FORMER YUGOSLAVIA : TITO & ROOTS OF GREAT SERB CHAUVINISM October 1995
Note: No maps in electronic version
‘It is imperatively necessary to include in the national programme
a special point on the right of nations to self-determination, including
the right to secede’.
MAPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (i)
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
- FACT OR FICTION?
A) EARLY HISTORY OF SERBIA, CROATIA AND BOSNIA . . . . . .4
B) TURKISH CONQUEST 1463 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
C) BOSNIA, RELIGION AND THE MUSLIM CONVERSIONS. . . . . 11
a) Why did Bosnia end with large Muslim population? . .13
b) Who set up Serbian Orthodoxy in Bosnia? . . . . . . 14
D) OTTOMAN RULE. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .. .15
E) AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN RULE 1878-1914 . . . . . . . . . . 13
F) THE FIRST YUGOSLAVIA - A MONARCHIST STATE . . . . . 16
G) SECOND WORLD WAR : VARIOUS ASSORTED FASCISTS - ANTE PAVLIC
& STEVAN MOLJEVIC & DRAZA MIHAILOVIC.. . . . 20
H) THE NUMBERS GAME. . . . . .. . .. . . . . . . . . . . 24
2. TITO : NO MARXIST-LENINIST!
TITO AND NATIONAL STRUGGLES
A) ATTEMPTED SUBVERSION OF THE ALBANIAN
REVOLUTION. . . .25
B) EXPULSION FROM COMINFORM . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
C) WAS TITO A COMMUNIST? ECONOMIC POLICY IN YUGOSLAVIA. 34
D) NATIONAL POLICY - THE CASE OF KOSOVA . . . . . . . . 37
E) LATER TITO POLICY ON NATIONAL QUESTION . . . . . . . .41
F) FOLLOWING DEATH OF TITO, SERB AMBITION RESURFACES. . 42
G) HOW DO MARXIST-LENINISTS SEE THE NATIONAL QUESTION ? .44
3. THE PRESENT GENOCIDAL WAR
WAGED BY SERBIA; & INTER-IMPERIALIST CONFLICT OVER BOSNIA
A) SERBOPHOBIA’ IN THE PRESS RATTLESNAKES AND RAPES? .. . 49
B) YUGOSLAVIA SINCE 1989 EEC USES SERB AGGRESSION TO HIT AT USA
IMPERIALISM. . . . . . . . .52
C) USA GAINS UPPER HAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
D) CONTINUING CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN EEC AND USA . . . . .68 CONCLUSION
. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
J.V.STALIN ON YUGOSLAVIA :
'Concerning The National Question In Yugoslavia', 'Works',
Volume 7; Moscow; 1954; p.75
Defence of the old AEastern
Bloc" & Yugoslavia, equates Acommunism"
with Arevisionism". Some comrades,
intending to defend Acommunist
policies", fall into this trap. They support Serbian revanchist forces,
RADOVAN KARADZICH, leader of the Serbian Democratic party;
and SLOBODAN MILOSOVICH; President
of Serbia. They agree with Louise Popovich [See North Star Compass
: December 1994; Vol 3 No 5; pp 9-10] and the Canadian Serb Council
(CSC) and Steve Milosevic, who, adopt a Great Serb expansionist
line. These people adopt the guise Afreedom
to allow the Serbs of Bosnia their Anational
But this line differs from Stalin’s line on the
national question. Support for GREAT SERB CHAUVINISM,
(supposedly to AMaintain
boundaries of socialist Yugoslavia"); supports Titoite revisionism. Marxist-Leninists
accept the Cominform view of Tito:
AAn individual economy..
Inevitably gives birth to capitalism.. The liquidation of the last and
most numerous exploiting class, the kulaks (Rural capitalists- Ed), is
possible only on the basis of mass collectivisation of agriculture. The
Information Bureau comes to the unanimous conclusion that the leaders of
the Yugoslav Communist Party.. Have taken the way of transition to positions
of nationalism.. Such a nationalistic conception can lead to the lowering
of Yugoslavia to the usual bourgeois republic and to a loss of Yugoslav
independence to the imperialist countries."
Communist Information Bureau : Resolution on Yugoslav
Communist Party (July 1948), in Keesings Contemporary Archives, Volume
7; p. 9,381.
Khrushchev and Tito were fellow
revisionists. Yugoslavia’s break-up into its component parts therefore
is not automatically Aanti-communist".
It is no accident that vicious anti-Communists,
the ACANADIAN SERB COUNCIL" (CSC);
support a revanchist Serbia.
THIS ARTICLE DEALS WITH
THREE PRIMARY QUESTIONS :
1. Is there any entity as a separate Bosnia; or
is Bosnia part of ASerbia"?
2. Did Tito adopt Marxist-Leninism in economic policy
or National Policy?
3. What does imperialism want as Yugoslavia disintegrates?
1. BOSNIA-HERCOGOVINA - FACT OR FICTION?
enjoyed its own medieval state and was a separateand legally defined provincial
entity during its 400 years under Ottoman rule. It also maintained its
own special status both under Austrian rule and as part of Yugoslavia.
As an integral territory, including Hercogovina, Bosnia has had more durable
and widely recognised borders throughout the centuries than either Serbia
A) EARLY HISTORY OF SERBIA, CROATIA &
‘Bosnia-Herzogovina. A Tradition betrayed.’ R.J. Donia
and J.V.A. Fine, Jr. New York, 1994; p. 7.
Historical sources agree that Bosnia-Hercogovina formed
a stable, and clearly identified state. We rebut charges laid by the CSC.
These include :
Who on earth would think that Kissinger's background,
allow him authority to establish or refute Bosnia as a State?! BOSNIA-HERCOGOVINA
IS A NATION. Popovich and Milosevic can only overcome logic
and historical facts, with demagoguery and provocation [such as using epithets
as "Fundamentalism"] :
‘To fight to escape the rule of an Islamic fundamental despot like
Izatbegovic in a country that belongs to you (for 13 centuries) and was
taken away by the fiat of foreigners - is the natural reaction of any people
(ie. the Serbs).. for national survival.’
‘Only a fictitious Muslim ‘state of Bosnia’, existed. Popovich;
Dec, 1994; Vol 3 No 5; p.9 NSC
AThe South Slavs of Bosnia and
Hercegovina never had the same clearly defined national identity in the
middle ages as the Serbs and the Croats." (Steve Milosevic
: ‘Rocks and Rattlesnakes-The Civil War in Bosnia and Hercegovina’; The
Canadian Serbian Council; Hamilton; Ontario; 1995. p.14.)
AAt no time in history has a
Bosnian nation existed".
Bosnians -mainly Muslims and Serbs- and Hercegovinians - principally Serbs
and Croats- have historical and cultural claims but no claim on Bosnian
state or nationhood.
"It is important to understand that Bosnia has never been a nation - there
is no specifically Bosnian cultural identify" Henry Kissinger, former American
Secretary of State. (Milosevic; Ibid; p. 22.).
(Popovich; Ibid; p.10 NSC).
But, as late as February 12 1993, The Bosnian Cabinet
consisted of 9 Muslims, 6 Serbs, and 5 Croats. A truly multi-ethnic cabinet,
far from being a AMuslim Fundamentalist"
Jihad centre! Facts are simply discarded by Popovich and Milosevic.
A) EARLY & MEDIEVAL HISTORY OF SERBIA,
CROATIA & BOSNIA
Situated at a major intersection of Asia and Europe,
the Balkans saw many cultural and racial cross-fertilisations. A Apure"
Serb or a Apure Bosnian" or a
Apure Croat" is meaningless.
Marxist-Leninists, do not in any case, consider racial divides of primary
importance in defining a nation.
Nonetheless, the earliest known inhabitants of the
Balkans were the Illyrians. Today,
their direct linguistic descendants are found only in Albania. But they
were once spread over the Balkans. The Roman
Empire subjugated most of these tribes by AD 9. Gold and silver
was mined by the Romans in Eastern Bosnia. In the wake of the Romans came
Christian missions (See later).
As Rome faltered, other waves of migrants came -
Goths, Asiatic Huns, Avars and the Slavs.
The Slavs, originally from Scandinavia, became dominant, settling
in Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Montengro in the late 6th and early 7th
Centuries. They came from a single Slavic confederation - the Slaveni;
in small tribal units. It is true that:
AThe Slaveni- were all one
people.. the Bosnians come from the same Slavic base as today's Serbs and
(R.J.Donia and Fine J.V.A. Ibid; p. 14.)
But the Balkan melting pot defies simplicity; the
Croats and Serbs themselves were originally Iranians;
a second wave of Slav invaders (Donia and Fine Ibid; p. 14;
N.Malcolm :’A Short History of Bosnia’; London; 1994; p.7). During
the early Middle Ages, Bosnia was often under foreign rule, of various
states : Serbia (briefly under Caslav
till 960 AD); Croatia (under Kresmir
II till 997 AD); and Bulgaria (Briefly
under Samuel); Byzantium (After it
swallowed Bulgaria in 1018), and at various times Hungary.
But in a sea of shifting allegiances, even the oldest established Balkan
power, the Byzantine Empire had only precarious control over Bosnia.
in modern Hercegovina and Montengro and south-west Serbia were gathered
by a Grand Zupan, under a princedom by the mid 9th Century.
Croatia was gathered together under King Tomislav.
After his death, his territories, including North and Western Bosnia; were
taken over by Serbs under allegiance to the Byzantine empire.
Bosnia as a distinct and
separate entity was recognised however. As early as 958 AD, Byzantine
EMPEROR CONSTANTINE PORPHYROGENITUS, noted a ‘territory of Bosnia’
(N.Malcolm; Ibid, p.10). Even though, it was then
under Serb rule. Bosnia then fell to the Croats for about 50 years.
In 1019 EMPEROR BASIL II
(AThe Bulgar Slayer"), forced
Serb and Croat allegiance to Byzantium. Now Serbs and Croats, ruled as
Governors over Bosnia, under Byzantine authority. In South Serbia, Serbian
King Bodin defied the Byzantines a
little, but Bodin's empire broke up in 1101. For Serbia, ambitions now
shifted East to Raska. Croatia was taken over by Hungary, whose King in
1102 was crowned King of Croatia. Croatia’s
relationship with Hungary (subjugation and or alliance) continued till
THIS WAS A BEGINNING OF
A REAL SEPARATE AMBITION FOR BOSNIA.
The Byzantine EMPEROR MANUEL
COMNENUS, who warred against Bosnia, now referred to Bosnia's
distinctness. In 1180 Emperor Commenus' secretary, chronicler KINNAMOS
‘Bosnia does not obey the grand zupan of the Serbs; it is a neighbouring
people with its own customs and government.’ (Malcolm, Ibid,
After Commenus died, in 1180, Bosnia stood alone:
ASince it was no longer
ruled by Byzantine Empire or by Croatia, was able to stand, for the first
time as a more or less independent state." (Malcolm, Ibid,
Neither Serbia and Croatia had had adequate time to
establish a Aserious claim nor
to acquire their loyalty"; (Donia and Fine; Ibid; p.16.)
By the 12th Century, BAN KULIN (1180-1204)
established Bosnia as a prosperous and independent region, and the merchants
of Ragusa developed trade. The title Ban was now:
ARegularly held by Bosnia's
rulers (where independent or under foreign overlordship) from.. Kulin in
1180.. until 1377, when Ban Tvrtko assumed the title of king". (Donia
and Fine; Ibid; p.15)
After Kulin died
in 1204, the Hungarian empire tried to control it, taking advantage of
religious divisions such as Bogomilism (See below). By 1254 onwards, HUNGARIAN
SUZERAINTY divided Bosnia into two : UPPER
AND LOWER BOSNIA. Lower Bosnia remained under the Bosnian Bans.
Upper Bosnia under Hungarian control, was joined to part of North Serbia,
forming the Duchy of Macva and Bosnia
- an outpost against Bulgaria and Serbia. Vassal Princes of the SUBIC
family (a Bosnian family - Milosevic alleges that the
Subics were Serb. This is just one of many biased factual errors.) took
control in 1299, for Hungary. A native uprising in 1322 removed the Subics.
Now the Bogomil Ban, STEVEN
KOTROMANIC, maintained and expanded Bosnia using shifting alliances.
He captured HUM (or Hlum; later Herzogovina)
from Serbians :
AFrom 1168 to 1326 Hum was
separate from Bosnia under members of the Serbian royal family, the Nemajic
dynasty. Thus this region was under Serbian rule for an extensive periods
of time... After the death of King Milutin of Serbia in 1321, disorders
followed among the Serbs of Serbia. As a result Kotromanic was able to
conquer Hum in 1326. Here.. most of the population was Orthodox. The Ban
did not interfere with Orthodox institutions."
(Donia and Fine Ibid; p.19-20)
Hum had been contested by Hungary. Therefore Kotromanic
ensured the neutrality of the papacy and the Hungarian King, by renouncing
the Bosnian Church, adopting the Roman Catholic faith in 1340. His state
was not attacked by the great Serbian King STEVEN
Milosevic alleges that Kotromanic was a Serb.
This is typical nonsense.
Milosevic bases this upon the title that Kotromanic
took, stemming from an old intermarriage with the Serbian Nemanjics. The
Nemanjics became extinct, leaving Kotromanic claim to Serbia's throne,
exercised by the conquest of Hum. But Kotromanic also stormed Croatia,
but no one calls Kotromanic a Croat! Ban Kulin's sister married the ruler
of Hum, neither was he a Serb. These marriage alliances were typical, and
made even religious divides irrelevant:
ARulers and nobles (Unlike
their contemporaries in.. Europe and Serbia and Croatia) were indifferent
to religious issues. They intermarried and formed alliances across denominational
lines when it suited their world aims, they changed faiths easily."
(Donia and Fine Ibid; p.26).
To draw any relevance from such dynastic marriages,
for today - is fatuous. The facts are these :
AAs a result of (taking
Hum).. And the extinction in Serbia in 1371 of the Nemanjic dynasty, to
which Tvrtko belonged (for his grandfather had married the daughter of
Serbia’s King Stefan Dragutin
Nemanjic) Tvrtko claimed the Serbian kingship. He was crowned King of Serbia
and Bosnia in 1377 at the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Milesevo
on the recently conquered Lim.. the rulers of Bosnia instead of being Bans,
were Kings and bore this double title even though they held very little
Serbian territory. Tvrtko then participated in a civil war over the Hungarian
Throne, which drew into the fray on one side or the other many Croatian
nobles... Tvrtko succeeded in acquiring considerable Croatian territory,
including several Dalmatian cites. By 1390 Tvrtko had added ACroatia
and Dalmatia" to his royal title."
(Donia and Fine Ibid; p.29-30).
Kotromanic achieved significant prosperity for Bosnia
AUnder Kotromanic Bosnia
mines were opened (especially lead and silver, paving the way for Bosnia’s
economic development and increasing its commercial contacts."
(Donia and Fine Ibid; p.21).
death, his nephew TVRTKO, a minor
took the throne, tempting the Hungarians to invade Hum. By 1370, Tvrtko
had expelled the Hungarians; by 1347 he recovered Hum and annexed part
of Dalmatia. After Serbian Steven Dusan's death, the Serbian knez (prince),
LAZAR ceded to Tvrtko, a large tract of Bosnia in exchange for a
military alliance. This tract included the principality of Trabunja and
the coast to Kotor. (SEE MAP
below). Further territorial power continued to accumulate:
AIn 1376 Tvrtko was crowned
"King of the Serbs and of Bosnia and of the Coast" .. In 1377 Tvrtko married
the daughter of the last Bulgarian emperor.. Tvrtko was able to take a
large part of the Adriatic coast from Hungary, the large islands of Brac,
Hvar, and Korcula too surrendered.. By 1390 he was able to include among
many of his titles that of AKing
of Dalmatia and Croatia". The leadership of the Southern Slavs had in fact,
passed from Serbia to Bosnia.. Tvrtko had become a King, Lazar was merely
prince (knez) of the diminished state of Serbia." (Darby
H.C., R.W.Seton-Watson, P.Auty, R.G.D.Laffan and S.Clissold. A Short History
of Yugoslavia. Early Times to 1966’; Cambridge; 1968.p.61.)
B) TURKISH CONQUEST 1463
Before Tvrtko died in 1391, he attempted to seal an
alliance with Serbia against Turkey. This proved futile at the Battle
of Kosovo (1389). After his death, a disputed succession and
disputes in the kingdom, ensured that the Turks and Venetians controlled
Bosnia between them. Three nobles Hrovje Vukcic,
Sandal Hranic and Stephen Vukcic divided up Bosnia.
Stephen, taking over Hum, asserted independence
from the Bosnians. He dropped the title of Vojvoda in 1448, taking the
title of Herceg (Duke) of Hum and the Coast.
He then changed it to Herceg of St.Sava.
In its German form the title was AHerzog"
- hence "Herzogovina" or Hercegovina.
