Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Yugoslavia Discussion on Marxmail 2003-4

Marxmail Yugoslavia Discussion 2003-2004

Contributions by Michael Karadjis

Below are a series of postings I made to a lengthy discussion on Marxmail ( between around mid-December 2003 and mid-January 2004 on issues related to the wars in former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. This was prompted by years of this list being dominated by the views of the moderator, Louis Proyect, on this issue. His view is what I term extreme apologist for the Serbian neo-Chetnik movement of the 1990s, led by Milosevic, Seselj and Karadzic, and the slaughter of a significant part of the Bosnian Muslim population in Europe’s first attempted genocide since World War II.

In the past, when anyone had raised doubts about Proyect’s views on this, they would be immediately jumped upon from a great height by Proyect himself and a number of more extreme allies, particularly one rather eccentric David Quarter, and an Argentine of Serbian background, Nestor Gorojovsky, who, unlike Proyect who at least pretends to base his view on class questions, is an open supporter of the Chetnik rather than the Titoist legacy in Yugoslavia.

This behaviour had tended to drive sensible people straight off the list if they felt this issue was important, or otherwise to remain silent about it. As I came in armed with facts, I was not so easily dismissed. During the course of the discussion, a number of other subscribers entered on my side of the discussion, including Les Evanchick (who had just the week previous to my initial post began to bravely attack Proyect, something which encouraged me), John Cox, and towards the end, Roger and Peter Lippman. I very much appreciate all their contributions. Bob Gould also made an important intervention, and I also greatly appreciated his support. Various people gave me off-list encouragement. A number of other subscribers also made useful contributions, including Johannes Schneider, David Walters, Richard Fidler, Fred Feldman, Ed George, Leuko Williams and Tom O’Lincoln. In general, their contributions covered a range of views somewhat intermediate between the views I was putting and those being put by Proyect and are all well worth reading. I replied to some (below) but did not have time to reply to all, though in some ways I prefer discussion with people who have a modicum of common sense on these issues, so we don’t have to go over ridiculous questions, such as whether Milosevic was some kind of socialist hero or not

Aside from Proyect, Quarter and Gorojovsky, Phil Ferguson also made a couple of contributions generally in agreement with the Proyect line. At the end of the discussion, a Chetnik extremist (still considering himself part of the “left”), one Jim Yarker, entered the discussion and threw some appalling slander, including putting the words ‘holocaust denier’ next to my name in the subject heading, thusnif one googles ‘holocaust denier’, my name comes up next to Irving’s. I was able to answer one of his diatribes (below), but after his first post, Proyect closed the discussion, so I was unable to answer his second, which he sent in violation of the moderator’s ruling.

While the discussion had gone on for a month, and thus Proyect had some justification to close it, nevertheless the timing was very convenient for him. Throughout, he had pestered me to produce a class analysis showing that Milosevic’s Serbia was a capitalist state like the rest of Eastern Europe, as his particular shibboleth is that it stood out as a socialist holdout, and that’s why it ended up under imperialist attack. I produced my analysis in five posts. They are not reproduced here, as I have put them together and cleaned them up considerably, and this whole document is up on this blogsite at
However, as these posts came towards the end of this period, Proyect was able to pounce in his usual style on a number of side-points and then produce large chunks of New York Times or whatever article to attack these points. After my effort of putting out my tome, then fending off Yarker, I didn’t manage time to answer his last responses to my analysis, so by ending the discussion he was able to get the last word in. But no sweat, he’s the moderator after all.

Below are only my posts, but one can get a feel for the discussion from the many clips of other posts that I am replying to below. To reproduce the whole discussion here would be enormously large, and if anyone wants to see it, it is on the Marxmail archive. However, I did include one or two other posts by supporters of my side just for taste.

Posts below are in chronological order, beginning when I launched into the discussion around something that was being thrown around the list at that time.

Some recent posts quoted or referred to various articles in the US bourgeois media in the 1980's which echoed the Serbian-chauvinist, deep-south style propaganda against the Albanians of Kosova, all that "backward Muslim Albanian rapists of good Serb women stuff", and suggested they were probably unbiased because why on earth would the US media have any reason to be particularly pro-Serb at the time.
This assumption shows a fantastic disregard for the facts. In 1979, imperialist powers actively lobbied for Yugoslavia to head the Non-Aligned, in a contest with Cuba. That year Yugoslavia also joined the imperialist bandwagon campaigning against the Vietnamese liberation of Cambodia. The US alliance with the Yugoslav regime did not suddenly end with Tito's death, on the contrary. When the Kosovars revolted in 1981 against their 70-year position as Serbian colony and piece of 3rd world within Yugoslavia, the savage police crackdown prompted US ambassador, Lawrence Eagleburger, to make a special flight back to Washington to prevent any Congress condemnation of the massive violations of human rights involved. Throughout the 1980's, around 70 percent of all Yugoslav political prisoners were Albanians.
Throughout that time, the US continued its polices of arming the repressive state. In the 1980s, the US sold Yugoslavia $193 million worth of air-to-surface missiles and air defence radar systems. After Milosevic came to power in 1987, US support continued, with $96 million in arms and training supplied, including fighter aircraft, tanks and artillery. All this US-supplied weaponry was used against hundreds of thousands of Croats, Bosnians and Kosovars in the 1990s, subjected as they were to the imperialist arms embargo. Likewise, officers of the Yugoslav Peoples Army were trained by the US until 1992.
US policy was dictated by the continuing trend toward economic liberalisation, which began in 1965 with the most complete version yet of 'market socialism' in terms of bourgeois-style independence of enterprises, and which of course took big steps forward with the rise of bourgeois liberal Milosevic, backed by a host of top dudes in the US politico-business elite.
Naturally they did not want an ex-socialist state moving in the right direction to fall apart. But even more, the IMF-World Bank dictated economic programs of the 1980's demanded political centralisation in order to better squeeze out the massive debt and to drive the economic liberalisation program through countrywide. The last thing such a program wanted was the republican privileges that were at the heart of the relative equality of nations (except Albanians) in Tito's Yugoslavia, that country's best aspect.
Therefore, Albanian separatism was the enemy; while centralisation began to dovetail with the demands of the bourgeois Serbian nationalist movement launched by the chauvinistic intelligentsia with their 'memorandum' in 1986, due to the context of Serb domination of federal bureaucratic and military structures.
It was only natural that this imperialist pro-Yugoslav line would deepen when Milosevic seized power in 1987. In early 1988, he got the cream of Yugoslavia's liberal economists together in the 'Milosevic Commission' to introduce IMF-style 'reforms' which eliminated whatever vestiges were left of 'socialism' after 23 years of uncontrolled market forces. To drive this through in Vojvodina and Montenegro where more traditional 'Stalinist' leaderships were in power, he organised the reactionary, chauvinist 'anti-bureaucratic revolution' to overthrow them. This was the equivalent of various other revolts a year or so later in E. Europe where the legitimate anti-bureaucratic movements of the masses were utilised by pro-capitalist demagogues.
In Kosova, this drive met head-on the national movement under the leadership of the Kosovar working class. In early 1989, the Milosevic regime massacred the Trepca miners and then drove 17,000 of them - the entire Albanian sector of the workforce - out of their jobs in a stunning display of Reaganism.
While I have little time for Diana Johnstone's book, she does admit a few home truths in parts of her book (which does make it a better book than Parenti's pulp). She correctly describes the Kosovar miners' march as possibly the last march in defence of Tito's Yugoslavia, though she disparages this, seeing this as part of their 'Stalinist' attachment to archaic ideas like full employment, which the more 'progressive' Milosevic, wanting to introduce 'reformed socialism' (like Tony Blair?), was trying to get rid of. She's spot on the facts here, terrible on the political position.
No Louis, Serbia was not a 'socialist' country until 2000, as you recently claimed, that's a great joke (let alone a 'planned economy', except planned by the oligarchy to manage its massive theft of state assets). The counterrevolution did not occur in 2000, but in 1988-89.
During NATO's aggression in 1999, the Slobo fan club dug up articles in the US media from 1988-89 to 'prove' that it was really true all that deep-south anti-Albanian chauvinism emanating from Belgrade, because otherwise why would the US media also say such things? In fact, sometimes the articles themselves tell you the answer.
For example, David Binder, in an article ("In Yugoslavia, Rising Ethnic Strife Brings Fears of Worse, New York Times, November 1, 1987) which parroted the Serbian nationalist charges about an Albanian plot to rape Serb women, claimed the rise of Milosevic was a "rare opportunity for Yugoslavia to take radical political and economic steps. Efforts are underway to strengthen central authority through amendments to the constitution . the hope is that something will be done then to exert the rule of law in Kosovo." Fairly straightforward endorsement of centralisation and repression I would have thought.
Another article ("US Aides Express Concern Over Yugoslav Crisis," The New York Times, October 12, 1988) claimed top US policy makers were "torn between their appreciation of Mr. Milosevic as a catalyst forcing through sorely needed political and economic changes and their fear that playing on nationalist passions might create unbridgeable antagonisms in Yugoslavia's other republics."
The reference to sorely needed economic changes was an obvious endorsement of Milosevic's restorationist program which even Johnstone, if not some on this list, has no doubt about. The reference to sorely needed political changes is revealing, because Milosevic had never even pretended to advocate "democratic" change - the "sorely needed political changes" US policy makers supported were the push for greater central power. The "fear" that the very program of centralisation could backfire because it inevitably meant greater Serbian power and hence was likely to be rejected elsewhere in the federation was a good reason for imperialist leaders to be "torn", especially with a lot of that US money invested in Yugoslavia (eg through Kissinger Associates, in this 'socialist' country). Centralisation had to bring greater stability, and maintain the all-important unity of Yugoslavia, which every imperialist power insisted on absolutely until it fell apart, not undermine it. Some Serbian nationalism is fine - not only because it dovetailed with centralisation but also because the Serb bourgeoisie needed their own ideology to bullshit the masses with to break the great multi-ethnic working class resistance of 1987-88. But what "tore" imperialist policy makers for many years after this was the fairly simple yet decisive question of "how much?"
Which is why, in later years, Milosevic had more trouble with the west at the times that his government relied on a coalition with the fascists who refused to compromise chauvinist principles to deal with imperialism in the interests of bourgeois stability - but when the "Left" parties of Milosevic and his yuppie wife ruled without the fascists, the fact that they were mildly to the left of fascism allowed them to make such compromises and become 'guarantors' of Balkan stability.

2. > Les Evenchick:
> >> > Then why has the US continuously opposed> > independence for Kosovo and Montenegro?>Louis Proyect:

For the same reason it has opposed an independent Kurdistan. The Kurds> and the Albanians were pawns to be sacrificed in the larger goal of> crushing challenges to US hegemony, in both cases involving oil I wouldadd.

In other words, Les is correct that the US did not 'break up' Yugoslavia orany other such nonsense. In fact US leaders energetically insisted onmaintaining the unity of Yugoslavia years after Milosevic and co had begunto destroy it. Like Baker's grand announcement in Belgrade that unity mustbe maintained at all cost, just as referendums in Slovenia and Croatia wereoverwhelmingly endorsing independence. Even after the rather belatedrecognition of these two republics by Germany and the EC in late December1991/early January 1992 (6 months after the referendums and following 6months of unprecedented slaughter unleashed by the Yugo army and Chetniks inCroatia), the US continued to insist for some months that it only recognised'one government' in Yugoslavia. Of course it reached a point where thereality of several governments in that region even became obvious to the US,with only some of the strange-left and ultra-right Slobo fan club insistingdifferently. Today of course the only block to the independence of Kosova isthe NATO occupation (by the way, do marxmail people call for imperialisttroops out of Kosova, or does that raise too many difficulties for you?)
> > And why did the US oppose arms shipments to the> > Bosnian Muslims and others opposed to Milosevic?>

> Because powerful Democrats were worried about being dragged into a> costly war. In other words, for the same reasons that Dean "opposed" war> with Iraq.

Not just Democrats, also particularly many Republicans. have a look at theKissinger/Cohen/Huntington 'The National Interest' in 1993. Articlesadvocated that the EC plans to partition UN member Bosnia actually bestrengthened, allowing the Serb and Croat 'states' in Bosnia to join theirfatherlands. The recognition of Bosnia was called an act of 'internationalaggression against Yugoslavia', much like some leftists think (presumably,recognition of East Timor in 1999 constituted an act of 'internationalaggression' against the sacred 'territorial integrity' of Indonesia)
The US did not simply 'oppose' arms shipments to Bosnia, it intervened tophysically prevent them. There were plenty of news items of US forces in theAdriatic sea and at Zagreb airport busting and stopping Iranian armsshipments to Bosnia in violation of the imperialist arms embargo. Theembargo was active western intervention; to lift it would be to stopintervening. This point seems to be missed by much of that section of theleft fixated on the idea that Belgrade was 'standing up to imperialism'.
The US did not want to get dragged into a costly war? That seems a littledifferent to the assertion that the US was at war with Yugoslavia for adecade and 'broke it up'. The US most certainly did not want to get into awar to defend either the multi-ethnic Bosnian republic, or a moreIslamicised state which the Serb and Croat chauvinist aggression was leadingto. It wanted its own version of partition, not with the EC on top of theprocess, one enforced by NATO, and it got it with the Dayton Accord, astunning victory for Serbian nationalist war aims.

>In any case, the arms embargo was eventually lifted when a> risk assessment weighed in favor of lifting it.
Yes, the US stopped actively intervening against Bosnia in 1994, thoughFrance and especially Tory ruled Britain strongly maintained the embargo andthe bullying of the Bosnian government to surrender to their Serbo-Croatpartition plans. The 'leftist' Milosevic was in complete agreement with theseimperialist plans which gave the ethnically cleansed 'Serb state' half ofBosnia. He understood victory when he could see it. The only problem wasthat the Karadzic leadership in Bosnia, a rightist/Chetnik inspired groupallied to the fascist Serbian Radical Party, which was now denouncing the'Communist' Milosevic for selling out to imperialism, would not move fromthe 70 percent of Bosnia it had conquered due to overwhelming militarysuperiority. So from mid-1994, the US turned a blind eye to Iranian armsshipments via Croatia to Bosnia, to help push them back to a partitionablesize. This would give Croatia the ability to turn off the supply if Bosnianadvances threatened to go beyond the partitionist scenario. If the Chetnikskept too much of Bosnia it would not allow a stable partition which wouldboth give Croatia something as well, and allow enough space for the BosnianMuslims to not be squeezed into a 'Gaza in the Balkans', with the threat ofIslamist radicalisation in Europe. Of course, when Bosnian forces were forthe first time in the war actually threatening to go beyond the agreedpartition lines in autumn 1995, and were actually reconquering part oftheir country, only then did the US intervene to force Karadzic's hand andsave him at the same time.
> > Parenti's piece is a sofisticated apology that> > has little to do with facts.
you should try reading his whole book Les. but Alice in Wonderland is muchbetter.
Parenti wrote:
>The author does not demonstrate by reference to specific policies andprograms that>Milosevic is responsible for the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, he just tells>us so again and again. One would think that the Slovenian, Croatian,>Bosnian Muslim, Macedonian, and Kosovo Albanian secessionists and U.S./NATO>interventionists might have had something to do with it.

US/NATO?? Apparently Parenti hadn't noticed that Yugoslavia had ceased toexist for almost a decade prior to NATO's 1999 terror bombing.
Milosevic policies which led to the dismemberment of Yugoslavia? Organising mobs (including, for the first time since 1945, those with Chetnik, royalistand Serbian Orthodox slogans) to sack the governments of Vojvodina andMontenegro in 1988? Smashing Kosovar autonomy and brutally suppressing theKosovar workers in 1989? Cutting trade links with Slovenia, a republicwithin Yugoslavia, in 1989? A 1990 constitution giving the Serb republicthe right to intervene in other republics? Seizing the arms of the Slovenianand Croatian territorial defence forces in 1990 while at the same timedelivering arms to the right-wing Serb Democratic Party in Croatia? Stealing$2 billion from the federal treasury - ie other republics' money - in early1991? Isn't it somewhat amazing that it took until mid-1991 for anyone elseto get out, and even then every western government was telling them to stayin?
Surely stupid and crass apologetics are not a 'Marxist' method of exposingimperialism, especially since up until this time, or until early 1992,imperialist policy was overwhelmingly 'pro-Serb' or 'pro-Yugoslav'. Ofcourse we know they don't give a stuff about Serb workers or Croat workersor anyone else. But why insist on apologetics for the bourgeois-nationalistscoundrels, whether Milosevic or Tudjman (who appeared on the scene 3 yearsafter the former, essentially a pupil) that sent their workers out in thethousands to get killed as they destroyed 'brotherhood and unity'?


Johannes Schneider wrote
>Given the> way how such decision are made among the different European governments a> time of sixth month was rather short and I would not they it was belated.

Obviously a 94 percent referendum vote did not entitle them to recognition.They should have stayed inside the now meaningless piece of geography stillcalled 'Yugoslavia', formerly the name of a fairly equal federation with aproud history, to please those nostalgic

> I cannot imagine the clique around Tudjman would have moved so openly> towards independence, if they had not had at least (secret) backing from> Germany. Hence the immense popularity of German foreign minister Genscher> among nationalist Croats.
It seems to me that they thought they had waited long enough, regardless ofwho backed them. Who am I to argue with Croats, Palestinians, Timorese,Iraqis or others who figure they want their independence, regardless oftheir leaderships? How did this alleged German backing help them when theydeclared independence? Moral support? Spiritual support from the Pope? Didit help them defend Dubrovnik from months of massacre? Did it help themdefend the multi-ethnic fortress of Vukovar from a months’ long siege thatdestroyed the place and killed thousands of people, and what it symbolised?

