Thursday, April 05, 2007
THE MACEDONIAN QUESTION AND THE RECENT WARIN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
We see proof everywhere and almost on a daily basis that thepropaganda of the ruling class relies not only on the hired handsof lackeys (like media scum and academics), but it is also proppedup by the confusing ideologies of their self declared enemies. Thepower of the rulers lies in their skill in stuffing their slaveswith words to the point of making them the slaves of their words,Vaneigem once said. And he was right.
For the past year there has been much political debate between theGreek and (Slav) Macedonian bureacracies over the name, theconstitution and the symbols of the new Macedonian state. Twolarge nationalist demonstrations were held by the major politicalparties in Greece in order to put pressure on the EEC bureaucracyto stop backing our neighbouring nation-state's claims on the name"Macedonia". The first one took place in February 92 inThessaloniki and the second one in Athens last December. Over onemillion people took part in them (that is one in ten Greeks) andapart from the Trotskyists and some other leninists who opposedthe demonstrations, agitating for the right of (Slav) Macedonia toself-determination - a bourgeois statist concept derived fromLenin, which cost them harsh persecutions on the part of the Law -few "anti-authoritarian" groups managed to confront nationalistpropaganda, not even in theorectical terms. The majority of theso-called anti-authoritarians and anarchists, never having made aserious inquiry into the complex concrete interconnection betweenrepresentative democracy, nation-state, army and wage system,found themselves agitating for anti-militarist and,simultaneously, pro-nationalist ideas! The reason of this confusedstate of mind is to be found in the fact that people-"anti-authoritarians" being no exception - have constantlydetermined themselves and arranged their relationships in linewith the ruling ideas of their epoch; ideas of God, normality,nationality, etc.. To paraphase Marx and Gabel, the nationalistideology, which is an ideology of the ruling class, tends to buildon people's false consciousness of their actual life-process apseudo-history, which instead of explaining "Greeks" throughhistory, claims to explain history through the "Greeks". Thenationalist pseudo-historical method consists of theoreticalcrystallizations that rest on the continuous repetition offamiliar, fixed signs and on the remembrance of historical eventsinterpreted metaphysically. We need to debunk this ideology whosestarting point is a certain form of consciousness taken as aliving individual.
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HISTORY AS NIGHTMARE
According to the nationalist ideology there are no autochthonousminority ethnic groups in Greece. Whenever one indignantly pointsthem out, this is what the lackeys answer back: "They are actuallyGreeks who someone, somehow, sometime converted to anotherreligion or language or they are just peasants who are behind thetimes, not yet completely intergrated into civilization." One ofthese "non-existant" ethnic groups are the Slav-Macedonians wholive (or, according to the bureaucrats supposed to live) innorthern Greece. Their politically correct name is "bilingualGreeks". According to official historiography they were among thefighters that liberated Macedonia - that "sacred place ofHellenism for over 3000 years" - from the domination of Turks andBulgarians. Contrary to what is generally believed, inventingmyths is an expensive hobby and some people, whether they like itor not, will have to foot the bill. Slav-Macedonians became "ourcompatriots" by anything but peaceful means. Even Evangelos Kofos,a foreign policy representative of the Greek state, admittedduring the sixties that the dictatorial government in 1936, forone, had adopted a policy of forced assimilation: "In a series ofadministrative measures, the Slavophones were forbidden to speaktheir Slavonic dialect in public, and deportations to the islandscarried out indiscriminantly."(1) Those "Slavophone" peasantscalled themselves Makedontsi, a word with a regional rather thannational connotation. Ethnologically speaking, they are kin tothe Slav-speakers of the former Yugoslav Macedonia.
Before being turned into a battleground for competing nationalistscum, Macedonia was just a geographical entity, part of theOttoman Empire. This ethnologically mixed region, which includedKosovo (see map 1), was mainly inhabited by Turkish and AlbanianMuslims and Orthodox Slavs, Greeks and Vlachs. According to HilmiPasha's census (1904), the Orthodox Greek speakers of Macedoniaconstituted 10% of the entire population, while in AegeanMacedonia, which nowadays is part of the Greek state, 30% of thepopulation spoke Greek, 30% were Slavic speaking, 30% were Muslimsand 10% were Vlachs, Jews, Gypsies and others.(2) It's obviousthat prior to the nationalist wars for Macedonia in the early 20thcentury, the identity of the inhabitants was determinedbyreligion, and to a lesser degree, by language.