Much is made by Milosevic
of the "fact" that Stephen was a "Serb". Actually, St.Sava belonged
to Lazar of Serbia, who ceded territory to Tvrtko, including the coast
from Ragusa to Kotor. This contained the Monastery
of Milesevo; which contained the relics of St.Sava. Indeed,
Sava was one of the most sacred figures in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
(N.Malcolm ; Ibid.; p. 19.)
Thus St.Sava was a Aspoil
of war". But why did Stephen Vukic wish to shift allegiance away from the
king; and why did the Serb cede land? The first because of battles between
the Bosnian "nobles" and the "overlord noble" the King. For his ends, Vukic
wished to ally with Serb ruler George Brankovic:
AWho as a semi-independent
vassal of the Turks was still warring against the Bosnian king for control
over the Srebrenica region of Eastern Bosnia". (N.Malcolm
; Ibid.; p. 22)
The many shifting alliances and wars of conquests created
a changing power structure. These enabled outside interested parties to
insinuate themselves into the fray. These were initially the OTTOMANS
AND THE HUNGARIAN:
AIn the 15th Century feuds
between king and noble became commonplace, More and more frequently the
expanding Ottoman Turks involved themselves.. As did the Hungarians, occasionally
allied with the rulers of Serbia. As a result on occasion, a frequently
victorious Hungary assigned territory on the Bosnian side of the Drina
to the Serbian ruler (especially the rich silver mine of Srebrenica); when
Srebrenica was lost, the Bosnians refused to recognise Serbian possession
of it and many clashes occurred between Serbia and Bosnia over it. Ethnic
differences played no part in any of this warfare.A
(Donia and Fine; Ibid; p. 30-31.) (Editors's bolding).
By 1392 all Serb Orthodox lands; bar the Bosnian-ruled
ASubmitted to Ottoman suzerainty’(Malcolm
; Ibid.; p. 20).
The Turks became ever more and more a fact of life.
Raids gave way to formal occupation of the Balkans. The Turks fostered
one Bosnian noble (the illegitimate son of Tvrtko called TVRTKO
II) and the Hungarians another - OSTOJA.
Hungary reasserted a short rule over Bosnia, but lost to Turkey
in battle. Ostoja remained in power, beholden to the Turks. On his death
the Turks supported Tvrtko II into power, who promptly then shifted to
the Hungarians. But the balance of forces was again shifted.
Under MOHAMMED II (the
Conqueror), Constantinople was captured from the Byzantines
1435. Despite pleas for help from King Steven Thomas of Bosnia to the Pope,
and the Venetians, the Ottoman invasion took Bosnia in 1463. From Bosnia,
the Turks invaded Hungary and further West. But by 1683, after the failed
assault on Vienna in 1683, the Turks were forced to the defensive.
C) BOSNIA, RELIGION AND THE MUSLIM CONVERSIONS
Marxist-Leninists do not accept arguments of religion
to establish a nationhood. But there are some fallacies in Milosevic's
arguments based on religion. This require a short religious journey. Following
the Romans there were two centres of Christianity. Both East and West Churches
took root in Bosnia, but in different parts. This was a matter of geographic
AFrom the 9th Century Christian
missions from Rome and Constantinople pushed into the Balkans; Rome won
Croatia and most of Dalmatia, while Constantinople succeeded in Bulgaria,
Macedonia and eventually most of Serbia. Bosnia lying in between.. Due
to its mountainous terrain and poor communications .. Was.. A no-man's
land between East and West.’ Donia and Fine; Ibid; p.17)
When the split or Schism between Orthodox and Catholic
Churches came in the 11th century, territory was already divided:
ABosnia more superficially
worked up by the missions along with Albania, did not end up permanently
locked into either Church’s camp,
remained receptive to switches of faith’. (Donia and Fine;
With the convenient "conversions" of the Bans, by the
10th Century, most Bosnians were nominally under Roman Churches. But:
ACatholicism was primitive;
Bosnians did not know Latin and few were literate in any language.’ (Donia
and Fine; Ibid; p.17).
As well as these Churches, the BOGOMIL
Heretical belief spread. The Paternes or Bogomils thought that the material
world was the Devil's world and that rigid ascetism was the only escape
from the Devil. They rejected the Old Testament, the incarnation, the Cross,
the sacraments and the whole Christian Church organisation. They formed
CHURCH.’ Comments H.C.Darby:
ABogomilism became the faith
not only of the common people but of many landowners and nobles as well.
Kulin himself formally abandoned the Roman Church in order to become a
Bogomil, but he was forced to recant later under pressure form the papacy
and from Hungary (1203). Despite this the Bogomil heresy continued to spread
throughout the land’.
(Darby et al; Ibid; p. 59.
Milosevic claims that claims to a separate Bosnia rest on a false religious
or those seeking even the most tenuous link to the past interpret the Bogomils
as a 'Bosnian Church’ and by extension, as legitimization of the Muslim
claim to Bosnia.. there is no evidence to suggest that they would have
represented a significant proportion of the population.’ (Milosevic;
But this is not the basis for the AMuslim
claim" to Bosnia. Milosevic is trying to set up a straw man, to Afurther
prove" the identity of Serbia and Bosnia. So Milosevic aims at a dead target,
and cites Fred Singleton Fred Singleton:’A Short History
of the Yugoslav Peoples’; Cambridge University Press, 1985):
AIt has been suggested that
the rapid increase in the Muslim population during this period (Turkish
conquest to 1530) cannot be attributed to the mass conversion of Bogomils
as the greatest numbers were recorded in the areas where Bogomils were
fewer in number especially in the towns." (Milosevic; Ibid.;
A previous incorrect scholarship did ascribe a key role
to the Bogomils. But Milosevic is only partially right. How so? By following
Singleton, he is firstly right to deny that the Muslim conversions were
purely due to an alienated Bogomil Church, a Church clearly separate from
either Western Roman Catholic influence; or from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Reliable data cited by Malcolm, also refutes the size and significance
of the Bogomil Church in either providing the numbers of Muslim conversions
claimed by some (Malcolm Ibid; p. 27-42).; or indeed
with even a significant size by the time of the Turkish Invasion. (Malcolm
Ibid; p. 27-42). But Milosevic avoids two questions:
AThus Bosnia presents us
with the curious phenomenon of an aristocratic caste, Slav by race, yet
Mohammedan by religion. Hence the country affords a striking contrast to
Serbia. There the Mohammedans were never anything more than a foreign colony
of Turks; here the Mohammedans were native Slavs, men of the same race
as the Christian, whom they despised." (Miller W: ‘Essays
on the Latin Orient’; Cambridge 1921; p. 494. Cited by Darby; Ibid; p.
Why did many Bosnians convert? One
reason, was that there was not a single
Church monopoly as in Serbia. This allowed the peasant and serfs to be
more cavalier with formal religion. Evidence shows that the peasants of
Bosnia had no scruple about moving from Church to Mosque and back again.
Bans changed religion at political convenience. Later the Ottomans were
AThe Christians were left
free to organise their communal affairs and their private laws as they
pleased." (p. 65 Darby Ibid).
In addition there
were migrations into Bosnia from the retreat of the Turkish forces after
their defeat at Vienna. Also slaves taken in battle were converted.
Why did Bosnia end up with a large Muslim population? Milosevic
has no explanation of this historical fact. Yet this is even he admits,
a great cultural difference between Serbia and Bosnia. Miller, a scholar
of the period, saw this pointed up a critical difference between Bosnians
Slavs and Serbian Slavs:
there were obvious and significant advantages to being a Muslim under the
Ottoman rule. These included escape from the traditional discriminatory
laws of the kanun-i raya. These restricted
non-Muslims from such things as riding horses, carrying weapons, or wearing
certain clothes. More substantially was a bar in law suits. Christian testimony
was not taken in court.
were tax exemptions, like the cizye or hrac,
an annual graduated poll-tax, though Muslims paid zakat
alms-tax. But the conversions were slow and extended over a long time:
ANo conversion occurred en
masse at the time of conquest; conversions were a long drawn-out gradual
process. Secondly, Bosnian Churchmen converted not only to Islam but also
the two other Christian faiths. Finally many Catholics and Orthodox also
became Muslims." (Donai and Fine; Ibid; p. 35.)
The existence of this church in Bosnia is used, to further
argue Serbia's identity with Bosnia. However, on closer examination some
unusual features would defeat even this argument. Firstly,
only after the Ottoman state was the Orthodox Church significantly established
AIn terms of Church organisation,
the Serbian Orthodox Church remains virtually invisible on the territory
of modern Bosnia proper in the pre-Ottoman period. After the arrival of
the Turk.. The picture begins to change. From the 1480s on, Orthodox priests
and believers are mentioned in many parts of Bosnia where they were not
mentioned before".’ (Malcolm;
Ibid; p. 71.)
In part explanation, was the Ottoman policy to people
depopulated lands with VLACHS. Who
were Vlachs? Malcolm confesses, that this is "one of the most vexed questions
in Balkan history". ( Malcolm, Ibid; p. 73.). Malcolm
traces them to shepherds and herdsmen
who practised transhumance. The word
"Vlach" itself was used by early Slavs for people who spoke Latin; hence
"Wallachian" or AWalloon".
Similarities with Illyrian, or Albanian, suggest that the Vlachs are a
remnant of Latinised Illyrians. They probably survived Slav invaders who
took over pastoralism, forcing them to transhumance. From North Albania,
the Vlachs had moved to Hercegovina. They entered the Orthodox Church.
b) Milosevic also evades the question: Who set
up Serbian Orthodoxy in Bosnia?
But this is not a mere debating point. The Vlachs
were taxed uniquely in the Ottoman tax registers (the defters), allowing
them to be traced in the Ottoman times. It seems that the Vlachs brought
the Orthodox presence to Bosnia... and not the Serbs. As Malcolm comments:
AThe one component of the
Bosnian population.. With a large and identifiable non-Slav ancestry is
the Bosnian Serbs". (Malcolm, Ibid; p. 81).
Marxist-Leninists know that neither tribes nor racial
groups, nor Churches do not define nations and are untroubled by these
"revelations". Their view is:
AWhat is a nation? A nation
is primarily a community, a definite community of people. This community
is not racial, nor.. tribal." (Stalin JV: Works;
Moscow; 1946; Vol 2; ‘Marxism and the National Question’ 1913; p. 303.
But for Great Serbs, this is a central and important
point! This is why the Canadian Serb Council hits at the religious issues
The Ottoman colonial apparatus extracted manpower for
an army; and loot or money to pay them. The military was either a regular
paid army (JANISSARIES); or a salaried
cavalry (SAPHIS OF THE PORTE); or an
irregular army raised from the peasantry. These were Muslim armies; though
Christian mercenaries (VOJNUK) could
A boy tribute (DEVSIRME;
"collection") enabled the Empire to obtain hostages of boys from
villages under suzerainty. These boys were taken to Istanbul, converted
to Islam and trained according to their skills to be either janissaries,
or personal servants of the Sultan; or officials. Successful ones (eg Bosnia
Serb SOKOLLU dynasty in Istanbul) protected
their Bosnian family.
The Ottomans imposed the TIMAR,
military-feudal system. It consisted of a TIMARIOT,
ready to serve with arms and horses, whose tenure depended upon military
service. But the land remained the property of the Sultan. The Timariot's
heirs had no rights to inherit it. The peasants (either Christian or Muslim)
worked the lands, paying a tithe in kind, of between one tenth and one
quarter of produce. They also laboured and paid other dues to Timariots,
though they were better off than other European peasants. The Timariot:
"Had no further legal interest in his peasants beyond the requirement
that they pay their tithe and other dues and obey him when he acted as
a functionary of the state: he had no judicial powers of the sort practised
in manorial courts in Western Europe." (Malcolm; Ibid; p.
The Ottoman Empire was however weakening. After failing
to capture Vienna, the Austrians took back Hungary from the Ottomans between
1684-7. The HAPSBURG-OTTOMAN WARS continued
through the 17th Century. Finally, the Austrian Emperor invaded Bosnia,
the first time in 1688. The TREATY OF KARLOWITZ
(Sremski Karlovci) in 1699 ceded the whole of Transylvania and Hungary,
greater part of Slavonia and Croatia to Austria; and Dalmatia was largely
"given" to the Venetians.
In Bosnia itself, increasingly tax revolts would
break out. Nonetheless the Ottoman held on. In 1788 the Austrians entered
Bosnia. But Austria was forced by other European powers to give up its
Bosnia hand Serbian gains. The other powers were wary of the Austrian (Joseph
II) alliance with Russia (Catherine
The Great). They preferred that the weak Sultan grant the Austrian
Emperor status as "Protector" of the Christians under Ottoman rule.
But the Muslims in Bosnia became increasingly resistant
to Istanbul rule. This coupled with a general revolt in the Balkans led
to an increasing alienation to the Ottomans, especially in Sarajevo and
In 1877 Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
In 1878 they almost entered Istanbul, and set terms at the Treaty
of San Stefano, that were very favourable to themselves. In
the Balkans it created an expanded Bulgaria as a Russian client state.
This ignored Austrian interests. At the subsequent Congress of Berlin in
1878, the great powers struck this down. They declared Bulgaria would be
cut in size; and that Bosnia-Hercegovina would be occupied by Austria-Hungary.
The Bosnian Orthodox and Muslims united in joint
opposition to this. The But the Austrians took the country. Note this impressive
combination of the Muslims and the Bosnian Serbs, against the views of
such as Milosevic.
E) AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN RULE 1878-1914
But being a landowner and feudal regime, the Austrian
occupation failed to undertake Land Reform. This accorded with refusal
to enact Democratic Revolution. This led to serious friction between Christians
and Muslim. For Muslims were:
AThe vast majority of landowners
with Kmets ("sharecroppers"); however there were many more Muslim "Free
peasants" than Muslim "Landowners". Free peasants were not burdened by
obligatory payments to a landlords were the kmets. There were more free
peasants than Kmets, but over half the free peasants were Muslim. Of the
Kmets, 74% were Serbian Orthodox, 21% Catholic, and only 5% were Muslim".
(Donia and Fine Ibid, p. 79).
Instead of tackling this, diversions were fostered.
the Finance Minister Benjamin von Kallay,
promoted religious education, and BOSNJASTVO
(BOSNIANIAM). The latter aimed to dilute Serb and Croat nationalism,
which were developing. But contrary to the Austrian intent, the religious
hierarchy became springboards for political parties.
Reforms were introduced under pressure. In 1903,
when Kallay died, under Istvan von Burian,
parties were legalised. In 1908, Austria-Hungary formally annexed Bosnia-Hercegovina,
instead of merely Aoccupied it
for the European powers". To defuse controversy, the Government introduced
a Constitution, and a parliament. Elections were based on a narrow franchise,
with representation by ethnicity.
The Bosnian Serb ruling
class organised themselves into the Serbian
National Organisation (SNO). They raised the programme for a
Greater Serbia, arguing that the Bosnian Muslims were Serbs by nationality
who had embraced Islam. They were supported by the Serbian peasantry, but
did not fulfill the peasant hopes. SNO entered into coalition with the
leading Muslim Landlords in Parliament and reneged on agrarian reforms.
The Bosnian Croat ruling
class organised the Croatian National
Union (CNO). They also, insisted that Bosnia-Hercegovina did
not belong to Muslims. Only they insisted that it belonged to the Croats,
that the Muslims were really Croats. Again however, they saw that they
could never achieve a majority in Bosnia and sought coalition with the
Bosnian Muslim landlord party; again, they avoided peasant based demands.
In this situation the Bosnian Muslims knew
they could play both the Serbs against the Croats. The political representatives
of the ruling class of the Bosnian Muslims were aware that:
AWithout including the Muslims
neither Serbs nor Croats could assert a credible claim to a demographic
majority in Bosnia. Without including Muslims, each of these groups.. Resorted
to more tenuous historical or geopolitical arguments.. each side in fact
needed the Bosnian Muslims."
The Muslim National Organisation,
(MNO) represented primarily, the interests of the Muslim landlords.
The MNO first allied with the SNO but then after a Serb instigated peasant
revolt; sided with the CNU. However, the Bosnian parliament, was destined
to be stormy.
In fact this co-existence, by necessity, held
AThis was the central reality..
Until 1992, when extremists in both the Serbian and Croatian camps prevailed..
Then no one wanted the Muslims..(until then-ed) The Muslims..(had -ed)
Quested for a durable stable political alignment and support for multinational
.. entities that would protect their interests’. (Donia and
Fine; Ibid; p. 104).
NO PARTY AT THIS TIME REPRESENTED
THE PEASANTS AND THE SMALL WORKING CLASS, OF ANY ETHNIC BACKGROUND.
In 1914, Bosnian Serbs were specially repressed,
because of Austrian concerns about the neighbouring independent nationalist
Serbia. They linked up with the Serbs inside occupied Bosnia. As before
the Muslims were a force who having achieved a separate identity, would
sometimes side with Croats and sometimes with the Serbs. Accordingly, the
Serbs organised with the Croats for a common South Slav state. The formation
of MLADA BOSNA (Young Bosnia) heralded
the organised terrorist Serb faction.
