this time "ethnic cleansing" – had been well practiced by the JNA and Serb militias led by Milosevic. And then… Bosnia.
    Why had the Western imperialists waited? The USA was retarded initially by the EEC. But in addition, the USA were all the time "appeasing Milsoevic" - because ultimately he was their man and was performing the de-stabilisation in the Balkans the USA wanted. This helped them in their struggle against the EEC. This is discussed in more detail in part 6.

Summary: Milosevic quite coldly and deliberately unleashed racism and chauvinism in order to ensure Serbian domination of the state. The break up of Yugoslavia – where neither Slovenia nor Croatia were prepared to accept Serbian revanchist rule - was a natural sequel to Milosevic’s vicious fascist and racist bullying.
Imperialism – (other than Serbian "little-country" fascist imperialism) had very little to do with it at this stage. 

Much of the story of the subsequent Bosnian war has already been discussed by Alliance – the reader is referred to the web site at:  ; or hard copies are available from Alliance.

For part 4 of Alliance 33 entitled: PART 4: DENIAL OF MASSACRES. Did massacres occur in a Milosovic inspired Serb revanchism?
Or Go To Introduction & Table Contents Alliance 33