The ecclesiastical dispute that broke out in the 1860s between theEcumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the BulgarianExarchate was soon transformed into a nationalist confrontationbetween Greeks and Bulgarians. On the one hand, Greeknationalists, fearing that the neutral attitude of the EcumenicalPatriarchate towards nationalist disputes could not serve theirgoals, sought to Hellenize the institution of the Church inMacedonia. On the other hand, by the early 1890s a "narodnik"group, known as the IMRO (Internal Macedonian RevolutionaryOrganization) which advocated a peasant uprising against Ottomanadministrators and landowners, was founded by Slavic speakingdemocrat federalist intellectuals. According to the Articles ofthe organisation, its aim was to "bring all the discontentedelements in Macedonia and the area of the Aegean, regardless ofnationality, together in order to achieve, by means of revolution,complete political autonomy for these areas" (3). From the verybeginning IMRO was in direct opposition to the Bulgarian Churchand the most chauvinist Bulgarians in Sofia who tried to bringthem under their control.
After the Ilinden peasant uprising organized by the Slavrevolutionaries in 1903 (4), the Greek state reacted to a possibleescalation of the Slav- Macedonian uprising and to Bulgarianpropaganda. They formed numerous armed gangs and sent them toMacedonia where they cooperated with the Turkish army and thegreat land owners against the Bulgarian and Slav-Macedonian bandsas well as the poor peasants who were mostly indifferent tonationalist disputes. During the "Macedonian Struggle" (1904-08),the Bulgarian and Greek gangs tried to Hellenize to Bulgarize theChristian population violently. According to Kofos, "terrorism inMacedonia was the culmination of a quarter of a century ofconflicting nationalist propagandas in a region whose people had,more or less, no formulated national consciousness, but wereguided by the expediency of the moment and the extinct forself-preservation".(5)
We know from the memoirs of the fighters of the "MacedonianStruggle" that a certain faction of the Patriarchal clergycontributed largely to the nationalist struggles. Under duress orunder threat of ecclesiastical anathema, the Slav population waschanged from "Bulgarian" to "Greek" from one day to the next.Greek nationalist ideology found itself in more favourableconditions, since a large section of the Christian peasantpopulation of Macedonia, especially in the central and southernareas, were loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a religiousinstitution of the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires, which,although a supranational organization, was under the control of aGreek speaking hierarchy and had never ceased to be a vehicle ofthe Greek language, which was the official language wherebyChristian ideology had been spread throughout the centuries.
Nationalist use of Christianity in Europe. It's always the sameold story! "All the members of the clergy", Mirabeau declared inthe Assembly in August 1789, "are merely officials of the state.The service of the clergy is a public function; just as theofficial and the soldier, so also the priest is a servant of thenation." Rudolf Rocker was right in regarding nationalconsciousness and national citizenship as a political confessionof faith. "National states," he wrote in 1933, "are politicalchurch organizations; the so-called national consciousness is notborn in man, but trained into him. It is a religious concept; oneis a German, a Frenchman, an Italian, just as one is a Catholic, aProtestant, or a Jew". (6)
* * *
"When the great war comes, Macedonia will become Greek orBulgarian according to who the winner is. If it is occupied byBulgarians, they will render the population into Slavs. If weoccupy it, we will Hellenize them all to Eastern Rumelia."
Harilaos Trikoupis, Prime Minister of Greece, quoted several timesbetween 1875 and 1893.
The fate of Macedonia was decided during the Balkan Wars(1912-1913), when the concerted efforts of the Greek, Serbian andBulgarian armies managed to end Ottoman rule in the Europeanprovinces of the Empire. Since there were no negotiationsbehorehand concerning drawing the lines of their futureterritorial settlements in Macedonia, the three powers weredetermined to grab as much territory as they could and embrace anyopportunities resulting from the military or diplomatic situation.By the end of the wars Serbia and Greece had hit the jackpot inMacedonia since Bulgaria had paid more attention to the ThracianFront where it beat the Turkish army almost completely, a factthat turned the great European powers against it.
After a series of treaties from 1913 to 1920, Bulgaria annexed 10%of the Macedonian territory, while Serbia and Greece annexed 38%and 52% respectively. The Greek state not only had the lion'sshare, occupying rural territories where no Greek speakingpopulation could be found, but it also succeeded in conquering themost advanced financial centers in Macedonia.
