The Kosovar ruling class, in service of US imperialism, has declared the creation of another state in the Balkans on February 17th. Several weeks after that act, and the events that followed it, we think that enough time has passed for us to try to be objective in our understanding of these events.
There is no doubt that behind this act of Kosovar bosses and politicians, despite what they are stating as their reasons, stands their wish to formalize and entrench positions from which they can exploit the Kosovo population in a more "independent" way. Every state, including the newly formed Kosovo one, has maintaining the system of capitalism by force as its ultimate reason for existence. A system in which a group of criminals is running the lives of the enslaved workers and peasants.
The large support given to Kosovo politicians and bosses by the citizens of Kosovo was because of the still fresh memories of the apartheid style of regime that Milošević has pushed to its limits during his reign. Via his using the medieval Kosovo myth as an opiate for the people, Milošević has, in a most brutal fashion, practiced politics in the interest of the ruling class in Serbia. With his nationalist politics turned against the Albanians, Milošević was capable of diverting attention from rising social problems which started to seriously endanger socialist bureaucracy in ex SFRJ (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). We remember his brutal fight against Albanian workers and students, his verbal diarrhea at Gazimestan (1), but also his crimes made against the Albanian civilians pushing them to the level of second grade citizens. Today, Serbian bosses and politicians wish to repeat that trick and to continue untouched to the end with their robbery and privatization, by making us all crazy with their infinite tales about Kosovo.
As in those days, today it is also not possible to underline enough the influence of the great powers in the events occuring in Kosovo and the Balkans. The most dominant capitalist force of today, the United States of America, in whose service Milošević was for quite some time, and which, together with its allies, has even called him once the "factor of peace and stability in the Balkans", has found in the Kosovo ruling class servants on which it can, obviously, rely much more. And while Albanian politicians are enraging people with the talks about leaving the claws of the Serbian state, they are in fact placing Albanian people in the bridle controlled by the western power-holders.
In that sense, it is not possible to question the NATO character of the new Kosovo state. From the documents, such as the plan of the UN Special Envoy at the Kosovo status process Martti Ahtisaari, which was backed up by the USA and EU, it's clear that the presence of NATO troops in Kosovo is one of the main preconditions for Kosovo’s "independence". Precisely in that context it is important to follow the development of the Kosovo state, which is becoming one of the most important satellites of the USA and EU in the Balkans.
When we are talking about conditions of life of different ethnic communities in Kosovo, it's not incorrect to say that the situation, when compared to the period before the 1999 bombing of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has turned upside-down; the horrible conditions of life for Serbs in Kosovo today, a population to whom it's not possible to move or live freely without military presence, children which are not able to go to school in peace, old people who are being beaten up by Albanian nationalists etc. all testify to the catastrophic life of non-Albanian population in Kosovo.
Those, objectively horrifying conditions of life for the Serbian people, are used in the most treacherous way by the Serbian bourgeoisie to pursue its own interests, so criminal institutions, such as the Serbian Orthodox Church, are using it to try to regain its medieval positions. Intentionally confusing interests of the endangered population with the interests of the Church, priests are very clearly, all over again - just like many times before in last twenty years – maintaining and supporting warmongering politics. Wimpy, pathetic, simulated grief, false concern and chauvinist-petite bourgeois pathos are felt all over the moves and statements of Serbian political parties and institutions of the Serbian state, and are crushing any illusions about their good intentions.
The Serbian bourgeoisie is working on dividing Kosovo by manipulating the horrible position in which the Serbian population of Kosovo finds itself, and it's directing them to renounce their loyalty to Albanians and tie them to the institutions of the Serbian state. That, without a doubt, means bad luck for all Serbian workers which are living outside north Kosovo, and especially for more than ten thousand Serbs in the Štrpce region which is located in the south of Kosovo, and which will, in that scenario, be sacrificed to the interests of the Serbian ruling class.
Kosovo today is a state in which more than 50% of the population is unemployed, and smuggling, foreign donations and help from the relatives living in other countries is the main mode of survival for the population. Time will show that the anger of the Kosovo workers, because of their horrible living conditions, will very soon turn against those same power-holders after a downplay of hysteria caused by the "independence" that has been won. That anger was directed by Albanian bosses and politicians against the Serbian state and it is temporarily pushed under the carpet by the promises of the better life in a new state. History will once again confirm that states have never solved, but only created problems for the working class.
Another important factor that has to be taken into consideration if we are to grasp the situation as whole is, without a doubt, the role of Russian imperialism. Defending its interests on the international level, the Russian federation has found in the Kosovo episode an ideal opportunity to stand up against USA-EU block, and to reinforce its positions in the Balkans. By taking into consideration the present constellation of power on the Serbian parliamentarian scene, it wouldn't be strange if the Medvedev-Putin team would achieve something that Stalin and Soviet imperialism didn't manage to do fifty years ago. The aggressive approach of Russian corporations in Serbia, buying off strategic companies such as the Oil industry of Serbia (Naftne industrije Srbije - NIS), the building of main gas-pipelines through Serbia as an answer to the gas-pipeline which is under the control of the west, clearly speak about Russian intentions. On the other hand, this confirms to us that there are very serious forces within the Serbian ruling class which are working for Russian interests, and which would rather see Serbia as a satellite of Russia than as a satellite of USA.
