33: June 1999:
PART 3: WHO
IS MILOSEVIC; WHAT ARE HIS IDEOLOGY AND GOALS?
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: "http://www.egroups.com/list/marxist-leninist-list/.
) 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.
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
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
Bennett C: "Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse"; New
York; 1995; p.74-5.
Bennett Ibid; p.77
The stage was set for any potential
racist to rip the fabric of Yugoslavia apart. When the
(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.
Milosevic took his subsequent actions at rallies in Kosova, he knew
exactly what he was doing.
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
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
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.
same racial slurs were extended across the state to
the Northern part of Serbia near the Hungarian region) and then
As the federal government did not do anything, both governments collapsed
under the weight of mass rallies orchestrated by Milosevic. (Bennett Ibid;
Throughout this time the
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
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;
Milosevic now moved against other
states - in turn – first Slovenia – and then Croatia and penultimately
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.
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;
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.
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
pressure from the Slovene people, on 27 September 1989 Slovenia’s parliament
passed fifty-four amendments to its constitution:
"formally renouncing the League of Communists’
monopoly of power and including the explicit right to self determination,
That is secession from Yugoslavia".
This followed soon on. Milosevic
altered the constitution of Serbia demanding in effect rights across all
"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.
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.
Bennett Ibid; p.109.
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).
Slovenia and Croatia were by this time coming under intense pressure from
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
BUT WHOSE MAN WAS MILOSEVIC??
WAS IMPERIALISM FOR HIM OR
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."
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.
Bennett Ibid; p. 154.
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.
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
Much of the story of the subsequent
Bosnian war has already been discussed by Alliance – the reader is referred
to the web site at: http://www22.brinkster.com/harikumar/AllianceIssues/ALLIANCE18-BOSNIA95.html
; 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 http://www22.brinkster.com/harikumar/Albania/All33-intro.htm
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