F) THE FIRST YUGOSLAVIA - A MONARCHIST STATE
Serb nationalists in Bosnia organised resistance to
the Austrians. In 1912, Montenegro and Serbia united to declare war on
Turkey, leading to victory over Turkey in the First
Balkan War. The Serbs and Montenegrans were aided by Bulgaria
and Greece. The Serbs now initiated forced conversions of Muslims in the
Albanian and Bulgarian villages. The victory had created a Montengro and
Serbia on Bosnia’s border, free
War was now feasible with Austria-Hungary. Martial
law in Bosnia was followed by the Treaty of London,
on 30 May 1913. However this was followed by the
Second Balkan war in which the allies fought amongst themselves.
The subsequent visit to Bosnia by the Archduke
Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary provided an opportunity for
Mlada Bosna who assassinated the Arch Duke. This rapidly became the pretext
for a international war. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and then
Russia declared war on Austria, and soon Germany entered, and THE
FIRST WORLD WAR began. Amid the pathetic response of the world's
social democratic parties, only the ZIMMERWALD
LEFT took a proletarian internationalist line. Led by Lenin
they refused war credits.
By 1918, the Habsburg empire was destroyed with
the defeat of Austria-Hungary and Germany. The end of the war left the
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes with differing views. Some hoped that a united
land of the South Slavs, or Yugoslavia would be a Aconstitutional
democratic and parliamentary monarchy" with rights for all, under the Serbian
Karadjordevic dynasty. (Donia and Fine; Ibid, p. 120-21).
The above view was in the CORFU
DECLARATION OF JULY 1917, convened by the YUGOSLAV
COMMITTEE but received differing interpretations from the participants.
Croats and Slovenes, saw this state as a partnership of equals. The Serbs
thought otherwise. The Muslims of Bosnia acquiesced, though for the landowners
this acquiescence was involuntary, prompted by rural unrest. Bosnia was
forced to "invite" Serbia to quell disorder. During this, Serb "excess"
took place. This "excess" included the murders of 1000 Muslim men; pillage
of 270 villages and various other "excess" acts. This created a Montengro
and Serbia on Bosnia's border, free of Turkey. But there were peasant uprisings
in the rest of the Balkans also, including Croatia.
On December 1, 1918 PRINCE
REGENT ALEXANDER on behalf of his father KING
PETER I declared the creation of YUGOSLAVIA,
AKINGDOM OF SERBS, CROATS,
AND SLOVENES". In November 1920 state wide elections were held.
In Bosnia, the Muslims were led by AYugoslav
Muslim Democracy" led by MEHMED SAPHO.
This party represented the landed owners and the Muslim petit bourgeoisie.
Many Muslims wanted a federal state. Sapho argued for Bosnia to be an autonomous
unit to preserve its identity within Yugoslavia. The Bosnian Croats led
by JOSIP SUNARIC also argued similarly
for Croatia. Various Serbian supremacists wanted a more overtly Serbian
dominated state, such as Serbian minister STEJAN
PROTIC; and the paper Srpsak Zora (ASerbian
The elections saw Sapo's party winning nearly all
Muslim votes. Sapho was then courted by other parties as nearly 24 seats
in Bosnia and 6 Muslim seats in Macedonia, tipped the voting balance. Sapho
managed to retain the structure of Bosnia identity. The Croats in Bosnia
over followed the CROATIAN BOSNIAN PARTY
led by STJEPAN RADIC who argued for
radical land reform. This party represented the interests of the urban
petit bourgeoisie and the middle peasantry.
The COMMUNIST PARTY OF
YUGOSLAVIA and now come into being. It represented the interests
of the small working class, and the landless peasantry. It did well becoming
the 3rd largest party in the Constituent Assembly with 58 seats. But it
withdrew from the Assembly and then was banned.
The new assembly in large part solved the immediate
Agrarian Question by transferring land, with Government compensation to
Muslim landowners; to serfs. Serfdom was essentially ended, over 150,000
peasant families receiving one million hectares of land.
Croatian unrest resulted in repeated battles with
the Serb dominated Assembly. After Radic and 3 others were shot in Parliament
on June 20th 1928, Radic died. On January 6th, 1929, the King suspended
Parliament and annulled the Constitution and proclaimed himself the sole
authority. Instead of a kingdom of several nations, it was renamed ATHE
KINGDOM OF YUGOSLAVIA".
In September 1931 a rather less free Parliament
was established. Under ALEXANDER'S DICTATORSHIP,
Bosnia was for the first time in centuries deprived of recognition. The
rest of the country was also divided and Royal appointments promoted Serbs.
Croat revenge culminated in Alexander's assassination in October 1934.
This was organised by the USTASHA (insurrectionists)
- fascists linked to Italian fascists & BENITO
Power passed to Prince Paul, Alexanders’
cousin. New elections in May 1935, saw Muslims win seats in Bosnia. In
the government led, first by Prime Minister, MILAN
STOJADINOVIC, and then DRAGIS CVETKOVIC,
the Croats held the foreign ministry portfolio. Links were firmly established
with NAZI GERMANY. Only the Communists
demonstrated against the pro-German links.
Between November 1940 and March 1941, ADOLF
HITLER forced the TRIPARTITE
PACT between Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria
with the German and Italian governments. He then issued an ultimatum to
Yugoslavia. On March 25 1941, Cvetkovic and foreign minister ALEKSANDR
CINCAR-MARKOVIC capitulated and signed the Tripartite Pact with
Hitler. Sections of the military led a coup on March 26th 1941 and forced
Prince Paul to flee. The Bosnian Muslim and the Croatian Peasant party
leaders joined the broad coalition of pro-Yugoslav anti-fascist Government.
HITLER BOMBARDED BELGRADE
ON APRIL 6, 1941.
JOSIP BROZ TITO
had been leader of the party since 1937; recommended expressly by GEORGII
DIMITROV. Its membership at the time of the invasion was 12,000.
But resistance only began after Hitler's attack on Russia in June 1941.
The Partisans raised the slogan: "Bratstvo i jedinstvoA
(Brotherhood and unity). They asserted that in contrast to the Serb
led monarchist Yugoslavia all nations of Yugoslavia were distinct and would
be treated equally. We will see if this happened.
G) SECOND WORLD WAR : VARIOUS ASSORTED FASCISTS
- ANTE PAVLIC & STEVAN MOLJEVIC & DRAZA MIHAILOVIC
To support Serbian ‘rights’ to Bosnia-Hercegovina, Popovich
alleges that the Serbs are numerically in the majority. To bolster
this, Popovich alleges an ethnic based campaign has taken place, in order
to reduce Serb numbers. Popovich makes the claim ‘pungent’, smearing it
with the flavour of Fascism:
‘Orthodox Serbs were the majority in Bosnia-Hercegovina before the
Serb decimation at the hand of the Croat ‘Ustashi’ and the Muslim supporters
of Hitler in World War II, and still populate more than half of Bosnia-Hercegovina
before the current fighting began.’ Popovich; Ibid; NSC,
1994; Vol 3 no 5; p.10).
Popovich must attempt
a fascist smear, since most decent people are rightly repulsed by the ‘ethnic
cleansing’, or, - let us call it what it is - fascism - used against the
Bosnian Muslims. But again let us revert to facts.
UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER TO GERMANY WAS SIGNED
THE CPY LED THE RESISTANCE.
The USTASA Government
(10 April 1941) of the 'POGLAVNIK' (FUHRER)
ANTE PAVELIC was aimed both against the Serbs and Muslims
of Bosnia, but was especially ferocious against Serbs. The Serbs consequently,
and initially, only in self-defence attacked both Croats and Muslims. But,
then the Serbs joined in droves the CETNIKS
of DRAZA MIHAILOVIC, Quisling collaborators with the
Germans and Italian fascists. Mihailovic a Serb of high military rank,
in the beginning had resisted the German invasion. However he became more
interested in fighting the Partisans, and became an overt collaborator
with the Germans.
Amongst the Cetniks were the rabid Serb
Nationalists, led by STEVAN MOLJEVIC,
who articulated a most dangerous Serb chauvinism. Moljevic's memorandum
of June 1941, 'HOMOGENEOUS SERBIA', explained
that the 'fundamental duty' of Serbs, was to create a homogenous Serbia.
What did this mean? No more, no less than ‘ethnic-cleansing-fascism’. To
DRAGISA VASIC, in February 1942, Moljevic
wrote that Serbian land should be extended all the way to Dalmatia and
that then should follow:
cleansing (ciscenje) of the land of all non-Serb elements. The only thing
to do would be to send the offenders on their way: Croats to Croatia, and
Muslims to Turkey or Albania.’ (Malcolm, Ibid,
Today, Moljevic's heirs have followed his advice.
But perhaps DRAZA MIKHAILOVIC
was different? According to the CSC and Milosevic, Mihailovich organized:
AThe first.. resistance
against the Nazis.. In Serbia.. And fought for a post war Yugoslavia in
which Serbia would keep its central role. Tito by contrast was a Communist
whose goal was to create a Soviet style Yugoslavia.. In any event a significant
portion of the resistance fighters in both movements were Serbs.. Mihailovich
like the Resistance leaders in much of the rest of Europe during the war,
espoused "existentialist realism" postponing a general uprising to the
end of the war." (Rocks and Rattlesnakes; Ibid; p. 18).
What "existentialist realism" boils down to, in non-exisentential
but ordinary reality, was capitulationism and defeatism. As BRIGADIER
FITZROY MACLEAN , secret agent to Yugoslavia and personal emissary
of Winston Churchill reported:
AThe Partisans fought the
Germans, while the Chetniks "either helped the Germans or do nothing".
(Richard West: ‘Tito and the Rise and Fall of
Yugoslavia’; London; 1994; p.168.
In fact Aexistentialist
realism" also means Great Serb Ethnic Cleansing. In a letter to
his senior officers dated 20 DECEMBER 1941 MIHAILOVIC
LISTED THE AIMS OF THE CHETNIKS:
A2. To create a great Yugoslavia
and inside it a great Serbia, ethnically pure inside the boundaries of
Serbia Montengro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Srem, Banat, and Backa.
3. The struggle to include in our national life all the unliberated
Slav territories under the Italians and the Germans (Trieste, Goriza, Istria
and Koruska) as in Bulgaria and Northern Albania, with Shkoder (Scutari).
4. The cleansing from state territory of all national minorities and
5. To create a direct common border between Serbia and Montengro..
And the cleansing of the Sandjak from Muslim inhabitants, and of Bosnia
from Muslim and Croat inhabitants." (From R.West Ibid.; p.
So - deja vu. The Serb Chauvinist programme of AEthnic
cleansing" is not a A1990's thing".
What else can one say of the Candian Serb Council's judgements on this
period? Only that Milosevic is wrong about one other thing. Tito
was no Communist as we explore shortly.
Meanwhile, continued Croatian Ustasha and Serb attacks
on Muslims led them to their own collaboration with fascists. They formed
the infamous 13th Muslim SS Division, 'HANDZAR'.
But Muslims soon grew disillusioned with the fascists, and joined Tito's
Partisans in droves; forming first the 8th Regional
(Muslim) Brigade under OSMAN KARABEGOVIC; and then the Partisan
16th Muslim Brigade. As Noel Malcolm poignantly says :
‘Muslims had fought on all sides - Ustasha, German, Cetnik, Partisan
and had been killed by all sides.’ (Malcolm; Ibid, p. 192.)
THE SAME IS TRUE OF CROATS
AND SERBS. ONLY A COMMUNIST POLICY TO THE NATIONAL QUESTION OFFERS A NON-SECTARIAN
In the context of the fighting during the Second
World War, the record of Tito should be made explicitly clear. It is certainly
true that the Partisans led by Tito were at times in the forefront of anti-German
struggle. This was the main reason why Churchill’s
forces, well informed by Maclean and by their ULTRA
messages (decoded German intelligence reports), switched their support
from Mihailovic to Tito. It was the closeness of Churchill's British forces
and Tito, that first led Stalin to suspect that Tito was not a true Communist.
However Tito was not nearly as resolute as later
claimed in the hero worship of revisionist Yugoslavia. Stalin suspected
during the war that Tito was not resolute in his anti-fascism. At one stage
Tito, even made a truce with the Germans. This was after the battle of
Gornji Vakuf in March 1943. Tito had
just been surrounded by the Germans, Italians and the Chetniks of Mihailovic.
Nonetheless, a truce with the Germans? As the Russians cabled when they
got wind of this:
AIs it possible that you
who were an example to all enslaved Europe-you who until now have shown
such heroism-will cease the struggle against the worst enemy of mankind
and of your people? (Cited By Milovan Djilas; ‘Wartime’;
New York;1977; p.220.)
As a recent biographer of Tito points out :
AThe Yugoslav Archives show..
Tito wrote the commandant of the 6th Bosnian Brigade, telling him to continue
attacking the Chetniks but to avoid fighting the Germans on the way to
the Sandjak. Similar orders were sent to the 1st Bosnian Corps and the
1st Proletarian Brigades." (‘Tito Rise and the Fall of Yugoslavia;’West;
Ibid; p. 149; Also see pp. 148-154.
Only when the Germans broke the truce, did the Tito
Partisans resume fighting.
Now let us examine the vexed issue of the relative numbers
of the Serbs versus Croats versus Muslim in Bosnia. The facts are contrary
to both Popovich, and the viciously anti-communist CSC. By the late 16th
century to the early 17th Century the majority of the population was clearly
Muslim. Reliable and un-biased reports to the Vatican, including that of
the priest and apostolic visitor Peter Masarechi
in 1642 testify:
‘There were 150,000 Catholics, 75,000 Eastern Orthodox and 450,000
Muslims.’ (Cited Malcolm Ibid, p.54.)
As Catholics and Eastern Orthodox members willingly
embraced the prosperity of the Ottomans, this majority grew. Yet later,
as the Empire crumbled, refugee Muslims from Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia
and Hungary raised the majority further.
Did the Muslims see themselves as ‘Turks?’ The answer
is clearly no. They had specific words for the Turks, who were termed ether
Osmanli or Turkus.
Data from later censuses confirm that the Muslims
think of themselves as being non-Croats and non-Serbs;
but that previously, they had not thought of themselves as Anon-Yugoslav’.
In other words they wished to be part of the federation.
AIn the 1948 Census the
Muslims had three options: they could call themselves Muslim Serbs, Muslim
Croats, or 'Muslim nationally undeclared'.. 72,000 declared themselves
as Serbs and 25,000 as Croats, but 778,000 registered as undeclared. The
next census in 1953 produced a similar result. This time people were allowed
to register as Yugoslav, nationally undeclared.’ (Cited Malcolm
In fact the people refused to be pigeon holed as one
or another, if they could be part of a genuine Federation with full rights.
However, under escalating tensions from 1967 onwards, Tito announced that
Muslims constituted a nation). This anti-Marxist-Leninist "concession"
was designed to counter Serb ambition within Tito’s Yugoslavia (See below).
"Now the communities would vote en bloc. After Tito’s death of course
under further Serb pressure, 'ethnic identification’ would be even more
intense. In December 1990, democratic elections were held in Bosnia; the
proportions of seats allocated were 41% Muslim, 35% Serb; 20% Croat. These
figures accord with population figures for the same groups - being 44%,
31% and 17% respectively. (Poulton, H; ‘The Balkans: Minorities
and States In Conflict’, London, 1990; p.44.
Following the rabid ‘ethnic-cleansing-fascism’ and raping
and pillaging, and mass graves as in Srebrenica, one can only guess whether
they still remain in the majority.
2. TITO DID NOT FOLLOW A SOCIALIST
PATH IN YUGOSLAVIA : TITO AND NATIONAL STRUGGLES IN BALKANS
In 1941, the Communist Party
of Albania (CPA led by ENVER HOXHA) established links with the
Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY led by JOSIP BROZ
TITO). Relations between Yugoslavia and Albania were ‘embittered’,
from previous attempts to swallow Albania encouraged by imperialism:
ATTEMPTED SUBVERSION OF THE ALBANIAN REVOLUTION
‘This whole grievous legacy built up over decades had been created
by no fault of the peoples.. The blame.. rests on the anti-Albanian policy
of the monarchs of Serbia and princes of Montenegro who wanted to gobble
up Albania.. The monarchs of Italy, Austro-Hungary, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro,
and Bulgaria rushed to grab whatever they could from the ‘The periphery
of the (crumbling) Ottoman Empire.’.. the Serbian and Montengrin hordes
assailed the Albanian territories.. occupied the outermost region of Kosova..
expelling about 3000,000 Albanians.. In 1912 the Albanians won the great
victory - the independence of Albania... (But) then Albania was cut in
half- Kosova and other Albanian regions were violently annexed to Yugoslavia..
the anti-Albanian policy of.. great-Serb reaction was intensified.. Yugoslavia
once again sanctioned its de-jure ‘rights', to the occupied Albanian territories..
and tried new ways of.. gobbling up the whole of Albania. It was precisely
the Serbian monarchs who came to the aid of King Zog who had fled from
Albania in June 1924.. Zog carried out the counter-revolution in December
1924. In return Zog initially gave the Serbs other pieces of Albanian territory,
such as Vermsoh and Shen-Naum.’(‘The Titoites’, Enver Hoxha,
Tirana, 1982. p.4-9).