> While Croatia was initially seen as the German client (and creation)

Many saw it as a German client, which in the big picture is reasonableenough, but I suggest only that section of the left that has always viewedCroats to be a historically and genetically illegitimate and fascist nationviewed it as a German "creation"

> the US needed to score a similar diplomatic success. So they encouragedthe> group around Izetbegovic to go ahead with Bosnia independence, thus> unleashing the war in Bosnia.
There is probably an element of truth as far as the diplomatic chessboardstuff goes, but I fail to see how the Bosnians could have stayed inside"Yugoslavia" which had by then become a Serb-dominated rump, but also giventhat armed Serb nationalist formations had already been cutting out areas ofBosnia for around 9 months before Bosnia's declaration of independence, andin fact had declared their own 'independence' in January 1992

>No matter whether the US did enough to> support their Bosnian friends in the end, they actively speeded up the> process of Yugoslav disintegration.

Sorry I don't get it. This was April 1992. Yugoslavia was already gone, certainly since June-July 1991. Forget it. Nostalgia of yours or anyone else’s could not have brought it back at that stage. And actively intervening to impose an arms embargo and partitionplans on a UN recognised member state under attack by two countries (Serbia,Croatia) if not three (UK), is not simply 'not doing enough to support'.

> > (quoting me) “unprecedented slaughter unleashed by the Yugo army and Chetniks in> > Croatia”
>> I would ask to all comrades here to tone down their rhetorics. In a> European and Yugoslav context the actions by the Croatian Serbs> were nothing 'unprecedented'. They fit into a war, with atrocities> committed by all sides.

Fair enough comment. It certainly is not unprecedented by world standards.However, for Europe since 1949 it was. It was not simply 'actions by theCroatian Serbs' but a full-scale attack by the 'Yugoslav' Army on towns andcities across Croatia, mostly in areas having nothing to do with Serbmajorities.

> > (quoting me): “do marxmail people call for imperialist> > troops out of Kosova, or does that raise too many difficulties for you?”>
> Did anyone support the NATO troops here?

No, but many believe that an independent Kosova is the worst possible thingthat could happen in the world. I was making the point that the only thingpreventing it was the presence of NATO. I therefore wondered if the demandfor NATO to get out raised any difficult issues for those with these views.


David Walters wrote:
> What is peculiar to Michael's assessment of the events during the> initial formal break up of Yugoslavia and his denunciation of all> things Serb in Bosnia as *Chetnik*

Let me just stop you there David. "All things Serb" in Bosnia certainly werenot Chetnik, and I never suggested anything of the sort. That is preciselythe kind of idea that both the Chetniks, on the one hand, and demonisersof Serbs, on the other, as well as every intellectually lazy "three ethnicgroups all killing each other" type (they say that about Palestine), like tosuggest.
The use of the term 'Chetnik' is a very specific political characterisationof actual political parties and military formations who either openly callthemselves by this name, as you point out, or whose far right-wingnationalist and Islamophobic politics clearly marks them as such.
There were a great number of Bosnian Serbs who were not Chetniks. Many werein the Bosnian army. The Bosnian general who defended Sarajevo for 3 yearsagainst the Chetnik siege was a Serb. Many were in the government. Thousandsof them still living within the Bosnian government controlled zones formedthe Serb Civic Council in 1994 with the aim of opposing the ethnic partitionof Bosnia demanded by Milosevic, Tudjman, their rightist allies in Bosniaand the UK Tory regime. Thousands of Serbs inside Serbia demonstratedagainst the war, even formed a "Sarajevo committee'. Far from being a termof slander, the use of the term 'Chetnik' is a very correct political termto distinguish some Serbs from others, just as I would use the term'Zionist' rather than 'Jew' to talk about the politics of Israel.

>is his most glaring omission of the> term *USTASHI* to describe the Croatian ethnic counterparts of their> fellow Yugolsavs in Bosnia who functioned in seemingly the EXACT same> way as the Chetniks did. Why is this Michael? Here in the US and> especially in Western Europe, dozens of neo-Nazi groups both raised> money, men and *supplies* for such Ustashi in Bosnia...yet you fail to> mention this, concentrating, it seems to me, only on well documented> abuse of Croatians at the hands of Serbs...yet Moslem (and Serbian)> victims of Croatian / Ustashi power are not mentioned. Care to balance> out your view?>
Actually this has more to do with the fact that apologetics for reactionaryCroatian nationalism is less evident on this site, and among the left ingeneral, than for its Serbian counterpart. Therefore, there is nothingparticularly to argue against, except that I do think many on the left dotend to demonise Croats as an unworthy people due to their misreading of WWIIand what a tiny minority of Croat puppets did.
So just to clear this up, yes there certainly did arise an explicitly Ustashemovement in Croatia in 1991 and it is still around now, generally on thefringes of Croat politics (around 5-6% of the vote), but which became morepowerful within the state apparatus in the later years of Tudjman's reign.
One reason I don't emphasise this too much in the 1991 events is that Tudjman'sright-wing nationalist party, the HDZ, was at that time hostile to theUstashe, fighting battles with it the same time they were fighting theSerbian SDS and Yugo army. Tudjman forces even assassinated the Ustasheleader in late 1991. I do not call Tudjman's party - basically aright-nationalist-populist creature of the degenerated bureaucracy – “fascist”or “Ustashe”, just as I don't call Milosevic's party - a right-wingnationalist-populist creature of the degenerated bureaucracy – “fascist” or”Chetnik.” In fact I clearly distinguished in a previous post between theorigins of Milosevic's SPS and the SDS in Croatia and Bosnia., which weremore ideologically linked to the Serbian Radical Party in Serbia (a fascist Chetnik party which was in coalition with Milosevic's party in 1991-93 and 1998-2000 but was not the same thing).
In Bosnia, I completely agree with David regarding the actions of reactionaryCroat chauvinists, mostly HDZ but also Ustashe. Not only were they identicalto the actions of their Serb nationalist equivalents, but what's more, theywere actually allied throughout most of the war, and still strategicallyallied even when not formally. They essentially had no differences. Theywere in agreement on which parts of Bosnia each should get. They even agreedto swap populations in strategic areas. Their enemy was the Bosniangovernment which rejected the Milosevic-Tudjman-Hurd-Owen partition plans,which later became Dayton. However, the Ustashe did not agree with the HDZhere, because they believed Croatia ought to conquer all of Bosnia.
On nationalities and labels, I don't want to sound too purist, but I am. Inan introductory note to my book I wrote "general terms for whole ethnicgroups, such as 'Serbs' and 'Croats' have been avoided when referring toparticular parties or armed groups, as is the practice in the mainstreammedia, in order to not give the impression that Serbs or Croats as a wholeapproved of the actions of particular political currents."
We might all err at times, but in general I think this rule is a never neverrule.


Louis Proyect wrote:
> Actually I referred as well to Miranda Vickers's "Between Serb and > Albanian". She is a well-known defender of the Albanian secessionists. She > also wrote:
> "'The position of a woman is that of a human being deprived of fundamental > rights. Women were still kept secluded at home when they did not work in > the fields, they received minimal education, and were totally subordinate > to male authority. The emancipation of women is the first and foremost task > for the Kosovars as a people in order to achieve full emancipation. A > community denying half of its members access to a full education can never > be a civilised community.'
> "Gradually women participated more in public life. Only ten years earlier > they hardly ever left home. All the same, women still had servile domestic> tasks. Hartmut Albert, a guest in an Albanian home in Pec in 1979, reported > as follows:
> "'During our meal, between the tales, the patriarchal order in the > household was evident once again. Only the men (including the 14-year-old > son) gathered around the sofra (low table). Our host's wife approached only > to serve our food and clear the table. Then she waited silently at the door > with water and a hand towel until we wanted to wash our hands.'"


Thank you for informing me that Kosovars live in a patriarchal society.
However, given the discussion is about the issue of Serbia's colony inKosova and the resistance of the Kosovars to this, I am not sure the meaning of you sending 3 paragraphs of Islamophobia, which I could read in any number of orientalist descriptions of any number of Islamic, and for that matter, other 3rd world, societies.
Does it mean that these oppressed Kosovar women needed their Serb overlordsthere to "liberate" them from such backwardness with their enlightened ideas? LikeAfghan women needed the US to "liberate" them? Funny how Kosovar women seem rather unappreciative of the attempts by ultra-right Serb paramilitaries to liberate them. Such an ungrateful lot.

> I see. NY Times reporters wrote about brutality toward Serbs in Kosovo > because of these foreign policy alliances. And what is the explanation for > the current brutality, like the murder of Serbs in Kosovo that has prompted > even the UN to demand the resignation of Albanian cops? GATT? Conflicts > over the dollar and the euro? The declining rate of profit?

It doesn't occur to you that there is a difference between a time when the Serb-Yugoslav state exercised power over the Albanians and when the Albanians themselves exercise this power. If some Serbs were reportedly killed then during Albanian national resistance (that of course never happens in any other national liberation struggle, Palestine for example?) and if chauvinistic forces are attacking Serbs now, what that proves is that Albanians are just always like that, a violent, xenophobic type of people, right? That then is the explanation for the fact that they spent most of the century trying to throw off theirSerb rulers - not because it is natural to resist oppression, like elsewhere, but because these naturally violent people simply didn't appreciate the good things that nice Serb socialists wanted to bring them, like women's rights.
This I know is a caricature of your view, simply my reading of its logic.Yet unfortunately this is the actual analysis of not only a reactionary scumlike Jared Israel, but also unfortunately, in a more sanitised way, of DianaJohnstone (its all about their 'tribal structures' and other such pieces offantastic orientalism). Jared Israel, in being a rabid Zionist Likudnik andIslamophobe, is more consistent than other apologists for Serb-nationalistIslamophobia.
On the situation of the Kosovar Serbs now, I'll leave that to a post of itsown.

> Let's understand something. Imperialism has absolutely no interest in the > plight of Kosovars, Kurds, Miskitos or any other peoples it finds > convenient at one point or another to speak on behalf or arm. Their cause > has to be evaluated on their own merits rather than on the basis of what > Eagleburger or Kissinger say for Metternichian purposes.

Yes I completely agree. The cause of the Kosovars, their right to resistoppression and set up their own state, has its own merits independent ofwhat Clinton, Albright and others say or do for 'Metternichian', 'Wilsonian'or other purposes. Glad you agree, but I thought you didn't.
I wrote:
> >Throughout that time, the US continued its polices of arming the > >repressive state. In the 1980s, the US sold Yugoslavia $193 million worth > >of air-to-surface missiles and air defence radar systems. After Milosevic > >came to power in 1987, US support continued, with $96 million in arms and > >training supplied, including fighter aircraft, tanks and artillery. All > >this US-supplied weaponry was used against hundreds of thousands of > >Croats, Bosnians and Kosovars in the 1990s, subjected as they were to the > >imperialist arms embargo. Likewise, officers of the Yugoslav Peoples Army > >were trained by the US until 1992.
and you replied:
> “The repressive state? I guess that its class nature is a matter of > indifference to you.”
Does the fact that all those imperialist arms were going to the Yugoslav 'workers state' mean the class nature of the state was of indifference to Washington? Probably not. But they figured that in the hybrid type of State that late 'market socialism' had become, there were class forces arising within the state apparatus and elsewhere in the economy that were more to their liking. Preening Milosevic was part of this same process. Which other workers' states did they arm?

> Fixated on the late 1980s, aren't we?

Not particularly, that was just the discussion that I poked in on. I seeestablishing what happened in the 1980's, particularly 1988-89, as crucialfor analysing the 1990's, such as understanding that the years of sendingSerb workers to kill their fellow workers in neighbouring countries wasabout the politics of a crony-capitalist land-grab, not some clever way of"defending socialism".
I wrote:
”the bourgeois Serbian nationalist movement launched by the chauvinisticintelligentsia with their 'memorandum' in 1986”
You replied:
”Another reference to chauvinism. I think that Milosevic's "infamous"speech > would have put a cork in these kinds of allegations by now. For a speech > that was reputed to be tantamount to something Hitler delivered at > Nuremburg, it sounds much more like an appeal for equality between > nationalities to the impartial observer.”
My reference was clearly to the memorandum of 1986, not Milosevic's speechof 1989. In the latter, he comes out abundantly clearly as the spokespersonfor bourgeois Serbian nationalism. Certainly, he does not engage in openhate speech. He was far smarter than that, leaving it to his supporters andclones around the country's intelligentsia. It sounds like an appeal toequality between nationalities to you, because somehow you miss the contextof a leader making a speech in his colony, a few months after he hasmassacred and sacked striking miners and suppressed the Yugoslavconstitution there, about the glories of his nation's history of resistanceto Ottomans etc and then saying that this glorious nation is under threatagain? From whom? Was he talking about the IMF? The WB? The US? The EC? Notthe Albanian natives by any chance. Nuremburg? Let's not talk silly.

> Seized power? I love the purple language. It is like reading Christopher > Hitchens. When Milosevic lost the elections a couple of years ago, he was > willing to abide by the results. That did not prevent the imperialist-backed gangs from sacking the parliament. Some dictator.

Well I suppose I put the word 'seized' to describe things like immediatelygetting his main Communist rival, who opposed national chauvinism, expelledfrom the party, a purge which then continued around the country.
On 2000, I guess the working class Serb masses were not as assured as youare that he would go. Very convenient to reduce them all to 'gangs'. We hearthat used as a description of working class youth in western Sydney all thetime.
Dictator? Who said any such nonsense. It is just as silly to call Milosevica dictator as it is to call Sharon or Bush a dictator. Oppressor nationsoften offer reasonably wide-spread bourgeois democracy for their own people(Serbs, Israelis, Americans) while acting with unrestrained brutality intheir colonies (Kosova, Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq)
>I am far more interested, however, in the view of the Washington Post andthe CIA than Marxists intoxicated on their own theories.
The question of who is intoxicated with their own theories on the Yugoslavquestion is of course highly subjective. No-one would ever suggest you wereguilty of such a thing.


Johannes Schneider wrote
> > (quoting me): “Obviously a 94 percent referendum vote did not entitle them to> > recognition.”
>> A referendum that was boycotted by the Serbian population. With the same> justification the Croats demanded independence, the Serbs inside Croatia> demanded secession from Croatia.

Yes that's true. In fact they declared independence in March 1991, severalmonths before the Croatian independence referendum. They were certainly entitled tosecede in areas where they formed the clear majority. The reality is thatthe only such area was the backward Krajina region, inconveniently separatedfrom the Serbian fatherland by the entire republic of Bosnia. I believeSerbs in the Krajina had the right to defend this region from Tudjman if hehad tried to retake it, they certainly had the arms to defend it.
The problem however is seeing the 1991 war as about the defence of theKrajina. The bulk of the war and killing took place in Eastern Slavonia,including the months' long siege of Croat majority Vukovar (where many Serbsfought alongside Croats against the Chetnik and federal army allied assault)and the systematic destruction of the town of Osijek. Eastern Slavonia had aSerb population of 14 percent and in not one of its 9 districts did Serbsconstitute anything close to a majority. This was simply conquest andmassive ethnic cleansing leaving hundreds of thousands of Croats homeless.
The Krajina region itself, far from being a focus of defence of Serbs,expanded into Croat-majority regions nearby. Magas writes 'On 28 August 1991the village of Kijevo - a Croat enclave in the middle of the so-called SerbAutonomous region of Krajina - ceased to exist, having been literally razedto the ground by the so-called Yugoslav People's Army deploying aircraft,tanks and howitzers. Following a 12 hour bombardment the population fled tothe nearby mountain of Kozjak, pursued by vengeful aircraft. The villagewas then looted and set on fire. A British TV cameraman filmed an armyofficer tearing up the board with the village's name." The Krajina itself,in any case, accounted for only a quarter of Croatia's Serbs, most of whomlive in cities alongside Croats and were profoundly alienated by the actionsof the federal army, the Serb Democratic Party and the Chetniks.
The army then moved on to bomb all the coastline up to and includinghistoric Dubrovnik, where there was a 6 percent Serb minority, who werecompletely opposed to being bombed and killed in their name.
Care to comment on what any of this has to do with autonomy or independencefor the Krajina?
Furthermore, what few on the left seem to remember is that if the Krajinahad a right to secede, with which I fully agree, then so did minorities inSerbia who also held referendums. The Muslim minority in Sanjak held areferendum in August 1991 in which the overwhelming majority voted forautonomy. Muslims in the Sanjak were terrorised and many murdered by fascistgangs, despite Louis’ laughable contention some time ago that racism onlyappeared in Serbia after October 5, 2000. The Albanian minority in thePresevo Valley, outside of Kosova, held a referendum in March 1992 and votedto join an indpendent Kosova. Surely they had the same rights. Croats inVojvodina were also terrorised and Seselj's fascist mobs expelled Croatsfrom their homes there. The Hungarian minority would also be entitled toautonomy in Vojvodina, though the autonomy of that province, like that ofKosova, had been crushed.

(quoting me): “How did this alleged German backing help them when they declaredindependence?”