The compulsory exchange of the Greek speaking and Slav speakingpopulation of eastern Macedonia between Greece and Bulgaria in1920, as well as the dramatic transfer of a million, mostly Greekspeaking, Christians from Turkey to Greece and 350,000 Muslimsfrom Macedonia to Turkey, under the treaty of Lausanne in 1923,marked the final stages in the national bureaucracies' efforts toorganize ethnic-linguistic and cultural homogeneity in their newlyconstructed cages.
So the notorious Eastern Question ended, in blood and tears...Thousands of Greeks, Turks and Slavs died in the refugee shantytowns away from their native lands. Nevertheless, every cloud hasa silver lining! Those of the refugees and the soldiers who hadsurvived the wars were given full citizenship and became smallland holders or a cheap labour force. Once the nation-states inthe Balkans had, in one way or another, been formed and theagrarian reforms and the new labor markets had come intooperation, one could have supposed that from then on capitalismwould start functioning "peacefully". However, this was not true,since nationalist ambitions and lower class demands had in no waybeen satisfied. At least as far as Slav-Macedonians (or Croats)were concerned.
During the inter-war period, the Yugoslav governments (composedmainly of Serb bureaucrats) renamed their part of Macedonia toVardar Banovina and thousands of landless Serb peasants weretransfered to the region to assist in the assimilation of thenative Slavs. The official Serbo-Croat language became compulsoryin schools and public life. The situation was even worse in thepart of Macedonia under Greek occupation. The bulk of the Greekspeaking refugees were settled in Macedonia and this was a"national scheme" far more systematic than the previouslymentioned Serbian one. It is of great importance to note that,contrary to recent Greek propaganda, the Greek government of 1926declared Slav-Macedonians a distinct ethnic minority which couldhave schools in its own language. However, since Bulgariansdemanded to use the Bulgarian language and Serbs the Serbo-Croatone as the language of those schools, Greek bureaucrats startedtreating this minority as non-existant and began changing thenames of the Slav inhabitants and their villages into Greek,forbidding as we have already mentioned, any public use of theirlanguage and deporting or imprisoning hundreds of dissidents - acampaign that lasted until the late 50s. Today this assimilationprocess has almost been completed.
In Bulgaria things worked out a different way. After the BalkanWars, the IMRO militants took refuge in Bulgaria and were soontransformed into a political and financial racket supportingwhomever, from extreme right to the left, was willing to fowardtheir nationalist plans.(7)
NATIONALISM AND LENINISM
In the early twenties, after having crushed the proletarianrevolution in Russia, the Bolsheviks began employing the Cominternas the main organ of their foreign policy. In such"underdeveloped" countries as in the Balkans, where there was nosignificant and politically organized workers' movement to beutilized, they favoured collaborations between the "communist"parties and the nationalist, allegedly national liberationmovements. IMRO was one of these movements. In 1924, the Bulgarian"communist" party entered into an alliance with IMRO in order toset the seizure of power in Bulgaria going. In a few months thealliance had broken up but the leftist faction of IMRO remainedloyal to the BCP's of a Balkan federation that would include a"united and independent Macedonia". (8)
What is important in all these political manoeuvres is that fromthe twenties onwards the Balkan leninists had become a significantvehicle for nation-building projects in the area. In the forties,Marshall Tito's stalinist party, which had beat the nazis and wonthe Yugoslav civil war leading the anti-fascist struggle of themulti-ethnic peasantry, would re-interpret the federalist ideologyof the twenties. It created a federal state and recognized,theorectically at least, the right of each of the nations ofYugoslavia to "self-determination, including the right tosecession". Besides Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbiaand Montenegro, a "state of the Macedonian people and the Albanianand objectives were to create a Macedonian republic that wouldinclude Pirin (Bulgarian) Macedonia as well as a part of GreekMacedonia and also form a South-Slav federation that would includeBulgaria and Albania under their hegemony. Stalin's conflict withTito in 1948 brought an end to such ambitious plans. The Greek andBulgarian stalinists sided with the Cominform and Tito stoppedsupporting the Greek guerillas, delivering the fatal blow to thestalinist-led rebellion in July 1949. 35.000 Slav- Macedonianpartisans were forced to emigrate from Greece and many of themtook refuge in Yugoslav Macedonia.(9)
CITIZENSHIP AND THE INCORPORATION OF THE PEASANTS AND THE WORKERSINTO THE NATION-STATE
"Political emanicipation is certainly a big step foward. It maynot be the last form of general human emancipation, but it is thelast form of human emancipation within the present world order.Needless to say, we are speaking here of real, practicalemancipation."