Since the CPY was fighting fascism, the CPA and Hoxha
tried to link. But the CPY was to push the agenda of swallowing Albania.
The first indication of this came from the CPY attempts to Atake
over" the CPA. They claimed to have "set up" the CPA, whereas, the CPA
formed itself (On 8th-14th November 1941. This was before the CPA approached
the CPY in July 1942. Now Aadvisers’,
came with "commands" from Tito. Also there was a denigration of the ‘the
October Revolution stereotype’ (‘The Titoites’; Hoxha; Ibid;
p.47.). The CPY also fostered sectarian attitudes to the bourgeois
KOMBETAR", saying : ‘Your stand
to the Balli Kombetar is incorrect.’ (Titoites Ibid; p.64)
Hoxha pointed to the successful United National
Liberation Front, warning:
‘Your interference in our affairs is out of place and your tone is
unacceptable.’ (‘The Titoites’; Hoxha; Ibid; p.137).
But, the Yugoslavs continued to foster CPA sectarianism
by Liri Gega and Mehmet Shehu. The
Yugoslavs also tried to subordinate Albanian questions to the CPY staff,
AAs you might say.. Balkan staff’.(‘The
Titoites’; Hoxha; Ibid; p53; & pp57-61). But ALL
sister Balkan parties (Albania, Greece and Bulgaria) rejected this
attempt to place all Balkan parties under CPY control, as ludicrous in
anti-fascist war conditions.
On the eve of liberating the entire country, the
Berat 2nd Plenum of the CC of the CPA was
held, on November 23rd. Disrupting Yugoslav revisionists had two objectives.
Firstly, to sabotage
the national democratic revolution; to prevent transition from its first
democratic stage to the second socialist stage. The CPY, reversed "advice"
and NOW wanted the ANational
Democratic Front’ to include the Balli, on the verge of the victory of
the National Democratic Revolution!
The Second objective
was to remove Hoxha. CPY delegate Stojnic's advised :
‘You cannot go ahead without.. the Yugoslavia now.. created.. The
perspective of Yugoslavia is the perspective of the Balkans and of Europe..
you speak very little about us.. in the future you should speak more about
Yugoslavia and Tito.’ (‘The Titoites’; Hoxha; Ibid; p.214-215).
This demanded alliance with
the Western Great powers :
‘The great Allies.. should all be looked on in the same way, by the
new state.’ ‘How’, asked Hoxha. ‘By putting the Soviet Union on the same
footing with the other two?’ ‘Yes,’ Stojnic explained; ‘..a true state
makes no differentiation. In an unofficial way.. through party channels
the Soviet Union can be considered as the main and most natural ally, but
not through state channels, US and Britain are always allies, their present
policy is positive & in our own interest.’ (‘The Titoites’;
Hoxha; Ibid; p.220.).
But Hohxa maintained an independent
CPA, facing it with :
‘The question of state power.. is the central question for the party..
we must strengthen the councils and purge them of alien elements.’ (‘The
Titoites’; Hoxha; Ibid; p.218).
Despite CPY treason, after liberating Tirana, the Albanian
army pursed Hitler's forces into Yugoslavia, & helped liberate Montengro,
Sandjak, and Bosnia. How was this rewarded by the CPY?
The post-war relationship was tense. The CPA refused
the demand of the CPY to deploy Yugoslav troops in Albania. Tito's biographer
V.Dedijer confirmed a nasty intent of the CPY:
‘As early as.. 1945.. Mosa Pijade
demanded that the new chancellery of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in
Belgrade should have not 6, but 7 cabinets. According to the Titoites,
the 7th Cabinet was for the ‘Yugoslav Republic of Albania.’ (Rijeka
1981; Titoites, p.231)
Tito and Kardelj's strategy
to take over the CPA depended upon a deceitful confusion of the
Astage of revolution". They argued
‘Since the stage of the bourgeois democratic revolution has still
not been completed, we shall delay the transition to the second stage of
the proletarian revolution’, ‘the road of transition from the former to
the latter stage is the road of reforms’; that the ‘national liberation
councils are organs of bourgeois democratic revolution.’ (Hoxha;
‘Titoites; Ibid; p. 240).
The line of Tito's agents in the CPA was : ‘Comrades
Tito, Kardelj and Djilas.. advise us not to skip the stages.’ The CPY even
tried to pressure the CPA to accept the ex-King Zog's treaties made with
imperialism. But in 1946, Hoxha insisted on an open 5th Plenum for the
1st Congress of the CPA. Suddenly Tito urgently requested Hoxha to come
to Belgrade in July 1946.
Here Hohxa asked for credit to develop agriculture
and industry. But Tito insisted on a ‘BALKAN FEDERATION’,
by which Tito could 'annex the whole Balkans' (Hoxha; ‘Titoites;
Ibid; p. 240). Hohxa refused, but pressure continued. STALIN
foiled this manoeuvre. Hoxha said:
‘In 1948, (CPY elements pressured me saying)":
‘The Balkan Federation is being formed between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria!’.
We wrote to the CPY.. we never received any reply. Stalin..
divined Tito's expansionist plans drew Dimitrov's attention to them and
at the beginning of 1948 Dimitrov declared publicly that he had been wrong
in his views about the Federation of Yugoslavia with Bulgaria.’
(Hoxha; ‘Titoites; Ibid; p. 287-88).
Tito's Aid aimed to "colonialise" Albania:
‘In the first year after Liberation we had trade relations only with
Yugoslavia.. the trade was virtually one-way and in our disfavour. We gave
more than we received, we gave good products and received rubbish. We expropriated
the big merchants of their property and sold the fabric to the Yugoslavs
at prices which they set, while the razor blades and minor things of this
type which they sold us cost us the earth. We imported grain from them
because we were short of it, some leather and iron plough shares and these
they sold to us at their internal prices which were very high. We sold
them olives, cheese, olive-oil.. when we did not have enough of them for
ourselves.’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites; Ibid; p.302).
The Albanians wished to make
their state Socialist:
AWe knew that the fundamental
factor for the socialist transformation of the country was the internal
factor; we knew that the external.. factor would be the USSR of Stalin,
in the first place, but.. when we had still not established the necessary
direct link with the Soviet State, we turned with open hearts to our neighbouring
friends the CPY.’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites; Ibid; p. 302).
But the CPY had different idea, revolving around
a semi-colonial basis for Albania in relation to Yugoslavia :
‘The CPY said ‘This is not the time for transformations of a socialist
character’.. Our ‘friends’ greatly hindered and misdirected us also on..
Land Reform (saying) don't ‘fall out’ with the former landowners, they
told us take a bit of their land (even ‘advised’ to pay for it with money)
and to leave them a good part of the land, which.. represented areas ten
or 20 times larger than those of the ‘poor’.. For industry.. (they) advised
: ‘Later, we shall see what can be done with mines and oil, but for the
time being record what you have, supply us with raw materials and we shall
supply you with ample finished products’.. ‘Agriculture - that is what
you should go in for as the backward agrarian country you are!’
(Hoxha; ‘Titoites; Ibid; p. 304-5).
Some credits were arranged
via Joint Stock Companies and were signed on November 27th,
1947. But increasingly the Yugoslavs violated even this agreement by: distorting
the customs union to benefit Yugoslavia; operating joint companies with
no funds; setting prices unilaterally; not setting up factories in Albania;
complaining that Albania did not fulfil obligation; despite these being
dependent upon un-sent Yugoslav equipment; demanding parity between the
2 countries; etc.
Naturally therefore Albania tried to obtain aid
from the Soviets. Yugoslavia tried to prevent
USSR equipment coming to Albania:
‘Albania is like a clock, it cannot work with all kinds of tools,
Some may be better, others may be worse, but whatever they are they must
be of one brand! Not some Yugoslav and some of another production. Since
a Yugoslav foundation has been laid in your country, everything that will
be built upon it must be Yugoslav alone.’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites;
Ibid; p. 349-50).
An ‘Ultimatum’ in November
1947 demanded AUnion":
‘The CC of the CPY insisted.. The backward Albanian economy is not
capable of developing independently.. our CC thinks
that Yugoslav aid will be greater when we bring about an economic union
between our countries!’. (Hoxha; ‘Titoites; Ibid;
There was an urgency to Yugoslav demands to conclude
agreement to have a unitary state between Albania and Yugoslavia. Why?
The CPY was aware that the CPSU(B), was about to expose Yugoslav revisionism.
The Yugoslavs wished to commit Albania to unification in one state, before
BUT THE CC OF THE CPSU(B) EXPOSED YUGOSLAV
REVISIONISM ON MARCH 27TH, 1948. There is no doubt that this
intervention of Stalin and the CPSU(B), had enormous significance in helping
safeguard Albanian socialism. Stalin had been aware for some time of the
improper conduct of the Yugoslavs towards the fledgling state of Albania,
and assisted Albania's struggle:
The 3rd International was dissolved on the 10 June 1943.
However, in October 1947, the Communist parties of nine European countries
(Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, The
Soviet Union and Yugoslavia) set up, at a secret conference in September
held in Szklarska Poreba, the "Information Bureau
of the Communist Parties", COMINFORM. There is no doubt that
Stalin was responsible for this.
There is no doubt also that Stalin and Zhdanov accorded
the Yugoslavs a prime role in the First Congress. They did this, to ensure
that the Cominform would have latitude to criticise the CPY. Therefore
the CPY was given a leading role in exposing the French and Italian parties
for their Apeaceful parliamentarianism".
If the CPY now faced fraternal criticism at the 2nd Congress, & would
accept it, errors would be corrected. If they rejected it, this would expose
them as traitors. On 18 March 1948, the Yugoslav government was notified
AThat the Government of
the USSR had decided immediately to withdraw all military advisers and
between the CC CPSU(B) and The CC CPY; Belgrade; 1948; hereafter Correspondence;
On the grounds that:
AThey were not being treated
in a friendly spirit in Yugoslavia.’
All USSR civilian specialists were recalled on 19 March
1948. There followed a mutually critical correspondence between the two
parties, between March and June 1948. The CPSU CC proposed on the 4th May
(Correspondence Ibid; p. 21).
AThis question be discussed
at the next meeting of the Cominform". (Corres; Ibid; p.64)
But Tito and Kardelj rejected this out of hand on 17
AWe are not able to accede
to the suggestion that this matter be decided by the Cominform."
(Correspondence Ibid; p. 65).
The CC CPSU replied on the 22 May 1948:
AAt the time of the organisation
of the Inform Bureau.. All Communist Parties started from the uncontested
policy that each party should submit reports to the Inform Buro and similarly
that each party had the right to criticise the other Parties.. The Yugoslav
comrades.. Think that the Yugoslav Party and its leadership should be placed
in a privileged position and that the statutes of the Inform Buro do not
apply to them; that they have a right to criticise other parties, but they
themselves should not be subjected to a criticism by others.. By refusing
to appear before the Inform Buro they mean to say the CC of the CPY.. Are
now preparing their party and the Yugoslav people for the betrayal of the
United Front of People’s Democracies
and of the USSR". (Correspondence Ibid; p. 66-68).
At the Second Conference in June 1948, the CPY did not
attend. Criticism was led by the French and Italian parties. The CPY was
expelled with FOUR MAJOR CRITICISMS.
Firstly : it had been hostile to the socialist Soviet Union:
AAn undignified policy of
defaming Soviet military experts and discrediting the Soviet Union has
been carried out in Yugoslavia. A special regime was instituted for Soviet
civilian experts in Yugoslavia. A special regime was instituted for Soviet
civilian experts in Yugoslavia, where they were kept under surveillance
of Yugoslav state security organs and were continually followed. The representative
of the CPSU(B) in the Information Bureau, Comrade Yudin, and a number of
official representatives of the Soviet Union in Yugoslavia, were followed
and kept under observation by Yugoslav state security organs.
All these and similar facts show that the leaders of the CPY have taken
a stand unworthy of Communists and have begun to identify the foreign policy
of the USSR with the foreign policy of the imperialists. Precisely because
of this anti-Soviet stand, slanderous propaganda about the "degeneration"
of the CPSU(B), about "the degeneration of the USSR" and so on, borrowed
from the arsenal of counter-revolutionary Trotskyism, is current with the
Central committee if the CPY.. The Yugoslav leaders think that by making
concessions they can curry favour with the imperialist states.. In this
they proceed tactically from the well-known bourgeois-nationalist thesis
that "capitalist states are a lesser danger to the independence of Yugoslavia
that the Soviet Union".Such a nationalist policy can only lead toYugoslavia’s
degeneration into an ordinary bourgeois republic, to the loss of its independence
and to its transformation into a colony of imperialist countries.(Resolution
of Information Burea of the Communist Parties(June 1948), In ‘The Soviet-Yugoslav
Dispute: Text of the Political Correspondence’; London 1948; p. 62, 69,
70. Hereafter ‘Resolution’).
This is exactly the path that Yugoslavia subsequently
took. The predictions of the Cominform were accurate.
Secondly the CPY was based not on the working class but on the
peasantry, and neglected the rural socialist struggle:
AIn home policy the leaders
of the CPY are departing from the position of the working class and bare
breaking with the Marxist theory of classes and class struggle. And they
deny that there is a growth of capitalist elements in their countryside.
This denial is the direct result of the opportunist tenet that the class
struggle does not become sharper during the period of the transition from
capitalism to socialism, as Marxism-Leninism teaches, but dies down as
was affirmed by opportunists of the Bukharin type, who propagated the theory
of the peaceful growing over of capitalism into socialism..
In the conditions prevailing in Yugoslavia where individual peasant
farming predominates, where the land is not nationalised, where there is
private property in land, and where land can be bought and sold, where
much of the land is in the hands of the kulaks, and where hired labour
is employed - in such conditions there can be no question of.. Glossing
over the class struggle and of reconciling class contradictions without
by so doing disarming the Party..
The leaders of the CPY by affirming that the peasantry is the "most
stable foundation of the Yugoslav state" are departing from the Marxist-Leninist
path and are taking the path of a populist kulak party. Lenin taught that
the proletariat, as the "only class" in contemporary society which is revolutionary
to the end.. Must be the leader in the struggle.. Of all working people
and the exploited against the oppressors and exploiters." (Resolution;
Ibid; p. 62).
Thirdly the leaders
of the party dissolved the Party into the multi-class People's Front. This
was called the leading force in society:
AAccording to the theory
of Marxism-Leninism, the Party is the main guiding and leading force in
the country.. The highest form of organisation and the most important weapon
of the working class.
In Yugoslavia however, the People's Front and not
the Communist Party is considered to be the main leading force in the country.
The Yugoslav leaders belittle the role of the CP and actually dissolved
the party in the non-party People's Front, which is composed of the most
varied class elements (workers, peasants engaged in individual farming,
kulaks, traders, small manufacturers, bourgeois intelligentsia, etc); as
well as mixed political groups, which include certain bourgeois parties..
The fact that in Yugoslavia it is only the People's
Front which figures in the political arena, while the Party and its organisations
do not appear openly before the public in its own name, not only belittles
the role of the Party in the political life of the country, but also undermines
the Party as an independent political force..
This policy.. Threatens the very existence of the
Communist Party, and ultimately carries with it the danger of the degeneration
of the People's Republic of Yugoslavia." (Resolution; Ibid;
Finally and fourthly,
the CPY was not operating on the basis of democratic centralism and had
rejected the fraternal criticism of the Cominform:
AThe bureaucratic regime
created inside the Party by its leaders is disastrous for life and development
of the CPY. There is no inner-party democracy, no elections, and no criticism
and self-criticism in the Party.. The majority of the CC of the CPY is
composed of co-opted and not of elected members. The CPY is actually in
a position of semi-legality. Party meetings are either not held at all
or meet in secret- a fact which can only undermine the influence of the
Party among the masses. This type of organisation of the CPY cannot be
described as anything but a sectarian-bureaucratic organisation. It leads
to the liquidation of the Party as an active self-acting organisation..
The most elementary rights of the members in the
CPY are suppressed.. slightest criticism of incorrect measures in the Party
is brutally repressed.. Such a disgraceful purely Turkish terrorist regime
cannot be tolerated.. Criticism made by the CC of the CPSU(B) and other
Communist Parties of the CC CPY.. Rendered fraternal assistance to the
CPY.. However instead of honestly accepting this criticism and taking the
Bolshevik path. of correcting these mistakes, the leaders of the CPY, suffering
from boundless ambition, arrogance and conceit, met this criticism with
belligerence and hostility." (Resolution;
Ibid; p. 64-5).