You then quote an extended piece from that well-known apologist for Serbianchauvinism, Sean Gervasi, a spectacularly evasive piece. I won't take itapart just now, because I want to do a post taking the whole piece apart.For the moment, while I'm not surprised that Louis would quote his analysisas evidence of imperialist policy, I'm surprised that you did so also, in aprevious post. It is one thing to quote his facts, as you have below,because they simply rely on omission rather than lies, but quoting hisanalysis is hardly evidence for the correctness of his analysis, ie that thewest and even the US "broke up" Yugoslavia.

> From:>


John Cox wrote:

Just a short note on Milosevic's speech on the 600th anniversary of theKosovo battle: I agree with Michael's comments on this speech, as withalmost all of his analysis on Yugoslavia (and I appreciate his joining thelistserv and making these contributions; I had almost lost hope that wewould ever cut through the obscurantism and outright nonsense on thisquestion). At a time of rising anti-Muslim hysteria in Europe and NorthAmerica, our friend "Slobo" also reminded his audience that Serbia haddefended the "West" from Islamic barbarity six centuries earlier:
"Six centuries ago, Serbia heroically defended itself in the field ofKosovo, but it also defended Europe. Serbia was at that time the bastionthat defended the European culture, religion, and European society ingeneral." Milosevic speech:[and for the record, Islamic culture was a bit further advanced thanEuropean culture at the time.]


Johannes Schneider wrote
> First, it was a war, what do you expect?

Quite. However, I'm not talking about the level of brutality. I was pointingout that the war launched by Belgrade obviously had little to do with theKrajina.

> What surprises me that even ten years later people in the US, Australia> and Germany argue as if they were Serbs, Croats, Albanians etc and have to> demonize the other side, while the 'own' side are the pure saints.

I am not sure how I demonise 'the other side' or make saints out of 'myside'. I do not particularly have a 'side'. I have never suggested thatreactionary Croatian nationalism is not guilty of enormous crimes.
For that matter, I also have never denied that in their legitimate defence,Bosnian Muslim and Kosovar Albanian forces committed atrocities againstSerbs and Croats, though in these cases I reject this as part of an 'allsides are guilty' or '3 ethnic groups killing each other approach'. Thatkind of intellectual laziness reminds me of the left liberal crap about'extremists on both sides' in the Palestinian conflict.
The argument however is political. The right of self-determination does notexist just because we Marxists think it sounds cool. It exists largelybecause if the oppressed happen to feel that way about their oppression,there is little positive that can be done to force them to change theirminds by using violence against them. I would have thought that was ABC.That of course does not mean we necessarily advocate autonomy orindependence or whatever, we may argue it is a bad idea in a certaincontext, but they cannot be bombed into agreeing with you, that willstrengthen their desire for independence which we may in some cases happento believe is not a good idea.
Furthermore, we have also traditionally tried to distinguish oppressor andoppressed, when these categories exist. The may or they may not. You forexample agree that the Kosovar Albanians were oppressed, and you supporttheir right to self determination, despite their appalling leadership, onthat basis, as I understand. The overwhelming domination of the stateapparatus, particularly the military, by Serbs, also in my opinion put Serbnationalist forces in the position of oppressor generally in the decay ofYugoslavia. The fact that the massively armed federal army intervened tolaunch an all out attack on Croatia changed the nature of the war from onebetween the Croatian state and the Serb nationalist militia. You may havenoticed that the war took place on Croatian soil. There was no massivebombing of Serbia by Croat aircraft to try to carve out parts of Serbiabased on tenuous Croat ethnic or historic claims, though there was this byCroatia in Bosnia. And if this is wrong or unclear, I have no doubt aboutits applicability to Bosnia and Kosova.
I mean really, yes if we were Croats we may have argued that independence wasnot the best road, but having gone down that road, was the massive attack bythe JNA a useful way of convincing them of this (assuming that was theiraim, which of course it was not).

(quoting me): “Furthermore, what few on the left seem to remember is that if theKrajina had a right to secede, with which I fully agree, then so did minorities in Serbia who also held referendums.”
>> I expected that argument. So if you think the argument for> self-determination until the end, you will break up bigger states into> tiny small entities, which in the end will have even less power to resist> the big imperialist powers. Think of Nigeria, e.g. . Split Nigeria into 300 seperate states? Would this be something progressive?

And I expected this argument. But that's evasive. Noone is saying we shouldadvocate splitting up anywhere. However, when a struggle erupts, you need torelate to it in some way. You were the one who said the Serb minority inCroatia had the same right to secede from Croatia as Croatia had fromYugoslavia. I agreed, and simply pointed out the logic of that. Do you thendisagree? Do you think the Serbs had the right to leave Croatia, but theMuslims, Albanians, Hungarians and Croats did not have the right to leaveSerbia?
Of course it is an entirely different matter whether or not you advocate it.In my humble opinion, the best course would have been Yugoslavia convertingto a loose confederation, with extensive rights for minorities within eachfederal unit. But that's only my opinion. As it happens, it was also theposition put by Slovenia and Croatia, who said they would only secede if aconfederation did not come to pass. In fact this was in the Croatianreferendum question. This course was absolutely rejected by all westernpowers, especially the US, which insisted absolutely not only on unity buton the current federal structure. Given Milosevic had already ripped up theYugoslav consititution some time before, it was in any case in vain.
This confederal idea with territorial autonomy for ethnic minorities inareas they form a local majority was also the essence of the EU plan ofOctober 1991, which they put about a year too late, when they could see (ifthe Left can't) that the massive war against Croatian towns and cities hadfinally destroyed the old Yugoslavia, and they wanted to do whatever theycould to salvage some kind of unity. This plan was accepted by 5 republics(even Montenegro), but not Serbia. This means that Tudjman acceptedgeographical autonomy for the Serbs, but Milosevic was not willing toconsider the same for the Albanians.
Therefore I think the best would have been a separation among republicanboundaries, with autonomy/extensive rights for minorities. It would havebeen the least messy. But so what if I think that? What if the CroatianSerbs don't agree with my wonderful opinion, because they don't believe itspossible with Tudjman? And what if Sanjak Muslims and Presevo Albaniansdon't agree, because they don't think it is possible with Milosevic? Whatshould we advocate? Bombing them into submission?
Frankly, the Krajina Serbs were the real pawns in this most cynical gameplayed by Milosevic and his henchmen. How anyone sympathising with theKrajina Serbs could have anything remotely nice to say about the scummy mobthat led them to oblivion is beyond me. While supporting their right tosecession, it should have been very strongly argued against. Krajina was asparsely populated wasteland which could not join Serbia because it wasseparated from it by an entire republic. According to Borislav Jovic,Milosevic's second in command at the time, Milosevic told Tudjman "Do what youlike with the Krajina Serbs. Impale them if you like. Our interest is notwith them, our interest is in Bosnia, we want 66 percent of Bosnia and wewill take it." For a period, Krajina was thus a convenient launching pad forthe Bosnian operation from the other side.
True or not, this was their fate. Once Milosevic had settled the division ofthe region with Tudjman, with a geographically neat division of Bosnia,enforced by the US Dayton plan, with the appropriate shifts of population,he not only didn't raise a finger to help the Krajina Serbs in late 1995, hehad not a shred of interest in some backwater in the wrong place. TheSerbian govt didn't even make much of an issue about it.
Yes, we know where Tudjman's forces got the arms and training from. But didthey need it? Given that the Krajina leaders had been bombing and besiegingthe Muslim enclave of Bihac for 3 years, including with napalm and clusterbombs, one might expect they could have put up a little defence in the onlyregion they had an ethnic claim. But given the fact that reports spoke ofhow these gutless wonder Chetnik leaders ran away ahead of the ordinarypeople, defence was obviously no longer the plan.
But whether my analysis here is right or not, and I'm damned sure it is,there is no basis for saying, 'see, Croatia had no right to independence in1991 because look what they did in 1995'. That is the politics of evasionwidely applied on this issue, where Operation Storm is seen as somethingcoming out of nowhere, a sinister plot suspended in space and time. Readingsome accounts, you would think the war actually began with this monstrousoperation. The context of the expuslion of 150,000 Serbs from Krajina in1995, and 15,000 from Western Slavonia a few months earlier, was the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Croats in 1991. I know that's an awfully unfashionable view around the left


Louis Proyect wrote
(quoting me):> > officer tearing up the board with the village's name." The Krajinaitself, in any case, accounted for only a quarter of Croatia's Serbs, most fwhom live in cities alongside Croats and were profoundly alienated by theactions of the federal army, the Serb Democratic party and the Chetniks.>
> This stuff is profoundly repulsive. You can now begin to understand why> the late Ernest Mandel took the DSP to task for adapting to Croatian> nationalism.
> The invasion of Serbian Krajina?
>> by Greg Elich
>> This study is based on a paper presented in book "NATO in the Balkans"> (ISBN 0-9656916-2-4), pages 131 - 140.
>> In early August 1995, the Croatian invasion of Serbian Krajina> precipitated the worst refugee crisis of the Yugoslav civil war. Within> days, more than two hundred thousand Serbs, virtually the entire> population of Krajina, fled their homes, and 14,000 Serbian civilians> lost them lives. According to a UN official "Almost the only people> remaining were the dead and the dying." The Clinton administration's> support for the invasion was an important factor in creating thisnightmare.

Sorry, why was the description of the destruction of towns and cities inCroatia by the JNA and Chetniks in 1991 'profoundly repulsive' but thedescription of the destruction of the Krajina in 1995 not? What is yourpoint? That they had to destroy Vukovar, Osijek, Kijevo, Dubrovnik etc etcetc in 1991 to prevent what happened in 1995? Don't you think maybe theincredible destruction of inter-ethnic solidarity brought about by the 1991rampage might have something to do with what happened in 1995?

> (Bobetko was never taken into custody. As should be obvious, justice is> not blind when it comes to Yugoslavia.)

Bobetko died with the Hague chasing him. They still want Gotovina andothers. To use your language, Bobetko, Gotovina, the HDZ and the Ustashe arenot being "quislings" to the Hague, they leave that to the pro-imperialistsocial-democrats who have been in power since they ejected the HDZ in 2000(but just got done again).


Louis Proyect wrote:
> John, Ernest Mandel said that the DSP was adapting to Croatian> nationalism. That is the most striking feature of Karadjis's last post> here. It was cut from the same cloth as the GLW article I cited. >

When I first started sending stuff to the list, I was pleasantly surprisedthat Louis actually responded in civilised fashion, however strong hisdisagreements with me. I was surprised because of the amount of froth andbluster I'd seen on the list on this particular issue. Now he seems to havedecided the best way to refute my arguments is to slander me as an apologistfor Croatian chauvinism. I'm sure it will not matter how many times I repeatthe same things, that I condemn Croatian chauvinism, that I considerTudjman and the HDZ a right-wing nationalist party representing thedegenerated bureaucracy reforming itself into capitalism, that I condemnmassacres of Serbs as surely as massacres of anyone else, it will all be tono avail, he will still attempt this silly frame-up. So judge by what I say,not what someone other than myself may have thought 12 years ago or whatMandel may have said 20 years ago long before the Yugoslav events we aretalking about.

> The main issue is the class character of Yugoslavia as far as I am> concerned. So far I have yet to see a substantive defense of the> proposition that Yugoslavia was capitalist.

It's coming. This is not my full time job, and to write a subsantive, wellbacked up piece, which I intend to (along with another substantive piecerefuting the idea that the west, least of all the US, "broke up"Yugoslavia), may take time and you will have to wait.


David Quarter" wrote:
>> You should check out TENC. Although you won't.>>> Jared Israel's faults aside, his website is about the best critique on> the web of the NATO/pro-KLA nonsense. A buddy of his provides a> good critique of the pro-Bosnian Islamist nonsense as well. I don't> care about their ideological affinities, as some of the best critiques> of Zionism are provided by liberals and conservatives.
>> I would encourage you and Michael to debate Jared Israel, although> I know you won't.

Astonishing. Jared Israel is not just any Zionist, he is an ultra-rightLikudnik. He writes articles opposing even a Palestinian mini-state which hethinks would be a front for terror against Israel, much as some people onthis list think Bosnian Muslims and Kosova are bases for Islamic terrorismagainst Serbia. He thinks everyone to the 'left' of Kach is one way oranother trying to sell out to expose Jews to Islamic terrorism.
It doesn't surprise me at all that you would recommend TENC. TENC iscompletely consistent in its Islamophobia. Look back at the articles youwere drooling over in 1999. Look at the argumentation. How many times are'Islamist' forces mentioned, all the conspiracy involving Iran, SaudiArabia etc etc to send Islamist forces to Europe etc. Did you ever see amention of US support to Israel, in such a context, even then?


Louis Proyect" wrote
> Citation, please.
Actually, it was Jovic himself, and it was reported by Stipe Mesic, the(Croat) Yugoslav federal president in 1991. Mesic, whose family had beenmurdered by the Ustashe, later became a key opponent of Tudjman and replacedhim as president when the HDZ was trashed in 2000. The actual words are:
"We are not interested in the Serbs in Croatia. They are your citizens, youcan do what you like with them, you can impale them for all we care. We areexclusively interested in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was, and will be,Serbian."
This was taken from Adam LeBor, 'Milosevic: A Biography', Bloomsbury 2002,though I have seen this cited elsewhere. In other references I have alsoseen the bit I wrote, "We want 66 percent of Bosnia", but I cannot find itjust at the moment.
It makes little difference whether Mesic was telling the truth or not - mymain point is that this is precisely the way Milosevic and his henchmen usedand abused the Krajina Serbs leading them to oblivion. When driven out ofCroatia, arriving in Belgrade they should have performed a "gang attack" onthe parliament 5 years early and strung up the Boss.

Louis Proyect wrote several paragraphs describing the lowly position ofwomen in Kosovar society, and I replied 'Thank you for informing me thatKosovars live in a patriarchal society'. Louis replied:
Aren't you aware that genuine movements for national liberation attackpatriarchy?
Yes I am, but I'm still unclear of the purpose of you sending a heap oforientalism to the list in the context of a discussion over theSerb-Albanian conflict in Kosova. A piece like this in such a context issimply Islamophobia. One could read such reports of all the men sitting around eating and the women waiting silently at the door in a great manyorientalist descriptions of 3rd world societies (ie like Kosova), not onlyMuslim countries. I’m sure Louis has experienced this himself in Turkeyduring his recent visit, because I have.
Therefore, I ask again: what was the political purpose of it? Was it tosuggest that these backward Muslim Kosovars needed Serb occupation to bringwomen’s liberation to them, like the Afghan women needed US liberation?
I also wrote:
>”for the fact that they spent most of the century trying to throw off their> Serb rulers - not because it is natural to resist oppression, like> elsewhere, but because these naturally violent people simply didn't> appreciate the good things that nice Serb socialists wanted to bring them,> like women's rights.”
and Louis replied:
”Actually, there was a precedent for this kind of clash in Afghanistan.”
Right. So because they were 'Muslims' fighting in Afghanistan and 'Muslims'fighting in Kosova, in both cases in societies low on the womens rightsscales, therefore they are similar. This only strengthens my case that weare dealing with a kind of Islamophobia here. I'm sure lots of "progressive"Israelis love that kind of propaganda against Palestinians, especially thoseunder the influence of Hamas.
What about class? Regardless of the disastrous Russian intervention, the warin Afghanistan from the beginning pitted a leftist PDPA govt, which tried tocarry out some botched land reforms and women’s rights reforms, against alandlord army, who adopted 'Islam' as their banner. What do they have incommon with the Kosovar miners who confronted Milosevic's Reaganite andchauvinist crackdown? Something of a class difference between feudallandlords and miners marching with Yugoslav flags and portraits of Tito, Iwould have thought, but I suppose they are all "Muslims"


David, personal invective aside, which can get the better of all of us attimes, I am happy for you to give me as sharp political criticism as youlike. However, I would ask one thing: If you attack my politics, make sureit is my politics you are attacking.
You wrote: “I would have to say that Even (ie Evanchick) andMichael are the ones defending imperial invasion. Whether or notthey claim to have supported NATO's "intervention" (they probablydid, but I haven't read the specifics of their argument as I don't reallycare for Serb/Milosevic bashers)”
This kind of nonsense is the same as me saying 'I don't know if David Q is asupporter of Ariel Sharon's final solution to "Islamic terror" in Palestineor not, but based on his Islamophobic opinions and recommendations of JaredIsrael's site, I would have to say he probably is, though I haven't read thespecifics of his argument'.
If you want to have an argument with Hitchens, go find a site that he is on.You may well draw out logical, in your opinion, conclusions from myarguments that suggest tendencies towards capitulation to imperialism, andwe can discuss that politically.
However, I have no tendency whatsoever to be soft on imperialism and while Ihave fully forgiven your drunken personal attack, this political rubbishmakes me angry. I first went on a march against the US war on Vietnam in1971 when I was 12, jigging school. Plenty of others would have had theseexperiences too, but I'd just like to point out that I have just as much'background' as anyone and I resent your political implications. I've beento Yugoslavia 4 times, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1997, and lived in Greece formany years when all this was going on next door. In Yugoslavia most of myfriends were Serbs. When NATO was dropping cluster bombs on the carpark ofNis hospital, I was thinking of my friends in Nis who put me up. When theywere bombing Belgrade, I was thinking of the wonderful Serbian Women inBlack who wouldn't have a bar of the kind of pro-Slobo nonsense you exhibit.Don't set me up as a hack for NATO, you've got the wrong address, address myposts. Why these people I once knew in Serbia had to keep getting bombed fornothing so that Milosevic/Seselj could continue to carry out their1948-Palestine program in Kosova is the political issue.