Karl Marx, On the Jewish QuestionKarl Marx, On the Jewish Question
The new Macedonian state, whose first premier was Dimitar Vlahov,the old leader of the leftist faction of the IMRO, was thepolitical outcome of the anti-fascist and anti-imperialiststruggle of its inhabitants against Nazi/Bulgarian occupation andGreat Serb chauvinism. It was on this basis, as well as on thematerial concessions to peasants that the Macedonian bureaucracytraced a route to nation-building. The creation of the new nationwas patterned on the schemes concocted by all previous Balkanbureaucracies during the social and political struggles of thenineteenth and twentieth centuries. The new state class declaredthemselves liberators of the people, turned a regional name(Makedontsi) into a national; transformed the Slav- Macedonianidiom (on which the Bulgarian language is based as well) into a"pure" literary language, set up an autocephalous MacedonianOrthodox Church, invented a unique Macedonian history and adistinct Macedonian tradition, put foward an unredeemist ideologyof "our brothers who are still in bondage" and, here you are, anew nation in the Balkans was born in the same way that the Greek,Serbian and Bulgarian imagined communities had been created.
The nationalization of the European peoples was the main politicaland social consequence of the class struggles of the last twocenturies. These class struggles were mainly peasant strugglesagainst the landowners and the foreign conquerors and were givenvoice through the nationalist-democratic ideology, the people'sarmy and its leadership. They led up to the formation of themodern bureaucratic class which was shaped by the collaboration ofold and new rulers (politicians, democratic intellectuals,administrators, the military etc.). Their greatest preoccupationwas to organize the nationalist indoctrination of the youngergenerations, disintergrate the peasant communities and the guildsand legitimize the civil society, which was already underformation, through legal regulations; a society where a personsacrifices her/himself to the abstract notion of the citizen, i.e.the private individual, a mere member of the multitude. Thus thebureaucrats paved the way for the merchants, industrialists andthe bankers, who themselves had taken part in the socialstruggles, at least as financial supporters, and who managed toreorganize human work into "free" labour, that is, wage labour,cutting the communities into separate households, adaptable tochanges in space and time and suitable for overt exploitation.The myth of the nation, enveloped in sentiments and memories ofthe "liberation" struggles, unites these separate parts. Equalityin the heaven of the nation-state's universality counteractsinequality in the earthly, real life. The state that poses as aguardian/representative of an allegedly undifferentiated societyis the universal power that unifies the competitive privateinterests. The contradiction of the plitical nation-state lies inthe the fact that it unifies the separate parts throughseparation, since it is simultaneously the mediator thatsafeguards and guarantees the perpetuation of private interestsand the continuation of the dissociation of private and publiclife.(10)
The internationalist proletarian movement of the 19th century, theonly social movement that could put an end to the extension of thenationalist- democratic ideology, because it was seeking a real,practical emancipation beyond the present world order (11),gradually degenerated after the promising period of the FirstInternational and the federative Commune of 1871, and split intonational parliamentary "workers" parties. Those parties identifiedsocialism with the "nationalization of the means of production" aswell as the seizure of political power and led the proletariat tothe leninist-stalinist tragedy. After World War II, the secondproletarain assault on class society, culminating in the strugglesof the late sixties and strengthened by a large scale revolt ofthe middle class youth of the "developed" capitalist countries,brought the internationalist perspective to the fore again andprovoked the western bureaucrats and capitalists to actaccordingly. In the Eastern Bloc events took a dramatic course.After the events in Hungary in 1956, the stalinists could notimpede the spreading of class struggles, in other words they couldnot organize scarcity and silence effectively anymore. Thesuccessive struggles, especially those in Poland during the 70sand 80s, exposed the counter- revolutionary nature of thenon-market, industrial based variation of the Oriental despotismof the Russian empire. Besides that, the non-soviet empire as wellas the Yugoslav federation to some extent, were prison houses ofnations and various ethnic groups. The eastern proletariat beingunable to act against the bureaucrats as a class seeking for itsself-suppression, stood against the emperor as if he were a mereconqueror, that is on a national basis, hence they climbed thechariot of the nationalist-democratic ideology of their leaders(Walesa, Yeltsin, Tudjman, Milosevic...).(12) Wherever theseleaders (mostly former members of the disintergrated bureaucracyand now ambitious "national heroes" have been involved infree-for-all wars, the proletariat at worst has become cannonfodder and at best mere defenders of their lives.