Thus the Titoites and the CPY were expelled from the
Cominform. Only after Stalin's death; and after Khrushchev's leadership,
was the CPY again treated as a Afraternal"
C) WAS TITO A COMMUNIST? ECONOMIC POLICY
IN POST-WAR YUGOSLAVIA
YET, was Tito a Communist and was post-war Yugoslavia
a socialist state? Once in power, Tito and the CPY did not move towards
socialism to ensure working class and peasant power in the post war State.
After the expulsion from the Cominform, there was no need for a "disguised"
revisionism. Things became even more blatantly revisionist. Tito now set
out for Anew" socialist roads.
Along the way, they butchered all the Cominformists at the concentration
camp of Goli Otok. They turned to the
USA imperialists for aid. US imperialism assisted the local merchants and
industrialists. The kulak was favoured and:
AForms and means were found
for the redistribution of the land, under which the old kulaks were re-established
without.. Great upheaval... capitalist measures were adopted.. Such as
the breaking up of the machine and tractor stations and the sale of their
equipment to the rich peasantry which could afford to buy them and the
imposition of heavy taxes on the peasants. The State Farms.. were transformed
into capitalist enterprises in which foreign capital also was invested."(Enver
Hoxha: ‘Yugoslav-Self Administration’, a Capitalist Theory and Practice’;
1978; Selected Works; Vol V; Tirana 1985;
The Titoites dismantled the limited centralised planning
that had been first initiated. Titoite economics is associated with the
What did this amount to as practised in Tito's Yugoslavia? It was explained
in detail by Tito's comrade-in-arms EDUARD KARDELJ.
ENVER HOXHA subjected this to scrutiny. For Marx and Engels a central
State structure, that is controlled by the workers was critical to establish
socialism. This was expressed even in the most basic text AThe
Communist Manifesto", cited by Hoxha to contrast with Tito's views:
AThe proletariat will use
its political supremacy to wrest by degrees all capital from the bourgeoisie
to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the proletariat
organised as the ruling class." (Marx and Engels: ‘Manifesto
of the Communist Party’; 1848; Collected Works Vol 6; p.504; Moscow; 1976).
Lenin similarly stated that:
AAny justification whether
direct or indirect of the ownership of the workers of an individual factory
or an individual profession over their individual production, or any justification
of their right to tone down or hinder the orders from general State power,
is a very gross distortion of the fundamental principles if Soviet power
and complete renunciation of socialism." (V.I.Lenin ‘On Democratisation
and the Socialist Character of the Soviet Power’; Cited Hoxha; ‘Self Administration’;
In contrast to these views, Tito in June 1950, presented
his law on Self administration to the People's assembly :
AFrom now on State property
in the means of production, factories, mines, railroads will gradually
go over to the highest form of socialist ownership; State ownership is
the lowest form of socialist ownership, not the highest form.. Among the
most characteristic acts of a socialist country is the transfer of factories
and other economic enterprises from the hands of the State into the hands
of the workers, for them too manage.. Because in this manner the slogan
of the action of the working class - "Factories to the Workers" - will
be realised". (‘Factories to the Workers), Prishtina
1951, pp 37. Cited Hoxha; ‘Yugoslav Self Administration’ Ibid; p.285).
Entirely consistent with Tito, E.KARDELJ
AOur society is compelled
to act in this manner, since it has decided on self-government and the
self-governing socialisation of the State - owned property, and against
the perpetuation of the State owned form of the socialist relations of
production". (From Kardelj: ‘Directions of Socialist Self
Administration’; 1977; p.66; Cited Hoxha; Ibid; p. 286).+
As expected then private property existed in an open
form and was admitted by Kardelj. In fact special laws were issued to encourage
the private economy, the Yugoslav Constitution saying:
APrivate owners have the
same socio-economic position, the same rights as the working people in
the socio-economic organisations.’ (Cited Hoxha;
Ibid; p. 287.)
As Hoxha comments:
ASmall private property
reigns supreme in the Yugoslav agriculture and occupies nearly 90 per cent
of the arable land. Nine million haa. Of land belong to the private sector,
whereas over 10% or 1.15 million ha. Belong to the monopoly capitalist
or the so-called Asocial" sector.
Over 5 million peasants in Yugoslavia are engaged on working privately
owned land.. In Yugoslavia ownership of 10-25 ha. Of land as private property
is permitted. But the Yugoslav law which permits the buying and selling,
renting and mortgaging of land, the buying and selling of agricultural
machinery, and hired labour in agriculture has also created the possibilities
for the bourgeois class of the countryside, the kulaks, to add to their
land, means of work, and implements, tractors and trucks at the expense
of the poor peasants, and consequently to step up and intensify their capitalist
exploitation." (Cited Hoxha; Ibid; p. 287-289).
In fact relations with the USA ensured that Yugoslavia
would be a client state of the USA. Therefore the same Afreedom
of the market" held sway in Yugoslavia:
"The free exchange of labour through the production of commodities
and the free self-governing market at the present level of the socio-economic
development, is a condition for self-government.. This market is free in
the sense that the self-governing organisations of labour freely and with
the minimum administrative intervention enter into relations of the free
exchange of labour. The suspension of such freedom is bound to lead to
the regeneration of the state property monopoly of the State apparatus."
Says Kardelj. (Cited Hoxha; Ibid; p. 298).
This is clearly nothing more than Reaganism and Thatcherism
and Clintonism and Chretiensism- it is capitalist! The external debt of
Yugoslavia was the proof that the Titoites had sold the many nationalities
that live in Yugoslavia to the highest bidder-Capital!
D) NATIONAL POLICY - THE CASE OF KOSOVA
The events of the 1992 Serb invasion and massacres in
Bosnia and Croatia cannot be understood in isolation. They arise from failing
to implement a socialist national policy in Yugoslavia. Bosnian massacres
were heralded by Serb aggression in Kosova. Before even that, regional
disparity indicated chauvinism.
The "unequal" development of non-Serb areas of Yugoslavia,
began under Tito. Kosova, for instance, is extremely backward as compared
to the rest of Yugoslavia. The same applied to Bosnia:
‘Relative to the rest of Yugoslavia, Bosnia stagnated and declined
during the 1950s and the 1960s with its per capita social product falling
from 79% of the Yugoslavia average in 1953, to 75% in 1957 and 69% in 1965.
In 1961 much of Bosnia was officially declared an under-developed region..
By the early 1970's Bosnia had the highest infant mortality rate of any
part of Yugoslavia except Kosova; the highest illiteracy rate (except Kosova
again); the highest proportion of people whose only education was three
years of primary school (except Kosova); and the smallest proportion of
people living in towns (except Kosova).’ (Malcolm, Ibid,
As Hoxha indicated, the AGreat
Powers’ had constantly interfered with Albania and the Balkans (See above).
In 1913, the London Conference of Ambassadors
of the imperialists, formally partitioned Albania. Despite large scale
protests and armed opposition, the North-Eastern part- Kosova and other
Albanian inhabited regions was annexed to the Kingdoms of Serbia and Montengro.
This was perpetuated after the War:
AThe Peace Conference of
Versailles in 1919, ignoring the just demands of the Albanian people reconfirmed
the partitioning of the Albanian territories.. And left them to the Serbian-Croatian-Slovenian
Kingdom which it created.’(The Status of Republic For Kosova
Is A Just Demand’; ‘Zeri i popullit’; May 17th, 1981 In: ‘About The Events
in Kosova’; Tirana 1981; p.45).
As seen Kosova was Albanian territory, annexed by Yugoslavia,
yet overwhelmingly peopled with ethnic Albanians. In the Second World War,
the demagogic bourgeois Albanian nationalists, the Balli Kombetar issued
calls to ‘liberate Kosova from Yugoslavia’. But the CPA correctly called
for "unrelenting war against fascists and collaborator" arguing:
‘Only.. (this) will lead to solution of our national problems, an
integral part of which is the putting right of historical injustices. For
this our Communist party is fighting and the CPY likewise is leading the
peoples of its country on the same course.’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites’;
Kosova was then occupied by the Fascists. Balli demagogues
claimed that this ‘represented a liberation’ from Serbs. This was a principled
correct stand of the CPA. Either the CPA or the CPY could have led the
Kosovan struggle. But the CPY demanded that
Kosova and other Albanian regions of Yugoslavia be placed under CPY leadership.
But Tito promised that immediately after the war,
this population should decide its own future on the basis of the Leninist
principle of the right of self-determination. The PLA:
AAgreed to make a concession..this
was not the time to explain.. Kosova etc.. the main thing was to arouse
peoples in.. war against the fascist occupation. Later, when communists
were in power..then everything would be decided .. according to the will
of the peoples themselves.’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites’; Ibid; p.79-84).
During the war, the CPA showed
the Kosova people, that struggle they must - against fascism.
This line persisted, despite serious and false Yugoslav charges of ‘Great
Albanian chauvinism’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites’; Ibid; p.97-116).
But the CPY continually exposed its’ aggrandizing motives. The IST
CONFERENCE OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION COUNCIL FOR KOSOVA AND METOHIA,
was held in Bujan December 31st, 1943
to January 2nd 1944. This Conference under CPY leadership for Kosova proclaimed:
‘Albanian people of the Kosova and the Dukagjin Plateau, will have
the possibility to decide their own future through the right of self-determination
up to secession.’ (Hoxha; ‘Titoites’; Ibid; p.119).
But Tito erased this from the written resolutions.
(Hoxha; ‘Titoites’; Ibid; p.121). Then after the CPA lit anti-fascist
resistance in Kosova, Albanian partisans of the CPA battled to liberate
Kosova. Tito, now ordered CPA and Kosovans, to pursue the Nazis into the
North. This allowed Tito to occupy Kosovo. But following revolt by the
Kosovans, Tito then engineered the despatch of the CPA partisans, to leave
Kosova undefended. Thus was Kosova taken into Tito’s Yugoslavia:
‘Enter Kosova, without meeting resistance of Albanian insurgent forces.
Kosova was liberated by forces of the CPA army and Kosovans. Tito eliminated
the national liberation councils that had been set up and launched unrestrained
mass terror against the Albanians. These unprecedented reprisals of the
Titoites quite rightly caused a great popular revolt which put ‘New Yugoslavia’
in doubt.. the patriotic people of Kosova demanded the return of the Albanian
patriots.. Tito.. was obliged to agree..the partisans returned.. after
this Tito planned new manoeuvres.. It was necessary for him that CPA forces
should finally withdraw from Kosova and return to Albania.. But how? The
direct withdrawal of our forces from Kosova .. would create unpleasant
and grave scenes for the Titoites. The people of Kosova might rise in revolt
again.. Tito staged the ‘need to pursue reactionary bands towards the South,
towards Greece.’, and for this he sought the aid of those forces of ours.
We .. ordered our divisions to act. After they reached the Southern most
borders of Macedonia our forces were told there ‘was no further need’ for
them to stay in Yugoslavia. The border was crossed in the zone of Korca
and Prespa, far from the eyes of the people of Kosova. Tito and Rankovic
were left free.. with their barbarous methods against the martyred Kosova.’
(Hoxha; ‘Titoites’; Ibid; p.212-4).
Contrary to Tito’s promises during the war, Kosova was
annexed to the Republic of Serbia. It was not even granted Aautonomous
status". Later ALEXSANDR RANKOVIC at
the extraordinary meeting of the Anti-Fascist Convention of Serbia in April
1945 stated that the annexation:
AIs the best answer to those
who trumpet about the danger of the partitioning of the Serbian territory,
who make the accusation that the Nation Liberation War will weaken the
Serbs in the interests of the Croats and the others." ("Borba’,
April 8th, 1945 Cited "About Events in Kosova’ Ibid; p. 53.)
The people of Kosova were not satisfied. In 1968 they
once again raised the issue and demanded status as a republic. In October
1968, during discussion on the amendments to the Yugoslav Constitution,
the people of Kosova demanded once more Republic status. Tito refused a
petition on this question. The result was massive demonstrations in November
1968. The Kosovans demanded equal status for Albania as for Serbian and
the establishment of an Albanian university, and the right of self-determination.
The Yugoslavs were forced to grant a bilingual status, a national flag,
and the University of Prishtina. But republic status was rejected.
The issue is not forgotten of course. In 1981, March
11- 26th, the people erupted again, with the same demand-Republic status.
Not even secession mind, but republic status! They were brutally suppressed,
hundreds killed and wounded.
IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT TITO DID NOT FOLLOW
A SOCIALIST PATH IN YUGOSLAVIA
However rabid Serbian nationalism was to some extent
reined in, for two reasons.
E) LATER TITO POLICY ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION
Firstly as a
Croat Tito was not likely to give in to Serbian demands completely.
certainly realised that full Serbian unrestrained power would de-stabilise
the state. ANDRIJA HEBRANG, a Marxist-Leninist
insisted in 1948 that there was unfair Serb led Afixing’ of republic boundaries.
Hebrang was purged, but Tito restrained the worst Serb 'excess’.
But despite some resistance, the Serbs controlled
the army and large parts of the country that were separate nations. Such
as Kosova. The chief advocate of Great Serb Ambition was ALEKSANDR
RANKOVIC. A Triumvirate had been formed by Tito with Rankovic
and Kardelj. By 1966, Tito moved against Rankovic, who was:
"Divisive.. and planning to use the Security Forces to establish his
personal power. Some of his rivals discovered that Rankovic had planted
electronic bugging devices in Tito’s residence. At the CC Plenum on Brioni
in July 1966, Rankovic was obliged to resign his Party offices and his
post as Vice-President.’ (R.West Ibid; p. 296).
But Croatian nationalism, fuelled by Serbian dominance
in the state of Yugoslavia erupted into life. The Ustasha movement was
revived and FRANJO TUDJMAN was to join
it. The MATICA HRVASTKA (Croat Queen Bee)
movement called for recognition of Croatian as a separate language. Immediately
a counter demand was raised for the teaching of Serb alone to the children
of 700,000 Serbs in Croatia. Now both the Serbs and the Croats claimed
the Muslim population of Bosnia as Aethnically’ belonging to them alone.
TITO TRIED TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION. BUT HOW
TO DEFUSE SUCH A VOLATILE MIX WITHOUT PRINCIPLES? TITO SIMPLY COMPOUNDED
ETHNIC FOLLY, BY ENDORSING THE RIGHT OF THE MUSLIMS TO BE A NATION.
Thus instead of adopting a Marxist-Leninist view,
that Bosnia - heterogenous and ethnically complex itself formed a regional
nation, he adopted the worst chauvinist position possible in order to restrain
the Croat and Serbian nationalists. Ultimately this strategy would be doomed.
ANOTHER CHICKEN COME HOME TO ROOST WAS THE
FAILURE TO ENACT SOCIALISM
Yugoslavia rapidly faced the consequences of hocking
itself to the imperialist powers:
"In 1983 the Government staved off bankruptcy by virtually placing
itself in the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and ceding
control of debts and credits. By the middle of 1984, inflation stood at
62 %, the standard of living had fallen by 30%.. The unemployed made up
15% of the work-force.’ (R.West Ibid; p. 336).
F) FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF TITO - SERB AMBITION
In the midst of these tensions, crisis was bound to
come. After Tito’s death, the Serbs initiated a general scramble for power
took place. Initially after Tito’s death, the Presidency was by Constitution
rotated on May 15th between the 8 remaining Presidency members of the republics
and autonomous regions. But by 1988 increasing pressures exploded the latent
disagreements. What were the pressures? A failed economic system :
"By 1988 a total of 400,000 workers participated in over 1,700 strikes,
and Yugoslavia’s inflation rate continued to rise.. Inflation (was) running
at 346% in March 1989.’ (Donia and Fine; Ibid; p. 202-203).
ANTE MARKOVIC former
president of Croatia took the last position of federal prime minister.
He managed to reduce inflation to single digits and both the army and Presidency
of 8 supported him. But Serbian SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC
lit the flames of nationalism and made his position untenable.
Milosevic had been an executive of Tehnogas an energy
firm and then was president of a large Belgrade bank. He became Party chair
of the Serbian Communists in 1986.
Milosevic became President of the Serbian republic
in 1987 by displacing his mentor. Even before his accession to power, a
campaign against the non-Serbs had begun. A sign was the 1986
Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences signed by DOBRICA COSIS.
Cosis had been previously removed from the Serbian party central committee,
on grounds of nationalism in 1968. He was later to glorify the Cetniks
in a 1985 novel, and stated that:
‘The Question of the integrity of the Serbian people and its culture
in the whole of Yugoslavia poses itself as a crucial question for that
people's survival an development.’ (Grmek M, Gjidara M, Simac
N, Le Nettoyage Ethnique: Documents Historicques Sur Une Ideologie Serbe’
Paris, 1993; pp 256-265. Cite Malcolm Ibid; p. 207).