The difference is that along with sympathising with those in Belgrade, Nis etc being bombed from on high by fantastically superior military forces, I also sympathisewith those who were bombed from on high for years by fantastically superiormilitary forces in Vukovar, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Bihac, Srebrenica etcetc.


Louis Proyect wrote:
> For comrades who are having difficulty sorting through all these names and> places and dates, I would strongly urge a political approach rather than> one that reminds you of preparing for a high school final.>> Here are the salient points:

I appreciate that Louis is now trying to sort the key political issues,though I may have a different list. Regarding his three points:
1. I agree that whether or not Yugoslavia under Milosevic was a socialistcountry is important, and as I said, I'm preparing one - it won't go away,but it cannot be done on demand, as I intend to write something substantiveand frankly I'm a busy person. I recognise that having opened this Pandora’sbox on marxmail, I have a responsibility to keep it up, but my reasons fornot intervening years before was precisely because I knew it would involve alot of time that I do not have. So again, patience on the big one.
2. “The KLA is not a liberation movement.” I also agree this one is important,because it is current. I appreciate that Les E has taken up some of therunning on that. However, I would like to make that discussion even morecurrent and more relevant, and I would point out that while Louis keepsasking where is my answer on so and so (like I live next to a computer), Ihave asked three times the very current question of whether people call forthe removal of imperialist occupation troops from Kosova. So far onlyJohannes has answered, but he has a stance in favour of Kosovarself-determination. Since the NATO occupation is the only block to Kosovarself-determination, and since some on this list seem to think that anindependent Kosova is the next worst thing that could happen in the worldafter nuclear armageddon, I wondered if demanding NATO out of Kosova raisedany difficult issues. This is not intended as a nasty challenge, rather asensible Marxist discussion of the issues.
3. I absolutely do not agree that the nature of Croatian nationalism is inany way a key issue, I think it is a convenient scapegoat. For decades onthe “left”, Serb equalled progressive, Croat equalled Ustashe. So it’s always agood one to throw at your opponents. I do not know why Louis thinks that thenature of Croatian nationalism is key to understanding the Balkan conflictsbut the nature of Serbian nationalism is not. I have made my own positionclear enough, that I see both Milosevic and Tudjman as bourgeois nationalistdemagogues responsible fro appalling crimes across the Balkans. For therecord, I see the emphasis in various Green Left articles in 1991 asincorrect, and thought so at the time. I would suspect that some of thewriters, such as Peter Annear who you referred to as the author of some,would also think this today. However, I do not put an absolute equals signbetween the responsibility of the two chauvinist leaders of these twodominant republics, for two reasons.
The first reason is that Milosevic had been stirring up chauvinism andattacking the Yugoslav constitution for nearly three years before Tudjmanappeared on the scene, so the scene had been well set before Tudjman. Thesecond reason is the inordinate difference in power given control of thefederal army - the 4th most powerful armed forces in Europe with masses ofweaponry - by the Serb republic. This is why it was able to flatten townsand cities across Croatia, and later Bosnia. Until Krajina in 1995, there issimply no equivalent performed by Croatian armed forces to the destructionof Vukovar and other Croat cities.
Aside from its purposes as a useful diversion, I see the issue of Croatiannationalism as far from central, because the Serb-Croat conflict ended in1991. From early 1992 onward, Tudjman and Milosevic, Serb and Croatnationalism, were strategic allies in Bosnia and beyond. Even during NATO'saggression in 1999, it was Tudjman that called the G-8 to Zagreb, and afterlecturing them about Kosova being 'holy Serb land' etc, put forward theproposal for the partition of Kosova along the lines that Serbia gets tocontrol the Trepca facilities in the north - basically the partition thatNATO has actually implemented since June 1999. The Serb nationalist rampageof the late 1980s and 1990s was above all anti-Muslim and anti-Albanian, notanti-Croat.
A couple of points on your actual piece on Croatian nationalism, whichhopefully can be my last on this so we move on to more current issues:

> NY Times:> >>At a souvenir stand in Zagreb's central market, glaring down over key> rings, cigarette lighters and T-shirts, hang portraits of a firm-jawed man> in military uniform. He is Ante Pavelic, who headed the pro-NaziGovernment that ruled Croatia from 1941 to 1945.

Absolutely the same was in evidence in Serbia regarding the Chetniks duringthis period, and I know because I was there in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1997.However, while the Serbian Radical Party generally took around 23 percent ofthe Serb vote through the 1990's, and formed government coalitions withMilosevic's party in 1991-93 and 1998-2000, the Party of the Right (Ustashe)generally received about 5-6 percent of the vote in Croatia. While the SRSwas in the Serbian government in 1991, Tudjman's forces assassinated Ustashemilitary leader, Ante Paradzik, in September, and jailed their politicalleader, Dobroslav Paraga, in November. To clarify matters before they erupt,I do not say this to make Tudjman look good, and these divisions between thenationalist right and far-right were similar to those between Milosevic andChetnik forces later (Seselj, SRS leader, was imprisoned in 1993).

> President Franjo Tudjman reflects this uncertainty. Under his leadership,> Croatia has taken several steps that suggest he has sympathy for some of> what the Ustashe did.

Tudjman and Milosevic both showed this 'uncertainty'. Both were Bonapartistfigures who attempted to win both Partisans (like Tudjman himself and mostof his original allies) with either Ustashe or Chetniks.

> In one of his first acts, Mr. Tudjman decreed that Croatia should adopt a> red-and-white checkerboard coat of arms that closely resembles the symbol> of the Ustashe state. That coat of arms is now part of the Croatian flag.>> Mr. Tudjman and his supporters dismiss criticism of this move, pointingout that the checkerboard emblem was a symbol of Croatia for centuries before> the Ustashe adopted it. But to many Jews, Serbs and others, it is a symbol> almost as hateful as the swastika.

This is rather complex, because it is true that it was a centuries old symbolof Croatia, hence very different from the swastika. It was also not theUstashe flag, because the latter also had a large 'U' over the checkerboard.
However, it is also extremely understandable that many Serbs in Croatia sawit this way. No doubt a proletarian revolutionary government would haveavoided it for this reason, but this is not under discussion. For Croats itwas simply the revival of the flag they had always had.
>I'm sure this will bring lots more comments, but hopefully I have made myposition clear.


Philip Ferguson wrote
>> An important point might be the difference between a national liberation> movement and a reactionary secessionist movement, linked to and, indeed,> backed by imperialism.

Yes I know that happens to be your view, but it isn't mine. I think there isa reasonable literature from 1999 on the differences over this question.Simply, the KLA was the armed force of the entire Kosovar Albanian people,with the local branches of all major political parties - including those of'pacifist' Rugova and of Demaci, turning to arms and becoming local KLAbranches when circumstances demanded, that is when the regime responded tosmall scale guerilla activities by burning and destroying entire villagesand hence giving the dispossessed nothing to lose. The fact that thepetty-bourgeois nationalist leadership manoevured with imperialism does notchange the fundamental nature of the movement for national liberation. Ifyou are aware of a counter-movement among Kosovar Albanians thatmasochistically advocated critical support for remaining under Serbiantyranny, and advocated non-defence of their own villages against ethniccleansing, in the name of being better "anti-imperialists", I would be veryinterested to hear about that group.

> Your specific analogy with Afghanistan, women and US liberation doesn't> hold for the simple reason that the US is an imperialist country, Serbia> was and is not.

That is not a reason it does not hold, unless you believe that nationalliberation movements are only allowed to fight imperialist countries.Obviously you do not believe the East Timorese or Achanese, or Kurds inTurkey, Tamils etc have any right to fight for national liberation.otherwise, I don't get your point.

> A more correct analogy between Kosovar and Afghanistan would be that the> Kosovars are like the mujaheedin that fought the Russians. If I recall,> the DSP sided with the PDPA and Moscow against the Islamic reactionaries> in Afghanistan.

As above, and as in my previous post comparing the class forces involved.Presumably you think the KLA represented a landlord-capitalist class tryingto overthrow "socialism" which the far-right Milosevic regime was trying toimpose by expelling the population from their country and trying toprivatise Trepca, a move resisted precisely by the outlawed Kosova Assembly?Which was the equivalent of the 'PDPA regime' in Kosova?

When it came to Yugoslavia, unfortunately, the DSP> changed sides. I would argue that the main reason for this was that the> DSP had so much political capital invested in its attachment to elements> of Croatian nationalism, through its special relationship with the DHP> in Australia, that it had become Serbophobic. >> Given that the DSP supported Croatian separatism, it was logical to> support the Kosovars as well, regardless of the reactionary implications> and attachments of both.

This is nonsense Phil. Whatever our relations with the HDP back in 1983,they had long become virtually extinct and the remainder hostile to usbecause we did not see things quite their way, by the time the Yugoslav wars had broken out. They were a group of very confused left-wing Croats, and between them and the Ustashe there was a considerable amount of blood. The logic of their confusion did take them to the right, but some more leftist elements became communists and joined us,leaving the HDP.
Our position on the former Yugoslavia as the crisis unfolded was completelyconsistent with our position on the right to national self determinationalways, so if you think it had some connection to 'our investment inCroatian nationalism', you should show in which other cases we did not holdthis position.

> Meanwhile tarring Louis P with the brush of 'Orientalism', which also> carries the implication that he is Islamophobic, is unlikely to have> much effect on this list. Louis is notoriously hostile to Orientalism> and Islamophobia; indeed, I would say it is one of his distinguishing> features.

Actually I am well aware of this, which is why when I first wrote to ask himabout the piece he put on the list, and made my logical conclusions, Istated "I know this is not your position". Therefore I was perplexed aboutthe piece of orientalism in the context of the Serb-Albanian issue inKosova. I do not believe Louis is Islamophobic or orientalist, but that hispositions on former Yugoslavia, supporting the extraordinarily IslamophobicMilosevic regime and Serbian nationalism, force him at times in thisdirection despite his strong inclinations otherwise.


The Serbian Radical Party, led by Seselj, was originally the Serbian ChetnikMovement in 1990. In 1991-93 and 1998-2000 his party was the mainstay ofkeeping Miloseivc's party in power in a ruling coalition. Seselj - who was afar-right 'dissident' jailed under the old Yugoslav regime for chauvinism -is famous for things like suggesting the best solution to the Croat problemwas to cut the throat of every Croat, and to the Albanian problem, was tospread HIV among the Kosovar Albanians.
He is openly part of the French National Front's attempts to create a leagueof European fascist organisations. In 1997 Le Pen paid a visit to Seselj inBelgrade, and the Karadzic leadership in Bosnia, and praised their good work.He of course was jealous of the fact that they could get away with murderingtens of thousands of Muslims across the Balkans, just a few hours fromFrance, where circumstances do not permit his party from being able to dothe same.
After the Milosevic-Seselj coaltion was revived in March 1998 as the basisfor 'national resistance' against their oppressed Kosovar subjects viaburning and destroying whole villages, Seselj, as deputy prime minister,named a Belgrade municipality after Le Pen.
At the time of the NATO war, both Seselj's Serbian Radical Party andKaradzic's Serbian Democratic Party in Bosnia were official links on thewebsite of the fascist British National Front.
It is true that Les should be careful to not suggest that comrades who havethe most monstrous delusions about such ultraright anti-Muslim pogromistforces in the Balkans are likely candidates for joining similar groups inthe US or Canada. Obviously this is a case where closer to home they havebetter information about the class struggle and the political forces intheir own countries than on the other side of the world. There is no doubtthat that their appalling views on the Balkans are motivated by theirunderstanding of anti-imperialism. However, Les is also correct to point outthat it is exactly the same for someone on this list to simply slander -against facts clearly presented here - that Les or I were supporters of NATOaggression and the high tech aerial massacre of Serbs, just because we donot share the view of many here that the Kosovar Albanians should haverefused to defend their own villages against ethnic cleansing, plunder andterror, and should instead have welcomed their Serb liberators, in order tobetter fit in to some bullshit "anti-imperialist" standards set by thewestern left.


Louis Proyect wrote
> What information on the KLA did you have at your disposal that allowed you> to take their blood-soaked leader at his word? You wrote:>> >>The Kosova Liberation Army, which is being disarmed by NATO forces, has> vigorously condemned these attacks. Following the brutal murder of 14 Serb> farmers in the village of Gracko, south of Pristina, Hashim Thaci, head of> the KLA and its unrecognised provisional government, declared, "Westrongly condemn this act has nothing to do with the progressive democratic> forces in Kosova ...So we must cooperate closely with the international> community to assist in the investigation that will lead to the capture of> those who are guilty." <<

It has nothing to do with taking anyone at their word. The point is thatThaci and other ex-KLA leaders and other Kosovar Albanian leaders didrepeatedly call for an end to attacks on Serbs and minorities. From ourpoint f view we may well say it wasn't enough, more could have been doneetc, but it is different to the image conjured up by you and many on theleft.
The image conjured up is that the reverse cleansing of a large part of theSerb population was the same as the cleansing of the Albanian population. Inother words, just as the Yugoslav army, the Serbian MUP and a host ofrightist paramilitaries were in Kosova burning, destroying, killing andcleansing villages, so you conjure up the image after June 1999 of KLA unitsmarching on the Serb villages and doing the same. There were no doubt somesuch incidents very briefly, but NATO immediately confined the KLA tobarracks and then disarmed them. Apart from the first 50,000 Serbs who fledwith the army fearing for their safely with the inevitable revenge on thereturn of refugees (many of who had been guilty of aiding the war crimes),most subsequent terror against Serbs was in the form of individual terror,someone shooting, someone throwing a grenade, or more subtle pressure, suchas social exclusion.
Obviously this should be condemned, but how do you stop it? What needs to beunderstood is that political responsibility for this massive breakdown inclass solidarity rests with the Serbian leaders who oppressed the Kosovarsand then resorted to the attempt to do 1948-Palestine on them in 1999. Thefactor of revenge is inevitable and has occurred in just about every suchconflict I know of. The most massive was the expulsion of 14 million Germansfrom eastern Europe after WWII, with 2 million dying from cold, hunger ormurder during the escape. This monstrous crime against humanity, however,does not invalidate the partisan struggles against Nazi occupation.
The fact is, Serbs are a small minority in Kosova. It was in their intereststo have good relations with the overwhelming majority who they have to livewith. Oppression and terror in their name doomed them once the oppressed gotrid of their oppressors. This was more the case because of the completeabsence of any system of law under the UN-NATO occupation regime. Althoughthey arrested large numbers of Kosovars for crimes - which were committedagainst fellow Albanians in large numbers as well in this lawlesssituation - it is simple logic that foreign occupiers who do not know thepeople, language, culture, territory etc can not do this job effectively.Only when power is taken from the occupiers and put into the hands ofKosovars can a process of establishing law and order even begin. That is whyI have continually said that the first step forward required is the removalof the occupation regime allowing Kosovar self-determination.
Of course, this is a double edged sword for the Serb minority. Currently,NATO troops are often those who assist them in day to day activities, and Iwould not recommend that all such international aid be ended, just that NATOget out and stop blocking the Albanian desire for independence. Politically,the only way the Serb minority can get a better deal is for its politicalleaders in Kosova to stop acting as pawns for the Serbian regime, andinstead openly throw their weight into trying to establish a partnershipwith the Albanians to rule an independent state. Currently, the insistenceof the Serb minority leaders that the Kosovar majority does not have a rightto independence is a further reason for Albanian hostility. The leaders needto say openly, yes we unreservedly support your right to self-determination.We will help facilitate this. However, in return, we ask for your support toimprove the rights and security of the minorities. This would have asignificant effect on Kosovar Albanian attitudes.

> This is the same Hashim Thaci about whom the courageous NY Times reporter,> who is turning into our Robert Fisk, had to say:>> >>Mr Thaci joined the clandestine Kosovo Popular Movement in Pristina.Its members, including Mr Syla, whom Mr Thaci appointed his defence minister,> and Mr Haliti, have become the KLA's core leaders.

I see, Chris Hedges is becoming your Robert Fisk. That is very convenient.However, apart from Hedges, we can find plenty of articles in theimperialist media denouncing the KLA, in fact many with the sametabloid-style, reactionary-populist nonsense where Albanian equals drugdealer equals terrorist. You sent one to the list a little while ago. JaredIsrael has a worse one on his site currently, from some British tabloid.
In fact, it was none other than Hedges who wrote the lead article on theKosova war for Foreign Affairs (April-May 1999), the leading journal of theUS foreign policy elite. This article expressed better than most the real USinterest in that war:
"with most ethnic Albanians concentrated in homogenous areas borderingAlbania, the drive to extend Albania's borders remains feasible. That driveis not only a wider threat to European stability but also to Albanianmoderation. Many KLA commanders tout themselves as a 'liberation army for allAlbanians' - precisely what frightens the NATO alliance most."
"U.S. intelligence agencies, preoccupied with tracking militant Islamistgroups and Iranian agents in Bosnia, were caught off guard by the Kosovorebel force's emergence, strength, and popularity."
"Whatever political leadership emerges in Kosovo will come from the rebelranks, and it will be militant, nationalist, uncompromising, and deeplysuspicious of all outsiders ... "By attempting to include the KLA in thepeace process that began in February at the French chateau of Rambouillet,the Western alliance is working feverishly -- even as it bombs the Serbs -- to blunt the momentum toward a war of independence. The allies want NATOtroops to separate the province's warring factions, although Belgrade iswary. The underlying idea behind creating a theoretically temporary,NATO-enforced military protectorate in Kosovo is to buy time for athree-year transition period in which ethnic Albanians will be allowed toelect a parliament and other governing bodies -- meeting enough of theiraspirations, it is hoped, to keep Kosovo from seceding."