When talking about the proclamation of Kosovo state, the Serbian ruling class very often repeats the phrase about them "stealing 15% of our territory". We ask the question - What is "our territory"? To everyone with a clear head it's understandable that when politicians speak about "our territory" they speak of the territory from which the Serbian state can gather taxes from the workers, and then criminals in power place that money into their own pockets. For the working class there is no "our" or "their" territory. The whole world is our motherland.
The reaction of the Serbian government to the proclamation of Kosovo "independence" consists of organizing protests against independence in Belgrade and other places in Serbia and, with the help of Neo-Nazi organizations, outside of it; as well as of infinite repetitions of phrases about the breaking of international justice, as if it wasn't clear to everybody that international justice, as any other bourgeois "justice", is just a façade of the system in which the justice is on the side of the stronger ones.
The protest against independence held in Belgrade on February 21st speaks best about the truth of all nationalism. Without a doubt the large gathering of people, in which more than 250.000 people took a part, was a gathering in which minor fascists groups felt quite comfortable. The best proof of that is the behavior of the members of the “Obraz” organization, characterized as clero-fascist even by the police, which were in the first rows of the protest posing with their regalia. But, while causing sadness with the Serbian power-holders, that protest revealed one flame that is burning under the layers of nationalist rhetoric - that is the flame of social discontent which was manifested by thousands of impoverished people who used this unsuccessful and totally simulated remake of Gazimestan to engage in proletarian shopping on a large scale. True heroes of that protest headed to the shops in the center of Belgrade and, without taking notice of the nationality of the owners of the companies, managed to get new clothes, foot-ware and other things that are something that they can not usually afford. The government tried to diminish the number of people participating in the expropriations, to make false distinction between "robbers" who were stealing and "people" who were destroying embassies of the states which recognized Kosovo. Hysterical liberals started to foam, calling on the Law to react against the "hooligans". Among a huge amount of similar statements by Serbian politicians, the statement of the primitive clerical nationalist minister for infrastructure, Velimir Ilic, has stood out with an important message. By trying to gain points among the radical-chauvinist elements of the protest, those which participated in the protest to destroy the seats of "anti-Serbian" states, he said that "even breaking of windows is democracy". We hope that Serbia will progress in that direction, and that the workers of Serbia, losers in the transition, will start with the breaking of more windows and thus strengthening the democracy, when the social unrest and anger of the humiliated and exploited finally erupts.
The negative effects of these events in Serbia are already visible – the silencing of any voice which is questioning the politics that is waged against Kosovo in the interests of the Serbian ruling class, and the introduction of an informal Marshall Law which means police prohibition of all gatherings which are not under direct or indirect organization by the ruling structures. Those prohibitions are opening space for bourgeois liberal forces which are taking points on the account of the authoritarianism of the regime, portraying themselves as victims prosecuted because of their supposed progressive character.
The conflict of interests of the two current ruling parties, which in this situation are forced to take clear positions, brought the downfall of the government as expected. New elections are put forward as a solution for growing problems, and the vacuum that will last until the election of new MPs will be used so that the brutal capitalist politics against Serbian workers may continue, under a "technical government", which means raising of the prices of food, electricity, fuels and all other living needs. The element they are counting on is the election campaign, this time probably crazier and more abnormal than anything we have seen before, in which they hope to blur the vision of the workers. Once again we will become collective victims of imaginative designers in the service of political parties, which will try to sell us the story of Kosovo and the EU packed in different packages.
The thing that can be seen as an important positive result of this turbulence is the fact that a large segment of people stopped accepting the idea that there is no alternative to the EU and NATO. Even if it is clear that parties that today question the orientation towards NATO and EU do that in their own political interest, and these turns in their politics are largely relying on the reorientation towards Russia, that is still very important because it opens the space for thinking about alternatives to this system. In such a situation different alternatives to capitalism are gaining strength, and in that manner our movement can expect it's strengthening in the close future.
When taking into consideration that from the highest instances in the state messages are being transmitted which are not seeing violence as "extremist" behavior, Anarcho-syndicalist initiative calls workers in Serbia to use this opportunity, to radicalize the situation in their working places and use these obscure times for the betterment of their material conditions. The thing that is placed forward as a task for all revolutionaries in Serbia is the destruction of the last, simulated remains of nationalistic mythmania, and, in that way, the opening of the space for escalation of social conflicts.
At the same time, this is a chance to strike hard blows to the loudest supporters of liberal capitalism in Serbia, blows that will make it quite hard for them to stand up in the early future. This is a chance for the workers to loudly and clearly show what they think about institutions with destructive processes that have left hundreds of thousands of people without work and a means of survival.
At this time it is of utmost importance to create and strengthen the existing relations between libertarian workers in Serbia and Kosovo, as well as the whole Balkans, and, in that way, present a clear alternative to American and Russian imperialism. We will remind you that the only time people in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia managed to really unite was during the partisan antifascist movement, made up of individuals from all nations, which succeeded in taking down the nationalist power holders that were all working for foreign powers. Today there is a need for the creation of a clear anti-imperialist, anti-NATO and anti-Russian block on the Balkans, which will unite people of all satellite states, and crushing all exponents and agents of American, European and Russian interests. Equality and freedom of all can be only achieved in a society based on self-managed libertarian communism. The Balkan workers’ confederation of free communes!
Only by organizing, in strong, revolutionary, non-hierarchical unions ready to wage a strong fight against bosses and politicians, can lead to the forming of such a block. By fighting in our work places for better conditions of life and work, by radicalizing the situation and raising the tension, we can create the basics of the movement that can achieve a society worthy of us as Human beings.