THE WAR OFFICERS TURN TO PEACE-MAKERS (AND VICE VERSA)
There are three methods of approaching the war in the formerYugoslavia that certainly lead to false considerations of thesocial and political situation there. The first and most popularof them is dominated by humanitarian-pacifist beliefs and irassumes that the war is simply the product of evil-mindedpoliticians and thugs and rests its hope for a cease-fire on themilitary intervention of the United Nations of Amerika. The secondone is based on leninst ideology and sees the war as a struggle ofoppressed nations for "national independence". The third holdsthat behind the so-called civil war, the various nationalistfactions are serving the divergent interests of the great westernpowers. It reminds us of the one-sided estimation of RosaLuxemberg who, during the Balkan Wars and the First World War,supported the view that "Serbia itself is only a pawn in the greatgame of world politics".(13) The first method and especially thelast one are the most absurd of all since they bring out a policeconcept of history. The events in Yugoslavia cannot be understoodin terms of good or evil individual action; neither can it beexplained as the result of an external action. As far as theTrotskyist illusions are concerned, the "heroic" era of theso-called national liberation struggles has long passed. One hasto turn one's attention to the history of class antagonisms in theformer Yugoslavia after World War II.
Wedged between Western capitalist and Stalinist regimes, theYugoslav "communist" bureaucracy managed to survive thanks to itslongstanding reconciliation with the proletariat and thepeasantry. (See the law on workers' self-management in 1950 andthe re-distribution of land after the war.) The reconciliationdrew to an end in the sixties when the disputes between thecentralists, the local state officials and the enterprise managersover matters of development policy led to the 1965 economicreform. According to Neil Fernandez, the liberal-conservativestrife was "a confrontation between on the one hand rulers whostressed a degree of Croat and Slovene independence along witheconomic efficiency, and on the other hand those who wereconcerned with the preservation of the machinery of centrallydirected investment, the all-round development of national capitaland the pre-eminence of Belgrade and the largely Serbadministrative apparatus". (14) So the reforms not onlylegitimized capitalism in Yugoslavia by decentralizing investmentpolicy, reducing wages and jobs (especially in the so-called"political" factories) and liberalizing foreign trade, they alsorevealed that conflicting economic and political interests wererapidly being transformed into North-South nationalistconfrontations.
The failure of the internationalist radical wing of the Belgradestudent movement in 1968 to unite themselves with workers fightingagainst wage freezes and income inequality (15), and vice versa,and thus create continous autonomous struggles for a trulyself-managed society, was followed by a large-scale demonstrationin Pristina in November 1968 calling for Kosovo's autonomy and,most remarkably, nationalist demonstrations in Croatia in 1971-2that eventually led to the establishment of a new constitution in1974. The constitution turned Kosovo and Vojvodina intoautonomous provinces and made Yugoslavia into a confederation ofsemi-sovereign states with independent economic policy, their ownpolice force and the right to put veto on any new federal laws.
The league of "communist" bureaucrats tried to preserve theircentral unifying role as the "representatives of the workers" byreinforcing the only two all-Yugoslav institutions, the army andthe so-called workers' self-management. In the years thatfollowed, both attempts to militarize social realtions to someextent and cast the "workers' councils" for the part of areformist political party in the Yugoslavery comedy failedcompletely. By the mid 80s the technocratic leadership cadres andthe local bureaucrats had prevailed over the centralistideologues. The Yugoslav "People's" Army could not offer a bond tohold the country together because it was the armed hand of theParty and as long as the Party was rapidly disintergrating, itmerely became the armed hand of the most powerful nationalistfaction in the Party: the "Great Serb" nationalists.
The petition the Belgrade intellectuals handed the authorities inJanuary 1986 to act against the alleged "genocide" of the Serbminority in Kosovo was the kick-off for the regeneration of Serbnationalism. The constitutional changes and the Serb military rulewhich incorporated Kosovo into the body of the Serbian stategradually prompted the rest of the local bureaucracies to startmoving towards total independence. But the very root of theresurgence of nationalism is to be found in the class struggles ofthe second half of the eighties.
During 1986-9 the federal government, with the general consent ofevery local leadership, tried to totally intergrate the Yugoslaveconomy into the restructuring world capitalism. Their first move,in February 1987, under the guidlines of the IMF - their mainforeign creditor - was to cut wages and increase unemployment andwas soon followed in 1988-9 by the change of the legal frameworkof the cpaitalist relationship: the abolition ofpseudo-self-management, the liberalization of the labor market,decentralization of the banking system, etc.. The strike wave thatbroke out in early 1987 against the bureaucrats, the trade unionsand the workerist cadres in the mines and the factories of Croatiaand Serbia was astonishing and the government threatened to sendtroops and tanks against the workers. The struggle continuedwithout a break: 1623 strikes and 365,000 strikers in 2987; 1360strikes in the first 9 months of 1988. Among their demands was a100% increase in wages! The local bureaucrats were obliged to playtheir last card: nationalist ideology.