Louis Proyect wrote:
> This is a gross oversimplification of the relationship between Milosevic> and the Radical Party. They were bitter rivals for most of the decade and> only came together in a coalition when politics in Yugoslavia had become> completely polarized. The Radical Party was absolutely hostile to the> Titoist legacy as this should make clear:
>> BELGRADE (AP) - Police clubbed demonstrators yesterday and hauled some off> to jail during protests on the 10th anniversary of the death of Josip Broz> Tito, the founding father of Communist Yugoslavia.
>> (Toronto Star, May 5, 1990)

This excerpt does not in any way invalidate what I wrote. I wrote that theSRS was the main force keeping Milosevic in power in ruling coalitions in1991-93 and 1998-2000. Your article is from 1990. It should be added,however, that this violent anti-Titoism of the SRS had been stirred up bythe entire Serbian nationalist movement launched by Milosevic. Their mainpoint was that Tito had 'destroyed the Serb nation' by setting up afederation in 1945, rather than continuing the pre-1939 unitary Serb-ruledYugoslavia that the nationalist movement aimed to restore. Later that sameyear, Milosevic helped Seselj get elected by not standing an SPS candidatein the electorate where he was running. When enormous demonstrationsthreatened to topple Milosevic in March 1991, Seselj came to the rescue anddenounced the demonstrators, because 'national unity' was required in orderto launch war on Croatia.
The times I have indicated that the fascist SRS was in coalition withMilosevic are significant because this was when the wars were launchedagainst Croatia, Bosnia and the Kosovars. This reflected the nature of thesereactionary wars of conquest and ethnic slaughter.
The long period when Milosevic not in alliance with the fascists - 1993-98 -was precisely the period that he became the guarantor of Balkan stabilityand generally relations improved with imperialism. He split with Seselj andKaradzic when they rejected the imperialist Vance-Owen Plan for ethnicpartition of Bosnia. They wanted ethnic partition but wanted to keep anunrealistically large share for the ethnically cleansed 'Serb Republic' whichthey had conquered. Milosevic then went on to support the far more appallingOwen-Stoltenberg plan pushed by the UK in particular, which was so bad thateven Karadzic supported it, but the Bosnian government, backed by a stream ofIranian arms violating the imperialist arms embargo, rejected this blatantimperialist partition of its own country. Milosevic then went on to back theimperialist Contact Group plan and finally Dayton plan, giving the 'SerbRepublic' half of Bosnia. Milosevic understood this was a great victory forgreater Serbia and he became the partner of imperialism in enforcing it. Thefar -right around Karadzic, on the other hand, needed a little NATO bombing to convince them to withdraw from 70 to 50 percent of Bosnia for their cleansed apartheid state. Seselj never accepted it – revealing very clearly the fascistic, ultra-right nature of Serb nationalism at the points in time when it “conflicted” somewhat with imperialism.
Following Dayton, the sanctions were lifted and imperialist trade andinvestment resumed. In the two 1997 elections, both a stand-off betweenMilosevic's and Seselj's parties, the dividing line was that Milosevicrepresented the wing of the gangster capitalist class that wanted to beginlegitimising their theft. This was the era of British Nat-West industries,led by former Tory foreign minister Douglas Hurd, being contracted toorganise the privatisation of the Serbian economy, the sale of half ofSerbian telecom to Greek and Italian imperialism, and the new privatisationlaw of 1997 which put the most strategic Serbian industries - includingTrepca - up for sale. Seselj, by contrast, represented that fascistic wingof 'true believers' who still wanted more conquest based on their originalprogram. The SRS also engaged in right-wing populism, denouncing the 'redbourgeoisie' which had accumulated fantastic wealth under Milosevic.
In this contest, Richard Holbrooke visited and openly endorsed Milosevic,declaring, not wrongly, that Seselj was a "fascist" who represented'backwardness and darkness'. I guess at that point in time, I would agreewith both Louis Proyect and Richard Holbrooke, from opposing perspectives,that Milosevic was the lesser evil candidate (though I imagine Nestor would have preferred the more consistent national chauvinist Seselj to a compromiser like Slobo).
In March 1998, US envoy Gelbard declared in Pristina that Milosevic wasplaying a constructive role in Bosnia, and then denounced the first signs ofthe KLA as a "terrorist organisation". Yet within a week, something totallyunexpected had happened - the appearance of the KLA drove the ruling elite tothe right, and Seselj's SRS was brought back into the ruling coalitionalongside Milosevic's SPS and his wife's fake party, the Yugoslav Left, theparty of the mega bourgeoisie.
Under the influence again of fascism, the regime showed how it would dealwith the Kosovar insurgency, by burning and destroying villages. But farfrom crushing the tiny band of guerillas, these tactics created masses ofdispossessed Kosovars with nothing to lose but to join the KLA. Imperialismcame to see that Milosevic-Seselj could not do the job, and graduallyrelations with the regime deteriorated again, until we get to the NATO war.
The point about this is that those claiming that the distant "left" originsof the parties of Milosevic and his wife were the problem for imperialismare far off base. To the extent that they were to the left of fascism, thismeant their nationalism was not as 'pure'. They knew when to stop for thesake of regional stability, including for their own class. It was theextreme version of Serbian nationalism, espoused by the true believers ofthe far right, which was a problem for imperialism. Milosevic wavered, butultimately threw in his lot with the ultra-right plan for Kosova in agamble he wrongly thought he might win.

> >After the Milosevic-Seselj coaltion was revived in March 1998 as thebasis> >for 'national resistance' against their oppressed Kosovar subjects via> >burning and destroying whole villages, Seselj, as deputy prime minster,> >named a Belgrade municipality after Le Pen.>> What do you mean by revived?>

I mean as I said, Seselj was in the ruling coalition in 1991-93, when it wastime for conquest (Croatia, Bosnia). He was thrown out in 1993 when it was time for settling down with decent conquests. After that, Milosevic formed a coalition firstwith Djindjic's Democrats, and then with a similar bourgeois liberal party,New Democracy, which has also been the main ally of Djindjic's party in thepost-2000 DOS govt. The monarchist and moderate Chetnik party, Draskovic’s Serbian Renewal Movement, supported the Milosevic ‘peace camp’ in 1994-96 rather than the fascistic ‘anti-imperialist’ ‘war camp’ led by more extremist Chetniks Seselj and Karadzic. Interestingly, the allegedly ‘moderate’ and ‘modern’ parties of both Djindjic and Kostunica supported the Seselj camp in this period, opposed the partition plans from the right, opposed the Dayton ‘sell-out’ of Serbs etc. Thus Milosevic was much more pro-imperialist than Seselj, Djindjic and Kostunca.

>In the biggest surprise of the campaign, the Serbian> Radical Party, an ultranationalist group led by Vojislav Seselj, who> commanded Serb paramilitary gangs during the recent wars in Bosnia and> Croatia, captured 18 percent of the vote -- twice what Serbian analystshad predicted.

David Quarter should note this, because in a recent post he claimed 'Seseljhas never garnered more than a small percentage of popular support in Serbia.'This is incorrect. In fact, in the late 1997 elections standing againstMilosevic, his party gained 23 percent of the vote, just a point behind that of Milosevic’s SPS. Thus his party was decisive for the Milosevic coalition govt from March 1998, a mass ultra-right constituency.

> The strong showing for Seselj was an indication of the enduring support in> Yugoslavia for the ultranationalist ideals of a Greater Serbia. Milosevic> has attempted to sideline Seselj and his allies in Bosnia, such as Serb> political leader Radovan Karadzic, who has been indicted as a war criminal> by an international tribunal. But the power of their calls for an> ethnically pure state encompassing all Serbs still resonates.

Yes exactly, as I wrote above.
Nestor wrote
>Ultra-nationalists, in the case of Serbia, simply become defenders of>the dignity of the country against imperialists.>Is it really _that_ difficult?>The Serbians have given all of us a New Year gift.

I guess that's why they voted for the real ultra-nationalists, in the Le Penloving SRS, the Serb equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan, rather than forrelatively soft, opportunist nationalists like Milosevic and the SPS. Nestorhas here at least reached the ultimate logical conclusion of his argumentsin defence of Serb nationalism. For him the fascists are preferable to theparty of Milosevic which he has laughably described as "Leninist" in thepast.
I guess Nestor and others missed the bit in the article he quoted that said:
>The pro-reform regime, led by Zoran Djindjic, did not get rid of the "newrich" who thrived under Mr Milosevic, and were accused of links to organised crime.>Zorana Stamenic, a 33-year-old Belgrade teacher, said: "Everything remained>the same, with just the outside picture being different."
Yes, Milosevic's vote crashed to a hopeless 7.5 percent. It was theultra-right that made the gains from disappointment with neo-liberal'reform'. One obvious reason is the above - the new rich made their fortunesunder Milosevic, and most of these are the same people now behind theDjindjic regime. There was no left opposition to DOS, because theMilosevic party was just a failed former right-wing govt which had promotedthe same capitalist class now being further promoted by DOS. Seselj, as agood ultra-right populist, knows how to capture this ground - a bit ofpopulism against 'the rich' combined with lots of hatred of Muslims,Albanians etc. He used the same against Milosevic in the 1997 elections. Wehad the same phenomenon in Australia, when the right-wing Labor Party hadbeen implementing neo-liberal policies, was replaced by a Tory govtimplementing worse of the same, so the ultra-right racist party of OneNation captured 15 percent of the vote, especially from among the whitedispossessed by neo-liberalism, combining populist opposition to the GST (indirect tax) and 'banks' with hatred toward aboriginals and migrants.


Original Message ----- From: "David Quarter" <> wrote
>> [...] Regarding Mr. Karadjis, the 'Marxist,' in addition to> his article during the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999> in which he apologises for the racist, separatist,> neo-fascist so-called KLA, he also wrote another piece> after the war ended, also in the Australian Green Left> Weekly (no relation to the Green Party of Australia by> the way), in which *he openly endorsed the ethnic> cleansing of non-Albanians in Kosovo,* in effect> claiming that such racist purges would have a good> 'transitional' effect, etc.> It's somewhere in the archives at the Green Left> Weekly site [], but I'm> having problems hunting it down.

Keep searching David, I imagine hunting down that one will take you some timeindeed!
Another example of blatant, groundless, unbacked-up slander serving peoplelike David Q as 'argument'

> What Karadjis and his equally abhorrent desciple Les> Evenchick constantly and consciously lie about is that> the US never supported and in fact 'disarmed' the KLA> and its various offshoots and front groups: the> National Liberation Army and the Albanian National> Army in Macedonia

Really? The US in fact has a black book on them. According to the US 'Officeof Foreign Assets Control', "The President has issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons"who threaten international stabilization efforts in the Western Balkans ...I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, havedetermined that the actions of persons engaged in, or assisting, sponsoring,or supporting, (i) extremist violence in the former Yugoslav Republic ofMacedonia, in southern Serbia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, andelsewhere in the Western Balkans region, or (ii) acts obstructing theimplementation of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia or United Nations SecurityCouncil Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999 in Kosovo, threaten the peace in ordiminish the security and stability of those areas and the wider region,undermine the authority, efforts, and objectives of the United Nations, theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ... and hereby declare a nationalemergency to deal with that threat"
This is followed by a list of 33 Albanian individuals and organisations,including from the Kosova Protection Corps, political components of the oldKLA such as the Peoples Movement for Kosova and the National Movement forthe Liberation of Kosova, the NLA (forerunner of ANA) and the UCPMB, as wellas the last three organisations in their entirety. The list includes peoplelike Daut Haradinaj, KP commander and brother of a former KLA chief now headof a major Kosova political party.

>the UCPMB in South Serbia,

as above. But also I suppose you were asleep when NATO did a deal with theSerbian govt to allow its troops into the region precisely to flush out theUCPMB

>the> Liberation Army of Chameria in Greece,

the what???? I better get onto the president, the Greek Orthodox Church, thearmy, the Greek fascist parties and forces that were behind the CIA-colonelsregime of 1967-74, every kind of chauvinist scoundrel, because they will allthrow themselves into action with a vengeance when they hear that thoselowly, backward, Muslim Albanians that are already busy stealing our jobs andsocial benefits are now also invading our holy land!!!!
where did you get that remarkable piece of misinformation from? TENC no doubt. I guess that is where your "friend" wrote you from as well.

> Why was the KLA brought to Rambouillet in 1999 by> Albright when it had no political standing or support> in Kosovo at that time?

Me:complete nonsense. The US attempted through most of 1998 to ignore the KLA,insisting on only including Rugova's delegation. It was only once it becameclear that this was pointless as they were toothless, unable to enforceanything without the force that now had overwhelming backing in Kosova andthe arms to back it up, that the US finally agreed to include the KLA late inthe year. To exclude them was like trying to exclude the PLO or Sinn Fein fromnegotiations and replace them with toothless 'moderate' reps.


les evenchick wrote:
>> While I agree that the US wanted to break the> Yugoslav working class, it did so through> supporting the policies of Milosevic until the> various parts of Yugoslavia started separating,> then they moved into to coopt and control these> movements all the while opposing as best they> could any breakup of Yugoslavia. .
>> The working class unity in Yugoslavia was split> by the policies and practices of Milosevic and> supported by the US and Europe. The nationalism> and independence movements resulted from the> support of Serbian polices not from US or> European manipulations against Serbia.

Les is completely correct. David Walters claims that “The destruction ifYugoslavia by Europe and later the US is something that has been clearlyproven. It was in their interests to destroy what had been a unifiedYugoslav working class...”
David, it has certainly not been proven. That they wanted to destroy theunified working class, yes. But that they wanted to break up the Yugolsavstate, no, no, no.

The US and EC released dozens of statements, made many meetings, applied allkinds of pressures, in an effort to keep Yugoslavia together for years afterMilosevic's policies had begun to destroy working class unity, and hencedestroy the only reason for the geographical shape of Yugoslavia to remaintogether. Certainly from the time the constitution was ripped up in 1989 inorder to suppress Kosovar autonomy, slaughter striking miners, and sackthousands of them, there was no longer any working class unity inYugoslavia. If not from a little earlier from the time that the entiredialogue dropped all reference to class and all politics became centredaround the glorious Serb nation. The rampage had been going on for yearsbefore some republics organised independence referendums, and theseindependence moves were vigorously opposed by the US and EC countries.

Despite the primitive Germanophobia that often dominates these discussions,I still have not seen a fact presented to me that Germany actively pushedSlovenian or Croatian independence before they declared it withoverwhelming referendum results, and until the Yugoslav army had begundestroying Croatian cities. I simply cannot believe that Marxists can expectthat following the use by the Serb republic of the Yugoslav army to bombDubrovnik, to bomb, besiege and destroy Vukovar, a centre of multi-ethnicworking class resistance to IMF policies, to destroy Osijek and a hostof other Croatian towns and cities, to destroy 40 percent of all Croatianfactories etc etc, that it was still possible for Yugoslavia to be kepttogether - let alone desirable, as these facts show that Yugoslav workingclass unity had clearly been smashed to pieces. Surely when Germanyrecognised independence after six months of this rampage it was sheerrealism, it is ludicrous to suggest that this belated recognition broke upYugoslavia unless one wants to close their eyes to everything that hadhappened. And even then the US adamantly refused to follow for months.


A week or so ago, I tried to begin a discussion about the real and difficultissues about the way forward in Kosova. Unfortunately, I don't think LouisP's answers were aimed at a real discussion, because the issues are somewhatconfronting for you.
Louis Proyect wrote:
>> Right. NATO disarmed the KLA fighters. They told them to surrender thearms> and the fighters obediently lined up with their assault rifles and hand> grenades, just like Rudolph Giuliani's appeal to turn in guns in NYC when> he was mayor.
>> (then quotes some article) "It would have been better to have squashed the KLA's pretensions at the outset. But in the immediate aftermath of the war, which the KLAmaterially helped Nato win, it seemed convenient to let the KLA set out its ambitions> in return for getting it to dissolve its present structure. The Balkan reality is that many KLA members bought their own guns, and will now hide them at home, rather than surrender them next week."

