The Guardian October 11, 2000

Yugoslavia: the struggle continues

Press statement by the Central Committee of the Communist Party 
Australia concerning developments in Yugoslavia, October 8, 2000.

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Fear of a new war and the understandable desire of the Yugoslav people for peace and a normal life played a part in the recent events that resulted in the removal of Slobodan Milosevic as President of Yugoslavia. However, the Yugoslav people by their votes, increased the representation of the Socialist Party of Serbia and its coalition partner giving them an absolute majority in Yugoslavia's parliament. It remains to be seen what government will be formed and what policies it will pursue. There was unparalleled interference in the elections and demonstrations by outside forces. The US and other NATO countries financed the campaign of the Yugoslav opposition. It was these millions which financed radio, TV and media propaganda, bought leaflets and posters, paid for buses to bring demonstrators to selected places, corrupted various persons and built up all the other sinews of their campaign. For example, the US Congress adopted legislation called the "Serbian Democratisation Act", and authorised $50 million for this purpose. Behind the so-called "people's power" was these millions of dollars. Last year's aggressive war against Yugoslavia had the objective of smashing the resistance of the Yugoslav Government and people to NATO's aim to impose its complete domination of the Balkans. This attempt failed but it did create fear among the Yugoslav people that a new military attack would be launched at any time. American and British warships had assembled in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea in the lead up to the recent elections. A military invasion of Montenegro was threatened. Furthermore, the people had suffered for many years the consequences of trade sanctions imposed by the European Union and the US. The dismantling of socialism in the Soviet Union and in East European countries has temporarily changed the balance of power in the world in favour of reactionary governments. Capitalism, in the name of globalisation, is now on the attack against the working people and the democratic and patriotic movements of all countries. What is being imposed on the peoples of the world by imperialism, and especially by US imperialism in the name of a New World Order, is a reflection of this change in the world situation. It is already clear, however, that President Kostunica and a new Yugoslav government will continue to be browbeaten to implement economic and political policies dictated by the western powers. US Senator Joseph Biden is recorded as saying: "If Mr Kostunica comes to power and thinks that his undeniable and praiseworthy democratic credentials will enable him to pursue an aggressive Serbian nationalist policy with a kinder face, then we must disabuse him of this notion.... [If that should happen] we'll concentrate our policy in the former Yugoslavia on preparing democratic and prosperous Slovenia for the next round of NATO enlargement..." It did not take long for Australia's ultra-conservative Prime Minister and the Labor Party's right-wing leader to welcome so-called "people's power" in Yugoslavia while the Packer and Murdoch controlled media even use the word "revolution". All NATO governments have also given their blessing to "people's power" in Belgrade. But these are the same governments that used extreme police and military violence in Seattle, Washington, Davos, Melbourne and Prague to break up demonstrations of the people opposed to the policies of globalisation being demanded by the big corporations. While talking of "people's power" in Belgrade they remain silent in the face of the shooting of Palestinian people including children in Jerusalem. To many, masses of people on the streets gives the impression of "people's power" and that only good and progressive things could flow from such actions. But this is not necessarily so and has been demonstrated time and again. Lech Walesa and the "Solidarity" trade unions in Poland were similarly supported and hailed. Now, ten or more years later, it is appropriate to ask what happened to the Gdansk shipyards from which Lech Walesa emerged as a hero of the western capitalist powers? The Gdansk shipyards were privatised and are now closed and all the workers who followed Lech Walesa onto the streets at that time are now sacked. It was a strike by transport workers that prepared the ground for the fascist coup against the Chilean Government of Salvadore Allende. Hitler and Mussolini were able to mobilise huge demonstrations of people in support of their cause, a cause that resulted in millions of people losing their lives in World War II. Today, religious fundamentalists are also able to stage vast demonstrations. There are many other examples. A new Yugoslav government will be expected to impose the policies demanded by the IMF and the World Bank in return for the "economic aid" which had been promised should President Milosevic be overthrown. The investors have already moved into the province of Kosovo under the umbrella of NATO occupation. Yugoslavia will be threatened with further dismemberment unless the dictates of NATO are implemented. The ruling circles of the capitalist countries have become extremely adept at the manipulation of public opinion. The manipulators make a particular appeal to young people who are not aware of the history of events nor of the struggles of previous generations for the improvements and conditions that they often enjoy and take for granted. Dazzled by glitz and smooth talk about "change" and "reform" many fall for the propaganda of the ruling class the same ruling class that has launched a heavy attack against the working conditions and rights of people throughout the world. Their attacks have had considerable success. For example, many Australian workers won a 35-hour week decades ago but are now being called upon to work 12-hour shifts. The impoverishment of the people brought about by the reimposition of capitalism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union is already creating an awakening, but it will be hard and very painful to break the stranglehold that the imperialist countries are imposing to ensure that real people's power does not restore socialist governments in these countries or elsewhere. The alternative is to accept that into the foreseeable future the overwhelming majority of people will become impoverished and servile slaves of the USA's New World Order. The Yugoslav people and those of Eastern Europe who have once tasted freedom and civilised living standards, are not likely to accept that fate for long. In the meantime, NATO intends to continue its drive to the east and will now intensify its attacks against the Russian Federation with the aim of controlling the huge oil reserves of the Caucasus region as its next objective. Far from NATO domination of the Balkans bringing peace it will intensify conflict and the danger of even bigger wars. The Communist Party of Australia which stood by the Yugoslav people in their resistance to NATO's illegal aggressive bombing in 1999, will continue to extend its internationalist solidarity in their continuing struggle against the domination of their country by the western imperialist powers and the inevitable poverty, unemployment and deprivation that IMF and World Bank conditions will impose. The struggle continues!

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