Milosevic fanned these sentiments through control of
the daily APolitika’. The leaders of the autonomous province of Vojvodina
were forced to yield to Milosevic supporters in 1988. Milosevic now revoked
the political autonomy of Kosova and Vojvodina and Montengro. Brutal repressions
now took place in Kosova, where massive demonstrations physically resisted
the Serb army, and many Kosovan Albanians were killed.
The crushing of Kosovan aspirations in March 1989,
was the declaration of intent against non-Serb Yugoslavia. The LEAGUE
OF COMMUNISTS OF YUGOSLAVIA , or the LCY (The CPY had changed
its name following the expulsion from the Cominform) held its 14th Extraordinary
Party Congress in January 1990, but failed to obtain agreement to re-establish
Federation. Milosevic controlled 4 of 8 votes in the Presidency. Now the
Slovenes boycotted proceedings of the LCY. The LCY now dissolved.
Multi-party elections were set for 1990. Rapidly the army, which had always
been dominated by the Serbs took sides with Milosevic:
‘The majority of officers in the Yugoslav National Army are Serbs’.
(Economist Intelligence Unit:'Country Report: Yugoslavia' No 1, 1991; p.5.).
"The YPA leadership supported Serbia’s efforts to amend its constitution
to provide for secession yet it opposed nearly identical proposals in Slovenia
and other republics.’ (Donia and Fine; Ibid; p. 209.)
GENERAL RATKO MLADIC
at this point, made arms freely available to the Serbs of Krajina encouraging
them to declare autonomy from Croatia.
Multi party elections took place in 1990, in each
of the 6 Yugoslav republics. By 1990 the authority of the central Federal
Government was over. The Presidents of the 6 republics held summits over
December 1990 to June 1991.
Milosevic elected for Serbia, demanded annexation
of Serb inhabited Croatian and Bosnian; if these republics demanded independence.
Izatbegovich, elected for Bosnia tried to seek a peaceful Federal solution.
Meanwhile the war would begin in Croatia. Tjudman elected in Croatia fuelled
Serbian ambition by open anti-Serb discrimination, firing thousands of
Serbs from jobs, and displaying the Ustasha fascist 'Sahovnica’ flag.
On March 16th, 1991 Serbs of Krajina declared separation
from Croatia. Clashes rapidly escalated. The Serbian army moved in to support
the Serbs in the summer of 1991. Croatia was over run by Serbia.
By 1992, the Serbs were ready to chase down Bosnia.
After the Serbs achieved had their war aims against the Croats; they deigned
to ‘allow a UN cease fire’. Now safe on the Croat flank, they attacked
the Bosnians with the Yugoslav Army. After the Bosnian Referendum of February
‘99.4% of those voting opted for full independence’ (Keesings
Record Of World Events' Volume 37; p.38,832.)
By mid-1992, the Serbs had occupied 70% of the Bosnian
territory. ONLY THEN, did the UN send
a so called Peace Keeping Force into Bosnia. Then the supposed ‘Peace Plans’
(The London Conference 1992; Lord Carrington's interventions; the Vance-Owen
'Peace Plan’ of January 1993; Cmder.M.Rose's missions etc).
The Europeans agreed to support Serbian hegemonic aspirations
and irredentionist ambition, to have their feet in the gateway to the Middle
East. The USA imperialists wished to maintain an alliance with Turkey,
as a part of their ‘New Order’, in the Middle East. This explains the back
and forth of the recent postures of imperialisms.
ALL RUBBER STAMPED THE SERBIAN SEIZURE OF TERRITORY.
THE FAVOUR OF THE IMPERIALISTS HAD BEEN WON EARLY
ON BY THE SERBS EARLY, FROM THE EUROPEAN NATIONS.
BUT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS AS REGARDS THE
G) HOW DO MARXIST-LENINISTS SEE THE NATIONAL
We are of course not surprised that Milosevic of the
Canadian Serb Council, does not raise this issue. But this point is also
not raised by Popovich, a correspondent published in North Star Compass!
This omission is more surprising, as it comes from someone professing to
be a Communist. But how can Popovich's stance, square with the statements
of Lenin and Stalin?
Lenin proposed the following, which became the final
wording of the document of the Zimmerwald International
Socialist Conference in September 1915:
‘The right of self-determination of nations must be the indestructible
principle in the system of national relations between peoples’.
(Zimmerwald Manifesto, signed by and included in V.I.Lenin:'Collected Works',
Volume 18; London; 1930; p.475).
OR Lenin again:
‘The right of self-determination means.. the right to independence
in a political sense, the right to be free, political secession’. (V.I.Lenin:'The
Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations To Self-Determination', 1916,
'Selected Works', Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 270)
Or how about J.V.Stalin? Ironically, it is when he is
talking of Yugoslavia he had this to say:
‘It is imperatively necessary to include in the national programme
a special point on the right of nations to self-determination, including
the right to secede’. (J.V.Stalin :'Concerning The National
Question In Yugoslavia', In 'Works', Volume 7; Moscow; 1954; p.75).
How relevant to Communists of North Star Compass, are
the attitudes of Lenin and Stalin to national self-determination? Lenin
took the work by J.V.Stalin on The National Question as a useful starting
point. We can do no worse.
WHAT DOES STALIN CONSIDER THE DEFINITION OF
A nation is not dependent upon religion, nor upon a
racial mixture. What constitutes then a nation?
"A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people
formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and
psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.’ (J.V.Stalin
"Works" Moscow; 1956; Vol 2; "Marxism and the National Question"; p. 307).
On this definition we have already seen that Bosnia
constitutes a separate nation. Incidentally one further clarification on
the criterion of language, is needed. Although effectively the population
of Bosnia Hercegovina, speaks either Croat or Serbian, this does not mean
anything regarding nationhood. Stalin refers to the Norwegians and the
Danes who (Stalin Ibid: p.308):
"speak one language, but they do not constitute a single nation owing
to the absence of the other characteristics.’ A common language is one
of the characteristic features of nation. This, of course, does not mean
that different nations always and everywhere speak different languages,
or that all who speak one language necessarily constitute one nation. A
common language for every nation, but not necessary different languages
for different nations!.. Englishmen and Americas speak one language, but
they do not constitute one nation. The same is true of the Norwegian and
the Danes, the English and the Irish.’ (Stalin Ibid: p.308):
In national oppression, it is the workers who suffer
more than bourgeoisie:
"Restriction of freedom of movement, disfranchisement, repression
of language, closing of schools, and other forms of persecution affect
the workers no less, if not more, than the bourgeoisie. Such a state of
affairs can only serve to retard the free development of the intellectual
forces of the proletariat of subject nations. One cannot speak seriously
of a full development of the intellectual faculties of the Tartar or Jewish
worker if he is not allowed to use his native language at meetings and
lectures, and if his schools are closed down.’ (Stalin Ibid:
But another reason exists why the national liberation
struggle must be supported. This is that the national struggle is diversionary
and obscures the real struggle - for socialism.
"The policy of nationalist persecution is dangerous to the cause of
the proletariat .. It diverts the attention of large strata from social
questions, question of the class struggle, to national questions, question
‘common’ to the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. And this creates a favourable
soil for lying propaganda about ‘harmony of interests’, for glossing over
the class interests of the proletariat and for the intellectual enslavement
of the workers. This creates a serious obstacle to the cause of using the
workers of all nationalities’. (Stalin Ibid: p.320-21).
And linked to this, moreover, "nationalism’ allows a
policy of ‘divide and rule’, again diverting from the main struggle:
"The "system’ of oppression to a "system" of inciting nations against
each other to a "system" of massacres and pogroms.. Of course the latter
system s not everywhere and always possible, but where it is possible-
in the absence of elementary civil rights-it frequently assumes horrifying
proportions and threatens to drown the cause of unity of the workers in
blood and tears. The Caucasus and the South Russia furnish numerous examples.
‘Divide and rule’- such is the purpose of the policy of incitement. And
where such policy succeeds, it is a tremendous evil for the proletariat
and a serious obstacle to the cause of uniting the workers of all the nationalities
in the state.’ (Stalin Ibid: p.321).
Well this is all very well, but what does this mean?:
"The right of self-determination means that a nation may arrange its
life in the way it wishes. It has the right to arrange its life on the
basis of autonomy. It has the right to enter into federal relations with
other nations. It has the right to complete secession. Nations are sovereign,
and all nations have equal rights.’ (Stalin Ibid: p.321).
Obviously the Marxist-Leninist will not necessarily
support all claims to nationhood if they obstruct the working peoples.
For instance resurrection of "beys and mullahs’ influence in Transcaucasia
would not have been in the best interests of the "toiling strata. The answer
that is best for the workers and toilers depends upon the precise historical
situation and must be carefully assessed on the precise facts’:
"A nation has the right to arrange its life on autonomous lines It
even the has the right to secede. But this does not mean that it should
do so under all circumstances, that autonomy or separation, will everywhere
and always be advantageous for a nation; ie. For its majority, ie for the
toiling strata. The Transcacausian Tartars as a nation may assemble , let
us say, in their Diet and succumbed to the influence of their beys and
mullahs, decide to restore the old order of things and to secede from the
state. According to the meaning of the clause on self-determination they
are fully entitled to do so. But will this be in the interest of the toiling
strata of the Tartar nation? Can Marxists look on indifferently when the
beys and mullahs assume the leadership of the masses in the solution of
the national question?.. Should not Marxist come forward with a definite
plan for the solution of the question, a plan which would be most advantageous
for the Tartar masses?.. But what solution would be most compatible with
the interests of the toiling masses? Autonomy, federation or separation?
All these are problems the solution of which will depend on the concrete
historical conditions in which the given nation finds itself.. Conditions
like everything else change, and a decision which is correct at one particular
time may prove to be entirely unsuitable at another.’ (Stalin
BUT THERE ARE DIFFERENT MINORITIES IN THE SAME
GEOGRAPHICAL REGION OF BOSNIA. THIS IS A SPECIAL TYPE OF NATIONAL PROBLEM
What can be said about these situations? This pertains
in Bosnia today. This also pertained in Stalin’s times in several parts
of the European world. These included TRANSCAUCASIA.
As a precondition to solve the problems of these areas, Stalin insisted
"The complete democratisation of the country is the basis and condition
for the solution of the national question.’ (Stalin Ibid:
Having said that, Stalin recognised that there was a
possibility that independence and secession was "necessary’ for some parts.
However, he then considered the possibility that for some parts "regional
autonomy’ was preferable:
"The only correct solution is regional autonomy, autonomy for such
crystallised units as Poland, Lithuania, the Ukraine, the Caucasus etc.
The advantage of regional autonomy consists first of all in the fact that
it does not deal with a fiction bereft of territory, but with a definite
population inhabiting a definite territory. Next it does not divide people
according to nations, it does not strengthen national barriers; on the
contrary it breaks down these barriers and unites the population in such
a manner as to open the way for division of a different kind, division
according to classes... Of course, not one of these regions constitutes
a compact homogeneous nation, for each is interspersed with national minorities.
Such are the Jews in Poland, the Letts in Lithuania, the Russians in the
Caucasus, the Poles in the Ukraine, and so on. It may be feared therefore
that the minorities will be oppressed by the national majorities. But there
will be grounds for fear only if the old order continues to prevail in
the country. Give the country complete democracy and all grounds for fear
will vanish.’ (Stalin Ibid: p.376).
"What the minorities want is not an artificial
union but real rights in the localities they inhabit. What can such a union
give them without complete democratisation? On the other hand, what need
is there for a national union when there is complete democratisation? What
is that particularly agitates a national minority? A minority is discontented
not because there is not national union but because it does not enjoy the
right to use its native language. Permit it to use its native language
and the discontent will pass of itself. A minority is discontented not
because there is no artificial union but because it does not possess it
own schools. Give it its own schools and all grounds for discontent will
disappear.. A minority is discontented not because there is not national
union, but because it does not enjoy liberty of conscience (religious liberty),
liberty of movement, etc. Give it those liberties and it will cease to
be discontented. Thus equal rights of nation in all forms (language, schools,
etc) is an essential element in the solution of the national question..
Complete democratisation of the country is required.’ (Stalin
HERE STALIN FAVOURED REGIONAL AUTONOMY -TO EQUATE
WITH NATIONAL STATUS - WITHIN A LARGER FEDERATION
3. THE PRESENT GENOCIDAL WAR WAGED BY SERBIA;
& INTER-IMPERIALIST CONFLICT OVER BOSNIA
She further alleges that:
A) ON ‘SERBOPHOBIA’ IN THE PRESS, ARATTLESNAKES’,
AND RAPE Popovich works up quite a lather in shouting ‘unfair’,
‘Selectivity in reporting, reporting only the suffering of the Muslims
in gruesome detail.. a Serbophobia.. stronger than Anti-Semitism.. unscrupulous
propaganda.’ (North Star Compass; Ibid; p. 10).
‘The present dictatorial and militaristic threats of Western ‘democratic’
powers force Bosnian Serbs to accept unfair, humiliating and undignified
‘peace with the Bosnian Muslim government’.
And that UN embargo plays a pro-Muslim role:
‘If Izatbegovic hopes that the Serbs will be broken by the UN embargo..
force them to accept - an unfair, humiliating, undignified, dictatorial
and unconditional ‘peace’ with Muslims.’ (North Star Compass;
Ibid; p. 10).
Neither allegation is supported
by facts. Facts show the contrary. As to the hysteria of Steve
Milosevic and the Canadian Serb Council (CSC) in the pamphlet, ‘Rocks and
Rattlesnakes’ what can be calmly said? The key historical pretences of
this scurrilous rag, are examined textually above in our reply. But then,
the author of this mythology, goes on to labouriously assert that there
were no rapes of Bosnian Muslim women by Serbian militia and soldiers;
and that the massacres of the Bosnian were really perpetrated by the Bosnians
According to the CSC, these were reported by ‘hysterical
media’ citing various notable men and women including one Professor Marsha
Hewitt. One technique of the CSC is to use ‘famous people’ to buttress
their distorted views. Thus Kissinger! Thus the seamless transition in
a sleight of hand, that covers the passage from the AUN Commission of Experts
headed by Professor M.Cherif Bassiouni in Geneva’ p.13, to the views of
We do not need in detail to refute the flimsy CSC
allegations. When even basic history is misrepresented by Milosevic, it
is unnecessary to deal with these tawdry misrepresentations. Readers unaware
of the facts, are referred to the avalanche of well researched accurate
TV and book reports. Further testimony from the Dutch soldiers to the UN
forces in Bosnia is becoming available also. We will cite only one source
in this section, the 1993 Pulitzer winning ‘A
Witness To Genocide’, by Roy Gutman, New York. The two pictures
on the next page, are drawn from his book, and the captions tell the story.
Finally on these ‘allegations’ by the SCS, let the dialogue of women in
‘We want the world to know about our truth. All mothers. All women,’
said Senada, 17, who wrote a statement by hand and gave it to the chief
gynaecologist at Tuzla Hospital.. Dr Melika Kreitmayer, leader of the gynaecological
team that examined 25 out of the 40 victims from Brezov Polje, said she
and her colleagues are convinced that the object of the rapes was to ‘humiliate
Muslim women to insult them, to destroy their persons and to cause shock..
These women were not raped because it was the male instinct. They were
raped because it was the goal of the war.. Someone had an order to rape
the girls.’ Kreitmayer is of Muslim origin.. Her team includes a Serb and
a Slovene doctor (who did not) object to these assertions. ‘We are shocked
by what we have heard,’ commented her Serb Colleague Dr. Nenad Trifovic.’
(Cited Gutman R; Ibid; p.69) .
SOME PICTURES FOLLOW, ONLY IN THE HARD COPY
Behind the anguished hand wringing, most bourgeois
press in Europe, aided Serb chauvinists by NOT
exposing historical facts. THESE FACTS ARE:
Firstly - the machinations of Serb chauvinists
inside former Yugoslavia; and
Secondly - the
machinations of foreign imperialism, allowing Serb chauvinists to achieve
a Greater Serbia, unrestricted by a deliberately toothless UN.
It is true that there has been a purely verbal condemnation
of Serbian viciousness. This is liberal democracy, cry, but do not expose
the real causes for the killing. And above all, do not stop the killing;
and do not expose the fake diplomacy of the UN!
Upon the facts surrounding Serb chauvinists led
by SLOBODAN MILOSOVIC, the bourgeois
press is strikingly silent. Where was the alleged ‘Press Serbophobia’ when
Milosovic sent in the troops to Kosova to suppress the very strong movement
for national autonomy there? Scant mention in the bourgeois press. Yet
here, Milosovic first revealed, his Great Serb Nationalism.
Marxists-Leninists know that the bourgeois press
is only a propaganda vehicle for the bourgeois imperialists.