Right. So NATO's disarmament of the KLA was not as thorough as you wouldhave liked. And especially, as your excerpt points out, this is a countrywhere guns are very widespread, where people 'buy their own' etc. Seriouslynow, what do you recommend? That NATO colonialists search under everyAlbanian bed for weapons? That they use the tactics they are using on theirIraqi subjects to force weapons to be handed over? Isn't that something of asuper imperialist attitude? Shouldn't NATO just get out?
And if they had adopted those tactics, would it have been successful?Wouldn't that have led them into a Vietnam in Kosova, like they are nowfacing in Iraq? So obviously they did not want that.
But OK, you don’t like those weapons, because with them members of theAlbanian majority, now free from Serbian colonialism, would use them againstthe Serb minority. Fine. So what can be done? Bring back the Yugoslav army?How successful was their year-long brutal counterinsurgency at disarming theKLA? The KLA arose as a small band of fighters. Milosevic tactics were toburn and destroy villages. This turned the KLA into an army of about 25,000fighters by late 1998. It also qualitatively increased the bitternesstowards their oppressors of thousands more Kosovars. The reality is thatwhatever tactics either Serbian or NATO overlords use, the Albanians are theoverwhelming majority. The destruction of class solidarity years ago by theSerb rulers and especially Milosevic means that this majority are going tobe a danger to the minority.
You cannot stop that even if Serbia or NATO had managed to collect everygun. If you are 10% of the population, and the population hate you becauseof atrocious crimes that your rulers have committed against their familymembers, then they can still make life unbearable for you in other ways.People can be killed with knives or fists, and you cannot collect them.Social pressure against children at school could make life impossible.Obviously we oppose all such reverse racism, but when conscious Marxistproletarian internationalists are not at the head of a people’s movement,these reactions are common, and from what I can see, universal. Thepolitical responsibility lies with the rulers of the oppressor nation, and inSerbia's case, with the 'opposition' which always completely supportedMilosevic on Kosova, or were worse.
I tried to point this out by saying:
”The factor of revenge is inevitable and has occurred in just about every such> >conflict I know of. The most massive was the expulsion of 14 millionGermans from eastern Euriope after WWII, with 2 million dying from cold, hungeror murder during the escape. This monstrous crime against humanity, however,> >does not invalidate the partisan struggles against Nazi occupation.”
And your completely unserious reply was:
”Why does it not surprise me that you are analogizing the KLA with the> partisan resistance to Hitler. Have we been dipping into the Elie Wiesel,> have we?”
I was making no such comparison, and you know it. I was talking about theanti-proletarian politics of revenge against whole peoples, such as theGermans at the end of WWII, or the Serbs in Kosova in 1999. I only gave theGerman example because it is the most enormous in history. Last time I read,about 80,000 ethnic Indonesian Muslims had fled East Timor. Maybe Tom orsomeone can tell us about their current status. When Israel withdrew fromsouthern Lebanon, several thousand south Lebanese Christians also fled,fearing the wrath of local Muslims for their leaders years of collaborationwith Israel. There have been attacks over the years on Turkish civilians inKurdistan. In Vietnam, the Amerasians - the unfortunate results of USsoldiers screwing Vietnamese women - faced discrimination for decades,despite the government's own policies of not blaming such victims. I thinkany person who thinks politically and honestly can give examples.
When I made the politically obvious point that:
>”The fact is, Serbs are a small minority in Kosova. It was in theirinterests to have good relations with the overwhelming majority who they have tolive with. Oppression and terror in their name doomed them once the oppressedgot rid of their oppressors.”
You replied
>”Don't forget that those dirty Roma Stalinists had it coming to them too.”
>Good way to completely avoid the political point, but that is not a newphenomenon from you on this question

I wrote:
> >the only way the Serb minority can get a better deal is for its political> >leaders in Kosova to stop acting as pawns for the Serbian regime, and> >instead openly throw their weight into trying to establish a partnership> >with the Albanians to rule an independent state.

And you replied:
> What weight? You are talking about beleaguered and scattered bands of> peasants, many of whom are too old and too poor to emigrate northwards.

I was talking about the political leadership, who have 20 seats in the 120seat parliament, pretty good for their numbers in the country. They have anational platform to speak from here, yet use this platform to continuallyinsist that Kosova must remain part of Serbia come what may, indeed evenoppose the opening of talks on final status. This extraordinary arrogancenaturally intensifies hostility among the majority.
Aside from the scattered bands of peasants, there are also a number ofsignificant concentrations of Serbs, most notably from North Mitrovica tothe border, which is completely Serb-run, is kept that way by NATO troopswho have partitioned the province along this line since June 1990, and whichcontains most of the Trepca facilities. In total, Serb-run regions coverabout 18 percent of Kosova.

LP:> Who are these "leaders" you are talking about? Please supply a citation.

The Serb Resistance Movement, the Orthodox Church and the party of OliverIvanovic of northern Mitrovica, plus smaller groups. As I said, they have 20seats in parliament.
>I wrote quoting your hero Chris Hedges when he wrote the lead article representing the views of the US foreign policy elite in their ‘Foreign Affairs’ mouthpiece:
> >"The underlying idea behind creating a theoretically temporary,> >NATO-enforced military protectorate in Kosovo is to buy time for a> >three-year transition period in which ethnic Albanians will be allowed to> >elect a parliament and other governing bodies -- meeting enough of their> >aspirations, it is hoped, to keep Kosovo from seceding."

And you replied:
”Exactly, the KLA was used by imperialism in the same way that the Kurdsare being used in Iraq today.”

Yes they were used but no-one is denying that. In fact, in getting the KLAto sign on at Rambouillet, the US insisted they drop their historic demandfor independence in favour of some BS “autonomy.” That is why the demand for independence does not make them pawns, the complete opposite. Yes, accepting “autonomy” was selling out. And in supporting NATO bombing Serbia, they furthered the same results as Milosevic had over the years, of criminally dividing Serb and Albanian workers. I made all these criticisms at the time. But it is sheer nonsense to say their struggle itself, which predated Rambouillet by most of a century, was a 'pawn'.

People fight oppression because oppression exists. People on marxmail cannotinfluence that one way or another. Moreover, in the context of the Milosevicregime using the NATO attack to carry out 1948 on the Kosovars, it wasnatural that people would resist their villages being attacked, plunderedand ethnically cleansed. It is the height of left arrogance that manywestern leftists effectively said: "Do not resist being murdered and drivenfrom your homes, because that will aid imperialism". People do not have tobe 'pawns' to carry out such resistance.
Ben C. wrote:
>Second, should Marxists fight for the withdrawal of NATO forces from>Kosova?
>Well, I doubt that this will ever be a rallying cry for the radical>movement, but I am for the withdrawal of NATO even though this might resultin a step-up of vicious ethnic cleansing of Roma and Serbs.

Me:Good to finally get a reply on this point. In other words you accept anindependent Kosova. Should other nations recognise it? Should they embargoit? What is the line of the mighty marxmail on Kosova’s right to exist once NATO gets out? Should the “revolutionaries” at marxmail organize a reactionary “red”-brown version of the International Brigades to invade it and prevent the people using the exit of NATO to exercise their right to self-determination?

What if, as you say, it leads to more attacks on minorities which currentlyhave a measure of protection by NATO, whether you like to admit it or not?That was the issue I was trying to address in my last post on this topic,but you simply trivialised it. Is the best way to lessen the hostility ofthe majority for the Kosova Serb leadership to continue to act as pawns forBelgrade? Wouldn't it be more in the interests of Kosova Serbs to activelysupport the right of the majority to self-determination and offer a hand inpartnership in constructing it? Would this stand a better chance of reducinghostility?
In any case, imperialism is in no rush to allow the Kosovarsself-determination. They have put forward 8 stringent conditions for evenbeginning a dialogue on future status in 2005, including the return of allrefugees:
07 November 2003State's Grossman, UN's Holkeri Discuss Kosovo Strategy
Nov. 5, Pristina: Under Secretary Marc Grossman, SRSG Harri Holkeri
Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman and the UN Secretary General'sSpecial Representative for Kosovo Harri Holkeri held a press conference inPristina November 5 on the new Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan (KSIP)that will lead to an evaluation in 2005 of Kosovo's progress towards meetingU.N. benchmarks for political, economic and security reforms.
"The Contact Group has embraced an idea that we have been discussing forsome time," Holkeri explained: "to set a date for assessing Kosovo'sprogress towards achieving the eight standards."
Grossman said the standards relate to "First, functioning democraticinstitutions. Second, the rule of law. Third, freedom of movement for all -all communities. Fourth, safe return and reintegration of internallydisplaced persons and refugees. Fifth, the market economy. Sixth, propertyrights. Seven, dialogue with Belgrade. And eight, an appropriate size forthe Kosovo Protection Corps, which includes minority representation."
"If Kosovo meets these standards, we are prepared to begin a process todetermine Kosovo's future status," he said
Now of course, demanding the safe return and reintegration of all refugees,freedom of movement for all communities, minority representation on the KPCetc are all laudable demands. So do we support imperialism denying theKosovars the right to self-determination until they pass these democratictests? For how long? How stringent must the implementation be?

As I believe NATO has no right to be there, I do not support them imposingalleged 'democratic' tests on Kosovars, Iraqis or anyone else they areoccupying. However, can we support some UN presence for a period in minorityareas, if the minority requests it for their protection? I don’t see why not.
These are all meant to be serious questions that I think the protagonists ofthis debate have an interest in. They are not intended as a 'challenge'


Nestor Gorojovsky wrote:
>There is a quite different interpretation. "Croatia, Bosnia and theKosovars" were the ramhead against the Yugoslav Federation. Thesewere wars fought for Yugoslavia against imperialist hirelings whoalso subjected their own peoples to imperialist yoke.

That of course is complete nonsense, with no relation to history, but Ithink we have been through it enough times in this discussion for me to notrepeat myself on these questions.

>But, of course, I would not be amazed to see that Michael K. tells me>that Serbians are "imperialists", etc.

Of course I said no such thing, just another example of Nestor's twistedargument style.

>The backbone of Yugoslavian resistance against Nazism had been the>Serbian resistance, not the Croatian or the Slovenian resistance.>Both Croatians and the Slovenians accepted the incorporation to>Yugoslavia as the "lesser evil". In the Austro Hungarian Empire>these nationalities acted more as "German Slavs" (that is the way>they were known) than as Yugoslavian anti-imperialists. It was>Serbia, not Croatia, who fought _both_ against the Ottoman and the>Austro-Hungarian Empire. And it was mainly Serbia, not Croatia, who>struggled against Fascists.

Nestor again reveals that, unlike Louis P's professed allegiance to theclass questions, Nestor is stuck on 'good' and 'bad' nations stuff. What ismore, it is all inaccurate. The anti-Nazi resistance had massive supportamong all nations of Yugoslavia. The largest number of Partisans were inCroatia, of whom about 60% were Croats and 28% Serbs. The entire fictionabout anti-Nazi Serbs and collaborationist Croats and others is allbullshit. All nations had quislings and all nations had Partisans.

>Tito's post-1945 settlement did not reckon this fact.

Yes, it did, it reckoned with the real facts, that is why a federation wasset up.

>He considered it reasonable to dilute these issues in order to obtain a new form>of Yugoslavian unity. BTW: if he had established the borders of the>Republics according to the _actual_ distribution of population, the>Serbian Republic would have been, probably, twice as large as it is>now.

The sheer amount of Serb nationalist mythology you have swallowed isastonishing. The main change of borders was that Macedonia - inhabited byethnic Macedonians who have never considered themselves to be 'south Serbs'finally got the republic they had fought for for decades against Serb, Greekand Bulgarian chauvinism. The border between Croatia and Vojvodina waschanged at Croatia's expense. I could go on but you obviously need to do a bitof reading.

>His policies did not stop at the practical tasks of border->designing. He taught the Yugoslavs a false history of their struggle>against Nazi Germany (and I must say, the attitude towards Nazi>Germany has some importance in that country); Titoist history>attempted to evade the blatant issue that Fascists had been very>popular and had received great support in Croatia and Slovenia (as>well as from non-Serbian Bosnians), by turning the Serbian>nationalist "Chetniks" into the arch-rogues in the historical account>of those years.

More nationalist mythology. You accept the whole revisionist anti-Titocrusade launched by the Serbian bourgeois nationalist intelligentsia in the1980's. The Ustashe had about 2 percent of support among Croats according toGerman sources. There was a massive Croat Partisan movement, producing peoplewith famous names such as Tito for example, and, more sadly, Tudjman. Youeven accept that period's apologetics for the Chetniks, who openly declaredtheir program one of massive ethnic cleansing of the Muslims of Sanjak andBosnia and carried out this program with astonishing brutality.


Nestor Gorojovsky wrote:
>Michael K. has sent a venomous letter against me to the list (with a>copy sent directly to my e-mail address, lest I would disregard it on>the list: wasn't he inviting me to a flame session, was he?). For>the list's sake, I will not answer to that letter.

There was nothing especially 'venomous' in my political polemic. However, Ihad no intention of sending it to your personal email address. I justchecked, and when I hit the 'reply' button, the 'To' box brings up bothmarxmail and your personal email. I had not noticed that at the time, and Ihave no idea why this happens, perhaps Les S could explain. It doesn'thappen when I reply to other posts. My apologies for that.

>There is a little stone in the shoe: what Michael K. can't>demonstrate is that Serbia is an imperialist nation.

As in my previous post, I make no attempt to prove anything of the sort.Many nations oppressed by imperialism also oppress other nations, as in EastTimor, Aceh and West Papua. It has never occurred to me that Indonesia is animperialist nation.

>So that all his beautiful edifice is built on shit.

The feeling is extremely mutual Nestor, and I am happy if you don't want to wasteany more time on my shit because I will not have to waste my time on yourshit.
However, if your anger really is about the mistaken personal email, let meagain sincerely apologise


Re David Quarter's responses to my responses to his etc.
Your responses clearly indicate an attitude of all things Albanian areterrible, which you've obviously picked up from reactionary chauvinist siteslike Emperors Clothes or the old LM.
But anyway, just to clarify, I give no political support to any Albanianpolitical force in the Balkans that I am currently aware of. This includesany of the political forces that made up the former KLA, such as theHoxhaite core group, the Peoples Movement for Kosova, nor to the NLA or ANAin Macedonia, nor the UCPMB. My critical support to the KLA was support forthe elementary right of people to defend themselves, their families,villages and country against massive attack by armies of Chetniks carryingout 1948 Palestine on them, under the only military leadership they hadavailable to them at the time. I'm still proud of that position, and stillamazed at all the section of the western 'left' that thought the Kosovarswere obliged to commit collective suicide to satisfy some bullshit"anti-imperialist" standards of western leftists sitting around incomfortable apartments typing bullshit on computers. That was the issue and lets not bullshit that it was anything else, because we all utterly condemned NATO (no, sycophants and apologists like you did not in fact have any monopoly on opposing NATO, that’s all a contemptible excuse for argument)
Now to the issues you raise. I wrote to show you that you were wrong thatthe US was backing all these various Albanian forces in the Balkans, butthis need not imply that I particularly support any of them.
On the NLA and ANA in Macedonia, I pointed out the US black book on theseand 33 Albanian organisations and individuals and your panicked responsewas:
> The U.S. has a 'black book' on many of its CIA-funded henchmen,> It's called: lending itself a degree of credibility.> Ever heard of covert operations?>> Just like in Colombia, with the government and CIA trained> paramilitaries, the U.S. lent military personnel to train and provide> logistical support to its cuddly KLA offshoots in Macedonia.>

So it’s like Columbia. In that case, where is your evidence of all the armsgoing to the NLA or ANA, and what is their purpose? Is their purpose simplybecause imperialism likes Albanians? I mean, I know some of you fantasisethat Milosevic's Serbia was 'socialist' and that the US supported the KLA todestabilise this ‘socialism’. Now while I think this is obvious bullshit,let's say for argument’s sake that it’s true. In that case, why destabilise Macedonia which already had NATO troops there since 1994 and was being a good IMF disciple?
Re the black book I spoke of, this was announced by Bush when he visited UStroops in 2001 at their military base they have built in Kosova. During thisvisit, he refused to meet with any Kosovar political leaders, whileannouncing this list.
Specifically on the ANA, the State Dept reckons:
"The ANA is a loosely organised criminal extremist group that has claimedresponsibility for a handful of acts of violence in Macedonia and elsewherein the western Balkans in the past year. Its purported violent goals are athreat to peace and stability in the region."Therefore, "as designated in the Annex to that Executive order. Executiveorder 13304 blocks the assets of the ANA in the US, or in the possession orcontrol of US persons. It further prohibits US persons from engaging in mosttransactions or dealings with individuals and entities, including the ANA,designated in or pusuant to the Order"
This 'order' is the one I quoted last time applying to the 33 Albanianorganisations and individuals. Are you sure this sounds like an organisationthey are supporting?
Regarding my view, while I acknowledge that the Albanians faced widespreaddiscrimination in Macedonia, a heritage of their absolutely oppressed statein Yugoslavia - in general the Albanians are the true poor of the Balkans -nevertheless, they certainly did not face the kind of appalling oppression,repression and apartheid they faced in Kosova, which after years and yearsof peaceful struggle forced them to take up arms. Therefore, I did notsupport the resort to arms in Macedonia. In fact I would argue that theAlbanian minority in Macedonia had more rights than any minority in the Balkans (farbetter than the Macedonian minority in Greece for example).
At the same time, the NLA leadership never advocated splitting Macedonia,and when they got serious recognition of their grievances, and thereactionary Macedonian chauvinist VMRO party was thrown out and the SocialDemocrats returned, the NLA laid down its arms and has formed a coalitionwith the Macedonian Social Democrats (ex-Communists).
The ANA were the extremist wing who wanted to go on fighting, for a greaterAlbania. That is why the US regards them to be a criminal extremist group.From a different point of view to the US, I think this is correct. So doyou, but in your case only because you hate everything Albanian due to yourmiseducation by reactionary websites.
On the UCPMB in South Serbia, I pointed out:>
> as above. But also I suppose you were asleep when NATO did a deal with the> Serbian govt to allow its troops into the region precisely to flush outthe UCPMB>>>>>
And you replied:>
> "Precisely to flush out" armed "guerilla" groups that were entering> Serbian territory (proper) [!] from Kosovo (still also in theory> Serbian territory)!
Yes I agree the Albanian majority regions of south Serbia are 'Serbianterritory' in the same sense that the Serb majority regions in Croatia are'Croat territory' and the Serb majority region of northern Kosova is 'Kosovaterritory' (despite your fertile imagination and NATO imperialist 'law' thatstill absurdly sees Kosova as 'Serbian (sic) territory'), and of course theKurdish majority regions of Turkey are 'Turkish territory' etc, all from acertain point of view. It depends on your politics.
However, whether they were entering Serb territory from Kosova, as youclaim, or were local Albanian guerillas, as they claim, is another issue,but given that the Milosevic regime had expelled thousands of theseAlbanians from the region and into Kosova, I'm sure most of them were'returnees'.