The nationalism that had already been used in previous decades toregiment social contradictions by convincing workers in onerepublic that their poverty is due to the inefficiency of theworkers and the leaders in the other republics, reached itsexplosive point in the late 80s. Social control could no longer beexerted by discredited "socialist" ideologues. A renewedlegitimation of bureaucracy and capitalism could only be achievedthrough the creation of nation-states which would manage todivide, police and recompose the proletariat on the basis of a newreconciliation between state and civil society. the leadersclearly saw that in order to maintain and extend their power theyhad to create new social cages by inventing a new form ofcitizenship, a new type of "general interest". By 1989 the massdemonstrations had already become nationalist parades. Things wereheaded the right way... And they still are... (16)
Making war against real or factitious "external enemies" is partand parcel of the making of the nation-state. The members of thewestern ruling class are well aware of this, the nationalizationof peoples in their states having been completed long ago.Professor John Mirishimer, for example, wrote in the "New YorkTimes" two months ago that the creation of homogenous states inthe former Yugoslavia calls for the mapping out of new borders andthe transfer of populations. On March 25,1991 Tudjman andMilosevic met secretly in Karadjordevo and agreed to partitionBosnia between them (17), thus forcing a non-nationalist, nonreligion-fanatical population to take sides through war. Thepartition was backed up by the great powers in London conferencein August 1992. Ethnic cleansing was carried out not only by theSerbian and Croat armies and gangs, but by UN convoys as well.They organized the evacuation of Muslim refugees from Srebrenicaand other places and the exchange of a hundred thousand prisoners.Now the Serbian army has occupied 70% of the territory of Bosniaand 20% is in Croatian possession. (see map 2) "Peace" is justgoing to bring whatever war has left incomplete to an end. (18)We can't say whether the proletarians and the peasants, regardlessof nationality, will resist all "peace makers", like they didagainst all war officers in Vukovar and during the first months ofthe war in Bosnia and whether their reactions will continue to bemainly defensive.
IF YOU WANT PEACE, PREPARE FOR CLASS WAR
None of the bureaucracies of the Balkan states is out of thenationalist game. The Greek bureaucrats and capitalists thatantagonized the new Macedonian ruling class, blocking theinternational recognition of their state, trying to keep them inthe worst possible place in the new hierarchical inter-statesystem in the Balkans - even making plans to turn that formerYugoslav republic into a protectorate of theirs - have made a lotof concessions in the last months. But the results of the intensenationalist propaganda of 1992 are still largely observable. Allthe pseudo-antagonisms (left wing/right wing parties, tradeunions/bosses, etc.) have collapsed into a nationalist unitedfront against the strikers and high school students and managed,with the help of the media scum, to push their struggles out ofthe limelight. What is worse is that we saw most of our friends,comrades and people we work with fall victims of the deceptivepro-Serb Greek government propaganda. We will deal extensivelywith the very root of this despicable stance elsewhere. Moreover,the future looks bleak. When Milosevic, Greece's best ally in theBalkans, sooner or later, finds himself in need of a new war inthe south, when the oppressed Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia(see map 3) take to the streets again, the Greek proletariat,being indoctrinated for so long by racist ideas against Albanians,and their neighbours in general, will probably continue not to beable to turn against war, that is to turn against Greek leaders,who are equally responsible for all the war crimes committed up tonow as well as for those yet to come.
The failure of the workers' movement in Serbia and Greece toradically oppose nationalism and war testifies that fightingagainst the results of the hierarchical capitalist relationship isnot enough. Unless wage labourers understand that any form ofpolitical emancipation or permanent reform is impracticablenowadays, unless they understand that this war is a reactiongainst their own struggles, however modest they may be, thatnational governemnts are as one against the proletariat; andunless they start fighting for the abolition of wage labour andrepresentative democracy, the future transformation of ourcountries into local units of the EEC will surely be preceded byeven darker years of nationalism. The Balkan societies have beencaught in a dangerous trap. The bureaucrats on the one hand lookfoward to a supranational European capitalism and on the otherhand they need nationalism to regiment working class reactionsagainst austerity measures. The wage-laborers falter fromdefensive struggles to privatization, from conservatism tocontestation. These are times for the best or the worst. A realtransitory period - but to what?