It became rapidly clear that the policy of the Serbian
Democratic Party (SDS) was to terrorise the Bosnian populace:
"The aims of the SDS are to take over as much of the territory of
Bosnia-Hercegovina as possible by military action and terror. It was launched
in the summer of 1990 and is closely linked to Slobodan Milosevich’s Socialist
Party of Serbia.. Their strategy has been to help local militias ga control
of a maximum amount of this territory and then to call in the UN and other
international force to separate the two sides and finally for the "ethnically
cleansed’ populations to vote to join the new Yugoslavia.’
(Economist Intelligence Unit:’Country Report: Yugoslavia Republics’ no.
2, 1992; pp 10; 12).
In March 1992, Serb leaders proclaimed a ‘Serbian republic
of Bosnia-Hercegovina’; and in April 1992 a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
consisting only of Serbia and Macedonia was proclaimed. Finally in September
1992, the Parliament of the self-proclaimed "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina’..
declared itself in ‘favour of union with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(FRY).’ (Keesings Record of World events Vol 38; pp39-103.)
By September 1992, the Croatians - first the victims
of Serbia - now joined Serbia to prey upon Bosnia:
"Croatia was interested in negotiating a carve-up of Bosnia-Hercegovina
with Serbia’. (Economist Intell Unit: Yugoslavia Republics
No. 2; 1992;p. 13).
In October 1992, the Croatian occupation forces in Bosnia
proclaimed the "Croatian community of Herceg-Bosne’, with Mate
Boban as President. (Kessing’s Record of World
Events’, Vol 38; pp. 39, 149).
The United Nations Security
Council in January 1992, approved the sending of UN "PeaceKeeping
Forces’ UN-PROFOR to Yugoslavia. By
September 1992 a ‘Permanent Conference on Yugoslavia’
had opened in Geneva co-chaired by LORD
OWEN FOR THE EEC and CYRUS VANCE FOR THE UN. (Keesing’s
Vol 38; p. 39, 102).
BUT THE UN IS ONLY THE FORUM THROUGH WHICH
THE DOMINANT IMPERIALIST STATES ENFORCE THEIR WILL ON THE REST OF THE WORLD.
After the temporary success of the USA in the Middle
East, the European powers tried to regain the initiative. Following the
absorption of the former East German state, the ‘locomotive’ of the EEC
- WEST GERMANY was temporarily burdened.
The EEC has now overcome these problems. The East European market is a
major opportunity for new markets, since under Soviet revisionism following
the death of Stalin, these countries were significantly exploited as colonies
and not developed.
Ever since the war of aggression launched by the
USA over Kuwait, the USA had been the dominant imperialist nation. But
inter-imperialist competition is intensifying as the world’s markets become
fewer and the productive capacity continues to rise. Furthermore, the difficulty
in Arestoring’ balance by either a policy of monetarism or by a policy
of inflation led recovery, intensifies the world wide capitalist crisis.
(See Alliance 3 for details). Economic war fare was
marked between the great imperialist powers by the giant trading blocks
In addition, the USA has a key ally in the Middle
East, TURKEY. The Turkish Government
has been heavily reliant upon USA imperialism, and was useful in consolidating
the USA presence in the Middle East. Turkey was vocal in insisting on protection
Thus when divisions between the EEC and the USA became
evident, they were bound to be reflected in the UN actions- should we say
inaction? - in Bosnia. Inaction over manifest attacks on the Bosnian Muslims;
inaction over the evident imbalance of arms between the two sides:
"EEC Ministers agreed that the UN arms embargo against Bosnia should
not be lifted,’ ("Guardian’, 25 January 1993; p. 8.)
Despite a general
"The arms embargo ..hinders Bosnia while doing little to cut the arms
available to the Serbs and the Croats.’ (‘Guardian’, 10 February
1993; p. 18.)
What did the Vance-Owen Plan
amount to? It amounted to partition of Bosnia, exactly what
the Serbs had demanded :
"The Vance-Owen blueprint divided Bosnia into nine semi-autonomous
provinces with weak central government, leaves the Serbs controlling half
of the republic, and requires a huge increase in the UN peacekeeping presence’..
Although the Geneva documents acknowledge the primacy of Bosnian sovereignty,
few analysts here see it as leading anywhere but to the gradual partition
of the republic. Diplomats draw an analogy with the Croatian peace plan
devised by Mr. Vance.. A year on one-third of Croatia is still controlled
by gangs of thugs licensed in Belgrade.’ (Guardian’, 18 January
Naturally the Serbs were glad but even so, they wished
for more. The Bosnians knew this was a ‘Victory for the aggressor’, as
HARIS SILAJDZICH foreign minister of
Bosnia, put it. (Guardian 15 January 1993; p. 10). The
EEC propaganda favoured the Serbs despite their viciousness. The best of
the press - minority - tried to portray a more accurate picture. Thus the
liberal leaning, but still minority press, the Guardian of Britain said:
‘Although RADOVAN KARADZICH (leader
of the semi-fascist "Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia-Hercegovina’ is
admitted to be.. A proven liar and murderer.. The BBC depicts him as a
poet and religious thinker and interviews him daily.’ (Guardian’,
17 December 1992; p. 17.).
As acknowledged by all, except the wilfully blind Canadian
Serb Council, the "plan of ethnic cleansing’ consisted of ‘Kill the men
and rape the women-repeatedly (Observer 21 February 1993;
p.53); the UN defended the practice so called of setting up of ‘Safe
Zones.’ But even the UN Special envoy on human rights in former Yugoslavia
TADEUSZ MASOWIECKI stated to the UN
assembly a fear that:
"Setting up safe zones means accepting the policy of "ethnic cleansing’
has to yield to the need to save human lives.’ (Guardian’
28 November 1992; p. 11)
OWEN AND THE EEC WERE CONFRONTED WITH TWO PROBLEMS,
THE OPPOSITION OF THE USA AND THE BOSNIAN REFUSAL TO BE QUIET.
They therefore found their own stooges in Bosnia:
"Mr.Abdic’s willingness to cooperate with the Serbs caught the attention
of Mr. David Owen the EEC’s peace mediator for Bosnia. At the time Mr.
Owen was pushing Mr. Izatbegovic to agree to the latest of his plans to
chop up Bosnia along ethnic lines. TO put pressure on Mr. Izatbegovich,
he began promoting Mr.Abdic as a leader of Adissidents’ who were willing
to settle the conflict. This was tantamount to an Owen orchestrated coup,
and Mr. Abdic well aware of this fact, cheerfully played along.’ (Charles
Lane, from The New Republic; Reprinted Globe and Mail, Toronto Dec 16th,
But this led to counter moves from Bosnian president
Izatbegovich provoking further factionalisation and arming:
"Mr Izatbegovic fearing that other regional Muslim leaders might follow
Mr. Abdic’s example, engineered the Bosnian Parliament’s rejection of Mr.
Owen’s plan and moved to isolate Mr. Abdic politically. Mr. Abdic countered
politically by declaring himself president of "autonomous’ Bihac and signed
peace treaties with Mr. Karadadic with the Croats.. And began arming a
militia in including deserters from the 5th Corps’. (Globe
and Mail, 16.12.94. P.A 19).
THE USA FIGHTS BACK AGAINST THE EEC
As the inter-imperialist contradictions grow trade wars
become more intense. For instance:
"The US Commerce Department.. Called for the imposition of duties
on nearly 1 Billion pounds sterling in steel exports from the EC and 12
other countries, including Japan and South Korea. They come on top of duties
applied to the same steel products in November.. The threat of a transatlantic
trade grew... as pressure mounted for the EC to retaliate against the US
decision to slap hefty duties on steel imports.’ ("Guardian’,
29 January 1993; p. 17.)
As these differences grew, the USA reasserted its authority
in the Balkans. They proposed to modify the Vance-Owen plan with "Vance-Owen
Mark 2’. The main difference was that it would seat a US envoy (
Reginald Bartholomew US ambassador to the NATO) at the table. (Guardian,
11 February 1993; p.1). This would have allowed some concessions
to Bosnia, in the form of some withdrawal of previous concessions made
to Serbs and Croats under Mark 1:
"The Clinton administration is moving toward support for a modified
version of the Vance-Owen plan for Bosnia, officials in Washington and
Munich indicated yesterday.. It will seek to reinforce provisions in the
existing plan to safeguard Bosnia..’ (‘Guardian’, 8 February
1993; p. 7).
Clearly because Serbia would reject these moves, the
USA threatened the Serb leaders in particular with an INTERNATIONAL
WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL:
"Lawrence Eagleburger, the US
Secretary of State told a meeting of the Yugoslavia peace conference that
an international war crimes tribunal must be set up to prosecute those
deemed guilty of mass atrocities.. His list included President Milosevic,
Radovan Karadzich, and General Ratko Mladich. But the co-chairmen of the
Geneva Conference on the former Yugoslavia, Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen,
made clear that Mr. Eagleburger’s warnings would not affect the standing
of Mr. Milosevich, Mr.Karadzich or Gen. Mladich as negotiating partners
in the peace talks.’ (Guardian 17 Dec; 1992; p. 1.).
The USA threatened that NATO would take steps to implement
this unilaterally without awaiting agreement from Serbia and Croatia. They
also threatened direct intervention on 12 February 1993.
BUT DESPITE THE WISH OF
THE US TO BLOCK THE EEC, THE USA WAS FORCED TO TEMPORARILY AGREE TO VANCE-OWEN
MARK 1. WHAT CHANGED?
Firstly it was recognised that
this would commit many USA troops to a ground war that would be very unpopular.
"Boris Yeltsin.. Had let it be known that he might be unable to control
his people’s pan-Slavic feelings if the West intervened directly agin the
Serbs.’ (Observer; 14 February 1993; p. 13).
Thirdly the EC pressure
combined with the NATO reluctance to be used by the US combined to force
tactical retreat. The process was summarised in an interview with LORD
CARRINGTON, former British Tory Foreign Secretary and head of NATO.
"For 12 months between 1991 and 1992 Lord Carrington and Jose Cutiliero
of Portugal tried on behalf of the European Union to broker a peace. They
failed. With American cries of ASell-out!’ echoing ever more insistently..
Christian Tyler said : "Many commentators especially in the US say Europe
is secretly on the sides of the Serbia.. "The Balkans are the Balkans,
as we know from old Bismarck’s remark’.’ (Financial Times,
More time was needed by which the UN manoeuvres on behalf
of EEC imperialism could be exposed as being a Pro-Serb support with the
facade of UN "Peacekeeping’. USA pressure kept up to force concessions.
Secondly the Russians were entering
President Clinton had to ensure the support of the
Republicans, who would not sanction troop losses of the USA. By critiquing
the EEC and the UN ineffectual stances, the USA gained ground. The Serbs
who refused to stop at their 70% of grabbed Bosnian land, aided the USA
manoeuvres by their blatant viciousness.
The USA having now got the Amoral superiority’ forced
the EEC to accede. Under this pressure, the Croats and the Bosnians agreed,
to form a front against further Serb aggression. The economic blockades
were made to bite against Serbia more effectively than before:
‘The Serbs in Krajina and Bosnia were still struggling to cope with
the cutoff of aid from the regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
in Belgrade. Thanks to the support of the US, Bosnia and Croatia were once
again allies, ending the Bosnian army’s crippling struggles with the Croats
and opening the way for new arms shipments through Croatia from Iran and
elsewhere. US support for ending the arms embargo against Bosnia gave the
Bosnians an incentive to demonstrate their improving progress on the battlefield...
In October the 5th Corps staged a dramatic breakout from Bihac, driving
the Bosnian Serbs from 250 square kilometres of adjacent territory- which
it should be noted would have belonged to them under most international
peace plans.. Bosnian Haris Silajdzic recently demanded air strikes by
NATO against the Serbs and blamed the UN for a pending massacre in Bihac.’
(P.A 19; Globe and Mail; 16.12.94).
Mladic was always a man of Milosevic. But he was forced
to fight more by himself rather than with Milosevic and Belgrade’s assistance.
But he relied on the manifest spinelessness of the UN, under effectively,
EEC commands. Once more, the UN obstructed a concerted move against the
Serbs, ensuring Serbs further opportunity:
"Ratko Mladic made two audacious decisions: To make up for lost artillery
positions on the Grabez plateau, he attacked Bihac.. in open defiance of
the UN’s NATO enforced no-fly zone. He broke the UN rule against staging
actions from Serb-held areas of Croatia attacking Velika Kladusa with the
help of Mr.Abdic’s Muslim army. Having.. failed to anticipate that UN flaccidity
would enable General Mladic to make such a pincer moreover, the 5th Corps
lost the ground it had just won.. One again general Mladic and the Serbs
have won by calling the international community’s bluff. This along with
the Mr. Owen’s ill-conceived Abdic gambit constitutes the heart of the
outside world’s culpability in the destruction of Bihac.’ (Globe
& Mail; 16.12.94).
WHO IS THIS GENERAL RATKO MILADIC SERB ARMY COMMANDER?
Still drawing a pension from the former Yugoslav
army, he is a total opportunist and vicious bully:
"As soon as the Serbo-Croat war broke out in 1991, Lt-Col Mladic was
transferred appointed corps commander in Knin which would be in the heart
of the Serb armed rebellion against Croat independence.. The "loyal’ communist
officer who once vowed never to remove the red star from his cap, underwent
a transformation, wearing the uniform of the Serbian royalist generals
from the first world war.’ (Financial Times; Weekend pages;
p.11; Dec 31-Jan 1, 1995).
What was at stake in 1994 - early 1995? Only the
70% of Bosnia, that had been seized by Serbs:
"We’ll never hand over land for which Serb Blood has been spilled,’he
pledged .. Explaining his refusal to meet international demands to roll
back current Serb holdings from 70 to 49 % of Bosnia.’ (Financial
Times; Dec 31-Jan 1, 1995, p. 11, Weekend FT.
A COSY RELATIONSHIP - THE UN AND MLADIC - CASE
OF THE YELLOW ROSE
Contrary to the assertions of the CSC and Popovich,
apologists for Serb aggression, the UN has consistently favoured the Serbs
and turned a blind eye to their inhumane treatment of Bosnians. The relationship
between the UN and Mladic shows only too clearly the entire "cosy relationship’
between a veneer of a peacekeeping force - the UN, and the Serb aggressors.
The case of SIR MICHAEL ROSE is revealing.
"One US publication called him the ‘Yellow Rose’. Another condemned
him as the reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain. And even Britain’s own
Daily Mail called him the ‘hocolate soldier’. .. Certainly no body in Bosnian-held
Sarajevo waved goodbye.. ’No one will shed tears or even shake his hand,’
Bosnian Vice-President EJUP GANIC said
before his departure... From the Bosnian Serbs however, there was a presentation
- by Bosnian Serb Commander Ratko Mladic, who has been named as a war criminal
by the US State Department- of a painting depicting the brave and steely
eyed Rose protecting a Bosnian Serb peasant’ (Toronto Star;
Sunday February 19, 1995.page C5.)
How did Rose react on the ground?
"Only weeks after he arrived in January 1994, he was subjected to
a baptism by fire with the infamous Sarajevo market massacre which killed
68 people on Feb 6th.. Rose demanded the Bosnia Serbs withdraw their heavy
weapons from around the city or face.. NATO air strikes.. The Bosnian Serbs
listened.. Worried they backed off.. But Serb Commander Mladic was fuming.
In April.. He launched an all-out offensive on Goradze a UN declared safe
area in Eastern reaches of Bosnia.’He (Rose) just didn’t want to believe
it was happening and he didn’t get the political support from his masters
in the UN’, said Macdonald. ‘He made a dreadful hash of his year,’ British
Labour Party MP Callum Macdonald said last week.’I don’t think there’s
any doubt about that.’ (Toronto Sunday Star; February 19th,
Recent revelations that the Dutch commander Lt. Col
Ton Karremans, Dutch commander in Srebrenica refused to intervene in the
Srbrenica massacres in July 1995 show that the Mladic effect was not confined
to one UN commander. There are even pictures of Karremans drinking with
Mladic. (New York Times; 8 October 1995; p.4).
Mladic alternately bullied and charmed the only
too willingly supine UN Commanders. The much feted Michael Rose, was only
feted in Europe and Serbia. On his departure, clearly Mladic thought Rose
had done a good job as he gave him a painting:
MINOR NATO AIR STRIKES WERE CALLED IN. BUT
THE EUROPEANS MANAGED STILL TO DEFER AND SABOTAGE ANY DECISIVE ACTION:
Thus there was direct sabotage
of USA and NATO attempts.
"The target of all that ‘Western might’ was a measly unmanned Serbian
tank’. For their part the Serbs shot down a Royal Naval Sea Harrier fighter
jet and shot dead one of Rose’s own SAS men’.. With the limits of "Western
might’ so pathetically exposed for all the Serbs to see, Rose appeared
for all the Serbs to see, bitter and transformed, like a man who - perhaps
- had been found out..