> In other words, as with Kosovo, Serbia needed the permission of> the U.S. imperialists to protect its territory!!!
Yes, if that is your point then I agree. I agree it is not up to NATO todecide who can go where. That is why I have repeatedly said that NATO needsto get out of Kosova so that the people can set up their independent state.From what I understand about your view, NATO has no right to tell Serbiawhat to do in the region, but it should continue to block the right of theKosovars to independence. Right?
But of course my point was not whether some region was Serbian territory orKosova territory or whatever, my point was that NATO allied itself withSerbia to destroy the UCPMB. I'm talking about NATO's political choice, itssupport for Serbian action against the UCPMB, not whether or not Serbia hada 'right'. The point was that you laughably asserted that the US supportedthe UCPMB.
Then things got worse. It again got to:
> >the> > Liberation Army of Chameria in Greece,

Now, I just tried to laugh this nonsense off, in the hope that you wouldstop throwing crap into your own argument and humiliating yourself.Unfortunately, you did not take the opportunity I gave you, and instead youwent on:

> At the time of heavy fighting between the KLA terrorists offshoots in> Macedonia and the Macedonia army in 2001 a group going by this name> threatened to attack Greece " if the Albanians living in Macedonia> weren't given greater rights".> The following chauvinist site puts the desire for greater Albania in> Greece etc etc

Now, whatever I think of your views, I am happy to argue with you, but ifyou want to keep doing your own argument damage by telling me about the'Liberation Army of Chameria' then I will have difficulty taking thisseriously.
Seriously, however. A few facts.
Greece is a middle level imperialist power with a wide network of companiesaround the region, especially the Balkans and former Soviet republics, partsof the Middle East and Africa etc. It is a founding member of NATO. The USsupplies Greece every year with massive amounts of weaponry, and keeps abalance of military aid to Greece and Turkey at the ratio of 7:10, whichmeans that given Greece's population is one sixth that of Turkey, the percapita expenditure is much higher.
Greek imperialism is the main investor in Macedonia, the close second afterItaly in Albania, no. 6 in Bulgaria and huge in Serbia. The fact that NATO-Greece and Israel supplied Serbia with arms throughout the Bosnia war andopenly violated the imperialist sanctions (Dutch report on Srebrenicamassacre), while never being pressured or threatened by the US master forthis very open activity (in Greece at the time everyone could give you thenames), is evidence that these two US acolytes were used as 'links' to theSerbian ruling class through this period.
Albanians are the poorest people in the Balkans, and thousands of Albanianworkers flooded to Greece and Italy in the 1990's to do all the shit work.The appalling racism against the Albanians, expressed by Greek chauvinists,who see them as less than vermin, backward, violent, rapists etc etc, is themajor form of racism in Greece and is a cutting edge of class politics.Despite Greece's own imperialist campaign against the Macedonian people, one thing chauvinists in Greece, Macedonia and Serbia share is this amazinglyracist attitude to Albanians who they see as completely sub-human. So maybeyou see why I take your threats about the danger to Greek imperialism fromthe 'Liberation Army of Chameria' with the comic relief that it should betreated.
Just another anecdote on this monstrous anti-Albanian and anti-Muslim racismin the Balkans. In Serbia in the early 1990's, I was with Serb friends evenas the war with Croatia began in mid-1991. This was very revealing, becausesome of their Croat friends were still there, had not gone home yet. Despitethe fact that I had watched the appalling evolution of my friends' politicsto 19th century chauvinism. When asked if they discussed politics withtheir Croat friends, they said they just avoided it - sure, the Croats areall Ustashe etc, we hate them sure, but they are our equals and rivals, theyare like us, they are Christians, their traditions are European, you canhave Croat friends.
But it is an entirely different matter with Muslims and Albanians - they area different species of two-legged animals who you can not possibly befriend,and the only way of dealing with them is to kill them. As theseconversations continued, it got to the point where the recent US massacre of200,000 Iraqis was justified on the grounds that they are mad Muslims, sowhat else could the US do? As I tried to "reason" with these peoplepossessed by Milosevic-Chetnik ideology, I pointed out that the 'Muslim'Saddam may not be a good guy, but Bush is a 'Christian' and he is also nota good guy for such massacres, and in Israel, Sharon is 'Jewish' and lookwhat he did at Sabra and Shatilla. The response? What else could Sharon do?Those Palestinians were Muslims, so they deserve it. They softened a littlewhen I informed them that some Palestinians are Christians, but then firmedup again, 'but most of them are Muslims, so they had to kill them.'
As you might imagine, I didn't see them again.My ex-friends in Serbia. Jared Israel. David Quarter?


Louis Proyect

MK>(me): Just another anecdote on this monstrous anti-Albanian and anti-Muslimracism in the Balkans. In Serbia in the early 1990's, I was with Serb friendseven as the war with Croatia began in mid-1991. This was very revealing,because some of their Croat friends were still there, had not gone home yet.>
Louis P:> Did they suggest impaling anybody?>

Well, not in so many words. But as they were recommending the 'highway ofdeath' and 'sabra-shatilla' solutions to their Albanian and Muslimproblems, I suppose it amounts to much the same.
Louis P:>>I take everything that Karadjis says with a grain of salt. He told us>that Milosevic advised the Croatians that they can "impale" the Serbs>for all he cares. When I suggested that the quote seemed dubious, he>cavalierly added that it didn't matter whether it was true or not.

Actually I replied by giving you the citation. My comment that it didn’tmatter whether it was true or not was simply making the point that that isexactly the way Milosevic and co did treat the Krajina Serbs who they hadused as cannon fodder.
Louis P (to Les E):
>Of course you justify pogroms against the Serbs, as does Karadjis.

That's pretty appalling. You are the biggest apologist for pogroms I'veknown for some time. Throughout this discussion, I have made my unreservedcondemnation of all pogroms against Serbs, whether by Kosovars, by Tudjmanor whoever, clear over and over again, as if I was on trial, yet you are theone who has never uttered a single condemnation, at least in the history ofMarxmail, of a single instance of pogroms against Albanians, Muslims orCroats by Serbian chauvinists. It is your disgusting apologetics that isactually the issue.
In general, the last two lengthy pieces I wrote on the issue of Kosova wereattempts to engage you in logical discussion of the issues we face, re NATOgetting out, Kosovar independence and violence against Serbs, and I offeredsuggestions and raised questions in the interests of a discussion which wewould both have an interest in, ie the fate of the Kosovar Serbs. Yourresponses to both were your typical cavalier evasiveness. I'm not worriedabout that, just if you are not interested in a proper discussion of theissues, say so, I'm happy to not waste time on that issue.


(The following was an excellent contribution by Roger Lippman and Peter Lippman)
On Dec. 29, 2003, Les Evenchick posted a link here toour Balkan Witness article "Kosovo: The Devil and theDetails" criticizing Christian Parenti's error-pronearticle about Kosovo( Balkan Witness is a website that presents first-handreports, histories, and commentaries on the Kosovoconflict.
Louis Proyect posted a response, which he kindlyforwarded to us. He added this introduction: "Somebodyrecommended your Serb-bashing garbage to my email listtoday." This suggests that we aren't just dealing witha garden-variety Marxist scholar, but with someone whoover-generalizes and prefers attack to examination offactual evidence.
Mr. Proyect makes no reference to anything actuallystated in our article. By "Serb-bashing," he could bereferring to any of our statements below:
* Parenti seems not to have noticed the Serbiancampaign against Kosovo's self-determination,beginning with Milosevic's ascendance in the late1980s and continuing through the widespread atrocitiesthat preceded NATO intervention by more than a year.Parenti manages nary a word about the criminality ofSerbian actions in Kosovo. [For detailed references,see]
* The Serbian assault on Kosovo in 1988-99 left theprovince with no government to speak of and preciouslittle infrastructure.
* Racism had a lot to do with the development ofSerbia's aggressive wars, which started and ended inKosovo. Yugoslavia began to fall apart with theeconomic decline that followed Tito's death. Theprocess was exacerbated by the rise of fascism,personified by Milosevic, who built his popularity onbashing Albanians starting in the late 1980s and wenton from there. Serbs, including many in the oppositionnow coming to power, have a racism against Albaniansthat is as systemic as what is found in Mississippi.
* Milosevic's attacks on Kosovo neatly bracketed hiswars on Croatia and Bosnia. Taken all together, theSerbian wars should make clear that Kosovo is themoral and political equivalent of Chiapas.
Although Balkan Witness condemns Serbian Milosevic'satrocities depredations against non-Serb populationsthroughout former Yugoslavia, at no time does itcondemn the Serbian people. Indeed, it recognizesSerbs as victimized by their own leaders, and as inneed of solidarity as any other people.
An interesting conversation could be had about thepoints above, turning on the evidence that supportsthem. But Mr. Proyect fails even to begin suchanalysis, preferring to dismiss the whole article (andthe entire Balkan Witness website) with innuendo. Itappears that he didn't even read it to the end, sincehe starts out his posted response by saying "This isthe website of Peter Lippman ." Clearly stated at theend of the article is that ROGER Lippman is the editorof Balkan Witness. Since both Lippmans are authors ofthe article in question, there is no room forconfusion here.
Mr. Proyect goes on to refer to the Advocacy Project,for which Peter Lippman has worked. Since the AP hasreceived some funding from US AID, Proyect dismisseseverything AP has done, everyone connected with it,and all associated websites, without a mention of whatthey are about. Readers may wish to see forthemselves, at, theextensive advocacy work the AP has done on behalf ofat-risk populations worldwide - includingPalestinians, Afghan women, and indigenous Ecuadoriansand Guatemalans. Not to mention two million KosovoAlbanians. Can they all be dismissed as tools of U.S.imperialism? And somehow, the AP has managed to dothis without even a single member participating in aMarxist chat group. (While we're on the topic of guiltby association, it's worth noting that both Mr.Proyect and Roger were active in TecNica, thetechnical support project for Nicaragua, in the 1980s.How will Mr. Proyect cleanse himself?)
Then the plot thickens - another Lippman brother showsup. This one, Dave, is also a co-author of the Parenticritique. But Mr. Proyect gets him confused with thehis brothers nevertheless and, referring to an articleby an unrelated party, finds it "disgusting" that, onBalkan Witness, Dave charges certain Left luminarieswith "denying genocide." More on genocide denialbelow, but here, Proyect has falsely attributed toDave everything on the website managed by his brotherRoger, while casting doubt on Dave's dedicatedprogressive activism.
Recognizing that Mr. Proyect has failed to distinguishbetween three brothers despite the evidence in blackand white, perhaps we can sympathize with, if notforgive, his inability to distinguish the murderousSerbian army from its Kosovo-Albanian peasant victims.
Getting back, then, to the question of war crimesdenial. Balkan Witness includes a page that exposesthose on the Left who have misrepresented the factsabout Kosovo. (See site takes on some of the Left's stars and some ofits hacks. (The latter category includes MichaelParenti, who can now be heard endorsing such Serbianfascists as Vojislav Seselj.) One side effect of theLeft's confusion about right and wrong in Kosovo hasbeen that some Left icons, in demonstrating theiridentification with regional warlords such asMilosevic, have been brought down off their pedestals.No commentator merits deification; the revered NoamChomsky has said as much himself.
Mr. Proyect is shocked - shocked! - and disgusted thatanyone would dare to criticize these sacred voices ofthe Left. But nothing on the Deniers page is donecasually - it's all documented in great detail, and weencourage readers to delve into the informationpresented there. It's unfortunate that Proyect, in hisposting, doesn't have a single substantive thing tosay about that information. (And incidentally, it isnot Balkan Witness or any of its contributors, butrather Proyect, who confuses the deniers of genocidein the former Yugoslavia with Holocaust deniers. MarkoAttila Hoare's article, at, includesan extensive and sensitive discussion of therelationship between Holocaust denial and modern-daygenocide denial.)
What no one has satisfactorily explained is whatmotivates so many on the Left to end up on the side ofthe mass murderers in Kosovo and the genocidaires inBosnia. Ordinarily, progressives side with thevictimized and the oppressed. Perhaps this chat groupcould come up with some useful theories.
Next, Mr. Proyect bumbles into the Racak massacreissue. Another of Balkan Witness' major efforts hasbeen the compilation of an extensive study of thefacts surrounding the Racak killings. (See Againwe encourage readers to view the informationthemselves, but one point deserves special attentionhere.
Mr. Proyect wonders why "somebody like William Walkermight inspire confidence." (Walker, with the KosovoVerification Mission, was among the firstinternationals to come upon the scene of the Racakmassacre. He was previously one of Reagan's murderousoperatives in Central America.) One could ask, If atree falls in a forest and William Walker hears it,did the tree really fall? A helpful discussion couldbe had about how to regard the odd instance in whichan agent of imperialism actually tells the truth,albeit for his or her own purposes. The Kosovosituation is rife with such peculiarities.
Numerous respected scientists, journalists, humanrights workers, villagers, and independent researchershave concluded that the Serbian killing of 45 Albanianvillagers in Racak was an unjustified massacre.William Walker came to the same conclusion. One couldunderstand the Serbian perpetrators using his presenceto aid their propaganda efforts. But the widespreadacceptance of Serbian denial by Left commentators whohad every opportunity to know better is shameful andoutrageous - all the more so because it continues tothis day, while even more information is availablethan a year ago. And Louis Proyect, using Walker'sname as a blunt instrument, has joined those who usequotes around the word massacre in order to deny thekilling of 45 unarmed civilians.
Mr. Proyect tars NGOs by their connections withunsavory board members. The only way that most NGOs -especially American ones - can survive is byimpressing private donors. Thus the perceived need tostation corporate names on their often symbolicboards. Most such NGOs are benign relieforganizations. It is inappropriate to characterizeNGOs as "imperialist," without any argument abouttheir actual work, just because of the corporaterepresentatives on their boards.
From his objection to such connections, Mr. Proyectderives a condemnation of the Balkan Witness websitethat goes like this: Balkan Witness is Peter Lippman'ssite (false). Peter Lippman is a member of theAdvocacy Project (no longer true). The reprehensibleJock Covey (with whom Peter Lippman has noacquaintance) is a member of the Advocacy Project'sboard (which has met only once in the AP's five yearsof existence). Therefore, Balkan Witness is animperialist apologist.
Finally, late on December 30, Mr. Proyect gets aroundto saying something substantive, but it's too late -he's already laid bare his prejudices and his carelessmethod. A couple of his points, however, deserveimmediate comment.
* For FAIR's willingness to buck the humanitarianintervention consensus, they have been labeled as"holocaust deniers" by Attila Hoare.
The above-mentioned article by Marko Attila Hoare (whycan't Mr. Proyect seem to get the name right) makes nomention whatsoever of FAIR. That topic is covered inan article by Roger Lippman, "FAIR Misrepresents theRacak Massacre"(, whichmakes no use of the words genocide or holocaust.Proyect cites FAIR as the source for information onsupposed ethnic cleansing against Serbs in Kosovo inthe early 1980s. In this, he relies upon andmisrepresents the already weak source used by FAIR:David Binder of The New York Times. Binder, whom FAIRproudly displays to buttress its anti-Albanian line,displays his credentials in The New York Review ofBooks, October 5, 1995, as part of an exchange withthe writer Robert Block:
"[H]aving spent much more time around Mladic and hiscolleagues than Mr. Block, I strongly wish todisassociate myself from his assessment of the generalas a crazed killer. Until compelling evidence to thecontrary surfaces, I will continue to view Mladic as asuperb professional, an opinion voiced by seniorAmerican, British, French, and Canadian militaryofficers who have met him or followed his career andwho are better qualified to judge him than eitherBlock or I."
General Mladic, as is probably well known here, ispresently under indictment for war crimes in Bosnia,including the massacre of over 7000 at Srebrenica.(OK, all together now: "The Hague tribunal isillegal!") We note that alongside those who deny theRacak massacre, some also deny that there was amassacre at Srebrenica - in spite of fresh admissionsof guilt from those who organized the massacre.
Mr. Proyect also writes:
* "For the Lippmans, a particular bright spot is thetown of Orahovac, which is now the site of aworker-owned winery. When I did a Lexis-Nexis searchon "Orahovac", I found some other interesting insightsinto life there and nearby towns."
Interesting. With his prodigious Lexis-Nexis researchskills, Mr. Proyect has produced a singlefour-year-old article that mentions nothing about lifein Orahovac and nothing about towns that, in thecontext of the small territory of Kosovo, could beconsidered "nearby."
Mr. Proyect engages in various othermisrepresentations in the same posting, but in theinterest of avoiding prolixity we will let those gofor now.
Along with some of his interlocutors, Mr. Proyectappears to feel that all whom the US governmentidentifies as enemies should be defended. There is awhole spectrum of weak thinking along these lines,culminating in the defense of those who commitgenocide. This disastrous outlook originates from thesimplistic point of view, also subscribed to by GeorgeW. Bush, that there is one evil force in the world andone good force. But it is not so simple. Activists whofight against the inhumanity of the Americansuperpower, in all its criminality, must also realizethat there are other, albeit lesser, criminal powersaround the world. The enemy of our enemy is NOTnecessarily our friend.
In the 1980s, Mr. Proyect and the Lippman brotherscrossed paths as activists in solidarity withNicaragua and El Salvador. Now, it's sad that,overtaken by a Manichean splitting of absolute goodand absolute evil, Proyect and others like him onlyselectively recognize fascism and genocide as theenemy, and they rationalize the destruction ofvillages and populations thought to harbor"terrorists." This passes for the non-dogmaticapproach called for on this site's home page?
In our ongoing solidarity work and opposition to theBush agenda, we look forward to working with anyonealso willing to look non-US-sponsored fascism in theface. It should be recognized that many people do sowithout thereby compromising their opposition to USimperialism


Louis Proyect wrote:
>And the head of the Finnish forensic team investigating Racak has also>been skeptical. I suppose that's why NATO has refused to make the>findings public.

Louis Proyect claims that the Finnish report on the Racak massacre has notbeen released. This is incorrect, and it is a pity that this rather oldinformation, and the absurdly dishonest assertions that the head of theteam, Helena Ranta, claimed there was no massacre, has been used by so many'left intellectuals' wasting so much ink for so many years.
The point is not how significant Racak was. It was a ghastly massacre, yetpeople might argue that the massacre of 45 people was not as grand as manyother massacres in the world, yet NATO had a reason to focus on that one atthat time. That might be a useful argument to explain that NATO's motiveswere not humanitarian etc. Even within the Kosova conflict, it was only onesmall event where 2000 people had been killed in the year up till then. Itis certainly small compared to the genocidal actions of Serbian nationalistsin Bosnia.
Yet this is not the argument being used. The whitewash being pushed is thatno massacre occurred. This rank apologetics has no place in socialist orprogressive politics. Even more so when the assertions have no validity.
The following excerpt is from 'Dubious Sources: How Project Censored JoinedThe Whitewash of Serb Atrocities' by David Walls at . You will see that thereport was declassified.
"As a European Union Forensic Expert Team was already conductinginvestigations in Kosovo, its Finnish Director, Dr. Helena Ranta, was askedby the OSCE to help perform autopsies on 40 of the victims who had beenmoved to Pristina. Her initial report on the autopsies by the team wascompleted on March 17, 1999 and noted that there was "no indication of thepeople being other than unarmed civilians."

Dr. Ranta's EU Forensic Expert Team returned to Racak in November 1999 andMarch 2000 to recover additional evidence at the gully where the 23 bodieswere found. Newsweek broke a story in its April 24, 2000 issue that the teamhad discovered bullets in the gully, confirming that the killing was indeeda massacre as earlier reported. Dr. Ranta presented the final report of theteam to the EU's Western Balkans Working Group in Brussels on June 21, 2000.The report was sealed and delivered to the ICTY in the Hague, where itbecame part of the evidence leading to an indictment of Milosevic.As three colleagues of Dr. Ranta's in Helsinki prepared to publish anarticle in the journal Forensic Science International on the Racak victimautopsies, the Berliner Zeitung repeated the claim that the autopsies showedno evidence of a massacre and that this was the final report on the matter.In fact, the FSI article, based only on the early 1999 autopsies, made nojudgment about whether a massacre had occurred or not. This story was thenrepeated in the U.S. by the organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting(FAIR), by Martin Lee in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and others.Under pressure in Europe to counter these interpretations, the Council ofthe EU declassified the Executive Summary of the final report of the EUForensic Expert Team in Kosovo in February 2001. The summary notes thatbullets and bullet fragments had been found in the gully where photographstaken at the time showed the bodies to be positioned, and that DNA evidenceon the bullets connected them to the bodies autopsied. In a separateinterview, Dr. Ranta estimated the bodies had been shot from a distance of acouple of meters. The evidence confirmed that an atrocity had beencommitted.
Another useful article is at


Jim who?

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jim Yarker" <>To: <>Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 7:10 AMSubject: Michael Karadjis - Holocaust revisionist
> More recently, in your reflections at the "marxism" list, you inform usthat Franjo Tudjman's HDZ régime in Croatia was "anti-Ustashe"

I did nothing of the sort, and the fact that you've got the very first thingyou write wrong says a lot about the rest of your stupid diatribe since itis based on this non-fact

”and to support this risible claim you refer to the assassination of neo-Ustashe leaderAnte Paradzik in Sept. 1991.”

Me:That was to support the claim that the HDZ, led by prominent ex-Communistsand ex-partisans was not the same thing as the Ustashe, not that it wasanti-Ustashe. I also pointed out that Milosevic's SPS was not the same asthe Chetniks but I certainly never suggested it was anti-Chetnik.

> You explain to readers of "marxmail" how the pro-nazi holocaust in NDH> Croatia in 1941-45 was merely the work of a tiny handful, that Croatian> fascism had no mass base or mass involvement,

I quoted 2 percent. You can mobilise a lot of fascists with an active 2percent. Let’s say 10 percent. What's your point? Tens of thousands of Croatstook part in the resistance and laid down their lives fighting fascism.Why do you have some psychological need to demonstrate that a largerpercentage of the ordinary people in Croatia were fascists than elsewhere?What should follow from this? Should they be held collectively guiltyforever because you think a large percentage of this particular nationalitythan others were fascists? Don't you think Tito's policy of welcoming a newYugoslavia based on national equality, recognising the sacrifices of allnationalities, was a more socialist one than the one based on singling out onenation for collective revenge that you advocate (or perhaps you advocate itnot just for Croats but for all nations except Serbs).

And you explained to the readers of your party rag Greenleft a while back about how Belgrade was the first city in Europe to be declared Judenrein, viz. free of Jews. It was indeed, though it wasn't *made* Judenrein by the Serbs but by the German Nazi occupiers,Historians like Michael Berembaum have shown that in fact in the countrieswhere there *wasn't* any mass base of support for the nazis' Holocaustproject, the Germans had to take on practically *all* the work of itthemselves, with occupied Serbia being one of the clearest examples.

What shit. The collaborationist regime of Nedic contained within it the coreof the prewar Serb monarchial state. When the Nazis invaded, 545 prominentSerb leaders, businesspeople and bourgeois intellectuals issued an 'Appealto the Serbian Nation' (sounds familiar?) calling for collaboration with theNazis to fight the nations' real enemy, Communism. 'The duty of each trueSerb patriot is to thwart the infernal intentions of the communist criminalswith all their might".

How is it that 100's of catholic clerics got recruited into the killing machine, and even became death camp commanders, helping in the primitive slaughter of inmates with mallets and knives, while the Catholic primate accepted appointment to be vicar of the NDH armed forces?

How is it?? Is suppose it might be because the Catholic Church, like theOrthodox and most churches I know of, is a reactionary institution, so itwas liable to support fascism. What's your point? That that indicts therest of the Croat nation too?

Why did the Croatian Peasant Party leader and then-Yugoslav vice-president Macekhail the appearance of the "Independent State of Croatia" whose Ustashe leadership were escorted into Zagreb by Axis troops (and which would not be the last time that a Croatian politician would hail the destruction of Yugoslavia while being a member of the Yugoslav presidency)?

Probably had something to do with the appalling repression of everythingnon-Serb over the previous 20 years by the reactionary Serbian monarchy.These reactions occur, as they did for example in the Ukraine at the same time. But initialreactions wear off, and the scholarship seems to show that it wore off rapidly for the Croats as Croatia rapidly became the region with by far the largest partisan force, including both Serbs and Croats, the majority the latter. And why slander Macek who refused to collaborate with the Ustashe and thus ended up in a Ustashe prison camp?

Why is that in the 1945 Constituent Assembly elections held *after* the Liberation throughout the Yugoslav federation, "huge" numbers of voters had their names struck from the voter lists in Croatia for "wartime Ustasa activity," as anti-communisthistorian John Lampe complains? In Slavonia the figure was 40% (should that inform us at all about events in Slavonia in the 90's, like Kir's assassination?). In Serbia as a whole the figure was under 5%. These were determinations made early in the Communist period under Tito (your paragon and gold standard, remember?).

Tito was certainly a cut well above all the chauvinist filth that succeeded him who you seem to look up to. That does not make him perfect. You obviously do not realise that what you have pointed to is something that many from non-Serb nationalities have complained about. The tailers of Serb nationalism are so gung-ho in their belief that Tito was some kind of anti-Serb monster that it simply does not occur to them that there were also opposite pictures drawn, and they can conveniently ignore aspects such as the overwhelming Serb dominance of federal bureaucracy and the military officialdom in Tito's Yugoslavia. So regarding what you just said, one wonders when the number of partisans in Serbia jumped from around 22,000 in late 1943 to hundreds of thousands within a year, if that had something to do with the two amnesties that Tito gave to the Chetniks in 1944 after the Partisans had taken Belgrade. He obviously would have needed them to crush to Kosovars in 1944-45 in rivers of blood to keep them from joining Albania. Other evidence that you might be pointing to something which in fact weakens your own case is that of the 545 Serbian signatories advocating collaboration with the Nazis in 1941, 73 were later honoured in Tito's Yugoslavia, 28 became members of the infamous Serbian Academy that released the Chetnik-oriented 'memorandum' in 1986 and 12 received high state honours.

No-one disputes that there was an anti-fascist resistance in Croatia too, but the debate isn't served well by just pretending that no mass base for clerical fascism existed there then, nor in the 90's. It's like pretending that jingoism has no real hold on people's political psyche in America.

Wow. No-one disputes that Croats could also be partisans and communists. Atrue revolution in 'left' thought. Despite your bulldog tone, you are actually more advanced than many on the left, despite the grudging nature of this concession and the rest of the nonsense you write. Yes there was a 'mass base' just as other forms offascists have had a 'mass base', whether the Chetniks, the Spanish Falange etc etc. But one does not hear that any manifestation of the right of Spain, or Italy, or Germany, to have an independent state is therefore by definition a fascist state that should not be allowed, nor is it heard about any other state which had a quisling regime in WWII, it is only the Croats who are condemned to forever be denied a state because of the quislings that ruled them. And this is a "leftist" opinion.

It's just Holocaust revisionism to claim that the Ustashe movement had no mass base or extensive collaboration in Croatia and that the Serbs – alone among the peoples decimated in the Holocaust - should just forget what happened in NDH Croatia and move on since it has no relevance to the situation in the 90's. It's *only* the Serbs who are supposed to renounce their victimhood in the Holocaust, and it's a measure of the degeneration of the "left" that a discourse like this - which would be consideredcompletely out of line with respect to *any* other people and country touched by theHolocaust and even be prosecutable as hate literature and Holocaust denial in some countries - is considered even remotely acceptable.

I'm not sure who said anything about the Serbs having to 'forget' and 'move on' but your argument shrieks with Zionism here. Because we suffered a holocaust 50 years ago, how dare you criticise us for our continuing genocide against the Palestinian people? We are entitled to forever do what we like to other people as a result. Because we suffered a holocaust 50 years ago, how dare you criticise our leveling of Croatian cities now, ourethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Croats, our destruction of 40 percent of Croatia's factories, our seizure of one third of Croatia's territory, most of which had no Serb majority, and that's before we even get to the genocide against Bosnia's Muslims which we carried out, incidentally, in alliance with the same HDZ and Croatian chauvinists and fascists whose 50 year old deeds we now use to justify our deeds today? We are entitled to do forever to others what we like.

But then you extended this Holocaust revisionism, drawing an explicit equal sign between the Cetniki and the Ustashe. Someone had posted on the Ustashe revival and rehabilitation and nostalgia going on in Croatia in the 90's and you wrote, and I'm virtually quoting verbatim, "the same thing is going on in Serbia with Cetnik symbols and memorabilia." So? The Cetniki *fought* the nazis and the Ustashe and perished doing so, as did the Partizans in greater numbers, and the large majority of *both* resistance movements were Serbs.

The Chetniks began fighting the Nazis and ended up collaborating with them. The Chetniks had an open program which called for the forced removal of all the Muslims from Sanjak and Bosnia, and Croats from Bosnia, to create a clear path from Serbia to Slovenia. In the process of carrying this out they murdered tens of thousands of Muslim villagers. The fact that the Ustashe killed a great many more people is undeniable and I make no attempt to deny it, but the essential similarity in their political nature is simplyindisputable, and is somewhat more relevant to the 1990's.

And the "marxist" Karadjis is equating the NDH holocaust with the Cetniki? And the paying of pensions to these nazi Ustashe murderers and the honouring of their leaders and bringing them out of exile and appointing them to gov't sinecures in the 90's is no different than the reappearance of Cetnik symbols in Serbia?

This simply shows your fixation on the past and inability to comprehend the present. 'The appearance of Chetnik symbols" indeed. What actually occurred was the appearance of mass based Chetnik parties and militias who carried out years of appalling genocide against Bosnia's Muslims while a significant part of the "left" such as yourself stood around issuing disgusting apologetics about this genocide, and the stock in trade apologia was 'so what, look what happened to the Serbs in the 1940's. It is your modern holocaust revisionism that is absolutely despicable, and to cover it you want to accuse me of being an apologist for the Ustashe, when you know very well it is the Serb, Croat, Muslim etc Partisans that I support, and I still support their ideals now against the blood-drenched fascist butchers of today who you defend.

Who voted the neo-Ustashe HDZ into power, with its secessionist racist program in 1990? The Croatian Serbs whom you sleazily broadbrush as "Cetniks" voted overwhelmingly in that election for the Croatian section of the League of Yugoslav Communists, viz for a left party who opposed secession.

How dare you accuse me of calling Croatian Serbs Chetniks and then call me sleazy? You are the biggest sleaze-bucket of a polemicist I've seen, though it is quite possible that in this case, you don't mean to be sleazy, perhaps you simply do not have much of a grasp on politics. Fair enough. In that case, let me explain some to you.
'Croatian Serbs' is the name of a national group. 'Chetniks' is the name of a rightwing political force. I can no more call “the Croatian Serbs” “Chetniks” than I can call “the Croats” “Ustashe” or “the British” “Tories” or “the Israelis” “Likudniks”. You are correct (for once) in stating that the majority of Croatian Serbs voted for the Communist Party, though of course you are wrong in claiming this party was against Croatian independence. Of course they were not 'Chetniks', they were leftists. So, since Croatian Serbs voted for a left party, why did Milosevic's "Socialist" Party in Serbia engineer the growth of a right-wing, pro-Chetnik, organisation, the Serb Democratic Party, to takevotes away from the left-wing Croat Communists (later Social Democrats)?>
Would've been nice to hear from him and you on this subject when a Croatian diplomat on the payroll of Tudjman's "anti-Ustashe" HDZ gov't was touring around the U.S. speaking at meetings of Holocaust-deniers, white supremacists and neo-nazis as part ofhis *salaried functions.*

I would not be at all surprised if someone from Tudjman's reactionary regime was doing that, it is only in your warped political imagination that I am an apologist for Tudjman. I think the logic goes like this: If you don't accept the need to be an apologist for Milosevic, Karadzic and Seselj, so ipso facto you must be an apologist for Tudjman and the Ustashe. And this on a "Marxism" list.
Perhaps you could have a look at Michael Sells excellent articles on the very real connections between Serbian chauvinists, the Republican right, neo-confederacy and other ultra-right and racist organisations in the US, up to and including the offer by the head of the KKK to go to Kosova to help the Christian Serbs fight the heathen Albanian infidels. These articles are available at Balkan Witness, if you can't find them, let me know and I'll pass them on. But I'm sure they make no difference to you, you'll find away to weasel out of that, it is only the connections of the Croat far right that have any relevance to your politics.

Perhaps the Zionist Irgun's proposal to enter the war on the side of the Nazis would be a serviceable canard for "showing" that Eastern European Jewry didn't resist, had as much responsibility as the Germans, etc.

Perhaps not, but I wonder if you think WWII gives the Zionist Irgun's modern thinkers such as Menachim Begin the same right to continue with its Palestinian holocaust as you obviously think it gives the modern day Chetniks to carry out the Bosnian holocaust.

Up until the 1980's, we had mainly powerful Western institutions, the Vatican, and fascist Balkan émigrés and revanchists to thank for the occultation of the Serb holocaust, and for the denial of relief and recognition to its victims (a denial which has been facilitated by the German gov't claim that their nazi troops and administrators didn't set up or run the camps - *Croatians did*). Since the 90's, we have legions of "lefts" to thank as well, as you sadly remind us. The only difference between you and the David Irving's and Robert Faurisson's is how nicely you're being treated by Western "marxists." What a disgrace, but - I repeat - an education as well.

To say the feeling is mutual would be an understatement, but of course it is your sick ilk that is engaged in active modern holocaust denial, denial of what was carried out in front of your eyes in the 1990's. Given the stinking disgrace into which some of western left sunk during the Bosnian genocide, it is no wonder it was left to the Iranians to help fill the gap. You could have helped stop them - you had everyone from the KKK to Le Pen to the South African Boer Resistance Movement just itching to get in there with you to fight the infidel.
Michael Karadjis

To other subscribers to Marxmail, I just had to respond to some appalling slander by someone called Yarker who thought he had the right to put his post up with a title calling me a holocaust revisionist. Naturally to answer such an outrageous post from such a warped individual I needed to respond in kind to such despicable slander.However, I would add that some of the historical issues raised are worth discussing, perhaps at some other time as Louis has perhaps wisely said time is up for now. I would just like to stress however that none of us have a monopoly on historical truth or on its relevance for today's politics, and I think these things can be discussed, perhaps at another time, in a frank but civil and comradely fashion. If my initial response to filth is filth, call it 'Greek pride' for good or bad, and I make no apologies in responses, butI do not initiate these kinds of childish exchanges.

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