In a signed letter.. The UN Commander told Mladic that he agreed that
air power should not be used.. As Bosnian-Hercogovinian (B-H) Commander
Rose was the only blue helmet able to call in air strikes. ‘As Commander
B-H Command, I fully agree with you that we must in future avoid all situations
which necessitate the use of force whether it be applied from the ground
or the air,’ Rose wrote to Mladic.’It is not part of our mission to impose
any solution by forces of arms. We are neither mandated or deployed for
such a mission.’
In November angered by troop movements from the mainly Bosnian forces,
Mladic moved his heavy guns into Bihac, another Muslim enclave and so-called
UN safe area, and unloaded. Rose was powerless.. Rose was humiliated by
the Bosnian Serbs..
Rose was phoned by Radovan Karadzic..’Michael?... The message is: Don’t
mess about! Don’t f.. Around! If you hit us, it means war! Repeat : If
you hit us it means an all-out war’.
Rose replied :’That message is... received’. The Serbs did deploy and
attack and besiege and batter Bihac... Incredibly in December, while in
negotiation with Mladic, Rose supplied information on NATO flight plans.
The US military was enraged. NATO flights over Bosnia had to be suspended
for several days, then altered, and only later could they be resumed’.
(Toronto Star; February 19th; 1995; C5.)
In other words, Rose to pacify and mollify the Serbs:
"Rose threw in the towel, he never committed himself again and he
never confronted the Serbs again’ said Macdonald.
As Rose ruefully commented:
"Peacekeepers cannot deliver political solutions.. That is for the
political leaders of the country and for the international community. We’ve
done our bit.. It is now up to the politicians to take their people back
to peace.’ (Toronto Star; Sunday; February 19th).
On the ground Rose was craven towards the blatant Serb
provocations. The USA made clear its opinion of him:
"General Rose.. Stayed.. Despite a whispering campaign against him
in Washington, and endless abuse from Moslem politicians.. The UN has seen
hundreds of its men detained by the Bosnian Serbs promoting even the most
sympathetic observers to wonder how long the UN mission can last.’ (Financial
Times; Weekend pages; p. 1; Dec 31- Jan 1, 1995).
Despite all the delays from the EEC and the UN, the
USA continued to insist on concessions to Bosnia:
"Bosnian Serbs said they would sign an ambitious cease fire pact today,
but the Muslim-led government called in a top UN official to bridge a last-minute
difference. The signing ceremony will take place tomorrow.. The agreement
for a 4 month cessation of hostilities will be signed by Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic and Serb Army commander General Ratko Mladic on one side
and by British Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Rose on the other.. The UN
commander in Bosnia said after the meeting Bosnian Vice President Ejup
Ganic that it was now up to the Muslim leaders to get the peace process
rolling.. ‘The ball is in their court not in ours any more,’ Gen Rose said.
The Serb intention to sign the accord follows a statement by the Bosnian
Government that UN special envoy Yakushi Akasi was needed to settle some
differences... The Serbs sent us a very weak document and we are trying
to add language that would strengthen the agreement and make it something
more than a cease-fire, which we already have,’ the Bosnian government
official said.’The Serbs are trying to go straight from a cease-fire to
Geneva for peace talks. We want the UN to help us get a real cessation
of hospitalities with demilitarization of Sarajevo, routes in and out of
the city and monitoring of orders.’ Globe and Mail, Toronto,
Dec 31, 1994.).
The Serbs were reluctant to engage in major negotiation:
"The Serbs are believed to favour a simple agreement with few changes
from the interim cease-fire already signed. As the dominant military force,
the Serbs do not want to surrender any advantages in preliminary talks
that might give them leverage in final peace negotiations.’ (Globe
and Mail; December 31, 1994. P. A10.)
The USA continued to exert pressure for concessions
"For months Britain, France and Russia have urged the United States
not to try and redress the arms balance in Bosnia, arguing that to lift
the arms embargo on the heavily outgunned country would lead to only more
senseless bloodshed.. The immediate casualty of the US decision to stop
enforcing the embargo is accord between the Contact Group’s countries that
drew up the last summer’s peace plan’. (Sunday Independent
The entry of Russia complicated the situation further:
"In Russia voices raise threats.. Der Speigel .. Reported elements
in the Russian military have smuggled 4,000 railway wagons of weapons to
the Bosnian Serbs.. 'The short terms danger is that the Europeans will
withdraw their peace-keepers; in the long term Washington and Moscow may
find themselves fighting a proxy Balkan war. And what of the NATO alliance
whose ships excluding now, America’s- blockade the Adriatic and whose planes-
including America’s- patrol Bosnian skies?’ (Sunday Independent
13.12.94. P. 15).
The Serbs continued to obstruct a meaningful cease fire.
But now they were militarily vulnerable for the first real time. The previous
terms of arms blockade, favourable to them, did not any longer apply. The
USA ensured the silence of Belgrade, and the NATO strikes were now being
In the 5 member CONTACT GROUP (USA, Germany,
Russia, Britain and France) that was set up, the USA pressure finally had
to succeed. The power of NATO was used to intimidate the other members
of the Contact Group.
Furthermore, the blatant viciousness of the Serb
aggression, had led to public demands for some veneer of resistance. The
USA "muscled in’ and would take the fruits of the EEC policy in the former
Yugoslavia, becoming itself the beneficiary of a divided Bosnia. Bosnia
- partitioned between a slightly lesser, but still Greater Serbia, and
a Croat-Muslim part. This was essentially just another version of the Owen-Vance
(and later the Owen-Stollenberg) plan. It only differed in that the USA
would be the "controller’ with now, another foot in the Mediterranean.
By May 1995, the USA had decided on its strategy.
It would insist upon serious NATO air strikes as a "cheap’ way of enforcing
its will. This would free it from committing ground troops, and allow it
to take the diplomatic credit for imposing peace. This "peace’ would rest
on imperialist re-drawing of the map. It would use the old and tested imperialist
method of divide and rule, and would impose a partitioned Bosnia.
This strategy accorded with the US Senate and the
Republicans gave their blessing to the Democrat President Clinton to a
jointly agreed USA solution. The Serbs naturally assisted by providing
THE FIRST MAJOR NATO BOMBINGS
ON MAY 25 AND MAY 26 served to stimulate fresh Serb provocations.
They seized UN hostages. This led to even more hesitancy on the UN part.
The Bosnian Muslims were forced to drive food convoys over the:
"Lethally dangerous Mount Igman route into Sarajevo because the UN
blue helmets judged it too risky’. (Financial Times; June
17th; p. 10).
To the continued Serbian intransigence,
the USA responded with three tactics:
1. To encourage the Bosnian resurgent military,
now freed from an unfair green light to Serbia, to retake territory:
‘Senior Western military figures acknowledge that the Bosnian army
has improved greatly as a fighting force.. And has managed to get its hands
on some heavier artillery. Some of the heavy weapons have been captured
from the Serbs.. More has been smuggled in by countries sympathetic ...
Mr. Mats Berdal (UN expert) sees the latest Bosnian offensive as Aan attempt
to get the Serbs to respond in their customary manner’.. Which could stoke
demands ..in the USA congress for firmer intervention to "punish the guilty’.’
(Financial Times; June 17th; p. 10).
2. To use further air strikes by NATO:
"The new strategy come from Washington .. To use air power not as a
response to Bosnian Serbs attacks but as a softening-up strategy to win
concessions at the negotiating table; otherwise
known as ‘bomb-and-talk’ or ‘Vietnam revisited.’ (Guardian
September 7th; 1995; p.9).
3. They divided Milosevic from the more determined
"The coup de grace came from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic,
who despite repeated promises of assistance, declined to help his ethnic
cousins when they most needed it. Having thrown over communism, nationalism,
and the dream of a Greater Serbia, Milosevic eventually decided to hang
his political future on cooperation with the West.’ (Newsweek;
11 September 1995; p. 12).
‘Observers in Belgrade said the NATO bombardment has shifted the balance
of power in Yugoslavia putting pressure on the entire Serb camp and bringing
home to Mr.Milosevic and Mr.Karadzic .. Their need for each other.. Mr
Karadzic gave Mr. Milosevic the authority to negotiate on his behalf."
(Financial Times; Sep 1; 1995; p. 2).
On August 30 th 1994 further air strikes were launched.
Mladic’s response was bellicose, and he threatened the UN
GENERAL JANVIER to back down. The French UN commander was willing
to do so. But as the Independent commented, the USA and NATO were not:
"At first it seemed Gen Mladic had the measure of his man: Gen Janvier..
Recommended an end to the NATO bombing campaign. But he did not count on
the fury of .. The US envoy Richard Holbrooke, and Willy Claes Secretary-General
of NATO who urged a renewal of the air campaign.. The response.. Mr.Claes
announced.. It was ‘not sufficient..The US ambassador to NATO called it
‘garbage’.’ (Independent 4th September; 1995; p.8).
As air strikes by NATO continued in September 1995,
the aims of the USA, led by MR. RICHARD HOLBROOKE
, THE USA PEACE ENVOY TO BOSNIA, were made clear. As Holbrooke
"The fundamental negotiating goal is very clear: a single Bosnian
state within its current borders, with a Serbian entity within it - a Bosnian
Serb entity - and the Muslim-Croat Federation.’ (The Guardian,
September 1; p. 1.)
The intent was a partition exactly as had been proposed
by imperialism initially:
"Bosnia would be split in two. The Serbs would get 49% of the territory;
the Croatian-Muslims would get 51%. But the Serbs would also gain a wider
land connecting Banja Luka to Serbia proper, as well as access to the sea.’
(Newsweek; 4 September, 1995; p. 11).
The Serbians had previously refused, thinking their
now familiar bravado would carry them even further. The USA was saying
‘This and no more’.
The Croatians were content. As analysts pointed
out, the USA saw an opportunity to use the Croats to settle the problem.
The US diplomat in Zagreb, Peter Galbraith being very pro-Croatian, a solution
was simplest to achieve by using Croatia (Globe
and Mail; September 16th; 1995; p. A10). Indeed the map that Franjo
Tudjman had drawn on a dinner napkin in May 1995, was the new likely reality.
(See Frontispiece p.ii, compare to map 1995 frontiers established by Serbian
ONLY THE BOSNIANS HAD LOST
OUT - AGAIN.
Their legitimate striving for a multi-ethnic nationhood
was once more destroyed. Instead of a secular and democratic state, there
will be now a resurgence of religious illusions. The dangers for ALL
the working class - whether Bosnian, Serbian or Croatian - of these areas
have increased not decreased. Those who supported the violent nationalist
outbursts against the principles of Marxism-Leninism have created some
very serious problems. As Paul Koring pointed out:
"A combination of US air strikes and pragmatic diplomacy may finally
force an end to the Bosnian war, but the dependant and predominantly Muslim
state that seems likely to emerge bears scant resemblance to the sophisticated
multi-ethnic society that was the dream .. After more than 40 months of
war, Bosnia has been transformed. Massive ethnic cleansing and forced migrations
have created three distinct statelets. Each has its own government, army,
police force, educational system, and, increasingly religion.’ (Globe
and Mail; September 16, 1995; p. A10).
Again the Bosnians were left to hang on un-delivered
"The Americans are to blame for convincing the Muslim-dominated Bosnian
government that they could always get a better deal than previous plans
set forth. Now the Muslims may prove to be the most reluctant of the parties.’
(Newsweek; September 4 1995; p.12).
"Yet international actors the US especially also bear another kind of
responsibility. By appearing to do more for the Muslim-led Bosnian Government
than it actually was, the US government encouraged the Sarajevo to launch
an ill-considered and ultimately disastrous military campaign.. Yet after
so many past promises of outside help had proved false, how could Bosnian
leaders have gambled so much so recklessly on them this time?’ (Globe
& Mail; 16.12.94).
AS THE BOSNIANS WERE ALLOWED
A LITTLE MILITARY MOVEMENT, A COMPLEX "SAVE OF FACE’ WAS BEING ALLOWED
"Right now Radovan Karadazic is being offered a military way out of
a conundrum: to sacrifice land militarily that he can’t possibly sacrifice
politically,’ said a UN official.’ Sunday Independent 13.12.94.
D) CONTINUING CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN EEC AND
Of course the contradictions continue. The war of trade,
and war by proxy will sooner, or later erupt into another inter-imperialist
war. This continued resistance to the USA, has been recently manifested
in three ways that have some bearing on Bosnia.
1. Resistance to the War Crimes Tribunal:
The USA continues to use the threat of the War Crimes
Tribunal to ensure compliance from a still reluctant EEC:
"An international war crimes tribunal the first since World War II
is gathering evidence against those who committed atrocities in Bosnia,
especially the murders, rapists and torturers who carried out the Serbs
genocidal policy of ethnic cleansing against Muslims. The US is to demand
prosecution of these criminals and oppose amnesty. Other UN members, among
them Britain and France seem to regard the war-cries inquiry as an impediment
to peace. Washington firmly contests that view, saying, ‘Unless those responsible,
are held accountable, there can be no lasting peace and reconciliation
in Bosnia.. To choke off meaningful investigations, Britain, France and
other UN members have quietly tried to limit financial support. Of the
$28 million for the tribunal less than 2% was originally budgeted for the
critical work of tracking down witnesses, obtaining and translating their
accounts, exhuming mass graves and conducting post-mortems and providing
medical and forensic expertise. The US has contributed an additional $13
million including 2 dozen officials directly to the investigative work
and should press the UN to invest most of its money there.’ (New
York Times; Editorial page; 4/1/95).
Attempts are being made to exculpate the Serbs, on grounds
that ‘All are equally blameworthy’. This is contestable. As the New York
"Responsibility for the crimes is not evenly shared on all sides of
the conflict as some UN members suggest. As the Clinton Administration
notes, the term "Ethnic cleansing’ was developed precisely to describe
the Bosnian Serbs explicit method, backed by Belgrade of creating a ethically
‘pure’Greater Serbia. In contrast the Bosnian Government supports a multi-ethnic
state and where there have been violations by its local commanders, it
has renounced them. Britain and France also favour lifting UN sanctions
against Serbia if peace accord is signed. The US properly opposes any easing
of sanctions if Serbia obstructs the war-crimes tribunal. It would be wrong
to expunge these atrocities from the record of history.’ (New
York Times; Editorial page; 4/1/95).
2. Destabilising the status
As an attempt once more to gain the upper hand by the
EEC, secrets of the NATO Secretary-General head WILLIE
CLAES were leaked enabling his resignation over charges of corruption,
dating back to allegations from the late 1980's. These revolve around bribes
to his party in Belgium, in exchange for military contracts (Financial
Times; October 16, 1995, p. 2).
The struggle over NATO of course remains a key issue,
especially with the negotiations over the involvement of Russia in the
new force to be sent to Bosnia. The Russian involvement has been welcomed
by the USA partly in order to restrain the Serbs more easily; partly as
part of the overall strategy of ensuring that Russia remains a market for
the USA and not for the EEC.
The USA is not blind to the EEC intent. As USA Secretary
of State for Defence Mr. William Perry said:
"I believe that US security is inextricably linked with European security,
and we know.. That when the USA turns its back on European instability,
in the long run it is forced to return at a much greater price.’ (Financial
Times October 18th, 1995; p. 6).
3. Raising a Force That Could be independent
of NATO and the USA.
The French atomic nuclear testing in the South Pacific
has the clear intent of serving notice. The intention is to continue to
raise a separate and independent nuclear force capability, from that of
the USA. The French have stated that their findings from the testing will
be available to the EEC forces.
At the time of writing, the final agreement is still
It is true, that it is the USA who has brokered
this cease-fire, and that the USA will succeed in the partition of Bosnia.
This is what the imperialists had all wanted from the beginning. However
the current cessation of hostilities is a respite from the rapacities of
Serbia. An imperialist and partitioned Apeace’ here of course, is only
temporary. Inter-imperialist wars will continue to find fertile ground
in a bitterly mauled Balkans.
ONLY A MARXIST-LENINIST POLICY OF NATIONAL
SELF DETERMINATION, EXERCISED BY A MARXIST-LENINIST LEADERSHIP CAN HEAL
Only this will transcend the narrow nationalism. It
was through this narrow nationalism that the working classes of Serbia
and Croatia were deluded into launching a war of aggression against Bosnia.
By doing this they have unwittingly participated in the shoring up of narrow
bourgeois nationalist views in both Serbia and Croatia; but also in Bosnia.
There is only one way forward.
RECOGNITION OF THE RIGHTS OF NATIONS TO SELF
DETERMINATION LEADS TO EXPOSING NARROW NATIONALISM, AS BEING INCAPABLE
OF DELIVERING TO THE WORKERS WHAT THEY NEED. THIS IS NONE OTHER THAN SOCIALISM.
To achieve this recognition, a new Marxist-Leninist
party free of all revisionist trends is needed urgently in former Yugoslavia.
FOR PROLETARIAN INTERNATIONALISM!
LONG LIVE ALL THE BALKAN PEOPLES!
LONG LIVE THE BALKAN MARXIST-LENINIST REVOLUTION!
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